There are five parts to this, and the next four will be up just as soon as I can manage it. It’s in keeping with this round’s theme of “Around the World.” I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters. If I did, I wouldn’t be taking out student loans.
Summary: Starts in S4, at the beginning of The I in Team, and then goes from there.
A/N: Written for the Fall 2006 round of seasonal_spuffy, and for adriana_is, who requested snarky/funny Spuffy.
Part I: Sunnydale, California
“Has it occurred to you that there might be a higher purpose?”
Spike glanced up from counting the bills suspiciously. “A higher purpose to what?”
“You having this chip, being unable to harm humans,” Giles said. “Your ability to fight demons would allow you to fight on the side of good.”
Spike snorted, went back to his money, then paused. “Does fightin’ the good fight pay anything?”
Giles frowned. “Not usually, no.”
Spike decided to save the counting until later, realizing that he had an opportunity to make a deal. It wasn’t that he had any desire to help the Watcher or any of his little Scoobies battle demons and make the world a better place. Hardly. But Spike had already figured out how hard it was going to be to come by blood and smokes.
He couldn’t just take what he wanted, whenever he wanted these days, and if he was going to get his spot of violence in, Spike knew he’d need protection. He couldn’t go about killing his own kind and not have someone looking out for his best interests, particularly since he needed to be on the lookout for the soldiers as well.
In truth, Spike had enemies on all sides, and he knew it; he’d gone to the Slayer for shelter before, and it wouldn’t make much difference to have to go to her again.
Or, to her Watcher, which was just as bad.
Still, in for a penny, in for a pound, and this could get interesting. “I’m going to need blood, smokes, and a guarantee of my safety,” Spike said bluntly. “You talk about fighting the bad guys like there’s nothin’ wrong with it.”
“There’s not!” Giles protested. “It’s a noble pursuit.”
“It’s a death-wish if you’re me,” Spike snapped. “And ‘m not ‘noble.’ I’m a bloody vampire, and don’t you forget it. This chip comes out, and—”
“And you’ll do nothing,” Giles said, his own tone growing dangerous. “If it comes to that, you’ll get a free pass to leave Sunnydale, presuming that you promise not to return.” At Spike’s sardonic expression, Giles sighed. “Although I know that your word means little.”
“Hey!” Spike protested, stung. “I’ll have you know that I had very good reasons to come back to Sunnydale, and I never broke my promise. Told Buffy I’d take Dru and get out of town, an’ that’s exactly what I did.”
“And then you came back,” Giles pointed out. “I’m not sure that makes me feel any better.”
“Didn’t tell you to make you feel better,” Spike replied. “I’m not doin’ this for free.”
Giles considered that for a moment. “If you help us, I can guarantee that we’ll do what we can to protect you,” he finally said. “That’s only fair. Blood I think I can arrange as well, but I’m not buying your cigarettes.”
“And how do you think I’m going to get money to buy them?” Spike asked, his eyebrow going up. “Think I could get a 9 to 5?” He didn’t tell the Watcher that he had every intention of finding ways to get money; perhaps it would be a little harder to steal now, but that didn’t mean it was going to be impossible.
Giles considered that for a moment. “Very well. How much do you typically smoke?”
“Carton every couple of weeks will do,” Spike replied, not wanting to push his luck. He knew a concession when he heard one, and the fact that he’d gotten pretty much everything he’d asked for, including the money from the night before, put him in a good mood.
With any luck, Spike would be able to work this to his advantage; at the very least, he’d be spending time around the Slayer, and he’d have plenty of opportunities to needle her.
And if he was supposed to be helping her, chances were she wouldn’t be able to ride him quite as hard.
Spike’s eyes began to glow as he considered all the possibilities. He could still be a thorn in her side even if he wasn’t trying to kill her; this could be a lot of fun.
“No, no, and a world of no,” Buffy said, staring at her Watcher in utter shock. “What were you thinking, Giles? Spike’s not going to help us! He’s just trying to find a way to get under my skin. And it’s working.”
Giles pinched the bridge of his nose, a sure sign of trouble to come. “I think you might be overreacting, Buffy, and Spike could be an asset. I think we should at least give him a chance to change.”
“He’s not going to change,” Buffy said, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “Come on, Giles. Spike is a vampire, he’s evil, and he likes it that way. A zebra can’t change its spots.” She frowned. “Okay, that’s not right.”
