First there was Chapter 1 & Chapter 2
Era/Season: Season 4 (post “Harsh Light of Day” and “Fear, Itself” but before “Beer Bad”)
Rating: Mature/NC-17 (strong language, sexual situations, adult content)
Betaed by: goblin_dae, yakimama, and subtilior
Summary: She’d kicked his butt, taken the Gem and sent it off to Angel. Buffy thought she’d seen the last of Spike. Clearly, she’d been too optimistic. That he was in her house, in her room, waking her out of a sound sleep and asking for (okay, demanding) her help meant that something had to be majorly wrong. They weren’t due for another apocalypse, but… why else would a vampire make a truce with the Slayer?
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all recognizable characters, locations, and dialogue belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the various writers. This is written purely for fun.
Buffy knew she wasn’t the smartest Slayer ever. She tended to think of herself as a weapon—point her at the bad, scary thing, and she’d kill it. Strategy and research were things best left to her Watcher. When she had to make plans she usually did so based on gut instinct or sheer stubborn determination. If there was a choice between sneaking through the back door or kicking down the front? Her boots were built for kicking. There’d been times when that hadn’t worked out for the best, but she’d almost always had her friends for backup.
Now all she had was a half-starved, pissed off, sleep-deprived vampire.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t an offer she could turn down. The thought of solving this on her own was nearly overwhelming. Worse, the thought of being entirely alone, with no one to talk to—well, it gave her the wiggins. On the other hand, it was Spike, and she didn’t trust him further than the length of his fangs. They’d had a truce before, and he’d bolted as soon as he saw an opening. The last time he’d come back…
Buffy swallowed, trying not to flinch at the memory. Some of the things Spike had said still stung, even if she knew they weren’t true.
They were never going to be best pals, but it looked as though they were going to have to work together, alhough she had her doubts as to how useful Spike would be. If Buffy was a weapon, he was a bomb just waiting to detonate. With the entire town asleep and vulnerable, she was going to have to watch him carefully to make sure he didn’t go off in a way that would get anyone hurt.
Which meant actually coming up with a plan of some sort—at least where Spike was concerned. He couldn’t be given free run of the town. Fear of feeding on the populace would only last until his hunger outweighed his caution. She was honestly surprised he’d held out this long. She’d have to come up with some way of feeding him, and he’d have to be under watch constantly. With only her to do the watching, she had a feeling that would be easier said than planned, let alone done.
“What the fuck are we doing here?” Spike asked.
Buffy looked up. Her feet had led her to Crawford Street and the old mansion that Angel, Spike, and Dru had once shared. It squatted on its hilltop like a gargoyle, some architect’s modern version of an abandoned fortress. It took her a minute to figure out why her instincts had brought her there.
“I need to get something,” she said, remembering.
Spike’s eyes slanted her way. “What do you think you’re gonna find here? Angel’s broodin’ it up in LA, last I saw,” he said. “Think he left behind books or something?”
“Not books.” She started up the walk.
“Chains,” she said, without breaking her stride.
“Ch—Oh, bloody hell, no!” Spike said, stopping so abruptly his boots skidded on the pavement. “No,” he said again, “you will not chain me up like a soddin’ dog, Slayer!”
“Spike,” she said, trying to be patient, “I can’t let you just run around town.”
“You are not chaining me up.” He backed up a step and glared at her. “I woke you up so you could help me, Slayer. We’ve got a truce—”
“For tonight. Spike, it’s too dangerous for me to let you free. What happens when you decide it might be worth it to try to take a bite out of someone?”
“I won’t. Swear it. As long as you’re helping me, I’ll keep my fangs to myself. Gotta be something I can eat… hospital blood! Bagged blood’s probably safe, an’ they stockpile it for emergencies, right? Well, this is an emergency. I’ll eat that.”
Buffy resisted the impulse to roll her eyes. Barely.
“People need that blood, Spike. You’re not people.”
“The whole bloody town is asleep! What? You think they’re going to start spontaneously leaking?”
“Spike—” she started.
