SUMMARY: Spike springs a little surprise on Buffy. Fluff. And possibly a teense of angst, too, because I'm incapable of not writing it… This is for anyone who's ever wondered if vampires can ice-skate… and for all those who remember having their first lesson from a friend.

RATING: PG at most.

DISCLAIMER: All the characters belong to Joss. Yes, even Spike. Dammit.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was very loosely inspired by "What's My Line", and a particularly shippy scene with Angel. It'll make more sense when you read it. This was originally going to end up in "Cradle", but it quickly wrote itself out of control. As it is, it's a cute little standalone, set at some point in the future after Buffy and Spike have made up and actually attempted something resembling a sane and healthy relationship… but then again, there's still that trust issue left over from "Dead Things" and "Seeing Red"…

DEDICATION: This is for Naomi (Cyril the Sixteen Goldfish). Not because she's a shipper, as such; in fact, she's the anti-shipper. But because she introduced me to the wonderful world of Spike, and convinced me that he and Buffy just ARE the most hilarious couple… (even though my Inner Shipper then latched on with its claws and wouldn't let go.) Also, I know she'd absolutely kill to see Spike on ice…

Cold Trust

The fic © T'eyla Minh 2002

Buffy really should have known better than to patrol when Spike wasn't around. In theory, Spike not being around was a good thing, because he wasn't there to distract her. In practice, however, it seemed to be a bad thing, and somehow he was distracting her more by not being there. At least, when he was patrolling with her, she knew exactly where he was and what he was doing. He couldn't spring any surprises on her… which is precisely what she was worried about at that exact moment.

She hadn't seen anything on patrol. No vampires, no demons, not even any muggings, which, while often tedious and short-lived, tended to be a welcome change. But tonight, there was nothing. Including a particular blond vampire whose whereabouts she really wanted to know.

She wasn't wondering about that for very much longer; suddenly, something grabbed her from behind and covered her eyes. She resisted the overwhelming urge to 'accidentally' mistake the something for an attacker and kick it to death.

"Guess who," said Spike from behind her.

"Hmm, I wonder," she said, feigning curiosity. "Someone who could very easily end up on the pointy end of a stake if he doesn't let go of me."

One never took a Slayer-threat lightly, and he really didn't feel like being a vampire-kebab just yet. "Point taken, love." He let go, running both hands through her hair as he did so. Buffy groaned at the obvious attempt at a pun and turned to face him, smiling.

"I thought you were coming patrolling with me today."

They started walking, weaving between the headstones. "Had a bit of a change of plan," he said, and sniffed the air. "Vamps are all elsewhere tonight. Some big gathering or something a few miles away."

Buffy knew she ought to at least try to get there and stake them all. But she really couldn't be bothered, and if they'd been doing any harm, Spike would have mentioned it. As it was, it sounded like they were all partying. "You mean Sunnydale is Bad Thing-free for once?" Spike nodded. "Cool; I get a night off."

"I was hopin' you'd say that."

She raised a questioning eyebrow. "Why?"

"Because," he said, stopping, and taking both of her hands, "I have a little surprise for you."

"Ooh. Buffy likes surprises." She grinned. Taking that as a positive response, Spike led the way…

Fifteen minutes later, they'd finally arrived. The building he'd brought her to was non-descript to say the least – a mass of dark grey, with slightly lighter grey double doors that had once been pale blue, and a darker patch higher up that once held a sign to the place's identity. Buffy didn't look very impressed.

"Okay, Spike, where are we?"

"Not telling. You'll see. But first you have to close your eyes." Off her sceptical look, he added. "And if you don't, I'll blindfold you; either way, you're not seeing 'til you're inside."

"Fine…" she sighed, and closed her eyes. Spike unlocked the two heavy doors and turned back to look at her, and caught her quickly shutting her eyes again.

"Right. Blindfold it is, then…" Before she could protest, or rather, as she protested, he tied a red handkerchief over her eyes, seized her hand, and led her into the building. Spike gave general warnings, as they went up some stairs and around corners, then down some more stairs.

"How much further is it?"

"Not very, but it's a bit hazardous around here, so you'll just have to trust me."

She nodded, and Spike carefully guided her around obstacles. They seemed to be weaving in between rows of things and moving in a vaguely circular direction. It was also very, very cold.

