Chapter 10 - Fight Club

As Spike slowly drifted into wakefulness, he was rather abruptly awoken by the feeling of a slick cock sliding into his ass. He twitched from the sharp pain caused by the intrusion, then he gasped against the pillow as he felt the pressure against his prostate. The heavy body on top of him pressed him down into the mattress. He could feel hot puffs of air hitting his ear just before Angel’s voice reached his ear, smooth as melted chocolate. “Good morning,” Angel whispered.

* * * * *

As Buffy's fist hit she felt the impact reverberate through the tense muscles, travel along the nerves, and into her shoulder. The sweat trailed cool tendrils over her hot skin, and small drops sprayed through the air from her movements. Her hair clung, unnoticed, to her face in small, wet strands. Her attention was completely focused on the muscular guy in front of her – a slightly balding middle-aged man with latino features and a concentrated look on his face. She watched for telltale signs in the tension of his muscles, the movement of his limbs and the direction of his gaze. His elbow rose a little, just a little, then the punch came. She blocked it with her fist, quickly retaliating with a couple of fast blows. He blocked the first one, but the other one hit his shoulders.

"Good, Buffy," the man exclaimed, his voice strained from exhaustion.
They danced around each other for a few more minutes, moving gracefully while trading punches. "Ok Buffy, I think we're done for today," the man finally said, panting a little. "Good work," he said, slapping her on her back. "Your right hook is really improving."

Buffy smiled. "Yeah, Ricardo, I sting like a bee, huh? Need some work on my footwork, though. Still haven't really gotten the hang of that butterfly floating thing." She pulled off her gloves and shook her swollen hands.

He paused and looked at her in silence for a moment. "Have you ever thought of trying to become a pro?"

Buffy stopped, looking up at her trainer. "Pro?" She felt stunned. She had never thought about it or viewed it as an option. Sure, she knew she was good, but… a pro?

"I've been thinking about it for a while," he said, removing his worn gloves. "Not that I'm saying that it would be easy to get drafted, but if you want to we could try."

Buffy looked at him with a slightly skeptical expression. "You think I'm good enough?" she asked, feeling a sudden streak of self-consciousness.

"I think you're starting to be," he said, wiping his sweaty neck with a towel.

Suddenly Buffy's head was filled with all the possible consequences of the choice she had been presented. Was that really what she wanted? Would she give up bartending for boxing? Well, duh, of course she would. She wasn't quite as sure that her dear parents would like it if she had beating the crap out of willing people as a day job. Dawn, of course, would be cheerfully impressed, though. How about the working hours? And what about the possible injuries? How long could she support herself through boxing? And how much money was involved? And… well… was she good enough?

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps and a voice coming from the hallway. "Yeah, love you too," Spike's voice echoed, sugar sweet, from the adjacent room. "Mm… can't wait…" his voice got smooth. "At five. Yeah… five… yeah, I will."
Moments later Spike entered the training room with an overstuffed plastic bag dangling from his hand. "Bye Angel," he purred. Ending the call he looked up at Buffy and her trainer. "Here I am," he said, grinning, "so let's get this party started."

"Well, then, Pink," she said, putting her hands on her hips. "You better go get dressed, 'cause that duster will get in the way."

As Spike left for the dressing room the trainer looked at Buffy with one eyebrow raised and his arms crossed. "Taking in strays?" he said with an amused voice.

"Just teaching a friend boxing," she said.

"Friend?" he said skeptically.

"Yeah, friend," she grunted, glaring at him. "Why don't you go and do whatever boxing trainers do in their spare time."

"Fine," he said, smiling. "Stamp collecting it is," he said, grabbing his training bag.

"Oookay," she said, raising an eyebrow Spock-ishly.

He started walking towards the door, but stopped after a couple of steps and turned. "Listen, just make sure that you prioritize your own training." He paused. "And think about what I suggested, ok?"

"Yeah," she said. "Sure."

As her trainer disappeared out the door her thoughts started spinning again, stirring an excitement in her gut. Her pondering was abruptly interrupted, though, by Spike's voice.

"What's up?" he asked.

"Huh?" she said, her hair flying through the air as she turned her head quickly.

"Looks like you're thinking hard." Spike was standing outside the locker room door. "Better watch it or you're goin' to get wrinkles on you brain." He was looking her with a smile. A tight white tank top clung to his chest. Buffy like. Bad Buffy.

“I was just weighing my options.”

“Vanilla or chocolate chip?”

“Violence or booze.”

“You know, usually those two mix pretty well,” Spike said and chuckled. Pulling on a pair of gloves he walked over to Buffy and the sandbag that was hanging from the floor like an oversized mobile. “So, what about the violence and the booze?”

“My trainer thinks I should try to become a pro boxer,” she said with badly hidden pride in her voice.

