Reposting my Halloween Challenge fic.
Title: Trading Faces
Word Count: 1574
Spoilers: BtVS Season 5, AU past-Crush
Summary: They’ve shared something; and it was good.
Authors Note: For the prompt: Trading Faces. This is the full version
It’s only as the glitter-stars of Willow’s charm fade that Spike realises she’s made a mistake. Something in her expression gives her away, perhaps the feigned look of triumph is too strong or the innocence that beams from her smile a touch too saccharine to believe, because he doesn’t trust her for a minute. Plus he can see her trying to surreptitiously shove her mirror behind the cushion of his chair.
His mood darkens and he gives her a glare that should leave her in no doubt that he suspects something is up.
“Oops?” she offers tentatively, giving up the pretence and handing him the mirror in consolation. It’s a peace offering, but wasn’t that the point of this whole business anyway?
He snatches the mirror from her hand and braces himself for the results of her magical dabbling, but when he looks into the glass, he gets the shock of his unlife.
He’d expected a new look from the glamour, something Buffy would like she’d said, a sharp black Armani suit perhaps or something a bit more cool rock star than his usual thrift shop dumpster-punk ensemble, but the long black duster is still there over his thin faded t-shirt; it’s just his face that has changed.
"Bugger," he says, taken aback. The voice is not his own and an all too familiar face stares back at him. "I look like a bloody potato!"
Willow winces, her hands flapping placatingly at him. “It’ll wear off! Eventually?”
“Riley! You turned me into Riley? You were going to help me be more attractive to Buffy, Red, not turn me into soldier corncob.” He tries to loom, flap the coat a bit, flash a fang to get his point over to the witch, and – what do you know – with his new added height, it is surprisingly effective: Willow takes a nervous step back.
“You owed me,” he growls, but it doesn’t sound right at all as his English accent wars with his new American mouth. “Payback for my help and all that.”
“I’ll check the spell again,” she promises as she edges towards the crypt door and the safety of daylight. “The herbs could have been wrong. Maybe I should have used rose petals instead of motherwort—”
“You do that.” Spike grumbles, already knowing he’s stuck like this for the duration.
Willow takes the hint and runs.
“Buffy, we have a problem.”
Buffy actually looks at the handset of her phone in puzzlement before putting it back to her ear to speak. “Spike? You’re calling me? After what you did?”
There’s a pause on the other end of the line as he seemingly processes her words. As if there was anything left he could say that would ever make her change her mind. “What?” he says after a moment. “What did Spike do now?”
“You know what,” she snaps, already tired of this. “Quit messing around. Changing your accent will not help. I would never be with you.”
“Buffy, it’s me, Riley.”
That’s the lowest thing she’s ever heard. Is he mocking her? “Spike, this is so beyond funny now.”
“Tell me about it. But it’s really me, Riley, and something’s happened, Buffy. I woke up and I’m Spike!”
Buffy is about to hang up in disgust when Willow bursts through the front door; the stricken look on her friend’s face is all she needs to fill in the blanks of their latest magical snafu.
With Glory still around they have so many better things to be doing than messing with spells gone awry. Giles even tells the girls this as they badger him at the Magic Box for help. Not that it does any good.
“I swear I did everything right!” Willow protests vociferously. “Mojo bean, yellow dock root, violet leaf, motherwort – I even added some wormwood to protect the spell from going kablooey!”
“Willow,” he tries, “perhaps doing this spell at all was unwise?”
“I’ll say,” Anya chimes in from behind a rack of protection talismans as she gives one a zap with her pricing gun. “Wormwood with mojo bean? You’re lucky kablooey wasn’t kaboom!”
“Guys,” Buffy interrupts. “Willow was doing a love spell. For me. And Spike. How is that not the ewy-ist of the ew?”
“I think it’s romantic,” Dawn sighs, her homework forgotten for a moment, before withering under the full force of her sister’s glare. Suddenly algebra seems a lot more interesting to the girl.
