Chapter Forty Five ~ Hit Me With Your Best Shot
*** No way? A new chapter?? WAY. Another one coming too... - xox Rosie***
Chapter Forty Five ~ Hit Me With Your Best Shot
"Well you're a real tough cookie with a long history
A three hour meeting yielded a preliminary plan, the first step being the location of the other Slayer. It was generally agreed (by everyone except Angel) that Spike and Buffy would handle it. Meanwhile Wes and Fred would research magickal tactics plus Glory’s origins, Gunn would stock up on weapons and Cordy and Angel would return to Los Angeles to collect Lorne and badly needed supplies. Buffy realized she’d have to bring in Giles and the gang sooner rather than later. If Cordelia’s vision was even remotely accurate they’d need both teams for the upcoming battle. She felt reluctant to even pick up the phone right now. There was so very much drama and didn’t she have enough to do already? She sighed.
The LA group seemed to simply accept that they were together and be generally okay with the idea. She didn’t have to justify herself or explain anything – they were just Buffy and Spike; your not-so-average couple. But within her own circle of friends the accusations and judgments were a-flyin’. She seriously did not want to deal.
Can’t I stay in denial just a tiny bit longer? It’s such a happy place…
They were so wrong and so dead set on their own opinions, Giles especially. How on earth was she supposed to make them see Spike the way she saw him? Or make them understand that this was really the only choice for her? She set her jaw stubbornly. Well they were just gonna have to suck it up. Whatever happened, whatever world she ended up in - she chose Spike. Period. He caught her anxious frowning and moved to her side.
“Don’t fash yerself, Pet. They’ll come ‘round eventually.”
Her eyebrows rose in surprise, but she smiled.
“How do you always know?”
“Know my girl s’all.”
She went automatically to the comfort of his arms, and settled in with a sigh.
“You really do.”
He rested his head on top of hers and enjoyed the sweet warmth of her nestled against him. For just a brief moment the world ceased to exist outside of the small, contented bubble that held only the two of them.
From across the room Angel glowered at his unworthy rival.
The boy was in his way.
But not for long…
Spike slipped out the back door of the warehouse into the cool shadows of the alley. He wanted a breather from the crowd and a nice long cigarette. It had been one helluva day. He leaned up against the brick wall of the building getting comfortable, pondering the evening’s events.
Buffy was amazing, watching her fight for him…he didn’t have words. No one had ever done that before. No one had ever loved him enough to champion him, to fight for his life. Even Drusilla had left him at the mercies of Angelus or some other monster on several occasions. It made him tough, scrappy – he could fight like the devil, could take care of himself now. But it left him lonely too. He was pleased to feel that constant hole inside had eased. He wasn’t lonely anymore.
Angel watched Spike leave the warehouse and saw his opportunity. He could finally have the confrontation that had been brewing in his gut from the moment he saw him with Buffy. He deftly maneuvered his way out of the crowd and out the back door, shutting it quietly behind him.
Spike sensed his rival before he saw him and sighed.
“Was wonderin’ when you were gonna show up.”
“Knew you couldn’t resist a chance to have your say, Peaches.” He turned to face him, squaring his shoulders for the assault to come. “So let’s have it then.”
Angel’s face twisted in a grimace of revulsion.
“I can smell you all over her.”
“Stings a bit does it?” Spike smirked and took a deep drag on his cigarette.
“It would if I thought this was anything real.”
“Realer than anything you ever had.” He shot back, tossing his smoke.
“Are you so daft you can’t see it, Boy?” He poked a finger in his chest “You’re just the rebound guy, Spikey.”
Spike growled low in his throat, a warning.
“Soon as she’s done getting over Riley – she’ll be done with you.”
That did it. He grabbed Angel by the lapels of his expensive coat and slammed him up against the wall.
“And I suppose you think that leaves her open for you then.”
“Better me than you.” He spat, making the last word contain every ounce of disgust and disapproval he could muster.
It was Spike’s turn to laugh now. He released him with a small shove.
“Because you can give her everything she needs.” The sarcasm fairly dripped.
“I have a soul.” Angel replied earnestly. “I can love her.”
