|Story Title:||Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?|
Every Breath You Take
(In the Rome!Universe)
Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004
The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004
Annie turned five on February 14th.
Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)
Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.
All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.
Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.
The Black Thorn been taken out, the demon army’s been defeated and Spike’s gotten his memories back … now, they just need to get back home… Will Angel be a help or a hindrance to them?
Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta,
her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always
The Police, Every Breath You Take
This story involves jumping dimensions to the Universe where Angel and his team work for W&H - where Buffy visited before and sent Spike to Rome to be with the Buffy in that dimension. In lieu of calling it the "EvilJoss!" Universe, which is what I normally call it in my own mind, I'm calling it the "Rome!" Universe.
Where characters cross over (where the same character from both universes are in the story), I will differentiate the ones from the Rome Universe by calling them Rome!Spike or Rome!Buffy, for example. If, however, only one of the characters is present, then I won't make that distinction.
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.
It was late in the night when Tara got back to the Army hospital and found everyone. They were all still there… some under the care of the staff, while many others, like most of the Slayers that had been gathered, simply waited for further instructions. Tara let everyone know to meet at the Hyperion, that Buffy and Spike would meet them there in the morning.
Wednesday, June 31st, 2004
Despite having not gotten much sleep over the last few days and nights, Rome!Spike woke at dawn the next morning in the room they’d taken at the Hyperion, per Tara’s instructions. Rome!Buffy was cuddled against his side, her head on his shoulder, her long, soft hair fanned out across his hard chest, one of her bare legs curled around his like a golden snake and one of her hands rested on his chest, just above his beating heart.
He thought she looked like an angel and still couldn’t believe that it was real. That she was his … that he was hers – not her dirty little secret, but her husband, her mate and now, not even her vampire, but her man. Rome!Spike laid his hand over hers on his chest and could feel his pulse and hers, their hearts beating in time to an unheard melody - a melody of love and passion and triumph. Triumph over not only the Black Thorn and the Senior Partners’ army of hell, but over their own reservations, fears and doubts … triumph over insecurity and inaction.
When Rome!Spike thought of those months he’d been in L.A. … alive, but frozen with fear of rejection, he knew how close he’d come to never realizing this dream. If not for Buffy coming from the other dimension and not only reassuring him but also kicking his ass into gear, he never would’ve taken the chance – he may have never told Rome!Buffy that he was still alive and never given her the chance to prove that her words in the Hellmouth were true. She did love him.
Rome!Spike slipped out of Rome!Buffy’s embrace and slid out of the bed. He pulled on his jeans and silently left their room. It had been so long since he’d felt the sun on his skin…he just had to feel it now – now that he’d Shanshued and was a ‘real boy’. That was the second thing he’d wanted to do as a human … the first he’d done most of the previous night, and that was to make love to his wife. Embrace her with warmth, feel his heart pounding in his chest and feel his lungs urgent for air as she called his name, clung to him and enveloped him in her love and passion.
Rome!Spike was happy to find that the PTB hadn’t turned him back into William when he Shanshued … in fact, he felt just as strong as he had as a vampire. It was like the PTB knew that Rome!Buffy needed more than just a mortal man … more than William, she needed ‘Spike’. They apparently left a little monster in the man … perhaps like Lindsey had described Connor to them – like a male Slayer. It appeared that even the claim had stayed in place; he’d been able to join Rome!Buffy in her dreams after they both fell into a content, but exhausted, sleep just a couple of hours ago.
Rome!Spike made his way up to the roof of the hotel as the sun cleared the tall buildings to the east. He watched and waited for the tingling on his spine to warn him of the danger … but it never came. He felt his heart beat faster and adrenaline rush through his veins as the sunlight crept slowly towards him – his urge was to run from it … go back inside, to find cover. He’d hidden from it for so long, it was hard to fight that urge. His mind knew that it wouldn’t hurt him now, but his instinct was shouting “Danger!” at him.
