Title: Did You Ever Know
Era/season/setting: Season 4, post-Something Blue
Does anyone know how and when Spike and the Scoobies actually find out that the Initiative gave Spike a chip? In "Something Blue" he's still calling it a spell, and I don't recall a scene where Riley sits down with him and explains everything. With that in mind, writing a story and NOT referring to it as chip was difficult, let me tell you.
Thanks to everyone who said they were excited to see this, that made me happy!! Like my other entry this is pretty fluffy, somewhat angsty, but also just a quick little Spuffy adventure that probably shouldn't be taken all that seriously. Thanks for reading!
“I’ve got a proposition, love.”
He said it so casually, puffing away on a cigarette, speaking as if they were having a pleasant discussion over a couple of drinks at the Bronze, and she wasn’t in the middle of fighting off some fledge at the moment. Buffy mentally groaned at the sound of his voice. She’d been purposely spending as little time at Giles’ as possible lately, especially since Giles had taken to letting Spike roam free around the little apartment.
But Willow’s spell that had caused Buffy to be engaged to Spike was only three days behind her, and those were memories that she really, really didn’t want to be harboring. She needed them gone, and they couldn’t be gone if she had to keep looking at him and remembering.
So what the hell was he interrupting her nice and peaceful patrol for?
She barely took the time to glance over at him, and barked, “Unless it involves you taking a long walk off a sunny pier, I’m really not interested.”
“Once again, Slayer, your diplomatic rejections are enough to send any man’s heart aflutter, but I do think you’ll want to hear this one out.”
“Yeah, well, kinda busy at the moment,” Buffy panted, swinging her leg towards her opponent. He dropped, and rolled out of the way, snarling as he swiped his own leg at her, tripping her up.
Spike continued casually smoking, leaning up against a tree. “One measly vamp too much for you?”
“I don’t see you offering to help,” Buffy retorted. “Oh, that’s right—because you can’t hit anything.” She managed to grab her foe’s shoulders and fall down on top of him, slamming a stake through his chest. He dissolved under her, and she carefully stood up, dusting herself off. She looked up to see Spike angrily glaring at her.
“You should watch your tone,” Spike snapped. “Because this isn’t going to be a permanent situation, and someday, when you least expect it, I’ll be coming after you.”
“I don’t need to expect it,” Buffy said. “You’ll find some way to warn me first.” She turned and started walking away from him, continuing her patrol.
But she wasn’t all that surprised when he took off running after her, falling into step with her. “You think you’re safe from me?” he demanded. “You know I’ve got you marked. I’ve killed Slayers before, and both of them had always been victorious, until they met me.”
“Yeah, and I’ve killed way more than two vampires before,” Buffy said. “And more than two powerful ones. Who—guess what? Were victorious until they met me.”
He scowled. “You wait, Slayer. You just wait.”
“What are you doing out here, anyway?” Buffy asked. “Giles get so sick of you he turned you loose?”
“He may have had a slight issue with the fact that I was giving him a free rendition of the Ramones’ Greatest Hits.”
“So he turned you loose,” Buffy repeated.
Spike smirked. “He knows I’ll be back. His house is where the blood is. Don’t think he’d shed too many tears if I chose to remain roving, however.”
“Well, that plan kinda got shot to hell when you found me, then,” Buffy said. “You’re going back there, buster, and you’ll stay there until I figure out you’re truly harmless, and if you actually know more about the commandos than you’re letting on.”
“And here we circle back to my proposition,” Spike said. “What if I told you there was a way for me to get this spell thing lifted, and for you to find out where the soldiers are?”
“I’d say you’d better tell me so I can find that out, but no way am I letting you go back to your evil bitey ways,” Buffy said shortly.
He hurried until he was standing in front of her, and scowled. “Oh, give up the little St. Buffy trip already. You took me in to get information on those commandos, and I found a way to get it for you. What more do you want?”
“I want all kinds of things,” Buffy said. “I always wanted a pony, for example.”
