Title: The Way a Vamp Loves His Car (12/7/05)
Season VI: One of those between-the-episodes fics. Could have happened; probably didn’t.
Word Count : 2900
Disclaimer: The characters, the world, the Bronze all belong to the genius who invented them. I’m just borrowing to fill in some gaps. Thank you, Joss Wheden.
Distribution: If you already have permission for my fics, just take it; if not, give me a buzz.
AN: Found this in my wip folder with a note that I was thinking about giving it to Amyb for Christmas. Whoops?
She felt him as soon as he entered the darkened bar and wondered idly how long it would take him to find his way to her side; trying to remember when she had begun to take for granted that Spike would always be there. Whether she needed him for extra muscle on patrol, as a sounding board, someone to complain to, or just a silent companion when that was what she wanted. She found she was having a hard time pinpointing exactly when he’d gone from annoying-pain-in-her-ass to a welcome companion and realized with a start of surprise that it had happened some time well before Riley left her.
(Probably why it upset me so much when he told me he loved me. I needed him to be my friend just then, not another boyfriend.)
The tingles on her neck told her he was right behind her and she turned slowly to meet his eyes, giving no sign of welcome or rejection, but no surprise either. With a nod, he pulled out the chair beside her and sat down, placing his beer bottle on the table. For minutes they just sat, side by side, watching the growing condensation crawl down the sides of the bottle to form a small ring around the base.
When he picked it up to drink, Buffy ran her fingers through the small pool of water, drawing random designs on the table top before stopping to dry her hands on her jeans and pick up her own beer.
“What are you doing here, Slayer?”
“Getting drunk, apparently,” she answered with a small burp.
“I’m always by myself, Spike. I’m the Slayer.”
“Don’t have to be, you know,” he ventured cautiously. “Alone, I mean.”
Since she’d come back from Heaven, he’d carefully avoided reminding her of the feelings he had forced on her the previous year, almost ruining their budding relationship. However, his behavior after Glory tortured him, the fact that he’d stayed around to keep his promise to protect Dawn, the look on his face when he’d seen her coming so slowly down the stairs after her resurrection – all made it unnecessary. He loved her. It was a given.
That he wanted more than just to be allowed to follow her around like a lost puppy was also a given. One that he feared to mention lest it shake the tenuous friendship that had developed between them since her return.
“Don’t start,” she warned, inexplicably tempted by what he seemed to be offering and immediately throwing up a defensive shield of anger.
People who loved you did terrible things to you. They cheated on you with vamp whores, they left you even though you begged them to stay, they pulled you out of Heaven where you were happy and at peace and said they did it for you, even though it was obvious they did it to make themselves feel better. Even your mother – the one who should love you most – could still die and leave you alone. Much safer to never acknowledge love, than to risk losing it.
Oblivious to Spike’s hurt and confusion, she nodded her head at her own ability to protect herself from more pain.
(Yep, better to remember he’s an evil, bloodsucking demon. Can’t hurt me if I don’t let him in. Don’t look at the pretty blue eyes. Definitely don’t notice how sad they are. Just my patrol-buddy. That’s all he is. Another friend to keep at arms length so he can’t hurt me if – no - when he turns on me.)
The sigh from the vampire sitting beside her brought her attention back to the table and she looked up in surprise when he rose to his feet, beer in hand.
“Where are you going?” Her voice sounded petulant even to her own ears.
“Gonna leave you alone, luv. Isn’t that what you want?”
Buffy waved her hand dismissively. “Oh yeah, that’s right. Just go away and leave me alone here. I knew you would. I knew you’d leave. You’re just like everybody else. Only want Buffy around when they need a Slayer…”
Spike glared at her, the frustration on his face clear to see.
“Thash okay,” she continued, standing up and draining her glass. “I’ll just go patrol. Stake a few vampires…kill a demon and go home to bed like a good little Slhayer. That’s my life now. Patrol, slay, go home and try to shleep. It’s so much better than boring old Heaven!”
With surprising dexterity for someone who seemed to have gone from mildly intoxicated to very drunk in a short period of time, she wove her way through the tables towards the exit, ignoring the angry vampire stalking behind her.
“You’re too drunk to patrol tonight, Slayer. Let me take you home.”
“Oh ho! You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
She struggled to focus on his face as she waved a finger at him.
“You think I’m so drunk I might let you put me to bed. Might let you help me undress. I might even let you get into my bed with me! That’s what you want, isn’t it? Everybody wants something from me. Isn’t that what you want?”
