Story Notes: Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
 
This project started as a small idea for a birthday collaboration for the awesome bewildered, and by the end had expanded to include 15 authors, a banner artist (plus a chapter banner) and beta-readers. Each author was given whatever they wanted to write their scene, oftentimes the prior scene only and a summary of what came before that.
Thank you to SoaringClaws for the awesome story banner and to trilliumjente (whole story), Gort (one scene) and OffYourBird (one scene) for beta-reading.
Before getting to the story, if you're curious about the authors, here they are in scene order:
1) yellowb, 2) OffYourBird, 3) pfeifferpack, 4) Susan, 5) DarkVoid116, 6 & 7) Megan, 8) angelic_amy, 9) Sigyn, 10 & 11) the_moonmoth, 12) Twinkles, 13) amidtheflowers, 14) SzmattyCat, 15) EllieRose101, 16) sandy_s & 17) Sunalso.
Thank you to everyone for making this happen.
Happy birthday, bewildered!
Chapter Notes:

Thanks again to all the authors, to trilliumjente for her eye reading it over, and to SoaringClaws for the wonderful story banner.


“Get — off — of — me!” Buffy head-butted the vampire with a solid thwack and tried to lurch to her feet.  Yet somehow she found herself flung back on the floor in a tangle of limbs, Spike sprawled half under her.

He snarled, his red-rimmed eyes far too close to hers.  “Get yourself off of — mind my privates, you uncoordinated bitc— oww!”  Spike collapsed again, his attempt to bite leaving him jackknifed on the floor, clutching his head.

Buffy tried again to sit up; this time, with some flailing, they sat up together, facing opposite directions.  She tried to pull away from him, but he just leaned further into her. “I don’t know what you think you’re —”

“Let go of me, you doozy bint—”

“Are the two of you … attached?” asked Giles, squinting at them from the kitchen doorway.  “I can’t quite … something in … in my eyes.”

When Buffy looked back at Spike, the shock on his face stopped the insult on her lips cold.  She followed his eyes down between them to where the denim of his jeans melded seamlessly into her olive pants.

“Fuck,” said Spike under his breath.

“What the … Giles?  What is this?”

“Fuckety fuck fucking fuck,” explained Spike.  “Fucking magic.”

“I’m afraid I’m not going to be of much assistance,” said Giles.  “I appear to be rather … rather completely blind.”

“A spell,” said Spike reasonably.  “We’re joined at the hip. All … backwards-like.”  

“What did you do?” said Buffy, through her teeth.

“Newsflash: very last thing I can imagine ever wanting is to be stuck like glue to you, Missy.”

“Indeed,” said Giles, who had felt his way to the couch and now sank into it. “I believe all signs suggest that, distressed though I am to admit it in any context, Spike is correct.  If the two of you could stop squabbling for a moment…”

“General reversal spell,” said Spike.  “Gonna have to work together to stand up.”  He maneuvered his elbow between them to try and push up from the floor.

“Watch where you put those hands, mister, or I’ll drag us both out into the sun and just brush away the ashes—”

The door sprang open as they lurched to their feet.  

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

 

Xander and Anya burst through the opening and slammed the door behind them.

“Quick!” Xander demanded, wide-eyed as he threw the deadbolt into lock. Ominous growling sounded dimly from outside somewhere in the distance. “We need to block the door! And do a protection spell, or an anti-demon spell! Something! Anything!”

Buffy made to reply with some kind of eloquent “Huh?”—except her words were snatched away as Spike snarled and sprang toward the recently arrived pair. Literally attached at the hip, she squawked in furious surprise as they fell to the carpet in a tangle of limbs. Again.

“That’s it!” Buffy fumed, smacking the furious vampire upside the head. “You’re so dust!”

Spike ignored her and continued trying to drag them across the carpet toward Xander and Anya, to Xander’s distressed moan as he moved away.

Buffy caught the vampire in a stranglehold, and he howled in pain and frustration as each attempt to get away from her grip set off the chip. After a minute, he stopped squirming—thank god, because his body was disturbingly rock hard against hers—and just glared balefully in Xander’s direction.

Giles’s head turned blindly in the direction of their voices from his seat on the couch. “What in God’s name is going on now?”

“Demons have been chasing me and Anya all through town,” Xander said uneasily. “And apparently it’s affecting pretty much every demon, since Bleach Boy here is trying to rip our heads off too.”

