A Sea Change by Djinn
As he tried to turn over, every nerve ending in Spike's body screamed. His
moan of agony echoed through the crypt.
"Shhh," a soft voice soothed him.
"Buffy?" He tried to open his good eye but was too tired.
"No, it's Joyce."
Her voice was gentle. "Trying to help."
"Make it stop hurting."
"I would if I could, Spike. But I can't even touch you."
"Figures. Only one who wants to can't."
"I can stay with you though. Talk to you a while?"
"Yeah. That'd be nice."
"You're already healing. I know it may not feel like it but I can tell."
He grimaced as a wave of pain lanced through him.
"You were brave."
"Just knew your spawn would kill me if I told."
"That's not why you did it and you know it."
"Is not. And it more than makes up for helping Dawn with trying to bring
"Would've been nice to see you again."
Her voice was grim. "That thing that rose was not me. Thank god Dawn
reversed the spell. You can't imagine the damage it would have caused."
"It could have worked."
"That's not the point. She is an innocent. You may have compromised
"Oh come on. It was just a little spell."
"It was much more than that. You put her in touch with darkness. We'll
just have to see what the repercussions will be."
"May not be any."
"Let's hope you're right." Her tone darkened even more.
"I thought you were here to make me feel better?"
"Well, you're bloody lousy at it."
There was a long silence. He was just about asleep when Joyce's voice in
his ear startled him. He jumped as much as his torn body would allow.
"Ow! Bloody hell, woman!"
"Oh. Sorry." Her voice was contrite. "It's just...well, we really need
to talk about that robot."
"I told you then and I'm telling you now, what I do with modern technology
is my business."
"But the things you did...really, Spike."
"It's a machine."
"You didn't think so."
"Well, it is a machine. Who cares what I thought. Besides, it's more than
"Because you programmed her to be that way."
"What's the good of having a robot if you can't program it the way you want
"What about free will?"
"It's a machine, Joyce. What about that don't you get?"
"It's a machine that looks like my daughter."
"Joyce. Go. Away."
"I need to rest. I feel like hell. And you're not helping."
He tried to shout, it came out as a large croak. "Bugger off, Joyce.
He sighed and closed his eye.
"I hope you feel better soon. You're very cranky when you're hurt."
He felt sleep calling to him. His thirst was also clamoring for attention.
He knew that the blood would help him heal, but his stock was low and it
was a cinch that no one was going to bring him any. In pain and feeling
sorry for himself, Spike slipped into unconsciousness.
He didn't know how long he'd been asleep when he heard her voice.
"Spike, you're all covered with sexy wounds."
He struggled to sit up. It didn't hurt as much as thought it would. Joyce
had been right. He was already healing. "Yeah, they feel real sexy." He
moved his head so he could see her out of his right eye. "Where ya been?"
"I fell down and got confused but Willow fixed me. She's gay."
That didn't sound right. "Will fixed you? I thought they'd melt you into
"They were confused too." She gave him a dazzling smile. "Do you want to
"Give us a minute. I've got some bones need mending."
She studied him, frowning at the damage she saw. "Why did you let that
Glory hurt you?"
"She wanted to know who the Key was."
She perked up. "Oh, well I can tell her that and then you won't have..."
"No!" His outburst startled her. He began to cough severely. Every
hacking breath caused his body to protest. Once his lungs settled down, he
continued, passionate in his demands. "You can't ever. Glory never finds
Her look was pure confusion. "Why?"
He took pity, his tone gentling. "Because Buffy...the other, no so
pleasant Buffy...anything happened to Dawn it'd destroy her. I couldn't
live with her being in that much pain." He looked down. "I'd let Glory
kill me first. Nearly bloody did."
She was quiet but he had the sense that she was studying him. Then she
leaned into him, her lips meeting his in a kiss. A sweet, gentle kiss.
Huh? His Buffy hadn't quite mastered such a subtle motion. He pulled away
in suspicion. Buffy, the real Buffy, stood before him. A look he couldn't
fathom on her face. She seemed harder and softer than he'd ever seen her
look. He leaned in, trying to figure out what she was doing. Was this a
She pulled away slowly, walked away from him. His Buffy's skirt flirted
with him as the Slayer moved.
"And my robot?"
