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 6

Buffy managed to make it back to the school before many people were stirring. One of the advantages of living where much of the activity took place after dark was that no one questioned anyone’s occasional need to sleep late. She got to her room without seeing anyone who was likely to expect more than a wave and a “good morning” from her, and quickly undressed and collapsed onto her bed.

In spite of having been up for a long and sometimes emotionally draining night, she found herself unable to sleep. When Dawn knocked on her door at 10:30, asking if she wanted to come down for breakfast before the kitchen switched to preparing for lunch, she sighed and gave up.

“Okay, I’ll be right there. You go on down.”

She listened to Dawn’s footsteps fading away, remaining on the bed and staring pensively at the cracked ceiling.

Still beats that damp old castle. What the hell was Giles thinking – that we’d keep better if it was cold?

She stared around the spartan room and wondered if she should buy some accessories for it. Until now, her stays at the headquarters/school were usually limited to holidays and brief visits with Dawn; for which the small room and even smaller bathroom that had been allotted to the world’s oldest slayer was more than adequate.

But, if I’m going to be hanging around for a while…

Shaking off any speculation about why she might want to remain there for a long enough period of time that she would feel the need to personalize the room, she got up and pulled on her clothes before heading downstairs to join Dawn in the dining hall.

~~~~~~~

“So?”

Dawn’s greeting was short and to the point. She handed Buffy a mug of steaming coffee and pointed to the chair opposite her own. She had chosen the same remote table that Giles had picked the day before, giving them plenty of privacy for their conversation.

Buffy sipped her coffee, hissing when she burned her tongue, and making a face.

“Ow! Are you trying to kill me?”

“I might if you don’t talk – like, right now.”

“It’s him.”

Dawn barely muffled her squeal of joy, casting a quick look around to see if anyone had noticed.

“It is? For sure? Did he recognize you?”

Buffy shook her head. “Don’t get too excited. It is him – or at least his ghost -- but he doesn’t know us; doesn’t remember anything about his life before he popped up in that house and got told he couldn’t leave it.”

“So, he doesn’t know how he got there? And he doesn’t remember me- us?” Dawn made no attempt to hide her disappointment.

“No. I’ve been telling him about his life as a vampire, but I didn’t get to us yet. I was hoping something would trigger his memory, but whatever spell or curse put him there seems to have done a pretty good job of wiping them out.”

“Well, that just sucks…”

“It does. I’ll have to talk to Giles and see if he has any ideas about how to make him a not-ghost, or at least break the spell so that he can go for a walk if he wants to. I just can’t imagine Spike, with all his energy, being happy trapped in that house.”

Dawn nodded. “Yeah, spending all his time reading poetry and staring out the windows sure doesn’t sound much like Spike.”

“Well, as much as he seems to be ‘our’ Spike, we really don’t know what he’s gone through or how he died. He’s probably changed a lot in the past five years.”

“Probably….” Dawn sounded dubious, but knowing how much having the soul had changed Spike initially, Buffy tended to think it was very possible that the ghost of the vampire they thought they knew could have very different tastes and preferred activities.

They filled their trays, and as they ate, Buffy told Dawn that she was planning to talk to Giles and have him investigate some more into what had happened in Los Angeles when Angel and his team had taken on the Senior Partners.

“Maybe we can get a clue about what happened to Spike and how he went back to being a ghost after being solid all that time.”

“He seemed pretty solid to me when he was throwing Teddy all over the room and wrecking furniture,” Dawn grumbled.

“Yeah, he said he’s pretty solid now, even when he’s invisible. I got the feeling he might have had to work on it a little, though.”

~~~~~~~~

“It’s him.”

Giles glanced up at Buffy and immediately reached for his glasses – until he remembered that he had put his contacts in that morning.

“You’re sure?”

She nodded and sat down opposite his desk.

“I’m sure. It’s Spike. Not quite the vampire we left in the Hellmouth, but definitely Spike.”

Giles studied her face and the blank expression in her eyes.

“I take it he doesn’t remember you?”

She shook her head. “He doesn’t remember anything except some ‘wanker’ dumping him in the house and telling him to enjoy the rest of his life.”

“Someone brought him there?” Giles’ voice sharpened with sudden interest.

“Well, he doesn’t know that exactly. He just said that he doesn’t remember anything and then –poof! - he was standing in the house and some guy threw his clothes at him and told him he couldn’t leave it.”

“So…” She could see Giles going into research mode, in spite of himself, and she hid a smile behind her hand. “We will need to find out who may have transported him here, and how it was done. Perhaps the amulet…”

His voice trailed off as he began reaching for a note pad on which to jot down the pertinent facts.

“All right, then,” he said. “Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Tell me everything you can remember about the house, and about what Spike said about the man who left him there…”

When Buffy left Giles’ office an hour later, she was confident that they were well on their way to knowing more about how Spike became a ghost and how to fix it.

Assuming it is fixable.

Pushing that unpleasant thought from her mind, she went looking for Dawn or someone else who might want to go shopping with her. Now that she knew who was haunting the old house, she no longer cared for the small collection of utilitarian clothes she’d brought for what she’d expected would be a short stay.

And I don’t care what Spike says. He could use more than one pair of jeans and one tee shirt!

Dawn wasn’t much help; she had an important class to attend and couldn’t go with Buffy, but she gave her what information she could about shopping in the small town near the school.

“There’s not anything like the mall we had in Sunnydale, but there’s a small shopping center. No Debenhams, or anything like that, but there’s a Boots and a lot of little shops.”

“That’ll do. I just need to grab a few new tops and maybe some…well, I’ll just see what they have.”

