A Friend in Need

Written by Glassdarkly, September 2005

Spike scratched his head.

"So let me get this straight," he said. "If you don't lose your virginity by the time you're 103, you'll die horribly. Is that right?"

Clem gave him his usual dopey smile, showing lots of ragged, pointy teeth. His ears flapped.

"That's right, buddy," he said. He looked pleased with Spike for grasping the problem so quickly. "My head will explode, like I told you. Some time on my 103rd birthday, which is next week, it'll split open like a burst pumpkin at Halloween and all my brains will "

"Yeah, yeah, okay," Spike stopped him quickly. "I think I got that bit, mate. What I don't get is why you want me to be the one who who "

He couldn't finish the sentence, just sank weakly into the battered armchair behind him and reached for the bottle on the side table.

Clem kept smiling.

"Okay," he said. "I'll run it by you again. You remember I told you that Flopsy demons like me have the same girl and boy parts as humans and vampires do?"

"Yeah," Spike said, wearily. "I don't think I'm likely to forget that in a hurry." He knocked back a big slug of JD and poured himself another.

"And you remember I told you that I'm just not compatible with all the other demons in this town? I mean, you should see the schlongs on some of those guys, Spike. They're covered in er spikes."

Clem chuckled good-naturedly, which made his ears flap again. Spike winced.

"So, seeing as you're my best buddy and all," the floppy-eared demon went on, "I thought you wouldn't mind maybe doing the honours?"

And there was the sticking point. They'd been through it twice already, but somehow or other, Spike couldn't quite get his head round this part.

"Don't you have some nice lady friend you could ask?" he said, for the third time. "I saw you down at Willie's chatting up that bird with the black lipstick and the leather mini skirt. She looked like a bit of a goer, mate, if you ask me. And not afraid of demons neither. Why don't you ask her?"

"Ethel?" Clem asked, looking surprised, while Spike found his own lips moving too, repeating the name in silent disbelief. Ethel? Then Clem laughed. "You're being kind of silly now, buddy, if you don't mind my saying. Besides, Ethel and me, we hardly know each other."

He pressed forward a little, looking pink and wrinkly and oh, so eager. Spike swallowed hard and drank more JD.

"But isn't she more your er your type?" he asked, hopefully, pouring again. To his surprise, Clem looked quite put out at this, planting his hands with their long pointy nails on his hips and glaring.

"I don't know what you're trying to imply here, Spike," he said, "but I don't swing that way, I really don't, and besides, she's not equipped for it, is she?"

Then suddenly, he looked guilty and said: "Not that I'm prejudiced or nothing. No siree. Live and let live, that's what I say, even kittens - except when I'm hungry."

"Er yeah," Spike said, still puzzled. Not equipped? This got weirder and weirder every moment. He picked up the bottle of Jack and stared at it suspiciously. Maybe it had been doctored and he was hallucinating?

"So what d'ya say, buddy?" Clem pressed. "You gonna help a friend and poker-buddy out in their hour of need?"

At long bloody last, Spike thought, relieved. A way out of this mess.

"'Oi!" he shouted. "Vampire here, mate. I don't do that helping stuff not unless the Slayer's around to see it anyway."

He puffed out his chest and growled, showing his fangs. "I'm evil I am," he said, emphatically, "as I keep on bloody telling you. If you don't watch it, you won't even have to wait for your fucking birthday 'cos I'll split your head open myself."

He tossed back his third JD and wiped his hand across his mouth, glaring at Clem with righteous indignation. "Hour of need, my arse!"

Clem backed off a little, his hands held up in a placatory fashion.

"Sure you're evil, sure you are," he said, nervously. "You're the Big Bad. Everyone knows that, Spike."

For a moment, it looked like he was going to give up, but then suddenly, his face brightened again.

"How about if I pay you?" he asked. "Twenty kittens upfront and enough greenbacks for smokes for a month. How about it?"

Spike stared at him, his mouth hanging open. He shuddered inwardly, then cocked his head on one side and pulled a disgusted face.

"A month?" he said.

"Okay, okay," Clem said, quickly. "Two. Come on, buddy. You know I'm good for it."

And that was the trouble, Spike reflected, as he poured himself another drink. He did know Clem was good for it. In fact, Clem was the best kitten dealer this side of Vegas, and that was saying something. He could get you anything you wanted even Persian and Siamese within twenty-four hours, and he'd never let a customer down yet.

