|Story Title:||I Run to You|
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 (she was born in 1999)
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.
Life falls back to normal in Sunnydale … Lorne’s grand opening at the Bronze is a big success… thanks in part to Spike...
Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta,
her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always
Crazy Dreamers by Ray Lamontagne
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:
|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.
Sunday, July 18th, 2004
“Ok, Niblett … there ya go,” Spike told his daughter as he finished taking the training wheels off her bike. She’d been bugging him to take them off for weeks it seemed … she wanted to ride like a big girl – not with training wheels anymore.
“Yay!!!” Annie squealed and jumped up and down next to him in the garage as he stood up and set the training wheels on a shelf to await their turn on Dani’s bike … he’d have to get another set for Billy’s … perhaps some in black rather than pink.
“Are ya sure you’re ready for this? It’s a big step,” Spike pointed out, looking at her seriously.
“Yep!” Annie assured him with a confident nod of her head and a smile.
“Ok, let’s get your mum and she can take you out for a trial run …” Spike told her, heading for the door that led back into the house.
“I wish you could take me,” Annie pouted, as she put her helmet on and picked up her now training-wheel-free bike.
Spike looked outside and sighed; it was mid-morning on a beautiful, sunny southern California summer’s day … he wished he could take her, too.
“Me too, Niblett,” he said quietly as he entered the house to get Buffy.
Spike watched from the doorway as Buffy helped Annie get started on the bike out on the sidewalk in front of the mansion. Without the training wheels, it was a little trickier for her to get started and keep her balance than it had been with them. Buffy would balance the bike while Annie got on and then gave her a running push to get her started. Once she was going, Annie did well – it was remembering to put her feet down when she stopped that was a problem, so Buffy ran along next to her to make sure she didn’t topple over.
After a bit more practice, Annie had pretty well gotten the hang of starting off and putting her feet down when she stopped, so Buffy took her own bike and rode with her to the park a couple of blocks down from the mansion. Spike watched as they rode out of view; he didn’t remember a time in his life that he wished more for the ability to go out in the sun than that moment when they rounded the corner and he couldn’t see them anymore.
Spike stepped back inside the mansion and closed the door, leaning his back on it heavily as he closed his eyes and took in a long breath. He let the air out of his lungs slowly as he thought back to those short moments over the last years when he felt the urgent need for oxygen … the two moments when he had been made alive, first by the monks, then by the PTB.
He wondered if that was what it felt like when the other Spike Shanshued … He hadn’t actually asked him what it felt like to be alive again, but that was probably it. He knew what it felt like to have the sun on his skin … how it warmed him, how the golden rays tingled on his flesh – but he held no illusions, the PTB weren’t going to give him the Shanshu. He hadn’t played along with their tune and let Buffy burn up in the Hellmouth … he wasn’t a Champion in their eyes.
Then he thought of the Gem of Amarra, buried uselessly under the ocean with Angel. Perhaps he’d been too hasty in his decision to get rid of it … maybe there would be some way to have it and not put his family in danger at the same time. What if Buffy was attacked in the middle of the day out in the sun – if he had the Gem, he’d be able to help her.
You’re bein’ bloody selfish and foolish again! Spike admonished himself silently as he opened his eyes, pushed off the door and headed into the great room.
You’ve got a family … a girl that loves ya … and all you ever want is more! These crazy dreams are for dreamers … Be happy with what you have, ya bloody git!
But Spike wasn’t happy with what he had … he did want more. He should be the one pushing Annie on the bike and running alongside her; he should be at her T-Ball games, cheering her on and keeping Buffy from beating up the other parents, he should be at the park right now, pushing his girls on the swings…not stuck inside like … like … like a vampire … like a monster.
Spike dropped down onto the couch and laid back, putting his arm across his eyes as he tried to convince himself that what he had was more than he’d ever dreamed of and wanting more than that was, at worst, selfish and, at best, unrealistic. After all, there was plenty he could do with the kids that didn’t involve sunshine … there were video games and board games, playing cards and reading books and listening to music and … well, just lots of things he could do with them!
“You ok?” Tara asked, walking into the room.
Spike jumped – so lost in his own thoughts that he didn’t even hear her come in.
“Yeah, brilliant,” he told her dryly as he sat up.
“You know, to get me to believe you, you should try saying that once more, with feeling,” Tara teased him, sitting down next to him. “What’s wrong?”
“Nuthin’ … just thinking – which, we both know is dangerous for me … usually leads to mind-numbing things like thoughts,” Spike quipped, rolling his eyes.
“Yes, William … we all know you’re the scarecrow and that you have no brain,” Tara told him with an eye roll of her own. “So what are these mind-numbing thoughts about?”
