The Unwilling Hero
Word count (total)13638
The Unwilling Hero
“I want to keep Spike.”
“Are you crazy?”
“In the interest of my sanity, I am going to assume you are being humorous.”
“No, no I’m serious. Shut up, Spike,” she said over her shoulder at the now growling vampire. “See, here’s the thing—”
“There’s always a thing,” Anya said, nodding wisely.
Ignoring her, Buffy continued, “See, he can’t hurt us, right? So we can use him... for practice. I can practice finding him with that Spidey-sense you say I should have, Xander and Willow can practice their staking technique, you can—”
She paused and rested her hand on Spike’s shoulder again. She could feel the steady vibrations from the growl rumbling in his chest, and she squeezed his shoulder. “I don’t mean really stake you,” she said. “I mean, like with a fake stake – made of rubber or something. You know, just to be sure they can hit the right spot hard enough.”
“Had quite enough of being experimented on and staked with non-wood objects, Slayer,” he said. His expression was a combination of pleading and anger that Buffy had never expected to see in the dangerous vampire. “If that’s your plan, count me out. Just use the real thing and put me out of my misery now.”
“What do you mean ‘experimented on’? I thought they just made it so you couldn’t bite?”
“Had a bit of fun with me first, didn’t they? Wanted to see if I was worthy of having done to me whatever it was they did. The old harridan that runs that place seemed quite pleased that I didn’t turn into a gibbering idiot or try to off myself while they ran their bloody ‘tests’ on me. Told me I was the only vamp they’d found strong enough to ‘use’ – whatever that meant.”
“Harridan?” Giles raised his eyebrows at Spike. “Bit mannish and rude? Unpleasant old cow?”
Spike and Giles exchanged frowns. “Some of the things she did to me went way beyond rude, but yeah. Sounds like her. Friend of yours?”
“Not hardly,” Giles muttered, turning toward Buffy. “I don’t want you to do anything... untoward... with Spike until I’ve had a chance to speak with him more about his experiences.”
“Untoward? What does that even mean? I wasn’t planning to do anything... weird... you know. I just meant I wanted to keep him around for a while.”
“Well, that’s a bit disappointing, pet,” Spike said, regaining a bit of his bravado now that he knew Giles wanted him kept around too. “Was kind of looking forward to—” Buffy’s increased pressure with the hand she still rested on his shoulder stopped him before he could finish. He winced, but stopped talking loudly enough for anyone else to hear him. Instead, he whispered, “Admit it, Slayer. It did sound a bit dirty, didn’t it?”
“Shut up, Spike.” Face flaming, Buffy moved away from his smirk to talk to Giles. “Okay, then I guess he can be your vampire. As long as I get to borrow him whenever I want to.”
“He’s still right here in the room,” Spike said with a muffled growl. “Instead of talking about me like I was a piece of meat, why not ask me if I’ll do what you want?”
“Would you?” All eyes turned to him at the same time. “Why would you help us if we don’t make you do it?”
“Yeah. It won’t be any fun if you do it willingly.” Xander seemed almost indignant. “I mean, slave-Spike is a great idea; willing helper Spike – just doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
“Slave Spike? Over my undead body!” Spike almost stood up, bringing the chair with him.
“Oh, relax,” Buffy said, glaring at Xander. “He doesn’t mean slave slave, he means more like a... a... pet. You know, like something obedient.”
“Don’t do ‘obedient’, Slayer,” he growled, relaxing a little. “At least for real. Now if you want to play a little bit...” he said in another whisper. “Be happy to teach you how to be a proper dominatrix. I’m guessing you’d take to it like—”
Buffy smacked him across the back of the head. “Shut up, Spike.”
Her half-hearted swat hadn’t really hurt him and he laughed. “See what I mean?” he managed to get out before a serious slayer glare made him decide to curb his tongue.
“So, if that’s settled, here’s the plan. We’ll feed Spike blood from the butcher, and in return he’ll help whichever one of us needs or could use the help of a vampire... for anything. If he helps, he gets fed; if he doesn’t....”
“No treats for you!” Xander said, grinning at Spike. “Oh, I’m going to like this!”
“If that berk tries to pretend stake me, I’m going to bite him,” Spike warned Buffy. “I don’t care if my head explodes. I’m going to bite him.”
