First there was Chapter 1 , Chapter 2 & Chapter 3
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.
Spike leaned against the front door, out of the light streaming in through the panes of glass beside it, and listened to the Slayer’s sneakers slapping against the pavement until the sound faded.
Only once she was gone did he let himself relax. Then the shaking started. He’d done a fair job of keeping it under control all night, but now that he was finally alone he could feel the tremors starting in his hands again. Unfortunately, the only way to stop it was blood and sleep, neither of which he’d get until the Slayer sashayed her perky arse back to the house. In the meantime, he needed more coffee.
In the kitchen he skirted the light edging round the closed blinds and glared at the empty coffee pot. He didn’t want coffee; it made him hyper and jumpy, and the only way to solve that was with a half dozen cigarettes that he couldn’t smoke until nightfall. However, the idea of falling asleep before the Slayer got back …
He wasn’t ready to chance it.
“Fuck,” he growled, banging the pot into the sink and turning on the water. “Never should have come back to Sunnyhell,” he muttered for the hundredth time in the last three days. He should have known, he thought. He should have known that, once again, his plans were going to go straight down the sewer the minute he set foot in town. Once he realized that there was some kind of magic pushing him away from Sunnydale, he should have taken it as a sign and kept driving, right on down the highway. South was Brazil and the last place he’d seen Drusilla. Maybe she’d have been done with that fungus demon she’d taken up with when he’d gone looking for her last. Maybe this time they’d have made up.
Only, as usual, he’d let his temper get the better of him and stubbornly latched onto his goal: kill the Slayer. Once she was dead, he thought, everything would right itself. He’d find Drusilla, hand her the Slayer’s heart in a pretty Slayer-bone box, wrapped in Slayer-skin and tied with Slayer-guts, and Dru would forgive him and love him again. They’d go on to the next town, the next kill, they’d shag in the moonlight, bathe in blood, then dance under the stars, and the next time Spike crossed paths with a Slayer he’d turn and walk away. There could never be another kill to surpass this one.
It almost made him regret that he could only kill her once.
Spike smirked as he dumped enough coffee grounds into the filter to fill it to the brim, then abruptly slammed his fist against the counter, snarling and cursing himself for a wanker. Here he was, in the Slayer’s house, and he was playing nice and making sodding coffee. Why didn’t he just go fetch the paper and her slippers while he was at it? It was fucking pathetic, that’s what it was. That’s what Dru would think, too, when she found out. He’d had three days in the Slayer’s house while she slumbered away entirely unaware of the danger lurking right at her bloody bedside … and he couldn’t bring himself to kill her. Instead he’d done everything he could think of to wake her up.
And all because for the first time in nearly a hundred and twenty years, William the Bloody was scared. Scared enough that he’d have cacked his pants if he could, if his plumbing hadn’t stopped working the night he’d clawed his way out of his grave. He’d fought Slayers and demons, taken on armies and mobs. He’d run through fire and sunlight and had even once, foolishly, stuck his hand into a basin full of holy water to get to the loose change at the bottom of it. He’d lived under the thumb of Angelus for twenty years, for fuck’s sake, and all it took—all it had taken—to scare the demon out of him was a sleepy little town, and the sight of vampire dust everywhere he turned.
“I will show you fear in a handful of dust,” he murmured. Old Eliot hadn’t been a vamp, of course, but he’d known the terror that such a thing could inspire. Spike didn’t know which was worse, the idea that he might nod off somewhere safe, and never awaken, slowly starving away in the dark until he was a corpse in the truest sense of the word; or falling asleep out in the open, and going out in a blaze of hellfire, until he was nothing more than dust on the breeze. The last, great legacy of William the Bloody would be nothing more than a dark smear on the pavement until the rain finally washed him away.
And it was all her fault.
