What Lies Within - 2
Spike looked at Giles… astonished. He came forward slowly. Giles seemed as stunned as he was, staring at his own body now animated and coming towards him. He recovered first and said quietly, 'Spike.' Spike was still looking slowly from head to foot over his own body. His look reached the face he had not seen for over a hundred years, and he paused, putting out a tentative hand, running one finger lightly over the scar.
Giles caught hold of the arm, and they both looked down at where they were joined: one pale hand lying on one tanned arm. Suddenly, the door burst open, and Buffy, Xander and Willow flew in. Giles immediately turned. 'Spike and I have swapped bodies. I'm in here.'
Buffy nodded, rapidly adjusting, but Xander advanced on Spike and made to hit him, fury evident in every inch of his body. 'You bastard!'
Xander turned to Giles, surprised. 'What? He beat me! Look!' He showed his swollen and badly bruised arm.
'That's as may be, but that's my body, and I'd be extremely grateful if you didn't damage it.'
Xander gave an odd, strangled giggle, and even Buffy twitched up the corner of her lips. Xander came close and peered into the deep blue eyes. 'Okay. Freaking me out here, Giles. Say something Spike-like, and put the world to rights.'
Giles looked at him and said, 'Fuck?' helpfully. Buffy shook her head, amused, but then turned to Spike. She backed him slowly into a corner.
'When you are back in your own body, you and I are having a little chat, Spike. Seems I recall you wanting to feel some cold chills? Well, believe me, you will!'
Giles suddenly materialised at her side. 'Let him be, Buffy.' She turned to him, amazed. His defence of Spike from Xander's physical threat was somewhat understandable, but she wasn't intending to hurt this version of Spike at all…. She was going to wait. It didn't make any sense. Giles tried to cover by saying seriously, 'We have more pressing problems.'
Buffy nodded, still annoyed. 'Like getting you back, right?'
'No, actually, I was going to say feeding me. It's rather embarrassing, but I need….'
Buffy turned to Xander. 'Can you get some? Usual place.'
Xander nodded and went out.
'Oh! That's right! Soon as HE wants blood, you all up and get it for 'im.'
Buffy looked at Spike. 'But we like him.'
'Shut up, Buffy.'
Even Spike gave Giles a surprised look at that sharp retort. Giles ignored the look and turned to Willow. 'Glittery dust. We made wishes. We are here. Your doing, I believe?'
Willow brightened. 'It worked! Yea! Oh, not yea. Very, very bad, and very, very big not yea. Sorry.'
'I assume you can reverse it?'
She grinned. 'No problemo. I'll get the stuff. You make the wishes and… hey presto!'
'No.' It was extremely quietly spoken, but everyone heard it. Spike shook his shoulders slightly and, in the same tone added, 'I'm not going back.'
They stared at him, stunned. Regardless of it being Giles' body, Buffy poked him in the chest. 'What did you say?'
'I said, I'm staying here - in this body. I don't make the wish? Then seems to me, I ain't going back.'
Giles laid a hand on her arm. 'Leave this to me.' She hesitated and looked down at the pale hand on her arm, shaking her head once more.
'Convince him, Giles. I want you out of that body; it's too… freaky!'
Giles led Spike over to a quieter corner. 'We need our own bodies, Spike.'
Spike made his stubborn face, hoping it worked with human muscles. 'I need to stay 'ere. I don't like.…'
Giles came very close, almost too close. 'I understand, truly I do. I've had a very unpleasant day, what with…. Well…. Suffice to say, our energies belong to our own bodies, Spike. You don't fit in mine, and I can't….'
Spike suddenly frowned. He backed away slightly and folded his arms protectively across his belly. Giles eyed him suspiciously. 'What's wrong?'
'I don't know.' Spike tipped his head to one side as if thinking, and then opened his eyes wide in shock. 'I've gotta go!'
'You're not going anywhere, Spike, until….'
Spike shoved past Giles and staggered towards the stairs. 'No! Oh, fuck!' He stumbled up the stairs, and the other three looked at each other, puzzled.
'Willow, get the ingredients. At least we can be prepared.' Giles slowly went up and tried the bathroom door. 'Spike?'
A long, low, groaned 'Fuck off' came from inside.
'I suspect I could break this door down fairly easily.'
'I'm not going anywhere…. Just leave me be. Please!'
Giles hesitated then went back downstairs. Buffy looked at him. 'It's a trick. He'll get out. Look, Giles - he had your passport and this…!' She held out the money Spike had stolen.
