Title: Waiting-for-Trains Improv
Author: Dea Brynhild Ensomhet
Rated: PG-13. Take the necessary precautions: practice responsible reading.
Archival: Just ask and ye shall recieve.
Dedicated to: SilverWick for catering to my sudden whim to go to Chicago, and let me have fun, even if it didn't turn out the way we thought it would.
Disclaimer: Unbetaed, read at your own risk. I don't own any cast/crew/characters/plotlines/etc. Princess and I each own a copy of Tru Calling and House on Haunted Hill on DVD, but I don't own their characters or plotlines or anything either. Also, if you look real close you can find a reference to Amber Benson's film "Chance", which I don't own the characters or plotlines or anything. A few of the details have been changed, as it was friggin cold and the telling of this story lasted over a half hour, and I don't remember everything. It's still a little OOC and a bit unrealistic (or, as SilverWick said, "They only met this morning and they're already head over heels about each other?") To which I say "Pffft. What more do you expect from me when I'm cold and tired and waiting for the train? Blame SilverWick for wanting me to actually remember this and type it up."
Explanation: So, SilverWick and I are waiting for the train out of Chicago 'cause we missed the 8 pm train by like three minutes, and it's two hours till the next one and we're sitting on a bench sharing cigarettes and pepperoni, and she says "Tell me a story about Spike." So I say, off the top of my head...
Last updated: 1/23/05
Once upon a time the was a guy named Spike. He's lean and compact but well muscled, and has bleached platinum-blonde hair. He usually slicks it back, but today he'd just gotten out of the shower, so it's just a mop of curls sticking out everywhere. He pulls out the jar of hair-gel and is about to pour some on his hand when there is a knock on the door. He puts the gel back and pulls on some jeans, and walks bare-foot and bare-chested to open the door. There's no one there. He looks down the hallway, but he doesn't see anyone. He closes the door and goes into the kitchen to pour himself a glass of 'blood'. It's actually V-8, but he likes to pretend he's a vampire, and pretend he drinks blood. There's usually red things in his refrigerator: V-8, cranberry juice, ketchup. Ever since he hit puberty he's stayed inside, and so he's very pale, and has a good reputation at most of the local goth clubs. He even had porcelain vamp-teeth made especially for him that he can put in and take out comfortably.
He downs the V-8 'blood', and heads back into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He pulls out the hairgel and takes the lid off, and is about to put some in his hair when there's a knocking sound again. He puts the gel away and opens the door again, but again, there's no one there. Spike glances at the clock and swears. He's late for work. He dresses quickly, grabbing his camera and beat-up black leather jacket on his way out the door. He lives on the fourth floor of his apartment building, racing down the stairs and hitting the street at a run. City Sun Times, the newspaper that he works for, has a building a few blocks from his apartment. He runs through the streets in record time, and is in the doors at 6am on the dot.
"Hey Willow." He greets his boss' secretary. "How's it going with your lady friend?"
"Tara and I are good." She said. "I just don't know if she's 'the one' or not. We've got a date tonight, though."
"Well, good luck with that." Spike offered. "Does Angel have any work for me today?" The boss' name is Liam, but he's like the epitome of mean bosses everywhere, and so everyone calls him Angel, as a kind of oxymoron.
"Yeah. He wants you to go down to the docks and take a few pictures. There's a ship that's supposed to be docking there at 3:17pm, by the name of The Flying Dutchman. He also wants you to go past the house on Haunted Hill sometime after dusk. You know the house, the abandoned one? There have been reports of disturbances around there, and he wants you to check it out."
The house on Haunted Hill? Bugger that. "You tell Angel I said to piss off. I quit. No way am I going near that house."
Willow shrugged. "I'll tell him."
Spike walked out and down the street, to the local coffee shop. He stepped in, smiling as he recognized Buffy behind the cash register. "Hey, Buff. What's up?"
"I'm doing well. What's up with you? How's it going with Wes?" Wesley was his current boyfriend, except they broke up a few days ago. Angel had been piling up enormous amounts of work with way too short deadlines, so he hadn't been able to catch up with Buffy recently.
