Title: Stitched Up
Era: BTVS s2
Summary: Something goes horribly, horribly awry with Willow’s ensoulment spell, and Angel’s soul finds an unexpected home – in his dirty laundry. Read now the tale of a Sock with a Soul; it’s on a mission to help the helpless, and it’s starting with Spike and Buffy.
Departs canon forever during Becoming Part Two. Has about the nuanced characterization one should expect from an Ensouled Sock AU. As seems to be my preferred genre now, this is a shameless smutty Spuffy farce, once I get that pesky canon drama out of the way.
Warnings: By the laws of California, Buffy is still under the age of consent (18) at the beginning of this fic, and will be for many more months. Spike doesn’t care (he’s evil) and Buffy doesn’t care (she’s a teenager who wants to be treated like an adult) and since Spike has the emotional development of a teen (or even tween) himself, we’ll call it good. She’ll be 18 before they get TOO far, anyhow. There will be sexual situations, bad language, character death (or characters-sucked-into-a-demon-dimension, which is close enough), and plain old explicit sex. Also an ensouled sock. If you keep reading, don’t blame me.
Chapter 8: A Sock’s Plans Unravel
Buffy opened the box Willow had brought to the library, looking at the thoroughly bubble-wrapped orb, half satisfied and half worried. “That’s so weird, how the magic store ran out of Orbs of Thessulah right after you bought one. Do you think there was a Christmas rush?” Buffy unwrapped it partway, so she could see the shiny surface.
Willow shrugged. “Maybe. The lady who runs the store now wouldn’t talk about it, just got this funny look on her face, so I’m thinking there may have been an Incident. Maybe she got a defective batch and she had to send them all back. Thank goodness for eBay!”
Buffy nodded absently, popping one of the bubbles between her fingers. “Willow,” she said suddenly, setting the box aside, glass sphere safely nestled inside, and turning to face her friend. “Do you think I’m being selfish? Trying to get Angel back, I mean.”
Willow looked uncomfortable. “Um… Well, you are trying to save him, right? From an eternity of torment? That sounds pretty unselfish to me.”
“Yes, but… Well, the Angel off in the hell dimension, it’s evil-Angel, right? He doesn’t have his soul. So is he really being tormented?”
Buffy kept on going. “I mean, his soul isn’t there, is it? His soul is off… I don’t know where it is, just not in him. Maybe it’s happy where it is, you know? Maybe it doesn’t want to go back.”
“Where do vampire’s souls go, anyhow?” Buffy frowned. “Do they go to heaven, or do they just hang out in some sort of limbo? And if they’re just hanging out, do they talk to each other? Like, do all the vampire souls just have some kind of party, but not a party, like they’re just killing time in the afterlife being bored, waiting to see if someone wants to put them back in their vampire body? And…”
Willow put a hand over Buffy’s mouth. “You’re rambling, Buffy.” Buffy smiled under her hand, and Willow dropped it, smiling a little self-consciously.
“I know, it’s just…” Buffy sighed.
“You’re having second thoughts.” Willow regarded her with serious eyes.
Buffy glanced quickly off to the side, where Spike and Giles were having a spirited argument about the translation of some stupid word. There was a definite twinge somewhere in the area of her chest. She tugged Willow with her and walked farther away, so Spike couldn’t possibly overhear them. “Yeah,” she said quietly. “A little.”
Willow gave her a sympathetic smile. “Because of Spike.”
Buffy’s first instinct was to deny it, but Willow had a knowing look on her face, and she guessed that the Ship of Denial had sailed long ago, leaving her stranded on the Shores of Reluctant Confession. “Yeah.”
Willow heaved a deep sigh. “Then don’t cast the spell.” She said it like it was the easiest thing in the world.
“But Spike…” Buffy swallowed back another sigh. “Spike is in love with Dru. He wants her back so much, Will. How can I tell him I want out?”
Willow rolled her eyes. “We are talking about the same Drusilla, right? The Drusilla that killed Kendra and made Giles give up the secret of Acathla? Kinda on the not-so-sane side?”
