All About Spike - Plain Version
This plain version is for users with very old browers, WebTV, tiny screen resolutions, or very slow internet connections.
All other viewers should use the regular version of the site.
Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5
By Valerie X
Much thanks to kreepyk for giving me political material.
Buffy pushed open Dawn’s door and grunted through her sleepy haze, “Wake up.”
Dawn rolled over in bed and squinted at the light. “Why?”
“Because you have to go to school, Dawn.”
“Only on days that aren’t Saturday, genius,” Dawn said. She pulled her blanket up over her head.
Buffy was certain she wouldn’t be able to sleep any more than the two hours that she’d already gotten, so she went downstairs to make herself some breakfast. But breakfast was already done, sitting on the dining room table surrounded by Willow, Xander, and Anya, who stopped talking as soon as Buffy entered the room.
“Morning,” Buffy said. “Gang’s all here, huh?” She sat down at an empty chair and grabbed a plate. “Mmmm, bagels and accusations.”
“Not accusations,” Xander said. “We just want to make sure you aren’t...”
“Depressed?” Buffy offered. “Confused? Angry? Guilty?” She swallowed hard. “Lonely?”
“I was going to say, possessed by a hyena,” Xander finished.
“Xander,” Willow warned.
Buffy slammed a bagel down on her plate. Its muted thump wasn’t quite the point she was trying to make, but her friends noticed it anyway.
“I don’t want to hear it,” she said. “You can think I’m stupid, you can think I’m crazy, and hey - I probably am, but I don’t want to hear it.”
“We don’t think you’re stupid,” Willow said, her voice thick with sympathy. “We just want to make sure he’s not taking advantage of you.”
Buffy scoffed. “Will, I’m the slayer. I could kill six vampires with my hands tied behind my back. I’m not going to let one screw me and then mess with my head afterwards.” She lowered her eyes. “Again.”
Anya shrugged in agreement. “She’s right. It’s not like Spike can hurt her, him being all chipped.”
“That’s true,” Willow said. “If she really wanted him gone, she could’ve staked him a hundred times by now.”
“And if she wants people to talk about her like she’s not in the room,” Buffy snapped. “She’ll let you know.”
“Was the other night the first time?” Xander asked her. “Or have you been hiding this for a while now?”
Buffy stood up. “I am not going to sit here and make you a timeline of my sex life.”
Xander was on his feet so quickly that his chair tilted, threatening to tip over. “Believe me, I’d rather not know what you and Spike get up to. But you can’t go around keeping secrets from us, Buffy. It puts us all in danger.”
“Oh, right,” Buffy said sarcastically. “Thanks for reminding me, guy-who-summoned-the-Broadway-demon-who-almost-killed-me.”
“Guys, stop it!” Willow shouted. “Okay, so we all do stupid things. I know I have recently.”
“I haven’t done anything stupid,” Anya muttered.
“But we have to try to be better about this stuff,” Willow continued. “Especially since Giles is gone. We have to take care of each other now.”
“You mean, Buffy has to take care of everyone,” Buffy said viciously.
“What are you talking about?” Willow asked.
“Something’s wrong? Call Buffy. Buffy’ll handle it. Buffy will always be here for us. This isn’t about Spike. This is about the demands you keep piling up on me. That’s why you don’t want me involved with anyone. That’s why you brought me back in the first place.”
“Buffy, no,” Willow said, her face twisting with sadness. “No, we brought you back because we thought you were in Glory’s dimension. We thought you were suffering.”
“No, I’m suffering now,” Buffy said, her voice breaking as she willed herself not to cry.
Xander reached out towards her but she took a step back to avoid his comforting touch. “It can’t be that bad. If you’re upset, we’re all here for you.”
“We are,” Willow said. “We can help you. However you need us to.”
“No you can’t,” Buffy said, her eyes filling with tears. “There’s no way you can help me.”
“Of course there is,” Willow said, standing. “Buffy, what could possibly be so bad that -”
“I came back wrong!”
The plate Buffy had been holding shattered against the wooden table. As her friends looked at her, shocked into silence, a fragment of the ceramic slid off the table and fell to the floor, breaking into hundreds of tiny blue shards.
