Note: Thanks to my beta t_geyer for her unending patience, perseverance and support.
SECTION 2 - ANOTHER SUITCASE IN ANOTHER HALL
So what happens now?
(Another suitcase in another hall)
So what happens now?
(Take your picture off another wall)
Where am I going to?
(You'll get by, you always have before)
Where am I going to?
(Don't ask anymore)
(Barbara Dickson, Lyrics and Music by T Rice and A Lloyd Webber
[I know. I know. I'm eternally sorry but the lyrics kind of fit.])
Friday, May 17th, 2002
“Spike! Is there anyone remotely connected to the Council whose family members you haven’t killed?” Even if Buffy’s irritation hadn’t been evident in her voice, Spike would have felt it through their bond, though he took it as a good sign that she left her fingers twined with his as they sat beside each other on the sofa.
“Hey! You make it sound as if I did it with the sole intention of pissin’ you off. You weren’t even born.
She was the Slayer. I was a vampire. When one meets the other, one of them is goin’ to wind up dead. Personally, I’m rather pleased it was her an’ not me. I can understand if you an’ the watcher boys don’t exactly feel the same way but I’m not goin’ to start apologisin’ for not bein’ dust. It was a one on one fight. She was good but she lost. End of story.”
“That doesn’t help us now,” Buffy almost whined. “You know you can’t kill him?”
“Actually, I know no such thing. If it comes down to me or him or you or him, pet, don’t expect me to act all noble, ‘cause I won’t. If you want some self-sacrificing wanker, you best head down to LA.” Spike knew he had said the wrong thing as Buffy’s frustration at the situation gave way to anger toward him when he alluded to her former lover. Thankfully, she was able to pick up on his genuine contrition in the same way.
Giles sighed and interrupted before the discussion could become any more heated. “No one expects you to stand there arms akimbo and let him stake you, Spike. Buffy just means that perhaps you should show some restraint in dealing with him.”
“Look, watcher. If he comes after me, he’ll regret it, but I’ll give him one chance to walk away, on account of his mum. If he so much as touches Buffy, then all bets are off. Comprende?”
“But, Spike, it’s not like he could really hurt me.”
“No, it’s not, ‘cause like I said, you’re goin’ to be wearin’ those orbs as soon as we get rid of Mrs Social Wanker, but I know too damn well from both sides of the equation that if you beat somebody an’ let them live, that next time they just do whatever it takes to shift the odds a bit more in their favour. So, if he touches you, as far as I’m concerned, there is no second chance.”
“How about we change that to if he tries to kill me?” Buffy negotiated, knowing she had almost no hope of getting him to change his mind if he felt that her safety was at risk.
“Slim difference, pet. An’ I’ll be the one judgin’ what he’s tryin’, not you, but I’ll give you that much.
So, Rupes? I’m still waitin’ on an answer…”
“Can you make it for a suit fitting tomorrow morning?” He turned to his two ushers. “I’ve got measurements for you two, but if either of you want to come and have a look at the fabrics and stuff, feel free.”
“Don’t I get an invite?” Buffy pouted. “Besides, maybe I’ll get him to do Rosa’s dress as well. I’ve got a perfect idea what I want. I just need someone who can make it, and if Clem’s going with you, he can bring her along. Maybe, I’ll get him to do our dresses as well, if you think he’s so good.”
“Never said you couldn’t come. Only, don’t think you’re coming with me when I go to get my hair done afterwards.”
“’Cause I’m not about to have you stakin’ the only hairdresser in Sunnyhell that won’t have a fit ‘cause I don’t have a reflection.”
“I thought you did your own.”
“Yeah, that’d be right. Hairdressing by Braille… though it does explain The Poof’s elegant coiffure.”
“Well…” Anya began. “I would like to go, but that wouldn’t leave anyone to mind the shop.”
Wes rolled his eyes. “I’ll do it.”
Anya looked suspicious. “But I thought you hated working in the shop.”
“I did. But I’m sure I can manage to fill in for an hour or two. And with a decent night’s sleep, I’m sure I can even smile pleasantly at the customers.”