“They interrupted Xander’s fruit roll-up foreplay scenario,” Anya said with a huff.

Giles cringed, solidly ignoring the comment as he squinted in Buffy’s general direction. “You have Spike contained?”

Buffy snorted derisively, her fingers unwillingly digging into the soft hairs at the nape of Spike’s neck as she tightened her elbow around his throat. “Always.”

Spike stiffened further against her, a renewed growl rumbling through his chest.

“Excellent.” Giles raised his eyes to the ceiling. “So, we have demons flocking to Xander and Anya, someone has blinded me, and Buffy and Spike have been glued together.”

Xander’s jaw dropped. “Buffy and Spike have been what?”

Buffy sighed. “It’s some kind of spell.”

“Yes,” Giles said heavily, unable to see the look of trepidatious epiphany that crossed Xander’s face. “Some kind of malicious attack by an unknown enemy, no doubt.”

“Or,” came Xander’s weak, resigned reply, “it might be a really bad choice of words by a heartbroken witch.”

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

 

Buffy began to cry. Frustration was not her best look and all of this with Spike was pushing her limits. “Why won’t a guy stick by me who isn’t you?  I mean not stick as in attached, but stick as in around.”

 

“Thanks ever so, pet. Make a fella feel really wanted.”

 

“Oh shut up Spike.” Really she did wonder. Everyone left but she couldn’t get rid of this pest for more than a few months without him coming back like acne or head lice or something else icky. Why couldn’t he just walk off into the smoke and disappear for good or go chasing after his secretary?

 

“Why not me? I count. I’m a loyal sort. Don’t leave... well not for long.”

 

“I said shut up.” She squirmed and once more tried to break the bond holding them only to cause them both more pain and resulting in increasingly embarrassing positions.

 

Spike was miffed and unexpectedly hurt by her attitude. Wasn’t his fault they were attached after all, and all she’d done was act like he was just so much filth that she wanted to wash off quickly. “You think it’s all about you? Think I like being glued to a self-righteous, stick up her arse bitch like you? Think you’re the only one to get dumped by people who don’t appreciate a good thing when they have it? Think I don’t have feelings too?”

 

“Well, Duh...no soul, ergo … demon and so no feelings to be had.” Her voice was haughty.

 

How dare these humans think they knew what a vampire was better than an actual vampire! Where did any of them get off telling him what he was much less what he could or couldn’t do? Did any of them have a soddin’ clue what the hell a soul even was much less what it did? “You know SO much do you! All ‘know-everything-girl.’ Head of the class were you?”

 

“My SATs were really high,” Buffy objected. She hated when people acted like she was stupid or something.

 

Spike snorted. “Regular head girl material. What about me and Dru? You knew I had real feelings for her...used that often enough to get me to do what you wanted back when I still had my balls.”

 

“I did not.”

 

“Did too.”

 

Giles wished he had been stricken with deafness as well as blindness as he listened to them devolve to age 3 with their nonsense.

 

“Christ, Slayer do you think this … any of this… is easy for me? Got any clue how it feels to lose all your power? Everything that makes you ‘you’  then have no choice but to face a house full of people who would rather see you dead? Use every wit you have just to survive?”

 

Buffy gulped as she remembered her cruciamentum the year before.  She swallowed but said nothing. Yeah, she knew.

 

Spike was still going on and on. “Think I don’t want to be wanted? Not necessarily literally glued to someone glorious but be close, really close? To have someone feel anything real for me back, appreciate what I can offer?”

 

Buffy’s blinked and her heart did an odd flutter, He thinks I’m glorious?

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

“Are you sure you haven’t seen her?” Xander asked for what felt like the twentieth time in a row. He’d been calling around to see if anyone knew where Willow was, but he was completely striking out. As he hung up the phone and searched the campus directory for other numbers to try, he heard something that terrified him almost as much as the demons that chased him just hours earlier ー Anya yelling. His relief was palpable when he realized that her ire wasn’t directed at him.

 

“Skink root? For spell reversal? Can’t you see that it won’t make a difference here? Uh, well, I guess you can’t see anything.” Anya practically snorted while trying to stifle her laughter. “Sorry. No offense.”

 

“None taken,” Giles replied drily. “However, I do wish you would just write down what I’m telling you. I know exactly what items are needed from the Magic Box, and I don’t need you second guessing me. I think all my years of experience should grant me some level of respect.”  