“I came back wrong,” she repeated, allowing the tears to slide down her face and her breath to come out in uneven sobs. “You tear me out of heaven, you make me dig out of my grave, you give me a world full of problems to deal with, and you brought me back wrong!”
“Oh my god,” Willow whispered.
“Wrong?” Anya asked. “Wrong how?”
“Whatever it is,” Xander said. “We’ll fix it. We’ll help.”
Buffy put her hands up in a gesture of defense. “I just can’t take this anymore.” She took a step back. “Just leave me alone. Please. Just get out of here.”
She hurried out of the room and up the stairs.
It was about an hour later when Buffy heard a knock on her door. She pulled her pillow over her head and called out, “Go away.”
Dawn’s timid voice came through the door. “It’s me.”
“Oh. Come in then.”
Buffy sat up in bed. Dawn approached her hesitantly, like she would break if she was startled. She sat at the edge of the bed and smiled, trying to look reassuring.
“Gang still here?” Buffy asked.
Dawn shook her head. “Cleared out right after the big arguing. Willow tried to get me to go with her, but I said I’d be okay.”
Buffy put her hand out and rested it on Dawn’s shoulder. “I’m really sorry.”
“No, it’s no big,” Dawn said.
Buffy ran her hand down her sister’s hair. “I just don’t want to make life hard for you.”
“The world makes life hard for me, not you,” Dawn assured her. “So what’s the what? Did they completely freak about Spike being your boyfriend now?”
“He is not my boyfriend,” Buffy said quickly. “Very much not. He’s just...”
“The guy you’re having sex with?” Dawn asked with a disapproving glare.
“It’s complicated,” Buffy said. “It’s...it’s too much to get into right now.”
“Come on,” Dawn whined. “You always act like I won’t understand stuff. But I do! Please.”
The pleading in her voice was so sincere, and Buffy was so tired of arguing, that she relented. “Fine, but I need to get out of this house.”
“I know just the thing,” Dawn suggested cheerfully. “Ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better. And not that dairy-free light ice cream you always buy that turns into foam when it melts. Real ice cream, with sprinkles and syrup and chocolate chunks and tons and tons of sugar. It’s the only surefire cure for boy problems.”
A reluctant smile tugged at the corners of Buffy’s mouth. “How did you get so smart?”
“I don’t know,” Dawn said as she bounced up off the bed. “It certainly wasn’t my genetics.”
“Quit being such a baby about it,” Dawn said. She grabbed the bottle of chocolate syrup from her sister’s hand and proceeded to slather her sundae with it.
“Stop, it’s too much,” Buffy said. She shooed Dawn away from her sundae.
Dawn covered her own bowl of ice cream in syrup and then placed it down on the table. It was a normal Sunnydale afternoon at the Espresso Pump. The place was filled with college students, the tables packed with people Buffy kind of recognized but couldn’t quite place.
“Buffy, you’re supernaturally tough. You don’t need to worry about your looks.” Dawn shoveled and spoonful into her mouth and smiled wickedly. “Besides, you already have a boyfriend.”
“I do not have a boyfriend,” Buffy argued. “I have a...” She let the spoon clatter to the tabletop and slumped down in her chair. “I don’t know what he is. I don’t know what anything is anymore.”
“Well, we’ll figure it out all rational-like,” Dawn suggested. “Give me the reasons why you don’t like him.”
Buffy considered this. “Because he’s Spike.”
“Gotta be a bit more specific than that, Buff.” Dawn licked her spoon and continued attacking her food as she spoke. “Is it because of that time he chained you up and tried to force you to admit that you like him? Cause I asked him about that once, and he told me all about his issues with Drusilla, and stuff that intense has got to mess you up, you know? Is it because of the time when he tried to help Adam destroy the world? Because I think that was all about the chip. He was feeling all useless since he couldn’t kill stuff.” Dawn frowned down into her bowl, finding a spot untouched by chocolate syrup, and reached for the bottle again. “Is it because of the time he kidnapped Willow and Xander? Because I’m sure he wasn’t going to hurt them. Or is it because of the first time he came to town, when he tried to kill you? Because he didn’t really know you back then.”
