I have two new stories on the go at the moment and couldn’t decide which to share with you, so I decided to post two chapters of each. Subsequent chapters will be posted on my lj so I don’t interfere with posting days here. I hope I hook you in. :-)
Title: The Invitation
Rating: PG13 (may progress to NC17)
Warnings: Mention of Buffy/other – not graphic, foul language.
Betas: seapealsh and dawnofme
Summary: Years after Sunnydale’s demise, Spike is surprised when an envelope is pushed under his door. He didn’t think any one knew he’d survived the fight in the alley, but the invitation to Buffy’s upcoming wedding tells him otherwise. He knows he should stay away…
Days before her wedding, Buffy spots a familiar face on the street outside her home, but when she starts to go after him, she’s halted by her fiancé. She can’t get Spike out of her mind, and together with Willow, she vows to track him down and find out why he stayed away so long. She knows she should stay away…
Disclaimer: I own no part of BTVS. I write for pleasure and not financial gain. No infringement of copyright intended.
Spike fingered the card, turning it over in his hands. He knew the words on it by heart, what he didn’t know was what he should do about it. It was an invitation to a wedding – only it wasn’t. The elaborately decorated blue floral patterned card was missing the name of the person it invited.
Buffy Summers and Robert Burton
To attend their wedding on Saturday 17th June
At St David’s Chapel, Hillsdale, Wisconsin
And the reception following the ceremony.
1322 Archer’s Road, Hillside, Wisconsin.
The Slayer was finally getting the whole white picket fence future that she deserved.
He should be happy for her.
He should have gone to her.
Too late now.
Sighing, Spike tossed the card onto the low table that was currently supporting his boot clad feet, picked up his glass and drained the Jack Daniels in one swallow. Wondering why his life was so fucked up, Spike turned on the TV and put all thoughts of Buffy Summers out of his head.
That worked for all of ten minutes.
He put his feet on the floor and reached forward to pick up the card. How had it gotten to him? No one knew he’d survived that battle in the alley – hell, for two years he didn’t even know he had. When he’d regained consciousness, his mind decided it still needed to take a break. Unable to cope with the guilt of surviving when all of the others had fallen, Spike spent just over two years in a haze of confusion.
He’d been discovered badly injured huddled in a doorway. Slowly, he’d regained control of his spiralling mind and found that it wasn’t so easy to slip the clutches of those who had rescued him. Five years it had taken, but he’d finally given them the slip and then wandered around America, going wherever took his fancy. After all that where did he finally settle? The tiny town of Markham, close to the crater that had been Sunnydale. It had just seemed right somehow. It was the closest he could get to her without ruining her life by actually going to her.
And now it was too late.
Nine years too late.
That brought him back to the card. Just who the fuck had mailed it to him? There hadn’t even been his name on the envelope, only the address to his dingy basement apartment where he spent his days in, mostly alcohol induced, brooding on a scale that Angel would have been proud of.
Abruptly he stood up, grimacing as he swayed slightly. He’d go. Not to the wedding, that’d be too fucking weird, but just to check her out. See if the bloke she was marrying looked more like him or Angel. He huffed at the thought. See if he looked like he would make her happy. It didn’t take him long to pack up most of his stuff. Before he stepped outside, he paused, glanced around what had been his home, and knew that he’d never be back. Once he’d glimpsed Buffy, he’d move on. Mentally and physically. Maybe go back to England, if he could stand the shite weather. Decision made, Spike slammed the door and walked out to the clapped out heap of rust that he called his car. He got as far as the nearest gas station when he realised that he didn’t have a sodding clue where Wisconsin was, let alone Hillsdale. Ten minutes later with a full tank of gas, a few sodas and bags of chips, and more importantly a road map, Spike steered the car towards the freeway and put his foot to the floor.
Buffy stared at herself in the mirror and could hardly believe it was her. The make-up covered the small wrinkles that were beginning to show and the eye shadow made her eyes look greener than they really were. Running a hand down her stomach she smiled, at least she never had any trouble keeping trim, unlike poor Xander, who to his horror had started having to eat salad a couple of times a week and work out to keep from piling on the pounds.
