Chapter: 2/10 part 1 can be found here
Pairings: S/B naturally, but there’s a twist to it and there might be a bit of past Spike/ Angelus
Setting: Post chosen, loosely tying into comic canon
Rating: like show
Warnings: Contains a temporary sex change
Summary: Buffy is on a slayer undercover mission in London and runs into Spike without him recognizing her.
Disclaimer: not mine, all Joss
Feedback: is loved, con crit would be welcome too. This is my first try at something longer and plottier on my own.
“You bum the people you save for alcohol?” She tried for a disapproving frown not quite ready yet to acknowledge that this really him, not just a dream or a cruel joke.
“Well usually they’re glad to get the opportunity to show a bit of gratitude.” He answered with a sneer.
Buffy shot a glance over her shoulder at the dust swirls that remained of George and Linda. It wasn’t hard to tell how the whole mess would have ended if he hadn’t come by. Saved by Spike, a feeling that was uncomfortable in its familiarity. Well, at least no one was going up in flames.
“I’ll go with ‘Thank you’ then and with ‘Would you care for a drink,” she paused a second, before she continued “,Spike.” She grinned involuntarily as she spoke the name. After such a long time of avoiding even the slightest reminder of him it felt like coming home. Could it really be him? And if he was, did he have all his memories? Was his soul still intact?
“That’s more to it!” he smiled and tapped her on the shoulder. “Also, you lost something.” He dropped the stake into her hand. “Why’d you prance around alone in a dark alley, if you knew what kind of nasties you can run into?”
“Hold the lecture. I figured I had another hour or so, before I had to look out for vamps. How come you were around? You’re not looking for dinner too, are you?”
He looked surprised at being called out as a vampire but made no move to deny it. “No worries. I’m on the wagon as far as human is concerned“.
She noticed that he had ignored her first question. They walked in silence for a minute and Buffy caught him sizing her up with a curious expression. No way, he’d recognize her like that, was there? She cleared her throat and tucked the scarf closer around her neck, avoiding his eyes.
This whole undercover issue didn’t come as natural to her as she had anticipated. What if he asked her name? Bobby Winters, no Winters was to close to Summers. Bobby Carmichael? No, maybe he watched the same shows as Xander did. Smith? No. She needed something unsuspicious, something unrelated, maybe Peters, yes, Peters was good. Normal.
“Name’s Bobby Peters by the way. And I’m afraid I’m not familiar with this part of town. You wouldn’t have an idea, were we can find ourselves a pub?”
“It’s been quite a while that I’ve been to town myself.”
Yet somehow it still took Spike barely five minutes to drag his new mate into the nearest drinking establishment, where he raised a weirdly omnidemanding eyebrow until she ordered a bottle of Whiskey for the both of them. He poured himself a glass and gulped it down without a moment’s hesitation. All she could do was not to stare at him wide eyed as his Adam’s apple bobbed. There were so many little things she had to take in. In many ways he looked in exactly like she remembered him, yet now that she got a proper look she noticed some differences. For one he didn’t look as hollowed out and scrawny as she remembered him. He actually looked like he had been eating well. Also the haunted look in his eyes, that had been there ever since he first got the soul, was almost gone. Not that he looked especially careless or happy, just not like he would crumble from weight of his guilt any moment, his whole posture was more upright, less beaten. His hair was stuck in place with gel, not ruffled like she remembered and preferred it but God in all seven hells, he did look beautiful. She followed his white long fingered hands as he poured himself another glass, this time taking the time to pour one for her too, and had suppress the urge to touch them.
She found that now that as he had settled down more comfortably nursing his second drink, he was appraising her quite as intently as she had him. She looked down, hoping that he would not be able to pinpoint the familiarity quite yet. After all she still knew nothing of why he was here and how much she could trust him. She wished there was a manual of how to weave lines like ‘How come you’re not dead?` into a casual conversation.
“So what brings you to London then, toothpick?” If she had needed another clue that he really was Spike, this sealed the deal. She glowered. Of course getting an annoying nickname had been unavoidable but ‘toothpick’?!? Really?!.
“It’s Bobby.” She corrected him and decided to stick decently close to the truth. He might be helpful and no matter what he was, Buffy already knew she would not able to let him out of her sight again if there was even the thinnest chance that by some miracle she had gotten back Spike.
“I’m looking for my cousin. She lives here and occasionally deals with, you know…”, she scrunched up her forehead and made a growling sound.