Buffy felt small. “Uh-huh.”
“And you’re okay with bringing her back into the world?”
“That was the deal,” Buffy said reluctantly. “When Spike helped me fight Angel, I promised him he could have Drusilla, that they could leave town and never come back. Willow, I barely beat Angel with Spike’s help. Without him, I… Well, I wouldn’t even be around to welcome our new demon overlords. And he kept Giles alive, too, after Angel had gotten what he wanted out of him. I promised.”
“But you know, when they leave they’re just going to start killing again.”
Buffy knew, and it hurt. “I was thinking of asking him not to.”
Willow didn’t even answer that, just stared at her in disbelief.
“I’m crazy, aren’t I?” Buffy sighed.
“Maybe a little,” Willow admitted, then gave Buffy a quick hug. “But he has been living off blood from the butcher’s for, what, seven months now? Eight? And he hasn’t killed anyone in all that time.”
Buffy laughed, a little bitterly. “It’s not like Alcoholics Anonymous, Will. He doesn’t get a shiny medal if he makes it a year without murdering someone.”
“I guess not,” Willow said thoughtfully. “But, you know, I like to think people can change. That no matter how bad we get, we can always become better, right? That it’s never too late. Maybe vampires can change, too.”
“Without a soul?” Buffy let herself look at Spike again, watching his face. He had so many expressions, just oozing emotion. Where did the emotions come from?
Willow smiled wryly. “And you’re suddenly an expert on what a soul is, and what it does?”
“A soul is…” Buffy frowned, glaring at Willow. “A soul is a soul. It’s important.”
“Important enough that you’re going to let him go without a fight?” Willow asked, her voice gentle.
“I don’t know,” Buffy whispered.
Willow looked like she had more to say, but there was a sudden crash behind them. They all turned to look at the shattered pile of glass on the floor that once had been an Orb of Thessulah.
“I left that in the box, didn’t I?” Buffy said peevishly. “I swear it was all safe and wrapped up!” The box was lying on its side, bubble wrap scattered around it. She knelt to look at the pile of fragments.
Willow peered over her shoulder. “Well, another one bites the dust,” she sighed in resignation. She grinned then, reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I bookmarked the vendor who sold me this one. He had, like, fifty in stock, super cheap. And free shipping!”
The sock could have grinned when it heard that, from its hiding place under the table. Looks like the smashing wouldn’t be over for a while.
It looked forward to the next shipment.
Buffy thought about it, through the long days of research once school had let out for the holiday, and all through the Christmas celebrations. (She gave Spike a CD and her mom gave him a package of black t-shirts; he gave them both cheesy keychains he had obviously gotten at the local gas station one of the times they stopped on the way home from patrol, but it was the thought that counted, right? He swore up and down he hadn’t stolen them, and Buffy could tell he wasn’t lying – she had his tells down, now – so that was something. Buffy’s was a big yellow smiley-face, but he had painted little eyebrows and fangs on it with his black nail-polish, and apparently mooched her mom’s red to give it a little drip of blood, and then painted a red heart with a big black stake through it on the back. It kind of made her want to cry.)
She finally brought it up on New Year’s Eve, or really New Year’s Day, after they had gotten home from a surprisingly hot evening at the Bronze – Spike had pulled her off under the stairs a little before midnight, wrapping her in his coat so nobody could see what his fingers were doing, and he knew her body so well by now he had been able to make her come just at the end of the countdown, so she was seeing stars when everyone was celebrating and making noise all through the club, and then he had kissed her, sweet and fervent, and she had thought maybe it would be a happy new year after all.
Spike didn’t answer at first when she asked him point-blank if he was going to go back to killing as soon as he had Drusilla back, just stroking her bare shoulder and staring up at the ceiling.
“That was always the plan,” he finally said, slowly. “Leave and never come back.”
Buffy snuggled in closer. “I don’t know if I can let you go.” She tightened her arms around his stomach.
There was a long moment of silence, just his hand on her shoulder, her cheek against his chest. Finally, he sighed. “You going to alter the deal on me, then?” He didn’t sound mad, just curious, and Buffy nestled in closer.
