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Fic: Tattered Valentines (a kind of repost)

It occured to me earlier that the only fic of mine that I'd never posted here was the first one I wrote - way back before I had an LJ. I think I've improved a bit since though.

As it's an anti-Valentine too, I've decided to post it today so it can languish in my memories with the rest.

Tattered Valentines by Bogwitch

Part One - Spike

Night has fallen and Spike is prowling the lower floor of 1630 Revello Drive, guarding the house for her. For a change, there’s no one about, everyone is either upstairs or out. Buffy’s around if the First has use for him again, so he can relax a bit, take the opportunity to move about a little before he locks himself back up in the basement for safekeeping.

Soundlessly, he moves into the Living Room, a dead man in a space meant for living in. He’s aware of the irony. He casts his glance around the room, checking for anything he feels is eviler than him. Nothing yet, apart from the clutter of research and the training of slayers, the room is as normal. Giles is still out with some of the potentials so the sofa is still free. However, one thing dominates the room.

She’s received a card.

It sits proudly on the mantel of the fireplace, a large red heart surrounded by roses. Its feminine, girly, next to the smaller, goofy cards sent by Willow and Kennedy to each other. He knows whom the card is from. He doesn’t even need to read it to know that.

Although he does, to be sure.

It feels like picking a scab.

Despite their interrupted date, it seems that the Principal is still interested in Buffy and from the little he saw, there’s a mutual attraction. And Spike knows that this time he can’t utter a word against it, lest it be seen as proprietary jealousy.

He’s already lost her. He knows that. His actions the night he left for Africa put her well beyond his reach and the new soul he won there only tells him what he doesn’t have to offer. Still, the love he has for her, a love so strong he changed his entire being for her, coils inside, writhing like an angry snake. Just a redundant emotion he no longer has a right to express.

Spike turns his back on the reminder of his own inadequacy. She’s moving on to someone else and he’s glad for her, really. He’s not what she deserves. Sadly, he pulls the envelope from back pocket and
tears it up. He goes through to the kitchen and absently tosses the card into the trash before returning to the bareness of the basement.

Part Two - Buffy

In her bedroom, Buffy finishes up her beauty regime and places the bottles of creams and moisturizers back into their respective drawers. Once done, she goes to her mirror and checks herself over, adding the finishing touches to her hair. Tonight has been an increasingly rare treat, nowadays it’s only when Giles takes the potentials out to get the benefit of his wisdom that she gets the opportunity to pamper herself like this.

A few flicks of her brush and she’s done. She puts it down onto her dresser ready for its next use and then she’s out the door. She has some jobs to do before Giles gets back and the house is invaded again by the sleepover from hell, so she walks down the hall to the stairs. She pauses for a moment before she descends. She can hear Willow and Kennedy giggling together in Willow’s room. She’s happy for them, of course, but she thinks that Kennedy has begged off training perhaps a little too often. There’s a fight coming and these little slips could really matter in the end, as everyone will need to be at the peak of their abilities if they are going to stand a chance. From the arguing coming from Dawn’s room, Buffy guesses that she must be with Andrew again, probably causing havoc in some Internet chat room. With a smile she goes down the stairs, at least everyone is getting along.

She enters the Living Room, hoping to find Spike on the sofa watching some trashy show on the TV. She’d like the company and maybe they could talk, but he’s not around and the downstairs of the house appears empty. It’s okay, she’ll catch him later if he’s willing. So with a carefree shrug, she turns her attention to the fireplace.

She received a Valentine this morning.

She grins to herself, a small tingle of pleasure running through her at the thought of the card. It’s the first she’s received for awhile and it makes her feel good inside. For a moment she takes a childish glee in the fact that her card is bigger and more romantic than either Willow’s or Kennedy’s, but she admonishes herself for such childish thoughts. A card may only be a representation of ephemeral feelings, but here and now someone is thinking of her and it could be the start of something exciting and new. Principal Wood doesn’t seem to have been too put off by their interrupted date and that can only bode well with her constantly interrupted life.

She takes a quick look around, wondering if there are any other envelopes unattended and addressed “To Buffy”, but she finds nothing. Spike has left nothing for her. It’s a relief, she thinks, but not really a surprise. She noticed that he’s been avoiding her all day and she’s let him, understanding that today, of all days, must be hard on him. He’s stepped aside, has said nothing that wasn’t necessary, letting her move on. He’s not vocalising his feelings anymore and that’s so unlike the Spike she thought she knew, but when he looks at her she can see the man inside like day breaking and he still loves her.

She thinks she knows why Spike is being so noble, and its good, it takes the temptation away. Its over, she knows that. She tells herself at least twice a day, so it must be true. And finally it seems to have sunk into Spike, despite the jealousy she knows he’s covering. It’s easier this way, they’re friends now, like they could’ve been before they tore down their tentative friendship in an abandoned house. There’s something more precious in their relationship now and it’s worth hanging onto.

