Title: Thought You Should Know - Chapter 30
Summary: Spike wrote a letter to Buffy before the final battle in Not Fade Away. What happens when Buffy finally discovers Spike is back from the great beyond?
Genre: Romance, Angst
Chapter Rating: R for Violence, Blood, Language and Adult Situations
Warnings: Spoilers for the end of Angel Season 5, After the Fall and up through Issue #23 of Buffy Season 8.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Just playing for fun.
A/N: Special thanks to sueworld2003 for the beautiful banner and ladyofthelog for the awesome icon.
A/N2: Special warning this chapter for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Andrew just can't help talking about them. So spoilers!
Comics Background Info: This story loosely follows the comics canon but reading the comics is not necessary to understanding the emotional heart of the story. A few points to note:
1) Buffy was never in Rome as shown in The Girl in Question, but rather leading a new Slayer organization of over 500 members in the fight against evil. The "Buffy" that Angel and Spike tried to visit in Rome was actually a decoy set-up by Andrew to protect the real Buffy and keep her true location a secret.
2) Out of the 1800 Slayers that were activated during Chosen and the 500 Slayers that have chosen to work with Buffy, a group of Slayers led by one Slayer named Simone have gone rogue and have been abusing their power a la Faith in Season 3. Want. Take. Have. In Issue #23, Buffy and Andrew go to Rome to try to gain intel on Simone and her gang, only to be forced into a standoff on the island Simone has taken over off the coast of Italy. Andrew's squad of Slayers ("Italy squad" as he calls them) come to their rescue, but Buffy fails to rein in Simone or remove her from power. Simone's violent acts have brought intense scrutiny on the Slayers from the world's media coverage.
3) Angel survived the battle in Not Fade Away and the events of After the Fall, but now everyone in LA knows Angel exists and is a vampire just as they know about the demons that walk the streets. He's become a citywide legend.
4) Vampires are the cool new thing thanks to a reality TV show starring Harmony in LA (Buffy Season 8 #21). A Slayer saw Harmony and how she would feed off her adoring, sycophantic entourage and decided she needed to be stopped. She attacked Harmony while they were filming, failed and was killed by her own stake. The attack was used to make Slayers into the enemy and show vampires as sympathetic victims.
“And they cancelled it. They. Cancelled. It. John traveled to the future. A John from the past went even further into the future except they didn’t remember who he was in the future and- and do you see how crucial that is? How it changes everything? His going to the future meant he wasn’t there to become the great hero in the past and the Resistance happened without him. But John Connor is epic. Epic! So for there to be a future where he doesn’t matter – that’s huge. Mindblowing. And they cancelled it. They cancelled it! The ultimate cliffhanger and they axed it. Why is the world so cruel? Why? Why?!” Andrew fell to his knees next to his bed, hands raised in supplication to the TV network gods. With an exaggerated sigh, he dropped his head forward and sobbed, “I hate FOX.”
Spike rolled his eyes at Andrew’s non-stop blathering. “Yeah. Can see how that would be real traumatic for you.”
The boy hadn’t stopped talking since the moment he and Buffy had tracked him down. He hadn’t even put up a fuss when Buffy told him what she wanted. Before Spike had the chance to break out his intimidating glare, Andrew was skipping ahead and spastically waving them forward in the direction of his bedroom, only too eager to cooperate. Buffy had backed out, delegating the retrieval to Spike with an excuse about needing to talk to Giles.
Glorified gopher, that’s what he was. Geek babysitter. No, it was worse. Getting Andrew to cooperate was like wrangling an untrained puppy into taking a dump in the backyard instead of on the carpet inside. At first, you try reason. Which never works and why did you bother trying to talk to the pup in the first place? Then positive reinforcement. Except bribing with treats only makes him want more treats and you’re still getting nowhere. Then you start growling and playing alpha dog. But the stupid mutt just looks at you without any comprehension of what you want, no regard for your will, no respect for your authority. And as you’re staring him down, he lifts his leg and starts pissing on your boots and dammit it all if he doesn’t grin while doing it.
