Title: En Media Res
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please put "En Media Res" on the subject line.)
Subject: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG-13 (eventually)
Summary: Set several years after "Seeing Red". Buffy, Dawn, and Spike have moved on. No season seven plots have occurred, which means Spike is still soulless. Dawn is going to college in Missouri and is living with him and a girlfriend. Buffy, meanwhile, is still back in Sunnydale with Willow and Xander, but is living comfortably, having finally found a job that pays well, allows her her own hours, and has nothing to do with hamburgers. Buffy and Spike haven't seen each other or spoken since the bathroom episode, but Dawn's graduation is coming up. Gee, do you think they'll get together?
Spoilers: Seeing Red
Archive: Anywhere, just ask me first.
Disclaimer: Buffy, Dawn, Spike and company are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and UPN. Aaron, Charlie, Nick, Steve, and Kevin are the GotR guys in disguise (Nick is Aaron's brother, and wrote "Call 911".), so I suppose they belong to themselves. Except Charlie, who in signing an autograph for me actually signed a legal document making him my love slave. Maru and Andrew belong to me. No Mary-Janes here; Maru in hindsight is loosely based off of good friend and advice-giver Jewls, while Andrew is a much calmer version of my own truly awesome Sid Vicious lookalike photography buddy Andrew. I also own other various and sundry minor characters like Tony and Allen and Jeremy. Oh, about Jeremy - there is no backstory, 'cuz it doesn't really matter. Use you imagination.
Author's notes: This was originally to be a Dawn-centric story, but y'all know me - I can't stray from the Spuffy. This actually ended up being a combination of several different plotlines I wanted to do. I'm very proud of the whole thing - the characters, the plot flow, etc. Let me know if you feel the same - I crave feedback.
Dedication: To Jewls. I know, I know - Maru will never be cooler than Bree. If any of you reading this are Gillmore Girls fans, read her story, "Code of Silence", at FF.net - it's truly awesome. See why it's good to be friends with me? Free advertising! And to both my Andrews: punk is not dead. How could it be with Sid Vicious and Billy Idol walking the halls of HSHS every day? I love you both, I want to marry you both, but since I can't have Andrew G (damn you, and damn Matt, too.), I'll hafta settle for Andrew S. Which means I'll have a husband that acts like a ten-year-old girl on Speed. But with my life, that just figures.
Quicksilver was packed. Word travelled fast in the tiny town of Kirksville, and nearly every person under the age of 50 had managed to cram themselves into the bar, awaiting that night's stage show. It was sure to be an exciting evening, Jade Bergreen mused, as she watched eight teenagers smash themselves into one booth. No matter how many times he performed, he still managed to pack the house each and every time.
"Jade!" Tony screeched from somewhere off to her left. Damn, did he have an eagle eye. "Get off your ass, we've got customers everywhere. Go do what it is I pay you to do." Sighing, Jade hopped back to her sore feet, snagged an order pad, and headed out into the throng.
"Jade! Over here!" came a voice from the right side of the restaurant. Grinning, Jade made her way to the table of two of her best friends - Maru Piper and Dawn Summers.
"Beer," Maru demanded when Jade was in earshot. "And make it snappy." Jade picked up three more orders of the same on her way back to the kitchen. By the time she had delivered each pitcher and its accompanying glass mugs, the stage was darkening.
"Pull up a chair," Dawn urged. Jade grabbed the nearest barstool as Maru poured the beer. Dawn decided to be the nice one and let Jade share her mug. As the two girls traded sips, Tony's brother Allen stepped out onstage and grabbed the mic.
"Hey folks, welcome to Quicksilver," he intoned. "You all know why you're here, and he'll be out in a few minutes. So sit back, relax, and buy some food." With that announcement, the noise level shot up to twice its original level, and Jade had to shout to be heard above the din.
"Are you guys together this week of not?" she inquired of Maru. The redhead shot her a lusty grin.
"Not until he steps onto that stage," she shouted back. "You know I can't resist a guy with a guitar."
"Don't I, though," Jade agreed. "Unfortunately, Charlie couldn't make it tonight."
"But I'm guessing he'll be waiting for you when you get back home?" Maru predicted.
"You'd better believe it." Dawn just groaned.
"Damn you two!" she complained. "How is it that I'm *never* getting any, yet you two are like sex machines?"
"You'll get yours soon enough, D," Maru promised. "Just ambush him backstage as soon as the show is over." At even the mere suggestion, Dawn's cheeks turned bright red. Jade laughed.
"You see? *That's* your problem," she teased. "You're a prude."
"I *so* am not," Dawn insisted. "Just last week, Aaron and I - "
"Made out in the bathroom?" Maru interrupted. "Yeah. We know. You only told us two *million* times within the, like, ten minutes that you were actually 'going out'. Kid, that's about as wild as you're ever gonna get." Dawn was about to spout off another argument, but luckily, the sound of Allen's smooth voice once again flowing through the speakers silenced everyone.
"And without further ado," he was saying, "I give you the most talented musicians this town has ever seen." the crowd erupted as the stage lights faded up, and there before the crowd were Patrick Waterford & Spike Williams. Spike grabbed the microphone.
"Before we begin, I'd like to say hello to my two very special ladies." When he grinned over at Jade, Dawn, and Maru, Maru's jaw practically hit the floor.
"Damn, I want him *now*," she murmured to herself. Jade smiled, but Dawn was too busy trying to make eye contact with Andrew to notice.
"And now," Spike continued, "We'd like to start with an old favorite: 'Rebel Yell'. Sing along if you know the words - come on, don't be shy." He put the mic back in the stand and turned his head to signal Andrew to begin. Just before he let loose, Dawn got her wish: Andrew looked directly at her, gave her a wink, then let himself get lost in the music.
