Chapter 1, What Are Little Boys Made Of?" can be found here.
Innocence Found – Chapter Two – Sugar and Spike
No, no, no, no fucking way in hell! This was not happening to her. The loud mouthed, hyperactive, immature, piggish, hot bodied Spike was hard enough to deal with… but this? One very pale, curly blond haired, hyperactive, adorable and yet apparently still very male child was going to break her.
Buffy closed her eyes and hoped against hope that this was just some delusion – a very weird dream that would vanish like the mist when she looked again. Her hope was shattered when she felt a sharp poke on her shoulder.
“Lady, do you know where my mum is?” The boy’s beautiful blue eyes looked hopeful, as if Buffy would be able to solve all his problems with just one word.
Oh, God… just like Spike.
His little brow furrowed the longer Buffy remained silent. “Did I do something wrong, lady? Am I being punished? Why won’t you tell me where my mum is?” Tears began to course down his cheekbones; his beautifully delicate high cheekbones.
Buffy was mortified. How could she scare the little one so? Even if he was Spike, right now he couldn’t be more than three or four years old and he was missing his mommy.
“Don’t be afraid, little boy. My name is Buffy.” She held out her arms, and the child rushed in for a hug, snuggling tightly against her chest. Wrapping the robe around his little body, she noted the lack of body heat. Terrific, not only a baby, but a vampire baby to boot. “What’s your name, sweetie?” she asked, wanting to keep the boy calm.
He sniffled, wiping his nose against Buffy’s shirt before looking up at her. “My name is William Matthew John Bennett, an’ m’this many years old,” he said, holding up his little hand with all five fingers splayed wide. “Now will you tell me where my mum is?”
Five, huh? Guess they grew ‘em smaller in the old days, not that Buffy was one to talk about height. Pot, kettle, black much? She knew William had to be told something about his mother, but what could she say that wouldn’t freak him out?
Well, it was best not to lie, exactly. Not knowing how long Spike would remain five would make that old, fast. Buffy had to settle for an old standard. “I’m sorry, William. I really don’t know where your mother is…”
“Bloody hell.” William’s eyes opened wide as the words slipped out of his mouth. Language like that would certainly earn him a stern lecture from his mum, and get his mouth washed out with that awful tasting soap again, as well. “I’m sorry, Miss Buffy,” he countered, quickly. “Don’t be angry with me. I won’t say such vulgar things again. Please don’t tell Mum.”
It was almost too much for Buffy. Apparently, William had a potty mouth to go along with his sharp mind, and this certainly wasn’t the first time he’d used it. He was probably all too familiar with the taste of soap in his mouth. Hearing Spike’s favorite phrase out of this little one’s mouth was taxing her self control to the max. She so didn’t want to laugh in his face.
“It’s okay, William. I promise I won’t tell your mom, if you promise to try not to say it again. Do we have a deal?”
The little boy shook his head emphatically, very relieved that Miss Buffy wasn’t angry, and that his mother wouldn’t find out about his bad manners.
Buffy smiled. William was truly adorable. “I know a friend who might be able to help. Would you like to go on a little adventure with me?”
“Oh yes, please!” His eyes lit up at the prospect of an adventure with this pretty Buffy lady. Most of the time his mum preferred him to play quietly and out of the way in his nursery.
Buffy couldn’t help herself. She reached out and ruffled the boy’s curls, justifying to herself that she’d never again see them in their natural state. “All right William, that’s what we’ll do. But I need you to sit on the bed for a few moments while I get ready. Can you do that for me?”
William nodded, eager for the adventure to begin, watching as Buffy left the room.
Less than ten minutes later – after getting dressed and a quick call to Giles, telling him they had a little Spike problem and to leave his door open – Buffy peeked into the room to see what William had gotten up to. Knowing Spike, she was fairly sure the boy wouldn’t be sitting still on the bed.
Sure enough, he was opening all the dresser drawers, looking through the clothing; his robe lying on the bed, forgotten. Getting the boy something to wear that fit was fast becoming an imperative. Giving William a little grace period, Buffy knocked on the door, allowing him to scramble back onto the bed before she entered.
“Sorry that your clothing isn’t here, cutie. Your visit was a surprise for both of us.” She held out the robe once more, this time wrapping it several times around his tiny body, and winding the tie around his waist at least three times. “I promise my friend will help us get something that’s more comfortable.”
Pulling the thick comforter from the bed, Buffy swaddled the boy, not wanting to take any chances with him getting burned. She explained that this was a secret adventure – nobody was to know William was there.
“I’m not frightened, Miss Buffy,” he said, bravely. “But can we get there very fast?”
