Spike's mind was going a mile a minute. What the hell had happened Connor? Where was he? Was he even still alive? He had to get back to Los Angeles but how to break it to Buffy when he had only been back in her life for such a brief time. His two girls were playing fish and despite the seriousness of his thoughts he was unable to refrain from rolling his eyes.
"Amateurs," he scoffed, "You know I never understood the point of that game. I mean if you want to go fish you go fishing. Poker now that is a card game".
Dawn snorted with laughter and Buffy smiled. Spike would be happy just to sit there and watch them all day but there were things that needed to be done.
"What is wrong?" Buffy asked noticing the look on his face.
"It's Connor, Angel's kid," he explained, "He's missing and I need to get back to Los Angeles to help find him."
Despite the circumstances Buffy felt an irrational pang of jealousy that he would rush away from her to go to Angel. Rationality quickly caught up with her.
"I want to come with you," Buffy said, "I want to help."
"I don't know if that is a good idea, pet."
"I can help. I can access resources that you don't have."
"Point taken, love," he conceded. Besides, he really would be glad to not have to be separated from her so soon.
Buffy was right of course and her contacts got them a flight later that day. A few hours later, Buffy and Spike disembarked the plane in good spirits. They had received first class treatment again down to Buffy's contacts and special provisions had been made for Spike. Their lighter mood shifted as they remembered the reason for the journey. It was in the Arrivals lobby that they saw the grim face of Angel. He looked awful. He obviously had not been getting enough sleep. Buffy hugged Angel tightly. Spike scowled in the background. When Buffy pulled away from Angel she spotted a woman with blue hair attired in a cat suit. She guessed that this must be Illyria. Both women looked each other up and down. Buffy decided that she didn't like her. This was the woman that had called Spike "her pet" and Buffy really did not like to think what that could mean.
"This is the famous Buffy Summers?" Illyria asked incredulously and when Spike and Angel simply nodded in response she turned to Buffy.
"You are a lot smaller than I expected," the god king said with the look that clearly said that the slayer did not come up to scratch. Buffy bristled at that. It was official she hated her now. .
"Oh I am a hell of lot stronger than you think I am!" Buffy responded indignantly. A bemused Spike put his hand on her shoulder. She shook his hand off.
"You wish to fight me!" Illyria remarked clearly not intimidated in the slightest with a prospective tussle with a slayer, "A tiny woman with superpowers is no match for Illyria God King!"
Buffy could tell that Spike was amused and this only increased to irritate her further.
"Now is not the time, love," he whispered in her ear and she felt like a total bitch as she realised that this was the last thing that Angel needed. Angel was walking ahead of them now and Buffy gave Spike an apologetic smile and quickened her pace in order to catch up to Angel.
"Sorry" she said, "for that and for Connor as well!"
He didn't speak just nodded. He looked so broken. She had never seen him look so lost or desolate before. She didn't know what to say so she settled for just matching his long strides and following him to the car park. Spike and Illyria followed on behind. Buffy couldn't help but feel a little satisfied when she caught Spike's eyes following her intently even though he was talking animatedly with Illyria. She still had it even when was a super hot god in a catsuit around. Sleazy bitch calling Spike pet! From what Spike had told her Illyria was not human so she could slay her but she guessed now would not be a good time with disappearance of Connor to solve. Maybe later.
Once they arrived at Angel's office he filled them in on the events. There had been a number of disappearances in the demon world in recent months.
"Initially I thought that there were turf wars between different demon factions but it soon became clear that seemed to be no definitive pattern," Angel explained, "In some cases there could have been weeks of planning and others seemed like chance abductions. In all cases they have disappeared without a trace. No bodies were found and there are very little clues to lead us anywhere."
Buffy swore and Spike chuckled appreciatively. She glared at him.
"Boy has a point," Angel said with a weak smile, "You never swear. Spike's obviously rubbing off on you!"
Spike leered at her wickedly and blushed but refrained from making an inappropriate remark for once. Buffy guessed that Spike was practising restraint considering the situation. It was most unlike her vampire. She would file it away as a future bargaining chip. She always found it funny that Spike would do almost anything to save his reputation despite the fact that it had been shot to pieces a long time ago. Her mother had once advised her that a man's ego was a fragile thing and never was that more true than in the case of William the Bloody.
"Have you spoke with any witnesses?" Buffy asked.
"All I know is that there was a big black van that he was bundled into. The witness did say that they looked human but that doesn't mean anything."
"Could they have been human?" Spike asked and Buffy could see a feral glint in his eyes.
"Could be but it still does not leave us any the wiser." Angel shrugged.
Spike and Buffy looked at each other both coming to the same conclusion.
"The initiative," they whispered in unison.
"Army types," Spike explained as Angel looked perplexed. "Those were the blokes that stuck that piece of metal in my noggin."
Spike didn't really want to tell what other things that they did to him or what they could be doing to Connor right now. He knew from the look on her face that Buffy was thinking the same thing.
"I think that we should see if Riley can help us out," Buffy suggested much to Spike's consternation.
"What?" Spike exploded, "Are you bonkers? That is like inviting the Big Bad Wolf in for tea!"
"I trust him," she answered evenly, "He's never given me reason to believe anything else."
"What about when you found him with two bit vampire whores sucking him?" Spike retorted. Angel really was not in the mood for their bickering when there were much more important matters like Connor to think about. Yet, he couldn't muster the energy to tell them off.
"That was different and who are you to cast aspersions and make judgements?" Buffy snapped.
"I don't trust soldier boy and what the hell do you still have his phone number for?"
Buffy rolled her eyes and turned to Angel. "Riley is the best chance we have. He is a good guy if a little misguided. He may not like demons but he would not be involved in kidnapping a human."
Spike and Angel rarely agreed on anything but one thing and one of the few was that they disliked Riley. However, if Riley was
their only option then Angel would seize it. He needed all the help that he could get.
"Call him," Angel said.
"But.." Spike began but was quickly cut off.
"Shut up Spike!" Angel said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Spike shook his head in disbelief at their stupidity. If Riley found out that Dawn was or is a magical key then she would be in danger as well. If they wanted Connor to experiment on then what would they do with a potential key to dimensions? Spike swore he would not let that happen.
To be continued...