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 22

Life soon went back to what passed for normal around the Council’s Slayer School. The little flurry of discussion when it became known that Buffy had moved in with the ghost died down quickly when the other girls realized that Dawn had already moved into the vacant room. If Buffy was occasionally accompanied by an invisible presence when she taught her martial arts classes, very few girls were aware of it. Those that were cast anxious eyes around the room, wondering where the source of the disconcerting tingles was hiding himself.

Although Spike couldn’t resist the occasional pat on Buffy’s ass, or, less often, a bump against one of her opponents, it was much less disruptive than he could have been and Buffy took it in good humor.

One afternoon, while she was carefully explaining the importance of good form and technique to a class of attentive slayers, there was a snicker and a cough from atop the weapon storage cupboard. All eyes turned to the apparently empty spot, then back to their instructor who was glaring at the area with undisguised hostility.

She released the class and waited until they had all left before marching over to the cupboard and jumping up to land beside Spike. She had found herself becoming more and more able to pinpoint his exact location, no matter how silent and invisible he tried to be. When a quick glance around showed no sign of onlookers, he faded into sight, grinning at Buffy’s still-angry look.

“What are you trying to do?” she said, punching him on the arm hard enough to bring a wince.

“Oh, come on, Slayer. Half those bints knew I was here somewhere – and the other half have probably heard that when I’m testing them, I can move all around the outside of the house, not just that little patch of grass I used to be stuck in. We’re not fooling anybody here.”

He nudged her side and leaned in to nibble on her ear. “Anyway, you were leaving out the main part of the lesson,” he murmured.

“What was that?” she huffed, struggling to ignore her body’s reaction to his lips which had moved down to her neck.

“Always do the unexpected. That’s why you’ve lived so long and are such a good fighter. Because you don’t stick to good technique and form – you’re inventive. You use whatever’s handy. You aren’t doing these girls any favors spouting that Council of Wankers drivel about form and technique. These girls need to know how to outthink their opponents; not treat the fight like some kind of martial arts contest.”

He shifted into his vampire mien and nipped at her throat, barely scraping the skin with his fangs. “Oops, sorry, love,” he said as he licked off the droplets of blood that welled up. “Didn’t really mean to do that. Just wanted to remind you that we’ve always got our weapons ready. Vamps aren’t going to wait for a slayer to try the next kata.”

“Point taken,” she groused, holding her shirt out. “Did you get blood on my new practice shirt?”

“Didn’t waste a drop,” he said with a final, unnecessary flourish of his tongue. “Shirt’s fine and the little scratch is already closing.”

“Hmmph.”

“Was that your last class today?” he asked, jumping down and holding up his arms to her.

Buffy ignored the offered help and dropped gracefully to the floor beside him.

“Yeah, it was the last one. We can either eat here, or go home and get something there before we head out for the night.”

“Up to you, pet. I won’t be ‘eating’ no matter where we are.”

“Huh! That’s right. You don’t drink blood any more. What was the deal with licking me?”

“Don’t have any urge or need for it. Doesn’t mean I’m going to turn down a sip of Slayer nectar just because I don’t need it.” He gave her one of his best leers. “You still taste delicious.”

“And to that, I just say, ‘ewwwww’.” She made a face at him as he held the gym door for her. “Time to disappear, Spike. You don’t want to scare anybody.”

“Have you any idea what a bloody stupid thing that is to say to a ghost?” he muttered as he faded from sight. “Of course I want to scare anybody. I want to scare everybody!”

“Come on, you. We’re going home before you get us both in trouble.”

“Home it is,” he replied, slipping his hand into hers as they left the building. “I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing that.”

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

After several weeks of having an invisible Spike sitting in on Buffy’s classes, Giles came to her as she was packing up her gear.

“Buffy….and Spike?” he said hesitantly, looking around the room.

“I’m here, Watcher,” came the reply from right behind him. Giles couldn’t help flinching from the disembodied voice, causing Spike to give a scoffing snort.

“Not funny,” Giles grumbled. “Although, I am glad you’re here.” He turned back to Buffy. “It appears to be an open secret that Spike is accompanying you to your classes and the students are beginning to wonder if they can spar with him.”

Buffy exchanged glances with a now visible Spike.

