Oh crap! What was she doing here? She hated doing the grocery shopping. This was so Dawn's job. They split the chores. Buffy did the slaying related stuff and Dawn did the house related stuff. Just because Dawn was a bit big now, as they waited out the countdown until niece or nephew number two made its appearance, Buffy was sent on a mission to retrieve the weekend groceries. Not fair!
She cruised down to the dairy section, pushing the half full cart ahead of her, as she perused the shelves looking for that stinky cheese Giles liked so much. How on earth he could get his nose near enough to it to put it in his mouth, she'd never know. Not something she was willing to find out either. Good old cheddar was fine by her.
She found the item she was looking for and popped it into her cart. Checking the list Dawn had given her, she sighed in relief to find that she had everything she'd been sent for. Time to slay the self-service checkout. More total lack of fairness! She hated those things and they hated her! Why did she have to do that herself? She was putting down good hard earned money in this store. The least they could do is serve her. But no, it was all about the look after yourself here.
She moved to the nearest empty check-out spot and began unloading her trolley. She swiped the first item in front of the machine. Nothing happened. She swiped again. Still nothing.
"What's the deal?" She looked at the little screen. Oh, press start to start. Duh. She pressed start and swiped the item again. Nothing! "What now?" This is why she didn't do this!
"Can I help you miss?"
Buffy turned toward the voice. She looked up to see eyebrows raising into a swept back hairline and the eyes below them opened in surprise. "Slayer, er Buffy?"
"Spike? Spike..." She stood with her mouth open, staring at the man she believed was dead, again, these past ten years. Which, maybe he was or something worse. She reached out to poke his chest. Nope, solid flesh. He stood staring at her. She looked at him. Darker blond hair, slicked back still, bit of a wave, same scarred eyebrow, same blue eyes, cheekbones sharp as razors, that pouty bottom lip, jutting chin, same Spike, or not. A bright orange vest over a check, button down shirt tucked into khaki pants. Brown joggers poked out at the end of the pant legs. On his chest a name tag. 'Hi I'm William. May I be of service?' Oh my god!
"You work here?... You're a check-out chick?"
He let out a small growl as he pursed his lips in that all too familiar gesture that made his cheeks stand out a little more. Ten years. It was ten years since she'd heard or seen him and she still wanted to jump his bones. Right after she punched that aquiline nose of his and made it bleed down the front of his hideous bright safety vest.
"Why are you here? Why are you even alive? Again?"
He snorted down his nose. "Some things just don't seem to stick, Slayer."
"What's with the slayer bit, Spike. My name's Buffy. You had at least learned that back in Sunnydale."
"'Course. Just didn' expect to see you here, is all. Took me by surprise. Thought you lot were still in Scotland."
"And I thought you were dead. Again. In an alley, in Los Angeles. With Angel's people." The hands were on her hips, and she leaned forward, toward him, a look of something between anger, loss and something else, crossing her face. Spike stared into stormy green eyes.
"Pratt. Is there a problem here?" A pimply faced boy with a nasally voice had joined them.
"Ah no, Mr Jones. Just assisting a customer with her first time on the check-out." He answered the boy, while never taking his eyes from Buffy's face.
"Well get on with it. There are other customers waiting."
"Of course, sir." He did look at the boy now and gave him a curt nod. Buffy stared, open mouthed, at this exchange as the boy went on to the next check-out queue.
"So who are you and what are you doing in Spike's body?"
"Very ha ha, slay... er Buffy."
"Did he just call you prat? Doesn't that mean nerd or something?"
"It's Pratt, with two t's. Though why Angel used that name on my papers, I'll..."
"Angel? You're still working with Angel? He is so dead! How could he keep this from me? How could you keep this from me? What is it with you two? Still making choices for me? Doing what you think is best for me?"
Spike sighed. "Buffy, I'm working here and I don't want to get fired, so can you just put your stuff through and we can talk about this later?"
"Alright, William." She smiled sweetly as she drawled out his name. "But we will be talking later. What time do you get off?" Poor choice of words there, she thought to herself. Sure enough the trade mark smirk drifted across Spike's face, before it clouded over.
"Eleven. I can meet you down the street at Denny's."
"Okay." She drew a breath, nodded to herself as though coming to a decision. She looked up into that oh so familiar but somehow, not, face. "Alright. Eleven fifteen at Denny's. You'd better not be late because I will so hunt your ass down if you don't show. Now, which button am I supposed to push to get this stupid thing to work so I can get out of here?"