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The Scorpion’s Tale
By Lamia Londiniensis

Feedback: please.
Archive/distribution: you’re welcome; please let me know.
Summary: It’s a little way off in the future. Spike tells Buffy about a little something from way back in his past.
Spoilers: none – futurefic
Content/warnings: S/B
Rating: PG 13, I think (sex and violence mentioned, but not graphic)
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon et al own everything. I own sweet FA except for my teeth, about eight pints of blood and this idea. Oh, and I think I’ve got an old pair of DMs kicking about somewhere.



Gacela del amor desesperado

La noche no quiere venir
para que tú no vengas,
ni yo pueda ir.

Pero yo iré,
aunque un sol de alacranes me coma la sien.

Song of desperate love

Night holds back and will not fall
that you may not come,
nor may I go.

Yet I will go,
though a scorpion sun consume my brow.

Poem © heirs of the estate of Federico García Lorca, it’s only my translation. (I know Lorca probably didn’t write it for a vampire in love, but still ....)



The Scorpion’s Tale

“It was in Marseille in the 20s. I was stuck there without Dru for a while …. well she had pissed of with my bastard grandsire again … and I was getting drunk a lot. Marseille offered plenty of scope for that at the time. Still does. Used to drink down near the docks, there were always plenty of bar fights and knifings to keep me in fun and snacks, know what I mean? And people disappeared all the time down there, not like anyone would notice.

Anyway there was this one guy who was around a lot, seemed to like the fighting almost as much as I did. Didn’t have my advantage, of course, but he did pretty good for a human. Kind of reckless, but classy. ‘Course he fancied me rotten. Never tried to hide it, either, which was unusual back then ‘cause it was pretty much a death-sentence almost anywhere outside of a very few places. Not that different now, you think the whole world is like LA? Knew I wasn’t into that, I was shagging a couple of the local whores a lot – well I did that then, didn’t I? Did a lot of things then I don’t do any more. Besides, I was trying to get over Dru, not that it did me any good.

Anyway, I’d vaguely noticed the bloke but we’d never spoken or anything, I’d just seen him in action in a couple of fights I was checking out for snack potential. Then one night I nipped up a back alley where I could hear something interesting going on, and there were seven arseholes off some merchant ship kicking the shit out of him. Well not like I cared or anything, but seven’s a bit much - like I said, he didn’t have my advantage. I mean you couldn’t even place a decent bet on a fight like that. Well shit, I’m British aren’t I? You know we kind of have a thing about – oh bloody hell, they even call it “le fair-play” in France, did you know that? So I cracked a few heads, which was fun, and when I’d finished I saw him still lying there. They’d been working him over for a while before I got there, so he couldn’t get up. Well what the hell, you know, it was on my way anyway so I dropped him off at a bar where some people he knew hung out, and that was that. I was moving around quite a bit, didn’t run into him again for a while.”

Spike took another long drag on his cigarette, then went on.

“I was heading for Naples, ‘cause I’d heard Dru was down there. Wasn’t too hard to travel in the winter; days so short I only had to hole up for a few hours. Ran into Jean in a little place near the border, turns out he had a brother ran a bar in Rome or something wanted his help with the local hardmen trying to put the squeeze on him. We got to talking, I was bored as usual and he was good company. For a human, he was a pretty interesting bloke, s’matter of fact. Obviously I knew he fancied me and didn’t give a toss about it, why should I, and that was about the only thing about me that surprised him – like I say, it was a big deal in those days.

So we kind of – coincided, you might say, on our way south. And then half-way through the high ground just after Monaco, we got hit by the biggest fucking snowstorm this side of the Himalayas. Now I don’t mind the cold, but Jean was just about gone by the time we found one of those shelters they have for climbers and the herders who use the summer pastures. And there we were, stuck in the middle of fucking nowhere, even I couldn’t have walked out of there because where was I going to find a bloody thing to live on for miles around? I’m a city boy, not a flaming Indian tracker. There was fuel and a bit of food in the hut, just not the kind that would do me any good.

