Several weeks later…

"Oi!  Slayer!  Get a load of this!"

There was a pause, a grumble, and a two-second beat of hesitation before she ultimately concluded that it was better to humor him than have him pester her about it endlessly until she complied.  No matter that she was getting ready for that night's patrol-so-we-can-dance-the-night-away-with-friends extravaganza.  Buffy hopped diligently into the living room as she tried to fit her heels onto her feet.  Unsurprisingly, Spike was camped out in front of the television.  "What is it?"

"Jus' made national news.  That Lecter prat we had to interview…'e jus' escaped from custody."

Her eyes widened comically.  "He what?"

"Yeh.  It appears 'e picked 'imself up some tarty FBI dish who's tryin' to nab that Buffalo Bill bloke."  He shook his head.  "Get this.  'E tore off some inept security guard's face an' decided to play it Halloween style till the coast was clear.  Gotta say…the pillock's got stones where it counts.  Kudos to effort an'…" He trailed off when he saw the familiar look of disgust filtering over his ladylove's face.  "'Course, 's bad."

"Very bad."  



"Wicked an' naughty."


"Stake-worthy…oi, it wasn' me who—"

Buffy smiled kindly and shook her head.  "Yeah, yeah.  But don't go around getting any funny ideas."

"Wouldn't dream of it, pet."  They shared a moment of private introspection before he turned his attention back to CNN.  "Y'think the ponce'll come after us?  Says 'e doesn' particularly fancy the rude, an' as you're so keen on remindin' me, 'm a—"

"Bad, rude man."  The Slayer grinned but shook her head all the same.  "I doubt it.  Besides, if he does, we'll deal.  Can't be any worse than everything else we've faced."

"Apocalypse," he agreed.


"You ready?" she asked, attentions going to her earrings now that she was satisfied that her shoes were on properly.

Spike couldn't help but grin at her get-up.  Only the Slayer could dress aptly for both fighting and partying without needing to immediately run to her wardrobe for reassurance.  "Right.  Jus' waitin' for the Bit an' our chums."

"Then we're off."

"To fight that evil.  For the safety of puppies an' Christmas."

"Truth, justice, and the American way?"

He gestured emphatically to himself.  "Not American here, thank bloody God."


"Sorry, luv.  Any country that elects the soddin' Terminator for governor is not one I'd bloody well brag about bein' affiliated with."

"That wasn't our fault…"

"Yeah, yeah…"

They shared another private grin.  The same that was needed for privacy, even in a vacant house.  A clockwork of instinct manicured inevitably into a stratagem of dancing around routine. 

Life continued, inevitably.  It always did.

And it was good.