Summary; during ‘Lover’s Walk’ the magic shop owner comes up with an alternative solution to Spike’s dilemma and he takes her up on it instead of kidnapping Willow and Xander. Things rapidly go AU from there - partly because this is an ‘Insert Dawn here’ story.
Part 1 was HERE. Part 2 was HERE.
Love Potion Number 9
The stake was already piercing Spike’s chest when her mother’s tone of command stopped Buffy’s hand mid-strike. Buffy withdrew the stake, leaving a bloody inch-deep hole in its wake, and held it poised over the heart. “Mom, it’s Spike,” she said, a touch of irritation creeping into her tone. “Evil vampire? Remember?”
“Buffy Anne Summers,” her mother said, using one of those arms-folded, ‘go to your room, young lady’, ‘you are grounded’, voices that could not be ignored, “Spike is a guest in this house. You will not stake him.”
“Don’t you stake Spike!” Dawn snapped. She actually did fold her arms and stuck her lips out so far that she reminded Buffy of those African tribeswomen who insert wooden discs into their lips for some unfathomable reason. Or possibly a duck. A duck-billed platypus, even.
“Uh, have you both gone totally insane?” Buffy treated her mother and sister to an eye-roll that would have gained an awed ‘I am not worthy’ from Shannon Miller. “He’s a vampire. Spike is a vicious, sadistic, evil monster and if me and Angel hadn’t turned up he’d have been ripping out your throats.”
“Spike has been perfectly well-behaved and pleasant company for the past three quarters of an hour,” Mom pointed out, still in that same voice that made Buffy feel as if she was still about fourteen. “Unlike certain other vampires who have entered this house despite being told in no uncertain terms to stay out.”
“I came to save you,” Angel said. His eyebrows crawled towards each other like black hairy caterpillars. “I’ve got my soul back, Joyce. I’m not the bad guy here.”
Dawn tried to snatch the stake from Buffy’s hand. “You’ve hurt him, Buffy. Spike? Are you okay? Spike? Speak to me!”
“Throat’s … a bit … knackered,” Spike croaked out. “Your sis caught me a good one across the windpipe. I’ll be okay, pint-size.”
Buffy frowned down at Spike. Why wasn’t he fighting back? Yes, she seemed to have caught him pretty much by surprise, but he still could have put up more of a fight, surely? Her knees were holding down his arms as she straddled him but he could have been trying to buck her off. Slamming his tautly muscled stomach into her, uh, crotch. Um. Suddenly she felt her cheeks burning and she hastily scrambled up and allowed him to rise to an erect position. To stand. Uh, to get up off the floor.
“Spike, you’re bleeding,” Mom said. “Are you all right? Do you need bandaging or anything? I’m afraid I don’t know much about treating injuries to vampires.”
Dawn was still wearing platypus face. “You’re mean, Buffy,” she said.
“Uh, hello, confused here,” Buffy said. “I was just trying to protect you, okay?” She detected an aggrieved note that was almost a whine in her voice and felt her lips twitching into a pout. ‘Oh, great, I’ll just get into a ‘who can be most childish’ contest with my twelve-year old sister,’ she thought, and tried to adopt an expression that conveyed the right impression of injured innocence but in an adult fashion.
“And when did I get to be the bad guy?” Angel said in an equally aggrieved tone.
“Last January, right?” said Spike. He seemed to have recovered from being clothes-lined as the rasp was gone from his voice. “All soul having again now, are you? Just as well. You’re a complete and total tosser without it.” He turned towards Buffy’s mother. “I’ll be okay, Joyce. Vamps heal up quick. Bit of blood, a day’s kip, and I’ll be right as rain. ‘Course the blood part might be a problem unless Willy’s got a stock in. Or unless Granddad can spare some.”
“Don’t call me Granddad,” Angel said, his lips moving out into a more restrained version of Dawn’s platypus-face. “Spare you some blood? Are you seriously saying that you’re drinking bagged blood?”
“Promised Joyce I’d stop eating people, didn’t I?”
“He did,” Mom confirmed. “And I believe him.”
“And Spike always keeps his promises?” Buffy glared at her mother. “Hello? Who promised to take Drusilla and leave Sunnydale for ever?”
“Don’t see Dru around, do you, Slayer?” Spike pointed out. “Left her in Brazil. She’s not coming here, and if I never see her again that’s fine by me. And I haven’t done anything wrong since I got back. ‘Part from knocking over the ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign, and that’s just tradition. It’s a free country, innit?”
“Not for you,” Buffy said. She saw a frown crossing her mother’s brow and she amended her tone. “Okay, okay. Since my whole family appears to have joined the Spike fan club I guess I’m gonna have to let you live.” She felt for a pocket in which to put the stake, remembered that the point had sunk into the vampire and would probably be covered in blood, and changed her mind.
