Chapter 1: Chapter One: Chance
Chapter One: Chance
It was a chance encounter that Xander Harris never anticipated. Actually as Xander would later point out, it was more like a chance glance of a familiar shock of peroxide blond hair and long leather duster. He was in Los Angeles on a mission for the newly formed Watcher's Council when he came across what most people would deem a street brawl. William the Bloody, or as he was more commonly known Spike, was fighting with several vampires at once. To say that Xander was shocked was an understament considering that Spike was supposed to be nothing more than dust in the Hellmouth.
"Well Captain Peroxide, you are looking awfully spry for a pile of ash," Xander said.
Spike did a double take and his indecision allowed one of the vampires to land a solid right hook on his nose.
"Damn it." He held his nose before throwing himself back into the fray.
He was more than holding his own, but he reached into his duster and threw another stake to Xander.
"Are you just going to stand there or give me a hand?" he asked impatiently.
Xander joined in the fray and between them the other vampires soon were nothing more than dust in the air. The euphoria and adrenaline from the fight soon evaporated leaving the two in an uncomfortable silence.
"Spike it's good to see you" Xander began awkwardly.
Spike looked at him, eyebrow raised.
"Scratch that! It is never good to see you!" Xander amended quickly. "How have you been?"
"Dead, deader, ghost, vampire in Hell A, vampire in actual Hell and then back in Hell A again."
Xander just stood there, his mouth open wide.
"Cat got your tongue, boy?" Spike asked.
"There was I just thinking you were dust" Xander stuttered.
"Actually I was." Spike smirked. "But as it turns out I was posted in an envelope and landed in Great Poof's office."
"Wish I was there for that conversation." Xander grinned.
"Well not so much conversation as violence or at least attempted bloodshed anyway," Spike admitted.
They both laughed but then the awkward silence overcame them once more.
"Gee Spike what the hell are you doing here? Does Buffy know you are back?"
"Quit the twenty questions!" Spike snapped. Xander, however, didn't lower his gaze.
"No she doesn't know." Spike said softly, looking down at his leather boots.
Xander shook his head sadly.
"Spike, I always thought you were many things but I never had you down as a coward."
Spike flinched and glared at the darker haired man.
"I was trying to do the right thing. You can't imagine how difficult it's been being without her."
"Yes I can," Xander replied, his eyes darkening at the memory his fallen ex girlfriend,
"It's not your decision as to what Buffy does with her life and it isn'tt mine and certainly not Angel's. It's about time that the men in Buffy's life accepted that she is an adult and is perfectly capable of making her own decisions and her own mistakes."
"I am a man now am I?" Spike interrupted.
This only served to annoy Xander all the more. "Shut up!" Why was it Spike always seemed to bring the immature child in him?
He was trying to have a serious conversation with Spike of all people. Who was he kidding? Spike wasn't even a person after all.
"I don't like you. I never will. However, I still think she deserves the truth. You have to tell her you are undead again. Personally I hope she dusts you but she has earned the right to make that decision herself."
The normally arrogant swagger was gone as the vampire deflated before his eyes.
"I can't," Spike croaked. "She'll never forgive me for not telling her."
"She's forgiven you for a lot worse." Xander pointed out.
Spike winced, remembering the fateful night that had prompted him to seek out his soul.
"So Bleached wonder," Xander continued, "either you tell her or I will, and if it ends up with being me the messenger boy then I will be sure to point out to Buffy how you did not care enough to tell her yourself that you were back."
Spike met the challenge in the young man's eyes and bowed his head. Xander was right. Spike had never thought a day would come when the boy was making sense. Wow the kid had grown up a lot.
"So what else have you been up to besides being all flamey and dusty?" Xander's curiosity was getting the better of him.
"Been fighting the good fight with Captain Forehead," Spike answered mysteriously
"How did that happen exactly? I mean how do you get from the violence to the working together?"
"Long story!" Spike declared.
Xander decided then and there to start afresh with the vampire. He would never forget what Spike was, but he owed it to Buffy and hell he even owed it to Spike after he saved the world.
"Well I have both time and a wad of cash courtesy of Giles. I think both of us could do with a drink. Fancy a beer?"
"Not likely but a Jack Daniels would be nice."
Xander rolled his eyes. Some things never change.
"Jack Daniels it is then." Xander conceded. "But I still don't like you."
"The feeling is mutual, mate. Still don't like you much either."
To be continued
Thank you so much for reading. Please review. Feedback would be great. This chapter originally was a one shot and I wrote a sequel but as I am posting it anew here I am trying to amalgamate the two. So hopefully it gels together.
Chapter 2: The Knock on the Door
Spike turns up on Buffy's door step. How is he going to explain himself?
Here is my second chapter. I really hope you like it. Please read and review. A special thank you goes out to Sanity Fair, who kindly betad this for me. Any mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: I don't profess to own Joss' awesome characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter Two: The Knock on the Door
The door bell rang in Buffy Summer's quiet apartment. The petite blonde girl jumped up off her chair and made her way to the front door. As she pulled the door open, Buffy was met by the sight of someone she believed she'd never see again.
"Spike," she choked. She blinked in disbelief, thinking he was nothing more than an illusion believing the vampire she saw before her was not really there. However, he was still there when she opened her eyes once more. He looked just as she had remembered him with the startling blue eyes and peroxide hair.
"Spike, are you real?" She asked, her voice trembling. He gazed at her, his eyes filled with emotion.
"Yeah," he affirmed softly. They stood there for a whole minute before she threw her arms around him. He pulled her close and gave her a chaste kiss on the forehead.
"How?" She sobbed.
"It's a long story, pet. One that might be best told inside, away from prying eyes," Spike said quietly, nodding pointedly at the curious glances they were getting from passersby.
"Come in, Spike." Buffy spoke quietly and stepped aside from the doorway to allow him access.
"Nice place you have got," he said, trying to delay the inevitable questions that would follow. However, instead of an answer, he was met with a familiar fist. His nose smashed under her hard blow of her small yet powerful fist.
"Nice right hook you've got!" He replied holding his aching nose. He gave her a sheepish grin that quickly wilted under her patented Buffy glare.
"This is familiar! You pounding on me for information," he said, with a touch of asperity.
"Well you know how it goes then. So spill!" Buffy demanded. So he did. Buffy sat quietly while Spike told her of his time in Los Angeles. He could see that she was fit to interrupt, but she held her tongue. He gave her all the facts, but he did not answer the one question she wanted to know most of all. After all how could he tell her why he stayed away when he did not really know? Once he was finished, he could see Buffy was close to finally losing her temper. Her fists were clenched at her side, and she was radiating fury.
"Why did I even let you in the front door?" She asked, bitterly. She avoided his probing gaze, and watched the floor intently.
"Because you missed me?" he whispered with a smirk. Somehow, it was easier to piss her off than it was to apologize. He was a master vampire from the Order of Aurelius after all. Besides he loved to fight with her. However, he could tell from her face that he had gone too far. Her eyes were narrowed dangerously, and her mouth was in a hard line. She hit his already tender nose again with a well placed right hook.
"Ouch," he yelled. "Why is it always the nose?"
She glared at him. His brash, arrogant swagger wilted under her hard glare.
"You missed me a little didn't you?" He asked, tilting his head looking almost like a little lost puppy. Her anger evaporated a little.
"What's wrong with me? I totally have a right to be angry." She balled her fists in anger. He was as frustrating as ever.
"I obviously forgot how irritating and annoying you are," she snapped. Her angry stare made him avoid her gaze.
"I am sorry pet, for what it's worth," Spike said ashamedly. "I really missed you, and I was wrong to keep mum about this."
"Huh! Keep whose mum?" Buffy asked, confused. Spike turned to look at her one more. He rolled his eyes, but when he spoke, it was patiently.
"It means to keep quiet about something."
"Spike you didn't just keep quiet about this." Buffy furiously pointed out, "You let me think you were dead all this time,"
"I was dead," he replied. It was the wrong thing to say. She screamed in frustration and threw a dishcloth at him.
"You don't get to joke your way out of this one you bastard. It is not a laughing matter. Do I matter in the slightest to you anymore?"
"Buffy, I---" he began but he was quickly interrupted.
"No you don't get to talk. For once in your life, uh unlife, you will listen and shut up!"
He nodded in acquiescence.
"I would have expected this crap from Angel, but never from you. You always came back no matter what. There was no getting rid of you, whether I wanted to or not! Then after everything that happened and everything between us you do this!"
Those words stung him. Comparing him to his grandsire was always a sore point. He resolved to remain calm. He was in the wrong after all, but the woman always riled him up.
"I came in the end, just took a detour is all!" he said, defensively. She gave him another fierce glare. He could see that she was getting steadily angrier, and she was gorgeous when she was angry. It was an unfair advantage in a fight. He really missed it.
"I mourned your sorry ass while you were taking a ‘detour' with your grandsire whom you apparently hate." she shouted. He could see the pain behind her anger, and he felt incredibly guilty. However, he fought the rising emotion within him and embraced his own anger instead.
"And while you were mourning me you were also throwing yourself into the arms of the Immortal," he snapped angrily. As soon as the words were out of his mouth he wanted to take them back. She looked incredulously at him.
"You really have no clue," she said, shaking her head.
"Buffy, love, I'm sorry!" He pleaded.
"What part exactly?" She asked coldly. He walked towards her and she turned her face away. He gently turned her to face him.
"For everything," he said, looking into her eyes trying to convey to her the sincerity in his statement. She stepped back from him, and he wondered again for the hundredth time that night whether he had done the right thing in coming back to her. He really needed a cigarette, but with the mood the Slayer was in he knew it was not a good idea. He had done enough baiting tonight. He settled for pacing instead.
"Oh Buffy, why do we always do this?" he said, exasperated, gesturing frantically when the silence got too unbearable. He could see the tears in her eyes, and he hated being the cause of them. She rubbed her eyes.
"There was a time when we could have had a civilised conversation," she said, in a dead voice.
He raised his eyebrow sardonically.
"Oh, my bad, I forgot who I was talking about! I should have said almost," she said with a half smile. The ache in his chest lessened a little. If she was feeling up to banter then maybe there was a way they could both could end this day without ripping each other to pieces.
"I missed that. I missed you," he said, softly.
"Hold me, Spike!" she said, softly, and he duly obliged. She basked in his presence and his smell. He smelled just how she remembered. He was there, really there. She pulled away slightly and brushed her hand on his face. He watched her with a mixture of wonder and adoration.
"Stupid dumb vampire!" she said affectionately. He smiled, really smiled.
"Bossy bint!" he retorted, but in an equally loving tone. They did not know what the future held yet, but they just basked in the moment. The time for recrimination was over for now. Those serious conversations could wait. For now, it was enough to just be there with one another. They looked at each other and laughed. For the first time in a long time, Spike could feel that flicker of hope he thought was long since extinguished.
It was not long before the atmosphere between the vampire and the slayer became tense again. Buffy motioned for Spike to sit and she did the same but made sure that there was plenty space between them. An uncomfortable silence stretched out between them.
