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Strip Snap by Lilachigh
Chp 22 Not Your Girl
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Not your Girl

William and Spike strode down the darkened street, their strides matching. Spike’s coat billowed behind him but apart from that, in jeans, boots and T-shirts they looked identical.

“I am still unclear as to why you needed me to accompany you on this marketing expedition,” William said.

Spike grunted. If he were honest, he would say it was because he didn’t want to leave his other half anywhere near Buffy. He knew only too well what they’d done and he was buggered if they were going to do it again.

But there was also a tiny flicker of curiosity in his mind. He wanted to spend some time with William. However weird it seemed, this was him, the him that had once been. It was hard to remember being this inoffensive, but it was true.

“Miss Willow seemed to have no doubts as to what she needed to make this spell work,” William commented as they reached the brightly lit shopping mall.

Several people turned and stared at them, but the cold glare from Spike’s eyes deterred them from speaking.

“Oh the witch is as clever as a cart load of monkeys when it comes to the mojo side,” Spike conceded. “She used just to dabble, now it’s a full time thing. She’s been trying to give it up, but you saw her just now – she couldn’t wait to get together with demon girl to find the right spell to chuck the Master through some nasty portal into an even nastier world than this.”

William pulled a sheet of paper out of his pocket. “The list is very detailed,” he said doubtfully. “I must admit to a little astonishment that there are not enough magical ingredients in the magic shop itself.”

Spike shrugged, collapsed onto a bench and lit a cigarette, blowing the smoke angrily against a No Smoking sign. “She wants fresh, I suppose. Let’s look – yes, fresh basil, two goose eggs, blimey, six artichoke hearts – what’s she making, a spell or soup?”

“She is Buffy’s great friend,” William said slowly. “But she doesn’t know that you – that I – that we – ”

“Have sex with the Slayer! No, she doesn’t. Spends too much time worrying about herself. They all do. No one worries about my girl.”

“Your girl?” William tensed.

Spike ground the cigarette under his boot. “Well, she certainly isn‘t yours, Bill old chum! So you can get that idea out of your head. Soon as we get this bloody Master business finished with, you’ll have to go.”

William’s blue eyes hardened and for a second Spike realised that this was what looking in a mirror would be like. “You think you can kill me?”

Spike shrugged with a century’s certainty of death and destruction. “Don’t think – know.”

“I have the same skills as you – the body is the same.”

“But not the mind that drives it,” Spike said dryly.

William smiled suddenly, his face alight with a charm that made a passing girl stop, turn and almost, but luckily not quite, come back to flirt with the blond twins sitting on the bench.

“If you kill me, you will also vanish because I will no longer be here, so cannot be turned and thus become you.”

Spike stared at him for a moment, then wondered if his head was going to burst open and send his brains exploding across the mall floor in little grey spitballs. “Look, let’s just get the rotten ingredients and get the hell back to the Magic Shop. We’ll worry about what happens afterwards – afterwards.”

William sighed. He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help liking this man he’d become. There was a part of him that envied the bravery, the spit-in-the-eye-of-the-world attitude that Spike had in abundance. He wondered what dear Cecily would think if she could meet him now? The soft muscles of his arms hardened into steel, the poet’s hands thinner, deadlier and oh so talented in the ways of bringing a woman to the very doors of paradise itself.

He lifted his fingers to his nose and sniffed silently. The aroma he sought was still there. Then he caught Spike’s glare and pretended to scratch his chin. He knew that Buffy loved Spike and that Spike loved Buffy. And he was also aware that this was a love he would one day know himself. It was all very confusing because at the moment his heart belonged to Cecily.

Would Cecily love Spike? He recalled exactly what Buffy had taught him over the last few days and shifted uneasily on the bench. How could he possibly return and expect Cecily to do – well, some of those things that no nice young lady would ever do.

But, a little voice whispered in his head, perhaps she’d enjoy doing them, just like Buffy does.

He sighed. He knew instinctively that he would never make love with Buffy Summers again. He knew, too, that somehow he would be sent back to his own time. For all he’d told Buffy he didn’t want to, it wasn’t logical to pretend he wouldn’t. Because here was Spike, existing in this world. So he would go back and be turned by Dru and become –

“A sapphire! Where the hell does Willow think we’re going to get a sodding sapphire!” Spike had been buying things and now he was back, turning over the shopping list and reading the last ingredient scribbled on the back.

William jerked his mind back from a scenario of pushing Cecily down on the floor of the summer-house, lifting her skirt, pulling down her ruffled pantalettes and –


“How much dosh do you have on you?”


“Money. Cash. Coin of the realm, although dollars would be better.”

William shrugged. “None at all. Oh, yes, there is this strange coin in my trousers.” And he pulled out a quarter.

