Crushed by Djinn

The slayer closed the door carefully as Spike looked on aghast.

"He didn't sound as if he thought it was over."

Buffy stiffened as her mother's voice sounded behind her. "I made it clear. I think the spell on the door was a big clue too." She turned to look at her mom, took in the dark circles under her eyes, the worried lines on her forehead. "It's going to be ok, Mom."

"He knows about Dawn, Buffy."

"He'd never hurt me." Dawn came out from the dining room where she had been listening.

"Dawn, get to bed!" Buffy and her mother said in unison.

"Well he wouldn't."

"Yes, Dawn, he would. He's a vampire. An evil, undead thing. Can you possibly put aside your little schoolgirl crush on him long enough to get that straight?"

The younger girl just shook her head. "You really are the stupidest even if you are the Slayer." She hurried up the stairs and slammed her door.

"Dawn?" Joyce's voice was worried.

"God, Mom, just leave her alone. If she wants to sulk let her."

"Buffy!"

"What?! Why is this always about Dawn? Protect Dawn, find Dawn, keep Dawn happy. Well I'm sick of it." She slammed her fist into the mantle, knocking a picture of the three of them off. The glass shattered as it hit the hearth. "Great."

Joyce carefully picked up the frame. She looked at the unharmed picture and shook her head. "She's real, Buffy, you can't make her go away."

"This isn't about her, Mom. It's about me. I have this psycho vamp building little Buffy shrines and dressing up his half of a life size slayer doll and god how I don't want to know what he does with that during the day."

"Honey, I know you've had a lot to handle lately and that this is upsetting. But it's really nothing compared to what Dawn is going through." Joyce reached out for her but Buffy shrugged away.

"Yeah, thanks for the almost sympathy Mom. I've got to clean up that glass. Wouldn't want Dawn to cut herself."

As she left the room to get the broom she heard her mother's exasperated, "Buffy." She ignored it.

------------------

"Why..." Spike hit the other vampire hard.

"Do I..." His foot connected heavily and the larger creature slammed into the wall.

"Even..." Spike grabbed a piece of wood from the dumpster next to him.

"Try?" He slammed the stake home and there was dust then quiet.

He spun to look at the three other vampires. "So? You want to take on Spike the Impotent? You want to get your jollies fighting the Laughingstock of the Undead?"

One of them, a blonde woman, came forward timidly. "You killed our leader. We would be your minions now. Let us serve you."

His hand reached out to caress her short golden curls. "Don't need servants. Good people don't have minions." His fingers tightened on her hair. "They have reflections, and feelings, and no bloody chip in their head."

The woman's head was being yanked around as he gestured wildly. "Ouch, Master."

He let her go in disgust. "Get out of here!" She stared up at him in confusion. "Now! Before I stake you all."

"But, how will we..." she trailed off as he glared at her and raised the stake. She backed away then took off running. The others followed her.

"Damn you, Buffy." Spike threw down the stake and kicked through the garbage that lay piled around him. "Damn you to hell."

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Buffy turned over again to check the clock. 2:45. Sleep was just not coming. She sat up, punched her pillow back into shape, threw off the comforter and settled back down.

Tap. Click. Tap.

She ignored the sounds.

Crack. Pop. Click-click. Snap.

She closed her eyes tightly.

Crash! Glass flew into the room.

"Damn it," she said loudly as she rushed to the window. She avoided the broken pieces until she stubbed her toe on the rock, throwing her off balance so that she accidentally put her other foot heavily into the glass. "Oh mother f..." she bit off the rest of her curse as she looked out and saw him in the street.

"C'mon Slayer. I'm waiting for you. Something we didn't finish."

"You have got to be kidding. We are not doing this, Spike. Go home." She picked up the biggest pieces of the glass and tossed them into the trashcan then threw a towel over the area so she wouldn't cut herself again. She looked at what had been her window. Good thing it wasn't a cold night. Hobbling to her bed, she turned on the light. Her foot was bloody and several jagged shards were sticking out of her flesh. She pulled them out gently, then ran her finger over the rest of her foot to check for smaller pieces. As she reached into the drawer on her bedside stand she sensed movement behind her.

"If you're licking your lips, I swear I'll kill you. Now go away, Spike."

"We have to talk."

She didn't look up at him as she wrapped her foot. "Let's talk about how you're going to pay for that window."

"Sorry about that. But I got frustrated."

"Oh, well then all's forgiven."

"Really? Can I come in then?"

She looked out where he perched on her roof. "Nothing's forgiven. And no, you cannot come in. Never. Ever."

"Buffy. It's not like you to refuse to give someone a chance."

"Someone, Spike. You're something."

His face fell. Then he grew angry. "Wasn't something when you brought me your mom and the whelp to look after. No. I was Spike the good guy then. You know I could have trotted those two down to Glory if I'd really wanted to. Bet she has the remedy for this damn chip." He lit a cigarette and took a deep drag. Smoke trailed into her room.

"Do you mind? I hate that smell."

He shrugged. "Come out here and make me stop then."

"Really not interested in making you anything. Sit there all night. Fill my room with smoke. I don't care. I'm going to bed." Mentally thanking whatever deity caused her to choose pajamas over a skimpy t-shirt that night, she crawled back into bed and turned out the light.

"Why?"

Ignore him, she thought furiously to herself. She heard the sound of another cigarette lighting. Could Willow maybe do the whole block with a protection spell?

"That's what I can't figure out. Why?"

He's never going to shut up. Never. She put the pillow over her head but his voice still droned in her ears.

