She caught up with him in the tack room and he could tell that she didn't know what was going on. In truth he was a little surprised that she'd never done this before; it was a kid's thing really, a teen's thing, but she was painfully unfamiliar with the gear that was thrust into her hands by the bouncer manning the shelves. Spike shrugged into his chest harness easily enough, strapped the belts tight around his ribcage before activating it with the large plastic gun he'd been given. The thing lit up with an electronic trill and a flash of blue lights, and he saw recognition finally dawn on her face.

"Wait," she said slowly, "We're not… Are we playing laser tag?"

Spike just smirked and took her gun, touched the ports together so that her chest plate came alive the same way his had, shining a deep ruby red.

"Tough luck pet," he rumbled as he watched her struggle to get all her straps straight, backing slowly towards the heavy door marked with a bright white rune. "You might'a had a chance with me on your side."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded, picking up her gun and looking it over before she hooked her finger through the trigger guard, following two paces behind as he pushed through into the arena.

Spike grinned wickedly, his eyes going gold as the lights fell. "This is a team's game Slayer. You and me?" His tongue curled behind his teeth and he pumped the slide of his gun suggestively. "Different teams."

And then he was gone, pulling the trick any vamp worth his bite could pull and melting into the darkness like he was made of it.

The arena was huge, full of obstacles to climb, leap, or duck behind, all decorated with the vibrant, phosphorescent paint that glowed under the dim black lights and Spike swung easily behind a column, dropped down from the edge of the platform he was on and sprinted to the other side of the room, staying silent and low. He edged calmly past a few others, vampires and demons circling slowly round, but they mostly ignored him, intent on other prey. It was couples here, or groups, and it was more fun to go after each other than the strangers that crept past. Even with the bloody piñata's-worth of patrons slinking around him he could still feel her moving in the dark, catch the faintest scent of her as the air stirred under the huge fans cranking along the high ceiling, and it stirred something in his gut that he didn't want to think about too much.

Bit like hunting really.

It felt the same, and altogether different too.

But it felt right, chasing a slayer through the dark. What he was made for. Maybe even who he was made for, if he let himself get poetical about it.

Even if it was just a game.

As he moved through the arena he held his fire, even when red gear loomed large in the dark around corners and behind rock walls. None were her. He didn't doubt that she would be firing on any blue she came across and racking up her points, enjoying the game, determined to hold her own, but he had no interest in the others that weaved or clustered through the compound. No, it was her alone that he was after, and so until he found her he preferred to melt into the shadows and bide his time. He felt like he was circling closer and closer to something strange and foreign, and he was vaguely reminded of the time when, years ago, he had stalked a group of high-schoolers' through a corn maize on Devil's Night and gotten turned around.

Now, like then, he shook off his distraction with no small irritation, charging aggressively across the compound where he leapt easily over an eight foot deep trench and swung around another column, landing on one knee with gun held at the ready, but she wasn't there.

He snarled under his breath as the whisper of her laughter reached his ears.


Baby wanted to play.

Rising slowly to his feet, Spike let his senses soar.

Of all the things, in all the world that she might have imagined she would be doing with Spike, this was probably the last.

Ok, maybe second to last.

The last was…

Buffy blinked in the dark and shook off the sudden heat that flushed through her cheeks.

Right. So. Laser tag.

She'd never played, even though Xander had tried dragging her and Willow to the arena three towns over several times. The idea had always made her roll her eyes, laugh him off with some comment about guns and boys and playing soldier. It was silly. Why would she want to play war when she already lived it every day? So she fumbled when she'd been handed her gear, hesitated in pulling on the heavy plastic chest plate and looking over the large toy gun in her hands. She might have resisted all together if she didn't think that Spike would tease her unmercifully for it, and in a small way, she found that she didn't really want to ruin what was… peaceable between them.

So she'd watched as he disappeared into the dark of the arena, melting into the shadows in that way that he did, and prepared to learn on the fly.

It surprised her that she didn't really have to.

It felt natural, almost right to be hunting in the dark, and as she moved she mused that it probably was. Natural. Right. She was the Slayer after all, and this was hunting. With all of her senses blown light and wide, she could easily pick out the demons that moved in the blackness around her but she ignored them. She had a vague idea of how this game worked, and Spike had told her that it was red lights against blue, but after endless nights of counting slays, she found that she wasn't really interested in racking up points. She had a target in mind, a specific target, and so she kept a steady finger on her trigger.

