The Body in the Crypt
Spike wandered back to his crypt feeling pleasantly drunk and with that
odd sense of dislocation that comes from a night, or in his case a day,
on the tiles. A poker game at Willie's had stretched on past dawn and
he had taken advantage of a rather smelly but guaranteed sun free room
to sleep an hour or two before continuing the high stakes gambling. Now
sunset had arrived and he was going home with money in his pockets and
a glow of satisfaction from the fact that skill, not cheating had got
him the pot. Skill at rigging a deck to be precise... not cheating but
an art form, he thought complacently.
The crypt loomed up invitingly and he pushed open the heavy stone door
and stepped inside, giving the place an automatic scan for unwelcome
visitors or Buffy. If they were two different categories; he wasn't
sure about that. He loved her, he yearned for her but damn, she was a
pain at times.
It took him only a second to notice the corpse on the floor. Not
because of his vampire senses particularly but because it was right
where he walked and he tripped over it and staggered for a few feet
before grabbing onto a table to steady himself. Turning round he stared
in disbelief at the body of an older man in a neat black suit. In the
gothic surroundings of Spike's crypt a corpse might seem to be the
perfect accessory but there was something incongruous about this one.
Spike knelt down by the body, which lay on its face and rolled it over.
Sightless eyes of a muddy grey glared up at the arched ceiling. Spike
thought that the face looked pinched and self-righteous even taking
into account the look of shock that death had left frozen into his
features. Spike looked closely at the victim for a moment then, with a
puzzled frown on his face, lifted the body up and peered at its neck.
"Spike! Stop that!" howled a voice. Spike turned to the door and felt
his head snap back as Buffy's foot connected with his jaw. Dropping the
corpse unceremoniously, he rolled back out of range and sprang to his
feet with the ease of decades of practice.
He faced an enraged Slayer now, not his more or less friendly sparring
partner and he mentally rehearsed the best way of telling her that
she'd made a mistake without risking a further blow.
"Say sorry!" probably wasn't the wisest response but it just came out
somehow. It did have the benefit of surprising her.
"Sorry?" she repeated in that sarcastic voice he hated. "Sorry for
saving someone from a vampire? It's what I do, you plonker."
"Got that word from me," Spike thought with some satisfaction.
"Look at bit closer, pet," he suggested. "Not only are you several
hours too late to save him but he didn't die from a bite. And in case
you've forgotten, I've got this -"
"Sodding chip in your head." Buffy said absently, paying attention now
to the details and ignoring Spike's theatrical rubbing of his aching
jaw. "So what did kill him then? Did you see the demon?"
"Brace yourself, Slayer. As far as I can see, this is down to that good
old stand by, the blunt instrument."
"Wielded by a demon?"
Spike sighed. Did no one in Sunnydale have any imagination? Demons
weren't the only bad guys in town. "Buffy," he said patiently. "Did it
ever occur to you that this guy might well have been murdered? A plain,
simple, done foully to death by a fellow human sort of thing?"
"Oh, no, uh huh." Buffy backed away fast. "That means police and I
can't get involved with them, not after all those other times, Spike."
"I'm not exactly hopping up and down dancing at the thought of the boys
in blue dusting for prints and making a mess of the place myself, love
but if this guy's been murdered, seems to me the Slayer would want to
find out why."
"I'm not involved with that side of it, Spike, you know that!" she
pointed out. "Supernatural crimes, yes but if this is run of the mill
murder, well, it's a job for the professionals."
"No," said Spike flatly. "I don't know who this guy is or why he got
dumped in my living room but I'm not having the police around.
dump the body and that's it. All sorted."
"You can't do that, Spike!" Buffy protested. "Look, I believe you
didn't have anything to do with this - you didn't did you?"
"Oh, bloody charming! Now I'm a murderer!"
"Spike! You've killed God knows how many people!"
"They don't count! That was different. Anyway, I swear I never laid
eyes on this guy until two minutes before you walked in."
Buffy did the searching glance routine but for once Spike seemed
genuinely puzzled and innocent. An odd combination but she softened
towards him slightly.
"Fair enough but there's all the forensic evidence stuff, you know,
like they do on the movies. You move that body and they'll never stand
a chance of getting the killer."