“Oh my god,” Buffy said. She curled up her arms on the table and allowed her head to fall on top of them. “I can’t believe this is my life.”
“You know what I think a lot of it goes back to?” Dawn offered. “Angel leaving.”
Buffy put her face down and groaned.
“It’s true,” Dawn said. “Big first boyfriend, big first heartache, right? And even before Angel left, Dad left. Then Riley leaves. Then Giles. Add them all up and it equals big emotional abandonment junk. Also, when Angel left, you remember his main reason? He said he wanted you to have a normal life. And it’s like, duh. You never could have that. The minute you found out you were a slayer it was like, goodbye normal life. And now, Buffy, now it’s even more like, forget about it. You died and came back. Normal life has taken the train out of town. But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. That means you take your completely not-normal life and you enjoy it in not-normal ways. You have your sister who was created by monks and your best friend who can turn people in animals and back and your not-boyfriend who’s a vampire, and yeah, it’s weird. But you can still be happy, Buffy. Because the people you have, even if they’re not normal, they still love you.”
Buffy looked up, eyeing Dawn curiously. “Dawn...” she said.
Dawn finished her last bit of chocolate-saturated ice cream. “Yeah?” When she looked up, she noticed that Buffy was staring at her stunned, as if in awe.
Buffy’s voice was even and firm. “You have to go to school.”
“Again with it being Saturday.”
Buffy shook her head slightly, as if that would clear her mind. “I mean, on regular days, you have to go to school. I know you’ve been cutting, and I’m not mad, just...When I hear you talk like that, and I realize how amazingly intelligent you are...I couldn’t stand it if your life got messed up just because mine is. I know you think I’m constantly nagging you, but I’m not doing it to torture you, or to make the social worker happy. I’m doing it because...” She looked down into her ice cream and blinked back tears. “You’re better than me, Dawn. You’re smarter and you’re braver, and you’ve lived through so much. And I can’t take credit for it. Everything you are isn’t because of me. It’s in spite of me. In spite of all I’ve put you through, you came through it okay. They made you from me, Dawn, but they didn’t make you like me. I think they only took the good parts. And it doesn’t make me jealous. It only makes me proud of you.”
Buffy lifted her head and wiped her eyes, only to find Dawn struggling against tears herself.
“You didn’t eat your ice cream,” Dawn said, sniffling. “The ice cream makes everything better.”
The hill that overlooked Sunnydale would be crowded by that evening, crammed with cars of horny teenagers. But in the daylight it was near-barren, filled only with the clichéd sounds of birds chirping, the trickling of the sunlight onto the ground as it was alternately hidden and revealed by leaves beaten with breeze, and two older men standing at the edge of the precipice and looking down upon the city maliciously.
“Tonight then,” Vladimir said.
“Tonight.” Bush grasped his lover’s hand, giving it a brief squeeze before releasing it. “With the vampire taken care of, nothing can stop us now.”
“What of the girl?” Vladimir asked.
Bush chuckled. “Some little girl won’t be able to do anything. Don’t worry.”
“Are you sure we should do it before the summit this Spring in Russia?”
Bush rolled his eyes. “Honey, stop worrying. It’ll be fine. When the demons are released, you and I will lead a war against them. The war in Afghanistan was such a success; I have the highest approval ratings possible, and our newfound alliance has made us the most powerful governments in the world.”
“With the world in chaos, all leaders will fall except for us,” Putin said with a smile.
Bush put his hand to the other man’s cheek and stroked it tenderly. “And we’ll be together.”
The house was empty without their mother.
Most of the time, Buffy and Dawn were too busy to think about it, but on Saturday evenings when they had nothing to do but think, the massive structure contained too many rooms that still remembered the constant love and stability the presence of a mother ensured, and mourned its loss.
After leaving the Espresso Pump, they began walking towards home, but discovered themselves moving progressively slower as they neared it. Without speaking the words out loud, they decided to go to Xander’s house, where they found Willow sitting with him in the living room, her eyes red from crying.
