So… I lied earlier. You’re getting two more chapters before my posting day is done… provided no one minds if I run over my day by an hour (my time). It’s still May 1st on the West Coast for a few more hours, I believe.
First there was Chapter 1 , Chapter 2 , Chapter 3 & Chapter 4
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.
When Buffy pushed the front door open, the first thing she heard was the sound of a woman sobbing.
The second thing she heard was Spike, “Oh, quit your boo-hooin’, you stupid cow. It’s all your fault, you know. ” The woman’s shrill scream caused Buffy to jump, dumping her bags on the floor. She reached for her stake and strode into the dim living room, trying to see who Spike was talking to. What she saw made her jaw drop.
“Honestly, who dates a man who wears pink fucking polo shirts? You should have known he was an arsehole!”
Spike had pulled an armchair over into the corner across from the TV, and was lounging in it, glaring at the screen. He was also shirtless and barefoot, his faded old jeans riding low on his hips, and his hair was a mess of tousled curls. For a moment Buffy could only blink at the sight of the half-naked vampire in her living room, her traitorous brain insisting that there were far worse things to come home to—like no half-naked vampires in your living room, for instance. Slouched as he was in the chair, his ab muscles were taut and ripply, his chest hairless, but for a thin line of darker blondish hair that trailed from his navel down into the—
Buffy shook her head and reminded herself that this was Spike. One did not ogle Spike, even if he was eminently ogle-worthy. Besides being a vicious killer, he was repulsive to the nth degree, and Buffy was certain that eye-candy in Spike’s particular flavor was the equivalent of chocolate-covered cockroaches.
Thankfully he hadn’t seemed to notice her staring, fixated as he was on the TV. “Oh, come on,” he growled. “Just kill the wanker already!” Buffy turned, expecting to see Spike riveted to some gory horror movie. Except he wasn’t. Instead, he was watching…
“Spike, is that… are you watching Lifetime?”
Spike jerked his head up, finally realizing she was in the room. “No,” he said quickly. Then he looked at the screen again. “Oh, bloody hell, I am.”
On screen a woman sobbed as a man attacked her. “Knee him in the balls!” Spike yelled, then glanced back at Buffy, looking defensive. “He had her all chained up, at first. I thought it was porn.”
He thought it was… Buffy sighed. While heckling abused women might be wrong, at least he wasn’t cheering on the bad guy. And seriously, what did that say about him? Worse, what did it say about her, that she was willing to let him be the resident evil in her house?
“You’re disgusting, Spike.” Buffy tossed his duffel bag at him. He caught it easily. “And this is disgusting. Your clothes had better be wash and wear,” she said. “Everything in your car smells like cigarette smoke. It’s gross.”
He just shrugged, dug through the bag until he found the carton of cigarettes, and sighed with relief. Kissing the box, however, was taking it too far, in Buffy’s opinion.
“You are so weird,” Buffy said. “And you’re not smoking those in the house. Your blood is in the cooler. You can keep it in the fridge, but clean out a drawer for it. I don’t want it touching my food.”
Spike glanced up at that, his eyes darkening. He stood, stretched lazily, and sauntered over to the cooler. His I’m-Too-Cool-To-Care act didn’t fool Buffy in the least. His eyes were fixed on the cooler with the desperation of a dying man.
Or, well … an undying, very hungry vampire, anyway. He crouched beside the plastic container and popped the lid open, licking his lips as he stared at the contents. She was surprised when he glanced up at her, as if for reassurance. “Think they’re safe?”
She shrugged. “I can’t see why they wouldn’t be.”
He nodded, his throat muscles working as he swallowed visibly. As he reached for a blood bag, she noticed his hand trembling. She was about to tell him to take it to the basement, because she really didn’t want to watch him eat, but the shaking in his hand stopped her. Instead she grabbed her backpack and headed for the stairs, leaving him to feed in peace.
It was cold, and it tasted of whatever it was they put in bagged blood to keep it from coagulating, but it was still the most delicious thing Spike had tasted since that Chinese Slayer back at the turn of the century. He downed the first bag in one long pull—not needing to breathe had advantages. Then he waited for several moments to see if the spell kicked in.
When he realized that he didn’t feel any more tired than a vampire who’d gone nearly five days without sleep normally would, he decided it was safe, and took more time with the second bag.
By the time Buffy had made it back downstairs, he was in the kitchen, chucking celery from one vegetable drawer to the next to make room for the rest of his stash. “You made coffee,” she said with a frown. “How come you didn’t take a nap?”
