Wet and Wild
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“Why do I have to stay with him? I’m the Slayer! I should be out … shopping for Christmas.” Buffy cried, glaring at the people who stood in Giles’s apartment. They had just informed her that they were going to see a movie and she was the only one left to Spike-sit. “We’ve only got three weeks left before the holidays and you guys can see this movie anytime.”
“No, we can’t.” Giles replied, pulling his jacket on and looking for his keys. “It’s only here for the weekend and tonight is the last night of said weekend.”
“Well, did it ever occur to you that maybe I would like to see it and Spike can watch his own damn self?” Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and glared at her friends. Willow glanced at Giles, Xander wrapped an arm around Anya and Giles pull his coat on. “Well, did it?”
“No, it didn’t, Buffy. Because when I mentioned that Schindler’s List was playing at the Sun for one weekend you said, and I quote, ‘Is that anything like Santa’s list?’” Willow slid her arms into her jacket as well and smiled. “He’s not so bad to look after. Just give him the run of the television and he’ll be fine.”
“I don’t want to watch him. I had plans too!” Buffy stomped her foot and stared at everyone as they brushed past her. “Oh, okay, fine. Just leave me here during the holiday season with a demon! If he rubs off on me and makes me evil, it’s all your fault.”
The door slammed and her jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe that they had actually left her there for some movie. Stalking around the sofa, she flopped onto her back and threw her feet on the coffee table. If Giles had been there, he would have knocked them off and scolded her but he wasn’t there and she would be damned if she would respect his house while she was upset. Glancing at the bookcases around the room, she decided to slide a few books out of alphabetical order as punishment.
Grinning, she stood and walked toward the nearest case. She was letting her fingers walk down the spines of the books when Spike began to laugh hysterically in the next room. Sighing, Buffy glanced down the hallway and listened closely.
“That’s it, then! Do it, do it. TITS! Wooo hooo!” His voice carried up the hallway and assaulted her ears and she curled her lip back in disgust.
She could hear gunfire blaring from the television and decided that putting the books in disarray wouldn’t be nearly as fun as bothering Spike. Rubbing her hands together, Buffy walked down the hallway and opened the bathroom door. Spike saw her and quickly shut off the television with the remote. Buffy grinned and flipped it back on. “What are you watching, Spike?”
“Uh, history channel.” He replied, flipping it back off.
Buffy turned it back on in time to hear grunts and moans. “The history of what? Pornography?”
“Giles gave it to me!” Spike shouted as the television began to show a couple in western wear going at it wildly. He smiled devilishly and licked his lips when he saw her face redden and she shut it off. He flipped it back on immediately. “No, no, luv. You wanted to watch it so watch it.”
Buffy made a sound in the back of her throat and yanked the plug out of the wall. It was absolutely mortifying to have such a reaction to a porno film. Especially in front of Spike, who would never let her forget it. He’d tease her about the fact that she had blushed brighter than a neon sign and tell everyone. Gathering her composure, she turned back toward him. “I don’t have to watch a movie about sex. I can have it anytime, whereas you … can’t. You can only see tits on the television.”
“I don’t need to see the porno to look at tits. Look at your nipples, Slayer.” He pointed at the front of her shirt, where he could see both of her hardened nipples brushing under the thin fabric. It delighted him to no end to see her aroused. When they had been ‘engaged’, he had copped several brief feels of her dainty little breasts and enjoyed it immensely. “I guess I’m not the only one who likes movies.”
If it was at all possible, Buffy turned ever redder and slammed her hands against her breasts, cupping them and hiding them from his view. She turned to rush out and ran straight into the door, closing it completely. His laughter was loud as she grabbed the doorknob, yanking it furiously.
There was a sudden snapping sound and she toppled back onto her ass, the doorknob in her hand. Spike glanced over the edge of the tub and smiled down at her. “Congratulations, that has to the most idiotic thing I have ever seen.”
“I hate you.” She sat up slowly and held the broken knob up to the light. It had not just popped out; it was literally broken down the middle. “I don’t think it will go back in.”
“Bloody hell, Slayer. Do you know what this means? You’re stuck in here with me.” Spike kicked the tub and accidentally hit the water faucet, snapping the handle off. It made a strange hissing noise and then began to spew water straight at him. He hacked several times, trying to move his face out of the line of fire. “Fuck! It’s cold! Do something!”
Buffy leapt to her feet and reached into the tub for the handle. She found it submerged in the water, right at his crotch, and tried to fit it back where it went. The water pressure was too powerful though and it forced her to drop the handle several times. Spike watched her with disbelief before he spoke, “You stupid ‘git. Go over there and turn the water off at the sink!”
“Right!” Buffy shouted. She made her way to the sink and glanced at all the pipes and handles under the cabinet. Gripping one of the knobs, she turned as hard as she could. Apparently, she didn’t know her own strength, and the pipe buckled under the pressure and cracked. It was her turn to get soaked as ice cold water shot out, blasting the pipe wide open. “Ack!”
“What in the hell are you doing?” Spike screamed through chattering teeth. “Buffy, you are undoubtedly the biggest mistake ever made in human beings! You can’t do a fucking thing right!”
“What do I do now? And shut the hell up! You think you’re a good vampire? Look at you! Talk about a mistake!” Buffy’s shoes slipped and slid on the smooth linoleum and she backed up toward the tub, trying not to fall.
Spike’s hand shot out when she was close enough to grab and he snatched her into the tub with him, positioning her so that she took the brunt of the water. “I suggest that you unchain me so I can do something since you are apparently too daft.”
“I am not!” Buffy squirmed in his grip, her teeth clanking together as the cold water splashed against her back. “What does daft mean?”
“It means Buffy!” He growled, and shook her several times since he couldn’t hit her because of the chains. “Unchain me before we both die!”
“You can’t drown.” She replied.
“No, but I’m going to kill you, even it kills me, if you don’t let me go right now.”
“I don’t know where the key is!” Shivering, she punched him in the chest and tried to pull free.
“Then you help me bust loose.” He flipped her around, laughing when she took water in the face and forced the chains into her hands. “Pull!”
One hard yank together and the chains broke free. Still cuffed at the wrists, Spike tossed Buffy forward and stood up, dangling what was left of the chains at his sides. Buffy stood as well and punched him in the face. “You bastard.”
Spike snarled at her and massaged his jaw. “What was that for?”
