All About Spike - Plain Version
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Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5
By Valerie X
Buffy got out of the bed and reached for her clothes. She felt the mattress shift as Spike moved to watch her, but she kept her back to him and answered his question before he even had a chance to ask it.
“I have to go,” she said flatly. “I need to be home before Dawn wakes up.”
She stood up and pulled her pants on, then reached under the bed to retrieve her shoes.
“Don’t even start with me, please. I have to go.”
Spike put his arms underneath his head and leaned back against his pillows. He watched as Buffy moved about the room searching for her sweater, careful to avoid looking directly at him.
“She has school,” Buffy continued. “And from what they tell me, she’s been cutting every other day. I need to be firmer with her. I need to be there, every day, and be on top of everything she’s doing.” She tossed aside a lamp they’d overturned earlier in the evening, but the space beneath it was void of sweaters. “I - I need to ask questions, and get to know her friends, and...and...” She sighed and put her hand to her face. “There was another thing. Something else I had to do. They gave me a pamphlet.”
She whirled around, facing Spike finally, and threw her arms up in frustration, seemingly forgetting about her near-bare torso. “Can you believe that? A pamphlet! As if people go into the guidance counselor’s office at school sad and confused and then they’re like, ‘Ooo! A pamphlet! All my problems are solved!’”
She resumed her search, lifting each item of Spike’s clothing, which lay scattered around his near-empty dresser.
“So now I’m the proud owner of all six pages of ‘Pointers for Parenting’, complete with little drawings of bug-eyed teenagers. Too bad they didn’t have the ‘Dealing with your Melancholy Ex-Witch Best Friend’ pamphlet. ’Cause as soon as Dawn’s out of the house, Willow’s moping around in her pajamas, and I get to be Mommy all over again.”
She was facing Spike now, the missing shirt forgotten, her eyes accusatory. “Do you know she doesn’t even eat unless I tell her to? Does that make any sense at all? The girl‘s all grown up, she’s a junior in college, and she could turn me into a frog with a thought if she felt like it. But I have to ask her, ‘Did you eat today? Do you want me to make you something?’ Like she’s two years old!”
She was close to the bed now, glowering down at Spike. “Is this why she brought me back? For moral support? She couldn’t just join a group or read a self-help book, no, she had to raise the dead! And then it’s like, ‘Welcome back, Buffy! We’re so glad you’re alive! Now go get a job and fix our problems and kill the monsters and cook us breakfast so we can live in a nice, happy, perfect little world where we’re so wrapped up in our petty lives that you just get in the way! And where the hell is my sweater?!”
Spike raised one questioning eyebrow at her, and she sat down on the edge of the bed, defeated. “What do you think?” she asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.
“I think it’s upstairs.”
Buffy’s familiar glare returned. “I hate you. I really do. I don’t even know what I’m doing here.
“This is the most messed-up not-relationship ever,” she continued, standing again. She tore through the sheets at the foot of the bed, but all she found was one of Spike’s feet, which she batted away roughly. “But what else am I supposed to do? Go track down Scott Hope, find some regular guy like that, and say...what?” She posed at the foot of the bed, hands on her hips, a big fake smile stretching across her face. “Hi! I’m Buffy the vampire slayer, chosen by the powers that be to fight the evil undead of Sunnydale. Of course, I’m currently sleeping with the evil undead of Sunnydale, and my latest mission seems to be fighting two insane homosexual world leaders. My last boyfriend was part of a government conspiracy who implanted a behavior-modification chip in the current boyfriend’s brain, and he left me because he felt all these stupid male issues with me being so strong. The boyfriend before that one was a 200 year-old vampire with a soul, who left me so that I could have a normal life. Didn’t work out so well, that normal life thing, what with my recent death and resurrection, where I was taken out of heaven - yes, heaven - and with my rebellious little sister being bad mojo transformed human by monks, my best friend being a recovering witch, my other best friend marrying a demon who he met when she was summoned to kill him, and the only person I can talk to is the aforementioned vampire shag-buddy, and no, this one doesn’t have a soul. Oh, yeah - and also - I came back wrong. Wanna go out for coffee?”
Spike’s tongue played on his lower lip as he smiled wickedly. “You realize you just called me your boyfriend?”
Buffy walked around the bed to where Spike lay smug and satisfied, the white sheet just barely covering his abdomen, and unceremoniously punched him in the face.