Dawn settled back against a metal support beam, sipping her beer with a secret smile on her face. It had been so long since she had felt this way about someone; it was nice. And despite all conversations that passed between Jade, Maru, and herself, she was a proud virgin. Well, okay, maybe not *proud*, but at least comfortable. She was willing to wait for the right guy to come along, and something told her that guy was Andrew.
When *was* the last time she'd felt this way? God, that was all the way back in Sunnydale, with Jeremy. Her time in California seemed so long ago that sometimes she forgot it had ever existed.
Not that Buffy and the Scoobies and Sunnydale had been *that* bad, it was just that.....well, she'd never quite felt that she had fit in. Maybe that was because she was never meant to be there in the first place - she was just a conveniently-placed key, after all. Still, she had been loved and protected and cared for. But all Dawn knew was that she had never felt as free and alive as she did out here in Missouri.
After Willow's breakdown, things had gone back to normal. Or, well, as normal as things could get in Sunnydale. Dawn had poured herself into school, recognizing it as her only ticket out. And the hard work had paid off, because here she was with a full-ride scholarship to Truman State.
Life had been good freshman year - if a bit boring, even. But coming from a place like Sunnydale, boredom was welcomed with open arms. She had met Maru within a month of beginning school, and the two had helped each other through the worst class known to man: Missouri State History. Because, really, how could you have a two-semester class on that? Missouri barely had anything to offer anyone now, let alone a hundred and fifty-odd years ago.
But then Dawn discovered that Missouri *did* have something to it after all - one evening, while she and Maru were clubbing, she had caught a glimpse of a familiar bleached head out of the corner of her eye. No, she was imagining it, she convinced herself. Until he reappeared an hour later, *on the stage*, crooning into the mic and strumming a guitar.
He was living only fifteen minutes away, as it turned out. And by the end of the year, Dawn and Maru had moved in with him.
Spike had hit it off quite quickly with Maru - they were both very overtly sexual people, and not afraid to speak their minds. No one that knew them had been surprised when they had started dating. Six months into the relationship, they had broken up. Five weeks after that, they had gotten back together. Then they had broken up again. Then they had gotten back together. Then they had broken up. Then they had gotten back together.....and it had been on and off like that for the past three years.
Dawn still, every once and awhile, tried to ask him how, of all places, he had ended up in Kirksville, but he'd never say. All she could figure was that he was running. From Sunnydale, from Buffy. She called, almost every week, but Spike always refused to let her tell her sister that she was living with him. Dawn didn't think she'd ever hear the full story of what had happened between them before he'd left Sunnydale.
They'd spent the past few years building a life for themselves in this town - Spike, Dawn, and Maru. Dawn had taken up a lifeguarding job at a nearby indoor pool, while Maru bartended at Quicksilver, which was how the girls had met Jade. Spike performed every few weeks or so, with Andrew as his backup guitarist. Spike pretended like it was no big deal, but Dawn knew him much too well to buy that - he loved being the center of attention. Onstage, he and Andrew made a striking pair - both were extremely pale, although Andrew by choice. And where Spike's hair was blindingly white, Andrew's was jet black. He was Sid Vicious to Spike's Billy Idol; the girls often joked about what it was like to live with dead rock stars.
In point of fact, Maru was lifting up the sign that the two of them had made last night: a huge piece of white cardboard with black lettering that read: LONG LIVE THE 80'S. Dawn and Jade helped her hold it. From the stage, Spike and Andrew grinned, and Dawn felt her heart flutter in her chest once again.
She and Andrew had been in a holding pattern for about a year now - ever since Spike had dragged his ass home from Quicksilver one night completely smashed. The next morning, she had padded into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and had found a handsome, bare-chested stranger with the most intense eyes she'd ever seen sitting Indian-style on the countertop, lightly strumming Spike's acoustic.
"Mornin', darlin'," he had drawled. And that was where it had begun. Then next thing she knew, Spike had come down, nursing a hangover and introducing the guy who had made sure he got home safely.
Since then, their entire relationship had existed of stolen moments. Spike was like an overprotective mother when it came to Dawn, and he was the first one to spot the budding attraction between his guitarist and his little sister. And he was determined to stop it. It had been cute at first, but now it was starting to grate on her nerves. It wasn't like she had much time for guys between school and work, and here he was ruining a perfectly good opportunity.
And elbow jabbed Dawn in the side. "Wake up, babe," Maru murmured. Obediently, Dawn shifted her attention back to the stage. Before she knew it, the set was almost over, and Andrew was announcing the last song.
"This is my personal favorite," he was saying. "I hop y'all enjoy it as much as I do." Cradling his guitar to his chest, he closed his eyes and leaned into the microphone.
Dawn felt a tingle go down her spine, knowing what was coming. This was the only song Andrew would ever sing by himself while onstage. Which was really quite a shame, because he had a wonderful voice. And right now, it was crooning to the crowd in Quicksilver with Sophie Zelmani's "I'll Remember You".
He hadn't even reached the last chord when the entire audience leapt to its feet, thundering with applause. Maru stuck a pinky in each corner of her mouth and let out an ear-piercing whistle as Andrew and Spike waved modestly. Dawn's own voice rose to join the cheering and catcalls.
And Andrew's eyes never left hers.
A/N2: I hope this was a decent establishing chapter. Don't worry, there are to be even more new characters in the third chap - really fun ones, too. But first, a Buffy chapter. Don't you want to see what she, Willow and Xander are up to? Well, allright, if you *insist*.....Let me know how this chap went, though - if there's anything I should change, forgot to add, etc. Thanks for reading!