Spike gently pushed her away from the door and bent down to look at the
floor. Turning his head, he glanced up. "Got some good news, then," he
drawled. "From these marks, looks like Mr. Uninvited Guest was dragged
here, presumably already dead. So this isn't the crime scene and I can
dump the body, no problems."
"Stop calling him that. Search him and see if he's got I.D or
"Getting squeamish, Slayer? Or is it different when they're not oozing
goo with four arms and tentacles?"
"It is somehow," Buffy admitted, shivering a little.
Taken aback at her frankness, Spike made no comment for once but
swiftly went through the suit pockets, dumping the contents on the
floor. He and Buffy examined their haul; a wallet, some change, a worn
Bible, a handkerchief of dazzling whiteness and a comb.
"Doesn't look like much," said Buffy doubtfully. "What's in the wallet?"
"Got a name for Sonny Jim. You're robbing the corpse -"
"Identifying the mortal remains of one Saul Thompson, age, umm, 49, who
lived, hey, he lived in the same apartment block as Harris and his bit.
Well, well, the plot thickens."
"It does what? What plot? Have you been watching those British crime
shows on your TV or something?"
Spike looked embarrassed. "Sometimes," he admitted. "Part of my
heritage and all that. Back to my roots you might say."
"Don't make me comment on your roots, Peroxide Boy. Saul Thompson, hmm,
vaguely familiar. No, can't place it. Don't recognise his face though."
Silence fell as they both avoided stating the obvious; they didn't know
what to do with this inconvenient body. It didn't fit into the usual
pattern and they both felt uneasy.
"OK," said Buffy finally. "How about this. We put this stuff back in
his pockets and wipe off our fingerprints. Then we take the body and
leave it at the entrance to the cemetery and call the police
"Make that some place away from the cemetery and I'm with you all the
"This is probably illegal."
"No probably about it but I'm not exactly thinking it's going to stain
my character. You take the feet end."
After their excursion, Buffy went home and Spike, with some
trepidation, returned to the crypt, which didn't seem quite as
welcoming. Knowing that a murderer had been in his home left him with a
vague feeling of being violated somehow. Silly, really, when you
thought about it, he mused. Pacing around and avoiding looking at the
area where the body had lain, Spike slowly became angry. He could have
cared less about some old geezer getting whacked on the head but
someone had made it his problem by their choice of final resting place.
"I'm going to find out who did this," he muttered. "And when I do, I'm
going to make them wish they'd toddled on a few more yards before they
dumped the body."
"You're going to do what?" Buffy said in an agitated whisper,
voice squeaking as she tried to keep the volume down and the intensity
up. "Spike, you can't investigate the murder; we dumped the body just
so we wouldn't get involved. It was only last night; how fried were
Giles gave her a puzzled look as he served the last customer of the
day. Spike had come in and started to spout off some nonsense about
beginning a quest for justice and Buffy had grabbed his arm and hustled
him off to a secluded corner of the shop. Usually she would have rolled
her eyes and suggested Spike left before she staked him. Agitated
whispers were unusual. For once Buffy looked guilty and Spike looked
strangely resolved. Edging a little close, Giles began to eavesdrop and
lip read, two useful Watcher skills. After a minute or two he cleared
his throat and called, "Buffy? Is there something you want to share
with us? Before you're arrested that is?"
Silence fell. At the large round table in the corner, Willow and Tara
glanced up from the books they were studying. Dawn gasped and dropped
the statuette she was dusting. Anya, moving faster than seemed
possible, leapt forward to catch it and after glaring at the teenager,
replaced it on a shelf.
Xander was the only one to actually say anything. "Hey, Giles, if you
know some juicy gossip, share, share, share. That's what friends do,
"Perhaps," Giles replied, still looking rather sternly at Buffy. "Or
perhaps they conspire with people not known for their probity and end
"Less of that!" said Spike indignantly. "We've done nothing wrong.
Quite the contrary."
"'We'?" said Xander. "Since when are you and Buffy a 'we'?"
"Since we found a dead body last night, carpenter boy. Creates a bond
that does. Partners in adversity we were."
Xander sank into a chair and stared at Buffy who was looking oddly
shamefaced. "Finding a body is all part of life's rich pattern when you
patrol, Buff. What's got you all in a tizzy about this one? And why is
chip boy involved?"