“Alright, then.” Spike seemed to assume that this settled the matter. “Everyone as is coming and Wes, meet at the shop at half ten tomorrow morning and don’t wear shoes that you ain’t goin’ to want to go through drains in.”
“Aren’t you taking Mr Wood’s presence in Sunnydale rather lightly?” Giles asked.
“I don’t take anyone as might be a threat to my girls lightly,” Spike answered. “An’ once that woman from Social Services has been an’ gone, I’ll be seein’ if I can come up with any more info on our newest inconvenience, but we’ve still got a wedding to organise, an’ less than two months to do it. And a certain someone would be right pissed off with me if I didn’t sort out my end of the arrangements, which includes seeing to our suits and Glinda an’ Anya’s outfits.”
Buffy smiled and snuggled half an inch closer on the sofa, even though their thighs had already been touching, knowing that Spike would do whatever it took to see she had her perfect day.
“Yes, well. Let me know if your ‘research’ throws up any new information. In the meantime, I’d best get back to The Magic Box.”
Spike took pity on the watcher after his earlier dishevelled appearance. “I’ll drop you off.”
“We really should be heading off, as well,” Wesley added, looking across at Tara.
Anya, who by now had heard about Wes’s new address, volunteered. “Maybe if you left your keys, I could tidy up a bit for you. I really shouldn’t be here when Dawn’s case worker arrives, anyway.”
“If you’re sure?” Wes seemed surprised by the offer but readily handed over the keys.
“You help with the shop, we help out with your house,” the former demon replied.
“Spit it out, then, watcher.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, you do. You’re itching for it.” The vampire did a fair approximation of the watcher’s rich tones. “If you don’t justify the faith that she has put in you I will find you and make sure you die a slow lingering death. If you ever make her regret that she agreed to marry you I will introduce the colonials to Bonfire Night with you as Guy Fawkes. If you so much as leave the top off the toothpaste I will douse you in holy water. Just get it over an’ done with, an’ then we can get to the bit about you leavin’ her in the lurch.”
“That wasn’t precisely the chat I had in mind.” Giles pulled his glasses off to polish them.
“But it came close enough that we can take it as read?”
“I suppose so, but don’t assume I’m not serious about this.”
“Everybody’s serious about it, but I reckon Glinda’s the one that actually has me worried.”
“Really?” the watcher asked curiously. “Why’s that?”
“Well, figure I’m more worried about bits droppin’ off than I am about a good old fashioned stakin’. Anyway, you, I figure, are pushin’ it with the fatherly concern considerin’ how you upped an’ left her. You know when she got word back that they weren’t goin’ to take her back at that crappy college, she had no one she could talk to about it. No one. Just bottled it all up inside for months, ‘cause even though Giles would understand he told her to stand on her own two feet. Have you any idea how bloody alone she was when you buggered off?
Harris tryin’ to work out just how he could screw up worse than his father. Demon bint too busy with her wedding plans to notice if the bloody Chippendales were strippin’ off in front of her. Red either mopin’ or whacked out from whatever she was up to at Rack’s. Glinda out of the picture because she couldn’t be ‘round Red. An’ the last person she could let know how bad things were was the Niblet.”
“And just where did you fit in to all this?”
“I didn’t. We started something and we had totally different expectations as to what it was and where we wanted it to go. So I guess I ended up being another problem… for a while. But that’s not the point.
What I’m getting at is, more than the bloody Atlantic, you put up emotional barriers between the pair of you an’ unless you do something about it, that girl will never tell you again when she’s really hurtin’. An’ just in case somethin’ does happen to me, I’d kinda like to know that she’s not goin’ to be alone again.”
“I was always there at the end of a phone line if she needed to talk.”
“But you made her feel as if she was letting you down if she showed she needed you. Didn’t you get suspicious when she never had anything but good news?”
Spike sighed. “Look, she’s better now. Maybe still not quite her old self, maybe she never will be, but it’s no thanks to your sink or swim approach. She came damn near to drownin’, so maybe before you start on how I should treat her you should have a think about how you should make that up to her.”
“So, are you and Spike going to move into mom’s room until the basement is ready?” Dawn asked as the puppy scrambled onto the seat Spike had vacated so that she was within easy petting distance of both the Summers women.
