“What is your relationship to Buffy Summers?”
Well, that was a loaded question. Buffy was intrigued to find out what Spike’s answer would be, in fact the only thing that was intriguing her more at that moment was Spike himself and his sudden flashback to the past look.
He looked at Norman, eyebrow raised and took a moment to fashion a reply. Buffy folded her arms and watched with interest.
“That depends,” he replied loosely.
Norman tilted his head. “Depends on what?”
“Well, I’ve had a lot of different relationships with the Slayer,” he shrugged with one shoulder. “Started off as enemies, then allies of a sort, then…more.”
Spike smiled. “I’m not bashful but it’s not really something I think she’d appreciate me sharing with a room of…suits.”
“You were lovers?”
He paused and nodded once, slowly. “There was love involved.”
Norman inclined his head. “So, you had a sexual relationship with Miss. Summers.”
Spike rolled his eyes and then nodded again. Buffy’s cheeks burned with adolescent embarrassment. It suddenly felt like everyone was looking right at her. She sat up straighter, determined to at least look like she didn’t care.
“And you are a humanoid, is that correct?”
Spike grinned. “Yeah. In my day we called us vampires.”
“And you say that Buffy Summers was your enemy?”
“Yeah. She was the Slayer, as in Vampire Slayer, I was the vampire. I didn’t particularly want to die, so yeah, enemies,” he said it all very casually.
Norman folded his arms loosely. “Did you ever provoke an attack from Buffy?”
“Only as often as I could,” Spike grinned. “I did love a good goad.”
“This was before the blood substitute?”
“Before that, yeah, but more importantly – for me – before the chip that got stuck in my brain by the government,” he said.
Norman held up his hand. “Ah, yes. It was well documented. It was an early, and entirely inhumane, way that was first used to try and control the humanoid population.”
“Mmm hmm. And guess who the guinea pig was?” Spike’s lip curled with distaste.
Norman turned to face the court. “And yet, the chip was not the only stopping point to your battle with Miss. Summers.”
“Oh, the soul. That old thing,” Spike chuckled. “Yep, that did put a bit of damper on my taunting of the Slayer. Still I kept a hold of it, just in case it comes in use again some time.”
“Still, you could have simply done nothing. You didn’t have to become Buffy’s ally, so why did you?”
He cleared his throat and straightened up in the seat. “What you see sat in front of you now is a pale portrait of what I was back then, back before I changed. Back when all I wanted was to kill and wreak havoc. Most of you know me as I am now. I wear suits, I have a daughter, and I have – or had – a fairly important job. None of this would be possible without Buffy. And if that sounds like an exaggeration or a schoolboy crush to you…then that’s because you don’t understand.”
“You were bad and then became good?”
Spike laughed. “That’s an oversimplification. I wasn’t bad. I was evil. I killed without remorse and I loved it. Lost count of the number of humans I ate.”
The courtroom seemed to shudder as one, as though the idea that vampires considered humans to be food was better left forgotten.
Norman seemed very interested, eyes focused intensely on the vampire. “If you had never met Buffy, what do you think might have happened to you?”
“Well, I’d either be a pile of dust, or doing what I’d always done. Killing, maiming, torturing,” Spike held out his hand. “There’s a lot of blood on my hands but there’d be a lot more if it weren’t for Buffy.”
She locked eyes with him and he didn’t smile but she saw it in his eyes. Buffy felt warm inside, not the burning fiery passion of want, but the soft heat of respect and genuine caring. She cared for Spike and he cared for her.
Norman nodded. “She saved you?”
“In ways she doesn’t even realise,” Spike nodded.
“But, I’m sure you’re all extremely bored of hearing what a noble and righteous warrior Buffy is,” Spike shrugged and Norman’s smile slipped. “’Cos the thing you need to realise about her is, yes, she’s got strength and speed and skill. She is the Slayer. But she’s also Buffy Summers. She’s human. She’s fragile in all the same ways everyone else is. She gets hurt. She argues, she loves, and she falls flat on her arse as much as you and I do. And her heart breaks. She’s lost her friends, her family. She’s just like you.”
Buffy looked away, down at the table.
“So, when she sees a vampire, she doesn’t see this,” Spike gestured to himself, easily. “She sees what we don’t like to acknowledge anymore. She sees this.”
Buffy heard a collective gasp and looked up. Spike had changed into game face. His forehead creased and protruding, his eyes yellow with pinpricks of black for pupils, and his teeth sharp and long. Buffy wondered what the big fuss was about until she realised that she hadn’t seen Spike shift faces ever since she’d come back. She hadn’t seen any vampire in anything other than their perfectly human visage, apart from the one she had killed upon her arrival.
Norman looked around then back to Spike, a bit worried. “Uh –”
“Buffy sees us as monsters. That’s what we look like, there’s no denying that. She hasn’t had the time to learn the new rules. She’s fully capable of blending into this world,” Spike continued, still wearing his vampire face. “I mean, she puts up with me, one of the worst vampires of all time. Look me up, try the name William the Bloody. Chances are I’ve eaten one of your ancestors. And liked it.”
Buffy glanced at Heaton at the end of the table. He was smiling wryly as if he was enjoying the way Spike was going about trying to change the spectator’s minds. He seemed to have a lot of respect for the vampire. Buffy figured it was a pretty risky idea and Norman seemed to agree as he flapped about trying to find something to say.
Spike folded his arms. “So, you all just remember, before we were all prettied up to fit in with your ideal, we looked like this. We still do. We had dark intentions. We still do. But we contain ourselves, for the most part. Back then, all those years ago, Buffy protected you against us. When she killed Joseph Dawson she thought she was protecting a little girl. I’m sure that’ll be no consolation to his family, but she was trying to help.”
He shifted his face back to its smooth, handsome guise. “It’s all she’s ever tried to do – help.”
“Thank you, Mr. Pratt.” Norman piped up, hands clasped nervously in front of him.
“It’s Spike,” he stood. “Nice chattin’ with you. Must do it again sometime.”
He walked around the desk and Buffy watched him. He didn’t stop to sit back down behind her; instead he kept going until he reached the doors, pulled them open and strolled out. Buffy blinked. Spike sure knew how to make an entrance and an exit.
+ + +
When Buffy herself exited the courtroom she exhaled deeply. Things were so tiring here, so complicated, so hard to understand. The whole trial thing was exhausting her and all she’d done so far was sit back and look petulant.
Xander and Willow were nattering around her, mostly about Spike’s appearance which had certainly shaken things up a little. Buffy wondered where he had gone. She found herself wondering about him a lot these days.
“She’s got serious woe face,” Xander was saying.
Willow nodded. “Woe is she.”
Buffy blinked and tried a smile. “I’m just tired.”
Willow slung an arm around her shoulder. “We’ll take you home.”
“No, I think I’ll walk for a while.” She nodded. “Stretch my legs and other murderous limbs.”
Xander leaned in and hugged her quickly and warmly. “We love you, Buffy. Remember that.”
“What he said.” Willow squeezed her arm.
They left sadly and that, in turn, made Buffy sad. She didn’t want to push them away but she still felt so displaced. They had wives and lives and other things that rhymed and she didn’t. She had no life here. She certainly didn’t have a wife. She had nothing.
Buffy walked leisurely away from the courthouse, half expecting to be mobbed by an angry crowd. She passed unscathed through the streets. Nobody paid her much attention, only one guy staring at her chest. Until he realised there wasn’t much there to stare at.
She thought about Spike’s words as she walked. How he had said she thought of them as monsters. That was true, for the most part. But not him. She didn’t think of him as a monster. Not any more. In ways, she thought him more human than she was. He may have been dead but he wasn’t as cold as her. His heart didn’t beat but he loved deeper than anyone she’d ever known.
“Hey, babe! Want a ride?” Shouted the most annoying Californian Surf-dude voice.
Buffy ignored the car that had pulled up alongside her. This was obviously another thing that had not changed in the years she had been gone. She dug her hands in her pockets and carried on, thinking.
“Don’t be like that!” He continued.
Buffy idly considered staking the ‘dude’ but figured that wouldn’t help her case too much.
“Aw, come on!”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Back off before I hurt you.”
“I like the sound of that,” the voice switched to a distinctly British accent.
She turned to face the car and halted, folding her arms defensively over her chest, as she glared at the driver. “And since when do you do American accents that well?”
“Lot of practice doing Americans, I expect,” Spike smiled easily.
Buffy arched an eyebrow which caused him to laugh lightly. She noticed he had changed his clothes since his courtroom appearance to a white t-shirt and blue jeans. The hair was still blonde but mussed up considerably. He motioned her over and she approached slowly, as though still annoyed.
“Need a lift home?” He asked.
She shook her head, peering in his window. “Feel like walking.”
“What a coincidence. So do I.” He killed the engine and stepped out, locking the car.
Buffy unfolded her arms. “You’re gonna lift me home like that?”
“I’m a master at the piggyback,” he shrugged. “Or I might just walk with you.”
They started off down the street and Spike walked at a slow pace with her, not too close but not too distant. It was weird to just walk with Spike. Not on patrol. Not during one of their screaming arguments. Just walking. Weird.
They didn’t speak much. Buffy ribbed him about his hair but didn’t mention that she was secretly quite happy to see it. He told her about his efforts to contact Robin, which had proved fruitless so far. They didn’t talk directly about the trial and she grateful for that.
On the way they stopped off in a bookshop to buy Mya something she needed for school and it all felt incredibly domesticated and Buffy didn’t mind. Doing normal things were good and doing them with Spike seemed to be good too.
“You should go out tonight,” he said as they left the shop.
Buffy frowned at him. “Go out where?”
“I dunno,” he shrugged. “Out. To a club or whatever. You could take Faith or someone.”
She pushed her hair back behind her ear. “Why?”
“Just to get out, Buffy. It’s not good being shut inside all the time,” Spike shifted his shopping bag from one arm to the other. “You’re young.”
Buffy smiled a little. “Okay, dad.”
He snorted. “Oh, fuck off. I’m just sayin’.”
“I know.” She sighed. “But I’m kind of in the middle of a murder trial.”
He shrugged. “All the more reason. No trial tomorrow. You can’t let it rule your life. Have some fun. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.”
“You never go out.”
“We’re not talking about me.”
“Well, why not?”
Spike shook his head. “’Cos I’m not half as interesting.”
“Some people might disagree,” she looked at him sideways. “I know what you’re trying to do. Getting me to go out with Faith. Have a night of female bonding and girl power! I’m too old for that, too tired.”
He snorted. “Too old. Yeah.”
“Besides, a night of bonding with Faith would probably turn into bondage.”
Spike looked at her. “I’m seeing no downsides here.”
Buffy shoved him lightly. “How about a compromise?”
“Partial bondage with Faith?” He asked.
“No,” Buffy breeze past that. “How about you and Mya come round and have dinner?”
Spike paused. “Will you be cooking?”
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