Rating: PG 13
Spoilers: "Older and Far Away"
Summary: "Older and Far Away" in diary form, if Buffy actually sounded like Bridget Jones.
First moment of birthday, i.e. midnight, should have been a clue to nightmare to follow. Had defeated demon with wicked cool sword and horns that looked like dreadlocks, and wished to show off, er, share the news with Spike, especially since I'd already done a shift at the DP and endured a Dawn-tantrum that day. Also wanted to check on his bruises; in light of new evidence suggesting that he does NOT enjoy being punched repeatedly in the face, had spent several days making it up o him with heart-felt apologies and gifts of liquor and blood. Surely he was now healed enough to wish me many happy returns. Or give them to me, in manner of speaking.
He wasn't in his crypt. After moment of blind panic involving visions of the return of the Initiative or possibly Drusilla (mad bitch), remembered it was his regular poker night. This made me quite cross. While a modern, self-sufficient woman understands that her...partner? requires private time to pursue his own interests, it's still reasonable to want him available for Happy Birthday activity. Also, since I hadn't invited him to upcoming hell-party this would have been his only opportunity.
Sulked off home, mentally christening him Vile Spike and wondering if there was any way to escape said party and see him later. Perhaps I could open the hell-mouth just a bit, which likely would be the only excuse Dawn, Willow, and other maniacal friends would accept. Am martyr to world-saveage and Scoobies' event-planning.
Despite bad beginning had a lovely day, if I don't count the banana-kiwi-and-peanut-butter pita which Dawn had left me for breakfast. Slept late, read back-issues of *Marie Claire,* and watched soaps. New Erica-daughter on *All My Children* not as good as first one, I think.
All good things must pass, however, and it was finally time for the event. Put on cute new blouse (bought at vintage store, so fashion AND bargain!) and went down. Immediately Xander and Anya revealed they had set me up with some Xander-friend. Gah! Had they never heard of self-sufficient woman of substance not needing men?
Speaking of not needing men--Tara arrived to rescue me from exploding in my own kitchen. So nice to see her, although am not sure about her remark about my "coming out." Does that make Spike a lesbian? Although he IS awfully good at...no. Analogy doesn't work. Luckily Willow came downstairs just then and I could leave them alone to stare at each other in manner of separated tragic love.
I came back to kitchen intending to explain to Xander my theory about men holding me back, but Tara immediately followed. Love Tara, although in platonic way. Was about to be Good Friend and inquire ffurther about the status of her heartbreak, when Vile Spike appeared at the back door, beer under his arm and wrinkly demon Clem in tow. He looked so...Spike, all panthery and lean and v. dangerous and sexy. He was behaving like a regular guy, however, which I found desperately unfair, making it almost impossible to toss him out into the night like he deserved.
I didn't even get to try, either, because Xander brought in Normal Richard at that point. I had to go figure out parking, Xander becoming an immediate incompetent for the sake of his ploy. Normal Richard pleasant and rather beige, like tapioca pudding or similar.
When I came back Spike followed me into a darkened corner. V. proud to record that I did not at once melt into puddle of goo at his nearness, despite his quite concentrated eye-twinkling and teasing. He made some silly comments about Normal Richard and in all acted like a jealous boyfriend, which point I mentioned quite casually. This caused him to growl attractively in manner of grouchy bear, although I walked away as if unconscious of same. Buffy Summers, woman of substance!
Then came the present-giving. Willow failed the Taste-of-Others exam,giving me nightmare giant massager. She also made a double-entendre so pointed that I couldn't help but look at Spike. This was unwise, since he raised an eyebrow in a v. wicked and rakish way which immediately shut down my brain. That explains why I didn't catch the significance of the Leather Jacket Dawn Couldn't Afford, and why I further ignored Dawn herself to coo over the beautiful weapons chest from Xander and Anya. But really there's no excuse for it. Am bad sister.
Am getting lost recounting the party that wouldn't end. My co-worker Sophie arrived. Anya was annoying. More party, and more party.
At some point Normal Richard tried to speak to me alone. I believe he was flirting, although the whole tapioca-effect might have thrown me off. Also I was distracted by hovering Vile Spike, who was giving me a look so filthy that I wanted to throw myself at him shrieking "Shag me! Shag me now!" Richard took off, leaving Vampire Sex-god apparently determined to have it off in the hall and me apparently ready to let him (Woman of Substance away getting a drink, perhaps). Tara rescued me, however. Love Tara.
