All the Stops: Growing Pains Ch. 3bybadgirl298©
“Wake up.” Dawn shook him furiously. The vampire was curled up at the end of her bed. He’d stayed in her room because Buffy wanted her under twenty-four hour surveillance. Spike had fallen asleep after watching a rerun of Seinfield which he said was ‘bloody brilliant.’
“Dawn?” He muttered, on the verge of wakefulness.
Dawn pursed her lips, she had no time to wake him up gently. She’d gotten an idea. “Wake up, Spike!”
“Nooooo. . . .later.” He whined.
“Spike! WAKE UP! It’s GLORY!”
Spike jumped to his feet. “Where is she?!?” His head whipped around, looking at all corners of the room. “Come here and I’ll rip you a new one you pathetic excuse for a–“ He frowned. “Where’d she go?”
She couldn’t hold back her smile. “Thank you. This has been a test of the emergency Glory warning system. If this had been an actual emergency, y-“
”Didn’t your sister ever tell you not to tease a vampire?” He said dangerously. Then the vampire looked down at her, snuggled under the covers. Her eyes were wide, attempting to look innocent, no doubt. She was giving him the most impish of smiles. He should have been angry, but somehow he couldn’t be. She hadn’t had much to laugh about these days.
“No. She told me how to stake one though.” She took a deep breath. “But, that isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to talk about Glory.”
Spike growled, touching his face. The wounds had almost healed, his skin was just a little tender. “Why do you want to talk about that bint?”
“I need to.” She said stubbornly.
He didn’t want to worry her. Glory was the most terrifying thing he’d ever faced. Dawn had already ‘forced’ him , by way of pleading, to tell him every last detail of his meeting with the bint. She seemed obsessed with the hell goddess. “I haven’t had a decent night of sleep, bit. Can’t it wait ‘til morning?”
“No. It really can’t” Then, she pulled back the covers on the bed. “But I’ll share the bed with you if you’ll tell me what I want to know.”
Spike looked at the soft, comfortable bed made warm by a human body and sighed. “Alright.” He shrugged off his duster, his shoes already lay discarded on the floor. Then, he pulled his shirt off and threw it over a chair. His hands went to his belt and Dawn made a shrieking noise. “Something wrong, little bit?”
She was staring at the ceiling. “No.” She said quickly. He shrugged, appearing unconcerned. Spike undid the belt, unbuttoned the button, and had his hand on his fly when she cried out. “Stop!”
He gave her a naughty grin. “Just wanted to see how far I could push you.” He climbed in next to her but she shrunk from him on the other side of the bed. “What’s a matter, bit? Don’t you trust me?” He was hurt, he would never harm her. He’d even die for her, she was very special to him.
“You have cold feet.” She groused.
“I have cold everything.” Spike said. That sent Dawn’s imagination spiraling to places unknown. He met her eyes. “You aren’t going to tell Buffy about this, right? Me being half naked in the bed with you and all. I don’t fancy ending my days as a big pile of dust in the poof’s vacuum sweeper.”
“I promise.” Dawn tentatively stuck her feet out, touching his calf with her big toe. “Brrrrr. Cold.” She removed her toe quickly and gave a shudder. In truth, he was room temperature but she just loved to kid the blond vampire.
“Cold, huh?” His eyes lit up. “Too bad, you invited a vampire in, nibblet. You have to deal with the consequences.” He stuck his hand out, creeping along the bed.
“Stay back!” She frantically scrambled to the far side.
“Ah hah!” Spike said, making a grab for her. He caught her and pulled her into his arms. “That’s what I wanted! Warmth!” She screeched and then laughed in delight. Finally, he cuddled down next to her, her head was pillowed on his chest. “Now, tell me what’s on your mind.”
“You said something about how Glory knew you weren’t The Key.”
“That’s right. She sniffed me.”
“Sniffed you?” Her face twisted up. “ That isn’t some gross vampire word for. . .for. . .”
“No. I have standards, you know. She smelled me, bloody bitch leaned over and took a big whiff like she was a damned bloodhound and said I wasn’t ‘pure’. Well of course I’m not pure! Hello! I’m a vampire!”
“So. . .The Key has to be pure?” Dawn said slowly, she bit her lip thoughtfully. “And vampires are not pure.”
“Is there an echo in here? Didn’t I just say–“ But he didn’t have a chance to finish his thought. Suddenly, she was on him.
Dawn had rolled over top of him and grabbed his shoulders. “I want you to do it, Spike.”
Spike grew alarmed as he saw her straddling his lower body. “Uh, did you just say ‘do it’, nibblet?”
“Please? I need it!”