'Yes, I saw. He's not going anywhere right now, Buffy. I'll hear him if he does - don't worry.'
She came closer, closer still. She laid a hand wonderingly on his cheekbone. 'What's it like, Giles? In there?'
He looked frankly at her. 'Not exactly what I expected.'
'Gooder or badder?'
He smiled. 'More complex.'
'Did he… hurt you?'
'Nah. I kinda reasoned it wasn't you when you… when he… when we… got down to my bra.'
Giles paled inwardly. 'You're okay?' What could he smell? God! Buffy had become aroused at the thought of him touching her…. Or was it Spike's touch that had turned her on…? And what on earth was he doing smelling her? He backed away. How did Spike ever hold a rational conversation with any of them, being able to…?
Had Spike ever sensed his arousal when he'd…?
Did Spike suspect…?
He went back up the stairs. 'Spike! Down! Now!'
A faint groan greeted him then a quiet, 'Go 'way.'
Giles went back down, smiling slightly.
Xander returned with the blood. 'Don't like that guy. Not liking the blood man.'
'No, I concur.' He took the blood reverently in his hands, looked at their faces and went outside. There was no revulsion at all: his body's craving overcame that. He drank pint after pint of the fluid and realised, as it gradually became absorbed, that Spike's body up to then had only been functioning on about forty percent of its capacity.
The night became alive. Every insect spoke to him. He could feel faint heat from the moonlight, sense when it was on his skin. He could hear the chatter inside and smell them all individually: what they had eaten, when they had….
Giles stretched the preternatural body in the moonlight and went inside to give it back.
They waited for Willow. She returned with small pots and a large book, grinning. 'All ready.'
He couldn't sit still; his body craved movement, and he paced restlessly around, aware the other three were watching him nervously.
Spike rather regretted his eat fest when he eventually emerged from the bathroom one hour later. He went downstairs cautiously, his whole body dragging as if through thick mud. He made it to the couch and sat down.
'Jeez, which one's the vampire?' Xander waved a hand vaguely at Spike's face. 'Pale, much?'
Spike closed his eyes and leant back on the couch. 'Do the bleedin' spell. I want my own body back.'
There was a palpable sigh of relief from everyone.
Willow grinned and began to lay out her ingredients. She mixed. She read. They wished. She threw. They waited.
Willow frowned and tried to explain the initial time problem, urging them to wait some more. Giles snatched up the book and read it for himself.
'Oh… bloody hell!' He chucked the book at Spike, which was rather surprising to everyone - including Spike. He read the spell, too, and tipped his head back.
'What?' Willow took the book back.
Giles tiredly pinched the bridge of his nose and that, almost more than anything else he'd done all night, unhinged his small audience. They all began talking at once. 'Don't do that, G-man… scary in that body! This can't be happening; I've done this spell before…! Why won't it work, Giles? Talk to me?'
Giles stilled them all with his hand. 'It's a wish fulfilment spell. I wished…. It's time dependent, and I wished that Spike would have some idea of how I felt. I wished him a couple of months knowing how I felt.' He glanced at the wall clock rather unnecessarily. 'I'd say we've got another sixty-one days like this.'
'NO!' Spike stood up, but wobbled and sat down again. 'I don't feel well.'
Everyone ignored him. 'Undo the wish, Giles. You made it; undo it!'
They tried again. Nothing. Willow looked sheepish.
Spike stood up. 'I'm sick of this; I'm going home.'
'No, you're not, Spike. You can't go… home.' Giles, immediately backed up by Buffy, barred his way.
'What d'ya mean? I'm not staying 'ere.'
'Look, Spike, you have a human body now - my body - and I'd rather like it taken care of. So, I'm going to take care of it. Here.'
'No, fucker, I ain't staying here for two months. Bloody hell, I'd end up staking me own body just to fucking get rid of you!'
Buffy intervened. 'Look, Spike, you'll be at the shop all day. Giles, you'll be sleeping. At night, Giles, you can patrol with me. Spike will be sleeping. Simple....'
'Never the twain, eh?'
She looked at Giles and shrugged. 'Only solution.'
Spike gritted his teeth. 'Why the bleedin' fuck will I be in the shop all day?'
They all looked at him. Giles said, 'Well…. What else would you be doing… and do I really want to hear this?'
'Nothing.' ("Everything, you sad git; make better use of this body than you ever did.")
'Look, we can't decide anything now. Spike, are you tired?'