 

While she grudgingly started transcribing Giles’s desired list of ingredients, she began to mutter under her breath, “All his years? What about all my years? He’s practically a fetus.”

 

Meanwhile, Buffy and Spike sat quietly on Giles’s couch. Well, as quiet as Spike could get anyway. Buffy heard him quietly mumbling profanities every so often. He thinks I’m glorious, she thought over and over. She had longed for someone to say something like that about her and really mean it. Now here it was coming from Spike of all people! Did Spike count as a people? Hmmm, better save that thought for a less stressful day, Buffy. She scowled and tried to get back on track. Why would he think such a thing, let alone say it out loud? Honestly, his admission was more preplexing than the idea of being physically stuck to him. She glanced to her side and wondered if Spike was also weighing the after effects of their earlier argument and the implications of what he’d said.

 

Who do I have to fucking kill around here to get some blood? I’m fucking starving, Spike complained to himself. It didn’t take a genius to realize that things hadn’t been going his way since his return to Sunnydale, and this was the icing on the cake. Not only did he have no dignity left, but he had no autonomy since he was stuck (literally and figuratively) at the mercy of Buffy. Buffy! The person he hated with a passion. Well, if he was honest, it wasn’t really hate. It was just his nature. That’s what he was supposed to feel about the slayer. He was man enough to admit to himself that he respected her, and fighting with her was better than almost any other activity he could think of (almost). Plus, now that he was jammed up next to her, he could tell that she smelled amazing. What kind of monster could hate someone who smelled like that? He convinced himself that his urge to head into the bathroom and toss off was completely unrelated to his thoughts about Buffy. However, he knew that would be a difficult activity to hide from or explain to his pseudo-conjoined twin. Walking was difficult enough in their current predicament. They looked like they were playing ridiculous parlor games when they simply tried to amble over to the couch earlier. Now that he pictured it in his head, he wondered if he could convince Buffy to recreate the Laverne & Shirley walk next time they needed to go anywhere. They were already pretty much arm in arm anyway, right?

 

Buffy was instantly concerned when she noticed a grin appear on Spike’s face and heard him absentmindedly utter something that she didn’t recognize. Hasenpfeffer? Is Spike trying to do a spell of his own? However, before she had time to question him about it, she sensed something from outside Giles’ apartment. She looked up just in time to see three angry looking, ugly, very large demons staring in the window looking at Xander with murder in their eyes.

 

“Heads up, guys. We’ve got company,” she warned.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

Spike looked up at the Slayer’s warning, following her wide green eyes to the window just in time to hear the shattering of glass. Rupert wasn’t going to like that.

 

The demons didn’t waste any time, immediately making a bee-line for Harris. They launched a synchronized attack, a flurry of punches and kicks aimed at the boy’s head. The git put up a reasonable defense - for a teenage boy - but was quickly overwhelmed and knocked aside before the Slayer could reach him.

 

When Buffy did get to the fracas, dragging him behind her, it seemed she’d conveniently forgotten about their predicament. She tossed her first punch at the closest demon; Spike moved with her and stumbled, bringing her down with him.

 

“What are you doing, Spike?” she angrily asked him from her position astride his chest. Seemed she wasn’t mad about his “glorious” comment any more.

 

He glared daggers at her. “Not killin’ the demons, clearly. Would you get the bloody hell up, Slayer? I’d like you to off these buggers. They’re startin’ to brass me off.”

 

It took two tries - the first one they’d both gone in different directions and immediately fell to the ground again - but eventually they got up and charged back into the fray, diverting attention from the valiantly-struggling Anya and Rupert. Spike knew the Slayer was a right-handed fighter from their battles, so he tried to stay on her left as much as possible. It worked well for him. He wasn’t protecting her blindside, though; that’d imply he cared if one of these nasty buggers killed her.

 

When one of the demons swiped a sharp claw towards Harris’ throat, Spike instinctively intercepted it, squeezing the proffered limb in a vice grip, wincing in expected pain. When it didn’t come, he caught her eye and grinned - it seemed his predicament didn’t extend to demons! “Slayer?” he asked.

 

She turned towards him and punched the exposed demon square in the face, sending him careening backwards towards Rupert’s wall. The demon’s two friends took notice of that and directed their full attention towards the slayer-vampire pair.

