Dispose the Day
Author: Sersi & Cylla
Setting: Early season six
Summary: Spike and Xander are trapped in a repeating day when Glory's minions try to bring her back.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Dawn approached Spike's crypt and knocked. She smiled, pleased with herself for being the only one to show manners when it came to Spike.
There was no answer so she continued to bang.
Eventually, she heard shuffling sounds and what sounded like furniture being moved.
She was about to open the door and go in when it quickly sprang open. Spike stood back, out of the sun, and glared at her.
"What're you doing here, Niblitt?" he asked, rubbing his eyes. "Shouldn't you be in school?"
"It's five o'clock. School's over."
They stood for another few seconds, staring at one another.
"So, you gonna' let me in?"
"You know, there's a Scoobie meeting in an hour."
"Yeah, I know."
"Are you rearranging your furniture?"
"I can help."
"I'm not -"
"I won't sweep, though," she giggled. "I draw the line at vamp dust and demon parts."
"I don't have demon parts in my crypt," he said, offended. He cast a quick glance over his shoulder.
"I thought you were evil," she said, folding her arms across her chest.
"Yeah, but not disgusting."
"Not to hear Buffy tell it."
"She's got a bias toward the undead and all." He frowned. "Why are you here, again?"
"I need help with my history."
"Can't help you."
"Well, I'm not leaving. I'll keep banging on your door until you can't stand me any more...."
"Already there, luv."
"Funny. So, can I come in, or what?"
Spike shook his head and moved aside so she could enter. She glanced around, shocked. "What happened?"
Blood, and broken bits of furniture, and various weapons were scattered around his crypt.
"Had a few visitors last night." He moved back to his chair, limping as he went, and collapsed into it.
"Are you okay?"
"You don't look fine."
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. "So, what's this desperate history problem you've got, luv?"
At the Magic Box Buffy, Willow, Xander and Anya sat around the table, talking idly.
Giles approached, a cup of tea in his hand, and a dour expression.
Buffy grimaced. "What's up, Giles? It's not time for another apocalypse, is it?"
He sat beside Anya, who did her best to look interested. "This is a little more close to home, I'm afraid."
"What do you mean?" Willow asked.
"He got the chip out!" Xander glanced around the table. "I knew he was acting weird last night. . . ."
"But . . . but, this is really bad, isn't it?" Anya asked. "I mean, we'll have to stake him now, won't we?"
Giles raised his hands. "It's not -"
"You think he'll come after us? Maybe we should put garlic on all the doors . . . "
"Does that really work?" Xander asked. "Because I'm thinking about a much less passive response."
"You don't know that he's gone back to his evil ways," Willow said. "He has changed, you know."
Xander moaned. "Why don't you and Dawn just form a club, Wil?"
"Am I the only one that's noticed all the things Spike has done for us, especially over the summer?" Willow asked. "How many times did he save your life, Xander?"
"Three times," Anya answered, nodding. "But, he pretended it was an accident, or something was in his eye."
"See," Willow said, smugly. "He likes us, even if he won't admit it."
"I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt," Anya agreed.
"When did you become a Spike supporter?" Xander asked.
"When did you become a conclusion-jumper?"
"Always has been. . . . " Willow mumbled.
"I heard that. Giles -?"
"A little help here. If Spike has his chip out then he's a threat, isn't he?"
"I would imagine so," he answered, fascinated at their quick agitation, "but, a lot of things have changed -."
"Oh, right. Maybe he'll decide to be friends instead. Yeah, of course. Why didn't I see that before?" Xander gestured. "Go back to the life of slaughter and destruction that he craves or hang around us being pathetic and miserable."
Willow glared at him. "I don't think you're being fair, Xander. I think we should talk to him first. Giles?"
Giles gave her a brief smile. "Well, yes. Talking is always best."
The bell on the front door rang, announcing Spike and Dawn.
Spike tossed his smoking blanket aside and hobbled toward them.
