1. apreludetoanend has written me this absolutely fantastic and gorgeous Giles fic (with Spike): On Earth as it is in Heaven. It's 375 words of sheer perfection - go read!!
2. Huge thanks to laisserais and electricalgwen for the fabulous virtual gifts and birthday wishes. :D
3. I have fic! Hopefully it's not weird that I'm posting fic on my birthday. It's actually for southernbangel's Fluffathon, which had its original deadline today (it's now been extended to next week) but when I got the prompt I was so excited about it and I started writing with the idea that I'd be posting it on my 30th birthday. So that's why I'm sharing the fic today, and cause I like the idea of posting fic on my birthday!
This is for awesome cityphonelines. I hope you enjoy it - these were some awesome prompts to work with!
Title:What Doesn't Kill You
Characters/Pairing: Buffy, Spike, Xander with some Spike/Xander
Word Count: 2,039
Feedback: I love comments. Concrit is very welcome by email.
Disclaimer: Sadly not mine, Joss own them.
Summary: Set about eight years post-Chosen. There's grocery shopping, demon fighting, wine consumption and possibly some smoochies - so basically a typical evening for Buffy, Spike and Xander.
A/N: Thanks to southernbangel for organizing the Fluffathon!
Thanks to the completely awesome and wonderful savoytruffle and spookymonkey for their totally awesome betas. Any mistakes are mine (and you're always welcome to point out any to me!).
What Doesn't Kill You
“Look!” Buffy points to the third shelf in the bread section. “Pre-made Garlic Bread. Who knew? And, let me also add: yummy.”
“Grab one, will you?” Xander pushes the cart over. “I love that stuff.”
Spike scowls. “Not exactly vamp friendly.”
Xander waves a dismissive hand in Spike’s direction. “It’s for me, later. Not tonight.”
Spike drops a few steaks into the cart and Xander restrains himself from a steak-stake pun. It’s a sign of his new late-twenties maturity.
That, or he’s distracted by the rows and rows of cookies.
“Mmm, Oreos.” Buffy picks up the only chocolately cookie that Xander has not been coveting. He decides on chewy chocolate chip cookies. Who cares how many chemicals it takes to make them soft? They’re damn good.
Spike eyes the cookie boxes. “Thought we were getting cake.”
“Of course.” Buffy nods vigorously. “But I’m only turning thirty once and even though everyone says ‘thirty is the new twenty’, I still think I’m allowed cake and cookies.” Her gaze focuses down the aisle to the frozen food section. “And ice cream! I definitely need some Ben & Jerry’s.”
“Sounds like whipped cream and chocolate sauce are also in order,” Xander says. The debate between Chunky Monkey and Chubby Hubby already rages in his head.
“Great. Two of you’ll be bouncing off the walls like four-year-olds.” Spike shakes his head. “Wine.”
And with that he’s off. Probably in search of wine, definitely in search of escape.
Xander wraps an arm around Buffy. “What does the birthday girl want next? Your wish – as always – is my command.” No actual wishes, of course. He sends a silent ‘thanks’ to Anya for that important lesson.
A wistful smile touches Buffy’s face. The kind he never wants to see but can’t prevent – the burden of being the Slayer. Even if she’s not a the but an a now. The whole heavy on the shoulders thing? Never goes away.
At least he can help her forget sometimes. And that’s something.
“Don’t let being back in California get to you. You came here to party, not to slay.”
“Funny, that’s what I told Giles when I arrived in Sunnydale.” But Buffy has a smile on her face and it gets bigger when he tosses some marshmallows in the cart.
“He never listens. That’s what comes of being a Watcher and not a Listener.”
Buffy pauses, mid-reach to chunky salsa. “You know, now that we’re in charge of the Slayer-Watcher thing, we should totally change the name to something less lame like, um… Okay, I got nothing.”
“Me either. Unless you count ‘Helper-Guider-Knowledge Person’. But I say, let’s not count that.” Buffy nods. “You should run the idea past Willow. She’s calling from Germany tonight, right?”
“Yep! Stupid Germany and its Bachlechic demons. It would be awesome if she was here.”
“Definitely.” It still weirds Xander out to be so far away from Willow.
“I’m less bummed about Dawnie not being here. We’re shopping in Paris next week.”
“That’ll be fun – for you two.” Xander tosses some lime Tostitos in the cart. “So how is –”
The question is interrupted by a loud crash, sounds of bottles smashing and a British sounding “hey!”
