Rating: We'll go with R, though it's a soft R
Feedback: Yes, thank you.
Spoilers: Through season 3 of Buffy
Distribution: The Blackberry Patch and If you're interested, please let me know.
Summary: Spike regails an audience with the tale of a very weird hitchhicker he and Drusilla picked up in 1972.
Author's Note: Written as backup for Lara's Spike/Drusilla Ficathon for dennydc, who requested a road trip in the Desoto, a surprise Buffyverse passenger, character death or dying, no Buffy or Angel, a time period between 1953 and 1972, romance, comedy or angst, and an NC-17 rating. Well, the rating didn't quite get there, but I got the rest of it.
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy. Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you. Thank you.
The Dangers of Desert Driving
Let me go on record right now as saying it was not my idea. Sure, I'm always up for a little game of Eat the Hitchhiker. For vampires, it's like take away that comes to you: convenient, fun, and bloody near untraceable all in one. What's not to love? But when I saw this guy standing by the side of the road, smiling like a toothpaste advert and sticking his thumb towards the next town so perky-like that he looked like a middle-aged Osmond, I wasn't salivating. Hell, he looked so wholesome that I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd wound up with a mouthful of extremely nutritious warm milk if I'd bit him. Nauseating.
Dru, however, started bouncing up and down in her seat like a bunny rabbit and demanded that I turn the Desoto 'round and pick up "the yummy man in the flannel suit."
She's not crazy. She just knows more than the rest of us. And if I keep repeating that to myself, I'm going to eventually believe it.
So, yeah, in the middle of a vacant highway in the middle of the Arizona desert, at 3:00 in the morning, I threw my sweet girl into reverse -- that'd be the car, mind you, not that I haven't thrown Dru into reverse a few times, if you get my meaning – and blasted backwards about a quarter of a mile until I was next to Mr. Joe Normal. He was still standing there, smiling away, and looked pleased as punch when a mysterious car with blacked out windows decided to pull up and offer him a lift. Boring and stupid. Not the most amusing of combinations, at least not when it isn't attached to an extremely attractive female with a first rate rack.
The look Dru just gave me could shrivel daisies. How does she do that? She couldn't possibly have heard me from there. Women. Touchy, aren't they?
Anyway, right, back to Blandman. So I pull up next to him, roll down the window, and yell "Oi! Need a lift there?"
And he's walkin' over to the car, practically skipping, and no one who's been standing out in the desert at this time of night for any length of time should be skipping, not even if they're Cindy Brady.
Yeah, I've seen the Brady Bunch. Shut it. It keeps Dru entertained. Me, I wanna know if Greg and Marcia will ever get caught shagging and smoking pot in Tiger's doghouse, because you know that's going on. Doubt the censors see it my way, though. At least that Florence bird's a bit of alright. Bet she could use her chicken stuffed.
Wait. I was tellin' a story, wasn't I? Oh right. I'm back. The guy walks up to the window and says, I kid you not, "Hey, kids! Thanks for stopping! That's just so gosh darned nice of you!"
"Gosh darned." No, really. I wondered for a mo' whether he might not actually be an ex Leave It to Beaver writer, because I have never heard a single human being, or anything else for that matter, say that with a straight face anywhere other than that bizarre little window into hell. Now that one scared Dru. Not what the guy said, the show. Kept going on about June Cleaver being in league with Satan because no one else would wear pearls while deep frying doughnuts and vacuuming. Couldn't really argue with that. Still… there's another one whose chicken could have used stuffing, I'd wager. Nice arse on that one. Good and firm.
In any case, Drusilla throws open the passenger door, and in he pops, carrying a little tan briefcase.
"Where to?" I say, wishing like mad Dru didn't have me wrapped around her finger quite so much. I was thinking his purity might just give me a rash and make me have to fumigate the car into the bargain.
"Oh, next town up ahead will do me just fine, thanks!" he said. It seemed like every single one of his damn sentences ended in an exclamation point. I deeply loathe that. "Wouldn't you know it, I plum ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere! I'm awful grateful you two nice folks happened to be coming along just now!"
"Don't mention it," I mumbled, and floored the gas pedal in hopes of getting him to the next town as fast as possible. There was no way I was eating him. The hippie at Woodstock had been traumatizing enough. I'd watched the moon bleed turnips for two days after that. Drusilla had looked at me funny. When Dru's looking at you like you've lost it, you know you're in a bad way altogether.
Hmm? Or, right. So we're tooling down the highway, going about 130 or so, and this guy pokes me in the shoulder. Nudge-nudge-nudge-like. Who actually pokes people in the shoulder to get their rutting attention?
"Excuse me," he says, "but I think you're breaking the speed limit. I'd hate to see you wind up highway fatalities, especially since neither of you is wearing your safety belt. Buckle up and be safe!"
