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Attack of the Fluff

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Unbearable

(post-series)

 

Apparently, Spike has a thing about bears. Not a good, aren't they adorable? thing, but a phobia thing.

Who knew?

Apparently, he thinks she should have.

"Well, what did you think I was going on about when that Indian fellow turned into a bear?"

"The fact that it was a bear?"

"Exactly!"

Somehow, he thinks she's made his point for him.

Buffy wants to point out that everybody present had been wigged by the sudden appearance of a giant, angry mammal in the middle of Giles' living room, not just him, and that nobody else either has had a bear phobia develop from the experience or expects her to infer a bear phobia from their (she thinks) more than reasonable wiggage at the appearance of said bear.

Still, a phobia is a phobia, and while it's kind of funny (okay, it's hilarious, not that she'll tell him that), she'll save her laughter for later. Because she loves him, and she knows he wouldn't laugh at her weird, unreasonable phobias. (Although, really, it's not so unreasonable for her to be afraid of being buried alive or vamped, but she supposes the dummy thing is a bit silly and could be cause for teasing if Spike ever found out about it. Which he won't.)

She won't even tell Dawn about his bear thing, no matter how much she wishes she had somebody else to giggle with about it later. Buffy loves him that much.

She reaches over and removes the spikey-haired, punked-out Build-A-Bear bear from its position right next to his pillow, where she'd placed it earlier in the day hoping to surprise him when he woke.

He'd been surprised, all right.

"I'll just... give it to Dawn," she says. "She thought it was cute." So had Buffy, and she really wants to keep it, but the bear has got to go. She's pretty sure this is non-negotiable after his reaction. "And um..." She surveys the panic-induced destruction of their bedroom. "I guess I'll pick up a new bedspread..." (and sheets, and pillows, and entire bed, she doesn't add) "...while I'm out."

Spike doesn't answer from his corner of the room, other than to glower at her (or, more likely the bear in her hand).

Buffy tosses the bear out of their bedroom and down the hallway (Spike's eyes follow it until it's out of sight). No matter how embarrassed he might be right now, she can't leave him like this. So she stalks over to him, putting a swing in her hips and waiting for him to watch her instead of the empty doorway. "Since the bed's already messy..." she says when he finally notices her. "Wanna make clean-up worthwhile?"

Spike's scowl deepens for a moment, and then his lumpies fade and he seems to catch her mood. "I suppose," he says, and though his tone is grudging, his body language is anything but when she tugs him over to the (already demolished) bed.

 

Chapter Text

Welcome to the Hellmouth

(post-series)

 

 

"I still can't believe there isn't a Hellmouth in Vegas."

"Got mmrph mmrph one mmrph." 

Buffy can't make out his words through the thick layers of scarves. Not that she's any less wrapped – Cleveland is cold in the dead of wintry night. But at least the wrappings serve their intended purpose with her. Spike, not so much. No body heat to trap in the first place. She cracks another heater pack and hands it to him. "Repeat, please."

There's a brief, woolly struggle, and then a sigh of pleasure.

"And remember – don't put it right next to your skin," she adds. The super-strength warmers, they've discovered, will leave nasty burns even on his supernaturally resilient skin. Spike somehow manages to 'forget' every time they go out. Or maybe he just likes her fussing over him. 

That's probably it, actually.

More rustling. "Got no cause for one in Vegas. It'd be all kinds of redundant."

A blast of frigid wind finds its way down the back of her neck, despite the scarves and faux-fur collar. "Stupid evil. Why can't there be a Hellmouth somewhere warm?"

Spike draws her in, shielding her from the wind. She goes willingly. Doesn't hesitate when he tips her head back and captures her lips with his.

It's not so much that he minds the cold, see, but kissing an ambient-temperature vampire is a whole lot less fun in the middle of a Cleveland winter than it sounds. Buffy reminds herself to put in the order for yet another case of hand warmers when they get home. She's gotten used to cooler-than-natural skin over the years, prefers it, even. But there's something to be said for falling into bed with a toasty warm vampire on nights like tonight. 

 

*******

 

"Good news – Zante is now officially a Hellmouth." 

Buffy turns to see Willow letting herself in through their front door. "Congratulations? First question – how many committee members did they have to bribe to earn that dubious honor?" Willow opens her mouth, with an actual answer to the question, Buffy realizes.

Hellmouth. Duh. Bribery was probably a requirement to even be in the running. "Never mind. Second question – where the hell is Zante, and why do I care?"

"Zante," Willow says, popping open her laptop, "is in Greece. Part of the Ionian Islands, to be specific. And you care because, as a new, and therefore unpredictable Hellmouth, they need an experienced Slayer on site. One who, say, might appreciate the year-round potential for bikini wear-age."

