|Story Title:||Can't Buy Me Love|
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy
The group finds out why they couldn’t restore Bess’ soul and come up with a new plan for the Council. Spike and Buffy introduce Bess to more yumminess and they have their first real slay together in the outside world.
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.
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, by Ohio Express: http://youtu.be/-uo9tMoew6o
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.
(Same night) Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 8:30pm, London:
Faith, Wes, and the other Slayers had been at the Council headquarters building most of the day, cleaning up the mess in the dungeon, returning the bodies of the dead guards, Watchers, and doctors to their families for burial. It had been an exhausting and emotional exercise. The family members were told there had been a riot in the ‘mental ward’, which is where Jim told Faith their families thought they worked. The Council had some very deep ties within the police and coroner’s offices, there were no inquiries or autopsies. Death certificates were issued without question and, if the families wanted to keep the life insurance money and not get sued for breach of contract, they would have to abide by the rules of the non-disclosure agreement they’d all signed prior to their loved ones being hired.
When that was done, Faith set the more bookish Slayers to work looking through the books in Travers’ office, just to try and understand exactly what the point of it all was. Why did they even need a ‘super Slayer’ with so many ‘regular’ Slayers wandering the Earth now? Just what did they really hope to accomplish with their macabre experiments and were they really close to creating a ‘super Slayer’ as Travers had told Giles and Buffy?
“I think he was completely insane,” Amanda reported to Faith when Faith went in to check on the small group in Travers’ office after they’d been working for about three hours.
“Tell me something I don’t know…” Faith sighed as she plopped down on the well-worn, leather couch.
“No … I mean, I think he was really, clinically insane,” Amanda clarified. “Maybe he had a brain tumor or … he was just slipping into some type of mental illness ...”
“Why do you think that?” Faith questioned as Amanda sat down next to her, her hands full of manila file folders.
“Well … according to these reports from the doctors and witches conducting the experiments, they’ve been recommending terminating the program for at least fifteen years,” Amanda summarized. “They basically say, there’s no way to create fertile eggs and sperm from undead participants… they’ve been saying that for a while and it looked like Travers was getting close to shutting it down. But, about twelve years ago he changed his mind and became convinced that it could be done…”
“Cocobean’s eleven …” Faith offered thoughtfully.
“Exactly,” Amanda agreed. “He saw Buffy get pregnant from Spike … and from then on, he became fixated with them and with making his plan of creating a Super Slayer work. His personal diaries are filled with ramblings about ‘Anne Joyce’ and ‘the Key’ and research into hundreds of prophecies about Slayers and vampires – apparently Buffy isn’t the first Slayer to … well, get with a vamp … he was totally obsessed.”
“But the doctors and witches still said it couldn’t be done?” Faith questioned, looking at the large stack of reports that Amanda had been looking through. “Even after Annie?”
“Yeah … well, at first, anyway. They did a lot of research and concluded that one of the subjects, specifically the Slayer, had to be alive … the magic the monks used borrows life force from the Slayer and infuses it into the vamp for a several seconds at just the right … uhhhh … moment, but Travers still wouldn’t believe his plan wouldn’t work; he was convinced it would create an even stronger offspring if both parents were undead,” Amanda explained.
“Did he ever try with … you know, a live Slayer?” Faith questioned, her eyes dropping to the papers Amanda had in her hand.
Amanda shook her head. “Not that I’ve found … he … he talks about them as ‘subjects’ … as ‘things’, not people. I think he had a real problem with the undead mixing with the living, if you know what I mean. They weren’t people to him, they were just … monsters. I found some notes in his dairy about him getting a report from a dimension jumping demon about an extraordinarily strong child being created by two vampires, the report said that one of the vamps had a soul … but there aren’t any details about where or when or even who they were,” Amanda continued.
