Seven sets of eyes peered back at Spike from various locations in Giles's living room, reflecting sentiments that ranged from pity, to wariness, to downright distrustfulness. Spike could smell what they'd eaten for dinner, could feel the room heating up with their mere presence and nervous fidgeting. The boy was tapping his finger unceasingly against his leg and it had gone well past the point of annoying five minutes ago.
The whole situation put Spike on edge, lying as prone and defenseless as a mewling kitten on Rupert's couch, and he began to wonder if crawling all the way to Watcher HQ had really been the best of ideas. The man himself had returned from whatever mission he'd been on a scant twenty minutes previous, towing an entire entourage behind him; Buffy, Xander, Anya, and the relish on Spike's supreme sandwich of suckage, Angel. The whole lot of them had immediately set to task, circling, staring, and interrogating with an intensity that would've put the Spanish Inquisition to shame.
Don't trust them, Spike's brain shrieked out, muffled by something that felt as thick and fuzzy as a Turkish bath towel. But despite the ambiguous warning blaring like a distant siren in his head, Spike felt certain he knew them all. It was very abstract, as though he'd watched one of those half-baked telly sitcoms, and they'd been the lead actors and wacky, rather useless sidekicks. He couldn't recall having a single personal experience with any of them, and yet he was sure he could fill entire notebooks with the lowdown on each of them.
The watcher studied Spike from over the top of his wireframes, leaning forward in his carved wooden chair like a king amongst the rest of his council. The man rubbed his hand back and forth against his chin as he spoke. "So you're quite certain you don't remember anything about yourself, aside from waking up just before Bleakgrave performed the...the harvest? Any detail, big or small?"
"Still foggy 'round the lobes, same as the last two times you inquired," Spike bluntly reiterated for the third time.
"That's okay. Maybe it's just a side effect of the spell… I mean, no one's survived it before, as far as we know," Buffy offered, in a gentle, kindly way. Not what Spike was expecting. "Maybe you'll start remembering in a little while."
"But why exactly did you end up here of all places?" Giles asked. "There must be hundreds of houses and apartments between this complex and the palace… surely you could've found someone closer. Somebody must've been home..."
Spike was far too tired to come up with any logical fabrication, and decided to stick to the simplest version of the truth he could without overplaying his hand. "Was lookin' for Charlie," he confessed. "Wasn't home, knew she lingered 'round this joint from time to time."
The room turned into a ping-pong match of startled glances, with the exception of the girl in question. Spike's eyes drank her in, from the bottoms of her mismatched socks to the crease of confusion that had formed between her brows. As she stared back at him from her spot in front of the fireplace, he became lost in the scent of chlorine and swirling visions of soft, pale skin. It was maddening, not having the memories his senses were connected to.
"Um, have we met before? How did you know my name… or more importantly, where I live?" Charlie asked uncertainly, tucking an errant lock of hair behind her ear.
"Just do, not sure how..."
A disbelieving grunt cut through the tense quiet in the room, and Spike narrowed his sights on the producer of it. Angel was skulking in the corner by Rupert's overcrowded bookshelf, face composed and eyes hooded, but he positively crackled with suspicious vigilance. "Doesn't smell right," the dark haired vampire muttered under his breath. No one else seemed to hear him, but they seemed to be thinking the same thing anyway.
"Jesus Awkward Christ," Charlie suddenly cursed. "We must've run across each other at that frat party a few weeks ago! That actually explains some things… I was all sorts of drunk. Big mess. Hardly remember a thing from that night. Did we… you know…" Her eyes dropped to the cocky smirk that was just starting to form on Spike's lips, "Uh… nevermind."
Giles appeared more than happy to avoid the topic of drunken hookups altogether. "Is there anyone else that you remember? Family, perhaps?"
Oh, there were plenty of people that Spike knew, but he instantly reassessed the wisdom of divulging just how much he did actually know about each of them. Couldn't risk it, especially given the reaction of the group to hearing him divulge just a trifle about Charlie. There were no two ways about it, the Scoobies were a cautious, paranoid bunch. If they even caught a whiff of something unexplainable that smelled vaguely threat-like, Spike had no doubt he'd be back on the street to fend for himself. Or worse.
