Things That Go Bump in the Night by Slaymesoftly

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: Set several years post NFA, Buffy has moved on, is no longer in mourning for her two dead vampires. Then Dawn calls her for some help and she finds something she never expected to.

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Chapter 15

Before Buffy left for Spike’s house, she packed a small bag with clean underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a change of clothes. There’d been a less-than-subtle shift in their relationship and she thought it best to admit that and come prepared to stay… if he wanted her to.

As she trudged up the hill towards the suddenly friendlier seeming house, she wondered idly if all the uphill walking she’d done since arriving in England was having a beneficial effect on her ass.

Guess I should ask Spike if he thinks my butt’s getting tighter she giggled to herself as she climbed the steps. After all, he’s the one who’s been watching it all week.

When she entered the house, forgoing the knock because they seemed to be pretty much past that point now, there was no sign of Spike and no reply to her call. She dropped her bag in the kitchen, near - but not in front of - the door to his bedroom, and walked over to the open back door. She couldn’t see anyone, but the sound of swearing in several languages told her that she might have found the missing ghost. She jumped over the still-broken steps and followed her ears until she could make out a translucent, shirtless Spike wrestling with a shrub that clearly did not want to leave the ground.

Her laughter when his final yank caused the bush to break off at the roots -- tumbling him onto his ass – caught his attention and he glared up at her.

“Not one word, Slayer. Not one.”

“Mmmph, snort, cough”

Buffy couldn’t contain herself, surrendering to giggles as she walked over and offered her hand. With a final kick at the offending bush now lying across his legs, he took the hand and allowed her to pull him to his feet. They stood there awkwardly for a second, hands still touching, until Spike leaned in to kiss her at the same time that she dropped his hand and stepped away.

“So,” he said, cockiness quickly in place. “Not something we do, then, is it? Kiss hello? Or is it just that you know you wouldn’t be able to resist me?”

“I’m…crap! I am so freaking tired of saying ‘I’m sorry’ to you!” She waved her hands in exasperation. “It was just one of those bad-timing things, okay? Of course I want to kiss you! But you’re right, it wasn’t something that we did very often. Kissing ‘hello’ just wasn’t…we don’t - didn’t do that, all right? I wasn’t expecting it.”

“’s alright, pet. I know last night didn’t change that much for us. We’re still strangers in some ways and I--”

His quick attempt to give her a way out ended abruptly when she leapt onto his body, wrapping her legs around his waist and fastening her mouth on his. Spike recovered from his surprise with vampire speed, his arms going around her automatically to hold her in place while they deepened the kiss. Ignoring the bright sunlight and semi-open setting of the overgrown garden, Buffy’s skirt and underwear were soon pushed out of the way and Spike’s pants were unzipped, allowing her to lower herself onto him without ever breaking contact with his mouth.

Only Spike’s superhuman strength allowed him to remain upright while Buffy moaned and writhed on his cock, seeking more contact than their position permitted. With an impatient growl, he sank to his knees, leaning forward to lower her gently to the newly-cleared earth. Heedless of her clothing, Buffy murmured her appreciation as he took advantage of the new position to pound into her.

In very little time, they were whimpering and growling to a mutually quick and satisfactory release. Spike’s forehead rested against hers, while he held his weight up on his elbows.

“Not complainin’ here, love, but – what the bloody hell was that?”

She gave a shaky laugh and rolled them so that they were lying facing each other, her leg still hooked over his hip, holding him in place.

“I just…I don’t know how much time we’re going to have,” she explained. “I don’t want to waste it misunderstanding each other…or fighting.”

“Ah, but we do it so well,” he teased gently, pushing her sweaty hair off her face. “Seems a shame not to stay in practice.”

“I’m sure we’ll get plenty of practice,” she grumbled, letting him slide out so that she could sit up and survey the damage to her shirt and skirt. “I just wasn’t in the mood for it right now.”

“Here, pet, let me,” he offered, turning her around so that he could try to brush the dirt off her back. “Afraid we may have done for these clothes… I don’t suppose you brought any others with you?’

“I did, actually. Go me, with the planning ahead skills.”

“You planned for this?”

“Well, no. Not exactly. But I know that you and I…we can be kind of hard on clothes, so I brought some to keep here…just in case.”

“Let’s go get them, yeah? I have something to talk to you about.”

“I can’t talk in dirty clothes?”

“You can talk starkers if you want to, pet. In fact, now that I think about it…”

When his attention was clearly about to wander completely off track, she poked him.

“Spike! Focus. What do you want to talk about?”

“Want to pay a visit to that slimy little solicitor that was here the other day. I have some business for him to conduct for me, and I need for you to be there.”

“You’re going to go into town? Like that?” She gestured to his torso. The sun shining through it gave him a golden glow that, while very pretty, was also very other-worldly.

He looked down at himself and growled.

“Maybe you can get him to come here,” he said with a sigh. “I can give you the paperwork – in fact, if we scared him enough the other day when he popped in to be nosy, he might just be willing to do what I want on your say so…”

Buffy stopped just inside the door of the kitchen, staring longingly at the nearby bathroom and its shower.

“I don’t suppose that water’s any hotter?” she asked wistfully.

“Not yet,” he said enigmatically.

Buffy rummaged in her bag and pulled out her jeans and tee shirt. “I was planning to stick these in a drawer somewhere,” she grumbled. “Now I have wear them already.”

“Don’t be glaring at me, Slayer. You’re the one that jumped my poor ghostly bones.”

She giggled. “I did, didn’t I?” She giggled again. “You looked almost as surprised as the first time I did that.” With smirking satisfaction she said, “I really know how to shut you up.”

Not waiting for an answer, she took her toothbrush and toothpaste into the bathroom with her, closing the door in Spike’s hopeful face when it looked like he was planning to follow her in. She put the toiletries on the old sink and shrugged out of her blouse and skirt. With a resigned sigh, she dropped them on the floor while she gave her dirty arms and legs a quick wash. Filling the sink, she put the skirt and blouse in the cold water to soak; and then rejoined Spike in the kitchen.

In the meantime, Spike had put on his own shirt and was closing and locking the back door.

“What are you doing?”

“What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m locking the bloody house up. It’s not much good having a haunted house if the ghost isn’t going to be around to haunt it, is it?”

“I thought you wanted me to make that guy come here? Where are we going?”

“We’re going window shopping,” Spike said with a grin. “I’ll be invisible and you’ll walk around writing down the things I tell you to.”

“We’re not going to buy them?”

“Don’t have the money yet, do I? That’s what I need the legal wanker for – well, that and one other thing.” Handing Buffy a piece of paper and a pencil, he touched the center of her back, urging her towards the front door. “Let’s get going, pet. It’s time to make my haunted house into a home.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two hours later, Buffy had a long list of stores and items that Spike assured her were not only affordable, but necessary. Some made perfect sense, and she felt a bolt of happiness when she realized that most of them were for her benefit. Spike had no need of the small fridge and microwave, nor of the hot water heater that he assured her could be ordered from the plumbing supply company they walked past. She gave him a small smile when she was sure no one was watching.

She rolled her eyes when he pointed out a large-screen TV in the appliance store’s window, but dutifully wrote down the make and model. He added a CD player and then browsed through the music selection in the next shop. Buffy’s attempt to convince him that he loved Barry Manilow was met with crashing silence, and she eventually had to admit that she’d been trying to see if he’d fall for it. A passing customer hurried away when it appeared that an entire display of CDs was snarling.

Other prospective buys were more confusing at first – a shovel, hammer, nails, saw, and boards that she had finally realized were needed so that he could repair the back steps. At the garden center on far edge of town, he had her make note of which lawn mower he wanted, which pruning shears and other gardening tools that meant nothing to her.

“Do you know how to use all this stuff?” she asked as they walked back through town in the gathering dusk.

“How hard can it be? ‘s not rocket science, Slayer. It’s just moving dirt and cutting stuff.”

She nodded. “Um huh. This is going to go well. You know less than I do – and I’m pretty sure I know nothing about gardening.”

While they’d walked through the garden center, she’d told him about her fleeting urge to make his house look as neat and colorful as the smaller homes they were passing, then her realization that she had no idea where to even begin. She reminded him of her complete ignorance.

“We’ll learn together, pet.” He put his arm around her and squeezed. “We’re heroes. Those weeds don’t stand a chance.”

As they walked toward the road leading out of town, they passed a small pub and restaurant. Spike paused. “You need some dinner, love. You can’t live on those snacks you have at my house. I think we can get away with this – it’ll be dim in there, and dark when we come out.”

Buffy shrugged. “You’re the one who was worried about pitchforks and torches,” she said. “I’m game if you are. But what if somebody asks who you are?”

He sighed. “You’re right. I wasn’t thinking. I don’t want word getting back to those wankers who put me in the house that I can leave it now. Might bring more attention than we’ve already got from them. Maybe you can just order something to take out.”

An invisible hand opened the door and held it while Buffy walked into the dark but cozy room and looked around for the bar. Spotting a friendly appearing woman near a cash register, she walked over and asked if it would be possible to order a meal to go. Assured that she could, Buffy quickly scanned the menu and asked for a burger and chips.

While she waited, she was surrounded by several young men who apparently hadn’t heard about the inadvisability of harassing the students and staff from the big complex on the edge of town. Their drunken posturing and competition for her attention was just annoying and amusing until one of them went so far as to put his arm around her and try to kiss her. Before Buffy could say or do anything, the man was lying on the floor, cradling his arm and cursing. She hissed an exasperated, “I had it,” at her invisible protector, before bending over the moaning man and trying to pretend she had no idea what had happened.

