28. Never Doubt It
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit & Slaymesoftly
In Harm's Way
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Never Doubt It
Angel had never considered his elevator to be small, until now. Spike was leaning against the corner, arms folded across his chest and his head down, but his presence overpowered the space. When they reached his rooms, Angel pulled open the gate and grudgingly allowed Spike to step out.
Angel expected Spike to make some comment about how dreary or boring his place was, but he just walked slowly to the small kitchen table, pulled out a chair and slumped down into it.
When he’d first seen Spike in his lobby, Angel had been sure that he was there to fight to the death. And with that ring on his finger, Angel knew that he would lose. As far as he was concerned, that was the only way Spike could ever win a fight against him.
He eyed the ring and frowned. It sure was ugly and it looked...cheap. Angel sat in the chair across from Spike and continued to watch him, knowing that it wouldn't be long before he would be babbling away.
Before he'd closed the elevator door, he’d seen Cordy peeking around the corner; she'd motioned at the phone, silently asking if she should call Buffy. He'd nodded just slightly, knowing that if he could keep Spike occupied long enough, Buffy would arrive in a few hours and they could decide together on a plan of action. If they had to fight him, it would be best to have the two of them fighting together.
He didn't want to antagonize the drunk and invincible vampire. As always, Angel was thinking quickly, and he knew that the best chance he had of getting the ring off Spike's finger was to relax and act non-threatening.
“Do you have anything strong to drink?” Spike finally said, still looking down.
“Yes, but I don't think you need it.”
“Oh, I need it,” Spike said dryly, fixing Angel with a steady gaze. He couldn't hold it long though and slumped back in to the seat. The dim lights that Angel had installed cast shadows on the bleached blond's angular face.
“Are you ready to tell me why you’re here?”
“Didn't plan on stopping.” Spike scratched behind an ear and gazed past Angel's shoulder. “Had to get out of Sunnydale before I killed them all, so I took off and somehow ended up coming this way. When my stash of liquor was gone, I stopped off at a demon bar and had a few more. Bought a couple of bottles for the road, too.”
Spike paused and glared at Angel.
“I was just driving along the freeway when I saw the sign saying twenty miles to Los Angeles.” Spike shrugged. “If anyone knows what it's like to be in love with the wrong girl, it'd be you.” He chuckled softly, and then laughed hysterically. “Same crazy bint, too.”
Angel had actually tuned him out until Spike had started to laugh. Was Spike saying that he was in love with his Buffy?
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Spike stood up, swayed a little and then took a step back, tipping the chair over.
“I'm talking about the Slayer. Buffy— pain in the arse—Summers.”
Angel shot to his feet, vamping out and throwing the table to the side. A growl reverberated from deep within his chest.
“Don't you even think about touching Buffy.”
Spike chuckled, staring at Angel without blinking.
“I had a feeling you might react this way. If you staked me, you'd be doing me a favor, putting me out of my misery.”
Angel desperately wished he could stake him. “If you weren't wearing that ring, you'd already be a pile of dust.”
Spike raised the hand with the mood ring to his face, his eyes crossing, then he burst out laughing, again. “I'm...so glad...” he giggled, “...that I came here.” He doubled over in laughter and then stood up straight. “I needed this.”
Angel was not amused.
“What did you do to Buffy?”
Ignoring the question, Spike began to pace as he said, “I understand now why you were so brassed off when you lost your soul. She gets under your skin, doesn't she?”
Angel tried to calm down, forcing his face to turn back to human. Spike was very good at getting him riled up and he had picked the perfect subject to do it with. Spike could not be in love with Buffy. And he knew for damned sure that Buffy felt nothing for Spike. Nothing.
“I mean, when you got all crazy, wanting to torture her and her friends before ending the world, I was thinking that being shackled with a soul for so long 's what made you go daft.” He shook his head. “Now, I know from experience that it was Buffy and Buffy alone that pushed you around the bend and over the edge. Though I don't understand why you kept saying she wasn't worth a second go, because I also know from experience that that was a lie.”
Angel growled as he stalked slowly towards Spike.
“She was worth a second and a third go, and if you don't kill me first, I plan to go back for more,” Spike said, smugly.
Angel's insides burned with rage. All that he could focus on was that Spike had touched Buffy. He'd touched her more than once. He gripped Spike around the neck and growled again as Spike just smiled at him, holding up the ring for Angel to see.
“Don't...ergh...make me,” Spike forced out through his constricted throat, “kill you.”
