Author: Kendra A. (firstname.lastname@example.org) [http://www.iceblur.dot.nu]
Summary: Willow and Spike get caught in the rain. Blatant fluff.
Disclaimer: All "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer" and/or "Angel" characters aren't mine. They're Joss', Marti's, David's, et cetera. Don't sue, as I don't even own a working computer at the moment. All songs belong to the eminent Dave Matthews Band, whose boots I would gladly lick. =) Well, maybe not really, but they *rock*.
Distribution: The usual—UCSL, Fanfiction.Net, Bite Me… Please?, STTEOT, Near Her Always, Temptation Embraced, all my lists. And, uh, my own personal site. Duh. If you want, just ask and tell me where it's going.
Context/Spoilers: Pick your own timeline. It's after sixth season. Riley's gone, Tara left, Spike's still chipped and never did the wacky or got a crush on Buffy, Willow never got addicted… You get the idea. It's a Happyverse.
Author's Notes: Okay, my computer is still on the blink, so I'm floppy-disking it—so if any of the formatting is @$%!ed up, that's why. =) This is written to make myself feel better because my computer is insane and the guy I like won't get a clue. Also, there's a drought in New York City (where I live), and it's also, like, ninety degrees out even though it's only April (I swear I'm being literal) and I need a break from conjugating Latin. This is in honor of the random rainstorm we had today with lots of thunder and lightning, and of the shoes that eventually began to squelch. Enjoy!
Dedication: Okay, guys, don't get jealous, but this is for a few people. This is for Lisa, because I haven't dedicated something to her in what seems like forever, and she deserves it; Lisa, you rock! And I'm working on "Morning" using pen & paper. I promise. And this is also for Len, because she's recommended books to me and because she's a hoopy frood; and this is also for Meltha, because she dedicated "Toosies" to me, and that was just about the cutest thing I ever read. So! With that said, on to the story.
Willow lay head-to-head with Xander on the blessedly cool linoleum of the Magic Box and wiped her sweaty forehead. "This gets grosser by the second."
Xander made a grunting noise. Willow assumed that meant that he agreed with her.
Anya sighed. "This weather is ridiculous. Look! The money is sticking to my fingers." The corners of her mouth turned down in a pout and she held one hand up as evidence. Indeed, a green bill seemed to have adhered itself to her hand by way of the inevitable sweat.
"Wills, can't you do some sort of magic thing where you twitch your fingers and suddenly snow's falling?" Buffy begged, slumping across the table. Her normally immaculate blonde hair was slightly frizzy, and wisps stuck to her pink-tinged face.
"Messing with the weather is a big no-no, Buff, you know that," Willow muttered from the floor. "Besides, you saw that episode of The Powerpuff Girls."
Buffy made a Xander-grunt and flopped off her chair with a thump next to Willow and Xander on the floor. "I can feel my pores sweating."
"I can't believe the air conditioner malfunctioned," Anya hissed. She made a frustrated sound and slammed the cash register closed.
"I can't believe Giles is away on vacation with Olivia," Willow said. She rolled over and groaned with the exertion.
"Me neither. Because he's old and it's gross," Buffy said.
"Lots of stuff is gross today, huh?" Xander commented.
"No," Anya said. She kicked of her stilettos and exhaustedly made her way around the counter to the group collapsed on the floor. "Willow means she can't believe Giles is away because he's the only capable male in the whole entire world who *knows* how to *fix* an *air conditioner*!"
"Hey," Xander protested weakly, but made no further remarks in his defense.
"Supposedly it's supposed to rain," Willow said.
"Oh, yeah, and *that* will help my hair so much," Buffy groaned. She flopped bonelessly onto her other arm to face her best friend. "I reiterate that this is gross."
"April," Willow said. "April and it's ninety-five degrees."
"Poor Dawnie's in school," Xander said nobly. "We should be feeling sorry for her."
"Feeling sorry for her?" Willow snorted. "Please. I went with Buffy to drop her off at school and they've got central air conditioning there!"
"Gross, gross, gross, gross, gross," Buffy sing-songed tonelessly.
"I would suggest we get ice cream," Anya said helpfully from her supine position by Xander's knee. "But it would be melted before it got into the cone."
Willow shoved sticky hair away from her eyes impatiently. "I really hope it rains."
The door to the basement of the Magic Box slammed open. Nobody who was on the floor moved, but Xander volunteered: "Spike! Feeling nice and cold today?"