Dawn followed him, out of breath. "I didn't think you could move that fast, being crippled and all!" she said, bending and holding her side.
"I gotta' move fast when the sun's chasing me," he explained. "And I am not crippled!"
Dawn raised her eyebrows in mock disbelief. "Broken leg, sucking chest wound?"
"I do not have a sucking chest wound," he said, angrily.
"Maybe we should get you a walker," she snickered.
Spike was appalled. "A wha -?"
"Please. You're a handicapped sticker away from a sweet parking spot at the mall."
Spike stared at her, incredulous. "You take that back -!" He stopped when he noticed everyone staring at him. "Oh, what? It's not another bloody apocalypse, is it?" He craned his neck around to Giles. "You didn't say anything about the end of the world, mate. I gotta' tell ya', I'm not up for another one so soon."
Giles stood and gave an exaggerated sigh. "If you're all quite finished panicking -."
Dawn piped up. "There was panicking?" She moved closer to Spike. "It's the Hellmouth, isn't it? Some icky demony thing is gonna' open it!"
"It's not the Hellmouth, Dawn," Xander said. "It's Spike."
"What about me?"
"You . . . chipless . . . figure it out."
"What are you talkin' about, mate?"
Anya spoke up. "He thinks you're going to go on a killing spree, starting with us." She smiled, unsure. "You, wouldn't, would you? I mean, if you did that then you certainly couldn't come to the wedding."
"He's not coming to our wedding, Ahn."
Spike looked hurt. "Why not? Afraid I'll scare off the relatives?"
Giles cleared his throat loudly. "Excuse me, but this is getting out-of-hand." He removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Don't think I don't appreciate the enthusiasm, particularly in that keeping everyone's attention is a challenging prospect at the best of times, but we really need to get to the matter at hand."
"You mean he's not chipless?" Willow asked.
"Not as far as I know." He glanced around the table. "And, it's not a bloody apocalypse, either."
"But, you did say it was about Spike," Buffy said.
"What about me?"
Giles sighed. "Maybe we should all sit down?"
They returned to their seats and Spike pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
"Do you really have to do that in here?" Anya asked, moving away from him. "It makes the shop smell bad."
"Oh, as opposed to the intoxicating scent you got driftin' around the place already." Spike lit his cigarette and said, "Herbs and entrails are so refreshing. No wonder you have so many customers."
Giles sighed in annoyance. "Spike, you seem to be attracting an unusual amount of violence in the last few weeks. What, exactly, is going on?"
Xander gaped at him. "That's what this meeting's about? Spike's popularity with the demon community?"
"It's getting out-of-hand, Xander."
Spike exhaled a whiff of smoke. "How would you know that?"
Giles turned in his chair to face him. "Willie says you can't set foot in his place without everyone jumping on you, and it would appear that a number of vampires are camping out at the butcher's, apparently in hopes of ambushing you."
Spike shrugged. "It's nothin' to worry about."
"Really? What happened to you last night?"
"Just a little scuffle."
Dawn leaned forward. "You should see his crypt. There was blood and dust everywhere! And all his furniture's broken."
"So, they know where you live now?" Giles asked.
They looked at Spike, who shrugged again, and blew a puff of smoke into the air. "I said it's nothin'. Now, we got any beasties need killin' tonight?"
"Spike this is serious."
"Why do we care about this?" Xander asked.
Giles glared at him. "Because, more vampires are coming to town every day - an undue amount. They seem very determined this time." He looked pointedly at Spike. "Why?"
Spike, arm resting casually on the table, cigarette hanging loosely between his fingers, stared back for a minute, then, "A bunch of demons got together and decided to off me." He shrugged again, trying to dismiss it. "They've been tryin' that for the last two years."
Giles simply stared at him, clearly believing there was more to the story.
After a lengthy silence in which it became apparent that Spike wasn't going to elaborate, Giles said, "If you've done something, Spike, I think we all have a right to know."