When he just shook his head and tried to steer her towards his car, she yanked her arm away and began to raise her voice.
“It is, isn’t it? You want me, don’t you? Don’t you?” her voice dropped to a plaintive whine and she began to hiccup softly.
“What I want, Slayer, is to get you home while you can still stand. Now come on, get in the car.”
Buffy allowed him to take her arm again, following obediently as he walked toward his old Desoto. She ran one hand along the tail fin as he led her to the passenger side door.
“You love this ugly old car, don’t you?” she asked suddenly.
“She’s my baby,” he answered noncommittally.
“Do you love it more than me?” Her question surprised them both into silence – Buffy clapping a hand over her traitorous mouth while the vampire stared at her in shock. The Slayer had broken her own rule and brought up the forbidden subject. Neither of them was quite sure what to do about it and they remained frozen for several seconds.
Buffy’s obvious horror at her own words, as well as her less-than-sober condition helped Spike make up his mind how to respond. Instead of answering her question directly, he just growled, “Don’t be stupid,” and opened the car door for her.
Gratitude that he was giving her an easy out had the uncharacteristically meek Slayer climbing into the big front seat and sitting quietly while Spike closed the door and went around to the driver’s side. As he slid behind the wheel and turned on the ignition, she tried to salvage the situation by saying, “I was just thinking… you could teach me to drive on this car.”
Sheer horror left the vampire speechless. He pulled out of the parking lot and began to head for Revello Drive without responding at all. The silence grew until Buffy finally muttered under her breath, “You DO love this stupid car more than me.”
She’d forgotten about vampire hearing and almost hit the windshield when Spike threw on the brakes suddenly and whirled to face her. His eyes were flashing amber as he struggled to speak coherently. Her own eyes widened as she took in his obvious anger. For long seconds they just stared at each other, the vampire furious that she would use his feelings for her in such a casual manner, the Slayer understanding through the alcoholic haze that she had crossed a line.
Spike stretched his neck and with a quick little movement he shook off his demon, taking a deep breath and counting mentally to ten before answering her.
“You’re drunk,” he said flatly. “So I’m going to forget this whole conversation ever happened. And if you’re smart, so will you. You’re not drivin’ my car. Wouldn’t matter if I loved you or hated you. You want me to teach you to drive, fine, but it’ll be in your mother’s car that’s been sitting in that driveway for months. And it will be at a time when you haven’t been drinking yourself stupid.”
He carefully avoided any mention of the real reason for his anger, and Buffy again was grateful that he understood her so well. As drunk as she was – and her spinning head could attest that she was very drunk –she still didn’t want to take a chance on losing the only person around whom she could feel comfortable by trivializing his feelings for her. She nodded meekly and slouched against the door, laying her head against the cool window pane and fighting the sudden nausea now grabbing her attention.
The rest of the trip to her house was made in silence as she fought down the urge to throw up in Spike’s car. Just before they pulled into her driveway, she lost the battle and quickly rolled down the window, leaning out and spewing used beer all over the side of his car. She remained where she was, head hanging out the window as the cursing vampire stopped the car and jumped out. Rather than coming to her aid, as she’d expected, he went to get the hose, washing off the door before even acknowledging her existence.
Only when he was satisfied that the car was clean and the hose had been put away did he open the door for her, catching her limp body as she tumbled out. He ignored her mumbled apology, lifting her up carefully and stalking to the front door. He kicked the locked door with his foot a couple of times, nodding his thanks when a sleepy Dawn opened it and let them in.
“Oh my god! What happened? Is she hurt? Does she need to go to the emergency room?” Dawn’s panic was real when she saw that he was carrying her semi-conscious sister in his arms.
“She’s not hurt, Bit,” he said tightly. “She’s just pissed.”
The teenager frowned in confusion. “She doesn’t look awake enough to be mad about anything.”
Spike rolled his eyes, starting up the stairs with his burden as he did so. “Drunk, Niblet. She’s drunk. Up-chucked all over my car, she did. Bloody stupid bint.” His voice trailed off as he carried Buffy into the bathroom and sat her down on the closed toilet. He propped her up against the wall while he started the shower.
“What are you doing?” Dawn watched with more curiosity than concern as the vampire set about removing Buffy’s blouse, skirt and shoes.
“Gonna wash the vomit out of her hair and try to sober her up a bit before I leave,” he answered absently. He tried to control the response the sight of Buffy in her underwear was evoking, even as he pulled her up and guided her to the tub. The Slayer followed obediently until he deposited her under the cold water flowing from the showerhead.
