Chapter Five

Chapter Five -- Breakfast in Bed

As I carried the tray of food up to my room for Spike, I noticed that my mom really went all out for him. Toast, two different kinds of eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal, orange and apple juice, and a mug of black coffee.

The last time that my mom did that for me was . . . well, she had never done that much for me before. But she did make me jell-o when I had my tonsils removed when I was 10.

Hmm. I was beginning to think that Mom liked Spike maybe just a little bit too much. I made a mental note to question her about that later.

So I walked into the bedroom and found Spike laying back on my bed, looking anxiously over at the tray in my hands.

“And what do we have here, luv?” He asked as I placed the tray on the bed next to him. “Wow . . . Joyce really went all out on this.”

I put on a fake pout.

“You’re telling me? I don’t know what’s so special about you, cuz I never get special treatment like this.”

He gave me a hoarse laugh. “Yeh, well just how often are you turned human and beaten to a bloody pulp by your ex, luv?”

“Not nearly enough, apparently.” I answered sarcastically, a smile on my face.

I grabbed a napkin and unfolded it, placing it loosely on his chest. I guess I would’ve tucked it in his shirt, except for the fact that he still wasn’t wearing one due to the frequent need to change the bandages on his chest.

He looked up to meet my gaze and smiled back at me.

It was kinda nice. I think that we may have had the chance of having a ‘moment’, but that chance was shot down when we were distracted by a noise at the door.

I turned my head to see Dawn standing in the doorway in her bedclothes, a disturbed look on her face. I heard her drawing in a deep breath and I knew exactly what was coming.

Cue dramatic teenage meltdown in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

“OH MY GOD! Buffy! What did you do to him this time, you big jerk!” She screeched as she came flying into the room and stood next to the bandaged and bruised Spike. “Oh god, Spike! What did she do to you?!?”

I knew that Dawn had always had a little crush on Spike. He was the proverbial ‘bad boy’ after all. It had something to do with the leather jacket and the swagger and the attitude and the accent. Everyone goes through the phase of crushing on the bad boy. Even I did.

Wait a minute . . . back up. That’s not what I meant.

I SO did not have a crush on Spike. I mean . . . okay, so maybe the ‘bad boy’ thing did get to me a little. But it wasn’t so much a crush as a fleeting moment of insanity that I recovered from real quick.

I guess I just didn’t realize that Dawn’s little crush had turned into a full on ‘rage against your sister’ infatuation.

Both her and Spike were gazing at me at that point, Dawn with a look of pure hate and anger and Spike with a look of amusement.

Oh, sure. Leave it to Spike to be amused when I’m being falsely accused.

“Dawn, I didn’t do this to Spike.” I said flatly, returning her evil glare.

“Yeah, right. Like I’d believe you, you . . . Spike hurter!” She spat back.

Nice comeback. Riiiight. ‘Spike hurter’? Oh, she’d never make it in the Slaying world. She’d fail miserably on the ‘playful banter’ part of the exam.

“I did not hurt Spike!” I said excitedly as I began to lose my patience.

Spike must’ve picked up on it because he suddenly decided to join in on the conversation.

“Big Sis is tellin’ the truth, Bit. She didn’t break me. Someone else did . . . she jus’ picked up the pieces and brought ‘em back here.” He said with a hint of sadness in his already hoarse voice.

Dawn’s anger disappeared out of her body, but instead of apologizing to me, she turned back to Spike and immediately began fawning over him. It may have been cute for a minute. Two at the most. But after 10 minutes of her obsessive chattering, it became really old.

“Dawn!” I said loudly to get her attention. “Why don’t you go downstairs for awhile? Spike needs to eat now and then he needs to rest.” She shot me an annoyed glare. “Don’t worry; he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. You can bother him all you want . . . just later.”

She began to protest, but before she could open her mouth I had my hands on her back and was escorting her out of my room. When I turned around to face my bed, I saw that Spike had a little grin on his face.

“What?” I asked exasperatedly as I put my hands on my hips and waited for his reply.

“Oh, nothing. Jus’ seems that the Bit is a little bit smitten with ol’ Spike. S’not everyday that you see a girl turn on her sister for the likes of just any old bloke. I jus’ hope you don’t have a problem with it, luv. After all, there’s plenty of Spike to go around.” He said cockily.

Cocky, proud, arrogant Spike.