Spike took a deep breath. "I haven't done anything, and grilling me about it for the next 20 minutes isn't gonna' do anything about the beasties runnin' around out there," he finished, aiming a finger at the front door.
"All right," Giles sighed. "Perhaps we should get on with patrolling."
Buffy's eyebrows shot up. "We?"
"I think that, for the time being, we should all help you patrol. You killed six last night. There could be even more tonight. Besides, the quicker we take care of this problem, the quicker things will get back to normal."
"He's a complete prat."
Xander spluttered. "What!" He gaped at Spike. "You think James Bond is a prat? He's the coolest guy on the planet!"
"Yeah, well, take away his car, the gadgets, and the pretty girls and all that's left is a pitiful wanker with a drinking problem. And, please, jumping over a helicopter with a motorcycle?"
"What's that hue you're wearing there, Spike?" Xander asked. "Pistachio, isn't it?"
Spike scoffed. "You think I envy that soddin' wanker? Someone trying to kill him everywhere he goes and no bloody woman to come home to when the day's done."
Anya raised an eyebrow at him and smirked. "Sounds like someone else I know."
Spike glared at her. "Hey -."
Xander's jaw dropped. "No woman? The guy's a babe magnet - at least two in every movie!"
Spike scoffed. "Makes you wonder why he can't keep a girl."
"Wha -?" Xander started, stunned, but Buffy cut him off.
"Can you guys keep it down up there? We're here to slay demons, not run them off."
Spike stopped and waited for her to catch up. He fell in step beside her, still limping.
She gave him a sideways look. "You sure you're up to patrolling?"
"Concerned about me, pet?" he asked, a cocky grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.
She rolled her eyes. "I'm concerned that I might have to save your butt tonight."
"So, you think my butt is worth saving?" He raised his eyebrows at her and gave her a hopeful look.
She glared at him. "I don't need you, Spike, and I don't want you to get one of us killed tonight."
She walked away from him. It wasn't until she was several steps away that the realization of what she'd said hit her. She only meant that she didn't need him tonight. The whole gang was patrolling and they could probably handle things. Maybe he knew what she meant. She kept walking, wanting him to call her back and say something sexist or annoying, but he didn't. She sighed and stopped. She turned around. He was standing where she'd left him, smoking another cigarette, and looking at the ground.
He glanced up when he realized she'd stopped and was watching him. Stupid wanker, he thought. Why do you take everything she says like a stake through the heart?
"Just waiting for Red," he said, awkwardly, gesturing with his free hand.
Why does he take everything so hard? she thought. Maybe because I have the sensitivity of a brick. She opened her mouth to call him over, but Willow caught up with Spike then, and he started talking to her.
"So, you got that ball o' sunshine spell worked out yet?" he asked.
Willow nodded, pleased at his apparent interest. "Yep. Don't worry, I won't use it when you're around."
"I appreciate it, Red." He glanced up to see Buffy watching them. He looked away. Was she still angry? He couldn't tell. She was right, though. She didn't need him. Never really did.
Ten minutes later they decided to split up as the group slaying wasn't terribly productive, mostly because they couldn't stop talking.
Buffy didn't want to upset Spike anymore than she already had, but she still felt obligated to ask if he felt well enough to patrol alone.
"What?" he spluttered. "You think I need someone to hold my hand?"
"That's not what I said, Spike, so just calm down."
"Hey!" Spike yelled, jabbing a finger at her. "I've taken eight . . ." he spluttered, ". . . ten - sometimes twelve vamps at a time!" he stammered. "I'm the scourge of the underworld, I'll have you know!"
Xander and Giles glanced skyward in silent scorn.
Buffy decided to just let it go. "Let's meet back here in 30 minutes."
Buffy got lucky almost immediately as two vamps jumped out at her, lunging awkwardly at her.
She sidestepped and whipped out her stake. "That was pathetic." She dusted the first one as he turned around to have another go. The second growled and assumed a fighting stance.
