Higher Learning


by Saber ShadowKitten
Continuation of Short Silly Fics - The Summer Series

LIII

LIV thru LXI


Higher Learning LI - Aaron



Spike dropped his pencil into the open workbook and rose from his seat at the kitchen table when the doorbell rang. Running a frustrated hand through his hair, he padded in his stocking feet out of the kitchen and through the foyer to the front door, glancing at the grandfather clock set beside the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Eight o'clock, he noted. That meant he'd been working for fifteen whole minutes. Perfect time for a break.

With a look out the peep-hole, the blond vampire threw open the door, a large grin plastered to his face. "Aaron, you nonce, what are you doing here?"

Aaron Von Riklin, aged well over four centuries, smiled at Spike. The light breeze of the late-September night ruffled his thin tufts of red hair that covered his mostly bald head. His short, thin frame was dressed in pleated navy pants, a beige, short-sleeved shirt with a navy knit vest over the top. A pair of half-glasses hung on a cord around his neck. To everyone, Spike included, the Swiss-born man looked more like a nutty, old, physics professor than a master vampire.

"Hiding," Aaron answered, one loafered foot resting on the top step of the porch. "Brigid wanted me to go with to her mother's. I told her I had other plans..."

"And if you don't have proof, she'll ream you a new one," Spike finished. He stepped back from the door. "Well, don't just stand there, pillock, come in."

Aaron entered the ranch home and glanced into the tidy living room as Spike closed the front door. "I can see you're still anal as ever, Spike."

"Watch it, mate," Spike said. "Or I'll tell Brigid the truth."

The red-haired vampire held up his slender hands, a silver, braided ring on his pinkie finger. "I won't say another word about your perfectly straight vacuum lines," Aaron promised.

Spike scowled at his friend's smirk. "Sod off."

Aaron laughed, then trailed after Spike as the blond headed back towards the kitchen. "So, kid, am I interrupting any big plans tonight?"

"Just homework," Spike answered, opening the refrigerator and taking out two long-necked beers.

"Homework?"

Spike gestured to the open workbook on the table, then said one word. "Willow."

"Ah." Aaron nodded. "Willow."

The blond handed Aaron an opened beer, then picked up his pencil in order to close the vocabulary book. "The little Witch decided that she was going to give me a bloody test on the thirtieth," Spike said.

"And no matter how much whining you did, she's still going to give it to you,"Aaron added.

"Yeah," Spike said. "She's all 'talley-ho' about this teaching thing. I don't have the heart to tell her to piss off."

Aaron snorted. "You mean you don't have the balls to tell her no."

"That, too," Spike agreed with a half-grin. He tapped the pencil on the bright green cover of the workbook. "Plus, you know, it'd be nice to get a little more educated. The chit's hanging around with all those university blokes-"

"-And you're afraid."

"What?" Spike frowned at him.

"Spike, I've know you a long time," Aaron said. He gestured with his beer towards the books stacked neatly on the table. "Used to be you wouldn't go through all this trouble to impress a gal."

"I'm not-"

"Now that your little Witch is off in academia-land with mortals as smart as she is," Aaron continued over him. "You think she's going to find some intelligent guy that she has everything in common with and leave you pissing upwind."

Spike's face grew darker as the redhead went on.

"Thus, you think if you can be as book-smart as her college friends, she won't have an excuse not to be your girl," Aaron told him.

"Are you through?" Spike asked in a cold voice. Aaron arched a brow at Spike's tone of voice, but nodded once politely. The blond vampire set the pencil down precisely next to the closed workbook, then folded his arms, his beer dangling from his fingertips.

"I'm going to say this once, and I'm not going to repeat myself, mate," Spike said. "I am doing this learning crap for two reasons and two reasons only. The first it to make my own unlife easier, and the second is to see Willow smile. And that's it."

"I stand corrected," Aaron said. "In fact, I'm still standing. Don't you know it's impolite not to offer your guest a seat? I'm an old man, you know."

Spike shook his head with a small snort of laughter. "You're pathetic, that's what you are."

"Excuse me," Aaron said. "Who's the one who alphabetizes his spice rack?"

