Disclaimer: Joss, etc., owns everything.
Written for: blueanddollsome for the first annual oldschoolbtvs No School Like the Old School ficathon.
Timeline: season two ("Ted", "Bad Eggs", and "Surprise")
Pairings: Giles/Jenny, Cordelia/Xander, Buffy/Angel, Drusilla/Spike
Summary: "do I tell thee of my foes, which art my nearest and dearest enemy, thou that art like enough" - Shakespeare, King Henry IV
I. (Giles and Jenny) (during “Ted”)
Giles has often regretted the things he did as an irrepressible youth, but never so much as when he looks into Jenny’s eyes and sees her fear of him, of what he was once, of what he could be again.
It is that part which wounds, that she, despite his assurances to the contrary, is so certain his personal demons, his Ripper, lurk just beneath the surface.
He regrets because, quite often, he is certain, too.
She is wrong about the dog eyes, though. He does not watch her like a puppy waiting to be forgiven for messing on the rug; he watches her like a man who knows what he has destroyed before, and what he could destroy again, and what he will lose either way.
They dance around each other, Jenny and Giles; for every step he takes toward her, she slips one away, and the space between them, literal and metaphorical, remains.
“I can’t believe I shot you,” Jenny says for perhaps the fifth time in an hour. The hospital is cold and antiseptic, as all hospitals are, he knows, but her presence warms the air, distracts him from the medicines and emergencies occurring just beyond the curtain surrounding his bed. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m fine,” he tells her again, and takes her hand. She smiles at him, and rests her head on his shoulder.
The doctor chooses that moment to intrude, but Jenny holds his hand throughout the few stitches, and Giles can handle the pain.
She grinds the gears in his Citroen, leaves rubber in the hospital parking lot, and burns out the brakes.
His hand rests on her thigh, and her head is tipped toward him.
He will try very hard not to hurt her again.
II. (Cordelia and Xander) (during “Bad Eggs”)
The broom closet reeks of stale water, and mold, and dust. It probably hasn’t been cleaned in, like, a year or more. Maybe ever. Even the bite of bleach would be better than the stench of old, dirty things.
Xander, in comparison, smells really, really good.
It isn’t like she is going to tell him or anything. No way. Isn’t going to happen. If she encourages him, he’ll keep dressing the way he does – those shoes! What kind of world does he think they live in? Is there a world where those shoes and that outfit work? She doesn’t think so – and she’ll never be able to get them out of the closet.
Not that she wants to be seen in public with him, God, no!
It’s just that somewhere else, anywhere else, would be more comfortable.
Cordelia likes to be comfortable.
His hand snags in her hair, jerks her head back, and it hurts, and he’s messing up her perfection, but his lips settle against the curve of her jaw, trail down the side of her throat, and she really likes the way that makes her feel.
She digs her fingers into his arms, nails tight against his shirt, and makes little noises to encourage him. They always work on guys, those sounds in her throat, and Xander, for all his lack of polish, sports fame, or a nice car, is still a typical guy.
Cordelia runs her fingers through his hair, tugging him up until he’s back where she wants, until she can kiss his mouth again, nibble on his lip, lose herself in this insanity.
III. (Buffy and Angel) (during “Surprise”)
Angel is dust on her fingertips and metal rings clanging as they bounce off the floor.
Buffy breathes him in, deep into her lungs, all the way down. Particles of him pulse in her breath, coat her throat, drown her in his remains. It hurts, taking him in, but she wants the pain, she craves it.
It’s the only part of him she has left.
Drusilla reaches for her, nails slick with fresh paint, and her eyes are bright.
“Happy birthday, Buffy,” she says, and Buffy falls away.
She can taste him on her tongue, in her throat, for hours, even after she sees him, makes sure he’s alive, makes sure Drusilla is still dead. It lingers and sours everything she eats or drinks, burns beneath every breath.
Only Angel’s mouth, firm and cool against hers, drives it away.
Buffy digs her nails into the back of his neck, pins him in place while she works her lips on him, her tongue, her body vibrating to pieces as he holds her, his hands heavy on her hips.
“Don’t die,” she tells him with her kisses. “Please don’t die.”
He’s silent in response; his tongue carries no words.
Angel is dust on her fingertips.
“Kiss me,” she whispers, and he does, but he can’t translate the words caught in her lips, the ‘like you’re dying’ lingers, silent, and she can feel him when she touches his chest, the empty space where no heart beats. “Again.”
He kisses her, and kisses her, and in his touch, Buffy promises he will live.
Angel is dust, and Buffy mourns and dreams.
IV. (Spike and Drusilla) (during “Surprise”)
It is lovely to be dead.
The stars sing to her, songs of the dead, celebrations. Drusilla wishes to have a party, she gathers invitations and scatters them like largess, human blood on human skin and all the most delightful people will attend.
Spike sits in his throne on wheels and turns his face away from the moon.
She dances in it, reflected sunlight safe on her skin, devours the night with her fingertips.
“It’s nearly dawn,” Spike says, and, “come to bed, pet.”
Drusilla spins, her arms thrown wide, her head tipped to the side so her hair curtains her face. It is a ghost about her, a shadow of where she has been, what she has done, and she can almost taste the blood which has decorated it.
She has thrown the bones to read her future, bones she plucked from the curls in her hair, decorations most divine.
“Drusilla,” Spike says, “my love.”
Her party will be lovely. After all, she is a clever girl, a beautiful girl, a good girl.
V. (Jenny and Giles) (during “Surprise”)
“I love you.”
Jenny swallows the words and slides her fingers into Rupert’s hair. He is warm against her, the heat of his body radiating even through the layers of tweed. Sweat has dried on his skin, and when she kisses his cheek, moves her mouth down the side of his throat, she can taste it on her lips and tongue.
She is betraying him.
If she doesn’t, she betrays her family.
No matter what she does, Jenny will not win, she cannot win.
She kisses him, and wonders if, like she does, Rupert can taste her regret, like brine on her lips.