Timeline: Season 2 (After Innocence) and later in season 7
Spoilers: AU from Beneath You (7.2) In this universe, Buffy takes Spike home
Disclaimer: All ME
As time goes by (10)
She wished Spike had more time for patrol, but the demands of his pretty disastrous series of jobs kept him busy. Or so he said. And there wasn’t even the excuse of necessary Scooby meetings to get everyone together. Tonight was the first time in a two months that they’d be all together in one place, she was really glad Giles was back!
She swayed in a moment of disorientation. She had been about to think: No time switches. But this had to be one. Yep. Warmish night, dressy clothes, no flares. Pressed up against the side of a tall tomb. Guess who she was hiding from?
She swallowed. This was post-Birthday and therefore Angelus territory. That was one event she wouldn’t have to look up in Giles’ diaries. She peeked around the edge of the tomb. Angelus all right. Tall, dark, evil. He seemed taller. His thin wool black coat swished around him when he walked over the cemetery path, swiveling his head, searching for someone, her maybe? Black leather was a so much cooler choice than all that Armani. She thought of the black leather coat still hanging hidden in the back of her closet. Focus, Buffy, she said sternly to herself.
“Nothing like meeting your High School crush again to put things in perspective!” she said, stepping into Angelus’ view. And feeling exactly the same under a love spell, as when you thought you were experiencing the love of your life, of course.
He checked his stride, his too-wide Angelus smile slowly spreading over his features.
“Well, well, if it isn’t little Miss ‘It’s All About Me’,“ he said. “She’s back from the future again.”
“You never ever used a pop culture reference before!” she said, putting on a puzzled face. “Watching a lot of movies? Doing evil not taking up all of your spare time?”
“I don’t think I like you as much as your younger self,“ he said, putting a theatrical finger against his cheekbone. “You are way too cheerful; I don’t like that in girls. You think killing you would make that glow go away?”
”I wouldn’t try it! “ Buffy twirled the stake in her hand. “She may still be in love with you, but I sure am not, and I have no compunction about killing you.”
Angelus took a step back.
“I can’t believe I ever bought that crap about you being a different person with the soul! I know for a fact that there’s just the one person, and that person didn’t choose to love me, or get a soul for me.”
“As if! So happy to be rid of it, you know!” He said laughing. “Why don’t you find yourself a real boy, so you can pretend to be a normal girl? Oh, wait, you can’t, because I’m going to kill you soon.”
“Yeah, same old, same old, here too,” Buffy said.
“Enough with the small talk!” Angelus said, and left without saying goodbye.
For a moment Buffy debated chasing him, but decided against it. Although she would have liked kicking his ass, events would play out as they had before, so what would be the point? She turned around to go home. Maybe her mother would be there.
Halfway to Revello Drive sudden inspiration struck. She had a much better plan. It was quite a ways to the abandoned factory, but with her Slayer fitness, she made it there in reasonable time. She circled the building, looking for a place to enter the building unobserved. Lucky again; one of the downstairs windows had a loose board. She climbed in.
Cautiously Buffy followed the faint sound of voices. She climbed up the walkway she remembered using with Angel. Staying deep in the shadows, she tried to identify the figures moving around in the half light. Angelus, Drusilla, anonymous minions. There! Spike. Motionless, seated in a wheelchair, staring at the others, apart from them. Something wrong with his cheek.
Spike abruptly started moving away from the main room. That solved the difficult question of how to get him away from the others. He rolled the wheelchair into a small, dimly lit bedroom, next to the bed. He leaned his head back against the wall, and sighed deeply and tiredly. Quietly Buffy walked in and closed the door behind her.
“Hello gorgeous!” she said.
Spike’s head shot up, and she could see his lightning-quick assessment of the situation, and his realization that he was pretty much helpless. And that he was going to go down fighting!
She walked over to the chair and sat down on his lap without much ado, a stake pointed at his heart.
“You made me an offer I could refuse, some time ago. Now I’m going to take you up on part of that. What do you say?”
Spike smirked at her and said: “Give us a snog, then, Slayer.”
Buffy mashed her mouth to his, hardly able to contain her excitement.
