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She stormed towards the crypt. This time she would force him to leave. Which part of leave town – leave the planet didn’t he understand? The last straw had been Dawn admitting that she’d been hanging out with Spike again, against Buffy’s express wishes.
Buffy grasped the stake more firmly, but knew that she wouldn’t use it against the neutered vampire. Then she became aware of the sound of muffled screams emanating from Spike’s home. She kicked the door open, ready now to plunge the stake into his undead heart to stop him torturing whoever, whatever… She slid to a halt at the sight before her. Spike, his back arched, was writhing on the floor, the screams coming from his throat. Towering over him was a huge demon, chanting and throwing some dust from an ornate box, over the agonised vampire.
Buffy launched herself at the demon, raining punches and kicks at its body taking it by surprise. They fought long and hard, but finally Buffy managed to overpower it and break its neck. Buffy ran over to the still writhing vampire, his screams now just husky groans, and laid her hand on his shoulder. At her touch, his body sagged and he stopped making that awful sound.
“Spike, Spike can you hear me?”
He tried to speak, but no sound came from his throat, he looked up at her trying to make her understand. Buffy immediately saw what the problem was,
“What’ve you got in your refrigerator apart from booze, I wonder?”
She ran over to it, and was not surprised to find it stuffed with bottles. Then she saw a pack of blood, picked it up, took it over to him, tore it open and poured it down his throat. He swallowed convulsively and started to choke. She lifted him up by his shoulders, leaned him against her knees, and began patting his back. He relaxed against her and opened his eyes.
“Speak to me. Who the hell was that Spike?”
“Dunno. Woke up. Pain.” He croaked inarticulately.
“Come on, get up.” She pulled him and he rose immediately.
Oh wow, she thought, how come I didn’t notice he was naked before. Well you were a busy little slayer, fighting demons and consoling vampires, she told herself.
“I, uh, think we’d better get some clothes on you.”
She went over and picked up his trademark black shirt and jeans and held them out to him, trying to ignore his nakedness. He made no move to take them, but his face was creased with, what? Embarrassment? No it was fear and panic.
“Come on Spike, get dressed!” She snapped at him. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, he snatched the clothes from her hands and pulled them on.
“What’s going on?” She said. He made no reply, but looked at her pleadingly. “What’s the matter with you, speak to me!”
A torrent of words fell from his lips, “I’d love to speak to you, but I can’t seem to, until you soddin’ well tell me to. I can’t move unless you tell me to, I don’t know what the bleeding hell is going on, and I want it to stop!”
“Oh yeah,” she said sceptically, this had to be one of his tricks, “if that was the case I’d be able to say to you – stand on one leg.” Immediately he was balancing on one leg. “Then I could say to you – hop up and down.” He began hopping, his expression of cold fury making her giggle. “Then I’d say – make like a dog.” When he began barking, it wiped the grin off her face. “OK, this is now wigging me out – stop it!”
He stopped and glared at her. “So, if you’re not doing this to piss me off, what’s happening here?”
When he didn’t answer, she said “Oh for goodness sake, speak to me!”
“Don’t you get it you bleedin’ stupid bint, I’ve been mojoed!”
“Are you forgetting that you are in my power, fangface?” She smiled evilly at him and was gratified by the look of apprehension he shot her.
“Well, yeah, but I know you won’t take advantage of me will you? Or perhaps that’s what you want - me as your sex slave?” He waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively and smirked.
“Oh, shut up Spike.” His mouth closed with an audible snap. “Mmmm, I think I’m going to enjoy this.” He closed his eyes and swallowed hard, and she gave him an amused look. “Now, shall we stop calling Buffy nasty names and talk about who did this to you and why?” When he looked at her with an agonised expression, she realised that he really couldn’t talk without her permission. “This is getting to be really annoying, talk to me Spike.”
“I don’t know who – I’ve never seen a demon like that before, and I can’t think why. I’ve got a lot of enemies now I’ve been killing vamps and demons, but I don’t know of any that have the kind of power to use magic like that.”