“I’m so sorry? What happened? Are you all right? Did you hurt your arm when you fell?”

Unable to come up with any other explanation, and knowing that Buffy hadn’t moved except to pull away from him, he allowed his friends to assure him that he must have slipped and fallen on his arm. With much laughter and teasing about being too drunk to stand up by himself, they dragged him back to their table, leaving Buffy to pay for her food and leave quickly, the proprietor’s apologies for the “rowdy boys” ringing in her ears.

She stomped down the sidewalk, very aware of the invisible shadow following her, but too angry to acknowledge his presence. It wasn’t until they reached the fork in the road outside of town, that she slowed her pace. When she hesitated, glancing to the left, in the direction of the Council Headquarters, she felt Spike’s tentative touch on her arm.

“Buffy?”

The fear in his voice went straight to her stomach, reminding her of the many times he’d begged her to spend the night with him and her curt refusals to give him even that little bit of affection and companionship. She sighed and turned to the right, reaching out for the hand just leaving her arm.

“It’s all right. I mean - it’s not all right. You can’t go around breaking people’s arms just because they touch me. I can take care of myself. And that was stupid. If they weren’t so drunk…”

She sighed again, squeezed his hand reassuringly, then dropped it and began the long uphill walk to his house.

“It just scared me, okay? I don’t know what Wolfram and Hart might do if they found out that you were free to leave any time you want to. Maybe they have some way to magic you back into the amulet, or…”

“Or?”

“I don’t know! Or something. I don’t know. I just know that they want you to suffer and if they think you aren’t…” She looked up at him with suspiciously damp eyes. “I don’t know how to fight them. I don’t even know who to fight. Their employees are mostly humans, and--”

“Shhh. It’s going to be alright, love. Not going to do anything that might give them reason to think I’m not still stuck in my house, scaring would-be watchers and novice slayers for excitement.” He glanced around for unfriendly eyes, then put his arms around her. “The only thing we can’t hide is you. They know you’re here, and if they know anything about us, they’ll know that it must be making me bloody happy.”

“Well, there’s not much they can do about that,” she said, resting her head on his chest briefly. “It looks like I’m not going anywhere.” She pushed him away and began walking again. “Let’s go home. I really don’t want the men in the white coats coming after me for hugging an imaginary man in the middle of the road.”

“You think they’d be less likely to get out the nets if they saw you doing it somewhere else?” he teased.

“If we keep it to inside the house, there’s no reason for anyone to see it, is there?” she grumbled. “I don’t know why you’re taking this so lightly.”

Rather than answer her, he touched her elbow, squeezing just enough to get her attention. He’d begun to come into sight when they’d left the lights of town behind; suddenly he faded away again.

“What?”

“Something – just up ahead. No heartbeats, but vamps are really rare around here. Probably has somethin’ to do with all those feisty little girls running around waving sharp pieces of wood…”

Buffy checked to be sure she had tucked her stake back into her waist, and extended her senses until she could feel the telltale tingles.

“Guess somebody forgot to tell this one,” she whispered.

“Ones, pet. More than one. Got your back if you need it.”

“I won’t need it.” Buffy rolled her shoulders and gave herself a quick stretch. “I haven’t done much since I got here. This is going to feel good.”

Pretending to be oblivious of the vamps waiting for her, Buffy continued up the road, humming to herself and twirling her stake. As she reached the crest of the hill, several vampires stepped into her path. Rather than attacking immediately, the apparent leader asked, “Are you Buffy Summers?”

Buffy blinked at him. “Who wants to know? Are you fussy about who dusts you?”

“I’m Vladimir the Invincible,” the bald, muscular leader said, expanding his chest and posing. “No doubt you’ve heard of me?”

“Huh?”

He gestured to his minions, now forming a circle around Buffy. “I’m going to kill you. You won’t be able to flee, but my men won’t interfere otherwise.” When Buffy didn’t appear to be sufficiently intimidated, he puffed his chest out even more. “I’ve already killed one slayer, you know.”

“I’ve already killed a vampire, you know,” Buffy mimicked him, grinning at his growl. “Or, maybe that was two or three…hundreds or thousands…”

“I was chosen for this assignment because of my experience. Youwill die.”

“Yeah, yeah. I vill drink your blood…yada, yada. Heard it all before. Let’s fight already.”

They were standing just a few yards away from what had been Spike’s original boundary,, and it was becoming clear that the vamps knew exactly where they wanted to engage her. Buffy narrowed her eyes and glared at the minions standing between her and what should have been any possible assistance.

“Who did you say sent you here?”

