Title: Labels on Peanut Butter Jars... and Other Stuff

Rating: R for very mild language and for sexual situations

Author: Sandy S.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all.

Summary: Set after "First Date" but prior to "Lies My Parents Told Me" in Season 7. The potentials are out of the house and Buffy and Spike have a few moments of peace. Buffy POV.

Dedication: For lj user="mercysillusion" ! Hope you like your story, dear! And for Aydin lj user="canemae" , Aimee lj user="aimeedee" , and Thia lj user="dorkyduck" . . . my angels who love Spuffy!

Challenge: Up to two other characters – optional Tara. Has to be romantic, smutty, and involve a jar of peanut butter. There can be no Xander or Angel in the story.

Labels on Peanut Butter Jars. . . and Other Stuff

I giggle to myself as I slip down the hall and into the kitchen, the tiles cold against the soles of my feet. I can't remember when I felt this excited about something. . . this much like a kid again.

And the feeling is a good one.

The potentials are out of the house, Giles is out of the house, Willow and Xander are out of the house. In fact, everyone is out of the house but Spike and me.

The silence is like heaven. . . almost.

And I have a mission other than slaying for once.

Opening the kitchen cabinets, I survey the contents. One corner of my mouth goes down as I scan to find my target. Every item has been labeled by the ever-annoying Andrew, and the labels are huge, covering the entire outside of the containers so that I can't tell what food item is what.

The labels seem a bit arbitrary, too. I see several with my name on them, several with Dawn's name, and several with multiple names. Some of the slips of paper even have little if-then statements on them like "If it's Wednesday and the sun is shining, Amanda and Willow get to eat out of this box of crackers." I wouldn't be surprised if Andrew had a complex formula for determining what to put on the labels.

Feeling a bit disgruntled, I shove boxes, cans, and jars out of the way until my sight falls on a familiar cylindrical shape.

I grin.

I've found it!

My fingers close around the plastic lid, and I studiously ignore the label reading, "Andrew's only! Do not touch under any circumstances except Thursday night when it's Spike's turn to use the peanut butter!"

Setting the jar on the table and giving it a little twirl, I head for the refrigerator. I throw open the door, letting the contents rattle amongst themselves. Again, I ignore the multitude of added labels, spying the second jar I want with greater ease.

Slamming the refrigerator door, I amble toward the kitchen bar and slide onto a stool, open both containers, and wait.

I don't have to wait long.

A tousle-headed Spike noses around the basement door, sniffing the air with confusion. His bewilderment at the smell evaporates when he notes my appearance.

"What the bloody hell are you wearing?"

I offer him a wide smile and spread my arms in greeting. "This is comfy Buffy."

Spike's not taking his eyes off my outfit. . . and the skin that's showing through the material. "That's an awfully flimsy nightgown, pet."

I raise my chin at him in stubbornness. "I needed to be comfortable for this."

"I can tell. Not sure I dressed for the part."

As Spike occupies a stool next to me, I study his dark blue jeans that hug his hips and his loose white T-shirt that hides his body but sends my imagination into a tailspin. I swallow. "I think. . . that you don't have much to worry about."

"Good." He smirks at me in the same way he always has. I've noticed that lately the same old expression has made my heart skip a beat.

He waves a hand at the open jars on the table. "What's this now?"

I open my eyes as wide as possible and say in most innocent voice, "My part of the getting to know each other plan."

Since we have such a big battle with the First coming up and Spike is my right hand vampire, I've decided that we need to get even closer than we have been. I tell myself I'm doing this only because I have to know every one of his nuances. . . so that there won't be any slip-ups. At least, that's what I've been telling Giles and the others. Not sure who I'm trying to convince with that particular spin to my relationship with Spike.

Spike doesn't seem to be too worried about the rightness or wrongness of the getting-to-know Buffy scheme. "Well, it smells horrendous."

"Where's your part of the plan?" I ask.

He raises an eyebrow at me as if to say, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Then, he slides a hand into his pocket.

He withdraws a small object and sets it gently before me.

I cock my head all the way to the right so that my head almost touches the table. "What is it?"

"Somethin' I've never shared with anyone."

"Really?" I don't believe him.

He shakes his head solemnly. "Nope. No one else." He is thoughtful for a moment, and then, he continues, "Dru found it once, but I didn't tell her what it was."

"Oh." Maybe I do believe him. I lean forward and inhale. "Smells funny." Then, I realize what the object is. "Oh! It's, it's, it's. . ." I wave my hand as I try to recall the name of the object.

Spike chuckles. "Got a stutter going there, pet?"

I glare at him. "It's part of a pipe. . . t-the part where you put the tobacco."

His chuckle transforms into a laugh, and I relish the rarity of the sound. I seem to be relishing a lot of things about Spike lately.

"You're right, love. It was my father's."

