Spike groaned at the sound of his name. "Go away."
"Spi-ike, I need you to wake u-p," Buffy sang, crouching next to him on the floor.
He opened his eyes and noticed the brightness of the room. He also noticed that he had a hard on, which wasn't too strange, but he didn't recall any erotic dreams. Then he remembered Oz's last minute conversation with him. *And every morning I get to look forward to this,* he thought sullenly. He looked at Buffy, who had a huge smile on her face. "What?"
"Not to increase your already overblown ego," she said. "But you look kinda cute in the sunlight."
"What?" Spike sat up and stared at her. Then he noticed he was sitting directly in a patch of sunlight coming from the open window. He held out his hands, turning them over then back, watching the sun not burn them. "Cor," he whispered in amazement.
"Giles said he would be happy if you came down to the library today," Buffy told him, being sure not to mention the words ‘babysit' or ‘watch you.' "You can continue researching your predicament."
"Uh-huh," he replied, not paying the slightest bit of attention to her. He was too fascinated with the sunlight.
"Spike, did you hear what I said?"
"There's a monster in the toilet that will bite your dick off when you go to use it," Buffy said.
"Sounds good," Spike replied, looking at how the light played over the hair on his arms.
"I love you so much, and if I don't jump your bones right now, I'm going to die," she said.
"Uh-huh," he said. Then his head shot up. "What?"
Buffy laughed. "Nothing. Why don't you go take a shower. If you want to come to school with me, we have to leave in twenty-five minutes." His stomach growled in response. "And it sounds like you need to eat, too."
"Right, Joyce told me that's what it meant last night," Spike said, standing. He winced at the soreness in his back. "I hate this. You know that, Slayer?"
"Yes, Spike, I know," Buffy replied. "You told me plenty of times last night."
"Well, I'm reiterating it. I bloody hate this," he told her.
"Just go take a shower," she said, giving him a slight push.
Spike cursed as the water warmed up, using the toilet once again. "Do I have to bloody go all the fucking time?" After flushing, he climbed into the shower and let out a shout, jumping back. "Bloody fucking hell!" He leaned forward, trying to reach the shower knob to adjust the temperature without being scalded. Gritting his teeth, the water cooled down enough for him to step under the spray. Yet another downfall of being a human - feeling temperature differences.
"Highway to hell," he sang under his breath as he showered. "I'm on a highway to hell." At least his hard on went away on its own. He then realized that he would have to put the same clothes back on, and that he didn't even have his toothbrush. Blood breath was bad, but morning mouth was even worse. And he had a great toothbrush, too, a gift from Drusilla before Angel lost his soul. It was one of those brushes with a cartoon figure for a handle. His was Count Duckula.
After drying off, Spike climbed out of the shower to see a small paper bag with his name on it sitting on the sink. *That wasn't here before,* he thought, frowning as he opened it. It turned into a grin when he pulled out a comb, a tooth brush, toothpaste, even deodorant. He looked up and saw his hazy reflection in the mirror behind the fog from the shower. He quickly wiped it off and saw himself smiling back at him. "Well, this is one plus," he told himself as he combed his hair.
Eventually, he made it downstairs, his stomach rumbling. He found Joyce and Buffy sitting in the kitchen. "Morning," he greeted cheerfully.
"You're in a better mood," Buffy said, gesturing to a bowl of cereal with the carton of milk sitting next to it. "Dig in. We have to leave in a few."
"Thank you," he said. "And thank you to whichever lovely lady got me the toothbrush."
Joyce smiled. "You're quite welcome, Spike. I figured you didn't bring anything when you came up here from LA."
"I did leave in a bloody hurry," he said, frowning at the milk and cereal. "Do you have any coffee?"
"Behind you," Joyce told him. "Cup's above the microwave."
Buffy noted the expression on his face before he turned to get some coffee. She quickly opened the milk and poured it on the cereal, then added several scoops of sugar. It was Cheerio's, after all. "Do you want to head home today?" she asked.
