Xander got a chance to surprise Spike only a few days later. As part of the plan to make Spike (even vampire Spike) a more integrated Scooby, Xander was walking by himself near the Bronze, with Bat-Spike on his shoulder. Buffy had shared with everyone else that, under the right circumstance, Spike could be a vampire briefly, if needed for some reason, although no one else had seen the change yet. She did mention that if it happened, he would be naked, but pointed out that naked help would be better than no help at all.
When the would-be muggers confronted Xander near the Bronze, the time seemed right to test it. Crossing his fingers that Buffy was close by as she’d promised, Xander refused to turn over his wallet and took a swing at one of the muggers. He was immediately punched back and set upon by all three men. None of them had noticed the bat on his shoulder, until it was replaced with a naked vampire in full game face. Spike snarled, grabbed one of the men, and pulled him toward his very visible fangs. He held the man there only long enough to be sure they all saw his face, then shoved him away and fell to the ground, screaming and holding his head.
Which none of the muggers actually saw, because the sight of Spike’s fangs had sent them running too quickly to see his reaction. The small group of onlookers attracted by the commotion, saw only a naked man writhing on the ground. Xander quickly threw his coat over Spike, and waved off the offers of help.
“We’re good, thanks. He’ll be fine, just having a seizure. I’m going to take him back to the home now. I’m not sure how he got out.” He helped a moaning Spike to his feet, pleased to see one of Riley’s ex-Initiative buddies in the crowd. “Let’s go,” he hissed at Spike, “before you go back to being a bat!”
They hustled off around the corner to where Buffy was waiting anxiously. Just as they reached her, Bat-Spike fell to the ground under the weight of the coat. Buffy had only shared with the Scoobies that Spike was learning to control his transitions, and that Riley thought the chip wasn’t working because Spike had prevented Riley from staking him. She’d said they needed to find a way to demonstrate it in public, but without Spike actually risking anything worse than a bad headache. Asking Xander to take Spike along for a walk in the dark was part of the plan to show them how useful he could be in an emergency. The fact that the emergency turned out to be human, and outnumbering Xander, was a fortuitous semi-public accident that allowed them to also demonstrate that the chip was working.
“Are you okay?” Buffy asked, smiling when Bat-Spike nodded against her chin. He was back to his normal place on her shoulder, snuggled up against her neck as if still in pain.
“I’m… uh… sorry about the headache, fangface. But appreciate the intervention. Pretty sure I was gonna lose that confrontation.”
While Buffy stared at Xander in shock, Spike just nodded his head and chirped at him.
“He… he said you’re welcome,” she translated.
“Does it hurt him?” Xander asked. “The changing back and forth, does it hurt him?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy said, feeling mildly ashamed that she didn’t know. She remember after the fight with demons how long it took him to recover after he switched back. And how tired he said it made him to try to change when there was no reason for it. “I don’t think it’s easy, exactly, but I don’t know if it hurts.” She turned her head to peer down at Spike. “Does it hurt you when you change?”
He gave a little bat shrug, then shook his head, visibly wincing as he did. “Does your head real—still hurt?” He just gave her neck a little lick and kiss before giving a small nod that Xander could see.
“Okay, well, I guess that’s it for tonight. I’m going to take Spike home, to his crypt,” she added in case there was any question. “I’ll hit a few cemeteries on my way back to Mom’s.”
“Does he help you when you patrol?” Xander asked. “I mean I know he’s like superbat eyes and ears, but what happens when you’re fighting something?”
“Pretty much like tonight—except without the headache—if I need him. If I’m just fighting one older vamp or a couple of fledglings, he just flies around squeaking insults at them in bat. But the only time I was in danger of getting my ass kicked, he changed and killed two of the three demons. That was the first time I saw him do it. It didn’t last long, though. He went right back to bat as soon as we were safe.”