She turned. The look of revulsion on her face was unmistakable. "The
robot is gone. The robot was gross and obscene."
"It wasn't supposed..."
"Don't. That thing...it wasn't even real."
He let his head drop, felt an unaccustomed emotion fill him...shame.
She turned away, was almost to the door when she stopped again. "What you
did for me and Dawn, that was real." She looked over her shoulder at him.
Her look gave away nothing. "I won't forget it."
She stared at him for a moment then turned and walked out the door, closing
it gently behind her.
He sat stunned. He was not completely sure what had just happened. She
was mad at him, but she was grateful too. He could still feel her lips on
his. The robot had never tasted so sweet.
He pushed himself off the slab, gingerly taking the first few steps.
Walking was agony but he clenched his teeth and shuffled to his
refrigerator. One small container was left. He ripped it open and drank
it down, not even caring that it was cold. It made him feel better, but it
He walked slowly to his chair and lowered his body into the cushions. It
hurt but as he sat unmoving the pain began to subside. He saw Buffy's face
again, right after she kissed him.
She had looked more like a goddess at that moment than that tart Glory ever
could. The slayer had been so stern, yet there was such tenderness in her
eyes. He had been in awe of her.
Why had she come? All dressed up as his fantasy and pretending to want
him. He replayed the conversation in his mind. It had been about one
thing really: what he had told Glory about Dawn. She had come to him to
find out, not trusting that he hadn't betrayed her. But also not sure that
he had either, or she would have simply walked in and staked him. She had
not expected to hear that he had resisted. Or to hear his reasons. And
that kiss. He could live another hundred years with just the memory of
that moment to sustain him.
A shudder of bloodthirst reminded him that his continued survival would
depend on more than just that. Maybe by tonight he would be healed enough
to go out. He leaned back, struggling to find a comfortable position. He
thought of his robot. Gone. He would regret losing her. She had been
fun. But Buffy was right. She hadn't been real. Eventually he would have
tired of her, after a few weeks of really great sex. Ok, maybe months. He
grinned at the memory then yelped as his skin split. His tongue stole out
to lick the blood off. He thought of her in his arms and as he did his
eyes closed and he lost himself in a drowsy fantasy.
He jerked awake as his door opened again. He was surprised to see Buffy
walk in carrying a large bag. "What?"
"You've lost blood. Too much," she said in a matter-of-fact tone as she
dug into the bag and handed him a large container.
He could smell the blood through the plastic. His face changed against his
will. She looked down at him. He expected to see disgust.
Her expression was only neutral. "I've seen a bumpy forehead or two in my
day, Spike. Drink it."
He tore the lid off and gulped down the liquid. It was warm. He looked up
from his feeding, confused.
She seemed to read his mind. "I stopped at the quick mart. Sort of missed
dinner myself. Grabbed something for me, and warmed a couple of these up
while I was at it."
He was surprised at her thoughtfulness. "Thanks." He finished the blood.
"It wasn't a big deal," she shrugged it off as she handed him another
He drank it more slowly as he watched her walk to the fridge and put
several more cartons inside. She also pulled out a box of wheatabix and
held it up to him.
"You like these, right?"
He nodded, again mystified at her kindness.
She let it drop into the bag and set it by his chair. There were several
boxes inside the sack. "I thought I remembered you and Giles arguing about
"That was nice of you."
"Yes," she agreed, "it was."
He searched her face. Was there something different there?
"What?" she glared at him.
"Nothing." He snuck a look at her again.
"Stop it. You're creeping me out."
"Sorry." He looked down.
"Ok. Well I'm leaving now."
She looked at him uncertainly again. "You're going to be all right?"
He faked some bravado for her, met her eyes and said cockily. "Oh yeah.
Be coming 'round pestering you in no time. You'll be wishing you'd staked
me when you had the chance." Again he saw that look on her face.
"Ok. Great. Goodbye." She hurried to the door and escaped to the
He sipped again at the blood and tried to decipher the emotion he had seen
on her face. It wasn't loathing for once. Nor was it anything resembling
affection. He didn't have a lot of recent experience with any other looks.
He tried to picture when he had seen that look on her face, what she had
been doing, who she had been with. Suddenly he got a picture of it, and
another. He knew what the look meant. He sat stunned as he realized that
Buffy had looked at him with...respect.