"Trying to get rid of me already, Slayer?" Spike teased as he returned to island, coffee in hand. He saw what Buffy had done and felt his heart do something funny. It felt almost like it was filling and compressing at the same time, and his breath caught in his throat. He must have made a face, because she looked at him with concern.
"I don't know," he confessed, breathing out heavily. "Whatever happened wasn't bad."
"Maybe it was the coffee," Joyce suggested. "It warms you from the inside as you drink it."
Spike didn't think that was it, but didn't want to say anything. He'd ask Oz later, in case it was a ‘guy' thing. He'd been embarrassed enough over the past twelve hours. He took a bite of the cereal and felt the sweetness explode in his mouth. "Cor, this is good."
"Good for you, too," Buffy told him.
"Until you poured all that sugar on it," Joyce corrected.
"It's tasteless if you don't," she replied. "Besides, he seems to be enjoying it at the rate it's disappearing. Jeez, Spike, you're worse than Xander."
Spike glowered at her. "Am not," he said with a mouthful of food.
Both Buffy and Joyce started laughing, and the latter stood. "Do you want a ride to school?"
"Nah," Buffy told her. "I want to take Fido here out for a walk in the sun." Spike glared at her, but kept eating and drinking his coffee. "Plus, I promised Willow I'd pick her and Xander up along the way."
"Ok, I'll see you tonight then," Joyce said. "Please try and be home for dinner."
"Yes, mom," Buffy sighed.
"Have a pleasant day, Spike."
"You too, mum," Spike replied, giving her a devilish grin. Joyce shook her head in motherly defeat, then left.
"Spike, she's not your mom, she's my mom," Buffy chastised as she put her dishes in the sink.
"Do you know how infuriating you are?"
"Of course," Spike replied. "That's what I'm best at. Besides killing, that is."
"Well, you can't do that anymore," Buffy said. "First of all, you have no reason to. Second, it could backfire and you'd die. Third, if you didn't die, I'd hurt you. A lot. Then I'd let Angel hurt you. Finally, I have enough death in my life already. Will you please try and restrain your violent tendencies?"
"Only because you threatened so nicely," he answered, finishing off the coffee.
Buffy looked up towards the ceiling. "Save me from human vampires."
"Do you know how bloody ridiculous that sounds, pet?"
"About as ridiculous as you sitting in my kitchen still talking instead of being a pile of dust," she replied.
Spike brought his dishes to the sink, putting his arms on either side of her and leaning against her back. "Come on, ducks. I know you fancy me," he said in her ear.
"In your dreams," she said, then bit the inside of her cheek as she remembered that was true. She turned her head far enough to look up at him and saw his face was flushed and he was breathing somewhat heavily. "We should go."
"Yeah," Spike croaked out, then cleared his throat. "We probably should." But he didn't move, his hands resting on the sink on either side of her. She smelled so good, felt so good against him.
"Spike?" Buffy said.
"You have to move before we can go," she said.
He stepped back away from her suddenly, as if he'd been burned. "Bloody hell," he said under his breath.
Buffy turned and gave him a half-smile, put on her coat and grabbed her backpack and purse. "Come on, let's go."
Spike followed her out the door, squinting in the bright sunlight. He shivered when a gust of wind hit him, and he hunched his shoulders, pulling his duster closer to him. "I hate this," he muttered.
"Cold?" Buffy asked as they walked down the street.
"If my body shivering means that I'm cold, then yes," he said between clenched teeth.
Buffy stopped and grabbed his arm to stop him, as well. "Look, I didn't do have anything to do with this, but if it's any consolation, I'm sorry," she told him.
Spike studied her upturned face, checking the seriousness of her words. He took a deep breath, noting the crispness of the air as he inhaled, then sighed. "It's not your fault, pet. You've been more than kind in trying to figure out what happened. This is all so bloody befuddling to me. I haven't been alive in over two hundred years. I feel like such a bloody baby."
