Title: Three Wishes (1/?)

Author: Sandy S.

Email: ssoennin@juno.com

URL: http://www.secretloft.com/ed/

Disclaimer: I own nothing.  All belongs to Joss and UPN.  Also, the story of "Aladdin" is not mine.  The rest comes from the heart of my imagination! ;o)

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: None that I know of.  But to be safe, let's say. . . through the current episodes of season 7 (just in case I slip and make a reference).

Summary: This is a modern version of the story/fairytale, "Aladdin."  How can a poor young man named Aladdin (Spike) win the heart of the beautiful Jasmine (Buffy), daughter of the owner of a multi-million dollar restaurant and catering chain?  Through magic, of course!  :o)  Spike POV.

Special dedication: This is your Spuffy birthday present, dear Thia!  Happy 25th birthday to a wonderful friend!  I've only known you since July, but I feel like I've known you forever cause we instinctively know one another!  You are one of my best friends, and your friendship is cherished more than you know!

Three Wishes

Prologue

I am not a bum. 

I never have been. 

People may think of me as a beggar. . . a mooch. . . but those who judge me thus do not know me. . .not really, and they never will.

Abandoned as a baby after my mother died in childbirth, I was quickly adopted by the older British man who delivered me in the seedy motel where my mother landed when the labor began.  Always telling me the story of my dedicated, loving mother's fight to keep me alive even as she died, he cared for me when I was a baby and through my early childhood.  Alas, he passed away as a result of what I now believe was some form of cancer.  I was only eight years old. 

I tumbled into the streets, a young, naïve boy with a sweet face, fair skin, dirty blond hair, and blue eyes.  As a result, a gang of hoodlums initiated me into their group when I was at a most impressionable age.  As gangs go, the group I joined was not a particularly violent gang.  I can't recall a single raid we made in which an innocent was harmed, raped, or killed. 

Oh, our gang was aware of the violence committed by other gangs, but our main objective was not the adrenaline rush described as accompanying the breaking of bones and tearing of flesh with weapons.  Instead, we strove merely to survive on the dangerous streets of Houston. 

I'm not saying that I never got into a fight or brawl.  When I had to, I fought for my life.  My small, lean frame disguised an underlying strength and instinctive discipline that made my opponents underestimate me.  Although my real name was Aladdin, I earned the nickname, "Spike," because I was the persistent thorn in our enemy's side.  Frequently, I won or stole food, supplies, and shelter for my fellow gang members for that very reason.  Bear in mind, I stole what I needed, not what I wanted.

The side I hid from everyone, including my fellow gang members, was my propensity to be a dreamer.  At night, when everyone else was asleep, I would lie awake, inventing faraway lands and adventures and imagining whirlwind romances with beautiful women.  I wrote poetry in the hallways of my mind, never putting words on paper.  One of my most cherished dreams was meeting my mother one day and telling her the accomplishments of my life.  A goal I kept even from myself most of the time was to make my mother proud. 

When I was eighteen, the gang dissolved.  Most of the members were older than me, and they began getting married and drifting away from their wily ways when they began to have children.  They became shadows of their former selves. 

I vowed never to fall into the trap of commitment and marriage and risk losing myself. . . until I saw Jasmine Summers on the television screen during the fall of my twenty-fifth year.

And that is where my tale truly begins. . .

* * *

Chapter 1

"Spike, I'm headed out for a bite.  Do you want to come?" my friend, Xander asks as he pulls on his worn leather jacket. 

Xander is a tall, large-boned guy and is my only consistent companion.  He and I live in an abandoned building on the east side of downtown Houston.  He's my age, and neither of us do anything without consulting the other.  We always watch each other's back.

Tired from my walk across town earlier today to search for, I slouch on the tattered sofa we found on the side of the road last week.  Our previous couch had become infested with baby rats, so we disposed of the disintegrating furniture right quick.  In our makeshift living room, we have a sofa, a leaning bookshelf that we use as a television stand, and an old color television that Xander managed to rig together so that we get free cable. 

