By Rachel A.
Sequel to Scary Scooby; part of The Geek Series
Summary: Spike plays poker with Willow and
Thanks, as always, to Cynthia Liskow for
introducing me to the world of Buffy, being
my kick-ass beta reader, and writing some great
Willow/Spike smut just for my amusement.
Disclaimer: Not mine, alas.
Spoilers: Through "Normal Again"
He should've never invited her over here. Nothing duller than a two-person poker game. Especially
when one of the two is completely inexperienced
and pretty nearly sloshed. What's the challenge in
"Where did you learn to play cards?" she asks him,
after dealing their second official hand. She takes a
quick swig from her plastic cup and coughs a bit.
Yeah, she's getting hammered. He can smell the
fumes coming off her tiny body in waves.
"Angel," he says, snorting briefly at the memory.
Their first game had taken place in the parlor of a
demonic whore-house, and the currency had been
human girls. Those were the days, all right.
"Oh, yeah, you guys hung out a lot back in the uh,
olden times, huh?"
"Well, not that olden..."
Holy Hell! He's got four kings. Poker face, he
reminds himself. Poker poker poker face, you
He doesn't think he's grinning like the
Joker, but it would help if he had a mirror to peer
into for confirmation. If he could see himself in a
mirror, that is.
"But you guys, like, lived together, and um...hunted
together and did all kinds of stuff together, right?"
Four kings. Four kings. Four perfect little kings. He
wishes Clem were here to see this.
God, is she still blathering on about Angel?
"Yeah, we hung out," he says shortly, hoping to shut
her up so he can enjoy the splendor of his hand in
peace and quiet.
"So, did you ever um...do...it?"
"Did you ever have sex with Angel?"
Oh, bloody hell. It's far too early for a question like
that. That's a question for three or four o'clock in the
morning, for an empty bottle of whiskey in the dark
and feeling like you're the only two people in the
world. Not now. Not eight-thirty, when there are
teenagers roaming the streets and some people are
still eating dinner, and Charmed is on the telly. He
got her drunk too quick.
Of all the things she could've asked him. Christ! He's
lived through two world wars, depressions, violent
revolutions, damn near every social and political
upheaval she's read about in her sodding history
texts. He's met Charlie Chaplin and Louise Brooks,
James Dean and Nancy Sinatra, Dorthy Parker and
Sylvia Plath, Shane Macgowin and Johnny Fucking
Rotten. He was at Woodstock, at Altamont, at
CBGB the first night they opened the doors. He
knows where Jimmy Hoffa is for pity's sake, and she
wants to know if he shagged some boring wanker a
hundred years ago?
Way to go all Interview With A Vampire, Red.
He might've expected this sort of random and
intrusive inquiry from a girl like Buffy, had a girl like
Buffy ever shown even the most remote interest in
his life. But Willow? Girls like Willow don't ask
questions like that.
And if a girl like Willow should, per chance, ask him
a question like that, at a time like this, he'd imagine
the name to be Buffy's, not Angel's. Though it's
probably for the best that it isn't Buffy she's asking
about. He threatened to talk if Buffy didn't, and it's
quite obvious that she hasn't, but it was a hollow
threat. A sad attempt to frighten her into coming
back around, to set her off in one direction or
another so that she'd find some peace and so would
he. He's not particularly anxious to follow through.
At least not with Willow, now that he's got
something to lose with the girl.
After all, she is here in his crypt, drinking whiskey-
though hers is sweetened with RC Cola- and playing
poker with him even though Clem cancelled at the
last minute due to some rapidly spreading, demonic
skin irritation. She's here with a turtleneck sweater,
big Muppet eyes, and the strangest question he's
been asked in quite some time.
Maybe she's trying to distract him from his game.
He's beginning to wonder if her whole novice
routine is just that- a routine. He's beginning to
wonder if she's here for a friendly game of poker, or
a good spot of revenge.
He did ask her over here at the worst possible
It was the day Buffy officially lost her mind. He says
official because it had been going on for quite some
time, but nobody else seemed to notice. Not until
He left her room after delivering the ultimatum-
because dramatic exits are just what's done after the
issuing of an ultimatum- and he ran into Willow in
the hall on his way out.
