Author: Spike’s Heart
Pairing: Spike/Buffy, Dawn
Rating: General – see warning
Setting: Season Five – post The Body
Disclaimer: If they were mine, I’d let them grow up.
Feedback: Yes, please!
Author’s Notes: shapinglight revived a dormant plot bunny. Thanks, love!
Archive: Ask me, nicely.
Warning: Pfft… It’s Spike – a naughty word or two, and mention of nudity
Beta’d by: purplefeen. Any remaining boo boos are my own.
Summary: Just a little flight of fancy from the time when the world was on Buffy’s shoulders.
Lovely banner created by liliaeth
The wee hours of the morning found Spike skulking through back alleys, kicking angrily at the trash lining the streets. With any luck he’d find a couple of fledges trolling for dinner around the seedy bars and clubs found in the demon-frequented part of town. Anything to ease the pain of Joyce Summers’ passing. Her daughters’ heartbreak was enough to bring him low, and it pissed him off that he felt their pain as well as his own so keenly. Even the intrepid little band of Slayer faithful walked around practically draped in crepe. Unfortunately for him, the night was quiet. It did, however, make a plaintive meowing, followed by hissing and spitting, easy to hear.
Having nothing better to do, Spike headed towards the sound since he’d rather do anything but head for his lonely crypt, and found an odd tableau – a tiny gray and white tabby, all puffed up and furious, surrounded by a pack of dogs. Whilst they weren’t attacking, they were slowly encroaching on the kitty’s rapidly diminishing territory.
Instead of trying to flee, the little thing struck out, thwapping a dog on the nose, drawing blood with its sharp claws. Except for the occasional yelp as it struck out again and again, the dogs continued to advance.
His sense of fair play kicked in. “Oi, mates,” he called out, gameface to the fore. “Go pick on someone your own size,” he growled for emphasis, amber eyes flashing.
The dogs scattered. Obviously they thought Spike was the bigger threat and turned tail in a hurry. The cat, however, did no such thing. It sat, daintily licking its paws and grooming itself as if it suddenly didn’t have a care in the world.
“Not afraid of me, kitten?” Spike asked, scooping the little animal up in his arms. A quick peek told the tale, and Spike looked directly into the feline’s hazel green eyes. A quick flash of paw to his nose drew blood, and the amused vampire laughed.
“Had ta know a female of any species would be trouble,” he muttered, wiping the blood from his nose and licking the ruby red from his fingers. “Think I’m gonna call you Slayer, s’long as you promise not to tell her.”
Spike opened the flap of one of his duster’s deep pockets and deposited the cat inside. She fought the confinement; occasionally a nail pierced the leather and snagged his denims, but eventually she settled down for the remainder of Spike’s trip back to the crypt. There really wasn’t anywhere else for him to go.
He shoved the slab covering the lower level aside; descending a couple of steps down the ladder, before moving it back in place, and jumped the remaining distance to the floor. The vampire landed gracefully, barely disturbing his furry companion.
Spike managed to fish the cat out of his duster’s pocket without so much as a claw embedded in his hand. “Dunno why I bothered to take you home with me,” he mused, watching the cat knead his top sheet into a pile. “I’ve no use for another little predator. Got nothing to feed you, but I s’pose if you’re hungry, there’re plenty of little beasties skulking in the tunnels.”
The cat absolutely ignored him, now nestled amidst the soft silk. Her eyes closed to slits, showing only the barest of color, before falling asleep.
“Not quite the way I pictured sharing a bed with the Slayer… just keep your claws to yourself, and we’ll get along like houses. Maybe I’ll see if Niblet wants you. Perk her up a bit,” Spike murmured, skinning out of his clothes.
And if he fell asleep curled up around the warm little fuzzball, there was nobody there to rat him out.
Several hours later, Spike awoke to something warm dripping across his face and a weight upon his chest.
“What the bloody hell…”
Sitting up, Spike swiped his hand across his mouth and found the half-chewed remains of a dead mouse. The kitten was firmly settled on his chest, despite his change of position.
“You bringing me brekkie in bed, Slayer?” he asked, her luminous green eyes staring at what was left of the mouse in his hand.
“Meow, meow,” she seemed to answer back, jumping daintily off his chest, leaving little pinpricks where her claws snagged his skin.
“Much as I appreciate it, love,” Spike said, skritching behind the furball’s ears, “I’ll get my own meal. You’ve mistaken me for my erstwhile Sire. The Great Poof’s the one who eats rodents, not me.” He tossed the remains to the floor, only to have them brought back immediately. Several more attempts to distance himself from Mr. Mouse failed, as Slayer brought them back to him each and every time.
“You’re a headstrong little bint, you are,” he chuckled, finally tossing the thing into a tunnel. “I’ll see what I can do about getting you some real cat food once it’s dark enough.”
“Meow,” she agreed.
Spike shook his head. “Talking to a cat – that’s a new low for me,” he muttered. Still, there was something about her…
“Spi-ike!” Dawn’s strident cry rang from the upstairs chamber.