“Too hungry to sleep,” he said. It was partially true, at any rate. Critically, he eyed the heap of blood bags in the cooler and the depth of the vegetable drawer. There was no way they’d all fit; she hadn’t been stingy. If he didn’t hate her so bloody much, Spike could have kissed the Slayer for that. Instead, he concentrated on packing the bags in as tightly as he could.
He tensed when she leaned over him, but she just reached for a diet Coke off the shelf and a bag of carrot sticks. Then she retreated to a bar stool to eat her rabbit food. “Everything’s closed,” she said, after a minute. “All the stores, the restaurants. Everything.”
Spike swiveled his head around to stare at her in disbelief. “The whole soddin’ town is asleep, Nancy Drew. What did you expect?”
She scowled at him, her pert nose wrinkling and her big eyes going squinty. “What I meant was, the spell happened at night. I checked some of the patient charts at the hospital, and the ER sign-in sheet. There weren’t any entries after 3:15 am on November third. That’s when it must have happened.”
“An’ how, precisely, does that help us, Slayer?” Spike said, idly watching her nibble on her carrot stick. She looked a bit rabbity, he thought, with that upturned little nose and her too-big eyes. Tiny and twiggy, the Slayer was a deceptive creature. She looked like prey—right up until she ripped you to bloody shreds like the Rabbit of Caerbannog. He turned back to his chore, but kept his senses pricked in her direction. “Not like we can go back in time.”
“I don’t know,” she said. “But it’s a clue, right?”
He lifted a brow and shrugged, then pressed slightly on the stack of bags in the drawer to get it to shut. There were still two bags left in the cooler when he stood up, and he eyed them speculatively, then looked at the microwave. “Think I could heat these in that?”
“Why?” Buffy asked, pausing with a carrot stick halfway to her mouth, her expression one of supreme disgust. Spike ignored it. She was eating carrots, for fuck’s sake.
“It’s better warm,” he said absently, eyeing the plastic and wondering whether it would melt. “How long d’you think I’d have to heat it to get it to body temperature?”
She put the carrot stick back in the bag. “Ew.”
“What?” he asked. “Just used to it being warm, that’s all.”
She shook her head. “We’re not talking about coffee or a hamburger here, Spike. You eat people.”
“Oh, please,” he said, popping open the door to the microwave and tossing in one of the blood bags. “Listen to you, all prim and dainty, when we both know you snogged Angel for… what? Three years? What’d you think he ate? I’m practically a choir-boy next to him. Just think, every time you were sucking on his tongue, you—”
Her punch hit him hard enough it spun him up against the sink. He snarled, ready to lash back, then took a good look at her. She stood in the middle of the floor, hands balled into tight little fists, face flushed and angry.
Green, he thought inanely. Her eyes were green—the color of sunlight on oak leaves.
Or, at least the way he remembered the color of sunlight on oak leaves. Bitterness swelled in his throat. Walking about outdoors in the daytime was just one more thing she’d stolen when she’d ripped the Gem of Amara off his broken hand. Of course, maybe if he’d taken the time for a little celebratory stroll or something before he’d allowed himself to be drawn to her like a moth to a flame—and could he be more of a clichéd git? More like a lemming toward the bloody fucking ocean and off a bloody fucking cliff, that’s what he was.
“New house rule,” she said, gritting her teeth. “You don’t get to talk about Angel.”
“What about that other bloke?” Spike asked, tense and tired but ready to swing back if she decided to lash out again. “What was his name? Porter? Poker?”
“Parker,” she growled. “And no, you don’t get to talk about him, either. My love life? Off limits. My lack of love life? Off limits. Or so help me, Spike, I’ll do worse than stake you. They’ll call you William the Stumpy when I’m done hacking off body parts, and I’ll start with your favorite one.”
Spike raised his eyebrows, amused. Bloodthirsty little bint, wasn’t she?
He put his hands up in what he hoped was a conciliatory gesture and said, “Mum’s the word then. Can I heat my blood now?”
“For the record,” she said, glaring, “I think you’re revolting.”
“For the record,” he said, punching in thirty seconds on the microwave, “I don’t sodding care what you think.”
He felt her eyes on him as he watched the blood bag spinning round and round in the microwave. When the bag started to swell he noted the time remaining on the clock and hit “cancel.” It was pleasantly hot when he pulled it out and sank his fangs in. For a moment, he closed his eyes and pretended it was the Slayer’s scrawny neck, moaning a little as the warm blood filled his mouth and slid thickly down his own throat.
She was not going to watch him. Emphatically not. There was so much not, in fact, that it was in danger of turning into a double negative and canceling itself out—which would lead to watching him. Which she was not going to do.
