The next two days passed slowly, until finally it was Wednesday, the big date night. Which, following the law of Buffy’s luck, was, of course, the day things went down.
She’d called Spike and invited him to the Bronze Tuesday night, but he said he’d already committed to a poker game with his ‘mates’. She was disappointed, but wanted to avoid pushing him away with the whole clingy thing. Besides, it made her smile to think of him sitting in one of his friend’s basement, talking about sports and beer. Maybe he’d even talk about her.
And, it turned out to be a good thing he couldn’t make it, because Buffy wound up on best friend comfort duty when Oz couldn’t take his eyes off the singer.
Spike, on the other hand, was busy playing poker with some other demons down at Willie’s. He hadn’t made much in the way of winnings, because everyone was cheating, but he was getting some quality information out of his game. He’d heard whispers about demons and such going missing in the area, but he’d blown it off as the mysterious slayer proving that she was, in fact, real.
Even if he couldn’t track her down.
That night was the first time he’d heard about the military types the other demons thought to be linked to the disappearances. His mind flashed to the men in commando costumes he’d seen on Halloween. Maybe not costumes, then.
He fished around and agreed that there was almost definitely a connection between the military men and disappearing demons. He shuddered as he flashed back to WWII and the Nazi experiments he’d witnessed. He seriously hoped he was wrong about the connection, but he had a bad feeling. His only other guess would be the slayer, but all the demons he spoke to insisted she’d been less active than usual lately. He made a mental note to be more careful when moving about at night- he might be able to get through an encounter with the slayer, but a military unit? Less likely.
Even though the night was productive, he’d spent quite a bit of it missing Buffy. He wished he’d been free to join her at the Bronze, maybe get a few more kisses.
They’d kissed again when he walked her home after the gathering at Giles’ apartment. Once again it was… incredible. It made his heart sing and his mind start writing poetry. The way she moved against him, the feel of her heat- it all added to the feeling of soaring he got being close to such an incredible woman.
He made up his mind to call her Wednesday morning and try to move their date up. He didn’t want to wait until 8 to see her again.
When he woke, he phoned her pager. Her return call hadn’t quite gone how he’d hoped, though.
On her end, Buffy had woken up to her best friend slamming the dorm room door and throwing herself on the bed, sobbing.
“Wills, Wills- what’s wrong?”
“Oz! A-a-and Veruca!”
Buffy knelt down beside Willow’s bed, stroking her hair soothingly. “Breathe, Wills. Tell me what happened.” After a moment of silence filled only by the other girl’s sobs, she prompted, “Oz and Veruca?” “I went to go get Oz a-and… she was there with him.” She broke off into sobs again.
“That doesn’t mean anything necessarily!” Buffy hoped she was saying the right thing.
Willow sat up, eyes flashing. “She was IN the cage with him. She’s a wolf too. I walked in and t-they were-” she went back to sobbing. “N-naked. On the floor. Together.” “Oh, God, Wills.” Buffy moved quickly to sit up on the bed beside her friend, grabbing her in a hug. It took a while for Willow to wear herself out, but eventually the sobs began to quiet.
“He said he has no idea what happened after he wolfed. But he also said that he has some sort of connection with her…” “I know I can’t make this better, sweetie, but don’t think it’s your fault. Please. Veruca’s a skank and Oz is… I don’t know, stupid? I have no idea what he was thinking. You don’t deserve this.” Willow choked back another sob. “Then why…”
Buffy gathered her best friend up into another hug. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” “What am I gonna do?” Willow whimpered into her shoulder.
“You’re going to hang out here. I’m gonna call Xander, get him to come stay with you while I go look for her. I have to get to her before sunset-” She cut off, realizing what day it was. “Shit. I’ve got to call Spike too.” “I’m so-” Willow tried to apologize, but Buffy cut her off, taking her face in her hands.
