Authors: 2writers4spike aka mabel_marsters & dawnofme
Warning: Mentions of Spike with others.
Betas: seapealsh & slaymesoftly. Thank you so much!
Anticipation: a: a prior action that takes into account or forestalls a later action b: the act of looking forward ; especially : pleasurable expectation
Summary: Having no idea how it happened, Spike finds himself back in 1977, reeling from a newly acquired soul and more guilt than most could handle. After dodging Drusilla, his main focus is getting back to his own time and back to Buffy in Sunnydale so that he can atone for all he's done. That is, until he sees the newly born slayer in 1981 and goes off in a new direction. Can he stop the events that brought misery to Buffy's life, or will he be forced to watch destiny destroy the woman he loves all over again?
Disclaimer: We own no part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel the Series. We write this purely for fun and not financial gain. No infringement of copyright intended.
banner by dawnofme
Spike groaned softly and shifted on the bed; the slight noise and movement brought Dr. Edgar to the bedside. The vampire had lain there without change for a month since the night that he’d been brought in. His eyes were still heavily bandaged. The doctor changed the dressings and applied more salve twice daily but he had been dismayed at the lack of repair of even the blistered skin. He’d managed to force small amounts of blood into Spike but barely enough to keep him functioning, let alone heal. If he’d given too much it had merely provoked the vampire to vomit.
Spike’s movements became stronger and Dr. Edgar sat in the chair on the left hand side of the bed while he waited to see if he would actually resurface today. The doctor was glad that neither Volkov nor Noreen was there at the moment as he was certain that Spike would be distressed by his injuries.
Spike lifted a hand towards his eyes. He started when a warm hand briefly caught his.
“Leave them be,” said Dr. Edgar.
Spike turned his head towards the voice and pushed himself up to a sitting position. He grimaced as pain knifed through his head, then licked his lips and tried to talk. His voice was low and hoarse. “Where am I?”
“Safe. Your friends, Volkov and Noreen, brought you in.”
Spike seemed to ponder that information for a moment before speaking again.
“What happened to me?”
“You don’t remember?”
Spike thought better of shaking his aching head. “Uh…not sure.” He licked his lips again and swallowed a couple of times. “Was I fighting some big blue fucker?”
Dr. Edgar couldn’t help but chuckle. “I am sure that you were. Though I don’t know what for. Avoiding the Avilas demon would have been a wiser option to take.”
“Avilas, eh? Never heard of that one before. The git had hold of a young girl. Couldn’t just let it have her, now could I?”
Despite being told by both Noreen and Volkov that Spike wasn’t the typical vampire, the doctor hadn’t truly believed them until he heard Spike say that. To go in single-handedly against one of the most lethal demons that existed was incredible. All the more when the fight wasn’t one of survival but rather a rescue attempt.
“You will have saved her life,” Dr. Edgar said softly.
“She ran off and I was doing all right against the bastard until it spat at me. Don’t remember anything after that.” Spike raised his hand once more to his bandages. “So how long have I been here? I know it’s not home by the smell. Where’s Volkov?”
“‘Here’ is my small hospital. I’m Dr. Edgar. Volkov will be back soon. He calls in every evening.”
“Every evening? Just exactly how many evenings would that be?” asked Spike. His stomach clenched as he began to realize that maybe things weren’t so good. He touched the padding over his eyes and had to bite his lip to keep from crying out.
Bloody hell, that hurts.
“You have been unconscious for a month. I’ve had terrible trouble trying to get you to take blood. You’ll heal much more quickly now. In fact, you had broken your arm but even on such a meager diet it has healed beautifully.”
Shit! A month!
“When do I get these things off?” Spike waved a hand at the bandages.
“Another couple of days should be sufficient.”
“Thank God. I can’t stand the thought of sitting here in the dark for too long. Be bored out of my head. My hearing seems a bit fuzzy too.” He felt the bandages over his right ear. “Will this come off then, too?”
“Yes, we will remove all of your bandages at the same time,” Dr. Edgar said. “Do you think that you can take some blood?”
“Yeah, feel bloody famished.”
