Chapter 1: Smells

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Post-Flooded (BtVS)& Post-Carpe Noctem (Angel)

A/N: As always, quotes from
Takes place just after Buffy leaves LA after talking to Angel.

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Buffy wandered through the graveyard, looking for something to fight. Her meeting with Angel had been short, but also (surprise, surprise!) intense. Between that, her financial issues, and the whole being-torn-from-heaven thing, she desperately needed something to kill.

Aha, she thought, as she heard some sounds in the distance. Sprinting towards the source, she found Spike fighting three demons. Two others already lay on the ground, dead.

Buffy catapulted herself into the middle of the fray, next to Spike.

"Mind if I join in ?" she asked as she started wailing on one of the demons, hardly even noticing the terrible stench.

Without even turning to look at her, Spike grinned and said, "Not at all, luv. In fact-" he kicked the demon he was fighting backward, away from the center of the fight, "-I'll even let you have the last two."

Spike quickly dispatched his demon, wanting to watch Buffy. He leaned against a gravestone and lit up a cigarette, admiring her work.

She'd already killed one of the demons, and was clearly toying with the other one, just beating on him to release some pent-up emotion.

Finally, she tired of that game and delivered a death blow.

Spike clapped as he rose. "Beautiful work, luv, just gorgeous."

He walked closer to her, watching as she attempted to wipe some smelly demon goo off her boot.

"Thanks," Buffy mumbled.

Spike cocked his head to the side, indicating his confusion - since when did she thank him? For what?

"For the compliment. And for letting me have the last two demons," she finished.

Spike understood what she meant. Few others would have just watched her fight without jumping in to lend a helping hand. Especially Captain Cardboard and Peaches, they were the worst.

Buffy gave a disgusted sigh as she glowered down at the goo. "Stupid demon guts."

"Those are brains, actually," Spike corrected her

Buffy made an 'ewww' face. "Whatever, they're gross, and smelly." She looked down at her boots. "And I think they're eating into my boots!!"

"I've got some rags back at the crypt if you want to get that stuff off right away."

Worried about her boots, Buffy set off sprinting for his crypt, Spike following close behind.

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"Ugh, glad to have that stuff off me," Buffy said as she finished wiping off the last bit of goo.

A bit had gotten on Spike's precious leather jacket, and he was currently cursing at the small hole the acidic brains had made. Giving up on his coat for the moment, he went and threw out all the rags they'd used.

"Ah, good, that stuff stank," Buffy remarked, breathing the clean air deeply.

Spike nodded absently, obviously concentrating on something. He seemed to be... sniffing?

"Uh, Spike? You in there?" Buffy asked.

He stiffened suddenly, glaring at her. "How dare you?" he growled.

"Uh... how dare I, what?"

"Oh, right, like you don't know. But no, actually, you probably wouldn't have thought about that, since it's all about you!!" Spike snarled, eyes flashing gold.

"And I still have NO idea what you're talking about!" Buffy exclaimed, frustrated.

With a low, menacing growl, Spike barked, "Get the hell out of here."

"What? I-"

"NOW!!" he roared, losing his temper completely. Grabbing up a bottle, he threw it so it smashed at the wall beside her. With one look at him, clearly mad and in 'game face,' Buffy backed out of the crypt slowly, keeping her eyes trained on the angry vampire.

As soon as she was out the door, she took off for home, wondering what the hell had just happened.

Buffy was doubly confused since, before that M'Fashion demon or whatever had attacked the day before, she and Spike had been having a pleasant little conversation - well, up until she'd brought up her financial issues.

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BUFFY: Everyone ... they all care. They all care so much, it ... makes it all harder.

SPIKE: I'm not sure I followed you around that bend, luv.

BUFFY: I don't know. I just, I feel like I'm spending all of my time trying to be okay, so they don't worry. It's exhausting. And then, I...

She trails off, makes a frustrated gesture and then clenches her hand into a fist.

SPIKE: And that makes 'em worry even more.

Buffy looks at him, doesn't reply. Spike walks up onto the porch, comes to stand next to her.

SPIKE: You want me to take them out? Give me a hell of a headache, but I could probably thin the herd a little.

After a moment Buffy smiles a little. Spike looks pleased.

SPIKE: Knew I could get a grin.

They exchange a look. Buffy moves forward, sits on the top stair, sighs deeply. Spike sits beside her.

BUFFY: Why are you always around when I'm miserable?

SPIKE: 'Cause that's when you're alone, I reckon. I'm not one for crowds myself these days.

They look at each other again.

BUFFY: Me neither.

SPIKE: That works out nicely then.

They sit there quietly, staring out at the night.

BUFFY: So, whaddaya know about finances?

SPIKE: Buffy, if you need money, I can get -

BUFFY (sighs): No, never mind Spike, forget I asked. I can't accept your money, which I'm sure you stole from someone or something.

SPIKE: But -

BUFFY: Spike, I said no!

SPIKE (opens his mouth as if to protest, then shuts it, and shrugs): Fine, pet, have it your way.

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Buffy had found she liked his company. He wasn't as demanding as the others. And, since he knew the truth about where she'd been, she didn't have to pretend around him, which made for a pleasant change.

'It has nothing to do with the fact that I might just actually like him for himself. Nope, definitely not...'

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A/N: Please review! Oh, and the flashback was from "Flooded," plus the bit I added on.