Spike supposed it was because the Flopsy demon looked so stupid even gullible and he just had this way of making people like him and trust him, so his contacts always came through for him. He'd seen an enormous spiny Entros demon, that looked a bit like a T-Rex and that'd normally bite your head off as soon as look at you, clapping Clem on the back and calling him its best friend five minutes after it had met him.

Maybe it was some kind of demon whammy that made Clem seem so well, nice. Spike gritted his teeth at even thinking that word but clung fast to the idea of there being magic at work. At least that would explain why he the Big Bad, William the Bloody, no less - found it so easy to tolerate him. That and the fact that Clem was an ardent Passions fan too and they'd kind of bonded over it and a family size pack of Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

Plus, Clem didn't seem to think Spike was a pervert for fancying the Slayer, which was not his experience with other demons for the most part. Mostly, they just wanted to call him names and beat the shit out of him for it, if he didn't do it to them first.

Bugger, he thought, gloomily. He hated to have to admit it, but he'd never really had a friend who was a bloke before. As a rule, he got on much better with girls, which had to be Angelus's fault of course, because most things were. The bastard must have traumatised him when he was a fledgling or something, so that now he couldn't help bristling up at other blokes if they got too near and giving them lip in case they got any funny ideas, what with him being only average height and too bloody gorgeous by half.

But Clem didn't make him feel like that and Spike sort of liked having someone to watch telly with, even if they did think the footie was boring and have an inexplicable liking for chick flicks. And if he did get to have his wicked oh, yes, definitely wicked way with the Slayer some time soon, he had a feeling he might need a shoulder to cry on afterwards.

He was going to have to do it.

He eyed Clem again, taking in the bloodshot red eyes, the bare arms with their flaps of moist pink skin and the long, talon-like nails. He swallowed again.

"You won't do that thing, will you?" he asked, eventually. "You know, where you open your jacket and all those tentacles come out? 'Cos that might be a bit off-putting, see."

"Really?" Clem looked interested. "Well, I wouldn't know that, being a virgin and all. Okay, buddy, if you think it's gonna bother you, I'll try my best not to."

"Good," Spike managed, his eyes still roaming over that less than attractive body and wondering if he could prevail upon Clem to put a bag over his head. "Great."

"So you'll do it?" Clem asked, his jaw dropping open, as he realised what the question had been for. "You'll really do it?"

"Yeah," Spike said. He swallowed yet again, feeling faintly nauseous. "But I want the dosh upfront and the kittens by Thursday, all right?"

"Dosh?" Clem said, looking puzzled. "Oh, that means money, right? You British guys and your funny language! You should learn proper English, Spike, so everyone can understand you. Maybe then other demons wouldn't get so mad at you all the time. Anyway, kittens by Thursday, check."

While he was speaking, he reached into a back pocket and brought out a wad of twenty dollar bills, which he counted out carefully into Spike's waiting hand. Spike tried not to flinch away from the insect like feel of those talons skittering across his palm; tried, too, not to think about - other things and what they might feel like.

"If we have to be naked," he said, suddenly, "it'll cost you extra."

Thankfully, Clem looked horrified.

"Oh, no," he said. "I mean, I really, really appreciate you doing this for me, buddy, but no offence, your skin is kind of tight for my taste, know what I'm saying? I mean, I know you can't help that, what with vampires being mongrels and not much better than humans, but still- "

"Hey!" Spike said, trying to sound indignant to hide his relief. "That'll cost you another five kittens."

Clem sighed and shook his head.

"You drive a hard bargain, Spike," he said. He looked nervous for a moment, then said: "Shall we?" He gestured towards the trap door that led to the crypt's lower level; to the bedroom.

Spike grimaced, the sour taste of not enough whisky in his mouth, and said, "Sure." He motioned to Clem to precede him then followed the Flopsy demon reluctantly down the ladder. I can do this, he told himself, trying not to stare at the folds of damp, pink skin like melting strawberry blancmange on the nape of Clem's neck. I can do it. I just need to imagine he's someone else, that's all.

It was at this point he realised that he had no idea what Clem was actually expecting him to do. Did the bloke have the first clue about any of this stuff? And if he really was built the same way as a human, like he said, what the fuck was wrong with him popping his cherry in the traditional way? Were Flopsy demons all a bunch of flaming poofters, or what?

For a moment, Spike considered pretending that something daft like diddling with yourself for five minutes or whatever-the-fuck was the way to lose your virginity and then sending Clem packing. After all, with any luck, he wouldn't be around when the Flopsy demon's skull did whatever it had to do. However, after a moment's pleased contemplation of the idea, he sighed and dismissed it. He was Spike and he'd never gone back on his word yet; not even to that miserable little tosser of a friend of the Slayer's, Billy Fordham.

The little shit had asked him to make him a vampire and he'd done it. Oh, yes, he had. He and Dru had made a right bloody meal out of the kid and made sure he'd been alive to feel it for quite a while too, but Spike had seen him right in the end. And it wasn't his fault that the stupid little bastard had got himself dusted by the Slayer the moment he rose, was it?

No, he told himself, he had a reputation as a vamp of his word and he meant to keep it. After all, your rep was everything in business and this was definitely business, not pleasure - and without it, how was he going to gather the necessary readies to keep Buffy in style, once she inevitably fell for his charms?

They were in the bedroom now, and there was the bed, where Spike had so often imagined himself having it away with her, all sweaty and golden and smelling like heaven or the nearest he was ever likely to get to it anyway.

He tore his mind away from the thought reluctantly and tried to focus on the immediate problem again.

"Here we are then," Clem was saying. "How do you want me?"

As far from here as possible, Spike thought. Mars, maybe? But aloud he said, "Guess you'd better lie down, mate, and you know, spread 'em a little? Maybe pull your trousers down? Better warn you, by the way, I'm not called Spike for nothing and I've nothing much in the way of lube. S'been a while, see?"

Clem was looking puzzled. "What has?" he asked, while Spike was trying to remember when exactly had been the last time. Maybe that rent boy outside the bar in Prague, just before all the trouble started, he wasn't sure. He hadn't even killed the kid, just left him with his arse hanging out of his trousers and gone running when he heard Dru screaming. And before that well, it'd been Angelus, and Spike had been the one taking it, whether he wanted to or not.

He growled at the memory and realised that he'd vamped out and Clem, who was already sitting on the bed, was staring at him, looking distinctly nervous.

"You're not gonna have to, like, drink my blood, are you?" he asked plaintively, "because I get faint even at the sight of needles, Spike, I don't mind telling you."

Hastily, Spike shook away his demon features for one thing, they had the disadvantage of making his vision and his other senses even clearer and said: "No fucking way. I don't care what you've heard, mate, vampires never drink demon blood. For starters, it gives you fucking awful wind. For instance -"

He stopped then, realising that he was trying to delay the inevitable, when really it made more sense to grit his teeth and get on with it. He rolled his shoulders and flexed his arms, then strode purposefully towards the bed. Then stopped.

"You know what," he said, "I'm just gonna blindfold myself, 'kay?"

"Sure," Clem said, brightly. "If you want to, buddy. Is that, like, some kind of vampire mating ritual or something?"

"Nah," Spike said, searching under the cushions for the pink silk scarf smelling strongly of Buffy that had accidentally fallen into his pocket the last time he'd been in her house; that time when the basement had flooded. "It just adds mystery, is all."

With his vision obscured by the smooth material, he felt his way slowly towards the bed, trying not to breathe so as not to spoil the comforting picture he was trying to create for himself. In that picture, it was Buffy lying there, all naked and panting, with those gorgeous little tits that he could just imagine, even though he'd never seen them, all ready for his mouth and fingers, and that sweet little mound of well, it wouldn't be blonde, but who cared hair framing her juicy pink folds.

He stopped again, realising that he shouldn't have thought of pink and folds in relation to anything with Clem in the bed and that he'd stupidly gone and left the whisky upstairs. For a moment, he stood, rooted to the spot, but then he told himself to think of kittens and England and just get the fuck on with it. So he squared his shoulders, unfastened his flies and said: "Okay, mate, give us your arse, because here I come and I mean business."

Then suddenly there were legs thick legs covered with flaps of doughy skin, and with the knees pointing the wrong bloody way. Stupid tosser, Spike thought, lying on his back like a woman, but before he could say anything, a flabby hand grabbed him and yanked him forward, and two large, horny feet were in the centre of his back pulling him inexorably onto the bed and into Fuck! That couldn't be right! It just sodding couldn't be!

But it was. Warmness, wetness and an obstruction that felt like

With a muttered "Fucking hell!" and a feeling of everything suddenly making a kind of sense that wasn't, Spike tore the blindfold off his eyes and shouted: "Clem, you're a girl!"

Clem blinked red eyes at him good-naturedly, looking puzzled by this bizarre need to state the obvious, then said in a voice gone oddly falsetto, "Be gentle with me, big boy. It is my first time."