Summary: The memories of Spike the monks gave Dawn for
“Becoming,” “Lover’s Walk,” and “Something Blue,” plus some memories I gave her
for S5 and post-“The Gift.” Set just before “Bargaining.” Dawn’s POV.
Disclaimer: Who, me? I don’t know any of these people.
Distribution: You want it, you got it. Just let me know.
Rating: PG-13 (It would have been G, but Dawn said the
Thanks: To Bridget for her lightning-quick beta – you
always know how to tweak things so that they are just right. This one is
dedicated to Deb – happy birthday!
Dawn remembered the very first time she met Spike as clearly
as if it were yesterday. Remembered everything about that whole day, actually.
She remembered stumbling across the word “inscrutable” in a book she was
reading for school and having to look it up because she had no idea what it
meant. The definition had stuck in her mind afterward because it always
reminded her of Spike – inscrutable: that which cannot be searched into or
found out by searching; impenetrable or unfathomable to investigation; entirely
That’s how he seemed to her that first night. She had heard
Buffy talking about Spike plenty of times before, knew he was supposed to be a
serious baddie, but there he stood on the front lawn, helping Buffy make up
stupid fibs about how they knew each other so that she wouldn’t get in
trouble. He winked at Dawn while Buffy and her mom argued about Buffy being
the Slayer. And while she hid on the stairs trying to overhear what was going
on, he shot her grins from the living room where he was sitting with her mom in
Dawn was confused by Spike right from the start. He was
supposed to be evil, but there he was, helping Buffy plan to take Angel out and
save the world. Spike was tough to figure out, and Dawn thought that vampires
weren’t *supposed* to be tough to figure out. Well, there was Angel, of
course, but he was special, what with the whole soul vs. no soul thing. But
average vampires weren’t supposed to be tricky. They bit people until Buffy
staked them. End of story. Only Spike’s story seemed to have a few more
chapters than everybody else’s.
Dawn had been home the night a half-drunk Spike showed up at
the house the following year, smelling strangely singed and mumbling about his
eternal love with Drusilla and how she had dumped him. Her mom had asked him
in for hot chocolate. Dawn couldn’t believe her mom thought hot chocolate
could cure a vampire’s broken heart, but Mom could be pretty inscrutable
herself from time to time.
He’d abruptly cut off his recital of Drusilla’s faults to
ask, “You got any of those little marshmallows?”
“Let me check,” her mom answered.
“Yeah, I want little marshmallows too,” Dawn chimed in.
Spike glared at her. He obviously wasn’t in a sharing mood.
“So if you wanted Drusilla back, why didn’t you just kick
this Chaos demon’s ass?” Dawn asked innocently, stirring her hot chocolate.
“Dawn!” her mom reprimanded sharply.
“Oi, Little Bit, watch the language!” Spike put in and then
seemed to stop short in horror.
Dawn was annoyed. Why did a vampire care if the Slayer’s
little sister swore like a sailor? Shouldn’t he have encouraged any sign of
moral decay in her that he could? Some Big Bad he was. He must be drunker
than she thought, Dawn decided.
While her mother continued to root through the cabinets for
marshmallows, Dawn sulked at the double censure. Then she leaned in closely to
Spike and continued, “Or did you think he was gonna kick your skinny little
“Oh, no, I could have ripped his head clean off,” he
breathed in her ear. “And since I didn’t, it just so happens that I’ve got a
lot of pent-up hostility lookin’ to be unleashed.” She stiffened at the truly
terrifying note in his voice but tried to shrug disinterestedly. She felt a
glimmer of pride when he shot her a look of admiration. He knew she was scared
but admired her trying not to be. Points for her.
Their fun had been interrupted by Angel’s arrival. She
tried to stifle a laugh as Spike taunted Angel by making fang faces behind her
mom, and he kept flashing brilliant smiles at her...right until Buffy showed up
and power slammed him onto the table. That was the end of that.
Dawn remembered, too, the surreal night of the
shortest-lived engagement in history. Something that bizarre tended to stay
with you, like one of the particularly memorable episodes of “The Twilight
Zone.” Like that one with the pig people.
“Dawn!” The voice on the other end of the phone had been so
altered by euphoria that it took Dawn a moment to place it.
“Is Mom there?” Buffy asked.
