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Title: The Vamp Around the Corner (1 of 3)Author: RebcakeRating: PG13Word Count: 2935Characters: Buffy, Spike, Joyce, Dawn, Willow, TaraA/N: Takes place in an AR wherein Buffy was called to Slayerhood according to schedule, but did not move to the Hellmouth until her freshman year of college. NOT a Wishverse fic. Many thanks to shapinglight for betaing this chapter. Contains dialogue swipes from BtVS. I do not own…yada…strictly not for profit…yada…Summary: When the Slayer's family moves house in her second year of college, a new neighbor swiftly becomes all she wants for Christmas. His wants are decidedly more complicated.CHAPTER 1When she came to help her daughter move out of the dorm at the end of the term, Joyce Summers told Buffy that she’d fallen in love with Sunnydale.“I found a terrific gallery space right on the main drag. It’s a perfect location. And, well, I’ve been thinking that it would be better for Dawn to be in a smaller community for her teen years. It can be hard to keep a sense of perspective in LA,” she explained.Buffy wasn’t thrilled about her mom and sister relocating to Sunnydale. For one thing, it was on top of a Hellmouth. Duh. For another, it felt a little claustrophobic after being an independent woman for almost a year. Well, an independent woman who lived on campus, ate in the college cafeteria, took her laundry home at school breaks, and was still on her mom’s dental plan. But still! She was used to keeping her own hours and having entire weeks of nothing to do but school, parties, and slaying. The simple life. She could practically see her curfew-free, dishwashing-free freedom fading away.So she said, “That’s great, mom! You’ll be so…close!”Joyce just laughed at her.“Yes, you can still live on campus, Buffy.”Buffy kept forgetting how hard it was to hide her feelings from her mom.“Oh. Well, if it’s okay with you…”“I haven’t forgotten my college years, honey. You deserve to have your chance.”“Really?”“Really. Of course, I hope you’re more responsible than I was.”“Mooooom!”Joyce laughed again.July was a flurry of packing, August a flurry of unpacking, and before she knew it, Buffy was settling into her new dorm room. Her old roommate, Willow, was rooming with her girlfriend Tara this year, and Buffy had scored a coveted single.Too bad she didn’t have anybody to christen it with. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend Riley was permanently off. She felt a little blue about it, but it was just one of those things that came with dating a military man. He’d been deployed on some hush-hush mission and had told her not to wait. It was all very manly and self-sacrificing, which was annoying, but it saved her from having to break up with him, so she called it a win. He was a great guy, but he didn’t really get the slaying gig, and she could tell that it wasn’t going to work long-term. At not quite 20-years old, she wasn’t really thinking long-term anyway. There was a whole world of hotties out there, and she was planning to browse. Responsibly.+++Buffy had to admit that Sunday dinners at Casa Summers were something she could have used last year. Not only did her laundry get done more regularly, but it was comforting to get away from all the collegiate bustle and reconnect with her reliable, warm, loving circle. Even getting stuck with dish duty once a week was soothing in a weird way. It was really nice checking in with her mom and Dawn. She got updates on their lives, and she shared the highlights of hers, with the gore somewhat glossed over. Dawn was a bloodthirsty kid, and always wanted to know more about the slayage, but her mom got real quiet if the stories were too exciting.After the gym fire incident at Hemery High, her parents had almost had her committed. Her story of centuries old vampires, evil minions, and one girl chosen to stand against them was bonkers, but it happened to be true. Buffy had proved it. It hit them hard, but they’d stood by her and tried to be supportive of her special needs — horrible hours, wardrobe replacement, medieval weaponry. She once tried to reassure them by explaining that it wasn’t that different than if she’d gone into competitive ice skating. Her mom had put down the mace she was fingering and locked herself in her room for an hour.When the divorce happened, they both told her that it was something between them, and not because of her calling. Buffy even believed them 95% of the time. 98% after she met Hank’s new girlfriend. He’d been great though. He checked in all the time and never missed a date with her, except that one time that wasn’t even his fault. Stupid Watcher’s Council and their stupid “tests”.Her dad had explained that both he and her mom were proud of her, but like the parents of any kid who went into combat, they worried. A lot. She tried to not make it worse, and that meant the stories with the closest calls were not dinner table material.One Sunday, Mom mentioned she might invite a neighbor over for Thanksgiving. Buffy had already asked if she could bring Willow and Tara, so it wasn’t going to be just family, and both her mom and Dawn had mentioned this neighbor before. Apparently, he was a bachelor and had been a regular welcome wagon over the last few months. First he came by with a housewarming gift of wine, then provided the name of a local kid, Xander Harris, that was good with household repairs, and finally took Joyce and Dawn to putt-putt golf to celebrate Dawn’s first report card. Joyce confided that he was also great about bringing his friends by the gallery, many of whom were now customers. In short, he sounded way too perfect. Buffy said so. Again, her mom just laughed.