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Opportunity Knocks (Spike/Buffy, PG13)

Title Opportunity Knocks
Author Brutti ma buoni
Pairing Spike/Buffy
Rating PG13
Words 1370
Setting Post-series (duh)
Prompt What if Buffy finally sought out Spike after ten years apart?





"You don't call. You don't write…"

The words are familiar. The voice, light and joking, is familiar. But fucking Christ he never expected to hear it again. It takes a second for Spike even to process what's been said, to analyse and realise it needs a response. To find words, any words, so that he's not just gawping.

"Thought we'd said enough. How've you been, Slayer?"

Buffy Summers must be 32 by now. She looks good on it. Same snap and sass to her, but mellowed out a little. He likes her new hair. Less so, the expression on her face and the arms folded tight round herself. Possibly, he could have chosen his opening gambit better. There's much less lightness in her next words.

"I really doubt you thought that. I really think you knew I'd have welcomed you, if you'd come. But, you know, long time ago. I've moved on."

That part stings. Maybe he doesn't show it, because she just keeps on talking. "Been good. New Council. Lots of Slayers. Lots to be done." She sounds good. The words could be dismissive, or tired, but she sounds energised. Like keeping busy suits her. Spike can imagine her, surrounded by little girls, learning from the greatest Slayer ever, big eyes and eager minds. Yeah. That would work.

"Great. Sounds great. Why are you here?" He, on the other hand, sounds rushed, abashed, worried. Like he'd like her to get out of his face. Like he's not storing up every one of these moments for the lonely future. Like-

Oh. Oh fuck.

It probably does show on his face, because she gives him a sideways look, but she goes on. "Well. You're like the only man in the world who can help, or I wouldn't ask, but we need a souled vampire to-" The details roll on. It's the usual, death or glory, only you can save mankind, Buffy and a team, volcano, cheese whizz, jailbait (it's possible he loses concentration part of the time). But there's only one thing on Spike's mind.

"You sure you're up for it, Slayer? In your condition?" He can hear the second heartbeat, mile a minute, tiny and sitting snugged up under hers, though she's not showing so far's he can tell.

She meets his eyes, shrugs. "Sure. I worked through my whole first pregnancy. Why stop now?"

*

It's odd, how you can selflessly give up the love of your life and know she's moved on to another world, and yet it can still burn when she comes back and is happy without you.

No. Actually, no, that's not odd at all. That's what people are like, selfish sods that they are, and Spike's never pretended to be above them. So it burns, the whole time they travel together, and fight together and save the world together, and it's still burning when they sit in a bar in Jo'burg contemplating that world with a hint of smugness before it's time for the long haul home.

They've been okay, together, with a mission to act as the glue and paper to cover the gaping cracks in what they once had. Old teamwork isn't forgotten. They always fought like a dream, never a problem there. The keen eyes of the kid squaddies have kept Spike's emotions well tamped, and their original interaction style – ferociously efficient bickering – is rediscovered, does well enough to get the job completed.

This moment is a surprise, before they disband and return to old lives. Buffy engineered it, when she'd been carefully keeping them apart or well chaperoned throughout. "Come for a drink. Talk about old times." It's civilised. Very much not them. He should have known it wouldn't be so simple.

She lets him get a decent way down his first beer before she starts. The booze feels good after days of peril. Relaxing, if not proper bitter. Spike's not ready for, "I need to know why."

She doesn't labour the point. Just that brief query. If only he had as short an answer. But he does have one, of sorts.

"At first, I couldn't. Then, seemed like there was a job for me. Then… then Angel died. And the others. Didn't seem decent, dropping them off at the cemetery and heading off for a shag." She almost flinches at that one. "And then I remembered you in Rome, looking happy. Moving on. Me and Angel, we'd made our peace with that, with you not having our kind of life now. Sort of. Seemed like- I dunno. Seemed a bit ungentlemanly to go back on that, when he couldn't."