He jerked back and made a face at her. “Have you no sense of bloody romance, Slayer? I’m a bloke, not a bleeding hot tap you can turn on with a twist of your hand! A little lead-in would be nice!”
Buffy stared at him, puzzled. She hadn’t expected this from a demon. She tried again, using her free hand to rub his chest and belly.
“Make me hot!” she commanded.
His lips were as soft and enticing as her own Spike’s, but she could see the angry glitter in his eyes beneath their thick lashes. Her body began to warm up and loosen under the caress of his lips and the pressure of his knowledgeable hands. Buffy started breathing hard, heartbeat speeding up. Yes, something rough and hard and fast, like only Spike could give her. He pinched her nipples, twisting them, a feeling just there between pain and pleasure. She felt her juices start to flow, caught the scent of her own arousal, and moaned in his ear.
He licked her neck, and paused to suck on the artery that pulsed just below the skin. The danger inherent in this heightened every sensation. The pressure of his lips on her neck became harder, combining arousal with the beginnings of asphyxiation. Buffy panted, breath coming in shorter, faster gasps, the fevered sounds arousing her even more. The rush of her own blood beat in her ears, his hands ground on her clit through her jeans, exquisite torture.
The pain of a thumb digging in the soft belly-flesh near her hipbone alerted her out of the fugue state. Buffy jerked back and realized she’d been very close to being choked. Spike grinned at her unrepentantly. Grimly she positioned the stake again. She grabbed his neck with one hand, and kissed him deeply and hard. He tasted different, a hint of something coppery that was vaguely familiar.
She drew back a little, and stared at him. He looked like Spike, he sounded like Spike, but something was missing. Spike put his hands on her hips, the nails splotchy with ancient black polish. His hard thumbs pushing in the soft flesh of her inner thighs should have given her a thrill, but didn’t. She felt no sign of his own arousal under the worn jeans.
“What’s wrong with you, Spike?”
“What’s wrong with me? I’m held at stake-point by my enemy, my legs don’t bleeding work, and the love of my life is being shagged by sodding Angelus! Go on, what could possibly be stopping me from making hot love to someone I hardly know and don’t like!”
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Was this an unsouled demon talking? She began to get the first glimmer of what this might mean. Soul, chip, the essence of Spike hadn’t changed. The man who could love, and for whom making love was not the same as having sex, was already there. Man, not demon. What did that say about the other Spike?
Her shocked state was rudely pierced by Spike’s voice. “Changed your bleeding mind, have you? What a relief, I was about to plead a headache. Come on, stake me, get it over with! Anything rather then the Slayer version of making out!”
Absentmindedly she removed the stake and stepped off his lap. Nothing here for her. There never had been, really. This Spike loved someone else.
She got up. “See you in a couple of years.” She didn’t look back.
Buffy got out of the building as fast as she could, and ran back home. The worlds was a little blurry as she ran, and there were little halo’s around the streetlights.
The Scoobies were in pleasant pre-meeting mode, chatting idly while waiting for Buffy to return from patrol. They heard the back door slam open and running footsteps coming near. Spike was already at the door before the others could react. Buffy hurled herself into the room, and stood panting and gasping.
“You knew! You all knew, and nobody took the trouble to warn me! You are the cruelest, most twisted people I've ever met!“ Buffy started sobbing wildly.
Everyone present stared, frozen in their respective positions. Giles decisively removed his glasses.
“Please tell us what’s the matter, Buffy. And sit down!”
Spike returned with tissues and a glass of water. “Here, love. Angelus?”
She nodded, unable to speak as yet.
“Spike! How did you know?” Giles said in surprise.
“Come on, Rupert, you’re not the only one who can remember a bleeding date, you know,” Spike retorted, exasperated.
“You knew he would lose his soul! Why couldn’t you warn me?”
Giles gave an embarrassed cough. “How, my dear girl, how? You didn’t expect us to give you warning for other monsters and creepies in your time, why now?”
Buffy looked at Spike. “But he could get one, like you?”
“Maybe,“ Spike answered.” But first he’d have to want it.”
That was unanswerable. All present knew Angelus had never wanted a soul.
Buffy looked around desperately. ”You’re all looking at me with these faces! Will he never want it?”
Giles took the lead again. ”We can’t and won’t answer that for you. I really pains me to say this, but you’ll have to get through this on your own.”
