And now, fic:
Trailer Park Birthdays
Scraaaaaaaape.... Thud. Scritch, tap tap tap...
Spike woke groggily to the sound of banging and thumping, coming from the upstairs section of his crypt. He squinted at the small digital clock next to his bed -- then squinted harder. The numbers were tiny, but it was the only clock he could manage to fit in his duster pocket on his last shoplifting spree at Wal-Mart. He'd rather think they were too tiny, than that he suddenly needed glasses again, anyhow.
"What the... it's six in the bleedin' a.m."
Spike grabbed a large axe from its place on the wall next to his new bookshelf. So they clashed a bit. Not exactly Martha Stewart in the decorating area, he admitted, but there was something to be said for practicality.
"Whoever's up there better have at least three heads and an equal number of backsides, cos when I finish kickin' the first arse, I don't think I'll be able to stop..." he warned loudly. If it was demons, or another vamp, breaking into his home, his threats had a chance of actually being followed through. If it was human kids having a bit of fun, maybe he'd at least scare 'em off. Though it was awfully bright out for those sort of shenanigans.
Awfully bright out for any sort of shenanigans in a graveyard, come to think of it. Spike rolled out of bed and slowly climbed the steps to the upper level. "I'm warning you, I've got fangs and I know how to use 'em..."
"He's got fangs... and he knows how to u-use them..." a reedy young female voice sang out.
What the? "Dawn?" he called, as his head poked up over the top step.
The singing stopped. "That's me." She stood in the center of the room, a grocery bag in her hand. Then she turned her back to him and began unpacking things from it, laying them out across the top of the old concrete bier he'd been using for a bed before Harmony had so helpfully moved hers in, then left it for him as a doorprize when she buggered off.
As Spike climbed the last few steps and set the axe down against the wall, she started singing again -- only this time it wasn't classic rock. "Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear -- Spike, you're wearing jammies!"
She had turned around just as she sang his name, and was now staring at him, goggle-eyed. Spike glanced down at himself. Blue pyjama pants, 12.99 on sale at Wallyworld, free if you tried them on and came out wearing them under your jeans. Assuming you could *fit* them under your jeans -- he'd ended up having to nick a larger pair of denims as well, and leave his most worn out black ones hanging forlorn on the hook the fitting room.
"Well, yeah, since you lot have taken to waking me up at all sorts of indecent hours of the morning, I can't sleep starkers anymore. I mean, I would, but Big Sis told me if you ever accidentally saw me naked, I'd never have anything worth seeing naked again. Man takes a threat like that seriously, comin' from a Slayer."
"Um...right. Starkers?" She was carefully looking away from him now.
Spike looked down at his pyjama pants again, and suddenly noticed how terribly *thin* they seemed. Grr. Man couldn't even sleep in his own home without worrying about whether he was gonna scar a fifteen year old girl for life... He grabbed his duster off the wall and slipped it on.
"You got a reason for being here, aside from participating in the Scooby Gang's evil plot to prevent Spike from ever getting a decent day's rest? Something up?" He eyed the faint line of sunlight that ran across the floor from the door that Dawn had left slightly ajar. "Buffy know you're out and about this early?"
"Yes, no, and I left her a note." Dawn eyed his dashing leather-jacket-and-pj's combination with some amusement, then reached into the grocery bag again. "I've only got half an hour before I have to get to school, so enough with the small talk."
She fumbled for a second with whatever she was holding, then he heard a little 'twip' sound, and smelled the unmistakeable sulferous flare of a lit match. Dawn started singing again, as she turned around.
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Spi-iiiike, Happy Birthday to you."
She was holding a battered TV tray, with a row of six Twinkies arranged on it, each of which had a single lit birthday candle placed at its center.
Spike stared, open-mouthed. Dawn rolled her eyes.
"You've gotta blow them out, dweeb, or you don't get your wish." She narrowed her eyes. "And no wishing for anything gross, like dead bodies everywhere and blood flowing in the gutters, or you boinking my sister."
Spike stepped a bit closer to the tray. "Er... luv, you've gone insane. It's okay, I know how to deal with that. I can do insane, trust me. First we call Buffy..." He glanced around the room. Damn -- where was that cell-phone Buffy had insisted he carry, so he could be at the beck and call of Sayer and -ettes 24/7 instead of just when they felt energetic enough to get off their arses and come round personally?
Dawn frowned sternly. "I'm not insane. It's your Birthday. Or, I guess it's your Deathday, technically. May 17th, 1880. The anniversary of the night you got turned into a vampire. I called and asked Angel, after Buffy's party. I was thinking how everybody's had a birthday party this year but you." For somebody who wasn't big on the small talk, she was certainly going on. "I know it was technically last night, but I just remembered, and Buffy wouldn't let me go out shopping on a school night, much less come here, so I had to fudge a little." She frowned. "Hence the trailer-park birthday cake."
