Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Spike/Dawn, Buffy, Giles, Willow, OC
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike Random Mix Up: Family, Vampire, Diary, First, Television, Duster, Kitten, Fangs, Surprise, Dangerous, Kiss, Princess, Daddy, Duster, Blood, Cute, AND Spell
Word Count: 4,902
Date Written: 14 November 2017
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
Dawn enters the room to quiet. She had heard voices just before opening the door, voices that sounded lively and perhaps even a little happy, but now she looks at an entire room of stoic faces. Her gaze travels from one to the other until Willow looks away from her, tears in her eyes. “What’s going on?” Dawn asks, a chill filling her.
They had sounded so happy before! Maybe it had just been her imagination. Maybe they weren’t that happy, but they certainly hadn’t been this sad! “What happened?” she asks, the chill seeming to sink deeper into her very bones. “Buffy . . . “ she starts to say but stops as her older sister stalks into the room.
Whereas Willow’s face had been sad before she’d looked away from Dawn, Buffy’s face is flushed with furious anger. She waves a book in the air. Dawn instantly recognizes the book, and her stomach sinks. At the same time, her own anger flares to life. “That’s mine!” she cries, marching forward and snatching the diary from her sister’s hand. “How dare you!”
“How dare you sleep with Spike!”
Dawn’s mouth literally drops open. She stares at her. Her hand clutches her diary so hard her knuckles turn white. “I didn’t sleep with Spike,” she grinds out through clenched teeth, “or I haven’t anyway, but if I did, it wouldn’t be any of your business!”
“Yes, it would! I’m the Slayer! He’s a Vampire!”
“Hello! Angel, anybody?!”
“That was different!”
“Why?” Dawn counters. “Because he was cursed with a soul instead of working hard to get his soul?”
“Spike only went through all of that because he wanted to prove to me he was a better man!”
“He is a better man, one of the best men I’ve ever known!”
Buffy snorts. “Man, you’ve got it bad, don’t you? What did he do to you?”
She shakes her head. “That’s what he’s going to be doing from here on. I should’ve staked his ass a long time ago! It ends tonight!”
“Don’t you touch him!”
“Dawn,” Willow breaks in, stepping between them and holding a hand out in front of each sister, “Buffy’s only worried about you. We all are.”
“We’ve seen this happen before, Dawnie,” Xander speaks up from the couch. “Bad boy Vampire woos the innocent girl, takes her virginity -- “
“Xander!” Buffy cries in protest, her face flushing with embarrassment now instead of just anger.
He continues like he hasn’t even heard her, “ -- kills her friends, threatens her family -- “
“He killed one,” Dawn counters, “and that was Miss Calendar -- “
“And my fish,” Willow murmurs.
“And your fish,” Dawn amends earnestly, looking at her sad friend. “But that was Angelus, guys! Not Spike!” She shakes her head. “This isn’t a curse! He didn’t get stuck with a soul! He went out and got his soul! That’s a big difference!”
“But he did it because of me,” Buffy reminds her, “after he tried to rape me.”
“That was the evil him, the badness in him that disgusted even him! He didn’t want to hurt you, Buffy! He loved you! Or he thought he did. He loved you so much he went to get his soul because of you, but then you still couldn’t see him for his grandsire! All you could see was the mistakes you made with Angelus, and that’s what you’re seeing now! You still won’t look at him without seeing Angel first! But he’s his own man! He deserves to have a chance at happiness, at love!”
“Boy,” Buffy snorts, “he really does have you brainwashed!”
“Buffy,” Willow cuts in again. “Maybe you’re right, Dawnie. Maybe all we’re seeing is the bad stuff, too, because we know what happened with Angelus. But you’re only sixteen!”
“But I’m. Not. Sleeping. With. Him!” Dawn cries, emphasizing each word.
“It’s only a matter of time -- “
“Xander!” both Buffy and Willow cry simultaneously.
He shrugs. “Well, it is, and I won’t sit still while another Vampire hurts another one of my friends!”
“Neither will I,” Buffy says, gripping a stake Dawn doesn’t even know when she picked up. Maybe she had it on her the whole time, just hiding somewhere in her fashionable outfit, like she’s so good at doing.
