Title: In for a Penny [9b/?]
Authors: the_moonmoth & bewildered/bewilde
Length: ~7,100 words this chapter
Warnings: Sexual situations, bad language, violence, smut. Suicidal ideation. Temporary Spike/Other and Buffy/Other.
Summary: Spike travels back in time to change the future. It goes poorly.
Chapter 9 – part b
Buffy tried to suppress a niggling feeling of guilt as she approached Giles’s apartment the following day. Okay, so he wasn’t likely to be happy that she’d been co-patrolling with a vampire from the future for, um, lots of days without telling him. He’d probably be even less pleased to hear about the sports bar hangouts, or the conversations, or the weirdly-companionable silences, or the… well any of it. But did he really need to know these things? No, she decided firmly, he really didn’t. Maybe the patrol stuff, that future-Spike had been useful, but not the rest. Giles wasn’t interested in social things anyhow, just books. Indulging his interests was the kind thing to do. Right?
He definitely didn’t need to know about last night in particular. She’d left Xander’s place feeling weirdly nervous, and it wasn’t until she saw Spike smoking out in front of the huge mausoleum that had somehow become their rendezvous point that she’d felt a rush of relief, as if she’d been worried he wouldn’t show, which, well… As if! And, well, they’d gotten something of a late start, because of all the pumpkin carving using up the early evening, and it had seemed like they’d just gotten going when the sky started getting pale, slay-time over, and instead of going their separate ways they’d somehow ended up sitting inside that very same mausoleum — pretty cozy for a tomb, Buffy had noted — and talking some more as the sun came up, taking turns sipping some surprisingly-tasty something-or-other from Spike’s flask, and maybe it was the dim intimacy of the dusty stone, or maybe it was because she really did need that hero-rest, or maybe just because she couldn’t hold back her curiosity any more, but things had gotten… weird. Weirder. Like, way way Oingo-Boingo-should-write-a-song-about-this weird.
“So,” she started, breaking into a lull that had been too comfortable for comfort. “Halloween. Itty bitty fear demon.”
“So I hear,” he replied, slightly startled. “Wasn’t actually there.”
“Oh, right. Halloween, tacky, demons on vacation, yadda yadda. Did you make it a spa day?”
He looked thoughtful. “Don’t rightly recall. Was never much for observing the holidays. Probably just stayed in, watched the telly. Great Pumpkin or some such.” He cast her a sidelong glance then. “Background noise while I was laying some evil plans, of course. Mayhem, vengeance….”
Buffy elbowed him, which made her suddenly aware that she was sitting close enough by his side for an elbow to connect. “I bet you cry when the Great Pumpkin turns out to be Snoopy.”
He scoffed. “Do not!”
“Plus,” Buffy continued, ignoring his obvious lie, “you totally do go out on Halloween, Mr. Tacky.”
“Once,” he grumbled. “Went out bloody once, in more than a century. Under very special circumstances.”
“Special circumstances, meaning… you really needed your butt kicked?”
Spike sighed. “Dru bloody told me to. Said things were changing. Thought maybe she’d seen something would lead to her cure. Should have known she was just having a game of me.” He elbowed her back then, awkwardly, as if he’d never done it before. “And I almost had you.”
Why did the way he said that sound so dirty? “Oh sure, like taking out Lady Faints-A-Lot was a real accomplishment.”
He didn’t reply to that, and she ended up wondering if he was picturing it the way she was. At the time she’d been terrified, and in a fugue state of sorts, not even knowing who she was, but for some reason now all she could remember was the feel of his legs all tangled in her ridiculous skirts, the oddly tender way he’d been bending down to her, and god she was obviously in need of some serious help, because her imagination had just taken that memory off in some truly demented directions. Particularly since there had been an audience. A whole roomful of people watching as Spike ground against her, leaning ever closer, and she kicked up a leg to hook it around his hips, and….
“Anyhow,” she blurted out, “that totally didn’t count. It wasn’t a fair fight.”
He looked at her through his eyelashes, lips pursed like he was trying not to smile. “Of course it wasn’t bloody fair. I don’t fight fair, and neither do you. Fighting fair is for people with nothing on the line. You and me, we fight to win. Don’t go fooling yourself that I’d have backed off at the last minute, let you get your licks in. I’d have devoured you if you hadn’t come back to yourself.”
Buffy looked away, keeping her head high like she was mad, even though she’d been suddenly imagining Spike all tangled under her ridiculous skirt, devouring her as a whole room of people looked on, and then her taking charge and wrestling him down to the floor so she could… get her licks in. Because he was right, she fought to win.
…Nope. She was one hundred percent not telling Giles about that part.
Still, Halloween was here, and given that the fear demon was the only thing Spike had given her so far that could possibly confirm his story, she felt basically obligated to bring Giles into the loop. She might be a semi-absent slayer with a really overactive (and inventive) imagination, but she also didn’t completely trust him, this mellowed-out, buddy-buddy version of Spike, and she did understand due diligence. In theory, at least. So earlier, when she’d managed to calm down her wayward feelings enough to look Spike in the eye again, she’d given him her sternest of stink-eyes and informed him that he was coming with her to report to her watcher, whether he liked it or not.