“No,” he said, his voice low and furious. “You listen to me, you self-righteous bitch. I am not gonna be chained up, and I’m not going to let you run roughshod over me just because you’re the hero an’ I’m the Big Bad. You try to force me to do what you want, and I’ll vanish into this town so well all you’ll ever find are the bodies I leave behind. You’ll be so busy cleanin’ up after me you’ll never break this soddin’ spell. Now, I’m holdin’ out the olive branch, here, Slayer. I’m willing to play nice if it helps get us out of this situation. But I want a real truce. We’re equals in this, or I don’t play.”
“I don’t trust you!” Buffy said, throwing her hands up in the air.
“Mutual, Slayer,” Spike growled. “But I’m still offering. Now are you going to push your luck or are we going to strike a deal?”
They glared at each other.
There were moments, Buffy thought, when she really didn’t feel equipped to be the Slayer. If Kendra were here, she’d never accept Spike’s offer. He’d have been dust on the wind the moment she woke up. But Kendra had been used to doing things on her own. If Faith were here, she’d more than likely take the deal. Hell, she and Spike would probably still be in bed, since Faith didn’t seem to have a problem sleeping with the enemy. Giles, more than likely, would caution against bargaining. He’d probably try to find some way to put Spike in those chains. But Kendra was dead, and Faith was in a coma, and Giles might as well be.
And Buffy was just Buffy, and Buffy tended to go with her gut. And her gut was telling her that, whatever else Spike was, he was a survivor. He’d do what he needed in order to survive to hide from another day, even if that meant teaming up with his enemy. She could trust him at least that far.
The question was, was it far enough?
“You don’t lay a fang on anyone. You don’t bite anyone. You don’t even think about licking anyone. If I find you feeding, I find fresh fang tracks on a single throat, deal is off.”
“I get bagged hospital blood,” he countered. “I’ll start with the oldest stuff and only drink what I need, but I get bagged blood.”
“We could try the butcher—” she started, but his eyes gleamed yellow.
“Hospital blood,” he said firmly. The gleam intensified.
“Fine,” she conceded. Really, it was the lesser of two evils, and with any luck he wouldn’t have time to get through more than a few bags. “You don’t go anywhere without me, or without my permission. I want to know where you are at all times.”
“No chaining me up,” he said, then leered. “‘Less it’s for kinky-fun-time and even then, it better be stuff I can break.”
“Ewwww. A world of no,” she said, trying to think of what else Spike might do. “No… evil stuff. No stealing, or… or… stealing from or molesting people while they sleep.”
“How do I know if what I’m doing is evil or not? Don’t exactly have a moral compass. Might slip up without knowing it.” He arched his scarred brow and smirked.
“You ask me,” she said, gritting her teeth. “Any impulses you might have outside of helping me figure this out… Any impulses you might have, period: you ask first.”
“Whatever you say, Slayer. But you don’t dismiss me out of hand just because I’m a vampire.”
“We gotta work together, yeah? Well, like I said, we do this as equals or not at all. I might have ideas or opinions, and I get an equal say in whatever we do. You don’t get to discount me just because I’m evil.”
“Okay,” she said, thinking quickly. If she was going to nail Spike to the floor, she wanted to be sure she didn’t allow him any wiggle room. Spike was too good at wiggling. “You want to be equals, that means doing an equal share of the work, too. I research, you research. I look for clues, you look for clues. You slack off on the job, we’re done.”
“Easy enough,” he said. “One last thing. I help you break this spell, Slayer, and I get a Get Out Of Sunnydale Free card. No staking me just because you no longer have a use for me.”
“Fine–but only if you seriously help, and if you don’t bite anyone or do anything evil. Once the spell is broken and we go back to being enemies, you can leave town… if you promise never to come back. And mean it, this time.”
“Swear it, Slayer. Believe me, I leave this town, I’m never setting foot here again.”
“So we have a truce then?” she asked.
“We have a truce,” he said, then extended his hand. Buffy looked at it for a moment, studying Spike’s long, pale fingers and chipped black nail polish with something like trepidation. This was a deal with the devil, and she knew it. Still… better the devil you knew, right?