Spike’s jaw clenched as he rolled his eyes. “Bloody hell, Slayer, you think you’re the only one here who would rather stake himself than agreeing to work with you? It’s called a truce. We’re temporarily working together because we want something more than we hate the other person in said truce. Perhaps you’re familiar with the concept?”
Buffy crossed her arms. “I don’t know why you’re in such a hurry to return to normal. The minute Sunnydale becomes your buffet again you know I’m gonna kill you, right? And I’ve defeated baddies plenty of times without your help, so, I’m really not concerned about finding out about the soldiers right this second. The gang will figure out eventually what I’m up against. And then I’ll defeat them. I’ll save the world. I’ll hope I don’t have to get up early for class the next day. And I can do all of that just fine without your interference, Spike, so why don’t you just get out of my way?”
She started walking again, and Spike just stared at her, his mouth slightly open as his eyes stared at her in rage. He darted after her again, and roughly grabbed her arm, whipping her around. “Ow,” he hissed, and then, louder when Buffy swung the back of her hand across his face, “Ow!” He sank to one knee. “Damn it!”
“Go home, Spike.”
“Yeah?” he snapped. “You think you’ll find out about this particular adversary? When the world starts ending, that is! You’ll know good and well who you’re supposed to fight when they start burning the streets or killing innocent victims, won’t you? Because that seems to be the pattern, doesn’t it, Summers? You can’t ever get the drop on the apocalypse before it’s already started.”
Buffy stopped, and turned back. “That’s not true,” she said coldly.
“Oh, of course not,” Spike said, rising to his feet again, slowly. He touched the cut on his lip. “Wasn’t a close call with Acathla, was it? Or the Master, or Mayor Wilkins?”
Buffy frowned. “How do you even know about—”
“Because I was personally acquainted with those other two,” Spike said briefly, waving a hand. “I heard about their respective final stands. And from what I heard, it got a little too close to comfort, in both of their cases. Wouldn’t you rather just have a heads-up now, start your summer vacation early this year?”
Buffy crossed her arms. “But, see, we still have one little problem. Evil vampire starting up the disgusting habit of bloodsucking again?”
He tilted his head, smiling smugly. “What?” he asked condescendingly. “You need me in a muzzle in order to slay me properly?”
Buffy rolled her eyes, and turned away again, and once again Spike ran to head her off. “I’m serious, think about it, love. I’m the only vampire with this affliction, that’s hardly fair, is it? Get this spell or whatever undone, and you and I can have a proper brawl.”
Buffy smirked. “And you’re saying you can’t kill me with the muzzle? Aren’t you like some Big Bad famous vampire in the demon world? And you can’t do me in because of a little headache?”
Spike snarled, and shifted swiftly into his vamp face. He swung a punch at Buffy, and she casually stepped out of the way, letting his howl of pain bring him to his knees once again. She snickered as she moved over to him, crouching until she was at his eye level.
“Huh,” she said brightly. “My bad. You can’t do me in because of a really bad headache. I totally get it now. No, don’t feel bad, sometimes I don’t feel so hot when I patrol, either.” She shrugged, still smirking. “Of course, that doesn’t stop me from getting my slay in.”
Spike glared at her with human eyes, still pressing a hand to his forehead. “Think you’re funny, do you?” he growled. “Think it’s such a hoot to kick a man when he’s down?”
“You’re not a man,” she reminded him.
“And you’re even more brainless than I thought if you’re actually going to pass up a chance on valuable information here.”
Buffy stood back up, and Spike stood with her. Buffy crossed her arms and regarded him for a long moment. He was still shaking his head, as if trying to clear the pain. And Buffy considered. She didn’t trust him, didn’t trust whatever he had in mind to get rid of his malady and to help her with her commando problem. But she did trust that that truly was his purpose in coming to her. He’d come to her while waving a white flag in the past. More than once, actually, now that she thought about it. More than twice. She tried telling herself that if she ever did such a thing he’d be quick to turn her down and take advantage, but… what the hell. She would never need to raise a white flag with him. And she knew he’d honor whatever agreement they struck… which was a weird thought, but also a true one. And she did have the upper hand right now. What was the worst that could happen?