“You’re a bastard.” She shoved him angrily and stepped out of the tub. Already, the floor was inches deep in water and the force with which it was shooting out was making it that much deeper by the minute. “We better do something.”
“I am.” Spike replied, shoving a window open.
Buffy turned and caught him by the seat of his pants, as he was about to wriggle through. “Stop or I’ll stake!”
Rolling his eyes, he turned his body and sat on the small windowsill, glancing back in at her. “If you want to drown then go ahead. I’ll leave you in there. I’m going to go through the front door, find the keys to this bondage and dry off.”
“What about the water?” Buffy cried, as he jumped out the window and landed on his feet.
“Drown. No sense letting it go to waste.” His chuckling disappeared as he rounded the corner of the complex.
Chewing her lower lip, Buffy glanced back at the water and quickly made her way out the window as well. She thumped to the ground, bashing one of her knees on a concrete step, and followed Spike around the building. When she arrived at the front door, she found him standing with his hands on his hips. “Slayer, why is the door locked?”
“Uhm … to keep trash like you out?”
“Trash like me has to be invited in. Now, not only have you destroyed Giles’ s bathroom, you’ve destroyed his front door.”
“Me? How have I-?”
Spike smiled and grabbed her around the neck, causing a searing pain to shoot through his head. Ignoring it, he lifted her off her feet and slammed her into the door as hard as he could several times. Frowning, he noted that the door made a cracking sound but didn’t cave in the way he had hoped, so he dropped her and kicked it himself. “Why can’t you weigh a normal amount. Healthy girls would have busted straight through!”
Buffy was stunned when she picked herself up off the ground. The freezing air forgotten, she launched a kick at his head and connected, sending him flying into one of the flowerbeds that lined the atrium. When he didn’t stand immediately, she went after him and used the front of his shirt to heft him to his feet. Ignoring the string of profanity he was spewing, she positioned him in front of the door, took a step back and slammed into him as hard as she could.
Spike yelped when his body connected so hard against the wooden door he expected to see a perfect indention of himself there. He staggered around for several seconds, clearly addled, before he leaned against the side of the building. “Bloody hell!”
“You want to try anything else? You want to insult me some more?” Buffy asked him, stopping in front of him in a fighter’s stance. “Because I can go all night, believe me.”
“Piss off.” He moaned, clutching his shoulder.
“Fine, Spike. I’ll piss off. I’ll leave you here and then go to town and tell all the little vampires I see just what happened to Spike. I’ll tell them how you can’t eat, you can’t hurt a fly and how you’re chained up with PEOPLE and helping research and-“
“You wouldn’t dare.” He peeled himself off the wall and towered over her, almost nose to nose.
“Or better yet, I’ll call Angel and let him come and see what’s become of his little boy. He’ll enjoy it even more than I do.”
Spike drew back to hit her and then grabbed his head as whatever the soldier boys had done to him kicked in. “I bloody well hate you.”
“I bloody well don’t care.” She mimicked his accent and shivered as a cool breeze assaulted them. “All I care about right now is getting dry clothes and making up a story that puts all the blame on you.”
“I won’t take the blame. I was alone and minding my own business when you came in there to bother me.” Spike tried to make the chains dangling from his wrists fit down into the pockets of his jeans but he had no luck. Sighing, he slumped and held them for her to see. “Can’t you do something? I can’t be seen walking around like this.”
“We’ll hit the sewers. You’re keeping those on because for all intents and purposes, you broke loose, ruined the house and I had to go get you. Boy, is Giles gonna be pissed at you!”
Spike dropped his arms fast, making one of the chains whip around sideways and hit him hard between the legs. His eyes widened and, for a second, no sound escaped his open mouth. Then a low howl began to build and within seconds, it was a scream, a high shrill scream that sounded like a woman.
An opera singing woman.
Buffy clapped a hand over his mouth and tugged him toward the sewer opening in the back of Giles’s yard. “Spike, if we ever needed a siren then we could strap you to the top of the car.”
He didn’t reply.
He was too busy trying to make sure his legs didn’t rub against his balls in any way.
Giles stared at the assortment of jewelry in front of him and bit his lip. He had asked the entire gang to accompany him to select the perfect gift for Buffy, but so far, they were being no help. Willow had been sidetracked looking at Stars of David for her mother and Xander and Anya were kissing in front of the bubble gum dispenser.
The sales clerk watched him intently as he glanced from one velvet case to another. Rolling her eyes, she stared at the clock and said, “Sir, who is the gift for and maybe I can help you decide.”
Giles looked up at her, trying to find a way to describe what Buffy was to him. Certainly, she was his friend. Most definitely was she a loved one and she was absolutely the highlight of his life. “It’s for my daughter.” He replied, deciding that that was how he viewed her and the only way he could explain how perfect the gift had to be.
“How old is she?” The woman softened, despite the late hour and how long the man had been looking at the items they had.
“Eighteen, almost nineteen.” Giles replied, smiling a little. His precious, precious Slayer had lived through all the perils of being the Chosen One, and she was an adult now. “It really needs to be something quite magnificent.”
“How about a bracelet?” The woman led him toward another viewing area and pointed out several charms and gold chains. “Nothing says love like gold. Especially charms and pendants because they can really be personal. Bracelets, necklaces-”
“Right. Right!” Giles glanced at the various items and nodded his head. “You ’re absolutely right. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I’ll take a gold necklace please. Just a plain gold chain, sturdy and not easily tangled, if you please?”
The sales lady shrugged and led him toward the necklaces. “We have a herring bone that won’t break or tangle and the clasp is guaranteed not to come undone easily.”
“That sounds fine.”
“What length?” The woman pulled out several necklaces in various sizes and draped them over her finger.
“Oh good heavens.” Giles glanced around and motioned for Willow, who joined him eagerly. “Willow, would you please try this chain on?”
Willow stood in front of him and let him clasp and unclasp several of the chains around her neck. He decided on one that hung just below her throat, because it wouldn’t be snatched off easily and quickly paid.
“Would you like this gift wrapped?” Asked the woman, closing the box and reaching for paper.
“No, I have a charm to add to it.” Giles shook his head and smiled. The perfect gift had been with him all along.
The sewers reeked and Buffy struggled not to breathe through her nose. Still shivering, she led Spike along, knowing instinctively which way led to Revello Drive. She dreaded the amount of explaining she would have to do when she showed up at her mother’s door with a half-chained Spike and soggy clothing. Sighing, she glanced behind her and said, “Will you keep up?”