Spike heard the doctor get out of the chair, the legs squeaking on the floor as he pushed it back.
“Hey, Doc,” he said quietly.
Dr. Edgar paused. “Yes?”
“Uh…so is all this because the sod gobbed on me?”
“It is. The Avilas demon uses it as its main defense.”
“Okay,” said Spike slowly. “So what does it do- this saliva?”
The doctor sat back down. “It is extremely caustic. I can only assume that you didn’t get a full dose of it, otherwise your body would have been completely destroyed. It sets hard against the skin and can burn through skin and bone unless it is removed in time.”
“Burns?” Spike said weakly. “My eyes…”
Spike smiled and let out a deep breath. “Thank God for that. Had me worried for a minute there, Doc.”
“I’m sorry, Spike,” said Dr. Edgar.
“What? Why?” Spike didn’t need to hear the reply to know what he was going to be told.
“Your eyes were severely damaged. If Volkov hadn’t found you when he had, they would have been lost completely.”
“Oh, shite,” whispered Spike. “I’m not going to be able to see, am I? Not even when the bandages come off.”
The doctor laid a hand on Spike’s arm. “No. No, you won’t. The hearing in your right ear is most probably damaged also.”
Spike moaned under his breath and shook his head, ignoring the pain that his action provoked. “I’ll heal though, right? Vampire, yeah. I can heal anything.” His voice had a tremulous edge to it.
“I’m sure that you will heal, Spike, but you need to be prepared for a long recuperation – several months at best.”
Spike turned his face away from the doctor. No way was he going to ask what the worst case scenario was.
“I’ll go and get you that blood now, shall I?”
Spike nodded mutely. He heard the shuffling sound of the doctor leaving the room and fought off the feeling of panic that the sensory deprivation was causing, trying not to think about how he might have months of this darkness to endure.
What bloody use will I be? Oh, Christ.
The smell of warm blood wafted in as the doctor returned and even before the demon had pressed the mug into his hands, Spike had given out a growl and involuntarily vamped out. He quickly changed his features back and panted as the excruciating pain from shifting bones under tender skin receded.
“Here you are, Spike. There is plenty more so drink as much as you like. Your skin is still very sore and that’s why the change hurt you so much. I’m sorry, I should have warned you.”
“’S all right,” Spike muttered. “Didn’t mean to do it. Just when us vamps get really hungry then it happens when we smell blood.”
He drained the mug in only a couple of gulps and Dr. Edgar hoped that Spike wouldn’t end up vomiting.
Spike cocked his head on one side. “Human?” He hadn’t tasted human since he’d gotten his soul.
“I can’t…I mean I don’t…”
“It’s all right. No one was harmed. We managed to get a supply of expired blood from one of the hospitals. Volkov told me that you no longer partook, but this will help your healing powers more than pigs’ blood would.”
Spike’s mouth was watering. Even expired, the blood tasted like ambrosia. But it felt wrong to drink it. The animal blood was a penance in a way. Acquiring the taste for it was the price to pay for his past killings. But, God, this tasted good. He held out the mug in what he hoped was the general direction of the doctor.
“Can I have some more?” He’d made the decision to drink as much of the stuff as possible and then his injuries would be healed that much more rapidly.
“Of course. I’ll go and get it. But perhaps take this mug a little slower?”
It had been around three hours since Spike regained consciousness and already felt like he was going out of his mind. Deprived of his sight, Spike found that even his damaged hearing seemed to pick up on every small noise in the place. He heard people coming and going in the house and he had to fight the desire to hide. Spike felt so vulnerable sitting there. If something came in he would have no chance of defending himself. Had the doctor closed the door to his room? He couldn't remember and the thought that people could be looking in at him as they walked past freaked him out. His acute sense of smell didn’t help him relax either. The scents of various demon breeds, and once another vampire, had him close to panic.
He started and turned his face towards the noise as the door swung open. It’s been closed all the sodding time. When the familiar smell of Volkov wafted towards him, Spike almost sobbed with relief.
“Spike! You’re awake! Thank God!” cried Volkov as he rushed to Spike’s bedside.
