Story Title: Actions Past

This old squeeze of mine (1)

Timeline: Season 2 (after School Hard) and later in season 7

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: AU from Beneath You(7.2) In this world, Buffy takes Spike home

Disclaimer: All ME.

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Sunnydale, 1997

It was the mother of all slow nights. No vampires. No demons. Nothing…not even crickets or rustling leaves. So Buffy played her new game, where the only rule was that she couldn't touch the ground. If there had been any fledglings out, she doubted they would feel threatened by her headstone-hopping talents.

But then something tickled at the edge of her perception, and Buffy leapt to the ground She tried to pinpoint the origin of the sensation, and failed. She closed her eyes and tried again. Yes. When she rounded a really big crypt she saw it. It wasn't a vampire, but some kind of demon, one she'd never seen before. Well, not that she had seen that many, of course. The Hellmouth seemed to attract mainly vampires. The demon had a veiny female face, but looked human apart from that. Not the worst looking demon she'd seen, and it was wearing a pretty impressive amulet, too.

Buffy put a stake through its heart. The demon fell down. Unlike a vampire, it didn't oblige by turning into dust, and Buffy had to roll the body in an empty crypt, grumbling all the while about having to do this alone. She wished there was someone to share slayer duties with her all the time. Not that Xander and Willow weren't trying, but they had school, homework, sleep and mothers to deal with, and when patrolling, they had to be looked after. She wanted someone who could look after him- or herself, had a lot of time and little need for sleep. With a sigh she walked off in the direction of Revello Drive. She didn't see the demon's eyes snap open, or hear a voice intone "Wish granted".

Buffy woke up slowly, feeling exquisitely lazy and comfortable. She stretched slowly and languorously and opened her eyes a little further. Huh? What was she doing sleeping in her Mom's bed? She couldn't remember doing anything different than usual last night. God, she was hungry, major demon devouringly hungry. Food first, shower later. She padded downstairs in her bare feet, intent only on the fridge.

A voice said softly and diffidently: "Good morning?"

With a shriek Buffy leapt away from the freezer, crashing painfully against the sink. She scrambled backwards further, completely panicked.

"S-sorry. Didn't mean to startle you?"

Buffy cast around the kitchen with her eyes, frantically searching for a weapon. The man – no, the vampire - came a little closer, a look of concern on his chiseled face. Buffy felt her face flush a furious red. She had never seen a guy naked, and this guy seemed very nude, somehow, in spite of the worn jeans riding low on his narrow hips. Her shocked gaze traveled from his lean and well-defined stomach to his muscled shoulders.

She tore her gaze away from his body with difficulty. He was still looking at her uncertainly, head tilted. Her heart lurched oddly in her chest. Then she recognized him.

"Spike! What are you doing in my mom's house? Who invited you? And why are you half naked? I thought you would have left town by now, after the Parent-Teacher's night disaster?"

Buffy! Get a grip! Don't talk to him, stake him! DO something! Her hand found a stake in the drawer and she sprang at him, at the last moment managing to avoid a tall, brown-haired girl who was entering the kitchen. The girl emitted a deafening high-pitched shriek.

"Buffy! No! Don't hurt him! What are you doing?"

The girl went to stand in front of the vampire, who seemed rather dazed and out of it. Ideal for staking, except for that silly girl who was hindering her.

"Get out of my way, whoever you are, "she said calmly. "I know you're human, I won't hurt you, but I have a thing to kill."

"Why, Buffy, why?" the girl screeched. "Did you get stung again by a demon? Have you lost your memory again? I'm your sister, and this is Spike!"

"Yes, I know Spike, and you may not realize this, but he's a vampire, and he 's dangerous. I'm just here to protect you, so step aside, and everything will be alright!" Although Spike hadn't actually made a move to use the girl as a shield.

"Dawn, " the vampire was saying, 'This isn't Buffy. Something is wrong."

"Hey!, " she said, stung. "Of course I'm Buffy. I'm Buffy the Vampire Slayer!"

"Dawn. Get upstairs, wake up Willow, call Xander and Giles, and get away. I'll deal with this apparition."

The girl didn't move. She got out a cell phone though, and started dialing.

Buffy frowned. "You know my Watcher? And the names of my friends? How did you find out? Have you been stalking me or something? Love the cell phone, by the way," She'd never seen a pink one.

"Alright, if you are Buffy, can you remember what you were doing before you saw us? Anything odd happen on patrol?" the vampire named Spike asked.

"Hello-o, it is not my habit to have friendly conversations with vampires I'm about to stake. And you should remember you tried to kill my Mom and half the school last week!"