"I don't have a spice rack," Spike said, leading the way out of the kitchen.

"Yeah, but if you did, I bet you'd have it alphabetized!"




Higher Learning LII - Ready?

It was Faith's turn to watch Spike's house, and she was bored. In the few weeks since she and Buffy had to humiliate themselves in order to get her sister-in-slayage's clothing back, the vampire hadn't really gone out. It was starting to piss her off. How were they suppose to pay him back if the bloodsucker never left?

Shifting on the thick tree branch she was sitting on across the street from Spike's ranch home, Faith popped another Skittle into her mouth. She almost choked on it when she saw her target and a guy that reminded her of Beaker from the Muppet movies Xander had made her watch over the summer. As the two got into a black Bentley, Faith pulled out the cellphone she was currently in charge of and dialed Buffy's pager.

Hopping down from the tree, the brunette darted across the street and to the side door of the garage. She grinned when she found it unlocked. "Not too smart, are you Blondie?" she commented to herself.

Buffy found Faith leaning against the doorjamb to the side door, a cheshire smile on her face. "He's gone?" the blond Slayer asked.

"Left ten minutes ago with some shorty in a Bentley," Faith replied.

"A Bentley?"

"It's a sweet-ass car," Faith told her, as she led the way around Spike's DeSoto in the garage and to the kitchen door. "You gotta be loaded to have one of them."

The brunette turned the knob on the kitchen door and it opened without a sound. She and Buffy exchanged evil smiles.

"Ready?" Faith asked.

"Oh, yeah."


Higher Learning LIII - Weeks Could Fly By

Willow shook her head and laughed as she read the new email message from Spike. Ever since the blond vampire had gotten a computer two days after his unexpected visit to UCLA, the two best friends had been communicating more often via email than they did on the telephone, although they still did that at least once a week on Sundays.

The hacker hadn't realized that weeks could fly by so rapidly. One day, she was just starting her freshman year, the next it was almost the end of September. She was about to undertake her first exams in almost all of her classes she suspected the professors planned to have them all the same week on purpose and she was involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities that kept her busy from three until dinner time, Monday thru Thursdays.

Her friendships with the small group she'd fallen in with had become tighter, as well. They ate dinner together, and she got together with them often to play cards or go down to the Snack Bar late at night. She didn't do that every night anymore, however. She decided she needed to sleep at least sometimes.

Her fingers flying over the keyboard of her laptop, Willow typed in a reply to Spike's message.

Sexy Knickers~

Yes, you *have* to take the test on the 30th. I'll be back in Sunnydale on Friday night, but I suspect you'll be too busy *studying* to do anything. I'll be at your house bright and early on Saturday, and after the test, we can do whatever (although I have to do my laundry sometime before I leave again on Sunday).

And no, I haven't been asked out on a date by anyone. You ask me that practically every day, and I'm beginning to wonder if you know something that I don't. Should I be expecting someone to ask me? < crosses fingers, because this Lady wouldn't mind a little date-friendly action >

Speaking of Mr. Tramp, when are we going to go play paintball again? There's a game here on campus called Killer that's sort of like playing, but instead of having teams, you get a name and go after that particular person, then take their name if you kill them and go after their person, and so on, until there's only one person left alive. I haven't played yet, but it sounds like fun. Tris said he'd let me know the next time one was starting.

Well, I'm off to study some more.

Hugs,
Willow





Higher Learning LIV - Morons



"Shhh!" Spike shushed with a spray of spittle, a single finger held in front of his lips. "We don't wanna ashract da Schlarseses attenssshhhhhin."

"I kin take 'em," Aaron said, putting up his fists. He wobbled slightly. "Jushh lemme ad'em."

The two Slayers, who were sitting about fifty feet away from the drunken vampires, were engaged in a game of poker as they sat in the cemetery near two new graves. Three hours remained until the sun crested the horizon signaling the start of a new day. Aaron and Spike stood on unsteady legs behind some bushes, the redheaded vampire having wanted to see what the two girls looked like after being regaled with stories by Spike about the blond one.

