Shades of Gray
Rating: NC17 (overall); most chapters are PG13
Summary: Seeking retribution for wrongful imprisonment, Spike Blake and his friends devise a plan in an attempt to receive monetary compensation from a very wealthy man. When they kidnap Buffy Summers, their plans immediately start to fall through. And when feelings begin to change, both Buffy and Spike realize that maybe the gray area isn’t such a bad place to be.
Chapter 1 – Woman’s Worth
“Buffy, are you sure you don’t want me to walk with you?”
“Willow, I told you,” Buffy said with a bright smile, trying to put her friend at ease. “I’ll be fine. I’m just going to the library. It’s not like there are strange men hiding in the bushes, waiting to jump out at me.”
“Maybe not, but it’s dark, and I’d feel better if you don’t go alone.”
“And I’m not going to make you sit there and wait while I try and find everything for this paper. It’s not a big deal, Wills. Go home and get some rest and I’ll call you in the morning.”
With a heavy sigh, the redhead finally nodded her acceptance causing Buffy’s formerly fake smile to turn genuine. “Okay. Good luck on your paper.”
“Thanks,” Buffy replied, waving her friend away as she walked in the opposite direction.
‘Okay,’ she thought, clutching at the strap of her book-bag as if it was going to fend off every creature of the night that crossed her path. ‘Now it’s time for the fun trip down the dimly lit path to sit for hours in the stuffy library and inhale God only knows what.’
Following the dimly lit path, she nervously glanced over her shoulder. What she had told Willow was true- it would be ridiculous for her to make her friend wait while she finished a paper. But a nineteen-year-old girl, walking alone on a nearly deserted college campus, didn’t make her feel much better.
Shrugging off the uncomfortable feeling that was slowly creeping up her spine, Buffy continued toward the library, refusing to be one of those paranoid girls who looked over their shoulder with every rustle of the wind in the trees or when twigs snap. Even if said twig sounded like a gunshot going off in the silence. She wasn’t the ditzy blonde type. Not anymore, anyway.
Nearly coming to a stop a moment later, Buffy got the distinct impression that she was being watched. ‘Stop it. You’re not scared of weird noises. Little Buffy has grown up… Okay, that was definitely something.’
She didn’t want to look over her shoulder. Images popped into her head in a split second and it seemed as if every single killer from every single horror movie flashed through her mind. It didn’t help to ease her slight panic.
‘But it’s better to look over my shoulder and see the psychotic killer before he’s about to attack me, right?’ she asked herself, slowing down slightly. ‘I mean, there’s always that fateful moment when they like to play with their prey, and that’s when you run up to them and kick them in the balls. Okay, running up to a killer wouldn’t be the wisest thing.’
Finally taking a deep breath, she hesitantly looked around, unable to resist the strong urge to look over her shoulder. Scanning the shadows for a moment, she sighed, shaking her head slightly.
“Stop being paranoid, Summers,” she muttered to herself, turning around to continue walking toward the library… and nearly screaming when she collided with a strong chest.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the man said with a friendly smile, grasping her shoulders to keep her upright. “I was just wondering if you could help me.”
“Um… yeah… sure,” Buffy replied, uneasily trying to step away from him, craving the distance she had a moment ago. ‘Deranged mental patient, psycho stalker, or lost frat boy?’
“I was wondering if you could tell me where White Hall is?”
“White Hall?” she repeated, looking at him with a skeptical expression. “There’s not a White Hall on campus.”
“No wonder I can’t find it,” he said with a friendly smile that Buffy immediately didn’t trust. Friendly smiles belonged to distrustful people. There was never any genuine warmth to them.
“Yeah, well… sorry I couldn’t help,” she said, making a move to walk around him. Jumping slightly when he blocked her path, Buffy took a deep breath. “I really need to go now.”
“I know you, don’t I?” he asked, tilting his head to study her, still keeping the easy smile on his face.
“I don’t think so.”
“Buffy?” he said, snapping his fingers as if he just remembered her name. “Buffy Summers?”
“H-how do y-”
Every nerve ending in her body seemed to explode at the same time, screaming ‘danger’ in flashing neon letters. Buffy wasn’t aware of anything as he forcefully pressed a soaked cloth to her mouth, nearly smothering her. All self-defense moves that she’d ever learned seemed to fly out the window, and the sound of her own muffled scream filled her ears.
Everything soon became foggy, and that unfocused area when she knew she should be terrified surfaced for a moment as she clawed at his arm, feeling the blood that her nails had drawn as it flowed down his arm. All at once, everything seemed to close in around her as the fight slowly drained out of her body, leaving Buffy in a hazy, dark area where she didn’t know to be afraid.
* * * * *
Feeling a sudden jolt, Buffy fought to open her eyes, trying not to panic as the memories assaulted her. She felt sluggish as she tried to move her arms from the uncomfortable position, becoming more aware of what was happening when she was lifted into a pair of strong arms and carried toward a building.
Trying to get her eyes to focus, she blearily looked around, seeing that they were walking into an old house, surrounded by trees.
“Sorry I had to knock you out,” the man said with a shrug as he carried her up the steps of the front porch, not sounding apologetic at all. “I didn’t think you’d want to do this willingly and… well, it wouldn’t do us any good if you knew how to get away.”
“Let go of me,” Buffy said groggily, weakly pushing at his chest. “What are you doing?”
“Can’t let you go,” he said in an indifferent expression. “You’re worth a little too much right now.”
