Help Yourself in Seven Days by Sotia


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Chapter Notes: The fact that this exists is a major blow to my credibility, which is why it was only being posted on my LiveJournal up to now. It seems I'm not completely done with Spuffy after all, although I'm not back on the Spuffy-train either--sadly. Still, it was exhilarating writing one chapter and having an idea for a fic.

Half of this chapter had been in my work computer for four months, named Spuffy Something, when on a slow day at work, I thought I'd see if it could at least become a one-shot. It wouldn't. It would only settle for being an eight-parter fic.

Seven out of eight parts have already been written now, and betad by the wonderful Marilyn and Mari, whom I can't thank enough.

I hope you like it. Updates will be weekly.
Day Zero “ Realize you Have a Problem



I was going to go to Spike and give him a piece of my mind.

I was.

I was going to barge into his crypt, bang the door extra hard, for emphasis, and tell him I wanted him out of my life for good. I wanted to stop our sick and twisted rough-and-tumbles. I would go back to my life and try to make the best of the extra time Willow had forced on me. I’d be happy. Maybe being brought back wasn’t the worst thing since my hairdresser moved out of town. Maybe it was a second chance at being normal”and letting a soulless demon touch me was as far from normal as slayerly possible!

I would give him a deadline to leave town. If he didn’t, I’d just do what Xander and Giles kept telling me to: my job.

A stupid rock appeared under my foot out of nowhere”I definitely would have seen it if it’d been there before I stepped on it; Slayer here”and I stumbled.

Meh. I should have known better than to walk with my hands in my pockets. Especially when one of them was holding a stake. I didn’t end up with said stake jutting out of my stomach, as was entirely possible, but I didn’t get to hold my hands out in time to stop my fall.

I would have cracked my head open on Mr. Worthington’s headstone, if arms made of steel hadn’t wrapped around my waist a split second before impact.

“Steady there, Slayer,” my savior whispered in my ear. Oh, great. Now he’d make a big deal out of saving my life, and I’d never manage to get rid of him without being an ungrateful bitch.

I found my footing and pushed him away. “I’m fine,” I said flatly.

He shrugged. “Didn’t ask. Just didn’t want you bloodying up my neighborhood. It’d draw in all sorts of nasties.”

Yeah, right. That was all he worried about, not my wellbeing. All the better. Made it easier to be ungrateful. “No need to worry about that.” I held my hands out, twirling the stake in one for emphasis. “See? Not a scratch. You can enjoy your peace and quiet.” And I’d made a mistake. The line I’d just given him wasn’t exactly the perfect opening for me to issue my ultimatum. “For the short time you’ll be around,” I added hastily. There. I’d fixed it.

Tilting his head, Spike looked at me. There was no question, no calculation in his eyes, and it bugged me no end. It was like he only looked for the fun of it.

“What?” It’s possible I sounded defensive.

He shoved a hand in his back pocket”I did not stare at how that stretched the denim over his front”and fished out a packet of his cancer sticks. “Why? Am I going somewhere?”

Caught up in watching how he used his lips to pull a cigarette out of the packet, I forgot he’d asked me something.

He used his Zippo to light his cigarette, inhaled deeply, and blew the smoke out in rings. “Hello? You with me, Goldilocks?”

His phrasing pissed me off more than it reasonably should have. “No, Spike. I’m not with you,” I spat out. “I could never be with you. You’re a monster.” To stress how little I thought of him, I stomped my foot. The rock that had tripped me didn’t have the decency to move out of the way, and I felt more than heard my ankle snap. Ah crap. Instead of yowling in pain, I said through gritted teeth, “And stop calling me Goldilocks!”

The menacing effect of my hissed tone was ruined by the way I hopped around on one foot, trying to regain my balance. I wasn’t looking at him. If I even caught a glimpse of a mocking smirk or sardonically arched eyebrow, I’d stake him.

His hand on my shoulder caught me unawares. So did his other arm folding behind my knees. He hadn’t even put out his cigarette and the smoke seemed to wrap around me and choke the fight out of me. I plucked it out of his mouth and threw it to the ground with a grimace of disgust. Before I could protest the way he lifted me, he looked into my eyes and said, “I’m just going to put some ice on it. Prevent the bruising. You can be on your merry way after that.” He smiled ruefully. “Or send me on mine.”