“A leopard has spots,” Giles corrected. “People have been known to change.”
“People, not demons,” Buffy said stubbornly.
She had forgotten that Giles could be just as stubborn, however, because he merely raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t make the deal; I did. You can at least try to not kill Spike when he’s around. I’m sure he’ll be coming to the occasional meeting.”
Buffy groaned. Just what she needed—seeing Spike on a regular basis. Ever since that stupid spell, being around the vampire had been uncomfortable at best. She still remembered what it had felt like to be in love with Spike, and while they had fought constantly, it had still been…nice.
Really, it had been nice to have someone so devoted to her that he was willing to marry her, even though Buffy knew it had been spell-induced. No matter how many times she told herself that it had been stupid, that it hadn’t been real, that much remained behind.
Well, that and the memory of how good a kisser Spike was.
“Fine,” Buffy ground out. “But if he puts one toe over the line, I’m going to stake him, Giles.”
Giles shrugged. “As I already told him that much, I have no problem with that.”
Buffy scowled, not happy with the situation. “I should get going. I’m meeting Riley soon.”
“Be careful, Buffy,” Giles called after her.
She waved, used to his admonitions by now. He always told her to be careful, and she always was. Mostly always. The idea of Spike being constantly underfoot irritated her to no end, and she was short with Riley.
“Something up, Buffy?” he asked.
She shook her head, having no way of explaining Spike without—explaining Spike. As much as she didn’t like the vampire, there was no way she was going to give him back to the Initiative. That just seemed beyond wrong.
“No, just in a bad mood,” Buffy replied. “I’m sorry.”
He shrugged, grinning good-naturedly. “It’s okay. You’re allowed.”
Buffy summoned up a smile, forcing all thoughts of Spike to the back of her mind. “Are you hungry?”
“I could eat.” Riley slung an arm over her shoulders, and Buffy snuggled into her boyfriend. Really, it should be easy to forget about Spike when she had everything she needed right here.
For the most part, Spike thought he’d probably gotten the better end of the deal. After all, there wasn’t much Buffy could actually do to him, particularly in front of her Watcher, and while he’d gotten popped in the nose a few times while out searching for nasties with her, he didn’t mind. Not when she got all annoyed, with her face flushed, and her blonde hair swinging with each irritated toss of her head.
Besides, he got his blood and smokes, and a helping hand whenever he got himself into a spot of trouble. Giles had been as good as his word; when Spike had shown up with an Initiative tracer buried in his back, the Watcher had dug it out, and then later told Riley that he wasn’t going to allow the soldier to take him.
Knowing that Giles, at least, was going to keep his end of the deal, allowed Spike to give his help a little more willingly after that—including helping the Scoobies find their rogue Slayer. Not that he was much help, but he looked for the girl.
Adam’s offer, however, caused Spike to question his promise to the Watcher. Mr. Bits ‘n Pieces said that he could take the chip out, free him—and Spike wanted it. He really did want to believe the demon.
Spike also believed that Adam would use him for his own ends and then discard him when it was all over. After all, the devil you knew was better than the one you didn’t.
“Spike,” Giles said, answering the door with an expression that could almost be called welcoming. “I didn’t think you were coming by until tomorrow.”
Spike shook his head. “’s not about that. I ran into your demon friend.”
Giles frowned. “Which demon? We’re overrun at the moment.”
Giles’ steady gaze was a bit intimidating, but Spike held his eyes until the other man turned to the liquor cabinet. “Would you like something to drink?”
“That would be good.” He took the proffered glass with a nod, then tossed back the Scotch. Spike was a little surprised when Giles poured him another without being asked, but he understood the unspoken message; he and the Watcher had come to an understanding the last few months. “He wanted my help.”
“In exchange for what?” Giles asked.
“Taking the chip out,” Spike replied.
Leaning back in his chair, and taking a slow sip, the other man seemed to consider that for a moment. “I see. You told him no?”
“Told him I’d think about it, that I wasn’t going to be anybody’s lapdog,” Spike replied. “He’ll be back.”
“Why did you come to me about this?” Giles asked. “You could have done as he asked.”
Spike shrugged. He wasn’t all that sure that he could have; although the Slayer didn’t like him much, he and the rest of her little friends had come to a wary truce. He had a feeling that the witch might even trust him a bit now.
Not that Spike liked to think about that too hard.