“Already been to see Rupert,” Spike grumbled. “Arsehole tried to kill me. Don’t really fancy a replay.” He rubbed his chest, fingers very white in the dim light; Buffy vaguely noticed that his black nail polish seemed fresh, and also that there were some very nice muscles right there under his freshly-polished fingertips, and… She reined in her roving eyes and glared.
“You’ve tried to kill me a whole bunch of times,” she pointed out. “We’re talking.”
He looked at her for a long time, face shifting through a dozen expressions. “Yeah,” he finally said. “We are.”
The crypt suddenly seemed too small, the intense look in his eyes like a fire sucking up all the oxygen; Buffy hurriedly stood up, dusting off her hands.
“So!” she said, determinedly bright. “You’re going to tell Giles all about the Littlest Fear Demon. I promise to try to convince him not to shoot you this time.”
“Very reassuring,” Spike drawled. “Fine. Take me to your old man. He can ask me about my prospects, make sure my intentions are honorable and all that.”
Buffy folded her arms. “Honorable? Really?”
“Someone should tell the old sod that the traditional weapon of the outraged parental unit is the shotgun. Rock salt to the arse, that sort of thing.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Good against ghosties too, I hear.”
She snorted at the image that came up in her head, Giles in overalls and a cowboy hat chambering a sawed off Winchester. Not that he’d be caught dead in a silly hat like that. “For the record, dads-with-shotguns went out in the Fifties.”
“Right. Modern parents much prefer axes. Like your mum.” He held out his hands in front of him like they were wrapped around the hatf of a weapon. “‘Get the hell away from my daughter!’” he mimicked in a wry falsetto.
And why that reminder of the first time Spike’d tried to kill her made her laugh was anyone’s guess. Especially since his impression of her mom was atrocious.
Spike’s grin widened at her mirth. “Shall I bring my references? Fairly certain the Coelo demon down the block will write me a glowing recommendation.”
“Don’t worry,” Buffy said, regaining her straight face with a Herculean effort. “I’m sure Giles will come around. He may only shoot you two or three times.”
“What, your offer of protection rescinded now, is it? Oh well.” Spike ran a hand down the center of his chest until it was splayed out across his stomach. “As long as he aims above the waist.”
Buffy tossed her head challengingly. “Then again, he might just go straight for the meat cleaver.” She grinned viciously. “Or even a chainsaw.”
And that set them both off, Buffy giggling helplessly into her hands while Spike snickered.
Finally, Buffy heaved a watery sigh, wiping tears from her eyes. “I promise,” she said as seriously as she could manage. “I really won’t let him shoot you.”
Spike raised his eyebrows, still smiling. “Cross your heart?”
She waited until she was sure he was watching before tracing her finger in an exaggerated X on her chest, a pleasant little shiver running through her at the hungry way his eyes tracked the movement. He wasn’t the only one who could pull off the sexy fingers thing. Served the chest rubbing, stomach-caressing, too-sexy-for-his-own-good Mr. Innuendo right. Tuning her voice just right for facetious-yet-seductive, she smiled slowly and said, “Hope to die.”
And totally wasn’t disappointed when he swallowed and looked away, glancing up at the dusty window that was filtering the sunlight. “Can I at least take a nap first?”
Okay, so maybe she was a little disappointed. “Here?”
Not to mention bemused. So it was okay for him to flirt but not her? Not that she’d been flirting, that was just kinda friendly joking around, but whatever, same diff. How come her doing it weirded him out? Was she seeing someone else in the future? He’d been frustratingly silent on that point at the mansion, but now the omission left her less annoyed and more unsettled.
He shrugged, still not looking at her. “Might as well. Slept rougher. It’s not like the welcoming committee back at the mansion is ever pleased to see me.”
“And what am I supposed to do?” She pictured the long walk back to her house, alone. Or the even longer walk back to campus, alone. Coming home all disheveled in the same clothes she’d been wearing the night before, while everyone else was all fresh and headed off to class… Crap! Didn’t she have Psychology today? She probably did. It seemed like she had that class every day, seven days a week….
“You look like you could use some rest, too, Slayer,” Spike said softly.
She scoffed. “Here?” she repeated, loading the word up with extra sarcasm and incredulity, because she was so not falling into the trap of that soft, tempting voice again. Not falling for it. Nuh-uh.
Spike turned away, and she tried not to feel disappointed — again — that he was so good at listening to her, and gathered herself to head home, but then he shrugged out of his duster, folding it briskly into a bundle of leather. He held it out to her.
She looked up at him, confused.
“Pillow,” he said, like he made her bedding out of his outerwear every night. She wondered if that was another thing they did in the future. Maybe they slept out a lot? She wondered what her significant other thought about that.