Angel let him go, but picked up a chair and threw it at Spike, who ducked and laughed as the chair hit the wall, knocking a picture down. The glass cover of the frame shattered as it hit the floor. Spike grabbed the chair, set it right, and then put the table back. He motioned for Angel to have a seat as well.
Angel glared at him from across the table and wished that Cordy hadn't called Buffy or Giles. He didn't want Buffy near Spike now.
“Did you rape her?” he asked Spike, even though he knew the answer. He was grasping for any possible explanation for Buffy to not have wanted to be intimate with Spike. He rubbed his temple and glared at Spike.
“No. No, rape is more your thing, isn't it, Angelus? I like my women willing.”
“She's NOT your woman!” Angel slammed a fist on the table. God, he wanted to kill him.
“You’re right,” Spike said sadly. “She's not mine. I thought that maybe she was for a little while, but she was just doing her job. Giles prostituted her out to get the Gem of Amara back. The bastard.”
“Buffy wouldn't do that.” Horrified at the thought of his saintly Buffy doing something so awful, Angel closed his eyes, but quickly opened them as a vision of Buffy in streetwalker clothes filled his mind.
“So, you think she actually had feelings for me, then?” Spike asked with a bit of hope.
Angel sputtered. “No. Absolutely not.”
“I rest my case then.” Spike drummed his fingers on the table. “Get us a drink, will you? I'm parched and I'm starting to sober up.”
“I need a drink now, too,” Angel groused.
He got up and found a bottle of whiskey and a couple of shot glasses. Spike yanked the bottle from him before he could set it down and poured for them both. In tandem they glared at each other and downed their shots. Angel poured next and they downed another shot.
Spike jammed the glass down and tilted his head as he stared at Angel. “I get why you hated what happened between you and Buffy, when you lost your soul. You never were one for love.” He snickered. “You tried to beat my love for Drusilla out of me every chance you got, back in the day. But, what I don't get is why you didn't stick around once you got your soul back.” Spike looked down at his glass. “If I had a soul, maybe Buffy would want me.”
“It was because of my soul that I didn't stick around,” Angel answered plainly. “I loved her enough to let her go and have a normal life.”
Angel poured them both another shot.
“Normal? She's the bloody Slayer, you asshole. There's nothing normal about her.”
They glared at each other, downing their shots. Angel didn't know why he was trying to explain things to Spike. He didn't have a soul; he wouldn't understand.
“With the curse, I couldn't chance it. I didn't want to hurt her again.”
“That's a lame excuse. If I had a jumpy soul, I'd tear this planet up looking for a way or a bit of mojo to make sure it stayed put. Then, I'd go back and spend the rest of my existence shagging the woman I loved.” Angel growled, as Spike continued, “But no, you had to run away with your tail between your legs and go brood here in Los Angeles, and to do what? Play detective?”
“Shut up, Spike.” Angel looked down at his empty glass, then filled it again.
Spike shrugged and said, “I guess I should be glad that you didn't love her enough to do that. Because it gave me a chance.”
That was the last straw. Angel stood up and threw the glass across the room, where it smashed against the elevator gate. “She could never love you, Spike,” he snarled.
“I know,” Spike said with a dramatic sigh. “But I've got to try.”
“Give it up. I left her so she could have something real with a normal man and you are not it.”
Spike drank another shot and glared at him. “Yeah, your little plan worked like a charm. She went out and shagged the first bloke that looked at her sideways. Then he threw her out like yesterday's newspaper and straight into my waiting arms.” He shrugged when Angel glared at him and took another shot of whiskey. “Wasn't planning on falling in love with her. Was going to kill her, but fate stepped in and...”
“And?” Angel growled.
Spike sat up straight and grabbed the whiskey bottle, forgoing the glass, and raised the bottle to his mouth. He took several deep swallows, then smirked at Angel.
“And, the rest is none of your bleedin' business. I don't kiss and tell.”
Up in the lobby, Cordy sat at her desk, nervously tapping her fingers on the phone. Wesley sat on the edge of the desk, polishing a sword. They both jumped when more glass shattered below. They shared a look of concern when they heard their boss yelling again.
They'd debated whether to go and help Angel or not. Cordy wanted to go down there, more because she was curious about what they were yelling about than due to any desire to help. Spike had mentioned the Slayer, but when she'd spoken with Giles, he assured her that Buffy was alive and well, so Spike hadn't killed her.