 

“I’ll take right, you take left, Spike,” Buffy ordered. As best they could while joined, they slid into defensive stances.

 

Spike mirrored each of her movements, realizing they’d be a pretty effective tandem if they worked together. Is this what it’d be like to work with the bint when she doesn’t want to kill you?

 

They alternated going on the offensive, ensuring one of them could bat away anything that broke through with their idle hand. Even when the third demon rejoined the fight, Spike and Buffy kept the upper hand, anticipating every blow and acting accordingly. Their silent communication and teamwork was impressive enough to draw praise from their audience - though it’d come accompanied with appropriate dismay.

 

Within a few minutes, they’d incapacitated each demon and Rupert was feeling his way to get some rope to tie them up.

 

That’d been... weird. Spike knew he and the Slayer could make a good team; he’d always known it. Did he want that?

 

He sure as fuck knew she didn’t. Though she’d taken him calling her glorious better than he’d expected.

 

“That was impressive,” Anya commented as an aside, tending to the wound forming on Xander’s head.

 

The Slayer was doing an impressive avoidance routine, probably guilty she’d let Harris get hurt.

 

Spike didn’t understand that and probably never would. She couldn’t be everywhere at once. Why bother feeling guilty for that? Was it the sodding white-hat credo?

 

“Indeed, it was,” Giles said, announcing his presence in the room again. “Anya kept me updated as it went. Have you two ever fought together before? Defeating three demons like that? That was truly remarkable. I only wish I could’ve watched it.”

 

“We fought when Angelus was still in town last year,” Spike said. That’d been all three of them working together, but still counted.

 

“And a bit when we had to take down Angel and your skanky ex,” Buffy added.

 

Spike growled at her description of Drusilla but knew he couldn’t do anything. Anything more than a half-hearted growl would set off the chip and he’d prefer to avoid the splitting migraine.

 

“Ugh, what happened?” Harris asked aloud, waking up in the corner. Anya patted his forehead with a wet cloth, helping him gain his bearings.

 

“You went from demon magnet to punching bag. Was bleedin’ hilarious, Harris,” Spike said. He was trying to resist the urge to attack the boy again. There was no point when Buffy would just use their glued-together status to punch him and keep him away.

 

If she left him any leeway, his base instinct would take over.

 

“Willow!” Xander exclaimed once he was settled. He got up abruptly, losing the wet press his bird had left on his forehead. “I was having no luck finding her before the demons attacked. I think we have to split up.”

 

“Yes, well, be that as it may, we’re in a bit of a predicament, Xander. I’m in no position to go anywhere, and with Buffy and Spike’s current... sticky situation, you and Anya would be left defenseless if you split up.”

 

“Rupes is right,” Spike said. “Slayer and I can handle finding your little friend and getting her to reverse these spells. You three stay here.”

 

Buffy looked over at him, seemingly flabbergasted at his kindness. The bint couldn’t see that he just wanted to get the fuck away from her Scoobies.

 

“After you, Slayer.”

 

Buffy broke out into giggles on their way out the door.

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

It lasted all the way down main street, long enough for Spike to start grinding his teeth with annoyance but not too long that he’d resorted to anything snarky to shut the slayer up.  Truth of the matter was, he could appreciate the nerves and the rising hysteria barely repressed beneath the outlet of laughter. He had almost joined in the frivolity when they pretty much ran full tilt into some burly military-looking bloke with a puffed up chest and regulation hair.  Some cardboard cutout that made the Slayer’s heartbeat pick up an extra beat or two as well as spark an interesting shade of pink to spatter endearingly across her cheeks. Just because he was Spike, and he felt he’d been born to piss the Slayer off, he draped his arm across her shoulders and made a great show of pulling her even tighter into his side, his coat draping rather nicely enough around her, covering how very joined together they were.  If he noticed at all how much of a hardship the manoeuvre wasn’t, he was choosing to ignore it and focused instead on the look of pain in the newcomer’s insipid eyes.

 

“Oh, Riley.  Hey,” she stumbled nervously, too surprised to even notice, let alone punish, Spike’s slick move.  “Fancy seeing you here.”

 

“Yeah…um…you too.”

