Set during "Smashed." Buffy and Anya have a conversation about the wedding, Buffy's relationship with Spike, and bunch of silly, sexy innuendo. One shot.

Usual disclaimer: I do not own anything.

Plus 1-less

"Are you going to bring a date to the wedding?" Anya asked. She was flipping through yet another bridal magazine. Buffy wasn't quite sure what kind of insight Modern Bride could possibly offer that wasn't in Today's Bride or Contemporary Bride. It all seemed a bit redundant. Okay really redundant. But Anya seemed to find it interesting.

Which was more than Buffy could say about her current employment. She was still trying to figure out what kind of demon they were dealing with. And so far her progress had been exactly zero. She was so bored. And overwhelmed. She hadn't known where to start. And Giles hadn't been there to guide her. To tell her what to do. Where to look. He hadn't been there to provide the answers for her. So she was aimlessly leafing through books, her eyes glazed with boredom. Most of the words running together, indistinguishable, illegible. She would never figure this out on her own. She was so lost.

She looked up at Anya. Talking about the wedding. Again. At least it was slightly more interesting than the words her eyes had just scanned. Uncomprehending. "Uh. I don't know. Maybe."

"Well you're going to have to figure it out. There's a lot that needs to get done. I have to give the caterer and head count. And Xander and I have to start the seating chart, and I need to know where to put you. Should I put you at a table with the other awkward new couples, who are seriously uncomfortable with witnessing nuptials so early in their relationship because they fear that they too will be forced to make a lifelong til-death-do-us-part commitment, which they are in no way ready for, or with the other desperate single women, who, inspired by said nuptials, are hoping that maybe they will find love or at least orgasms at the reception, so they drink too much, make bad decisions, and wake up in a \ usher's bed with a hangover and latent case of some sexually transmitted disease."

Buffy wondered when Xander would be back. He had run out to get some dinner for the three of them. Leaving her alone with Anya. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. She liked Anya. In her own way. And she was happy for the two of them. She was. Really. She just didn't know how much of Anya's wedding chatter she could take today. Or ever.

She really hoped she hadn't been this annoying when she had been planning her wedding with Spike. Although she remember a lot more making-out and groping than actual wedding planning. There had been a few lists, sure. And they had looked at invitations. But the kissing had really taken precedent.

But she really should not be thinking about those things. Really. Especially not now. Not after everything. Not after her recent bad kissing decisions. She so did not need to think about making-out with Spike. It was bad. Not his kissing, which was good. So good. Too good. But the kissing in general, which was wrong. And the thinking about the kissing was very wrong too.

"Uh-hu," Buffy nodded, "With options like those who could choose? You make them both sound so appealing. Debilitating relationship-destroying awkwardness or herpes? Whats a girl to do?"

Anya shot her a stern look. "This may be all fun and games to you, but there is a lot of stuff that I need to worry about. You would not believe the amount of details for which I alone am responsible. And everything has to be perfect, because its my special day. It's the day I've been dreaming about since I was a little girl. Every little girl dreams about it. We're supposed to."

Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes, "Anya, you were a little girl in Scandinavia over eleven hundred years ago."

"Yes, and for that reason my expectations are very high. I had a lot of time to think about it. Not that I did too much planning when I was a demon, because then most of my mental energy was expended in the hatred of men and the vengeance, of course. But I always did have a weakness for white dresses and calla lilies."

"And I'm sure your day will be perfect. Because you'll be there. And Xander will be there. And you love each other. And what more do you need?"

"What more do you need? Are you insane? There are a hundred other things you need. Like wedding favors and flower arrangements and a person imbued with the power of god and the government to pronounce you man and wife and table linins. It's a complicated process."

"I'm just saying maybe it wouldn't hurt to make it a little less complicated. Take some of the burden off. Have a little less to worry about. You just seem so overwhelmed." Buffy could empathize, kinda. Of course, her overwhelminess was not the frantic anxiety of Anya. No, it was more the depressive I-hate-my-life-and-wish-I-was-still-dead-because-then-I-would-be-at-peace-and-in-heaven kind. But still, she felt completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by herself, her problems, her life. Because her life kinda was the problem.