“Spike?” Buffy asks.
“Spike,” Xander agrees.
Spike’s mid-brawl when they arrive.
Mid-air to be precise.
He sails past them and lands in a heap beside the ‘Food for Wine’ display. There’s a muffled, “Bloody hell.”
Xander seconds that when he takes in the eight-foot demon with pointy horns all over its purple skin. “Purple?” he mutters to Buffy.
“Haven’t you heard?” Buffy asks. “Pink’s out, purple’s in. But that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s color.” She kicks the demon in its purple ass, causing it to slide headfirst into a display of wine coolers.
She strides over and places her boot on the demon’s back. “Purple’s not your color. You’d better hope the lighting in hell works for you.” She snaps its neck.
Xander and Buffy stare at the dead demon. “Now I know I’m back in California,” she says.
“Hey!” Spike looks almost like he’s pouting. “That was the first decent violence I’ve had in weeks.”
“Don’t worry, there’ll be more soon enough.” Xander pats him on the shoulder. “Clean up in Aisle Ten,” he shouts.
“You’d think that the life save-age and demon killage would get us free groceries,” Buffy hisses to Xander. The cashier continues ringing in their items at her slow spaced-out pace. “Or a discount at least.”
“I guess they figure that the slaying makes up for all the destruction he caused,” Xander nods at Spike, who’s outside smoking – and sulking.
“But he was trying to stop the demon rampage. Sure he got carried away, but it’s Spike.” Buffy smiles. It’s a smile that would have annoyed the old Xander, but he’s mature now.
It’s also possible he’s smiling the same smile. He blames his late-twenties maturity. (It may only be a couple of months before he breaks into the big three-oh, but he’ll be describing himself as late-twenties to the bitter, bitter end.)
Of course, the advantage of age is having enough money to be generous.
“It’s okay.” Xander hands the cashier his Visa, with the highest limit he’s ever had. “It’s on me.”
Buffy giggles and giggles. And giggles some more. It’s the laugh of a drunk Buffy.
Xander opens his mouth to inform her of this very important fact, but giggles instead. A very manly, non-giggle giggle, though, and he would swear to that in a court of law.
“Should’ve gotten some whiskey.” Spike frowns at the wine bottle, then takes a swig. “’M not drunk enough to find you two funny.”
“Blech,” Buffy says. “That stuff you like is gross. This…” She leans over and peers at the bottle. “Barefoot’s White Zin is good. Zin… Zin, zen, zin!” She starts laughing again.
“Good and reasonably priced.” Xander raises his glass. “It has my seal of approval.”
Spike rolls his eyes and takes another generous swallow.
“Plus, it’s sophisticated – drinking wine.” Buffy holds her glass up as if inspecting the contents… then collapses sideways on the couch. The wine doesn’t spill, it’s a drunken miracle.
“Yeah, real Continental sophisticate, you are,” Spike says, eyebrow raised.
Xander snorts. “Oh, because you’re totally Mr. Sophistication.” He reaches down to Spike, who’s sprawled on the floor, and punches his arm. “Time just stopped for you in 1977, didn’t it?
“Says the guy who thinks a tee shirt and jeans are a fashion statement. ‘S not a style.” He adjusts the pillow beneath him. “It’s a fucking Gap ad. Bunch of bloody clones.”
“Hey! Lots of people shop at The…” Xander decides this probably isn’t the best line of defense. “But that’s beside the point. This is the look that reflects my late-twenties –”
“– maturity,” Spike and Buffy say along with him.
“I’ve said that a few times, huh?”
“Oh yeah.” Buffy points a finger at him. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you rubbing it in that I’m older than you.” She pours herself another large glass of wine and stuffs an Oreo in her mouth. “Just two and a half months,” she says around cookie.
“Yeah,” Spike scoffs. “You’re a regular Norma Desmond.”
“I’m surprised you don’t like my new look,” Xander says to Spike, unable to let the attack on his style go undefended. “You hated what I used to wear back when we were roommates.” He tries to sort through his memory to when exactly that was. It all blends together like an Eighties sitcom full of wet towel wackiness, bantery insults and pratfalls. Xander suspects he was the pratfall guy, and he’s okay with that.
“Pfft!” Spike waves a hand at him. “Wasn’t that bad.”
“You tried to kill yourself because you were wearing my clothes!”
“Wasn’t just that.”
