Title: Looking Glass (Excerpt from Part 2)
Era: BtVS Season 2 – School Hard
Other: Implied Buffy/Angel and they do have a conversation but it’s not very shippy.
Notes: As I’m actively writing in a different fandom, I had a hard time trying to write something new for Spuffy, so I have this. I’d have liked to have something more shippy, but, think of this as the start of their new era—so sort of on theme, even. It’s still May 31 here for another couple of hours so I’m going to go ahead and share this for the final free-for-all day.
It’s an excerpt from a longer fic I haven’t posted, haven’t finished and I don’t know if I ever will, but I like it and wish I had more time/energy to devote to it. The premise is, Buffy has an experience in LA shortly after being called as the Slayer, which makes her question things a little differently than she did in canon. Eventual Spuffy but for now, we have a between-the-scenes look at the second encounter Spike and Buffy never had.
Sunnydale High Library
“Angel, do you know if this Spike fellow goes under any other name?”
When it became clear that Angel had slipped away in silence yet again, Buffy couldn’t quite quell the stab of annoyance she felt over his entirely unhelpful brand of helping. Even Xander’s idea of a belled collar sounded peachy, if only to keep Angel from leaving before she could actually wrangle some useful information out of him.
That his behaviour was cause for irritation left her feeling unsettled. Buffy couldn’t deny her feelings for Angel, at least not to herself, and she was pretty sure his own heart ran in a similar course to hers in this sort-of-romance of theirs. But he had always slipped in and out with dire news and was gone again before she could ask a question. Maybe it was just a vampire, oh-so-mysterious creature of the night thing, but Buffy often had the sense that he was holding back what he thought she couldn’t understand, or couldn’t handle. An unwanted knot of resentment tightened in her belly.
If you loved someone, weren’t you supposed to love everything about them?
Buffy didn’t know. Just as she didn’t know anything at all about the bleached master vampire who had crossed her path earlier that night. Oh, sure, she had just been told that the vampire called Spike was apparently worse than the other threats she’d come up against, but him being worse hardly constituted helpful information. So he liked to kill. She’d have figured that out on her own the moment he flashed his fangs.
“This is stupid,” she said aloud, startling the others into halting the conversation that had continued around her. “Angel, I mean. He obviously knows something about this Spike guy, so why run in and drop hints, then run out agai?”
Xander raised his hand. “I’ve got a theory. Because it’s Angel and that’s what he does?”
Willow scowled in Xander’s direction, and Buffy felt a rush of best-friendly affection at the redhead’s need to defend the object of Buffy’s romantic interests.
“O-or maybe, he just doesn’t know anything else? Like, he’s just heard of this Spike person—er—vampire, and, um, yeah?”
“He knows something,” Buffy said, shaking her head. “And I’m going to find out what.”
Before any of them could object, Buffy jumped up from her seat, threw on her jacket, and hurried out of the library.
It took her a good couple of hours to find him, and when she did she was surprised to witness the tail end of a fight between Angel and a pair of badly-dressed-enough-to-be-old vampires. It was strange for her to see Angel fighting; he rarely accompanied her on patrol on nights she expected some action, and the one time he had in recent memory, he’d been taken out of the fight early on by a well-aimed shovel.
Buffy shouldn’t have been surprised to see that he was actually a pretty good fighter. Two hundred and forty years as a vampire should have taught him a thing or two about it. The not-fledglings were experienced enough to give him a challenge, but Angel was more than holding his own. Buffy leaned against a tree to watch as he pulled a stake out of his coat and dusted one, then the other, the moment the opportunity presented itself.
Pushing off the tree, she took a page from Spike’s book and stepped out of the shadows into the moonlit swath of grass, clapping.
“You should join me sometime,” she said, when he spun around, evidently startled to see her. “That was a good fight.”
“You aren’t the only one who can wield a stake,” he replied, watching her intently as she approached. “But I don’t like to intrude.”
Buffy smirked as she fell in step beside him along the dew-dampened pathway through the cemetery. “No, you just like to run in, make with the cryptic, and leave before I can make heads or tails of what you said.”
Angel’s steady pace faltered before he came to a stop and turned to stare at her. “What?”
Buffy sighed, crossing her arms in front of her, partly from the chill in the air, partly because she hated it when he knew exactly what she meant but pretended not to.
“Spike,” she said. “You know something about him, and I think it’s only fair that you tell me.”
Angel started moving again, and Buffy followed doggedly. “There’s not much to know,” he said, after a moment’s silence.
Buffy scoffed. “Not much to know, but he warranted a drop-by warning of doom and gloom about how he’s so much worse than the others. I see what you mean. Why would I need to know anything else about a vampire like that?”
“There’s no need for sarcasm,” Angel said, stopping again and turning to face her. “Giles will find something. He always does.”