Buffy sighed. “Let’s start with something easier, ‘k? We’ll find someplace... creepy, and I’ll try to find you by using my spidey-sense.”
“She means,” Giles said with a sigh, “the ability to sense vampires that she was given along with the rest of her powers.”
“If she’s got it, why does she need to practice? Not that I’m objecting to a night out, mind you, but—”
“It doesn’t work very well,” Buffy mumbled at the same time as Willow piped up “Giles says she needs more practice. She should be better at it than she is.”
Throwing Willow a betrayed glare, Buffy said, “I’ve been busy. Stopping apocalypses, fighting demon snakes, sending my re-soulled boy friend to hell, finding out that even when I’m not the only girl in world anymore I still have to save it, starting college, fighting ghost Indians that turn into bears.... who’s had time to worry about ordinary old vampires?”
“Well, let’s go then, Slayer. If you can sense where I am when I’m stalking you, other vamps should be a breeze.”
“Full of yourself much?”
“Just sayin’, Slayer. I’m an old vamp and I know how to be invisible if I want to.”
“With that hair?” Giles raised his eyebrows to match his tone of voice.
Spike shrugged. “Don’t usually want to, do I? No good being a Big Bad if nobody knows you’re there.”
“So, you’re saying you can hide from me, and if I want to find you I’m going to have to find you by....” Buffy looked at Giles. “What is it I’ll be doing again?”
He sighed and almost rolled his eyes, settling instead for taking his glasses off and pinching his nose. He shot the snickering vampire a glare before answering.
“You’ll be using the senses you were given to feel where he is. There should be some sort of warning... a prickling on your skin, a sense of unease—”
“Oh, like a tingle on the back of my neck?”
“Possibly. So you do know what I’m talking about?”
“Maybe? I mean, sometimes I can tell there are vamps around.”
“Well why didn’t you say so before this?”
“I thought you meant I should be able to tell where they are and how far away and stuff like that. They always give me tingles on the back of my neck.” Buffy pouted. “If that’s all it is, I don’t see why it’s worth practicing.” She sat down on the couch and crossed her arms.
“Can you feel Spike?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “I can see Spike, Giles. He’s right there.” She pointed at Spike and shook her head. “I don’t need to feel him.”
Giles had released Spike from his bonds and gestured for him to stand up, saying to Buffy, “Shut your eyes, please, Buffy.” When she complied with an offended sniff, he pointed toward the kitchen. Moving so quickly and silently that the humans in the room blinked in surprise, Spike disappeared into the kitchen and placed himself against the refrigerator. Becoming perfectly still, he appeared to blend into the shadows.
“All right, Buffy,” Giles said. “Without opening your eyes, stand up and point to where you think Spike is.”
She tossed her hair and stood up, her brows coming together in a frown as she could no longer feel anything from the chair Spike had been sitting in. Turning slowly, she tried to track the faint prickling on her neck that said ‘vampire’.
“Okay, not funny, Giles. What did you do, send him outside?”
“No. You may open your eyes if you think that will help.”
Buffy’s eyes flew open and she glanced at where she’d last seen Spike, frowning when he wasn’t there, even though she hadn’t heard him move. She walked over and peered at the rug.
“Did you dust him just to trick me?”
Giles sighed. “No. He is still with us. It remains to be seen if we will be happy about that,” he added, deliberately looking toward the kitchen. Buffy didn’t pick up on his hint and began to prowl around the apartment, peering into the bathroom and bedroom before stopping with her hands on her hips.
“I know he’s here! I can feel him! I can...” she trailed off as she realized she hadn't felt Spike in the back rooms, but could again now that she was back in the living room. She took a tentative step in one direction, stopped, closed her eyes and turned slowly until she was facing the kitchen. She opened her eyes long enough to glance at the floor to make sure it was clear, then closed them and began letting her tingles guide her toward Spike’s hiding place.
Feeling in front of her with her hands, she found the counter and moved around it, still with her eyes shut as she felt the tingles getting stronger. She moved forward, hands in front of her until she ran into the refrigerator. Frowning, she opened her eyes just as Spike said “Gotcha!” and pretended to bite her neck. Before the chip could fire, he turned the fake bite into a soft brush of his lips that only Buffy noticed.
“You did not ‘got’ me!” she said, trying to hide her embarrassed flush. “I found you.”