“Yeah, tell me again, love doesn’t conquer all and there are no happy endings.” She waved her hand around to indicate everyone present. “Look at you! You are all unhappy and alone! And what about the other me? She’s got another vampire boyfriend, and she will never ever have a normal life!”
“Um, Spike? Forgot to tell us the good news?” Xander said.
Buffy stuck out her lower lip stubbornly. ”Willow said that she said…Oh never mind. Why should I solve her love problems? She isn’t gonna solve mine!”
“Buffy has no love problems,“ stated Xander.
“Oh no? I don’t see a normal boyfriend around?”
“Hey!” Dawn said, advancing menacingly on Buffy. “No dissing of my sister, understood? That’s my prerogative!”
Buffy stared up at the tall girl. “You do remember I’m the slayer and could totally take you?”
“Ladies, ladies!“ Giles tried to break up the incipient row. “This is not what we’re here for! Willow, why don’t perform your aura spell, and you Buffy, tell us what progress the 1997 team have made?”
“Well, sorry to disappoint you, but we’ve been a little busy! Besides Angel - Angelus, vampire assassins, egg-laying monsters taking over our minds, fighting blue Judge-guy…” She pointedly did not look at Spike, but the others felt no such inhibition. He threw up his hands in exasperation, and rolled his eyes.
“Evil then, remember? Can’t undo the past!”
“Oh, yeah, Giles, did you get the message from the other Giles? About where he put the demon’s amulet? Abyssinian Chest?” Buffy started to pull herself together, sounding like the slayer again.
“What? No? How could I possibly get a message from the past?”
“You could leave a letter with Post Office, to be delivered thirty years later…” Xander put in.
“Yes, thank you, Xander. Very helpful. I did take the trouble to rent that picture, I’ll have you know! It’s the only existent source on time travel. But I don’t think the real Post Office is up to that. And dammit, I left that chest in the Magic Box, how am I going to find it? Anyway, if we have no memories of that time, how could actual objects of that time exist here?“
“Willow announced that the aura spell was done. “As we suspected, guys. Nearly as brown and depressed as our Buffy’s used to be.”
“Huh? Fill me in?”
Giles explained the aura-mingling concept to the Buffy from the past. She digested it in doubtful silence.
“So…Buffy from the future is leaching all the happiness from me? Where’s the good in that?”
“Look at it the other way,“ Spike offered. “She’s giving you the necessary focus and detachment to survive the coming years of slaying.”
“Great. Give me some hope here?”
“There are two camps on this, Buffy. Spike thinks the Slayer needs detachment and focus, Willow thinks she needs connection and more feeling.”
“I’m thinking that not feeling would be of the good right now.”
Giles looked at her with pity, and started to get a glimpse of a possible reason for the time travel spell.
Giles stared after young Buffy as she went upstairs. He looked at Spike, and saw him looking as intently at her retreating form.
“Don’t you sometimes wish we could somehow spare her all that’s going to happen to her? Even if it meant changing history?”
Spike looked up sharply. ‘What do you mean, Rupert?”
“Well, this one started out so sunny and happy most of the time. It hurts me to see her starting to turn into the present Buffy, so grim and desperate sometimes, even more now that’s she pretending to be happy. Remember, she’s going to have to kill Angelus. That sunniness will disappear right then. So, what if we killed Angel? I mean, in the past? Or Glory, before she had to sacrifice herself?”
Spike made a face. “Don’t go there. You're mistaken. She can do the big sacrifice, the hero thing. She did. She did kill Angel, she didn’t hesitate. She is a bloody hero, she will always be able to make the hard, grand choices. It’s the small things, the day to day grind that’s going to kill her someday. That’s what she’s not cut out for. Work, domestic crises, mothering, staking endless fledglings. Those are what wear a hero down in the end. The choice of Achilles, heroes die young and all that, not for nothing.”
“Knew you had a classical education tucked away somewhere!”
“You’re more on the mark than you know… Seriously, someone like that, if no more hero-stuff comes along, they’ll go looking for it. Even a heroic death, anything better than a normal life. You must have known Second World War pilots, cronies of your dad? Same story. Could never settle again to the civilian life.”
Spike fell silent.
After a few moments Giles spoke grudgingly. “Spike, you’ve always been able to see what makes people tick more sharply that any of us. If you can see the problem, can you also see a solution?”
“No, I can’t, not with her. Too bloody personal.”
Giles shifted uncomfortably. “Um, yes. That’s not the kind of solution I meant.”
“I know ’that’ gives you a wiggins, to coin a phrase, but ‘ that’ kind of thing is very important. She must stay connected. You’re all going to go away some day, get real lives. The Scoobies and Dawn can’t stay sidekicks forever, they’re starting to withdraw already, and they’re tired of it. Who will be there for her then? An ordinary guy? We saw what happened to Captain Cardboard, he just couldn’t cut it.”
Giles smiled at the vampire ruefully. “I hate it when you’re right, but you’re right. Nothing in the Watchers handbook on this, you know. No Slayer’s lived this long.”
“That a fact?”
“Yes. The seven year mark seems to be some magical barrier.”
“All the more reason to watch her back as long as we can, Rupert.”
“Will do, Spike, will do. Walk home with me?”
They walked slowly, deep in thought.
“It must be an age old problem: how to keep the warrior tame and connected? How to keep him from turning on his own people, going berserk, or suicidal?” Spike said after a while.
Giles pondered on this. “Rituals, codes of honor, strong bonds between warriors, rewards: riches, renown, women.”
“Okay, how do we translate this to the Buffy situation? Riches are easy; the CoW should pay her. Rituals now, that’s a bit harder; maybe Quentin Travers could pay a yearly homage to her? Lay offerings at her feet?”
They shared grins at that thought.
“I don’t get you council blokes. Leaving a Slayer virtually on her own to save the world all the time? Bloody waste of Chosen material. Give her a couple good witches, couple of warriors, human or demon, makes no difference, give her something to work with. You all just sit on your lily-white arses in England, afraid to do the fieldwork? Get dirty hands?”
“You’re making me feel quite humble and naive, Spike. I bought into the whole Watcher thing, lock, stock and barrel, I never thought of it like this.”
“Comes from bossing all those minions around for longer than you’ve been alive, mate. Need management skills for that, need to know how to keep people motivated and get results.”
“I think you’re on to something.” Giles gaze turned inwards, thinking on the possibilities of Spike’s idea.
The bell rang, and Xander went and opened the door to a laughing Willow and Buffy, carrying food and drink for the Scooby evening.
“Hey, my girls, come in, all is ready for a night of endurance and bloated tummies. Whaddya bring? Zinfandel? Great, I’ll get out the ice. Isn’t it fun to be adults? Chicken Wings? Onion flowers? Unusual choice, Buffster? And Bourbon? Ew! Nobody living here drinks Bourbon! “
“I do! “ Buffy asserted. “Sometimes!”
“Nobody living here drinks Bourbon!” guffawed Willow. “Somebody dead here does, get it? Get it?”
“Willow, that was my kind of joke, not yours,” Xander said. “And may I add how deeply disturbing I find the thought that Buffy brought something for my housemate? My evil undead housemate?”
“We’ve heard that one before, Xander,” Willow sighed. “Getting old. Move on.”
She spotted a huge white cowboy hat on the hat stand. “What’s that, Xander? Halloween leftover?”
“No, it’s a Christmas present for Spike, from Giles. Go figure.”
Buffy started rifling through the small stack of DVD’s lying on top of the player. “I didn’t know you were into this kind of stuff, Xander. ‘Casablanca?’ ‘Now, Voyager?’ Is that the one with the blonde Borg woman? ‘Spellbound?’ What are you doing with the oldies, you watch them, think of Anya and cry?”
“They’re Spike’s, not mine, and no, we do not watch together, “Xander said, handing Buffy a couple of other DVD’s. He went to the kitchenette to get more snacks. Buffy and Willow looked at Xander’s choices.
“Blade II? No way, that’s about work!” Buffy looked at the next one. “Spiderman? I so don’t wanna watch a movie about a guy named Parker.”
Willow said: “That leaves Attack of the Clones. “ She wrinkled her nose. ”Not very appealing. Let’s try this one, okay?”
They settled in on the couch. Xander came back with a giant bowl of popcorn and wedged himself next to them. The other food was already piled on a small table.