That does sound nice... Willow turns her computer so Buffy can see what she's pulled up.

 

 

 

Oh. Unless the pictures have been photoshopped courtesy of the Hellmouths Are Us travel council, Zante looks to be a picture perfect Meditteranean paradise.

On the other hand... "I also happen to be a bikini-loving Slayer with a more than usually flammable boyfriend." 

"I don't remember that ever stopping him in Sunnydale. Equally vamp-hazardous conditions, you may recall." 

"True. And how do we know it's a Hellmouth? Is there an official test they have to pass? A seat at the UN?"

"The portents are all there."

Portents. Portents tended to go hand-in-hand with Prophecies starring: Slayer, The. The white, sandy beaches and crystal clear water suddenly look a whole lot less appealing.

"What kinds of portents?"

"The usual. Series of earthquakes in the fifties that decimated the entire area. Followed by more earthquakes, and even more earthquakes, then fires."

"The usual," Buffy echoes, studying the idyllic photos of the town.

 

 

 

It is certainly beautiful. But... "I'll have to talk to Spike."

"Of course."

"And even if he agrees, we won't be able to leave for a couple of weeks, at least."

Willow looks up. "If you're worried about arranging travel and packing, you know the Council will take care of it..."

"That's good to know. But..." Buffy gestures to the opposite side of the living room, where a number of wooden pallets line the wall. "I just ordered another truckload of heat packs, and I'm pretty sure the Council has no use for them."

 

 

 

.

*A/N: photos courtesty of Zante travel promotion websites and evergreenbiofuels.ie

 

*******

 

Buffy can't believe they are actually on their way. Despite having lived in Rome, and England, and Cleveland, moving to Greece seems somehow different. Maybe because this is the first move she's making with Spike, as a couple. Maybe because Zante is one of the few places Spike has never been in his 150 plus years on the planet. It's going to be an adventure, for both of them. A fresh start, not that they need one, but it might be nice to be somewhere free from memories, both good and bad.

She presses her face right up against the window as the Council jet began its descent. "Look," she says, squeezing Spike's hand. "Look."

Spike looks, taking in the sizzling white sand, clear blue water, and balmy skies through the safety of the necrotempered glass. "Looks beautiful, love. I can see you out there sunning on the beaches already."

At his wistful tone, Buffy turns away from the window, the stunning vista no longer quite so appealing. "Willow's working on a little something for you. A sort of sunscreen for vampires. I intend for you to be on the beach, right beside me. During daylight, even."

Willow had asked her not to say anything, not until she was sure her idea was within the realm of feasibility, but Buffy can't bear the melancholy in Spike's voice. Better for him to know she wants him out there with her, even if it never comes to pass, than to always have to put up a brave front and pretend he doesn't care.

"Hmm." It isn't much of a response, but she hears the multitude of emotion in the single sound.

The plane taxies into a darkened hangar, and there is no more time for discussion anyhow. Buffy shoulders her bag and takes Spike's hand again. "Ready?"

"As ever."

The door whooshes open, and before they can even poke their heads out, a wiry woman with unkempt hair is there, shoving a folder in their face and blocking their exit.

"You must Alice," Buffy says. "My... Council advisor." She refuses to call anybody but Giles her Watcher; nobody else is worthy of the title.

Alice brandishes the folder once more. "Yes, yes. Come along. We've no time. There is an Outang demon on the loose and we need you to track it down at once, before it strikes again."

"Yes, our trip was fine, thank you," Buffy mutters. "A few days to settle in and enjoy the beaches? Just what I was hoping for."

Alice grimaces. "My apologies. The demon has wrecked considerable havoc over the last several weeks, and has proven to be quite elusive. The local authorities are blaming the grisly murders on an escaped orangutan, but I doubt their story will hold for much longer. We've been quite anxious for your arrival, Miss Summers."

Buffy sighs. "Yep. It's official. Welcome to the Hellmouth."

 

*******

 

"All in all, I declare the mission a success," Buffy says. She shifts to one side and brushes away the sand attempting to sneak into her bikini bottoms. Satisfied she won't be finding sand in places better not mentioned later, she leans back into Spike's bare chest. "Hairy ape demon defeated and we made it to the beach, all within our first day."

Spike wraps his arm around her waist, pulling her more snugly against him. "Dunno that the fellow who owns the yacht would agree with your assessment, pet."