"The lot of you seem familiar, but can't recall the brass tacks." Spike's tongue was thick in his mouth when he spoke, and he could hear the raw, raspiness in his voice. Worse, there was an increasingly empty, gnawing feeling that was beginning to scrape at his stomach. Felt like he hadn't eaten in weeks. That or Bleaks had torn a few holes in his gut to match the one in his chest. Spike gripped the couch cushions, despising how violently his hands were trembling.
Tara seemed to recognize his growing discomfort, and helped him lean forward so she could fluff up the pillow behind him. "Here," she said, handing him the water glass again. "Can we g-get you anything else?"
"Am a bit peckish, actually," Spike admitted after taking a few short sips.
"Oooh!" Buffy hopped off her stool. "There's leftover Domino's from the other night! Buffalo Chicken slice?"
It didn't sound like the most appetizing meal choice, but Spike was hard pressed to think up anything that sounded better. Maybe Bleakgrave's glistening, still-beating heart on a platter made out of his rib bones. Not that it was edible, but hell, the murderous thought was making Spike's mouth water in anticipation. Strange, that. The slayer noticed his delay in replying.
"Don't worry, it's not really buffalo," Buffy continued. "It's just what they call the sauce." Spike turned his thoughts away from vengeance just in time to watch her cheeks flare pink. "And I'm not telling you that because I ever thought it was made from buffaloes, but because you've forgotten a lot of stuff-"
"-Buffy?" the watcher interrupted. "Perhaps something a tad less… heartburn-inducing would be more appropriate, given his state. Some broth maybe? There's soup stock in the bottom cupboard."
"Oh, Giles, you just can't eat the spicy pizza 'cause you're totally old… school… uh, with your… really great eating habits. You know, all healthy with the fruits and veggies, three square meals, humble pie and... I'll just go get the soup." The slayer slipped into the kitchen, and Spike heard the creaking of a tin can being ratcheted open and the beeps and subsequent buzz of the microwave.
"I'm gonna grab something too," Angel said to Giles after a moment. "Mind if I borrow a mug? I'll make sure to wash it thoroughly."
"Yes, fine," Giles replied distractedly, too busy frowning at Spike in search of clues to focus on anything else. The vampire's words seemed to catch up with him as Angel followed in Buffy's footsteps. "Use the yellow one at the back of the cupboard," the watcher added hastily.
With nothing more to say, Spike stared right back at Giles until he got bored, and then glared at the most hideous thing in the room. The stained glass dragonfly lamp on the side table next to the couch glowed with appallingly repulsive shades of green and purple, and Spike was sure he'd spent some of his missing history mocking Rupert for his unfortunate interior design taste. It was almost as though the man was using his home as storage for all the oddities he couldn't sell off in his store. Goddess statues, brass tchotchkes, an aerodynamic leather chair... none of it matched, and most of it failed to fit the watcher's tedious personality.
Xander broke the uneasy silence that had fallen over the room like a blanket of frost. "So Bleakgrave's assistant just let you go? I didn't know he even had one. Must be part of the Big Bad Magician package deal."
"Comes with a wand, a topper, and a whimsical fetish for impalin' innocent bystanders," Spike agreed. "Bleak's little helper is a bit of a height deficient chap, in need of a good dollop of Rogaine. Also, not terribly evil on a scale of one to… evil."
Charlie sat up a touch straighter. "Hodges."
Spike eagerly looked her way. "Yeah, that's the bloke. You know him?"
"Not exactly. Encountered him once in L.A," Charlie replied, her gaze going distant, as though she were trying to remember the details.
It was then that microwave bleeped a celebratory finishing tune, and Buffy returned from the kitchen, fingers wrapped around a mug embellished with sculpted daisies. The slayer placed it in Spike's waiting hands, careful not to slosh the hot and buttery liquid. It was steaming with aromas of thyme, bay, and parsley, and Spike took a long, appreciative sip. The broth masked the taste of ashes in his mouth, and before it even registered, he had drunk it all.
