Nope, still don't belong to me.

Thanks to Zengoalie for the song title that inspired this story and TKP for the beta.

Buffy banged her heels against the tombstone she was precariously balanced on. "This has got to be the most boring patrol ever. Do you think this is some kind of vampire stay at home day?"

Angel rocked back on his heels and took in his girlfriend's scowl. "Would you rather be in the middle of a fight for your life with 20 assorted demons?"

"Fine, be practical." She waved her arms about and as a result came close to falling. "Why can't it be something in the middle? Say, three newbies. Enough that I can use up some energy but not get my skirt dirty."

"Well, I have a suggestion."

Buffy looked at him with eyes glinting. "Really."

"Yeah. Giles was saying he wanted you to practice your side kicks, so we could do some sparring."

"Sparring. Good times." She failed miserably at keeping the disappointment out of her voice.

"Or," he said while taking a step closer to her and smirking, "we could practice this instead." He lifted her up into an embrace and lowered his lips to hers.

Fifteen minutes later, she was breathing heavily and his artfully arranged hair looked like it had spent time in a wind tunnel. "Come on," Angel said holding out his hand. "You've got to get home and study for your bio test."

"How do you know I have a test? Have you been spying on me?"

"Not unless talking to Willow at the Bronze counts."

She pouted but stood up. They walked in silence for a few minutes, and then Buffy turned to him, eyes alight. "We should go on a date. It's been major league dead around here, what with the dead being dead, so why not?"

Angel's expression looked as if she had just suggested sun bathing at noon. And then capping it off with a dip in an ocean filled with holy water.

"You don't want to go on a date with me?" Buffy's entire face fell.

"No, no it's not that. It's just that our last date got you almost killed."

"Oh, that." She waved her hand in a "big deal" gesture. "The Order of Tarantula is no longer a threat."


"I think Cordelia and Xander would disagree with you on that one."

"He was made of worms, not spiders."

"Insects is insects, I always say."

"Technically, spiders and worms are not…"

"Stop trying to change the subject, Angel."

He sighed, a man who knew when defeat was imminent. "A movie?"

"Perfect. Oh, wait, not perfect. They're showing "Going All the Way". Her face had turned bright red.

"Something else then."

"Don't even think mini-golf."

"Wouldn't dream of it. How about the Sunnydale museum?"

"I spend enough time around dusty relics." When she noticed Angel's raised eyebrow, she quickly backtracked. "I wasn't referring to you. I've never thought of you as dusty."

"Thank you." His voice was drier than Utah on a Sunday morning.

"Xander and Willow like to go bowling," Buffy chirped in an effort to make amends. "We could bowl!"

Angel looked as if he preferred being called a museum exhibit. "I've never bowled in my life. Unlife."

"It's not hard. It will be fun. Please?"

Finally, he nodded, suspecting that he was going to be sorry but unable to tell her no.


She walked in, wrinkling her nose. The place smelled like unwashed feet and old beer, the murmur of voices and crash of the pins reverberating throughout the building. The music was blasting out of the speakers and at the very moment, she came to the realization that she could in fact live without hearing Toto's "Africa" ever again. For a second, she thought of leaving and meeting Angel outside. And then she crossed her arms over her chest. She wanted a date; she was going to have a real live date. Once they were actually bowling she was sure it would fall into place.

She walked over to the counter, waiting impatiently until the bored kid running things finished the X-Men comic he was intent upon. "Two games. And a pair of shoes, size six and a half."

"Ten dollars, two dollar shoe rental."

She fished the money out and then slipped off her shoes. The bowling shoes looked as if she might want to fumigate her body afterward, but she decided no one had ever died from skeezy bowling shoes. She wondered if Angel had been planning on paying for her games. That led to thoughts of exactly how did Angel pay for anything? And that led to a whole path of general badness and things she wasn't quite ready to ask him, so she shut down the whole line of questioning.

She walked over to her lane and sat down in one of the hard plastic chairs. It was 8:05 already. They were supposed to meet at eight. He was normally punctual even without a watch, but she wasn't worried. Five more minutes dragged by and suddenly the lane was invaded by three guys in their thirties. Buffy frowned. "Guys" was being charitable. The word human was pretty generous. They were tall, the shortest at least two inches taller than Angel, a minimum three hundred pounds apiece, covered with tattoos, shaved heads and wearing leather biker vests. How come in the movies, bikers looked like Marlon Brando and in real life - well, come to think of it, still looked like Marlon Brando.

"Excuse me, this is my lane."

"Don't see you using it, girlie."

Buffy rolled her eyes but decided to try for a reasoned approach. "Waiting for my boyfriend. He'll be here shortly."

"Sure he's not standing you up, sugar pie?"

Ugh, Buffy thought, the guy looked like a bull dog whose face had been flattened by a truck. Not an attractive look. Plus he smelled like dog breath. "One, I am not your sweetie pie. Two, Angel is not standing me up and will be here. Three, he gets testy if he thinks people are bothering me. Which you are."

"Angel? What kind of fag name is that? Sounds like your boyfriend's queer. Sure he's not late because he's getting his pole greased?"

Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and gave her sweetest smile. "Thank you for making me aware that my boyfriend's velvet shirt is possible cause for concern. I'm sure the three of you have enjoyed a rousing game of ring around the rosy from time to time."


"What the.."

"What's she sayin'-" Bull dog reached out and grabbed Buffy's shoulder with one meaty, sweaty paw. Buffy looked at the offending appendage for a moment.

"You are so going to regret that." In one fluid motion, she stood up and stomped his foot and then elbowed him swiftly in the gut. He went down with a bang. "Anybody else?"

The other two, instead of backing away, looked at her with a feral interest and took another step forward. That's when she realized Bull seemed to be turning green. There was a sudden tearing noise as his skin split and a reptilian countenance was revealed. Standing up again, he was at least a foot taller than he had been, plus he now sported about ten whip-like tentacles, one of which was already shooting out toward her.

"Demons bowl?" Buffy's surprise was short lived as the other two also changed into their demonic forms.

Tentacles wrapped around her neck, lifting her off the floor. She could feel herself getting lightheaded. Reaching above and behind, she jabbed as hard as she could with her fingers and was immediately dropped to the floor. Tucking into a somersault, she rolled and then stood, seeing that she had managed to poke the eye out and the monster had fallen to the floor. Grabbing a hidden stake from her waistband, she threw it at another and nailed it right in the center. It also dropped to the ground, dead.

The last one was coming toward her, tentacles whipping around its body and ready to attack. Picking up a green speckled black bowling ball, she threw it straight at its head, sending demon and ball crashing right into the grill counter, where yellow ichor exploded all over the place.

"Uh, strike?"

"Hey, you want to get off my lane?" A guy in a yellow and lavender bowling shirt that proudly displayed "Stu" across the pocket and "Terminators" across the back was glaring at her.

"Oh, sorry." Buffy scrambled off, and looked at the remains of the demon that now littered the lane she had rented. Shrugging, she walked back to the rental counter. "Here are the shoes."

The counter kid looked at the shoes suspiciously, carefully avoiding the dripping yellow goop. "I can't give you your deposit back for these."

"Whatever," Buffy sighed.

She stepped out onto the sidewalk just as Angel came running up. "Sorry I'm late. Ran into a nest that had to be disposed of."

"No problem. I've been thinking about it and the whole date thing doesn't seem that appealing anymore. Can we just go to the cemetery and smooch?"

Angel put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to his body. "I've heard of worse ideas."

"And one piece of advice. If you ever see a skinhead bowling, run the other way."