“Have you got enough money?”

“Even better.” She waved her Watcher’s Council credit card in Dawn’s face. “This way I don’t have to try to remember how much anything is in dollars.”

“Uh, Buffy. The stuff costs the same whether you hand them pounds or your card. You do know that, right?”

“Kinda. In an intellectual sort of way. But it doesn’t feel like I’m spending money, and I don’t have to remember which funny colored bills are what.”

“Yeah, well, have fun. I’ve got to go. See you later.”

Dawn waved and headed for the classroom section of the large complex, while Buffy turned to leave for the nearest place to spend Council money.


~~~~~~~~~

Properly weighed down with shopping bags and packages, Buffy took a taxi back to the school, fumbling with the unfamiliar money as she thanked the driver and gathered her purchases. She went directly to her room and began dumping bags onto her bed.

The first items out were some posters she’d bought on impulse. She unrolled them and cast a critical eye over the bare walls. Realizing she had forgotten to get Blu Tack, she set them aside to be put up later, and pulled out the other items – two new tops, one in bright red, a pair of red sandals with stiletto heels, and one new skirt. From the bottom of the bag, came her most pleasing purchases: a pair of black jeans, size 30; two black tee shirts and one dark blue one; and her favorite purchase – a button-down oxford-cloth shirt the same shade of blue as Spike’s eyes. She carefully re-folded the jeans and shirts and placed them back in the bag, setting it by the door while she put the rest of her stuff away.

After a quick meal, which she shared with Dawn and Teddy, she ran back to change into the new red shirt and a tight pair of jeans. She left her hair down, grateful that she hadn’t taken yet taken her hairdresser’s advice to cut it into a more “grown-up” style. With more care than she’d given in a long time, she applied a light foundation, blush, mascara and more lip gloss. She stepped back to examine her reflection in the full length mirror and concluded that if at least some part of Spike didn’t remember her tonight, it might be a lost cause.

Dawn and Teddy walked her to the gate, assuring her that there was no way that the ghost wouldn’t get his memories jogged, and that he would be happy with the new clothes. Giving a final wave, she began the fifteen-minute walk to what she no longer wanted to think of as a ‘haunted house’.

.Spike’s house. It’s Spike’s house. That’s all.

By the time she got to the house, she was seriously rethinking the high heels that she’d worn to make her legs appear longer in the pencil jeans. Muttering to herself about slayer pain thresholds and the unfairness of it not extending to her feet, she failed to notice the amused vampire/ghost leaning against one of the porch pillars and watching her grimace her way up the walk.

“Not exactly dressed for fightin’, are you, Slayer?”

Buffy jumped, then glared at Spike.

“I thought we were going to be talking? If I’d thought you wanted to fight...” she grumbled, sitting on the top step and taking off one shoe to rub her foot, “…I would’ve worn my vampire/ghost ass-kicking boots.”

“You have boots just for kicking vampire/ghosts? Had no idea slayers were such specialists.”

He was still chuckling as he sat down beside her, picking up the abandoned shoe and turning it over in his hands.

“You know,” he said, holding the shoe up and squinting at the stiletto heel, “if I had a foot or shoe fetish, I might be getting’ a mite uncomfortable now…”

Buffy snatched her shoe back, still miffed that he’d seen her limping towards the house rather than making the grand entrance that she’d planned.

“Good thing you don’t then, isn’t it?” she growled, setting the shoe down and taking off the other one to set beside it. The almost forgotten bag of clothes was sitting at her feet and Spike eyed it curiously.

“Did you bring other clothes with you?” he asked hopefully. “Something you wouldn’t mind getting messed up if we had a go?”

“Wha-? Oh, you mean…never mind. Yeah, I did, but not for me. Here.”

She shoved the bag at him and went back to rubbing her abused feet. Spike was silent as he opened the bag and pulled out the jeans and shirts. He examined them briefly, then said, “Got the sizes right.” When there was no response from the still slightly put off girl beside him, he held up the blue shirt and asked, “Are you tryin’ to make me a watcher? ‘cause I’ve got to warn you, it isn’t happening. Not now. Not ever.”

“I just thought it would look good on you,” she muttered, finally turning to face him. “It sort of matches your eyes.”

“An’ you knew that while you were in the store? Without havin’ seen my eyes in years except for last night in the dark?”

She flushed at the skepticism in his voice and didn’t respond. He set the bag on the other side and moved slightly closer to her, just barely touching the collar of her shirt with one hand.

“And this?” he asked, his voice huskier than she’d yet heard it. “Is it just a coincidence that you’re wearing my favorite color? Did you buy this just for me?”

“You wish!” she scoffed, standing up and moving away from his hand. “And what makes you think I just bought it? It could be some old thing I’ve had forever.”

“Uh huh. That would explain the tags still hangin’ off the back then…” He stood up and followed her across the porch.

“What?” She spun around, trying to see the tags he was talking about. ‘Oh, shit!”

“Here. Hold still a sec, pet.” He grabbed the tags and with a quick tug, broke the plastic strings holding them on to the shirt. He held them out to her, saying, “Here you go. No more strings. Now you can tell me whatever lies you want about why you’re wearing my favorite color for a shirt and come-fuck-me-heels on your feet. And why you know what kind of clothes to buy me and what size I wear.”

“I just wanted to look nice,” she muttered, ignoring the second part of his request.

“You do look nice, Buffy.” He took her arm and turned her around to face him. “You look bloody gorgeous – bare feet and all. But I think it’s time you told me why you care how you look for an old ghost, don’t you?”

Buffy sighed and nodded. “You’re right. It’s time for Spike’s life Part II.”

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