The Gentleman Returns
It was close to dawn when a sound at the window woke Buffy up. She peered over and just caught the light from the streetlamp bouncing off a head of bright blond hair. She ran to the window and threw it open, surprising herself with how happy she was to see Spike again.
“You’re early,” she said, reaching out to brush her fingers across the hand resting on the window frame. He pulled her hand toward him and kissed her knuckles.
“Made good time,” he said. “But I’ve got to find some place to hide from the sun soon. Just wanted to let you know I’m here and see if you know any more about what’s going to happen.”
Buffy filled him in on Joyce’s idea to pick her up at school, thwarting any plans Giles may have had to continue weakening her.
“Sounds like you’ve got things under control. How weak are you? Did the wanker take away all your powers?”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I mean, I wouldn’t want to try to fight you right now, but I’m still a little faster and stronger than a normal girl my size.”
“That’s not sayin’ much,” he said with a grin. “Delicate little thing that you are.”
“This ‘delicate little thing’ could still shove you off the roof,” she said, glaring at him. Her glare faded to a smile when he chuckled and lowered his voice to a soft rumble.
“Don’t doubt you could, love, but I’d rather you didn’t.”
“Oh? Why’s that?” She found herself leaning out the window toward him.
“Because it would be too hard to kiss you from all the way down there. And that’s something I really, really want to do….”
“Oh…” she breathed out as their lips met. “So do I.” Suddenly she jerked away, hand over her mouth. “No! Morning breath! You can’t kiss me while I have morning breath!”
“I’m pretty sure I could,” he growled, but allowed her to retreat into the room. “Been waiting over a bloody year to finish what we were doing when we were so rudely interrupted by the big poof—”
“And your girlfriend,” Buffy reminded him. “She was there too. With Angelus. And you left with her anyway.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“Did,” he agreed. “Wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve every done, but it seemed right at the time.” He paused, trying to read her face. “Turns out it wasn’t….”
“Were you sorry you left?” She didn’t look at him as she asked the question, choosing to study the rug at her feet.
“Were you sorry I did?” he challenged, bringing her gaze back to him.
“Maybe? For a while. But you were gone, and you had your girlfriend back, and I—”
“And you got your soulful boyfriend back.”
Buffy nodded. “I did. But it isn’t the same. I couldn’t—can’t—forget what he was like without it. And you didn’t answer my question. Were you sorry you left m—left?”
He smiled and shook his head. “Want to say something all romantic and flowery like ‘every minute of every day’, but I reckon you’d see through that. But I did think about you a whole bloody lot. It was why Dru left me that first time. She said you were floatin’ all around me.”
“The first time?”
“When I met your mum. I was here lookin’ for you, but when I found out the big poof was souled up again, and that you were still seeing him…. Figured I would just be in the way, so I went back to Dru and we made up for a bit. Didn’t last. She cheated on me with a chaos demon.” He shuddered. “I may be Love’s bitch, but I have my limits.” He reached a hand out to touch hers, but was stopped by the barrier and dropped it to his side. “If your mum hadn’t called when she did, I probably would have shown up anyway. Just in case you needed me.”
Buffy reached out the window and tugged him closer. “Come in, Spike,” she said. His hand immediately slipped through the invisible barrier and cupped her cheek.
“Probably shouldn’t have done that, pet. You don’t really know me that well.”
“I think I do,” she said, leaning into his hand. “I trust you.”
“Daft woman,” he grumbled, even as he climbed in the window and sat on the sill facing her.
“Just your type then, huh?” She giggled at his growl, putting her hands on his chest and standing between his wide-spread legs. His arms went around her waist to pull her closer.
“You know I can’t stay here, love. I’ve got to find someplace to hide for the day. Can feel the sun working its way up.”
“I know. But now when you come back tonight, you can just come in and wait for us.”
“Wish I knew what those Council wankers are planning. What restaurant are you going to?”
“I don’t know. Giles didn’t say. He just said it was a nice place for a birthday dinner.”
He sighed and nuzzled the side of her neck. “You know if anything happens to you or your mum, I’m going to make your watcher wish he was never born. You understand that, right?”
“Hey, if he gets me killed, he’s all yours. But it’s going to be fine. I’m not as weak as they think I will be, I’m not going near Giles tomorrow, so he can’t make it worse, and what kind of vamp can they throw at me that I won’t be able to stake?”
“Any vamp can have a really good day if he gets a slayer when she’s vulnerable, love. I think you’re a brilliant slayer, but I don’t want you thinking you can’t be killed. Don’t want you to be scared, just careful.”
“But my really strong… friend… is going to be there to back me up, right?” Buffy almost held her breath as she ducked her head and waited for Spike’s response to the question so similar to what she’d asked Angel.
He lifted one hand and pushed a piece of hair off her face. “Got your back, Buffy. Not goin’ to get in your way, but not goin’ to let you die either. I’m here for you.”
Buffy slid her hands up around his neck, enjoying the feel of his body against hers as well as the comfort of the powerful arms banded around her. Too soon to suit her, he was loosening his grip and pushing her away.
“I’ve got to go, love. If I’m a big pile of dust, I won’t be all that useful tonight.” He kissed her forehead before swinging his legs up and out to the roof.
He was crouching, ready to leap to the ground when she said, “Maybe you could stay here? In the basement?”
“Yeah, I’m sure Mum would love that,” he snickered. “A vamp in her basement all day.”
“Actually, Spike, I think that’s a good idea.”
Joyce’s voice made them both twitch in surprise. Buffy spun around, wondering how long Joyce had been standing there and if she’d seen them in their full-body hug. Since Joyce didn’t seem upset or annoyed, she decided not.
“I mean it. I want you to be where you can watch over Buffy, and how better to do that than from inside her own house?” Joyce looked at Buffy. “Do you trust him enough to let him in?” Still stunned, but not willing to tell her mother that he’d already been invited, Buffy just nodded dumbly. “Well then, come in, Spike.”
He glanced at Buffy first, but when she shrugged, he climbed back in the window and stopped just inside, shoulders hunched and hands in pockets as he stood in Buffy’s bedroom under her mother’s watchful gaze.
“Thank you, Joyce. I appreciate it. It’s getting a mite bright out there to be healthy for someone of my persuasion.”
“There’s a cot in the basement. I’ll get it out for you. Buffy, please get some sheets and a pillow from the linen closet.” She turned and left the room leaving them staring at each other.
“Wow. She won’t even talk to Angel and she’s inviting you to sleep here.” Her eyes narrowed. “What did you do to her when you were here before?”
He shrugged. “Told her I wanted to keep her only child safe.” He gave her a small smile. “Might have laid on the charm a mite, but I think the bottom line was, I didn’t harm her and I promised to help you.”
Buffy shook her head. “You must have made one hell of a good impression. Good thing she doesn’t know exactly how we went from enemies to… whatever we are now.” Buffy blushed at the memory.
“Does she know I’m the vamp she almost brained with an axe?”
Buffy nodded. “Yep. I told her. She knows you tried to kill me a couple of times, but she doesn’t know about… and she doesn’t need to.”
“Right there with you, love. It’s one thing to learn I used to want you dead, another to find out why I changed my mind.” He touched Buffy’s arm as she started to walk away. “I want to be able to apologize for that… event. Know it was next thing to a rape and I had no right… But I can’t be sorry for it because it’s what allowed me to find my way here.”
She shrugged. “I was pretty pissed off for a while. But you are… what you are… and it could have been a lot worse. I got kind of a different perspective on it after Angel took his little walk on the wild side. And then you came to help me. I know you just did it to get Dru back, but—”
He put his hand on her arm again and pulled her around to face him. “I did do it to get Dru back. Won’t lie to you. But that wasn’t the only reason. And I think you know it.”
Buffy gave an embarrassed smile. “I’m just going to get those sheets.”
“Don’t really need them, you know. I’ve slept on much worse things than a bed without linens.”
“Obviously you don’t know my mother very well,” she said as she walked out of the room. “Come with me, William. We’re going to make you a guest in our house.”
As soon as Spike was settled in the basement, Joyce went upstairs, waiting at the top for Buffy to join her. Spike gave a wry smile. “Think that’s your cue to get out of the vampire’s bedroom, pet.” He yawned and sat on the edge of the cot to take his boots off. “Go on with you. I’ll still be here when you get home.”
“’K” Buffy trotted up the stairs to join Joyce. “I’m probably going to take my shower before we go out tonight, so the bathroom’s all yours, Mom.” She took a bowl down and poured some cereal. “I’ll just get something to eat and maybe try to get some homework done before I leave for school.” Before Joyce could leave the room, Buffy asked, “Got any ideas what I should tell Giles about this afternoon? He’s going to be expecting me to come to the library after school.”
Joyce narrowed her eyes. “You just tell him your mother said she was picking you up and she told you not to see him first. If he wants to argue, tell him I’ll be just outside in the car. He can talk to me there.”
“Oooookie dokie. Mom is asserting her authority and it beats Watcher’s every time.”
Joyce snorted. “Well, we both know that’s not true, don’t we? But this one time, he really doesn’t want to cross me.” She stomped out of the kitchen, leaving Buffy laughing so hard she almost choked on her cereal.
Buffy avoided the library most of the day, but when she had to walk past it between her last two classes, she couldn’t pretend not to hear Giles when he called her.
“What is it, Giles? I have a class.” Buffy didn’t go in, but paused at the entrance to the library.
“I’m just verifying that you will be here after school. When we’re finished here, I’ll drive you home and we’ll pick up your mother and go to dinner.”
“Oh yeah. That. I’m gonna have to skip the meditation stuff today. Mom’s picking me up as soon as the bell rings.”
“Didn’t you tell her we had important slayer-related work to do?” Giles got a slightly panicky look on his face.
“She said this time, her authority tops yours, so I guess we’ll see you when you pick us up at the house. What time did you say that would be?”
Looking somewhat as if he’d been hit between the eyes, he mumbled something about “reservations at 7, but—”
“Okay. We’ll see you about 6:30. It’ll be dark then, right?”
“Uh, yes. Yes it will….”
“Gotta go. See you later.” Buffy waved and ran down the hall to her next class, leaving Giles staring after her with a frown on his face.
“I can’t imagine Angel was foolish enough to tell Joyce about the Cruciamentum, but I suppose I’d best check. It’s not like her to override my authority like that.” Continuing to mutter to himself about “like daughter, like mother”, he went to his office and dialed Angel’s number, frowning when there was no reply. The old vampire avoided the daylight and was always reachable during the day. After the phone continued to ring long past the point where someone with vampire hearing and speed would have been able to hear and respond to it, he gave up.
Buffy waved good-bye to her friends, thanking them for the birthday wishes and walking out to meet her mother, carrying her books and several balloons.
“Did you have a good day?”
“Yeah, I did. Willow and Xander gave me balloons and prezzies, and even my teachers were pretty nice to me.”
Buffy shrugged. “He wasn’t as happy. But he didn’t try to make me stay. The reservations are for 7:00, so I told him we’d expect him about 6:30.” She glanced at the floor where there was a bag from her favorite store. “Is that for me?”
“Yes. You can look at it when we get home or…. here,” she finished as Buffy dove into the bag and came out with a leather jacket she’d been coveting since the fall.
“Thank you! I love you!”
“You’re welcome, honey. Just don’t get demon guts on it, okay?”
“No demon guts. Got it.”
At Buffy’s urging, Joyce went home by way of a small shopping area where Buffy knew she could pick up pig blood.
Buffy nodded as she put the bag full of blood containers on the floor. “He’s got to be hungry, and I don’t want him having any excuse to bite somebody. Not that I think he would… but I don’t know why I think that. I really don’t know that he wouldn’t. But now he won’t have any excuse to do it.”
When they got home, Buffy put the blood in the refrigerator and went upstairs to shower and change. She somewhat reluctantly dressed more for fighting vampires than she normally would have for a night out at a good restaurant, picking her clothes for ease of movement and washability as much as for fashion.
When she came downstairs, Spike was sitting at the kitchen counter and drinking from a mug. She made a face when she peered into the cup. “Ugh!” She shuddered.
“My sentiments exactly, Slayer,” he said with growl.
“You didn’t think I was going to feed you human blood, did you?”
“Suppose not. But I may hit Willy’s later and pick up some O neg.”
She narrowed her eyes. “I got you lots of blood.”
“You did, and I ‘preciate it. I do. I just don’t like it.”
“As entertaining as this conversation about Spike’s disgusting eating habits is, I think I’ll just go upstairs and lie down for a while before I get dressed. If I’m not up by six, please get me up, Buffy. I don’t want to be still sleepy when I lay into Rupert Giles.” Joyce smiled as she spoke, but there was a glint in her eye that didn’t bode well for Buffy’s watcher. With a wave, she left the kitchen and went to her room.
“Don’t think I’d want to be the Watcher’s shoes tonight,” Spike said with a grin. “I won’t be surprised if your mum is toting her axe when she comes back down.”
“An axe might not be a bad idea,” Buffy said, sitting on the stool beside him. “I don’t know what I’ll be facing. A stake might not be the best weapon.”
“Your best weapon is right here, Slayer.” He nudged her with his arm. “Use what you’ve got.”
Buffy shook her head. “I’m really glad you’re here, Spike. Don’t get me wrong. And not just because you can back me up,” she put in with a shy sideways glance that brought an answering smile from him. “But I really want to do this – whatever it turns out to be – by myself if I can.”
“It’s your right, Slayer. I’m just here to make sure it doesn’t go pear-shaped because the Council of Wankers thinks you’re too independent for them.”
Buffy frowned. “They might think that. I know they don’t like me very much… but Giles…. I can’t believe he would set me up.” She stood up and wrapped her arms around herself in a less-than-comforting hug.
“Watcher equals wanker, pet. Never forget it.” He turned around on his stool and pulled her into a genuine embrace that left her with her head on his chest and her arms at her sides.
“I don’t want Giles to be a ‘wanker’ — whatever that is.” She sniffed back the tears she refused to let fall.
“Ah, Buffy, love. Don’t want him to be either. For your sake. But he hasn’t done much for me to think different.” He breathed in her scent and nuzzled her hair, working his way down to her ear. He nibbled there until he felt her arms come up behind his back, then found his way to her mouth.
“Missed you, Buffy. Missed this… and this… and….”
“How can you miss something we’ve only done once or twice?” Buffy tore herself away from the lips she really wanted to fall into. “I mean, there was the spell… so okay…. lots of kisses and… other stuff. But the rest of the time was just fighting and then not fighting and then killing things together and some more kissing and then stupid Angelus and Dru interrupted—”
“Missed it because that whole time we were fighting, not fighting, and then fighting together, I was thinking about it. It’s all I can think about. Kissing you, holding you, feeling you….” Buffy moaned as she felt his hard body against hers, meeting in all the right places while his hands roamed over her torso, pulling her hips against his. With a whimper, she pressed closer, giving a little gasp when he lifted her up and her legs went around him without any conscious decision on her part.
With the hard bulge in his jeans now pressing against her, she was soon grinding against him, her whimpers growing more frequent and louder as she felt herself building toward something she hadn’t realized she was missing until just that second. Spike whispered a steady stream of alternately tender and vulgar words in her ear as they worked together to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.
Buffy clung to his neck, her flaming face buried in his neck. “Did we just….”
“We did,” he said. She could hear the smile in his voice. “Probably the best I can do with your mum upstairs and you all dressed up to go out. I can make it better for you. Will if you let me.”
She let her legs drop to the floor, but continued to support herself with the arms around his neck. His hands on her firm butt cheeks ensured that she wouldn’t fall if her legs failed her. When her breathing was under control and she thought her legs would allow her to stand unassisted, she pulled away from and looked up.
“You can make it better?”
“If you’ll let me, I will.”
“I think I’d….” She blushed and tried to look away, but he touched her chin and turned her face back to his. “I think I’d let you,” she said. “I’m pretty sure I’d let you.”
“All I’m asking for is a chance, love.” He leaned his forehead against hers. “Just a chance.”
“We are talking about… more of what we just did. Right?” She gazed into the blue eyes so close to hers, trying to read the meaning there.
“If that’s what you want it to be.” He raised his head, but didn’t take his eyes off hers.
“Spike… we can’t… and if I could… and you… and Angel… and I can’t….”
“Are we talking ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’?” he asked, his face expressionless. “And, no, we’re not just talking about shagging.”
“Can we talk about it later? Like after I kick Council pet vampire ass?”
He nodded and released her, relaxing with a sigh when she didn’t move very far away and began playing with the buttons on his shirt.
“Absolutely, love. I’m a git for even bringing it up. You need to concentrate on tonight, not be distracted by something you weren’t expectin’.”
Buffy snorted. “Being blindsided by things you aren’t expecting is kinda the description of a slayer’s life. Trust me, that was a lot nicer than the kind of stuff I usually get surprised with.”
He laughed and grabbed the hand playing with his buttons, raising it to his lips. “Let me clean up a bit and we can watch some telly till your mum gets up.”
“Clean up…oh. Ewww. The bathroom’s right there.” She pointed down the hall, blushing again.
“Such a dainty little thing you are,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll have to work on that.”
“Or, you could work on not being gross,” she muttered.
“Or that.” He closed the bathroom door and Buffy went into the living room and turned on the TV.
When Joyce came downstairs, Buffy and Spike were sitting on the couch, arguing over the remote, but laughing as they did so. They looked up when she entered the room, and Buffy tried not to look as guilty as she felt about what they’d done in her mother’s kitchen.
“What time is the watcher supposed to be here?” Spike stood up and stretched.
“In about fifteen minutes,” Joyce said. “But I can’t promise he won’t be sorry he
came… actually, I probably can promise that he will be sorry.”
Spike laughed and gave Joyce a thumbs up. “Think I’ll help myself to some more of that pig swill the Slayer thinks I should be happy with.”
He walked to the kitchen and fixed himself another mug of blood, studying the microwave for a minute before Buffy reached past him and pushed the buttons.
“You’re welcome. I guess we—” She stopped as they heard the front door burst open. Waving at Spike to stay put, she ran to the foyer to find Giles standing there, breathing hard and frowning at Joyce, who was glaring at him and holding a heavy ashtray in her hand.
“If you think I’m letting my daughter go anywhere with you tonight…”
“I don’t intend to take her anywhere,” Giles said. He turned to Buffy. “I’m sorry, Buffy. I just found out a while ago when the Council team showed up to ask why you hadn’t come for you final….session—”
“Those would be the ‘sessions’ where you’ve been drugging me so I won’t have my powers when I fight whatever the Council has set up for me to fight?”
Buffy joined her mother in glaring at him, arms crossed and tapping her foot on the floor.
His shoulders sagged. “Yes. It would have been. But I’m very glad you didn’t come. It seems that they are setting you against a very powerful vampire and they don’t really expect you to survive. I’ve told them I will not permit it, but I don’t know for sure that I can prevent it. We can avoid them tonight by not going where they expect us to be, but we will only be able to avoid them for a limited amount of time, and I’ve no real idea how long it takes for the drugs to wear off.”
“What happened when you told them you wouldn’t let them do it? Didn’t they say okay, forget it?”
He cleared his throat. “It’s possible I’ve been relieved of my duties. If I understood them correctly, I am to deliver you to the appropriate place at the proper time, or I am fired.”
“Well, let’s not disappoint them,” Buffy said cheerfully. “Can’t have you going on unemployment pay, can we?”
“Buffy, did you not hear what I said about a very powerful vampire? I will not permit you to face something like that in your condition. Certainly not alone…”
“She isn’t going to be alone.”
Giles’s face paled and he pulled a cross out of his pocket as Spike’s voice preceded him into the room.
“Oh my God, Buffy. They’ve sent William the Bloody. Move away from him!”
Giles jumped in front of Buffy and held out the cross, which Spike batted away, baring his teeth in a grin that wasn’t at all friendly. “But if they had picked me, you’d be a little late being sorry about it.”
“Stop it, Spike.” Buffy poked him and stepped between them. “You’re scaring Giles.
“He deserves to be scared,” Spike growled. “He should be bloody terrified of me. If you weren’t here to stop me, I’d rip his traitorous head off.”
“Buffy! What is this creature doing in your house? Joyce? What the hell is going on here?”
Buffy took a deep breath and sighed. While she’d mentioned having formed a truce with Spike as they worked against Angelus the previous year, she’d been sure to emphasize that his motive was to get Drusilla back. She hadn’t shared with Giles that her regular patrolling had been supplemented with fighting practice guided by the notorious William the Bloody. Nor that they’d spent hours together every night, developing a mutually affectionate and respectful relationship—until he and Dru had mysteriously left Sunnydale shortly before Angel was re-cursed with his soul.
“Spike and I… we have a little more history than you know about. And when he was helping me train to defeat Angelus, we… we became friends.”
“That’s how you knew about the Cruciamentum. He told you.” Giles glared at Spike who met his glare with human eyes that were all the more frightening for being balls of blue ice. The vampire held up two fingers in a gesture than meant more to his fellow Brit than it did to the two women.
“He told Mom. And he told her to call him when it was time for my birthday, especially if I was getting weak.”
Giles stared at Joyce. “You invited him into your house? William the Bloody? Slayer of slayers?”
“He is here to protect my daughter. From the danger you put her in. I suggest you change your tone.” Joyce’s glare made it clear she wasn’t impressed that Giles had decided at the last minute not put Buffy through the test – not because he thought it was wrong, but because it was meant to kill her.
“So, you see, Giles. I won’t be facing this ‘old powerful’ vampire by myself. I’ll give it a shot, but if I’m not strong enough to slay it, Spike’s got my back. So let’s go. You promised me a dinner.” Buffy started to put on her new jacket, then changed her mind. “Oops, no demon guts on this.” She put on a sweater instead and walked to the door. “Where are we going?”
“Hold on there, Slayer.” Spike walked up to Giles, forcing him to meet his now-yellow eyes. “Where are they planning to ambush her? It is going to be an ambush, I take it?”
Giles nodded dumbly. “I’m supposed to send her out to the parking lot after dinner while I keep Joyce inside for a few minutes. It will happen there.”
“Morton’s. On the edge of town.”
“I know where it is. I’ll meet you there, pet.” He touched Buffy’s cheek, causing Giles to blanch again. “Don’t start without me.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/504873.html