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Alternate History

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"What the bloody hell are you listening to, Slayer?"

Spike clapped his hands over his ears.

"Turn that horrible racket off, please, I'm begging you!"

Buffy was so surprised to hear the 'p' word falling from Spike's lips that she forgot to ask him what he was doing in her house.

Turning the CD player off, she folded her arms and gave him her best I'm-the-Slayer-and-you're-dust glare (which for some reason never worked on Spike, hence the inevitable punched nose looming in his future).

"It's REO Speedwagon, okay? And just what exactly is so terrible about the music of my childhood?"

"Music of your...?" Spike looked taken aback. Then, he looked disappointed.

"That's child cruelty, that is. I'll be havin' words with Joyce next time I'm round for a cuppa."

Buffy's jaw dropped. "You'll...what did you say?"

Spike blinked. His expression clearly said, "Oops!" But then he puffed out his chest and sneered at her.

"I said the music was crap. Not surprising, I s'pose. Fucking awful decade, the 80s. Don't have a good word to say about it."

Buffy bristled. "Hey, watch it, mister. I was born in the 80s."

Spike's sneer grew sneerier. "Kind of proves my point. All right, all right." He raised his hands in mock surrender. "Just my opinion. No need to get testy."

Generally speaking, Buffy didn't care to have Spike's opinion on anything, but with a paper to write for history class, who better to give some insight into the past than someone who'd lived (or unlived) more than their fair share of it?

She let her nose-punching hand drop. "Okay, I'll bite. Why the big hate-on for the 80s? Most people would say the 40s were worse. Or the 30s. I mean, there was the Great Depression, right, which must have been...well, depressing?"

Spike fished in his duster pockets and brought out a pack of cigarettes. He'd gotten as far as sticking one in his mouth before he saw the look on Buffy's face, sighed and took it out again.

"Could smoke wherever you wanted in the 30s and 40s, for one thing," he muttered, sulkily.

"No-ot selling them to me as decades." Buffy glared at him some more, just to emphasise her displeasure. "So spill. What have the 80s ever done to you?"

Spike seemed at a loss for a moment. But then,

"Shoulder pads," he said, in a triumphant tone. "Day-glo leggings. Mullets."

Buffy grimaced. She had to admit, all those things were pretty gross.

Spike had gotten into his stride now. He began counting things off on his fingers. "Reagan/Thatcher, Rubiks cubes, the royal wedding, cabbage patch kids, Duran Duran, ET. Also, the computer games were rubbish, most TV shows were bloody awful and on a personal note, that Billy Idol tosser stole my look and people believed him when he said he thought of it first."

He raised an eyebrow. "Don't need to go on, do I?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. Billy Idol stole your look? Yeah, right.

"That's kind of superficial, don't you think? Plenty of good stuff happened in the 80s - detente, glasnost, the fall of the Berlin Wall."

If she'd expected Spike to be impressed by her newly acquired modern history smarts, she was in for a disappointment. He waved his hand dismissively. "Pfft! Who cares about that stuff?"

"The East Germans?"

But Spike wasn't listening. "Bloody horrible decade." He began to count on his fingers again.

"1880s there was Jack the Ripper, 1890s...well, they didn't call it the Gay 90s for nothing. In the 1900s, I killed my first Slayer, not to mention hemlines started going up."

He sighed, nostalgically, while Buffy glared at him. "Good times."

"What about World War One?" she protested. "That was pretty bad, right?"

"The Great War?" Spike sighed again. "They don't tell you in the history books, love, but it really was a great war - for vampires. Lots of lovely carnage. Plus, me being a patriotic Brit, was nice that there was this whole country full of people no one minded if you bit."

His gaze was focused somewhere over Buffy's right shoulder now.

"Then there was the 20s. My favourite decade. Flappers, jazz, prohibition, organised crime. Damn near perfect. The 30s were more of the same, with added sleaze and Nazis. As for the 40s, see above, what I said about the Great War, and double it. Bloody brilliant. Never been happier."

"The 50s?" Buffy prompted him.

He grinned. "Flick knives, Marlon Brando."



"What about the 70s?"

Spike's gaze went distant again. "Punk rock -best music ever. Also, that's when I killed my second Slayer. I ever tell you that before? S'a funny story, actually. Was in New York..."

His gaze came back into focus just before Buffy's fist struck his nose. The blow sent him staggering backwards onto the back porch and down the steps into the yard. He lay in the dirt, glaring at her indignantly while blood spurted through his fingers.

"Bloody hell, woman. What was that for?"

Buffy leaned on the doorjamb. She frowned, pretending to consider.

"It's weird, I know, but your Slayer-killing exploits? So not interested in them. Turns out I'm not interested in your version of history either. In fact, I don't wanna hear anything you have to say at all. Go away, Spike."

Spike wiped his nose with the back of his hand, smearing blood across his cheek.

"Hey, you asked me, remember?"

"Uh-huh." Buffy frowned at a chipped nail. "Next time I'll know better. Thanks for one thing, though."

Spike blinked. "What's that, then?"

For answer, Buffy pressed play. She grinned as Spike's irritable expression turned to one of complete horror. A moment later, he was gone, with the strains of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in hot pursuit.

Buffy watched him go, while a smug inner voice whispered in her ear, "Note to self: wanna get rid of Spike? Couldn't be easier. Great Rock Anthems of the 80s will do it every. Single. Time."