The Gentleman Returns, Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 3 of the story The Gentleman Returns

The Gentleman Returns
Slaymesoftly
season 3
rated R

Last chapters – hope you enjoyed. :) 

Chapter Five

The ride to the restaurant was made in chilly silence. Giles didn’t seem to be able to think of anything to say to assuage Joyce’s righteous anger. Buffy’s expression was meant to make it clear he should know better than to try to scold her for forming a friendship with another vampire, when if not for that vampire, he could be driving her to her death. As per his instructions from the Council team, he parked at the far end of the lot where there were few other cars around and not as many lights.

“Subtle, Giles,” Buffy snorted as they got out of the car. He coughed in embarrassment and glanced around the parking lot. Buffy wondered if the Council team was already in place, and where they were, but saw nothing unusual except for their oddly distant parking space.

The otherwise nice meal was a tense event as they all prepared themselves to deal with what was to follow. Giles explained again that Buffy was going to be sent out by herself while he remained inside with Joyce. “I’ll give you my keys, and if anyone asks, you can say you’ve been sent to bring the car closer to the building.”

“How will we know if Spike is here yet?” Joyce worried.

“He’s here somewhere. He was behind us the whole way. He must have parked his car somewhere near the house this morning, so he just followed us.” Buffy sounded unconcerned, but she had only picked at her food.

Part way into her meal, Buffy put down her fork and stood up. “I’m tired of waiting. Give me your keys. I’m going to go slay a vampire.”

“Do be careful, Buffy. We don’t know how old this vampire is, or how they were able to control one so powerful, but I suspect you would have your hands full with it even if you were not impaired.”

“Yeah, well, that’s why Spike’s here. But I don’t plan to need him.”

“I really do not understand why you are so sure you can trust him, Buffy. For all we know, he is the old, powerful vampire that the Council is using. Perhaps they made a deal with him to—”

“Shut up, Rupert.” Joyce glared at him. “We both trust him – which is more than I can say about you right now.”

Without responding, Giles handed Buffy his keys. “Be careful. Please.”

“No problem.”

XXXXXXXX

In spite of her confident words, and her deliberately carefree-seeming stroll through the parking lot, Buffy couldn’t help looking around more than she normally would have that early in the evening in a public place. She did notice that there were still very few cars parked where Giles’s was, and that one of the lights seemed to have gone out while they were eating. She flinched at a sound from behind a minivan she was passing, but a quick glance showed her Spike crouched down beside it. He blew her a kiss, and she picked up her pace with renewed confidence.

She slowed as she got closer to the car, some sixth sense that hadn’t been completely eradicated by the drugs making her question the seemingly peaceful surroundings. There was now a large, dark van parked only a few spots away. It was otherwise the only other vehicle in their end of the parking lot. Buffy rolled her shoulders and slowed her steps, keeping one eye on the van. She gave up pretending she was going to the car and just waited to see what was going to happen next. She wasn’t expecting what did.

“Happy birthday, Buffy.” Angel stepped out from behind the van and casually leaned against it.

“Angel? What are you doing here? You already wished me happy birthday.” In spite of her surprise, she relaxed a little, thinking maybe he’d had second thoughts about helping her out.

“I know I did,” he said. “But I wanted to give you a surprise.” He smiled warmly.

The hairs on the back of her neck were standing up. Something about his voice and posture was making her slayer senses go crazy, even though he was smiling at her with his usual soft expression.

“Come closer. I want you to see it, but it’s in the van.”

In spite of her discomfort, she approached the van with wary steps. Angel stood back and gestured for her to look inside. When she caught a glimpse of the bodies bleeding out on the floor, she was dropping to the ground before she’d even completely processed what she was looking at. She felt the air whoosh past as Angelus just missed a punch to her head.

She rolled under the van and pulled her stake from its holster, fighting back the fear and pain of knowing Angel had lost his soul again. She watched his feet as he walked around the van, talking to her all the time. Now that he’d lost the element of surprise, he didn’t try to hide his demon, his oily, slightly Irish-accented voice nothing like the gentle souled vampire she’d fallen in love with. Her heart was pounding as she listened to his familiar voice.

“You may as well come out, Buff. Looks like your Council is just as sick of you as I am. Nice of them to include me in their plan, wasn’t it? Not too smart, maybe, but nice.”

When he grew impatient and reached a meaty hand under the van, she stabbed it with her stake. Even without her usual strength or room to swing her arm, she was able to put the stake almost all the way through his hand. With a roar of pain, he yanked his arm out, taking her stake with it. Buffy watched, her breath coming fast as his feet remained within sight. She saw the stake fly across the pavement after Angelus pulled it from his hand. Following his feet with her eyes as he circled the van, she scrambled to remain as far away from him as was possible in the small area.

Suddenly, with a speed she couldn’t match in her weakened state, he dove as far under the van as he could, grabbing her by one ankle and dragging her out roughly. By the time he got her all the way out, Buffy already had her backup stake in her hand and her free leg cocked to kick him. Her heel caught him on the kneecap and he stumbled, losing his grip on her. Rolling quickly, she got far enough away to jump to her feet, facing him, stake in hand.

Only the fact that she knew Spike was somewhere nearby gave her the courage to remain where she was instead of running back to more lighted areas. Stalling for time, she asked, “What… what happened to your soul?”

“Worried about your boyfriend, are you? It’s okay, Buff. I’m more fun than he is. You’ll see.” Angelus glanced up as his sharper hearing picked up a gasp from the entrance to the building.

“Hey there, Giles.” He raised his voice and waved. “Got to thank you and your friends on the Council. It was a wonderful idea to magic away my soul and use me to get rid of Buffy for them. Of course, it probably isn’t working out quite like they’d hoped. I doubt I was supposed to kill them. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t count on finding out what Buffy will be like as a vamp. I’m looking forward to that myself, aren’t you?” He leered in their direction, his gaze lingering on Joyce whose terrified eyes were riveted on Buffy.

