Title: And Round Again
Summary: Spike and Dawn manage to persuade Buffy that what she really needs is some time off, and what better than a night of roller coasters, cotton candy and all the fun of the local fair. She should have known that nothing is ever that simple in Sunnydale. Set in early season six.
Notes: This is complete at just over 5,000 words. Many thanks to Sotia for beta reading. I hope you enjoy. :)
And Round Again
Buffy stared at the screen, the fame-hungry Survivor contestants completely failing to capture her interest. The sun was just beginning to set, and she probably should have been getting ready to patrol, but she just couldn’t muster the energy. With a sigh, she clicked the television off and slumped back into the couch.
Willow and Tara had left the house earlier, laughing together as they planned their night out: catch a movie at The Sun and then find a cosy little restaurant for dinner. Xander and Anya were probably off having sex somewhere. And Giles? Who knew. He hadn’t been around much lately. Buffy hated the resentment that welled up inside when she thought about her friends and what they had done. She hated it, but it was there, simmering under the surface, tainting her every interaction with them.
A deafening rumbling noise, followed by the squeal of tires and an odd creaking, broke her from her thoughts, and Buffy stood to peer out of the window. She rolled her eyes, but a little bubble of anticipation built in her stomach anyway, when she saw that it was Spike pulling up in the driveway in that hunk of junk he liked to call a car.
Moments later, the door swung open and a slightly steaming vampire presented himself to her with a grin. “All right, Slayer?”
“Spike.” She tried not to smile, she really did, and these days very few things made her smile anyway, but the sight of him standing there, smoke furling from his shoulders and black—paint? Grease? Whatever the stuff was, it was all over his face and hands and making the hilarity of his appearance too much to resist. “What’s with the tribal look?”
“What?” He frowned and glanced at his hands. He made his way to the kitchen and soaped up in the sink. “Oh. Car wouldn’t start, had to play around with her innards. She clearly doesn’t like being abandoned in favour of the bike.”
Buffy was about to ask why he was using the DeSoto instead of the motorbike, anyway, when thunderous footsteps came from the stairs and Dawn burst into the room, huge smile on her face.
“Spike! You came!”
Buffy raised her eyebrow when Spike narrowed his eyes at her sister, and shook his head almost imperceptibly.
Hands on hips, she glared at the both of them. “Okay, what’s going on here?”
“Nothing,” Spike was quick to reply, eyes wide with faux-innocence.
Dawn snorted. “Come on, Spike. Tell her! It’s not like she won’t find out soon, anyway.”
“Tell me what?”
Spike rolled his eyes and mumbled under his breath. “Was just gonna lure her to the car and drive.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a crumpled sheet of paper, which he handed to Buffy with a grimace. “Here.”
She took the paper suspiciously. It was a flyer, advertising a carnival on the outskirts of the next town over. Understanding dawned, and she glanced at her sister and Spike, not quite believing that this was the big secret plan. “A fair?”
“Can we go? Please?” Not even giving Buffy time to reply, Dawn continued, huffing. “I hate you. You never let me do anything.”
“Might give big sis a chance to actually say something, Bit.”
Buffy shot Spike a grateful look before turning back to Dawn. “You really want to go?”
“Yes!” Dawn paused. “You too. And Spike’s gonna drive us.”
“I dunno.” She wasn’t sure that she was up to it… all the people, flashing lights, loud noises. Things that she preferred to avoid, these days. On the other hand, if she went, it would be a distraction and a chance to have some fun, for once—and she wouldn’t be home when her friends got in, wouldn’t have to put on the façade of normality. Still, she couldn’t give in too easily. “I should patrol…”
“Give the nasties a night off, Slayer.” Spike took a step towards her, head ducked and persuasion in his voice. “Let’s go have some fun.”
Buffy tried not to let it show how much Spike’s words affected her. More than just his words: the low tone of his voice, the slight pout to his lips, the sinuous way his hips moved as he came that little bit closer. She swallowed and turned away, to face Dawn instead. “Okay! Carnival goodness, here we come.”
There was a strange atmosphere in the car and it was almost enough to make Buffy uncomfortable. She didn’t feel that she could properly talk to Spike with Dawn in the car, and she got the impression that her sister didn’t want to chat to him whilst Buffy was there either. What was more, it had been a long time since she and Dawn had had a casual conversation.
If he noticed the tension, Spike didn’t comment on it, choosing instead to turn the music up and tap on the steering wheel to the beat. After five minutes of that, Buffy felt like she was going insane.
“Stop tapping!” She winced at the shrill tone of her voice and shrank away from the sidelong glance Spike sent her. She didn’t have the energy to fight with him. “Um, I mean, please?”
He rolled his eyes but stopped the tapping, and silence fell once more, broken only by the beat of the song on the radio.
“We’re lost,” Dawn announced, trying to see through the blacked-out windows of the car.
“We’re not bloody lost,” Spike said in a growl, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. “I know exactly where I’m going.”
