Thanks: to my lovely, supportive, and helpful betas: Miss Murchison, Circe, Rabid, and Brynn
Pairing: none (mentions of S/X, S/A, and S/B)
Disclaimer: characters not mine. story not yours.
Distribution: Do not post elsewhere without permission. Ask, I may say yes.
Note: starts near the end of "First Date" and goes from there
Feedback: Makes me gay. (Which is to say, yes, please.)
"Willow, gay me up," the boy was saying, and Spike rolled his eyes. "C'mon, let's gay." What was she supposed to do? It wasn't like gayness was contagious, and Red hardly carried fairy dust in her pockets for emergency queerification spells.
"...Let's get this gay show on the gay road," Xander reiterated. "Help me out here."
"What if you just start attracting male demons?" Buffy teasingly pointed out one of many flaws in Xander's sudden homosexuality scheme.
Xander acknowledged this with a shrug and a dip of his head. Spike could no longer resist.
He moved to Xander's side, slung an arm around his waist, and dipped him. Concern for his target's recent abdominal puncture made the dip small and gentle. His soul precluded him from causing the boy unnecessary pain.
The soul did not, however, prevent him from planting a firm wet kiss directly on Xander's gaping mouth.
He could have wrapped an arm around Xander's head to put a hand between their lips, or simply placed a hand between their mouths, but if a hundred plus years of mischief had taught him anything, it was never to go halfway on a prank.
It wasn't a sexy kiss; more the sort Bugs Bunny would plant on Elmer Fudd before bouncing away in glee while the miniature hunter turned mauve with rage.
Having stunned the room into silence and Xander into frozen apoplexy, Spike pulled away with a smacking sound and let go. Xander, well beyond the ability to stabilize himself, dropped to the ground with a thud. Spike turned to the group with a beamish grin. "I hereby make him -- ," he pronounced with a swish and a wave of an imaginary wand, "gay!"
More silence... then a grin cracked Buffy's face and she began to laugh. Not a chuckle or a giggle, but loud brays of laughter that had her clutching her stomach. Her eyes bulged as if they were in danger of popping out. She snorted and cackled, put her head down on her elbow on Willow's shoulder, and then with a great, "BA!hahahaha" fell to the floor in a heap of mirth.
"Gah!" protested Xander incoherently from the ground.
The rest of the Scoobies began to smile, as much at Buffy's fit as at Spike or Xander.
"GAH!" Xander insisted, frantically wiping his mouth to remove the imprint of Spike's kiss. "Spike lips! Lips... of Spike!"
This only made Buffy laugh harder, and thump a fist against the floor.
The English-speaking Slayers-in-Training, who seemed to travel in a pack like girls at a junior high school dance, emerged from the basement to gape at the sight of the Slayer rolling about on her living room rug having hysterics. Dawn, seemingly against her will, began to chuckle. Anya pursed her lips in impatience, but nonetheless seemed smugly amused. Willow's giggle was infused with a delight rarely seen from her in the past year.
Spike, spirits lightened by their reactions, made a mock-indignant face. "Well, that's disheartening," he complained petulantly. "I used to be sexy." He turned to the girls. "Aren't I sexy? Rona, you think I'm sexy, right? Amanda?"
Rona opened her mouth as if to speak and shut it again, clearly unsure how candidly one ought to answer such a question from a designated vampire attacker. What could possibly constitute an appropriate response? Amanda simply gaped, her jaw opening and shutting in flabbergasted shock.
"You're a stone cold fox," Kennedy told him in a blase monotone.
Spike sighed heavily in exaggerated defeat, and turned back to the Scoobies. "Watcher, you think I'm sexy, dontcha? A nummy treat? Or... was I sexier when I was evil? With the railroad spikes and all? All that phallic penetration subtext, yah?"
"Please stop," Giles requested, too appalled to be amused. "Right now you are more frightening than you ever were when you were trying to kill us."
"Really?" Spike asked, flattered. "Neat," he said happily, and preened.
Buffy, meanwhile, seemed to be communing with the nice new living room rug. Possibly inhaling too many of the new carpet fumes. "Compact... but well-muscled..." she gurgled, face-down in the faux-Indian print.
Amanda warily approached the downed warrior. "I think you broke her," she reported seriously.
Dawn went to sit by her sister, and laughed anew at the periodic high-pitched squeaks Buffy emitted every time she drew breath.
"Buffy?" Dawn inquired gently.
"Dawnie," Buffy said, all warmth and conspiratorial affection as she sat up and placed a hand on Dawn's shoulder, "Did you see the look on Xander's face?" And then she was off again, unable to stop, draping her arms over Dawn's shoulders, leaning against her, and laughing 'til tears ran down her cheeks.
Dawn gently extricated herself, and turned to Amanda, as the Slayer flopped onto the floor again. "She'll be ok," Dawn reported, smiling.
Xander scrambled up from the floor and muttered, "Must... gargle... and wash mind out with soap." He made for the staircase.
Spike, warming up to his role, slipped between Xander and the stairs to lean provocatively against the wall, hip jutted out.
"I thought you wanted to be gay," he pouted. "And you've fancied me for awhile now. I saw it was on your mind when that bird Nancy asked. I still remember how you commented on my 'shiny white bum'... and how you didn't want to... kick... it." He ran the arm against the wall up it in a languorous slide.
"AUGH!!" Xander froze, and gibbered briefly. Then he turned to the living room and wailed, "Buffy! Make your evil undead boyfriend stop hitting on me! It's... creepy!"
"He's not my boyfriend," Buffy uttered the requisite denial pro forma. From her sprawl on the floor, she cast Xander a wicked look. "There's nothing standing between you two if you want to be together."
That, apparently, was Xander's limit, and he bolted past Spike up the stairs in a clatter of limbs and a swirl of panicked internalized homophobia.
Inordinately pleased with himself, Spike ambled over to the Slayer and crouched beside her. With a look too over-the-top to be truly lascivious he drawled in a low tone, "Not my favorite way to get you gasping and writhing on the floor, pet, but it'll do." Suddenly his face fell, as he remembered that he'd lost any right he'd had to toss innuendos her way.
To his surprise, Buffy didn't withdraw. She might even have flushed a little, although it was hard to tell, since her color was already high with laughing. "Now, Spike," she told him with exaggerated kindness, "the last thing I want to do is get between you and Xander."
She got to her feet and surveyed the room. Willow and Kennedy were exchanging dewy glances in the foyer. Dawn and Amanda had, from the sound of things, departed to the kitchen to make popcorn. The rest of the mini-Slayers were milling and conversing uncertainly.
Andrew had the dazed look of someone who'd had a wet dream come to life, only to have his own role recast.
Anya had apparently followed Xander up the stairs and could be heard haranguing him in a loud voice, presumably from outside the locked bathroom door.
"Xander, same-sex experimentation in no way undermines your masculinity! Many women find the confidence to explore very sexy." She paused, then amended thoughtfully, "I suppose you might be latently bisexual. But you can't be gay. I know you like sex with women. I could've told if you didn't, because you're not that good an actor. Even if you do like to... would you please stop whimpering?" she demanded crossly.
Giles looked like he had an stern lecture all set to go if he could only decide whom to direct it towards.
Buffy grinned. She looked over her shoulder to where Spike had plopped to the ground in defeat. "I hope you'll be very happy together," she sugared.
"Bugger me," Spike muttered.
"But Spike," she exclaimed, in too-innocent tones too low for the others to hear, "Angel told me you liked buggery."
Spike gaped. "He... I... We...," he sputtered helplessly.
With a sassy bob of her eyebrows and a devilish smirk she had in no way learned from him, Buffy sashayed away, victorious.
Once he'd recovered from his astonishment, Spike shook his head ruefully. 'Shoulda known,' he thought. 'Whenever you try to best the Slayer, in any arena, you get your ass handed to you.' Somehow, that thought filled him with admiration, rather than resentment. He got to his feet. "He never did tell her that," he muttered to himself. "Bloody poof."
Spike's exuberance trickled away as he walked to the kitchen. This wasn't like him -- the new him. Teasing, playing, laughing -- he'd left all that behind for insanity and torment. It felt odd, to act as his unsouled self might have done.
But why shouldn't he? Wasn't that still part of who he was? It wasn't like any of what he did or said was truly evil, he argued to himself. Xander wasn't actually hurt. Scarred for life, maybe, but not hurt.
And Buffy had been laughing. Happy. For five minutes, she'd been able to forget that the source of all badness wanted to kill the girls in her charge, and see to it that she was the last of her line. Giving her a little joy had to be a good thing, right?
He'd let loose for a little while. Nobody'd gotten eviscerated. No throats ripped out. He'd been dampening down his behavior for weeks now. Between the ever-present demon within him, the emotional volatility caused by the soul, and the capability of the First to make him grab his ankles at any time, he was never sure when he'd be a danger to the others. On top of that, he'd been afraid of breaking down in front of anyone besides Buffy, and he didn't want to add to her burden by breaking down in front of her.
He'd felt a bit like every aspect of what made him Spike, or William for that matter, was being compressed. Now, fried from the stress of Buffy's date and Xander's rescue, he'd let himself be naughty... and the result? Didn't seem that bad. It had actually been fun. The boy had set that prank up too perfectly to refrain.
His soul stung a little, telling him he was taking joy he didn't deserve. He stomped that feeling down, as he was learning to when the guilt was untimely and counterproductive. Who would benefit from his moping about all the time like the Great Prophecy Boy of Los Angeles? He would grieve, and he would fight, and he would play, and he would stand stoically by Buffy's side, but there would be no more ostentatious self-flagellation. Not even to soothe his own conscience.
That settled, Spike made for the fridge. He needed a spot of blood to get the taste of Xander out of his mouth. 'Never thought cocoa could taste that bad,' he mused.
Spike didn't glance at Dawn or Amanda, or any of the other girls as they filed in after him, drawn by the smell of melted butter on popcorn. He planned to do his best to keep them all alive, but he didn't want to get attached, or get too close to any of them. They needed him to be a trainer, not a friend. An over-familiarity with vampires this early on could hinder them when it came to doing their jobs.
As for Dawn, he'd barely looked at the nibblet lately, afraid to see her contempt. Or worse, the simple blankness in her gaze that would say, 'you're not here, you're nothing to me.'
He maneuvered through the throng and got down a mug. Then he realized that any attempt to microwave the sanguinary contents of his styrofoam cup was likely to result in vehement disgust from the kiddies. Especially as they were likely to nuke another bag of popcorn soon, with all of them grabbing some. Sighing, he returned the pig's blood to the fridge.
Someone appeared at his elbow with the popcorn bowl. Glancing up, he saw to his surprise that it was Dawn. "Popcorn?" she offered. The look on her face wasn't friendly, exactly, but it was open, without the anger that had glinted in her eyes before.
"Thank you, Dawn," he replied rather formally.
She might not be his little bit anymore... but she didn't look prepared to be his executioner anymore, either. That was something. They shared a tentative smile, before he took his handful of popcorn and descended the stairs to his basement bed.