Almost Heaven

The Dream

Hurtz released William's neck. "You killed my family members, whether you remember or not does not concern me."

"Does it concern you that the real killer is still running around free?"

Hurtz crossed his arms, snorting. "Please, do tell. Your lies are so very entertaining."

William rolled his shoulders. He needed to make the demon believe him, but he didn't know how the hell he'd do that.

"I found them, in the cemetery, but I had nothing to do with their deaths. Who did the slaying of your family, I don't know, but it wasn't me."

"And I suppose I'm to take you at your word and release you."

"Would you rather torture me, or the one who killed your father?"

Hurtz growled, "You are the one who killed my father."

William wished he had proof, or at least hadn't already lied to the demon once already. He revisited each and every detail of the night he found the dead demons. Nothing spoke in his favor, or made him sound any more truthful.

"W-who found the bodies?"

Hurtz kept his eyes on the sharp, shiny knife he was playing with. "I did."

"There was no sign of struggle, was there? How did I take down your father without a struggle?"

Hurtz looked him in the eyes, his interest piqued. "Perhaps you moved them postmortem."

"Not with the amount of blood there. That's where they died."

"That proves nothing."

William shifted in his chains. "No, but it's a start. Your father, he had something taken from him when I found him, does mean something to you?"

Hurtz's snarled. "Where is it?"

"I don't even know what it is. I didn't take it, but I know what happened to what your brother had."

"Where is that, then?"

"I- I can get it for you."

Hurtz tossed the knife and stode to William. He pressed his index finger harshly into William's chest, his finger burning a black mark against his white skin.

"This doesn't mean that you didn't kill them. You have no proof."

William struggled to get away from the pain. "Uh, stop! I didn't do it. I couldn't have."

"Oh? You say you couldn't, yet everyone I questioned pointed me in you direction."

"We both know I didn't do it. Let me free and I will find whoever did. I'll give you the man who murdered you family, as well as what was on you brother. I swear."

"Why should I believe you?"

"I'm just a vampire, a mongrel in the demon world. Do you want your father to have been killed by me? It wouldn't look so good for him. Whatever demon killled him, and is powerful enough to have done it without a fight, that's the demon you want to be . I'll find that demon for you."

Hurtz put his stump next to William's head and glared at him. He glanced at the knife on the floor nearby.

William pushed down his fear as Hurtz picked up the weapon. "Is it a deal?"

Hurtz's mouth cracked into a toothy, wicked grin as he moved towards William.

"Is that a no?" William asked, desperate to get out of more torture.

Hurtz ignored the question. He pressed the blade against William's chest, over his heart, and with a swift pull the skin was parted. William cried out in pain as blood dribbled down his body.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Buffy stumbled past the front door. Her head was killing her and she felt like she had lead weights tied to each limb. She wondered briefly if she was having a panic attack, or if the information had been too much and her body was shutting down like when Glory had kidnapped Dawn. But that made no sense, so she brushed the idea away, marking it instead as exhaustion.

Giles rounded the corner, his nose buried in an ancient tome. He was so busy he nearly walked into Buffy.

"Oh dear, Buffy, are you quite alright?"

"Yeah, just tired." Buffy gripped the wall. "I didn't sleep well. I'm gonna catch a couple more hours, okay?"

Giles smiled kindly, touching her shoulder. "You go nap, I'll make certain no one bothers you."

Buffy hugged Giles. "Thanks." She turned and made her way to her room. As soon as her head hit the pillow her eyes shut and she was fast asleep.

Buffy moaned and pushed herself up. How long had she been asleep? She looked around at her room. With a surge of fear she realized it wasn't her room.

"Hello?" Buffy cried out. "Anyone here?"

Her voice seemed to bounce off the walls and echo back at her. She sat on the edge of the bed, examining the small, dark and dank room she was now in.

"Okay, totally wigging here," she muttered.

After much deliberation she stood and looked for a door. It took several minutes, but she found the door near the floor. It was small, not much bigger than a doggie door, but she'd fit.