"But all of these magazines are telling me that it has to be this complicated and overwhelming. Its supposed to be. And its what everyone expects," Anya continued, "And if its not perfect and complicated then maybe Xander will change his mind, because it won't be a human enough wedding. It has to be perfect," she resolutely informed Buffy.

"He won't. He never would. He loves you, Anya. That's why he asked you to get married in the first place. Besides, Xander is one of the good guys, remember. There aren't many of them around, especially not on the Hellmouth, where most of the men tend to be all demony and bumpy and bad, even if they seem attractive and reformed. And even if they are good kissers, they are still dangerous and... evil… and… bad…" Buffy faltered, sensing that the subtext was becoming a little too texty. "But you managed to find one of the good ones," she concluded.

"I suppose your right. He does love me. Thank you. You have made me feel slightly better, although I am still finding this wedding very stressful. I'm supposed to." Anya said cheerily.

"Good for you, I think," Buffy forced a smile.

"Yes. So are you bringing a date?" Anya asked again.

"Probably not" Buffy paused for a moment. "Romance not too much in the immediate future of Buffy." Yes. Because she was not going to kiss Spike ever ever again. No more romance. Romance and kissing over. No more. Done. "Maybe I'll just bring Dawn as my date," she offered.

"Well, isn't that sweet. In a depressingly old spinstery sort of way. Perhaps you could bring a couple of cats and some knitting and a copy of The Selected Poems of Emily Dickenson, as well. And you and Dawn could be my two sweet old spinster friends."

"I am not a spinster. And I'm not old." Buffy always tried to find Anya's bluntness endearing. Never really worked though.

"You've died twice."

"That doesn't make me old. It makes me unlucky, maybe. Clearly mortal. But not old. I was killed by the Master and an Inter-hell-dimensional portal thingy. Its not like I died of old age."

"All I'm saying is that since Riley left, you have been acting kind of old maidy."

"Have not. I flirted with Ben."

"Yes, but you didn't go on a date with him. Cancelled on him, remember. Besides, since he was sharing a body with a deranged hell god, I'm not sure that it counts."

"It counts. He was totally into me. And I am not an old maid."

"I could set you up with someone. It would be fun. And then Xander and I would have someone to go on double dates with. Other than lesbians. Don't get me wrong. The lesbians are fine. I like the lesbians. But it would be nice to spend time with another heterosexual couple."

"No thanks," Buffy responded dryly. She so did not want Anya setting her up with anyone. Ever.

"Why not? It would be good for you. Xander could pick out one of the men he works with. Many of them are well muscled and look good without their shirts on."

"Anya, I'm pretty sure that all the guys Xander works with hate me."

"I'm sure they'll have all forgotten about how you went crazy and tried to kill the foreman," Anya responded brightly.

"I did not go crazy. There was a demon and it attacked him and I saved his life."

"Hence the reason why they think you're crazy. You can't blame them, Buffy. From what I understand most human are unaccustomed to the world we inhabit. And when they see something from it, they just pretend like they didn't. Convince themselves that it wasn't real. The human mind is wonderfully efficient at repression, don't you think?"

"All the more reason not to date. Don't need to give myself more things to repress," Buffy sighed, picking up the next book on the pile.

"Its not all bad. The sex part is nice. And the love part too, of course. But the orgasms are very nice."

"And finding this new evil kid on the block would be nice, too. Whatever this Mr. freezy-diamond-eaty demon is."

"You should do it with Spike."

Buffy looked up from her book, her eyes wide. "No. There will be no doing of it with Spike."

"Why not, he is strong. And he might be able to help you with some of your frustration. He could be very helpful."

"No way."

Anya sighed, exasperated, "Its not like you haven't done it before."