"No we can't go beatummup," Spike told Aaron, putting his hand on the shorter man's shoulder. "Wiwwow'd be all mad at me."

"Wiwwow, Wiwwow, Wiwwow." Aaron humphed. "S'all you blabber on 'bout. Don't see me talkin' 'bout my Brigididid awldays, er, awlwins, uh, wotsss."

"You's jus jeawus," Spike said. He nodded once in punctuation and staggered forward as he lost his balance. The bushes rustled loudly as he grabbed hold of them.

"'Snot!" Aaron put his hands on his hips and glared at the taller vampire. "I hassn't even met 'er, so how kin I be awl jeawus?"

"Yozziz!" Spike's face morphed into its vampiric countenance. "You weave my kiddin awone! Shezz mine!"

"Betsche'd pick me over you any day," Aaron boasted, puffing his chest out. "I'za better wookin' one."

"Sez who?"

"Sezzime!" Aaron's true face came forth, the ridges over his eyes deeper set than Spike's. He put his fists up again. "Puttem up, ya dumb vamp. Lessee who'sa...he'sa...whassa..." He frowned. "Whassar we fightin' 'bout 'gain?"

Buffy and Faith, who had no trouble hearing the loud conversation going on behind the bushes, both shook their heads. "Morons," Buffy told her sister Slayer.

"Big time," Faith agreed. "Think we should send them back to Spike's," she gave Buffy a sly grin, "casa?"

"Nah," Buffy said. "We have evil to fight. The two drunk morons will just have to hoof it alone."

"You don't think they killed anyone we're suppose to be protectin', do ya B?" Faith asked, glancing over at the rattling bushes.

"No." Buffy shook her head. "Willow said Spike promised her he wouldn't hunt innocents, and I know he'll keep his word. He's weird like that."

"Plus the guy's totally jonesin' for Red." Faith rolled her eyes when she saw two men stumble from behind the bushes towards the exit to the cemetery.

"'DARE YOU SEE 'ER, SITTIN' DARE ACRWOSS DA BAY, SSSHEEEE DON' GATTA LOTTA SAY, BUDDARES SOMEDIN' 'BOUT 'ER. AN' YOU DONNO WHY, BUTCHYER DYIN' TA TRY, YOU WANNA KISS DE GIRWL!!"

"'DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO!!"

Both Buffy and Faith winced at the loud, off-key, drunken caterwauling that came from Spike with accompaniment from the redhead as the two vampires staggered away. They exchanged looks again, and said simultaneously, "Morons."




Higher Learning LV - Whadda Bwoody Hewl??



"I kin dowit, howd yer bwoody howrses," Spike said to Aaron as he squinted at the lock on his front door. He jabbed the key at the hole for the eighth time, missing once again and causing the key to screech as it scraped against the metal surrounding the lock.

"Yeah, but wiwwit be before da sun comesup?" Aaron asked the blond.

"Ah-hah!" Spike exclaimed as the key went home on the ninth try. "Goddit!"

Aaron clapped politely as Spike turned the key, then opened the door. He gestured grandly for the shorter vampire to proceed him. After entering, he had to fight the lock to remove the key from the keyhole, causing Aaron to laugh at him.

"Spike versusus da wock," Aaron tittered.

"Shuddup," Spike grumbled, yanking hard on the key. It broke off, leaving most of it in the lock. "Oh fuck. I bwoke it."

"'S'okay," Aaron said, patting Spike on the arm. "You kin fixzit lader."

Spike nodded and shut the door. He went into the living room, hitting the lightswitch along the way, with Aaron trailing a step behind. He walked to the left side of the room without thought, staring at the broken key in his hand, and sat down on...

...nothing.

The blond vampire hit the floor with a squeak. Aaron laughed again and pointed at Spike. "Clutzzz."

"Wherezmysofa?" Spike blinked owlishly. He looked at the carpeted floor to the left of him, then the right before he looked up. The living room was devoid of any furniture. "Wherez my ovver stuff?"

"Do you fink you got wobbed?" Aaron asked, frowning at four evenly spaced marks in various places on the carpet.