He could feel the warmth of it pooling in the pit of his stomach, but to his surprise and dismay, it did nothing to satisfy the corrosive hunger that was beginning to overwhelm him. If anything he felt weaker. Hungrier. But something cooking in the kitchen smells wonderful, he thought, as Buffy descended to take his empty mug and Tara moved in to recheck the gradually darkening gauze on his chest.
Spike's nostrils flared as he took in the scent wafting through the passway, and he realized with some alarm that it was the Poof's supper of blood heating in the microwave. The smell was inviting and succulent with a metallic tang that seemed to weigh heavily on the air. Even without the memories of having imbibed it, Spike could almost taste it on the tip of his tongue, could feel it ghost down his throat in thick, sweltering rivulets. He barely registered the witch's warm fingers around his wrist. What the ever-buggering fuck had Bleakgrave done to him?
Tara's eyes widened and she snatched her hand away from his arm. "Um, hey, g-guys? He doesn't… he doesn't have a pulse."
Spike rapidly refocused his attention. "I don't?"
Giles abandoned his chair and squatted down next to the couch, pinning his fingers to the artery in Spike's neck. After a full minute passed, the watcher met Spike's gaze. "I'm afraid not…"
"Bleakgrave made a zombie?" Xander exclaimed, eyes bugging in cartoon-like fashion. "Like a flesh-munching, brain-eating, night of the living dead ZOMBIE?"
"Um, is there a different kind?" Buffy asked.
Anya shook her head with the assurance of an expert-level zombie specialist. "He's far too coherent to be a zombie."
Spike could see the wheels turning in the slayer's skull as she scrutinized him; assessing, calculating, judging his fate. "So, vampire?" she speculated.
"No, I think not. We wouldn't have been able to drag him inside if he was. And besides… he does appear to be breathing," Giles countered.
"I don't need invitation to enter houses!" Charlie pointed out. "And since we're pretty sure that Bleakgrave somehow turned me into a vampire with Bizzaro world side effects, it could be the same for him."
All eyes fell back to Spike. "Well? Are you a vampire?" Anya asked him.
"No!" Spike declared vehemently. He wasn't… was he? Just had a peculiar inclination towards the smell of plasma. He had no desire to bite anyone in the room… his eyes flicked to the slayer... for the most part, anyway. "Don't think so," he added.
"Then what is he?" Charlie asked.
Angel, treading back to his place in the corner, took a pronounced sniff at the air. "I knew something smelled off. It's his blood. Whatever he is, he's definitely dead."
"And he's definitely still hungry because no one's fed him BRAINS yet!" Xander yelped, snatching one of the long, iron candlesticks off the hearth and gripping it like a baseball bat. "Shouldn't we be taking some precautions here?!"
"Xander," the watcher huffed, "Unhand the decor. If indeed, this gentleman was turned into a zombie, which I can assure you, he was not, you would have nothing to worry about."
"Oh. You don't think zombies eat brains?"
"I don't believe they'd go after yours," the watcher replied dryly.
"The brain thing is a misnomer," Anya informed them, removing the candlestick from her boyfriend's rigid hands and replacing it next to the fireplace. "Zombies only eat them if their zombie masters tell them too. I'm sticking with vampire as my final answer."
"Well, there's always the quick, easy way to check," the slayer said as she began digging savagely through her deep coat pockets. Spike made a fast check of the distance to the front door. Painfully far, but he was willing to make a break for it all the same. Vampire or not, he'd had enough of being skewered for one lifetime.
"Y-You're just gonna stake him and see if he dusts?!" Tara blurted out. "Can't we try- oh."
Buffy shot the witch a keen, amused look as she finished pulling a makeup compact out of her pocket, and with a sigh of relief, Spike relaxed back into his pillow. The slayer flipped the enameled mirror open and turned her back to the couch, holding it up above her shoulder. "And that's a negative on the reflection."
