Thanks to Ginar369 for the beta. She's awesome. Any mistakes are mine as I have a propensity for playing around with my fics even after it's beta'd.
Eavesdropping was piss easy when you were a vampire. The super hearing for one thing made it very simple. The little tid-bit he heard tonight was very interesting and he knew the Slayer would be delighted that they finally had something on the Hell bint. They finally knew that Glory had an Achilles heel and his name was Ben. He wondered if that was the Ben Buffy was talking to at the frat party recently. The doc had been all over the Slayer, Spike remembered. Spike realised he had gone into game face only when one of his fangs pierced his lip. He shook his head and went back to his human guise. He had been banned from downstairs.
It was a little uncomfortable to see what passed for a human child enjoying some violence, Spike guessed. When he would no longer be so little, the Watcher wouldn't be able to boss him about so much. He supposed seeing as he would be up at the crack of dawn; he probably should try and get some kip. Living in a house full of humans was doing havoc with his sleep pattern. Joyce had left his blankie, pyjamas and a pillow on the sofa for him. Spike took off his shoes and changed into his Spiderman jamies. Joyce bought them the first day he moved in. He preferred to sleep naked but the lady had insisted he wear them and he wouldn't admit it out loud but Spiderman was kind of cool. He settled down on the sofa and had started to drift off when he heard the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. Spike sat up as Angel walked into the darkened room.
"Interesting little revelation down there?" Spike tilted his head in the direction of the basement.
"Were you listening in?" Angel asked. The older vamp shook his head, making a scoffing noise as if to say he should have known better. "Of course you were."
"Vampire. Can't help but hear." Spike smirked.
Provoking Angel was one of the few delights he had left in life, and little or not so little he would always take full advantage of his talent at it.
"When are you going to let Buffy know?" Spike asked.
Angel turned his back on him. For a moment Spike thought he was going to leave his question unanswered.
Angel stopped at the door, "Giles thinks it would be better coming once she's back to herself."
"And you don't," Spike guessed. "You want to take that decision from her and do the job yourself. Act the noble hero cos you know she'll be devastated and she's too much of a white hat to take out an innocent."
Angel didn't answer, simply opened the door and walked out.
Typical Peaches. Either way the truth would out tomorrow. The witches were coming around to do their hocus pocus, and hopefully he would back to his normal self by tomorrow night. He was a little torn truth be told. Buffy and he had formed a tentative friendship, if you could call it that, and he was sure any progress they had made would be lost. He smothered a yawn; he was feeling tired. Living with humans and getting used to their hours meant his body clock was all over the place. Some vampire he was, falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning and getting up when the sun was out. Despite himself he was unable to keep his eyes open. He settled down on the sofa again pulling his blankie tight around him. He would have a long day tomorrow and he figured he would need all the strength he could get.
Spike was woken the following morning by the sound of feminine shrieking coming from upstairs. Dawn and Buffy's voices echoed down the stairs. What the hell were they doing?
The answer to that question came bounding down the stairs with the two girls hurling pillows at one another. Spike chuckled and regretted it a moment later when one of the pillows hit him right in the face.
"Oi, you could have taken out my eye."
"Probably would just grow right back," Buffy answered with a saccharine smile.
Spike jumped up from the sofa, another pillow from a tittering Dawn, hit his left ear.
"Oh that's it! You want to take on William the Bloody too. You bints are in for it."
Before he could say another word, the two girls came at him again with the pillows, knocking him to the floor. He went into game face and when Dawn shoved the pillow in his face, he bit it instead. The two girls shrieked with laughter and Spike tore into the pillow. Bits of fluff started flying all around. Oblivious to the mess and noise they were making, none of the three noticed Joyce coming down the stairs. The sitting room was covered in what was left of the pillow and the three culprits in fits of giggles on the floor.
"What on earth?" Joyce looked down at the trio with a disapproving glare. "You three clean that right up."
"No fair," Buffy protested. "It was Spike that made the mess."
"It was you that started it," Spike shot back.
The woman's eyebrows were knitted together in disapproval. "I don't care who started it. I want this room cleaned up right now." She turned to Dawn. "You don't have the excuse of being under a spell."
When they didn't move immediately she raised her voice. "I said right now."
"Oh - am I glad this comes to an end today," Spike heard her mutter as she walked away. He stomped grumpily and began picking up bits of cloth and fluff. He was startled by the click of a camera and whirled around to see Joyce taking pictures. She can't have been too angry despite her tone.