He turned back, visibly surprised that Buffy hadn’t tried to run, but was still facing him from several feet away.

“So, you killed them,” she said. “The people who could put your soul back are dead now.” Her voice was flat, her face sad.

“That they are. And this time, you won’t be around to keep me from killing that Gypsy bitch. So it’s gone for good.”

“I’m sorry, Angel,” Buffy said, her eyes filling with tears. “I’m so sorry.”

He waved a hand dismissively. “What are you apologizing for? I’m happy this way. Not quite as happy as when I was popping your cherry, but happy enough.”

Buffy gave him a sad smile. “You didn’t even get that right,” she said as Spike stepped out from behind the van. He didn’t approach, although he responded to Buffy’s wider smile with one of his own.

“The poof always was a bit slow, Slayer,” Spike drawled. “It’s part of his charm.”

Angelus whirled, snarling when he saw the reason Buffy’s smile had broadened.

“Mind your own business, Spike. This is my slayer. You better go enjoy Dru while you’ve got her. Once she sees I’m back….”

“You’re not gonna be back long enough for Dru to get happy about it. If the Slayer doesn’t do you, I will.”

Buffy was working her way in an arc around Angelus, trying to get to Spike, but she wasn’t quick enough. With a roar, Angelus leaped across the space and carried her to the ground. Before he could get his fangs into her throat, a black blur was on him. Spike’s momentum carried the larger vampire off Buffy and away from where she lay, slightly stunned.

She sat up to see the two vampires in her life rolling around, snarling, snapping and sounding much more like animals than anything human. Eventually, Angel was able to throw Spike off and they ended up glaring at each other from a short distance apart. Spike shot Buffy a quick glance. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. Thanks for the save.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Spike? Are you that hard up to kill another slayer that you’d take one away from me? This is my kill. I owe the bitch. I took her virginity, and now I’m going to take her life.”

Spike looked his question at Buffy, who nodded.

“Go for it,” she said. “He’s got it coming. But, Spike?”

“Yes, love?”

“Try not to say it loud enough for Mom and Giles to hear, huh?”

He laughed. “I’m not that stupid, Slayer.” He lowered his voice so that only someone with vamp hearing would be able to understand his words. “Before you turn to dust, I want you to know that Buffy gave that gift to me. Couple of months before she let you have those ‘sloppy seconds’ you’re so fond of bragging about leaving me.”

Buffy strained her ears, but could only make out a word here or there. She relaxed, knowing if she couldn’t understand what Spike was saying, Giles and Joyce wouldn’t even know he was speaking. But Angelus had heard every word, and even with him in game face it was easy for her to see things falling into place for him as he thought back to his interactions with Buffy since her Halloween kidnapping and subsequent escape from Spike.

“You filthy whore.” His voice was all the more hurtful for the calm, quiet tone.

“Watch your mouth, Angelus,” Spike snarled.

“Oh ho. I see how it is. You and those pesky human emotions you like to hang on to. Well, let’s try another one. How about grief? You can watch her die!” Rather than attack Spike, as they’d both expected him to, he once again leaped for Buffy, holding her against his chest, one powerful arm around her neck.

“Ah, ah,” he chided, when Spike snarled and made to move toward them. “I can snap her neck before you can get to me. I’ll just be leavin’ now, and I’m taking her with me.”

As he spoke, Buffy, who was still clutching her stake in the hand down at her side, brought it up between his legs, burying it as deeply as she could. His scream and loosened hold were all she needed to break free. Doubled over, Angelus glared at her through pain filled eyes.

“This isn’t over, Buffy.”

“Yes, it is, Angel. Like I said, I’m sorry.”

She nodded to Spike, who was now holding a sword he’d snatched from the Council’s van. He shook his head and handed it to her. She watched Angelus as he tried to run while holding himself and leaving a trail of blood. With a sigh, she took two running steps, jumped into the air, and swiped the sword across his neck. She landed easily and watched the small explosion of dust as it settled to the pavement.

She was standing, sword in hand but point resting on the ground, staring at the remains of her first real boyfriend, knowing he never was exactly who she thought he was. She was just barely conscious of Spike coming up behind her and gently taking the sword from her hand.

“I’m sorry, love,” he said, tossing the sword behind him and putting his hands on her shaking shoulders. With a low cry, she turned around and buried her face in his chest, sobbing while he held her and rubbed soothing circles on her back.

Giles and Joyce had come running over to lend whatever support they could against Angelus. They were armed with crucifixes, and in Giles’s case, a stake. While Buffy cried in the arms of a vampire famed for his ability to kill slayers, Giles looked into the van, wincing as he recognized members of the team the Council had sent to Sunnydale. He picked up the sword Spike had thrown away, looked it over, and gave a shrug. He handed it to Joyce.

“If you promise not to use it on me, I’ll teach you how to behead a vampire – in case you ever need to.”

“I can’t promise I won’t use it on you,” Joyce said, giving it an experimental swing. She pointed at Buffy, who had stopped sobbing but was still sniffling and taking deep breaths while Spike murmured things they couldn’t hear. “As far as I’m concerned, this is all your fault.”

“That Buffy and Spike seem to be… whatever they appear to be?”

“That my daughter needs someone to comfort her because she had to kill the first man she fell in love with. If it hadn’t been for this ridiculous test, Angel would still have his soul and Buffy wouldn’t be crying over his dust. And she wouldn’t have had to spend her birthday doing it.”

“I had no control over the Cruciamentum, Joyce. Believe me, I hated doing that to Buffy, but I had no idea the Council wished to dispense with her services… and her. Had I refused, they would have done it anyway, and found some other way to ensure Buffy wasn’t able to win.”

Buffy, who had recovered enough to take some deep breaths and regain control of her voice, overheard him.

“You can tell them there’s no problem with getting rid of me. I quit! If they want somebody slaying in Sunnydale, they can come and do it themselves.”

