You can find it all from the beginning Here.
Cross posted to spuffyness and my regular journal.
Innocence Found – Chapter 11 - Revelations
They awoke in much the same position as the morning before; legs twined together, arms around each other, and Spike’s erection pressed between them. Only this time, Spike was wearing sweat pants and Buffy was at least mostly covered by the T-shirt she wore.
“If I were you Spike, I’d find a way to keep me five years old forever.” Buffy said, disconsolately as, once again, she disentangled herself from his embrace. “I’m so much nicer to you when I’m little. And it doesn’t seem to matter what you are.”
Spike looked at her… stung that she would actually dismiss him in such a matter-of-fact way.
“See what I mean? That so didn’t come out the way I meant it. Little me had no problems saying what she meant.” She sat on the end of the bed, cross-legged and comfortable. “What I meant to say was, it didn’t matter to little me whether you were little or big. She loved you either way,”
“Would you mind repeatin’ that, Slayer?” Spike was stunned that Buffy would admit to any part of herself being in love with him… even one he’d never see again. “M’not so sure I didn’t go senile overnight.”
She smiled, knowing what she’d actually let slip by accident was out of character for her. It was hard to blame Spike for being surprised.
“Yeah, I admit it. Little Buffy was in love with little Spike and big Spike.”
“An’ grown up Buffy?” he encouraged, foolishly hoping for anything other than vitriol. “How does she feel about either Spike?”
Truth be told, right now she felt rather bad, seeing him wince as he awaited her answer. “First of all, it’s not fair you lying there with no shirt on, making me answer questions where you want an honest answer.”
He laughed and reached over the side of the bed for his T-shirt. The girl didn’t want any distractions – he’d humor her. “All right, pet. My pretty body is all covered up now. No more excuses for you.”
Buffy snapped her fingers. “Darn it, I knew that was too easy. Okay, the question before the vampire is how does big Buffy feel about either Spike. Easy part, first. William was the sweetest child I had ever met. Outside of the shock of finding him bouncing naked on my mattress when I woke up and one sorta thoughtless wardrobe issue, I fell in love with him, hook, line, and sinker.”
“Wish you were around when I was really five, pet. Things weren’t so good for little William. He didn’t have a friend in the bloody world; forced to play alone in the nursery, quietly, for fear of interrupting the adults.”
“They – whoever they are – found out that children are very social creatures, and thrive on the company of friends and adults.” Buffy smiled softly, feeling tenderness in her heart as she looked at the man against the headboard. “Maybe it would have made a difference in the way you related to others when you grew up.”
“Might’ve done, yeah. But you still haven’t answered the last part of my question, Buffy. I know m’being a masochist to keep after you this way, but I have to know.”
Buffy sighed; he really did deserve that much. Now, if only she knew the answer, herself. She wracked her brain for something… anything… that she could tell him and honestly mean it.
“I-it’s… complicated, Spike. To say the very least.” She began to twist her hair, obviously very uncomfortable with the subject at hand. “You know I-I’m not good with honesty and feelings. And you and I? So not a pairing that should ever be. Been there, done that, bear the fang marks.”
When Spike seemed about to voice a protest at Angel being dragged into the discussion, she held up her hand, asking him to keep quiet for now.
“You see? That’s the whole problem, right there. Angel – Angelus – not to mention vampires in general. I know it sounds funny, especially since we were both kids only a day or so ago, but I have a terrible time letting go of my past. And I mean my more recent past.” Buffy sighed, wishing herself anywhere but here right now. “It would be nice if I could hold onto little Buffy’s beliefs.”
Spike couldn’t take the painful hemming and hawing any longer. “Pet, if it’s really such a hardship to give me a straight answer, let’s just for…”
“No! It shouldn’t be so hard to admit I like you. That I care about you.” Her eyes opened wide at her admission. “Oh God.”
“Bloody hell!” The awe in his voice made the words sound like a prayer. “Buffy… don’t toy with me. If you don’t mean it, take it back… now! Spike shook with intensity as he leaned forward; her words too important to him to be anything less than brutally honest.
“I c-can’t, Spike. I can’t take it back,” she whispered, looking directly into his eyes for the first time since they woke up. “Things have changed so much between us since that night at the Bronze.” With mischief sparkling in her hazel eyes, she asked, “Do you want to know what I really felt the first time I saw you?”
Spike nodded. If Buffy was in a sharing mood, he wasn’t going to do anything to make her stop, no matter what she had to say.
“I was seventeen years old, surrounded by a horde of kids, and I caught sight of a platinum blond head slinking in and out of the darkness. Then you walked over and for a minute, my mind flashed a ‘hottie alert’. It said ‘aha! A man amongst the boys’. And then my Slayerness screwed everything up.”
Head cocked with a sweet smile gracing his lips, Spike gazed in her direction. “Liked what you saw then, pet? I did. Thought it was a damned shame my calling was to kill you.”
Buffy relaxed. This was something she could do blindfolded; banter with him. “And when you applauded my little performance, I thought it was a shame I had to kill you.”
“Wasn’t for lack of tryin’ on either of our parts, pet. We gave it a right go at times, but in truth, I don’t think either of us was really ready for the dance to end.”
