Tempest

by templemarker

Notes: Written because of an overwhelming urge to use some Shakespeare and show Dawn and Spike at their least annoying. Spoilers for Season Five, somewhere.

***

“Um… She knows stuff?” Dawn said brightly, trying to convince the smoking fellow across from her that her sister was not, in fact, the bimbo he assured her she was.

Flicking the half-burnt cigarette onto the grave and stomping out, Spike turned back to the younger of the Summers girls and said, “Pet, your sister barely knows a sonnet from a haiku. I don’t think she’s read a lick of Shakespeare, and if she could tell me what prose was I think I would fall over dead.”

Dawn gave a small snort and a small punch in the arm to her resident vamp, saying, “You’re already dead.”

“Point, Nibblet, but you do know what I mean.” he said, taking his silver lighter from his pocket and flipping it on and off.

She leaned back on the headstone, thinking aimlessly. “You know, Buffy really is smart…”

Spike gave a small sigh, and turned his gaze to Dawn. “I know that, pet, but she also has no desire to learn. Smart is one thing. She’s also witty, and can kick my British ass. I’m just saying that our dear Buffy isn’t the brightest Slayer in the box when it comes to English Literature, that’s all.”

She moved her head upwards to meet his eyes. “This from the guy with the Billy Idol fantasy.”

He got indignant and almost fell from his perch on one of the larger monuments in the cemetery. “That wanker stole my image! I had already had the whole bleached, dark thing as my own, and the pillock comes along and copies! He was a bloody vamp groupie, and I should have drained him when I had the chance.” He grumbled a bit, then fumbled with his lighter before saying, “And I damn well look better in it, then, don’t I?”

Dawn grinned, letting her face fall into the shadows again. She knew his buttons, and loved to call him on them whenever she could. Fumbling around in her pocket, she retrieved a battered note and hesitantly handed it up to Spike. “Um, Spike, would you look at this?”

The vamp took it, pocketing the lighter for the moment, and chipping off a flake of black nail polish in the process. “Now, what’s this pet?” he mused as he took care to open the paper without ripping it.

It read: “Sunnydale Troupe will perform ‘The Tempest’ at Snyder Memorial Theater on October 25th at 7pm. Tickets are ten dollars at the door. Come and support the Sunnydale fine arts!’”

He gave a bit of a grunt, refolded the paper carefully, and handed it back to the girl, who was finding that the toes of her sneakers were quite fascinating. “What about it?” he asked.

“Well, urm, I was wondering… ifmaybeyouwouldtakeme,” she said in a rush that caused Spike to break out a smirk she didn’t see.

“I’m sorry, love, repeat that?” he said.

Dawn sighed and said more slowly, “I was wondering if you would take me to the play, Spike. I want to see it, and Mom’s sick, and Buffy hates this stuff, and I want to go with you.”

Leaning back, he took a moment to wonder at how he had gotten locked into the job of babysitting the Nibblet. He might put up a gruff front whenever she came around, looking to talk, but in truth he didn’t mind the company. And Dawn was a clever kid, asking him questions about English and reading that he found he was enjoying answering.

Bugger, he thought blindly. I’m near to a pouf. But then he sighed and swung his legs around to the other side of the monument. “All right then. I’ll take you. I imagine you want to keep this a secret from Big Sis?”

He tried not to notice how her face lit up at these simple words as she tackled him in an embrace that nearly knocked him off his seat. “Thank you thank you thank you!” she cried, oblivious to his obvious discomfort. “Oh, we’ll enjoy it. And I know you’ll like it, really you will.. I’ll just say I’m at a friends and meet you at the theater.” She disentangled herself from the impromptu embrace and gave him a small smile, reminding him once again that she was such a beautiful creature. “Thanks Spike,” she said softly before walking off in the direction of her home.

Spike stood and straightened his shirt. “Bloody well seen Shakespeare before, Little Bit,” he mumbled though she was long gone. He plodded down the street in Dawn’s footsteps. He would never admit it to her, but he always followed just to make sure she got home safe. The girl had wiggled her way into his life more than he cared to thin about, but he just accepted it with a grumble and an epithet and moved on. Now he was going to see the Tempest, whether he wanted to or not. “Well,” he rationalized, “at least Prospero’s a powerful bloke. But if they try to do the rot all stagy and poncy, I am leaving the theater.”

*

Spike huffed outside the theater. She was late. Figures. Here he was, an ass pacing outside Snyder Memorial Theater, being stood up for something he didn’t really want to go to in the first place. Snyder. Spike gave a small grunt of a laugh remembering the mousy principal. PCP indeed. Surely the bloke could have come up with something better than gangs for the rampage Spike had orchestrated at Sunnydale High when he first came to this bloody town. Drugs indeed.

Sighing, he pulled another cigarette from his jacket pocket and lit it up in a shadow of the theater. He knew that he wasn’t really all that mad, but being the chipped Big Bad entitled him to some bitching when it came to the Summers family. At least, he thought so. And when Dawn came walking up the stairs that led to the theater, he was all ready to tear into her about her tardiness when he noticed the badly hid tears that she had tried to wipe away.

Concern immediately washed any arguments he had formed, and Spike went up to her, asking, “Bit, what’s wrong? Is there a baddie out there? Did you have a fight with the Slayer?”

