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Chapter Five: He kind of swaggered…
"Angel’s our friend. Except I don’t like him."-Xander
It took a week and some help from Gilly, of all people, before I was able to snag a suitable job at a clothing store. Gilly talked the owner into hiring me on the grounds that I wouldn't freak if someone less than human came in. I wasn't sure about the not freaking part myself, but after a few days I managed to stop staring at the demons who shopped there. I suppose I did okay seeing as my boss, a human named Gaz, soon was very fond of me to the point of hitting on me at least once a day. It wasn't too bad and became something of a joke after a while so I ignored it.
Spike refused to tell me what the rent was on the apartment or how he got his own cash so I ended up paying for food, blood, cigarettes and other things while Spike covered that end. Knowing Spike, though, I figured that he owned the building and was probably paying nothing to stay there. I asked Gilly but the friendly Incubus with-held the information on Spike's orders.
I was actually getting to like my demon landlord. Gilly was actually a sweet guy...er demon…thing. He cooked gourmet feasts as a hobby and so I was always finding amazing meals in the fridge when I returned from work. He also had far better taste in clothes than I. He bought me little gifts of clothing while shopping for himself so I wouldn't have to. My breasts certainly did not come with any urge to shop attached. I mostly liked him because he didn't treat me like a male or a female. Gilly treated everyone the same because in his eyes, they were all equally shaggable.
To my continued irritation Buffy, Wills, Riley, and Giles all treated me like a girl. They'd accepted my new gender easily and were already referring to me as a she. Because it did little good, I learned to restrain my annoyance around them but it wasn't easy. What helped was knowing that when I got home I would be welcome to sprawl out on the couch with a beer and some pretzels and watch sports or whichever movie with big explosions and blood and guts that Spike would pick out for us.
Spike acted strangely toward me. He was still sarcastic and rude and snarky beyond belief, but now our banter was all in good fun. After my Spike epiphany in the basement I no longer mocked him for his chippedness and he never cracked any jokes about my being a chick. Everything else was fair game. We became a lot more comfortable with each other physically as well. We frequently pushed each other around the apartment and when I was pissed I'd yank his cigarette out of his mouth or flick him on the nose and call him a "Bad puppy!" To this he'd respond by snarling at me and lighting up another, or smiling sweetly and saying something perverted like, "If I'm a bad puppy, then when are you going to be a good pussy and spread'em?"
It was strange living with him. I knew that he was attracted to me, this he didn't hide. He commented on my looks frequently enough. Strangely for me, everyday the vamp started to look a little more yummy. We both used this as a weapon in our everlasting war. I'd taunt him by wearing tiny little shorts and sports bras around the apartment while he would walk around in boxers, his pallid glory evident to all. And damned if the bastard wasn't perfectly built.
There were days when he'd come home from a Scooby meeting or patrol hissing and spitting about seemingly nothing. I knew that he was still trying to come to terms with his handicap and so on those days I discovered that having a yelling match with him about something obnoxious he did helped him calm down again. If he felt he was being at least a little bit unpleasant then he was content. So I always tried to find reasons to bitch at him. I also had my days when I'd come home beyond angry because Giles'd referred to me as "her" one too many times, or because Riley'd checked me out a little too obviously. Those times Spike would take me on patrol and allowed me to beat on and get beaten on by, demonic ickies.
All in all, we'd settled into a good calm, uneventful life...which of course, meant that shit was coming.
"Spike!" I hissed, trying to push him out of the way. I was standing outside Giles' apartment carrying a huge box of heavy books that Willow needed carried in from the car. I had, in trying to prove my manliness, offered to carry the box in. The only problem was that it was way too damn heavy and Spike decided to put me in my place or something by blocking the door. "Move you big evil space-hogging people licker!" He turned to consider me just as I shoved at him again. He stared at me with that scarred eyebrow raised, smirking at me.
"Having trouble there?" He asked sweetly. I glowered at him. The box was slipping so painfully through my fingers. I winced, trying to get a better grip on it. He didn't move, looking at me expectantly. I sighed, feeling my palms being shredded by the harsh box edge. I knew what he wanted. He wanted me to admit that I wasn't as big and strong as I used to be. He had started this argument during patrol the night before.
I'd taken on a vampire about the same size as my former body and had gotten trounced. Spike saved me and then lectured me all the way home about using better judgement when it came to my new body's strengths and weaknesses. He'd sounded like Giles always did when Willow did something to risky magic-wise.
