|Chapter Title:||Angel or Star?, Chapter 35|
November 2002 - December 2002. Annie will be 4 years old in February, 2003.
Buffy died in early May 2001, brought back in September 2001.
Tara and Willow are working on new proactive spells to help with Slaying. Someone has done something to Spike and now he’s having trouble controlling the demon.
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, violence, sex and adult themes which may include rape, attempted rape, blood play 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.
Buffy and Spike were walking down the stairs in the mansion when they heard a loud explosion come from the training room. After a quick glance at each other, they both darted down the remaining stairs.
Spike reached the door first and flung it open. “Bloody FUCKING HELL!” Spike hit the floor and rolled away from the opening as a beam of sunlight streamed out. Buffy jumped over him and started into the room, stopping short when she saw Willow and Tara. The witches were standing in the center of the room, hands joined, eyes closed, chanting an incantation in Latin that Buffy could barely hear. But, what really stopped Buffy, was the miniature sun that was hovering just above them.
“What’s going on?” Buffy asked calmly, not wanting to startle them and risk that baby sun exploding and obliterating the whole house.
Tara and Willow stopped chanting and the sun faded down smaller and smaller until it blinked out. The witches turned to Buffy and smiled. “We did it!” Willow exclaimed, hugging Tara.
“What the bloody hell was that!?” Spike came through the door, still patting a spot on the front of his shirt that was smoldering.
“Oh, Spike! I’m sorry! I didn’t think you guys would be up this early.” Willow looked genuinely concerned.
“’S alright, been burnt worse . . . just not normally while INSIDE MY OWN BLOODY HOUSE!” Spike retorted. “What the hell do ya’ think you’re doin’?!”
Willow cringed a little at his outburst, but brightened when she started to explain. “We’re working on some offensive weapons, you know, so we can really help next time.”
“Will, you DID really help with Riley . . .” Buffy reminded her.
“No! I mean, yeah, I know that we helped, but we’re working on some things that will REALLY help,” Willow explained. “Like, for instance, sunlight if we’re fighting vampires!”
“That’s great, Red, but just keep it away from me, yeah? Vampire, remember? Got a tattoo on my lily white ass says 'Extremely Flammable - keep away from open flame',” Spike informed her.
Willow's and Tara's eyes went wide and their jaws dropped open as they looked from Spike to Buffy. Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head, indicating Spike's lily white ass was tattoo free.
Assured, Willow said, “Sorry! Really, REALLY sorry, Spike! But NEAT, huh?” Willow looked at the two blonds for approval.
Buffy gave the witches a warm smile. “Yeah, guys, very neat. It should come in handy as long as Spike’s not around.”
“Or Angel,” Tara added. Buffy just shrugged and rolled her eyes at that. She had just about had enough of Angel pulling Spike away for his precious PTB missions. Maybe a little sunlight would do him good.
December 1st, 2002:
Tara was getting Annie a snack when Spike walked into the kitchen. It was still early afternoon, but Buffy had been gone when he woke up and he couldn’t get back to sleep.
“Where’s Buffy?” he asked as he walked in.
“In the basement, I think,” Tara informed him. “At least, that’s where she said she was going earlier.”
“The basement? What the hell’s she doin’ down there?”
“BAD WORD! BAD WORD!” Annie exclaimed.
Spike pulled a penny out the pocket of his jeans and slid it across the table to her. Ever since Annie had told one of the teachers at her pre-school that the soup they were serving for lunch was “fucking wonderful” everyone had been trying to reduce the amount of swear words they used around her. Now, every time someone said one, Annie got a penny, but if Annie said one, she had to pay everyone that heard it a dollar. They had started off giving her quarters, but that soon became way too expensive, so they’d changed it to pennies. Annie had a huge jar of them in her room. Buffy commented once that by the time she was in high school, there’d be enough for a college fund, or a Ferrari.
