This story takes place before the events of my "Four Friends" stories.
In this episode, our gang explores the concept of good vs. evil and gets a gift from the government -- and no, the two aren't connected.
Chapter 5: ROBIN GAINS AN EGG
With a panicked squeak, Kara threw open the bandage compartment beside her. It was full of bandages. “Where are the weapons?”
“Under the bench seat, which is under the government’s nice, sturdy box.” Robin gave the crate only a halfhearted shove, knowing it would be too heavy to move. “What the hell do you want, Spike?”
That damn bleach blond head appeared through the open door to the driver’s compartment, a grin on its ugly face. “Just to talk. First of all, I’m shocked -- just shocked -- that little Andrew didn’t tell you I was alive.”
Robin stared at him, chest heaving, unable to trust himself to speak. It was Kara who said, “Andrew? You knew Spike was still alive?”
Andrew’s voice floated back, although he wouldn’t show himself. “I didn’t want to upset anyone.”
“Ask me who’s upset now!" Robin roared.
“I’ll just stay up here and keep an eye on the ... um, gauges.”
“Maybe you’d better get out and start walking, you little -- ow.” Robin looked down, to where a small hand had wrapped itself around his wrist and squeezed.
“Maybe there are reasons.” Kara looked at him, her eyes pleading. “The slayers who went to L.A. with Andrew must have known too, but none of them said anything.”
“Right.” Forcing his temper down, Robin backed up until he was against the ambulance’s rear doors. “Spike.” He waved to a seat at the head of the cot, as far from him as anyone could get and still be in the patient compartment.
Spike slid through the narrow passage and sank into the seat. Robin couldn’t help noticing the vampire carried a laundry bag which held something about the size of a cluster of eggs. “Comfy.”
“Cozy,” Robin agreed. They glared at each other over Kara, who scooted back to sit cross legged on the cot, out of their line of vision. “Would you mind telling me what you’re doing in here?”
“Hiding. Those two gits at the ER doors would only let me out when I convinced them I’d been waiting for you with the colistin sulfom whatsits, and I had a feeling it wouldn’t be so easy to fool that second line of soldier boys who were coming in with their big guns and helicopters. So I thought I’d let you drive me away.”
“And you think I’m just going to let you hop out with those eggs?”
“Nope.” Spike held the bag out. “You’re going to let me hop out without those eggs.”
Okay, this was definitely some kind of twisted trick. Robin made no move to take the package. “Why would you just hand them over to us, after stealing them?”
“Because I can.” With a sigh, Spike dropped the bag on the cot beside Kara. “Because the soldier boys have their orders, and their procedures, and their clearances, and they’d have red taped you to death before they even considered letting you take them. They’d have hatched by then. The eggs, I mean, not the soldiers. Besides, I don’t trust ‘em not to turn the things into some kind of big superweapon omelet, and we all know how well that usually turns out.”
“But you knew they’d just let us go if we didn’t have the eggs?”
“No, I didn’t know that.” The vampire grinned. “But it all worked out, and it was fun. In return for doing you this big favor, I only ask one thing: that you tell me what you need ‘em for.”
Kara shot Robin a quick look. “Why do you want to know?”
“Curiosity, pet. Look, Angel says he wants them disposed of properly, that’s all. It makes me no mind if he does it or you do it, but I would dearly love to see the look on his face when I show up empty handed. In return, you get to make slayer medicine, right? All I want to know is, what does it cure?”
Robin sat back, considering. He wanted to mistrust this vamp, who had killed his mother, another slayer and so many others. But his instincts told him Spike was telling the truth, as much as Spike ever told the truth, and he saw no reason not to return the favor. “Psychosis.”
“Psychosis? You’ve got an crazy slayer?” Spike whistled. “Dicey situation, that. I’ve met one of those, and it didn’t go well.”
From up front, Andrew’s voice floated back. “Um, it’s the same one. Dana.”
“We tried everything,” continued Andrew, who couldn’t see Spike’s face twisting. “So Willow found this rare spellbook that shows how to cure an insane slayer, and even though it’s never been tried before Giles thought --”
“THAT BITCH CUT MY BLOODY HANDS OFF!”
That shut Andrew up. Kara looked horrified, but Robin wondered if Spike had done something to deserve such a punishment. “Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”
“You don’t get it. I was doing a good thing, trying to help her, and she tortured me. You can’t take the chance of her getting back out among innocent people!”
“Maybe she doesn’t hurt innocent people,” Robin shot back. “Just vampires who’ve been known to do some torturing of their own.”
Glaring, Spike reached for the bag, but Kara was too fast. She grabbed it away with one hand, and pushed against his chest with the other when he tried to reach past her. “Give me that, you little --”
“Why are you good?” Kara asked.
Again, Spike froze. For a long moment he stared at her, then sank back into his seat while she handed the bag to Robin. “Why are you good?” she repeated.
The mask of arrogance failed, and Spike, for a moment, became a confused, unsure William. “I ... I have a soul ...”
But Kara shook her head. “Lots of people with souls do bad things. Hitler had a soul. Stalin. Bin Laden."
"Actually, Bin Laden doesn't," Andrew interrupted, but the others ignored him.
"Why has getting one turned you so good that you were willing to risk your life to help? If you hate Angel so much, why aren’t you trying to be as different from him as possible?”
Spike’s gaze went from Kara to Robin, who had been asking himself the exact same question since he first realized who Spike was. Robin had trained himself over the years to detect lies, both in words and in actions. Now he saw real, raw pain and fear in Spike’s eyes, before the vampire turned away.
“I’ve been ... to hell. More than once. Angel’s a ponce, and I’ll never admit saying this, but he’s right -- somebody who’s done what we have needs to redeem himself. I don’t want to go ...” He cleared his throat. “I don’t want to go back.”
“That’s good enough,” Kara said softly, before turning back to Robin with a questioning glance. “I think Andrew had the right idea. Does Buffy really need to know about this?”
Robin swallowed, and also turned away. He didn’t want to say what he should, didn’t want to admit it, so after a moment he just asked, “Where would you like us to drop you off?”
The expression on Spike’s face may have been gratitude, but he wiped it away quickly and gestured toward the box. “Don’t you think we should open the soldier boy’s gift, before you go on? It’s about the right size for an atomic bomb.”
Accepting the change in subject, Robin turned to the crate. “Fine. A hand, if you will?”
Andrew finally appeared from the front, while the other three, together, grasped the lid and pulled. With a screech of broken wood and protesting nails, the top came open.
They had to scoop out packing peanuts, then Robin involuntarily drew back when he contacted what appeared to be human skin. Spike paused at the same time, then reached back in and came up with a hand. He turned to Kara with a grin. “Hor’devours?”
Grimacing, Kara cleared the packing material away from a human torso. “It’s a person.”
“No, look.” Reaching in for an arm, Spike showed the end where the skin was torn, revealing metal along with a complicated collection of gears, plastic and electronics. “They gave you a broken robot?”
“I don’t know why,” Robin murmured. He dug around some more, and when he touched hair pulled a blond maned head out for them to see. The face was turned away from him, so at first he didn’t understand the shock on their faces.
“Goodness,” Kara said, her eyes threatening to pop out.
“Oh, my,” Andrew gasped, his face glowing.
Spike vaulted to his feet, banging his head on the ceiling.
Mystified, Robin turned the face toward him, and was so startled he almost dropped the head. But before he could speak Spike cried out in a rough, tortured voice:
“It’s the bloody Buffybot!”
Next: Egg on His Face