"So how is the bit?" Spike enquired and Buffy gladly latched onto the topic. Spike smiled as Buffy listed Dawn's achievements. The Nibblet had grown up and he had missed it all. Would she even want to see him again? She had once told him if he hurt Buffy again, she would set him on fire while he slept. Unfortunately, the truth was he had hurt Buffy again because he was a selfish coward. The warring emotions must have shown on his face because Buffy put her hand on his arm.
"She missed you too," Buffy said, reassuringly.
"Did she really?" He asked, in a hollow voice.
"Yes, you idiot. She was very upset when she thought that she never got a chance to settle things between you. She will be thrilled to see you." This bolstered him, and he felt a rush of gratitude for the amazing woman beside him. She was comforting him when he really did not deserve it.
"Buffy I..." he began feel the need to apologise once more. Buffy sighed.
"Can we not for now?" Buffy asked, desperately and Spike nodded, not a little relieved as well. Buffy was too tired to get into any further meaningful discussions. She was still angry, but she decided she wanted to bask for a little while in his nearness. He wasn't gone after all, and she did not know if she could ever forgive him for the last year. She was torn between wanting to hit him again and jump his bones. For now they could just be two old friends who found each other again. They were never good at the talking part after all. Suddenly, the front door swung open, and the sounds of an ungainly gait filled the apartment. Dawn Summers burst into the room.
To be continued..
Chapter 3: Mixed Emotions
Spike has a long overdue conversation with Dawn, while Buffy recovers from her shock of finding that Spike has been hiding his return.
Author's Notes: A special thank you to my kind and patient beta, SanityFair.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and situations aren't mine. I'm just playing pretend.
Chapter Three: Mixed Emotions
Dawn's noisy entrance came to a halt when she caught sight of the vampire sitting on the sofa. It seemed as if the noise had been suddenly sucked from the room as the silent reunited trio stared at one another. The younger Summers sister seemed unable to form coherent words, her mouth moving uselessly.
"Hi Dawn." Spike looked up at her and smiled softly. The sound of his voice seemed to spur Dawn into speech, and her shocked expression quickly turned to suspicion.
"Buffy, is that the First, because it sure as hell can't be who it looks like?" She turned to her sister. She pointed toward Spike, her eyes wide with incredulity.
"Yep, Dawnie, the one and the only!" Buffy replied glibly.
Dawn's gaze turned back to the vampire. Her eyes were wide with shock and her mouth gaped in surprise at the familiar face before her. There were not a lot of things that silenced Dawn Summers, but this was one of them.
"Spike," she gasped. "It is really you!"
Buffy smiled at her sister's enthusiasm with a wistful look in her eyes. "She looks like a little girl again."
"Dawn." Spike's eyes held a look of hopefulness.
Dawn mumbled at a loss as to where she should begin. "Wow, here you are, not quite as dusty as we thought."
She was torn between jumping into his arms and shaking his hand. There had been a time when he had been her best friend, but they were no longer as close. So many things had happened during that last year in Sunnydale. Sensing her hesitancy, Spike eventually put out his hand, as if to shake hers, but Dawn threw her arms around him instead.
"I'm glad you are back," Dawn said, sincerely. "We really missed you."
Spike breathed a sigh of relief as Dawn burst into tears of joy. Buffy watched the scene with watery eyes.
"Buffy, what did you do?" Dawn asked, between sobs.
"I didn't do anything." Buffy arched her brows and squared her shoulders with an indignant air. "He just turned up on the doorstep an hour ago".
Buffy suddenly found the need to excuse herself for a little while. The wealth of emotion in the room was getting to her, and she needed to be alone to collect her thoughts.
"Spike I don't have any blood in the kitchen, but I can offer you almost anything else." She stood to make her way to the kitchen.
"Cocoa," Dawn and Spike said in unison.
She smiled, tightly. "I guess that's three hot cocoas." She went into the kitchen and left Spike and Dawn alone.
"I don't think I will be ever able to forgive or forget what you tried to do, but when I thought you were gone forever, all I wanted was to let you know that I missed my friend."
"You were perfectly right you know," Spike answered, honestly. "I never expected forgiveness. Got more than I deserve, I daresay."
"So spill it. How did you come back?"
"Remember that big bauble I got, courtesy of the grand poof. Well, it trapped my essence and spat me out in Peaches' office. Turns out he got it from Wolfram and Hart."
"You have been back a while then," she said accusingly. "How long Spike?" Her gaze hardened and Spike gulped. She was barely more than a little girl, but next to Buffy, her opinion was the most important to him.
"The better part of a year," he admitted, waiting for the storm to hit.
"What!" She yelled.
"It is a long story," he said, avoiding her furious gaze. "It starts with being stuck as a real live Casper and being unable to leave Hell incorporated."
"You look pretty solid to me." She poked him hard in the chest for emphasis. "You really hurt her, Spike."
"I know." he said, as he ran his hand through his hair mussing up his carefully gelled curls.
Spike grimaced. It was only proper that he felt like shit, but it didn't make it any easier.
"Do you still love her?"
"I never stopped."
"Then how, Spike?" How could you stay away?" She shook her head in disbelief.
He finally found the courage to raise his eyes to meet hers. "At first I couldn't, but later when I was able, I found that I didn't know how. Then the longer it went on the more difficult it became. Maybe, I needed to see who I could be without Buffy or a chip as my conscience?"
"And did it work? Do you know who you are now?"
"The name's Spike," he said, playfully trying to dodge the question.
Dawn knew he was avoiding the question. She frowned and rolled her eyes.
Spike raised his hands, as if in surrender. "I know it was the wrong decision, just another wrong decision in a long line of them. The thing is I missed my girls, but I convinced myself it was for the best. I figured the grandsire was right. My girls deserved some sweetness and light."
Her expression softened a little at his words. "And don't forget the fear that Buffy was going to stake your ass for hiding," Dawn pointed out.
"I was not hiding but essentially yeah," he admitted grudgingly.
"You know for someone who's been around for more than a century, you're a real dumb ass."
"I know, but it is part of my charm."
Spike suspected Buffy had just needed to get away as she had been quite a while in the kitchen. Sure enough, he soon heard the quiet sobs of the Slayer, and his heart constricted painfully. It was only Spike's vampire hearing that allowed him to hear Buffy's crying, so Dawn was still unaware her sister was sobbing her heart out in the kitchen.
"Dawn, I think you better go to your sister"
Dawn looked at him quizzically.
"She's crying pet and seeing I'm probably the reason, you should probably be the one who comforts her."
"Maybe I should go and come back tomorrow." Spike started to get up from his seat to leave.
"Don't you dare! Uh uh, you caused this mess in the first place. No, you will sit there and squirm with guilt."
Dawn pointed back at the chair he'd vacated. He could see Dawn was furious, and her tone brooked no argument, so he sat back down.
Dawn went into the kitchen. Spike was right. Buffy was a mess, sobbing on the floor of the kitchen. Her back was up against the cupboard and her eyes were red.
"Oh Buffy!" Dawn said and wrapped her arms around her shaking sister.
"Did Spike send you in?"
"Is he.....?" Buffy was suddenly alert.
"No, not yet, but I will tell him to go if you want me to?"
"No." Buffy got up quickly, dabbing her eyes. She had to face him. Things were complicated as always with him. She was delighted he was back, yet she was furious he had concealed his return from her. Anger and joy were warring for dominance within her. One minute she was fuming and the next she was elated. However, above all else she was tired. The two sisters returned to the concerned vampire.
"Buffy, are you all right?" He could barely meet her gaze as if the guilt of his actions were weighing him down.
"What do you want, Spike? Why are you really here?" Buffy felt she sounded so tired and confused.
"Why do you think, love? You know how I feel, but I think we could be friends."
"Ha that's funny coming from you, especially since I meant so much to you that you never bothered to tell me you were playing lawyer with Angel. Speaking of my ex boyfriend, remember what you once said to Angel and me?"
Spike remembered well. "You'll never be friends," he had told them. Spike's stomach roiled at the reminder of her past relationship with his grandsire. Their past relationship still bothered him and caused a bout of envy. He couldn't help but feel --he would always be second best to Angel. Buffy was starting to realise that maybe the suggestion that Spike leave was not such a bad one after all. She could see the hurt in his eyes, and she hated to see it, but she was perfectly right to be angry.
"I'm sorry, Spike. I'm just confused and emotional. Maybe, I just need some space to think. Could you leave for a while? I don't want you to disappear again, but I just need some time alone. Take Dawnie with you. Have a proper catch up."
Spike bowed his head in acquiescence. He knew he was losing the battle. In fact, he probably had already had, the moment he decided to keep his reappearance a secret
Dawn grabbed his arm and squeezed it. "So, looks like I get to be your babysitter this time," she whispered and winked.
Spike smirked despite himself and took one last longing look back at Buffy. He headed out the door and onto the street.
"Spike," Buffy called at his retreating back and he turned around.
"Promise you will come back again at dusk?"
"Don't worry, I am not running away, pet".
"Good," she said smiling.
Maybe all was not lost yet.
To be continued.....
Thanks for reading. I would appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you thought of it.
Chapter 4: The Importance of Friends
Spike and Dawn reconnect, while Buffy catches up with Xander.
Disclaimer: I don't own this world or characters, but if I did my name would be Joss Whedon. So, no I really don't own anything except my own plot.
I want to thank the wonderful Sanity Fair once more. She has whipped this fic into shape.
Chapter Four: The Importance of Friends
Spike and Dawn walked down the street in silence. Dawn could tell Spike was thinking hard. The fact the vampire looked miserable was the only thing that kept Dawn from tearing into him. She could clearly see he still loved Buffy.
"You have been spending too much time with Angel!" Dawn declared, suddenly breaking the silence.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Spike met her gaze for the first time since they'd started walking.
"Since when do you brood? I thought Angel was the one who had that down, patented and trademarked."
"Don't compare me to Captain Forehead. I don't brood."
"Could have fooled me! What's all this then?"
Dawn decided not to push the issue and changed the subject when he didn't reply. "So, Spike, please tell me you checked into a hotel and not a crypt."
"Don't worry. I have a room somewhere. Are you hungry? I can hear your stomach rumbling."
"Actually, I am starving. I was going to order some pizza until I discovered a formerly incinerated vampire all undead and well in my sitting room. However, I know a late night cafe that serves some mean wings."
Spike and Dawn walked into an American style diner, which was almost empty. He gave a small smirk as he spotted the red booths and the American flags. She gave him a sheepish grin. "My home away from home," she admitted.
A red haired waitress waved at Dawn. Dawn walked over to the woman and smiled brightly.
"Hi Stacey, can we please have two orders of Buffalo wings and one Coke, please."
Dawn noticed Stacey looking Spike over from head to toe as he found a table. She leaned over the counter to whisper in the ear of the dark haired teenager. "Hey Dawn, you've got yourself a looker there."
"Settle down, Stace. You have got it wrong, he's a friend." Dawn laughed at the absurd notion.
"More fool you, then. He's hot. Do you think he would take my number?"
"Hey hands off! That is my sister's ex. You have met my sister and that 'looker' is called Spike."
"You said ex, Dawn. That makes him fair game!"
"They are..." Dawn searched for the right word. Stacey looked curious but said nothing.