Spike's mouth fell open. She could almost hear quarters dropping. Buffy was getting really irritated. At least ten perfect staking moments had come along the last few minutes, if only that pesky girl didn't keep standing in the way.

"Kill half the school – Dawn – wait a minute – I've got an idea." He disappeared into the sitting room, and Buffy could hear him turning on the TV.

The girl – Dawn apparently – kept her place in the kitchen door.

Spike called out from the living room: "Buffy! Come on in here. I wanna show you something!"

Warily she went over there, still closely guarded by Dawn. Spike gestured at the TV. CNN was on. The US was going to go to war with Iraq. Should she have known that?

He looked at her questioningly. "What date do you think it is?"

"Huh?"

"The date," he repeated patiently. Instead of answering she looked at the TV. 18 October 2002? Now she felt her own mouth falling open.

"Great look on you, Buffy, " the shiny haired girl sniped.

"I'm in the future? What the heck? I still haven't staked you after six years? Jeez!" Buffy looked from the vampire to the girl, both looking at her expectantly.

"So? Give me a reason why I shouldn't do it now?"

"God, the old you has a one track mind," the girl complained. "Well, for one, Spike has a soul now. And I'm your sister."

Buffy ignored the last inane statement again. "O, sorry, you should have said. No staking of souled vampires of course. " She put down the stake, and stuck out her hand at Spike, whom she apparently had managed to astound once again. He shook it politely, still with that dumbfounded look. If he had a soul, he must be good.

"Hey, you and Angel must have a lot to talk about these days, huh? Does he have a cell phone too? Can we call him?"

The vampire started to pull at his hair, which looked disheveled enough in her opinion - he should use more gel, like Angel --and seemed about to burst into tears.

"All yours, now, Dawn, " he croaked, and scuttled off to the basement. She looked at his retreating back. He was living in the basement? What was her Mom thinking?

"Hey! Will you stop ogling Spike's butt and concentrate for a minute?" The screechy girl again.

"I am so not ogling his skinny butt! I have a boyfriend, you know."

"Yeah, I guess you must still be with Angel in your past, huh? Not that you'd ever ask my opinion, but Spike was always way nicer to me than stuck up Broody Guy. So typical, to forget again that you have a sister. Like a Freudian thing. Hey, Giles and Xander are gonna be here soon, why don't you get dressed?"

Stunned into silence Buffy went upstairs again. She opened the door to her own bedroom, thinking to find her mother there and intending to check the veracity of the things that had been said downstairs Instead she found Willow, of all people, lying in her bed, fast asleep. Where was her mom? Back in the room she woke up in, she found a lot of clothes that looked her size (actually, at least one size smaller, but then, she seemed really thin). She put on some weird bell bottom jeans, far too long, and started rooting around for more weapons. She didn't think it would be wise to trust this girl, who kept insisting she was her sister, too much.

She went down again, in pursuit of her interrupted breakfast. The vampire was in the kitchen, a too tight blue shirt on, guzzling blood. Yuck. She couldn't remember Angel ever drinking blood where she could see it. Joyce must have totally lost it to have a vampire living in the house, soul or not.

When she lifted her hand to open the kitchen cabinet where the cereal was kept, the vampire cringed and backed away from her, holding up his hands as if to ward off her blows. Buffy stepped back. Her future self must be pretty hard on him, to make him react like that.

She spoke in a gentler voice." I won't hurt you. I know you're a different person now. I'll try not to think of you almost killing me last week, 'cause that must be so long ago for you. You must be used to everyone accepting you're one of the good guys now. Just tell me what's going on in this time. Why I seem to have a sister?"

"Don't think I should. But I'll help you, I promised her that. That I'd be ready to help", he said, facing away from her.

"Hey! Why don't we call Giles again, he can pick up Angel from his apartment, ask him to help us!"

That visibly startled him. He turned to look at her fully. Funny, she'd never noticed, when they'd been fighting, that his eyes were so blue. Well, he'd been mostly vamped out, of course. "Angel? Peaches? I don't think so."

"Doesn't Angel love me…her anymore?" Buffy said in a small voice.

Spike didn't answer that. He shook his head.

"Your lives are so far apart, you can't expect anything to be the same. Be glad that Giles, Xander and Willow are still here for you."

Buffy brightened a little at that. Still, that left someone important unaccounted for.

"Where is my mom?" Buffy asked suspiciously. "What does she think about you in her basement?"

"Joyce is ... on a buying trip," Spike improvised, not wanting to go there. "She's let me have the basement, 'cause I needed a place to stay."

"Huh." was Buffy's response.

****

"Come, Buffy, sit down,"' Giles said, gesturing her to a chair. " We'll get to the bottom of this. Spike, will you tell us again what happened this morning?"