Rome!Spike held his breath and stood firm as the sunlight slid up his denim covered legs and finally touched the bare skin of his stomach and hands – kissing him with its warmth and bathing him in a golden glow. There was no fire, no burning, no smoke … just sunlight on skin.
I wonder if I’ll freckle … Rome!Spike thought with a sly smile as the rays slid slowly up his abs, caressing his chest and making his skin tingle with it's warmth, before covering him completely with its once deadly energy.
Rome!Spike closed his eyes as the sun bathed him in light, turning his face slightly this way, then that, wanting to feel its power on every bit of his skin.
Rome!Buffy had awoken when he left their room and now walked up behind him, wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head against a bare shoulder-blade. “Look at you, all un-dusty in the sun,” she said quietly as she hugged closer to his back.
“Yeah,” Rome!Spike agreed, laying his hands over hers where they held him around the waist. “Look at me… You know what that means, don’t ya?”
“Hmmmm…I’m thinking Coppertone 45,” Rome!Buffy replied with a smile.
Rome!Spike smiled and turned in her arms to face her. He lifted her chin up and kissed her softly on the lips, then pulled back and looked into her eyes. “It means, you can have a normal life … we can be normal.
“Live in a house with a white picket fence and geraniums in the winda’ boxes and rug-rats in the yard. You don’ have to be The Slayer … the world’s full of bloody Slayers now.
“You can be Buffy, you can be Mrs. Weckerly … you can be whoever you bloody well want to be – president of the garden club, futball mum, head of the soddin’ PTA! You could teach ice skatin’ or gymnastics or you could stay home and watch Passions and be naughty with me all day … You can do anythin’. WE can do anythin’!
“Wishes are horses today, Buffy,” Rome!Spike told her, his eyes full of love as he watched the emotions his words stirred in her dance in her eyes and tug her lips into a small smile.
Rome!Buffy laid one hand on Rome!Spike’s cheek as her eyes wandered over his face before finally settling back on his deep, blue eyes. “If I stay home and be naughty with you any more than I already do, then it won’t be long before the yard is overrun with rug-rats,” she said with a smile.
“Not that it’s not tempting …” she added, giving his ass a light squeeze with one hand.
Changing to a serious tone, Rome!Buffy said, “You and I, we’ll never be normal, Spike … it’s just not who we are. We’re ‘Abby Normal’,” she told him with a smile.
“I used to want ‘normal’ more than anything in the world … but I realized a while ago that what I’ve got is special.
“We always want what we don’t have, don’t we? We have brown hair, we want blond, we have curly hair, we use a bottle of hair gel every week to keep it straight …” Rome!Buffy observed with a smirk and Spike rolled his eyes.
“But you know what?” she continued, her tone soft and serious. “Since the day you got off that plane in Rome, wishes have been horses for me … I don’t need normal – whatever normal is – I just need you.
“As long as you’re with me, I’m good, I’m happy … I’m riding a horse,” Buffy said, then her face twisted up, her eyes went wide, and she quickly said, “Not literally, of course … I meant, you know … ‘wishes and horses and beggars would ride’ … I’m not saying you’re a horse … of course … well – I’ve seen some horses less well endowed and with less stamina, but … I didn’t mean …
“God! Could you please stop me from talking now?” she begged, her face scrunched up in horror at how terribly wrong that conversation went.
Rome!Spike laughed and leaned down, taking her lips in a kiss and pulling her against him. His heart beat in his chest until he thought it might break it as he held her against him and tasted her, deepening the kiss as their tongues swirled and danced together. Her words echoed in his mind, Since the day you got off that plane in Rome, wishes have been horses for me … I don’t need normal – whatever normal is – I just need you.
Yes, wishes really were horses for them now …
About mid-morning, Buffy and Spike came down to the lobby of the Hyperion to find a large group gathered there.
From their home dimension there were twenty-five Slayers, including Faith, plus Willow and Tara and an injured, but ambulatory, Giles. Six Slayers from their home dimension had died in the battle as they fought alongside Angel at the other end of the alley from the group near the hotel.