Spike could feel everyone in the room stiffen up, and he watched as the slayer put the compact away, discreetly shoving something else into the band of her jeans. Presumably not a long, pointy tube of lipgloss.
"Welcome to Vampire Club," Charlie muttered.
Spike raised an eyebrow at her. "First rule not to chat about it?"
Her eyes connected with his. "The first rule is to stay away from sharpened sticks."
It was strange. He knew that discovering he was a vampire should have bothered him, but it didn't. It excited him. Opened up possibilities. It meant that he was powerful, immortal. Probably sexy. He sent Charlie the most flirtatious smile he could conjure, which dissolved from his face the moment he tried shifting an arm behind his head in an inviting, seductive way. Obviously, being a vampire also meant that he needed to eat someone, or at least their vital fluids if he was going to feel any semblance of better.
"So… does that mean… could I have some… blood?" Spike asked, with a longing glance at the Kiss the Librarian mug in Angel's hand.
The mug paused halfway to the vampire's mouth. Spike watched the muscles in Angel's jaw flex in frustration as the rest of the room's occupants looked at him expectantly. "Fine," the vampire grumbled, placing the coffee cup down and shoving it none-so-gently across the table.
Spike didn't hesitate. He snatched it by the handle, and the sanguine liquid was passing through his lips within seconds. The shifting of his facial bones vibrated in his ears and he felt his teeth lengthen and taper, but it didn't faze him. The blood was as dizzyingly ambrosial as it smelled. Uncaring of the graceless way he drank, it dripped down the side of his mouth as he took excessive, needy gulps.
"So now what?" Xander asked, as he unsuccessfully tried to tear his eyes away from Spike guzzling down a half pint of pig's blood.
Buffy scowled at the boy. "What do you mean, now what?"
"There's an amnesiac vampire that's slowly turning Giles's green futon into Giles's red futon, and apparently the only thing Undead English Patient can remember is Charlie and what Bleakgrave did to him before he escaped. Do we a.) save him, b.) stake him, or c.) use him as collateral?"
"Hey!" Spike stopped drinking long enough to growl over the rim of his mug. "You have no bleedin' idea what nationality I am!"
"If we're sticking with the multiple choice format, I'd say d.), find an audiologist that specializes in vampire hearing impairments," the slayer said, with a pointed look at Spike. "Sorry, guy, but you're definitely from the motherland."
"Oh, right, I sound just like Upper Crusty over there. Maybe we'll catch some Manchester United on the telly and then we'll have a cuppa while we smear some soddin' Marmite on-" Spike paused. "Oh, god. I'm English."
"Shall I put the kettle on?" the watcher asked smugly.
Spike aptly chose draining his meal over continuing to talk himself into a hole.
"Look, vampire or not, he is a victim of Bleakgrave," Buffy said. "We'll have to take a lot of precautions with him until we know for sure what we're dealing with, but he's the only one that's lived through the soul harvesting." She made a face, "Sort of lived, anyway. We need every advantage when it comes to fighting Bleakgrave, and if his memory comes back, he could be what changes the tides in our favor. He stays with us until further notice. Is that clear to everyone?"
None of the group outright disagreed, but there were one or two rather deep sounding noises of protest. Buffy's bright smile appeared very, very forced as she looked around the room. "Does anyone have any questions?"
Anya cleared her throat and raised her hand. "So if he doesn't know his name, what are we supposed to we call him?"
Buffy studied Spike for a moment. "He looks like a… Randy," she declared.
Spike finished licking the remaining film of blood off the inside edge of the mug. He pushed the feral craving out of his mind, and felt his face morph back to human. "I look what?"
Charlie rolled her eyes. "He looks like undead Gilbert Kane."
"Who?" Giles asked.
Xander folded his arms across his chest and gazed uneasily at Spike. "If we're going with the Incarcerate and Study routine, I think Riley left off at sixteen captures before the Initiative imploded. We could call him Hostile 17."
