Thank you, everyone, for your lovely comments on my previous posts. I’ll reply to them all when I’m done posting for the day.
If you missed it, in the wee hours this morning I posted Tekubi, Chapter 1, where you can find things like disclaimers and ratings and what the hell is going on here. And now…
Tekubi, Chapter 2
Feedback: yes, please.
Spike managed to suppress his buoyancy long enough to claim a place in the back seat of Angel’s precious car. Once they were in transit, he did crow a bit about his nearly single-handed vanquishing of the Tromilansk, until Angel grumbled, “Ok, you’re the Amazing Handless Vampire. We get it.”
“Now with chopping action,” Gunn intoned.
Spike only grinned and settled back in his seat, bobbing his leg with residual energy. He could take whatever gibes they might dish out. What he couldn’t take — what had dealt the worst blows to his pride these past weeks — was when they treated him with kid gloves out of misplaced worry over his fragile emotional state. He’d lived with Angel’s contempt for most of his existence, but being the object of his pity had been nearly unendurable.
It was a relief to be the object of fun again.
As they filed in from the parking level to the elevator bay, a look of consternation from a passing maintenance man alerted Spike that his blood-spattered appearance might be alarming, even by the somewhat idiosyncratic standards of a demonic law firm. While the others got onto an elevator, he paused at a water fountain to dunk his head and swish the demon blood out of his mouth. He belatedly realized he had no easy way to dry off afterwards, and stepped into a bathroom to stick his face over one of the hand-dryers.
He was riding up in the elevator when he was joined by Eve at the ground floor.
“Hello,” she greeted him.
He nodded curtly.
“I see you’ve managed a new adaptation.” She glanced pointedly at his chainsaw. “Your resilience in the face of your new disability is commendable.”
Her indulgent, sugary tone succeeded in dampening his self-satisfaction slightly. Spike grit his teeth, but didn’t deign to reply.
“Although,” she mused, “it shouldn’t be strictly necessary.”
“How’s that?” Against his better judgment, he was curious what she was getting at.
“Well, if you had hands, you wouldn’t need to struggle to overcome the many obstacles of your…,” she appeared to search for a delicate word, “condition.”
Sometimes, Spike really loathed courtesy. “And if I had hooves instead of feet, I’d be a satyr,” he retorted sardonically.
“It isn’t so impossible.” She had his attention now, and from her smug expression, she knew it. “You see, William, Wolfram & Hart has your hands. They’re in cryogenic suspension.”
Dumbfounded, Spike said nothing.
Eve pressed on. “We could have your hands reattached by our surgical sorcery team. If you were an employee, we’d naturally offer to do so. All you’d have to do is formalize your relationship with the firm by signing a contract.”
“Oh, is that all?” His stupefied look was gone, replaced by cynical detachment.
“Of course,” she assured him. “Really, you work for us already — this would merely be a matter of paperwork. You could consider the de-amputation a signing bonus from your new employer.”
“Well, that’s a right generous offer.” Spike’s tone was thoughtful… and entirely too pleasant to be sincere. “I just have one question.”
He turned and prowled towards her. She retreated. In the confined space, it only took two steps for him to have her backed against the wall. Spike leaned close. In a low voice dripping with insinuation he asked, “Are you an evil demon?”
“What?” Eve tried to assure herself that that hadn’t actually come out as a squeak.
“I know you’re evil. You must’ve signed away your soul, to rise so high in the ranks here,” Spike reasoned. “But if you’re a demon, as well as evil, that would mean… I get to kill you.” His smirk said he was not displeased at the prospect.
Eve’s eyes bugged unattractively. “I’m not — ” she began, but stopped short as Spike trailed prosthetic fingertips down her cheek. She was unable to suppress a shudder.
Spike’s mouth quirked at the side. He hmm’d knowingly. The elevator chimed its opening at his floor, and he shoved himself off the wall with his right arm and sauntered away.
Thoroughly shaken, Eve let him go without a word.
It was just as well, as he promptly forgot she existed.
On any other day, the sight of Buffy Summers standing in the foyer of Angel’s Wolfram & Hart offices would have stopped Spike in his tracks. On another day, he probably would have fumbled for words, ducked and demurred. He would have worried she might not be there to see him, or that she was angry with him for not going to see her.
Today, he didn’t even pause. He strode straight to her, caught her around the waist with his right arm, and kissed her.
It had just been too long since he’d seen her, far too long since he’d kissed her or dared to hope she might welcome his kiss. Spike didn’t know at that moment if that feathered fiend had landed in his chest, or if he had yet to come off his reckless high. But no bloody demon guts, no sodding glory.
Buffy kissed him back. There were tongues. It was vital, ravenous, sanctifying.
And then there were smiles, and that was even better.
He only wished he could touch her.
Glancing sideways, he realized they had a small audience of clerical staff. With a nod he indicated a door, and Buffy let him guide her into a vacant conference room. He stopped just inside, shut the door, and with a sick sense of foreboding waited for her to discern the changes in him.
She noticed the chainsaw first. Her lips twitched up into a slight smile. “You gonna put that down?”
Spike took a deep breath and crossed to the conference table. His eyes on his task, he took the end of one of the leather bands holding the saw to his forearm in his teeth. He tugged it back to release the buckle, then repeated the process with the second fastening closer to his wrist.
He knew she understood when her gasp coincided with the clatter of the saw to the table.
“I kissed you before you knew,” he confessed.
With a stubborn battle face, she reached for him, seized his head about his ears, pulled him in and kissed him firmly. Coaxed him to respond. Pulled back. Said, “I kissed you after I knew.”
Only then did the strong facade crumble. Before his eyes the Slayer became the watery eyed girl she could allow herself to be when the battle was over. Her hands ran down to what used to be his wrists and lifted the stubs. He submitted to her perusal with an embarrassed grimace and averted gaze.
His left stump was bare where the chainsaw had been, and his forearm was dented and reddened where the straps had rubbed. The end of his arm turned inward toward bone, and the skin puckered like fabric around a button in an upholstered chair. The space beyond the wrist was vacant. That absence, more than the tangible remnants of his disfigurement, upset her.
He did have a right hand, of sorts, frozen in plastic rigor mortis.
She cradled each gingerly, caught in appalled fascination, unable to look up. When her lip quivered and her shoulders hitched, it was he that comforted her.
“Hey, now, Slayer, it’s alright.”
She sobbed and slid into his abbreviated arms, wrapping her own around him tightly.
When she could talk again, she asked, “Spike, how?”
“Slayer,” he answered succinctly. Her eyes widened in baffled guilt. “She mistook me for…” he trailed off.
“A vampire?” was Buffy’s shaky attempt at humor.
“The kind of monster I used to be.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/36008.html