Part 2. A Helping Hand
(Part 2 - A Helping Hand)
AN: Thanks to Jessica and Tami for their betaing, and thanks to all of you that review. It makes my day. I do my own snoopy dance, hehe ^.^
Buffy stood up and took a couple steps back from Spike, watching him warily. This had to be some trick. Vampires didn’t get amnesia. Did they? And what was up with the Giles-wannabe voice? This just wasn’t right. What was she going to do with an amnesiac vampire on her hands??
Oh lord, does he even know he’s a vampire?
“Uh,” she swallowed and shifted as she tried to figure out how to ask what she needed to know... delicately. “What do you... remember? Um, do you know what year it is? Country?”
Spike sat back against the crypt wall and touched his temples. The confusion wore off some and some things came back to him, but his brain still felt under a heavy fog. What he remembered only confused him further.
“I am from England, but I am confused about where I might be now since you seem to talk like a yankee and dress differently than any woman I have ever seen. That and what I am wearing lead me to believe I am not in the year I last remember being in.”
He tried to stand up, but groaned at the pain from his injuries. She moved forward to help him, both awkward at the contact. She started to lead him to his crypt then decided against it and took him out of the cemetery with the intention of getting him to her house, hoping her mom and sister had went to bed already. There was only one person she knew to ask at the moment about if vampires could really get amnesia and make sure this wasn’t some trick by Spike to use her for some amusement.
“That confirms my suspicions,” he commented mildly as she walked down a row of tombstones. “The dates on these tombstones... most of them were born much after the last year I remember.”
“I’ll... well... I’ll try to fill you in about whom you are once we get to my house. I promise. I just need to talk to a friend of mine who might be able to help get you back to normal... well, as normal as you were to begin with.” She shook her head.
He gave the woman a sidelong glance at the last comment, but continued walking. It confused him. She... well, he had assumed she might be close to him since when he had awoken it had been in her arms. Surely, she wouldn’t have been so forward with just anyone. She... well actually, she did look like what his idea would have been of a “working woman”, but that was his time. He was willing to allow that things were different in this time, since she did not act like that sort. But, she did seem to know him and was concerned for him. She was showing more concern for him than anyone ever had besides his mother. He was pretty sure they had to be close.
“Home sweet home,” she finally said and helped him up the steps to the front door. “The lights are off, so we must have gotten lucky and my mom and Dawn are off to bed.”
“I assume Dawn is your sister?”
“Yes. My younger sister.”
“Your father?” He lifted a curious brow as she got him to the couch and he settled back on it, shifting to find a position that was comfortable with his injuries. “Where is he?”
She looked uncomfortable for a moment. “My parents separated and he lives in another city.”
“Oh, I live without my father as well, but I do not have a younger sibling.” He watched her carefully. “You have yet to tell me your name, miss. I would like to know what to call you and who to thank for taking care of me.”
“Buffy,” she paused on her way to the kitchen and looked back at him, watching him just a carefully. “I’m Buffy. I just... well, we can discuss who I am and who you are after I call my friends.”
She gave him an uneasy smile then continued to the kitchen to call Giles. If this was Spike playing a game, why would he tell her something that for him would be so personal? It has had been like pulling teeth to get him to tell her about his past besides the bragging about doing in the other two slayers.
Xander and Anya were the last to arrive, looking none too pleased to be pulled from bed at that time of night. Buffy passed them on the way to the couch with a cup of tea for Giles. She had left Spike in the kitchen enjoying his own cup, wanting to break the news to her friends without them jumping to annoying questions about why she let Spike in her house.
“Okay, you said there was a problem you needed help with?” Giles blew on his tea.
“Uh yes...” she paced a bit then turned back to face her friends. “Patrol tonight was pretty quiet again, but when I started to leave this big demon showed up. I don’t know what type, but it was really big. Spike saved me and held it off while I ran into his crypt for a sword... I came back out and did my slaying thing, but Spike took quite a beating.”