Buffy had just abandoned him. She’d left him holding the leash with requisite doggy bag for picking up the shite, sending him off to dig up the bone Andrew had buried in the metaphorical backyard. He was certain she’d planned doing it this way the entire time. That sly, beautiful bitch.
Remember - do not hit the yipping dog, Spike chanted. Do not snap his neck. Don’t yell at him. Because the guilt when he widens those wounded puppydog eyes – somehow it’ll be worse than the torture of enduring his nattering on.
“So where you got ‘em stashed?” Spike snapped his fingers when Andrew’s melodramatic bawling continued unchecked. “Andrew. Andrew!”
“Hm? Oh, yeah, I…” Andrew scrambled on his knees around his bed and pulled back the floorboards in the corner, revealing a collection of DVDs hidden inside. He grinned toothily, eyes eager for praise. “Ta da! Ask and ye shall receive.”
Spike grabbed the plastic laundry basket sitting on Andrew’s desk, dumping the folded clothes on the bed and dropping the basket on the floor. “Pack it up and let’s get going,” he ordered, crossing his arms.
The DVDs were unceremoniously dumped into the basket, titles and covers flashing before Spike’s eyes and suddenly, the world was right again. The world was bloody brilliant. A delicious twinge ran up his spine when he imagined giving Buffy what she wanted, giving her exactly what she’d asked for.
His grin was evil. He was sure it looked evil because Andrew started fidgeting and looking down to avoid eye contact. Spike patted him on the shoulder, murmuring, “That’s a good boy.”
The Scooby core was assembled and in full swing when Spike shouldered his way through the library door, his right arm draped around the laundry basket full of DVDs resting against his hip. Willow had a laptop set up at one end of a long desk, clicking away. Buffy stood with arms crossed, watching Giles read a letter while Xander was pouring through a large stack of newspapers and magazines, Dawn at his side. C-SPAN played on a constant loop on the TV mounted in the corner above a station of computers, the sound muted.
“So? What do you think?” Buffy asked.
Giles lowered the letter and met her expectant gaze with a sigh. “I don’t rightly know what to make of this, Buffy. On the one hand, it all seems to line up. On the other, you can’t trust anything the Immortal tells you. Especially not in some ‘in the event of my death’ letter. His motives, his endgame – I feel they still remain a mystery.”
“His endgame was pretty clear. Death. He wanted to die. He wanted to die and he wanted to show me something that would make me want to kill him. Make all of us want him dead and buried. I just don’t understand how far he took it. Did I just euthanize a powerful ally or put down a twisted man who’d rather manipulate everyone around him, who’d let the world burn instead of taking a stand? Did he kill those Slayers? Or was it-”
“Twilight,” Giles supplied.
“Our resident masked man raises his allegedly ugly head yet again,” Xander said. “Gotta love that guy.”
“In a hating his guts kind of way,” Dawn amended.
“Yeah, that was sarcastic!Xander talking,” Xander said.
“There’s a version of Xander that isn’t sarcastic?” Dawn marveled.
“Back to cataloguing Slayer hate mail. That’s an order. Okay, a request, but you should respond to it like it’s an order,” Xander said, pointing at the stack of publications on the desk. Dawn harrumphed and started flipping through a magazine.
“I don’t care what Twilight has to do with this. The Immortal was evil. He stabbed Kennedy. He tried to suck me into that black hellhole. I say good riddance. He got what he deserved,” Willow said, bitterness coloring her voice.
“I just can’t stop thinking it didn’t have to end that way,” Buffy explained. “If we’d known about the attacks on the Slayers ahead of time. If he’d only told us, we could’ve done something. Worked together. And Lara wouldn’t have been forced to…”
“Kill the man she loved,” Spike said.
“Yeah,” Buffy said, glancing away from Spike.
“I’m afraid it’s pointless to ponder what could have been,” Giles added. “The Immortal’s motives aren’t important. His actions speak more loudly than his intentions.”
“Context is important, Giles. Isn’t it? But hey, what do I know? You’re talking to the girl who thought robbing a bank was justified because I was using it to fight evil. In the end, I guess the world isn’t that into a modern day Robin Hood.” Buffy sighed. “All the world sees is us stealing, taking what we want to do what we want. All we see is the Immortal pulling strings, taking what he wants to get what he wants. What’s the difference?”
