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Oct. 30th, 2005

You know those fics where in the middle of a sex scene a character starts comparing their current lover to all their former lovers, who invariably come out badly? Well, this isn't one of those. I'm not sure exactly what it IS, but it's not one of those.


Girl Talk
by Barb C
Pairing: B/A, B/R, B/S -- but not all at once.
Rating: R?
Summary: You know those fics where in the middle of a sex scene a character starts comparing their current lover to all their former lovers, who invariably come out badly? Well, this isn't one of those.
Notes: This is set in the same universe as "Raising In The Sun," et. al. but could pass for canon until the final segment. It's set at some indeterminate point after "Necessary Evils," and contains no spoilers.

1.

Um, this isn't, like, public, is it?

If you're sure...do I go in order, or what?

Angel. It was...OK, you know how there are these paintings? Which are wonderful masterpieces, but they've been sitting in the same room for, like five hundred years with oil lamps and candles and there's soot all over them till they all look like Portrait Of A Smudgy Brown Thing, but you're afraid to make with the Windex because anything strong enough to get through the grot would strip off the paint too? That's my first and only time with Angel. There's so much Angelus-soot all over the memory that I'm not sure anymore what was under there originally.

But I think... I think it was good. I mean, perfect happiness, it had to be good, right?

I was cold. I remember that. Harbor in January and boyfriend with no circulation = Buffcicle. Lots of nipple action, at least. And I remember that I made the first move--or no, we kind of moved at the same time, but in my heart? I'd been moving for months. Here was this immortal, sophisticated, modern-art owning guy, who had done it with who knew how many Darlazoids over the centuries. Let's just say that research was done. I had moves. I had plans. Just in case things ever progressed beyond kissage. And then when it actually happened, I was afraid to use them, because I was positive I'd come off like this little girl playing dress-up.

The funny thing is, I think it was probably just as difficult for Angel, because...it had been so long, it was almost like his first time, too. I can't imagine him frightened, or worried about screwing up, but I think he must have been, just a little. We're not talking perfect, romance-novel first times here. It hurt. I didn't realize it would hurt, the first time. And--you're sure he's not going to see this? He, uh, went off way too soon. Not that I cared, because I was so worried about whether or not I was doing it right. The second time--well, duh, of course there was a second time--vampire, remember? He was super-careful about making sure I was ready, and that I, um, arrived before he did. And the third time--I repeat the duh--I wish I could clean the soot off just that part, because I'm pretty sure it was beautiful.

But the thing with me and Angel...it really is like that painting. I can put the way I feel about Angel in a box and keep it there for a hundred years, and when I take it out it'll still be exactly the same. The same sharp corners, the same golden shine... we had one perfect moment, and where do you go from perfection? What can you do with a masterpiece except hang it in a museum?

Maybe if we'd stayed together somehow. Maybe the corners would have worn smooth and the gilt would have fallen off and we'd have, I don't know, sofa art. I think my metaphor just died a slow and painful death there. We loved each other--I'll never love anyone else in exactly that way again. It just...never worked out. I still wonder sometimes how things would have gone if I'd done something different. Or if he had. I imagine what our future would be. But we didn't, and here we are. Somewhere else.

2.

Parker. Can I hit him again? That would sum it all up. Parker was all about making myself get over Angel. Or proving to myself I was over him. Or something. I was romantically deranged in some fashion, OK? I really liked him, and I thought it could be love. I thought if I tried hard enough--see, the thing with Angel, it didn't matter to me that our first time wasn't all wine and roses because there was all this...emotion. We could have gotten the melties just by staring at each other. And I thought every relationship could be like that if only I tried hard enough.

Cynicism one, Buffy zero.

The sex was...like I told Willow. Nice. The fireworks were minimal, but there were fireworks. If the earth moved I don't think it was more than a 3.2, and after vampire stamina there was some minor disappointment in the duration. But it was in the ballpark, you know? Because LOVE!

Can I hit him again?

3.

Um. Ok. Riley. I think...with him I made the opposite mistake. I thought, fine, no relationship will ever be as intense as what I had with Angel. I just have to accept that. So I slacked. I was a slacker. I lived in the Love Slack. And he was a slack enabler. He was so easy to be with. Comfortable. Relaxing. Like a big ol' comfy chair with muscles. I fought with Angel all the time, and me and Spike, well, there should be manga. But Riley? Never. Not until the end.

I think he thought I meant boring when I said relaxing. I didn't.

With Riley it was the first time I ever realized that sex wasn't this huge one-time thing that defines your whole relationship FOREVER OMG. It was just part of everything else. And it could be fun, or it could be sweet, or it could be hot, or it could be not all that great...and that wasn't the end of the world, because there would be more sex tomorrow. Also? I discovered that I really, really, liked it. As sex, instead of as a Special Relationship Event. Don't get me wrong, we weren't working our way through the Kama Sutra or anything--Riley was a meat and potatoes guy, sexwise. His idea of exotic was the Victoria's Secret catalogue. But they were really yummy meat and potatoes.

