Banner by Spikes Slayer2
AN: Thank you to my lovely betas – DoS and Ruth.
The momentary relief at the end of Buffy’s troubled nightmares was short-lived when she found her sleepy eyes coming into focus on the angry blue ones hovering above her. A hand tightened on her throat and it was a good thing that she didn’t need to breathe—not that she would have fought him if he had changed his mind about finishing her off.
“What did you do to me?” Spike demanded harshly.
Her mouth opened and a choked sound came out, letting him know that he needed to ease up at least a bit so that she could answer him. He did and she coughed before replying.
“You were getting pretty freaked out and well...I was worried you were going to hurt yourself,” she said. “Or just...do something bad, so I mean...I wanted to prove I can be a good Sire. I...put you to sleep...so you could calm down and take some time to process things.”
He jerked his hands away from her and stepped away, allowing her to sit up.
She eyed him warily from under her lashes as she continued to try to explain. “I meant every word I said about wanting to make it up to you...but if you don’t want me doing the Sire thing, then that’s okay. I just...something in me that is your Sire, it couldn’t help wanting to take care of you.” She rubbed her neck reflexively.
“You don’t get to step back into the role of my master an’ exercise control over me,” he said, not sure if her response made him more or less angry with her.
“I’m sorry; it was the best idea I could think of...” Her eyes went watery as she continued, her voice trembling slightly. “And I know...I know being your Sire doesn’t automatically mean that I’m your master...at least, I know that now. I wasn’t meaning that...I mean it like...I dunno—a big sister?”
“So what, you think we just become the best of chums now?” He gave a harsh laugh as he spun away from her.
“No. I don’t. I guess you’ll never want to be my friend—or even be near me.” She sighed and stood. “I only brought you here because, well, I don’t know where you live and I knew this was a safe place to sleep.”
Buffy started for the bathroom. “I need to go see my friends, so I’m going to take a shower. I guess...you’ll be gone when I get out.”
Without even looking back for confirmation of her assumption, Buffy walked into the bathroom with slumped shoulders. The door clicked shut behind her and she leaned against it for a moment while she regrouped with a slow breath. At least she knew now that he hadn’t died all those years ago because of her wicked carelessness. That was something—not much, but something—off the constant weight bearing down on her soul.
The shower went a long way toward soothing her and returning her to her normal sense of calm. Buffy slung a towel around herself then left the bathroom with the intent of going into her bedroom to get dressed—but that wasn’t what happened.
A certain vampire was still standing in her living room looking lost.
“You’re...you’re still here...” she stated dumbly.
“Boy, you’ve gotten smarter over the years,” Spike snarked, his jaw working with indecision before he finally spoke again. “There’s a way that you can start at gainin’ my trust...or at least an uneasy co-existence. I came to help the slayer, an’ you know her, so...introduce me?”
“You came here to help the slayer?” Her nose wrinkled in confusion, taken aback at what he told her.
“Why’s that so weird? You’re helpin’ her.”
“I mean, I know you have the soul—that’s how I got...where I am. I just didn’t expect that; although, I’m not sure what I thought you came here for.” She shrugged then looked down at her feet awkwardly.
“I’ve been helpin’ slayers for awhile now. As soon as I found out about them, I sought them out, out of curiosity, and then I finally figured out that that’s where I needed to be. The Council of Wankers sends out a young girl with precious little trainin’ to fight against all the baddies with no help?” He snorted. “An’ demons are the soulless ones?”
“Oh, well, I just happened to be in the area when she was called. Seeing as we were both working toward the same goal, it was only natural that helping her would be beneficial to the whole…good-doing…thing.” She looked up at him briefly, then away again, nodding. “Let me get dressed and I’ll take you with me to the meeting I was heading to anyway.”
“I’ll be outside havin’ myself a fag,” he told her, pulling out a pack of cigarettes from his duster as he headed for the door.