"Really?" I sound like a broken record.

"Yep. It's the only thing I own of his."

My hand hovers over the round object. "May I?"

He nods, and I cup the tiny item in my palm as if it is a bit of treasure.

Without my asking, he adds to the story, "I never knew my father. He died when I was a child too young to remember. I used to play in his study for hours, close my eyes, and pretend I could see, hear, and touch him." Spike's lids lower as he expresses the memory.

I watch his expressions with fascination. With each passing day, Spike becomes more human in my eyes. . . more human than any vampire I've ever known, including my ex.

Spike speaks again, "When I was turned, this was the one thing I took from the house where I grew up. I didn't think so then, but maybe. . ."

"Maybe you wanted to remind yourself of where you came from? That you were once human?"

Spike nods as he opens his eyes. His eyes are startling blue with emotion, and I resist the urge to caress his cheek. "Maybe so."

"Didn't your mom tell you lots about him?"

Spike shook his head. "No. She was too broken up when he passed. I never even knew what happened to him. She swore the servants to secrecy, and when I got old enough to question things, there weren't resources at my disposal to uncover such things. Plus, I wanted to respect my mother's wishes."

"So, you never even knew how he died?" I am awestruck by this fact.

His eyes shine with a glaze of tears. "No."

I can't help myself. My fingers caress his forearm gently. He doesn't flinch at my touch but stiffens a bit as he is prone to do of late.

Uncomfortable with his display of emotion. . . and mine, I squirm in my seat, pulling my hand away and making a big display of placing bit of Spike's past in its previous position. "Wow. Makes my little getting to know you thing rather paltry in comparison."

The nostalgia vanishes from Spike's eyes, replaced by the glitter of mirth as he leans forward on the stool. "I demand to know what this weird experiment gone awry is all about."

"Don't know if it's an experiment yet." I smile. "Don't think you'll sleep if I refuse to tell you?" I tease.

"Not a whit."

"Okay. Let me preface this by saying that there is more than one person who does this out there."

Spike is intent. "Okay. Got it. More than one person." He hesitates, and then, "May I ask whom?"

My lips turn up in a grin. "Sure. For one. . . Tara."

"If she does it, it must be worth doing, right?" Spike's words are genuine, and I am amazed at how much Tara's sweetness touched us all.

"Yep. She's the one who showed me." I run the tip of my index finger around the edge of the peanut butter jar.

"Pray tell, pet. How and when did she show you this?"

"Well, remember when I first came back?"

"Which time, love?"

"When Willow brought me back," I clarify.

Something shifts momentarily in his features. "Won't be forgetting that anytime soon."

"Well, there wasn't much sleeping going on then. I was obsessed with being back in the world, and Tara was restless with thoughts of Willow's addiction. Being so close to Willow, she, of course, knew before the rest of us even contemplated the idea."

Spike nods, spreading his fingers on the countertop as he listens.

I shift gears away from bad memories, "Anyway, one night, I couldn't sleep, and I came downstairs to find Tara right here at the kitchen counter."

Spike gestures at the jars on the table. "With this stuff in front of her."

"Uh huh," I agree.

"Then, what?"

"Well, I asked her what she was doing, and she showed me."


"I was surprised and asked her where she'd learned to do that. She said that she learned to enjoy it at a slumber party when she was a kid and that it was a habit she sometimes just craved."

My grin widens, as Spike's impatience is more and more evident. I know Spike like a book by now and love testing the limits with him. He might say I've never stopped doing that to him.

Sitting up tall, I announce, "So, without further ado. . ."

I put my hand into the second jar, choosing the largest member of the group I can find. Making sure to keep one eye on Spike's face, I dunk the cylinder into the peanut butter jar.

Spike's reaction is stronger than I expect. "What the bloody hell are you doing, woman?"

Raising the food to my lips, I reply, "Eating."

He jerks back in a huff. "You've ruined the peanut butter." He aims two fingers at the label on the peanut butter jar. "Didn't you see that this peanut butter is mine on Thursdays? And Andrew will be. . ."

"Extremely pissed?" I interrupt.

Spike sighs. "Damn well right, he'll be pissed."

"But who cares about Andrew's labels?" I continue for him.

Spike's jaw relaxes a fraction. "Oh, yeah."

While Spike is calmer, I slowly slip the rather large peanut butter-covered pickle into my mouth. Making sure I have his full attention, I slide the pickle out of my mouth and lick my lips seductively.

I smile at Spike's slack-jawed face. "Yum."

A few seconds tick by before Spike is coherent, "Yum? Peanut butter and pickles?"

"Yep. Yum. Sweet and salty. What more could a girl ask for?"

This time, he's recovered enough that huskiness takes hold of his voice, "Well, love, maybe you'll have to demonstrate that for me again."

