Spoilers: Set very AU Season 3
Summary: Buffy's the first Slayer in a century to reach her 18th birthday and the Watchers' Council traditionally gives such Slayers a very special gift.
Warnings: language, vague mentions of sex
Disclaimer: Not mine
Distribution: Please ask unless you already have permission. Will eventually be up at Moon Madness
A/N: Written for seasonal_spuffy; also fits for prompt #18 (forced union) for wtf27
A/N 2: There's no Angel in this story, never was. Buffy survived without him. Whether there was ever an Angel or Dru or Darla, that's not really important. Spike's just never been to Sunnydale until now...oh, and he's the 200 year old son of a Baron because I prefer it that way. *g*
She'd heard the rumors, but no Slayer in a century had made it to her eighteenth birthday, so she'd dismissed them. They had seemed too insane, anyway.
Vampires were for killing, not for...
Buffy shook her head, trying to drive away the distracting thoughts as she patrolled through one of the dozen cemeteries. Tomorrow was her birthday and Giles had requested she join him for dinner. He hadn't looked very happy when he'd asked her so she figured it wasn't to give her a cake and some balloons.
But, it couldn't be...
No, those were just rumors, and, anyway, this was nearly the twenty-first century and that kind of thing just didn't happen anymore, not in Southern California, not even on a Hellmouth.
Buffy stared in shock at her Watcher. He hadn't just said that. He couldn't have.
Giles frowned and crossed his arms over his chest.
Feeling the walls of his small apartment closing in around her, Buffy shook her head wildly and bolted, leaving the front door swinging, panic outweighing every other emotion.
"I'll bring her back." A lighter flared in the dark shadows of the hallway leading to his library and spare bedroom, and Giles glanced over his shoulder, nodding in resignation.
"I thought she would take it better than this."
The only response was a derisive snort and a rush of wind as his companion flew out the door in the Slayer's wake.
Giles slowly moved to close the door, then slumped heavily against it before heading for the Scotch.
Tears streamed hot and wet down her cheeks as she ran. Her mind, unable to process what had been asked of her, searched for a way to escape. When none presented itself, she turned to anger. Wrapping her coat around herself, she stomped through the park, eyes burning, searching for something to beat up and kill.
They couldn't be serious. It was just a rumor! They couldn't do this to girls. This wasn't the middle ages and she wasn't some poor damsel in distress. She was the Slayer and she'd given three years to the world, protecting it, slaying whatever beasties Giles sent her after, and giving up any semblance of a real life. It had been four months since she'd even had a date and, outside of necessary study sessions with Willow, she hardly ever saw her friends unless it was Slayer and Scooby time.
She'd made it to eighteen, the first Slayer in a century to reach that age, and she'd sacrificed so much, but she wasn't sacrificing this.
"It's too much!"
"Yeah, it is," came a quiet, masculine voice from a park bench in the gloom about twenty yards to her right.
Buffy spun, stake in her hand, her senses going wild.
"Good, I was looking for something to slay," she snarled as she charged.
He was up and ducking around her before she could get anywhere near him and she nearly tripped over the bench before spinning and kicking out at him. He easily evaded her, smiling grimly.
"Stop being so damn fast!" As Buffy twirled and kicked again, the vampire caught her foot and had her on her back in the dust in a split second. Before she could aim her stake, he dropped over her and pinned her wrists over her head.
Fear took the place of anger as she struggled to free herself. She'd never run into a vampire so fast or so strong.
He was going to kill her.
As her eyes widened and the fear became terror, he pried the stake from her and slid the tip into the gap between two buttons of her shirt, pressing it against the curve of her breast. Buffy choked and stilled, knowing if she kept struggling, she could easily do his work for him.
"Do it," she breathed, tears again filling her eyes.
The vampire gazed solemnly down on her, but made no move to kill her, and she had a long moment to look at him and wonder.
And then it hit her.
His lips twisted into something that was nothing like a smile. "My reward for living for two hundred years--a soul and a Slayer, both forced on me." The stake went flying and he rose easily, not bothering to reach down and help her up.
