Title: The Distance Between Us
Summary: Nineteen years after leaving Sunnydale, Spike encounters a startlingly familiar young woman fighting vampires in the alleyways of London – a young woman who holds the key to both his past and his future. A Spuffy future fic.
Author's Notes: Written for the Fall 2009 round of Seasonal Spuffy. In this fic, Spike leaves Sunnydale sometime between "As You Were" and "Entropy," so it doesn't follow canon after the middle of Season 6. I'm loathe to label this baby fic, but I suppose it technically is, even though the baby in this case is 18-years-old.
Distribution: Just let me know where it's going, and it's yours.
Disclaimer: Nope. I don't own Spike or Buffy. Everything belongs to Joss, Mutant Enemy, and whoever else has a legal right to it.
* * *
She was fast. Swift. With moves he hadn't seen in years. Like poetry in motion the girl, all honey-blonde hair and dark eyes.
Bloody hell, was she a slayer? The Slayer? Something inside him broke. God, if she was the Slayer did that mean that . . . ? No, it couldn't be. Spike pulled in an unneeded breath and willed himself to relax. The slayer line wasn't hers anymore. It was Faith's. Did that mean that Faith was dead?
A kick, a punch, and then a desperate, but sure grab for something wooden and pointy. A broken piece of wood fallen from a nearby dumpster. With lightning fast speed she whirled around and stabbed her attacker. A perfect mark. Right through the heart. A moment later all that was left of the vampire was a big cloud of dust.
Spike stepped out of the shadows. "Nice work luv."
She swung around to look at him. "Who are you?"
"Déjà vu, huh?" Spike whispered, a rye smile pulling at his lips. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his duster and cocked his head to the side, watching her with obvious curiosity.
Spike could tell from her accent that she wasn't a London native. She wasn't even British. She was an American. Californian to be exact. He'd recognize that accent anywhere. It haunted his dreams.
"So, who are you?" she asked, as she eyed him warily. Then, before he could say a word, she raised the stake in her hand once more as if her spidey senses had already given her the answer. "Vampire."
A slow smirk spread across Spike's lips. "Bravo. And I guess that would make you the Slayer?"
Spike paused for a moment, taken aback by the question. "The Slayer. As in, the Chosen One? You do have a watcher and all that rot, don't you?"
She tightened her grip on the stake in her hand and narrowed her eyes at him. "What exactly are you going on about?"
A disbelieving laugh escaped the back of Spike's throat. "Oh come on. You can't not know. You look like you've had plenty of practice, pet. You must have been doin' this for a while. No way the council hasn't gotten their hooks into you yet."
She rested her free hand on her hip and tilted her head to the side, skewering him with a suspicious gaze.
Spike had a momentary flashback to earlier times. To another slayer, who never hesitated to give him that very same look.
"Let me guess," she said, "this is your idea of flirting, isn't it? Well it won't work. I kill your kind." She took several determined steps toward him. "It's what I do. And I never fail."
A split second later she launched herself at Spike, but he easily sidestepped her assault. Before she could recover, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up against him, so that her back was pressed against his chest. He squeezed the stake out of her hand and bared his fangs close to her neck. "You wanna tell me again, how good you are at this?"
"Go ahead, do it," she rejoined, with false bravado. Spike could feel her body shaking almost imperceptibly. Her heart was beating an uneven rhythm and he knew she was truly expecting to die.
"So," he breathed out seductively against her neck, "you want me to kill you."
"Just do it. Make your conquest. Get it over with."
He was surprised to see her give up so quickly, but if she truly didn't have a watcher, didn't even know she was the Slayer, then obviously no one had ever taught her the tricks she needed for survival. Everything she had learned, she had apparently learned on her own.
"I don't know about you," he continued, "but I like to savor my kills." He slid his cheek against her neck and inhaled her scent. A flash of unbidden memories assailed his mind and without a second thought he let her go, his body retreating as if it had been burned.
That scent. It was her scent. It was Buffy.
