Buffy – Test Subject – Chapter 7

Chapter 6

Tummy ache. That’s what Dawn called it. Halfway through watching the movie, Spike’d gotten up and run to the bathroom and puked up his blood. That had been a week earlier. Giles had been over and diagnosed the vampire with a type of undead stomach flu, accredited to a little chicken blood in his supply. The Watcher had said that he was lucky. If Spike had been human, he could very well have come down with an E. coli infection. As it was, he’d just felt really lousy for the last week.

On the upside, Buffy had taken to spending the night with him, on his bed, cuddling and comforting the vampire through the worst of the cramps. And she’d held him all night several times. It had been more than a comfort for Spike, however. It had been an inspiration. In the times that he’d been alone, which wasn’t that often, for one of the Summers was almost always with him, he’d turned to writing. Not poetry, however. Well… not really. It was poetry, in a way. He’d written a song. With Dawn’s old keyboard that he’d found, he’d renewed his old human habit of playing piano, and combined the music with his poetry. It took about four days, but he’d finally come up with a finished product that he was proud of. Now all he had to do was get Buffy alone.

One day, when he wasn’t feeling very nauseous, he decided to go upstairs and see if he could find the Slayer and arrange just that. However, he didn’t know that the family had company.

As he approached the top of the basement stairs, he could hear four voices in the kitchen. And one of them was only vaguely familiar. That meant that it wasn’t one of the Scoobies. He knew all their voices by heart at that time, and couldn’t figure out who this other person was. Male. He could tell that much, and he KNEW that he had heard that voice somewhere before. Something about it… made the short hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Whoever it was, wherever he’d encountered this person, it wasn’t linked to a good memory. He cracked the basement door, and looked out through the small hole, sniffing experimentally. That scent… It made him think of pain. Of fear. Of… the Initiative. If only that person would move where he could… THERE!

His eyes widened, and flashed gold. A low growl rumbled from his throat before he could check it. Thankfully, Buffy seemed to be the only one who noticed it. She flashed him a smile, and motioned for him to come out. His only response was to shut the door. And go back down the stairs.

Riley Finn. COMANDER Riley Finn. Now he remembered where he’d heard that name before. That… person was the one who’d observed the Initiative’s tests on him. Watched, as their so-called doctors poked and prodded at him. Watched as they cut him open, without any sedatives, without any painkillers, just to see if the vampire digestive tract was any different from that of a human counterpart. Who WAS sedated, by the way. Watched as those military cronies had hurt him, and scared him, and locked him in a tiny cage, KNOWING that vampires have an innate sense of claustrophobia. Knowing that him being locked in there would all but destroy him, and not caring. He was an animal to them. Just a lab rat, without feelings or life. Deep inside, he knew that if he hadn’t gotten out when he did, he would have gone insane. Same as Dru before him. Totally nutso. Maybe he’d finally hear that bloody music that she’d always been talking about.

He lay down on his bed, trying to get his suddenly erratic breathing under control. He couldn’t believe it. The guy that Buffy was DATING (unofficially) was one of those bleedin’ army assholes! He swallowed, licked his lips, and swallowed again. This was horrible. Totally horrible. No other word for it. He was still laying there when Buffy came downstairs.

“Hey.” She had her head cocked to the side, and a look of worry on her face. “Are you okay? I thought you might come out and meet Riley. Did you feel sick again?”

Spike sat up a little. “No. Well, sort of. You could say that I felt sick. Luv, where did you say that you met Riley?”

She sat on the bed next to him. “At the college. Why?”

“Cause I’ve seen him before. But it wasn’t at the college.”

Buffy smiled at him. “Oh? Where?”

Spike bit his lip. Now was not the time for this, his instincts told him. “Uh.. I forget. But it wasn’t too long ago.” He licked the lip that he’d just bit. “Are you busy right now?”

She shrugged. “Not really. Dawn and Mom went out for ice cream. I wanted to stay here, cause I thought you didn’t feel good.” She put a hand to his forehead. “You still feel a bit clammy. Want me to stay with you tonight?”

He gave a half nod. After all, it wasn’t milking his condition if *she* offered to stay, right? “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble.” Take a leap. Go on. “Besides. I’ve got somethin’ I’d like to… show you.”

She grinned. “Really? Hmm. I wonder what that could be…”

He chuckled. Then licked his lips nervously. “I want to do it now, if that’s okay with you. Since we’re the only ones home, there’s no chance of being interrupted.” Ok.. That sounded a little *too* sexual. He hoped she hadn’t caught it.

She laughed quietly. “Alright. What do I have to do?”

“Just stay there. I’ll.. be right back.” He got up and walked over to where he’d stored the big six octave keyboard, and took it and the stand over and set them up in front of a chair.

“Gonna give me a concert?”, Buffy asked with a giggle.

