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Crazy Eights - Chapter 14

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends out there with children or
furry children, or children with scales, etc. May today be kind
to you in all possible ways.

Here's the next chapter of Crazy Eights - hoping you enjoy it, as
well.


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Hours later, sitting in Giles’ livingroom, Buffy stewed. Then stewed some more. She was a veritable head chef of stewdom. “How in the hell is that cockroach still causing trouble in my town?” she demanded of her Watcher.

Giles shook his head. “Ethan has always been capable of pulling off the most inane stunts and then escaping the consequences. I had hoped that, after his stint in the Initiative cells, he would be more circumspect. Clearly, I was wrong again.”

“You want me to take the git out, Rupert?” Spike paced circles around the room, obviously unable to sit still for even a moment.

Giles shook his head. “If anyone is going to take out Ethan, it’s going to be me. He’s always been my responsibility.”

Buffy watched the flare of Spike’s nostrils and suspected that violence was imminent. Clearly, learning that the attack he’d suffered through was simply a whim of Giles’ old whatever he was, had him riled.

She half expected him to fragment at any moment and come apart at the seams.

Centering herself, she took a few deep breaths, and projected calm, understanding thoughts towards her maniacally pacing vampire.

A minute later, Spike stopped mid-stride and, turned to Buffy with a look of awe in his eyes.

“Did you do that?” he asked, coming to sit by her side. “How – when – did you know you could do that?”

“I don’t know; I just had to try something. I figured I’d send it out into the ether in the hope of reaching you and whattya know, it worked. Can you…?”

Immediately, Buffy was hit with an intense wave of lust and desire. “Oh hell yeah,” she murmured. “It goes both ways.”

“What are the two of you jabbering on about?” Giles asked.

“We’ve discovered a new claim trick.” Buffy grinned, a blush forming along her cheeks and the tips of her ears. “And Spike is very, very good at it.”

The vampire preened, and did it again, almost causing Buffy to fall off her perch on the couch. “Stop that,” she hissed. “Not in front of my Watcher!”

“Oh dear lord. You old reprobate, Spike,” Giles turned his stern countenance his way. “Stop it at once!”

“Giles!” Buffy blush deepened, all the way down her décolletage. Unrepentant, Spike.

Spike nuzzled into her neck, taking deep lungful’s of air, as if trying to inhale her. “Spike!”

They were interrupted by the sound of knocking on the door. “Behave yourselves,” it was Giles turn to hiss before he opened the door to an irate Angel.

Angel’s eyes pivoted immediately to Spike and he charged towards his grandchilde.

“What did you do, idiot?” he yelled, grabbing Spike by the front of his t-shirt. “Who the hell did you turn? And why do you and Buffy suddenly look like the best of friends?”

“I haven’t turned anyone,” Spike protested, yanking himself free of Angel’s grasp.

“What are you here, Angel?” Buffy asked, truly perplexed. He hadn’t been in touch since he’d left for Los Angeles after Prom. “Did someone call you?” she asked, suspiciously.

“I wouldn’t put it past the whelp, Slayer,” Spike muttered. “He threatened to do it, if you remember.”

“Whelp?” Angel questioned. “Do you mean Xander? Why the hell would he call me?” Again he turned his attention to Spike and reiterated, “What did you do?”

“First off, Gramps, I don’t turn people. That was always more your thing, not mine.”

“Then why do I feel another presence along the family bloodline?” Now it was Angel’s turn to look perplexed. “There was also a sense of something ominous – a threat.”

Spike laughed, a full, deep-throated rumble of amusement. “Since when do you care about the family line? Since you got the soul, we’ve been pariahs to you.”

“Yes, Angel. Do tell why you’ve barged into my home and started roughing up Spike… not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, of course.” Giles barely managed to contain the smile threatening to break out on his face.

Angel pointed to a chair. “Do you mind?” When there were no objections, he sat.

Buffy walked over to Angel. “I’ll explain, but you have to promise me you’ll stay calm.” In need of support, she glanced at Spike and felt a wave of something reassuring and warm in return. Gaining confidence, she continued, “And you need to keep your hands off Spike, or I promise you I’ll live up to my calling.”