From the ‘Twilight Zone’ (aka the Rome!Universe) dimension they were currently in, there was another Giles, who was currently on the phone in Angel’s office, trying to get in touch with Riley to get the bodies released from wherever the army had taken them, Andrew, and their counterparts, the newlyweds, Buffy and Spike, in addition to Lindsey and Darla. Wes was still in the hospital and Angel had stayed there with him. Illyria had taken Dru to the docks and put her in a hold of a ship headed for Antarctica, then joined Angel in Wes’ room at the hospital.
Rome!Willow and Charles Gunn had perished in the battle, along with two Slayers from this dimension. Rome!Giles had sent the remaining Slayers that he’d called in for the battle back to their regular posts that morning.
Buffy took a deep breath as she and Spike walked down the stairs from the second floor landing. What do we do now? she thought to herself as she surveyed the group gathered in the large lobby.
There were Slayers sitting and laying all over the floor – some had bandages on injuries … some were sleeping, others were playing cards, still others were sharpening weapons.
Empty fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes, and Chinese food containers littered nearly every free surface along with soda cans, water bottles, and some coffee cups. Andrew buzzed around the group, trying to clean up the worst of it and bringing more drinks and food in for everyone.
Willow and Tara were working on getting more rooms ready for the Slayers so they could all get showers and some decent sleep, since it was unclear how long they would be stuck here.
Faith, Giles, Rome!Buffy, and Rome!Spike were standing near the doorway of Angel’s office listening as Rome!Giles tried to get through to Riley and get the human bodies released … which included Rome!Willow as well as Charles Gunn and Slayers from both dimensions.
Darla and Lindsey were in the small kitchenette off to one side of the lobby mostly trying to keep to themselves and away from the Slayers, many of whom weren’t particularly happy about the situation or anyone that had anything to do with them being here in the first place.
Buffy and Spike walked up to where Rome!Buffy and Rome!Spike were standing near the door of Angel’s office and Buffy drew her counterpart into hug as tears stung her eyes.
“Tara told me what happened, I’m so sorry,” Buffy told her.
Rome!Buffy wiped tears from her eyes as Buffy released her and nodded her head. “Me too… she’s been my best friend for so long … what do I do without her?”
Buffy shook her head; she didn’t know what to tell her. Buffy had no idea how she’d deal with losing Willow … or Tara, for that matter. They were part of their family – the old picture that Annie had drawn of their family popped into Buffy’s mind … Willow and Tara, Spike and Buffy – they’d all come to depend on each other and love each other like family – how do you deal with losing someone like that?
“I don’t know …” Buffy told Rome!Buffy as she drew her back into another strong hug.
“Just don’t shut Spike out,” Buffy advised her quietly. “He can help …”
Rome!Buffy nodded against Buffy’s shoulder and pulled back, giving Buffy a sad smile. “Some honeymoon!” Rome!Buffy remarked, wiping tears from her eyes. “Where did you go for your honeymoon?” Rome!Buffy mocked. “Oh, we went to hell … wanna see the pictures?”
Buffy smiled at her. “Well, I went to the hospital and had a baby for our honeymoon…” she told her. “It’s sort of the same, only you get a present to bring home with you. Word of advice … if they offer you an epidural – take it!”
Rome!Buffy laughed through her tears. “I’ll remember that.”
All eyes turned to Rome!Giles as he slammed the phone down in the office. “Bloody pillocks!” he exclaimed before looking up and realizing he had an audience. “Ummm…what I mean is … they won’t connect me to Finn, they don’t know anything about anything that may or may not have happened in L.A. recently and they bloody well don’t have any civilian bodies in their morgue.”
“They said ‘bloody well’?” Rome!Buffy questioned.
“No…I added that,” Rome!Giles admitted, standing up from the desk and walking out to the group.
“I could go find Cap’n Cardboard in the flesh and have a little chat with ‘im,” Rome!Spike offered with a smirk.
