Glamourous Rags


Buffy still didn't get that you really didn't have to have meatballs with spaghetti.

People kept trying to get her to taste what they were having, which at a table for seven soon turned into a pasta fight.

Especially because Dawn really hated Andrew's white tuxedo. Or, to be precise, his formerly white tuxedo now decorated with bits of eggplant and spots of cream sauce.

It was a mystery to Buffy how the passers-by knew which bits were pavement and which the outside of the restaurant. It was one of those things about being in Rome, she guessed.

For their part, the passers-by, strutting through the crisp hot night, paused to laugh at the crazy beautiful American children and their older friend, or maybe keeper.

'Willow,' Andrew said. 'Can't you fix it? So it's like it was.'

'No,' said Willow. 'Some enchantments are beyond my powers.. And beyond steam cleaning, probably.'

'It is an ex-jacket,' said Dawn, and she and Andrew giggled conspiratorially.

Giles poured himself another glass of wine and raised an eye-brow at the waiter, who somehow was instantly at his side from two tables away.

'Giles knows the international language of getting the check,' Xander says, sleepily.

'No,' Giles said. 'I know the international language of getting a spare clean jacket for Andrew and a liqueur for me. Anyone who wants dessert can organize that for themselves.'

'We could all share a plate of tiramisu,' said Kennedy, 'and then none of us would have to feel very guilty.'

'Just micro-guilty,' Andrew said.

'Itsy-bitsy guilty,' said Dawn.

'You two are so very cute together,' said Buffy.

'Not even,' Dawn said. 'Just. Not.'

Everyone was busy organizing themselves spoons, and Andrew, who was facing in the right direction, too preoccupied with not getting chocolate on the restaurant's jacket, to notice the swirly hole that suddenly appeared six feet above the pavement. Until it deposited several large pieces of rubble and two battered figures, one of them bleached blond and one of them blue.

'Hello, pet,' said Spike as he picked himself up off the ground and reached out a hand to his companion.

'Fred?' Willow said, tentatively.

'Illyria,' said the blue woman.'But I can be Fred if you would like.'

'Oh,' said Kennedy with a smirk.'So this is your LA floozie. Damn, Willow, but you have good taste.'

Buffy's mouth was vaguely open.

'So Watcher-lite didn't tell you,' Spike said. ' Proves he can keep his mouth shut at least one day a week. Which is an improvement.'

Buffy rushed over and held him, then pulled back.

'Andrew knew you were back,' she said. 'So you were in LA. With Angel. And his evil law firm.'

'Well,' said Spike. 'Not exactly with. Not all the time. And the law firm? Very evil, but now gone.'

His leather jacket had several holes in it and Illyria's blue-tinged skin various bruises that showed up purple on her.

The people at the next table had moved indoors when the rubble started falling, and Spike grabbed himself one of their chairs and both their bottles of wine, passing one to Illyria.

'It was one hell of a battle,' he said, after taking a long swig.

'And Angel?' Giles said.

'He fought the good fight,' Spike said. 'All he ever did, really.'


Spike turned back to Buffy.

'Don't know how to tell you this, pet.'

'He's dead?,' Buffy said in a still quiet little voice.

'Not exactly, not as such,' Spike said.

'He rode out of history and into legend,' said Andrew.

'Charlton Heston, in 'El Cid',' Xander said.

'Pretty much covers it,' Spike said. 'He was hurt, hurt much worse than us, because he led the charge against the dragon. And suddenly he'd killed it and the demon army sort of lost heart, a bit, but he was bleeding from everywhere and we were still holding them off. Then there was this light, and his girls came.'

'What girls?' Buffy said.

'The angels,' Illyria said.

'Great-grandmother Darla and Cordy', Spike said.

'Cordelia's an angel?' Willow said.

'And how did a vampire who was dusted eight years ago turn up as an angel?' Giles asked.

'Long story,' Spike said. 'So anyway, they came and suddenly Angel was levitating and so was Gunn who looked rather dead. And Cordelia blew us a kiss each and suddenly most of my wounds were gone. And she and Darla smiled deeply smug smiles and the four of them were gone. All Tinkerbelle lights. Then we were here.'

'Where did they take him?' Buffy said.

'How should I know?' Spike said. 'To the lake island of Avilion where they will heal him of his grievous wounds, or something like that. I presume.'

'I didn't know you liked Tennyson,' Willow said.

'Nor would you,' said Spike. 'If you'd met him. Pompous old git who smelled of goat and cheap cigars. But he wrote the odd decent poem.'

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