Buffy tears her gaze away from the brilliant orange glow on the horizon to turn and look up at Spike's face. He takes advantage of the moment, distracting her with a long, slow kiss, until she's twisted all the way around, legs wrapped around his waist. They separate, both of them a little breathless, and it takes her a moment to remember what she'd been about to say. "You think he would've preferred finding a hairy surprise waiting for him down in his cabin when he got out to sea?"

"The rich can be funny about their things."

"Well then he's just stupid."

"He's luckier'n he knows, is all." Spike leans in for another kiss. "Not as lucky as me, poor fellow."

Buffy twists back to face the ocean once more, both of them silent as the distant orange glow burns itself out and darkness descends. "You're right," she says. "He doesn't get to sit on a beautiful Mediterranean beach with his girlfriend, watching his handiwork illuminate the night skies."

"Your handiwork," Spike counters.

"Oh, excuse me? Who was the one who had the bright idea to set the demon on fire?"

"Whose idea was it to trap it on the yacht in the first place?"

"Hello? Death wish much? Vampire. Fire."

"Yeah." Spike grins. "It was great, wasn't it?"

Carnage and destruction enough to satisfy the vampire boyfriend, and post-carnage midnight beach frolicking for her. "Like I said. A success."

 

*******

 

Buffy takes a step back, startled, when Spike launches himself at Nick, knocks him to the ground, and thrusts his fist straight into the other guy's chest. There's a nasty squelchy ripping sound that comes through loud and clear beneath poor Nick's gurgles and screams. Spike's arm emerges, dripping with thick, dark blood.

"For you," he says, handing Buffy the still-beating heart. "Happy Valentine's Day, my love."

"Ew! Seriously, Spike, we need to discuss your ideas of romance."

"Take it," he growls, a little testily. "Got to get Nick here's second heart yet. And then, oh Particular One -"

He shoves Nick's first heart into her hands. Buffy recoils, but doesn't drop the warm, still-pulsing mass. If it touches the earth, it'll grow, presto magic, into a second full-sized demon, and that's so something she doesn't want to deal with right now. She holds it at arm's length, though, as far as her boy-she-wishes-her-arms-were-longer arms will allow. Hey, it's a brand new dress. And shoes.

The squelchy sound repeats itself, and both Nick and the heart in her hands dissolve into a puddle of steaming ooze. "And then," Spike repeats himself, panting a little, "we'll go out to dinner at that romantic little restaurant you've been hinting none-too-subtly about for the last several weeks." He stands, looks down at himself, and sighs. "Right after I wash what's left of Nick out of my clothes."

"And they say romance is dead," Buffy says. She looks down at her own no-longer brand new dress, and with a mental shrug, throws herself into Spike's arms.

"Happy Valentine's Day to you too."

 

Chapter Text

Every Time I (can't) Look in the Mirror

(post-series, well into the future)

 

 

"It's not right," he insisted.

"Sweetie," Buffy said. "Wear a hat. Or – we can always get you –"

"If you say toupee, I will bite you. In fact, remind me again why I don't."

"Your fangs are dull."

"Oh. Right." Spike examined the photo again. "Bloody hell, it's not right. This shouldn't be happening to me. Eternal creature of the night, here."

Buffy stifled her impatience. "Better than the alternative. Better a little male-pattern baldness than bat-face-fruit-punch mouthiness, or cloven-hoof hands."

"It's all your fault," he said, glaring at her.

"Probably," she agreed.

"Know I said you make me feel like a man, but this is ridiculous." He lifted his shirt and exposed his less-than flat abs. "I have a blood belly for crying out loud. I'm a middle-aged man! I'm a Xander!"

"You know, you're awfully vain for someone who can't even see himself in the mirror. I think it's cute."

"You would, woman. You would."

"Well? Why should I be the only one to get wrinkly and saggy?" She pushed his chair back, sat upon his knee. "It's kinda romantic, don't you think? Us actually growing old together?"

"Be more romantic if I wasn't feeling the urge to call my doctor and ask if Levitra might be right for me," he said, frowning at the photo once more.

She lifted the spectacles off of his nose and set them aside. "So vamp out more if it really bothers you. That witch doctor said if you actually spent some time evil-creaturing about, it would probably slow the progression."

"But bat-face…"

"Bat-face bad. Let me rephrase that: bat-face way bad."

His fingers explored his scalp. "You won't leave me for some younger vamp?"

"You won't leave me for some younger Slayer?"

"Daft woman."

"Idiot vampire. You've always been my equal. My perfect match. Why should this be any different?"

The worried crinkles about his sapphire eyes disappeared. "Well, when you put it that way…"

"What are you doing?" Buffy squeaked.

"Showing you just how perfectly we match."

