Fire and Stuff

by Valerie

Spike/Dawn friendship. Takes place between Season 4 and Season 5. Rated R for dirty words and references. More at my site - http://www.bandofbuggered.com

Lighter fluid, Spike decided, would solve everything.

He would start with the university. Burn every building so thoroughly that their twisted parts would melt into the underground mad-scientist lab that'd buggered with his brain, watch every poncy commando frat boy with their stupid laser guns choke to death on the smoke, and laugh as the Slayer and her witch-gone-wild pal were charred to dirty little husks. Next, he'd set fire to the Slayer's house. He liked her mum well enough, so he'd do it during the day, while the lady was at work, which he thought was an incredibly kind act on his part, considering that he was inherently evil, and pissed as hell.

Then he'd take out the rest of the Slayer's whiny little cheerleaders, who he secretly suspected got a kinky thrill out of tying Spike to chairs, the filthy buggers. He'd burn Rupert's flat, and then the entire Harris household. Be doing the world a favor removing that family from the gene pool. Hell, by the time his rampage was over, he'd probably get a bloody award.

Then he'd finish off the rest of the sodding town. Sunnydale, he thought with disgust. Lousy, worthless mouth of hell. When he was through with it, it would be nothing more than a charred hole in the earth. All the buildings, cheap retail shops, dreary clubs, and crappy coffee houses with clerks that wouldn't know a good cup of tea if it bit them on their tight, tanned little asses. All the people, families, demons, vampires, tiny little babies. Dead, burned, and buried on top of each other. And when the town that'd brought him so much pain was finally destroyed, he'd take a flaming piece of rubble from the heap, drive to LA, and beat Angel to death with it.

First, however, he needed to refill his Zippo.

Shoplifting was more trouble than it was worth, and he was always worried that some ballsy little rent-a-cop would get in his way, and Spike would get one hell of a headache getting past him. So he waited until ten o'clock, when the general shop on Main Street would be closed.

He walked down the street slowly, glowering at everyone he passed. A few of the younger women eyed him warily and crossed the street to avoid him, but most people barely paid attention to him. It was bloody depressing. There was a time when he was known and feared throughout the world, and now he was reduced to throwing dirty looks at stupid bints and rocks at store windows.

But as soon as he stole some lighter fluid, refilled his Zippo, had a smoke or two, ate a bag of Doritos, and then maybe watched some TV, his rampage of destruction would begin, and they'd all be nothing more than mutilated corpses. That khaki-clad man in the coffee house, that stupid blond waitress, that homeless woman collecting cans, that little girl at the bus stop, that -

Wait a minute.

"Hey," he said as he approached the dark-haired girl on the wooden bench. "Aren't you the Slayer's kid sister?"

"No," she said with disgust, holding her chin high. "She was adopted. I think she was raised by wolves. Or possibly monkeys."

"That would explain her smell," he muttered.

The girl looked down the street, awaiting the bus, actively ignoring the terrifying vampire that towered over her. Typical.

He tilted his head to the side and gave her a predatory smirk. "Don't you look like a tasty little snack."

The appetizer turned to face him. But instead of looking frightened, she raised her eyebrows, as if in a challenge. "Buffy said you're a pathetic loser who couldn't kill a retarded suicidal slug."

"I could too," he argued immediately.

"Kill a retarded slug?" she asked. "Good for you. Why don't you go do that? I'm busy."

"Doing what?" he said with a snort. "Waiting to get eaten?"

"I'm running away," she said proudly. She stood, swinging her bag over her shoulder, and glanced down the street again. "I saw this thing on TV about homeless club kids in New York who practice witchcraft. So I'm gonna go there, and get really powerful and stuff. Then when I come back, I'm gonna zap all the vampires to death, and everyone'll think I'm awesome."

"Uh-huh," Spike said. "You do realize this is the shuttle bus to the mall, right?"

She looked up at the blue sign. "Oh," she said in a small voice.

With a satisfied smile on his face, Spike sat down on the bench and put his hands behind his head. "Why don't you just run on home then, McNugget? Better yet, if you're feeling all depressed because no one understands your piddly teenage troubles, you could toss yourself into traffic, and try to splatter the blood in my general direction."

"You wish," the human beverage replied, her confidence returning in a flash. She turned and studied him with a frown. "Is it true that my sister's boyfriend made it so you can't bite people?"