"They are complicated" Dawn finished, "Besides, Buffy is very possessive."
Stacey gulped. "I remember seeing Buffy knock that six foot body builder into orbit that one time. I think I'll keep my distance."
The teenager headed back to the table to Spike, where he was smirking. Of course he'd heard the whole conversation. Vampire hearing how could I forget!
"Nice to know I still have it."
It wasn't long before Stacey brought their food to the table. Spike reached for his wallet.
"Thanks, pet, and keep the change." Spike passed her enough to cover both his and Dawn's meals and a generous tip.
"You are such a flirt! Don't be encouraging her." Dawn punched him in the shoulder.
"Okay, mum. What can I say? Some men have it and some men don't." Spike was simply preening. She couldn't help but giggle. It was nice to see that gleam in his eye again, even for moment. It had been missing all evening. Once the giggles subsided, both the vampire and girl lapsed into silence again. Their thoughts were both focused on the same person: Buffy.
"What was that back there Spike?" She looked at him curiously. "Even if you are wrong you usually still shoot your mouth off. It was like you had given up."
"Yeah, but she was crying, and it was because of me." He carefully studied the scratched table.
Dawn sighed. "You know she will forgive you, right? You may not deserve it. Buffy's pissed at you right now and I am as well, but you kind of have a get-out-of-jail-relatively-unscathed card. I think she missed kicking your ass."
The vampire gave reluctant grin at that. "I missed that too!"
Meanwhile, Buffy was getting restless. It had been almost two hours since Dawn and Spike had left. She couldn't help feeling the sudden grip of panic for fear he wouldn't return, and that left her with a terrible sense of loss. It was so frustrating.
"Damn vampire," she muttered to herself. She couldn't get properly angry at him, because every time she did she would remember, not a few hours ago she was under the impression he was nothing more than dust at the bottom of the Hellmouth. She was delighted this was not the case, but she simply couldn't understand why he'd felt the need to keep it from her. He claimed he loved her but surely his weren't the actions of a man in love. She decided she needed to train. Maybe, it would help with venting her anger. She had her own training room, but she usually liked to train with the Slayers. Tomorrow she was going to call in sick. There was no way she'd be able to concentrate, and she feared she wouldn't get a wink of sleep for the night. Buffy walked into the barely used training room and her eyes landed upon the punching bag. She briefly recalled a moment from the last night she'd spent with Spike, after she had returned from her surprise reunion with Angel. Spike had drawn a picture of Angel on the punching bag. She was tempted to take a leaf out of Spike's book and draw a picture of Spike and thump the punching bag off its chains. She quickly laughed the notion away. She thought of how Spike and Angel had been fighting side by side while she was in the dark, and Buffy's punches quickly became harder. How could they? Angel certainly wouldn't have been encouraging Spike to see her. She expected the whole "for her own good" from Angel and even her friends, but never from Spike.
The chain holding up the punching bag creaked ominously.
"...pain in the ass"
This time the punching bag came right off the chains and hit the wall on the other side of the room.
Buffy sighed in defeat. This was clearly not helping. Perhaps a night's slayage might do the job. I am going to have me some vampires for dinner.
On the way back from patrol, Buffy passed by Xander's place. She was surprised to see that his light was still on. She felt a jolt of affection for her male friend as she thought about how despite Xander's own dislike for Spike he'd been able to put that aside and convince the vampire of his stupidity. She rang the doorbell and a sleepy looking Xander appeared in the doorway. She threw her arms around him. He looked as though it took a moment for his sleep deprived brain took a few moments to catch on. He grinned sheepishly. "Is this about a certain not so dead bleach boy?" He gestured for her to come in and closed the door behind him.
"Thanks, Xan, for giving Spike a talking to. He told me for once he would grudgingly admit that you spoke some sense."
Xander looked bemused. "I am glad Buff. How are you?"
"Honestly, I don't know." She gave him a weary grin.
"So have you staked him yet?" Xander wiggled his eyebrows.
"Not yet. It was a close call though."
Xander nodded and squeezed her hand. "I think the Buffster is in the need of ice cream and being the great friend that I am, I will oblige" Buffy couldn't help but laugh as Xander bowed, ironically.
"Yes, sad Buffy and ice cream are decidedly mixy." Buffy took her friend by the arm, and they headed for the kitchen.
Buffy was feeling a lot more positive the following morning. She had spent the night at Xander's place. She really should spend more time with Xander. Just as the morning sun was coming into view, Buffy arrived back home. She opened the door and was surprised to hear the sound of somebody rooting around. She took up a fighting stance and headed into the kitchen where she could hear a disturbance.
"Thank god for slayer stealth" she muttered. Buffy pulled open the door and came face to face with her shocked sister. Dawn screamed which was a major feat in itself considering she had a mouthful of pancake. When the sisters recovered from the shock, they burst into laughter.
"Trust you to make it sound like a herd of elephants in my kitchen!"
"Your kitchen? Ha! Have you ever made a proper meal in your life?"
"I can cook...sometimes. Beans and toast are my speciality, and I always provide a great take out."
All of a sudden, Buffy remembered she'd sent Dawn away with Spike the previous night.
"He asked me to give you this." Dawn reached into her handbag and pulled out an envelope.
To be continued.
Chapter 5: Reminiscing and Recriminations
Spike and Buffy take an important step in sorting out their messed up relationship.
This chapter isn't fully beta'd. Any mistakes are my own. Again, a big thanks to the wonderful Sanity Fair.
Chapter Five: Reminiscing and Recriminations
Buffy was beyond furious. “How could he take off without as much as a goodbye?” She couldn’t understand it, and why was Dawn smiling? Her hands were balled into fists, and she was shaking with suppressed rage.
Dawn shook her head. “Buffy, relax. He’s back at his hotel.”
The tension suddenly left her body as the girl’s words permeated her brain. She frowned in confusion, her mouth agape. “Why would he write me a letter?”
Dawn laughed at her sister’s expression. “It’s just that we got to talking, and I suggested he write you.”
Buffy looked at her incredulously, but Dawn was unabashed. “Well, you two are never good at expressing what you feel.”
Buffy sighed in relief, grabbing the letter from Dawn. “I can’t believe Spike would listen to you.” She didn’t make to open it though. Instead, she just fingered the writing on the envelope. Buffy looked up at her now taller baby sister.
“Read the letter, Buffy.” Dawn gave her a reassuring smile. “It should set your mind at ease. I rang in to Slayer Central to tell them you weren’t feeling well today and wouldn’t be in.”
“Thanks, you’re the best sister.”
“I’m your only sister.” She plopped down in the chair, winking at Buffy. “Now, I’m heading back to Spike, right where I left him, handcuffed to the bed.”
Buffy was momentarily agog, until she regained her senses. Dawn’s voice rang through gales of laughter.
“Well, he is a hottie,” the younger girl said, with a grin, “but unfortunately he only has eyes for you! It is just as well, because he’s like the idiotic big brother I never had.”
“Do you really mean that?” Buffy asked, surprised.
“Absolutely, but don’t tell him, because his head is swollen enough already.”
“Everybody won’t be as happy to see Spike is back as we are.” Buffy was especially thinking of her Watcher. Things had been strained after Giles had planned to kill Spike in Sunnydale.
“Maybe they won’t, but it’s none of their business. It doesn’t matter what Spike, I or anybody else wants. The way you live is down to you. It is your life, and only you can make those decisions.”
“Oh, Dawnie, when did you get so grownup?”
“You don’t remember? That’s funny because I distinctly remember you kicking the First Evil’s ass at the time.”
“Ha, ha.” Buffy rolled her eyes, swatting Dawn’s arm lightly.
After her sister left, Buffy opened the envelope and pulled out the letter. She looked at the elegant handwriting on what was obviously hotel paper. She stared at the name of the hotel on the header while she tried to pluck up the courage to read what Spike had to say. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to read it or not, but eventually curiosity won out.
I feel like a right ponce writing this, but the Bit insisted it was a good idea.
I have never been good at expressing how I feel. I’m more comfortable with my fists and fangs, and I always say the wrong thing. This is where the letter comes in. Buffy, I love you. I thought about you every day. I’ve really missed you. My feelings never changed, but I did, and I can see that you did too. I wanted to give you a chance to really live, and I wanted to be my own man. I needed to see if I could be the good man you claimed I could be.
I’ve always been love’s bitch, and I’ve spent all my life following the whims of those I loved. (I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not Captain Forehead’s
bitch!) I wanted to make my own way, but it wasn’t to be. I found a place where I was needed.
I know I’ve hurt you, and I regret that. No matter what I do, it seems to end up with me hurting you, and that’s the last thing in the world I want to do.
When Buffy finished the letter, she was left with a number of questions only one person could answer. She would see him soon enough, but she wouldn’t wait for him to come at sunset. She smiled, resolving to go to him.
Later that night, Spike was watching Manchester United get beaten, when there was a knock on the door. It was a welcome reprieve from the torture that was the football game. He was surprised to come face to face with the Slayer.
“Spike, grab your stuff. You’re coming with me.” Buffy was being bossy. He loved it when she was bossy. Sexy bint. He obediently put on his duster and followed her out the door.
“So, where to, love?”
“I want to test a theory,” she replied.
“What theory would that be then?” Spike cocked his head to the side and arched a brow.
Buffy had a mischievous grin on her face. “We are going to go patrolling. I want to see if your reflexes are still reflexy and see what Angel taught you?”
“My reflexes have not gone soft!” Spike began, “And hey, there’s nothing Peaches could teach me.”
The moment he turned to look at Buffy, he knew he had been had. She laughed at his indignant expression. “Race you to the cemetery!”
She sped out the door of the hotel. Spike shook his head in amusement and took after his slayer.
The night flew by. It was just like old times. They still fought seamlessly, knowing instinctively where the other was and anticipating each other’s movements. There weren’t a lot of monsters to slay, so they spent a large part of the night just talking about the parts of each other’s lives they had missed out on, as well as reminiscing about Sunnydale. Buffy didn’t mention the letter, and Spike did not know whether to be relieved or worried. They were dancing around the elephant in the room once more. Spike was reluctant to disturb the strained peace that existed between them at the moment. They had managed to go the whole night without bickering which was probably a record for them. After going two hours without any violence, Spike figured it was time to call it a night. Buffy was obviously thinking the same thing as she turned to him. “I guess I had better go home. I have to work in the morning. Walk me?”
Spike duly obliged. They were both quiet during the walk, but it was a comfortable silence. However, the vampire never did like to stay silent for too long and as they arrived at their destination, he spoke. “Buffy-”
Buffy interrupted him. “Don’t!” She put a finger to his lips.
He took her hand away. He held it though instead. “Don’t what, love?” He raised an inquiring brow.
“Don’t open your big fat mouth and break the spell.” She gently loosened her hand, and they stood there smiling at each other, looking like nervous teenagers. “I think I could do with a drink. Do you want one?”
“Never wanted one more,” Spike replied. He wasn’t talking about the drink. While Buffy went to get them something to drink, Spike threw himself onto the couch. Buffy returned with two glasses of whiskey. Spike was surprised at her choice of drink, considering Buffy had a reputation for being a lightweight when it came to alcohol. He gave her a quizzical look.
“What?” She asked defensively, taking a little sip from her glass. Spike watched her making a face at the taste out of the corner of his eye. He couldn’t help an affectionate grin. After a few quiet moments Buffy spoke.
“Spike I am so glad you are back.” Her voice was shaky. Her eyes were filled with tears as he turned to look at her properly.
“Me too, love,” he replied, pulling her close to him. “I really hate to see you cry.”
She put her head onto his shoulder and relaxed in his embrace. He had started to worry he would never get to be close to her again. Spike closed his eyes. He basked in the familiar scent of her.
Buffy’s eyelids fluttered. “I know I should probably say goodnight and go up to bed, but I’m just so comfortable. Can you stay here with me?”
“Of course, love.” She smiled at him and closed her eyes. It wasn’t long until she was asleep, and he took full advantage of the opportunity to watch her until his own eyes started to close. She’s so beautiful even when she was snoring. That was his last thought before sleep enveloped him as well.
The pair awoke the next morning, limbs entwined on the sofa, to find a superior looking Dawn looking down on them. Both Buffy and Spike jumped with fright. Vampire and Slayer awkwardly extricated themselves from each other. Buffy had a good night’s sleep despite the crick in her neck, but she knew there was a reason why she hadn’t wanted the previous night to end. She couldn’t shake the feeling that things were going to go wrong.
The previous night had been a brief respite in the storm. There was too much to work out and discuss before things between them could be the same between them again. A loud snort interrupted her musings. “You two are just too cute! I wish I had my camera.”
“I am not cute,” Spike protested with horror at the insinuation.
“Yep, you’re the Big Bad, blah blah!” Dawn mocked. “Bed hair looks good on you by the way.”
Spike unconsciously played with the tousled curls that were beginning to show on his head, while Dawn caught her sister’s eye.
“Ignore her Spike. I know I do,” Buffy said, patting the embarrassed vampire on the arm.
Suddenly, there was a familiar piercing yell from the other side of the room. “Spike!”
They turned to look in the direction of the familiar voice and saw Andrew Wells with a big beaming smile on his face.
“Here we go again,” Spike muttered so only Buffy could hear.
“Gandalf the White has returned.” Andrew threw his arms around a reluctant and discomfited Spike, much to the amusement of the two sisters.
“Andrew,” Spike acknowledged.
Buffy’s expression had changed from mirth to resentment, and she turned on Andrew.
“Spike told me you visited him out in LA, and you never bothered to let me know.”
Her eyes narrowed in anger, and the young man quailed at the sight of her righteous fury.
“Hey Slayer, you know I told the boy to keep quiet,” Spike pointed out putting his hand on her arm, but she shook it off.
“Don’t you interfere, Spike. I am stilled pissed at you by the way,” she snapped at the vampire. He held his hands out in surrender while Buffy rounded on Andrew again.
“Don’t ever keep something so important from me again!” She spoke menacingly.
Buffy stormed out of the room leaving silence in her wake.
“She’s not a morning person,” Dawn said drily, finally breaking the silence.
Once Buffy got to the sanctuary of her room she threw herself down on the bed. Andrew’s appearance had finally burst the bubble of the perfect night. She was reminded yet again of the pain of the last year when she had no idea Spike was running around the place with Angel. Despite the truce of the night before, she wasn’t through being angry with Spike. They had a lot to talk about, and she wasn’t sure if she was ready. She was also reminded that she had to go into work today and face Giles and Willow. Buffy was not too worried about Willow’s reaction, but her former Watcher was sure to be furious. Her relationship with Giles since his attempt to get Spike killed had not been the same, but it was a lot better now than it had been the last few days on the Hellmouth. Buffy took a deep breath, pulled off her dirty clothes, and headed for the shower.
To be continued....
Let me know what you think, please.
Chapter 6: Starting Anew
Even though Buffy and Spike had a nice evening reconnecting they are far from having all their issues resolved.
Betaing services by the wonderful Sanity Fair. Any mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: I don't own, but I often play in this universe created by Joss Whedon.
Chapter Six: Starting Anew
Spike was nervous. The night before had been like a nice dream, but he knew they were simply delaying the inevitable. They clearly still had a lot of talking to do, and her friends also would be yet another breaking point. The Watcher would surely be unwelcoming, and he was unsure as to how Red would react. Still, he had been pleasantly surprised by Harris, so maybe the others would surprise him as well. Spike sighed. Andrew was still talking a mile a minute but he wasn’t listening.
Dawn broke his reverie. “Andy, you better get moving if you want to get to that meeting with Giles.”
Andrew suddenly stood up straight. “Oh yes, if you will excuse me Spike, I’ve a very important meeting to attend,” he said in a dignified tone.
Spike caught Dawn’s eye silently thanking her. The vampire stood and headed up the stairs. Trying to figure out which room belonged to Buffy, he sniffed the air. He smirked to himself; vampire senses were terribly handy he mused. He noticed the room in question ironically bore the sign “Buffy’s room.” He rolled his eyes and knocked tentatively on the door. “Buffy?”
“One moment, Spike. I’m getting dressed.”
“Nothing I haven’t seen before, Slayer,” he pointed out. However, he waited as she asked.
Minutes later Buffy opened the door. He gave a brief look around the room noticing its simplicity in comparison to her room in Sunnydale, which had been full of mementos and old photographs. Those were all gone now of course like Sunnydale itself. He turned his attention back to Buffy.
“You okay, love?” he asked concernedly.
“Sorry for snapping earlier.” Buffy smiled apologetically.
“Never mind, pet. I probably deserved it,” he conceded.
“You really did, but I don’t want to go into that conversation right now,” she said. “Can you stay here and we can talk later? I really need to get to work right now.”
“Don’t see I have much choice, love.” He gestured towards the curtained window.
“Not that it ever stopped you before,” she replied.
He shrugged. “Don’t know this place as well as Sunnyhell.”
“I guess you don’t.” Buffy laughed hollowly. “That’s sorted then. No adventures for Spike today. Buffy can’t yell at dust in the wind after all.”
“Might be a better end than a Slayer’s wrath,” Spike quipped. He immediately knew he had said the wrong thing.
“Don’t even joke about that!” she said heatedly.
“Sorry, love. It was just a joke. Besides you were the one who brought it up.”
“Some joke! Is that what you were thinking when I was clueless?”
He winced as though she slapped him. She was being unreasonable. He considered her for a moment tilting his head to the side and shook it in exasperation.
“I’m not even going to answer that. You’re looking to pick a fight and as usual, it’s a round of Kick-the-Spike. Yeah, I’m an insensitive idiot. That’s been covered already, love. I’m not your punching bag any longer, and when you’re through being a bitch, we need to talk proper like.”
Spike turned to leave the room, as he could tell that Buffy was about to explode.
“Did you just call me a bitch?” Buffy asked incredulously.
Spike stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. “Yeah you’re acting like a bitch. I know you, Buffy, and while you are pissed at me, you’re also worried about your precious do-gooder friends.”
“How can you say that?” Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Back in Sunnydale, I chose you over all of them,and you still think I’m afraid to go against them.”
He let out a derisive laugh. “Funny isn’t it?”
He had killed thousands of men, women, and children, yet here he stood, vulnerable. This tiny woman could make him more terrified and angry than anybody else ever could and he suspected ever would. Buffy’s face had lost that look of rage and she grabbed hold of his hand, squeezing it tight.
“Spike, you were never my dirty little secret,” Buffy began shyly. Spike raised his brow ironically.
“Sorry I guess you kind of were,” she admitted. “What I mean is that you were important to me back then, after I was brought back. I couldn’t have got through it all without you. I want you to know that.”
Spike’s heart lightened with Buffy’s words. He was momentarily stuck for words.
“Thanks,” he said simply, once he figured how to use his mouth again.
“Guess I had better be off then,” Buffy said, with what sounded like forced cheerfulness.
“Buffy you don’t have to tell them yet if you do not want to,” he offered, “I sort of liked being your dirty little secret.”
Buffy smiled and kissed him chastely on the cheek.
“I want to, but thank you,” she whispered.
Buffy and Spike left the room in a much better frame of mind than when they entered. Spike was surprised to see that Andrew had not left. Obviously, the boy was too nosy for his own good. Andrew looked at Spike then turned to look at Buffy and grinned even wider if possible.
“It’s just so romantic,” Andrew said teary eyed, “The vampyr and the slayer reunited despite all the odds. They can be together, get married, and have babies. I would be best man, right?”
The other three were looking on incredulously at a clueless Andrew, who was waxing lyrical.
“Yes I think they would make beautiful babies,” he declared.
“Don’t be stupid boy, vampire here and I can’t have-” Spike interrupted impatiently.
“Oh, my bad. Wow! Did your soul come with a curse like Angel’s, or are you just not able to perform?”
“What! No!” Spike spluttered. Buffy and Dawn were in tears with laughter. He turned helplessly to the sisters.
“Help me out Slayer,” Spike pleaded. Buffy stayed quiet, but Dawn obliged taking pity on the vampire.
“He means vampires can’t have children, not that he can’t have sex,” Dawn explained.
“I happen to have had no complaints,” Spike said indignantly. He stood up straighter.
“Mmm fun times,” Buffy murmured, but didn’t realise she’d spoken aloud until she spotted Spike with a huge smile.
“Oh I bet!” Andrew said suggestively.
Spike didn’t like the look Andrew was giving him.
“Well, Andrew, I’m off to Slayer Central now if you want to come with,” Buffy said to the young man.
The slayer and Andrew left leaving Spike and Dawn alone.
“So you two looked pretty cosy this morning,” The girl probed.
“Nothing happened. Not that it’s any of your business, you nosy bint,” Spike replied in a light tone.
Dawn’s brow furrowed. “I’m worried about her, Spike. She hasn’t been the same since that day.”
Spike met her worried eyes. “Losing your home and town is bound to do that to you. You’re not the same either, I’d wager,” he pointed out. She bristled at that.
“It was losing you,” Dawn said impatiently. “You’re just unwilling to accept that because you feel guilt for not letting us know you were back.”
“I know I should have now, but then I did what I thought was best. I don’t regret wanting the best for my girls.”
“You still have a lot of grovelling to do by the way.” She pouted childishly.
“Hot chocolate and those little marshmallow things?” he offered with a grin.
“You betcha. I could do with some chocolaty goodness.”
Buffy resolved that she was going to make sure everything was out in the open this time. She did not want Spike to be her dirty little secret. She still was not fully sure exactly what she wanted him to be and what was possible with their complicated history. She was sure of one thing though. She couldn’t bear to lose him again and her friends, if they truly loved her would respect her decision. Buffy finally reached Slayer Central with Andrew trailing after her all the way. His fascination with Spike was bordering on obsession, and it took all her strength not to snap. What was more unsettling was that she felt like she should tell him to back off that Spike was hers. She shrugged off the impulse. Spike wasn’t gay, but then again vampires were known for sexual ambiguity. She laughed as soon as this thought quickly passed. Even if he was, Andrew was no competition after all. She was soon musing again realising she had referred to Spike as hers. Wow when did that happen? She told him he was her champion before but never hers. Buffy was still considering her relationship with Spike as they arrived in the door. Andrew took off in the direction of Giles’ office while Buffy was waylaid by some of her charges enquiring after her health. After assuring fellow slayers Satsu and Bianca that she was well rested, she walked quickly in the direction of her Watcher’s haven. I swear if Andrew has told Giles about Spike I will kill him.
To be continued….
Chapter 7: The Truth will Out
Buffy feels betrayed when she realizes Andrew wasn't the only one keeping Spike's return from her.
Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS or profit from writing this story.
Chapter Seven: Truth will out
At the same time Buffy was arriving at Slayer Central, back at the Summers’ residence Spike and Dawn were deep in conversation.
“So you two looked pretty cosy this morning,” Dawn probed.
“Nothing happened, not that it’s any of your business, you nosy bint,” Spike replied in a light tone.
“I’m worried about her, Spike. She hasn’t been the same since that day.”
Spike met her worried eyes.
“Losing your home and town is bound to do that to you,” he pointed out. “You’re not the same either.”
“It was losing you.” She glared at him, as if daring him to dispute the fact. “You’re just unwilling to accept that because you feel guilty for not letting us know you were back.”
He couldn’t deny the truth of what she said. Still, he had his reasons, even if they were ill advised. He looked her straight in the eye, trying to show her the seriousness of his words.
“I know I should have now, but then I did what I thought was best. I don’t regret wanting the best for my girls.”
Her expression softened a little at that. She stared at him for a moment before she remembered she was mad at him. She glared half-heartedly at him and poked him hard in the chest. “This conversation isn’t over, buddy. You still have a lot of grovelling to do by the way.”
He felt a weight lift at her words. She didn’t seem to be as angry as she probably should. He vowed he would make it up to both of his girls.
He smiled conspiratorially. “How about hot chocolate and those little marshmallow things?”
She took him by the arm. “You betcha. I could with some chocolaty goodness.”
After a very satisfying chocolaty snack, Dawn and Spike were exchanging stories about the things that happened in the time they had been apart. Once they had laughed themselves silly they lapsed into a comfortable silence. He looked at her, realizing how the girl he once knew had become a woman in his absence. How he had missed her. He noticed she was frowning slightly.
“Penny for your thoughts, pet.”
She jumped startled and he chuckled.
“Sorry, I was just wondering how Buffy’s interrogation is going? She was very nervous about it earlier.”
“I told her she could leave it a little longer if she wanted,” Spike confessed.
“Like she would have been able to keep that quiet with Andrew.” Dawn laughed.
“He’s kept the secret pretty well so far.”
Dawn snorted and shook her head in disbelief. “There is no way Andrew would have been able to keep his mouth shut without spilling the beans to somebody, and my money is on Giles.”
Spike was about to protest that surely Giles would not have kept that from Buffy, but when he thought about it Dawn’s assertion seemed likely. When he asked Andrew to keep quiet, he hadn’t really believed he would. Both Giles and he had wanted to do what they felt was best for Buffy. He couldn’t really hold that against him when he had done the same, and he was more at fault.
“That makes sense, Bit,” Spike said finally. “Do you think Buffy knows?”
Dawn shook her head. “I expect she soon will. Either Giles or Andrew will slip. Let’s keep it quiet though in case we’re wrong.”
Buffy finally caught up to Andrew in Giles’ office and was surprised to see that Willow was there as well. Andrew was bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. Both Willow and Giles turned to look at Buffy.
Giles had a concerned look upon his face. “Andrew says you have something to tell us?” Buffy took a deep breath in order to gather up the courage to tell them about Spike. She needn’t have bothered though.
“Spike is back and living in Buffy’s house,” Andrew announced in a rush.
The young man had a wide grin on his face, and Buffy gave him a hard stare.
“Good heavens! Spike is here!” Giles exclaimed, and just as Buffy predicted he took off his glasses and polished them furiously.
“Wow, Spike back from the dead! How?” Willow demanded.
“Two nights ago, Spike turned up on my doorstep,” Buffy began. “It turns out he was brought back due to the amulet that Angel brought us from LA. There’s a lot more to it, obviously.”
“Do you think Spike would be amenable to telling me a little about his experiences?” Giles asked.
“I guess you would have to ask him yourself,” Buffy replied. She gave them the condensed version of Spike’s story. The story was not hers to tell after all.
“Good Lord,” Giles muttered finally when she finished.
Willow threw her arms around Buffy and both women’s eyes were wet. They held each other for a few moments. Giles coughed politely. The women pulled apart much to Giles’ relief. He was always ill at ease with emotional displays.
“And Spike’s living in your house now?” Willow finally asked when she had composed herself.
Buffy rolled her eyes and glowered at Andrew again. “Spike is not living in my house.”
“He stayed there last night,” Andrew said petulantly.
Giles started cleaning his glasses again. He caught Willow’s eye, and they exchanged a worried glance.
“Buffy are you sure this is a good idea?”
“Spike and I are not sleeping together. We just fell asleep together. I mean it was completely innocent.”
“She doth protest too much.”
The idiot was smirking, and she really wanted to slap that look off his face. “You will get out, and go annoy somebody else, someplace else!”
“Giles,” he whined.
“Andrew, just go.” Giles said impatiently. Andrew huffed but obeyed the older man.
Buffy waited until she heard his furious steps could no longer be heard. “I don’t know what is going to happen with Spike and me,” Buffy said honestly. “All I know is that I want him to be part of my life.”
Willow bit her lip nervously. “You know I’m glad he’s back Buffy, but your relationship was never healthy.”
“It wasn’t even a relationship.” Buffy laughed hollowly.
“Exactly –” Giles began.
Buffy held her hand up to cut him short. “I’m no longer a child. I’m an adult who can make her own decisions. I appreciate your concern, but any decision regarding my future can only be made by me.”
Giles looked sadly at the girl that was practically a daughter to him. She hated the look, part fear and part disappointment, and she really didn’t want to have to defend her choices anymore. She was a grown up after all. She decided she had to leave sooner rather than later before she lost her temper.
She looked at her watch finding the perfect excuse. “I’m supposed to have a training class.”
“I’ll walk with you.” Willow took her arm.
“He means well you know, and we’re just worried about you,” Willow continued, as soon as they were clear of Giles’ hearing.
Buffy smiled reassuringly at her worried friend.
“I know Wills but –”
“You love Spike,” Willow said with certain understanding.
“I think so,” Buffy whispered, and Willow squeezed her hand.
“Be careful,” Willow said. Buffy’s felt a sense of relief knowing at least one of her friends accepted it, and it meant a lot.
After Buffy was done for the day, she decided to head and see Giles once again. She hated fighting with him. As she neared the office, she could hear the sound of voices coming from within. She was about to walk away when she heard Andrew’s voice.
It’s only Andrew so it can’t be anything very important.
She raised her hand to knock on the door when something Andrew said caused her to gasp.
“Buffy’s angry at me, and it’s not fair, Giles,” Andrew griped. “After all you knew about Spike being back too.”
“You can rest assured that Buffy is angry at me already,” Giles said irritatedly.
Buffy felt betrayed. It was bad enough for Spike not to tell her. Somehow for Giles to actively keep it from her was worse. She flung open the door. The handle came off in her hand because of her tight grip. The two men looked at the Slayer in shock.
“Yes, I was already angry with you,” she said addressing Giles. “Now, I’m furious.”
She turned to Andrew and he whimpered before she could say a word and fled out the door. She faced her old Watcher again.
“How could you not tell me?” Buffy asked coldly.
“It was Spike’s decision. He asked Andrew not to tell you, and when he told me of Spike’s return I decided to honour his wishes.”
“Since when have you ever worried about Spike’s wishes?” Buffy scoffed.
“You are right Buffy,” he conceded. “Nevertheless, you should remember I only did what I felt was in your interest in keeping this from you, and if Spike had chosen before now to reveal his return I wouldn’t have done anything to prevent it.”
“Don’t make me choose between you? I chose him once, and I would do it again.”
“I know,” he said gently. “I’m not asking you to choose between us. I want you to think carefully before you get involved with him again. You managed to get by well enough these past months without him and he survived without you all this time too.”
Giles’ words were like a knife in her heart. She clenched her fists tightly. “I already told you once today that I want him to be part of my life. It took losing him to see just how important he is to me.”
“Buffy, I am truly sorry for hurting you. I only wanted the best for you.”
“I can understand why he did what he did,” she said quietly. “I may be good at keeping my feelings locked away, but you could see I was hurting and you knew why. You knew he was back, and yet you never said a word.”
Buffy could feel the tears threatening to come and do she turned and ran out the door.
“Buffy,” she vaguely heard Giles calling. She ignored him and dashed through the building. All in her path quickly scampered out of her way and soon she was out the door of the building. She stopped for a minute by the tree at the entrance to catch her breath and compose herself. Tears were still threatening to fall and so the Slayer took off at full speed yet again. This time she did not stop until she arrived at her front door, and when she opened the door she walked straight into a hard chest. Spike took the distraught woman into his arms. It was only then that Buffy let herself go and really cried.
To be continued...
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
Spike and Buffy have a very over due conversation.
Disclaimer: I don't own this, just my plot.
Buffy didn't spend long crying in Spike's arms. She had been tearing up too much these last few days and Spike had seen enough of her red rimmed eyes. She quickly pulled away once she managed to compose herself. Her movement was so sudden that Spike was startled.
"Are you ok now, love?" he asked tentatively, afraid of overstepping his bounds as she had been so quick to pull away.
"Yeah. Thanks, Spike." She smiled gratefully at him.
Spike was just relieved that she was not pushing him away as she was wont to do.
"Do you want to talk about it, pet?" he asked.
Her smile faded. "It seems Giles and Andrew had been comparing notes regarding Andy's trip to Wolfram and Hart. Giles was under the impression that he was acting for the best. Just like you in fact."
She could not resist that last dig. Spike flinched just as she intended and she smirked satisfied. As she examined the vampire's face it occurred to her that he did not seem all that surprised by the revelation.
"Why are you not surprised?"
Her eyes were narrowing and Spike knew there was no point lying. Buffy could always tell or maybe he was just rubbish at lying.
"I did not know exactly" he began, "but today I was thinking about how the boy could possibly keep all that secret without spilling his guts to someone."
He deliberately left out Dawn's part. He may not be much good at telling lies but lying by omission was another thing. She gave him a searching look but she left the topic be for the time being. The vampire was grateful for the reprieve.
Later that afternoon, Spike gazed out the window into the darkening sky. He realised reluctantly that he better go back to his hotel soon if he wanted to make sure he had a place to stay for the next few nights. He had only paid up until the following day after all. However, he was much too content to sit in Buffy's company instead. They were sitting comfortably in front of the television when Buffy's cell phone rang. Buffy pulled it out of her jeans pocket and glared at it. Spike suspected it was likely Willow or Giles. Buffy decided to ignore it and let it go to voicemail.
"Are you going to answer that, love?" Spike inquired.
"Obviously not" she said rolling her eyes, "but that reminds me."
