Chapter 1: Whispers and Screams
Idly propping herself up on one of the headstones, Buffy looked around the cemetery with a bored expression. She had been patrolling for two hours and hadn’t seen a single vampire.
“Vampires,” she called softly, pouting when none showed up. “That’s it,” she muttered to herself. “There’s nothing evil out here, I’m going home.” Tucking her stake away, Buffy eagerly headed in the direction of her house. Rounding the corner of a mausoleum, she felt her forehead connect with something, sending stars shooting in front of her eyes.
“Bloody hell, Slayer!” Spike yelled, clutching his nose as Buffy rubbed her head.
“Speaking of nothing evil,” she muttered.
“Hey!” Spike cried indignantly. “And why don’t you watch where you’re soddin’ going next time!”
“Me?” she asked incredulously. “You’re the one with the vamp senses. Shouldn’t you have known a Slayer was nearby?”
Spike clenched his jaw as his eyes rolled upward. “So I’m supposed to avoid my own home just because you don’t have a sense of direction?”
Buffy tightened her lips. “Just go away, Spike.”
“Why should I?” he asked with a smirk, turning around to follow her as she began to walk away. “When it seems to annoy you so much that I’m here.”
“Do you want me to use this?” she asked, pulling the stake out of the waistband of her pants.
Spike merely chuckled at her. “Yeah, because that’s been so efficient in the past?”
“I seem to remember staking you a year ago,” she countered, crossing her arms over her chest and raising an eyebrow.
“I seem to remember letting you,” he said with that annoyingly handsome smirk of his.
“Is that a fact?”
“Remember? It tickled…in a good way,” he said, his voice dropping as he took a step toward her.
Buffy suppressed a shiver from running down her spine at his close proximity and quickly backed away. “I’m going home,” she muttered, deciding it wasn’t worth it to get involved in this pointless argument.
“No you’re not.”
Buffy’s brow furrowed. “What?”
“I just figured you’d want to take care of the demon behind you.”
She quickly whirled around, making a face at the ugly greenish-brown demon that was running at them. Bracing herself, Buffy grunted when it collided with her, throwing her to the ground before she flipped them, punching it in the face.
She was shocked when she felt herself propelled into the air, her back connecting with a nearby tree.
Grimacing as she pushed herself back into a standing position, Buffy was relieved to see Spike getting in a few hits before he was also thrown into the air.
Sprinting toward the demon, Buffy ducked as its claws swiped at her, landing a sharp kick to its ribs. Straightening once more, she was about to hit the demon again when she felt a sharp pain run through her arm. Catching her off guard, she closed her eyes trying to block it out when the demon landed a powerful blow to her jaw, nearly rendering her unconscious as she fell to the ground.
Gasping for breath, she protectively curled herself into a ball, unsure of what was happening to her. She could vaguely hear Spike in the distance, fighting the demon.
His voice traveled toward her, sounding as if it was a whisper.
Pushing herself up to brace her weight on her hands, Buffy willed her eyes to focus and was surprised to see the demon running away.
Spike sighed, deciding it wasn’t worth it to chase him. He slowly walked over to Buffy, offering her a hand and pulling her to her feet.
“What happened, Slayer?”
Spike raised an eyebrow, looking into her eyes. “What happened?” he repeated, pronouncing each word.
Buffy saw Spike’s lips moving, seconds before a piercing scream echoed through her head. Her hands immediately went to her ears as she tried to recoil from the shrill sound.
“Spike, what is that?” she yelled.
“What’s what?” Spike asked, looking at her as if she’d lost her mind.
Buffy couldn’t hear him. The shrieks that were reverberating through her body were painful. “What’s happening?” she asked weakly when the sound diminished.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Spike said in confusion, looking around and hoping for an answer to appear in front of him.
His eyes returned to hers, his brow furrowed as she looked at him. “Slayer?”
“Spike…I-I can’t hear you,” she murmured, seconds before she collapsed against him.
Spike quickly caught the young woman in his arms, frowning when her eyes rolled shut. Lowering her to the ground, he began shaking her slightly. “Come on, Summers,” he muttered. “Open your eyes.”
He could detect her heart beating rapidly in her chest.
“Bloody hell,” he muttered, swinging her into his arms. “Your mates would stake me good and proper if I left you here.”
Deciding the best place to take her would be her Watcher’s, Spike hurried in the direction.
* * * * *
Giles could have sworn he had a stroke when he opened the door to reveal Spike holding the seemingly lifeless body of the Slayer in his arms.
Staking him occurred to the older man for a brief moment before he realized that Spike hadn’t hurt Buffy. If he did, he surely wouldn’t have been stupid enough to show up on her Watcher’s doorstep.
“What happened?” he asked, checking Buffy’s pulse as Spike lay her on the couch.
“We got attacked. I think it was a Tacora demon. I’ve never seen one personally…didn’t even know they were on this side of the world, but that’s what it looked like.”
“How did this happen?” Giles asked.
“I don’t know,” Spike said, shaking his head. “It only threw her once. Did the same thing to me and I was fine.”
“You’re a vampire, Spike.”
“Thanks for the memo.”
“What I mean is, things obviously could affect you differently.”
“Yeah, well…it got in one good hit and she went down. She seemed a little dazed but fine. Then she started asking me what that sound was.”
“That’s what I’d like to know,” Spike replied. “I couldn’t hear a thing, and my hearing is a little more advanced than hers. She acted like she couldn’t hear me and then…”
Spike trailed off, gesturing to her currently passed out status.
“She couldn’t hear you?”
“Apparently not,” Spike said, walking for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ve done my part,” Spike said, lighting a cigarette before opening the door. “Saved the little girl from the baddie, and I didn’t even leave her when she passed out. I’m thinking my work is done for the night.”
Giles didn’t have a chance to reply as Spike walked out the door. For a soulless vampire, he really had gone above and beyond what was expected of him…not that Giles would ever tell him that.
Five minutes later, Buffy moaned as she drifted back to consciousness. Opening her eyes, Giles waited until she had focused on him with a puzzled expression.
Buffy frowned, clearing her throat when she couldn’t hear her own voice.
“Giles?” she tried again.
His eyes widened when he realized she couldn’t hear her own words. She couldn’t hear a thing.