Her fault that Dru had left him, not once, not twice, but three times. Her fault that he’d lost the Gem of Amara, which might not have kept him from falling asleep, but it would have kept him from dusting and probably from wasting away, at least. Her fault that he’d come back to Sunnydale. Her fault he was trapped here. Her fault he didn’t dare feed …
And then she’d had the audacity to suggest that he let her chain him like a mongrel that couldn’t be trusted round the children, after he’d tamped down his own nature, his instincts, his pride, and gone to her for help?
God, even now the thought of it made his head swim with anger and his gut howl with bloodlust. It didn’t matter that she was probably right … he was so hungry at the moment that he knew it wouldn’t be long before instinct overrode caution. All those sleeping bodies out there, getting warm in the sun, sweaty, juicy; they’d still be flushed after sundown … his stomach couldn’t growl, but he could, and did.
He dumped a quarter cup of sugar in his coffee and stirred, then downed the resulting sludge in huge swallows. It wasn’t blood, but it kept the cravings at bay and kept him awake a little bit longer, and right now, that was all he could ask for.
Trying to wake Giles up was a bust. He’d snored some more, mumbled into his pillow, and then drooled a little—which was not an improvement, in Buffy’s view. Then she’d taken one look at all the books in his apartment and promptly fled in the face of more research than she was prepared to handle on her own.
She’d stopped by Xander’s next, slightly surprised to find his father passed out on the front doorstep, still reeking of alcohol. He was snoring like a weed-whacker, but he seemed comfortable enough with his head pillowed on the stoop, so she’d left him there.
Xander himself was sleeping in his basement bedroom, and beside him, sawing away at her own log, was Anya. Both of them were naked, and apparently had been in the middle of something when the spell had taken hold. Buffy thought she might have left sneaker-skid marks, she’d peeled out of there so fast. It took her three blocks, staring at the sun, to erase the image that had been seared into her retinas. Really, she didn’t think that that position was even humanly possible. Xander was going to have one hell of a neck cramp when he finally woke up.
Feeling a headache coming on, she wandered past the Espresso Pump on her way back to campus, only to be brought up short by an aspect of the spell that hadn’t actually occurred to her until just then: everything was closed.
All the stores, all the restaurants, everything was closed … and wouldn’t be opening again until she found a way to wake everyone up. Which meant no frosty mocha frappes with whipped cream and sprinkles of cinnamon on top, no mall shopping, no movies, no pizza delivery, and no delicious Chinese takeout.
She thought seriously about sitting down on the curb right then and having a damn good cry.
It was one thing to put all her friends and family to sleep and remove her safety net. It was absolutely cruel, however, to take away all of the other things that made life enjoyable. Whoever had cast this spell was going to get a severe beat down when she finally caught up with them. Unless it turned out to be one of her friends, in which case it would have to be a severe talking-to.
Still, at least she had some clue as to when the spell had kicked in. She knew she’d gone to bed the night before—correction, the night the spell had happened—sometime after three in the morning, when she’d gotten back from patrol. Since all the shops were still closed and there were so few cars on the street, she had to assume that the spell had taken place sometime not long after that. It had to have happened at least before five or six in the morning, otherwise there’d be traffic from people on their way to work—especially those that commuted to LA. From the looks of it, though, most people had been in bed, and there were still a few people working the late night shifts.
She looked for more clues on her way back to campus, but didn’t see anything to contradict her theory. She did, however, find evidence that more than one vamp had met a dusty, spell-induced fate. Even though she didn’t like Spike at all, she could understand his paranoia. As the Slayer, the option of dying in her sleep wasn’t one she’d ever had to worry about. Chances were something big, ugly, and probably fangy would take her out long before she ever had to worry about that particular fear. This sleeping spell, however, had made it a real possibility.
She wondered, suddenly, what would have happened if Spike hadn’t come back. Would she have slept on, oblivious, forever? Or, not forever, but … would she have grown old in her sleep? Died? Would the spell have ended when she was eighty and wrinkly, her youth totally gone? The world left without a Slayer while she was suspended in sleep, and then finally too old to do her job? What if she couldn’t solve this? What if everyone in town slept forever, and she was the only one awake? What if she had to grow up, grow old, totally alone?