"We're not all pathetic, Slayer."
"Spike," the demon sneered. "Shouldn't you be home, dusting something?" He was mottled-gray with little horns scattered haphazardly around his head and face. He wasn't remotely appealing, but it didn't seem to bother him.
A vampire to Spike's left spoke up next. "I heard the Slayer makes you babysit, Spike."
They all laughed.
Great, Spike thought, my utter wankery is a subject of conversation in the underworld.
The vamp launched himself at Spike, who whirled out of reach, his coat billowing around him. He reached out as the vamp lunged past him, grabbed it by the head, and snapped its neck, sending the vamp twisting in mid air.
Spike turned a chilling look on the remaining vamps. They didn't look quite as eager. This was William the Bloody, after all, not some pathetic has-been they'd been told of.
Spike, for his part, wondered just when he'd lost his feared status. Even with the chip, they new he could kill them and was remarkably adept at it. Maybe a demon-killing rampage would get him a little respect. If he spent all has time at it, he could get it done. The daylight wouldn't stop him. It was an inconvenience - nothing more. He could clean out all the vamp nests in Sunnydale in about two weeks. Of course, if he did that it would probably make Buffy mad - it was hard to tell with her - and he'd probably miss Passions, too. Spike grunted. He WAS a wanker.
As the fight progressed and more and more vamps joined in the melee, Spike got the uncomfortable feeling he'd been ambushed. He whirled around, ready to face the next two that were already coming, when something hard hit him in the back. He fell to his knees, just as the vamps jumped on him. He fell back, hitting the ground hard. His attackers immediately started pounding on him. Above him, he could see the demon standing back, holding a large club in his hand. He seemed content for the time to let the vamps pound on Spike.
Spike howled in rage and pain, his fist connecting solidly with one of the vamps. The blow knocked him off of Spike and nearly twenty feet away, where he smashed head first into a tree.
Spike's hand shot up, gripping the remaining vamp by the throat. He let out a strangled noise and clawed at Spike's hand.
The demon chose that moment to lend a hand. He raised his club, intending to smash it into Spike's head.
Spike, however, noticed, and his grip on the vamp tightened, despite the blows he was taking to his chest and abdomen. He jerked the vamp over on top of him, just as the blow fell. It hit the vamp solidly in the back of the head, making a sickening, squishy sound. The vamp went limp and Spike tossed him aside.
Spike rolled to his feet as the demon gazed at his handiwork.
"Stupid vampire," the demon muttered. He turned to Spike, raising the club again.
"You think he needs help?" Giles asked, approaching Buffy.
She turned to look, just in time to see Spike take a club to the chest. The impact knocked him thirty feet and he smashed into a tree. Two vampires jumped on him, dragged him into the open, and started kicking him.
"Yep," she said, and started running.
Spike nearly made it to his feet when a vicious blow caught him in his wounded side. He gasped in shock and collapsed.
They kept kicking him. This might be it, he thought.
He heaved himself up again and managed a quick glance. He could see Buffy and the gang running to help him. They might make it in time to save his life.
That thought made him want to heave. He couldn't lie there and let Buffy and her git patrol rescue him. His life was full of enough humiliation; he couldn't see adding another story to the growing lore of 'Spike's Unlife.'
He rolled onto his back, grabbed the next foot that tried to kick him, and gave it a brutal twist. He heard a satisfying snap and howl, then he was on his knees and assaulting the next vamp.
The demon, sensing the worm had turned, bowled into them, sending Spike and his attackers sprawling.
Spike was the first to get to his feet. He lunged at the demon and effortlessly plucked the club from his hands. Spike then jabbed quickly to his right, skewering a vamp with the end of the club. He turned to dust, and Spike flipped the club end-over-end and staked the next one. He had to duck as a third lunged at him. The vamp sailed over Spike's back and rolled on the ground behind him. Spike whirled and kicked the vampire as he tried to get up, then staked him in the back. He spun around to face the demon.
