The Grundy Affair Chapter 11

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series The Grundy Affair
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Spike and Buffy are recruited to protect an important gift for a high ranking official and discover that there is more at stake.
13 chapters, complete, rated PG,  Drama and humor. Story begins here.


Chapter 11

The Grundy is an extremely healthy demon and will readily withstand most ailments. However it is important to treat the immature Grundy at least once prior to maturation with a good anti-parasitic preparation. This will ensure a life long ability to reject parasitic infections. If the immature Grundy refuses to ingest the preparation, it may be necessary to place it within a hollow stick and offer as a treat. Wood from the camphor tree is often used for this purpose, having the unique ability to mask the medicinal smell of the preparation.

-The Complete Manual of Domestic Demon Care
2001 Edition
Chapter 3- The Grundy

 

“Spike, you could seriously use some air conditioning in here.” Sighing, Buffy blew her bangs away from her sweaty forehead. “It’s like an oven with these windows rolled up.” I’m surprised Alton Brown hasn’t peered in and declared me overdone.

The blacked out windows kept her from knowing whether they were driving on the interstate, two lane road, gravel drive way or even in a dry river bed. The disorientation was giving her a serious wiggins. We could even be on the sidewalk running over pedestrians for all I know. That last bump could’ve been somebody’s grandma. How would I explain the tread marks to a doctor?

Spike’s car had been so much different at night with the windows rolled down and cool air blowing through. Almost pleasant, that had been more like an actual car ride, even though the driver was a vampire and she’d been sitting next to a demonic dog. This was like a joyride through hell on sticky leather seats. I’ll bet hell is actually cooler; they probably have cloth seats.

Shifting restlessly, she tried to find a way to keep her skin from touching any part of the upholstery, unfortunately Slayer training hadn’t included how to hover. Buffy lifted her hair away from her neck and tried to take her mind off the sweat pooling beneath her. Sighing loudly again, she looked down at the Grundy lying between her and Spike.

The little furry demon looked miserable, too. Lying limply on her side, forked tongue lolling, her eyes were half open. Occasionally she’d open her eyes wider, stare at Spike and snort. The Grundy sounded as disgusted as Buffy felt. For once they were in total agreement.

“Classic cars like the Desoto don’t usually have air conditioning, hence the moniker classic.”

“I’ll bet Starsky and Hutch had air.”

Grinding his teeth, Spike glanced over at the annoying Slayer and the furry pain in the bum sitting next to her. This wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for him either. Chuffed at being the one to make the decision during the telephone meeting, he’d unwisely shaken off a sense of impending doom and agreed to drive during the worst of the afternoon heat. When will I ever learn?

While he’d driven during the day a few times before, it was always with another vampire and the temp inside the car hadn’t mattered. Except for the brightly shining sun, those trips had almost been pleasant.

This trip was utter and complete hell. A staking would almost be better.

The constant litany of complaints and the annoying morose sighs and snorts were grating on his last nerve, and all of that combined with the strain of squinting through the tiny square of clear windshield was beginning to give Spike a killer tension headache.

What did the daft bint think it would be like? I’m a soddin’ vampire, can’t exactly buy a ragtop and go for a scenic cruise up the A1A, Beach Boys blasting in the background.

He glanced down at the Grundy. She stared at him reproachfully and snorted again.  Turning back to the road, Spike grimaced and rubbed his throbbing head.

A couple moments later, he tightened his grasp on the steering wheel until his knuckles whitened when yet another put-upon sigh floated through the over heated air, followed immediately by yet another disgusted snort. Bloody damn women. I need to think of somethin’ fast before I kill them both.

A passing billboard offered salvation in the form of a large grocery chain. “How about I stop at the next exit and we’ll buy somethin’ cold to drink for you and Empress? Would that help?”

He was rewarded with a thin smile from the flushed Slayer. “That would definitely be of the good and we still have some money left anyway. Giles and the Council are both like government grants. If you don’t use all the money, they give less the next time.”

*****

“It would save a lot of time if supermarkets had a couple of aisles they just marked ‘unhealthy crap,’ Buffy complained. “It would seriously cut down on the miles of walking, don’t you agree?”

Spike shrugged, still a little put out. “Sorry Slayer, I’m not really good at empathy. Would you settle for sarcasm?”

Looking over her shoulder, she rolled her eyes for his benefit. “Just help me find the chocolate chip cookie dough.”

He watched the blonde, hips swinging, as she brazenly strolled through the store with a furry leashed demon bouncing along beside her. Only the Slayer would do that and expect to get away with it. Chuckling, he ran his eyes over the various signs. “Over here, pet.”

Smiling at him, Buffy reached over to open the double doors of the large freezer case. Delighted, both she and the Grundy basked in the cold air rolling from the open doors.

Spike chuckled again as he beheld the Slayer and the Grundy, both standing completely still, wearing identical expressions of pure bliss. Women.

Watching out of the corner of his eye, Spike noticed a bald, red-faced employee rushing toward them, shaking his head emphatically at the open freezer doors while angrily shaking a chubby finger at Empress. Spike read the embroidered name tag on his stained shirt. Assistant Manager Herbert D. Callahan.

Spike pivoted, waiting until he chugged closer to flash a little fang. Assistant Manager Herbert D. Callahan gasped, wheeled around and headed quickly in the opposite direction.

Amused, Spike turned back to the Slayer and admired the fine view she presented. This alone was worth listenin’ to all the complaining.

Buffy was bent over the ice cream freezer, bum in the air, short skirt riding up her thighs,   head buried among the lower shelves while she dug through various multi colored plastic tubs.

