This story takes place before the events of my "Four Friends" stories.
In this episode, everyone tries to escape the Hospital from Hellmouth -- except for those who are trying to catch the ones who are trying to escape.
Chapter 4: Joker Got Away
“Oh, crap.” Riley tried to get off another shot, but the surprise of Kara’s appearance was just what Spike needed. With a quick shove Spike propelled Robin forward, slamming him into Riley, and both men fell out into the hallway as the rifle fired into the ceiling. For the second time, Robin found himself covered with debris.
“Get off!” Riley shouted. Robin rolled over and jumped to his feet, grabbing a chunk of broken wood as he did, while Riley sat up, grabbed his weapon, and leveled it into firing position.
Spike was gone.
“Crap. Crap!” Riley grabbed for his radio, but when he triggered it nothing happened. “You, watcher - do you have a walkie?”
Robin, knowing they’d need the government’s good graces at this point, tossed him a radio. “It’s already on your frequency.”
“It -” Riley tossed him an angry look, then yelled into the mike. “All units, converge on the exits, look for a tall man wearing black, with bleach blond hair. Consider him extremely dangerous.” He lowered the mike, then dragged a hand through his hair. “No slayer?”
“You should have known better.” By the time they got to Kara, she was already stirring. “Kara? Are you okay?”
Her head lolled to one side as Robin lifted her up, and she tried to look at him through glazed over eyes. “I can’t feel my legs.”
“It’s temporary,” Riley said. He tried to help get Kara onto the cot, but Robin lowered her onto the hospital bed, instead.
“Let’s take her out to the ambulance on this, she’ll be more comfortable.” Robin waited, holding his breath.
Riley stared at him for a moment. Slowly, rifle at ready, he crouched down until he could see under the bed. Then his weapon drooped, and he sighed. “Nice try, but the only thing under here is webbing the eggs were anchored with. I already knew the demon liked to spawn under patient beds, so you tipped me off.” He gave Robin a rueful smile. “That bed would never fit in an ambulance.”
Robin scooped Kara up again. “You mean they hatched?”
“No, there aren’t any shell fragments. Spike got ‘em.”
“Ah.” Damn it all. Robin laid Kara down again, this time on the cot. He felt helpless, a failure of the worst sort, but there were still details to be taken care of before he could succumb to his black mood. Staying out of some secret government holding cell, for instance. “Well, then ...”
“So ... you dated Buffy?” Riley used his boot to shove debris out of the way, then reached for the cot and started pulling.
“Just once, really - and Spike screwed that up, too.” Without commenting on what they were doing, Robin helped push the cot toward the emergency room exit. “I’m seeing Faith, now.”
“Faith!” As they passed a supply cabinet, Riley pulled out a clean sheet and and draped it over Kara, who was starting to look more aware. “You’re a stronger man than I thought.” After a moment, and with what could only be described as an evil grin, he added, “I dated Faith once, too - sort of. Ask her about it.”
When they went through the door, the two soldiers trained rifles on them. So did the twenty other soldiers crouched in defensive positions around the door, and the men manning machine guns on the roof of Humvees. “These two are all right,” Riley said, holding up a hand. “It really was a medical emergency, and some crossed signals. Let them past.”
One of the guards looked down at the cot as they passed. “Is she okay? I’ve heard gastrointer - uh, that problem can be real serious.”
Not pausing in his push toward the ambulance, Robin called back, “Don’t worry, colistin sulfomethate sodium is very effective.”
Kara moaned, this time a good deal more realistically. “I’m sorry ...”
“It’s not your fault. I was in charge.” Stopping at the back of the still running ambulance, Robin turned to Riley. “Okay, I gotta ask -”
“We’re working on the same side. The government realizes that now - at least, some branches of the government do. Besides, I owe Buffy a bunch of favors. So don’t worry, you’re free to go back to Chicago, and we’ll take care of covering the tracks.”
Robin stared at him. Chicago? “There’s a lot you already know, isn’t there?”
Riley shrugged. “Certain people we keep track of, and we definitely keep an eye on the big bads. How do you think my team got to Cleveland so quickly? We didn’t expect you to beat us here, but we knew you were coming.” Then his expression darkened. “How Spike got out without being seen, I have no idea.”
“He has a couple hundred years of experience over us.” Robin swung open the back door, then froze when he saw a packing crate the size of a coffin strapped to the ambulance’s bench seat. “What the -”
“It’s okay.” Riley smiled at his expression. “Something we turned up while we were clearing Sunnydale of anything ... incriminating. We didn’t know what to do with it, so ... like I said, we knew you were coming. Consider it a present for Buffy. Or, maybe Willow. Somebody’ll get a kick out of it.” He helped lift the cot into the ambulance, then waited while Robin climbed inside. “Nice to meet you. If you should run into Spike - kick his ass.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Robin closed the doors, then called forward to the passenger compartment, “let’s go, Andrew.”
“Um, okay.” Andrew sounded nervous, and Robin realized having soldiers jumping into the back with that crate must have been quite a shock. But he felt the truck start to move, and after a few bumps they gained the street and the ride got smoother.
Robin leaned against the crate, ignoring it for a moment as the evening’s events went through his mind. He’d failed. It was as simple as that. His first mission as a watcher, and he’d failed. To Spike!
He didn’t shake himself out of his funk until Kara sat up, throwing the sheet aside. “I screwed up so bad. Dad’s gonna kill me.”
“We’re alive, that’s what’s important.”
“But the eggs -”
“We’ll think of something else.” He couldn’t force any enthusiasm into his voice, and couldn’t even muster the energy to move until the ambulance suddenly slowed a few blocks further on, stopping along the side of the road. Then another, unexpected voice chimed in, making his spine tingle.
“So ... what’s so bloody important about these eggs, mate?”
Next: Robin Gains an Egg