“You found a kitchen appliance, Slayer. The Big Bad was standing beside it.”
“Close enough,” she muttered, moving back to the living room and away from the lips that had felt insanely good on her throat.
“It is not close enough,” Spike said, following her out to the other room. “While you were trying to stake the fridge, I was biting you.”
“Well that’s because my eyes were closed,” she argued, appealing to Giles for support. “I don’t fight with my eyes closed!”
“You do hunt in the dark, do you not?” Giles said, giving Spike a speculative glance. “Spike is... and you have no idea how much this pains me to admit... quite right. While you did eventually almost locate him, it took much too long and he still would have had you. No doubt,” he added quickly as she narrowed her eyes and clenched her fists, “you would have recovered quickly enough to get free, but it could have been much too close for comfort.”
“Fine! I’ll go practice. Come on, Spike. Time for you to try that when I don’t have my eyes shut.”
She marched to the door and went out, not even waiting to see if he was following her. Spike grabbed his coat and ran after her, not bothering to close the door behind him. Giles gave an exasperated sigh and went over to close it himself. He could see Buffy and Spike arguing as they crossed the parking lot with a speed that would have let normal humans behind. Shaking his head, he shut the door and went back to his desk.
“You were cheating!”
“How was I cheating? All I did was stand perfectly still and let you try to find me.”
“Well.... you were... too quiet. You weren’t even breathing!”
He stopped and stared at her until she turned around. “What? I’m just saying, you were too quiet and too still and....”
“And I’m a vampire,” he finished for her. “A dead man. I can be quiet and still for hours, Slayer. You can’t count on those senses to find me. And I can see in the dark better than you can.”
“Well, that’s not fair,” she grumbled. “You’ve got all the advantage.”
“Not all of them, I don’t. But I have a lot. Just don’t use them very often ‘cause I like a good fight. Doesn’t mean other vamps won’t though. You need to work on that sensing thing.”
“If anybody sees you helping me, they’ll take away your vampire card,” she said, nudging him with her elbow.
“Think I lost that when those sadists put this chip in my head. If we meet any other vamps, I expect you to protect me.”
“You expect that, do you?” She glanced sideways at him and giggled.
“Too bloody right, I do. ‘S what you do, innit? Protect the helpless? Can’t get much more helpless than a vamp that can’t bite.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re not helpless, Spike. You’re tricky. You’d think of some way to do whatever you wanted to.”
“If you think that, why haven’t you staked me? Aren’t you worried about what I might do?”
“I probably should be, I guess.... But then, who would I practice using my spidey-sense on?”
“Why don’t you try it on the vamp luring behind that tree?” Spike jerked his head toward the shadows near an empty building.
Without answering him, Buffy slipped her stake out of her sleeve and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and concentrated, having no trouble feeling Spike right beside her, but the other vampire was just a vague tingle with no direction to it. Shrugging, she opened her eyes and ran toward the shadows, reacting without thought when one of the shadows leapt at her. Her stake went into the unfortunate vampire’s chest and his dust drifted toward the ground.
Spike’s voice was all it took for Buffy to realize she could still feel strong tingles, even though he was standing too far away for it to be him. She whirled, just in time to duck a punch at her head. Kicking the new attacker in the knee, she was able to back up far enough to see that there were two more working their way around behind her.
“Got your back, pet.” The more familiar sensations were suddenly right behind her where she could sense Spike’s presence. Confident that nothing would sneak up on her from the back, she whirled to her left and staked that startled vampire before he could say anything. She turned to face the other uninjured one, only to find him dangling from Spike’s hand, his legs kicking and his snarls getting weaker as he was unable to suck in enough air to make sounds.
She ran toward the first attacker, now trying to hobble away, and ran her stake through his back. Not waiting to watch him dust, she ran back to Spike and staked the one he was holding. As the dust drifted away, she stared at her companion with bewildered eyes.
“Did you just help me?” she asked. “And are you okay? Didn’t that make your chip fire?”
“I did. I am. And it didn’t. Got no idea what any of that means and I don’t want to talk about it.” He spun around, coat swishing behind him, and began to stride off.
“Thank you,” Buffy whispered, watching him disappear into the night. There was no reply, but she saw his shoulders twitch before she lost him in the shadows.