“I could have,” he acknowledged. “Chances are he wouldn’t have kept up his end of the bargain, though. Don’t trust him, not when I know who was behind his making.”
Giles nodded. “I see.” He sounded as though he did. “Would you be willing to work with him, find out what he wants?”
Spike grimaced. What Giles was asking him to do was dangerous, no question about it; if Adam found out what he was about, the demon cyborg wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. “Throwin’ me to the wolves, Watcher?”
“If you don’t want to do it, no one is going to force you,” Giles replied. “Of course, I never took you for a coward, Spike.”
It was a well-placed shot, and Spike winced, even though he knew that’s exactly what the Watcher was aiming for. “You know I’m no coward,” Spike snapped. “You try goin’ one-on-one with that wanker, and we’ll see how willing you are to betray him.”
Giles nodded, appreciating his point. “Very well. We’ll get the information by some other means.”
“Didn’t say I wouldn’t do it,” Spike said quickly. He scowled. “Fine. I’ll let you know what that wanker wants—if I come back in one piece.”
Spike stood, ready to stomp out of Giles’ flat, angry that the other man didn’t seem to recognize or appreciate the risks he was taking.
“Spike,” Giles called. “I do appreciate this. I don’t know that there’s any other way to get what information we need regarding Adam and his plans.”
Spike shrugged, uncomfortable with his gratitude. “Yeah, sure. I’ll see you.”
Buffy sighed, twirling her stake and waiting for Spike’s arrival. The last few months had been interesting, to say the least. While she’d been against Giles enlisting his help at first, Buffy had gradually come around. Spike could be useful—on occasion. Most of the time, he was just downright annoying, but she’d grown used to the verbal sparring, and she even enjoyed it.
Not that she would ever, ever admit to that.
She sighed. Spike was late, and almost in spite of herself, she was beginning to get a little worried. Giles had impressed upon her the chance that Spike was taking, and had strongly suggested that she show a little appreciation.
Spike came sauntering up out of the darkness; Buffy hadn’t even heard him coming. “What are you doing here, Slayer?”
“I—” At the quick jerk of his head, Buffy changed her tune. “Let’s go, Spike,” she ordered.
“Bugger off, Summers. I’m tired.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes. “You don’t have a choice, Spike. Giles pays you for a reason.” She grabbed his arm firmly and started dragging him off.
Spike tried to shake her off, and although to an observer his attempt would have appeared genuine, Buffy could tell that he wasn’t trying very hard. “Bloody hell!” he exclaimed. “Ease off. Fine, I’m coming.”
Buffy retained her grip on his arm, although she loosened up a bit, not wanting to hurt him. “Anything?” she asked, keeping her voice low.
“Later,” he hissed.
They walked, continuing the bickering easily, even though most of the heat had gone out of it. “I don’t see why you always have to be such a bitch,” Spike griped.
“Maybe because you’re always such a pig,” Buffy suggested sweetly.
Spike leered at her. “Oink, oink. You know you get off on it, Slayer.”
“Ew!” Buffy said, although her hand was still on his arm. After all, they were just playing to the possible audience; it wasn’t anything serious. “You know what I get off on?” she asked.
Spike’s raised eyebrow caused Buffy to realize exactly how that was going to sound; no matter how she finished that sentence, it was going to come off wrong. Her silence didn’t help, however. “What do you get off on?” he asked, his tone dropping seductively.
Knowing that she was in a no-win situation, Buffy allowed her lips to curve up into a smile. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” she teased.
His eyes darkened. “You know I would,” Spike purred.
Buffy jerked back, recognizing that the sexual tension had just ratcheted up several notches. And why was it that the sexual tension between her and Riley had never been this thick? Out of reflex, she popped him in the nose, although Buffy didn’t hit him nearly as hard as she could have.
For some odd reason, hurting Spike hadn’t been nearly as satisfying recently.
Spike seemed to notice the lack of power behind her blow, because even though his hand flew to his nose, his eyes were sparkling—and not in rage, either. He put on a good show, though. “Knew I should have killed you when I had the chance,” he muttered.
Buffy sneered at him, now back on solid ground. “You never had the chance, Spike. My mother beat you up the one time you got close.”
She marched off, confident that Spike would be close behind her. They arrived at Giles’ apartment, and Buffy waved Spike inside first, glancing out into the darkness, wondering if they’d been followed. “Well?” she asked, as soon as the door was closed.
“Did you have to hit me?” he asked, not responding to her question.
