Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: Fill for a prompt at sb-fag-ends; "The night is still our time."

I'm as unsure about the setting as you are, trust me.

Time-wise, probably after 7.22 "Chosen" but whether "Chosen" (or anything specific after season five) occurred, doesn't really matter.

Sometimes it's almost like they're normal people.

When they bother to, they can almost convince themselves.

They live the way they're told people, normal people, nine-to-five sorts of people, are supposed to live. Except, without the nine-to-five, because nine is so way too early to be up.

They schedule their hours around Spike's soap operas, and they pull the curtains tight, and they drive in the daylight without fear in a car Spike eventually admits to having stolen from Angel. They eat dinner at that little Mexican place that backs up to the movie theatre and bicker over who's supposed to do the dishes (she did them last night, so why are they even arguing?) and there's her friends and Dawn and work and should she go back to school?

Spike's a total blanket hog (what does he even need them for?), but Buffy's the one who snores. (Not that he'd notice, seeing how she's pretty sure he'd sleep through the house burning down around him.) When the sun shines outside and the A/C whirs inside, while they never quite attain normality, they hit quirky TV family with ease.

But when the night comes, when the dark surrounds them, that's when they're real. It's like losing a costume, crawling out of a shell. Waking up. Like they fit better in their own skins. Creatures of the night, built bodily for the cool hours when it's just her and him and the dark and the rush.

It's in the night that they are reunited with who they really are.

The feel of the cemetery grass, damp with the dew of the oncoming morning, as it gives beneath their boots. The pant and the growl and the burn and a job done well. The little prickles of gooseflesh along Buffy's bare arms and the smell of smoke and tobacco. Claws and teeth and sharp pointy things. The air silent enough to make out the hum of her axe blade, the whoosh in between body and dust. Everything still and yet so alive.

Every little bitty part of them comes to life. They're made for this, bone and nerves and sinew. A century's worth of others' ancestors below their feet, a millennia of their own in their blood. Made to slink and stalk and run and kill. Predator. Hunter. Seeing by the light of flickering streetlamps and the hanging moon; huge and heavy and yellow or a sliver of blue that offers only the barest semblance of illumination.

Hunting. Fucking. Breathing. Being.

It's what they were built to do, it's what they were built to be.

Never completely out of place in the human world, never entirely. It's not wrong there, not really, but they love the day in the way the silence loves the riot, the way the truth loves the lie. There's not a song without the pauses, there's not honesty without knowing falsehood.

They learn about sin to understand virtue.

They live in the day, the way heroes do, but the night is still their time.