“You are not the same as the Immortal,” Giles said.
“Too right,” Spike said. “That ponce didn’t know the meaning of selfless.”
Buffy shook her head. “Willow, you said it yourself. This is why the world is turning on us. This was where it started.” She pointed at the streaming news coverage on the TV that flashed a mugshot of Simone. “Now all they see is a vigilante group that’s above the law. We’re getting blacklisted while Harmony is busy talking up Anderson Cooper and Larry King. All she needs next is for her new autobiography to be put on Oprah’s book club and she’ll seal the deal. Vampires are the coolest and Slayers are on the endangered species list and soon-to-be extinct.”
Spike snorted. “Autobiography? Harm can barely string together a coherent sentence. They’ll publish all manner of tripe nowadays.”
“Look, it’s not like we can undo it, Buff,” Xander said. “We needed the money to run this joint. And-”
“And look where it’s gotten us,” Buffy interrupted. “Look at what’s happening. I’m wanted for arson and, what, terrorism? They wanna lock me up for slaying vampires who were trying to murder a girl and turning people into mindless slaves. The world’s all topsy turvy and what are we gonna do about it?”
“The world doesn’t want to believe that vampires are evil,” Giles said. “They want to rationalize the nightmare. To romanticize it. It makes it easier to sleep at night.”
Spike jumped in: “It makes it easier for a vamp to slip inside and-”
“-kill them,” Buffy finished, slashing her hand through the air. “It makes them victims. Complacent. They’re practically offering their necks without understanding the danger. And they’re gonna die if we don’t do something.”
“Not everyone’s bought a ticket on the ‘vampires are the coolest’ train,” Xander said. “It’s a fad. Like Hannah Montana meets Paris Hilton. Nobody in their right mind would actually buy into this crap.”
“Oh god, why did you bring up Hannah Montana?” Dawn groaned. “You’re making my ears bleed.”
“They’ve bought into it enough to think we’re the enemy,” Buffy continued. “Guys, we have to deal with this. Now.”
“Well, you can scratch the arson and terrorism off the long list of worries,” Willow said. “That’s already taken care of. Charges were dropped. We’re good.”
“And how’d you do that?” Buffy asked on edge. “Did you use magic? Did you make them forget?”
“No, I didn’t have to, but so what if I did?” Willow said defensively. “Your alibi was busy in Scotland being Buffy Summers while you were running around LA throwing Molotov cocktails at the undead. All I had to do was show some documentation that Buffy Summers was nowhere near LA at the time of the fire and you were in the clear. And by the way, you’re welcome.”
Buffy threw her head back and sighed. After a moment, she said, “Thank you. I- I just…” She closed her eyes. “Thank you.”
“Buffy, where’s Faith?” Giles asked. “Considering the importance of this discussion, I think she should be included. I know you two have your differences, but-”
“Faith’s busy,” Buffy said. “I’m not keeping her out of this. Brief her. Tell her everything. It’s just she’s got something more important to do right now.”
Giles raised an eyebrow. “And what exactly is she doing?”
“She’s helping Simone.”
“Ah, I see.”
The room fell silent.
Then Willow asked, “If we’re running down our list of problems, what about Christy?”
“What about her?” Buffy asked, impatience adding an edge to her voice.
“We just left her there in Rome. I could have done a spell to make her forget and she wouldn’t have caused us anymore trouble.” Willow turned around the screen on her laptop, which showed a news feed of Christy being interviewed back in LA. “Instead, we’ve got another Harmony on our hands. Another person bashing Slayers. Why did we even let her go?”
“We let her go because she’s human. And while she’s a royal pain in my ass and an evil bitch, it’s not our job to judge her. Or punish her.”
“She was partly responsible for those Slayers who were killed. We should’ve-”
“That’s not what we’re about, Will. Just let it go.” Buffy sighed and decided to change the subject. “Did you figure out how Christy was involved with the Immortal and the Slayer kidnappings?”
