A Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic
No pairing as yet but options are kept open in case the story or the reader takes me in that direction - any suggestions welcome be they het or slash (but no Spike /Angel because that wouldn't work in this fic or Dawn/Spike because she's too young)
Summary: When Angel returns to the hell mouth, and Buffy, to stay, Spike's unlife goes from bad to worse. But he's declared the scoobies to be his family, even if they didn't know it, and Spike protects his family. When the whole, expanded, team travel to England to prevent a possibly apocalyptic event the Scoobs get a lesson in love and loyalty that they never expected and William's family get to meet their favourite black sheep.
A/N A long summary I know but I do tend to waffle:D This story is kind of based on a challenge but I can't remember where I saw it. It wanted Spike's family to support him and teach Buffy a lesson or something like that. Anyway that's where I got the idea from.
A/N2 I reserve the right to muck about with Canon something rotten and reinstate characters at my whim so consider this totally AU even though some events did occur - like Glory. But no Wolfram & Hart etc. Also no Gun or Connor. Please note that although Spike isn't perfect you'd be hard pressed to tell from my depiction….I refuse to apologise…..Sorry. ( I'm not really, but I am polite:D)
Warning: Angel bashing ahoy! Also mentions of past abuse, maybe non con m/m. Lots of smarm; lots of angst.
Disclaimer: J.W. is all powerful and owns the universe - well BTVS anyway. I on the other hand…don't.
Spike stood stock still in the entrance to the hospital mortuary. He cocked his head to one side and smiled; his eyes settled on a chiller drawer at the far end of the room and he took out a wooden stake from his back pocket.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are" he sing songed as his hand closed on the drawer handle. With a sharp pull the drawer opened and the tray slid out. Yellow eyes met yellow eyes and before the newly turned vamp had time to register his surprise a grey coating of dust adorned the stainless steel. Spike gave a happy little sigh as his demon was at least partially satisfied and turned to grab a metal enclosed trolley for a body pick-up on the fifth floor. His porters I.D caught the light as he headed toward the elevators.
He sighed. 'Scourge of bloody Europe; Slayer of Slayers, reduced to honest employment. Bloody undignified is what it is'.
As he travelled upward Spike briefly reflected on the past year. He had thought that his own little world had come to an end when Buffy had died saving humanity and those pesky puppies from Glory only to find a new purpose as big brother to Dawn. Then Buffy had come back and suddenly even that was snatched away from him. He was still bewildered at how quickly they all turned away from him at Buffy's command, but try as he might he couldn't blame them because he'd have done the same thing. He didn't blame Buffy either; he knew that they weren't good for each other. It was just that he was so damn lonely without the Scoobies to annoy him. No soft spoken, non-judgemental Tara, or bubbly and smart Willow. No Giles, who knew how to make a decent cup of tea and could happily discuss demonology or sixties music for hours. No Dawnie to remind him what being young and alive was all about and scandalize that part of him, William, the ponce, that refused to get past his Victorian values. And, on a more practical level, no-one to supply the blood he couldn't obtain by biting now that he was chipped.
And as if that weren't bad enough the poofter had returned.
Seemed the Irish bloke with the sight, Doyle, had had a vision of the Powers that Be telling them that Buffy needed his magnificent presence. Spike scowled. Bloody insult to all the effort he and the scoobies had put in since Peaches had buggered off to the big bad city. So here he was, on the outs thanks to Angel whispering his poison into the slayer's ear. She may have been a bitch to him but he knew that she would mellow once the world once again seemed more real to her than heaven. Unfortunately Angel's arrival had bollocks'd that up. 'Spike has no Soul', 'Spike is evil, he can't be trusted' And anyone who even tried to speak up for him, like sweet Glinda, bless her, was given a lecture on how Angel knew best, had known Spike for over a hundred years…blah…blah. Never told them about how well they knew each other or the lack of mutual consent involved though did 'e? And why did nobody notice that Glinda was becoming withdrawn again and that Red was worried with no-one to confide in. Or that Dawn spent more and more time in the library because it was better than being at home and Xander's re-ignited prejudices were upsetting the demon bird, Anya. Well, HE noticed but since he was persona non bloody grata he had nobody to tell.
So this was it, work or starve. And it wasn't really all bad; he had a deal with a witch in haematology to buy just out of date blood and enough money for smokes and weetabix. It was certainly better than the first couple of months after he had been turned away from the Scoobies; when he'd been so desperate for money that he had sold the only thing he had left, himself. 'Don't go there' he admonished himself as he pushed his trolley along the fifth floor corridor.
Spike had been so caught up in his memories that he failed to notice that the scents hitting his senses were a match to the people occupying his thoughts, so it was quite a surprise when a familiar voice impinged on those thoughts as he pushed his trolley past a partially open door. The words that voice uttered were enough to stop him in his tracks.
