Spike was pissed, in both senses of the word.
First of all, he was pissed off at everyone and everything. The fucking commandos who kidnapped him and put the kibosh on his Big Badness, and then had the fucking gall to disappear into the night before he could hunt them down for repairs. The Slayer and her fucking Scooby Gang, chaining him in the bathtub and tying him to chairs and casting fucking disgusting spells and generally being fucking insufferable. Drusilla, for fucking dumping him yet again for a disgusting fungus demon, and Harmony, for sticking to him like sparkly annoying glue, and then going all fucking liberated when he actually needed her. Fucking Angel and his fucking stupid hair, for existing in the first place. The citizens of Sunnydale, for being lined up like a fucking buffet when he was a fucking Little Match Girl, pressing his starving nose up against the glass but unable to taste a bite. Sunnydale itself, for being so fucking sunny and whitebread-suburban and pathetic. (He couldn’t wait for them to put up a new “Welcome to Sunnydale!” sign so he could knock the fucking thing down again. Or set it on fire.) Hell, fucking Man U couldn’t even put on a good game this year. Fuck them all. Fuckety-fuckety-fuck. FUCK.
Secondly, thanks to the fifth of Johnny Walker Black Label he had liberated from the liquor store, he was drunk off his ass. Which made taking his aggressions out on the storefronts of Sunnydale’s Main Street seem like a fucking brilliant idea.
Spike usually didn’t stoop to spray paint, but since slathering the walls with the blood of the innocent was no longer an option, a big red “FUCK” splashed across the granite pillars of the bank – paint thick enough to drip dramatically from the descenders – was deeply satisfying. After a moment’s thought he added an exclamation point. “FUCK!” Let the fine citizens of Sunnydale take it as a command, or a commentary on their sad little lives, or fucking performance art, as they preferred. He was open to postmodern fucking interpretations, and the word “fuck” worked for almost every part of speech. (Spike was especially partial to the verb and adjective.)
He kicked the mailbox on the street until it was skewed at precisely a 15 degree angle.
He Sharpied fangs and dripping blood onto every movie star on every movie poster at the Sunnydale Movie Theatre. (Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. Bruce Willis. Fucking Elmo and Pikachu. Creepy-ass Uncanny-Valley Buzz and Woody. Fucking Tom Cruise didn’t deserve fangs after fucking Intervew with the Vampire, so he scribbled out his entire fucking face and made Nicole Kidman a vampire instead. That was hot. Eyes wide fucking SHUT.)
He defaced the sign for the whatever-the-hell-Protestant church on the corner, with an alchemical symbol they would probably waste hours wringing their hands over the possible Satanic meaning of, because they were fucking uneducated. (While he was at it, he corrected the spelling and grammar on their supposed-to-be-fucking-clever marquee propaganda, because he had fucking STANDARDS.)
Breaking glass was less enjoyable than usual, especially since most Sunnydale shopkeepers had wisely installed metal grates or bars to prevent the looting of merchandise. He did, however, take a special interest in the plate glass show window of the bridal shop – foolishly exposed to the ravages of a pissed-off, pissed vampire.
Spike paused to savor the moment, remembering Buffy’s description of the wedding dress she fancied, from just a few days before. Pure white (cheap) satin. (As if he didn’t know better than to think she should be wearing WHITE after fucking (verb) fucking (adjective) ANGEL.) Sweetheart neckline. Poufy Princess-Fucking-Di sleeves. Pearls and lace and fucking sequins all over the fucking bodice.
He spray-painted a huge red heart in the middle of all the fucking embellishment (shoddy fucking work anyhow), then slashed it to ribbons with a shard of the plate glass. Briefly wished he had a Polaroid so he could take a fucking picture of his handiwork, give it to fucking Buffy fucking Summers. Make her fucking think twice about the Lips of Spike, ‘cause he was pretty fucking sure she’d be missing those, fucking spell or not.
Mischief managed, he settled down to admire his handiwork, using the conveniently-angled mailbox as a backrest. The Johnny Walker was fairly smooth going down, which pissed him off more because he could have nicked something cheap with a good Big-Bad burn, or else gone for the fucking Glenfiddich and un-lived it up real good, but he’d been in a hurry and settled for something in the middle, and now it made him feel fucking mediocre. But he drank a fucking toast anyhow, to the bank and the movie theatre and the church and the wedding dress and FUCKING BUFFY SUMMERS, and closed his eyes for just a moment.
