I'd Turn Back If I Were You | Forward Ho!

Reservoir Chickens Fic & Etc.

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As you may have heard, sb_fag_ends ran a scavenger hunt contest last week, and somehow or other, despite my well-known inability to write A) from prompts, or B) quickly, I won. I DON'T EVEN KNOW MYSELF ANYMORE. Anyway, here are all the ficlets et al. I wrote for the contest:

Title: If Not For You Meddling Kids
Prompt: Death Stalks the Big Top
Setting: Post-Gift AU (Barbverse)
Warnings: None
Rating: PG

"And the little lady wins again."

The barker, a sallow young man with a regrettable mustache, sounded a lot less enthusiastic about it than he had a dozen giant stuffed pandas ago. He lifted a fuzzy purple lion almost as big as she was off its hook and passed it across the counter to Buffy. Buffy accepted her prize with a winsome smile and handed it off to Spike, who tossed it onto the rainbow pile accumulating behind them. She gazed up at the decimated ranks of stuffed animals festooning the booth's ceiling and pointed at a lime-green gibbon with a menacing leer. "And now I think I want... that one." She thrust a handful of tickets at the barker. "Five throws, right?"

The barker pulled a sour face, and for a minute she thought he was going to refuse. But the crowd of carnival-goers her performance had attracted whooped and hooted, and with visible reluctance he handed her a wicker basket full of baseballs. Buffy hefted one, tossing it from hand to hand - she'd realized with her first throw that the balls were weighted funny, and by her third, she'd figured out how to compensate for it.

She drew back an arm, and sent the ball rocketing towards the target. It hit smack in the center, adding another dent to the already impressive collection. Bells rang and lights flashed, and the crowd erupted into cheers. Buffy's smile grew absolutely beatific. "That one," she repeated, pointing to the green gibbon.

Which immediately sprang to life and leaped for freedom over the top of her head.

The barker took advantage of the distraction to dash for the back of the booth, and Buffy hurdled the counter and tackled him to the popcorn-littered ground. Spike leaped with freaky vampire speed and caught the fleeing creature in mid-air. It screamed and struggled in his grasp until he vamped out and bared his fangs, at which point it went limp with a startled "Eeeep!"

Buffy jammed a knee into the small of the fugitive's back. "Geez, that's funny. Usually people are grateful when I slay their demons."

"Usually," Spike drawled, giving the green gibbon a shake, "people aren't using a Gwira demon to pick the marks' pockets while they're getting skint at his rigged ball pitch." He held up a wallet retrieved from the Gwira's pouch. "Betting your playmate there's not Edna Birnbaum of 5731 Greentree Road."

The crowd noises began to segue into ominous murmurs. "You can't prove a thing!" the barker whined. "Bixby's just an animal. He doesn't know any better. He just swipes stuff. Like a magpie or something." The Gwira's eyes narrowed at that, but it kept mum. Its partner in crime went on, "I was gonna return it! Come on, there's got to be something I can do to make it up - "

"Well..." Buffy cocked her head and considered. "There might be one thing..."

"Anything! Just let me up!"

"Return anything Bixby swiped. No more funny business. And we get ten more throws. Free."

An anguished wail. "What? You've already cleaned me half out!"

"Well, yeah," Buffy removed her knee and waved at Spike. "But he hasn't had a turn yet!"


End



Title: Intersection
Prompt: coastal glow
Setting: Post-Gift AU (Barbverse)
Warnings: None
Rating: G


She needs a day in the sun, sometimes. Lying on the beach, heedless, hatless, soaking up rays. Stockpiling warmth for the long cold nights ahead.

It's not till midday gold fades to blue twilight that Spike materializes, with a defiant glare at the sinking sun. He drops down beside her on the sand, beer in hand, and she leans into his side, his coolness welcome now against her hot skin. Together they sit, sand and water and sunlight lingering on the western horizon, molten gold against the green Pacific. And just for this moment, their worlds meet, and are one.


End



Title: Slippery Slope
Prompt: 29 - K'an; Dangerously Deep
Setting: Post-Gift AU (Barbverse)
Warnings: None. Well, spoilers for POM, if anyone cares - this is an excerpt from a scene from one of the later chapters.
Rating: PG13


When Faith found her again, Buffy had retreated to the Hyperion's roof. Perched on an air conditioning vent, she gazed out at the light-polluted L.A. skyline and studiously ignored the other Slayer. Faith said nothing, just stood there in a pose painfully Spike-like: head cocked, thumbs hooked into her belt. Studying her. Buffy wondered idly if Faith intended to push her off the roof, and just as idly, if she should let her. Dramatic irony. Or something. She swallowed. "How's Spike?"

Faith gave her a look - justified; it had been a challenge as much as a question - and squatted, hands loose between leather-clad knees. "Alive," she said. "For now. Pretty sure in his current condition he'd leave a corpse if I staked him, and we got enough of those already. Willow's keeping an eye on him." She pursed her lips. "Question is, how are you?"

Buffy's jaw set at a belligerent angle. "Look, it sucks beyond telling that Riley's guy died, but he was two seconds from ramming a stake through Spike's chest. It was self-defense."

