Who Wants to Live Forever


by
Metaforgirl



Part Six

Maurice caught himself looking nervously towards Giles again, and shook himself with irritation. The older Watcher was only here on a consultant basis, because of his experience with the early phase of Slayer training. Particularly American Slayers, willful spoilt vulgar, particularly American Slayers who had not been brought up with any knowledge of or respect for their calling. It was difficult. And to have this latest apocalyptic possibility looming just months after the girl’s calling. Everything still felt all in pieces. He felt like he was in one of those American combat programs, figuratively jumping from a thundering helicopter with books under one arm and a bazooka in the other. And Brandy (and what kind of a name is that for a young woman?), Brandy was alternately clinging to him and trying to trip him up. She was particularly young for a Slayer, only fourteen, with a family life that could have been featured on one of those daytime talk shows to which she was apparently addicted.

Maurice wondered to himself, for perhaps the thousandth time this week, what bizarre mechanism caused these particular girls to be called at these particular times. One moment she would be gazing at him with those peculiar amber colored eyes, full of trust and respect, eager for instruction, and the next she would be sashaying out the door in a snit, hurling language back at him that he had always before associated with Marines and prostitutes. He felt that he had no control over her whatsoever, and thought he must look a proper fool to his aged, respected, venerated peer. Giles had been Watcher to one of the most famous Slayers that had ever been called. Under his care, Buffy Summers had averted more apocalypses, and evaded death for more years, than any known Slayer. Tales of Rupert Giles’ early years, supposed disobedience and rebellion, Maurice suspected were just jealous gossip; the sort of thing that was rife amongst the political and power mad Council. Maurice had nothing but awed respect for the man. So when he and Brandy were having a particularly difficult moment, and he looked up to see Mr. Giles watching with that little sad smile, he burned with embarrassment. What a disappointment he must be! And how woefully unprepared he must seem for this particular crisis!

“Geez Morreees, I’ve been locked up in this smelly old place for hours.” Brandy was perched on the stereo cabinet, mindlessly drumming her heels against the varnished surface. “If I can’t get out tonight and do something with my friends I’m gonna blow.”

“Stop kicking the cabinet, Brandy,” Maurice said absently, setting down a book and glancing nervously at Giles, stop it!, “I’ve told you, you don’t have time right now for parties with your friends. There is still so much research, and your training is just barely …”

“You so SUCK, Morreeees!” Brandy exploded, jumping down off the cabinet. She banged her hand down on the research table, deliberately causing a book to fall off the edge. “My training is going fine. I so kicked your ugly ass in there a minute ago! And as for this research!” She jumped and spun about as the door behind her opened. Maurice looked up and inwardly groaned in annoyance. Oh great. This couldn’t have come at a worse time. He glanced at the other Watcher again. If Mr. Giles hadn’t brought this monstrosity around, he would never have tolerated it. As it was, he now had an excited and out of control Slayer backing towards him. Her eyes never left the intruder.

“Vampire,” she hissed.

The Spike creature looked his girl up and down; he smirked and Maurice saw those eyes flash yellow, “Slayer,” the creature said, in a silky, threatening voice.

Brandy slowly stepped in front of her Watcher. Maurice’s heart swelled to see that she was instinctively protecting him. He knew that every nerve in her body must be jangling at the presence of this creature, this thing she existed to destroy. But he noted proudly her sure-footed grace, her steady hand as it slipped casually back to touch the stake in her rear jeans pocket. Once again the fatherly pride, the tremendous and unexpected love, and why didn’t they warn you about that in Watcher school?, he felt for this small child, overwhelmed him.

“Spike,” he said in a harsh, angry voice. “Why are you here, now?”

“I asked him to come,” Giles spoke casually from the corner. He came forward and tilted his head sideways in an apologetic nod to Maurice, “I should have told you. You were having difficulty with that text last night and Spike has a particular knowledge of the language.”

Maurice felt himself flush. He felt acutely again his lack of preparation for this task, you were having difficulty, and was hideously embarrassed that he should have to have help from this, this demon. Still, Mr. Giles was correct. Personal pride was nothing next to the fate of the world, and if this creature could be of some assistance because he, Maurice, was inadequate, then he should utilize him. He nodded stiffly at the vampire to take a seat and shoved the pertinent text in his direction. Spike slid into his chair with that unnatural grace of his and ran his fingers over the embossed title on the cover.

