Yay, Seasonal Spuffy! Please join me for a bit of intra-species communication… Set early Season 6, before “Life Serial”.
David Attenborough Never Covered This
Genre: banter and (demon) biology
Characters: Buffy, Spike, Clem
Non-standard disclaimer: Views expressed by the characters do not necessarily represent those of the author. :p
Standard disclaimer: The characters aren’t mine, just the story.
Buffy blinked. “Clem’s a woman?” Her eyes followed the quickly receding figure of the floppy demon she’d been about to fight, then had a brief, stilted conversation with after Spike intervened.
Spike rolled his eyes. “Clem’s a bloke. He’s got his and his mate’s brood in his pouch. That’s how his kind gestate their young.”
“His pouch? He’s… a marsupial?”
Really, what was that Watcher teaching her? “Noooo, he’s a demon. Your phyla and classes have sod all to do with us. Might as well say he’s a seahorse.”
“Oh. But he carries the babies. That’s…”
Spike waited for her to say ‘gross’ or ‘creepy’ or some other judgmental anti-demon human/Slayer-type comment. “Eagle-itarian.”
She created these malapropisms on purpose to amuse herself; she had to. “Egalitarian, pet.”
“If it were, Clem would be sitting on a nest in an eyrie somewhere.”
“What’s eerie about a nest?”
She was messing with him now. Served him right for pronouncing the way he thought she’d understand. “Are you gonna leave the proud poppa to gestate, or do he and Darnelia need to skip town for the duration?”
Spike shrugged. “Demons don’t always hit the mark shooting for bland, human-pronounceable names. Like Ford Prefect.”
“Who’s Ford Prefect? Is he slayable?”
“Never mind. Are you?”
Buffy scowled, and kicked with more force than necessary at a stone which offended her on the path. “I don’t know. The Slayer’s not supposed to be all, yay demon spawning!”
Distantly, Spike heard a crypt window shatter. He was just glad it wasn’t his.
“But if you say he’s peaceful…”
“Harmless to everything but kittens,” Spike assured her.
The Slayer’s eyes went wide and outraged. By Spike’s measure, she was only a quick narrowing away from an equally quick violent rampage. “Kittens?”
Clem was out of sight, but the Slayer could still catch the slow-moving demon, especially with him carrying and all. Counteroffensive, fast.
“Those feral cats kill little birds by the score,” Spike argued hurriedly, hiding his panic at a tactical error beneath bluster, as usual. “And Koreans eat dog. You going to go around slaying them to protect Rover?”
She wrinkled that adorable nose. “Nobody eats dog in this country. That’s kinda racist, Spike.”
Said the woman itching to slay anything with a fang or claw. “That bacon cheeseburger you’re going to get later would disgust about a billion each Hindus and Muslims, and a few million observant Jews besides, but nobody slays you to stop you eating it.”
She stopped short. “How do you know I — ?”
“It’s right at the start of your — ” The look on her face, an admixture of horror, humiliation, and fury, would have entertained the hell out of him once. Still did, actually, but he didn’t fancy a nose-punch just now. And he couldn’t afford to get her hacked off at him when he was still negotiating the safety of Clem and his sprogs. Still, the word popped out of his mouth as he scrambled for a polite term, ” — cycle. Workout cycle. You know, when you rotate your routine to — ”
She was flushed and glaring. No way to salvage this, now. He gave up and got back to the point. “You going to leave Clem be, or not?” Dammit, he’d miss the blighter if he got himself slain, or packed off to Cleveland.
She peered at him. He couldn’t quite make out her expression. “He’s your friend.”
He shrugged defensively. “Well… yeah. Not that many demons I can discuss my shows with, you know.”
Unexpectedly, after all this talk of cycles, Koreans, and kittens, Buffy smiled at him. “Yeah, okay.” Spike sagged in relief. “As long as he restricts himself to ferals,” she added, shaking a finger at him. “Nobody’s pet Mr. Whiskers.”
“You got it, pet.” Actually, he could guarantee no such thing, but he figured Buffy wasn’t going to be inspecting the Pflargad household’s dinner table, stake in hand case she found a fluffball with a collar.
Besides, any Sunnydale resident stupid enough to let Whiskers wander the streets got what they deserved, in his view. Bloody circle of life, wasn’t it? Everything ate something to stay alive; only humans got all tied up about it.
Wonder if the Slayer would let him accompany him to the burger stand later? He was flush; he’d traded the poker chips he couldn’t bite to Clem for cash at the weekend. He could even add a chocolate milkshake to the order; the Slayer looked at them on the board, but he’d never seen her order one.
“Why are you following me, Spike?”
Oh, she’d noticed. “Patrol?” he offered hopefully.
“Solo patrol. As in me, by myself. Go home. Go knit booties for Clem or something. Whatever it is, do it away from me.”
So maybe not. She was still bent out of shape over something. Most likely the cycle business; there was a lingering whiff of embarrassment coming from her, along with other delicious smells.
Still, she’d stayed her hand when he’d intervened, and then commuted the sentence when she found out Clem was a friend of his. Meant she cared, at least a little, didn’t it? His heart felt light, even if he was being dismissed.
He tossed her a nod and a salute as he headed back cryptward. “Carlos’s,” he named the burger place, “makes a great chocolate milkshake,” he called as he went.
“Uh, I’ll keep that in mind.” She sounded confused at this change of pace from his usual sign-off-with-snark. As he rounded a monument out of her sight, he grinned to hear her mutter, “What kind of vampire drinks milkshakes? Why am I even asking. A weird vampire.”
(For those who don’t know, David Attenborough is the host and narrator of fabulous wildlife and nature series produced by the BBC such as Life On Earth. Some of his documentaries can be found on Netflix, and are well worth checking out.)
This fic was inspired by discussions on a friend’s journal; she can out herself if she likes. *g* (And, of course it would be totally fine if Clem were a woman; he just happens not to be in this fic.)
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/557412.html