All About Spike - Plain Version
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Buffy sat on the back porch and told herself
repeatedly that she was just fine. I'm just fine. I'm just fine. Really. I'm
fine. It occurred to her that she should resent she was answering a
question nobody was asking, but that was another thought she wanted to do away
with, too. No, I'm fine.
It's my friends that are screwed up.
She glanced around surreptitiously, afraid somebody would
read her mind. She'd been afraid when she lost her virginity that people could
just look at her and tell; she'd been even more afraid when she first slept with
Spike that everyone could look at her and tell she'd spent the better part of a
night doing things she couldn't even put a name to. So far, so good on
that one. But what she was really afraid of was them seeing her and not seeing
her, the way they'd spent the fall. She was right in front of them, and
they'd seen nothing, but it was Spike who'd noticed right off the bat.
She shifted uncomfortably. He would have to leave
town and make her think about him non-stop, because while he was here, she spent
all her energy not thinking of him. That was pretty damned
challenging, too. She'd spent five years studiously ignoring everything about
him except his very irritating self, and when that particular piece of wool got
pulled from her eyes, it had been a very large shock.
Maybe this was an opportunity, she
thought. Yeah, an opportunity. Spend time with her magic-addicted best
friend, her shoplifting sister, and her soon to be hitched other best friend,
while trying desperately not to notice that, well, she wasn't being noticed at
all. Add to that a whole slough of feelings she resolutely didn't want to
think about, and you had a very uncomfortable Slayer.
It was just the whole sex thing, she thought. After all,
she was used to it now, the nocturnal visits, the secrecy, used to waking up
next to him. The way they laid in her bed, or his, and whispered about any
and everything, bullshit free. The way his body would warm to her temperature,
even while she herself got goosebumps. That was it. It was a habit that was
perilously close to being something she had to tell her friends about.
Part of her resented that. It's not as if they tried to tell her
they'd bring her back in case she died, although that whole train of thought she
suspected resembled Grassy Knoll-type paranoia. She really didn't want to think
like that about her friends, but it was so hard to think about sitting down with
them and saying, 'we have to talk.'
What they had to talk about was her and them, and
him. That she suspected was going to be the worst. There was the
house, which she was struggling to keep, with a house payment due in a few short
days' time. There were the utility bills that accumulated when three women lived
in a house, with at least one of them insisting on taking lengthy baths
with a certain vampire. There was the car, which at least she'd managed to sell,
but had discovered that it had been driven a lot during her absence.
And then there was the fact of rent. Willow wasn't paying
any, and she wasn't contributing much except for babysitting, which was
problematical because Dawn still made it clear that the witch was on probation.
Dawn had spoken of a paper route, which would bring in several hundred dollars a
month, but she wondered what would happen to Dawn's grades, and the money
itself, once Dawn actually saw a paycheck. Somebody was going to have to be the
Big Bad, and she didn't think it was going to be Spike.
Who really shouldn't have taken so long, dammit.
It had been two days; she kept waking up in the
night to find him not next to her, and her colder than she liked. She'd finally
started putting pajamas on again, because she got cold in the chilly California
nights. Somehow he never made her feel chilly; in fact, he made her feel
feverish, and she rather wondered how that would go over if she worked that fact
into her little heart to heart with her friends.
She shifted around on the deck. In the intervening
two days since he'd left, she'd played board games with a sullen Dawn,
sidestepped around Willow and had long chats with Tara. She felt a great urge to
do so again, but controlled herself. After all, it was important that she not
wear out her welcome, not take advantage of the kind-hearted witch.
She'd done laundry, all except her
sheets, which she kept finding excuses not to wash, because they had suddenly
started smelling like leather and cigarettes a few days earlier. She
could turn her head just so on the pillow and close her eyes and see him,
not that that meant anything at all, thank you.
She wondered what would happen when he came back. Actually
she knew what was going to happen when he came back; she just wondered how many
times and in how many locations.
Not that that meant anything. Nope, meaning-free zone,
The whole thing about Spike was that he had changed. If he
could, could she?
And worse, if he could, why couldn't they?
It only took a hundred years, she thought wryly.
