This fic I'm ridiculously proud of, even though it's short and I wrote it in one night, just before and just after watching Lord of the Rings for a second time.  Which is easily the most fantastic movie of the year. 

I hope you will find it in you to respond, especially since I went to extra effort to avoid any useless fluff or mindless WAFF.  This isn't exactly a romantic piece of writing—more like an exploration of Buffy's head when she's thinking about fighting and about Spike.  But if you gave it a couple-label it's definitely S/B.  I want to say it's about unresolved sexual tension, but the Spike/Buffy UST has been resolved via Smashed, so it's really more like NUPRST— New Unresolved Post-Resolution Sexual Tension.  If you get that.


I really wish they were mine, but they're not.

All mail to:

Sparring By Rashaka Spike's Crypt, upper level

        "I want to fight."

         "You want to fight."

        Her lip twitched in annoyance at his deadpan ricochet of her carefully thought-out and much worried-over words.  Coming here, knocking on his door instead of breaking through it—he obviously didn't see how hard she was working at being polite and civil, at being in control.  Which is a good thing, her mind scolded.  Him knowing about her control problems would not be a good thing, not at all.  If he knew how hard it was to be around him and not… No.  She was not thinking of it now.  Again.  She bit her bottom lips and curled it in, thrusting her chin out defiantly, and tried again.

         "I want—to spar."

         "Spar," he echoed, this time raising one dark eyebrow into an arch.  He wasn't going to make this easy for her, she was beginning to realize.  She dropped the huffy act and let her shoulders slump and her chin fall down, resting her forehead for a moment in her right palm in the time-old American way of saying 'Oh god. Why me?'

         "Look," she replied, her voice just slightly softer, a tad less bossy and more recipient to compromise.  "It'll be straight, clean fighting.  No kissing, no insulting, no biting, no vicious comebacks about past romances or lifestyle choices, no copping a feel, and no seriously trying to kill each other."

        She finally looked up at him, and risked a  pout.  "I just want to fight," she muttered plaintively.  "Can we do that?"

        He looked—well, not to put too fine a point in it—flummoxed.  But the pout, even such a small one, did him in.  Eyebrow still arched, he nodded gradually. 

         "Alright.  Clean fight.  Sparring.  No nastiness, of any type, by either party."  His rich voice made her stomach flutter a moment.  She remembered, for second, how it had sounded when… no.  So not an issue anymore.

        She, to her faint disgust, let out her breath and actually smiled at him for a second, relaxing now that he had said yes.  She tried to hide it again, but the damage as done.  If he had looked flummoxed at her request he was outright bewildered at her sudden smile.

         "So," she charged onward, once again coolly aloof like a good little Slayer should in the presence of a vampire, "I'll meet you in the Magic Shop in an hour?"  She started to turn, until she heard his reply.


         "What?" she snapped before she could catch herself, and glanced back at him, annoyed.  "What for?"

        He clucked his tongue in his throat.  "I've got things to do, Slayer."

        One look at him—slouching on his couch with a weighty book open on his chest and his shoes off—clearly expressed what she thought of the validity behind that statement.

        Then she realized she was not only wanting him to automatically agree with her, she was actually expecting him to.  Like she assumed that he put her before all else in his life.  Which he did… n-not.  And she did not.  And she did not expect him to.  Of course not, why should he?  It wasn't like they… this was the wrong line of thinking.  Stupid. 

She should be the adult here, and give him the extra hour.  Show some of that maturity she was working so hard on building.  And it wasn't like she could just make him do something anymore— not after, not when he could hurt her back.  Which was the point of the sparring.  She was getting of track again.  She hated trying to focus around him.

         "Fine.  Two hours."  A stiff, but acquiescing nod.   Here take that, she thought.  I can be mature too, ya know.

The Magic Shop, back training room

        He was behaving surprisingly like a gentleman.  The kind of gentleman that kicks you in the stomach and flips you over his shoulder, slamming your back into a mat floor with super-human power—but a gentleman nonetheless.  They were almost completely silent, almost as if the rule of no insult and barbs came to mean lack of conversation entirely.  Almost as if to say that unless they were hurting one another, they had nothing to talk about.  No, she thought fiercely.  That's not true.  We talked; we had long, in depth conversations.  Before.  Before that thing she wasn't thinking about.

        She almost disappointed, in a way.  If he broke a rule, then she'd have a reason to turn up the notches of the fight, and he'd be proving how unworthy he was, and she could yell at him again.  But he wasn't—the smug jerk.  He was obeying her rules to the limit she had set, no less and no more.  Which of course meant he was also breaking her rules.  The rules that said how he ought to behave, the Buffy Rules of Slayers, Vampires, and Guys.  Those rules he had a habit of trampling on.  With steel-tipped elephant shoes.

        Kind of like what she was doing to his stomach right now.  That was, until he grabbed her ankle and knocked her down on top of him.  Hands around her waist, he brutally rolled her away from him, and she barely stopped herself before crashing into the wall.  The creep didn't even pretend to try to cop a feel the whole time.

