Disclaimer: I own none of the characters. I just borrow them to make my fantasy world real. Please don't sue me.

Author's Note: This is just a short little fluffy fic. Buffy's back and feeling a little lonely. Spike cheers her up.

Live A Little

Buffy sat on a swing, moving slowly back and forth. She was sitting in the park, looking up at the stars. Everything in her life was so confusing and strange to her. She had been back from the dead for almost a month, and nothing seemed real yet.

All of her friends had been startled and shocked to see her alive again. Not that she would have blamed them. People don't generally just show up to say 'Hi' months after they've died. How or why she was back was still shrouded in mystery. The best guess that anyone had was that some higher power must have felt she still had work to do.

Giles was still researching it. After her death left him no Slayer to watch, he had gone back to England. He had come back once he heard of her return, but had gone back again, trying to get some answers from the Council. She hoped maybe they'd have some of those answers soon. But until then all she could do is wait and try to live her newfound life.

Everyone seemed awkward around her. So much had gone on while she was away. The Earth hadn't stopped turning, people went on with their lives, and her friends were no exception. It wasn't as if they weren't thrilled to see her, but the tension was apparent.

For once in her life, she truly felt lonely. Like an outsider. She knew that they all still loved her, just as she loved them, but it felt different now. She felt different now. She tried to act the same and be the same, but she couldn't help but notice the awkward stares she would receive from everyone. The way conversations would stop when she entered a room. It was almost as if they were afraid to look away from her, because then she might be gone again.

That was why tonight she had stolen away by herself. She had just wanted the fresh air, and the silence. She wanted to be alone, so that maybe she could start to remember who she was again.

The night air was warm and inviting. It was early fall and the weather had not cooled down yet. In Southern California, there tended to be only one season, and that was hot. This was no exception. She took a deep breath and continued to rock back and forth slowly on her swing.

She didn't hear anyone approaching her. She was too lost in the night to notice that she was no longer alone. Spike walked up to her and sat down on the swing beside her. He looked over at her, and she turned to him.

"Hey." She said softly.

"Hey. What're you doing out here alone?" He asked her curiously.

"Just watching the stars, I guess." She said softly.

Their relationship was different now. She didn't know what to make of it anymore. Before she died, they had started to get closer. How close, she wasn't really sure. She knew that she trusted him. So much so, that she gave him the sole responsibility of taking care of Dawn. She knew he hadn't let her down.

In her absence he had remained a part of Dawn's life. He was a friend to her and a protector. He hadn't let her down. But she still hadn't understood his feelings for her. But she had stopped questioning it, and started believing it instead.

"You're watching the stars? Please tell me that you aren't naming them as well." He said with a laugh. He remembered how Dru had done that, only her stars were imaginary.

"What?" She asked him confused.

"Never mind. Bad memories." He said, shaking his head with a smile.

She shrugged of his comments and smiled.

"I was just sitting out here thinking mostly." She said thoughtfully, looking back up to the sky. "I mean, it's still so strange, me being here and all."

"It is a little strange, I suppose." He said softly.

He still couldn't fully comprehend the fact that Buffy was alive again. It made no sense at all, and yet here she was. Breathing, smiling, looking at stars. It was amazing, and he never wanted to take his eyes off of her.

"Everyone else has been treating me so differently. I feel like they don't know me anymore. I mean, I was gone for four months. That's a long time to be dead. They all moved on. Xander and Anya are engaged, Dawn turned fifteen, and Giles went back to England. I just feel like maybe I don't belong here anymore." She said sadly.

He looked at the sadness in her eyes and wanted so badly to reach out and touch her, but he held back. He looked into her eyes.

"Of course you belong here. This is your home. Your friends may have continued to live, but that's what you wanted, right?" He asked her seriously. She nodded her head at him slowly. "Besides, not everyone was as eager to move on as all that." He added quietly.

She looked at him and smiled sympathetically. She knew he was talking about himself, but she wasn't sure how to respond to him. Dawn had told her just how devastated Spike had been, and it tugged at her heart, even though she didn't want it to.

"I guess I'm just feeling a little out of sorts, you know? I guess it'll get better. Right now, I just feel like I don't know who I am anymore. Maybe I'm not the same?" She said, looking back up to the sky.

"Maybe you aren't the same. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing, right? I mean this is your second chance at life. If who you were before doesn't seem right anymore, then this is your chance to change that. A whole new Buffy, if that's what you want." He said to her, trying to be of comfort.

"A whole new Buffy?" She asked him skeptically.

