Chapter Eight – Idiot
*Five years later*
Spike paced around the room, his fingers twitching at his shirt and hair as he muttered under his breath, "Bloody hell, I can't do this. I'll make a fool of myself, I know I will."
Oz looked up at him as he strummed a few chords on the acoustic guitar he'd found leaning in a corner. "Spike." Spike acted like he hadn't heard and just kept pacing back and forth across the small room. Oz set the guitar aside and spoke a little louder. "Spike!"
Spike stuttered to a halt and turned nervous eyes on the diminutive guitarist. "What?"
Oz grinned and nodded toward the couch along the wall. "Sit."
Spike dropped onto the couch with a whump then lay down and propped his booted feet up on the arm, fingers still nervously twitching at an artfully placed rip in his shirt. "Okay, Doc, let me have it."
Oz smirked. "What's got your panties in a bunch, man? It's not like we haven't played here hundreds of times."
Spike sighed, "I know… 's just… the last time I was here…"
Oz nodded. "Cecily. I remember."
Spike closed his eyes and forced his fingers to stop twitching. "You know everybody in town's gonna be here. All the people that witnessed my evisceration at the hands of that… that…"
"Complete bitch who didn't know a great thing when she had it?" Buffy stepped further into the room, letting the door hang open for a few seconds as she smiled at the screams and declarations of undying love coming from the gaggle of groupies that were being held back by the record company's security team. She let them get an eyeful of Oz and Spike for a few more seconds then gave them a little wave and shut the door. Spike's smile lit the whole room as he sat up and reached for her hand, pulling her down onto his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a solid kiss on his lips. "She's here, you know. Saw her in the crowd on my way backstage."
Spike's fingers were twitching again, this time in Buffy's hair as he crushed her to his chest. "Bugger. The one person on earth that I could happily live the rest of my life without ever seein' again is here. Perfect."
There was a sharp rap on the door that led to the stage and they heard Lorne's muffled voice shout, "Ten minutes, cupcakes! Ten minutes!"
Oz got to his feet and moved toward the stage door. "I'll go round up the guys. See you out there, Spike."
Spike nodded miserably then dropped his head to Buffy's shoulder. "I can't do it, luv. I can't go out there. I'll make a bloody fool of myself, I know it."
Buffy leaned back and lifted Spike's chin then smiled when their eyes met. "You've played concerts all over the world in front of thousands and thousands of people. This is just the Bronze. There can't be more than a couple hundred people out there right now and most of them have seen you play dozens of times."
Spike groaned and dropped his head to Buffy's shoulder again. "I know that, pet, but God! Why'd I let Lorne talk me into comin' back here? He couldn't have picked some other dozy little town for the bleedin' video? Like most of our fans would even know the difference! Home town crowd my pale arse."
Buffy giggled and started nibbling on Spike's neck. "Okay, how about this… instead of me standing backstage like usual, I'll sit out in the club, somewhere close to the stage where you can see me. Just focus on me – pretend you and the guys are just at sound check and the only people in the building are me and the roadies. Would that help?"
Spike pulled back and gave her a weak smile. "Might do, kitten, might do. God, you're amazing, Buffy. I'm so lucky to have you."
Buffy smiled back. "Yeah, you are, and believe me, Cecily is gonna feel like a complete turd when she gets a load of you out there doing your thing."
Spike groaned again. "Maybe I should just ask Everett to have her escorted out of the building. Don't know how I'm gonna react to seein' her again, luv. Especially if she gives me that snooty, stick up her arse, I'm too good for you look."
Buffy grinned. "Well, if it's any consolation, Willow told me that she's not all Miss High and Mighty anymore. Her parents went to prison for tax evasion and the government took everything so she had to marry the idiot that had knocked her up. They live in those nasty little apartments at the edge of town… with his mother." Spike's eyes went wide as Buffy's grin got just a little bigger. "And she had to get a job. Guess where?"
A slow grin split Spike's face. "You're shittin' me! She's workin' at the Doublemeat? Miss 'I Don't Wear Anything That Isn't Designer' is slingin' burgers in a hideous orange polyester uniform?"
Buffy laughed, "Yep. And they changed the hats. The cow is bigger now and has been joined by a chicken."
Spike's laughter rang out through the room just as Lorne opened the stage door and poked his head in. "It's show time, Buttercup. Get that delectable little ass moving!"
Buffy stood up, pulling Spike up with her as she winked at Lorne. "His delectable little ass is all mine, so don't make me kick yours all over Sunnydale… 'cause I will. This man's taken."
Buffy slipped her hand down Spike's back and pinched the aforementioned body part, causing Spike to squeak in a manly fashion as he jumped toward the band's manager. "Oi! Gotta sit on that, you know! Don't be bruisin' the talent!"
Lorne laughed and shook his finger at Buffy. "Better watch it, pumpkin. Wouldn't want the record company to sue you for damaging their biggest money maker."
Buffy threw Lorne a teasing grin just as Spike spun and pulled her into a tight hug, planting a possessive kiss on her smirking lips. "Love you, kitten."
"Love you too, Spike. Break a leg!"
Spike smiled and darted through the door, snagging his sticks off the table on the way out. He stood behind Oz twirling them in his fingers as Lorne walked onto the stage and waited for the cheering and cat calls to die down. Buffy closed the stage door and started for the door leading out to the main part of the club just as Lorne announced the band. "Back from their whirlwind European tour, please welcome to the stage… Dingoes Ate My Baby!"