That didn’t change my plans, I told myself. He’d take me to his crypt; I’d tell him we were over; I’d send him packing.

Of course, I’d have to skip the door-banging.

Not allowing that to make me gloomier than I usually was those days, I curled my body closer to Spike’s. The night was cold, and for all they said about vampires, he was warm enough to be used as a windbreaker. To be used. Well, I wasn’t the only one doing the using, so there was no lingering on that thought. I tried to ignore the hard muscle under my cheek and the goose-flesh that rose on his arms when I shifted enough to loop an arm around his neck”only in an effort to keep myself steady.

He paused in front of his door, seemingly considering something. I cursed my non-vampiring hearing for my inability to make out something he muttered to himself, and then he kicked the door open and walked over the threshold with me in his arms.

“You can put me down there.” Arching my back, I pointed to his couch. He acted like I hadn’t spoken, bypassed the couch, and continued to the hole that served as an entrance to the lower level. Oh, yay. He’d try to take advantage of my pain. Why did that surprise me? I knew whom I was dealing with.

I masked my disappointment under a thick layer of anger. “You will not take me downstairs. I’m not here for that. You’re not touching me again!”

I hadn’t expected him to drop me on my ass. In retrospect, I guess I deserved it.

My tailbone hit the cement floor hard enough for the cracking sound to make my teeth rattle and my eyes water. For the second time in only a few seconds, I felt stupid for being disappointed in someone I shouldn’t have expected anything from, anyway. He was soulless. He was evil.

What did that make me for having let him inside me, time and again?

“You didn’t have to do that.” Did my voice tremble? It had to be the physical pain. It certainly couldn’t be the emotional one; I couldn’t possibly be hurt by something so small after the trauma I’d suffered being torn from heaven.

“I’m either allowed to touch you, or I’m not. Decide.” His tone was harsh, emotionless, but his eyes held a softness I couldn’t associate with the idea of him I was trying so hard to maintain. I needed Spike to be the worst kind of demon. I needed him to be all I had been trained to destroy. If he wasn’t, if I was hurting someone who felt, who cared, who loved, wasn’t I the monster?

I had to get up. I wanted to lie down and sleep. I had to go home, check on Dawn. I wanted to let Spike take me to his bed and do to me all those sick and twisted things that made me forget there was a Dawn. And a Willow. And a Xander. And a Giles. I had to drive Spike out of town or stake him. I wanted to let him comfort me and convince me I wasn’t wrong, that everyone else was.

I started crying. I let my face fall forward, into my hands, and cried for everything that had been taken from me, for everything I had no right wanting, and for everything I knew was coming my way.

“Sod this.”

Through my spread fingers, I saw his boots retreating. Had he finally had enough of me? I didn’t think of him as the kind of guy who’d be afraid of a few tears. My soaked shirt let me know there had been more than a few”a torrent of them. As with everything else except for what a mess I was, my mind refused to focus on it for long. When put into perspective, nothing mattered. I let my body curl in on itself until I was a tiny little ball. Maybe I could roll down a hole, get lost, become even smaller… a speck, a puff of air…

***

“You know, sometimes I wonder if you’re worth the effort.” I blinked until Spike came into focus. He was standing above me holding what looked suspiciously like chains in his hands. A smile blossomed on his lips, and he added, “Then I remember you really, really are.”

True to Slayer fashion, I was completely alert by the moment he got to “are,” but it was already too late. The chains he was holding”because they really were chains, didn’t just look like them”held shackles that were attached to my ankles on their one end. That wasn’t the worst of it, though. The worst of it was that their other end had matching shackles, closed snuggly around my wrists.

“You are the Slayer, Buffy. The fucking, ass-kicking”” Spike paused and swung the chains hard over one shoulder, so that I was lifted off the ground and plastered on his back like a backpack ““one in every generation, here to slay what goes bump in the night, Slayer. And you don’t even bat an eyelash while a vampire hog ties you in your sleep? Why were you sleeping on the floor anyway?”

His little stunt shocked me and sent jolts of mind-numbing pain to every single joint of my body, but once that wore off, I started kicking, hitting and even biting him, in an effort to get free. He didn’t let it faze him even a little bit. Carrying me like he was extra-kinky Santa and I his duffel-bag of goodies, he jumped to the crypt’s basement.

