texanfan (texanfan) wrote in bloodclaim,

Readjustment 5/15

Title: Readjustment 5/15
Author: texanfan
Rating: PG for violence
Spoilers: Lies My Parents Told Me
Beta'd by the incomparable incandragon


Spike knew he was in trouble the moment Wood hit the lights. The sound of the door slamming shut behind him was just the capper. He spun around entirely too late as Wood secured the door behind him.

Crosses of every description decorated the walls of the shed. His opponent was surrounded by weapons Spike couldn’t touch. Trying to keep out of Wood’s reach and trying not to touch the walls seriously limited his ability to dodge. He was well and truly buggered.

“So, do you lure all the vampires here, or am I special?” Spike strove for nonchalant and suspected he missed by a significant margin.

“Oh you’re special, Spike.” Wood assured him, taking up a fighting stance in front of the door. “I’ve been searching for you a very long time, nearly my whole life.”

Spike backed up a few paces trying to give himself room to maneuver. “Do tell. What did I do to earn that honor?”

“You killed my mother,” Wood snarled. He pulled out a baseball bat from next to the door and began advancing on Spike.

Spike maintained his distance. “I killed a lot of people’s mothers. Afraid that doesn’t narrow it down much.” If he could incite him to charge he might be able to slip past him and break through the door.

“Oh, you’d remember my mother,” he assured smoothly. “She was a slayer.”

“That does ring a bell,” Spike goaded. “About so high, based in New York, scrappy fighter.”

“You’re wearing her coat. I want it back.” Wood took a step forward, swinging the bat in a half arc, all cold precision. The door remained fully covered. “The way I see it, you can take a lot of damage before you dust. So I get to give you back just a little of the pain you cost me, before I end you.”

Reasoning with him was definitely out. Just as well, as that wasn’t Spike’s strongest suit anyway. He hooked his thumbs in his belt loops and called up as much of his big bad self as he could summon. There was considerably more of it than there had been a year ago. “You think you’re a big enough man to end me? Please. Your mother was a slayer, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and she couldn’t get the job done.” Spike stroked a hand down the front of the duster. “Got the trophy to prove it.”

With a scream, Wood stepped forward and took a swing. Spike dodged beneath, got a hand on the bat and flung it away. Wood was no slouch and got a knee up in Spike’s stomach before he could dance away.

Spike pulled back a foot or two and shifted from side to side, looking for an opening. Without the ability to hit his opponent there was no way to win this fight, he had to get away. They feinted and danced around each other. The door was covered in crosses as well and securely bolted. Spike would have to get Wood seriously out of position if he had a hope of getting through without giving the man a free shot at his back.

Looking about him Spike concluded his mouth was his only real weapon. “So, you’ve wasted your whole life tracking me down. That’s sad, it really is. Spent a fair amount of time learning to fight, can see that. Did you ever shag or were you too … dedicated?”

Wood snatched a mace from the wall and swung it. Spike ducked it easily, he was getting to Wood. “Sloppy follow through. You should really work on that.”

“Oh, I have,” Wood said in far too calm a voice. He was centering himself, that would never do.

“Right, of course. Have to do Mummy proud. Except Mummy wasn’t proud, was she? Too focused on the job to pay attention to you.” Spike’s snide tone seemed to hit home.

“Shut your filthy mouth.” Wood swung again, missing by a hairsbreadth this time.

“Afraid to get a little truth on you, revenge boy?” Spike taunted. “You blame me for your mum’s death, but it wasn’t me that killed her.” A sly smile spread across Spike’s face. “Well, yeah, it was me, and damned proud of it.” Spike leaped over a swipe at his legs. “But really, if it hadn’t been me it would have been some other nasty. It was the job that killed her.” Spike couldn’t help but think of Buffy, surrounded by friends and allies and still insisting that the weight of the whole world rested on her shoulders alone. “A job she loved more than you.”

In that moment, he wasn’t sure if he was discussing Nicky Wood or Buffy Summers. Life of the chosen one, it was all the same in the end. But it was a moment of introspection he couldn’t afford. Wood’s swing at his head got a bit of his chin and damn near took his head off. He staggered back a step while Wood pressed his advantage. Spike had no space for taunts and was running out of maneuvering room.

It was becoming painfully clear he was going to dust here. He had no way of incapacitating his assailant and attacking back would leave him writhing on the floor. At least he wouldn’t have to listen to Xander say, ‘I told you so’ which was a bit of a comfort. Still, if he was going down, he wasn’t going down without a fight. Maybe if he could hit Wood hard enough with one blow he could crawl away before Wood regained consciousness, who knew what it would do to his brain if Spike succeeded in killing him but it was better than lying down and dying.

