by Barb C.
Characters/Pairings: Spike, Evie (OC)/Alex (OC)
Setting: Post-Gift AU
Notes: Barbverse. Takes place c. 2037, a bit after "They Also Serve." Evie contemplates a change.
"That's the last one," Alex said, plunking another box down on the leaning tower of cardboard teetering beside the crypt door. He leaned against the doorpost and shoved the unruly brown curls from his brow in feigned weariness. "Shit, Evie, are you sure you need all this crap? We've only got a one-bedroom apartment." He reached into the top box and pulled out an ancient iPod. "This hasn't worked since the Clinton administration. The first one."
"Hey!" Evie snatched at the iPod, and Alex swung it overhead, grinning. He wasn't that tall, and she put some vamp muscle into a leap and grabbed it out of his hand. "That's got sentimental value. I stole it from the first guy I killed." She wrapped the earbud cord around it and stuffed it back into the box.
Alex blinked. "Seriously?"
For a guy whose mom was the Slayer and whose dad was one of the most infamous vampires of the last century, he could be fucking naive at times. Evie rolled her eyes. "No, dipshit. I was turned in 1998, and they weren't even invented yet." She glanced around the crypt – except for them, it was deserted. The other employees had moved out ages ago, and since Alex's older brother had taken over Bloody Vengeance Inc. and moved the main office to that warehouse down at the docks, there wasn't much reason for anyone to come here any more.
"Man, I remember when Dad used to bring us down here to keep an eye on us when Mom was out slaying." Alex looked around, a little wistful. Candlelight flickered across the scatter of old chairs and filing cabinets, and the big marble sarcophagus which had served as the receptionist's desk. "We used to play hide and seek in the pile of coffins downstairs and drive Clem crazy. Think someone else is gonna move in once you're out of here?"
"Nah. Who lives in crypts anymore? I was just trying to save on rent." It was kind of a shame. The new office was all professional and shit, but it didn't have the atmosphere the crypt did. Fledges these days didn't have any sense of fucking history. She sat down on the sarcophagus, caught his eye and grinned. "Means we can come here and make out in peace."
He grinned back. Fucking dimples, making her melt. "Hey, making out in cemeteries is an old family tradition."
They were getting a good start on it when Evie heard the footsteps, crunching along the gravel path towards the crypt. Alex looked up almost at the same instant, nostrils dilating, and she felt muscles tense beneath that teddy bear exterior. His senses were almost as sharp as hers. Heartbeat, but too slow for a human. So it was probably Alex's brother and her boss, but why the hell would Bill be coming here? She was reaching for the taser in her back pocket – screw swords and axes, this was the twenty-first century – when the crypt door creaked open and she caught the scent. "Hey, El Jefe! What are you doing here? Thought you were busy sitting on your lazy retired ass!"
Alex's eyes lit up. "Dad!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet. "I thought you wouldn't be home for – whoa, what happened to you? Piss off Mom?"
"You two are a regular Burns and Allen, you are." Spike limped into the crypt like he had a few broken ribs yet to heal. He must have been in one hell of a fight recently; half-healed claw-marks scored his cheek, and when he shrugged out of his beat-up old leather jacket, yellowing bruises mottled his forearms. He accepted a filial hug from Alex with a minimum of wincing, crossed to one of the less-dusty chairs, and collapsed into it with a grunt of exhaustion. It struck Evie all of a sudden how old he looked: the grey in his hair, the lines in his face, the little belly he'd started to acquire in the last few years. Damned good for his age, yeah, but...
Of course, if Spike were still an immortal undead hottie, Alex wouldn't exist.
Spike fired up a cigarette, indifferent to her existential pondering. "Christ, I'm knackered. Alex, lad, take that pile of shite out to the truck. I need a quick word in private with the woman who's leading you astray. Business. Won't be a minute."
With a look that said he was burning up with curiosity, Alex complied, hoisting a couple of boxes and dawdling out of the crypt as slowly as possible. Evie eyed Spike with equal curiosity. As soon as Alex was out of sight, he pulled a small glass vial from the inner pocket of his jacket and tossed it at her. "There. Don't say I never got you anything."