Now this was the guy that I was used to dealing with, not the sad and mopey version. This Spike was definitely more fun. We always had such good banter between us.

It was kinda refreshing.

So I scoffed at him as I made my way back to the bed.

“Whatever, Spike. If a 15-year old girl fawning over you makes you feel better about yourself, then I think it’s you who has the problem. Dawn’s just a freak of nature. What repels some people attracts others.” I replied jokingly.

He grinned and continued playfully.

“Maybe Dawn’s not the freak of nature, luv. After all . . . Joyce did cook up this lovely assortment of food for me, and she and I have had hot chocolate together on more than one occasion. Seems that maybe the missus is a tad bit smitten too. I’m wonderin’ if maybe it isn’t you that’s the freak of nmphhh . . .”

I quickly put and end to his thought as I shoved a piece of toast in his mouth, carefully avoiding his injured lip. I thought that I had won the round, but he was wearing a victorious smirk as he chomped down on the toast.

A peculiar look came up upon his face as he swallowed the first bite.

“What did you say this was, luv?”

I furrowed my eyebrows. “Umm . . . toast?”

There was nothing really special about it. I think that my mom might’ve buttered it and sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon and brown sugar on it . . . but still: it was toast. Plain and simple.

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s fantastic!” He said enthusiastically as he crammed the rest of the slice into his mouth, chomping noisily and smacking his lips.

“Oh, that’s attractive.” I said with a smile as I picked up a napkin and wiped the crumbs off of his chin.

What?! It wasn’t a big deal. I was still in Dr. Buffy mode. Crumbs could’ve gotten in his cuts and they could’ve gotten infected, and . . .

Oh, shut up. Whatever.

“No, it’s really bloody good! I don’t reckon that I’ve tasted anything this sweet and delicious in . . . well, over a century.” He picked up another piece of toast and began to devour it.

“Spike . . . what are you talking about? I’ve seen you eat non-blood types of food before. Wheetabix, Doritoes, Ice Cream, Buffalo Wings, Onion Blossoms . . . a little bit of toast can’t seriously be that big of a deal for you.” I said as I gave him a doubtful look.

He tried to speak but found that it was difficult to do so with the toast crammed in his mouth, so I picked up the glass of orange juice and handed it to him. He grabbed it and began to chug it down, spilling most of it down the front of his chest.

“Yuck! Spiiiiike! That’s disgusting!” I complained as I grabbed a handful of napkins and began to clean up the mess he was making of himself.

“Sorry, luv.” He said, his mouth still pretty full. “Sure, I’ve eaten food before . . . but I never fully got to appreciate it. It was all ‘good’, but it all pretty much tasted the same, ‘specially when compared to the ambrosia that was blood.” He paused, trying to remove the thoughts of blood from his head. “Anyway, I haven’t been able to truly enjoy good human cuisine since before I was sired.”

I laughed again, but just at the sheer irony in what he had just said. The ‘human cuisine’ thing. I decided to call him on it.

“Right. The only type of human cuisine that you were actually able to enjoy was actual humans.”

I started laughing at my own joke.

What?! It was funny. I’m a funny girl. Not in the whole ‘Barbara Streisand’ kinda way, but you get my drift.

But Spike didn’t find it so funny.

He stopped chewing and turned impossibly paler than he already was. His eyes lowered to gaze at his lap and he remained completely still.

Then it hit me then what I had just done.

I burst the bubble of the dream reality that he had been momentarily living in since he had woken up that morning.

The dream reality where he was human and happy and he had nothing but better days to look forward to because he had no reason to mope or brood.

But I brought up the evil that was his past, and the dream reality suddenly disintegrated, leaving behind only this reality where he had murdered thousands of people and had enjoyed doing so.

He really wasn’t the monster that he used to be anymore.

And suddenly, I felt completely and totally guilty for adding to his pain.

If I had any doubts before about whether he had a soul or not, they had completely disappeared when I saw a few tears falling down his cheeks and a completely and utterly pained look upon his face. He felt bad. The soul was there, and it was working.

I couldn’t just leave it like that. I had to say something to him.

“Spike . . .” I said quietly, my voice full of empathy, “. . . I’m sorry.” I reached out and touched his hand He didn’t even acknowledge the simple touch . . . not a flinch, not a hitched breath, not even a blink of his teary eyes.

