So, it's my day at Seasonal Spuffy and I have a short offering that isn't really a chapter in my current wip, but it could easily slide into that world pretty much anywhere during the current year. Spike and Buffy visit an unusual carnival so that he can visit with someone he used to know.
Banner by Teragramm
SHE CRIED MORE, MORE, MORE…
“Tell me again why we’re going to this carnival tonight? When I’ve got annoying nerds to deal with and a class tomorrow?”
“There’s a concert venue there too, and I want to see an old…. friend.” Spike handed Buffy a flier as he steered the old car onto the highway.
Buffy read the flier aloud. “ ‘See monsters and other unnatural creatures.’ What the hell? I do that every night!”
“Keep readin’, love.”
She frowned, but stared down at the flier obediently. Skimming past the pictures of werewolves and vampires, she stopped suddenly.
“’Billy idol in concert. One night only.’ Why didn’t you say so?”
“I thought I just did,” he said with a laugh.
“So, you really did know him back in the day?”
“Didn’t you believe me?”
“Well, I mean, yeah, he does look like he was trying to look like you, but that could have been coincidence or something.”
“Not a coincidence.”
“Okay then. So will he be glad to see you?”
“No idea. Was back in my evil days. I think I told him he could have my look, but I might come back to exact payment for it one day.”
“Does he know what you are?”
“Didn’t make a big deal of it, but the man’s not stupid.”
“When was it?”
“Not sure—sometime in the 70’s when I was visiting the old country for a short time. That’s when he started to copy my look. Next time I saw him, he was in NYC and just starting to be famous. We had a little chat about how much he looked like me. I followed his career for a while, but then life got more interesting and I forgot about him.”
“What do you want to do first, Slayer? Take a look at the monsters? Ride something fast and scary?”
“How about some cotton candy? I haven’t eaten since lunch.”
“Cotton candy is not dinner!”
“Neither is any of the other crap they sell at places like this,” Buffy shot back. “I’ll force down a hotdog if I get hungry enough later.”
“You shoulda said something,” he grumbled. “We could have taken time for you to eat before we left.”
“I’ll be fine. Let’s check out the ‘monsters’ and see if any of them are slayable.”
He sighed heavily. “They’re all here just tryin’ to make a living that doesn’t put them on your radar. Can’t you just be a spectator for one evening?”
“We’ll see. No promises, though. I mean isn’t this like the perfect scam for a vampire? You’re only in town for a few nights and then you move on, so if you leave a body behind, who’s going to know it was you?”
“Or, if you don’t like to hunt, you can get paid to scare people, and then leave before they find out you’re the real deal and they bring out the pitchforks and torches…. Or the Slayer,” he added when she rolled her eyes.
“Okay. No slaying unless I catch somebody doing something evil.”
“That’s my girl.” He put his arm around her and squeezed as they entered the first tent.
“Had enough, love?” Spike smiled at her when she rolled her eyes and shook her head.
“I’ve probably had as much as I can handle without wanting to slay something… or somebody. That guy that said he remembered you from back in the day looked a little shady to me. I don’t think he’s bagging it.”
“May not be at that,” Spike admitted. “Tell you what, we’ll come back to find him when the show’s over, and if it looks like he’s been feedin’, you can do what comes naturally.”
“Promise?” She perked up. “Okay. Let’s go watch the show.”
“How pathetic were those guys?” she asked rhetorically as they left the side show area and headed for the stage. “Most of them weren’t even scary, even the one I think is really eating people looked pretty wimpy to me. It was kinda sad.”
“You aren’t most people, love. Doubt he looked wimpy to anybody else in there,” he said, taking her hand as they moved closer to the stage without being challenged. Spike’s appearance had the other spectators either cringing away from his hard demeanor, or trying to get close enough to see who he really was. But one glimpse of his true face parted the crowd and allowed them to walk right to the front and remain comfortably alone and un-jostled there.
“You know that’s cheating, right?” Buffy said, attempting to sound seriously angry, even as she appreciated the breathing room.
“You’d rather have a bunch of sweaty, drunk people shoving you against the fence?” he asked, gesturing to the flimsy-looking wall separating them from the actual stage by just a few feet.
“I could shove back,” she grumbled. “But okay, point taken. This is much nicer than being smushed.”
She gazed around at the invisible barrier of fear that was keeping their area clear. Every once in a while, someone would see open space and swagger into it, only to beat a hasty retreat when Spike snarled. One voluptuous brunette ignored the warning whispers from those closest to them. She walked up to Buffy and shoved her away from Spike, saying “Move over, blondie, and let a real woman in.”
“I’m not afraid of you,” she purred to Spike, who was staring at her with yellow eyes. “I know you’re just part of the act. Didn’t see you in one of the tents, but—”
She never got to finish her comment as Buffy had grabbed her arm and flung her into the closest group of fans, knocked several of them down. She stalked toward the angry woman who was trying to clamber out of the pile of equally angry people and leaned down to whisper, “Neither one of us is part of the show. I suggest you look for someplace else to stand.”