 

Spike almost choked keeping his amusement in his chest because the shocked expression on the overgrown lumberjack’s high forehead was the stuff of dreams.  The buffoon was obviously too overcome with what appeared to be the inexplicable end of their apparently once mutual crush to even register what Spike had immediately picked up on.  He’d bet his duster this bloody uptight bastard was one of the army blokes who’d tortured and neutered him. It seemed a lovely bit of justice that his trousers were now one with the Slayer’s.  He was rather looking forward to seeing how she was going to get herself out of this delightful little tangle.

 

“You going to introduce me to your friend, Pet?” Spike had been reserving that precise tone of meltingly sensual promise for when he’d be lucky enough to get his Dru back, hoping it would melt her cold heart right back into his bed, but with the Slayer stiffening into his side and her heartbeat escalating to the point of pushing her hot, glorious blood through her veins, he figured the payoff was more than worth the spend.  He decided that he was safe adding to the show and tucked her head under his chin, momentarily getting lost in the scent of her hair.

 

“You…he…this…”  Her words seemed to dry up in her mouth as she shot a wide-eyed ‘help me’ plea in Spike’s direction, and he was just the gentleman to take her up on it.  She seemed too overwhelmed at being caught with another bloke to notice said bloke was sniffing her up and copping too many non-sanctioned feels. Spike could barely wait to pay for his bravado later.

 

“The name’s Spike,” he revealed, his amusement obviously misconstrued as friendliness from the way Angel’s human twin goggled at him.  “Buffy an’ I’ve practically been joined at the hip for years.” He watched as the git seemed to make a nervous association by flitting his eyes to the window of the shop they’d unfortunately met in front of and pure evilness oozed through Spike.  He squeezed Buffy even tighter, his abdominal muscles preparing for a blow from a well-placed and highly motivated elbow as he launched the grenade that this flourishing little romance between the slayer and the soldier boy needed. “An’ now we’ve made it official.  Play your cards right and Buff might even send you an invite to the wedding.”

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

She was going to kill him.  She didn’t know why she hadn’t done it already, though she had legitimate fears right now that killing Spike might damage her in some way.  She had no way of knowing if it was just their pants that seemed to be seamless, or if they actually were conjoined in the way she did not want to think about.  Buffy was way past the possibility of ever being okay with being stuck to her immortal enemy.  If they didn’t find Willow and put a stop to this, she was pretty sure she was going to lose her mind.  And, it really had nothing to do with the disaster he’d just created of her budding relationship with Riley.  Oh no, she was content to make sure she inflicted serious physical or emotional pain for that. She was still shuddering from the revulsion that images of her being married to Spike, of all vampires, brought to mind.  He was the very last person she could ever imagine wanting to be all “Wind Beneath My Wings” with.

 

Buffy gagged as she threw up a little in her mouth, but being the determined slayer that she was, she trounced on toward her dorm room, desperately hoping her traitor friend was there.  She was consumed in such a cloud of fury that she’d gratefully blocked out Spike’s presence—until she flung open her door and made it just far enough inside to see Willow wasn’t anywhere in sight, unless she was hiding under the bed.  Being flung back into him like a rubber band and sprawling indelicately all over his hard, tight…repulsive body, hammered their situation home, in an embarrassingly public way. No more Denial Buffy.

 

Many, many nasty and disparaging insults sprang to mind as Buffy struggled to get upright without touching too much of the vampire she wished she could burn from her memory.  She heard clapping and cringed, hoping it was just Spike continuing to be an ass and that they hadn’t actually attracted an audience. Taking a few deep breaths, Buffy braved a quick look around and sighed in defeat at the few onlookers that were now adding whistles and ‘get a room’ calls to the freakshow that was her life.

 

“Willow isn’t here.”

 

She honestly felt so frustrated, she could cry.

 

“No worries, Pet.  She can’t have just disappeared into thin air.”

 

He actually sounded like he was trying to soothe her worry, and he’d managed to wipe all traces of snark and amusement from his overly-expressive face.  Maybe he was actually sorry they hadn’t found Willow yet? Buffy rolled her eyes at her own stupidity. Of course he was disappointed.  It wasn’t like he could be loving feeling every inch of her heated side against his cool one.  Buffy decided not to delve too deeply into that realisation, because the thought had acted like some kind of trigger for her inner furnace and now she was burning up and highly aware of every sensitive inch of her body that was connected to Spike’s.

 

“Maybe she left a clue to where she’s gone?” he suggested, perking Buffy’s spirits up exponentially.  Nodding in determination, she ignored their audience and lurched upright with singular grace that only a preternatural being of the night and a natural-born slayer could display.