She got up and grabbed a piece of paper from a drawer and scribbled something on it.
Spike raised his eyebrow quizzically, as she walked over waving the piece of paper.
"Did you write me a love letter, Slayer?" he grinned.
Buffy feigned a long suffering sigh and handed him the piece of paper.
"Not exactly a love letter" she said, "I just realised I never gave you my phone number."
"I'll write your number in my little black book." He rolled his tongue between his teeth. "Well actually it is not so little. I guess I am just popular with the ladies."
"Spike, you are so full of it." She laughed.
He winked in response and pulled out a small black cell phone and dialled the number on the paper. Buffy's phone rang twice and cut off.
"Now you have mine."
He was glad to see she seemed to have cheered significantly. He hated to see her in pain. The front door burst open and brought Spike out of reverie.
"Hey guys," Dawn called out. She was carrying what appeared to be take out and she placed the bags on the table
"Hello Bit," Spike said.
Dawn smiled knowingly noticing the close proximity between which her sister and her friend.
"I didn't interrupt anything, did I?" she asked.
"No you didn't," Buffy assured her.
"Honestly," Spike added when Dawn remained unconvinced.
"You brought dinner?" Buffy asked changing the subject.
"Yep," Dawn chirped happily, " I also rented some dvds from the video store. I thought we could have a movie night."
"Sounds good to me," Spike declared, and Buffy nodded as well.
"There is just one thing. Can I please invite Xander? " Dawn begged. "I'd feel a bit like a third wheel and would feel much better with somebody else there."
Spike looked at Buffy, trying to show no sign of discomfort.
"I don't see why not," Buffy answered.
Dawn turned unexpectedly to Spike.
"Don't need my permission. It's your house and not mine!" Spike pointed out.
"Well you and Xander are not exactly best pals. "
Spike shrugged. "I might not like him but I think I can cope with his company of an evening if it makes my girls happy"
Dawn threw her arms around him happily.
"Let's eat before the food goes cold," Spike said a little gruffly once Dawn let go of him.
After they finished dinner, Dawn announced that she was going to head out for a little while and would drop in on Xander on her way back. Buffy and Spike were left alone once more. Buffy decided that now was the time for her to get some of her feelings off her chest. She turned to the vampire with an earnest expression.
"Listen Spike, for once I want to be open Buffy and I am a little scared, so don't you dare interrupt me." Buffy was unable to meet the vampire's eyes.
Spike nodded equally terrified. This was new territory for them both after all. While Buffy was still avoiding his eyes she took his hand into hers trying to impart the sincerity of what she was about to say.
"That year after I died, you were the only one that let me just be myself, and I think we could have been good friends then if we didn't..."
"shag each other's brains out," Spike finished with a bitter smirk.
"Yeah," she affirmed softly, "That's when things got real bad. But when you came back from Africa all souled up, I knew I had been wrong about you."
"Buffy.." Spike began.
"Sssh no interrupting. Buffy talk and Spike listen," she said punching his arm playfully. She met his eyes for the first time since she began the conversation.
"You are special, and not an evil thing. Our connection that year was the only reason I was strong enough to get through it all. I want that friendship back. Do you think we could be friends again?"
"We are friends." He squeezed her hand, affected by her words.
"Did we just have a conversation about feelings?" Buffy asked a little hysterically.
"I think so," Spike replied, his voice hoarse with emotion.
"You're not off the hook yet, mister," she reminded him.
To his horror Spike felt a lump in his throat. Buffy had never been this open about her feelings before. They both just sat there in silence for a few minutes. Unlike the comfortable silence they had experienced the night before this was more oppressive.
"I need to go back to my hotel and pay up for the next few days before they give my room away. I will be back in a bit."
"Do you want me to come with?" Buffy asked.
"Nah, love. I need a smoke and besides I won't be long."
Spike headed towards the door, but Buffy called him back. He turned around and she was right beside him.
"What I said in the Hellmouth.." she began.
Spike immediately raised his hand in a gesture to stop her.
"Please Buffy don't," he pleaded.
She ignored his protests. "I meant what I said that day. Maybe I was not in love with you like you were with me, but I think I could have been in time, and perhaps I still could be."
Hope blossomed in his chest.
"Buffy, don't say things you don't mean. It's not fair."
"Dammit Spike. I'm not giving you a cookie dough speech or trying to placate you. I'm trying to be honest about how I feel."
"Cookie dough?" Spike asked in spite of himself.
"Never mind," Buffy snapped and turned punching the wall in frustration.
There a big dent in the wall she had smashed her fist through. Spike grabbed her hand and examined it carefully.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, Slayer?" he snarled. once he established that her hand was uninjured.
"Trying not to punch you," she retorted pulling her hand from his grasp.
Spike just stared at her for a moment and despite his irritation began to laugh. Buffy's lips began to quirk and soon they were both in stitches. When they recovered, Buffy was relieved that Spike's eyes were still dancing with amusement.
"See, I'm a new Buffy," she quipped.
"So I see," he replied.
"Yet, it's strange you're still the same dumbass vampire."
"Guilty as charged," he admitted.
"So, Mr. William the Bloody will you let me finish what I was saying?"
He took a deep breath. "Go ahead. I am listening."
"You drive me crazy! You're an ass, insensitive and rude. I could go on ... Still for some reason I missed you, even the smell of your stinky cigarettes. I just need to tell you how I feel. I never thought I would get the chance. However, first I want to get to know you again as friends. I honestly don't know if we could be anything more what with our history and baggage. We certainly aren't ready yet, but I'd like to think that there is hope for us someday."
Spike couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Buffy, I don't know what to say," he confessed.
"Then don't say anything," Buffy whispered, "I just needed to tell you."
Spike leaned over and kissed her tenderly on the forehead.
"In the spirit of sharing, I still love you, Buffy Summers," he declared.
"Please, don't think I am asking you to wait for me," she insisted. "I want you to be happy, even if it is with somebody else."
He looked at her in awe. Buffy truly was an amazing woman. They stood there in silence for a few moments just looking at each other and smiling.
"So no naughty touching! Do you think you can handle that?" Buffy challenged him finally breaking the silence.
"The question is can you?" Spike replied, his eyebrows dancing suggestively.
Buffy slapped him on the arm.
"See, you're unable to keep your hands off me!" he joked, as he headed out the door.
About a half an hour later, Dawn arrived back home along with Xander. Spike still hadn't returned.
"Hey Buff," Xander said, "where is the Bleached Wonder?"
"Out," Buffy announced. She noticed the crestfallen look on her little sister's face at her words and laughed.
"Relax, Dawnie. He had to go back to his hotel to pay for a couple of extra days. He will back soon."
"Do not call me Dawnie. I am not a kid anymore"
The Slayer ignored her sister's glares, while Xander laughed nervously.
They were interrupted by music coming from somewhere in the living room. Buffy excused herself and went into the living room. It took her a moment to realise that the sound of Sid Vicious was coming from Spike's cell phone which must have fallen down the side of the sofa. She picked it up and pressed it her ear.
"Hello, Spike's phone," chirped Buffy.
"Who are you?" a female voice on the line demanded.
Buffy was taken aback at being addressed like that and wondered jealously who this woman was.
"Buffy, Spike's old friend and who the hell are you?" she snapped.
"I do not answer to a low being like yourself, but for now I will humour you. I am Illyria, God-King and one of the Old Ones. Now get my pet. I wish to speak to him now."
"Your pet?" Buffy asked incredulously.
"Yes the white headed vampire is my pet and I wish to speak to him right away."
"That would be kind of hard as he's not here right now, but I'll pass on the message"
The phone suddenly cut off.
How rude, she thought and vowed to find out some more about this Illyria later when Spike returned. She returned to her sister and Xander, who were busy helping themselves in the kitchen.
It was another hour before Spike returned, and Buffy, Dawn and Xander were halfway through a game of Monopoly.
"Hi all," he greeted them. To his surprise Xander stood and shook his hand.
"Thanks," Spike said quietly, so that only Xander could hear. He was grateful that the man had given him the impetus to come clean and see Buffy.
Spike accepted the handshake, while Buffy and Dawn watched with delight and astonishment.
"Don't get used to it," Spike said bluntly to the girls who were still grinning.
"Just so you know, I still don't like you," Xander said to the vampire.
"Ditto," replied the vampire.
"You took your time" Buffy remarked, but there was no accusation in her words.
"Took a little longer than I expected and then bumped into some vamps on the way back," he explained.
He picked up the bunch of movie rentals that Dawn had picked up. He looked more and more downcast with each one.
"Harris, please help a bloke out here. The chits are looking to watch chick flicks. I'm in need of a bit of male solidarity, mate."
Buffy snorted and Spike narrowed his eyes at her.
"Spike, you love Passions," Dawn protested, "You're a total softie, when it comes to romantic movies. Besides Brad Pitt is hot."
"I am not watching a movie with Brad Pitt in it." Spike crossed his arms.
"You don't still have a grudge against him for starring in "Interview with the Vampire"?" Buffy laughed.
Spike opened his mouth furiously, when Xander interrupted.
"As much as I enjoy watching Spike being humiliated, I don't want to watch Brad Pitt either."
Spike looked smug as Xander came over and rifled through the dvds. After much deliberation and argument eventually the four decided on what to watch. The night passed pleasantly and it wasn;t until the film was almost over that Buffy remembered about the phone call earlier.
"Oh, I meant to tell you that you got a phone call, while you were out. Someone by the name of Illyria."
Spike looked at her in confusion. "Blue called me? That can't be anything good. Something must be wrong in LA. I better call Peaches."
"Watch the rest of the film," Buffy insisted. "It can wait till morning. Besides, if it was that important they would have called again."
Spike looked down at Buffy, who was resting her head comfortably on his shoulder and decided she was right. He was here with Buffy and things were looking up for once. What she had told him earlier had made him deliriously happy. She hadn't made any promises, but she had let him in. Buffy wanted him around and she had admitted there was a chance for them. For the first time in a long while Spike held hope for the future.
To be continued...
I know I am very mean but I feel that Spike and Buffy have a lot to work through before they could work romantically which is why it did not feel right for them to jump into a relationship just yet.
Author’s note: In case you do not remember the character Gwen featured in this story, she was in the Season Three episode of Angel “Dad” and was the woman who was in the “Files and Records” department. There was also another more prominent character named Gwen Raiden but it is the first one that I am mentioning.
It had been over a month since Angel and his gang had defeated Wolfram and Hart and ruined Gwen’s life. Since the firm had fallen she had not heard from the company except to hear that they would consider her for a position if a vacancy opened up. She was not holding her breath though. Gwen was insulted. What did a half demon have to do anyway to secure a job. She had been indispensable to the firm as the link to all of their files. Once the Los Angeles branch was destroyed the link she had with all the files was terminated but she retained much of the information. She had plenty of money left from her lucrative pay package but she had become accustomed to a certain level of opulence that would not be sustainable if she did not get a well paid job soon. She left out a sigh as she opened the front door to her penthouse. Standing in the middle of her living room were three suited men. She managed to stifle a scream of shock before she regained her composure and reached for the door handle. The stockiest of the three was too fast however and grabbed her hand.
