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: email@example.com.
Part 8: Busy Child
“Draw her out, Spike. Engage her, by whatever means necessary. The more focused she is on external factors – you, in this case – rather than herself, the greater the chance that the true Buffy will be able to reassert control over the body.”
Spike paced the lounge of the hotel room and glanced over once more to make sure the door to the bedroom was indeed shut tightly. “Yeah? And then what, pray tell?”
There was a strained silence. “I don’t know. Subdue her if possible. What little I’ve been able to uncover indicates that Buffy’s disturbance can be reversed by whoever initiated it. One of the gentlemen from the airport, I’ll wager. For the sake of all that’s holy, Spike, control yourself. We don’t know the ringleader, nor do we know how to counteract --”
“Right, right. Play nice, don’t have a bash at ‘em. Looked human, anyways. No fun to be had there.”
“Once we have the information we need, I’ll happily join you in giving them their comeuppance,” Giles said. The coldness of his voice took Spike aback. So it’s Ripper now, is it?
“Fair enough. Cheers, mate.” Despite the morbidity of the subject matter, it was as convivial a discussion as he’d ever had with the Watcher. He hung up and slid the door to the bedroom open, lingering for a moment at the entryway.
Dawn lay on the king-sized bed, happily scanning television channels. “Can I get pay-per-view?” she asked.
He’d conferred with Giles; now it was hell-raising time. The trail from LAX had led them to downtown Los Angeles. Other sources – Spike’s sources – had pointed him to a local Fyarl that had had a run-in with ‘a #@!% bad-ass human chick’, and barely lived to tell about it.
She was nearby. Spike could feel it in his bones; that strange tingling they sent up that used to say Slayer! and now said Buffy!
He couldn’t tell Dawn, though. Wouldn’t. If it didn’t pan out, or worse, ended badly, he didn’t want her to know.
“Cool.” She frowned. “Spice? Why would they make you pay for a cooking channel?”
Spike stepped fully inside and grabbed the remote control. “No pay-per-view.” He looked around the hotel room again, adjusted his duster for perhaps the fiftieth time that evening. He was edgy, nervous. He hadn’t left Dawn alone like this since they’d been on the run. Quick trips to the store or to assuage his appetite, no more than twenty minutes gone. Tonight was different. Tonight, if all went well, he’d be returning with her sister.
“So, ah, just gonna hook up with some buddies of mine, see if I can’t get a line on Buffy’s whereabouts. Maybe have a bit of a night out with the lads. You understand, yeah?”
“Uh-huh.” Dawn was skimming the room service menu. Spike relaxed marginally. Kid was so glad to have some time to herself, he realized, she wouldn’t care if he was going out to feed on a school bus full of Girl Scouts. He’d arranged for a few of Clem’s cousins to case the hotel entrances, make sure Dawn didn’t have any unwelcome visitors.
“Right, then. Here’s some cash,” Spike tossed the money on the bed and grinned when she scrambled to retrieve it, “order yourself up some room service. Burgers and chips, maybe an ice cream sundae. Sound good?”
“You ask for the name of the person who’ll be delivering the food when you order, and then you ask again before you open the door. Don’t answer the phone. If I’m not back by midnight, put yourself to bed. Remember –“
She was going to be fine, Spike assured himself. Quit acting like an enormous nancy-boy and get on with it. “See you in a bit, Bit.” Before he knew what he was doing, he bent and kissed the top of her head, hesitating there for the briefest moment. Yes, welcome to Nancy-Boy Land.
Half an hour later, he had the Fyarl – who went by the name of Marti – pinned against a graffiti-laden wall in the heart of Skid Row. “Everything,” Spike gritted out. “Tell me what you know.”
“Crazy bitch, man! She kicked my ass six ways from Sunday and left me for dead. She was with a bunch of guys – humans, too – but they just watched. She was there on orders, I’m sure of it.”
“Orders from who?”
The Fyarl shrugged; it was a disconcerting sight. “Don’t know. I swear!” he squawked, as Spike delved deeper into his internal organs. “I owe money around town. Coulda been anybody.”
“Where do I find her now?”
“There’s a club they say she hangs out at. The Mayan. I don’t go by there anymore, so I dunno –" His last words were lost in a gurgle, as Spike gave his innards a last, vicious twist before dropping him to the garbage-strewn ground.
The Mayan was less than a mile away. Spike parked around the corner and was inside within minutes. If he’d learned nothing else over of the last hundred years, Spike knew how to get into clubs. As he exchanged nods with the bouncer and entered the pulsing, strobe-lit structure, he began to feel some of his old confidence return. He knew this scene, knew these people. He might not have the slightest idea how to properly feed and clothe a fifteen-year-old girl, but here, swallowed up by the nightlife, Spike was, well, Spike.