“Not really. I backtracked the signal again and, well, considering how sophisticated the Immortal’s firewalls were and his high tech security, it was almost too easy to connect it to him.”
“He planted it,” Buffy concluded. “He wanted us to find it.”
“It looks like he might have done that.” Willow shrugged. “But it’s all kinda iffy.”
“The iffy is how I know he did it,” Buffy said. “You can never tell which way is up with that jackass.”
“I still think we should’ve tortured the bint,” Spike added.
“Remember me voting no to the torture?” Buffy pointed at herself. “I still vote no. Besides, you don’t really mean that.”
“Don’t I? Girl needed to be scared straight. We could’ve knocked some sense into her.”
Willow muttered, “Scared straight? Yeah, that never works.”
“I’m not gonna use scare tactics to just become some misguided moron’s beard,” Buffy insisted. “She wants to be stupid. Fine. We told her the truth and she decided to not believe us. That’s the end of it. We’re not gonna coerce. We’re not gonna bribe. We’re better than that.”
“Well, sure, if you wanna get all high brow and morally superior. Speaking of morally superior,” Spike lifted the laundry basket full of DVDs and planted them in the center of the desk, “here’s that porn you were asking about.”
“Wha huh?” Buffy said, shocked.
“Oh. That’s just- oh,” Dawn murmured, staring at the DVDs covered with naked women with fake breasts.
“Oh, for the-” Giles turned his back and started furiously rubbing his glasses against his shirt.
“Those women are so not lesbians,” Willow criticized, leaning closer to examine one of the covers entitled ‘Girls on Girls’.
“What the hell is this, Spike?” Buffy snapped.
“What you asked for, love.” Spike shrugged, all innocence. “You told me to get those discs from Andrew. So I got ‘em.”
“I did not ask for porn!” Buffy turned to look at the gang. “I didn’t!” Buffy panted, staring at the basket of DVDs. “Dawn, cover your eyes.”
“Oh come on, it’s not like I haven’t seen stuff like this before,” Dawn said.
Buffy started hyperventilating. “You’ve been watching porn?!”
“What? I can’t watch porn? I’m all grown-up, you know.”
“Yes, I do need to take care of that correspondence. Very important. Must go,” Giles murmured, walking out of the library.
“Uh, Buffy. It’s not porn.” Xander opened one of the DVDs to show a disc inside labeled ‘Barcelona Slayer Surveillance’. “See?”
“Oh. Oh, okay.” Buffy heaved a sigh of relief. “Yeah, that’s what I asked for. Not porn, definitely not porn.”
“Wait a tick,” Spike said, staring at Xander. “How’d you know what was really in there before you opened it?”
“I- uh, that’s…” Xander stammered when everyone turned to stare at him. “I can sense these things. It’s the eye patch. It’s wired with X-ray vision. To replace the no-vision thing. Yeah, and I…”
“Andrew decided to hide his secret no-no tapings of the Slayer goings-on in the X-rated DVDs and you happened across ‘em and decided to have a little alone time tugfest, that it?”
“Xander!” Buffy, Willow and Dawn exclaimed in chorus.
Xander jumped out of his seat and rushed for the door. “I’ve, uh, got some correspondence to take care of. Gotta go.”
“Better hurry and write your pen pal. Big Bertha gets mighty upset when her Xander bear doesn’t write back smutty love letters,” Spike called after him, grinning. The door slammed shut in response, leaving Spike to turn around and grin at the ladies. He met their hard, judging stares. “What?”
Buffy walked past him, headed towards the door, pausing to lightly slap him upside the head. Willow and Dawn gave him disappointed looks as they followed close behind.
“What’d I do?” Spike called after them. “Hello?”
The girls just kept on walking, letting the door swing closed.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t,” Spike muttered to himself. “People just can’t take a joke.” He reached into the basket to fiddle with the DVDs, picking up ‘The Good, the Bed and the Snuggly’ only to snort and toss it back down in disgust. “I’m not the one with the deviant porn collection that doesn’t even have the decency to be porn. It’s dishonest. What’s the world coming to?”