Buffy yanked the much larger woman up by her collar, shoved her away hard enough to prove her first move hadn’t been an accident, then stalked back to Spike who was making no attempt to hide his laughter.
“Well done, love. Subtle, but effective.”
“Throwing her into the crowd was subtle?” Buffy appeared slightly embarrassed at her behavior, although a quick glance showed that no one had been hurt and one girl even gave her a thumbs up.
“Well, could have been worse. You could have thrown her all the way across the field.”
“No, I couldn’t. She was too fat.”
Spike wisely didn’t respond to that, nudging her to pay attention as the spot light appeared on the stage. It wasn’t long before Billy Idol was strutting and singing, nodding approval when the audience clapped and sang along to old favorites. It was obvious when he’d noticed the pretty blonde woman in the front, isolated as she was by the open space around her. Although the space had shrunk considerably as the show began, it was still quite easy for him to see that she was free to dance along to the music without any interference from larger fans trying to get close to the stage.
He smiled at Buffy, who beamed back at him. She found herself having a wonderful time enjoying the show he and his band put on. He was well into the performance¬—after singing to Buffy he’d then strutted his way to one end of the stage to sing to people there, then back to the other end—before he noticed Spike. Too much of a professional to get caught up in spending overly much of his time and attention on one pretty woman, even if she was by herself, he’d let his gaze roam all around the audience and he sang right at more than one fan. However, eventually, he came back to center stage and Buffy, and saw that she wasn’t as alone as he’d first thought. The sight of Spike, who’d come looking even more punk than he usually did at this point in his life, caused Billy to freeze briefly.
He recovered quickly, saying, “Wow. What a great audience you are. You almost make me forget the words. Help me out here….”
The crowd roared back with the missing chorus, and the show went on. At the last encore, Billy made a subtle gesture with his eyes to the side of the stage and Spike nodded. They waited until most of the crowd began to thin out, then made their way in the opposite direction toward the line forming for photographs. When they tried to go behind the curtains and around the back, a large man blocked their way.
“Sorry, folks. VIP passes only get you photos. You’ll have to wait out here for Billy to come out.” He did a double-take on Spike and added with admiration, “Awesome look, dude. You nailed it.”
“Don’t doubt it,” Spike said with a wry smile. He jerked his chin toward the trailer they could see behind the stage. “Your boss invited us. Best check with him before you say we aren’t welcome.”
As he spoke, the door to the trailer opened and a shirtless Billy Idol, holding a towel, waved at them.
“Let them in, Mike. It’s alright.”
With a nod, Mike stepped aside and waved them past him. Holding Buffy’s hand, Spike swaggered to the trailer, up the steps, and inside.
He paused just inside the door, and he and the aging rock star looked each other up and down critically. Billy’s face was a study in apprehension, mixed with admiration.
“Well, I see one of us holding up better than might be expected of someone I met over thirty years ago.”
“Are you surprised?” Spike came the rest of the way in and put his arm around Buffy who was staring at Billy Idol’s bare chest a little harder than he might have liked.
“Well, I guess I shouldn’t be. I always wondered….” He shifted his gaze to Buffy. “Are you…?”
“Nope. I’m as human as you are.” When Spike coughed, she added, “Okay, not exactly like you are maybe, but still human. Not a vampire.”
“And you don’t care that he is?” Spike’s growl had Billy holding up his hands in protest. “Not saying she should, just asking.”
“I used to care, now I don’t. Long story.”
Billy nodded as he pulled on a clean shirt and combed his hair. “And none of my business.”
She held out her hand. “I’m Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.”
He took the hand she’d held out to him and squeezed it. “Pleased to meet you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have to go out for my meet and greet bit, but I’d love to spend more time with you two when it’s done….”
Spike shook his head. “We’ve still got work to do tonight. Including checking out one of your traveling companions. Slayer here thinks he’s not as squeaky clean as he’s meant to be.”
Billy frowned. “Is that right? I don’t really know this group. We just happened to have a few dates that coincided and my manager thought it would be a good idea to share the expenses with them.” He looked mildly concerned. “Should I be worried? Are you saying those people in the tents are the real deal. Like you?”
“They’re nothing like me ,” Spike growled. “But, yeah, they stay out of the daylight for a reason. Most of them looked pretty harmless and I’d guess they’re no danger to you or yours, but just in case, Buffy’s gonna have a little chat with one of them.”
Billy looked at Buffy with wiser eyes. “Vampire Slayer, huh? I guess there’s a reason you’re not afraid of him.” He gestured to Spike.
“Never have been,” Buffy said. “Even when he was trying to kill me…”
Billy looked wistful… and curious. “Are you sure you can’t hang out longer? The stories you must have—”
“No,” Spike said firmly. “We just came so Buffy could enjoy the show—good job, by the way. You’ve got decent moves for an old guy—” He laughed when Billy visibly bristled. “And so I could see how our image was holding up and remind you where you got it. Mission accomplished.”