Spike turned around and headed to the door that lead to the basement. The only thing they’d ever put down there were the boxes from her mum’s and Buffy never had gone through them, what with her own death and all. When he got to the bottom of the stairs he saw Buffy knee deep in open boxes. She seemed to have three piles going; he assumed one was to keep, one was to give away and one was for the dust bin.
“Watcha’ doing, luv?” he asked as he approached her.
Buffy looked up and gave him a small smile. She’d been crying, her eyes were red and swollen and her nose was runny. “Just going through this stuff. Figured it’d been long enough and, anyway, I wanted to get the Christmas decorations out. We’ve never really had a nice Christmas and, with Annie . . .” Buffy’s voice trailed off. “I just thought we should start trying to make things more normal for her, since I was, you know, not really all here last Christmas.”
“Need some help?” Spike looked at the stuff strewn around the floor with dismay. He had no idea how he could possibly be of any help with this. Obviously the smallest, most inconsequential looking item could have huge emotional meaning to Buffy and he would have no way to know what to keep or what to toss.
“Sure,” she said and he mentally cringed. “Just start hauling these boxes,” she waved her hand at a group off to one side, “upstairs.”
Spike sighed, that he could do. “Right,” he said and started carrying the boxes upstairs and putting them in a pile in the great room.
When Buffy and Spike were done, there were two piles left in the basement, stuff to give away to charity and stuff to toss. Everything that Buffy wanted to keep Spike had dutifully hauled upstairs. Buffy had called the local women’s shelter and they said they’d come out later and pick up the items for donation, especially since most of it was clothing that they could really use. Buffy’d work on getting rid of the stuff to toss a little each week with the regular garbage pickup, since there wasn’t that much in that pile, anyway.
“We need a tree,” Buffy announced once all the non-Christmas items she’d kept had been put away.
“Isn’t a tree in the house a bit of a fire hazard, luv?” Spike asked in all seriousness.
“We’re not decorating it with CANDLES, Spike. This is the twenty-first century, there’s a little thing called electricity now,” Buffy retorted. “How long since you celebrated Christmas, anyway?”
Spike shrugged. “A while, I guess.”
“Well, trust me, we need a tree. We’ll all go tonight and pick one out.”
“ALL of us?” Spike asked surprised. “It takes ALL of us to pick out a tree? Isn’t one tree just as good as the next?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “No, Spike, one tree is NOT just as good as the next. You have to check the height, the shape, you have to make sure the needles aren’t all falling off, make sure the trunk is cut long enough to go into the stand and, then, there’s the haggling with the lot attendant over the price. Plus, picking out a Christmas tree is a FAMILY outing. That means ALL THE FAMILY goes.”
Spike shrugged. Who knew there was such an art to picking out a Christmas tree, just to toss it in the dust bin a few weeks later. “’Course, luv. Christmas tree a-hunting we-will-go.”
Buffy showed Spike and Annie the finer points of picking out a Christmas tree and, after haggling with the lot attendant on price, they had their tree. Back at the mansion, Spike and Buffy set the tree up in the stand and Tara and Willow joined them to help decorate it.
For Spike’s part, he just hauled boxes over to where the tree was and handed the ornaments to the girls. When he questioned Willow about being Jewish, Willow just shrugged and said that she was flexible and had plenty of Christmas experience growing up with Xander as her best friend.
“Angel or star?” Buffy turned to Spike when the boxes of ornaments were empty.
“What?” Spike looked at her suspiciously. He was sure that Angel never celebrated Christmas.
“Angel or star,” Buffy repeated, “for the top of the tree?” Buffy held up an angel and a star tree topper for him to choose.
“Star,” Spike chose immediately. Buffy handed the star to Annie and Spike picked her up so she could reach the top, holding her up there until everyone was happy that the star was straight. Everyone backed up to take in the finished product. Multi colored lights danced and reflected off the ornaments and tinsel. Even Spike had to admit that it looked good.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2002:
Spike and Buffy were patrolling the Shady Hills Cemetery. It was about midnight and had been a slow night, so they were getting ready to head home when suddenly Spike collapsed.