“You tried to kill yourself?” Buffy puts her wine glass down and frowns at him. “You shouldn’t do that.”
“’S okay, Willow and Xander staged an intervention. It was a sodding After School Special”
Xander pats Spike’s shoulder. “Lessons were learned, tears were shed.”
“By you, wanker.”
“Aww, you two are so cute.” Buffy pops another cookie in her mouth.
“What?” they ask, in unison. Xander leans back on the couch, away from Spike.
“Cute,” Spike grumbles. “Used to be scary.”
“And I used to be…” Xander shakes his head, a faux serious look on his face. “I’ve got nothin’. Nothin’ I tell you.”
Buffy just rolls her eyes. “Oh my god.” She jumps up, cookie pieces showering off her lap onto the floor. “This is the best idea ever!”
She starts pacing, a manic gleam in her eyes. When she actually begins rubbing her hands together, Xander gets scared. Spike at his biggest and baddest had nothing on Buffy at this moment. Xander shifts closer to the lesser of two evils – which happens to be Spike –and yes, Xander appreciates the ridiculousness of that statement.
“You two should kiss!” Buffy suggests this the way she might suggest ‘Let’s get more Chunky Monkey!’ or ‘Let’s order pizza!’ It sounds so ordinary and sane and like it’s an idea instead of the craziest thing Xander’s heard since ‘Vampires are real.’
Which probably isn’t the best analogy, come to think of it.
But this is crazy and he says so to Buffy. For once Spike agrees with him, “Gone round the bend there, Slayer?”
“No, no.” Buffy twirls a lock of hair and looks at them as though they’re a tricky math problem. “I think this is the answer.”
“The answer to what?” Xander’s lost.
“To you two. To how you are with each other.”
“I think I speak for Spike and myself when I say ‘huh’ and also an ‘uh uh’ along with an emphatic ‘no way.’”
“It’ll be your birthday presents to me.”
Xander grasps onto the only vaguely logical piece of that statement. “But we’ve already gotten you presents.” He gestures to the food and booze filling the room. Sure, Spike didn’t pay for any of it but this isn’t the time to dwell on details.
“How many times have I saved both your lives, huh? You so owe me.” Buffy plants her hands on her hips and looks at them like she may start unsaving their lives if they don’t agree.
Xander ponders his escape options. They all seem very far away and he suspects Buffy would tackle him on the way there.
“C’mon, I’m turning thirty.” How Buffy manages to go from super-scary to sad-and-sweet in point-six seconds has always been a mystery. His resistance is crumbling.
Apparently Spike’s crumbled faster. “Yeah, fine.” He tips the bottle to his mouth and drains it.
“What?” Xander asks from denial-land.
“Excellent.” Buffy settles on a chair across from the couch and looks at them. “Well, c’mon. I’m ready for the hotness.”
“Hotness? But…” Xander gulps his wine, chokes on it and coughs some back into his glass. Oh yeah, he’s hot.
Spike slides up beside him. “Leave off the dramatics. This can’t be your first time kissing a bloke.”
“Really?” Buffy leans forward. “Never with Andrew?”
“What? No!” Xander says. “And I can’t believe you’d think I’d kiss Andrew.”
“It’s not going to kill you,” Spike says as he leans toward Xander.
The weird part is that’s Spike’s right.
It doesn’t kill him.
And you know what they say, ‘What doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger.’ Or in this case, hornier.
Oh yeah, kissing Spike is good. Very, very good. In fact, traditional definitions of good just don’t seem to cover it. It’s a level of good previously unexplored, so Xander gets busy with the exploring – and the touching and the kissing. God, the kissing.
And then the kissing stops. Xander blinks his eye and tries to bring the room back into focus.
“Huh.” Spike tilts his head and looks at Xander. “You’re not bad at snogging, Harris.”
“Uh.” Xander blinks some more. “Thanks?”
He looks over at Buffy. Her mouth is slightly open, her cheeks are flushed and her eyes are darting between him and Spike.
“So.” Spike leans back and places a hand on Xander’s thigh. “Looks like this evening’ll be more fun than I thought.”
Pairing and/or character requested: Buffy, Xander and Spike (can be 'shippy or gen)
Up to three things you would like included in your story: grocery store shopping, wine (preferably Beringer's Chenin Blanc or Barefoot's White Zin, both are very cheap, but good) and Xander paying for the groceries
Up to three things you would not like in the story: um... can't think of anything I'm against.
Rating preference: Any