Evie, startled, almost fumbled it. Hoo-fuckin-ray for vamp reflexes. She turned the vial over in her fingers, perplexed. The wine-red fluid within rolled sluggishly against the glass. Blood, obviously, but why – oh. Oh. She shot a glance at Spike; he was fiddling with his lighter. "This – this is it?"
"That's it." Spike took a drag on his cigarette. "What? Told you I'd find some."
Evie stared at the vial. It didn't look like much. Certainly not like eternity tied up in a pretty pink bow. Her palms were sweating. She'd better be damned careful not to drop the thing; Mohra blood cost a freaking fortune. "I didn't think you were serious! Shit, Spike, I can't afford to pay you for this. I just – where the fuck did you even find a Mohra demon? Sam Lawson had to go to fucking Siberia or something."
Spike smirked at her and exhaled a long plume of smoke. "Got my methods, Watson."
Her eyes narrowed. "You just wanted to prove you could take one down too, didn't you?"
"I may be retired, but a chap's got to keep his hand in. As for payment..." He shrugged. "If you come through it alive, you and that layabout son of mine can provide me with another grandchild or so one of these years."
If. If she cracked that vial and swallowed it down. She'd heard the stories a million times – how Mohra blood had made Angel human, and made Spike... whatever Spike was. And how of all the other vampires who'd gotten the same treatment had ended up mindless, soulless hunks of meat. Except, for some reason, Sam Lawson, but then, he'd always been a freak, just like Spike.
Spike's eyes glittered in the candlelight, still as clear and piercing a blue as ever. "Second thoughts? Best have 'em now, 'cause there's no coming back."
Evie scrunched her eyes shut. "Dammit. I'm not like you. Not a fucking hero. I don't make grand fucking gestures for love!" For a second her voice cracked, and she hated herself. "I look at Alex and... and I don't want him to get old all by himself. Did you ever hear of anything so fucking stupid?"
The corner of Spike's mouth ticked up. "Might have, once or twice. Look, pet, it's your choice. Chuck that thing into the sewers if you like. Hunt up a witch and see if she can call your soul back, so it'll just make you safely human. Or down it now and take your chances." He took a last drag and got to his feet. "I'd best be getting home; Slayer's waiting."
She closed her fingers around the vial. Even if it worked... "It's just so fucking permanent, you know?"
Those wintery eyes softened. "It is that. So be bloody well sure you want this. That's the real reason I had the will to keep body and demon together when that devil's brew sent ten thousand volts through me. I wanted it. Life. More'n anything else, whether I realized it or not. That simple." At Evie's frown, "Yeah, it was a grand gesture for love, but why the hell d'you think I fell for the woman I fell for?" He contemplated the ember glowing at the end of his cigarette, dropped it, crushed it into the flagstones beneath the sole of one boot. "She made me feel alive."
Evie took a deep breath. "Spike – don't shit me. Was it worth it?"
His brow wrinkled in thought. "It'll change you. You'll think it won't at first – you're still a vamp, yeah? No soul to burden you. But it's different, being alive. Knowing every minute, every day, is ticking towards your last. That you're... finite, and your legacy's in what you'll leave behind when you go. Was it worth it?" He cocked an eyebrow. Grinned. Dimples, just like his son. "Fuck, yes."
He slung his jacket over one shoulder and headed for the door, a hint of his old swagger in his step. "If you'll take advice from me, though, whatever you do, talk to the boy first."
"Yeah. Okay. I'll do that." She looked out between the bars grating the nearest window. Alex was coming back up the path, moonlight silvering his shoulders. His father met him just outside the threshold, and the two of them exchanged a few words before Spike swung off down the path, heading for Revello Drive.
"What was that about?" Alex asked. "And don't tell me business, because – "
She cut him off with a hug, vamp-strong, head buried against his chest. "Hey," he said softly.
Evie looked up. She'd always thought Alex didn't look much like either of his parents, but from the right angle, yeah, they were both there. A legacy in blood and bone. Not the only kind Buffy and Spike had left, but the only one she was interested in right now. "Alex. We gotta talk."
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