“Really?” Spike said with badly hidden admiration in his voice.

“Yeah, really,” she said softly as she pulled on her gloves.

“So, are you gonna do it?” Spike said, halfhearted throwing some tentative punches at the bag.

“It’s hard to get drafted,” she said, mirroring his punches from the other side of the bag.

“So?” Spike said, “you can do it.”

Buffy smiled smugly, looking at Spike. She stepped out from behind the bag and raised her fists. “Well, in that case you better watch out, ‘cause you’re going to get your ass kicked by a future master.”

“Cool with me,” Spike said and rised his fists.

* * * * *

"So, is getting robbed and raped on tonight's agenda?" Buffy asked. She pulled her coat around her when she squinted into the alley and spotted a rat the size of a poodle. After he convinced her to “celebrate” with a couple of beers she should have insisted on choosing where to go. Several blocks from the bar Buffy had realized that they weren't exactly going to the fanciest place in town. The increasing amounts of trash and hobos was a telltale sign, after all.

"If that's your fetish," Spike said, kicking off a plastic bag that had gotten stuck on his shoe, "there's a couple of shady clubs around here where I'm sure you can get your kicks."

"Um, no thanks." Buffy muttered. "Damn, I really should have brought my nunchuks."
A brisk wind pulled up some leaves and used napkins and made them dance in the air like confetti against the dirty walls covered in frayed posters for concerts and clubs.

"You don't need nunchuks," Spike chuckled. "You're Chuck Norris, without the beard."

"You know," Buffy said, mock pouting, "Walker: Texas Ranger compliments aren't really compliments."

"Fine," Spike said, smiling. "Be like that."

The faint noise of laughter and rock became louder, and as they turned a corner, Buffy spotted a brown, shabby door with a colored glass mosaic pattern and a dirty doorknob that reminded Buffy about all those scary statistics for bacteria in public places. Next to the entrance stood a couple of rather worn women in clothes too tight and short for their age, smoking and talking.

"Here we go," Spike said proudly, almost like a parent showing off a picture of his kid. He pushed his way past the women, causing some grunts, and Buffy followed like an obedient little duckling. When he opened the door the sharp stink of smoke hit her face, the music and talking was a compact wall of sound. Someone shouted Spike's name, and he shook the hands of a couple of acquaintances.

Buffy looked around and crinkled her nose. The people in the small, crowded bar didn’t exactly seem to be the type who knew in which order to use the cutlery at finer dinners. The atmosphere of intoxication, testosterone, and over the top female flirting was poignant.

Spike looked over at Buffy. "Oh, I'm sorry princess. Are you getting your golden slippers dirty?"

Buffy just rolled her eyes. They walked past some guys who looked like they were gang members, big man with vests covered with insignias. They stared at her in a way that made her feel kind of dirty and she looked away, trying to ignore them. As they got to the bar, Spike pushed in between two ladies in their forties who had tried to hide their crow’s feet in heavy layers of makeup.

”Mark!” he shouted, raising his arm to get the bald and bearded bartender’s attention. ”Two Budweisers!” He seemed to get heard over Metallica and all the people talking around them since the bartender turned to get a couple of bottles from the fridge.

”I haven’t seen you here for a while, Spike!” Mark shouted back as he handed him the bottles. ”Been up to no good?”

”Always!” Spike said, tossing him a couple of crumpled bills from the pocket of his duster.

”Who’s the Malibu Barbie?” He glanced over at Buffy.

Spike smiled. He turned and handed her the beer, disturbing the thin veil of cigarette smoke that filled the air, then he started pacing towards a round table in the back of the room where four guys were getting ready to leave. The table turned out to be just as sticky as it looked. Buffy reluctantly sat down and started sipping on her beer. “So, what is new with you, darling?” Spike said with a very fake upper-class British accent. “Except for moving up in the sports world that is”.

Buffy laughed, then drank from her beer.

“Any new social events?” Spike asked, tilting his head, still trying to embody a Jane Austen character.

“Nope,” too busy.

“Any new gossip?” He continued.

“See above”, she said, smiling.

“Any new male acquaintances?” He said, raising his eyebrows.

Buffy stiffened a little. The only one that had she had gotten interested in lately was Spike, so this was a subject she preferred to avoid. “Nope, next question,” she said a little bit too quick.

“Hey, Xander is single, you’re single, it would be a match made in heaven!” he said jokingly.

Buffy laughed nervously. “Haven’t you gotten the memo – women can be single and happy nowadays. Contrary to the questionable message of Sex and the City, women can live without both men and fancy shoes.” She drank from her beer again, finishing it. Buffy recalled that she hadn’t had any dinner and she contemplated to get some nuts or something to soak up the alcohol.