 

Back at the invisible barrier, Buffy cursed Willow’s good sense that had renewed the disinvite to their dorm room after Spike had gained entry and almost made her a snack.  She stared at Spike with her mouth in a thin line one could only interpret as animosity tainted with acceptance. “Come in, Spike.”

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

 

Spike blinked at Buffy in surprise. Sure, it wasn’t like the slayer could actually escape his presence while the two of them were like two peas in a bloody pod. Where she went, he went, and vice versa. But even knowing that, receiving the invitation into her dorm-room still sparked something within him. Deep down, somewhere she probably wasn’t even fully conscious of, she trusted him. Oh, she’d deny it until she was blue in the bloody face if questioned, but it didn’t make it any less true.

Buffy entered the room, and Spike followed, fighting back a small smile of pride.  

The room was a pleasant mix of both females, with the redhead’s scent lingering to the left and the slayer’s on the right. Both beds were made—the witch’s more precisely—and the bedside table showed a distinct lack of clues.

But they weren’t needed, not with the overpowering acrid scent of burnt fabric that drowned the room. Even a blindly oblivious person could’ve found the source of the smell, not to mention the huge dark circle blackening the carpet in the middle of the room.

Buffy crouched, dragging Spike with her. Their shoulders bumped, and Buffy felt her hair get trapped between them when she leaned forward. She grabbed for her hair, bunched it in a hand, and then shook it out behind her shoulders, before she reached out and touched the edge of the mark burned into the carpet. It was coarse under her finger tips, but it held no heat, suggesting it had been there a while. Which it couldn’t have been, taking the whole situation to another level of confusing.

“It’s been burned,” she said, frowning in confusion. How had it happened? Was there some kind of accident? Was this the result of another spell gone awry?

The mark itself was another issue altogether. It wasn’t small, and Buffy doubted it would be easily covered. This was the last thing she needed; the RA’s on her floor were not going to be pleased when they caught sight of it. The fact slaying was a non-paying gig also meant digging into the Bank of Mom, something Buffy was not looking forward to.

Bearing in mind their current attached at the hip status, Giles’ blindness, and Xander’s magnetic attraction, all signs were pointing towards more magic being the cause of the mark. Considering the missing witch also significantly narrowed the suspect pool. All that remained was to figure out what caused the burn, why the spell was performed, and locate Willow so it could all be undone.

Ooh, maybe Willow can fix the carpet, Buffy thought hopefully, but then immediately quashed the idea. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea for her to dabble further with magic when she wasn’t exactly her best self.

“What was she trying to do?” she wondered, whispering quietly to herself.

She, they, stood up and then walked the edge of the ring, Spike trailing beside her. It wasn’t any different with the change of angle. There also wasn’t anything melted near the circle, no remnants of wax from candles, nothing that suggested how the mark was created. Nor was there any other magic paraphernalia lying about. Willow was a tidy room-mate, but it wasn’t uncommon for her to leave bits and pieces related to her spells in plain view. Anyone who stopped by their room just assumed they were new-agey, what with all of the crystals lying about.

Nothing extra seemed to have been left out. If she’d thought it’d help Buffy would check the trunk at the end of Willow’s bed for missing items, but there was no way she’d be able to identify if anything was actually gone.

Spike had remained conspicuously quiet, and the lack of comments from the peanut gallery had Buffy’s attention shifting to him.

He wasn’t looking at her, but appeared to be scanning the room. As in, actually trying to help. It was strange. And also, kind of pointless for him to search the room, because he’d have even less chance of spotting anything out of the ordinary.

“There’s nothing here,” Buffy stated. Spike turned to her, his expression clearly asking, Are you sure?

Buffy pointed at the carpet. “No clues except for that. We’re back to square one.”

A muscle twitched in Spike’s cheek, like he was fighting back a smirk.

“Maybe the watcher isn’t the only one with vision problems, pet,” he said, the grin escaping moments later. With a pointed finger he drew the shape before them as if tracing it in the air. “That’s a circle.”

Buffy struck out with her elbow, jabbing him in the ribs. Spike just chuckled in response. Then he grinned, because the jab hadn’t been half as hard as a truly vicious strike from the slayer could be, so she must’ve pulled her strength. Yet another sign of how he must be growing on her.