"Wes and I are over." Spike said. "Other than the fact that we're both British, we have nothing in common. You know, he cleaned out my fridge when he moved out?"
"No." Buffy said, shocked.
"Yeah." Spike sighed. "Can I get my usual?"
Buffy winked. "One white chocolate mocha with extra whipped cream and some mini marshmallows coming right up." She made the drink and gave it to him. He reached for his wallet and she waved it off. "It's on the house."
Spike smiled. "Thanks, Buff." He took a sip. "You got today's newspaper?"
"Yeah." she said, handing him a copy. "So how's work going? I wasn't expecting to see you for at least another week - Angel actually lighten up for once?"
"Hell no." Spike scoffed. "He told me to go by the house on Haunted Hill. I told him to bugger off. I'm a free man." he gestured with the newspaper. "Thus the need for the classifieds."
"Good for you. That place gives me the creeps." Buffy shivered, then grinned. "Well, I've got some good news for you, mister free man. There's a cutie brunette over there who's just your type. You gonna go for it?"
Spike shrugged. "Why not? Got nowhere else to be." He tucked the newspaper under his arm and headed over to the guy sitting alone. It was obvious from the man's clothing that he was working construction, probably at one of the high-rises downtown. Spike put on his most charming smile. "Is this seat taken?"
The guy looked up and smiled back. "Nope. Knock yourself out."
Spike sat and held out his hand. "I'm Spike."
"Nice to meet you, Spike. I'm Xander." the guy said. He noticed the camera Spike was toting. "What do you do?"
"I used to be a photographer for the City Sun Times, but I quit this morning. You're in construction?" Spike inquired.
"Yeah, I'm working on the Lafayette building on High street." Xander replied.
Spike's smile turned sultry. "Would you like to take a walk?"
"The building is almost finished; I suppose the site could do without me for a little while." Xander said, and gathered his things. They walked around downtown for a few hours, talking and getting to know each other. Spike didn't even realize that they'd been walking up a hill until they came in sight of the supposedly-haunted house. "Hey, it's the house on Haunted Hill. That place gives me the heebie jeebies."
"Me too." Spike said. "Race you to the bottom of the hill?" They ran down the hill and headed elsewhere. After a while, Xander reluctantly left to head for work, and Spike headed back to his apartment to comb through the classifieds. While he browsed job openings, he made some scrambled eggs smothered in ketchup, as there wasn't much else in the fridge. There were the usual openings: nailpolish remover tester (the polish remover didn't always work well, and they'd get their fingers stained the color of the polish), balloon blower-upper (Spike had asthma, and balloon blow-upping aggravated his condition), ghost investigator (they kept getting killed off by unhappy spirits), train track cleaner (worse than gas station toilets - trash scattered everywhere). None of the jobs sounded appealing, and then at the bottom of the page there was an ad for a stock photographer. He called the number and was able to set up an interview that afternoon. He took his portfolio to the interview, and wowed 'em. They loved his work, and hired him on the spot. They'd give him a list of things he needed to take pictures of when they needed him. They'd pay him $150 for each photograph he turned in that they liked, and $500 for each photograph that ended up being used.
They gave him a list of things to get started and he wandered around the city, taking pictures of things on the list in new and inventive ways. It began to rain as he found himself strolling past the Lafayette building, and started walking towards it. Just as he was a few feet away from the building's front doors, he stopped and turned around. He didn't want to disturb Xander at work, didn't want to seem too eager or stalkerish. He walked away, intent on finishing the list that day so he could develop the pictures that night.
Xander was the only one working on the roof in the rain, and just happened to look over the edge of the building and recognize Spike approaching the building. He ran to the elevator and took it down. The elevator had glass walls and he could see the street as the elevator went down. He frowned as he watched Spike turn and walk away. Xander silently began praying for the elevator to hurry up and get to the bottom. Finally the doors opened and Xander ran the way he'd seen Spike go. Unfortunately he was so desperate to get to Spike that he didn't pay attention to traffic, and got hit by an oncoming car.