But there’s no way she’s letting her stake Spike! No one’s staking her best friend, not any of the Potentials, not Faith, not Giles, not Xander, and especially not her own sister! “You’re not staking him!” she cries.
“Watch me,” Buffy growls. “He touches you again, he’s dead!”
“He will touch me!” Dawn exclaims. “He’ll touch me, because I want him to! But he won’t have sex with me until I’m ready! He’s already told me that!”
“Oldest line in the book -- “
“Well, it is,” Anya says in defense of her boyfriend, one hand on his knee.
“You don’t have to believe him. You should believe me! I’m not having sex with anybody yet!” She’s careful to leave out the fact that when she does finally give up her virginity, it will be to Spike. “Yes, I’m only sixteen, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid! And actually, I’m not really just sixteen! I was already centuries old when they put me in this body that I never asked for! I never asked for any of this!” Dawn cries, tears beginning to stream down her face.
“Dawnie -- “ Willow breathes her name, reaching for her, but Dawn steps back.
“I never asked for any of this,” Dawn repeats, “and neither did Spike!” She shakes her head. “We’re two of a kind, and we understand each other better than anybody else we know! But I’m not going to do anything stupid! You think he’s somehow controlling my mind? Buffy, part of him still loves you! He’s tried to get me to date guys my age! I don’t want them! I want him! I love him!”
“That’s what you read in my diary: the fact that I love him, not that I screwed him! I’m not you! I’m not going to make the same mistakes you made! You were sixteen when you started dating Angel -- “
“I was sixteen when I was told I had to save the world!”
“You were seventeen,” Dawn continues as though she hasn’t heard her, “when you let him screw you and break the curse! Spike isn’t cursed! He’s not going to suddenly go evil again just because he has a moment of true love or true happiness or whatever! He’s worked hard to get his soul, but none of you can see that! None of you will see it, because you’re too busy judging him for what the monster inside of him did, for what Angel did, for what Vampires do, for anything that means you don’t have to see him for him! But I do see him for him, and I love him! And I won’t let you stake him!!”
Buffy grabs her wrist as Dawn turns away. Dawn snatches with all her might, breaking the Slayer’s hold and running out the door with a sob.
“I’m thinking we screwed that up -- “
“Okay, okay! Shutting up!”
“What are you going to do?” Willow asks, looking at Buffy with tears still shimmering in her eyes. She remembers how scared and hurt her best friend was when Angel turned into Angelus, but Dawn did raise some valid points. Spike’s soul isn’t a curse; it’s a goal toward which he worked hard and perhaps he has earned it. They’ve all done things in the past of which they’re ashamed, and he’s not the same Vampire he was. But he is still a Vampire, and Dawn is still only sixteen years old.
Buffy grips her stake. “I’m going to stake that bastard,” she declares, “if it’s the last thing I do.” She stalks out into the night through the door Dawn left open, but her sister is already gone. There’s no sign of her, but Buffy doesn’t have to have one to find her. She knows where she’s gone, and she follows her without hesitation. She’ll do what has to be done tonight. She’ll do what she should have done long ago: Tonight, she kills Spike.
Spike jumps to his feet as Dawn runs into his home, his attention instantly on her rather than the Passions episode on his television. “We have to go!” she cries, tears still pouring down her face. He springs to her side. He starts to just take her hands into his, but she all but collapses into his arms. She sobs into his shoulder for a long minute, the familiar feel and scent of his leather duster and the feel of his arms around her the only comfort she now knows in this world.
But then she remembers why she’s running and crying and who’s coming. She pushes away from him. “We have to go,” she says again, wiping away her own tears. “Buffy’s coming.”
“So?” he asks, looking dubiously down at her.
“Mew?” asks the tiny, black kitten entwining around their ankles. Dawn bends, picking up and stroking the kitten. “Crazy bitch would probably stake you too,” she murmurs into his soft, black fur, “since you have fangs.”