“I hate you,” she said as she approached the ladder that led upstairs.
“So I’ll see you later then?” Spike said nonchalantly.
Buffy paused with her foot on the first rung and sighed. “Scooby meeting at my house after sundown.” She turned to look at him. “I still hate you.” And she continued up the ladder, until she reached the room above that would provide her with the remainder of her clothing and the doorway that led to the waking world.
Buffy slept for most of the day.
She rushed Dawn off to school half-heartedly, made Willow French toast, called Anya to plan a dinner/meeting, took a pre-cooked chicken out of the freezer, and then curled up in bed, deciding not to move until it was time for everyone to come over. The phone rang a few times, but she ignored it.
When she woke up, she glanced at the tightly-drawn curtains around her windows, and saw that beyond them, it was dark. She vaguely remembered a time when her windows were covered by wispy white fabric, when she slept at night with the rest of the world, and allowed the daylight to seep in unchecked.
As she walked down the stairs, she heard cheerful voices coming from the living room.
“Harry and Hermoine totally belong together, you big freak.”
“Just keep deluding yourself, little bit. We both know the big poof’s only got eyes for Ron.”
Buffy stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked into the living room, where Dawn sat with a book open in front of her and leaned back against Spike, who had one arm draped over her shoulder and used the other hand to gesture to the pages in front of them. A dying knot of flames danced desperately in the fireplace.
“And did I mention the ew?” Dawn said with giggle.
“It’s a boarding school in England. All they do is bugger at those places. Read between the lines, nibblet.”
“Awww, how sweet,” Buffy said, approaching them. “It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting, only with fangs.”
“Have you read these books?” Spike asked Buffy. “They’re filthy. No wonder our leaders are all fruits.”
Buffy rubbed her eyes and surveyed the rest of the room. “Anyone else here yet?”
Dawn shook her head. “Xander called and said he was on his way. Willow went out to get a pie for dinner.”
Buffy smiled. “Mmmmm pie. Now I’m feeling better. Dawnie, you know how to make the ready-made chicken, right? I’m gonna take a shower.”
“Need any help with that?” Spike said without raising his eyes from the book.
“Need a pointy wooden thing through your heart?” Buffy said as she climbed back up the stairs.
Dawn sighed and got up off the couch, placing the book down on the coffee table. “Come on, time to cook. Or rather, time to re-heat.”
The kitchen was clean, too clean, as if someone had put all their energy into organizing the one part of their life that was simple, as if washing down the stove and organizing the cupboards made this person feel that they were accomplishing something they couldn’t accomplish in the other areas of their life. Spike sat on the counter as Dawn fiddled with the oven.
“So this morning I came downstairs and said, ‘Hey, Buffy. Can I borrow three dollars for lunch?’ And she said, ‘Good morning.’ Like she wasn’t even listening.”
“Was a long night,” Spike said. “Big new evil, you know.”
Dawn tore the plastic wrap off the whole chicken and dumped it into a baking pan. “Still. She’s always either asleep or rolling around with some demon.”
“Don’t worry,” Spike said. “She’ll be over it soon. Move on to her next conquest. Maybe the monsters just want to get what they can before it’s over, you know? ‘Cause it’ll be over soon enough.”
Spike looked up to see Dawn staring at him curiously. The doorbell rang, and she was thankfully distracted by the promise of friends and pie.
After dinner, Buffy paced around the living room, her friends gathered around her. Willow looked weary, leaning back against a chair and occasionally closing her eyes. Xander sat on the couch with one arm wrapped around his fiancée. At the other end of the couch, Spike, an unlit cigarette between his lips, was taking locks of Dawn’s hair and braiding them sloppily as Buffy continued.
“And then they said they just needed the Sword of Akdov and they could open the Hellmouth,” she said.
“Well that’s easy,” Dawn said. “We have to stop them, right? Open Hellmouth equals badness.”
“I could do some research on this sword,” Willow suggested. “Maybe we can find it before they do.”
“Yeah, but then what?” Buffy asked. “It’s not like I can slay them. They’re not demons, they’re politicians.”
“Actually, many politicians are really - ” Anya began.
“Anya,” Xander said softly.
“Well, these two aren’t,” Buffy said. “Spike got the human-vibe, right?”
Spike nodded, his eyes intent on untangling the small knot he had made at the end of his most recent braid.
