Title: Of Hunters and their Prey (4/?)
Disclaimer/Summary: see Part 1
Thank you to my Betas MJ and RHR. Any remaining mistakes are my own.
Thank yous for the chapter title goes to MJ.
4. Cowboys n’ injuns
They needed another half hour until all the affronted parties were calmed down again and Hammond could speak without screaming: “Gentlemen… and Miss. We need to discuss how these two people got here. Anyone have any ideas?”
“Magic” was followed by “Asgards”, “The Powers”, “Demons”, “Ethan Rayne” and “Gate malfunction” as the discussion continued. Any proposition was met by an outcry of indignation: “Magic?! What are you, six?! Magic doesn’t exist!”
“Sure magic exists!”
“Asads? Is that a type of demons? Spike, have you ever met them?”
“Asgards! It’s Asgards, and it’s classified. And I have to say: first magic, now demons! What asylum did you two lunatics escape from?!”
“Hey, no fucking Powers are making my decisions for me! My life is mine! There’s nobody other than me deciding about it!”
“Yeah, but only because you aren’t important to the Powers! Me, I’m important! I died saving the world and got resurrected!”
“And? Danny does that every few months!”
“Rayne? Who is he?”
“Chaos mage with a twisted sense of humour.”
“Did you say that thing in the room is a gate?! Where does it lead to? Does it work with magic?”
“Ha, magic, NO WAY!!! And it’s classified too.”
“With you everything is classified! Sodding military!”
Finally they had to agree to disagree about the existence of magic and the Powers and had to admit that they had too little information to come to a satisfying conclusion. Only the exhibition Spike put on, convinced the team to accept the existence of vampires and demons at least. After a pause Spike presented a proposition: “Maybe we could ask the Oracles, if they know anything. I think anyway, that the Powers did it.”
“Yeah,” answered Xander “We could ask them but the Powers don’t usually do the transporting. They just send a messenger and order you around. The Buffster told us about this guy they send to her. Whips, Whiffy, Whisky, Whisker... Whistler, the guy’s name was Whistler!”
“I think m’ Sire knows the guy too. But shouldn’t they have already sent someone if it was them?” asked Spike.
Xander shrugged with his shoulders. “No idea. I’m no Champion. But I’m needed in LA anyway, so I have to go back soon. I can ask Angel to talk to them. Spike, you coming with me or do you want to stay here till we know anything?”
“Need to ask Georgie first if we are allowed to go, whelp.” Spike answered.
“I see no problem with it but you to have to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Afterwards we can get you on a plane if you want.” The General answered. “Spike, I know it doesn’t mean anything to you but please honour the agreement in remembrance of our friendship.”
“Ehm, about that, where do you two know each other from?” a curious Jack O’Neill and Xander Harris asked in union.
Hammond and Spike got a reminiscent look on their faces as they thought back to their first meeting.
Flashback, first part (Hammond’s view)
Four year old George Hammond – five in two weeks - was bored. Really bored. He sat on the table in the city hall, swinging his legs back and forth and watched the grownups talking, drinking and dancing. Originally, he was gonna stay at home but his babysitter had broken her foot and his parents weren’t able to get a substitute with such a short notice. Because his mom was one of the organizers not going wasn’t an option. Both his parents had looked forward to the fundraiser for months and thought it wouldn’t be a problem to take their son with them. Not to forget that his mom would never let her two men alone at home again after the incident with the banana, the chocolate, the milk and the washing powder. They didn’t tell her about the dog, the cat and the horse but afterwards the kitchen needed a completely renovation.
So now he was here. The only child under twelve years, with nothing to do and no-one to play with. His parents were on the dance floor and had begged the elderly couple at their table to look out for him while they danced for a bit. George had nothing against them. They were nice and had played “I spy” with him. But now they were talking with friends and he had sat at the table such a looong time. There just had to be something more fun he could do. Slowly he slid from his chair and ducked under table. From there he looked cautiously around the room planning his next step, hidden by the long tablecloth. If he planned it right, he could get across the room unnoticed and hide in the shadows. From there he wouldn’t have any problem getting to the door and out exploring. His daddy loved to tell him stories about cowboys and Indians and also stories about spies. When his daddy took time off from working on their ranch and played with George he had taught him how to stalk and pounce on the ‘enemy’ known as mom. So now he knew what to do. It would be reeeal easy! He just pretended he was a scout for the army and had to re…. recon… Reconnoitre! enemy territory.