It wasn't totally wonderful. The Slayer thing...it did bother him. Only a little, at first. Totally dealable. And I thought we were dealing. Looking back, I'm not so sure. I always wanted to go farther and do more than Riley did, and he was my...my compass, I guess. If he wanted to do something, it couldn't be weird or wrong, because he was just so...so normal. Anything that freaked him out was probably a weird Slayer urge I was better off ignoring--and I am so very NOT saying he repressed me or anything. This was all me, wanting to be Buffy Summers, Normal Girl With Normal Boyfriend.

Then he lost his secret agent gig and went all mid-life existential white boy blues, and I didn't know how to deal with that--oh, who am I kidding? I never even noticed it was happening. It never occurred to me that he could sink. He was Mountain Guy. Unsinkable. Except, not.

I loved him. I really did. Even if I never said the words. But I was supposed to need him, and I never needed him. So we broke up. Except for the vampire whores and the super-secret military black ops program, it was the most normal breakup I ever had. With Riley there were a lot of good times, and that's what I try to remember. But I never wonder what my life would be like if he'd stayed. Which is...sad.


4.

Spike.

I counted up all the times I should have staked him, once. There were twenty-three. I'm not saying we had some deep mystic bond from the beginning, but somehow we never managed to kill each other. And not to brag--I leave that to Spike--but we are both darn good at the killing thing, so the signal failure of mutual assured destruction on the Slayer/vampire front? Not insignificant. There were always feelings between us. Sizzling hatred at first, seguing into seething contempt, and gradually mellowing into mild yet piquant disgust--and then he went all heroic for Dawn, and everything changed. The day I realized Spike was in love with me, I was revolted. The day I realized I was in love with Spike, I was terrified.

That day in the Magic Box? I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life, because always before in the big scary moments I could be sure that at least I was doing the right thing. And this time, no guarantees. I had no idea what would happen if I went public with the wrong lusty Spike thoughts, just that my life would never be the same. I never wanted to be in love with Spike. I tried really, really hard not to be in love with Spike. But somehow or other, I was. What I had with Angel was like some exotic night-blooming orchid, and Riley was like a--I don't know, a philodendron, but me and Spike? Crab grass. You can mow it down and dig it up and poison it, but it's always going to grow up through the cracks.

So I ripped the romantic band-aid off all at once. And we ended up in the basement going at it like weasels on top of Anya's shipment of anti-pixie potpourri sachets, (which Spike turned out to be allergic to because there were garlic flowers in them and if Anya asks I have NO idea how they ended up in the sewer) doing everything I never got around to with Angel and only fantasized about with Riley. While everyone I knew stood around upstairs knowing what we were doing downstairs. Which if I'd thought about it--but all I was thinking about was touching every square inch of Spike.

This is where I'm traditionally supposed to go on about how Spike's better-hung than all my previous boyfriends and how none of the others wanted to go down on me and how his come tastes like champagne, but really? Riley and Angel were both pretty darn good with their tongues, and any guy who lives on pig's blood, alcohol, and junk food is going to taste gross, and compare-and-contrast with the boy-parts is el mondo tackioso. Also? If Spike's head swells any more he'll look like Mr. Garrison.

This is the thing: Spike loves sex. Most people like sex because hey, free orgasm! But Spike loves sex the way I love skating--for itself, not because there's a prize at the end. He loves flirting, he loves foreplay, he loves fucking and being fucked, he loves snuggling afterwards--he loves all of it, and it shows. He glows with it. I don't know if it's a demon thing or a Spike thing, but he makes love with such...such focus, it's like you're a leaf and he's a magnifying glass channeling the sun. And when he lies back and lets you make love to him...

That? Scary in a big way. Way more scary than handcuffs, or discovering I like them on him almost better than I like them on me. Scarier even than knowing we could still end up on opposite ends of a stake some day. Because you can't escape that kind of attention--you have to be there, and sometimes being there is the last thing I want.

But you know what? I think it's exactly what I need.

Comments

( 165 comments — Leave a comment )
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fishsanwitt
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:28 am (UTC)
Just... wonderful :)
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
magista
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:34 am (UTC)
See, I stay up late and endlessly hit 'refresh', and sometimes, just occasionally, I'm a winner.

I love the poignant regret about Angel. I'm right there with her about Parker; the less said about him except with a fist, the better. I want to be sad with her about not needing Riley, except I could never stand him, not for a moment - but it's true, he needed to be needed. Mind you, I balk at accepting the idea that he was any good with his tongue - but that's just me.

And Spike.

Oh my.

You've done wonders, over the years, of showing us Buffy's thoughts and emotions. Given us the motivations that for the last couple of seasons were getting a little blurry. Sex with Spike is nothing special, because everything with Spike is special. It's just another part of the entire package, and that's what lets her find her balance at last.