“Be right up, Niblet,” he called, pulling on his jeans. “And you,” he said, addressing the cat. “You stay here and keep yourself out of trouble.” One last affectionate stroke to the kitten’s back made her purr softly, and he smiled before heading up the ladder.
“What are you doing here, Platelet?” he asked, crossly. “Big sis’ll pitch a fit that you’re not at school. And if she finds you here, we’re both toast.”
“Sh-she didn’t come home last night,” Dawn whimpered. Her eyes were filled with unshed tears and her lower lip wibbled. Spike reached out to comfort her, but pulled back at the last minute. “Did you see her? Or hear something?”
“Sorry, kitten,” he said softly. “Haven’t seen the Slayer at all for a couple of days.”
Dawn nodded and sniffled, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. “She’s been real weird since Mom… since Mom… died. She’ll yell at me about school, and cleaning my room, and helping around the house, but she’s never around to help me with my homework, or… or… Sometimes I just wanna talk to her. She’s my sister, Spike,” Dawn cried. “She’s the only family I have left.”
Spike’s reserve broke and he gathered the weepy girl into his arms. “S’all right, Niblet,” he crooned, pushing the curtain of long brunette hair back from her face. “I’m sure the Slayer’ll turn up right quick, an’ she’ll be waitin’ for you to come home from school.”
“Do I have to go?” She looked at him with pleading blue eyes, still shimmering with un-spilled tears. He could tell the effort it took for her not to let loose and bawl.
“Pidge, if it were up to me, I’d let you stay, but Buffy…”
“Meow! Meow, meow!”
At that moment, Spike’s little guest decided to make herself known.
“Oh. My. God!” From sniffles to squeals in zero-to-sixty. “Do you have a kitty?”
Spike rolled his eyes. Well, he had thought about offering the little moggy to her in the first place. Now was as good a time as any, he guessed. He leaned over the hole leading to the lower level, and found – to his surprise – that Slayer had made it halfway up the wooden ladder, clinging to the rung with all her might.
“C’mere, you little minx,” he said, gently unhooking her claws from the ladder before hauling her to safety. “Found the little thing trying to hold her own against a pack of mutts last night. She looked like she could use a good home,” he said to Dawn.
“Awwwww!” The teenager reached out and Spike deposited the little cat into her waiting arms. “She’s beautiful, but Buffy would pitch a fit,” she admitted, thinking about their lack of income. “It’s hard enough getting us fed.”
“That bad, Niblet?” He’d known things were tight, but not the extent of their troubles.
Dawn nodded. “She’s had to drop out of college, and Dad’s child support – if and when he sends it – just isn’t enough to cover the mortgage, and clothes and food and… and…”
“Got the picture, pet.” Gotta be something I can do to help. Joyce would have wanted someone to look after her girls. “Why don’t we leave the kitty here, an’ you can visit. With the Slayer’s permission,” he added.
Looking down at the little grey and white kitten nestled in her arms, Dawn was all too happy to agree. “Does he… or she… have a name?” she asked.
Spike was glad that vampires couldn’t blush. “Called her Slayer, but it’s probably best if you rename her. I don’t think your sister would approve.”
Dawn stroked the sleepy kitten’s head, enraptured by the way she leaned into her hand, enjoying the contact. “She’s so cute!”
“Don’t you dare name her Muffin… or Bitsy… or some disgusting treacle like that,” Spike grumped. “My reputation’s shot enough without something like that becoming known. And remember, she’s a little warrior, not just a piece of fluff.”
Dawn laughed, and it warmed his heart. So much better than the state she came here in. “Oh! I’ve got the perfect name – Tigerlily. We can call her Tiger, for short.”
“Fitting enough,” Spike agreed. “Hand her over, pet. You’d best leave for school now… better late than absent. Just mind yourself leaving here. Not all baddies hunt at night.”
She hesitated a moment after handing Tigerlily over, then gave him a quick hug before he could object. “Thanks, Spike, for… for…”
“Never you mind, Bit. M’sure Buffy will be home soon, an’ you’ll be back to fussing with each other in record time. I’ll keep an eye out, though… just in case.”
He watched as the girl shoved at the crypt door, enough to get out without letting in too much vampire-frying sunlight, and shoved it closed behind her.
“Bit’s gonna get herself hurt, bein’ careless… Tiger,” Spike said, trying out the kitten’s new name. “Have ta have a talk with her sis about that.”
Tiger opened her eyes, staring at Spike as if she understood. She yawned, showing her tiny, little fangs. The vampire couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah, you’re cute,” he said, tickling her furry belly. “Just don’t let on that I told you so.”
He turned on the telly and settled into his armchair, kitten in his lap. “Passions is on, bitlet,” Spike murmured, absently petting the little beast. “You be quiet and we’ll get along just fine.” Before long, both were sound asleep.
Coming back to consciousness, Spike was aware of two things. One, his demon was alert to a strong sense of danger, and two, the weight in his lap was heavier than a kitten could ever lay claim to be. He slowly opened his eyes, and was greeted to the sight of a sleeping Slayer. A gloriously naked Buffy laid out across his lap like an offering.
