Disclaimer: I don’t own this verse. Only the characters you don’t recognise are mine.
I’m not entirely happy with this chapter but I needed to deal with the issues that emerged from chapter twenty and set the scene for the next part. I have a good lot of the next chapter done already and I’m hoping I will be finished that soon.
Spike was treasuring the brief silence with a cup of proper tea, his feet propped on the coffee table and Coronation Street on the telly. Meanwhile school and work beckoned for Dawn and her family and as much as the vampire was enjoying his visit, sometimes the brood could be a little bit overwhelming, and he was grateful for the time to himself. He had been back almost a week now and as with all good things passed far too quickly. He looked around the living room at the pictures on the mantelpiece. The one of the Dawn and Michael on their wedding day caught his eye and he smiled. Dawn had a good bloke in Michael. In truth Spike hadn’t been too sure what to make of him when he had first met him. In fact Spike had tried to scare him off, although Michael had stood his ground and that’s when the vampire decided maybe this bloke was a keeper. He doted on those kids and they always followed him around like the rats followed the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The vampire knew he never would have a family of his own and as a result spoiled the kids rotten. Spike was going to miss them when he had leave for Moscow tomorrow. The previous night Spike had offered to look after the rugrats for a few hours so that Dawn and Michael could get out for an evening. He didn’t know how Dawn and Michael could do it. He was exhausted after a few hours of kid sitting and he had a vampire constitution. To top it off since Spike had bumped in Buffy he found it difficult to sleep. He thought he had been coping very well with the break up and he was getting over her. However, one look in her eyes and he was a goner once again. Fuck! Once his tea was finished he went to heat a mug of blood in the microwave. When he heard the buzz of the microwave to signify the blood was ready he took the mug and went back into the sitting room. He missed Passions, although there was plenty of other rubbish TV programmes to entertain him. He flicked through the channels, as Coronation Street was over, until he came across The Jeremy Kyle Show. He chuckled at the name of the programme – Stop trying to steal my bloke, you slut. Spike chuckled. Some people would do anything to get their five minutes of fame.
The sound of the doorbell rang out. He knew it was either a sales person or someone who calling to see him as the family would be always be out during the day on week days. He opened the door a fraction, careful to avoid any direct sunlight, and was surprised to see Giles at the door.
“Watcher?” Spike moved out of the way and let the man inside.
Giles joined him inside and closed the door behind him. “Good afternoon, Spike. I’m glad I didn’t wake you.”
“What do you want, Rupert?”
The Watcher was carrying a small file under his arm. “I brought some more paperwork and your plane ticket. Did you manage to read through what I had left you?”
Spike nodded, “I had a look at it. Nothing new there.”
“Good,” said the Watcher.
The two men made their way into the kitchen and they sat down by the table. Giles handed Spike the file and vampire gave a quick glance to the contents – copies of emailed reports sent by the Slayers to the Council. He could feel the man watching him and he put down the file and turned his attention back to his guest. Giles dug around in his pockets and handed Spike an envelope with the ticket inside.
Spike looked directly at Giles trying to read him. “I thought I would just pick these up at the airport tomorrow night. Have you an ulterior motive for calling?”
Giles let out a nervous laugh. “I’m sending you an assistant.”
“Uh - Andrew.”
“The boy? Why would you sending him? Are you trying to punish me for something? Last thing I need is to be looking after that little idiot.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “I knew you’d be pleased,” he said sardonically. He tempered his tone and continued,” I know Andrew can be a little overzealous but he had been a lot of research on Dracula in the Watcher diaries and interviewing people who have met him. I think he can be of help to you.”
Since when was the boy interested in Dracula, he had always been interested in Spike’s history than any other vampire. Well if Andrew had transferred his hero worship to another vampire, then Spiek wasn’t going to complain. Not at all. What he didn’t understand was why Giles thought he would know things Spike would about the pillock.
“I know about Dracula,” Spike insisted churlishly. Shaking his head disbelievingly he continued, “Great. I get to babysit Andrew.”
“Now that your sulk is out of the way, let’s get back to business.”
“I’m not sulking,” Spike retorted.
“Of course you’re not.”
Spike leaned back in his chair, his arms behind his head. “Not a lot to note other than Dracula being up to his usual tricks.”
The man nodded. “He has managed to get close to one of the younger Slayers, but I think her experience with being seduced by him may have taught them all a valuable lesson.”
“I hope so. Did he manage to get a bite from her?”
“Yes – several. He used his modus operandi before he almost drained her when he got tired of her or set his sights on someone new.”
“Vi the head Slayer there?” Spike asked.
“She is. You’d barely recognise her from the girl she was back at Sunnydale.”
“We all changed a lot since then.” Spike sighed. “Is that all?” He raised an eyebrow, “because it’s suspicious you coming around during the middle of the day when I can’t escape.”
Giles removed his glasses and pinched his nose. Spike had a feeling he wasn’t going to like what the man was going to say.
The vampire’s lips thinned. “Out with it.” He suspected this had something to do with a certain blonde.
