Ten Years After

Chapter 5

Finding an answer to her e-mail next morning was almost an anti-climax. Somehow Dawn had convinced herself that if Spike was indeed anywhere in Paris he would have come to her rescue the evening before.

‘Dawn, what a surprise to hear from you. I had thought that you had moved on so successfully from Sunnydale that you would not want any reminders of that time, and, as you said, I was not sure where to find you.

If you really would like to see me I think that I would like to see how you’ve grown up!

I see from your IP provider that you are in Britain, and currently I am in Paris, and I aim to be here for a few weeks more, so name your place and time here, within my usual limitations of course, and save me crossing the channel!


She read it over a couple of times and thought ‘Sounds pretty formal – cool even, but at least it’s a yes – and I am in the right city. Wonder where the best place is for An Interview With A Vampire?’

Over breakfast Dawn consulted her guide book, and decided to check out a café fairly nearby for suitability as a meeting place before using her phone to e-mail her reply. It turned out to be easy enough to find, and small enough that you should be able to see who you were looking for, and somehow she thought Spike might appreciate the quote from the guide book.

‘Tonight, eight thirty, meet me at the Café Ma Bourgogne, 19 Place des Voges, and unlike Mme de Pretevel, I promise I won’t piss in your soup!’ She liked the idea that the original owner’s wife had used such a distinctive way of expressing her dislike of her husband, and as she hit send she thought ‘That should make him smile, or at least give him something to look up on the internet!’

She had the satisfaction of a reply within half an hour – ‘Sodding hell, Nibblet – you’re in a hurry! Tonight it is! And I won’t be having the soup!’ Now that was more like Spike!

The day seemed to drag. She rang Willow to let her know that Spike had been in touch, and to pass on the information about the vampires in the Gay Quarter, visited a couple of Art Galleries, and bought a pretty dress for Thea – pity Thea was too young for the phrase ‘Paris Fashion’ to mean anything to her friends!

Early evening on the other hand became a frenzy of ‘What to wear?’ This was Paris – you should look reasonably smart, and this was Spike – her old friend and mentor from her teens. This was also Spike who was so cool looking in those teen years that her friends drooled and wanted introductions. The Spike she’d had a crush on herself, if she was being quite honest. The Spike who logic suggested would still look just as cool – and not so much different in physical age from herself these days.

Clothes chosen, hair swept up to look somewhat sophisticated, Dawn arrived five minutes early, and waited outside their rendezvous scanning the passers by. Would he still be blond? Would he still have the 70’s haircut? Would he still be wearing that leather duster that was so much part of his look?

“Dawn?” a voice said right beside her ear, he’d obviously been waiting just inside the door for her – ‘That’s cheating!’ she thought. She spun around, and there he was – hair fashionably clipped, but still blond, eyes just as impossibly blue as she’d remembered them, and black leather coat still draped around his shoulders – albeit a somewhat newer one. And despite all her good intentions to be calm and adult Dawn threw herself at Spike and hugged him as hard as she could.

There was a second when Spike just stood totally still, it felt like an hour. Then his arms came up and he gently hugged her back.


There were things that you just couldn’t discuss in a café, and so conversation was rather general and a bit stilted to start with. Dawn had been determined to make sure that Spike realised that she had not known that he had survived Sunnydale until almost three years after the event, and she launched into her speech on the subject before she had even looked at the menu.

“I should have tried to get in touch with you then,” she said, “but I was still only a teenager, and I guess I was willing to buy Buffy and Giles’ line that you had moved on, and so had we, all too easily. I was still behaving like a kid, and thinking ‘if he wanted to talk to me he could get in touch’. Why would you have done? For that matter how would you have done? When I think about it now about the only way you could have got in touch would have been by way of Giles – ‘cos I guess you’d know where to find the Watchers’ Council – you being a vampire and all that.” Then she put her hand to her mouth and blushed because she’d mentioned ‘vampire’ in public! That broke the ice a bit though, as Spike raised an eyebrow, and then grinned.

“Although come to think of it,” Dawn continued after a moment cursing the fact that she still had a twenty-year-old’s blush reflex as well, “even they’d moved! I should have tried to get in touch with you since though – the years have gone by, and I didn’t try, and I’m sorry.”

Spike looked at her for a moment, and said, rather gruffly “’S alright – I’d guessed you were busy living your own life – no reason for me to turn up and bother you. I’d kind of lost track of how long it had been, anyway.” At that last remark Dawn wondered if his gaze was just a little questioning, but thought perhaps she was seeing things that weren’t there.