“But you know something now!” Buffy craned her neck to look up at him and wished, not for the first time, that he wasn’t so much taller. “I don’t understand why you won’t tell me.”
Angel muttered something unintelligible, and made to walk away, but Buffy shot out a hand to grip his arm, stalling his escape.
She released his arm, and he moved to face her again, mouth set into a tight line before he spoke. “His name is William the Bloody.”
“The Bloody, huh? Sounds ominous.”
“This is serious, Buffy.”
She hated it—hated it!—when he spoke to her like that, as though she didn’t already know the gravity of the situation.
“I never said that it wasn’t,” she said defensively, fighting the urge to pout her lower lip and prove to him she was just as young as he was treating her.
“You—” He stopped abruptly, shaking his head as if to clear it, and his shoulders slumped in defeat. “I’m sorry,” he said, softly, gesturing to the row of flat-topped headstones nearby. “Spike has never brought out the best in me.”
Buffy followed, and they sat separately on neighbouring stones.
“So you know him, then? Like, know him, know him?”
“Once upon a time,” Angel answered.
Buffy waited, watching as Angel seemed to draw himself inward, and wondered what sort of horrific memories he was mentally dragging to the surface. Whoever this Spike was to Angel, he’d obviously been a part of his existence at a time when Angel himself was just as monstrous as the leather-coated vampire. His reluctance to talk made sense now that she thought about it that way, but she didn’t want to risk giving Angel an out by telling him that. The time for apologies was later.
Right now, she needed answers.
“Who is he, Angel?”
Angel met her inquisitive gaze with hard, deadly serious eyes. “He’s ruthless, Buffy. Not only is he a cunning fighter, he revels in it, in the challenge of a good brawl. But he’s impulsive, and he’s deadly. A brutal animal.”
A long pause followed, and Buffy waited for the punchline.
“I should know. Angelus had a hand in making him that way.”
She blinked, stunned silent by what she thought Angel was telling her. Angel, now refusing to meet her eyes, fiddled with the stake in his hand and studied intently the grain of the wood.
“Are you his—his sire?”
That brought him back facing her. “Not me, Buffy. Angelus,” he said, now tapping the pointed end of the stake rhythmically against the headstone. “And no, not exactly.”
So it was back to being cryptic. Buffy rubbed her tired eyes with her thumb and forefinger. “Either you are or you aren’t.”
“Aren’t.” He sighed, a bit too loudly. “But vampire who did sire him, I—Angelus—sired her. And it was me who taught Drusilla’s new toy how to be a monster.”
Buffy wasn’t sure why that name sent a shivery, ominous chill down her spine. And what did he mean about having to teach the newborn vampire to be a monster—wasn’t that just a given? But pestering Angel with even more questions when he was already trying hard to duck her seemed like a bad idea, so she filed that under things to find out later and tried to focus on what he was telling her now.
He hadn’t sired Spike, but Sunnydale’s newest vampiric threat was still family and apparently Angelus had been some sort of mentor to the younger vampire. No wonder he was reluctant to divulge the information. His connection to this William the Bloody hardly cast him in a positive light. But if Angel was so insistent upon the fact that he and his soulless counterpart were two separate beings, why would that even matter?
Buffy opened her mouth to speak again, but Angel held up his hand. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore. You’ve heard enough now to look him up. It’s late. You should get back.”
It was late, and Buffy yawned as if on cue. She needed the sleep, if she was going to pull off Parent Teacher Night with any amount of success, and she wanted some quiet time to think about everything Angel had told her tonight.
“I should,” Buffy agreed, slipping off the stone and dusting the seat of her pants. “Thanks for telling me.”
“Yeah.” Angel stepped away from his own stone. “Anytime.”
“Kay, so… see you around?”
But Angel was already gone.
Sighing, Buffy headed in the opposite direction, wondering if she would ever understand him, or if she’d be forever doomed to love him in frustration.
She had only been walking ten minutes when she heard his laugh. Though Buffy hadn’t heard it before, she knew without a doubt that the neck-prickling chuckle belonged to none other than the infamous William the Bloody.
“Could this night get any better?” She spun around, stake in hand, to face the direction of the laughter in time to see Spike jump off the roof of a mausoleum, duster billowing around him like a cape. He landed almost soundlessly on the grass.
“Here I was, minding my own business, out for a snack,” Spike said, drawling the words, taking a step to his left at the same time Buffy did, “and what do I find but the tastiest snack of them all.”
Buffy took another step, which Spike mimicked again, starting a slow circling in the small clearing.
“Wow, colour me terrified,” Buffy said, though her heart was already pounding and her stomach felt fluttery-nervous with adrenaline.
