This chapter puts a bit of the 13 in PG-13, ooh er…
The Page of Wands
Post-Series/S10 | PG-13
It’s an odd place, Spike’s head. The heart of it is difficult to find.
As the story came to a close, it was a natural moment for Buffy to sit up. The bedding in Spike’s subconscious was still warm and comfy and it was nice to have the kittens padding around – but they’d drifted back into Spike’s crypt again, to the super-king mattress and its silk satin sheets. The warmth was the glow of grimy table lamps from the dump.
They were both still clothed, which was maybe some kind of blessing. Buffy was pretty sure wearing shoes in bed wasn’t something she would have tolerated inside her own brain, but she was in Spike’s house right now, so she could abide by his rules. At least for the most part.
OK, so Spike’s story had taken them back to just where they’d been before, but for the moment Buffy didn’t care. “So you’re saying that you and me were – what? Destiny?” Even as she said it, it made her nose wrinkle. Sure, the whole idea could be romantic and a girl could go for that kind of thing once in a while, but it wasn’t something she’d ever thought about in relation to Spike.
“No, I’m not saying that,” Spike’s conscious will insisted, irritably. There was a crash and a yowl and it became clear that one of the kittens had knocked over a lamp. Buffy rolled her eyes. “What I’m saying,” Spike continued, “is that you could’ve killed me. That you’re the one – the one in a million – the right personality with that Slayer power burning inside you, that was doomed to do for me, one way or another. And this is how it’s been done. You in my head; you in my everything.”
“And what does that mean?” Buffy waved a hand at the earthen walls, the vision of at least a month’s sleepless nights. Spike slept like a log; he’d never known how much time she’d spent in this bed. “We have to keep coming back here?”
She’d never wanted to come back to this place again, the slick sheets and the walls that absorbed every echo of her voice. She’d been happy to blow it up, though she’d kept that part a secret. It was easiest to fix herself by burning the bridges between her and her dark places, so she’d thought once upon a time.
Spike, it turned out, kept them all inside his head. There were half-open doors between each one.
In an instant, the mattress bounced underneath them, propelling Spike’s asshole persona to turn on his hip and straddle Buffy over her thighs. They were at an odd but not precarious angle, Spike’s face suddenly inches from hers. Breath rushed into her mouth and a flutter in her heart sent cool tingles down to the end of her fingers.
“We’re always here, love,” was what he said, grazing fingers up her cheekbone.
Candles around them were bright and warm; the sheets were soft, but rumpled – rumpling. The air was fresh, because this crypt had ventilation, but the daiquiris were all long gone in favour of her own body’s tangy smell; Spike’s body’s bitterness. Those smells she wasn’t supposed to like about herself – the ones the aisle and the drugstore promised her could be masked by chemical florals and fresh linen… It was sex-smell, basically, but without the fug Buffy associated with doing it in a warm, human bedroom.
She’d had no idea that she’d missed it – or else that this was what she’d missed. Sex with Spike, it was either out in the open or down in this cold, cellar room. It was a hard, long walk on a winter’s day, with ice on the end of her nose the counterbalance to her burning insides, bruises on her skin but sweat that vanished as soon as it could form.
OK, so her eyes were tearing up now. Her elbows around Spike’s neck, she was kissing him again, but she wasn’t about to rip his clothes off, because she wasn’t quite sure what it would mean for her to literally dismantle his own image of himself.
Spike also seemed to realise that throwing random Buffy-sweaters into the corners of his subconscious was not likely the best course for good mental health. It did not stop him feeling her up underneath those clothes.
“Spike…” Buffy complained, though it was mostly a moan. Him straddling her was really the wrong position: he was going places, but the hand down her pants would run out of angle soon enough. She bounced on the bed, tugging on his consciousness’ belt buckle, but all that did was make them wobble like they were in some sort of melty-chocolate dimension, or on a waterbed – though Buffy wasn’t actually sure what those felt like.
Her eyes shut and clinging on, Buffy tried to regain control, but Spike was very clearly in the moment. He melted them both sideways, onto his back, and the gasp he pushed out of her sent a ripple around them like the drop on a dubstep baseline.
It was a toss-up, really, whether it made any difference to have sex with Spike in his head rather than saving it for the real world. Buffy tried to think through the ethics of it, because it seemed like it should be shady. It felt shady that she could manipulate him from in here – but right now, she thought as he manipulated her, well, it didn’t seem like that was a problem.
Buffy’s hands were on Spike’s shoulders right then, because she needed the support. Spike was getting the job done, the fastenings on her jeans no longer an obstacle. It was only when she next gasped a breath that she paused. The air eddied and choked in her throat, forcing Buffy to open her eyes, and at that moment Buffy realised how on the other side of the room there was Spike’s memory of her old Sunnydale basement. He was sat on his cot, this Spike, knees to his chest and his head in his hands. The manacles were around his wrists, their chain taut where it arced over his head to the wall.
He needed to think. He was thinking. He couldn’t think unless Buffy was taken care of, was that it?
“Spike,” Buffy said again, trying to think unsexy thoughts. God, what if this was somehow visible to all their friends back in SF? “Spike,” she repeated more forcefully, between breaths. Stop. “This isn’t why we’re here.” She looked down at the body beneath her, Spike’s eyes where they were intense and open. His jaw was clenching with every hard jerk of his hand. “You don’t have to shut me out.”