Dawn leaned forward, her head resting on Buffy’s seat. “We’re lost,” she repeated, tone conspiratorial and her voice a whisper in her sister’s ear.
Buffy bit her lip to stop from laughing at the annoyed expression on Spike’s face. It felt surprisingly good that she wanted to laugh. “I think she might be right,” Buffy commented. “I’m not so good with the sign-readage, especially through all this black paint, but I’m pretty sure we passed the exit a couple miles back.”
“And you couldn’t have said anything at the time?” Spike said, scowling. With a squeal of the brakes and a sharp twist of the wheel, he turned the car around.
“Spike!” Dawn shrieked, the force throwing her back against the seat.
“Sorry, Bit. Not used to havin’ passengers.”
“You, mister,” Buffy said with a glare, “are a bad driver.”
“Am not,” he grumbled. “Sorry. Know I’ve got precious cargo.” He shot Buffy a contrite smile that told her he wasn’t just talking about Dawn.
Tentatively, she smiled back and the rest of the journey was made in a companionable, rather than uncomfortable, silence.
Apart from Spike’s tapping, of course.
Buffy could smell the fair before she saw it. The thick, cloying sweetness of cotton candy, the heavy dough-smell of funnel cake and the stink of engine oil filled the air.
Spike was at her side, hands shoved deep in his pockets and lips pursed around a cigarette. Dawn had hurried ahead, the excitement of the outing overcoming the ‘I’m so mature’ façade she liked to display of late.
They rounded a corner and the sights and sounds of the fairground hit with full force. A frenetic, messy and noisy sight: flashing lights, people milling about everywhere, roller coasters rolling and tilt-o-whirls tilting.
Buffy took a step back, the sudden onslaught of pulsing life a little too much for her to take. A strong hand gripped her elbow and she turned to see Spike standing close to her side, concern on his face.
“’All right, Buffy?”
She nodded, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. When she opened them again, her surroundings didn’t seem quite as overwhelming, and she gave herself a mental shake. She was the Slayer; surely she should be able to handle a little noise, even after what she’d been through.
Dawn chose that moment to come skipping back and start tugging on Buffy’s arm, pulling her towards the admission booth. “Come on, come on!”
Buffy fumbled in her pocket for some money, but, before she could find it, Spike gently pushed her aside and handed the greasy-looking attendant a twenty.
“Three?” The man behind the counter snorted, the movement agitating his heavy moustache. He grinned nastily and indicated the note. “You’ll want to triple that, then.”
“Sixty dollars for going to the bloody fair?” Spike grumbled, but reached into his pocket nonetheless. “Daylight bleeding robbery.” He slammed the money down with a glare and snatched the wristbands away without another word, handing one each to Buffy and Dawn before snapping the third around his own wrist.
“Ooh,” Dawn said, waving her arm in the air. “They glow in the dark. Neat!” She grinned and slid one arm through Spike’s, the other through Buffy’s. “This is gonna be so much fun.”
After the third time round on the roller coaster, Buffy had to bow out. She had forgotten how hyperactive fairground rides made her sister; it had been the reason their parents had stopped taking them to Disneyland when they were children.
She sat down on a bench in front of the ride, waiting for Dawn and Spike to finish their fourth consecutive go on the roller coaster. Surprisingly, she was having fun. She hadn’t expected to, not with the way she’d been feeling lately: out of touch, living day-to-day because she couldn’t, and didn’t want to, foresee any long-term plans.
Here, just for one night, she could be Buffy the girl and not Buffy the Slayer. She could pretend that her sister was just that, and not a mystical key. And Spike? She sighed. Well, it’d take some thinking before she could pigeonhole him into normal-Buffy’s life.
Reluctant ally? Acquaintance? Friend? More than a friend? She didn’t know, and didn’t want to think about it either.
Spike’s voice broke her from her thoughts and she looked up to see him approaching, Dawn by his side. “…see what Buffy has to say, all right?”
“What’s that?” Buffy stood up, shook herself slightly, and made her way over to meet them.
“Dawn’s spotted a couple of her mates from school,” Spike said.
“Can I go hang with them, Buffy?” Dawn cut in. “Please?”
She felt slightly put out that her sister wanted to go off without her after having insisted Buffy come along.
As if she read her mind, Dawn said, “Just for a couple of rides and then I’ll come find you, okay?”
Buffy sighed, and nodded. She felt like the evening had been one demand after the other from Dawn, but she really couldn’t be bothered arguing.
“Fine. Go.” She waved her hand in a shooing motion. “Meet us in an hour by the concession stand.”
“Yay! Thank you!” Dawn gave her a swift hug and hurried over to a group of teenagers, without looking back.
“Don’t know why she wanted me to come,” Buffy grumbled.
“Ahh, don’t let it get to you, Slayer.” Spike said, lighting a cigarette. “She’s young. Flighty.”