Spike sighed and looked at Tara. He didn’t know how she could always see right through him and why he seemed unable to lie to her … something about her just made you trust her and want to tell her everything. She was gonna make a brilliant psychologist.
“I want the Gem of Amarra back,” he told her straight out. “But we need to make it so it’s a part a’ me … so I can say I Shanshued – only our family will know any different. That way, no nasties get any brilliant ideas about taking it away again.”
Tara nodded slowly, thinking over his idea. She could see his aura flash with streaks of indigo blue as he revealed his idea to her … a sign that he had given it a lot of thought and that he believed fully in the plan – that it wasn’t just coming from his heart, but from his spirit and his mind.
“Do you think you and Red could, ya know, figure some hocus-pocus to make it part of m’ body … like for keeps?” Spike asked Tara hopefully, wriggling is fingers around as if casting a magic spell.
Tara shrugged. “I’ll do some research and talk to Willow about it …” Tara gave him a small smile. “Don’t worry, Spike … we’ll figure out something, ok?”
Spike nodded and gave her a little smile of his own. “Thanks.”
“You know, you will actually have to get the Gem for us to try anything like that…” Tara reminded him.
“Yeah … I think I know someone who knows sumthin’ about that,” Spike assured her, feeling hopeful he’d soon be able to attend T-Ball games and help Buffy put the ‘Mr. Andersons’ of the world in their place.
Buffy had made herself and Annie PB&J sandwiches for lunch when they returned from the park. Annie was so excited to tell Spike every detail about riding all the way there and back without falling once and he sat in rapt attention listening to her ramble on as she ate her sandwich and gushed about how great it was to not need training wheels anymore.
Buffy had finished her sandwich and was working on feeding the twins some puréed apples as Annie talked. It was funny that they liked the apples and peaches, but both hated the bananas. They both loved Cheerios … but neither cared too much for Annie’s Cocoa Puffs … which Annie was happy about. They obviously hadn’t inherited the chocolate gene like Annie had.
Buffy noticed that it didn’t matter who she fed first, if that twin liked it, then the other would take it without hesitation, but if the first one didn’t like it, you couldn’t force the second twin to even try it. And it didn’t matter which one went first or even if they were in the same room at the time…it was like there was some kind of silent communication between them – ‘mmmm, good’ or ‘ooooo, yuck’.
Spike said she was probably reading too much into it … they were twins, after all – of course they’d naturally like the same foods …
Buffy and Spike both jumped up when they heard someone screaming Buffy’s name from the great room. As they came out of the kitchen, they saw Cordelia standing near the bottom of the stairs.
“BUFFY SUMMERS! Get down here!” Cordy screamed up the stairs.
“No need to yell, Cordelia … I’m right here,” Buffy told her, folding her arms across her chest as Cordy whirled around and started moving back to where Buffy and Spike were standing near the kitchen. “And it’s Summers-Weckerly, by the way – has been for a long time.”
“Oh, of course! Please forgive me!” Cordy said sarcastically with an eye roll. “You know, just putting a hyphen in your name doesn’t automatically make you classy.”
Buffy rolled her own eyes and sighed heavily. “I thought we agreed you’d call ahead before visiting again.”
“Yeah, well, it’s a little hard when your phone’s been disconnected ‘cause we can’t pay the bills,” Cordy shot back.
“What the fuck is this?!” Cordy asked, waving a piece of paper in the air as she reached Buffy.
Buffy grabbed the paper from her hand and looked at it … it was the credit card bill for the Disneyland vacation.
“How should I know?” Buffy asked, handing it back to her. “Maybe Angel wanted to visit Mickey …”
“Ha-ha,” Cordy mocked. “You’re a barrel of laughs. Spike signed Angel’s name … I saw the receipt … that left-handed slant to the letters – it was Spike,” Cordy informed them, looking at Spike who just smirked at her.
“Just pay the bleedin’ bill, Vision Girl … the wanker owes us that much, at least,” Spike told her.
“Oh! Gee, Spike, why didn’t I think of that!?” Cordy retorted, slapping her forehead with her palm. “Maybe because we don’t have any money! It’s hard to bring home the bacon when the big guy’s MIA.”
“What do you mean you don’t have any money?” Buffy asked, looking at her with confusion.
“You know – broke, busted, teetering on bankruptcy … we’re eating bread and beans and you’re going to Disneyland!” Cordy told her, waving the credit card bill in her face again.
“Oh, pleease spare me!” Spike defended. “Wanker’s got money out the ass! You just ain’t lookin’ in the right places.”
“No, Spike … he doesn’t have any money – in his ass or anywhere else! Fred and I went over all his records when he disappeared to try and find some clue about where he went. All he has is what Angel Investigations brings in from our cheapskate clients and the hotel. That’s it. He gave all the rest to you guys over five years ago,” Cordy explained.