“Spike, what are you doing?” Xander asked. “You’re aware that you’re not a fifteen year-old girl at a slumber party, right?”
“I’m not?” Spike said with mock disappointment. “Well, now I’m bloody depressed. Thanks a lot.”
“We don’t have to kill them,” Willow told her. “Just prevent them from opening the Hellmouth.”
“And then they leave town quietly?” Buffy said. “Not usually what happens around here.”
“So we capture them,” Willow continued. “Keep them tied up or something.”
“I can’t keep the George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin tied up in my basement,” Buffy said.
“Who’s this Vladimir guy anyway?” Dawn asked.
“God, do they teach you nothing in school?” Buffy snapped.
“So for now we’ll look for this sword,” Xander said. “And you and Spike can keep an eye on them. Make sure they don’t have it.”
Buffy looked at the clock on the wall. “Yeah, it’s almost eleven. That’s what time we spotted them last night.”
Spike nodded, letting his mangled braid fall in with the rest of Dawn’s hair. “We’re off then.”
Everyone began to stand.
“Wait!” Dawn said. She stood and looked at Buffy. “You saw them last night at eleven?”
“Yeah, that’s what I just said.”
“Then how come you didn’t get home until six in the morning?”
Buffy looked around the room. Her friends were waiting for answer too. She noticed that Spike was suddenly interested in his braid again.
“I was patrolling,” she said.
“For like seven hours?” Dawn challenged.
“Buffy, you can walk across this entire town in less than one hour.”
“What am I, on trial?” Buffy cried out. “I was patrolling, and it took time. I had to fight things. I had to kill the...the...” She brushed her hand across her mouth. “The mphnph demon.”
Dawn turned to look at Spike accusingly, not flinching as her hair was pulled from his hands.
“What?” Spike said. “It’s true. I was there. Those mphnph demons are nasty buggers.”
“You two were having sex,”’ Dawn said firmly.
“No!” Buffy said. She took a step back and nearly knocked over a lamp. “No, no, no, no, and no!”
“Dawnie, don’t be silly,” Willow said. “They weren’t...doing anything. They were fighting a...” She looked at Buffy, whose skin was suddenly pink, and Spike, who was studying his fingernails. “A mphnph demon?”
Buffy began walking towards the door. “I have to go find the President now.”
“Oh my god!” Xander shouted. “It’s true?”
Buffy stopped at the doorway and put her hand to her forehead in a pained gesture. “Could we finish this argument later? After I prevent another apocalypse?”
“But is it true?” Anya asked. “Because if it is, Xander owes me ten dollars.”
“I’m not having this conversation,” Buffy said. She grabbed her coat and walked out the front door.
All eyes turned to Spike, who glanced down at his wrist, though there was no watch there. “Oh, look at that,” he said, standing up slowly and backing towards the door. “It’s time for me to...um...not get killed by all of you. ’Night, then.”
The door slammed behind him, leaving those remaining to only stare at each other in shock and confusion.
“I knew it,” Anya muttered. She elbowed her fiancé. “Pay up.”
Slayer speed was apparently getting the best of Spike. He’d run for about a mile, but when he still hadn’t caught sight of Buffy he slowed down to a lazy walk and lit a cigarette.
When he reached the tomb they’d been at the previous night, he found her sitting beside it, her face settled into her habitual frown, her head resting on her hands like a weight. She didn’t look up when he approached, peered inside the window, saw that the tomb was empty, and then sat on the ground beside her.
When she didn’t say anything, he lit a cigarette and concentrated on watching the thick white smoke catch in the wind and swirl against the black canvas of the starless sky. It reminded him of when she’d first come back, when she would visit his crypt or find him outside her house and just sit with him, not saying anything. At first it had rattled him. The Slayer wasn’t known for deep philosophical thought, and he wondered what was going on inside in her head. And then, when she spoke, it was something meaningless, something ordinary, like a story about how she’d tried to save money by blowing out the pilot light in the oven and didn’t realize that the gas was still on until Willow smelled it and began quickly opening windows. Then she’d laugh, in that way that humans laugh when they really want to cry, but it’s easier to pretend-laugh.
“So,” Spike said. “Today when I got out of bed, something wrapped around my foot. Thought it was a snake or a mummy hand or something, and I screamed like a sodding little girl. Ends up it was an invisible sock.” He chuckled softly, but it was only an imitation of laughter, like the ones he was so used to from her.