He liked this place, he mused as he walked through the club. A 1920s converted theatre with a Latin theme, its four levels were packed with nubile young people, laughing and drinking and loving as if this night would be their last. What a blast he could have had here just a few years ago.
He sat at the bar. And waited. While the last few weeks had been filled with uncertainty and speculation and doubt, he felt none of that now. She would show herself here, tonight. The Fyarl had been a little too helpful, his sources a little too forthcoming. This was Buffy’s way of extending an invitation.
How the flash of movement caught his eye, he couldn’t say. After all, the entire dance floor was a mass of swaying, pulsating bodies. But hers stood out, as always. Her dancing wasn’t frenzied, but langorous, sensual. She wore painted-on black pants and a tiny, strappy top that matched her flesh perfectly, making him remember the nights she had sprawled out in his crypt, naked and debauched.
When he first laid eyes on Buffy she’d been dancing. She’d been a child then – Dawn’s age, he realized. Carrying on with her friends, carefree and smiling and full of hope for the future. He had thought nothing of snuffing that hope out, leaving her friends adrift, family bereft.
Was it himself or Buffy, Spike wondered, who had changed more in the years since?
She was alone on one of the platforms near the stage and he simply watched her, until she finally climbed down and made her way across the floor. He tossed some bills on the bar and followed.
She pirouetted down to the lower level, where a pounding hip-hop beat made him grimace. He lost her momentarily as she was swallowed up in the blackness of an unlit, unused corridor. He reached the end – bathrooms in disrepair – and stopped.
Then she slammed him against a wall, and smiled. “Hey, baby.”
He smiled right back. “There’s my girl.”
“I knew you’d come for me.” She leaned in, nipped his bottom lip lightly with her teeth. “One way or another.”
Double entendre Buffy. Who would have thought? Oh, he’d forgotten how heady her presence could be. His control was slipping already, and all she’d done was slap him around a bit. Focus.
“What have you been up to, sweet?” He tried to keep his tone genial.
“Oh, this and that.” She finally backed up, releasing him, and he slumped against the wall, the very picture of carelessness.
“Kicking demon ass all over town, I hear.”
She preened. “Well, I am the Chosen One, aren’t I? This time, somebody chose to reward me for my troubles.”
“I can see the ocean from my new apartment. I always wanted to live somewhere like that.” She giggled a little.
“I’ll close the drapes when you come over. And those curvy new BMWs? He got me one. My boss. With bags and bags of clothes in the backseat. From Fred Segal and Neiman’s.”
This would certainly rock Giles. The Slayer had been bought off with brand names and picture windows.
“Tell me about him. Your boss.” He risked a playful nuzzle at her, and she arched eagerly.
“He’s rich. And boring. And he doesn’t care what I do, as long as I take care of problems for him.”
“What kind of problems?”
But she was past that. “Spike…”
“He can get your chip out.”
Spike went still, inside and out. Her words echoed in his head, teasing, beckoning as he stared at her. Then thoughts came, too quickly, one after another until his brain was simply a blur of blood and sex and freedom: I’ll take her away from her, far away -- Won’t let her hurt the little one -- Show her the country – show her the world -- Kiss and kill and shag for nights, years, centuries – I’ll turn her, that’s what I’ll do -- She’ll want me to and we’ll be together forever, better than it’s ever been, we’ll finally fit, it’ll be bloody fucking fantastic…
She was pressed up against him, her lithe little body flushed from dancing, pulse throbbing like a siren’s call. His arms came around her without conscious intent and he found himself holding her even closer. Her eyes twinkled.
“I missed you,” she murmured, standing on tiptoe so that her lips brushed his ear.
“Did you, now?” His hands moved down, to grip her ass until her crotch rubbed blissfully, agonizingly against his. So hot, he thought dimly.
“You shouldn’t have run off,” she chided him. “I was all alone at night, thinking about you. About what we did together. I had to touch myself, Spike, but it wasn’t the same.”
“Poor baby,” he said hoarsely. He was supposed to be doing something, wasn’t he? Besides dry-humping the Slayer in the bowels of a nightclub. There was a plan. Yes. He had a plan –
“Oh, fuck, Buffy.” She had her hand between them now, palm cupping his jeans, where his cock was prodding insistently.
“Did you touch yourself too? Thinking of me?”
A strangled laugh escaped him. “With bite-size in the next bed? Not likely, pet.”
“Where is she? Your little charity case?” A petulant note had entered Buffy’s voice.