For one thing, he still hadn’t bothered to put on a shirt, and in the bright light of the kitchen he looked surreal and pale, like a disturbingly well-muscled ghost. Or maybe a maggot. Yes, she could safely compare him to a maggot. Maggots were disgusting and slimy and fed off dead things—and technically so did vampires, she thought as he opened the microwave to get his blood.
Blood you got for him, her oh-so-helpful brain reminded her.
She distracted it by flipping open one of the notebooks she’d brought home with her and carefully writing a title on the top of the page: Clues.
For another thing, she was still mad at him. How dare he stand there in her kitchen, after practically begging her for help, after she’d gone totally against her own better judgment and gotten him human blood, and have the gall to mock her for her past? So she’d dated a vampire. One vampire. Who had a soul and who was really, really, really sorry for the century plus he’d spent …
Her brain shied away from thinking too much about what Angel might have done over the course of a hundred years. But then he’d spent another hundred with his soul, coming to terms with the guilt and becoming a better person. Except, you know, for the five months or so when he’d lost the soul and … again with the Not Going There.
And who was Spike to be so judgey? That hundred years when Angel had been learning to live with himself, Spike had taken over the family business with gusto. One could even say he’d branched out. As if slaughtering innocent people hadn’t been enough for him, Spike had turned to hunting down and taking out the Slayers who protected them.
She did her best to block out the moans of pleasure Spike made as he drank his warm meal. Her stomach felt queasy and tight, the way it does when you haven’t eaten for three weeks and it’s starting to catch up with you, but you can’t eat because you’re too disgusted by the vampire who is glutting himself on blood less than five feet away.
Buffy suppressed a groan, closed her eyes, and swallowed hard, forcing down the bile at the back of her throat. She would not give Spike the satisfaction of making her sick. She’d just have to wait to eat until after he’d gone to sleep.
When she opened her eyes, her notebook was gone. She hadn’t even felt him take it, but somehow he’d slipped it out from under her hand and slid it across the countertop. “Brilliant,” he said. “The fate of the whole sodding world rests in the hands of a Slayer who doodles hearts and stakes in the margins of her notes.”
“Give me that,” she said. Spike only scoffed, slid it further out of her reach, then deftly stole her pen. There was something really strange, she thought, about Spike’s big, long fingered hand being wrapped around her favorite pink pen—especially when he clearly needed to touch up his black nail polish. Buffy frowned.
“What?” he said, glancing at her.
“You’re left-handed,” she said. He just blinked at her. She rolled her eyes. “It’s just … You’ve got a mean right-hook. I thought you were right-handed.”
“Was that a compliment?”
“No,” she said, quickly. “What are you writing?”
“A love poem,” he deadpanned. “Want to hear? ‘How shall I maim thee, let me count the ways—'”
She leaned across the countertop and snatched her notebook back. “Might want to give up on those literary aspirations, Spikey. As a poet, you suck.” He growled at her, but she ignored him, flipping the notebook around to study what he’d written.
Spell(?) kicked in sometime after 3:15 am on 3 November
Affects entire town, up to a half mile outside of Sunnydale city limits.
Seems to target living (unliving?) creatures: humans, animals, insects, birds, demons, vampires, etc.
Slayer was less bitchy when she was asleep.
With an irritated sigh she crossed out the last line and added:
No one seems to have died as a result of the spell.
As soon as she’d finished writing, Spike tore it out of her hands and read her addition. Then he stole her pen again and added something before sliding the notebook back over to her. Her entry now read:
No one humans seems to have died as a result of the spell.
“That was implied, fang-face,” she said.
“Well I happen to think it’s a bloody important clue, and ought to be stated explicitly,” he said, arching an eyebrow. “Way I see it, it’s a mark against the white hats.”
“What do you mean?” Buffy said, frowning.
“Spell kicked in at night, yeah? At a time when most of the town was asleep, and therefore tucked away safe in bed. No worries that people’d be out and about in potentially dangerous situations. Fuck, even the ones that were … normally if you fall asleep behind the wheel, you don’t stop safely in the middle of the soddin’ street, Slayer. You stop when your car hits an immovable object. Usually, you die. But you saw them. All of them, sitting in their cars, engines off, safe as houses. Nobody got caught in the middle of doing anything dangerous, and if they did … spell kept them from harm,” he said. “But not vamps. Vampires that got caught outside when it happened went up in flames the minute the sun came up. Which says to me that it was one of you hero types behind it, protecting the humans and not giving a monkey’s arse what happens to the demons involved.”