“I don’t know. I should.” She closed her eyes, squeezing again. “I’m a terrible slayer.”
“You’re a brilliant slayer,” Spike laughed. “Got me bagging it, didn’t you? Saved the world. You’re brilliant.”
“Well, thanks for the endorsement, O William the Bloody,” Buffy said, rolling her eyes. “I’ll be sure to print that on my business cards.”
Spike laughed again, and she slid over on top of him, rubbing her bare chest against his. He looked up at her like… well, she didn’t know what it was like, just that it made her want him again, but at the same time made her want to just stay like this forever, just looking.
She gave a little wriggle, enjoying the way his eyes widened then dropped with desire. “Besides, you wouldn’t respect me if I didn’t at least consider staking you the moment our truce expires,” she pointed out cheekily.
Spike grinned up at her, eyes wicked. “Yeah, you’re right on that.” He slid his hands into her hair and pulled her down for a kiss.
After a bit, Buffy sat up, straddling his stomach, and looked down at him again, wondering what it looked like to him, the look on her face, because she was too full of conflicting emotions to know what she was feeling.
“Do you still want to kill me?” He stared up at her, face blank, and she hurried on to clarify. “I know you won’t, but do you want to?”
His face shifted through a dozen emotions, before settling on a serious, somehow naked expression. “No, and yes.”
Buffy lifted an eyebrow, because that wasn’t a complete answer, and he knew it.
Spike pulled her down to him then, rolling over so she was on her back, his face close to hers. “Well, there’s always going to be a part of me that’s howling for blood, yeah? Part of being a vampire. I mean, I can drink pig’s blood and survive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of me that wants to feed. Like a lion in the zoo, the instinct doesn’t go away just because it’s caged.” He bent in then, nuzzled at her throat. “When you’re close to me like this… I can sense it, feel the blood pumping through you. The scent is overpowering. Part of me wants it more than anything.”
Buffy quivered under him, but she wasn’t afraid. Why wasn’t she afraid? Shouldn’t she be afraid?
Spike shifted over her again, rubbing his nose against hers, brushing a light kiss over her lips. “But I’m not a lion, am I? Got a mind that can think, and free will. May not have a soul to feel what’s right and what’s wrong, but I can control myself, if I want to. Just like… like you can control yourself when you want a third jelly donut, but you know Giles hasn’t had one yet.”
Buffy thumped him on the chest with her fist. “I don’t howl for jelly donuts, Spike.”
Spike chuckled against her throat. “You sure about that, pet? I saw the look in your eyes this morning…” His fingers lightly wandered along her armpits, the ticklish spot.
Buffy laughed despite herself. “Stop it!”
Spike curved his hand around to her breast, catching her earlobe in his teeth. “Well, I’d use the analogy of you controlling yourself when you want my hard body, but since you can’t…”
Buffy gasped in outrage. Well, fake outrage, since she thought she probably should be outraged, but seriously, how full of himself was he? “I totally can! Witness me controlling myself.” She slid out from under him and started walking towards the stairs.
Spike sighed behind her. “All right, pet, you’ve proved your point. Come back to bed.”
She turned and looked at him, half-naked and disheveled and sinful on the cot, and rushed right back. “Oh, thank god.” She curled up against him again. Spike kissed her on the forehead.
“No, I don’t want to kill you,” he said after a bit. “Don’t think I could, now. World’s more interesting with you in it.”
Buffy gave him a wry look. “I am pretty sure that’s a quote from Hannibal Lector.”
Spike affected a patently fake look of surprise. “Is it? Dunno who that is, but I like the cut of his jib. Does he have a newsletter that I can subscribe to?”
Buffy glared at him, just as fakely. “You liar. I bet you’ve seen ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ like, a hundred times. Probably rooting for Buffalo Bill, too.”
Spike gently tugged her to the middle of the cot, starting to kiss down the center of her stomach. “Shows how much you know me, pet.” He eased between her legs; Buffy lay back in anticipation as he tenderly kissed the inside of her thigh. “I’m very fond of Clarice. She’s a sweet thing, can take out a serial killer in the dark without backup.” He gave Buffy a good lick, right up the middle, then lifted his head, grinning. “Got a weakness for that type.” He dipped his head down again, curling his hands around under her thighs.
