"Come on," said Xander, and surprised himself by touching Spike's arm. The vampire was still looking in the direction Buffy had fled, and for a moment he almost passed as normal boyfriend material, just another confused guy faced with tears and torn between an inclination to follow and the manly instinct to retreat. "Trust me," he went on, which earned him a glance. "Those are the tears of a solitary Buffy."
"Yeah." Spike's voice was rich with reluctance. He seemed at a loss for another moment, then gathered himself and trailed Xander from the room and into one of the many security boltholes that riddled the underground structure. They trod its steep stairs without speaking to emerge in the shrubbery outside. Spike's hands, searching for something to do, wandered into his pockets and drew out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Xander, for lack of anything better to do, spectated.
"What are those?" he asked.
Spike paused, holding up the cellophane-clad pack. It was black and centered with a red Art Deco dragon whose wings circled up to touch tips above its head, the entire illustration trimmed in gold. *Victory*, promised the label. "Official state cigarettes," Spike said dourly.
"And where exactly do our demons grow tobacco? In the sunny subterranean fields of Hell?"
"Dunno. One of the many mysteries." He frowned, then tapped a cigarette into his mouth.
"Maybe I should take up smoking," Xander mused, as Spike's hands cupped around the flame of his lighter. "Of course, I actually have working lungs." Dark eyes glinted at him in comment, and after a particuarly deep inhalation Spike handed over the cigarette. Smoke ebbed from his lips and nose like plumes of brimstone. With only a moment's pause Xander took it and tried a toke. Spike watched with a kind of tolerant, smileless amusement that should have irritated him, but didn't even break the skin. The smoke burned his throat just as it had the half dozen other times he'd tried this, and he held it until he coughed, then handed it back. "Thanks. That hit the spot...no, wait, I think it ran through the spot with a burning hot poker."
"Don't worry. Other vices in the sea."
I'm violating my own edict by mentioning the noir here. I keep pushing myself to write, I really do--but my self simply sets its heels and resists, an immovable object with a gloomy, implacable gaze. And then, when I've tired of trying to motivate it, it often wanders over to the couch to eat ice cream and watch violent movies.
I don't know what to do with it.