The Scorpion’s Tale
By Lamia Londiniensis
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”