He ducked under the next swing and ploughed his fist into Wood’s chin. Wood staggered back and collapsed against the wall. Spike winced in anticipation of a massive burst of pain from the chip.

There was nothing.

He stared down at Wood, barely conscious on the floor before him, and there wasn’t the slightest twinge from the chip.

A grin of pure joy spread across his face and he whooped in triumph. He gave Wood’s leg an experimental kick, just to make sure.

No pain.

Seemed the chip’s battery had finally run out. Spike threw his head back and roared, “I’m back!” He felt like dancing a bloody jig right in the middle of the room. Then he turned to Wood, who was barely focusing but struggling to sit up, and smiled viciously. “And I owe it all to you, mate.”

Spike figured he couldn’t have done more to the guy if he’d stabbed him, and from the flinch Wood gave that judgment seemed spot on. He got right up in Wood’s face, feeling like twisting the knife a bit. “This chip could have been burned out for months and I never would have known it. So, you’ve given me my bite back.” Spike patted the side of his face. “Thanks, you’ve done me a real service, you have.”

Wood winced, clearly all the fight drained out of him. “Just finish it already,” he ground out in an exhausted voice.

Spike felt like the king of the world. He didn’t have to back down from any fight ever again. He could protect his family, be a real vampire once again. “Don’t think I will, mate.” Spike bounced back, away from his fallen opponent. “When it came right down to it, your mother didn’t choose you, she chose the job, she chose me.” Spike could see the truth of his statement hit home and it filled him with glee. “So, I’m leaving you alive, unless you’re fool enough to come after my family again.” Spike’s voice dropped to a deadly serious tone. “Come near any of them again and I’ll take days killing you. Believe me, I’ve been trained by the best at that.”

Wearily, Wood nodded.

Spike clapped his hands together, feeling like a little kid set loose in the toy store, he declared, “Right then, places to go, people to kill, you know how it is.” He left the shed whistling a happy tune.


He was still whistling as he swung in the front door. The whole gang was sitting in the living room around two large pizzas. “Pass over some of that pepperoni,” he demanded.

Xander raked his eyes over Spike like he was looking for holes. “What happened, you’ve only been gone half an hour,” Xander asked suspiciously.

“It’s all sorted.” Spike’s grin was drawing suspicious glances from all of them. He reached down and snagged a piece of pepperoni pizza. Everyone else was clearly too frozen to hand it to him.

“How is it sorted?” Rupert asked pointedly.

“He’s not after the slayer, he was after me.” Spike had barely finished speaking before Xander grabbed his sleeve and began dragging him toward the basement stairs. Spike finished off his slice of pizza and called a “Don’t wait up.” over his shoulder. The expected rolled eyes made him smile wider.

Spike was pretty much bouncing by the time they made it to the bottom of the stairs, bursting with the news he had to tell. “The chip stopped working.”

Xander’s dropped jaw was not the joyful expression he’d been expecting. “What happened?”

“Git pulled me into a shed full of crosses. Seems he’s the kid of the slayer I killed in New York. Been gunning for me ever since. He won’t be doing it anymore.” If Xander wasn’t going to get into the spirit of the celebration then Spike wasn’t going to be large on the details.

Xander hung his head as if oppressed by his thoughts. “Did you kill him?”

“Nah, was too thrilled to be free, besides, I did kill his mum.” He wondered if the fact he’d had sympathy for the kid meant he was going soft.

Xander slumped against the wall. “Well, that’s something at any rate.”

Spike’s euphoria took an immediate nose dive. “Sounds like you’d rather the git killed me.”

Xander’s head snapped up, a look of horror on his face. He looked as if Spike had just gut punched him. He grabbed hold of Spike, burying his face in his neck. “No, God no, Spike. But, you have to leave and I hate that.”

Now Xander had simply gone insane. Spike pulled away, gripping Xander at arm’s length so he couldn’t do something foolish and dangerous to himself, and so Spike could get a good look at his face. “What the bloody hell are you talking about? I‘m not going anywhere.”

Xander looked miserable. “You have to, Spike,” he said as if it was all decided.

Spike felt shaking some sense into Xander so he channeled his anger into pacing. “Do you have the slightest idea what this means to me, Xander? I can defend myself again. I don’t have to worry about a couple of human thugs taking me out because I can’t hit them back. Or was it just the defanged version you cared about? No room for me now I’m not all weak and helpless anymore.”

Xander shook his head and tried to close the distance between them. Spike shook his hand off and continued pacing. Xander stopped trying to touch him, dejectedly staring at the floor as he spoke. “You’re unleashed, Spike, and part of me is happy for you. You hated the chip, I’ve actually come to hate the chip, but it meant you could stay. Now you have to go. I’ve known this day was coming for a long time. The chip was a prototype, it couldn‘t work forever. I guess I was just really selfish and hoped I‘d be dead before then.”

