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Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Summary: Spike has gotten himself a soul by accident. The Powers That Be want him to go to Sunnydale and deliver a message about the upcoming Harvest. He just wants to get in and get out, but will he be able to stick to his plans?
Chapter Summary: The Harvest is coming and Spike still isn't out of town! The Scooby Gang is getting attached to him and he wonders if they'll ever let him leave!
Warnings: Souled!Spike and AU
Previous Chapter: Welcome To The Hellmouth
Notes: I'd like to thank kimalis for helping me out with Spike's slang. Then I'd like to thank Buffyworld for episode guides.
“I think something hit me,” Xander said rubbing his head.
“Where’s Jesse?” Buffy worried.
Spike strode up with the injured boy in his arms. He was a bit pale, but a good night’s rest would fix him right up. Jesse clung to the stake Spike gave him; it had probably saved his life. Jesse struggled and Spike put him down.
“I’m right here,” Jesse said.
Xander ran up to Jesse and inspected him, “Spike, you saved my best friend. I don’t know how to repay you. I mean seriously, anything you need.”
Willow nodded, “Yes, anything you need, let us know.”
Spike was getting weak; there were more guys than he knew. He also hadn’t eaten for days. He thought he’d pick something up from the butcher’s after he finished with the Watcher. He didn’t have that much money, being a vampire and all. It was hard to get a job when he was technically dead. So, he had to be careful when he ate and not buy too much.
He dropped to his knees and muttered, “Blood,” then passed out.
Spike awoke and felt cool blood running down his throat. It tasted horrible and dirty, but he was starved and didn’t complain. He felt a slender finger prod his ridges. The finger was removed and replaced with a thicker one; it was more delicate and swept across his ridges instead of prodding them. Spike opened his eyes and was alarmed to see three kids crowded around him. The tallest boy had just put the bag of blood to aside to sit transfixed at Spike with his two friends. It was slowly coming back to him. The tallest boy was Jesse; the other boy was Xander, while redhead was Willow.
“Oi, what are you blighters doing? Where am I? What were you feeding me?”
They chuckled and moved back to give him more room. He recognized the place as the backroom of the library. He had been in it the other day when he went to drop off the necklace. He leaned forward to get up, but found himself still weak.
“Hey! Don’t get up,” said Willow. “You saved Jesse, so we’re going to take care of you.”
“Don’t need to be taken care of by Happy Meals with legs,” Spike grumbled.
Xander laughed, “Happy Meals with legs! Oh, he was referring to us.”
“Are we going to stop gawking over the vamp with a soul and get to the meeting?” Buffy called to them from the main library.
They moved silently away from Spike. Then Spike felt himself being moved forward. He looked back to see that kids were pushing him forward so he could join in the meeting. He was too weak from hunger. He would have asked for another bag of blood, but he didn’t want to rely on them.
“I’m not apart of your little Scooby gang. So, you can roll me right back so I can sleep.”
Buffy threw a bag at him, “Shut up, Spike.”
“What’s got your knickers in a twist?” Spike leered at her.
“Harmony didn’t show up for school and Cordelia is worried about her,” Jesse informed Spike as if Spike should know who Harmony and Cordelia were, even though Harmony sounded like she’d be a good shag.
“And I’m saying, who cares.” Xander said. “She was a mean bitch and got what she deserved. I don’t know why we have to go into the dark sewers and rescue her.”
Spike ripped open the bag of blood and started to drink. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to pig’s blood. Spike snorted. He hated feeling like a pet, but he was hungry. He didn’t exactly care if they saved the bint or not. Yeah, soul made him feel guilty he wasn’t the one doing the saving, but he couldn’t exactly save everyone.
“A slayer has a duty to innocent people despite if you think the person you're saving is a… well, if you don’t think very highly of that person,” Giles said coming out of the book cage finally. “I’ve been researching vampires and-“
Spike snorted, “Researching vamps? You got one right here.”
“Well, your opinion might be a little bias.”
“Like those books you got ain’t.”
“I want to hear Spike’s version,” Jesse said.
“Yeah!” Xander and Willow said together.
“Four against five,” Buffy said to Giles. “So, spill. Tell us about vampires and don’t give us that romantic Anne Rice stuff.”
“Right, so first vamp was made WAY before my time. But the story every sire tells their childe before they drink their first meal is that way back when the first slayer came and drove the Old Ones from this world, before the original vamps could be driven out, they mixed their blood with humans so they could be called back into the world through a human host. So, inside your shell of human body is a blood thirsty vamp that mixes with you and becomes you and you become it. It anchors your soul and damns you. Being bit by a vampire is a one way ticket to Hell on both ends.”
Buffy gulped, “So when I stake someone, I’m sending them to Hell?”
“You’re doing them a favour,” Spike said. “This life ain’t worth living. But, don’t get any ideas. It’s mine now and I’ll live it. Just they attack, you attack right back.”
Jesse felt his neck, “Whoa, I came close to going to Hell, didn’t I?”
