Restored by several glasses of less-than-fresh but still tasty blood, Jack Daniels and a head full of information about the town and country in which he’d found himself, Spike was in a pretty good mood as he wended his way back to the slayer’s house. His good mood lasted only until he got to the basement door and saw that it was standing ajar.
Entering cautiously, he extended his senses and quickly picked up on the extra heartbeats coming from the floor above. He could hear Buffy’s calm resting heart rate that told him she was still asleep. The rapid pounding of the other two hearts was all he needed to know that they had too much adrenaline pumping through their systems to be on any kind of legitimate errand. He was making his stealthy way up the stairs to the also ajar kitchen door, when there was a crash and Buffy’s heart rate sped up.
Forgoing stealth, he took the rest of the stairs in one leap, making it to the hallway just in time to see a man come flying out of the Slayer’s bedroom, his body making a satisfying thump as it hit the wall. Stepping over the semi-conscious man, he followed the sound of Buffy’s voice to where she just rising from the floor, the look on her face promising immediate retribution to the stoutly built young man staring from the blackjack in his hand to the still-conscious slayer in bewilderment.
“You are in big trouble, Mister,” she hissed, dodging another swipe of his arm and kicking him in the stomach. “I can’t believe you hit me with that thing. I am so going to kick your ass...”
Her voice trailed off as Spike burst through the doorway, his amber gaze going from her to the assailant and back to her.
“You alright, luv? Can I help?”
“Are you hungry?”
“I could eat” He smiled around his fangs, enjoying the scent of fear now rolling off the man just struggling to his feet. Buffy had turned on the bedside lamp and Spike’s vampire features were clearly visible. She waved her hand towards the hallway and said casually, “I’ve got this one – help yourself.”
She yanked the unfortunate man to his feet, and began to punch him, punctuating her efforts with comments about how lucky he was to be on the receiving end of her anger and not Spike’s.
“Cause, I like, you know, don’t usually kill humans? But, Spike, he’s awful mean – pure evil, you know? I’ll bet your friend is really sorry he jumped into my bed...”
A guttural snarl from the hallway told her that Spike had heard the comment and correctly guessed what the intruder’s intentions had been. A muffled shriek from the hall was evidence that the vampire was more than willing to mete out the punishment deserved.
Dragging the now unconscious, and much larger, man behind her, Buffy stepped into the hall – intending to stop Spike before he completely drained her other assailant. To her surprise, he had already stopped feeding, holding the terrified man in one hand and wiping his mouth with the other.
Buffy gave him a small smile of acknowledgment and asked brightly, “What do you think, Spike? Throw them out the front door – or drop them out the bedroom window?”
He gave an appreciative chuckle and nodded towards the front door.
“Let’s put ‘em in the street, Slayer. With a bit of luck, something big will run over them before they get up.”
Leaving Spike to drag the two semi-conscious men out to the curb, Buffy opened the front door and gestured gracefully, stepping aside so that the vampire could move past her with his burdens. She followed him to the end of the sidewalk and watched dispassionately as he tossed first one, then the other, into the middle of the street.
He walked after the groaning men and bent over them as they lay sprawled on the asphalt. “If I ever see either one of you wankers anywhere near here, you are going to suffer very slow and excruciatingly painful deaths. Is that clear?” His whispered threat was hissed through his fangs and both men nodded in a suitably terrified fashion.
Without waiting for more of an answer, he turned his back and joined Buffy, following her now-shivering body back to the house. He closed the door behind him and hesitated when she went directly to her room, only to sigh with relief when she immediately came back out, now wrapped in a blanket.
“Let me see that,” he said gruffly when her hand went to her head and she winced in pain. He parted the hair and found a small cut on her head, sitting atop a rapidly growing lump. Leading her into the kitchen, he gently pushed her toward one of the chairs, then got a wet paper towel and began carefully blotting up the small amount of blood that had soaked into her hair.
The scent of her blood, so identical to the other Buffy’s, went straight to his cock, and he had to turn aside quickly before she could notice.
(After an attempted rape, I doubt she wants any reminders that I’m just as male as those wankers are.)
He pulled some ice cubes from the refrigerator, wrapped them in another paper towel and carefully set the make-shift cold pack on the back of her head. He used his own now cold hand to calm his cock, pressing against it until the icy temperature had made it relax. When he felt comfortable facing Buffy, he sat down in the other chair and raised his eyebrows at her.
“How’d those gits get the drop on you, Slayer?”
She grimaced and said with a growl in her voice, “My spidey senses only work for vampires – humans don’t set anything off. Usually I would hear somebody breaking—“
He interrupted her with a vicious snarl that she quickly realized was aimed at himself.
“You didn’t hear them because the basement door was unlocked,” he said slowly when he had gotten himself under control. “This was my fault. I wasn’t here and you had to leave a door unlocked.”
She studied his face for minute, then reached forward and touched his hand lightly.
“It’s no biggie, Spike. I’ll get another key made tomorrow and you can just use the front door like I do. I can go back to keeping the basement door locked – we can even put one of the shelves in front of it or something. It isn’t going to happen again.”
“Bloody right, it isn’t!” he said with another growl. He didn’t move, waiting for her to notice that she had left her hand resting upon his. When she did, pulling it back quickly and blushing, he stood up and put the hand in his pocket, as though protecting the warm spot on it. “That’s the last time I’m leavin’ you alone here,” he went on, ignoring her frown. “Was a bloody stupid thing to do – what help can I be if I’m off drinkin’ and—“
“Spike!” The Slayer’s voice interrupted his self-flagellation. When she had his attention, she spoke firmly. “I’ve been living here by myself for over a year. This is NOT your fault, and it’s not your job to babysit me. I’m the Slayer, for cripe’s sake. You know – superpowers, stuff like that?”
“The Slayer doesn’t kill humans,” he grumbled, trying to look suitably chastened even while he argued. “I’m just sayin’, it could be helpful to have somebody around what doesn’t have those reservations...”
Buffy sighed and shook her head, wincing when the ice pack slid off her cut. The vampire’s hand shot out, catching the bundle before it could hit the floor and handing it back to her. She smiled her thanks, putting it back on her head and holding it still with one hand. Then she sighed again and went back to what she’d been about to say.
“I’m not going to let you kill people just because you don’t like them – or because they’ve tried to hurt me – so just get over that idea.” She glared at him to emphasize her words, then frowned delicately. “Come to think of it, you didn’t even try to kill that guy, did you? I thought I’d have to pull you off him, but I didn’t.”
“I’m not totally stupid, pet,” he said with a sheepish grin. “I knew you didn’t mean it when you said I could eat him. Got to tell you, though, when you said he’d been on top of you, his life did flash before my eyes...”
She smiled in spite of herself. Sounding very much like her older self for a minute, she said with sudden insight, “I’m never going to have a boyfriend, am I?”
He looked at her with a puzzled expression, then realized what she was implying and laughed, shrugging with embarrassment.
“If it comes up...and I hope it does, luv,” he hastened to assure her. “If it does, I promise not to bare m’fangs at anybody you bring home. Not unless they give me reason to, anyway,” he added almost under his breath.
If either of them noticed their casual assumption that the vampire was going to be part of her life from now on, they didn’t mention it.
“Somehow, I don’t find that nearly as reassuring as you meant it to be,” she huffed at him. The good humor went out of her expression as she remembered that she had a boyfriend who was now free to begin dating another her, while she was trapped in a dimension that had yet to provide anything in the way of a social life. “Not that it probably matters,” she sighed. “I don’t even know how to meet boys in this world. It’s not like I can go back to school somewhere.”
Spike studied her defeated face, torn between sympathy for the young woman who had been ripped out of her as-close-to-normal as a slayer could expect life, and gratitude that she was away from his grandsire’s influence. The other Buffy had told him enough about her life, and her relationship with his other self, that he could guess how much of their troubled past could be laid at the door of Angel’s twisted information about vampires and souls. Perhaps, without that confirmation of the Council’s teachings, this Buffy would be able to look at him with a less prejudiced eye. Already, the fact that she trusted him indicated that she was not as heavily indoctrinated in humans/good, demons/bad, as her older self had been for years.
He shook off visions of a very unlikely life of domestic bliss with a somewhat older Buffy, and, instead, tried to come up with a way to give her more of a life.
“Tell you what, pet,” he said casually. “You try to find out where young people go for fun around here, and I’ll take you there one night, yeah? Give you a chance to mingle and maybe meet some people your age? Would you like that?”
Her face lit up in a way that he hadn’t seen yet. One look at it, and he was lost.
(Bloody hell! I could become addicted to that look. Would do just about anything to make it happen again.)
He came back to himself when he realized that Buffy was talking, the excitement in her voice was contagious as she rattled on about going shopping for something to wear and which of the clubs that she already knew about would be the easiest to get in to. Her face fell again when she remembered that she had no ID – fake or otherwise.
“I’m too young,” she almost wailed. “They won’t let me in!”
Spike laughed at her, then stepped closer again, tipping her chin up and trying not to stare at the plump lower lip that was creeping out in the pout with which he was already so familiar.
“Listen to me, luv, and don’t take this the wrong way, alright?” He waited for her curious nod before continuing. “You’re not wearin’ the face and body of a little girl any more. Not that there’s anything wrong with this one-“ he hastened to reassure her, “but it’s obviously an adult. You show up dressed like a grown up, with an escort who is clearly not a kid, and nobody’s gonna ask to see ID – they’re jus’ gonna wave you on through ‘cause they’ll know that you’ll be lighting up the whole room.”
“R...really?” Once again, as it had the day before, her skin tingled where his finger lingered on her chin.
“Really,” he answered firmly, dropping his hand and moving away. “I promise you.”
Smothering the bolt of disappointment when he was no longer touching her, Buffy nodded her head. “Ok, then. I’m going to hold you to that promise. And I’m going to go shopping with my next paycheck!”
“That’s the spirit, luv. Now take those pretty eyes off to get some more sleep. It’s going to be morning before you know it.”
Buffy looked at the clock on the stove and groaned. “Oh, you’re right. I’m going to be dead today!”
“Not if I have anything to say about it.” He smiled as he watched her walk out of the kitchen. “Not if I have anything to say about it.”
His voice was only a whisper as he repeated his vow to himself while descending the stairs to his own bed. He closed and locked the basement door – sliding the remains of an old work bench in front of it to ensure that anyone coming in that way in the future would have to make enough noise to wake Buffy up. He wrapped himself in his blanket and stretched out, allowing the approaching dawn to send him into a deep sleep.
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