"Geez, Spike, you couldn't have picked a warmer surprise?" Almost immediately after saying this, she walked directly into one of the things he was trying to help her avoid, her hip making contact with something very hard and fairly sharp. "And I'd just like to throw an 'ow' into the mix…"

Spike appealed to heaven and thanked the Powers That Be for blessing him with the clumsiest, crankiest Slayer in the world, and shook his head exasperatedly. Without a word, he removed his duster, bundled her up in it, and scooped her effortlessly into his arms to carry her the rest of the way. After a few seconds, he stopped, and Buffy felt herself being lowered into a chair. Once she was settled, Spike removed the blindfold. While her eyes adjusted, he whispered: "Surprise…"

Buffy gasped in genuine amazement as she took in her surprise. He'd brought her to the ice-rink, which had been closed for the past year or so for a refurbishment that had never happened. Spike had done his own 'refurbishing', by the looks of things – as the power had been cut, there were candles everywhere, around the rink and in the centre of the ice (Buffy questioned the sanity of that idea, but didn't say anything about it.) She glanced from the ice to Spike, but failed to say anything.

"Like it?" he asked.

She nodded, and finally managed to string a sentence together. "It's… amazing. How did you-?"

"Heard you went through a 'Dorothy Hamilton phase' when you were younger. I thought this'd be nice."

"Who told you that?"

"Well…" He seemed reluctant to tell her. "All right, but she made me promise not to tell you, so don't go… accusin' her of anything when you're back home. I was trying to think of something to do to surprise you. I was asking around and Nibblet showed me that photograph of you all bundled up, on the ice. Then she had to explain, of course."

"Trust Dawn to reveal my horrible geeky secrets…"

"Actually, I was quite the Dorothy Hamilton fan myself." Buffy didn't believe that for a second, but she appreciated the effort to make her feel better. "Dawn said you were good at this skating thing. Said you could have won competitions and all sorts if you'd tried."

"Well, I wouldn't go that far…"

Spike reached under the chair he was occupying and pulled out a large box, then placed it on her lap. "Humour me…"

Buffy lifted the lid off the box, separated the layers of tissue paper, and finally uncovered a pair of skates, white, with newly polished blades. "Oh my God… are these new?"

He nodded. "What d'you think?"

"They're gorgeous."

"Try them on…" She hesitated. "Come on, Slayer, I didn't bring you all the way out here just to sit there lookin' pretty. I want proof you're as good as Little Sis says."

"Okay, okay…" Buffy swapped her boots for the skates, finding, of course, that they were a perfect fit. She stole Spike's duster as some protection from the permeating cold of the building, and headed down towards the ice. "Don't laugh. I'm a little out of practice."

Spike watched with interest as she tentatively stepped out onto the ice and took an experimental slide forwards. Her fears were short-lived, however, as she quickly got the hang of it again and was soon speeding around the ice, Spike's duster flying out behind her. Very soon, she was lost in her own little world, memories of her childhood coming back to her. She'd wanted to be an ice-dancer, to take on the whole world in competitions, maybe even at Olympic standard. On some level, she realised she still wanted to do that. Saving the world on a regular basis was all very well, but you didn't get gold medals for it, or world-wide recognition. On the ice, she felt free, without the burden of her duties as a Slayer bearing down on her.

Several feet away, Spike watched, completely enthralled. He'd almost not believed Dawn when she described how good Buffy was. Dawn had only been very young at the time – at least, in everyone's memories and her own, she was – and he'd thought she might have been exaggerating. When you're three, after all, anything your big sister does that you can't is amazing. Now, he realised she was right. Buffy was beyond talented when it came to skating; it seemed completely natural to her. Spike doubted she realised how good she was.

Both of their reveries came to abrupt halts when Buffy, not looking where she was going, crashed unceremoniously into the side of the ice rink and fell to the ground with a loud thud. Spike ran around to where she'd fallen and leaned over the side to help her up.

"Are you all right?"

She rubbed her elbow, which had been the main point of contact. "Yeah. I was never any good at stopping." She brushed some of the ice from her knees. "Seen enough?"

"No… I could never see enough. That was amazing." She blushed and tried to tell him not to exaggerate, but he interrupted. "Buffy, do you even realise how good you are?"

Realising he was being completely sincere, she said, "You really think I'm good?"

"Good doesn't even start to describe it, pet. I could watch you for hours." He brushed a strand of ice-soaked hair behind her ear as he continued. "Haven't seen you that happy in a while, either."

Buffy gazed at him for a long time, wondering when the evil Slayer-of-Slayers who'd sworn to kill her had turned into the romantic idiot in front of her. She snapped out of it, and hoisted herself up and over the divide between seats and ice to sit down. "All right. I've shown off enough. Now it's your turn."