“Safe. I thought you and I deserved some time alone.”
She bucked up against him and he grabbed her up entirely, so that she was wrapped around him. Arms and legs and hot moist cunt.
“God, you’re so hard,” she was whispering. “And you’ve been saving it all up for me.”
“I guess I have.”
She had latched on to his throat now, kissing him there while his hands tightened around her. God, it had been so long, and he’d been so sure she’d never come to him again like this. And he knew it wasn’t his Buffy, knew that this was someone – something – else but it didn’t matter anymore. Because she looked and smelled and tasted like his Buffy. Right now the only difference was that she wasn’t telling he was disgusting, perverted, a thing she could never love. Yeah, this Buffy was close enough.
She was moaning, her tiny broken mewls vibrating along the tightly corded muscles of his neck. Her hand massaged him through the denim, and all the while she crooned her desire for him, only for him. He clenched his eyes shut, let his head fall back to the scarred wall behind him. Paradise, after so long in limbo.
And it occurred to him, suddenly: he could love this Buffy.
He turned them, so that she was pressed against the wall now. “Show me,” Spike commanded. “Show me how much you missed me.”
In an instant her hands moved to her hips and shimmied the black pants down past her knees. She was not wearing underwear. The scent of her arousal assaulted him. Yes. It was good, so good to be with someone who wasn’t ashamed, someone who loved what he did to her.
Then her hands moved to his jeans, quickly unbuttoning them and drawing his cock out. “Inside me,” she panted. “Need you…inside me – Spike –“
She was wet, and he slid in, slid right in. He slammed her into the wall, no gentleness or hesitation. She keened her approval.
“You like that, do you?” he asked harshly. “My baby likes it hard.”
“Fuck yeah, do it to me…”
He rammed into her again, his whole being reduced to the most elemental urges. Faster. Deeper. Make her scream.
And then when he thought that the coupling couldn’t get more feral, she threw her head back and exposed her neck to him. He did nothing more than bury his face there, lips opening and closing vainly against the smooth flesh.
Until she spoke.
“Have a bite,” she gasped, still moving rhythmically against him. “You know you want to.”
He pulled his head back and looked at her, this brazen, blatant wild child.
“Spike.” She was begging him.
And then thought fled, his fangs were buried in her, his cock as deep as it had ever been, ever, she was all around him, scent and skin and quim and blood, all around him, all inside him, filling up he who had been empty and wanting –
She came with a half-cry, half-laugh; pure animal pleasure. He followed her, bracing her shoulders against the wall and fucking her so brutally he knew that she, even she would be sore for days afterward. Finally the motion of his hips ceased, the last jerky movements dying. The rich taste of her blood, delicate and earthy at the same time, remained on his tongue even as his face shifted back to human. He let his head rest there, at the hollow of her throat, for just a moment. Then pulled back.
He put everything he had into keeping his voice steady although he was pretty sure his hands were shaking. “Come now, my naughty girl. Time to go home.”
She remained clinging to him like a limpet. “Sure, Spike. Right after I stop by Angel’s and beg his forgiveness.”
With an effort he dislodged her – hell of a grip for such a tiny thing, but then, he already knew that. “Not joking, Buffy. Get yourself together –“ he eyed her disheveled clothing – “and then we’re off.”
She stared at him, incredulous. “You can’t be –" He met her gaze with equanimity.
“Spike! Goddamn you, what are you doing?”
“Giles is meeting us in Sunnydale, and we’re going to get this whole mess sorted. None too soon for my liking, either.” He began buttoning his pants.
“You’re out of your goddamn mind! Everything you’ve ever wanted is right in front of you and you want to go back to being a whipping boy? And bring me with you!”
He smiled indulgently at her furious expression. “Oh, don’t look so sad, princess. You gave it a good try.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He smirked. “C’mon, Slayer. Did you think you could fuck me into following you around? You’re good, love, but not that good.”
“You’re dead,” she hissed. “You arrogant asshole. You bastard –"
“Please. Look at you,” he surveyed her, up and down. “Trying to be all ruthless and amoral. Too bad you’re not operating on all cylinders.”
“Your girlfriend is gone,” Buffy shot back. “Get used to it.”
“Get used to what? You, movin’ into her old digs? I don’t think she’s cleared out entirely. Has she?” Buffy looked away. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. And you know what else?” He patted down his pockets for a smoke, seeming to warm to the topic.
“You figure you’ve hit on something, turning to the dark side and all. I know how it feels. But here’s the thing –" He lit a cigarette and enjoyed her vicious glare – “You’re not that good at it.”
