Sequel to Easier Said
Author's Notes: This is a sequel to my fic "Easier Said."
Betas: Colleen, Mezzibelle and Magpie
Special Thanks: To Magpie for the extra "Angel voice" help. :-)
Disclaimer: Joss is God. The characters are his. I'm merely having fun with them.
Summary: Spike takes off for places unknown only to find an unwelcome passenger along for the ride.
Road Tripp'n Part Ten
"Easy, just a few more steps..."
"Bloody stupid vampire taking the top bloody floor," Spike wheezed, his arm draped around Julie's shoulder.
"Don't worry, I've got you," she said.
"You're stronger than you look, love."
"Well, you're not exactly Mr. Universe...have you been feeding?"
"What? No...I...no..." Spike sputtered.
"Just a question, blondie," Julie replied, pulling him up onto the final landing. "Outside access. Vick demanded it."
"Bastard got somethin' against elevators?" he grumbled.
"People get stuck in elevators. Vick didn't like anything he couldn't control, the freak." Julie let Spike lean against the wall as she sifted through the car keys, finally finding the right one and inserting it into the dead bolt of the heavy metal door.
"Sure it's safe here, pet?"
"Yeah. This was Vick's private getaway. None of his goons knew about it. Sorta a safe-house if he needed a place."
"How do you know about it then?" Spike asked as the door swung open. Julie seemed to pause at the threshold as if not wanting to enter.
"He brought me here once," she replied shortly, and then deliberately strode into the apartment head high, but not before Spike glimpsed the revulsion and fear on her face. Bugger. He followed her as best he could, limping forward.
The place was clean. Too clean. It had that sterile unused look to it. Plain, black furniture. Undecorated walls. Not exactly luxurious, by any means, Spike thought. It was a place; a place few ever saw and none lived in. But Julie had seen it.
"I'll see if he had some blood stocked. He did last time I was here," Julie called out, heading for the open kitchen alcove's refrigerator.
Spike continued his surveillance of the apartment. It was cold. He had gotten used to the warmth of the Summers' house, the dash of color strategically placed to draw the eye; artifacts genuine and knockoff that adorned every nook and cranny with bulging eyes and touch-me bellies.
That would have been Joyce's doing, he thought. Damn good woman, that.
But as he looked about Vick's place, taking in the cold hardness of it all as if it were a deliberate décor, he realized that it was perfect for a vampire. The whole place screamed "Undead! Undead! Undead!" Bela would be proud.
When Spike reached what he assumed was the bedroom door, he found it partially open. As he placed a hand on it, Julie startled him. "Don't go in there!"
He turned and looked at her, surprised. "Why not, pet?"
"You just...just don't. Please. I...I was...I can't. Don't go in there. Please? Please don't..." Spike relented under the tears that Julie quickly wiped away.
"He's dead, you know. Did him myself," he said softly.
"I know. I know. But..."
"You're free, love. Free as a bloody bird. He can't control you anymore..." Spike trailed off coughing. Fuck. His lungs burned and there was an acrid taste in his mouth. He spat on the floor. Shit. The phlegm was thick and black.
"Nice manners, blondie," Julie said, chuckling slightly, her voice still shaky with emotion.
"Ain't my home, love."
He made his way to the black leather couch and slowly sat down, wincing. "No luck with the blood?"
"No. He...there doesn't seem to be any," she replied.
"Maybe she's not looking hard enough," came a whisper in Spike's ear.
"Not again," Spike moaned.
"What?" Julie asked.
"Should you tell her or shall I?" Buffy said, leaning her head against Spike's shoulder.
"Spike? You okay?"
"Not the word I'd use, pet. Not the word at all."
"Okay...so, to sum up: You have a son, Connor. By Darla. Who staked herself in order to give birth, and now you're raising him as a single vampire dad, which would be a great concept for a TV sitcom by the way. Oh, and all these bounty hunters and lawyers and blood suckersredundant, I knoware after your son because he's so...unique? How am I doing so far?"
"Good." Angel nodded.
"Great," Buffy replied. "But there was also a time when you went a little psycho...stopped helping people. And this Julie was one of those you could have helped, but didn't. Right?"
He nodded again, a bit more morosely.
"So we're chasing after her because Spike was...was what, exactly? What was he doing?"
"Just sitting there, but..."
"Well, if he wasn't threatening her, what's the big?"
"What do you mean, 'what's the big'? It's Spike," Angel said, looking at her hard.
She squirmed a little under his gaze. "He's not like that anymore."
"Since a long time now. He has a chip..."
"I'm not completely out of the loop. Willow talked about him, after you..." He trailed off.
"Died. You can say it, Angel."
He didn't reply.
Buffy paused, feeling as if the air had turned to lead. Why was everything always so difficult with him?
"I'm fine now," she stated.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Buffy, what's going on?" Angel asked, bluntly.
She gathered her thoughts, wondering how to broach the subject. Finally she decided that direct was best. She didn't have time for anything less.
"Spike loves me."
Angel looked at her, a bit taken aback. "He doesn't have a soul. He can't love, Buffy. It's not possible."
"For you," she muttered quietly, his wince confirming that he had heard her anyway.
"That's what this is about? You're trying to save another vampire? He isn't me."
"God, can you be any more full of yourself?" she exclaimed, amazed at how quickly things could deteriorate.
Angel's brow crinkled more. "He doesn't have a soul," he repeated. "You and I both know what that means. You think he wouldn't kill again given half the chance?"
