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Previous Chapter: Chapter 5
Next Chapter: Chapter 7

It was late when Buffy and Joyce returned home a few days later, but Spike was awake in the living room, waiting for them. He took one look at the scene they presented as they entered and shot up to check on Joyce.

“What happened, Slayer?”

“She followed me out on patrol and there were… they were kids.”

Spike nodded in grave understanding.

“Got it. C’mon, Joyce, let’s get you sat down and I’ll make you some cocoa.”

After making sure her mother was alright on the couch, Buffy followed him to the kitchen.

“Thanks for helping. They were just so little, and…”

“And she’s not used to it. My mum would likely react the same way, pet. You’ll find out what nasty’s in town preying on the kiddies, though. You always do.”

She looked at him strangely before turning to grab mugs for the nearly-finished drinks. 

“I hope you’re right.”

Joyce was silent through her whole mug of cocoa. When she’d finished, Buffy grabbed her arm to help her upstairs.

“Get some sleep, I’ll have breakfast ready in the morning,” Spike said as he said goodnight at the foot of the stairs.

He’d turned to leave when he felt Buffy’s hand on his.

“Thanks. Really.”

“Anytime,” he said softly, squeezing her hand before disappearing towards the basement.

~

The next morning he had pancakes and bacon ready for them, as promised. Spike listened from the basement as Buffy’s heart sped up when she caught sight of the breakfast fare, as her fork clinked on the plate as she ate her food, as she paced near his door for five minutes past when she was supposed to leave for school.

He told himself there was no way he heard her give a resigned sigh in the direction of his door before leaving.

Sodding hell, what was he even doing? 

He might like the chit a little. Being forced to play nice for their mothers had given him an opportunity to get to know the Slayer, and by some miracle they found they got along swimmingly most of the time. Even their banter was fun these days. And he couldn’t deny he’d always been attracted to her. 

BUT he wasn’t about to go soft like the sodding Great Poof. 

He could indulge his inner-William when he was around her and their mothers, but he wasn’t going to give up the respect he’d spent a century building and demanding. 

He was a monster, and he’d put too much work into it to go back completely.

~

Spike was still in the basement when Buffy returned home from school, voice shrill as she came down the stairs.

“Do you have any idea what our mothers have been up to today?!”

“What the bleeding hell are you talkin’ about, Slayer?”

“I’m talking about my mom. And your mom. Putting together a candlelight vigil for these kids and inviting all of Sunnydale.”

“Bollocks!”

“Right! And I tried to convince her to call it off, but Mom’s pretty dead set against any plan changes.”

“You planning on going, then?”

Buffy sighed and sat down on the step. “I’ve gotta. Part of my job. Huge group of humans out and about at night, it’s going to be a vamp snack-fest.”

“Have a feeling it’s better for me not to show my undead face at the witch hunt.”

“Probably.” She sighed heavily, then looked at him hopefully through her lashes. “Want to play cards until I have to go face the insanity?”

He grinned at her and winked in a way that absolutely did NOT make her knees go weak. 

“Thought you’d never ask.”

~

The vigil went about as terribly as expected, and Buffy retreated to her room as soon as they arrived home.

She didn’t see Spike in the morning, and then her school day had to suck on top of it.

She’d planned to discuss the censorship of the library books with her mother as soon as she walked in the door after school, but the sight she was greeted with changed her priorities.

“What’s going on? Where’s Spike?” It had only been a couple of weeks and she was already accustomed to seeing him sprawled out on the couch when she returned from school.

She’d missed him that morning, but she figured he’d just still been asleep in the basement. The events happening at school made her worried it was more than that, though, and now he was missing yet again.

“Anne thought it best if we ask him to leave for a while, honey.”

Buffy’s jaw dropped. “What? Why would she do that?”

“She just thought that with the occult problem and all, maybe it would be better if he lived elsewhere. And honestly I agree.”

She might not have liked Spike from the beginning, and he might get on her nerves on occasion, but she had eyes. She could see how much he loved their mothers, and this betrayal was sure to gut him. He was, for better or worse, her friend these days, and she hurt to think how he must be hurting.

“Neither of you have had any problem with him being a vampire this whole time. Now suddenly you do? Mom, this happens. There’s always going to be a bad guy out there somewhere doing horrible things.”

“Well, that’s what I’m saying, isn’t it. You’re doing your best, sweetie, but you just react.  It’s bound to be kind of… fruitless. Someone has to be proactive, dear.”

“And proactive is confiscating the books we need to find out what happened to those kids?”

Joyce looked at her daughter patronizingly. “The library will get most of them back. MOO just wants to weed out the offensive material. Everything else will be returned soon.”

“And what happens when the book with the answer isn’t on the approved reading list?!”

At that moment, Anne stepped into the dining room.

“Buffy Summers, things may have changed in 100 years, but you should not speak to your mother in that tone! We’re trying to protect you, you must understand that.”

Buffy shot her a dirty look as she backed towards the door.

“You kicked your son out, you don’t get to act like my parent. I’m out of here. I have to do one of my fruitless, reactive patrols.”

She stomped away, but turned back with a final quip.

“And whose brilliant idea was the acronym?” she asked in disgust.