“Spike!” Buffy bent over her husband as his body spasmed on the ground, every muscle seemed to be pulled to the breaking point and he screamed in pain. Buffy looked around but didn’t see anyone or anything that could be causing it. “Spike!”
Just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Spike rolled over on his back. “Bloody hell,” his words were barely audible as he tried to recover from the unseen attacker.
“Spike! Are you ok?” Buffy ran her hands over his arms and legs to check for anything that may have caused the attack, but she found nothing. She pulled his shirt off and checked his chest and back, nothing. “What happened?”
Spike shook his head. “Dunno.”
“Are you OK now?” Buffy looked at him with concern, not sure what to make of the attack.
“Yeah, guess so. Feel a little . . . weird. Hungry.” Spike shook his head to try and clear the fogginess and figure out why he felt so hungry all of the sudden. He’d just eaten before they left, he normally wouldn’t eat again until the next day.
“Can you walk?” Buffy was helping him up.
“Yeah, think so.”
“That was strange. I’ll get the gang researching tomorrow and see if they can figure out what might have done it,” she said as he put his arm around her shoulders for support and they started walking back towards the mansion.
Buffy heated Spike some blood when they got home, adding some berber weed to it and he drank it as if he was starving, then he drank another cup and another and he still felt hungry. Buffy made him some scrambled eggs with tabasco sauce and he ate that, too. Finally, he decided to give up on trying to stop feeling hungry and headed upstairs, took a shower and went to bed.
Buffy called Giles and woke him up. She told him what happened and asked if he knew of anything, off hand, that would cause that, but he didn’t. He promised her he’d get everyone there first thing in the morning and start researching.
When Buffy had showered and climbed into bed, Spike was already asleep. She resisted the urge to cuddle against him, lest she wake him up. Obviously, whatever it was had exhausted him; he needed to rest.
Monday, December 23rd, 2002:
Giles, Anya, Willow and Tara were researching when Buffy came downstairs the next morning. Xander had to work, but promised he would be by later to help.
“Anything?” Buffy asked after she got a cup of coffee.
“No, I’m afraid not, Buffy.” Giles looked concerned. “Is he any better today?”
Buffy shrugged. “Dunno, he was still asleep.”
“What did it feel like?” Anya asked Buffy. “I mean, how it felt could narrow down what kind of demon it was. Did it burn or itch or was it a sharp pain or more of a dull ache?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy responded.
“You didn’t feel it?” Willow looked up from her computer screen, brows knit together.
“No.” Buffy thought about this a moment. “That’s weird, isn’t it? I didn’t feel it at all.”
“Can you feel him now?” Tara asked.
Buffy concentrated a moment before her eyes widened in alarm. “No . . . I can’t. What the hell is going on!?”
No one answered. No one knew the answer.
Finally, Willow said as brightly as she could, “I’m sure it’ll be ok, Buffy. We’ll figure it out and get it fixed. That’s what we do!”
Buffy nodded before turning and heading back upstairs. “I’m gonna go check on him.”
Spike was still asleep when she entered their bedroom. His sleep was full of nightmares and he tossed and turned in the bed, switching between his demon and human face frequently. Once in a while he’d say a name, usually Angelus, Darla or Dru, but he never woke up. Buffy sat in the chair in the corner of the room and watched, afraid to wake him. She tried a couple of times to sleep and join in his dreams to see what was going on, but she could never get in.
Finally, at about supper time, Spike woke up with a start.
“Spike! Are you alright?” Buffy shot up out of the chair and sat on the edge of the bed next to him.
Spike looked at her for a moment and tried to clear the fogginess in his brain, “Yeah, I guess so.”
“You were dreaming . . . do you remember?” Buffy looked into his eyes.
