Summary: In response to my own challenge *heh*, found on Crumbling Walls. The Nerdy Three find out what Spike's chip does and formulate a plan to kill the Slayer.
Rating: R for violence
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. Never have, never will. I just love messing with them.
Spoilers: Post Dead Things.
Dedication: For Trisha, since she dedicated hers to me, and for all her support in my first fic. Thanks so much! And of course, to Fleisch for beta'ing and being there to goad me on. And to Marrec, for the brotherly support. And everyone at Crumbling Walls, cause I wouldn't have started writing again without you.
Tara Maclay was a soft-hearted, softspoken woman. But when something needed to be done, or someone was suffering, she was there. She always had an open ear. She cared, almost too much at times.
Maybe that was why Buffy had chosen her to confess to. Or, maybe, it was because she was disconnected from the rest of the group. She really didn't know, but she was going to help. She had thought The Slayer would be overjoyed to find out there was nothing wrong with her, that the spell they had cast to bring her back from the dead hadn't changed her in a sinister way. Instead, she had broken down, sobbing, telling Tara that there had to be something wrong with her. Begging her not to forgive her. The whole story had come out when the tears dried, a good while later.
She was a little shocked; she really didn't expect the confession -- that the Slayer was sleeping with a soulless vampire. One who loved her, true, and would give his life for her or Dawn. But that wasn't the point. Spike was evil. Buffy didn't understand why she was feeling as she was: so attracted to him.
Tara had always had a soft spot for the vampire. He had proved to her that she wasn't a demon, even if punching her in the nose was the way he chose to do it. She still remembered his kind words to her after she had her mind stolen by Glory, and had accidentally burned his hand.
She didn't see him as truly evil. Maybe it was because she was new to the group, and hadn't lived through the fear Spike had caused them all in the past. Whatever the reason, it had wrenched her heart to hear Buffy's final confession: that she had beaten him bloody in the alley behind the police station, and left him there. The Slayer had sobbed again, recalling how he hadn't even tried to defend himself, he loved her that much. And she had continued to hit him, with her full Slayer strength, after she had knocked him out of vamp face.
She had finally convinced Buffy that they needed to check on him, to make sure he was alright. The Slayer had reluctantly agreed, almost afraid to face him. So they had split up, Buffy heading for the alley, and Tara for the vampire's crypt.
Which was where she found herself now, standing outside his door, where she had never entered. She fidgeted, and took the steps slowly, pausing to look around before knocking on the door.
When no answer came, she opened the door, biting her lip, and stepped inside.
"H-hello?" she called out, looking around.
She sensed movement to her right, and quickly spun to face it. Spike stepped from the shadows, and she gasped, taking in the damage done to his face. His usually pale skin had blossomed in a myriad of cuts and dark bruises. His nose was broken, and one eye was swollen shut. Dried blood still crusted his cheeks and lips.
He looked confused, and half asleep. He tossed the knife he had to the floor and scratched his head.
"Tara? Wha' are you doin' 'ere?" he asked, mumbling around swollen lips. He swayed a little on his feet.
It took her a while to respond.
"B-Buffy talked to me. She...told me everything."
The vampire stilled, tensing.
"So, you've come ta wha', finish the job she did?" he asked bitterly.
Tara shook her head.
"No! No...She's on her way...We wanted to make sure...you...you were alright." She gave him a little smile and held out the first aid kit she was clutching to her chest.
Spike blinked, and shook his head, almost losing his balance. He slumped to the floor, leaning back against the wall.
"Why does she care?" he asked softly.
Tara didn't know how to respond to that. She didn't even know if Buffy did care, or if she really was just using him.
"I..don't know Spike. She was really upset. If it helps...I'm...sorry this happened."
He chuckled, almost a giggle, as high pitched as it was.
"Yeah. Well. S'pose we should wait for The Slayer then, eh?"
She gave him a little smile and knelt, opening the box on the floor. Not looking at him as she spoke, taking out various items.
"I know what you're doing."
He blinked. "Wha'?"
She looked up for a second, before looking away again.
"What you're doing. Telling her she belongs in the dark, with...with you."
He narrowed his eyes a little, studying her.
"An' jus' what am I doin', pet?"
She gave that little half smile again, not looking up.
"You love her. And you think you could never really have her unless she was in your world. You're...scared of losing what little ground you've gained."
He snorted, a little too quickly.
"I'm -not- scared..."
"Spike.." she cut him off. Something in her tone made him stop speaking.
"You are trying to gain more of a hold on her, by drawing her into your world. But let me ask you this...What is your world, Spike?" she looked up then.
He stared at her. "Wha' do you think, pet? I'm a -vampire-. I live in the dark. You lot 'ave proved time an' again I don't belong in -your- sorry world."
She just gave him a knowing smile, and stood up, dusting off her skirt. The bandages and antiseptics were lined up before him, neatly, in a row.
"Just...Just think about it Spike. She'll be here soon. I'm gonna go." And without looking back, she opened the door and left.
Spike stared after her, dazed. What tha bloody 'ell jus' 'appened 'ere? Must be the concussion...
He shook his head, and leaned back, resting fully against the cold stone of the crypt wall. Pulling out a nearly crushed cigarette, he lit it carefully, avoiding the split in his lip, and closed his eyes.
Continued in Chapter 2