* I know it's been a very long
time. It will probably take a while for me to get back in to the
swing of things, fan-fic wise, but I'm going to give it a shot.
This chapter is short (only about a 1/3 of what I have planned, but I
wanted to get it posted anyway) but better than nothing, right?
** See full notes in Chapter 1
*** Not beta'd so all mistakes--and there will be mistakes--are mine.
It's About Time ~ Chapter 23 ~
wearily against the frame of her open French doors. The cool breeze
that brushed past held more than a faint bite of autumn.
The sun sat low in the western sky, painting the balcony in reflected
orange and red, letting her know that it would be dark soon. Then Spike would come for her.
She had no doubt.
shivered but it had nothing to do with the chilly night air. What a difference twenty-four hours made. Yesterday, she'd been looking forward to
spending quality time with Spike. For that
brief moment in time, she'd actually allowed herself to believe that
diametrically opposed halves of her life were somehow going to meld
seamlessly together. She'd have her
friendship with Spike and her
friendship with the gang, and they would all live happily ever after.
Unless happily ever after always
starts with someone on
their knees, emptying the contents of their stomach behind a bush in
the park, then
it looked like her life was more of a cautionary tale than a fairy tale.
Last night, when Buffy had
found her in the park, Willow
hadn't had to tell the Slayer what had happened between her and Spike. She'd pretty much figured it out on her
own. Surprisingly, there were no
of "I told you so," or you-got-what-you-deserve looks from the Slayer. Angel wasn't there either to add his
two--"I told you not to trust Spike"—cents, but as Buffy helped her
home, Willow could feel the dark vampire near.
Out of sight, but never out of mind.
But now was not the time to think about Angel, Willow
reminded herself. With one last look at
the fading sun, she pulled her balcony doors closed, locked them, and
the blinds down before turning her attention to the two large rolling
and the bus schedule that waited on her bed.
Several buses would be heading east the following afternoon. She didn't care where they were going. She'd simply take the next one leaving when
got to the station, but first she had to pack.
surveyed her piles of belongings and the suitcases.
She'd done a lot of packing over the long
years, but never before had she felt so unsettled.
It was different this time and not just because
the clothing was different or because her suitcases had wheels.
For years home had been wherever Spike was. Now, home would be
wherever he wasn't.
folding her leather pants when she heard the unmistakable click of the
doors behind her being unlocked from the outside. He
had a key.
Bloody hell…she'd forgotten that she'd given Spike a key a few
earlier! She dropped her pants in the
suitcase just as the inevitable creaking of the door handle turning
broke the silence of her room. She'd been
meaning to oil the squeaky doors
for the longest time but had never gotten around to it.
Now it looked like she'd never have the
Knowing it was futile, Willow
still spun around and rushed towards the doors hoping to hold them
closed, but it
was too late. Before she could even
cross the room, they were pulled open from the outside.
Spike stood on her balcony, swathed in his usual leather duster and
arrogant smirk. Oh how she wanted to slap the smug look from his
just inside the threshold, physically blocking Spike from entering her
home. It took every ounce of strength
she had left to look him in the eye. She
had none left to speak his name aloud.
Spike smiled, but not too broadly, she noted. He
showed just enough teeth to look friendly. He
was good at that. It was a real talent. "I
think it's time you and I finished
what we started this morning," the vampire said. "Time
for another one of our infamous
"No," she repeated, her throat tight. "No
more little chats. I'm all chatted out for
"Oh, come on, Red," he said, his grin
widening. "I understand you're a
bit miffed with me now, but we've been through this before, haven't we,
pet? So let's go inside and get on with
it, already." He pulled a bottle of wine
out of his duster
pocket. "Come on 'n beat the crap
out of me and then we'll drink a bottle of Beaujolais
and have a good laugh about all this nonsense."
He shrugged and pulled another bottle of wine out of the
other pocket. "Merlot then.
She was pleased to see his smile dim a bit as he tossed the bottles of
his shoulder. They landed with a heavy
thud in the bushes below.
"You want to do this sober, then? Fine.
Let the yelling and hitting commence." Spike
closed his eyes, leaned his head back,
and appeared to brace for the impact of her anger.
Oh, it was tempting all right. It
would probably be quite cathartic to give
him a matching scar on his other cheek or on his chest.
But as great as it might feel at the moment, no
amount of hitting or shouting was going to solve their problem. Not this time.
After a silent moment, Spike opened his eyes. He
seemed genuinely disappointed that she
hadn't taken out her anger on his flesh.
The disappointment quickly turned to irritation as his eyes
her neck. "You afraid of me now,
Without even realizing it, Willow
was clutching the cross she wore around her neck. Angel's
"You really think that little trinket of yours could
save you from the big bad?"
She tucked it under the neckline of her shirt. "You
really want to chat, Spike? Then tell me
how long you've been planning to
turn me?" she asked from her side of the doorway.
"Bloody hell, Red," he groaned. "You're
like a broken record. Give it a
"Always, I suppose," he finally and reluctantly
Willow nodded to
herself. She wasn't surprised by his answer, but it was still
painful to hear. "Always," she
repeated. "Of course."
"Pet…you're blowing this whole thing out of
repeated. "This whole *thing*? To which *thing* are you referring? My life and/or unlife?"
With an exasperated groan, Spike whirled around to leave.
"I see you still have your knickers in a
twist 'bout last night. I'll give you
another day to calm down and come to your senses."
"I don't need another day, Spike." He
stopped and looked at her over his
shoulder, an oddly hopeful expression on his face.
"Are you leaving town or not?" Willow
continued, erasing his burgeoning smile.
He stalked back toward her, his jaw clenched so tight
that a vein stood out on his throat. With
no more than an arm's length separating them, Spike deftly pulled out
of cigarettes, slipped one between tight lips and lit it.