Spike was walking slowly and bowlegged, trying not to make the wet fabric of his jeans rub his aching crotch. It already felt like it was bleeding and the friction was making it feel like it was blistering as well. “Will you shut up? You make me wish I was deaf! Hell, you make me wish I was dead.”
“Would killing you make you happy?”
“Yes! Stake me, please?”
“Nope, not a chance. Only if you were cured and enjoying life would I stake you.” She stopped walking and waited for him to catch up, smirking at the way he was walking. “You look ridiculous.”
When he arrived beside her, he stood up tall, trying to appear indifferent. “You always look ridiculous.”
“Spike-“ She began to reply but paused when she heard something at one end of the tunnel. “Shhh, get back behind those pipes.”
Spike nodded and stepped up into a small recess in the wall, then ducked behind some low pipes. He watched her for several seconds and then reached out and grabbed her, pulling her up with him. “You’re not even armed, Slayer.”
“What the hell do you care?” She growled, trying to break loose. His arms around her waist reminded her of how great he kissed and made her remember things she should not be thinking. Like how much she thought about the ‘engagement’ they had and how much she enjoyed his love. Granted, it was fake love but the memory of it made her tingle all over.
“I care because you’re the only person who might be able to help me so you serve at least one purpose. Now be quiet.”
They grew silent as they listened to the approaching footfalls splashing in the water. Whoever it was sounded like they were jogging. Buffy gasped when a military clad man dashed past them and rounded a corner. She glanced at Spike, saw the way he was gritting his teeth and whispered, “We may be close to where they operate from, you know?”
“Yes, I know.” He replied, taking in the small space that offered their only protection. They were completely shielded from the main tunnel, but that did little to reassure him. “I don’t like this. I’d rather go above ground and risk being spotted with you than take my chances with those soldiers again.”
“I’m going to take that as a complement.” Buffy poked her head out scanned the tunnel. “I think it’s safe.”
As soon as she said it, several more voices could be heard and she ducked back in, pressing herself against Spike. Their eyes met and held as the men stopped right beside the opening and began to talk.
“He should have starved by now.” One man said, his voice low and grainy.
“I agree but you heard the boss. She wants to be sure.”
“How can we bring her proof if he’s dead? Don’t vampires dust?”
A third voice replied, “No. Vampires that starve to death don’t combust. They just wither up and dry out. Hostile 17 will look like a mummy by the time we find him.”
“I can’t believe he got away.”
“I can’t believe we’re still looking for him.”
“I can’t believe we’re standing here talking about it when we have direct orders.” The third voice spoke with authority and Buffy cocked her head to one side, trying to remember where she had heard it before.
As the soldiers walked down the tunnel, she became aware of the fact that Spike’s hands were still snug around her waist and his thumbs were trailing small circles under the back of her shirt. She realized that he didn’t even know he was doing it when she saw the look on his face and felt him shudder against her. “Spike?”
“They’re talking about me.” He brought a hand to his head and ran it through his hair. “They’re talking about me like I’m nothing.”
She watched his face for several seconds and whispered, “It’ll be okay.”
Angrily, he slammed his head back against the concrete and squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself not to cry. The only thing that could be worse than being neutered would be to cry in front of the Slayer. Breaking down was a luxury he only afforded himself at night. When he was alone, bound in rusty chains with nothing to do, he wept for what he now was. He wept for the loss of Dru and the loss of what made him complete, his savagery. Silently, he whispered to himself over and over again that things would get better, but he knew he was fooling himself.
It startled Buffy when she glanced up and saw the tear coursing down Spike’s cheek. She gasped, thought about making a joke of it, but wouldn’t let herself when she saw his chin begin to quiver. Reaching a tentative hand upward, she caught the tear before it dripped off his chin and whispered, “Spike?”
“Don’t laugh at me.” He said in a low voice, opening his eyes and staring at her face. Where he had expected to see a large grin, he saw a frown. Where he had expected to see her features contorted with glee, he saw concern and something that resembled compassion.
“I’m not going to laugh at you, Spike. I know what you’re going through. Did I tell you about the time that I lost all my power?” She smiled a little, letting her hand move upward so she could wipe away what was left of the tear. His skin was cool and she pulled his head down. Her need to comfort him surprised her and she kissed him softly on the cheek. “I know how you feel, Spike.”
Spike’s eyes widened as he felt her hot breath against his face. Licking his lips, he caught her mouth in his, pulling her tight against his chest. He felt her tense and was afraid she would pull away, then she sagged against him and returned the kiss. The comfort he sought so desperately was given and he took greedily, hungrily, not caring who she was.
Buffy moaned against his mouth and pulled free, drawing in a ragged breath. When she had kissed his cheek, she had expected that to be the end of it. No part of her expected to want to kiss him as passionately as she had just done. “Spike, I-we-.”
He buried his face in her neck and clung to her. “I know. I just needed-“
“I needed too.” Buffy replied, her arms circling her neck and holding him against her. What she was feeling confused the hell out of. She was going to tell him that she needed –him- when something jolted against her back, stinging her and making her throat feel like it was closing up.
Spike felt her go limp against him and caught her, not letting her fall. Glancing up toward the entrance, he saw two military men holding guns. “No! Buffy! Buffy, get up!”
One man slapped the other on the back of the head, “What the hell did you shoot her for? You know who is going to be madder than hell!”
The other man threw his hands up and said, “Well, how was I supposed to know it was her. Why is she here? I’m not going to be the one to tell him what she was doing.”
“As soon as you tell him that you shot her, he’s going to kill you anyway.”
“Let’s just take get them downstairs. The Professor can decide how to handle the girl.”
Spike lifted Buffy, trying to decide what to do. There was no way he was going to let them kill her. “Let her go. You want me.”
The rays slammed him in the neck, just above Buffy’s head and he slumped forward. He was vaguely aware of the soldiers pulling her out of his arms and then he faded into darkness.
Giles tried to turn the doorknob on his front door and discovered that it was locked. He glanced at Willow and Xander and rapped several times with his knuckles. When no one answered, he dug through his pocket for the keys and unlocked the deadbolt. As soon as he stepped through the door, he knew something was wrong. The floor of his living room was soaked and he shouted, “Buffy?”