It made a twisted sort of sense really. She'd seen demons play a few games; pool, poker, even pinball, but it was always weird to see. She thought of them as tricksters, schemers, killers, and had a hard time reconciling that with more innocent pleasures. They mostly ignored her as she passed, only a few of them glancing at her with confused expressions before slinking away into the shadows. It was unnerving - this separation of work and play. She didn't know how she was supposed to walk around like… she didn't even know. Like they were all ok, like it was totally normal for her to be here playing laser tag with a bunch of demons that she'd have to stake tomorrow if they caught her in a dark alley.

Buffy frowned, crazily irritated that she was dwelling on the existentialism of her job, her life. She was on a date, dammit, even if it was with Spike. She hadn't been on a date in… god, forever. Riley tried, and even though she'd wanted normal, wanted average, sometimes she felt like she was drowning in the mundaneness of it all, suffocating underneath his blocky, soldier's body, the horrible niceness of him. Here, now, there was a fire shooting through her fingertips, a warm, pleasant nervousness in her belly that was keeping her hyper-alert and on her toes, and where it should have been exhausting, too like what she'd done every night for so many years, she found herself tense with excitement as she turned back to her task.

It wasn't hard to track him through the dark. Even without the blue Throttle pumping in her veins and shooting her senses through the roof, she thought she'd be able to track him. He was a Master Vampire after all, one that she'd fought time and again, struggled with as their bodies pressed close, skin on skin. She'd breathed the same air he had, pushed herself up off the same earth as he had, even on rare occasions faced down the same enemies he had, pushed back-to-back, side-to-side. She knew him, knew how he felt in the dark, the tall, lean silhouette of him, and so it wasn't hard to circle round the arena with a quiet ease and grace, slipping behind obstacles or swinging easily over noisy, clattering bridges as she kept herself one step ahead.

She could have ambushed him. Could have taken her typical aggressive stance and chased him through the shadows but for once she decided to hold back, decided she'd rather play than just win. It was a teasing, playful, light-spiritedness that had hold of her now, and she knew exactly how to turn this, because she knew Spike. For all his love of the dance he wasn't one for foreplay; he preferred to get right to it, jump in and get down and dirty before he even had half a bad plan.

She knew she could crack him.

It took a little longer than she expected it to. He danced around her for a while; ducking, dodging, weaving around – every once in a while she caught glimpses of his hair glowing like the radioactive mess it was beneath the pale blue-ish lights, but more than anything she could sense him, like the idea of him was solid matter just out of reach.

She knew when he broke, the exact second when he couldn't stand it anymore and came charging across the arena towards her but she held her position, held still as long as she possibly could even though her instincts were biting at her like a frickin' terrier, telling her to move, to run, but instead she tightened her hands around her gun, kept her finger loose on the trigger until the very… last… minute…

She heard him snarl with frustration as he landed in the spot she'd just been, a second too late to catch her, and it had her laughing delightedly as she spun away, disappeared as she put distance between them once more. It wasn't running. It was… tactical retreat. She'd swing away and then wait, swing away and then wait, letting him get close enough that she imagined he could scent her, hear her blood pumping as her heart pounded with the simple excitement of it before she bolted. And then suddenly teasing wasn't enough.

She wanted confrontation.

Rough and Tumble.

So she laid her trap.

She'd seen a good place near the far back corner of the arena, high up on a ledge that overlooked the rest. It was a narrow space, blocked off on either end by columns, and all she really had to do was hold her position, wait until he leapt into the tight confines before swinging herself around to land behind him and…


So he was better than she thought.

Buffy's finger quivered on the trigger of her gun as she stared Spike down, her aim dead center in the middle of his chest plate. Unfortunately she was in his sights too; somehow he'd managed to anticipate her attack and had twisted round in time to get his gun level with his own target. She could see his eyes flickering gold in the dark, see him smirk cockily as he waited to see what she would do. Slowly they began to circle each other, turning round and round in the narrow aisle, so close their bodies almost brushed, but neither of them lowered their weapons, neither gave. She didn't know what she was waiting for, didn't know what he was waiting for, and when he finally spoke she jumped as if he'd shouted, instead of purring in a low, silky tone of voice.

"Truce then Slayer?" he hummed, and his eyes flicked over to the edge of the platform they stood over, across the wide expanse of the arena where lights flashed and electronic trills and shots sounded. "Could do some damage real damage, you an' me."

"Isn't that against the rules?" she asked, but she felt something spark in her belly.

Spike only grinned, his teeth sharp in his mouth.

"Since when do we play by the rules?"

This week people. This. Week.


Anyway. A sort of fluffy chapter, I wonder how you guys feel about their activity. I thought it was a great analogy, and something I could totally see a demon unwinding with at the end of a long week.

Review, review, review (: