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Shame the Devil (PG13)

Title Shame the Devil
Author Brutti ma buoni
Rating PG13
Words 975
Setting an alternative ending to Entropy and kind of a replacement for parts of Seeing Red, I suppose
Prompt If only Willow had found the Magic Box cameras before Spike and Anya did anything
A/N This is an AU in which the Magic Box cameras were the ones that were spotted first, and investigated, instead of the creepy garden dwarf. (There's still background Spike/Anya as per canon.) It's *significantly* less dramatic...



A lighter sparked in the dark. Under the big tree, just where Buffy'd learned to expect it, and hadn't been able to train herself out of looking, not in the short weeks that Spike-at-the-door had ceased to mean distraction-desperation-fucking-pain-out-of-her-head, and returned to being just crazed-chipped-crushed-vampire like in the good old days before Buffy died, and her run on sentences were just getting out of control again, weren't they? Maybe that was a good sign. It felt more like the old Buffy. The pre-death version. The pre-Spike. Pre-Dawn, pre-Mom-losing, pre-

Okay. That wasn't helping. Buffy gave a deep internal sigh, and detoured on her way to patrol.

"Spike?" The pile of cigarette butts at his feet testified to a long evening smoking out here. She hoped he wasn't going stalker-y again.

"Hello Buffy," he said. Buffy. Not Slayer. So that much remained. She couldn't get a good look at his face, amid coat-collar, darkness, and determined evasion. But what she could see looked set, drained, pale – well, he was always pale, but - Not good.

"Whatcha doing?" Determined ignorance. If she had to take him patrolling, she would. Anything but a brooding vampire lurking outside her house and wow, that subconscious was working overtime, right?

"Not feeling too proud of myself, tonight," he said. Which was weird. Spike, soulless and apparently ashamed. But he didn't follow up.

"Yeah? Well, I have news," Buffy said, brightly. "Those cameras in the skull at the Magic Box? Not the only ones." He maybe flinched at the words Magic Box but she didn't register it till after. "Creepy Trio have been watching, like, everything we've done for months."

He – again – didn't say anything. Not even the obvious Well, we've given 'em an eyeful, eh? Instead, he took a deep, dark drag on his cigarette and said, "I was there. Tonight. At the Magic Box."

"Yeah?" Buffy's fake brightness was draining in the face of inexplicably inert Spike. But, okay.

"I wanted a love spell, to fix you. Or an anti-love spell to fix me. Didn't really care."

"Right. Awesome. Magic always fixes stuff in a really positive way," Buffy definitely wasn't trying for bright now.

He moved out into the streetlight a little. Made a familiar dismissive face. "It hurts, Slayer. Sometimes the easy way seems like the easy option." It was a little bleary, that wording, and she realized she could smell booze too. But whiskey usually made him chatty, so that wasn't really an explanation. So she waited.

"I fucked Anya."

Three little words, and Buffy felt something twinge inside. Something unworthy. Because, okay, not the dream words anyone likes to hear from an ex, but she couldn't protest. Unless-

And it showed on her face, that thought, because he frowned, fast and deadly, and got in her face. "Drunk and self-pitying and regretted at once, love, but she was willing. We both were, at the time. Good thing you didn't get an eyeful of that with your little Scoobie friends, hey?"

He wasn't triumphant. He wasn't trying to mock her or hurt. And yet, "Why are you telling me this?"

"Because lying and concealment don't make things better," he said, bitter but definite. And consistent, dammit, with what he'd been telling her for months.

Except, "Uh," said Buffy, suddenly. "Don't tell Xander."

Spike looked at her like she was a fool. "Lord, no. Love, I don't talk to the idiot if I can help it. Why'd I spill someone else's business where it'd do no good? If she wants to tell him, she will. He won't hear it from me."

Again with the weird. Soulless, evil Spike would do – had done – exactly that, often and with pleasure. But apparently not tonight.

She paused. "Do you feel better, for telling me?"

"Nope," he said, shrugging it away. "But… I don't like myself, like I say. Don't like what I did. 'M not sure I want to be hereabouts pulling crap like that. It's not an anti-love spell, but- Call it holding up a mirror? One that I can see myself in, obviously." They shared a near-laugh, fleetingly, eyes catching and mouths twitching, and she remembered how much she could like Spike. "Bloody metaphors. Anyway, upshot is I'm thinking I'll get away from here for a bit. If you'll be okay?"

"You're leaving?" And she did not mean to make that so desolate. Not at all. She'd broken up with him, and he'd slept with someone else, and she did not have the right, or the need, to be upset at him getting some headspace. Except… "You'll be back?"

Spike nodded, eyes on the dark horizon. She realized belatedly that his bike was resting against the other side of the tree trunk. He really was going. "Got some plans. Might be a while. But yeah. In the end. Got to fight the good fight, right? You'll be okay?"

"With the evil nerd Trio? Sure." Buffy tried not to sneer. Even after the hallucinations and the near-killing-friends, she really couldn't take them too seriously.