Two hours later, Officer Kemp surveyed the scene, wishing to God he would get assigned to a desk job already, because the night shift in Sunnydale sucked swamp water. Become a policeman! he thought bitterly. Get a pension, write speeding and parking tickets, eat donuts! That may be how it was for the dayshift cops, but Sunnydale at night was all corpses with shredded necks (coyotes), weird sacrificial rituals (heavy metal fans), and gangs on PCP. And on top of that, no Sunnydale donut shops were willing to stay open past sundown. What was up with that? If he had to deal with all the weird crap, not to mention incessant donut jokes from the citizenry, he could at least get some frickin’ DONUTS out of the deal.
Dammit, his kids loved Toy Story 2. They were going to get nightmares from that poster.
His partner, Damien Thomas, was warily leaning over to inspect the unconscious Billy-Idol wannabe slumped against the mailbox. Innocent until proven guilty, reasonable doubt, yadda-yadda, but Kemp’s keen law-enforcement instincts – helped along by the spray paint, permanent markers, and other vandalism-related paraphernalia spilling out of the 80s-reject’s pockets – suggested fairly strongly that they had found the perpetrator. It’s community service for you, buddy. Maybe in an orange jumpsuit. I’ll come watch.
Officer Thomas had a frown on his face as he first held his hand in front of the (alleged ha ha) vandal’s face, then felt for a pulse. “Nelson, I think he’s dead.”
“Really?” Goddammit, if he’s dead, who’s going to clean all this up? Kemp wasn’t above providing a second opinion; he squatted down next to the body. “Think the coyotes got him?” The reek of booze was overpowering, but he took a deep breath and scooted closer for a better look, boots scuffing along the splayed-out duster.
The corpse’s eyes opened, outraged.
“Oi! Get off the coat! You’ll bruise the leather!”
“JESUS CHRIST!” Kemp jumped back, landing awkwardly on his ass. What the hell just happened to his face? Were those fangs? But now that the leather was safe, the boozehound had subsided back into sleep or coma or maybe being dead again, and he just looked like any other passed-out druggie punk.
Thomas was clutching at his chest, eyes bugged out. “Did you see that? He has yellow eyes! So help me, God! Yellow eyes!”
Yellow eyes… Kemp thought back to the briefings they had received over the past few years, situations they could expect to run into when patrolling the streets of Sunnydale. There had been something about yellow eyes and fangs and lumpy faces… That was it!
“Cuff him and let’s bring him to the station. This man is obviously a gang member on PCP.”
The Sunnydale Police Station was relatively calm when they arrived, which was not surprising at 5 am on a Tuesday, but still something to be grateful for. It had taken both of the policemen 10 minutes to haul the dead weight of their prisoner to the back seat of their patrol car, and another 20 to tape off the crime scenes so the CSI team could come by later to collect all the evidence, but during that time the perp had awakened and started singing. Not that Kemp didn’t appreciate not having to check again to see if the bozo was dead, but the songs were some crap about lobotomies and shock treatment and wanting to be sedated, and by the time they rolled into the station dropoff point, Officer Kemp was ready to grant all three wishes. Also, what the hell did “Gabba-Gabba-Hey!” mean? Was it some secret gang code?
They frog-marched their prisoner into Central Booking and walked him through the various stages of incarceration. Fingerprinting. Mug shots. Confiscation of personal property. Through it all, the obnoxious blonde swaggered (well, staggered with attitude) and grinned and flirted with every woman in the station. (From their reactions, Kemp suspected there were going to be some reprints made of the bastard’s mug shot, and possibly some erotic fiction written and passed around. The night-shift ladies were a little scary.)
They hit a bit of a snag when they reached the personal-information part of the process. The prisoner had no id cards, no credit cards, no checkbook, no records of any kind, and he was… less than cooperative. And still very, very drunk. And an asshole.
First name: Spike. Ooooo-kay. (“Your mother give you that name?” “You’ll leave my mother out of this if you know what’s good for you.”)
Last name: Unknown. (“None.” “Nunn? N-U-N-N?” “No, NONE. As in, no last name. I’m like bleedin’ Madonna.”)
Current Address: Unknown. (“Been stayin’ with a chap. Cheap bastard, won’t share the good Scotch. Lookin’ for a place o’ my own right now. Got any recommendations?”)
Former Address: Unknown. (“Somewhere in Prague.” “Frog? That’s a town?” “For Heaven’s sake, PRAGUE. Soddin’ Czechoslovakia. Well, Czech Republic now. Read a newspaper sometime, yeah?”