"Buffy?" It was Dawn, looking through the kitchen window. "You
want to go to Xander's?"
"You mean, in the we're invited to go there, and I'm supposed to
pretend you're not grounded sense, or in the we're not invited, and I'm supposed
to pretend you're not grounded what the hell sense?"
"Uh," Dawn thought about it. "Am I still grounded?"
"Have you worked off all that stuff?"
"Nope." She said sullenly.
"Well, then, I guess we're not going, " Buffy said softly,
trying to lessen the blow.
Dawn considered it a moment, then said, "We?"
Oh, God, it about broke her heart to see the hope on that face.
"Yes, we. I have to make sure there's still Chunky Monkey left if it's going to
be the two of us."
Buffy stood up, brushing off her jeans. "There isn't? Dawn-- "
"Hey! Not my fault, I swear. It was Spike."
"The other day."
She shook her head irritably, but there was something comforting
in getting pissed off at a guy eating you out... her eyes widened -- of
house and home. Oh, God, why did I even think that?
Dawn looked at her with great concern all of a
sudden, as Buffy turned a bright red that had no accessorizing potential and
took a very deep breath. "Buffy? You okay?"
"There's no Chunky Monkey." Buffy said dryly. "And Spike
ate it all. Sure I'm okay." She noticed how cheerful Dawn was
looking, perhaps at the thought that the Big Sister was now directing her ire at
someone else. "You do know what this means, right?"
"We'll have to go eat Xander and Anya's Chunky Monkey."
There was a curious lapse of
time after Dawn knocked on the apartment door; it was almost as if the people
inside were considering whether to answer it or not, which was very
un-Xander-and-Anya like. Buffy wondered what on earth they could possibly be
doing, then realized exactly what they could be doing, and tried to
smile, non-queasily, at Dawn. "Maybe we should come back later, when
"What?" Dawn was bewildered for a moment, then realization dawned.
"Huh. They're not having sex, they're probably..."
The door was abruptly snatched open at that, and they found
themselves face to face with a tall female demon who was either very pissed or
very pleased; it was impossible to tell. "Gah!" Buffy gasped. "What are you
doing he-- Hey! What did you do with-- "
Anya poked her head around, and the demon shook her head at the
two guests. "I'm not here on business, you two!" She trilled." This is just for
"Fun?" Buffy said cautiously, edging gingerly into the
apartment. "For who?"
"Oh, everyone." The demon said airily. "Unless, of
course, you're an unfaithful man or a child abuser or something..." Dawn looked
quickly away at that, and Buffy suddenly found the ceiling tiles to be
utterly engrossing. "Isn't this sweet? Look, now admit that it wasn't all for
the best. Look at you two, spending time together. Would you be doing that if
not for me?"
Damn. She had a point there.
"Halfrek," the demon said. "Oh, just call me Hallie. I
feel like I know you all already."
"Oh." Buffy shot a suspicious look at Anya, who was very busy in
the kitchen with sodas and cookies and any small object she could drop
repeatedly. This only made Buffy even more suspicious. "So, if we're such good
friends, does that mean you're not going to go all vengence-y again on us?"
"Well," Hallie said thoughtfully, "You know, vengeance, or
justice, is really in the eye of the beholder."
"That's not fair." Dawn burst out.
All three looked at her. "It's not." She muttered. "It's
"Well, it's just not. It's like Rebecca at school; she's
always picking on me and Janice, because we're tall and everything, but I can't
help it. Why should she pick on me? I never do anything to her. Never. I would
sort of understand if I did and she did, then, you know?"
"Dawn," the demon said, "You're the one I'm interested in, not
your little friend. It's people like you that I help."
"Do you?" Buffy said quietly.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Does it really help? To get revenge?"
"I prefer the term, justice."
"Oh, hey!" Anya exclaimed. "Look! Lots of cookies!" She
took one and shoved it right in the other demon's face, and Hallie, for her
part, was so startled that she morphed into human face right then and there.
"Now, you two, no talking shop. This is for fun."
"Well, we weren't talking shop." Buffy said quietly. "We
were talking, uh, philosophy."
"Aside from which," Hallie said, going for another cookie after
already eating the first one," we don't have work in common to discuss."
