Viva Las Vegas
By Barb C
Disclaimers: The usual. All belongs to Joss and Mutant Enemy, and naught to me.
Rating: R-ish to NC-17
Distribution: Ask and you shall receive, I’d just like to know where it ends up.
Synopsis: When Spike and Buffy decide to tie the knot, complications arise in the form of a thirty-year-old murder.
Author’s notes: This story takes place in the same universe as “Raising In the Sun,” “Necessary Evils,” and “A Parliament of Monsters.” It’s set in the summer after POM, and contains spoilers for POM. Thanks to Sandy, Vero_72, Eldithia, Fangfaceandrea, and Shiveta for help with the Spanish; any errors in that department are entorely my own!
When I first found out that I was the Slayer, I went through an angst phase about never seeing Paris. Obviously I would die young, and while young, be stuck in Sunnydale forever. (I was also angsting about Mom and Dad getting divorced, and that zit on my chin that just would not go away. Even at fifteen I had priorities.) One night, in cuddle mode, I told Spike about the youthful angsting (but not about the zit). He just looked at me and said, “Love, Paris has vampires too.”
Which is—well, I’m not going to call it profound, but Spike does have a way of cutting to the chase.
OK, freeze-frame on the couple in the mile-long ’59 DeSoto: the blonde in lo-rise jeans and kicky gathered-front raspberry top? That would be me. Buffy Anne Summers, twenty-three years old, resident of Sunnydale, freelance vampire slayer. The guy behind the wheel—black jeans, black tee, sun-free complexion and biceps to die for? That would be Spike, aka William the Bloody. Hundred and fifty-one last May, native of England’s mountains green, slightly non-standard vampire. No, he’s not the one with the soul. He’s the one with a pulse. It’s a long story.
Spike’s also my demon lover. (Sounds cooler than live-in boyfriend, no?) I did mention the vampire part, right? Why yes, there is a certain conflict of interest involved in us being involved! Exactly how we got from Point A to Point B is boggleworthy. Heck, in the last seven years Spike and I’ve gone from Point A to Point Kumquat.
Anyway. We couldn’t afford Paris. But Spike’s demon-hunting business was booming and I wasn’t doing too badly as an instructor at Ice World, and we could definitely swing a weekend in Vegas. So here’s us, road tripping down the Strip at three AM on a Friday night. Windows rolled down, radio turned up, and me scootched up next to Spike on the king-sized leather seat, checking out the Fodor’s. “…OK, first thing tomorrow I want to hit the shops at Caesar’s Palace, and then the Venetian, and ooh, look, baby white tigers!”
“Didn’t come to Sin City to gawk at overfed housecats,” Spike objected, tapping cigarette ash out the window. “There’s this quaint place called a ‘casino.’ Got mayhem to wreak among the wallets of the ungodly.”
I can always tell when he’s been reading too many of those old Simon Templar novels. I poked him in the ribs. (Spike needs regular rib-poking.) “Don’t worry, I can exercise the credit cards while you lose at poker. But you are so taking me to Cirque du Soleil tomorrow night. In a suit. And afterwards there will be dancing.”
“And who are you, She Who Must Be Obeyed?” And he did the fake-growly thing where he pretended to go for my neck, and I laughed and smacked him and told him to keep his eyes on the road. Which of course was when I saw the vampires. Because naturally, there’s vampires in Vegas, too.
“Pull in! Now!” I yelled, pointing over his shoulder, and sans question, Spike did just that, spinning the steering wheel like a croupier from hell. We jumped the curb and roared into the parking lot of the Wee Little White Chapel of Cupid’s Love In The Heather, right behind the shiny new Pontiac convertible at the drive-thru wedding window. The guy-vamp (in game face and a tux) in the driver’s seat was trying to yank the minister out the window, while the girl vamp (cheap Vera Wang knock-off, and excuse me, if you’re evil, why steal off the rack?) cheered him on.
