quinara: Spike crowding Buffy against a wall in OAFA. (Spuffy wall)
[personal profile] quinara
ANTESCRIPTUM (if such a thing exists): I actually also posted another fic at [community profile] seasonal_spuffy yesterday for the free-for-all day, which is here on DW and here on LJ. It's called Walking at Midday, and is, so I have termed it, a piece of angsty/squishy/fluffy smoosh set in S7 after GID, in which Spike tries to deal with the trigger on his own and has to put up with an awful lot of bother from the First Evil. There's a Sphinx in it! Erm...

So, of course my jaunt in the Madness ended up where it began - with Spuffy! And even [personal profile] bruttimabuoni! What I did not anticipate, however, was that my amusing pootle would end up essentially as long as my main remix, which took far longer to write. Just goes to show, doesn't it? Anyway, Strange, Charm, Peppermint (Or Just a Jump to the Left) is a fic in which practically every Buffyverse character who ever had an alter-ego (and let's face it, gang, that's most of them) reverts/is turned into that alter-ego, doesn't know what's going on, and it's up to Cordelia Chase, star of stage and screen, to save the day. It's fun, it's wacky, and certain constants have sad!poet!William mooning over a turned off Buffybot. It seemed all too necessary that he would write some terrible William poetry over her perky self. Only then it seemed necessary that she woke up. And then it seemed kind of necessary that they both got a grip (because there was still the mystery of how the actual alter-ego spell worked, and this seemed like a prime opportunity to let it all play out). Fun was had, basically, even if thinking through the mechanics of a sex bot did gross me out a little more than it ever has before (which is funny, since there's a certain drabble of mine...). More fun was then had in titling the thing. Someone else is amused, right? (Also, [personal profile] gillo, you may recognise hints of how you read FFL, which really works for me now. That place is totally a high class brothel.)

PG-13; 2300 words; AO3 warning free though with a certain slant of sexual situations brought about by non-consented spell, depending on how you read the dynamics of personhood happening here.

Charming Strange Peppermint (The Polonius Shot First Remix).

In a cellar beneath the mêlée, William Percival Edward Pratt sat in dust and gazed in silence, a woman curled on the floor across from him. He had tried to make her more comfortable, forwardly offering his jacket as a pillow while she slept on soundlessly, but now he simply observed, allowing himself that delicious little thrill.

My soul is wrapped in harsh repose…

No, that wouldn’t do at all, he thought. Most unbefitting, to repurpose poesy composed for another, even if the feelings this sleeping beauty inspired were familiar and consuming.

Familiar – to Cecily, William was certain. Of course. He was lost far from home and this gentle creature reminded him of his love, a soft and lonely remnant of grace in this otherwise harsh and brutal future world. Even if her hair was strangely bright, and she appeared to be wearing a jacket made of… Lacquer? (It seemed to attempt the appearance of polished leather, but that was an even less becoming possibility for such a beautiful woman’s accoutrement.)

My soul is broke in gasps of light…

The verse entered his mind complete, inducing a tremor within his heart. Such a feeling was not Cecily’s, was not anything he had experienced…

It was a trifling concern, nonetheless; he would return home soon. He did not know how he came to be here, only that he had been stepping out of a carriage into company which promised Cecily’s attendance, uncouth acquaintances as she was forced to make, and it was there whither he would take himself anon. The strange street on which he had found himself, the house on which he felt certain he had intended to call, they were merely fanciful re-imaginings brought upon him by a turn towards the slums, with the cleanliness and spaciousness of these surrounds a stroke of luck in his predicament. The house contained no library, after all, no civilised place for retreat from the ribald uproar of the occupants – where could he be but the worst part of London?

Yet he could not ignore that, although there had been no library, this cellar had found him and felt welcoming. And this creature, she was no slum slut.

My soul is broke in gasps of light,
Disturbed, in faith, this violent night
To rapture. For you do amaze,
O fallen angel, charming strange.

Your sweet breath scented peppermint…

The verses would not desist – but, oh, he’d caused himself a problem again, for there was no natural rhyme for ‘peppermint’, was there? Glint, perhaps? But he could not see her eyes…

The observation of her breath could not be licensed to a synonym, William knew, for it was the very truth he had discovered when laying his angel’s dear head upon his evening jacket. As the truth it could not be denied, for, as it should be said, at length the truth will out – and falsity will be revealed as the charlatan art it can only be.

