Season Three - 1998
Buffy pulled up short, staring in him dismay. “Oh come on, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“S’a free country. Have the right to be here if I want,” Spike countered, taking a drag off his cigarette and then crushing it under his boot.
“No. You don’t. I violently dislike you, remember? And what about ‘you’ll leave town and I’ll never see you again’? Ringing any bells? That little promise you made me and already broke once?”
He shrugged. “Evil. What can I say. ‘Sides, I was thinking of an earlier deal we’d made.”
Narrowing his eyes, Spike tipped his head, examining her, then sniffed nonchalantly. “Got a date, you and I.”
“A date?” she repeated, confused. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Knew you’d be a bloody bitch about it. Never mind, Slayer.” He spun on his heel, his duster swirling about his ankles as he strode away, Buffy staring after him.
“O-kaaaay… That was strange, even for Spike.” She shook her head and turned the other way, ready to finish her patrol so she could make a quick stop at the Bronze before heading home. This year, she was determined to watch the ball drop with her Mom, seeing how she’d missed it last year due to…
She stopped dead in her tracks. “Oh. Our evil Harry Met Sally date.”
He wasn’t serious, was he?
“Yeah, that one,” the vampire rumbled in her ear.
Apparently he was.
“What about Dru?” she asked, spinning to face him. “Thought you had a previous engagement with her? Involving chains and torture?”
“Haven’t run into her yet,” he said, averting his eyes. “She’d scarpered off by the time I made it back to Brazil. Heard she’d come up this way… Been looking for her, and then it was getting on to the last day of the year…”
Buffy began walking again, Spike keeping step beside her. “So you thought you’d meet up with me instead.”
“Didn’t have anything better to do. All alone tonight. You?”
“Angel. Thought you two were pretending you’re just friends?”
“I… ah… I dunno…” she admitted, refusing to look at him. “You know we’re not. And anyhow, he’s out of town. Again. Chanting with monks or something.”
Spike chuckled. “Looks like the fates are on our sides, then.”
“Uh, presuming we want this to happen. Which I so don’t. We’re not friends either, Spike. So unless you’re here for a major ass-kicking, you should go back to looking for Dru.”
“Well, sure. I’m here to kill you, not kiss you. As if.”
“I’m not kissing you,” she insisted. “Ever again. This last year was the shittiest year of my life, and since it started out with your lips on mine, I’m not looking for a repeat.”
“Couldn’t agree more.”
Buffy darted a glance at him. “You’re a very strange vampire, you know that?”
“’M a rebel, baby.”
Twirling her stake, she said, “Or something. Look, I’m supposed to go meet the gang at the Bronze, then head home. So you wanna fight now or later?”
“Later. No point unless it’s at midnight, right?”
It felt like he was calling her out at high noon. She shook her head at the absurdity of the situation, hoping Spike would be wasted enough by the time midnight rolled around that he would have forgotten all about her. She wasn’t in the mood for an epic fight, not tonight. “Okay. Well, I’ll see you later.”
He hurried in front of her to cut her off. “What, you don’t wanna…?”
She cocked an eyebrow. “Hang out with you until midnight? Really, no. Besides, even if I did, pretty sure Willow and Xander aren’t going to be up for hanging with the asshole that kidnapped them only a month ago, you know?”
“Right,” he nodded. “I’ll see you at your Mum’s, then.”
Raising her stake threateningly, Buffy snapped, “You stay away from her!”
“Won’t hurt her.”
His brows drew together. “Dunno. Guess I should. Being evil and all.”
“You know what?” She jabbed her stake at him. “I’m thinking we should get this over with now.”
“Hey now, thought we had a deal?”
“That was before you threatened my mother. And you’re right, you thought we had a deal. I never said any such thing.”
Spike snapped his fist at her, tumbling her backwards. “I’ll see you near midnight,” he said, his voice deep and threatening as he swaggered away.
Buffy clutched at her tender nose. “Bastard!” she called after him, then climbed to her feet, hurrying home. No way was she going to leave her Mom alone with Spike on the loose.
She’d stopped in at the Bronze first, just a quick stop to let her friends know why she was bailing on them tonight, but now she regretted it. Because Spike was already at her house, sitting on the couch next to her mom, nursing a cup of tea.
“Mom!” Buffy sighed in exasperation. “Didn’t we already learn not to invite the evil vampire in?”
Her mom blushed, sheepish. “Oh honey, I know. But… Spike’s been nothing but a gentleman. And he did say you were expecting him.”
“Yes, because he would never lie.”
“Oi! I don’t lie!” Buffy cocked an eyebrow and he shrugged. “Well, not always. And I didn’t lie this time – you knew I’d be by.” Smirking, he added, “I’ll have you know I waited outside like a proper gentleman for your mum to let me in, even though my invite is still good. Could’ve barged right in and I didn’t.”
“It’s true,” Joyce said.
Buffy sighed. “My apologies. And here I thought you were evil. Time to go now, thanks for stopping by.” She tapped her foot impatiently when he didn’t move.
“I’m sorry, Spike,” Joyce said to the vampire. “I thought maybe you and Buffy had another truce. It was a lovely chat.”