Spike flicked it away from him and pocketed it. “I wondered where that had gone! Thanks, mate. But it won’t buy us a sapphire. I’ve got about ten dollars left and that’s it.”

“So we cannot purchase the jewel? Buffy and Miss Willow will be distressed.”

Spike lit another cigarette and offered the packet to William, who shook his head. “I have once smoked a cigar, but mother doesn’t approve of tobacco.” Then their eyes met and both vampires burst out laughing.

“Have you ever regretted what happens to us?” William asked at last.

Spike shook his head. “Never, not for a single moment. You won’t either when it happens,” he said. “Be honest and think about your life – the boredom, the petty, stupid people you know. You’ll be offered – everything. And you’ll take it, willingly.”

William watched as Spike flicked the lighter and stared round the mall at the late night shoppers, a wistful, hungry expression on his face. Suddenly a thought occurred to him. “What happens to Mother? I am not green enough not to realise that she died a long time ago, but I do hope I took care of her in her old age. I plan to buy a cottage in the country for her when I have made my fortune. She is so delicate – well, you know that, of course – I feel the country air will be so much better for her than the damp and smog in London during the winter.”

Spike made a fuss of stubbing out his cigarette. How could he possibly tell William what he would do to their mother? The pain that would cause was unthinkable. If he’d been Angelus, then yes, he’d have done it in a trice, with all the intimate details. But then he’d never been so much for the mental torture bit. He’d preferred the real type, with ropes and knives and terror.

“Mother ended her life just as she would have wished,” he said shortly. “Now, let’s find this friggin’ sapphire and get back to the Magic Box.”

“But we’ve no money – ”

Spike sighed. “Forget money, Bill. We’ll nick a ring from that jewellers over there. I’ll grab it, you hold the door open, then run like hell!”

Two hours later, a silent circle of people sat on the floor of the Magic Box. The shop was dark, lit only by candles that Anya had arranged on every surface. Willow had built a two foot high pyramid of white glass spheres and balanced on the top was a glass dish holding the concoction she and Anya had spent the evening preparing.

Buffy peered at the swirling green mixture that smelt of rotten eggs. “Phewww, Will, are you sure this will send The Master into another dimension? What if he just – doesn’t go.”

Willow shook her head. “This is the most powerful spell I can find, Buffy. I’ve scraped up a lot of soil from where his bones were scattered when you pulverised him. There must be some of him in there. You only need an atom or two for the spell to work. ”

“So what do we do?”

“As the demon charm says, we need the three of you, Spike, William and you. Hold hands around the pyramid. William has the words written down in Mayan. He’ll say them, then just at the end, you throw the sapphire into the mixture, the glass globes turn black and wherever The Master is, he’ll go through a portal into the next dimension. I’ve no idea which – but it gets him out of this world, that’s the important thing.”

Buffy nodded and took the tiny blue stone from Anya’s reluctant hand.

“It’s very small,” the ex-demon girl said disparagingly. “Couldn’t you have stolen something bigger, Spike?”

“You’re bloody lucky to get that one,” the vampire replied. “We almost got caught by the security guards. I told William to hold the door open, but I didn’t mean for him to stop and let another customer out first! Idiot!”

William shrugged. He’d realised earlier on that whatever Spike said, it didn’t hurt him. The connection he felt for his double was far too deep to be touched by the vampire’s sarcasm. They were two parts of a whole and as such couldn’t hurt each other in any way.

“Right, let’s do it!” Buffy said. “Before The Master decides to pay us a visit himself.”

She reached out a hand and felt Spike’s fingers tighten around hers. She glanced at him but he refused to meet her gaze and she shivered. He was still angry with her, she knew that. But the touch of his skin burnt hers with a cold fire. She slid her other hand into William’s palm which felt the same, but left no impression on her nerves. Two identical men, but one she loved and one she didn’t. And she had no idea why.

William had started chanting the spell, the green mixture swirled in its dish, sending out a vile smell. The candles guttered in a breeze that sprang up and scurried through the shop.

Spike’s fingers tightened on hers and she could see his other hand clasping William’s, their fingers entwined, linked. What had the demon charm said, ‘love, desire and need times three’. And here they were, all three of them, determined to rid the world of The Master once and for all.

As William stopped talking in the strange, South American language he seemed to say so effortlessly, she let go of his hand and flung the tiny blue stone into the mixture.

The breeze turned into a wind, the candles went out and for minutes the shop was plunged into darkness. Then there was the scrape of a match and Anya’s face was lit into golden brilliance as she touched the flame to a candle.

Buffy stared at the glass globes on the floor in front of her. Then blinked and stared again. They were still white. Not a single one had turned black!

To be continued

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