Buffy scrambled to her feet, her hands fisting in defiance. "I'm not doing this."
"You say that like you have a choice." He reached into his coat and pulled out a packet of cigarettes, tapping one out and lighting it. As he drew on it, he shook his head. "Your Watcher seems a decent enough sort, but collectively they're completely ruthless bastards and they live and die by tradition. Slayer makes it to her eighteenth birthday, this is what she gets."
"It's ridiculous! I'm not...not...No way in hell!"
"I agree. Unfortunately that means a stake through the heart for me, as I'm easily replaced, and..." He turned shrewd eyes on her. "The next step for you is threats to your family and friends if you don't obey. Threats they'll carry out, don't doubt that."
Knowing he was speaking the truth Buffy felt her heart thud painfully in her chest. "They actually think this is some kind of gift they're giving me?"
He nodded solemnly. "Perverse, I know, but, yeah. The first couple of years are a test for the Slayer, to see if she can grow strong enough on her own and survive. If she does, she gets to live a hell of a lot longer. In your case, as long as I can keep us both alive."
"You're not alive," she shot back.
"Close enough. As close as you're going to get. There was never going to be a white picket fence and two point five babies in your future, Slayer."
Her face and stomach fell and she wrapped her arms around herself as the shivers set in. "I know that. I faced that a long time ago. But, this...this is just wrong. We don't even know each other."
"That's a modern convention. They live in the past, remember? Be glad they chose eighteen and not thirteen like tradition says they originally considered."
"We have until midnight to get to know each other and then we have the rest of our lives." He tossed away his cigarette and held out his hand to her.
"Midnight? So soon?" Buffy shook her head in denial. "No, too soon, too...I don't even know your name."
When she didn't take his hand, he took a step towards her and grabbed her wrist. "Spike."
As a shudder went through her at the touch of his cool fingers on her skin, she gaped at him. "Spike?!"
He shot her a look from silvery blue eyes. "And what kind of silly name is Buffy?"
"At least I'm not named after a dog!" Snarling, she wrenched her hand away from his. "This is not happening." She pressed her fists to her temples and spun around. "I need to go kill something."
"Sounds good to me." At the confused look she gave him he frowned. "What? Just because they rammed a soul up my ass doesn't mean I've gone soft. A good kill will get the blood pumping...for later."
Buffy felt herself go cold then hot, color flooding her cheeks. That his eyes were running over her in a rather insulting appraisal only made it worse. "There is no later! I have to go home. I have school tomorrow. My mom expects me to go over college choices with her."
"I expect your Watcher is currently filling your mum in on your fate." Spike shrugged his shoulders. "You can go to college if you want, though I doubt they'll let you leave the Hellmouth."
"I'm not going to be stuck here, and I'm not going to be stuck here with you."
"You keep living in the land of denial, pet. Meanwhile, let's go kill something." He started off down a path and Buffy watched him for a moment, then ran to catch up with him, muttering to herself about how much life sucked.
As they walked in silence, both instinctively on the hunt, Spike watched her, this young woman who was suddenly in his life. No, he mentally shook his head, she was his life now. He resented it, but he'd lived long enough to know that sometimes the fates kicked you in the balls. He also knew he'd outlive her. She was only a speck of time for him.
He could live with it, but he wasn't sure she could.
And the Watchers called vampires barbaric.
At his snort, she turned her head to look at him with a hint of curiosity and he just gave her back an enigmatic look and turned them into an alley. His senses came alive, and he noticed that hers did as well. At the far end of the alley, amongst debris and dirt and overgrown weeds, someone was fighting to live.
Dusting off her pants, Buffy rose gracefully to her feet and eyed her companion curiously. Three vampires had attacked a young woman, who had taken off at the first chance she got, leaving Buffy and Spike alone to slay.
It had been easy and the three vampires were now just dust swirling in the wind.
