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The Ring Talks


Part 2: Under Construction

Chapter 19: Burning Ideals

I lean on the front porch railing beside Spike, and follow his gaze to the driveway. “Do you think it will fit?”

“Eh, probably. Back seats go down, right?”

“Yeah. But even then, we may not be able to close the back.”

He turns to look at me. “You sure you wanna do this?”

“What’s the big?” I shrug. “It’s not like anyone is using it.”

“Not what I meant. This isn’t exactly the sort of thing you’re known for, Slayer.”

Ok, now I know what he’s getting at. I dangle my mother’s car keys between us. “Would I have taken these if I wasn’t sure?”

Spike snatches the keys. “Right, then. Let’s go.”


The couch fits. Sort of. It’s turned at a funny angle and pushed all the way up against the folded down back of the front passenger’s seat. It looks like I’ll be riding back on the couch itself. If Spike slams on the brakes, and I go flying around the back of the Jeep, I’m going to have to kill him.

I follow him back into Lowell House and pick out a coffee table while he unplugs the big TV in the common room. We load them into the back of the Jeep with the couch, leaving just enough space for me to crawl over the arm and settle in for the ride.

“So before I climb into this little cage, will there be anything else, Mr. Master Criminal?”

“One more thing.” He gives me a kiss. “Wait here.”

“Nothing else is going to fit, you know!” I call after him.

He calls back over his shoulder, just before reentering the frat house, “Nothing has to.”

“What the hell are you up to, then?”

By the time he strolls back out a couple of minutes later, my question has been answered. There’s an orange glow lighting up the common room’s windows, and smoke detectors are beeping.

“Holy shit, Spike! Have you lost your mind?!”

“Nope.” He picks me up and puts me on the bumper, nudging me to crawl inside. “Let’s go.”

The hatch shuts behind me the second I’m safely crouched in my furniture cage. A few seconds later, we’re speeding away from Fraternity Row, away from the fire, away from that visible reminder of the Initiative, being erased from the Sunnydale landscape.

And something in me feels relieved, even finds some joy in watching the smoke in the sky behind us through the rear window. I should be seriously pissed off right now. I agreed to help rob the place, not burn it down. Instead, I’m sort of… I don’t know… Giddy?

We’re pretty far from campus by the time we hear the first sirens, and I give in to my impulse to laugh as the fire trucks zoom past us. “No rush, guys!” I say between giggles. “Let it burn down to the basement!”

I hear Spike chuckling from the driver’s seat. “Like playing with fire, do ya?”

“In that building, I do.”

“What happened to my upright and moral slayer?”

“She’s on vacation.”

The sound of his laugh keeps me smiling all the way to Restfield’s south gate.


The stolen TV is hooked up to both the stolen electricity and the stolen cable. The old TV is sitting beside the urn by the door. The couch, coffee table, TV stand, and orange chair have been arranged into something like a living room. And my shoes are under the table. I’m lounging on the couch, watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, when the crypt door opens and my mother’s car keys get thrown into my lap.

I pick them up and put them on the table. “Hey. You were gone a while.”

“Made a detour after I returned the Jeep.” Spike holds up a bottle as he heads toward the kitchen area. “Feel like celebrating?”

I wrinkle my nose. “Just be generous with the Coke, ok?”




“What’s your point?”

He shakes his head. “Thought for sure you’d at least punch me for that little stunt.”

“No humans at risk.” I shrug. “I think that puts it out of slayer jurisdiction.”

“Ah. Hence the bit about being on vacation.”

I take the mug he offers me and nod for him to join me on the couch. “Can I tell you a secret?”

He sits down and takes a sip from his mug. “Bloody hell, that’s weak.” He trades mugs with me and takes a sip from the other one. “Better. …Wearing my ring, aren’t you?”

I lean close to him to whisper, “Tonight was really fun!”

Spike bursts into laughter. “Rupert’s gonna stomp on my ashes for this, ruining his righteous slayer.”

“He’ll never know it was us.”

“He’ll guess it was me, and his first question is gonna be if Bonnie’s riding with Clyde.”