He would have to lose the line entirely, he thought as he looked on.

My soul is broke in gasps of light,
Disturbed, in faith, this violent night
To rapture. For you do amaze,
O fallen angel, charming strange.

Your speech, I dream to hear it true,
Your worries and your fears to soothe –
A knight beside his queen to stand,
Bright gleaming swords in both our hands…

Again William felt a tremor, uncertain of how his mind could have engendered such an image. Was it biblical, perhaps? Or related to the game of chess, of which he was hardly an acolyte? It had to be something, because he could barely imagine the feel of a weapon in his own hand, let alone that of his sleeping lady.

Or could he not?

Thinking further upon it, William attempted to imagine this woman standing up, the way she would hold herself and her gait, the style in which her speech would manifest. He could not imagine her as Cecily, as society women; he could imagine her standing, standing more than sitting with her feet set strongly, her movements solid to the earth and her words…

Oh, when she spoke! He could hear wit, as flashing as her eyes, bold and unconstrained. It should have frightened him, disgusted him, but he could feel his heart racing faster with the thoughts of how those eyes would light on him – in anger or in mirth (or in desire too?). Responses far from proper she would inspire, he knew it.

Who was he, to enjoy such attention as this? William Percival… A-forgotten-third-name Pratt?

Suddenly he felt quite disgusted with himself, but not for the reasons he might have assumed. Why was he watching a sleeping woman, instead of finding home? Instead of aiding her?

Feeling churlish in the extreme, and strangely frustrated with the feeling, William rose to his feet and approached the woman again. “Miss?” he asked softly, at first. “Excuse me, Miss, will you wake?”

She would not wake, and he found himself crouching down, kneeling on the ground, three fingers daringly touching her lacquered (plastic?) shoulder. “Please wake, my dear…”

Emboldened by how deeply she was sleeping, William brought his fingers to her skin, not quite managing to recall what etiquette allowed. He touched her cheek and then her neck, touch grazing underneath her hair and his thumb pushing over a skin-soft angular bump, like a clasp.

Quite suddenly she sat up, abruptly in his embrace. Her eyes flashed open, stunning him with their colour. “Oh, Spike!” she said, before he could parse the words, and then she was leaping at him, suckered to his mouth, her lips undulating and tongue lapping at his teeth, which were clenched closed in shock.

The violence of her, the passion – he didn’t know, he didn’t…

Oh, but he did.

The very darker aspects of his soul, the dreams he had – of love in some richer sense than what was allowed in Mother’s novels. They contained all this, had revealed this only before on nights when he’d dreamed of darkness, of heat and sweat and skin beneath him…

No, above him, he remembered, he desired. All around him, glowing with heat and effulgent with light (though he had not dared before behold it, keeping firmly in the dark). He wanted it. He had long wanted this kind of love.

When William registered his body again, he realised his mouth was moving, consuming as much mouth as he was able. He felt like he was growing cold, but that could only be because this angel (no, nymph; no, valkyrie) was quite so warm in his hands, legs flush around him now while he sat in the dust, her – her skirted secrets rocking back and forth, bringing strange, hot moisture to the fabric pressing on his…

She was glorious, he realised. He loved her.

He knew it then, though he still did not know her name; he knew it like he knew himself, passionate distrust and hatred of society sweeping through him in a righteous storm, belief in a love sublime buoying him at sea, a great whirlwind of feeling and fighting and hot, sweet blood – memories, so many memories beyond his reach. She wasn’t the cause of knowing this, but she was helping the knowledge come. With her in his arms he knew the poetry was in him somewhere, and he was digging for the truth, her warmth and impropriety a foreign familiarity that gave him the will to dig on.

“Buffy,” he breathed unbidden, his voice deeper than he’d ever sung in church. Of course that was her name.

“Oh, Spike!” the beautiful creature cried again, and it was familiar, hands sweeping in dangerous motions up his chest and around his head. “Take me now; I can’t resist –”

And then, as suddenly as she had woken, she stopped. “Hey, your hair’s different! And you’re wearing glasses?” She was as still as a doll around him, before she shook her head once. “Sorry;” she said, not sounding like she could see him, “my scripts are looping. What program should I start again?”

Dazed, William sat back and looked at her, utterly uncertain. “Apologies, love,” he replied, his voice feeling strange in his throat. “But I don’t understand.”

