The worst part, Spike thought, was not having a single clue what he looked
like. Not that he'd been primping at mirrors recently, but at least he'd
had a memory of what sort of face he'd been wearing. Now? No idea.
He kicked at a dog on the sidewalk, howled, held his head, and kept walking.
Nice to see the chip didn't discriminate.
"Oh, hey, I'd been wondering about that." Buffy was just far too perky,
strolling along beside him like she hadn't a care in the world. "Guess
that's still working, huh? Good thing. I never liked staking the girls."
"What's that, some sort of backwards notion of chivalry?"
"No. I don't know. Maybe."
"Buffy, you're a GIRL."
Spike sighed, and went back to slouching and stomping down the sidewalk. He
was going to the MALL. With the SLAYER. Fuck-all. But one good
up-and-down jump had convinced him, and he was still all muddled in his
head, and it really just seemed best to go along with what the girls said.
The OTHER girls.
The palms of his hands were resting against his hipbones, through his
pockets, and he remembered feeling hips move like this before, when he'd
wrapped himself around Dru while they were moving. Kind of a roll and
slide, more side-to-side than what he was used to, and the shape of the
bones was different. Rounder. And so BLOODY bizarre. His hair was
brushing his ears. He could feel the breasts--couldn't think of 'em as
HIS--moving around with every step. A rather bouncing jiggle. Annoying,
and they kept pulling him forward, away from his normal balance. How the
HELL did girls run about with these things on 'em?
He looked consideringly over at Buffy. He still towered over her, and
wondered suddenly if he was freakishly tall, or something. No, Dru had been
eye-to-eye with him, so he was probably ok there. Bit leggy, perhaps, but
he'd never minded that when HE was a bloke, and-his mind flinched away.
"Spike? Oh, hey, should we call you something else now? I think Xander was
saying something about Spikette." Bright smile. She was enjoying this far
too fuckin' much. He glared.
"Chip or no chip, first arsehole calls me some pansy name gets his spine
ripped out. Or hers."
"My, Spike, looks like the change is doing you good. You're all PC now. I
think that's freakier than the breasts, actually."
"An' how would YOU know? I'll have you know I'm a very nice girl." He was
grinning now, he just couldn't help it. Laugh or cry, right.
"Sure you are, Spike. It's nice not to be fighting off the wandering hands,
though, I must say."
"Oh, I don't know. You're still a pretty piece. Fancy a walk on the
witches' side of the street?" He chuckled at her expression, though it came
out more of a giggle. *Not thinking about that.*
"Oh NO! You mean that hasn't changed?"
He stopped walking, paused to evaluate, then and there in the middle of the
sidewalk, outside the mall. He still loved her, yeah, though that might be
a bit because she seemed so much more comfortable with him now, and he'd
been waiting so long...the desire was still there too, though not as strong.
Rather like what he'd felt for the occasional handsome bloke, back when
he'd had the original equipment.
"Yep. Don't fret yourself, though. I'll be a bit busy, yeah? Tryin' to
keep myself in one piece. Don't figure I'll be able to just stroll into
Willy's and get my blood, or go out fighting demons. Seeing as how I can't
fuckin' WALK properly, an' all. An' I won't be showin' my face much, I'll
tell you that. William the Bloody gone female. I'd never hear the end."
Buffy stood, just looking at him.
"This must be SO weird for you."
"What clued you, the tits or my sunny expression?"
"No, I mean, this is really weird. You're Spike, but you're not. You're a
girl. A GIRL." She shook her head. "I don't know if I can deal with
"YOU don't have to deal with it at all. I'm the one's lost my jimmy."
"Jeez, Spike, crude much?" She started walking again.
"I'm missing my cock, not my brain."
She groaned, and pushed her way through the mall doors. He followed, still
grinning. Still beating back the nervous breakdown that he could feel
lurking in the back of his mind.