"At least you can tell us what you're feeling," Buffy comforted. "Babies can't. Plus, you already knew how to eat, walk and do other...things. You just have to relearn your body signals. After all, you may be human for the rest of your life."
"Joy," he replied.
Buffy frowned. "I wonder if you'll age regularly," she said as they continued their way to Willow's house. "You know what else I was wondering?"
"What's that, ducks?"
"Why'd you think that I was the one who turned you human," Buffy replied.
"I don't know," Spike answered. *Maybe because it's you I think about all the time,* he added mentally.
"It could have easily been Drusilla," she said.
"True, but I don't think she has that kind of power," he replied, frowning. "Unless she had help. But why would she want to make me huma-...oh." Realization dawned on Spike. *She could have been reading my thoughts and found I was no longer thinking of her, then did this to punish me, knowing that I'd hate it.*
"Never mind," Spike said quickly. "Isn't that Willow and that whelp?"
"His name is Xander, be nice," Buffy told him as the two friends walked to join them. "Hi, guys."
"Hi Buffy, hi Spike," Willow greeted cheerfully, falling in step next to the peroxide blond. "How do you like the sun?"
"If I wasn't cold, it'd be nice," Spike answered her.
"Have you ever noticed that the Hellmouth is one wiggy place?" Xander asked from the other side of Buffy.
"All the time, why?" Buffy said.
"I just wanted to point it out again. Make sure everyone was on the same level when I say: why Deadboy, the Second? Why not the original? I bet he's steamed, too. Like a pair of pants," Xander replied.
"I thought you pressed pants," Willow said. "And steamed dresses."
"What about ships?" Spike joked to the red head. "Or trains?" Willow giggled.
"Spike, you're pathetic," Buffy said. "And yes, Angel is not the happy camper. But life hasn't been fair to us so far, why should it change?"
Spike looked down at her as they headed for the school. Her face was an expression of sadness and he felt a tightening in his chest, wanting him to pull her into his arms and make everything better. He didn't remember human bodies reacted to everything, even emotions. And as much as he wanted her for himself, he wanted her happiness more. "Cheer up, pet. If we figure out how this happened, maybe you can do it to your poopsy."
"My poopsy?" Buffy asked, not believing his terminology. "You are so strange."
"How can I not be?" Spike replied. "I'm a two hundred year old vampire turned human who's walking to high school with his mortal enemy and her chums."
They arrived at the school and joined in the throng of people heading into the building. "I'm going to drop Spike off at the library," Buffy told her friends. "I'll see you in class."
"See you later," Willow said.
"I can't believe that Spike's here at school, during the day," Xander said to Willow as they stopped at their lockers, the other two continuing on.
"I can't bloody believe that I'm here at a school, during the day," Spike muttered to himself as he brushed passed students. All this warm blood walking around, and he couldn't hear it or smell it. And that was his favorite part of being a vampire, next to the killing. He was starting to get depressed.
"Hi, Giles," Buffy greeted the librarian as they entered the library. "He's all yours. Try not to choke him, I want that privilege."
"Thanks, Slayer, you're too kind," Spike said, brushing past her to slump down on a chair.
Buffy frowned at him, then turned to Giles and lowered her voice. "Spike's been moody all morning. I'd say he has PMS, but he lacks...or rather, has too many parts."
"Are you saying he is having mood swings?" Giles asked.
"Big time. Oh, and he doesn't have a soul. He's still the same old Spike," she replied. The warning bell rang. "I gotta get to class. Have fun." She looked over at Spike. "See you later, Spike." Spike gestured goodbye, but didn't raise his eyes from the surface of the table. Buffy gave Giles a pointed look, then left.
"Well, um, Spike," Giles said. "H-How is it going?"
"Bloody fucking awful," Spike replied sullenly.
"Anything you wish to speak about?" Giles asked.
