By MustangSally and RivkaT
Sequel to Serious Moonlight; part of The Bowiehabarata
The sequel to Serious Moonlight, the sequel to The Heart's Filthy Lesson
OR: The "we owe royalties to Bowie by now" series
*SUMMARY: Bet she's not your girlfriend, you couldn't make her happy…
SPOILER WARNING: The Body. The bulk of Season 5 (i.e. Crush, Intervention, the Gift) cheerfully ignored.
*RATING: NC-17 for violence & explicit sex acts. Interested yet?
*DISCLAIMER: The characters are not ours and we would appreciate not being sued.
NOTES: We do a lot of things, but writing music ain't one of them. The reader who identifies the most Pet Shop Boys and Smiths references wins a cameo in our next story: Details at the end of the story. No purchase required.
DEDICATION: Chain-Boy come back! All has been forgiven!
I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
Saturday night was date night, even among the undead and the supernatural. Lovecraft's was crowded with couples of every description. There were demons with demons, vampires with vampires, vampires with demons, an imp with a Chaos demon (not unlike a Chihuahua with a Great Dane), and a zombie with what may or may not have been a gargoyle. Gender wasn't an issue, species wasn't an issue. The only issue was mortals, since they had a bad tendency to squeal to the local authorities and that would have been the end of Lovecraft's, fine institution that it was. There was one mortal there that night, a guy with two leather vamp chicks who was living the heavy metal fantasy of his life. Not that it mattered. The guy couldn't have been labeled "Take Out" more clearly if he'd been jammed in an aluminum container with a clear plastic lid.
So it was Saturday night, and the usual Lovecraft's clientele was either assured of some preternatural nookie or trying to find it - and what was Spike doing? Sitting at the bar and trying very hard not to stare at the clock on the wall over the jukebox. Half an hour to go, half an hour and he would be walking towards the cemetery. He had an appointment that he was loath to break.
"Oh I just don't know where to begin/Though he says he'll wait forever/It's now or never/But she keeps him hanging on/The silly champion/She says she can't go home/Without a chaperone."
He was going to kill whoever had last programmed the jukebox.
"Another beer?" the lamia behind the bar asked.
"Yeah, that would be grand," he muttered and tried not to look at the clock again.
"And it's the damage that we do/And never know/It's the words that we don't say/That scare me so," Elvis Costello continued to moan, "There's so many people to see/So many people you can check up on/And add to your collection/But they keep you hanging on/Until you're well hung/Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone."
"So, you ain't been around much lately," the lamia said and pulled him another mug of the cheap domestic crap Lovecraft's had on tap.
"Been busy, doin' stuff, y'know," he said and accepted the fresh mug of weak, salty beer.
"What kind of stuff?"
"The usual, and a bit that isn't," he hedged and drank.
"I hear things, things that wouldn't be said if the sayer was sober. Perks of the profession, you know," she said and leaned forward across the bar, giving Spike a good view of her slightly scaly cleavage. "I hear that you're been hanging around with the Slayer. Wouldn't be a healthy thing for the Slayer to know about this place, now would it?"
If there hadn't been a yard-long stake resting near the cash register next to the sawed-off shotgun, Spike might have been inclined not to take this too seriously. But under the circumstances, he threw up his hands in poorly-feigned innocence.
"Puh-lease, the only place where I can let my fangs hang out? I don't think so. "
"Just asking. They say you've got a soft spot for the Slayer."
"I got a soft spot for the Playmate of the Month, an' you don't see me bringin' any bunnies in here now do you?"
"As long as we're clear."
"Clear as a Scientologist, babe."
"I don't want to hear it/'Cause I know what I've done."
She nodded and started rubbing down the bar with a wet rag. Inside Spike's skull a little nervousness came out, looked around the mess of his brain and then retreated to its designated closet. As if the thought of breaking the sacred sanctity of Lovecraft's would ever cross his mind. Although the idea of Buffy raising some hell among the sappy eye-making demons and whatnot was kind of appealing right then. There was nothing quite as lonely as being alone when everyone else had thoughts of love or shagging. He drank some more beer and didn't look at the clock again. There was a good reason he didn't wear a wristwatch. He could obsess about time as easily as he could obsess about everything else. When he'd first read about the obsessive-compulsive personality a decade beforehand in a stolen copy of Newsweek, Spike had been surprised not to see his picture as an illustration.
Spike was going to make this the longest beer in history.
Over in the back of the bar, something was laughing; happy laughter, not another being in pain laughter, and the sound ground against his nerves like sandpaper. The television over the bar was showing the tail end of the news, the filler. Human interest stories, heroic animals, strange trivia, and, apparently, pretty blondes.
"Give us the sound, would you, luv?' he asked and waved a hand at the lamia.
Smirking, she pushed the remote buttons and the bar across the bottom of the screen increased in a cascade of green light.
