Well, my day is pretty much done, and so’s the story. I hope you enjoy it, and if I’ve inspired anyone to read or see the play, I’ll consider my job well done :)
A pounding on the door brought Rupert Giles hurrying flustered from his kitchen, wondering what the crisis was now. If it was anything that would disrupt his wedding, then hellmouth or no, it was damn well going to be put on hold. Releasing the lock he stood back, having learned his lesson from one too many concussions caused by adrenaline-fuelled slayer strength; this time however, it was an overwrought gaggle of young people from which his Slayer was unusually absent.
“Giles, something weird happened last night – ”
“Man, you have got to do something about Willow. She’s lost it – ”
Xander and Willow bombarded the Watcher simultaneously, causing him to frown and throw up his hands.
“One at a time! Willow, why don’t you start. Something strange, you say?” Giles gestured for all four to take a seat while he himself remained standing, watching the rather nervous teenagers fidgeting.
“Right. Well, after yesterday and Mr Maclay’s laying down of the law, Tara and I decided to do a handfasting ritual in Breakers’ Woods,” the green-eyed young woman managed to look sheepish yet defiant, her glance of determination fastening upon Xander.
“I see,” Giles commented, placing his hands deep in his pockets. “You do realise that in doing that, you’ve given Mr Maclay no choice but to take Tara home, do you not? Which will jeopardise her education and her future.”
“Except it doesn’t any more, Giles,” Xander interrupted. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I went out into the woods when Anya told me what Willow and Tara were planning, just to stop them. I was so mad I didn’t know what I was gonna do. But while we were out there, Anya stuck close by and something just clicked inside me. I want to be with Anya, not Tara. If Anya will have me, that is,” the boy finished, blushing and looking at the floor. The object of his affection gave a brilliant smile, rising to her feet and settling herself in his lap for a lingering kiss, before looking into his eyes and tipping her head slightly. Giles grimaced in embarrassment at the girl’s suggestive grinding, but at least she hadn’t voiced the thought clearly on her mind.
“Let’s go and have make-up sex,” Anya stated loudly, and Rupert removed his glasses with a disgusted exclamation. He should have known it was too good to last, but thankfully, the reunited couple left his apartment in short order. Replacing his spectacles, he saw Willow and Tara smiling devotedly at one another, their happiness and love so plain to any who knew them. He was simply going to have to be firm with the blonde’s father, he supposed – the witches were meant to be together and he’d be a fool to stand in their way. Not to mention that Jenny would make his life most uncomfortable if he didn’t support the girls – they were her bridesmaids, after all.
“Yes, well, I suppose that clarifies the situation. Now, if there’s nothing else, there are several matters I must attend to for this weekend,” he hinted, hoping to avoid any more affectionate displays before he’d eaten his breakfast. The witches stood up, giggling.
“Oh, yes, sorry Giles,” Willow grinned, capturing Tara’s hand in her own.
“Oh, and if you see Buffy, could you ask her to report in, please? She was going to patrol last night.”
“Sure. Oh, wait – she was supposed to meet us in the woods after patrolling, but she never showed up. Giles, you don’t think…” Willow’s expression turned into a mask of anxiety, and Tara hugged her impulsively.
“Umm, Mr Giles? I think…I mean, I sensed… magic last night. People weren’t acting like themselves at all, but I couldn’t focus on what was wrong. Do you want us to look for her?” The shy blonde spoke up.
“That might be wise. I’m sure I’d have heard if something had happened to her, but all the same…. I’ll call her mother, see if she’s at the house. Perhaps you could check the dorm?” Giles pondered, trying hard to quell a growing sense of unease. The witches nodded.
“Will do. We’ll call as soon as we get back to campus,” Willow assured him as the girls let themselves out.
Buffy gave a small murmuring sigh, rolling onto her back and stretching, feeling the sensuous softness of satin against her skin. Wait up… satin? Since when did her dorm bed have satin sheets? And why couldn’t she move? Phrase by phrase and action by action, the night’s events patched together in her memory and Buffy tensed. She recalled her words to Riley, and her defence of Spike. She remembered Riley being all gross and icky in demon form, but frankly, she’d always thought part of him was gross and icky. Warm male bodies always equalled nasty sweat. Not like the one that was still firmly wedged on top of her, however. She seemed to remember in some hazy fashion thinking she was in love with Riley, but that couldn’t be right, not with Spike around. Oh god. She’d had sex with Spike. And he was here, asleep on top of her. The diminutive Slayer tensed again, and realised he wasn’t just on top of her.
‘Oh god, oh god, oh god. He’s still – oh my god,” she panicked, her heart rate leaping.
“Mmm, now that’s what I consider a wake up call,” purred a deep voice in her ear. Buffy turned and found herself confronted by Spike’s knowing blue eyes, narrowed with sleep and tinged with something all together less fluffy.
‘I can do this. Breathe and be grown-up,’ she told herself.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Buffy bluffed.
Spike smirked, then did a little tensing of his own, drawing a gasp from her throat.
“Liar,” he accused mockingly. “If you don’t want a bloke to get the wrong idea, Slayer, you shouldn’t be using those muscles to give a massage.”