Spike gunned the engine. Fiberglass crumple zone vs solid steel bumper? Not a contest. We bumper-car’d into the convertible and Tuxy somersaulted over the windshield and onto the hood. His fiancé flipped her veil back with a fangy glare and yelled, “Watch where you’re driving, you—”
But by that time I’d done a tuck and roll out the passenger window and jumped into the back seat of the convertible. I grabbed the Bride of Dracula by her train and yanked her back against the seat—stake go in, stake come out, and dust whirled around me as I spun. Spike was crouching on the hood of the convertible, showing the bridegroom how to do an impression of that creepy little girl in The Exorcist. I guess when you try it without a special effects team, your head does tend to come off.
And that was that.
Back when I first found out I wasn’t the only Slayer (are you sensing a theme here?) Faith told me that slaying made her hungry and horny. Which I thought was gross, mainly because it was true. I was big into self-denial at the time. Since coming back from the dead a couple of years ago, (another long story) not so much. Turns out the inner Slayer is much happier with Haagen-Dazs and orgasms than with low-fat yoghurt and celibacy. Downside? The outer Slayer verges dangerously upon a size four. Upside? That would be the Haagen-Dazs and orgasms.
Spike hopped off the hood and grabbed me around the waist. I buried my hands in his gel-crunchy curls and my tongue in his mouth, and mmmmmmm, Buffy like. Nothing like a cool vampire on a hot night. Spike kisses with his whole body, hands and hips and shoulders moving to the beat of the city that sparkled and strobed around us. Streetlights turned the clouds of settling vamp dust into a billion billion specks of fool’s gold.
“Are you OK?” I asked the minister when I came up for air.
Minister Guy looked at me and Spike over the rims of his glasses. The little plaque under the window said Reverend Finster 12:AM-6:00 AM. He nodded, rubbing his throat. “No serious damage, thanks to you, young lady.” He frowned a little, like he could still see a soap-ring of demon-ness. It made me itchy. Mostly I could pretend that carrying the Slayer power last winter hadn’t affected me. And mostly it wasn’t pretending, because I didn’t feel different. Much. Nothing like Cordy and her glowy demon superpowers, that’s for sure. “Good heavens, you’re the Slayer, aren’t you?”
“One of them.” It’s not like I go around with ‘I kill vampires—ask me how!’ pinned to my chest, but one of the other things I’ve figured out in the last couple of years is that adults aren’t nearly as clueless as I used to think they were. The older I got, the smarter Mom got. I suspect a conspiracy.
Reverend Finster straightened his little collar thingy and brushed vamp dust off his coat-sleeves. He leaned over the sill, searching the ground in front of the window. “I don’t suppose that fellow dropped his wallet. You, er, disposed of them before they paid me.”
I did a blinky thing. “Paid you?”
“For officiating,” he explained, waving at the sign which read Drive-Through Weddings 60.00$–Select One From Column A & Two From Column B. Gratuity not included.
More blinky. “You marry a lot of vampires?” Duh. Vegas. No blood test. Gorches. I should have realized.
“Against my better judgement. Vampires never tip well. Of course I don’t restrict myself to vampires,” Reverend Finster said with a chuckle, eyeing the two of us like a man smelling another commission. “The Clark County licence office is half a mile north,” he said hintfully. “Open twenty-four hours a day on weekends. How long have you two known one another?”
“Seven years, give or take,” Spike said, “but I don’t think the ones we spent trying to kill each other count.”
I looked up at the big neon wedding bells ding-donging back and forth on the sign overhead. Not in a wistful way. There was no wist. I was wistless. Let’s face it, give me and Spike a picket fence and we’ll tear it apart to whittle stakes. “We’ve been living together for about a year and a half, but we haven’t even talked about–I mean, I’m happy just to get to next Tuesday, and…”
And there we were, staring into each other’s eyes in front of a romantic backdrop of wrecked Pontiac. Spike’s eyes are blue. Blue like a really, really blue thing. Just thought I’d mention. He dropped to one knee, right in the middle of the spreading puddle of oil leaking out from beneath the convertible, and took my hand in both of his, thumbs meeting across the backs of my fingers. Hands of Spike–battered knuckles, bitten nails, long, strong, elegant fingers. Those hands had touched me everywhere, and nothing they’d ever done had ever been more intimate than this.