He grinned at me in the rearview mirror. Then the smile kind of faltered, and I started grinning. Yeah, that's right Mr. Eat Your Veggies, your chauffeur's got no reflection.
"Hey! You two are vampires!" he says, and I swear by all that's evil, he started laughing. "Well now, don't I just look silly walking into that one! That's really great for you, though. No aging, no worrying about paying taxes, but still, hey, fiery crash, you two could get burned to cinders. So drive carefully, won't you?"
Now I've had a lot of different reactions when people find out I'm not exactly human: screaming, fainting, screaming and fainting simultaneously, offering me their kids if I don't kill 'em, even kind of a moony, star-struck look that I credit to what Dru calls my ability to inspire "naughty thoughts." This, however, was virgin territory, and it's been a bloody long time since anything fell in that category, let me tell you.
I looked over to see Drusilla busily trying to fasten her seatbelt.
"Excuse me," she said, polite as you please to the man while passing him her doll, "but would you please buckle Miss Edith in the backseat?"
"Why, sure!" he says, then proceeds about setting the doll into the seat and, yeah, actually making sure she's all safe and sound. "So if I've already made Miss Edith's acquaintance, whom else am I riding with?"
"I'm Drusilla," she says, "and this is my Spike. How do you do?"
"I'm swell, thanks!" he says back. "I'm Dick!"
"You're Dick," I repeat. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Say, you aren't using profanity in front of this nice young lady, are you?" he says, his face going all dark. "That wouldn't be polite. Dick Wilkins, that's me."
"Well, Dick," I say, putting a nice, heavy emphasis on the word, "it's my car, my language, and my woman, so I think I'll bloody well do as I please."
"Spike!" Dru says, and slaps me across the chest all put out like. Was a good, rib-breaking level slap, too. Okay, so I probably shouldn't have gone with that "my woman" thing. We all know who owns whom in this relationship.
If I apologized at that point, I'm not admitting it. I will say that dear old Dick giggled about then, though. Apparently he found our little domestic squabble amusing. Round about then I let my fangs drop and turned over my shoulder to look at him, intending to put the fear of Spike in him.
He just smiled back cheerfully. I glanced at Dru, wondering if maybe I had something stuck on a tooth or a bit of mustard on my chin or summat to spoil the effect, but she just patted my leg and went back to staring out the window. Unnerving.
After a couple miles, he says, "So how long have you two been married?"
I nearly crashed the bleeding car at that, and there's not a whole hell of a lot to crash a car into in the middle of the desert other than cacti, so it takes some skill to do it. You know, I'm not really clear on whether cactus branches count as a form of wood. Could be they'd work as well as a stake for putting a vampire's lights out permanently. I mean, it is rather the same principle. That'd be a right silly way to die, wouldn't it? Still, I knew one vamp who got killed with a chopstick in a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Got dust all over my almond chicken. Ending your existence mixed in with gravy, now there's a stupid end for you.
Got a mite distracted again. Right, so he asks us about our nuptial bliss, and I nearly turn the Desoto into a smoking pile of twisted metal. Dru, on the other hand, has her face all screwed up into a pondering expression and is counting on her fingers.
"I made him 92 years ago last April," she finally says, and damn but she did get the addition right. Women will remember anniversaries even if their brains are as addled as scrambled eggs, and they'll remove your spleen if you don't too. I've got the scars to prove it. Wanna see? Just there. Looks like a drunk camel, don't it? You have to squint just right, though.
Anyway, old Dick looks like he just saw an adorable kitten wearing a lace bonnet playing kissy-face with an equally adorable puppy in a little top hat. It was frightening. He was glowing.
"That's wonderful!" he enthuses. "Aw, it's just so sweet to see a pair of kids stay together so long in such a rough world. My Edna May and I, we were together over fifty years. Gosh, I miss her."
It took a few seconds for that to completely sink into my gray matter. "Fifty years?" I say, glancing back at him in the mirror again and seeing him with this sort of heart-broken expression. "S'not possible. You're human. I can hear your heartbeat."
"Hmm? Oh, not exactly human, not anymore anyway, although you really don't want to take a drink out of me, let me tell you," he says, laughing a little.
"He's in between the places," Drusilla suddenly chimes in. "He's waiting, waiting for the day when the moon eats the sun and the snake will come back into Eden to have apple tarts with Eve in her pink dress. He'll tempt her away again, even though the gentle angels woo her. Then all will be smoke and ashes and twinkling death. Maybe."
He gave her a look at that, but not one of the two that generally earns a bloke a slow death from me: looking at her like she's a fool or like she'd look better without her dress on. No, he sort of tilted his head, considering, like he was thinking hard.
"She nail it again?" I ask, patting my empress's knee.
