Buffy hummed contentedly as she finished straightening her hair. It fell in long, warm golden waves down her back. Oh yeah, she was gonna be smokin' tonight. She heard the front door close and Liz's backpack thump on the ground. Buffy checked her hair one last time and went to find her sister.

Liz was, predictably, sitting on her bed doing homework. She was making notations in a giant textbook and highlighting it so much Buffy was pretty sure they could see it on the moon. After a minute, she knocked on the door jamb.

"Hey! What's up?" Liz asked with a smile. She tucked her dark hair behind an ear and Buffy was struck with how well Liz wore the dark look. It was...sultry. Something that fit her personality, but only in certain situations.

"So I talked to Spike last night." Liz smiled politely and then found something very interesting in her textbook. Wow, Mary Wollstonecraft stood up to her abusive father, challenged her brother for a share of the family inheritance, and took care of her siblings in the end. Fascinating. "Liz?" She jerked up and blinked at Buffy.

"Uh...yeah?" Her sister frowned.

"Did you hear me?"

"Oh, uh, no. Sorry. Big paper, kind of all frazzled and distractey." Buffy smiled.

"Oh. So I guess you don't want to come hang out tonight?" Liz swallowed down the lump in her throat and waved Buffy away.

"No no no, I'd just be the bump-on-a-log PhD candidate freaked out about her paper. No fun Lizzie. But, uh, tell him is said hi, OK?" Buffy pasted a smile on her face and agreed readily enough, but she really wanted to know why her sister was lying to her. She'd seemed pretty into Spike the other day. They'd hooked up with the same guy before but Spike was...well, there was just something different about him, about them and him.

"Sure. Call me if you change your mind?" Liz nodded and turned her attention back to her Mary Wollstonecraft and early feminism essay. Buffy hesitated a moment before silently slipping out of the room, the door closing softly behind her.

Liz let out a loud sign and pitched forward on her bed. God, that had been painful. What was Buffy doing inviting her out on a date with her (not yet but almost) boyfriend? They'd never dated the same person. Shared, one-night stands, threesomes yeah. But...dating? That was a whole 'nother can of worms that they'd never discussed or approached. Not that Liz would have touched Angel with a ten foot pole, and Buffy had been incredibly skeptical of Riley. So tagging along to be the third wheel? Nnnoooo thank you Buffy. She was going to stay in with a tub of ice cream and her worn copy of Pride and Prejudice.

Buffy checked her make up one last time in the shiny reflective surface of the elevator. She turned a little to the side to get a profile view. Yep. She looked smokin'. She was grinning by the time she stepped out of the elevator.

She made her way to room 3015. This was the nicest hotel in Sunnydale, and the top floors were not cheap. Buffy found herself wonder just what it was that Spike did. And what had brought him here. She knocked lightly on the door.

Spike was hot. Well, she knew that, but...wow. That shirt and those pants and...was that eyeliner? YUMMY.

She grinned when she caught Spike appraising her similarly...and liking what he saw. He caught her eye and flushed a bit, the tips of his ear turning pink, but he grinned back at her.

"No Liz?" he asked, craning his neck to look further down the hall. A brief shadow chased across Buffy gave before she banished it with a bright smile.

"Nah. Big paper. Continuing education and all that."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"She's getting a PhD in Literature with a focus on the evolution of feminist thought in the Western world."

"And you?" Spike drew Buffy's hand to his lips and let his tongue flick out, tasting the warm California sun on her golden skin.

"I'm a high school guidance counselor and a martial arts instructor."

"Oh really?" Buffy saw the light of arousal wink on in his eyes and smirked. Oh yeah, he was definitely a keeper. Guys who got turned on by her ability to kick their asses were definitely her cup of tea.

"Ye-p." She popped the p, gratified when Spike zeroed in on her mouth. He leaned subtly towards her, tongue curled against his teeth in a sexy way. Buffy leaned in closer, encouraging a little boldness on his part. When their lips were millimeters apart, Buffy sprang her trap.

"Great, I'm starving, let's eat!" She was breezing out the door and halfway to the elevator when Spike's brain kicked back into gear. He groaned and adjusted himself.

"Evil bint."

Dinner was delicious. The conversation? Delightful. The wine? Potent. Buffy, whose tolerance hadn't gotten that much better in college despite some truly heroic effort for a couple of years, was happily tipsy. She felt warm and content and a little horny. She was lounging in Spike's hotel room, admiring the luxury all around her. He had a giant president's suite with two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and some other random room that he could use for...whatever. Buffy giggled as her mind supplied her with images of 'whatever' could entail.

"Somethin' funny, pet?" Spike murmured, running his hand across her ankle. He'd been giving her a foot massage, enraptured with the feel of her skin beneath her fingers. She smiled sleepily at him, her green eyes bright in the dim light.


"Uh oh, I thought I smelled something burning." She rolled her eyes and kicked at him, which really just pressed her foot further into his hand in an effort to get him to continue. Spike obliged, skimming his long fingers up the arch of her foot. "What were you thinkin', luv?" Buffy sighed in contentment and wiggled her relaxed toesies.

"Nu-uh. You mocked me." Her pout was adorable, and Spike couldn't help himself. He released her foot and crawled the length of the couch until he was hovering over her, their faces inches away.

"I didn't. Was just teasin'." He kissed her, softly, all apology and seduction.

"I don't believe you," she said, just to be petty. And to maybe get more kisses like that. Spike smiled and pressed another kiss to her kips, and then one to the corner of her mouth.

"I'm sorry." He kissed the other side of her mouth. "I truly am." He kissed her forehead. "You're brilliant." He kissed her left eye. "Brighter than any star in th'sky." He kissed her right eye. "Gorgeous t'boot." Be kissed just below her ear, felt the breathing speed up. "Funny." He gave the other side the same treatment, not wanting a single part of her to feel left out. "Amazing." He kissed her clavicle, just where he could see the flutter of her fast beating heart. "I'm sorry." He looked at her with his piercing blue eyes, outlined so brilliantly by the black eyeliner and she felt something inside of her shift.

"I believe you." She drew him down for another slow, relaxed kissed, their bodied fitted together like they belonged. This was so very different from the last time. This wasn't about hormones or lust. This was about them, about the connection they'd felt from the moment they'd seen each other.

Their clothes disappeared at some point, though the only reason Buffy knows that for sure is they both wake up naked. They had sex on the couch, gazing at each other like some sappy romance novel, barely moving against one another. They'd just...connected, allowed the sensations of being enveloped and enveloping to build until they crested, shuddering to completion. Spike had pulled a blanket over them and they'd fallen asleep entwined on the couch, still intimately connected.

But despite all that, despite the truly magical evening, both of them couldn't help but think, in a very private part of their souls, that something undefinable had been missing.