“Oh, honey, he’s really not my type. He’s been very helpful, and he’s certainly handsome. I can appreciate that as much as any woman, but he’s a little, oh…” She searched for the right word. “…edgy for me. He’s got this, I don’t know, rock star vibe, I guess.”“Just the vibe we want at Thanksgiving,” huffed Buffy, envisioning the Bill Nighy character from Love Actually.“He told me he hasn’t got any family, Buffy. I won’t invite him if you don’t want me to, but I’d like to think I raised you to be more hospitable than that.”Game, set, and match. “Fine. Never let it be said that I was unkind to orphans.”“That’s very charitable of you, darling.”+++Buffy was rearranging the gourds in the dining room when the doorbell rang.“I’ll get it!” she called over the sound of the electric mixer. She opened the door to find a man slouching on the porch in the late afternoon sun. His carefully mussed shocking white hair was lit from behind to look like what her art history teacher called a nimbus. He had killer cheekbones, thick eyelashes, and a lean, broad-shouldered body encased in black leather, charcoal wool, and cranberry silk. He looked up and smiled. Definitely NOT Bill Nighy. Not Riley Finn, either. She could practically hear the theme from “A Summer Place” playing in her head.“Hello, cutie. Your mum in?” After a quick glance at her, he looked over her head as if she wasn’t even there.The imaginary record screeched to a halt. She stared at him with narrowed eyes. Seriously? So not going to be treated like a kid by this…gorgeous…English accent-having…asshole. She crossed her arms.“Who wants to know?”He blinked and looked at her with surprise. He stood straighter.“Sanger. William Sanger. But call me Spike. Everybody does.”They stared at each other. A slow, sexy smile spread across his face. He leaned against the doorframe and gave her a blatant once-over. In Buffy’s opinion, this was much more acceptable than the indifference of a minute ago, even though she could feel a blush coming on.“Gonna ask me in? Don’t want these to get warm, now do we?” He held up some champagne bottles.Buffy touched her cheeks. Yup. Flaming. Get it together, Buffy.“Can’t have that. Warm would be…” She gave him a stern look. “…bad. C’mon in.” She moved out of the doorway.He stepped across the threshold, managing to make it look like a maneuver out of the Kama Sutra. Rock star? More like porn star, thought Buffy. Bad Buffy. Oh, he was talking…“…must be Buffy. From everything Dawn’s said, thought you’d be taller.”“You too," she shot back. “I mean, yes. I’m Buffy. Dawn’s much older sister. ”His eyes sparkled with amusement. “Right. Now that we’re such good friends, you want to help me get these lovelies on ice?” he asked, again holding out the champagne bottles.“Yep! Icy goodness coming right up!” Glad to have a mission, Buffy led the way to the kitchen.“Spike!” cried Dawn. She was in the middle of spooning cranberry sauce into a bowl, and had managed to get some smeared across her cheek.“Alright there, Niblet? Hello, Joyce.” He juggled the bottles into the crook of one arm and reached out to wipe the bright red spot from Dawn’s face. Dawn flapped her hands and danced away from him, squealing.“Hello, Spike,” said Joyce. “Let me help you with those.” She took the bottles and went to the cupboard that held the ice bucket. She glanced at the labels, then did a double-take before turning to him with wide eyes. “Oh, Spike. This is very generous.”He looked uncomfortable. “Just something I had lying around. Seemed like the thing for a party.”Joyce laughed. “I’ll say. I just wish I had a battleship to christen with it.”“What! And waste all those lovely bubbles? Think we should toast your charming daughters instead. They’ll probably launch a thousand ships any day now. Suspect you’ve put a few hundred in motion yourself, pet.”Her mom shook her head, smiled, and waved a dismissive hand at him. Buffy was impressed at the way he managed to flatter every female in the room at once. Evil. She should probably keep a close eye on him.“Can I try some?” asked Dawn, peering around Joyce’s back to look at the bottles.“Oh, I don’t know, honey…”“Pleeeease?”