“This is great, huh, girls? Last time we did this must have been when I still lived in my parents’ basement.”
“We did? I don’t remember?” Willow asked.
“I think it was with Riley and Anya,“ Buffy said. “What? I shouldn’t talk about Anya? Xander? See, Willow, Xander says it’s okay to talk about Anya. And I can talk about Riley, I have no problem talking about Riley at all.”
“Good on you, Buff!“ Xander said.
“It’s usually the latest ex that’s so hard to talk about, Buffy,“ Willow suggested coyly.
“Stop that!” Xander said. This is my house. In my house we do not talk about my housemate unless absolutely necessary.” He stared at the movie with a puzzled air for a few moments, then thumbed the remote to fast forward.
“Hey” Willow protested. “Don’t do that! We’ll miss all the exposition!”
“What? This is the movie already? That‘s not one I rented! This is one of Spike’s! Come on, I rented Blade II!”
“We like this one, Xander. Shut up and enjoy. It’s famous. Wait for the beautiful Swedish actress.” Buffy said.
Xander gave in grudgingly.
At a particularly poignant moment, when both Buffy and Willow were sniffling hard, and Xander tried to stay dry eyed, Spike walked in. He looked rather taken aback at seeing the little group on the couch, Kleenex strewn everywhere, bottles of wine on the floor.
“Hey, Spike,“ Buffy said. “We’re having a movie-fest.“
He regarded her teary face with raised eyebrows. “And a lot of booze, looks like. Hope you had fun. Goodnight, Xander, ladies.”
“Come here, Spike,“ Buffy beckoned him over. “We were watching your movies, they’re great. I never cried so much in my entire life.” Her movements were the slightest bit uncoordinated. She patted the empty space next to her. “Sit down.”
Spike complied. He tried to sit down without touching Buffy, but the couch just wasn’t that big. “Look Spike, he’s playing that cool song again.” She leaned slightly against him. Spike tried to shift away from her.
Buffy felt him sitting straight and stiff, as far away from her as he could. Gradually she sensed him relaxing. She looked at Willow and Xander from the corners of her eyes, and saw that they were both engrossed in the movie. She took Spike’s hand. He gently disengaged it from hers. She frowned at him, hurt. He looked at her with a puzzled face. What did she want from him? She smiled at him hazily, and took his hand again. He gave up on trying to discover her motives, and tried to enjoy the moment, without reading too much into it. A nearly impossible task, because his imagination was already a thousand strides ahead. Buffy lifted his arm and scooted under it, settled against him more closely. That was even better, it was wonderful to feel her warmth again.
Buffy sighed softly, inaudibly, so Spike could only tell because he felt her ribcage’s tiny movement up and down. The small non-sound of contentment moved him deeply, and he felt his own chest rise and fall in an answering sigh. She was surrounded by her own private atmosphere of warmth and her unique smell, and Spike put his nose just inside that space.
Spike’s hand curled around Buffy's shoulder, in an unconscious attempt to draw as close as possible to the warmth of her body. Buffy let out another small, contented sigh.
Willow noticed the slight movement next to her, and saw her friend encircled by Spike’s arm. She made a face in the direction of the TV, but didn’t speak. She guessed it was their own business. It was kind of icky, but she preferred it out in the open. She didn’t want Buffy to feel she had to hide things, and it wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen it coming.
Xander stared straight ahead at the TV screen. He was aware of what happened at the other end of the couch, on the periphery of his field of vision. He refused to let it intrude on his consciousness in any way, but his right ear burned with the awareness of their small movements and sighs.
After “Spellbound”, the girls decided to go home. Buffy looked away from the question on Spike’s face.
"See you on patrol," she mumbled into his shirt. Spike put his fingers under Buffy's chin and tried to make her look up to him, but she wouldn't meet his eyes.
“Bye Xan. Spike? Remember what happened to Gregory Peck, all will end well. Forget about those other movies, life’s too short!” Willow said to Spike in passing as she was leaving.
“What’s that Will? Spike should think of cloning Hitler because why?” Buff asked, confused.
Willow just smiled. She turned and followed Buffy down the hallway without looking back, leaving a bemused Spike behind.
Continued in Let me be your Teddy Bear (11)