Title: Excerpt from upcoming longer fic tentatively named: Love Lives Here
Era/season/setting: Several years post NFA.
Set up: Buffy and Spike have reconnected, married, mated, started a family. Spike has the Gem of Amara. They are living in L.A. where the new Council and Slayer Army is headquartered. They are still cleaning up the area around the Hyperion (called the Wasteland) where the Senior Partners opened a portal several years ago. Today is Spike’s turn to join some Slayers in patrolling the area. His son, Billy, age five and three-quarters, has wriggled his way into going with him for the first time.
“You’re late, dude,” Faith called from where she leaned casually against her car, waiting at the gate to the Wasteland. About a half-dozen other Slayers waited with her, milling around the area, talking.
“Bite me,” Spike retorted as he began unstrapping Billy from the car seat in the back of the DeSoto.
“I think that’s your thing.” Faith sauntered up to the car, scythe in hand, smirking. “Buffy sending the half-pint to spy on you now? What happened, Spike? Have another woman’s blood on your collar?”
“Don’t be daft,” Spike growled, still struggling with the infernal contraption that held his son in the car. “She was jus’ runnin’ late fer that meeting with the blighters from the Army … Oh, bloody hell!” he exclaimed, on the verge of simply ripping the straps to shreds.
“Back up, daddy, let a professional handle it,” Faith insisted, pulling him away from the car and handing him the scythe to hold.
“Professional, is it? Professional what?” he wondered, grabbing the weapon and stepping back.
Faith turned a wry smirk on him. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” she teased, before turning to the task at hand. “How’s it goin’, kiddo?” she asked Billy as she found the proper snaps to undo and released him.
“I got to come with Daddy today!” he gushed, his blue eyes bright and excited.
“I actually figured that out already,” Faith told him as she pulled him from the car and set him on his feet. “Your mom tired of you already? Looks like she’s trying to get rid of you.”
Billy frowned. “Nun-uh,” he refuted, straightening his Spider-Man shirt – the same one Buffy had been trying to get him to put on that morning – from where it had gotten twisted when Faith lifted him up. “Imma help Daddy today, is all.”
Faith looked over at Spike, arching a skeptical brow at him. “You sure about this?”
“Pfft,” Spike scoffed, handing the scythe back to her as he started for the trunk to retrieve his own weapon. “Ain’t been a bloody thing in there for six months but two winos and a bag lady.”
Faith shrugged and looked down at the eager boy. “Looks like they’re both tired of you, dude. Into the Rubicon with you!”
“No bad things can hurt me. Daddy’s a BAMPIRE! He bams all the big, bad things and makes them be good.”
Faith laughed. “I guess ya got me there, kid.”
“I’m gonna be a bampire when I grow up,” Billy informed her haughtily. “And then I can bam all the big, bad things, too.”
“Until then,” Spike cut in, handing his son a child-sized, wooden baseball bat. “You can bam the little things, yeah? Plenty o’ rats scurryin’ around in there – don’t let ‘em get on ya. Yer mom’ll bloody kill me if ya get bit by a soddin’ rat.”
Billy smiled gleefully, his blue eyes wide with awe and joy. He took the bat and swung it in the air a couple of times, testing it out. “I can bam little, bad things, like a bitty bampire.”
Faith shook her head but smiled. “You know you’re turning him into a little deviant, doncha?”
Spike screwed up his face in confusion. “Deviant, is it? Ya mean someone who’s not bloody normal? Not a dull rock floatin’ around at the bottom of the barrel? What of it? You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
Faith considered that and shrugged in agreement before turning and pulling out her keys to the gate.
Faith took three Slayers with her and Spike took three with him as they began their sweep of the ten square blocks around the Hyperion that were devasted in the clash with the Senior Partners several years ago. There had been so much destruction, fires, smashed buildings, and even craters in the area, not to mention dead and dying demons, that the National Guard had been called in and they’d cordoned off the whole area. When the government realized what was going on, that there were demons still streaming in through the rent in time and space, the Black Ops division of the military took over, with the help of the Slayer Army. Finally, that stream of demons turned into a trickle and the whole thing was dumped into the lap of Buffy, Giles, and the new Slayer Army to contain, with the U.S. Military as overseers. That tear between dimensions seemed to have finally closed up completely, as no new demons had been spotted in the area for the last six months. If that continued to be the case, the wall around the area could come down and the area could be rebuilt and this monthly pain in Spike’s ass of patrolling it could end.