Oh no – not the dreaded puppy dog eyes. Happily, Buffy found herself totally unmoved. “Spike and I had a bit of a situation a couple of weeks ago,” she began, wringing her hands – a habit she’d developed when she was nervous.

“We were undercover in a new club, posing as a mated couple because the clientele was mainly vampires. We were suddenly surrounded and challenged; they were trying to take me away from Spike by declaring we weren’t claimants… Which, you know, we weren’t.”

Spike joined her, wrapping his arm around her waist, seemingly unfazed by the hostile sub-vocal growls the elder vampire was making.

“I’d promised to protect her, and honestly had never entertained the idea of initiating an actual claim, especially in public, but the Slayer was being pulled from my grasp, and the scene was getting ugly. I did the only thing that would guarantee her safety.”

“You bit her! You claimed my – her!” Angel roared, his eyes turning sulfurous. “You fucking little bastard. How dare you –”

“How dare he what, Angel? Protect me? Keep me from becoming a meal for some other vampire? You weren’t there. You couldn’t possibly know what was going on or how bad it was.”

“What happened next was the real surprise,” Spike continued. “The little minx shocked the hell out of me by claiming me back.” He pulled down the neckline of his tee to show off the imprint of her blunt teeth. “Trust me, we were both stunned, even though the Slayer had no idea of what she’d actually done.”

“I don’t have to defend my actions to you. Angel. I might not have known I was returning the claim and closing the bond, but it felt right at that moment. I usually tend to trust my instincts, so I went with my gut. And here we are. Claimed. Mated. Bonded for life.”

Each word seemed to hit Angel like a blow.

“We were thinking of calling you,” Giles offered. “We were hoping you would have information about the nature of such claims.”

“Breaking the claim would be next to impossible, if you want both claimants to live through it.” Angel looked as if he’d lost his best friend.

“Why does everyone think we want to break the bloody claim?” Spike exploded. “We just want to know if it’s the claim causing the closeness that we’ve been feeling lately.”

Buffy nodded her agreement. “I’m sorry, Angel. I’m not looking to break the claim at all. I just want to know what kind of free will we still have with the claim in place.”

Buffy’s words seemed to take the wind from Angel’s sails and his fangs retreated.

“The truth is, all I know about claims is that they’re usually between two vampires, occasionally between vampires and humans. There’s nothing written about a claim between a vampire and a slayer.”

“So all your vaunted knowledge is useless, then?” Spike snarked, hugging Buffy closer to him.

With more patience than he usually showed his errant family, Angel continued reluctantly. “What I can tell you, is this: the claim only accentuates what is already there. It can’t manufacture feelings. It’s why a forced mating is never successful – the couple usually ends up tearing each other apart.

“If you and Spike are having feeling for each other,” he said, rolling his eyes, “then the feelings were already there to begin with.”

Buffy whooped with unbridled glee, pulling Spike’s face to hers for a bruising kiss. “Angel, I don’t know how to thank you,” she said, upon coming up for air.

Angel looked to Giles for commiseration. “What the hell does she see in him?”

“Honestly, Angel?” Giles replied with a shrug.“I don’t have a bloody clue but, it appears, he makes her happy. Considering the hard lot in life slayers have, I’m glad she has someone to hold onto and anchor her place in the world.”

Angel harrumphed, his face decidedly green around the gills. “I don’t have to sit here and watch them have at each other, at least,” he said, standing and heading towards the door. “If he hurts her in any way, however… ”

“Yeah, yeah, Gramps, you’ll stake me good and proper. Sing me a new one, Angel,” Spike said, rising from his Buffy gropefest momentarily. “I’d offer myself for the stake if I were to cause Buffy any pain.”

“As long as we’re all in agreement, then,” Giles concluded. “I think I’ll take myself out for a walk. I could do with a bit of fresh air.”

His words, however, fell on deaf ears… as Spike and Buffy had already resumed their amorous activities, and Angel had left the building.