“And?” Mom prompted.
Buffy looked to the heavens. Or to the ceiling, anyway. “Okay, I give up. Sorry I knocked you down and nearly staked you, Spike.”
“’S okay, Slayer.” Spike tilted his head to one side and downwards and looked slightly up at her through eyelashes that no man had any right to possess. He probably used mascara, Buffy thought. Or even false lashes. “Not gonna complain. Thought you were protecting your family, I get that. Not a problem.”
“When are you leaving town, Spike?” Buffy sincerely hoped that the answer would involve a glance at a watch rather than at a calendar.
“Not any time soon,” the annoying vampire replied. “Got plans to stick around a while. Find a job, somewhere proper to live, y’know?”
“A job?” Buffy could feel her eyebrows shooting up so high that they probably needed to check in with Air Traffic Control. “Have I stepped into some kind of Bizarro World?”
“Promised your mum I wouldn’t steal anything either,” Spike said. “Haven’t noticed money growing on trees around here so I’m gonna need some sort of job.”
“Spike’s going to be giving me a hand with some lifting and moving stock at the gallery,” Mom said, “and I’ll pay him something for that, but really that can only be a short term solution.”
“This is Bizarro World,” Buffy said. She hoped that her eyebrows wouldn’t actually leave the atmosphere. “Or a dream. Pinch me, somebody. Ouch!” Buffy glared reproachfully at Dawn, who had hastened to obey her command, and saw Dawn exchange a glance with Spike that could only be described as conspiratorial.
“You can’t get a job, Spike,” Angel said. “You’re a vampire.”
“Ah,” Spike said. He ostentatiously took his own pulse. “Think you might be right. That explains a lot.”
Mom let a chuckle escape her lips and Dawn broke into open laughter. Buffy felt her own mouth twitch into a smile. She wasn’t at all happy that Spike seemed to have charmed her mother and sister so thoroughly but she was beginning to see how he had managed it.
“I suppose I could spare you a bag or two of blood,” Angel said. He sounded as if the concession had been wrung out of him after two weeks at a negotiating table and he would expect at least the removal of import tariffs on Irish Whiskey in exchange.
“Thanks, mate,” Spike said. “Don’t suppose you could let me have a shower at your place, could you? I’m crashing at the factory and it’s a blo- total mess. No running water, not now, and I could do with getting this blood cleaned off and some clean clothes on.”
“You can shower here, Spike,” Mom offered.
“Spike’s been here quite long enough,” Buffy said firmly. “Angel, let’s take Spike over to your place. Let him use your shower – you have got one there, right? – and have some blood.”
“All right, Buffy,” Angel said. His expression again indicated that the negotiating team from the USA had screwed more concessions out of the Irish delegation. “I suppose I could do that. If Spike behaves himself.”
“’Course I will,” Spike said.
“Okay, let’s go,” Buffy prompted. She was still holding the stake. She used it to point at the door. “Say goodbye, Spike.”
Spike’s lips formed into a smirk and Buffy put an eye-roll on standby, sure that he was going to say ‘goodbye, Spike’, but he refrained from making the predictable joke. “Bye, Joyce,” he said instead. “Thanks for the chocolate and the advice. Just let me know when you want any stuff shifting in your gallery, right? Goodbye, pint-size. Been right nice meeting you.”
“Goodbye, Spike,” Dawn said.
“Goodbye, Spike,” Mom said. Her voice sounded warm and friendly. Unlike its tone when she turned her gaze upon Buffy and said “When you return, young lady, we can have a discussion about when Angel returned and why exactly you didn’t mention this to me before now.”
“Uh, yeah, right, Mom,” Buffy said, and hastily bustled Spike, Angel, and herself out of the house.
Once out on the street Buffy dropped the stake on the ground and then grabbed Spike by the lapels of his coat. “What game are you playing, Spike?” she demanded. Angel loomed beside them, looking menacing and mysterious.
“No game, Slayer,” Spike said calmly. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out his cigarettes. “Didn’t want to light up in front of your kid sis, y’know, and I’m gasping. Don’t mind if I smoke now, do you?”
Buffy released his lapels and stepped back. “Smoke? I don’t mind if you catch fire.”
He nodded, as if acknowledging a point scored, and took out and lit a cigarette. “Seriously, Slayer, I’m not playing any game,” he told her. “Got reasons for wanting to be in Sunnydale for a while, and I’m happy to play nice in exchange for not being staked.”
“He’s up to something,” Angel offered his opinion.
“Nothing that’ll harm any humans,” Spike said. “Don’t mind helping you out with the Slaying, even, if you want.”
“I don’t trust you, Spike.” Buffy tried to incinerate him with a glare. “You’re seriously expecting me to believe that you’d turn against your own kind?”
