Chapter 34 - Agreements
“You never said it was them.”
Buffy wished she could have claimed ignorance about his statement, ask what he was talking about, but she knew exactly what he meant. “I didn’t know.”
He stared at her. “Well?”
“Are you gonna invite me in or not?”
Despite the situation, Buffy suddenly grinned. “Hmm, I dunno.”
“I guess you want the neighbors to hear all about vam—”
Spike entered and shut the kitchen door behind him, his duster swinging as he spun around. “You never said,” he repeated, “that these vicious vamps on the Hellmouth were Angelus and Drusilla, and unless I heard wrong, Darla.”
Oh, he was really angry. Surely he didn’t think— “I didn’t know,” Buffy said. “Really. I wouldn’t— Wait, how do you know?”
“It’s what they’re talkin’ about at the demon bar, first thing you hear.” Spike made an exaggerated motion with his hand. “How could you not know?”
“Wesley just kept saying ‘the Aurelians.’” She shrugged. “He did say Angelus, but he never said you were related to them. I am so going to kick his ass if I see him again. I thought about calling, but then he’d just want to know why I wanted to know.”
He relaxed. Somewhat. “You couldn’t have figured it out before this?”
“Well, how was I supposed to know?” she demanded. “You kept calling Angelus ‘that wanker’ and Darla ‘that bitch.’ All I knew was Dru. When Giles handed me this file on the vampires, that’s when it clicked, when it talked about an insane clairvoyant named Drusilla. Well, actually it was more when it introduced William ‘Spike’ the Bloody.” She shot him a look.
Spike was somewhat rankled that she had read about him in so impersonal a manner. All catalogued by the Watchers, nice and tidy and bloody. “So?” he said. “You know I’m not some do-gooder.”
“I know,” she said, leaning against the counter. “And yeah, it bothered me, reading about it. I mean, a vampire having to eat is one thing—and I cannot believe I just said that—but torture?”
“Torture was always Angelus’s gig. I wanted to join the crew, y’know? Impress Dru, prove my place. So yeah, I spiked some people. Not even sayin’ I didn’t enjoy it, but—”
“You don’t still do it, do you?” Buffy asked in a small voice. “It was all a long, long time ago, right? Because, honestly, I don’t think I can handle it. It’s like a line, a line I can’t cross with you. You know what I mean,” she clarified. “If you’re still him, I don’t—I don’t know who you are, Spike. I can’t.”
She was dead serious, he realized.
“No, pet, I don’t anymore. Haven’t, not for a long time.” Spike paused. He wouldn’t tell her, but he wouldn’t lie to her, not when she looked so desperate to consolidate something about him in her head. “Except—”
-----Smith’s face as Spike shoved a letter opener through his hand, stabbing it into the wood of the desk below.
“What would you have done to her? Sell her off to the highest bidder? Keep her and charge for it?”
Beaten, defeated, and knowing he would die that night— “Well, I would have had a good time first.”
A two hundred dollar fountain pen joined the letter opener, mixing blood and ink, and bringing the man to his knees.
“Wrong answer, mate.”-----
“Except what?” Buffy asked.
Spike could see her face falling—mentally separating herself from him as he spoke.
“He deserved it,” he added.
Shit, that sounded lame.
Apparently he wasn’t the only one who thought so. “No one deserves torture, Spike,” Buffy said, putting a hand on her hip.
At least she was angry again. “You’d be off your high horse in a second if—” Spike broke off. She didn’t need to know. She never needed to know that, what would have happened to her—
She didn’t look convinced.
Spike took a step forward. “Look, do you trust me?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with—”
“Yes or no.”
She sighed. “Yes, then.”
“Then trust me when I say that he had it coming. He’s done worse, and was gonna do worse to—someone I know. He was bad news, in a whole other way than I am. All right?”
Buffy stared at him; his eyes were almost pleading with her to drop it.
She tried to tease out his meaning. Whatever vendetta he’d been avenging or thing he’d been preventing, it didn’t sound like some stray victim off the street. She sighed again. “Fine,” she said quietly. Then, “But railroad spikes? Ugh. That’s just—ugh.”
“That got boring pretty quick,” he admitted. “There’s only so many places you can stick a—”
Buffy cleared her throat. “Okay, this topic is officially closed.”
There was a short silence.
“Did it occur to you that there might be a problem here?” he asked, looking down at her.
“Yes, it occurred to me! The first thing I thought was, ‘Oh crap, Spike’s going to back out.’ Not that I’d blame you,” she added. “I mean, they’re your family, in some sort of weird, twisted, vampire way.”
