Spoilers: Buffy, Season 7 to 'First Date'; Four years past X-Men (the movie) cause Rogue is 20.
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Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon. Everything X-men belongs to Marvel.
Summary: Answer to Challenge #17 on the Master List @ The Next Level (tnl.moonlitpaths.com)
You know what I like best about Christmas?
The surprises. I mean, it's like you get this box
and you're sure you know what's inside of it.
You shake it, you weigh it, you're totally convinced
you have it pegged. No doubt in your mind.
But then you open it up and it's completely different.
Wow! Bang! Surprise!
I mean, it's kind of like you and me here, ya know?
And I'm not saying it's anything it's not.
It's just, come on, this time yesterday, who would've thunk it?
~ From the movie 'Go'
Spike stared at the bar, his gaze focused on the amber liquid swishing to and fro, sloshing over the sides as he twirled the shot glass between his fingers. For two hours he'd been sitting there, wishing he were anyplace else, but Buffy had told him to go out so he did. The soul made him even more whipped than he was before. She was out having a good time with the principal and here he was, drowning his sorrows in a place that smelled of stale beer, sweaty men, and desperate women.
He slammed the glass down, the precious liquid spilling over the sides, leaving the shot glass almost empty. "That's a waste of perfectly good whiskey," a voice beside him said softly. He looked over and was surprised to see an attractive young woman sitting on the stool next to him. 'Now how did I not hear her sit down?' he wondered absently to himself. Her hair was long, almost to her waist, and red, deep red, not the bright almost orange-y red that Willow's was. There was a white streak in her hair and she had it styled so that the white framed her face. Her eyes were dark and he could see laughter swirling in their depths, though he had no idea what she found funny. She was human but there was something slightly off about her. She smelled of raspberries, but there was an underlying scent beneath the sweet smell. He couldn't figure it out. Maybe not all human?
"Yeah luv, that it is." He gestured to the bartender who poured him another shot. Instead of just twirling it between his fingers, he tossed it back, the alcohol burning down his throat like liquid fire. He welcomed every second of the burn. "So what's a girl like you doing in a place like this?" The line was a cliché, he knew it, but it was pretty dead on target. This girl was classy. Most kids that came to the Bronze looked like they were twelve, but not her. Her hair and make-up were perfectly applied and she wore a long black gauzy kind of skirt and a black wrap around top. Her arms were covered in sheer black gloves that went to her elbows. Everything about her screamed 'I don't belong here'.
"Same as you, I guess," she drawled, her southern accent thick. It was kind of turning him on. "Just wanted to relax a bit." He noticed that she had a Coke in her hand and quessed that she wasn't twenty-one yet.
"What's your name, luv?"
She smirked slightly. "Rogue." She held out her glove-covered hand.
He took it in his. "'M Spike."
She giggled softly. "What kind of name is Spike?"
"What kind of name is Rogue?"
"A nickname. My real name's Marie, but no one calls me that."
"Mine's William. Haven't gone by that in years either."
"So who is she?" Rogue gestured to the refilled shot glass which was empty again in seconds.
"What makes you think I'm drinking cause of a girl?" he practically growled.
"You sounded like someone I know just now. He growls a lot too." He looked away and she knew that he wasn't going to open up about anything personal to a stranger so she ordered a new Coke as her old one was warm and turned away, looking for a table to go sit at. This guy obviously didn't want company. She didn't even know what made her approach him in the first place. He was so not her type. His hair was practically white and he was so pale and thin. It was his face that caught her attention when she first saw him though. His cheekbones were so sharp they looked like they'd cut glass and his eyes…they were bottomless seas of azure, filled with sorrow and pain. Yet she also saw hope in them. He just wanted to be alone though.
She stood and was about to walk away when he asked, "So what are you?" The question made her freeze and then turn back to face him. He glanced at her stiff posture. "Not quite human, right?" He smiled softly. "So what is it…a bit of demon in you? Wood Sprite maybe or a bit of Faery blood in your ancestry? Can't seem to picture you as anything harmful."
Wood Sprite? Faery? What drugs was this guy on? And how had he known she was different. He knew that tons of questions were flitting through her mind by her rapidly changing facial expressions. "You smell different. You don't smell completely human."
She sat back down on the stool, her skirt swishing about her legs. "What are you talking about?"
He reached out and placed her covered fingers on his wrist. She couldn't feel a pulse. There was nothing. Her eyes widened and she looked up at him in alarm. "I'm not quite normal either, luv."
"Very. Have been for quite a while."
"They don't exist," she insisted.
"Sure we do." His eyes flashed gold and his features rippled, his game face coming forth and then retreating, leaving him watching her with bright blue eyes.
"Oh." She couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Don't worry. I won't hurt you."
"Why not? Isn't that what vampires do?"
"Got my soul back not long ago," he muttered sullenly. "Lost my appetite for hurting people."
"Oh." She wasn't quite sure what to say to all of this new information that her brain was trying to process. Vampires. She never would have believed in them if someone had just told her they were real. They were something that only existed in Anne Rice novels, not in real life. Now, though, she'd seen for herself and she couldn't turn her back on that information. She'd have to be careful. And she'd have to protect the others. They would think she was crazy if she just told them. She knew that she should just turn and walk away, but something kept her glued to her seat. It was something about him. She was drawn to him.
"You were right you know, about me. I'm not completely human. I'm a mutant."
His eyebrow rose slightly and she noticed the scar there, but he didn't react any other way. "What can you do?"
"When I touch people or others touch me, I take their life energy. That's why I wear the gloves."
Spike frowned. He couldn't imagine not being able to touch anyone…ever. Raising his hand gently he touched his palm to her cheek. She jerked away quickly, his skin having grazed her for mere seconds. "Don't pull back, ducks. You can't hurt me." He took her hand in his and removed the glove. Softly he clasped his hand in hers, watching her expressions change when nothing happened to him.
"I'm dead. No life energy to steal."
He released her hand and watched as she shakily put the glove back on. The girl was obviously very careful with her abilities. The Bronze was starting to close down for the night. "Where are you staying?"
"The Motor Inn. Some friends and I came to town to take care of some business."
"Why don't I walk you there. Don't want you to get hurt."
"Not just vampires you have to worry about here. Demons too. Sunnyhell sort of attracts them like flies."
She smiled, took the hand he offered her and slid off the barstool. He smiled back, unable to stop himself. She was sweet and didn't seem to care about his undead status, probably because she could touch him without the fear of hurting him. The thought crossed his mind that he was suddenly glad that Buffy had told him to go. Rogue was nice and he was intrigued by her. He wanted to get to know her better and for the first time since his soul was restored he felt a little more at peace.