Pairing: Season 7 Cannon Rating: PG Disclaimer: I'm not Joss Summary: Set during S7. What did happen to Miss Kitty Fantastico? A/N: For tabloid_btvs . Many thanks to my wonderful and speedy beta, silk_labyrinth !
A piercing scream startled him out of sleep. He wouldn’t have minded—he’d been dreaming of a family he and Du had massacred near Barcelona sometime in the 1920s; small, pale bodies scattered everywhere and Dru singing to a headless doll—but he was afraid this shriek meant it had begun, whatever it was. The probability of doom, which he’d felt pounding in his body like a pulse, ever since he’d returned to Sunnydale. And they weren’t ready, not by half. The Potentials were still green as newly sprouted grass, the mantle of leadership for their growing group still fit poorly on Buffy’s shoulders, and Spike’s own mind felt scattered and untrustworthy. If they were attacked now, they didn’t have the ghost of a chance.
And he was still chained to the wall, huddled on his thin cot and confined to the basement by the unforgiving California sun.
He waited impatiently for some sign of what was happening, perhaps someone coming to free him so he could join the battle, and he was soon rewarded by the sound of running footsteps and the squeaking of the basement door.
A parade of girls came down the stairs. They were crying, and Dawn was cradling something in her arms. He couldn’t see through the press of bodies to make out what she carried, but it was much too small to be a person, at least, and that was a relief.
Most of the girls stopped just out of reach of his chains. Only Dawn continued forward, and then he could see what was in her arms: a small, unmoving bundle of black and white fur. He could smell blood, not human, and something was protruding from the thing’s body.
Dawn held the furry little bundle out to him like a gift and sniffled.
“What’s this?” Spike asked, as he stood up.
“It’s not my fault!” one of the girls exclaimed. The ginger-haired one. He hadn’t bothered to learn any of their names. This one was sobbing even more loudly than the rest. “She just darted in front of me.”
Another of them, a girl with dark skin and braids, scowled. “If your aim hadn’t been so shitty you would’ve hit the target instead of the cat.”
“My aim wasn’t shitty! Someone jostled me!”
“So? You think when we’re in battle everyone’s gonna just step back and give you plenty of elbow room? Get real!”
“Stop it!” Dawn had turned around long enough to glare at them, and now she turned back toward Spike and shoved the animal closer to him. “Help her, Spike.”
He sighed. “’M not a vet, pet.”
“I know. But all the vets have left town already and she’s dying and Willow is going to be so sad because Miss Kitty Fantastico was hers and Tara’s and—” She hiccupped out another sob.
Spike couldn’t say no. So he took the cat from her and held it in one arm, parting the fur to inspect the wound. In as soothing a voice as he could manage, he said, “Love, the arrow’s gone nearly all the way through. I don’t know much about feline physiology, but I expect several vital bits have been damaged. There’s nothing I can do, except, erm, give her a quick end, yeah?”
But Dawn shook her head fiercely and crossed her arms over her chest. “Bite her!”
“Bite her. Do whatever it is you need to do to, to…change her.”
He blinked. “You want me to turn a cat?”
“Yes. You can do it, right?”
“I don’t….” He stopped in the face of her frown. He could feel the cat’s heartbeat, thready and weak. The little animal didn’t have much longer. “I don’t know if a cat can be turned, Niblet. Never heard of anyone trying it before. And even if it worked, well, she wouldn’t be your cat anymore, would she? She’d be a demon. Haven't you read any Stephen King?”
“You are still you. Even before the soul, I mean.”
He shook his head sadly. “No, I’m not. The things I’ve done….” He couldn’t meet her eyes, and instead looked down at the cat’s blood-matted fur. “William Pratt would never have done those things.”
“Maybe not. But…but you’ve done some good stuff, too, sometimes. Even before the soul. And anyway, Miss Kitty’s already a murdering little fiend. You should see what she does to mice! Plus, Willow could figure out a way to fix her, I bet. Spike, please!”
And he couldn’t say no, could he? Not when her eyes were focused on him like that, and the eyes of the other girls, and they were like the eyes of every innocent child he’d raped and tortured and killed and hurt over the decades, accusing him and demanding some small justice.
With a sigh of resignation, Spike shifted his face and bit.