“Well…alright. You can have a taste at dinner. But don’t get your hopes up, sweetie. You probably won’t like it.”The doorbell rang again, and Buffy left the family scene in the kitchen to answer it. Willow and Tara stood there beaming. She ushered them inside. They exclaimed over the wonderful scents filling the house and oohed and aahed over the beautiful table. After a few minutes of pleasantries, they all headed for the kitchen to help out.Joyce had coaxed Spike into a “Kiss the Cook” apron, and he was doing a creditable job of carving the turkey. Buffy thought the entire tableau was mouth-wateringly yummy.Introductions were made and tasks appointed. As the other women carried platters, baskets, and bowls to the dining room, Buffy hung back with Spike. She picked up the ice bucket.“How’d you get roped into doing hard labor?” she asked.“Might’ve let slip to your mum that I like playing with knives,” said Spike with a wink. He unhooked the apron from around his neck and slowly pulled it away from his body. “Makes me feel all…manly.”Her mouth went dry. She couldn’t have made an answer to that if the fate of the world depended on it. He hefted up the platter of turkey slices and carried it through the door. Buffy trailed behind hugging the ice bucket to her chest, wondering when it got so hot in there. Maybe he really was a porn star.“Can see why they call it the groaning board,” said Spike, once all the food was placed on the table. He was back in polite guest mode, Buffy noted. He plucked a champagne bottle out of the ice bucket, popped the cork and handed the bottle to Joyce. She poured a glass for everyone, though just a small amount for Dawn.“A toast,” Spike said, raising his glass. “To new friends and new beginnings.”“To new friends,” the others murmured. They all took a deep swallow.Dawn watched the others carefully and took a mouthful along with them. Her expression changed from cautious to pinched and she struggled to swallow.“Like it?” asked Spike.She turned to him with a pained smile and nodded.“Very convincing. Don’t let anybody bully you, precious. If something tastes like…” Spike paused and glanced at Joyce who raised an eyebrow at him. “…a spade, well, you go ahead and call it a spade. Besides, then there’ll be more for the rest of us.” He smiled conspiratorially at Dawn, who beamed back and reached for the sparkling apple juice instead.The dinner was a great success. Spike, being English, wanted to know more about this “daft Yank ritual”. Everybody shared stories of their family traditions, and there was enough new material there — what with Willow’s revisionist history, Tara’s devout upbringing, and the Summers’ conventional SoCal take — to carry them through to the after dinner mints. As they relaxed in the living room with a warming beverage — brandy, coffee, or tea — Spike finally veered into dangerous conversational territory, and it wasn’t politics or religion.“So, Joyce tells me you’re a Slayer.”“Mom!”“I didn’t think it would do any harm, Buffy. It’s not like Spike doesn’t know about the things that go bump in the night, you know.”“True. Don’t like to brag, but I’ve met a few Slayers in my time.” He turned to Dawn and whispered loudly, “Kidding, pet. I love to brag.” Dawn giggled.“But, I’ve been the Slayer for four years already! How many slayers were here before that? Do we all end up in Sunnydale, eventually?”“Didn’t meet them here, did I? Been all over the world, you know.”“Oh. Really? I met a wooden dummy once who said he knew a Korean Slayer in the ’30s.”Tara mouthed, “Dummy?” to Dawn, who nodded sagely.“That so? Knew a Chinese one, myself.” Spike looked toward the ceiling and made a toasting gesture with his glass before taking another swallow.Wait a minute. British. Supernaturally aware. Knows Slayers, multiple. She should have seen it before.“Hey, are you a Watcher or something?”He choked on his brandy.“Perish the thought! I am nothing like those poncey buggers. Hiding behind little girls, sending them off to do their dirty work…” He trailed off as he noticed the startled looks of this dinner companions. “Prefer to fight my own battles, is all,” he mumbled.“Oh. Well. That’s good. I’m sort of not on speaking terms with the Council after their fun little birthday surprise when I turned 18.”Joyce nodded vigorously. “I don’t like to speak ill of people, but those men are rat bastards!”+++Annnnnd, they were off on their favorite subject — Council of Evil Watchers, Ltd. Dawn had heard it all before.Bored, she began fiddling with the rings on Spike’s fingers. He absently slipped off a chunky silver skull ring and handed it to her. Dawn tried the ring on several of her fingers before settling it on her thumb, where it was still very loose. She held her hand out to judge the effect and shook her head. She handed the ring back to Spike who slipped it back on his hand. She tapped on his pinky ring. He took it off and handed it over. This one was a delicate silver hummingbird skull or something, with the beak stretching along to the second knuckle. The smaller size was working better for her, but it still didn’t make the grade. She sighed and handed it back. Finally she settled on the one he wore on his ring finger: a golden skull overlaying a clear green stone. She tapped it. He glanced down and shook his head. She tapped it again, more forcefully.