It had been years since all the old Scoobies had been together at the same time, although they kept in touch. Their busy lives meant that getting them all in one place had proved impossible – until now.
She was pleased that Xander had relocated back to the USA after working out his grief at the loss of Anya by volunteering for charitable organisations that improved living conditions for people in remote regions of Africa. Now settled in New York and working in the design department for a building company, he had been married for three years to – everyone was delighted to discover – a lovely one hundred percent human woman called Vanessa. They were due to arrive in a couple of days.
Giles had resumed his affair with Olivia and though they had never married, they lived together in Bath, England. Giles was head of the new Watcher’s Council and Olivia worked as his personal assistant. The nearest thing to a father figure that Buffy had, Giles was giving her away.
Buffy turned to look at Willow; the red-head sat on the bed gazing at her friend with tears glistening in her eyes.
“So, what do you think? Do I look like a big meringue?” Buffy self-consciously patted at the ivory taffeta dress.
“Oh, Buffy,” said Willow, standing up and taking each of her friend’s hands in hers. “You look absolutely beautiful. Robert won’t believe his luck when he sees you walking up the aisle.”
Together, they looked at the mirror and smiled through its reflection.
“I’d better take it off. Will you unbutton me please?”
Willow let go of Buffy’s hands and stepped behind her to undo the tiny pearl buttons that ran down the back of the dress.
“The make-up’s not too heavy, is it?” asked Buffy anxiously.
“It’s perfect. And before you ask your hair is perfect too – every thing is. Stop worrying!”
Willow helped Buffy to step out of the dress and she put it back on its hanger. “Um…you might want some different underwear though.”
The women began to laugh as Buffy glanced down at her unflattering sports bra and cotton panties with pink and lilac stripes.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got some stupidly expensive lace underwear for the big day,” said Buffy, gasping as she got her laughter under control.
“Glad to hear it.” Willow grinned broadly. “When is Dawnie arriving?”
Buffy pulled on an old pair of sweat pants and shirt, then sat on the bed. “Tomorrow. I can’t wait. I haven’t seen her since Christmas.”
Willow joined Buffy on the bed and flopped back. “Is she still enjoying teaching?”
“I think that she enjoys Rome more than she enjoys her job, but I honestly don’t think that she’ll ever leave Italy – she just loves it over there.”
“Is she bringing anyone over with her?”
Shaking her head with a smile, Buffy said “No, she’s flying solo again. She never seems to keep a boyfriend for long, but I think that’s how she likes it. She’s always the one to end it, not the other way around.” Wriggling up the bed, she faced her friend. “So, was there no one that you wanted to bring?”
Willow’s face clouded a little. “No. Not right now.”
Kennedy had been killed fighting a colony of Layarteb demons almost eighteen months ago. After losing Tara and now Kennedy, Buffy worried that Willow would never let herself love again. She knew from her own experience just how hard it was to move on after the death of someone you loved. Leaping off the bed, determined to dispel the melancholy mood that was developing, Buffy grabbed her friend’s hands and pulled her up.
“Come on, Rob’s promised to stay out until midnight. There’s chick flicks to watch and ice cream to eat!”
Smiling, Willow allowed herself to be dragged downstairs and into the living room.
“Put the DVD in, I’ll get the ice cream,” said Buffy, hurrying to the kitchen.
As Willow knelt down and chose one of the pile of DVD’s to put into the machine, she couldn’t help but think of the fact that the gathering of friends only emphasized the loss of the others.
Buffy walked into the room, carrying a tray with bowls of ice cream, a bottle of rose wine and two glasses. Willow forced a smile on her face and together they sat on the couch.
Spike made his way across country as quickly as he could – driving through the night and holing up in cheap motels during the day. The closer he got the more depressed he became. The dingy motels affirmed the fact that he had been right to keep away from Buffy. What could he possibly offer her? Each night he thought of turning back – of heading in another direction – but each night the car resolutely ended up en-route to Hillsdale.