“Now we want to play nice,” he said in a non threatening manner as if he was trying to put her at ease. She was not convinced however. The man ushered her over to the sofa and motioned for her to sit down opposite his colleagues. Working at the law firm had taught her how to read people. She took the opportunity for the first time to really examine her “guests”. The stocky man was clearly the brawn while the silver haired man with the impeccably neat suit had to be the leader of the outfit and the younger looking bespectacled man his lackey.
“What do you want with me?” she demanded.
“We know you worked for Wolfram and Hart and we would like to offer you a position” the silver haired man said, “You would be handsomely paid of course.”
“What makes you think I would be interested?” she snapped, “you broke into my flat after all!”
“We can offer you a job that will pay as well as your last job” the man explained. “We need information and we hear you have it in spades. Your expertise and information would be invaluable to us and you need a job in order to continue living in a place like this. It would be a mutually beneficial agreement.”
Gwen simply shrugged in response. The man sighed. Clearly flattery was getting him nowhere or reason for that matter. It was time to try a new tack.
“We can also an opportunity to take some vengeance on a mutual enemy,” he offered with a knowing smirk.
“Who are you talking about?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.
“Angel!” the man spat. “He thinks he owns the city.”
“Why do you think I would be useful?” she asked.
“You used to work for him and considering your position you must have a lot of dirt on him. So are you interested?.”
“Yes. Tell me more,” she replied smiling for the first time that evening.
Back to present
The last couple of days had been like an emotional rollercoaster for Buffy Summers. Right now everything was good. Spike was back in her life again and there was rightness about that. Buffy smiled at her reflection and turned to leave the bathroom with the grin still on her face. She almost bumped into her sister in the doorway to the kitchen.
“Buffy’s in love,” Dawn whispered in sing-song voice.
“Shut up,” Buffy reproved her younger sister, “Spike and I are just good friends.”
She was still smiling broadly, however, and “for now” she added in her head.
“Sure yeah and I'm the Queen of England,” Dawn scoffed.
Buffy shook her head laughing at her sister’s childish antics.
“So tell me. What’s with the snugglies if you two are just friends then?”
Dawn had her but Buffy was not about to give in.
“I can’t help it if Spike’s flirtable,” she protested “and comfortable” she added thinking of the previous evening spent with her head on his shoulder and his arm wrapped around her.
Dawn seemed to grin even wider if possible and it was then that the slayer felt the unique tingle that signalled Spike’s presence.
“Talking about me, girls” he leered and she turned bright red.
“Conceited much” Dawn replied in a teasing tone.
Spike looked fondly at his two favourite women and was struck by the domesticity of the scene. He may have lived in the basement that last year in Sunnydale, but this was a whole new level of intimacy. Back then there had been dozens of girls not to mention the ever constant presence of the Scoobies. This may not be his home but he felt at home for the first time since he had been a human really. He knew it was silly and he was being a bit of a nancy boy, but it was how he felt and he did not deserve one whit of it.
“I have a hot date planned, kids, so you will have to excuse me. I need to get ready” Dawn said heading for the bathroom.
The pair followed her up the stairs peppering her with questions.
“Ooh! Who’s the lucky guy?”
“What! Who’s the fucking wanker?”
Buffy and Spike spoke simultaneously as Dawn shut the bathroom door on her would be interrogators. They could hear Dawn laughing behind the door.
With a sigh, Dawn opened the door and she popped her head out.
“His name is Thomas” she said, “Yes he's lucky and he's not a wanker. Now, go away, and leave me get ready in peace.”
Buffy giggled as Spike still looked furious and pulled him into the living room.
“What do you know about this Thomas bloke?” he asked, eyes narrowed.
“Nothing. Dawn’s a big girl. I think she can handle a date and you're not going scaring away the first bit of fun she has had in a while.”
Spike just growled something incoherently. Buffy rolled her eyes at his sulking as he paced the living room floor. It was rather sweet that he was being protective but Dawn would not thank him for it. Buffy was trying to think of something to distract Spike, before he decided to stalk Dawn and her date when the doorbell rang.
“Is that him?” he asked, as Buffy opened her door only to find Rupert Giles and Willow Rosenberg standing there looking sheepish. Buffy let them in the door as Spike watched from the corner.
“Spike,” Giles acknowledged coolly, once he spotted him which was expected.
Spike returned the gaze and replied frostily, “Watcher.”
Willow regarded him warmly and to his astonishment hugged him tight.
“I'm glad you're back,” she said sincerely.
“Good to see you too, Red,” he replied, still a little taken aback at the gesture.
“Buffy, I'm sorry if I was a little tactless yesterday,” Giles said quietly. “I know things have strained between us of late, but I've only ever done what I thought was best.”
Spike snorted but other three ignored him.
“I know that, Giles," Buffy said quietly, "but I'm an adult and I would appreciate it if you would let me make my own decisions."
Buffy caught Spike's smug smile in the corner of her eye and decided he needed a reminder.
She glared at both men in turn. "I'm sick of people deciding what is best for me and that goes for you too Mr-I-Won't-Even-Bother-Letting-You- Know-I-Survived-Burning-To-A-Crisp.”
The vampire and man looked at their feet.
“I think they are sufficiently scolded” Willow pointed out.
Buffy tried hard not to smile.
“I guess if I can forgive this peroxided dumbass, then I can forgive you too.”
Giles smiled in relief and was quickly swallowed in a warm embrace.
“I hate fighting with you Giles, even if you are a pain in the ass sometimes,” Buffy mumbled.
“I really wish you would not use that word,” Giles complained. “You Americans have a knack of abusing the English language.”
“You have got that right, Rupert,” Spike agreed.
Buffy shrugged and turned to hug Willow as Giles headed in Spike’s direction.
“Spike, a word if you please,” Giles asked quietly.
“I don’t please, but I will give you one anyway.”
"Would you mind?" Giles gestured to the door.
Spike nodded, and the vampire and man went outside to speak privately.
“Hurt her again, and I'll finish what Wood and I started,” Giles said menacingly.
“Wouldn't expect anything less, Rupert,” Spike replied much to Giles’ surprise.
Giles didn't know what to say judging by his slack jawed expression.
“How about we play nice for Buffy’s sake, old man.” Spike proposed, “We do not have to like each other just tolerate each other.”
Spike held out his hand but Giles just looked at it. He was about to withdraw it when Giles’ warm hand met his cold one and they silently came to an understanding.
The rest of the day passed quite happily and without incident. Dawn managed to sneak out on her date with Spike none the wiser. Buffy was relieved to have made her peace with the man that was better father figure to her than her real one had ever been. Spike for his part was just happy to see her in such good spirits. It was still too bright for Spike to head out and Buffy was complaining about the lack of quality on television.
“How about a game of cards?” Spike suggested.
“No way! You cheat!” she said, shooting his suggestion down.
“I don't,” he lied and she simply looked incredulous.
“Yes, I do,” he conceded, “but how about I teach Miss Goody Two Shoes to cheat?”
“Hey, I'm not a goody two shoes,” she protested causing to Spike to roar with laughter.
His phone rang interrupting their banter. He looked at the caller id before he picked it up.
“Bloody hell! I meant to call the ponce earlier”.
He had forgotten to return the phone call he had received from LA the previous day what with all the events of the day. He excused himself to take the call in another room.
“This had better be important Captain Forehead,” Spike said, not happy that his time with Buffy was being interrupted.
“Yes - it is damn important!” Angel snapped.
“Where the hell have you been, and why haven’t you returned Illyria’s call?”
“Been busy,” Spike answered, being deliberately elusive.
“Alcohol, sex and blood! That's all you ever think about.” Angel's tone was snide.
“And you don’t?” Spike retorted.
“It’s Connor!” Angel blurted out.
Spike could tell it was something bad. He'd grown quite fond of Angel Junior when they were working together in the aftermath of the LA’s relocation to a hell dimension.
“What happened?” he asked.
“He's missing,” Angel said in a dead voice, “He was last seen being bundled into a van and I'm worried. I need your help.”
Spike knew it was serious when his grand sire was asking him for help.
“I'll get back as soon as I can,” he promised. “We'll get him back Angel.”
To be continued...
So what did you think? Please let me know.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
Spike and Buffy arrive in Los Angeles to help look into Angel's son's disappearance.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Spike's mind was going a mile a minute. What the hell had happened Connor? Where was he? Was he even still alive? He had to get back to Los Angeles but how to break it to Buffy when he had only been back in her life for such a brief time. His two girls were playing fish and despite the seriousness of his thoughts he was unable to refrain from rolling his eyes.
"Amateurs," he scoffed, "You know I never understood the point of that game. I mean if you want to go fish you go fishing. Poker now that is a card game".
Dawn snorted with laughter and Buffy smiled. Spike would be happy just to sit there and watch them all day but there were things that needed to be done.
"What is wrong?" Buffy asked noticing the look on his face.
"It's Connor, Angel's kid," he explained, "He's missing and I need to get back to Los Angeles to help find him."
Despite the circumstances Buffy felt an irrational pang of jealousy that he would rush away from her to go to Angel. Rationality quickly caught up with her.
"I want to come with you," Buffy said, "I want to help."
"I don't know if that is a good idea, pet."
"I can help. I can access resources that you don't have."
"Point taken, love," he conceded. Besides, he really would be glad to not have to be separated from her so soon.
Buffy was right of course and her contacts got them a flight later that day. A few hours later, Buffy and Spike disembarked the plane in good spirits. They had received first class treatment again down to Buffy's contacts and special provisions had been made for Spike. Their lighter mood shifted as they remembered the reason for the journey. It was in the Arrivals lobby that they saw the grim face of Angel. He looked awful. He obviously had not been getting enough sleep. Buffy hugged Angel tightly. Spike scowled in the background. When Buffy pulled away from Angel she spotted a woman with blue hair attired in a cat suit. She guessed that this must be Illyria. Both women looked each other up and down. Buffy decided that she didn't like her. This was the woman that had called Spike "her pet" and Buffy really did not like to think what that could mean.
"This is the famous Buffy Summers?" Illyria asked incredulously and when Spike and Angel simply nodded in response she turned to Buffy.
"You are a lot smaller than I expected," the god king said with the look that clearly said that the slayer did not come up to scratch. Buffy bristled at that. It was official she hated her now. .
"Oh I am a hell of lot stronger than you think I am!" Buffy responded indignantly. A bemused Spike put his hand on her shoulder. She shook his hand off.
"You wish to fight me!" Illyria remarked clearly not intimidated in the slightest with a prospective tussle with a slayer, "A tiny woman with superpowers is no match for Illyria God King!"
Buffy could tell that Spike was amused and this only increased to irritate her further.
"Now is not the time, love," he whispered in her ear and she felt like a total bitch as she realised that this was the last thing that Angel needed. Angel was walking ahead of them now and Buffy gave Spike an apologetic smile and quickened her pace in order to catch up to Angel.
"Sorry" she said, "for that and for Connor as well!"