“No, she called to say she’d be late at the gallery.” And
her absence was directly responsible for the failed invention mac and cheese
pizza. It had seemed so promising...
“Darn,” Buffy replied, crestfallen. Then she continued
brightly. “Well, then you’ll just get to find out before she does!”
“Find out what?” Dawn asked curiously. Must be something
good if it had her in such a happy mood.
“I’m getting married!”
“Nuh-uh!” Dawn exclaimed. “Who? When? Did Angel come back
“Nope, *so* not Angel.” Dawn could have sworn she heard a
menacing growl in the background before Buffy continued. “You’ll never guess!”
Buffy’s enthusiasm was getting infectious. “Tell me! Do I
“Of course! You think I’d marry some stranger? The whole
thing has actually been developing for years. I just never saw it until now.”
Oh, my God. “Xander? You’re marrying Xander?” Dawn felt a
little sick. *She* wanted to marry Xander.
“Xander?!” There was a burst of laughter on the other end
of the phone.
Yup, there was definitely a male someone there with Buffy;
Dawn heard someone laughing even louder than Buffy was. The racket had Dawn
holding the phone away from her ear, but she felt a lot better: Xander was
obviously still a free man – there was no way the thing with Anya was going to
“Okay, not Xander. Where the heck are you, and who’s there
with you?” Dawn was starting to get annoyed. She had the feeling that
everyone else was in on some joke that she wasn’t privy to.
“I’m at Giles’s.”
“YOU’RE MARRYING MR. GILES?!?” Dawn shrieked. “He’s, like,
“I am not marrying Giles, cuz that would be just…gross and
wrong, on so many levels,” Buffy stated firmly. Dawn heard Buffy shushing the
snickering voice in the background again.
“Well, then who is it?” Dawn demanded.
“Ha ha, Buffy. Very funny. For a minute there I thought
you said you were marrying Spike.” Now it was Dawn’s turn to laugh. “Who is
“What would be so funny about me marrying Spike?” Buffy
asked, sounding hurt.
“Buffy, are you on crack?” Mom always talked about the drugs,
and Dawn flashbacked to those old egg-and-pan PSAs: This is Buffy’s brain.
This is Buffy’s brain on drugs. Any questions?
“No, I am most certainly not on crack,” Buffy retorted
indignantly. The she stifled a giggle. “Or maybe I am – I’m high on the crack
Dawn rolled her eyes. She heard the voice in the background
groaning at the quip (obviously showing the future groom’s good taste, Dawn
thought) and then demanding the phone.
“Pint-sized? You still there?”
Holy crap, it really was Spike.
“What the heck is going on over there? I want answers, and
I want them right now, mister!” She tried on her most authoritative voice.
Dawn thought how ridiculous it was that she seemed to have been cast in the
role of the adult in this little farce.
“I proposed, your sister accepted, we’re gettin’ married,”
Spike answered proudly, as if that explained everything.
Was that Buffy singing “Goin’ to the Chapel” (badly off-key)
in the distance?
They both sounded so...happy. It was a little disturbing.
“Yes, really.” He sounded exasperated. “I’m starting to
take this lukewarm response personally, pet.”
“I thought you wanted to kill Buffy, not marry her,” Dawn
“Oh, that.” Dawn could almost picture the dismissive wave
of his hand that accompanied the words. “Ancient history.”
“Spike, it was a couple of weeks ago! Heck, it was probably
a couple of hours ago.”
“Okay, so recent history, but still history. Besides, I
wouldn’t ever have done it. I’ve always loved her. Deep down. Knew it from
the very first time I saw her.”
Dawn thought she heard Buffy say quietly “You did?” And
yup, there was the unmistakable sound of kissage.
“Ahem.” Dawn cleared her throat loudly.
“Uh, sorry about that. Where was I?” Spike sounded a
little out of breath. How did a vampire sound out of breath? Dawn didn’t
think she wanted to know what kind of tonsil hockey made that possible.
“You love Buffy?” Dawn prompted.
“Right. I love Buffy, and she loves me,” he finished
Heck, maybe it was true. Spike and Buffy had always fought
like cats and dogs, and that had to be a sign of something. Dawn remembered
talking to Buffy when she was younger about why boys always did stupid stuff
like pull your hair and hit you, and Buffy had replied mysteriously that it was
a sure sign they liked you. If that was true, Dawn thought, Spike must be
absolutely crazy about Buffy.