“That report just made him more adamant that it could be done. It got to the point that if anyone questioned him, they just disappeared, so they stopped questioning him and just kept trying different things. They even restored the souls of some of the vamps to see if that would …”
“What?” Faith interrupted her, sitting up, suddenly more alert.
Wes had joined Buffy, Spike, Bess, and Giles, and the two Watchers were postulating theories on why the soul restoration spell wouldn’t have worked when Faith burst into the office, pulling Amanda behind her.
Everyone stopped talking and looked up when the two Slayers came in.
“Have you tried the soul-restoration spell yet?” Faith questioned, looking at Buffy.
“Yeah … that’s what we were just…” Buffy began.
“And it didn’t work, did it?” Faith interrupted excitedly.
“No… how do you know?” Buffy questioned.
“Because I know why it didn’t work,” Faith replied confidently, turning to Amanda. “Tell them.”
Amanda cleared her throat and looked at the expectant faces in the room. “They already restored it … two years ago.”
The whole room filled with exclamations, “Bugger!” … “What!?” … “Dear Lord!” then everyone started talking at once, asking Faith and Amanda if they were sure, how did they know, are you really, really sure?
Faith held her hands up to stop everyone from talking. When they quieted down, she took the report from Amanda and handed it to Giles. “What? You think I’d just come in here half-cocked and say something like that? Yes, we’re sure. They did it in an effort to make her more … fertile.”
“Bloody wankers …” Spike muttered under his breath as he watched Giles scan the report. “Got off too easy, they did – the whole bloody lot of ‘em.”
Finally, Giles looked up and nodded his agreement, according to this report, sent from the ‘Super Slayer Creation Team’ to Travers, they had restored the souls in the two Slayer-vamps they had in the ‘program’ at the time, along with ‘four male subjects’, ‘however, the result thus far of breeding these subjects has been unfruitful.’
Buffy turned to Bess, who was sitting on the couch next to her. “Did you know about this? Did you know they’d restored your soul?” she questioned softly.
Bess looked down at her hands which were folded in her lap and then nodded slightly, afraid they were upset with her.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Buffy continued, laying a hand on Bess’ shoulder.
Bess shrugged, still looking down at her hands.
Buffy sighed and looked up at Spike for help, who had started pacing the length of the small office when Faith dropped her bomb on them, not sure what more to say or do. Bess had lived like a lab rat in that dungeon, being used as nothing more than a breeding machine by the researchers and a sex toy for her captors, with her soul fully intact for two years … it was a wonder she hadn’t gone completely insane by now. She didn’t have part of her soul like Buffy had suggested to Spike, but the whole thing.
That explained a lot of her behavior: her desire to not be a burden or a bother, her worry about what others thought of her, her desire to please, her effort to keep Spike from being taken to the blue room; it also explained Billy’s dreams, which began about two years ago – her soul, like Dani’s was somehow tied to Billy’s. Even with her soul, the conditions she’d lived in for so long explained some of the other parts of her behavior – her original anger and attack on Buffy, Billy, and Spike in the dreams, her not having a problem offering sex to Spike as a stranger, when he first bested her, then to him in the white room, even when she knew he was her own father. Sex had become a commodity to her, something to trade to get what you wanted or keep from getting punished. There were no feelings attached to it, it wasn’t about love, it was about survival. Buffy wondered if she’d ever be able to truly love now … it would’ve been one thing if she’d lived that life as a soulless vamp, but to have that life tattooed on her soul…
Spike knelt down between Buffy and Bess and laid a hand over his daughter’s where they were folded in her lap, his larger hand completely covering her small, but deadly, fists. “No worries, then,” Spike assured her. “Just means Red ain’t lost her mojo after all.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Bess began softly, finally looking up at Spike. “You seemed … you wanted to do it yourself, so … I didn’t think it would hurt anything to do it again.”
“True enough,” Spike agreed. “Never know, the Council wankers mighta’ missed a bit … this way, we’re sure, yeah?”