“I was speaking with Buffy-” Giles began.
Spike rolled his eyes, “I knew it!” He slammed his hand down on the table.
“Just hear me out,” the man pleaded.
Spike didn’t reply, settling instead for sending a withering glare in the Watcher’s direction.
Giles must have taken his silence as a license to continue. “I’m sorry but I must ask. Are you sure you want to close the door for good on your relationship?”
Spike sighed deeply. “I thought we went through this the other day, Rupes. ‘Sides, it’s none of your business.”
“I know,” Giles said. “I’m concerned about both of you.”
“I’m fine,” Spike said briskly. “Or at least I was until I came back here. I have feelings for her, not sure if you can call it love anymore though.” He paused for a moment. “The problem is I don’t trust her. If she had been with anybody else then maybe I would give it a go. The fact that it was Peaches shows I was never more than a consolation prize.”
“If that’s the case, then why is she still not with him?” Giles pointed out.
“Because the stupid bint doesn’t want to admit to herself that she was stringing me along for years,” Spike snarled, his fists balled. “Doesn’t matter whether I’m over her or not. I don’t want her back.”
“Maybe I should leave,” Giles suggested, sensing he had over stepped his mark.
“I think that might be a good idea,” Spike said. Couldn’t the man have left well enough alone?
He glared at Giles and watched him leave, unable to relax until he had the slam of the front door. Needing a stiff drink he made for the whiskey in the drinks cabinet. Getting plastered sounded like plan but not a wise one. He didn’t want Dawn to throw him out for being drunk in front of the bits. He poured himself a glass and drunk it down in one gulp. What was he doing letting Buffy screw up his life again? He needed to move on and make it permanent this time. He wondered not for the first time if he was subconsciously holding onto her? No – that couldn’t be true. He was just having a relapse - happened all the time with addicts. He had gotten rid of most things but there were a few he kept. He took out a dog eared photograph from his wallet. It was a picture of the Summers’ sisters that he had for years. If every time he took six steps forward, he took ten steps back, how would he ever succeed in moving on? He needed to do something.
Later that night Spike, Dawn and Michael sat in the living room, exchanging the events of the day.
Dawn sat in the middle, Spike and Michael at either side.
“I’m going to miss you, Spike,” she said with a pout. “Do you really have to leave?”
Spike smirked. “It’s probably best I leave before Michael has to throw me out. I’m actually looking forward to seeing Dracula again and handing him his arse on a plate.”
“I remember when he came to Sunnydale,” Dawn said. “There’s something kind of mysterious and sexy about him.”
The two men shared an incredulous look.
“Pet, I thought you were smarter than that vampire loving lot. Been readin’ Twilight?”
“Hey!” Dawn punched Spike on the arm and elbowed a sniggering Michael. “Assholes.”
“You know that bastard still owes me money,” Spike whinged.
“Make sure you get the money before you dust him,” Michael dead panned.
“Yeah and I’ll be sure to get him to include interest.” Spike had a sudden craving for a cigarette and grabbed his fags and lighter from his jeans. “I’m heading out back for a smoke,” he said, getting to his feet.
“I’ll come with,” Dawn said.
As he walked from the room, Spike caught the look she gave her husband and he wondered what it was that Dawn wanted. It looked as if she was telling Michael they needed some time alone. The two walked through the kitchen and out the back door. The pair sat down on the doorstep and Spike leaned back against the wall. He lit the cigarette and put it to his mouth, greedily inhaling the nicotine. There was a huffing noise from the woman at his side.
He turned to look at Dawn and she had her arms across her chest. “Smoking is such an unhealthy habit.”
“Doesn’t much matter for me, luv. I’m already dead.”
“It makes you smell bad,” she pointed out, a wicked smile on her face.
Sometimes, he could forget that she was a grown woman and mother to two children. It was just the sort of snarky comment she would have made way back when.
“You’re a cheeky bint.”
Her grin was unrepentant. They lapsed into a comfortable silence, the only sound being Dawn scuffing the ground with her sneaker.
“Do you ever think you’ll move back here?” Dawn asked.
Spike shrugged. “Don’t know,” he answered honestly. “I thought I would at first. Not so sure anymore.”
“I guess it’s because of Buffy,” she said.
He shifted around on the step to meet her gaze. “Partly, maybe,” he conceded. “But it’s not that simple. I like what I’m doing.”
“Good,” Dawn said.
He looked at her curiously, wondering what she meant by that statement.
“I mean,” she explained, I’m glad that Buffy isn’t keeping you away. As long as you’re happy..”
Spike reached out and squeezed her hand for a moment before letting it go.
“Speaking of Buffy, I had a visitor today,” he said.
He shook his head. “It wasn’t her, but let’s just say we spoke about her.”
Dawn sighed. “Giles.”
He threw what was left of his cigarette to the ground. “Next time you see him you can tell Rupert to stop poking his nose in my business.”
“You know he means well.”
Spike was on his feet and pacing. “I’m sure he wouldn’t be encouraging Buffy if the boot was on the other foot and it had been me that was fooling around.”
