Word count: 351
Genre: humor/angst/Monster of the Week
Standard disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, just the story.
"A demon of silence. Ooh, boy, let's all fear the terror of quiet time."
"Xander -- " Willow tries to squelch his poor humor.
"Does it shush us like a humorless librarian?" What did she ever see in him?
"I say -- "
Spike's solitary word cuts through the chatter like a arrow. It is low and full of detached pity. Not derisive and scornful as it might have been the year before, or mocking and gleeful the year before that.
Xander still bristles. But he, like everyone else, is listening now.
"Silence is not about not speaking. It's about what is unspoken. It's what you cannot say, what eats you up."
"From beneath you, it devours," Andrew attempts to intone. Only Spike glances at him, and only for a moment.
Now that they're finally taking this seriously, Anya speaks up. "The more you haven't said, the more you're afraid to say, the more the Iltspek can paralyze you." She gives the Scoobs an assessing glance. "You guys are screwed." Pauses. "I'm not." She settles herself on the couch.
Stern Buffy can silence Spike.
Anya imagines what she could say to her.
I haven't seen this much repression since Halfrek and I toured the drawing rooms of Victorian England. Giles is in mourning and furious that no one's noticed. Dawn's afraid she's abnormal. Which she is. Oh, not in her body, the monks did fine with that. Presumably. They were all entirely celibate, so who knows what they thought goes on 'down there'. Willow's afraid of herself. She should be; she did try to destroy the world. Xander is hiding both his alcoholic tendencies and his latent bisexuality. Andrew's worried that he's evil, and worse, useless. You're afraid of what you feel for Spike. And Spike's afraid of you.
But it won't help if she says it. They have to. Those, and a hundred other things they been holding back over the years.
They're all totally screwed.
Spike is looking at Buffy. Buffy is looking at Spike. They both look stricken.
Buffy opens her mouth to speak.