Ninnik Nishukan

Summary: Harmony, after the whole bleeding eyes sex bit with Spike. Destiny, season five of Angel; also references Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mega-drabble/ficlet.

I should get out more, start dating again, Harmony thought as she stood in the ladies' room on the ground floor of Wolfram & Hart and wiped the dried smears of mascara, eye shadow, foundation and blood from under her eyes. And I should ask for a raise so I could buy one of those enchanted mirrors and I finally see my reflection again. Or maybe I could just flirt with one of the science department geeks, have them whip me up a vampire mirror thing…yeah, that'd be, like, way easier…!

Looking down at the dirty cotton ball in her hand, Harmony sighed, sidetracked from her mirror plans.

Oops, I did it again.

She was reminded of the pile of self-help books she'd left behind in Sunnydale. She'd seriously read them all, she had, she so hadn't studied that hard even when she was alive and in school!

Not that it'd done her much good. She'd caved in several times after she'd thrown him out that first time. And now she'd done it again. Today, even. When she was supposed to finally have her own life and her own career and be her own person and everything

For some reason, the whole humiliating thing made her remember something her little brother had quoted to her from one of his dorky fantasy books, sounding as annoyingly smug as only a younger sibling could.

"If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember."

"Exactly!" She'd retorted haughtily. "Glad you're starting to realize you could use a little style— not that you're ever gonna be able to pull it off!"

At the time, she'd felt like she'd outwitted her brother, but now she was experiencing the nagging sensation that maybe she'd latched on to only the second half of what he'd said for a reason. Still, maybe it could've mattered back then, maybe she shouldn't have been so bitchy— in fact, she'd even contemplated the notion of bad karma a few times in relation to her sucky post-mortem life in Sunnydale—

In the competitive world of vampires, though, style mattered more than ever, and anybody trying to yammer on about inner beauty would find themselves with their outer turning to dust pretty quickly.

Bitchy was good.

Besides, it wasn't as if she didn't know Spike was a jerk, just 'cause he was a total hottie. It just…distracted her a little, that was all.

Okay, so it sucked that he was so hot. It made it all harder. Of course, it also didn't help that she knew first-hand how great he was in bed— even if he was, like, a totally selfish lover— but really, it was the face that did it— the face and the hair and the abs and the pecs and the—

He was so hot that she couldn't even stake him when he was asleep, because wouldn't that be such a waste? It wasn't like Sunnydale was crawling with hunky vampires. Heck, even LA had a crappy selection! They either smelled, were too old, too young, or dressed like bargain bin rejects—

And she kept telling herself that her Blondie Bear needed her.

Still, the stake under their bed had made her feel better. At least a little bit.

Harmony frowned.

She should've staked him, way back when.

She couldn't.

And apparently, she still couldn't say no, either.

Even if she knew he didn't really want her. Even if she knew she might as well have been a vampire-shaped blow-up doll for all he—

Why was she like this? She had plenty of good qualities! She was super strong, she could type like a hummingbird on speed, she was in great shape, she was extroverted and cheerful and totally a people person— not to mention pretty! She knew she was pretty, despite that whole annoying reflectionally challenged thing— she'd been pretty when she was alive, which automatically meant she was gonna be pretty and young forever, right?

(Harmony supposed she could ask Fred for a vampire mirror so she could see her face again, or Wes, but after that whole knocked unconscious in a closet deal, maybe not so much—)

And was that why? Did she have no backbone because she'd been vamped as a teenager? Was it because she hadn't been able to get done growing up before she died? Was she maybe…unfinished, as a person, even though her body was mature and totally gorgeous?

(And wasn't being a teenager (and/or a doormat) for eternity, like, a super-depressing concept?)

Maybe they had some vampire self-help books on the subject. There had to be plenty of teen vamps out there. She knew from experience that teenagers were popular victims for vampires, since they tended to be reckless and tended to stay out late— even the ones that lived on the Hellmouth.

And if there weren't any books like that, maybe she could write one. It'd so make her rich if she could manage to fill a niche like that, but it was so much work—maybe she could get a ghost writer? Were ghost writers actual ghosts? She wouldn't be surprised if they were. But how did they even type if they were all, like, incorpo—

Harmony felt a knot in her gut as she thought of that word, which only reminded her further of that creep, and why couldn't that creep have remained incorporeal and stayed out of her head and out of her fabulous future business plans and more importantly, out of her—

After becoming a vampire, sex was kind of just sex, even more so than it had been, especially now that she could just kill the guy afterwards and get a free meal in the bargain (well, she used to, she corrected herself, worrying for a second about the Wolfram & Hart mind readers).

But this hadn't just been about sex. She'd been used, fooled, let herself be fooled, let herself give up her independence and power and let herself want silly Barbie dreams which just weren't possible for a vampire, especially one with the hots for a complete and total— total—

Prick, she thought firmly to herself, and felt marginally better. He didn't deserve her cuddly pet names when he didn't even know a good thing when he saw it, when he didn't even realize that any demon or human would kill to just be able to kiss the fabulous Harmony Kendall's feet—

Harmony hoped she'd said something all…like, nasty and hateful when she was out of it. Something that might've freaked him out. Something he could understand that she really meant. Something that would make him stay away for good— he did usually stay away, she was just some kind of emergency plan to him— so she didn't have to watch what little self-respect she had crumble again and again.

He wouldn't really have cared, of course, but perhaps she'd have at least surprised him a little.

Later, when Spike actually took the time to cheer her up after all that stressful stuff with Tamika, the vengeful ex-stenographer colleague who'd tried to frame her for murder (as if she'd do something that dumb while working for W&H), she wondered if maybe she had surprised him. He'd still probably never tell her what she really wanted to hear, but now that he'd finally showed her a teeny tiny shred of respect, maybe she could deal with it.

The End.

Author's notes: I'd been thinking on and off about writing something Harmony-ish for years. Here's what I finally churned out. I'm publishing it only now even though it's been more or less finished for months. It was kinda difficult to show Harmony as having a genuine problem in relation to Spike, yet still include the ditzy comedy that her character generates naturally. Lemme know how I did.

Oh, and there was no beta on this one. Rip it apart.

Harmonica: Lorne's nickname for Harmony (who doesn't love Lorne?), and also chosen for its bluesy connotations.

"If cats looked like frogs we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are. Style. That's what people remember.": Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies.

"…that whole knocked unconscious in a closet deal" and Tamika, the vengeful ex-stenographer colleague who'd tried to frame her for murder: Harm's Way, season five, Angel the Series.

Stake under the bed: Pangs, season four, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.