Well, not totally alone. There was still an incredibly annoying, fangy pest around to deal with. It just figured that Spike would be the cherry on top of the sundae of suck.
The bathroom absolutely reeked of Slayer.
She obviously hadn’t thought he’d be in here when she’d left the room, since she’d left her things laying about. Spike picked up the knickers she’d left on the floor beside the hamper and let them dangle from one finger, inhaling her scent. For a moment he considered pocketing them, then decided that if she found out she’d probably find some way of labeling it Evil, and he’d end up on the sharp end of a stake. He tossed them in the hamper instead. Let her wonder that he’d cleaned up after her, that he’d touched her underthings and done nothing more with them than put them where they went.
She’d never ordered him not to muck with her head.
The bathroom was still warm and humid from her shower; the scent of her shampoos and soaps lingered heavily in the air. It was like standing in the depths of the jungle, surrounded by the scent of those huge, rare flowers that only grew in the hottest places in the world. Spike had long ago learned to pick out the harsh chemicals used in perfumes and soaps and discard them in favor of what they were supposed to smell like to human noses. The Slayer favored floral scents: freesia and jasmine, with the faintest underlying notes of honey and coconut and the light, sweaty musk that was purely Buffy. Spike’s nostrils flared as he took it all in, and he wondered, not for the first time, at this rare opportunity to know his enemy so intimately. It was better even than watching her sleep.
He almost hated to wash her scent away, but he hadn’t showered since he’d left LA and the hot, metallic smell of desert and dust still clung to his skin and hair. It made him itch, and for some reason, despite being halfway around the world and stuck in a desert—a far cry from the damp, rich earth of the place where the human William Pratt had lived and died—it reminded him strongly of the night he’d crawled from his grave. He wanted rid of it.
Shucking his clothes, he reached for the faucet, cranking the heat practically to boiling. There were benefits to being dead, he thought, stepping into the tub and ducking his head under the spray. So, so many benefits.
In the shower the scent of Slayer seemed magnified, especially when he raided her shampoos. It wasn’t blood, but it was the closest he’d get to bathing in Buffy until the spell was broken. Spike closed his eyes on a groan, feeling his cock harden as her scent surrounded him. Then he opened his eyes and looked down, wrapping a fist around his length and tugging lazily, a smirk playing at the corner of his mouth.
He wondered if wanking counted as one of those impulses he was supposed to check with her about.
He stroked himself again, then drew his hand away, his smirk widening into an evil grin.
Better to be safe than sorry, yeah? He couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say on the subject.
It didn’t take long to grab what she wanted from her dorm. On a whim she added a couple of blank notebooks and the two spell books she found on Willow’s bookcase to her backpack. It was a smaller start than tackling Giles’ library, but it was still a step in a positive direction, she felt.
Then she retraced her steps from a few hours before to where Spike had left his car. When she opened the driver’s side door, her nose wrinkled at the smell. The car had been sitting in the sun for three days, and its interior reeked of old leather, old metal, old cigarette smoke, and old whiskey. The windows, she noticed, were painted black, except for a small slot just about at Spike’s eye level that had been scraped clear. All that black had turned the car into an oven, and even at eleven in the morning the heat that poured out of it was enough to make her whole body break out into a heavy sweat.
She gave it a few minutes to let the heat dissipate, then slid into the driver’s seat to look for the trunk release. Unfortunately nothing seemed to be labeled like it was in a modern car, and after a moment’s worry that she might break something and Spike would be furious with her, she shrugged and started pulling on some of the shiny metal knobs and levers until she heard the clunk of the trunk popping open behind her.