"Well, yeah. I mean, if there was something you didn't like before, now is your chance to start fresh. You can literally say that who you were before is dead. This is a new beginning." He said to her confidently.

She looked at him and thought for a moment. Then she smiled softly.

"I guess you kind of know something about coming back from the dead, huh?" She asked him.

"Sort of. I mean, my experience was nothing like yours is, but it was still a new start for me. I detested who I used to be and made myself into something else. Reinvented, if you will." He said looking away from her slightly uncomfortable.

"How'd you do it? I mean, aside from being evil and no longer having a conscience, but how did you 'reinvent' yourself?" She asked curiously. She knew that becoming a vampire was nothing like whatever happened to her, but fundamentally it was still similar.

"I don't know. It just sort of happened. I mean, the no soul thing kind of had a lot to do with it. But, basically if there was something I had always wanted to say or do, but never had the nerve before, I would just do it and be done with it. It was thrilling. And I'm not just talking about evil things, by the way." He told her with a smile.

It was strange to be talking to her like this. Almost as if they were friends. And for once, he didn't feel like she was looking down on him like some kind of animal. She was actually asking him about his life. It was refreshing.

"What sort of things? The non evil ones, anyway." She asked with a laugh.

"I don't know. Mostly I just had more confidence. Before I died? I was...well, a total nerd." He said sheepishly.

When he had told her of his life before, he had embellished the truth severely. He had wanted to make it seem that he had always been cool and tough. He had told her he had always been bad. Oh and he was bad, just in the dreadful sense.

He had been too embarrassed to tell her the truth at the time. In his mind, he thought she would be impressed and turned on by his tall tale. But it had backfired in his face. Tonight, he had nothing to lose by telling her the truth.

"You were a nerd?" She laughed "You told me you were always like this."

"Well, big surprise Luv. I lied." He said with a smirk.

"So if you weren't Mr. Cool, then what were you?" She asked curiously. She couldn't believe they were talking about this, and that he was telling her about himself like this.

"Okay. Picture this. Giles as a vampire." He said with a sigh.

Buffy started laughing and couldn't stop.

"You were like Giles?" She finally managed.

"Giles is actually a little cooler than I was." He said softly.

Her laughter started again. He rolled his eyes at her but he wasn't really mad. William had been something to laugh at. But William was dead. Spike was not that person anymore.

"That's really funny." She finally said, making herself stop laughing. "Why did you lie to me before?"

"Because...I-I wanted to impress you." He said softly, embarrassed by his own words.

She was surprised to hear this. That he actually thought she would be impressed to hear what a ruthless bad ass William supposedly was. He couldn't have been more wrong. Somehow knowing that he wasn't, made a lot more sense.

"You didn't have to lie." She said sincerely. "I didn't care one way or the other." She added with a smirk.

He looked at her and shook his head.

"Listen, forget about me. We were talking about you, weren't we?" He said, trying desperately to get off the subject of his former life. "What do you want? Who do you want to be? I mean, is there something you've always wanted to do, but never had the nerve?" He asked her curiously.

She looked at him and thought for a moment. Then she smiled and shook her head.

"There is one thing, but I'm not telling you." She said quickly.

"Oh come on. Tell me. I won't laugh." He said trying to urge her on.

"You won't laugh, but I'm not telling you because then I'd have to hear you make sarcastic comments about it, and then I'd get irritated. So, I'm not saying." She said firmly.

"What is it? Skydiving? Bungee jumping? Singing the national anthem at a Laker game?" He asked, prying her.

"No." She said crossing her arms and sighing. "I always thought it would be fun to go skinny dipping in the ocean." She said softly, hoping he wouldn't hear her.

But he did hear her and felt himself getting excited at the thought.

"Oh...Now that sounds like fun. I'll help. In fact, I'll join you." He said with a seductive smile.

She punched his arm lightly and rolled her eyes.

"You wish. See, that's why I didn't want to tell you because, hello? Sarcastic comments." She said to him irritated.

"Sorry, but you have to admit that's just asking for a comment. Especially from me." He said with a smile.

"Look, I'm not going to do it, with or without you. It's just a dumb idea." She said looking away from him.

"See? Now you're just holding yourself back. If you want to do it, you should do it." He told her seriously.

"You just want to see me naked." She said looking at him pointedly.

He smiled and shrugged.

"Well, I'm not gonna argue with that..." He said, trying to imagine it.

She hit him again on the arm.

"Stop that." She said angrily.

"Stop what?" He asked innocently.

"Stop trying to picture it in your mind. You're grossing me out." She said making a face at him.

