By Annie Sewell-Jennings
SUMMARY: “She is a blank canvas, and he is not allowed to paint her.” B/S
SPOILERS: Up through “Wrecked”
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Buffy and Spike are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions; I claim no ownership of them. Music will be disclaimed as it is used within the story.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: I suppose that Randy/Joan fics are becoming staples in the fanfiction community, but I wanted to write this nonetheless. It’s a little different from most of those fics, a little darker and more violent, and the ending, well… Judge that one for yourselves, kids. Enjoy it all, and I hope that you’ll come back for more when it’s over. Some elements of the story are ripped off from the brilliant “Memento” (i.e. Joan’s tattoos), but they’re for good reason and in good fun. Really.
“I hate you.”
“And I’m all you’ve got.”
--Buffy and Spike, “Becoming”
"I'm happy, I'm feeling glad
I've got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless, but not for long
The future is coming on..."
--Gorillaz, "Clint Eastwood"
She is the first thing he sees when he wakes up at night and the last thing he sees when he goes to bed in the morning.
Through the haze of sleep, he opens his eyes and sees her in the mirror. Just that one image, projected and reflected off of dirty glass, her back turned and her face twisted pensively around, fingers peeling off fine layers of medical gauze from her right shoulder. She flinches a little, her dainty nose wrinkling, and then she sighs as the bandage is removed, revealing the new addition to her sun-scorched skin.
“It came out nice,” he calls from the bed, and she turns her head, flashing him a smile. Every time she sees him, her face lights up with the power of tiny candles, because she loves him and nothing else. She knows him and nothing else.
Slender, jagged fingernails caress the top of the new tattoo; she revels in the pain that plagues her every time she brands herself. Heavy rap music throbs from the stereo that works of its own volition. It takes all of its electricity from her, from the energy that can make lights flicker when she walks into a room. She makes broken things work, and nothing works better than him when he is inside of her.
A discerning, critical eye moves over the new mark, carefully checking the artistry on the tattoo that she selected and designed. It is a Vietnamese symbol, something exotic and extraordinary, reading “FAITH” in its graceful, sharp curvature on her shoulder. She does not know why it is necessary to brand herself with obscure phrases and symbols, but she does so nonetheless. She is a blank canvas, constantly begging for art.
“So you really like it?” she murmurs, turning her head to gaze seductively over her shoulder at the vampire sprawled across the sheets. She loves him, loves him more than she loves the feeling of stabbing someone in the heart or looting a liquor store that carries Cristal champagne. He is her heart. He is her alcohol. He is her drug, the addiction more insistent and necessary than her tattoos or her music.
Smirking, teasing, taunting. He is all of the above when it comes to her. Prowling across the sheets, his knuckles carrying his lean body languidly across the cheap, moth-eaten motel sheets, he travels across the bed and then stands naked in the middle of the room while she appreciates his architecture and style. Fashion is unnecessary when it comes to him; he looks better without clothing.
When he kisses the tattoo, she shudders; her skin is too sensitive to deal with the cool pressure of his mouth, underneath the raw tattoo and the sun- scorched skin that is its canvas. She is always sunburned, her skin constantly reddened by the wicked rays of the sunlight, her hair permanently bleached snowy white in sharp contrast with her bright crimson skin. Body moving lushly with the rhythm of the hip-hop music that the enchanted stereo plays, she throws out her bait, reels him in, and scales him with ease.
Outside, there is a landscape of scorched desert sands, the sky as dark and malevolent as rubies set ablaze, like a million garnets thrown onto a bonfire and left to melt. Lava and magma paint the furious vermilion sky, and the thick, impenetrable smell of smoke hangs low and thick around them. It did not always used to be like this. There was once a place called Minnesota, where snowfalls buried the state in layers of white and frost unfurled across glass windowpanes, but she does not remember this time. She remembers nothing but the world around her, blissfully ignorant to what once was and what might have been. Girls who have no past have no concept of what is the future, and this is the only comfort that she holds onto when she sleeps at night in his arms.
Whenever he is aroused, he purrs slightly, and she always finds it amusing that vampires are like big cats that need to be petted into domestication. Now, she turns around and gives him that smile that always makes him fall to pieces. The smile of a girl who remembers no suffering, no pain, no anguish and no war. The smile of a girl who knows nothing but ecstasy and rapture.
“I think I want to go to New York again,” she murmurs into his ear, licking his earlobe, biting down a little bit with her blunt teeth. He loves pressure. “The shopping’s much better.”
Chuckling, he moves his fingers down from the new tattoo to the older ones, exploring the artwork that is scattered across her body with no sense of right or wrong. He finds it ironic that she has turned herself into a living and breathing gallery, remembering the past that she has no concept of, remembering the things that she can never know. The history that she has no grasp of is his burden to bear now, not hers, and the only way that he can manage to wear that responsibility is the knowledge that she loves him.
She loves him.