“What do you think?”

He shrugged. “I don’t think there are very many of ‘em that are up to sparring with me yet. They can’t handle you or even the older slayers. I don’t mind helpin’ out, though if you want. We could spar with each other for them once in a while. Give them a chance to see you in action against something besides a baby slayer.”

That settled, they bade Giles a good afternoon and left to enjoy what was left of the cool fall day.

The following week, Spike began his assistant instructor role, to the squealing delight of most of the girls in the class. The few to hang back, either in fear or because they refused to take instruction from a vampire, he ignored for the most part, although he knew exactly where they were at all times.

“Worried that you’re going to be staked in the back?” Buffy asked quietly when she noticed the care he was taking to keep his eyes on the less enthusiastic slayers.

“Thought has crossed my mind,” he said with a shrug. “Probably can’t dust a ghost, but I’d just as soon not find out the hard way.”

Buffy, too, kept one eye on the more reluctant slayers, but as time passed and Spike harmed no one, even the most distrustful girls eventually got used to his daily presence and stopped trying to stay near the weapons. As a reward for the now-total participation, Buffy told the class that the last session would consist of an all-out training fight between herself and Spike.

“I’m not saying that every vampire you meet is going to be able to fight like Spike can. Or be as fast or as strong. He is –was-- a very old vamp, and a powerful warrior. But you can’t know that going in. You have to be prepared to face something just as strong, just as fast, and just as deadly as you are. Every time.”

“Well said, love,” Spike rumbled, quickly squelching any ‘we’re too smart to believe that’ murmurs from the class. “Let’s show them what you mean, yeah?”

He dropped his coat onto the sword rack and took off his boots. Buffy followed suit, taking off her shoes and sweatshirt, facing him in loose pants and a tank top. A student slayer held up her hand.

“Why did you take off your shoes?”

Spike looked her up and down. “Terri, is it?” At her pleased nod, he continued. “We’re going all out, Terri. Means that, while I don’t intend to kill her, and she isn’t going to be trying to dust me – Bit late for that, anyway,” he snorted, “--we will be using our full strength and speed. I don’t want to accidentally ruin that pretty face by smashing it with a steel-toed boot. And I don’t want to risk losing anything I value.” He stopped and conspicuously adjusted himself, until Buffy’s hissed “Spike!” reminded him that he was about to face her in battle. “Um, that is, I don’t want her to give me any kind of serious injury either. That’s why we took our boots off. The vamps you’ll be facing won’t be so accommodating.”

While he was talking, he’d been moving into position so that, as he finished, he could swing a roundhouse kick at Buffy who’d been expecting something similar, and turned her body just enough for the kick to only graze her. Spike grinned appreciatively and followed up with a rush that knocked her down, allowing her to grab his shirt and toss him over her head as she fell. They both rolled quickly to their feet, facing each other with matching grins.

For the next several minutes, the slayers watched in awe as their instructor and the ghost of a now-famous vampire moved with such grace and speed that the fight looked more like a choreographed dance put on fast forward. For every punch, there was a block, for every kick, a counter. First one would be the aggressor – attacking so fiercely that the other could only retreat and look for an opening. Then, opening found, the roles would be reversed and the one who had been retreating would become the attacker, throwing punches that forced the other to duck and weave in an attempt to stay upright. The watching slayers winced in sympathy as fists connected with flesh, or one of the combatants was thrown against a wall or slammed to the floor.

When, with a triumphant cry, Buffy knocked Spike to the ground long enough to pounce upon him and pin him, she raised an imaginary stake. She brought her hand down, fully expecting her fist to hit Spike in the chest. When, instead, her hand went right through the suddenly invisible vampire, she flinched and uttered a small whimper.

“Spike?” she whispered, feeling all over floor upon which she found herself sitting with no sign of the vampire. She leaped to her feet and began looking around frantically. “Spike? Where are you? This isn’t funny!”

“It’s alright, love,” he soothed, coming into sight, still lying where there’d been no trace of his body a few seconds ago.

“What happened? Why did you do that? It wasn’t funny!”

Paying no attention to the curious students, she berated him at the same time as she ran her hands over his torso, reassuring herself that he was really there.

“Didn’t do it on purpose, Buffy,” he said gruffly.

