Spike scowled at the screen. Why had he ever let Dawn persuade him to join FaceBook? This long list of pillocks he didn’t know, all wanting to be his bestest buddies. Enough to make a vampire throw up. Or get hungry – but he had promised his girls he’d stay on the wagon, and that was one promise he intended to keep.
He’d hurl the bloody thing at the wall, but that would upset his Bit too. How in hell she’d found out when his birthday was he’d never know, and what on earth made her think twenty-first century technology was an appropriate gift for a nineteenth century man – OK, vampire – he’d not an ice-cube’s chance in hell of guessing, but there it was.
With exaggerated care he place the tablet computer on the chair and began to prowl the room. Dark December it might be, shortest day and longest night, but the grey rays of sunshine still penetrated the bloody clouds just a little too much. Sometimes he wished they’d set up a base in Norway, say, or Lappland, where the sun barely dared to show its face at this time of year. The Scottish Baronial mansion had been brass monkeys, true, but at least the sun hardly shone at this time of year.
Instead he was in the Giles homestead in the Home Counties, where far too many people, far too many motor vehicles that were not available for Spike to use and far too many hours of sunshine combined to make life a misery. Oh yes, and the perpetual absence of his girls on just one more fricking shopping trip.
He picked up the paper from its place on the table. Yet more liberal, woolly-minded bullshit, of course – trust Giles to be a bleeding Guardian reader. Stuff about Murdoch – why in hell had no-one yet guessed he was a demon? – interesting stuff about torture victims. Not that Spike liked torture, no sir, not since the soul at least. And some photo of a weirdo in a rubber boat in a field.
What the hell? He looked more closely at the caption and then the headline. “End of the world”? Not again, surely? Apocalypse season was closer to Beltane than the winter solstice. What was all this drivel about Putin anyway? Another demon, if he’d ever seen one. Continued on page 27? Bloody hell.
The paper was easy to fling across the room, damaging nothing except some pansy arrangement of snowflakes and cotton wool. He picked up the whatjoumacallit. Tablet-thingy. You’d look a right pill trying to take that for a sore head, though.
He cackled at his own joke and started poking about on the thing till he got a bunch of letters that could, if you used your imagination liberally, be considered a keyboard. Yeah, he could remember some of Dawn’s careful instructions. He goggled. That was what it was called, right? Anyway, he managed to get the words “End of the world” in and tapped the bent arrow square.
And his jaw dropped. Lots of luscious pictures of raining fire, floods, pathetic losers gathered in fields and round mountains, some carved stone thingy. This was really interesting. Why in hell hadn’t anyone told him about this? He’d rip the Wanker’s throat out if he had to miss the first decent apocalypse in years.
His brows sharpened and his eyes yellowed. World ending without Spike? Not going to happen. This time he might be in favour of stopping it, for the sake of puppies and Man U, however crap they were this season, and, let’s face it, the Summers women he somehow couldn’t live without. But no bugger was allowed to try doing this without him, he knew that for certain.
As he pulled the sofa away from the wall he heard the key in the lock and merry girlish chatter and his Slayer and her sister returned. He froze, bent half over, but with a guilty expression. Somehow, he knew, it was all going to be his fault.
Buffy stopped in the doorway, her jaw dropped. “What are you doing, Spike/ We so do not need axes on the tree this year. Nor a sword. Put it down.”
There was something in her voice – he’d have said Bene Gesserit if that wasn’t a load of fictional bollocks – he just couldn’t ignore. He even hung his head. “Just needed to tell you, Buffy. Perhaps you haven’t seen the paper?” He gestured at the photo of the emboated pillock.
Buffy picked it up, frowning, shook it unfolded and showed Dawn. Then both girls started laughing.
They laughed far too loud and far too long as far as Spike was concerned. In the end he growled between gritted fangs, demanding what was so bloody funny.
“It’s OK, Spike dear,” Dawn was always so good at condescending. “It’s an apocalypse that’s not happening, now or never. It’s yesterday’s paper and it’s all been and gone.”
Buffy took pity on him, though. “Not an apocalypse, but it is Christmas, and it’s dark. No Maya, but druid stuff. It’s pitch dark now, anyway, so you can put that axe to better use. There’s mistletoe on that oak tree in Giles’s back yard. And,” toying with a lock of her hair and smiling in that special way he rather liked because of what it promised, “if you bring back a nice big bunch, you never know what you might get for it.”