"Mmmmm… But… do you need to take your Viagra first?"

 

Chapter Text

Poultrygeist

(Season 6)

 

 

Even through the closed door of the crypt, Buffy can hear him screaming. "Sod off! I drink chicken blood too, you bloody menace!" Curious, she opens the door with a stealthy turn of the handle rather than her usual slamming bang.

Spike is standing in front of his fridge, gesticulating wildly, trying to frighten something away, but she cannot see what that something is.

"I'm warning you! I'll wring your bloody neck! I'll chop your bleeding head off!"

She creeps inside and stifles a laugh. Perched on top of his fridge, an unimpressed chicken watches Spike's wild antics, her beady black eyes following the vampire's every movement. The hen's own stillness demonstrates just how little she thinks of predator in front of her.

"I'll turn you into spicy Buffalo wings!" Spike shouts, flapping his hands at the offending party.

The hen fluffs out her feathers and settles into a more comfortable position. Buffy cannot hold the laughter in a moment longer. Her loud guffaws do more to startle the chicken than all of Spike's posturing, sending the bird fluttering about the crypt.

The vampire ducks down, yelling, as chicken little flaps by, circling around before coming to roost on his head. Spike, still half-crouched on the grounds, seizes up in terror, and Buffy swears he turns even paler than usual. "Getitoffame!" he pleads through his stiff lips.

Buffy is laughing so hard she can barely speak. "Geez! You big baby!" She strides forward, Slayer on a mission to help the helpless, rescue the less-than-innocent. She reaches out to nab the paltry poultrygeist and…

She freezes too, hands outstretched. "Did that thing just growl at me?"

Spike moans, his eyes wild.

"There's no such thing as demonic poultry," Buffy says, though her voice betrays her uncertainty.

A tiny rivulet of blood trickles down Spike's forehead and drips into his eye. "Claws. Digging. Evil," he whimpers.

Buffy eyes the chicken and it eyes her back.

"Don't move," she says, though she is fairly certain the admonishment is unnecessary. Within seconds she is down below, searching for… "Aha!"

The Slayer stalks her prey from behind, but the hen is not to be fooled. Its head swivels almost completely around, tracking her, but this time Buffy does not falter. She whips a towel out from behind her back and over the chicken, immobilizing the bird, then yanking it off Spike's head. Several strands of platinum hair go with it.

"I'll just go put this outside…"

"Not good enough." Spike sniffs, patting his hair into place, his expression petulant. "Bloody thing'll just come right back. You have to slay it."

"Hello? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not Martha the Farm Hand. I'm not killing a chicken."

"S'just a chicken," Spike says, and Buffy's eyes narrow.

She thrusts the squawking bundle at him. "Here, you're so Big and Bad, you kill it."

Stumbling backwards, he wards her off, hands up. "It's a chicken," he says, and even in a world which contains Spike, this makes zero sense.

Buffy sighs. "Do you have a box or something? We can take it out to the woods." Moments later Spike is setting a cat carrier on the sarcophagus, and Buffy is trying not to think about why he owns this particular item. She shoves the indignant chicken inside.

"We can take the bike, be quick about it," Spike says, gaze averted, voice hopeful.

She agrees, knowing this will require her to be pressed up against him for the duration of the ride, and they head off, the cat carrier dangling from her hand as the wind whips through her hair. Deep in the woods, miles from town, they set the carrier on the ground and open the door. The chicken struts out, fixes them with a baleful glare, and hisses. Buffy is so surprised she steps backwards, right into Spike's arms.

"Yeah, go on with you," he says to the chicken, all bravery now, as his arms tighten around Buffy. She leans back into him. As far as outings with Spike go, this one isn't so bad. He nuzzles her hair and she turns into him, her body still vibrating from the thrum of the engine between her legs and the feel of old leather against her cheek, the hen forgotten for the moment – until it hisses again. Spike kicks at the bird, but even his steel-toed boots don't dismay it. "Let's get out of here, eh love?"

She snickers and they hop back on the bike, Spike threading the night back to his crypt until they're tumbling inside, hands tearing at clothes, falling to the ground and-

"Spike. How long was your pet chicken here?" He mumbles something, sheepish, and she halts his roving hands. "What was that?"

"Couple of days. The chip, you know. I couldn't..."

"Oh my god." No longer faced with the threat of chicken, Buffy now notices the state of his crypt. There are feathers and chicken shit everywhere, the stuffing has been pulled out of his chair, and the place smells. She springs to her feet, brushing feathers and worse off of her clothes. "Yeah, so uh, I think you need to take care of this. I'd stay and help you, but…"

She's not sure how to finish that sentence. Spike has been terrorized by a chicken of all things, and she can't bring herself to say the cruel things she normally would. Or to abandon him. She sighs. "Do you want help?"