Bess nodded and Spike gave her a smile and Bess finally smiled softly back at him. “There’s m’ lovely girl,” Spike told her adoringly, touching a finger to her jaw. “You should smile more, princess … you light up the whole room.”
Bess smiled a little wider but dipped her head in embarrassment. Spike patted a hand down on her knee and stood up, trying not to sigh. This was going to be harder than he thought to build her self-esteem back and try to teach her how to live, how to trust, how to love. Everyone in her life had let her down; no one had meant to … well, maybe Harold Travers, Spike wasn’t so sure about the Watcher’s intentions. Regardless of intentions, they’d all let her down just the same, starting with him. He vowed to not let that happen again … she’d been let down by the people she trusted for the last time.
Buffy asked Amanda if she could look in Travers’ office for her jewelry and Spike asked her to have the girls look for his duster, and the Slayer left the Sunnydale group (plus Bess) alone in the office they’d commandeered.
“So, what’s the plan now?” Faith asked no one in particular when Amanda had left.
“I believe that is the question of the hour,” Giles replied dryly as he took a seat behind the desk. Wes and Faith sat opposite him in the visitor’s chairs and Buffy, Bess, and Spike sat off to the side of the desk on the couch.
“Well I, for one, think the Watchers have been yanking Slayers around like pawns for long enough,” Spike spoke up. “Why don’t you change it ‘round a bit? Put the Watchers to work for the Slayers?”
“Awesome idea!” Faith enthused, leaning forward in her seat. “You can go fight the vamps and I’ll go dancing!” she told Wes, hitting him in the arm.
“Owww!” Wes moaned, rubbing his arm where she hit him and scowling at her. “That would be a short-lived exercise in futility … and when I say ‘short-lived’ I do mean that literally.”
Spike rolled his eyes and stood up. “That’s not what I mean. You nits ‘ave been treating Slayers like they’re all brawn and no brains for-bloody-ever. It’s … it’s chauvinistic and … well bloody misogynistic, if ya’ ask me.”
“I take exception to that characterization!” Giles complained. “I’ve never treated Buffy…”
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Watcher … not you, particularly, just the whole bloody system,” Spike defended waving his arms out to the side emphatically. “Slayers ‘ave been doing the bidding of the Council for eons … I just think it’s time they get the bloody respect they deserve. They aren’t tools – they’re people! Smart people, strong people, talented, resourceful, and bloody amazin’ people – all I’m sayin’ is it’s about time someone ‘round here realized that and started giving them some respect, getting their input and opinions before sending them off to do battle with the beasties.”
No one said anything for a moment, contemplating Spike’s words. “That’s just my opinion, o’ course … and what would William the Bloody know about Slayers? Just fought and killed two of ‘em, married one, and got at least one for a bit …” Spike finished, sitting back down on the couch between Buffy and Bess.
Buffy smiled at him and took his hand in hers, squeezing it tightly. It made her feel warm and fuzzy inside to hear him stand up for her and their daughters so eloquently and passionately.
Giles cleared his throat and everyone looked at him. “Indeed, well, I don’t believe anyone could argue with that assessment of the past, and certainly change is necessary. The question then would be, how do we create an organization that could function with Watcher and Slayer more as a team and less autocratically, but still get things done? Democracies are nice, but the wheels turn slowly … we often haven’t time to consult everyone when we’re facing an apocalypse. There needs to be clear leadership in such cases, otherwise, we will most certainly lose.”
“Yeah, but ninety-five percent of the time, what we’re battling is just your ordinary, everyday demon population …” Faith pointed out. “We have an army of Slayers – why don’t we organize it like an army? Get a general, a leader who has the final, unquestionable call on tactics, and lieutenants to take those orders back to the troops. We pick the best Watchers and best Slayers for the LTs, choose a general from them.” Faith proposed. “But for the rest of the time, Watchers and Slayers work as individual teams or in groups … like we always have in SunnyD.”
