I signed up for fall_for_sx and today is my posting date, so I have revisited the boys who were my first fandom love.

Title: Exodus
Rating: G
Summary: In the aftermath of The Gift, Spike and Xander are leaving town.
Warnings: Angst. Major Character Death.
Note: I'm really not into angst, but I guess it's like going on the rollercoaster - you have to do it once.
Betaed by sparrow2000, for which, many, many thanks.
Disclaimer: here.
Word count: 1,720
Comments: Are greatly appreciated, loved and cherished.

Disclaimer: All the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the series are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, etc. No infringement is intended and no profit is being made from this writing.



When the big, sporty convertible that had cut him off pulled to a halt a hundred yards ahead of him, Spike slowed down. He allowed the truck to crawl forwards as three figures tumbled out and took up position across the middle of the road. They looked human, but there was a flash of yellow from their eyes when his headlights caught them. The slim chance that Sirus had sent them to do the deal, and his urgent need for Sirus's money, was the only thing that prevented him from running them down. Instead, he brought the truck to a stop.

"Might be," he said in reply to Xander's silent question. "I hope so. You stay here. I'll sort it out and then we'll be on our way again."

Xander didn't say anything and leaving the keys in the ignition so that the engine continued to tick over, Spike jumped down from the cab, walked forward and came to a halt six feet in front of the group. The two on either side were big and beefy, and looked like they were in their late teens when they died. They had the appearance of soldiers, turned for their muscle and their ability to intimidate. The one in the middle was small and a bit weedy, but he seemed to be the leader.

"Sirus send you?" Spike asked cautiously.

The soldiers didn't say anything and the other one didn't reply, asking instead, "What you got in the truck, Spike?"

He was not only weak looking, if Spike's guess was right, he was also young, both in appearance and in age. 18? 19, when he was turned? The fact that the other two appeared content to follow him suggested that they were even younger, probably his make. Spike searched his memory but couldn't come up with a prior meeting, let alone a name.

"Okay," he said, enunciating the word with drawn out deliberation. "So I'm thinking you aren't here with my petrol money."

He paused to see if they'd react to that. The two soldiers looked puzzled. The guy in front shook his head. "No, we're not here to give you money for gas."

Spike nodded. "But you know me," he smiled, friendly enough but still with a note of challenge. "Hardly a surprise. Been around a while. Earned my reputation." Ah, a flinch, so small that most would have missed it. He was young then. That narrowed the odds. Spike continued speaking, even as his brain gathered the clues, "But I don't know you. Least, if I did, I don't remember." He tilted his head, considering the three before him. "But you're not particularly memorable, so you'll have to forgive me for that."

The guy on the left shifted his weight from one foot to the other and Spike hitched the lapels of his coat to disguise the shift in his own stance as he readied himself for an attack.

It didn't come. The little guy cast a swift glance back over his shoulder and held up one hand. "John, leave it," he ordered. He turned back to Spike. "We met at Willy's" he explained. "About a year ago. You were drunk. Then you got thrown out by a couple of big guys, after they beat the crap out of you."

Spike nodded thoughtfully. He had no memory of this so-called meeting, but that didn't mean it hadn't happened. There were a number of nights that he couldn't remember, from the months after he escaped from the Initiative. And there were more that he was deliberately blanking out, during the first turbulent weeks after he and Xander got together, when their tempers had over-ridden their passions. "Right," he drawled, allowing his body to relax, but maintaining his readiness. "And did we exchange names when we met? Life stories? Family histories?"

Put at ease by the fact that Spike appeared friendly enough, the guy nodded. Not only young, but stupid, if he couldn't see that Spike was feeling anything but friendly. "Yeah, we talked." He looked expectant and Spike raised an eyebrow in interrogation. With a sigh of resignation, he continued to explain. "I'm Jerry," he said. "Jerry Harvey. You wanted a way to take out the soldiers. You were talking about revenge." His voice hardened. "Then you went and joined them."

"Did not!" The indignant contradiction was more immediate than thought.

Jerry took an unconscious half step back. "Not the Initiative," he said. "You joined the Slayer's gang, because the Initiative crippled you."

Spike paused. "What makes you think I joined them?" he asked.

Apparently reassured by the return of Spike's reasonable tone, Jerry replied, "Everyone knows you did." He drew himself up to his full height, which was still a few inches shorter than Spike. "So not cool, to turn like that. That's why they beat you up."

