My Funny Valentine
A/N: Thank you AnnManga, Ava, and kinomakoto for the recs, and thanks to jezaeiri, AwesomeGeek, romero, Luna, Whimsicality, GothTroubleMaker, and Amai for the reviews! And finally, thanks to kerrykhat, who's the main reason I still have my sanity during the Fic-A-Day challenge. :D+++
When Buffy first spotted the long slender box on her doorstep, she was pissed.
She thought they had gotten past this. Seriously, Eric hadn’t hit on her in months, not since Christmas, and because of that, they had actually been able to establish a working relationship of sorts.
Okay, sure, there was still some sexual tension there, but that was it. No sexy propositions and definitely no kissage. Any more
But flowers? The day before Valentine’s Day? Aside from being cliché, it definitely crossed the line, making things more complicated – more than she wanted to admit.
So yeah, she was pissed.
She was half-tempted to just leave the box there. With her luck, though, Dawn would trip over it and break her ankle, and Buffy couldn’t risk that. As it was, she would’ve preferred it if her little sister was as far away as possible, considering there were some murderous fae on the loose. That wasn’t going to happen, though; Dawn was the Council expert on all things fairy, so Buffy at least needed her sister there in one piece so she could defend herself – or run away – if it came down to it.
Muttering under her breath in annoyance, Buffy bent over to pick up the box. To her surprise, it was heavy. Unless Eric had bronzed some roses, there was nothing floral inside.
Curiosity piqued, she quickly brought the box inside her apartment and laid it on the table.
Dawn, who had been sitting on the couch, reading a book, immediately looked up. “What’s that?” she asked, nodding to the box.
Buffy shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s from Eric,” she replied.
Then she tore the lid off and looked inside. Her jaw dropped when she saw what was there, nestled within a bed of white silk.
It was a sword – an old one, by the looks of it. The long, flat blade definitely looked like it had seen better days; it was pitted with chinks missing, maybe even some rust. But that’s what made it beautiful, as if it had a life of its own with stories to tell.
Frowning slightly, she looked up at her sister. “He gave me a sword. An old one,” she said slowly. Her frown grew deeper. “Please tell me this is the vampire version of a kickback.”
Dawn snorted. “And the monks say that I’m the one not based in reality,” she shot back. “Eric gave you a sword
. As a gift. In a box. With a freaking bow
. You know what that means.”
“That Pam probably wrapped it?” Buffy quipped, though she was only half-joking.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “C’mon, he’s all but saying, ‘Please, take my—’”
“Dawn!” Buffy cut in sharply.
Her sister had definitely been hanging around Faith too much. Not that she thought Dawn was wrong, per se. Buffy rubbed a hand over her face and sighed.
“Whatever. It doesn’t matter,” she reasoned. “I’m not going to fall into his bed just because he gives me a weapon... even if it is nice. Really
nice.” Her gaze inadvertently strayed back to the box.
Snickering at the look of longing on her sister’s face, Dawn got to her feet and walked over to Buffy. “Let me see Eric’s oh-so-impressive ‘sword’,” she smirked. Her face went completely blank, however, when she saw what was in the box. “I’ve seen pictures of swords like this. It’s made out of iron.”
“Really?” Buffy asked, suddenly feeling a little better about the whole situation. “Well, that explains it. We are
dealing with the fae here, which makes iron of the good. It’s just like Eric to make with the dramatic presentation, too, probably so I feel beholden to him or something.”
“Or something,” Dawn echoed, the strange look still on her face. She peered at her sister. “Iron swords were really popular among the Vikings.”
It took a second for Dawn’s words to sink in, but when they did, they hit hard. Buffy’s mouth opened and closed a few times, but no words came out. Then she dropped her gaze back down to the sword.
“You don’t think—” she asked in a hoarse whisper.
“I think he likes you. As in, really, really likes you,” Dawn replied, her eyes wide with disbelief. “What are you going to do?”
Caught completely off-guard by the question, Buffy just stared at Dawn for a moment. Then she scowled. “Are you seriously asking me if I’m going to date a vampire? Because that’s worked out so well before,” she replied sarcastically.
Instead of a snappy comeback, like Buffy expected, Dawn grew serious, studying her sister as if she were measuring her words carefully before replying.
“Buff, I wasn’t going to say anything, but... have you seen you lately? You’re happier than I’ve seen you since... in awhile. And I don’t think it’s just the Louisiana air,” she said dryly. Then she gave her sister a stern look. “Don’t get me wrong. A boyfriend with a heartbeat would be nice, but at least with him, there are no worries he’ll go all demony on you. Plus, he’s got a life of his own – so to speak – and he doesn’t fall all over you like they did, which, in my opinion? Definitely a step up.”
Buffy frowned. Was that true? Was she happier than she had been? And was it because of him?
She shook her head. “No,” she said firmly. “It’s not like that. I don’t feel that way. At all.”
Dawn rolled her eyes, back in full little sister form again. “Sure you don’t,” she retorted. “I’ve only been here for three days, and the UST between you two makes me
want to climb the walls.”
Just then, the doorbell rang.
Buffy bit back a groan. She knew who it was, and if she hadn’t known better, she would’ve sworn he had timed the whole thing. Unfortunately, she was the one who had told him to come by; she had just forgotten in all the sword confusion. She glanced at her sister, who was looking at her questioningly.
“It’s Eric,” she explained. “We’re supposed to meet and talk business.”
“Uh huh. The night before Valentine’s Day. After he sends you a gift like that,” Dawn nodded, not even bothering to hide her grin. Then, before Buffy could blink, she was on her feet, dashing for the door. She flung it open and stared up at Eric. “I don’t know whether to hex you or start taking notes.”
With that, she flounced to the guest bedroom she was staying in and shut the door, though not before giving Eric one last speculative look.
Red-faced, Buffy turned toward Eric, who was looking at her in amusement.
“Your sister is... unique,” he said blandly, though there was a smile playing around his lips.
“So they tell me,” she muttered.
Still amused, Eric held his arm out to her. “I thought we might get something to eat first?”
Buffy frowned as she looked at his proffered arm. Then she folded her arms across her chest and looked him directly in the eye. “You do know that having me around tends to be hazardous to your health?”
“Yes, I had noticed that,” he said dryly. Then he shrugged. “But it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
Buffy expected him to say something along those lines. What she hadn’t
expected was the complete earnestness behind his words, and it stunned her. She quickly recovered, though.
Closing the door behind her, she brushed by him and began walking down the hall. After she had taken a few steps, however, she stopped and looked over her shoulder at him.
“Yeah, let’s see if you’re still laughing two apocalypses from now. Then we’ll talk.”+++