Authors note: this story takes place in season 6 of Buffy. I do not own Buffy, Andrew Marvell or John Donne.
Buffy was going to drop by Spike's crypt on the way back from patrolling because Dawn had asked her to. Apparently Spike was taking her return hard. Buffy was hardly surprised, given that he was the only one she'd told about her having been in Heaven.
When she opened the door, Buffy was assailed by the stench of alcohol. There were enough bottles littering the floor that Buffy was certain that if it had been her drinking that much she would've died. However, thanks to Spike's vampiric metabolism, he was probably only a little drunk.
Spike was huddled in the corner, gulping down a bottle of whiskey as though it was water.
Buffy sighed. "Give it here, Spike." she said, stretching out a hand for the bottle.
"Wait a mo', 'm nearly a metaphysical poet." Spike slurred drunkenly around the bottle.
"You're nearly a what?" Buffy asked bemused. Had Spike lost his mind?
"Donne. 'm nearly Donne." Spike said, grinning widely as though he'd just said something hilarious.
Buffy could see that he was nearly done. The bottle was almost empty. "Yes, I can see you've almost finished the bottle. Its nearly empty. But what does that have to do with nearly being a metawotsit poet?"
"Metaphysical." Spike corrected. "John Donne. Famous metaphysical poet. Is a pun, see? 'm nearly a metaphysical poet. Nearly Donne." Spike laughed hysterically. "If you want a poetry lecture, come back when 'm sober. Or more drunkerer."
Buffy left. There was no point in trying to talk to Spike when he was like that.
Next morning, Dawn pounded frantically on the bathroom door. "Buffy, c'mon! Let me in!" she shouted.
"I'm nearly a metaphysical poet!" Buffy called back absently.
Silence. Buffy mentally reviewed what she had just said and blushed. "Donne. I'm nearly Donne." Buffy said. She couldn't help but smile at the awful pun.
"Why didn't you just say that?" Dawn grumbled.
Some time later, Dawn tracked down Willow and asked "Will, what's a metaphysical poet?"
Willow shrugged. "I don't know. Why?"
"It's something that Buffy said earlier. She was using the bathroom, and she called out to say she was nearly a metaphysical poet." Dawn replied.
"Sounds alarming. Maybe she was nearly possessed?" Willow said, smiling to let Dawn know she was joking. "You should ask Giles about it."
"Ask Giles about what?" Tara said, entering the room.
"Metaphysical poets." Dawn answered brightly.
"Ah. I like them, they're Marvellous." Tara said, lips quirking in a smile.
Willow looked at her girlfriend suspiciously. "You've got that look you get when you've just said something funny, but I can't for the life of me guess what it was."
"The metaphysical poets were part of a movement at around the same time as Shakespeare. One of them was Andrew Marvell. Hence Marvellous." Tara explained.
"It's so h-" Willow began, but broke off when she realised that Dawn was still there. "It's amazing that you know that."
Tara shrugged self-consciously. "They're cool. Like Modernists, only... not modern."
"You are so going to read poetry to me later." Willow said eagerly.
"My Coy Mistress." Tara said fondly.
Dawn made loud retching noises, and the couple once again realised that they weren't alone. "So, why do you need to know about metaphysical poets? Is it homework? I wouldn't have thought they'd be letting you study them at your age." Tara asked Dawn.
"Why?" Dawn asked curiously.
Tara flushed. "Umm... no reason?" Tara quavered.
Dawn filed that away for future reference. She would definitely be looking up these poets later. "Buffy mentioned them earlier. I was trying to get her out of the bathroom, and she said she was nearly a metaphysical poet."
Tara giggled, putting a hand over her mouth. "Oh, that's awful." she said, grinning widely.
"I'm so going to read up on these poets." Willow muttered to herself. "What's so funny?"
"It's a really bad pun. Or should I say..." Tara broke into gales of uncontrollable laughter "... it's a really bad Donne?"
"You could say that." Dawn said slowly. "If you explain what you're talking about."
"Donne, John Donne. He was another metaphysical poet." Tara explained.
"Oohh." Dawn said heavily. "Now I get it! Oh, I am so going to use that."
Willow groaned. "You're right. It's awful. But I'm probably going to use that too."
Some time later, Dawn and Tara were impatiently waiting for Willow to emerge before they headed down to the Magic Box. "C'mon, Will!" Tara called.
"You've got to be nearly a metaphysical poet by now." Dawn added, and the women burst out laughing.
Unbeknownst to them, there was a group dedicated to taking over Sunnydale watching this through a camera installed in a garden gnome. This group, known as the Trio, were determined to eliminate the Slayer once and for all.
"What's a metaphysical poet?" Andrew whined.
"Is it a type of demon?" a mystified Jonathan added.
"Never mind what it is!" snapped Warren. "Go and get more chips before the shops shut. I don't want to have to go hungry again."
Andrew and Jonathan grumbled, but went to obey.
"How can you nearly be a metaphysical poet?" Andrew commented "You either are something or you aren't."
Unfortunately for them, Buffy was passing by and overheard. Having never heard about metaphysical poets before Spike mentioned them, she naturally jumped to the conclusion that the pair must've kidnapped Spike, having taken advantage of his drunken state.
Before the pair even knew what had happened, Buffy slammed them against a nearby wall. This being Sunnydale, no one commented. Possibly no one even noticed.
However, before Buffy could say anything, Jonathan threw up his hands and cried shrilly "I confess! Just don't beat me up!"
Buffy gestured for him to go on, and tries not to laugh when he professed himself to be a supervillain. She felt decidedly less amused when he said that he and his comrades had been spying on her and her friends. At least they hadn't done anything to Spike. Although Buffy resolved to check on that later.
After Jonathan had finished, Buffy, in her scariest manner, told the pair that if they didn't stop she'd hunt them down and... do something so dreadful that they wouldn't even want her to tell them about. She was pretty sure they took her at her word. They looked too terrified not to.
Then Buffy went to visit Spike. She was relieved to find him in his crypt, even if he was hungover.
"Slayer? What do you want?" Spike said, squinting at her.
Buffy explained what had just happened.
"Well, isn't that Marvellous." Spike declared grandly.
Then burst out laughing when he saw Buffy's bemused expression. Spike decided not to enlighten her.