"Did you make sure she drank it all?" she asked him.
"Um, yeah. Yeah, she drank it," he told her, and he
wasn't sure if it was a lie or simply a
misrepresentation. He honestly couldn't remember if
he'd seen her drink it or not. He'd gotten so wrapped
up in his speech, so pumped full of righteous
indignation. Every day, it seemed, he realized a little
bit more how badly she'd used him up, and every day
he grew a little bit more disgusted with himself for
letting it happen. But it didn't stop him from wanting
to help her, and he knew the only way she'd get
better was to admit what was wrong in the first
place. That's what he'd been trying to get through to
her, and, at the time, it seemed more important than
the poison and the antidote.
The delusions were just a symptom, after all. The
poison may have been the more literal cause, but he
knew the real disease was inside her. It was all so
bleeding perfect. Of course she'd create a world in
her head where he doesn't exist. A world where
everything and everyone that's real is just a creation
of hers, something to be built and destroyed at will.
She'd like to believe she has that power, and that
escape is a possibility. She'd like to think he's a
figment of her imagination.
It didn't really matter if she drank the antidote or
not, he thought. It had only been a matter of time
before she lost her few remaining marbles. And it
figured she'd do it in just this way- this maddening
way that made him question his own sanity, his very
He's often wondered if he might simply vanish into
thin air without his feelings for her, without the
all-encompassing way she's possessed and staked a
claim on every part of him. Standing there in the
hall, he started to wonder if he'd exist without her at
all. Maybe this was the delusion after all, and he was
merely playing his part in her bizarre thought-scape.
He tried to summon some sort of proof that it wasn't
so, but everything in him was her. There was no
He wanted to do something unexpected, something
she'd never think of or predict, to assert his
autonomy. He wanted to make a move that wasn't a
reaction to her, but he realized that his very desire to
authenticate his existence was, in itself, a reaction to
her. And her very insanity was a reaction to him,
reacting to her. He was a mirror, and her image was
endlessly reflected back on itself inside of him.
"Are you doing anything Thursday night?" he asked
Willow suddenly. Almost desperately. It was
obviously the wrong time, wrong question. But he'd
been thinking about it since her last visit to his place,
and his desire to invite her seemed at least
moderately unrelated to Buffy.
"Um...I dunno. Kinda depends on...stuff..." She
shifted from foot to foot, blatantly uncomfortable,
and he hoped she didn't think he was trying to ask
her for a date.
"Right. Well, there's a poker game at my place. You
know, if you get bored."
She raised an eyebrow, and half of her mouth.
"Are you inviting me?" she asked, echoing his own
bewilderment when she'd invited him to Buffy's
"Yeah. Sorta." She was looking at him very
strangely. Why was she looking at him like that? He
began to panic. "Come if you want. Doesn't matter
He left in a hurry, feeling foolish, frustrated, and
He didn't hear anything more about the Slayer's lack
of sanity, so he figured everything must've turned
out all right. Then, two days later, Thursday came,
and so did Willow, and she had bruises on her neck,
and fury in her eyes. She dropped her absurdly large
purse on the floor, and he heard the unmistakable
clatter of multiple stakes jostling around.
"You didn't make her drink it," she said. "You said
you did, but you didn't. I trusted you, and nobody
else trusts you, but I did, and you lied."
He's killed children before. He's eaten them,
sometimes in front of their parents. He's held women
down, and some men, and fucked them as he killed
them with his teeth. Slowly. He's devoured towns,
left neighborhoods, cities in ruin. He's ravaged,
looted, wallowed in depravity and anarchy and
absolute annihilation. And he doesn't feel a whit of
Should he? He doesn't know. But he can say that
hearing those words, seeing her big, damp, accusing
eyes, he felt like a right piece of shit.
"I-I'm....did she...she didn't drink it?" he stammered
"No! She didn't! And she tried to kill us! And it
almost worked! And we'd all be dead now if it
wasn't for Tara, and all because you're a big, stinky
liar! Why did you do that?!"
It was really the only answer he could come up with.
She sighed and sat down at the card table.