The two vampires had been downstairs for a couple of hours now and yet, from the angry shouts and the crash of things being thrown against walls, it was clear that they were both still alive. Cordelia ran her fingers over the axe lying next to the phone. Wes had been given plenty of time to come up with a game plan and she had to admit, it was a pretty good one. If Spike came up wanting to snack on them, they were both going to aim for his hand. They weren't sure what would happen if they chopped off the hand with the ring, but they were betting that he'd become vulnerable again.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
“We should be there in ten minutes,” Xander said.
They'd talked on and off during the long ride down, but they were all quiet now. Willow sat in the back with her eyes closed. Buffy gazed out the window of the passenger seat, trying to appear calm, but her friends knew better. She'd asked Xander to go faster a few times and he was going ninety miles an hour now, but they were coming up on traffic and he would soon have to slow down.
She was afraid that they wouldn't get there in time; that Spike would do something stupid and get himself staked. She couldn’t understand why Spike would go and see Angel. They hated each other.
She reached into her shirt and pulled the Gem of Amara out and rubbed her finger over the green jewel just as Xander took the freeway exit. Xander glanced over and then quickly focused on the road ahead.
“So, you're going to give it back to him?” he asked.
“Yes. It's his and he's proven that he can use it wisely.”
“So far, yeah, but what happens if you guys have a fight and he decides he doesn't want to play happy vampire anymore?”
“I'd say that's already happened. But he didn't take off with the Gem. He gave it to me, even though he was really pissed off.”
It was so hard for her. She couldn't place Spike in the evil or good category. He just was Spike. And she loved him. She couldn't even put a finger on the moment that she knew. So much had happened, and she had been fighting it, but when he walked away from her at the hospital with that stricken look on his face, it hit her like a punch from a Fyral demon.
There was no way that she could have hurt him so badly, if he didn't feel something very deep for her. And then she thought about how hurt she'd been when he'd walked out on her, leaving her naked in more ways than one. If she wasn't in love with him, she wouldn't have gone back to the dorm and sobbed in Willow's arms, would she?
Willow scooted up and poked her head between the front seats, asking, “Can I see the ring?”
“Sure,” Buffy said, pulling the chain over her head.
“It's heavy.” Willow turned the ring over a few times. “I'm guessing that the magic is in this green stone and that it has been reset in new gold.” She tried the ring on, but it was too big for any of her fingers. “Either that or Amara was one huge female vampire.”
For the first time since Spike had walked out on her, Buffy smiled. She could not believe how supportive her friends were being. Even though Willow had dated a werewolf and Xander was now dating an ex-demon, she’d always felt like they were holding her to a different set of rules. To be fair, Willow had been very supportive about Angel, but Xander had never accepted it.
“Thank you, guys, for coming along with me,” she said softly.
“So, you're really in love with him?” Xander said.
“Leave her alone, Xander. You've asked the question five times now.”
“It's OK. I get it. I can hardly believe it myself, but I am,” Buffy said with a sigh. She only hoped that he would believe them when they explained that she wasn't trying to get the Gem away from him. She wiped a tear before it could fall. All that time they were together in his basement, he'd thought that she was putting on an act just to get the ring.
“Well, I think you’re insane,” Xander said, “but, I can understand the attraction.”
The girls stared at him in shock.
“What?” Xander asked. “He's strong, he's dangerous and he's good looking. Just your type, right?”
Buffy smiled again. “You think Spike is good looking?”
Willow laughed and sat back.
“Well...what I meant is that girls think he is—and if you ever repeat that to Spike, I'll never buy doughnuts for the meetings again. His head is big enough already.”
“And he'd never let you live that down,” Willow said.
They parked across the street from Angel's building, but they didn't make a move to get out.
“So, what are you going to do?” Xander asked.
Buffy stared at the building, her heart pounding with fear. What if he told her to go away?
“Here, Buffy,” Willow said from behind.
She let the Gem of Amara swing on the chain. Buffy took it and put it around her neck again, tucking it back under her shirt. She touched her hair and wished now that she'd taken time to make herself look nice. All she'd cared about was getting here.
“You look great. Let's go.” Xander got out and waited for the girls.
“Do you think he'll listen to me?” Buffy asked Willow.
“Of course he will. He's hurt right now, but he loves you. And if he doesn't listen, I'll make him.”
Buffy laughed softly. “No one can resist your resolve face.”
They got out, braved crossing the busy street, and stopped at the door. She braced herself, knowing that Spike was probably on the other side, and then opened the door, her friends following her inside.
Wesley jumped off the desk. Cordelia stood up and ran to Buffy.