“Failing to see the problem here,” Xander cut him.
And so it begins... Buffy thought with a sigh and gave him an irritated look for a second, “The demon gave it to him good and I found him unconscious, broke and bloodied. When I got him conscious again he claimed not to know who he was... though now he acts like... well, Giles. He doesn’t talk like Spike anymore and he only remembers living in England, back when I assume he was still human... because he’s given me no indication he knows anything beyond that.”
“Yet again, still seeing this as a good thing.”
“Hey, this happened as a result of him helping me. It’s only fair I try to help him.”
“I can’t believe you called us all here in the middle of the night, claiming there was an emergency when someone did us a favour and knocked the stupid out of that soulless creature.” Xander got up, shaking his head and walking towards the door. “Look, Buff, if you’ve suddenly got a soft spot to do some charity for Christmas, then fine, but leave me out of it.”
Anya pursed her lips for a second, but got up and followed Xander, giving Buffy a slightly apologetic look. Giles got up as well after setting his half full cup on the coffee table.
“I have to agree with Xander,” he cleaned his glasses and avoided looking at Buffy. “This is hardly cause for any concern of ours. We have more pressing issues such as our problems with Glory. Spike thinking he is a human again could be a good thing. Especially, since you say he is acting like me, I take it as a great improvement for him.”
“Giles, you of all people should see how wrong this is!” She wanted to stomp her foot petulantly at their behaviour.
“Sorry,” he stepped around her and headed to the door. “He is your problem.”
“You are both so getting poop in your stockings!” She slammed the door and turned back to the two witches. “Well, you two will at least help, won’t you?”
Willow sighed and looked away, clearly torn. Beside her, Tara nudged her gently and sent her a look, clearly trying to get her to offer some help. After a few moments of silent exchange, the redhead finally looked back at Buffy.
“I guess we can try to look up memory charms and see if they have anything for restoring memories...” Willow lifted a shoulder and stood up. “It’s all I can offer.”
“I’m not even totally sure if he’s really amnesiac.” Her shoulders slumped as she followed her friends across the room back to the door. “I mean, you know Spike. He may have the chip to keep him from attacking humans, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still like messing with them... especially me.”
“I am certainly starting to think it was a good thing I forgot what has happened to me,” came a sullen voice from the doorway to the kitchen.
The three girls spun around guiltily. They shifted uncomfortably, looking anywhere but at Spike.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to hear any of what they said,” Buffy put a hand to her head, feeling an intense migraine coming on. She turned back to her friends. “I’ll handle this... obviously. I’m just confused by the whole situation... but that seems to always happen where Spike’s concerned.”
“I’ll search every book I have,” Willow assured her then turned to go.
Tara paused by the door then turned back to Buffy. “If it helps, he is t-telling the truth. I-I see it in his aura.” She gave a shy smile then followed after Willow with a little wave.
Buffy lifted her hand to return the wave slowly, staring forward dumbfounded. So Spike really did think he was some English guy from over a century ago and still human? It hit her again, finally sinking in without the cushioning of thinking he may be lying to her. She closed the door and turned around to stare at him as if he were some exotic animal on display. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out immediately.
She was saved from having to think of anything to say when feet charged down the stairs as a lanky brunette flung herself into the room. Dawn looked between her sister and Spike, then pointed at the vampire and turned to Buffy.
“He... he really has amnesia or something?” she demanded. “What did you do to him?”
“Apparently you only caught the tail end of the conversation because I didn’t do anything to him,” Buffy glared at her. “He got beat up by a demon. And, why do you assume I did it, huh? Shouldn’t you be in bed??”
“Like anyone could sleep with your voice screeching through the house.”
“You are such a brat!”
“You’re a bi-“
“Enough! Both of you!” Joyce stood on the stairs with her hands on her hips, looking sternly at both daughters. “Dawn, get back to bed. I will handle this.”
