- Fic: The Distance Between Us (1/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (2/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (3/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (4/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (5/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (6/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (7/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (8/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (9/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (10/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (11/11)
Title: The Distance Between Us
Summary: Nineteen years after leaving Sunnydale, Spike encounters a startlingly familiar young woman fighting vampires in the alleyways of London – a young woman who holds the key to both his past and his future.
Spike didn’t get any sleep that night. After Buffy had fallen asleep, he had just lain there, listening to her breathe. He’d really thought that he would never get the chance to be near her again, never get to touch her, or hear her voice. Now she was here with him, wrapped in his arms; quiet and calm and contented. He just wanted to hold her forever, but he couldn’t. Eventually, she’d wake from her stupor, fully refreshed, and realize that she didn’t want him after all. He knew she was emotionally fragile because of what had happened to Willow. But once the shock wore off, he was sure she’d be back to her old self in no time.
Spike stole a glance at the alarm clock on the nightstand – it was 9:30a.m. Visiting hours at the hospital started at 10. He hated the idea of Willow being there all by herself. He was desperate to see her, but knew he couldn’t step foot in the hospital, afraid they might try to have him arrested. He knew he should wake Buffy, so she could go see their daughter, but Buffy was sleeping so soundly that he didn’t have the heart to wake her. Ultimately, Spike decided that the best thing to do was just damn the police and show up at the hospital himself.
And so, after stealthily sneaking out of bed, Spike crept out of the apartment and made his way to the hospital. London was a particularly wonderful place to be a vampire. The ever-present fog created a nice barrier against the sun, and he was often able to walk the streets during the day. It made walking to the hospital a particularly easy task.
When Spike arrived, he realized that he shouldn’t have worried about being recognized. He was visiting the main wing of the hospital, not the emergency room. And besides, there was a completely different staff on call in the mornings. No one said a word as he asked for Willow’s room number and was given his visitor’s pass.
The door to her room was open, but he knocked anyway, hoping not to startle her.
“Spike?” she asked in surprise, as she pulled her eyes away from the TV. “What are you doing here?”
“Came to see how you were doing, li’l bit.”
“But… but…” she looked toward the window, as if to ask how he could have possibly come in the middle of the day.
“It’s only direct sunlight that kills vampires. We hardly ever have that here.”
“Oh,” she smiled awkwardly, as if she should have known that. Of course, there was no reason for her to have known, but it was sweet the way she smiled, just the same.
Spike was suddenly seeing her with new eyes. Before, he had just thought of her as Buffy’s daughter. But now, he was seeing her as his own child. He couldn’t help but stare at her in wonderment. He didn’t know how it was possible, but he supposed Giles’ theory was as good as any. Somehow, this beautiful creature before him was his. His and Buffy’s. She was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.
“How are you feeling?” he finally asked, realizing that she was waiting for him to say something.
“Fine,” she said, stretching out her stiff limbs. “I can’t wait to get out of this place.”
“Have they told you when you’ll be released?”
“As soon as my doctor comes in and gives me one last checkup. So, hopefully sometime before lunch. I’m dying for a Big Mac.”
“You know that stuff can kill you, right?”
“I think I deserve it. Besides, I’d rather be killed by a Big Mac than a vampire any day.”
Spike leaned up against the footboard of the bed and stared down at her. “So, you saw your mum last night?”
“Yeah. How’d you know?”
“Saw her too. Talked to her for a bit.”
“You did?” Willow sat up in bed, her full attention on Spike. “Did she say anything?”
“Said a lot of things. Did you have anything specific in mind?”
Spike didn’t know how much of it Buffy had told her. Did Willow know that she was his daughter? Did she know that her mother was the Slayer? Spike was suddenly afraid of saying too much.
“Did she talk to you about that Riley guy?”
Spike snorted. “Unfortunately.”
“What does that mean?” Willow asked, with obvious alarm. “I mean, what she told you about him, wasn’t it good news?”
“Depends on your point of view, I suppose.”
“Well, from your point of view?”
“Yeah, it was good news.”
“So you know then?”
Spike cocked an eyebrow and gave her a questioning look. Did she know? Or did she only think she knew? “Know what pet?”
“That you’re… you know… not as sterile as you thought you were.”