“I'm so glad you're here. They've been yelling at each other and breaking things for hours,” Cordelia said.
“Where is he?”
Cordelia ignored her and smiled at Xander and Willow. “Wow! You brought the whole gang with you. Hi, Xander.”
“Hey, Cordy. How's L.A. treating you?”
“I'm doing really well. I've got lots of auditions lined up.”
Wesley stepped in. “It's good to see you again, Buffy. I've come up with a plan that I think should work. We're going severe the hand with the Gem of Amara on it. That should render it vulnerable again.”
“You think that he has the Gem?” Willow asked, frowning in confusion.
“He does have it,” Cordelia said with certainty. “And it's really ugly. It's a sort of grey color.”
Buffy let a hysterical giggle escape. “That's not the Gem of Amara. That's a mood ring.”
“What?” Cordy said. “We thought--”
Glass shattered and everybody jumped. Cordy rolled her eyes.
“They've been doing that for a couple of hours. Come on. They're down below.” Wesley said, rushing to call the elevator.
“Angel thinks Spike is wearing the Gem of Amara,” Cordelia said. “That is the only reason Spike is still alive.”
“No one touches Spike!” Buffy snapped. “Is that understood?”
“But, Buff, what if he tries to kill them?” Xander asked as they all squeezed into the elevator together.
“I'll take care of Spike,” Buffy said.
They pulled the gate open and slowly filed out. The room was very dim and from the looks of it, some of the light bulbs had been smashed. The table was over turned, art work was tilted or lying on the floor and glass was shattered all over.
Spike and Angel were just a few feet apart, facing the crowd of people now in the room. Angel scowled at them all, but Spike let his face go blank of emotion. They both swayed precariously.
“What is going on here?” Buffy asked.
She had planned to take Spike by the hand, drag him off somewhere private, and explain to him how wrong his assumptions had been; but now, she could only stare at them, too stunned at the sight before her to move.
“I'm glad you're here, Buffy,” Angel said through clenched teeth, his words slightly slurred. “Help me hold him down and get that ring off his finger so I can stake him.”
Spike chuckled and held on to a counter top. Buffy tried not to smile, but she couldn't help it. She wondered how much of a blast Spike had had waving the mood ring around in Angel's face. Spike continued to smile, but Buffy glared at Angel.
“No one is staking Spike.” Her heart was aching as she stared at Spike, who suddenly frowned. She really wanted to just run to him and jump into his arms, but she was sure that he'd reject her, and she got mad all over again. “I can't believe you just took off like that. I thought you were different, but you're just like the rest.”
“You're one to talk—and what are you even doing here? Wait! Let me guess; you're here to give the love of your life the Gem of Amara,” he growled.
“Maybe I am,” she answered back.
“Oh, no you won't,” Spike yelled.
“What is going on?” Angel shouted.
Wesley stepped up next to Buffy with his sword in hand. “Spike is not wearing the Gem of Amara.”
Angel turned murderous yellow eyes on Spike, who involuntarily took a step to the side, but smirked at the older vampire.
“Yeah, you ponce. All this time, you could have staked me. Well, you could've bloody well tried. Might've beat you.” Spike shrugged.
Angel took a step towards Spike, but Buffy ran over and pushed him away.
“Stop this!” Buffy said.
“What am I missing?” Cordy asked Willow.
“A whole lot,” Xander answered.
Buffy glared at Angel. “Don't come near him.”
“Oh, God, Buffy,” Angel said. “Please tell me you don't have feelings for that...that idiot.”
Ignoring Angel, Buffy turned to look at Spike. “Can we go somewhere private and talk?”
Spike shook his head. “I know you don’t love me, I know that you did what you did because it's your calling, and right now I have nothing to say to you.”
“Well, I have plenty to say to you.”
Spike shook his head and walked past her, heading for the elevator. She'd never been so frustrated in her life. The group parted, giving him plenty of room to get by.
Stamping her foot, she called after him, “Spike. Despite what you think I've done, do you still love me?”
He faced her, his gorgeous blue eyes boring into her. “If this is your idea of torture, it's working.”
“Just answer her question,” Xander said.
Spike glanced around the room and Buffy wished that they were alone. Then he was staring at her again and the rest of the world faded away.
“Yes. You drive me crazy; you've done something sodding low, but I am still in love with you.”
The blood was rushing in her head, drowning out most of the noise around, but she vaguely heard Cordelia say something. Her eyes never left Spike, though. He looked so broken. So hurt. Her voice caught in her throat and she had to clear it before she could whisper, “I love you, back.”
