By Devil Piglet
Disclaimer: All characters of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ are used without permission.
Author’s Notes: This is set post-‘Hell’s Bells’, and while it overlaps some themes of ‘Normal Again’, for my purposes, that events in that episode haven’t occurred.
Feedback: This is my first story posted to fanfiction.net. I’d appreciate reviews: firstname.lastname@example.org
Part 4: Sleeping
Spike dashed into the motel room, kicking the door shut behind him. He shook himself lightly, a reflexive action anytime he got more solar action than he was used to. He rubbed his eyes, gritty with lack of rest, and studied Dawn.
She stood uncertainly in the center of the room, backpack hanging forlornly from a single shoulder. He wanted to go to her, whisper soothingly that everything was going to be okay.
He didn’t know where to begin.
“You must be knackered,” he said at last. “Why don’t you wash up,” he gestured to the bathroom, “and then have a lie-down. We’ve made good time, we can stay here for a while.”
“What about you?”
He laughed humorlessly. “Was thinking I might do the same thing myself.” They’d been driving for two days. He’d purposefully waited to stop, until sheer exhaustion would force them both into slumber. It seemed to have worked – the thoughts of Buffy that plagued him ceaselessly had retreated momentarily.
Dawn nodded, her back still to him, and entered the bathroom. The door clicked shut softly. He sank down on one of the room’s two twin beds, fully intending to change his clothes, get under the covers. Or at least take off his shoes.
But when Dawn emerged from the bathroom she could see that he was sleeping. He did not fall into the deep, rhythmic breathing that living people did, she noted, but his very stillness was its own indication.
She looked at the other bed, tidily made despite the ratty blankets that covered it. It was empty and inviting, and surely Spike would hog the pillow and accidentally elbow her and dream about gross stuff, like winning a lifetime’s supply of blood from The Vampire’s Clearinghouse.
She gently but forcefully nudged him over, until there was enough space for her to lie down. He grunted and opened his eyes, but didn’t say anything as she settled herself next to him. She curled up on her side, and soon fell into blessed unconsciousness.
Willow set the phone down with a strength that was probably unwarranted. Xander, splayed out across the foot of her hospital bed, noted the appearance of her resolve face. Wonderful.
“Giles says that Dawn’s safe, and that she’s with Spike.”
“That’s an oxymoron,” Xander broke in sourly.
“And, he says he doesn’t know where they are or where they’re headed.”
Xander snorted. “Figures. How much help is he supposed to be, off in merry olde England? He should never have left.” Inadequate pain medication and the inability to perform the simplest of tasks with his useless arms were making Xander cranky. He knew he was being self-centered, knew that Willow must be wracked with worry over Tara and that Giles was mourning Buffy as a father would a daughter. But until he got hooked up to a Demerol drip, the rest of the world could just go to hell.
If Buffy was lost to them, how much better did they deserve?
“He’s been trying to reach Angel, but there’s no answer,” Willow was saying. “And as for Buffy…” Willow’s resolve face wavered, just a bit. “No one’s seen her since last night. She attacked Dawn, but Spike intervened. Or something. Then she disappeared.”
“Are you sure Spike didn’t just take off with her? I can’t see him passing up an opportunity to do a Bonnie and Clyde with the girl he’s been perving after for a year and a half.”
“I’m not sure of anything,” Willow said pointedly. “Except that Spike wouldn’t hurt Dawn.” I don’t think.
“So he just let her walk out the door, in all her newly homicidal glory?”
“We’re hardly in a position to throw stones, Xander.”
He grunted, examined the hem of his nubby bathrobe and wished for the thousandth time today that this was all a bad dream.
This is like a bad dream, Spike thought.
He was slumped against the wall of their motel room, eyes on the window, the door and the sleeping Dawn.
Giles filled him in briefly on Slayer lore. Until recently, Spike had only been interested in Slayers as potential trophy kills. Now he was learning more about them than he ever wanted to know.
“No new Slayer has been called,” Giles informed him.
. Spike took a long drag off his cigarette and tried to pay attention. After a while, all these arcane facts took on a sheen of similarity.
“Right,” he’d answered. “But isn’t there another one out there already? This Faith chit? Maybe that’s why nobody else got Chosen up. Y’know, Rupe. Heir and a spare.” He smiled grimly. The Slayers: their own little royal family.
“Faith is a Slayer, yes, despite her incarceration for the foreseeable future. But Buffy’s line remains intact.”
“How come no new Slayer came to Sunnyhell when Buffy died, then?” Spike didn’t really care, to be honest.
Giles sighed. His exasperation crackled over the line, but he he spoke again his voice was patient. “When one Slayer died, another is Chosen. That will never change. But the Council of Watchers, among their many other duties, also has discretion to not seek out the Chosen One. For reasons they did not share with me, they were satisfied with Faith as the sole Slayer. Regardless of what the Council decided, however, I would be aware if Buffy’s –“ he coughed suddenly, “Buffy’s death triggered a new Slayer. As I said earlier, no new Slayer has been called. Buffy is still alive.”
“Fine, then.” Spike ground out the cigarette. “Do you propose we just sit around and wait ‘til we see her on the evening news?”
“I know this is difficult, particularly for a man of your…impulsive nature. But pursuing Buffy now would only endanger you, and consequently, Dawn. We’ve been able to track her movements roughly, and they indicate that she is able and traveling independently. You understand that we are in a delicate position – we might have more success using the Council’s resources, but they have already proven that they have no compunction about putting down a rogue Slayer. And Buffy…Buffy was never one of their favorites.”
Spike already knew all this, knew that he was doing the right thing. It sucked. No wonder he never developed a taste for it.
“I’m not going to stay away forever, Watcher.”
Continued in Part 5: Dreaming