"I beg your pardon?" He looked utterly horrified at the prospect.

Mocking him, she said, "Didn't bring you all the way out here to sit there looking pretty, Spike…"

He tried to get out of it. "I haven't got any skates."

"It's an ice rink. They hire. Go find some."

"But… I don't know how to skate."

She gave him a sympathetic glance that implied everyone should know how to skate, and anyone who didn't was missing out on a universe of fun. "Well… I'll teach you. It's really very easy when you get the hang of it."

Ah, now that sounded more like it. How could he refuse an offer like that? He wasn't going to let her see that he'd given in, however. "Yeah, well, you would say that, love. You're a pro." Sighing over-exaggeratedly, he conceded defeat. "All right. But if I'm useless, you're not allowed to laugh."

He disappeared to find a storage cupboard, and came back five minutes later holding a rather scruffy pair of skates. He didn't look very impressed. Compared to Buffy's, they were hideous. Grudgingly, and muttering the whole time, he put them on. When he was ready, Buffy stood up and enthusiastically led him towards one of the openings in the rink wall. When he tripped over, she said:

"Lesson one – ice skates are Hell to walk in until you get used to it. Or unless you wear heels on a daily basis." She grinned. "I'll assume you fit into the first category. That is, unless there's something you want to tell me?" [A/N: Okay, I'm not even going to think about that. That's heading into a Very Bad Thought region… *grin*]

Spike scowled and carried on stumbling towards the ice, beginning to wish she'd told him that before he put the damn things on his feet. Eventually, they reached the ice. Buffy skated out a few feet. "Right. Just come to me."

"What? Are you insane?"

"Come on, it's easy."

"Buffy," he said, pointedly, "I've never even worn ice-skates before, let alone moved about in them."

She skated back again. "I thought back when you were human everyone went skating on frozen lakes in the winter. Or is that just in movies?"

"Movies and pretentious Dickens novels," he corrected. "True, though. But I never did; I was always afraid I'd fall through the ice and drown."

Buffy suddenly got a mental image of Spike as a frightened little boy at the edge of a lake. Looking up, she realised it was a fairly close approximation to how he looked at the moment, and she softened her teaching approach. "Well, there's no fear of that here, is there?" She took hold of both his hands and held tight, then moved backwards. He froze. "C'mon. You'll be fine. Trust me."

Spike looked her in the eye and, seeing that she had no intention of leaving him stranded in the middle of the rink, cautiously ventured forwards, first one foot, then the other. Once he was relatively stable, Buffy managed to manoeuvre him to the side, where he let go of her and clung to it gratefully. She stifled a laugh.

"Okay. Lesson two – stand up straight. It helps a lot." Spike gave her a withering stare, but straightened up the best he could. "Good. Lesson three – don't lean forwards, and don't lean back, because either way you'll end up falling over. Try to keep a healthy balance between the two, and remember: gravity is not your friend." Spike nodded, starting to think that perhaps one needed a degree in Physics to even stand up properly. "Now, gimme your hand."

"And let go?"

"Oh, for crying out loud…" She forcibly pried it from the wall, and stood next to him at arm's length. "Watch me." With that, she skated forwards a few steps, slowly, arcing in towards the wall so as not to let go of him. "See?"

"Sure," he said, sounding braver than he felt. "Looks simple enough."

"Good. Now you try." He did. He slipped and slid towards her rather sloppily. Buffy observed his complete lack of ability with interest, and then thought of something else. "Okay. This isn't working. Maybe I'll get you used to moving on the ice before teaching you to move yourself."

That being said, she managed to prise his other hand from the wall, and started to move off, backwards, pulling him with her. He panicked. "What are you doing?!"

"Relax. Just keep your feet still and straight and let me do the work." Spike figured he didn't have much choice at the moment, since he was relying on Buffy to get him safely on solid ground again and she obviously had no intention of doing so. Instead of complaining, therefore, he did as he was told. At least this way he could distract himself by focussing his attention on Buffy, as they were face to face.

Having Spike's overlong coat at her ankles was proving to make skating backwards quite tricky, but she didn't mention this. For now, she'd have to cope with it. She pulled him from one end of the rink to the other, keeping near the side, and watched as he began to calm down. When they came to a stop, she turned so they were facing in the opposite direction. "How was that?"

"Not too bad, I suppose."

"Come on, admit it. You're having fun."

He shrugged. "S'pose so. Don't think you're going to get me to Dorothy Hamilton standard, though, somehow."