“Can we get a picture?” Buffy asked, ignoring Spike’s eyeroll. “I mean, I don’t think we got VIP tickets, but—”
“Of course you can, darlin’. You can even have him in it if you want to. Let’s get out there and we’ll do it before anybody else.”
They followed a newly freshened up Billy Idol out of the trailer and to a photo-op site created with heavy curtains for a backdrop. Shaking his head at Mike to hold off on sending in the first person in line, Billy took his place in front of the curtain and gestured for Buffy to come closer. She happily snuggled in under his extended arm and put on her best smile. As soon as the picture’d been taken and the photographer gave a thumbs up that it was good, Billy cocked his head at Spike.
“C’mon. Get in the shot with your lady.” He frowned. “Or don’t you show up on film either?”
“I do,” Spike said shortly, then sighed and gave in to Buffy’s silent plea. He moved closer to her and removed Billy’s hand from her shoulder so could put his own arm around her. When Billy tried to move his hand to her waist, a deep snarl from Spike stopped him immediately. He signaled to the photographer to take the picture, smiling as if he was with his two best friends.
The little group broke apart and Billy said, “Give the photographer your email address, and he’ll send the pictures before we leave in the morning.”
Buffy thanked him, complimented him on the show, and assured him that they’d had a “wonderful time”. Spike mumbled something that might have been a “Thank you for letting Buffy have her picture,” as he reluctantly accepted a handshake from his older-looking doppleganger. He flicked his eyes at the photographer when he picked up the sound of the camera shutter, but swallowed his growl in favor of saying quietly, “I’d best not see that on the internet, mate.”
“No worries. It’s just for me. Proves my memory is right and I didn’t have a bad trip a long time ago. It’s nice to know you’re real.”
“He’s very real,” Buffy said, her expression changing to that of a slayer who had just spotted her prey. “And so is that guy trying to get one of those girls to go with him.” Her gaze never left the vampire she’d been sure was not as harmless as the others, and Billy flinched away from Spike’s suddenly frightening companion. “Stay here, Spike. If he wants to take a girl someplace private, I’m going to make his night.”
Without another word, she moved toward the small group of girls surrounding the vampire. She’d moved so quickly, Billy had to blink as he watched her approach from the vamp’s blind side.
“She’s not exactly an ordinary woman, is she?” he asked, his expression one of mixed fear and admiration.
“Not even close to ordinary,” Spike said, his mood much improved at having seen Buffy completely forget about the aging rock star in favor of saving a life. “Not even close.” He clapped the other man on his shoulder, saying, “Hope to catch your act again one of these days. I think Buffy enjoyed it.”
“Any time. Just let me know and the VIP tickets will be waiting for you.”
Spike nodded and flashed his game face just for the fun of watching the man recoil, then he strolled off in the direction Buffy had taken with the unwary vampire.
He found her walking out of one of the tents, dusting her hands theatrically.
“So, love, do we need to let the manager know he’s missing an employee?”
“Nah, let him find out the hard way. He deserves it. There’s no way he didn’t know that guy was eating the customers.” She moved closer to him. “You’re better looking, you know,” she said, taking his hand. “And probably a lot sexier—”
Buffy giggled. “Let’s go home. You can pretend to be him, and then the second time, you can be you… and I’ll tell you which one was better.”
“You little minx. I thought you didn’t like role-playing….” He opened the car door for her and nibbled on her neck as she got in.
“I’m making an… oooh!.... exception. Just for tonight.”
“Hold that thought. We’ll be home in fifteen minutes. Less if you’ll let me bite any cops that stop us.”
“No biting the police. Just drive normally.”
He pulled up behind their apartment building in less than twelve minutes, and as she got out she muttered, “I meant the way other people drive normally… not you!”
“Hey! That is how I normally drive. I’m just a bit more… motivated than usual.” He took his time locking the car, licking his lips lasciviously when he caught her watching him.
Buffy rolled her eyes and began walking around the building toward their door. “Hurry it up. I’ve got a date with a rock star.”
He was past her and holding the door open before she got to it.
“That you do, love. One rock star shag coming up.” As they entered and he closed the door behind them, he added. “And then an even better seeing to by your much better-looking and talented husband.”
“Promises, promises,” Buffy said, making directly for the bedroom, shedding her clothes as she went.
“I don’t think you’re behaving like a proper groupie,” he complained, stripping out of his own clothes as he followed her. “Shouldn’t you be more respectful?”
Her only response was a giggle.
“Well, how’d I do?” Spike smiled down at Buffy’s sated expression.
“Not bad. I kinda liked the singing to me part.” She reached up and pulled him into a lingering kiss. “But I think I’ll keep my husband. Nobody’s better than he is, even a rock star.”