After a long drag, he slowly exhaled. The
smoke drifted lazily up to disappear into the dark night. "Like
I said, Red, I've got roots here
now. Home Sweet Bloody Home, right? I'm…Not…Budging," he added deliberately.
"Then I better finish packing."
"Not bloody likely, pet." He took a step closer to where she
stood just inside the doorway, but Willow
held her ground, even when his exhaled smoke made her eyes sting.
"You can't come in, Spike."
His eyes widened.
He seemed to find this whole thing very amusing, as if she were
petulant child threatening to runaway from home because she couldn't
way. This made Willow
more determined than ever to follow through with her plan.
"You going to stop me?" he asked, and Willow
didn't reply. "That's what I
thought," he said with a smirk.
Spike moved to brush past Willow,
but he bounced backwards the second he tried to cross the threshold. "What the...?" The broken cigarette
dangled from him bottom lip, still smoldering.
him in the eye, and her blood chilled as she watched his amusement
to anger. "Like I said, you can't come in, Spike. You're
no longer welcome in my home or in my
Spike tried again and again to cross the threshold and his
fury grew with each denied access. "Bloody
hell, Red! Invite me in now!" he demanded
as his face
morphed to its vampiric form. He took a
few steps back and threw himself at the barrier with such unleashed
fury that Willow
instinctively reached for the stake she kept in her back pocket.
Luckily, the magical barrier that Jenny, Buffy and the
others had created held against the vampire's violent onslaught.
Seeing the stake in her hand, he changed tactics. "Go
ahead, Red," he said. "Come out and stake
me. Give me a scar
on the right shoulder to match the left.
Feel free to use the nearest chair if you want to make them a
matched set. Go ahead and kick me, pet.
Hit me, stake me...been here, done this, got the scars to prove
Still so very, *very* tempting. "You don't get it!
I don't want to stake you. I
don't want to hit you, hurt you or give you another scar. I just want you gone and out of my life
"Not gonna happen, pet," he said, almost
sounding bored. Once again, he was
her as if she were nothing more than a spoilt child demanding an extra
ice cream. She wasn't getting through to
him and maybe she never would, but she had to keep trying.
she detected movement in the bushes across the street.
"Buffy!" she called out. "Promise
me if I ever become a vampire
you'll stake me. No trying to reason
with me, no trying to rehabilitate me or find some way to fit me with a
soul. Just stake me."
The shadowy hedge and its occupants remained silent.
"Buffy, I know you're out there. Promise me you'll
The Slayer slowly stood from where she'd been hiding across
the street. "Willow,
I don't think--"
"It's your damn job, Slayer!" Willow
snapped back. "Black and white,
right? Will you do it or not?"
continued. "Xander, Cordy…I know
you're all there. I want you all to
promise me that if I get turned, you'll stake me. Right
No silly attempts to rehabilitate me or curse me with a soul. Promise?"
The couple stepped out from their hiding place next to
Buffy. Cordelia clung to Xander, who
held her tightly, stroking her hair.
"I promise, Willow,"
Xander called up, his voice cracking.
"You can count on me too, Willow. No
problem whatsoever," Cordelia shouted
The cheerleader's voice was a little too bright, but Willow
didn't mind. She could use all the
bravery she could get right now, even if the fake kind.
called out, her eyes still glued to Spike's.
"I need your promise as well."
"You have it, Willow,"
he said in a clear, unwavering voice that gave her the strength to
"As even you can see, Spike, there's no point in vamping
me," Willow said. "You'll be sentencing me to real death,
one way or another."
Spike barely spared a glance for those below. "This
is all very touching, pet. Must warm your
heart to know how easily your
friends are willing to sacrifice your life."
"It is touching, actually. It proves they
care more about my wishes than
their own. I think I can get used to
having friends like that… for a change."
Or at least I could have, if I were staying in Sunnydale, she
He clenched his jaw and then started to smile, like it was all a big
joke to him.
"We'll just see, won't we, Red? Sunnydale
is my town now, and like I said, I'm
not going anywhere. So you have a nice
trip then, eh?" Spike quickly
turned around and jumped on to the balcony railing.
He looked as if he were just about to leap
when he looked at Willow
time over his shoulder. "It doesn't
have to be this way, Red. I'm only
thinking of what's best for you."
him a weak, sad smile. "You know, I
almost believe you really think that," she said. "Almost,"
she repeated, then turned
her back on the vampire and continued packing.
She didn't watch as Spike jumped down to the grass below, and
away without a word to Angel or the others.
At the sound of Willow's plea, Spike smirked into the
darkness. "Knew she couldn't go
through with it," he mumbled before turning around.
"Miss me already, pet?"
"You've forgotten something," she called
whipped a large object out from behind her and held it out over the
"Red, you don't want to do that!"
Spike shivered as the hollow, cold sound of Willow's
laughter reached his years. "Since when does it
I want?" Before Spike could make a
move to stop her, she hurled the guitar down with all her might. It spun through the air before hitting the
driveway with a sharp crack. The body of
the guitar splintered and the neck cracked off, causing the strings to
with an eerie chord that lingered in the air.
Before he could recover from that shock, the case flew toward
well. Shocked, Spike looked up, but Willow
was already gone from her balcony.
Spike stood in the dark, speechless, gazing at what was left of the
guitar he had given Willow as a gift. The
sound of the splintering wood still echoed in his
he began to painstakingly pick
up every single shard of wood and ivory that littered the ground,
carefully putting them in the battered case. He didn't care
that the Scabby Gang watched him, no doubt reveling in his pain, and he
didn't even notice the other three shadowy figures who were also
watching all of the drama unfold.
End Chapter 23 (archived June 03, 2006)
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