“Completely close. And you wouldn’t have been the vamp yours truly is. You’d have been the Master’s dog. He’s a bastard, gives a bad names to vamps everywhere. Thinks he’s so hot because he lets his demon have full rein. Bloody stupid, that is. No element of surprise. Has to rely on his minions to get him food. How can someone serve that?”
“Some vamp woke up on the wrong side of the coffin,” Xander said.
“Common misconception! We do not all sleep in coffins, alright, Dru was a bit barmy and enjoyed it, but still. I prefer four poster beds. Neither of which do I have at the moment. You know, slayer, stake me. End me right here. Got no roof, lost my dark princess, now I’m just like fucking Scooby Doo. Yes, vampires watch the telly,” Spike snapped before Xander could open his mouth.
Buffy searched for her stake, but Willow stopped her.
“No wait, there has to be something we can do for him.”
“Well, this adds to our problems.” Giles said. “Now not only do we have to find a missing student, but we need to find room and board for a moody vampire.”
Xander raised his hand like he was in class, “My parents are renting out our basement! It’s not great, but he can stay there until he finds a place of his own. We can tell them he works the night shift.”
“Your parents won’t exactly let him stay for free,” Jesse reminded him.
“I forgot. We can’t let him out on the street. Jesse save-age, remember? There are a lot of vampires. The slayer must need help. You know, imagine all the more lives that she’d save if she had a souled vamp on her team.”
Giles mulled it over, “You do have a point, Xander. But who would pay for this ‘business venture’?”
All eyes turned to Giles. Giles nodded like he was trying to figure out how much he could give Spike per slaying job.
“Oh, no. There is no way I’m doing freelance demon slaying and staying in your basement!”
Xander pointed at a door, “And that’s the bathroom. My mom said that if it breaks, you’re free to use ours until we can get it fixed. Then that’s the kitchen.” Xander motioned to a fridge with a microwave on top of it with a small cabinet and hot plate to the side. He motioned to a couch with a dresser and ugly chair next to it. “The couch pulls out into a bed. Dinner is at six, my mom is making meatloaf. She’ll bring you down a plate. Do vampires eat human food?”
Spike rolled his eyes, “Yes, vampires can eat human food. It just doesn’t fill us up.”
“I also told her you were anemic and had to give yourself blood transfusions, which is why you need to store blood in your fridge. She doesn’t know any better, so it’ll work out. Rent is due at the end of the month. If it’s a slow demony week, Giles said he’d give you an advance. Am I forgetting anything?”
“The part where I didn’t agree to this?”
“Think of this as us paying off our debt to you.”
Spike shrugged off his duster and threw it on the ugly chair, “How do you pull out the bed? I’m knackered. I’ve been up all day.”
“You said the Harvest was tonight! You can’t just go to bed with the Harvest a few hours away! What kind of hero are you?”
“The tired kind. I honestly don’t care. I’m getting paid, I’ve got food, I’ve got a roof. I feel like a bloody pet, but it’s better than-“ Spike stopped himself. He’d break again if he remembered the time he spent with his ‘clan’. “You’ll do fine.” Spike yawned. “I got faith in you and all that rot.”
Xander helped him pull out the bed. Spike crawled into bed and pulled the covers over himself. He looked at Xander. He seemed torn between a decision.
“Mom! I’m going to watch tv with Mr. Pratt! I won’t be up for awhile!”
“Alright! Don’t be late for dinner!”
“I won’t be!”
Xander smiled at him and crawled into bed with Spike.
“What are you doing?”
“You looked lonely.”
“You know, I’ve been alone longer than you’ve been alive, I think I can handle myself.”
“You don’t have to talk about it. I’m just going to keep you company. It’s the least I could do.”
“Yeah, I saved Jesse and all that. Gay lovers or something?”
“GOD NO! Jesse and I are just friends! It’s just we’ve been friends for so long, I’d feel completely empty without him to talk to. It’s why I’m so mad he went into the sewers with Buffy.”
“He was trying to impress a bird. We men are cursed to do stupid things when it comes to birds.”
“Yeah, now you can either talk all about yourself, sit here in quiet, or leave. Which do you prefer? Because I’ve had my fill of feelings today.”
“Well, I first met Jesse and Willow, okay, I don’t remember when I first met them, they’ve always just –“
Spike leaned back and sighed. This was going to a long afternoon.
They stood outside the Bronze, the Harvest had already started. Spike yawned again as they waited for Buffy. He couldn’t take on Luke in his condition. Xander had kept him up chatting about every little thing that popped into his head without letting him getting even a second of sleep. Another yawn and he leaned against the building, closed his eyes, and found a nice spot on the wall where he could nap until Buffy came.
“Hey! Why are you all waiting outside?” Buffy said.
“We can’t get in and Spike is too tired to knock down any doors,” Xander informed her.
“I wonder why I bloody well can’t. The answer really escapes me, Xander.”
“Don’t be a Mr. Crankypants,” Willow said to Spike.