It was a long speech, and it clearly sapped what little energy Spike still had left. He seemed to deflate, leaning back against the countertop for support. Although he didn’t look quite as gaunt as he had before she’d gone upstairs, his eyes were still red-rimmed, and his cheekbones cast dark shadows into the hollows beneath them. He didn’t even bother to warm up his second blood bag; instead he just nicked it with a tooth and sucked on it like a juice box—and there was a tasty beverage Buffy was sure she’d never enjoy the same way again—his attention focused unwaveringly on her.
His eyes were so intensely blue, she thought, caught for a moment in that gas-flame gaze.
Deliberately, she looked away and tried to think about what he’d said. The spell kept them from harm. It seemed to be true enough. Like the people in the hospital, for instance: even the ones that had been in surgery had been stitched back up before everyone fell asleep, with no danger of them bleeding to death. Maybe Spike had a point. It did seem like whatever had caused the town to go to sleep had gone out of its way to protect humans. Not really something that evil spell casters usually bothered to care about. Still …
“Why would one of the ‘good guys’ put the whole town to sleep? It doesn’t make sense.”
“Never said it made sense,” Spike said, and Buffy winced as he slurped the last of the blood out of the bag. “Occam’s Razor, innit?”
“Don’t they teach you lot anything in school nowadays?” He tossed the blood bag in the trashcan and waved his hand dismissively. “It’s a theory thing: simplest solution is the most likely or some crap like that.”
“Okay, so, if the spell was cast by one of the good guys, that should make reversing it simple, right?” Finally, they were getting somewhere, faster than she’d hoped, too. But Spike just shrugged.
“Won’t know ‘til we try, yeah?” He nodded at the books she’d brought. “What’ve you got there, Slayer?”
“Oh, some of Willow’s spellbooks. I didn’t feel up to carting all of Giles’ library back with me, so I figured we could start here. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
Spike scoffed. “Neither of us is gonna be getting lucky until we solve this. Even if you hadn’t made it against the bloody rules, I don’t really fancy shagging anyone in a coma. Too much like necrophilia for my tastes.”
“You do know you’re dead, right? Technically, with you, it’s always necrophilia.”
“Says the girl who slept with—” Spike started, then abruptly shut his mouth, his teeth clicking together audibly. He smirked instead. “Right. Forgot. House rule.”
“You are such a pig.”
“I’m knackered, Slayer, and my mouth’s running on autopilot,” Spike said with a shrug.
“So, go sleep,” Buffy said, irritated all over again and wishing for probably the hundredth time since she’d woken up that it had been anyone other than Spike who had done the waking. Why couldn’t it have been Angel, or … or Parker? This wouldn’t be nearly as awful if it had been a guy she actually liked. It would almost have been romantic, trapped with the guy you love, working together to break the spell. Instead she was stuck with … Spikey Doo, the most irritating sidekick ever. “You can pitch in with research later. I’m more than capable of starting without you.”
Spike smirked and slouched toward the basement door. “Yeah,” he said. “I’ll get right on that. With any luck, spell will kick in once I’m asleep, and I can enjoy my coma safe in the knowledge that the Slayer is on the case.”
“Wait, what?” Buffy grabbed at his arm as he went past. A little shock of fear danced down her spine. Starting without Spike’s help was one thing, but the thought of being entirely on her own for this pushed all her panic buttons at once. “You said you’d help. You swore.”
“Yeah,” Spike drawled. “Well, still don’t know if the spell will take once I nod off, though, do I? May not have a choice. Know you’ll figure it out eventually, though, luv. Might take you a few years, but it’s not like I’ll notice, being asleep an’ all.”
But if it kicked in for Spike, Buffy thought, then there was every reason to think that if she fell back asleep that the spell would take her again. She’d pulled some all-nighters before, but even she knew that she required some sleep. There was no way, if Spike succumbed to the spell, that she wouldn’t eventually, too. It was a terrifying thought, and suddenly she appreciated exactly why Spike had forced himself to stay awake for so long in order to wake her up.
For a moment she was tempted to make him stay up, just in case she fell back under the spell when it was her turn to sleep. Only there was a little voice in the back of her head, sounding an awful lot like Giles, warning that that was a bad idea. It’d be too dangerous for Spike to go longer without sleep. And if she did get knocked down for the count, he’d be a free-range vamp again.
“I’ll wake you up,” she said, and it sounded even to her ears more like a threat than a promise. “In a few hours, I’ll wake you up. We’ll find out.”
The look Spike gave her was measuring, then he shrugged. “Sure, pet. But if you can’t—”
“I can,” she swore.
“See you in a few hours, then, Slayer,” Spike said, and wrenched his arm from her grip. He paused at the door. “By the way, you should probably know… I sleep naked.”
And, smirking at Buffy’s very best gaping fish impression, Spike slipped through the basement door and down into the darkness.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/466094.html