Another Word For Desperate

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Thanks for the comments on my last story! I’ll get to them later tonight. :)

Title: Another Word For Desperate
Summary: Buffy, Spike, and a Prophesized Demon make three. Season 5.

A/N: As per usual, this isn’t beta’d.

*

“Wakey, wakey.”

A very good dream, one involving a weapon-wielding Slayer at the mercy of a fangs-bearing Spike, gets interrupted by her Cheerfulness herself. Buffy, in his crypt. It takes a second for that realization to sink in, and, when it does, it takes another for him to actually believe it.

“Bloody hell,” Spike says, blinking up at the vision of her. There’s this swell of bright light pouring in behind her that’s coming from the still-swinging open crypt door, making her entirely ethereal and radiant looking. “Slayer?”

“Rise and shine,” she barrels on, her tone entirely pleasant and upbeat. It’s too much, this early in the morning. One thing to deal with her at night, he figures, when he’s in his own element, when he’s nice and alert, but here? Now?

“You’re a menace, you know that?” he grumbles. “Piss off.”

You’d think, what with the way he doesn’t bother to get up or otherwise acknowledge her presence, she’d get a clue and take her leave. Apparently that’s giving her too much credit, as she makes quite the non-effort in obliging. Instead she storms forward, a spurt of spitfire and determination, all bound together in that bouncy blonde package that’s hurtling towards him at a dizzying rate.

“What, you think I came for the decor?” he hears her snark, one of them snappy come-backs that she can’t quite seem to control. It’s really quite fetching of her, honestly, the way she tries anyway. “Get real,” she snaps. “And while you’re at it–get up.”

“Ever heard of knocking?”

“Ever heard of ‘outstanding invite’?”

That catches his full attention, complete rubbish that it is. This was his home, his place, laboriously scoured together and furnished with stolen furniture all of his own make and doing, and like hell he had some ‘Slayers Welcome’ mat draped ceremoniously across his door step.

With an irritated sigh he rolls off the sarcophagus, naturally and gracefully landing on his feet like the stealthy, centuries old creature that he is. Never mind the fact that the top button of his pants is undone, the zipper riding more than a little low, and, oh yeah, he’d stripped himself of his one and only comfy black t-shirt last night before catching up on his beauty rest.

Buffy notices all of this in about the .02 seconds it takes for Spike to begin to bite out a retort.

“You’re treading on dangerous ground, Princess–” he starts to say, low and rumbling, but the Slayer whirls around with a disgusted little huff and it throws him off.

“Okay, there’s a reason why public nudity is illegal,” she complains, all dainty-like.

He stares at the back of her head, stupidly, then glances down at himself. Everything, as expected, is how it should be. “Right,” he says, mostly confused, though there’s still the slightest touch of sarcasm laced between each syllable that he purposefully overly-pronounces. “Except I’m all but fully clothed. Oh,” he adds, taking a step towards the small table he spots his cigarettes laying on, “and let’s not forget you welcomed yourself into my humble home, courtesy knock excluded. I’d’ve dressed for the occasion if I’d’ve known you were coming.”

Spike purposefully brushes past her along the way, the bulk of his arm sweeping across the thin expanse of hers, and she snaps away like a rubberband. That lone reaction makes him smile.

“You’re a pig,” she seethes, clearly not liking being the butt of any joke, be it one that’s flying right over that bottle-blonde head of hers or not.

“You know, you keep saying that,” he muses out loud, completely uninterested. “You’d think I’d start to care.”

There’s that instant look in her eyes that makes him think today is the day he finally meets the business end of one of her stakes, but before it amounts to much of anything, she brushes it off with a forced roll of her shoulders.

“I need your help.”

“I need you gone,” he replies just as easily. “Outta my crypt, outta Sunnydale… outta that nasty mortal coil of yours.” He shrugs lightly, grabbing his smokes and shaking one loose. “I’m not choosy.”

Her lips are thin and her eyes are hard. She’s pissed, and all it took was the span of three short minutes. How touching. “I’m serious,” she says, and he can tell by the tone of her voice and the straight line of her shoulders that she well and truly is. Naturally all it does is amuse him further.

Spike smiles, this crooked, sadistic kinda grin, and lights up. He takes a quick hit, then, with a cloud of smoke to chase his words, he breathes out, “So am I.”