When he finally arrived in Hillsdale, he stopped at a liquor store before booking into yet another dingy, low price motel. According to the directions given by the receptionist, Archer’s Road was just a ten-minute walk from the motel. Spike bleached his hair – something he hadn’t done for years – showered and changed from one pair of scruffy black jeans into another. The t-shirt changed from black to navy blue. He glared at his jacket – the duster long gone, lost in the fight in the alley or stolen off his back as he lay wounded. He’d prefer it to be the latter – sort of poetic if it was. His gaze moved from the jacket to the bottle of Jim Beam that he’d bought and his face relaxed into a smile. He strolled over to pick it up, unscrewed the cap and drank deeply, hissing as the fiery liquid seared its way down to his stomach.
Thursday night. By this time on Saturday Buffy Summers would be a married woman.
“Bugger,” muttered Spike as he picked up his faded blue denim jacket and walked out of the door before he had the chance to talk himself out of it.
The road where she lived with her soon to be husband was easy to find. It was a nice part of town, the yards were well tended and houses kept in good order. Leaning against a tree on the opposite side of the street, Spike watched the house. There were lights on in all the rooms to the front and the drapes were open, allowing him to see inside. A pre-Sunnydale apocalypse memory popped into Spike’s mind making him smirk, unable not to compare his current position to the one that he used to have at the height of his stalker phase. That old tree hid him from sight many times, enabling him to catch a glimpse of the slayer in her underwear.
A figure walked into view and he gasped, holding on to the tree for support. Dawn – all grown up. Her hair was cut short and her clothes were chic.
“Niblet,” he whispered. He missed her almost as much as he missed Buffy.
Taking a deep breath, Spike raised his chin and took two strides towards the house.
“Stop being a bleeding ponce and just go say hello then fuck off.”
Buffy glanced at the clock hanging on the wall behind the TV. “Rob’s late. I hope he’s alright?”
“There’s probably a long line at the drive-thru,” said Dawn, sitting down in a chair. “It was kind of a large order you asked him to get.”
Xander grinned. “Thank God we’re not relying on you to feed us.”
“That’s mean,” said Vanessa, slapping his arm.
“Hey – you’ve never tasted food made by the Buffster. Can you remember that Thanksgiving…?”
His wife snuggled into him, knowing that once again the conversation had turned to events shared by the others and not her. She didn’t mind, it was great to see Xander so animated; he tended to be quiet and reserved when they were alone. His past weighed heavy on him at times. Xander absently stroked his large hand over the swell of her stomach and Vanessa smiled. He was going to be a great father.
As they reminisced, Buffy moved to the window and peered out. She froze, a hand halfway to her mouth. Walking across the road was…Spike! She blinked rapidly. It couldn’t be. Then their eyes met and she knew. It was Spike. He was alive!
Spike was in the middle of the street when Buffy looked out of the window. His legs refused to move as their eyes locked onto each other.
“Buffy.” Oh, shite – she’s more beautiful than I remember.
Buffy startled everyone when she ran from the window to the front door and wrenched it open. She ran down the path. Spike was still there – transfixed in the middle of the road.
Car headlights illuminated him and a honking horn broke the spell that held him there. Spike glanced at the approaching car, then back to Buffy before turning and racing away as if the hounds of hell were after him.
“Spike!” Buffy sprinted to the sidewalk. “Spike!”
The car cut across her path and then stopped.
“Buffy?” What’s wrong?” Rob climbed out of the car.
She slid to a halt and stared at her fiancé with wild eyes.
Glancing down the road in the direction that Spike had taken, he took her hand and asked, “Was that man bothering you? Did he do something?”
Buffy briefly closed her eyes and then shook her head. “No, he wasn’t doing anything wrong,” she whispered. Painting a smile on her face, she added. “Need a hand to bring the food in? We’re all starving.”
Used to Buffy changing the subject when confronted with something or someone from when she was an active slayer, Rob didn’t push it. “Yeah, babe, that’d be great.” When he reached into the car, Buffy allowed herself to glance down the street. It was Spike. Okay, no more duster, and a scar on his face, but it was him. His eyes – I’d know his eyes anywhere.
She smiled at Rob and followed him into the house.
Spike ran all the way back to the motel, stuffed his clothes back into his bag and grabbed his car keys.
“Mistake,” he muttered. “Big mistake.”
The car roared into life as he turned the key in the ignition. His destination? The nearest airport.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/398850.html