Author notes: Written 2005 and posted elsewhere.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all associated characters are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, United Paramount Network, and Fox Television. This work is not for profit, and no ownership of aforementioned copyrighted material implied, nor any infringement intended.
* * *
“Relax, Pidge. Yeah, that’s it. Take it in slow.”
Dawn coughed, dropping her first cigarette on the floor of the mausoleum. “You sicko, you make it sound dirty!”
Spike tapped out another cigarette and bit back a grin. He lit it and handed it to the girl. “Alright, try again. Take a half breath of air.” Dawn did as instructed. “Hold it; now take a puff on the fag.”
Again, Dawn choked, launching the cigarette into a dark corner. Spike nearly lost his battle to keep a straight face. “Bit, you’re goin’ through my smokes faster’n I do.”
“Look Spike, can you not talk while we do this?”
* * *
“You gotta wiggle it a little.”
“Goddess, Spike! Could you be any less precise?”
“Hey! I’m just saying, on this door the tumbler sticks a mite when you try an’ turn it like that.”
“Fine, Spike. Wiggling. See? And it’s still not going. Satisfied? Wiggling, wiggling, still wi-“ The tumbler turned suddenly and Dawn’s mouth gaped momentarily. “I did it!”
“Right ‘nough Bit. That you did.” The accomplices stared at the back door of the Magic Shop with wonder and pride intermingled in their eyes.
* * *
“Bloody hell, woman! Deuces, sixes and one-eyed jacks wild is not a soddin' poker game. It’s a tragedy. The gods of poker are shitting themselves as we speak. You make a mockery of the very concept of the game.”
Dawn huffed as she looked at her hand. Spike tossed the little cat-shaped licorice candy at the center of the slab. Dawn looked at her cards again, then popped one of her chips--she refused to think of them as “kittens”--into her mouth.
Spike fiddled with his lighter, flicking in open and shut without lighting it. He frowned across the sarcophagus lid at Dawn. “Not even using real kittens. Cripes, platelet, this is a travesty of a poker game. Might as well play ‘Go fish.’”
“No, you said you’d teach me to play. You a welcher?”
“Bite you tongue. Are you in?”
* * *
“Show me something I can use to protect myself.” This was spoken as the teenager-shaped Key flounced into the mausoleum.
Spike took a long deep drag on his cigarette, considering. “Thought the Slayer’d shown you a thing or two.”
“Just avoidy stuff for vampires. I mean, if some guy’s getting all gropey with me, do I stake him?”
Spike’s face shifted into its demonic form. “What pillock is putting his ruddy hands on you? I’ll rip his head off! Who is he?”
Dawn frowned. “No, chill; nobody! If--if, I said--a human is hassling me, I can’t just kill him, right?”
Spike brought his demon under control with great effort. No one should be touching his Nibblet. He walked to the couch and reached down between the cushion and the armrest. His hand came out with a stiletto. “Now, don’t go showin’ this off. Get in trouble with your sis for sure.”
“Get expelled from school, more like it,” Dawn said as she accepted the knife.
“Now hold the bloody thing like you own it. When you hit the button, it’s gonna jump; don’t drop it.”
“Okay.” There was a loud “click” as Spike finished speaking.
“Now close it. Make sure it locks. Don’t want the bloody thing poppin’ open in your pocket.”
“Okay.” Dawn started to close the knife.
“Thumb off the button, luv, or it’ll snap right back open.”
“Oh, yeah, makes sense. Now what?”
“Well, if he’s just overly friendly-like, no need to cut him. You can prolly just scare ‘im...”
* * *
“Now, treat ‘er gentle-like. Speak nice, caress her like a...a favorite dog.”
“Nice recovery, Spike. Now, are you going to let me drive, or do you need some private time alone with your car?”
Ten minutes later Spike figured so far, so good. They’d been going for almost a whole minute without a near-miss when he saw the uneven surface ahead. He paused in lighting his cigarette when he realized Dawn was still accelerating. “Slow down. Slow down! SLOWTHEBLOOYHELLDOWN!”
They hit the poorly resurfaced stretch as Dawn slammed on the brakes, locking up the rear wheels. Spike was launched forward and dropped his lighter when he put a hand out to brace himself. The car screeched to a stop and settled back, still rocking slightly. Vampire in game face and Key looked at each other, one in fear and one in disbelief. Dimples remained in the dash when Spike removed his hand; it was the only thing that had kept him from getting a vinyl lobotomy at the sudden stop. Spike spit into his hand, and looked in wonder at the cigarette that he had bitten in half when he vamped out.
“Look, Bit, those there pedals aren’t off an’ on switches, right? Slow push, slow release. Do a pedal-puncher number like that in a car with a stick an’ you’ll stall the soddin’ thing.”
“Okay.” Dawn glanced at Spike out of the corner of her eye as she gently accelerated. “Sorry about your cancer stick.”
* * *