Dawn nodded and shot one more nasty look in Buffy’s direction before heading up the stairs, pausing to give Joyce a peck on the cheek. Joyce came down the rest of the stairs and motioned Spike over to them. He started to limp over wincing and Buffy quickly went over to support him.
“Oh my, what happened to him?” Joyce asked.
“Demon. He... also seems to have lost most of his memories.” Buffy sighed. “And the others don’t care, of course. But at least Willow and Tara are willing to look for anything helpful in their books.”
“Well, until then it is only right for him to stay with us,” Joyce smiled and turned back towards the stairs. Buffy began to open her mouth, but Joyce continued with her motherly eyes in the back of the head, “Don’t argue, Buffy. It’s Christmas and we can’t rightly leave him out there on his own in this condition. And, I was thinking of inviting him over anyway. Now I get to deliver the invitation in person.” She looked back and smiled at them both before disappearing into the upstairs hall.
The slayer looked at the vampire in question and sighed. She set him on the couch again and went upstairs to the hall closet to get some pillows and blankets for the cot in the basement. While upstairs, she heard a whining coming from her room so with a softening of her face she went in there to scoop up Billy. She pressed a kiss to the downy little head and headed back downstairs, crooking a finger at Spike to follow her as she continued to the basement.
“There’s a cot down here that I’ll make up all cozy. I’ll explain in a minute why the couch is no-go and it’ll also explain why the others aren’t your biggest fans,” she told him and went to dump the things on the cot except for Billy. She jogged back to help Spike down the stairs. “I’m sure after a good rest and something to eat, you’ll heal quickly. Your body, at least... the memory thing could be tricky.”
That was something for tomorrow; she needed to go to the butchers to get some blood for Spike. Also, she should go back to his crypt to get him some clothes and whatever else he might need.
“You mother and sister seem to be fond of me,” he observed as he eased down onto the bottom of the steps. He held out his arms to accept the puppy to free up her arms while she made up the cot. He watched her quietly for a few moments, stroking the puppy before speaking again. He needed to break the silence, “What sort of dog is this?”
She turned back around. “Well, you didn’t tell me when you gave her to me, but by the looks of her I guessed she was a cocker spaniel. Her name is Billy.”
She ducked her head and continued making up the cot, avoiding his gaze as she wondered if this version of Spike would get it. His silence could have gone either way and when she was finished with the cot, she sat down on it and hazarded a glance in his direction.
“I gave you this puppy and you named it after me.” He said softly and lifted his eyes to her slowly. “I really am getting quite confused about... us.”
That makes two of us, she thought dryly. Out loud, “It’s complicated. It... Well, part of it has to do with why the others don’t like you and you can’t sleep upstairs and why I grudgingly agree with my mom that you can’t be left to your own while like this...”
“They called me a creature,” his voice was even softer, afraid of what she was about to tell him. “An evil, soulless creature.”
“I can tell you everything I know about you. There’ll be a big chunk missing where I wasn’t around, but I know a friend or two who may be able to fill you in if this amnesia lasts a long time.” She chewed her lip. “It won’t be pleasant for you, though, as you can tell already.”
“I know.” He got up and moved over to sit beside her on the cot, setting the now sleeping Billy on the pillow. “I know it will be unpleasant to hear about myself through the mouth of another. It is always hard to hear about oneself through the mouths of others, but no matter what I want you to be truthful with me. Please. There can be no lying to spare my feelings. I must know everything you can tell me.”
“Spike... if that’s what you want...” she sighed and looked down at her hands as she tried to put her thoughts into words. “Man, you are so quiet, unlike usual. I usually can’t shut you up and now you hardly talk, and the silence is going to make me go bonkers... and ramble to fill it up, of course. Cause, when I get nervous I ramble, and you not talking and this whole situation are making me so nervous... I just-”
His hand slipped over hers, silencing her. “If you could try to call me William, it would make me feel better. I do not remember being this Spike person.”
“Okay, William.” She smiled faintly. How was this the same man??