Buffy and Xander were the first on the scene. They quickly realized that Spike didn't need them and that several of the vampires were waking up. They leapt into a wild staking session, catching most of them while still disoriented.
Buffy, stake in hand, turned to Spike. He was standing over the demon, looking dazed.
A lone vampire, obviously unconcerned that the odds had turned against him, foolishly leapt at Spike.
"Spike, behind you!"
Spike twisted around as the vamp pounced. He caught him by his jacket, swung him around, and dropped him on top of the demon. He then rammed the end of the club through the startled vampire's heart.
Buffy and Xander, more than a little stunned by the spectacle, approached Spike warily.
He took a step back from the demon and stood, swaying slightly, the club hanging loosely from his hand.
"Spike?" Buffy asked, carefully.
He glanced at her, dropping the club.
"You okay?" she asked.
He tried to shrug, but he nearly fell. She reached out and caught his arm, steadying him.
Willow, Giles and Anya joined them, panting and bending over to try and catch their breath.
"You guys okay?" Buffy asked, letting go of Spike.
"Oh, yes," Giles wheezed, "just . . . didn't think I'd have the wind . . . for that final sprint."
As Spike calmed a bit, he realized his side was hurting. He put a hand up and felt the blood soaking through his T-shirt.
Buffy noticed him holding his side. "Are you all right?"
"What?" He dropped his hand to his side. "Yeah, fine."
Buffy nodded. "Good work, guys. Maybe we should do the group slaying thing more often."
"Please," Spike said, rolling his eyes and gesturing at them. "We'd spend all our time savin' their a -"
Buffy smacked him in the side before he could finish. He gave an involuntary wince and took a step back.
Buffy gave him her look that boded ill for his prospective happiness, and said, "Not hurt, huh?"
"It's from last night. It's 'bout healed up, Slayer. Nothin' to get yer knickers in a twist over."
"I hate that, so stop saying it." As though he would. She shook her head. He'd probably say it every chance he got. "Come here."
Spike sighed and moved closer to her, trying not to breathe. He'd gotten into the very bad habit of breathing around her, just so he could smell her scent, her perfume, her shampoo. It all mixed together to make a mind-numbing, heady fragrance that drove him crazy. 'Course, it wasn't just her smell that goaded him to poetic musing. The moonlight did remarkable things to her hair, making it shimmer and. . . .
"Did you get hit in the head, too? I said, lift up your shirt."
He did as she asked and a collective gasp of revulsion went up from the group.
"Timing was great, but could you sound a little more disgusted?" Spike asked.
Xander peered at Spike's side. "That's gotta' hurt."
Buffy's mouth twisted into a grimace. "What did this? A sword?"
"Axe," Spike answered.
"You've been walking around with an AXE wound all day?" Buffy said, irritated.
"How did . . . ?" Willow said, then, "Did it . . . I mean . . . never mind."
A malicious grin tweaked the corner of his mouth. "Went in deep," he said, motioning with his other hand. "Right between the ribs and straight into the lung -."
"Eeww. . . ."
"Then it broke off and got stuck. Hurt like hell -."
"Spike, we really don't need -."
"Took me twenty minutes to pry that out. I think part of my lung came with it." He shrugged. "Good thing I don't use it much."
"Thanks for the graphic account," Buffy said. "I'll know better next time."
"Perhaps we should call it a night," Giles suggested.
As they made their way out of the cemetery, Buffy dropped back to walk with Spike.
He glanced warily at her. What did she want? Was she mad?
"Spike. . . ." Should I apologize for earlier? she wondered. He's probably already forgotten. No sense bringing it up. "How'd last night go?" she asked, uncomfortably.
Spike frowned at her in confusion, then shrugged. "Okay. I Like watchin' the Niblitt."
Buffy nodded. "Wil and I just needed a little bonding time."
