Brutti’s pick your own adventure day (4/7: The One With The Books)

This entry is part 4 of 7 of the story Brutti's pick your own adventure day

Author Brutti ma buoni
Title Pick Your Own Adventure 4/7: The One With The Books
Rating and warnings PG
Word count 520
Medium Fic
Setting Season 7
A/N Inspired inadvertently by antennapedia talking about library-based fic. Which this isn’t. But still.

You have to want to see it, because he hides it so well, but Spike is a book-lover at heart. Not overly so, not a leather-sniffing bookjacket-o-phile like Giles. He would never, taking a totally random example, give Buffy a birthday present of Sonnets from the Portugese. But, she guesses, he would be secretly pleased to receive one.

(Thinking that, it punches her with a knowing moment, that Angelus did that for him, or something like it, sometime long ago. And Spike probably scoffed, and kept the book, and can still recite the poems by heart. That totally makes sense. That happened.)

So now, he says he’s bored (which: likely. He’s chained in a basement in a houseful of children he’s not allowed to eat.). And he says he’s not going to waste his time on Buffy’s fashion magazines or Mom’s book club specials and crime writers. “Might as well give Rupert a hand with the old stuff, eh?”

What he’s actually doing, when you look in on him unawares (and how weird is it to be able to do that? His vampire senses are overwhelmed by the houseful of Slayerettes. Doesn’t immediately know Buffy’s there, not always. Not when he’s reading.), is reading something ancient and musty and full of strange lettering, foreign languages, words that make Buffy’s head ache. He’s making notes, the shackles clanking and awkward, so he twitches irritably at times, trying to make the process easier. Cross-referencing, drawing conclusions.

Mom? There’s a naked vampire in my bed, and he’s reading Latin.

Joyce would probably suggest getting him some pants. That would be a start. (Why is he naked, in fact? Also, he’s not in Buffy’s bed by any measure that makes sense, so another question might be why she’s thinking of him that way.)

“Spike?”

He looks up, confused for a second, miles away. “What? Oh, hey Slayer-“ And it’s good, and she needs to remember that it’s good, that he sounds so abstracted and Gilesy, like she’s just another distraction from the really important things in life. He casts a look down at himself, too-thin and pale against their third-best set of guest sheets, now covered in texts, notes, pens and the traces of too much use of all three, perished shreds of leather, smudges of ball-pen, torn shreds of unimportant paper.

It takes him a good number of her breaths to come back fully to the Spike she knows. “Slayer. Thought you were all occupied today.”

She stands back. There’s no suggestion of closeness today. Just, awareness, always. “Yeah, we were, but we’re doing a little sparring now. Sun’s almost down. You might help, if you want.”

She thinks he almost wants to say no, though she can’t be sure exactly why. Maybe he thinks it’s better to be away from her. But maybe, quite possibly in fact, he’s having a good time with the books.

As she watches, he shrugs it off, goes to stand up, and laughs, Spike-ishly, as she turns her back. “Nothing you haven’t seen, love. Few more scars, maybe.”

The bedbound scholar is gone, by the time she looks back. He’s all denim and darkness again.

***

*Yawn* I want something a little more exciting: Gimme a Spuffy/Discworld crossover sequel

Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/791551.html

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