Giles sighs, glancing ruefully at the calendar behind the counter. Of course it was Tuesday again. It was always a Tuesday. What was wrong with just skipping the day and having a six day week instead?
“It wasn’t a love spell!” Willow begs, the excited words coming tumbling out over each other as she gathers steam to explain herself. “It was just a simple glamour. As a favour for ruining his blood supply.”
Dawn giggles, but doesn’t dare to look up. “She made his refrigerator explode fighting those Viking ghosts last week.”
“But you did it so he could get with me!” Buffy huffs, not letting go of her admittedly, understandable point.
“No, not really. I didn’t expect that part to work,” Willow is more than a match for her friend this time, “but if you don’t like him, why does it matter if he’s got Riley’s face or is wearing a suit?”
Anya doesn’t hesitate. “Because she can’t stop thinking about his penis.”
Buffy’s blush is impossible to miss.
Giles coughs, trying to bring the girls back on track and well away from this dangerous territory. “Willow, have you tried to break the spell at all?”
Willow nods her head. “I tried, but the new spell just fizzled and went to poop.“
“Buffy should kiss him.” Anya says as she shifts her focus to the box of unicorn figurines at her feet. “Many spells are broken that way.”
“Yes!” Dawn beams.
“Again with the ew.” And this time Buffy looks positively sick, a feeling that goes well with the dread currently lining Giles’ own stomach.
“Well,” Giles polishes his glasses just so he can’t see the expression on his slayer’s face when he says what he is about to say. “Anya does have a point.”
As usual Buffy announces her presence with a crushing bang of the crypt door, she doesn’t need to yell “Spike!” to make her point: she’s angry. Nothing new there.
Spike rises from his bed and climbs up into the crypt. If he’s hoping to see her surprised at ‘Riley’s’ sudden reappearance in town, he’s disappointed. She taps her foot impatiently and sets her jaw with a pout instead. An explanation is expected to be forthcoming and he’ll need to make it snappy.
Somehow, he loves her best when she’s like this.
He lifts his new chin, defiant. “I see you’ve spoken to the Worst Witch.”
“Riley called me. From the jungle.” She folds her arms. “He looks like you. Or like you when you actually looked like you, not like him when he looks like he used to. Or something. Never mind, whatever, this has to stop now. He had to hide, from his own men.”
“You think I wanted to look like the army boy?” Spike snarls, closing in on her and trying the looming thing again. She really is very small from this height, he thinks.
But she doesn’t flinch. “I think you wanted into my pants.”
“Has it worked?” He can’t help himself asking and her punch comes as little surprise. He hits the wall of the crypt and bounces off, coming to rest in a heap on the floor. “I’ll take that as a no then.”
Buffy swallows hard. “Anya thinks she knows how to break the glamour.”
“Right then,” he springs to his feet, eager to be rid of this mess. “It’s nearly dark, I should be alright. Let’s get going!”
She puts a hand on his chest to stop him. She licks her lips and looks up, up, up at him, but she avoids catching his eye. “We have to—“ She stops and gulps again. “Um. You need—“
He gives her a slow smile and says softly, “I need to what, luv?”
Buffy lifts her eyes and they catch with his. This would be a sweet moment, but he knows she’s thinking of the man whose face he wears, not him. Maybe then what she says next would make all his dreams come true. “Kiss me,” she whispers.
Even if this is not how he wishes it could be, he doesn’t hesitate. This might be all he ever gets. It’s disappointing, but better than nothing. It’ll do. He leans down and brings his lips to meet hers. It’s a peck, at least he means it to be, but it deepens suddenly and soon his tongue is all tangled with hers.
The kiss breaks as she gasps for her breath. Her heart is hammering in a way he never expected.
“Did it work?” he asks, ignoring the fluttering his own dead heart is making. “Am I me again?”
She nods, then panics and flees out the door as fast as he’s ever seen her go. He takes a look at the darkening sky and decides it’s worth the risk to follow her out into the lengthening shadows.
They’ve shared something; and it was good. Perhaps Willow’s misjudged spell wasn’t such a mistake after all.
He owed her one.