"Trailer-park?" He raised an eyebrow.
"That's what Buffy called it, the year we did this for my birthday because Mom and Dad were too busy fighting to remember." She gave an embarrassed glance at the grocery bag. "The presents kinda suck too."
Spike stared at the flickering candles on the row of little yellow cakes, and at last, he smiled. "That's...you really are insane, you know."
"Okay, fine, I'm insane. But time's a wastin'. Hurry up and blow out the candles, or I'll be late for Geometry. I'm not exactly sure why that's a bad thing, but Buffy assures me it is."
"Why don't you blow them out for me, Snack Cake? Vamps and fire don't get along too well." Spike shrugged apologetically.
"Oh. I'm so sorry -- I didn't think. Okay, but you've gotta make a wish. Ready?"
He suppressed another smile. Most of what he could wish for, he wasn't likely to get, and the rest was on Dawn's no-no list. He supposed he could wish for something that made being dragged out of bed at six in the morning worthwhile -- but really, the wide, nervous smile in front of him qualified as that already, not that he'd ever admit it.
Dawn blew the candles out with one breath. "Do I wanna know what you wished for?"
"Probably not, but it wasn't on the forbidden list." Spike walked closer to the now-safe cakes, and she handed him one.
"Quick -- presents -- then I gotta go." Dawn took the bag in her hands, and held it out. Twinkie shoved in his mouth, Spike peered into the bag and pulled out the first object. Bag of blood.
She shrugged. "Hey, we had it, you need it... Actually, it's yours, since you left it in the fridge last time you came over to not-babysit."
He grinned, tossed it on the bier, and reached in for the other pressie. Stared at it for a second. "Ahn uhwhaha?" He swalled. "Sorry. An umbrella?"
It was Dawn's turn to look apologetic. "Yeah... I told you the presents would suck. My dad brought that back from a business trip to England when I was little, and it's been stuck in one closet or another ever since."
Spike pulled the black umbrella out of the bag and studied it. He wasn't much of a one for standing about in the rain with a lightning rod in his hand, waiting to get fried... Maybe he could skewer something with it? Then he caught a look at the handle, and grinned.
"The handle's a question mark." He grinned wider.
"Well, yeah, most umbrella handles are." She was looking at him like she thought *he* was insane, now.
"Not like this. It's a *real* question mark." A red one, with a little ball further up the center pole, for the dot.
"So...." he mimicked her. "It's a Doctor Who brolly."
Dawn's face was a study in "I have no idea what you're talking about and I'm afraid to ask."
Spike had a bizarre flash of giddiness when he hooked the handle over his wrist. "Your dad must've picked it up back when they were on sale at the Longleat exhibition. They're bloody impossible to find -- they only made a thousand of the things, as an advert gimmick. "
Dawn was looking at him with an odd gleam in her eye, but he didn't care. There were umbrellas, and then there was the *Doctor's* umbrella. A whole different level of...something. It didn't even matter that she was giggling at him. Much.
"What?" he growled, finally, after he'd tired of swinging the handle over his wrist.
"You looked petty hard for one, huh?"
Spike narrowed his eyes, suddenly wary. "No," he lied. "I..." Inspiration struck. "Dru wanted one!"
Dawn burst out laughing. "Uh-huh. Sure."
"It's true! She had this theory that since he never actually used it in the rain, it must be for keeping the sun out, so she wanted one too." It *was* true. Mind you, he'd been the one to come up with that theory, to convince her they needed to head to Longleat to buy one. Then she'd decided the Dalek model outside the entrance was looking at her funny, and he couldn't get her inside the place for love or money.
Dawn pointed a finger at him as if pronouncing a far-too-tardy death sentance. "You're a geek!"
"I. Am. Not!"
"Are too!" She danced in place as she laughed. "Spike's a gee-eeek.... Just 'cause it's English, that doesn't mean it's less geeky."
"Bally well does," he said sulkily.
"Nuh-uh. You're just as much of a geek as Xander!"
Spike glared at her. "I am *nothing* like Xander Harris."
She stared him down, hands on her hips, superior grin on her lips. Like she had nothing better -- like Geometry -- to get to, and could wait around till that bag of blood ran out and he starved to bones in front of her.
She tapped her foot.
"You think he'd be willing to get Anya to look on E-Bay for the matching hat for me?"
Dawn laughed her way out the door, then popped her head back in just as he'd started swinging the umbrella in circles again.. "Glad you like it. Happy Birthday, Spike."
the challenge: Cannot include Buffy, Xander, Willow or Giles. Must take place in a graveyard, and has to include the following: twinkies, cell phone, an umbrella, but no rain, and a mention of your favorite TV show (aside from Buffy and Angel).
Boardies liked it. Though I had to resist the urge to whap the challenge issuer, who said, "Very Nice! ... and not slashy, so bonus." Grr. See if I gift any of *his* challenges with slashy responses again...