"Buffy is the Vampire Slayer," Anya said proudly.
"Oh." Hallie said. It was a little snip of a word, but it
packed a tremendous punch. Disapproval radiated out from her in snide tsunami
"Oh, it's nothing; I guess times must have changed since
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, I wasn't always a justice demon, but I do know something
about it. I'm very well-rounded." With that, she reached for a third cookie.
"Well-rounded in what way?"
"Oh, well, as I said, I do know something about vampire
"Such as?" Buffy crossed her arms and waited. Hallie
scarfed down the cookie in record time, patted crumbs from her ample chest, and
then, as if to make up for the way she was plowing through the cookies, took an
exceedingly delicate sip of tea from her teacup. She patted her lips with
her napkin, and then gave Buffy a look that would have boiled cheese.
"Well, my dear, it's not my place..." Down the hatch went
"What does that mean? You know, you can say anything you
Dawn and Anya were exchanging uneasy looks as Buffy slowly
got more and more rigid in her chair, and her eyes more flinty. Hallie, however,
never looked directly at the Slayer, but kept sighing and hesitating, when even
Dawn could see she was eager to spit something out.
"I don't know what you mean, really."
"You're a vengeance demon," Buffy pointed out. "You could do all
sorts of things in the name of vengeance, and then just claim somebody else
asked for you to do it."
"My dear," Hallie said with the sort of patient voice that
implied she was feeling great impatience, "You must know that we are forbidden
from taking revenge on our own behalf. It's tragic, really."
"So what?" Buffy spluttered.
"Well, I am forbidden from taking revenge, if you want to call
it that, on anybody for my own personal gain as long as I wear this." She
indicated the pendant on her ample chest.
"So you're more or less like a normal person, as least when it's
getting pissed off?" Buffy demanded.
"Yes." Hallie sighed. "But you know what's tragic?"
"That hair?" Buffy asked.
"Hm. Ha. Ha. Aren't you funny?" There was a pause
during which Buffy checked out potential high-velocity exits, and Dawn glanced
from her sister to the demon, awaiting the smackdown. Anya wondered how
much insurance she and Xander had, and vowed to increase it to cover
"No, but all this travel does take its toll. No, it's just
that when I see someone with such potential..."
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh, my dear, it's tragic. If you don't know, it's going to be
ghastly for you, and if you do know, well, you really aren't doing your
"What are you talking about?" Buffy demanded.
"I'll never tell anyone." Hallie assured her.
"Tell anyone what already?" Anya shouted.
Hallie nodded at Dawn, wide-eyed at the dining room table,
leaning forward eagerly. "Do you really think?"
"Hey, already there." Dawn assured her. "Spit it out already,
you're killing me."
Buffy winced at that, certain that Hallie would now subject them
to a round of further evasions. Evidently, though, she'd misjudged the demon,
because after primping her hair only once, she sighed and with the appearance of
great reluctance, said, "There was a vampire at your birthday
There was a great gust of wind as three
extremely exasperated women let out inheld breaths. "That's it?" Dawn demanded.
Hallie glanced quickly from face to face, obviously
disappointed that her secret hadn't had quite the bang she'd been anticipating.
"If half the things they say about him are true..." She waved a finger in
Buffy's face. "And you had him at your party, with your little sister and your
friends? He had to have had an invitation to get in, you know."
"Spike's welcome in my house any day." Buffy said
Hallie spluttered. "Spike? Spike? Is that what he
calls himself? Spike? Oh, that is too funny -- in a touching, pathetic
sort of way...." She giggled until her face turned red, covering her face with
Dawn frowned at her, then looked at her older sister,
unsure of what was going on. This horrible woman knew Spike? She felt the
faintest prickle of alarm looking at Buffy, too: she was as mad as she'd ever
seen her. Her chin was down, and she was glaring at the demon woman, her
lips tight and white. "Touching? Pathetic?" She repeated, with wonder in
her voice. Who was this creature referring to? "Yeah," she said
sarcastically, "It was so pathetic how he almost died instead of telling Glory
who Dawn was."
