Part 11



"Now where is it?" Spike muttered to himself. He searched through a small chest, in the corner of his crypt, that held his few cherished items. "There you are!" he said triumphantly, pulling out a small wooden box. He dusted off the worn-looking container and opened it carefully. Inside was a tiny, very tarnished ring. He took it out and held it up to the light to examine it. It was a simple silver band with a delicate filigree design. He couldn't believe that he still had it after all these years. He remembered finding it one morning in the palm of his hand when he woke up. He had never known where the ring had come from but had carried it around and considered it to be a lucky charm, like a rabbit's foot. Somehow, he had always felt that the ring was special, that it meant something. He had died with the ring in his pocket and had later been buried with it. Spike squinted and tried to read the tiny inscription on the inside of ring. It was almost entirely blackened by age making it nearly impossible to decipher the delicate lettering. He moved closer to the nearest candle until finally, he saw it. Just three letters: "BAS."

"Buffy," he whispered, realizing for the first time how the ring had come into his possession so many years ago. He wondered if his regard for the Slayer was somehow a result of Buffy's interaction with William. He knew that his romantic notions defied all reason, and perhaps… He shook his head – it didn't matter. There was no point in trying to analyze or explain his affections for her, he just knew that he loved her, that she felt something too and whether it be extreme hatred or love, their feelings for each other would always be intense. Spike kissed the ring and put it in his pocket. "My lucky charm," he said smiling to himself.

He climbed the ladder to the ground level of his lair and noted that the sun had nearly set. He had plans for the evening. After he had walked Buffy home from the alley on the previous night, Dawn had invited him over for dinner and had refused to take no for an answer. She had been relieved to have Buffy back and grateful to Spike for retrieving her. He had hesitated before accepting the invitation, first turning to Buffy who nodded her okay. Spike's stomach lurched as he imagined young Dawnie concocting a special meal of watery, blood soup, coagulated, blood casserole, and perhaps some jiggly, blood gello for dessert, all in his honor. He shook his head. Actually, he doubted there would be blood on the menu at all. Dawn seemed to cook things involving peanut butter and bananas. His stomach lurched again at the prospect of such a meal.

"Maybe we could even rent some movies to watch afterward," Dawn had said. "I'm dying to see the latest Freddie Prinze, Jr. movie. I think it just came out on video."

Spike had rolled his eyes. "Oh lovely!" he had commented under his breath.

"Or you could choose whichever movie you want Spike," Dawn had offered.

"No, Freddie it is!" Spike had conceded. He had even offered to pick up the videos on his way over to the house.

Spike smiled as he thought about seeing Buffy again. He planned to convince her to go to the Bronze with him later that night for a drink and maybe after that…His smile widened. He could tell that she was starting to warm up to him. He considered her not yelling at him after sex a major advancement in their relationship. He hoped that her new attitude toward him had not been left behind in the 19th Century. Spike knew he had a long way to go in winning Buffy's affections, but he had seen progress and felt somewhat encouraged.

When Spike reached the video store he felt a little lost. It was actually the first time he had gone into one of those places to rent a video. He recalled having visited a Blockbuster several years ago for a "late night snack," but that had been the extent of his experience with such establishments. Although he did have a television, he didn't own a VCR. Uncertainly, he perused the "New Releases" section for anything with Freddie Prinze Jr. in it. Having no luck, he was forced to ask the store clerk for help. He thought that he now knew how men must feel when they were sent to the drug store to buy tampons and other feminine type products. His stones were feeling very small and shrinking by the second. "Uh, my girlfriend's kid sister is a Freddie fan," he explained to the clerk who led him straight to the appropriate video.

"Who are you calling your 'girlfriend'?" a female voice behind him wanted to know. Spike spun around to find Buffy standing close behind him. She smirked at him.

"What are you doing here, Slayer?" he asked, scowling.

"I figured that you might need some help." Buffy grabbed the video from his hand. "I mean how did you even expect to rent a video here? You need to sign up for membership and give them a credit card. Do you even have a credit card?"

"Well no. I'm not exactly a good credit risk. And besides, I've never had much of a need to get one. It's much more fun to nick whatever I want. Sort of a challenge, eh?"

Buffy shook her head. "Vampires!" she muttered under her breath. She started to look around for a second movie. Not seeing anything else in the "New Releases" section, she began to go down each of the aisles.

Spike followed quietly behind. When they reached the "Horror" section he paused and scanned the titles for any movies about Jack the Ripper. He was curious to see if his killing the villain had made any impact on history. Surprisingly, he couldn't find any videos on the notorious murderer. He recalled a recent film starring Johnny Depp that had been in theatres during the summer. He went over to the girl at the counter to inquire if the movie was out on video. She had not heard of it. "No," she said. "The only movie with Johnny Depp this summer was 'Chocolat II'."

"Hmmm." Spike scratched his chin. "And you don't have any other movies on Jack the Ripper?"

"Who?" the girl asked, puzzled. "Never heard of him."

Spike shrugged. "Ah, never mind sweets. He was no one of any consequence, anyway." The vampire then went off to find Buffy. He found her in the "Drama" section, intently scanning the titles. Spike stood next to her and began looking at the rows of mostly chick flicks. One of the videos caught his attention. He picked it up and started reading the summary on the back. Curious, Buffy snatched the movie from his hands.

"Hey!" he protested. "That was rude."

Buffy stared at him and held up the box. "The Accidental Tourist?" she asked. One of her eyebrows arched sharply and her mouth formed a smug, thin line, curving up slightly on the right.

"Yeah, well…it's a good movie." he explained trying to sound nonchalant. "I mean it's got a good message and all."

Suddenly, Buffy's smirk turned into a wide smile and she shook her head in disbelief. "I love this movie!" she said looking at him, astonished that they had actually found something in common. "And it does have a really good message." She tucked both videos under her arm and proceeded to the rental counter. She was amazed at how Spike could surprise her at times and wondered if they would find anything else in common. Perhaps, if she gave him a chance…she thought to herself that maybe she just might. After all, she kind of liked surprises.



FIN