“W-what if I told you I’d like to dance to a d-different tune?” Buffy gulped, knowing she was making a decision that would change both of their paths.
“You know how I feel, pet. I love you.” He reached out to stroke Buffy’s cheek. “Made no secret about that for a long time. What makes you want to take a chance, now?”
Buffy smiled, moving a little closer to her erstwhile enemy. “I’ve seen you, William. I’ve seen the best and worst of you, and I think you might just be the one person in all the world that can put up with all the craziness of my world.”
A knock on the open door startled them both. “Sorry to interrupt such a personal conversation,” Giles muttered, wearing an expression that said he was anything but. “I must say it’s good to see you back to normal once again, Buffy.”
“Rupert, you’re not goin’ to go nutters on the girl for havin’ a conversation that really wasn’t any of your business, are you?” Spike was ready to step in-between his Slayer and her Watcher if need be.
Giles sighed. “No need to get defensive, Spike. You and Buffy are adults… at least for the moment. There are things we need to discuss, however, before you even think of continuing that conversation. Please, get dressed and meet me downstairs. We can talk over breakfast.”
Giles and Tara were waiting at the table; plates filled once more with pancakes, scrambled eggs, and freshly buttered toast by each placemat. Juice, coffee and one mug of blood were placed at the appropriate seats.
Breakfast was eaten in silence. The hangdog expression on Spike’s and Buffy’s faces made them look like the pair of children they had just been, waiting to be punished.
Giles stood, clearing his throat. “Let me start out by saying I am not happy with this turn of events. Not in the slightest. The last time Buffy chose a vampire for a… boyfriend… we all paid dearly for it.”
“Bloody hell, Rupes. You’ve got to stop comparin’ me to the Poof.” Spike stood abruptly, pushing the chair away from the table. “I’ve got nothing to lose by shaggin’ and you know I’ll protect the girl with my last fleck of dust. All m’askin’ for is a bloody chance to see if there’s anything between us.”
“Sit down, Spike… and hear me out, please. There’s a piece of information I believe will make a difference to Buffy, as to whether or not she wants to begin a relationship with you.”
Buffy knew exactly what he was going to say, and thought she would be able to curb some of the threatening hostility if it came from her.
“If you’re going to mention that Spike’s chip is gone, you should know that Anya spilled that little gem when we ran into her, Willow, and Xander on patrol. Of course, Xander was busy shaking Spike around like rag doll, and threatening to dust him.”
Giles was stunned. He was sure his revelation about the chip would bring the girl to her senses. “And this doesn’t bother you? The fact that a soulless creature is free to feed and wreak havoc once more?”
“Oi, git! I’m right here,” the vampire spat, angrily. “It’s not like I got the chip removed on purpose… point of fact, I don’t know how the bloody hell it happened. Care to enlighten me?”
Tara spoke up, hoping to calm the tense situation down. “Well, it was an unusual set of circumstances that led to Angel removing the chip…”
“Angel!” It was Buffy’s turn to explode. “Now I know we’re in Bizarro land… maybe I’m really in an insane asylum and you’re all delusions.” She shook her head, unable to process that bit of information. “Out of anyone you could have mentioned, Angel would be the last person to remove Spike’s chip.”
“H-he had no choice, Buffy.” Tara forged ahead bravely. “When Spike fell, the chip dislodged and made it’s way to the surface. It had been discharging constantly, a-and…”
Recognition alit in Spike’s eyes. “That would explain why my head felt all… fuzzy. I think it had been going off all day, but I had no frame of reference to explain it to anyone.”
Giles’ anger dissipated as he remembered little Spike complaining of the fuzziness. “If it helps any, Angel said he could always dust you when you were back to your normal annoying self.”
“That sounds more like the git I know.” Spike snorted, a little of the tension coursing through his body released. “He can bloody well try, and when he does, he’s gonna find out m’not the helpless fledge he used to beat into submission when the mood struck.”
“How about I beat on you a little for old times sake?” Xander strode into the kitchen, seemingly ready to start up where he left off last night. “Don’t even bother getting up, folks. I’m actually just here to say my piece if you’ll let me.”
“There’s only one reason m’willing to listen, you wanker. That’s ‘cause you weren’t the one who hurt Buffy.” Spike's level of alertness had doubled, ready to defend at a moment’s notice.
“Down, boy.” Xander held up his hands in a placating gesture. “I said talk only, but it’s not gonna be pretty. I’d just appreciate getting through my tirade before comments or fists start flying.”
When everyone remained silent, Xander began by pointing his finger at Spike. “I don’t like you. I don’t like you for almost too many reasons to count, but let me hit you with the highlights: You’re a vampire. I’ve been killing your kind for the past six years and don’t like making exceptions.
“It also frosts me that you’re related to Angel in whatever vampirey way you are. He’s the only vamp I hate more than you. It’s also the only thing that’s not your fault.” He ran his hand through his hair, trying to find the words to finish this once and for all.
“The thing I hate most of all, is that freaking chip. First – that Buffy refused to stake you because it made you helpless, and second – now that it’s gone, it’s obvious she’s still not gonna do it, or let anyone else take you out.”