“Oh, that’s very helpful. I wonder if I just left, would you get back to normal – whatever normal is for you?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know what the spell was, or what it’s for – why don’t you try it?”
Without another word, she marched out of the door. She had got about thirty feet away, when his screams rent the air again. When she dashed back in, he was writhing on the floor and didn’t stop until she touched him. “Well, so much for that theory” Then it hit her. “Oh no! This means that I’ve got you hanging around me for the foreseeable future! What did I do to deserve this?
Buffy watched conflicting emotions flash over his face, and realised, that however much she hated and despised him, she felt sorry for him too. Hey, Buffy, you must be getting soft in your old age she thought wryly. Well you wouldn’t like it if your positions were reversed would you, she asked herself. Oh no, don’t even think it – Spike would really take advantage. And the sort of things he would make her do made her shudder.
“Come on,” she said abruptly, “lets go to the Magic Box, we’ve got to get Willow on the case. She’s the nearest we’ve got to an expert on magic and maybe Giles will know what the demon was. I don’t want you hanging around me any longer than you have to.”
“Uh, only Red eh?” he said pleadingly.
“Well no, I think we need Giles to look into the demon aspect. Come on.” She knew that he wouldn’t want Xander to know about his helplessness, and looked forward to the confrontation.
He silently followed her as she made her way to the store, and she, despite herself, missed the barbed remarks and innuendo that were always a part of being with him.
“Giles, crack open the books, we need research.” She said brightly as she swung through the door, grinning at the Scoobies grouped round a table.
“Good evening to you too Buffy.” Giles said wryly, and then caught sight of the vampire entering behind her. “What is HE doing here?” He marched up to Spike, drew him up by his lapels and shouted at him “I thought I made it quite plain last time you were here, that you are not welcome in my shop!”
“What last time? When was he here?”
Giles still holding Spike and glaring at him said “I didn’t want to bother you with it, it was after, you know…”
“You mean when he chained me up and threatened to kill me?” She said sweetly, turning to add her glare to Giles’.
Spike had the deer caught in the headlights expression on his face.
Xander said, “Yeah Buff, why did you bring fangbreath here, are we going to have a stake spectacular? And why is he not saying anything, have you ripped out his tongue?”
“Xander!” Willow said rolling her eyes, “although I must admit this is the longest time he’s kept quiet since I’ve known him.”
Buffy couldn’t keep it up any longer and collapsed into giggles. They all looked at her as if she was out of her mind. “Let him go Giles, he is completely defenceless.” And proceeded to tell them the whole story.
When she finished, they all swung round to stare at the vampire and he glared back, desperately hoping for the ground to open and swallow him up. Stake me, please stake me, he begged her in his mind.
“Oh, wow Buff, will it work for me too? Let me try, let me try, pleeeeese.” Xander had walked round the immobile vampire a couple of times. “Hop up and down.” He commanded, and was disappointed when Spike remained still. “I wanted to do the Terminator 2 thing.”
“Already done it.” Buffy said, but when she saw the expression of anguish on the vampire’s face she didn’t elaborate. “Well come on people, let’s get researching. Giles, can you look up the demon in your, uh, demony books? And Willow, what about the spell, do you know of any that work like this?”
“You said that the demon was throwing some dust at Spike from a box? Giles asked. “Do you have the box with you?”
Buffy slapped her forehead. “After all that happened, I didn’t think of it.”
“Well, I think it might be important, could you go back and get it?”
“Uh, I can’t go more than thirty feet from him before the pain starts again – worst luck. Xander, maybe you and Anya can go and get it for me?”
They all knew that it was a ploy to get Xander away from Spike, but he grinned good-naturedly and said OK. Buffy wandered over to Willow, bent over her casually and murmured, “I didn’t think I’d ever feel sorry for that evil, irritating, obnoxious vampire, but I do. Will, he can’t do anything without my say-so, and then if I tell him to talk, he can’t move & if I tell him to move, he can’t talk. It’s driving us both crazy!”
