By Cody Nelson
SPOILERS: Through "Forever"
SUMMARY: Spike and Willow talk about being nice.
FEEDBACK: Please, to firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMERS: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and probably some others who aren't me.
NOTES: In my first Buffy story, "The Grave," written after the episode "I Was Made to Love You," Spike brings flowers to put on Joyce's grave. Imagine my pleasure when Spike showed up at Buffy's with flowers for Joyce! I had to write this little followup to "Forever" featuring that bouquet of daisies.
It should have been me, Spike thought. Holding her. Comforting her. Kissing her. I'm the one who can really love her, not bloody soulstruck Angel. Now he's back off to bloody Los Angeles and I never even got the chance to put flowers on Joyce's grave.
He should go home. But he couldn't seem to work up the spark to get his legs moving. He leaned forward just far enough to snag his beer, took another swallow, then settled back again to stare at the crowd and try to wipe that awful picture out of his mind.
He didn't notice Willow until she'd sat down next to him. Wearing something pink and smelling like fresh flowers and trying hard to smile. Bloody soft juicy little Scooby. Probably come to tell him to get out before that yob Xander came to pick at him.
"What do you want?" he muttered, not looking at her.
"I... I just wanted to tell you. I gave Buffy your flowers."
He glared at her. Stupid get, now Buffy'd be even more spiteful....
"I didn't tell her they were from you. I said a friend of her mother's stopped by."
Oh. He swallowed. So he had gotten flowers to Joyce after all. Damn, that wasn't supposed to make it hurt worse....
"I think the word you're looking for is 'Thanks.' "
"Why?" was all he managed to say.
Willow's smile smoothed out a bit. "You did a nice thing. You don't do nice things very often. I feel that this should be encouraged."
He looked away again. "You lot don't make it very easy."
"Spike. You really screwed up. Big time. You know that, don't you?"
He shrugged. "Yeah." Chaining Buffy up, yeah, that had been pretty stupid. Trying to make her listen to him. Should have known no power on Earth would make the Slayer open her ears if she was determined to keep them shut. Not to mention that whole bloody mess with Dru, which wasn't all his fault, not that Buffy'd ever give him a lick of credit for anything.
"The thing is," Willow was saying, "I remember how I felt when Oz left. How it hurt so bad I just couldn't stand it. I did some pretty stupid things then. All those spells I accidentally put on people."
Including the one that made Buffy want to marry him. Couple of blissful hours snogging with the Slayer. Not that he'd appreciated it at the time. But remembering it made him smile, a little. "You could do that one on me and Buffy again if you like."
Willow giggled. "I bet." Then she made serious face. "The thing is, people do stupid things when they're hurting."
" 'Cept I'm not 'people' to you lot." Only to Joyce. And she was dead. Spike reached for his beer, then put it down when he saw how his hand was shaking.
"You just have to be nice more often. And not screw up any more. I know it's not easy. I... I'll try to help, if you want."
He'd stake himself before he'd let this soft pink Scooby make him cry. By sheer determination, he picked up his mug with a steady hand and drank down the rest of his beer. Over the rim of the mug, he could see Tara across the room, looking daggers at him, as if he was about to swallow Willow whole.
"You'd better go. Your girlfriend's getting twitchy. I think she's about to turn me into a frog."
Willow glanced in Tara's direction, then, flustered, started to get up. "Okay, well, just remember... okay? What I said. About helping." She turned to go.
"Thanks," he mumbled under his breath, hoping she wouldn't hear.
The small backwards wave of her hand as she walked away told him that she did.