Buffy sighed and stalked over to her friends. In a few terse sentences
she gave them a summary of the previous night's events and waited for
"Buffy, you acted recklessly and endangered yourself unnecessarily!"
exploded Giles. "This was nothing to do with you and by helping Spike
you placed yourself at considerable risk."
Buffy stared at the floor for a moment and then faced Giles down.
"Spike didn't do anything wrong, Giles and he's helped us all when we
needed it. If the police had found his crypt, all sorts of questions
would have been asked. Not to mention, Spike would be homeless again."
She let that sentence trail off as the two men in the room who had
suffered Spike as a houseguest realised the implications of her words.
”V-very well, we'll say no more about it, then. No doubt you did what
you thought best at the time," Giles backtracked hastily.
Willow had been paging through the daily newspaper as they talked. She
spoke up, "Says here that a body was found outside the morgue. You left
him at the morgue? How time saving and thoughtful."
Tara giggled then stopped, looking guilty.
Willow read from the paper. "'The man, who has been identified as Saul
Thompson, seemed to have fallen and sustained damage to the skull.
Police have ruled it accidental death and commented on the slipperiness
of the sidewalk in that area with a recommendation that a guide rail be
Giles nodded, adjusting his glasses as he did so. "The Sunnydale police
are so used to overlooking deaths that they seem to have forgotten how
to deal with one that falls under the heading of suspicious rather than
supernatural. Convenient for us, not so for the late Mr Thompson
perhaps. Spike, you say you wish to take this further? Might one ask
why? It seems strangely out of character."
Spike seemed to hesitate for a second or two, as though debating
whether or not to answer with one of his customary quips. Looking Giles
squarely in the eye, he finally said, "Bloke was put in my home. That
makes it my business. Maybe it was a warning to me or something. I want
to know what it was all about. Not saying I'm going to hand the
murderer over necessarily but I want to ask him a few questions. Teach
him some manners maybe."
Giles nodded thoughtfully and gave Spike a look of rare approval. "Just
make sure you don't involve Buffy any further. She has her own duties
to attend to, starting with some training. Come, Buffy."
Giles and Buffy disappeared into the training room at the back of the
shop, Spike watching them leave with a faint look of surprise on his
Xander stood and turned to Anya. "Well, if you're all done here, let's
head on home. Hopefully, a corpse free home."
"I'll come with you," said Spike.
"Umm, no you won't. And why do you want to?" asked Xander.
"Oh, yeah, Buffy left that part out didn't she. Seems the dead guy
lived in your apartment building. First rule of detecting; check out
the corpse's home and interview the neighbours. I'll save you two till
last, expect I'll be parched by then after all that talking. You can
put the kettle on and we can get all cosy."
Spike left with a swagger in his step and a smirk on his face.
Xander and Anya exchanged glances and then turned to Willow.
"Willow, read out more about this man," asked Anya. "Is there a
photograph of him?"
"Yes; not a very good one but you can see his face."
Anya bent over the table and studied the grainy photograph intently.
She straightened up and turned to Xander. "It's him! The one you
threatened last week! He's dead and you said you'd dance on his grave.
Doesn't that make you a suspect?"
As Xander began to bluster, Buffy and Giles stepped out of the shadows.
"Guys," said Buffy. "Now that Spike's gone, there's something I want to
tell you all. I know that man. Never actually met him but I recognised
the name last night. He's the social worker assigned last month to
Dawn. He wrote me a really horrible letter threatening to take Dawn
away if I couldn't prove myself a capable guardian. I was going to tell
"I read the letter," interrupted Dawn. "I could see how worried you
were when you opened it so I snuck after you and saw where you put it.
Does that mean that we're like, suspects too? Cool!"
"Well if you are, so am I," said Giles ruefully. "The chap was one of
those extremely religious types. He's around here a few times, wanted
me to shut down. Said I was peddling the Devil's wares and he had
friends on the Town Council who could close the shop on moral grounds."
Willow and Tara shifted uncomfortably on their seats, then Tara blurted
out, "We hated him. He came to the university and gave out leaflets
telling students that being gay was a mortal sin and promiscuity led
straight to hell."
