Setting: Season 4, shortly after Something Blue
Word Count: 28k, complete
Special Thanks: bewilde, Niamh, Behind Blue Eyes for betaing, teragramm for the awesome banner.
Summary: Buffy has a certain set of skills: staking vampires, slaying demons, preventing the apocalypse, and chasing off men after a single night. That last thing could stand being crossed off her list. Fortunately, she knows just the man—err, vamp—to help.
Note: I’ll be posting the first three parts today and the following parts on EF and AO3.
Buffy wiped her hands along the sides of her skirt. It wasn’t enough that the fiend would be able to smell her nervousness the second she stepped into Giles’s house. Oh no, the rest of her body had to betray her too. Sweating palms, rabbiting heart, racing pulse—all signs pointed to this being the worst possible idea of all bad ideas, yet here she was with the putting one foot in front of the other. If anything, her fear had sort of lit a fire under her ass to go ahead and make with the insane proposition before she could lose her nerve. And it wasn’t like the world would end if this went as badly as she thought it’d go. An end-of-the-world scenario was something she could handle, anyway.
No, if this went as badly as she thought it’d go, she had a rather elegant solution—one solution tucked inside the cross-body bag she’d slung over her shoulder before leaving the dorm. Fact one: it was wood; fact two: it was discreet; fact three: it was pointy.
Yeah, if so much as a sneer crossed the evil bloodsucker’s lips, she’d make him a vacuum’s problem.
Buffy stopped right outside Giles’s place, squared her shoulders and willed her stupid heart to stop being stupid.
Remember. You have all the power here.
With that last confidence-boosting thought, she inhaled deeply and pushed the door open.
“Giles?” she called, stepping across the threshold.
“Polite thing to do before you enter a man’s home is to knock, Slayer.” Spike was in the kitchen, staring at her over the breakfast bar. “Doesn’t anyone in this sodding town lock their doors?”
“Spike, the day I take etiquette lessons from you is the day Harmony gets awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant,” she replied, thankful he’d started with snark because, hey, familiar territory. “Also, not your home.”
Spike snickered and rolled his eyes. “Your old man’s not here, blondie. Go annoy someone else.”
Buffy would in fact not go annoy someone else, being that she’d come over here knowing full well that Giles was out of town. What exactly he was doing out of town, well, she still didn’t know, only that it might involve that Olivia woman he occasionally did gross adult things with. And she knew this because he’d begged Xander to take Spike for a few days so as not to give the vampire free rein of his apartment and Xander had patently refused. Willow, still trying to make up for the wonkiness that was her Will Be Done spell, had offered to housesit in his stead. The request had come at a good time, at least, what with winter break and all. But Buffy had volunteered to take over so she had an excuse to ask the dumbest question in the history of question asking.
“And he left you here,” Buffy retorted, closing the door behind her. “Alone. And not all tied-up.”
He regarded her with the same lazy contempt she’d come to expect over the past few days. “What game you playin’ at, Slayer?”
“Patrol goin’ slow? Not helping you scratch a certain itch of yours?” He arched an eyebrow, and now some of the trademark meanness she’d come to expect leaked into his too-expressive eyes. “Can’t think of why else you’d storm in here actin’ all brassed and pretendin’ you don’t know your watcher decided to take a break from your sorry lot.”
There were times that Spike played the role of an idiot so well she forgot how freakishly insightful he was. How, no matter what was going on, he seemed somewhat perfectly attuned to her thoughts, from frustrations to epiphanies to everything in between. His calling her out on her crap about ten seconds into the game shouldn’t have been a surprise, but somehow was because there was no way he could just know everything.
“I-I didn’t,” Buffy argued, crossing her arms. Even she heard the waver in her voice.
“Yeah, you did, and you’re a bloody terrible liar.” Spike huffed and pointed to the phone by the kitchen. “Rupert set the whole thing up with Willow before he left. Told me to keep an eye on the little witch in case she started sniffing around the good stuff.”
“Like Giles would ever trust you with anything.”
He rolled his eyes. “Well, he wagers I don’t much fancy the idea of getting stuck in another sodding spell of hers and that I might be able to stop her if she starts playing with fire she can’t control just yet.”
As much as she hated to admit it, Buffy could see the logic in that plan. While Giles wouldn’t trust Spike with anything of mega importance, and Spike wouldn’t agree to help for anything less than a king’s ransom, the threat of possibly being thrown into another spell where they were joined at the lips was likely something he wanted to avoid. Scratch that—definitely something he wanted to avoid. Which made her presence here, the stupid idea that had spurred her to her watcher’s place, even more desperate and pathetic than it had been any of the fifteen bajillion times she’d tried to talk herself out of it.