"I think Dru did this to me," he said.
"Why do you think that?"
He shrugged. "It's only a thought. She'd do it if she were jealous."
"Does she have reason to be jealous?" Giles inquired, trying to get more information.
"Yeah," Spike sighed. "But she was the one who said it was over. Why can't I think about someone else? What gives her the bloody right to dictate who I choose to love?"
"Is-is there any way we may ascertain for certain that she is the one who made you human?" Giles asked.
"Not unless we want to make a trip to good old sunny Brazil," he replied.
"Maybe we do," Giles said. Spike's head shot up and looked at him. "If you're that miserable as a-a-a human, maybe we should go down there and make her change you back."
Spike thought about it for a moment, then sighed. "I don't know, Watcher. I could be wrong," he said, then added silently, *But not bloody likely.*
"Well then, I guess we had better get to work," Giles said, handing him a stack of books. "I shall be in my office if you require anything."
Spike watched Giles walk away, then opened a book. But instead of reading, he was planning on how he was going to find out if Dru was the culprit and if she could do whatever she did to Angel. He knew he'd never have a chance with the Slayer, so he'd love her by giving her everything she desired, which, unfortunately, included his sire.
"Spike's in love with me," Buffy whispered to Willow in their first period class. The two girls sat next to each other, while Xander sat a few rows up.
"What?" Willow gasped.
"He's in love with me," she repeated. "Last night, I went to wake him up and he started talking in his sleep. He said something about taking a bath with him and vanilla scented soap, then he pulled me down on the bed next to him and told me he loved me."
"No," Willow said in disbelief. Buffy nodded. "Oh, wow. Does he know he told you?"
"Nope," she replied. "Like I said, he was still asleep when he started talking. Then this morning, he put his arms around me when he put his dishes in the sink to tease me, and he got all flushed."
"You said that already, Will."
"Yeah, but this is like very oh wow," Willow said. "He's Spike. Spike is in love with you. It's like...Spike being in love with you."
"Good analogy," Buffy said sarcastically. Willow shrugged. "Anyway, despite the fact that he is a major hottie, he's still no Angel."
"Would you jump him, though?"
"What? I can't have naughty thoughts about no-longer-undead men?" Willow asked.
"You're having dirty thoughts about Spike?" Buffy said, arching a brow.
"No, no, no. Oz is my only dirt," Willow replied. "Unless you count wolf-Oz as different dirt."
Buffy giggled. "Willow, you are bad."
"That's me, I'm a baddie," Willow grinned. "But someone didn't answer my question."
"I plead the fourth," Buffy said.
"Don't you mean the fifth?"
"Whatever means I'm not going to answer that question," Buffy said. "That's the one."
"I see how it is," Willow said, nodding. "You'd do him in the middle of the library."
Buffy blushed bright red. "Willow," she hissed.
"Miss Summers, Miss Rosenberg, would you care to join us?" the teacher asked.
Both girls looked down apologetically. "Sorry," they said. When the teacher went on, Willow leaned over to Buffy. "You know you would."
The Slayer was red for the rest of class.
"Where's Spike?" Buffy asked Giles as the group came into the library at lunch time.
"He was getting a bit stir crazy, so he took a walk," Giles said.
"Oh, ok. Well, if he comes back and is hungry, he can use my lunch pass," Buffy said, giving it to the librarian. "I brought my own. Tell him we'll be back after school."
Spike walked with slow, measured steps on his way back to the school. He had found a few of his former minions at Willie's who were willing to go down to Brazil to find out the situation without asking him too many questions. Luckily, they didn't seem to notice his heart beat or the fact he was breathing.
He looked up into the clear sky, shading his eyes with his hand. Being out in the sunshine was probably the only thing good about his predicament. That and the Slayer wasn't trying to kill him, was actually being friendly to him. Too bad she was in love with someone else.