“Well, I’ve gotta say, I wasn’t unhappy that he showed up tonight. I mean, I knew you weren’t far away, but those guys were set on pummeling me for real. But all he had to do was grab one and look hungry.” Xander glanced at Bat-Spike again. “Sorry you had to give yourself a headache to do it, but if Riley’s buddies saw that, they’ll be able to tell him the chip’s still on the job. That’s the issue, isn’t it?” Xander turned his attention to Buffy.
“Uh, yeah. That’s the thing. If he knows Spike is still muzzled, Riley’s got no reason to try to stake him.”
“Well, except for the fact that you spend more time with batboy than you do with him,” Xander said wryly, showing he was more aware than Buffy’d expected.
“Uh, Xander… I broke up with Riley a while ago. I thought everybody understood that? Everybody, maybe, except Riley. He doesn’t really get it. He keeps insisting that Drac put a thrall on me to make me think Spike is a bat. Even though he saw him change…”
“He saw it? He saw Spike become a bat and still doesn’t believe it? I thought Riley was smarter than that.”
There was bat laughter from Buffy’s shoulder, and she gave a quick sideways glare before she answered. “Actually, what he saw was a bat turn into Spike. He didn’t take it well, and really tried not to believe it.”
“But… wouldn’t Spike have been….oh yeah, now I understand the wanting to stake him. He was naked, and you were there, and…oh yeah.” Xander stared at Spike for a second or two. “Uh, Buffy? Exactly how many times has Spike been naked in front of you?”
She flushed, trying not to think about the entire day they’d both spent naked, or how much she was looking forward to doing it again.
“It doesn’t matter. It happens when it happens. It’s not a big deal, Xander.”
“I’ll bet Riley thinks it is.”
“Well, he asked me to choose between him and Bat-Spike a while ago, and I did. So, if he believes what he saw, then, yeah, he’ll think it’s a big deal. But since we’re not dating anymore, it’s really none of his business how often I see Spike naked.”
Buffy regretted her words immediately as Xander’s eyes got wide and he stared at the suddenly quiet bat on her shoulder. He shook his head and looked away. “I don’t really want to know. Forget I asked.”
Bat-Spike gave little high-pitched mutters but didn’t otherwise respond. Buffy sighed and gave Xander a rueful smile. “Thanks, Xan,” she said. “It’s forgotten.”
A few evenings later, Buffy was strolling through Sunnydale U’s campus with Willow and Tara, Bat-Spike sitting quietly on her shoulder, when they rounded a corner and almost literally ran into Riley.
“Oops! Sorry,” Buffy said. “Silly us, not paying any attention to where we’re going.” She tried to move around him as Willow and Tara had, but he stopped her with a quiet, “Buffy?”
Mentally willing Spike to remain quiet and a bat, she put on her best fake smile and said, “Yes? What is it?”
Glaring at the bat glaring back at him from Buffy’s shoulder, Riley suddenly noticed the bright blue eyes that he’d somehow never noticed before. His own eyes widened in surprise and then filled with horror.
“Oh my God,” he said, almost to himself. He shifted his gaze to Buffy. “What color are Spike’s eyes, Buffy?”
She sighed. “I think you already know that answer, Riley. If you’d noticed it before, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble.” She let that sink in, then asked, as kindly as possible, “What did you want to ask me, Riley?”
With a final horrified glare at Spike, who blinked back at him, he said, “I just wanted to tell you that I’m taking off tomorrow with my old unit. We’re going to South America to take care of a demon problem there.”
“Oh. Well. Good for you. I hope you can help them out. Take care of yourself, Riley.”
With that, Buffy slipped past him and hurried to catch up with Willow and Tara, leaving him staring after her and the small animal on her shoulder. An animal that turned its head to stare back at him at him with unnaturally blue eyes.
Buffy hurried to catch up with Willow and Tara, not daring to look over her shoulder, although she knew Spike was watching.
“What’s he doing?” She asked, forgetting Spike couldn’t respond.
Spike gave a tiny shrug and muttered something in bat that Buffy wasn't sure didn't include something rude about her expecting him to answer when he couldn't talk.