Buffy finished her patrol, finding that if she gave it some thought, the slight tingles that she’d hardly paid any attention to before, would at least let her know in what direction the vamp or vamps were. She was sitting on a tombstone, waiting for the vampire clawing his way out of a new grave to get far enough free that she could stake him without getting her clothes dirty, when she felt strong tingles coming from behind her. Even as she whirled, stake raised, she recognized the particular tingles that said “Spike”.
Choosing not to think about why she would know Spike’s signature from any other, she waited for him to approach.
“Are you over it?”
“Over what?” he growled, pointing behind her. “Saving your delectable little arse? You better hope not.”
“I better wha—” Just a breath of disturbed air behind her gave her enough time to duck away from the fledgling that had crawled out looking for his first meal. As she stared up from the ground, she saw Spike take a step closer to her. The newbie vamp glanced from the man to the girl on the ground, clearly unsure of what to do next. He had yet to notice that Spike had no more of a heartbeat than he did, his newly awakened senses completely focused on getting a first meal. He snarled at Spike and reached for Buffy, now on her feet and glaring at him.
“Where do you get off sneaking up on me?” She stepped forward and punched him, following up with more punches and a leg sweep. “Why didn’t you just stay in the ground where you belong, huh?” While the bewildered vampire stared up at her, all thoughts of a meal evaporating as he saw the stake in her hand, Spike stepped up beside her and put a hand on her arm.
“Hold on a second there, Slayer,” he said, gazing at the cowering fledge. “Want to test something....” He reached past Buffy and pulled the vamp to his feet, only to punch him hard enough to knock him down again. “Huh! Let’s try that again.” Going into game face, he cringed in anticipation of the pain, relaxing when nothing happened. He leaned over the half-conscious vampire, snarling as he sank his teeth into the neck in front of him. He took several gulps of the weak blood, then raised his head and held out his hand. Buffy gave him her stake and watched silently as he plunged it into the other vampire’s chest.
When he stood up, fangs still visible and blood on his lips, she stared at him through the dust floating away. Without seeming to move, she slipped another stake into her hand and waited, meeting his amber gaze. As Spike took in the look on her face, his triumphant grin faded and he went back to his human mien. They remained still, only a few feet apart, searching each other’s eyes for some indication of the other’s intentions.
With a sigh, Spike shook himself and dropped his gaze, holding out her stake to her, butt first. “Here you go, Slayer. You might need another one of these.”
“Do I? Do I need my stakes, Spike?”
“Not for me, you don’t. But it doesn’t look like you’re as sure of that as I am. Want you to feel safe, Buffy.”
“You can kill again, and you want me to feel safe around you. Really?”
“Humor me, pet.” He stepped closer to her, keeping one eye on the stake still clenched in her hand. “Not trying to hurt you, just want to see—” His hand lashed out and hit her cheek hard enough to rock her back on her heels, but not hard enough to really cause any damage. Before she could retaliate, he was on the ground clutching his head, his scream just tapering off to a moan.
He rolled over but remained on the ground, one arm over his eyes. Buffy waited a few moments, then sighed and sat down beside him.
“So much for keeping my clothes clean tonight,” she muttered as she noticed she was sitting on the loose dirt from the grave. When Spike didn’t respond, she squirmed around until she was off the dirt and could lie down beside him – leaving enough room between them that there could be no misunderstanding her intentions. She dropped her head back and stared up at the stars overhead. For long minutes they focused on the sky, neither one willing to talk about what had just happened.
“So...” Buffy broke the silence. “What do you think is going on?” She felt rather than saw him shrug.
“No idea. That makes two vamps I’ve been able to dust tonight, but a tap on your cheek sets the chip off.” He turned his head to look at her. “Are you alright? Didn’t hurt you did I? Didn’t mean to, just needed to know...”
“Who are you and what have you done with Spike?” She turned her own head to meet his gaze. “Blond guy, about your height, always trying to kill me?”
“Ha, bloody, ha, Slayer.” His growl was more annoyed than vicious-sounding and she ignored it.
“I’m serious, Spike,” she said, sitting up and looking down at him. “What’s with all the saving me—not that I needed saving—" she said quickly. “—and not wanting to hurt me when you thought you might be able to?”
“Don’t know. Don’t want to talk about it. Don’t even want to think about it.”
