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The Vamp Around the Corner by Rebcake
Chapter 3
Buffy's stake was in her hand and headed for Spike's chest before you could say “and to all a good-night”. The strike was true. She looked into his face, apology on her lips.

But his face did not turn to dust. She looked down at his chest. His hands were clapped around the stake, the point of which was buried halfway into his chest. Why no dust?

“Ooo, tickles,” he said as he pulled the bloody stake out of his flesh. “Point to you. Any other surprises for your host, Slayer? Think I preferred the kissing part of the evening, myself.” He flung the stake out of the gazebo.

“But…you’re a vampire,” she noted. It was a point she thought deserved greater attention.

“Aw, you noticed. Finally.”

She jumped up on the bench and swung from one of the beams, feet together to form a battering ram, and hit him solidly in the chest. He went down sprawling. She dropped onto the bench on the other side, and spun to face him as he rolled to his feet.

She hooked an arm around one of the upright posts and got some torque into her flying kick and nailed him on the shoulder blade, sending him rocking forward. He turned to her in vamp face.

“There you are.” She advanced with a flurry of blows, most of which he blocked, then fell back again. “I slay your kind.”

“You’re welcome to try. Don’t think you’ve met many quite like me, sweet Slayer.” His tongue lolled out, tasting the tips of his fangs. She shuddered.

She tore a piece of latticework from the wall of the structure and leapt to the floor, makeshift stake at the ready. Though, if staking wasn’t going to work…it was still comforting to have a bit of wood in her hand.

“Yeah, yeah. You’re a real special snowflake, alright.”

She tried a leg sweep, but he leapt up to grab a crossbeam and swung up into the rafters. She was starting to think this cute little gazebo wasn’t the best place for a fight like this. She could see his pale, human face looking down at her, lit by the hundreds of tiny lights wound around every post and beam. His voice drifted down to her.

“’m unique, see? A vampire with a soul.” He laughed darkly.

“Vampire with a soul? What the hell does that even mean?”

He dropped down beside her. She spun to the left and then reversed, her stake slashing down. He caught her wrist and twisted her body so her back was flush against his chest, her arms held tight. He gave her a shake.

“Means I don’t feed on the populace, for one thing.”

He lowered his mouth to her neck, a single fang pricking the skin there.

“Point to me,” he murmured.

He shoved her away from him, and began dancing like a prizefighter, making annoying “come and get it” motions with his fingers. It occurred to her that he had yet to really attack her. His moves so far were mostly defensive. He’d just had her, and not taken his advantage. She made a “T” with her hand and the bit of lattice.

“Okay. Timeout. What is your deal?”

He settled against one of the archways, watching her warily. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. His brow creased.


He shook himself and held up a hand. “Got a soul.” He ticked off one finger. “Don’t eat people. Not anymore.” Another finger. “Don’t let other demons eat people.” Tick. “Won’t just lie down and die, so don’t ask.” Tick. “The end.”

She was dubious. “So, you’re like a vampire hostage negotiator? Because of this soul business?”

“More like a vampire judge, jury, and executioner, love.”

“But… You’re saying that you fight the forces of evil? You’re telling me you kill your own kind?”

“Dusted my own great great grandsire when he tried to open the gates of hell a few years back. Don’t know why the old bugger thought that was a good idea. Hell’s not likely to be a spa for vampires or anything.”

Years ago? You mean you’ve been a vampire all this time? While you’ve been hanging out with my mother?”

“Well, yeah.”

She sputtered. “But, but, the sunshine, and, and the fire, and the mini-golf!”

“Your point?”

“Why aren’t you dead? Those things should make you dead. Deader!”

“Told you. ’m unique. Not that mini golf ever did anyone in, mind.”

“So, what? Having a soul makes you invulnerable?”

“Not exactly. But you’ll find I’m harder to kill than most.”

She was having trouble processing all this. She sank into a pile of pillows on the bench. He stayed where he was.

“Okay…go back. This soul thing. What’s that all about?”

“Don’t know everything. Not a philosopher, here. Just…well see, it was a while ago. My family and I, we had quite the reputation for...you name it: death, destruction, pain. One time, we got on the wrong side of some gypsies. One of us killed one of their most treasured daughters, and made sure it hurt.”

He took a deep breath, and looked away.