“Don’t give a toss for most other vampires,” Spike told her. “No skin off my nose if they get staked. Took a liking to your mum and your kid sister, Slayer, and the less vampires there are in town the safer they’ll be.”
Buffy shook her head. Spike had to be up to something. There was no other possible explanation. She just couldn’t figure out what it might be. She was tempted to dust him anyway but quailed at the thought of her mother’s wrath if she found out. “Just don’t eat anybody, Spike. And stay out of my way.”
Spike took a couple of paces to the side and then blew out a stream of smoke. The wind took the smoke away from Buffy and she realized that Spike had deliberately moved downwind of her. Was he actually being considerate? Surely not.
“I won’t eat anyone, Slayer, but I can’t promise we won’t bump into each other around town,” he said. “Gonna be popping in on your mum every now and then, for a start. Won’t do anything you’ll have to stake me for.”
“And why shouldn’t I stake you for all the people you’ve killed in the past, Spike?” She bent down and picked up the stake that she had dropped.
Spike looked her straight in the eyes. “Helped you save everybody in the world a while back, Slayer, didn’t I? Think that might have earned me a ‘Get out of jail free’ card.”
Angel shuffled his feet. “I really hate to say this but you might just have a little bit of a point,” he said. “But if you are up to something I’ll stake you, Spike, you can count on it.”
“Nothing up my sleeves but my arms, Grandad,” Spike said. “Come on, then, let’s not hang around making the street look untidy. I want to get that shower and something to eat. This hole in my chest bloody hurts.”
“Hello, Spike.” An extremely large vampire stepped out into the street ahead of them. Four smaller vampires emerged from the shadows and took up positions beside the speaker.
“Lenny,” Spike acknowledged. “How’ve you been?”
Buffy looked around nervously. Had Spike led them into an ambush? The whole friendship with her mother and sister thing might have been all part of setting her and Angel up to be steered into a trap. No doubt Spike would go back and eat Mom and Dawn later. Another four vampires appeared behind them and moved to block their avenue of escape.
“Better since you left,” Lenny said. He was at least four inches over six feet tall and heavily built. A thick chain necklace was stretched tight around his massive neck. “You should have stayed gone.”
“Wrong,” Spike said. “I’m back. You want to live, you leave town.”
Buffy searched for a suitable expression to articulate her surprise at Spike’s statement and came up with ‘Huh?’ Angel seemed to be equally lost for words.
“That’s kinda what I was going to say to you, Spike,” Lenny said.
“You threatening me, Lenny? You have to be kidding.” Spike shot a quick sidelong glance at Buffy. “This pillock used to work for me.” He returned his attention to the vampire and stared up at Lenny’s ugly face.
“Not any more, Spike. There’s a new boss and he doesn’t want any loose cannons like you messing things up. You’re dust, Spike. If you run now we just might not chase you too hard.” Lenny turned his gaze on Buffy and Angel. “This is nothing to do with you, Slayer. You two can leave.”
Buffy managed to stop her eyebrows from launching themselves into low Earth orbit. The vampires were after Spike and not her?
“Come on, Buffy, let’s go,” Angel urged.
“Twat,” Spike growled, shooting a brief fierce glare at Angel.
Buffy gave Angel a somewhat less intense glare of her own. Like she was going to go back home and tell Mom that they’d just walked away and left Spike to be chased out of town or dusted? And if a gang of vamps wanted Spike dead that was a pretty good reason for keeping him alive, well undead, just in itself. You don’t do what your enemy wants you to do. “We’re not going anywhere,” she warned Lenny. “I’ll give you the same offer. If you run we might not chase you too hard.”
“Buffy, what are you doing?” Angel hissed.
“Backing up Mom’s friend,” Buffy told him. “Like you should.”
Spike’s eyes flickered in her direction for a single second. “Thanks, Slayer. Won’t forget this.” He put his cigarette to his lips and drew hard on it. The end glowed brilliant red in the rush of air.
Angel heaved a sigh. “Okay. But don’t blame me if we get killed.” He pulled out his reserve stake and poised himself for battle.
“You were warned, Slayer,” Lenny said. He took a step towards Buffy but made the mistake of taking his eyes off Spike.
Spike whipped the cigarette from his mouth and stabbed it up into Lenny’s eye. The bright ember at the tip hissed into extinction and did dreadful damage in the process. Lenny clapped his hands to his face and cried out in agony. Spike’s left foot swung upwards and connected solidly with Lenny’s groin. The big vampire emitted a shrill shriek and doubled up. Spike drove an elbow into Lenny’s temple, stepping forward with the blow to add power, and the shriek chopped off short as the injured vampire collapsed into what was probably welcome unconsciousness.
For a second nobody else moved. Then Lenny’s minions charged. The four who were behind Buffy’s group ran to join their colleagues. In an instant the street became a battleground.