"Don't you ever get tired of that excuse?" she asked
That was two hours, one poker lesson, and three
whiskey and RCs ago. They haven't talked much
since they started playing for real, but it seems that
for some reason she's decided to stay and forgive, or
at least forget. Unless she hasn't....
"I'm sorry, did you just ask me if I've had sex with
"Yeah," she nods, staring intently at her hand,
pointedly not at him. Her cheeks are brighter than
the soda can on the table in front of her. Least she
has the decency to blush. "Or, well, Angelus I guess.
Or, I dunno...is-is that not a valid question? Are you
"No, not offended exactly. Just curious as to why
you'd ask such a thing."
She shrugs and tosses another quarter into the pot.
"I dunno. Isn't curiosity a good enough reason?"
He adds his fifty cents. Best hand of his unlife. Even
if she is trying to hustle him, she's not gonna win this
"You've gotta tell me why you're curious before
you're gonna get any kind of answer," he says.
"Never mind," she smirks and sees his two quarters.
Raises him a dime. "You just gave me your answer."
So she thinks. But she's assuming there is an answer
to that question. A yes or a no, or maybe even an
almost, maybe, none of your business. There isn't.
He wishes it were that simple.
Was it a yes, simply because his innocence was
stolen, not, as he'd hoped, by the woman whose
mad, smiling face he saw upon bursting out of the
new Earth covering his grave, but by the hulking,
dark, menacing man standing next to her?
He remembers the pain of tearing flesh, the blood, the
screaming, the words in his ear: "You are mine,
sweet William. You will always be mine." William
liked the idea of belonging to someone, finally, but
Spike soon realized that belonging didn't confer
some special identity onto him. Everything and
everyone in the house belonged to Angelus, and
belonging meant lack of freedom, lack of choice.
Spike grew to hate "belonging" and began to rebel.
He began to reclaim his spirit, but the ravaging of his
body continued almost daily.
Does one equate being raped, tortured, punished,
claimed repeatedly, continuously, with "having sex"?
The instinct would be to say no, if he hadn't ever
He doesn't know how to explain to this girl that for
them sex wasn't about sex. It was always about
power. Angelus's power to have any of them
any time he pleased. His power to deny Spike access
to either woman for as long as he saw fit. He was
allowed to touch Dru after a few months. Permission
to Darla never came.
It was only when Angelus left for good, when Spike
killed the first slayer and proved himself at least a
marginally adequate replacement for the man of the
house, only then was he truly free to be his own
man, and to shag the both of them as he damn well
pleased to. And even then, even then the shadow of
the absent father hung over them all, informing his
every word and deed to one degree or another.
Power. Not sex.
And damn Willow for making him think about this
because he's starting to realize he's always existed as
someone else's reflection.
"Spike? Are you folding?"
He mutters a curse to himself and tosses two
quarters, a dime, and a nickel into the pot.
"What about you?" he asks.
"No, I'll raise you five cents."
"No, I mean....have you had sex with Angel?
She giggles, then takes a big sip of her drink. "That's
a silly question. Of course not."
It strikes him suddenly, how few women he really
knows who haven't. He's never loved a woman who
hasn't fucked Angel, never loved a woman who
wasn't in love with Angel. He wonders what that
would be like.
"That's good," he says. "New. And good."
He adds more coins to the steadily growing pile and
wonders, for the first time, if her hand could possibly
be better than his.
"So, where did that question come from, Red?
Seems like sort of a non-sequitor, even for you. Not
to mention, what's it to you?"
Not to mention, is there something about him that
says flaming queer? Yeah, Angel's got it written all
over his gloppy hair and stylishly morbid threads,
but Spike's pretty sure his persona screams lady
killer, in every possible sense of the word.
He wonders if maybe it's just a little fantasy of the
girl's, if she gets off on thinking about that. He
hopes that's it.
"Oh, I dunno...just tryin' to make conversation," she
shrugs, raising him yet again. Dollar-twenty-five.
"What sort of conversation is that? If you wanted to
make conversation, you might've complimented me
on all the work I've done rebuilding the place.
"Oh," she nods, smiling and looking about. "Yeah,
"Why did you ask me that question?!"