Willow gulped and avoided Giles' eye as she confessed, "I used a teeny
spell on him and made his trousers fall down. I don't think he saw it
was me, though."
Giles flung up his hands in disbelief. "So, Spike's investigating a
murder and the prime suspects are all of us? That's wonderful!"
Buffy began to laugh but stopped when Giles glared at her. Looking over
at Xander, she asked, "So, what exactly did he do that made you so
Xander shrugged his shoulders. "He lived directly underneath us and
kept complaining about the noise. Guess we were breathing too hard or
something. He grabbed Anya in the corridor and started to give her a
really hard time and -"
"And her young man came
round the corner, grabbed poor Mr Thompson and
gave him such a scolding." The elderly woman peered up at Spike over
the ball of white fluff masquerading as a dog that she held clutched to
her plump chest. "I half thought about calling the police but young Mr
Harris, well he did very kindly catch Lord Fluffkins when he ran away
once and I'm sure it's sweet to see someone defending their, well,
they're not married you know but nowadays that's just so common, isn't
Spike tuned out her drivel, nodding politely at intervals and backed
away slowly. When the door finally closed he rolled his eyes heavenward
(a pointless action if ever there was one) and slouched off to write up
his notes in comfort at a bar.
Breaking into Thompson's apartment had been easy. Once the owner was
dead, Spike could enter with no problems and the lock had been child's
play to force. He had uncovered an interesting haul. In one corner of
the living room, stacked neatly, were some leaflets about the joys of
celibacy and, as a grudging alternative, heterosexual marriage. A table
held some petition sheets to shut down the Magic Box on the grounds
that it contaminated the youth of Sunnydale and promoted Satanism.
Spike pocketed one of the leaflets and the petition sheets.
"Shut down the place I get my weed from, will you?" he muttered.
Moving into an office set up in the spare bedroom, Spike found out a
little more about a man he was on the way to heartily detesting. He had
been married to a woman called Eliza, some twenty years older than him,
who had died last month from cancer. Spike, feeling very thorough,
noted down her details and paused as he recorded her maiden name.
Hartley; why did that sound familiar?
He also noted down where Thompson worked; a letter from his employers
advising him rather too eagerly to take longer compassionate leave had
been answered tersely and negatively. The letter and its reply were
stapled together in a folder marked, naturally, 'work'.
Spike wasn't sure that he could be bothered to break into Social
Services and he didn't see how it was relevant. Then he flashed back to
Buffy's reaction when she found out who the body was. Social Services.
Dawn. Spike changed his mind and decided to check it out. A phone call
the next day would do it; no need to exert himself too much.
Sitting in the bar, reading over his cryptic notes he began to see a
pattern and to suspect a hoax of gigantic proportions. Downing his
drink he went home. If the phone call confirmed it, he was heading
round to the Magic Box to do some damage.
Spike stormed through the streets of Sunnydale, fury on his face and a
righteous anger in his heart. Annoyed, definitely annoyed.
Pushing open the door to the shop he stalked in and found, as he
expected, that the usual crowd was there and that each had a look of
expectancy on their faces. Flipping the door sign over to 'closed',
Spike slammed it behind him and confronted his suspects.
"Whose idea was it to play silly buggers with the gullible vampire
then?" he demanded harshly. It came out with an undercurrent of hurt in
it that gave his listeners, the female ones anyway, a twinge of
"Spike, it's not like that -" Buffy began but he cut her off, raising
his hand to halt her as she came over to him.
"I've looked into this man - and by the way, if anyone ever looked
better dead than alive, he did. Does. Whatever. Anyway, what do I see?
Which familiar faces do I keep bumping up against as suspects?" He
paused, raking them with a scorching glance. "All of you lot, that's
who! So, is this some version of Murder on the Orient Express? Or did
you pay this actor to dress up dead and. - "
His voice trailed off as Willow walked towards him, the previous day's
paper folded to the article about the discovery of the body. He took it
from her, read it quickly and threw it back at her. "So what the hell
is going on here then?" he said flatly.
Buffy walked over to him and, almost without knowing it, touched his
arm gently. "There's no plot, Spike. The man was dead; you know that.
We all found out last night that one way or another we had reason to be
glad he was gone but none of us would have done it; you know that. The
reasons were too trivial."