Spike's eyes narrowed. "Shut up, you little talking plasma bag."

She took a step closer to him. "So you can't hurt people at all?"

"I can start fires," he threatened.

"Yeah, but you couldn't hurt me, right?" she said. "Not even if I did - " She raised her hand to his face, her thumb and forefinger forming a circle, and flicked him on the forehead. " - this!"

"Hey!" Spike leapt from his seat.

"Or this!" she added, poking him hard in the ribs.

"Ow!" He stumbled backwards and nearly tripped over a metal trashcan on the sidewalk. When he looked up, the bitch was laughing.

"Worthless little wench," he spat out. "When I get my lighter fluid, you'll be the first to go up in flames."

She put her hand on her hip and spoke in a voice much too proud for her small body. "I'd like to see you try."

"Yeah, well," he rubbed his hand over his chest, checking for damage, "You will."

"And the award for lamest come-back ever goes to -"

"As much as I've enjoyed our painful time together," he said, "I have things to do. Goodbye, and I hope you get brutally killed."

With one last glare, he turned from her and started walking down the sidewalk. But small footsteps soon came up behind up.

He sighed, stopped walking, and looked at the annoying bit of junk food as she caught up. "Which part of 'sod off and die' was confusing to you?"

"I'm bored," she said. "What are you doing?"

He took a step closer and narrowed his eyes as he looked down at her. "Kidnapping little girls and selling them to demonic cults who cut out intestines and wear them as jewelry - Ow!" he shouted as a tiny finger connected with his sternum.

"I heard my sister say that you're impotent," she said bluntly. "Does that mean your thing doesn't work?"

His mouth dropped open. "My thing works just fine!" He put his hands up, clenched into a claw, wishing he could strangle her. "When I get this chip out of my head, I'm going to kill you and violate your corpse. Then we'll see who's impo - Ow!"

"Yeah, well after I get back from being a homeless club kid sorcerer," she said, punctuating her words with regular jabs at his torso, "I'm gonna be so powerful, I'm gonna make you my bitch, and you'll have to service me."

He was so shocked that he couldn't help but laugh. "Where'd a little biscuit like you learn words like that?"

"Hello?" she said, looking at him as if he was hopelessly stupid. "I'm thirteen, not five"

"Uh-huh." He leaned his head to the side and let his tongue brush his lower lip seductively. "So how exactly am I going to service you?"

She leaned forward, her eyes dark, as if imparting a disturbing secret. "You're gonna have to do my laundry."

Spike gasped mockingly and put his hand to his chest. "Horrors."

"Don't make fun. I have like ten sweaters that are hand wash only, lie flat to dry." She stabbed her finger into his chest again.

Spike sighed, defeated. "If I let you come, will you stop poking me?"

She considered this proposal carefully for a moment. "Maybe."

"Good enough; let's go."

*

Spike kicked in the store's front door easily, and swaggered down the center aisle as the tiny pastry followed closely behind him.

"We're after lighter fluid, cigarettes, beer, and Doritos," he explained. "Nothing else. Gotta do it quickly; these places usually have silent alarms and whatnot."

She stopped by a display of bright orange and red boxes. "Can I have Cheez-Its?" she asked.

Spike spun around and with an exasperated look on his face. "What did I just get through telling you?"

"You should get some hair dye too," she said, ignoring his reprimand. "Your roots are totally showing."

He put a hand to his head automatically. "Really?"

She nodded.

"It's a bitch not having a reflection," he explained. "Dru used to do it for me." He paused, lost in the memory. "She had the softest hands. Would feel so good in my hair. And she had the sharpest teeth. She'd take my mind off the stinging on my scalp by nipping little holes on my neck until I screamed." He smiled sadly. "God, I miss her."

"Maybe I can help." She led him to the Clairol display and started examining the boxes. "What color are you?"

He shrugged. "Is there one called 'Bad Ass Vampire'?"

"No, but there's 'Sunflower'," she said.

He knelt down to study the boxes with her. "Much as I like the irony, I don't think it's light enough. Here we go. 'Pale Moonlight'."

"Wait," she said. "I found something better." She grabbed a box and held it out to him. "Xtreme Industrial Blond."

Spike nodded. "That'll do. Now you go nab the chips and I'll get the rest."