"Local officials are insisting that the outbreak of teen violence has nothing to do with the recent performance of teen pop sensation Citalia," the voice announced in a pseudo-grave tone while the picture went back to the pretty blonde with dark blue eyes and a heroic bustline. "Teen fans denied entrance into the pop star's concert in Los Angeles formed a mini-riot and overturned police cars."
To illustrate, the TV showed a cop cruiser burning merrily away like a backyard barbecue.
"I'd pop a cop for her," the worse for wear vamp on the other side of Spike commented. "Tasty morsel."
Spike didn't imagine for a moment that a vamp with eau du homeless was going to get within striking range of the teen beauty. The news flashed over to a crowd of kids, prepubescent most of them, screaming and carrying on in the street. A police cruiser rocked back and forth like a sailboat on a rough tide.
"That's nothin'. I was at CBGB the night the Clash came to town. These kids today know nothin' about causin' mayhem," Spike said and took a dismissive gulp of his beer. "Still, I wouldn't throw her outta my bed for leavin' communion crumbs."
The old-looking vamp next to him snickered between yellowed teeth.
"She's a little old for me. I like 'em young. Sweet meat you get, when they haven't been messed with yet."
"Virgins are over-rated," Spike announced and elicited a dirty chuckle from the lamia at the bar.
"You know what they say - it's like a balloon, one good prick and it's gone forever." Her grin grew even wider. "Doesn't even have to be a good prick."
"Took out an entire troop of Girl Scouts last summer. They was campin' at Big Bear Mountain. Tasted like cookies," the dirty vamp offered.
"Chocolate mint or shortbread?" the lamia asked.
Pedophilia had never been Spike's scene, so he flashed the dirty vamp an ugly look and moved a few inches further down the bar. The smell was as bad as the sentiment. Being dead was no excuse for poor personal hygiene, or fucking children. A vampire had to have at least a couple of rules. Keeping clean was one of Spike's oldest, while not feeding off children was a recent development. If the rules accumulated with age, given a hundred more years he'd be the same uptight prig as Angel. He drank some more beer to wash the idea out of his mouth, and watched the hands on the clock move with geological slowness.
The dirty vamp was staring at him. Spike stared at the television, which was now showing a beer commercial with half-naked women playing volleyball. It was one of his favorites.
"Don't give me that, looking at me like I'm dogshit."
"I wasn't lookin' at you, mate, wouldn't waste my time,"
"Think you're better than me?"
"No, I know I'm better than you. Now why don't you fuck off?" Spike asked in what he thought was a reasonable tone.
"No fighting," the lamia warned.
"Who's fightin'?" Spike asked as Dirty Vamp rushed at him, right into Spike's suddenly outstretched fist, managed to cold-cock himself and went down in a puddle of beer.
The vamp swore and struggled when Spike planted a foot square in the middle of his rag-covered torso.
"You see," Spike told the vamp on the floor, "It's no bloody fun when you're dealin' wiv' somethin' younger an' weaker than yourself."
"Get staked!" The vamp on the floor fang-faced and tried to snap at Spike's ankle.
"Listen, Sunshine, I been dead longer'n you were alive, an' it's generally not a real good idea to be fuckin' with the older ones, right?" Spike took another drink of beer and sighed. "That's free advice. Next time you're on a one-way ticket to the dustbin. Follow?"
The vamp scrambled out from underneath Spike's now-lifted foot and stood, palefaced and smelly, glaring at Spike with yellow eyes.
"Fucking human toy," the dirty vamp sprayed saliva over most of the clean bar top as it lisped between its filthy fangs.
"Scuse me," Spike reached around the lamia, who was greedily watching the spectacle, and grabbed a bottle of cheap whiskey from the shelves behind. "You don't deserve the good stuff."
Moving fast, Spike brought the bottle down on Dirty Vamp's head, giving it the closest thing it might have had to a bath since it had been turned. The vamp blinked glass and booze at him, just in time to see Spike light a match from one of Lovecraft's free matchbooks. The vamp made a merry yellow flame as it shrieked and batted at itself. From the back of the room, Spike could hear a smattering of laughter, and a couple rounds of applause, which was quickly lost as the burning vamp ran for the door, trailing greasy black smoke and a foul smell.
"You got serious problems with your social skills," the lamia remarked.
"Nah, got serious problems with babyfuckers who don't wash," Spike said with the fervor of the born again and turned back to his beer.
The clock on the wall beckoned to him.
Fuck, five to twelve. He was late. Throwing a couple of bills down on the bar, he bolted for the door at a dead run.
Things change. Two months before he wouldn't have been running through the nighttime streets of Sunnydale trying to beat the clock. Two months before he was living and breathing on the ancient sands of Egypt while he and Buffy tried to beat an Egyptian vampire-goddess. Now he was trying to beat a curfew.