Spike's eyes warmed from glacial blue to summer sky blue as he absorbed
her words, their sincerity and the concern on her face. "OK," he said
gruffly. "But you’ve got to admit it looked funny."
"Indeed," said Giles thoughtfully. "But if he annoyed all of us so much
and we barely knew him, it stands to reason that he had other enemies.
Spike, in your search of his home did you see anything that would point
Spike thought for a moment but apart from passing on the news that
Thompson didn't seem to have been too popular at work, he could add
"It seems to me," ventured Tara, “that we're starting at the wrong
"What do you mean?" asked Willow, glad to see Tara contributing.
"We need to find out why he was in the cemetery at all and where he was
killed. Spike, can you track back from your crypt - " her voice trailed
off and she flushed as a chorus of approval greeted her words.
"Well, I'm no bloodhound - " "Sounds pretty accurate to me,"
Xander. Spike gave Xander an automatic glare but there was no heat in
it and then continued," - but that should be easy enough. Should've
done that sooner. In fact, I'll do it now."
"Let's all go," suggested Dawn. "We might spot something and we should
get this cleared up fast."
Buffy gave her a suspicious look at this unusual cooperative spirit but
had to agree that a party of eight, though conspicuous, was in little
danger, even in a Sunnydale cemetery.
Once at Spike's crypt, they stood back and let him track alone. He left
the crypt after scanning the area where the corpse had been, looking
eager. While they waited, Dawn began to read the sheaf of notes that
Spike had left on a table. After a while she stood up, a puzzled look
on her face and walked towards the door.
"Dawn! Where are you going?" said Buffy sharply. "You are so not going
out there alone."
"I'm not going anywhere Miss Over Protective. I just want to look at
the door from the other side."
Buffy sighed, wondering if she had given her mother moments like this.
Sometimes talking to Dawn made her feel as if she needed an
interpreter. "It's a door, sweetie," she said patiently. "It's pretty
much the same on both sides."
"But over the door on the outside is written a word. Don't have that on
the inside!" said Dawn triumphantly.
Buffy rolled her eyes and huffed. "What word?"
"Hartley, dummy. And that's important because Mr. Thompson's wife was
called Hartley. It says so in Spike's notes, if any of you can be
bothered to read them."
Dawn stepped back inside and waited for the applause. Instead she got
ignored as an excited babbling broke out. Xander's voice rose over all
the rest as he said, “And that makes Spike a suspect too! I knew it."
"Knew what? And get your feet off that table."
Xander walked over to Spike who stood framed in the doorway. "Look
upwards, Spike," he said gloatingly." We've- " "Hey!" said Dawn
indignantly. "OK, Dawn'sjust discovered why that man was here.
wife just dies, this is her family crypt, he came to check it out, you
found him, knew your cosy little dump was at risk and bang. Killed
Spike shook his head in disbelief and pushed Xander out of his way,
only to cry out in pain as his chip triggered. "And that, you wanker,
is why I'm the only one of all you lot who couldn't have done it," he
said through gritted teeth.
"I forgot that," admitted Xander. "Oh, well, back to the drawing
"Stupid git," muttered Spike, flinging himself into a chair and eying
his guests moodily.
"So, what did you find out there?" said Buffy in an attempt to keep
Spike brightened up and launched into an involved explanation of how
he'd found the spot where the man must have died. It got a bit too long
for Dawn, who wandered off, exploring the shadowy corners of the crypt.
"So, looks like he fell and banged his head on a gravestone about two
minutes walk away," Spike summed up. "Could have been an accident,
could have been pushed. But it wasn't something bashing him on the
head, the way we thought at first."
"That's interesting," said Willow. "It's technically possible to walk
quite far after you've hit your head. You're dying but you don't know
it. He might well have not been murdered after all. Even if that does
mean the Sunnydale police were right."
"Good," said Anya, who was completely bored. "We can all go home now
and Xander and I can enjoy sex without having to worry about the noise
we make. Though the gag was fun."
Just as the investigation seemed to be fizzling out, Dawn made her
second discovery of the night. "Is this yours, Spike? Cos if you don't
want it, I don't mind taking it off your hands." Dawn stood up and
turned towards the group, an ornate necklace dangling from her fingers.