“Not good at it? Buddy, I was born to it. You’re the one who told me that.”
He shrugged, nonchalant and freshly satisfied. “I did at that. ‘Course, you were more than half a Slayer at the time. Now?” He blew out a stream of nicotine. Really, Spike thought, smoking added so much texture to a conversation. “Now,” he went on, “you’re nothing but a cheap Glory knockoff. And unless you’re looking to compete with her in the Overstyled Hair category, you’re not even in the running for Bad-Ass Bitch of the Universe.”
She flung herself at him, propelled by rage and pride, and it would have been a near thing had she not suddenly crumpled and fallen mid-leap. He knelt next to her and cautiously extended a hand. “Buffy --?” Could it be? Her head was bent, face hidden.
A voice, scraping and rusty from disuse, from beyond the curtain of her hair. “Pr – Present.”
“Oh, God, Buffy…” He scooped her up in his arms, this broken girl who never stopped fighting. Words were pouring out of his mouth now, bottled-up revelations and pleas and utter nonsense.
“So long, baby, I was afraid you wouldn’t come back – Dawn’ll be so happy, she’s been miserable without you; both of us, lost – how do you feel? Are you ill? Come, just hold on to Spike and we’ll get out right out of here. Buffy, I love you, always, ever –“
“Spike.” Wavering fingers pressed against his lips, and he paused in his babbling.
“No time, Spike. She’ll be back.” Even as she spoke faint tremors wracked her body. He watched in horror, held her tighter. But when she looked up at him, she was still Buffy.
“How do I stop it, Buffy? Who did this to you?”
“Kehoe,” she breathed.
That’s more like it, Spike thought. Now that he had a name, he’d relish tearing this poxy town apart until he found the meddlesome bastard –
Then he realized that Buffy was looking past him, at the entrance to the corridor. Blue-gray light illuminated the space, and Spike could see a small group of suited men gathered.
“Which one?” he whispered, but the words faded into a hiss as he glanced back down at her.
She was convulsing, and his own inhuman strength could barely contain her spasms. Limbs flailed and Spike suddenly knew he was watching a struggle for the body and soul of Buffy Summers. Knew, too, not sure how, that the men at the other end of the hall had provoked it.
“Make it stop!” he roared at them. They simply smiled, amused.
She wasn’t getting any better, and Spike had a feeling that he was ill-equipped to help Buffy regain her subsumed morality. Fine, then. There were other ways he could be of use. Rip those sneering bastards open, for one thing. Make them tell him how to stop it. Oh, how they would suffer, all his skills put to use –
Even as intention rose in him so did the familiar forewarning of the chip, a buzz and crackle of pain that he ignored. Maybe he could pull it off in time…
He lunged, was halfway across the passageway when he staggered, brought low by the radiating agony in his brain. Still he stumbled on, aware of their far-off laughter, of Buffy behind him, writhing, fighting herself.
And slowly he realized he couldn’t do it. Wasn’t strong enough to take them down, not like this. Didn’t even know where to start. Another failure, when he’d promised her this time he’d come through. Were the walls laughing at him? Or was it just the men? Or the chip? Silly Spike and his foolishness. He heard Giles’ voice, tight with disapproval like the headmaster of a hundred years ago: Spike, control yourself. I tried, he argued soundlessly, but it all got away from me. It does that, you see, so often…His vision hazed, though from the pain or tears he couldn’t say and what did it matter anyway? Sorry, my love, my sweet, my life…
He was crumpled on the stinking, sticky floor now, and one of the men kicked him in the gut as he advanced on Buffy. Buffy who was huddled just as he was, the two of them wounded, whimpering animals. Caught in traps of someone else’s making.
So sorry, Buffy, so sorry…
From the entrance to the corridor, an explosion that sounded to Spike’s already ringing ears like the boom of a cannon. Plaster fell around him like chalky, dusty rain. The abruptness of it all pierced his heartsick surrender; the acrid smell of gunfire had the strange effect of clearing his senses. He braced himself on his hands and rose, slowly, to his feet.
And promptly dropped back to his knees.
At the mouth of the hallway Dawn stood, Spike’s shotgun hoisted on her bony shoulder. She jerked it once, menacingly, and the three men who blocked her backed away. They formed a motley group: Buffy prostrate, in the throes of something ravenous and evil; Spike kneeling like the supplicant he could never be; four suited men who watched this lanky teenager as they would a hairy, poisonous spider.
“Dawn,” Spike mumbled, surprised he could form words.
“I found it in the trunk,” she said. “Remember? You made me practice on mailboxes.”
Continued in Part 9: Exeunt