Cross posted to sickchicks and my regular journal.
Hell Is In the Details – Chapter 11 – Truth Will Out
By the time Friday rolled around, Spike was a nervous wreck. He’d bitten his fingernails down to the quick, and fidgeted so much that he’d pulled the sheets off the bed at least three times before his host had threatened to staple his ass to the mattress.
He was healing nicely on the surfeit of blood he had available. His body mass was at its peak, having been well fed on human blood for the first time in nearly a decade. The worst of his bruises had faded into blossoms of dull purples and olive greens. The wounds from his ~shudder~ piercings had finally healed over into nothing more than angry pink scar tissue, and that too would fade away in time. Physically, at least.
His upper body strength had returned somewhat. Fine motor skills were good, and he could maneuver his body around on the bed, but his legs… another story entirely. Not paralyzed, thank whatever powers listened to the prayers of souled vampires, but they were unable to bear his weight due to the nerve damage he’d suffered from being bound, chained, and vamphandled for so long. Just a matter of time, he hoped.
His hair was freshly bleached and cut; he’d had a manicure (which he’d ruined) and even a pedicure. The little girl Lorne had called was worth her weight in gold for the care she took with him.
Best of all, Spike’s throat and vocal chords were almost completely healed, though the damage had left him with a slightly raw, husky quality to his voice Lorne swore to him was guaranteed to tie the undies of either gender into knots.
True to his word, Lorne had picked up some clothing for him – his archetypical black jeans and t-shirt, and a brand new pair of Docs – though he’d added his own unique flair via a silver studded black leather belt adorned with a hobnail silver buckle.
The only problem left with getting properly dressed was… well… Spike was still quite sore, and the harsh denim would rub unpleasantly in all the wrong places. Especially taking into consideration the lack of anything between the vampire and his jeans.
Lorne grinned as he brought in a fresh silk robe for his recumbent guest. “Sorry, cutie pie. Guess you’ll just have to entertain your Slayer in style. If she doesn’t want you, I might just make a serious play for you, myself. I think you look absolutely delicious in grey silk.”
Spike’s face wore an answering grin. “Nah, mate. As appealing as the offer is, I think I’ll see what the lady brings to the table. Won’t say no to a snog now and again, though. Nothing like a pair of demon lips to get a bloke’s motor runnin’.”
“Oh, go on, you rascal!” Lorne scolded, but not-so-secretly, he was charmed – and delighted with Spike’s progress. Four days. Four days was all it had taken for the luscious creature on his bed to change from a bloody bruise to sex incarnate. Four days to go from petrified to trusting to joking. And if he was hooked… Miss Buffy Summers didn’t stand a chance.
Buffy was a bit on edge. Her last few days with Angel had been – well – interesting. Moonlight walks that weren’t patrols and dinners in fine restaurants, though she was the only one who ate. Several long stretches during the day where Angel was involved with Wolfram & Hart business, and she was chauffeured to the beach via company limousine.
And then… there was sex. After so long, there was Angel-sex again.
Buffy slumped in her seat.
Yeah, she’d slept with him after that first night. It was soft, and sweet – reminiscent of their first time, without the spectacular soul losing results in the morning. Missionary position and over after one go-round, which left her… well… lacking. What with Angel’s vampire senses, she hadn’t dared to go to the shower and relieve herself. Being told you couldn’t satisfy your lover was not the way to start off on the road to happiness.
And that’s why she found herself in Wolfram & Hart’s lobby, wishing she could find something to tear apart limb from limb.
A tall, bright green demon with red horns resplendent in Ralph Lauren and silk, came into view, cheerily calling out her name.
Lorne extended his hand in greeting as he approached. “Hey there, cupcake, I’m Lorne – your host and chauffeur for the day. You must be the Buffy Summers I’ve heard so much about. Sorry I wasn’t at your little soiree the other night. Sick friend and all that.”
Buffy was amused. Only in Los Angeles would you be able to go out with the Jolly Green Devil, himself, and have people brush it off as a publicity stunt.
“Time to fly, my little chickadee – your chariot awaits.” Lorne extended his arm, linking elbows with his charge. “So, where do you want to head first – somewhere to eat or somewhere to shop?”
She smiled. “What self-respecting woman wouldn’t want to go shopping first?”
The car was a work of art – a true classic: a 1959 Cadillac Convertible, all gleaming chrome and white, with black and white leather interior.
Buffy was duly impressed. “Wow! Gorgeous car, Lorne. I’ve never really been around old classics before… just once, really.”
“Oh? Tell Uncle Lorne all about it, sugar… nothing like a classic automobile to show yourself off in.”
She sighed. “Well, it wasn’t in good shape, sorta banged up and battle scarred. But it was loved. It was an old black DeSoto. Meant everything to its owner. Called it his best girl.”
“Come on, chica – wipe that frown right off your pretty face. A couple of hours at the Beverly Center and you’ll forget whatever it is making you so sad.” Grinning, he waved one of the company credit cards in the air. “Especially since this trip is funded by the big guy, himself.”
The drive was pleasant, the company affable – nothing like a little girl talk about fashion and inane gossip about celebrities to ignore the traffic and eat up the miles to your destination. Lorne tuned the radio to an ‘all music, all the time’ station and let it play low in the background.
Buffy stared out her side of the car, lost in thought. It was a beautiful day, hardly any clouds in the sky, and she began to hum along with radio – the tune hauntingly familiar. By the end of the last stanza, she was singing the lyrics softly to herself:
The silence of a falling star
Lights up the purple sky.
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry.
Lorne almost drove the car off the road from the pain and sadness he felt pouring off the girl.
Buffy turned to Lorne, pout in full evidence. “Hey! I know I’m not all diva-ish, but I’m not so bad that you have to kill me to shut me up.”
“Sorry, kitten. Just got a bit distracted.” With a grin, the empath asked, “Do you mind if we have a slight change of plans? I forgot that there’s something I need to tend to at home. We can go out afterwards, if you’re up to it.”
“Not a problem for me. I’m all flexible-girl these days. No schedule, no job, no unattended little sister to rush home for. Take me away – I’m all yours.”
“Your wish is my command, cupcake. Let’s see if we can’t make all your dreams come true.”
Lorne ushered the petite blonde into his home. “Listen, crumpet – I’m going to be in the kitchen for a bit. Why don’t you take the nickel tour upstairs, and I’ll join you as soon as I can. Oh, and I’ve got a friend staying in one of the bedrooms – sorta bed-ridden at the moment. It’s part of why I wasn’t at your soiree the other night. He’s just dying to say hello to you. Pop on in and give the boy a thrill.”
Buffy frowned. “Are you sure? I wouldn’t want to disturb anyone. What if he’s sleeping?”
“Never you mind, missy. You walk on in and make with the greetings. I’d do anything for the kid. He’s had a really bad year.” He gently pushed her towards the stairs. “Now go, you! Spread some happiness and explore.”
God, awkward much? Practically stomping up the stairs, Buffy couldn’t imagine her day getting any weirder. First, she was shunted off to the Jolly Green Giant who’s apparently on ‘distract girlfriend with shopping’ duty, then he sent her upstairs to be on ‘boyfriend cheering’ detail.
Peering into a couple of empty rooms, Buffy quickly guessed which would be the occupied guestroom, and knocked gently on the door before cracking it open and slipping in. She walked over to the bed, trying not to disturb the sleeping man. Her internal diatribe continued unabated. What was she supposed to say to this guy? “Hello, sorry to wake you up, but Lorne told me to barge on in ‘cause you wanted to meet…”
She froze, eyes glued to the bed. Her mind refused to process what she saw, pinning her in place – unable to move forward or back; unable fall down.
He looked like Sleeping Beauty – if Sleeping Beauty were a hot, gorgeous guy with bedhair in a grey silk robe, reclining against a mountain of magenta pillows. Pale skin, long pretty lashes curling over impossibly sharp cheekbones, full pouty lips... everything that she remembered paled next to the reality of what she saw before her.
~It can’t be~ He was dead… dusted, her mind screamed. Vanished practically before her very eyes. He’d refuted her long sought after confession as he forced her to leave him there, in unspeakable pain, trying to do the right thing for the world – and her.
Buffy felt two strong hands on her shoulders and in her ear, Lorne whispered, “Go to him, kitten. Be gentle, though. He’s not as strong as he seems.” With a swat to her rear, he pushed her forward. “Standing here ain’t gonna break the spell.”
Her paralysis broken, Buffy made her way to the bed, unable to believe that Spike ~Spike! would let anyone ~her~ so close, leaving himself vulnerable… open to attack and probable death – without awakening.
Buffy’s anger got the better of her. “You bastard!” she whispered. “All this time I’ve mourned your passing, honored your sacrifice and tried to move on with my life and you’ve been lying here on your ass in the fucking lap of luxury, dressed in silk?”
She leaned over the bed, ready to shake the sleeping vampire until his teeth rattled for keeping her in the dark, when he shifted slightly. His robe gaped open at the neck, revealing the last of the bruises and cuts that decorated his pale chest.
A small cry escaped her lips and she sat down heavily on the bed. “What happened to you, Spike?” she murmured, ghosting her hands over his marred chest. “Who could have marked you this fucking badly?” Her eyes closed, and tears fell silently down her cheeks.
Then, without a sound to warn her – the touch of another. Buffy gasped at the feel of Spike’s cool hands covering her own. She opened her eyes to the glorious sight of the vampire’s unabashed adoration.
“You’re here,” he rasped, his voice husky and raw, laced with overwhelming emotion and the last of the damage.
“Here,” she whispered – before she realized that she was livid, and tried to snatch her hands away. “Where the hell else would I be, you idiot! How long have you been back? When did you get hurt? Why the fuck wasn’t I told about this?”
Buffy turned to the door where the empath was unobtrusively lurking. “Hey, green boy! I think you’ve got some heavy duty ‘splainin’ to do. How long has Spike been here? And why haven’t you told Angel?”
Spike’s grip tightened on her hands. “What makes you think he doesn’t know, pet?”