Her voice floated out from the depths. “Huh, they don’t have it. I should go up and complain to their management. Oh, but they’ve got two tubs of Mango Surprise.”
Triumphantly, she pulled out a violently orange tub. “I hope you like Mango Surprise, Spike.”

Never mind the mango, just color me surprised. “You want to share your ice cream with me Slayer?” Even after I’ve subjected you to this hell ride?

It was Buffy’s turn to be surprised. “Well, I know you’re a vamp and the heat doesn’t bother you, but I thought you’d probably like some ice creamy goodness, too.”  She started to look embarrassed. “That is, unless you don’t want to share with me anymore.”

Staring down at the grocery floor, she added. “I mean, after the pizza today and the snacks last night and even the no tell motel, I thought we were all good with the sharing, especially after our foot bullet talk.”

The ball of embarrassment bounced squarely back into Spike’s court. “Of course, I’d love to share it with you. I just wasn’t sure you’d want me to, after I put you through this drive.” Gruffly he added, “Anythin’, anytime, Slayer.”

Pleased with his response, Buffy lifted her eyes. “I basically forced you to drive. I could have said we’d be back tonight instead of throwing it at you like I did, so I guess we should really share the blame.”

She glanced around the empty aisle and lowered her voice. “Speaking of sharing, there’s something else I wanted to talk to you about before we get back to Sunnydale. I know this is an odd place to have a convo, but no time like the present and besides, it’s air conditioned.”

When the vampire lifted a scarred eyebrow, she continued. “Would you be interested in patrolling on a regular basis with me? I mean, I don’t think Giles could pay you, at least not much or even at all, but I’d really like the company, uh, your company.”

Embarrassed again, she twisted the ice cream tub. “Color this Slayer surprised, but all the close encounters time made me realize how much we have in common. I don’t mean just the fighting, but other stuff. It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with you and I’d like us to be real friends. Do you think there’s any chance of that happening?”

Hearing a slight crack in the plastic, Spike gently lifted the tub out of her hands and replied truthfully. “I’ve really enjoyed your company too, and I’d love nothin’ more than to fight along side you. As for us bein’ friends, Slayer, I think that’s already happened.” He hesitated before adding, “I know I consider you a friend now.”

Buffy rewarded him with a brilliant smile that lightened his heart. “I do too, so it’s all good then. When we get back I’ll give Giles a heads up on the new Buffy- Spike slayage partnership.”

She gathered the Grundy’s leash. “I wouldn’t want you to get a big head, ‘cause any more of that radioactive hair would not be good, but you’re the best fighter that I’ve ever seen.” Her eyes twinkled. “After me, of course.”

Spike’s lips twisted in amusement. “Slayer, I think you just threw down the gauntlet. I’m seein’ a contest in our future.”

“Oh, a demon killing contest, with a running score and everything. That sounds like fun.” She tossed her hair. “I’ll win of course.”

“We’ll just have to wait and see.” Spike shifted the ice cream. “Pet, I didn’t see you pick up anything for the Empress.”

“Oops, I was going to grab a couple bottles of cold water in the cooler. I guess I got sidetracked by all the Ben and Jerry goodness.”

“You take the beastie outside and I’ll pick up her water and pay for the ice cream. I’ve still got change from the pizza earlier.”

“Okay, I’ll meet you outside.”

Spike watched Buffy turn the corner with the Grundy and dropped the now dripping ice cream tub the Slayer had accidentally cracked back in the freezer as a little Mango Surprise for Assistant Manager Herbert D. Callahan.

After grabbing the second tub, Spike picked up cold water in another aisle, along with a couple other items including some smokes and ran the checkout gauntlet. Paying for his purchases, he noticed the man glaring at him from the safety of the office. Smirking, Spike gave him a two fingered salute on the way to the door.

It was unbelievable how quickly the hellacious drive had turned around. With the surprising revelations inside the store, it now ranked as one of the top ten drives of his undead life, possibly even number one.

Spike could see in his mind’s eye the two of them fighting side by side. What a fine pair they’d make with swords or stakes in hand; killing anything nasty that showed its face around the Hellmouth. Then sometimes after patrol, hanging out watching a movie together or playing cards or maybe just sitting around talking. His nights stretched out before him, suddenly full of endless possibilities.

The Slayer waited next to the Desoto under the large trees in the darkly shaded parking lot with the car doors wide open. Empress stood next to her, panting. Buffy spied the vampire walking beneath the thick canopy. “Oh, Empress, look what Spike bought for us.”

Along with bottles of water and ice cream, the vampire carried a bag of ice, a two liter bottle of Pepsi and an enormous chew bone.

Climbing back into the Desoto, Buffy’s mood lifted higher. I’m glad I gave him the benefit of the doubt after all.

The Slayer imagined them fighting in the graveyards and knew it would work out. Trying to balance everything in her complicated life had become too much and Buffy knew she was often impatient with her family and friends and had started taking more risks than was prudent during her patrols.

Giles, becoming concerned, had mentioned more than once that they needed to find some help for her since the Hellmouth had begun to act up recently, drawing demons from far and wide. Up until now, Buffy wouldn’t have given a second thought to asking Spike, but he was really the perfect answer. Strong and able to take care of himself, he relished a fight as much as she did. The vampire would lessen some of the pressure and make patrolling fun again. Then later, they could just hang out and relax. Buffy found herself excited at the prospect.

Buffy watched the vampire’s muscles flex as he easily balanced his purchases and carefully navigated the trip back to the car. Looking down at the Grundy, she said “I guess we need to give the guy a break and not bitch anymore, huh?”

The Grundy looked up at her and crooned and Buffy thought she saw her wink. Must be a trick of the light.

 

Chapter 12 here

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/242729.html

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