That's the heart of it. He remembers the alley vividly, and not only in dark dreams. The heat, the fear, the blood. The death of all his friends, so close he could see their flesh parting, taste the blood, bitter and unsustaining. He wouldn't have sullied their memories with running off to Buffy, not early on. Betraying Angel felt like betraying them all.

And then it was somehow much too late.

He sinks the rest of his – repellently weak and fizzy – beer. It isn't soothing any more. Buffy signals for more, getting herself another frothy alcohol-less concoction. After a bit she says, "But I missed you."

It sounds, amazingly, forlorn. She pauses, sips, continues. "I lost a lot, in Sunnydale. My hometown. A lot of memories. Anya, some of the original girls – did you know that? But losing you was the big deal for me, back then. I said I wasn't ready to live without you. You remember? Well, I wasn't. I made some bad decisions. Pulled it around, now, I think. But people still remember me, those years after Sunnydale. They don't have so much confidence in me." Another sip. "It's okay. It does me good, I think, not to be the one that always knows what's best. But at the time-" She meets his eyes. "At the time, it was awful. And I wish you could have been there to make it less."

"Sorry." He doesn't know what else to say. He was dead, after all. Mostly. It's not just an excuse.

"You could be there now." She pauses. "I mean, we'd value you. You're a great fighter. Our guys could learn from you." There's a much bigger pause. "And- You know I'm not with anyone, right?"

It has become fairly apparent. Absence of photographs, calls home, references, even the bastard's name. Knocked up and left, poor kid. Twice, apparently. Spike absently unclenches the fists that have bunched, thinking of it. But he's been confused, so it's a relief that she's talking.

She pats her flat belly, possessive and proud. "I wanted this. And so I did it. And it's okay. My friends help, a lot. Though Giles thinks I'm insane. 'With the Slayer lifespan, it's the height of irresponsibility to choose single parenthood.'" She does a good impression of old Rupert, these days. But Spike's more interested in her message. "So, I'm not with anyone. If that's what's keeping you away, it shouldn't. And my kids can always use an extra godfather. Specially an immortal one."

Spike's conception of what this is, what she's offering, is turning like a whirligig. So far: trust, family and a measure of forgiveness implied in the gift of the rest. Not to mention a role with a purpose and some regular demon violence. He wants to take it so much he can taste the bitterness of being by Buffy and not being allowed to touch her. Because, of course, that part's not being offered.

Ah. Fuck it. She might fall for his dubious evil charm again; it's worked before. Besides, he's bored. Random petty acts of crime and heroism have passed the time lately but it's long since palled being a rogue demon hunter, even one with a damn sight more ambiguity in the title than Wes ever had.

"Yeah, okay," says William the Bloody. "No actual holy water in this godfathering?"

Buffy laughs. First time, really, since he's seen her again. And it might, just, be that Spike's finding a happy ending.

***

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
velvetwhip
Jul. 6th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
I like this! A fallible Buffy floundering in her lonely adulthood is so believable.


Gabrielle
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 6th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think she's okay, just not stellar. Like life with Spike in it is more fun and more interesting.
velvetwhip
Jul. 6th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
I've actually been working on my own take on a 10 year reunion for about a week now. Would I be stepping on your toes if I ended up posting it?


Gabrielle
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 6th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
No, absolutely not - there's a bunch of ten year prompts at fag ends, and that's all that prompted this. Nothing original in mine!
zanthinegirl
Jul. 6th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
Awww!

And a hopeful ending. Sniff. This is a future for Our Heroes I can believe. Buffy sort of flailing around at adulthood post-sunnydale and settling down to a real life, even without a steady guy. And Spike taking a while to get over himself. I like it!

Ah. Fuck it. She might fall for his dubious evil charm again; it's worked before. Besides, he's bored. Random petty acts of crime and heroism have passed the time lately but it's long since palled being a rogue demon hunter

Hee! Yep, I can buy that!
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 6th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
I think if someone else had brought them together earlier, they'd have been okay, but in the end it didn't happen, and it was just such a long time after that.