“You…” Her round, gimlet eyes stayed fixed on his. He couldn’t look away. “You are familiar, but not in my system memory. There’s no other way to remember, but…” Now her body tightened, over him, away from him. “What are we…?” she asked, before retreating off his legs and standing up, looking around the basement before she looked back at him. Her eyes fell to the damp patch on his pale trousers, which immediately made her blush, eyes growing wider as she crossed her legs and patted down her skirt.

Climbing to his feet with her, William brushed some dust from his backside. “Je ne regrette rien, my love,” he promised her boldly, trying to talk the way he thought he should. “And neither should you.” When he caught sight of them his hands were paler, a very slight yellow-pink against the white of his cuffs. Nothing to worry about, he thought and sniffed in dismissal – only to breathe in the whole legacy of this house, cider experiments and mouldy old deck chairs, damp and dust. It was strange, but there was more than that. The heady feminine stuff on his crotch was wrong, he realised, fake reconstruction bought for cheap – but the bright woman in his company, looking softer and darker by the minute, something was drifting from her… And his love, oh, his love was old.

“Spike?” she asked, voice wavering. “You were… A poet, once?” She was shaking all over, as if the blood in her veins was forging paths irregular and new. “You told me, I remember – how do I remember? – and we didn’t have sex that night, because I couldn’t shake the image and it wasn’t hot. It wasn’t hot.” It seemed like a revelation to her. “I am programmed to respond to you, I remember, I remember, but I am programmed to think glasses are for dweebs and poodle hair is blech. You’re…” Suddenly she stepped three steps back towards him, striding like he somehow knew she should, one hand rose reaching for his cheek; but then she stopped still, biting her lip and frowning like a vision. “It won’t compute; it can’t all compute – but I’m more than my functions. Aren’t I? I’m Buffy.”

“Just be Buffy.” He remembered telling her that once – or no, not her. It. The machine. Unclothed next to his naked, yearning body he’d tried to tell it but had only really told himself what a charade he was trying to play.

She shook her head, the weight of ages making hazel eyes dim and indistinct. “Don’t say that, Spike; everybody says that. What they mean is be who they think Buffy is. They always say it, and I… I am…”

With a rush of minor loathing against the way he used to love – the way he’d always love, but had to temper with control – Spike remembered all he was.

It didn’t come in a rush, but in a settling recognition that he was more than that lovesick, useless poet long since dead. He was that man, but he wasn’t; he’d had a vampire’s century living out his darkest desires and he could happily say he’d found every nasty that Victorian sniveller had had inside his heart, but he had realised in the end that it couldn’t bring him everything. Etiquette and society were for tossers, like he’d believed before he’d had the words, but unrestrained darkness hadn’t been a dream worth having either. It had never got him what he’d craved.

As the romantic Pratt had always held, it paid to remember ‘to thine own self be true’ – but a self had no true singularity. In him there was a lover and a fighter and a poet and a murderer; abstract to one and the truth would always out. And it had; he was him.

Across the basement, Buffy was – bizarrely – smiling at him. “Sorry,” she said serenely, like she’d found herself as well. He could only hope. “But that outfit makes pensive-you look really cute.”

Surprised, Spike barked a laugh – before taking in her ridiculous pink skirt-patent jacket combo, remembering how he’d never given her underwear. Oh, how less funny that was. Had he really been that pathetic? “You look like a sex-starved fool’s deluded fantasy.”

Buffy crossed her arms, a most definite warning pose. “These are my clothes, you know – even if you did steal them.”

“Yeah,” he offered as a careful truce. “But you’d never put that travesty together.”

She looked down at herself, pouting as she took in how extremely pink she was. “OK,” she agreed, meeting his eyes again with amusement. “Maybe you’ve got a point that neither of us is headed for the runway… Save the others so we can change?”

“Good plan,” he replied as they headed for the stairs.

She made one last comment “And, uh, remind me not to do any high kicks.”

“Right.” On a moment’s inspiration Spike pulled his shirt from his trousers – grateful to realise the tails were long enough to disguise the last traces of the Bot’s water-based - indiscretion.

In the end they saved the others with a blood ritual, but Spike was glad he and Buffy had found themselves all the same. Quite how Dawn had intended to achieve what they’d done as a box he didn’t know, but the spell had almost been worth it, if only to gather notes on everybody else.

Also, being able to tease Buffy by flirting with Faith in her body? There was no chance William would have known what to get out of that.



quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

December 2015

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