Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Gunn/Fred, Wesley/Fred, past Spike/Buffy and hints of possible Spike/Fred
Challenge/Prompt: fffc r17.15: Science
Word Count: 807
Date Written: 7 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Do you ever wonder,” Wesley asks softly, coming up behind Gunn, “what it is about her in particular that makes us lose ourselves?”
“And our friendship, English?” Gunn adds, surprising the older man. Wesley’s eyebrows rise, but he doesn’t speak again. Gunn shakes his head. “I’ll be damned if I know. What I do is that she didn’t blind me with science, but I’ll be damned if she ain’t beautiful even when she’s attached to a microscope.”
“Especially when she’s attached to a microscope,” Wesley murmurs, eyes wide as they watch Fred so deeply involved in her research that she has no idea they’re standing just on the opposite side of her door.
Gunn shakes his head again. “Damn, we’ve got it bad.”
“And we have since the very first moment we laid eyes upon the -- “
“Really?” Wesley’s eyes rise to Gunn’s cutting glance. They both burst out chuckling.
“You’re both bloody fools.”
The rough, sudden voice makes them jump. Gunn almost pulls a stake as they swing around together to face Spike. “From what I understand of your past,” Wesley squeaks, his voice a higher pitch than normal both out of nervousness and irritation, “you are not exactly one to speak.”
Spike shrugs. “I know it’s the kettle calling the pot black,” he admits from around his cigarette, “but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”
“You must not have heard too much,” Gunn protests. “We already admitted it.”
“To the woman, you bloody pillock. You want another chance with her, you need to make your intentions known instead of hiding around the corner peeking at her.”
“Intentions?” Gunn repeats. Glancing between Spike and Wesley, he comments, “This ain’t the 1700s!”
“Never said it was, but some things don’t change.”
“And you?” Wesley demands to know, glowering at Spike.
“If I thought I stood a bloody chance of actually reaching Buffy, Hell, yeah, I’d go back, make myself known again, for all the good it did. She told me she loved me when she knew I was dying, but that’s the only reason she said it. Nice gesture and all, but she didn’t mean it. And still, I’d go back and will go back once our little Scientist in there solves my problem.”
His cigarette falls from his lips as he once more loses his solidness. Gunn wastes no time in pouncing on it, stepping right through Spike as he stomps the cigarette out on the carpet. Spike grins. “You’ve done it now, mate.” He winks.
Gunn looks up, turning a shade paler as Fred starts for her door. “Charles? Is that you? What’s going on?”
Gunn glares at Spike. “Just taking care of a problem created by your favorite ghost.”
Spike smirks again. “I’ll take care of your problem for you,” he says, “this time.” He walks right through the former street fighter, knowing how it rakes him with chills. He turns back at Fred’s door. “But if you two really want to know why you’re so hung up on her, the answer’s simple. It’s not science. It’s not charm or even beauty. I’m not saying the girl doesn’t have it. She does, but that’s not why she’s got you two falling over each other.”
“It’s not?” Wesley breathes.
“Then what’s your theory?” Gunn snaps.
“Simple.” Spike smiles. “In a world that’s knocked the crap out of both of you, she’s the nicest, sweetest thing either of you has ever come across. It’s not her beauty that has you both tongue-tied. It’s her sweetness, her kindness, her generosity.” And God knows, Spike thinks, walking through Fred’s door and leaving the two blokes outside to finish comparing notes, she’s got all of that and more in spades.
She’s even sweeter than Willow was before she found the magic and kinder too. After all, he knows he doesn’t deserve the amount of valuable time she wastes on him every day and night, trying to resolve his ghostly problems. He doesn’t deserve her friendship no more than those two out there deserve her, but somebody’s going to win. Hell, Spike smirks at his own private joke, they’re already winners. They’re winners, because they have her as a friend, a blessing, with or without other benefits, none of them deserve.
When she looks up and smiles at him, Spike stops walking for just a moment and stares. Hell, yeah, they are winners. If he wasn’t so hung up on Buffy, he might become a competitor himself for this girl’s heart, but his heart already belongs to another. Still, it’s a blessing to have this sweet, intelligent girl as a friend. “Thank you,” he says without thinking. The warmth of her answering smile makes him remember what sunshine used to feel like before they start their session, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum still comparing notes outside their door.