I walk in the door, kick off my shoes, and let my bag slip from my fingers. It comes to rest on the floor with a soft thud. It has been a hellacious day, and I am terribly grateful it is over.

I move slowly across the room, finally settling in front of the computer. As I turn the beast on, I yawn, tired from more than just a lack of sleep. I have not checked, but I am certain it was a full moon last night. Today I had to deal with people who could have put werewolves to shame. That thought reminds me of Oz, and that leads me full circle to my favorite vampire. I am a Buffy fan. And more importantly, I am a Spike addict. No apologies. I really want - no, need to write something. I am waiting for the computer to figure out what it is doing. It wheezes and chugs, reminiscent of the way I have been feeling all day. I think I shall close my eyes for just a second...

I'm sitting in front of my computer, still fuming.

"Bloody, ignorant, asshole, fucktard customers," I gripe. With petulant flare, I cross my arms and slouch low into my chair. "SPIKE!"

I sense his presence behind me an instant before I hear the soft swish of leather. "You bellowed?"

His voice is like liquid honey, thick and sweet and oh-so full of indulgent promise. His tone, however, is dry enough to suck the moisture out of a cactus at 20 paces. I can hear the smirk in it. And I'm not in the mood.

"Shitty day," I complain. "Must kill things. Need blood and mayhem. Need them now."

I hear an indelicate snort. Followed by a scrrrrratch and a sizzle. Abruptly, the acrid smell of cigarette smoke and a faint hint of sulfur fill the air.

"Wish you'd buy a bloody lighter, pet." He leans against the edge of the desk, and I scowl as he casually flicks ashes at random. I hand him an ashtray, and he regards the proffered ceramic dish as if it were dead vermin. Eventually, he takes it and sets it down beside him.

I turn my attention back the merrily blinking cursor. The one winking at me from the big. fat. blank. screen. "Hello, I need some help here!"

"Yeah, yeah, don't get your knickers in a twist." He takes a long drag on his cigarette, and I watch the tip glow bright red for a moment. It fades behind the ash as he pulls it from his mouth and tilts his head back to blow elaborate smoke rings in the air. I roll my eyes as he amuses himself. Shortly he turns his attention back to me.

"Right. What is it then? Some new prophecy come to light? Big bad need vanquishing?" His eyes take on a special gleam. "Maybe Angelus is back and needs his arse kicked, yeah?" I shake my head, and he continues, undaunted. "I know! More of that bloody awful sap you lot are so big on." He grins, and I can see the wheels in his brain churning out all sorts of delicious ideas. "Me'n the slayer, hot and heavy. Yeh, I bet that's what..." He trails off as he finally glances my way and notices that I am giving him The Look.

"Wot?" he demands, frowning.

"Me. Had. Craptastic. Day." I explain slowly, as if to a particularly stupid person. Or vampire. "Me. Wants. Vengeance."

He sighs dramatically as he realizes that he doesn't get to play right now. "Right, love," he concedes. "Tell us all about it."

I pout. "He made me feel stupid, Spike. Incompetent! Like I was a rookie on my first day. He was totally condescending! And rude! And... and..." I struggled for an appropriately horrible descriptor. "He had stupid hair, too!"

He cocks an eyebrow at me as he takes another drag, then does head tilt #28: The skeptical look. "Thought you worked in the call center, love."

I scowl at him. "Okay, okay, he sounded like he had stupid hair. Fuck off. That's not the point, and you know it."

He smirks again, but I let it go because he has me and I know it - and I am going to pretend it never happened.

"Anyway."

He nods, stares off into the aether as he grinds the butt out in the ashtray. I harrumph when I glanced down to discover he has managed to get the ashes everywhere but in the ashtray. Sometimes, I don't know why I bother...

"Sounds like he was a right evil wanker. In need of a good killing. Prolly a demon, even." The gleam from earlier was coming back. "What'd you have in mind then?"

"Pain. Torture. Dismemberment. Forcing him to listen to New Kids on the Block on endless loop for 24 hours straight. You know. The usual."

He shudders. "You're mighty brassed off then. Remind me to never get on your bad side. New Kids? That's cruel and unusual punishment, innit?"

"Your point being?"

Again with the eyebrow. "And they call me evil."

I just smile, before turning back to the screen, fingers resting lightly over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike.

"Right. Here we go, then."

He steps in close, chest grazing my back, his hands grasping the desk on either side of me. His chin rests just above my right shoulder, his lips inches from my ear. I am encapsulated by the leather/whiskey/smoke scent that is uniquely Spike. Anticipation builds, and just when I think I'm going to scream he begins to speak, and I am distracted momentarily by the feel of his cool breath caressing my ear. Focus, focus...

"Alright pet. Here's how we're going to wank it. Set this one in right after that fateful Halloween..."



I awake with a start. I was more exhausted then I realized to doze off while the compute was booting up. I stumble out of the chair and make my way to the kitchen to pour myself something to drink.

Perhaps I should just go to bed I think even as I make my way back to the computer, cup in hand. I can always write a little something tomorrow. I can't see how I'm going to get anything done when I'm falling asleep at the keyboard.

Then I set the drink down on my desk and my fingers find the keys and suddenly I am typing. And there are ideas that have been swirling, muddled thoughts in my head for so long that I can hardly differentiate between them. And as letters form words and words form sentences, paragraphs grow and an idea begins to solidify. I smile as I realize the muse has graced me with her presence, and decide that I don't really need 7 full hours of sleep tonight anyway.

In the back of my mind, some place removed from the clacking of keys and the flow of the plot, a small part of me is curious about the smell of cigarette smoke that seems to linger in the air.