“Don’t you dare, Wills. This isn’t your fault. This is on Veruca, and on Oz for not doing the right thing and telling me about her in the first place. It’s. Not. Your. Fault.” Willow protested. “I know, but you’ve been looking forward to this since the party. It was supposed to be your big date.” “I’m sure Spike will be alright with it. He’ll probably have to get used to me canceling plans last minute anyways, what with the unpredictable slay-age hours. If he can’t handle it that’s on him. You’re my best friend, and you need me. End of story.” “But-”
“Don’t. Sit there, while I make these phone calls, okay? I’ll be right here.” Buffy squeezed her friend’s hand before scooting over to grab the phone off the night stand, knocking into the new copy of Persuasion on which the phone rested. It was only her slayer reflexes that allowed her to snatch it from the air before it hit the ground.
She dialed her friend’s familiar number, praying he would pick up. She thanked her lucky stars when he did.
“Buffster, what’s up?”
“Can you come to the dorm and stay with Willow? Something went down with Oz and Veruca and she shouldn’t be alone.” “Yeah, sure, is she alright? What happened?” The concern in Xander’s voice warmed her heart a little.
“Long story short, Veruca’s a werewolf and Oz locked himself in with her last night. Willow walked in on them in the morning.” “What the fuck?” Xander sounded stunned. “I’ll be right over.” The line went dead and Buffy hung up the phone before dialing the less familiar number that she’d had memorized the night she’d gotten it. The phone only rang once before someone picked up.
“Spike, it’s Buffy.” She tried not to sound like anything was wrong but failed spectacularly.
“Buffy? What’s wrong?”
She stroked the spine of the book still sitting on her lap soothingly, mentally crossing her fingers that he wouldn’t be too mad. “Oh God, Spike, I’m so sorry. I hate to do this, but I can’t make it tonight. Is there any way we could reschedule for Friday?” Concern won out over disappointment, at least at that moment. “Yeh, I’m sure I can figure it out. Is everything alright over there?” “Oz did something stupid and now I’ve got to take care of the fallout. Willow’s in a pretty bad place right now.” “I understand, love, do what you’ve got to. Let Red know that I’ll take the boy’s head off if she wants.” Buffy laughed, and the sound made him smile. “Thanks, I will. You’re at least third in line though, just a warning.” “Figured.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow, but can we do 8 on Friday like we’d planned today? I hope you didn’t go through too much trouble, I feel awful.” “Don’t worry about it, Buffy. Life happens. Take care of your friend, I’ll worry about getting everything set up for Friday.” “Thanks.” She bit her lip, debating for a moment before she added the next part. “I miss you.” “I miss you too, but Friday’s not so far away. It’ll be alright.” “Thank you for being so incredible about this.” Buffy turned as Xander entered the room loudly. “Xander’s here, I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” “Talk to you tomorrow, pet.”
She hung up and looked up to see Xander hugging Willow tightly. She decided to get in on the group huggage.
“I’m sorry I’ve gotta go, Wills, but I’ll be back as soon as I can. Xander, keep an eye on her.” Xander saluted playfully. “Aye aye, cap’n. C’mon Wills, let’s find a trashy movie to watch.” They moved and sat on the bed, Xander’s arm around his childhood friend. Buffy went into her wardrobe and grabbed a coat, a pair of sneakers, and the tranquilizer gun- thank god she’d decided to wear sweats and a tee shirt for bed the night before. She’d hate to waste any more time when she already had no idea where Veruca might be.
She got lucky and ran into her halfway to Oz’s dorm room.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Buffy asked, stepping in front of the girl with her hands on her hips.
“To fight for what’s mine, bitch. Get out of my way.”
“Seems like you’ve got your insults a little turned around there- pretty sure I’m not the female dog in this equation.” Veruca leapt at her, knocking her onto the ground and the tranq gun out of her hand. She reeled back to punch her, but her fist didn’t connect. She looked up and saw Oz, half wolfed out in mid-daylight, fighting with Veruca. The struggle only lasted a minute before Oz got the upper hand, snapping the neck of a now fully werewolf Veruca.
Buffy scrambled up and grabbed the gun, shooting a dart at Oz before he could get away or attack her.
