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Something in the Eyes

Title: Something in the Eyes
Author: LookingForOctober
Prompt: The Thing in Mrs Faversham's Attic
Setting: Between Season 4 and Season 5
Words: 1000

The hell of it was that he hadn't even been careless. Spike knew the Slayer's patrol schedule like he knew which days each butcher shop would have fresh pig's blood in, and after that cock up at the Initiative, he made a point of keeping out of her way. He wasn't dust yet, and he wanted to keep it that way. No point in reminding her of how he'd played her and her friends; no point tempting her and her stake-happy hands.

So he'd been paying attention, going about his business with an eye out, and yet here she was blocking his path, the tiny blonde with the big frown.

"What are you doing here, Spike," she said. It wasn't a question. She was staking a claim to his business, no question about it.

"Just on my way home, love," he said, as meek as he could manage. He was willing to admit he owed her something.

"From what?"

"The sort of innocent night on the town I'd bring my dear old granny along for, if I had one." That wasn't going to cut it, but he had to try.

"Doing what, exactly?"

He judged her annoyance level, decided that the stake wasn't coming out in the next five seconds. "None of your bloody business," he said, making like he was going to brush past her.

She moved to block him, and he let her. "Doing what?" she repeated patiently. He got the message as clearly as if she'd spelled it out. This claim ran deep, as deep as that streak of responsibility that hardened her into a Slayer to be reckoned with. You're mine, her steady gaze said. I let you live, but I'm a good little Slayer. You're not getting away with anything on my watch. I'll stake you first, don't think I won't.

Spike sighed. He believed her. "A drink or two at Willy's, then scavenging some of that fancy gear the government's abandoning--" Her eyes narrowed. "Relax Slayer. I know a bloke who knows a demon who's starting a gym, he wants the plexiglass and some of the lighting. As legitimate as it gets, and a bloke's got to bring in the green stuff somehow. Blood and smokes aren't free, you know."

"You sure know how to show your dear granny a good time," Buffy said. Was that the hint of a smile? But she wasn't giving up yet, she was just contemplating her next question. He tried to come up with something else to give her to show willing, impress her a little. He was opening his mouth when a scream split the air.

He already had his mouth open, so he got his words started before Buffy could say anything. "That's your call, I'll just be--"

"Not so fast, buster. I'm not done with you yet. You're coming with me."

He bristled, she glared, and it was easy to see she wasn't going to take no for an answer. Hesitate too long and-- he couldn't read her expression, he wasn't sure how far she'd go. Damn her anyway. He took off in the direction of the scream.

-.-.-


The trail they'd been following for half an hour went straight up the side of a dark house to a broken attic window. The wood siding was riddled with claw marks.

"You first," she said. Of course she wasn't going to let him out of her sight, and the siding was rough enough that he could climb up, but when he got there, he couldn't enter. He let go, landing silently next to Buffy.

"I didn't see the thing--" her eyebrow raised-- "beast, demon, whatever the hell we're chasing. But there's another boy chained up in there, about ten years old. And the owner of the place is human and alive. I can't get in."

"Okay, I'll be right back," she said. "Don't go anywhere." She hesitated, then swallowed her threats, pretending to trust him. He'd won that much with his vampire sense of smell; she'd never have got this far without him. But he could see the exact moment she dismissed him, her mind turning to what she had to do as she climbed up and disappeared through the window.

Long minutes passed. He paced and listened, but there was nothing to hear but the occasional mysterious rattle of a chain. Finally, he couldn't stand it any longer. He climbed up after her.

When he peered in, the boy was huddled in a corner as far from Buffy as his chains allowed. His eyes darted wildly here and there, anywhere but her. Buffy looked frustrated; she'd almost got one of the links in the chain unbent, but what was she going to do then?

Spike chuckled soundlessly to himself. A little Slayer dilemma...

The door to the attic banged open and a beast -- Spike instantly recognized the smell of the thing they'd been chasing -- strutted in. Buffy darted in front of the boy and dropped into a defensive stance.

The beast and Buffy started feeling each other out, feinting and snapping, but Spike watched the boy. The boy watched the beast. He never took his eyes off it, from the instant it paraded in. He was intent and self-possessed and reverent. The beast was his fate; he faced it and tried to understand its actions, every nuance. Nothing else mattered.

The beast darted forward, snarling a threat. Buffy countered; behind Buffy, the boy ducked and twisted his head, exposing his throat.

Spike forced a chunk of wood from the decaying window frame and threw it. It hit the boy on the head, and as he fell, unconscious, his form dissolved and reformed in the shape of another beast.

Slayer dilemma solved. Buffy killed them both.

-.-.-


"How'd you know?" Buffy asked him. She seemed genuinely curious.

"Just did," he said sulkily.

Her lips pursed, expressing dissatisfaction. He was watching.

"It was something in the--" Throat, he thought but didn't say. "Eyes."

Comments

shapinglight
Oct. 30th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
I love the way you've written the verbal sparring between them.
lookingforoctober.dreamwidth.org
Nov. 1st, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (I think some of the feel of it at the beginning comes from watching The Mentalist before I started writing.)

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