DISCLAIMER: Everything but the plot is Joss'. Well, the baddies are mine. OK, Cortina’s mine, too. But everything else really is his. Too bad.
SUMMARY: Giles has killed Celie after her attack on Cortina, and---surprise, surprise---Buffy and Spike are still on the plane on their way to Daymon’s home in Greece.

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Chapter 32: Best Laid Plans

The hold looked like it had been hit by a cyclone. Empty boxes and crates were stacked against the walls, with their contents strewn about the room---bags of fruit, packets of blood, blankets, clothes---while a pile of discarded cargo straps sat near the space’s only exit. Buffy and Spike stood back, her arms folded across her chest, his arms wrapped around her, both of them surveying the mess.

“Well,” the Slayer announced, “that’s what we got.”

“So what you’re saying is, weapon-wise, we got squat.”

“Yep,” Buffy nodded. “Just this side of diddly.”

Almost twenty hours in the plane had brought next to nothing in the way of ideas for a clever escape. Every time one of the pair came up with a scheme, it invariably got shot down with the caveat that both were convinced was going to be their downfall---by the time they landed in Greece, it would be nine or ten in the morning, and unless there was some minor miracle, the sun would be blazing, limiting Spike’s mobility outside of the aircraft.

He was blaming himself for their difficulty in settling on a feasible solution. To be honest, the vamp wasn’t worried about their lack of formal weaponry; he’d seen the Slayer in action often enough to know that you could put a pickle in her hand, and she’d still find a way to use it against an opponent. And they definitely had better possibilities than pickles, he thought wryly. No, what was disturbing him was how much he was holding her back. She wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for you, Spike scolded himself. Shit, she wouldn’t even be on the plane if Daymon hadn’t used you as bait. He didn’t like being responsible for this, for knowing that by all rights the Greek should’ve been dead already, that he was the reason they were stuck here, but he was keeping those thoughts to himself, holding them away from Buffy so that she could more rightly concentrate on their task at hand.

The Slayer turned around in his arms, lifting her own so that they rested on his shoulders, and smiled. “It looks like all we have to do now is wait. Whatever are we going to do to pass the time?”

His own lips curled into a knowing grin. “And here I thought us vamps were the ones with insatiable appetites.”

“Don’t you want to---ow!” She cut herself off and pulled away, her fingers going to her left ear.

“What is it? What’s wrong?

Buffy scowled. “My ear just popped. God, I hate flying.” She was about to return to his embrace and had made it halfway there, when she froze, hazel eyes lifting to meet his blue ones. The change in air pressure could only mean one thing, and both of them knew it; the plane was beginning its descent.

“You ready for this?” the young woman asked.

Spike smirked. “You ever see me turn down a good fight?” he responded.

Opening her mouth to give him his appropriate comeback, Buffy stopped when an audible scraping sound came from behind the exit. She turned her head, Slayer senses suddenly on alert, and set her jaw. “Sounds like showtime,” she said.

She was already moving by the time the door swung open, leaving Spike in plain sight of the new arrivals, a huge grin on his face. “Didn’t know you were stoppin’ by,” the vampire said nonchalantly as two of Daymon’s men crept in, crossbows cocked and ready. “Too bad you won’t be stayin’.”

He watched as Buffy leapt at them, lethal grace in mid-air, tackling both in one blow and sending them sprawling before rolling herself to safety. One had dropped his weapon as he fell, and the Slayer had snatched it up, steadying it in her arms and aiming it at them, before either had a chance to react.

“Is it too much of a cliché to say, drop it or I’ll shoot?” Buffy asked the one who was still armed. “’Cause I’m thinkin’…drop it, or I’ll shoot you.”

The man hesitated, the crossbow dangling from his hands as he struggled to regain his composure, his eyes darting from Buffy’s annoyed face…to the weapon in her arms…back to her face. After only a moment, he opened his fingers and let it clatter to the floor.

“Tie them up, Spike.” Buffy stood back, watching as the blond vampire grabbed them by their shirts and hauled them back against the wall, picking up a couple cargo straps on his way. “You know,” she continued lightly, “maybe I’m giving Daymon too much credit here. I mean, he really can’t hire for shit, ‘cause these guys are just pathetic. And that guard back at the house? One hit, and he was out colder than a dead fish.”