“I could help …” Spike interjected brightly.
“NO!” came from both Buffys.
“I’ll do it,” Rome!Buffy told them. “Do we have any idea where to start looking for him?” she asked looking at Rome!Giles.
Rome!Giles shrugged. “Perhaps Willow can …. Oh, dear Lord … I mean …oh my,” Rome!Giles said, removing his glasses and blinking back tears of his own as the realization hit him again that Rome!Willow was gone.
“Maybe Andrew could…” Buffy suggested softly.
“Indeed … yes... Andrew. I’ll go talk to him, see if he can locate anything about where Finn may be … and what they’ve done with…” Rome!Giles let his voice trail off as he walked away to find Andrew – everyone understood his meaning.
“Ok, everyone, gather ‘round,” Andrew announced as he sat at the computer a little while later. Rome!Buffy, Rome!Giles and both Spikes gathered around him to see what he had. Buffy, Faith, and Giles were checking on the Slayers that Giles had brought with him from their dimension, making sure all the bandages were clean and secure and everyone had ample food and drink.
“I had to hack into the army’s mainframe … that, of course, was like … duh! …” Andrew started, rolling his eyes. “A twelve character password … and all lowercase alpha-numeric! Don’t they even read their own intelligence reports!?” Andrew asked rhetorically before continuing. “But, there wasn’t any info on there about a battle in ‘L.A.’ … then, I figured out they aren’t calling L.A. ‘L.A.’, they’re calling it ‘Finn’s Foray’ … so, then, I cross referenced that with casualties and, well, that wasn’t very easy … because they don’t call casualties ‘casualties’ ….”
“ANDREW!” Rome!Spike exclaimed, covering his ears with his hands to stop the sound of Andrew’s voice from entering his brain. “Get to the bloody point! Did ya’ find the wanker or not!?”
“Silly, handsome superhero,” Andrew started, rolling his eyes. “Of course I found the wank … uhhh … Finn … and I found where the morgue is.”
“You better get to the point, Andrew. You know Spike has the attention span of a gnat," Rome!Buffy teased, cutting her eyes at Rome!Spike with a sly smile.
"And the chiseled body of a Greek god," Andrew added under his breath, turning his eyes back to the computer screen innocently.
“I can still hear you!” Rome!Spike pointed out, rolling his eyes and taking his hands off his ears.
"Is he always like that?" Spike asked Rome!Buffy, referring to Andrew.
"No ... sometimes he's asleep," Rome!Buffy admitted, rolling her eyes.
“Get on with it then! Where’s the enormous hall monitor hidin’?” Rome!Spike demanded of his 'biggest fan'.
It turned out that the army had set up a base in the warehouse district by the docks, taking over several of the empty warehouses there to use as research facilities/morgues for the demons and humans. Since it was Riley’s dream that had given them the heads-up about the battle, he had been put in charge of the operation. Andrew printed out a map and directions from MapQuest and handed them to Rome!Buffy.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come?” Andrew asked with a slight whine in his voice. “I could help, you know, with Finn …”
“You don’t even know Riley,” Rome!Buffy pointed out.
“Well, I know what Spike told me about him! He sounds like a total jerkwad and I have experience with jerks – just look at all the time I spent with Warren!” Andrew defended.
Rome!Buffy rolled her eyes. “Andrew, stay here and make sure everyone’s comfortable … If Angel shows up, make sure Buffy and Spike know about it and don’t let him leave until they talk to him. I’m sure your ‘jerk experience’ will come in handy …”
Andrew brightened considerably; he loved being able to throw Buffy’s weight around – and doing it with Angel would be a bonus. “Excellent … excellent plan! I’ll keep a vigilant watch for the dark vampyre! Nothing will get past me … he’ll never make it in here without me sounding the alert …”
“And, if he gives you any lip, stake him,” Rome!Buffy called over her shoulder as she and Rome!Spike followed Rome!Giles out of the hotel to the garage – directions to the army’s temporary HQ in hand.
