You can find it all from the beginning Here.
Cross posted to spuffyness and my regular journal.
Innocence Found – Chapter 9 – Rise and Shine
Spike awoke first, to find himself warm and cozy, snuggled up against Buffy, except… were those breasts flattened against his chest? And wait a minute. Not all toasty warm. His backside was chilly.
“Mmmm, Spike. Stop wiggling.” Buffy wriggled in a bit closer and whined, eyes closed. “You’re gonna make me hafta go pee, and I’m all comfy.”
And then they both felt it. Something firm and large, wedged in-between their bellies.
“If I keep my eyes closed, do you think it’ll all go away?” Buffy pleaded, unwilling to face the reality of the situation just yet.
“I think if I open my eyes it’s gonna get a whole lot worse. You grab the blanket and get off the bed, while I yank…”
“Spike!” she squeaked.
“Naughty, naughty, Slayer! While I yank the sheet off the bed to wind around my waist.”
“Oh, please… for the love of God, don’t move… it.” Buffy flushed hot and pink. Just give me a moment to… disentangle us.” She unwound her legs from his; sucking in her gut as she backed slowly off the bed, taking the blanket with her.
Buffy only heard the slither of the sheet being removed, as she kept her eyes tightly shut until she heard: “All safely wrapped away, pet. Gotta say you look fetching in a floral quilt.”
“You’re a-a… grownup,” she stammered, the color rising in her cheeks once more. “A very grown grownup.”
“An’ you’re more’n the handful I remember from the past couple days.” Spike flashed an appreciative grin in her direction. “Tell me we both had the daftest dream, Slayer.”
Seconds later, Giles ran into the bedroom, glasses askew and hair sticking up in several different directions. “Buffy, what’s… oh dear Lord! This is marvelous! When did this happen?”
Seems we woke up this way.” Looking at the shreds of clothing hanging to her body, Buffy made a face. “Looks like we really outgrew our clothes, Dad.”
Spike flexed the fingers and wrist of his left hand. Seemed they were still a bit tender, but healing well. My little growth spurt seems to have made short work of the splint, Rupert. Little more blood should finish the healing, I think.”
“You can cut that God-awful sham of an accent, Spike,” Giles smirked. “You forget I’ve been listening to the dulcet tones of Master William for the past few days.”
“S’all right, mate. Been usin’ it for more’n a hundred and twenty years. S’just who I am now.”
“And I’m the bloody Queen,” the elder man muttered under his breath, causing Spike to turn sharply in his direction.
Clutching the comforter firmly around her body, Buffy looked more and more uncomfortable. “Um, clothing would be of the good, Giles.”
“Welcome back, you two.” Tara appeared at the door, smiling. “I heard you bellow from downstairs, sweetie, and thought you might be able to use your mom’s robe.”
“I suppose I can lend you a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt until we can get your clothing from Buffy’s home.” Giles ran a hand through his messy hair, attempting to make some order of things.
“Won’t do no good, Rupes. Stuff was disintegrating from the demon blood. At best it’ll be rags by now. P’raps someone’ll pay m’crypt a visit? At least it’s day, so it’s fairly safe. I’m sure you want me out of your hair already, an’ I can take a runner through the sewers once I’m dressed.”
In spite of the kindness he’d been shown as a little boy, Spike was very sure his welcome had just about run out. He wanted to be well clear of this place before he was tossed out like yesterday’s trash once more.
Buffy’s stomach clenched at the thought of Spike just… leaving. It wasn’t that she wanted him to stay, exactly, but the thought of distance between them made her uncomfortable. And that thought made her even more uncomfortable.
“I-I’ve got to… do…” she stammered, eyes darting around the room; anywhere but at Spike before she sank to the ground.
Spike was at her side before anyone else could make a move. “Buffy, pet… what’s wrong?” His hand reached out to cup her chin, tilting her head upwards to meet his eyes. “Are you in pain?”
Oh gods yes! She was in agony. The desire to reach out and bury herself in Spike’s embrace was all consuming, but how could she in front of Giles and Tara? As her grown self, they wouldn’t approve of the closeness between them, and she just couldn’t take rejection right now. She was definitely too in touch with her inner-child at the moment.