“Did you remember the part where I hate them all?”
“Even Dru?” She arched a brow.
“So maybe not Dru.” He fell silent again. “But I’m not gonna. Back out, I mean. Not gonna leave you alone with Angelus. He’s worse than whatever else you might’ve been fightin’ here. I just wasn’t countin’ on seein’ any of them again. Ever.” Spike paused, thoughtful. “I got no problem offing Angelus and the bitch. But I won’t do Dru.”
“Okay,” Buffy said slowly. “But you know I’ll probably have to fight her.”
“If I try to stake her, are you going to stop me?”
She swallowed. “If I do stake her, are you going to turn on me?”
Spike stared at her. “No,” he finally said.
“You don’t—you don’t still want her, do you? I mean…” This is not where this conversation should be going.
“I’m not about to go and get with her, even if she’d have me, if that’s what you mean, pet.”
Buffy felt relieved, though some part of her was still unwilling to let the subject drop. “Do you still love her?”
“She’s a part of me; she’s my sire. I’ll always love her. But I don’t love her like that, not anymore.”
“And you’re not in love with me, either.”
“Didn’t we already have this conversation?” he growled, moving away.
“Fine. You’re right. So, what else do I need do know?”
Spike sighed. “Angelus is big on the mind games and torture. He’s not a coward, but he likes to fight in roundabout ways. Dru’s insane, plain and simple, there’s no predictin’ about her. She’ll listen to Angelus, most of the time. And Darla’s just vicious. She’s the oldest, but she lets Angelus take the lead.”
Buffy considered. “So how should we play this? I mean, is there a way to play this?”
“Probably not,” he said after a moment. “It’s not like they have some grand plan. They’re just here for the setup. Kill, maim, feed. And if I came to town otherwise, I wouldn’t be seekin’ them out anyway.”
“So you don’t have a problem standing right up and saying you’re with me when it comes down to it, even against them.”
“I s’pose not.”
She grinned. “You could just slip in and kill them, you know. Save me the trouble.”
“Hey now, this is your fight. I could care less.”
“But you’re working for me. What if I want you to kill them?”
“Then you’ll be a piss poor Slayer who can’t do anything on her own.”
“Yeah, I know. Don’t worry, I’m kidding. I’ll fight.” She paused. “So, are we good?”
“Yeah, love, I guess we’re good.” He leaned against the cabinets. “So what else, then?”
“Well, we’ve got the three vampires, but you knew that. The Master was here; no one’s quite sure where he’s at now. And the last Slayer, Faith, went bad, got involved with demons, started screwing Angelus, and was probably killed by him.
“The Council pretty much knows the history of your group, when you split up and stuff. They know you killed the Slayers, but you fell off their radar after you left. They know about Angelus’s curse, but not the blood ritual. Apparently he’s much better now, by the way.”
Spike was silent. He took his lighter out and started fidgeting, flipping it open and shut without thinking.
“Did you just get here?” she asked. “Why are you here, anyway? It’s not January yet.”
“Got nowhere else to be.”
“Aw, did you get bored without a Slayer to follow around?”
“Shut up,” he said flatly, hopping up on the counter. He pulled out a cigarette and twisted it around. Another second and it was in his mouth.
Buffy crossed the room in two strides. “What did I tell you about smoking in the house?” she snapped, snatching the cigarette from his lips even as he was trying to light it. She glared at him. “What? God, what’s with you now?”
Spike stared at her.
Buffy smiled suddenly.
“What?” He looked alarmed.
“That is so cute. You’re like all worried.”
He jumped down. “You should worry about Angelus—”
“Yeah, because he’s an old and evil vampire. He’s dangerous and he’s going to try and kill me. I got that part. But that’s not why you’re worried. It’s like, oh—hold on, it’ll come to me any minute now…” After a few seconds, her face lit up. “Yes! You’re acting just like a freshman who got stuffed in a locker by the quarterback.”
“I am not.”
“You so are! I know he stole your girlfriend and all and was a complete bastard to you back in the day, but God, aren’t you just as big and bad as he is now? And what, you’ve got that gem thing, it’s not like he can do anything to you. You ran off on your own and haven’t seen him in twenty years. Why should you be worried, or even care what he thinks? We are going to kill him, you know,” she added with finality.
Spike slowly grinned.
“You, pet, are absolutely right.”
“Of course I am.”
Buffy paused, and then introduced the subject she knew Spike was itching to discuss. “So, about the blood.”
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