Spike looks at her. “She’s coming to stake me?” he asks, almost in disbelief. After all he had to her before he got his soul, now the Slayer is finally ready to stake him? Just a few months ago, he would have gone gladly, but he’s slowly been piecing his life back together, the remarkable young woman and the kitten they rescued together in front of him being two of the most important and cherished pieces of that puzzle.
“Yes! I’m sorry, Spike! I’m sorry! I screwed up! I should’ve known better than to tell anybody how I feel, but I told -- “
“You told Buffy,” Spike says slowly, “you have feelings for me? Nibblet, I told you nothing good could come of that! Maybe it is best if I’m staked.” He looks away from her and to the door beyond, feeling the Slayer’s approach.
“NO!” Dawn cries.
The kitten meows loudly, reaching his tiny, ebony paws out for Spike.
“You’d be better off,” he says, for the first time not taking those paws into his pale, cold hands. “You both would be.”
“Hmph. Figures we’d agree even tonight,” Buffy says, entering. “See, Dawnie? Even he knows you’re better off without his bad influence.”
“He’s not Angel!” Dawn cries. “He’s not the man he was! He’s the man he is!”
“And that man,” Spike whispers, “would rather be staked than ever hurt you.”
“But your being staked would hurt me! Spike, you’re my best friend, and yes, I love you, but you were my friend before I fell in love with you! Why do you think I’m in love with you anyway?! No guy has ever been so kind, so gentle, so funny -- “
“I thought the same thing about Angel when I was your age, Dawnie,” Buffy interrupts, “except for the funny part.”
“But he is! And besides, who’s going to be the daddy to Fang here?!”
“Fang?” Buffy’s eyes drop to the little, black bundle of fur Dawn’s holding and which is still reaching out for Spike and mewing quite pitifully. She blinks. “Well, that’s a surprise.”
“He’s a Vampire too!” Dawn cries, holding the kitten out toward her sister. “He’s a big, bad Vampire, has to have the blood of mice!”
Buffy looks at Dawn and the feline like they’re both nuts. Behind Dawnie, Spike murmurs with a shrug, “It’s true.”
“So don’t you want to stake him too?”
“Dawn -- “ Buffy protests.
“Why not? He’s a Vampire! He could bite us in our sleep!”
“It’s not the same -- “
“Neither is Spike!”
“She’s right,” a voice says from behind them. “He’s not the same.”
Buffy, Dawn, Spike, and the kitten all look at the newcomer in surprise. “Giles?” Buffy asks. She waves her stake at Spike. “Tell me you’re not taking up for him!”
“Buffy, you know very well that I would be the first one to offer to stake him . . . “ Giles sweeps his glasses off of his face and nervously starts to clean them with a handkerchief. “However, throughout his stay with me before, I discovered that his claims were true. As difficult as it was to believe him, he was not the same man, the same Vampire, and that was before he developed his soul.”
“What are you even doing here?” Buffy asks incredulously, shaking her head. “I thought you were in England!”
“I was -- “ Giles begins diplomatically, places his spectacles back on the bridge of his nose.
“I asked him to come,” Willow speaks up, walking into the light from around Spike’s door.
“Is this a bloody party?!” Spike asks in disbelief. “Are you all going to stake me?!”
“No! No one’s staking you!” Dawn cries. Still holding the kitten in her arms, she maneuvers to where she stands just before Spike. He moves to step to the side, but she steps with him, still blocking her sister and the others from reaching him.
“Why’d you ask him to come, Wills?” Buffy questions, eyeing her best friend. Her jaw slacks. “You already knew, didn’t you?!” she asks suddenly in disbelief. “You already knew Dawn was seeing him!”
“We’re not really seeing each other,” Dawn cuts in.
“That’s not what your diary said!”
“So that’s how she found out,” Spike murmurs.
Dawn vaguely remembers dropping the book somewhere while she was running, but it doesn’t matter. “We’ve been spending time together, yes, but he won’t even date me!”
“Dawn, Nibblet, I told you already when you’re old enough, if you still feel the same -- “
Dawn turns and, balancing the mewing kitten in one arm, reaches out, takes his hand in her free one, and squeezes it. “I will always feel the same!” she declares.