He sighed and looked at her again.

"Live a little, Buffy. I'm not saying you have to do that, but let loose a bit. If you want something, go for it. Seize the moment and don't be afraid. I'm serious about that part...Seeing you naked would just be a bonus." He added with a smirk.

She glared at him but then for some reason she started laughing. He watched as her irritated stare had dissolved into laughter. He smiled at her. This was nice, he thought. He had no idea how to act around her anymore, but apparently he was doing okay.

She wasn't the same as she was before. She didn't seem as angry as she once was. Around him, she had always been either mad or desperate. He saw none of that now. It was replaced by a strange sense of comfort, as if they'd always been friendly. As if they were never enemies. He didn't know what to make of it, but he knew he didn't want it to end.

She stopped laughing and looked at him. She stood up from her swing and took his hand forcefully dragging him up. He looked at her surprised that she was touching him at all.

"Come on. Let's go." She said with a glint in her eyes.

"Go where?" He asked, not knowing what was happening.

"You're gonna take me to the beach." She said with a smile.

For some reason she felt more alive at this moment than she had in a long time. He was right when he said she should just seize the moment and stop being afraid.

"What?" He asked with surprise. Surely she wasn't actually going to do it, and allow him to be there. He must be dreaming.

"Don't get all excited, Spike. You're strictly the chauffer. There will be no audience participation. No peeking." She said with a serious look.

"No peeking? You mean, I just have to sit there with my back turned while you have a naked romp in the surf? You tryin' to torture me?" He asked with a smirk.

"Some things don't change, Spike. Torturing you is fun." She said shrugging her shoulders.

He smiled at her and shook his head. God, how he loved this girl. He thought to himself. They headed off together to get his car.


They arrived at the deserted beach. He parked his car down by the sand and they both got out. She looked around nervously, unsure of what exactly this task was supposed to accomplish. It had seemed like a fun idea before, but now she was beginning to have second thoughts.

Spike shrugged off his jacket and tossed it back into the car. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. The smoke drifted past her nose and waved it away from her.

"Do you have to do that?" She asked him irritated.

"Yes, I do." He said with a smirk. "What? Afraid you'll catch cancer?"

"Ugh! Remind me why you're here again?" She said groaning.

"Because you asked me to." He said casually.

She rolled her eyes.

"Remind me to ask Giles if brain damage is one of the side effects of spontaneous resurrection." She said sarcastically.

He just smirked at her as they walked closer to shore. He turned and looked at her.

"So? You want me to turn around or do you need some help with those clothes?" He asked seductively, knowing it would irritate her.

She looked at him and shook her head.

"I don't need help." She said nervously. "I-I can't do it."

"What? Cause I'm here? I'll go wait in the car." He said shrugging.

"No, I just can't do it." She said looking out at the water. They were right along the shoreline now and the water was barely lapping at their feet.

"What? Are you chicken?" He teased her as he tossed his cigarette aside and ground it into the sand.

"I'm not chicken, it's just stupid. I mean, I came out here to prove something, prove that I'm alive. But, I don't need to prove anything, because I know I'm here. I'm breathing, and living. Tearing off my clothes and jumping into the ocean isn't gonna make me feel anything but wet and cold." She said softly.

"You just don't have the guts." He said shaking his head regretfully.

She looked at him and glared.

"You don't think I've got guts?" She said irritated. "I'll show you guts."

She grabbed his arms and shoved him forcefully, plunging him into the water. He landed with a splash. She started laughing and watched as he glared at her bitterly. He sat waist deep in the water and the soft waves broke around him.

"You are in such big trouble." He said with an evil grin as he scrambled to pull himself out of the water. He was just glad he left his duster in the car.

"You'll have to catch me first." She said quickly as she took off running.

"I've always enjoyed chasing you, Slayer." He called out to her as he ran behind her.

He quickly caught up to her and grabbed her around the waist, hoisting her into the air. She was laughing and begging him to put her down, but he didn't listen. He whirled her around and let her go, sending her splashing into the surf.

Now it was his turn to laugh at her. She looked up at him and glared.

"No fair. This was a new outfit." She pouted to him.

"So sorry. But what comes around, goes around." He said with mock sympathy.

"At least you can help me up, you big jerk." She said giving him a hard look.

He looked at her and sighed. He trudged his way out to where she was sitting and held his hand out to her. She looked up at him innocently. She reached up and grabbed his hand, yanking him down into the water with her. He tumbled over and landed half into her lap.