“And have the Council provide support for the Watchers and Slayer teams in the field, with centralized research and a maybe you could start actually sharing information between the teams so we can see the end of the world coming before it sneaks up and bites us in the ass,” Buffy added.
“Sharing information, now that would be a new concept,” Faith agreed with a hint of sarcasm, looking from Giles to Wes.
“What do you think, Buttercup?” Spike asked Bess, who had been listening to the conversation attentively.
“Me? I … I was only a Slayer for a short while… I’m sure you all know better…” she stammered, taken off guard by Spike asking her.
“You’re still a Slayer, pet … that don’t go away when the demon takes you,” Spike pointed out. “In fact, I’d say you’re the strongest bloody Slayer I’ve ever met.”
All eyes turned to Bess and she looked nervously from Spike to Buffy, then to the others in the room before clearing her throat. “I … well, one thing I would suggest is to not take newly called Slayers away from their families… it’s quite … disconcerting. From what you say, there are hundreds of Slayers now, so perhaps there is no need to remove the girls from their homes, at least not immediately. I think … I think I would’ve been a better Slayer if I’d had my family near, not just my Watcher.”
Spike smiled and nodded reassuringly at her, then turned back to face the group. “Girl makes a good point. This ‘walking alone’ bollocks has run its course … time to change the rules, Watcher. Question is, do you have the stones to do it?” Spike challenged, looking at Giles.
“I can assure you that I have plenty of … stones, Spike,” Giles defended tersely. “However, I think that, to avoid falling into the same pitfalls the Council has experienced previously, it may be a wise choice to govern by committee, including Slayers and Watchers … somewhat like the board of directors of a corporation, so no one person or group has too much power,” Giles proposed.
“Oh! Like the Justice League!” Faith interjected brightly. “Do we get a super-secret location for the meetings and a special handshake?”
“Uhhh …” Giles began, not really sure if she was serious or not, “We can consider that, however, the first order of business would be for the committee to choose the ‘apocalypse leaders’ who will take charge in times of ultimate crisis, as Faith suggested. From there, the team, along with the Council leadership committee, can choose the leader of that team – the General, the one person who will have final say during a crisis. From there, we can draft a new set of bylaws for the Council … including how new Slayers are approached, trained, and so forth, and perhaps we could get Willow to look into ways we can use technology to open the lines of communication between all the Slayers and Watchers and make research more … centralized.”
“How many people do you propose should be on this committee?” Wes wondered. “And what ratio Slayer to Watcher?”
“I … well, I hadn’t quite thought that far ahead, but perhaps twelve would be a good number, equally divided?” Giles suggested.
“And who breaks a tie? Or do we mud wrestle for it?” Faith questioned with a sly smile.
“I’m sure that would be to your liking …” Giles replied dryly. “But no … we need someone neutral, who can see both sides of an issue and make a decision based on the facts as presented by the opposing viewpoints. A thirteenth member who is neither a Watcher nor a Slayer.”
“Look no further!” Spike volunteered, raising his hand. “Just call me Mr. Neutrality…”
Giles rolled his eyes. “I believe you’ve made your lack of neutrality quite clear a bit earlier,” Giles pointed out.
“Fred,” Buffy suggested.
“Fred!?” Spike exclaimed. “She’s shaggin’ a bloody Watcher! How does that make her neutral?” Spike questioned incredulously. “Although … that could work in our favor…” Spike added with a smirk, looking at Wes.
Wes scratched his nose with one finger … not his index finger, which only made Spike’s smirk deepen. “Touched a nerve, did I?” Spike jibed lightly.
“Fred’s the most analytical and earnest person I’ve ever known,” Buffy explained her suggestion, ignoring the male posturing. “If you tell her to make a decision based on the facts, I know she will.”
“Bloody hell! I can make decisions based on the soddin’ facts!” Spike argued.