“I love how you call it shopping,” he growls into the mass of bright white hair, pushing aside errant tendrils so that he can nip playfully at her neck. There are a few scars on her throat, sketched over with ink by the tattoo artist who placed the word “GLORY” across the back of her neck. They are his scars. “Looting, more like it. Stealing.”
Dismissively, she sighs and turns her attention back to the mirror. He casts no reflection in the looking glass, and her body is slightly foggy, a little translucent, like she has no real substance. Perhaps memory is what gives her substance. Maybe history gives a person weight and shape. She doesn’t know for sure why everyone can see through her. “It’s not stealing if it doesn’t belong to anybody,” she says, instantly exonerating herself of any crime. “Besides, where else in the world can you find a good vintage Ja Rule album?” Pointedly, she turns her head and arches her eyebrow. “Other than Los Angeles.”
It pains him when she nags him, but he refuses to go to California. She does not know why, other than that was where he found her, lying beaten and unconscious on the side of the road while the world crumbled around them. He stole her away from the ruins of the Sunshine State, now permanently covered in the snow that Minnesota should rightfully possess. Often, she begs him to take her back there, constantly in search of pieces to her puzzle, but he refuses. “Too many bad memories,” he always says, and she always tells him in her soft, petulant voice that she would love a memory, bad or good.
Shaking his head, he creeps his fingers down the curve of her spine, caressing the very first marking, the tattoo that she does not remember inking herself with, because it all happened Before and this is Now.
“You know how I feel about L.A., pet,” he murmurs in that smooth accent. English, he told her. It is English. She has no concept of what is foreign or not, because there is no one left in the world to speak in foreign tongues or use unusual speech patterns. She just loves his voice. “’Sides, L.A. is passé. Only for punks and losers. All the good shopping’s gone.”
Teasingly, she turns around to the mirror and gives him a naughty look that bounces around the room. “It’s not shopping, it’s stealing,” she reminds, and he chuckles, biting playfully on her newly tattooed shoulder.
Wordplay flawlessly fades into foreplay, the mood shifting from teasing into enticing without any signal or moment. Their life together is a tapestry of fucking and fighting, but it’s all in love, all in good gestures and friendship, and therefore that’s all that matters. He watches her in the mirror, amused at her white tank top and the men’s briefs that slide down her slender hips, a tattoo of a giant, angry sun swimming over her pierced navel. She is currently having an intense love affair with turquoise jewelry, and the semiprecious rosary swings enticingly between her shapely breasts. She is exquisitely blasphemous, wearing Catholic mythology like an accessory and fucking a demon in her spare time.
“Change the song,” he orders into her ear, and she chuckles, impishly arching one alabaster eyebrow before giving a glance to the stereo. The CD skips inside to the next track, one more suited to him, and he loves that she has somehow digested his taste for seventies’ punk. In many ways, he made her the woman that she is today, giving her his art, his fashion, his music, his flavor. She is his creation, and in turn, he is hers.
She devours him with her eyes like he would devour her with his teeth, and she loves the way he tastes in her gaze. Tastes like white chocolate, rich and decadent, his skin acres of white gold and silver. She hates gold anyway. Hard, contoured muscle, slender cradle of his hips, skin scattered in scars that he never explains. Bleached curls of hair fall onto his brow, loose and tousled; she broke him of his hair gel years ago. He smells like cigarettes and marijuana, leather clinging to his skin even when he sheds the ancient jacket, and the sterling silver chain around his neck glitters enticingly against his blank skin.
Running her fingernails over his abdomen, she elicits a moan from him, and she observes his growing erection with an amused twinkle in her jade eyes. “Why don’t you ever get a tattoo?” she asks in that innocent, unknowing voice. The naiveté in her is something that must be preserved carefully, must remain untainted and pure, because… Because… Because that is what she wants, even though she doesn’t know it.
The reason that he does not tattoo himself is because there is no need to do so. He has all of his scars, all of his memories and failures remain intact, and there is no reason for him to etch his ruination across his body with the harsh, invasive ink. The sadomasochism of tattooing does not apply to someone who can punish himself by simply rewinding time and remembering what it was once like for him.
//She slaps him across the face, punches him with the enraged fury of the righteous, and then throws his worthless body into the crumbling wood and architecture of the stairwell. “Poor Spikey,” she taunts. “Can’t be a human. Can’t be a vampire. Where the hell do you fit in?” And he never has an answer other than “I’m in love with you”, and it’s a feeble fucking excuse to both of their ears.//
Today, he has a better excuse, because he has had much more time to ponder things like what is good to say and what is better left unsaid. Licking the back of her neck and tasting glory, he smiles wickedly at her and flashes his fangs. She’s always thrilled with flirting with danger, and she always has been. “Cause they look so much better on you,” he murmurs, and she moans, arching her back and giving him a breathless look that begs to be kissed.
Growling, he lifts her up in his arms and slams her sweet, ripe little bottom on the cheap Formica bathroom counter, pressing her back against the mirror, pinning her in her place and giving her a nasty, territorial look. Chuckling, she flashes her eyes at him, and they both know that the war is starting. Every night it’s war, when they try to one-up each other, try to see who can make the other cum first. This is the battle that she lives for, and the fight that he wishes she always could have loved.
