You can find it all from the beginning Here.
Cross posted to spuffyness and my regular journal.
Innocence Found – Chapter 10 – Blast From the Past
That night, Buffy had a spring in her step that had been missing for years. Back in her own clothing: tight red leather pants, white mini-tank top and chunky heeled boots; she was ready for action. She had the fleeting urge to whack Spike on the shoulder and yell “Tag, you’re it!” before taking off on a tear through the cemetery.
“What’s got you all fleet-footed this evening, Slayer?” Spike pulled up in front of her, pleased to see the happy glow on her face. “For months you’ve been draggin’ your ass around, givin’ the Poof a run for his money in the brood sweepstakes.”
“You were so much nicer as a kid, Spike.” Buffy slowed her pace, kicking at stray rocks in her path. “What happened to us? I mean, things were just so much easier to deal with when we were little.”
“Hmmm… let’s see. Had no friends outside of my mum while growing up, or anyone to share my future with. Got killed in a stable by Dru, molded into a monster by Angelus and felled by you. That’s what happened to me.”
They walked in silence for a few minutes, oddly content with the knowledge that each other was near.
“You do know that’s a pathetic excuse for a life, don’t you?” Buffy asked, not entirely unkindly.
“Right pathetic, if you ask me.” Spike snorted, fully aware of how sad his life had been. “Then there’s you, pet. Dealt with a divorce when you were young, got Called, fell in love with the world’s only souled vampire, got killed and revived, shagged the soul outta said vampire, until he got resouled and you had to send him to hell to save the world, lost your mum, died again, got brought back and had to deal with me.”
“Oh God,” she groaned, “that’s pathetic too. Think there are any more of those shaggy demons around? Being five wasn’t so bad after all.”
Spike’s expression was soft and tender when he looked at her. “You were a very special little girl, Buffy. Very few li’l bits could’ve handled things like you did the past few days.” He reached out, smoothing a stray curl behind her ear. “An’ I want to thank you for bein’ so nice to me.”
“Being nice to you was easy. Hell, even Giles bent over backwards taking care of you.” Buffy snickered, before growing serious. “I’m just glad Tara did that reversal spell before we left the house. I can’t imagine what made Willow so afraid of a little boy that she had to spell you in secret.”
Now he knew things were wonky. Never before had she vocally admitted one of her friends had wronged him… especially the little witch. Spike was on shaky ground, and he trod carefully. “Listen, pet… I was still a vampire an’ Red was worried about you an’ her friends.”
Buffy stopped, hands on hips, the expression on her face screaming ‘are you an idiot?’ “We’ve known each other for five years, Spike… and the only time you ever got the upper hand in a fight was Parent’s Night, when Mom took you out of the fight with the business end of an axe. Everyone knows I’ve kicked your ass up and down Sunnydale for years, and suddenly Willow thinks you’re gonna take me out as a five year old?”
“You know, you really are an emasculating bitch,” he groused; no small amount of heat behind his words.
“What are you all pissy about? You’ve said so, yourself. Lots of times. It’s never bothered you before.”
“Slayer, I don’t mind the fact that you’re stronger than I am. What ticks me off, is the fact that you rub my face in it.” Spike sighed, resigned once again to the fact that for all her kind words lately, Buffy still didn’t consider his feelings. “I suppose I should consider myself lucky. Usually you play my humiliation to an audience.”
They were so engrossed in their arguing, neither heard the approaching footsteps.
“I see that you two are back to full size. Again, with the no calling and telling,” Xander sniped. “What’s up with that?”
And the bad luck track record continues.
“What are you doin’ here, Harris?” Pointing at Anya and Willow, he snorted. “I see you brought your bodyguards along for protection.”
Anya huffed: “Cut it out, Spike. The last we knew, you and Buffy were still kids, and someone had to patrol. Vamps and demons didn’t take holidays just because you and Buffy weren’t around.”
“Thanks for your help,” said Buffy, her demeanor a little stiff and formal. “But as you can see, things are back to normal and Spike and I have picked up the patrolling.”
“You’d think you’d be a little bit grateful that someone was patrolling while you were out of it, Buffy.” Willow was miffed at her seemingly abrupt dismissal.
Spike strode over to Willow’s side. “S’pose you want the Slayer to bow and scrape to you, eh Red?” He illustrated, making an exaggerated bow in front of the redhead. “Thank you for every little thing you do for her?”
“You know, nobody was asking you for your opinion, bleach boy,” Xander sneered. “In spite of everything that happened, you’re not one of us.”
“This is getting to be ridiculous.” Buffy had had enough. “Spike and I turned into five year olds, but you and Willow are acting younger than we ever did.”
