4,225 words. Rating – well, this chapter’s probably no more than PG-13, but overall the story goes well into ‘R’ and possibly into the mild end of ‘NC-17’.
Previous parts here:
Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four / Part Five / Part Six / Part Seven / Part Eight / Part Nine / Part Ten / Part Eleven
Part Twelve / Part Thirteen / Part Fourteen / Part Fifteen / Part Sixteen / Part Seventeen / Part Eighteen / Part Nineteen
Angel of the Morning
“I predicted that your rendition of ‘Lydia the Tattooed Lady’ would stick in my mind, and would make it very difficult for me to work in proximity with Lydia without visualizing tattoos lurking beneath her very proper clothing, and I was entirely correct with that prediction,” Giles explained. His eyes twinkled.
“So, you kept looking at her, and she thought you fancied her, and things kicked off from there?” Spike asked.
“Something like that,” Giles confirmed. “It might well be that she misinterpreted my initial glances and that inspired her to take more pains with her appearance at work than had been her wont. I had previously thought of her only as an efficient work colleague, but once my eyes were opened I realized that she is, in fact, a remarkably attractive woman and delightful company. I owe you considerable thanks for bringing us together – although in a rather strange fashion.”
“Probably have happened anyway, Rupes,” Spike said. “Two people, in the work-place, feelings develop.” He gave me a little smile that was sort of enigmatic.
“Ah, quite,” Giles said. “Thank you, anyway.”
“And does she have any tattoos?” I teased.
Giles looked at me with a completely serious expression. “Not at present. We are, however, going to attend the Mantra Tattoo Festival at Cheltenham in August, and it is possible that something may catch her imagination.”
He was probably teasing me in return, but I couldn’t be sure. I mean, Giles had always seemed so stuffy and proper, but then we’d walked on him playing guitar and singing in the Espresso Pump and he’d had an earring and hey, he’d been totally unstuffy, even hot. “Uh, yeah,” I said, lamely.
“Sly old dog, Rupes,” Spike said. “Think she’ll go for the full works, Battle of Waterloo on her back and all that?”
“I sincerely hope not,” Giles said, his deadpan expression cracking slightly. “A discreet butterfly, perhaps.”
Spike glanced at me, and quirked up an eyebrow, and I wondered what a tattoo would look like on me. Nothing big and fancy, you know, just, hey, maybe a little dragon. ‘Cause Spike’s my tiger, and we both liked ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, and it might be kinda fun and be a turn-on for him. Only, it would last for ever, and would the joke and the turn-on last the same way? I’d have to think about it. Maybe one of those temporary ones?
I was still thinking about tattoos when Lydia joined us, but I think I managed not to look at her as if I was imagining tattoos under the clothes. Even though I was. Spike too, I think, going by some of the looks he was giving her, although that might just have been his normal flirting ‘cause he knows she’s kinda interested in him and he plays on it. I was just starting to think about giving him a kick on the ankle when he gave me one of those ‘sharing a secret’ looks, so I’m pretty sure that he was thinking about the tattoos, and knew that I was too, and so I didn’t give him the kick after all.
Lydia wanted to talk about Clem. She said that the Council needed to know more about friendly demons like him, and she said she wanted to maybe interview him and would Spike set it up.
“Not sure I’m all that enthusiastic about the Council of Wankers poking and prodding at poor old Clem,” Spike said. “Don’t trust the buggers. Present company excepted, of course.”
“Oh, there won’t be any poking and prodding,” Lydia assured him. “Just a few questions. I do understand your distrust of the Council, but we really don’t mean your friend any harm. We simply want to know more about friendly demons, where ‘friendly’ is defined as bearing no ill will towards humans, so that we can leave them alone. Actively refraining from attacking humans is itself not sufficient proof of friendly intentions, as an invading species could be plotting to establish a beachhead here by pretending to be innocuous until they had gathered a large number of troops, but Clem’s actions in charging a gunman, indeed being shot, in defense of Willow is certainly rather convincing proof that he, at least, should be left alone by the Council.”
“I’m all on board with that,” I said.
“Bloody right,” Spike agreed.