Watching him walk out of the apartment, Buffy let out a tired breath. All this drama was seriously draining, but how could she complain when it seemed that actually, she was getting off light for some reason? She still didn’t get why he had thrown her such a curve ball the night before. A blowjob was hardly the payback she had been expecting, and somehow, she knew that wasn’t all he had intended before changing his mind.
The next mystery was why she was giving special thought to what to wear.
Spike definitely didn’t care what she wore or how she looked. She finally muttered a curse at her own stupidity as she grabbed a random pair of jeans and a shirt to wear with it. This would do for a meeting with the slayer and her friends, as it was what she usually wore. That didn’t mean that she couldn’t brush out her hair a bit more than usual, and add some tinted lip gloss and mascara.
God, Elizabeth, you are so pathetic.
“Okay, I’m ready to go,” Buffy announced as she stepped outside. She took a moment to admire Spike’s new look while his back was turned, stamping out the cigarette that had been perched between his lips when she first came out. “Um, everyone meets at this occult shop that the Watcher bought as a cover for getting magical goods. They’re all nice, but might be a bit wary of you at first. I’m sure Faith has told them about you...and not in a good way.”
“I’m sure you’ll set them straight on which of us is the one to worry about,” Spike said sardonically as he took up step beside her.
Her shoulders slumped, because she really didn’t feel she had a good comeback for that. Really, she had no right to defend her actions at all. They had been heinous and she knew that she would never be able to fully make up for them.
“I’m not that girl anymore...” was what came out so quietly that he only was able to pick it up because of his enhanced vampire hearing.
At least she didn’t see when his eyes flashed silver at her comment. She was too busy worrying her lip with her teeth as she thought about how she was going to explain everything to the slayer and her friends.
At the front door to the Magick Box, Buffy paused and looked up at Spike thoughtfully. “Maybe I should go in and sort of explain you a bit before you come in, so as not to spook them too badly.”
“Nuh-uh, luv. I’m comin’ in with you.” He caught at the hand holding the doorknob. “We go in together.”
“Fine, have it your way.”
With a toss of her hair, she opened the door and went inside. The usual gang was predictably gathered around the table in the back with books spread out across its surface. All eyes were on them, curious at the newcomer. Except for Faith, whose eyes narrowed slightly as she recognized who it was.
“So, you’re still in one piece,” the slayer said mildly.
“Yup, and here to give you an explanation of last night’s little scene behind the Bronze.” Buffy looked over at Spike. The other vampire just watched her as she spoke and gave no sign of jumping in, so she took a deep breath. “I never told you the details of how I got my soul or whatever it is I have. We just had Tara confirm it and you took me for my word that I was here to help you because of it. Though you probably don’t really want the details of how it happened, I need to give you at least a glossed over version to explain Wil...Spike.”
Still, Spike watched her quietly, and his unwavering gaze didn’t help her uneasiness.
“I was a very...very bad vampire, as you can imagine. I did the whole murder and mayhem bit...and then one night I came across William.” Her brows drew together at the memory. “I was going to kill him, but saw the sign of the Master in a birthmark and decided turning him would be more fun. I knew he would be different because of the legend about his marking, but was surprised to find that ‘different’ basically meant—well, for one, he had a soul. Oh, I tried to torture it out of him, but it didn’t work and instead, I was...changed. When I realized what he did to me, I ran out and left him. I thought he had perished—but here he is.”
“The sign of the Master?” Giles was a little distracted by that piece of information and almost missed the rest. “I seem to remember hearing about that somewhere. It had to do with a special breed of vampire...but it was only a myth.”
“Not anymore,” Buffy said and nodded to Spike. “I don’t know if he’ll let you go all research mode on him; that’ll be up to him, of course. Tara can confirm his soul, though.”
All eyes turned to the meek blonde and she smiled tentatively at Spike. Then Tara looked at Faith and Giles in turn, nodding her agreement.
“He has one,” she told them. “And it’s even brighter than hers. I suspect partly to do with the fact that, as she told us, she has done her share of evil before she got her soul and he has barely been touched by it.”