It wasn’t so bad when things were still coming in from other dimensions. That kept it interesting and fun; the last six months, however, had just been boring. It was like playing golf without the annoying bits of actually having to hit anything or randomly make a ball drop into a cup. In other words, it was a walk – a long, boring walk without a bloody thing for Spike to do.
Except for today. Today, he had Billy at his side.
“This town must’ve had all people from another planet, huh, Daddy? They were probably ready to go home so they burned the buildings to send up a signal to bring the spaceships down to get them and take them home. How many spaceships were there? Could they beam them up like on Star Trek, or did they have to land, like in Star Wars? What did the aliens look like? Were they like Chewbacca? Or Yoda? I like Chewy. He’s my favorite alien, I think. Who’s your favorite alien? What color were they? Could they fly? How many heads did they have? Did each head have only one face, or, like four, so they could see in all directions at once? That would be pretty cool, huh? Did they have blasters? Were they friendly? They must’ve been friendly, cos they only took these people who signaled them, right? Did you see them? I wish I could’ve seen them! Do you think they’ll come back again so I can see them? Do you think we could get a ride on a spaceship? That would be so awesome! But we’d need to be back by dinner, cos you promised Mommy we’d have breakfast for dinner. Do you think we could get McDonalds for lunch? I want nuggets, ‘K? But just ketchup with them. I like ketchup best. What do you want, Daddy? Are we almost done? I’m hot. Can we sit down? Will you carry me? I haven’t seen anything to hit at all. I’m hungry. Is there anything to drink? I need to go potty.”
Today, Spike had plenty to do.
** X-X-X-X-X **
Spike, Billy and the three Slayers with them had nearly completed the patrol of their half of the Wasteland when Spike heard an odd sound coming from a building just across the street from the Hyperion.
“Hush a mo’, Junior,” he said in a voice so serious that Billy actually did stop talking.
Billy was riding on Spike’s shoulders by now, having grown weary of the walk and the heat and the lack of anything to actually hit with is bat. He looked in the direction that Spike was looking, trying to see what his father saw. Maybe there was a monster he could hit, finally!
Spike heard the sound again, something larger than rats moving around in the building, for sure. He took a deep breath, testing the hot air and made his wandering mind concentrate. Vampire. One, maybe two.
Spike lifted Billy up over his head and set him on his feet. He looked around and found one of the Slayers that had been patrolling with them coming out of a building down the block they had been checking out. She was a young one; none of the more senior Slayers ever wanted this detail. She had her long, raven-black hair put up in a messy bun atop her head, with smooth, coffee-colored skin, and almond-shaped chocolate-brown eyes. He thought her name was Susan, or Sarah, Sandy, or maybe Beth.
“Yo!” he called, motioning to her. “Stay ‘ere with the bit. Gonna have a look in this building.”
Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth hurried up to him. “Do you want me to come?”
“Nooo, I want you t’ stay ‘ere, like I said. Just stay in the sun and keep the lad with ya,” Spike explained to her impatiently as he pulled stake out from the pocket of his duster. “I’ve got it.”
The Slayer nodded and put a hand on the boy’s shoulder. Billy’s bored lethargy had mushroomed in an instant back into exhilaration. Monsters! Big, bad things to bam! And his dad was gonna bam them! He could barely contain his excitement!
“Stay ‘ere, ya got me?” Spike ordered his son sternly, pointing an admonishing finger into the boy’s face.
Billy nodded eagerly, clutching his bat in both hands, his wild, blond curls dancing like dandelion silk in the bright sunlight.
The building in question had most of its windows blow or broken out. In life, it had been one of those telemarketing call-centers whose jaded, reviled employees – ranking just above wheel-clampers and the paparazzi in the professional respect category – took twisted pleasure in calling just as Alex Trebek was about to reveal the answer to Final Jeopardy!, or the moment Man-U was about to score the winning goal. Even after all this time, the building reeked of desperation, stale coffee, and burned popcorn.
Spike strode over to the den of annoyance, stake in hand, his duster fluttering in his wake, and stepped through one of the broken windows into the gloomy and clearly evil, cubicle-filled interior.
Billy strained to see inside, bouncing on his toes as he watched his father begin to slowly stalk around the interior, hunting the monsters. The further Spike went into the building, the deeper into shadow he sank, making it hard for Billy to see clearly. He took a step forward and the Slayer’s hand tightened on his shoulder.
“It’s still in the sun,” he argued, and Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth shrugged, agreeing, and stepped forward with him. And another step. And another. She wanted to see, too. She’d seen Spike in action once before and it was like watching a graceful, deadly ballet. The fact that he was as hot as a solar flare doused in jet fuel didn’t lessen her desire to see what has happening, either.