“To attack such friendly demons would be not only cruel, but an unnecessary waste of our resources,” Lydia went on. “We’d be only too happy to refrain from action against them, so that we can concentrate our efforts on getting rid of hostile demons and, of course, vampires. Present company excepted.”
“Uh, yeah, you got a point,” Spike said. “I’ll tell Clem you want a chat.” His hand went to the pocket where he kept his cigarettes, and he fiddled around for a second, but didn’t take them out. “Speaking of non-hostile vampires, as in me, wouldn’t mind knowing a bit more about that Daywalker prophecy thing.”
“There really isn’t much more to it,” Giles told him. “We had very little time to research before we flew out here and what we have is very sketchy. You’re welcome to take a look at it, of course, although we haven’t written out our translations and our copies are still in Latin, in Greek, and in Old Norse.”
“No problem, Rupert, I read Latin and Greek,” Spike said. “Might be a bit rusty, I suppose, but I’ll get by.”
“Ah, yes, I suspected as much after meeting your Victorian persona,” Giles said. “I’ll translate the Norse runes for you, if you wish, although there is little of significance therein. There may well be material of more substance in the Council libraries, of course, and we shall investigate further on our return to England.”
“Appreciate it if you would,” Spike said. “Got to admit that there was a bit in that Scots bint’s little ditty that worries me. That bit about ‘And one day he will live again’. See, I like being a vampire.”
I’d been thinking about that too. See, I liked some things about Spike being a vampire, and other things maybe not so much. Right now, though, there was this whole new thing of Spike being able to go out in the sunlight for us to explore. The coming alive again thing, well, it might never happen, so no point in worrying about it in advance; and, if it did, we’d deal.
They were still making Buffy stay in bed, even though she was all recovered, and she was fidgety and restless. “This is getting pretty sucky,” she complained to me. “I’m all better now and they won’t let me go. Well, not that they could stop me, but they’re all with the ‘you’d be acting against our advice and you’d have to sign all these waivers’ and shit, and it’s easier to let them have their way. But one more day and I’m just gonna walk out.”
“Well, they’re not used to Slayer healing,” I reminded her. “You were pretty bad hurt, Buffy, there was a bullet beside your heart and they had to cut through your ribs, and they probably think that if they let you walk out you’ll overdo it and drop dead. They don’t want to get sued.”
“I guess,” Buffy sighed. “How’re you healing up?”
“I start on physiotherapy tomorrow,” I told her. “It’s gonna be a while before I get full use of the arm back, but they don’t think that there’s any significant nerve damage.” I gave her a smile. “This is my last day on the antibiotics, too, so the yeast infection might clear up soon. I sure hope so.”
“And you can get back to boinking Spike,” Buffy said, with an answering smile.
“Yep,” I grinned. It looked like that subject maybe wasn’t so touchy between us any more. “I can live with the itching, but the no boinking sucks.” Okay, that was what we’d been doing to get by, but I hadn’t seen the double meaning until I said it.
Buffy pouted. “I don’t get it, you know?” So, maybe it was still touchy. “He’s good with you, isn’t he? All loving and romantic and all that sort of thing?”
“Well, yeah, Buffy,” I said.
“But with me it was all about the kinky sex, and there was all this ‘you belong in the darkness with me’ crap, and yet he was supposed to be in love with me.”
I shrugged my shoulders, which was a mistake ‘cause it kinda hurt. “Uh, I don’t know, but maybe he didn’t think you’d let him be any other way. Hey, if Spike said to me ‘you belong in the darkness with me’ I’d think he was inviting me to the movies.”
Buffy gave me a sad little smile. “Maybe he could have been good with me too, if I’d given him the chance, but I blew it. Oh well. He’s yours now, and I won’t interfere. I’ve done enough damage. I’m sorry, Willow.”
“Hey, that’s okay,” I said. “It’s not like I hadn’t done plenty of damage my own self lately. I’ve made up with Tara, and with Dawnie, but I guess I still owe you an apology for dragging you out of Heaven. Although I’m not sorry you’re back, ‘cause being without you really sucked, but I’m sorry that I put you through it without asking.”
“Asking? Hey, Will, I was dead, kinda ruled out the asking.”
“Uh, I should have done a séance, Buff. Just ‘cause someone’s dead doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.”
