Spike walked the deck despite how bloody inconvenient it was, hugging the walls, climbing over the legs of deck chairs, trudging cautiously around towels, piles of damp terrycloth that Spike didn't trust to keep still, not after the towels in his cabin, trussed up to look like some kind of a dog, had lunged for him as soon as Xander had made himself scarce.
He'd only managed to lose that moisture sucking menace of a hound when some stupid idiot, whom he was going to hunt down and kill as soon as he was his proper size again, had kicked him across the floor, almost sending him careening off the side of the ship and into the sea. Only another inadvertent kick, and you'd think people would watch where they put their feet, had saved him from a watery grave. OK, OK, maybe grave was a bit dramatic, but who could tell how long it would take a five-inch tall doll to walk back to shore.
At first the spell had sounded good, better than good actually, it had sounded bloody marvelous. Willow had told him that she could make him impervious to sunlight, which would allow him to act as translator when Xander went to pick up a newly turned Slayer in the northernmost reaches of Canada, a land of eternal sunshine during the summer months. He should have been suspicious when Willow had played up his skill with languages, telling him he was the only one who could speak Inuit and that the whole mission depended upon him, but no, he'd been too busy wondering how to keep Willow from removing the spell once the trip was over. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Once he'd agreed, which admittedly hadn't taken long, Willow had wanted to bewitch him right away, which should have set off an alarm in his mind, especially given that he'd pissed her off not two nights earlier, but he hadn't actually realized she would even consider doing something so evil. They'd gone to one of those eternally cold rooms in the Scottish castle that Buffy had taken over after Sunnydale had been turned into a crater. Xander, whom Willow had dragged along, had stretched himself out on the room's only couch, an ancient piece of furniture that looked older than Spike although it was, Spike knew from past experience, surprisingly comfortable. Wilow and Spike had sat across from each other on a set of hard-backed wooden monstrosities that forced their victims to sit ramrod straight, in an upright position that could inflict more pain on an unsuspecting soul in five minutes than Angelus could in five hours. Willow had done her hocus pocus, chanting words in a language that even Spike didn't recognize, and suddenly the chair, hell whole room even, had gotten huge, only it hadn't been the room. She'd shrunk him.
“Willow,” he'd heard Xander's voice say. “One, where did Spike go and two, why is there a Spike doll in his place?”
“A doll?” Spike had shouted, struggling with plastic arms and legs until he was standing on the chair. “You turned me into a doll?”
Xander was suddenly towering above him, a look of horror on his face as he stared at Spike. “Willow? No. This is beyond anything, well OK, it isn't quite as bad as almost ending the world, but there is no way I'm carrying a doll around with me. This is high up there on the creepy factor, and I want you to turn him back now. Besides, think how it'd look for me to be carrying a doll into some remote village. They'd totally think I was a girl.” Willow's glare had shifted from Spike to Xander. “Which is good, girls are cool and super powered and all, but I'm a guy and I'd really prefer not to be mistaken...” He'd paused, taken in Willow's glare, hung his head, and said, “And I'll be shutting up now.”
In one swift motion, Willow had picked Spike up, taken two steps towards the edge of the room, and held him out the window. Over his screams she'd said, “Sunlight can't hurt you, here's proof, just like we agreed.”
“We did not agree to turn me into a tiny piece of plastic,” Spike had shouted. “I can't do anything like this.”
“You can move. You can talk. Be grateful I left you that.”
“Willow, to be fair,” Xander had said, looking a bit green around the gills, “he does need to speak so he can translate for me.”
“What if I get lost, or ever worse, stolen? You know Xander'll never be able to find me.”
“Thanks bleach boy. Way to come down on the only guy on your side here,” Xander had called out.
Willow had thrown Spike at Xander. “Then I'll come rescue you. Eventually. Maybe,” she'd shouted back as she stormed out of the room.
“Shouldn't have left that toad in her bed,” Xander had commented.
“It was a frog,” Spike had replied, “and how was I to know she had a phobia?”
With a sigh, wishing he'd never seen that frog, Spike left the wall, following the deck chair's legs as they angled up from the floor until they were high enough for him to scramble under. The chair above him creaked and moaned as the giant who'd sat in it, someone that obviously needed to stick to sturdier furniture, shifted about, moving from side to side, complaining all the time that he couldn't get comfortable. Spike, certain the whole kit and caboodle, chair and occupant, were about to come crashing down on him, picked up his pace and made it past the chair and then to the edge of the wall unscathed. Peering around from the shaded side of the ship to the sunny area beside the pool, Spike saw a bar about thirty feet away. “Finally,” he said, stepping out into the sunlight, not yet considering how he'd get anyone to serve him.
A dog, made up entirely of towels, with huge jowls – the kind usually accompanied by drool and lots of it – large floppy ears, and paws twice as wide around as Spike was, bounded over, its tail wagging so enthusiastically that every bit of it, each sagging fold of white terrycloth, swayed back and forth in rhythmic waves that gave Spike a headache.
The dog dropped a pencil and sat, its whole backside still shifting back and forth, sending waves of motion rippling upwards so that its ears and jowls quivered like the wings of a hummingbird. Noticing the pencil was drool free, Spike got curious, picked it up, and started spinning it around, before and beside himself in a series of complex figure-eight patterns, impressed that a mere pencil could make a halfway decent weapon, until the dog reached over and grabbed one end of the pencil with its mouth.
“Let it go, you mangy pile of dishrags,” Spike shouted as he tried to yank the pencil away. The dog, with a growl, hunkered down and tugged. Spike, shocked to the core as he realized what the dog was doing, loosened his grip on the pencil. The dog flew backwards, rolling over itself three or four times in a blur of white motion, landing as a pile of towels that looked just like the discarded ones Spike had passed earlier. Before Spike could even begin to hope that the dog had died, or whatever it was that towel monsters did, it got up, shook itself back into a dog, and raced over to Spike, dropping the pencil before him again.
“You're playing with me?” Spike asked in disbelief. The dog reached a paw out towards the pencil and then sat, its whole body quivering with excitement. Spike thought for a moment, calculated distances, and then threw the pencil towards the pool as he made a mad dash for the bar. He hadn't taken five steps before the dog was back, dropping the pencil before him with a little huffing bark.
If Spike's shoulder could have slumped forward, they would have. He stared at the pencil, his head bowed in defeat until, with a decisive snap, he looked up and scanned the horizon. Picking up the pencil, he threw it over the railing and out into the sea. The dog bounded after.