“You’ve got to help me.”
Buffy looked up with her usual customer-service smile that quickly turned into a scowl. “Spike!” she hissed. “What are you doing here?” The Day-Glo orange outfit she had to wear somehow always seemed worse when someone she knew was looking at her. Not that Spike’s opinion mattered. About anything. Her eyes drifted down, taking in the way his t-shirt stretched across his chest and wondered for possibly the millionth time why it had to be this guy—the formerly-murderous vampire without a heartbeat or a soul—that made her remember how to feel. She was a sick, sick Slayer.
Spike leaned across the counter, his hands gripping the edge until his knuckles turned white. Buffy found herself growing concerned despite the fact that she’d sworn to never care about this particular monster. She furrowed her brow. “What’s going on?” Her eyes widened and she inhaled sharply. “Is it Dawn?” Buffy was already tossing her hat aside and preparing to leap over the counter when Spike shook his head.
“No! No, she’s fine. Least she was last time I caught a glimpse. Not like anyone keeps me up to date on her anymore.” Spike’s lower lip stuck out in a way that would have been adorable on any other man. A living man, anyway.
Buffy sighed and her shoulders slumped. “What, then?” Her eyes narrowed. “If this is some scheme to-“
“You have wings here, right?” Spike interrupted, his expression hopeful.
“What?” Buffy blinked at him, nonplussed. “Uh, yeah?”
Spike’s entire body slumped in relief. “Great, great. I’ll take three, no, five orders of the biggest size. Buffalo style please.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Whatever, Spike.” She punched the appropriate buttons on the cash register, noticing with dismay that she already had most of the layout memorized. Spike was fiddling with something in his pockets and watching her from under his eyelashes like he thought she wouldn’t be able to tell what he was doing.
“So, uh,” Spike started. “How’s your night going?”
Buffy was trying to decide if anyone would notice if she popped him in the nose when Gary came out of the back. “Uh, Buffy? We’re out of wings, sorry.”
Spike’s mouth dropped open. “What?”
Buffy lifted an eyebrow as Spike leaned over the counter and got in Gary’s face. “What the bloody hell do you mean you’re out of wings? This place represents the worst in American excess! You wankers throw away more food than you sell! How the hell are you out of wings!” Spike’s eyes started to turn yellow and Gary looked ten seconds away from wetting himself.
“Spike,” Buffy sighed. “I’d ask what’s wrong with you, but I don’t have all night. We’re out of wings. Deal with it.”
Spike glared at her, darting a suspicious glance at Gary as the kid fled back to the kitchens. Buffy could hear her co-worker exclaiming something about calling the cops on a crazy person out front and dropped her head into her hand. “You don’t understand,” Spike said urgently. “It’s not just you, it’s all over town.” He turned his head suddenly. “Oh, well that’s just fantastic. Gary the snitch is…snitching.” Spike frowned and looked a little confused at his own lack of cleverness, making Buffy raise the other eyebrow.
“Ok, seriously, what’s going on?”
“It’s the whole sodding town!” Spike exclaimed. “It’s a spell or a curse or something!”
“What’s the whole town?” Buffy asked, trying very hard to not lose her temper.
“There’s no wings!” Spike’s eyes were wide and desperate.
Buffy pressed her lips together in a thin line and counted to seven before she ran out of what was left of her patience. “Grow up, Spike.”
Spike slumped over until his entire upper body was covering the counter, his black leather coat spreading out on either side of him. The man who was waiting in line behind him took a step back, eyeing the vampire warily. At least someone in this town had a brain, Buffy thought. “I’m telling you, it’s a spell!” Spike’s voice was muffled, but not muffled enough. The guy behind him turned around and scooted out the Doublemeat Palace front doors before Buffy could even greet him. The stupid vampire was going to make her lose her job. Buffy glanced at the clock.
“Fine, meet me out back in ten minutes. And I swear to god, if this is some kind of joke, you’ll be dust in the parking lot.”
Spike lifted his head, his eyes shining with what she really, really hoped weren’t tears. This was getting ridiculous. “Yeah?”
Buffy had a feeling she was so going to regret this. She took a deep breath and reminded herself that Dawn would be really mad if she dusted Spike. “Yeah.”