This Messy Life
Disclaimers: Characters and universe belong to Joss Whedon, ME,
UPN, WB and whoever else is big corporation with loads of money that could
sue my ass. Love ya, mean it.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is battling a demon in her bedroom – a losing
battle from the sound of it, possibly a brain sucking, hypnotizing demon
that crawled through the window.
I’m here in my own bed, with the blanket pulled up to my chin like when
I was little, heart pounding so loud, trying not to breathe or swallow
cuz the monster may hear. I should call Xander or 911!
No, I can’t! Buffy the bitch took the phone out of my room
because I got one detention at school. Lots of kids get detention.
That is the punishment! Who punishes the punishment?
It’s crazy! So not fair—
Oh God! Buffy’s dying in there, sprayed with a paralysing
slime maybe, and all I can do is whine about phone privileges! Okay,
okay, time to get serious about kicking ass. Baseball bat under
the bed. Baseball bat, bottle of perfume I got for my birthday.
I’ll hit it over the head and then a blast of Tommygirl right in the eyes!
I can hear Buffy pleading as I tiptoe closer to the door. She’s
begging in there, “no, oh no, no more, I can’t, oh God, oh, oh please,”
like she can barely get the words out, like she can’t breathe, like she
doesn’t even have freaking super powers! If the demon’s that strong
how am I gonna—? Nope can’t think like that. Maybe I
can shake its hold on her long enough to break the spell or whatever.
Then run to the neighbors. Call Xander. Xander can get
Spike. Spike will know what to do.
Okay. Deep breath. Turn the knob slowly. Kick.
Bang. The door flies open and bounces off the wall.
It’s worse than I could possibly ever imagined.
The two of them, sister and demon are sort of frozen in the middle of
what they’d been doing and the hall light is shining on way more than I
ever want to see, and I mean EVER.
Spike groans and mutters something about how no one in our family knows
how to knock on a bloody door.
“Oh shit,” I say and drop the bat and my bottle of Tommygirl.
“Sorry. Sorry.” I run to my room and slam the door. I
am NEVER coming out again, not even to use the bathroom.
Okay. Psychologically scarred for life now
I can hear him laughing. I think he’s getting dressed – and eek,
don’t want to think about that! He calls my name, still kind
of laughing, but I don’t answer. Now Buffy’s yelling at him,
“Shut up! It’s not funny. Oh my God!” Stuff like that.
Spike says something to her, it’s muffled. I put my hands over
my ears to muffle it more. Then there’s a lot of yelling and something
hits the wall. Then the door opens and he stomps down the stairs
and out the house. Bang.
Next morning, Buffy tries to have “the talk.” She can’t
look at me and God, no way can I look at her. We’re both swallowing
loud enough to be heard on the next block over.
“I know you saw something that probably embarrassed you and-and made
you curious. And you probably have questions you want to ask.”
“No!” God no! “I mean. I know about stuff.
It’s your business anyway.” Skank.
Then she says I probably shouldn’t mention what I saw to anyone.
As if I would! Jeez!
Yup. Scarred for life.
Okay. I know about some stuff. In theory. I mean I
lived with Willow and Tara all summer. But I imagined them in a romance-y
sort of way with candles and incense, all Wicca-woman power, invoking the
Goddess within, not all, you know, with their faces down there—
Sure, it goes without saying that boys like oral sex, but only if they’re
getting it. At least that’s what they act like. Eric
Tanner and Marcus DeLuca made this list of girls who’d give blowjobs and
passed it around the school. Dickheads that they are.
At the time the list was going around I wasn’t real clear exactly what
a blowjob was. Janice explained the mechanics in way too much detail,
so much I was surprised her name wasn’t on the list. Anyway, it sounds
extremely eewww to me – no way am I ever doing that for a guy no matter
how much I love him. But the weird thing is that boys in school
don’t seem too interested in doing anything like that to girls even though
they can apparently. It’s all about them, right? Of course,
I still not sure why they’d want to. What does a guy get out
of it? Or a girl for that matter? Must be something good…
Oh God. This is never going to leave my head now.
I really hate Spike.
“I wasn’t hurting her. You know that right?” Spike says
Crap. It’s been a whole week. Buffy and me can almost sit
comfortably on the couch without the “the incident” squeezing in
between us and hogging all the popcorn. Why does he have to bring
it up now? He’s standing just far enough away not to crowd
me, but close enough so that he doesn’t have to raise his voice too much.
I can feel myself blushing and it’s so humiliating. Go away.
“I know.” I say. Pretty snippy. I don’t look up from
my notebook. I’m curled up in the puffy chair in the reading alcove
at the Magic Box, trying to do my stupid History of Western Civilization
homework. Can’t he see I’m very busy?
“You want to ask me anything?” he says. “I’ll give it to you straight,
The rest of the Scoobs are having a stupid meeting about another stupid
demon at the table far far away, so it’s not like they can hear or anything.
I mean maybe I could ask—
No. No way. I turn the page of my textbook and shake
“I’m not a child.”
“Damn right. That’s what I told your sis.”
“Really?” Good. At least someone still treats me like a
thinking person who knows about stuff.
“Yeah. I figured all the noise she was making startled you awake.”
“Okay. Yuck,” I say. “You weren’t exactly quiet. I
thought she was being tortured or something.”
“Well, she was. In the nicest way.”
“Again. Yuck.” But now, my voice is all tight and it comes out
in a squeak. “It looked disgusting.”
He shrugs. “Some of the best things in life are messy.
Ice cream for instance.”