*It's amazing what some decent clothes can do.* She'd had her hands full in
Victoria's Secret, with Spike leering and gravitating towards leopard prints
and garter belts, but she'd been firm, and he'd managed to get a few normal
things. Figuring out his size had been fun, of the not-fun variety. They'd
hit Macy's after, where Spike had resolutely refused to try on anything that
wasn't a pair of black jeans. And then she'd been struck by inspiration.
Urban Outfitters, SUCH a Spike store. He'd crowed over the leather pants,
the slinky jeans, and the 'Boybands Suck' t-shirt, and had even seemed to
briefly consider the little black dress with 'Fuck Off' in studs on the
chest, before reinstating the no-skirts rule.
She had to admit, he was gorgeous. SHE was gorgeous. Spike had always
looked a little too angular to her as a man...harsh edges and severe planes
and too many sharp corners. But as a girl, his face was softer, though he'd
kept those insane cheekbones and the blue cat-eyes. Bastard. And with the
new clothes...the jeans fit just right, cut low on his hips. The shirt was
snug; red, of course, a normal t-shirt but cut small. And she'd made him
get shoes, plain black but definitely for a girl. With that curly unruly
white-blond hair tucked behind his ears...he looked like the sort of girl
that could walk into a club and just take the place over. And those guys
had TOTALLY whistled at them when they left the mall, though Spike hadn't
seemed to notice at all. Probably because he was used to being the
whistle-er, not the whistle-ee, she thought, uncharitably.
"You're a pretty cute girl, Spike. And it's SO disturbing that I told you
"Can't resist my charms, eh Slayer?" He smirked at her, but it didn't seem
so glaringly...SUGGESTIVE, as it had when he was, well, a HE. She rolled
"Yeah, that must be it. Come on, it's late, this place is closing and I've
got school tomorrow. Take your brand-new wardrobe and go."
He looked instantly uncertain, and she suddenly realized where her newfound
comfort level had come from. He wasn't a threat. He was moving awkwardly,
something she'd NEVER seen Spike do. Usually he was all slinky smoothness,
but now...he seemed to not know where to put his hands. He looked
vulnerable. Not-at-home in his skin. *Duh, Buffy.*
And she shouldn't care, really she shouldn't, but it had been kind of fun,
shopping with Spike, once they'd gotten the underwear out of the way. He
was pretty amusing, after all. And he HAD helped them out a few times now,
and they hadn't really been very nice to him, not that they needed to, since
he was evil and everything, but-
"Come on. Mom would wig if I brought you home, but I'll bet Giles will let
you sleep on his couch."
His head snapped up, his eyes narrowed.
"What, charity now? Tsk, Slayer, I thought you were more enlightened than
to go discriminatin' on the basis of gender. Ta SO much, but I think I'll
toddle off home with the rest of the delicate flowers." He turned on his
heel and strode away, an effect marred a little by the four brightly-colored
shopping bags he was toting.
Buffy shook her head in disbelief. *I just bought him $500 worth of
clothes, and he's getting pissy about CHARITY?* She shrugged, and headed
Spike didn't like admitting it even to himself, but he scurried home,
slammed the crypt door shut, and leaned back against it, panting hard for
Patrol was kind of like school, Xander'd always thought. Long periods of
boredom punctuated by moments of absolute terror. At least this time it was
just him and Buffy and Willow, kinda workin' the old school vibe and
chatting back and forth. Tara was studying for some final. Giles was
reading up on the next predicted apocalypse. And Anya...
Anya was home, trying to wrap her mind around the concept that he wanted to
break up with her. She was cute. Pretty. Smart. Hot in bed. And so
fucking annoying he was afraid he was gonna snap like OJ one day soon. So,
before he had to go hunting up Johnnie Cochran's direct office number, he'd
figured it was best to just end it. She didn't seem to understand. He'd
said, "It's over." She'd asked why. He'd said, "I don't want to date you
anymore," and she'd said, "But I still want to date YOU."
Maybe he'd have Willow talk to her. Willow had always been better at
communicating with An-
A commotion in the hedge, Buffy spinning, stake at the ready, he and Willow
falling back in the standard positions, holy water to hand, moment of frozen
*what is going to try to kill us this time?*, and.
