It was strange, Spike thought, to be in the same town as a Slayer and not spend all his time trying to kill her. Hell, he wasn’t even there for her- he’d come for the lovely little trinket adorning his ring finger. But still, something about being this close to that much power brought him right back to who he’d been for the first century of his life.
He’d backed off the murder and mayhem joint a few years after Dru left him to be with Angelus in the early 80’s, telling him not to follow. He’d been crushed, abandoned- he spent a couple years buried in the bottom of a bottle trying to get his head together. He got into his share of bar fights during that time, and realized that fighting demons was a better way to get his spot of violence than killing humans. He’d never gotten behind his ‘family’s’ idea of violence for pain’s sake. Torture was Dru and Darla and Angelus’s realm, and although he’d done it to fit in with them, there wasn’t any satisfaction for him. He’d been a useless man as a human, so of course his new life had to be dedicated to proving himself. Torture was just too… easy.
It was during this time that he realized he also wasn’t a fan of moving around very much- the fights were better when the stronger demons could come to him when word got out. Which was what led him to the switch to bagged blood- fresh from the tap just wasn’t worth the risk of getting caught and having to start again in a new place before he was ready. Bite houses were too seedy for his tastes, but plenty of vamps worked at blood banks and sold bags on the demon market.
His time away from the Aurelians had given him something his first century hadn’t- clarity of self. He’d done what he wanted, when he wanted, and it gave him a strength he never knew he’d lacked. For once in his life he was comfortable with himself. It didn’t matter if someone tried to ridicule him for drinking bagged blood or reading the classics. He’d finally decided there was nothing wrong with his humanity. The holdovers of his personality from his time as William weren’t a weakness, they were a strength. He was smart enough to think for himself, which was why he hadn’t lost a fight in all these years.
Because of that, he’d considered it luck that the slayer happened to be in Sunnydale, home of not only the Gem of Amara, but also the current slayer. What a better way to get closure on that chapter of his life than to not kill the slayer. Oh, sure, he’d spar with her for a while- not like she could harm him. He planned to battle with the best and not wipe her out if he won. He might have deluded himself by thinking that he would only spare her because she weeded out the weak challengers- but that wasn’t who he was these days. He was perfectly comfortable admitting that his respect for the slayers he’d fought had grown exponentially since he changed his life.
The problem with his little plan, though, was that he couldn’t seem to find the damn bird anywhere in this town. He’d heard she was college age, and rumor had it she went to UC Sunnydale.
So that’s how he wound up here- sitting on the grass in the middle of the quad for the third day in a row waiting to see if anyone around would set off his slayer-sense. It had been far too long since he’d been able to enjoy the heat of sunshine on his face, and he made the most of his time waiting, laying stretched out and making an effort not to purr like a sodding cat.
The first day he showed, Buffy took immediate notice. Sunnydale was small, and campus was smaller, so it was strange seeing someone she didn’t at least recognize. Or, at least, that’s why she told herself she was staring. In reality, though, it was because he was damn gorgeous in a way that no one else in the city could come close to matching. Honestly, those cheekbones could kill. And she could tell, even under his black tee shirts, that he was fit. She’d gotten attention from a couple guys so far in her college career, but Parker and Riley weren’t honestly anything that special. Maybe a little cute, but boring as all get out. With his punk look and slicked back bleach blonde hair something told her there was no way this man wasn’t about to be the most interesting thing to happen to her since she blew up her high school.
The second day, Buffy watched him for a few minutes, trying to muster the courage to go talk to him. Buffy and words might be non-mixy, but she had a feeling she’d regret it for the rest of her life if she didn’t introduce herself. But, by the law of Buffy’s Life Can Never Be Easy, she wasted all her free time debating and had to leave for class. It was then that she vowed to herself that she would approach him right away if he was there again tomorrow.
And so, when she came out of class and say him laying there again, looking to all the world an Adonis brought to life, she steeled her resolve and trudged her way through the grass.
“This seat taken?” She asked with a smile, gesturing to the grass beside the man as he opened his eyes.
He should have said no. He’d rejected every other bird who’d showed up trying to get in his pants so far, but that was before he opened his eyes to a goddess. Her hair was backlit by the sun forming a golden halo around her face and the pale blue top she wore looked stunning on her. She was small but clearly in shape, bright green eyes full of hope.