When she finally returned to the room from dragging Oz back to his cage, Willow and Xander were just finishing up a movie.
“W-what happened?” Willow asked, her voice warbling.
Buffy sighed, putting the gun away in her weapon’s chest. “Oz… took care of Veruca. She was headed here after you. He wolfed out during the fighting, so I tranqed him and dragged him back to his cage.” “O-oh. Okay.”
Xander spoke up, rubbing her back gently. “It’ll be alright, Wills, promise. When he wakes up you two will talk things out.” They took turns repeating themselves to comfort Willow as she asked the same questions over and over- “Why?”, “What’s wrong with me?”, “How do we get passed this?”, and on and on.
Finally, Xander took advantage of a lull in her questioning “Double-feature! Let’s watch some movies” When the second movie finished and she turned her head to look, they were both sound asleep. She quietly left for the bathroom to shower, slipping back in and turning off the light and television before laying back in her own bed. Her last thought before she fell asleep was a daydream of her missed date with Spike. She wondered what he was doing…
Spike was frustrated. He couldn’t be angry at Buffy for having to take care of her friends- her protective instinct was part of what made her so attractive to him. But he also hated that his plans had been ruined. He was lucky and managed to reschedule everything he planned without having to pay a second time, but that still left him with nothing to do.
And so, he wound up drinking at Willie’s. Go figure.
It turned out to be a good thing though. He was only half drunk when his poker buddy Clem came flying through the door.
“Spike! I need your help. Those military types are sniffing around my street. I managed to slip out the back, but I need help. My cousins have kids that should be coming home soon and we aren’t fighting types.” He was out of his chair in a split second. “Lead the way.” Hopefully these commandos put up a decent fight. It’d be good to get a spot of violence in before bed.
They made it to the street quickly and Spike peered around the corner and spotted two men in camo and ski masks manhandling a couple of Loose-Skinned children- probably Clem’s family.
He rushed forwards, hitting both men and knocking them out easily while they were distracted with the struggling children. He patted the kids on the head when they threw their arms around him.
“Oh, thank you so much! I don’t know what we would’ve done if they’d gotten them.” Clem ran up behind them and the kids transferred their hugs to him.
“Don’t worry about it, mate. Get the kiddos in, safe and sound, yeah?” He gestured to the building. “I’ll see you later.” He began dragging the soldiers, dropping the bodies in an alley off the main road before making his way back to the cemetery.
When he got home, he thought about calling Buffy. Unfortunately, it was late, and he didn’t want to bother her if she was still helping her friend. So instead, he fell asleep to thoughts of Buffy’s beautiful hair and imaginings of what she looked like when she slept.
Buffy couldn’t stop herself. As soon as she woke up and Willow had left for her morning class, she had the phone in her hand dialing her boyfriend.
“Hullo?” The voice on the other end was groggy.
“Oh, god, I’m so sorry, did I wake you?”
“Yeah, it’s me. I’m sorry, we had just mentioned talking in the morning. I didn’t really think too hard about what time it was. I can call back later if you want.” “Nah, love, I’m up now. How’s Red doing?”
“She wasn’t crying when she left for class, at least. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. Her and Oz have been together forever. I can’t see them breaking up like this, but I don’t know.” “Don’t worry about it, love. What’ll happen will happen. All you can do is be there for her if things fall apart.” His voice was warm and soothing.
“Anyone ever tell you you’re a pretty smart cookie?”
“I think you might be the first, love.” His voice was tinged with amusement.
“That’s a shame,” she said thoughtfully, then listened as a giant yawn came over the line.
“I’ll let you go, you should get some sleep. Maybe I’ll actually get some homework done.” Spike chuckled. “Maybe. We’re still on for tomorrow, then?” “I’ll murder anyone who tries to mess it up. So, yeah.”
“Where should I pick you up?” His voice was warm, and she could tell she’d made him smile. It made her feel good.
“Oh, my mom’s place. Most of my nice clothes are over there, so I’ll be getting ready there.” “Sounds like a plan.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Can hardly wait.”
They were both smiling when they hung up the phone.
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