DISCLAIMER: I own absolutely nothing! Oh, except my demon:D And Spike. Not so much Spike, actually, but I can always dream, right? sniffle Joss? You are a golden god!

She was getting closer; if he couldn't have heard her yelling, he would have scented her anyway. The air was swairling with her essence, vanilla with a trace of lavendar that stirred emotion deep within him, emotion that he was sure he shouldn't feel. Emotion that he tried his damndest to kill, but wouldn't go away. Growling, he clutched his mug of pig's blood, and turned the volume up on the TV. Figures the Slayer would want to play right in the middle of a new episode of Passions. Unfortunately, his willingness to ignore her did nothing to discourage her untimely interruption.

"Oh, Spikey! Come out, come out, wherever you are!" She called in a sweet, singsong voice. The door of his crypt came crashing in, and fell into a heap of rubble on the floor.

"Bloody hell, woman!" Spike shouted as, startled, he jumped up from his chair. The sudden movement splashed blood all over his black tee, and he cursed. Setting the mug down, he eyed the mess his slay- the slayer had made. "Do you 'ave any idea just how many times I've ad to replace that door?" He ducked in suprise as a haphazard punch flew towad his face. "What is your bleedin' problem, Slayer?"

"This is all your fault," Buffy slurred, glaring at him, and he flinched at the pure hatred he saw seething in her eyes. With a growl, she swung a fist at him again, which he easily blocked with his forearm.

He studied her intently as she tried to hit him again and again, but each swing was easily parried, each kick easily dodged. His gaze drifted over her trim body. Normally, his inspection would have been purely in appreciation, but this time, it was calculating. She wore a sparkling silver halter top that flowed like water, and a pair of low riding pleather pants hugged her curves tighter than if they'd been painted on. A pair of studded, zip-up black bitch boots adorned her tiny feet, one of which was aimed at his head in a sloppy roundhouse kick. She was evidently dressed for a night with her friends at the local club, the Bronze.

"Are you... drunk?" he asked increduously as her balance faltered. He caught her just before she could hit the hard cold floor. Obviously irritated, she batted his hands away, and fought to her feet.

"NO!" Balling her fists again, she swung one last time. This one missed by a mile, and her lower lip quivered. "Why can't you just stand still," she whined, huffing over to his ratty easy-chair. She sat heavily, and rested her head in her hands.

"'Aven't moved an inch, pet." The vampire replied, making himself a liar by moving to stand beside her. She looked adorable, curled in his chair, lower lip thrown out into a pout that would have made gods beg, cheeks flushed with obvious overindulgence. "I think you're drunk, Slayer."

"Who cares if I am!" She spat haughtily. "I can be, you know! I'm of legal age... I think." Her features screwed up in thought. "Am I of legal age?"

"Le' me get you somethin' to eat, pet." He started toward his fridge, but siezed suddenly when a small, warm hand wrapped shakily around his forearm. Swallowing, he took a deep, completely unnesseccary breath, and looked down at the misleadingly petite woman. Her hazel eyes swam with tears when his gaze locked onto hers, and he tried to block the pain he wanted to share when she asked quietly, "Will food make the furniture sit down?" He smiled and nodded, and opened the fridge.

A few minutes later, Buffy nibbled on a ham sandwich, and looked curiously at the vampire beside her, who had given up his comfortable chair to sit on a simple crate. "You know, I don't understand why you keep food in here," she said in a desperate attempt to kill the silence that enshrouded them. "You don't need it."

"But I like it." The peroxide-sporting man replied simply, munching happily on a soda cracker. "Jus' like you don't need beer... but you drink it anyway." He ignored the Slayer's grumbled protests, the flush on her cheeks worth the jibe. Still snickering, he continued. "'Sides. Blood has the same texture ev'ry time you drink it. I like to get a li'l variety once in a while."

A few more minutes filled themselves with silence, before he ventured to ask, "What precisely drove you to the drink tonight, pet?"

"Riley's gone." The blood and cracker that had filled his mouth were promptly spit back into his mug, and he turned to stare at her.

"Cap'n Cardboard left?"

"Yeah." She refused to look at him; refused to face the sympathy she knew would be etched subtly into his features. Instead, she studie her sandwich intently, looking at the pores in the bread. "I guess he couldn't stay with me. I didn't need him, which was obviously something he needed."

"He can't blame you for bein' able to take care o' yourself, pet." He paused. "Speakin' of blame, 's that why you came bustin' in here sayin' somethin' 'bout this being my fault?"

She nodded sheepishly, and then uttered words he was sure he'd never hear from her. "For that, and the door, I'm sorry." She didn't notice his slack-jawed expression, and continued without pause. "I just kept telling myself that if you wouldn't've taken me to that nest to see..." She gestured absently, confident that not only did the vampire know what incident she was speaking of, he wouldn't elaborate. When not a word was uttered, she kept going, "None of this would have happened." Self-depriciating laughter accompanied that statement, and she said blithely, "It still would have happened... it just would have taken longer, and I would have just felt more stupid for not seeing it before."

"you're not stupid, pet. Jus' 'cause Cornfed was too hard'eaded to realize he was losin' alot more than 'e was gainin'..." He let his voice trail off at that, hoping against hope that she wouldn't realize where that thought was heading. She just went right on staring at her bread, and he breathed a sigh of relief.

She just sat there in his chair, watching him out of the corner of her eye as he watched Passions, and she realized that this was the happiest she'd been in weeks. Sharing a companianable silence with the Evil Undead, even if he really wasn't that evil anymore. WAsn't it funny how the Slayer of Slayers could make the Chosen One herself feel safe ,and warm, and loved-

She shook her head to rid herself of such outlandish thoughts, especially before her companion, with those unbeatable vampiric senses, could pick up on them by the quickening of her heartbeat. She had to break the silence. Once again she was searching for something meaningless to say. She needn't have bothered.