Buffy stopped thinking then for a while, just enjoying the moment, because really, once Spike started in with his tongue, she couldn’t really think of anything else. She had to hand it to him, once Spike decided to cross a line, he really crossed it; since he had tossed his no-kissing-below-the-waist rule out the window, he had seized every opportunity to get his tongue on and in and all over her, and Buffy was definitely not complaining. Well, maybe complaining a little, because knowing for sure how good it felt to be receiving made her really want to try giving for a change, see what noises Spike would make with her mouth on him – she thought he would probably swear; he swore a lot, whenever Buffy did something he especially liked, and for some weird reason she found it really hot – but he was the one with the stupid rules, so that was that. More oral sex for her!
A long while later, Spike prowled up the length of the cot, planting tender kisses on her skin along his path, until he was pillowed on her breast, and she cradled his head in her arms, closing her eyes for just a bit, because somehow lying back and letting Spike have his wicked way with her ladyparts was incredibly exhausting, and Spike liked to snuggle up and smugly absorb her afterglow. And she was all good with the snuggling up because, well, afterglow.
They had barely snuggled at all though when Spike suddenly lifted his head, looking her in the eye as he asked, “Can I kill Hitler?”
Where had that come from? “What?”
Spike smiled smugly – he liked it when he had gotten her all befuddled. “Sorry, I mean could I kill Hitler? If he were here?”
Buffy shifted under him, rolling her eyes. “Hitler’s been dead for decades, Spike.”
Spike shifted to lie next to her, resting on his elbow. “Speaking in hypotheticals, love. Stretch your mind a bit.” His free hand splayed out over her stomach
What a weird vampire. But, what the hey! Buffy could indulge his little what-if scenario. She frowned at the ceiling, thoughtfully. “Okay, hypothetically… Are we traveling back in time to kill Hitler? Because if that’s the case, no, because even I know you don’t mess with your own past. That way lies madness and people fading into nothingness at the school dance.”
Spike gave her the fakest set of Bambi eyes she had ever seen. “Not even to save thousands and thousands of innocent people from the Holocaust?”
Buffy glared at him. “…Damn it, Spike, don’t make me go down that rabbit hole.”
Spike laughed apologetically. “Sorry. No, not back in time. Right here, right now. There’s Hitler. Can I kill him?” He gestured vaguely across the basement.
“How did he get here?” Buffy narrowed her eyes.
“It doesn’t matter,” Spike replied, exasperated.
Buffy turned on her side to face him, mirroring his pose. “No, it totally does. I mean, if he traveled in time, and if we kill him we change history, it’s just the same as if we went back in time. It’s hard enough to make good decisions in the present without adding in the possibility of screwing up the past.”
Spike nodded, accepting her point. “All right. No time travel. Everything in history happened the way it happened. Satisfied?” He shifted a bit closer to her, watching his hand stroke along her hip.
“I guess.” Buffy smiled, placing her hand over his.
Spike turned serious eyes up to her face. “So, can I kill him?”
Buffy made a show of looking suspicious. “How do we know it’s really Hitler? I mean, what if it’s a wannabe with a bad mustache?”
Spike let out a frustrated sigh. “You can have him complete a sodding questionnaire for all I care. Let’s just take the identity as given. It’s Hitler. Real flesh-and-blood Hitler, with all the weight of his crimes behind him, and he’s all primed to go out and kill some more. Can. I. Kill. Him.” He was looking at her as if this were the most important question in the whole world, like he was asking her the meaning of life.
Buffy thought for a moment, then shrugged, giving him a little smile. “Maybe.” Spike groaned and leaned over to kiss her, hard, and she laughed. “Was that the right answer? That you can get your jollies killing the greatest mass-murderer known to history?”
Spike settled back on his elbow, looking pleased. “Killing Hitler probably wouldn’t even be all that fun. He’d be old and all gamy. That’s not the point.”