Buffy went forward to meet the charge. She ducked under the grasping hands of a vampire and planted her stake neatly and efficiently into the centre of his chest. He exploded into dust and she moved on to the next vampire without delay.
Angel traded punches with a shaven-headed vampire and gained the upper hand. He raised his stake for a finishing blow but was seized from behind before he could plunge the stake home. A grappling match for possession of the stake began.
An African-American vampire thrust at Spike with a jagged piece of garden fencing. He caught the attacker’s arm, sidestepped like a matador, and guided the improvised stake straight into the chest of one of the vampires coming up from behind. He kicked out to sweep the legs out from under his captive, wrenched the wood from the vampire’s hand, kicked again at the fallen vampire’s head, and turned to strike at a third attacker.
Buffy whipped her right leg up and around in a spin kick that sent two vampires flying back out of the fight. Her arm flickered out and back in a lightning-fast strike to the heart of one of the second group and then she raced to Angel’s assistance.
Spike took a punch that knocked him backwards and sent him crashing into the side of a parked car. The alarm went off and filled the street with a piercing ululating whistle. Spike dodged aside from a follow-up punch and his attacker’s hand smashed the car window. Spike caught the arm and pushed it down onto the broken glass. The vampire yelled and tried to free himself. Spike jabbed accurately to the chest with the jagged stake.
Buffy staked the vampire who had seized Angel from behind. With that impediment gone Angel rapidly overcame his shaven-headed adversary and drove home the stake.
One of the vampires who had been felled by Buffy’s spin kick returned to the fray in an all-out charge. He had a length of metal pipe in his hand and he held it out in front of him like a lance.
Buffy dropped backwards into a wrestler’s bridge. The pipe passed harmlessly above her. She brought up her right leg with devastating speed and power. The vampire was lifted from the ground and went right over Buffy, curling in the air to clutch at his injured midsection, and crashed onto the sidewalk in a crumpled heap. Buffy swung herself over in a continuation of the kick and came smoothly to her feet. She leaped for the fallen vampire and staked him.
The other member of that pair of vampires advanced more cautiously. It didn’t help. Angel hit him from one side, Spike hit him from the other, and he went down.
As quickly as that it was all over bar the mopping-up. Angel staked one of the vampires who lay on the ground.
“Hang on a tick,” Spike said. He bent over the unconscious Lenny, pulled open the big vampire’s jacket, and extracted a wallet and a cell phone. “No point in their stuff turning to dust.” He thrust down with the jagged wood and destroyed Lenny.
Buffy looked at him incredulously. “You’re stealing their money?”
“Just being practical, Slayer. Like I said, no point in it just turning to dust. Gonna need money to get by, right? Seems as good a way to get it as any.” Spike repeated his actions with another unconscious vampire.
“It seems kinda wrong to me, but I can’t think of a reason to make him stop,” Buffy said to Angel. “I guess he’s got a point. If it’s gonna dust otherwise, well, he might as well have the money.”
Angel pursed his lips. “That’s pretty much what I’m thinking,” he admitted. “Uh, sorry about at the beginning. You were right. I should have backed Spike right from the start.”
“Yeah, you bloody should,” Spike said, but there didn’t seem to be any real heat in his words. “You were a bit off your game tonight, Peaches. Good thing I’m on your side now, innit?” He moved on to the next fallen vampire without waiting for a reply.
“You’re not up to your full strength yet,” Buffy said to Angel. “Are you? Maybe Spike giving us a hand might not be such a bad thing. If we can trust him, that is, but I’m starting to think that maybe we can. Those vamps wanted him dead or gone. It’s got to mean something.”
“We should have asked some questions before we staked them,” Angel said, waving a hand in the direction of the dust of Lenny.
“I’m thinking we should get out of here before that car alarm brings the cops,” Buffy reminded him. “It’s not a time for asking questions.”
“Well, that was fun,” Spike remarked, strolling back to them clasping a handful of wallets and a cell phone. “Haven’t had a good bit of violence for bloody ages.” He nodded at Buffy. “That move you did against the tosser with the pipe was sodding brilliant. Can’t remember seeing a better. No wonder you always kicked my arse.”
Buffy felt a warm glow at his obvious admiration and fought against it unsuccessfully. “You were pretty good yourself,” she admitted.
“Just as well I’d sobered up,” Spike said. “If I’d still been pissed they’d have kicked the crap out of me. Here, Slayer. Catch.” He tossed the cell phone to Buffy, who caught it and then stood looking at it blankly. “Might be some interesting numbers stored in that thing, Slayer. Your little red-headed mate’s good with that sort of thing, am I right? Might be an idea to let her have a look at it, see what she can find out. See who Lenny’s been calling.”
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed. “That’s not bad thinking.” She grimaced at the continuing noise of the car alarm and pocketed the cell phone. “Come on, let’s hurry up and get out of here.”
To be continued …
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.