“I know that, doofus.” Buffy rolled her eyes. “I meant there’s no trace of her here. Willow’s obviously gone off somewhere else.”

Spike shook his head in disagreement. There was no denying the redhead’s absence, but something didn’t feel right. “I’m not so sure about that.” He drew another circular pattern above the burn. “Her scent is strong, right ‘ere. Recent too.”

Buffy frowned. “Then where the hell has she gone?”

 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

 

“I’m a demon, not a psychic,” Spike said. “I can tell you where she’s been, not where she’s going.”

Buffy tugged at her hip futilely one more time. “Then what good are you?”

“Not good. Evil. Thought that was in the description.”

“Ugh!” Buffy stamped her foot, which Spike smirked at. It seemed like a little girl.

“Look, that was probably a spell. Seems demonic more than witchy. So something else has happened to the girl.”

“So we need Giles, or maybe Anya,” Buffy said. And a vague discomfort she’d been ignoring for a while told her she needed something else, too. “And we need to get out of this… stupid… glue spell!”

Buffy tugged again, and almost lost her balance, until Spike caught her arm and set her upright. “Hey, no pulling me down,” Spike said.

“Look, there’s got to be a way to get out of this. We can’t just keep traipsing around Sunnydale joined at the hip.”

“I think it’s fairly clear that we can,” Spike said.

“No -- we -- can’t.” Buffy tugged again, and this time she did drag him down with her, and they fell, hitting the edge of her bed before landing in an ungainly heap on the floor. Buffy hit her shoulder on her bedside table. “Ow!” she complained.

“This just isn’t fair,” Spike muttered in her ear. “I always thought if I’d get the slayer to say ow it would be in a very different context.”

Buffy elbowed him in the ribs.

“Ow,” he said.

“Just shut up and let me think,” Buffy said from the floor. Spike shifted them so they were lying beside each other, rather than on top of one another, which was fairly uncomfortable. “We have to figure out how to get separated.”

“It’s a spell, there’s no figuring it out. There’s just undoing it.”

“But there’s always workarounds.” Buffy stared at him in excitement. “Take off your pants.”

“Pardon me?” Spike said, his accent sounding oddly formal.

“You heard me, take off your pants.” She shifted beside him and started scrabbling at his belt.

“Excuse me!” Spike said, shoving her hands down.

“Look, this is important, all right? We’re stuck together, everything’s going wibbly-wobbly, and I need to be on my toes, all right? I can’t do that dragging you around like a lump.”

“Hey, who was fighting those demons with you out there, scrapping, getting into it? I’m no lump.”

“You’re also not human, and there are some things you can’t understand.”

“Like what?”

“Like I’m going to need the bathroom soon, all right? Would you just take off your damn pants so we can see if that works?”

Spike stared at her. He had plain forgotten that human beings needed the loo on the regular. Not that he hadn’t known it -- lurking outside the ladies had been a staple for a good nip from an unsuspecting victim -- but it just hadn’t occurred to him that the slayer was going to end up in said dire straits any time soon. She always seemed so demonic to him, he forgot how human she still really was.

“Well, why don’t you take off your trousers, first,” Spike said.

“I’m not undressing in front of you.”

“If my hunch is correct, you’re going to have to,” Spike said. “Look, it feels like more than the clothes, yeah? My guess is, the disrobing will have little effect for the actual gluing part.”

“We have to try, though,” Buffy said. She seemed embarrassed. “I have to try.”

“All right, then. We do it together.” Spike started for his belt, and Buffy turned red faced to her jeans.

The whole operation was an exercise in embarrassment and futility. Their clothes came off just fine. They slid down between their hips as if they were just pressed together, rather than glued. And yet the moment there were no clothes between them, their flesh pressed together directly, and further pulling merely resulted in yanking on the skin. “Great,” Buffy said when their pants were half off. She was trying not to look. Her underwear were still hanging down around one thigh, and still hooked up on the other hip, since she wasn’t actually trying to expose herself for this experiment. “All right, give up. Pull it back up.”

“I can’t,” Spike said.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Oh, bull.”

“No, I can’t,” Spike said. “Our skin is pressed too close together.”

Buffy finally looked. She realized two things. One, yes, their flesh was now so closely bound together that it no longer looked as if she could slide a piece of paper between them, let alone two thick pairs of jeans. And secondly, Spike went commando. She flushed. “Oh, my god!” She turned away.