He tilted his head a little, taking her in. He knew bints like this- queen bee, fawned all over in high school and used to getting what she wanted. But as he studied her in the moment it took himm to respond, he realized there was something different about her. It went back to the eyes. She looked mature, not shallow- like there was something of substance there. And maybe it was back to William’s obsession with the perfect woman, but he found himself instead saying “Feel free, pet.” As she settled down beside him, legs at the ankles in front of her and parallel to his, he sat up on one hand and reached the other across to shake hers. “Name’s Spike.” “Nickname?” She questioned, shaking his hand.
“Yeh, not really a fan of my Christian name.”
“Ah. I’m Buffy.” She said, all the while trying not to swoon at his voice. Who the hell decided it was okay to give one person that body, face, and voice all in one package? She was about to be ruined for all men and she’d only just met the guy.
He smirked and decided to follow her lead. “Nickname?” “No, actually. Not sure what my mom and dad were thinking there, but it’s better than Anne.” At his questioning brow raise (hot dayum) she added, “my middle name.” Once again, he decided to keep the conversation going instead of telling the girl to leave him the hell alone so he could go back to slayer hunting. After all, she was beautiful, and she had that thing about her, and he’d been honestly bored out of his mind the past two days waiting around. “You go to school here then?” “What gave it away, the bookbag?” she laughed and flipped those beautiful golden locks over one shoulder. “What about you?” “Ah, no, I’m just visiting. Figured what better place to people watch than a college campus.” It’d only been a couple minutes and Buffy was already head over heels- she needed to know if he was available. It took her a minute to figure out how to approach the subject, but she looked down where his hand rested in the grass and saw a ring. Perfect! She had her in- and god she hoped she was wrong about it.
She pointed to his hand. “You have a wife out there waiting for you, somewhere?” Spike chuckled for a moment at her blatant fishing. He had to hand it to this girl- she had balls on her. “Nah, that’s just an old family heirloom” He could have stopped there, maybe should have, but once again that thing this girl had going for her coaxed him into providing more detail. His voice took on a scorned tone as he added, “Had a girl a while back. Left me and went back to her sodding ex. Bloody bint was obsessed with him, called him her daddy.” Buffy’s eyebrows raised at the coincidence. “Knew someone like that once. Although if I’m being honest the chick was batshit crazy. Heard voices, floated around like she was high all the time, the whole nine yards.” Spike dipped his head to hide his thoughtful expression. He knew Drusilla and Angelus had spent some time around the hellmouth before they met their demise, maybe this Buffy had met her during her stay. Although he wasn’t sure how exactly a tiny slip of a girl like Buffy would have made it out of that encounter alive, he filed it away for later.
He decided to go ahead and play the flirting game a little instead of questioning it, looking back up into her eyes and turning on the charm. “What about you? Pretty bird on a big college campus. Surely, you’ve got a boy waiting for you to get back.” “Oh god no. Honestly, I feel like California just repels interesting guys or something. Or maybe it’s just Sunnydale.” She laughed.
“Should I be offended?” he asked with mock affront.
“No! God no, I didn’t mean you,” she was quick to correct, turning bright red as she realized she’d gone in for a foot buffet. “Besides, you’re clearly not from around here,” she added, attempting a save.
“Caught me. ‘M from London originally” he chuckled. “What about you?” “Grew up in LA, moved to Sunnydale my sophomore year. That makes it… four years, I think, since I moved here? Man, time flies,” she mused, fiddling with the purple gem hanging around her neck.
Once Spike’s attention had been drawn to it, he couldn’t quite look away. Without thinking he reached out and grabbed the pendant, pulling it towards him to see it better. “Pretty stone you’ve got there,” he said thoughtfully.
“Thank you. It was a gift from my friend Willow, she’s Wiccan. She said it was for protection or something like that- she got it for me for my birthday in January.” Of course, she couldn’t tell this stranger that the protection was taking her off the radar of any vamp’s slayer-sense. It had come in handy during her Cruciamentum and she hadn’t taken it off since except to shower- and even then only in her mom’s house.
“She’s smart. Amethyst is a pretty strong protective crystal. Also looks lovely with your green eyes.” Buffy almost melted at that. This man oozed sex and he seemed to be flirting. With HER. Buffy Summers, for once in her life, having someone she actually liked be interested in her. She blushed, heart rate speeding up as she looked down at the grass between them. “Oh, are you Wiccan too?” She asked, wondering how he knew that.