She looked for Spike while she patrolled, thinking maybe he’d gone off to get a fight in or find a place to sleep. With a sigh she gave up, and headed to the library.  Maybe if she could go over the facts again, she could figure it all out…

~

A few hours later, after almost burning at the stake, Buffy couldn’t bring herself to go home.

Luckily this time, first cemetery she checked, there was Spike. Sitting on a stone bench, nursing a bottle wrapped in a paper bag.

“Hey. It’s blown over now, you can come home.”

“Highly doubt that, pet. Mum wouldn’t have said what she did without a reason. She’s not gonna change her mind jus’ like that.”

“Reason’s gone now. Hansel and Gretel demons making all the adults go crazy,” she explained, sitting down and kicking at the dirt.

“You’re saying them kicking me out was something influencing them?”

“Unless my mom would normally try to burn me at the stake, I’d go with yes.  Let me tell you, that witch hunt comment you made the other day was hitting a little too close to home by the end there.”

Spike whipped his head up to meet her eyes. “What the hell happened while I was out drinking, pet?!”

Buffy explained the whole story.

“I just felt so betrayed, Spike. I mean, she’s my mom. She’s not supposed to do that. How the hell are you perfectly fine?”

“Well, for starts I’m not the one who was nearly burned at the stake. But I’ve heard much worse come out of my mother’s mouth, this was nothing.”

Buffy turned to him, concerned. “What do you mean? It doesn’t seem like Anne to–”

“No, Slayer. She wasn’t herself, can’t blame her for what was said. And that’s the end of the story and all I’m saying.”

“Okaaay then, Mr. Bad-Moody.”

He was about to launch a verbal attack, but he quickly deflated. “Sorry. Sore topic.

“I’m sorry about whatever happened.”

“Me too, Slayer. Me too.”

“Spike,” she said softly after a moment’s silence.

“What is it, Slayer?”

“You’ve seen things from the evil side. Is this whole thing pointless?”

He leaned back to look at her better, a strange expression on his face.

“What do you mean?”

“My mom said some things to me about being the slayer. She said it’s fruitless. No matter how hard I try, the bad things keep coming. Do you think it’s pointless?”

“Well, at the risk of being a sodding awful Big Bad, I’ll tell you the truth. It’s not, Buffy. It might keep coming, but in the meantime life goes on another day for the people you save. And even when things go wrong, any time someone’s killed, you have to think— they wouldn’t have lived to be murdered if you hadn’t stopped the world from getting sucked into hell, pet.”

“I guess you have a point. A weird, vaguely morbid point.”

“I know I do. Don’t give up, Slayer. You’re better than that. Couldn’t have taken me down otherwise.”

She choked out a laugh and rolled her eyes. “God, you’re so full of yourself.”

“Got good reason to be,” he said, but his smirk devolved into an expression of exhaustion quickly.

“Ready to get out of here? Think I’ve got a nice long kip calling my name.”

“You go on ahead, I’ve still got to finish patrol.”

“You sure, pet? It’s late.”

“Yeah, I’m not really ready to be in the house with her yet. I’ll see you in the morning.”

As he walked away, she sighed.

Part of her wanted nothing more than to believe that he was coming to care about her, somehow, some way.

But who was she kidding when he wouldn’t even stay and patrol with her? If he really gave a crap, he would be helping.

~

“I am so, so sorry, my darling son son!”

Anne was waiting to ambush him as he walked in the door.

“It’s alright, mother,” he said quietly, grabbing her shoulders to quiet her. “Buffy explained what happened. You have no reason to apologize.”

“But I do, William, I do. I saw your eyes when I asked you to leave, my dear. I might not know what became of your life after the day from which I was plucked through time, but I believe it has not been kind to you, my dear. I never wanted to make it worse for you, only to ease your struggles. Please remember that.”

William blinked back tears as he answered.

“I will, dearest mother. And thank you.”

With that, he retreated quickly to the basement.

~

He ought to have been thinking about the trauma of people he trusted kicking him out. 

He ought to have been thinking about his mother’s tearful plea for understanding.

He ought not to be thinking about the Slayer he’d just left behind on patrol.

But here he was anyways, pacing in circles as he went around and around in his head.

‘Pillock. Should be out there helping the girl. Should’ve been by her side instead of gettin’ pissed while she almost died.’

The persona he built over a century flared up.

‘I have a reputation to uphold. Can’t go killin demons on the reg without losing it.’

And then honesty again.

‘Your reputation was shot when you moved in with the slayer, who the fuck are you kidding?’

He ground his hands over his eyes as he collapsed onto the cot.

What the hell was happening to him? He felt sodding guilty for not helping the slayer of all people. Maybe Dru was right and he wasn’t demon enough.

He couldn’t give up the last of everything he’d built for himself for the Slayer. He refused. He’d given up enough for his mother, and even that hadn’t been enough to keep her from throwing him out, spell or no spell.

But, who was he kidding?

He was love’s bitch until the end. His mother had been important enough to change himself completely for; and, whether he liked it or not, it seemed Buffy was well on her way to taking a place in his heart too.


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Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Chapter 5
Next Chapter: Chapter 7

Reviews ( 1 )

Zab Jade
January 19, 2022 00:54

Oooh, ouch! Right in the feels with this one! Really great take on that episode. Poor Spike.