NOTES/DISCLAIMERS - See Part One.
DEDICATION: To those of you who actually asked about this story...there
were a couple of you - you know who you are;-) Thank you!
~~ Part 2 ~~
Now, where was I? Oh yeah...being led into the librarian's living room by a Holy Water gun-packing witch.
Being the polite bloke that I am, I behaved myself when she shoved me into the chair. More of a nudge than a shove, really, but I had to give her credit for touching me at all. Chip or no chip, I'm the big bad. Didn't give her a spot of trouble either when she set about tying me to the seat with an enormous length of rope, my hands behind the chair. Didn't have a choice really. She had the dripping gun pointed at me the whole time, didn't she? Even if I did manage to get away from her, I couldn't run very fast. Sneaky little cow had my hands cuffed and my feet chained the whole time she was tying me up. The best I could've managed was a waddle.
Crikey...a waddling vampire...I've had enough humiliation for one bloody unlife time, thank you very much.
I kept reminding myself that all I had to do was bide my time, and I'd be free without having to be damaged. Somehow. Didn't quite have a plan yet, I must admit. I had a half a plan at best. Actually, several half plans...and sooner or later, I knew they'd add up to a whole. Just had to be patient and behave myself 'til the right opportunity came along.
Even though I desperately wanted to ask her why she thought the librarian kept so much rope handy, I didn't. I doubted she'd get the innuendo. Besides, as it was, I was trying not to laugh in her face as she treated me like a bloody Maypole. Instead of just standing in one spot and reaching around me with the rope, she was slowly circling the chair, wrapping the rope around me as she went. I can only assume she didn't want to touch me. I wondered what scared her more--the fact that I was a vampire or that I was male? Either way, I figured I won. Plus it was just one more little weakness that I planned on using to gain my freedom.
Eventually, she finished securing the rope at the back of the chair before removing my handcuffs. But then there was a pause. I glanced over my shoulder and saw her staring at the ropes, her forehead all wrinkled up. Not an attractive look for her, might I add. I bet she was replaying an episode of 'Cops' in her head, trying to figure out if she'd done it right. Apparently, she decided more was better and added a more loops of rope around my wrists and a few more knots.
When the chit finally seemed satisfied that I wouldn't be going anywhere without taking the whole bloody piece of furniture with me, she walked over to the desk in front of me that was a safe distance away. She dropped the cuffs, keys and water gun on top, took a seat, and then stuck her little nose in a book.
So there I was, finally free of the tub, only to be restrained to a chair in Sunnydale's most boring flat. Apparently, the only tele this watcher bloke had was the one he let me watch in the loo. Looking around, I could see something vaguely resembling a stereo. Looked more like something that little 'phone home' fellow would've come up with after a sugar over-load. Even if the Watcher did have a few albums that were worth a spin, I doubted that the witch would let me play.
Besides, I was on a mission, not playing 'Top of the Pops'. And my plans were finally starting to take shape. It was when she'd added the extra rope about my wrists that I first realized I might stand a shot of actually getting loose. With all those knots at my fingertips, all I needed was a distraction.
"Why are they being so hard on you?" I asked the little witch. Her lips twitched but she didn't even bother to look at me. "You'd think it was your first mistake," I added.
Willow peeked at me over the top of a much-too-thick textbook. "Oh, it's not my first mistake," she said. "I mean, I've made a couple of others...doozies, really, but this is the first one that ended...with...well ramifications of biblical proportions."
I snorted a bit at the girl's over-sized sense of guilt. I mean, come on...it's not as if The Slayer'd never kissed a vamp before. And her track record with men hardly put her on the list to be the next Virgin Mary, now did it? Somehow I managed not to laugh outright. That hardly would have helped the situation. Besides, I kinda liked that about her...guilt's something I can work with.
"Biblical proportions, eh?" I repeated. "How do you come to that conclusion, little girl?"
Willow finally set the book down. Her tongue flicked out quickly to wet her lips before she managed to look me in the eye.
"You know...cats and dogs, lying together," she twittered. "William the Bloody being talked into wearing a pink cummerbund at his wedding to the Slayer...need I go on? You were there, remember?"
"Oh piffle," I replied. It isn't a very manly word, piffle, but it's nonthreatening, which was the whole theme at the time. "Come on! I was the one most hurt, and you don't see me asking you to build me a mahogany, satin-lined coffin or be my personal blood donor."
"I thought vampires don't sleep in coffins," she said a little smugly.
Stubborn little thing.
