Mature Themes - Buffy/Spike, Dawn
“This is the house, Buffy,” Dawn whispered. “It’s perfect.”
“Mm,” said Buffy, following the realtor.
She’d burned a gym down once.
“Western exposure,” Spike said approvingly of the master bedroom. “Save on dusting.”
She’d blown up a high school.
“No basement,” said Dawn.
“Spent enough time underground,” Spike said.
She’d sunk an entire town.
“There’s a porch,” Spike said softly.
Buffy gave him a wan smile.
Who’d be stupid enough to sell her a house?
Spike’s fingers slipped between hers. “Probably shouldn’t knock this one down, eh?” His smirk wicked, reassuring. Trusting.
Okay, she pledged. This one, she’d let stand.
Be Still - Oz
It’s quiet in Tibet.
He’s never talked much; doesn’t mean he doesn’t like others to. Words are ambiance and distraction, flavor and food; they’re what he’s quiet about. Meat to chew on; jokes to taste and snicker at, Pop-Rocks on his tongue; pink sugar spun from Willow-babble. He’s social, is Oz.
But outside this tiny village, below snow-tipped peaks, it’s quiet. A goat’s bleat, a woman’s call are barely ripples in the silence. What there is to taste here is water, cold as ice and mountain-pure.
Pure enough, maybe, to wash out the copper-salt tang of blood. He hopes so.
Gonna See About That - Dawn/Ethan
Ethan thinks she’s the kid sister: stupider, more naïve. He thinks she’s scared of magic and of books thicker than her thumb. He thinks she’s righteous like Buffy, that she obeys the law, that the heels and the leather and the streak in her hair and the pin in her brow are a quaint little rebellion she’ll get over soon. He thinks she’ll give it up easy to that smoke-and-whiskey voice, or else – even better - she’ll be skeeved when he suggests it. He thinks he knows what the hell he’s doing.
Dawn’s really looking forward to proving him wrong.
The Road Less Blood - Spike/Willow
One night she confesses the story of Vamp-Slut Willow. Spike sees in her eyes the unbabbled fear: that he’d rather have the other, all ruffles and confidence and kink. It teases him a moment: his Willow, demon-driven, glorying in the crimson drench of blood and riding him as this one’s still learning to do.
But there’s a warmth about this one that’s nothing to do with temperature, a delight that’d sharpen to mere cruelty if turned, and ambition even undeath couldn’t improve. He relished the idea once, but he was wrong. Damn his soft heart, he likes this one best.
If at First You Don't Succeed, Kick Something - Buffy+Illyria
“Fight with me,” Buffy said.
“Battle would be brief and do no one credit,” Illyria said, turning away.
Another day. “You like violence, right? I like violence. We could do the girly bonding thing.”
“I am only superficially female.”
Again. “Look, I need to fight you. I fought gods before, and I pretty much sucked. I need to not suck.”
“Mortal strength is tinder before my blaze. Cease your vain striving.”
“Fine, ” Buffy said, and kicked Illyria’s chin.
The battle was indeed brief. But Buffy rose, gasping, unbroken, and said, “Tomorrow?”
She was not wholly unworthy. “Yes,” Illyria said.
The Echo of Sweet Memory
First: her special order. They’re hard to get, turns out.
“You can’t do it,” he said. “You can’t kill me.” And he was right. But there are other things to do with a vampire, Buffy’s discovered.
Now the mansion.
Chains do more than imprison, she’s found, and weapons don’t only wound. But this, today, this she learned from Angelus himself.
He snarls as she nears. Someday the shackles will break, and he’ll kill her. No more taunting or kissing or fucking; just death. But not today.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, lover,” she says, and drops the black roses at his feet.
Some Burnt, Some Rebuilt
“Faith,” panted Buffy, “we burned down a house!”
“Wasn’t it great?” Faith’s grin faltered. “That’s okay, right? I mean, abandoned, only vamps living in it, obviously a fire hazard...” She scowled. “Am I supposed to feel bad now?”
Buffy glanced back at sky-high flames and leaning timbers. She wondered what vamp dust smelled like as it burned. She looked at Faith, hunched, eyes still lined dark as Cleopatra’s – apparently reforming didn’t fix everything.
“Naw,” Buffy said. “Not the first private residence I’ve brought down. But hey, the flamey part is new.”
“Cool.” Faith grinned again.
That part was new, too.
In Many Forms - Spike, Giles, post-The Gift
Too often, finding some demon on patrol too much for their Slayerless band to fight, Spike leapt in anyway, roaring through his fangs, battering the thing until it was pulp. Eventually Giles would send the children away – they’d no need to witness this maniac grief – and when Spike had exhausted himself, ribs rebroken, knuckles bared to the bone, Giles guided him to crypt and bed and saw he had blood ready to hand.
And if on some less bloodied nights Spike ended up on Giles’ couch instead, Giles matching him glass for glass, better the children didn’t see that, either.
New Lessons - Kendra
When Kendra was home on the island again, Mr. Zabuto asked her about the mission: about Angelus (she said he was not yet dead); about Mr. Giles and his library (there, at least, she could tell the whole truth); about the Taraka.
He didn’t ask whether Kendra was ever angry, or if the anger helped her in battle. He didn’t ask if she liked the boy she met. He asked about Buffy’s training, but not about her friends; if she focused, but not if she smiled. He didn’t ask what Kendra had learned from her.
And Kendra didn’t tell him.