He had all of thirty seconds to ogle when he heard her heartbeat quicken and her body stiffen. Spike reached up and snagged his duster off the back of the armchair and drew it over the shoulders of the now wide-awake Slayer.
“What? How… what?” Buffy stumbled as she scrambled off of Spike’s lap, pulling his duster around to cover her body. “What did you do?” she demanded.
“Ain’t done a thing, Slayer,” he retorted, scowling right back at her. “Point of fact, all I did was rescue a kitty from a pack of dogs last night, and woke up with a lap full of naked human. The question should be… what did you do?”
Spike continued on the defensive. “Not to mention the Bit is scared to death that you never showed up at home last night. Was there anyone at home to look out for her? Silly bint tried to cut school and hang out here, hoping I’d know where you were.”
Shamefaced, Buffy wrapped the duster more tightly around her thin frame. Looked like the chit hadn’t been eating well – too thin for her own good.
“All I remember is patrolling – same as usual. I was just thinking… Oh my god! Stupid, stupid Buffy,” she groaned, slapping her forehead in disgust. “I made a wish. A stupid, selfish wish. All I wanted was a little time to myself where I wasn’t responsible for anyone or anything, and someone to take care of me for a change.”
“Seems like you got what you wanted, then,” Spike mused, thinking just how fetching the Slayer looked in his duster and nothing else.
“You… you didn’t touch me, did you?” Buffy’s lower lip quivered and she looked like a little kid who’d dropped her ice cream on the ground.
“What kind of pervert do you think I am?” Spike’s indignant voice caused Buffy to wince. “Never mind… I know what you think of me, but… I don’t fuck kittens, or take advantage of you. You know how I feel about you, even if you won’t believe me.”
She did, indeed, have the good graces to blush.
“On the other hand, consider yourself lucky I didn’t decide to have you as a snack. I do eat…”
“Finish that sentence and I will dust you,” Buffy growled, a look of disgust on her face. “You’re a pig, Spike. Nothing but an evil, soulless pig!”
“Shoulda used you as a poker chip at Willie’s, you infuriating bint! Seems to me you could be a little grateful you’re not puppy chow.”
Buffy turned on her heels and slammed out of the crypt, a sharp cry of pain mere seconds later brought Spike as close to the door as he dared.
“Slayer… you’re bleeding!”
“What gave it away?” she asked, the sarcasm dripping from her words. “The way I’m hobbling back here, or all that red stuff dripping over your nice dirt floor.”
Spike shepherded her back towards the armchair they’d recently vacated and lifted her foot to inspect the wound. “Nice piece of glass… you startin’ a collection?”
“This is what happens when idiots start hanging around a cemetery,” she groaned as Spike prodded her heel. “Damned broken beer bottle ruined a perfectly good exit.”
“It’s not serious – no stitches needed,” he said, stripping off his shirt.
“What… what are you doing?” Buffy’s eyes widened in fear.
Spike chuckled. “I’d say don’t get your knickers in a twist, ‘cept you’re not wearin’ any.” He ripped the tee into several wide strips and bound her foot.
“Put some pressure on it – be back in a tic.” He emerged from the lower level with a box of medical supplies and a bowl of water. “What? You think I never get hurt?” he said at her incredulous look.
“Why are you being nice to me?”
“With your attitude, I don’t rightly know. I can stop being nice… just hand me my duster and be on your merry way.”
“N-no, thanks,” Buffy murmured and mimed locking her lips and throwing away the key.
With a roll of his eyes, Spike continued with his ministrations, gently washing the sole of her foot, and cleansing the rapidly closing cut.
“I don’t have a pair of shoes that’d fit you,” he said, “so either you wait until it’s dark and I run and get your kit from your house, or I can carry you through the sewers and let you walk the last bit barefooted.”
Buffy chewed her bottom lip, obviously trying to figure out what would be worse. “Dawn’ll worry if I’m not home when she gets back from school. I’ve already been gone too long. Besides… the disinvite…”
Spike shrunk in on himself just a little at the reminder of his declaration of love gone wrong. “Was gonna get your sis to bring out your stuff.”
“Fine.” Buffy stood and gingerly tested putting weight on her injured foot. “Would you please cover yourself? You’re blinding me with your pallor.”
“Sure you don’t like what you see, Slayer?” Spike stretched, showing off extremely well-toned muscles in all the right places. At her arched eyebrow, he went back to his bedroom and donned one of his last remaining tee shirts. “Don’t say I never sacrificed anything for you,” he called up.
“Only one more detail to work out, Slayer. Want the rescued damsel carry, the fireman’s carry or a piggy back ride?”
One look at her mortified expression and Spike knew there was no way she’d press her bare self against his neck. Ah well. At her nod, he scooped her up and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. A quick drop to the lower level, and out through the tunnels and Buffy was on her way home.
The next evening, Spike found his duster, along with four quarts of pig’s blood and a note.
“Thanks for taking care of me, Spike. It seems that wishes can come true… even for a little while.”
Spike treasured that little note for the rest of his days.