He barely held back his laugh at that. William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers, a sodding earth-loving Wiccan. “No, pet, I just read quite a bit.” “That’s so cool. I don’t really get the chance much, I have, uh… extracurriculars that keep me pretty busy. Honestly, it’s a wonder I keep up with my schoolwork I’m so busy sometimes. What kinds of books do you read?” She played with the grass beneath her fingers.
“Little bit of everything. Got a soft spot for poetry and the classics, but I try to learn about all sorts of subjects. Never know when it’ll come in handy.” Buffy giggled, tipping her head back to look at the clouds. “You’d get along with Giles, I think. He was the librarian at my high school, he sort of took my group of friends under his wing and, uh, watched out for us.” ‘Pun not intended’ she thought to herself.
When she looked into his eyes something about his expression made her continue, surprising herself with her honesty. “I feel like he’s my dad sometimes- the biological one ran out on me and mom before we moved to Sunnydale. Living stereotype, too, ran off with his secretary and hasn’t seen either of us since the year after the divorce, and that was once.” He reached out and put his hand on top of hers, squeezing for a moment before moving back to his previous position holding himself up. “’M sorry, love. Any bloke that leaves his women ought to have his bollocks removed.” He surprised himself with his vehemence- he shouldn’t care that much, but hearing the hurt in this poor girl’s voice as she talked about her absent father ripped at him in a way nothing had in years.
How sincerely she appreciated the sentiment shone through in her eyes. “It’s alright, mostly we just try to forget he exists, especially since he didn’t bother showing up to our plans for my birthday this year.” It was silent for a moment, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Still, she wanted to know more about him. “What about you, what’s your family like?” After her earlier honesty he felt as though he owed her as close to the truth as he could get without bringing up the whole ‘creature of the night’ thing. “My Da’ died when I was young, so it was just me and mum and a couple house staff that became like family for my whole life. I was close with Mum, but she passed away a while ago.” “Oh God, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.” It was her turn to squeeze his hand for a moment, looking at horrified at herself.
“No worries, pet. You couldn’t have known. I mostly just try to move forward- I haven’t been back to London since. Prefer to travel, if I’m honest.” Before she could ask about where all he’d been a beeping sound came from the watch on Buffy’s wrist. If looks could kill the device would have gone up in flames.
“You have to leave, love?” he asked, holding back a chuckle at the angry look she pinned on her watch.
She groaned, throwing her head back in annoyance as she answered. “Ugh, yes. I’ve got psych 101 and the professor is basically a drill sergeant, there’s no way I can get away with skipping.” She pulled her bag back onto her shoulder and looked in his eyes, putting every ounce of feminine charm she could muster into the next sentence. “Will I see you around again? You got me all interested in your travels and now I have to leave.” It was all he could do not to grab her and snog her senseless when she stuck her lower lip out and pouted at the end of her sentence. Instead, he decided to push forward so that maybe soon he actually could do that—he’d kill to be biting a lip that lethal. “D’you drink coffee, love?” Her smile was blinding and, God, he wanted to never look away. “Yeah, do you want to meet up for some?” “I’d love to. You’re the native- what’s the best coffee place around here?” She answered definitively. “The Espresso Pump downtown makes the best lattes in SoCal.” “Espresso Pump it is then. You free tomorrow morning?” “Yeah, my classes don’t start until noon on Wednesdays. We could meet up at ten?” She decided that for a guy this hot and promising she’d forcibly mix the un-mixy mornings and Buffy.
“Sounds good. It’s a date, then.”
Somehow the smile he thought couldn’t get brighter did and he was lost. She stood up and gave him a little wave, walking backwards as she said a sweet “See you tomorrow!” She’d turned around and was a few feet away before he came back to himself enough to call out to her, “Have a good class.” She spun around, seeming to all the world a dancer as she shouted a quick “thanks!” with that deadly smile and a hint of a blush, before turning and disappearing in a crowd of students on the sidewalk.
As he watched her go, Spike wondered what the hell he’d just gotten himself into. But, he thought, as he lay back onto the grass, for a girl like that, maybe a little trouble was worth it.
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April 11, 2022 16:17