"I thought we agreed not to talk about Riley," Buffy said quietly.
So G.I. Jerkwad wasn't part of the team anymore. Interesting.
"No, you said you didn't want to talk about Riley. But Riley and I are still friends, even if he did take the first helicopter to South America without telling me he was leaving. Or telling me when he was coming back." Xander frowned. "Or saying goodbye. But the point is, he's still a good guy, and I'm not going to pretend like he was never here."
"He abandoned all of us and you're still taking his side?"
"Hey, bros before h-" Xander paused under the wrathful gaze of every female in the room. "Heroes," he finished.
"Look, if you guys want to stand around and name your new pet vampire, that's great," Angel said impatiently. "But some of us have more important things to do. Like a second trip to the butchers. Oh, and the small matter of figuring out how to kick Bleakgrave's magical ass."
Giles nodded. "Quite right. Only time will tell if… our friend here's memory will return. We can go over the details of what he does remember in the morning after he's had a bit of rest."
"Yeah, okay," Buffy agreed. "I forgot a few basic necessities from my house, so I need to head out anyway. Giles, I think I there's some chains and stuff in my basement, want me to grab them for you and swing by later?"
Giles blinked at the slayer. "Whatever would I need chains for?"
"You're English, he's English," Buffy said with a shrug. "I'm sure you'd have lots of things to talk about… teapots and tall busses… oooh… and the queen!"
"He can't stay here!" Giles exclaimed, whipping off his glasses and expressing the full might of his outrage. "What would I do with him? Chain him to my bath tub?!"
Spike's head snapped up. The chains and stuff was for him? They were going to tie him up like a sodding rabid animal while they figured out what to do with him? If it came to that, there was no way he planned on sticking around. Spike glared at both of them incredulously. "Hey! Do I get any bleedin' say in any of this?" he snarled, "'Cause I am quite certain-"
"-Well he can't stay with me," Buffy continued, cutting off Spike's protest with a swish of her hand. "It's pretty tight at the Motor Inn. Anya, Xander... maybe you could take him?
The ex-demon looked Spike up and down distastefully, eyeing his grime covered clothing and the wound that was still leaking onto Giles's couch. "Oh, I wish we could, but I don't want to."
Every head in the room then turned towards Charlie, and she stared back at them like a deer in the high beams of an oncoming SUV. But it was the only unliving arrangement that Spike decided he would tolerate, and he silently willed her to comply.
"No! No way!" she said, shaking her head resolutely.
"Well, you are both vampires…" Anya began to reason.
"Then why isn't Angel taking him?" Charlie asked.
Spike didn't miss the quick glance that passed between the souled vampire and the slayer. Or the extremely annoyed one that Charlie sent to both of them. He grinned to himself before composing his features. This, he could work to his advantage.
"Angel is too busy shackin' up with Blondie, I'd wager," Spike answered her. "Would rather be playin' the role of paramour than vamp warden at the Motor Inn. Bit of a history between those two, yeah?"
"You've never met me before. I'd keep a lid on your theories, " Angel growled.
"And you've never met the directions on the back of your tub of hair gel. That's the only lid you should be worried about keepin' shut, mate."
Buffy caught Angel's wrist as the vampire took a menacing step towards the couch. Spike barely restrained another smile. It was obvious that old Broodypant's hair could've landed itself a part as an extra on an oil spill wildlife documentary. Not quite as comedic as a sticky pelican, but still… the insult shouldn't have been a shocker.
"You know, on second thought, I'll take him." Charlie seemed to be having a difficult time suppressing the smirk on her lips.
"Thank god," Giles muttered, running a hand over his face.
"Just don't eat him, Charlie," Xander snorted.
"Oh, don't worry. If I do, it'll only be because I'm hungry and not really feeling like myself. I'll just mope about it for a while, and then you all will have to forgive me, right?" Her tone might have sounded airy and facetious, and she may have been looking at Xander, but Spike was certain the wrathful undertones were mostly meant for Angel.