Spike bit the inside of his mouth and willed himself not to cry like a ponce. The chair legs scraped on the floor as Volkov sat down. Spike turned his face away from his friend, all of a sudden embarrassed at his injuries.
“Dr. Edgar didn’t tell me,” continued Volkov. “But I just came right in here when I arrived. So how long have you been back in the land of the living…er…un-living…whatever.”
How the fucking hell do I know? Can’t see a bloody clock can I? But when he spoke, Spike opted for the less offensive, “I dunno. A while.”
Crap! Of course he doesn’t know! I’m so dumb. “I’m sorry,” said Volkov. He had absolutely no idea what to say. “Um…”
“Yeah?” Spike turned towards him.
“Um…” repeated Volkov. “So…I’ll just go and get Dr. Edgar.” He almost pushed the chair over in his haste.
Spike slumped down in the bed. Bollocks. Even my best mate can’t stand to be near me. Coming to terms with having his soul again had been hard but this…he just wasn’t sure that he could take this.
Volkov stopped once he was in the hall. He screwed up his face in disgust. “How could I run out on him,” he muttered, as he rubbed a hand over his face.
Dr. Edgar was standing in front of him when he opened his eyes again. “Ah, Volkov. I have good news for you. Spike is aw—”
“Awake; I know.”
“Oh,” said the doctor. “Is he in pain? Were you looking for me?”
“No,” replied Volkov, avoiding his eye. “I—I…er…I guess I panicked.” His tortured eyes lifted and met the doctor’s gaze. “I didn’t know what to say. He just looks so…small…frail…so helpless.”
Dr. Edgar guided Volkov into his study a little further down the hallway. “Take a seat for a moment.” He indicated a plush leather chair opposite his own. When they both had sat down, Dr. Edgar put his elbows on the desk and laced his fingers together. He peered at Volkov as he rested his chin on his hands.
“I am worried about how Spike will react to his blindness. A vampire is ruled by its senses. They are the ultimate predator.” Dr. Edgar lifted his head and gestured with his hand to stop Volkov’s interruption before he’d even managed to say a word. “I know that Spike no longer hunts, but it is how he is made up. To be unable to see will be very difficult for him. He needs you to be there for him, Volkov.”
“I know. I know,” sighed Volkov.
“Well, I suggest that you go back in to see him and this time, even if you find it distressing, don’t leave him alone.”
“I won’t.” Volkov took a deep breath and stood up. “I won’t let him down.”
Dr. Edgar nodded wisely. “I know that you won’t. Now go and sit with your friend. I’ll be there to change the bandages in a few minutes.”
Volkov’s face paled at the thought of being there for the change of dressings. He’d managed to avoid it most of the time. His stomach wasn’t very strong and Spike’s face wasn’t a pretty sight, but he nodded and walked out of the study.
Spike heard Volkov pause outside the door. He’d heard what his friend and the doctor had said until they had gone to the study. Helpless. Spike sighed bitterly. So much for him wanting to do good and protect Buffy. Buffy! He pushed the thought from his mind. He was no use to her now.
Volkov flung the door open and marched inside before his courage failed him.
“I’m back,” he said too brightly.
“So I see.”
Both froze for a second when Spike said that. Spike could hear Volkov’s heartbeat speed up.
“Look, mate. The Doc told me the score, all right?”
Volkov flopped down in the chair. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault is it? I should have ducked.” The corner of Spike’s mouth twitched upwards.
“What? God, Spike…how can you…”
Spike shrugged. “What’s done’s done. No use moaning about it.” Inside Spike was terrified, but he needed his friend and was afraid that if he let Volkov know his true feelings that he wouldn’t want his vampire buddy around anymore.
“So, you’re still dating Noreen then? I can smell her on you.”
Volkov managed a chuckle. “Oh, man. That is so gross.”
They fell silent.
“Uh…Doc says that you brought me here. I didn’t know that you knew any doctors that could treat the likes of me.”
“I didn’t. Noreen did. I would have just brought you home and if I had then—”
Volkov stopped dead.