Willow frowned in thought, and then said, “Have you tried telling him to do both things in the same sentence?”
“Worth a try.”
Buffy walked over to the still immobile vampire and said “Spike, saywhatyouwantanddowhatyouwant”. His body relaxed and he slouched over to a chair and slumped down in it, putting his head in his hands.
“Have you any idea how humiliating and bloody demeaning this is?” he muttered looking up at her with fury in his eyes.
“Well, it hasn’t been a walk in the park for me either”. She said crossly.
“Sod off!” he snarled, leant back in his chair and closed his eyes.
She went back and sat next to Willow, going through the motions of studying a book.
The tension that had been slowly building in the room was broken by the return of Xander and his ex-demon girlfriend. “Found it!” Xander was tossing a rather ornate carved wooden box in his hand. Anya smiled at everyone, “Sorry it took so long, but being in the evil vampire’s den was a turn on and we had a …”
Xander smiled nervously and said “Ahn, what’ve we said about telling private stuff to everyone?”
“Well, we didn’t go the whole way, although I don’t know why, it was quite cosy in that crypt.”
“OK, OK, I think we should stop right there, I’ll talk to you about this tonight.”
Anya gave a squeal of delight and clapped her hands, “Ooh can we do the ”I’ve-been-a-naughty-girl-and-must-be-punished-game?””
Xander rolled his eyes, but was saved from further embarrassment by Giles abruptly asking to see the box. The Watcher and Willow seemed fascinated by the hieroglyphics on its lid, and Buffy left them to it. She wandered over to Spike and said “I’m going to do some training; I guess you had better come in there with me.”
He got to his feet without comment, and followed her into the training room, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. After a few moments, Buffy forgot he was there, and put her whole mind into what she was doing. Spike watched her, and grudgingly admitted to himself that she was a superb athlete. He had seen her fight and had fought her before of course, but this was more like a dance, almost like ballet, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. The feelings that he had been sublimating all evening came to the fore – she was magnificent, he loved her with all his heart, and she was as far away as ever. Suddenly, he couldn’t watch her any more, and he went to the sofa, lay down on it and closed his eyes.
“Spike, we need to go now, I must have a shower.” Her face loomed over him and he had an almost overpowering urge to pull her into his arms and kiss her, but instead he sighed, got up and followed her back into the store. “Guys, any progress?” Both Giles and Willow shook their heads.
“Buffy, can you remember any of the words of the spell?” Willow asked.
“He was being all noisy vamp, I couldn’t hear anything over his screams.” Buffy answered. “Can you remember any Spike?”
“I was a bit bloody preoccupied myself at the time.” He said sarcastically
“Well, he – whoever he was – must have wanted total control over you, and Buffy interrupted him at the crucial moment, that much is clear. We have to consider whether he was doing this for himself, or whether he was employed by someone else.” Giles frowned. “Are you sure that you can’t think of anyone that could be behind this? I know that there must be many people who hold a grudge, perhaps someone who has connections with witches or mages or…”
“Don’t you think I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of someone?” Spike shouted; his rage and terror almost overcoming him.
Buffy surprised them all, not least herself, when she leaned over towards him, patted his arm and said softly, “Come on, let’s go home. Maybe when you’ve had more time you’ll think of something.”
He smiled at her gratefully. “Yeah, sorry, I’m a bit – you know.”
“Wow”, thought Willow, she didn’t think she could stand too many more shocks –“that was Spike apologising!”
She watched them leave, Spike walking just behind Buffy’s left shoulder, and turned to Giles with raised brows. He was looking back at her with the same expression of amazement.
“Buffy was nice to Spike! She had better not make a habit of it, he’ll take advantage of her given any opportunity.”
“Oh, I think she is more than a match for him, especially at the moment.” With that they both went back to the research.
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