Something that's in my mind is whether they actually desperately needed a souled vamp for this, or if it's Buffy's way of approaching Spike to break the deadlock. I have my suspicions!
waddiwasiwitch
Jul. 6th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
Aw - I loved this. And the last line. Hee hee. This was very natural and very them.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 7th, 2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
treadingthedark
Jul. 7th, 2013 05:52 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes! Loved it.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 7th, 2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
Much fun to imagine this alternative future!
shapinglight
Jul. 7th, 2013 10:32 am (UTC)
Hmm, if Spike had been the one to die, would Angel have felt the same way, I wonder?

Great work, as always.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 7th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
Oh god, even more so. Would never have taken her up on this offer. Ever. Too noble. A vice Spike neatly avoids. :)

kikimay
Jul. 7th, 2013 10:39 am (UTC)
I adore everything about this. The prompt is so fascinating and you developed the concept beautifully. I think that single mother Buffy is somehow incredibly believable and I can understand both her fear to be alone and the need to manage things on her own. It really feels like Buffy. And I love how Spike fits perfectly into the picture.


"Yeah, okay," says William the Bloody. "No actual holy water in this godfathering?"

Buffy laughs. First time, really, since he's seen her again. And it might, just, be that Spike's finding a happy ending.


This is very hopeful and spuffy.
Thanks for this fic!
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 7th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think it is quite hopeful, in an odd way, that they've decided to stop drifting, both of them.
rebcake
Jul. 9th, 2013 06:04 am (UTC)
Okay. Love it! These parts stuck out as especially brilliant:

we need a souled vampire to-" The details roll on. It's the usual, death or glory, only you can save mankind, Buffy and a team, volcano, cheese whizz, jailbait (it's possible he loses concentration part of the time).

It's odd, how you can selflessly give up the love of your life and know she's moved on to another world, and yet it can still burn when she comes back and is happy without you.

No. Actually, no, that's not odd at all. That's what people are like, selfish sods that they are, and Spike's never pretended to be above them.

They always fought like a dream, never a problem there. Their original interaction style – ferociously efficient bickering – is rediscovered

She lets him get a decent way down his first beer before she starts. The booze feels good after days of peril...He sinks the rest of his – repellently weak and fizzy – beer. It isn't soothing any more.

Knocked up and left, poor kid. Twice, apparently. Spike absently unclenches the fists that have bunched, thinking of it.

Spike's conception of what this is, what she's offering, is turning like a whirligig. So far: trust, family and a measure of forgiveness implied in the gift of the rest. Not to mention a role with a purpose and some regular demon violence.

Ah. Fuck it. She might fall for his dubious evil charm again; it's worked before. Besides, he's bored.


Hurrah! Unlife is a funny old thing. Happy endings (middles) can come around when you least expect them.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 9th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
Yay! So glad you liked this. Poor things, they've been aimless too long.
comlodge
Jul. 9th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Lovely story. Plausible get together and as always spot on voices.

"No actual holy water in this godfathering?"

No Spike, just the promise of more flammable Spuffy. Yeah!
red_satin_doll
Jul. 9th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
I like their voices very much here. I particularly like Buffy's unapologetic approach to her choices - her right to have children, to be a single mother, to sleep with whomever she chooses, irregardless of what anyone thinks. that hasn't come easily, it's hard-fought and hard-earned; there's something just right about her world-weary confidence.
timeofchange
Jul. 11th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
Love, love, love this.
simplefangirl
Jul. 12th, 2013 12:40 am (UTC)
Love this... I so admire Buffy's ability to just forgive....and pull Spike right back in to where he is needed and wanted..
Such good stuff in your stuff!!
seapealsh
Jul. 18th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
Nicely done.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )