|Story Title:||Can't Buy Me Love|
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Spike wakes up and tells Buffy what he found out from Bess in the dream, but Buffy’s found some things herself while he was sleeping and has a theory of her own. Billy visits with Bess and later gets called on the carpet by Spike for calling Buffy a liar. Buffy and Spike share their theory and plan with Giles, Willow, Wes, and Faith.
Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010
Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004
The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.
Annie was born on February 14th, 1999
Spike and Buffy were married in February 1999
Buffy was born January 19th, 1981
William/Spike was turned by Dru in
All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.
Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.
The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.
No More Mr. Nice Guy, Alice Cooper
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:
Special thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter!!
|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.
(later that same night), Friday, April 23rd, 2010, 12:30am:
When Spike had gone, Bess went and sat on the floor next to Billy. The pair sat in silence for a long while, neither quite sure what to say to the other. Finally, Billy asked tentatively, “Are you a bad vampire?”
Bess pulled her knees to her chest and leaned her arms and head on them, turning her face to the side to look at him. “I didn’t know there was any other kind.”
“Papa’s a good vampire…” Billy supplied.
“What makes him good?” Bess wondered.
“He and Mama fight the bad vampires and the other ‘beasties’ … Mama’s a Slayer … but we aren’t supposed to tell anyone. I guess it’s ok to tell you, though.”
Bess looked at the boy beside her and felt that lock that kept everything buried within her turn a bit more. “You … you look like my brother when he was your age. You’re … five, right?”
“Six,” Billy corrected her. “You look like my sister … Dani, only older.”
“Danny’s a boy’s name,” Bess pointed out.
“Her real name is Danielle.”
“How many brothers and sisters do you have?” Bess wondered.
“Annie and Dani … and Mama’s got another baby in her tummy. Papa says JJ might as well be ours ‘cos he’s always at our house ‘eatin’ our bloody food’ …”
“You eat bloody food?” Bess questioned. “I thought you weren’t a vampire.”
“Everything’s ‘bloody’ to Papa … it’s not really bloody food, just regular food, ‘cept Dani can’t eat milk.”
“Where do you live?” Bess asked.
“On Crawford Street … in Sunnydale. That’s in California.”
“Do you like it there?” Bess continued her interrogation of the boy.
“Yeah … it’s ok. All my friends are there and we ride the bus to school and ride our bikes to the park and go to the beach in the summer and visit Aunt Willow and Aunt Tara – they live in Washington in a big house on a lake.”
Bess felt the lock turn further within her as she remembered walking to school with Anne and William in Philadelphia and all the friends they had there. Anne would help her with her homework, her elder sister had always been so smart. Bess had always been more interested in what was outdoors than staying inside and studying like her sister and brother. If there was a tree to climb or a creek to swim in, fish or frogs to catch, or a hill to roll down, that’s where you’d find her.
Bess looked at the boy sitting next to her and the tear-streaked face of her little brother as he ran home from the store popped into her mind. Their mom had sent him for a loaf of bread … it was only a couple of blocks to the little neighborhood grocery, a trip they’d all made a hundred times. Some older boys had stopped him on the way and stolen the money that their mom had given him for the bread. When he tried to fight them, they hit him, knocked him down and blackened one eye. It had been Bess who eventually got him to tell her the names of the boys that did it and it had been Bess who taught those boys a lesson about picking on kids that were younger and smaller than you.
“Does your father … do good vampires keep their promises?” Bess asked as she fought against the feelings that were threatening to overwhelm her. Feelings that she’d refused entry to her heart for so long … feelings of sadness and loneliness and desperation.
“Papa always keeps his promises. He says you can have everything taken away from you, but if you have your word, then that’s all you need – no one can steal that from you,” Billy assured her, reaching a hand out and laying it on her shoulder.
Bess turned her face down against her arms and tears welled in her eyes as the flood of emotions that had been threatening escaped and washed over her. It was the first time she’d cried in a very, very long time. Like tidal waves crashing and surging against a rocky shore, all the feelings that she’d kept bottled up for so long churned violently and battered her heart … feelings of disgust with herself, of being powerless, of being a thing, not a person – of being a whore, of giving herself to anyone, anytime just for a moment of escape from her dreary, lonely life or an extra sip of blood. Feelings of being abandoned by her real parents, then by Wanda and John, and finally by her Watcher, threatened to rip her apart … surely there had always been something wrong with her for everyone she ever loved to have tossed her away so carelessly.
Billy slid closer to the girl of his nightmares … the girl who had frightened him so, as he realized, she was just a girl. He wrapped an arm over her shoulders as sobs wracked her body and she accepted his comfort, leaning into him as her emotions threatened to wash her away.
The master vampire’s words rang in her ears, “I love you, Bess. I swear I’ll get you outta ‘ere. I won’t rest until you’re ‘ome with us, where you belong,” and she cried harder. Was that really her father? The father that had left them to go into battle? Would he really keep that promise as Billy had assured her? Could she dare let the last emotion escape from the bottomless pit within her? Could she allow hope to come out … did she dare let it see the light of day? Or would it explode into dust, just like she would in the blazing sun? Just as it always had in the past.
Sure that he’d learned everything he could from Bess, Spike woke up from the dream with a heavy heart. At fourteen, his daughter had been not only turned from a carefree young teen to Slayer then to a demon, but she’d been violated and tortured and turned into a whore … her innocence stolen along with her life and her family. Before he left, he assured her that he would be back – not just in a dream, but for real, and he would get her out of that place. He knew that he had to keep that promise – there was no way he could break that promise to her … he wished he had some clue how he would be able to keep it, though.
“Spike! What happened?” Buffy asked when she saw he was awake, jumping up out of her seat next to the couch and kneeling down next to him.
Spike sat up tiredly and rubbed at his eyes. “Got ‘er to agree to not bother Junior in the dreams…”
Buffy’s brows shot up. “How?”
Spike shrugged. “Pulled rank…”
“So, you talked to her? Where is she? Who’s holding her?” Buffy rattled off questions in rapid succession.
“Yeah, talked – she don’t know …”
“Well, I have a theory on that… while you were ‘pulling rank’ and talking, I was thinking and researching …”
“You were researchin’ … with actual books? All on your own? Who are you and what’ve you done with Buffy?” Spike questioned, looking at the research table which was now covered with Watcher’s diaries.
“Ha ha … very funny. I can research. It was a research-palooza … and you missed it,” she declared, standing up and heading for the table. “I even had donuts … well, half a donut, left over from breakfast.”
A small smile tugged his lips as he stood up and followed behind her – those years in the ‘Wish World’ had changed her, but he loved the lioness she’d become. She wasn’t waiting for someone else to figure things out anymore, not calling Rupert or Red for help. She could and would do it herself, especially if it involved her family, and, despite everything, Bess was still her family. He knew she would help him keep that promise he’d made and that gave him hope that they would succeed in getting Bess out of that nightmare she was living in.
“So, what did you and the donut figure out?” Spike asked as his eyes scanned all the books on the table.
“Something’s fishy in Denmark …” Buffy informed him.
“Rotten …” Spike corrected her.
“Hamlet, Act I. Marcellus told Horatio, ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’,” Spike clarified for her.
“Yeah, well it’s stinky, rotten fish …” Buffy muttered as she picked up the papers that Willow had given her from Harold Travers’ diary which chronicled Bess’ training and her death.
“Did you find somethin’ new?” Spike questioned as he looked at the pages – there was nothing new on them that he could see.
“It’s what I didn’t find …” Buffy began. “Look at these other diaries … when the Slayer died, they just … quit. At most you get the name of the vamp that killed them, but often the Watcher doesn’t even know that … ‘Killed by vampire, Southdown Park,’” Buffy quoted, reading from one diary. “‘Killed by vampire going by name of ‘Ramstad’, Central Park’, ‘Killed by unknown demon, Blue Lake Cemetery,’” Buffy continued, going from diary to diary.
Buffy turned and looked at Spike as she took the pages from Bess’ Watcher back from him. “Our good Mr. Travers here has four pages about it…” she pointed out. “And think about this … he says in the very first entry on the day they were attacked, ‘That’s the last I remember of the fight … it is the last time I saw my Slayer … alive’.”
Buffy held the paper out for Spike. “How would he know on July 19th that he wouldn’t see her alive again? He didn’t write that on July 19th … he wrote that later – months later.”
“Well …maybe he just needed to get it out – write it down, maybe he went back and wrote it later – after…” Spike suggested.
Buffy shook her head. “Fishy …”
“So you think the Council wankers ‘ave her?” Spike questioned, looking up from the paper she was holding to her eyes, which were blazing with determination.
“That wouldn’t explain the rotten, fishy smell coming from that Watcher’s diary …” she pointed out.
Spike cried as he told Buffy about what happened with Bess and the white room and the blue room and she cried with him. She thought she’d been through hell when she lost everything she’d ever loved … but what she’d been through didn’t come close to touching what their once innocent, sweet girl … who thought Daniel Retchford was a ‘Bulgarian’, had endured. And it wasn’t just for five years, but over a century. Buffy knew how her heart had shriveled and quickly died when she’d lost hope … what could Bess have left after so long? How had she even survived this long under those conditions?
“She’s not that girl, Buffy,” Spike informed her sadly. “She looks like that girl … but that’s just on the outside. Inside she’s a battle-hardened vamp …” he filled in, shaking his head in sorrow.
“Spike … what happened is not your fault,” Buffy assured him, taking his face in her hands as they sat on the couch, making him look into her eyes. “We’ll fix it. We’ll find her and get her out … we’ll have Willow do Jenny’s spell and restore her soul and … and we’ll help her. We’ll help her rise from the ashes, just like you helped me. We’ll give her a life and happy memories to replace the memories of those dark years.”
“Those years can’t just be erased, luv … they’ll always be part o’ her. She’ll never be that girl again,” Spike argued sadly.
“I know … just like I’m not the same woman I was before the wish, but I’m stronger for it; just like you aren’t only William; she won’t be the same girl, but she can still have a life – a good life, Spike … we can still give her that,” Buffy tried to assure him, wrapping her arms around his neck and resting her forehead against his.
“I don’t know if that’s true or not. What if she’s … too damaged?” Spike questioned. “What if she can’t move on? What if she’s not strong enough?”
Buffy sat back and sighed as Spike searched her eyes for some answer to that possibility. If they found her and brought her home, would she ever be able to fit in, even with their ‘abby-normal’ family?
“She can do it,” Buffy said simply.
“How do you know?”
“She’s made from us, Spike … you and me.”
Buffy finally fell asleep in Spike’s arms on the couch, but try as he might, he couldn’t rest. The haunted eyes and cold words of his daughter haunted his thoughts, and worry about how they would find her and get her out of that place allowed him no peace. At about the time for the bits to be getting up and getting ready for school, Spike carried Buffy up to their room and left her sleeping there and he took care of getting the children up and off to the bus.
He stood in the door of the twins’ room and watched Dani sleeping in the dim glow of the nightlight and he couldn’t help but feel the tide of guilt rising even higher over Bess’ fate. They had to find a way to fix it and they needed to do it soon …
“Papa?” Billy questioned groggily, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.
“Hey, little man – everything ok in dreamland? Bess playin’ nice?” Spike asked quietly, trying not to wake Dani.
“Uh-huh … she’s not so bad once she stops growlin’ and chasin’ ya. Is she gonna come to live with us?”
“Would that be ok if she did?” Spike asked, sitting on the bed with him.
“She doesn’t like it there … I think she’d like it here better,” Billy offered.
“Yeah, you’re right about that, I’d wager,” Spike agreed.
“William,” Spike began, his voice serious, and Billy looked at him with trepidation … no one ever called him ‘William’ unless he was in trouble. “You need to apologize to your mum for what you said last night. It wasn’t nice and it wasn’t true.”