Buffy raised her brows and gave him a ‘give me a break’ look and Spike crumbled, his shoulders slumped, and he rolled his eyes. “Fine … I make decisions with m’ gut…” he admitted.
“What about Glinda? She’s fair, smart, strong, got good sense, even got a sixth sense ‘bout things,” Spike suggested.
“I don’t know,” Buffy sighed, considering his suggestion. “Tara’s got so much … empathy. I’d be afraid she’d be able to see both sides too well and get mired down not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Buffy looked at Wes. “What do you think about Fred?” she asked him.
Wes nodded thoughtfully. “I think you’re quite right … her feelings for me wouldn’t sway her neutrality, however, I can’t say the same if any decision involved Angel… That’s her blind spot, her Achilles heel.”
“Well, I doubt anything the committee would be considering would involve Angel. My guess is that would fall to the head of the apocalypse team,” Buffy offered with a sigh.
“Ok, so how do we choose the committee?” Faith questioned, looking at Giles.
“Well, I believe we start with the people in this room, the most senior Slayers and Watchers, from there, we invite applications from the Watcher/Slayer populace. I think Spike would be a good addition, but he will be placed in a ‘Slayer’ spot if he chooses to participate,” Giles recommended.
“Naaaa … I don’t play well with others … if the bloody PTA meeting I went to is any gauge, it'd be a bloody miracle if I didn't kill someone within the first ten minutes. If I can’t be in charge, I’ll just leave the bureaucracy to you lot,” Spike explained, glad that Giles thought enough to invite him, but knowing that he’d never have the patience for it. “Wouldn’t mind being on the apocalypse team, though…”
“Very well then; that means we have three Slayer spots filled and two Watchers – we’ll need three more Slayers and four more Watchers and we’ll need to speak with Fred,” Giles summarized.
“Three?” Bess questioned. “But … you’re putting me on the committee?”
“As Spike pointed out, you are a Slayer,” Giles replied. “In fact, you’ve eclipsed your mother by several decades as the eldest Slayer and you have a rather unique perspective, with your ability to see the world through the eyes of the demon. Who better to keep the Council from going astray than someone who has known just how horribly wrong good intentions can go?”
Bess looked from Giles to Spike and then to Buffy, who both nodded their encouragement. Bess looked back at Giles, “I … I will do my best … but if you feel I’m not adequate, simply tell me and I will step away. I don’t want to hinder progress…”
“Sometimes I think some hindering of progress would be a welcome change,” Giles assured her with a sigh. Turning his attention to Wes and Faith he asked, “Wes, could you draft a letter to all the Watchers and Slayers, letting them know what is happening, tell them about the changes that are being proposed, and ask for applicants for the remaining committee positions?”
“Certainly … I assume we can use the office staff which is already in place?” Wes questioned.
“I see no reason why not,” Giles agreed. “Faith, could you check on security, look into getting new security guards hired and so forth?”
“I’m on it,” Faith agreed eagerly.
“I believe we have the core of the apocalypse team here, over the next weeks we need to add to it. Buffy, perhaps you and Faith could work on coordinating some type of interview and testing process to select the best and brightest from which to choose more lieutenants,” Giles continued meting out duties.
“Yeah, sure,” Buffy agreed. “While we’re here, we could start with Slayers and Watchers that are in Europe … save some travel time and expense. Speaking of which … am I on the payroll again?”
“I believe we should be able to find sufficient funds to provide a salary for the three of you,” Giles agreed, meaning Spike, Buffy, and Bess.
“Buttercup's been on the clock for a bloody century … probably owe her a bit o' back pay…” Spike hinted.
“And a raise wouldn’t hurt the rest of us…” Faith suggested.
“Indeed – well, let’s take one thing at a time, shall we? To do any of that, we will need someone to run the day to day business here. I’m sure there are operational procedures in place, but someone must be here to assure things run smoothly and take care of the finances, payrolls, taxes, etcetera,” Giles pointed out.