Spike's eyebrows lifted. "Not mine, Niblet. Take it and welcome."
"Let me see that!" said Giles sharply. Hurrying over to Dawn he
examined the necklace carefully but did not touch it. A sick look
crossed his face. "Dawn, " he said quietly. "Put the necklace down.
For a moment it looked as if Dawn would obey. She walked over to a slab
topped tomb and reached out her hand as though to lay down the
necklace. Just as it was about to drop from her fingers, she grabbed it
tightly then yanked it over her head and swirled round. The necklace
began to glow with an eerie greenish light and Dawn's face twisted
"The sacrifice was made and I am here to reward the faithful," she
"What? Giles, what's going on?" Buffy whispered, looking at her
possessed sister in horror.
Giles pushed her behind him and replied. "No time! Stay back."
Facing Dawn he said sternly. "He who summoned you has passed from this
plane. You are commanded to leave in the name of Sagion, your master."
"I cannot leave without rewarding. The sacrifice was made. Who will
take my gift?"
"No one here wants your gift, mate," said Spike, proving that age can
bring wisdom. "So why don't you just push off. I'm getting sick and
tired of all these goings on in my place."
The demon within Dawn howled in fury then quieted suddenly. "He who
sacrificed is not gone," it said. "He is trapped within his
clay and will not be free until all bargains are complete. I will go
and wake him that he might choose his gift."
The glow faded and Dawn collapsed in a heap on the dusty floor, sobbing
hysterically. She tugged frantically at the necklace, pulled it off and
threw it from her. Buffy and Tara ran towards her and the others turned
"Talk to us, Giles," snapped Willow. "I could feel the energy that
thing had and it was pure evil."
"Could you, indeed," murmured Giles, giving her a searching glance.
Taking off his glasses and giving them the ritual polishing that
preceded an announcement he began to talk.
"That demon was held within the necklace. As you may have gathered, our
friend Mr Thompson sacrificed something, someone to it. I can only
suppose it was his wife. It seems strange in view of his lifestyle that
he should know of such dark magicks but no doubt many people accepted
the Mayor's public facade too. In return he would have received the
gift of immortality, in exchange for his soul of course."
There was a small silence and then Anya piped up, "Does this mean we
have to go and kill this immortal, soulless, wife murdering fiend then?
Because, maybe we can just forget it and hope he goes away? No, Giles
is shaking his head so I guess not."
"It will give the gift then kill," said Giles. "The necklace should
have been placed within a pentacle, not left loose. The demon is now
here, in our world and nothing is controlling it. I would not be
surprised if its first victim is not Thompson. Bestowing immortality is
not the same as invulnerability, as Spike knows all too well. The demon
would find it deliciously ironic to give the gift then kill the
Buffy rose from the floor where she had been comforting Dawn. "Then we
have to get over to the morgue and stop it," she said. "Spike, Giles,
Willow, you come with me. Xander, Anya and Tara, go back to the Magic
Box with Dawn and see if you can come up with anything to help us. If
you do, Xander, you come tell us."
There were mutters of protest but Buffy was in full Slayer mode now.
With a final hug for Dawn, she raided Spike's weapons chest, grabbed a
hefty axe and strode out of the crypt. Giles gingerly placed the
necklace within a bag, using a pen to pick it up and headed towards the
"Poirot never had to deal with demons," muttered Spike sulkily as he
followed them, his exciting murder now a boringly normal Sunnydale,
demon related death. Giles snorted with laughter as an image of a bald
Spike with a luxuriant moustache flashed through his mind.
"No, but he had far less competent help than you do, Spike."
"He had a silly ass Englishman, called Hastings, I've got an American
prat called Harris. I think we have more in common than you imagine,"
The morgue was familiar ground to Buffy and she had no problem in
getting in and heading for the place where Mr Thompson's body was most
likely to be found. Of course, it was too much to expect that the demon
wouldn't have got there first.
She pushed open a swing door and peeked around it. "Thought as much,"
she whispered. "One glowy green blob and one re-animated corpse getting
The four dropped back away from the door to consider the best plan.
“Can we put the necklace in a pentacle now?" asked Willow.