"Guess the moment's lost," he mutters. "Nah," he says, louder. "I got it. You go on, Slayer, I'll catch you another time."

If the chicken doesn't catch you first, she thinks. She leaves, but is back within the hour, plunking a large take-out bag down on his now clean sarcophagus.

He opens the bag warily, nostrils flaring, then grins. He doesn't say anything, and neither does she. Instead they sit together on the blanket covered couch, watching whatever is on the television, eating chicken wing after chicken wing.

 

Chapter Text

You Can Always Count on Andrew

(Season 7)

 

 

Out of reflex more than anything, Buffy reached behind with one hand and caught the object zinging at the back of her head. She turned, very, very slowly, and fixed Andrew with an exasperated stare. "How. Many. Times. Have I told you to stop doing that?"

He flinched. "Good catch? Which, you know, if you'd been the First..." An oven mitt waved in the air, indicating the not-there-iness of the First Evil.

"You have been dead," one of the potentials said in his defense. Maybe Lacy. Maybe Tonya. Buffy couldn't remember which was which. She couldn't summon the energy to try. "More than once from what I heard."

She glanced down at the object in her hand, barely registering its presence. "I really don't care. Stop pelting me with kitchen spices every time I walk into my kitchen, Andrew. Or you're going to find yourself herbed and basted with my very own secret recipe."

Silence followed, for which she was grateful. Silence was good. Silence meant a chance to rest –

Silence meant Andrew fidgeting out of the corner of her eye.

"What?"

"Can I have the mustard seed back? I need to toast it before I grind it up and smear it on the ham..."

He was lucky she was too tired to shove it up his nose. Really.

Besides, his nose was still kinda swollen from when Spike had shoved the saltshaker up it the other day.

 


 

You Can Always Count on Andrew (The Remix)

 

 

Day One

"Ow! Bloody hell! What was that for?"

"Just checking."

 

Day Two

"I'm not the bleeding First, you nit."

 

Day Three

"Can I have my paprika back? I was using it."

"You were using it? ... Get back here."

 

Day Four

"Oh hey, Spike. Good catch. Nice to see you're not the First."

 

Day Five

"I swear on all you hold dear, if you don't knock it off, Andrew... That's it. Your comic books are in for a long and painful death."

 

Day Six

"Peppercorns? You're pelting me with sodding peppercorns? You know a friendly handshake would do the – on second thought. No. Stay over there. I said stay over there."

 

Day Seven

"You said."

"I said a handshake. I did not say to wrap your spindly stick arms around me."

"You know, you're really grumpy. Are you sure you're getting enough to eat?"

"Been feeling the urge to avoid the kitchen of late. I wonder why that is, Andrew."

"Uh... too sunny during the day?"

 

Day Eight

"Back to the kitchen spices, I see."

"Buffy said I wasn't allowed to hug her anymore. ... She smells nice."

 

Day Nine

"Spike? Spike... what are you doing? Mr. Giles! Help!"

 

Day Ten

"You really think garlic is going to protect you?"

"Um, If you're a vampire. Do you think it would still work if you're the First pretending to be a vampire?"

"Ow! You bleeding little – Wrong on both counts."

"Oh, hey, look at that. Guess the whole garlic thing is a myth, huh? Wait – what are you –"

"You know what goes well with garlic, Andrew? Blood. Human blood, straight from the source."

"Yeah, but you wouldn't do that... except you already – Mr. Giles! Help! Spike's trying to drink my blood again! And my neck still is still recovering from the last time."

 

Day Eleven

"You just don't give up, do you."

"The First isn't giving up, and neither should we. And besides, you already ruined all my comic books, and Mr. Giles said you can't threaten to eat me. It's not good form."

 

Day Twelve

"Don't – don't you do it, Andrew. I said –"

 

Day Thirteen

"Your reflexes are really sharp, did you know that? Just think how much faster you're getting. It's like I'm helping to train you. You'll thank me for that someday. And for when I drive off the First before it can do any damage by impersonating you."

"..."

"Uh, Spike? You're letting the salt spill everywhere, and I kinda need it. You shouldn't waste, you know. It's not good for the environment. Or Buffy's pocketbook. And somebody is going to have to clean that up –"

 

Day Fourteen

"Oh, you've got to be bloody kidding me. Knock it off, you wanker!"

"De Firdst will neber sneak padst me!"

