Disclaimer: I do not own the characters mentioned in this story, they all belong ultimately to Joss Whedon, who thought them up and fleshed them out, giving all us fic writers some wonderful toys to play with. I'm hoping Joss doesn't mind sharing his toys with the other kids. I promise I won't do anything half as bad as other people (I'm bad with the angst, plus, I just don't like it.).

Notes: Any text in //these// is italicized, and text in *these* is bold.
This story is set a week after the episode 'Crush', but there's only one real spoiler for the episode. Despite that, the story wasn't named after the episode, but after the song 'Crush' by Jennifer Paige. This is the first story in an anthology of songfic-like stories, the second story being 'Irresistible'. Please, enjoy the read, and tell me what you think.


It was just some little thing. He would get over it. He had to. Because if he didn't. . .

She'd have to kill him.

And as horrible as it was, she really didn't //feel// like killing him.

It was sad, really, but he made patrolling more fun. Sure, she pretended to hate him, but if she really hated him she would have killed him months ago. No, she didn't hate him... she tolerated him. Besides, she just didn't hate that many people. Someone had to give her a damn good reason to hate them. And aside from Faith, the only people she hated were bad guys, which she really did on the principle of the thing. If the mayor hadn't been bent on eating everyone in Sunnydale, she would have kind of liked him. Heck, even after becoming a demon, he was cool. Only someone cool would eat Principal Snyder.

Okay, off-topic. She only hated people who gave her ample reason to. And as much as she was loathe to admit it, he really hadn't given her any reason, lately, to hate him. Actually, lately, he'd helped her out a lot. The only thing he'd really done to piss her off . . . well, that would have to be when he'd tied her up with Drusilla. She hadn't really appreciated that. No, that had actually pissed her off a lot.

But now, a week later, she wasn't mad any more. She would be . . . except there was no one to be mad at. Oh, sure, she tried to be mad at anybody who talked to her, but, she kind of liked the friends she had, and they had all essentially asked her why she was having the bitch-fest. In fact, those had been Anya's words almost exactly.

She was being evil to everyone around her because the one person who deserved her evil-ness wasn't around. He hadn't shown up since she'd de-invited him from her home. It was like he'd vanished off the face of the earth. . . oh, if only she could be that lucky. But, in spite of what she wanted, she knew he had to be around somewhere. It was just finding him that she didn't want to do. It wasn't like he could hurt anyone in the condition he was in. And if he was still angry because of the de-invite spell, he was probably making her job easier by taking his frustration out on some helpless demons and vampires.

The phone rang, and she rolled over in bed to glare at it. It was almost four in the morning, who was calling her at this ungodly hour of the night? She picked the phone up before it could ring again, not wanting to wake Dawn up because she was too stubborn to talk to some wrong-number-person or some stupid salesperson.

"If you're selling something, I don't have any money. I live completely off charity."

"I'm sure that's completely true," a dry female voice drawled over the phone. Any sleep in Buffy's system was completely gone as she sat up in bed, fully alert. "Cordelia? What's going on?"

Cordelia sighed on the other end of the phone, glancing at the other two occupants sitting in her office. "Well, it's like this Buffy. . . what's Spike babbling about you de-inviting him from your house?"

Buffy heard a muffled, perturbed male voice ask, "And why didn't she do it sooner?" It seemed that that question wasn't directed at her, however, so she ignored it, latching onto Cordelia's words. "Spike? He's there in LA? What the hell's he doing there?"

Another male voice, not Angel's, but also very familiar to her, yelled, "Tell her it's none of her bloody business! You got that, Slayer?!"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Okay, what //is// going on?"

"Spike showed up tonight. Angel is keeping guard over him, or he would have called you. Seems Spike's having . . . suicidal tendencies. He came by to talk to Angel, and when Angel threatened to push him into the sunlight . . . Spike let him. Not quite up to killing himself, but very happy to let someone else do it for him. Give me the word, I'll gladly do the deed." Cordelia glared right back at Spike, knowing he couldn't even fight her like he could Angel. Willow had informed her that he couldn't hurt humans.

"No, don't kill him. Dammit, why couldn't he just vent his anger like other vampires?" she muttered to herself. "Look, give Spike the phone -- that is, if his hands are free."

"Yeah, hold on." She handed Spike the phone, who covered the receiver and glared at her. "Could I have a little privacy, please?"

Cordelia rolled her eyes, but took hold of Angel's arms. When he seemed to want to protest, she said, "There's only one way out of the office, and you can scowl at him through the window as easily as you can beside him." She knew she'd won when Angel took an unnecessary breath to sigh in resignation.

When the door closed, Spike put the phone to his ear. "What, Slayer?"

"Are you completely dense, Spike? What, is this a vampire's version of a cry for help? If you'd really wanted to kill yourself, you could have done that just as easily in Sunnydale. And at least here, no one would have stopped you." She winced as soon as she said the words, but she was angry that he'd tried the stunt at all. Dammit, couldn't he have at least //told// her what he was planning? She would have gone out and bought a new dress for the occasion or something.

"Yeah, well, like the girl said, I wasn't quite up to offing myself. And I thought if anyone would let me die, it'd be the poof."

"Yeah, why did he save you?"

Spike sighed. "I think he saw through my plan just as I started smoldering. All of a sudden he yanks me up by the arm and says, 'It doesn't work that easily, Spike'. Damn him, anyway. The wanker."

Buffy sighed. She didn't want to have to do this. . . but at least it was over the phone. "Look, Spike . . . ah, hell. I'm NOT sorry for uninviting you into my house, 'cause . . . 'cause it still creeps me out, and I don't entirely trust you--."

". . . But?"

She hated that note in his voice. It was far too manipulative. She could just tell that she was playing right into his hand. "BUT, I do . . . appreciate you helping me patrol. And despite your crush on me, I don't find your presence . . . entirely repulsive." Oh god, she was sounding like Anya.

She heard Spike sigh over the phone, long and drawn out. "That's all I'm getting, isn't it Slayer?"

"Be glad you got that much," she said tersely.

"And it's //not// a crush. A crush is when you get all doe-eyed and think about how happy you'll be together. A crush is thinking once you're together, everything will be all 'Pleasantville' goodness. I'm a vampire. You're the Slayer. I UNDERSTAND that. But despite how you feel, I still. . . feel what I feel for you. I know you'll probably never feel the same way for me -- hell, I'm sitting in the *building* of the reason why you never will -- and I know that the demons won't just disappear, or that I'll stop being burnt by the sun every time I step in it -- but guess what? No matter how I try to deny, bury, crush, maim, or kill these feelings - they're still there. And believe me, if I could hate you for making me feel this way, I bloody well would."

Buffy nodded to herself. "You're right, Spike - I never will feel the same way for you. But . . . you might as well be here and unwelcome, than at Angel's and unwelcome. I'm pretty sure you'll last longer over here . . . maybe."

"Luv, if the poof hasn't killed me since I was turned, I think he can tolerate me when I'm . . . incapable of hurting humans."

Buffy smiled. "Say it. Say it Spike. I want to hear you say it."

"Impotent, all right!! But ONLY in the fighting and biting sense. You'd do well to remember that, pet."

Buffy's smile grew wider. "I'll remember, Spike. So, do you think you'll be back in time for patrol tomorrow night?"