XXXXXXX

After Giles had called the authorities to report a gruesome scene near their car, and Joyce had accepted Spike’s offer to drive her and Buffy home while Giles handled the police, they parted company. Giles promised to come by the house as soon as he could get away.

Spike’s old DeSoto had a bench seat, so Buffy and Joyce both climbed into the front, with Buffy sitting next to Spike. Even though there was plenty of room in the car, Buffy managed to sit close enough that her hand was touching the side of Spike’s leg even while she appeared to be snuggled into her mother’s side. Joyce kept one arm around Buffy, unable to pretend she hadn’t just almost seen her die.

Joyce gestured for Spike to park in the driveway, but he shook his head.

“I’ll just let you two out and put my baby someplace less conspicuous. Don’t know how many were in that Council team, or who else might be watchin’ your house. No need to advertise my presence here.”

“You’re coming in, aren’t you?” Buffy tried to keep the anxiety from her voice. “You’re not going to leave just because I’m safe now?”

“No, love. Not leaving.” In spite of Joyce’s presence, his voice was soft and his response very firm. “And given your calling, I think ‘safe’ is a bit—”

“She’s never going to be safe, is she?” Joyce asked, her voice trembling. “Even if she quits.”

“We can talk about when I get back,” he said. “Got some ideas. But let me get my car out of sight first.”

As soon as Buffy and Joyce were safely in the house, he pulled away and disappeared down another street.

 

Chapter Six

“What are you doing?” Joyce frowned as Buffy picked up one end of the couch and, with obvious effort, lifted it up a few feet. With a muttered curse, Buffy dropped it, smiling an apology at her mother when if fell with crash.

“Sorry, Mom. I just wanted to see if I was getting any strength back yet.”

“And have you?”

Buffy shook her head. “Doesn’t look like it. I’m just glad I had enough to be able to drive that stake into Angelus.” She sighed. “Although I’m pretty sure adrenaline had a lot to do with that.”

“Well, maybe Rupert will be able to tell you how long it will be before you have all your powers back—” She hesitated as if a thought had just occurred to her. “If you quit, can they take your powers away? Permanently?”

Buffy shrugged. “Ask Giles when he gets here. I doubt it, Mom. Being the Slayer isn’t something I do, it’s something I am. And the Council has nothing to do with who gets called, so the powers don’t come from them in the first place.”

There was a soft knock on the door and Buffy quickly opened it to let Spike in. He stood just inside uncertainly for a moment until Joyce moved toward him.

“Let me take your coat, Spike,” she said, suiting actions to words. “Come in and make yourself comfortable.”

Spike raised an eyebrow at Buffy but followed her into the living room, sitting beside her on the couch. He was careful to keep a respectful distance between them, and Buffy smiled her understanding at him.

Joyce had just joined them, seating herself in the chair she usually used when not watching TV, when there was another quiet knock at the door. Narrowing her eyes, she got up and went to let Giles in.

“Thank you,” he said. “I understand that you are angry with me, and you have every right to be, but I would like to explain, if I could.”

Joyce stood, glaring at him for a moment, then nodded and gestured to the living room. “We’ll hear you out, but I cannot imagine anything you can say to make up for what you put my daughter through this week.”

Giles followed her, hesitating when he saw Spike beside Buffy. “Oh, I didn’t see another vehicle and I thought perhaps—”

“Thought I might have moved on already, leaving the Slayer with a complete wanker to watch her back?” He snorted. “Not likely.”

They all watched with varying degrees of interest and understanding as Giles’s face reflected the battle between his watcher training and his recent experiences; said experiences including learning that an unsouled, notoriously evil and violent vampire had done a better job of protecting his charge from the organization he worked for than he had. With a sigh, he nodded and moved the rest of the way into the room.

“Fair enough,” he said. “Although in my defense, I had no idea they wanted Buffy to fail, nor that they were going to be foolish enough to bring Angelus back. Buffy is an exceptional slayer, and while I did feel… somewhat traitorous… giving her the drugs, I had no doubt that she would be able to slay whatever ignorant fledgling they threw at her, powers or no powers.” He paused and sank into a chair, seeming to shrink into himself.

“However, I do realize that it was betrayal of the worst sort, and I would certainly understand if you did not forgive me for it.”

“Do slayers usually forgive their watchers? Cause, I gotta tell you, I think it’s pretty unforgiveable.” Buffy’s voice was quiet, but there was just the slightest quaver in it.

Giles shrank even further into the chair. “I truly do not know. The Watcher Diaries are surprisingly silent on the results of the few Cruciamentums that have taken place in the past fifty years. I will have to dig deeper.”

“An—Angel said most slayers don’t live long enough to have one. They are killed before they reach their 18th birthday.” All the human eyes in the room went to the vampire that had been responsible for two of those deaths. Spike raised his chin defiantly.

“Last one I… fought… was well over eighteen. But with how strong and smart she was, I’d say she had no problem getting through a Cruciamentum on her own. And no reason for them to want to off her that I know of, so I’d guess she got something weak and stupid.” He sighed. “I’d like to tell you I got to her because I’m just that bloody good, but truth is, I think she was tired. Dunno how long she’d been a Slayer, but it was wearin’ on her. Could see it in her eyes when I finally got her down. She was ready to go. Went out like a warrior, she did,” he added angrily, as if expecting an argument from Giles. “Didn’t even drink from her. I had that much respect.”

“Is that why you took her coat for a trophy?” Buffy had moved slightly away from him as he talked about a slayer he’d killed before Buffy was born.

Joyce gasped and Giles looked dismayed and at the same time, as if he was dying to ask more questions. Spike sighed and shut his eyes briefly.

“How did you—of course. The big poof told you. Not sure how he’d know about it, but word gets around, I reckon.”

Buffy nodded. “He told me. When you—when I—” She stopped and remembered why she’d had Spike’s coat. “He told me what it was,” she finished. “I just kind of forgot about it for a while.”