“I was a monster.” He whispered as he stared down at his body, still remaining completely still.

“Yes.” I answered quietly, not taking my eyes off of him.

“I still am a monster.” He whispered, more tears falling down his face as he cried silently.

I couldn’t help the tears that were building in my eyes as well, but I fought them back. Someone needed to be strong. It was up to me to keep it together.

“No.” I stated quietly but firmly. He needed to know that he wasn’t the same person anymore. If he still believed that he was a monster, his misery would consume him. Misery never does a human good.

His breath hitched in his throat as he tried to speak, thus halting his words. He drew in a deep breath and held it, trying to calm himself.

“I’ve killed more people than I could ever try to count.” He said, his voice a little louder.

“Yes.” I answered honestly. There was no sense in lying. He had killed, and he’d have to deal with that some time or another. I wished that the time wasn’t then when he was still so vulnerable, but I guess the choice was out of my hands at that point.

“And this is my punishment.” He concluded. Then his voice dropped to a whisper again. “Made human so I could feel pain, and given my soul so I could feel guilt. It’s perfect, really, if you think about it. If Dru would’ve killed me as a vampire, the pain would’ve been over too easily. Not her style. So she tortured me ‘til I broke, turned me human so I could feel the physical pain of her torture, and decided to let the soul finish the job of slowly killin’ me. It’s bloody perfect.”

And just like that he shut down, resigned to the fact that he was a monster and that he deserved to let the pain and guilt that he was feeling kill him.

But I couldn’t let that happen. Like I said before I had found him in the casket: I’m a human being with human emotion and feelings. It bothers me to see another person in pain, even if that person had been a cold-blooded murderer. Cuz this was different now. He was a different person now.

He needed to see and believe that, especially if he wanted to make it through this.

Hell, even I was rooting for him by that point in time. After all, if William the Bloody could make the transition from monster to human and live to tell the tale . . . well, it kind of gave me hope for my own future. Maybe one day . . . I’d be able to go from Slayer to Normal Buffy and also live to tell the tale.

Fat chance. But still . . . it kinda gave me hope.

I held onto Spike’s hand a little bit harder as I scooted closer to him, trying to get into his vision range.

“Spike . . . you need to realize that you’re not the same person that did all of that stuff. Granted it was really bad stuff and yes, you will definitely feel some pain over it. But it wasn’t ‘William’ who did all of that stuff, it was the demon that was inside of him. Now that the demon is gone, ‘William’ finally has the chance to shine through; to take back the life that he was robbed of so long ago.”

Slowly but surely he glanced up at me, his blue eyes red from crying.

“I don’t know if I can do it, luv.” He said quietly as he stared into my eyes.

“Do what?” I asked him. Forget his past? Move on?

“Live,” He answered, “with the pain and the guilt. I don’t know if I can live, Buffy.”

And just like that, the tears began to fall from his eyes again. He wasn’t sobbing or bawling . . . he wasn’t really making any noise at all. The tears just fell down his face as he stared silently at me.

Before I knew what I was doing, I had leaned forward and pulled him close to me, wrapping my arms around his back and gently rubbing them up and down.

Yeah, I don’t know what was going on with me either.

I was hardly ever ‘huggy’ and emotional like that, even with my own friends. A carefully placed hand on someone’s back or a pep talk, possibly an occasional quick hug; that was about the extent of my comfort factor. So I don’t know what it was exactly about this situation that made me act differently.

But something about seeing Spike like this just tugged at my heartstrings. Once so proud and strong and arrogant, now reduced to a weak and emotional mess. It was almost like watching a wild animal get tamed. Pretty heartbreaking, if you ask me.

“Spike, you can live, and you’re gonna, because I’m gonna help you. I’ll be here every step of the way, if you want me to, that is. I know we have a rough past. A really rough, shaky, nagging past. But I’m gonna overlook it for now, and I hope that you can do the same.”

I heard him sniffle a few times before he started to pull back a little. I loosened my arms from around him so that he could move, and he sat back a little so that he could look me in the eyes.

“Why?” He asked as he blinked hard a few times, trying to pull himself together.

I smiled softly.

“Because if you can get through this, it gives me hope for my own future.” I answered honestly.

At that, he chuckled a little. He looked down at the tears that had fallen down onto his chest.