'No! Yes. Fuck, yeah.' He sat down as if this had only just occurred to him.
'Go to bed. We'll sort the finer details of the next two months later, shall we?' He turned. 'Leave us, please. We'll be fine. I need.… We need some space, I think.'
Buffy looked reluctant to go, but Giles ushered them all out. He looked at Spike. 'Bloody hell, do I really look that old and tired all the time?'
Spike looked up. 'You've had a busy day, mate. I'll get some sleep for you.' As good as his word, he curled up on the couch.
'Spike. Err… Spike! You sleep upstairs now. In the bed.'
Spike sat up. 'Ugh. I don't think so; that's your bed. No way never am I sleeping in there, Watcher.'
'Uh huh. Your choice. Have a really good, restful sleep, Spike, and I'll see you in the morning.'
'What you saying?'
Giles grinned. 'Nothing. Sleep tight.'
Obviously, he didn't. He turned, fell off, cursed, groaned, stretched but couldn't and finally got up, pulled some cushions onto the floor and tried to sleep there. He dozed lightly some of the night, but was shocked when a toe poked him awake when it seemed he'd only just lain down on the hard floor.
The hard floor… that he now couldn't get up from. Giles put a hand down, and Spike sat up gingerly. Giles only twitched an eyebrow at him and turned to make some tea. Spike's jaw dropped open. The human had come down, dressed only in Spike's familiar black jeans. The vampire began to chuckle, tried to suppress it, but Giles heard it easily. 'What?'
Spike shook his head then shrugged and said, 'Never seen the back view before. And…. Well, shit, my bum looks great in those.'
Giles whirled around and tried to look, caught Spike's smirk, and stomped off, annoyed, to the kitchen. Spike slowly climbed to his feet. 'Oh, bloody hell! Who ran me over in the night?'
'Yeah, well, you fucking know everything, don't you?'
'Well, I do sort of know my own body, yes.'
'How do you put up with this? I'd be ending it pretty damn quick, if this was my body like.'
Giles laughed. 'I think the contrast is rather getting to you, Spike. Normally, my body feels fine to me. But after being in this one for….' He glanced down at the toned belly and rippling abs thoughtfully, looked at the blood he held in his hand, and shuddered.
Spike suddenly frowned and glanced up uneasily in the direction of the bathroom. 'Bugger - weird feeling again. Different. What is it? Feel… sick? No….'
'Oh, yeah!' He grinned. 'I am!'
Giles smiled at the look. 'What do you want?'
Spike suddenly paused. 'Oh, just coffee, mate - still feeling a bit delicate like. Maybe later.' Giles heard the lie, couldn't immediately identify the cause, so let it drop. Spike took his coffee, Giles his blood, and they wandered into the living room to sit down.
'So, how's this shit gonna work?'
'I've been thinking about that, Spike. I think we need to be careful with each other's bodies obviously, but not unduly… restrictive. You can stay in the crypt - if you want…. Although, I think you should consider your unfortunate discovery yesterday… err… no facilities?'
Spike paled. 'Oh, yeah, hadn't thought 'bout that.'
'But otherwise, do what you like, I suppose. It's only two months; how long can that be?' They looked at each other morosely. Giles shook himself and continued, 'I'll try to look after this body for you. No demon fighting, I think. No human-baiting, either.'
'You heard. I don't want you sticking my dick in anything I wouldn't approve of.'
'Is there anything?'
'Don't be cheeky. No shagging.'
'That applies to you as well then. I don't want some embarrassing rash emerging in a few months time.'
Spike looked pained but nodded.
'No fucking heroics, or saving drownin' bleedin' kittens. That body's got a good rep in the demon world, and I want it to stay that way.'
'Agreed. No body art then, or piercings - I don't want to find obscene illustrations, or rings in sensitive places.'
'All right. So, what are you going to do today?'
Spike's head turned to the door, and an expression of pure lust crossed his face. Giles smiled. 'I didn't sleep at all well last night: odd dreams… so, I'm going upstairs again.'
Spike gave him an amused look. 'Yeah. Sure. Don't wear it out, will you Watcher?'
Giles blushed deeply inside, but was thankful that it didn't seem to reach his face. Chuckling, Spike got up and went towards the door. In a daze, he stepped out once more, disbelieving that he should be granted this for a second day. He stripped off and positioned himself for maximum sun. He began to feel the effects of his awful night, drifting off into a heat-induced doze. When he woke, he felt hot and sweaty, and went back inside.