“Yeah, but I’m a little curious as to why he’s here, since I saw what happened in the alley. Even the good guys get their rage on every now and then, and hey, I can’t blame you for wanting to do some serious bad to the person that tortured you.” Faith rested her arms on the table and looked up at them with a look that plainly said that she was not fooled by Buffy’s awkward “glossing over” of their shared past.
“Spike told me he’s been helping Slayers since we parted, and seeing as I knew the current slayer...” Buffy lifted a shoulder. “As for the rest—it’s personal.”
“Well, does he at least speak?” Anya asked bluntly.
Buffy knew this was not a good time to laugh, but couldn’t help grabbing for an excuse for Spike to step in so that she could stop babbling nervously. She sat down at the table and looked up at Spike with head tilted as if to say, “Well, do you?”
“Yeah, I do,” he said gruffly, shoving his hands in his duster. “But she was doin’ a pretty good job so far of explainin’ it all. I don’t know about lettin’ you do your Watcher thing, seein’ as I know how you guys get, but I’m here to help fight the good fight.”
“Well, I’m not just going to trust you with my back,” Faith informed him, looking to Buffy and back to Spike. “She’s earned it, but you haven’t. Her word and Tara’s will buy you some points, but you’ll have to prove yourself as a part of the team same as everyone else.”
“Fair enough.” He nodded and started turning toward the door. “I take it you patrol, same as every other slayer, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you, Slayer.”
As Spike left, Nick was coming through the door. The vampire barely spared him a glance while the Federal Marshall thumbed over his shoulder, looking at the others questioningly.
“Who was that slice of happiness?” he asked dryly.
There had been more questions once Spike had left the Magick Box, especially from a Watcher eager to record all that he could for future reference. When Buffy had left, Giles had been digging through all of his oldest tomes for any reference to the Master and the mythical bloodline. Nick had wanted filling in on everything he missed, but Buffy had begged off and left that to the others. They would surely make it all sound so much more exciting anyway.
On the way back to her apartment, Buffy stopped off at the butchers for more blood, not sure why she was stocking up.
She just had a feeling that she might need it.
And that feeling seemed to make a lot more sense when she reached her apartment to find her childe lounging in the hallway outside her door.
He straightened upon seeing her and affected a casual air. “I haven’t found a place yet an’...it might take some time. I’m not the type of blighter to hide out in some crypt—reminds me too much of a dark basement.”
The implication made her cast her gaze downward in shame and she shifted the bag in her arms. “You want to crash here?”
“Give you a chance to do that thing you were talkin’ about earlier, the whole havin’ the motherly instinct towards me because you’re my sire.” He shrugged. “Still not sayin’ I’m over any of it, but can use it to take advantage of a nice place to stay for now.”
“Fair enough,” she echoed his earlier words to Faith and went to open the door. “Good thing I went to get more blood then. I must have some sort of sixth sense.”
His eyes followed her, still wondering why he had decided to do this. He definitely had enough money to get a hotel room for awhile if it had really been a problem, but a part of him had decided this would be a way for him to give her a chance to prove she had changed. She had claimed she wanted to do the Sire thing; this would be a way to allow her to do that.
All he had to do was keep reminding his lower brain that she was definitely off limits. That was pretty hard, when he had plenty vivid memories of her naked body and touching that perfect form as recently as the night before.
Bloody hell, you thought about it and now you have to find a way to discreetly adjust yourself, dumbass.
Spike quickly did so as Buffy went to put the blood away in the fridge and went to settle on the couch. He rested his arm on the back, looking back towards her. The swaying of her backside as she bent in the fridge door did nothing to help his problem so he jumped back up.
“I’m, uh, goin’ to turn in then.” He thumbed toward the bedroom then beat a hasty retreat, mourning the fact that it would be difficult to get a good wank in with her having the same vampire senses he had.
Buffy straightened and watched him go with a puzzled frown, wondering why he would want to go to bed now, when it was still the middle of the night.
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