Tea For Two




“It doesn’t go there.”

Kennedy jumped and whirled around. Annoyance that she hadn’t heard him approach made her tone sharp. “Will you not do that? You walk like a cat!”

Spike shrugged. “Sorry. It’s a habit.”

“From when you spent your nights stalking people and killing them?” She watched his face, waiting for a flicker of hurt or shame.

Spike smiled. “You know I never thought about that. You might have just put your finger on it.” He sat down at the kitchen table, resting his folded hands in front of him.

Kennedy preened for a second before realising that he was being sarcastic. She glared at Spike. Most of the Potentials either had a crush on him or were terrified of being close to a creature that their blossoming Slayer instincts warned them was deadly. Kennedy just wanted him gone, preferably in a cloud of dust.

She held up the mug. “How do you know where it goes anyway? I’ve never seen you doing dishes or any other housework for that matter.”

Spike gazed at her calmly. “Been coming to this house for years, love. That mug goes in that cupboard there. The one you had open is for the everyday china. That mug’s special.”

Kennedy looked at it. It didn’t look special. It was black with an abstract pattern of swirling red around the rim. “I washed it, I get to say where it goes,” she said, turning back to the cupboard.

Spike’s lips thinned but he kept his temper. “You don’t like being told what to do, do you? Like being the one doing the telling.”

She paused and looked back at him. “I don’t like orders from a vampire, an evil thing, no.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Give it a rest,” he said in a tired voice. “Put the mug where you want. I’ll only move it when you’ve gone.”

Fury flared in Kennedy. She resented Buffy though she didn’t admit it openly and this was Buffy’s creature, her lover, her friend. Using all her strength she threw the mug at Spike, aiming for his head. For a vampire, it was simple to catch it, to pluck it from the air, and that was just what Spike did. He held it for a moment and then stood, the sound of the chair legs scraping against the floor loud in the charged silence. He walked towards the girl and she moved away, her face wary, almost apprehensive.

Spike opened a new cupboard and carefully put the mug where it belonged. Without looking at Kennedy he said quietly, “Tell Buffy I’ll see her on patrol.”

The door slammed behind him and Kennedy realised that she had been holding her breath. She hesitated and then set her lips and moved the mug to where she thought it belonged, closing the cupboard door firmly.

“Put it back where it was.”

Kennedy turned and glared at the newcomer. “It’s a fricking mug! What is it with you people? Do you have your cans in alphabetical order too?”

“When you’ve put it back, I’ll tell you.”

Kennedy grabbed the mug and threw it for the second time. This time no one caught it and it fell to the floor, splintering into jagged shards. She bit her lip but still looked defiant.

“That mug belonged to Joyce, Buffy’s mother. You probably don’t know much about her, except that she’s dead. Spike, well, I didn’t know about it until after she died, but Spike used to call in now and then and chat with her. Joyce was too much of a lady not to give him a drink but I’m guessing she didn’t quite like the idea of drinking from a cup he’d used. She wouldn’t hurt his feelings though, so she went out and bought him that mug. Said it reminded her of him, what with the black and red.”

There was a pause. Kennedy’s face flushed as she took this in. “But he’s a vampire!” she said finally. “He didn’t have a soul then, why would the Slayer’s mom let him anywhere near her?”

“I’ve often wondered. First time she met Spike he was trying to kill Buffy but she got over that. I don’t think they were buddies but they had one or two things in common.”

“Such as?”

Willow appeared behind Xander and gestured at the fragments of china, murmuring an incantation. The pieces swirled and reformed into an unbroken whole on the floor. “They both loved Buffy,” she said.

“Yep,” said Xander. “And they weren’t too fond of Angel.”

Kennedy looked at their stern faces. “But you hate Spike!” she said to Xander.

He shrugged. “Can’t argue with that. He’s tried to kill me and mine, slept with two women who deserved much better; yeah, I hate his undead guts. He makes a lousy house guest too. But it’s not the point.”

“What is?” asked Kennedy, crossing her arms and trying – unsuccessfully- to stare Xander down.

He stood for a moment and then looked at Willow. “You know the moment I liked Spike the best?” She shook her head, eyes sparkling, relaxed and amused. “It wasn’t when he let Glory torture him, or when he went up the tower to try and save Dawn. It wasn’t even when he stopped Buffy from burning up because of that dumb spell of mine. No. It was when he punched Tara in the face.”

Kennedy drew in her breath sharply, waiting for Willow to slap him down. Instead, Willow laughed and nodded in agreement. “One of his finest moments,” she said.

“Excuse me? He punched your girlfriend and you think that’s funny?” Kennedy’s voice was shrill now. “I just don’t get it.”

Xander’s face went hard, the laughter dropping away. “Exactly.”

Buffy walked in and looked at the three of them in surprise, picking up on the tension. “What’s up? And where’s Spike? Isn’t he ready yet?”

“He went on ahead,” said Kennedy looking uncomfortable.

“Oh. Well, fine, I’ll catch up with him.” Buffy began to walk towards the door and noticed the mug on the floor. She bent down and picked it up. The room froze as she walked over to the cupboard with it, the cupboard that Kennedy had used. A triumphant look passed over Kennedy’s face.

“Uh, Buffy,” said Xander. “That’s Spike’s mug.”

Buffy looked at it. “Oops! Wrong cupboard!”

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