Spike stared at the girl in front of him, his eyes cloudy and disbelieving. She slowly lowered herself to the ground to retrieve the stake, keeping her eyes warily locked with his the entire time. But she had nothing to fear. He had no intention of stopping her. He couldn't do anything but stare.
Buffy. She was Buffy's.
The girl rose once again to her full height and held her stake at the ready. "I'm going to ask you again, who are you?"
Spike's mouth opened, but no words came out. It took him a moment to remember just who the hell he was. "It doesn't matter," he croaked out, his throat painfully dry. "I'm no one."
Her gaze seemed to soften at his words, or at least they became more curious and less predatory. "Why did you let me go?"
Why did he let her go? Spike was afraid to say anything, afraid he would give too much away. But he had to know. He had to know who she was. For certain.
"Your mum saved my life once. I'm just repayin' the favor."
"My mother? How do you know my mother?"
A small smirk crept across Spike's lips. "Let's just say, we worked together once."
"Are you a shrink?"
"My mother, she's a psychologist. You said you worked with her."
"Right, right, um . . . no, this was before. Before you were born."
"At the Double Meat Palace?"
Spike couldn't help but laugh. There was no way in hell he would ever have been caught dead – or undead – working at the Double Meat Palace. But at least now he knew that he hadn't made a mistake. This had to be Buffy's daughter.
"It was before that actually. Look pet, it doesn't matter. Point is, I know your mum. Couldn't very well do you in, now could I?"
"You don't know my mother. You're bluffing." The determination had returned to her voice, but she made no attempt to move closer.
"Oh am I? So your mother isn't Miss Buffy Anne Summers?"
The girl's face turned a particularly fetching shade of pale and Spike wanted to laugh again.
"What do you want with me?" she queried, her voice trembling slightly. She unconsciously lowered the stake, but kept it gripped tightly by her side.
"I want to know what the hell you think you're doing out here, in the middle of the night, by yourself, hunting vampires?"
"I don't have a choice."
"So you are the Chosen One."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not the chosen anything. A couple of months ago, I was dating this guy. And on the way home from a club one night, he told me he wanted to show me something back at his dorm room."
"And you bought that line?"
"I didn't buy that line," she said snidely. "I told him I had an exam to study for and had to get home early. And he said after he was through with me, I wouldn't have to worry about exams anymore. The next thing I knew, his face had turned all bumpy, he'd grown fangs, and he was trying to bite me."
"So what did you do?"
"And then what did you do?"
"I . . . ," she sighed heavily, "I grabbed a pencil out of my bag and stabbed him in the chest. Not exactly my finest moment."
Spike smiled. Instinct. It must be instinct. Maybe this girl wasn't the Slayer, but slaying was in her blood.
"Did you tell your mum about this?"
"Hell no! Are you crazy? She'd think I was nuts! She'd think I was having some kind of psychotic delusion. She'd never believe me. Not in a million years. She'd have me on anti-psychotics before you could say 'Bram Stocker.'"
"Have you told anyone?"
"Who could I tell? No one would believe me. So, I've been out here every night, using myself as bait; trying to get as many of them as I can. Speaking of which," she raised the stake once more, "you want to give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you, you evil, miserable vampire?"
"Because I'm drop dead sexy?" he replied with a sardonic smile.
"Because, just like you, I'm here to fight the good fight."
"I hunt my own kind."
Now she smiled. "You hunt your own kind? You really expect me to believe that? All vampires are evil. This I know for a fact."
"How do you know it luv? How?"
"Well," she faltered, "they just are."
"You've been watching too many late night movies," Spike said, as he causally moved toward her and slipped his fingers around the stake. It was out of her hand before she could protest. "Now, there's really no need for this, is there?" Spike threw the stake in a nearby dumpster, leaving the girl before him without a weapon. "You have a lot to learn about vampires pet. And I'm going to teach you."
"Oh really?" she asked archly, obviously trying to cover up her newfound vulnerability with sheer chutzpah. "And what could you possible teach me?"
Spike allowed his eyes to travel down the length of her. So much like her mother.
A pang of uneasiness gripped at Spike's chest. She was a beautiful girl, but somehow, looking at her as anything more than Buffy's little girl, just felt dirty and obscene. And not the good kind of dirty and obscene either. The bad, bad, pedophilia kind. Spike shook himself and forced his gaze back to hers.