Hurrying down the hallway, he tried to open the bathroom door several times and finally slammed against it, knocking it in. He gasped when he saw the water and open window. Turning quickly, he made his way back down the hall, feeling a sense of dread and trying to ignore it. “Xander, call a plumber and stay here to see that he arrives.”
“Where’s Buffy?” Willow cried, stepping on top of the sofa to get out of the cold floor, which had soaked her sneakers.
“She’s gone.” Giles yanked his weapons trunk open and pulled out a crossbow, shoving several wooden bolts and a crucifix into a duffel bag. “And so is Spike.”
“Where are you going?” Anya asked, watching him load the bag. “You’re going to kill Spike? You are going to willingly murder the demon that tapes your shows for you religiously?”
“Only if he gives me a reason to.” Giles replied, and headed for the door. It made no difference to him that Spike had become something other than a nuisance as of late. All that mattered was that he had better find Buffy unscathed and if Spike caused so much as a scrape, he was going to die. Permanently.
Willow grabbed several stakes from the trunk and followed Giles, unwilling to let him hunt alone. “Xander, fix the water. We’ll be back soon.”
“Okay, is it just me or has this night gotten really bad?” Xander leaned down to fish a soggy phone book off the floor and jumped when he felt Anya slide her hands over his back. “What are-?”
“It hasn’t gotten bad. We’re alone and we’ve never done it in the water.”
“Anya, do you have feeling in your feet?”
“Not right now. The water seems to have numbed my feet.”
Xander nodded at her and said, “Right. If the part of my anatomy that ‘does it ’ comes in contact with this water … then I will lose that part of my body.”
“But it will numb it like my feet and you will last longer and therefore, I will get greater satisfaction.” She smiled when she finished, unaware of the fact that she had just insulted him.
“Now the night has gone from really bad … to really, really bad, Anya.”
“Can we still fornicate?”
“I can not believe you would do something so careless!”
Voices that had been altered through a computer greeted Buffy when she slowly regained her senses. Her entire being ached and she tried to bring a hand to her head, but found herself strapped tightly to a stretcher. Three large bands ran across her body, one over her chest, one over her hips and one so tight across her ankles she imagined they were bleeding. Rolling her head to one side, she forced her eyes open and squinted against blinding light. She could just make out a mirror on one wall that ran the entire length of the room. Various tubes had been attached to her body and she pulled against the restraints, listening intently to the conversation that was coming through several ceiling speakers.
“The subject is beginning to come around.” A voice said, sounding robotic and strained. On the other side of the glass, several technicians had been studying Buffy's progress, monitoring her heart rate and giving her oxygen. Microphones lined their workstations so they could speak to the things that usually wound up strapped to the bed. Never had a mortal girl been in the position their current patient was in.
Riley slammed his hand down in front of Forest and spoke angrily. “I’m really fucking surprised, considering that she’s a human being and you jolted her with enough volts to fry someone twice her size!”
“Look, I said I was sorry. It’s not my fault that the girl was necking with Hostile Seventeen. What would you have done?” Forest glanced up at his friend and then across the room at Professor Walsh, who looked away.
“I wouldn’t have shot a civilian. I can tell you that much.” Riley began to pace back and forth in front of the glass, staring at the small blond girl who had piqued his curiosity in more ways than one. He had no idea why she was down in the sewer with a vampire, but he intended to find out. “And besides-“
Buffy tugged harder and grunted loudly, causing the conversation to come to an abrupt halt. The angry voice spoke again, kindly this time, “Miss Summers, don’t struggle and hurt yourself. You aren’t going to be harmed, we just have a few questions for you.”
“How do you know my name?” Buffy stopped struggling and stared at the mirror, cold chills dotting her flesh. Someone had removed her clothing and put her into a hospital gown, but that wasn’t the reason for the chills. Knowing that they knew her name was the cause and she didn’t like it one bit.
Riley put his hands in his pockets and leaned his head against the cool glass. “It is our job to know everyone, ma’am. As soon as you give us some information, the sooner you’ll be out of here.”
“Screw you!” She shouted, twisting and turning, still trying to break the binds. “Where is Spike?”
“Spike?” Riley asked, recognizing the name and narrowing his eyes.
Buffy pulled one of her feet out of the straps and kicked the bed angrily. “Don’t you act like you don’t know. You took him too and this wasn’t the first time. He’s not a hostile seventeen. Whatever that is!”
Riley pulled his hands out of his pockets and shut off the microphones. “She told me a while back that she was marrying someone named Spike. She said it was a joke but-“
“Maybe she’s fried!” Graham pointed out, speaking up for the first time since they had shown Riley what happened to his main squeeze. “Maybe Forest nuked her so much that she’s all burnt in the head and doesn’t know what she ’s talking about.”
Professor Walsh moved across the room and laid a hand on Riley’s arm when he started toward Graham. “Keep her talking so we can assess the damage.”
“She’s not damaged!” Riley said, turning the mics back on. “Miss Summers, can you tell us what you were doing in the sewers?”
“I could, but I won’t.” Buffy shot back, successfully pulling her other leg free.
“Were you harmed in any way by the man you were with?” Riley scratched the side of his face when she began to roll on the bed, wondering at her strength. Surely she hadn’t been turned. “Did anyone check her for bite marks?”
“She was examined.” Walsh said, watching with interest as Buffy wormed her way onto her stomach and started to push against the restraints around her back. “Who secured her?”
“I did.” Forest stood up and stared with wide eyes as Buffy broke the strap over her back and then the one on her ass. “No, I changed my mind. I’m not the one who strapped her down. Someone else did it.”
Riley stared at the boy in disgust and turned back toward the mirror in time to see a chair bounce off the other side. He saw her moving toward a lamp and shouted, "Buffy, calm down!”
“Let me out of here!” She screamed, grabbing a table full of instruments and flinging it against the glass as well. Having seen what the soldiers were capable of, Buffy wanted no part of anything they had to say.
“I’ll get a mask and go in.” Riley shook his head and sighed loudly. “This is ridiculous! Does anyone object to sedation before she gets hurt?” When no one voiced opposition, he shoved a syringe in his pocket and glanced back at Buffy.
“Perhaps you should wear the padding.” Walsh jumped as the stretcher slammed against the wall and moved to the other side of the room. “She’s very aggressive.”