“Over my dead body!” Buffy starts to charge forward, her stake raised, but Giles moves even more swiftly than the Slayer. He grabs her wrist and stops her plunge before it can happen.
“No,” he says quietly.
“But -- “
“But it’s Spike!”
Her bottom lip quivers. “And Dawn!”
“I know. But he’s done nothing wrong this time, Buffy.”
“I started the kissing!” Dawn admits. “Both times! I started kissing him, and yeah, he didn’t stop me which is how I know he has feelings for me too -- “ she continues, cutting eyes sideways at Spike, “ -- but he did stop me when I started trying to go too far! I did it, Buffy! Not him!”
“You did it because -- “
“Because I have feelings for him, Buffy! Real feelings! Feelings like I’ve always dreamed of having one day for a good man, one who treats me like a Princess, and he does! He’d never hurt me!”
“He’s Spike!” Buffy cries.
“Yes,” Giles counters, slowly lowering Buffy’s arm while closing his other hand around her stake, “and I know it’s scary. I know we’ve always looked at him as one of our most dangerous foes, but he has stood with us many times, Buffy, and helped us to save the world and to save lives on numerous occasions.”
Buffy’s lips tremble, but she doesn’t speak. Instead she lowers her head as she recalls the first time he ever helped her save the world. It had been long before he’d gotten his soul, long before the chip even. He had helped her to save the world not to save his own skin or to save the walking Happy Meals with legs, as he’d angered her by calling the humans, but to save the woman, the Vampiress he’d then loved, the Vampiress he’d always called his Princess and who had done him wrong. Drusilla had hurt him badly just as Angel had hurt her (only, without the killing) and Oz had hurt Willow and her father had hurt her mother . . .
They all had hearts that had been broken. They all had souls now even. But, still, it was Spike! Spike with her baby sister! Or her baby sister with Spike . . . Buffy had learned long ago how to tell if Dawn was telling the truth or not, and she knows she’s telling the truth now or, at least, the truth as she sees and believes in it.
“Some years ago that truthfully feels like a great deal longer a time than it actually has been, another young, teenaged girl believed herself in love with a very dangerous man. She asked me to believe in her, not him. She asked me not to hurt him for her, not him. She asked me to give him a chance. I gave it, and I had my heart broken. But it wasn’t her fault, or even entirely his. Nature takes its course. We love who we love, who our hearts choose, not our minds.”
Buffy looks at him through the tears starting to well in her green eyes. “Yeah,” she says, “and didn’t you regret giving that girl that chance?”
“Buffy, you know that girl was -- “
“Hush, Willow, please.”
Slipping her stake into an inside pocket on his tweed jacket, Giles pushes his glasses back into place on his nose. “At one time, yes, I did regret it, but I was blinded by grief at that time. Furthermore, both that guy and that girl learned from their mistakes and went on to do a great deal more good in this world. Both of them have saved the whole world many times, and they saved each other several times along the way as well. I’ve often found myself asking what might have happened had I not given them that opportunity. Would they have still grown to be the heroes they are today? Would they, would she, even still be alive?”
“That’s different -- “
“Why?” Giles questions, stepping closer. “Because that girl was the Slayer, the one girl in all the world destined to -- “
“We don’t need to hear the tagline. We all know who she, who I, am, Giles.”
“But this situation is different too, Buffy,” her Watcher and one of her dearest and oldest friends continues, indicating Spike and Dawn with a wave of his hand. “She is your sister, but she’s also not your sister. She was a cosmic being before they put her into this form, and she has shown wisdom many times far beyond her meager, supposed sixteen years. She may be your sister, but she’s not just a sixteen year old with a bad crush.”
“And Spike was not cursed. He worked to earn his soul. It will not simply be lifted from him with one moment of true happiness. Angel, need I remind you, was aware of the curse and what would happen should he experience that true happiness. I do not blame you any longer, but I do blame him. He knew, and he acted irresponsibly nonetheless. It can be said that love blinded him, yes, but perhaps my Jenny would have still been alive had he not done so.”