Buffy flushed a deep red, dropping her eyes only to have Spike raise her face to his with gentle fingertips.
“Hey now, pet. No need to be embarrassed – I was just teasing. Have to say, though, you’re adorable when you’re all bashful and modest,” he soothed, lowering his lips to kiss her neck, her jawline and finally her lips. Buffy resisted at first, unsure of herself and him, until she recalled their conversation the night before. For the first time since their truce two years ago, they’d been completely honest with themselves and each other, and there was no retracting their confessions now – even had she wanted to.
Some time later, replete and fulfilled, another thought struck her.
“Spike? How did we get here? I mean, what’s the last thing you remember?”
The vampire paused in his hand’s lazy stroking of her skin.
“Before we passed out in a mind-blowing orgasm, you mean?” He smiled, then frowned in puzzlement. “Now you come to mention it, I don’t rightly know. Unless…. Oh, bollocks!” He swore, pulling away from her.
“What’s wrong? Spike, what’s going on?” For a moment, Buffy was stricken. He couldn’t be leaving her, could he? Not after last night. Not again. Her lover saw the distress and confusion on her face and hurried back to her side to run a hand through her hair.
“Nothing’s wrong, love. Least, not with you. I think I might know what’s going on though – last night in the woods, I ran into a fairy. Tricky little bugger, and he had a bunch of spells and whatnot up his sleeve. Might be a good idea to go to the Watcher and let him know we’ve got a visitor in Sunnyhell,” Spike reassured the girl, battling the temptation to slide back into bed and to hell with sprites and leprechauns. He brushed the hair back from her face, behind her shoulder, and it was then he saw the mark. His eyes widened as he stared at it, his own free hand rising to the side of his own neck, feeling the smooth stippled skin of a scar that by its very nature would never heal, despite his vampiric abilities.
“Oh bloody hell,” he breathed. Buffy had been feeling better, if a little intrigued by the mention of a fairy, but at his expression and the fix of his gaze she felt her alarm return.
“What is it?” Her fingertips searched the spot that Spike could not tear his eyes from, finding not the old, faded scar from Angel’s teeth but a new and slightly sore wound. “Oh,” she breathed, not knowing what to say. In a kaleidoscope of images, the last few moments before she blacked out fell into place. “What does it mean?” she asked.
“I think we both got a bit carried away last night, love. It’s a mating claim. Not sure how we managed it without the full ritual, though,” Spike admitted, shaken.
Buffy leapt from the bed and started scrabbling around for something to wear, relieved when she found her top and skirt on the floor nearby.
“It wasn’t without a ritual, Spike. Willow and Tara had been all prepped and ready to go for their handfasting, though how that transferred to us I don’t know. I think that visit to Giles is way overdue,” she informed him, not trusting herself to analyse their predicament. After all, hadn’t they talked it out last night and given in to their feelings? She just wasn’t sure how to react to the news that now, breaking up really wasn’t an option. It all seemed too final for her to deal with – she’d never been commitment girl, after all. But then, this was Spike she was talking about. Commitment was one of his raising detter thingies. It formed part of who he was – sticking with Drusilla for so long, then Harmony. The man was a serial monogamist, in terms of decades. Buffy sighed and straightened, turning to face him.
“Listen, I don’t know what any of this means, or whether it changes anything for right now. I meant every word I said last night, and nothing’s changed that. I’m just a little freaked, okay?” She crossed the room to him as she spoke, reaching her hand out to caress his hair. The guarded, distanced look in his blue eyes faded to leave only concern, and a little humour as he wrapped an arm around her, pulling Buffy tight into him.
“Please don’t hate me for this, Buffy. Don’t shut me out in the cold again,” he whispered, and Buffy realised she wasn’t the only one afraid.
Scene II – The Magic Shop
“If I understand correctly, then, you were all out in the woods and Spike ran into one of the fey folk? There aren’t any left on this plane, according to research, you know. They decided this world was becoming too mundane and left to reside in a nearby dimension about seven hundred years ago. I think there’s reports of the odd one or two occasionally travelling to our world, but not often,” Giles mused, unaware of Spike’s exasperated eye rolling.
“Rupert, what if they’re right? The magic required to cast this kind of glamour is immense – if this fairy escapes, it could do untold amounts of damage. Not to mention the fact that the Powers aren’t going to appreciate destinies being overturned and derailed on the capricious whim of a fey,” Jenny reasoned, wanting the matter solved before anything could ruin her big day and concerned that her fiancé was not taking the matter seriously.
“Yeah, Giles. And what about Riley?” Buffy interjected, ignoring the scowl from Spike at her former boyfriend’s name. “He got turned into a slimy demon and we don’t know if it’s going to wear off or anything. It’s a menace, whatever this thing is.”
” It’s worn off,” came a voice from the training room, causing the gathered group to spin in surprise. Riley stood in the doorway, wearing mangled, torn commando gear and a defeated expression. “I slept here last night – I didn’t want to go back to the Initiative looking like that. Sorry, Giles.”
“Er, of course Riley. Everything quite back to normal?” The former librarian’s British nature took over while the younger Americans gaped at the soldier’s dishevelled appearance.