Spike wasn‘t sure what to make of this insanity. They’d never talked about what they would do if the chip stopped working. The subject had gotten too depressing for Spike to contemplate any longer. But Xander was talking like he had the whole thing worked out. What did he think Spike was going to do? Weren’t they were well past this by now? He thought he had a real home here. Now, just when things were finally going his way, he was being given his marching papers. “You think I can’t control myself? You think I’d hurt you? Dawn?”

Xander looked up and his eyes were brimming with unshed tears as he spoke his truth. “I think you’d stake yourself before you hurt one of us. You love us, we’re your family. The rest of Sunnydale, not so much. How long before you forget yourself and eat one of Dawn’s classmates, one of my work buddies, one of Willow and Tara’s teachers or just some random stranger? Giles has his sacred duty and Willow and Tara will agree. Once you kill someone they’ll feel they have to kill you, and having to choose like that, I hope one of you would kill me first, because I don’t think I could stay sane.”

Spike stopped pacing, facing Xander squarely across the space they had created between themselves. He couldn’t believe Xander would shatter his life like this and anger was his only shield. “Do you think I’m some fledge with grave dirt under my fingernails? I have control. I don’t have to randomly kill people if I don‘t want to.” He was shaking as he waved his dirt free fingernails under Xander’s nose. He told himself it was outrage.

Spike had to admit that feeding again had featured prominently in his list of things he missed since the chip, but feeding wasn’t worth the loss of his family. He could give it up if it meant he didn’t lose the best home he’d had in over 100 years. He didn’t like to think of it as pleading, but he couldn’t think of a more dignified explanation at the moment.

Xander, however, appeared unswayed, even as he looked like his whole world was ending. “You’re free, Spike. My love can’t be another leash. You’d resent me, maybe even hate me for it. Maybe not now, but eventually. Go, be a vampire somewhere not here. I love you too much to let you do anything else.”

This made no sense! Xander had no right to do this to him. Hadn’t he proved himself many times over? Hadn’t he nearly died defending them? Xander made him believe he was loved, and now he was ripping him to pieces. Spike refused to cry in front of the unfeeling bastard, not while the ungrateful git was kicking him out. If he was going to hold true to that he needed to get out fairly fast though. He snatched a duffle bag out of the closet and started emptying the dresser into it. He wasn’t sure that he wasn’t shoving half of Xander’s clothes in as well but he didn’t care, couldn’t care. He couldn’t remain silent though, not with Xander standing in a corner looking like he was somehow heartbroken. The heartless idiot didn’t have the right. “I’m leaving, and just to prove to you what a moronic git you are, I’m not going to kill anyone for a year, a whole year!” Spike paused and rethought that position. “Unless they deserve it. Not going to get myself staked like some bleeding martyr.”

“I wouldn’t want you to, Spike,” Xander said in a small voice. “I don’t want you to go.”

Spike stabbed a finger at him. “You don’t get to say that. Not and kick me out in the same breath. I’m just going to prove to you how very wrong you are.”

Xander nodded as if he accepted the chastisement as his due and went back to staring at his shoes. “Do you need any money?”

“No,” Spike replied succinctly. No need to mention the fact that he could get all the dosh he needed now that he didn’t have to fear humans anymore. That would just start them fighting again. There was no purpose in that.

Xander looked like he didn’t really need the explanation anyway, staring off to the side nodding absently to himself. “You should say goodbye to Dawn before you go.”

Xander has some gall asking him to do a thing like that. Spike slipped into his vampiric face without his conscious volition. “I’ll just leave that little chore to you, shall I? You explain to her where I’ve gone and why. Don’t leave that out.”

Once again Xander took the drubbing as his due. It was putting Spike right off, he needed out that minute. He shoved the last of his possessions into the duffle and zipped it. That seemed to unlock Xander’s jaw. “I know I’ve got no right to ask.”

“You’ve got that right,” Spike growled back, pain choking his throat.

Xander continued, undaunted. “We both have gmail accounts, wherever you go, email me, let me know you’re all right?”

“What do you care about one more vampire out there,” he snapped, intending to hurt. He slung the bag over his shoulder and headed for the stairs. Xander didn’t move but he seemed to be collapsing in on himself as Spike got closer to the door. At the top of the stairs he relented. He didn’t turn but he made sure his voice could be heard. “Tell Dawn I’ll email her as soon as I get settled. Wouldn’t want her to worry.” Some of the oppressive atmosphere of the room lifted at that.

He left by the back door, grateful not to run into anyone else.


My apologies for the lack of lj-cut earlier.

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