Peculiarities of Taste and Sentiments

by Miriam Heddy


"Nice handwriting." Harris dropped a heavy hand on Spike's shoulder and ignored Spike's attempt to shrug him off.

Spike covered the current page with his hand and placed a book on top of the other pages to keep Harris from reading them over his shoulder--assuming the idiot could read copperplate. He'd noticed Dawn had almost no ability to do so and printed in shaky block letters. Harris' own penmanship was just plain ugly, with letters bumping into each other at odd intervals like recalcitrant children on one of those bloody field trips that used to get Dru so excited ("walking buffet" she used to call it, which was a bit much even for him. He never did like killing children--which should've been an early clue that Dru had made him wrong).

"School, yes." Spike frowned, annoyed at himself for getting drawn in to answering. He should just ignore Harris. Sometimes, if he did that, Harris drifted away to the telly.

Harris gave his shoulder a squeeze and Spike set his pen down and lifted Harris's hand off his shoulder. His hand was warm and soft, some of the callouses he'd got working construction having smoothed out.

"So, what, did everybody back then write like that?"

Spike nodded. "We did penmanship drills, hours each and every day in a copybook--"

"A what?"

"A...." Spike had to stop and think about that. He had no idea if they even used them anymore, nor did he care, nor did Harris, probably. Moments like this one were designed to remind him how far he'd fallen, with Harris set on Earth by the Powers as part of his penance for what he'd done before the Soul.

It was a working theory, and unconfirmed, but it accounted for why he'd been drawn to the Hellmouth in the first place and why he'd drifted back to London after things went pear-shaped in LA, and it also explained why he was sharing a flat with a large, idiotic man who would. not. shut. up.

"So this copybook...."

Spike was sure the Powers had overestimated his part in the Scourge if they truly believed he deserved Harris.

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