"Get that camera away from me," he said half-heartedly.
She took a couple more pictures of the trio before leaving for the kitchen again. He could understand her need to record the moment for posterity seeing as this should be the last morning of this spell. Spike was feeling a little nervous, knowing that he and Buffy were going to back to their normal selves too. He was afraid that once Buffy was back to herself that their friendship would come to the end.
He wondered for a moment if he had said it out loud as Buffy was staring at him. "What?"
Buffy just shrugged and looked away. He mustn't have spoken aloud after all. He sighed in relief. Better return to the task at hand then. He pouted as he cleared the floor. Cleaning up was just so boring. When he was back to his normal big bad self, then he would be able to move back to his crypt and he wouldn't have anyone bossing him around. Although, he would miss being mothered by Joyce, playing with Buffy and messing around with Dawn. It wasn't supposed to be this way. Vampires weren't meant to fall for Slayers, want to hang out with their family. It was a simple rule: humans were food. Still, Spike knew he was lost to these Summers' women. They had their hooks in him, and the scariest thing about it was that he didn't mind. Bloody hell – he was screwed.
Giles finally came up from the basement for breakfast. His hair was tousled and his clothes wrinkled. Buffy and Dawn had gone back upstairs to get dressed before eating. Spike looked around carefully to make sure they were indeed alone.
"When are you going to tell Buffy about Ben?" he asked.
Giles looked puzzled. "What are you on about?"
"Ben. Glory…" Spike prompted.
"I've no idea what you're talking about." Giles rolled his eyes and headed for the kitchen.
So the Watcher wasn't going to bite. It didn't matter. Once all the witchy hoodoo had been done he could tell Buffy all about the secrets Giles and Angel weren't sharing. He could smell the tantalising aroma of pancakes coming from kitchen. Mmm pancakes with blood smeared all over them. His mouth watered at the thought. Before he could walk into the kitchen to indulge, the front door swung open and Harris and Demon Girl walked in.
Harris took one look at him and smirked. "I hear you little monsters are going to be back to full size later. I'll be able to tease you without feeling guilty."
Spike stuck out his tongue, regretting it instantly at the smug expression on Harris' face.
"Poor itty bitty Spikey." He reached out and tousled Spike's hair.
Spike pulled away from him with a growl. He ignored Harris' laughter, inwardly swearing to get his own back in a couple of hours.
It was midday before Glinda and Red arrived. They had created a circle in the floor of the sitting room for Spike and Buffy to stand in while they did their jiggery pokery. Spike was nervous as hell, not looking forward to being the focus of a spell once again. He could feel the eyes of everyone in the room on him and the Slayer. The two had on the clothes they had been wearing when they had been turned into little mites. The oufits were falling off them and Dawn was giggling hard at the sight. No amount of glaring from Spike or Buffy could stop her.
Buffy had enough and stamped her foot. "Mom! Dawn keeps laughing at us."
"Dawn, be quiet or you can go upstairs," Joyce chastised.
The threat was enough to silence the giggles. "I'll be good," she promised.
Satisfied, Joyce came up and squeezed Spike's shoulder. It gave him a warm fuzzy feeling that Joyce was fussing over him.
"Nervous?" she asked.
"No," Buffy and Spike lied.
Joyce smiled fondly at them. Despite, the fact that he wasn't her own Joyce had welcomed him into the family home, and for the first time since he was a child he felt like he was home. As much as he loved Dru, he was always an interloper in the Aurelius family, dirt in Darla's eyes and a nuisance in Angel's. As much as he wanted to back to his normal self, he would miss living in the house with the Summers' women.
"Are you ready?" Willow asked Buffy and Spike.
"Yes." Buffy stepped closer to him and laced her fingers through his, and he squeezed them.
Willow and Tara took their places and the two witches started to recite words in Latin. Spike felt a tingle in his body and immediately felt woozy, falling to the ground before everything went black. His last coherent thought was how much he hated magic.
Spike could hear noise all around. He tried to open his eyes but it was like they were glued shut.
"Are they alright?"
Was that Dawn? He managed to open one eye briefly.
"You never said anything about them possibly being hurt by the spell."
Joyce, the mother hen, turning on Red. He got the other eye open.
He groaned and forced himself to blink several times until his surroundings stopped looking fuzzy. He had a thumping headache and he groaned. He could feel Buffy beside him and he realised with a jolt she was still holding his hand.
"Magic sucks," Buffy moaned. "I feel like crap."