“I really think that I did,” Buffy shot back. “Besides, you’re supposed to have information for us.”
“Did you see Adam again?” Giles asked mildly.
Buffy glanced at her Watcher a little guiltily. “Hey, Giles.”
He smiled indulgently in lieu of a greeting. “Spike?”
“I saw him.” Spike eyed Giles’ drink. “You think I could get one of those?” As soon as Giles had poured a drink and handed it to him, Spike continued. “I saw him. He wanted me to tell him how to beat the Slayer. For some reason, he thought I had the inside track.”
“What did you tell him?” Buffy asked suspiciously.
Spike shrugged. “Told him the truth. Your strength is in your family and friends, but the big lug doesn’t understand that. So, I told him I could sow dissension in the ranks, make you guys fight, and make you weaker.” He looked smug. “Now that you know, of course I won’t be able to do it, but it was a good plan.”
Buffy still wasn’t satisfied. “So why didn’t you do it? I mean, you said Adam promised to take your chip out.”
Spike sniffed. “Yeah, right. He wants to use me to get to you, Slayer. He doesn’t have any use for me other than that, and it was the Initiative that created the walking pile of junk anyway. No way am I going to trust him knowing that.” He looked a little sheepish. “Besides, I made a promise, an’ I keep my word.”
Buffy nodded thoughtfully. “I guess we’ll have to pretend to fight.”
“What else did he want?” Giles asked. “Did he have any other tasks for you?”
Spike shrugged. “Said he’d be in touch to find out how I’d done.”
“Until then, it would be best if it appeared as though you were spending time with the others, to sabotage their relationships,” Giles said.
Spike nodded, finishing the rest of his drink, and rising. “Guess I’ll get to it, then.”
Buffy watched as he made his way to the door. “Spike!” she called.
He half-turned. “Yeah?”
“If you need any help, let me know.”
Spike’s lips twitched up to form a real smile—not a smirk, or a grimace, or a leer. “Yeah.”
That was the expression that haunted Buffy’s dreams, where he would smile at her just like that again, and then—
Well, Buffy was just grateful that she didn’t talk in her sleep, at least as long as she shared a bed with Riley.
Spike checked the laceration on his leg carefully. While he didn’t need to worry about infection as a vampire, debris in the wound hurt like the dickens and slowed down the healing.
When the door flew open, he started, reaching for the nearest weapon out of reflex. Spike immediately relaxed into his ratty green chair when he saw who it was; he should have known, just by the sound of the door hitting the wall. “It’s you.”
“How’s the leg?” Buffy asked, stepping into the crypt and closing the door behind her.
Spike shrugged. “It’ll mend. What about you?”
“Nothing worth writing home about,” she replied. “A couple of bruises, but that’s about it. I was just wondering if you wanted to join us for movies tonight.”
Spike blinked in surprise. “Huh?”
“We’re doing the traditional post-apocalyptic movie night,” Buffy replied. “You helped stop the apocalypse, so it’s only fair that you get to join us.”
Spike shook his head. “That’s okay. I got a bottle of Jack, an’ the telly. Don’t really think I’ll be goin’ anywhere tonight.”
“Yeah, okay,” Buffy said.
She turned to leave, but Spike didn’t want to let her go just yet. “How’s the soldier-boy?” It wasn’t that he cared, but he knew that Buffy did, and talking about Riley with her there was better than allowing Buffy to leave.
Buffy appeared a little surprised, but she answered his question readily enough. “He’s fine.” She paused. “I don’t think he’s going to stay in Sunnydale.”
“That right?” Spike asked, hoping that his expression didn’t give away his glee. “That’s too bad.”
Buffy gave him a sour look. “I’m sure you’re very disappointed.”
“You’re not happy about it,” Spike replied.
She sighed. “I probably should be more upset.”
“Not feelin’ the love?”
“It hasn’t been the same since…” Buffy trailed off, but Spike knew what she was talking about. He’d overheard Buffy talking to the witch about it. Things hadn’t been the same since the other Slayer did the body-switch and slept with the boy.
“Yeah,” Spike said, remembering when he’d caught Drusilla with the chaos demon.
Their eyes met for a moment, and Spike could sense her warming to him a bit. “I should get going,” Buffy said.
“Right, then. Off with you.” Spike let her go this time and settled back into his seat.
And when he dreamed that night, he didn’t dream of his dark princess.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/149438.html