Barkeep Willy, Love Guru

Balthazar grimaced in distaste as he took another sip of his whiskey on the rocks. His surroundings were positively dreadful, which completely matched his mood at the moment. This seedy underground bar played host to the demonic denizens of Sunnydale, and it certainly smelled like it. Finishing off his drink he motioned towards the human barkeeper, Willy, for another.

"Here ya go, pal," Willy said with a nervous smile as he carefully placed the drink in front of Balthazar. The man appeared slick – and that did not mean he acted smooth. No, his hair was greasy and his perspiration dripped from his forehead; he would wipe it off with his once-white-now-yellow towel before drying out a beer mug.

Of course, the man's nervousness and perspiration was possibly due to the fact that Balthazar just smote the hell out of his bar – literally. He killed at least six vampires and seven demons in a fit of rage after leaving the slayer's home.

"Stupid sodding idiot," Balthazar groaned under his breath. He tipped back the rest of his glass.

"Y-ya need something?" Willy stammered.

Frowning, Balthazar examined the bar's top shelf. He had known that humans drank alcohol to relieve stress and engage in licentious actions, but he had yet to try it until tonight. Unfortunately, he was an angel and apparently it took more than six glasses of straight whiskey to get him drunk. "Just give me two bottles of your strongest liquor," he commanded airily.

Willy obliged and Balthazar began pouring some scotch into his glass. He gazed at the human with disinterest, like one might glance at a bug.

Hmm. Perhaps that was his problem. He knew absolutely nothing about humans. He had thought that the slayer would appreciate his humor…well, alright – he could admit to himself that his 'sleepover' trick was more for him than for her (and it didn't help that he was influencing Balthazar's persona with his twisted humor more than he would have thought). But it had been funny! Plus, couldn't she feel that they were meant to be? Balthazar could feel this in his Grace. Wasn't that what humans did? Fall in love, make grand gestures, and be together?

It had worked for that wanker Angel when he gave Buffy that claddagh ring.

Not that he had been thinking about sex (well, alright, he had thought of it a little, but he was curious, sue him!), but he had somehow thought their first meeting would have gone a bit better than that. A lot better, actually.

Hmm, he had probably mistepped when he mocked her name. 'But she started it!', a part of him defended.

"Oh right. Bloody mature you are, at the age of eternity," Balthazar grumbled to himself as he finished the first bottle.

Willy jerked slightly at the sound of him speaking and Balthazar decided it would be slightly more sane if he just spoke to the human rather than continue on with himself.

"Barkeep, come here for a moment."

Willy reluctantly walked over towards the angel. "Y-yeah?"

"Tell me, how on earthdo you date women?"

Eyes widened in surprise in surprise before narrowing. "Hey, I do alright," he stated defensively.

Balthazar rolled his eyes. "That wasn't a cutting remark on you, lad, but an honest question. Just how do human women want to be courted?" he asked in exasperation.

"Uh…" Willy seemed at a loss. "Ya know, flowers and chocolate and shit like that."

The angel crinkled his nose in distaste. "Really? Women enjoy 'shit'?" Balthazar's tone dripped with sarcasm.

"You know what I mean!" Willy huffed.

Balthazar chuckled into his drink. At least this human was amusing. "Yes, well I'm interested in a classy woman. Flowers and chocolate won't work with her." He sighed. The slayer was indeed one of a kind.

"Well, I dunno. Women like jewelry, if you can afford it. Oh, and, uh, tear jerker movies – like The Notebook!" Willy suggested eagerly.

"Hmm." Balthazar presumed that the slayer called for something much more individualistic. But what? How could he prove himself (and apologize)?

Then he smiled. She was the slayer. He had 'known' her, in a sense, since she was fifteen. He knew what she liked.

Buffy let out a huff of irritation when she saw that her favorite fall sweater was missing from her closet. Flinging the closet door shut, she stalked over to her sister's room and began banging on the door. "Dawn! Where is my brown sweater?"