When she froze for a moment Spike suspected she had seen their joined hands. Not unsurprisingly, she let go of his hand and sat up.
"Sorry," Willow said, looking sheepish. "But at least you're back to your normal size, right?"
Spike looked down and was delighted to see the clothes he was wearing fitted him. He jumped to his feet.
"Get me my duster," Spike ordered.
Joyce raised her brow questioningly, her look screaming "Manners, William."
"Please," he added automatically.
"A little manners goes a long way," Joyce shot over her shoulder.
Buffy was smirking. Oh bugger.
"You're not such a big Bad after all." Buffy's lip was twitching.
"It's the spell," he lied. He knew he was fighting a losing battle for his reputation after such a faux pas. Ceding defeat he added, "Well, the lady knows how to wield an axe."
Bloody hell – he needed to get of here and kick some ass before he turned back into William the ponce. Joyce walked back into the room with his beloved coat and Spike took it gratefully from her. Ah that was better. He felt more like himself again. It was still early enough that he couldn't leave the house but the revelations of the previous night held promise for the hours ahead.
"Oi! I'm calling a Scooby meeting."
"You're not a Scooby," Xander sneered. "You can't call a Scooby meeting."
Spike glared at the whelp. He looked at Buffy, daring her to repeat what Harris said.
"I think we should listen," Buffy said, surprising and from the looks of it Rupert and Harris too. "You better have a good reason for this, though."
Spike's mouth was agape and he composed himself quickly. "It's very important. It's about that Glory bint."
Spike could feel the tension in the room.
He turned to Giles. "So – Watcher. When are you going to fill us all in on your little secret?"
The Watcher frowned, "What secret?"
Spike sighed. "Are you starting to lose your marbles, old man? I happened to overhear your conversation with Mr Scabby last night."
"What on earth are you wittering on about?"
Spike looked incredulous. "Don't you remember what the hobbit told you last night?"
There was no sign of recognition on the man's face at all. Why wouldn't Giles remember? Spike's mouth dropped open, the pieces starting to come together in his mind; there must be some mojo going on here.
Try a new tack, Spike spoke slowly as if talking to a child, "Ben is Glory, and Glory is Ben."
Spike revelled for a moment in the joy of belittling the watcher. He had been wanting to do that for a long while now since he was no longer pint sized.
"Is there a point to this?" Buffy asked, her eyes narrowed dangerously.
"Bloody genius," Spike muttered. "It must be some sort of spell."
"What spell?" Joyce and Giles asked in unison.
Knowing the importance of the news he was about to land on the Scoobies, he paused for dramatic effect for a moment.
"Your hellgod is trapped in the body of a mortal. There's your way to defeat her."
"He's lying," Harris declared. "He's in league with Glory."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Yeah and I volunteered to let her turn me into a little brat to win your trust."
Anya put a calming hand on Xander's shoulder. "This sounds highly improbable but I don't think there is any reason Spike would lie."
"Besides, you haven't heard the best bit yet," Spike continued. "In a couple of minutes you won't remember. Go speak with the hobbit again and he'll tell you the same story. Angel would back me up for once."
"This better not be a stupid prank, Spike," Buffy interjected.
They were back to the mistrust again. That didn't take long.
"It's not." He turned to the witches. "That spell'll still be in place, you reckon?"
"I – I think so," Tara said.
"Let's go ask him then." Spike made his way down to the basement.
He could hear the others follow, mumbling and grumbling.
"And why are we listening to the evil dead?" Harris put in.
"Why would he send us out down here if it would prove him wrong?" Buffy pointed out. Spike's chest swelled at the Slayer defending him. "I mean if he was messing with our heads, surely he would want to escape a dusty ending and there is no exit from here."
Spike was about to protest hotly before he noticed the playful gleam in her eyes.
His heart was lighter as he approached the imprisoned creature. "Oi you!"
Jinx raised his head. "Me?" he wheezed.
"Yeah – you. Tell us what you told the watcher last night about Ben."
"Ben is the vessel to hold Glorificus' essence. The spell put upon her meant she had to share the body of a baby human male."
Spike whirled around, a triumphant grin on his face. His heart sank at the slacked expressions greeting him.
"Forget what?" Buffy asked. "I feel kind of funny."
Spike sighed. "And is there a spell that makes humans forget?"
Jinx continued paying attention only to his questioner. "Yes – it allows her to transform without there being any questions. It leaves people disoriented and confused but none the wiser."