Well. That came out a bit...insane.
"Jeez, I thought you weren't offended. Look, I
was...I was just curious, okay? I'm kinda...prone to
seeing these, um, undercurrents. Like-like at Buffy's,
uh, her...thing, in the woods..."
"You mean her funeral," he flatly reminds her,
wanting, with just a tinge of resentment, to force her
to face up to what all she's done.
"Yeah. Well, you guys..."
They fought. He remembers it, like everything else
from the time Buffy was gone, with bleary, barely
It had been unseasonably chilly the night they buried
her. He couldn't feel it because of the combination of
vampire physiology, and the steady stream of 80
proof he'd been sending through his veins all
afternoon, but he could see everyone else's breath.
Everyone but Angel, that is.
He remembers letting Dawn drink from his flask,
hearing sobs and chokes as he helped lower the
coffin into the ground, wondering if anyone would
notice or care if he threw himself in after it. He
remembers Angel walking up to him when the last of
the dirt had been tossed and telling him that he
wasn't good enough, didn't belong, didn't deserve to
be standing on this hallowed ground. And the rest is
a blur of fists and fangs and futile humans trying to
separate them, then giving up in disgust.
"We made a mockery of everything Buffy stood
for," he says, echoing Giles's admonishing words
from later that night.
"Well, yeah," she nods. "But...there was thrusting.
Of the, uh...pelvic nature."
"What? No there wasn't! There was no thrusting!
And what were you doing, ponderin' the homoerotic
subtext of a sodding fistfight at your best friend's
"No! No, I wasn't. I mean, not then. Not till...well,
kinda recently actually. Not sure why I was thinking
about it. Anyway, it just...it made me wonder 'cause,
well, it's not the first time I've noticed that kind
"What-what do you mean stuff? What kind of
STUFF? What are you thinkin'? That I'm some kinda
"Because let me tell you something, Pet," he
lectures, pointing the index finger from his free hand
in her general direction. "One...thing with one...thing
does not a poofter make! But then, I guess that's
news to you in'nit?"
He places two dollar bills on the table in a grand
gesture, unable to restrain the satisfied smirk from
crossing his lips. He watches her face in the
candlelight as it contorts with simultaneous
realization and confusion. Such expressive features
on this one. So easy to read. Except, of course,
when it comes to her bleeding cards.
"Hey!" she exclaims, suddenly sitting up straight,
realizing he's insulted her, but not really
understanding the nature of the insult. "What the
heck is that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, nothing Miss 'I bagged one chippie and now
I'm queen of the Isle of Lesbos'..."
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" she repeats,
slurring her words a bit this time 'round, as if to
remind him that she's a lightweight and he's been
filling her belly with whiskey for the past two hours.
For a moment he entertains the fantasy of engaging
her in a round of strip poker, letting her win so he
can strip naked in front of her and watch her curious
eyes traveling over his body...
"Just because you happened to fall for one girl, it
doesn't mean that you're..."
"What? Gay? You don't think I'm gay? I'm gay,
Mister! I'm as gay as they come. Queer as folk. Do
you have a problem with that or something?"
She slams a five on the table, rattling their drinks.
"Not generally, no. But in your case, I think you
might be kidding yourself. I mean, really, how many
boys've you had a hankering for? How many you
been in love with? Were you faking it with the wolf
"Faking...what...no! No, I wasn't faking anything. I
just didn't realize yet, that I was...gay."
"Come on, Willow. Don't you think it's possible that
your sexuality is just a little bit more complicated
than that? Isn't it possible that the whole riot grrrrl
lesbian routine is just another label you've assigned
yourself to make things easier? To detract attention
from what you perceive to be your inherent
Or maybe it's not complicated at all, he thinks.
Maybe the girl just wants to be loved.
"Hey! I'm not a faker! I love Tara. This isn't a big
"I know you love her. Never said you didn't. That's
not what we're talking about."
Bloody hell. He's almost out of money. With an
anticipatory grin, he shoves the remaining pile of
bills and change into the middle of the table. All or
"Fine," she says, pushing her own pile out to join
his. "You wanna talk arbitrarily assigned labels?