Spike laughed. "You Sunnydale kids really are thick, aren't you?" he said, shaking his head, his voice heavy with pity and regret. "No appreciation of tactics."

For a moment Jerry looked uncertain, shooting a quick glance at the guy on his right, who appeared to be his main lieutenant. The big guy just stared back at him with nothing to say. Returning his attention to Spike, Jerry waved a hand airily dismissing the conversation. "Doesn't matter. That's not why we're here. The Slayer's gone. Her gang are all dead and whatever was going on with that tower in town, is over. And it looks to me like you're making a run for it." He took a step forwards and his followers shifted with him, maintaining their position. "So what have you got in the truck Spike?" He asked again. "Whatever it is, it's gotta be worth something. No reason to run from Sunnydale now. Not when just about every other demon in California is doing their best to get here before the buffet dries up."

It was a hijack, then. And he was supposed to be easy pickings. "So you thought, what?" Spike asked with a snarl. "Spike can't fight back? Spike's been neutered? Thought you could take whatever Spike has? Is that it?"

Now that Spike understood what was going on, Jerry smiled. "Yeah, that's about it. You have a rep. You're old. Figured if you were leaving town, it had to be for a good reason." He cast a quick glance at each of his followers. "Boys, take him out" he ordered, stepping back so that he was standing slightly behind them.

Spike took a half step back, himself, to give himself space, folded his arms across his chest, and deliberately, insultingly, took the time to look them over. "They were the popular kids who wouldn't let you play with them at break time, weren't they?" He commented. "Bet it gives you a thrill, having them follow you around like a pair of puppy dogs."

He was watching for it, so he spotted the moment the sense of his words penetrated their thick skulls. By the time they started their charge, in perfect tandem of course, like all fledges with the soil still under their fingernails, he had pulled his arms apart, dragging the stakes from inside his sleeves and was ready for them. They never saw it coming. All he had to do was stand still, hold the stakes out at the right height and they ran straight onto them.

Spike felt the jolt of their collision along the length of both arms. For a second they were transfixed, frozen in an x-ray moment. Until it was over and they crumbled to dust, unfortunately taking his two best stakes with them.

Spike ran forward through the rapidly settling cloud, grabbing Jerry around the neck with his arm before he'd managed to flee more than a dozen paces back towards his car. Pulling the little twerp hard up against his chest, Spike bent his head and whispered in his ear, "Not neutered." He dug in his coat pocket with his free hand and pulled out another stake. "Slayer and all her gang might be gone," he hissed, "but they took a hellgod down with them. You..." he spat. "You haven't the guts to take on a single cripple by yourself." He brought the stake around to press against Jerry's chest. "Empty your pockets," he ordered. No point in selling the Dagon Sphere, if he didn't need to. He could save that for a future trade, if Jerry had enough money on him for Spike to fill the tank in the truck.

Jerry tried kicking back against Spike's legs, struggling against his grip, but Spike had no trouble holding him. "Now!" he snarled. Shakily, Jerry fumbled a hand into the pocket of his jeans, pulling out a wallet. "Drop it," Spike ordered. Jerry did so. "And the rest." The wallet was followed by a ring of keys, various scraps of paper and a pocket knife. "You make me sick," Spike snarled. "You're a disgrace to the species."

Jerry was scrabbling at Spike's arm, trying to draw enough air into his lungs to speak, but Spike didn't give him the chance. He rammed the stake home.

Picking up the wallet, he gave the sports car a regretful glance. It would be sweet, but it was impractical. The truck was necessary. As he walked back he slipped his coat off and gave it a shake to get rid of the dust.

Instead of climbing back into the cab, Spike opened the back doors and slipped into the cold interior. He'd need more petrol soon and now he had $300 to buy it with. The freezer unit used power all the time but $300 would see him a fair distance. Pulling the door closed behind him, he walked to the table that occupied the central space, squeezing past the shelves bolted to the side walls. He should remove them too. Make a bit more space. Gently he reached down and brushed ice crystals from a pale cheek, ran his knuckle gently along the still lips and bent down to drop a soft kiss on the frozen brow. "It's okay, pet," he whispered. "You're safe. I got rid of them. He was going to cause trouble, but I got rid of him. He didn't even know you were here."

With a sigh he drew back. He'd have to get going. It was a long drive to the frozen Arctic, but then he wouldn't need the truck. Once he got to where the snow lay all year round, they'd both be safe. Then they'd be together. Forever.

The End

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