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As I’m British, I’m going to be writing in British English, except for dialogue when I will keep to the character’s speech patterns. Just thought I’d warn you now so I don’t get accused of inconsistency. I don’t know Latin, I use an online translator and then my best judgement (which is really just guesswork). So the illness name might be completely off. It’s supposed to translate as “vampire killer”.
Chapter One: Bloody Humans!
Despite the very uncomfortable vibrations of the train, Spike had somehow fallen asleep, but awoke just as it pulled into Sunnydale Station. He stood up, swayed a little, took a swig of whiskey and meandered towards the door, bumping into several seats on the way. He managed to disembark from the train with little more than a bump on the head from where he had fallen down the step, earning himself funny looks from the few people who were actually around that time of night.
“What’re you lookin’ at?” he muttered. “Bloody nosy humans.”
Spike left the platform, intending to find a payphone. He moved slowly and hesitantly, unlike his usual confident stride, one hand on the wall for support. Every now and then, he paused and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand or took another swig of whiskey. When he finally found a phone, he lifted the receiver, rummaged in his pocket for a quarter, and stopped.
“Damn,” he muttered. He had never had to phone the Slayer before and had no idea what her number was. He pulled out a fistful of change and a blotchy pen and called Information.
It took over half an hour for Spike to call every Summers listed in Sunnydale. Most he had to try several times because the phone stopped ringing before the person the other end could wake up enough to answer it. He was down to his last few coins when, at last, a familiar voice answered.
Spike nearly fainted with relief at the sound of Joyce’s voice. “Mrs. Summers? It’s Spike.”
“Oh! Er, hello, Spike. How are you?”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. S, I can’t chat. I’ve only got a bit of money left and I need to talk to Buffy.”
“She’s not here. Is it an emergency?”
Spike closed his eyes and slid down the wall. After all that and she wasn’t even bloody there. Damn inconsiderate.
“Because if it is,” Joyce continued, “I can give you her college number.”
“Hold on a moment.” There was a rustling sound, and Spike nearly broke the biro in two in his impatience. “Here it is.” Joyce read it out and Spike scribbled it down. “Good luck.”
“Thanks, Mrs. S – Sorry for waking you up.”
“That’s alright, Spike. You should drop by sometime. I keep those little marshmallows stocked especially for you.”
Spike smiled. Good old Joyce. The only human he actually liked. If it wasn’t for the fact that she wouldn’t have a clue what to do about them, he would still be on the phone to her pouring out his troubles, instead of getting ready to call her daughter.
It was late when Buffy got in. Parker had taken her for a spin in his car, and they had got so engrossed in each other that the sun had set without either of them realising. Willow was in Oz’s room, so Buffy didn’t have to worry about disturbing her. She undressed, collapsed into bed and was just drifting off to sleep a while later when the phone rang.
“That better not be Giles with another apocalypse,” she muttered to herself, sitting up and reaching for the receiver. “Hello?”
There was a pause at the other end. “Slayer?”
She knew that voice. “Spike? What –”
“Save the niceties,” he cut over her. “I need to see you. Alone. No weapons, none of your bloody groupies.”
“And I should think ‘This is not a trap’ why?”
He paused again. “Because I need your help.”
Buffy sat up. “Which of my friends are you holding hostage this time?”
“None, okay? Look, I don’t have time for this. I’m desperate. I don’t have anyone else to turn to.” He paused again. Buffy thought he sounded strange. “I’m at Sunnydale Station. I’m alone. Can you meet me there?”
Buffy rubbed her eyes, thinking. “Fine. Who needs sleep anyway.” She replaced the phone rather harder than was needed, threw back her covers and reached for her clothes. She threw a pink sweatshirt on over her pyjamas, slipped on her trainers and left the dorm on the way to Parker’s.
His car keys were on his desk in plain sight. Buffy took them and left his room quietly.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she muttered to herself. Outside, it was raining. The forecast had predicted heavy rain all night, with flooding in some areas. Buffy found Parker’s car, unlocked it, sat behind the wheel and started the engine.
Just a little dent. She could pay Parker for the damage. Buffy changed the gear out of reverse and rolled forwards, steering carefully round the other cars towards the exit and the road.
As she drove, Buffy wondered what Spike wanted. Contrary to what he had asked of her, she was armed with a stake, because there was no way on earth she was meeting up with him without one. His tone, though, was different from normal. Less I-want-to-kill-you, more please-help-me.
The rain was almost clouding the windscreen. Buffy turned the radio on and wound the windows down slightly to wake herself up. A few near misses later, she turned into the station car park, stopped the engine, wished briefly she had brought a coat and ran for cover.
The place was almost deserted. Buffy spotted a woman in the ticket office and approached her.
“Hi,” she said, “I’m looking for someone, have you seen him? Tall, long black coat, blonde, English accent?”
The woman barely looked up, just pointed in a direction behind Buffy. “Been there over half an hour.”
“Thanks.” Buffy paused. “He didn’t have anyone with him, did he?”
It looked like Spike had kept his half of the deal so far. However, Buffy kept one hand on her stake just in case. She walked in the direction the woman had pointed, stopping when she saw him by the payphone.
Spike looked a mess. He seemed to be asleep, sprawled in the corner. An empty whiskey bottle lay on the ground beside him. His coat was definitely shabbier than when she had last seen him, and his hair was unkempt, the roots starting to grow out. Buffy hesitated.
She moved forwards slowly. “Spike?” she said again. He stirred a little, but didn’t wake. Buffy stopped about half a foot away and poked him with her foot. “Spike, wake up.”
“I thought you said you wanted my help?”
Spike opened one eye. “Slayer, that you?”
“Yes, it’s me. Wake up. Thought vampires were supposed to be nocturnal?”