“We have all made mistakes, Buffy. Do not be too angry with Willow or Dawn. Willow called me for help when she realized that Dawn was falling in love with Spike, although little did I think I could help at the time. We can no more stop our hearts from loving who they will than we can stop the oceans, the moon, or the sun from rising. Believe me, God knows I’ve tried in the past, and so have you.”
Buffy’s head is still lowered. She nods meekly.
“But what we can do is choose rather or not to act on that love. With your own ears, you heard Spike tell Dawn that he will not court her while she is yet sixteen. Even if you do not believe him, and I can scarcely blame you if you do not for I still have trouble believing that he is as good as he and Dawn both say he is, as I have witnessed him to be these last few weeks, -- but believe Dawn. She confessed to beginning their intimacy acts herself, just as she confessed that he stopped her when she would have gone further.”
“How do you know all this?” Dawn asks, looking wide-eyed up at Giles.
“Yeah, Watcher, how close have you been watching?”
Releasing Buffy, Giles walks over to Spike’s television set and picks up a small, black skull that had been nothing more than a cheap Halloween decoration Dawn had brought him and which, because she had brought it to him, he had chosen to keep on display. He whispers a few words of old Latin against the side of the skull, and its jaw begins to move. Spike’s and Dawn’s voices come out of the skull, first with the sounds of passion, then with Spike pleading with Dawn to calm down and trying to explain that he could not allow her to do what would happen next, then with Dawn arguing with him, and finally with Spike telling her to go home and a slamming of a door. “That,” Giles explains, “was one of those moments.”
Dawn’s head is now hanging too. Her face is as bright as Willow’s hair. Willow comes forward and takes her hand, giving her a small squeeze. “I’m sorry we had to trick you,” she tells her, “but I had to be sure you were okay.”
“But you didn’t tell Buffy,” Dawn comments, peeking up at Willow from underneath her bangs.
“No. I didn’t want either of you to get hurt, if it wasn’t necessary. As long as he treated you well, and he has,” she adds, looking back over at Buffy, “I wasn’t going to mess things up for you guys. I trusted you to come forward about your relationship when you were ready, but I didn’t want to be wrong either and wasn’t sure how to react when I first figured out you were crushing on Spike except that I had to be sure you were safe. That’s why I called Giles.”
“And I flew out,” Giles adds, “on the very first plane. Nothing is more important to me than your safety, Dawn, except for Buffy’s. We’ve all made mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes stemmed from good intentions, sometimes from the feelings of a heart we could not stop, and sometimes, honestly, not at all from good intentions or unstoppable feelings.” He shakes his grey head. “I myself have been guilty of such deeds more than I would like to admit.”
“Heh,” Spike speaks up. “You were quite a bad boy there for a while, Ripper.”
“And I scarcely had your excuse of being turned into a Vampire, Spike,” Giles admits, inclining his head into a nod, “but mistakes are just that: mistakes. We must continue forward from them, leaving the actual actions in the past but bringing with us and always remembering the valuable lessons they have taught us. And one thing I have learned, besides the fact that love can not be stopped or chosen, is that we all deserve a chance at a better life.”
“That’s what I want for you, Nibblet,” Spike murmurs, “a better life, a better man, one who can walk with you in the sunshine -- “
Buffy quickly looks up, her surprise clear, but Spike isn’t looking at her. He’s looking imploringly at Dawnie; he’s looking at her in a way that reminds Buffy of how Angel used to look at her. Giles is right: That time does feel like it was so long ago, but it really wasn’t. And he’s right on more accounts than just that.
She sighs. “The right man, or woman,” she adds, glancing at Willow, “is the one who may not be able to walk with you everywhere but who will choose to walk beside you every time they get, who will do all in their power to make and keep you happy and safe.”
“It’s like that old song,” Willow says, a nervous twitch to her lips. “A man who will walk beside me, not ahead of or behind me.”
“That’s Spike,” Dawn says proudly, reaching out an upturned hand to him, “rather he wants to believe it or not.” The kitten now lying contentedly in Dawn’s arms, mews quietly as if agreeing.
Buffy eyes the hand that’s reaching for the Vampire she said perhaps just an hour ago that she should have already staked.