He lives, like she does, at 110% of the maximum safe rating, and it could all blow at any seam, and they both know it. Have I abused enough commas yet? But I think that you've shown us that they know that for all the things that go wrong, it's not going to be something between the two of them that gives first.

You make me want to keep trying to write.
shaddyr
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)
He lives, like she does, at 110% of the maximum safe rating, and it could all blow at any seam, and they both know it.

That is just so totally... perfect. Yes.

And also, I agree with you. Yay for late night LJ browsing! And Yay! for more Barb!Fic...
(no subject) - magista - Oct. 31st, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shaddyr - Nov. 1st, 2005 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rahirah - Oct. 31st, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - magista - Nov. 1st, 2005 05:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldithia - Nov. 6th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
st_salieri
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
I love this! Wonderful Buffy voice. I particularly adore the comparison of the Buffy/Spike love to crab grass.

This is where I'm traditionally supposed to go on about how Spike's better-hung than all my previous boyfriends and how none of the others wanted to go down on me and how his come tastes like champagne, but really? Riley and Angel were both pretty darn good with their tongues, and any guy who lives on pig's blood, alcohol, and junk food is going to taste gross, and compare-and-contrast with the boy-parts is el mondo tackioso.

Thank you for this. :)
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
I have been told by people who ought to know that if a guy doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, and avoids red meat, he tastes significantly better. And the chances that my Spike's going to manage any of these things approaches zero. *g*
cindergal
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
Well, it's a wonderful whatever it is. :-)
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
stultiloquentia
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:41 am (UTC)
1. A thousand Angel- and Riley-bashing fanfics have made me slightly ill, and here is the antidote.

2. The last two paragraphs are startlingly in line with the seasonal_spuffy thing I'm working on. Eep.

3. me and Spike? Crab grass. OH MY GOD could I possibly have a bigger crush on your writer-self? *vanishes in a puff of embarrassment*
harmonyfb
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:17 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD could I possibly have a bigger crush on your writer-self?

Sing it, sister. I spent much of Writercon hanging 'round Barb like a big doof, mumbling, "You're so awesome."
(no subject) - rahirah - Oct. 31st, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
shaddyr
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:47 am (UTC)
But you know what? I think it's exactly what I need.

You know it, baby!

Mmm, nice one, Barb!
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
ex_dovil323
Oct. 31st, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
Your Buffy voice is just absolutely wonderful. And I have to agree with the poster above, that this really is the cure for all the Angel and Riley bashing that happens, those bits in particular really resonated with me. I applaud and throw flowers.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thankee! (Just not garlic flowers, I hope, because there's nothing worse than having a sniffly vampire in the back of your head.)
(no subject) - goosegirl9 - Nov. 1st, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
femmenerd
Oct. 31st, 2005 07:31 am (UTC)
I love this.

And it makes me love Buffy (more than I already do).

I also agree with Stulti about the lack of bashing. I don't know why so many fic writers can't seem to understand that just 'cause you ship a pairing doesn't make it necessary to bash other characters into OOC oblivion. It's a lot healthier and more normal actually to still feel something for one's former lovers than to black them all out like they never happened.

And that is what I like so much about this fic - your Buffy is a believable woman with perspective on her life and her past.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
Part of it is I came into fandom in S4, and I liked Riley and thought he was way better for Buffy than that Angel guy. I was actually irritated when they wrote him out. Of course, shortly thereafter this Spike person came to my attention...
bogwitch
Oct. 31st, 2005 08:00 am (UTC)
A Barb classic. :)
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
:D
ladycat713
Oct. 31st, 2005 08:12 am (UTC)
Crabgrass.Gotta love it. Crabgrass is like kudzu, you can't kill it and you can't ignore it when it shows up on your lawn.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is, I'm not even sure it grows here. *g*
empty_mirrors
Oct. 31st, 2005 08:59 am (UTC)
Adored it. And crab grass is a perfect analogy, just perfect.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
It does sum them up. *g*
nzlaura
Oct. 31st, 2005 09:02 am (UTC)
I loved all of this, especially your Buffy voice, and the way although she might have some regrets, she's accepted her past and looks back so clearly and with understanding of both her younger self and her partners.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
I always figure that it's possible to move on and still have feelings for past relationships--people in the real world manage it all the time!
spikereader
Oct. 31st, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)
Such a great Buffy POV, and very welcome and enlightening as we so rarely get inside Buffy's head to see her feelings. I too liked the fact that there was no Angel or Riley bashing - she loved them and they were an enormous part of her life - if you ignore that fact you miss a vital piece of Buffy.

I enjoyed every word, a fantastic fic, whatever it was.









rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
kathyh
Oct. 31st, 2005 09:37 am (UTC)
At the risk of being repetitive that was a wonderful Buffy voice. I could hear every word in my head. And I think you nailed what her future position would be about the Angel and Riley relationships, giving them both their due, and moving on. Thanks for an excellent read.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :D
paratti
Oct. 31st, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
Good, good stuff.
rahirah
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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