She clasped his palm in hers, surprised at the strange tingle that shot up her arm at the touch. When she glanced up at Spike’s face, he looked similarly disturbed. They both drew back quickly, wiping their hands on their pants.
“Let’s not get all… touchy,” she said. “It’s weird.”
“Yeah,” Spike agreed, quickly. “Good idea.”
Spike looked at her sidelong at the same time as she snuck a peek at him. Buffy sighed. She had been the one to say that she didn’t want him out of her sight, and truce or no, she still didn’t trust him. At least keeping him here let her keep an eye on him, and limited the amount of badness he could do.
“You can sleep in the basement,” she told him. “But there are house rules, now that I’m awake. No smoking in my house, you keep your boots off the furniture, you do not go anywhere near my mother’s room or my room, and you clean up your own mess.”
He flexed his jaw, then nodded shortly. For a moment they silently assessed one another. If anyone had told Buffy when she’d woken up that only a few hours later she’d be willingly inviting Spike back into her house to stay for an indeterminate amount of time, she’d have said they were nuts. Or possibly laughed in their face. Probably both.
The door opened easily, and she decided that fixing the lock could wait until later. In the meantime, she had to figure out what the next step was. Spike looked like he was at the end of his supernatural fuel supply, and she knew he needed to eat. Soon, preferably. A hungry vampire was a vampire more likely to go at anything with a pulse. With the sun lurking so close to the horizon, however, Spike was going to be confined to the house for a while, which left Buffy with the chore of getting his blood.
The idea of leaving Spike alone in her house, unsupervised, made her uneasy. On the other hand, taking a hungry vampire into a hospital was never a good idea. Taking a hungry vampire anywhere, for that matter, was a bad idea.
She led him through the kitchen to the basement door, then flicked on the light and marched down the steps. The basement was a shadowy cavern of storage boxes and shelving, plus the washer and dryer. It was dark and dank and musty, and smelled of old things, rust, and machinery. Spike ought to feel right at home, she thought, remembering the factory he’d stayed in the first time he’d come to Sunnydale.
“There’s windows,” he said, pointing at the long panes of glass that showed the grass outside. Looking through them always made Buffy shudder slightly. It was like being buried, seeing the grass over your head.
“They don’t get much light, but you can cover them, if you want,” she said, then frowned. “Where did you stay during the day for the last few days?”
“I shut the drapes and stayed out of sunny rooms,” he said with a shrug. He pulled a fold up cot out from between some shelves, dusted it off, then unfolded the legs and set it up in a dark corner. “Slept on worse,” he commented, flopping down on it. He stretched like a big, lazy cat, then peered up at her through sleepy, half-lidded eyes. Buffy frowned, wondering if he was just getting comfy or if he was doing his usual thing and trying to make her think of sex. Sex with Spike was so not on her mental menu. That kitchen was permanently closed.
With a heavy sigh, Spike sat back up and stared at her, resting his elbows on his knees. “So what’s the plan, partner?”
“I’m working on it,” she said. “Right now you need sleep and blood, right? So you do the one while I go and get the other.”
“You’re getting me take home?” He smirked. “Fellow could get used to that.”
“I’m getting you bagged blood,” she said, turning on her heel and heading for the stairs, “which is firmly against my better judgement. Don’t get used to it. You are going to stay here and stay out of trouble.”
“I promised, didn’t I? I’ll be on my best behavior, Slayer,” he said. “Scout’s honor.”
“Did they even have Boy Scouts when you were alive?” she asked curiously.
“No, but I ate a few once. Some of it probably stuck. Gristly bunch …”
“You’re repulsive, Spike,” Buffy said and headed up the stairs, leaving him to his morbid reminiscing and trying not to think about the fact that she now had a mass murderer sleeping in her basement.
