Returning to Sunnydale hadn’t quite gone how he’d planned.
He’d started by attempting to track down the Slayer, hoping a good fight might help him out of the hellish mood he’d been in since Dru dumped him.
Unfortunately for him, though, she wasn’t home. Instead ran into her mother. She’d remembered him from the previous spring, and had invited him in for hot cocoa. They spent a couple of hours talking—Joyce was a damn good woman—and then he’d run off to try to find Buffy.
It was coincidence that he ran into the witch and the whelp doing magic. Coincidence, or maybe providence.
“You’re going to do a spell for me.”
“What kind of spell?” Willow asked, eyes flashing over to where Xander lay unconscious on the bed.
“I want the Dru that loved me back. You’re going to get her for me.”
“W-what do you mean? I can barely float pencils… Do you want a love spell? I-I-I can do a love spell!”
“No. I want something real. I want you to summon the old Dru back. The one from before her precious Daddy came back and ripped everything apart.”
“That sounds like time travel. You can’t be serious—did you hear what I said about pencil floating?” Willow asked, eyes wide with terror.
Spike smashed the bottle of booze he’d held and shoved the broken edge in her face.
“You can do it, or I’ll put this bottle through your face. “Ve got the spell, hard part’s done for you. No excuses.”
“Okay, okay! Y-yeah, I can do it. I’ll do it.”
“I know you will.” He sighed and slumped down. “Said I wasn’t demon enough for her. One truce with the slayer and suddenly she thinks I’m some pansy.”
His tone changed abruptly from melancholy to enraged. “Fucking BITCH”
He kicked at the wall and the anger gave way to despair again.
“I gave her everything: beautiful jewels, beautiful dresses with beautiful girls in them, but nothing made her happy. And she would flirt! I caught her on a park bench, making out with a Chaos demon! Have you ever seen a chaos demon? They’re all slime and antlers. They’re disgusting.”
He sighed and dropped his head.
“She only did it to hurt me. So, I said, ‘I’m not putting up with this anymore.’ And she said, ‘Fine!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got an unlife, you know!’ And then she said… she said we could still be friends.”
He choked back a sob.
“God, I’m so unhappy!”
Willow reached over tentatively to pat his shoulder with a soft, “there, there.”
“I mean, friends! How could she be so cruel?”
Willow sighed, “I’ll do your spell, Spike. But no bottles in faces or hurting Xander. A-and I’ll need a spellbook, I don’t have all my things here.”
Spike gestured to a bag sitting by the foot of the bed.
“Book’s in there. Has the spell you’ll need.”
“O-o-okay. I’ll just… get started, then.”
Willow put up a silent prayer to the goddess that Buffy would find them before the spell was finished and Drusilla insisted on killing them.
Buffy, Oz and Cordelia rushed down the stairs into the basement of the factory just as Willow finished the incantation. A rush of smoke swirled around her, and the onlookers stared as a figure slowly appeared from the ether.
It took form after a couple of seconds, but it wasn’t Drusilla.
Willow whipped her head around to stare at Spike, terrified.
“I-I-I-I’m sorry! I don’t know what went wrong! I can fix it.”
She didn’t notice the group on the stairs behind her until Buffy and Oz breached her circle and moved protectively in front of her.
But Spike wasn’t paying attention to any of them. Instead, he was staring at the woman like he’d seen a ghost. She wore a long, bustled dress and had her hair in an elaborate style up on her head. He moved a step towards her, holding his hand out a little. The woman looked around frantically, taking in her surroundings. Finally, her eyes landed on Spike, and she kept them there.
Suddenly, she swayed and fell to the ground, unconscious. Spike ran forward to try to catch her, but was a second too late.
“What the hell are you doing, Spike?! Get away from her!” Buffy demanded.
“Shut it, Slayer. She needs medical attention.” He looked up frantically, taking in the newcomers to the room. “Wolf-boy, can you drive us to the hospital?”
Spike’s sounded terrified as he clutched the unconscious woman to his chest. He was stroking her hair, his expression switching rapidly back and forth between terror and disbelief. He was murmuring at her, something Buffy couldn’t pick up.
Oz looked at Buffy questioningly, letting her have the final decision.
“Who is she?” Buffy demanded. She needed to at least know that much.
Spike looked up at her, and the pleading expression nearly broke her heart. “She’s my mum, Slayer, please. Help her.”
Buffy turned to Oz and nodded. “Go ahead and get her into the van.”
Spike started gathering the woman up in her arms, and Buffy turned to focus on Willow.
“Are you alright? Did he hurt you?”
“No, he didn’t. He knocked Xander out, but he was just in the way I think. He demanded I do the spell for him- Buffy, he was so torn up. I actually feel kind of bad for him, I guess Drusilla dumped him.”