“Her clan cursed my clan. Cursed us all to know the pain we’d caused. Feel it for ourselves. For all time. It was a good trick. ‘I wear the chain I forged in life’ and all. Jacob Marley had nothing on us.”

He patted down his pockets and retrieved a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He lit one and drew in a lungful of smoke. After far too long, he exhaled.

“It hit all of us differently. My sire, she wasn’t very strong and it took everything I had to keep her from killing herself. I failed, of course.” He took another drag. “Her sire lasted longer. He was never the same. How could he be? But he kept trying to make things right. As if he could. Least he tried.”

He took another puff and then crushed his cigarette into the ground.

“Now his sire — that was interesting. She couldn’t stand to look at us. She was the head of the line, see, and I figure her guilt was four times what the rest of us felt. She was gone within a week. I didn’t find out what happened to her for almost eighty years. She’s dust now, too.”

Buffy choked. “Eighty years! You’ve been around for eighty — eight, zero — years?”

He gave her a rueful grin. “Lot longer than that, Slayer.”

Now she knew what they meant when they said your mind was boggled.

“I don’t understand this. I just…you’re not going to kill anyone?”

“Like I said, I won’t just lie down and die. If it’s kill or be killed, I’ll be doing the killing, ta ever so.”

“But not regular people.”

He nodded. “Not regular people.”

She thought hard, but her mind was just going in circles.

“I don’t think I want to slay you. But how can I trust you?”

“Maybe you can’t. Not saying I’ll give you reason you shouldn’t, but trust…that’s up to the person doing the trusting, innit?”

“I guess I could try,” she said in a small voice.

He was beside her in an instant, pulling her into another kiss. Buffy wasn’t sure she had traveled all the way from “vampire: possibly non-lethal” to “vampire: kissing is good”. She pushed him back, ignoring his questioning expression. Something about this was nudging at edges of her mind. Something about kissing vampires?

The memory slowly rose from where she’d buried it and began to unfold.

This had happened once before. Four years ago, an age in a Slayer’s life. A handsome older man had come to her with cryptic messages of doom and dire warnings. She’d been intrigued, as one was when young and still new to the whole slaying gig. After a few weeks of mysterious appearances and disappearances, they’d ended up kissing. He’d vamped. She’d staked him, relieved that things hadn’t gone farther, and wondering how he had deceived her for as long as he had. As the memory flashed across her mind, she realized why the other man in the painting had seemed so familiar.

“Angel!” she gasped, pulling away from Spike.

His face changed from hurt and hopeful to hard and angry in a flash. He growled.

“So it was you, you bloody bitch! Must’ve been a proud moment for you, taking out the great Angelus when the poor sod was at his lowest ebb.”

“But…he was a vam… I guess you knew that. Friend of yours, huh?”

“Friend? He was my sire…my, my Yoda! And you killed him when all he wanted was to help you! I tried to warn him. ‘You don’t know Slayers like I do, Liam,’ I said. ‘It’s all business with them,’ I told him. ‘Not a drop of mercy in ’em.’ Did he listen? No, one look at your pretty face and he thought he’d finally found salvation. Stupid git.”

It was like he was speaking a foreign language or something.

“Look, I don’t know what he told you, but it looked to me like he was trying to trick me into trusting him so he could get his fangs in me while my defenses were down. Sort of like tonight, actually. It almost worked, too. And I’ve got buckets of mercy!”

She couldn’t tell if he had heard her or not. He ranted on.

“S’pose you think you’ll do me the way you did him. Don’t count on it. You won’t be the first Slayer I’ve bested.”


“When my Dru went to that Slayer in China, talking nonsense. ‘Look at her lovely light, Spike. So beautiful. It’ll burn me clean’. Did that bint show the slightest bit of mercy? No. She cut her down right in front of me! Like she was a sheave of wheat. Soul or not, I couldn’t let that go. I fought her and I killed her, good and proper.”

Buffy gasped. She felt behind her and snapped off another piece of lattice. She slowly rose to her feet. He was pacing, gesturing wildly.

“I’d do it again, given the chance. She killed my Drusilla, when she was soul-sick and wouldn’t hurt a kitten, not anymore. And that girl in New York! We’d finally found Darla again, after decades, and she turns to dust hanging from a strap on the subway!”

Buffy tried to keep up with what he was saying, ready for the inevitable attack, but his mind was clearly not in the here and now.