He was surprised at her calculated maneuver. He had a stunned look on his face and she started laughing. He tried to look angry, but her laughter was soon contagious. He started laughing along with her. Suddenly they both became aware of their closeness.

She was still holding his hand and his legs were draped across her lap. Their shoulders were touching and he turned to her slowly. The moonlight made her face take on a radiant glow. He stared at her silently, wanting nothing more than to kiss her and know exactly what she was thinking at this moment.

He tried to read her eyes, but she suddenly looked away from him and untangled their limbs from each other. She rose to her feet and looked down at him. She offered him her hand again.

He looked at her and smiled.

"I don't trust you anymore, pet." He said to her.

"For real this time. I'll be nice." She said with a small smile.

He sighed and reached up to her and she kept her promise and pulled him out of the water. He stood in front of her and stared into her eyes again. He wasn't sure what he saw there, but it looked peaceful and happy. She looked away again and starting walking back up towards the car.

He followed her without saying anything. They reached the car and she turned around to face him. She smiled and hugged her arms tightly to her chest.

"Are you cold?" He asked her with concern.

"A little."

He reached into his car and pulled out his jacket. He came up to her and wrapped it around her. She smiled up at him. He continued to hold onto the lapels of the jacket as she slipped her arms inside.

He stared at her admiring the way she looked wearing his jacket. It was too big, but it looked incredibly sexy on her. He realized that he hadn't let go of the jacket and she was standing uncomfortably close.

He gazed down into her eyes and she smiled at him. He wanted to kiss her more than anything in the world and it showed. He knew that he had that look in his eye that meant only one thing. He searched her face, as if to ask permission. He stepped closer and she made no move to back away.

He dipped his head down slowly and placed his lips onto hers. He waited for her to push him away, or kick him, but she didn't. He felt her arms snake around his neck and pull him down closer, deepening their kiss.

It took every ounce of willpower he had not to throw her onto the hood of his car and make mad passionate love to her. He held himself back, letting her take control. He felt her mouth open to him and he accepted the invitation.

His tongue circled hers slowly, relishing the taste of her. Her mouth was sweet and tinged with salt from the sea water that covered them both. He pulled her tighter, desperate to feel her body pressed against him.

All too soon for him, she slowly pulled away. She never took her eyes off his stunned face. She saw the look of longing in his eyes and she smiled softly.

"You should probably take me home now." She told him quietly.

He looked at her and nodded his head. Taking her home was the last thing he wanted to do unless he was going with her. But somehow he didn't think that was what she was implying.

He opened the car door for her and she got inside. He walked around to the driver's side and got behind the wheel. He looked over at her and she was staring straight ahead, but she had a smile on her face.

She was so beautiful, he thought. Even though her hair was wet and stringy from the salt water. He saw the way her clothes were clinging damply to her skin. He wanted nothing more than to peel them away from her, layer by layer, exposing the heaven he knew that resided underneath.

But not now. He wouldn't do that now. Maybe another time? Maybe another time he would have that chance? He couldn't believe he was actually thinking about this as if he had a chance. But didn't he? She had kissed him tonight. It wasn't just his imagination. Maybe there was hope after all, and for him it was as if she had handed him the stars on a silver platter.

He started the car and they set off down the road. She sat there in silence and he stared straight ahead. He felt her body shifting and he felt as she scooted beside him. She rested her head on his shoulder. He took one hand off the wheel and brought his arm around her, holding her close to him as he drove.

She looked over at him.

"Thank you." She said softly.

"For what?" He asked curiously.

"For making me feel alive again tonight." She whispered.

He smiled at her and kissed her forehead.

"I could say the same to you." He said softly.

She sighed and rested her head on his shoulder again. They didn't speak again. Both of them knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again between them. They didn't need words to tell them that. What was happening, neither one of them really knew, or wanted to question it.

Sometimes the best things in life were the things that made the least sense. Sometimes you just had to stop worrying and second guessing everything and just do it. Sometimes it felt good to just do something because you wanted to, even if you knew it wasn't smart or rational.

That was what life was supposed to be about, wasn't it? Taking risks, throwing caution to the wind once in awhile? If you didn't stop to enjoy what life had to offer, one day you'd wake up and realize that you were out of time when there was so much left that you never did. Chances you didn't take. Opportunities lost. Fears that overtook you. Love that you rejected.

She had been that way before. She let a fear of living stop her from experiencing all that life offered. She knew that fear is what drove her to make her sacrifice in the first place. That was behind her now. Tonight she took the first step in embracing that fear. She opened herself up and stopped hiding from life. She was back and now it was time to live a little.