"He did what?" Dawn squeaked, suddenly glowing.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Hallie said sweetly. "You don't
mean you have some sort of feeling for him, do you? Maybe he's a better vampire
than he was a human. I haven't kept up to date on him as much as I should have,
but really, when he was human, he was so-- so-- "
"So what?" Buffy demanded.
A hand waved in the air, dismissing the subject. "He wasn't
worth remembering, really. Let me see. Does he really call himself
Spike? I don't suppose there's much else he could have called
"That's not true." Dawn said. "People used to call him William
At that, Hallie laughed so hard she snorted. Dawn
flinched, and Buffy sighed. Anya looked at her friend with great interest,
not at all nonplused.
"Oh—Oh—Oh-- "Hallie laid her head on the table and gasped
for breath, as tears streamed down her face, and she slapped the table
repeatedly. "Oh, stop, you're killing me..."
"I wish." Buffy gave it the whole two-syllable pronunciation.
She looked at Anya and sighed; Anya, completely bewildered as to what was going
on, held out the cookie basket. "Cookie?"
Hallie recovered herself after a trip to the bathroom, where she
evidently reapplied her makeup with a trowel, probably to counteract the
lizard-like demon face that she turned back on. Once again calm, she reassumed
her place at the table, sipping primly at cold tea, and sighing contentedly.
"I'm so sorry, I just didn't realize that William had become a vampire. Although
"Wonder what?" Buffy snapped.
"Well, he was such a pathetic loser when he was human..."
"You keep saying that," Dawn said impatiently, "but you
never back it up."
"Oh, he liked to call himself a poet." Hallie said. "He
was always off in the corner, scribbling in a notebook, and of course, they were
all about me! I was horrified," she confided, leaning forward. "He
"What do you mean, awful?" Buffy snapped. "Did he kill
lots of people?"
"No," Hallie said pertly. "He just made us all wish we
"By writing poetry? So just what was the big hobby
back then? Belching?" Buffy demanded.
"No, my dear, it was such bad poetry. It was awful. Bloody
awful. That's what we called him, the Bloody Awful Poet. It was torture."
"Oh!" Anya exclaimed. "So he was a vengeance demon?"
"He might as well have been." Hallie said with a shudder.
"After... what?" Buffy asked, dreading the answer.
"After he told me how he felt about me..."
"How did he feel about you?" Buffy suspected it wasn't the way
she felt about the demon herself.
"Well, of course, it's one thing to have nice young men
admire one, but he was just so... so..."
"Pathetic?" Buffy supplied.
"He really was," Hallie agreed, mistaking Buffy's helpfulness
for agreement. "He was utterly beneath me, and the worst thing was, he simply
didn't realize it! Kept on and on about how he was a bad poet, but a good
man! Awful, awful experience. And then..."
"I was the most pathetic git you ever saw. I wrote awful
poetry, and I had a crush on this awful woman. It was just terrible. And the
poetry!" Buffy thought sickly, remembering. You're beneath me.
"You're completely right." Buffy said. "It must have been
just terrible. Having a good man love you, even if he was pathetic. Write poetry
about you, oh my God, the horror of it all. How did you cope?"
"I became a justice demon." Hallie said proudly.
"Yes, it was just too much. I found out later that
the man I really admired saw William cornering me at a party and decided that I
must've been engaged to him. So he left, and I never got him."
"Did you get revenge on him?" Buffy asked carefully.
"The man I couldn't have? Oh, no, he wasn't worth it. Plenty of
fish, all that. But it was so presumptuous of William to think I'd ever even
consider... I never actually, formally, exactly, got revenge on him, but I
like to think I helped. I believe he went out that night after the party with
his little virgin heart all aflutter and tore up those horrible poems, and then
a vampire got him. And then, of course, he did go after some of the party
guests. I'd never have guessed he had it in him. If I had, I might have thought
differently. It was even sort of witty, too, now that I think about it, the
torturing people with railroad spikes. That's what we always used to compare his
"Wow," Buffy said." What a loss."
"It just is, isn't it? If he hadn't kept bothering me like that,
none of this need have happened. I'm kind of surprised to know that he's a
better vampire than he was a man." She shrugged. "Who knows?" She looked around.
"Are there any more cookies?"
Continued in Chapter 15
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