There’s a stare-off between the two of them that lasts a few minutes. Spike’s entirely comfortable, it being his turf and all, and he takes in long, slow, lung-filling drags of his cigarette. The Slayer, on the other hand, is looking squared for a fight, for a tussle, for any given excuse to lash out and attack. She’s bound in place and, Spike figures, were he to inch a finger in her direction and give a delicate push forward, she’d likely topple over like a stiff, dried out corpse.

Eventually the moment passes.

“There’s a demon,” she tells him, and her voice is too tight and controlled for his liking. Anger being suppressed, more than likely. Convenient, not to mention entirely pathetic. “In the cemetery,” she adds, like that extra bit of info is going to sway him. “And I–”

He turns from her, swipes an impatient hand in her direction. “Don’t care. Not my gig, Slayer.”

There’s a heavy silence between them, almost thick enough to literally feel.

“I’m not asking,” she eventually says, and that bite is back. Like a nasty little kitten, claws out and pointy teeth being barred. It catches his attention once again, and he turns back to face her.

He cricks his head to the side, eyes squinted, and openly appraises her. On the look-out for signs of weakness, but she doesn’t even divert a fluttering gaze downwards. The cigarette dangles loosely between his lips as he says, “Is that right?”

His voice is easygoing, anger and annoyances just barely bubbling beneath the surface, and even though he’s chipped and housebroken, a mere shell of his former glorious self, there’s still a threat in there that makes her heart hop, skip, and jump a beat.

Even so, she flings her hair behind her shoulder. Folds her hands across her chest. Then levels him with a cool stare. “Yeah. That’s right.”

Slowly, Spike removes the cigarette from his mouth. Plays with it between his fingers. Back and forth… back and forth… nicotine rolling from tip to knuckle, his eyes locked on the bitch ahead. Then, bored with that game, he flicks it to the ground below–never mind the way it bounces across the dirty crypt floor, ashes sent dancing behind it like an arson’s version of a ticker-tape parade. “Funny,” he tells her, giving her his own take on calm and composed, “‘Cause here I am the rebellious type. Orders… commands… self-indulgent bitches such as yourself…” He shrugs casually, this simple roll of his shoulders. “Don’t really take to ’em.”

“Too bad,” is her short reply. It makes him smile.

“Yeah,” he answers, just as simply. “Well, for you, anyway.”

Without warning, she suddenly starts stomping towards him, looking fed up and annoyed and all hellbent for no decent reason. “This is the part where negotiations stop,” she huffs, “and good, ol’ fashioned brute force takes over.”

Before the last of her words have even left her mouth, she’s got a firm, bruising grip on the upper part of his arm.

“Hey!” he shouts, not exactly up to being manhandled at such an early hour. Or at all.

“You might wanna zip up,” she cheerfully warns, dragging him towards the door.

That’s around the time he jerks himself free. Gets a zap of electricity, courtesy of the chip, for all his efforts too. When his vision sways back to normal, the pain in his head at least semi-tolerable, he starts to mutter, “You can’t just come in here, with your demands and your–”

“Outstanding invite,” is her easy interruption.

“This is my home! It’s where I hang my hat… so to say… and you’ve got no sodding right to come traipsing through whenever you bloody well feel like it–”

“Actually,” she cuts in, smug as ever, “it’s sort of an extension on the whole ‘cemetery’ vibe. Technically, that gives me leeway to traipse wherever.”

It takes everything in him to not offer back a retaliating snap of her pretty little neck. Instead, through gritted teeth, he tells her, “Not here.”

She shrugs. “Here. There. Like I said: wherever.”

“You’re a bitch, you know that?” he says, beyond irritated now. “I mean, not just in the conventional sense, Slayer, ohh no, you bring it to whole new levels.”

She smiles sweetly. “As charming as your redundancy is…”

“I’m not interested! You hear that?” He takes a step forward and all but roars, “Leave me the hell alone, woman!”

There’s a very awkward silence that fills the gap between them, broken only by the sound of his heavy breathing, the tippity-tap of her heartbeat, the rush of her blood that he hears screaming in his ears.

It’s all very dramatic.

More quietly, and a little less pathetically, he adds, “Find someone else. Alright?” In a quick switch, he brightens, tacking on a very fake smile–added dose of even faker interest, too. “How ’bout Harris?” he helpfully suggests. “He strikes me the leash-and-collar type.”

She’s thrown off by his previous outburst, he can tell, but even so she tries to remain calm and in control. Part of her personality that he really can’t quite stand. “There’s a demon,” she repeats her initial sentiment, and, like the first time around, all it does is piss him off.

