Title: That’s Amore
Rating: Quite tame, except that I use the word smelly.
Disclaimer: Yes, I stole these characters.
The scene, when replayed in her mind, usually went a little bit more like this:
Buffy: I love you.
Spike: ‘Course you do, pet. Hell, looks like this cavern is about to collapse, and I’m
sure all the baddies are dead, let’s get out of here.
1. Absence, like fine Italian leather, makes the heart grow fonder.
When the topic of Spike came up she occasionally had the urge to scream out loud at them. Giles and Xander especially, had the irritating habit of fondly recalling tender Spike moments and sprinkling them into conversation when she was around to appreciate them. Such a good guy, that Spike. He’d saved the world, saved them, saved orphaned three-legged kittens and not been a bad roommate at all once he’d learned to pick up the towels and clean out the microwave when he was finished heating up blood.
“You hated him,” she reminded Giles. “You tried to kill him. Which he didn’t seem to mind, for some reason, but now you keep talking to people like he was some old friend from college and not some vamp you once tied up in the bathtub and forced to watch TV without a remote.”
“He redeemed himself at the end,” Giles admitted. “Which was certainly a surprise. I didn’t expect him to be capable of achieving that. But I am prepared to grant him all due credit for the act, so I choose to honor the less exasperating moments and disregard the numerous times he personally threatened my own life and tried to have you and your friends killed.”
“Oh… okay,” she said. “I guess he tried to kill us more often. I keep forgetting that part.”
“Besides,” Giles said. “I always let him watch that dreadful soap opera. But I didn’t call you here to reminisce, Buffy. Andrew is just back from Los Angeles. We have… news… and it concerns you. News about Spike.
2. Roma, the city of Love. No, wait… maybe that was Paris. Rome was the Eternal City. Rome had been around forever, just like the all the men in her life.
She’d should have known the moment they’d left L.A. She had connections, and spies and …stuff. She should have met them at the airport, but Slayery things got in the way and then she just missed them at her apartment, too.
She called The Immortal on her cell phone, since Rome was his city and he could track down anybody or anything. He agreed to pick her up and send his cronies out to find them for her.
The Immortal was nice that way.
She didn’t regret The Immortal for a moment. He knew how to show a girl a good time and thanks to him she knew what fun was again. It was novel, after all the Sunnydale years, to be with someone who liked to see you in pretty clothes and fast cars, and wasn’t overly concerned with what you’d be doing with your life in five years. He was a live in the moment guy.
They’d dated, sort of on-and-off, for awhile, but he wasn’t comfortable being compared unfavorably to anyone’s dead vampire boyfriend. Still, there had been no bad feelings on either side when they broke up. They didn’t even officially break up; they just stopped dating. But she still met him for lunch every week.
The Immortal, who knew everything in great detail long before it happened, gently broke the news that Spike and Angel weren’t even in Rome because of her. They were after some demon. Not even a live, dangerous demon. A stupid dead demon. A dead demon without a head, or a body, or maybe there was only an elbow left. Whatever. Stupid, dead demon.
After years of being the centre of their respective universes it stung to have to take a back seat to a dead, smelly thing.
When they finally showed up at the club they were acting all bizarro. They were, well, not exactly chummy, but comradely, and it wasn’t right. She knew they’d never be friends but it was just wrong that they were hanging around together in that effortless way that proved they’d known each other’s ways for a hundred years.
She danced with The Immortal while the two of them lurked in the background and stared at her. They didn’t come over. Why didn’t they come over? They didn’t come over because they had gotten into a fight. Not a fight over Buffy, a fight over a leather bowling-ball bag. At least it was Italian leather.
And nothing but Dark Magic interference or a haywire spell or the combined influences of the Second and Third Evils could make them ride off together on a stupid Vespa and force her to run madly down the narrow streets after them, tripping over brutal European cobbles in her insensible boots as she tried to keep up. Un-sensible boots? Non-sensible? Bad boots.
Dead. They were so dead. Deader, even.
3. Into the Alley of Death rode the six hundred, which was a fine predicament, since the warriors on the side of Good numbered only four lone souls. Well, technically, three souls and an ex-God King with a burning thirst for Vengeance. But Tennyson wouldn’t have cared anyway, since the battle itself was irrelevant and it was only how the words fit together afterwards that mattered.
Everything had gone to Hell all at once, which was the way it always happened, so she wasn’t sure why it kept surprising her. It wasn’t fair. It didn’t seem to matter how many Slayers were around, just as many nasty events reared their tiresome demon heads to keep them all busy.
Which was why she’d arrived late to the party. There wasn’t time for cordial introductions, she and the other Slayers just plowed into the fight.
Angel turned briefly, grinned at her, than went back to kicking…shit, that really was a dragon…ass. For a moment she thought he wasn’t there, but then the crowd parted slightly and she saw him over by the wall. He and a blue demon-woman were fighting a bunch of troll-like things while protecting a man curled up on the ground at their feet.
She headed towards him while the girls fanned out behind her.
