TITLE: "The Fictitious Memoirs of a Supergirl" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
EMAIL: mc@fangy.net
SITE: http://fangy.net
DISTRIB: My site, list archives, those who already have my stuff. Otherwise just ask.
SPOILERS: Up to Wrecked.
PAIRING: Spike/Buffy
SUMMARY: Spike, books and Christmas.
NOTE: Thanks to Alex, who loves Christmas and Spike as much as I do.

* * *

His fingers travelled over the book spines, his gaze trailing slightly behind, perusing the titles. It was wrong, how glossed and perfect they felt, unread, too new. He felt like sitting down on the floor and reading them all, so that someone else could come upon them and enjoy the feel of well-loved books, something he always thought was vastly under-rated.

He'd read them all anyway, just because. Because he could, because he wanted to, because books were to be read. He secretly loved these giant megastores, loved the sheer volume of available reading material, loved that he could put his hands on anything he could possibly want to read. He felt too old, had seen to many changes in the way things were supposed to be, to get sentimental over the little bookstores closing in the shadow of the giants. Oh, sometimes he mourned the corner shop, with the trapped dusty scent and the proprietor who would set things aside just for you. The community that would ebb and flow. The feeling of stepping into another world, one dark and dim, with short business hours and a scotch-taped sign on the door that asked not to let the shop cat out.

He could find it in himself to miss those - but only sometimes. And not when he could peruse Colette in the original French while drinking a latte. The little shops, rapidly becoming obsolete - much to the dismay of most free-thinkers - were the casualties of a better system, and he had never been one to fret over casualties of any kind. Well, almost. He kept that a secret, too.

The music permeating the air was the real kind, not the dreaded muzak. Christmas was near, and the songs were themed, merry. The store was appropriately busy for the time of year, and every few minutes he was indiscriminately shoved against the solid bookcases by kids running up and down the aisles while distracted parents cruised the Self-Help section a little more desperately than they cared to admit. He loved thinking of all the people who would unwrap best-sellers or old favourites come Christmas morning, instead of computer games or scratchy sweaters (those were never good). He wished he had people to give books to himself, but they were all gone. He'd buy books from himself, like he always did.

He brought his attention back to the books lining the shelves, tilting his head to read the titles. He felt like something angsty, some long-winded lament about lost loves and missed chances. Something with antiquated expressions and run-on sentences, something he had probably read the first edition of, stolen from his father's study when he wasn't looking. It wasn't like him to cling to times past, especially not his youth, but the holidays always made him wistful. He was happy there was snow where he lived now, so he could curl up like he used to and read something -anything, didn't matter- from cover to cover, eyes straining from a faint light that would remind him of the expensive brass oil lamps of the Walthrop estate.

He picked Dickens, the obvious choice. He had had a copy of it at some point in his life, but so much of his meager belongings -meager, but growing, snowballing with every move, expanding with every new city - had been lost through the years. This would do.

He wandered through the aisles a bit more, leisurely, shouldering gently past warm bodies in thick coats. He saw a clerk throw him a suspicious look and he ducked his head, because eye contact might make the young man come over and ask why he'd been here for hours and only had one book in his hand. And so he made his way to the cash registers, where he stood in line among colourful scarves and kids with mittens hanging from their sleeves.

The girl helping him had a candy cane stuck through her name tag. She had a pleasant voice too, and made small talk with him as she rung in his purchase. It was when she handed him his receipt that her eyes lingered on his face a little longer.

"Pardon me for saying, sir... but you look familiar to me. Are you from around here?"

He looked down again, something he found he always did now. "I moved here a few months ago."

"Oh." She bagged the thick book with the care of a true book-lover, and slid it across the counter to him. Her eyes went wide. "Oh! I know where I know you from! You're William Walthrop, aren't you?"

He forced a smile. "That's me."

"Your book is still on our best-selling wall. I read it three times myself. Quite the vivid imagination you have!"

"Or so I'm told."

"Your heroine, she's so... I mean..."


"Yeah. She felt very real. The whole thing, as crazy as it was, felt like it could've really happened."

He smiled at her again, his feet itching to take him out of here and into the blistering cold of the evening. He felt genuinely grateful toward the girl, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Thank you."

"You have a good Christmas, Mr. Walthrop."

"You too."

He walked away from the counter and let someone else take his place. But the scratch of his boots against the carpet slowed to a stop after a few steps, and he looked back at the sales clerk. He caught her eye, and this time he smiled wider, and added:

"Thanks for reading her."