 

Chapter Text

Culture Clash

(Season 10)

 

 

"I brought the alcohol," Willow sing-songed, sweeping into the kitchen and releasing the half-dozen bottles she had clutched to her chest onto the counter. She slid a cloth shopping bag from her shoulder and handed it to Giles. "And for you, young man, a fine selection of the most delicious sodas."

Giles thanked her as gracefully as he could, and put them into the fridge to chill. While he was there, he surreptitiously checked the ice trays, grinning to himself. They were coming along nicely. If he couldn't get plastered with the rest of them, at least he could have some fun.

Xander was next, with steaming, fragrant boxes of pizza that he slid into the oven. Dawn followed on his heels, bearing a selection of DVDs.

"Put those over by the television," Giles directed her, and she nodded. "And Buffy? Does she have the ice cream?"

"She might have, at one point," Dawn said, looking anywhere but at him and blushing furiously. "But I think she and Spike – ah –"

"We shouldn't wait on them," Giles concluded dryly, trying very hard not to think about what Dawn was implying. Or how long he'd have to wait before enjoying such things himself once more.

"Probably not," Willow said. "But I did give her a fifteen minute courtesy warning, so."

The front door swung open to reveal Buffy and Spike, who had already gotten lost in each other all over again in the second it took for the door to open. Sensing their audience, they froze, then disentangled, both of them sporting sheepish looks.

"We're here," Spike said, rather unnecessarily, smoothing his hair back with a sniff. Buffy reached up to muss it up again, and Spike glared at her, his glare softening into a love-struck grin when she smiled cheekily at him.

Giles cleared his throat.

"Oh. Right. Ice cream!" Buffy hurried inside and passed him a bag filled with slightly-squashed ice cream cartons.

Giles dutifully put them in the freezer (taking the opportunity to check on his ice cubes) while she went to join the others examining the movie selections, her hand in Spike's back pocket.

 

*******

 

The movies had been watched, and the pizza had been eaten, and everybody that was not Giles was feeling very mellow indeed.

"I'll get another round for everybody, shall I?" Giles said, hopping to his feet and collecting glasses.

Buffy and Willow looked at each other. "It just seems wrong," Buffy said. "No boy his age should know so much about alcohol."

"No sneaking any," Willow said. "Alcohol is disgusting and bad for you and – ooh! Can you make another of that one drink for me? The one with the Kahlua?"

Giles rolled his eyes, but nodded and took her glass with the others. He was back out in a moment, handing them all their drinks on the rocks. Then it was a waiting game, with him trying not to dance around in anticipation.

Buffy was the first to notice. "AAAAAHHH!" she screamed, flinging her drink away. "Giles, you need to call an exterminator. You've got bugs in your ice."

The adult in him winced at the mess, but the kid was snickering like a – kid.

"Don't be silly. You can't get bugs in your ice," Dawn said. She peered into her glass, then quickly set it down with a grunt of disgust. "Or maybe you can. Ew!"

Giles stifled a snort.

Xander and Willow examined their glasses, and also set them down, Xander looking a little green. "Oh god. Did I drink a bug? I think I drank a bug." He clutched at his stomach. "I did. I can feel it crawling around inside me."

Giles giggled, a hand over his mouth.

Spike fished an ice cube containing a cockroach out of his drink and examined it. "Neat. These are considered a delicacy at demon parties." He popped the ice cube into his mouth, and crunched down.

The others stared at Spike, aghast.

Buffy made hurling sounds into the hand cupped over her mouth. "I am never, ever kissing you ever again."

"What? It's just a bug," he said, and crunched the rest up with obvious relish.

"That – that was plastic, you berk!" Giles said.

Spike swallowed. "Huh. Thought it tasted a bit off. Got any real ones?"

 

Chapter Text

Who Wants to be a Kitten-aire?

(post-series)

 

 

"Okay, Spike, are you ready for the final challenge?" Phil said. "Ready to win a million kittens?"

"I'm ready, Phil," Spike said. "Whatever you throw at me, I've got it mate."

"You tell him, honey!" Buffy yelled from the TV audience crowd.

"Go Spike!" Dawn added.

She grabbed Buffy's hand. "This is so exciting," she said. "What do you think it's going to be?"

"Whatever it is, he can do it. All of these challenges are child's play for him after the soul trials."

"True," Dawn said. "Come on, Spike!"

"Now, Spike, we have a special guest to help us with this last challenge. We're going to bring him on out in a moment. All you have to do to win your million kittens is something very simple: for the next ten minutes, you have to verbally agree with everything…"

Phil paused for dramatic effect. A figure emerged from a door, and began to walk down the shadowy corridor towards the stage.