“Klatchek? You were having trouble with Klatchek? I thought all the little Watcher kiddies knew Klatchek.”

Maurice bristled. “This is an older Klatchek,” he explained, “and a particularly obscure dialect. You have an advantage over me, I suppose,” he said meanly, “having possibly actually been alive when it was spoken.”

Spike smiled with delight. Ah! Engarde!

“And yet somehow, I seem to be aging better, Morreees,” he said, happily mimicking Brandy’s mispronunciation of his name, “it’s all that ruddy sunlight. Bad for the skin.”

“Alright, Spike,” Giles intervened smoothly. “Less mouth and more translating please.”


~*~*~*~*~


“You shouldn’t bait him like that, Spike.” Spike was chaperoning Giles back to his flat. He was in a hurry to deposit the Watcher and get back to his ‘hide out’ before Xander saw him, and Giles seemed to be dragging his feet. Moving slow even for an old geezer.

“Oh, I see, time for the monthly Spike lecture.” Spike sighed in exasperation. “Well can it just keep, Rupert? I’ve got places to be.”

“Seriously Spike. Maurice is new and unsure of himself. You aren’t going to be helpful to him or to Brandy if you insist on rattling his cage every time you see him.”

“Just foolin’ around, Rupert,” said Spike easily, “you watchers all seem to be born with a rod up your arses.” He dared to jab Giles’ arm with a little sparring motion. “Hey, where would you have been without me there to poke and prod a bit?”

Giles laughed and shook his head. “I would have undoubtedly died a much younger man,” and at Spike’s arrogant nod, “a much younger, happier, man.”

“Oi!”

“Maurice is very insecure,” sighed Giles almost to himself. “It makes offering him assistance just that much more difficult. I asked Xander to come by to help set up the training room and Maurice was very defensive. He spoke down to Xander quite a bit, was even almost rude. I had to apologize to him afterwards…”

Spike felt his throat go tight. “So, Harris is helping the new Slayer?” he said, trying to keep his voice even. “He getting involved in this new end of the world fiasco you got brewin’ then?”

“Well, I imagine that once you’ve been a Scooby…”

“No Watcher,” said Spike in a deep angry voice. “Now that’s just not how it is. Maybe for you, it’s your job innit, and for the Witch I guess. Even me. Guess I owe it. But Harris is still a kid. He’s survived this Sunnyhell shite and now he deserves a real life. Wife and kiddies kinda stuff.”

“Well, he seems to want to keep his hand in, Spike,” said Giles slowly. He stopped and looked at the vampire curiously. “Hasn’t Xander already told you about this?” Spike shrugged. Giles stared at him for just a second before a dawning awareness and then exasperation washed over his face. “Oh for Heaven’s sake, Spike, what have you done this time?”

“Done nothin’ Rupert. Just haven’t been around.” Spike pulled out his cigarettes and made a great show of smoothing out the pack. Lit up his smoke, concentrating to keep his hands from shaking. He shook out the match and glanced sideways at the Watcher. Giles was just looking at him, arms crossed, patiently waiting for an explanation. Oh bugger it all to hell what was he going to say? “Mighta gotten a bit drunk. Farted around, pissed off the whelp a bit.”

“Doing what?”

“Nothin’ Rupert! Nothin’ evil, none of that kinda crap! You know better’n that. Just stupid Spike shit.”

“You’re sure.”

“Fuck yeah.”

“Maybe I should ask Xander.”

“Geezus buggerin hell, Rupert!” Spike stamped his feet, “What the fuck is with you! I pissed the boy off, I buggered off till he cools down. You go and open it all up with your motherin’ hen crap and he’ll just get all pissed off at me again! Leave it! Please,” he added as an afterthought.

Giles resumed walking. “Well, fine then Spike.”

“Good.”

“Let him cool down, then an apology.”

“That’s right.”

They were approaching Giles’ door. He turned, his hand on the knob. “Tomorrow. Maurice is having a meeting.”