"I can't quite make it out, but I think she's got the general idea," he says, still regarding her with a look of, well, sympathy, then glancing back at me when something outside the window distracts her. "Sight?" he asks, all quiet.
"Yeah," I reply, not sure why I'm telling him anything at all. "Had it even when she was alive."
"It hurt her, didn't it?" he says, giving her a sort of fatherly look. "Made it hard to… focus."
"S'one way of puttin' it," I say.
"But you've stayed with her," he says, looking off down the road. "I know how that goes."
I just sort of nod, knowing he's talkin' about his missus. That'd be weird, stayin' young while she grows old, maybe gets a mite round the bend, goes on without you to wherever they all go. I can't imagine losin' Dru. Makes my gut crawl up into my heart at the thought. It'd destroy me.
We keep goin' along in silence for a good while, Dru occasionally humming bits of the Beatles. She fancies 'em, though she still seems to think they're singing insects. The radio had blown out in Texas, which was fine by me. That Country stuff is not my scene, and there wasn't anything else on the stations. I finally caught sight of an all-night gas station and pulled into it, ignoring the attendant's offers to wash the windows and telling him to fill 'er up. After he was through, I pulled him through the window and had a bit of a fill up myself, then offered him to Drusilla, but she waved him away, saying he smelled too funny. Dick didn't blink, just kept smiling.
He was sort of starting to grow on me, like a pair of fluffy dice or something equally stupid but fun somehow you can't explain. Not that he was fun. Just… oddly decorative in a bland sort of way. I never did get the point of those dice. I actually tried using 'em with a Monopoly game once, and they were bloody useless, let me tell you.
Right, so, back to our lovely trip. We got into a little town outside of Phoenix just before the sun came up. We pulled into a motel parking lot, and I turn round to see Dick grabbing his briefcase and getting ready to leave.
"Mr. Wilkins," Drusilla says in that extra polite voice that she usually reserves for tea parties, "you've been a lovely traveling companion. Would you like to stay with us for a bit?"
"Oh, say, that's sweet," Dick says, "but I've got to get back home to California. Don't suppose you're heading that way?"
"California?" I say with a shudder. "No thanks. Too much love, peace, and harmony. And that's just what they name their kids."
"Oh, there's another side to it," he says seriously. "Always is, isn't there? You ever get bored with wandering, try Sunnydale on for size. We've got everything you could want: a nice public library, first-rate bungalows for affordable prices, an Acorn Festival every fall, and a Hellmouth to boot. I think I'll stay here for the day, though. Long night and all, and everyone should get at least eight hours of sleep a day if they want to stay healthy and strong!"
I shrugged and walked into the main office, killed the desk clerk, stuffed the body in a laundry room, grabbed a couple keys and went back to the car.
"Dru, we're in 206. Dick, you've got 124," I say, passing him the key.
"Aw, that's nice of you! You kill anyone for this?" he asks in a tone that suggests it's not a problem if I did.
He giggles again. "You darn vampires are just so frugal! That's a great quality."
Still disturbed beyond the telling, I open Dru's door for her and escort her up to our room on the second floor, where I proceed to shag her brains out for the next three hours then fall asleep. I assumed my sweet little black lamb was off to slumberland herself.
I wake up about 6:00 to find I'm in bed by myself. I really hate that feeling, you know? Especially in a strange place. I never know if Dru's taken a funny turn and decided to take a walk in the sunlight or play hopscotch with pixies in the middle of an intersection or what all. So I get up and start pulling on my pants when in comes my girl, all flushed and humming a happy little tune to herself.
"So, Dru," says I, getting a little perturbed, "where've you been off to?"
She sort of slides her eyes one way and the other, then sits on the bed and bounces in a kind of ladylike way. "I went to visit Dick," she says. "He was very nice."
"Was he?" I say, frowning and sniffing the air, not particularly liking what I smell.
She couldn't have. It wasn't possible. "Just how nice was he?"
"Oh, very nice," she says, smiling wickedly. " I like Dick."
Yeah, I think, that gets to be a problem when it's not mine. So I went down to his room to kill him on principal and, of course, he'd already left, with the bright Arizona sun still beating down. I considered following him to this Sunnydale place, but, well, maybe let it better off alone, yeah? Something about him… he was like an overly cheerful python. Made me queasy.
After that, though, we had a firm rule that if we picked up a human hitchhiker or even anything that looked human, we'd kill them off right quick. Still, the whole thing sort of made me feel jealous a mite, y'know? That make any sense?
Well, thanks for lettin' me talk your ear off, mate. Looks like Dru's finished with her strawberry milkshake and killing off the birthday party at the back table, so I suppose I should be going. Always nice to run into a fellow demon on the road… at least as long as they haven't slept with my girl. What was your name again? Right. Clem. See you around.
Uh, you haven't slept with Drusilla, right?
Good. Just checking.