A loud crash and a growling roar from inside the building made them both jump, and Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth instinctively dropped her hand from Billy’s shoulder and pulled her stake out.
“Daddy’s gonna bam it!” Billy declared excitedly, taking yet another step closer to the building. He was getting dangerously close to the sidewalk now, where the building was casting a shadow over the ground.
“Back up … you’re too close,” the girl noticed, pulling her eyes from the three shadowy figures who were now fighting in earnest within the building. Fists were flying, kicks were landing, growls and screeches of pain and fury echoed through the building and out into the street. She pulled the boy back, and stepped forward, placing herself between him and the danger of the shaded sidewalk.
Billy huffed and moved to the side so he could see, but she held an arm out and kept him from moving forward any further, though most of her attention was on the brawl within.
She could see a figure fly through the air, the billowing duster identifying it as Spike, and land on one of the other shadows. They fell behind some of the cubicles and the Slayer raised up on tiptoes, straining to try and see what was happening. In the next moment, the monster rocketed upwards, its body prone, and slammed against the ceiling. It began to fall back down, but then stopped and seemed to simply float there, slumped from the middle. Its arms and legs hung limply, impaled through the middle of its back on an emergency sprinkler head in the ceiling. In the next moment, Spike leapt up and drove his stake into the vampire’s heart, raining dust down from the disused sprinkler.
“Whoa!!” Billy exclaimed. “Daddy bammed it into fairy dust!”
Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth grinned. “Hell yeah, he did. Your dad kicks serious ass!”
“He’s a bampire! He bams all the monsters! I’m gonna bam monsters, too!”
The Slayer laughed, nodding her agreement, but her eyes were on the bampire … err, vampire currently kicking the other monster’s ass.
Billy turned around, looking for some of the bitty monsters that his dad said might be there for him to bam. And he saw one! Finally! With Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth’s attention riveted on the swirling, growling, deadly energy of the shadow dance, Billy turned and ran toward the door across the street that stood open just a crack where he’d seen a monster scamper into.
He stopped at the door to the Hyperion, clutching his bat, and peered inside, trying to see into the gloom of the burned-out building. He saw movement! Something small scurried around the edge of what had been the front reception desk, which now swooned lazily in the great room. One end of the desk was burned to embers, the marble top having sunk onto the floor on that end, as if in gentle repose.
Billy slipped through the narrow opening and crept forward as silently as his Sketchers would allow, colorful lights blinking beneath his heels with each step, bat at the ready. His feet sunk into soft-spots in the floor, places where fire, water, and time had taken their tolls, but he kept moving, edging slowly forward. His little heart was pounding like a drum against his ribs, his breath fast and shallow, his adrenaline pumping, and his blue eyes wide in anticipation.
Billy froze when he rounded the corner of the desk, his already wide eyes growing to the size of saucers, his breath stopping completely when he saw it. He couldn’t move, nothing seemed to be working properly, as he stared, transfixed, into the black face and deep green eyes of the monster.
** X-X-X-X-X **
Spike stepped out of the building, glass crunching beneath his boots, still brushing vampire dust from his clothes. That felt good! A proper fists and fangs brawl to settle the nerves and get him ready to face the rest of the day answering his son’s myriad of always interesting, usually challenging, and often exasperating questions.
Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth beamed at him as he emerged. “That was totally excellent! Did you know that sprinkler was there? How hard did you have to throw that one to impale him on it? Wow! And that other one! Hurling that phone at it and knocking it out when it tried to run away! So cool!”
“What can I say, pet, I’m just that –” Spike began, then stopped, his gaze raking over the street from one end of the block to the other. “Where the bloody hell is my son!?”
The Slayer looked confused and turned to indicate the spot Billy had been standing. Her eyes went from almond-shaped to walnuts in a moment when she realized he wasn’t there. “I … he …” she stammered, also looking around for the boy.
“Bloody fucking hell! You had one job! A soddin’ Slayer and ya can’t keep track of a boy!?” Spike raged at her, his eyes continuing to sweep up and down the street, taking in everything at once.
“I … he … we…” the girl continued to stutter, her lungs seizing her racing heart and squeezing painfully, stopping the blood flow to her baffled brain.
It only took a moment for Spike to pick up the freshest trail of his son’s scent. He bolted for the partially open door on the hotel. “Billy!” he screamed as he wrenched the door completely off its hinges with a tortured squeal of metal and shattering glass.
“William!” he raged, diving into the darkened interior, heedless of monsters, or danger or rotting floorboards.