Buffy’s eyebrows shot up. “Really? Because you were all gung-ho to get with the Hitler-killing just a second ago.”
Spike kissed her again, quickly. “The point is, you can think of a human being out there that might, in the grand scheme of things, be worth less than me. And if you can think of one, I bet you can think of more, yeah? Means I’m coming up in your estimation.”
“Yes, soon you shall surpass Ted Bundy in my mental ranking of villains-by-evilness,” Buffy replied.
Spike’s face was suddenly serious again. “Does that mean I can kill Ted Bundy? He’s still alive, isn’t he?”
Buffy laughed incredulously. “Let me think about it.” This was quite possibly the weirdest conversation Buffy had ever had, but then Spike slid in, pressing his whole body up against hers, and kissed her like he meant it, and that was her cue not to think again for a while.
Later, just as Buffy was thinking about gathering up her clothes and heading upstairs so they could maintain the polite fiction that she was spending nights in her own bed, Spike looked her in the face, eyes serious again.
“It bothers you, me killing again. Dru.” His voice was low.
“Of course it does. I shouldn’t let you go.”
Spike looked down then, like he was ashamed – though of course he couldn’t be – and when he looked up again, the look in his eyes was… intense. Somehow resolute. “If you want me to, I’ll promise. I’ll swear, right here and now. Not to kill. Get my blood from the butcher.”
Buffy just looked at him. “You would do that? Most vampires wouldn’t be able to…”
Spike interrupted, “Yeah, well, I’m not most vampires. Not gonna pretend I’m a good guy, not ever, but, well. Never broken a promise to a lady.”
“And Dru?” Buffy couldn’t look away from him. He dropped his eyes, shrugging.
“Not sure what I can do about her. She doesn’t exactly listen to reason, you know?” He met her eyes again. “Maybe I can talk her into, you know, catch-and-release, or something like. I can’t promise she won’t ever get out. Got a will of her own, yeah? But I’ll do what I can. Make it so you don’t have to kill her.”
Buffy smiled, feeling sad all of a sudden. “Okay. Promise me.”
“Stand up,” Spike said suddenly. “Gonna do this proper.”
So Buffy stood up, and Spike fell to his knees before her, and it was like he was proposing marriage – the weirdest marriage proposal ever, with her naked and him in just a pair of black jeans, on the concrete floor of the basement – instead of promising not to kill and to try not to let his beloved kill either, but he said the words, face serious, and she looked down at him and nodded like a queen.
Then his face turned wicked again. “Do you have to go right now, love? Because…” He lifted up on his knees just enough to suggestively press his lips to her hip.
Buffy bit her lip. “Not yet,” she whispered, letting her legs slide apart.
He sealed his vow with a kiss.
The sock stirred briefly at the back of the laundry basket, awakened by Buffy’s moans. Cripes, AGAIN? it thought grumpily, wriggling under the other socks so the sound would be a bit muffled. It was getting kind of ridiculous.
That was okay, though. It had done a fantastic job of stopping the research progress and destroying every Orb of Thessulah that had come near, and it was just a matter of time now before they gave up and realized they were perfect for each other and should just accept it, so the sock could get on with helping other helpless people. Though it didn’t mind waiting a bit; Joyce had liked that fancy French detergent so much she had kept ordering it, so the wash cycle was even better than before.
Buffy and Spike were as good as settled.
The sock curled up for another smug night’s sleep.
Spike once again found himself staring at a page that held information he didn’t want to know. This was getting to be a habit. A really bad habit.
School was back in session, and he was back to working in the library while Buffy was in class, and he had gotten another secret notebook going. This one he kept in the pocket of his duster at all times, so it couldn’t go wandering, his own personal notes, including things he hadn’t told Buffy about, and he had it now.
He had the ritual, the words and the components and everything. He could get Dru back. Buffy could get Angel back, if he shared it with her. He had just finished copying it neatly at the very back of the book, and all his work was done.
Spike couldn’t put it off any longer.
He had to make a choice.
End Chapter 8
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/535287.html