I could see that he wasn't going to let me through until I admitted weakness. I growled at him and then smiled sweetly. "Buffy, there's a vampire shaped piece of dust in my way, help?" Buffy wrapped her arm around Spike's neck and pulled him inside, clearing my path. Buffy tossed Spike at the couch easily while he bitched, and I dropped the box on the table. With a gasp of relief I saw everyone else settling in their seats and decided to go to the kitchenette to get some ice to put on the now bleeding blisters on my palms.
I finally settled cross-legged on the couch next to where Spike was sprawled, glaring at Buffy. I held onto the ice cubes in a baggy and glowered at him until he looked at me and smirked. Leaning over he whispered in my ear. "You still asked for help from someone stronger than you." He said then settled back, his hands behind his head looking smug. I growled at him and while Giles cleared his throat and began to speak, I slowly worked an ice cube out of the baggy. I will have my revenge.
"From what we've seen, the past week has been unnaturally quiet which is suspicious in itself." Giles informed us, he chewed the earpiece of his glasses thoughtfully. "I'd like to focus or research on prophecies, perhaps we have overlooked an explanation of something to come."
"Yay! Maybe we'll have another apocalypse. We just can't get enough of those." I said dryly and casually palmed my ice cube and stretched my arms across the back of the couch. Now to wait for the perfect moment. Hopefully it'd come soon since my hand was starting to drip.
The phone rang, it was the distraction I was waiting for. All of us turned to stare at the phone that almost never rang when we were all present. I attacked as his head turned and then suddenly I was sprawled across my victim's legs with the ice cube shoved down my shorts. I yowled and squirmed off of him onto the floor, trying to dig it out of my underwear. As I struggled I could hear his evil laughter.
Once I got it out I jumped on him and shoved it down the back of shirt while he tried to protect himself. Triumphant, I raised my arms to the ceiling, reveling in the glory that is me. Spike pouted and squirmed, trying to remove the ice cube. It was then that I realized that Buffy, Riley, and Wills were all staring at us in consternation. Buffy was even clutching a stake, after seeing Spike seemingly assault me. I guess we looked a little strange with Spike squirming in his seat and me straddling his lap with my arms in the air.
I grinned innocently at them as Spike finally extracted the ice cube, "Ice cube." I said as if that explained everything. They continued to stare. Spike tapped me on the nose with it and I looked back at him. He wiggled his eyebrow and stuck it on Giles' seat next to us. I snickered evilly with him and climbed off his lap onto the cushion next to him and settled down again, recovering my ice baggy for further hand treatment.
Everyone was giving us wiggy looks though, except for Giles. Giles was on the phone looking extremely worried. Seeing his worry, I redirected everyone's attention to him and we all waited for him to finish. He did with a "We'll be ready. Thank you for the warning, Angel." I started to worry. Angel was warning us about something?
"What did Angel want? What's up, Giles?" Buffy asked anxiously. Giles flicked the melting ice cube off of his seat then sat down, his hand going to pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Apparently Cordelia just received a rather straightforward vision from the Powers That Be. Angel has been instructed to get as many residents of Los Angeles as possible out of the city as soon as he is able. Apparently something really big is on its way that can't be fought by normal means. Angel asserts that the human authorities seem to know something is up as they have started to close down public places. Angel is focusing on the harmless demon population for now, then he's going to be heading here to regroup." I stared at him. We all did. Except Spike.
"Right then, did the mighty Vamp Detective want 'elp or not?" He asked. I blinked at him. He was ready and willing to help the helpless. I scowled at him suspiciously. Giles nodded.
"He says that he could use some help rounding up enough transportation for those needing to be evacuated. Apparently Cordelia's vision included instructions to create a kind of caravan of vehicles. The Powers seemed to stress mobility more than anything else."
"How're we supposed to get the vehicles we need?" Wills asked, concerned. I fidgeted with my ice baggy, suddenly feeling really troubled about this whole situation.
"I am assuming that this is a situation where we must take what we need to survive and answer for it after the trouble is over." Giles answered her.
"So we get to loot and pillage for the good of humanity?" I asked with a fake grin. Buffy scowled at me. "Oh c'mon, you can't tell me you've never wanted to just take what you wanted before." She shifted uncomfortably.
"Yes I have but in that way lies the inner Faith." She answered. "Angel's only helping the demons?" She asked suddenly.