She looked at him with a tear streaked face and gave a weak, watery smile. “It’s – it’s nothing, really. I just saw Mom… and she fell… and I couldn’t help her up… and Buffy was out.. and..” she trailed off, ducking her head to hide the fresh flow of tears that fell from her eyes.

A wave of anxiety passed over him as he petted Dawn to soothe her. “Is Joyce.. is your mum alright then?” he asked hesitatingly.

Brushing away the last of the tears, Dawn nodded. “Yeah. I helped her into bed and gave her some of the pills that were prescribed. She’s asleep now. I left a note for Buffy, so we can still see the play.”

Glancing to the darkening theater, Spike looked down at her. “Are you sure, pet?”

“Yeah.” She gave him a half-smile that he knew didn’t cover the fears for her mother, but he led her into the theater and gave the glaring usher their tickets before taking a seat in the back.

Spike resisted the urge to prop his feet up on the seat in front of him, choosing instead to slouch back and rest his arms on the back of the chairs. Dawn was on the edge of her seat, resting her head on her arms on an empty seat in front of her. Her eyes were glued to the scene at hand, and every so often Spike would move his attention from the remarkably well-done play to the grief-struck girl losing herself in the world of Shakespeare.

“Lie there, my art. Wipe thou thine eyes; have comfort,” said Prospero onstage, and Spike knew what the bloke meant. He wasn’t up for the big brother routine, but he found he was more concerned about the Bit than he ought to be, still being evil and all that. After all, he didn’t have a soul, and there wasn’t a way he could care for the girl. Right?

She sat, entranced with the characters playing out the scenes before her. She had never really been into plays and Shakespeare before she started doing her homework around Spike’s crypt. Poetry and iambic pentameter became far more interesting when you had a rambling English vampire telling you the best parts and explaining what the words meant.

Dawn tore her eyes from Scene Two of Act One and looked at the man – man? – who sat next to her, absentmindedly picking the polish from his nail, engrossed with the theatrics onstage. He wasn’t really bad, she said to herself. I mean, not every demon out there has to be bad. And he’s not. How many demons really take their enemy’s younger sisters to see Shakespeare?

She caught one of Miranda’s lines as she was taking in these thoughts:

“There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a temple. If the ill spirit have so fair a house, good things will strive to dwell with’t.”

That’s Spike, she thought. Beautiful temple that houses evil things, but there is something good in him. Something, I know it.

*

Walking from the theater, Spike raked a hand through his hair. The bard had done it again, and even the Sunnydale Troupe had managed to be adequate. Nothing like seeing the players in London, though, he thought. Now there was a sight to see. He distinctly remembered taking Drusilla to see them three separate times, because she had said Miss Edith wished to see a play. Apparently then it hadn’t mattered which play, so Spike had decided Macbeth was in order. Dru had seemed to enjoy the copious amounts of bloodshed, and he had to restrain her from feeding on the poor chap who played Macbeth. She had said he reeked of pain. Just to shut her up he brought her back to the theater to see it again and again before they moved on.

Catching his mind from delving any further into the past, Spike glanced to the smaller form who was walking thoughtfully beside him. “What’re you thinking, pet?” he asked.

“Oh… just about Miranda. How she was handling herself, being stuck on an island with no one but her dad.” Caught out of her reverie, Dawn sat down on one of the Mayor-sponsored benches, thinking for a moment how odd it was that a guy who tried to eat her sister’s senior class had been so conscientious about park benches. The weirdness of Sunnydale, she thought.

Spike trained his gaze on her, as she leaned back and stared vacantly at the emptying street. “You’re a bit like her, you know,” he said, drawing her attention. “You’re both stuck in lives you probably weren’t supposed to be in, but you’re coping. You’re making it your own life.”

Dawn looked at the vampire for a moment, considering what he said. “Yeah,” she said. “That’s kinda what I thought too.”

“And you’re both innocents,” he continued, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it. “You’re naive, and everybody’s first instinct is to protect you. ”

She bristled a bit. “I’m not that naive,” she protested.

He took a long drag before stomping the half-burnt fag out with his boot, and sat next to her. “Well, yes, pet. You aren’t as naive as you seem. And I don’t think you need to be protected as much as everyone thinks. Not that I’m about to stop,” he added. “But it seems to me you have an awful lot to handle, being thrown into this world and all, and you’re coping remarkably well. For a Happy Meal on legs,” he said with a rakish grin.

Dawn couldn’t resist the grin that manifested itself on her face, and she reached to ruffle his perfectly coiffed hair, which he immediately smoothed back. “Happy Meal with legs? This coming from the big bad vamp of Sunnydale,” she teased.

Anxiously fixing each strand of bleached blond goodness into place, he gave a mock glare at the smiling girl and said, “You’d better remember that, Nibblet. I really am evil. I’m the baddest vamp in Sunnydale. You know I am.”

She gave him that soft smile again, and something shifted near his nonbeating heart. God, these Summers women, he groaned inwardly. You love em, you hate em, you want to protect em, and at the end of the day all you can do is be near them or your heart will rip out of your chest.

They walked to Revello drive in a peaceful silence. As he watched Dawn run up the stairs he shoved his hands in his pockets and turned back to the road he came on. If Dawn is Miranda, he thought quietly to himself, than who am I?

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