“Yes, I am the quiet sort. I am a bit shy, really. You are the first woman to show me kindness besides my mother. Well, and now your mother, I suppose. Actually, most of the men treat me little better. I find it hard to stand up for myself.” He reached up out of habit to adjust his glasses, pausing when he remembered they were no longer there.
She blushed and looked away again. This just couldn’t be Spike. How did he go from this man to the pain in the ass she was familiar with? It was just so wrong somehow.
“You’re not making it any easier for me to tell you all the bad stuff... being so sweet like that.”
“You would rather I be rude with you?”
“Not really,” she rolled her eyes. Okay, that cheekiness was a bit closer to her Spike. Wait. Not her Spike. Where had that come from?? “Just, are you really sure you want to hear it all? I mean, can you handle it?”
“Yes. Please. I want you to tell me everything.” He squeezed her hand reassuringly.
“Oh fine, but if you regret that later then just know you insisted,” she looked down at his hand that held hers. “Okay, might as well just come out and say it. The ‘creature’ that they referred to, is you being a vampire. You’re a vampire now. A walking undead without a soul. If you stop breathing out of habit, you’ll see you don’t even need it.”
His breath did catch in a soft gasp then stopped. She couldn’t help looking up through her lashes at him curiously, fully expecting the shock she saw there. The confusion and the slight denial.
“A woman named Drusilla turned you and you traveled Europe with her and her Sire, Angel, and his Sire, Darla.” She made a slight face of disgust at the mention of the two women. “From what I know, you traveled Europe and the world going on er... killing sprees. Like I said, I only know from where you came into my life and so a few years ago, you arrived in Sunnydale with Drusilla. She’s loony and you wanted to cure her for some reason, and you wanted to... well, kill me.”
“Kill you?” He was struggling to process everything. “Why?”
“Cause, I’m this thing called a slayer. I slay vampires and demons. It’s my sacred duty or so my watcher keeps telling me. He was the guy that spoke a lot like you.” She waved her free hand in a dismissive gesture. “You’ve killed two others and you wanted to make me your third. You’re actually listed in the books as one of the biggest baddies in history because you’ve killed two slayers and killed so many people. You and Angel are some of the biggest bad vampires. And, the master, but I slayed him, so yeah. But, you and Angel don’t get along... you fight over Drusilla for some reason and from what you’ve hinted at, he did bad things to you. Angel used to be in Sunnydale when you first arrived and when he went bad, you helped me get rid of him.” She was trying not to ramble or talk in circles, but she feared she was starting to fail.
“Wait. Went bad? I thought you just told me he was one of the worst along with me.”
“Oh, well... he got a soul. Pissed off the wrong gypsy, I think.” She paused, trying to remember if that was it then nodded. “But, it wasn’t totally permanent because part of the curse was how he would lose it if he achieved perfect happiness.”
“And he achieved perfect happiness while he was here and became evil again?”
“Yes,” she winced. “It was my fault... but, can we please not go into that now? It’s personal and we’re talking about you.”
“Of course.” He nodded and squeezed her hand again. “So, I helped you destroy him after he became evil because I resented him and did not care for him. Is that when we started to become friends?”
“Not really.” She shook her head. “You ran off with Dru and was gone for awhile. You came back briefly after Dru dumped you, drunk as a skunk and trying to force my friend to do a love spell for you as well as getting your revenge on me since for some reason you blamed me for what should have been a blessing. Anyway... you left again after that for almost a year.”
“Oh.” He looked disappointed. “And when I came back?”
“You vowed to kill me again.”
His brows drew together, but he didn’t say anything. He had been so sure there was something between them and was disappointed to hear about this, more than hearing that he was a soulless vampire who had killed many people.
“Yeah, but then the Initiative got ahold of you. They’re these soldier, government people that deal with demons and stuff. It’s like slayers and watchers gone Rambo...” She made a face. “Well, they put this chip in your head and now you can’t hurt humans. You came to us for help and we tried to get you to tell us about the Initiative, because I didn’t know I was dating a guy who was with them. Basically, the chip is the reason you haven’t tried anything really and why I haven’t just staked you.” And the fact that I might be attracted to you has nothing to do with it... Oh, shut up, subconscious.