"He was going to focus on the demonic population, but that doesn't mean he won't be helping the less able of the human population." We all kind of sat thinking for a moment before Buffy jumped to her feet with her "Me Slayer, you Slayerette" face on. I sighed in relief. That was the face she got when she had a plan.
"Okay we gotta get a move on then, Angel needs us." Spike snorted and I elbowed him. "Alright Wills, Riley, Giles, you guys stay here. Giles, Wills, you research, try and figure what the hell is going on. Riley, sweetie, can you get a hold of your Initiative buddies and see if they have any clue what's up?" Riley nodded the affirmative. Buffy turned to me. "Xander, I'll need you to come with me to L.A. to help Angel." I nodded and she looked at Spike, waiting for him to blow us off.
"You'll need someone experienced at the looting and the pillaging and such." Spike said with an easy grin. "Sound like fun." I could tell Buffy was trying not to look grateful.
"Alright, Xander, Spike, and I'll head for L.A." She finished her plan and we all jumped to. Except Spike. He kind of swaggered.
"Hey Angel! How's life serving Queen Cordy?" I called into the cell phone. We were just entering the chaos that was West Hollywood. We needed to talk to Angel, since it was his show but Buffy was being too girly to talk to her ex and Spike was driving, and who'd let him call anyway? So I was calling the vamp with a soul.
"Who is this?" I grinned at his pissy response.
"Its your favorite Sunnydale resident! Its Xander the Magnificent."
"Why do you sound like a girl?" He sounded suspicious.
"I'm a woman now. Get over it." I winced as I nearly quoted Anya. "We're on Sunset headed East. Where do you want us and what do you want us to be doing?" I almost dropped the phone when Spike violently changed lanes. I smacked his arm and Buffy grumbled something from the back seat of my car.
"Report to the office, Wesley is coordinating everything. Do you know how to get there?" I turned and looked at the others.
"Do either of you know where his office is?" Both nodded. Buffy looked a little sad and frayed around the edges.
"Yeah, we're good. Seeya soon, that is, if Spike doesn't drive us into oncoming traffic like he seems to be trying to do." Spike grinned evilly at me and I laughed.
"Spike? Spike's driving? Are you insane?!" Snickering I hung up and gave the phone back to Buffy who scowled at me. I smiled at her.
"We gotta get to the office and our favorite really annoying, and/or girly ex-Watcher will tell us how best to assist the de-demonizing of this fair city." I explained. Buffy's scowl turned into a frown and she sighed.
"Doesn't anyone else think its weird that we're helping to save demons?" She whined. I smiled and reached between the seats to pat her knee.
"Yes, Buff, its weird, but not all demons are bad. Take Spikey, for example." I smirked evilly. "He's a harmless, sweet, adorable little puppy." I punctuated my words by reaching over and mussing Spike's slicked back hair. He cursed and swerved on the road, flailing his free arm at me. I ducked the arm and winked at Buffy. "Doesn't he make you feel all maternal?" She laughed despite the fact that she was clutching the seat like any second we were going to roll.
I was less nervous though. After driving with Spike at the wheel a few times I learned two important facts. 1) Spike has complete control over his vehicle at all times, despite his appearance of dangerous stupidity, and 2) Spike has vampire reflexes that allow for exact maneuvering in any situation. After I'd realized these things, I'd learned to relax in the car despite the seemingly reckless driver behind the wheel.
Buffy, however, didn't know this, and I was having too much fun watching the Big Brave Slayer look scared to tell her. Its not like she'd believe me anyway. Also, to tell her would be to compliment the grumpy froufy-haired vamp behind the wheel and we couldn't have that. I settled down in my seat and looked out the windows at the streets. There were quite a few cars on the road but almost no pedestrians. The only people I saw on foot were the cops and they were near their squad cars.
"Is anyone else getting a majorly oogy vibe from this place?" Buffy asked suddenly from the back. I shivered. I had been hoping that it was just my imagination but if Buffy was picking it up with all her Slayeryness, and looking at Spike scowl and nod, I knew we were in trouble.
"Lets make this trip a fast one then, right?" Spike suggested, making a few lane changes and speeding up even more. "I'd like to be safely back at home before whatever is making us twitchy arrives." I nodded. I had no problem helping but not at the cost of our lives if we could help it. We fell into a strange silence, seeing as the three of us were so well known for our bickering, but none of us wanted to break the silence that lent itself to the citywide tension.
"Angel's lame. His hair grows straight up, and he's bloody stupid."-Buffybot
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