“What’s he going to do? Yell at me?” I take a sip from my mug, and make a face at it. “Blegh! That is not weak. Are you trying to get me drunk?”

“That’s what you do when I work on things, isn’t it?” He gestures around us at the makeshift living room. “Looks alright in here, love.”


He nods toward the TV as he settles back against the cushions. “What’s on after this?”

“Gilligan’s Island, I think.” I move closer to cuddle against him. “So… Ginger or Mary Ann?”

“Depends on if Mary Ann is as easy to corrupt as you are.”

I take another gulp from my mug. “Not a chance in hell.” I look up at him. “Besides, I always saw myself as more of a Ginger.”

He raises an eyebrow. “You’re joking.”

“Ok, fine. I’m no Ginger. But I’m not Mary Ann, either. I guess I’ll just stick with being the Bonnie to your Clyde.”

“Right, then, Bonnie. How was your first crime spree?”

I lean forward to put my mug on the table and start counting off on my fingers. “One, car theft.”

“Returned and unharmed. Counts as joyriding. Also, it was your own mum’s car, and you didn’t even drive it.”

“Close enough. Two, robbing a frat house.”

“An abandoned frat house, technically.”

“Good god, Spike. Are you trying to take the fun out of this? Three, accomplice to arson.”

“Still not as bad as if you’d set it yourself.”

“Four, under-aged drinking.”

“That’s nothing. So?”

I can’t keep myself from pouting. “So it was a lot more fun before we had this conversation.”

His mug joins mine on the coffee table and he pulls me into his lap. “Make you a deal, Bonnie. Next time, we won’t talk about it.”

I link my hands behind his neck. “Oh, yeah? What do you want to do instead?”

“Get you liquored up and celebrate.”


I have no idea what the plot of that Gilligan’s Island episode was, or even how that Mary Tyler Moore episode ended.

To be fair, we did turn off the TV at some point, though I couldn’t tell you when. All I can say for sure is that I didn’t have enough to drink to count as anything but sober, so I have no excuse.

Also, this couch is a lot roomier when the back cushions get thrown on the floor.

And Spike’s getting annoyed with me now.

“If you’re expecting the view to change, don’t hold your breath,” he grumbles, not even opening his eyes.

I’m curled up almost on top of him, with my chin on his shoulder, staring at him. “I keep expecting you to leave.”

“Yeah, well, don’t hold your breath for that, either.” He shifts out from under me, pushing me against the now cushion-less back of the couch as he gets up.

I sit up. “Hang on. Weren’t you just saying…?”

He goes across the room to grab the blanket from the top of the sarcophagus and throws it over the back of the couch. “You’re getting cold.”

I try to catch the blanket, but it drapes over my head. I get out from under in time for him to return to the couch. “Probably because this place is seriously drafty, I’m not wearing anything but a ring, and I’m being used as your personal heat rock.”

“Are not.”

“Uh-huh. Sure. Don’t tell me you’re not seriously digging the body heat.”

We settle back in together, under the blanket, and he grins. “Just a nice bonus, is all.”

“You’re stupid proud of yourself right now, aren’t you?”

“Eh, I knew. Knew the only thing better than killing a slayer would be–”

I take advantage of the whole nudity situation to grab him. “Finish that sentence, and it will be the last time you get to test that theory. Ever.”

I must not be all that intimidating naked, because all the threat gets is a chuckle. “You’re all talk. I’m in your system now, Slayer. Got you hooked. You’re not gonna follow through.”

“Oh, yeah? What makes you so sure?”

He smirks and starts counting off on his fingers, clearly mocking my earlier attempt to list our crimes. “One, your hand isn’t staying still. Two, you haven’t even tried hunting up your clothes. Three, you nearly woke the neighbors.”

“The neighbors are all dead p–” I frown. “Ok, fair point. But that’s totally your fault.”

“You’re welcome.”

“And the fourth?”

“The way I figure it, right about now, you’re realizing I’m not going anywhere.” The smirk fades and his voice drops to a whisper. “It’s not gonna go like that, love. I got nothing to lose that’s not right here in plain view.”

He adjusts the blanket to cover my exposed shoulder and waits for his point to sink in.

“I’m getting that.”

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