“Not that one, Bit.” He said it calmly, but she could tell there was no room for negotiation.She pouted until it was time for pumpkin pie.+++“You like him,” stated Willow with a grin.“How can I like him? I just met him!”“I like him,” said Willow. Tara nodded.“You do? Both of you?” Buffy was confused.Willow clarified. “For you. He’s interesting. He’s great with Dawn. He’s super nice to your mom.”“He’s sex on a stick,” added Tara, helpfully. Willow nodded. Buffy goggled at them.“You guys! You’re not supposed to notice that stuff. Gay, remember?”Willow and Tara looked at each other, then turned back to Buffy and shrugged in unison.Buffy groaned. “All right! I do like him. And not because he’s nice to Dawn, either. But I don’t think he likes me.”“You’re kidding, right? He seemed pretty into you. In a ‘we’ve just met and your mother is sitting right there’ kind of way. He was definitely watching you.”“You really think so? I mean, he barely spoke to me. But when he did, he was kinda flirty. You don’t think I’m too young for him or anything?”Tara cleared her throat. “Um, I might be wrong, but I don’t think that ‘too young’ is something that bothers a lot of guys.”They pondered this. After a moment, all three wrinkled their noses with distaste.“To a point,” added Tara. “I mean, you’re not exactly a kid.”“Right,” said Willow, seizing on the main point. “You are a beautiful, accomplished, heroic woman. If he’s the right guy for you, he’ll be able to appreciate all those things.”Buffy pondered that. It seemed reasonable.“You guys are right. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. I’m not going to be all obsesso-girl about it. Hey, how do you think he got that scar on his eyebrow?”Click here for next chapter...
Very swell AU. Can't wait to see what happens when Buffy finally figures out just how Spike met all those other Slayers.Gabrielle
My, but you are speedy! I was trying to figure out a way to do "neighbor!fic" without it being all human, and this is how it shook out. I'm glad it's working for you!
Slaying for 4 years and she can't sense a vamp? Must be those sexy vibes he gives off messing with the slayer tingles! It's an improvement over how he met the group in canon though! Nice, polite helpful (vampire) neighbor who hasn't tried to kill her or her friends.
Well, I'm thinking that him standing in the sunlight when they met made her think the tingles were of any entirely different kind. ;-) As one does. Thanks for commenting!
Hmmmm... Spike is eye-candy, but I think there's more to Spike than meets the eye! Buffy would do well to keep her slayer instincts sharp. A very intriguing first chapter! Thank you!
Spike has many secrets in this world! Layers, if you will. Let' see if Buffy can peel them back without too many tears.Thanks for commenting!
Very nice do-away with all the bad air and tried-to-kill-you past! But Spike still isn't honest, so I can't see Buffy's reaction when she finds out being too great...
True. Though this Buffy isn't quite as buffeted by faithless men as canon Buffy, so she may be more forgiving. Or not. This Spike has many secrets...Thanks for commenting!
Oh, so excited to see where and how this is going to go! Assuming Spike has the Gem on the finger, but why hasn't Buffy picked up on his vampness otherwise? This should be good!!!!!
Heh. I really didn't think this was going to be such a sticking point for readers. Isn't highly developed "vamp sensor" mostly fanon? I figured that having him show up in full sun would be enough to confuse the issue. Or I guess I could just say that the Gem also cloaks vamps from Slayer sensor. Hey Presto!I'm glad you're interested. I don't do a lot of AR, so it's a departure. Thanks for commenting!
LOL It may be fanon, actually. I thought I remembered Giles trying to get her to hone her "slayer senses" back in the day, but don't ask me when or in what episode (something to look for on re-watch I guess), so I use it all the time and always feel like I have to offer an explanation if/when it doesn't happen. The full sun would certainly cause her to shrug off anything that was making her uncomfortable right away for sure (actually had me thinking you'd written an AH for a second or two and was ready to bail. LOL). Although how an experienced slayer could spend an evening in close proximity to a vamp and not twig to it eventually was a little bit problematical for me... Never the less, I enjoyed it, especially Buffy's instant "hottie in the house" reaction to him, something I'd like to think she would have had if she hadn't known from the get go that he was a vampire. :)
Yeah, back in the first episode, Giles tells her she should be able to pick a vamp out of a crowd at the Bronze, and she does...because of his "carbon-dated" outfit. ;-)Alas, there is no Giles for Buffy in this AR. I think Wesley was sent to be her second watcher in LA, and that's why she's so dismissive of all things Council.
I try. ;-)Thanks for commenting!
