Pot vs. Kettle
As always, this is for Laney who makes my stories make more sense.
Many thanks to everyone who has reviewed. I've been really bad at replying lately because my job is a nightmare and I've had writer's block something chronic, but I do read and really appreciate
every single one. I can't thank you all enough - I really do need the encouragement!
On to the story!
Chapter 8 – Pot vs. Kettle
I watched Bella move to the door and it was like the flat was suddenly underwater. Everything seemed strange and off and had a vague wavery sense to it.
She made it to the door and glanced back at me with her hand on the knob. I tried to look encouraging. I think I failed. The last thing I wanted her to do was open the sodding door because I knew that this wasn’t going to turn out well. I wanted to stay living in the little bubble we’d been existing in. The world that held just me and Bella and sometimes Alice was a good one. All the bullshit from our pasts and some of our nows didn’t belong in that bubble.
While I pondered the virtues of grabbing Bella and running off with her, her hand twisted the knob and the door flung open. And there he was, Poof Junior in all his glory. All the glory of an angry, 17-year-old kid.
Before I even had time to fire off a sarcastic comment, he was through the door and had somehow grabbed Bella and forced her behind him. He was fast, I’ll give him that.
He put himself between me and her and let out what I was sure was supposed to be a menacing growl. I laughed at him, which didn’t make him happy at all.
“Bella, don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll protect you from this demon. Just go wait out in the hallway, please.”
I waited a half a second for Bella to speak, but a glance at her told me that I’d be holding out forever on that one. Just his very presence reduced her. She wasn’t my lion anymore. Hell, she wasn’t even the wet kitten that appeared sometimes. She seemed more like a wet dishcloth than anything else. She was pale and small behind Edward and seemed to have lost the ability to speak. Damn him.
“I don’t think the lady needs protecting from me, mate,” I shot at him. “I do believe she was enjoying my company. Why don’t you trot off back where you came from and leave us to finish our evening?”
“I saw what you are,” he hissed back at me. “And if you think I’m leaving you alone with my-“ he cut himself off before backtracking, “with Bella, then you’re actually as dumb as you look.” He gave me a look that was designed to make me feel about on par with pond scum. It didn’t work – I’d run with some true masters of derision, and this pup wasn’t even close. “Now, Bella’s going to go drive to Alice’s while I remove you from her premises.”
“Oh yeah? You and what army, mate?” I shot back at him. I had the feeling that I was going to get to do my own scientific experiments about the relative hardness of this particular breed of vampire versus other known demon types. Also known as kicking the crap out of him.
“I don’t need an army,” he growled before rushing me. He was as fast as Alice, but didn’t have the advantage of her sight. He did have the advantage of listening in on yours truly, so I starting humming in my head. Anarchy in the UK. Didn’t seem like his sort of thing. Maybe sheer annoyance would put him off his game.
I had years of fighting under my belt that I was willing to bet he didn’t. For once, my nightly pummelings (both giving and receiving) were going to come in handy. I could run on pure instinct – no thought necessary.
I moved slightly to the side and used his own momentum to flip him up and over. He went crashing into a wall and I vaguely heard Bella scream. I was too caught up in the fight and the moment and the adrenaline to pay much attention. That was probably my first mistake.
He got up and had clearly learned from his mistake. There was a dent in the plaster behind him. Little bits of wall crashed to the floor as he moved away. He approached me warily, and most importantly slowly. Fantastic – he was afraid to use his speed. Now we’d find out who was stronger.
We danced around each other for a while and I started to get bored. The first sign of a decent fight in weeks and he wanted to pussy foot around. Not having that. As soon as he got close enough, I threw caution to the wind and threw a punch. Worst that could happen? I’d break my hand. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. A few hundred times. I’d broken my hand on finer specimens than this pathetic teenager. The Big Bad had hell goddesses and old ones under his belt.
I connected solidly with his face. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? I heard the thudding sound that accompanies a good, solid punch, not the crunching that goes with broken bones and days of recovery. My hand wasn’t broken, but disappointingly his face wasn’t either.
My hand stung, but wasn’t more than I was used to from about half the demons that roamed. He was tougher than a human, that’s for sure, but, hey, who wasn’t?
What it all came down to, though, was one massively important fact: I could hit the bastard. Excellent.
Edward figured this out at the same time I did. Or maybe he heard it in my thoughts. I could just tell that he thought he’d have an easy time of it. One punch and I’d be a goner. Hah, I’m not that breakable, you arse. He heard that for sure, and flew at me. And then we were dancing.
Punches flew and kicks landed and we were really laying into each other. He was fast, but no stronger than I was. And I had the fighting experience, so gradually was gaining the upper hand.
My senses were alive and the tension I had been carrying around for weeks starting flowing out of me. This was what I had been looking for. A good, old-fashioned brawl. And even better, a no-holds-barred brawl. My night was looking up.
Then a coffee cup bounced off of my head. A saucer went careening into Edward a few seconds later. It shattered against his face and clattered to the ground. The sheer absurdity of it stopped us both in our tracks.
Edward had a black eye forming and some bruises, and I had blood running down my face from a split lip. What a beautiful picture we made. We turned as one to face the source of the flying china.
Bella. Looking furious and glorious and I’d never wanted to shag her more. Did I think that? Shit, Poof Junior growled at me. Must have.
“Both of you stop this right now,” she said with a threat in her voice. “I will not have you destroying my apartment and breaking each others’ faces.” I glanced around the room and felt guilty at the mess of broken knickknacks, furniture, and er, walls, we’d left in our wake. Edward’s face? Not so concerned. And I knew my own would hold up – it’d been through the wringer before and come out none the worse for wear.
Edward was staring at Bella like she’d walked out of her bedroom wearing nothing but balloons and holding a pin. He glanced over at me and glared. Whoops. Needed to remember he could hear me. And on second thought, that wasn’t even accurate imagery. That might have been my own personal fantasy. Not that I’d think about anything like that. Right.
He was actually looking at her like she’d grown a second head. I guess lion-Bella that I was so well acquainted with didn’t make many appearances around Captain Bedhead.
“Edward,” she said with the most restrained I’m-talking-like-this-so-I-don’t-choke-you-to-death voice I’d ever heard, “William is here with my permission. My express invitation.” She emphasized that sentence like it should mean something to him. Had Alice shared about my nature? “I’ve asked him here and I was enjoying my night and I’ll ask you to leave now so I can get on with it.”
I could have crowed with satisfaction. And then I did. In my head. And watched him squirm.
“Bella, you don’t know what you’re doing, what you’re asking,” Edward started in his King of Pain voice. Wait, Angel was the King of Pain. Edward could only be the Prince of Pain. Hmmm… there’s an idea. The Vampire Formerly Known as Edward had a nice ring to it. I digress.
“I know exactly what I’m asking, Edward,” she snapped back. “I’m 26, not 17. I’ve got a pretty good grip on reality. And I’m asking you as an adult to leave my property.”
Edward looked gob smacked that she was arguing with him. It took him a few minutes to formulate an argument, and it wasn’t one of his better ones. “Bella, he’s a monster!”
I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Then coughed to try to cover it up. Then wondered why I was bothering and laughed out loud with abandon. Edward turned to stare at me like I was a mental patient. “Sorry,” I choked out, even thought I was nothing of the sort, “it’s just that seems like a bit of a pot/kettle kind of phrase, mate.”
Edward growled at me again, and another projectile coffee mug came winging across the room. “I’m not having any more of this male posturing bullshit tonight, Edward,” said Bella sounding tired. “I know what Spike is. I know what you are. And I’m still asking you to leave.”
I noticed her use of “Spike” instead of “William” and tuned out briefly to overanalyze what that meant. I tuned back in just in time to see Edward crumple like he’d been punched in the gut with a jackhammer. I did a tiny internal victory dance.
He made one last ditch effort. “Bella, he’s dangerous.”
“If he was a danger to me, Alice would see it.” Edward looked so defeated I almost felt sorry for the guy. Almost. Instead, I gloated a bit.
“I’ll go, but I’ll be watching you both.” He turned to me and leaned into my face. “If you so much as think about hurting her, I’ll know. And I will end you.”
I couldn’t resist. “Anytime you want to dance, whelp, I’m here.”
“William,” snapped Bella. She sounded irritated with me. Whoops.
I was never the smart kid, so I couldn’t resist one last whispered dig. “I don’t think I could hurt her nearly as bad as you’ve already done, mate.”
A glance at Bella told me she hadn’t heard. Edward stared at Bella for a long minute, then swept out the door.
I turned to Bella and she just looked at me. “I’d say I’m sorry, pet, but I’m not,” I said a bit sullenly. What was with that? I was acting like I’d done something wrong. And I definitely hadn’t. He deserved everything he got. That was a good argument. Before I knew it, it flew out of my mouth. “He deserved everything he got.”
She kept looking at me. She looked… I don’t know. I couldn’t describe the look on her face, and I had decades of experience in examining facial expressions. My Bella, always a mystery. Her next words took the wind right out of my sails. “I think you should go home, too, Spike.”
She called me Spike again, whatever that meant. And she’d asked me to leave. She’d never asked me to leave before. I just knew the expression on my face was distinctly unmanly. I didn’t seem to be able to control my features in the face of this… rejection. At least she’d waited until Poof Jr had cleared out to deal out my own shame.
Bella’s eyes softened a bit. “Just… I need some room, Spike. I’ll see you tomorrow like we planned.”
I took small comfort in this. I felt like a kicked puppy as I made my way through the debris to the door. I couldn’t look at her again as I went out and shut the door behind me. I sunk down to the floor in her hallway and leaned against the door.
Inside the flat, I could hear the quiet sounds of her crying. I had apparently fucked up.
“What the crap is going on here?” My mind took a brief vacation from the pit of misery I was currently occupying to recognize the irritated voice coming up the hallway. Alice. “Seriously, Spike. I leave everything alone for a few hours to spend some quality time with Jasper and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. The future is all misery, misery, blah. You all need some divine intervention and I am just the goddess to deliver it.”
“Hi, Alice,” I responded weakly. I wasn’t sure I was ready for this particular whirlwind. A pummeling from Edward, no sweat. ‘Help’ from Alice, not so much.
“Ouch,” she said softly. “Not even a barb for the ‘goddess’ crack? It must be bad.” She walked up the hall towards my camp on the floor and gracefully settled herself down next to me. “What happened? I was tuned out, concentrating on Jasper. I missed the whole thing. All I know is Edward was coming. By the time I’d tuned back in, it must have happened, because the future is back, and it is bleak. If I decide to pay you all a little visit, some options are opened up. I decide to leave you to your own devices, wrack and ruin. So spill!” she ordered me with a nudge to my leg.
“Pushy little pixie,” I muttered, knowing she could hear every word. She just grinned at me and stared, knowing I’d get uncomfortable under the scrutiny before long and talk just to get her to take her creepy I-know-everything-and-I’ll-make-sure-you-know-I-do eyes off me.
I recounted the scene with Edward right through to Bella asking me to leave. “But why on earth would she ask you to leave?”
“I don’t know, pixie,” I admitted. I let silence reign for a few minutes. “Alice, she was calling me Spike.”
“Oh.” Alice looked thoughtful. Oh indeed. “Well, this is nonsense. We’re going back in.”
Next thing I knew, Alice had yanked me to my feet and we were halfway through the door. Damn, they were fast.
“Bella? We’re here, and we’re not taking no for an answer,” shouted Alice as she stormed through the flat looking for Bella, dragging yours truly along like a handbag.
We found her in the bedroom, teary-eyed and startled. “Hey, Alice.”
“This is nonsense,” Alice said matter-of-factly. “Whatever the problem is we are going to work it out. And you know why, Bella? Because I like Spike, irritating idiot that he is. And I will continue to like him for many years. Everyone will like him. He adds spice to our lives. But only if you two get it together long enough. So you are going to pull your thumb out. That is all I have to say.”
“Uh, Alice?” Bella said seeming vaguely confused. “I’m not mad at Spike.”
“You aren’t?” Alice said at the same time as I said “You’re not?” We glared at each other briefly before turning back to the important thing – Bella. Alice seemed to win our flash-fight for dominance, because she kept up with the questioning. I felt so put through the wringer that I didn’t even try to wrest control of the situation back. I was happy for the tiny tornado to somehow fix this for me.
“OK, if you’re not mad, then why the frilly heck are you calling him Spike?”
“Because… tonight I met Spike.”
“Ah,” said Alice like that made sense. Women.
I was still entirely in the dark. “Pet, you’ve been hanging out with me for weeks now. We’ve met before.”
“Not this side of you,” answered Alice, settling herself regally into an armchair off to the side.
I froze a bit. I guess I had been living in a dream-bubble with Bella. She hadn’t hit the reality of my nature yet. I’d probably scared her tonight. Well, shit.
Bella could apparently read my face like a book. “It’s OK, Spike. I’m not upset with you. It’s just been a really long day and after the scene with Edward I really just wanted some space. And, er, to clean up. Or, you know, hire a contractor.” She said that last bit with a little glare at me and I tried to look contrite. I wasn’t. OK, maybe I was a little sorry for breaking her stuff, but I didn’t regret breaking Edward’s face at all.
I desperately wanted to ask a question that I knew would make me look like a pansy. I had to know the answer. Could I do it in front of Alice? Actually, on second though, I’d better. Lord knows what torture the pipsqueak could come up with if I didn’t fix this. “Are we OK, pet?”
Bella smiled at me and patted the bed next to her. I was at her side in a flash. “Yes, we are. You’re still you. I’m still me. You wouldn’t hurt me, so there’s no reason to fear you, no matter what your name.” There weren’t words to describe my relief. Not that I ever doubted. Right.
Bella gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before turning to Alice asking about emergency contractors. Somewhere in the middle of my emasculation, Alice had zoned out on us and I could tell she was having one of her visions. I’d seen the signs too many times before. When she snapped back into reality, she started giggling like she’d OD’d on laughing gas.
“Pixie? What’s wrong with you?”
“Oh, I’ve just seen Edward’s newest plan, and it is a gem.”
I stared at her pointedly. She refused to budge.
“Alice?” said Bella, quietly doing what I could not do with all the glares in the universe.
“Edward is going to try to win you back,” she said with a laugh in her voice. “Things are about to get very interesting.”
A/N: Before anyone says anything: I don’t hate Edward
. I actually like Edward quite a bit. But Spike doesn’t. And this is from Spike’s POV. And from where he’s standing, Edward is an overbearing ass who: hurt the woman he cares about very badly, won’t leave Bella alone, and has a bad hairstyle. He’s going to seem a little whiny and off from inside Spike’s head.
And, oh-so-much was going on inside Bella’s head that I wish everyone knew, but alas, Spike does not know so we don’t know!