“Look at her.” Riley shouted, pointing at the waif of a girl who was now pounding her fists against the mirror. The ray gun had caused her hair to stand on end and her face was dirty from the sewers and she was still the prettiest girl he had ever seen. “What can she do?”
Buffy narrowed her eyes when she heard someone ask what she could do. “Yeah, you send someone in here and I’ll show you what I can do.”
Riley grabbed a mask out of the supply closet and turned so Forest could secure the straps that prevented it from being pulled off. He paused at the keypad to enter in his code and said, “Miss Summers, I’m going to come inside and give you something to help calm you down. You are not going to be harmed in any way. I promise.”
“You aren’t giving me anything.” Buffy said, when a door opened in the corner and a big man walked into the room. He held his hands up, trying to show that he was unarmed, but Buffy wasn't impressed. “I’m warning you, Mister. If you force me to fight you, then I can guarantee you’ll feel it for weeks.”
Riley smiled underneath the mask, amazed at how courageous she was. When he had first met her, he figured her for nothing more than an airhead, but here she was, standing up to someone twice her size. Carefully and slowly, he pulled the stretcher off the floor and sat it upright. Disguising his voice as best he could, he spoke through the mask, “Please, just get back on the cot and we’ll be finished before you know it.”
Buffy glanced at the open doorway, wondering how many people waited in the other room to intercept her if she ran. The man followed her gaze and changed positions, moving between her and freedom. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “This is kidnapping. You’re holding me hostage and I don’t care who you think you are, you can’t do that.”
“You are not a hostage.”
“Do you electrocute everyone?”
“You weren’t electrocuted.” Riley chuckled and then grew quiet when he saw the fury on her face. “We used a neurological stimulator to shut down your motor functions for a while. That’s all.”
Buffy pointed at her head. “You electrocuted me. Look at my hair.”
“You’re fine. Now, let me help you and we’ll see to it that you’re out of here within the hour.” He hated himself for lying to her and he despised himself for the fact that she would wake up with absolutely no memory of what had happened to her and would forever wonder. It wasn't a simple sedative in the shot he was planning to give her. It was laced with a truth serum.
Swallowing hard, Buffy weighed her options. Taking out the big lug in front of her wouldn’t be too hard. If he was human, and he appeared to be, then she could knock him out quickly. Or, she could beat the hell out of him and use –him- as a hostage to get through the other room. While she was thinking, he pulled the needle from his pocket and stepped toward her. With a small smile, she waited for him to get close enough and punched him in the face.
“Ahh!” Riley’s head rocked back and he tasted blood. He brought his hand to his jaw and shook his head back and forth several times, trying to still the steady aching. Stunned, he stared at her, wondering where she was hiding her muscle.
Buffy decided to make a break for it, figuring she’d cross the next bridge when she got there and darted past him. The man lunged fast, catching her around the waist and she threw her head back, slamming into his jaw again. He dropped her and she spun, a roundhouse kick connecting with his neck. Despite her bare feet, the kick was powerful enough to slam him back against the wall and he wheezed for breath.
On the other side of the glass, Professor Walsh watched in horror. “Boys, mask up and help him.”
Graham and Forest were already pulling masks on as she spoke and quickly rushed into the observation room. Buffy saw them and grabbed the arm of the first man, shoving him into the two oncoming soldiers. They all stumbled and one of them grabbed her gown as she ran toward the door. Bringing her foot back, she caught the man between the legs and threw her arm up just in time to backhand another.
Not concerning herself with the fact that these were human beings, Buffy fought hard, spinning, leaping and kicking her way toward the door. Everytime one of them stood, he found himself back on his ass. She was mere inches away from rushing through the entrance when one of the men grabbed her ankle, tripping her. Gripping his wrist, she slammed his arm across her leg and flinched when the bone snapped through his skin, showering her with blood.
The man screamed and clutched his arm to his chest and Buffy ran through the door. She didn’t take time to notice anyone who stood in the control room. Instead, she made a mad dash for another door and jumped through it just as an alarm sounded. Sprinting down a long hallway, she tried several exits and found them all to be locked. Crying out in anger, she glanced behind her and saw several masked men heading her way. Off to the right, there was a metal staircase that led upward, and to her left there were stairs that led down. She rushed to the ones that led up and took them two at a time.
Three flights later, she shoved open a pair of double doors and gasped. She stood on a balcony that overlooked what had to be the heart of the operation. There were demons all over the place, lying on stretchers, standing behind glass in padded rooms and being led from one place to another. Several large machines blinked different colored lights and men in lab coats rushed back and forth, carrying vials and clipboards.
The doors were shoved open behind her and she saw the same man who had been hiding the syringe barrel through. He stepped toward her, beckoning her to come to him and she glanced around for a way to escape. There were no stairs that led off the platform she was on and she bit her lower lip, trying to decide what to do. It was easily a thirty foot drop over the side and she was barefoot. If she did manage to land in one piece, she’d probably hurt her feet too badly to run. Glancing skyward, she noted several exposed beams and bent at the knees, leaping up and grabbing onto one.
Riley gasped and watched in shock as she made the jump and shimmied her way through the unfinished second story landing. Professor Walsh rushed through the doors and stood beside him, masked and out of breath. “She’s not human, Riley. There’s no way she can be. You saw what she did to Graham and we both just saw that jump.”
“I won’t have her put out of commission until I know that for sure.” Sighing, he took the tranquilizer gun from the woman and aimed.
Buffy saw what the man was doing and let go of the pipe she was holding onto, dropping a few feet to the next one and leaning low. The dart whizzed over her and she called out, “Missed me, G.I. Joe!”
Directly across from her, on the bottom floor, Spike noticed the commotion and followed the gazes of the soldier boys upward. He was stunned when he saw the Slayer, wearing a gown that flashed her panties, climbing over and under beams and cables in the ceiling. Scanning the area, he saw a man aiming a gun at her and went wild, slamming against the Plexiglas that kept him imprisoned.
Several of the military men turned and glared at him but he was unfazed, hell bent on creating enough of a diversion that all the attention would fall on him. He noticed a demon with horns across the room start banging against his own glass. Soon, the loud drumming of the other demons in captivity drowned out his shouts of encouragement for Buffy. One by one, the various demons sprang into action, creating chaos, and Spike stopped, watching the Slayer disappear from view. “Don’t forget me.” He whispered and slumped to the floor.