“Or boink them,” Buffy said, with enough of a smile so I could tell she wasn’t being nasty about it. “It’s okay, Will, I forgive you. I’m over the Heaven thing now. I’m pretty glad to be alive. I guess there’s nothing like a near-death experience to make you appreciate life, although, so not the way I would have chosen.”
“So, we’re good now?”
“Yeah, Will, we’re good.”
There was a minute when neither of us said anything, but it was more kinda comfortable than awkward, leastways to me. Then I said “And you’re good with Spike? I mean, with the chip out and everything?”
Buffy sucked in her lower lip. “Well, you took a big chance there, Will, I wouldn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have trusted him that much, but it looks like it’s worked out okay. As long as he doesn’t get with the biting people I won’t get with the staking, and, well, if he still wants to be friends with me, I’m good with that.”
“He won’t,” I said. “Uh, I mean get with the biting. Apart from anything else, he’s all tickled pink that there’s a prophecy about him. Usually they’re about Angel. And hey, a comic book and a movie and everything!”
Buffy laughed. “So, everything’s looking good with you and Spike, then?”
“Yeah, sure is. Uh, we’re, that is I’m, gonna move out, like I said before, Buff. I don’t think him moving in with me would work out too well, so we’re looking for an apartment.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Buffy said, and there was another long silence. She sighed. “So, you’re gonna live with Spike, Xander’s married to Anya, Giles has this new thing with whatshername, Lydia, and they look like they’ve sorta clicked straight off, that’s the whole gang paired up except for me. Angel, well, I was thinking he would always be sorta waiting for me in the future, but then I find out that he’s had a son by Darla, and he seems to have a thing going on with Cordelia, and I think I might as well give up on that whole Angel thing ‘cause it’s just not gonna happen. Do you think that I’ll ever get a guy? I mean, and have a relationship that works out?”
“Hey, come on, Buffy, you’re only twenty-one. A little early to be thinking like that, doncha think? There’s plenty of time. Anyway, the whole gang isn’t paired up. Dawn hasn’t even started dating yet,” I reminded her.
“Now that’s something I don’t even want to think about,” Buffy broke in.
“Yeah, that’s gonna be a whole new worry for you,” I agreed. “There’s someone else who isn’t paired up. Tara.”
Buffy’s eyes went wide. “Uh, you’re not suggesting that I – with Tara – you – I’m not gay!”
I hadn’t been thinking that way at all, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tease Buffy a little. “Hey, I wasn’t gay either, remember? Give it a try, you might like it.”
Buffy’s eyes stayed round for a moment, and her mouth went round too, and then her eyes went back to normal, her brow furrowed, and her lips went straight and she sucked the bottom one in between her teeth, and I thought ‘oh Goddess, she’s considering it!’
“It would make it kinda hard to stay friends if it didn’t work out,” Buffy mused, “although, it’s worked for you …” Then she shook her head slowly. “I don’t think so. Tara in a, you know, sexual way? Just doesn’t do anything for me. I’ll wait until I can find a guy. Take some time out from dating and that sorta thing for a while.”
“Uh, yeah, good idea, Buff,” I said. “The right guy for you has to be out there somewhere. Maybe you just haven’t met him yet.” I was relieved, ‘cause, seeing Buffy with Tara would have been all kinds of weird, not that it would have been any of my business but it would have wigged me out a bit, and anyway, Tara probably wouldn’t have fancied Buffy – she’d even told me that Buffy wasn’t her type – and that would have just made things even more awkward, and, hey, the whole dating thing can get just too darn complicated sometimes.
I mean, I started off with a werewolf, and then I dated a girl witch, and there was that whole thing with the demon lord in the robot body that I usually don’t mention, and now I’m dating a vampire.
Hey, I don’t know how I ever had the nerve to call Xander a demon magnet!
It seemed like ages since Spike and I had last been to the movies together. The choice was ‘Blade 2’ or ‘Ice Age’, and Spike did want to see the Blade film ‘cause hey, he was the real Daywalker – also, lots of blood and violence, always a plus as far as Spike was concerned – but ‘Ice Age’ was ending its run and so that’s what we went to see. We’d go to the Blade movie another time, maybe with Joel and Jenna.