Social Security Number: None. (“Do I sound American to you?” “What country are you from, then?” “Wouldn’t you like to know.”)
Finally Kemp slapped the manila folder shut on the woefully-incomplete paperwork, glaring at the prisoner, who was carefully picking off bits of black nail polish, occasionally checking the overall effect with a judicious frown. There were only about 10 minutes until shift change, and until the fingerprint results came in from AFIS, there wasn’t anything more Kemp could do. But in the meantime, something had to be done with the (incredibly annoying) perpetrator.
Time to consult with the Police Chief. He dialed from the front desk, under the eyes of his partner and the incoming day shift and an ever-increasing cadre of Spike-no-last-name groupies.
“Chief? We have a situation here. No, no missing ears. It’s… well, you remember last year? The gangs on PCP? Yeah, we got one of those. ….No, not a gang. Just a guy. But he’s, um, on PCP.” Long pause. “10-4. Thanks, Chief.” Officer Kemp hung up the phone.
“So, what does he want us to do with him?” Officer Thomas crossed his fingers, praying the answer was “dump him outside and forget you saw anything” because that would make his life so much easier. (Also, he was still wigging out about the yellow eyes, though now that they were in the station they looked just plain blue.) Kemp was quick to dash his hopes.
“Pick him up, boys. He’s going to the Special Cell.”
Spike grinned cheekily as they marched him down the corridor. “Well, isn’t that special.”
Spike was nowhere in sight when Buffy and Willow arrived at Giles’s apartment to report on last night’s slayage before class, and that was totally fine with her. It was so very… peaceful.
“So, finally get tired of his lip and stake him? Did you videotape it so I can watch?”
Giles grimaced. “No, of course not. I could never kill a helpless creature under my care, even one with such regrettable taste in football teams and…everything else he apparently enjoys. No, he managed to wriggle free from his bindings and, according to the note he kindly left, went off to get ‘bloody well pissed.’” Buffy gave him a don’t-pull-that-British-slang-with me look. “That means drunk. It being clear from the past few days that he is indeed incapable of harming a human being, I felt it best to allow him his night of empty revelry and bitter disappointment. I expect he’ll show up under a flaming blanket approximately five minutes before Passions airs, as he did not request that I record it, and my understanding is that Timmy is in danger of some sort.”
“Huh. Wriggled free? Did we not tie him tight enough?”
“I suspect it was not the knot that was at fault, but the fact that, for the third night running, we neglected to bind his arms.”
“Oh yeah. You’d think we wanted him to disappear from our lives.” Buffy brightened. “Maybe he got run over by a truck. A big truck. Full of sharp wooden implements.”
Giles sighed. “Somehow, I doubt it. That would be far too convenient. But if you are concerned, you are welcome to go hunt him down.”
“Nah. I’m pretty sure wherever he’s at now, I don’t want to be.” Buffy gave Giles a quick rundown of the previous night (two vamps, a slug-demon, and a couple of minor imps), then joined Willow on the couch, with one of the many plates of cookies still scattered around the apartment. Giles planned on making tea, which for Buffy would mean 2 minutes with a microwave, but apparently for Giles meant an elaborate process of warming pots and heating water to a precise temperature and all sorts of ridiculous hocus-pocus. She was pretty sure most arcane spells took less fuss.
“So, how are things going with Riiiiiiiiley?” Willow grinned around a mouthful of cookie.
Buffy sighed. “Actually, we’re… not exactly together anymore.”
Willow’s face fell. “Aw, man! What happened? It… it wasn’t the engaged-to-Spike thing, was it? Do I need to start baking cookies again?” Her eyes widened in horror. “Do we have to skip Psychology today? Because I brought all my colored pens, and…”
“No, not at all!” Buffy hastily reassured her friend. For the love of God, no more cookies! “We were ok after the… thing… and no need to be all avoidy. It was amicable. It’s just… I got to thinking. The whole Spike thing was… gross, and inappropriate, and all of that, because Spike, but… the way I felt under the spell? That’s how I want to feel when I’m in love.”
Willow looked a little confused, but nodded encouragingly.
“It’s like… Well, Riley’s a good guy. He’s cute, and nice, and he likes me, and he’d probably be really good for me, especially after Angel. But it’s like… opening up the fridge and all that’s in there is lowfat yogurt. And you know, yogurt’s good for you and all, and it tastes fine, and maybe it has some fruit or something to make it seem exciting, but then right next to the fridge is a freezer that has a tub of Häagen Dazs somewhere inside. If I didn’t know about the Häagen Dazs, I might be ok settling for the yogurt, you know? But now that I know it’s there, and I know what it tastes like, I kinda want to dig around and find the ice creamy goodness instead.”
