May I present the first part of a fluffy fic, set in a happier and Spuffier AU Season 7. The second part of the story will be posted on one of the remaining free-for-all days.
Title: The Anniversary Gift (Chapter 1)
Word count: ~1400
Summary: A first Spuffy anniversary. In this chapter, Buffy attempts to write a poem as an anniversary gift for Spike. Yeeeah. :P
Setting: AU S7 without the dark S6, because it’s my story. :)
Rating: R (so far) for suggestive content.
A/N: Felicia turns her back on angst/drama for fluffy humor! *gasp* (And has Buffy suffer through writer’s block as a surrogate.) :P Context-switching between writing this goofy story and the more somber Those Three Little Words (posted just before this) has been a bipolar experience. Hopefully it turned out OK so far. Beta'd by the effulgent All4Spike.
Feedback: Won’t you please be so kind? :)
Roses are red
And so is blood
Is morbid to put into a love poem, even by a Slayer. Even for a vampire. Especially if composed in their shared bed. While both of them happen to be in it. Beside her, Spike sleeps on, dead (hee!) to the world. Suppressing the frustration she’s so entitled to for multiple reasons, Buffy crosses out the last one and a half lines with vehement repetition until they’re drowned inside blocks of shiny, solid black ink.
She should’ve stayed true to the classic opening; flowers are never morbid:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Buffy squints at the second line. Violets are violet, really. And roses come in all colors and shades—she’s even seen a pretty pink and white marbled variety that reminds her of strawberry swirl ice cream. Yum. So this poem is no better than a certain lyin’, cheatin’ kitten poker player who, because she loves him, shall remain nameless, even if he happens to be conked out past two o’clock in the afternoon on the day of their first anniversary, sleeping the sleep of the over-indulgent. He can’t possibly have forgot about the occasion, right?
Clearly, he’s had a good night of poker. What’s the exchange rate of kittens to Scotch these days?
Here she is, trying to be the thoughtful girlfriend by observing the tradition of the first anniversary gift of paper. She can hardly believe it: one full year of dating and the world still stands. Well, not so much dating per se in the beginning as screwing each other’s brains out in an out-of-control wrecking ball of an affair, but those were the bad ol’ days—before the shocking exposé led to a teary confession and Scooby-huddle and eventual acceptance.
The two of them have since de-secretized, and found their long-term, torrid groove. Besides, 21st century non-contract-binding Slayer here, she doesn’t do normative relationships. She congratulates herself once again for coming up with the idea of writing him a poem for a change, even if she knows that a sonnet, his favorite form, would be a bit of a creative stretch for her first composition.
Well, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Not to mention—Buffy throws a glance at the laundry basket overflowing at the far corner, concealing its treasure from a nosy vampire—it wouldn’t be her only present to him.
* * * * * *
She sought out Willow for advice well in advance, of course, catching up with her best friend while the latter restocked on components for a protection spell at the Magic Box, but Willow only piled on more questions. Literally. “What if you drew a Venn diagram to help with the decision making? You know, one circle could represent things Spike clearly wants but… oooh, another would be things he doesn’t even know he wanted in the first place, maybe? Yet another circle would cover something he needs, but coming from you, will be extra meaningful?”
“Is this one of those gifting guides that always leads to socks and batteries?” Only Willow could turn an excuse for happy fun shopping into a “solve for x” brain teaser. The extra steps proposed here before her journey of a thousand steps to the mall could even begin only made Buffy more skeptical.
“May I suggest books,” Giles said, looking up from a dusty old book that he’d described as “a spot of relaxing, light reading,” apparently having overheard their conversation. “Simple, yet thoughtful. A good mind never goes out of fashion, unlike a vampire’s wardrobe.”
“Umm,” Buffy said noncommittally, and not just because she sometimes had trouble telling if Giles was joking. She wanted to get Spike something that would…well, naturally segue into happy fun adult time between her and Spike, and books had the unfortunate tendency of leading the giftee into silent reading time, very much clothed, all while leaving the gifter alone.
So not the anniversary night she had in mind.
