All About Spike - Plain Version
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Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Sequel to Dangerous
Sequel to "Dangerous", post-Season 7. Set 30 years after the events of the previous story. Rated NC-17
Thanks to my beautiful beta, Julia, and to the LiveJournal Community for their encouragement and support.
He didn't wake till well after dark, his head throbbing and his body aching with last night's excesses. He wasn't sure he'd have woken even when he did, except that the shouting reached his ears. He reached beside him in the bed; had Dawn woken, as well? His hand touched the bare expanse of empty sheets even as he realized who the angry voices belonged to. They must have started without him this evening. Fuck. He couldn't remember when his waking life had become little better than his nightmares, but he'd be willing to bet it had to do with the two women in the next room.
Well, no use trying to sleep with WWIII raging on the other side of the wall. He lifted himself gingerly off the bed, winced as he swung his legs over. His head pounded, and his body ached with last night's excesses. The shouting from the other room became clearer, more insistent. Made his heart ache, too. He didn't know what slicing, hateful words they were throwing at one another; he didn't have to. It never changed, that family pattern. Even death hadn't altered it - just made it uglier. All their turning had done was wipe out the love that underpinned it; now all they had left was the rivalry, bitter as gall.
He ran a hand through his hair, shook his head to clear it. Might as well get it over with.
Naked, he threw open the bedroom door and stalked through to the kitchen. Two pairs of angry eyes turned toward him as opened the fridge to grab a beer. Cracked it standing there, and drank it down. It churned in his empty stomach. Not so much used to it these days, he guessed. He swiveled to look at his girls, staring at him from across the room.
Dawn was livid, shaking, her hands balled into fists and her eyes smudged where her liner had run. Buffy leaned against the couch, smiling slyly, her hair and face picture-perfect, and Spike had to fight the sudden urge to slap the smile off her face.
Her eyes flicked carelessly over him, and she said, "What happened to you?"
He took a final pull from the bottle, then tossed it back negligently on the counter. "Met some friends." He looked carefully from one to the other, gauging Dawn's mood. The fight hadn't moved to blows yet, though he didn't doubt they weren't far behind. "What's going on? You two woke me up."
Buffy laughed. "It's nearly nine, Spike. We've been waiting for you to move your lazy ass for hours. That's ok, though, it gave us some quality sister time, right, Dawn?"
Dawn crossed her arms and said nothing, though Spike could see tears beginning to form again at the back of her eyes. Buffy always was the better of the two of them at this sort of game; cruelty had always slithered under the surface of her sisterly affection. Consciously, Spike moved from his neutral stance to stand near Dawn; could feel her relax, just the smallest amount.
"So you're all caught up, then? Anything I need to know?" His voice was quiet, calmer than he felt. Anything could set the two of them off, and he'd be the likely target.
Buffy's smile widened, and he felt Dawn stiffen beside him. "I was just telling Dawnie here about how I'm moving back in."
He couldn't help it; his whole body jerked, hit the table, sent it flying. She knew every button to push, didn't she? Didn't have to teach her that. "You're moving back in?" he asked, incredulously.
"Yeah. I was gonna keep it a secret for a while longer, but I just couldn't wait to see the look on Dawn's face. Plus, you know, I really need her to move her stuff out of the bedroom, since I'm bringing mine over tonight."
He didn't hear Dawn move away from him, just the door slam behind her. Fuck! He snatched his torn and filthy jeans off the floor, struggling into them, cursing, while Buffy watched in amused silence. Then he tore out of the apartment after Dawn, shirtless, shoeless, the cold air whipping his body. "Dawn!"
She hadn't made it far. He found her huddled in the alleyway a few yards from home. She flinched from his hands, but she didn't pull away when he gathered her to him, rested his cheek against hers. "Dawn, sweetheart. It's all right, love. She's just - you know how she is. Say anything to hurt you and me. She'll be gone soon, and we'll be just like before."
Her voice trembled with tears. "You don't know anything, Spike. God, you're so fucking stupid sometimes!"
He could feel her tears, splashing against his chest, salt stinging the wounds there. "Slayer made her choice a while back, pet. She's not coming back to either one of us."
She pulled away then, anger and pain twisting her features. "Bullshit. She means it. It's not enough she has everything else, she has to take you, too. Go ask her." She drew her hand roughly across her eyes, wiped away all the remaining tears. "Yeah, she won't stay. But there won't be anything left worth having by the time she leaves. You'll be - it'll be just like it was before. You'll lay around drunk and won't hunt, and won't fuck me, won't even look at me. I can't do that a second time, Spike. I won't do it."
