Disclaimer: I don't claim to own. Title from the Frightened Rabbit song, "Keep Yourself Warm."

A/N: I wrote this in the cafeteria on my phone. I feel kind of accomplished.


Spike isn't anything special. No milestone, nothing revolutionary. He's just number four in a line that probably should have ended at three. Maybe even at one.

By the time she straddles his pale hips and digs her fingers into his scalp until there's blood under her nails, she's already both been there and done that.

Buffy's already lain with the dead and panted in rhythm with those she does not love. Different drummer, same beat.

More often than not, their fucking looks more like fighting that it does sex. Which it kind of is. But this isn't new either, not really. Buffy knows a thing or two about throwing vampire up against mausoleums and pinning them to the stone wall, waiting for them to whimper or beg. They're together now, the sex and the throwing, but they're still the same old, same old.

The only thing really different about Spike is the way he seems to think she's something special. The way he stares at her like she's some kind of milestone. Something revolutionary.

She couldn't ask to compete with the two centuries worth of women who batted their eyes and spread their legs for Angel. Nor could she contend with the drunken freshmen that Parker had swept into his fun little web of lies and carpe diem attitude. She still didn't know what it had been that Riley had wanted from her. Couldn't compete with what he'd been taught to expect from her.

But with Spikeā€¦

He looks at her like she's set his entire world view on its head. When she's out in the cemeteries, crouched between tombstones like her millennia of fallen sisters and cloaked in the cool Sunnydale night air, she can feel him watching her from afar. Lurking behind an oversized oak, or up atop one of the crypts, or maybe even just standing there, where she could see him if she bothered to turn around. But she never does.

And when they're in bed, naked in the candlelight or wearing only the dark itself, when her eyes slip away from nowhere for that accidental moment and grab hold of his, all she sees is worship. Reverence. Sometimes she doesn't manage to turn away quickly enough to miss the way he lights up when she looks at him. Sometimes she sees that love there, and it makes her sick. The only thing that can love her is as dark and twisted as she is.

He stares at her like she's new and exciting and perfect, and a broken nose and black eye can't tarnish that gaze. No matter how hard she throws her fist, his eyes still go soft when they land on her.

He trails cool fingertips over the gooseflesh between her navel and breasts, touching her as if she's something holy. Or, unholy, as the case may be. Something precious and worthy of awe.

"So warm," he murmurs, lips brushing gently against her shoulder.

"I'm alive," Buffy affirms, squirming just enough to keep his touch away.

Spike reaches out again anyways, palm against the curve of her back, fingers reaching out to her hips. "It's different," he says. "Wonderful. God, you're wonderful, pet. So fucking warm."

This time she knocks his hand away. "What's that supposed to mean? 'Different.'"

"Never been with anyone like this before," he marvels. He doesn't reach out again, but he presses his hand into the warm spot on the mattress she's just rolled away from. "Alive. Bloody amazing."

"You're not."

She loses her bra and doesn't want to spend the extra five seconds it would take to look for it, and on the walk home, in the calm and the quiet of the grey pre-dawn, all she feels is cold.