Old Alliances, Re-established.
Chapter 6: Old Alliances, Re-established.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m quite certain Buffy. The victims of these attacks aren’t connected in any logical or immediate way. They’re completely separate attacks.”
Buffy frowned, pacing Giles apartment. She had thought for sure that there must have been a link between the two attacks.
“If there is a link between the two cases, it’s an ambiguous one. I assure you I was quite thorough with my research. But, if your suspicions are correct then more attacks shall follow, perhaps an association will become apparent then.” Giles removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose for a moment before returning them. He had spent the better part of the night with his head in books and he had found nothing.
“But I don’t want more attacks!” Buffy exclaimed. She sighed, slumping into the armchair. Holding her head in her hands she fought the frustration of being left in the dark. This was all part of something bigger. She knew it.
Giles moved quickly into the kitchen when the kettle began to whistle and poured two cups of tea. Returning to the living area, he handed one to Buffy and sipped at the other as he lowered himself onto the sofa. With these recent attacks, the pending threat of Glory, and running the Magic Box, he had been run off his feet. It felt good to sit down and relax for five minutes.
“I’m sorry Giles… I guess I’m just a little frustrated. The last thing we need right now if a new threat to deal with… Glory is coming down on us more frequently and Dawn is…”
“Everything is going to be okay Buffy.” Giles soothed interrupting her escalating worries. “We can handle this.”
Buffy was too tired to argue. Instead she sipped at her warm tea, it warming her mouth and throat as the liquid slipped down. A frown crossed her face as she remembered the events from last night. “As if I don’t already have enough things to worry about, I bailed Spike out from yet another fight on my way home last night.”
Giles raised a curious eyebrow.
“Don’t know why, figure he owed them money or something. There were nine of them. PLUS, he was drunk.” She added, her annoyance obvious.
“Nine vampire you say?” Giles probed. “That’s a bit extreme… are you sure there wasn’t something more behind it?”
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. “Once they were dust I left him where he was… didn’t care enough to find out why they were after him. When does Spike NOT have someone after him?” she posed.
Half an hour later Buffy left Giles’ place and returned home. Dawn had still been sleeping. Not wanting her to be late again Buffy had opened the curtains in her sister’s room and ushered her out of bed and into the shower. Ten minutes later she was dressed and eating breakfast when a car horn honked outside and Dawn flew down the stairs and threw open the front door.
“Bye Buffy!” she called as she slammed the door behind her.
Buffy watched from the lounge room window as Xander pulled away from the curb and drove towards the middle school. The house was empty. Deciding to take advantage of the fact she ascended the stairs and locked herself in the bathroom for a long, hot shower.
Spike ran from the safety of shade with the blanket wrapped around his head and body, straight at the Summers back door. He fumbled with the door handle for a moment before it swung open and he lunged forward. Jumping up he closed the door behind him and dropped the smoking blanket on the ground. He tentatively moved from the kitchen into the living room and then walked past the front door being mindful to keep out of the patches of sunlight that streamed in from the few windows that weren’t covered. No one was downstairs. He figured the bit was probably at school.
“Buffy?” he called.
When she didn’t respond he started to climb the stairs to the second level. It was when he was half way up that he heard the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. Oh god she’s in the shower…
He stopped where he was and closed his eyes for a moment, and was instantly flooded with images from his imagination… a steamy bathroom, the hot water from the shower head streaming down on her. Down her toned back, her legs, her face, her abdomen…
Shuddering in delight at the imagined images his mind conjured he continued up the stairs. He would wait for her in her room. The walk down the hall was both cautious and torturous. Knowing that she was on the other side of that door… naked…
He walked passed quietly, not wanting to make too much noise. Luckily the blinds were drawn both in the hall and in Buffy’s room. He walked into her bedroom and sat down on edge of her bed, waiting for her to emerge. He would wait for her to return to her room after she had dressed.
Ten minutes later Buffy shut off the taps and stepped out of the cocoon of warmth in the shower and into the steamed up bathroom. She ran her fingers over the mirror on the wall, examining her tired reflection for an instant before pulling a towel free from a hook and wrapping it around her body under her arms. Tucking it at the front she retrieved a second smaller towel and began to dry off her hair as she opened the bathroom door and walked to her bedroom.
She flicked the light switch as she stepped into the room and immediately jumped in fright, her eyes widening in shock when she saw a figure seated on her bed. The towel she had been using to dry her hair dropped to the ground and she clutched desperately at the one wrapped around her torso as it loosened its hold.
“Spike! What are you doing in my room?” She demanded, the surprise of his presence evident in her voice.