As the figure stepped into the spotlight, Phil said, "Everything… Angel says! Welcome, Angel!"

Angel gave the audience a winning smile, and the crowd went wild. Buffy gasped in dismay, and Dawn gripped Buffy's hand even tighter. Angel pivoted slowly to face Spike, his smile turning distinctly evil.

"Are you ready to begin, Spike?" Phil said.

"I have to agree with everything he says?"

"Yes."

"Everything?"

"Everything. For one million kittens, can you do it?"

Spike looked at Angel.

Angel blew Spike a kiss.

The crowd roared.

Spike stood up. "Keep the kittens, mate."

 

Chapter Text

An American Vampire in Paris

(post-series)

 

 

Okay, so Harmony should have totally realized they were there, being the experienced vampire in the relationship, the one who was an actual arch-nemesis and all, but give a girl a break. She was in Paris. Paris! And not just in Paris, but in Paris on her honeymoon.

Wait, did vampires have honeymoons? It wasn't like they were married, not really, what with the whole avoiding of churches and holy stuff – eesh – talk about playing with fire! And she wasn't that kind of vampire. Not like some vampires she could name. Vampires like...

Harmony tossed her hair. "Spike. Nice to see you. You too, Buffy."

And see how mature she was? She could have rubbed it in Spike's face that here she was, in Paris, on her honeymoon, and not with him. Harmony could have, but she didn't. She could see Spike was sort of tearing up already, and biting his lip. Her poor Blondiebear felt bad.

As he should! Harmony stood a little taller and tossed her hair again, just to let Spike know that ship had so sailed. He'd had his chance and blew it with his sick Slayer obsession, and his stupid, jerk-face behavior. Spike turned away, hand over his mouth to hold back the sobs. Poor guy…

Who deserved it!

"Harmony," Buffy said, then frowned. "Is that...?"

"Keanu? It sure is. Keanu, say 'hi', honey. This is the Slayer. Remember I warned you about nasty Slayers and to stay away from them?"

Uh oh. Buffy's hand was definitely creeping towards her pocket, and Harmony had been around the block enough times to know what that meant. "But Buffy's cool. We go way back!"

"Hey," Keanu said, and tossed his hair.

Harmony frowned at him. That was her move.

Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Is he a vampire? Was he always a vampire? That would explain a lot."

"Just turned." Keanu grinned, showing off his fangs. "Harmony's been awesome. She's, like, totally taking care of me and teaching me how to be an awesome vampire just like her."

"Uh huh," Buffy said.

Spike walked off a few steps, his shoulders shaking. If Harmony wasn't so over him, she would have felt bad. But she was! Over him! And good riddance!

"You vamp him?"

Oh, crap. There went that stake hand again. "No! Not me, I swear! I don't kill humans anymore, not after working for Angel. I had to stay off the juice, and it stuck. Ask Spike!"

Buffy didn't even look Spike's way, which was probably just as well. It definitely wouldn't help the Slayer's mood at all to see her boyfriend crying over his ex, an ex who also happened to be the Slayer's arch-nemesis. It would start some kind of epic battle or something, and Harmony didn't want that. Not tonight.

She just wanted to enjoy Paris with Keanu.

"And Keanu doesn't feed from humans either! Just like me." She smiled for good measure, but not before doing a quick tongue swipe. No need to provoke the Slayer with accidental fang-age.

Hey! Maybe they could double date! "You been up the Eiffel Tower yet? We were just going. Isn't that right, shnookie?"

"Like, sure."

Buffy crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. Oh, yeah, she was so totally jealous Harmony had scored such a smart, sexy, famous boyfriend. Not like her sick Slayer-obsessed freak of a boyfriend. Harmony glanced over at Spike. He did have a nice ass, though, she had to admit. And, mmm, those back muscles...

"What do you think, Spike? Should we go check out the Eiffel Tower with Harmony and Keanu?"

Spike was too cut up to answer. He only shook his head, which Buffy somehow saw even though she never took her eyes off of Harmony and Keanu. Jealous, much? Harmony wanted to say. But didn't. Because, hel-lo, mature vamp now.

"I think we'll pass," Buffy said. "We'll be seeing you around, Harmony. Keanu."

"Okay, bye then!" Harmony said. She took Keanu's hand and tugged him over to the line for the elevator. Just before she turned the corner, she tossed one last look over her shoulder to double check that the Slayer wasn't sneaking up behind her, resorting to trickery to try to gain some sort of advantage.

But Buffy was holding Spike. Trying to console him. The poor baby was so distraught...