Covering the pickle in peanut butter again, I moan a little as I let the member enter my mouth. Sucking on the sour juices, I tighten my lips around the pickle's skin and breathe deeply as I move it with deliberation in and out of my mouth. At the same time, I let my fingers slide over Spike's thigh and hear his sharp intake of breath at my touch. He doesn't pull away as I stroke his leg in rhythm with the motions I'm making with the pickle and peanut butter. Then, his hands find my thighs, sending tingles of warmth and desire flooding over my body.

My breathing and pickle sucking match his more rapid pace until in one motion, he pulls me onto his lap. I gasp and bite down on the pickle as his hands rove over my breasts, and I press my hips downward into his so that I can feel how aroused he is. With a gentleness we've never shown one another, he pushes my arm with the pickle down, and I fumble backwards, setting the bit of food on the counter behind me. A single hand remains on my hip, and with his other, he pulls my head forward until my lips almost touch his.

He stops himself. . . a hesitancy born of our last intimate. . . horrific encounter. He whispers, "Is this okay?"

I stare into his eyes, wide and deep with lust. . . and love. The trust we've built since the terrible moment in the past far outweighs what's been before, and I bring my mouth to his, tenderly searching. . . seeking. . . until my tongue finds its way into his mouth, allowing him to taste the lingering mix of peanut butter and pickle.

Without warning, he draws back with a grimace on his face. "And Tara liked this peanut butter and pickle crap?"

A giggle spills past my lips before I can help myself. "Uh huh."

He shifts me on his lap, so I can feel how much he still desires me. "And Willow was okay with that?"

I throw my head back as I laugh with more abandon that I've let myself experience in a long time. "Uh huh!"

His hand on my shoulder blade, he tugs me close so that my nipples encounter his chest. "Okay, then."

This time, I let myself touch his face with tenderness. "You don't have to like it."

"Oh, but I do." He nuzzles my hand to one side, catching my sticky forefinger in his mouth.

"You don't even care if I mess up your peanut butter?" I ask playfully.

"If that's what it takes to get to know. . ."

"Hey!" The back door jerks open, and Spike and I jump and turn toward to the noise in embarrassment and fear.

Andrew stomps toward the kitchen counter, dirty blonde hair askew. Not even noting the intimate position in which Spike and I are entangled, he snatches the peanut butter off the table. "What did you do to my peanut butter?!"

Spike and I stare at him, and I'm desperately trying not to crack up.

He points dramatically at the label. "You aren't supposed to eat my peanut butter. Period."

Spike clears his throat. "Except on Thursdays," he deadpans.

Andrew catches his breath long enough to glance back at the label. "Oh, right. Except on Thursdays."

"Better check that calendar then."

Andrew looks confused. "Okay."

"I think Anya posted one in the basement," I suggest.

Vaguely, Andrew nods. "In the basement." With that, he wanders toward the open basement door.

As he's climbing down the stairs, Spike and I exchange relieved looks. Thankfully, Andrew seems to have been oblivious to what Spike and I had been doing.

Questions tumble through my head so rapidly that my vision blurs. I lean my head on Spike's shoulder, and he cradles me there. . . lost in his own probably similar thoughts.

And what am I doing? Is this really part of getting to know Spike? Am I starting the same cycle of sex over again? Is this healthy for either of us? Does intimacy between us mean something different now that Spike has a soul? Is a soul just a label I'm using to justify my desires? What am I telling Spike about us if I instigated this little sexual scenario tonight in the name of getting to know him? Does he want more? Or does he just want to share stories from our childhood? Am I forcing things too quickly. . . for me and for him?

I told Spike I'm not ready for him to go, but am I ready for him. . . for us to move forward. . . past the labels of good and evil and into the grey world of souls that have been broken and mended?

Before I can even attempt to answer a single one of my questions, I hear footsteps on the stairs again. When the steps stop, I lift my head, and Spike braces one hand against the countertop. Our eyes meet again. My heart hammers a bit as alarm takes over my body.

Is Andrew going to comment on what Spike and I had been doing before he came in the house?

Andrew's reedy voice carries up from below, "And don't think I didn't notice that you were eating my pickles, too!"

Footsteps descend the stairs again, and I exhale in relief. Spike and I glance at each other with wide eyes.

"Screw the labels," I insist, meaning labels in more than one capacity.

Spike softly repeats my words, "Screw the labels." The corner of his mouth quirks up. "Sounds like a mighty fine plan to me."

I reach behind me for the pickle and peanut butter jars and rip off the slips of paper.

And with the markers of the recent past no longer coming between us, we dissolve in the laughter of relief.

The end.

Author's note: I actually was at a slumber party as a kid. I woke up in the middle of the night to find this other girl eating pickles and peanut butter. I tried it, and I adored it. Sometimes, I still eat the combo. . . yum! lol