“Let them hate me,” Buffy said.
He turned to her, but she was still looking straight ahead. “Let them say whatever they want about me,” she continued. “Let Xander never speak to me again, never bore me with his Anya stories again. Fine. Let Willow decide I’m even nuttier than her and move out. Good. I’ll be glad.”
“You know they won’t do that,” he told her. “You know when you get home they’ll be sitting around with tea ready to go all intervention on you.”
Buffy groaned. “Yeah. And Dawn, she’s probably breaking out the glitter right now and making you a Christmas stocking.”
Their smiles lasted only a moment.
“So what do we do about our new big bad here?” Spike asked her.
“Right. Back to being plan-girl.” Buffy stretched out her legs and leaned back against the side of the tomb. “Maybe Will’s right, we should try to capture them. We can blindfold them and keep them in one of the crypts out here and try to figure out how they were going to open the Hellmouth. Then we could destroy the Sword of Akdov.”
Spike nodded. “Sounds like a plan, plan-girl.”
“Go me,” Buffy said without enthusiasm. She looked into the tomb’s window. “But it doesn’t look like they’re showing up tonight. She stood up. “I’ll do a quick sweep and then go do damage control at home.”
Spike stood as well. “Want me to come with?”
Buffy shook her head. “But if you could, gather up some rope, chains, whatever you have that I don’t want to know about, and I’ll start the patrol early tomorrow night.”
“We will start the patrol,” Spike corrected.
Buffy sighed. “Spike, you have a chip in your head. A chip that prevents you from hurting anyone. You’ll be helpless against them.”
“Still, I can cover the area while you fight them. Keep the random beasties away.”
“Like it’s gonna be much of a fight anyway. They’re two old guys.” Buffy shrugged. “I’ll stop by tomorrow then.”
She began to walk past Spike, but he caught her by the arm, noticing that her slayer reflexes seemed to asleep as he pulled her up against him.
And they kissed. Not like they’d kissed before, after a long night of battle and calamity, or after fighting each other until they became too worn down and too turned on to do anything else but screw. This was a kiss out of nowhere, the result of nothing, simply to say goodbye.
Buffy pulled away first.
“We can’t keep doing this,” she said.
“Yeah,” Spike said flatly, honestly. “I know.” And he walked away.
A quick sweep turned into a brawl with a gang of vampires, and by the time Buffy arrived home, the intervention seemed to have dispersed. She checked to make sure that Dawn was safely in bed and then began her ritual of not sleeping.
She would lie down, pull her covers over her body, and then close her eyes quickly, as if to trick herself into going to sleep. Then she would get uncomfortable, toss off her blankets, and lie on her back staring at the streetlamp’s dull glow on her ceiling. Then she would feel a chill, cover her body again, and decide she was going to sleep, whether her body liked it or not. Then she would get up and go to the bathroom, return to her bed, and begin the ritual all over again.
After a few hours of this, she would finally drift off out of utter exhaustion, only to wake up minutes later, her hands clawing at her comforter, struggling to breathe, and gasping out a weak scream. It was always the exact same dream. She went to sleep in her bed and woke up in her coffin every night.
Every night except the nights she’d spent with him.
Spike turned off the television shortly before the sun rose and went down into his bedroom. But he wasn’t asleep for long when the banging of his crypt door opening woke him up.
He sat up in bed, grinning. “Welcome home, love,” he called out. He ran his hand down his bare chest seductively. “I‘m down here, all naked and har -”
But the figure that moved down into the room was very much not Buffy. He reacted instinctively, moving into a fighting position and putting on his vamp face.
The thin, older man standing before him didn’t even flinch.
“Get out of here before I drain you dry,” Spike growled.
“Will you?” The man asked. “Because from what I’ve heard, you have something in your head that would prevent such a thing.”
Spike recognized the accent of the man from last night’s eavesdropping. He moved towards the ladder to try to escape, but was greeted by another man, who was holding a crossbow out towards him.
“That demon computer chip thing was the only smart thing Bill ever did,” the man said with a Southern accent. He nodded to his friend. “Tie him up, honey.” He pulled his other arm out from behind his back to reveal a long knife. “This is gonna be more fun to cut than taxes.”
Continued in Part Three
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