"That was different."

"I don't see how."

"It just was. Okay. I really don't feel like getting into it," Buffy said. Clearly annoyed. She so did not want to have this conversation. Did not want to think about sex with Spike. Because it was too tempting. It was taking all of her Slayer strength to stay away from him. She did not need Anya encouraging her to give into the very thing she was trying so hard to resist.

"All I'm saying is that you too seem pretty chummy lately. And you're already spending a lot of time together. I just think it makes sense. Its logical to ask him to come with you. Especially if you're both doing it on your own already. It would probably be more effective if you did it together. Its always better to do that sort of thing with another person. The company is nice. Plus its more fun. At least I think so. Although maybe as the Slayer you prefer getting your kicks in solo."

"That's not true. I used to do it with Riley all the time."

"Right. And I'm sure Spike is much better at it. He's got over a hundred years of experience giving it to humans and demons and god knows what else. Its only reasonable that you do it with him."

"It is the farthest thing from reason. Its perverse. I don't see how the fact that Spike got around for a hundred years means it's a good idea to do anything with him. Especially that."

"Geez. I don't see what you're so upset about," Anya grumbled, clearly annoyed.

"Its just… I so don't want to talk about it."

"Besides. I figured he'd have some energy to burn off. And he hasn't got anything better to do. He used to go out almost every night with the bot, you know."

"With the bot?" Buffy's tone had an icy edge.

"Of course."

"I think I'm going to be sick," Buffy groaned. "How could you guys let that happen?"

"We all spent time with her, Buffy. We missed you. He just did it more than the rest of us, because, vampire, you know. Better equipped. And in general, he was more enthused, too. He really likes that sort of thing. Really gets off on it."

"Okay. Now I know I'm going to be sick. All of you? With her? That thing."

"It wasn't like being with you, Buffy. Not the real you. But it was the closest thing we had. And we all missed you because you were dead. It was just our way of trying to keep some little part of you with us, I guess. Maybe it made us feel like you were less dead. Eased our own anxieties about mortality and impending inevitable death and doom and everything. And then we brought you back, and the bot was destroyed. Which is okay, because you're back and alive. We have the real Buffy now to do all the patrolling. Which is good, because you're wordplay is far superior. Although she did fight quite well, considering."

"Patrolling?"

"Yes. Of course, patrolling. What did you think I was talking about?"

"Uh… crafts," Buffy blurted out, "Yeah, crafts. Origami. I was jealous that the bot was having all that foldy paper fun with my friends."

Anya shrugged. "You seem very odd lately. Well, odder than you usually are. Kinda twitchy. Are you sure you came back right?"

"No," Buffy mumbled under her breath, "not sure at all."

Patrolling. Of course. Patrolling. Why had Anya been so uncharacteristically vague? And why had her mind instantly thought of that. With him. Bad mind. Dirty, stupid, bad mind. She needed to get in control of herself. She could not think about him like that. The kissing thing had been bad enough. It had been a mistake. A big mistake. A mistake she could never, would never, make again. Ever.

Especially because he was such a good kisser. And evil. Yes, she had to remember that. Could not forget the evilness. Because he was. Evil. And he made her feel all melty. Turned her into a puddle of Buffy. While they were kissing, of course. After the kissing was over, she felt loathing. Disgust. Disturbed. Desire.

At least she was feeling something. His kiss ignited a flame within her cold, numb body. So what if the fire threatened to engulf her. At least it was something to feel.

She wanted so bad to give into it. Give in to her desire. Give in to him. To let him have her, take her.

She had died saving the world. Why couldn't she just grab hold of and enjoy what little pleasure the world seemed to be offering her.

No. It was bad and it was wrong and damn Anya for making her think about it.