"Feelin' better, pet?" murmured a soft voice behind her. She glanced fearfully at the crate, then at the trapdoor where Spike had silently emerged from the chamber below. Chuckling at her confusion, he told her, "You dozed off for a minute, there. Tha's all."

Outwardly, she sounded completely composed, while inside, she was screaming at herself (you fell asleep in the lair of someone who should be your worst enemy!­) but she nodded. "Yeah, Um, thanks, I guess. But I still hate you!" She was quick to add when he smirked. "But yes, My head is officially on straight, the furniture has stopped dancing, and I am so banning alchohol in the Buffyverse."

"Your welcome, Slayer." He sat back on his crate, and pushed play on his VCR. He sat there for a few moments, watching a taped episode of Passions, listening to the woman beside him fidget.

This silence wouldn't last. She'd make sure of it. "You know, " she ventured, turning slightly to face him, "This is kinda nice!"

"Wha's that?"

"Sitting here, pretending not to be mortal enemies, not trying to kill each other." She was encouraged when he switched off the TV and turned to face her. "You know, pretending I'm just a girl, and you're just..." she looked him over and smirked. "Some wierd guy I met in the cemetary."

"Anytime I can be of service, luv." More awkward silence followed which, once again, Buffy promptly diffused.

"Why are you doing this?"

The sudden question shocked him out of a particularly interesting fantasy, featuring Buffy, handcuffs, and a body pen. He shook his head, and tried to focus.

"Pardon?"

Exasperated, she sighed. She had mulled this over in her mind for the past hour or so, and was still no closer to finding an answer. "I asked, why are you doing this? I mean, we're supposed to be mortal enemies. I hate you, you hate me..."

"An' we're all part of a dysfunctional family, righ', pet?" he scoffed at her as she half-heartedly slapped him on the arm.

"You're supposed to be evil... not all, here, have a sandwich."

"'M evil. 'M always gonna be evil. 'Sides, I thought we were supposed to be just people righ' now."

Just people. The words hung between them like cobwebs, hauntingly beautiful, but not permenant. A shadow of what they had both once been, and never would be again. "But, you wouldn't even fight with me earlier!"

"Chip, luv. Couldn't fight you even if I-" He was knocked clean off his crate by a staggering punch thrown his way. "Wha' the bleedin' fuck are you doin', you crazed bint!" He cried, vaulting to a standing position just in time to shield himself from the flurry of punches that assaulted him.

"Come on, Big Bad." Buffy was on her feet, the fire back in her eyes. She took a deep breath, and swung a Slayer-powered fist at his face. He dodged, not as smoothly as he had when she was still intoxicated, but he dodged all the same. "Put a little umph behind it, William." She taunted him mercilessly, telling herself that the feelings would go away once they remembered their true places. "I know you can do better than that," she quipped as he ducked and dodged. Why wouldn't he fight her? They'd sparred before, even with the chip, on nights when patrol was boring, but now, he wouldn't even swing at her. He just blocked her attacks, never taking his striking eyes off hers, and it unnerved her more than a little. When it became apparant he wasnt going to jump, she fell into a ready stance, her fists in position in front of her. She was so determined to get a rise out of the unshakable vampire, she didn't bother to censor her words as they poured forth. "Well, geez, Spike. If you're as bad in the sack as you are in the ring, it's no wonder Drusilla left you!" She had been prepared for anger. She'd been prepared for outrage. She'd been prepared for a flurry of fists and gangs, for the growl that resonated deep in his chest that she refused to connect to the word 'sexy'. What she had not been prepared for was the hurt that bled into those gorgeous eyes, and the despaired droop of his shoulders. Images from not a half hour earlier played through her head, images of the Brit smiling and laughing, flooded her mind, and she came to her senses.

"Spike, I'm sorry. That was totally over the line."

"Get out." He turned away, refusing to even spare her a glance.

"I didn't mean it! Spike, look at me? Tonight was fun, and I really didn't mean to-"

The growl that she had mindlessly tried to prompt earlier answered her now. "Get the bleedin' hell out of my home!" Without even waiting to see if she complied, he opened the trap door that led to his bedroom chamber, and disappeared.

Dejected, she stepped over the rubbish that was once Spike's door, and fled into the night.

The Slayer hadn't walked four yards from the vampire's crypt, when a black blur jumped from the bushes to tackle her to the ground. With a yelp, Buffy fell hard, but quickly shifted into Slayer mode. Drawing her knees up to her chest, she kicked the black lump over her head, and flipped back into a standing position. the brief pause gave her plenty of time to observe her adversary, and what an ugly brute he was. Sunken green eyes glared at her from underneath a lumpy bone ridge, that obviously served as some kind of armor. Wait. Armor over its eyes? It might as well have been wearing a neon sign shouting, 'Hey! Weak spot here!'. The demon lunged. At the same time, Buffy fell into a roll, grabbing the dagger she kept concealed in her boot. With a flick of her wrist, the silver dagger soared through the air, and hit its mark without a hitch. The lumpy demon fell to the ground in a heap, and the blonde inspected it thouroughly before approaching to retrieve her weapon. She grasped the shining blade firmly by the hilt, and tugged. The moment it came free, the entire demon exploded into a fine white powder. Thinking nothing of it, Buffy shrugged her shoulders, and stalked off into the night. "Fear me! I am the dread demon of Talcum powder! Grrrr." She didn't feel the pulse of poison spreading quickly through her veins. When her tired feet finally brought her home, she called a halfhearted goodnight to her watcher, who had taken to waiting for her at home after her patrols, and fell asleep face-first on her pillow.