Despite her best efforts Buffy was impressed. Not only had the vampire killed his own, he'd done it so effortlessly. His demon had emerged during the fight, but she hadn't felt a twinge of fear, even when they'd ended up back to back, momentarily surrounded.
It was very weird.
Spike lit another cigarette and scuffed the toe of one of his boots in vampire dust. "Fledglings. You get a lot of those around here?"
"We get a lot of everything around here, but, yeah, I guess. I just keep slaying them, so the masters make more."
"You take any of them out?"
"A few. Are...are you one?"
He shrugged. "Suppose I am. Or was. I never really cared for all the hoopla that goes along with it. It's better on my own."
"Most vampires are pack creatures."
He smiled slightly at that. "Reciting your Watcher's words?"
Buffy flushed a bit. "Yeah. Is he wrong?"
"No, but then I've always been different." Spike put his free hand lightly on his chest and drew on his cigarette. "Now I really am."
"How'd they do it?"
"Spell of some kind. I wasn't really conscious for it."
"Do you know why they chose you?"
"No clue." He glanced down the alley and motioned his head towards the exit. "We need to get back."
"I'm not going through with this."
He nearly laughed at her determination--she was a little spitfire--but instead he tucked away his stake and started walking.
"Hey, wait. Where are you going?"
Buffy frowned and kicked at the vampire dust, then jammed her stake into her belt and stomped after him.
When they reached the Watcher's door, she stopped him with a hesitant hand on his arm and he turned to look at her.
"Why so soon? Why midnight on my eighteenth birthday?"
The door opened and Giles stood there, a bit bleary-eyed and rumpled looking.
"Been hitting the Scotch, Watcher?" Spike pushed past him and headed for the bottle and clean glass sitting on a desk. He poured a shot and downed it.
"This isn't happening, Giles," Buffy snapped, slamming the door behind her. "I refuse to go through with this."
"That's what I said."
Startled, Buffy turned towards the kitchen and watched her mother emerge, drink in her hand, sorrow in her eyes. "Mom?"
"Rupert explained it all to me. I told him no." Joyce glanced at Giles who looked away from her, and she frowned. "And he told me what they'd do to me, and then your father, and your friends, and eventually him."
Reality swamped the denial and Buffy's face crumbled. In an instant she was in her mother's arms, sobbing her eyes out.
Spike gave Giles an uncomfortable look and passed him the bottle.
In the end, she went through with it. She knew Giles would never hurt her, but the Council was an unknown quantity, and the rumors of cruelty, brainwashing, and other dirty deeds were too rampant to ignore.
It was a solemn affair and she wasn't sure it was at all legal. The vampire didn't seem to have a last name, or at least didn't use one, though he did concede to being called William during the ceremony. A priestess of some religion she'd never heard of had them speak words and there had been a moment when something powerful moved through her, but Buffy was still skeptical, and the vampire wasn't talking much.
Her mom stayed as a witness, crying silently through the whole thing, which just made Buffy feel more helpless and more angry.
And then it was over.
For a moment Buffy stared at the white silk cord wrapped around her wrist and the vampire's as they clasped hands, then she began to unwind it. His touch unnerved her. It didn't feel like a vampire's.
As they freed themselves, the priestess melted back out the door, leaving the four of them alone and sober, despite the amount of alcohol consumed by three of them.
"What happens now?"
Giles cleared his throat and took off his glasses to rub his nose.
"She comes home with me," Joyce stated strongly. "She's still a child."
"Mom, I think this whole thing proves I'm not," was Buffy's painful reply.
"Yes, er, it's not quite...er..." A hankie emerged from a pocket and Giles began to clean his glasses.
"I'm not living with anyone's mother. No offense, you seem like a nice lady."
Joyce flushed and nodded at Spike, then flushed even more. "She doesn't even know you," she finally whispered painfully.
"Mom, it's okay." Buffy tried to smile but felt herself failing as she went to her mother's side. "I'm not a kid and haven't been for a long time. I'm the Slayer and maybe with him around I won't die tomorrow or the next day."