“And now you’ve remembered.” His eyes searched her face for some sign that her feelings had changed. “Do we need to talk about this?”

She nodded. “We do. But not here and not now.” She stood up. “I should do a real patrol. I don’t think Angelus had time to turn anybody, but we don’t know that. Do we, Giles?”

He frowned. “I don’t know how large the Council team was, but there were only three bodies in the van. I warned the authorities—”

“You warned them? The cops?”

“Well, not in so many words. I just indicated that the deceased may have family members that would try to… remove… the bodies. I believe at least one or two of them understood what I was saying.”

“But you don’t know how many there were to start?”

Giles shook his head. “If I may use your phone, Joyce? I need to let Travers know that his attempt to end Buffy’s career… and her life… has failed. Perhaps I can get him to tell me how many there were, and if any of them are still alive.”

“How would he know that already?”

“If anyone survived, he… or she… will have called immediately to let Travers know, at a minimum, that Angelus has wiped out the team, and at most, that Buffy not only survived, but got her slay. It just depends on if anyone got away and whether or not he was in a position to watch the mission go so very wrong.”

“Wrong?” Joyce and Buffy spoke at the same time. “Wrong?”

“From their point of view,” he corrected hastily before Joyce could grab the sword leaning against her chair. “I meant from their point of view. Obviously from ours, it went as right as could be expected…” Remembering that Buffy had just dusted someone she cared about deeply, he turned to her. “I will never be able to apologize enough for having put you in this position, Buffy. Although, in all honesty, short of quitting my job and allowing them to put your fate in the hands of someone less… fond of you… I’m not sure what I could have done differently.”

“You could have told them where to shove their bloody test,” Spike growled. Buffy glanced at him, but spoke to Giles.

“Are you fired now?”

He shook his head. “I’ve no idea. I did what they said I had to, although I’m sure my original refusal has been documented and reported.” He shrugged. “They may fire me. I’m not at all sure I care just now.”

“Well, if you’re fired, and I quit….” Buffy had yet to realize that her threat to quit was being contradicted by her intention to do a patrol.

Giles took the phone Joyce handed him and dialed a number from memory.

“Let me speak to Travers,” he said. “Yes, of course I know what time it is there. Wake the bastard up. Tell him Rupert Giles wants to speak with him.”

While Buffy and Spike, who had joined her at the door, fidgeted, Giles gestured for them to wait. He turned his attention back to the phone.

“Yes, it is bloody well important. First things first – how many incompetent wankers were in that team you sent to release Angelus?” He paused. “I’ll tell you in a moment. Answer my question, please. How many of those blighters were there? I see. So, there were five of them, and you haven’t heard from anyone?”

Giles glanced at Buffy and Spike, who’d already retrieved his coat from where Joyce put it. Buffy’s face went still when he put it on, but she stayed beside him.

“No. No, I don’t think there is going to be a problem. Buffy and— Buffy is going out now to find them. Oh? Did I not mention that part? That Angelus killed the three that accompanied him to the test site? Or that Buffy, although it was touch and go for a bit, was able to slay him in spite of the emotional turmoil that caused her. Yes, yes. With his soul, he was very fond of Buffy, and she him. As you know from last year’s reports, without it, he reverts to Angelus and tries to kill her. Which is clearly what you were counting on.”

He listened for a few moments, then interrupted whatever his boss was saying. “When I say Buffy is going out to find them, we are assuming she is going to be seeking recently turned vampires, not cowards employed by the Council. If you like, I will let you know when they have been taken care of. In case there are families to notify.”

He listened for another moment or two, then, “Let me save you some trouble. I did refuse to take Buffy to the site; however, she was more aware of what was happening than I had anticipated and she was quite confident she could deal with it. She insisted that we go on as expected. So she was not there because you threatened to fire me if I did not deliver her, she was there because it was her duty.” He paused again. “Yes. Quite so. You may, however, find it difficult to discharge me, as I consider myself having quit the Council as of this afternoon when I learned your plans for my slayer.”

Joyce reached her hand out for the phone. “Mr. Travers, is it? This is Joyce Summers. Yes, Buffy’s mother. I’d just like to strongly suggest that you avoid the United States, especially Sunnydale, for the foreseeable future. Buffy? No, no. I will the one seeking to remove your head from your shoulders. I just thought would be fair to warn you… although ‘fair’ really isn’t in your experience, is it?”

She handed the phone back to Giles, who was grinning in admiration. Without waiting for Travers, he said, “I will advise you of the outcome for your other two employees when Buffy returns from staking them.”

Spike had been holding the door open for Buffy, who was waiting to hear Giles’s side of the conversation. At his last words, she waved and went out the door, Spike right behind her.

XXXXXXXX

Giles put the phone down and slumped in the chair, blinking when Joyce put a glass of Scotch in front of him.

“Here’s to my daughter… and the other vampire in her life,” she said, lifting her glass toward him. He nodded, returned the salute. They sat in silence for the rest of the evening, waiting for Buffy to return and refilling their glasses as needed.

 

Chapter Seven

“Are we doing to talk first, or find Council wankers first?”

“If you were smart, you’d kiss me first.”

He stopped and spun in front of her so that she ran into his chest. “Always happy to follow instructions like that, Slayer, but I’m a bit unclear on the connection.”

“Just trust me. You need to kiss me. Now. A whole lot. And bring your A game.”

She raised her face to his, closing her eyes and trying to fall into fog of desire that kissing Spike usually inspired. However, after giving her one relatively chaste and tender kiss, he pulled away.

“What’s this all about, love?”

Her lip came out in a pout as she glared at him. “It’s about how you killed one of us and now you wear her coat. Like it’s a trophy.”

“It is a trophy. She was something, that one. I earned this coat, and I loved every minute of it. Could have danced all night with her if she’d let me. Never met a slayer like that… not until I met you.”

“You’re not seeing what’s wrong with this?” Her voice was shrill and Buffy, stopped to take a deep breath before continuing more quietly. “You’re proud of killing somebody just like me. You kill slayers, Spike. How can I let myself—” She shook her head. “Look at what happened the last time I… liked… a vampire. And he had a soul. Most of the time,” she finished in a mutter, turning her face away.

Spike was silent for so long that she looked back to make sure he was still there. His face was still, his eyes hooded, but the pain on it was obvious. He nodded and cupped her chin with his hand.

“I don’t have a soul, Buffy. Don’t want one. I am what I am, what Angelus, and Darla and Dru made me. And I’m bloody good at it. Or I was.” He took a deep breath. “But then I met another slayer, and my world changed. Wanted to kill you at first, won’t deny it. But mostly I just wanted to fight with you. Didn’t really care if I killed you after a while, just wanted to be close to you. Challengin’ myself, challenging you. It made me crazy when that spell made you so weak. But even when you weren’t you, you still made some body parts sit up and take notice. Even then, I wanted you. And you let me have you—I know!” He put a finger to her lips. “I know it was the wrong thing to do. But I’m evil, pet. A demon. And that demon wanted you any way he could have you. Making love to that little girl was good, but making love to the slayer was…” He shook his head.

“It changed everything for me. Still wanted you. Still wanted to fight you. But I didn’t want you dead anymore. And when you had Dru at your mercy and kept your word to let her go… Don’t think I don’t know how hard that was for you, Slayer. But you did it. For me. And I had time to study you last year. Saw how hard you tried. How you dried your tears and carried on when Angelus turned up in the body of the vamp you thought loved you. And those nights we spent fighting…. Don’t know when I’ve felt more alive than when you and I were taking on half-dozen or so of something really nasty. Or when we were sparring with each other, trading insults and making each other laugh.”

Buffy was staring at him, arms crossed and feet tapping.

“Sorry, love. Forgot where I was goin’ with all that.” He gave her a sheepish smile. “Didn’t mean to make a speech.”

“And yet, you’re still talking….”

“Right.” He straightened up and put his hands on her shoulders. “The point is, falling for you has changed me in ways I haven’t even figured out yet. I’m still working on what those changes are. But I do know that I don’t need a bloody soul to be in love with you, or to want to keep you safe. And I don’t need one to keep the demon in check. I’ve got you for that. To tell me when I’m messing up, or being too—”

“Spike!”

He blinked at her.

“Stop. Talking. And. Kiss. Me. Now.”

She reached up and grabbed his ears, pulling his head down where she could fasten her mouth on his. This time, he didn’t pull away, but kissed her back with all the pent-up passion he’d been feeling since he arrived in Sunnydale. After several long, tongue tangling kisses that left them both breathing hard, she pulled her mouth away.

“That’s better.”

“I’m not half done with you,” he growled, diving for another kiss. She whimpered in the back of her throat and put her arms around his neck, allowing him to pull her into his body. So wrapped up were they in each other they barely noticed the approaching group of teenagers until they heard the giggles and the laughing “Get a room”. One look at Spike’s true face sent the kids fleeing back the way they’d come, screaming and jostling each other to get away.

“Shame on you,” Buffy said through her own giggles.

“Did them a favor,” he said, grinning back at her. “You know they were headed into the cemetery for a little slap and tickle. We saved them from being vamp food.”

“Good point. Yay us.”

He pulled her back into a more gentle embrace. “Now, where were we?”

Buffy smiled, but pulled back enough that their bodies weren’t touching.

“We were forgetting that we’re out here to find those guys from the Council. I can’t have vamps running around Sunnydale that know that much about the Council and slayers.”

“Right you are, pet. Find the bad guys, that’s the ticket.” He released her, but with obvious reluctance. “So what’s the plan?”

“Well, they aren’t likely to be in a cemetery, cause they weren’t buried, so I guess we need to go where there are people. They’ll be looking for food. And for Angelus?” She waited for Spike to give her more information about newly turned vamps.

He thought for a moment. “Well, they aren’t anything but minions – if that at this point – so they won’t be able to feel that he’s gone the way a family member would, so yeah, they may go lookin’ for him. Depends on how smart they are. If he told them to stay put somewhere, they’ll probably just sit there till hunger drives them out.”

“Okay then, we start with that old apartment building Giles said they were staying while they were here.”

As they walked through Sunnydale, arms brushing from time to time, Buffy twirled a stake between her fingers, swearing when it would drop out occasionally. Spike watched without speaking until the third time it flew out of her hand.

“Slayer? Buffy?”

“What?” She was glaring at the stake as if it had deliberately set out to annoy her.

“If… when we find these wankers, what do you say about letting me handle them while you watch?”

“Why—oh. Cause I’m not me yet, you mean.”

“Yeah. The bloody test is over, and you did ace it. But you’re still not anywhere near what you should be. After dusting a 200-year-old demon, would be a bit sad to be taken out by a brand new fledge. And any vamp can get lucky once.”

“We’ll see,” she said, not exactly agreeing to letting him handle whatever they came across, but not refusing either.

XXXXXXXX

They hadn’t quite reached the old abandoned building when they came upon the two remaining Council employees. Both were wearing their newly acquired fangs and wrinkles, and neither of them recognized Spike for what he was. The English accents that were obvious even as they had trouble speaking around their fangs told Buffy she’d found what she was looking for.

“Isn’t that— Why isn’t she dead? Why aren’t you dead?” the least bloody one demanded.

“Things didn’t work out quite like you guys hoped,” she said. She thought about twirling her stake again, but decided against taking a chance she’d drop it again. “But we’re here to fix it.”

“The only thing that needs to be fixed is the fact that you’re still breathing,” the other new vampire said, licking his lips. His size and readiness to fight indicated he’d probably been one of the Council’s bodyguards rather than a researcher. “And we’re just the ones to fix that little problem.” When Spike snorted in disbelief, he turned to him, still apparently not having noticed Spike’s lack of heartbeat. “We’ll get to you, mate. Just wait your turn. Want to taste Slayer blood before we try yours.”

He frowned in confusion when Buffy and Spike both burst into laughter. The new vampires frowned at their intended victims in confusion.

Buffy looked at Spike and shrugged. “I think the skinny one is going to be too easy, but I’ll let you have He-man there.”

They moved apart so as to have some space to fight, Buffy going to the side where the less confident fledgling was. She waited calmly for him to attack. Which he did, much more clumsily that most vampires would have. Even with her diminished speed and strength, Buffy had no trouble avoiding his rush and driving her stake into his back. She didn’t even wait to see his dust fall, just turned to watch Spike and the larger vamp face off.

“If you know what I am, you should be pissing your pants right about now.” The new vampire’s confident grin faded as Spike went into game face and he found himself staring at a much older vampire.

“If you’d had enough sense to know what I am, mate, you’d…. Well, you’d still be dust in a few seconds, but you might have tried to run.” Spike’s fangy grin clearly was giving the newly turned minion pause.

“Well, you may be tougher than you look, but when Angelus comes ba—”

Spike shook his head. “The poof isn’t comin’ back, you big git. Would’ve thought you’d figured that out, what with the Slayer standing here all alive and what not. Reckon they don’t choose you wankers for your smarts.”

“Not coming… you killed Angelus?”

Spike laughed and nodded his head at Buffy, who was waiting semi-patiently for him to stop toying with his prey. “Not me. She did for him. Took his head right off… after she drove a stake through some soft body parts.”

The big vamp blanched. “I thought she was—”

“Not entirely,” Spike said. “Something to keep in mind… not that we’re going to give you time to worry about it,” he added, noticing Buffy’s growing impatience. “Now are you going to fight me, or just hop on my stake like a good little minion?”

With a snarl, the vamp turned to run, bursting into dust when Buffy’s thrown stake hit him in the back. Spike raised an eyebrow and made a pouting face.

“You said I could have him. Slayer.”

“Sorry? I was getting bored with all the chit chat. What is it about guys that you have to growl and posture before you actually fight?” She walked over to Spike and pushed on his pouting lower lip. “Did you notice what I did?”

He frowned, then smiled. “Getting your powers back, then, are you?”

“Looks like. Still don’t feel just exactly like me, but I don’t think I could have made that throw an hour ago.”

His smile faded. “Won’t be needed the extra muscle now, will you?”

“Do you think that’s the only reason I want you here?” She glared at him, hands on hips.

“Do you? Want me here, I mean. Is that what you want, Buffy? Another old vamp in your life?”

She sighed. “Well, I don’t want you to be not here.” She cupped his cheek and smiled sadly. “Guess that wasn’t exactly what you wanted to hear, was it?”

“It’ll do me for now, love.” He leaned into her hand, turning his head to kiss her palm. “I can work on the rest of it.”

“Is this where we start kissing again? Cause that’s—”

He took her hand and pulled her toward the building. “What say we make sure there aren’t any other vamps lurking around, and then claim this old building for ourselves?”

XXXXXX

After a thorough examination of the old building, they determined that the Council team and it’s trained and muscular vampire-fighting bodyguards had kept the building free of any vampires other than the one they’d hoped to use on Buffy. Bloodstains in one of the bedrooms and the kitchen gave evidence of where, if not when, Angelus had taken over the operation.

“What do you think he did? Get them to tell him the plan and then get rid of his soul?” She frowned. “No, that can’t be right. Angel wouldn’t have wanted to lose his soul. They must have talked about it in front of him or something. Before they did it.”

“Don’t know, love. Angelus can—could—be a right convincing bloke when he needed to. Once he knew where to find you, he didn’t need them anymore. My guess is, he killed the two we saw here and told them to stay hidden until he’d driven off with the others. I expect he killed them once they got to the restaurant. After he lulled them into thinking he was all tamed and willing to behave just to have a shot at you. Probably took the other muscle out first. Without him, the two non-field wankers would have been easy pickin’s. Probably tried to hold him off with crosses or such.”

“So. We have the whole building to ourselves then.”

“We do.” He moved closer and pulled her close. “Now, about that kissing…”

“Mmmmmm….”

Several frustrating minutes later, Spike pulled his mouth away, taking unnecessary panting breaths. Buffy was clinging to him with arms and legs, just as she had in her kitchen. But without something to brace himself on, Spike was struggling to maintain their position.

“Need to take this horizontal, love. Much as I don’t want to not be touching you, I’d much rather be doing it lying down… and naked.”

With a sigh, Buffy dropped her feet to the floor. “Okay, but don’t forget, Giles is waiting for us to tell him we got those guys. We can’t stay here all night. My mom’s going to expect me back too.”

Spikes’ growl was muffled where he’d buried his face in her neck.

“Bugger the watcher. We’ll tell him when we tell him.”

“And my mom?”

He lifted his head and growled again. “I’ve got an idea…” He stared around the room, which had apparently been a lobby of sorts. “I think I saw something where they….” He started walking toward a small office where they’d seen some paperwork and personal effects with blood spatters on them. “Yep. Here is it.” He pointed to a portable computer. “Knew the wankers would have a way to communicate with Merrie Olde.” He sat down and stared at the screen. “Don’t suppose you have any idea how to work one of these things?” he said.

“That’s Willow’s department. But if I can find their email…” Buffy pushed him off the chair and began looking through the computer’s files. “Here it is! And no passwords either.”

“Arrogant wankers.”

“Whatever. Here’s the name of the guy it looks like they were reporting to…. Yeah, the last message said they captured Angel and were working on the spell to remove his soul.” She bit her lip. “What a stupid thing to do. And poor Angel.” She glared at Spike when he muttered something under his breath about Angelus, but didn’t ask him to repeat it.