“Okay,” Buffy interrupted them. “I’ll take Spike and we’ll find our own way in. You guys find a back way in. These guys are strong. Try not to fight them.” She passed around stakes. “But, if you have no other choice, aim for the middle of the chest.”
“Yeah, and pointed part out. Know the dull end seems all flashy and posh-“
“Don’t help, Spike,” Buffy said.
Buffy helped Spike climb up onto the roof. He couldn’t keep up. His sleep deprived body ached for rest. He would have to talk with Xander about ground rules if the living situation was going to work out. They found a sky light and Buffy walked onto it to test how sturdy it was. It broke and she landed inside the Bronze, on her feet like a cat. Spike could see Darla. He sucked in a comforting breath and reminded himself that Darla wasn’t providing for him anymore and as long as Buffy and her mates were, he’d fight for them.
He landed with a thump and a “Bloody Hell!” Then struggled to get on his feet, but he was knocked back down. He growled and Darla had his stake pointed to his heart.
“You look tired, grandchilde. Has the slayer not been taking care of her pet?”
All Spike had to do was keep her talking, Darla was so easily distracted.
“Ain’t her pet. I’m just doing a bit of freelance work to get a bit of the olde American green to lace my pockets. No hard feelings, vamp has to make a living some how.”
“By going against his own kind? You should be ashamed.”
He grabbed the sharp end of the stake, “Now, now, grandmother.” She growled at him and he grinned. “You’ve killed your own kind for less and I don’t think it’s fair for you to point stakes.”
He kicked her back and the stake broke under the grip of both the vampires. He struggled to his feet. He could really feel the stain from sleeplessness and hunger wearing on him. He also reasoned that falling through a window didn't help. Darla came at him and punched him back into a table. The table collapsed under his weighted and he was struggling to get up again. She came for him again, but screamed in pain as she was knocked to the side by a chair.
"I got her, Spike! Run for it!"
Xander had now stupidly jumped on the distracted Darla and was struggling to use his weight to take her down. She pulled Xander off and threw him down on the floor. Spike picked up a broken bit of table and held it like a stake. She backed away from him.
Darla hissed at him in anger and Spike looked around. The Bronze was clear of people. Darla glared and ran the other way. He let her go. He wouldn’t be able to take her in his current state. He helped Xander up off the floor and looked around the room to see Buffy breathing heavily on stage, she must have staked Luke. Spike never did like him. Giles was helping her off stage. Spike looked around for Willow and Jesse. She was huddled around Jesse who seemed to be upset. Confusion crossed Spike’s face as he neared them.
“She thinks I killed her best friend! God, before I was invisible! Now? Now I’m the best friend killer!”
“It’ll be okay,” Willow comforted him.
“Bird probably isn’t worth it.” They looked at him and jumped. “What?”
“Your face!” They said at once.
He must have switched sometime between the fall and his encounter with Darla. He shook his head trying to shake off his vamp face.
“Better?” he asked.
They nodded silently. They had seen him in his game face before, but that was before they had seen what real vampires could do. He rubbed the back of his neck. He felt stupid for being ashamed of what he was, but the look of horror they had given him. It hurt him. He blamed his soul and the loneliness he had felt for so many years after being shunned by his clan.
“Can we go home now?” Xander asked. “I don’t want to carry a passed out vamp. Look at the circles under his eyes.”
He raised a hand but Spike batted it away, “Oi! A little respect.”
“One thing’s for certain though,” Jesse said. “Nothing will ever be the same.”
The two boys were pacing back and forth in Xander’s basement, which was now starting to look a bit like Spike’s flat. He pulled the blanket over his head and tried to block out the babbling boys.
“She thinks that Harmony ran off with bikers!” Jesse exclaimed. “Very ugly bikers! I staked Harmony right in front of her and you’d think maybe she’d harbor some feelings of hatred or anger or ‘Oh, God, Jesse, do me! You saved my live!’ But, no. NO! BIKERS!”
“Sleeping…” Spike muttered swatting the air, trying to hit one of the two boys.
“Then Larry! I saved his life. I staked the vamp that was about to eat him. You’d think he’d say thanks or you know, I’d settle for a head nod. But, he pulled my pants down in P.E. again!” Xander exclaimed.
“And I bet that was a bloody sight,” Spike sat up. “In a few hours, I have to get up and patrol the slayer, so I can get paid. The slayer which happens to kill vampires. I don’t know if either of you noticed, I am one. So, I’d like to be alert. To be alert, I need slept. Do you understand?”
They looked at him for a bit.
“You’ve been alive, well, around for a hundred or so years,” Jesse said. “Give us advice on how to pick up girls.”
“You leave them alone and let them come to you. How about you practise? Pretend I’m a girl and you want to avoid me like the plague.”
“I don’t-“ Xander tried to say.
“You have ten seconds to start practising or I’m going to come after you. Soul or no soul. One… Two…”
They stood their waiting to see if he was serious. He changed into his game face and the boys ran up the stairs. He laid his head back onto the pillow and wondered what had possessed him to stay as he fell back into a deep sleep.