"Uh huh. No other way Spike coulda stopped him than ramming his teeth through the guy's throat."

Shouldn't they at least be using the guy's name? She'd seen the nametag on his fatigues, spattered with blood, but it might as well have been written in Sumerian, because all she could remember was his face, drained and waxy above the raw gash in his neck. If Spike had been human, and Riley's guy had pulled a gun on him...

But he wasn't human. Alive, now, apparently, but not human. Not anywhere close to it. When demon blood ran in her own veins, and Faith's, how much did that matter? Shouldn't they all be judged on their actions? And was that just an excuse? She stared down at her fists, clenched hard on her knees. "Maybe there was. But you know damned well there's not always time to think of that in the middle of a fight. And until someone can prove otherwise, he's earned the benefit of the doubt."

Faith rose lithely to her feet and nodded. "Okay."

Buffy blinked, feeling stupid. "Okay what?"

"I'm gonna to talk to Spike. Get his side of the story. And then I'll decide." Faith's dark eyes were inscrutable. "That's still our deal, right?"

It was what she'd asked of Faith last year - that where Spike was concerned, she wouldn't, for once, be the one who had to decide. She'd been insane to think that could work. But she'd been insane to think any of this could work, that she and Spike could end up any other way than this. If she'd gotten there a minute earlier, it would only have postponed the inevitable. Faith hadn't waited for an answer - she was already heading for the stairwell. It would be easier, maybe, to just wait up here.

But Spike had earned a hell of a lot more from her than just the benefit of the doubt. Buffy scrambled to her feet. "Wait up," she said. "I'm coming too."

End



Title: Domestic Bliss Fanmix


OK, I warned you I was crap at this, but here goes nothing:

I write a big ol' sprawling AU where, on the one hand, Buffy and Spike are married with children and live in domestic bliss, mostly, and on the other hand, Spike has no soul and sometimes people get dead on account of that, and the kids are literally little demons, and in order to maintain said domestic bliss, both of them have made a lot of compromises that some people might possibly describe as selling out. So this is a fanmix that reflects the domestic aspects of the Barbverse - whether you find it cute, mildly disturbing, or downright creepy.

Siouxsie & the Banshees - Happy House
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Our House
Bon Jovi - This Is Our House
Radical Face - Welcome Home
Eminem - Coming Home
Madness - Our House



Title: Reservoir Chickens Meta
Prompt: Spike/Buffy: What makes an OTP?

This is a difficult question to answer, because there's not just one Spike/Buffy pairing. There are as many as there are Spike/Buffy shippers. Well, you may say, but surely we can make a few broad categories? There's the canonical version, and... oh, but wait, which canonical version? The one where Buffy was in love with him, and Spike knew it? The one where she was in love with him, and he didn't know it? The one where she was never in love with him until the last minute? The one where Spike was the manipulative abuser, or the one where Buffy was the heartless user? The one where Spike getting a soul is the only thing that makes it OK to ship Spuffy at all, or the one where the remorse which led Spike to get the soul was all he ever really needed?

And that's not even getting into fanfic, with its endless mazes of what-ifs and fill-in-the-blanks.

So what made Spike/Buffy my OTP? Most of the people I know got on the Spuffy wagon with "Fool For Love" or "Intervention." For some of the early adopters, it was "Something Blue," or even "Becoming I & II." But for me, it was five words: "I can be good too!" See, Spike was a vampire with no soul when he said those words. He wasn't supposed to be good. He wasn't supposed to be able to. He certainly wasn't supposed to want to.

A lot of people go on about the fact that since Spike wanted to be good in order to impress Buffy, it doesn't count. But I always wondered about that. I mean, Spike could have fallen in love with Anya or Willow or Faith or... well, a lot of people, any of whom might have been a little less freaked out about it and more willing to compromise. So why did he fall for Buffy? And fall for her at, it can be argued, the absolute top of her game, the point at which she was the most fulfilled and happy she was during the entire series, and everything was going right for her? Was it just Stockholm syndrome?

I don't think so. There are some obvious reasons - Buffy has a lot of traits Spike admires. But she has one thing that the others don't - or at least, she had it at this point in her life. She had that righteous fire. She was a hero. Spike may never have realized it, and Buffy would certainly never have admitted it was true, but I think Spike fell for Buffy not in spite of her being a champion of light, but because of it. Because good or evil, soul or no soul, Spike has always been drawn to effulgence. And it's to his credit that even after life quenched that fire in Buffy, he's always believed (even when she doesn't) that someday, it can burst into new life.



Title: Divergence (Intersection remix)
Prompt: Go back to something you've already made and mess it up.
Setting: Post-Gift AU (Barbverse)
Warnings: None

The sun's an old enemy, and familiarity breeds contempt, they say. But no amount of contempt will speed the healing if you charbroil the top layer of skin showing off. So Spike crouches in the shadow of the rock, littering the beach with cigarette butts, watching as his golden girl worships his old foe.