Buffy nodded, swallowing when Spike tossed the barely-smoked cigarette to the ground and moved closer. “Besides,” he said, eyes flicking to her lips and back to her eyes. “When the kid’s away…” He moved even nearer and ghosted the palm of his hand down the side of her face. “Adults get to play…”
“Play?” Buffy replied, voice wavering and an odd, twisty-turny sensation in her stomach.
“Yep,” Spike said, stepping away and trying to hide a smirk. “Fancy a game of hook-a-duck?”
“If Anya saw this, she’d have a fit,” Buffy said, hoisting the giant pink bunny under her arm, not letting the thought of her friends dampen her spirits.
“Funny bird, that one,” Spike remarked, snagging a tuft of her cotton candy and popping it in his mouth.
Buffy bit off a piece of the pink fluff and let it dissolve on her tongue. She watched, fascinated, as Spike licked the sugar from his lips, deliberately slow and sensual.
She swallowed, eyes widening when he leaned in close and stole another piece of candy floss, his tongue curling around the sweet sugar. Buffy knew that he was doing it on purpose, and she didn’t want him to see how affected she was by his actions.
She turned away and there was an awkward moment of silence while she took a deep breath to calm herself. Spike had no right to make her feel things for him. Since she’d been back, he’d been all friendly-guy, there when she needed someone to talk to. Now he was getting all flirty, and the lines were blurring, and that just wasn’t fair.
Pasting a semi-forced smile on her face, she turned back to face him. “Okay. What’s next?”
Spike pursed his lips and looked slightly put-out for a moment, before narrowing his eyes and looking around the fairground. His eyes lit up at something in the distance and he grabbed Buffy’s wrist to pull her towards the back of the field.
“Oh, no,” Buffy said, when they came to a stop in front of the biggest Ferris wheel she’d ever seen. “No way.”
“No,” she retorted, defiantly. “Just… not so keen on heights anymore, after…”
“Oh,” Spike said, biting his lip. “I didn’t think of that.”
“No reason you should,” she replied, avoiding his gaze. She craned her neck to take in the size of the wheel. “And it doesn’t look very sturdy. Not sure I’d trust it.”
Spike nodded to the man in the booth. “It’s safe, right?”
“Oh yes,” the man replied. “Safest fair in all of California.”
“Of course he’s going to say that; he works here,” Buffy grumbled, but made her way to the bottom of the ride, anyway. “And if it’s so fun, why are we the only ones going on it?”
Spike shrugged and waved his wristband at the attendant. “All right, mate?”
The man narrowed his eyes and raised his head, almost as if he was sniffing the air. A moment passed and a slow smile spread across his face. “Of course, of course. Please, get on.”
The attendant grasped Spike’s wrist as he stepped into the gondola and did the same when Buffy followed. She suppressed a shiver, trying not to flinch at the feel of the man’s oily hands on her skin. He closed the door to the car and looped the chain around twice. “Enjoy the ride,” he said. “Everyone does.”
A few moments later, the car swayed slightly as the machinery jerked to life, and then they were rising into the air. Buffy kept a firm grip on the handrail, looking anywhere but out of the window. She hadn’t been lying when she’d told Spike that heights bothered her a little now. Nothing she couldn’t overcome, but being up high took her back to the last few moments before she’d jumped into Glory’s portal, and it wasn’t something she liked to relive.
Spike on the other hand, was peering out of the gondola with glee, an odd, boyish expression on his face. He looked… happy. Free. She hadn’t seen him look so content since long before she’d died.
The wheel was moving slowly, stopping every few seconds as each car passed through the loading platform. Strange, when there weren’t any more passengers, but Buffy supposed that it was a preset program.
Suddenly, the car set to swinging back and forth wildly because Spike stood up and moved across to sit next to her.
“Spike!” she shrieked, grabbing the handrail on one side and his knee on the other to steady herself.
His hand moved to cover hers, squeezing lightly. He met her eyes, a sheepish grin on his face. “Sorry.”
She held his gaze, mouth becoming dry at the intense look in his eyes. “It’s fine,” she whispered. Spike leaned in closer and Buffy felt herself become dizzy, though if it was because Spike was about to kiss her, or from the motion of the Ferris wheel, she didn’t know.
The first touch of his lips to hers was gentle, hesitant, and a surprise, even though she’d known it was coming. The second kiss was bolder, the insistent press of his mouth sending little sparks of heat through her body.
Buffy looped her free arm around Spike’s neck, her other hand still held captive at his knee, and kissed him harder, taking charge. This had been building for a while, and now that it was happening, she wanted more, damn the consequences. She ran her tongue along the seam of his lips, coaxing his mouth open and tasting the sweetness of the cotton candy they’d both eaten earlier.
The sudden jolt of the Ferris wheel and a horrible squeal of metal broke them from their haze. They stared at each other for several moments, eyes wide, breath heaving.
“Buffy—” Spike began, but she held up a hand to quiet him while she looked past his shoulder and out of the gondola window. He turned to see what had caught her attention and his mouth dropped open. “What the hell?”
Below them the field lay empty and silent. The busy, frenetic fairground, and everyone in it, had disappeared.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/388786.html