"I am so very sorry Willow; there just isn't anything that we can do. The prognosis of the doctors stands…Sometimes we don't win the battle."
Spike edged a little closer although his vampire hearing had no trouble making out Giles' words or the distraught reply of the witch.
"She wasn't in a battle Giles! She was walking home from the library. She d…didn't stand a chance."
Spike's first instinct was to charge in and…well then his William wanted to hug the redhead and make everything better while his demon wanted to kill whatever had hurt the woman's gentle lover. Spike, however, followed neither course; his sense of smell told him that he would not be welcome among the visitors and he needed more information before he took on two particular and as yet silent occupants of the hospital room. He could sense his Grandsire and Buffy as clear as anything but why weren't they speaking up for God's sake. Whatever had happened there had to be a way to fix it….but Giles had sounded so defeated. He listened and hoped for elucidation. It soon came and when it did it brought with it a myriad of emotions, including relief that they were wrong and something could be done; dread because he knew what it was that he had to do; the dread mingling with pride at his demon's instant agreement to the task that would cause it so much pain; but the overwhelming emotion was one of anger….anger at Giles, which was tempered by the suspicion that he wasn't aware of the cure or thought it beyond their capabilities; and anger at his Grandsire who he knew for a fact was fully aware of the cure ritual and was one of the few demons in existence who could do it, but who had for whatever reason decided to keep quiet.
He forced his own demon to calm down….HIS family being protected by that total pillock! He could feel his inner William growing almost as angry but with a sense of despair that the demon rushed to dispel. Spike knew that they were both relying on him to fix this…and he would… but to confront Angel here and now was not the right way. He would be shouted down by Buffy and…. he sniffed, yeah the whelp was there too and obviously being about as much use as a chocolate teapot. He would go ballistic. Xander hadn't exactly been at Dawnie's side while Buffy was dead and he was obviously trying to keep a low profile in case she found out about his abandonment of her sister. Oh he'd been there for patrols, playing the big 'I Am' but the little details like feeding and clothing a teenage girl had not been on his list of priorities. Spike suspected that the boy somehow blamed Dawn as The Key for Buffy's demise. While Xander would want him gone out of hatred he knew that Giles would want to get rid of him to preserve the peace in the room for Tara and Willow's sakes and Red would only want to spend time with her soul mate.
And Buffy? The old Buffy would have bopped him on the nose and then listened to what he had to say…but this Buffy, this subdued and broken girl, would defer to her Knight in shining hair gel. He had always been her touchstone, soul lapses aside, and she was obviously trying to recreate a comfort zone that had existed in the past. Hoping, no doubt, that it would work better now that Red had found a way to anchor his less than stable soul; not that it seemed to have stopped him brooding…could brood for Ireland. No, charging in like the undead cavalry wouldn't work but by the time they realised that Angel was a jerk and that his own unlistened to ideas would have saved Tara it would be far too late…and that would kill Red, maybe literally, and it would destroy any chance of Buffy regaining her confidence.
No, Spike decided. He would have to deal with this himself and make it a fait accompli. Only Willow should be a part of this because only she could make the decision for an undoubtedly comatose Tara.
The bite of a T'Ka'an demon was almost universally fatal to humans.
But not quite.
Spike went about his normal duties as a porter, coming back every couple of hours to sense how things were going. He had checked with the friendly witch downstairs on the timeframe he was dealing with and he had nearly 48 hours yet before his chance was gone. He kept well back even though he knew that his scent would be masked by the similar Aurelian signature of Angel's and that Angel himself was aware of nobody but Buffy when she was present…and he never let her go anywhere alone these days. Probably scared that one of her friends would make her see reason. He wished for a moment that Joyce was still with them. She would have known how to deal with Angelus….and maybe this time she would have used the sharp bit of the axe.
He listened to the comings and goings. Angel and Buffy were the first to leave…Cordelia and Doyle arrive…then leave. Giles goes to be replaced by Wesley and then Dawnie, so school must be over. An endless procession back and forth of her so called friends who offered their empty words of comfort to the heartbroken witch and said nary a word to the girl in the bed, treating her as though she were already dead.
And then, just after official visiting ended at 9:30pm, it was just Willow and Tara. No way would the nurses ask her to leave her dying 'friend' as they liked to call her. Spike regarded that as an insult to their love but he was hardly in a position to do anything about it. His shift had ended several hours ago and he didn't want to have to explain why he was lurking on the fifth floor like a thief in the night. He didn't want to lose the chance of working here again in the future although he knew that it was going to be a while before he felt up to such hard physical labour after tonight.