Giles finally replaced his glasses and cleared his throat again. "The Council will pay for an apartment and everything the Slayer needs. It's expected of them. In essence she'll draw a salary just as I do."
"They going to pay me, too, Watcher?" Spike asked, his voice holding a mocking tone.
"For tonight, the two of you can stay here. I have a room at a local inn."
"No, Rupert," Joyce protested strongly.
"It has to be done," he replied painfully. "Before dawn."
"Why dawn?" Buffy demanded, then answered her own question with a snarl. "Don't tell me, tradition. I hate tradition." Grabbing the nearly depleted bottle of Scotch, she finished it off, then gasped as the strong alcohol burned her throat. She caught Spike watching her with a bemused look on his face, and glared at him.
It took awhile but finally Giles and her mother were gone, leaving the Slayer and vampire alone. Buffy leaned heavily against the closed door for a moment, before lifting her chin and pushing off from the wood. Her eyes met Spike's and she felt herself blushing at the intensity in his.
"Spare room's back there." He gestured with his head to the hallway behind him.
"Can't we spend like a year getting to know each other?"
His look turned pointed, and she frowned.
"This is medieval."
"Yeah, well the stupid tradition's even older. This was how it was done between normal people back then. You think they'd try anything new for their Slayer?"
"I keep asking for a machine gun. I suppose that's too non-traditional, too."
He chuckled. "To hell with them. You want a machine gun, I know a guy or two who can hook you up."
Buffy felt herself smiling despite the growing ball of nerves in her stomach. "Really? Cool."
Spike smiled back and held out his hand. "Come on, Slayer. It won't be so bad."
She took his hand and forced herself to keep breathing as he led her down the hallway.
The bedroom was a typical spare bedroom--a dresser, an uncomfortable looking chair, and two night stands book ending a double sized bed. There was a pretty quilt on the bed, the only thing of any real color in the room, and heavy navy curtains pulled across the window. Spike led her into the room and released her hand to close the door behind them, then shrugged out of his leather coat. She felt his eyes on her, but didn't turn to look at him and tried not to focus all her attention on the bed. Fear was returning to choke her, along with disbelief and sorrow.
"Yeah, I know, pet. This shouldn't be happening."
He came up behind her, put his hands gently on her shoulders, and she startled, pulling away from him, then turning with downcast eyes.
"I'm sorry. I'm just...not ready for this. Less than six hours. Six hours to adjust to my life turning upside down."
"Probably about as long as they gave you between telling you were the Slayer and pointing you at your first vampire. They're good at that shit."
"I'm only eighteen," she whispered painfully, then let angry sarcasm slip into her voice, "Happy birthday to me."
"They did this to me, too."
The bitterness in his voice startled her out of her pity party and she dipped her eyes from his penetrating blue ones. "Sorry. It's just...you're a vampire. Until a few hours ago all vampires were the enemy. I never thought about...Well, they were all just monsters."
He nodded in understanding. "Makes it easier to kill us if there's nothing remotely human about us. It's a good strategy, actually, but it's way off base. The demon doesn't wipe away everything of the human it takes over. It absorbs it. All the knowledge, all the emotions. Twists them a bit, but they're still there. Having my soul returned simply tempers the demon."
She tried to process what he was saying. "It's still there?"
"I'm still a vampire, luv."
"And what does having your soul back do?"
"It makes me regret, makes me want to be better than I have been for two hundred years, makes me want to protect...you, I guess." Spike frowned. "I've only had it back for a week and I'm still getting used to it, after spending the first day howling in grief and guilt over everything I'd done."
"How do I know you won't hurt me or my friends, my mom?"
"You don't, because demons aren't the only ones who murder. Men have been killing each other since the dawn of time. I guess you have to trust that the Watchers knew what they were doing when they picked me. I wasn't a bad man before the demon. As for physically hurting you...There's an old legend that Slayers and vampires are two sides of the same coin. You're strong and tough and built to be my match."
He shrugged. "Some would say it's a battle of sorts."