"Where am I," Buffy hissed as she squeezed through the door, "frickin' Wonderland?"

She found her feet and looked around. The room was lit a dim red, the walls were rough rock, like those of a cave.

"Where the flippin' heck am I?"

She moved cautiously down the hellish corridors. Am I in hell? she thought. Is this were William is?

"Hurtz? If you did this to me, I'd really like to apologize about your hand. I didn't mean to cut it off."

There was no answer, just deadly silence.

"Great, I'm in hell. Just great. Biggest irony in the world. The slayer once in Heaven now stuck in hell because of her ex vampire lover. Someone should make a TV show out of my life."

Buffy wandered cluelessly for what felt like hours. A noise caught her attention. She swung around, only to be frozen in fear.

Glory looked at Adam then over at Angelus and the Master. "I think we surprised the little slayer."

Angelus smirked, his tongue curled behind his teeth. "What's wrong, Buff, aren't you happy to see me?"

Buffy flinched when his hand reached out to touch her cheek.

"Aw, come on lover, you're hurting me. You wouldn't want me to hurt you back, would ya?" His hand shot out again, this time drawing blood from her cheek.

Buffy yelped and grabbed her cheek, shaken from her stupor by the pain. She turned on her heel and fled, running as fast as she could. She almost died taking them one at a time; she'd never make it against them all at once. If she didn't figure something out fast she was going to die, quickly.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXx

Xander came through the front door, Dawn under one of his arms, Willow under the other. "And then he ate it!"

"Oh gross, Xander," Dawn squealed.

"He did not, Xander's a little Pinocchio," Willow argued.

Giles moved from his seat at the table to hush the three.

"Do be quiet. I promised Buffy no one would disturb her."

Dawn shrugged. "Okay, I'm gonna change, I spilled soda all over my shirt. I'll check on her."

"Please do, and tell me if she's alright. She didn't look well when she came home."

Dawn ran up the stairs. She poked her head into Buffy's room. She smiled at her sister's back before quietly shutting the door and moving back to the stairs.

"Sleeping like a baby."

"Very good, thank you Dawn." Giles gripped Xander's arm. "I must talk to you Xander, privately."

"What, you two keeping secrets from me?" Willow pouted playfully, but suspicion danced in her eyes."

"Of course not, Wills. I'm sure it's a man thing. Something damn manly, right, Giles?"

Giles nodded hesitantly. "Yes, indeed."

He dragged Xander out back. "Buffy wants to pursue this ridiculous plan to save Spike."

Xander shrugged. "What am I supposed to do? I hid the jacket and chucked the blood, What else do you want?"

Giles ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know. We have to take care of the carpet. Perhaps there's a spell that can do it. I'll have to look into it."

"Why does the carpet even matter? If we tell Buffy we didn't know about it, she'll believe us. She doesn't have a reason not to."

Giles tugged lightly at his grey locks. "What if she gets him back?"

Xander shrugged again. "What if?"

"He'll… he'll tell her! That's what if."

"Come on, Giles. He's the scumbag that tried to rape Buffy, do you think she'd believe him over us?"

"I- I don't know. Maybe. She seems to care about him, despite how much she claims not to."

Xander crossed his arms. "She's got the hots for him, so what? Friends and family trump hormones and a sexy vampire."

"Truly Xander, I'd be more comfortable if you refrained from speaking of Spike in such a way."

"Oh shut up Giles. It isn't a gay thing. Spike's hot, I know, you know, the female race knows it."

"I um, er, wouldn't say 'hot', per se. I am a man after all."

"Homophobe," Xander murmured under his breath.

Giles glared at him a moment before marching into the house. "Well, if you won't help, then I'll look into it myself."

Xander followed him in, pausing next to Willow, who threw him a confused look.

"He has testosterone problems," Xander whispered. "He like, going through male menopause or something."

Willow shuddered. "I didn't need to know that."

"Yeah, neither did I." Xander slung his arm over Willow's shoulders. "Come on, let's go watch the boob-tube while Giles researches." He dragged his friend off to indulge in some mindless TV.

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