Giles was lying on the bed… reading. It was so innocent that Spike smiled. His senses couldn't tell him what the watcher had been doing before that.
'Do you burn?'
Giles looked up. If he found it odd being addressed by his own naked body, he didn't show it. 'What?'
'In the sun. Do you burn?'
'Oh. I don't know; I've never sat in it. I shouldn't think so. But you do look red.'
'Yeah, feel hot. Got any sun cream?'
'No… wait. Look in the bathroom. People… leave things.'
Spike found some, rubbed it where he could reach then took the bottle back to Giles. 'Do me back, yeah?'
'Err… with the risk of sounding like a Sunnydale High cheerleader… a world of no!'
'Why not? It's your fucking back I'm trying to protect!'
Defeated by the logic, Giles rubbed sun cream onto his strangely unfamiliar back. It was too weird a moment for him to even attempt rationalising. Suddenly, Spike said conversationally, 'If vamps wear 'nough sun cream, they can go out for short times durin' the day. I'd do that 'stead of me blanket - if I could afford it.'
Giles paused, his hands on the warm skin. 'Don't be bloody ridiculous.'
v Spike glanced over his shoulder. 'I'm not! Stuff protects 'gainst UVs, don't it?'
'You're being very silly.'
Spike shrugged. 'Try it for yerself. Just one hand like. You could go out for a bit then.'
Giles hesitated then smothered his hand in thick cream. He came downstairs and warily stuck the hand into a beam of sunlight. It burst into flames, and he ran crying to the sink.
Spike pouted, shrugged, and then grinned. 'Thanks, pet. Always wanted to try that out but didn't wanna be all sore. Now I know.'
Giles cursed and threw a cast-iron skillet at him. It hit Spike squarely on the temple, and he dropped unconscious to the floor. Giles' hand flew to his head, anticipating the agony… that didn't come. He skidded around the counter to the fallen body and picked it up, effortlessly carrying it to the couch. It was bad timing for Buffy to arrive. She sauntered in. 'How's it go…. What happened?'
Giles threw a blanket over his body's nakedness. 'I hit him. Accidentally.'
'Is he all right?'
'I don't know.'
'Are you all right?'
'The chip didn't fire off.'
'Oh. Is that bad?'
'It recognises Spike in there?'
'Rather the body isn't entirely human, I think - given there's a demon inside it. I'm not sure that I should tell Spike this.'
It took thirty minutes for Spike to come round. He put a hand to his head, tears in his eyes. A large black swelling marred his features. Giles put a hand firmly on the naked arm. 'You know that was an accident, don't you Spike? I never expected it to hit you, or for it to be so hard. I had no idea. I'm truly sorry, Spike.'
Spike nodded morosely. 'Sorry 'bout the hand, too. Were funny when I thought of it out sunbathing.'
'It didn't hurt all that much…. Not as much as this chip, anyway.'
'Ah. Bit of a bugger, ain't it?'
Giles saw Spike had no suspicion of the curious discovery. They couldn't speak more, for Buffy came in with an assortment of lotions, which she began to apply systematically to the bump. She sat on the edge of the couch against Spike's semi-naked, soft, borrowed, human body. She seemed entirely blasé and relaxed about ministering to the patient until Spike said softly, 'Umm… rub a bit 'arder, Slayer.'
She reared back. She looked at Giles then back at Spike. 'I forgot! I actually forgot! Giles…! How many days?'
Giles twitched up Spike's scared eyebrow. 'Quite.' The contrast was too much. She fled.
Giles gave Spike a look. Spike just pouted, stood shakily and said, 'I'm going back out.'
'Yeah.' They paused uneasily, both aware that more was changing than their relative appearances, but both unable to express exactly what these other changes were.
Spike spent the whole day just lying naked in the sun. Giles called him in for lunch, but he refused. He did nothing: didn't read, didn't think, but just lay naked, stretched out with his face to the sun. Once or twice, he turned over - but that was that. The sun aside, he'd managed a relatively normal vampire day.
When he came in, he could sense Giles' restlessness; he was pacing around, eyeing the sunset balefully. 'I have to get out of this house, or I'll go mad!'
'How long to go?'
Giles seemed to consider this and said, surprised, 'Ten minutes, thirty-three seconds and…. How did I know that?'
'Dunno, pet, but we do. Cool hey? And kinda vital. Take note of it, yes? Never push the envelope. If that body tells you something, you listen, yeah?'
Giles looked at Spike and gave him a sly smile. 'I'm afraid I have been - a number of times today.'