He arrived back at the school as sunset was nearing, having taken a detour through a park to sit and watch some children playing in a pond, chasing fish and frogs. One of the little girls reminded him of Buffy, all full of life. He played the what if game in his mind, as well, before deciding he was turning into brood boy and headed back to the school.
"There you are!" Buffy exclaimed as he walked through the library doors. "It's getting dark outside."
"Worried, pet?" Spike asked, giving her a cocky grin, hiding his feelings.
"No, yes, no," Buffy stammered. "I just didn't want to go out on patrol and find you dead, because you'd probably haunt me."
"Anything you say, Slayer," he said, walking up to Oz who was sitting on the table, strumming his acoustic guitar. "You got a minute, mate?"
Oz looked up at the clock. "Actually, I have three."
Spike frowned in confusion, then lowered his voice. "I have one of those ‘male' questions for you."
"Ah," Oz said, setting the guitar down in the case. He slid off the table and motioned for the ex- vampire to join him in the cage. "What's up?"
"Something odd happened this morning," Spike said. "My heart felt like it was being squeezed at the same time it was expanding. Bloody weird feeling."
"Do you know what triggered it?"
"I looked at a bowl of cereal," he replied.
Oz furrowed his brow slightly. "What was so special about the cereal?"
"Nothing. Buffy had fixed it when I was getting coffee."
"Oh, well that explains it," Oz said. "I feel that every time Willow steps into the room."
"What is it?"
"Utter happiness," he answered. "It happens when you're in complete and total love with a person." He glanced over at the clock. "Sorry man, times up."
Spike frowned. "What?"
"It's about to get a little hairy in here, so you might want to leave," Oz told him as he started taking off his shirt.
"Spike, you need to leave the cage," Willow said, walking into the cage to check the window. She ushered Spike out with her, then closed the door. "See you in the morning, sweety."
Oz gave Willow a small smile, then disappeared behind the shelf. Spike gave the red head a questioning look. "What's going on?"
"My boyfriend's a werewolf," Willow answered simply. Oz-wolf jumped at the cage door in punctuation, making Spike leap backwards. "See?"
Spike's heart was pounding in his chest and he felt short of breath. "Bloody," gasp. "Fucking," gasp. "Hell."
"What's wrong?" Buffy asked, looking up from her homework.
"Oz scared him," Willow explained. Oz-wolf growled as if in response to his name.
"I bloody hate this!" Spike yelled, spinning on his heel, heart still pounding and disappearing up into the stacks.
Buffy and Willow watched him storm off, then looked at each other. "Definitely decaf," Willow said.
"Think I should go after him?" Buffy asked.
"I don't know," Willow replied. "He could be doing that guy thing. You know, when they go off like guys do."
"Well, as long as he's here in the library," she said. "I know it sounds silly, but I really don't want him to be running around alone at night. Knowing him, he'd get into trouble within thirty seconds, and he's just a human now. Fighting skill or not, he does rely on his strength. Remember what happened when I no longer had mine?"
"Yeah," Willow said. Oz-wolf growled again, and she looked back at him. "You ok watching Oz? Giles won't be here until around five tomorrow."
"Go," Buffy told her. "I can deal with your boyfriend's inner beast."
"Thanks," she replied, picking up her backpack. "Hopefully we'll get Amy back tonight. I've been researching on shape shifting, and the night before and on the full moon is the best."
"Good luck," Buffy said. Willow left with a wave and the Slayer returned to her books. "Ok, what does J'adore mon chat translate to? Um, I love to talk?"
"I love my cat," Spike's voice drifted down to her. She turned her head to see him sitting on the stairs. "It means ‘I love my cat' not ‘I love to talk'. That's J'adore parler."
"Thanks," she smiled at him. "I didn't know you could speak French."