Neither of them noticed the shadow in the doorway, nor the shiny muzzle glinting in the dim light in the hold. It was only when she felt the sharp prick in her shoulder blade did the Slayer whirl around, crossbow raised and ready. “What the hell?” she said, reaching around her body with her left hand, clutching the small dart she found embedded there, before staring at it incredulously. She tossed it at the third man. “I am so not in the mood for…” Her voice faded away as the room darkened…dipped…swirled around her…

Spike’s head swiveled just in time to see the young woman crumple to the floor, eyes rolling back into her head, lashes fluttering. “Buffy!” he called, and jumped to his feet. His switch into game face was automatic, and he turned glittering golden eyes toward the door. Bugger the pain, he thought, and leapt at the man in the entrance.

Even though he’d been advised that the vampire couldn’t actually hurt him, the guard’s eyes went wide, and his finger squeezed reflexively on the trigger of the tranquilizer gun, once…twice…both times finding its target, but not slowing the demon’s advance. They went over in a tumble, and Spike snarled as the pain shot through his head. Don’t care, he thought wildly. Not after what he did to Buffy…

The last word floated away on a black cloud as the darts took effect, stealing into his system, and sending him downward into a spiral of nothingness…

*************

The sun blazed over them, its gentle heat belying the brilliant radiance that made the group squint as they gazed out over the azure waters. Dolly had been true to her word, teleporting the five of them, along with the Hound, to Cape Tainaron, and leaving Willow the means to contact her again once they had rescued Buffy. Those were the words she’d used, never admitting the possibility that they might fail, and the Scoobies were desperately holding on to that optimism. They didn’t want to think about what could happen, should they not succeed; the threat of a demon Slayer was not something they exactly relished and none of them wanted to even consider the prospect of having to kill their close friend. Better to stay positive and contemplate the fight that they soon expected right at their feet.

“Now, we’re sure this is the right dock?” Xander asked for the millionth time.

Giles sighed. “I’m not going to say this again. Everyone I spoke to in the town agrees that when Daymon flies in, he always comes in at this dock. The dockmaster even said there’s a scheduled arrival this morning, so yes, Xander, this is precisely where we need to be.”

“And you tipped him enough so that he’s not going to lie to you, right?” the young man continued. “You didn’t screw up the money conversion thing and accidentally insult him by giving him ten cents instead of ten bucks, did you?”

“No, I bloody well did not,” the Watcher replied through gritted teeth. “And if you ask one more inane question, I’m going to instruct Willow to give you to Elvis as his mid-morning snack.”

Xander held up his hands in mock defense. “Hey, just want to be clear here,” he said. “I mean, we’re basing this whole dock theory on a crazy witch who no longer happens to be around to verify any of this. You can’t blame me for being a little worried we might mess this up.”

“You don’t think D-d-daymon did the ritual on the plane, do you?” asked Tara, hoping the change of topic would stop the two men from squabbling.

“That’s highly unlikely,” Giles replied, grateful for the diversion. “There seems to be too much significance in the fact that his property houses the mythological cave of Taenarum. It must have some mystical draw to it, or perhaps a confluence of energies that allows more demon activity than normal. Regardless, he seemed much too eager to bring Buffy back here if he was merely going to perform the cleansing on the journey.”

“You know, I was thinking about the prophecy,” Willow chimed in, her voice thoughtful. “And I’m not one hundred percent sure we’re in any actual danger anymore.”

“Oh, really?” asked Xander. “And which part of ‘those she loves will burn’ isn’t dangerous?”

“Look at it this way,” the redheaded witch continued. “Buffy loves Spike---.” She rolled her eyes when she saw both men visibly cringe at the words. “Get over it, guys. I’ll say it again. Buffy. Loves. Spike. Spike’s a vampire. And what do vampires do when they get in direct sunlight?”

“They burn,” answered Tara, her blue eyes wide. “Wow, I totally didn’t see that.”

“Is anyone else thinking that we’re spending way too much trying to decipher this stupid prophecy?” Anya interjected. “’Cause all these interpretations are only giving me a headache and not doing us any good in finding Buffy.”

“We know where Buffy is, Ahn,” Xander said, patting her on the shoulder reassuringly. “On a pl---.” He didn’t finish the word as a distant thrum in the air caught his attention, raising his eyes to the sky. Shielding his gaze from the sun by placing his hand over his brow, the young construction worker frowned as he saw the lumbering form of an airplane appear from behind a cloud, headed into a descent toward the mainland. “Uh, Giles?” he asked. “I thought Celie said this place had too many mountains for someone to land a plane.”

