I volunteered for today because it is a date with meaning over here in England. Poor old Guy Fawkes; sometimes you can’t help but feel his heart was in the right place. And this year it’s the day my country goes back into lockdown while across the Atlantic big decisions have still not been finalised.
This story is set now. Spike and Buffy have settled down, and moved relatively recently to England, only to be hit hard by the mess that is 2020. IOW it’s a bit of fluff.
Rating: R for implied sexytimes.
Spike was in a mood. Indeed, Buffy would go so far as to apply that useful English term: he was in a right strop.
There were good reasons for anyone to be unsettled right now. The kids had kicked off against lockdown again. They still got to go to school, but no parties or sleepovers or even just hanging at the mall. There were no malls to speak of in this weird little country anyway, but what there was, the kids were missing. They had taken to their rooms to talk to friends on the internet, doors firmly closed, headphones clamped on. Parents were demonstrably unnecessary and unwanted.
There was the rampant disease, even if Slayer healing and vampire constitution meant it didn’t affect them so much. There was the general aura of gloom about politics, which was hard even for her to ignore. There was the election back home, though she’d done her duty and voted by mail weeks ago. OK, even she could see it was a mess, but that was no real reason for Spike to sound off.
He wasn’t really sounding off, in fact. It was more a vicious mooch with sarcastic sideswipes and occasional kicking of inanimate objects. But he was definitely not a happy vampire. Buffy curled up on the overstuffed couch she’d chosen with him back when furniture stores were a thing that was open.
“So, you gonna share with the reason for the moody?” she asked.
“I am not bloody broody!” he snapped back, a hint of yellow coming into his eyes.
“I said ‘moody’, not ‘broody’, half-wit. No need to vamp out at me. What is getting at you?”
He softened. “Sorry pet. Mishearing there. Just not a broody wanker like your ex and never have been.”
“Which sidesteps my question. What in hell is wrong with you?”
“It’s the date, innit?” Spike’s scowl held undertones of misery, but the answer clarified things about as much as a mudbath might. He saw her blank expression. “November 5th? You know,
Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Was looking forward to it – first one back in Blighty for decades.”
“So? What’s the big deal? We’ve had fireworks going off every night for days, all the way round us. There were even some at that drive-in Halloween thing we went to on Saturday. Stupid idea, I thought, but you and the kids seemed pleased enough.”
“Halloween’s a mug’s game. You know that. Vamps and demons stay out of the way. It’s just tacky to play at monsters when you are the real deal. But anyway, it’s not the real thing. Not Bonfire Night.”
“You’re flammable! Why do you want a fire?”
“It’s not the fire, pet, it’s the event.”
“Well, events are out right now. You know that. What’s the big deal?” she patted the seat next to her invitingly and he flopped onto it with a sigh. Funny how a vamp who didn’t need to breathe could do that.
“Look, love. It’s history and tradition and memories going right back to the sixties. Eighteen-sixties, as it happens. Used to trail around with me mates and a stuffed guy on a cart, scrounging pennies to buy fireworks. Night before it was Mischief Night, at least up in the North when I was a kid. Played tricks, lifted gates off hinges, rang doorbells and ran off before the maid could get to the door. That sort of thing.”
Spike never talked about his childhood. This was new. Buffy nodded to encourage him on.
“Used to live out on the edge of Bradford back then. Pater was a mill owner.”
“He made flour?”
“No, silly, made wool. Well, the sheep made the wool. His mill turned it into the best yard for miles around. That’s how he got rich. Pity.”
Yeah, ‘cos that gave him ideas of gentility. Moved us down to London in the end – I was about fourteen – to live the high life without the taint of trade.”
Buffy was really confused now. How could a trade be a taint? She squashed down the question, though, for the moment. Best not interrupt while he was talking.