‘Ice Age’ would be gone by the time Dawnie came out of the hospital, which was a shame, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Tara came too, ‘cause it was just her sort of movie, and we even asked Buffy – she was out of the hospital by now – but she said no thanks. I guess she still felt kinda awkward about me and Spike; or maybe it was that she felt kinda awkward about a foursome with me and Spike and her and Tara, after the talk I’d had with her in the hospital, in case it was sorta putting her and Tara together. Anyway, it was Buffy’s loss, ‘cause ‘Ice Age’ was fun.
Okay, maybe it was a bit too cutesy for the Big Bad, but hey, there were enough funny lines to keep him amused, and Diego the saber-tooth was kinda like Spike anyway, and we had a good time.
And hey, there was really something for us to celebrate, ‘cause I’d gotten the all-clear on the yeast infection, and I had started on physiotherapy for my arm and I didn’t have to be so careful with it any more, and no prizes for guessing what we planned on doing for the rest of the night.
After the movie we saw Tara home, and then we headed back to Revello Drive. I felt just a little wigged about boinking Spike with Buffy in the house, and so we were going to pick up a change of clothes and a toothbrush and then head off to Spike’s crypt for the night. Only, Giles and Lydia were at Buffy’s, and so was Clem, and Giles grabbed us as soon as we got in.
“Ah, Spike, Willow, good evening, I trust you had a pleasant time,” Giles said, and then got down to the business. “I wonder if you would be so kind as to do me a favor?”
“Depends what it is, Rupert,” Spike said, cutting me off before I could say “sure thing”.
“It’s Clem,” Giles explained. “We’ve been interviewing him, with entirely satisfactory results I might add, and I’ve been lubricating the process with some rather good single malt.”
“Got any left?” Spike asked immediately.
“I’m afraid not,” Giles said regretfully. “That, in fact, is at the heart of my problem. Clem rather took to it, and I believe he may have significantly underestimated its potency. To put it bluntly, he’s as pissed as a newt, and he’s in no condition to return home safely.”
“And you want me to take him home? No problem, mate, I owe him one anyway.”
“If you wouldn’t mind, Spike, yes, that would be very helpful.”
“I’ll go get my things,” I said, and hurried up to my room. When I came down Spike and Buffy were supporting a woozy Clem.
“I would have taken him home,” Buffy said, “but I don’t know where he lives, and he’s so out of it he couldn’t tell me. I can give you a hand with him, if you like, ‘cause I don’t think Willow’s arm is up to that yet.”
“No need, Slayer – Buffy,” Spike said. “I’m strong, strong enough to carry him. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”
That must have been a quote from something old or British or both, ‘cause it got a laugh out of Giles, although not from Lydia. “I must say,” Giles said, “I really do appreciate the way that you are so helpful these days, Spike.”
“That’s what we do, in a herd,” Spike quoted from ‘Ice Age’, and that got a laugh from me and puzzled the others. “Got to admit, I like the way you lot are all friendly to me these days. Feels like I belong, y’know? Pretty good feeling.”
“Ah, yes, quite. I do remember you turning down my overtures of friendship once, and I can’t help feeling that it is rather a shame. We could have been, shall we say, comrades in arms long ago, and avoided some regrettable unpleasantness.”
“When was this?” Spike frowned.
“On the occasion that I was turned into a Fyarl demon by Ethan Rayne,” Giles reminded him. “We talked about this after Xander’s wedding, remember? I said to you at the time that I believed that there might be some higher purpose behind your having been rendered, ah, prevented from harming humans. Perhaps it was some Power offering you an opportunity to become a Champion. As I recall, you were really rather abrupt with me.”
Spike allowed Buffy to take Clem’s weight and turned to face Giles. “Yeah, well, sorry about that, but I was bloody pissed off with that sodding chip. Didn’t realize you were wanting to be friends, y’know? Thought you were just rabbiting on about those Powers That Be or whatever, and I wasn’t too keen on any bleeding Power that’d do that to me. Hadn’t really got used to you lot then, anyway. Bit too soon, you were, mate.”
“So, I misjudged the moment? Unfortunate.”
“Yeah. Dunno that I would have gone for it anyway. Stuffing that chip in my head wasn’t any way to get on my good side. Taking it out, though, that’s a whole different vibe.”