“Wanted to do it up proper this time, love, roses and champagne and such, but maybe we’re not meant for that, eh? ‘m not going to go on about not being able to live without you, ’cause we both know I can, and you without me. But when we’re together, there’s not one moment I don’t thank whatever runs this sorry world that you’re in it, and I’m at your side.” Spike’s voice sounds like a whisky shot going down; words that go straight to your head. And other parts. “All my life I’ve wanted something more–took meeting you to make me see that more was all around me, and I’d just to reach out and take hold. You’re the fire that burns me to the bone and the balm that heals me, and though I could live a thousand years without you I fucking well don’t want to.” Was he shaking? Or was that just me? “I’m saying this all wrong, but what it comes to is I love you, Buffy Anne Summers, and I should be honored beyond words if you would condescend to grant me your hand in marriage.”
This was, in fact, the second time a vampire’s proposed to me. Same vampire, even. So I was cool and calm and collected, and totally able to consider the pros and cons with an objective eye. Cons: Despite all, Spike 1. Basically evil, though trying 2. probably going to outlive me by centuries, 3. Constitutionally unable to pick up own towels. Pros: OMGSPIKEPROPOSEDSQUEEE!!!
I could always back out after an agonized interior monologue about the whole soulless demon thing. (That would be Agonized Interior Monologue #352-D, Major Slayer/Vampire Relationship Moments For The Use Of.) But since I’d already run through #352-D approximately 3,487,361 times in the past three years, I figured that just this once I could give it a miss. So I burst into tears and fell into Spike’s arms instead. I don’t need to go into detail, do I? ‘Oh, William!’, ‘Oh, Buffy!’, cue indecent slurping noises.
“I got you a ring,” Spike gasped when I finally gave him lip room to talk again. “A good one, this time. Not as big a rock as I’d like, but I’d’ve had to steal anything better.” He fumbled in his jacket pocket and pulled out a little black velvet box, and I almost started crying again. Not that I don’t have a sentimental attachment to that horrible silver skull thing he gave me the first time, but this was beautiful—three small perfect diamonds set in a kind of art deco rose trellis pattern. “D’you like it, pet?”
I buried my face in his chest with a gulpy kind of laugh. “Love it, love you. Let’s carpe that diem.”
The laws of the great State of Nevada require that the parties to a marriage be one male and one female over the age of eighteen, but they say absolutely nothing about one party being a soulless and technically evil demon. With, by the way, a fake green card. Who knew?
“No way!” Dawn squealed into my ear. “Ohmigod, that’s great! Was it romantic? Did he recite lame poetry? And hey, wait—you DOGS! You ditched us!”
“We didn’t ditch you!” I protested between kisses as Spike and I stumbled into the lobby of the Versailles. Even combining Slayer reflexes and vampire agility, carrying three suitcases and an overnight bag up a flight of marble stairs while groping your new husband with the thoroughness he deserves is tricky. “We’re still having a reception when we get home,” I informed the soulless and technically evil demon “With cake and flowers and toasts and forcing Spike to be nice to Dad and— where is everybody?”
The Versailles was one of the older hotels on the Strip, but it was still gorgeous in a over-the-top kind of way. Outside, rose gardens and hedge mazes; inside, white marble, plush red carpets and crystal chandeliers. The ceiling overhead was a wilderness of gilt curlicues and plaster cupids surrounding tromp l’oil paintings of gods in olive wreaths chasing extremely zaftig nymphs. It looked exactly like the palace of the Sun King, if Louis XIVth had owned a whole bunch of slot machines. And it was completely empty. No guests, no staff, no crazy-making barrage of Nintendo bleeps, boops, and buzzes from the casino that had to be just down the hall. Even the circle of overstuffed chairs in the center of the lobby lacked the usual crew of snoring gamblers. Which, in Vegas on a weekend, even at four in the morning, is major weird.
Spike dumped the bags on the floor and scanned the lobby for a bellhop to intimidate. Nada. He strode over and banged on the desk bell. “Oi! Little service here!”