“Oh, no,” Buffy replied, in a fit of hypothetical loyalty. “I am not sleeping here.” And then she reached out and took the pillow anyway, glancing around the room, totally not searching for the comfiest bit of stone to lie on. Though she reminded herself that sleep was super important, had to get her two hours in if she was going to be able to fire on all slay-cylinders, and if she went anywhere else she’d only get maybe one hour if she was lucky, and….
Spike turned and strode over to one of the sarcophagi, yanking the hem of his T-shirt out to dust off the top. “Marble’s nice and cool,” he said, voice rough.
Buffy totally hadn’t ogled that flash of bare stomach either. “You’ve slept here before?”
She was not going to sleep here. She really wasn’t. It was a really bad idea. Plus, she had Psychology class….
She set the pillow on the end of the marble slab. “Where are you going to sleep?” She didn’t wait for him to answer. “Over there. You have to sleep way over there.”
He grinned then, sharklike. “What’s the matter, Slayer? Don’t you trust me?”
And the thing was, it wasn’t entirely him she didn’t trust, because the ogling and the fantasizing and the mental drooling were one thing, but she could put that aside. She could. The thing that sank its teeth into her and refused to let go was the wonderful warmth of sharing that laughter with him, and the regret she now felt that it was over. It… filled a part of her she hadn’t realized had been empty, and that was addictive. Dangerously so. Yeah, resisting the physical stuff was kinda par for the course by now, after Angel, but resisting that glowy feeling in the pit of her stomach? Way, way harder.
But she had to.
“Never,” Buffy retorted, head high.
That didn’t mean Spike had got the memo, though.
“Always knew you were smart,” he murmured, prowling closer, eyelids lowered in a predatory way that made her heart race with instinctive fear. When he was standing right in front of her, he gave a shrug and the red shirt that was practically his uniform fell from his shoulders, catching on the cuffs at his wrist, and oh, maybe that wasn’t fear at all, maybe it was…. except all he did was tug the cuffs off over his hands and hold out the shirt to her.
She blinked. “This some weird vampire ritual? ‘Cause I’m not getting the symbolism here.” Or, well, the symbolism she was getting had her thinking she needed some rolled up bills to tuck in his G-string, and wow was that an interesting image she so did not need to be thinking about. Particularly since she was pretty certain that he didn’t wear a G-string, or any underwear at all, and where were you supposed to tuck the bills, then? She was completely unsure of vampire-stripper-etiquette…
Putting it aside! Putting it aside!
Spike rolled his eyes, clearly impatient with her long silence. “Thought you’d like a blanket, Slayer.”
“Oh. Of course.” Well, that solved that question. No need to consult Undead Miss Manners…. She took the shirt, watching as he sauntered off to the window niche she’d directed him to. He stretched out on the expanse of stone with a sigh, tucking his hands behind his head and closing his eyes. Buffy hastily hopped up on her own makeshift bed, draping the shirt over her shoulders and positioning herself so she could see Spike across the room. He looked paler than ever in the diffuse sunlight filtering through the window, an aura of dust motes floating about him.
“I’m not sleeping,” she pronounced, giving him a fierce glare; it was wasted on him, because his eyes were closed, but at least it made her feel strong and virtuous. “You might still be planning something nefarious.”
Spike didn’t open his eyes. “Suit yourself.” He sniffed, muttering, “Might be!” in an offended tone of voice.
Buffy wasn’t going there. “So just stay on your side of the room.”
He sleepily opened one eye. “Not to worry, Slayer. If I suddenly come over all bloodthirsty, I have faith you’ll be able to stake me in your sleep.”
She narrowed her eyes at him — at least he was looking now, so she wasn’t wasting her bitchface — and growled. “Just don’t try anything.”
He didn’t reply, just smiled and opened his other eye, and oh, there he was, the gooey-filling vampire with the snarky candy coating she’d gotten weirdly used to. Somehow that soft, soft gaze, all hazy from the dusty air, convinced her to smile back, and she let her eyes drift closed, just for a second.
When she awoke, surprisingly refreshed, some time later — hours, from the angle of the sunlight — he was still watching her from the other side of the room, like he was afraid she’d disappear if he closed his eyes. And she was only barely awake — basically still asleep — and held his gaze for far longer than her earlier compunctions would’ve allowed. Stupid compunctions.
Stupid, soft-eyed vampire.
Yeah, Giles really didn’t need to hear about that part either. The point was, now here they were, and they were going to visit Giles, and that thought alone was enough cold water for, well, all of it.
Before knocking on the door, she turned to Spike, frowning fiercely. “You need to be on your best behavior, okay?”
He looked like he wanted to snark back about that, but nodded sharply instead. “Whatever you say, Slayer. Not exactly eager for another crossbow bolt through the heart. Or anyplace else, for that matter.”
“No lying, all right?” Buffy suddenly remembered all the stuff she wasn’t going to tell Giles, and hastened to qualify. “Just follow my lead. Giles doesn’t need to know about–”
She shut her mouth with a snap as the door swung open.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/609390.html