The rest of the night passed without much further incident, aside from my being stuck at the boring Monopoly table with Anya and Normal Richard while Spike sat at the grown-ups' table playing poker and making suggestive remarks. Tara started teasing him, though, so he stopped. Damn Tara. Dawn seemed to enjoy herself, although I did notice the way she was stealing all the good Chance cards. Again, a missed clue.
It should have felt suspicious, the fact that all of us were still there in the morning. However, I put it down to my being a Social Goddess, able to blend diverse elements into a harmonious whole. Also, Spike and I were playing cards and he kept touching my leg, which is not conducive to rational thought. Managed to pull myself together when Spike got threatened at Normal Richard's continued presence and starting to act like, well, Jealous Boyfriend Who Actually Could Bleed Rival Dry.
I dragged him out into the entryway to calmly explain my position vis-a-vis JBWACBRD behavior. Also, we hadn't had a good quarrel in over a week and I'd missed it. Quarrel went as scheduled, but when neither of us could flounce off we realized that I was not Social Goddess but Cursed Woman. Hate my birthday.
Dawn proceeded to have teen emotional melt-down, guilt like lava flowing everywhere, at the party guests's quite understandable desire to leave. Subsequent Scooby meeting went well, with Spike acting like Giles to keep us on track. Gah! I just put Spike and Giles in the same category! Rogue wicked thought from Satan. Might never be able to sleep with Spike again.
Tara volunteered in manner of heroine to perform release spell, to free us and save Willow from her addiction. No one could have foreseen that horned demon from previous night had cleverly hidden in wicked cool sword, and Tara's spell merely let him out. Normal Richard, who'd gone from beige to hysterical purple, bumbled in the way before Spike and I could rescue him, and got a nasty cut for his pains. Demon went into floor, not something comforting for a home-owner. Insurance does not cover house-demon.
The rest of the day went by in a blur, freaking Anya, bleeding Normal Richard, melt-down Dawn, etc. Erstwhile Vile Spike had snapped into action in a most helpful way, I must say, and so we managed to keep everyone together while we tried and failed to figure out another option.
New annoying house-demon popped out at most awkward time, catching Xander on mercy mission for hysterical Anya. Spike and fought it, but it almost knocked out Spike and cut Xander. My attempt to get the sword didn't work, largely because I was worried about Xander. Okay, Spike really. But officially it's Xander, because of Scooby code of Put No Others Before Us. Perhaps should rethink Scooby code.
Clearly it was time to confront Dawn again. Went back to play Nazi-interrogator-sister, but she spilled the truth about a wish to a demon right away. Honestly. The monks invested the Key with all sorts of specific tied-to-reality memories, heaven knows Anya talks enough about vengeance protocol, yet Dawn still goes around wishing to strangers?
At that point Anya (drama queen) set up commotion in Dawn's room. She'd found a huge stash of nicked goods. Most unpleasant way to find out Dawn's been stealing, and it also means that my pretty new jacket must be returned. Luckily I could distract Anya with news of the curse, and she called down her friend Halfrek.
Halfrek's arrival coincided with ever-more-annoying return of house-demon. Anya, who'd regained her composure upon learning of property loss, jabbed it a couple of times. Spike and I, as usual, did the rest. Sometimes wonder how I ever manage without him. No, yet another rogue wicked thought. Am woman of substance not requiring chipped-vampire backup, no matter how gorgeous, I mean, good at fighting he is.
Apparently Halfrek also noticed Spike's gorgeousness, because she called him William and tossed her ringlets in manner of preening tart. Confess I don't care for her, curse ruining my birthday aside. She did lift the spell, however, which was v. good, and everybody finally could leave and end hell-party. Spike lingered a bit, but was not Vile or suggestive at all. Wish could have asked him to stay, but had to talk seriously to Dawn about the wrongness of nicking things. Also had to apologize for being caught up in own stupid life and not noticing little sister's distress or similar. Plus had to wash up, which took hours. Willow pleaded another headache and didn't help, of course.
So. Another year of my life begins. Will quietly eat box of chocolate (Spike?) left on my bed and read copy of "Slayers Who Love Vampires Too Much," which Giles unaccountably sent me from England. (Had no idea Giles believed in self-help books.) Will just leave my window open a bit, to let in fresh air. It has nothing to do with the leather-clad night thing smoking in the shrubbery below.
A girl deserves a chance to celebrate somehow, doesn't she?