“And, in case you’re forgetting, Ditzy the Vampire Slayer, vampires’ senses are sharper than yours,” Spike continued. “So I know you were in your bleeding dorm room while Rupert and the witch set this up.”
“Just because I was in the room doesn’t mean—”
“You told her to tell Giles that if he hadn’t already been sacked by the Wankers Council, leavin’ me all by my lonesome here would seal it.” Spike crossed his arms, his mouth tugging upward in a victorious smirk. “You knew I was here and that I was alone. What’s the matter, pet? So worried you won’t be able to keep your hands to yourself that you had to come up with that flimsy pretense?”
Buffy stared at him for a moment, her insides squirming. And rioting, because no one could touch her buttons the way Spike did. The way he seemed to revel in. She had half a mind to just forget the whole thing and storm back home, tell Willow that she’d changed her mind and do her best to forget that the idea had existed at all, let alone that she’d gotten this far into putting it into action. That was the sane thing to do. The right thing to do.
Because everything else was just full of ick.
And yet, her feet refused to move.
“I’ve started seeing someone,” she managed in a low voice. Well, blurted was more the word for it. As though if she got the words out fast enough, the fact that she was saying them at all wouldn’t catch up with her.
Spike blinked at her. “There a point to this story, Slayer, or are you just tryin’ to bore me to death?”
“Oh, any more talk like that and I’ll be in a right fright.”
“I haven’t actually started seeing him. I mean, we had a picnic and then…” And then the Will Be Done spell had happened and Buffy had hit a brick wall. It had happened right after she’d sworn to Riley that the entire I’m getting married thing had been an elaborate and tragically unfunny joke, a way to make him pay for catching her bespelled self ogling at wedding dresses.
The thing Riley had said to her then, right before he’d walked off, had shaken her to her core. Mostly because it left her thinking that he thought she was… Well, she didn’t know. But that had spiraled into a whole internal pep talk that had turned into an internal freak-out that had led her to where she was now. Standing in front of Spike, bursting with the need both to get this out there and to pop him in the nose, collect her dignity, and make for the door.
“Not that this isn’t a riveting story… Actually, no, it’s exactly that. Thought you hero-types weren’t too keen on torture.”
“Do I need to gag you?”
That smirk was back in full force. “Do you want to?”
“Ugh.” Buffy dropped her face into her hands, took a deep breath, fortified herself and looked up again. She was going about this all wrong—all dainty virgin when she really needed to do what she did best and bring out the inner Slayer. So she squared her shoulders and fixed her bloodsucking nemesis with a hard stare. “Okay, some ground rules. First of all, this conversation? It’s not happening.”
“That’s a right relief, considering you’ve gone all toys in the attic on me.”
“Second of all, shut up.”
Spike’s eyes widened, but only a little. And either he heard her or was too stunned to come up with something to shoot back, because his mouth remained shut. Hallelujah.
“Third of all, if I find out you’ve broken Rule One, and I cannot emphasize this enough, you are dust. I mean it, Spike. I will stake you so fast you won’t have time to appreciate the breeze before your brain disintegrates into a bunch of particles that no one, and I mean no one, will cry over. Do you understand me?”
Spike stared at her a moment longer, and she knew she had him. Familiar, hot anger flared behind his eyes, the same that told her one or both of them would be bruised by now were it not for whatever the commando guys had done to keep him from biting. It was good, that anger. Good and also intimidating. She needed Spike to hate her, needed this to not sound as pathetic as it was bound to sound, but she also needed him to respect the rules she’d laid out. Which was ridiculous and naïve, because respect in no way belonged in any word association with Spike, no more than rules did. But she also knew he would be curious—had been counting on that fact, actually, and was more than prepared to see her threat through if he gave her so much as the wrong kind of smirk.
“I need an answer here,” Buffy bit out when he still didn’t say anything.
“Need to know more than that. What’s it you’re tryin’ to get me to promise to?”
“No. That’s not how we do this. You agree or you don’t. If you don’t, I walk out that door and you never find out.”
Spike’s jaw hardened but he didn’t argue. Instead, after another obscenely long moment, he jerked his head in a clipped nod.
“The words, Spike.”
“Fine,” he growled. “I understand. What the sodding hell is—”
“I’ll get to that.” Buffy blew out a breath. Okay, one hurdle down. “Do you know why Angel left?”
“’Cause he’s a tosser.” The response seemed automatic, like it flew out before his brain could process the question. The next second, Spike narrowed his eyes and took a step forward. “Not all that sorry, myself. He was always gonna walk out on you. Wanker’s good at that.”
Okay, that hurt, and she could have kicked herself for having not seen it coming. “I’m not interested in your opinion of Angel.”
“You brought him up, ducks.”