Spike had warned her, she realized as she lifted the lid of the trunk and stared at the mess inside. Really, he had warned her. Forty years of “collecting” accounted for the piles of mildewy, half-rotted clothes stuffed in the corners, a vast collection of alcohol bottles—some of which still contained liquid—and an interesting assortment of weaponry. There was other junk: some tattered looking old fliers, a collection of CD’s and some vinyl records bearing titles like Never Mind the Bollocks and Kiss Me Deadly, a weird plastic Statue of Liberty that bent over and flashed its plastic butt at you when you pushed a little button at the base, a battered and dog-eared copy of Catcher in the Rye, an old cigar box overflowing with movie ticket and concert ticket stubs dating back more than fifty years, and a skull that leered up at her from underneath the black duffel bag that she’d lifted off the top of the heap. Thankfully, the skull didn’t appear to be human, but she didn’t really want to dig further into the pile to make sure there weren’t any human bones at the bottom. She wouldn’t put it past Spike to have tossed the car’s original owner in there forty years ago only to forget about him. For all she knew, she might have just found Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place.
The duffel bag itself seemed innocuous enough, though her curiosity won out over her better judgment. She rationalized it easily: it wouldn’t do to bring Spike his bag if there was anything sinister or evil in it. Nope, sinister and evil had no place in her house, thank you very much—even if she was currently letting Mr. Sinister and Evil himself lurk in her basement.
Inside the bag she found several pairs of jeans in dark blue or black, and an assortment of t-shirts and collared shirts also in dark colors or red. A few had safety pins stuck through them, or were fashionably torn up in a way that you couldn’t purchase off the rack even at Hot Topic. His clothes reeked of cigarettes—probably because he had a carton of Morley’s stuffed in the bag as well. She also found a battered leather toiletry case containing, surprisingly, a used tooth brush, a tube of toothpaste that was rolled half of its length, a comb, a small hair bleaching kit, scissors, and a bottle of men’s cologne that actually smelled … good. “Having a great time, wish you were here,” was scrawled across the mirror sewn into the inside of the case. There were a couple of wicked looking knives stuck in the zippered pouch at one end of the duffel bag, and a wooden stake, with the name Angelus carved roughly along one side, rolling loosely in the opposite pocket.
Somehow, Buffy doubted that this was Spike’s version of Mr. Pointy.
He’d know, probably, that she’d gone through his things, she thought. Still, it seemed only fair, since he’d apparently gone through hers. Besides, if she was going to be stuck living with him, she wanted to know exactly what she was getting into. So far, the picture she was getting of Spike from the contents of his car and bag led her to only one conclusion: Spike was a very weird vampire.
Spike was a very cranky vampire.
He was desperately in need of a smoke, but with the Slayer’s “no smoking in the house” rule he was stuck until nightfall. Plus he was down to his last five fags until said Slayer brought his things back to the house. He was nearly certain he’d stuck a carton of Morley’s in his duffel when he’d packed it in LA. Of course, he had a bad habit of smoking through a carton without realizing it, so maybe it was just wishful thinking.
Lack of sleep and lack of blood was making his brain fuzzy, which was never a good thing when you were under your mortal enemy’s grudging hospitality. The coffee was starting to wear off. Like most things that weren’t blood, his body simply absorbed it, turning it into pure energy that lasted for short periods of time. Without blood, his body was metabolizing even faster, desperate for anything to keep him on his feet. He’d need more coffee soon, if she didn’t hurry it up, and Spike wasn’t sure he could choke down another cup.
There was nothing he wanted more right then than to sink down on that rickety little cot and sleep for a week, but he couldn’t do it. Not ’til she was home and he’d somehow managed to make her promise to wake him up the minute the sun went down—and not to give up until he did wake. Maybe it was a false fear: more than likely the spell was over and done with, and he could sleep safely without worrying about being put into a magically induced coma. He wasn’t quite ready to take that chance, even though it meant putting his trust in the hands of his mortal enemy. She could stake him while he slept, or leave him to sleep forever, or haul his arse out into the sunlight.
But somehow Spike didn’t think she’d do any of those things.