"Nnnaaah!" Spike exclaimed. "Not wobbed!" He fell backwards onto the carpeting and stared up at the ceiling.

And blinked.

And blinked again.

All of Spike's living room furniture was set up perfectly -- on the ceiling. Three ropes held the couch suspended upside down flat on the white ceiling. Another three ropes held the entertainment center the same way. The coffee table and end tables looked to be suspended without help. Various knickknacks and other things were also up on the furniture, defying gravity.

"Whadda bwoody hewl???"




Higher Learning LVI - Thinking of You

RING.

RING.

RING.

RI--

"Whoever this is, fuck off," Spike mumbled into the phone.

"Oh, sorry."

Spike sat up abruptly when he heard the familiar female voice. He groaned loudly as his head threatened to explode. "Wait," he said with a hiss of pain.

"Spike? Are you okay?" Willow asked with concern.

"Hangover," Spike confessed with another groan. He flopped back on his pillow again, then regretted the action immediately. "Oooh, I'm dying again."

Willow giggled, then cut off abruptly. "Sorry."

"What's up, kitten?" Spike asked. He frowned as his mind skittered to his old friend, wondering where Aaron was.

"I was just calling to say hi. I was thinking of you," Willow told him, faint music playing in the background.

A smile spread across his face at the same time a happy feeling expanded inside of him. "Well, hi back," he said.

"Is this a bad time? Because of your hangover? Wait, why are you hungover?" Willow asked.

"Because I drank too much last night," Spike answered dryly.

"Duh."

Spike chuckled, picturing the witch rolling her eyes, then he groaned again as his body rebelled to his laughter. "Sorry to make pitiful noises in your ear pet. Me an' Aaron went out-"

"Say no more," Willow interrupted. "I understand. Boys night out fun stuff. It was fun stuff, right?"

"I think so." Spike frowned. "Don't know what I did with Aaron though."

"I'm down here, you stupid dick," Aaron's voice drifted up from the floor. "An' I'd appreciate it if you'd be quiet. Some of us are hungover and trying to sleep it off."

Spike pulled himself out of bed and ignored his protesting body in order to leave the bedroom. He shut the door behind him and slid down to the floor in the hallway, portable phone still in hand. "Found 'im, luv."

"That's good," she said. "I don't think there's a lost and found for vampires anywhere."

Spike leaned his head back against the wall. "You think you're quiet the amusing one, eh?"

"I know I am," she said boastfully.

"Ha ha, kitten," he said. The music in the background caught his attention. "Wait are you listening to? It sounds familiar."

"The Tarzan soundtrack," Willow replied. "Lisa just got it and put it on the stereo and it reminded me of you, so I called."

"A man in a loincloth reminds you of me?" Spike asked with a short chuckle.

"No, silly, the song," Willow said. "This one."

He heard her move to adjust the volume of the stereo, then Phil Collins' voice over the line.



Yes, you'll be in my heart.
From this day on, now and forever long.
You'll be in my heart.
No matter what they say.
You'll be in my heart, always



The happy smile that had crossed his face earlier returned and his hangover vanished. "Oh kitten," he murmured quietly, wishing Willow were there with him. "I miss you so bloody much."

"Did you say something?" Willow asked, the volume going down on the music.

"No," Spike lied, not wanted her to know how much he wanted her to come home. "Just singing along."

"So, do you feel okay enough to talk for awhile, or do you have barfy-feelings and wish I'd get off the phone so you can go stake yourself?"

Spike smiled again. "I think I can manage to talk for a bit."

They spoke for over two hours.




Higher Learning LVII - Getting the Furniture Down



Spike looked up at his living room ceiling and sighed. He couldn't believe the Slaying Twits had the nerve to do something like that. And he knew it was them, of that he had no doubt. If it had been done to someone else, he'd have been impressed by their ingenuity. However, because it was done to him, he was just annoyed because he had to go and get it all down.

But it was more enjoyable than studying. Taking a bath in holy water would be more enjoyable than studying. He wished he knew when he'd turned into a utter nancyboy. "Long about the time Willow licked your chest, mate," he muttered to himself as he set up the ladder under the ceiling entrance to the attic. "You should've turned her when you had the chance."