She had thought to leave it alone, but was feeling just bitchy enough to unleash it at her supposed best friend. “After what you did to Spike, you have a lot of nerve demanding thanks from me.
“Yeah?” Xander leaned forward. “Why don’t you toddle off back to your crypt before I decide to dust you once and for all?”
Despite the silent clues Buffy was aiming his way, Spike had also had enough. He puffed out his chest and set himself in Xander’s path. “I’d like to see you try, mate.”
Grabbing a handful of Spike’s shirt, the younger man pulled him nose to nose, hatred pouring off him in waves. “You’re not cute anymore,” Xander spat as he shook the vampire like a rag doll. “You have no reason to be hanging around Buffy. In fact, you have no reason to be hanging around at all.”
“Um, Xander?” Anya interrupted the man’s tirade. “You do remember he can kill you now, right?”
Spike stiffened in Xander’s grasp, hoping demon girl would continue. This could be interesting.
A slight tremor in the hands that held Spike was the only indication that Anya’s words had been heard.
“Xander!” Anya yelled, more insistent this time. “We’re supposed to be getting married soon. If you get killed because Spike’s chip is gone before the wedding, I’m going to haunt you for all eternity.”
“Damnit, Anya! Don’t you ever know when to keep your mouth shut?” When Xander turned his full attention back to Spike, he came face to face with the demon’s furrowed brow and fangs, somehow all the more menacing because the vampire was grinning.
“So, Harris. Seems like you got more than you bargained for when you grabbed a handful of me.” Spike’s grin grew wider, though he still hung lax in Xander’s grasp. “Home field advantage’s finally shifted back in my favor”
Willow ‘eeped’ and prayed the fireball spell she’d been working on actually worked. “Incendiere,” she whispered, and a small, roiling ball of flames appeared above her extended hand. She took aim and launched it at Spike’s back, hoping it would be in time to save her friend from a certain fangy death.
What she hadn’t counted on was Buffy, who’d been watching both her and Xander with equal fervor. Just before the fireball would connect with the vampire’s vulnerable back, the blonde screamed “No!” and launched herself at the posturing males.
Buffy managed to get in between disaster and Spike, pushing him out of the way before the fireball deflected off of her arm, sending her to the ground with a scream of agony as it seared her flesh.
Tearing himself from Xander’s grasp as if it were an afterthought, Spike reached Buffy in seconds. Fangs bared, he growled a warning to stay away at her ‘friends’.
Buffy lay still and silent on the ground, bleeding slightly from a head wound where she’d made contact with a tombstone.
As Spike reached down to gather the fallen Slayer into his arms, he felt an unusual prickle against his skin, the sort of warning tingle he usually got when heavy magicks were being used. Figuring the residual energy came from the fireball, and mindful of Buffy’s injured arm, Spike settled her in the cradle of his arms and he prepared to stand, when suddenly she began to writhe.
Hoping that she had regained consciousness, the vampire paused in his tracks, only to notice her facial features had altered, softening – and her body weight had lessened. Within moments, she had reverted to her younger self. Her little shirt now covered her down to her knees, and her pants had fallen to the ground.
“Bloody hell, witch! What did you do?” Spike was livid, his anger boiling over into pure acid venom. “The girl’s just gotten over major mojo, and now you’ve zapped her right back into childhood.”
Xander had to get his two cents in. “She wasn’t aiming at her, you asshole. Why couldn’t you just have stayed still and let the nice little ball of fire dust you?”
At a loss for words, Willow kept quiet. What could she say? “Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to hurt Buffy and change her back into a kid. I was trying to kill you. Maybe next time, I’ll aim better.”?”
Still mindful of Buffy’s injured arm, Spike turned and headed for Giles’ place. At least they could patch up her arm, and maybe Tara would know what to do. No matter what happened, Buffy needed a clean, safe place to stay, and his crypt didn’t qualify.
Anya whispered that she was going to take Willow home. Things would be too volatile if she were to stay around Spike in the mood he was in.
Turning in the direction the vampire had gone, Xander shouted out, “Hold up, Fang. You’re not going anywhere I can’t keep an eye on you.” He panted, trying to keep up with Spike’s pace. “No way I’m gonna let you make a nummy treat of the little Slayer.”
Spike sighed. “You’ll never learn, will you? I’d no sooner hurt Buffy than take a walk in the noonday sun. No matter what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen.”
At Xander’s befuddled glance, he shook his head and they continued in silence to Giles’ place.
Once again, Tara opened the door to an unexpected sight. “My goodness. What happened to Buffy?”
“Let me put her down in the upstairs bedroom. Want her to be somewhere she’s familiar with when she wakes up. If she still has the same memories from last time.” Spike’s unvoiced worries about who she’d remember were easily discernable.