The Slayer had a code of honor and an honest streak a mile wide. If she swore to do something, she’d do it. The trick, of course, was bringing her round to his way of thinking. It shouldn’t be that difficult, though. She was clearly terrified at the idea of having to deal with this all on her lonesome, and that was something he could use to his advantage.
He paced the length of the basement until he was bored, then headed back upstairs to find something to occupy himself until she returned. He snagged a jar of peanut butter and some crackers out of the pantry, then headed for the living room. The blinds and curtains were drawn, but he still hauled a chair into the darkest corner of the room before flipping on the TV. Surely there was something on that would be entertaining and bloody enough to keep him from nodding off.
“Oh,” he said, stopping on a channel where people were pummeling each other and throwing chairs. “Springer.”
Hospitals on the best of days gave Buffy the creeps.
There was something so sterile and surreal about them, she thought. If you were lucky, you went there, got better, and left. If you were her, however, you got creepy, kid-killing demons, and kids in comas projecting their nightmares onto everyone in town. The staff pretty much knew her and her friends by name around here, too, considering how many times they’d all been injured in the line of duty. And there were other, darker experiences with hospitals that Buffy had spent more than a few years trying very hard to forget. It was pretty safe to say that, on a good day, hospitals merely gave her the creeps.
Today was not a good day.
Despite it being just past noon, with the November sun high in the sky and the day bright and warm just outside the glass doors, the interior of the hospital was lit with the dim lighting reserved for after visiting hours were over. Shadows loomed on every wall, and more than once Buffy rounded a corner only to find a nurse fast asleep in the middle of the hallway. Sleeping bodies in strange places, she decided, looked way too much like dead ones.
Unfortunately, her prior experiences with hospitals had left her with a good idea of where to find the blood. The trick was getting to it. Or, it would have been a trick if it weren’t for the fact that everyone in the lab was asleep. A nurse who’d apparently been on a blood run herself snored against the wall while Buffy took her badge and swiped it through the scanner. Then it was just a matter of checking the dates on the bags before loading them into the small hand-held cooler she’d brought along just for the purpose and trying not to get squicked by the fact that she was handling blood that she was going to give to a vampire.
On her way back out, a burst of inspiration struck, and she stopped at the ER check-in desk. There was a sign-in sheet on the counter, and a man slumped on the floor in front of it. The sign-in sheet indicated that he’d stepped up to the desk at 3:14 on November third, though it didn’t list his reasons for checking in. He looked fine, she noticed, and clearly he hadn’t died from whatever had brought him into the ER so late at night.
That thought made her frown.
She glanced around the emergency room.There were a few people scattered in the chairs throughout the room, and the TV was on in the corner, the sound low, playing a rerun of Jerry Springer. It was simple enough to double check, but her instincts were right on: none of the people in the ER had died from whatever had brought them in. In fact, when Buffy dared to peek under the makeshift bandage one girl had wrapped around her shoulder, she saw that the long gash there was partially healed.
Buffy set the cooler down and pushed the door open into the ER proper. She checked operating rooms and recovery rooms and patient prep rooms, but the result was the same. Everyone was asleep, and the guy on the operating table had even been stitched back up neatly before the doctor holding the needle and thread had passed out on the floor beside him.
On a hunch, Buffy wandered down to the morgue. She’d been down here a few times before on patrols, and it never failed to wig her slightly. Maybe it was how cool and quiet it was, or maybe it was the scent of death and antiseptic that seemed to fill the space. Three corpses lay still and silent under white sheets in the middle of the room, and she wondered if they’d soon start to decompose, since they’d been left out of their refrigerated drawers.
Slowly, she approached the table at the far end of the room, feeling the tingles on the back of her neck spread. Pulling the sheet away she found exactly what she thought she’d find: a vampire. Down in the windowless morgue he’d been protected from the sun’s rays. He lay perfectly still, not breathing, but sleeping all the same, waiting for the moment when she’d break the spell and he’d wake up, hungry for a quick meal.
For a moment she just stared, thinking it over. Then she pulled the stake out of her pocket and made sure he stayed dead.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/465258.html