"…and I sensed she wasn't m…the present Buffy. She did recognize me, so I reckon her time must've been shortly after I hit Sunnydale for the first time, " Spike concluded.

"It was really gross, you know, " Buffy piped in "He had no shirt on! Eew!"

Xander couldn't help but grin broadly at this.

Giles coughed, trying to hide his smile. "Yes, well, er…Buffy, things have happened here that none of us could have imagined in our wildest dreams back then. White was white, black was black, vampires were evil…"

""Except for Angel of course!" Buffy said brightly. "Where is he, anyway? Is he going to come by tonight?"

Mention of Angel sure made them look embarrassed. Giles helplessly spread his hands.

"Buffy, what can I say? I suggest you stop trying to find out what happened to us, and we start trying to find out what happened to you. Do you remember anything out of the ordinary happening before you went to sleep last night? Did you have unusual dreams?"

Buffy shrugged. "Nope. Patrolled, went to bed, woke up, went to get some breakfast …Found a half-naked vampire in my kitchen!"

She shot Spike a pointed look. Spike looked pained, but again refrained from saying anything.

"Okay Giles, Buffy obviously hasn't got a clue, " Dawn said." Why don't you get out your Watcher diaries and see if you recorded anything funny happening that night?"

"Um, right Dawn, good thinking," and Giles went off with alacrity.

"Way to go, Dawnie, " Willow said. Dawn ignored her. Buffy was watching the various exchanges with interest. They all seemed to accept the girl as her sister. Some vague explanation about keys and mystical monks and memory-tampering. They did understand that she didn't know her at all.

She looked at her friends again. Xander didn't seem that much changed. A lot heavier and more puffy, better clothes - but basically he gave off the same vibe. Willow, though: that was an entirely different story. She looked - beautiful, strong, confident. The way she sat sprawled on the couch, cleavage showing, smiling with amusement…. Buffy went over and sat next to Willow.

"Willow?" she whispered. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure", Willow replied, one eyebrow arching." Ask away!"

"Did you, like, know about Buffy 2000 – "

"2002!

" you know about Spike living in the house?"

Willow chuckled humorlessly. "Buffy, you and Spike …have issues. Which I won't tell you about. Not what you wanted to hear, huh?"

Buffy's face definitely confirmed this. She and Spike? That sounded somehow ominous. Still, she pressed on, curiosity getting the better of her.

"Willow, do you have a boyfriend now?"

"Humph!" Willow sprayed her coffee over her subdued blouse, that didn't even clash with her skirt. "Um, actually, um, no, not right now." Her face clouded.

"Well, did you have sex with the last one?"

"Hello! Twenty-two here, you know" Willow said a little huffily, remembering old slights. "It's not like I'm this little nerd anymore, okay?

Buffy drew back. This Willow was not as easy to talk to as the old one. She'd just wanted some advice on Angel.

Giles returned with his appointment book in his hands.

"Buffy, we must pinpoint the precise moment time went haywire. What was the exact date?"

" Uh, October 18th I guess. Anyway, it was a Monday."

"That would be October 19th then, Buffy,' Giles said a little sharply.

"Whatever. "

Xander stood up. "I have to get to work , Giles. Anything I can do, let me know."

"Alright then", Giles said, "let's meet up at Buffy's again tonight, shall we?"

"Um, Dawn, isn't it?" Buffy said, "When is Mom gonna be back? She must have said!"

The girl stared at her furiously for a moment, fists balled at her side. Then she stalked off on those long legs, and Buffy heard a door slamming and very loud music starting up.

"What did I say?"

Giles looked at her for a few moments, then shook his head, and exchanged meaningful looks with Xander and Willow.

"Buffy, I think it's best if you don't leave the house today. We'll be back here later tonight, and hopefully we'll have some results then. Spike will stay here as well, and keep you company. Will you be alright with that?"

"Giles, come on, " Xander said emphatically, "surely we're not gonna leave her alone with Cold Member here?"

"Well, Xander, you have a better alternative?"

Buffy picked up on the vibes, but didn't get what they were so upset about. "Hey, I know he has a soul, and that he is part of the team! I won't stake him, okay?"

"That's not exactly what we meant…." Those 'looks' again.

Buffy let out a peal of laughter. "You're afraid he's gonna harm me? Hey, I'm the Slayer, one short, skinny, deranged vampire is no threat to me!"

They still seemed to think he might, she couldn't fathom why. Finally they went off. It was going to be a long day, stuck in the house like that. A good moment for some maintenance work, this Buffy seemed a little lax in the manicure department.

TBC