“He left because he wanted me to have a normal life. Or a normal relationship, if not a normal life.”
At that, Spike barked a laugh.
“What? That’s funny?”
“That actually the line he fed you?” he asked, laughing harder. “That he wanted you to have a normal relationship?”
The part of her far too raw from Angel’s walking away collided with the part of her far too accustomed to popping Spike in the nose whenever he mouthed off. Buffy moved forward without thinking, pulled her arm back and sent the pest flying. She tried not to smirk when said pest smashed the wall hard enough that Xander would have to come over and help patch it up. Emphasis on tried.
“Oi!” Spike climbed to his feet, holding his nose. “Don’t take it out on me, Slayer. I’m not the one that fed you a bunch of rot and ran off with my bloody tail between my legs.”
“He did it because he was right!”
“He did it because that’s what he does,” he shot back, studying the blood now pooling against his hand. “It’s what he always does. Just what sort of normal relationship is a slayer supposed to have, anyway? Your mates sure as fuck don’t stay outta trouble for more than five sodding seconds—you reckon anyone you normal it up with is gonna be any better? What happens when the local beasties get wind that you got yourself a nice bruisable fuck-toy? You’ve been lucky this far. Willow can take care of herself, more or less, by workin’ her mojo. Harris is a bloody insult but that demon bird he’s shacked up with knows enough to keep him kicking. But you get a normal bloke and you got yourself a nice piece of leverage for every creepy crawly to hang over your head. And it’s not like that’s never happened before, even with a man who’s stronger than the average bear.” Now he was grinning again, rocking on his heels, the bloody nose forgotten. “Seems I recall you had to come in and save the great sod from yours truly. Mighta spared him a bit of pain in LA, too, come to think of it. Bloke I hired to torture the ring outta him was a bloody artist.” He paused, scowled. “Also a bloody backstabber, but he knew how to swing a hot poker.”
Buffy balled her hands into fists, her insides twisting again for reasons thoroughly unrelated to the idea that had brought her here. Well, not thoroughly—more like, how could you even pretend to consider this after the breakdown she’d gotten from Oz regarding Spike’s attempt to recover the Gem of Amara. Apparently, Angel had been inches from caving and giving the ring over to the vampire Spike had recruited to locate it.
“Yeah. Good times, that,” Spike said, grinning more broadly. “But it proves my point, doesn’t it? Any lad thick enough to fall for your doe-eyes is gonna be in for it. Either you land yourself someone who doesn’t know you’re the Slayer and he gets himself killed by his own bloody ignorance, or you find someone who trails after you when you make the rounds at night, none of the skills or the instinct, and his neck ripe and waiting for any big ugly to sink his fangs into.”
Buffy swallowed, crossing her arms again. “Xander learned to take care of himself.”
“You just said he had!”
“No, I said he’s managed to hoodwink some centuries’ old former demon into lookin’ over his shoulder.”
“But that’s not even true! He’s fought with me.”
“Like I said, he got lucky. Both of your chums have survived as long as they managed because of luck. And you know it. They might know enough to be ahead of everyone else in this miserable town, but they’re not us.”
“Oh, there’s an us?”
“Creature of the night.”
“I am not a creature.”
“Right, but you’re not entirely human, either, are you?” He looked her up and down again, the same way he had when she’d stormed in, his eyes hooded. “Comes from somewhere, your power. Somewhere that’s not human. Closer to my side.”
“You know what? Coming to you was a terrible idea.”
“Probably, but you’re not runnin’ off yet, are you?”
No, she really wasn’t. At some point in the future, she’d have to do some serious self-reflection to figure out just what it was about her that went toward frustration and pain instead of away from it. “So,” she said with borrowed patience, “that’s what I did. Try to find someone normal. As you well know.”
He favored her with his patented sneer. “That little fleshbag you decided to take for a spin. How is good ole Porky these days, anyway?”
“Parker,” she corrected, though not knowing why. Wasn’t like it mattered. “And I’m sure he’s charming his way into some girl’s pants right now. So not the point.” Mostly. “The point is… I have a proposition for you. A proposition that involves me helping you undo whatever those commando guys did to you so that you can, once and for all, leave this town and get the hell out of my life forever.”
Yeah, she had his attention now. Just as she’d known she would. The sneer faded, giving way to shock he couldn’t hide. And Buffy allowed herself a moment to enjoy this, because once he heard her terms, she’d lose the high ground. He’d either laugh himself to dust or make the sort of comment that could only be answered by a stake in the chest. So right now, this second, she basked. Spike thrown off his game was all kinds of fun to look at.
“So what is it?” Spike asked. “The catch.”
All right. Here goes everything.
“I need you to teach me how to not suck at sex.”
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/691645.html