Small Change
by M Phoenix


Heads or tails? Heads or tails?

The coin spinning, flashing glints of stolen light from her windows as Spike tosses it high, watches it peak, then catches it that millisecond before too late and lost in the grass.

Nickels and dimes jingle in his pockets these days, but they don't really feel like home. He leans back against the rough ridges of tree bark, needing something solid touching his body, holding him up. Toss. Flipflipflip. Catch. The flat of the coin slapping into the palm of his hand as he snatches it from the air.

He remembers the chink of francs. Absinth set flaming. And poncy French poets talking bollocks about the nature of the soul, in dirty Parisian bars. How Dru hated Paris.

Yen with the odd square holes so empty in the centre, almost like the space was the most valuable part. Slide of Chinese silk. Stench of smoke and panic in the streets; and Slayer blood shooting through his veins like heroin, taking him higher than he'd ever been. A true 'foreign devil' that night.

Marks and pfennigs heavy in his evening suit. Waltzing his Dark Princess through the alleys and ballrooms of Vienna, as lovesick Rudolf blew his brains out at Mayerling, and the old empire began to crumble.

On and on. Roubles. Kopeks. Lire. Escudos. A change of threads, a change of currency, but he is always the same. Was always the same until...

The last light is out now. Her bedroom window seems somehow blacker than the rest of the house. Is she sleeping? Will she dream of him tonight; of violence, blissful, shuddering and breaking; of love that feels like dying again each time she bleeds for him?

Spike stops, the coin poised, trembling on his thumbnail. He tips it onto the palm of his hand and traces the copper image, smooth edged, almost worn away by time and use. He's carried it for more than century, though he never gave much thought as to why. It's too dark to see clearly, everything has taken on a bluish tinge, but he knows the profile of old Queen Vic herself is lying under his fingers, glaring disapprovingly into infinity. Sour faced bint if ever there was one. And indistinct around the edge, the date, eighteen eighty.

Suddenly he wants to cry, he wants to kill the bitch whose mission in life seems to be to torture him until...until what exactly? He bashes the back of his skull against the tree and grits his teeth until the desire to burry his fangs in her delicate, white throat mutes to a low growl.

It's ridiculous, pathetic, and he doesn't need this.

What with all the lurking and brooding anyone would think he'd gone down with Angel-itus; well bugger that for a game of soldiers. There's all night kitten poker at Willie's Bar, and a bottle of bourbon with his name on it. He spins decisively on his heel, and is about to pocket the thick, round penny when he changes his mind and lets it fall instead. Watches it plummet in slow motion; nothing really; just another part of him she's stripped to the bone. It makes a soft little thump on the grass, and he can't quite resist squatting to run his fingers across it one more time.


"So, tails it is then," he murmurs to the empty street, as he rises and strides away.


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