Giles was still talking, “Can’t blame me for trying. Even you must understand my delight at the thought that Spike’s interest in literature might yet rub off on you.”
“Oh, believe me, there’s plenty of rubbing…” Willow coughed, and Buffy felt warmth rise to her cheeks. “I-I mean, he tried introducing me to some of his favorite books”—among them, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, had been of just the right height for that tricky-but-so-worth-it position that had made her a quivering fan of the Bard for life—“but I’m afraid Dawn’s inherited all the bookworm genes in the family, and sibling rivalry is such an ugly thing—”
A mental trainwreck in progress? Exactly like that. Enough that Willow jumped in to her rescue. “Giles, will you stop teasing her? Don’t worry, Buffy. You’ll think of something.”
“Right. I’ll just go and…check out the New York Times bestsellers list.” She edged towards the door.
From nowhere, Anya had appeared between Buffy and her last chance at a semi-graceful exit, a metal container balanced precariously on one cocked hip. The side facing Buffy had featured a prominent red warning sticker that’d said, “CAUTION!!! INFLAMMABLE!!!” with the “IN” prefix crossed out with a marker, turning the second word into “FLAMMABLE!!!” instead. Funny the kind of things people stressed over.
“Oh, Buffy, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Trees. You want man-pleasing advice, you should’ve come straight to me.”
“Hey!” Willow’s head jerked up in protest, while Giles burst out with, “I will have you know that I’ve plenty of…erm, shipments to…prep for shipping,” before he disappeared into the back office.
Anya cocked the other hip, switching the container over, her free hand gesturing vaguely to Buffy, “You need to think outside the box.”
The last thing Buffy needed was more generic, non-actionable advice. “Anya, I’m completely outside the box. I don’t even have a box. I need a gift first to put into that box.”
Anya smirked. “Sometimes, the best gift for the one you love is a gift for yourself.”
That sounded…exactly like something Anya would say, and not so much with the helpful. “Uhm, in other, less cryptic, words?” She prompted.
Grinning widely, Anya leaned in, crushing the remainder of Buffy’s personal bubble, and whispered, “One word: lingerie.”
“That is thinking outside the box. Bet Spike’s never worn lingerie, although…were men still wearing stockings and heels in the Victorian age?”
“I meant for you to wear.” Anya rolled her eyes with a complete head rotation follow-through. “Oh, and Buffy? Skip the gift box. He’ll have plenty to unwrap.” Anya winked, and breezed past her, rattling the metal container with each step.
Finally! Something tangible and unambiguous Buffy could put on her shopping list.
* * * * * *
Buffy steals a glance at Spike’s supine sleeping form next to her, the blanket artfully draped over his slender hips. There’re no even breaths, no rapid eye movements, by which to gauge the depth of his slumber; no tossing and turning to dislodge the blanket obscuring his perfect form.
Good thing she’s learned over the years to take destiny into her own hands. Feet, too. Curling her toes around a corner of the blanket while stifling a mischievous giggle, she quietly extends her leg to tug the blanket just so, and—why, hello there! Inspiration courses through her body like a lightning bolt, as the poem practically composes itself on the spot:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Poetry is hard
And Spike is too!
Okay, so what if it’s not exactly a presentable poem—as presents go, and if she recalls correctly from that poetry class she had to drop, completely disregards the target audience. If she can write one poem, she can write another.
And how drunk must Spike be to continue to snooze through all of her physical antics and emotional turmoil, when usually her first step into the bedroom would be enough to bring him back into the land of the conscious, not to mention the elaborate striptease she had performed before crawling into bed, entirely for his benefit and as it turned out, completely in vain?
Because, well, if he wakes up now, and witnesses the struggle in her poetic endeavours, surely he’ll put a stop to them with kisses that will lead to more, until she’s wiggled her way out of the writing, but more importantly from beneath a hard and chiseled chest, and untangled her coiled legs from a muscled body, sated and breathless and tingling all over…
No such luck. Exasperated, Buffy pushes herself off the bed and stomps out of the bedroom, down the stairs as loudly as she could.
(To Be Continued...)