“Yeah, it was . . .” Spike lowered his head and rubbed his eyes. “It was when I was first turned. Why am I suddenly dreaming about that?”
Buffy shook her head. “Let’s go downstairs and see if the gang’s figured anything out,” she suggested.
As the pair came down the stairs, Annie spied them and ran from where she’d been playing near the Christmas tree. She threw herself at Spike as he reached the bottom step. Spike caught her under the arms and hoisted her up into a hug. “Hey, Niblett! Did you miss me today?”
“Papa! Look! There’s new presents under the tree!” Annie pointed towards the Christmas tree. There were so many presents under there now Spike had no idea how she could possibly tell which ones were new.
“Really? Are they for me?” Spike questioned her.
“Nooooo, silly! There for me!” Annie laughed.
“YOU!? Why you little rascal! How do you rate all the presents?” Spike buried his face in her neck and started covering her with growing kisses and raspberries as she laughed and shrieked in delight.
Suddenly, Spike stopped and pulled back. “Funny face!” Annie cried out still laughing, she ran her fingers over the ridges on Spike’s forehead. “You’re silly!” she told him again as he put her down and shook off the demon, changing back to his human face.
Buffy looked at him with concern. She’d never seen the demon come up when he was playing with Annie before, not unless Annie asked him to make his “funny face” and he specifically did. This looked more like it was unintentional. She thought Spike seemed a little confused by it, as well.
Buffy turned to the assembled group. “Anything?” she asked.
“I’m afraid not, Buffy,” Giles answered her. “Spike, are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, I guess so. Weird dreams and still hungry. Nothin’ life shatterin’.” He didn’t mention the demon coming up of its own volition when he was playing with Annie. Just happened because I’m hungry, he thought.
“Come in the kitchen and I’ll get you something to eat,” Buffy said to him.
“I brought pizza,” Xander offered and waved his hand towards the greasy cardboard boxes of pizza in the middle of the table.
“Yeah, sounds good,” Spike grabbed a piece with Pepperoni and Jalapeño peppers and followed Buffy into the kitchen with it. She had a mug of blood warming in the microwave. When it dinged, Spike took it out and dipped the pizza slice in it before taking a bite. He did the same thing with two other slices and two more mugs of blood, but he just couldn’t get over feeling like he was starving.
At about eight o’clock that evening, Buffy told everyone to go home. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve and everyone had a million things to do. After all, like Spike said, it wasn’t life threatening, it could wait. She reminded everyone to be at the house by two in the afternoon on Christmas day, she was cooking a turkey and all the trimmings for the whole gang.
Buffy gave Annie a bath and put her to bed before coming back downstairs and cuddling with Spike on the couch. She turned off all the lights except the Christmas tree and they laid together in the glow of the sparkling colors, each lost in their own thoughts for a long while.
“Do you still feel hungry?” Buffy finally asked.
“Yeah,” Spike admitted.
“Feed from me,” she suggested.
“No, there’s no need . . .” Spike started but she cut him off.
“It might help . . . it might cure whatever it is.” Buffy lay back on the couch, pulling him down on top of her before sweeping her hair off her neck and bending her head to the side. “Com’on, let me help.”
Spike kissed her before sliding his head down her neck. Nuzzling it, he could feel her pulse under his mouth and the demon came up unbidden. His fangs sliced into her flesh and Slayer blood flowed into his mouth. He sucked at it hungrily, barely noticing her shuddering in pleasure under his body. He continued to feed, even as she came beneath him and still he didn’t stop. The taste was overwhelming, the feel of her hot blood flowing into his mouth intoxicating. He didn’t even hear her when she said his name the first time.
The second time, it was louder. “Spike! Stop!”
Buffy was getting nauseous, dizzy and weak. He was taking too much. “Spike!” she called again and tried to push him off, but he was holding her tight and not letting go. She was on the verge of passing out.
“William . . .” it was barely a whisper as she lost consciousness.
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