“You know that I was teasing you earlier, right? You’re so young and you know how I feel about big sis.”
“I don’t care!” Dawn cried, tears seeping down her face.
“Don’t cry! You know I can’t bear to see you cry.” Spike said, cupping the back of her head and drawing it down to his chest. She continued to cry noisily as he stroked her hair. “I didn’t meant to lead you on.”
She looked up. “You lied?! I can’t believe you would do this to me!”
“It’s not lying.” He hedged. “I was just flirting with you.”
“By telling me vampires weren’t pure?!” Dawn struggled to get off him but his arms held fast to her. “Let me go! All of the weird, perverted ways of–“
”Hey! What the hell is going on here? You run as hot and cold as your sister.”
“What are you talking about? I want you to make me a vampire!” Then she smacked him. “And, hey! That was harsh!”
“Ow. You wanted me to make you a vampire?” He looked confused and then embarrassed. “I thought you wanted me to--”
“Gross!” She twisted up her face into a ‘blech’ face. “I’m worried about dying and you’re thinking about sex.”
“No, I thought YOU were thinking about it.” She looked like she was about to cry again. “ Come on, none of that. Let’s dry your eyes.” He grabbed up the bedspread. “Here, we’ll use Peaches’ ugly bedspread.” He wiped her tears and settled down somewhat. “Good girl. Now lay back down.” She rolled over and lay back down against his side. “Tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”
“If I’m a vampire, she won’t want me. I won’t be pure.”
“I don’t know, nibblet.” Spike said, shaking head. “You’re too young. You’d be 14 forever. ” In truth, it wasn’t her youth he was worried about. He didn’t want to see her innocence fade away along with her life. Though, he wouldn’t mind having his nibblet around for the rest of time.
“I know what’s going to happen, Spike.” She turned away. “She’s going to kill Buffy and then she’s going to kill me. Then, she’s going to destroy everything.”
“You don’t know that.”
She gave him an irritated look. “Spike, there’s a small army of people down stairs. People that Buffy asked to come here. When’s the last time you’ve seen her ask for help?”
He looked away. “She’d kill me if I vamped you, bit. And I might even want to kill myself. You deserve better. Meet some bloke and have a white picket whatever. Not drinking blood with me and Peaches.” He met her eyes. “Besides, I don’t even know if I can.”
“Because of the chip?” He nodded. She had an idea. “Alright, you get a free nibble, Spike.” She exposed her throat. “If you can’t do this, then there’s no point in even talking about it.”
Spike groaned. Why was she doing this to him? He was still a demon and the blood pulsing through her veins promised to be a potent treat to a vampire who’d been living on Babe’s blood for over a year. Not that he wished to harm her. Despite himself, his face changed and Spike naturally lowered his head to her throat. “You sure about this?” She nodded and he could hear her heartbeat pick up. He pressed his fangs against the skin and was about to prick it open when he screamed in pain. “Bloody hell!” He clutched at his head.
Dawn began to cry again. “No!” She looked over at her protector who was doubled over in pain. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” He said half heartedly. “Owww.”
“ I thought I found a way out.” She said quietly, her lower lip trembling.
“You might have, bit.” Spike said, she could hear the wheels turning. “You know.” He met her eyes. “I’m not the only vampire in this building.”
Dawn began to smile.
“You know, we could leave, Xander. Buffy doesn’t really need us. I mean, she has Angel, Spike, Willow, even that creepy Ethan guy.”
“An, we’re staying. That’s all there is to it.”
“I know. I want to stay and fight, but I want to go too. I’m just not used to hanging around apocalyptic events. Normally, I’d be halfway to Maui by now.”
“How about a small break? We can get out of here for a little while. Willow needs some magickal supplies. We can go get them and then get some breakfast at an all-night joint.”
“It’ll probably be our last breakfast.” Anya said sadly. “No more hashbrowns.”
“Can you dump the mopey? We’re going to live through this.” He really didn’t believe it but he didn’t want to upset her more.
“I guess.” She half heartedly agreed. “Whatever happens at least we’ll be together.”
Somehow, that didn’t make Xander feel better. Nothing like an apocalypse to make you reexamine your life. He looked over at Anya as she gathered up her things and prepared to leave. He imagined them together in fifteen years and felt like he couldn’t breathe. He stood up. “I’ll get the car, An.”
“I’m ready, we can just go if–“ But she was staring at his back as he walked off.
Faith stubbed out her cigarette out and leaned back against a column as she sat on the bench in Angel’s courtyard. She took a deep breath, enjoying the comforting scent of tobacco smoke mixed with the cool night air. She broke off a square of dark chocolate and popped it in her mouth. This might be her last night on Earth and she was going to enjoy herself all she could while plotting to stop Armageddon.