She pulled back from Spike, wincing as she saw the flash of hurt in his eyes. Unwilling to be the cause of even that slight amount of pain in his eyes, Buffy reached out, grabbing for his hand before he moved away. “I’m okay, Spike. Really.” Relief flowed through her at the touch of hands. It was cool, familiar and solid. “It’s just a bit overwhelming being big again.”
“I’m sure this is confusing for you both,” Giles offered. “It’s not an everyday occurrence to switch perspectives like you have. To remember them both must be unsettling, to say the least.”
Tara looked out over their odd little group, a warmth suffusing her soul. The group dynamic was a bit different from what it had been – a Slayer, a Vampire, a Watcher and a Witch – but for the first time, she felt like a real part of things.
For the past two years, she’d been on the periphery of the Scoobies; barely acknowledged and rarely contributing. This little group held the promise of more, and she liked it.
“Hey, guys. I know there’s a lot that needs to be done, but I’m starving. How about I make everyone pancakes for breakfast?”
“Ooooh, funny shapes?” the blonds chorused.
Giles stifled a snicker. “I think several people amongst us aren’t as grown up as they thought.”
Spike stiffened, unsure he had heard correctly. “Did you just call me a ‘person,’ Watcher?”
“There’s always a first time for everything, Spike. Would you prefer I revert to my standard form of address for you?”
“N-no, ‘course not. Just wanted to be sure m’hearing you right.” He knew he should leave it alone… just accept the kindness for the fluke it had to be, but being Spike he forged ahead. “Rupert, why the bloody hell haven’t you thrown me out? I can understand you wantin’ to take care of a little one, but I’m back to m’self.”
“I suppose you wouldn’t be willing to accept the fact that it’s daylight out and you’re practically starkers and make it easy on me, would you?”
“Not on a bet,” the vampire snorted. “You’ve tossed me out of the Magic Box to burn instead of lettin’ me use the sewer exit.”
“Very well. The past few days interacting with your younger self have proven quite enlightening, in regards to both you and I.” Giles pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to stave off the oncoming headache. “Let’s just say I wasn’t so pleased with some of the things I found out about myself. We’ll discuss it in further detail later, I promise you. Right now, I’d much prefer a calm and peaceful breakfast. Are you game?”
Looking at Buffy and Tara, Spike cocked his head, silently asking with a raised eyebrow if they were ready for breakfast. They nodded – Tara with a sweet smile, and Buffy, shyly. “Right, then.” With a bow of his head, and a flourish of his right hand, Spike motioned for the ladies to head downstairs, followed by Giles and last of all himself. Watching. Waiting.
Breakfast was… interesting. Tara’s pancakes were a big hit, with Spike taking great delight in rolling them up and dipping them in his mug of heated blood, to gross out the rest of the diners.
“Oh, don’t you get all prissy on me, Slayer.” Spike laughed as Buffy wrinkled her nose in disgust at his eating habits. You’re the one who fed me blood an’ ice cream, if I remember it right. I still think you should have had a taste of it, yourself.”
“If you were trying to make me go back to my regular eating patterns, you couldn’t have chosen a better image for me, you pig!” Buffy snorted, making a liar out of herself by reaching over to stake another couple of pancakes onto her plate.
“What?” All wide eyed and unassuming as she tucked into her food, she still retained the little girl air of innocence they’d become familiar with over the past few days.
Tara laughed out loud. Really, if she’d learned anything over the last few days, it was that happiness was a good look on her friend. “Buffy, I’m honored. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat with such enthusiasm. Well, except for Spike.”
“You do realize I’m gonna blame you when I get so fat I’m gonna have to wear muumuus to go slaying in.”
Spike managed a choked guffaw of his own at the image. “You go native on me, pet… and I promise to wear a loin cloth so’s we match. Heaven forbid I watch your back in anything less than GQ elegance.”