“Bet it doesn’t taste as good.” Oh God. I cannot believe
I just said that. I can tell without looking that he’s trying not
to laugh. “Shut up,” I say.
“Shuttin’ up.” He starts to turn away and sorry, but can’t have
him running off thinking I’m too embarrassed to talk.
“Anyway,” I tell him, sticking out my chin for emphasis. “I went
out and did some research on my own.”
He goes real quiet for a moment. So still and quiet that I have
a chance to remember he’s a vampire. “What-what sort of research
was that, pet?”
“I looked it up,” I say. He makes a little “phew” sound like a
cartoon person wiping cartoon sweat from his cartoon brow. Jeez,
what did he think I meant? I shoot a little glance at him and admit,
“But I--I don’t know how it’s pronounced.”
“It’s not the prettiest word. Latin. Feels much nicer than
Just on principal, I stick my finger down my throat.
“You’ll find out someday,” he says, then adds, “Er, someday a few years
Yeah right. “Probably centuries from now. I’m fifteen and
I’ve never even been felt up—“ Idiot! I hit myself in the head with
my notebook. My mouth is working way ahead of the brain tonight.
“Not because no bloke’s ever thought about it, I’m certain.”
Well. That’s nice of him to say. But…“Boys don’t think of
me like that.”
“Bollocks. I’ll wager you play a nightly role in many a wet dream.”
Okay, that’s eeww but kind of flattering. “Could you be more gross?”
“Bloody hell, Nibblet, you’re gorgeous! Don’t you know that?”
Spike thinks I’m gorgeous. Cool. “Well, there was that one
guy. But we just kissed.”
He waggles his brows. “Tongues involved?”
“No. Just teeth. I staked the guy, remember?” Remember?
You were there.
“Oh. Him. Word of advice. Stay away from my kind.
We’re no damn good. Just ask your sister.”
“You’re okay.” Well he is. He’s always been pretty okay
with me. Even though the whole doing my sister thing is very squidgy
and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
His expression goes all moody now and he starts to fidget, patting his
pockets looking for cigarettes he won’t be able to smoke in the shop anyway.
Whatever thoughts he’s having are ones he’s not so hot on having.
He finds the pack, Camels this time, but he just holds it and turns it
around in his hands. I poke my head around the big bookshelf for
a quick peek. Yup, gang’s still deep in the shit whatever it is.
Paying no attention to me whatsoever. As usual.
Buffy’s listening to Xander with a big frown on her face. The usual
frown. Same frown she wears most of the time. Except that night
last week when she definitely wasn’t frowning. Anya’s tweaked,
making an obvious effort to keep her mouth shut. Willow’s clickety-clacking
on the keys of her laptop.
“It would’ve helped,” I say real quiet, “if you guys had told
me you were …you know…together.”
He’s looking at the throw rug like the pattern is really interesting.
“Yeah, well, that would mean one of us would have to admit it.” A
quick tight smile like a rubber band stretched out and then slack again.
Oh. I get it. “So then it is all about the sex. All
that stuff they throw at us about sex being better when you love someone—“
“I do love her.”
“Must not matter is she loves you back as long as you get laid on a
Oops. Gulp. Crossed a line there.
“You’re a bit young to be making assumptions like that.” He manages
to say this with his teeth clenched. “There’s a lot you don’t know
and couldn’t understand.”
Ding. Ding. Ding. Adult Bullshit Alert. “What? Now
you’re going to play the ‘too young to understand’ card?”
“That’s not what I’m – yeah, okay. Stop being wise beyond your
years. Anyway, it’s complicated. She’s—”
Shit. Buffy’s voice, tight and tense, comes at us like a knife
thrown from across the room. He leans out cautiously and says,
“What are you doing over there?”
“Having a private conversation.”
So here’s the really weird part. He like changes completely –
his tone of voice, the punk ass attitude, the whole sneer thing, it all
comes back. Suddenly, he’s surlier than any of the boys
at my school. Like he’s regressed or something. And I know
it’s like some cover. Like insecurity or something. And it’s
kind of disturbing.
“Dawn? Is he bothering you?”
“No. We’re talking.” Bitch.
“Spike, leave her alone. Dawn, finish your homework.”
And I just kind of lose it. I snap or something. Spike
jumps, cuz I’ve slammed my book down hard. I get out of the puffy
chair and start loading my backpack.
“I’ll finish it at home.” Effing bitch.
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“Can you stop being Queen Bitchella of Bitchonia for like two seconds?”
I say. I’m so mad that I’m stuffing papers into the pack by the fistful.
Mrs. Hughes will take points off for neatness, no doubt.
“Let it go,” Spike says real quiet. And I can’t believe he wants
me to. But it’s kind of like he’s asking me to as a friend or something
so I’m thinking maybe I’ll just swallow it. Then Buffy’s voice, all
Miss Priss superior-than-thou comes at me and she says the perfect wrong
“Can Spike stop working his jaw for two seconds so you can finish your
Yes! Death to the Oppressor!
“Oh. Right. Sorry. I forgot he’s only allowed to work
his jaw longer if he’s going down on you!”
We get silence. Dead silence. The only color left in Buffy’s
face is the blush she put on this morning and it looks really weird.
Behind me Spike gives a short soft laugh. “There’s that then.”
Xander says “Okay. If somebody doesn’t slap her, I will.”
But I know no body’s going to slap me. I sling my backpack
over my shoulder and exit the shop with a bounce in my step.
Like the man said, some of the best things in life are messy.
I leave the grown-ups to their messes and head for home.