*

They left the store with their arms full. Spike held a 12-pack of beer, a box of Clairol, and a small metal can of lighter fluid, while his edible companion cradled some Doritos and a box White Cheddar Cheez-Its in one arm, and used her other to shove handfuls of the crackers into her mouth.

"So, have I thoroughly corrupted you?" Spike said as they walked.

"No way," she said. "I'm such a bad-ass." She gestured at her chest with one cheese-covered finger. "See this shirt? It's Buffy's."

"Your evil knows no bounds," Spike said dryly.

"At least I can still hit people," she retorted.

When they reached the corner of Main Street and Broadway, they both stopped walking abruptly. "Thanks for the Cheez-Its," she said with a smile. "Have fun doing your hair." She turned, her long hair swinging out behind her, and started walking away from him.

Spike frowned. "Hey, snack-size!" he called after her.

"Yeah?" she said, turning back.

"Um..." His jaw clenched with discomfort. "You know how to dye hair?"

Her lips twisted into a smirk "You don't think that's Buffy natural color, do you?"

*

As they approached her darkened house, the teenage picnic basket explained that her mother was out of town, and the Slayer had been called away to battle some demon in one of the town's many graveyards. "She's not supposed to leave me alone," she explained as she opened the front door. "If I tell Mom, she'll be in so much trouble." She tossed her backpack on the floor and began walking up the stairs. "Mom says I do thoughtless things when I'm left alone. But I so don't."

"Course not," Spike muttered as he followed behind her. "Having vampires over for hair care seminars is a brilliant idea."

She instructed Spike to sit on the toilet while she draped a towel around his neck, pinned it into place using a pink banana clip, and started applying Vaseline to the edges of his face. "So the burny stuff doesn't drip," she explained.

"No worries," he said, retrieving a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. "I like pain."

"Big liar," she said with a chuckle. "When your evil vampire girlfriend left, you were like, crying."

"Shut up, fleshpot," he replied unenthusiastically.

The annoying little Pop Tart watched as he took in a long drag. "Maybe your girlfriends keep dumping you cause you smoke. You ever think of that?" She put down the jar and began removing packets and bottles from the Clairol box. "My friend Susan kissed an eighth-grade boy who smokes, and she said it tasted all dirty."

"Your friend Susan is a twit."

"I tried a cigarette once, but it was nasty," she continued, ignoring him. "Also, it turns your lungs black and slimy." She emptied one bottle of foul-smelling liquid into another and shook it. "For real. We saw slides in Health."

Spike stared at her incredulously as he took another drag. "I'm undead, you stupid feedbag."

She began applying the solution to his hair. "Which means an eternity of no one kissing you cause your breath reeks."

"Tons of people kiss me," he said with a pout. "Hundreds. Back at my crypt, I got a pile of sticks." He mimed a hammering motion. "To beat them away."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm so sure. Stop wiggling." She poured more of the solution into her hand and rubbed it into his hair. "I've never kissed a boy."

"I'm not surprised," Spike said. "Kissing would require shutting up for five seconds, and I doubt you're capable of it."

"If you don't start being nicer, I'm gonna get bleach in your eyes," she threatened.

Spike sighed. "Little fricasse," he said sarcastically, "Please tell me more about your fabulously interesting adolescence."

"I'm gonna wait until I'm sixteen before I kiss a boy," she continued. "Because high school boys are cuter." She stepped back and wiped her hands on a washcloth. "Okay, now you just have to let it sit for a while."

"How long?"

She shrugged. "Til it hurts a whole lot. Want to watch a video?"

Spike sat on the couch, careful not to mess up his hair by leaning backwards. He placed the bag of Doritos on one side of him and the entire case of beer on the other side. As he opened the first bottle and drained most of it in one gulp, the little donut hole looked through a shelf of videotapes next to the television set. "So, what kinds of teenybopper crap are you going to torture me with now?" he asked.

She took one tape off the shelf and read the handwritten sticker. "I have all of 'My So-Called Life'."

"Whatever," Spike said with a groan. But then he craned his neck upward, trying to see the title of the tape she held. "Play the one where Angela and RayAnne are in the school play."

*

Half an hour later, Spike had finished eight beers, and his scalp felt like it was melting into his brain. "Stupid Jordan Catalano," he said to the screen. "Wanker wouldn't know a good woman if she walked into his house and punched him in the face."

"She loved him so much," the corn chip said with a sad shake of her head. "And he doesn't even deserve her."

"Did you see the one where he couldn't read?" Spike added with a snort. "Loser."

She pulled her legs up onto the couch so that she could turn to face him. "Can I have some beer?"

Spike handed her his half-empty bottle without moving his eyes from the television. "Knock yourself out, victuals."

The miniature marshmallow took a small sip from the bottle and made a disgusted face. "Why do people drink this stuff?"

"To dull the ceaseless torment of consciousness," Spike explained.

"It does that?"

"Yep," Spike said, taking the bottle back from her and finishing it off. "So does burning entire towns, which is what I'm gonna do later."

"Uh-huh." She folded her arms across her chest. "And how is that gonna solve anything?"

He twisted off the top of another beer. "It'll make me happy."

The little wine cooler studied his face as she helped herself to some Doritos. "Are you still all sad cause your evil girlfriend dumped you?"

"Will you quit saying that already?" Spike snapped.

"Once I liked this guy in my Math class," she said through a full mouth, "But he wouldn't talk to me."

"Did you try slapping him around a bit? Boys like that."

"Then he gave me a note that said I was cute, but then later on he told this other guy that he was just teasing me, and then the other guy told my friend Dana, and then she told me." She paused to eat a few more chips. "So, to make myself feel better, I took some matches from the kitchen up to my room and set his note on fire." She smiled widely. "It really did make me feel better."

"Burning things in effigy," Spike said thoughtfully. "Not a bad idea." He stood. "Ready to rinse, omelet?"

*

She put the chair from the bedroom in front of the bathroom sink, and had Spike lean his head back so that she could rinse out the coloring. "So how come that dumb girl from Buffy's school dumped you?" she asked.

"Because she's...dumb," Spike sighed. "Gotta find me a new bird. I doubt the Slayer would appreciate me kidnapping her kid sister whenever my roots come in."

"What's the big deal about having a girlfriend?" the annoying sack of blood asked.

"My left hand can only do so much," Spike told her.

She splashed a bit of water on his face. "Ew." She ignored his angry growl and returned to her work, careful to get the water through all his hair. "Okay, so besides like, sex, why is it all that important?"

"It just is," he said. "You're too young to understand."

"Please," she scoffed. "When adults say 'you're too young to understand', it just means, 'I'm doing something retarded and don't want to admit it.'"

"It's just nice, is all," he explained. "Having someone else around. That way, even when bloody horrible things happen, you've always got something beautiful." He smiled slightly, remembering Drusilla. "Something soft, strong, glowing."

She turned off the faucet. "Maybe you're looking in the wrong place," she said as she turned and retrieved a towel for him. "Maybe you spend all this time and energy looking for something beautiful to make your life seem better, but really, beautiful things are inside of you, and you don't even know it, cause you're spending all your time leeching to other people."

Spike finished toweling off his hair and looked up her with a surprised smile. "That's...well, that's not too bad. Where'd a little hors d'oeuvre like you pick that up?"

"It was in a movie about becoming a woman that I saw in Gym class last year."

"Huh," Spike said thoughtfully.

"It looks nice," she said, gesturing to his hair. "Very blindingly white."

"Just how I like it." Spike stood and handed the soggy towel back. "I should get going before that bitch Slayer gets home."

"Okay. Make sure you take all your beer so I don't get in trouble," she said. She took a brush from the shelf and started working on her own hair as he exited. "And have fun with your fire and stuff."

Once in the hallway, he turned back. He could see her in the bathroom mirror, gathering her thick hair into her hands, holding it up, regarding herself carefully, and then letting it fall again. "You know, you're not so bad, juice box. When I get this chip out of my head, I probably won't violate your corpse after I kill you."

She flipped her hair back behind her shoulders and smiled wickedly. "Whatever. I'm still gonna make you my bitch."

Spike chuckled. "Keep the Woolite ready, nibblet. I have a feeling I'd enjoy it."

Outside, Spike lit a cigarette with his newly refilled Zippo and blew the thick smoke at the dark sky. Things weren't so bad, he thought as he ran a hand through his damp hair. He had half a bag of Doritos, a few beers, a new dye-job, and a bit of lighter fluid. It wasn't enough to set fire to an entire town, but it could easily burn away a few ghosts.

Spike smiled, and headed towards Crawford Street.