All About Spike - Plain Version
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Chapter 11 - HUGS AND BAR FIGHTS
Buffy stared into the dark, fighting fear. If the dream was true, then despite all she had sacrificed, Dawn was still in danger. Despair washed over her and she felt helpless.
She didn't know what to do. She was the Slayer; she could fight. But it was never over. We just keep coming. But you can kill a hundred, a thousand, a thousand thousand and the enemies of Hell besides and all we need is for one of us - just one - sooner or later to have the thing we're all hoping for. One... good... day. If it was just herself, she could face death. She no longer wanted death, but she could face it. But what if her death was meaningless? What if she died and the forces of evil still continued to come after Dawn?
God, she wished Giles was here. She longed for his cool analysis. She could see him, considering her dream, polishing his glasses, and then finding the right book with the right warning. But he had left. She knew he had said it was so she would learn to be responsible. But part of her wondered, was it because he knew it was hopeless and he didn't want to see her die? He didn't want to be here when the forces of darkness finally took her sister.
She got up and washed the tears from her face. She wrapped herself in her warm gray robe and went downstairs to the kitchen.
The silhouette in front of the kitchen window startled her. She turned on the kitchen light and saw it was Spike. He blinked in the light, then frowned and tilted his head. "What's wrong Buffy?" He almost moved towards her, then held himself back.
"I - I just came down to get some water."
"I was making some tea. Want some?"
She nodded and sat down by the table. It actually felt good to let someone take care of her for a bit. She was shivering slightly.
She watched Spike as he moved around the kitchen. He acted like he was familiar with the kitchen and she realized he had probably used it that summer when he had helped care for Dawn. She looked for differences, something that differentiate this man from the monster she had known for so many years. Something dramatic, like Angel emerging from Angelus, when the face of the enemy had suddenly faded into the confused face of the one she loved. But Spike moved and sounded like . . . Spike. He moved briskly, finally bringing over both cups of tea and sitting opposite the table from her.
They sat in silence drinking the tea. Buffy warmed her hands with the cup and let it sooth her dry throat. As she finished, she realized how comfortable she was. She glanced over at his face, battered yet still beautiful. The hurt lips held a gentle smile, as if just being with her made him content. She had always been told that you could see a man's soul in his eyes, yet Spike's eyes were no different when they gazed at her. He still loves me, she realized and it shook her. He was looking at her the way he had after she had crawled her way from the grave. She remembered the being who had made no demands, who had fought at her side. Spike who had listened to her and hadn't judged.
Maybe that was what allowed her to admit, "I had a nightmare and I'm afraid it might be a Slayer dream." She looked over at him. "Do you know what that means?"
He nodded quietly. "I've heard of them. They can warn you about events in the future."
He would know about slayer dreams, he had hunted slayers for a century. She looked for the Slayer of Slayers in the man opposite her. There was no hint of the monster, just a man quietly listening to her.
"At first I was reliving things. It started with scattering your dust."
He blinked, "You scattered my dust?"
"I'm sorry, I couldn't think of any sort of ceremony or anything. But, yes, I scattered it over by the woods."
He looked slightly taken aback. "Nice place, I guess."
"Then your dust swirled and made a portal and I saw Dawn. It was like it was back when Glory had her. And I had to dive into the portal again, to close it."
His face darkened. "We can't let that happen again."
We! He automatically considered it his problem too. She smiled, then said doubtfully, "It could just be a nightmare. Just reliving bad memories."
"Buffy," his voice was low now. "I brought some stuff back from Angel's. There are apparently a lot of prophecies about 'The Key.' Dawn may still be the Key and there still may be powers that want to use her. My Latin is rusty, but I did understand that much "
She didn't want to tell him about dreaming of Tara and her confused confession to the blonde witch. But she had to tell him, "In the dream, there were only five days left."
"Five days until what?"
But she couldn't tell him. She didn't know. Five days until someone once again tried to kill her sister? Five days until she had to die again? After fighting so long, clawing her way back to life. She had tried so hard to relearn how to live. She didn't want to face the pain and fire again. And if she did it this time, who would protect Dawnie the next time. There would always be danger, always people willing to kill the child to use the Key.
She couldn't say anything. Her eyes started to fill with tears. She got up, then found herself paralyzed, shivering. Spike whipped around the table. At first he could barely touch her, that strange hesitancy stopping him. She sobbed, despair filled her and suddenly he gathered her to his chest. She snuggled and felt his strength and warmth engulf her.
"It won't happen this time, Buffy. We won't let them take Dawn."
He lifted her face and gently kissed her forehead. "Listen, pet. One thing I did get from those documents. There are a lot of different stories about the Key. And some of the stories weren't violent; they were just of her allowing different beings to go to different dimensions. We'll save her, Buffy and she'll live a long life." She gazed up at his clear blue eyes, at the honesty and love in them and for the first time in forever, she felt safe.
Of course no moment of happiness can last forever. She got a call from her manager. The bastard had lost no time in taking her up on her promise to do double shifts. One of the opening shift workers wouldn't be there, so she had to go.
* * *
It was a long day. Spike found himself alternating between being concerned over the threat to Dawn and feeling almost giddy at the memory of Buffy in his arms.
The morning had bustled as both Dawn and Willow had gotten up and gone to their classes. He smiled at the memory of Red. Her face had lit up and she had given him a hug. She had always been the Scooby who had accepted him the most, using him as her lieutenant during the long summer when Buffy was dead, even comforting him when he had first been chipped and couldn't kill her.
