Living Conditions

By Sweetprincipale

Author's Note: Set in early Season Three with a few changes: Buffy is still working in LA, she never had the run-in with Lily that made her decide to go back to Sunnydale, and Spike's come back to California already. Both of them are living completely separate, unrelated lives until fate and its sick sense of humor throw them together. Part angst, part fluff, and of course, eventually a little smut.

Author's Second Note: This is short, unremarkable. It's a simple, single glimpse ahead for those of you who wondered what would happen after the pair rides off into the moonlight.

Update: This piece has been nominated in multiple categories at the Sunnydale Memorial Awards, Round 27. Thank you so much for showing your appreciation for the story. If you enjoyed and you'd like to participate in the voting, I thank you in advance.

Dedicated to Cavementftw, Alexiarrose, DLillith21, ginar369, Sirius120, Mike13z50, The Three March Hares, Rosalea12, Teddybear-514, Rororogers, BabyFaith18, Lil-Leti, Lynbie, Jackiemack916, Anne, Jewel74, Lyzzybelle, a-stranger-angel, Babe Ruthless, the madara's little sister, alottalove, McPastey, pepperikeys, MaireAilbhe, and Blade Redwind.

Direct quotes from songs or shows are obviously not mine, but owned by the talented people who created them.

Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.

Epilogue

"Hello?" Buffy answered her cell phone as she crossed the parking lot.

"It's Ed's birthday tomorrow."

"I know. You told me when you got in from the game last night, and it's been on the calendar for weeks. I ordered the cake, I just have to pick it up on the way home tomorrow. Everyone'll be there at eight. Oh, Spike! Chairs?"

"I thought of that. Kim and Trish are bringing two and your mum is bringing two for her and the old man."

"Don't call Giles old, Mr. One Hundred Sixtieth next month!"

"God, I'm ancient." He groaned.

She pouted into the receiver. "You're ancient? You never age. I'm in my twenties. Mid-twenties! I mean, it's cute when you're in your early twenties and-"

He cut her off. "You still look good to me, Baby. An' don't argue or I'll hang up."

"You mean it?"

"About hanging up?"

"No! How I look."

"Sexy. Pretty piece of flesh, thought it the second I saw you. Still think it." He purred, meaning every syllable.

"Even after all these years?" She pressed, a smile on her face. She liked to hear it, but she didn't need to. That was the best thing about life with Spike. You felt loved and beautiful, all the time, even if he didn't always say it. Though he often did.

"Even after. I'll always think it. The outside is pretty, but the inside's what made me chuck the glorious nightlife." They shared a snicker, but then his voice became serious. "I'm not in love with the pretty package, that's the bonus. I love you."

"Love you too, Baby. Okay, I'm getting off the elevator now. Be home in a sec."

Spike opened the door as his beloved was slipping her key in the door, shutting her cell phone. She looked startled and then beamed up into his eyes, as he was grinning down into hers. "Ahh. There she is. Hello, love of my unlife."

"Hey, Babe."

He gave her a squeeze and they shut the door behind them, settled in for a night in their little flat. "Did you get the movie?"

"Got it. You put the lasagna in?"

"Got it. All warmed up."

She watched him move into the kitchen, flicking the radio on as he passed through the living room. He watched her stepping out of her uniform, one hand reaching up the back to undo the buttons, one hand hanging her purse on the doorknob of the spare room as she headed into their bedroom.

They shared a smile, a wink, and a thought when they caught the other looking.

This is the life.