“You know who would be great at that?” Buffy interjected. “Anya …”
“Although I agree, I doubt that Anya and Xander would want to move to London,” Giles agreed.
“Who says the Council has to be based in London? Is that like a rule? Even if it is, I thought we were changing the rules. Didn’t I just hear you say ‘change is necessary’ … or was I dreaming?” Buffy argued. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Council to be closer to the action … like, for example, on a Hellmouth … ooooh, say … in California?”
“B-but … it’s … Buffy, the Council has a long and storied history here, its tradition, its legacy, is here,” Giles stammered. “That’s an absolutely hideous idea … it would be akin to moving the Queen Mother to …”
“Get over it, Giles. B’s right,” Faith piped up, interrupting him. “There’s been enough pomp and circumstance, it’s time for the Council to get into the trenches, and SunnyD would be the perfect place to dig in.”
“Oh, Lord help me…” Giles moaned, shaking his head as he rubbed tiredly at his eyes.
“I think that means we’re moving!” Buffy announced gleefully. “Meeting adjourned.”
Spike went and found Amanda when the meeting broke up – she had found his duster down in the white room, but couldn’t find Buffy’s jewelry. They had found a safe in Travers’ office, but so far hadn’t found the combination or been able to get it open, Amanda thought maybe Buffy’s jewelry was in there. Spike slipped his duster on and told Amanda to give him, not Buffy, the jewelry when they found it before joining Buffy and Bess near the front doors. Buffy was talking with Faith about how to get Slayers and Watchers gathered up from around Europe to be interviewed and tested for the apocalypse team leaders.
“Don’t worry,” Faith was assuring Buffy. “Wes and I’ll handle getting them here. There’s a big training room on the third floor, we can use that for sparring and testing them out.”
“Some may not even want to be leaders … there’s no sense even talking to them if they don’t want to be in that position,” Buffy pointed out.
“True … but you are talking about Slayers, here, B. ‘She who walks alone’ – pretty much wouldn’t be Slayers if they didn’t like being in charge,” Faith countered.
Buffy shrugged. “Yeah, you’re probably right. How many LTs do you think we’ll need?”
Faith shook her head. “I’ll see if I can find some info online about how some of the best armies were organized, ratios of leaders to … fighters or whatever,” Faith offered.
“Cool …” Buffy replied. “Ok, we’re gonna go. Spike’s still pretty messed up – he really needs some rest and rehabilitation. We’ll talk tomorrow, ok?”
“Yeah – no prob,” Faith agreed. “You know, with abdominal injuries like that, it’s a lot easier in a recliner than on the bed… it doesn’t stretch the stitches as much.”
Buffy looked at her with furrowed brow. “What’s easier?”
“‘Rehabilitation’,” Faith replied with a wink before turning away and heading back towards the offices.
Buffy laughed. “Well, thanks for the tip … I wonder if I can have one delivered to our room.”
It was a nice night out; the air was cool, but not too cold, as the three blondes headed back in the direction of their hotel, then beyond, towards Regents Park. They all relished the feeling of freedom, of being outdoors under the stars in the fresh air – no one more than Bess, but Buffy and Spike had had enough of being inside, as well. Confined in that dark, dank, musty dungeon for just a few days was more than enough for them – Buffy still didn’t know how Bess had survived her interminable incarceration with her mind intact – much less her soul.
Spike was feeling much stronger, he hadn’t looked at his stomach wound since the previous night when Giles re-bandaged it, but it felt much, much better and he was hopeful that he’d be back to 100% within a few days. He had to admit, walking through the quiet, late night, London streets with Bess on one side and Buffy on the other, didn’t hurt. Just having them close, knowing they were alright, made him feel infinitely better.
“Look! Haagen Dazs!” Buffy exclaimed, breaking the comfortable silence that they’d been walking in, as she pointed to brightly lit sign about half a block down the road. “And it’s open! I’m starving!”