A crowd of passerbyers gathered around his body, lying twisted on the street. A girl with long brown hair knelt next to him, she must've been a doctor or something, because she checked his pulse and pupils and tried to talk to him.
Dying is the weirdest thing. Xander felt his heart stop, knew the moment that his body stopped responding to his mind. It was as if he was completely paralyzed, unable to move or speak or breathe or twitch, and yet still he was able to see and hear and think. One of the onlookers asked if he was dead, and the girl nodded sadly, tears in her eyes. Suddenly, with a clarity that he'd never known before, he knew the girl could help him. Control of his head and neck returned, and he rolled his head to look at her. "Help me." he whispered, and her eyes widened.
The day rewound. (*makes zzzzzzing sound and waves arms frantically*)
Spike got out of the shower and toweled off. His hair stood up in all directions, air-drying into a curly blonde mop. He was about to slick it back with some hair gel, when there was a knock on the door. He pulled on some jeans and zipped them up on his way to answer the knocking. He opened the door and there's a girl standing there with long dark hair.
"Hi." she says. "Are you Spike Williams?"
"Yeah." Spike answers. "Who're you?"
"I'm Tru Davies, I work at the city morgue. There's an opening for a crime-scene photographer, and I thought I'd see if you were interested. We pay very competitively."
Spike quirked an eyebrow. "And why are you knocking on my door so early in the morning?"
The girl shrugged. "Positions go fast. I've seen some of your work, and I thought you might be perfect for the job."
"Sorry, but I'm not interested. Already have a job."
"Well, if you change your mind." She gave him a card for Tru Davies at the City Morgue, and then turned and left. Spike stuck in the card in his jeans pocket absently and turned to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of V-8. He downed it and dressed, and was just about to gel his hair when there was another knocking on his door. He set the gel down and opened the door just in time to see one of the kids who lived a few doors down, racing down the hallway and into his own apartment.
"You'd better stop doing that, or else I'm gonna beat the crap outta you!" Spike called after the kid, and then checked the clock. Damn it, he was running late. He grabbed his black leather jacket and camera, and ran to work.
He walked into the building and greeted the boss' secretary, Willow. "Hey, Wills. What's shaking? How's your lady friend?"
Willow smiled. "Tara and I are doing fine."
There was something in her voice that contradicted her smile, and he frowned. "Once more with less feeling."
Willow sighed. "It's nothing." Spike stared at her until she continued. "It's just... I'm not sure if she's 'the one' or not."
Spike tilted his head. "You love her?"
"Of course I do." Willow said immediately.
"You been thinking about her today?" he asked. She nodded. "You been thinking about her in ways that are inappropriate for youngsters to hear about?"
Willow blushed. "That's none of your business, perv."
Spike grinned. "You two are perfect for each other; you'd have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not see it. You'd better romance her and get a ring on that girl's finger before she wises up and gets away."
Willow nodded. "You're right. We have a date tonight, and I'm going to sweep her off her feet."
"That a girl." Spike winked. "So, does Angel have any work for me today?"
Willow sorted a few papers. "Yeah. There's a boat called The Flying Dutchman that's supposed to stop at the docks at 3:17pm, and Angel wants a shot of it. He also wants you to go past the house on Haunted Hill. There's a few police reports of disturbances around that area, and he wants you to check it out."
"Bugger that." Spike exclaimed. "No way am I going near that house. The wanker knows I don't do the ghost patrol."
Willow shrugged. "I tried to tell him that, but you know how stubborn he can get. He said that you either do the house, or else you're fired."
Spike stuck his hands in his pockets, and felt the business card from the morgue. She had said competitive rates, after all. "Yeah, well you tell him I said, 'Piss off'. I ain't his lackey anymore. I quit." He waved farewell to Willow and left the building. He decided to drop in on Buffy at the local coffee shop, he hadn't had a chance to talk to her in ages. Damn Angel and his damn work schedule.
Spike walked into the coffee shop and grinned as he caught sight of Buffy. "Hey girl, what's up?"
Buffy returned the grin. "Nothing much, mister long-time-no-see. What's up with you and Wes?"