A streak in black leather FLUNG itself over the hedge, sprinting for the
other side of the path, checked itself sharply, and spun to face Buffy.
Panting. Panicking. Spike. So beautiful it hurt Xander's eyes to look at
"Coming." He gestured vaguely at the hedge. Xander noticed his cheek was
bruised, his hand bleeding, and he was bent a little, protecting his side.
"What? Who? Spike, who-"
More crashing from the hedge, and Buffy twisted back, tensed and at the
ready for whatever huge demon had sent Spike, SPIKE, dashing for safety.
Six boys came through the hedge. Men, really, college age and drunk as
skunks. Xander could smell them from ten feet away. They were laughing and
pushing, and then they caught sight of the little group staring at them.
Tall-in-blue-t-shirt drew up in surprise, and stood swaying for a second,
before leering and smacking blond-hair-Doc-Martens in the shoulder.
"Check it, Jamie! More of 'em!"
"Hey!" Xander was a little indignant. It didn't take a rocket scientist to
figure out what had been going on, and he didn't like being referred to as
one of "more of 'em." Then it really hit him, what had been going on. And
he stepped in front of Spike. *Oh, those fuckers. Those FUCKERS. I hope
Buffy leaves one for me.* It didn't seem likely, given the expression the
Slayer was sporting as she glanced back at Spike, then at the crowd in front
"Just what the hell is going on here?" Her voice could cut glass.
"Hey, just me an' the boys having a little fun with my girlfriend, there.
Right, girlfriend?" He tried to move towards Spike, was blocked by 5'2" of
very angry blond.
"I don't think your 'girlfriend' is interested. You should really go home
and sleep it off." She was giving them a chance, Xander realized. Poor
Buffy, burdened by conscience. He would've ripped their heads off long
"You wanna come sleep it off with me?" Black-hair-bad-jacket piped in, to
"Not hardly. Leave. Now. Or you'll regret it."
"Babycakes. I ain't going nowhere without my girlfriend." Xander could
feel Spike tense behind him, and reached back with a comforting hand. Was
almost surprised when a smaller, cooler hand slipped into his, and clamped
Buffy had, apparently, had it.
"She's NOT" punch "YOUR" kick "GIRLFRIEND" punchkicksweep, and Xander was
pounding joyfully away at a face, and Willow was chanting something that
sounded really really mean, and Spike was cowering behind a tombstone,
because of that FUCKING chip, and there was a shout and the pounding of feet
and some groans, and it was over. Xander rubbed his sore knuckles, and
turned. Willow was patting Spike's shoulder and looking concerned.
"Hey, Spike. You ok?" Buffy was being awfully gentle with him. "What
Spike shrugged, looked at his feet, letting blond hair fall into his face.
"Just thought I'd have a drink at the bar. Have a bit of fun, you know?"
He shrugged again. "This lot took me out back, an' I couldn't fight them
off. Said I came in alone, and that made me fair game." He looked up, met
Xander's eyes. He'd found some black eyeliner somewhere, and it made his
eyes huge and dark. "I only let them buy me drinks."
"Oh, jeez, Spike." Buffy shook her head. "You can't do that when you're a
He looked indignant.
"Why not? Seems the only perk I might get out of this nightmare is a bit of
"Spike. When you look like you do, and talk like you do, there's no such
thing as free booze."
"Why not?" He seemed to be genuinely curious, though there was still a bit
of that panic in his eyes, and Xander didn't like it. What if they hadn't
been there? What if Spike hadn't kept that vampiric speed? What if he
hadn't been able to break free?
Xander kicked one of the unconscious bodies again, for good measure.
"Thanks for giving us all a bad name, asshole."
Willow sighed, and ignored Xander, and answered Spike.
"That's just the way it is. Come on, Spike. We'll take you back to
Giles's, get you patched up."
Xander couldn't help but notice that Spike walked at his side the whole way
home. He was careful not to stare.