Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv)
Characters: Spike/Tara
Warnings: --
Spoilers: "Tabula Rasa" (BtVS 6.08)
Notes: Written for richess for spara_ficathon. The request was just that it not be NC-17 rated. Inspired in part by voleuse's request for the Tara ficathon.
Word Count: 726

Thanks owed to voleuse for her request for the Tara ficathon, and also to "Not Fade Away" (Angel series finale), since they both helped inspire the idea for this fic. Oh, and thanks to Fern Knight (and to Sam who made me go) for my theremin love.

Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and company own the characters; I’m just playing with them. I do own this story, though, so don’t steal. If you want to archive this anywhere, just ask.

Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.

Strangers in the Night
by Elizabeth Scripturient

It was Open Mic night at the Espresso Pump. Spike started pounding back the bourbons after the umpteenth angsty lovesick kid with trite poetry. Wondered why he had ever come here in the first place.

A haunting melody began to seep into his consciousness. He looked toward the stage to see a figure clad in flowing earth tones, long hair obscuring bowed head. She was moving her hands. He looked more closely and realized that there were two antennae protruding from a box in front of her and that somehow the movements of her hands around those antennae produced the music.

He lost himself in the music, and after the performance was over he just sat there, dazed. He almost didn’t notice when a pimply teenager poked his shoulder. “Sir, you’re up next. Jessica will be done in 2 minutes. You’d better get backstage.”

Spike grunted in response and followed the boy backstage.

Once onstage, he settled onto the black stool provided for him, leaned in to the microphone, and began to recite his poetry.

He spoke about how her blonde hair shone in the moonlight, like sunlight that didn’t burn. As he spoke, he couldn’t help remembering how that unmistakably female figure had looked in that dim single spotlight, pulling such sounds of a nondescript box. How that was more haunting than any graveyard encounter had ever been.

He knew he had a quality stage presence and would put on a good performance, dramatic inflections and all that, but it was like he was doing so on autopilot.

He made a little bow and as he raised his head and moved to leave the stage, he caught sight of the woman. She had a half-smile on her face and he couldn’t tell whether she was clapping politely or if she had truly enjoyed his poetry. What nearly knocked him over was that he recognized the face: it was Tara.

Back in the room, he ordered a gin and tonic and then nonchalantly sidled over to the table she was sitting at. “May I sit down?”

She looked up in surprise. “Oh, um, yeah, sure.”

He slid into the chair opposite her and took a sip of his G&T. “You were really stunning up there.”

She blushed and took a sip of her strawberry daiquiri. “Aw, thanks. You were pretty good yourself.”

He shook his head. “No, this isn’t mutual empty complimenting to make small talk. You were... it was unreal. I’ve never heard anything like that. And coming from me, that’s saying something.”

“It’s called a theremin. There are two antennae: one controls pitch and one controls volume. Hand movements by the player around those two antennae create the music.”

“Fascinating. Bet you and Red made some stunning music together.”

“I never told Willow I played.” She was quiet for a moment. “Funny, isn’t that? I mean, everything that I had to keep secret before -- love, magic -- didn’t have to be secret with her. But this silly little thing, I hid from her. I guess I just got so used to keeping secrets.”

Spike shook his head. “No, pet, ‘s not that. Everyone’s gotta keep some things to themselves. ‘S part of what makes you your own person.”

“I guess. It’s so silly. I would create songs about her, but then I wouldn’t play them for her, because then the instrument wouldn’t be mine alone anymore. She would want to hear what else I had written, might ask me to play when I didn’t feel like it, might want to try to play it herself. But if she didn’t know about it, then it stayed something she could never touch.”

“I’m honored that you’re telling me all this.”

“Well I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, I just played for a roomful of strangers. It’s not like it’s any big secret anymore. And there’s no chance anymore that she’ll touch anything of mine ever again.”

“I’m sorry.” He reached across the table and laid a hand on her shoulder.

She shrugged. “I’ll be okay. What about you? You sounded pretty sad up there.”

“Oh, that? Eh, nothin’ terribly important. Hey, how would you feel about going out for coffee sometime? I mean, it would have to be an evening thing, what with the whole undead thing, but....”

“I think I’d like that. Thank you.”

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