Riley used the gun’s shoulder strap to fling it over his arm and raced back down the hallway, deciding that Buffy was going to try to work her way to the emergency exit, which would take her directly back to the sewers. He could hear Walsh shouting orders and ignored her, willing to do anything to keep Buffy alive. If that meant breaking code to do it, then he would break code.
As he rounded the corner and used his entrance card on the stairwell, he heard something crash on the other side of the door and knew that she had made it through. Swearing under his breath, he coded his password in and shoved the door open.
Buffy had cut her arm badly when she punched through the thin sheetrock wall. She was crouched down in the corner, trying to assess the damage when the door opened. Shooting to her feet, she stared down the barrel of the gun that was aimed at her heaving chest. A few feet to her left, she could make out a sewer grate and wondered if she was faster than a speeding bullet. Deciding to pull the pathetic victim routine, she forced herself to cry and whispered, “Please? God, it’s Christmas and I don’t want to die. I’m only eighteen and my mom-”
Riley eased his hand off the trigger and lowered his weapon. For the first time during his term with the Initiative, he wanted to reveal himself and screw the system. He could hear several of his comrades shouting and stepped aside, removing the grate. “Go straight through there and you’ll be in the sewers under a club called the Bronze. Keep left and you’ll find a ladder. Get out of here.” Buffy stared at him, trying to decide if he was being serious and he grabbed her arm, “I said go.”
Buffy began to cry for real as she thanked the man and dropped down into the murky water. She watched him reseal the opening and began to run, choking on her sobs as she thought about Spike being left behind and how terrified he must be. She stopped running and leaned against the concrete wall of the tunnel, trying to get her bearings. Blood dripped off her right arm in a steady stream and she knew that the smell would be a magnet for any vampires in the area.
She began walking again and slowly climbed the ladder to freedom. When she stepped out into the alley behind the Bronze, barefoot and shivering, the only thing on her mind was how soon she could get back in and free Spike.
Riley heard the keypad being punched on the other side of the door and pretended to be hurt. Professor Walsh stepped into the room and pulled her mask off. “Where is she?”
“She got away. I was standing here waiting for her and she came through the wall and knocked me out.” Riley pulled his own mask off and wiped the sweat off his forehead. “I don’t know what happened.”
Maggie turned and looked at one of the doctors that had joined the chase, “Did we get a blood sample on this girl?”
“Yes, ma’am. We got a full mark-up on her to check for contamination and sickness.” The man replied, staring at the hole in the wall. “Whatever she is, she’s strong.”
“Good, I want it analyzed thoroughly and I want to know by dawn.” She waited until the doctor had excused himself before she turned back toward Riley. “And I want you to go to the infirmary immediately and see if your nose is broken.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Relieved, Riley ducked out of the room, leaving his supervisor by herself. He didn’t have any answers to the questions that were bound to come. All he wanted to do was get out so he could go find Buffy and see that she was alright.
Professor Walsh ran her fingers over the hole that Buffy had knocked through the wall and glanced toward the sewer. Something wasn’t right. She walked over, tried to lift the grate and confirmed that it had been closed from the inside, the crank turned tight. Riley had not been knocked unconscious, he had allowed the girl to escape.
Confronting him about it was the last thing she wanted to do. There were more important things at the moment, which included evaluating Buffy’s DNA and running tests on Hostile Seventeen. If Graham and Forest had witnessed what they claimed to have seen, then the Hostile would be an essential figure in providing information that tests could not conclude.
Riley could wait and when she had the time, she would let him know just what she thought about the stunt he had pulled. With a sigh, she headed toward the laboratory to put in a request for rapid results. Maggie was looking very forward to discovering exactly what the cute little blond was and how she had been the first to elude her and her crew.
It wasn’t like she didn’t still have the upper hand. Buffy would be reporting to her class after Christmas break and her only son would continue to woo her. Only now, he would have no choice.
They found her walking down the side of the road toward Giles’s house. Willow was the first to spot her and squealed, causing Giles to clutch his chest and slam the brakes. Jumping out of the car, Willow was the first to arrive at Buffy’s side. She took in her friend’s appearance, the gown covered with dried blood and lack of shoes, and said, “Buffy, are you okay?”
Buffy was so cold she could barely move. A light drizzle had been soaking her since she had climbed out of the sewers and it had to be less than forty degrees outside. Her feet felt like they were torn to shreds, something she hadn’t noticed until she stopped walking. “I-I’m okay.”
With the sound of a sputtering engine, Giles succeeded in shutting his car off and rushed around the side, removing his coat. He tossed it around Buffy ’s shoulders and lifted her, motioning for Willow to get into the backseat. Her thighs were like ice against his arms and he could imagine what Buffy’s feet and lower legs must feel like. There was dried mud all over them and her breathing was ragged and forced. “We’ll take her to her mother’s house.”
“Shouldn’t we take her to the hospital?” Willow asked, as she pushed the seat forward and climbed in.
“No.” Buffy shook her head and let go of Giles’ neck as he placed her on the seat. She had seen enough of sterilized rooms and stretchers to last her a lifetime. “No hospitals.”
Giles shut the door and made his way to the driver’s side, his mind racing. He turned the heater on full blast and what little warm air it produced, caused Buffy to moan gratefully. He drove as fast as his car would go and arrived at Joyce’s home in record time. Willow climbed out on his side of the car and rushed to the front door, knocking loudly to wake Joyce.
By the time Giles carried Buffy up onto the porch, Joyce was yanking the door open. She took one look at her daughter and put a hand over her mouth. “Buffy?”
“Willow, go run a warm bath.” Giles entered the house, noting the stake that Joyce was clutching in her hand and nodded his approval. “She’ll be okay, Joyce. She’s just cold.”
Joyce flung the stake onto a letter desk and brushed Buffy’s hair back. “Buffy, what happened, baby?”
Buffy shook her head and whispered, “Later.”
Willow ran the tub the downstairs bathroom full and shouted that it was ready. Giles walked the short distance down the hallway and deposited Buffy in the warm water. The gown billowed over her and Giles excused himself quickly, going through the house to build a fire in the living room.
Joyce watched as Willow began to take charge of the situation with Buffy and followed Giles. “What happened? Why is she wearing a hospital gown?”
“I don’t have any answers right now. The only thing I know for sure is she’s safe.” He stacked the wood in the fireplace and fumbled for a match from the mantle. When the fire was going strong, he replaced the screen and stood, realizing for the first time how shaky his hands were. “She’s safe. She’s fine and she’s safe.”