“You’re really getting married?” Dawn asked. Hey, this
could be kind of fun. Surprising and more than a little strange, but fun.
“Yup, ceremony’s gettin’ planned even as we speak. Which
reminds me to ask how you’d feel about being part of the festivities.”
“You want me to be in the wedding?” she squealed. “You
don’t want me to be the flower girl, do you?” she asked apprehensively.
“‘Course not. You’re way too big for that. You’ll be a
bridesmaid. If you want, that is.” He suddenly sounded nervous and little
vulnerable. It was kind of cute.
“I want, I want!” Dawn said gleefully.
“You’ll see. Everything’ll be different now. We’ll be a
family, me and Buffy and you and your mom.”
A family. It sounded too good to be true. It’d been so
long since she felt like she’d been part of a real family. Dawn loved her mom
and Buffy, but it wasn’t like Buffy had been around that much since she’d left for
school. On top of that, Dawn still felt the large, dad-sized hole left by the
divorce. And okay, so Spike wasn’t gonna be a *dad* figure (cuz that would be
totally “Outer Limits”), and he was a vampire, and a vampire in the family,
kinda weird. Still, he sounded so sincere…
Of course, the whole thing *had* been too good to be true,
some stupid spell, and all Buffy and Spike did for a long time afterwards was
scowl at each other. Dawn didn’t see too much of Spike after that.
Not until Glory showed up. Then he seemed to be around all
of the time. He was always trying to help for some reason, and wonder of
wonders, Buffy seemed pretty okay about letting him. Right up until that
stupid stunt with Drusilla and the kidnapping. Dawn was indignant about it on
Buffy’s behalf just like everyone else, but more than that, she was
disappointed in him and that made her annoyed with herself for forgetting what
everyone said he was.
And then her mom had died. There was so much pain that Dawn
could actually hear it; it was loud. It hurt so much that she didn’t think she
could bear it, so she had come up with the crazy plan to bring her mom back.
She remembered the night that Spike had volunteered to
help. She wondered if he was doing it to get in good with Buffy and been
stunned when he demanded that Buffy never find out anything about it. Of
course, the whole idea was stupid and definitely not what her mom would have
wanted, and luckily, she figured that out just in time.
He was still been tending the wound inflicted by the Ghora
when she opened the door to his crypt after she had destroyed the picture and
broken the spell.
He looked at her expectantly for a fraction of a second, and
then his face fell. “It didn’t work.”
“Mom’s gone,” was all she could get out before the tears
starting flowing again. She thought she was all cried out, but it suddenly
felt like she was nowhere close.
Spike crossed the room quietly and stood in front her. He
raised a hand hesitantly, and it hovered motionless for an instant above her
head. Dawn drew a ragged, snotty breath and stared at him. He looked as
heartbroken as she felt. And then his hand settled on her hair, and he stepped
forward to take her in his arms.
He’d never really touched her before. She almost got the
sense that he didn’t think he could, that it wasn’t his right to touch her.
Maybe even that he was a little afraid to touch her, which was a stupid thought
because he was Spike and Spike wasn’t afraid of anything. When the moment
passed, she knew he’d go back to keeping his distance. But just then, in the
face of their mutual grief, the rules didn’t seem to apply.
Dawn had always wondered if Spike would feel weird or kind
of creepy. He was a *corpse* after all. When she was younger, Dawn had touched
that dead cat Buffy had found in the basement. It had felt rigid and void,
empty. It had that certain unmistakable feel of death to it.
But Spike didn’t feel dead to her. He felt strong and solid
and alive, and she clutched him to her, burying her face in the lapels of his
coat. She inhaled deeply the lingering scents of cigarettes, liquor, and
leather and found them strangely comforting even though she really didn’t like
the smell of any of those things.
It wasn’t supposed to be real. That’s what everyone said.
All of it was just a put-on, a way to get into Buffy’s good graces. Xander
didn’t even need the slightest provocation to launch into a zesty chorus of the
“Spike is evil” refrain. And a lot of Dawn’s memories of Spike weren’t real either,
just genuine moments from everyone else’s history that the monks had plopped
her down in the middle of.