Spike threw down his last cigarette butt, trampled it hard. "Didn't mean that. Know you can take 'em. You be okay in yourself? Maybe tell someone about what you've been going through, get your head clear too?"

It wasn't a new thought, and Buffy still rejected it. But – maybe - this time she could feel something changing. She didn't want him to go. She really hated that he'd slept with her friend, but she was sort of glad he'd been honest, and that it made him sorry. It hadn't been an awesomely healthy relationship, sure, but possibly it wasn't as over as she'd assumed. "Uh… Yes. Maybe I will?"

He smiled. Honest to goodness smiled. "Then I'll definitely be back." Waved, and hauled himself onto the bike. Started it, obnoxiously loud in the late night of suburbia.

She watched him out of sight.

***

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
quinara
May. 8th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep... Those poor little characters. :( I really like this version, because I can see Spike so clearly with that burning self-loathing. I tend to think that Spike's mood was no and self-image were almost as bad as Buffy's in S6, so it's really gratifying to see that, but also see them taking a bit of care with each other.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 8th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
I actually love the scene at the Magic Box after, before Xander comes in with the axe. It's kind of quietly rueful and you don't need any verbiage to know they won't be repeating it. Lovely low-key acting.

And I prefer that mood, the 'Oh, buggeration, I've done something dumb and it didn't fix anything' to the big dramatic scene, with Xander goading Spike till he uses that deadly little 'good enough for Buffy' line. Which then winds everyone up to awfulness. This way is a bit grim, but not hopeless.
velvetwhip
May. 8th, 2013 09:09 pm (UTC)
I like this. It feels authentic. Wish it had gone that way.


Gabrielle
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 8th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Me too. Grown up is more difficult than idiots running around with axes, but more satisfying too.
zanthinegirl
May. 8th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
Ooh! Consider me distracted!

I like this a lot. You really capture their essential humanity; the ruefull "Man, I screw that up" ness they both had before it all went so badly wrong.

I'm a huge sucker for season 6 re-does. This hits all the right notes!
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 8th, 2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
My happiest moment in their relationship is Hells Bells - that awkward, shruggy, oops but we're kind of okay vibe. This is a little more downbeat, but still healthier than all the daaaark.

And good. Mission accomplished!
zanthinegirl
May. 8th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
I love that moment. That might actually have been the moment I started actively shipping them, you know? If you asked me up till then my response would probably have been that I loved them both, but that they were bad for each other.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I love Smashed, of course, but it never made me think long term relationship!
gillo
May. 8th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
That works for me. Honesty, embarrassment, love, possibly not just one-way.

Perhaps this universe's SR doesn't kill anyone...

(Meet Pollyanna here.)
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
*g* I'm afraid they're still underestimating the Trio, sad to say. But not having ugly shouting matches seems like a better deal.
waddiwasiwitch
May. 8th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
This was perfect, desolate but a nice hopeful bit there at the end.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That's exactly the tone I wanted.
rebcake
May. 8th, 2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh, oh. That moment when they like each other and are trying to be gentle...yes. I like that a whole lot.

Lovely scene, m'dear.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad people share love for that moment.
moriwen1
May. 9th, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
That was...weirdly sweet. And really lovely. Serious and realistic without being dark, or not too dark. I'm a fan.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Weirdly sweet, I will definitely take as a compliment. *g*
snogged
May. 9th, 2013 12:22 am (UTC)
This was lovely.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
rahirah
May. 9th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
Aw, if only...
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah... You know me and grown up conversations. Always hopeful.
spuffy_luvr
May. 9th, 2013 02:22 am (UTC)
Oooh, I like this alternative. Very nice.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I like it too.
readerjane
May. 9th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
(pats them)

There's my dear ones. They'll knock their heads against the universe til they see stars, but they do reach those moments of clarity - sometimes even together.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
Together, or in the vicinity of together at least, and it's fleetingly sweet amid all the darkness. And it's what keeps us coming back to them. Glad this caught that feeling for you!
seapealsh
May. 9th, 2013 03:30 am (UTC)
I think this would have been nice if it had happened in canon. Well done.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
ever_neutral
May. 9th, 2013 10:10 am (UTC)
Ooooh, I really like this! Kind of wish this is how things had really gone tbh. : \ But I suppose people acting like adults and not screaming at each other isn't Joss' style.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
It's not *all* that supernatural-telegenic, I fear. And yet, I wish it too.
relurker
May. 9th, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I particularly loved Buffy's internal dialogue--spot on--but then I also particularly loved the dialogue by the tree (heartbreaking), and I really, really like your what if a lot.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 09:12 pm (UTC)
*g* Thank you! I'm glad you like this version.
comlodge
May. 9th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
You always write your charachters so well, the stories so in verse. Always a pleasure to read.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 9th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, that's lovely to hear.
gingerwall
May. 10th, 2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
This is fabulous. Perfect characterization, and I love the plot. If only it had happened this way in the show.
brutti_ma_buoni
May. 13th, 2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
shapinglight
May. 16th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Now this one, I wish it had happened that way.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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