What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Your whole 'Oh, I'm evil. Look at me. Sooo evil.
Yep, evil over here.' Gimme a break! If you were
really evil you wouldn't have to, like, announce it all
the time. I mean, look at Angelus. Pure, undiluted
evil, and you just knew it. He didn't have to issue a
statement of evilhood. He just did, you know, actual
"Turn over your cards."
"Were you even slightly naughty when you were a
human? Or were you just really repressed?"
"I said, turn over your bleedin' cards."
Fine. She wants to play it that way, he's perfectly
willing to oblige. Might as well be the first, show off
the best hand that's ever been in the history of poker.
The thought of her suddenly irritatingly pretty face
crumpling in defeat and disappointment has become
He lays his cards down with a flourish, in a showy
accordion design, smirking without attempt at
restraint now. Almost time for a victory smoke.
"See that, Red? That's four kings. Four of 'em.
That's all the kings there are in the deck. Right in my
hand. Surely even a poker novice such as yourself
can appreciate the rare and delicate beauty of a hand
No. Oh, no. That just simply cannot be. It
But it is. Five perfect, red diamonds, staring up at
him. Mocking him. Eight, nine, ten, jack, and
"Gee, Spike," she croons sweetly. "I know I'm a
novice and all, but isn't that what you poker pros call
a straight flush? And, um, doesn't that beat four of a
"That...you- you cheated! There's no way you- you
Now she's the one wearing the smirk, and her witchy
paws are all over his money. She holds open her
purse at the edge of the table and sweeps the pile of
change and bills into the depths of
"Come on, Spike. Don't be such a sore loser."
"I am not a loser! You cheated! You-you lied!
You've played before. You must've done."
She stands from the table and slings the strap of her
bag over her shoulder. Shrugs with affected
"I dunno, Spike, maybe I have. Doesn't feel too
good being lied to, does it?"
So that's what this has been about, then. Revenge,
just as he'd suspected. She seems like such a nice
girl. He shouldn't've let himself forget about the
shadowlands inside her. Shouldn't've let himself
believe she'd come here because she might genuinely
enjoy his company. No one genuinely enjoys his
Still, as disappointed and irritated as he is, he can't
help but be a little impressed.
"You know, Red, there is a difference. I didn't lie to
screw you over. In fact, I didn't even lie deliberately.
I just...wasn't paying attention. I'd call it more
careless than malicious. What you did...revenge
games aren't very nice."
"It wasn't revenge."
"Well then what? Just have fun stealin' people's
money? You're not even drunk, are you?"
"I didn't steal your money! And I didn't come here to
teach you a lesson, or-or hustle you like a
"Just a side benefit, then?"
His eyes are directly level with her chest, and he lets
his gaze linger on her heaving little breasts for a
minute. Tight, low-cut shirt, push-up bra...holy hell,
did she come here to seduce him?
No, can't be that. Not after trying to turn their poker
game into a gay pride festival.
"I don't get you," he blurts out unintentionally. He
doesn't like to let people know when they've
confused him. Sort of undermines his whole
insightful-speaker-of-painful-truths shtick. But
bugger all, she really has been confounding him
"You don't get me?" she scoffs, and he looks up at
her face. Her eyes are wide and full of disbelief, and
her skin is turning splotchy with red. "YOU don't
get ME? What is that, a funny? You get me. You
totally get me! You get the heck out of me and it's
really really annoying! You're the one
"Me? What's to get about me? Vampire, evil, et
cetera. It's really very simple."
She makes a horrible sound; something like a groan
or a squeal or a car alarm. It makes his temples ache.
"God, Spike," she whines awfully. "Why do you
have to do that? It's so frustrating! That is so
completely not an explanation for anything about
you! Why do you have to make yourself seem like
less than you actually are?"
"What's that mean?"
"It means you're not just 'vampire, evil'. You're
funny, and smart, and sometimes even downright
nice! And maybe the nasty, evil, creepy guy is the
one who gets laid or something, but I kind of like
the other guy and I wanted to find out which one
was fake. So, that's why I came here, okay? Sorry if
that's a big, bloody problem for you!"