But in his arms, listening to his murmured words of comfort,
it all felt real. And maybe that’s all real was: whatever felt real was real.
Forget rules and expectations, forget philosophy. She had heard whispered
talk of the horrible things Spike had done, but that didn’t seem to be who he
was now. Oh, she didn’t doubt that he’d been evil; she had seen him angry, and
it was more than a little scary. But he seemed different, softer, and that
felt as real to her as anything else in her life.
After that night on the tower when they had lost Buffy, he
came into Dawn’s room at night, to watch over her while she was sleeping. She
wasn’t sure whether he came for her sake or for his own. He never slept. And
when she couldn’t sleep, he told her stories or made her snacks and watched the
Late Show with her.
She remembered stealing a glance at him one night, legs
carelessly straddling the old fabric-covered chair by the window that always
reminded her of her mother. He had a cigarette in his fingers, almost
caressing it, obviously desperate to light up but hesitant about doing it in
her room. He sighed and moved to return it to his pack when something else
caught his attention. His eyes half-closed, he tilted his head to hear better,
and Dawn strained to catch a hint of whatever sound it was that had his
attention. He stretched his neck to the left and a sudden smile curved his
Dawn was puzzled. It had to be Willow and Tara he was
hearing, but she couldn’t hear them talking like she usually could. Voices
always carried down the hall, and Dawn was used to their little bursts of
nighttime laughter. But Spike was definitely listening to them, and that meant
that they had to be doing...something else.
Dawn looked again at Spike’s face. He was still smiling,
not a lascivious smirk, but a genuinely bemused grin, and it occurred to her
that he was happy for them. Happy that Willow and Tara had each other. And
okay, it was a little gross and intrusive that he was listening to them, but it
was also kind of sweet.
Then the smile disappeared, and he dipped his head low into
his hands. She knew he was thinking about Buffy. About how he would never be
Dawn remembered how angry she had been when she found out
Spike was in love with Buffy. She felt slighted, like maybe he had never
really liked her after all, that he’d only tolerated her because she was
Buffy’s sister. But now she really didn’t care anymore. She just wished there
was some way to get rid of that haunted look in his eyes. Dawn would be glad
to play second fiddle to Buffy again. If only it were possible, she would give
up being his girl in a heartbeat.
All those memories brought them to here, to the end of their
first summer without Buffy. Somehow Spike had become part of the group, and
even though he tried to pretend that it didn’t matter to him, Dawn knew it
did. Tara had always had a soft spot for him, but now Willow and Anya seemed
to as well. Giles acted glad to have Spike’s help in the whole fight against
evil, and even Xander was making an effort to get along with him. Spike had
earned more than his stripes in the fight against Glory; he had acquired a
little hard-won respect in the process.
More often than not, the nights were spent like this one,
the two of them alone in the house, playing cards, watching TV, talking.
This was what he did now. He watched her for Buffy, watched
her with eyes so raw and bruised by grief that most days it hurt to look at
him. Followed her with an expression that never made her feel guilty that she
was the one who had survived instead of Buffy. Oh, she knew that none of the
others really blamed her on any kind of rational level, but she could still
tell that when they looked at her, all they could see now was Buffy’s absence.
Not Spike. When he looked at her, it felt like all he could see was Buffy’s
presence. At least she could give that to him.
Dawn looked at him, sitting opposite her, absently chipping
black polish off his thumbnail and frowning intently at the cards in his hand.
“You know, I’m really beginning to suspect that you cheat,”
Spike stated indignantly, tossing his cards on the table.
“Well, duh,” Dawn retorted, gathering the cards into a
pile. “I learned from the best, remember?”
A sudden ghost of a smile passed over his face. “Hand ‘em
over. Time to give a fella a chance. I’m dealing the next hand.”
In that moment Dawn figured maybe she knew all she really
needed to about Spike. He loved her sister, enough to do things that soulless
vampires weren’t supposed to just so that he could honor her memory and keep
fighting her fight now that she couldn’t anymore. He liked hot chocolate and
spicy buffalo wings and blooming onions. He missed her mom and took her to the
cemetery to visit the grave every now and again. He liked watching black and
white movies and soap operas. He took care of her like it was the most
important thing in the world for him to be doing. He was so bad at hiding his
feelings it was almost like being honest.
Funny. He really wasn’t that inscrutable after all.