"You hang out with a Watcher that used to raise nasty demons. Your girl Red almost became a demon. Xander's girl toy was a demon till she lost her powers. Hell you used to date a demon, one that killed your watcher's girlfriend and tried to destroy the entire world. Why am I so much worse?"

Buffy burrowed deeper into her mattress.

"Is it because I enjoyed what I did? I make no bones about it, pet. I loved it. Is that what bothers you?"

She sat up in exasperation. "No, Spike. What bothers me is that you are a psychopathic killer and you always will be."

"And your boy Angel's not?"

"He has a soul."

"Not on a very solid basis, he doesn't." He shifted to sit with his back to her. "And what is everyone's greatest fear?" He looked over his shoulder at her. "That he'll lose that soul and turn into Angelus again."

"Angelus is a demon."

He blew smoke slowly. "Haven't you figured out by now that there are all sorts of demons. Good ones, bad ones, in between ones."

"Vampires are nothing like the people they take over."

He stubbed out his cigarette angrily. "Vampires are exactly like the people they take over. The personality and character that the people would be if they ever showed their fears, their perversions, their anger, their passion. Some are big bad things, others are small and easy to accept. Look at Harmony, you knew her as a human. Has she changed much?"

"That's an isolated case."

"No it's not."

I will not play is not, is too with him. She turned over. "You killed two slayers, you are a soulless fiend."

"I'm more like who I was then you could ever know."

She laughed bitterly. "So you were an obnoxious, sadistic braggart back then too?"

"No, I had to become that. To survive."

She mocked him, "What, Drusilla was mean to you if you were soft?"

"No, Drusilla picked me because I was soft. It was your beloved Angelus that was always looking for weakness. He and Darla were never satisfied that I was tough enough, mean enough. Not till I killed a sufficient number of people did I prove myself. But at the beginning, oh I could tell you things. Like I threw up the first times I had to drink blood. Went off by myself and lost it all. Angelus found me the last time. Beat me to a pulp. Said if he ever found me wasting blood again he'd cut off my limbs and set them on fire. Would have, too."

"Angel isn't Angelus."

He shot her a disbelieving look. "Well he's getting ever closer if Dru is to be believed. Did you know that he let a whole room full of lawyers die? Let Darla and Dru have free reign. Didn't raise a hand to stop it? Then he set his girls on fire. Nice guy, your Angel."

"I'm sure he had his reasons."

"See that's what I mean. He gets to have his reasons. But me, oh no, it's just the chip making Spike act all nice. I'd be a sodding maniac if it weren't for that."

"That pretty much covers it, Spike."

Smoke trickled into the room again as he lit another cigarette. "Who was it that saved the bloody world from Acathla?"

"That would be me."

"And who helped you, Goldilocks? Sure as hell wasn't your precious Angel."

"So you helped me then. And then you came back, found the ring of Amara, tortured Angel, then even though we sheltered you after the Initiative made you helpless, you still betrayed us to Adam."

"Yeah. Well. He was going to get this chip out. You and your friends couldn't do that."

"You're a jerk, Spike."

"I'm a jerk that loves you."

She chose to say nothing for a long moment. "Go home, Spike."

His response was so quiet she had to strain to hear it. "I'm not going to do that, Buffy. I'm going to be around, watching you or watching over you, probably depends on your perspective. If you really don't like it, if you really think you could never trust me, then come over right now and stake me. I won't stop you."

"I'm not going to stake you."

"Well why not?" His voice rose. "Why the bloody hell not? I'm unreliable, unprincipled, a psychopathic serial killer that you can never trust. Why not put me out of my and the world's misery?" He jumped up on his knees, held his arms out. "Go ahead, Slayer. Kill the big bad demon!" His voice rose to a shout.

Buffy's door slammed opened and Dawn looked at them both. "What are you two doing?"

Spike looked at her seriously. "I'm trying to get your sister to slay me."

"She's not my sister and ick!"

"Dawn!" Buffy's voice was hard.

"You know I could just invite him in, if I wanted to."

"Don't you dare."

Dawn opened her mouth, rebellion written in the firm set of her jaw.

Spike's voice rang out. "Don't do it, niblet." Both heads turned to him. "Buffy needs to be the one to invite me back in. It has to be her decision. Now go back to bed and let us fight in peace."

Dawn turned to Buffy, scowled darkly. "You stake him and I'll never speak to you again."

"Dawn."

"I'm going." She closed the door behind her.

Buffy looked over at Spike. "You hurt her, you lay a finger on her and I'll..."

"Why would I hurt her?" His expression was truly uncomprehending.

"Because that's what you do. You hurt people."

"No Buffy. That's what you do so well. That's your job."

She was up in a flash, reaching into the bag she had dropped by the nightstand. The stake was in her hand and she brought it down through the mystical field that kept him out.

Spike didn't move.

At the last minute she pulled it to the right, let it slam into the roof.

He didn't move.

"Go away," she said fiercely

He turned his head so his eyes met hers. "I love you."

"Go away before I kill you."

"I love you."

She pulled the stake free, brandished it. "I'll do it."

"Do it then. End this. It's torment. End it now." His eyes locked with hers for a moment then he turned and offered her his back. "Do it."

The stake trembled in her hand for several seconds, then with a vicious cry she let it fall to the ground and pushed him savagely off the roof.

He landed unhurt on the grass.

"Now go home."

He smiled happily. "You couldn't do it."

"Shut up, Spike."

"I love you too, Summers."

"I mean it."

He laughed and blew her a kiss. "I love you, Slayer."

"I hate you, Spike."

"That's great." He smiled and began to hum a song as he walked away.

Buffy recognized *On the Street Where you Live* and grimaced. As she made her way back to bed she muttered, "Oh god, just kill me now."

FIN