“Mr. Giles? Rupert?” Joyce watched as he brought a hand up and removed his glasses, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his thumb and finger against them.
“You would think that I would have grown accustomed to this by now. I’ve seen her bleed and bruise and it never gets easier. Actually, to be quite honest, it only gets worse.” He put his glasses back on and glanced at the woman, the mother of his charge. “I’m sorry, I’m sure you know.”
Joyce walked across the room and hugged the man tightly. “We both know.”
Willow held her breath when she rubbed the blood off Buffy’s arm and her friend cried out. “I’m sorry. I just need to see how bad it is.”
“It’s okay, go ahead.” Buffy’s teeth had stopped chattering, but now she was even more uncomfortable. The hot water lapped at her flesh, making it sting all over as the feeling returned. She was aware of every cut and scratch she had and she couldn’t even begin to count how many places she ached. “Is it horrible?”
“No. I don’t think it would have needed stitches.” Willow stood up and dried her hands. “Can you- do you need me to help you bathe?”
Buffy blushed a little and shook her head. “No, thank you. I can get it.”
With a nod, Willow walked out of the bathroom, leaving the door open so she could hear.
Buffy pulled the soaked gown over her arms and squeezed the water out of it as best she could, before she tossed it into the sink across the room. The movement caused her shoulder to protest and she grabbed it, rotating it a little to work the cramp out. Glancing at the water, she wrinkled her nose in disgust. It was a murky brown and when she ran her feet along the bottom she could feel gritty dirt. Pulling the plug, she stood and flipped the shower on, letting the jet stream massage her back.
Standing up, she could feel the small cuts on the soles of her feet and lifted one, turning it inward so she could see. Fresh blood drops welled up and dripped off and she decided to hurry. Shampoo had never smelled better, soap had never felt better as it washed the residue off her mottled skin and she inhaled deeply. As the water rinsed clear, she remembered Spike and leaned her head against the shower stall.
He had kissed her. He had kissed her without being under any kind of spell and she had kissed him back. Spike had been terrified when the army men had gotten close and she had comforted him, telling him she knew how he felt. Something passed between them, a kinship; a new level of respect for one another and she felt it then and now.
Hot tears coursed their way down her cheeks, stinging as the salt mingled with a scrape on her chin. She didn’t care. She deserved the pain for leaving him down there where he was afraid to be. He had told the military men to take him instead, she had heard that much before she lost consciousness, and she hadn’t even tried to find him before she escaped.
She hated herself.
Buffy turned the water off and dried her face with a towel. There was a way out of there so there had to be a way back in. Even if she died trying, she would find that way and get him out.
Spike stood up and glared at the people who were approaching his holding cell. One was a woman with short red hair and she was followed closely by two armed guards and a man with a white coat on. He watched her swipe a card down something beside the door and then it lifted and the woman stepped through. He made a move toward her and the men with guns immediately aimed at him.
Smiling, Professor Walsh said, “Don’t make any sudden movements and you’ll be fine.”
“Oh, you already saw to it that I’m not fine. You people took away my ability to keep myself alive.” Spike snarled, but didn’t snap her neck the way he kept envisioning. Being jolted with whatever was in the guns was not a pleasant experience so he kept a safe amount of distance from the lady.
“Who is the girl we caught you with?” Walsh leaned against the padded wall and nodded at the doctor, who pulled a pen out of his pocket and poised it over a clipboard, ready to write.
“My dinner.” Spike replied quickly. Could it be possible that they didn’t know what the Slayer was?
“You can’t bite anyone, remember?”
“I didn’t say I was going to bite her. Vampires have other needs, not just blood.” A small smile tugged his lips and Spike grabbed his crotch. “You didn’t hurt this ability and it was hungry.”
“We don’t need visuals.” Professor Walsh said with a sigh. “We have reason to believe, based on what this girl told us and your behavior during her escape, that you two know each other.”
“No.” He shrugged and crossed his arm, relishing the fact that the Slayer had gotten away. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“Then you must have made one hell of a first impression because she was very upset that we had taken you.”
That comment made Spike’s eyes widen and he quickly shook it off and tried to appear indifferent. “Well, you took us after I had her all hot and bothered and eating out of my hand. Sexually frustrated women can be really aggressive.”
Walsh moved closer to him, causing the guards to go on instant alert and crowd into the small room. “Your name is Spike, isn’t it?”
Spike didn’t answer her and she was unfazed as she continued, “Well, Spike. I can make things easy for you here or very, very uncomfortable. I think that you have information and I want it.”
“I already told you that she was going to be a lay. Nothing more, nothing less.” Spike stared at the guns again and stuck his chin out defiantly. “I’m not afraid of you.”
Walsh raised her right hand and made a motion with her fingers. One of the soldiers unstrapped a bottle from his belt and handed it to her. “I don’t want you to fear me, but you will learn to fear my techniques.”
Spike ducked as she took aim and sprayed. The Holy Water soaked the back of his shirt and he howled, ripping it off. He made a dive for the woman and she sprayed again, covering his chest. Smoke poured off his skin, making him shout and he retreated to one of the corners. “Please-“
Walsh handed the spray back to it’s owner and put her hands in her pockets. “Like I said, I can make it very uncomfortable for you here. With that fact laid out on the table, I’m going to leave you alone to think about it. You will tell us what we want to know. It’s up to you to decide how much damage it will take to get us there.”
Spike turned his back to her and faced the wall, not saying a word. It was going to take a lot more than a dash of Holy Water to make him tell all. The Slayer was the only hope he had of getting out and if what the woman said was true, if she had been upset that they had taken him, then there was a chance she really would do something to help him.
After all, she had kissed him back.
Riley was pulling his shirt back on when his mother opened the door of the infirmary and walked in. She stared at him for several seconds and then tilted his head back so she could see the shape he was in for herself. Both of his eyes were black and the side of his jaw had a large bruise on it. “Is anything broken?”
“Nah.” Riley shook his head and buttoned the last button. “Doc said there may be a hairline fracture in my jaw but it’s not showing up on X-ray if there is.”
“Did he give you pain medicine?” Maggie grimaced when he stood up and groaned a little. “Riley?”
“I’ll be fine, Mom. He gave me a shot though and I’m tired. I’m going to go home and go to bed.” Riley said, hoping she would accept it and let him leave. He was actually planning to go see Buffy even though she might put two and two together when she saw his bruised face.