“Where are you going?” Rome!Buffy asked Rome!Spike when she realized he was tagging along behind her.
“With you,” Rome!Spike told her, as he sauntered past her and continued following Rome!Giles.
“No … I said I’d handle it,” Rome!Buffy pointed out as she trotted behind him and grabbed his arm.
“And I say, I’m goin’ with ya,” Rome!Spike insisted. “You don’ know what you’ll find … you don’t know what you’ll have to do to even get the wanker to talk to ya. You think Rupes is gonna be able to help if ya have to fight your way in?”
Rome!Buffy sighed. “Spike, you aren’t a vampire anymore … they have guns … guns can kill you now. We need to handle this with a certain amount of … tact.”
“I got tact … I got tact out the ass! I invited the wanker to our weddin’, didn’ I?! How much more civil could I be?” Rome!Spike argued. “And guns can kill you too, Slayer …” Rome!Spike pointed out. “I’m going with ya.”
Rome!Buffy sighed and started walking again towards where Rome!Giles waited by a rental car. “Fine … let’s go then, Mr. Tact,” Buffy acquiesced.
“Not letting the Watcher drive, though … he can’t remember what side of the bloody road to drive on half the time!” Rome!Spike told her as he approached the driver’s door and held his hand out to Rome!Giles for the keys.
About three hours later, Angel came in through the sewer entrance and headed for the stairs. Being ever vigilant, Andrew stopped him before he got halfway across the lobby floor.
“Spike and Buffy need to talk to you,” Andrew informed Angel.
“Yeah … well, it can wait,” Angel replied tiredly as he pushed past Andrew and continued across the lobby.
“I have permission from Buffy to stake you!” Andrew called after Angel as he ascended the stairs.
“Get in line,” Angel retorted without turning around as he continued walking up the stairs.
Andrew looked around the lobby and finally found Spike talking on the phone in Angel’s office. He walked up to the door and listened …
“Yeah, that’s right, twenty bloomin’ onions, ten orders of spicy wings … make that three mild, three medium, two ‘3 mile island’, and two ‘911’ … yeah … and, what do you have for dessert? ….. Ok, good – send five key lime pies, five caramel fudge cheesecakes and five … no, six chocolate mousse cakes …. No, not slices – whole!
“…. Yeah, yeah … how much? Yeah, that’s fine – we have an account with you … Yeah, Angel Investigations? … Brilliant … Oh – and be sure to add on a 30% tip for the delivery guy … yeah … You’re very welcome! Be sure to tell your friends, ‘we help the hapless.’ ”
Spike smirked as he hung up the phone and gathered up all the menus from on top of Angel’s desk and shoved them back in one of the drawers.
Andrew cleared his throat and Spike looked up. “I think it goes ‘we help the hopeless’,” Andrew pointed out, picking up one of the business cards off the desk and handing it to Spike. Spike rolled his eyes and ignored him.
“Got more food comin’ … good food, none o’ that fast-food crap – courtesy of Angel Investigations,” Spike informed him. “Should be here within the hour they said. May need to run out and get some beer, though … look what I found! Angel’s American Express Card … he shouldn’ve left home without it…” Spike quipped, waving the credit card in the air.
“You went through his desk,” Andrew accused.
“’Course!” Spike exclaimed, standing up and pocketing the credit card. “Wanker kidnaps the lot of us for his bloody apocalypse … least he can do is foot the bill for some soddin’ decent takeaway.”
“Well, he’s back … he went upstairs. Buffy … my Buffy, said to tell you when he got here. I tried to stop him, but he kept going. Buffy gave me permission to stake him if he gave me any lip!”
“C’mon Andrew … I’ll help ya with that,” Spike offered with a smirk, picking up some chopsticks from one of the Chinese food containers someone had left on the desk.