“Klingons?” Spike laughed at her scowl. “Not a lot of humans deal with vamps for a long time“ he added. Buffy played through some possibilities in her head. If he actually was ‘her’ Spike it would certainly be ok to fill him in. It wasn’t totally unheard of, people coming back from the dead, least of all vampires related in some way to Angel. Still, why had she not heard of such a miraculous resurrection? Wouldn’t she be the first person he’d call? Also usually there were bigger plans at stake, if someone mustered up the mojo for such a stand.
If he was an impostor, in some crazy evil masterplan way stationed here by whoever was draining the slayer powers, then she’d loose nothing if she told him, Sarah had been a slayer, as long as she herself remained an unsuspecting relative.
“She was a slayer.” Buffy finally told him. “Usually the vamps watched their steps around her, but now they barely wait for the sun to set. Also I can’t reach her anymore. Can’t say I have a good feeling about this.”
“Was wondrin ‘bout the two early birds myself. Ran into four demons on my way from the airport alone. Stupid city should be crawling with slayers.”
“You here because of the demons?”
He bit his lip. “No, actually I was just passing through. Wanted to smell some London home air, already bein’ in good old Europe and all. Looks like it was a good Idea to drop by, too. Can’t leave her festered like that now, can I? Not when it looks like the slayers are just standing around and picking their noses.”
“Wouldn’t exactly call it picking their noses. I’m sure they have spectacularly good reasons for not being here.” She answered sourly.
A crease appeared on Spike’s forehead and to Buffy’s surprise he gave the whiskey a longing look and pushed it a bit away from himself. “Ok, what did your cousin say, the last time she spoke to her?”, he asked matter of factly. Was this Spike helping someone helpless? On his own?
“She preferred talking ‘bout her art. She wasn’t all that into the whole slaying business…”
“Guess that’s what you get, when you make everyone a hero.” Spike mumbled, more to himself. Still Buffy’s ears pricked up. So he did remember Sunnydale. That meant he had to remember her too, didn’t it?
“She said something was wrong with her powers. She was feeling weaker. Figured she might have caught a cold, but now I’m not so sure anymore.”
She searched Spike’s face for signs that he already had this information, but he seemed genuinely surprised and worried. With a last sorrowful glance at the bottle and a heavy sigh he said:
“And you go for drinks with the next best bloke you run into? What are we sitting here on our asses for? Let’s go see what happened to your slayer cousin!”
“You wanna come?”
“Can’t let you get killed by the next nasty that coughs in your direction now, can I?”
She glowered, but didn’t hesitate to get up. He was right after all, it was more unlikely than she had put it, but time might be a factor.
She watched Spike pocket the already paid for bottle, using the unobserved moment to take in more details about his appearance. The old duster seemed somewhat less familiar and rather new, showing none of the familiar cracks and worn places. But then since when would clothes come back from the dead? She rolled her eyes. Leave it to Spike to refuse current fashion even if his old clothes were burned to cinders.
He was quirking an indignant eyebrow at her now and after the familiar gesture had stabbed her with the pain of loss only a few hours ago it made her irrationally happy to the point of giddiness now. This was Spike and she couldn’t bring herself to care why he was back again. Maybe the universe just wanted to make it up to her.
A weight, she hadn’t realized she had been bearing was starting to lift leaving her becoming conscious of how incredibly betrayed she had felt during the last years. She saved the world on a regular bases and the world continued to take the things she loved best in it away from her. Of course she had done her duty, after Sunnydale and Spike had gone to hell, but with a grumpy defiance, that she might have shown her mother when she treated her unfairly. “See, I’m saving the world! EVEN IF THERE’S NOTHING IN IT FOR ME! It’s just FINE!”
She trailed out after Spike and lead him to the address of the run down apartment building were Sarah lived. She rang and , when no one opened, several other bells until someone pressed the buzzer.
They rode to the fourth flour in an old elevator that made lots of disconcerting noises and Buffy caught Spike staring at her sidelong again. Something about her was unsettling him, not exactly a surprise, after all very few people knew her as closely as he had. In his stalker days he had followed her every move and while she was pretty sure that Willow had taken care of it, she had no idea how strongly her scent was affected by the spell.
They got off and Buffy tried to look as if she knew her way around searching the name tags for Sarah Grey. When she found it she rang the bell again and knocked to no avail. She tried the door and to her surprise it swung open without resistance. Spike glanced at the lock as they entered. “Looks like something already let itself in.“
He pushed himself ahead of her and looked through the rooms. Not that there was much to see. The apartment only consisted only of one rather spacey room, for London rents at least, a cooking niche and a bathroom.