"I was making a bloody point, wasn't I? I seem to be the only one not holding this against you. Seems a bit odd to me, that's all. But if that's how you lot handle these sorts of things, then why should I care?" I paused just long enough to make what came next look like an afterthought. "So, what did you make slutty do the last time she made a mistake? The whole Angelus cock-up alone should've been worth a bundle. Tell me, did you make her paint your house? Wash everyone's knickers for a year? Clean the loo with her toothbrush? Oh, I'd give away a couple pints of AB-negative to watch that!"
The little girl's face collapsed, her eyes dulling over and all that lovely blood draining from her face. She'd figured it out, finally...how bloody unfair life really could be. Took her long enough. Even I could see that they hadn't done right by the witch, not that I care.
Unfortunately, just when I thought I could smell the salt of her tears, she sat up a little straighter, trying to pull herself together. I must say, I was a little disappointed, actually. I was shooting for tears, but a quivering lower lip is the next best thing, I suppose.
"Not exactly, Spike," she said in a sigh. "After all, Buffy's under a lot of pressure. She does the best she can. And that whole Angel-Angelus thing was very hard on her..." Her voice trailed off, ending in another sigh.
I nodded in my most 'understanding yet I think you've been bloody had' sort of way, which gained a hint of a smile from the girl.
"Oh...Of course things are different for *her*, seeing as she's the Slayer and all," I replied, reeling her in a little more. "But what about your Watcher and that Xander-bloke? Bet they've had their fair share of amends to make. Tell me about those, then."
Her eyes fell to her lap and she shrugged half-heartedly. That was her answer. Not the babbling excuses that the little chit was famous for but a simple shrug.
"Guess friendship isn't what it used to be back in the good old days," I told her in my best bored tone. I even attempted to return her shrug as a sort of 'comrade in arms' display, but with my arms tied behind me, it wasn't very impressive, as far as shrugs go.
That was the final comment that broke the witch's back, so to speak. I watched with demonic satisfaction as her forehead wrinkled and the gears began to spin inside her head. No tears though, but it was early days yet.
Willow fiddled with her pencil, tapping away on the desk top so hard that I thought I saw bits of saw dust flying about, her eyes looking anywhere but at me. But I didn't have time to watch her whittle the desk away to nothing but kindling before I escaped...I had plans. Well, like I said before, a couple of partial plans, really.
"Since I don't have anything better to do, tell me," I said to the witch.
The redhead finally looked at me, her green eyes wide as if she'd forgotten I was there.
I stretched my legs, trying to get comfortable and look casual at the same time. Not an easy look to achieve when you're shackled.
"Tell me about these other magnificent cock-ups of yours."
She squirmed a bit in her seat. I could tell she was torn between wanting to talk to someone and wishing it were anyone other than me. Apparently, I don't appear as the 'Dear Abby' sort.
"I-I don't think so, Spike," Willow said, a suspicious light beginning to flare in the depths of her green eyes.
"Why the hell not?" I demanded, still managing to keep my desperation out of my voice. "It's old news around here, right? It's not like I'm asking you to tell me your deepest, darkest fantasy, Red. I'm just trying to pass the time. And since it seems I'm going to be stuck with the lot of you, much to my own shame, I might as well try and understand how you do-gooders do business, right?"
"But nothing. I'm bored out of my skull, I'm curious as to what someone as sickeningly nice as you could have possibly done to upset the natural shiny-happy order of things in Sunnydale, and besides...we both know you need to study about as much as I need a good suntan."
That one hit its mark. I could see her swishing my words around in her brain a bit, trying to decide if I'd really paid her a compliment or not. I had. It's obvious even to a thick bloke like me that she's got more brains that common sense. Considering that most of the women I've had the misfortune to associate with lately had neither, it was almost refreshing.
"Come on, Red. I've been stuck in that bloody tub for days, forced to watch some American soap opera drivel that makes Coronation Street and the bloody EastEnders look like Masterpiece Theater. I just want to talk, alright? Where's the harm in that? And while I've had better conversations with a Chinza demon, you'll have to do, won't you?"
She blinked at me.
The witch didn't get it.
"Er, you see, pet, Chinza demons don't actually have mouths."
"I know," she replied calmly. She then retrieved her book and began to read again.
Didn't she realize she'd been insulted? Granted, it wasn't the harshest of insults I'd ever dealt out, but I wasn't looking for tears anymore. I wanted her to open up, not turn on the waterworks.
"They use telepathy," she said in whisper-soft voice that was almost hidden under the sound of turning pages.
She set the book down and looked at me.
"Chinza demons use telepathy to communicate. They don't need mouths."
"Now, the Jiord demon, for example, doesn't have a mouth or telepathy or any other way of communicating. So, next time you want to imply that someone is boring, you may want to consider using the Jiord demon instead. Okay?"
A small smile escaped me before I could stop it. "I'll make a note of that, Red. Thanks for straightening me out."
"No problem," Willow said, picking up her book again. "They don't call me research girl for nothing."
I was speechless for a moment. I'd insulted her, and all she could do was correct my slur and make it even more stinging. All without batting an eye. Guess the poor thing had already grown numb to the barbs of the people around her. I remained silent, watching her, waiting for a new approach to the situation to come to me. Unfortunately, she looked up and caught me staring at her. I have no idea what expression I had plastered on my face at the time, but it must have been the right one because she actually closed the book this time. Then with a sigh, she got to her tiny little feet.
"I-I met a demon once, over the internet," she said in a quiet, almost hopeful voice. "Not that I knew he was a demon because I wouldn't be caught dead dating a demon, but..."
Willow walked as she talked, her hands flitting about restlessly. She reminded me of a vamp fledgling on his initial hunt--the ones that usually died before they saw their first sunset. But she was talking, and that's all I really gave a damn about...she could flap her arms until she took flight for all I cared, as long as she kept talking.
"...I thought it was so exciting, you know?" she continued, her voice growing richer with each word. "To have this secret...he-he would have been my first boyfriend. Well, *if* he'd actually been a boy...or even alive...."
Unfortunately, she stopped there. Just when it was getting good, too. I actually wanted to hear a little bit more about this demon lover of hers. And the blood was rushing to her face in the most delightful yet torturous way that I was becoming distracted.
Damn, how I miss human blood. The more innocent the better, and looking at her, I knew that virginity wasn't the only measure of innocence.
Willow paced a bit, chewing on her fingernail as she circled about in front of me.
"Let's see...I was captured by an invisible girl once and Angel had
to save me, Buffy had to save me from a vampire practically her first night
"Oh," she continued," then there was that whole deal with Xander and Oz...that was the same night you so politely asked me to do that love spell for you."
There she went...twisting that half-imbedded stake again.
"Yeah, I always wondered about that, Red. You were with the dog then, right? Yet there you were, getting ready to do some love spell with Boy-Wonderless. How'd that all come about?"
A shadow darkened her face, and I had caused it. I hadn't lost my touch. Who says you need fangs to hurt someone? Unfortunately, the little witch didn't answer my question. She plopped herself back down at the desk and began shuffling through some papers. I'd pushed her too far, too fast.
"I--I really better get back to studying," she said, her eyes on the papers in front of her. "After all, this research paper on Pavlovian conditioning isn't going to write itself, no matter how many bells I ring."
"Classical musician?" It was supposed to be a joke. Not a very good one apparently. Either that, or she thought I was a complete dolt.
She glanced over the top of a thick text. "Um, not exactly, he--"
"He's the slobbering dog bloke, right? Ring a bell, feed some bloody mutt his doggie tea and then after a while, all you have to do is ring the bell to start him drooling. Correct?"
Willow raised a surprised eyebrow. "Yeah, that's the one. How do you know about Pavlov? You don't really strike me as the studious type."
I attempted another shrug, trying to appear humble. "When you're dating the insane, it's nice to read up on the subject a bit. Sort of like an owner's manual, I suppose. Not that it did me any bloody good, mind you..." The damn harpy.
The redhead opened her mouth like she was going to say something, but she must have thought better of it. Knowing her, the chit was probably going to say something sweet and supportive. She was looking at me again with the bloody empathy just dripping off of her, and that's when it hit me. Maybe if I shared my pain, she'd share hers.
I let my face fall a bit. Not too much though, I wanted to look understanding and sympathetic, not pathetic.
"It still hurts sometimes, you know? I thought we'd be together for eternity, but one night she just said it was over...that I wasn't demon enough for the likes of her. It felt like someone had ripped my guts out." Then I sniffed, just a bit. I'm not a good enough actor to produce any tears, but I figured that just a small display of sappiness would go a long way with the witch. "I even admitted to Dru that I'd made a mistake by helping the Slayer save the bloody world, even if I did do it all for her. But she'd have none of it." I forced a sigh, letting my eyes fall to my feet as if embarrassed by my own weakness. "Never mind...you wouldn't understand."