"Well...did you figure it out?"
He'd sort of like to know. He'd like to know if there
is a fake. Or if they're both fakes. Maybe his entire
existence is a sham after all. Maybe the people he's
loved are all he's made of, and there really is nothing
else underneath at all.
How is it possible, he wonders, for a man to shape
his very being after what a woman wants and needs
and expects, and yet fail completely to garner any
sort of true affection from her? How is it possible
for it to happen twice? Three times? Is it only
possible for a woman to love a man who's
really....something? Something completely separate,
He looks desperately into her eyes, hoping she'll
see...something. Him. Whoever he is.
"No," she sighs. "All I figured out is that you have
severe Angel issues, and get easily distracted. Maybe
I asked the wrong questions..."
"Or maybe there's nothing to figure out. Maybe
"Is that what you think? That you're nothing?"
Great. Now he's got her all stuffed full of pity.
"Look, it's been fun, but I've got...things."
"No you don't. You don't have any things. You don't
even have a TV anymore. But I'll go if you want."
He doesn't know what he wants. He wants to stop
feeling confused. He wants to know that he's real.
He wants his money back. He wants her to stay and
talk and confuse him some more and he wants her to
leave and never ever come back. He wants to kiss
her again, and see if she'd still be afraid.
"You probably should," he says. And she does.
When William was a very young boy, he enjoyed
sitting at his mother's vanity table and playing with
all the pretty jewelry and perfume she never wore.
She'd been sick, it seemed, since the day William
was born, and his father died before William got
through his first year. His brother moved into his
own home, started his own family before William's
fourth birthday. There was no one to tell William
that sitting at a woman's vanity table and playing
with her things was not a very manly thing to do.
One day he noticed a small, hand-held mirror with
silver engravings along the sides. He picked it up
admiringly, twirling it between his fingers and
making faces at his reflection. On a whim, he turned
the chair around. His back to the larger, main
mirror, he looked at himself in the smaller mirror
and saw something very strange. It was a reflection
of his reflection. Of his reflection of his reflection.
The line seemed to go on endlessly. Hundreds of
Williams, getting smaller and smaller and smaller,
folding in on themselves. He struggled to find the
last one, the end of the line, but it was impossible.
It confused and frightened him, but he never forgot
about the pretty mirror and on his last visit home-
the night he said "good-bye" and "I'm sorry" to his
mother- he stole the little thing and brought it back
to Dru. She couldn't see herself in it, of course, but
she liked the shiny silver and the way the metal felt
in her hands.
Spike still has the mirror, and after Willow leaves he
finds himself digging through his trunk, trying to
locate it. When he finds it, he brings it to the card
table, sits down with it, and stares into the glass.
He sees the room behind him- his new bed, and the
velvet tapestry on his wall, and the broken lamp on
the floor. It's all there, all real, but somehow he is
not. There's an empty space where he should be. A
It's not the first time Spike has looked into a mirror.
It's not the first time he's seen the emptiness, but it is
the first time it's frightened him. It's the first time
he's felt a real lack.
He wonders what Willow sees when she looks at
him. What Buffy sees. He wonders if he has any odd
facial ticks that no one's mentioned, or if his skin
ever breaks out. He wonders if he flushes red after
feeding, the way that Dru did.
He wonders how he's supposed to find himself when
he doesn't even know if he has pores or eyebrows.
He doesn't think about killing much anymore. It's
taken a couple of years, but he's more or less gotten
used to his situation. Tonight, he thinks about it. He
fantasizes, again, of killing Willow, turning her into
his eternal mate and leaving this rat trap of a town
forever. He thinks about the way her blood must
taste, how easy it would be, how much fun. He
thinks about the impact it would make, the proof it
would leave. There's no better way to say "Spike
was here." Spike exists. Spike is real, and scary, and
he can do something. Anything.
Something has to change, he realizes, and a few
hours later he smashes the face of the mirror against
the table. Shards of glass scatter and fall onto his
thighs, onto the floor. He looks down, sees that the
shards are still large enough to register his lack of a
presence, then crushes the remnants of the mirror
decisively under his boots.
Something has got to change.