One glance assured him that his sitters were still occupied, so he careful risked the first few steps. When no-one took notice of him he ran as fast as he could to his first target and hid. After reassuring himself again that there was nobody watching him, George followed the wall till he reached the doors and could get out. Freedom, yeah!!! A bit undecided he stood in the hallway. Now that he had escaped from the ball room he wasn’t sure where to go. On one hand he wanted to explore but on the other most of the building lay in darkness and he sooo didn’t like the dark. There were monsters in there! Weighing his options George decided to follow the lit hallway till he came to the coat-check room. The door stood open and the room’s lights were on. He risked a quick glance around the corner. Nobody there – perfect!
The room itself wasn’t that exciting. George had wanted more of an adventure. But there were several knick-knacks spread around it. So he ‘admired’ Miss March’s award-winning quilt, Misters Smith’s photos of their town and several pictures painted by adult and child residents, one from George himself. Best was he could sit in the winning vehicle of the last soapbox derby and make car-noises. He would so love to take part in the yearly event but his mom had forbidden it. She had told him he was still too small! Just because he was smaller then most children his age didn’t mean he couldn’t do stuff! Taking part in the derby one of them! Hmpf! His momma was sooo anxious! He was a big boy, not a baby!!!
Voices coming nearer had George looking for a hiding-place. The clothes rack seemed perfect. It was much too early to get caught. He hadn’t finished exploring. The ‘enemy’ must not find him and hiding behind the jackets and coats was his best chance. Now he just had to pretend to be a mouse. No, not a mouse! Mice were sooo small! He just imagined he had to sneak in the enemy’s camp to free his comrades. He had to wait until the enemy passed by and he had to be reeeally quiet, so they didn’t hear him.
Flashback, second part (Spike’s view)
Spike had no idea what he was doing in this godforsaken town. He was looking for Drusilla who had vanished again ten nights ago. A demon told him she had been seen in this area before Spike killed him. His first impression of the improbability of the assertion, why should she go to no man’s land in Texas for fuck’s sake, had proved well-founded. They usually avoided small towns because the people there were wary of strangers. Vampires much preferred the anonymity of big cities. So it didn’t make any sense that she would have come here. But with his Princess you never knew, she wasn’t one for sense. So he followed this tip too after all his other leads didn’t pan out. Problem was, the car he had stolen had broken down two miles back. He had hidden till sunset and then had walked to the next town in hope of finding a new vehicle and maybe a meal.
You could only say one thing about this dump: It was bloody small. And apparently every resident was assembled at the city hall according to the flyer he had found. That meant he had a choice of cars but no one to nibble on. But let it not be said that he wasn’t an optimist. Maybe there would be some couples or smokers outside. Unlikely because it was a very cold night but hey, stupid people existed for a reason…
City hall wasn’t hard to miss. It was brightly illuminated. Spike took the open doors as invitation and entered the building. He followed the hallway till he was distracted by a noise. “Brm, brm, brmmm, brmmm, brm, tuuuut.” A boy. Any decisions he could make were disrupted by nearing voices. Thinking it better not to be seen he rounded the corner in a dark hallway and waited. Seemed that the child didn’t want to be found either. The vampire was amused to hear him whisper: “I’m a mouse, I’m a mouse. No, not a mouse, too small. I’m a big boy! I’m a… I’m a scout. I will rescue the prisoners from the enemy. Yes, I’m the scout. Pst, need to be reeeally quit. Maybe I could be invisible too? Ssh, don’t talk. The enemy is here. Ssh.”
After the couple had disappeared again, Spike walked to the room the child was in. Slightly curious now, he looked around the corner. The little bugger had found a good hidey hole. Nothing was able to be seen but the vampire could hear him muttering “Be quiet scout or the enemy will hear you. Need to wait a bit till coast is clear.”
“It’s a little too late, pup.” Spike gave his opinion. “Come on out.”
“I’m not a pup. Doggies are pups. Me, I’m a boy.” The child answered, only letting part of his face be visible. “Who are you?”
“Name’s Spike. What are you doing alone out here?”
“It was boring in there. Mummy and Daddy are dancing. I wanted to do something fun too.”
“So, you went to play in the coat-check room? Doesn’t sound like fun to me.”
“I was exploring. And it’s fun. I play it a lot with my dog.”
“If you say so. Won’t your parents looking for you? You should go back in. Little buggers like you get lost easily.”
“But it’s boring in there. My friends are all at home and my mommy and my daddy want to dance.”