“A chip? What?”
“Oh... modern technology stuff. We have things called computers that are like mechanical brains or something and chips are little computer parts that do stuff. The one in your head hurts when you try to hurt humans. Kind of makes it hard for you to feed unless the person is willing, I’m sure.”
He still looked doubtful.
“Hit me.” She offered her arm.
He looked scandalized and shook his head. “I cannot do such a thing as striking a lady.”
“One, I’m hardly a lady, and two, that slayer thing comes with extra strength and really fast healing so you’re hardly going to injure me because obviously the point is for me to be able to take a whipping from baddies. So just do it so I can prove it to you.”
He swallowed and continued to look nervous, but finally held up his hand. He looked into her eyes for reassurance before finally hitting her arm, immediately shouting in pain and falling off the cot.
“Oh my!” He yelped, sitting up and putting a hand to his head. “That is quite painful. This is quite extraordinary. Will you show me one of these mechanical brains later?”
“Sure,” she knelt on the floor in front of him to help him.
She felt a bit sorry since she knew that was going to happen. It also brought them close together and they looked at each other slowly, gazes meeting and locking for a few seconds. He took a soft breath, eyes widening slightly, but she pulled back and helped him back onto the cot carefully.
“Since then, well, you have started to help us somewhat. I’m not sure why, really. You go on patrol with me sometimes, but it’s really not that big of deal. I mean, I go to the cemetery and you live there, so it’s only natural we would run into each other. And really, beating on demons and other vamps is probably the only source of fun for you with that chip.” She lifted a shoulder nonchalantly. “But, I sometimes catch you having cocoa with my mom and no matter how I warn her it’s not good to invite in vampires... so that’s why you and my mom are close. And, Dawn just likes you, probably to drive me bonkers. I also think she has a crush on you.”
His brows drew together. “Why did I give you a gift such as the puppy then? You make it seem like we do not care for each other much, especially with all the animosity in the past so why would I give you such a sweet gift?”
“Well, you did it because you felt bad about me feeling bad. I recently was dumped by that military guy I mentioned before and also, you said some mean things to me the other night... which really, as you can imagine, isn’t a new thing. But, you actually said you felt sorry this time for how bad I felt and you gave me a puppy.” She shook her head again. “I’m just as confused as you are.”
He nodded slowly. He was starting to at least figure one thing out for himself. Funny that he was the one with amnesia and the one out of his element, but he was pretty sure he was figuring out the deal with him and Buffy.
“Well, Buffy, it seems we have a very complicated relationship and I am grateful for your help during such a trying time.” He offered a shy smile and tentatively reached out to brush some hair from her eyes. “No matter what you say, to me you are a true lady.”
Her brows went up a fraction and she took in a slow breath. “Thank you, Sp- er, William.”
His smile grew and he handed Billy over to Buffy. “You should go get some rest. A lovely rose such as you does not need beauty sleep, but you probably need much relaxation during such troubling times to help put you back in the holiday mood. I promise to do my best not to be much of a problem.”
“I... I don’t think you’re a problem.” She swallowed and stood up, needing to escape. “But yeah, big night and I need sleep. I’ll get you some blood and clothes from your crypt tomorrow. I know the blood thing probably sounds icky, but hopefully once you get hungry it’ll be like second nature... or we’ll find something to help.”
She took a couple steps back then started to turn to go, but he pulled himself up shakily and she stopped to make sure he didn’t fall over.
“What? Do you need something? I can get it.”
He took a step towards her and kissed her cheek. “Sleep well, Buffy.”
“Um...” she gulped, eyes wide and resisted touching her cheek. “You, too.”
She quickly turned and fled up the stairs before the night had a chance to get any stranger.
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