“What are ya gonna do … poke his eye out?!” Andrew asked Spike as he went to the computer desk, reached into a duffel bag on the floor under it and pulled out a ten inch stake. “Now, that's a stake!” Andrew drawled in a poor imitation of Crocodile Dundee, waving it at Spike.
“Give me that ‘fore you hurt someone who matters…namely me!” Spike reprimanded as he grabbed it from Andrew.
“I have more…” Andrew offered, leaning back down towards the duffel bag.
“Only need one …” Spike told him, grabbing Andrew’s arm and pulling him away from the weapons and shoving him in front of him towards the stairs.
Spike followed Angel’s scent to his room … it wasn’t hard since it was the room that Spike and Buffy had commandeered the previous evening … Spike had chosen it especially for that reason.
Andrew started to knock, but Spike just opened the door and let Andrew enter in front of him. Angel was standing in the middle of the room looking at the disheveled bed with a fairly disgusted look on his face – he looked up at Andrew when he stepped through the doorway.
“Angel,” Andrew began, his voice confident as he carried out Buffy’s order. “Spike and Buffy need to talk to you immediately.”
“I don’t think …” Angel started.
“Well, you better start thinking harder, oh, dark creature of the night! I have permission to stake you from Buffy herself!” Andrew warned him.
Angel narrowed his eyes at him and moved towards him. “You and who’s army?”
“That would be the army of Spike!” Andrew announced, stepping to the side of the doorway to allow Spike to come in behind him.
“I was hopin’ you’d be a pillock! Been waitin’ a long time for this…” Spike said with a smirk as he started towards Angel with the stake Andrew had given him.
“If you had let me finish,” Angel started. “What I was going to say is I don’t think you’d have any problem finding me – since you slept in my bed last night!”
Spike stopped moving forward and smirked at his grandsire. “And it was juuust right, papa bear.”
“Why don’t you grow up, Spike!?” Angel retorted, his hands curling into fists.
“It’s more fun not to … you know what fun is, don’t cha? Oh, no – I forgot … Angel can’t ‘ave any fun … he’s the bloody Martyr of the Aurelians!
“Why don’ you get over yourself, Peaches?! Nobody gives a rat’s ass ‘bout shit that happened two hundred bloody years ago! Nobody but you!” Spike informed him, using the stake in his hand to point at Angel for emphasis.
“Poor Angel … got such a tortured soul … all those people he killed haunt ‘im! Well, guess what! You aren’t the only one with ghosts!! You’re just the only one who can’t come to grips with the fact that what’s done is done – you do the best you can today but nothin’ you do now is gonna bring a single one of those people back!
“What makes you think you’re the ‘Lord of the Damned’ is beyond me! You got no right doing what you done! Pullin’ us all into your little game!” Spike told him angrily.
“Is that what this is to you, a game!?” Angel fumed. “It’s not a game! It’s about doing what’s right! It’s about the greater good!”
“Good, schmuud!” Spike quipped. “Why don’t you tell the truth for once in your worthless life, Liam! You had a bloody soul for a century and never felt the need to do anything for the soddin’ ‘greater good’ … not ‘til you saw Buffy! That’s when everythin’ changed, innit?”
“That’s not true … I did things! Lots of things before that!” Angel defended.
“Name one,” Spike challenged, folding his arms across his chest and cocking a brow to await Angel’s reply. “And goin’ to Barry Manilow concerts … while undoubtedly torturous, don’t count.”
“I…well, I … rescued that sub during the war for the Allies!” Angel finally managed, pointing a finger at Spike’s chest.
“Oh pleeease!” Spike rolled his eyes. “You did that to save your own sorry ass … you forget – I was there! There wasn’ any bloody greater good in that! That was the 1940’s version of gettin’ a chip shoved in your brain by the Demon Research Initiative – you did what you had to do to survive – end of story.
“Face it, Angel,” Spike continued. “Everything you do, no matter how you try to coat it in ‘greater good’, is for one purpose: to get in a girl’s pants.”
“That’s ridiculous!” Angel retorted. “You are, as usual, delusional!”