Spike. Spike didn’t even break stride as he cut through the creatures; he just waved his sword at her and shouted at her into the rain. “‘Bout time! Didn’t think we’d be doing this together again.”
Somehow he had his coat again. The coat that had burned with him at the Hellmouth and then been scattered all over Rome by that stupid joke bomb the Immortal had planted.
Spike. Buffy caught her breath, momentarily hypnotized as the black leather whipped around in the rain. Why was it that she found the coat’s resurrection more extraordinary than his?
She pushed forward, taking care not to step on the wounded guy on the ground. The blue demon, who seemed to be on their side, was making short work of some horned beast. “I brought what help I could,” she told him. “I hope it’s enough.” They were not the words she thought her first words to him would be, but he seemed pleased with them anyway.
He darted a glance at the crowd of girls who’d rushed towards the back of the alley. “How many?” he shouted. “The Slayers?”
“Just the ones who had crushes on you,” she yelled back.
“Good,” he answered. “That’ll be most of them, then.”
“After all we’ve shared,” she admonished. “And you go off and start a fight without me.”
‘Sorry,” he said. “Felt I had to branch out on my own.” He moved quickly so his back was to hers, and for a moment she pressed up against him spine to spine. Then she raised her sword and moved forward.
At least the trolls-things were short, and she didn’t have to reach far to hack their heads off.
She only caught glimpses of him for the rest of the battle.
4. If Angel really wanted Cookie Dough, he should have grabbed it while it was still fresh in the mixing bowl.
Angel knew that he had lost her many years ago and she was never ever coming back to him. You couldn’t protect someone who knew what it was like to crawl out of their grave, and if he’d wanted to prevent that he should have stayed with her in Sunnydale. C’est la vie.
She seemed all right though, okay. Happy, and confident, but …different.
The fact was that he didn’t really know this woman curled up in the chair across from him. But it ticked him off that whomever she might be she was obviously thinking Spike more frequently than Angel.
“And then I said, they are so dead. And then I thought you were, because when I got there after the bomb blew up and all I could find was bits of Spike’s coat littered all over the street, and piles of grey dust. So I just got …upset… and then the Immortal shows up laughing his head off ’cause of this stupid joke he played on you, and he has the stupid demon head in a bag, so I made him drop it off at that office for you instead of driving around Rome with it in the back seat of the car like he wanted. He was going to mail it to you later. I mean, who the heck wants a demon head in the back of their car. And you never answered the letter I put in with it. Why didn’t you answer my letter?
Angel’s forehead furrowed as he drew a deep breath. “Letter? There was a letter?”
“I wrote a letter. Well, a note. A notelet. On one of those little cards you get at the florist shop to stick in flowers. I wrote Call if you need me. Love, Buffy.”
“Who was it addressed to?” he asked off-handedly.
“There wasn’t room to write anything else,” she admitted. “But I didn’t think it mattered. It was an all-purpose Call if you need me note. Good for any Buffy-friendly vampire-with-a-soul in need of assistance. So why didn’t the pair of you come and see me? ”
“We… I saw you in the club, and I was going to talk to you. But Spike lost the Capo’s head, and I had to rescue it. We took a Vespa.”
“I remember that bit,” she said gloomily. “I limped for a week.”
“And then, with everything, there just wasn’t time. Things were heating up here.”
“Heating up all over,” she answered. “Sorry I was late.”
“You were just in time, you saved the day.”
She smiled at him. “Saving the day, that’s my Buffy specialty.”
“Buffy, why didn’t you meet us in Rome, if you knew we were there?”
“I don’t know,” she answered. “I wanted too, but it just didn’t seem the right time. I kept finding excuses not to.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re here, now.” said Angel. “What do you think of my hotel?”
“It’s lovely,” said Buffy. “But just one very personal question, though.”
“Angel, why do you have your girlfriend locked up in the basement?”
“Werewolf,” he told her, utterly thankful that he wouldn’t have to elaborate any further.
5. Things are explained to those who didn’t bother to figure it out for themselves.
Afterwards was always a bit of a let-down. Why was it a downer? Why wasn’t he happier? He was sitting here with her, shouldn’t he be happier?
He supposed it was wrong to miss the excitement of saving the world, or at least the city, and having to be content with keeping nasties away from the Starbucks she liked to hang out at. He often worried that they only fit well together if they had to accomplish something that involved imminent violence. Maybe that was how they worked off their aggression, and if they didn’t have anything else to hit they’d start on each other.
Not that they had, recently, he just worried about it.
He worried about the fact that she stared at him when she thought he didn’t notice. Like maybe she’d finally decided to keep him, but only on spec, because she couldn’t figure out quite what to do with him.
He worried that maybe he was shorter than she remembered, or not as strong.
She was still talking, and he tried to concentrate on her voice instead of the way the lights glinted off her earrings.
“Did you know?” he heard her saying. “It was Myrtle who told us. Myrtle, in Accounting.”
“Myrtle?” he asked. “I don’t know any Myr… wait… the red-head who kept following me around taking snaps with her camera phone and writing notes?”