One of his eyebrows went up, bringing her attention to a scar within the dark hair that proved he wasn't a natural blond. "You mean..." For the first time, he looked bothered and his fingers fidgeted at his sides. "Christ. You're eighteen. I mean..."
Buffy scowled and crossed her arms over her chest, trying not to redden even more. "I've been a bit busy. Being a Slayer doesn't give me much time for dating."
"Yeah? Really? No one's ever tapped all that Slayer passion?"
Heat burned across her face, but she could tell he was simply curious and not mocking her, so she kept her anger at bay. "No."
His speculative look made her tense even more, and she watched as he turned and fiddled with the clock radio on one side of the bed. Soft melodic music spilled from the speakers. He turned on one lamp, then turned off the overhead light, before returning to the bed and folding down the quilt. Sitting down, he reached down to unlace his boots.
Buffy stared at him, then swallowed convulsively as it all became so very real. "I'm about to have sex with a total stranger," she finally mumbled to herself, before sinking into the lone chair. She buried her face in her hands and finally the long-bottled tears began to fall.
He let her cry and gave her no empty platitudes--she had to give him credit for that--but finally she was worn out. Her eyes burned, her chest ached, her face felt blotchy. Opening her eyes she found a Kleenex in front of her face, and took it from his fingers. "Thanks," she choked out, her throat closed from weeping. She dabbed at her eyes and blew her nose, then slowly turned her attention to him.
He'd taken off his shirt, leaving him only in a pair of worn jeans, and...he was gorgeous. All pale skin and muscles.
Buffy swallowed convulsively and openly gaped.
"Feel better, pet?"
Shrugging, he sat back down on the bed, and Buffy watched his muscles ripple.
He was really gorgeous.
"Can vampires even have sex?"
Spike's eyes widened in surprise, then he smirked as her mouth dropped and her hands clapped over it.
"I can't believe I just asked that!"
"Yeah, we can, and yeah, I've heard the Anne Rice crap. Don't really care that we shouldn't be able to."
"So, then, you've..."
"Not a virgin, luv."
The blushing returned to her cheeks and she silently cursed her pale skin, then pushed herself to her feet and found a mote of determination buried deep inside her. "Okay, one time. I'll do it one time. Because I have to. Because of my mom and my friends. We don't live all happily ever after and picket fences make handy stakes, and that's it, got it?"
His smirk turned bemused. "I do love how young people talk these days."
"And you really don't want to remind me of the age difference."
"I was turned when I was twenty-four, that better?"
"No, that's still way old."
Spike laughed and held out his hand to her. "Well, there isn't going to be a dull moment with you."
Buffy looked at his hand for a moment then slipped her fingers between his and let him tug her over to the bed. Sitting down next to him, she stared at their linked hands and then shivered as his lips ghosted over her jaw. "You...you won't vamp out, will you?"
"I have more control than that," he replied, his voice oddly husky, and then his lips closed around her earlobe and the shivers grew.
He was asleep--finally--but Buffy couldn't sleep, too wired, too worried, a bit freaked out. The lights were off and the heavy curtains still drawn, but she could see in the dark better than normal humans and his outline was clear to her. He lay on his back, his head turned from her, showing a sharp cheekbone and lightly parted lips. His hair was tousled and she remembered running her fingers through it--it was softer than it appeared.
She wasn't sure what she'd expected, but gentleness hadn't been it. Yet, that's what she'd gotten. She hadn't expected to enjoy it, but he'd touched her so gently, stroked her so carefully, kissed her so tenderly that suddenly passion had bloomed inside her and, too innocent to stop it, she'd stopped thinking and let herself feel.
The experience had blown her mind. Literally. Stars had burst behind her eyes and she'd lost control, clinging to him, moving with him, her body knowing what to do even as something inside her still shrank from him.
His pale skin bore deep scrapes from her fingernails, but they were healing, just as any bruises on her were--and there had been bruises, as the tenderness had, for both of them, at some point, been replaced by something wild.