Spike caught Buffy's eye again as he pounded out the last few beats of the last song on the set list. The song ended in a loud cacophony of guitar chords and cymbal crashes then he jumped to his feet and raised his sticks triumphantly over his head as the crowd went wild, screaming as they surged toward the stage. The beefy security guys had been getting one hell of a workout all night trying to hold them back and Buffy smirked when half a dozen roadies jogged out from backstage to reinforce the front line as the band made their way backstage.
Apparently Dingoes was a lot more popular in Sunnydale than Buffy remembered. She'd never seen so many people crammed into the Bronze before. The place had to be over limit fire code wise and she was suddenly immensely glad that the band didn't use any pyro during club shows. Oh, they blew up a hell of a lot of stuff during open air stadium shows, but after they'd heard about that club that had burned down, trapping most of the crowd inside, they'd stopped using anything flammable in enclosed spaces.
Buffy sipped her fruity drink as the crowd chanted for an encore, nodding her thanks again to the two meaty body guards standing protectively next to her table. Being the wife of a world famous rock star certainly did have its perks. She leaned forward, peeking around Randy's immense bulk as she scanned the edges of the crowd, seeing a few familiar faces from her Sunnydale days, but nobody that she really cared to speak to.
The band was currently backstage trying to decide which song to play for an encore. They never had one worked out beforehand so they played rock – paper – scissors until someone had won three times then that person got to pick the song.
Suddenly the stage lights and club lights went out, leaving a lone spotlight aimed at the microphone in the center of the stage. A roadie ran in from the side and plunked a stool down in the center of the circle of light then picked up the microphone and ran back off to the almost deafening cheering of the crowd. Buffy perked up and leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. This was new. Usually the band just bolted onto the stage, yelling and carrying on as they moved to their usual positions.
Her eyes went wide when Spike strode into the circle of light carrying his favorite acoustic guitar. It was the one he used when he was writing songs and she'd never seen him use it during a show before. He moved off the drum kit for two or three songs a show, switching places with Oz, but when he did, he used his '56 Fender Strat.
He sat down on the stool and set the guitar strap over his shoulder then held up his hand until the crowd quieted down. "All right, Sunnydale. I'm gonna do somethin' a little different tonight." The crowd started cheering and he held up his hand again. The cheering cut off almost immediately. "I don't have this thing hooked up to an amp and JoJo took the mic so I'm gonna have to ask you lot to bear with me and try to keep it down, yeah?" The crowd cheered for a few seconds then the room got so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop.
"A fair lot of you know me from years back, and if you know me then you know my best mate, Buffy." There were a handful of whoops and someone whistled, then the room got quiet again. Spike took a deep breath and looked over toward Buffy's table. She knew he probably couldn't see her because of the spot light aimed directly at him, but she smiled anyway. Spike smiled then tilted his head. "Randy, could you?"
Buffy looked up at Randy in surprise when he lightly grasped her elbow, tugging her off her chair as he nodded toward the stage. "Come on, Mrs. Giles." The crowd parted like the Red Sea as Randy led a stunned Buffy to the front of the stage. She squeaked when he wrapped his huge hands around her hips then lifted her up like she weighed absolutely nothing, lightly setting her down on Spike's right side.
Spike nodded his thanks then reached out and clasped her hand in his. "She's been my best mate since we were kids, been my rock through a lot of painful experiences, and for the longest time, I thought that's all she was… a mate… a friend." Buffy's face was burning and she was sure that her cheeks were going to catch fire any second now as Spike kept going. "It took me a while, bein' the bloody thick git that I am, to actually see her as the beautiful, sexy woman she is, but I finally did. And now she's my beautiful, sexy wife and I'm the luckiest bloke on the planet."
There was a chorus of cheers and wolf-whistles that made Buffy want to crawl under the stage, but Spike held her hand tightly as he turned a little on the stool to face her. "I know she deserves so much more than me, but I have her love and I'm thankful every day for that. Tonight I'm going to sing a new song that I wrote especially for her… to tell her how much I love her and how grateful I am that I finally saw what had been in front of my face for years." He looked up at Buffy and although his next words were spoken to the crowd, she felt like they were only for her. "I hope you like it."
He let go of her hand and smiled as he started playing the most beautiful song Buffy had ever heard. She stood transfixed, watching his fingers play over the strings and his lips move as he sang straight from his heart. Buffy felt tears spill onto her cheeks and the crowd fell away until they were the only two people in the world. She could practically see the words as they floated through the air, each one settling into her heart and filling it to bursting with love for the beautiful man sitting in front of her.
She didn't even realize that the song had ended until the crowd started cheering. Spike stood and slipped the strap over his head then handed the guitar off to a roadie before sweeping her into his arms just as the lights came up. The cheering got exponentially louder as Spike captured her lips in a heated kiss, bending her back over his arm.
Anya Jenkins – who had never in her entire life been accused of being even the tiniest bit emotional – stood in the crowd with tears pouring down her face. She turned to the woman standing beside her and said in her usual blunt and to the point fashion. "That could've been you up there, Cec. He was yours and you threw him away. You're a complete idiot."
Cecily roughly swiped the tears off her own face as she watched Spike scoop Buffy up and carry her offstage, their lips still fused together. "I know, Anya. I know."