“That’s her. She wasn’t a Watcher but she used to work for one, and she needed a new job anyway to pay for Business school, so she got a place at Angel’s law firm. She still had connections at the Council, so she also got paid on the side to keep Giles informed about what Wolfram and Hart were doing. So one day she phones Giles and tells him that William the Bloody, aka Spike, aka Mr. Stupid Blondie Bear, is back, though as a non-corporeal entity. Then Giles waited a whole month to tell me, while he tried to find out if you were a eco-being or a hologram or something, and in the meantime he sends Andrew over to snoop.”
“….uhh…” said Spike. “An eco-being?”
“Eco, you know, like that sticky ghost plasma. Except that when Andrew gets there you’re totally corporeal and fully touchy-feely, and except for a bad week or two totally capable of picking up the phone or emailing me or at least sending me a postcard saying Hi, I’m back! And then I could say how happy I was to find out from you in person instead of hearing about your astonishing Gandalf–like resurrection from Giles and Andrew.”
“I bought a ticket,” he explained. “For a boat.”
“Why a stupid boat? They take forever to get anywhere. I’d have gotten you a plane ticket, or actually come and met you if you’d just called. And you never got on the boat anyway.”
“Something came up,” he said. “And I got confused.”
“That’s because you took the time to think about it. You never thought about things before, you just did them. Don’t think so much next time.”
“Okay,” he said, knowing he would probably think about it even more.
“Oh, and I heard all about you jumping Harmony by the way,” said Buffy. “From Myrtle, who was quite thorough and took very good notes, but thankfully didn’t have the chance to photograph that particular incident. Did you even think of me when you were banging her on top of a desk? Harmony, not Myrtle.”
“…umm… no.” he admitted. “But I think of you every other bleedin’ second of my existence.”
“Oh… that’s fine then,” she said.
She seemed okay with it, but he had a deep-down dread that she wanted to unload a few more top-heavy issues onto his head. “Why didn’t you call me?” he asked. “If you knew I was back. Have other things on your mind?”
“I was giving you space,” she said. “To figure things out, find out what you wanted. And I made the last big gesture, so I’m pretty sure it was your turn.”
Her expression turned quite serious. “You know about The Immortal, you saw us together, but he was just a guy I dated for awhile, except he’s still a good friend. I don’t want you to think there was, you know… anything special about him.”
He gave it a mammoth try, but couldn’t resist descending into pettiness. “That’s not what Dru and Darla had to say about it,” he muttered.
“What about Dru… and Darla?” she asked. It took a moment for her to figure it out, and the look of dismay on her face almost put to rest a hundred years of bitterness.
Wait… he shouldn’t have said that. Why did he tell her about the Immortal and the girls? That had nothing to do with Buffy, who had in fact indicated that she had found The Immortal sadly lacking in many important, manly ways. Wasn’t that a good thing?
Buffy didn’t talk for several minutes, and instead seemed intent on trying to blast holes into the table with a heretofore undeveloped laser vision. He wondered if she was going to get up and storm out, which was what he had been bracing himself for all evening. All day, actually. And all week, all month, in fact ever since the moment the battle had ended.
Instead she stood up, braced her arms against the edges of the tiny round table and stared at him intently. Her face was close enough for him to see a little patch by her nose where she hadn’t blended her foundation properly, and without thinking he reached over with his thumb and smoothed it out.
She smiled, then slipped her fingers into his and squeezed. “So, what’s it like, being human?” she asked him.
“What?” It threw him off when she said peculiar things like that. “I’m not human,” he pointed out. “I’m still a vampire.” He showed her his teeth, though briefly, so the rest of the coffee shop crowd didn’t get distressed and spill their lattes over their micro-thin widescreen laptops.
Buffy plopped back in her chair and slurped down the last of her Frappuchino. “No,” she sighed. “It seems you’re pretty much human.”
6. Good things come to those that wait.
“What can I say? I knew from the first moment I saw you,” she murmured into his ear. “You… had a special sort of glow about you even then, almost like I knew you’d soon have a soul. It was like…like a shiny, pre-soul-having glow. And that first Halloween, I knew I loved you, which is why I wore that fancy pink dress and waited in the alley for you. And no wedding I could ever have with anyone else would be as beautiful and perfect as the one we planned together. And it took so long for me to admit it, that I knew you were the one for me. And you were so brave, and…and did nice things for me, and yet I never appreciated you properly, like I do now.”
“…and…” he prompted.
“And your hair is way nicer than Angel’s.”
“Okay,” said Spike. “That was… good. Really… good.”
Buffy snorted. “I have to say that as ultimate fantasies go, that was pretty lame. And I hope you enjoyed it, because I’m never repeating that crap ever, ever again.”
“Right,” he answered. “Do you still have that dress?”
It’s the end of the world as we know it (And I feel fine).
Spike: It’s what we do, isn’t it? Fight the big battle, and then sit around complaining about
the contestants on American Idol until we need to fight again.
Buffy: I love you, Idiot.
Spike: ‘Course you do, pet. What’s not to love about me? Many women have taken the time
to tell me how wonderful and special I am, and…
Buffy: Shut up. Let’s go kill something evil.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/88097.html