The room went silent and still for two seconds, then Angel shouted a protest behind her while Cordelia made a comment about Buffy and vampires. Spike didn't move. If he didn't believe her, she'd have to hit him over the head with something. She'd come all this way and she was determined to make him see that she meant it.
“I didn't sleep with you to get the Gem away from you.”
Spike shook his head. “This has to be another trick.”
“Oh, God, please let it be a trick,” Angel whined.
“It's not. But I'm really mad at you,” Buffy said, moving closer to Spike. “You thought I was coming on to you just to get the Gem, but you didn't ask me about it. Instead, you went ahead and slept with me.”
Spike gave her a wary look, but she could tell that he was coming around.
“She's telling the truth,” Xander said. “She never agreed to Giles' plan, we just thought she did—not that I'm happy about the idea of you two being together, but I'm just saying, Buffy would never do something like that.”
“Yeah,” Willow added. “Shame on you for thinking she would.” Willow came to stand next to Buffy and put her palm on her back, giving her a little shove. “Tell him your other news.”
Buffy frowned at Willow and said through her teeth, “Not now. With all these people around.”
“Tell me what?” Spike asked.
“I'll tell you later. Right now, I just want you to tell me that you believe me.”
Her heart soared when she saw the hope shining in his eyes.
“You weren't just leading me on to get the Gem? You really mean it? ”
Unable to talk, she nodded.
He rushed up and wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her tightly, then pulled back and smiled at her. “I'm not dreaming, right? I'm still very drunk, so if this is some strange hallucination...”
“You’re not dreaming,” she said, her eyes wet with unshed tears. “I love you, Spike.”
He hugged her again and she caught Willow's eyes. Her friend was waving at her, mouthing the words, “Tell him.”
When Spike pulled away and just stared at her in awe, she said, “That other news, it's pretty big.”
“Tell me,” Spike encouraged.
Buffy glanced around at their attentive audience and furrowed her brow. Her eyes fell on Willow's encouraging expression and then stared at Spike. She grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the bedroom.
“Hey!” Angel protested. You can't go in there.”
Buffy rolled her eyes and kept going, stopping only when they were out of sight. She took a deep breath as she turned to gaze atSpike. Before she could say anything, he swept her into his arms again and kissed her. He was such a good kisser; she let herself go, clinging to him, letting him lead her. When they parted, she was breathless. She grabbed his head and looked deep into his warm eyes.
She needed a little assurance before she told him her life-altering news. “Tell me that you love me.”
She watched his Adam’s apple move as he closed his eyes and wondered how he could be so sexy just doing something so simple. He took his hands from her waist and brushed the hair back from her face before holding her chin so she that couldn't look away.
“Never doubt it. I love you.”
“And I love you,” she told him, holding Spike's gaze until he put his trembling arms around her.
As soon as he let go, he asked, “Now, what was it that you had to tell me?”
Taking another deep breath, she pointed to the bed. “Have a seat.”
“That's never a good sign,” Spike said with a furrowed brow, but he did as he was told.
She sat down next to him and held his hand. She'd played this scene over in her mind a million times since she’d admitted to herself that he was the father, but his reaction was something she was never sure of.
“OK. Just listen, cuz I promise I have a point.” He squeezed her hand in encouragement and she continued, “Willow was doing research about the Gem of Amara and she came across something very interesting. Forever ago, there was this vampire named Amara who was in love with some powerful magical guy. He was in love with her too, and he made her a magical ring so that she could go out in the daylight with him.”
“So that's where the Gem comes from?”
“Yes, but there's more. According to this book that Willow read, there was a rumor that Amara was able to have children.”
Spike smiled at her. “And?”
“And I am pretty sure the rumor is true and that it works on female and male vampires.”
She let her words hang in the air, but he just gave her a blank stare.
“Spike, I'm—oh, God, this is crazy, but I'm pregnant.” He let go of her hand and stood up, so she hurriedly said, “And I'm pretty sure that you're the father. I know you are,” she added at his disbelieving expression. “You are the father of my baby. Our baby.”
Out in the kitchen, the rest of the gang were waiting quietly, straining to hear the conversation in the other room, but though they could tell the two of them were talking, they couldn't make out any of the actual words. Except for Angel who only heard a word here and there.
But they all heard Spike's excited exclamation. “Bloody hell! I'm going to be a father?”
“What?” Angel and Xander shrieked.
Cordelia turned to Wesley. “Can vampires even do that?”
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