Willow sat beside the bed with it's neat crisp white sheets….Tara had always preferred natural colours, creams and pastel greens and blues…greys and browns, to stark white although sometimes she would shock with a bright neon pink or electric blue just for the sake of it. Most thought the gentle Wiccan to be predictable and solid but there was an impish side to her that only those who really knew her saw. Or should she say those who took the time and trouble to get to know her. Willow had always felt an underlying resentment that her best friends, those she considered her real family, hadn't really taken that trouble. Well Dawn had…and Spike.
Willow felt a pang of guilt pierce her grief. She had failed to stand up for the vampire when Angel had returned despite Tara's pleas on his behalf. It was Spike and Tara who had cared for Dawn after Buffy had jumped from the tower to defeat Glory. That was another reason to feel guilty the witch realised. She had spent all her free time while Buffy was gone researching a way to bring her back and then when she was back, and so emotionally damaged, there had been the guilt of having orchestrated the resurrection. She had to face the fact that she had been a bad friend to Spike and a bad partner to Tara and while there was nothing she could do to make it up to her love she could at least give Spike the opportunity to say goodbye to his favourite witch.
Willow was one of only a handful of people that knew that the 70's throwback that Spike portrayed was actually hiding a regular techno geek and that the vamp didn't travel anywhere without his cell phone. She blatantly ignored hospital policy since there were no machines connected to Tara to be interfered with and tapped in Spike's number.
Spike jumped as the phone in his pocket began to vibrate and he smiled sadly as he heard the voice on the other end. She hadn't forgotten him.
"Spike" Willow interrupted before she lost all courage. She hadn't been able to admit that Tara was dying to herself let alone tell anyone else and she knew that he wouldn't take it well. She had seen him cry when Joyce had passed and as for Buffy…she had never seen a grief so deep. "Spike it's Tara; she's, we're at the hospital. They say there's no hope Spike…..no hope."
"There's always hope Luv, sometimes where you least expect to find it."
"No, Angel and Gi….." Willow suddenly realised that there was something odd about the call, about the vampire's voice. It sounded too real. She turned her head towards the door.
Spike suddenly found himself with his arms full of distraught witch.
"It's alright Luv, everything's going to be ok. Spike'll fix it Pet."
Willow sobbed both because this was the first time anyone had tried to be positive and the first time anyone had offered to do something about the situation. And she sobbed because Spike couldn't know how hopeless the situation was. Giles and Angel…and Wesley she supposed, although he had been unnaturally quiet…were the experts.
"You don't understand Spike" she moved out of his cool yet supportive embrace; his scent of menthol cigarette smoke, cologne and leather was strong and comforting and held onto his arms to anchor him as she told him what had happened and that his friend was dying.
"……so when she didn't return from the library at her usual time I got worried and said we should go look for her. Giles agreed immediately and so did Doyle and, surprisingly, Cordy but Angel said that researching the new demon clan in town took priority and that since it wasn't dark yet Tara wasn't in trouble and had probably stopped off at the coffee shop or met friends." She smiled as Spike snorted in disbelief and anger. He, too, knew that Tara would always call if she was delayed; she knew how they worried. "Anyway I had this really bad feeling but with Buffy backing up Angel nobody had the courage to go against him. Then Giles 'remembered' an important book that he had in his personal collection and asked me to come and help translate the relevant passages…"
"Let me guess, no book?"
Willow chuckled at the memory of Giles letting a little of his inner Ripper out to play.
"No, no book. Just Ripper and a rather colourful description of Angel's character flaws…kinda reminded me of you." She chuckled again at the mixed look of chagrin and pride on the vampire's face. Before Buffy's return and Angels's domination of the scoobies the vamp and Giles had been getting along really well. One might almost say that Giles had been acting in a rather fatherly manner to the young (seeming) Englishman; not that she'd ever say it to either of their faces.
As she had talked they'd moved over to the Wiccan's bedside and Spike sat down and took hold of the lax and too cold hand.
"Carry on Pet" he reminded Willow who was near to tears again. She sat on the other side of the bed and took the free hand.
"We found her quite quickly. It was hard to miss the books strewn over the footpath…well unless you do what most citizens of Sunnydale do and look the other way. She had already been bitten and the T'ka'an was about to drag her away. Giles was marvellous, I wouldn't have thought he had it in him. He took on the creature single handed and kept it busy while I got Tara away. Then I came back and between my spell and Gile's knife it didn't stand a chance. But it was too late. When we told Angel and described the demon he told us what it was and what it's bite would do. Giles double checked…you know him, he never did trust Angel's word; but he found nothing except an old legend which Wesley knew about and explained that it didn't apply to humans."
Willow saw the flash of anger and the spark of amber in the normally ice blue eyes.
"Sorry Pet, just hard to keep him in sometimes y'know?"
