“Why won’t you bloody die!”
Not for the first time, Spike stabbed the giant orange squid-dragon-demon, growling as the metal cut through flesh.
One of the few merits of this predicament was the number of handy weapons they’d found lying around. This particular sword was pretty effective. But of course, the moment Fanta Claws stopped wriggling, there was an unearthly, groaning cry from the next room…
“Oh, well done,” Buffy snarked behind him, unfeelingly. You’ve woken Barney up again now.”
Burning with resentment, he tossed a glare over his shoulder. “You reckon I should’ve just let this one take my head off, then?” He didn’t bother wiping his sword – it would be wet again soon enough, most likely with Barney, one of the purple demons on board – but, since Spike still had feelings for the stupid cow standing behind him (not that she gave a shit), he kept the ichor's stench away from them. Though, really, “I don’t know why I bother…”
Stood at the side of the room, Buffy banged her fist on the metal wall. “We have to kill them in pairs, Spike, so they don't regenerate!” Someone was frustrated. That made two of them. “You saw what happened with the green ones – and we don’t even know where the other orange one is!”
To think, this morning he’d been minding his own business in LA, drinking his beer and having a play on the second-hand console he’d picked up for cheap… It was just his luck the Playstation had turned out to be cursed, sucking him into some alternate dimension the moment he’d loaded the abandoned saved game. And now here he was – on a spaceship. With Buffy, who it turned out, oh yes, knew quite well he was alive, but wasn’t happy to see him.
“Look,” Spike tried to reason with her, though his jaw stayed clenched and his breath came out in snorts. “I didn’t mean to drag you here. How about we try and get through this like the mature superbeings we are, and then you can go back to fucking some toyboy on a beach, or whatever it is you do these days.”
For a moment Buffy was speechless. Her mouth opened in shock and, just for that moment, the muscles around her eyes seemed to soften with pain. His heart clenched with the need to apologise –
– but then, before Spike could get the words past his throat, they were interrupted.
“Um, hi! Excuse me?” They both turned towards the voice. It came from a perky-looking girl in her late teens, wearing not very much blue and black and holding a nastly-looking shuriken in her hand. There was a pouting emo kid standing by her side. He had on an equally inappropriate eighties bomber jacket with a shag fur collar. “Are you lost too?” the girl asked.
It was that moment Spike realised he’d been sucked into a JRPG.
Working with the other two, Rinoa and Squall, it didn’t take long for them to kick the space demons into touch. Perhaps unsurprisingly for computer game characters, the teenagers weren’t bad in a fight, though Squall spent the whole time glowering and getting on Spike’s nerves. It had got worse after Rinoa had giggled the apparently fateful words, “Oh my god, you’re so much like Seifer…” Whatever that meant.
The four of them had managed to get in radio contact with Ground Control after killing all the demons, so for now the good ship Ragnarok (of all auspicious names) was steadily making its way back to whatever planet it had come from. The teens seemed to be having a moment, and there were only two seats in the cockpit, so Spike and Buffy left them to it.
“What is it?” Spike asked after they managed to get the door shut behind them. The gravity had gone off, of course, ‘to reserve fuel’. (He was hoping physics here would be as broken as it usually was in these games, and they could have a nice, easy landing.)
“Nothing,” Buffy replied to his question, holding onto the wall. There was still a smirk on her face, though, and a sparkle in her eyes. “I guess it’s just… They’re cute. They remind me of how I thought Angel and I were, back when I was sixteen and basically convinced he was too.”
“Great,” Spike muttered, trying to turn away without looking like a bobbing idiot. He should never have asked. “Riveting.” The mouldy old ship was fairly romantic, he supposed, with its impossibly big picture windows of the cosmos. He should have realised Buffy would find it a bitch to share something like that with him.
“God,” Buffy snapped, harsh lines redrawing themselves across her face. “Will you make up your mind?”
Now that caught him off guard. “About what?” he demanded, a little defensively.
“Do you still care about me or not?” his love demanded stiffly, crushing the elaborate handle of the nunchaku in her hand. “Because I’m waiting for an apology here, and all I get is more proof you’d rather I never darken your door again.”
He clenched his jaw, embarrassed. Because – right, maybe he had forgotten, what with landing on a spaceship and immediately fighting for his life with a strange green demon. Still, he had a backbone these days. A mission. He wasn’t going to lay his heart on the line for nothing. “Think it’s more to the point how you feel about me,” he said, sticking to his guns.
“Just say it,” Buffy demanded, spitting the words past her teeth. Nostalgia gone from her expression, she jerked her head to the cockpit and the romantic backing track they could practically hear soaring through the door. “I don’t want to wait until the end of this stupid adventure to sort this stuff out. This time, I want things said up front.”
And so, in a strange fit of pique, Spike apologised. The world didn’t actually end – yet he was rewarded nonetheless.