        The touches she received from his strong, delicate hands and long fingers were all of the violent, strictly warrior-professional nature.  Of course, she did catch him leering at her more than once, which she found hardly surprising.  But he kept and his word and was completely hands-off sexually.  She could forgive him the leers, because if she wasn't trying so hard to be uber-control girl, she would have been looking at him the same way.

        He made it look so easy.  Like casting stares at her body between punches and blocks *didn't* make him want to jump her bones.  Or maybe she was confusing his intentions for hers.  Maybe it wasn't him at all; maybe it was just her hands that itched and twitched, frantic to turn a swift chop into a subtle caress.

        She ducked a roundhouse kick and swept her feet out while one of his was still in the air, knocking him neatly off balance.  He hit the floor on his back, but when she went in for a pin he swiftly caught her wrists and turned one toward her sharply, sending a nine-foot lance of pain up her hand, to her shoulder and beyond.  She'd wondered how much he actually knew of martial arts, and that was proof he was at least familiar with Aikido and some of its painful, but relatively non-damaging methods of taking control of one's opponent.  Well, she amended in her head, non-damaging as long as you choose to make them so. Giles had shown her some of the Aikido techniques, but only a few, because Aikido was defensive and a Slayer was naturally offensive.  But he did say the moves, if applied fully, could cripple people permanently, she reminded herself.

        Biting her lower lips slightly, she twisted her other wrist sharply and simultaneously brought her elbow to his chin, knocking his head back violently.  As his grip naturally spasmed with the jerk of his head, she wrench her aching wrist away, feeling the red skin burning and tingly where his fingers had caught her skin so tightly.  Remember to have Giles show you that, Buffster, she thought, imitating Xander's voice in her head.  My wrist hurts like hell and all he did was grab it.

        She tried to jam one palm down into the pale skin of his neck to keep him on the mat, but he made a complete roll to the right at the last second, and then did a flippy-thing to get to his feet again fast.  She liked doing that flippy-thing too, when she had the chance.  It was a fun move, and it looked remarkably cool for in truth being so easy.

        Now they were both on their feet again, circling, using the lull in grappling to re-asses and regroup.  Her muscles were sore, but from the feel of them, she doubted she'd even have one bruise.  She wanted to know why he was being so deliberate about it, such a contrast to that other night, the night they both walked away from with blue and black blotches galore.  She'd brought him here to fight, and he was dong a damn good job of it, yet still managing to pull off making it all temporary, without evidence.  Why would he bother?  What kind of new kick was he on, here?

        He was doing that bouncing boxer-stance thing, and leering at her again.  She hated that bouncing, it distracted her.  There's probably a lesson in that, girl, she accused.

        She swiped a hand across her mouth, surprised to feel the salty, metallic taste of blood, even though her eyes never left his dancing form.  Dancing form?  Get a grip Buffy.  Yuck, I hate the taste of blood.  She must have bit her lip harder than she'd thought back there.  He better not be getting off on this.

        Shit, it was too late for that.  He's stopped moving and was gazing at her face in fascination, lapis lazuli eyes wide.  Since when did she start comparing his eyes to semi-precious stones?  They're blue, just blue, that's it.  She was not planning to come up with any other adjectives for them either.  None.

        She cleared her throat, and his eyes jerked back to her.  Then they immediately flew to the Star Wars official special collector's clock on the wall—the one Xander had bought for Giles as a gag gift when he first started her training there.

        Eleven-fifty-one.  They'd been sparring for nearly three hours.  Hand to hand.  She didn't want to stop yet.  There was still too much in her system.

         'I'm in your system now.'

        Oh god, just had to think of that now, didn't you Buffy?  She growled silently and deliberately turned her gaze from the wall clock, back at her sparring partner instead.  Big mistake.

        Wow. No, not wow.  No wows.  None.  They're just blue.  There's no cerulean in them at all, not a drop.  And certainly no azure either.  Nothing special.  Hell.  Why do his eyes have to be so expressive?  Her brain tittered a moment at her own contradictory opinions, wavered on the knife-edge, then sided with tradition and habit.  One more victory for logic against the cruel tyrant of compulsive emotion.  Logic needed a lot of little victories in Buffy's case to make up for its fantastically big lapse that night.

        Which she was so not thinking about now.  Not ever.

         "Time for you to get back to the little bit, I think."

        Yes.  Yes.  Time to think about Dawn.  Must think about Dawn.

         "Right," she returned, not moving.  He was sweating through his shirt, the dark grey wife beater tank clinging wetly to his muscles like— What is that phrase?—like a second skin.  Her breath caught.  Just like that, completely the cliché breath-catching in action.

        He moved toward her, lotus eyes burning.  Toward her, closer—Oh God is he going to—and right past her.  Just like that.  Like it was so easy.

         "Night Slayer."

        God how she hated him.  Him and his stupid cornflower blue eyes.