One shapely foot raises, the ankle encircled in an inked word, and he reads it aloud as it travels up the inside of his thigh, climbing toward his hard cock. “Slayer,” he murmurs, and she never understands why there’s a sad note in his voice whenever he reads that foreign term. It’s just something that she dreamed about one night in her constant assault of nightmares, just some phrase she plucked out of her subconscious and wanted written on her body.
Trying to cheer him out of it, trying to ensnare him in the game again, she smacks his cheek lightly with her palm and twists her mouth at him. “I’ll slay you,” she teases, and he knows all too well that she could if she wanted to. “Come closer. The night’s almost over and I want to try and hunt down some pot before the sun comes out.” She gives him a mocking impatient look, her feet breezing past his balls in a manner that makes him tense. “I mean, come on, honey. I don’t have all night, you know.”
Shaking his head, he walks closer to her and tugs on her white hair. “Impatient little bint, aren’t you?” he says, and she nods her head at him. She is impatient, because she knows that there is no such thing as permanence, no such thing as forever, and so she wants everything that she can get Now.
She starts to sing along with the stereo, grinning at him while she smirks. “Give it to me,” she murmurs, her voice too white to go along with the hip- hop that she loves. “Give me that funk, that sweet, that nasty, that Gucci stuff… But don’t punish…”
The fucker cuts her off before she can finish her favorite part of the song by slamming his mouth onto her, and she squeals under the harsh weight of his mouth, always so demanding, always so pressing. Tongues wage wars where fists once fought, and their kisses are always duels, always competitions, teeth gnashing and hands caressing, trying to destroy anything that is left, trying to stake a claim without flags. He wants to own her but is content with following her, and she wants to crawl up inside of him and make his history her own. It’s a good deal to them, but he knows that one day it’ll all end.
One day, he won’t be able to tear her stolen jockey shorts from her body and bend his head to her shaved mons, won’t be able to taste the stainless steel of her clitoral piercing mixing with her feminine juices, won’t have her scream and slam her head wildly against the mirror behind her. She’ll leave him eventually, when the nightmares reveal the entire show to her and she knows what happened. She’ll run away, and he’ll be left alone listening to her hardcore rap music and longing for the dangerous girl that she became under his tutelage.
But that will be Then, and this is Now.
Underneath the fluorescent lights that she controls effortlessly with her unusual biochemistry, they are writhing, rutting, rocking while he tears the flimsy tank top away from her and brings his mouth down to one flawless, exposed breast. His tongue pokes through the sterling silver loop that dangles tantalizingly from her nipple, and phrases like poetry trickle down the underside of her luscious breast. “I touch the fire…” stretches underneath her left breast, and it finishes on the right with, “…and it freezes me.”
When he enters her, she is far from frozen. She is hot, volcanic, like molten lava and boiling water, thick and lavish, rich and decadent. She is decadence embodied. Gasping for breath that she really doesn’t need anyway, her head falls back and her eyes flutter open, staring at the crackling plaster that peels thoughtlessly across the ceiling. Arching her spine, she threads her arms around his neck and holds onto him for dear life as they begin to rock in a raw, primal synchronicity. The heavy, throbbing bass of the stereo is amplified as she begins to rock towards her climax, the volume increasing until he can hear nothing but rap blaring insistently at him, drowning out the sound of her screaming.
Tonight, he wins, and she is thrown off the summit first, her sweat-slicked body gasping and shuddering around him, and he grins triumphantly at her, gloating over his victory before leaping after her, clenching his jaw and moaning as he comes. Together, they remain secured together and the volume of the stereo starts to lower so that he can hear himself think again.
Saucily, she places her palms against his chest and pushes him away from her. “I have to take a shower,” she says flippantly, picking up a Band-Aid from the counter and placing it carefully over her new tattoo. She doesn’t want the ink to run or shampoo to infect the recent marking, though she knows that her body will fight whatever she presses onto it. She is special, gifted, something unusual and better than just fucking human. She’s a goddess of some kind, something electrical and pyrotechnic, like a living Roman candle, but she doesn’t think of that last metaphor because she doesn’t remember what fireworks are.
Before she can walk naked as a jaybird into the bathroom, he holds the door open and challenges her with the same question. The same question every time they fuck. “Tell me why,” he murmurs imploringly, and when she kisses him, it’s with the sweetness that she regards him with. No violence, no fury, no wrath or play. It’s love. It’s love.
“Because I love you, Randy,” she murmurs, and he sighs, wishing that she could say his name once. Wishing that he could tell her the truth. Wishing that he could say her name back.
“I love you too, Joan.”
*Lyrics are taken from Jay-Z’s “Give It 2 Me”, from “The Blueprint”, which I use without permission.
(end part one)
Continued in Chapter Two: Savannah, Georgia