The Invitation: Chapter Two

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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
Author:  mabel_marsters
Rating: PG13 (may progress to NC17)
Pairing:  Spike/Buffy
Warnings:  Mention of Buffy/other – not graphic, foul language.
Betas: seapealsh and dawnofme
Banner:  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.

 

Chapter Two

Four months later…

Spike groaned and tentatively picked himself up from the floor, wincing as his head protested at such an audacious move.  He half crawled to the chair that he must have fallen off of or missed entirely – he had no idea which.  The fingers of his left hand unerringly found the bottle of liquor, miraculously un-spilled; they wrapped around it and brought it up to his mouth.  He cursed quietly as his shaking hand rapped the rim against his bottom lip.  Raising his head so that he could take a mouthful, he wiped the back of his right hand over his mouth and belched loudly. 

Great, Spike.  Pissed again.

He’d fled from Wisconsin and from the USA the night that he’d seen Buffy.  How could he have wanted to ruin her life when she was days away from her wedding?  All her friends were there to support her – what the hell would she want him for?  They’d never been friends.  Closing his eyes, he shuddered as his fingers traced the raised scar that marred his face.  A mirror wasn’t needed to tell him how ugly it was, tracking a line from the corner of his eye, where it crinkled the lid, across his cheek running almost to his mouth.  A reminder, as if he needed one, of that night in the alley.

This can’t go on. 

Another deep chug on the bottle and Spike glanced to the window.  Dust motes danced in the beam of light that sneaked in through the drawn curtains.  Spike chuckled.  A sunny day in England in October – must be his lucky day.  Standing up and leaning heavily on the back of the chair until he got his ‘sea-legs’, Spike weaved unsteadily to the door, paused for a moment then flung the door open and stepped outside.

*~*~*~*

Buffy stared at the house.  “Are you sure this is the right address?”

Willow nodded.  “I’m sure.  Are you sure that you want to do this?”

Without turning to look at her friend, Buffy simply replied.  “I’ve got to.”

Five minutes passed but neither woman moved.  Willow finally broke the silence.  “So, um, do you want me to come with?”

“I think I need to do this alone.”

“Okay, but take this with you.” Willow rummaged in her large purse and pulled out ‘Mr Pointy’, Buffy’s treasured stake. 

The former slayer smiled when she saw the piece of wood that Kendra had given her years ago.  She had no intention of staking Spike, but she humoured Willow and took it from her.  The stake felt familiar in her hand.  She missed being an active slayer, but since all the potentials were activated, the new Watcher’s Council had decreed that all slayers retired when they got to thirty years of age. Way to go, Giles.  As if turning thirty wasn’t bad enough without being retired too.  She told no one, not even Willow, that she still patrolled every now and then – the need for some violence sent her seeking trouble.

She cast her eyes again to the house.  The stone built house looked a little dilapidated in the way that lots of large houses do when split into separate apartments, but it just didn’t strike her as a very ‘Spike’ place to live.  It sat on a busy street, just a few yards away from a cluster of stores, ranging from a liquor store to a small supermarket.  According to the research, that she had to admit Willow did the most of, one William Pratt rented the ground floor apartment.  The only clue to its inhabitant not being what he seemed were the thick dark curtains keeping the autumn sun out.

“Buffy,” said Willow, softly.

“I’m going.  I mean – how hard can it be?”  Buffy opened the car door, climbed out and walked slowly towards the house.

For maybe the thousandth time, Willow wondered if she’d been right to help Buffy in the quest to find Spike.  Was this William Pratt the William Pratt?  She hoped so, if only to give Buffy some sense of closure.  Thinking back on that night just a couple of days before Buffy’s wedding day, Willow’s heart almost broke when her friend had walked in with Rob.  She could read Buffy very well and she realised despite her attempts to hide it, that something had badly spooked her.  Buffy had lied when she said she’d raced out to greet Robert, and Willow managed to find out from him that there had been a man in the street as he drove down the street.  Only it wasn’t a man, it was Spike.

Buffy didn’t tell her until she came back from honeymooning in the Caribbean.  The red-head had pleaded with her friend to let the matter drop, pointing out dryly that as a newly married woman should she really be focussing on anyone other than her husband?  But age hadn’t taken the edge off Buffy’s stubbornness and Willow soon found herself sucked into locating Spike. 