She’s still getting used to this new person he’s presented to her. He’s gone through a lot of changes lately, and a great deal of pain, but he seems better. The madness that plagued him just after his return has gone, and they seem to have forgiven each other for their past, he just needs to learn to trust himself. There’s only the First’s trigger to worry about now, the loaded gun in his head. Giles wants to protect the potentials, she gets that, after all its her priority too, but he doesn’t see that to do that she will need all the help she can pull to her and that Spike is her strength, she needs him close. She just hopes that with this new passive demeanour, Spike is going to be strong enough for the big battle that lies ahead. She doesn’t need another damsel to rescue. She needs that old passion of his back. Giles annoyed her with his narrow view when they discussed the removal of Spike’s chip, because she knows Spike can be a good man, she’s already seen it. It about time Giles trusted her judgement more, wasn’t he the one who wanted her to take on the responsibilities of adulthood?

With a sigh, she plucks the Valentine from its place on the shelf and contemplates it for a moment, running her finger over the roses, there’s a void inside her that a large, extravagant card from her boss cannot fill. Her Valentine’s always seem to be about rejection. She tears the heart in half and then half again, and strolls through to the kitchen, she needs to take out the trash. It’s overflowing as usual. With a house more than full; it needs taking out all the time. It was Dawn’s turn tonight, but it seems that she’s conveniently forgotten. Buffy puts the remains of the card inside the bag and gathers it in at the top. As she pulls it clear of the bin, a corner of the bag spills open and the remains of another torn card tumble to the floor and scatter like petals from dead roses.

She bends and picks up the pieces, a tattered Valentine in her hands.


Hmm. It's crapper than I remember. Let that be a good expamle of why you need a beta.

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Not crappy at all. Very bittersweet.

You think? Seems a bit jumblely to me.

You've definitely honed your skills since, but this is a far cry from crap. ;-)

You're right about it needing a beta. But it packs a lot of emotion, just needs the expression polishing a bit in places.

It's so much better than my first un beta-ed offerings.

It was about the first thing I'd written for about ten years. I was experimenting with the present tense which I'd never even thought of writing before. It was very popular in fic about that time.

Aww! Tattered Valentine! *hugs teh Spuffy*

Thanks! I never feel fluffy Spuffy sits quite right wiith them.

I think you are right - you have improved - although it is still a rather nice bitter-sweet piece, and better than an awful lot of stuff that's around!

I think the core of it is fine, it just needs a good scrub up. I've told myself not to do that though, that way lies the perpetual loop of revision!

Very nice. I actually like your spuffy. Its got bite like the show.

I find it difficult to write them any other way, they're just not fluffy.

Aw, I remember this one. I'm actually very fond of it. It doesn't read at all rough to me, but that's probably your own eye talking, your own increased sophistication as a writer.

Really? I'm just itching to sort it's problems out!

I think I read this before elsewhere. Yes, you do write better now, but this is far from crap. It's very touching and I like the ending and the two POVs.

I used to wallow in all that angst a lot! I seem to have lightened up too.

Cheerful is not always bad...

You have definitely improved but this is far from crappy. The two POVs work well together, Buffy's story taking up and building tension from Spike's. You end the story at a good place, letting the reader imagine what might happen after Buffy finds the Valentine instead of portraying it. That satifies both the canon reader and those who want more.

I've seen far worse from seasoned authors. I would have been proud to write this myself.


I'd always planned on doing a sequel (stylistically if not literal) and I'd half written it, but I'm in such a different place now. I guess I'll never finish it.

Liked this when I read it the first time. Still like it. thanks for re-posting.

Great. I don't think it's bad as such, but it could be a whole lot better.

Beautiful, bittersweet and true to characters. Thanks for sharing - I haven't read it before.

Thanks, I was wallowing in all that angst back then.

You're certainly the best to judge the differences in your writing but I enjoyed it very much.
The two povs worked nicely , each one of them thinking that they can't have feelings for each other again, or at least, Spike being sure that he can't get any hopes.
Spike turns his back on the reminder of his own inadequacy. She’s moving on to someone else and he’s glad for her, really. He’s not what she deserves. Sadly, he pulls the envelope from back pocket and
tears it up.

This picture filled me with sorrow , but it's the truth. He can't imagine that anything will blossom between them, now that the soul allows him to feel what he doesn't have to offer.
Great, convincing characters voices.

Yet I'm not usually regarded as having an opinion that means something important for good writers for i'm easily generous and people tend to be wary of my happy comments.

Nothing wrong with happy comments, they make me smile!

I'd like to add to the chorus of not crap :) Ah well, maybe you can come back to what you wanted to achieve with this one day.
I liked the dead demon/living room contrast you made in the beginning, and the very bittersweet element to both parts. They're both hoping for too much it seems (or maybe not enough).
He’s not vocalising his feelings anymore and that’s so unlike the Spike she thought she knew, but when he looks at her she can see the man inside like day breaking and he still loves her.
Quite lovely, in that heartbreaking way.

I loved all that bittersweetness. Kind of why I liked them. :)

You've definitely improved, but the fic's still good. I think I read it somewhere once before, and the memory's stuck with me - which has to mark something, surely?

Good to hear, anyway. :D

This is totally off-topic, but I just saw an icon featuring Milton Keynes, and I thought of you!

Ooh! One of my favourite quotes!

I got lost there again only yesterday!

I thought you might recognise it!

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