Tara looked directly into Xander’s eyes. There was no need to ask who was responsible. She could smell the stamp of Willow’s magicks on the little girl, and the guilt in Xander’s face was an elegant confirmation.
“Tell me, Xander. Tell me before I go upstairs to clean and dress that little girl’s arm. Why did Willow burn her?”
“It wasn’t her fault,” the man blustered. “Spike was all vamped out and threatening me and she was trying to protect me by…”
“By killing Spike?” Tara was nauseated. “Even if I believed your explanation, that is so wrong. First she’s casting spells behind everyone’s back, and now she’s progressed to attempted murder? Where is she?”
“Anya walked her home to Revello Drive. She thought it would be too much to have her and Spike in the same room after this.”
“Smartest thing that bitch ever did was steer clear of me.” Still in gameface, Spike came down the stairs, knowing Buffy was safe in Giles’ caring hands. “Watcher needs your help, Glinda. Has to clean her arm, and doesn’t want her to be in pain.”
She looked between the two men, and Spike added, “He’s safe. Wouldn’t bite ‘im on a bet.” He brought back his human mask, just to appease the girl, who then walked upstairs to help out Giles.
The two men sat on opposite sides of the room, neither speaking to the other. Xander was wondering why he just couldn’t keep his big mouth shut in regards to Spike. He hated him; all vampires for that matter, but especially Spike. Probably because he saw far too much of him, and in no small part because he was related in some vampirey way to Angel, who held his uppermost spot of hatred.
Spike sat and worried about Buffy. Nothing new there. He worried about her arm, and he worried about the fact that she’d turned back into a little girl. Very selfishly, down in the smallest corner of his heart, he worried that she wouldn’t remember him. She’d never seen him as a grown man before, and he was still insecure enough to worry that the others wouldn’t let him near her now.
Several minutes later, he could hear her cries of pain, and she was calling for… him! Not stopping to remember she was asking for little Spike, he ran up the stairs before anyone could call down for him.
“Spike! Spike! I want my Spike!” she cried, holding her right arm close to her chest.
He sat down on the bed, at her feet. “I’m here, poppet. Spike’s here for you.”
The little girl looked up at him blankly, no note of recognition in her eyes, and she started to cry again. “My Spike is a little boy, an’-an’ a bampire. I don’t know you,” she pouted.
Ignoring Xander’s snickers from the door, and holding up a hand to keep Tara and Giles from taking over, Spike did his best to hold back his own tears.
“It’s okay, Buffy. It’s me, really. I-I grew up last night, but it’s still me. See?” A quick change to gameface had the little girl reaching out to touch his brow, as she’d done several times when he was small. “Just me, a big bampire… um, vampire, but always your Spike.”
Buffy raised both her hands to Spike’s face, mapping out his cheekbones, and moving his face from side to side. She tilted her little head, staring deep into his blue eyes, before wrapping her little arms around his neck. “Oh! It is you.” She buried her face into the crook of his neck, whimpering. “My arm hurts, Spike.”
“I know it does, sweeting. I’m so sorry it hurts.” Spike smoothed the hair off of Buffy’s forehead, gently stroking her pudgy babysoft cheeks. “I promise it’ll feel better, soon. M’sure Tara can do somethin’ for the pain. Make it hurt less.”
“Sure, Buffy. Just as soon as you’re ready for bed, I’ll give you something for your arm.” Tara turned to the vampire on the bed. “Spike, you’re gonna have to leave now. Time for Buffy to get into her pajamas.”
“No!” Buffy scrambled around Spike like a little monkey, climbing onto his shoulders. “My Spike stays. At least ‘till my boo boo arm is better.” With her left hand, she wove her fingers through his hair and made a fist.
“Looks like I’m not leavin’ if I want to keep m’hair, pet.” Spike smiled, happy to be wanted. “I do have a suggestion for her bedclothes. Since we don’t know how long she’s gonna remain little, and from first-hand recent experience in outgrowin’ jammies, I’d suggest an oversized T-shirt.”
“You wanna sleep with me, Spike?”
Spike melted. Looking into her face, all wide eyed and innocent, he thought: ‘S’pose this is someone’s idea of a big, cosmic joke. She finally asks me to sleep with her, and it’s as a vampire teddy bear.’
“Don’t everyone get your knickers in a twist. I’ll wear Giles’ sweats again. No way I’m goin’ t’sleep starkers next to the little bit.”
Xander threw his hands up, and left the room without another word. It was obvious that nobody was going to listen to his warnings about leaving an unchipped male vampire alone with a little girl. And who knows? Maybe Buffy was fated to end up with a vampire for a companion. Who else could handle her?