TITLE: A State of Unlistening
SETTING: S4, during "The Initiative"
LENGTH: 800 words
The headboard is hard against her back and the pillows soft in her lap, but neither ease the terror that twists her stomach into so many knots that Willow thinks if somebody turned her inside out, she’d look like the macramé plant holder she made in sixth grade, the one that dripped blue dye all over the carpet the first time her mother watered it.
Except thinking about dripping reminds her of blood. Which reminds her how close Spike is on her bed. Which reminds her that the only thing between her and embracing her inner leather queen is Spike’s performance anxiety.
“Now you’re thinking about it too much,” she says. If he’s not going to bite her, then maybe she can talk him into leaving. “You’ve turned this into a big ol’ pink elephant sitting in the middle of the room, and there’s no way it’s going to fit through our door now, so maybe, you know, you should just go. Find something to distract yourself with.” Give me enough time to do an uninvite spell. “Oh! You could go bowling. That’s very much not a thinking activity. And tonight’s free beer night.”
It’s not, actually. But she’s witnessed firsthand the way he drinks. Maybe he’ll see it as an incentive.
He doesn’t. He just continues talking like she never said a word. Willow wonders when it is her voice stopped working.
Spike’s not even looking at her any more as he rambles on and on about Drusilla, and funding, and something about peaches, and then Drusilla again. For a moment, she considers asking what happened to Harmony but almost as quickly decides she doesn’t really care. Has he been drinking? Is that why he won’t shut up? She didn’t smell alcohol when he tried to bite her – both times – but then again, she’d been too wrapped up in her imminent death and possible vamping to notice anything more than his really strong hands and the super-sharp fangs.
Surreptitiously, Willow leans to the side in order to get a better look at his face.
No tears. Not drunk then. Spike always cries when he’s drunk.
What she’s dying to ask is why he always feels this need to bare his – well, not soul since he’s a vampire and not Angel, and maybe conscience is a little generous since she’s pretty sure Spike’s head would explode before he ever said he was sorry about anything. His heart, then. He knows she’s Jewish, right? Or is this residual Catholic guilt driving him to confess his sins? Oh, wait. Odds are Spike had been Church of England when he’d been alive. Do they have something like priests and confessionals?
“…do you think?”
Crap. He’s looking at her, eyes bright with expectation. Good time to let your mind wander, Willow.
“I think…” She takes a stab in the dark. “…maybe you’re right.”
“Bloody straight I’m right!”
And he’s off again on another tirade. Crisis averted.
Except she is still terrified, and he is still sitting on her bed, and there is still that omnipresent Bite of Doom hanging between them.
There’s always the possibility that Buffy will walk in any second, Willow reasons. That thought fills her with hope for all of two seconds before she remembers coaching Riley on how to approach Buffy and how hot Buffy looked tonight, which means no way is she going to be leaving the party any time soon. How unfair is it that Buffy doesn’t even have to try and guys are lining up to get her attention? Not that she begrudges Buffy cute boy time after the whole Parker debacle. She deserves it for what the schmuck did to her.
Except Willow does begrudge. But only a little b, not a big B.
And this is definitely a tangent. Not helpful in the getting away from Spike plan at all.
Her gaze flickers around the room, trying to figure out what she can use as a weapon. Problem is, she’s stuck on the bed and the only thing she can reach that isn’t soft or fluffy is her lamp.
Willow quickly looks away from it as an idea takes root. It’s an idea that only works in Saturday morning cartoons or fifty-year-old movies, but Mrs. Summers hit Spike over the head and he crumpled like a big, non-scary girl, so maybe she stands a chance. The brief notion that English skulls are more sensitive or something makes a mad dash through her brain. After all, Giles gets knocked out a lot. That theory makes her feel infinitely better about the plan.
All she has to do is wait for an opening.
“…doesn’t bloody matter what Dru says. I’m not…”
Willow tries not to sigh. Be patient. It’ll come.