The Watcher mirrored Xander’s movements and together they watched the craft zoom overhead. “Damn,” he muttered, before turning and sprinting toward the dockmaster’s office. The group watched as he began arguing with the swarthy man, his words unintelligible but his intent more than clear. The Englishman’s face grew darker and darker, and the girls’ eyes widened as Giles grabbed the other by the shirt collar, pulling him within inches of his face, his voice suddenly a low rumble in the distance. It was all they could do not to cower when he came rushing back, having thrown the Greek against the wall. “Follow me,” he ordered, his words tight and crisp.

Clambering to their feet, the young people scurried after Giles as he hurried over to the parking lot, scanning the few cars there before settling on a truck parked nearest to the water. “What is it?” asked Willow. “What did he say?”

“He said,” the Watcher said as he yanked open the driver-side door, “Daymon’s arrival had just been cancelled because they were flying directly to his home instead.”

“Is that it?” an impatient Xander pushed. “He didn’t say anything else?”

His blue eyes were livid behind his spectacles. “I believe the last thing he said was ‘ow’.” His head disappeared under the dashboard and the group heard the distinct sound of wires being ripped out.

“Giles? Do we want to know what you’re doing?” Anya questioned.

“I’m…hotwiring…this car,” came the older man’s muffled voice

“You know how to d-d-do that?” asked a flabbergasted Tara.

On the heels of her question, the truck roared into life, and Giles sat back up. He looked out the window, his eyes now calm, but even more dangerous. “I know lots of things,” he said. “Now get in.”

*************

As he returned the headset to its base, the wiry Greek leaned back into his seat, rubbing tiredly at his eyes. “You ever landed on this strip before?” he asked his co-pilot.

“Nope,” came the response. “It wasn’t even there last time I was here.”

“He said he had it built specially for this trip,” said the first. “Must have something to do with the American girl and her boyfriend.”

The co-pilot looked at him steadily. “Don’t be thinking of asking any questions,” he warned. “This guy is not someone you want to be messing with. Likes his privacy and wants to keep it that way. Private, I mean.”

“I know, I know.” And he did, even if he didn’t like it. He wasn’t fond of passengers dictating the flight plans, especially when they changed them in mid-stream, and he really wasn’t fond of landing aircrafts on unknown runways in the middle of the mountains. Anything could happen.

“We’ll be all right,” the co-pilot added, as if he’d heard his partner’s internal doubts. “The master wouldn’t be willing to risk losing his cargo on something as foolish as poor planning. And that holds true for the strip as well. I’m sure it’s fine.”

I hope you’re right, the first Greek thought, and gently, he maneuvered the plane downward.

*************

Velvety oblivion surrounded his being, his eyes blind, his limbs unable to move, and Spike wondered for a moment if he’d finally been staked and this was what true death was really like. Then, their voices filtered through the fog in his head, their words indecipherable, their numbers unknown, and he knew…remembered…and raged at his own impotence. Somehow, in spite of his determination, in spite of the heads-up, in spite of everything, they’d beaten him again, stopping him with something as simple as a tranquilizer dart, and he hated himself for it. Hadn’t he learned his lesson after the Initiative? Wasn’t he smart enough to know better than that? Especially since he saw Buffy go down by exactly the same thing?

Whatever they’d used, it was powerful stuff, ‘cause he bloody well couldn’t move. The vamp didn’t even have a clue as to how much time had passed. For all he knew, the ritual was already over and the Slayer was now either dead or some snake demon. The brief wonder about what it would be like to shag her in that particular form flittered across his brain, but he quickly shoved it aside. No. Not his Buffy. Wasn’t going to happen. Not while he could still walk and talk and fight.

But the thing of it was…he couldn’t do any of those things. It was impossible for him to tell if he was bound or if this was merely an effect of the drug in his system, but either way, Spike was completely immobile and ignorant of where exactly he was. And why the hell am I still alive anyway? he thought irritably. I’ve got no purpose in this whole mess now that that bastard already has Buffy. Why keep my undead ass around?

The questions eddied, bouncing around his skull like mortar, destroying what little control he had left until he felt like roaring out his frustrations for all to hear. If---no, when---he got out of this, nobody was going to be safe, he vowed. If he had to have his head explode, he was going to make sure that each and every one of Daymon’s men paid for their involvement in this little escapade, but more importantly, Spike was going to ensure that the demon himself would hurt in ways that he had never hurt before. His mental chuckle was sadistic. If anything happened to her, his Slayer would most definitely be avenged…in oceans of blood…


To be continued in Chapter Thirty-Three: Bound