“Then my eyes would have been totally fucked,” supplied Spike. “Thanks for looking for me and for bringing me here. Doc says my eyes will heal. Just might take a while is all.” Spike dipped his head. “Sure that you want a housemate who can do sod all?” Spike felt pleased that his voice had remained even.
“Spike, sure I still want you sharing my house. How could you ever think that I wouldn’t?”
“Dunno. Just… I’m not gonna be much use, am I?” replied Spike.
“Well, if you mean at cleaning the place, then I hate to disappoint you but you’re crap at it anyway.”
Spike huffed. “I’m not that bad.”
“Yeah, you really are.”
Volkov was beginning to relax a little. Spike seemed…well, like Spike. He reached out and tentatively put his hand over Spike’s where it lay on the bed. Spike twisted his hand over and gripped Volkov’s tightly before letting it go.
“Suppose I am. Got a good excuse now though.”
Into the somber silence that followed, Dr. Edgar walked in carrying the supplies required to re-dress Spike’s eyes.
“Now, Spike,” said the doctor. “I’m here to change your bandages again. I’m afraid that now you’re awake it will probably hurt a little.”
“Just do it, okay?” said Spike, clenching his jaw in anticipation.
Volkov moved from his chair beside Spike and went to the foot of the bed to allow Dr. Edgar to get to his patient. Spike tensed several times as the doctor slowly unwound the bandages, and once muttered a word that Volkov could only guess was a curse word in England. Volkov found himself mirroring the reaction of his friend and wishing that he could do something to prevent the pain.
When the last of the bandages fell free, Volkov had to stifle a gasp at the sight of Spike’s face. The wounds seemed no better than the last time that he’d seen them, which had been in the first week after the attack.
“That good, huh?” said Spike quietly.
The bandages had held the eyelids closed but now Spike could open them. Despite all that the doctor had said, Spike had still hoped that he’d be able to see, even if blurred. The darkness remained unaltered. Oh, bollocks. He could hardly bear to blink as it felt as if shards of glass were sticking in his eyes every time that the lids moved.
He lifted his left hand and let the fingers gently trace the scars on his face. The edge of it was plain as day. The skin on his jaw and the lower half of his cheeks was perfectly smooth but the rest was covered with raised knotted scars. They felt bad but he’d been burned before and he was sure that they would disappear. The feel of his eyes worried him. He had no doubt that they looked as bad as they felt.
“The facial burns should heal in no time, especially if you take plenty of blood,” Dr. Edgar said.
“You keep saying that, Doc,” said Spike, letting his hand fall back down to the bed.
“Keep saying what?”
“Should,” Spike replied. “You never say will heal, it’s always should.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. It is just a habit of mine. Several demon species can be very resentful if the recovery time is longer than I have estimated. So now I keep it as vague as can be.”
“That’s all right then. Good to know that I shouldn’t lose my devilish good looks.”
Volkov snorted with laughter. Typical Spike. He was so vain.
“Of that I am certain,” laughed the doctor, delighted that his patient could joke about his situation.
He reapplied the salve and Spike closed his eyes as the bandages were replaced. Dr. Edgar glanced at Volkov. “I’m sure I can let you go home in a couple of days as long as Volkov, here, ensures that you stay on the human blood.”
“I will, Dr. Edgar. I’ll take good care of him.”
Although Volkov’s words should have reassured him, Spike quailed at the thought of having to be taken care of. When he’d been paralyzed after the organ had collapsed onto him, he hadn’t enjoyed being dependent on Dru and later Angel, not one little bit. He knew that Volkov would look after him much better than they did, but he hated the fact that he would be helpless.
Spike was pleased to be left alone again. He’d told Volkov that he felt tired, and it wasn’t totally untrue. This time, he listened carefully for the sound of the door being closed so he could relax as he lay down on the bed. Try as he might, his thoughts kept returning to Buffy. In his previous reality she had obviously survived for years, but he wondered if his presence back in this time could have altered reality in other ways. He had needed to check that she was okay for his own peace of mind and now he couldn’t.
He sincerely wished that he had taken another route that night and never met the Avilas demon.