After ordering, no soup for either of them, Dawn explained how she had finally tracked Spike down, but not really why, and he didn’t ask. By the time their first course arrived she had got onto what she was doing with herself these days, and where she was living. “Milton Keynes! Milton Bloody Keynes! You must be joking! You work for Giles and that means you live in Milton soddin’ Keynes? What the bloody hell is The F’in Council doing in Milton F’in Keynes?’ Spike’s outburst made Dawn laugh and also made a number of heads turn in their direction, which made both of them laugh more – the ice was well and truly broken.

She explained that the big country house where the Council was now based had been bought with the insurance money from the central London offices, because prices outside London were cheaper, and if the Bletchley Park area had been good enough for the Code Breakers it was good enough for the Council. Milton Keynes was pretty close, had reasonably priced apartments, and really good train links. Spike was, she told him, welcome to come to Milton Bloody Keynes to visit any time he liked!

She was still on edge though, and had too many butterflies in her tummy to do more than pick at her food , wary of talking about Buffy, not sure what she would see in his eyes, but knowing that she couldn’t really avoid talking about her sister for the whole evening. In the end it was Spike who brought the subject up. “How’s Buffy doing, she OK? Not still with the Bloody Immortal is she?”

“No, no, she split up with The Great Wanker when I was just in my first year at Edinburgh. She’s – um – she’s fine.”

“The Great Wanker? Bloody good name for him – who christened him that?” Spike asked, laughingly.

“Me!” Dawn confessed, noting that he hadn’t immediately asked for more information about Buffy, “But I learnt it from you!”

“Yes, well – you’re a big girl now; you can say what you like!” He laughed.

Again Dawn wondered whether he was looking at her just a touch too closely, or whether she was just being a bit paranoid about it.

“So what’s big sis doing with herself? Not that she’s really big sis these days – you’re nearly my height – you must tower over her. She ever get that normal life she longed for so much?” Spike seemed simply interested – not really as if he was hanging on Dawn’s every word about Buffy with either longing or lust.

“Well, I think she got closer to it than I would have expected back then. She’s married to a nice guy who helps train some of the girls, they live out in Sacramento and she’s got two kids. Boys. She says she’s glad they’re boys, ‘cos, well, you know – can’t follow in her footsteps.”

As Dawn told him about Buffy she watched him through slightly lowered eyes, and thought she saw a flicker of emotion, sadness maybe, cross his face, but it was there for only a fleeting moment.

“I’m glad for her,” he said simply. “Knew she didn’t really mean what she said when she tried to get me to leave the Hellmouth, even if she thought she did. Did she ever tell you about that?”

“Yes – a couple of days after, she said she’d told you she loved you, but it hadn’t been enough.”

“If I’d run with her then, and the thing had collapsed in anyway, it wouldn’t have worked – we wouldn’t have stayed together – all she ever really wanted was ‘normal’, and I could never have given her that. Bloody annoyed me when I found out she was with that wanker over in Italy though – how soddin’ normal was that? Still kind of thought she might at least have got in touch when me and Angel turned up in Rome though. Knew it was over for sure then.”

“She didn’t know you were in Rome, Spike. She didn’t even know you were alive. Andrew said that you’d told him not to say, so he didn’t.” Dawn watched Spike closely as she said this – but what she saw in his face was purely surprise.

“You mean that blabber-mouth finally managed to keep his mouth shut – who’d have thought it? So when did Buffy find out we’d been there?” he asked curiously.

“A bit before I did I think – when she came to London from Rome, after you had that big thing in L.A.” Dawn answered - wondering still whether he would be upset to realise that Buffy hadn’t known he was alive, or whether he would be upset to realise that once she had know she hadn’t dashed off to find him.

His answer surprised her. “Glad she knew before she got married. Wouldn’t have wanted her carrying some guilt thing about not persuading me to leave the Hellmouth around with her for the rest of her life – might have made things a bit awkward with her husband if she’d still thought she was hankering after some mythical long-lost love.

“I though about it quite a bit you know – that she’d said she loved me. She didn’t really. To start with she loved the wrongness of it, when all she wanted to do was to bring herself down. Then, with The First, she needed me, one way and another, and maybe that felt like love to her. In the end she thought she loved me because I was a hero, but it still wasn’t me she loved – it was the idea of having her own hero. I don’t think she ever really knew me, you know. Then in the end, when I though she was just ignoring me for The Immortal I was pissed off – but more because it was him than because she didn’t come running. Realised then I was getting over her.