“It’s weird, Spike.”
“Fuckin’ brilliant observation that is,” he grumbled, sitting up and resting his arms on his knees.
“Just for that, I’m not going to tell you what I think is going on,” she huffed, getting to her feet. “Come on. I need to take you back to Giles’ so I can get some sleep tonight.” Without waiting to see if he was following, she started marching out of the cemetery. She’d gone some distance before she realized he wasn’t following her. She turned around and put her hands on her hips. “Now what? Aren’t you hungry?”
The guttural snarl that answered her question had her reaching for her stakes again. They glared at each other across the row of graves until Spike’s anger ebbed and he seemed to shrink into his coat.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “I’m hungry.”
“Well, come on then,” she said, still keeping him in her sights. “Let’s get you home and fed.”
“Goddammit, Slayer!” His roar startled her and the rabbit hopping across the lawn. “I’m not your bloody pet dog to be ordered about and bribed with treats.”
Buffy blinked at him, mentally reviewing the evening’s events and conversations. Dawning awareness made her cringe at her own obliviousness. She walked toward him, holding up one hand as a sign of peace.
“I’m sorry, Spike,” she said, snorting when he appeared shocked. “I have been treating you like some kind of big fangy... pet... instead of like a... a....” She trailed off, not sure of what to call him. While he waited, eyebrow raised, she took a deep breath and finished, “a man.”
“I’m sorry,” she repeated softly. “I’m no better than those people who captured you, am I?”
“Don’t be daft,” he said, seemingly over his anger and striding to where she'd stopped and waited for him. He fell into step beside her when she resumed walking. “You’re nothing like them, Slayer. “’s why I came to you, innit? You don’t torture and maim.”
“Thanks, I guess...”
They walked in silence for several minutes and were approaching Giles’s apartment complex when he asked almost casually, “What is it that you think you know? That you decided not to tell me when I brassed you off.”
“Oh. Well, the thing is, we don’t know exactly why they put that chip into you, other than maybe as a way to control you for some reason, but it makes it safe for humans to be around you. Maybe they don’t care what happens to non-humans. Like vamps and demons? Maybe the chip only works if you’re trying to kill a human.”
He nodded. “I expect you’re right, luv. ’s what I was trying to check out when I hit you.”
“What if it didn’t trigger the chip? Hitting me, I mean. Suppose it just stopped working? Would I have needed my stakes?”
“Would you have used one on me?” he challenged. “Could you still stake me after we....”
“Spike, that was a spell! We weren’t really getting married.”
“Witch just said you should marry me, didn’t say anything about sitting in my lap all night and driving me crazy with—”
“I thought I was in love! And we said we weren’t ever going to talk about that night ever again!”
“Right. So we did. Never happened.”
“Of course it happened. We just said we weren’t going to talk about it.” Buffy stamped her foot, then gave an embarrassed laugh. “Okay. That was my inner four-year-old. But we did say that. You promised. You said you didn’t want to have to think about it again any more than I did.”
“Turns out I may have been bending the truth just a mite....”
He straightened up, saying briskly, “Right you are, luv. No idea what you’re talking about. Here we are at your watcher’s where you can feed me and tie me up for the night.” He nudged her arm. “Don’t suppose I could get a nice belly rub before I curl up on my dog bed?”
She sighed. “Make up your mind, do you want to be treated like a... a person, or like a pet? I can’t keep up.”
“Depends, doesn’t it? If being a pet means I get cuddles and belly rubs....”
“You are such a pig.”
“Oink, oink, Slayer.”
Finding Giles heading for bed, Buffy filled him in quickly on the evening’s activities, looking at Spike for permission before sharing what they’d learned about his ability to kill other vampires. Giles frowned, then nodded. “That makes sense, I suppose, given that all they needed was for you to be safe for them to be around. So, you can kill vampires, but not hurt humans...” He stared at Spike for a long moment. “Not quite a soul, but it could make you an asset to Buffy as she goes about her duties.”
“Don’t need a bloody soul for that,” he snarled. “I’m not Angelus. I control my demon, it doesn’t control me. ‘s why I’m still walking around. The younger vamps they tried the chip on fried their brains trying to bite. Didn’t have enough sense or enough control not to keep trying.”