“That was what I was thinking, but after our little spat this morning, I didn’t even want to ask whether he was planning on staying in the house now that Wes’ll be moving out of his apartment.” Buffy gave her sister a wry smile.
“Yeah, like you could chase him away with a flaming torch and a river full of holy water,” the teenager replied.
“Nope, but plain old know-it-all Buffy might manage the job all on her own.”
“Yeah, well she can be kinda tough to live with, but from what I overheard of this morning’s argument, I think she might have had a point, even if maybe she should have given him a chance to explain before she went ballistic.”
“So does that mean we don’t need to start moving your things, yet?” Anya asked.
“I think we just wait for Spike to come home, work out what to do about lunch and try to relax until Miss Siembeda gets here. I’d rather not be in mid move when she arrives,” Buffy admitted.
Dawn stifled a yawn. “I can live with that.” Dawn cast an appraising eye over her sister. “So you and Spike are all of the good again?”
“So long as the blond one can lay off with the Angel paranoia. Why?”
“So no more bad-mood Buffy?”
“No more bad-mood Buffy. I say again, why?”
“I just wanted to see what you thought about letting Brandon in on the whole demon, key thing.”
“Whoa there. Hold up. Those are two totally separate issues.” Buffy reacted on instinct, temporarily blindsided.
“But Lily’s invite for tomorrow is an ‘and guest’. She obviously wants me to take him, and it’s not like he hasn’t proved that he can be trusted and that well, I know it’s early days, but he does seem to care, and he sort of knows about the key thing anyway ‘cause of the whole second sight deal.”
“Dawnie, slow up. Yes, I get that Lily seems okay about you asking him, and given what his dad already knows about the demon thing, I guess it’s not like he’s a total ‘civilian’. You’re right. He’s earned a degree of trust, and as long as Lily and her family are okay about it, I guess there’s no harm in the demon telling. I’m just not so sure about this second sight, key thing. You’re going to have to spell it out for me.”
“The first time he saw me, just for a few seconds Brandon saw me as the Key, or sort of anyway. He said I looked all glowy like an angel. I feel bad about it, ‘cause he thinks it’s this whole romantic deal, but his grandfather has second sight so I figure, it isn’t and I feel like if I don’t tell him the truth then this whole thing between us is kinda based on a lie and I don’t want to be lying to him.”
Buffy frowned and pressed her teeth into her lower lip as she considered. "Let me have a while to think about it. Okay? Maybe see what Spike thinks."
"Spike said that he was okay with it, but that it was up to you. If you said no then he would totally back you up."
"But he trusts him?"
Dawn nodded solemnly. "I told him that I thought maybe we could have Brandon over tonight. It seems like if he's going to sometimes be in danger because of what I am, he should at least understand why and if he needed some convincing Spike said he would flash some fang."
"I bet he did. Leave it with me, okay?"
"Sure." Dawn answered, confident that if she gave Buffy time to consider things that she would get the answer she wanted. She'd heard her sister complain long and loud enough about Spike's ability to read people to know that she trusted his opinion.
"So, are we allowed to discuss the Key thing again? I mean..." Anya looked around the room as if searching for bugs.
Dawn smiled at the currently blonde woman's concern. "They're not hearing anything they didn't already know, believe me."
"I'll still be happier when Tara gets that spell sorted out," Buffy muttered.
"Should I go sort out some videos or something for when he gets back?" Dawn asked.
"Well, I guess that depends on how you feel about Passions." Buffy nodded towards the only tapes that were in proximity to the VCR.
Dawn rolled her eyes and paused only to call the dog from her spot on the sofa before heading upstairs.
Buffy pottered around in the kitchen for a while, putting on a fresh pot of coffee and putting together a bucket of cleaning supplies that Anya might need before she finally got the nerve to say what she wanted. "Seems like you and Xander are having a few issues. I hope we're not making things worse for you."
Anya sighed. "It's not your fault that Xander's being an ass. I love him. I do. He'll eventually come round. It's just having the patience to wait."
"And if he doesn't?"
Anya shrugged and then gave a resigned smile. "Who do you think is more stubborn out of the two of us?"