The way Spike dumped me on his bed wasn’t any more delicate than his previous manhandling had been. Gone was the man who’d picked me up when I’d fallen in the cemetery. Part of me felt like mourning him, but the rest insisted that man had never existed; he’d just been a front, someone to make me vulnerable, so the demon could get close enough to attack.

Do you trust me?

Yet, I’d been vulnerable before, in Spike’s hands before, in handcuffs for him before while he plowed my body, his hands squeezing down on my throat, and he’d let me live. It hadn’t been to make his betrayal sting more; he wasn’t Angelus.

The thought of my former lover didn’t cause even a little bit of ache in me, and I wondered if I were that dead inside, or if I was finally over him.

“Can you Please. Just. Focus? I’m trying to help you here.”

Right. Spike. Talking. “Help me?” I snorted and looked pointedly to where he was hovering over me, looping the chains in their middle around a hook that hung from the ceiling. “Help yourself more likely.”

“If I were to help myself,” he said, testing that there was enough slack to the four ropes of chain arching from the hook to my limbs, “you would be buck naked and on all fours. Not that that wouldn’t help you, seeing as I’d be replacing that stick up your ass.”

I waved my arms forcefully, trying to unhook at least one of the two lengths of links, but he grabbed the chains and stilled them. “Don’t. You may bring the whole thing down on your noggin, and, useless though it may be to you these days, there’s no reason to bust it.”

I thrashed, but he looked at me sternly. “Don’t be a child. I can help you. Give me a week, and if nothing’s changed, I’ll leave. Hell, I’ll take a morning walk, if that’s what you want. In the meantime, though, you’ll have to do what I say, when I say it.”

I arched an eyebrow and pursed my lips. “Like blow you?” Where brute force failed, female guile had to succeed!

“This isn’t about sex, and it isn’t about me, Buffy. It’s about what’s best for you.” He smirked. “If you’re in a life-threatening situation, where vampire semen is the only thing that can save you…”

“You’re a pig.” I was pretty certain I’d turned beet-red, so I turned away from him.

His smirk widened for a brief moment, then vanished as he climbed down to perch beside me. “Let me help you. I won’t make you do anything you don't enjoy”or anything you do enjoy but find wrong. No, wait. You probably think eating ice-cream is wrong for you. I won’t… touch you in a way I shouldn't. Stay here and let me help you.”

I could have put up more of a fight, I admit it. I could have said there was nothing wrong with me, I could have started pulling until I’d wrecked the entire ceiling and buried us both under the rubble; we’d already brought down a building, albeit in a more pleasurable manner. There was something wrong with me, though. Really, very wrong, and his words”I’m just trying to help you here”had managed to reach deep down inside me to the little grieving girl that craved peace, and give her a sliver of the next best thing: hope.

My fingers closed around the chains but didn’t tug. I just wanted to feel the cold metal ground me when I asked my question, and most importantly, when I got the answer I knew he would give me. “Why would you help me?”

“Because. I. love. you.” He said it the same way he’d once told me he was Out. For. A. Walk.

Bitch.

I nodded reluctantly, but couldn’t outright accept his offer. “If I can’t escape, I guess I might as well make the best of my stay,” I said with a sigh.

He left me alone for as long as it took him to go to the nearest takeaway and get me a cheeseburger. There was lots of grumbling on my part, but he all but force-fed me every single bite of it including the fries.

Satisfied I hadn’t missed out on any errant calories, he tucked me in bed as well as he could with the torture device hanging from above, and read “Beauty and the Beast” to me, until the sound of his voice was nothing but a hum that lulled me to sleep. Something cool and soft touched my forehead at some point, and a sense of safety I hadn’t felt in a while enveloped me.

That night, lying in a vampire’s bed, sleeping in a demon’s crypt, chained up, I dreamed of puppies and rainbows.

For the next few days, I’d have to tell myself several times that I only did what he told me because I’d promised to.
Chapter Endnotes: I would appreciate it a lot if you took a couple of minutes to tell me what you thought of the chapter :)

PS. If you've been following this on LJ, I've made a change in this version: OMWF has taken place, and so has Tabula Rasa, so some things will read differently.


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