Billy pursed his lips together and frowned, unsure how his father figured that. “Mama said she’d fix it and she didn’t,” Billy pointed out solemnly.
“Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t make her a liar … that just makes ‘er human,” Spike explained, pulling Billy to him and setting him down on his lap. Billy leaned back against Spike’s chest and Spike wrapped his arms around his tender-hearted son.
“Do you remember when you promised the Niblett that you’d feed Miss Kitty while she was away at camp last summer?” Spike questioned and Billy nodded slowly. “But you didn’t do it, did you? Your mum had to do it.”
“I forgot …” Billy offered in his own defense.
“You made a mistake – you didn’t intentionally lie to your sister, but you still didn’t do what you said you’d do. Does that make you a ‘big fat liar’?” Spike wondered, leaning forward to look at him, his brows raised in question.
Billy scrunched up his face, dropping his eyes down to his hands in his lap, but didn’t give Spike an answer.
“I’m gonna let you in on a little secret,” Spike continued when Billy remained silent. “Not many bits know this, so don’t go tattlin’ it around to your little friends in the school yard, yeah?”
Billy nodded seriously, looking back up at his father and listening with rapt attention.
“Parents aren’t perfect. They make mistakes – they don’t mean to, but they do. Your mum didn’t intentionally lie to you, she just made a mistake. She thought she could fix it, but she couldn’t,” Spike revealed.
“But you did …” Billy pointed out tentatively.
“Because your mum told me the mistake she’d made so I wouldn’t make it too … she helped me fix it. You hurt ‘er feelings last night ‘cos she tried really hard to help you and Bess. She already felt bad and you made her feel worse. Do you think that’s fair?” Spike questioned.
“No,” Billy replied in a whisper.
“No … I don’t either. I think you owe her an apology this mornin’, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” Billy agreed sadly.
“Mama?” Billy ventured tentatively after Spike had gotten all the kids dressed and fed and ready for school.
“Hmmmm?” Buffy moaned sleepily before opening her eyes. “Billy … what’s wrong, honey? The dream?” she questioned, coming more awake and sitting up in bed, still in the clothes she’d had on the previous day.
“No … it’s ok. I … I’m sorry for what I said. You aren’t a liar, you just made a mistake. I’m ... I'm really sorry I said that. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Billy apologized sincerely, as he shuffled his feet nervously and looked down at the floor. He’d been rehearsing it since Spike had talked with him earlier that morning, he hoped his mama would forgive him for hurting her feelings.
Buffy swung her feet off the bed and pulled him into a hug, burying her face in his soft, blond curls. “It’s ok, sweetie. I’m sorry that I made it worse and couldn’t fix it.”
Buffy dropped a kiss on the top of his head and released him from the hug.
“Are you gonna help Papa bring Bess to live with us?” Billy asked, his blue eyes solemn as they met hers.
“I am … we’re gonna get her out of there – you can count on that,” Buffy promised.
Billy nodded. “She can be a good vampire, like Papa – I think she’ll like that better than being a bad vampire.”
“Do you? Why do you think that?” Buffy questioned.
“She told me.”
(same day, later that morning), Friday, 10:00am:
Buffy, Spike, Wes, and Faith sat around the research table, Willow and Giles joined the meeting from Willow and Tara’s house via the speaker phone which sat in the center of the table. Buffy and Spike had just finished laying out the story about Bess and Buffy’s theory that she, along with other vamps, were being held captive by the Council. Everyone sat in silence as they contemplated this possibility.
When no one said anything for a few minutes, Buffy asked, “Wills, can you … you know, hack into their computer, see if there’s information about an Initiative-turned-Spanish-Inquisition-type operation there?”
“Well … ummmm, I could if they actually had anything on computers …” Willow replied over the phone. “The only things they have on computers are these books and diaries that I’ve been helping them scan. I think they’re still using steno pads and typewriters in the office … I don’t think they even had an internet connection before this project. I can’t hack 1920’s technology…”
“Buffy, are you quite certain that it’s the Council that has her … are you even certain that it wasn’t all just a product of a six year-old’s overactive subconscious imagination?” Giles questioned.