“And you, why don’t you dance with them?”
“You’re silly. They want to dance together because they are in looove. Miss Ems said so. She said I should let them dance alone.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t dance with them later. What’s your name?”
“George Hammond. I’m four but in two weeks is my birthday. Then I’m this much.” Proud the boy showed the five fingers of his hand to Spike.
The vampire was amused. “So, you’re a big boy. What would you say we go in and show them how to dance?”
“You’ll dance with me?! Neat!” Excited the pup jumped out of his hiding place. “I love to dance. I dance with my mom in the kitchen everyday!”
The two got back in the dance hall and were met by frantic parents. “Where were you, Georgie? We were looking for you. You can’t just disappear. We were afraid something had happened!”
“I didn’t disappear. I went exploring. And then I needed to rescue my comrades, and then I was discovered. But that wasn’t so bad. Spike will dance with me, so I’m not bored anymore. And Miss Ems said you need to dance alone because you’re in love and don’t need me for dancing. And first I played with Mr and Mrs Spencer ‘I spy’ but then they talked with friends and I got bored…”
“Georgie… Georgie! You can dance with us every time you want. We love to dance with you. Okay?” told the woman to her son. ”Now, how about you introduce your friend to us.”
“That’s Spike. He promised to dance with me, so I’m not bored anymore. And I’m George. Georgie is for babies and you have said I’m a big boy now.”
“Yes, I will remember it but you will be my baby forever and ever.”
“Mooom!” George’s tortured wail interrupted his mom.
“My name is Louisa Hammond. That’s my husband Nathaniel. We’re really thankful you brought him back. Some days it’s really difficult to keep track of the little whirlwind.” His mom continued unstoppable.
“My pleasure. I’m William Pratt” Spike answered.
“But you said your name is Spike. Are you a liar?” the pup threw in a hurt interjection.
“Spike’s a nickname. Like your mom calling you Georgie and I bet she calls your dad Nate.”
George looked happy again, so Spike continued to speak to the parents. “I was stoppin’ to get something to eat, but it seems whole town is at this party here. Do you know anything that still is open so I could get a bite?”
“He can eat here, can’t he? He still has to dance with me!” George spoke at the same time as his mom.
“You can eat here. There’s more than enough and you won’t find anything open.”
“If it doesn’t cause any problems, I would love to accept.” Damn, that was exactly what shouldn’t have happened. Too much attention and his only way out was to accept the invitation. Drusilla would have killed the boy as soon as she saw him, but Spike never liked to kill children. They weren’t really a challenge and not enough blood to be sated. He liked his meal to be more of a challenge, so adults were more his style. Preferably bad guys, so he also got a spot of violence in at the same time. Problem was the little guy had reminded Spike of his little brother. Emmett died when he was six years old, of influenza. He also had an active imagination and loved to play fantasy games, exactly like George. Some days Spike still missed him. The boy’s commentary had woken a memory so strong he just had to see what the child was doing. Spike also hadn’t planned on bringing the boy back to his parents and promising him a dance.
The parents wanted to lead Spike to their table but George insisted they dance first. He whined till his parents gave in after being assured that he did not mind dancing first. Spike lifted George up and settled the little boy on his hip. He took one of the boy’s hands and they started to waltz around the dance floor skilful avoiding the other dancers and doing as many whirls as possible. Good thing vampires didn’t get dizzy easily. George liked it too. He was laughing and exulting and spurred Spike on to whirl faster and faster. Spike ate something, danced three more times with George and once with his mom. Then he took his leave. He had stolen one of the cars on the street and had continued to search for Drusilla.
One and a half years later when Drusilla had left again but this time told him where she was off to, Spike got bored and returned to the town. He had gotten the Hammond’s address without any problems and the following night he visited the boy, knocking on his window and waking him up. George had recognized him immediately. They had talked half the night away and the boy told Spike his dreams of being a soldier like his uncle. Spike could never remember why but during that night he told George also about him being a vampire and the true nightlife. George and he had a fun time. Their only difficulties were created by Spike’s insistence on calling the boy ‘Georgie’. Spike stayed two more nights and then went after Drusilla.
They met again several times afterwards. When the boy grew up and got his own apartment with a telephone they occasionally talked when Spike could call him. So Spike knew where George was most of the time, but after he was posted to NORAD Spike was told the same cover story as everyone else. The vampire told George that he knew he was lying and they agreed to not talk about it, the same way they agreed not to talk about Spike’s more gruesome escapades.