Buffy had no idea what to make of… any of that, so she decided to ignore it for the time being.
“Cordy? Can you make sure Xander gets home? I can’t just let Spike roam around on his own.”
“Yeah, I’ve got him.”
Willow chimed in, “And I’ll help. You go get in the van and get that woman to the hospital.”
Buffy was halfway up the stairs when Willow’s voice stopped her.
“Buffy. Do you really think that’s his mom?”
Buffy heaved a sigh. “I don’t know, Wills. I guess we’ll find out.”
“No, it’s okay, Giles. I’ll come see you in the morning and update you… Yes, I’m sure. I’m in the middle of a crowded hospital, I’m fine… And I’m telling you, something’s different with him. I mean, if she is his mom that sort of explains it, I suppose. He’s more worried about her than he is about taking me out… Look, my mom just got here, I’ll see you in the morning. Night.”
Buffy hung up the phone and turned to her mother.
Joyce spotted Buffy standing by the pay phones near the waiting room as soon as she walked into the hospital. She’d been sitting in there alone since she’d followed Spike in. He hadn’t spared a thought for her, demanding a doctor see the woman and then following her back into the treatment area.
“What’s going on, Buffy?”
“Willow’s spell went wonky and some woman in a fancy dress showed up and passed out right away. Spike freaked out saying it was his mom and asked Oz to drive him here. I came to keep an eye on him, but he hasn’t left her side.”
“He came by the house earlier looking for you, I made him some cocoa. He’s a sweet young man. A little misguided, but he was practically salivating over my attention. Having his mother here could be good for him.”
“Mom, you realize we’re talking about a vampire here? Mass-murderer? Tried to kill me? Ringing any bells?”
“He also helped you save the world, from what you’ve said. Buffy, I’ve seen something else in him. He’s craving acceptance. He’s plenty capable of change if given incentive. From what he’s told me, being adaptable is how he’s survived so long.”
“Mom, this is insane. You can’t—” she was cut off by motion at the door.
Spike walked into the waiting room, looking paler than usual. There was stress written all over his face.
“Spike,” Joyce walked up and put her hand on his shoulder. “How are you doing? Buffy said it’s your mother in there?”
He nodded. “Dunno what happened. Tried to have Red work a spell to bring Dru here and got my mum instead. She’s supposed to be…”
He trailed off, looking stricken.
“Willow’s a witch?” Joyce shook her head to clear it. “Nevermind. Did they say when they’ll release her?”
“They said she can leave soon, I just don’t have a place for her. I don’t want to leave to go line something up, either. She’s not handling the confusion so well. I’m the only thing that’s familiar to her.”
“Why doesn’t she stay with us? We have a spare room where she could sleep. And there’s a cot down in our basement if you want to be close to her.”
Buffy, whose jaw had been gracing the floor since her mom had comforted the vampire, finally objected.
“Mom! You can’t just invite a vampire to live with us! How do we even know he’s telling the truth?”
If looks could kill, Buffy would’ve been dead a thousand times over from the one Spike threw her way. “’m not lying, Slayer. Wouldn’t– not about this. That’s my mum in there, getting treatment for tuberculosis. I don’t have to stay, but,” he turned to Joyce, “if you could put my mum up, I’d be forever grateful.”
“Nonsense, you’ll stay with us. Buffy, I told you Spike and I had a long conversation when he came to the house trying to find you earlier. He’s been through a lot.” She turned to him with a warm smile. “And I’m assuming you aren’t planning on murdering us in our sleep?”
“Swear on that woman’s life I won’t, Joyce.”
When her mother nodded, Buffy couldn’t keep silent anymore.
“Mom, you don’t seriously believe him? He’s a vampire? He’s an evil, soulless thing! Come on!”
Joyce rounded on her daughter.
“Buffy Anne Summers, I raised you better than to speak ill of someone just because they’re different. Spike has been nothing but kind to me, and he’s promised not to harm anyone.”
“You can’t know what he’s planning though, mom!”
“It’s my house, and I say they stay. End of story.”
“Okay, well, I have some demands as well,” Buffy huffed and crossed her arms at the vampire.
Spike looked at her appraisingly. “Shoot.”
She gave him a slayer look, staring him down with her arms crossed against her chest.
“No killing. At all. You can get blood from the butchers or the expired stuff from the hospital, but this is my town. You’re not going to be sleeping under my roof and doing the evil thing.”
There was no way Spike of all vampires, was going to give up hunting.
He didn’t hesitate.
“Deal.” He turned to Joyce, “She’ll be ready to leave in an hour or so, the doc said.”
Buffy sputtered for a minute, trying to figure out what had just happened. Her mother cut off her shock-fest.