Dawn was more difficult. A sleepy teenager going to school on a Monday morning is not pretty. But even she hugged him before going off to catch the bus. Then he found himself alone in Casa de Summers. The home where he had been invited to stay. He remembered the months when he had been uninvited and its golden warmth denied to him. How he had longed for the simple human affection he had felt in these walls, watching Passions with Joyce, teasing the Lit' Bit, and just being near Buffy. And now he was allowed to sleep here and he had been hugged three times in one morning.
It was bewildering in a way. He had tried for so long to win the approval of Buffy and her friends. Yet he had always been rejected. Now everyone knew he had a soul and, bang, it was Hug-the-Spike day.
He wasn't going to wear out his welcome. He needed some money and he'd eventually have to get a place of his own, someplace safer than a cemetery.
Spike went back to his crypt, packing up his clothes and looking for anything to pawn. It was amazing, really, how little he had to show for 120 years. His clothes and toiletries fit in a box, and aside from a few chains and cheap punk rings, there was little of value.
He sighed. As much as he hated to, he would have to sell the motorcycle.
It had been his pride and joy; not as useful as his beloved DeSoto, but it had perfected his image as Big Bad. But those days were gone. They had been gone for a while now, at least since the Initiative had captured him, and maybe since the night when he had first seen Buffy dancing in the Bronze. Now he had to admit the Big Bad was gone and he didn't know who he was supposed to be.
He hadn't returned to William and he didn't want that life again. But the easy days of drifting through life and taking what he wanted were over. He would have to find a job, pay taxes, buy food, meet schedules and the whole dreary routine of being human. Yet somehow, the more he thought about it, the more it felt like a new adventure. He had been very good at being a Master Vampire, good enough that he and Dru could stroll into any city and take over. He had even been able to casually become the Master of Sunnydale, home of the Hellmouth. This was a new challenge and he meant to master life far better than poor William had.
Most of the day was spent pawning and selling things. He bought some new steel-toed boots, groceries, and a couple dictionaries and made a point of getting home before Dawn arrived. He didn't think she was in danger yet, but he wanted to be careful. He had picked up a roasted chicken and some vegetables at the market and managed to heat everything up for dinner.
By seven o'clock he was restless. He had been a good boy all day and had even spent a couple of hours struggling with the Latin and Greek scrolls. It was enough to make a bloke want to kill something. He was a bit surprised that the desire for the old rough-and-tumble had survived.
Willow agreed to watch the Niblet, so he drove over to Clem's. He needed some help getting identification papers. The demon underworld had some good sources, but his access to them as a human was limited. Unfortunately, Clem, party guy that he was, was absent.
He had several hours before the Slayer got home, so he went over to the Bronze. He tried his hand at pool and was rather pleased. The difference in his human and former demon body didn't seem to have eliminated his basic skill at the game. When he finally got some glasses, he should be able to hustle up some good money.
He won his last game against some college toff and sauntered to the bar, feeling rather jaunty. He ordered some beer, turned and saw Harris, sitting at a table, gloomily drinking. He grimaced and wondered if he should leave. But if he was ever going to have a chance with Buffy, he needed to at least be on speaking terms with the whelp.
He debated for a moment and decided to get a blooming onion as a peace offering. Harris was turning into balloon boy and would probably respond well to food. Taking the basket, he wandered over to the table and planted himself down.
Xander glared at him. "Go away."
"Just thought you might help me finish this. I'm still a little full." He knew he was supposed to try to make peace, but annoying the boy always gave him a chuckle. "Had a really good meal over at Buffy's. I'm staying there, y'know."
Harris glared at him. The bricklayer was starting to look burly and with his eyes semi-glazed he reminded Spike of the elder Harris. During his stay in Xander's basement pad, surely the low point of his existence, he had seen the boy's father and the family resemblance was growing stronger. "I said GO AWAY!" With a growl, Harris swept the basket off the table and Spike's mug tumbled.
Spike contemplated his beer-drenched clothes and a lovely anger began to grow. "No need to be nasty, Monkey-boy. I'm not the one who drove the little vengeance demon away. If I remember, youre the one who decided to do the big exit."
Xander stood up, towering over him. This is going to be lovely. I've been waiting to deal with Harris when I didn't have that soddin' chip in my head. Spike got up slowly, smiling. "Shall we take it outside?"
They stepped outside into the alley. Spike noted that the whelp had several inches and at least fifty pounds on him. But he hasn't had a century of down-and-dirty bar fighting. He backed up into the dark, "Come on, you pathetic poof. Let's see if you can hit something that can actually fight back."
Harris charged like a bull and Spike backed up quickly, throwing a quick punch to the nose. It gushed blood. Lovely! Then Xander's punch connected to his jaw and he flew backward. Bloody hell! He shook his head to clear it and realized how much weaker he was as a human. He might have the fighting instincts of William the Bloody, but his muscle tone was still that of William the Poet.
He sidestepped quickly when the whelp charged and chopped at the bigger man's neck. Xander blocked the punch and whirled.
"Do we let them kill each other or should we help?"
Spikes eyes widened slightly as he looked into the dark behind Harris.
"Why should human's have all the fun? Let's kill them ourselves." Three vampires stepped out of the shadows.
Continued in CHAPTER 12 - PICNIC
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