Harmony tossed her hair. Served the jerk right for being such a... jerk... to her. Holding Keanu's hand a little tighter, she stepped onto the elevator, Spike nowhere on her mind.

 

Chapter Text

Buffy the Ghoul Slayer

(AU. Waaaaay AU)

 

 

"Look, Spike," Buffy the Ghoul Slayer said. She didn't actually know what his name was, but she couldn't keep calling him Riley. Not now that she knew. And for whatever reason, Spike seemed apropos. "This thing between you and me? It could never work."

Spike stared soulfully at her. Or perhaps soullessly. She was a little unclear on the mythology.

"No, I'm serious. You're a ghoul, and I'm a ghoul slayer. Don't you see?" He didn't seem to see, so she said, "I know we had something. An incredible, amazing night. One I'll never forget."

And she wouldn't. It had been the most amazing, beautiful night of her life. Sure, she'd thought it a bit weird that Riley had never said a word, but she'd figured he was just being the strong, silent type. And sure, he'd smelled a little funky, but Buffy had figured he'd had a long, hard day doing soldier-y things, and as a good girlfriend, she didn't want to embarrass him. Besides, even though it was her sacred duty to slay ghouls, she'd never actually seen one. They weren't too keen on being found, and she'd never sought them out because, let's face it, all they did was eat dead people and sometimes steal coins. Gross, yes, but she didn't think either was a capital offence. How had she been supposed to know the man she'd spent the night with wasn't her boyfriend, but the ghoul who'd eaten his corpse and then assumed his form?

"I'm sorry, but I don't love you. You're not my boyfriend; you're thing that ate him."

Spike shrugged, as if to say he was sorry too, but he couldn't help it and why did she have to hold it against him?

"And my friends? What would they say? It's not like I could keep it from them. You –" Buffy hardened her heart and pulled out the big guns. "You smell."

Spike's shoulders slumped in shame.

"Plus you'll have to eat sometime. You know you will. And then what? You won't look like Riley anymore. You could look like anybody. People will notice when I change boyfriends every other week." And, not to be shallow, but looks mattered. What if Spike ate some fat, old, bald guy with hair coming out of his nose? It wasn't like a ghoul could be choosy.

Buffy touched his cheek. He reached up to cup her hand with his, and they stood like that, staring into each other's eyes under the moonlight. "Go," Buffy said. "Go, and never come back to Sunnydale. If you do, I'll have to kill you." Her voice wavered and she turned away, stifling a sob.

When she turned back, Spike was gone.

 

*******

 

It had been a year since Buffy the Ghoul Slayer had seen Spike, a year during which she'd had time to mourn Riley (though with no corpse to be found, the rest of the world had assumed him AWOL, and since the rest of the world didn't believe in ghouls – Buffy barely did herself – she hadn't even tried to straighten the rest of the world out). Her time with Spike had faded into something beautiful, but gossamer and unreal.

Buffy marched down the street, prepared to do her sacred duty of wandering around the graveyards for an hour or so, and then going home and going to bed. She was a little unclear on why she had to do this since she still had never met a ghoul other than Spike, but the fussy old guy who called himself her Watcher wouldn't stop nagging her until she did it. Sometimes Buffy thought about reporting him to the police for harassment, but other than the nagging, he seemed harmless enough.

A sudden noise made her look up, and she gasped in surprise. Even though it had been a year since she'd seen him last, even though he was wearing a different body, Buffy knew it was him the moment she saw him across the moonlit graveyard.

She flew to meet him, then stopped short of the compact but well-muscled man with bleached blond hair and piercing blue eyes. "Spike," she said mournfully. "Why did you come back? Now I – I don't want to have to kill you!"

"Then don't," he said, taking her into his arms.

Buffy went gladly, snuggling into his firm chest, before she realized – "You can talk!"

"That I can, love," he said in a sexy British accent.

"How?"

"I went to see a man about a girl." Spike tipped her chin up to look into her eyes. "I couldn't bear to live without you, Buffy, so I went and got myself a permanent body. No more eating corpses, no more changing forms. No more rotted meat smell. Just a man – more or less."

Buffy wondered about the more-or-less part, but she was too busy basking to question it just yet. "Spike," she said. "Tell me – tell me what your real name is."

"William. But... I like Spike," he said with a shy smile.

"Me too." Buffy smiled back. "This is great! Oh, I can't wait for everybody to meet you – there's a barbeque at Xander's house tomorrow afternoon. It'll be perfect!"

"Outside? In the sun?"

"I don't think his apartment manager would be too happy with charcoal stains on the carpet. Why?"

"Oh," Spike said, his face falling. "It's just... have you ever heard of vampires?"