“Buffy, you stay here with Spike and his mother. I’ll run home and get the room set up and fix something for dinner. You can call when she’s ready and I’ll come pick you up.”
“Thank you again, Joyce. You’re a good sort.”
After she’d left, Spike turned to Buffy.
“Going to go back and check on her. You alright here?”
Buffy was floored. Did he just ask how she was?! Spike, Slayer of Slayers, tried to murder her a thousand times, just checked in to make sure she was okay.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
He gave a curt nod and walked away. When he was out of sight, she sank down into a chair in the waiting room. What just happened? How did this day even turn out like this? First Spike was back in town and drunk, then he had Willow, then suddenly his mom was magically summoned through time? This might be the hellmouth, but this whole situation was weird even for its standards.
One hour had long since past when he came back out, and Joyce had decided to come wait with Buffy at the hospital again.
As he approached them, the look on his face was somewhere between anger and despair.
“Changed their bloody minds, want to sedate her and keep her overnight. Then they had the nerve to kick me out. Something about visiting hours and the sedation.”
“Spike, why don’t you come home with us, then? Let your mother rest. You could use it too.”
He couldn’t argue with the ‘mom’ tone in Joyce’s voice, so he capitulated.
When they got back to the house, Joyce pointed out the basement and then excused herself to bed as she had work in the morning. When she was gone, he stomped his way out onto the back porch, lighting up a cigarette and leaning against the railing.
He’d chain smoked his way through three before he heard the door open behind him.
“Sod off, Slayer,” he said gruffly, not bothering to turn to look at her.
“My house,” she replied simply, leaning back against the door.
She could see him in profile, dim in the moonlight night. They stood there silently for a while before Spike moved to sit down on the step, putting out the cigarette.
“Never thought I’d see her again.”
Buffy decided against snarking. Hitting him when he was acting so out of it seemed… wrong, somehow. Instead, she moved forward and sat down on the porch beside him.
She paused for a minute, deciding what she wanted to ask.
“Are you glad she’s back?”
Spike shook his head and looked up at the sky.
“Don’ rightly know, pet. She’s my mum, of course I’m happy she’s here again, but… I’m not her William. The things I’ve done… I’m a monster, and I know it. She’s having a hard enough time just understanding hospitals, what happens when she finds out what her son’s become? She’ll have nothing.”
It should be impossible, but… “You really care about her, don’t you?”
Spike’s temper flared again at that.
“Of bloody course I do! She’s my mum, the woman who raised me.”
“But you’re a vampire, you don’t have a soul. You’re not supposed to…”
She trailed off and he let out an undignified snort.
“You’re really buying that rot Forehead is selling, aren’t you? Never stopped loving that sodding woman, not a day in my life or unlife. Just because your precious Angel is a sociopath without a soul doesn’t mean the rest of us are.”
Buffy winced, then responded defensively. “He’s not mine. It’s been over since he lost his soul. Coming back from the dead doesn’t change that.”
“Best remember that and keep your knees together, Slayer. Last thing we need is Angelus around nosing in our business.”
Buffy pushed off the porch, looking down at him furiously. “You’re a pig, Spike. Lock up when you come in, I’m going to bed.”
She slammed the door halfheartedly as she walked inside.
Buffy lay in bed awake for a long time after she went inside. She couldn’t wrap her mind around what just happened. This morning her only concern had been keeping her distance from Angel and how to decide what college to go to. Now, suddenly, Spike was back in town with his sickly Victorian mother. And they were staying at her house.
Deep down she knew he wasn’t playing a game. There was no way this whole thing was just an act; the pain she’d seen in his eyes was horribly real. But that didn’t help her to understand the situation any better.
Who the hell was this man? Tried to murder her for months on end, came to her to help save the world, kidnapped her best friend to make her do a spell because he got dumped, and was now playing perfect son and being almost nice to her at times.
But then he knew exactly how to hit her to make it hurt with that Angel comment, too.
It was just too much to take in. Rather than try, she forced herself down into a fitful sleep.
Spike made his way down the basement stairs and flopped down on the cot.
What the hell had his life turned into? Dumped by Dru because he wasn’t demon enough, and maybe she was right. Maybe he should be the type who would’ve drained Joyce and his mother without a second thought. But he wasn’t, and with his mum around he couldn’t go pretending to be anymore.
The Big Bad coat he’d worn so proudly for so long wasn’t going to fit with her around. Who the hell was he without it?
Damned if he knew.
At least the sooner he got to sleep, the sooner he could get his mother and bring her home with him.
As he drifted off, he pointedly didn’t think about the fact that his mind had called the slayer’s house ‘home’.
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November 9, 2020 11:02