The group was saved from having to reply when Willow came barging through the front door, a small crumpled paper bag gripped tightly in her hand.
Before the redhead had even finished closing the door, Charlie was on her feet. "Hey Giles, can I borrow a duffle bag? There's a bunch of extra clothes that might fit him at the crypt, and I'd like to be leaving about yesterday."
"Yes, of course. I think there's something in the hall closet," Rupert replied, vacating his chair and heading into the hallway. Charlie followed right behind him without so much as glancing at the newly arrived witch, who stared after her with a look of wistfulness.
Xander cleared his throat. "Is it me or did the temperature just drop into the negative, bitter digits of hostility?"
Dumping her backpack onto the carpet by the entranceway, Willow shook her head. "She's been weird around me the last few days. I don't get it. We were fine, and then we got into a fight after the night at the masquerade. I think she's still mad."
"Fight about what?" Buffy asked.
"That's just it!" Willow replied, flailing her arms. "It was a stupid, nothing fight. I can't even remember what started it, but she's still holding a grudge about the fact that I apparated us out of there. Like, hey, if she wanted to walk home that badly, she could've just said something." She sighed, her gaze moving to Spike. "Oh, you must be the emergency in-serious-need-of-some-pain-management guy."
"Tell me there's more than an aspirin and a Band-Aid in that pint-sized pouch you're clutchin'," Spike groaned, eying the tiny bag with disdain.
"Way more. Much more effective too. I dabble with the magics, and I think I can dull your pain down to almost nothing. Like getting stabbed by a toothpick instead of a…" she glanced at Spike's injury and swallowed audibly, "entire tree."
"She does more than dabble. S-She's really good," Tara informed him.
Of course, Spike already knew this, but he feigned a small amount of reluctance as he unbuttoned the bottom of his shirt. "Okay, Witchdoc. Have at it," he said, exposing a mess of ashen skin and damp, bloody bandages.
"Right. Let's see what we can do with a little cypress and goldenseal," Willow said, rubbing her hands together. She placed her hands lightly on top of Spike's chest and her hazel eyes shut as she concentrated. After a moment, her eyes snapped open again. "Hey… did you guys know that he's… um… not of the living?"
"You seem pretty mobile for a deadish… dead guy. I was sure I'd be carrying you to the crypt."
It was the first thing Charlie had said to him since they'd left the watcher's home. Her anger was simmering somewhere between low and medium heat, and Spike could see the resentfulness she was carrying in the stiff line of her body, as though the empty duffel slung over one shoulder was filled with her worldly burdens instead of merely air. Her displeasure wasn't directed at him though, that much he was sure of.
"Red did some mumbo jumbo 'fore you came back in the room," Spike explained, shuffling to keep up with her in his ruined dress shoes. "Said it'd help put me on the mend, but mostly it'll remedy the rackin' misery in my thorax. Don't really feel anythin' at the mo' but right knackered."
As Charlie hurried by a rowdy gaggle of teenagers, she glanced back at Spike, regarding him thoroughly enough to send a warm tingle flooding down his limbs. Spike was very aware of all the amorous, lusty feelings he had concerning her… wouldn't be such a stretch to think she was attracted to him. As he began to smile at her, she promptly turned her face away again, but seemed obliging enough to slow her pace to something more reasonable. "Yeah, well, gotta hand it to Red. No one's ever accused her of being ineffective at the witchy stuff," she said churlishly, crossing the street to the cemetery.
Spike scoffed. "Was beginnin' to think that I'd choke on all that bad blood floatin' around the room 'fore I dropped off from internal damage. Prolly for the best that you opted for a snappy exit."
"I came, I saw, I conversed enough to make it super awkward, and then I escaped into the night. It's my signature move. Lately, anyway."
"What'd the witch do to you anyway, to get your hackles up so high?" Spike asked, running a hand along the cold, iron spokes of the graveyard entrance gate. Familiar. So bloody familiar. He must've done this before.