“I love her too!” Spike threw up his hands, exasperated. “More than you ever could, you arrogant, self-centered pillock.” He paced the confines of the alley, irritated. He stopped suddenly to grin at his nemesis. “And hey, side benefit here – I can actually fuck her. Longer and better and more bloody often than you could ever even dream of.” He leaned in close “I’ve tasted her, Angel – you ever do that? Would you like me to describe it to you? How she’s sweet like a peach and tangy like honey – or how the flavor changes just before she comes. Shall I catalog for you the look she gets on her first orgasm of the night? How about the third? Or the fifth?”
Angel launched himself at him with a roar, fangs extended.
“ She was sweet and beautiful and pure and you just had to sully that didn’t you?” His first punch sent Spike’s head snapping back. “That’s all you are. That’s all you do…you destroy, you denigrate.” He hit him again and again, emphasizing each point. “It wasn’t enough to kill the Slayer - you had to drag her down to your level!!”
A boot to the chest sent Angel reeling.
“I think you’re confusing me with some one else, Mate. That would be your MO. Angelus was the destroyer – not me. As you might recall I stayed with Drusilla for over a century and all I ever did was love her and take care ‘f her. And who was it that destroyed Dru in the first place?” He popped him a solid one to the chin and watched with satisfaction as his head snapped back hard, his body following. Angel hit the alley floor and Spike stood over him. “Oh yes – that would be you.” He leaned over his prone body, picking him up by the lapels to get in his face. “Now get this through your thick skull, Peaches; I love Buffy and she loves me. And there’s not a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it.” He dropped Angel to the ground with a thud. “I went easy on you tonight for Buffy’s sake – she still thinks there’s some good hiding under that great brooding melon of yours.” He poked the melon in question. “But if you ever try to come between us again, I’ll dust you without a second thought.”
He stood up to walk away, leaving Angel bleeding on the ground.
“This isn’t over.” Angel called out.
Spike stopped and looked back over his shoulder with a smirk.
“Oh yes. It is.”
She was glad to be out on the hunt again, outside patrolling the cemeteries. It felt normal, natural, right. Even if she was out hunting humans. Faith was sure Spike and Buffy would be out tonight, looking for Dawn if nothing else. While her natural Slayer instincts sorted through a thousand clues of tracks, scents and sounds, her mind worked on the situation relentlessly. Replaying what she had seen and heard yesterday and what it all meant. How was it down to Us and Them again? Giles and the Scoobies, Buffy and Spike - all against her and Dawn. Did they really think she wouldn’t fight for her own fucking sister?!
Dawn was the only person who ever loved her unconditionally. For reals, no strings attached. Faith could remember when she was just a toddler; following her big sister around the house in her diaper, all chubby-cheeked with little brown ringlets and those big blue eyes. She used to tug on her pant leg and say; “Up Fay! Up!” and Faith would always do it. Pick her up and carry her until her arms were sore. Because Mom wouldn’t. Or couldn’t. She was too drunk or out at work or with some new guy. She never had time for them.
But that was okay with Faith, ‘cause they had each other. They took care of each other. And there were peanut butter and jelly sammiches, belly button zerberts and marathon games of go fish. There was tag and stick ball and boys to run away from (when kissing was still yucky) or towards (when it wasn’t). And everyone knew you do not touch Dawn.
Curtis Stiller lost a tooth when he tried to take her lunch money back in third grade. Dawn came to her sister at lunchtime, sniffling back tears. Faith took one look at her and saw red. She still remembered the white-hot rage she felt then. She found him in his little group of thugs and didn’t even bother to call him out. Just dragged his fat ass across the lunch table and beat the snot out of him.
Come to think of it maybe it was three teeth…
Nobody ever messed with Dawn after that. Faith protected her from everyone. She took the beatings from Mom or whatever jerk she was with that week. And when they got older (“developed” was the word Uncle Ted had used) she took the groping too. If any of their “Uncles” tried to get handsy Faith would make sure Dawn’s door was locked at night. But hers would be open. ‘Cause she could take it. You just pretended like you weren’t there, went somewhere else in your head until they were done. And it was fine. As long as Dawn was safe she could do anything.