“Hey, this was your idea,” Spike said.

Spike was not unreasonably hung, and the hair around his nethers was much darker than she’d anticipated, stupidly, because of course he wouldn’t peroxide anything down there. He wasn’t hard, but it was still far more than she’d expected to see when she woke up this morning. “Oh, god, Spike bits. Bits of Spike.”

“Do you always wear panties with little polka dots on?”

“Stop looking!”

“They’re right there.”

“They’re not for you!”

“Well, no, I don’t think they’d fit me very well. I have some other bits which -- well, as you observed--”

“Oh -- god!” Buffy screamed.

Spike was taken aback. That was an actual desperate scream. Then she rubbed her eyes, and he realized she was actually scrubbing away tears. He felt the bizarre urge to apologize. He hadn’t done anything wrong, and he knew he hadn’t, but he still wanted to tell her he was sorry, which was almost against demon code. But nudity was something rather amusing to him. He’d been taking this like a joke. Now he realized, this was absolutely humiliating for her. To a lesser extent, this was the kind of shit Angel used to pull on some of the toys he brought home to play with before eating. Take off your clothes, force you to touch me, no, you can’t have privacy for the loo, you’ll do it right there in front of me.

“All right, look,” he said. “I’m going to touch you, all right? Don’t freak out at me.” He gathered her around the shoulders and lifted her to her feet, all the while carefully not looking down at her half-naked state -- she kept her nethers trimmed, though, and that sight of half her pert little mons was going to stay with him -- and half led, half carried her to the closet, where he’d seen -- yes, there it was. “Okay, put that on,” he said. He pressed an orange frilly skirt into her hands.

“How?” Buffy asked coldly.

“Over your head,” he said. He helped her slide it down over her shoulders, and then down around her waist. It stopped at the hip, and was gathered up to one side, but it effectively covered her half nakedness. “There. Now you can get your jeans off, and we’ll see what we can do about the rest of it.”

Buffy was touched. “Th-thanks,” she said.

They eventually figured out how to get Spike’s jeans back up between them. They had to pull, shift, shift again, pull, millimeter by painful millimeter. She was glad they’d tried this experiment in the dorm room rather than the bathroom, since the bathroom in the dorm was public. It was such a finicky tangle squeezing their clothes back between them that they had to abandon his belt. But after seven minutes of painful finagling, they’d gotten Spike decent again, and Buffy covered by the skirt, which had been easier to slide down completely once they’d gotten Spike’s jeans up.

“Um… now what?” Buffy said.

“Now we visit the loo,” Spike said. “I won’t look.”

They had to sneak into the dorm bathroom, since boys weren’t allowed, but fortunately they met no one. Buffy lifted the skirt, but kept herself otherwise concealed, and glanced up at Spike. He surprised her by indeed not looking, staring at the gap over the stalls. Not that he could have seen anything anyway, since the skirt effectively covered her lap. Buffy finished as quickly as she could and led Spike over to the sink. “Wash your hands,” Buffy instructed him.

“I didn’t do anything.”

“You’ve been in the bathroom, wash your hands,” she said, feeling like her own mother. Spike rolled his eyes, but dutifully soaped and rinsed his long hands in the sink.

“Satisfied?” he asked.

“Yes,” Buffy said. She was feeling much better with her discomfort abated. They left the bathroom and headed back for the dorm room again. “Um, thanks. The skirt was a good idea,” she said.

Spike looked her over. “Historical context.”

He was old enough that all women had worn skirts when he was human. Still… it had been kind of him to solve her predicament. No, it wasn’t kind, vampires aren’t kind, they’re evil, Buffy told herself. Well, still… maybe there was some remnant of whoever he had been when he was human. Maybe that man had been kind, and Spike was just echoing the pattern of that kindness. Still, it had been far less humiliating in a skirt than it would have been with her pants around her ankles, on display for all to see.

“Okay, Willow’s gone, maybe taken by a spell. Now what?”

“Now…?” Spike looked as lost as she felt.

The phone rang. Buffy lunged to answer it, dragging Spike along with her. “Willow?” she said hopefully as she picked up the phone.

“No, it’s Anya,” said Anya on the other end. “Xander’s been attacked again. And this time….” She trailed off.

“What? What?” Buffy barked into the phone.


Chapter End Notes:

The adventures continue in the next chapter! Thanks for reading the first part, and happy birthday, be!





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