Spike couldn’t sleep that night. Not just the burn, for it was already healing nicely, but a certain… feeling. Just something in his gut that wouldn’t go away. A feeling that someone, someone he had a link to, wasn’t *there* anymore. He couldn’t figure it out. All the Scoobies were accounted for. Safe and sound, but…
The wolf pack. Something had happened.
Carefully, he got up, moving from his place at Buffy’s side, and walked out of the cave. Once he was outside, he climbed up one of the higher foothills surrounding the volcano, sat down, took a deep breath, threw his head back, and let out a long, loud howl.
He cocked his head, listening. No answer. He tried again.
“Ow ow ow ow ow OOOWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
His ears perked up as he heard a, very distant, answering sound.
“..ooooowwwwwooooooooooo!!!” Beauty. That had to be Beauty.
He deliberately focused his thoughts, sending them along with his next howl, hoping that the wolf would get the message. “*Is everyone alright? No pack members lost in the firestorm?*”
He closed his eyes, focusing, trying to pick up on the wolf’s instincts for understanding it’s own species calls. To his surprise, it worked, and he made out the gist of the message Beauty sent back. “*Incomplete. Not from fire-mountain. Two-leggeds… took pups.. Little Will…*”
Spike froze. His wolf’s son, Little Will, captured by… Two-leggeds? Human? No. Probably Neanderthals. Perfect. He howled back, “*Where did they take him?*”
“*Pack campsite… four days travel from fire-mountain.. Can not go to him…*”
“*Two-leggeds, dangerous. Use us for hunt… hurt adults… only pups…*”
So that was it. The Neanderthals took Dire Wolf pups, and trained them for hunting. Well, that was it. He’d have to get his son back. He wouldn’t let the wolf’s family be broken up because of him. The pack wouldn’t even BE where they were, if Beauty hadn’t coaxed them to follow him. This was his fault, and he WOULD make it right… somehow. He communicated this back to Beauty, and spent the next few minutes trying to reassure her that he wouldn’t be hurt. Then they… ‘hung up the phone’, for want of a better term.
He got up slowly, moving on almost silent paws back into the group’s cave, settling back down next to Buffy. He’d have to do something about this. Gave a yawn. First thing in the morning.
“Wait a minute. You want us to what?”
Spike sighed. “For the fourth time. The son of my wolf’s body has been captured by Neanderthals. If it weren’t for us bein’ here, it wouldn’t have happened. So I am going to get him back.”
Buffy cocked her head. “No.”
Spike looked at his girlfriend. “What? Buffy, I have to. It’s my-”
She moved close to him and held up a paw to silence him. “I meant no, you’re not going to get him back.” She motioned to the rest of the group. “*WE* are going to get him back with you.”
Spike blinked, and looked around, surprised to see all the other assembled animals nodding slowly. He gave the wolf version of a smile, and a soft chuckle. “Well. What brought this on?”
Dawn trotted over and tapped his paw. “Remember when we all went to see Lilo & Stitch?”
Spike cocked his head down at her. “Yeah. Funny movie, Bit, but I don’t see why you’re bringin’ it up now.”
She gave a mini-Smilodon smile and quoted, “Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind..”
“Or forgotten,” Buffy finished, bumping her little sister with her snout before nuzzling Spike. “No one. And Little Will is your wolf’s family.”
Giles nodded his huge head. “Quite right. We won’t let the little guy stay a prisoner for long.” He touched Spike’s back gently with his trunk, ruffling the fur a little. “We have a puppy to save.”
Xander grinned. “We’re off to save the puppy!”, he sang, to the tune of The Wizard of Oz.
“STOP!”, Spike and Buffy said at once, then looked at each other and laughed. Buffy walked over to Xander and gave him a gentle swat with one frying pan sized paw, claws carefully retracted. “Don’t quote that movie. The last time someone quoted that movie, we wound up living a twisted version of it. Or, at least, I did… and it was a dream, but still.”
Willow cocked her head. “You had a dream about the Wizard of Oz?”
Spike chuckled. “S’long story, Red. No need to go into it now.”
“She told you about it, but didn’t tell us?”, Tara asked.
Spike gave a shrug. “Well, she had to. When someone wakes up screamin’ next to you, you tend to- OOF!”
Buffy had pounced the wolf. “And stop right there, thank you very much.” She let him up, shaking her head. “We need to have a talk about privacy, Spike.”
He shook himself and gave a playful growl. “Wasn’t gonna say anythin’ else, pet. Honestly.”
“Right. And I’m Minnie Mouse.”
“Oh.. fire. That’s gonna be a problem…”, Xander muttered.
They were all up on a small hill, over looking the Neanderthal’s encampment. The hominids were very well organized, and had several cage like things spaced around the camp, some holding Dire Wolf puppies, some holding Protohippus (perhaps for food, or maybe to ride, it wasn’t clear), and an enclosure that seemed full of…
“Dear lord… Those are Mammoth bones..,” Giles said quietly, absently touching his own tusks with his trunk. “Do you think they hunt Mammoths?”
Spike shrugged. “If the paleontological evidence is correct, they MIGHT have hunted. But it’s far more likely that they just scavenge.” He eyed the bone pile. “Still, that is an awful lot for just scavengin’…”
Xander shifted on his paws nervously. “Okay, so… how do we do this?”
Buffy crouched next to Spike. “Hope you’ve got a plan, Spike… Cause, at the moment, I’m to angry to have one.” She growled softly in punctuation.
Spike nodded slowly. “Ever seen The Lost World: Jurassic Park?”
There were nods and sounds of agreement all around.
Spike grinned. “We’re trashin’ the camp. Break the cages, the pups AND the Protos. Anya, you and Rupert can take care of that part. Then us predators’ll go down there and make sure that these human wannabe’s know who the TOP carnivores are on this plain. We’re not gonna hurt any of ’em, got it? No injuries allowed. And don’t trash anything to the point where they can’t rebuild it. We can’t mess with history any more than necessary.”
“What if they have spears?”, Dawn asked quietly from her perch on Giles’ back.
Spike sighed. “We do somethin’ I’m pretty good at. Avoid the pointy end.”
That got a small nervous laugh from the assembled animals. Once they had quieted, Giles said. “When do we go?”
Spike growled softly. “Sundown. We can see better in the dark than they can. It’ll give us the element of surprise. Maybe we can release the captives without havin’ to trash the entire settlement.”
Giles nodded. “Sounds good. Everyone? Let’s all go rest until sundown. We’ll need our strength.”
As the others turned to walk away, Spike took one last look down at the encampment. “Don’t worry, little mate,” he said quietly. “I’m comin’ for you.”