“Right,” said Spike with a sigh.

“You can apologize to Xander there.”


~*~*~*~*~


Xander was sitting in the back room on the training mats, showing a young man how to sharpen an ax. The boy had followed Brandy home, it would appear, and after a metaphorical bowl of milk (pizza) and pet on the head (kiss on the cheek), the stray puppy seemed to have made himself at home. When Xander asked, he told him his name was Brown.

“What’s your first name?”

“That is my first name, you challenged or somethin’?”

“Well what’s your last name?”

“Name’s just Brown, man. You call it I come. ‘S there a problem?”

Okay then, thought Xander. The kid reminded him of himself. Prickly and defensive, turning into a pile of mush every time Brandy looked sideways at him. Fresh meat for the Hellmouth. Jesus, Xander felt a surge of panic, how’re we gonna save this one? He slid the sharpening tool with easy expertise over the weapon. Brown watched and mimicked on the hand-ax he held. He paused to run his finger wonderingly over the symbol carved on the flat of the blade. Xander raised an eyebrow. Kid seemed to be really, really interested in knives. Bet he runs with scissors, too. And where in Sunnydale can a kid his age get a tattoo? Maybe it was some kind of evolutionary survival tendency. Children of the Hellmouth.

Xander heard the door in the front hall being opened to visitors, then Giles’ familiar tones speaking. Then…

“Oi, Watcher!”

Fuck. It was Spike. Xander quickly put down the ax. Alright alright, he told himself. You knew this was coming, Harris. Just stick to the plan. Damn! Wish there was a plan.

“Brandy! Come down here please!” he heard Maurice calling up the staircase.

Brown perked up his ears. “Hey!” he said brightly, “think I’ll get somethin’ ta drink from the kitchen.” He lay down the ax carefully, then jumped up and hurried from the room. Wagging his tail behind him, thought Xander ruefully. He retrieved the ax and ran his finger across the edge carefully, checking the boy’s work.

“Harris!”

“Fuck!” Xander jumped and glared at his bloodied thumb. Then he glared up at the source of the voice. Spike leaned in the doorway. As lean and nasty as he knew how to look. He was all black leather tonight and wearing a black t-shirt as well. His eyes were narrowed to slits, and an unlit cigarette hung from his lips. He crossed his arms and nodded at Xander. “HEY!” he mock-called to the room behind him, “WHO LET THE KIDDIES INTO THE WEAPONS CASE?” He smirked at Xander and sauntered forward a bit, hands jammed in pockets.

“Cut yerself, whelp?”

Xander snorted and held aloft his bloodied thumb, “Hungry Whiteboy?”

“Like I’d want it.”

“Oh, you want it.” Xander stopped and gulped. Suddenly the old parry didn’t seem that funny. But carry on, Mac Duff! “You know you want it!”

“Yeah...” Spike stopped, looked down. There was an awkward pause. Then he raised his hand as if calling a waiter, “Uh, line!?” He laughed. So Xander laughed, too. Then there was another awkward pause. “Uh, listen Xan,” said Spike painfully, still looking down at the floor, “about the other night…”

“Yeah,” Xander leapt in, “what the hell happened the other night? I mean,” he continued quickly before Spike could respond, “I was so fucking drunk all I remember is leaving the Bronze. Woke up passed out on my bathroom floor.” He paused, holding his breath and waited for a response. Would Spike receive the pass, would he run with it? God, let this be a fix! I swear, I swear, just this once. Let this be alright. Spike continued looking at the floor for a minute. Then he looked up sideways at Xander and smirked.

“Geez Xander, yer so pathetic the highlight of yer evening was puking all over yer bed and crawling into the bathroom. I left ya ta die. Kinda surprised ta see ya still here.”

“Yeah, well thanks for the happy thoughts, Spike. But you can’t kill me with booze. I have the liver of a god.” Xander suddenly felt light-headed with relief. He set the ax down carefully and looked up at Spike. His friend Spike. “So what the hell you been up to, bloodbreath? Things good?”

“Yeah.” Spike took the cigarette out of his mouth and smiled at Xander. One of his big, real smiles. “Things are good.”

“Well, good then.”

“Yeah. Good.”




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