He could suggest a beach umbrella, perhaps - and wouldn't he look a silly git then? Chalky white legs protruding from black trunks, nose covered with zinc oxide? Shaking his head, he lights another cig and resigns himself to the shade. Some victories are worse than defeat.

End



Title: Full Fathom Five
Prompt: Charlotte Corday After the Murder of Marat by Paul Jacques Aimé Baudry,
Setting: Post-Gift AU (Barbverse)
Warnings: None


There's a body in the bath.

Pale, limp, muscular. Sea-cliff cheekbones, hair curling like seaweed, the occasional bubble drifting up from chiseled lips. Arms crossed, half-floating, over the underwater plateau of his chest. Knees wreathed in archipelagos of soapsuds. Not dead - there are eyes behind those ivory lids, not pearls - but unnerving. Even post-Mohra blood, Spike can hold his breath for a long time. And like any (relatively) coldblooded creature, he loves warmth. If you let him, he'll bask in there for hours, submerged in steamy volcanic heat.

If you let him.

Buffy reaches for the cold water tap.

End

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Comments

( 9 rants — Talk To Me )
velvetwhip
Apr. 2nd, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)
You RULED the Reservoir!


Gabrielle
quinara
Apr. 2nd, 2013 11:38 am (UTC)
WHO EVEN ARE YOU, BARB??? (By which I mean congrats and thanks for playing! You were an excellent sport.)
red_satin_doll
Apr. 2nd, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
BTW - thank you for linking to my "quote du jour" post in the latest SU_Herald; I was not expecting that at all. :)

I read Intersection the other day - and it's lovely, absolutely lovely. Precise and paired down to the essence, which you know I admire quite a lot.

This is a difficult question to answer, because there's not just one Spike/Buffy pairing. There are as many as there are Spike/Buffy shippers.

*nods* And that's ok - it's when we convince ourselves that our version is the ONLY correct one that we get into trouble. (Or given fandom's history have gotten into trouble.) And it strikes me as ironic, given what the show has to say about power, how people use and abuse it, and how we can chose otherwise.

Tell you something you (of all people) don't already know, right? Right.

She had that righteous fire. She was a hero. Spike may never have realized it, and Buffy would certainly never have admitted it was true, but I think Spike fell for Buffy not in spite of her being a champion of light, but because of it. Because good or evil, soul or no soul, Spike has always been drawn to effulgence. And it's to his credit that even after life quenched that fire in Buffy, he's always believed (even when she doesn't) that someday, it can burst into new life.

THIS. There's a reason it has to be Buffy, and there's a reason it has to be Spike. Neither one is an empty vessel. The specifics of who they are and what they become make this relationship so powerful.

Also, can I give a shout out to SMG+JM's chemistry? (Is it ok to squee a little here Barb?) Imagine other actors in those roles - DB as Spike, for instance (heaven forfend!) or CC cast as Buffy as was originally planned- and the entire thing falls apart. Those actors+those characters = off the charts.

Edited at 2013-04-02 03:39 pm (UTC)
brutti_ma_buoni
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
And I never even commented on your meta, tut. Not that I ever comment on meta but there was a lot of that going around in this fab contest. I find that sense of Spike going for Buffy *because* of who she is very, very telling - isn't that why he's drawn to Slayers all along? Not just for the macho of killing them? We see how very fascinated he is, especially by Nikki, and it figures that going a step further isn't such a very *large* step.
red_satin_doll
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
We see how very fascinated he is, especially by Nikki, and it figures that going a step further isn't such a very *large* step.

EXACTLY. I know I've been influenced by the_royal_anna in this regard to a large degree (and I'm pretty sure, Barb, that you have a very different view to her)' but I've argued more than once that if Spike had the chip in his head during the 1970's he might have wooed (rather than killed) Nikki. She's not the same as Buffy personality-wise, but there are commonalities, including having connections to friends and family and thereby "breaking the rules" (although I suspect, from what the Chinese Slayer says, that it's not such a hard and fast rule after all.) Robin Wood even hangs a lantern on this. (I suspect he may also be talking about a devotion and determination they both share - to protect loved ones, to their duty, etc.)

There's definitely an eroticism that charges the fight in the subway to the last moment when he straddles Nikki. (Love, sex and death - it's all the same to you vampires.)
rahirah
Apr. 2nd, 2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
I have nothing but respect for what I've read of Anna (we've never really 'met'); she just sees S7 through a far kinder and gentler lens than I do. :) (And yeah, had things been a little different, I could easily see Spike falling for Nikki.)

Edited at 2013-04-02 07:31 pm (UTC)
red_satin_doll
Apr. 2nd, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
she just sees S7 through a far kinder and gentler lens than I do.

Gotcha. There are certainly things she sees certain things more optimistically than I do as well (moreso S6, maybe? But then maybe not. It depends on if Mercury is in retrograde on a given day, I guess.)

had things been a little different, I could easily see Spike falling for Nikki.

Yay!
readers_only
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
As always Barb, I thoroughly enjoy your Buffy and Spike permutations...thank you for posting.


Edited at 2013-04-05 06:55 am (UTC)
fredsmith518
Jun. 28th, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
especially liked the last one
( 9 rants — Talk To Me )

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