Charlie kicked a bottle cap, and it bounced down the sidewalk and ricocheted off a tombstone. "It was just something that happened a few nights ago. She zapped us right out of Bleakgrave's masquerade when I didn't want to go."
"You were hopin' to stay for what? The last waltz? Another round of punch?"
"No! I just- I… I didn't want her making that decision for me, you know?" The vampire didn't even look convinced by her statement. "I guess you had to be there."
They passed two more couples as the wind whipped down the rows of grave markers, loosening Charlie's updo into crashing waves of dark silk. With joyless eyes, she watched the pairs meander deeper into the burial ground. "Idiots," she muttered. "A few days without homicides or disappearances, and suddenly a nighttime stroll in the Sunnydale Cemetery is as safe as a picnic in a bank vault. What's Bleakgrave up to?"
"Might have a lead or two on that front," Spike acknowledged.
"Do you?" The shape of her mouth softened measurably. "Good. Save it for Giles, I guess."
When they finally reached the crypt, Charlie cautiously pushed the unlocked door open with her palm, holding as still as the mausoleum itself as she listened for sounds of intruders. Evidently hearing nothing, she motioned to Spike with a jerk of her head that it was safe to go inside. "Giles deemed it unsafe to stick around anywhere Bleakgrave or his cronies might know about," she told him, "so no Magic Box, no Slayer's house, and no crypt that Bleaks left me in. We can stay for a half hour or so, but then we need to hightail it out of here."
Spike let her lead him through the vacant upper crypt and down the ladder to the lower portion, eternally grateful for the spell that Willow had put on him which made it possible for him to descend without agony. As he waited at the foot of the ladder while Charlie hustled around the room, pulling candles from their lofty domiciles and stuffing them into her bag, he realized how effortlessly he could see without the aid of illumination. One more vampiric perk in a growing list.
"Nice digs," he said, surveying the darkened room. It was mostly as he'd pictured it in his mind, from the oriental rugs to the stacks of novels on the nightstand. The sheets had been stripped off the bed, however, leaving a threadbare, sad looking mattress in its stead.
"Thanks, but I can't really take the credit for it... just woke up as a vamp in here. This place came fully furnished and missing its previous occupant, so I decided to settle in and fully embrace the cliché. And, fortunately for you, Neo left his wardrobe rejects behind when he entered the Matrix, so there's about two drawerfuls you can choose from." She took an appraising look at him. "Weirdly enough, they might actually fit you."
Spike made his way to the antiquated dresser she was pointing to and opened the third drawer down, checking to make sure there was indeed sufficient attire. A satisfactory-sized bundle of ink-dark fabrics greeted him. Careful not to move too abruptly as he unbuttoned what was left of his dress shirt, he slipped the tattered remains off his shoulders and let it drop to the carpet, only noticing then that Charlie was staring at him with something that looked close to alarm.
"Needn't worry, luv. Looks like the devil but I don't think I can get any deader than I already am," he reassured her.
"No, it's not that, though it looks awful. It's just… I didn't tell you which drawer the leftover clothing was in, and you just went over there and opened it like… like you knew." Her face was beginning to set with shadows of distrust.
He'd chosen it purely by instinct, but thinking as to why he chose it, Spike was positive that the top drawer was for her apocalypse-worthy stockpile of socks, the second housed her knickers and shirts, and the very bottom contained her trousers. That left drawers number three and four. He didn't need to open any of the others to know he was right, he just recognized it as fact.
He wanted to tell her… what? That he loved her? That her entire body was mapped out in his mind and he was sure he'd been intimate with her? One look at her mistrustful, penetrating eyes and his reply died on his lips.
"Lucky guess," was all he said.
A/N: Heya guys, how are you doing? Sorry for the long time between updates (On a cliffy too, I'm SO MEAN!). Your comments and follows and favs have spurred me on, however, along with the fact that I have a teensy bit more free time at the moment. Give me your guesses as to where Charlie's staying! Winner gets a bloodstained novelty mug that mysteriously appeared in the dumpster by Giles's apartment. :)