Chapter Twenty-Nine

Still not having slept, Spike was a bundle of nervous energy.

First thing he did, the moment it was dark enough outside, was to head out into that darkness, kill himself a bad guy (actually a bad girl, in this case), and then swing by the local grocery store for some cigarettes and chocolate. After that, he went back to his crypt to pass the final bit of time.

True, he and Buffy hadn't actually decided on a set time to meet, but he reckoned she'd probably have stuff to do before getting to him.

Pacing the floor, he practiced handing over the box of chocolates to her, each time scrapping whatever script he came up with.

He'd wing it. He could. It'd be fine. I mean, she's already told me she loves me and- oh, god, I'm in over my bloody head!

A few deep, unneeded breaths later, he decided he'd waited long enough and took himself out again – directly to Buffy's house.

Buffy had decided to take the long way round to Spike's crypt, going through two of Sunnydale's other cemeteries en route so that she could at least try and pretend she wasn't goofing off her sacred duty for a date.

Hair curled within an inch of its life, lip gloss shimmering, and high heels pinching irritatingly at her feet, she made the journey as quickly as she could, hoping that she didn't actually run into any beasties.

The first one found her within seconds – knocking her sideways onto her ass.

The Slayer fumed, grunting as she got back to her feet and dusted herself off.

It was a strange looking pixie thing, standing at a non-pixie-esque height of above five foot that had hit her. Normally, she'd have marked that down in her mental notepad as interesting and worthy of telling Giles, but she was so not in the mood.

"You gave me grass stains, you mook!"

Grunting once more, she took its head off in seconds, before continuing her journey, both faster and warier than before – taking a glance sideways with every second quick-step.

By the fourth step, she had two vamps to contend with.

The Summers House was locked up tight with no lights on and no sounds of human activity within when Spike arrived at it. That gave him pause.

Had Buffy forgotten they were supposed to meet? Had she not meant it?

He shook his head. No, she'd probably just got caught up. He'd wait it out…

Without knocking, Buffy walked straight into Spike's crypt and was already well into a rant about creatures of the night not respecting her need of a little time off when she realized no one was listening.

Spike wasn't there. Well, wasn't that just great.

Lighting a few candles, she flopped herself down into his favorite chair and flicked around TV channels, but it didn't take long for her to grow restless.

Thinking better of the entire date idea, and assuming she'd scared Spike off or something, she took a quick glance around the downstairs area before leaving again.

She was disappointed on top of hurt and angry when she arrived back at her place, all but ready to go on in and stomp up to her room when she thought better of it.

Following her intuition, she walked around to the back of the house.

Spike was perched on the porch steps, his head leaning against a pillar, fast asleep.

Sighing, Buffy couldn't help the wry smile that crept across her face as she sat herself down beside him, inhaling his scent.

Around his feet, there were more than a dozen cigarette butts.

After a few moments of staring at them, Buffy felt a strong arm come around her shoulders, drawing her more firmly to the Vampire's side.

"Missed you," he said, his voice thick with sleep.

"Yeah," Buffy replied, "Think we both did."

Spike blinked as she looked up at him, fully becoming aware.

"Where you been? You hurt?"

"Nah," she shook her head, "Just my little Slayer self-esteem."

He blinked again, this time taking in her outfit.

"Lookin' bloody good," he noted. "What happened?"

"Four hours of getting ready followed by walking stupidly far in stupid pretty shoes, followed by demon attacks and waiting around a dusty crypt."

"You were-?"

"Uh huh."

"But I've been-!"


"Bloody hell!"

"Communication really is something we should work on, huh?"

Releasing a breath through lips turned up in a self-depreciating grin, Spike affirmed, "Yeah, pet."

"But it's all good," Buffy decided, "We're here now."

"Not that it's gonna do us much good," said Spike, giving a meaningful nod to the sky. "Sun's almost up."

"So?" said Buffy, grinning impishly.

Spike only blinked at her again.

"Dawn's staying with a friend, and Willow and Tara are out at some all-night Wicca ritual thingy. You…" she lowered her eyes, hating how awkward this was. Then, looking up again, she rallied her bravery. "You could stay?"

There's a thing about gift horses. Sometimes, if you don't look them in the mouth, you might not realize they've got soldiers cleverly hidden inside, waiting to strike.

"Stay?" Spike repeated, "Buffy, are you sure?"

A look of hurt crossed her face before she hid it, expertly.

Damn it all.

"I want to," he affirmed quickly. "Really, I do. But…"

Her face lightened again, and she insisted she was fine.

"We've actually done this before," she reminded him. "Not so much of a strange thing from my perspective."

"Right," he said, grimacing. Like he needed a reminder that things were even more complicated between then than they had been, not two weeks previous when she'd been soddin' dead!

Off his look, Buffy swiftly backtracked. "We don't have to. It was a stupid idea, probably. But still, come in outta the sun. I could make up the spare bed in the basement, or if you wanna go, that's cool too. I-"

Placing a cool finger against her lips, he silenced her babbling and smiled at her again.

"I want to," he repeated. "I always want to."

Spurred on by this, she took his hand and led him inside.

To be continued...