I like it! This is a clever idea.
¡Yay! I'm glad you are enjoying it. Thanks for commenting!
OOh, squee! This is great. I love the sparring vibe between them.
Thanks! It does seem more Buffy, doesn't it? I was trying for a less guarded Buffy, but her combative side is a pretty important part of her character. And Spike likes that. ;-)I had to keep the ring scene from Dawn's POV, because we needed a close-up view of the ring, and I couldn't see Buffy getting that close, that soon. Thanks so much for everything, sweetie!
I love your story, but chapter 2 didn't post today. All I got was the goat's hairy eyeball. :-(
So sorry about that! I did finish the story late last night/early this morning, but the next part REALLY needs to be looked at by a beta before posting, so I took down the "placeholder" page. I'll put it up during the "free-for-all" week. Promise.I'm so glad you are enjoying it, so far! Thanks for letting me know.
W00T! What a cracking start! I'm not usually a fan of those AU "everybody's human" stories, but I saw your name and clicked anyway. And it turns out that this isn't "everybody's human" after all-- great take on the trope though! This universe is a lot of fun so far, and I love your Buffy. She's less emotionally damaged and seems like she's in a better psychological place. Her answering the door to Spike was definitely a highlight!Gem-of-Amara ringed Spike seems fun too; I love his interaction with Dawn. Very cute!There will be more soon right? Pretty please??
Hmmm, very interesting. So, no death by the Master, no Angel drama, etc. And why oh why is Spike so well behaved? Where is Dru? Curiouser and curiouser. And I wonder how she and Willow met, and what might have gotten this Willow into witchcraft...I always thought the tinglies were relegated to fanon by the show. In the movie she had them (cramps actually), but Buffy (and even other vamps) are often not aware of other vamps... if it's beneficial to the plot. Like when good Willow subbed for VampWillow at the Bronze... the minions didn't notice. And it takes Faith-in-Buffy's body a bit to twig onto Spike being a vamp. So I'd say it's hit-or-miss enough that it's perfectly acceptable. I don't actually recall Buffy ever saying anything about sensing a vampire or tingling on the back of the neck - and you know me and my canon nerdiness. :P I could be wrong though and would love to have anybody point out her actually mentioning it, or a definitive example of her using Spidey senses in canon. The only example I can think of is the LeiAch demons, and I always thought she was actually listening more than anything, with maybe feeling air movements or something. And I guess sometimes she whirls on vamps sneaking up on her... that's a toss up, because other times she doesn't notice them. Anyhow... getting back to more important things, like the awesomeness of your story! :) Seems like Mama Summers might be crushing a little bit too!
Whew! I'm glad to have you in my corner on the "vamp tinglies" question! There are the times in "Pangs" and "Dead Things" where she senses Angel and Spike, respectively, but I tend to put that down to a more romantic "I feel my lover is near" vibe than anything else.I think most of your questions were answered, but as for Willow, I think she and Buffy met at college, maybe in Maggie Walsh's class, or possibly just as assigned roommates. (I like to think that they requested each other when Buffy's first roommate had to go back to her home dimension, though.) Willow is picking up witchcraft from Tara, though she is a Sunnydale girl, so there may have been dabbling, like with Amy. ;-)I'm not sure that Joyce is crushing, exactly...but she's not blind and even Willow and Tara can recognize teh sexay!
Hee, I love this. The surname made me smile - Sanger. There's gonna be a blow up when she finally figures out how he met all those slayers.
I'm sure that someone, somewhere in fanfic has used Sanger before, but it's still funny to me. ;-) I'm so glad you are enjoying this little AR!
Intriguing! So if I'm getting this right, Buffy continues living in LA, Angel never connects with her (which does make me wonder what he's doing now, in this AU), and she only arrives on UC Sunnydale campus for college, right? Neat! I guess my only real question would be whatever happened to the mayor, but maybe that'll be coming up soon, what with Spike in town with the Gem of Amara all this time. Hmmm....Love Buffy's reactions. She's so confident and matter-of-fact in this AU. I guess that's from never hooking up with Angel and starting up the whole angstapalooza.
Heh. Well, you've got to the end by now and know all my secrets! I don't think I explicitly say so, but the party you think took care of the Mayor is probably the most likely answer to that question. ;-) I figure Buffy had plenty to do in LA, and while some of the bad guys we know came to her there, others popped up at the Hellmouth as usual, and were dealt with by the new protector.Yeah, Buffy's improved relationship with her dad and her lack of Angel problems have made her a different girl, slightly. I'm glad you enjoyed her! Thanks for commenting!