“What?!” Buffy and Spike asked in unison.
“He gave it all to you … all…gone – he has nothing left,” Cordy said again, holding her hands, empty except for the credit card bill, up in the air to demonstrate.
“I thought you said he just gave you your share… yours and Dru’s,” Buffy questioned Spike.
“He did … he had an accountin’ and everything,” Spike defended.
“Do you know what you and Dru originally brought into the clan?” Buffy asked him.
“Well … I know about what my mum had, more or less …” Spike stammered.
Spike shrugged. He figured, if anything, Angel would’ve held back some of what Dru had contributed to the clan since Spike never really knew how much that was to start with. It never occurred to Spike that Angel would actually give them more than their fair share.
Cordy rolled her eyes. “Except for what he used to buy the hotel and a few trinkets of nearly worthless jewelry, you got it all,” she assured them solemnly. “You never gave Angel a chance … he would’ve done anything to help you, Buffy … anything – but you never gave him a chance.”
“He did plenty to hurt us, too, Cordy …” Buffy defended.
Cordy shrugged. “Maybe … maybe he was just hurting and was trying to get your attention any way he could. Maybe if you’d just befriended him … worked with him, helped him, he wouldn’t have sunk to those depths.”
“Spike worked with him,” Buffy reminded her.
“He didn’t love Spike, Buffy …” Cordy said softly.
Tears stung Cordy’s eyes as she spoke to Buffy. “He loved you … but he had finally realized that you weren’t his anymore, that he needed to move on. We were supposed to meet the night he disappeared … out at Point Dume. There's a viewpoint just north of Kanan. Really pretty spot…he said he had to talk to you, then he wanted to talk…about us.”
“What us?” Buffy asked her, confused. “You and me? ‘Cause gotta tell ya, I’ve never considered us an ‘us’.”
Cordy let out a sigh and rolled her eyes. “No…Angel and me. I think he was finally ready to let you go and admit his feelings for me … I waited and waited, but he never showed up.”
Cordelia moved closer to Buffy and looked her in the eye as the tears that were threatening earlier came back in force. “I love him, Buffy … I love him so much.”
Cordy dropped to her knees in front of Buffy and looked up at her as tears streaked her face. “Please, please help me … help me find him. I’m begging you, Buffy … please.”
Buffy had never seen Cordelia like this. She could deal with snarky, bitchy, the-world-owes-me Cordelia, but a begging, pleading, crying Cordy was something Buffy had never seen before.
“Cordy … I,” Buffy started when she heard Spike in her head.
NO! Don’t do it, Buffy! Remember why you dropped him under the waves … remember what he did to us … the danger he put the Niblett in.
Buffy turned and looked at Spike … he could see the turmoil on her face and he shook his head adamantly. She felt so sorry for Cordy. Buffy remembered how the Angel in the other dimension had professed his love for Cordelia and had lost her. Now Cordy was professing her love for him and she had lost him … but he wasn’t really lost, Buffy had the knowledge and ability to bring him back to her.
Buffy looked back down at Cordy who was still on her knees, sobs were wracking her body and she’d covered her face with her hands. Buffy remembered how she felt when she couldn’t find Spike when he was in that jail in Arizona … how hopeless she felt, how utterly defeated and alone.
“I’m sorry, Cordy,” Buffy said softly as she dropped to her knees in front of the broken-hearted brunette and hugged her.
No, Buffy … don’t do it. Spike sent to her again through their bond.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you …” Buffy whispered to her.
Cordy nodded, took a deep breath, and wiped the tears off her face as she tried to compose herself. She’d never begged anyone for anything in her life … if she wanted something, she just went and got it – or told someone to get it for her, but nothing they had done thus far had been successful in finding Angel.
The PTB had sent her some visions of him over the time he’d been missing … but they were dark and vague and she couldn’t tell where he was. She was sure he wasn’t dusted, though; Fred and Gunn weren’t as sure …
They had tried their best to keep the business going, but without Angel, helping the hopeless got, well, pretty hopeless. Detective Lockley even helped their clients out at times, but there was no use fighting the inevitable … they weren’t going to be able to keep the doors open on Angel Investigations, or the hotel, much longer.
The expense of keeping the hotel in some semblance of working order was becoming overwhelming – they had sold, pawned, or traded anything they had of value to try and keep the bills paid … and now the credit card company would be coming after them, too.
Cordy stood up, smoothed and straightened her clothes, lifted her chin, and tried to reassemble her pride, before she turned and walked out the doors to the garden and up the steps to the street. The credit card bill that she’d come in with dropped from her hand on the floor just inside the door … it was over. Her last hope had turned her down … Cordy would never be able to find Angel and nothing else really mattered without him, anyway.