Her eyes went wide as she had that thought, but she told herself quickly that as long as she hadn’t actually said it out loud, she hadn’t jinxed anything. “Okay,” she said, drawing a long, tired sigh, as if she had better things to do right now.
She really didn’t though, and that was another reason she was willing to hear him out. It would probably be interesting, if nothing else.
He quirked an eyebrow. “Okay?”
“What’s your plan?” Buffy asked.
Spike gave a triumphant smile. “There’s this shaman,” he said. “Can give you info on your soldiers, and can take off this little muzzle. All we have to do is undergo some sort of trial.”
Buffy raised her eyebrows. “Trial. As in, something we could potentially die in?”
“Well, yeah, where would be the fun if we weren’t risking our lives? Or lack thereof?”
Buffy nodded. “So, you’re just trying to get me killed, then.”
“On the contrary, pet, this shaman was very specific in saying we’d have to work together.”
“So what kind of trial is it?”
“Haven’t the bloody foggiest. There’s usually some sort of beastie to kill in these types of things… that’ll be your department, love, for obvious reasons. Then I imagine there’ll be a lake of fire, or we’ll need to escape a giant rolling boulder or some codswallop.”
“So, something that could get us killed. Something that’ll almost definitely be a form of torture.”
He leered at her. “Suppose there’ll be quite a bit of pain involved, yeah. That’s how the price is paid, and these things always have a price. You think you can handle it?”
“Can you?” she shot back.
He took a step closer to her, so that she had to lift her chin to look in his eyes. He tilted his head, and reached out a hand, brushing the tips of his fingers across her face. “Sweet Slayer,” he murmured. “I’m a Big Bad famous vampire. I can handle anything. All I was asking is if the blushing schoolgirl is ready for something truly hellish.”
Buffy didn’t know why she was letting him touch her, but she didn’t push him away. She stared up at him, fire in her eyes, daring him with her gaze to make a move. A gaze which he didn’t look into, to her annoyance. “Bring it on,” she hissed. “I’ll show you blushing.”
He grinned. “Will you now?”
She did, promptly, and punched his arm to make up for it as she turned away. “I don’t have all night, though. So where’s this shaman?”
Spike shrugged. “Said she’d meet us in the woods.” He shoved his hands in his duster pockets and took off, and Buffy followed, glancing up at him occasionally as they made their way.
It was a little more of a walk than she would have liked, because the silence was pretty awkward, and it gave her lots of opportunities to regret going along with this. Her friends would freak if they knew she’d done this. “Too bad,” she accidentally muttered aloud. “They don’t run my life.”
“Say something, pet?” Spike asked casually, and she flushed again. “No,” she said, tossing her hair and lifting her nose. He grinned, and she scowled at him, realizing he would have been able to hear her. “Just wondering how you came into contact with a shaman who is willing to do this for you.”
Spike shrugged. “I’m very popular in the demon world, you know. Got lots of favors owed.”
“Uh huh. And this is one of them?”
“Well, not as such. Still, got connections.”
Buffy raised her eyebrows, and repeated, “Aaaand this is one of them?”
“Look, you’ve got a problem, I’ve got a problem, this person can fix those problems. No need to ask any more questions than that.”
They were in the woods now, and Buffy was reluctantly impressed that Spike seemed to know exactly where he was going in a place where every tree looked the same. What exactly had they agreed their meeting point would be? Twelve trees in, next to the rock that looks like Tom Selleck?
But just as she’d had that thought, Spike faltered, and seemed unsure. Buffy crossed her arms, and raised her eyebrows. “Not getting lost, are we?”
“No,” he growled. “It’s just…”
There was a sudden flash of blue light, and a woman appeared. She had blond hair and a dark pink gown, and she smiled pleasantly at them. “Spike,” she said. “I was so excited to get your summons!”