And now, here comes Buffy trying to take her away. Like it didn’t matter, all those years together. Like she didn’t matter. Faith felt that familiar white hot rage coming on again. That bitch, tryin’ to take everything she had. Her boyfriend, her Watcher, her goddamned sister! Like Buffy didn’t have everything already?? Look at that huge rock on her hand – she was marrying Captain fucking America! And she had a mother - a real one. Not some drunken skag that didn’t give a shit about her own kids. Her mom made hot chocolate and worried about where she was. Her mom gave out hugs, good ones too. She hugged Faith one night, when Buffy had given her the news that she was retiring. Joyce had gotten teary-eyed and hugged Faith hard. Thanked her for giving Buffy a real future. Faith just sat there, like she was made of stone or wood or something. Nobody ever hugged her before, not like that – ‘cept maybe Dawn. She didn’t know how to take it. But she remembered it. How warm and soft and nice smelling Joyce was. Like a real mom should be.
And Buffy had all that. But it still wasn’t enough.
Greedy little twat.
Well, she’d be damned if she was gonna let Buffy have her way this time. The moment she got her hands on the bitch –
Cordelia watched Spike enter the back door of the warehouse. Without Angel.
She knew they’d had words. Angel had been gunning for Spike since he first laid eyes on him. She suspected it had something to do with his patheticly lingering Buffy obsession. Sad really. But still, no reason to dust the guy.
“Everything okay?” She inquired, starting to worry.
“Peachy keen, Princess.” Spike grinned.
Well if that doesn’t sound sinister…
She hustled out to the alley only to find Angel leaning against the wall gingerly patting at the cut above his eye. Cordelia was relieved yet annoyed at the same time. An emotional combo she had become all too familiar with since her freshman year at Sunnydale High.
“Good Lord…” She checked him for serious damage, fussing; “what did you do?”
“What did I do? He hit me!”
“Yeah? And what did you say to provoke him, huh?”
She pulled a kleenex out of her purse and dabbed away the collected blood.
“Hey, I thought you were on my team here.”
“I am on your team, Angel - which is why I’m telling you to drop this.”
“But I’m -”
“Seriously. This obsession you have going with Buffy is so tired.”
“But, Cordy -”
“And have you seen the way she looks at him? Or the way he looks at her…guh.”
“Honestly, do you think you stand a chance?” She looked at him seriously. “I may not like the guy, but even I can see what Spike & Buffy have going.” She stood up. “It’s the real deal. You might wanna start getting used to it.” Angel found he didn’t have anything to say.
She turned to go inside, at the door she looked back over her shoulder at him.
“Clean yourself up a little before you come in. I don’t want you worrying the others.”
Caught up in conversation Buffy hardly noticed Spike’s departure into the alley. Fred was regaling her with tales of LA shopping sprinkled with amusing anecdotes about life with Angel. Her eyes lit up when she said his name, it wasn’t hard to see what the sweet, shy girl was feeling.
Looks like somebody has a crush.
She smiled. Buffy was surprised to find that she wasn’t jealous in the least. She wished him well, maybe a girl like Fred would be good for him. Lord knows she was happy with what she had. That thought had her scanning the room for Spike. He entered the back door with his usual sense of timing, sporting several new bruises. Buffy gaped and crossed the room to his side in an instant.
“What happened?” She demanded.
She gestured at the fresh bruise on his swelling mouth.
“That doesn’t look like nothing to me.” She scanned the room quickly looking for Angel. “Where is he?!”
She should have known he’d start something…or was it Spike? She was quickly running out of patience.
“Tell me what happened? Did he start it or did you?”
He gently rubbed her arms, soothing.
“Relax, Love. Angel an’ me just had to work a few things out s’all.”
“You didn’t dust him did you?” She looked at him for a horrified moment.
“Would that be such a loss?”
He sighed and rolled his eyes.
“No, no. No dusting. Look here comes the Wanker now.” He gestured to the back door.
Angel entered behind Cordy, looking sheepish.
Buffy was just about to go read him the riot act when Spike grabbed her arm.
“Leave it be, Buffy.”
“But he…you…with the hitting!”
“It’s alright, Luv. I told you. We worked it out.”
He looked her in the eye and she saw he meant it.
“Is it done? Tell me it’s done.”
Spike looked at Angel for a moment, catching his eyes.
“It’s done.” he said with finality.
Angel looked away.
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