She caressed his face, as gently as she could, and his jaw clenched harder – nostrils flaring. The hand underneath her, that trembled, even the fingers that were inside of her, and Buffy couldn’t help but smile some sort of smile.
Her frustration dissolved in seconds as Spike relaxed, withdrew his hand and blinked. They were lying on the basement cot now, Buffy realised – another bed they’d shared. Wine-red satin was transformed into homely polycotton blue and the chains were hanging freely just in front of her eyes.
Her host in this place, he was still wearing black and red and his duster, the lining of it flared out beneath them. The coat’s old rip was still there by Spike’s waist. His expression remained intense, but there were thoughts there too, a frown in the creases of his eyelids. Buffy straightened her underwear and zipped herself back up, before nestling into the crook of his arm.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” she said, because they still had their mystery to figure out.
Spike sighed. He looked away, towards the chains, then back at her. “You know me,” he said with a wry smile. “I don’t have many thoughts what you’d call useful. I get plans without methods; feelings without contexts.”
Somehow, he suddenly seemed less like Spike than he had done a minute ago. The way he was talking to her again, like he didn’t understand this place; Buffy felt like it put them at a distance. She thought she could recognise it all well enough, after all.
She looked around the basement again, over Spike’s chest. Junk, junk, clutter, junk. It was dark and quiet in a way that felt like the early morning. The bed was hard and it creaked the second either of them moved.
“Tell me what you’re feeling, then,” was what Buffy said, trying with the words. Her enthusiasm didn’t really come through.
It was for that reason, maybe, that Spike pretty much ignored her. He shifted a little, turning his head out towards the basement. “You ever have a good idea,” he asked, “of everything that’s down here?”
Buffy looked around. She remembered when the pipes had failed. She hadn’t had a daytime job back then, which was weird to imagine now, but she hadn’t noticed at the time how most of her days were spent either staring at the TV or staring at the wall in the Magic Box. In any case, after they’d got the water cleared she had in fact had the time to spend a couple of days with Dawn and Willow and Tara, either saving stuff and drying it out or throwing things away. The others had come and gone, because they’d had things to do, and it had been torture in the moments she hadn’t zoned out to deal with a box of papers… But yeah, at the end of it and for the next couple of years, she had known.
“I can’t remember all of it anymore,” was what Buffy told Spike. He looked at her like she was a marvel – somehow some light was filtering into the room now. “But I guess? I should have thrown more stuff out, maybe kept some of the stuff that went in the trash, but by the end I always knew what was here.”
“You cleared out my crypt,” Spike commented, as if remembering for the first time. The conscious will of him, it still looked suspicious about it, but the warm dawn light gave a lot of his feelings away. “After I left, you still… Then you brought it to me, down in the basement.”
“And you left most of it to turn into rubble,” Buffy immediately complained, trying to lighten the tone by poking him in the chest. He turned away
It was all very well him looking at her – him letting light glow on her – and she was sorry to lose it now. But the fact he was content to live in mess was not useful when it was his brain they were trying to pick through. Another glance and the boxes down here were overflowing with books and shoes and binders Buffy had never owned.
“Tell me another story,” she said then, tucking her chin up onto his chest as she looked away from it all. This was a plan and she was sticking to it. She’d get him to work through stuff, rustle things around – and then hey presto…
Of course, Spike was going to be contrary about it. “No,” he refused, with his arm wrapped again around Buffy’s back. There was light in his eyes then as though he had a plan. “I’ve invited you into my brain; I think it’s time you sing for your supper.”
“What supper?” Buffy grumbled. This was not going to help. She didn’t have any stories.
At that moment, however, Spike laughed, and it rumbled right through them both. With the pad of kitten paws across her head, making her blink, Buffy found that they were back in San Francisco.
The room smelled like boy again. Boy deodorant. The bed was all blue-grey and plain white, like Spike was actually a boy.
Although, wait, no – there was another smell…
“Is that pizza?” Buffy asked, peering over Spike’s chest. He was still in black and red, still with the duster, but he was chuckling at her and reaching to his left. Soon his hand came back into view with a steaming slice of pepperoni pizza.
“Never say I don’t do anything for you,” Spike commented, as he folded the slice in half, lengthways. Buffy’s stomach gurgled, even though this clearly couldn’t be real food. She brought up her own hand and shared the hold on the crust, nudging her fingers under Spike’s. “Now open up,” he finished, unnecessarily as they both helped her take a bite.
It was good pizza. The best, even. A story was a fair trade, if Buffy could just figure out what to say…
Although, seriously, Buffy thought while munching – this was not why they were here. He didn’t get off that lightly. It was deceptive, the taste of tasty cheese, and with it she suddenly knew; she realised he was hiding something. “Tell me what really happened,” she said on instinct, after swallowing. “With the reading.”
The pizza vanished – or had never been there, or something else that made sense. Spike collapsed back onto the bed in a huff and it grew dark around them, the air like daiquiris again, somehow, because for some reason Spike loved her when she was perceptive.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Spike gritted out, as though he could ever pull off a lie.
These daiquiris, they were stronger than before: the rum was sharp and heady. The bed was still San Francisco, but Buffy couldn’t be sure of it. “You didn’t tell the story right,” she insisted, shutting her eyes. “Tell me again.”
Spike groaned, but after one more poke in his side he started talking.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/536644.html