"I'm telling you he's changed."
"No. You said he loves you. That's not change, Buffy. That's obsession. One you're apparently caught up in."
"You can't know that."
"I know him," Angel replied. Buffy shook her head and deliberately avoided his eyes, watching the street lights go by like falling stars. After a minute, he continued.
"I know things have been hard for you. After your mother died..."
"Don't, Angel. Just, please don't."
"You shut down. That's what you do. You needed me sometimes to bring you out of it."
"That's not...This isn't the same thing."
"Spike can be attentive and exciting. But he's not capable of real love, Buffy. Not without a soul," Angel said firmly. She just glanced at him for a moment, letting her eyes take in his inscrutable face. Had she loved him? Did she even know who he was back then? Or was it all just schoolgirl lust and longing?
"You have to believe that," Buffy said softly. "I don't blame you. Not anymore. I know you couldn't love me without a soul, that you couldn't love anybody. But Spike isn't you. And right or wrong, I love h..him." Buffy noticed his wince change into a full-blown grimace, but there it was. No more lies. She needed to be free. She needed to move forward.
"He'll kill again. You know he will."
"I love him," Buffy repeated.
Angel looked at her sadly. Her mouth formed that familiar thin line of determination. She wasn't going to be stopped, not by him. Not by anyone. He could see her mind made up.
"Love's not always enough, Buffy," he said quietly.
She didn't reply.
"Spike, you're scaring me," Julie said.
He laughed. Scaring her? Heh. She wasn't the one being haunted by his former lover.
"Oooh...cable! Let's watch something naughty," Buffy purred in his ear.
"Fuck," he murmured, holding his head in his hands like a ripe fruit ready to burst.
He looked into Julie's concerned eyes. She stepped back when she saw his face and the look he gave her. He looked like...
Julie gathered herself, her face hardening with resolve. "You need blood."
Blood...fuck yes, he was hungry. His stomach burned and body tingled. He felt dry, impossibly dryeyes like sand, skin like sun-bleached bone. He needed to drink, to suck, to feast. He could feel the fangs deep inside his palate grow hot. The demon wantedno, demanded to be fed.
"This should be fun," Buffy exclaimed.
Spike watched as Julie removed her choker, eyes fixed on his.
"Drink from me."
"There where?" Buffy asked, confused.
"Pull over here," Angel commanded.
She did as she was told, finally seeing what his sharp eyes had caught before. The tail end of a burgundy Cadillac hidden behind a blue dumpster in an alley.
"Yeah." Angel scanned the alley as they both got out of the car. "They must be around here somewhere. I doubt Spike took her far."
"He didn't 'take' her anywhere!" Buffy said, slamming the door harder than it needed to be. "I told you about the poison, and the possible weirdness..."
"Fine. Let's just find them, all right?" Angel interrupted, not willing to waste time arguing.
"Fine," Buffy muttered. This is *so* not good.
Spike stared at Julie, not quite registering what she said. Then he sprang up from the couch, pain making him stumble as he sought to get away from her.
"Spike!" Julie grabbed his arm. He fought to break the grip but found he couldn't.
"You need to drink."
"You idiot, I know vampires, okay? You need blood. You're about ready to fall over..."
"You don't know anything!" he said angrily.
"Oh, but she does, Spike. Look at her neck!" Buffy said, clapping her hands happily.
Her neck... The choker had hid them for the most part, but still he should have known, could have seen... Scars. Lots of them.
"You're a suck job!" Spike said with disgust.
Julie's eyes filled with hurt as she released him. Buffy was laughing uncontrollably on the couch.
"Don't call me that."
Spike straightened to his full height and advanced, his human teeth bared, forcing Julie back against the edge of the couch.
"You think you know vampires? Why, because you let them bleed you? Let them taste you?"
"I get it now. No wonder you didn't run when you found out what I was."
"What are you talking about?"
"You needed a fix. A little fang and you're good to go. You get off on it!"
Julie slapped him. Hard. "Fuck you!"
Spike felt his fangs descend, hot and ready. He grabbed her arms, holding her tight, feeling new strength flow from anticipation. Even the smell of fear coming off her in waves was intoxicating.
"Yeah, pet. Maybe you're right. A little of the red stuff might do the trick," Spike said, licking his lips, the insatiable hunger roaring in his ears. "Let's just see who gets off first."
Warm, delicious blood flooded his mouth as his fangs penetrated the well-used crook of her neck.
"Where is he?!" Buffy said, frustrated, the ingredients for the antidote weighing heavy in her jacket's breast pocket. Their search of the car turned up nothing. And the black, reinforced doors that littered the alley didn't look like something either of them want to bust through without knowing what lay beyond. She suspected that the 'Sorry! We were just looking for a poisoned vampire.' wouldn't go over well.
"Should we go around the other way? Isn't this a club or something?" Buffy asked, tapping on a sturdy metal door near the car.
Just then, a scream split the air. Buffy barely had time to register the blur resembling Angel fly past her.
"Damn," Buffy said, quickly running after him. She saw Angel leap halfway up a narrow metal staircase. "Angel wait!" Buffy called out, running up the steps. At the top of the stairs, she heard him growl deeply before his fists connected with the heavy metal door.
By the time she reached him, he had managed to punch through enough to grab hold with both hands. With a feral roar he ripped the door from the brick wall, sending a shower of dust and masonry chips all around. Startled by the display of violence and Angel in full vamp face, Buffy was unable to stop him as he charged ferociously through the entry.