"Nah.  I got something earlier today."

"Okay."  Xander dons his baseball cap and grabs our half-broken umbrella.  "Don't watch too much T.V., or you'll rot your brain."

"Ha, bloody, ha.  Who died and made you my mother?"

Xander laughs as he exits our abode, and I listen to his footsteps pounding the stairs.  Once he is safely gone, I re-focus on the television screen.  I flip the channels brainlessly, skipping past the Monday night football game, the weather channel, and a rather raunchy lion attack on a pack of antelope on one of the nature channels. 

I pause at the worldwide news station.  An attractive young reporter with dark hair and green eyes fills the screen. 

"And in breaking news this afternoon, the owner of the world famous 'Sultan's' and the affiliated catering business, 'Flying Carpet Catering,' has announced his intention to find his daughter a husband.  Word is that his daughter, Jasmine, is not too happy with his declaration.  Jasmine was seen on the street today shortly after her father made his speech, and she did not appear eager to answer questions." 

I've heard of "Sultan's."  The exclusive restaurant has served many of the well-known people in the United States at one time or another.  The catering service has provided food and drink for multiple weddings of the wealthy, including those of actors, actresses, and politicians. 

Recently, Hank Summers, owner and founder of "Sultan's," branched out his business internationally in fourteen other countries.  He is an extremely wealthy man, and his daughter is lucky to have been born with such a silver spoon in her mouth.  She's also probably a spoiled brat.

Returning my thoughts to the screen, I notice that the scene has shifted.  The camera is upon a petite, slender, stylishly dressed blonde as she brushes by a sea of reporters and journalists.  She holds up her hands in front of her face as she ignores questions and heads toward a building entrance.

The narrator continues her tale, but I ignore her words in favor of catching a glimpse of Jasmine's face.  What I witness astounds me.  She has tears coursing down her tanned cheeks.  For some unknown reason, my stomach clenches at her obvious pain.  She is so beautiful; she should be able to find a suitor in no time. 

The reporter's next words fill my head, "Word is that if she cannot find a proper husband, she will be forced to marry Nicholas Nefar."

A still picture of Nicholas fills the screen.  He is a tall, dark-skinned man with a rat-shaped face and long stringy hair that has been slicked back in a ponytail. 

"Nicholas is the son of wealthy oil tycoon, Randell Nefar.  He was kicked out of Harvard last semester and has recently been associated with three or four runway models in Paris.  He has a habit of spending money recklessly, but swears that if he becomes engaged to Jasmine, he will drop all such negative habits immediately."

No wonder Jasmine is unhappy.  Nicholas seems like a horrible player.

I watch as Jasmine is backed into a wall before she can reach the entrance to the building.  Microphones and bright lights are shoved in her face as she is asked to make a statement. 

Angrily, she locks her green, flashing eyes on the camera as she stares down the public.  "Do I *look* like I want to make a statement?  I just want to be left alone.  And Dad, please, if you're listening, let *me* decide who I want to marry."

As she shoves past the reporters and stalks into the building, the reporter concludes, "And that's all she has to say.  Were you listening Mr. Summers?  More on this story tomorrow.  This is Jenn Rogers, reporting live from 'News: Live.'"

I flick off the television and close my eyes, conjuring an image of the spirited blonde who seemed so sad.  With a sudden irrationality, I realize how attractive she is. . . not just in her appearance but with her obvious heart and conviction.  Part of me just wants to hold her. . . to erase her pain.  Part of me just wants a chance to have one conversation with her. . . to discover if she, like me, has a hidden side that she shares with no one. 

On impulse, I tap a well of energy I don't know I have.  Throwing aside the remote, I snag my long, black leather jacket and head into the evening. 

I have to know.

TBC. . . What will happen when Aladdin (Spike) meets Jasmine (Buffy)?  Stay tuned. . . we'll get to the magic in a bit! Promise! ;o)

Next chapter written will be for my other ongoing series, "Binding to Earth." 

Take care,

Sandy

http://www.secretloft.com/ed/