"How'd that go?"
"Okay." What to say now? She didn't really want to have a conversation with Spike, did she? Could they actually have a conversation that didn't end with one or both of them yelling? It was worth a shot. She took a breath and dove in. "Tara mentioned last night that she still owes you a thank you," she said. She could apologize by boosting his ego a bit.
"Well, you know she's gone to visit her family, trying to make up with them and all, and it made her think of when they were here last year."
"You hit her in the nose to prove she wasn't a demon," Buffy prompted.
"Oh, yeah." He smiled. "Enjoyed that."
"Well, maybe I'll tell her to forget her thank you, then," Buffy said, annoyed. "Like you'd care anyway."
"Well, I wouldn't know HOW I'd feel," Spike replied, indignantly. "It's not like anyone's ever thanked me for anything."
"When have you ever done anything to be thanked for?" she shot back.
"How 'bout last night?" he reminded her. "Watchin' the Niblitt? Which I do pretty frequently, come to think of it."
Buffy sighed and shook her head. "Like you have anything better to do."
"I'll have you know I have lots of things to do when I'm not hangin' around you lot."
"Really. Name one."
"I do not have to justify my time to you, Slayer."
"Maybe you should," she replied, "being evil and all."
"Yeah, well maybe I'll have to check my social calendar next time you want a babysitter."
"THIS is your social life, Spike," she said, waving an arm around. "It's as pathetic as mine."
Spike really couldn't argue with her on that point, so he let it go. Besides, his entire body hurt and his usually smooth walk was turning into a drunken lurch. Much as he enjoyed verbal sparring, he just didn't have the energy.
"And, can you stop teaching Dawn your versions of her favorite games?" Buffy said, wholly abandoning her desire for a non-combative discussion. "Her friends' parents are starting to complain."
"What is wrong with my games?"
"Sunnyhell Monopoly?" she asked, raising her eyebrows. "Where landing on free parking lets you kill the player to your left?"
"Have you played Monopoly?" Spike asked, incredulously. "It's the game that doesn't end. My rules keep the game shorter."
"And how about Life?"
"Unlife," Spike corrected.
She rolled her eyes. "My point exactly. All the players spend the game trying to turn each other into vampires and steal all their stuff."
Spike laughed. "That's actually harder than it sounds. . . ." He trailed off as Buffy glared at him.
They walked in silence for a few more minutes until Buffy realized they weren't keeping up. She glanced at Spike. He was moving slower with each step and she'd unconsciously matched her pace to his. She sighed and grabbed his arm.
"I'm not gonna' hit you, Spike," she said, rolling her eyes. "Just . . . giving you a hand. I don't want to be out here all night."
"Well, give a bloke some warnin', Slayer," he said, relaxing and leaning comfortably on her.
As they walked, Spike reflected on his day. It had started off bad, what with the battle axe wound and Dawn waking him up to quiz him on the Revolutionary War, but it had picked up nicely.
He glanced down at Buffy. This was nice, he thought. It was enough. She may never come to love him, or even like him, but walking with her, arm in arm, on a moonlit night was . . . perfect - as long as neither of them spoke.
He closed his eyes. He didn't want it to end.
He felt her arm snake around his waist and he smiled, delighting in her nearness. There was something he couldn't quite define, something he'd never felt before. It was more than simple pleasure from her touch, it was . . . contentment. Funny how it can make a bloke feel light-headed.
He tried to open his eyes, but they were heavy and he just didn't have the energy. He felt fingers at the back of his head, lifting it off the sidewalk. Buffy. Why was he on the ground? Had she hit him?
"Giles! I need some help back here!"
Spike forced his eyes open. He wanted to see her. She was looking at him strangely. Was that concern in her eyes? Or, was she annoyed because it was late and he was being a load? He sighed. It didn't matter. He could pretend. He closed his eyes again. Let all my nights end like this, and I'll die a happy man.
On to Day Two...