“I hope he really goes away,” she said as they reached Willow and Tara. “I hope he’s leaving with them and not coming back for you now that he knows you’re really you.”
“What was that all about?” Willow asked, watching as Riley disappeared around a corner.
“Riley finally noticed Spike’s eyes and realized what I tried to tell him when it first happened. I guess he’s been telling himself he imagined seeing a bat turn into Spike, and had just been tricked somehow.”
“Meaning he just realized that you and Spike…. oh my.” Tara looked at Spike with sympathy. “He’s probably pretty mad.”
“He was already mad, even when he thought Spike was just an animal that I really liked. And I broke up with him over that before there was any other reason for him to be mad” Buffy sighed. “But yeah, now he knows that I’ve been spending all that time with Spike. He probably thinks we’ve been… I mean… that I….”
Buffy stopped talking when she saw that Willow and Tara were both smiling at her and snickering.
“Fine,” she said, “We are. But we weren’t before. So he was wrong, and I wasn’t cheating on him. I was just falling in love with a bat.”
There was a crashing silence as she realized what she’d said and that not only Willow and Tara heard it, but so had the now-trembling bat on her shoulder.
“I… uh… I think I need to get Spike back to his crypt. We need to make sure it’s safe. I don’t trust Riley to leave quietly, and I’ll need to be there to lock the door and… stuff.”
“Yep,” Willow said, nodding wisely. “There will be stuff to do.”
“Absolutely. Stuff,” Tara agreed, also nodding, but unable to hide her smile.
“Yeah, so, I’m just gonna go….” Buffy turned and began walking away as fast as she could without seeming to be running. She could feel Spike, still trembling on her shoulder, and knew he was fighting the urge to take his normal shape. As they approached Restfield, he threw himself into the air and disappeared in the direction of his crypt.
Buffy watched him go, then broke into a jog now that she was hidden from public view. She staked one newly risen vampire as she went past him, not even slowing down to do it. By the time she got to the crypt, she was running, but she stopped when she saw the open doors.
Knowing what she’d find, she slipped in quietly, closing both doors behind her and dropping the bar into place. She turned around to find herself pinned against the inside door by a very aroused and naked vampire.
“Did you mean that?” he growled, staring into her eyes.
“I… I think so? I mean, it’s one of those things that I think I’m just thinking, but when you’re around the words fall out of my mouth, and I—”
He fastened his mouth on hers, effectively stopping her before she could rethink what she’d said. The kiss went on until the fact that Buffy was still completely dressed was becoming a problem.
Spike swept her up and carried her to the entrance to his bedroom. She noted that the trap door had already been opened, and there was candlelight coming from below.
“Wow. I didn’t know bats could fly that fast,” she murmured. “How did you have time to do all this?”
“I was very motivated,” he said as he dropped gracefully into the opening without touching the steps. “Very, very motivated.”
Rather than throwing her on the bed as she expected, he lowered her feet to the floor and held her in front of him in a loose embrace.
“We’re going to do this, yeah?” He cocked his head at her. “Not that,” he said, gesturing at the bed, “although there will be plenty of that. But this.”
He pointed back and forth between the two of them. “We’re going to do this. Be more than a slayer and her bat?”
“I guess we are. If you’re sure you’re up for it. Being my boyfriend seems to be something not everybody can handle.”
“I’m not everybody,” he murmured, pushing her jacket off her shoulders and beginning to unbutton her blouse. “You’d be surprised what I can handle.”
The End (of the beginning)
*This meme and the short conversation on the EF FB page after it was posted there is totally responsible for this story. Having said that, I really wanted to credit the meme’s creator, but that turned out to be tricky. The bat itself, it seems, contrary to what it looks like, is not a real bat. It is a felted creation from an Etsy poster in Russia. The felted bat was probably originally posted on Etsy in 2019, which is when the artist joined Etsy and began posting pictures of all her creations for sale. Somewhere right around then (almost immediately) on Sept. 19, 20
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