“…Spike is ice creamy goodness?”
“No, not Spike! The love part, with the smooching and the working together and the happy stuff. I’m not holding out for Spike. I’m holding out for Häagen Dazs. I’m betting if I dig a little more, I’ll find it. Him. You know.”
“I think I get it. SO…” Willow munched on another cookie, speaking through the crumbs. “Riley is lowfat yogurt, and your future not-Spike man is premium ice cream…. in our fabulous world of dairy products, what was Angel?”
“I am NOT going to speculate on what dairy product Angel might have been. He’s in the past. Past his sell-by date. Expired.”
“Well, ok then. It’s a convoluted metaphor, but I think I got it now. But poor Riley! You let him down gently?”
“Yeah, I guess. He actually seemed a little relieved.” Buffy pouted a bit at the memory. “I think he thinks I’m too high maintenance. And I’m not high maintenance at ALL.”
Eyeroll. “No, not at all.”
“I just want a guy who loves me completely, treats me like a princess but lets me fight my own battles, and kisses like Sp—like Häagen Dazs.”
Willow narrowed her eyes. “You were going to say ‘kisses like Spike,’ weren’t you?”
“No! Nonono…. Maybe?” Oh dammit, she’s got her Resolve Face on… “Okay, you know I don’t want Spike, right? Because he’s evil, and gross, and a murderer, and so on. But…” Buffy double-checked to make sure Giles wasn’t close enough to overhear. “OH MY GOD can he kiss!”
“Oh, REALLY.” Willow’s face wavered between fascinated and appalled. “Wow.”
“No, seriously. I always thought tongues were kinda gross, but now I totally get it! Like, if you could take Spike’s lips, and his kissing ability, and transfer them over to a decent human being? I would snatch that man up in a HEARTBEAT.”
“Yeah, wow.” Buffy’s mind wandered off for a moment on the lovely idea of someone who kissed like Spike but wasn’t in fact an evil, soulless vampire, but eventually drifted back to the realization that Willow was watching her warily. “What?”
“Oh, nothing. Just… Let’s not share this conversation with Xander, ok?”
“Definitely not.” Maybe another cookie would help her get her mind off the Lips of Spike. ”So, what about you?”
“Me? Oh, um… I’m still getting over Oz, you know…”
“I know, but maybe what you need to get over him is to go on a few dates! Find someone safe and dependable and kind…. Hey, you should totally go out with Riley!”
Willow dropped her cookie, fumbling to gather the crumbs off Giles’s couch. “Me? And Riley?”
“Yeah, I totally thought he was after you for the longest time. You’re so smart, and so with the not-dropping-books-on-his-head… And he always has nice things to say about you.”
“He does?” Willow smiled a bit, thinking. “Huh.”
“Just think about it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. And maybe you’ll meet someone else. You never know.”
“Maybe.” Willow seemed dubious again. “I don’t exactly have a good history with the, you know, talking to people and stuff like that. Not as bad as it used to be but…”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your perfect someone is out there, just waiting. And so is mine.” Buffy finished up her cookie with a determined chomp. Yessiree, she was going to find her perfect someone. Her yummy, delectable tub of Häagen Dazs. Maybe even that very day.
And other than the kissing, he was going to be one-hundred-percent not like Spike.
End Chapter 1
Coming up next: Interrogation
Chapter 1 Author's Notes:
Officers Thomas and Kemp are named after the friends who got me into Buffy – Michael and Lynne, who suggested I get Amber Benson to autograph my copy of Glitter and Mayhem (she was so sweet it made me decide to take the Buffy plunge) and Jennifer and Mel, who then loaned me their Buffy DVD Box Sets for an extended period of time so I could binge-watch them obsessively. Someday they'll get them back. Jennifer also refuses to watch any of the Toy Story movies because they creep her out.
Story name is from The Producers, and is a lyric from the musical comedy they produced from prison.
The movie posters Spike defaced are: Sleepy Hollow, The Sixth Sense, Elmo in Grouchland, Pokemon: The First Movie, Toy Story 2, and Eyes Wide Shut.
Gratuitous quotes (or near-quotes) from: A Christmas Story, Firefly/Saturday Night Live