Spike’s stomach churned as he waited for Volkov and Noreen to come to take him home. His eyes were un-bandaged but he tended to keep them closed, as they were still painful when he blinked. Dressing had proved a little easier than he’d feared. Nothing too complicated about the jeans and t-shirt that Volkov had brought for him the day before. He just shoved his feet into his boots and held his duster on his lap as he sat on the edge of the bed. Spike smiled slightly as he stroked the soft leather of his coat. Thank God that it survived the attack. Worn initially to remind him of exactly what he used to be, it now was his comforter - the thing that made him feel right somehow.
The door swung open and Spike raised his head as Volkov and Noreen walked in.
“All set?” asked Volkov.
“Yeah, I’m good to go.” Spike stood up and turned as he felt a hand on his arm, and then a kiss on his cheek.
“It will be good to have you home, Spike,” said Noreen. “Volkov’s really missed you.”
“Thanks, love,” he muttered.
She kept her hand on his arm as they made their way to the car, managing to guide Spike around hazards without him realizing it. She quietly told him the number of steps down to the sidewalk and he nodded at her gratefully.
He hesitated before walking slowly down the steps, smelling the night air for the first time in almost five weeks. It no longer seemed inviting. The smells and the sounds unnerved him more than he care to admit.
I bleeding hate this!
He didn’t realize that he’d been holding his breath until he exhaled once he was safe inside Volkov’s car.
Bleeding vampire afraid of the dark! Oh, shite!
Soon he was settled in his favorite chair, which he knew, ironically, was opposite the TV. Noreen had helped him in and then gone to the kitchen to heat some blood for him. He wasn’t remotely hungry but he was taking as much of the stuff as he could to try to kick-start his healing.
His friends stayed up with him all night, chatting and trying too hard to make him feel at home. Spike wanted to scream at them and the world that had allowed this to happen to him. Only the thought of maybe one day seeing Buffy again kept him from breaking a leg off the coffee table and ramming it into his heart.
Spike reached out for the handle to the outside door with a trembling hand. He paused before his fingers touched it, closed his eyes and took in a deep unnecessary breath.
“Come on, don’t be so bleeding pathetic.”
Jaw clenched, a muscle ticking on the left side, he reached out again. This time his fingers made it to the door handle before he froze once more. Another deep breath. Another muttered curse. He growled quietly as he finally pushed the handle down and opened the door. Two steps later, he was on the front porch, and grinned like an idiot as he stared around him. Was it really over a year since he’d stood here alone with perfect vision?
For nine months after waking in the hospital bed, Spike had existed in a world devoid of any light. He’d thought that he’d go insane in the first few weeks, but vampires are nothing if not adaptable and he soon could find his way around the house without mishap. Then, slowly, gradually, his sight had begun to return. The blurred vision gave him headaches and for a time, they disoriented him so much that he stayed only in his bedroom.
Volkov and Noreen had been great. They’d soon learned not to mollycoddle him or to run to help him if he struggled with anything. They’d encouraged Spike to go outside for walks with them when his vision had begun to clear. At the time, his vision was still much worse than it had been before he’d been turned. Spike had been tentative at first and had been happy to let Volkov hold his arm to guide him. Everything had seemed too bright, too fast. His other senses screamed at him to go back inside – where it was safe.
A car driving by brought Spike back to the present. He turned and glanced to the drive. There it was – his beloved DeSoto. He walked over to it and ran his hand over its well-waxed hood.
“Hi, baby. I’ve missed you. Fancy going for a spin?”
Spike dug in the pocket of his duster and pulled out the keys, tossed them in the air and laughed softly as he caught them. The door opened with a bit of a squeak which made him frown. Need to put some oil on that hinge. With a sigh, he slid behind the wheel. Thanks to Volkov’s attention, the car had been kept clean and he’d turned the engine over often enough to make sure that the car would run smoothly when Spike felt confident enough to drive again.
Spike rubbed his fingers over the steering wheel. “Need you to look after me, okay? Might be a bit rusty.”