‘Worth?’ Buffy thought to herself, trying to see what was happening as they walked through the door, cursing herself for not being able to understand as she fought through the fog that seemed to have settled around her brain. ‘Worth is definitely not a good word,’ she thought. ‘I’m not worth anything. Well, I’m worth something, but monetary value? Not so much. Damn it, why can’t I focus on anything? It’s like a fog has settled around my brain.’
“What the hell did you do to me?” she asked, slowly regaining enough control to realize that her hands were bound tightly with a rope.
“Just some chloroform. No permanent damage to that pretty face of yours.”
The last thing Buffy wanted was to get a compliment from her kidnapper. Gritting her teeth, she began thrashing around in his arms, doing what she could to cause as much damage to the man as possible. “Let me go!”
“Whoa, what’s the deal with breaking the sound barrier?”
Turning toward the new voice as they entered the house, Buffy looked at the other man, suddenly feeling a tremor of fear go through her. The man looked friendly enough, but that didn’t mean anything, since he obviously wasn’t coming to help her. And now the odds were two against one.
“Can’t help it, Gunn. She’s not exactly too happy with her new role.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Buffy asked as he dropped her on the floor in an undignified heap. Wincing at the sudden change, she quickly pushed herself off the floor and didn’t give herself a chance to think as the pointed toe of her boot slammed into her kidnapper’s knee, sending him falling to the floor.
Screaming in frustration when the other man grabbed her from behind, she thrashed in his arms, desperate to get free.
“What the <i>hell</i> is going on?!”
The power and force of the voice caused Buffy to briefly stop moving before she renewed her struggle, trying not to let the fear overwhelm her at the fact that there were now three men in the room.
“Can’t help it,” Gunn said through gritted teeth, gesturing to his friend who was slowly getting to his feet with an angry expression on his face. “She already took out Angel- you try and handle her.”
“Angel?” Buffy repeated, still struggling as she looked smugly at the man on the floor. “Girly name, much?” she said, trying not to let her fear show.
Seeing the blonde walk toward her, Buffy jerked hard against the man, trying to free her arms as the other man came to stand in front of her, nearly pressing his body against hers, looking at her with a mixture of emotions.
“Personal space,” she spat out hatefully. “You should really look into the concept.”
“So this is her,” he said in a drawn-out British accent, ignoring her previous statement, and looking as if he was studying her.
Gritting her teeth when he openly appraised her before a slow smile spread on his lips, Buffy desperately wished for her hands to be free, having the sudden and intense desire to give him a broken nose.
Gasping when she felt herself propelled forward, Buffy renewed her fight to get free, nearly groaning when his arms wrapped around her and lifted her off the ground.
“Get the hell off me, you son of a-”
Her muffled voice traveled through the air as his hand clamped over her mouth, making it clear to everyone what she was saying before a cry of pain sounded in the large room.
Dropping her to the floor and clutching his bleeding hand to his chest, Buffy turned around to see the damage her teeth had inflicted before setting her jaw when the remaining men each grabbed an arm.
“What the hell do you want?” she cried, her rage outweighing her fear as she looked at the blonde, leveling him with an intense stare.
“You stupid bint,” he growled.
“Get off me! Do you have any idea what you’re doing? Let me go!”
Taking a step forward, the man clenched his jaw as he looked in her eyes. “Shut…up.”
Narrowing her eyes as she studied him, Buffy tilted her head to the side, feeling nothing but hatred course through her. “Fuck…off.”
Gasping in surprise when she felt her upper body propelled to the side, she glared as she was pulled upright, looking at the man who had just slapped her. Tightening her jaw when she saw the smirk on his face, she refused to let him think he’d hurt her. It did little more than sting, but she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that it bothered her.
“Care to say that again, princess?” he asked in a threatening tone.
“No,” she said, her eyes sparking with repressed anger. “But I stick to my original statement.”
Suppressing the smile at her insolence, he turned his focus to Angel. “Any problems, mate?”
“None at all.”
All eyes turned to Buffy as she snorted, shaking her head at the situation.
“Care to say something, blondie?”
“You’re one to talk, Captain Peroxide,” she muttered, rolling her eyes when she saw his jaw tighten. “Fine. Yeah, I’ve got something to say. If you’re going to kidnap someone, or more accurately- send someone else to do it- you might want the lunkhead to know what he’s doing.”
Feeling her kidnapper’s hold on her tighten, she shot a glare over at him.
“Got you here, didn’t it?” he asked.
“And let me ask you… <i>Angel</i>, was it?” she asked, sarcasm lacing her voice. “Was the ‘White Hall’ reference planned?”
“White Hall?” the blonde muttered, looking at his friend before rolling his eyes. “Bloody hell, you can’t even remember Westin Hall?”
“What’s the big deal? I got her here, didn’t I?”
“The only reason you got me here was because you said my name.”
Rolling his eyes in frustration, Buffy watched as the blonde grabbed her arm and began dragging her toward a staircase. Her eyes widened when she saw where they were going.
‘Oh God, this can’t be happening.’
“No,” she cried, desperately trying to pull away from his strong grip.
“Relax, Goldilocks. Not gonna hurt you, just taking you up to your room.”
“I don’t want a room,” she said, still trying to pull away from him and feeling her skin bruising as his hold tightened. “You can’t keep me here! What the hell do you want?”
“Money,” he said lightly.
“I don’t have any money!”
“Beg to differ, Princess,” he said, turning a corner at the top of the stairs and leading her toward a door at the end of the hall. “And we’re going to find out how much you’re worth.”