“We weren’t bothering anyone. We were just trying to get back to Brooklyn! Fought that one too. Broke her lovely neck while Angel gathered up Darla’s ashes, out of his mind with grief.”

He stopped pacing and glared at her.

“Then, Angel dies by your dainty hand. Thanks to your kind, my whole family is gone. What would you do in my place?”

She checked her grip on the stake behind her back. She could sort of see his point, but he’d just told her that he’d killed two Slayers! Sympathy was not her top priority now. He didn’t give her a chance to answer him.

“And now I’ve got all these, these feelings.” He pointed toward the house. “For your mum, your little sis, every person in that house there tonight. Even got feelings for you!” He held a finger in her face, rigid with emotion. “You deserve to die, as sudden and senseless as he did, but I couldn’t bear it.” His hand fell to his side. “Couldn’t live with myself. Couldn’t cause them that pain. Know it wouldn’t ease mine any.”

He folded down onto the bench, spent. She brought the stake out, but stayed where she was. He glanced at it and sighed.

“You can’t kill me, Slayer. It’ll be me who decides when it’s time to shuffle off this immortal coil, nobody else.”

She looked at the piece of wooden lattice in her hand. Could he be telling the truth? Was he dust-proof? In her experience, there was always a way. If she had to, she was always able to kill the things that needed killing. The question was, did he need killing?

“You’re not giving me a lot of choice here, Spike. I really am sorry about Angel. Maybe I could have done things differently. And I’m sorry you’ve lost so many people you cared about. It’s my business to prevent that from happening to people, so I get it. But — and this is a big one — I’m getting whiplash from the ‘trust me/I should kill you’ talk.”

He nodded. “It’s a tough spot for you. I won’t kill you and you can’t kill me. But you’ve got a job to do, right? Gotta fight, win or lose.”

“Well, strictly speaking, a job would involve things like income, but I do have a duty.”

He appeared to think about it for a long moment, before looking up at her with resignation.

“Okay then. Got a proposition for you. Let’s say I’m ready to go out the way my sires did. Join them in the great after-unlife and all that. Only I won’t commit suicide by Slayer. I’ll fight. Fair combat. I’ll give it my best. If you win, I’ll be dust. You’ll have done your duty. Chalk another one up for your team. If I win…well.” He tilted his head in thought, his brow creased. “Yes. It’s a good plan.”

Buffy wasn’t sure she’d followed him around that last bend in the conversation.

He stood up. “What do you say? Ready to have your shot at William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers?”

Without waiting for her answer, he walked out of the gazebo. He took off the ring on his ring finger and threw it across the yard. It landed with a plop in the swimming pool. “There’s my insurance policy gone. Let’s do this. Give it me good, Buffy.” He turned to her and puffed out his chest in invitation.

Buffy looked at him from the bottom step of the gazebo and tried to make sense of his proposal. She held up a hand, indicating he should wait.

“Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You want to fight me, without whatever mystic safety net you’ve got. If I can, you want me to dust you, so you can join your vampire forebears in dusty bliss. How’m I doing?”

“That’s about the size of it.”

She nodded. “But if I can’t dust you, if you fight better than me, then…what? You already said you won’t kill me.”

He looked uncomfortable. “I’ll, uh, ask for a rematch, I guess.”

If he was hoping to inspire a sense of urgency in her for this fight, he was failing. With such low stakes, what was the point?

“Okay, you see the flaw, don’t you? You’re asking for a fight to the death, but only your death, and that’s kinda one-sided.”

He tilted his head at her in question. She sighed.

“What you’re really asking is for me to try to kill you. And if you’re not going to kill anybody, why would I need to kill you? You see the problem?”

He shook his head. “Not from your perspective, no.”

“I guess. But, there’s an easier way, Spike. It goes like this: You don’t kill anybody and I don’t kill you. You step out of line — I squash you like a bug.”

He began to look hopeful.

“Instead of a big fight — which would probably ruin my new dress — why don’t we go back inside? Get some nog, get warm. You can tell me more about your family. It sounds like you’re really missing them. The holidays can be tough when you’re missing the people you love.”

His eyes were shining. “You’re a very strange slayer.”

“Yep,” she said, dropping the makeshift stake. “I’m unique.”

She took his arm and together they walked back into the house.


Now continued in Buffy and the Bloodmobile