Buffy couldn't help but smile in return. "He doesn't stand a chance, does he? If you do ever want to talk, though, it's not just Spike who's here for you, you know. I'm sorry if that's how it's seemed. You've been playing a valuable part in this whole demon fighting thing for a long time, but some of us took a lot longer than we should have to see beyond the Xander's girlfriend thing. You, Tara, Riley even and then Spike, none of you really got treated as equals. For my part, I’m sorry, but I want you to know that we appreciate you for you, even if it took us a while."
Anya’s smile brightened by several watts. “Thank you, Buffy. I think that may be the nicest thing anyone other than Xander has said to me since I became human, though Spike was very comforting when Xander cast me off like an old shoe.”
“Yeah, he’s pretty good at that. It’s probably years of practice on drunken women, lulling them into a false sense of security before he lured them off to their doom… And I really wish that thought hadn’t occurred to me.”
“Local Hero, The Quiet Man, Casablanca, The Usual Suspects or The Princess Bride?” Dawn interrupted Buffy’s depressing turn of thought with a selection of videos that had all belonged to her mother.
“I don’t think I’ve seen Local Hero,” Anya offered. “Or The Quiet Man. Are they any good?”
“Em,” Buffy hesitated and drew a dirty look at her sister. “I don’t think Local Hero is exactly your sort of film.”
“What?” the teenager mouthed.
“Rabbit,” her sister mouthed in reply before continuing her conversation with Anya. “And if we put on The Quiet Man, ten to one John Wayne would be dragging his wife along the ground when the social worker arrived and we’d be accused of encouraging domestic violence.”
“Just lucky neither of you have a black eye. Or is that tempting fate the first time Spike and Giles have been left alone? Casablanca?” Dawn asked. “No one could get upset about Casablanca. Well, other than the normal multiple tissues upset.”
“Thanks for the comforting notion of my watcher and my fiancé in a battle to the death, Dawnie.”
“Think nothing of it,” the teenager responded as she flopped back onto the sofa having pushed the required tape into the VCR. “That’s what sisters are for.”
When Spike arrived back, Ilse and her husband were just making their first visit to Rick’s. “Hope you’re okay with KFC for now,” the vampire said, dumping a family bucket from the said establishment on the table before getting hold of the dog by her glittery collar and dragging her behind him as he headed for the basement with a brown paper sack tucked under his other arm.
“What’s he doing?” Dawn asked as she peered after the vampire.
Buffy smirked. “I suspect he’s making sure that this time he beats your beast to the food.”
“He wouldn’t… Okay, yes, he would, but that’s so unfair.”
“You can complain when it eats your dinner, Bit.” The vampire was back before Dawn had finished her moan. “For now, I’ll just eat my Zinger strips in peace.” He pulled a separate package from his jacket pocket, and covered the chicken pieces with chilli sauce before taking the empty spot on the sofa and tucking in. “I picked up another week’s worth of blood while I was out, but I figured best to stash it out the way in the cooler in the basement for now, just in case your woman follows you into the kitchen when you get her a drink.”
“Well,” said Anya. “I think it’s safe to say that he’s not planning on going back to his apartment any time soon.”
“What?” Spike looked to Buffy, suddenly on the defensive. “I just thought when the one watcher moved out, the other would probably move in. If there’s a problem though, I mean if you’d rather I left so the Watcher can stay here…”
Buffy would have let her touch give him his answer, if it weren’t for the teenager in the way, but Dawn answered for her before she could.
“Don’t be stupid. Why would we want you anywhere else? We just didn’t know whether to shift your stuff into mom’s room or not.”
Spike still looked to Buffy for confirmation. “What do you think?”
“I think it would be nice for us to have a bigger room, so you can have more of your things here.”
Spike looked from one Summers woman to the other. “I’ve already got everything that counts.”
If you are under the age of 17, please use your head and do not read fics that are labeled "NC-17". Parents, I cannot control what your children are reading, so please be advised that the majority of the fics archived here are NOT suitable for those under the age of 17.
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I am in no way making any profit from this site. This is for pure entertainment purposes only.
Concept: (c)bringonthebloodshed.com (2004), Code & Design: (c)Diabola (2006), Graphics: Selene & Always