“No, Spike’s right,” Andrew said, stepping forward and up next to Spike. “I’ve transcribed all the written history on Liam and Angelus … and, I have to say … ewwwww! … but there’s no mention of you doing anything for the PTB until you saw Buffy.”
“See, even the little ponce knows! You’re pussy-whipped by a pussy you’ll never get any closer to than sleepin’ in those sheets,” Spike told him, motioning his head towards the bed he and Buffy had shared the night before.
“She don’ want you – in any dimension. She don’ love you no more – nothing you do is gonna change that. Dustin’ me ain’t gonna change that. Bringing the fucking demon army down on us ain’t gonna change it, and sending Dru to kidnap me and erase my memories ain’t either!”
“What are you talking about now, Spike!?” Angel asked with a furrowed brow and narrow eyes.
“Oh, don’t deny it!! How else would she know that Darla was here? Darla’s human now … Dru wouldn’t be able to sense ‘er any more than I could – someone woulda had to’ve told her!” Spike pointed out. “Someone like you.”
“You know, Spike, you really shouldn’t have eaten all those hippies in the 60’s … all those drugs affected your brain,” Angel contended.
“She got the wrong one, by the way. Barmy as she is … she didn’t care,” Spike continued, ignoring Angel.
“We have a family – we have a life beyond your fucking world. Other Spike’s shanshued…that’ll mean they can have a family one day, too,” Spike pointed out. “And I, for one, am bloody sick and tired of you fucking with all of us …”
The words were barely out of Spike’s mouth before Spike drew back the stake and thrust it at Angel’s chest with all his strength. Angel blocked the stake with his forearm, but before either vampire could do anything further, they’d both been pushed backwards away from each other, the stake pulled out of Spike’s hand as he stumbled and tried to keep from falling.
Buffy had come looking for Spike to tell him Rome!Buffy and Rome!Spike were back and she had been listening in the hallway. She could feel Spike through the bond and knew what he was about to do before he did it. She stood now, stake in hand, facing Angel, who had caught himself on the dresser at his back.
“What the fuck, Slayer!?” Spike exclaimed as he fell against Andrew, nearly knocking them both to the floor. Andrew grabbed onto Spike’s belt at his back to keep from falling as Spike caught his balance and righted himself. As Andrew pulled himself back up using the waistband of Spike’s jeans, he couldn’t help but let his other hand slide up Spike’s hard back, before pulling his hands away and standing up on his own; trying to feign a completely innocent look.
But Spike didn’t even notice, so focused was he on Buffy and the fact that she’d stopped him from dusting Angel – again.
“I said it before, if anyone’s gonna dust Angel, it’ll be me,” Buffy replied to Spike without taking her eyes off Angel, who had now stood back up fully and was facing her. “Plus, what if we need him to get home?” she questioned.
“Pffftttt!” Spike snorted. “If we needed ‘im to get home, wouldn’t matter if he was dust or not … he’d be just as much bloody help.”
Buffy ignored Spike, keeping her attention on Angel. “Is all that true?” she asked Angel – stake poised at the ready in her hand.
“Yeah, it’s true that Spike’s delusional!” Angel exclaimed, waving his hand at Spike. “What would I have to gain now? Nothing!” Angel insisted.
“Maybe in the beginning, yeah – what I did I did to help a girl … get to know a girl,” Angel started.
“Get in a girl’s pants,” Spike interjected from behind Buffy.
Angel glared at Spike a moment and then looked back at Buffy. “But not now – not for a long time. You’ve all made it very clear that he’s your destiny,” Angel said, raising his hands and making air-quote signs with his fingers on the word destiny. “I have my own destiny.”
“Yeah … to cause us as much pain n’ sufferin’ as you can,” Spike threw in.
Buffy narrowed her eyes at Angel. She could feel the rage boiling off Spike from behind her without even using the bond – Spike was nothing if not insightful into the human … or vampire, psyche, and she knew that he believed everything he’d said about Angel.