“Slayer?” Spike asks, looking away from Dawn’s offered hand and up at Buffy. “I’ve told her before I won’t hurt her, she needs somebody else, somebody better -- “
“She thinks she needs you,” Buffy observes quietly. “She thinks she loves you. And I know you have feelings for her too.” She narrows her eyes dangerously at him. “You’d better treat her every bit as much like a Princess as you did Dru, Spike, or I will stake you and I won’t hesitate again.”
Buffy gasps in surprise as her sister runs to her instead of to Spike. Dawn throws her arms around Buffy and hugs her hard, squeezing the fanged kitten between them and causing him to meow loudly in protest. Willow laughs and plucks him from between them. “Hey, little guy,” she says, scratching him underneath his chin, “I have a feeling you have quite the story, too.”
“He does,” Spike comments, watching Buffy and Dawn embrace. “He was our first rescue together.”
“First?” Buffy asks, looking questioningly at Dawn. She nods.
“Your sister’s developed quite the left hook Slayer,” Spike tells Buffy with a proud grin.
Dawn steps away from her sister and back to Spike, whose hand she again takes in hers. “You guys never really would teach me how to fight, so Spike’s been teaching me.”
“Girl needs to know how to protect herself, especially in the event, you know, of none us being around.” He catches Buffy’s eye and keeps her gaze. “You asked me once, Buffy, to protect her.” Buffy nods mutely. “I’ve never stopped, and I never will,” he vows.
A small smile finally appears on Buffy’s face. “You’d better not,” she says but then walks away from them and out into the night to be alone with her own thoughts and mixed emotions.
Willow stays stroking the kitten for a long time but finally hands the cute, little fellow back over to Dawn. Giles hesitates just a moment longer after Willow’s left. Spike looks at him. “I know it’s a cliche, Watcher, but how can I repay you?”
“It’s simple really, Spike. Don’t make me out to be wrong. Don’t ever hurt my girls again, and that includes Willow and whoever she may choose to date in the future. If you do, Buffy won’t be your biggest concern.”
Spike nods in understanding, and after Giles has left, he looks down at Dawn, who has yet to relinquish his hand. “You have quite the family,” he comments.
“One day they’ll be yours too,” she insists.
Perhaps, he thinks to himself, in a way they already are. They’re certainly more of a family than Dru, Darla, Angelus, and himself ever were, and families do fight amongst themselves quite often. They also don’t always trust one another.
Dawn leans up and kisses him, but this time, the kiss is gentle, chaste, safe -- and yet it still sends more thrills racing through Spike than any kiss he’s received in a very long time. “So,” Dawn asks, looking up at him while settling down on the couch, “is that Passions marathon still on?”
“Don’t think so,” he says, “but I taped it.” He sits on the end of the couch, but Dawn instantly snuggles into his side. He wraps his right arm around her, and his duster falls around her, making her warm and content. The kitten curls up onto her lap and falls asleep, purring loudly. Spike flicks on the telly, but within minutes, Dawn, too, is asleep.
He looks down at her, and her brilliant smile warms his heart. He’ll never walk in the sunshine with her, but when she smiles like that, so joyful, it makes him feel as warm as sunshine. Nobody’s ever had that effect on him before, and he knows no one else ever will. He leans down and kisses her forehead very gently, being certain not to wake her. She squirms slightly. “Spike,” she murmurs in her sleep, “wuv you.”
Spike glances at the skull, but he has a feeling Giles is no longer using that spell. Unwatched, he almost blushes except that he doesn’t have any blood of his own to really darken his face. Looking back down at the sleeping Princess cupped in his arm and being certain she’s asleep, he whispers, “I love you too, Nibblet.” He has for a long time now, and he knows he always will although that love has changed in ways he’d never expected when he’d first started caring for her.
He might yet walk into the sunshine, but it won’t be with her. If he ever hurts her, though, it will be unintentional, and even then, neither Buffy or Giles will have to worry about staking him. He’ll walk into the light himself. He’s been hurt too many times himself, but Dawn will never hurt him and he will never hurt her willingly. He smiles, his heart feeling warmer than it ever has before. “G’night, Dawnie,” he whispers and holds her tight.