Buffy stood in front of them, biting down on her lower lip nervously. “I don’t know how to apologize.”
“I’m the one who should be sorry,” Willow said, her voice breaking as she spoke. “Your whole life is miserable because of me.”
“No, it isn’t,” Buffy said quickly. “See, I’ll never have a normal life, but I don’t need one, because even though it’s not-normal, it’s not-normal in a good way because of all the abnormal people...” She waved dismissively. “Whatever. Dawn can explain it to you later. It’s getting dark now, and we have to get to the cemetery.”
“The cemetery?” Xander asked.
“The plan is to find Bush and Putin and restrain them until we find the sword,” Buffy explained.
“Bad news,” Xander told her. “Will did some checking online. The Sword of Akdov was stolen from the Sunnydale Museum yesterday.”
“Then we have to move fast,” Buffy said. She turned to Dawn as her friends gathered their belongings. “Will you stay with Anya?”
“Fine,” Dawn said with an exaggerated sigh.
“Dawn.” Buffy put her hands on her little sister’s shoulders. “Remember what we talked about.”
Dawn smiled. “You remember too.”
“Don’t worry,” she whispered as she pulled her sister into a hug. “I’ll take care of it.”
“Guys, we have to make a stop at Spike’s crypt,” Buffy continued as she moved towards the door. “He’s going to lend us some chains,” Willow followed her, pulling on her jacket, followed by Xander, who was loading a crossbow. “And I’m gonna have a little talk with him.”
“Rise and shine, dead guy,” Buffy said. The door to his crypt flew open and banged on the opposite wall. “We got places to go, people to kill, and Presidents to tie up.”
“Is he not here?” Willow asked, walking in behind her and surveying the empty room.
“Probably just downstairs sleeping,” Buffy said.
She climbed the ladder into his bedroom, but before she was all the way down, she knew something was wrong. Even without her slayer senses, she would’ve known. The smell of blood was overwhelming.
“Spike?” She jumped down the rest of the way and rushed to the bed. Its white sheets, which had always struck her as remarkably clean for the bedding in a crypt, were stained the deep red of drying blood. Without hesitating she crawled on top of them, her hands shaking as she pulled them slowly apart, looking for dust.
There was blood. Blood and more blood, and when she looked underneath those sheets, yet more blood. But no dust. Then she looked to the floor of the room.
A dirt floor, marred by the scuff marks of a recent fight, where any dust that may have fallen could have been swept up by the stale air, dispersed, all traces of him forgotten. She felt her throat close.
“Spike?” she whispered.
The weak sound had come from the other side of the bed. Spike lay there, wearing only a pair of torn pants, his body more wounds than flesh. Long slashes of dried blood crisscrossed their way across his chest and face, while deeper lesions still bled on his forearms. Spike looked up at her, blinking slowly through bloodied eyes, and smiled as much as his bruised mouth would allow.
Buffy leaned down and kissed him gently.
“If you’re gonna do that every time,” Spike said, his voice strained. “I’ll go get myself tortured more often.”
“I hate you,” Buffy said with a grin. She turned to face the room’s entrance. “Guys! I need you down here!”
Xander and Willow rushed into the room and gasped at the sight.
“My god! Who did this?” Willow asked.
“Let me guess,” Buffy said.
Spike nodded as he pulled himself into a sitting position with difficulty. “The two blokes were here. Said they were going to the Hellmouth at midnight to perform the ritual.”
Xander looked at his watch. “We have plenty of time.”
“Good,” Buffy said firmly. “Cause I’ve had it. Bush is going down. You can gut the standards in the Clean Air Act so that people die because of air pollution from coal burning power plants, you can call prisoners of war unlawful combatants and violate their human rights under the Geneva Convention, you can aid Enron in concealing partnerships to obscure their debts and raise their stock price, that’s fine.”
She took a stake out of her pocket and held it in her hand ominously.
“But nobody messes with my boyfriend.”
Continued in Part Four
Read Reviews / Post a Review
Send feedback to Valerie X | Visit Valerie X's site | All stories by Valerie X
Main Site | Plain Text Title Listing | Site Map | Contact