“Rather colour you red.” Spike grinned, the sight of it somehow even creepier on his human face.
Buffy cocked her head, faking the bravado she didn’t truly feel. “A killer and a comedian,” she said, nodding. “Wanna add dusty to the list?”
Spike chuckled. “Well, you’re sure a fiery little one, aren’t you, Slayer?”
The way he raked his eyes over her left Buffy feeling dirty for the small stirrings of desire she felt in the wake of his appraisal. Mortal men never looked at her like that, let alone inappropriately sexy undead ones in way tight jeans, and she wondered just what sort of thoughts Spike was entertaining inside his bleached cranium.
Oh sure, he wanted to kill her. She had no doubts about that, whether or not his precious Saturday was still days away. It was his ideas for the time between then and now that disturbed her more.
She wondered if he knew the old adage of not playing with your food.
“It’s Buffy. And we can do fire,” Buffy answered, putting as much perky into her voice as she could muster so as to not let on how much his scrutiny affected her. “It’s pretty satisfying, you know, that woosh of flame and the poof of dust. It’s how all the cool vamps are dying these days.”
He arched his scarred eyebrow at her and snorted with amusement. If she wasn’t rather terrified at the thought of fighting this vampire who was at least a century old and probably more than that, she might have laughed with him.
“Never was one for tradition,” Spike said, right before he pounced.
Buffy was ready for the move, but not for his power. Not only was this vampire physically strong, he fought well, his first kick sending her flying backward over a headstone. Buffy turned her fall into a somersault and sprang to her feet in time to block his next blow. She got in a lucky hit with a spinning kick that knocked him off balance for an instant, but he recovered quickly and came at her again, game-face alight with obvious enjoyment.
Fighting Spike took every ounce of her strength and more than once she had to focus on evasion and defence rather than trying to land any solid hits. It was the first fight in a long time she wasn’t certain that she could win, but while terrifying, battling such a cunning fighter of an opponent was also exhilarating in a way she’d felt few times before.
“That heart of yours is just pounding over there, Slayer,” Spike said as they broke from blows to circle the clearing again. He licked his lips, slowly, tapping his fingers against his leg in perfect time with Buffy’s heartbeat. “All that blood, just… pumping away.”
He almost looked transfixed—yellow eyes nearly all pupil as he circled, staring, one corner of his lip curled up, tongue teasing the tip of one fang. Buffy’s scalp prickled in warning, though, and a split second before Spike surged forward in a burst of vampiric speed, Buffy jumped and kicked off a headstone, tumbling through the air to land behind him.
He whirled on her in time to take a roundhouse kick to the face. Buffy used his momentary surprise to land a couple of hard, fast punches before spinning out of reach again.
Instead of the expected counterattack, though, Spike stood back, chuckling.
A hot wave of annoyance flared in Buffy’s chest, and she clenched her fists tightly, digging her fingernails into her palms. The fight was done—for now—one way or another. Buffy wasn’t stupid. She knew if she made another move he’d stop toying with her and things would get ugly. Deadly, most likely, unless she could hold him off long enough. She could win, in theory. After all, she’d taken on the Master and won—but not before she’d died.
She could beat Spike, but the fight could easily go the other way. This really was not the time to find out which. She bit her lip and forced herself to stay still. It wasn’t worth the risk
Spike’s chuckle died down into a rumbly growl, and he raked his gaze over her again in that same predatory way that Buffy felt certain was only partly to do with bloodsucking. “Oh, Saturday’s gonna be brilliant.”
Buffy felt her face heat up in response to that look, despite the squirm of revulsion in her stomach. “I killed the Master, you know.”
“That so?” Spike laughed, game face slipping away to reveal his human one.
Okay, now he was laughing at her. That wouldn’t do. Buffy crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows at the infuriating bleached menace. “That’s so. And on Saturday? I’ll show you how it’s done.”
Spike tossed his head back and laughed while Buffy stood there watching. When the laughter died down, Spike lit a cigarette and took a long drag, then turned his gaze back to Buffy and snorted again. Before she could even try to respond, Spike waved a hand in dismissal and spun around in a whirl of leather and smoke, disappearing into the darkness of the cemetery, his laughter trailing after him.
Buffy watched the spot where Spike disappeared for several minutes, her shoulders slumped in defeat. Whether Spike planned that encounter, or he truly had just happened upon her, didn’t matter. Angel was right, Spike was a formidable opponent. Not just strong—she expected that. She could handle that—but he knew how to get into an opponent’s head, and that made him dangerous. He’d gotten under her skin in a very short time and she couldn’t afford to let that happen again.
He didn’t take her seriously, which she could use to her advantage. She just had to figure out a way to make that work.
But first, she had to slay perhaps the biggest monster of them all.
Parent Teacher Night.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/565096.html