“Yes, thank you. I’ll just be on my way,” Finn moved forward through the shop, pausing when he reached Buffy. “I just want to apologise. If I’m not the guy, I’m not the guy. Although I’ll never be able to understand what you see in him,” he added, jerking a thumb tersely at Spike. Like a tennis match, all eyes swivelled away from Riley and locked onto the Slayer.
“Um, something you want to tell us, Buff?” Willow tried to joke, only to be met with a stunned silence.
Buffy cast an anguished look at Spike, begging for help, before looking up at Riley and then her Watcher.
“Oh… about that. Will, you know that handfasting circle you set up? Spike and I kind of got trapped in it,” she glossed over the events. ‘Not that it’s any of their business anyways,’ she thought.
“Trapped? Buffy, it only activates when the couple are saying their vows to one another,” Willow explained, mystified.
Realisation hit Giles with the force of a freight train.
“Oh good lord!”
The watcher’s forceful and heartfelt exclamation began an onslaught of questions and comments from Willow and Xander, each trying to shout louder than the other. Anya, in the meantime, simply walked over to where Spike was now standing protectively next to the Slayer and cast a critical eye over them.
“They’re bound mates,” she announced, calmly, before moving back to Xander.
“What? How? What?” Came the boy’s reaction, somewhat predictably. Anya petted his arm reassuringly.
“It’s fine, Xander. They’ve claimed each other. You know, like a human marriage only permanent,” she explained.
“And this is fine by what definition? He’s a vampire, Ahn. Buffy, what the hell happened?” The brunette was outraged.
“Xander, calm down,” Giles ordered. “I can only deduce that whatever glamour this creature in the woods cast, it influenced Spike and Buffy into behaving much as they did when Willow’s spell was in effect, only this time it went much further -”
“Now hang on, Watcher!” Spike figured he’d been quiet long enough. “There were strange things going on last night, right enough, but what went on with me and the Slayer had nothing to do with a spell. We claimed each other in accordance with tradition, and more than that, I love her. Since when do any of you lot have a right to judge that, especially after how you lot behaved?”
He was trembling in anger, failing to realise it until Buffy’s small hand rested lightly on his arm. He looked into her face, shocked and concerned to see tears streaming down her cheeks.
“You love me?” She asked in a tiny voice, hardly able to keep the hope contained. Spike wrapped his arms around her and drew her close.
“You know I do, I always have. Just took some time for me to realise it,” he smiled at Buffy, wiping away her tears with his thumb and placing a kiss on her forehead. She nestled closer to him and sighed happily, leaving her friends speechless until Giles cleared his throat.
“Buffy, you cannot expect us to accept this. As soon as Jenny and I are married, we’ll research a way to nullify the claim. In the meantime, I suggest you hunt this fairy down and – ”
The puck in question shimmered into being cross-legged upon the table, a wide smile splitting his face.
Xander stumbled to his feet, backing off. “Sheesh, what is it with these sudden entrances? Doesn’t anyone use the door?”
“Wherefore go a-hunting when all you seek is in plain sight? My knavery here is done, my tale told, the glamour ended,” Robin was delighted with the confusion he had wrought, but he had to end the tale in a fitting fashion. Buffy surreptitiously looked around for a weapon while trying to keep an eye on the odd demon in their midst. She had to admit, she’d seen some strange monsters in her time but this one had them all beat hands down. A shocking fuzz of brilliant green hair, yellow eyes like a cat’s, with elliptical pupils, gray knobbly skin and more teeth than a shark – this was one weird looking fairy. His limbs were long, multi-jointed and spindly, and he was so skinny as to be emaciated, but the power she could sense within him belied his fragile appearance.
‘And let’s not forget the magic, either,’ the thought crept through her mind.
“Be not afeared, my lady,” Robin turned to Buffy briefly. “I mean no ill will, and beg pardon if I have troubled you unduly. For the rest, it was but a game, a diversion, and perhaps a cautionary tale for some. Have I not made amends? Is all not as it should be? And doubly so for our lord and lady here, guardians and warriors, the two who wander the night with purpose. ‘Twas not my magic ensnared them, no – their own love caught them fast long before I was abroad in this mortal world once more. Power greater than mine blessed their union, freed them to give their hearts completely and unshackled. Fate walks with them, draws them close and bids them happy – you are all matched, why should they not be?”
The gathered couples and Riley gaped at the unlikely messenger from the higher beings, but found any arguments and dissent withered at his speech, and perhaps, a final touch of glamour. Satisfied, Robin bounded to his feet and bowed low.
“And so adieu, friends and lovers all. My merry wandering is far from done, and your happy ending has but begun,” he intoned, and his parting laughter echoed long after the Puck vanished.
Riley as Bottom
Spike – Oberon
Buffy – Titania
Robin Goodfellow, a Puck – as himself
The lovers: Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara
Tara as Hermia, Xander as Demetrius, Willow as Lysander, Anya as Helena
Mr Maclay as Egreus (Hermia’s father)
Giles as Theseus,
Jenny Calendar as Hippolyta
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/32268.html