And now here they were – sitting outside a house in the city of York in the unsurprisingly named county of Yorkshire in England.  She’d expected it to be London when all indications showed that Spike had returned to his native land, but after another month of searching, the name finally popped up and led them here.  Willow watched Buffy pause as she raised her hand to knock on the dark wood door, then straighten her back and rap in it hard enough to make Willow wince in sympathy.

*~*~*~*

Spike glared at the door as it was knocked on hard enough to make it rattle on its hinges.

“Sod off!  The rent’s paid!”

The knocking was repeated – even harder if it were possible.  Spike mentally ran through people he owed money to and was delighted to discover that all he currently owed was his slate at the pub round the corner, and he didn’t reckon that the landlord would come round for such a small amount.  He twisted in his seat and stared at the door as if by some miracle he could see through the wood.  Who the hell would come a-knocking at his door?  It was about as likely as a ghost getting post.  Smirking a bit as he remembered that that actually hadn’t turned out to be a bad thing, Spike decided that he’d better go and see who it was.

Buffy was just about to give up and turn away when she heard a bolt being scraped back and a key grate in the lock.  She glanced over with a tight nervous smile to where Willow sat in the rental car and when she turned back…

Standing there was Spike.  Her heart skipped what felt like six beats as she realised he stood bathed in light.

Spike opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out.  He stepped back and dipped his head as Buffy’s hand moved to his scarred cheek.

“S-Spike,” breathed Buffy.  “It’s you?  I’m not dreaming?”

Moving back still further, Spike muttered, “I can’t do this,” then firmly closed the door.  Arms wrapped tightly around his torso, Spike leaned back against it and slid to the floor as Buffy banged on it and yelled to be let in.

“Go away.  Please go away.” 

He covered his ears and rocked to and fro.

“Not here.  I’m not here. Go away.”

Willow got out of the car and jogged over to Buffy, then placed a hand on her arm.  “Stop now, Buffy.  Enough.”

“But—”

“We can come back.  You can’t make him talk to you, Buffy.  It’s been years and he hasn’t found you – maybe that’s how it should be?  Think of Rob – is this really fair to him?”

Buffy glanced down at the platinum band on her left ring finger.  No it wasn’t fair – nowhere near fair – but she had to talk to Spike.  Had to!

Willow tugged on Buffy’s arm.  “Come on; let’s go back to the hotel.”

Resisting for a moment, Buffy then sighed and allowed her shoulders to slump in defeat. 

“We’re at the Dean Court Hotel,” she yelled at the door.  “We need to talk, Spike – you know that!” She banged on the door a final time.  “You came to my house!  You came to me!”

Biting back tears she shrugged off Willow’s hand and pushed by her, marching back to the car.  Willow followed her, and they got in the car in silence.  One glance at Buffy told Willow the best thing was to simply drive to the hotel.  Her friend was in no state to talk right now and she wasn’t sure that she was up to it either.  Spike standing in full sun… how could that be?

*~*~*~*

Spike stayed on the floor for a long time after he heard Buffy and Willow leave. 

“Stupid – stupid to open the door.  Should have known.”

Slowly, he managed to get a grip and heaved himself from the grubby carpet.  He walked to the bathroom and leaned on the basin before raising his head and staring at his reflection. As always his eye was drawn to the livid scar, then to the greying hair at his temples.  He hadn’t bleached it since the day he’s seen Buffy. 

“I’m getting fucking old,” he muttered.

He wished that he still had no reflection.  The trauma he’d been through since he’d been discovered out of his mind in the doorway had taken its toll, etching wrinkles on once smooth skin and putting aches in once lithe joints.  Leaning forward he rested his brow against the cool mirror and closed his eyes.

“Why did I go to her?”

The simple answer was that he was lonely.  He yearned for times past – the strength and speed he’d enjoyed as a vampire.  Why did the Powers That Be think that being turned human was a reward?  The bastards should have left him as he was.

To be continued at my journal

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/399178.html

mabel_marsters

mabel_marsters