"Hey, you never know… Anyway, you ready to try for yourself?"

He nodded. "Better now than never, I reckon."

Buffy smiled. "Good. Now, we're going to do the same again, only this time you're going to skate with me, okay?" Another nod from Spike, and she started again, backwards. Spike experimented moving his feet. "Not quite. Don't walk, um… you need to sorta slide." He tried again. "That's it. Now keep it going… good."

As he got the hang of it, she speeded up; in no time, they'd reached the other side. Spike grinned triumphantly. "Hey, that wasn't as bad as I thought!"

"Told ya you'd like it."

"Now what?" he asked, suddenly eager to learn more.

"Now you try without me. You can hold onto the side if you need to." She let go of him and skated off a fair distance. Concentrating, Spike ventured forwards, one hand gripping the wall of the rink. It took a few attempts to get going without the added propulsion of Buffy, but eventually, he managed it, approaching her slowly. Buffy made her way backwards so he'd keep going, and they both stopped at the other side by colliding with the wall. "I'm afraid stopping will have to be someone else's department."

Spike wasn't really listening, too excited by the fact that he'd just managed to skate in a relatively straight line, fairly well, and without falling over once. He looked immensely proud of himself, so much so that Buffy burst out laughing.

"Oi. You promised…"

She controlled herself. "Sorry. You just looked so…"


She struggled to find the right word. "I don't know… 'sweet' probably isn't the right word, but… yeah, sweet. I caught a glimpse of William just then."

She'd struck a nerve. Ever since gaining his new soul, Spike didn't like to be reminded of his past. He'd never liked being reminded of William anyway. "William," he said, "was a wuss. He wouldn't learn to skate even when he had less far to fall."

"True," she admitted, wishing she'd never mentioned it. "But, if he did, I think he'd've had that look on his face..."

He supposed there was a compliment in there somewhere. "He'd probably be more bloody graceful than me, too."

"Oh, I don't know. I think you did pretty well." The expanse of ice was calling to her; going backwards and forwards did get boring after a while. She could never have been a skating teacher. "But I don't think you'll ever be able to do this…"

With that, she pushed off and sped diagonally across the rink, avoiding the collection of candles in the centre, then doubled-back and did some turns and twists. Spike watched her, still amazed by her abilities. She did a perfect three-sixty spin and a few more laps before gliding back over to him. She prepared for impact with the wall, but it never came, as Spike caught her before she reached it and pulled her closer to him.

"Thanks…" she said, quietly.

Spike gave her an admiring gaze and started fidgeting, settling his coat straighter on her shoulders, and playing with her hair. "So," he asked, "do you like your surprise?"

"No," she said, placing her arms around his neck. "I love it." Standing on the tips of her ice-skates, she leant up to kiss him. Spike wrapped his arms around her waist to bring her closer. This part of the skating lesson was turning out to be quite enjoyable.

Buffy pulled away from him at the exact right moment to imply that the kiss promised of more… if he earned it. While Spike reacted to the loss of contact between them, she skated a good distance away from him.

"Hey!" he called after her. "That's not fair!"

"You wanna get better at this, don't you?"

"Yes, but-"

"Well, you never will if you don't practice." He muttered something she didn't catch. Buffy was now in full taunt-the-vampire mode. "Come and get me, Spike!"

He rose to the challenge and tenaciously started skating again, trying to remember how he'd managed it to begin with. She waited until he'd managed to get within two feet of her, then moved again. "Buffy, hold still!"

"Where'd be the fun in that? I want to see you do an entire lap." She continued to skate away while she spoke, so he had no choice but to give chase. About halfway around, he'd picked up speed and was starting to get the hang of it to such an extent that he'd even let go of the wall. Buffy, however, merely skated faster to compensate. He growled. "Hey…" she complained, wagging a finger at him. "The angry vampire doesn't get another kiss…"

He rolled his eyes and muttered a 'bloody hell' to himself, and continued to give chase. Eventually, he realised she'd stopped moving and he'd nearly completed his lap of the rink, so he put on a final enthusiastic burst of speed to reach her. He drifted to a halt in front of her and she applauded. Spike waited; he had a feeling it wasn't going to be that easy. Buffy was determined to drive him crazy. He could tell by the mischievous glint in her eye. It was a welcome change – he hadn't seen this side of her in a long time. In fact, the last time he could recall 'seeing' her like this was when she'd been turned invisible… but that didn't really count.

"There, now that wasn't so bad, was it?" she asked.