Spike appeared to be just as surprised as she was, and his eyes widened when he drank in the next to nothing that was concealing her body. From the look of the dew on her skin, it was safe to assume she was naked beneath the towel. He had thought she would have dressed in the bathroom. A flicker of amusement crossed his face at her surprise of him being there, which was followed closely by a gaze of appreciation. Realizing that if he continued to ogle her that the chances he leave this house alive would be drastically reduced, he averted his gaze as he stood up and moved to a corner of the room, facing away from her.
“I won’t look…” he told her as he fought to keep facing the wall.
Buffy glared at his turned back for a moment before she walked over to her bureau to retrieve some underwear. Clutching the smalls tightly to her chest she grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from the closet.
“Stay where you are.” She demanded as she left the bedroom and walked into Dawn’s room. Closing the door for safe measure she dried off and dressed quickly. Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself from the shock of finding him in her room, she grabbed her wet towel and opened the door, walking back to her room. Picking the other one up from her bedroom floor she placed them both in the hamper in the bathroom and returned to confront Spike.
He had waited patiently, with his back turned the entire time, not daring to turn around. The last thing he wanted to do was piss her off. So whilst he waited for her to return he had been replaying the image of her standing before him with just the cotton towel between them. He too inhaled a few deep breaths to calm himself, but for an entirely different reason than Buffy’s.
“Spike.” she called as she moved back into her room.
Turning slowly he noticed that her cheeks were flushed a light crimson in colour, but he didn’t draw attention to it. She stood a few feet away from him, her arms folded over her chest defensively.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
He was surprised that she held his gaze. Moments earlier she had been mortified to find him in her room when she had thought herself home alone. But now… She never stopped surprising him. Returning the stare for a moment, he studied her face for a second before responding.
“I just wanted to thank you for helping me out last night…” he answered.
She stared at him quizzically for a moment, her disbelief obvious. “Why come to my house in the middle of the day? You’ve been making a habit of showing up whilst I’m on patrol or at the Magic Box… you could have apologised then. Why here?”
He shrugged his shoulders. Truthfully, he didn’t have anything better to do during the daylight hours, and he preferred to get it off of his chest, than to lie about in his crypt thinking about it all day. That, and he wanted to see her…
“Didn’t have anything else to do.”
“Right.” Buffy walked over to her bed and sat down, leaning against the pillows. “Well if that’s all….” she hinted for him to leave. She planned on catching up on some lost sleep for a few hours before she returned to the Magic Box for even more research.
Back-pedaling Spike tried to prolong his exit. “I also wanted to apologise for the other night…”
“Other night?” she said confused.
“In the kitchen… the information you didn’t want to hear…” he probed.
“Didn’t want to hear?” she repeated indignantly, glaring at him. “What are you talking…”
“Your new playmate Jake…” he interrupted, stopped the next cutting remark directed at the boy that wanted to escape his lips. “I guess I didn’t go about it the right way but I really was just looking out for….”
“You’ve been spying on me Spike… how did you think I was going to react?” she asked somewhat calmly. She was too tired to allow herself to get worked up by an argument.
“I wasn’t spying.” he insisted. “I was at the Bronze, and after you left me out near the stage I took the back exit onto the street to light one up. I saw the boy and over-heard his conversation. Did a little digging after what was said is all… I wasn’t spying.”
Buffy contemplated his explanation for a moment before posing another question. “How did you know who he was when you saw him in the alley?” she asked.
Spike’s expression hardened. “So maybe I saw you in the Bronze before I came out the back. That doesn’t make the guy any less dirty.”
He sat on the end of her bed, pleading with her to believe him. Buffy could see the concern in his eyes, and she wondered if his information sharing was part of an ulterior motive. Yes she had been a little curious as to why Jake was constantly checking his cell phone, and she had wondered why he walked away when he received a call, but then again her father almost always had his cell on his person also.
Spike could see her resolved melting and he hoped that she would at least hear him out before she tossed him out into the sun. He knew that she was aware that he cared for her, he’d told her that. He wanted to be with her, but that was not his motivation for this, to wipe out the competition. Ok, so it wasn’t his ONLY motivation. He genuinely didn’t want to see her taken advantage of.
“I don’t want to see you get hurt is all….” He said sincerely. “I know there’s more to it all than the wanker’s sharing. I want to clear up a few details first, then I’ll lay it all on you. What you do with the info is your choice.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “Alright.”
She was taking what Spike was saying on face value. He was right about one thing, his actions were a little suspicious. She didn’t know what was stopping her from telling Spike to back off, but she didn’t. If something was up, then it was better to know now. If nothing turned up, then she would beat Spike around the block for playing on her insecurities.
Spike took her silence as acceptance. He smiled with relief.
“I need to get some rest… do you mind?” she asked tiredly.
“Oh, sure.” Spike fumbled as he stood and walked quickly to her bedroom door.
“Watch out for yourself.” He warned, and then disappeared down the stairs before Buffy could reply.
By the time he had made it downstairs, and had his blanket wrapped around himself, she was already fast asleep.
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