That did it. Suddenly the red-headed witch was spilling her guts, figuratively speaking.
She paced about in front of me as she went on and bloody on about what had happened the night I'd tried to get her to do that damned love spell. Apparently, she and chubs had been playing a little more than footsie at the time.
Okay, so I admit it. I wasn't listening, but it's the girl's own faulty, really. I mean, come on. I'm a man, and I'm a demon. What the bloody hell did she expect?
"What happened between Xander and me was just a fluke," she told me. "He was helping me pick out something to wear for the Homecoming Dance and before I knew it, we were kissing."
"Fluke...got it..." I agreed aloud, although I prefer to think of it as nauseatingly bad taste on her part. Actually, I didn't have the slightest idea what she was talking about...but I did have the first knot loosened a bit.
"...it was supposed to be a delusting spell, you know? Just to..."
"Delusting...makes sense," I said, my eyes completely focused on her face, but my mind completely focused on the second knot my fingers encountered. The girl obviously had no bondage training...my dead grandmum could have undone them...with both hands tied behind her back.
"...and then you showed up..."
"Uh-huh," I grunted, having just scraped the bloody hell out of knuckles as I pulled one hand out from underneath the first few layers of ropes.
...and then I was kissing him...really kissing him, you know?" she asked me.
"Oh yeah...I know." I added, shaking my head, hoping it would cover up any other visible movements as I continued to work through the various knots and layers.
"...Cordelia could have been killed!"
Fourth knot loose. How many bloody knots did she use anyway?
"...Oz said he needed time..."
"Time, right..." He needs time? I needed more time to get the last knot undone. Then it I'd just have to wriggle my way out. 'Course, then there was the little matter of grabbing the water gun, keys and opening the lock on my ankle chains, but one crappy plan at a time, right?
"...this female werewolf. And she was in a band too! Now, I ask you, how was I supposed to compete with that?"
"Er...tough break, kid." Not very sympathetic, I know. But I don't think she was listening to me anymore than I was listening to her. She wanted it off her chest. I'd just provided the catalyst.
"...it hurts, but I'll be okay. I'm more than my relationship with Oz, just like you're more than your relationship with Drusilla," she said with soft shrug and not even a hint of embarrassment in her voice at pouring her heart out to the undead.
"Love's a bitch." No, not particularly poetic, but it seemed to sum things up pretty well.
Hell, it pretty much sums up all relationships, doesn't it?
Willow stopped her pacing and gave me a friendly smile. "I'm kinda hungry. Think I'll make myself some popcorn. You want me to heat up some blood while I'm working my microwave magick?" she grinned even wider.
Perfect. By the time she was done playing the good little wifey in the kitchen, I'd be gone.
"Sure, luv. I am a bit peckish, now that you mention it."
And that's when my little plan went to hell in a hand basket. My back was to the kitchen, so when she went to make the snacks, she must have noticed that I'd nearly succeeded in freeing my hands.
Next thing I knew, I felt the cold metal of the handcuffs being snapped back into place behind my back.
"You know, Spike, I would have partially untied you if you'd just asked. You didn't have to sit there and pretend to be interested in what I was saying," she said from behind me, her voice a little more cool than I remember hearing from her before.
"I wasn't pretending. I am interested. Share my pain and all that, right? I lost Dru, you lost, um, er..."
"Oz," she sighed as she finished undoing the rope. "I've been talking about Oz for the past hour and you weren't even listening. You must think I'm the biggest idiot in Sunnydale."
Even though she set herself up for at least a dozen biting comebacks, I wasn't ready to give up hope on my plan just yet.
"You, an idiot? Not bloody likely, Red. It's plainly obvious that you're the brains in the bunch."
Willow moved in front of me to where I could see her. She had the rope in her hands and an unusually blank expression on her face. I couldn't tell if she was angry or hurt.
"Save it, Spike. I might be slow, but I'm finally on to your little game."
Sod the plan. I wanted to be free and I wasn't above begging.
"Come on, witch. Please? Keeping a vamp all cooped up like this is cruel. I'm going stir crazy in here. What if I promise I'll come back in an hour?"
Willow shook her head as she picked the water gun back up and pointed it directly at my face. "Time to get back in the tub. I've got a lot of work to do and I've wasted enough time on you."
And then the little witch actually shoved me--bloody hard, too--forcing me back down the hall and into the loo.
I was back to counting the bloody tiles.
End Part Two (archived 1/30/01)