The heavy thud of the blonde vampire's Doc Martens could be heard on the floor, and then a chair scraped as he pulled it away from the table. "I wish, Chubs. I'm room temperature, and that's eighty-five degrees right about now."
"Here, Spike," Willow said generously, shifting slightly. "Join us on the floor."
"Oh, God, must he?" Buffy moaned. "Vampire cooties are the *last* thing I need."
"Oh, don't worry, Slayer," Spike retorted. His amusement was almost tangible. "Vampires aren't disease-carriers like you mortals. But, uh, you knew that, didn't you?"
"If I weren't so hot right now, I'd come up with a cutting retort," Buffy informed him matter-of-factly. "Is there any water?"
"No," Anya said.
Spike shook off his duster and sat down on the floor next to Willow. "Is this what you lot have been doing all day?"
"You were wearing a leather coat? In this heat? You're mad," Willow muttered, closing her eyes.
"Sitting on the floor, that's what you've been doing," Spike said. "Pathetic."
"Hey, I'll have you know that we have not been *sitting* on the floor," Xander said, sounding offended. "*You* are the sitting one. We are *lying* on the floor."
"Of course that's a totally different vibe." Spike rolled his eyes.
"It is," Xander confirmed. "Nor have we been here the whole day. I was sitting in that very chair a little under an hour ago."
"Do you have anything interesting to do?" Willow asked. "That doesn't involve strenuous activity?"
Buffy shoved Spike's abandoned duster listlessly towards her friend, and Willow grabbed it and began going through the pockets. "Cigarettes—gross. Lighter—heat. Gross. Handcuffs? Spike, please. That's gross. Playing cards? Not so gross…" She put the deck of cards down on the floor and held the duster up so she could feel inside its pockets while still lying down. "More cigarettes—more gross. Black nailpolish… Can I borrow this?"
"Do you *mind,* woman?" Spike demanded, taking hold of his duster. "That's mine!"
"He doesn't care if you snoop through the cigarettes or the handcuffs," Xander said incredulously, "But he gets testy when you threaten the nailpolish."
"I wasn't threatening!" Willow protested.
"Handcuffs?" Anya asked.
"Give me back your duster, Spike," Willow said patiently.
Spike pulled at his end. "No!"
"Resolve Face," Willow said, letting go of the pocket with one hand and pointing to her set features.
Spike, though admittedly great and powerful, was not so omnipotent that he could boast immunity to the resolve face. He let go of his coat. "Fine." He punctuated this remark with a back-cracking flop to the floor.
"Let me see the handcuffs," Anya said petulantly. Spike reached for them, and then threw the handcuffs to her.
Willow fiddled with the heavy material of Spike's duster until she could turn it around and search the pocket on the other side. "A discman?" She pulled it out. "Nice. G-Protection, of course… And cool headphones." She flipped them around.
"You know you're cool when Tech Girl condones your stuff," Xander informed Spike as he kept a wary eye on his girlfriend.
"What make are these?" Anya asked Spike.
"What, the handcuffs?" Spike asked.
"What do you have in here?" Willow asked. She flicked the catch of the CD player and the top popped open. Her eyes widened. "A guy after my own heart…"
"What CD?" Buffy asked, opening one eye curiously.
"Oh, please," Spike said, raising a hand to take his discman back. Willow presented him with her Resolve Face carefully combined with the slightest bit of Sad Puppy Eyes and even a hint of Condescending Raised Eyebrow (she'd learned that one from Cordelia). Spike, helpless against such a weapon, let his arm drop to the ground again.
"Dave Matthews Band," Willow told Buffy, tilting the discman so her friend could see. "I *love* them."
" 'Ah did it,'" Buffy howled.
" 'D'you think Ah've gawn too far?'" Willow crooned back.
" 'Ah did it,'" Buffy continued.
" 'Guilty as charged!'" Willow and Xander yelled in reply.
"Good God, do you always sing like this?" Spike groaned.
"No!" Willow 'hrumped.' " 'Satellite…'"
"Give me back the CD player," Spike said.
"You've tried that tactic already, and it hasn't worked," Anya pointed out. "So, where do you think I could get a pair of these?"
"What, the handcuffs?" Xander asked.
"Oh, yeah, there's this 'naughty' shop downtown," Spike began. Anya propelled herself over to him, using her elbows to move across the floor.
