Ooops. I posted this to my LJ this morning instead of seasonal_spuffy. I’m reposting now and will follow immediately with Part II. FWIW I’m fairly certain I’ll finish today.
I’m 3/4ths of the way through and optimistically hope to finish today. If I don’t, the rest will be posted this week at ladypeyton.
Title: Der Froschkönig (The Frog Prince)
A/N Thanks to my wonderful BETA who wishes to remain nameless
She stormed into the crypt like she owned the universe, glowing with righteous indignation and entitlement. Spike jumped when the metal door hit the wall with an explosive bang.
“I’ve got a proposition for you.”
Spike eyed her with an indifference that belied his obsessive one man verbal wars with the “Buffy” dummy now lying battered and disheveled in a far corner of the crypt. “Funny, ’cause I’ve got a proposition for you. How ‘bout knocking? It seems only fair considering we vamps can’t enter your flat without an invite that you could at least . . .” Buffy flapped a wad of cash under Spike’s nose, “Say . . . look at those pretty pieces of paper.”
She ignored his outburst. “Riley’s sick with some Initiative thing and he’s gone missing. I think he might be in the caves. If you find him and take him to the fourth floor of the hospital, you get the money.”
“Oh dear, the enormous hall monitor is sick? Tell me, is he going to die?” The very idea cheered the vampire immensely.
“He’s not the only one who can die, Spike.”
“Hey, I’m just saying, if this is really important to you, then I think I ought to get half now. In fact, maybe I don’t want your money this time.”
Buffy started with surprise and growing suspicion. “You? Don’t want money? Sing me a new one, Spike!”
Spike leaned back against the sarcophagus he’d jumped off of when Buffy had made her abrupt entrance. “You want my help? I want something infinitely more valuable than money. I want to be included.”
“You heard me. I help you, you treat me like one of your precious little Scoobies. I get respect and friendship. I get to be included in all your adorable little Scooby meetings and I get to come along on patrol. No more picking on Spike when he’s only trying to help.”
“What’s your game, Spike. Why would you even want to come with me on patrol.”
“I’m bored. At least if I’m part of the gang I’ll have something to do. Something to kill. But I won’t be treated like the butt of your jokes. Not by one of you. You promise me I get to be one of the team and show me a little respect, and I’ll find the steroid cowboy for you.”
“Fine,” Buffy ground out between gritted teeth. “You can be a Scooby but only if you find Riley. If I find him first, deal’s off. Take this and call me if you find him.” Buffy tossed him one of the two-way radios Riley’s army buddies had provided her, “As long as you’re inside the town limits you should be able to reach me.”
He tossed the radio back at the Slayer, “Nothing doing. If you want my help you stay with me while I sniff him out. Otherwise, how do I know you won’t try to Welsh on our deal?”
“Oh yuck, Spike. There’s no way I’m watching you act like a truffle pig.”
“Then you won’t get your honey, will you? What am I supposed to do once I find the big lug? Beg him to pretty please follow me to the hospital for his own good? You want my help you’re with me every step of the way and that’s final.”
Spike couldn’t say what had made him demand what he had. Maybe it was partly that he needed to see the Slayer bend for once. Needed to make her give in. Needed to win against her just this one time even if his prize was more of her annoying company. At least she’d find it more exasperating than he would.
He could take a certain amount of pleasure making sure she was as aggravated as possible. She smelled really good when she was aggravated; almost as good as when she was fighting.
Speaking of smell, Spike stood outside the house on Revello and sniffed deeply. The boy scout had been sweating so profusely in the past few days that it was easy to pick up his scent. His heart must be doing the Macarena. Slayer was right, of course. The trail seemed to lead towards the Initiative caves. Grunting in irritation Spike took off loping towards the outside of town. He hated when she was right.
Although, hated was too strong a word, lately; it seemed more and more since he’d been chipped that his life was wrapped in cotton batting. As if he was living his life by remote control. Like he had no purpose. What’s a monster to do when he can’t be a monster any longer?
At least irritating the Slayer would help pass the time.
“He’s in there.” he declared to his unwilling companion once they’d reached the outskirts of the caves.
“I could have walked up here and announced that by myself. What makes you think you’re right?”
“Can’t avoid the stink of him, can’t I?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m a pig. Sing me a new one, Slayer.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed in anger at Spike’s derisive tone. He was almost disappointed when she turned and entered the cave.
Part II will be up in a few hours
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/74899.html