"J'allais jusqu'au bois de noisetier
Poussé par un feu dans mon coeur
Je taillai une ligne de noisetier
Et pendis une baie à mon fil
Et quand les phalènes reprirent leur vol
Et les étoiles filantes leurs sauts Je plongeai la baie dans le torrent
Jusqu'à y prendre une truite d'argent
"Quand je l'eus posée là par terre
J'allai pour remettre le feu en flammes
Mais quelque chose bruissait là par terre
Et quelqu'un appela mon nom :
Ce fut soudain une pétillante fille
Des fleurs de pommier aux cheveux
Qui appela mon nom puis s'en fut
Disparut dans les brumes de l'aube
"Or bien que vieilli de voyages
Par basses terres et hautes terres
Je trouverai où elle se cache
J'aurai ses lèvres prendrai ses mains
Et j'irai le long des longues herbes mures
Cueillant jusqu'au bout du temps et des temps
Les pommes d'argent de la lune
Les pommes dorées du soleil"
"Wow," Buffy said. He shrugged like it was no big deal. "I'd hate to have to translate all that."
Spike gave her a lopsided grin. "Want me to translate for you?"
"Please," she nodded, turning fully in her chair to face him.
"I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout
"When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
"Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun."
"I double my wow and raise you a that was beautiful," Buffy told him.
This time, he gave her a sad smile. "I'm gonna go for a walk, pet," he said, pushing to his feet.
"What?" Spike looked at her like she was crazy.
"I have to stay here and Oz-sit, so I can't walk you home," Buffy explained.
"I don't need a bloody escort service," he scoffed.
"Spike, please don't fight me," she replied. "If you want, when Angel stops by you can go with him."
"Not bloody likely," he spat, storming towards the doors.
Buffy was on her feet in an instant. She grabbed his arm and forcibly stopped him. Oz-wolf jumped on the cage, snarling. "Spike, for some totally whacked out reason, you're human. That means, if you go out there at night, you have a chance of becoming very dead. Or worse," she yelled. "Did you stop to think what would happen if some vampire decided to turn you again?"
"Why the fuck do you care?" Spike yelled back. Oz-wolf started to growled loudly, launching himself at the door. "You never did before! All you ever cared about was Angel, even when he did nothing but fuck up your life and my life and your friends lives!"
"Angel has nothing to do with the fact that you're a human!"
"He's got everything to do with the fact that I'm a bloody human!" Spike continued yelling. "If it wasn't for him losing his fucking soul, then he wouldn't have taken Dru away from me!"
"And that has relevance how?" Buffy asked sarcastically.
"Damn you, Buffy! Angel took Dru, Dru left me, I moved on and she got jealous! She knew that this was one of the two things that could destroy me!" he spat. "I can't be a human! I hated being human! I was pathetic and weak and worthless and I hated it! I CAN'T DO THIS!"
Oz-wolf let out a long howl, surprising both so badly, they jumped several feet apart. Spike's heart was hammering so hard in his chest, it felt like it was going to burst, both from anger and fright. He shoved past Buffy, sprinting back up into the stacks, emotions that he couldn't name choking him up. He kept going deeper into the second floor until he found an tattered, orange chair near a corner and flung himself into it, pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. Harsh, ugly sobs rose from his chest, making it hard for him to breathe.
Buffy stood frozen in her spot, listening to the sounds of Spike's sobbing mixed in with Oz-wolf's low growls. She hadn't realized how truly hard it was on him, she just assumed that anyone would want to be human again if given the chance. She never thought that he could be anything but the Spike she knew, the tough, brassy, sarcastic male who was able to love despite not having a soul.
Taking a deep breath, Buffy let it out slowly. She went over to the table, picked up some of her books, then went into Giles' office, closing the door behind her to give him some privacy. Sitting down at the librarian's desk, she rested her elbows on it and leaned her head on her fingertips. She debated on calling someone, but the only person who she thought would be able to help him was currently prowling the cage in the other room. Xander was out of the question, he would never listen to Angel, Giles was MIA for the night and she wouldn't call Wesley for a billion dollars. She just had to hope that he would be ok.