Buffy stood, coldly glaring at the young man she’d counted on to help watch her back all these years. “Are you done showing your hatred yet, Xander? ‘Cause if Spike hasn’t heard enough, I certainly have.”
“Hate me all you want, Buffy, but at least you know exactly where I stand.” Xander shook his head sadly, worry evident in his brown eyes. “I’m sure you won’t listen to my concerns regarding the bleached menace, so I hereby give up. No more comments, no more spewing venom, and no staking attempts. I only hope I never have to say ‘I told you so’ with this one. Or lose another friend, like Ms. Calendar.”
Spike cocked his head to the side, studying the younger man. “There’s more, isn’t there, Harris? You been cryin’, an’ I’m sure it’s not over hurtin’ my delicate feelings.”
His tirade having run it’s course, all pretense at bluster was put aside. Xander broke down, whispering one word: “Willow.”
Tara stood abruptly. “Xander. Tell me. What’s the matter with Willow?”
“Bitch can’t keep her magic outta other people’s business,” Spike grumbled, and received a sound smack on the back of his head from Buffy for his troubles.
“Not now,” she hissed. “I know you’re upset on my behalf as well as yours, but something’s really wrong for him to be this upset about her… especially in front of you.”
Xander concentrated solely on Tara. At least he knew how deeply she had loved Willow at one time – before she started taking things into her own hands. “She’s in trouble, Tara. You know she is. This business with Spike is just the final thing before she goes off the cliff big-time.”
“If one of you lot would have listened to me, I’d have told you that a long time ago.” Spike refused to quail under the sharp looks he received from everyone at his comment. “And don’t you all give me that ‘shut up, Spike’ bollocks. Red’s been going off the deep end for awhile now. Somethin’ don’t go her way, she’s lookin’ for a shortcut to fix it. Girl likes to be in control – just doesn’t seem to matter who gets in her way anymore.”
“Yea, and the earth will tremble, but I agree with Fangboy.” Xander shuddered, as if the very act of agreeing with the vampire was distasteful. “We’ve all been ignoring it for a long time, and ever since… well... ever since Buffy’s resurrection, Will’s been on a frustrated power trip. And the worst thing is, she means well.”
Giles sat deep in thought, wondering why he never followed through on his instincts to either fully train or control Willow’s burgeoning powers. Clichés sprang to mind… Absolute power corrupts absolutely… The road to hell is paved with good intentions… all fitting. Well, something had to be done, and immediately. Attempted murder was never a good sign.
“Tara, I do believe we need to contact the Coven in Devon. Perhaps they’ll know what’s to be done for Willow.” With a sigh, Giles removed his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose in a failed attempt to stem the headache threatening to swamp him. “It won’t be long before she ceases to recognize any boundaries at all at this rate.”
“Can I get a few words in now?” Buffy felt her priorities being torn in several different directions, but knew she had to make a stand, and now. “Nothing’s felt right for me since that dive off the tower. I don’t talk about it much, because none of you want to hear what I really have to say… except for Spike.”
“Now see here, Buffy. You know we’re always here for you.” Try as he might to be civil, Giles couldn’t help but feel incensed that they were all being thrown over for the vampire.”
“Right… you’re here for me until you decide to waltz off to England, even when I begged you not to leave. For my own good, you said. I don’t even ask for help, and I begged you not to leave. Have you cashed in your ticket yet? Are you here for me?” Buffy’s voice cracked as the tears began to fall.
“Willow’s still convinced she had the right to bring me back from the dead. Doesn’t even matter to her that she dragged me out of heaven. She’s just pissed because I’m not all ‘happy, quippy, grateful Buffy’. Xander’s too involved with his wedding and future to remember I probably don’t even have one, and Tara and I aren’t exactly close.”
Spike reached out for her tentatively; not wanting to spook her but wanting to offer his support. “S’all right, pet. Don’t take on so.”
Buffy stood, snaking her arm around the vampire’s waist and pulled him close to her side. “Who else wanted to listen to me whine but a pain in the ass vampire I couldn’t remove from my side with a shoehorn?” She smiled softly, taking the sting out of her words.
“I just needed time. I needed something, and Spike gave it to me. He gave me the time to rant and rave, or be silent and moody. All he asked for was to be near me, and… and… I usually stayed away because I was worried about you all finding out and judging me.” A small, maniacal laugh escaped her lips.
“Before Giles interrupted this morning, Spike and I were talking about changing attitudes towards each other. Me towards him, actually. Didn’t get too far with it, though. But I guess I can tell all of you at the same time. I want to see where it leads. Just being nice and pleasant, and giving him the simple courtesies I give anyone else.”
At Spike’s soft snicker, she rolled her eyes and amended her last statement. “Fine, smart ass – the courtesies I should be giving everybody else. I’m not expecting much. If you can’t be civil, just leave him alone. I’m gonna put some major time and effort into this, so just don’t go all wiggy on me. That’s it. Anyone have final parting words?”
When none were forthcoming, Buffy grabbed Spike’s arm in a move that left the others with a lingering sense of déjà vu, and headed back to the bedroom.