I got a fire going, fixed him something to eat. And he says, why aren’t I eating any of it? And I figure, we’re going to be stuck there for a while. Like weeks, easy. Now I can’t go that long without feeding, and there was barely enough human food for one, come to that. So I sit there and I start telling him the story about the frog and the scorpion. You know that story, the scorpion gets the frog to give him a ride on his back across the river and promises not to kill him, but half way across he stings him anyway. The frog says why d’you kill me, now you’re going to drown too, and the scorpion just says, because that’s my nature. Then I say to Jean, what if there was such a thing as an intelligent scorpion, what would it do then. And he says, well it wouldn’t sting the frog no matter how much it wanted to, not till they got to the other bank anyway. And I look at him from across the hut, and I say that’s what I am. One smart scorpion. And he looks at me, and I can see the lights going on behind his eyes. He’s not stupid, and he’s been watching me for weeks – like I said, he fancied me rotten. Show me, he says after a while. So I show him the face, just sit there and let him look at me. Yes of course he was scared, what d’you think? Then he reaches across and touches me on the face, you know, on the forehead. I mean, he’s scared all right but I never saw him back down for anything and he was fascinated. This was something you don’t meet every day, even in Marseille, and that’s saying something.

There might be enough food for you, I tell him, if we’re lucky, and it’s no good to me anyway. He knows what I’m talking about. And … that’s how it was. I drank just enough to keep myself alive, it would have been funny if we hadn’t both been about to starve to death, I mean both of us rationing ourselves like that. We talked, it was the first time since I was turned I told a human anything about … anything. Who I was, what I was, what it felt like. First time I’d talked to anyone, come to that; most vamps aren’t much for that kind of conversation. Told me stuff too, stuff you wouldn’t believe. Genet had nothing on this guy. When there was no food left, he said well that was my last supper, I’ll wish you a good appetite for yours now. Like he was passing me the bread instead of inviting me to enjoy the last of his blood after he died of hunger. Then he kissed me. Guess he figured I’d kill him but it didn’t matter any more. ‘Course, for a vampire sex is a pretty catholic thing – what? No, you maniac, catholic with a small “c”. Means all-embracing. No, you know I only want to be embracing you ….. Stop that, I want to finish the story. Yeah, you do know better than anyone what’s good for me … …  keep doing that and I’ll forget my bloody name, let alone the rest of what I was going to tell you …    ….    ….  Mmm what? Oh so now you do want to know what happened? Well, I kissed him back. Yeah, sure we had sex. Sweetheart, it was sixty years before you were even born, not like I’d ever met you then. Besides, I liked the guy.

And then, the thing is, we made it to the other bank after all. Weather broke, and this search party came through looking for some rich shit-for-brains who’d gotten himself lost out climbing – they never found him, but they found us instead which they weren’t too pleased about since we didn’t have any money but they couldn’t leave us there, could they? Jean headed for Rome, I made it to Naples but Dru was long gone by then. And the next summer I was back in Marseille, don’t know why, just used to the place by then I guess.

I ran into Jean one more time. Kind of wish I’d gotten there sooner, really. Not that it would have made any difference in the end, he was always going to go out all guns blazing kind of thing. Bunch of people screaming in a courtyard, I go and take a look, and there he is dying from a knife in the gut. I want to do something, but I don’t reckon even a modern ER would have done him any good right then let alone a dirty corner of Marseille in ’23. So I just hold him, and he looks up at me all happy to see me and sad that he’s dying, and I’m thinking shit why couldn’t it have been one of the other bastards instead of you, you miserable sod, and his eyes are starting to go, you know how they do, and I kiss him on the mouth – a nice kiss, you know, a proper one – and he whispers something, and I think what? And I realise he’s laughing – not out loud, I don’t think he could have by then, but he was kind of laughing inside. What he said? It was kind of funny, at that. He wished me bon appétit.

So I did what he wanted. I tasted him, licked some of the blood off his face while I held him, and when he was stone cold I went and found the bastards who had killed him and I tore them apart and drank them dry. Marseille’s a hell of a place, pet, but I haven’t been back there since. So yes, since you asked, there were times back then I didn’t always kill. Same’s I don’t have to now either, now the chip’s gone. I was never going to kill Jean, anyway, not even on the other bank. Like I said, I liked the guy. Some scorpion, huh.

Maybe you’re right, pet. Yeah, you’re right, he did ….. I never would have thought a human could love me, though …. all of me. I never thought you would …. I love you too, slayer, god I love you too.

Hell, I’m going to hit the cemetery. All this talk gives me the gyp, I need to go kick the shit out of something. Rather do it with you than on my own, though – and that’s another thing that’s changed …. You coming, love? ‘Cause I’d really rather do it with you”.

Buffy stretched like a cat, then swung her feet off the bed. “Puttin’ on my dancing shoes, partner,” she told him, “puttin’ on my dancing shoes.”

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