“Didn’t do him a lot of good, mind you. He was dead eight years on from the move. Consumption. Nasty thing, that. You cough blood and go pale and thin. Like being a vamp without the fun. Gave it to our Charlotte too, and little Emily. They died slower, but by the time I was twenty-five it was only me and Mum left. That didn’t turn out so well for us in the end. She’d caught the disease from nursing the girls. Suppose I’d have been next if I hadn’t met Dru and tried to cure Mum the easy way.”
It was never a good sign when he started talking about turning his mother. Buffy needed to switch the subject, quickly.
“You had sisters?”
“Yeah. Twin girls. Quite a few years younger than me. The ones in between died young.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open. So much death in his youth. No wonder he’d never talked much about it before.
“Those girls loved Bonfire Night, though, almost as much as I did. After we moved to London I used to help them make the guy and drag it round. Even in our snooty neighbourhood you could do that back then. Most years we managed a rare fine collection, enough to buy sparklers and crackerjacks, Roman candles and toffee apples.” He sighed again. “We used to build a big bonfire in the garden – had to be careful of the gardener, mind. More than our lives were worth to damage his late blooms. We’d scrounge old clothes and stuff ‘em with paper, bit of straw, stuff that burnt well. It was good fun while it lasted.”
He looked into the mid-distance, which was good going when the wall was barely two yards away. An unbiased observer might think he was brooding on the past.
“After I met Dru, of course, Bonfire Nights got really exciting. Best time of year for us vamps, getting dark early, and there were some right tasty little morsels dragging their carts and guys round about. Dru would see their futures in the flashes from their sparklers. Not so difficult, mind. They were nearly all very short and very bloody. She loved it, all the flashes and screams. Half the time she didn’t care if they were screams of joy at the lights or terror at her fangs.”
Buffy did not like the direction this was moving in. So not a good thing to get him
brooding musing about Drusilla and the past. She frowned, pointedly. Spike shook himself.
“Sorry, pet. Know you don’t like me reminiscing about those days. D’you want to change the subject?”
She did, but she couldn’t think what to.
At that moment an enormous bang made her jump. Terrorists? No, not by the gleam in Spike’s eyes. He towed her to the window in time to catch a shower of silver drops cascading over the rooftops across the road. Somebody had bought in fireworks even if there was an official lockdown. Several somebodies, in point of fact. Gold and green, silver, red, even blue. She stood staring at the flowers and waterfalls of fire. He watched them reflected in her eyes for a moment. Perhaps this really was as good as it got.
He moved to stand behind her, hugging her gently. Somewhere in the distance music was playing – somebody had put the Tchaikovsky on to go with the displays. The individual bursts were not as impressive as an organised show might have provided, but so many of them together still filled the night with beauty. He bent his head and nibbled gently on an earlobe.
“I’m OK now, pet. Nice to see them, like lights of hope in the dark. Well, they are lights in the dark, but you know what I mean.”
She turned to him, her back now to the window, and rested her head on his chest for a moment. Vampire and Slayer, locked down together by a bug and some stupid people in government and in the streets. Who could have seen that coming? But locked down they were, and alone. After nearly twenty years together, some opportunities could still be snatched.
She gazed up at him and smiled, then ran her tongue lightly over her lower lip. He froze for a moment, arrested by the look in her eye, then touched his own tongue across his teeth. He brought his hands down, whispering them across her breasts, triggering the familiar stirring of excitement as her breath hitched just a tiny bit.
“Well, well Slayer. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” His eyes were very blue now.
“That I’m still tired after all that election stuff and could use an early night? Possibly?” The expression on her face showed how very far from truth her words were. Sleep was the last thing on her mind.
“Buffy, look at me like that much longer and I’m not going to make it to the bedroom.” he husked.
Triumph in her eyes, she replied, “And that would be Wrong, right?”
Not wrong at all. Everything was right in his world now. Sod the germs. Sod the other germs in the White House and Downing Street and across the world. He had his lady and that was enough. “Come on, pet, before I forget myself. Let’s go and make some fireworks of our own.”
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/708471.html