He didn't speak just nodded. He looked so broken. She had never seen him look so lost or desolate before. She didn't know what to say so she settled for just matching his long strides and following him to the car park. Spike and Illyria followed on behind. Buffy couldn't help but feel a little satisfied when she caught Spike's eyes following her intently even though he was talking animatedly with Illyria. She still had it even when was a super hot god in a catsuit around. Sleazy bitch calling Spike pet! From what Spike had told her Illyria was not human so she could slay her but she guessed now would not be a good time with disappearance of Connor to solve. Maybe later.
Once they arrived at Angel's office he filled them in on the events. There had been a number of disappearances in the demon world in recent months.
"Initially I thought that there were turf wars between different demon factions but it soon became clear that seemed to be no definitive pattern," Angel explained, "In some cases there could have been weeks of planning and others seemed like chance abductions. In all cases they have disappeared without a trace. No bodies were found and there are very little clues to lead us anywhere."
Buffy swore and Spike chuckled appreciatively. She glared at him.
"Boy has a point," Angel said with a weak smile, "You never swear. Spike's obviously rubbing off on you!"
Spike leered at her wickedly and blushed but refrained from making an inappropriate remark for once. Buffy guessed that Spike was practising restraint considering the situation. It was most unlike her vampire. She would file it away as a future bargaining chip. She always found it funny that Spike would do almost anything to save his reputation despite the fact that it had been shot to pieces a long time ago. Her mother had once advised her that a man's ego was a fragile thing and never was that more true than in the case of William the Bloody.
"Have you spoke with any witnesses?" Buffy asked.
"All I know is that there was a big black van that he was bundled into. The witness did say that they looked human but that doesn't mean anything."
"Could they have been human?" Spike asked and Buffy could see a feral glint in his eyes.
"Could be but it still does not leave us any the wiser." Angel shrugged.
Spike and Buffy looked at each other both coming to the same conclusion.
"The initiative," they whispered in unison.
"Army types," Spike explained as Angel looked perplexed. "Those were the blokes that stuck that piece of metal in my noggin."
Spike didn't really want to tell what other things that they did to him or what they could be doing to Connor right now. He knew from the look on her face that Buffy was thinking the same thing.
"I think that we should see if Riley can help us out," Buffy suggested much to Spike's consternation.
"What?" Spike exploded, "Are you bonkers? That is like inviting the Big Bad Wolf in for tea!"
"I trust him," she answered evenly, "He's never given me reason to believe anything else."
"What about when you found him with two bit vampire whores sucking him?" Spike retorted. Angel really was not in the mood for their bickering when there were much more important matters like Connor to think about. Yet, he couldn't muster the energy to tell them off.
"That was different and who are you to cast aspersions and make judgements?" Buffy snapped.
"I don't trust soldier boy and what the hell do you still have his phone number for?"
Buffy rolled her eyes and turned to Angel. "Riley is the best chance we have. He is a good guy if a little misguided. He may not like demons but he would not be involved in kidnapping a human."
Spike and Angel rarely agreed on anything but one thing and one of the few was that they disliked Riley. However, if Riley was their only option then Angel would seize it. He needed all the help that he could get.
"Call him," Angel said.
"But.." Spike began but was quickly cut off.
"Shut up Spike!" Angel said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Spike shook his head in disbelief at their stupidity. If Riley found out that Dawn was or is a magical key then she would be in danger as well. If they wanted Connor to experiment on then what would they do with a potential key to dimensions? Spike swore he would not let that happen.
To be continued...
Hope you enjoyed this! Please review! It makes me happy.
Chapter 11: Plans afoot
Where Riley and Spike glare at one another, Angel mopes and Buffy has to keep it all together.
Disclaimer: I don't own but I enjoy playing.
Chapter Eleven: Plans Afoot
Spike was interrupted in his furious musings by a knock on the door.
"Come in," Angel called and in walked Charles Gunn.
"No news I am afraid, Angel!" he said to a despondent Angel who sighed. It was then Gunn noticed Spike and Buffy.
"Good to see you man," he said embracing Spike like a brother which surprised Buffy. Obviously, they were good friends. Buffy had never really thought about Spike having friends before except for Clem of course. Buffy could see that Spike had built himself a life here in Los Angeles and it hurt. Spike could live well enough without her. Her friends did not like him and never had treated him with respect. No wonder he did not tell her he was back. He was respected here. This was quite confusing. Normally Spike was the one on the outside looking in and she was the one who belonged.
"Gonna introduce me to the lovely lady?" Gunn said to Spike, who immediately obliged.
"Buffy, this is Gunn, and Gunn, this is Buffy"
Gunn shook her hand warmly.
"I have to head out" Angel said excusing himself, "Buffy can you make that call right away?"
"Yeah," she replied to his retreating back and quickly excused herself to the two remaining men and followed Angel out the door.
"Angel wait!" she called as he walked away. He stopped but didn't turn around.
"We will get him back, Angel," she promised as she caught up with him.
"I wish I could truly believe that," Angel said quietly.
"Don't give up," she said, grabbing his hand and giving it a squeeze.
"I am not giving up," he snapped, "You don't understand what it is like. I will never give up."
"Sorry, Angel. I didn't mean it like that."
"I know, Buffy," he said more softly this time.
Buffy just watched helplessly as he walked out the door. She desperately wanted to make it better for him but there was nothing she could do. She headed back to the room and could hear Gunn and Spike taking amicably. She was about to open the door when the topic of conversation turned to her.
"So that is Buffy, huh?" Gunn asked.
"Yeah that's her, the not so one and only Slayer anymore!"
"She is a hottie," Gunn said. "I can see what you and Angel see in her. What I can't make out is what she sees in the Fang Brothers?"
"Hell if I know what she saw in Captain Forehead, but I'm a right handsome bastard! What can I say; the girl's got taste."
Buffy laughed and pushed open the door. Spike caught her eye and she knew he had been aware of her presence at the door. She blushed a deep shade of red. Damn vampire. It was not just his vampire senses but he always seemed to see things others didn't. Why couldn't he be all non-observey like most men? Gunn was grinning at the blush on her face and Spike was looking smug.
Buffy decided that she would quickly engage in topic change. "You boys are going to take me out to dinner, but first I have to make a phonecall."
"Buffy-" Spike began.
"Don't start Spike," she warned him."I have to do this."
"Fine," he conceded ungraciously. "I'm heading out for a drink first. Charlie, are you coming?"
"Be back in an hour," Buffy said, "I'm starving"
Spike nodded much to Gunn's chagrin. Spike headed out the door in a huff his black duster trailing impressively after him which was the intention obviously. Nobody could throw a better strop than her Spike. Gunn was still standing there with an odd look on his face.
"What?" Buffy asked impatiently.
"I like you!" Gunn headed out the door after his friend leaving Buffy slightly puzzled. Now she had to get back to the job at hand. This was going to be fun.
Riley had been only delighted to hear from Buffy and assured her that he could be there the following day. Buffy was surprised that Riley was able to get away so early, but Riley was true to his word and the following evening they were all gathered once again in the office. It was good that Gunn was there as you could cut the tension with a knife. Spike had been sulking for the last twenty four hours that neither Buffy nor Angel would listen to his list of reasons why Riley should not be involved. His mood had not improved either. Spike and Riley were glaring at each other. Angel was lost in his own thoughts and Buffy was just trying to think of way to break the uncomfortable silence. She looked at Gunn for ideas but it seemed he was just as uncomfortable as she was.
"So three exes in the same room," Buffy muttered under her breath. "This is not awkward at all." That was another reason she was glad that Gunn was there. She felt less like a slut. She had only slept with most of the men in the room and not all of them. She left out an unintentional giggle at that last thought. The whole room turned to her in surprise and she decided she better get the meeting underway. Angel was clearly and understandably distracted while Spike and Riley were trying to outstare each other. This had been her idea so she would embrace her inner general.
"Let's get down to business," she said firmly banging her hand on Angels desk in an effort to gather their attention. She managed to gather their attention alright, although she also managed to knock over a really expensive looking statue. This really was not her day, but it worked because all of them were looking at her in a bemused way. She quickly picked up the statue and cleared her throat.
"Riley, I have given you the cliff notes on Connor's disappearance but maybe Gunn could give you the full lowdown. We think the Initiative's behind it. Have you heard anything at all?"
"I really haven't heard about any projects in LA." Riley said apologetically, "I said as much on the phone. I'm willing to help out where I can and if I do hear anything at all then you'll be the first to know."
There was an audible snort from a scowling Spike.
"Thanks Riley," Buffy said meaning it.
"Hypothetically, if there was a base in LA, have you any idea where they might be?" Angel asked. This was the first sentence to come out of his mouth since Riley arrived. Riley shook his head.
"Looks like we are back to square one." Spike's scowl deepened. "Asking Farmboy was a waste of our time!"
Buffy clenched her fists in effort to rein in her temper. She took a deep before turning to Spike.
"Riley may not know anything yet, but as he said he is here to help and we need to take any help we can get," Buffy pointed out.
He said nothing and she knew he was listening even if he didn't agree. They really didn't have time for jealous vampire histrionics. She focused on the task in hand and vowed to talk to Spike later.
"Gunn, how about you fill in Riley in?" Buffy proposed.
She didn't think that Angel was up to it and she and Spike had only been there since the day before so Gunn was the logical choice.
"Angel, can I talk to you?" she asked.
Spike could see Buffy was occupied with Peaches and decided it was time to have a chat with Captain Cardboard.
"Hey man, how about we go somewhere a little less populated?" Gunn proposed to Riley.
However, Spike followed them out the door which kind of defeated the purpose of leaving.
"Don't worry not following. I just want a quiet word alone with Soldierboy here," Spike said.
"Okay, but there better not be any bloodshed," Gunn conceded and continued on this way.
"I don't really want to talk to you Spike," Riley said impatiently.
"Tough because I want to talk to you," Spike said in a deadly tone, "If I find out that you have something to do with this I will kill you and I promise it will hurt."
"Are you threatening me?" Riley asked incredulously.
"You know my noggin's chip free these days," the vampire continued threateningly.
"You know you ought to be careful because if it does turn out that the Initative is gathered in LA then you might just end up back inside. You forget I have a lot of powerful contacts."
"Yeah is that so?" Spike responded nonchalantly. "And if I wanted I could just rip your throat open."
Spike grinned and turned around leaving Riley speechless in his wake. He headed back into the office where Angel and Buffy were talking.
"I could get Willow to come and do a locater spell."
"No point already tried that!" Angel said.
Buffy and Spike were taken aback. If a locater spell failed then it must mean that they must be using magic somehow or maybe that Connor was already dead.
"Willow's really powerful though." Buffy's voice shook a little. "Maybe we should ask her to try anyway?"
"Since when did the Initiative mess with hocus pocus?" Spike asked Buffy.
Neither of them voiced the fear that they were sure Angel was feeling. It was unlikely that Connor would be kidnapped just to be killed. If that were true then magic must be involved. Was it really the Initiative that they were dealing with? Perhaps they had it all wrong but all the clues seemed to lead to them. If the Initiative were messing with the magics then they were even more dangerous. There had been times when it had served them well but many others when it had gone wrong. If Willow had been lured into Dark Magic then what could it do to a bunch of mad scientists and dumb soldiers?
To be continued..