"Anya, must you?" Xander moaned.
Willow ignored them and handed one earphone to Buffy, keeping the other for herself, and skipped to the middle of the CD. She tapped out the rhythm on her stomach and closed her eyes. " 'Sometimes I feel lost…'"
* * *
Several hours later, all of Spike's belongings had been returned to the pockets of his duster (with the exception of his playing cards, with which the five of them played BS); the electrician had unexpectedly had an appointment fall through, and had come to fix the air conditioner; Dawn had come in after school and been sent to fetch ice cream and water bottles, along with Anya, who could not be made to stop talking about the handcuffs; and finally, night had fallen, taking with it some of the still-inescapable heat.
And then it began to rain.
The storm was quite sudden, actually. The whole group (six, now, including Dawn) had pulled chairs up to the table and were playing BS again. Buffy had just lain down two cards that she insisted were Aces and Spike had contemptuously declared her call a blatant lie when it spontaneously began to pour outside.
Everyone looked up.
"I told you it was supposed to rain," Willow said smugly.
"But we don't need it to rain now! We've got air conditioning!" Buffy protested.
"I don't have an umbrella," Dawn said.
"Xander, this is most fortunate. Come. We can get wet and then ravish each other," Anya suggested.
"This is going to *ruin* my duster," Spike muttered.
"Anya, what have I told you about appropriate public conversation?" Xander asked, putting his face in his hands.
"C'mon, Buff, this'll be fun!" Willow said cheerfully. "Let's go patrol."
"In the rain?" Buffy sighed.
"In the rain!" Willow replied.
"In the rain," Buffy groaned. "God, I hate cheerful people."
"So do I!" Willow agreed happily. "Come on, let's go get wet!"
Spike looked like he was on the verge of making a crude comment. Anya leaned forward in anticipation, and Xander jumped in quickly. "Spare us, Junior."
Anya made an exasperated noise. "Is there *anything* we're allowed to say?"
"Dawn, you wanna go home or patrol with us?" Buffy asked.
"I think I'll help patrol on a less squishy night," Dawn said hurriedly. "I have a lot of homework."
"She never admits that when she *wants* to do something," Buffy whispered to Willow. "Fine. Xander, Anya, can you drive Dawn home?"
"Peachy keen," Xander said with a nod.
"Promise me you'll never say that again." Anya nudged her boyfriend viciously.
"We're gone," Willow said, linking her elbow with Buffy's. "Spike? You wanna come with?"
"Must you invite him everywhere?" Buffy complained. Then, off Willow's disapproving look, the Slayer sighed and rolled her eyes in acquiescence. "Fine. Can we go?"
"One sec," Spike said, draping his duster over a chair. "I'm picking this up tomorrow. I'm not ruining the leather or my smokes or my CD player."
"The nasties aren't waiting around and twiddling their thumbs for us," Buffy hollered from the doorway. Willow skipped up the steps to the dais and joined her friend at the door. "Well?"
Spike strode towards them. "'Night, Bit," he called over his shoulder. "Chubs, Vengeance Girl." He stopped when he reached Buffy and Willow. "*Well*?"
"It's wet," Buffy whimpered. She stuck a hand out of the doorway and grimaced at the downpour. "Very wet."
"Of course it's bloody wet, it's raining, innit? Don't tell me you're scared of a little rain."
Willow pulled a tie from her wrist and secured her long hair in a high ponytail. "Buff, do you have another hair-tie scrunchie-thing?" Buffy held out her wrist, where almost twenty ties in a myriad of colors were wound. Willow peeled a bright pink one away from her friend's collection and twisted her ponytail into a bun.
"My hair takes a long time to do, Spike," Buffy reprimanded the vampire curtly. "I mean, the perming alone—"
"I don't want to hear it," Spike said. He held out a hand to Willow and gave her his best measuring stare. "You look like a daring one, Red. Wanna brave a little rain?"
Willow grinned at him and placed her long-fingered slender hand in his big one. "Damn straight I'm daring." They both ducked their shoulders and dashed out into the storm.
Buffy stomped her foot and tried her best pout. "Will-*ow*!"
"I think that's your cue to get goin', Buffster," Xander called from the table.
Buffy shot a glare at him, tugged at the straps of her spaghetti-strap top in an attempt to further cover her shoulders, let loose one last despairing sigh, and followed Willow and Spike into the darkness.