“What should I say to him?”

“They already know it went bad. Just tell him we—you—found the last two vamps and dusted them. And look what else I found!” He held up a cell phone. “If they were just as careless with this, we can just call your mum and let her tell the watcher we did our job, but we’re still patrolling.”

Buffy rolled her eyes at him, but dutifully sent a terse message to the Council telling them their entire team had been killed and that the two that had been vamped were now dust. She bit her lip, then signed it “Buffy Summers, ex-vampire slayer”.

Spike handed her the phone. “Now your mum. Tell her you still have patrolling to do and not to wait up.”

Buffy shook her head. “I’m not going to lie to my mother, Spike.”

“You lie to your mum all the time. Or you used to, anyway. Might not be a lie. We might find something evil to slay on the way home.”

“You’re a bad influence,” she grumbled, taking the phone and trying to figure out how it worked. “I don’t know how to use this—and stop that!” She tried to duck away from him as he began nibbling on her neck. As she punched in her home phone number, she giggled and tried to shrug off the lips he was running over her face and neck. Holding Spike off with one hand, Buffy glared at him as she spoke into the phone.

“Mom? Yeah, it’s me. We got them. There were only two and they were still together, so it didn’t take long. Tell Giles he can report that the Council is minus five employees, one slayer, and him, if he’s still planning to quit.” She ran around the room, putting the table between her and Spike, as she finished. “We’re gonna do a patrol… just in case I missed some regular Sunnydale vamps. I… Don’t wait up… Bye!”

 

Chapter Eight

She clicked off just as Spike caught her and grabbed her around the waist, picking her up and throwing her over his shoulder. He was on his way out of room when her giggles and less-than-strenuous struggles stopped. She didn’t try to get loose, but she knew he felt her body tense up as she flashed back to the previous year.

“Bloody—I’m sorry, love. I’m an idiot. Don’t know why you haven’t staked me yet. Forgive me? Please?” As he spoke, he was setting her on the floor, his hands hovering over her shoulders as if afraid to touch her. She faced him, taking in his stricken expression and the genuine sorrow there, meeting his gaze and sharing his memories of the event that changed their lives. To Buffy’s shock, he dropped to his knees in front of her, arms around her legs and face pressed into her stomach.

“I’m so sorry, Buffy. I’m a fool and a wanker. Never meant to—”

She exhaled loudly and rested one hand on his head. “It’s okay. Really. We were having fun and it just…. Yeah, I had a moment… but I’m fine. I’d almost forgotten that we—”

We didn’t do anything. I carried you off when you were vulnerable and took advantage of you. You should dust me.” He raised his head to watch her reaction.

“Okay, drama queen. If I didn’t dust you then, I’m certainly not going to do it now. It happened. We dealt with it. There’s only one thing you can do about it now.”

“Anything, Buffy. What it is? What can I do?” He gazed up at her, his honest desire to make up for his earlier behavior easily visible.

“You can get up and help me find someplace where you can remind me why I didn’t stake you that first time.” She giggled when he rose to his feet so quickly he almost fell over and had to grab her shoulder.

“Already found it,” he said. “If I promise to do it like a gentleman, may I carry you there?”

She blinked at both the request and the very un-Spike-like language and accent, until she remembered how easily he’d fallen into the formal speech that had been so soothing to her as an 18th century gentlewoman.

“Why, yes, William. You may.” Her smile was genuine and grew wider when she saw him get what she was saying.

He swept her up in his arms this time, cradling her as she rested her head on his chest. “It’s not what you deserve, my sweet, but I think you’ll find it much improved over that wretched building where we spent our honeymoon.”

“You always were terribly impatient,” she murmured into his chest. In spite of her lady-like demeanor and words, her fingers had found their way to his chest and were traveling lightly all over it. She managed to get one hand under his shirt to begin stroking his bare skin. Spike’s hiss as she touched him, brought another smile to her face. His arms tightened around her and he growled softly.

“That didn’t sound very gentlemanly,” she said, continuing to run her hands over his bare skin everywhere she could reach in that awkward position. She turned her head and nuzzled his T-shirt covered chest, biting gently on the nipple pebbled there.

“I think the gentleman has left the building, you minx. I believe the demon’s about to kick him in the arse.”

As he spoke, he entered the bedroom he’d checked earlier, and walked to the bed. He lowered Buffy to it and knelt on the floor beside her, putting their faces only inches apart. His eyes were dark with desire, but instead of kissing her he whispered, “You know I love you, don’t you? I don’t know why or how it happened, but I’ve been drownin’ in you since the first time I saw you. Thought it was just because you were a slayer and a challenge, but even the demon didn’t want to kill you.”

“Could have fooled me,” she whispered back.

“Fooled me too, for a bit,” he admitted. “Once I had you down…” He shook his head. “By rights I never should have let you leave that building, but all I could think about was keeping you safe.” He gave her a crooked smile. “And maybe makin’ sure Dru and the great poof never learned what I—we—did in there.”

Buffy huffed a soft laugh, then touched the side of his face. “And I should have staked you the minute I was me again. Not….” She smiled. “We pretty much suck at being enemies, don’t we?”

He nuzzled her palm, then shrugged out of his coat. “Don’t want to be enemies any more, love. Want to be your lover.”

“Then I guess you’d better get off the floor and into this bed—Oof!”

Without seeming to stand up, Spike had gone from kneeling on the floor to lying on top of her in one smooth movement.

“Your wish is my command, my lady,” he murmured against her lips as they began kissing again.

In no time, Buffy was tugging on his T-shirt and his hand was under her skirt. After a few seconds of struggling to bare more skin, they paused.

“Let me, love. I promise no ripping them off this time.”

Buffy nodded, suddenly shy in front of him as he began to remove her blouse and bra, his emotion shining in his eyes. He dropped his head to take first one, then the other nipple in his mouth, pulling on them until she was arching into his mouth, completely unaware that he’d also removed her skirt and panties. When he let go and sat back to run admiring his gaze from head to toe, she blushed.