“Somethin’ like that, luv. Hang on.” He went to the far side of his bed and got his notebook. He cleared his throat. “I.. uh.. wrote you a song…”

Her jaw dropped slightly, then she smiled hugely. “Wow. Really? For me? It’s not even my birthday or anything.”

He settled in his chair and turned the keyboard on. “Yeah.. well.. I needed to tell you something. I’ve been tryin’ for some time now. Just thought that this would be easier.”

She settled back on the bed. “Well, then tell me.” Smiled at him. I’m waitin’, Spikey.”

He chuckled. She was getting really good at making him feel better when he was nervous, or anything, really. “Alright. Hang on. Lemme get started.” He switched on pure piano on the keyboard, and began to play a medium speed tune. After a moment, he began to sing.

“Not so long ago,
I packed my bags a hundred times.

Didn’t seem to know,
How to stop, or to unwind.

Goin’ nowhere,
A man without a dream.

Guess my lucky star,
Fell the day you came along.

To my lonely heart,
You are like a special song.

Singing sweetly,
Your tender melody…

Thanks to you,
The child inside me lives again.
Thanks to you,
I have found the peace within.
I know where I’m going,
And what I want to do..
Thanks to you….”

Another instrumental part, during which Spike had to force himself not to look at Buffy’s expression. The next part was a gamble. And he knew it. But he had to do it. It was the whole point. He began singing again.

“Lying in your arms,
I’ve found my greatest pleasure.

I look into your eyes,
And dream about forever..”

He chanced a glance at the Slayer. To his surprise, she not only wasn’t mad, there were tears streaming down her cheeks. It gave him the courage to continue. Time to finish the song. Deep, unneeded breath.

“Wakin’ up with you,
And looking forward to the day.

What we plan to do,
Knowin’ anything at all’s okay.

Life has a meaning,
And love has got a name…

Thanks to you,
The child inside me lives again.
Thanks to you,
I have found the peace within.
I know where I’m going,
And what I want to do..
Thanks to you..

Thanks to you.”

He trailed off, and played the instrumental ending of the song. Deep sigh. Well, he’d done it. Now it was time to get her reaction. Swallowed and looked up. “Well, luv? What do you think?” Bit his lip. Please. Anything but… patronism. Please don’t let her say that I’m… beneath her… Swallowed. “Well?”

Buffy wiped at her eyes and sniffled. “Spike… I.. you’re… that was wonderful.”

His jaw dropped slightly before he could check it. “Really?”

She smiled, still swiping at tears. “Yeah. Beautiful, and wonderful, and good.. I can’t believe.. That was for me?”

He nodded, feeling the strange sensation of an almost heartbeat begin within him. Nervousness, or excitement, always did that to him. Said it without thinking. “Every syllable.”

She stood up, walked over to him, and hugged him tightly. “Thank you. That has to be the single most wonderful, nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me.” She pulled back. “Were you saying what I think you were saying?”

He shivered a little, and tried to convince himself that it was from the stomach flu. “If.. if you think that I was trying to tell you that I.. that I love you.. you’re right.” Swallowed and continued quickly. “Of course, if that’s not what you thought I was saying, ignore my last comment and replace it with ‘what did you think I was sa-‘ ” He was interrupted when she gently pressed her lips to his, cradling his face in her hands.

When they parted, she smiled shyly at him. “What took you so long?”

He was a little flustered. “Well I… what about Riley?”

She kissed him again. “Forget Riley. I love you, Spike. I have for over a month now. I was..”

“Scared,” he finished for her. “Me too. And I couldn’t figure out how to tell you, so I…”

“Wrote me the most beautiful musical poem that I’ve ever heard?”

“Well, yeah..” He cocked his head at her. “Wait a minute. Musical poem?”

She nodded sheepishly. “Yeah.. Mom kind of.. slipped about you being a poet when you were human.”

He closed his eyes. “Bloody hell.”

“Way to ruin the mood, Casanova.”

He chuckled, then looked at her wonderingly. “You.. love me?”

“Yes.”

“I love you, too.”

She laughed quietly. “I know.” Stepped back from him. “I’ll be right back. I’m not spending the night down here in my day clothes.”

He chuckled. “Yeah. I’ll change, too.”

A few minutes later, they were curled together on his bed, with Buffy against his back, her arm around his side, rubbing his stomach gently. Even though most of the symptoms of the ‘stomach flu’ had suddenly vanished. Spike was beginning to believe that the whole thing had just been nerves. They were both really close to dozing off, but there was something that he had to say.

“Luv?”

“Mmm?”, came the sleepy reply from behind him. He could feel her warm breath on the back of his neck.

“I love you, Buffy Summers.”

Quiet chuckle from behind. “And I love you… William Edwards Junior.”

“Bloody hell.”

Chapter 8