Joyce wrung her hands. “I’m sorry, Buffy, but he was very polite – I can’t help but be polite back. Willow can do a disinvite, right? And I won’t invite him in again, I promise.”
“We won’t need a disinvite,” Buffy ground out, “just a dustbuster.”
Spike leapt up. “Tsk, such manners, Slayer. Is that any way to treat a guest?”
“You’re a pest, not a guest.”
“I didn’t want to do this in front of your mother, but you leave me no choice,” Spike growled, lunging for her.
“Mom, go!” Buffy yelled, ducking, sending Spike crashing into the wall.
Joyce hesitated. “Do you need help?”
“Get out of here! Get to Giles’! I can’t focus if I’m worried about you.” Her mom nodded and ran for the door.
Spike rushed her again. “Just you and me, now, Slayer.”
“Perfect. Hey! Watch the Christmas tree!”
“Aww, did I ruin your pretties?”
Buffy slammed him to the ground. “No, you ruined my Mom’s. Jerk.” Glaring at him, she motioned to the door. “Outside. Now.”
The vampire scratched at his chest, smirking as he climbed back to his feet, and swiped at the blood trickling from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. “Dunno. Like smashing up your things, seeing you get all hot and bothered over it.”
“Have I mentioned lately that I hate you?”
“You sure do know how to sweet talk a bloke.” He gestured towards the door. “Since your mum’s been a right lady, I’ll take this outside for her sake. After you, love.”
Narrowing her eyes, Buffy replied. “You first.”
He shook his head. “You first. Or the tree gets it.”
“Fine.” She headed towards the door, turning back to warn him not to try to pull anything behind her back, only to see his fist coming at her. And then nothing.
Buffy swam up through the darkness, coming fully alert when something slapped her face. Her eyes popped open, looking right into Spike’s sapphire ones. He leered, waggling his eyebrows, and she made to hit him. Only to find her arms tied behind her back. “Hey!” she protested, twisting her head to see he’d used a string of Christmas lights to bind her. “I’m not dead?”
She shook her head. “No. Just surprised. But it’s the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.”
He chuckled, his eyes wide with glee as his tongue curled behind his teeth. “Big talk from the Slayer that’s trussed up tighter than a Christmas goose on Mum’s couch. No fun draining you if you’re not awake for it.” Licking his lips, he added. “’Sides, I have a better idea.”
She struggled harder. “Well, this ought to be good.”
“Angelus would approve.”
“Angel,” Buffy replied automatically.
Spike gave her an evil grin. “No, I mean Angelus, Slayer. I ran with that git for years. Learned a fair number of tricks from him.” He took a lock of her hair, twirled it about his finger. “Me, I normally prefer a good brawl, a quick death. But sometimes…” He leaned in, trailing his nose up the column of her neck as she gave in to her fear. “Sometimes, there are other pleasures to be had.”
“You touch me and I’ll make you wish you hadn’t.” Buffy was proud of how even her voice was.
Ignoring her threats, Spike spun to the television, turning the volume up so that Buffy could hear the countdown to next year.
Fifty… forty-nine… forty-eight…
“Tempting though the offer is, I have something else in mind. You see, I could kill you. I know it, and more importantly, you know it.”
“You cheated!” she interrupted.
“All’s fair in love and war, baby. I’m evil, what did you expect? Any which way you look at it, I win, you lose. So here you are, at my mercy, and this is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking it’s going to eat at you that I bested you, then let you live. Think of it as… repayment for last year. When you helped me out instead of ending me.”
“I won’t be so generous next time.”
He laughed. “Neither will I. We’ll be even then, right?”
“You have a strange sense of honor, Spike.”
“Vampire, love. Goes with the territory. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me going soft on you. As I was saying – I don’t need to kill you. I’m going to do you one better.”
Buffy hadn’t stopped struggling, still worried that he was planning to… well, she didn’t even want to consider what he might be planning. “Untie me now, and maybe I won’t kill you painfully.”
“Such promises,” he leered.
Ten… nine… eight…
He knelt in front of her and tangled his hands in her hair, eyes blazing with a heat she didn’t want to think about. “Shhh, Buffy. I won’t hurt you. Not tonight.” Even though his words shouldn’t have had a calming effect on her, they did. She stilled, gazing into his eyes, perplexed.
Leaning in, Spike kissed her, just as gently as he had the year before, his soft lips capturing hers in a kiss that had her responding despite herself.
Happy New Year!
The crowd on the television went wild. Buffy’s heartbeat drowned them out.
“What the hell?” she asked when he pulled away, her voice shaky.
Spike cupped her cheek. “Here’s hoping your next year is even worse than the last.” She gaped at him as he stood and swaggered to the door. Holding the door open, he turned to face her. “So, we on for next year? ‘Less I kill you good and proper before then?”
She couldn’t think of a retort, only continued to gape at him. He cocked his head, and when she failed to respond, he shrugged and left. As the door slammed shut, Buffy finally found her voice.
“It was just a dream,” she muttered. “Just a bad dream.”