He looked at Buffy and back at Giles. “It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on once I tried to bite Red and couldn’t do it. Didn’t know it at first, but when I thought back to what I’d seen and heard in that place, I knew what they’d done to me. Just didn’t know it only applied to humans.” He glanced over at Buffy, who was staring at him with a bemused look on her face. “Reckon if I want my spot of violence every night, it’s going to have to be at the expense of other demons.”
“Does that mean you’re going to help her?” Giles came back to his original suggestion.
“Need to think about it, don’t I? It’s not like I can just jump from killin’ slayers to helping one, just like that. Got my reputation to think about...” His voiced trailed off as he caught Buffy’s raised eyebrow and the amusement on her face. “I’ll think it over,” he mumbled as he turned away.
Giles frowned as he looked back and forth between them, sure that he was missing something. But Buffy’s casual air as she watched Spike get some blood from the fridge didn’t indicate a problem, so he went to bed with instructions to “make sure the vampire is safely contained.”
Buffy waited until Spike came out with a mug of warm blood in his hand, then gestured to the bathroom.
“Do you mind drinking that in there? I really need to get some sleep tonight....”
His eyes flashed amber for a second, then he sighed and nodded. “Whatever you want, pet. Not got a lot of choice, do I? Watcher isn’t going to take my word I’ll stay here, and don’t want you to sit up all night vamp-sitting me.”
He followed Buffy back to the bathroom, sighing again as he stared at the tub and the chains waiting there.
“Do you want.... should I get you a pillow or ... something?” She looked flushed and avoided meeting his surprised gaze. “I mean, it can’t be very comfortable in there....”
“It isn’t,” he said. Without elaborating, he stepped into the tub, sat down, and held up his hands for the manacles. Buffy bit her lip, but knelt beside the tub and locked the hand restraints around his wrists.
“I’m... I’m sorry, Spike. I think I... I’d probably trust you if you promised not to try to leave, but Giles....” She finally looked up at him. “It’s his house, and I can’t make a decision like that for him.”
“Don’t worry about it, pet.” He smiled at her, his expression softer than she’d ever seen it, even when they were engaged. “I’ll suck up to Rupert tomorrow and see if I can convince him I can be trusted.” When Buffy snorted her disbelief, he laughed and held up his feet for their restraints. “You’ll see, Slayer. I can be very charming when I need to be.”
“Could have fooled me,” she muttered as she fastened his wrists and ankles to the pipes.
“You didn’t think I was charming when we were engaged? I’m hurt, pet.”
“That was different,” she said. “And we agreed not to talk about it any more!”
“Did. Sorry. I forgot it wasn’t a fond memory for you.”
Something in his tone of voice brought her eyes to his face. What she saw there made her squeeze her own eyes closed before she spoke.
“Spike... I don’t... I can’t... It was a spell! It wasn’t... us, it was just the spell making us feel like that. We should be over it. We have to be over it!” Her lip came out in a small pout.
His eyes focused on her mouth, he leaned forward whispering, “ ‘Don’t, can’t, should be...’ none of those things mean we are over it. ” He brushed his lips over hers before she could move her face away. “An’ I don’t think I want to be....” When she didn’t pull back, he pulled her lower lip into his mouth and bit down gently before turning it into a real kiss.
A kiss that lasted until, with a small whimper in the back of her throat, Buffy pulled away and sank down on her heels, resting her head against the cool porcelain on the side of the tub. The metal chains rattled as Spike rested one hand on her head, stroking it softly.
“This is sooooo wrong,” she whimpered.
“Didn’t feel wrong to me,” he rumbled in her ear. “Felt bloody good. Felt good to you, too, didn’t it?”
“That’s beside the point! And stop petting me!” In spite of her words, she didn’t move away, only turning her head to glare up at him. He smiled back and continued to run his fingers through her hair.
With a sigh, Buffy sat up, slowly enough not to be flinging herself away, but leaving no room for confusion as to what she was doing. She slid backwards and leaned against the wall, tipping her head back and shutting her eyes.
“Refusing to look at me isn’t going to make it go away, pet,” Spike said as he slumped into the tub.
Buffy opened her eyes and met his gaze. “You have no idea how good I am at denial, Spike. No idea at all.” She got to her feet with a sigh and walked to the door. “I’ll be back tomorrow night to check on how charming you’ve been.” Without looking back, she left the bathroom and the apartment.