“Maybe not.” Dawn stood up. “He’s not the only person concerned.”
The last thing Spike wanted or needed was pity of any sort. He turned his back to her and continued to pace. He was coping quite well and he was enjoying having the chance to take to the road once again. For years, he and Dru had never settled anywhere for long and that was something that he had missed. He still had feelings for the Slayer, but he chose to walk away and he hadn’t regretted it. He knew it was the right thing for him to do. He just wished people would stop questioning his decisions.
Dawn came up behind him and rested her hand on his shoulder. “Please don’t bite my head off.”
He frowning knowing he wasn’t going to like what she was going to say.
“Since you bumped into Buffy,” she continued, “you’ve been distant and not yourself. Are you just touchy about what Giles is saying because it’s too close to the truth?”
He whirled around. “I don’t want Buffy back. I thought you had my back and weren’t going to press me into any decision.”
“I do. I won’t. I just want you to be sure. I wondered if maybe you changed your mind. Before you came back I thought you were fine but now…”
“I’m fine. Just a little mixed up. I reckoned I was more over her than I actually was. Still, I haven’t changed my mind about being with her. I don’t even know if I still love her but I do have feelings for her.”
“This might be none of my business, Spike, but maybe what you need is to be on your own for a while. Get to know Spike again.”
He could see the wisdom in what she was trying to say.
“I think you have it right, pet,” he said. “I thought I was ready to move on, but I’m in no place to get into any relationship. Thing is I’ve never really been the single type; I’ve always had someone. I was with Dru for a century and then I fell for Buffy. Even when I wasn’t involved with her, everything was still all about her. I just want to be Spike – whoever that is. ”
Dawn smiled kindly at him which helped with the embarrassment of having revealed so much. He was a bloody poofter and too soft for his own good. He knew Dawn would never betray his confidences.
“You know I’m there for you, right?”
“I know,” he replied. “Let’s go back inside before Mike thinks I’m trying to steal you away. Now how’s about a drink, pet. We can make a toast to new beginnings.”
The following evening came far quicker than Spike would have liked. He travelled light and it didn’t take him long to gather all of his belongings. After the delicious dinner, made by Michael, they all gathered in the living room, counting down the hours until he had to leave.
“I’m going to miss you.” Dawn hugged him tight.
“There’s a box I’ve left behind in the room. There’s some stuff in there and I don’t know what I want to do with them. Could you look after them for me?”
“Of course,” she replied.
He could feel her tears falling on his chest drenching his t-shirt. “Don’t cry, pet. I’ll be back.”
She let him go finally. “You make sure you call soon.”
“You better set up a Skype account like she’s been asking you to do for years,” Michael added.
“I’ll think about it,” Spike conceded.
Dawn extricated herself from Spike and hugged her husband. It was a good thing that Dawn’s husband wasn’t the jealous type, Spike reflected. Not that the man would have anything to worry about given that she was the closest thing to a sister he had. He turned to look at the kids, who looked miserable.
“Do you have to go Uncle Spike?” Sarah asked.
“Sorry sprout.” He bent down and mussed her hair. “I’m a busy man – busy saving the world.”
“Where’s your cape?” Timmy asked cheekily.
Spike grabbed his duster in response. “This baby is better than any cape. So if I’m a superhero then Andrew’s my bloody sidekick.”
Dawn wiped at her eyes. “God help the world, then.”
“It’s me that’ll need the help,” the vampire said.
Two days later…
It was years since Spike had been in this part of the world. During his last visit the USSR had been involved in a cold war with the Uncle Sam. It had been a long flight with Andrew blathering on beside him. He sat in the passenger seat of Vi’s car and Andrew was in the back. He remembered the bint from those final days in Sunnyhell. He had not seen her since and she was much more confident than he remembered. Back then she was afraid of her shadow.
“I’m sorry about you and Buffy,” Vi said.
Spike shrugged her shoulders. “It’s for the best. Can we please not talk about it? I’d prefer get down to business.”
Duly chastened Vi went silent. Spike took a look in the car mirror wondering what the boy had gone so quiet. Andrew had fallen asleep; It must have been all the talking in the plane.
“Who else is here from the old days?” Spike asked.
“We’ve called in Kennedy as well,”
That mouthy slayer wasn’t Spike’s favourite person.
He sighed. “Great. The last thing we need.”
Vi laughed. “She’s not that bad.”
Spike raised an eyebrow.
“Ok maybe she is.”
“Don’t let her bully you, pet. You’re the boss around here.”
“Thanks,” Vi said. “Giles says you met Dracula before.”
Spike nodded his head. “The blighter owes me ten pounds and with interest I reckon he should owe me a lot more. Mind if I smoke?”
He took out a cigarette. Lighting it he continued, “Vlad came to Sunnyhell too at one point though I didn’t get a chance to catch up. The bastard’s all with magic tricks and smoke. Don’t rightly like him; He doesn’t even act like proper vamp.”
This was going to be interesting.