Spike leaned on the counter and his voice took on a flirtatious tone. "Wes finally dumped me over some old guy in tweed who sang at their library convention. Are you ready to fly away with me to Hawaii?"
Buffy giggled. "Stop it, you flirt. I'm sorry to hear about Wes, I thought you two were really going to make it."
Spike shrugged. "I'm kinda relieved he dumped me, y'know? Besides our birth country, we really didn't have anything in common. And he cleaned out the fridge when he moved out. Can you believe it?"
Buffy made a face as she tried not to laugh. "He raided the fridge? How juvenile."
"Yeah." Spike chuckled.
"So, your love live is on hiatus. How's work for Angel?"
"I quit." Spike said. "That sodding wanker thinks I'll jump wherever he tells me to, well, he can just think again. Told Will to tell him to piss off for me."
"Nice." Buffy whistled. "You lost your boyfriend and your job. You're just a country song come to life, aren't you? All you need is your car to break down and your dog to die, and then you'll be set."
Spike snorted. "As I don't have a dog or a car, I guess I'm out of luck. But I did get a job offer this morning, to work at the morgue or something."
"I know a girl who works at the morgue; her name is Faith. She's pretty cool to work with, if you take the job." Buffy said. "You want your usual? On the house."
Spike smiled, his voice taking on a southern twang. "Why, that's awfully nice of you, little lady."
Buffy scrunched up her face. "Ugh, stop it right now, your country accent is horrible. Forget I mentioned country at all, okay? One white chocolate mocha with extra whipped cream, coming right up."
Spike added, "And if you've got any, some of those--"
"-mini marshmallows." Buffy interrupted with a wink. "I'll see what I can do." She made up the drink and handed it to him. "I've got something that might make your day a little better, if you're interested."
"Lay it on me." Spike said.
Buffy pointed at a handsome brunette man sitting alone at a table by the window, drinking a french vanilla latte. "He looks like your type."
Spike winked at Buffy. "Wish me luck." He headed over to the table with his most charming smile on his face. "Hey."
The stranger looked up, and Spike felt the weirdest sensation of deja-vu. "Hey." The guy replied, smiling back.
"Is this seat taken?"
"Nope, go ahead." The guy gestured to the chair, and Spike sat.
"I'm Spike." he said, and held out his hand.
They shook hands. "I'm Xander."
Spike recognized the outfit Xander was wearing. "You do construction?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah, I'm part of the crew on the Lafayette building. What do you do?"
Spike gestured to his camera. "I used to take pictures for the City Sun Times, but at the moment I'm in-between jobs."
Xander smiled. "Sounds like fun."
"Yeah." Spike said absently. A brunette girl just walked into the coffee shop, the same girl who'd knocked on his door that morning. He frowned as she ordered a coffee and sipped it, nonchalantly keeping an eye on him and Xander. What the fuck? He realized that he'd zoned out of the conversation and quickly started paying attention again, because Xander really was a cutie. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I've gotta go to work, and I was wondering if you wanted my number." Xander offered hesitantly.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah." Spike said, digging a pen out of his pocket, and offering it to Xander along with the pale skin of his left inner arm. While Xander wrote his number on Spike's arm, Spike said. "I'd give you my number, but I don't have a phone." The moment the words were out of his mouth he realized that it sounded like a bad excuse, so he said, "Are you busy tonight, after work?"
Xander smiled again. "I get off at six." he stood and put on his jacket. "Call me then?"
Spike nodded. "Yeah, definitely." He watched Xander leave, and his suspicion grew when the girl, Tru, got up to follow Xander. He stood and followed her out. He continued to trail her as she shadowed Xander to the Lafayette building. He jogged a few steps and caught up to her, grabbing her arm before she could enter the building. "What the hell is going on?"
Tru tried to look innocent. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Like hell." Spike growled. "You weren’t just wandering around downtown, you were following Xander. Now tell me, what is going on?"
She shook free of his grasp, and sighed. "I'm psychic." she admitted, and he scoffed. "It's true!" she insisted.
Spike quirked an eyebrow. "Prove it."