"Not unless one of us is wearing it and then that person would get
sucked back to whatever hell dimension the demon comes from," replied
"Ah," said Willow. "That would not be fun. Hey, I had a thought!"
The doors swung open and Buffy and Willow walked in. "Hello again,
green blob," said Buffy cheerfully. "Don't let us interrupt your
twisted version of Christmas. No, second thought, let's do exactly
Swinging the axe, she charged at the two figures, only to be halted by
an invisible barrier. The body of Saul Thompson turned and glared at
her. "What business is this of yours, girl?" he demanded.
"Strictly speaking none when you were just dead but don't worry,
walking corpses are my specialty. Vampires mostly but I'm broad minded
and I don't work to rule."
Thompson gave an impatient hiss. "If you know what's good for you,
Miss, you'll high tail it out of here. I haven't gone to all this
trouble to have it spoiled by the likes of you. It was bad enough
falling and hitting my head but that was just a minor setback. I will
be immortal, I will finally have some fun and I will -
"Die about two minutes from now," interrupted Willow. 'The demon is
unrestrained and once the geas of the gift is broken, he'll go wild.
Starting with you."
Frustration and rage struggled for supremacy. "I died before setting up
the pentacle, didn't I? I was so surprised to find the crypt was being
used. I called out for help but there was no one there."
"Why did you fall?" asked Willow curiously. "Did someone push you?"
"No, I was getting used to this body and I tripped up," Thompson
Buffy and Willow exchanged glances. "When you say, 'getting used to’
you mean -?" Buffy asked tentatively.
The figure laughed. "So you didn't work that out then?"
"You're Eliza, not Saul?" asked Willow.
"You got it witch girl. Oh, yes, I can tell. I'm one myself so I know.
It's why I could swap bodies and then do the sacrifice. I wasn't
spending eternity as a woman, not after being treated as second class
and bullied all my life."
Buffy sneaked a look at the green demon. It hung patiently, waiting to
bestow its gift, happy to have finally found the right person. "I
wouldn't have thought Saul would approve of a wife who was a witch,"
"Ha!" replied Eliza. "No more he did. Why do you think he was so dead
against that Magic Box place where I got all my supplies? But I only
became a witch last year. I was all set to have some revenge when I
found out about the cancer. I changed my plans, pretended to give it
all up, then hit him with the transfer spell and killed him. Come the
next full moon, I was all set to take my gift."
"Why did you go to your family crypt to do it?" asked Willow, still
trying to buy time for Spike and Giles.
"Sentimental reasons, mostly. It was quiet, at least I assumed it would
be and I planned to put my old body in it. The ashes anyway. I got sick
of them being on the mantlepiece. And that's enough talking. I don't
know what your friends are doing out there but I want my Gift."
With the last words she whirled round and plunged within the green
glow. Buffy ran for the door and yanked it open. Spike threw her the
bag with the necklace in and she tipped the necklace out onto the
floor. Picking it up with the bag she ran to the merged figures and
dropped it over Eliza's head. The glow began to intensify and then
"I am immortal" grated the body, staring with blank, green eyes at the
girls. "I am hungry."
It reached out to them and they swiftly moved back into the corridor,
luring the demon into their trap. The demon followed, blindly clawing
out at them and walked into an incomplete pentacle, halting as they
did. Spike came out of the shadows and completed the pentacle as Giles
distracted the demon by a rather wild arm waving.
As soon as the pentacle closed, he and Willow moved forwards and linked
hands. "A simple banishing spell should suffice," said Giles."Do
you know the one that starts, 'Begone, foul spirit, I thee abjure'?"
"Like the back of my hand. On the count of three..."
"So, Saul, Eliza whoever got possessed just like Dawn did?" asked Anya.
"Yes and once the demon was where he should have been, within the
pentacle, it was simple to banish the pair of them."
"So where did the necklace come from in the first place?" asked Dawn.
"I imagine that the demon's master, Sagion, who gains the power of each
sacrifice, places the necklace where the unwary can pick it up or the
knowledgeable use it."
Dawn shivered. “So, is it quite common then? Magic jewelry?”
"Oh, yes. Very traditional. It appeals to greedy mortals, you see.
"No reason," said Dawn, vowing to spring clean when she got home.
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