Spike laughed. “It’d be a might easier to keep track of when you’re not starving, pet,” he smirked sarcastically as they crossed the street and headed towards the ice cream shop.
“Hey!” Buffy defended, slapping him lightly in the stomach. “Don’t forget, I’m eating for two …”
Spike “omphed” as if all the breath had been knocked out of him as he bent forward holding his injured stomach with both arms and stopped walking.
“Oh God, Spike! I’m sorry! I forgot!” Buffy apologized immediately, stopping next to him and laying a hand gently on his shoulder. “Spike … are you alright? I’m sooo sorry…”
Buffy knelt down next to her husband, who was still doubled over in pain, and leaned her face in next to his. “Spike … I’m soooo sorry, what can I do?”
“M’ boots could use a shine,” Spike observed, looking down at his dirty, scuffed-up Docs as he reached a finger down towards them and wiped some of the grime off the top of one toe.
“Huh?” Buffy questioned, following his hand with her eyes before realization hit. “You poop-head! You aren’t hurt at all!” she accused, standing back up and slapping his back, harder this time.
“Well they do,” Spike pointed out, looking down at his boots as he straightened back up with a laugh. Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him, her bottom lip poking out in a dangerous pout.
“C’mon, Slayer … I’ll make it up to you – buy ya’ a sweet treat,” Spike offered, waving a hand at the ice cream shop.
“You think you can just buy me off with food after that stunt?” Buffy asked incredulously.
Spike shrugged. “Well … yeah.”
Buffy rolled her eyes and dropped her arms as she turned and started walking towards the ice cream shop. “C’mon, Bess – Spike’s treat … we’ll get two of everything!”
“Is he really alright?” Bess wondered as she caught up with Buffy, leaving Spike walking behind them, still chuckling lightly at getting her so easily.
“No – he’s far from alright, but he isn’t hurt,” Buffy informed their daughter.
Spike started feeling his pockets for his wallet, patting down his jeans and then his duster to no avail. “Uhhh … ladies, I’ll haveta owe you one … left m’ wallet in my other jeans,” he called after them just as they started in the door to the ice cream shop.
Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes as she fished money out of her purse. “You know what’s worse than a poop-head?” she asked Bess rhetorically. “A broke poop-head.”
Spike, Buffy, and Bess walked through the park with their waffle cones stuffed to overflowing with creamy, sweet goodness. Bess had gotten scoops of Belgian Chocolate and Crème Brûlée, Buffy had gotten Chocolate Midnight Cookies and Chocolate Pralines and Carmel, and Spike had gotten Dulce de Leche and Carmel Biscuits and Cream. Bess had to agree with Buffy that it was ‘yummy in the tummy!’ She hadn’t anything that tasted this good since … breakfast! Spike thought if Buffy moaned any louder after each bite, a Bobby would come along and arrest them for lewd and lascivious … what was worse, she was teaching Bess to do the same.
Not far into the park, the trio sat down on a bench to enjoy their treats. Spike watched the girls savor their sweet delights as he sat between them and smiled to himself as he licked the melting sides of his own cone. Maybe Bess would be able to just be a normal girl again … she was strong, no doubt about that, mentally and physically … but her emotional health remained to be proven. How badly had her soul been damaged during the last two years? There was no doubt that her self-esteem had taken a hard hit, what about her capacity to love? She seemed to be trusting them … but did she really trust them or was she simply adapting, trying to fit in, not make waves, as she’d learned to do so well over her years in captivity? Would she ever be able to truly be her own person? Have the confidence to speak up for herself freely and let her true heart be known by another? Only time would tell…
They hadn’t been sitting long when four hooligans came down the footpath from the opposite direction, rough-housing with each other and laughing as they walked.
“Well, well, well … what do e ‘ave ‘ere?” one of them asked as they reached the three blondes.
“Looks like some sweet treats to me,” another answered as the four boys surrounded Buffy, Spike, and Bess.