“Hey, I’m naked and you aren’t,” she said in what she hoped was a voice less nervous than she felt. “What’s wrong with this picture?”

“Nothing,” he whispered, “it’s breathtaking…” A glimpse of her narrowing eyes brought his attention back to what they were doing. “But that’s prob’ly not what you meant, is it?” he said quickly, tearing his shirt off over his head with one hand and unzipping his jeans with the other. Growling when he had to pause to take off his boots, he finally dropped them to the floor and turned his attention back to Buffy.

Lying down beside her, he began kissing his way from her ear to her neck, to her shoulder, over to worry at one nipple for a few seconds, then down her ribcage, pausing to stick his tongue in her belly-button, and then moving down her hip. Giving her an evil grin as she gasped in anticipation (of what, she wasn’t exactly sure, she just knew the lower he went, the more she wanted him to keep going), he moved down her right leg, dropping wet kisses on the inside of her thigh, her knee, and finally made his way to her toes which he sucked on, one at a time.

Buffy’s surprised panting made him smile again as she learned that her toes were an erogenous zone. He sucked on and ran his tongue around all ten toes, then began another string of wet kisses up her left leg. This time, when he got to the top of her thigh, he sucked on her femoral artery briefly before nuzzling his way into the neatly trimmed hair at the apex of her legs.

Her sigh of satisfaction when he found what he was looking for quickly turned to gasps and whimpers as he brought her to the first of many orgasms. While she was still limp and relaxed, he moved up her body and nudged her slack face with his nose.

“May I come in now, my love?” His accent was back to being the one she’d realized was probably closer to what he’d been born with, but the body on hers was room temperature, made of solid muscle, and trembling with need.

“Come in, Spike,” she said, meeting his eyes. “I want you.”

With a groan, he pushed into her, pausing when he was seated and breathing hard against her neck.

“Been waiting so long to do this again,” he whispered. “You’ve got no idea, Buffy, how often I dreamed of being here again.”

“I think it might have crossed my mind once or twice,” she murmured, wriggling her hips against him. She smiled when he growled and pushed back. “But I might have forgotten exactly what it was like….oooooh!”

XXXXXX

Spike spent the rest of the night proving to her that her memories were only shades of what they actually could have been had they remained in the old warehouse longer. When even super powers had finally been exhausted, they lay together, her head on his chest, his arms around her.

“You know,” she began, circling his nipple with one finger, “if we’re going to do this all night, every night, I’m going to have to quit school so I can sleep in the daytime.”

His chest jiggled against her cheek as he chuckled.

“Sounds like a wonderful idea to me, love, but I think your mum might have something to say about it.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. She wouldn’t approve. She wants me to go to college.”

He turned slightly so as to be facing her. “If she did approve, would you want to?”

“Do this all night, every night?”

“Be with me all night, every night. Whatever we were doin’ or not doin’ there.”

“Spike…” She felt him stiffen as she started to speak, and kissed his chest before sitting up to continue. “You do remember that I’m still in high school, don’t you? Just ‘cause I turned eighteen today doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t have to listen to my mom. Or live with her. If you’re asking me what I think you’re asking, I have to say no. We can’t live together… even if you had someplace to live, which you don’t.”

“Wasn’t asking you to change your life, Buffy. Nor to leave your home and family. I was just asking if you would do it. If it was possible. Would you want to live with me? Not asking you to do it. Not now, anyway. Know I’ve got to prove myself to you. I need to find my place in your life, and in Sunnyhell. I can’t live in your mum’s basement. Need to find a place to live, sort out… things.”

“Oh. I knew that.”

He snorted. “Sure you did.”

She stuck her tongue out at him in retaliation for his disbelief, leading to a temporary pause in the conversation as he managed to get his lips around it and suck it into his own mouth. When he followed the kisses up by pulling her down on top of him, she pulled away and stared down at him.

“You’re kidding me, right?”

He laughed and loosened his grip. “Probably am. Not that I couldn’t if you wanted to,” he added quickly, “but I am a bit too knackered to do my best work.”

“I’m not sure what ‘knackered’ means, but if it means too tired to feel your own legs, then me too. But we’re gonna have to get up. Tomorrow’s Saturday, so I can sleep in, but I should probably do it in my own bed. Alone.”

He sighed and squeezed her tightly, then relaxed his arms and let her roll off. He sat up and stretched his arms overhead.

“You’re right, love. Dawn’s coming. I can feel it. Need to get you home and find myself a place to bunk down for the day. Might just come back here and take one of the downstairs rooms. Place looks to have a pretty big basement. I’ll look around for a place to live permanent-like, before I come to get you tonight.”

Buffy threw his shirt to him as she began pulling her clothes back on.

“Okay. Let’s get going. We didn’t really do a patrol tonight–last night–whatever, so the next one’s probably going to be busy. I need my sleep.”

“I’m ready. Let’s get you home so I can get back here before the sun turns me into a walking torch.”

XXXXXXX

It didn’t take long for them to reach Revello Drive and they were soon standing on the back porch of a silent house. As Buffy expected, Joyce had left the door unlocked for her, and she had no trouble opening it. She turned in the doorway and put her face up for the kiss she knew was coming.

“Sleep well, love.”

“I’m pretty sure I will,” she said with a wry smile and reddened cheeks.

“Better than sleeping pills, love is.” He smiled and lifted her hand to his lips. “Goodnight, Buffy. I’ll be back tomorrow evening.”

“Promise?”

“Tomorrow. The next night. Till the end of the world.” He brushed his lips over hers. “Now go get your sleep.”

“Goodnight, Spike.” She watched as he faded into the shadows, then closed the door and locked it. “I’ll see you tomorrow,’ she said softly as she turned to go to her room. “And the next night, and the night after that….”

The End

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/505152.html

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