She saw that Spike was ready to give her a dirty and ironic remark, but before he got that far he froze, and then sat up straight, as if a stern school teacher had slammed a ruler on the table. ”Fuck,” he spat out as he quickly looked at his watch.

”What is it?” Buffy said, worried.

”I said I’d drop by at Angel’s at five, it’s half past,” he mumbled as he pulled up his cell phone, dialing quickly. He tapped his fingers “I want a cab.” He picked up a receipt and read the address printed under the logo. “Um… 10 Johnston Road.” He was silent for a moment, tapping a finger against the bottle in front of him. “Twenty minutes?!” he spat out, tapping the bottle a bit harder. He gazed out the window at the street outside, looking disappointed. “Fine! Send your bloody cab then, Spike’s the name,” he hissed before swiftly hanging up. He then dialed another number. His shoulders tensed and as he spoke his voice altered, becoming lighter, softer and hesitant. Buffy felt uncomfortable as she watched Spike change before her eyes. “Hi, I’m sorry, I’m on my way home.”

She suddenly felt someone tap on her shoulder. “Wanna dance, honey?” a bearded, skinny and clearly high guy in a worn Godzilla t-shirt shouted through the music, swaying slightly from side to side.

Buffy grunted. “No thanks!”

“Come on, baby”, he grunted, started to move offbeat to the Aerosmith song in the background.

Buffy cringed. “No, it’s… um… against my religion.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Can’t help that Ganesha frowns upon dancing.” She turned quickly, just catching Spike ending his call. A moment ago he hade been cocky Spike, now he looked a bit like a kid who had broken his mother’s antique vase and was waiting to get spanked. Something felt wrong. She made a grimace “Um… sorry. Didn’t mean to detain you.”

“No, it’s ok,” he said, slumping down in the chair casually, as if he had noticed that he seemed weird. The result looked awkward.

“So, um, you guys have something important planed tonight?” she said, testing the waters.

“Er… not really. Or, well, no.” He briefly looked out the window again.

“Everyone’s late sometimes, right? Last year dad came two days late for my birthday party. And my gift was a cactus and a spatula,” she said cheerfully.

“Well, I’m late a lot. All the time, really. Drives Angel crazy. He’s kind of particular about stuff like that,” Spike said.
Buffy took a deep breath. “He seems kind of particular about a lot of things.”

It was quiet just a second too long. “Well, yeah,” Spike said, looking at his beer bottle. “I’m glad he puts up with me, I’m not exactly good at keeping appointments, or manners or, you know, cleaning and stuff.”

“Come on – you’re a great catch!”

“Hell yeah!” he said, suddenly sounding like himself again. “I’m bloody Prince Charming!”

Buffy was quiet for a moment, biting her lip a little “So, when are we getting to meet Angel? Again, I mean. Our last encounter was, um, pretty brief.” As she saw him subtly cringe she added, “or are you afraid that we will scare him off? I’ll be good, I’ll swear, and I’ll tell Xander not to tell any Star Wars jokes.”

Spike looked uncomfortable. “He ain’t really into group socializin’, meetin’ the friends and stuff like that. He prefers to have me all to myself. And who can blame him?” he said, smugly putting his hands behind his head. He glanced out the window and quickly took his hands down and pulled op his wallet. “The cab is here, love,” he said, throwing a couple of bills on the table. He hurried to throw on his duster and looked at Buffy. “Thanks for the lesson, gotta go home to my significant other,” he said, smirking before dashing out the door.

Buffy glanced after him, feeling a bit confused and concerned. Something was going on, and she didn’t like it.

“Heeey honey,” as she turned she noticed a heavy, balding guy, with a plaid shirt that strained over his belly, smiling at her. “So, you’re here all alone? Want a drink?”

Buffy cringed. “Sorry, I have to go. My doctor told me to get lots of sleep on account of, um, my syphilis.

* * * * *

Spike felt his heart beat hard as he hurried up the stairs. Why the hell did he have to find the slowest cab driver in town? Seriously, would it kill the guy to drive instead of talking? Like the radio set to Easy Rock 97.4 wasn’t bad enough. Spike felt his muscles getting tenser for every step. Fuck, Angel would be mad. There was a limit for how much Angel would put up with, right? As he reached his door he fumbled with his keys and as he pushed up the door he stepped in. “Hey Angel, I’m sorry, I lost track of time. I was just…”
The fist flew at him from the right and impacted with his temple. He felt the knuckles hitting bone and it felt like his heart stopped beating for a second out of pure terror. There was no time to make sense of what was happening before his head was thrown against the wall by the blow, making his other temple hit the frame of a mirror that shattered over his head. A ringing sound and an intense dizziness instantly appeared and he felt himself slide down the wall. Through the mental fog Spike heard Angel screaming, with a voice filled with hatred: “Didn’t you think I’d hear her in the background, that blond whore!”

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