“Wish her all the best from me sometime – I’m glad she’s fine, glad she’s got what she wanted, and you know in the end, I’m glad what she wanted wasn’t me. Took me a bit of thinkin’ about, but it’s the truth of it. So you don’t need to be all worried that I’m goin’ to start cryin’ about her, or go chasin’ off to Sacramento to steal her from her husband.

“To be honest, when I’ve thought about Sunnydale in the last few years it’s usually been because I’ve seen something on TV that reminded me about the time she wasn’t around, and I used to come around and watch things with you. And I’ve thought about your Mom, even about The Watcher, all as much as I’ve thought about Buffy. It was only a short time for me – small bit of a long life. But you know me – live in the moment – live life to the full – it was intense then, and now it.…isn’t.” He finished, and looked Dawn straight in the eyes, and she could see that he was telling the truth, and felt a rush of relief, letting out the breath that she hadn’t realised she’d been holding, with a rush.

“Anyway,” Spike said after a pause whilst their plates were cleared, “tell me how the other people I knew are doing.”

“Thought it was too long ago for you to be bothered!” Dawn retorted.

“I only said I don’t spend my life thinking about Buffy all the time, not that I’m not a bit curious about everyone. I’m curious enough about you to be here aren’t I?” he answered, but there was no anger in his voice, more amusement. “All those bloody teenaged girls’ll be well grown up by now – how’re they doing? How’s the Watcher – when he’s not being one of the top bods in the council? And bloody Harris, how’s he doing – heard from someone else in her line of business about Anyanka not making it out of Sunnydale – shame she didn’t make a comeback like me! And Red – she still shacked up with that Kennedy female? Come on – give with the gossip over pudding, Bit.”

‘Pudding’ was good, and Dawn savoured every spoonful now that she wasn’t worrying that Spike might still be heart-broken over Buffy. Spike also ate with enjoyment, and she wondered, not for the first time in her life, what happened to the food he ate – then tried to put the thought right out of her mind – quickly!!

Spike expressed sorrow over the Potentials he remembered who were no longer alive – either because they died at Sunnydale, or in action since. He was surprised at Giles’ marriage and parenthood – “Do him good, a smart looking bird like that – and a little girl? Loosen the Watcher up a bit! Bet he’ll be watching her all the time in case she gets the call though! Buffy’s right to be glad she’s got boys!” Again, Dawn noticed he sounded pretty natural when he mentioned Buffy, he really didn’t seem to be wallowing in unrequited love at all – and she felt a real lift to her spirits.

Xander’s role in disaster relief work made Spike nod in understanding – “Make him feel wanted – and doing something where people recognise that he’s good at it and knows his stuff will do him good. Didn’t always get a lot of recognition when he was young, from anyone, made him unsure of himself. I mean look what happened at his wedding – well, non-wedding – wouldn’t have happened if he’d had more confidence in himself! He got himself a decent woman yet?”

“Not a permanent one that I know of anyway. But he doesn’t talk about things like that to me – still sees me as a teenager I think.” Dawn replied – and could have bitten her tongue – she didn’t want to go there just yet, not here, and this time she was certain that Spike paused just a little too long before answering slowly “Yeah, I suppose he would.”

Coffee saw a discussion of Willow’s love life, and Andrew’s, absorbed with great interest by Spike – but then, Dawn remembered, this was the vampire who used to be addicted to day-time soap-operas, and quite possibly still was. “Glad she got over that Kennedy one – too bloody bossy for my liking. Red deserved someone who appreciated her, not someone who tried to tell her what to do. I’m just surprised it didn’t end with Red turning her into something more interesting – a frog or something! And Red’s still into men as well? Might turn up some day and try my hand – always did think she was a smart bit of talent!” He grinned as he said that – but Dawn was surprised to feel a bit as if someone had just punched her in the stomach – yep the old Spike crush thing was alive and well and visiting Paris!

“Was surprised when we turned up that time in Rome, and Andrew was with a couple of neat looking women – somehow thought he was more into guys! But he’s just not picky – same as Red eh? Well that makes me feel better! And not that way!” he added as Dawn raised an eyebrow and grinned. “I mean I’m glad to know I hadn’t totally mis-read him, lost me touch and all that!”

Dawn wanted to know what Spike had been up to in the last ten years as well – starting with what he called his ’Come-back’, but he said he didn’t want to talk about it in the, now crowded, café.

He paid the bill when it arrived, although Dawn protested that it was her treat, she’d invited him, but he wouldn’t even split it halfway. ‘You can take the vampire out of the nineteenth century – but you can’t completely take the nineteenth century out of the vampire – at least not this one!” she thought, followed by “And where did he get the money?”


  • Chapter 6

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.