"No…" he admitted. Buffy grinned, and pulled him down into another kiss. Before their lips met, however, she pulled away again and then headed off backwards… towards the middle of the rink. Spike groaned. "I'm really starting to wonder where you picked up this evil streak, Slayer."

"Oh, I've always had that. You just seem to bring it out of me."

"And you're expectin' me to follow you? Out there?"

"Yup. Time to give up the training wheels, Spike."

She stood halfway across the width of the rink, waiting. Spike glanced at the wall he was leaning against, and then at Buffy, who seemed to be a mile away when she was surrounded by so much whiteness. He was fairly confident skating by himself when he had a wall there to grab onto if he fell over. Going across an empty expanse of ice seemed like a pretty stupid idea when you'd only just learnt how to go in a straight line. However, where Buffy was concerned, even stupid ideas were worth it.

He took a deep breath, looked directly ahead, and focussed on Buffy as a point of reference to keep himself going in the right direction. Then, he pushed away from the wall. He wobbled a bit at first, but once he'd got his balance, he found that, as long as he didn't think about it too much, or try to reach for the wall that wasn't there, it wasn't as difficult as he'd thought. Buffy grew ever closer. Gaining confidence, he built up speed, and straightened his back a little. This turned out to be an incredibly stupid idea…

Buffy watched as Spike made his slow, but getting faster, progress towards her, with a certain pride. She'd taught him to ice-skate, and he seemed to be doing well. If he could get to the middle of the rink unaided, she'd guide him to the other side afterwards, anticipating that he'd be slightly shaken from the ordeal. She remembered that her first trip across the rink had been nerve-wracking. Spike grew ever closer. She watched as he speeded up… and then promptly fell over backwards with a bone-crunching thud.

Spike groaned again and tried to get up, only being partially successful. Buffy was over like a shot, crouching to his level, their "kiss-chase" forgotten for the moment.

"God, are you okay?"

He grunted. "Yeah. Just a little bruised."

"Sorry, I guess you weren't ready for that yet."

"Well, for you, I'll try anything once."

She smiled and got to her feet. "Come on, I'll help you up." Bending forwards, she held out both hands; when he took them, she pulled. Spike didn't appear to be making any effort to get up. "Come on," she repeated. "You have to make an effort, too, you know."

He looked up at her thoughtfully. She let go of him in frustration and was about to leave him there, when he spoke. "Buffy?"

"What?" she said, irritably. Even though she'd only just planned for it to be a romantic evening, she was, nevertheless, annoyed at it being thwarted.

Spike continued to look thoughtful. There was a question he'd asked several months ago that he'd been considering asking again for some time, only the time never seemed right. It didn't seem particularly right now, either, but he'd waited long enough for Buffy to, he hoped, change her answer. "Do you trust me?"

She didn't answer. "Spike, I'm really not in the mood. Now, come on…" Just as she was about to try and help him up again, he grabbed the front of the duster and pulled, bringing her crashing on top of him.

"I said, do you trust me?"

Even though she'd had a much softer landing than him, she was still slightly winded. She coughed. "Well, not now, I don't…" she pouted.

Spike placed both hands on her shoulders and pushed her off him so she was at arms' length and he could see her face. Buffy made the job easier by supporting herself on the ice. "I'm serious." Slowly, pronouncing each word precisely, he asked a third time. "Do. You. Trust. Me?"

They stared at each other for a long time, while Buffy tried to come up with an answer. She was, in fact, still trying to work out why he was even asking the question.

"I… I don't know. Maybe." She gave him an apologetic look.

"Maybe's not good enough, Buffy. Yes or no."

This was obviously important to him; Buffy, however, wanted to know the implications of whatever answer she happened to give. "Wh… uh… what happens if I say 'no'?" She honestly couldn't answer him just yet. She didn't trust herself enough to be completely honest with him if she said 'yes'. She was also genuinely scared of saying 'no', realising that the relationship they'd worked so hard at might be threatened.

"That depends on whether you say it or not, doesn't it."

Damn him. This was no time to be cryptic. "Spike, why is this so important to you. And why now?"

"Now seems as good a time as any." He let go of her shoulders and started to sit up, forcing her to do the same. She manoeuvred herself into a kneeling position and then to seated, so they were sitting opposite each other. In this more comfortable position, their conversation resumed. "And it's important to me because… because I know it's important to you, too," he admitted, wanting her to realise that he always put her needs first. Buffy didn't have a reply to that as yet. The light-hearted atmosphere of a few minutes ago had suddenly become very serious. While she was thinking it over, Spike reached across to take her hands, echoing what he'd done on her return from the grave. Looking into her eyes, he tried to make her decision easier. "It's just…" He sighed; he hadn't realised how difficult having a serious talk could be. "You know… I love you."