“You’re a shaman?” Buffy asked skeptically.
“Shawoman,” she corrected crisply, flinging her hair behind one shoulder.
“This is Meg,” Spike said, almost gruffly, like he was too good to be making introductions or something. “And Meg, this is the—”
“Slayer,” Meg purred, holding out her hand. She held it out with the back facing Buffy though, and Buffy wasn’t sure if she was supposed to kiss it, or bow or something. The only shaman she’d ever seen was the one who’d helped her trick Faith into thinking Angel had lost his soul, and though Giles had treated him very respectfully, there had been no hand-kissage.
But Meg was undeterred by Buffy’s hesitation, and began pumping her hand with great vigor. “It’s an honor,” Meg said. “Really. I mean… probably wouldn’t be as much of an honor if I thought you could kill me, but…” she laughed. “I’m pretty immune to Slayers! And you are a celebrity in our world, so I continue to think of this as an honor.”
“Uh,” Buffy said. “Great.”
Spike cleared his throat, and stepped forward. “So, you can do this for us, yeah? Can take care of our little annoyances?”
“I can,” she said, nodding. “Of course you realize you must pass my trials to do so.” She looked at Buffy. “He’s explained this to you?”
“Not really,” Buffy said.
“Ah,” Meg said. “Well.” She waved her hand, and a door appeared, sloping into the ground. The door flew open to reveal a dirt staircase, apparently leading underground, with soft light from torches in the wall, lighting up the way. “It’s not difficult. You will pass through three rooms, and at the end, should you succeed, I shall grant your wishes.”
“What’s in the rooms?” Buffy immediately asked.
“The keys to the doors,” she said. “They’re puzzles, of a sort. Challenges.”
Spike growled. “We’re not students at Stanford, pet, we’re not here for a bloody escape room.”
“Don’t worry, you have everything you need to figure them out,” she said. She hesitated. “Probably.”
“Probably?” Buffy asked.
“It’s a game,” Meg said, ignoring her. She smiled. “I like to call it… Truth or Dare.”
“Dare,” Buffy said quickly. “I pick dare.”
Spike nodded. “Not about to play any mind games here, all right? Just show us what to hit, and where to walk. We’ll take the physical any day.”
Meg threw back her head and let out a tinkling, merry little laugh. “Sillies!” she cried. “You can’t choose. It’s not actually Truth or Dare… not in the traditional human sense. Though really they stole the concept from demons anyway. No, you’ll have to do both.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Anything you can tell us about them?”
“You are the key to the first room,” Meg said. “Both of you. The second one is a key you must discover. As for the third room… well.” She smiled sweetly. “We’ll just see if you make it to the third room.”
Buffy crossed her arms. “And in return?”
“Of course,” Meg said. She closed her eyes, and a blue light began forming around her. “State your wishes,” she said, in what sounded like three voices at once.
“To get whatever those commandos did to me reversed,” Spike spat out.
“To find out who those commandos are, and where I can find them,” Buffy said.
The blue light faded, and Meg smiled at them. “Perfect,” she murmured. “Oh, we will have a good time.” She stepped away from the entrance, and gestured towards them. “Enjoy your challenge, my lovelies. I’ll see you in a bit.”
Buffy looked up at Spike, and he gave her a brief nod, then stepped forward. He began descending the stairs, and Buffy put her foot on the first one, before stepping back and looking Meg in the eye. “What happens if we fail?” she asked.
“Do you intend to?” Meg asked, giving her an even look.
“No,” Buffy said. She shifted. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t.”
“Very true.” Meg gave a brief smile. “But what do you think will happen?”
Buffy shuddered, and was very close to stepping back. But Spike had already gone down and she… she’d agreed. She had promised him she’d try. And anyway, she thought, as she followed him down into the cavern, she was the Slayer. Surely she’d be able to handle this.
She just wished she’d asked Giles first, was all.
Ch. 2, Ch. 3, Ch. 4, Ch. 5