"You have a lot to learn about vampires. And a lot to learn about slaying. I know everything there is to know. I can teach you."
"Why would you do that?" she asked in obvious challenge.
"Because I don't like watching helpless little girls get killed in dark alleyways, because they think they're a lot stronger and tougher than they really are."
"I know what I'm doing."
"Right. Which is why I had my fangs against your neck only moments ago. I don't think so pet. I think you have a lot to learn."
"Why do you kill your own kind?"
Spike wanted to laugh, but he forced it down his throat. It would have sounded far too bitter for him to have easily explained. "I loved a slayer once. She changed me. Woulda done anything for her. Anything."
Spike knew that the truth of his words was visibly reflected in his eyes. There was no way for him to hide it. And the girl in front of his was obviously moved. She couldn't tear herself away from his gaze.
"What happened to her?" she whispered softly, as if she feared treading dangerous ground.
"Don't rightly know." Spike stepped away, the closeness getting to be too much for him. "She chose another. I walked away and never looked back."
"That's so sad."
"Yeah, well, don't need your pity. Just need to know that you'll work with me, instead of against me. What do you say, luv? We have a deal?"
She eyed him warily for a moment, as if weighing her options. "All right," she finally conceded. "But on one condition."
"From now on, I get to keep my stake. I don't trust you, and I'd like to at least have some kind of protection."
"Fair enough. What's your name pet?"
Spike smirked. "Named for your Aunt Willow, huh?"
"And my father."
"My father. My mother never told me much about him. I don't even know his last name. All I know is, his first name is William, and I'm named for him."
Spike's whole body suddenly flushed cold. He completely lost the power of speech.
"So, what's your name?"
"What?" Spike hadn't quite heard her. His brain was still back on her father. William? Her father's name was William? What the bloody hell did that mean?
Spike had known that Buffy was pregnant when he'd left Sunnydale nineteen years earlier. It was the reason he had left. He had known that he couldn't be the father, and so he had just assumed that it was Riley. After all, Captain Cardboard had miraculously reappeared just a few weeks before Spike had found out about the baby. It had been the logical conclusion to draw. Spike had known that it was only a matter of time before Buffy discovered the truth and went after Riley, ensuring a lifetime of blissful togetherness for the Slayer and her Soldier Boy.
Of course Spike had known about the baby long before Buffy ever had. He was a vampire, after all. He had been able to hear the faint heartbeat, beating along with Buffy's, even when she was only a couple of weeks along. He'd never even told her that he knew. He'd simply been unable to face her. And so, the night he had realized that Buffy was lost to him forever, he had disappeared without a word.
Spike didn't know why Buffy had told this girl that her father's name was William. Maybe she had been forced to lie because Riley was still Special Ops and she wanted to protect their daughter's identity. Whatever the reason, Buffy had lied. Why she had chosen the name William, Spike would never know. It seemed like some kind of cruel, twisted joke.
"What's your name?" Willow repeated.
"Uh, Spike," he provided absently.
"Spike?" A cocky smile spread across her lips. For a moment, it felt eerily familiar to him. A little too much like his own.
"Yeah, as in, enjoys driving railroad spikes through people's heads. That kind of spike."
She wrinkled up her nose in distaste. "Are you sure I shouldn't just kill you now?"
Spike was barely listening. He was still lost deep in thought.
The way she said his name was like a stake straight to his heart. It pulled Spike out of his reverie and brought him back to the moment at hand.
"So," she said, "are we gonna do this or not?"
"Yeah. 'Course. But I think there's been enough drama for one night. Meet me at Highgate Cemetery at midnight."
"The cemetery at midnight? Don't you think that's a little cliché?"
"Make it one then. Just be there." He started to walk away, but stopped just before he reached the end of the alley. "Do you have any stakes? Any real ones?"
"I have a few left. They never last very long when I'm out hunting."
"Patrolling," he corrected.
"Oh never mind. Just bring what you have. You're going to need all the help you can get."