Spike’s boot crashed through the floor, the jagged boards gouging deep, painful furrows into his calf in the process. He fell onto his other knee with a jarring impact that rattled his teeth, but luckily the floor beneath it held. It barely slowed him down, though. He was pulling himself out of the hole, his leg healing as he did so with the power of the Gem, and crawling forward, following his son’s scent into the darkness.
“DADDY!” his son’s shrill voice called back, making Spike scrabble and claw over the crumbling floor toward the sound, his demon rising with the panic inside him.
“DADDY!” the boy cried, as he appeared from around the corner of the counter.
Spike grabbed the boy up, not pausing to look him over or take anything else in, and raced back for the door with him. He stumbled once when the floor began to give way, but managed to shift his weight and stay upright as he hurtled into the safety of the sunlight just beyond the doors.
Spike collapsed onto the pavement in the center of the street, holding his small, helpless son in his lap, pulled against his chest tightly. “Bloody hell, bloody hell…” he muttered in relief, taking deep breaths, trying to get control of his panic and fear.
“Look what I found! Can we keep it!?” Billy asked, seemingly oblivious to Spike’s utter terror.
“What are you doing!? I TOLD YOU TO STAY PUT! You scared me to bloody death!” Spike admonished his son, his demon fading into the background now that the immediate threat was over. He released his hold and pushed the boy back, holding him by the shoulders to examine him for injuries.
“I saw a monster! I was gonna bam it, but it wasn’t a monster! Look, Daddy! It wants to come home with us! It’s a princess! See!?”
Spike’s eyes tracked to what Billy was holding in his hands. It was a kitten. A small, black kitten with a jagged ring of white fur encircling its ears, like a tiara.
Spike blinked. “You scared the bejesus outta me for a mangy, flea-bitten kitten!?”
Billy frowned and held the little thing against chest protectively. “It’s a princess kitten …” he defended.
Spike closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began counting to what he thought would be a sufficiently high number. It wasn’t sufficiently high. He continued counting.
When he opened his eyes again, he was surrounded by Slayers. Faith stood closest to him, scythe in hand, looking down at them. “Having fun yet?”
Spike growled and stood up, setting Billy on his feet and leaning into Faith’s personal space threateningly. “Your bloody Slayer,” he began angrily, looking around for Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth.
“Is not a babysitter!” Faith finished for him, not flinching or backing down from the angry vampire.
Spike’s mouth drew into a hard line and he scowled at the second in command of the Slayer Army. Their silent stand-off went on for what seemed an eon to Susan-Sarah-Sandy-or-maybe-Beth, who stood back behind some of the other Slayers trying to make herself as small as possible.
The charged silence between the two preternatural warriors rolled on, seeming to near the realm of ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’, before being interrupted by the original source of their discord. “Look what I found, Miss Faith!” Billy gushed, holding the kitten up to her.
Faith raised her brows as if to ask the vampire if they were done. Spike rolled his eyes and looked away, taking a step back out of Faith’s personal space, acquiescing.
Faith looked down then at the proffered kitten.
“Imma call her ‘Princess’,” he confided.
Faith snorted and touched finger atop the kitten’s crown of white fur. She pulled it back quickly and frowned. “Uhhh … you better get it a flea bath or something before you take it home. It’s like … covered. Plus, it’s gonna need shots, and to be wormed and tested for rabies and heartworms and … other catty stuff.”
“We’re not takin’ the bloody thing home!” Spike growled, reaching for the kitten.
“But, Daddy! It wants to come home with me!” Billy wailed, hugging the kitten protectively. Crocodile tears formed in his brilliant blue eyes, making them shimmer pleadingly in the sunlight. That, he’d learned after careful trial and error research, usually worked well on his father. His mom, not so much, but daddy…
“Reckon its mum will miss it if ya take it away, best put it back where ya found it,” Spike reasoned.
“Noooo! It’s all alone here! Its mommy’s not here! It’s so scared! It doesn’t want to stay here,” Billy insisted as his tears began to fall in earnest.
“Junior…” Spike started sternly.
“Daddy, pleeasseee!” he begged, dropping is damp face down to cuddle against the flea-invested kitten.
“Oh, bloody hell,” Spike grated out through clenched teeth, his hands curling into frustrated fists. “We are not takin’ that mangy thing home!”
** X-X-X-X-X **
Two hours and three-hundred dollars later, the de-fleaed, de-wormed, vaccinated kitten lay purring happily, kneading Billy’s leg with its little paws as they left the vet’s office and headed for McDonalds for lunch.
** X-X-X-X-X **
You’ll have to wait for the whole fic to come out later this year to find out how Buffy reacts to this development. Even the Gem may not be enough to save Spike this time!
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/665716.html