"I know, Spike."

"I also trust you," he said. "I trust you with my soddin' life. We wouldn't even be sitting here if I didn't."

"Maybe you shouldn't…" she said, her voice suddenly very quiet.

"Yeah; I mean, you're still the Slayer, I'm still a vamp. Not exactly the most compatible match, is it?" That got a weak smile out of her, but it didn't last long. After a slight pause, he continued. "You once said to me that you could never trust me enough to love me."

Suddenly it all made sense to her. No wonder he wanted her trust. "I do love you…" To prove it, she leaned forwards to kiss him, but he caught her head in his hands to stop her in her tracks.

"I know that," he said, kissing her on the forehead. At the close proximity they were now at, he repeated his question. "But… do you trust me?"

Buffy examined his face. He looked so desperate for an answer it nearly killed her. His eyes pleaded with her, desperation hovering beneath the adoration that was usually there. She nodded, very slowly, and when she spoke again, it was barely audible.

"I trust you…"

Spike breathed an enormous sigh of relief, then pulled her into an equally relieved kiss. When it ended, there was complete silence. One of the largest hurdles of their relationship had been beaten, and whatever future lay in store, it was entirely up to them.

However, they'd been sitting on the ice for a while by this stage, and Buffy's backside was telling her in no uncertain terms that it was time to get up. "Uh… Spike?"


"Can we finish this moment somewhere warmer?"

"Where did you have in mind?"

"Oh, I don't know… say, under some nice warm covers somewhere?"

"Now that sounds like a plan." He appeared to be deliberately detaining her.

"Spike!" He threw her an innocent "what?" look. "The longer you keep me waiting, the longer I keep you waiting…" Now she was speaking in a language he understood. They helped each other up off the ice, then remembered they were in the middle of the rink. Buffy looked between the far wall and Spike. "Okay, here we go again." She held out a hand for him to take so she could guide him back. He ignored it.

"Actually," he said, suddenly picking her up despite his already dodgy balance, "I think I can do it myself, this time."

"Don't be an idiot," she said. "You could barely get here carrying yourself, let alone me."

"I thought you trusted me…"

She rolled her eyes. "Fine. But if you're going to fall, try and go backwards so at least one of us gets a soft landing, okay?"

Spike said nothing to that. Very cautiously, he headed back towards the rink wall, one foot in front of the other. Buffy clung on for dear life and watched as safety approached, painstakingly slowly. Eventually, they reached the place where they'd started out and he deposited her on the floor. Buffy started to head back to where she'd left her boots when she realised he wasn't following her. She looked back, questioningly.

"Um… how I get off the ice again?"

"Huh? Oh, that's easy." With that, she grabbed the front of his shirt and yanked him back onto solid ground. He wasn't sure whether to complain or be grateful; settling on the latter, he followed her around to their seats. They changed out of the skates and Buffy put hers into their box before they both headed for the exit.

Just before leaving, she took a final glance around. The candles had nearly burned to nothing, and some had gone completely, leaving the place much darker than when they'd arrived. "We should come here again," she said. "I can forget who I am for a while."

"Better get someone to sort the electrics, then," muttered Spike. "I used up my entire supply of candles in here."

Buffy merely smiled, then took his hand. "Okay, let's get outta here. I'm freezing."

Leading the way out of the building again, Spike congratulated himself on a surprise-well-done, and made a mental note to buy Dawn a present for giving him the idea in the first place. Everything was suddenly going right for a change… but, this being Sunnydale, he knew it wouldn't last long. Then, he realised… he really didn't care. Finally, they both had a place to escape to.

And Buffy trusted him enough to share it.

The End

Aw =) See, this is what happens when you write a chapter fic and drag it out forever. It tortures your readers and it tortures you, too; this was the result of being desperate to write some B/S fluff and having already done a dream sequence…

Quick note on "Cradle", for those reading it – Chapter 8 will be here soon, but I need you all to take a vote. I have two possible ideas for the main plot of it. Should I:

a) have Giles go to find Anya and talk to her/reintegrate her into the Scoobies somehow, or

b) send Dawn off to Spike's crypt to have a chat with Clem

Let me know in any reviews (hint hint), or email me on the address found in my profile. I'd rather you did the former, though ;)