Buffy entered the main room, while Spike swung open the bathroom door without making any discoveries. The space would have been very bright in daylight, having windows in two directions since it was located at a corner of the building. There was a colorful hammock fastened with large hooks in one corner of the room, pillows and a blanket were strewn on the floor next to it.
A large table was placed in front of one of the windows, it was covered in sketches and scribbling, a sign on the wall next to it saying “Don’t panic”. Next to it lay the splintered parts of a chair. Despite all the open space in the flat it was obvious that there had been a fight. Paper, canvasses and paint pots were strewn over the floor and the remains of an easel had knocked over some small porcelain statues of dophins.
Clothes were still hanging on a bar from the ceiling, with a wooden box beneath them containing underwear and socks. The room’s walls were plastered with pictures, most motives lighthearted and colorful .
“She sure likes dolphins, huh?” Spike observed, looking slightly out of place in front of a giant poster, where two dolphins were photoshopped to fly through a deep green wood.
Buffy pressed her fist to a massive dent in the wall, stepping over the knocked about pots of paint and various canvasses. The paintings stood in sharp contrast to the cheerful images Sarah had been surrounding herself with. The ones she could see at first glance were painted in dark colors, many with blood red splashes crossing out the depicted scenes. A shudder ran down Buffy’s spine when she realized why the paintings felt so familiar to her. She had seen some of them herself, not in such detail, but she knew them, blurred images of fights, monsters lurking in the shadows, graveyards in the dark, claws reaching for her, demonic faces, disfigured even more with rage. She hurried through her own nightmares, uncovering another row of canvasses and stiffening, when she saw the one on top.
It was a picture of the Master, a utterly contemptuous grin on his blood smeared mouth. His beady eyes were shining with triumphant amusement. She jumped, when Spike spoke over shoulder: “Pretty gruesome for someone who batiks every piece of cloth she owns?” He went over to inspect the picture more closely, while Buffy was recovering. This wasn’t only just Nestor’s face, it was the exact very last thing she had seen, before she had died for the first time.
“Know him too.” Spike added “Old batface was a rather ugly piece of vampire but his dead now, for some good long years.”
“She used to have this dreams…” Buffy replied, already captured by other images in the room. Not all were exactly of monsters, some consisted mainly of strange landscapes with a menacing shadow hovering on the edges. But all had a gloominess to them that was impossible to escape. No wonder Sahra’s art was starting to sell with the current Vampire hype on the rise. One picture showed only a vast tundra at nightfall, anothe the interior of an old subway, rushing through the night. She stopped at one that showed seemingly endless skyscrapers against a blue sky, and a myriad of flying cars hovering between them. She shivered, could it be that Sarah had not only had vivid images of past slayer’s deaths, but also of the future? No wonder, she wouldn’t want join, if she always would have to ask herself who was the next to go and how cruelly.
She heard Spike suck in air behind her. “Did you find something?” She turned when he didn’t answer and found him staring wide eyed at one of the pictures. It took a moment for to recognize him but the painting showed Spike, his face spattered with blood and expression on his face that could only be described as pure glee. The peroxide was missing and strands of long more naturally colored light brown hair were hanging in his face. It didn’t take much to make the pieces fall into place, this was the last image one of the slayers, Spike had killed, had seen.
She looked from his joyous air in the painting to present Spike’s pain stricken face. Oh yes, he knew what he was seeing and the soul was making him feel it too, if the horrified expression of total guilt on his face was anything to go by. She swallowed and put the painting of Spike aside and tried hard not to flinch when the next one showed the eerie blue flare of Glory’s portal. She knocked it over, only to stare in Spike’s face again. The image was clear as a photograph, it showed him in his duster, peroxide hair and black T-shirt in place, his face distorted by the demon, but what took her aback about the image was that Buffy found she could almost see the soul shimmer through his yellow eyes. His face looked almost compassionate but nevertheless if the pictures she had recognized were anything to go by this was Spike, present Spike, killing a slayer.
She brought some distance between them and checked for the exits. Something was decidedly wrong here. Could it be that it had for all he seemed to be souled and everything it been Spike who had taken out Sarah?
“Why are there pictures of you here? And why do you look like you just ate someone in all of these?”
Spike shook his head, still staring at the last one in disbelieve. “I’ve no idea.” He finally breathed. “Can’t remember ever meeting this slayer. I’ve met some before, but…”
Oh yes, he had met them!! A cold fury was building up inside Buffy, after all not that many had survived ‘meeting’ him.
“Did you kill her?”
on to part 3