Buffy sighed heavily and rolled her eyes as she handed her ice cream cone to Spike. “Guard that with your life … and don’t eat it,” she warned him as she reached into her waistband and retrieved a stake.
“Whoa-ho!” the leader exclaimed in mock fear. “Little cutie’s brought her own dildo! You don’t need that, sweetheart, I got the real thing for ya right here,” he told her, grabbing his crotch.
Bess followed Buffy’s lead and handed Spike her ice cream cone too while she sized up the two bullies nearest her.
“I’m gonna give you a choice,” Buffy told them calmly. “I can make this quick and easy or I can make it slow and very painful …”
“Oh, yeah, baby! You know I like it rough! Hurt me! Hurt me good!” one of the boys that was behind them exclaimed with a raucous laugh.
“I don’t think you know what you’re dealing with, blondie,” the leader informed her with a growl as he morphed into his vampire visage and the others followed suit.
Spike snorted a soft laugh as he sat back comfortably on the bench holding the three ice cream cones in a triangle with both hands. “I think it’s you blighters who don’t know what you’re dealin’ with. Don’t they teach you tossers anything anymore?”
Before any of the vamps could answer, Buffy and Bess sprang at them. Buffy dusted the leader right away, swinging the stake in a wide arc and embedding it into his heart in one fluid, deadly motion. “Don’t get dust on my ice cream!” she ordered Spike as she hit the second vamp in the gonads with a straight leg kick.
“Well, don’t stake the bloody wankers next to the soddin’ ice cream!” Spike countered as he moved his arms so the cones were as far away from the settling vamp dust as he could get them.
In a moment, there was a flurry of fists and fangs as the two Slayers took on the three remaining vamps. Spike sat back on the bench as the fight moved away, confident that the ice cream was out of the line of fire, and watched his Slayers dance the age-old ballet of death with the vamps. Spike casually licked the dripping ice cream off the sides of the cones as Buffy and Bess swung and ducked, punched and kicked and countered the blows from their adversaries. He couldn’t help but notice with awe how much Bess moved like Buffy … effortlessly, gracefully, deadly. Bess had one of her foes pinned down on the green grass of the park’s well manicured lawn when Buffy tossed her the stake and Bess dispatched him easily.
Spike winced when one of the other vamps came at Bess while she was still on the ground and she grabbed him between the legs and twisted his dangly-bits with all her strength, bringing the vamp to his knees with an ear-piercing screech before dusting him. Spike added ‘resourceful’ to his list of things that Bess had in common with Buffy, along with ‘ruthless’, as his own dangly-bits tried to make themselves as small as possible in empathy for the dimwitted vamp who thought the small girl would make an easy target.
Bess jumped back to her feet and turned to help Buffy, who was trading blows with the last vamp. Bess came up behind the hoodlum and thrust the stake into the vamp’s heart from the back just as Buffy came around with a roundhouse kick. When Buffy’s foot met nothing but air, she fell to the ground, unable to catch her balance from the unexpected nothingness her kick encountered.
“Oh! I’m sorry!” Bess exclaimed, moving over to Buffy quickly to offer her a hand up.
Buffy laughed lightly at her less than graceful dismount as she accepted Bess’ hand and got back to her feet. “No problem – good job,” Buffy assured her as she brushed off her backside with both hands. “See, isn’t it a lot easier to fight in jeans and boots than in long dresses?”
Bess nodded her agreement as she handed the stake back to Buffy. “You can keep it … a souvenir of our first slay together,” Buffy told her, waving it off.
Bess smiled and tucked it into the waistband of her jeans at her back where she’d seen Buffy keep it. “Thanks.”
Buffy wrapped an arm around Bess’ shoulders as they walked back towards Spike. “You may want to keep it out – we might need it for a certain poop-head if he’s eaten all our ice cream.”
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, Ohio Express
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.
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