“You can sleep on the plane.” Maggie replied, her eyes locking on his. She had decided that he needed to be removed for his own well-being. “I’ve already made your reservations and your grandmother will be picking you up when you arrive.”
“What?” Riley had been about to pull his coat on when she spoke and he paused. “I have responsibilities here. I can’t just leave.”
“Christmas break started yesterday and we were planning on going next week anyway. You know protocol, Riley. If you become too involved I have to pull you out.”
“I’m not too involved.” Riley spat out furiously, shoving his arms through his sleeves.
“Really? Since you aren’t involved, maybe you could explain how the sewer entrance was sealed tightly from the inside then. How did that girl manage to close it back up?”
He knew he was caught and glanced at the floor. “She begged me. She thought I was going to kill her.”
“Maybe you should have. Whatever she is, she’s a threat and you let her get away.”
Shaking his head, Riley walked around her and put his hand on the door. “I didn’t let her get away. She was as good as gone the minute she got out of the observatory. Whatever she is … she’s powerful and that scares you.”
“You’re damn right it does. She knows about us now and not only that, we don ’t know what she’s capable of.” Maggie leaned a hip against a stainless steel table and pointed at the phone. “I trust you will call me when you arrive at the farm and let me know you made it there safely.”
“And I trust that you won’t hurt her just because she’s a mystery. Maybe there’s nothing more to her than martial arts training and a will to live.”
“She won’t be a mystery much longer. By the time you land in Iowa, I’ll know every genetic detail about her and will proceed accordingly.” Maggie watched him open the door and said, “Son?”
“I know how you feel. It hurts when you care about someone and discover that they aren’t what they seem, but we have a responsibility and that comes first.” She crossed the short distance and gave him a quick hug. “It will be fine, you’ll see.”
Riley accepted her random display of emotion and gave her a small squeeze back. He couldn’t remember the last time she had hugged him and it was awkward. She pulled back and smiled and he nodded at her. “I’ll call you.”
Walsh watched him leave and picked up the phone, “Grant? Riley is going to be leaving the building. I want you to see to it that he packs a bag and goes to the airport. He’ll be leaving on flight 302 to Des Moines at four am. Yes, Graham appears to be fine. I know. Thank you.”
/// Spike lifted a rose from a pile beside the cool metal table she was lying on and sat next to her, trailing the dark red bud between her bare breasts. Buffy sighed and opened her eyes, smiling up at him. “What a way to wake up.”
Peeling off one of the petals, he dropped it onto her lower stomach and said, “The roses are days. The petals are the hours and the thorns are the pain.”
Buffy winced when Spike brought the stem across her abdomen and a thick thorn pricked her just below the belly button. A drop of blood formed and she watched him lick his lips and lean down, gently flicking the blood away with his tongue. He fastened his lips over the puncture wound and sucked hard, making Buffy cry out. Grinning, he sat up and stared at her. “Sorry, luv. I am what I am.”
Buffy sat up as well, not caring that she was naked, and pulled his mouth to hers. Their tongues met halfway, dancing against each other as she moved across his lap, straddling him. She could feel his cool fingertips sliding down her spine and she sagged against him, breaking the kiss. “I want-“
“Count the roses, Slayer.” Spike buried his face in her neck as she stared at the flowers, silently counting.
“There are a dozen.” She smiled and turned back toward him. “I counted the roses. Do I get a reward?”
“The roses are days. I have twelve days left.” He lifted the rose in his hand and ran it over her cheek, caressing her flesh with it’s silky softness. “Goodnight.”
She closed her eyes and felt him shift and lie her back on the hard metal. When she opened them again he leaned down and brushed his lips across her temple. “Spike, please don’t leave.”
“Shhh.” He pressed a finger to her lips and lowered his head to her breast, pulling her small nipple into his mouth. “Twelve days.”
“No, Spike-“ Opening her eyes, she reached for him, only to see him vanish right before her eyes.
As quickly as he was gone, she suddenly found herself pinned down to the slab she was on by several military men. One shoved a large needle in her arm and she screamed as loud as she could when she saw him start an embalming machine. Her body twisted and turned as the vile mixture shot through her veins, burning her from the inside out. “No, please!”
Buffy screamed and sat up quickly in her bed, blinking her eyes several times. The clock on her night table read eleven-thirty three and she glanced at the window, noting the fact that the sun was peeking through her closed curtains. “Some dream.”
She started to pull herself out of the bed when the phone rang. Thinking her mother would get it, she ignored it, letting her mind play back the previous night. On the fifth ring, she rolled and snatched the phone up. “Hello?”
“Buffy?” Riley glanced into the back yard of his grandparent’s house, reassuring himself that they were still gone to the market. It was such a relief to hear her and hear that she was still breathing, if she breathed. No telling what she did or what she was. “It’s Riley.”
“Hi.” Buffy replied, changing ears with the receiver. She moved too quickly and caused a sharp pain to move through her arm and groaned.
He heard her and said, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just uhm … got a pretty bad cut last night, actually. It’s a long story.” It dawned on her suddenly that Riley didn’t know her home telephone number. He only knew her dorm number. “Hey, how did you find me?”
Riley glanced at the student file he had stolen from Walsh’s file cabinet and took a deep breath. “Oh, I asked around because I knew you’d be going home for the holidays and did you just say you’re injured?”
“No, not really. I’m fine.” Buffy glanced at her arm, wondering what he would say when he saw it. Deciding to avoid him at all costs, she added, “Are you going to be around today?”
“Actually, no. I’m in Iowa as we speak. I just got here about an hour ago.” Riley heard a car coming up the gravel driveway and glanced out the back door. His grandparents had arrived with the tree and he knew that anything he did would get back to his mother.
“Awww, I didn’t get a chance to tell you bye or anything.” She replied, trying to sound like she was really interested in saying hello or good-bye to him. All she could think about was Spike and the dream she had just had. Twelve days. Twelve days until what?
“I’ll be back soon. You take care of yourself, okay? Be careful.”
“I will. Merry early Christmas, Riley.” Buffy said in a small voice. “Have fun with your family.”
“You too.” He hung up and stood, quickly shoving his arms through the sleeves of his coat. There was no way he was going to have a good time when all he could think about was her.
And what his ‘family’ had in store for her
The Story Continues...