“What are you doin’ out here?” A voice called.
Faith tensed, she was used to defending her space even before she was sent to jail. “Who the hell–“ She stopped as she saw him step into the light. “You’re that Gunn guy.”
“Yeah.” He said. He pointed to the bench. “Mind if I sit?”
Faith moved her leg off the other side. “Free country.” At least she hadn’t tried to kill him or sleep with him. Which is more than she could say for most of the people staying at The Hyperion.
Gunn eyed her chocolate. “Where’d you get that?”
“Cordelia’s desk. Figured she wouldn’t mind.” She broke off another square. “Want one?”
Gunn looked left and then right. “Yeah. Promise you won’t tell?”
“I’ve been in a jail for a while so I’m not up on the news but if I remember right chocolate IS still legal.”
“Legal, yes. Manly? No.” He put the square in his mouth. “Specially your fine quality, European kind.”
“You’re a man of principle.” Faith said, amused.
The vampire hunter leaned forward and spoke in a conspiratorial tone. “Sometimes, Cordy orders truffles.” He shut his eyes and gave a small sigh. “Better than anything you’ve ever tasted.”
They both broke off more chocolate. Faith tilted her head to the side. “So, what’s your deal? Heard from Angel that you’re this bad ass vamp killer. Why not leave it to the Slayers?”
“Because the Slayers don’t come to my part of town.” Gunn said honestly. “I didn’t have a choice. They were killin’ my friends, eating us one by one.” His face grew serious. “I was sick of being on the menu.” Then, he mumbled. “Besides, its a family tradition.”
“Damn.” Gunn said. He looked her in the eye. “Can I trust you with this?” Faith nodded. “I guess I can, you bein’ a Slayer and all. My mother, she also killed vamps for a living.”
“Cool.” For just a moment, her heart grew warmer. “You come from a line of vampire killers, just like me.”
“Yeah. Just like you. She was a Slayer.”
“A Slayer?” Faith leaned forward. “How? What. . .? Most of us never have kids.”
“I didn’t realize it ‘til I started working with Angel and he told me all about Slayerlore. My mother’s name was Nicky, she had me when she was only 18. She fell in love with her highschool boyfriend, Darius.” He paused. “She and Pops, that’s what I called my Dad, lived in New York City in the 70's. Anyway, I was only 4 when she died. They told me that there was an accident on the subway, but I’d be willing to bet that ‘accident’ was a vampire.” He shallowed. “I didn’t really think anything of it until I found out about demons. You see, my mom always went out at night. She used to come home with bruises and scratches. I even found a whole arsenal of weapons under the bed when I was playing. My dad burned all her weapons when she died.”He looked her in the eyes. “She left drawings, though. I based my crossbow designs on hers. The worst thing is, just after my mom died, I snuck out of the house. I walked a couple of blocks until I found the cemetery where my mom was buried. There was a young man putting roses on her grave. A young man with blond hair and a twisted face.” He looked at her meaningfully. “A vampire. He changed back and smiled at me, I thought that I had imagined it.” He clenched his fist. “Then the vampire took me home in his car. Told me it wasn’t safe to go out late at night. I actually thanked him. Thanked the. . .thing. . .that murdered my mother.”
“Oh, God.” Faith said, feeling sick. “He went to her grave to gloat. Gunn, he could have killed you so easily. Why didn’t he?”
Gunn just shook his head. “I don’t know. I really didn’t even remember this until a few months ago. The weird thing is, my memory of him is kind of fuzzy. I can see that horrible twisted face of his and the shirt with all those safety pins in it but I can’t see the thing’s human face.”
“You were just four, you can’t be expected to.” Faith said, something was floating through her mind, though. Something she’d read in one of the Watcher’s Diaries. She couldn’t recall just what though.
Gunn’s features hardened. “Someday I’m gonna find that vampire. And he’d better watch his back because I’m gonna push a stake through it.”
“Uh, shouldn’t we be heading to Angel’s room?”
“I don’t want to see an unclothed poof, do you?” Spike did a mental shiver.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind. . .” Spike turned to look at her. “I mean. Yuck. Nasty.”
“Besides, we need to get some back-up before we tell your big sis.” Spike said wisely.
“You think Willow would go along with this?” Dawn asked.
“I know it. Red loves to meddle with life. This should be her bloody cup of tea.”
Willow was bent over a spell book. She had several legal pads that were open around her. She was charting Tara’s and Glory’s essence.
“Still working on that?”