He shot her a glare and started getting slowly to his feet. “Long trip.”
“Uh-huh. Would you care to enlighten me why you woke me up in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, to come and meet you here?”
Spike didn’t answer straight away. He straightened up, swayed, and moved and sat down on the nearest bench. Finally, he said quietly, “I need you to help me find something.”
“Something … like, something you lost? … A spell? What?”
He shook his head. “Don’ know what it is. Spell, potion, something …”
“Why would I help you? How does helping you help me?” Buffy demanded.
“It doesn’t.” Spike met her eyes. “But I don’ have anyone else to ask and I can’t do it on my own.”
“So, back to my question, why should I help you?”
He closed his eyes for a moment. When he spoke, he sounded as if it were through gritted teeth.
“Please. I’ll do anything. I’m … begging for your help.”
Buffy stared at him. “I don’t understand.”
He swallowed. “I’m sick, alright? … I’m dying. I don’t know what the cure is, only that there is one. I don’t want to die,” he added, quieter.
There was a long silence while Buffy slowly processed the information.
“How do I know this isn’t a trick?” she said finally.
Spike looked insulted. “You think I would seek you out and beg without being desperate?”
“Okay, good point.” Buffy paused. “Right, let’s step into Dreamland for a moment and suppose I help you find a cure for this - what’s wrong with you?”
“It’s called Caedo Lamia.”
“Caedo Lamia, and you get better. Completely back to your normal self. Your normal, killer self. Why would I do that?”
Spike was quiet for a moment before replying. “I don’t know. I suppose I was relying on that compassion you humans are supposed to have.”
“I have compassion, Spike. Just not for vampires as a rule.”
“That’s funny, you seemed to be full of it when it came to An -”
Buffy punched him in the face before he could even finish his sentence. “Let’s get one thing straight, mister. If you want me to help you, mentioning Angel is the best way to make it not happen.”
“Noted. I’ll be good,” Spike muttered, rubbing his nose. “Look, I don’t care what happens afterwards. I’ll do anything you want. Just help me. Please.”
“Anything?” Buffy raised an eyebrow.
For a moment Buffy just stared at him. Finally she said, “I haven’t made up my mind either way yet. I need time. But the sun will be up in a few hours, so I’d better get you out of here. Can you walk?”
As she had spoken, hope had started to appear on Spike’s face. “Yeah, just.”
Buffy grasped his arm and helped him to his feet. Once up, he kept a hand on the wall for support. “The car’s outside.”
“Well, obviously,” he muttered. Buffy resisted the strong urge to kick him.
It was still pouring hard. Buffy reluctantly put his arm round her shoulders and hurried him forwards. Once by Parker’s car, she dropped his arm quickly. “Get in.”
He obeyed, and she got in the driver’s seat hurriedly, shivering. He noticed.
She glared at him. “Aren’t you?”
He shrugged. “Vampire, remember.”
“Of course,” she muttered, turning the keys. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding!” The engine refused to start.
“Hit the dashboard,” Spike said helpfully.
“How is that supposed to help?”
“Well, hitting something makes me feel better when things go wrong.”
“Of course it does; you’re evil.” Buffy closed her eyes and counted to ten under her breath. When she reached ten, she turned the key again and the engine kicked in.
“Ah-ha!” She shot Spike a triumphant look. He just shrugged at her, closed his eyes and leaned back in his seat. He didn’t move for a minute or two, then opened one eye. Buffy was struggling with the gearstick.
“Do you even know how to drive?”
She glared at him again. “I know how to drive. Just don’t practise much.” She put the car in the right gear and started pulling out of the space, just as there was a clap of thunder. She shivered again. Her clothes and pyjamas were completely soaked through.
Buffy jumped a mile when something soft suddenly fell around her shoulders and she nearly ran into a parking ticket machine. “What the -” She stopped, realising that Spike had somehow removed his coat and draped it over her. “What did you do that for?”
“You said you were cold.” Spike raised an eyebrow. “I can always take it back if you would prefer -”
“No,” Buffy said quickly. “I just meant – why?”
He shrugged. “I brought up your ex, I lend you my coat. Call it quits.”
Buffy gave him a funny look, but didn’t protest. The coat was much warmer than her sodden clothes.
For about ten minutes the car was completely silent. Spike looked as though he was asleep, although Buffy was pretty sure he was just resting his eyes. Her theory was proven when he suddenly announced, “I’m bored. How far away is … Where exactly are you taking me?”
Buffy had been thinking about this. “You’re going to stay at my mom’s place till I can figure out what to do with you.”
“Oh.” He sounded surprised.
“It’s just … I was expecting you to just dump me in the nearest mausoleum or something.”
“Just because you’re going to be in my house does not mean you’re a guest,” Buffy said firmly.
“I wouldn’t dare think otherwise.” Spike took his cigarette lighter out of his pocket and began playing with it. “So how far away is that?”
“Put that thing away. It’s about half an hour. Find a way to entertain yourself.”
Spike sighed, replaced the lighter, paused, and started rifling through the glove compartment. “Ooh, CDs. Mind if I put some music on?”
“If it shuts you up, please go right ahead.”
He flipped through them. “You like Queen?”
“It’s my boyfriend’s car. Those are his CDs.”
“He has good taste.” Catching her eye, he said quickly, “Musical taste, I mean.”
“Out of curiosity,” Buffy said as Spike perused the track listing, “how did you get my number?”
“Your mum gave it to me.”
“My mom?” Buffy narrowly missed a tree.
“Don’t worry pet, I like your mum. I wouldn’t bite her. Besides, even I’d be pushed to bite someone over the phone.”
Buffy shot him a glare. “Just so we’re clear, when I get you back to my place you’re getting chained in the basement. I’m not taking any chances.”
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