Title: Sad Song in His Heart - Chapter 1/3
Pairing/Characters: Spike/Buffy, Harmony, OC
Summary: What was Spike really thinking and feeling when he met up with Harmony in the bar at the end of Harm's Way? And why is it about to get him in a serious amount of trouble?
Spoilers: Spoilers for Harm's Way and the Season 8 retcon of The Girl in Question
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Just playing.
Word Count: 1974
Author's Note: This story is dedicated to aisalynn who encouraged the idea. Banner by the amazingly talented amyxaphania .
The bar was nicer than the dives and hellholes Spike normally chose for drinking himself into a stupor. ‘Course, demon bars weren’t known for their exacting standards. Probably why this bar was so swank. Mostly humans inside drowning their sorrows or chasing tail. He was pretty sure some were doing both. More power to ‘em.
What’d it say about him that he’d chosen a human bar near Wolfram &Hart instead of scrounging for a demon bar where he could mingle and brawl amongst his own kind?
A flash of blonde hair caught his eye and he tensed unconsciously. No, it wasn’t her. Though technically the piece of fluff at the bar also qualified as an ex, the two blondes were leagues apart in his mind and heart. He huffed an unnecessary breath and ambled towards the chatterbox gabbing at the bartender. Looked like he’d managed to find a bar that catered to his kind after all.
“So I save the summit by killing the skank who tried to frame me, and all I get is, ‘get me some coffee.’ You believe that?” Harmony pouted before shaking her head and giving a smile armed to charm and disarm. “Oh, hey, can I get another, but with one of those little umbrellas?”
Spike smirked at Harmony’s chipper voice complaining about her day. The office gossip had traveled so quickly it’d caught him on his way out the door. Out the door, out of town and out of the country. Across the pond. Taking that big leap. Leap of faith and all that jazz. Right.
Except he’d never quite made it.
Ah, well. Plans change. He might as well get sauced with his blond ditz of an ex. Not like he had anything better to do. Sitting down next to Harmony, he eyed the liquor bottles and wondered if Harmony might put up the dosh for the drink he’d just ordered. His funds were depressingly low until he was able to fence some of the knickknacks he’d swiped from Angel’s penthouse.
Was stealing from an evil corporation still considered a sin? Couldn’t be. He was practically Robin Hoodwinking Wolfram & Hart out of their ill-gotten gains. He deserved a medal for chipping away at that fortress of evil. The fact that he was also sticking it to Angel was just a bonus and in no way should detract from his ultimately good deed.
“Yeah, life's an ever-lovin' bitch, isn't it?”
Commiserating with Harm was easy. Compliment her outfit, stroke her ego, put on the active listening façade, rinse and repeat. Whatever faults the girl may have – annoying, clingy, not the brightest bulb – right now she was a welcome distraction. Her talent for inspiring aggravation and her tendency to swim in the shallow end of the pool of life were sure to keep his mind off other… things.
“What are you doing here?” Harmony sounded surprised.
“At the moment, hearing a bit of your story of woe.” First step, keep the conversation on her. Once she took the bait, she’d natter on for hours and he could let the easy rhythm of her rah-rah spirit numb him down.
“But...what happened to Europe? Aren't you supposed to be slayer-chasing or something?”
Well, damn. How’d he forget her other talent? The one where she always picked at the last thing he wanted to talk about. Girl was like a dog with a bone when she decided she wanted an answer, too. “I was on my way. Had a boat ticket and all. Then I put a little thinking into it. A man can't go out in a bloody blaze of glory, savin' the world, and then show up 3 months later, tumbling off a cruise ship in the south of France. I mean, I'd love to, don't get me wrong, but, uh, it's hard to top an exit like that.”
There. That sounded convincing.
Harmony rolled her eyes. “Come on. Girls don't care about stuff like that. Just one look at you, and she'll forget herself, and she'll get all tingly, and it won't matter how horribly you treated her in the past and how you took her for granted, and...”
Okay, maybe not so convincing. And hey…”I never took her for gr – Oh.” He paused and looked at Harmony significantly, an unspoken apology quickly veiled. “I expect Buffy would be happy enough to see me.” Sure, she’d be happy to see him. Though definitely not enough. The thought of her smiling at his miraculous return was quickly followed by her nonchalantly sending him on his merry way. “It's just, I gave up my life for her, the world, and if I show up now, flesh and bone, my grand finale won't hold much weight. All of it... won't matter.” Going out in a blaze of glory was all he had to hold onto. She’d needed him to be her champion and he’d delivered. Glory and sod all else was all that was keeping him going. Not like he had anything more to hang his hat on. Not like she’d ever really lo –
“Yeah, not mattering.” Harmony sighed. “I know that feeling well.”
Oh, balls. Now his despondent mood was infecting those near and almost dear to him. Grasping mentally at straws, he tried to look encouraging. “Oh, come on, Harm, you matter to someone.” Odds were that was true. Yeah, everybody mattered to somebody. He was sure that was true. Even when a person didn’t matter to the one person who mattered the most, there was still someone out there who cared. Somewhere. Somehow.