"Sorry. Sorry, got tied up," he blathered as he stumbled into the kitchen.
Buffy was already tricked out in her Slaygear, bag o'goodies over her shoulder and expensive little boots on her feet. She was frowning at him. That cute little line between her brows wasn't so cute all of a sudden.
"You're only ten minutes late, that's a new personal best for you," Buffy said and the frown turned into a lopsided little grin.
He realized she was teasing him, and it was still a new enough occurrence for Spike to be mildly surprised.
"Dawn's watching TV. I told her she could stay up until one. No later, if she tells you later she's lying."
"I heard that!" Dawn bellowed from the living room.
"I should be back at three," Buffy added as she moved towards the door. "Anything I should know about?"
"There's a vamp, didn't get his name, smells somethin' 'orrible, sportin' a somewhat charred overcoat. You might want to get him, he won't be movin' terrible fast."
"I'll remember that," she said and raised an eyebrow. "And you had something to do with it?"
"Me? Don't fret, it'll be a quiet night. Anythin' worth fightin' is out with their honeys."
She was halfway out the door before she stopped. "Spike, if anything--"
"Like a crazy goddess with bad fashion sense shows up? Yeah, I'll beep you. Happy huntin'."
He found Dawn sitting on the floor, watching TV and painting her toenails bilious green. Flopping on the sofa, Spike put his feet on the coffee table.
"So what's on the agenda, Niblet?"
"You missed the Behind the Music special on Citalia."
"My heart bleeds. What's so special about her anyway? Just another record company wench, if you ask me. Her and Britney an' Christina an' Mandy, they just grow 'em like tomatoes in Van Nuys or somethin'"
"And you know all their names because?" Dawn turned and gave him a superior look, flicking her hair back over her shoulder. "Fascinated by skinny blondes much?"
"I am a skinny blond," he protested lamely, knowing that he didn't have any clothes that the Little Bad could blackmail out of him. "An' a vampire's got to keep up w'the times or he goes all wiggy and Bram Stoker."
Leaping up from the floor, Dawn padded over to the sofa on her green-tipped feet.
"And you'd rather be out doing vampire things tonight instead of being here with me. Babysitting," she frowned a very Buffy-like frown.
"Pure torture this is," he agreed. "Now be a good little corpuscle and get Uncle Spike one of them blood bags out of the 'fridge."
Life, Buffy thought to herself, was pretty weird. Even by her standards. It took some pinching to believe that she was going out on patrol while Spike was Dawnsitting. Not that she had a lot of choices in the matter. No one but Spike had the slightest chance of standing up to Glory. Besides, ever since her mother had died, Spike had been flitting in the background, watching Dawn, appearing after dark with groceries, changing the oil in the Jeep, and pretty much moving into the basement. When had that happened? She still wasn't sure. It seemed that one day there were Spike clothes hanging on a pole and the fold-out sofa was pulled out and made up. If any of her friends knew, they hadn't said anything. There had been no late-night forays into her bedroom, which was just as well. She hadn't exactly been in the mood.
And there had been Angel. Dark and sweet and confusing. Flirting with evil and evil was batting its eyelashes right back, according to Cordy, but he'd been the same big solid wall she remembered when he came to Sunnydale for the funeral. So many things had changed - she almost wished she could freeze herself in time like him. Eternal guilt might be a fair trade for knowing what to expect.
On the corner of Main and Church, Buffy smelled something nasty. A dark shape was headed down Main, limping somewhat. A definite eau du barbecue was wafting from it. Her Slayer Sense pinged and she moved closer.
Buffy was in the mood for violence. She'd been tired, depressed, and anticipating Glory around every corner. Under the circumstances, killing bad things was more de-stressing than bubble bath. At least Dawn wouldn't be demanding her turn. "Hey, stinky-pants!" she called out as she approached.
The vampire - there was no doubt in her mind that it was one - turned and glared at her, then fright-faced to give the glare more force. "You're out too late, little girl," he snarled.
She waved a hand in front of her face as if warding off the smell. "Listen, did you even bathe before you were turned? 'Cause if you're worried about the whole running water thing, I can assure you -"
The vamp lunged at her. Guess he wasn't interested in proper hygiene. Right foot in the stomach, sending him staggering back. Left uppercut, right roundhouse. Twist and leap and turn; he's too tall to flip with an elbow around his neck, so another flurry of punches, kick and kick again, once more for good luck, okay twice more. The vamp was on the ground, moaning and clutching at some body part she'd broken, and he was totally disappointing, had no play value whatsoever.
Yawning, Buffy rummaged in her bag for a stake. She didn't want to kneel on the dirty pavement in her pink silk shantung capri pants, so she just threw it downwards and stood back as Mr. Smelly exploded into equally smelly dust.
She was unhappy to find that she'd thrown the stake hard enough to blunt the tip on the underlying concrete.
Continued in Part 2