He’d waited for this moment for weeks. Until now he had felt just too nervous to be out on his own. He didn’t like to admit it but it was true. Still felt bloody nervous, truth be told, but he had to do it one day, and tonight Volkov and Noreen were out at the cinema. Spike needed to do this and he needed to do it without an audience.
The car roared into life and Spike backed it out onto the road. He drove more slowly than he used to, as he still had a bit of trouble judging distances and was taking no chances.
At his destination he pulled up in what he considered to be his spot and stared at Buffy’s house. To his relief, the curtains hadn’t yet been drawn and the brightly lit room made it easy to see inside.
Now where’s Buffy?
He got out of the car and got closer to the open window when he saw Joyce march into view with Hank following behind her, gesturing wildly. What’s going on here then? Spike tensed and cocked his head on one side, listening hard.
“For God’s sake, Joyce, calm down,” yelled Hank.
Joyce whirled around. “Calm down! Don’t you tell me to calm down! I’m not the one who’s been taking my secretary to dinner every time you said you were working late.”
Hank walked to her and grabbed her arms in his hands. “Just listen to me! You’ve got it wrong, okay? Work’s been really stressful and we just went out to unwind.”
Joyce struggled in his grip. “Get your damn hands off me!”
Spike took one step closer to the door. If that git hurts Joyce…
Joyce pulled herself free. “Hank, can you please just stop with the lies? It’s not like it’s the first time. Thank God, Buffy’s over at Rachel’s for the night. I’m sick of her being in the middle of our arguments.”
Spike smiled briefly; he knew where Rachel lived. He would get to see Buffy. His smile faded as he heard Hank’s reply.
“Well, I’m sick of the freaking arguments. You never quit nagging!”
“And you never quit screwing around!”
Joyce sidestepped Hank and rushed out of the room.
Spike had no doubt that the argument continued, but it was no longer in his earshot. He returned to the DeSoto, turned the key in the ignition and shook his head sadly as he contemplated the future for the family. He’d seen how Buffy looked at Hank; she loved her father deeply. Spike wished that he could spare Buffy and Joyce the pain that was to come, but this was one thing that he couldn’t even hope to influence.
Driving slowly away and trying to contain his emotions, he made his way to where Rachel lived. The evening was warm and Spike hoped that the girls would be outside. He craved seeing Buffy like he’d craved the human blood when he’d returned to taking pig’s blood. But she was one addiction that he’d never get over.
He parked the DeSoto outside a house a short distance up the street and got out, then walked down the road as casually as he could. He was hoping to achieve a saunter but ended up settling for a stroll. Spike wondered what Buffy would look like now that she was twelve. Almost a teenager. On the way to becoming a woman – becoming the woman that he loved.
Spike heard loud giggles from Rachel’s back yard. He recognized Buffy’s right away and had to rest a hand on the wall he was passing to steady himself.
Buffy! And she’s happy; she’s having fun.
He gasped as Buffy came around the corner of the house and into view, her blonde hair in two plaits that bounced as she ran. She was looking over her shoulder at Rachel and another two girls that he didn’t recognize.
“Give it back,” shouted Rachel, but she was giggling too and didn’t look angry.
“No way,” replied Buffy, turning back to face her and holding up a small pink book. “You shouldn’t have left your diary on your bed. You must have wanted us to see it.”
“Oh, please! It’s so lame – it’s last year’s,” protested Rachel.
“Last year? Isn’t that when you were crushing on Malcolm Simpson?” asked a brunette.
Rachel blushed furiously and Spike had to stifle his own laughter at her discomfort.
“That’s right,” said Buffy. “Now let’s see wh—”
Rachel snatched the diary out of Buffy’s hand and raced back out of sight. Buffy and the other girls squealed and gave pursuit.
“Need better reflexes than that, pet, if you’re going to be the best slayer the world has seen.”
Spike turned around and walked back to the DeSoto. He could rest easy now that he had seen Buffy again, and that he’d managed to go somewhere alone at last. Now what he needed was to get back into the saddle for a fight. He’d avoid anything that looked even vaguely blue, but he was no good to the slayer-to-be if he couldn’t watch her back. With a smile, Spike headed for the nearest demon bar, sure that he'd find something to hit there.