"Fine." she said, and stormed off. Spike blinked in confusion, and followed her. For the next several hours, he saw her do things, be in the right place at the right time, know what was going to happen next. It happened too many times to be just a coincidence, and in too many varied ways to be pre-planned. At one point, she purchased an umbrella, claiming that it would be raining hard soon.
"Are you kidding?" Spike said. "It's clear and the sun is shining without a cloud in sight." She simply looked at him. He bought an umbrella too, just in case. They opened the umbrellas when the stepped outside, and before they'd reached the end of the block, the rain was coming down in sheets.
He stared at her, and she shrugged. "This day has repeated way too many times. I'll be glad when it's over." She glanced at her watch, and swore. "We've gotta go." she said, breaking out in a run.
Spike ran after her. "What's going on now?"
She pulled out her cell phone and hit speeddial. "Here." she tossed him the phone and he caught it. "Tell him to get off the roof of the building."
"Huh?" Spike held the phone to his ear, and listened as the ringing ended and he was transferred to Xander's voicemail. He had no idea what to say, and the running was making him short of breath, so he hung up instead of leaving a message. "Just his voicemail. What's going on?"
"Lightning is going to hit the rain-covered roof of the Lafayette building, and electrocute Xander."
Spike almost tripped. "Xander's gonna die?"
"Yeah, unless I figure out a way to stop it." Tru said.
"Fuck." Spike said, and tried to run faster.
"That's it for today, you can go home boys." Boss-man said. With all of the rain, it would be hard to finish up, and they were ahead of schedule anyway, so they could afford to get off early. Xander glanced at his watch - it was only 3pm, which gave him a little bit of time before Spike said he'd call. Xander rode down the elevator with the last of the guys on the site, and with a pat to his pocket, he realized he'd accidentally left his cellphone on the roof. He waved goodbye to the guys, and rode the elevator back up to the roof. He fetched his phone, pressing buttons to access the missed call. He didn't recognize the number on the caller id, and dialed it.
It rang twice before a male voice answered. "Xander?"
Xander headed back to the elevator. "Yeah. Who's this?"
"Oh yeah." Xander grinned. "I guess you got a phone?"
"No, just borrowing one. Can you meet me at the entrance of your building?"
"Sure." Xander said, entering the elevator and pressing the button to go down. "When?"
"Like, now." Spike said. "I'm less than a block away."
"Okay. I'll see you in a few." Xander said, and hung up.
Spike hung up and tossed the phone back to Tru, who caught it and stuck it in her pocket. "He's going to meet us." The building was coming into view, and he could see the elevator coming down, Xander inside. The elevator was half-way down when a huge lightning bolt hit the top of the building. The entire building's electricity flickered off for one hear-wrenching moment, and then the lights came back on, the back-up generator obviously kicking on. The elevator continued its decent downwards, and he saw Xander wave to them. Spike waved back, running up and into the building to meet Xander as the elevator doors opened. The seconds the doors opened Spike was hugging Xander, and Xander, who was kinda freaked by the electricity going out, was hugging Spike just as hard.
Tru walked up to them, smirking. "I guess that's that, then."
Spike nodded. "Thank you, for everything."
Tru winked. "No problem, Blondie."
Xander looked between Spike and Tru. "What am I missing?"
Spike and Tru exchanged a glance. "Let's get a cup of coffee, shall we?" Spike suggested. "You should be sitting down for this."
They went back to the coffee shop, and over steaming hot cups of java, Spike and Tru explained what was going on. Xander looked a little green after hearing about his almost-death, and Spike also looked sick when he found out that Tru had seen him die in a previous rewind day, too. Xander paid for Tru's coffee, and she wished them luck. Then Spike and Xander went back to Xander's place to, ahem, 'get to know each other better', since Spike didn't really have anything in his kitchen for a morning-after breakfast. Xander, as it turns out, had a tendance to stockpile food, so they had their choice of cereal, waffles, pancakes, eggs, sausage, ham, bacon, muffins, toast, or granola for breakfast.
And Spike and Xander lived happily ever after.