Still, he'd never lost control of his demon, and she'd been so caught up in unfamiliar passion she hadn't given it any thought, but now all she could do was think and worry and wonder.
She felt both different and the same, changed, yet not really changed. The big momentous occasion that she'd dreamed about so often had been different than her dreams.
It hadn't been wrong, though.
Even though a tiny part of her still protested all this, for the most part, she was accepting and adapting.
He hadn't hurt her. He hadn't been cruel or callous. He'd hardly seemed like a vampire at all, though, she thought he was probably right about his strength matching hers in a way a normal human boy's couldn't.
"Pet, I can feel you fretting in my sleep," Spike muttered groggily, turning his head and opening his eyes to look at her.
Buffy made sure the covers were covering her before responding. "Sorry."
"No you're not." A grin hovered around his lips, so she didn't take exception to his denial. "What's wrong?"
"Still pretty much everything," she sighed, unable to meet his eyes. "I just had wild sex with a guy I don't know. Oh god, I didn't just say that out loud, did I?"
The grin settled and Spike pushed himself up on one elbow, letting his eyes roam lazily over the slender curves hidden beneath the quilt. "Yeah, you did. I've never reduced a chit to babbling before. I find it fascinating."
"I don't babble."
"Sure you don't, pet."
"Why do you call me that? You hardly know me, and don't say you know me really well now, because you were calling me that before all...this." Her fingers clenched around the top of the quilt as she pulled it even higher to her chin.
"Dunno. Habit." Sitting up, he reached over to the night stand and fished a cigarette out of the pack sitting there.
"Giles doesn't allow smoking in his house."
Spike gave her an arched brow and lit the cigarette. "Pet...Buffy, I couldn't care less."
Buffy tried very hard not to snicker. She wasn't exactly happy with Giles at the moment and the smoking seemed kind of rebellious. Sitting up as well, she tucked the quilt under her arms and crossed her legs Indian style. "So, what happens next?"
"I thought this was a one time thing. Something about no happily ever afters and picket fences making good stakes," he teased.
She glowered at him. "You're really annoying."
"So I've been told."
"I guess getting an apartment is cool. I wonder if that means I can drop out of school?" The glower turned to a grin.
"I'm eighteen, I can do whatever I want." At his arched eyebrow, she snarled, "Damn Watchers."
"On that we totally agree." Spike drew on his cigarette, then flipped her a small smile. "What happens next is we get to know each other, we learn to fight together, we probably save the world or something."
"I do that every Spring."
"So," he acknowledged her statement with a shrug, "we have a plan."
"That's not a plan. That's a vague...thingie. A plan is me blowing off school and going apartment hunting."
"A bit flammable in the daytime here, luv."
"How about an apartment complex with a parking garage?"
He thought about it for a moment. "That'll work. Your juvenile delinquency is on your head, though."
"If they expect me to go school the day after getting married to a vampire, they're nuts, and I'm no longer a juvenile."
Eyes dipping to the hint of cleavage at her breasts, Spike took another drag on his cigarette, and drawled, "There's definitely nothing juvenile about you, wife."
Buffy battled the blushes for a moment, then rolled her eyes. "Wife. That is definitely the weirdest thing to happen to me in a long list of weird things."
Their eyes met and something tender passed between them. "Everything will be okay, Buffy. This'll work."
Slowly she nodded. "I think so, too," then grinned, "You don't snore, do you?"
"I don't breathe," he reminded her, also grinning. "What about you? Do you have the bad habit of leaving dripping tights over the shower rod?" He stubbed out his cigarette in the base of the lamp and turned back to her in time to see her dropping the quilt.
"Oh yeah. I have a lot of bad habits." Buffy's voice turned husky. "Mom always said marriage was a compromise."
Spike placed his hands on her waist and tugged her towards him. "And we've gotten past the biggest compromise of all. You Slayer, me vampire."
"Rule number one, you better not try to kiss me with blood breath. And also..."
Spike shut her up in a very mutually satisfying way.