When Buffy arrived at Giles’s the following night, she found him sitting across the table from Spike, both with glasses of something she was pretty sure she wouldn’t like, her watcher with an open Watcher’s Diary and a pad of legal paper.
“So, you’re saying that in...” he consulted his notes, then looked at a page in the journal, “...1923, you fought a slayer in Poland and may have killed her?”
Spike nodded. “Sounds about right. I know the worst of the flu epidemic and the war was over, but it was still a time of scarcity over there.” He peered at where Giles was holding his finger on an entry in the journal in front of him, trying to read it upside down. “Did she die?”
“Yes,” Giles ground out, “she did. Congratulations, Spike, you’ve got one more to your credit than you knew about.” He took a long drink from his glass and glared at the vampire, now trying to appear innocent and harmless but failing miserable as he added a nameless Polish slayer to his tally of slayers fought and defeated. The tension in the room ratcheted up as Buffy approached the table and stared back and forth between the two men.
“Um, Spike? Giles doesn’t look all that charmed to me.”
“Jus’ a temporary glitch, luv.”
“I fail to see how you expect Buffy’s finding out you’ve killed another slayer will be a ‘glitch’. More likely, she will see it as good reason to put you out of our misery.”
“So, I take it this isn’t going well? And what does he mean you killed another slayer? Did you run into Faith somewhere?” She glanced at Giles. “And I’m not sure I’d see that as a staking offense, Giles. Just so you know....”
“He means, that a slayer I fought eighty years ago died later that night. And what’s a ‘Faith’?”
“Oh.” Buffy’s shoulders slumped. “Then you’ve killed three slayers, not two?”
To her astonishment, Spike looked almost apologetic as he answered her. “It’s what I did, luv. Wanted to fight the best, so I sought them out. Didn’t always win... barely made it away with all my parts intact at least one time, but—” He sighed. “Can’t say I’m not having second thoughts about it now that I know you better, but it’s what we are, luv. You kill my kind, I kill... used to kill... yours.”
“And if it weren’t for that chip in your head, you would still be trying to make Buffy your fourth.” Giles glared across the table at Spike. “And you want me to let her trust you?”
“Trusted you, didn’t she? How’d that go for her when you sent her off with no warning, no strength, and no weapons to tangle with Kralik? D’you think I wouldn’t hear about that?” Spike snarled and met Giles glare for glare. The staring contest continued with neither one backing down until Buffy slammed a stake down on the table, causing them both to flinch.
“Buffy is perfectly able to make her own decisions about who to trust. And neither one of you is a shining example of it, so get over yourselves!”
“Buffy... surely you don’t trust him not to turn on you? Have I taught you nothing?”
Buffy stared at the man who had not known he was sending her to her probably death, but had made it a possibility anyway.
“You taught me that people can say they love you, and still lie to you and set you up to be killed—” She raised a hand when Giles tried to object. “Yeah, yeah, I know you didn’t know you were sending me against something that dangerous. But you didn’t know you weren’t. And you did drug me so I wouldn’t be able to fight back. So, yeah, Spike’s a stone cold killer. But he’s never lied to me. The times he’s given me his word, he’s kept it. So which one of you do you think I’m better off trusting?”
Before the vampire on the other side of her could begin to crow, she whirled on him. “You know and I know that the only reason you’ve had time to get to know me better is because of that chip. Without it, you were even willing to use a cheater magic ring to kill me. So get off your high horse and be nicer to Giles.” She put her hand on her hips and glared at him. “And give me your word that you won’t try to run away or get minions to kill for you so we can stop tying you up and Giles can have his bathroom back.”
“I promise,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry, Slayer.”
While Giles gaped at him, Buffy gave a nod of approval and took her stake off the table.
“Okay then. What were you guys doing when I came in?”
There was an uncomfortable silence before Giles emptied his glass and set it down with a small thud. He tapped the journal in front of him and said, “Spike has been filling in some blanks in the Council’s records from earlier this century.” He shot Spike a quick glance, then cleared his throat. “He has actually been quite helpful.”
“Well, are you through picking his brain for the night? Cause it’s my turn to have him... to help me. My turn to have him to help me.” Her blush didn’t go unnoticed by either one of the men, although only one of them groaned to himself.