Willow smiled softly. She did, indeed, know. Both Spike and Giles knew that she had had some trouble controlling her magic but with Giles teaching her techniques that had stood him in good stead in his own youth and Tara's complete faith in her ability to resist the call to use magic to fix things that couldn't or shouldn't be fixed she had kept her integrity intact, much as she knew Spike was doing with his demon. But it wasn't always easy for either of them. And if the poison in the bite hadn't been immune to human magic then she didn't know if she would have had the courage to let nature take it's course….who was she kidding, she mused…she would have had a spell cast before anyone could blink. But that wasn't an option. And it didn't explain Spike's reaction. She knew that he would be upset at Tara's illness and how she had come to be hurt but…
"What's wrong Spike? Why is your demon acting up?"
"Because somebody is lying Luv, maybe more than one someone. There is a cure and Angelus at least is aware of it, Price, too, I'd wager."
Willow gasped. She looked down at the still body of her love and then up at the once again blue yet still angry eyes of her friend.
"But….but why Spike? Why would Angel lie about this? Oh my God! Did I screw up the anchoring spell? You called him Angelus, well you always do when you're not calling him Peaches or Poofter, but…is he…"
Spike smiled despite the situation. Nobody babbled quite as endearingly as Willow, except Buffy…before.
"No Pet, it's still the souled wonder in residence, can smell the soul on 'im" Spike shuddered theatrically and Willow realised he was trying to calm her down. He obviously had something important to say and she wasn't giving him the chance. Still it was a valid question. Spike apparently thought so too as he replied.
"Think Angel is lying to protect himself Pet. He don't know Glinda like we do. Doesn't have any reason to risk himself to save a virtual stranger. Might have done it for Buffy but any of the rest of us….Angel always did have a ruthless self centred streak."
"Why would he have to risk himself? What would he be risking? And I'd be more than willing to take any kind of risk to save her Spike. She's so much more worthy of living than I am. She's pure light and I'm…well, not."
"You're both worthy Luv, but a human can't fix this. Takes demon magic and demon blood to kill the virus that's taking her from us." He saw the look in her eyes as he mentioned blood. "No Pet, not a question of turning her. As for the consequences, nobody knows what they are. There's legends, like Windbag - Price said, but they're garbled and vague. Obviously Angel doesn't want to take the chance that the consequences will be something he won't be able to cope with."
"Then…then there's nothing we can do."
Spike watched fresh tears begin to follow the dried tracks of previous grief.
"Never say never Pet. Angelus ain't the only demon in town y'know."
Willow frowned and then the realization of the Vampire's offer dawned and she paled, raising her hand to her mouth in hope and distress.
Spike saw the need to heal her lover burn fierce in the redhead's eyes but to his eternal surprise and gratitude he also saw her concern for him, Spike; a worthless monster. For once in his unlife he felt like a man and he knew that the devil himself couldn't prevent him from doing the right thing. He felt William, at least metaphorically, stand a little taller and his demon, if it had possessed a corporeal form, would no doubt have been blushing.
"Spike! I…I can't ask you to risk yourself for us…I…"
"You're not asking Luv, I'm offering."
"But you don't even know what might happen to you."
"Everything we do in this world is a risk Willow, be we alive or undead. It isn't often that a Vampire gets a chance to do something good, and if I am willing to take risks on patrol or in a fight what kind of true monster would I be to refuse to take the same level of risk for a friend….It just wouldn't be cricket."
Willow was astounded, not so much at the vampire's willingness to take risks; he was notorious for his daredevil attitude. But to give without promise of reward was true goodness. And she had noticed, too, that his cockney accent had vanished, replaced with the genteel clipped tones similar to…..
"Well said Spike. I must say you do continue to astound me."
Spike turned an unsurprised gaze on the Watcher standing in the open doorway.
Of course, thought Willow, it was impossible to surprise a Vampire's sensitive hearing or sense of smell. For herself, though it was a shock and she dropped Tara's hand and jumped up out of her seat.
"Giles! You scared me to death!" She frowned worriedly, "Why are you here at this time of night?"
"I would have thought the question would have been what was Spike doing here….at all; especially since Angel has banned all communication with him." Willow blushed at being caught going against one of Angel's many dictates but she had heard the undeniable hint of disgust in the educated Oxbridge tone and knew that he wasn't angry with her. But how to explain Spike's presence and his humbling offer.
"Reckon you already know the answers Rupes…since you've been standing outside the door eavesdropping for the past five minutes. Question is what are YOU going to do? Are you going to stop me or help us?" Spike waited for the reply that could put a massive spanner in his plans.
"I would have thought my answer would be obvious."
A/N Hope you enjoyed. I know it seems like a cliffy but it isn't…no really. It would just have been too long if I'd carried on. Ahem.
Next chapter sees the rest of our characters enter stage right and maybe even a vague bit of plot if we're lucky!