Buffy and Spike both shook their heads. “Billy shares dreams with Dani … Bess is made of Dani … Billy was sharing a dream with her,” Buffy asserted.
“She knew things that Junior would ‘ave no way of knowin’,” Spike added.
“Don’t you think that Watcher’s diary is fishy?” Buffy questioned.
Giles shrugged and picked the papers up that Willow had printed out for him. “Indeed … it is … unusual, I suppose. But certainly not every person handles loss in the same manner. He might’ve gone back and written the entries after the fact, wanting to document what had happened …” Giles suggested.
“Ok, look,” Buffy started, her frustration growing. “We don’t have time to argue about this – Bess is being held captive. I think we should start our search with the Council. Now, you can either help us or not, but either way, Spike and I will find her and bring her home. If I have to take down the Council to do it, then I will.”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit drastic?” Wes questioned. “First of all, what would they have to gain by keeping vampires prisoner? There’s no secret to how they live, what they eat or how to eliminate them … it didn’t sound like they were using them for training Slayers – what could they possibly gain from it?”
“The sick bastards could get their bloody rocks off watchin’ a fourteen year old get bounced around their ‘white room’ – they’re Watcher’s aren’t they? They like to watch! Probably the only soddin’ action they ever get…” Spike spat angrily.
Buffy laid a hand on Spike’s arm as he glowered at Wes and her husband finally looked at her and tried to calm down. Buffy turned back to the group. “I don’t know why or what they have to gain … but it’s the only place we have to look, so that’s where we’re going to start. I need to know what kind of security they have there … if the records are on paper that will lead us to the location of the prison, I need to know where to look for them … stuff like that.”
“They have vampire detectors on all the doors and windows … a vamp can’t go in without an alarm sounding,” Faith provided, garnering a glare from Wes.
“But Slayers can,” Buffy guessed and Faith nodded.
“Their headquarters building is quite old … fourteenth century, I believe …” Giles offered over the phone. “There could be a basement … perhaps even tunnels and a dungeon like you described beneath it. I’ve never had the privilege of exploring the whole of the campus.”
“It’s quite preposterous,” Wes argued. “I assure you that the Council does not hold prisoners …”
“What about those vamps they use in the ‘Rite of Passage’ circumcision for Slayers? Where do they get them?” Buffy challenged.
“Cruciamentum,” Giles corrected as all the males in the meeting shifted uncomfortably in their seats. “I believe they’ve … rethought that particular tradition.”
“Fine … but they must’ve kept them somewhere, right? So they must have some place to keep prisoners …” Buffy clarified her point.
Wes sighed. “Perhaps…” he acquiesced. “But I assure you, what you have described is not part of the curriculum for the Council.”
“Fine – you just keep those happy thoughts, Cleopatra … I stopped living near that particular river a long time ago …” Buffy retorted.
Wes looked from Buffy to Faith, shaking his head in confusion.
“Cleopatra, the Queen of ‘Denial’ …” Faith supplied with a smirk.
Wes sighed and rolled his eyes. “Fine … do what you feel you must. But I’m quite certain that you will not find anything improper or untoward.”
“Well, you know, part of me hopes you’re right, Wes. ‘Cos if we find what I think we will, there’ll be no more Mr. Nice Guy,” Buffy warned.
“Buffy, what do you intend to do?” Giles asked over the phone.
“Go see my friend Quentin … take a look around, see what we can find,” she told him with a shrug. “If we find Bess there … then they’re going down, Giles.”
“How do you intend to get in to see him? He was quite … put off by your behavior at your last meeting as I recall,” Giles reminded her.
“We have something he wants … if we dangle the Key in front of him, I bet he’ll snap it up like a bigmouth bass.”
No More Mr. Nice Guy, Alice Cooper
I used to be such a
sweet, sweet thing
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