Spike Pratt had known Buffy Summers was a little odd from the first moment he met her. If anything, it had been part of the attraction. She was completely unlike any woman he’d ever met, and he had no doubt that she would keep him guessing for the rest of his life. He’d wanted to propose to her the very first night, but he’d managed to hold off for six months in fear that he’d scare her off.
Now, two weeks away from the big day, Spike was just as sure as he’d been then that she was the one he wanted until he was old and gray. However, it appeared that his fiancée was not quite as certain as he was. She’d been behaving even more strangely than usual for a week, denying anything was wrong until she’d blurted out she’d made an appointment for them to attend a pre-marriage counseling session with her priest.
When he’d pointed out she couldn’t even remember the priest’s name and she never went to church except when her mother had amped up her nagging, she’d accused him of not taking their marriage seriously. He’d caved, and now there they were, sitting on a couch in the priest’s office ready to talk about a relationship that, up until the day before, Spike had thought was on solid ground.
Apparently, he’d been wrong, especially as he listened to what she’d had to tell the priest.
“I’m not sure I can marry him.”
Spike felt like his whole world had been ripped out from under him, but the priest – who was apparently named Father Caleb – simply frowned and said, “Hmm…and what makes you feel that way?”
That was all he was going to say? Didn’t he have to tell her to she needed to stay with her fiancé? Or did those sorts of mandates only come after the wedding?
“I’m not sure he’s nurturing enough to be a good husband and father.”
Spike couldn’t help it; his jaw dropped. “What?!” he asked.
Buffy didn’t reply to him, though. She kept her eyes on Father Caleb, who nodded as she said, “He’s just not as sensitive as I’d like, you know?”
“I’m not…” Spike shook his head, muttering in disbelief. “I’m very sensitive! I’m a bloody poet for fuck’s sake! I redefine sensitive, you crazy bint!”
Father Caleb cleared his throat. “Well, uh, Mr. Pratt, I can see where your fiancée may think… I mean, if you usually call her names like…”
Buffy rolled her eyes and waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, that. I don’t care about that. Spike’s a blurter. No control over his mouth at all. I’ve totally gotten used to it.”
Now Father Caleb looked almost as confused as Spike, and Spike found that at least a little comforting. Maybe the priest could just tell Buffy she was insane and then they could just forget this whole thing.
“So, uh… How long have you been worried Spike isn’t sensitive enough then?” Father Caleb asked, his brow furrowed.
“Since Mr. Pointy died,” Buffy answered, as if that made some sort of sense. Which it didn’t, as was clearly evident on both faces of both men.
“Who the hell was Mr. Pointy?” Spike asked, once again doing the “blurting” Buffy had accused him of.
“See!” Buffy exclaimed, jabbing her hand towards Spike. “He doesn’t even remember! That proves just how insensitive he is!”
Spike’s eyes widened and he shook his head in denial of her accusation, feeling completely blindsided. Surely if they’d known someone named Mr. Pointy he would’ve remembered, especially if this Pointy person had then died. “Buffy, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Spike said honestly, hoping he hadn’t somehow just signed his own death warrant.
“He was the goldfish, Spike,” Buffy snapped. “Remember?”
“The goldfish was named Mr. Pointy?”
Buffy sighed dramatically. “Yes. Remember? I told you. I named him that because his fins were all pointy – Mr. Pointy.”
At that, all Spike could do was stare, his mouth parted slightly and his eyes wide.
Father Caleb cleared his throat again, reminding the couple of his presence. “What exactly was it about the death of, um, Mr. Pointy, that made you decide Spike wasn’t sensitive enough?” he asked.
“He flushed him!” Buffy exclaimed, throwing up her arms. “Right down the toilet!”
“That’s what you do with goldfish!” Spike yelled in his own defense.
“That’s not what I do with goldfish!” Buffy yelled back. “I give them a proper burial!” She dropped her arms and crossed them over her chest, pouting slightly. “You didn’t even wait for me to come home from work.”
“Well, I wasn’t going to spend all day with a dead fish in the house,” Spike replied. “Those things bloody stink.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes and ground out her response. “You could’ve put him in the freezer.”
“Oh, so sticking the dead fish in the freezer is acceptably sensitive then,” Spike retorted.
“It would be like a morgue!” Buffy countered.
“And would I need to tie a tiny tag to his fin then?”
“All you’re doing is proving my point!”
Spike closed his eyes for a moment, a muscle in his jaw ticking rapidly as he tried to get control over himself. “Buffy,” he began as his eyes snapped back open, his words tight, “We had the goldfish for three days. I didn’t know you’d gotten so emotionally attached.”
“I wasn’t. But everything deserves a proper burial,” Buffy replied, her head held high.
“You know, you are the most insane woman I have ever, ever met, and god, if I didn’t love you so much for it…”
Suddenly, Buffy’s anger fell from her face. “You love my crazy?”
Spike smiled softly, sensing her sudden mood shift and happy to simply go along with it if it got him off the hook for the whole goldfish debacle. “Baby, I adore your crazy.”
Buffy let her arms drop and stared down at her lap. “I’m just really scared, Spike. This is a huge step.”
“I know.” Spike reached over and took one of her hands in his. “Truth be told, I’m scared, too. We are taking a big step. But you know what makes it better for me? Knowing that no matter how scary the future may seem, I’m not going to be doing it alone. We’ve got each other to lean on from now on, no matter what life throws at us – dead goldfish at all.”
Buffy sniffled, tears in the corner of her eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, sweetheart,” Spike replied, brushing away the tears. “And you still want to marry me, yeah?”
“Uh huh,” Buffy replied with a nod.
“Good.” Spike stood up and rubbed his hands together. “Well, I think we’re done here. Ready to go, luv?”
“Yeah,” Buffy said as she got to her feet. “Thank you for your time, Father Caleb. You were a huge help.”
“Uh…you’re welcome?” Father Caleb replied, the look of confusion still stuck on his face.
Spike took Buffy’s hand and all but dragged her out of the office, glad the whole thing was over and hoping he could keep her from having another major anxiety attack in the next two weeks…
Father Caleb shook his head as he watched them go. There was one definite upside to being a priest – he didn’t have to put up with any of those damned crazy women…