“I do?” Harmony looked hopeful and slightly disbelieving.
He knew that feeling, the desperation to believe something too good to be true and the wrenching pain when forced to admit that the shine was masking dross as gold. Hell, he wasn’t going to be the one to spoil it for Harm. Maybe she wouldn’t realize it was a lie, maybe she wasn’t quite sharp enough to pull back the well-intentioned veil of deceit, maybe it wouldn’t be a lie for her. Besides, wasn’t believing the impossible dream better than this bleak reality? Girl deserved some hope. She’d had a rough day. “Yeah. Girl tried to frame you, didn't she? Must have mattered to her. Everybody's talking about it.”
Harmony sat back, surprised. Her face slowly lit up with joyous realization. “You're right. That girl hated me. She wanted me dead. I matter.”
Spike nodded and raised his glass to toast her, satisfied with a job well done. It’s good she believed she mattered.
At least one of them did.
The hours passed in a drunken haze. Harmony had long since toddled off upon seeing a likely bloke smile her way. Girl would never learn, but at least the odds of her being framed for murder were close to nil for the evening. And giving credit where credit’s due, she had solved her problem all on her own. No rescue needed. Maybe there was hope for her yet.
Spike scowled at his empty shot glass and reached blindly for the bottle of Scotch resting on the bar. Desperate for a drink after Harmony had ditched him and their unpaid tab, he’d managed to convince the bartender that he was an esteemed guest of the terrifying and all-powerful CEO of Wolfram & Hart. The liquor had flowed freely ever since. Good to know the Great Poofter still had his uses. Like helping Spike get stupid drunk, for one.
A heady perfume wafted towards him and he was struck dumb by the scent – a pleasant mixture of flowers, soap and something earthy and old. Old as in powerful. And something else, something underneath the other aromas that smelled familiar. He turned his head slightly without looking and breathed in deeply, peeling back the layers as he isolated the familiar tang.
Buffy. No, it couldn’t be.
Spike whipped his head to the right and encountered a pair of eyes so dark they appeared black looking at him curiously. The woman was striking, raven tresses falling straight down her back, red lips contrasting her porcelain skin. Beautiful and not what he was looking for. He shook his head, looking beyond the mystery woman to search the room. No, not here. He could have sworn…
Hell, he’d dodged a bullet. Last thing he needed was a gentle letdown, the final stab to his heart. He was already walking wounded here, didn’t need Buffy to show up and kick his legs out from under him. He could hear her voice in his head, at first putting him off reluctantly – does it have to mean something? – till she gave in and set him straight – it would never be you, Spike – before finally putting him in his place – you’re beneath me – and moving on with her day.
I love you.
God, why did she say that? Was she trying to torment him? He knew it wasn’t true. For all the times she’d been brutal, beat him down, tore away his every defense, she’d never been truly cruel till she’d told him that. ‘Course she didn’t mean it. He was dying, for Christ’s sake. A pity ‘I love you’ was miles worse than a pity fuck. At least the pity fuck didn’t gut you every time you thought about it.
Why’d she say it? Why couldn’t it have been true? Why couldn’t he have stayed dead or at least been resurrected with a convenient amnesia package that wiped away all the past aches and pains?
Spike hunched forward, his face buried in his upraised hands as he stared through splayed fingers at the oak bartop. A faint humming started to vibrate the air around him and he blinked. Mission accomplished – he was drunk. He dropped a hand to swipe at the spinning waves of air and looked up suspiciously when the humming morphed into a lyrical singsong rhythm. A song that was coming from the lady to his right.
Turning slowly in his drunken stupor, he glanced down at her thigh and noted the expensive cut of the red sheath dress she was wearing. Lady in red. Huh. He’d always liked red. The humming continued as his eyes traveled up over the gentle curve of her hips, her slim waist and voluptuous breasts. Right, beautiful lady in red. He’d forgotten about her completely.
What was she singing about?
Spike blinked erratically, trying to clear his eyes as he stared dumbly at her bright red lips pulled back into a delighted grin. Something a bit off about that. Like she was laughing at him as she hummed her little ditty through her teeth.
“What…what you singing about, love?” Spike slurred, squinting at the woman.
She leaned in closer and he closed his eyes as that perfume inflamed his senses again. Her lips brushed up against his ear and the humming slowly became words sung over and over – a dream is a wish your heart makes a dream is a wish your heart makes a dream is a wish your heart makes – till he jerked back as a chill attacked his spine. The humming continued to surround him but he could no longer hear the words without her mouth pressed up against his ear.
“What are you on about?” he demanded belligerently, raising his eyes to glare at her.
“Making your wish come true,” the woman purred, eyes now gleaming red with streaks of silver circling through the flaming color of her irises.
Spike tensed, leaning away from her as she surged towards him. “Pfft, never made no wish,” he denied vehemently.
Her hand snaked forward to touch his chest and she grinned triumphantly. “Oh, you did. You did. I heard you. I heard your heart make a wish.” She licked her lips, devouring him with hungry eyes as she slowly savored the moment. “Wish granted."