The red velvet ropes in front of the desk swayed a little on their brass poles, as if someone had just brushed them as they walked past, but no one was there. One of the few words I remember from high school French is ‘frisson,’ and I was definitely getting one. “Spike,” I whispered, feeling for the half-dozen shuriken in my purse. “Can you hear anything? Anyone?”
When he concentrates, Spike can stand in the basement of our house and hear a heartbeat on the second floor. “Nothing,” he breathed.
A gust of cold air whooshed down my spine. “May I help you?” said a plummy voice in my ear. And wham, the lobby sparked to life. An exhausted family with a mountain of luggage shoved through the front door, a gaggle of beery, bedraggled college guys shuffled past looking for the elevators, a pair of middle-aged women strolled past sipping monster pina coladas through whirly straws and discussing their bunions. And every bell and buzzer in the casino was ringing and buzzing non-stop.
Spike and I whipped around in unison, ready to clock potential baddies with a suitcase if necessary. There was a man behind the desk: Dark suit, dark tie, dark circles under dark eyes. Good-looking in a Rat Pack kind of way, but off. Like he was a couple of days past his sell-by. His nametag read ‘Vincent Anselm, MANAGER.’ He spread dead-white hands on the polished black marble of the desk, and I caught a whiff of stale old tobacco smoke, stinky cigar sub-type.
OK, me? The Slayer. Also, not completely stupid. Something was afoot. Caterpillars couldn’t be more fortified with feet. But I was on my honeymoon, darn it, and spending said honeymoon boinking my very own personal vampire into unconsciousness was all the contact with the supernatural I was up for. I could Scully everything: Mr. Anselm had been in the employees’ bathroom sneaking a smoke, the air conditioning must have kicked on just as he came out, and it was just a slow Friday night. In the middle of the tourist season. Right.
“We have reservations,” I said blithely, slapping the paperwork down on the desk so as to prominently display the girl’s best friends on my left hand. “But we’ll need to change the name.” I looked around. “You wouldn’t happen to have a register we could sign, would you? With a Mr. and Mrs.? In big curly letters?”
Anselm spooky-eyed the both of us. “I’m afraid we don’t use registers any longer. It’s all done by computer.” His voice, on the other hand, was an icecube dispenser. “Ah, yes, Ms. Summers. We’ve been expecting you. Your check-in time was supposed to be midnight. I’m afraid we’ve had to re-assign your room.”
“Yeh, well, we were unavoidably delayed,” Spike said, hooking an arm around my waist and planting a decidedly proprietary kiss on the top of my head. “Not going to be a problem, is it?”
There’s a certain tone of voice Spike gets when the only thing between your neck and his fangs is the purely academic knowledge that it will mess up his standing with the people he actually cares about. In Sunnydale he knows people and has lots of other reasons besides ‘Buffy will be upset’ for not killing most of them, so I don’t hear it often. And he was still several shades of irritated shy of using it now. But this, in case you were wondering, is the reason for all those Agonized Internal Monologues. Long-term relationships with the soul-challenged are definitely don’t-try-this-at-home-kids territory.
“Not at all.” Mr Anselm said smoothly. “In fact—” He paused, obviously percolating a revolutionary idea. “Am I to understand that the two of you are newlyweds?”
Having decided that one kiss was insufficient, Spike was engaged in working his way from the top of my head downwards. He’s a very exacting craftsman. “How’d you guess?”
“Part of my job,” Anselm replied with a Haunted Mansion smile. “What I was about to suggest is that we’ve received an unexpected cancellation for our honeymoon suite. If you’d like, I can put you there. At no extra charge, of course.” He produced a brochure full of pictures of smiling couples gazing adoringly at each other while enjoying the three days and two nights in the tower suite, day pass for two at the spa, manicure and pedicure for the bride, breakfast in bed, complimentary champagne gift set…
Spike looked at me and I looked at Spike, who bent over and whispered an absolutely filthy suggestion involving complimentary champagne and various body parts. I turned back to Mr. Anselm with a bright G-rated smile. “Sold.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/56984.html