Still, she noted with surprise that even though she knew what to look for now, the traces of Spike’s presence were small. Some of the things on her dresser had been moved. Her alarm clock was slightly closer to the bed. A mostly empty water glass on her dresser was just starting to collect a film of dust. There was a half empty coffee mug sitting on her nightstand—he drank it black, she noted, or he added only sugar—and an empty package of cigarettes in the garbage can. The room, however, did not smell smoky. When she looked out the window she saw a small pile of cigarette butts littering the roof.
“Huh,” she said, frowning. Somehow she’d expected there to be some sign that he’d been doing evil stuff, but there was nothing. Of course there were some things he could have done that wouldn’t leave any sort of sign, she supposed, glancing at her reflection in the mirror over the dresser. He might have …
She swallowed, hard.
No, she thought. She’d know. If he’d… well, she’d know.
Besides, Spike wouldn’t… He didn’t think of her…
Wonder what you did wrong… too strong? Did you bruise the boy? Whatever. Guess you’re not worth a second go…
Buffy shook her head, hoping to dislodge what was still too raw a memory. Spike wouldn’t have. He was as disgusted by her as she was by him. Still, her skin crawled slightly at the idea that he might have touched her while she was sleeping.
Then she looked at her reflection more closely.
Okay, three weeks of sleep means a majorly bad case of bed head, Buffy decided, horrified that she’d been wandering around town looking like that. She dug through her dresser and closet and headed for the shower.
Spike was just going to have to wait until she looked human again.
She had priorities, after all.
She was still planning when she clattered down the stairs a few minutes later, and almost ran smack into Spike who was hovering in the foyer like a black clad ghost.
“Do I need to add ‘no creepy lurking’ to the list of house rules?”
“Wanted to catch you before you went out,” he said.
“Why?” she asked suspiciously.
He shifted uncomfortably. “Wanted to…” he scowled, clearly irritated. “Your house, yeah? Mind if I use the shower?”
“You know, that new fangled contraption where the water magically gets hot and pours out of a spigot near the ceiling? I’ve heard they’re bloody marvelous. When I was a lad we had to bathe out of the pig trough. ‘Course, I don’t sweat anymore, so usually I just stand out in the rain to get rid of any dirt, but this bein’ California…”
“Ewwww,” Buffy said, scrunching her nose. He was joking about never having used a shower, she was sure of it. There was an evil twinkle in his eye that told her he was teasing her. Still… “You stay in my house, you bathe regularly. Needed or not,” she said. “You start smelling like a corpse and I’ll put you back in the ground for fertilizer.”
“Vamps don’t smell like corpses, pet. We don’t decompose,” he told her, with a smug grin that suggested that he’d just won something over her. “Suppose I’ll need to do my own laundry, too, yeah?”
Buffy eyed Spike’s outfit with disdain. She’d never seen him in anything other than the beat up pair of faded black jeans, even more faded black t-shirt, and the red silk shirt he was currently wearing. She’d assumed it was his uniform or something. “Do you even have other clothes?”
“Well, yeah,” he said, looking at her like he thought she was stupid. Again. “In a duffel bag in the boot of my car. Probably should have grabbed them while we were out earlier.”
“Where are your keys?” she asked with an aggrieved sigh. What was one more stop, after all?
Spike’s eyes widened. “You are not driving my car, Slayer.”
“I’m not that bad!” she said, though she had no intention of driving his big ugly old car. Seriously, who would want to? “Who told you?”
“Who told me what?” he asked, then sneered. “Oh. Isn’t that just pathetic? The all-mighty Slayer can’t drive.”
“Shut up, Spike,” she said. Why did she let him get to her? “And give me your keys.”
“Sorry, Slayer. I like my car better’n I like you,” he said. “I left the door unlocked, though. You can pop the boot from the inside. Lever’s on the dash. Oh… and never mind some of the other stuff in there. You know how it is when you’ve had a car for thirty or forty years: things collect.”
“I don’t know and I so don’t want to know,” she said, opening the door and forcing him to step out of her way or get fried in the dawn light pouring across the threshold.
“Thanks, Slayer,” he said, giving her a jaunty wave. “Have a nice day.” Buffy slammed the door behind her, wondering why she felt as if she’d just been conned.