Her shriek was enough to hurt his vampire ears and he winced, quickly shrugging out of his duster so that he could hold her struggling body under the water. He stuck her head under the water, laughing when she began sputtering threats to stake him as soon as she could see less than three of him. He poured shampoo into his hand, rubbed vigorously and then rinsing both shampoo and vomit down the drain.
By the time he’d finished, Buffy’s teeth were chattering and she was leaning against the wall, miserable and wet, her arms wrapped around her shaking body. He quickly turned off the water and lifted her out of the tub, gratefully taking one of the towels Dawn was holding out to him and wrapping it around her head. He then took another fluffy towel and began to rub her arms and legs vigorously until they were pink and warm.
Having lost interest in her sister’s predicament now that Buffy was no longer screaming, Dawn waved “good-night” and went back to her room, confident that the vampire who took care of her all summer was more than capable of putting her sister to bed.
Spike carried the towel-wrapped Slayer back to her room, setting her down and biting his lip as he tried to decide what to do about her wet underwear. He resolutely kept his eyes away from her breasts, now showing through the wet bra, and tried very hard not to see the light brown curls behind the equally transparent panties.
“Wet.” Buffy pulled on her wet bra, trying to get it away from her body.
“Yes, pet, they’re wet. But I don’t—“
“Off!” Her lower lip came out in a pout and he groaned his agreement.
Gritting his teeth, he said tightly, “Okay, Slayer. Off it is. Just promise me tomorrow you’re going to remember whose idea this was.”
Reaching behind her, he quickly undid her bra and pulled it forward so that it could slide down her arms to the floor. Keeping his eyes away from her now-bare breasts, he hooked his thumbs in the waistband of her panties and pulled them down, waiting patiently until she lifted her feet out of them. As soon as she was naked, he wrapped the towel around her again while he searched for pajamas.
Growling at her to lift her feet again, he slipped the bottoms of a pair of flannel pajamas on her legs and pulled them up as quickly as he could, his eyes squeezed shut so as not to see the smooth skin in front of him. His hands were trembling as his fingers lightly brushed her stomach and he flinched when she gave a small gasp. As rapidly as he could, he whisked off the towel and pulled a tee shirt over her head.
He blew out the breath he’d been holding and stepped back, sighing with relief at the sight of a fully clothed Buffy. The towel had fallen off her head and he knew she wouldn’t be happy going to bed with wet, tangled hair. With a sigh, he picked up a hairbrush and the dryer while encouraging her to sit down on the stool at her dressing table. He quickly stripped off his own soaked tee shirt, draping it over a chair to dry while he finished getting the Slayer ready for bed.
He knelt behind her, carefully untangling the long blond hair with his fingers until it was safe to run the brush through it. He brushed and dried it until it was a silky, shiny curtain around her shoulders and Buffy was visibly dozing off.
While she swayed on the stool, barely awake enough to stay upright, he ran his hand lightly from the crown of her head to the ends of her now-dry hair and let it curl around his fingers. It was the only caress he had allowed himself to indulge in the whole time he’d been cleaning her up and it ended quickly when she began to topple off the stool.
He caught her before she could actually fall, holding her slight body against his as he rose gracefully to his feet. Buffy snuggled into his chest with a contented sigh, almost causing him to drop her in his surprise. He stood quietly for a few minutes, enjoying the physical contact that she would never permit if she were awake and sober. When, in her squirming around, her mouth ended up right in front of one of his nipples and her warm breath sent a thrill from there right down to his groin, he knew it was time to put her down before he got himself into even bigger trouble.
He walked the few steps to the bed and gently deposited her there, pulling the blankets up over her still-chilled body and tucking them in around her shoulders. He stared at her relaxed, smooth face for a minute, aching for her when he realized how rarely he had seen a content expression like that since her return. He grazed her cheek with one gentle hand before standing up to go.
The hand that shot out and grabbed his arm surprised him so much he almost vamped out before he realized that Buffy was looking at him with eyes that, while still sleepy, were much more sober than they had been when he brought her home.
She pulled him down to sit beside her on the bed, studying his face as though she’d never seen it before, then whispering with what sounded almost like surprise, “You don’t love the car more than me, do you?”
“No, pet, I don’t,” he answered softly. He dropped a chaste kiss on her forehead before removing her hand from his arm and standing up.
As he picked up his shirt and coat and walked to the door he heard a faint, satisfied, “Knew you didn’t,” followed almost immediately by a soft snore.