There was no response, other than for the vamps behind her to move in more closely while their leader swung his fist at her no-longer-there face. Buffy could feel the presence of the minions pressing in behind her and limiting her ability to dodge the much larger, but clumsier vamp. Without looking, she kicked behind her, shattering a knee. The scream was cut off abruptly as the vampire turned to dust without being visibly touched again.

“Uh, boss?”

The other minions shifted nervously, losing their focus on Buffy. They’d been assured that if the ghost was there, he would not be able to leave the small mowed area in front of the house; their instructions had been to kill Buffy as close to that area as they could safely get and to leave her body just inside the mowed area if Spike for some reason missed seeing her death.

As Spike slowly came into view, standing on the lawn where they expected him to be, their confidence began to return. The fact that he was grinning with delight and bouncing with eagerness didn’t seem to register on them as being a bad sign.

As their attention wandered from their duty to keep Buffy away from Spike and close to her attacker, the fight moved away to where Buffy could use her agility and experience against the snarling vampire.

“Vladimir,” Buffy snarked. “Is that because you’re Russian, or because you want me to think you’re related to Dracula? Cause I really don’t see him turning an ugly bumpkin like you. He’s got better taste.”

“You know the Master?”

Vladimir stopped in mid swing to gape at the smiling woman facing him.

“Met him, staked him – more than once, as I recall – told him to get the hell out of my town and stay out.”

“Impossible!”

“Yeah, whatever.” Buffy shrugged and flipped over his head, driving her stake into his back as she flew past. She landed and glanced up to Spike who was applauding wildly.

“Oh, well done, Slayer! Well done. A bit too short a fight for my taste, but very pretty.”

Ignoring for the moment the minions who were staring back and forth between the Slayer and the ghost, Buffy and Spike continued their banter.

“So, you’ll give me what? A nine point five instead of a ten?”

He shook his head in mock seriousness.

“Got to go with a flat nine, pet. You didn’t stick your landing perfectly.”

“Picky, picky,” she muttered, gesturing to one of the bewildered minions. “Come on, you. Let’s get this over with. My dinner’s getting cold.”

“Let’s get her!” the bravest of the surviving vamps said. “She can’t take all of us at once.”

As Spike stepped through the barrier which they’d been told would contain him, he said mildly, “I’m pretty sure she can, but just in case…” He grabbed the vampire closest to him and tossed him far away from Buffy. As he stalked towards the frightened vamp, now scrambling to his feet, he called back, “You don’t mind if I take this one, do you, Slayer?”

“Help yourself,” she replied, ducking in time for the two remaining vamps to miss her head and punch each other.

Buffy toyed with them for a few minutes, exchanging kicks and punches, then staked them both before the second one had time to notice that he was now alone. She waved the dust away, then picked up her carryout food and went to sit on the steps to watch Spike as he played with the remaining minion.

Taking his usual joy in the fight, Spike allowed the other vampire to get several good punches in before having his head wrenched off. Smiling happily, Spike dusted off his hands and walked over to join Buffy on the steps.

She stopped eating long enough to say, “That is really gross. Twisting the head off like that.”

“Hey, not in the habit of carrying pointy wooden things around with me,” he replied indignantly. “Have to use the weapons I was given, don’t I?”

“You didn’t use them. You never even went into game face.”

“Didn’t need to.” He shrugged. “You took on the big one.”

“Seemed fair. He was after me.”

“So he was. What do you think that was all about?”

“Seems pretty obvious,” she said. “Wolfram and Hart doesn’t want you to get your memories back and move on. That would hurt me, which I guess is a bonus for them, but it could also end your ghostiness. Since you’re the one who’s being punished, I guess they figured taking me out while you watch would kill two birds with one stone.”

“Unfortunate metaphor, there, love,” he said, moving closer so that their shoulders were touching. “Watching you die isn’t something I ever want to have to see.”

“I know the feeling,” she replied quietly, leaning into him. “But I’ll bet they’re going to keep trying. Especially if they find out you aren’t trapped anymore.”

She straightened up, sudden hope flaring in her eyes.

“You’re not trapped anymore. We could leave! We could go somewhere…somewhere they can’t find us. We don’t have to stay here.”

He nodded. “We could. But I wouldn’t count on not being found. I suspect they’ve got ways of tracking me, and probably you, if they need to. Evil can always find willing workers.”

Buffy leaned against his shoulder again, dropping her head against his arm.

“What are we going to do?”

“What we always do, if I’ve understood anything about what you’ve told me about life in Sunnydale. We’ll carry on, and deal with the bad guys when they show up. ‘s all we can do, love,” he added when she didn’t say anything. “Live our lives – well, your life – love each other…” he paused, but when she didn’t contradict him, he went on quickly, “and spite the bloody hell out them by making each other happy for as long as we can.”

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