She had been staring at the same five words for the past three minutes. Time to focus on the research. Time to stop thinking about Spike, his lips, his tongue, his teeth. The way he made her feel. The way he nipped at her lower lip. The way his tongue tangled with hers. The way his lips pressed against her with a desire that threatened to completely overwhelm her. Consume her. Time to stop thinking about how badly she wanted to let him do more to her. Let his hands and lips and teeth and tongue explore her body. Let him penetrate her. Fill the emptiness of her life. The chasm in her soul. She wanted him to take her to new depths. To make her feel more intensely. More deeply. More alive. To pour some of his passion, his vitality, into her. To make her feel.

Time to stop thinking about all of that. Time for research. Time to figure out how to solve this. Find this demon. Fix her life.

"Who is ready to get double stuffed by Double Meat? I know I am." Xander walked into the Magic Box holding two paper bags with the Double Meat Palace logo printed on them. "So not how that sounded in my head."

"Its okay, honey, I found your unintentionally homoerotic verbal blunders endearing. And somewhat arousing," Anya said brightly.

"And now I've completely lost my appetite," Buffy smiled. "Thanks guys."

"Oh come on Buffy, don't you want some meaty goodness inside you."

She laughed, "That one you so did on purpose."

"Maybe. Just glad I got a laugh out of the Buffster."

"Yes, well. Sexual innuendo is often very amusing," said Anya. "Sex is very pleasant, and tends to make people happy. Especially the orgasms. You should really have some, Buffy. But not with Xander. He is only allowed to have sex with me. Soon, it will be a legal issue. But I could find you someone to have sex with. There must be someone who is not Xander who would willingly engage in intercourse with you."

"Wouldn't dream of sex with Xander, Anya."

"Hey, I don't see what the problem with dreaming is," Xander replied through a mouthful of Double Meat burger.

"So not temping on so many levels," Buffy grumbled to herself.

"But there must be someone who is. Tempting, I mean," Anya pressed.

"What. No. No tempting. Because the temptation is followed by the giving in to it and that way lies badness. And I so don't need any more badness in my life right now. I think single Buffy is the best Buffy right now. Definitely no tempting. I'm temptation free Buffy."

Anya shrugged, "Suit yourself. But then I'm not inviting you with a plus 1."

"That's fine," Buffy replied. After all. She was the Slayer. The Chosen One. She without a Plus 1. It made sense. It was the way things were supposed to be. She was supposed to be in this alone. Those were the rules. The destiny. The job description. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, etc. etc. The key word there was "alone."

But she had always broken the rules. Since she had gotten to Sunnydale. She had never really been alone, even when she had tried to drive everyone else away from her. Kinda like she had been doing lately. Again.

Because part of her was convinced that she was better off alone. Because if she was alone, then no one could leave her. Not again. Had she been alone Angel, Riley, her mom, Giles, none of them could have left her. Not if they hadn't been there to begin with.

Sure, had she been alone she might be dead. Probably would be.

But at least she would be at peace. Had she been alone, there would have been no one there to rip her out of heaven. No one to bring her back to a box in the earth. No one to force her into the hell that was her life. No one to leave her so broken and messed up that she actually wanted to have sex with an evil soulless vampire. Albeit a hot one. And the only person she could stand to be around, even if he was only a monster, a thing. And a really good kisser. But, evil and soulless nonetheless.

A Buffy without a Plus 1 was probably better than a Buffy plus anyone. And especially better than a Buffy plus Spike and all the naughty thoughts about subtracting and dividing that go along with that equation. No, the best thing for her to do now was to avoid him. Avoid temptation. Because she didn't think she was really strong enough to resist. Not anymore. If she was with him there would be kissing. And then she would be lost.

"I'll go alone," Buffy said. "The Wedding. Patrolling. I'll be better off by myself." Alone. Plus 1-less.

The life of the Chosen One. She could do this. She would. She would find this demon and she would kill it. And then she would find the next one and kill that one too. She would fulfill her duty as the Slayer. Do her job. And she would do it without Giles. And definitely without Spike. Without anyone. Alone. It might not really be living, but at least she would survive.