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FIC: Chains and Bonds and Keys

Title: Chains and Bonds and Keys
Spoilers / Words: mid-S6 / 800 words
Characters: Dawn, Spike
Rating: a solid G

A/N: For cindergal, who wanted "Spike and Dawn go Christmas shopping for Buffy. Any time frame. Mood is bittersweet - with the emphasis on the sweet." This delivers, I believe. I actually meant it to be a drabble, but it disagreed.


“You’re shopping for Buffy, aren’t you?” Dawn says.

“What? Why’d I do that?” He shoves away from the jewelry counter, but there’s no other possible excuse for Spike turning shades of red and green under the Seasons Greetings display.

“You could try the smashed chocolates again. I liked that last year.” Back when they actually hung out. If by ‘hang out’ you mean pick locks and hide from hell-gods, but still.

“Yeah, ‘cause you got to eat it,” he says, but his heart isn’t in his jeer. Or in anything else, lately. Dawn figures it’s Buffy; she trails weariness after her like exhaust, and everybody’s choking on it. Maybe Spike figures jewelry will help? Optimist, Dawn thinks, and feels very grown up about it. Also depressed.

She leans over the counter, her shopping bag hanging all plasticky and fluttery against her hip. “Well, don’t get that one.”

He leans in to see what she’s pointing at. “I liked that one! Classic. Black and roses.”

“Angel thought so, too.”

It’s funny, watching Spike wheel backward so fast. Less funny to see him turn away, sneering as if it’d keep his shoulders from sagging, which it doesn’t. “Nothing here she’d want, anyway,” he said. “Not from me.” The sneer drops; he glances at her, worried, like he’s said too much. Like everyone doesn’t already know what Buffy thinks of him. Stupid sister.

“You could get me something.” Because hey, if it’ll make him feel better...


“What would you pick?” She follows his glances across the golds and the sparkles and the gems. She’s not serious; she can’t take Spike’s money for something expensive and shiny when Buffy’s earning a quarter above minimum. It’d be... wrong, somehow. She’s not sure how, exactly, but it would.

Another thing about Buffy being back: it means Dawn has to be the responsible one. Which she totally is. Sometimes.

“This one,” Spike says, lifting a necklace from among pendents of feathers and the skulls-and-crossbones. She asks for fantasy jewelry and Spike takes it off the cheap rack? Stupidly, Dawn feels a little let down.

He lays it in her hand: a lock, made of some dark gray metal – pewter. A tiny molded padlock, the size of the one she used to put in her diary. There’s a second chain attached to the first with a skeleton key dangling from it, but as she reaches for it Spike snaps the binding between the chains.

“Spike! Now they’ll want you to pay for it!” And now that she’s yelled across half the store, him sliding it out of sight is going to be a lot more difficult. Smooth, Dawn.

“Well, yeah.” He drops the key-and-chain (with pricetag) onto the counter. A ten dollar bill follows, and the frazzled-looking jewelry counter woman waves vaguely in their direction.

“Oh. Okay. Uh, thanks.” She’s grateful, she really is, but also still a little... confused?

He rolls his eyes. “It’s a lock,” he says.


“To, you know, a person’s heart.” he says, scowling.

“To your heart? Oh my God, Spike, you are such a sap.”

“Or to the world, or the future, or whatever.” Now he won’t look at her anymore and his hands are deep in his duster pockets, in fists, she’s pretty sure. “Point is, you don’t need a key, do you? You open the locks all on your own. All the doors.”

“Oh.” She folds her fingers around the lock. Oh.

Well, that’s not tacky or stupid at all. Still sappy, but...

She throws her arms around him and buries her face in his leather-ash-dirt smell. After a staggering step backwards he pulls her in and squeezes. He’s not as tall as Dad was, but he’s so solid; all those vampire muscles, maybe. Like no one can ever break her, if he’s there. “I miss you,” she whispers against his t-shirt.

“Miss you, too,” he says. “Sorry I haven’t been around of late, but-”

“It’s Buffy. I know.” He stiffens, and she pulls back long enough to say, “It’s okay. No one else comes around much, either.” Except Willow, who won’t leave. “I can’t really blame you.”

“Well, I am sorry,” he says, stepping back.

The hug is over; Dawn can accept that. Almost. “But maybe you could come around when Buffy’s not home, like for pizza? Especially if you bring the pizza.”

He looks less tired now than he has all night, like he might smile if he’s tricked into it. “Might, at that.”

That’s better than she’s heard in a really long time. She hugs him again – he’s expecting it this time – and then, lock clutched in hand, she goes to to meet Willow in the parking lot. By the time they get home, the shape of it’s pressed into her skin. Or her heart. Whichever.



( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 8th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Oh, this is too adorable! And sad, but in a good way.

“To, you know, a person’s heart.” he says, scowling.

“To your heart? Oh my God, Spike, you are such a sap.”

Too. Perfect.
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I confess, those are just about my favorite lines, right there.
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)

I want to smoosh those two in a hug. Then squeeze between them on the couch to watch a movie.
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yay! Can I come join you? Because I definitely want in on the Spike-Dawn-Bob group hug, and the movie after. And I can bring cocoa.
(no subject) - bobthemole - Dec. 8th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snickfic - Dec. 8th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)

I'm such a sucker for Spike & Dawn. There just can't be enough of them snarking and hugging.

Another thing about Buffy being back: it means Dawn has to be the responsible one. Which she totally is. Sometimes.

Very Dawn thought!

I love the lock necklace, and the idea that she can open them as the key. It's the kind of thing I can easily see appealing to Dawn. I always pictured her getting tattoo of a key, probably a green one. Partially to own it, but partially to bug her sister. Spike's just victorian enough to be horrified at that!
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
I'm such a sucker, too. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of things about this show I love, but Spike & Dawn are right there at the top of the list.

It hadn't occurred to me, but you're right, a key tattoo does seem very Dawnish. Although she'd probably want to have someone check first and make sure it has zero mystical significance.
(no subject) - bobthemole - Dec. 8th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
This was wonderful! I loved this like I love nachos, and I really love nachos! Spike and Dawn are my favorite!
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
They are my favorite, too. I love love love them.
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
Oh, yay! This is so wonderful. You definitely captured the mood I was looking for. I think Spike and Dawn's relationship may be my favorite one on the show. Or in my head. You know. ;-)

By the time they get home, the shape of it’s pressed into her skin. Or her heart. Whichever.

Dec. 8th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad! I originally had ideas of either an S7 or post-series fic where they're not really reconciled yet, with lots of tension and things unsaid and then things said very loudly, but that seemed to miss the 'sweet' part you were going for and also it was going to be several thousand words long. So.

They're definitely my favorite ship on the show, romantic or otherwise. Don't get me wrong, I love my Spuffy (and lots of other relationships, too) but I think Spike & Dawn are my absolutely favorite.
Dec. 8th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
¡Yay! Shopping is so stressful, a veritable minefield, that such a success does the heart good.
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
So true. Shopping at Christmastime? *shiver*
Dec. 8th, 2010 07:44 am (UTC)
That was lovely, and such beautiful writing! This line She throws her arms around him and buries her face in his leather-ash-dirt smell, just so sensuous!

It makes what should be rather an unpleasant smell seems warm and inviting, just how Dawn feels it.
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the smell fundamentally doesn't appeal to me either, but when I wrote that I found that I wanted a Spike-hug, too. (Then again, wanting a Spike-hug is probably hardly notable. *g*)

Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 11:03 am (UTC)
Awwwwww. What a perfect way to start my day.
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yay! Awww was definitely what I was shooting for here. Glad you enjoyed. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Aw. man, I wish we'd gotten more of this...
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Although, given how the rest of S6 went, perhaps we should be glad they dropped the storyline.
(no subject) - rahirah - Dec. 8th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, these two. I will never get over them. You made me clutch my heart! This is perfection.
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
They're just wonderful, aren't they? There's so much love there, underneath.
Dec. 8th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, Spike. Oh, Dawn.
Dec. 8th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
*nods* I do love them so.
Dec. 8th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
So sweet, in a not too-sweet way. Lovely seasonal fic!
Dec. 8th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, just lovely. I'm still smiling. Perfect for the season.
Dec. 9th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Yay! It is very seasonal, isn't it? But I'm feeling very seasonal, so that works out. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
That was very sweet. I always did like their friendship.
Dec. 9th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Yay, thank you! Their friendship is right up there on my list of very favorite things about the show.
Dec. 8th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
my heart esplode!!!

What a beautiful moment between the two of them. I love how you write Dawn - you don't juvenilize her but you keep her reasoning on a teen-age level. And Spike's subtle mood-swings are well portrayed.

And the lock! Hee! Of course she doesn't need the key.

I'm all a-melt.
Dec. 10th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
I love how you write Dawn - you don't juvenilize her but you keep her reasoning on a teen-age level.

Yay! I worry about that sometimes, partly because so many people she was juvenilized in the show, but her portrayal has always made sense to me. So I'm glad my perspective works for you. :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed. (And hey: aren't you supposed to be sending me chapters of yummy silly goodness to read beta? I was pining the other day and had to go back and read the old stuff. *g*)
(no subject) - hello_spikey - Dec. 10th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snickfic - Dec. 10th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
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