“Very fast, William,” Buffy promised. “And I’ll hold on tightly so nothing will happen.”
“Good,” came the muffled reply, as she pulled the blanket over his head and headed out the door.
Giles was standing by his open door by the time Buffy arrived with her little bundle.
“Good Lord! You really did mean a little Spike problem, didn’t you?” Giles was fascinated by the tow headed youngster walking around his living room. “How did this happen?”
“All I can think of is that Spike and I fought this seven foot tall, black haired Sasquatchy looking thing that exploded and covered us with blood and guts.” Buffy shuddered at the memory. “Spike complained of it stinging him right away, but I only felt a little itchy. He was fine after we showered… although come to think of it, he was feeling sorta wonky before we went to bed.”
At Buffy’s words, the Watcher caught his breath. After the incident with Angelus, he’d never felt comfortable with his Slayer’s continued relationship with the resouled vampire. As for her continuing reliance on Angel’s unsouled grandshilde… he was antagonistic to say the least. What was with this girl and vampires?
Buffy looked up from watching William explore and noticed Giles’ distress. Her brow furrowed as she replayed her last words in her mind.
“Ewww, Giles! Gutter-brain much?” She began to pace back and forth, her agitation noticeable. “Where do you get off thinking that I would… and with Spike? I mean, yeah, he’s hot in that hot body to drool over kind of way… and I think I’m going to keep very quiet now.”
“Please, Buffy… let’s just change the subject entirely, and never let me hear the words Spike and hot in the same sentence ever again.”
Just as she was about to agree, William tugged on her pants, silently asking for some lap time. Buffy obliged. “What can I do for you, little man?”
“I’m hungry, Miss Buffy.” He looked at her reproachfully. “We didn’t have breakfast before we left on our adventure.”
Oh boy. Her mother would be so proud of her – starving a little boy. What does one feed a five year old amnesiac vampire child for breakfast, anyway?
Giles coughed. “How about a plate of bacon and scrambled eggs, son? And some nice, red juice?”
Yay! Giles to the rescue.
“Yes, sir. That would be fine.” William practically bounced up and down on Buffy’s lap in anticipation.
Ushering the boy to a seat at the table, Buffy went into the kitchen to help get his meal ready. “Thanks, Giles. I can’t believe I forgot to offer William something to eat.” She bowed her head in embarrassment. “It was just the shock of the whole situation.”
“I understand, Buffy. It’s certainly a most unusual set of circumstances.” Giles deftly cracked a few eggs in a bowl. “Would you care for some breakfast, as well?”
“Sounds absolutely yummy. That red juice wouldn’t happen to be blood, would it?”
“Yes, it is. I’m rather curious to see the boy’s reaction.” The Watcher looked over at William momentarily. “Are we sure he’s a vampire? He’s certainly anxious for human food.”
Buffy laughed. “I’m pretty sure, Giles. I’ve held him, and he felt cool to the touch, and I hadn’t noticed a heartbeat or pulse. But, Spike has always been the strangest vampire you’ll ever meet. He breathes on a regular basis and he adores human food, especially spicy things like onions and buffalo wings. Do you have anything to add to the eggs?”
Diced onions, green and red peppers and more eggs were added to the bowl, and soon there was omelet enough for all. Buffy brought the food laden tray to the table.
Watching William eat was entertaining, to say the least. The boy devoured the eggs by shoving them onto pieces of toast, his little eyes closing in pleasure as his appetite was assuaged. The bacon was eaten hand to mouth – William couldn’t be bothered with forks and knives. He was just too hungry.
He did, however, wipe his hands on his napkin before grabbing the mug with both hands, and draining the blood without a second’s hesitation. He smacked his lips together, holding the empty mug out before him. “Please, sir… may I have some more?”
Giles was toast. Who wouldn’t crumble between some Oliver Twist and a blood mustache? As he went to refill the mug, Buffy took a napkin and wiped the blood from Williams’s upper lip.
“Remember I told you that we were on a secret adventure, William?” Buffy was hopeful the boy wouldn’t fight her on this. Taking him out during daylight hours was going to be risky, and not to be undertaken unnecessarily.
“Well, I need to go out and get you some clothing as a disguise. Will you stay here with Mr. Giles until I get back?”
William wasn’t happy about the idea of Miss Buffy leaving, but she said she’d be back. “Will it be alright if I ask for something else to eat?”
Buffy smiled, surprised at how protective she felt towards the boy. She could see the features that would become Spike in his little face, and was helpless to resist the urge to gently stroke his face, reassuring them both.
“It’s okay, William. You can ask Mr. Giles for anything you’d like. And, if he asks you questions, it’s okay for you to answer him.” With a ruffle of the boy’s hair, and a wave to Giles, Buffy headed out, hoping her swift departure wouldn’t give anyone time to complain or get upset.
Giles was fascinated; both by the boy and by his own feelings. He knew that if this was the grown up Spike, he would have no compunction about throwing the vamp out of his house in broad daylight. Looking at William in his oversized robe, the Watcher knew he’d bend over backwards before causing the child any pain. The thought of actually testing for vampiristic traits by traditional methods – crosses, holy water and sunlight – was abhorrent.
Still, this was an opportunity not to be ignored. If he couldn’t test William physically, he could do so in other ways. See what made the child tick and what laid the foundation for one of the worst vampires in recorded history.
So, when breakfast was over, Giles set eagerly to work.
In a separate diary – one he’d not be submitting to the Watchers’ Council – he recorded all the information he managed to gather. William’s full name, his parents’ names, his address in London and his actual date of birth.
It turned out William also had a wonderful ear for classical music, and enjoyed being read to in both Latin and English. Maths seemed to give the boy trouble… numbers bored him. Several glasses of blood and some dunked cookies later, Buffy returned, laden with packages.
William was ecstatic. He hopped off the couch, paying no attention to the robe that once more remained behind as he ran into her arms, wrapping his little arms and legs around her body when she scooped him up. “Miss Buffy! Miss Buffy! You came back.”
With a light spank to his rear end, Buffy put the boy down. “Told you I’d be back. I keep my promises. I brought a nice disguise for you to wear. Are you ready?”
When he nodded, she told him to sit on the couch, while she gathered up the packages and brought them with her.
Giles came back into the room as William’s sneakers were being tied, and couldn’t help a burst of laughter escaping at the sight of the boy. “Oh, Buffy… that’s almost cruel – even for you.”
“Bought a camera and film, too. No way I could pass up this opportunity. Big Bad my… Aunt Fanny.” Buffy giggled. “Xander always called him the bleached menace… now he looks the part. When he gets back to normal, he’s gonna turn as red as his overalls.”
Posing William in the middle of the floor and telling him not to be afraid of the little flash of light from the camera, Buffy took a half a roll of pictures. He stood there, alternating smiles and grimaces… a vision in red Oshkosh overalls, a blue and white striped t-shirt and white sneakers – the very image of Dennis the Menace.
William had an odd moment when his tummy just clenched. He’d been made fun of before, by the bigger boys, and there was something about Miss Buffy’s laughter that made him feel just as bad.
“Is there something wrong with my costume?” He looked Buffy in the eyes, tears threatening to fall. “Are you making sport of me?”
Buffy’s stomach twisted at the sound of his little voice. Okay, so maybe she wasn’t as clever as she thought she had been. Maybe William was as perceptive as Spike had always been. She’d certainly bought the clothes as a joke, but now she realized she’d hurt him… and somehow, felt she had to repair the damage she’d done.
She dropped to one knee, taking both small hands in her own. “I’m sorry if I made you feel bad, William. It’s just that you look like someone else that we know, and he doesn’t wear such bright colors.” Buffy hung her head, finding it difficult to see the pain in the little one’s eyes, knowing she’d put it there. “I’ll tell you what. Let’s take off the red pants and change them for blue. That’s all it’ll take to make things better.”
He smiled shakily when he was redressed. Perhaps the Buffy lady wouldn’t turn out to be so hurtful after all.
Handing him a box of crayons and some paper, Buffy told William that she needed some adult time to speak to Mr. Giles, and asked him to play quietly for a bit. He sniffled, but settled down at the table.
Running her hand through her hair, she turned to her Watcher, speaking softly so little vampire ears wouldn’t catch the conversation.
“I’m a rotten person, Giles. Not only didn’t I think of feeding William this morning, but I hurt his feelings.” Buffy sighed. Pointing in the boy’s general direction, she said, “I think that little vampire blows the theory that soulless demons can’t feel right out of the water. Which probably means that Spike…”
“You’re not rotten, Buffy. I’m sure finding a naked youngster in bed would be a shock to any non-parent. Giles removed his glasses, wiping them with a handkerchief. “Although I will admit that as for the clothing, that was a bit on the cruel side. Making a child the butt of a joke – even if the child is Spike – is never a good idea.”
He leaned in closer, definitely not wanting William to catch this part of the conversation. “But you cannot let this one incident affect you permanently. If you worry each time you patrol about hurting a vampire’s feelings, you’re the one who will end up dead. Your very purpose is to kill them, hence the title, Vampire Slayer. As for whether Spike has feelings or not, it’s irrelevant. He is irrelevant, not to mention a danger to you. The nerve of him, fancying himself in love with the Slayer.”
Great, just what she needed. Another ‘vampires and your personal life’ lecture. Buffy was tired and itchy from not showering in the morning, and worried about William’s fate if he didn’t become Spike again soon.
Fortunately, Giles was way ahead of her. “But that’s beside the point right now. We should be worried more about how an almost 26 year old man turned vampire over one hundred and twenty years ago became a five year old vampire child,” he mused, “rather than worrying about Spike and his feelings. What happens if William never reverts to Spike? Who will care for the boy if he remains a child for all eternity? It might be more humane to end his existence now, instead of letting him become a target for sport amongst other demons.”
Buffy was horrified. “How could you look at that boy and think of dusting him? I’d call Angel first. After all, Spike is part of his ‘family’. It’s just that I’m just not sure he won’t want to dust him, either.”
“This begs another more important question, Buffy. Why is it that only Spike was transformed? You were both covered in the demon’s blood, yes?” Giles brow furrowed with the direction of his thoughts. “Here, why don’t you go home and get some rest, and leave the boy here. I have enough blood and food to keep him comfortable. Come back tomorrow, and we’ll have everyone come in to research the demon who attacked you.”
Please let this be easy! Buffy walked over to the table, to see what had William so engrossed, and to make her goodbyes. The little boy handed her the picture he’d been working on.
“This is a very pretty picture, William. Who is that person supposed to be?”
William smiled, happy that his picture had pleased her. “That’s you, Miss Buffy. I drew in all your yellow hair, see? It’s for you.”
“I love it, cutie. I think I’ll take it home and hang it up to look at all the time.” Buffy took a deep calming breath. “William, I have some things I need to do, and I need you to be a good boy and sleep here tonight. Mr. Giles said you’re welcome to stay and I’ll come back and see you in the morning.” One look at the boy and Buffy knew it was not going to be a pretty scene.
William’s bottom lip quivered as he fought to keep his words inside. His eyes filled with tears that soon overflowed; dripping down his cheeks to splash on his latest drawing. With a wail of “No!” the little boy climbed down from the chair and flung himself at Buffy, wrapping his arms around her and crying as if his heart was broken.
Buffy knelt down, to be eye level with the child. “Don’t cry, William. I promise I’ll be back in the morning.”
“No, no, no, no, no!” he sobbed. “Don’t leave me, Miss Buffy. I’ll be good. I’ll be better than good.”
Buffy knew that this was so bad. She was becoming way too attached for her own good. She gently pried William’s grasping fingers from her neck and held him at arm’s distance. “I’m sorry William, really I am, but you have to stay here tonight. And I have to leave, now.”
The boy sank heavily onto the floor, one last heartbreaking cry rent the air… before it turned into a roar. When he looked up, sulphurous yellow eyes blazed in a miniature gameface.
“Giles!!” Buffy moved slowly, torn between reaching for a stake and gathering the child to her bosom. Watching the boy closely, all she could see, Slayer and woman alike, were the tears still coursing down his cheeks. Taking a chance, Buffy opened her arms, welcoming little William, gameface and all, into her embrace.
Giles watched as the little boy flung himself into his Slayer’s arms, burrowing his face into the crook of her neck. “William!” he snapped, suddenly very afraid. When the boy lifted his head from Buffy’s neck, his human mask was back. Fascinating. “Is everything all – all right?”
Buffy – too caught up in calming the boy to answer him – merely held up her hand, hoping he’d stay back. “It’s okay, William. I’ll stay. I won’t leave you tonight.” Gently stroking his back, Buffy could feel his little muscles relaxing; the tension going out of his limbs. Within moments, he was fast asleep on her shoulder.
Giles led them up to the guest room, where Buffy attempted to settle the sleeping boy into bed. With one last tightening of his arms around her neck, William relaxed into the mattress, allowing himself to be tucked in.
At her Watcher’s inquisitive look, Buffy whispered, “I’ll be fine here, Giles. I think it’s best I keep a close eye on William, just in case he goes all ‘Grrr’ again.” She yawned. “Right now, I think I’m as wiped as he is. We’ll talk tomorrow, ‘kay?”
When the door clicked closed, Buffy crawled into bed, pulling the covers up to her chin. Within moments, William squirmed his way against her belly, relishing the contact and warmth, and the security of knowing he wasn’t alone.
Far too early, Giles awoke to the sound of hysterical crying coming from the guest room. Worried that the boy had once again gone into gameface and might be out of control, he opened the door to the room... and found… William attempting to calm down an extremely upset little girl, blond hair full of tangles and cheeks streaked with tears, who bore a striking resemblance to... his Slayer.
"Good lord," Giles groaned, removing his glasses. "I suppose that's the answer to that question."