Spike couldn’t help but laugh at that. She did have a strange way of expressing herself, didn’t she, this daughter of his? He couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of pride when he looked at her. She was a beautiful young woman and she was going to make one hell of a slayer someday, whether she was the Chosen One or not. He’d make sure of it. They both would.
“Yeah, she told me your mine.”
“And… is that okay with you?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Well, no. I mean, genetics are genetics. But that doesn’t mean you have to like it. It doesn’t mean you have to stick around.”
“Why wouldn’t I want to stick around?”
She shrugged absently. “I don’t know. A lot of father’s just don’t. I wouldn’t really know though. I’ve never had one.”
“Of course you have; I just wasn’t with you. But that’s gonna change.”
“Are you sure? I mean, now that you know?”
“If I could love you, believing you were Captain Cardboard’s progeny, why would I love you any less when I know you’re my own?”
“Cardboard. And that’s not the point.”
“You love me?”
“Of course I do pet. I always have, since the first moment I laid eyes on you. Hell, since the first time I heard your heart beating from inside your mother’s womb.”
Spike felt his chest constrict painfully, and realized too late, that he probably shouldn’t have said that last part. “I knew she was pregnant when I left. I thought you were Riley’s for obvious reasons. I was trying to give your mother what I thought she needed. Freedom from me and the space to seek out the man I thought she loved. That’s all. I’m sorry. I didn’t know I was abandoning you. I thought I was letting Buffy start her own family. If I’d have known, I never would have left. I swear it.”
“I believe you,” she said matter-of-factly, not a hint of doubt in her voice.
“I’m glad. Makes my life a lot easier.”
“So what happened with mom?”
Spike pushed himself away from the bed and started pacing the small room. “We talked. About a lot of things. We still have a lot to work out.”
“Have you seen her this morning? She said she’d be here for visiting hours. I thought she would have been here by now.”
“She didn’t get much sleep last night, so I decided not to wake her. She’s had a bad couple of days.”
A mischievously suspicious look crossed Willow’s face and Spike was quick to interject, “It’s not what you think.”
“Oh really?” she asked archly. “And what do I think, dad?”
Spike wanted to answer, but was struck by that one, simple word, “dad.” That was a word he had never imagined anyone would ever say to him. Even though it was said irreverently, it still caught him completely off guard.
“Well?” she prompted.
“Your mum needed a place to sleep last night. That’s all. Gave her a hot meal and a roof over her head. No more than any decent man would do for the mother of his child.”
“I don’t know,” Willow said knowingly, “seems to me a hotel would have done just as well.”
Spike glowered at her. Did she really have to needle him so? Sometimes she reminded him so much of Dawn, it was scary.
“Anyway,” Spike tried to move forward, “she’s had a rough go of it and needs some rest. I’m sure she’ll be fine in a few hours. Hopefully by then, you’ll be out of this godforsaken place.”
“And then what?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what happens next? To us?”
“Don’t rightly know, pet.”
She nodded absently, as if she somehow understood that there was still a lot of ground for him and Buffy to cover. Even so, he wanted to make sure of one thing.
“You know I’m never gonna leave you, don’t you? Whatever happens between me and your mum, has nothing to do with you and me. Understood?”
“Yeah, understood. Does this mean you’re no longer going to be the Uncle Giles to my Buffy?”
“Your what?” Spike spluttered.
“My Uncle Giles,” she said brightly, smiling up at him, somehow knowing instinctively that the comparison was going to piss him off.
“Bloody hell no! I was never the Giles to your Buffy. You’re completely off your nut.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“Not particularly.” She started examining her cuticles as if she just couldn’t be bothered listening to his nonsense.
“I am nothing like Giles. I have never been anything like Giles. Bloody wanker,” he mumbled, almost inaudibly.
Willow smiled as she looked up at him again. “All I really want to know is, does this put an end to my career as a vampire hunter?”
“Slayer. Vampire slayer.”
“Whatever. So, does it?”
“Not if I have anything to do with it. Don’t know how your mum feels about it though. Really didn’t get to have any deep parenting discussions last night.”
Spike gave her a censorious look, but refused to answer. He wasn’t taking the bait again. “We’ll talk to your mum once you get out of here. Who knows, maybe we’ll even convince Buffy the Vampire Slayer to come out of retirement.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/366220.html