Of course, Spike had no real desire to turn the little fireball. He wouldn't hesitate if she were dying and it was the only way for her to survive. But he kind of liked her alive and feisty and able to reduce him to a simpering moron with a smile. "Great, I've turned into my poof of a Sire," he whined, climbing up into the lighted attic. "Felled by a mortal woman with red hair and beautiful green eyes and sexy body that she hides under all those bloody awful sweaters."

Crawling across the rafters, the blond vampire found several strong hooks and bolts holding his furniture to them, and wondered how Buffy and Faith managed to do it. He didn't think he'd been gone that long with Aaron. Then again, he couldn't remember all to clearly what happened that night, what with the amount of alcohol the he consumed as he tried to drink his old friend under the table.

"Should have made the git stay and help," Spike grumbled, trying to figure out a way to get his furniture down without it dropping and breaking.




Higher Learning LVIII - Friday Morning

Willow bounced as she walked out of her last class of the day. She'd been one of the lucky Freshmen who's classes ended at eleven a.m. on Fridays, and today she was double happy she got out early because she was going home for the weekend.

She was going to see Spike again.

**I'm going ho-ome, I'm going ho-ome, I'm going ho-ome,** she mentally sang to herself.

"Hey, Will, wait up!"

The hacker stopped and turned, smile on her face, as Tristan caught up to her. "Hey, Tris."

Tristan looped his arm around her shoulder and they fell into step together. "So, what time are you going home?"

"In an hour," Willow replied. "My cab is picking me up at noon to take me over to Angel's with my bags and bags of laundry, then I'm off to Sunnydale." **And Spike.**

"You'll be back on Sunday early, right?" Tristan asked.

"Moderately early, why?" she said.

"The student union is showing The Breakfast Club on the big screen," Tristan said. "I thought maybe we could go together and see it."

Willow blinked in surprise. Was Tristan asking her on a date? "Are you asking me on a date?"

"Well, uh, yeah. Unless you don't want it to be a date," he said quickly. "We can just go as friends. Because we are friends. And that's what friends do. Go to things together. As friends. And I'm going to stop with the brook impression now."

Tristan was asking her on a date.

Tristan was asking her on a date.

On. A. Date.

**Oh goddess, oh goddess, oh goddess,** Willow thought. **A date. A real date. A boy is asking me on a date. Well, not a boy, really, since he's, like, 21 already. But he's asking me on a date. Oh goddess, this is so cool. I wonder if this is why Spike's been asking me if someone's asked me on a date yet?**

"Uh, so yes or no?" Tristan asked.

"What...oh!" Willow blushed. She'd been so caught up in her mental babbling, she hadn't answered him. "I'd love to go with you. On a date."

A large smile broke out across Tristan's face. "Great! Well, I, um, have another class I need to get to. The movie starts at nine, so I'll knock on your door about eight-thirty, okay?"

"Sounds good," Willow said.

"Have a fun weekend at home," Tristan told her. He dropped his arm from her shoulder and hitched his bag higher on his own. "I'll see you Sunday."

"Yeah, Sunday," she said. He nodded, turned and walked away.

Willow kept walking towards her dorm, practically skipping, as she mentally sang a new tune. **I got a da-ate, I got a da-ate, I got a da-ate...***




Higher Learning LIX - Friday Morning Elsewhere



"Bloody hell, I'm the stupidest git on the planet." Spike shoved the book he was trying to read across the table. It slid to the other end, knocking various papers and workbooks onto the kitchen floor. "This is a soddin' joke. I don't need to know this crap. I lived this long without readin' well."

He stood, the chair scraping on the linoleum, and stalked out of the kitchen. He threw himself down on the replaced couch and lit up a cigarette. Picking up the remote, he angrily stabbed at the on/off button. The television blared to life.

"'...You really think I'd chose you over Trevor?'" the redheaded co-ed asked a blond in a black, leather motorcycle jacket on the screen. "'Come on, you can't even read that break-up letter I gave you. I want someone who's smart, who's actually going to be something other than a drop-out from Trailerville, USA. I want someone I can be proud of, not someone which I have to hide my face from others. I want a man, not a loser.'"