He didn’t much fancy the way the cat’s fur filled his mouth. He’d be picking it off his tongue for hours. And the little thing had already lost a good deal of its blood. But dutifully he drank, and when the cat’s heart had slowed nearly to a stop he withdrew his fangs and tore into his own wrist, then wedged his wrist into the cat’s mouth and bit its neck again. He made a muffled curse when the cat sank its own needle sharp teeth into his tender skin, but with a few more swallows the cat was dead.
He changed back to his human face and handed the corpse back to Dawn. The girls looked at the cat solemnly. “Do we have to bury her?” Dawn whispered.
Spike couldn’t help but shudder as he remembered digging his way out of his own grave. “No, I don’t reckon so. Just keep it somewhere quiet. It should rise in a few nights. If it works.”
Dawn stepped closer again and reached up—not far; she’d grown so tall, suddenly—and gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. He was so shocked he froze. Then she stepped back and smiled at him with teary eyes. “Thanks, Spike.”
A few moments later she and the dead cat and the entourage were all gone, and Spike was left alone on his thin little mattress again, thinking about the unexpected ways atonement could occur.
Three days later more screams rang out, and there was a lot of shouting and footsteps running back and forth over his head. After a few moments there was silence, broken by the sound of the basement door opening. Buffy barreled down the stairs, making a surprising amount of noise for such a tiny thing. She parked herself in front of him, her hands balled on her hips, a deep crease between her brows.
“What?” he asked wearily.
“What the hell were you thinking, Spike?”
“Dunno. Why don’t you tell me what’s got your knickers in a twist?”
“Miss Kitty Fantastico!”
“Oh.” He sat back against the wall. “That.”
“Yeah, that. A vampire cat, Spike?”
“So it worked, then?”
She huffed impatiently at him. “It worked. Willow’s been searching for the cat for days, and today she finds her, and the cat goes all bumpy and bites her! She had to zap it with a spell and the cat ran off, and now Will’s just about hysterical and that’s never of the good.” Her voice had risen as she spoke, but now it dropped and her shoulders slumped a bit. “I was finally beginning to maybe trust you a little.”
A very strange mixture of emotions rushed through him. “Oi! Wasn’t my idea, you know.”
“So, what? You were hungry and you thought Willow’s pet would make a nice snack?”
“I didn’t…. Oh, bloody hell.” He knocked his head back against the wall, frustrated at the impossibility of ever explaining himself to her satisfaction. “Just sodding stake me, all right? I can’t do anything…. Never going to be good enough for you. Just end it.”
But she didn’t reach for a stake. Instead, she sighed and the corners of her mouth turned down and she suddenly looked very old. “I’ve got enough hassles to deal with already, Spike. Don’t add to them.”
He closed his eyes and turned his head away, but he could still hear her as she left.
He was asleep again, lost in a dream about London and fires that he didn’t understand, and then he opened his eyes and the Slayer was standing over him. Watching him. He grimaced and scrambled into a sitting position, keeping the sheets pulled modestly over his lap.
“Dawn told me about the cat,” she said.
Oh, not that again. “Look, ‘m sorry, all right? I’m evil and horrible and—”
“She told me it was her idea. That she talked you into it.”
“Oh.” He tried to read her expression and couldn’t.
She surprised him by sitting down on the mattress. She looked down at her feet, which were encased in slim brown boots. “It was a really bad idea.”
She scooted a bit closer to him, so that he could feel the heat of her. “We caught her. The cat, I mean. Willow’s got her locked up. She thinks she can…I don’t know. Stick a soul back into her, or whatever it is cats have. I’ve been making Dawn catch rats to feed to the cat. Let her watch the little monster suck the blood out of rodents.”
“Buffy, there have been so many deaths here. There will be loads more. Perhaps avoiding this one wasn’t such a terrible thing.”
“Spike, a vampire cat is creepy. And the last thing we needed was another demon in town.” She twisted around so she was looking at him, and the corners of her mouth lifted in a tiny smile. “But it was kinda sweet of you to do that for Dawnie. Gross, but sweet.”
He didn’t know how to respond to those words, or what to do when she closed the space between them and leaned her head against his bare shoulder. Her hair was smooth and soft and it tickled his skin and, oh gods, it felt so good to have her against him. He didn’t dare move in case she pulled away, and they didn’t say anything. But they remained like that for a very long time, alone in the dark basement, together.