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Baby, It's Cold Outside

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Spike jerked upright and practically ran to the door when he heard knocking. He knew chances were slim, but it could be Buffy, and if it was, he didn't want to give her the time to change her mind.

As Spike expected, the person on the other side of the door wasn't Buffy. Instead, it was Clem.

"Hi, Spike!" Clem was grinning widely, as he always seemed to be. "Is this an okay time?"

"It's fine," Spike replied, moving over to let Clem past. It wasn't quite dark enough for Spike to go out on patrol, and Buffy didn't seem to be coming over. As much as Spike wanted his night to be spent with a certain blonde someone, he didn't think it was going to happen.

"Whoa!" Clem exclaimed as he sat down. "Your crypt reeks of Slayer. Even more than usual."

"Slayer was over last night," Spike replied. "Got herself completely drunk and stayed the night."

"Is that why your duster smells like she was snuggling with you?" Clem asked.

Spike carefully kept his poker face and shrugged. "You're not to tell anyone about this," he warned.

Clem nodded. "When have I ever gone around and talked about the Slayer? She's a pretty nice girl. She's never tried to kill me or anything."

"Well, so long as you keep being the cuddliest demon of them all, she won't," Spike replied sarcastically.

Clem made a face at him. "Not like you've been eating anyone either," he retorted.

"Oi! Chip!" Spike exclaimed, tapping his head. "I don't have a choice. I can't. I'd eat a human in an instant, I would."

Clem burst out laughing. "Like you would ever do anything that'd make your Slayer mad."

"Not my Slayer," Spike argued instantly.

Clem sighed. "Doesn't mean you don't want her to be."

"Oh, shut up," Spike mumbled.

Clem grinned. "Spike and the Slayer, sitting in a tree-"



"Clem!" Spike protested, mortified.

Clem gave him an innocent smile. "You can't deny you like her."

"I'll deny whatever I bloody well like," Spike replied, mostly just to be contradictory. "I don't like the Slayer."

Clem sighed. "You're a terrible liar."

"Oi! I'm a great liar!" Spike protested. "I'm the Big Bad. I'm evil, as evil as they come." Spike went into game face and growled. Clem just started laughing. "Okay, maybe I'm a little rusty, but-"

"You're not evil, Spike," Clem interrupted. "You haven't been evil for a while. Anyway, I don't even think you want to be evil. You want Buffy to love you, and she won't if you're off killing everything in sight."

"I hate it when you're right," Spike moaned.

Clem smiled slightly. "I've gotta go," he said, standing. "I'm gonna be late for a poker game. Wanna come?"

"Nah," Spike replied, getting up himself. "I'm gonna patrol. Maybe I'll meet up with the Slayer."

"First comes love," Clem sang, laughing as Spike glared. "Then comes marriage. Then comes Spikey with a baby carriage!"

"Don't call me Spikey," Spike protested. "And that's not possible. I'm undead. I can't impregnate anyone."

Clem shrugged. "We live on a Hellmouth. You never know."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Out, you pest." He made shooing motions with his hands. Clem just laughed and left, calling a farewell over his shoulder as he walked away from the crypt.

Spike stuck a stake in his coat pocket and left his crypt as well, walking in the opposite direction of Clem. It was barely past sundown, so Buffy would just be starting her patrol. That meant she would still be near the Magic Box, most likely. Spike went in that direction, hoping he'd meet up with the Slayer.

The patrol was mostly uneventful. Despite his best efforts, Spike never met up with Buffy. It wasn't until he was back in Restfield Cemetery that anything interesting happened.

"Spike," a voice snarled. "The traitor to his kind."

"Oh, piss off," Spike replied irritably. He was in no mood to listen to some vampire whine. Still, since Spike doubted the vampire would do as he asked, his hand fell into his pocket and gripped his stake.

"You're a disgrace to the Aurelian line," a second voice hissed.

Spike's lips quirked in a slight smile. "Two on one? That's fair."

"Make that three," a third voice spat. Slowly, three vampires prowled out of the darkness. Spike quickly sized them up. The male on the right looked the weakest. The female on the left was clearly newly-made. But the female in the middle looked like she could be a problem.

"What can I do for you this fine night?" Spike asked cordially, his grip on his stake tightening. The female in the middle laughed harshly.

"You can die," she told Spike. In a flash, all three vampires were on him.

Spike jerked his stake up and impaled the young female through the heart. "Paige!" the male cried out as she dusted.

"Concentrate, Nicholas," the other female warned. Nicholas turned to Spike with eyes full of hate.

"I'll kill you for that," he warned in a low voice.

Spike shrugged. "You can try," he replied.

Enraged, Nicholas threw himself at Spike. The fight lasted maybe half a minute, and when the dust settled, Spike was the one still standing.

"You're strong," the remaining vampire said coyly.

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Are you flirting with me?"

The female spat. "Never!" she snarled, attacking viciously. This fight lasted longer, as this vampire was clearly older and more experienced than Nicholas had been. Still, it ended the same way, with Spike as the victor.

With a low groan, Spike made his way back to his crypt. The patrol had been a bust, at least in the way he wanted. Through the whole thing, no matter how much he searched, Spike hadn't been able to find Buffy.

As Spike opened the door to his crypt, he realized he had been looking too hard.

Sitting in his chair, biting her lip and twirling a stake in her hands, was Buffy.