“Right, a demon. Pity. Thanks for stopping by, so sorry I don’t care–” He starts to usher her out, mindful not to make any actual physical contact with her lest the chip starts sparking, but she doesn’t budge an inch.

“Grab a weapon.”

He stops where he is, about a good fifty feet from his crypt door, and let’s his head fall back in exasperation. Can’t hit her, he reminds himself, not with that techno-gadget wired in his brain that’d likely send him into an epileptic fit the second his fist first makes contact, but God what he would give to be able to.

“You’re going to need something sharp, preferably pointy.”

“Am I now?” he slowly responds.

He doesn’t want to ask, doesn’t want to get involved one way or the other, only wants his solitude and his crypt back, but still he finds himself growing curious. Slayer’s got an entire collection of sidekicks to choose from when it comes to patrol. And yet she’s here, stubbornly demanding his lending of a hand in help. And he knows there’s some self-disgust churning in her eyes, he can see it from where he stands; she doesn’t want to be here anymore than he wants her here.

Hell, truth be told–he could go for a decent tumble. And with the Slayer at his side, well, that was bound to inspire talk amongst the demon population. Talk that’d probably put him in a light that he, or any other self-respecting vampire, wouldn’t wanna be cast in, but all that does is make a swell of anticipation begin to twitch. Nothing like being one of the few, the proud–the outcaste and widely hated.

The Slayer starts yapping again. “There’s a demon–”

“You keep mentioning that,” he interrupts, for no reason, really, other than to annoy her.

“Probably because it’s true,” she snaps, then seems to catch herself. More calmly, as she’s fidgeting with some frilly part at the end of her blouse, she says, “Just listen, or I’m–actually,” she almost instantly reconsiders, “you don’t really have a choice, you’re pretty much gonna listen no matter what.”

Bitch.

“This demon–Croolcrackehn–supposedly he’s making his bicentennial-scheduled stop in Sunnydale. Tonight. Apparently our reputation as a tourist hot-spot precedes us. Either that, or he really hasn’t watched the Travel Channel lately.”

“Right,” Spike drawls, already growing bored, and her comedic spin on things only making it worse. “There some kinda point in there?”

“Have you been listening? At all? He’s coming to Sunnydale!”

“Right,” Spike says again, and starts to back away. Where the hell’d he put his smokes? “Look, Slayer, this is all well and interesting, but I’m not really one for social outings. Not much the celebrating type, you know?”

“This demon guy,” she trudges on as if Spike hadn’t spoken a word, “he’s bad news. Like, real bad news. Pretty much the opposite of you.”

He shoots her a dark look from across the room.

“And, as of now, he’s pretty much unbeatable.”

“You hitting the part where I care anytime soon? ‘Cause, I gotta tell you, Slayer, you’ve got one dreadful salespitch–”

“With your help… ” She pauses at that, her mouth closing, then opening, then closing again, before–on a heavily released breath–she tells him, “he can be destroyed.”

Spike stops mid-step. Quick as that.

“It has to be both of us.”

He’s obviously going bat-shagging crazy, because he could’ve sworn it sounded like she’d just said,

“I can’t do it alone.”

Right. Spike nearly glances at the space around him, wondering if, somehow, when he hadn’t noticed, the world had been launched into some backwards hell dimension where this version of him was a complete nance who helped the Slayer off the daily nasty.

When he turns back to stare at her, to try and catch the punchline to what’s got to be some twisted joke, he knows in an instant that she’s absolutely serious. Her eyes are locked on his, unblinking, unwavering, and it does something to his gut that makes him feel like someone’s gone and pulled the ground, the rug, the bloody earth out from underneath him.

He starts to chuckle, though it’s got this awkward sort of tremble to it. “You…” he tells her, with another laugh, “are completely off your rocker, Slayer–”

Spike.

It shuts him up quick, that soft, short way she says his name, and he feels that same drop in stomach as before. A thousand different thoughts are running through his head, his demon’s yelling, screaming, clawing to be let loose, but, all the same, there’s this small… uncontrollable… rock-hard and razor sharp sort of interest burning its way through his body like centuries stale whiskey.

So, with an indifference as fake as his dye-job, he asks, “Why me?”

She stares at him. Stares and stares and stares and, then, finally, “I don’t know.”

His head lifts high, his jaw nice and clenched. “And if I’m not interested?”

“That isn’t an option.”

Everything in his physical demeanor loosens again, and he looks at some dirt patch on the floor of his crypt. Not an option, she says. Like he’d ever had one to begin with?

TBC.

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/145695.html

crackers4jenn

crackers4jenn