"Dawn--" He clung to her tightly; what could he possibly say? Her hair was whisper-soft against his cheek, and she still smelled faintly of cigarettes and beer from the night before. "I don't know what you want me to say, love. I'm here with you, aren't I?"
Her laughter was bitter. "Yeah, only cause you're afraid you'll lose your backup. But you know good and goddamn well that she's your fucking queen, she gets anything she fucking wants and I get whatever's left."
He thrust her away from him, anger flaring. "What the hell do you want from me, Dawn?" He paced angrily as he talked; felt every pebble, every bit of glass beneath his bare feet, could smell the blood just breaking through the skin. Nothing in his life came without pain, did it? Couldn't she see?
Hovered over her, hand tangled in her hair, voice choked and small. "What do you want? I'm hunting for you, killing for you, girl – staying in this shithole of a town - I've damned myself to hell every single day for you. What else do you bloody want from me?"
She laughed again, sharp and ugly. When she answered, her voice was like breaking glass. "I want you to see me, not just the next best thing to her." She pushed him away, arms stiff and hard, rushing past him to the street.
"Dawn, wait!" He grabbed her arm, pulled her around to face him. Didn't expect her fist to follow. It caught him unawares, good right slam right on the nose, and sent him sprawling.
"Don't! Don't ever touch me again!"
For a moment, he thought she would break, trembling and teary-eyed, and then she turned on her heel, and was gone.
He lay in the street for a long time, half-dressed and bloody and wishing to hell he'd never set foot in California at all. Threw his head back to the pavement in time to see curtains twitch shut; no telling how many bloody neighbors saw that little show. Fuck 'em. He was long past caring - they'd be out on their arses soon enough, anyway.
Slowly, he levered himself upright and limped back upstairs. He'd torn open the wound on his back; he could feel a sluggish trail of blood rolling down his side. Not for the first time, he wondered if staking hurt less than his continued existence.
Buffy was waiting for him when he reached the apartment. She lay sprawled on the couch, feet draped carelessly over the arm. A bottle of nail polish was balanced precariously on the cushion beside her, and she was applying the palest shade of peach lacquer while the news played, unheeded, on the television behind her. She spared him the merest glance when he came in, but her voice was full of satisfaction when she spoke. "Well, that was fun." She flicked her gaze at him again, took in the scrapes on his arms and hands, the faint trail of blood on his side. "You run into some more of your special friends?"
He slid down the wall to sit on the floor, heedless of the blood. Not like they'd ever see the deposit again. He closed his eyes so he didn't have to see her mocking smile. "No. Ran into your sister's fist, more like."
Her laughter washed over him. "Now that's funny. I knew you'd let yourself go, but letting Dawn knock you down? That's just pathetic." She sat up, fanning her nails to dry them, and studied him, slumped miserably against the wall. "For the record, Spike? The mopey thing? So not attractive."
Her voice made his teeth ache. "What the fuck do you want, Slayer?" he gritted out.
The heavy nail polish jar hit him square in the chest. "I told you – don't call me that!"
"Right. And you've been around so often to remind me." His eyes narrowed. "Matter of fact, it's been ten years or better since you pretended to give a shit about either one of us. So why don't you just cut to the chase?"
"I told you," she said, with amusement. "Well, I told Dawn, anyway." She slipped from the cushions and padded barefoot to where he sat. "I'm moving back in."
He glared up at her, standing like a vision above him. Shiny hair and flawless skin, and a yawning pit where her soul used to be. He looked away, suddenly shamed.
"Gee, I don't know why I thought you might be happy to see me," she said. Her voice softened, sweet as honey, and when he glanced again, her face was open and hopeful. "You and me and Dawn, we could be a family again – I thought that's what you wanted, all this time." For a moment, just a moment, it was as if he saw an echo of who she used to be; for one brief second he saw Buffy, his girl, instead of the monster she'd become.
And then she laughed. Threw back her head and giggled helplessly. "Thank god I don't have to try and pull that off. What a load of crap." She stood up and began to cast around for her shoes. "Come on – go get dressed, and let's go kill something." She slid the strap over one slender ankle. "Dawn's not coming back, is she?"
Dawn. Hell if he knew. He thought she'd be back before morning, but she was unpredictable. Like her sister. He didn't move, just closed his eyes again, and wished hopelessly. "Yeah, all right, you've had your little laugh. So why don't you get to the point?"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "You know, you used to be a lot more fun than this," she whined.
"Used to be a lot of things that I'm not anymore. Just answer the fucking question. What do you want?"
She smiled, and crossed the room to kneel beside him. Lips against his ear, she whispered softly, "Your soul."
Continued in Chapter 7
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