“Uh huh.” Willow said, nibbling on the end of a pencil. Ethan sighed and turned away. “Hey! What was that? The sigh and then the shunning as you turned away.”
Ethan faced her. “I wasn’t shunning. What you are doing is very brave and speaks of you love for your, er. . .”
“Lover.” Willow said, her face hard. “I’m gay and she’s my girlfriend.”
“I see.” Ethan appraised her with his eyes. It was a bloody shame in his opinion but back to the matter at hand. “I just think it’s a bit. . .how do I say this? Selfish.”
“Selfish? What’s selfish about trying to save my girlfriend?!
“And what about the rest of us on the planet who might be in danger?”
Ethan had zeroed in on a real sticking point for her. “I can’t just let her–“
”I know how you must feel.” He sat in the chair beside her. “This is all terribly unfair. If the world were fair you would be free to save her but your energies must be put to the greater good.” Besides, he kind of liked the idea of her being single once more. He mentally smirked at dear old Ripper. Fooling around with the witch would really piss him off.
“Since when do you care about the greater good? Or the good of anyone else besides yourself for all that matter?” Willow said nastily.
She should know better than to pull that with him. No one could guilt him into anything. “I know you’re angry and that makes you want to lash out at me, but I’m only doing this to–“
”What’s going on in here?” Giles bellowed as he threw open the door.
“Talking!” Willow said as she stood up. “We were talking. No magic!”
Giles narrowed his eyes on Ethan and then on Willow. “I thought I made it clear that you were never to be alone with him.”
“He was only in here for a few minutes.” Willow began. “Besides, Giles, it’s not like I’m helpless, I could–“
”Come with me, Ethan.” Giles said. “Perhaps we need to clarify your role here a bit more.” Ethan had mysteriously agreed to help them and he had a sneaking suspicion it was so that he could get access to Willow. Ethan had always been attracted to those with power.
“Fine. We’ll have a chat.” He sauntered out of the room. “But remember, Ripper, there’s an Apocalypse coming and there isn’t much time left. Tick tock, you know.”
“Do you have to be so melodramatic?” Giles rolled his eyes as he followed him out the door. “And this will be the kind of talk where I do all the talking.”
“Oh, you mean it will be like every other discussion we have.”
“Do shut up.”
Spike knocked on the door. “Hey, Red? You in there? The bit and I need some help.”
Willow opened the door and admitted Spike and Dawn. “What’s this about?”
Spike gestured to Dawn. “She might have found a way to make herself undesirable to Glory.”
“Really? What?” Willow said excitedly, drawing her closer.
“I need to be impure.”
Willow scowled at Spike before turning to Dawn. “What do you mean. . .impure?”
“Nothing like that. No shagging.” Spike explained. “She just needs to become a vampire.”
“Oh.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “Hold up! Become a what?” The young witch stood up, grasping a cross from a nearby table. “What the hell is going on here?”
Dawn shook her head. “You’re not tact guy, are you?” She said to Spike. Then, she turned to Willow. “We might have found out a way to make Glory not want me. The Key must be pure and a vampire is not pure.
“But, Dawnie, becoming a vampire is–“
”I know. But I don’t have a choice, Willow. It’s that or death, destruction, chaos.”
“Buffy could win, I mean Buffy will win. So, you shouldn’t–“
”How likely is that?” Dawn asked. “You’ve seen a lot in your time with Buffy. Have you ever seen anything this bad?”
“Well, no. But that doesn’t mean–“
”Willow, I know what I’m doing. Will you help me?”
“How can I help? Not a vampire.”
“No, but you can help me convince Buffy. And I need you to do the soul restoration spell.”
“One other thing, Red. Do you know a way to make her older?”
“Older.” Willow said. “Hmmm. An aging spell. There are lot of spells that can make you younger, but I don’t know of one to make you older.”
“I know of one.” Ethan said, walking in. He was holding a hand to a small bruise on his face.
Giles was right behind him. “ What’s this about aging?” Willow and Spike stared at their shoes.
“It’s for me.” Dawn said, she turned to her companions. “Chickens.” Then, Spike reached out and grasped her hand for support. She squeezed it gratefully.
“Why would you want to be older?” Giles asked. “You have your whole life ahead of you.”
“No, my life and your life will ending tomorrow.”
“Dawn? You need to have faith in–“
”We do have Faith.” Dawn said. “But she can’t help us. No one can stop Glory. I just have to make her not want me.”
“By becoming old? That doesn’t make sense.” Giles said, trying to reason with her. Maybe with her mother’s death and the recent events she may have gone mad. “You have your life ahead of you.” He repeated. “Why the rush?”