“Um, Mr. Spike?” Molly looked shyly at her feet, her hands behind her back. “Do you like flowers?”
“Huh?” He looked up from the training diagrams spread across his cot. “Pardon?”
“Flowers. Because, well, I like them.” She pulled a yellow rose from behind her back. “This is for you.”
Spike scrutinized the young girl. “Where’d you get that, then?”
“Molly, pet, Buffy doesn’t have any roses in her garden.” He took the blossom and laid it on his notes.
“No. But the neighbours do.”
“Right.” Standing up, he pointed to the basement floor. “Since you’ve got so much time on your hands, I’ll give you a concentration exercise. Want you to stand on your head and whistle show tunes.”
Molly stared at him with obvious adoration. “Okay. Does Lion King count? Cause it was a movie, too.”
“That’ll be fine.” As she bent forward and attempted to balance, he headed up the stairs.
The newly arrived French potential was sitting at the kitchen table. “Monsieur Spike,” she asked, “I try to learn American. What does, ‘so proudly we hailed by dawn’s early light’ mean?”
“Don’t ask me, luv. We were on the other side.” He noticed her enraptured gaze, and quickly headed for the living room.
To his disgust, Andrew was trying to impress Dawn by belching the alphabet. Ignoring him, he turned to Giles. “Rupes, I think we have a problem.”
He finally found Buffy curled up on the floor beside her bed. “Hiding, love? Cause it’s time for another round of training.”
She took another spoonful from her bowl. “I’m finishing off the strawberry ice cream. I swear, those girls are like vacuum cleaners. What you don’t hoard, you lose.” She looked up at him and failed to stifle a loud burst of laughter. “What the hell is that you’re wearing?”
“This?” He looked down at his plaid covered arms. “This is the most repulsive smoking jacket they had at the Sally Ann.”
“I can see that.” She downed the last mouthful of ice cream and placed the bowl on her dresser. “Any reason why?”
“It’s my fatal charm.”
Buffy started laughing afresh. “Fatal charm. You make Randy and the tweed suit look like Mr. GQ.”
“Good. It’s working then.” He sat on the side of the bed. “Found out the girls were getting a little...distracted during training. Giles thought a bit of uglification might help.”
“O...kay.” She fingered the satin lapel. “Now I have a really good incentive for defeating the First.”
“Saving the world?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Burning that jacket.”