Buffy gulped, remembering the thin sheet wrapped around the vampire’s slender hips earlier in the morning. With Spike in a loin cloth, slaying vampires would be the last thing on her mind.
“I know what you’re thinking, Slayer.”
Her fork clattered to the floor as the color rose high and pink in her cheeks. “Y-you so do not, you pervert!”
Giles cleared his throat, causing Buffy to look up at three raised eyebrows on three very amused faces.
I am an adult…now. I can face this. “Okay, fine…laugh at the pervy little Slayer. Ha ha. Can we talk about actually patrolling now?” she pleaded, desperate to change the subject and focus of the conversation.
“H-has anyone been out on patrol in the past few days?” Tara took a deep breath in an effort to control her giggles.
Seeing that the meal was pretty much finished, Giles figured this was as good a time as any to bring the elder vampire into the mix. “Believe it or not, Angel has patrolled at least once that I know of since Spike’s transformation.”
The vampire’s entire demeanor changed at the mention of his grandsire. “Yeah… I seem to remember the git being here.”
“Knock it off, Spike… he fixed you,” Buffy grinned at the outrage on the vampire’s face. “Um, I mean… saved your unlife. Said something about familiar… familial blood being a cure-all.”
“Are you sure we’re in the right dimension, Slayer? I mean, I seem to remember him actually being nice to me.” Spike was perplexed at some of the images coming back to him. “He coddled. me. Held me like a nursing babe in his arms. I’d’ve bet m’crypt Hell would’ve froze over before His Broodyness would’ve deigned to help me.”
“It wasn’t just Angel, Spike. Do you remember your fall from the monkeybars?”
The vampire protested: “The Big Bad would never… oh balls, yeah… I remember. Was just the little wuss. Got a bit dizzy an’ fell.”
“You hit your head and were knocked out for hours.” Buffy reached out and gently rubbed the back of his neck. “Xander actually tried to stop your fall; just couldn’t reach you in time. He held you in his lap while Willow drove us back here. I was so scared you weren’t ever gonna wake up.”
“Knew you cared, pet.”
“I was a kid… what did I know?”
Spike pouted. “Knew who your friends were.”
Rubbing at his neck where he could still feel the warmth from her fingers, Spike felt the whole picture rapidly becoming unrecognizable. Three people who outright hated him had taken him in and cared for him. But it wasn’t really him, was it? Just some little nancy boy they could play dress up with.
“Well, if his bellowin’ yesterday was anything to go by, he’s back to stake first and – in his case – stake second if the first time don’t take.” Spike sighed, not wanting to upset Tara, but needing to know. “And what’s the deal with Red? I’ve never heard her so angry or defensive before.”
“H-how did you know?” Tara was shocked, knowing the children were upstairs behind the closed door during the intervention.
“Vampire, remember? Couldn’t make out all the words, but the tone came through loud an’ clear.” Spike made a noise deep in his throat, as if it hurt to get the words out. “Oddest sensation was feelin’ safe when the old Poof started his ruckus. Wish I knew what he was sayin’.”
“You know, calling Angel to let him know that you and Buffy are back to normal would be the right thing to do.” Tara looked at Spike with reproach. “He really was very concerned with your welfare… not to mention Buffy’s.”
Both Spike and Buffy looked like deer caught in the headlights at the thought of even speaking with Angel. It was one thing to be cared for as a small child, with no memories of a painful past, and yet another to have to thank him for being a decent family man after years of hate and distrust along with every other emotion.
Giles decided to put them out of their misery. “Before you both end up catatonic, I’ll be happy to make the call. I’ve already made more calls to him in the past four days than I have in all the time I’ve known him. What’s one more? And at least it’s good news.”
“Yeah, for us, at least. Dunno how thrilled Peaches is gonna be now that I’m back to my own charming self.”
Upon her return from the kitchen, Tara rested her hand on Spike’s shoulder. “You’re not used to being treated kindly, are you?”
Spike was quiet for a few moments, before he answered. “Only two people ever been genuinely kind to me. Mum, o’course, and Joyce.”
Unabashed shame coursed through them all as they hung their heads. Spike’s simple statement cut deep.
“Oh come on. Don’t you start feelin’ bad for me now.” Spike scoffed, “Some of the shite I put you all through earned me a fair amount of your hatred.”
“You know, after the last few days I don’t understand how anyone could’ve resisted you.” Buffy slowly wrapped her arms around the vampire’s waist, giving him all the opportunity in the world to back away if he were uncomfortable. “You really were the sweetest little boy,” she whispered, laying her head on his chest.
They hugged each other tightly, eyes closed. For a moment, they could pretend they were best friends again… seeking comfort in each other as they’d done for the past few days.
It didn’t last. Spike dropped a soft kiss on Buffy’s head, breathing in the scent of the woman who haunted him even in his dreams, and she stiffened in his arms, gently easing herself away from his embrace. “I-I don’t think that was the best idea I’ve ever had.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know the song, Slayer. Guess the truce is over and I’m back to evil, soulless thing again.” He sighed, shaking his head. “At least you didn’t break my nose. Do me a favor. Get me some clothes and I’ll be out of your…”
Buffy grew angry. She hadn’t meant to upset Spike, but there he was… taking everything the wrong way. Well, she would have to set things straight instead of letting them fester. At least she learned something from her five year old self.
“You’re a dope, Spike.”
“What did you call me?” The vampire was incredulous. She pushed him away and he’s the dope?
“Are you deaf, too? I said you’re a dope,” she repeated. “Have I said anything to you since we woke up that was… was…” Buffy rolled her eyes, and owned up to her own shortcomings in regards to the man in front of her. “…even close to my normal attitude towards you?”
Head cocked and arms wrapped around his torso, Spike had to admit he’d been reacting defensively. “So you haven’t been a bitch. S’just what I’d been expecting, is all.”
Oh God, he’s pouting – and it was just as devastating on the full grown version as the pint sized. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. It’s just that I couldn’t think straight so close…” She stopped abruptly, realizing that she was heading into dangerous territory.
And sure enough, Spike caught the ball and ran with it. “Oh, pet. Are you tellin’ me what I think you’re tellin’ me?”
“I’m telling you I’m confused,” she insisted. “First, you’re five and don’t remember anyone but your mother. Then I’m five and don’t even remember you. You get hurt really bad twice and I’m all Florence Nightingale. Then it’s your grandpa… Angel to the rescue. And this morning we’re all grownup again and we remember everything.”
Buffy was so agitated, she began to cry. “I feel so many things, Spike – so many things I don’t know what I’m feeling. Is it too much to ask that you give me a little time to get used to being big again?”
Spike grinned, his bad attitude erased by the woman’s tears. “You call yourself big, luv? You’re about as big as a flea. An’ m’sorry for jumping to conclusions. Self control’s never been a strong point.”
“Bullshit!” Buffy fumed. “I saw you with a broken wrist, frightened and in pain as Giles poked, prodded, set and wrapped it back together and not once did you go into gameface. If I was hurting like you, I would have bitten Giles. Kids aren’t known for their restraint, Spike. If you could hold it all together under those circumstances, your self control is amazing.” Breathing hard, she pointed an accusing finger at the vampire.
“You know what’s wrong with you, Spike? You’ve been singing your own praises for so long, you believe your own reputation. Spike the hothead. Spike who never follows a plan. Spike the idiot who’ll leap into a crowd of demons with no regard for his own neck. You need to step back and see yourself for who you really are.”
“I’ve been tryin’ to show you who I really am for the past year, pet,” he said, softly. “It’s been you and yours won’t let me be more’n the demon.”
“Well, maybe it’s time things changed.” Buffy snorted, laughing while the tears continued to fall. “We sure as hell did – to childhood and back!”
Spike gently urged Buffy towards the livingroom. “Let’s go inside, before the Watcher thinks I’ve done away with you. Don’t know how, with this bloody chip in my head, but somehow he’ll manage to blame me for your bloody and gruesome death.”
Hand in hand, they left the kitchen.
And extra special hugs to willa_writes for her patience and beta work.