A short fic in four ficletty parts. Thanks to cindergal for the look-over.
You can’t have new beginnings unless you’ve had some old ones.
“It’s not a fix-up… Okay, it is a fix-up, but Mark says he’s great. Funny, nice guy… I don’t know if he’s hot. Mark is not a great judge of hot. And what, would it kill you to meet him? Just go to the restaurant tonight… Okay, tomorrow. Broad daylight… God, Buffy, he’s not a vampire. Geez… I know you’ve been busy. You’ve been working your ass off since… Just go. Have food. If you don’t like him you never have to see him again… Good… Bill… I don’t know; I haven’t met him. But Mark wouldn’t have even suggested it if he didn’t think you’d hit it off… Okay, I’ll owe you. But you just wait, maybe you’ll be owing me.”
Buffy Summers Smythe-Jones Summers spun the stem of the red rose between her fingers, wondering why she was sitting here. After Ariane’s last disastrous fix-up, you would think she’d have learned. No good could come of the blind date.
And since it was ten minutes after one, and they were supposed to meet at one, it was obvious he wasn’t coming anyway.
She didn’t need a date. Didn’t need a man. Didn’t need Ariane hassling her about it either, so she sat. Just because some Slayers had found a way to make a go of fighting the forces of evil combined with soccer momming, that didn’t mean she was one of them. Just because Ariane and Mark claimed to be deliriously happy (okay, they were) doesn’t mean her happiness lay in the same direction. Besides, men were, to use Dawn’s childhood phrase, poopy-heads.
She looked down at the rose. “Hold a red rose”, Ariane had said. “It will be so romantic,” Ariane had said.
“It will be so lame,” Buffy said, casually peeling off one of the petals.
“Careful, Pet,” said a voice from behind her. “That’s a very pretty bloom you’re destroying there.”
A hand closed around her heart, and squeezed. “Spike,” she whispered.
She turned to look as the man slipped into the seat across from her. “Spike?”
But it wasn’t, couldn’t be him. Spike was dead, and this was a handsome brown-haired man in his forties. With Spike’s eyes.
The impossible man stared at her, finally letting the word out. “Buffy?”
The waiter took that moment to arrive on the patio, asking “Would you care for a drink?”
“Yes,” they said in unison.
“I’ll have a glass of red,” Spike said. “And when the shock wears off, I’m assuming you’re going to throw yours in my face, so I’d appreciating you ordering the white. This is my best tie.”
“I don’t understand. How? You’re human now, aren’t you?”
The waiter raised an eyebrow.
“House white. Whatever.” The waiter nodded and walked away. Buffy didn’t notice. She didn’t notice anything, but the man sitting on the chair on the other side of the table. “You were dead. Twice.”
“You’re one to talk.”
“We had a report from the LA Slayers. Wolfram and Hart self-destructed, and everyone died. Angel. You. Everyone.”
“So you did know I was there. Andrew told you?”
Her face reddened. “I didn’t…”
“You knew I was there and you didn’t contact me. And you wonder why I didn’t come to you?”
“Everyone at Wolfram and Hart was evil. That’s what we thought.”
“That’s what Giles thought.” He took the wine from the now-returned waiter. “Thanks.” Put it on the table without touching it. “That’s what he convinced you. Not true, by the way. Angel was working from the inside, trying to make things better. Didn’t work, but he tried.”
“I know that now. But by then it didn’t matter, because you were both gone.” She held tight to the stem of her goblet without picking it up. “Forgive me.”
Then he did take a mouthful of the wine. “That’s a first.”
“I still don’t understand. How are you here?”
“There was this prophecy about a vampire with a soul regaining his humanity. Everyone thought it was Angel. Turns out it was me. So in the alley that night, rain pouring down, demons everywhere, fighting our last battle, Angel died. And I lived. Really lived. Once he fell, the demons left. And so did I.”
“And that’s it? You stumble out of an alley with a heartbeat, and fifteen years later you’re a cop named Bill working with my friend’s husband, and he sets us up on a blind date. I think we’re missing something.”
“William. Some of the men call me Bill. Don’t much care for it, but I don’t fight it either.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“Not so complicated. Near the end of our year at W and H, they decided it would be easier if we had papers. So they provided them. Full sets of ID in brand new names. Liam Fitzgerald and William Marshall. Just in case we needed them. Turns out I did. Needed a job, liked catching the baddies, went to police academy. Fifteen years later, I’m Detective Marshall.” He smiled. “You look great by the way.”
“I look old.”
“Oh, come on. You’re beautiful. What are you, forty now?”
“Please. Thirty-nine.” She smiled. “You look great too. I miss the blond hair, though.”
“Same here.” He put a hand on hers. “Though the brown is quite fetching, now that I’m getting used to it. You look more like Niblet. How is she?”
“She’s good. Teaches college linguistics, married, three kids. She has a good life. I don’t get to see them much, Christmas sometimes mostly.”
“I miss her. Miss you.”
Buffy pulled her hand away. “Come on. Fifteen years. You must have a life. Adriane didn’t tell me much. Nothing, really.”
Spike reached into his jacket and pulled out his wallet. Showed her a picture of a woman and a girl. “That’s my daughter, Angela. And that,” he sighed, “is Monica. My wife.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/210660.html