"Is there anything that can help people remember?" Spike asked.
Jinx shook his head. Spike gritted his teeth. He really didn't think this through. If the survival of the Bit was down to his planning, then she was a goner.
"Where has Peaches disappeared to?" Spike asked. "I hate to admit it but I could do with a little help."
Giles was wiping his glasses with a tissue, "I don't know."
"Never mind, I reckon I'll have to save the day all on my own."
"That'll be the day," Giles muttered.
Buffy was scrunching her nose adorably. "What are we doing down here anyway? I think Giles got all of the information out of it that we're going to get."
Spike suppressed a chuckle. The bint had no clue and he knew he shouldn't laugh, but he was still evil. He might be chipped but he could still enjoy a chit making a fool out of herself, although it was more fun when they knew they were doing such a thing. He had to sort things out once and for all.
"Joyce? Have you got any large pieces of cardboard?"
"There are spare boxes in the recycling bin."
"Could you fetch some and something to write with? A marker or some such."
"I'll help," Tara said.
A few moments later the two women returned and took the cardboard boxes from them.
"Now, I need you to tell these good folks about Ben once more," Spike ordered Jinx.
While, Jinx told his rapt audience about Glory/Ben, Spike scribbled notes on cardboard. He took several pieces and he figured if he put them in every room in the house, he might be able to get them focused enough to research. His strength lay in his fists and his fangs, but that would have to wait until nightfall.
Several hours later it was dark and there was still no sign of Angel. Spike went outside for a much needed cigarette. He stood on the porch searching out the darkness for any sign of the incredible poof. His head was pounding and he was grateful for some respite from the mad house inside. Every couple of minutes everybody started to forget about the Glory and Ben link. The only bit of luck was the more times the Scoobies saw the cardboard it seemed they grasped it for a little longer the next. As grateful as he was for small mercies, Spike had never yearned for the absence of his chip more. He was sorely tempted to tear the lot of them apart limb from limb. He was never one for patience and this was the testing every little bit he could muster. Soddin' humans. The only other person that was immune to the magic was conveniently out. Speaking of the ponce in question, Spike wondered at the timing of his disappearance. Could it be that Angel was taking matters in his own hands? That had to be it. And the wanker knew the magic would mean that Giles would forget about the revelation. Spike shook his head, cursing himself for being slow on the uptake. Spike took one last drag from his cigarette and threw it to the ground. He stamped hard on it before walking back inside. Buffy and Joyce were making food in the kitchen.
"You won't want to miss this, Slayer," Spike warned as he walked through the kitchen.
Spike didn't bother turning around; he knew Buffy would follow. Just as he had left them, Giles, Willow and Tara were in full research mode. There were scraps of paper all over the table with "Ben equals Glory" scribbled on them as well as one of the signs Spike had penned earlier.
Willow was mumbling quietly, "Ben is Glory, and Glory is Ben."
Tara had a book in her hand and Spike spotted a piece of paper open on the page. The two witches were smart. You had to hand it to them.
Spike figured he might need to remind Buffy and Joyce of the situation. "Read the signs!"
Buffy and Joyce just smiled and showed him where they had written the message on the backs of their hands.
Spilke smirked. "You're ahead of me, then. Why didn't I think of that?"
"Because you're stupid," Buffy retorted with a saccharine smile.
Spike barely restrained himself from sticking out his tongue. He gave her a one fingered salute instead.
"William!" Joyce chastised.
Spike rolled his eyes and turned his gaze on the Watcher. "Did Peaches say where he was going this morning?"
"I think he might have gone after Ben," Spike said.
"Ben?" Giles asked. "Ben who?"
"You bloody well know who?" the vampire snapped, pointing at the cardboard sign.
"Oh yes." The Watcher blinked confusedly. "Ben is Glory's vessel,"
Spike picked up a scrap of paper and put it in front of the man's face. "You might want to keep one of those scraps of paper on your book like Glinda here."
"Save the lecture, Spike," Giles said testily.
The vampire ignored the grumpy Watcher and spoke to the women in the room. "And that's the other thing. I reckon Angel's going after Ben himself."
"What do you mean?" Buffy said.
His face snapped to hers. "What do you think, Slayer? He's going to off him for you. He knows you'd never do it yourself."
"He wouldn't." Buffy's face had gone pale.
"He would and I would agree with him," Giles added. "It's the lesser evil after all."
The silence in the room after that proclamation was deafening.
To be continued…