“Sure. Hope . . . from me, a blubbering mess. Think you need to find another role model, luv.” He sniffled again as he gave me a shy smile, looking down to hide his bloodshot eyes from he.

I handed him a couple of napkins and he gave me a questioning look.

“To blow your nose with.” I said nonchalantly. He continued to stare at me perplexed.

So, out the door went Dr. Buffy.

In walked ‘Mother Buffy’.

I grabbed the napkins back and held them against his nose. “Blow.”

He just gazed at me for a moment before realization of what I was doing hit him. His eyes suddenly grew wide and a shocked look appeared on his blushing face before he swatted my hand away and grabbed the napkins out of it.

“Oh no you bloody don’t, Slayer! I’m a grown man, I think I can handle blowing my nose alone, thank you very much.” He said in disbelief, his hoarse voice cracking at the high octave it squeaked out at.

It made me chuckle out loud.

“Fine, fine, fine. You can blow your own nose, little Spikey.” I said playfully, trying to break the somber mood that had settled in the mood. He needed to focus on something other than the pain for awhile.

He wiped his remaining tears away and blew his nose, but only after making me turn around so I couldn’t watch him. When I finally turned back around, I saw him poking at the food on the breakfast tray with his fork. He looked uninterested in the food, but he had to eat to keep his strength up.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to play with your food?” I asked jokingly.

“’Fraid I kinda lost my appetite, luv.” He said, raising one eyebrow at me.

Ohhhh . . . I get it. It was all my fault. He was teasing me, trying to make me feel bad. I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll play along’.

“I’m sorry, Spikey.” I said in a little kids’ voice as I stole the fork out of his hand and scooped up some eggs on the end of it. “Big Mean Buffy is sorry. Here, let me make it up to you.”

I aimed the fork towards his mouth, but in true Spike fashion, he clamped his lips together and furrowed his eyebrows at me.

“Oh, come on, Spike. It yummy! Now, open up for the train. Choo-Choo!” I said as I danced the fork in front of his face like a little train.

The humor in the situation wasn’t lost on him, and he chuckled a little and gave me a goofy smile. I took advantage of the opportunity and quickly shoved the forkful of eggs into his mouth.

He looked surprised at first but eventually began to chew, grabbing the fork from my hand and shoveling a few more bites into his mouth on his own.

“They’re cold.” He said with a little pout, still eating forkful after forkful.

I put on my best smirk and said, “Well, next time you’ll have to stop playing around and eat your food when it’s first brought to you, mister.”

I laughed as I watched him make a mess of himself while eating, dropping bits of eggs, pancakes, and cereal drop down onto his chest and my bed. After he finally finished eating everything on the plate, I removed the tray from the bed and sat it by the door.

I turned around and looked at him, and the sight made me laugh out loud.

“You’re a mess!” I said through giggles as I pointed at him, causing him to look down at his food-covered torso.

He chuckled. “Yeah, s'pose I am. What’re the chances of a bloke getting a shower around here?”

“Fairly good, I’d say. But you’re gonna need help. Xander’s running to your crypt to pick up some of your stuff. When he comes back, he or Giles can help you.”

His eyes just about bugged out of his head.

“Nuh-uh, luv. I’m not lettin’ that blighter or the nancy Watcher help me. I’d rather stink.” He said forcefully.

I ignored his further protests as I walked over and began to change his soiled bandages, not knowing how long it would take Giles or Xander to return.

“You have no choice in the matter, Spike. You need to shower, and you need help. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m ready to see you ‘Full Monty’ just yet.” I said as I finished changing his bandages. When I finished, I looked up to meet his gaze and noticed that he was smirking.

Not a ‘new and improved Spike’ smirk, but the kind that the old Spike used to wear.

“What?” I asked, eyebrows furrowed.

“Not ready to see me Full Monty yet? So . . . maybe tomorrow then, yeah?” He asked with a confident snicker.

And cue the schoolgirl blush . . . now.

“Ughh! You’re a pig, Spike.” I stood up from the bed and walked to the door, picking up the tray before I left the room. “Get some more rest. I’m gonna go wash the dishes and clean up.”

Just before I walked out the door, I turned back and said in a sing-song voice, “I’ll make sure to send Xanderrrrrr up when he gets heeeeeere!” As I turned and made my way down the stairs, I heard him growl quietly and mumble under his breath.

Maybe this could be a little bit of fun after all.

Chapter Six

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