Buffy’s eyes scanned the room, Angel’s room, quickly and came to a stop on a familiar trunk in one corner. It was the same trunk that Spike had shown her that first night – the trunk that held Angel’s secrets.
“Andrew, go get that trunk and bring it over here,” Buffy instructed, tilting her head to where the trunk sat.
“That’s mine – it’s private!” Angel objected.
“Yeah, I know,” Buffy assured him with a fake smile.
Andrew bent over and pulled on the handle of the trunk with one hand, but it didn’t budge. Then he put both hands on it, bent his knees and leaned back to use his legs and whole body weight to move it … it moved a few inches before he fell on his ass.
“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered as he strode purposely past Buffy and Angel. He lifted Andrew back up to his feet by the nape of the neck like a puppy, before putting his booted foot on the back of the trunk and pushing it across the floor to Buffy.
Andrew rubbed his ass. “It’s not my fault,” he whined. “Angel’s privates are really heavy!”
Buffy rolled her eyes and ignored Andrew. “You want to open it?” she asked Angel. “Or shall I?”
“What’s in there has nothing to do with anything! It’s mine – it’s private,” he insisted again.
“Sod private!” Spike exclaimed, walking up to them. He yanked on the lock and broke the hasp off the trunk, before turning it towards Buffy and opening the lid. The contents of the trunk looked very much like it had in their dimension all those years ago when Spike had showed it to her, only now it was nearly filled to the top.
She could see the old blood-stained clothes – her clothes, or her counterpart’s, actually, and the lilac pages folded atop them that he’d taken from her diary. The pages were now worn with age and from being folded and unfolded many times – he’d obviously read them over and over again through the years.
Buffy knelt down and picked up the diary pages and stuffed them into her back pocket; she’d give them back to Rome!Buffy later. Buffy handed the stake back to Spike as she picked up a handful of photographs from one side of the trunk. The pictures showed her and Spike in places that she’d never been … in Rome. They were all obviously taken with a telephoto lens from some distance.
“I can explain …” Angel started.
“I’ll bet you can,” Buffy mumbled as she looked through the photos, some showing the pair in compromising positions. “Let me guess … you were gonna sell them on eBay to finance the apocalypse,” Buffy quipped as she stood back up and met Angel’s eyes with hers.
“I was making sure she was ok … that Spike didn’t hurt her – that she was safe,” Angel defended.
Buffy nodded her head slowly as she continued flipping through the stack of photographs. “Yeah, it looks like he’s hurting her … she’s in real danger of getting a splinter in her ass on this one,” Buffy observed, holding up a picture of Rome!Buffy and Rome!Spike having sex on a wood floor inside what Buffy assumed was their apartment.
“And they could’ve gotten arrested for this one,” Buffy remarked, holding up a picture taken at night of the pair in the throes of passion in a cemetery. “Good thing you were looking out for them so you could bail them out of jail …”
“Oh! Wait! You weren’t looking out for THEM … you were stalking HER!” Buffy exclaimed, slapping her forehead as if just hit by an epiphany.
“You’ve watched every breath she’s taken, every move she’s made, since before she was even Chosen, one way or another!” Buffy accused.
“You know, I really hate two-faced, lying sons-a-bitches,” Buffy told Angel, her voice deadly serious. “I can never decide which face to pummel first.”
Buffy dropped the pictures back in the trunk before pulling an arm back and punching Angel in the jaw with a right hook. Before he could recover from the blow, she did the same with her left and Angel stumbled back against the dresser again.
“You better hope that we need you to get home,” Buffy told Angel in a low voice before turning on her heel and heading out of the room. “Bring that trunk,” she instructed Spike as she hit the hallway, “and don’t dust him … yet.”
Spike smirked as he walked past Angel with the broody vampire's 'trunk of privates' balanced on his shoulder ... "Yet," he muttered as he passed his grandsire and followed Buffy out of the room.
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The Police, Every Breath You Take
Every breath you take