“I thought you were always solid. You said you could stay solid without even trying.”

“Thought I could,” he grumbled. “Looks like I need to work on it some more, is all. Calm down, Slayer,” he added, staring at her intently and jerking his head towards their rapt audience.

“Right,” Buffy said, straightening up and looking at the class. “Okay, then. What did we learn from this?”

“Not to fight ghosts?”

Buffy glared in the direction from which the anonymous jibe had come, then took a deep breath and forced herself to relax.

“Right. Good point. Spike is a ghost. But, if he hadn’t been a ghost, he would have been dust. The lesson is you don’t hesitate when you have the vamp in position to be staked. Just do it and move on.” She gazed around at the still-awestruck girls. “All right, then, who still thinks she wants to spar with my vampire?”


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

As they strolled up the hill in the gathering dusk, Spike reached for Buffy’s hand and linked their fingers.

“Quit worrying, Slayer. Told you I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not. Was just a little glitch in my ghostliness.”

“I thought you were gone,” she said dully. “Just like that – no ‘good-bye’, no dust even. Just…gone.”

“I’ll fix it, pet. Was like that for a long time when I first popped up in Peaches’ office. Never knew when I was gonna disappear or fall through the floor. It’s not like being a ghost comes with a handbook, you know.”

“I know. I’m fine. It just scared me for a second. I don’t want to lose you again.”

“Don’t want to be lost, love. Trust me on that. A dream come true these past weeks have been. Wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

As they approached the house, a small group of very toothy demons rose up from the ditch beside the road and blocked the way.

“An’ here I thought we were done fighting for the night,” Spike growled, dropping her hand and falling into a fighting stance.

“A slayer’s work is never done,” Buffy quipped, flipping over their heads while they were concentrating on the snarling vampire.

With no weapon handy with which to decapitate anything, Buffy was forced to rely on her quickness and agility to get in. inflict damage, and escape with minimal harm to herself. She kicked the demon in front of her in what she hoped were its kidneys, sending it to its knees.

Spike, meanwhile, had gone into complete vampire mode, snarling and biting, using his claws and teeth on the surprised demons. He managed to rip the head off his first opponent, then kicked another in the knee, causing it to fall to the ground with a scream. Buffy had picked up a broken post from the side of the road and was using it as a pike to stab at the two demons facing her. The last remaining demon had taken to its heels, running down the hill. It could hear the sound of booted feet behind, but a quick glance over its shoulder showed no sign of the vampire and it stopped in confusion.

An invisible Spike never slowed down, plowing into the bewildered beast and plunging his hand into its chest to pull out its heart. He watched with great satisfaction as it crumpled to the ground and bled out green ichor onto the grass.

Buffy’s cry of rage had Spike racing back up to where she was beating the remaining demon with what was left of her pole, and shrieking at it the entire time.

“I just bought these clothes!” she said, whacking it on the ear. “They were brand new and you just ripped the shirt! And now you’re getting icky green…stuff…on the pants.”

Just as she raised the pole to deliver a killing blow, Spike stopped her hand.

“Give me a second, love. Let’s see who sent these buggers. Be good to know if there’s still a price on your head.”

“One thousand pounds and two virgins,” the demon gasped. His brief hope that cooperation might bring him amnesty was dashed when Buffy growled, “Two what? Oh, that’s just gross!” She impaled the unfortunate demon, leaving him pinned to the ground and squirming weakly until, with a sigh, he stilled.

“Guess that answers that question,” Spike said, continuing their walk as though nothing unusual had happened. “Old Wolfram and Hart must not know yet, or they’d have given up trying to get you away from me.”

“I almost wish they would find out,” Buffy grumbled, rubbing ineffectively at the stain on her pants. “Then maybe they’d stop sending all these lame assassins after me. It’s getting old.”

“Ah, it keeps you in shape, Slayer,” he teased, nudging her with his hip. “Don’t want to be getting all stiff and weak in your old age, do you?”

“Very funny,” she muttered, still peering at the stain. So intent was she on her new sweat pants, that she missed it completely when Spike once again disappeared. He reappeared almost immediately – but in the same place he’d been when he vanished. He quickly strode forward to catch up with Buffy, a small frown furrowing his brow.

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