Dawn opened the door with a surprised – and slightly timid – expression on her face. "Uh…hi?" she greeted warily.

"My sweater, Dawn. I want my sweater," Buffy told her firmly, high-heeled boot tapping in irritation on the carpeted floor.

"Uh…sure." Dawn went through her closet and offered it to Buffy with a weak smile. "See? It's even clean."

"Well it better be! Honestly Dawn, next thing on my to-do list is to padlock my closet," Buffy sniped in a sisterly fashion. She held the sweater up against her jeans and nodded, pleased that her outfit worked. "Thanks." Buffy went back to her room to change, completely missing the curious look that Dawn was sending her way.

Dawn continued staring, even after Buffy disappeared into her room. "Weird," she murmured. "That was almost like old-Buffy." After last night's revelation that Buffy had been in Heaven all along…well, Dawn had expected something different from her sister. More depressed, quiet, lethargic…which was definitely not her right now.

As a smidgen of hope began to emerge in her heart, Dawn smiled at the thought that maybe Buffy would get better soon.

Buffy ambled down one of the main roads in Sunnydale, her steps feeling a bit lighter than yesterday's. There was something…different…about her today; she could feel it. For months she had felt nothing and then last night – for better or for worse – she had felt that spark of life again. Lust, pleasure, anger, betrayal – these were emotions she had not really felt since being ripped out of Heaven.

Of course, she really could have done without the anger and betrayal part.

An agitated noise escaped her lips as she reflected on last night. First she confesses to everyone that she was ripped out of Heaven and then a freaking guy shows up and says he's an angel, before promptly stripping them down and trying to get all horny Austin Powers-like on her.


She kicked a rock on the sidewalk out of frustration, watching it shoot across the street in satisfaction.

This couldn't be happening. This couldn't be her life. Because this, right here? This was Hell. The cold of the autumn wind, the crushing weight of life and death responsibilities, and then – to top it all off – her friends and family watching her constantly with painful expressions like she had thrown a 'puppy-kicking' party.

Honestly, who did they think they were? They weren't the one in pain. They didn't know.

Buffy was surprised by the sudden sob catching in her throat. 'They didn't know,' she thought in a mentally softer tone. No one understood what it was like to leave Heaven.

Except perhaps this Balthazar guy.

She sighed. Last night she dreamt about their meeting and how they sang together. His song had been…well, the lyrics were kind of weird, if she was to be honest.

"They called me the Guardian of the Slayer
For millennia I've watched over each girl
Observing the life and death of every player
Then you arrived, glistening like a freshwater pearl.

Slayer, up in Heaven we couldn't get much higher
You know that would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
But we'll be fine down here; I'll light your fire.

I thought I had experienced the utter bliss of Heaven
Then I fell down to you, finally able to touch you
Your touch is worth more than Heaven times seven
The way you look at me threatens to undo"

Guardian of the Slayer…watching over all of them…Did this mean that he watched her? And why did his words sound so loving?

She paused then, basking in the memory of how that song had made her feel – loved, warm. Happy.

Buffy clenched her eyes in an effort to dam the tears that threatened to fall. After clawing herself out of her own grave she had never thought she would feel happy again.

For about twenty minutes she walked in reflective silence around Sunnydale, enjoying the fresh autumn air. Her mind felt like a blended smoothie – with so many different thoughts swirling around that she couldn't quite figure out what was what. Yes, this Balthazar guy had made her feel momentarily happy and even might not be a bad guy, based on what he sang to her (although the card was still out on his creepy lingerie-time factor). But on the other hand, if he was telling the truth, he was an angel.

…which meant there was a god and other angels, all of whom had no problem with her getting yanked out of Heaven and placed into the Hellmouth.

And that pissed Buffy off.

A/N: Short, but I know it's been forever since the last update and I wanted lessen the wait.

Thanks for reading!

PS: You may have missed it, but there is a suspicious clue in this chapter about something our dear Balthazar did, that will have repercussions in the future... ;)