Spike shut off the television by throwing the remote at it, sending a shower of sparks and glass everywhere.






Higher Learning LX - Borrowing Angel's Car



"I promise, Angel, I'll be super-careful," Willow said, holding the car keys tight in her hand lest the dark-haired vampire snatch them back. It had taken her almost half-an-hour to get him to relinquish them to her, even though he'd already said she could use his car to drive back to Sunnydale. "Extra super-careful."

"Are you sure you don't want to wait until dark?" Angel asked. "I don't mind driving-"

"No," Willow interrupted quickly. "I have to be home early. Parent-thing. Thanks, though, for offering." She purposely opened the car door in the underground garage of Angel's apartment building. "I'll bring it back safe and sound on Sunday."

"Do you know what time?"

Willow stifled back her groan of annoyance. "Sometime early. I have a date at eight-thirty and want to be unpacked and ready before then."

Angel arched his brows. "A date?"

"Don't sound so amazed," Willow grumbled.

"No," Angel said. "I was thinking more along the lines of it was about time someone asked you out."

Willow gave him a half-smile. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Angel said. "Now, you'd better get going while it's light out so it's easier for you to drive."

"Angel, the sun doesn't set for another five hours."




Higher Learning LXI - Borrowing Time



Spike dragged his hand through his damp hair as he looked at the mess on his living room floor. The glass from the broken television was still littering the carpet, the remote sitting inside the now-useless body of the set. He'd gone and taken a cold shower in efforts to calm himself down, and was now faced with the mess he'd made.

He pursed his lips, disgusted with himself and his behavior. He turned and walked into the kitchen, stepping over the papers and books that had fallen to the floor during his temper-tantrum, and retrieved the trash can and Dustbuster.

**What the hell is wrong with me?** he thought as he started to pick up the broken glass. **It's only a soddin' test. I don't have to take it if I don't want to. I could fail it and it wouldn't make a difference to me.**

Then Spike thought of the face Willow would make when he did fail, the 'I'm disappointed but I'm not going to show it' look he'd gotten when he'd told her they couldn't go to the pictures one night. It had made him feel awful, and he'd shown up at her house at three in the morning with ice cream and an apology. Her friendship was the most important thing in his unlife, both back then and still now, and he didn't want something stupid to muck it up. What moments they had together were limited as it was considering she was mortal, and borrowing time from Death came with collection date that was unknown.

"Great, now I'm depressing myself," Spike muttered, violently plunking bits of glass into the trash. Willow was coming home to him in less than twenty-four hours. If he didn't get his act together, he might as well just tell her to not come because their all-too-short visit would be uncomfortable.

He flicked the Dustbuster on and ran it over the carpeting near the television, the little vacuum picking up the tiny shards that he missed. He didn't want Willow to get hurt, either by cutting her feet or by his anger at himself. She was coming home to him for two days only, and he didn't want to miss a single moment. He missed her fiercely, more than he'd ever thought he could miss someone he only considered a friend.

It was a good thing that he knew Aaron and about the older vampire's relationships with mortal women, or Spike would think his affection for Willow was a sign that he was going 'round the bend. Human women were supposed to be used for a quick shag then as dinner or turned, and that was it. Vampires weren't supposed to be friends with them, it wasn't normal.

Then again, when had he ever been considered normal? His Sire, once the Scourge of Europe, was now a souled poof in love with what was conceivable his mortal enemy, the Vampire Slayer; Spike had loved one female vampiress for close to a century and was faithful to her to the end; he'd made a truce with the Slayer in order to save the world and his Dru, going against his own Sire to do so; he kept his word ninety percent of the time, the other ten percent being only if he felt there was an exceptionally strong reason to break it; and he absolutely loved Disney movies.

**Maybe that's what I need,** he thought, rising to his feet to return the trash can and Dustbuster to the kitchen. **A nice, hour and a half break in front of the...broken television.**

Spike cursed fluently.


Continued