Rating: PG 13
Spoilers: Post First Date
Disclaimers: All Joss, all ME, all the time.
Distribution: Laura's site and The Sandlot. If you're interested, let me know. I'm easy.
Author's Notes: This is beginning to be quite a regular thing for me. Thanks Chris for keeping me from making a fool of myself. And thanks, Cindy, for the back up.
He shakes his head in humiliation. She’s gone up to bed now, after sitting for a while in silence at the other end of the sofa. After watching her Normal Girl dreams go up in smoke. An onlooker, someone from the outside, *not* a Scoobie or a wanna-be, her principal, the bloody pillock, finally saw what the others were seeing.
Had been seeing.
And now she sees it, too.
As if she hadn’t already. Just easier for her to hide it somewhere dark and quiet. Push it down. Bury it.
But it’s out in the daylight now. She’s doomed. She knows it. Already knew it, he thinks resentfully. Just another nail in the coffin. One more dead dream, and she’s still playin’ it close to the chest.
Oh, the poker face on that girl. The kittens she could win. Kittens, hell. They should take a sidetrip to Vegas when this is all over.
Chuckling ruefully, he smoothes the wrinkles in the sofa cushion, thinking idly that it was never meant for extended sleepovers. Synthetics, he thinks with a wince. Silk was so much more durable.
This is so her.
Can’t believe it, really. When the hell had it happened? She should have staked him on sight. He expected her to, really, when he was lucid. Instead, this.
Surely she knows she doesn’t have to act on it. He would never push. Not after all that has happened. They’ve had enough sex for several lifetimes already, and see where it got them.
But she could see that he doesn’t like the fact that she didn’t say more. Didn’t eradicate his fears completely. Would that have been so hard? He considers that. Yes. It would. Because she knows she’s already said too much. And not nearly enough.
For him, anyway.
His frustration level drops slightly.
He’d been so proud of himself today. Acted like it was okay for her to go out, date, go for the ‘normal life.’ Almost convinces himself it’s all right.
Wanted to strangle the Wiccan when she wouldn’t let him go after Buffy when they heard about Harris. Two hours on a date was more than enough.
Well, he interrupted her date. Which was about the most embarrassing moment he’s ever had. It even rivaled Joyce’s bang on the head with the fire ax for pure slapstick comedy.
Then, the truck ride. That was ten painfully-long minutes. ‘He works with me?’ He’d seen Wood trying to take a gander in the rearview and slid down and over against the door. Wouldn’t have done to have an empty glass where a person should be, now would it? Not that it’d done any good ultimately.
Poor slayer. Driving down the road with your potential honey and your ex. He snorted at the irony. When the bloody hell had he ever done anything bad enough to insure that he’d ever been put in that position?
Well, other than the whole ‘evil for a century’ thing, he thinks guiltily. But he is paying for that in other ways, he believes.
And she has to see Wood at work tomorrow. After everything that happened tonight. He grimaces. If the pillock fires her from her job, Spike will eat his heart.
Settling himself to think it through, he reviews the situation. Now if this was the old days, Buffy could play Guineviere to Spike’s Lancelot. What did they call that? Oh, yeah. Courtly love. Seemed pretty romantic when he was alive. Of course, then he’d discovered sex. Put a whole new spin on it. Love, anyway. He’d have to reconsider the whole courtly thing.
Still, they can have this, he thinks. If they must, they can show their love through their actions. Carry hankies into battle. Or Buffy’s lacey unmentionables. Take turns being the damsel in distress.
Right. Poofter for even thinkin’ it.
Besides, it’s her turn, if you looked at recent history. And she really isn’t the type that looks good being rescued. Makes her all pissy. He doesn’t ever remember takin’ down a demon for her and getting any thanks for it. In fact, he thinks he might have gotten punched in the nose once or twice for his trouble.
And that’s another thing. Spike is a little bored with the damsel thing. Granted, the First isn’t playing fair at all, but did it always have to be him? Is he wearing a sign on his back that says ‘victim?’ That’s more Harris’ style. It had taken the two of them to finish off Xander’s date and Spike had been on his ass a lot of the time.
It was playin’ hell with his self-esteem. If Wood hadn’t been there, it would have been demon-girl *and* another Ubervamp to fight. And probably one dead carpenter.
So they need another demon fighter. Never can have too many of those. And Wood has some experience. But how to bring him in after tonight’s disaster? Buffy needs the help. Spike realizes it, and he is ready to make the big sacrifice.
He sighs. The man was giving him some nasty looks. Like it is his fault he’s got prior claim here.
Maybe she can just ask? As do-gooder to do-gooder? Yes, that could work. She thinks he’s an okay guy, even if Spike wants to wring his sauve, debonair neck.
She definitely can’t do all of this herself. He knows it. So she’s going to have to have all the muscle she can rustle up. Even if he gags on it.
Speaking of damsels, now the whelp is out of commission for a few days. He thinks about it. Maybe they should take him to hospital after all. What if that ceremonial knife had sliced something important? What if he was dead in the morning because of some random piercing? Being hung upside down and bled like an animal was worse than most people might think. He knows it first hand. Worrying about the boy, he gets up and looks about.
He finds Xander in the kitchen staring at the last piece of pizza. It’s cold and hard and has a sheen of oil on it. Or maybe that’s just the cheese. He looks all right. And Spike can tell he’s not bleeding anymore. He looks depressed, but since he has just taken the ‘bad date’ hit, Spike gets it. Good old Xander. He smothers a chuckle. Xander Harris - Demon magnet. Buffy’s friend.
The man looks up questioningly and Spike smiles, hoping it reassures him. It does. Briefly. Then, he goes back to brooding on the pizza.
Pizza brooding, he thinks, as he turns back to the living room. Damn fine pastime. Beats broodin’ over slayers in denial.
He stops half-way to the sofa, chagrined. He is not brooding. Angel broods. Spike is just... thinking. Not the same thing at all.
He sinks down into the sofa, into one of the new deeper wrinkles there, preparing to settle in for more ‘not brooding’ time. And realizes he’s sitting on Xander’s bed.
Which must be why Harris is brooding in the kitchen. Instead of in his bed. Which happens to be her sofa. Which has become a favorite brooding place of Spike’s in the last two hours.
Except he isn’t brooding, of course.
He walks back into the kitchen and tells her friend he’s going downstairs. Stands in front of the entrance to the basement.
He shifts his weight from one foot to the other as he looks toward the stair to the upper level.
What can he say anyway? Until she has something to say, there’s no reason to push her. She’s said plenty already. More than he really ever had any right to expect given the circumstances. And he really needs to get some sleep.
He opens the door to the basement and heads down to his bed. A cot in a room where no one else sleeps – in a house where space is at a premium.
Tonight, that’s just the way he wants it.