Spike tried to look shocked but couldn't, and only laughed. 'Enjoy it while you can, human.'
'What do you want to eat, Spike? You've not eaten all day.'
'Dunno. What you got?'
Spike chose something very, very small and then didn't eat much of that. Giles didn't notice, for he was now standing by the door, tense and alert. Suddenly, he was off, running into the soft darkness.
Spike watched him go with a confused frown, but then shrugged and went up to get dressed. He packed up some clothes from the watcher's wardrobe and went back to his own place. It was easy - until he got downstairs and couldn't see anything; that was extremely disconcerting. His human eyes were totally unable to pick up and amplify any faint trace of ambient light. He stumbled around, trying to find his candles, and cursed when he remembered he no longer had his lighter. He undressed and lay on the bed, until he realised he had to pee. He cursed again and considered just doing it over the side, but wondered what that would smell like when he got his better body back. Still cursing, he stumbled back to the ladder and out into the warm night air.
That was a mistake: naked, human - he felt like a kitten in a pit-bull terrier training camp. He peed as quickly as he could and retreated inside, stubbed his toe in the dark and lay awake all night, imagining he could hear the door of his crypt opening. As soon as it was light enough to see, he dressed and went… home.
Wisely, Giles - just back from his night time activities - did not comment on this return and merely said, 'Breakfast?'
Spike shook his head and went back out to sleep in the safety of the sun.
After that, the days began to merge into a slow, non-eventful routine. They developed a hotbed system without really trying. Conveniently forgetting his disdain for Giles' bed, Spike had just added a few more pillows and snuggled in that night. He would often wake to find Giles in the room, waiting for him to get up, and would watch lazily from the bed as the pale body wandered around, preparing for a shower, or sat distractedly in front of the large dress mirror. Sometimes, Giles would find Spike had fallen back into a heavy, morning doze and would sit alongside him until he woke again. Gradually, the handover moments from Spike's night time bed to Giles' daytime lair… extended. They began to talk: Spike - soft, relaxed, warm, and unwilling to lose these delights by getting up; Giles - full of impressions of the night that he knew Spike would understand.
They became increasingly blasé about nakedness. When Giles came back from his shower one day without his habitual towel tied securely around his waist, and Spike didn't comment on this or find it strange, they never really bothered about modesty again. They didn't attempt to rationalise this strange ease with each other until rather forced to one day. Giles had just taken a shower, and Spike had just come in from sunbathing, when Xander burst in.
He looked at the two naked men and blushed deeply. 'You really need to get a room!' Giles snatched up his towel and tied it firmly around the slim, pale waist. Spike stepped back into some jeans but didn't bother to do them up properly. He looked at Giles with a rather puzzled expression. Giles returned the look and shrugged.
'What's the problem, Xander? I've rather seen all that that body has to offer, yes?'
'Well, okay, granted… but still with the weirdness.'
Spike laughed. 'I take the watcher's body for a dump, mate; it ain't like he's got any secrets from me.'
'Oh! Way too much information!'
Giles only chuckled and gave Spike an odd look. Xander glanced at the clock, which everyone seemed to have decided would mark the passage of the days, and said very distinctly, 'And there is how much longer to go?'
Giles suddenly looked even more confused and said to Spike, 'I've lost track. How many days?'
Spike shrugged. 'Dunno.'
Xander was anything but reassured and backed away slowly. He left and walked to Buffy's, increasingly worried and perplexed.
Odd moments occurred that proved the two main protagonists were not the only ones losing track of time. One day, Willow came in and sat beside Spike on the couch. She began to show him a spell she'd been working on. He glanced at her lowered head with amusement, and then at Giles who only raised one eyebrow and returned to his chess game. Spike watched her silently. She finally looked up. 'What do you think?'
Spike spoke carefully. 'I think that has potential, Willow. Work on it, and we'll see, shall we?'
She beamed and left.
There was a long silence in the room, and Spike eyed Giles out of the corner of one eye, waiting for him to comment. Eventually, Spike heard a soft murmur. 'You do me better than I do you, I think.'
Spike chuckled. 'Yeah, I'm a one-off, mate.'
Giles looked up. 'Want to play? The Times chess problem can become a little… lacking sometimes.'
Spike hesitated. 'This don't mean I'm softening or nothing, 'k? Still evil.'
'Of course. Fully understood.'
They played for hours; Spike missing his sunbathing but feeling he was doing a good turn keeping his body from being too bored.