“I’m afraid that at that stage that was the last thing we would have considered,” Giles said. “Still, things seem to have worked out for the best in the end, although there has been a lot of discord and pain along the way.”
“Somewhere along the way we drifted apart,” Clem sang, in a slurred voice. “As we walked the road of love we lost our way …”
“Dolly bleeding Parton?” Spike muttered. “What kind of self-respecting demon sings Dolly Parton songs?”
Nobody answered that rhetorical question, and luckily Clem’s song died away into mumblings. Spike took hold of Clem’s arm again and guided him towards the door, and I went ahead and opened it. “Goodnight, guys, see you tomorrow,” I called, and we headed off towards Clem’s apartment.
I hadn’t been to Clem’s place, and Spike had never been invited there either, but we did know the address. It wasn’t all that long a walk, and hey, we had plenty of time. It wasn’t like we had to get him there by daybreak, even, except that walking Clem home was so not how we’d planned to spend the night at all. I wasn’t much help, ‘cause of the arm thing, and Spike had to do all the hard work, but Clem was up to putting one foot in front of the other and so it wasn’t too bad.
Well, not until Clem started to give us an off-key rendition of ‘Jolene’, anyway.
We didn’t go through the alley where I’d met Clem helping Spike home, that morning that seemed so long ago now, but we went pretty close to it and the situation brought back plenty of memories. When a moment came when Clem was being quiet, I said to Spike “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“I think so, Red, but where will we find an open tattoo parlor at this time of night?” Spike replied.
I came to a dead halt. “Uh, how did you know about that? I haven’t said anything,” I said.
Spike stopped too, only Clem didn’t, and they ended up turning around in a circle. “About what? I was just quoting ‘Pinky and the Brain’,” Spike said, giving me the head-tilt treatment. “You’ve got a tattoo?”
“Uh, it was going to be a surprise,” I said, “and I’ve spoiled it.”
“Can still have a grand unveiling later,” Spike said. He ran his tongue over the edge of his teeth in that way that always gives me a sort of shiver in my tummy. “S’ppose you were really thinking about this being pretty much like when you and Clem helped me home, right?”
“Well, yeah, I was,” I confirmed.
“Obvious, innit?” Spike grinned at me, and then Clem stumbled and Spike had to do some quick footwork to avoid both of them going sprawling. “Bollocks! Why’d the Watcher have to get you so bloody smashed?”
Clem mumbled something incoherent and began to sing ‘Islands in the Stream’.
Clem’s place turned out to be a perfectly normal human apartment. The building was a little shabby, but that’s all, and it wasn’t all that far from the police station; not the sort of place that you’d have expected a demon to live. I guess Clem’s a pretty unusual demon, like Spike’s a very unusual vampire.
Spike held Clem up, and I frisked him for his keys, and then we took him inside. Spike wasn’t sure if the vampire invite rule applied in this case, ‘cause this was like a proper home not a lair or anything, but Clem wasn’t human. It turned out that there was no barrier and Spike could just walk in, which was definitely of the good, ‘cause I couldn’t have handled Clem on my own – he’s pretty solid – and so we’d have had to either leave him outside or try to sober him up enough to give Spike an invite.
Once we were inside we parked him on an armchair and made some coffee, and we managed to get him to drink some, and got him sobered up enough to use the bathroom, and then we put him to bed. In his clothes, ‘cause hey, no way did I want to see whatever was under them.
Once we were sure that he was okay we left him to sleep it off and headed off back towards Spike’s crypt. The quickest way lay right through that alley. Spike went a little quiet and thoughtful when we walked along it, but then he gave me a hug and said “Got you now, pet, haven’t I?” It didn’t follow on from anything we’d been saying, and I guess he must have been having a conversation with himself, but I got what he meant anyway.
We walked the rest of the way back to the crypt hand in hand, and once we were there Spike got to see my tattoo, and a couple of hours later we went to sleep.
I woke up too early. There was no daylight in the lower room of the crypt, and I fumbled around for my watch, and when I looked at the time I could see that there was no point in getting up yet. I’d lost interest in that whole early morning jogging thing a long time ago.
So I snuggled into Spike, and wriggled enough to wake him up, and we made love and then went back to sleep.
The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.
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