Buffy looked up at Spike, who was wearing a determined frown.
“Spike, maybe …” she started as she stood back up.
“No! No, no, no!” Spike exclaimed as he began to pace back and forth in front of her. “Think, Buffy! He tore us apart, he got the Niblett kidnapped … nearly killed, more than once he’s tried to drive a wedge between us … not just in this dimension, but every bloody dimension!”
“Angel didn’t kidnap Annie … he didn’t have anything to do with that,” Buffy reminded him.
“He might as well have … got me out of the way … maybe if I had been around, it would’ve never happened!” Spike pointed out.
Buffy frowned but nodded slowly and went back into the kitchen … Spike was probably right. Angel was where he should be.
Spike had really wanted to talk to Buffy about retrieving the Gem of Amarra from Angel’s finger … but that would have to wait a bit now. In her current state of mind, she would want to bring him up to the surface with the bloody ring.
Spike was sure Angel was exactly where he belonged; Buffy always had been too forgiving of him. He couldn’t completely blame her for it … he had the same problem with Dru. He wanted the Gem back, but right now wasn’t the time to bring it up to Buffy … in a day or two, she’ll realize that what he was saying was right, then he could broach the subject of getting the ring back. The witches needed more time to research a way to make it part of him, anyway.
“Spike, can I talk to you?” Tara asked later that afternoon as she came in the door to the training room where Spike sparring with the heavy body bag. He was trying to take his frustrations out on something other than the people around him.
“Yeah,” he answered as he danced around the bag, throwing punches and kicks at it. Spike was bare-chested, wearing loose fitting, grey workout pants which allowed him full range of movement; his punches and kicks landed solidly against the heavy bag.
“Spike, we need to pay this,” Tara informed him, holding up the credit card bill that Cordy had dropped.
Spike’s eyebrows shot up and he stopped moving. “Beg pardon?”
“We need to pay this,” Tara said again slowly.
“Feel free, pet …” Spike told her as he started punching the bag again in earnest.
“Spike. Spike … Spike! Stop and listen to me,” Tara said moving forward and putting herself between him and the bag. Spike stopped dancing and punching and backed up a step when she did that.
“What!?” Spike exclaimed, propping his hands on his hips and glaring at her.
“It’s not fair that Cordy, Fred, and Gunn get punished for this … it’s one thing if they had Angel’s money, but apparently you have it – you and Buffy,” Tara reminded him – Buffy had filled her and Willow in on the conversation with Cordy earlier. “You don’t have to pay for everyone … but we need to pay this. It’s only fair.”
“Fair!? Fair?!” Spike questioned, his voice rising as he began pacing back and forth across the room. “Since when is anything bloody fair? Was Angel breaking our bond fair? Was the other wanker holdin’ us hostage for his apocalypse fair? Oh, maybe the part where Annie got kidnapped… maybe that was fair! Or the time he tried to rape Buffy … I’m sure that musta been fair! ‘Fair’ is a fine notion for fairy tales and pipe dreams, Glinda … but real life ain’t bloody fair.”
Tara watched and listened as Spike ranted. When he finally stopped in front of her and quit talking she held the credit card bill out to him, raised her eyebrows, and twisted her lips to the side.
Spike looked from her face to the paper in her hand and back again. After several moments he muttered, “Bloody hell …” and snatched the bill from her hand.
Tara gave him a crooked smile and leaned forward and dropped a kiss on his cheek before starting back towards the door. “You’re the Champion, Spike … I knew you’d do what was right … what was fair.”
Spike rolled his eyes and pursed his lips together. “To quote a great scholar, ‘this sucks’ …” he informed her as he dropped the bill down on top of his t-shirt which was lying on the floor and turned back to start punching the body bag again.
Tara laughed as she closed the door behind her. She knew he was frustrated … but she also knew he’d do the right thing – he just had to complain about it a while first.
The man watched from the overgrown lot on Crawford Street. He watched them come and go … in pairs and alone … in cars, on bikes, and on foot … during the day and in the middle of the night. The occupants of the mansion seemed to always be on the move running here or there and then back again.
He was happy for the cover the bushes and brambles that grew here gave him … he could see without being seen … hear snatches of conversations … try to make sense of their comings and goings, which wasn’t an easy task.
She had come out the previous night alone … he thought perhaps his chance had come, but she only stayed a moment before disappearing back into the chaos of the mansion. He hoped he wouldn’t have to wait too long for another opportunity.
Here's to all you crazy dreamers
Here's to all you crazy lovers
For he to love another got to love himself
La, la la ...
Here's to all you crazy dreamers
Here's to all you crazy lovers
La, la, la ....
Feedback: Email me feedback, I'd love to hear from you! passionate@passion4 spike.com
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