Slayer's Night Off by Slaymesoftly

ReviewsRating: PG-13

Summary: It's Halloween in Season V Sunnydale. Will the vamps know that they're supposed to stay home?

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“Hey!” Buffy’s voice was full of indignation as she shook off the hand of the young vampire. “And ewwww! What are you?”

“I’m a zombie!” the vamp said proudly, displaying his ripped clothing and dirt-caked fingernails.

“New flash, idiot. You’re a vampire - and you’re supposed to be taking tonight off.”

“I’m not missing Halloween just because of some stupid old vampire tradition,” he growled. “Are we, guys?”

Rising up behind him, dramatically appearing from behind some trash cans, were three more, recently-turned, teenaged vampires, all wearing equally ugly zombie costumes. Cursing her confidence in the holiday that had caused her to come out without a stake, Buffy backed up until she had something solid behind her back. Then, she put her hands on her hips and glared at them.

“It’s supposed to be MY night off, too!” she huffed. “I’m supposed to get to relax tonight and...and...go to parties and drink and do stuff like normal people do on Halloween. I’m not supposed to be fighting a bunch of losers who don’t know what kind of undead they are!”

“Who are you calling, losers, blondie?” the first vamp snarled. “And why aren’t you screaming? I know these are some kickass costumes. We look awesome...and scary."

He raised his arms and lurched forward, putting a glazed look on his face and waiting for Buffy’s reaction. Unfortunately for him, her reaction was to kick him in the stomach and send him flying into a dumpster. The other “zombies” snarled and elbowed each other to be the first to teach their latest victim a lesson.

Buffy was holding her own, but without a stake handy all she could do was exchange blows and kicks, hoping to be able to incapacitate them long enough to find a weapon or run away. In order to use her agility to her best advantage, she had been forced to move away from the protective wall, and their superior numbers were beginning to be a issue as they maneuvered to get someone behind her. She felt the first shiver of fear as a clawed hand settled on her shoulder; but before she could turn around, it vanished in a small puff of dust. She grinned at the familiar voice behind her.

“What’s wrong with you stupid gits? Don’t you know it’s our night off?”

“Aw, can it, Grandpa,” was the unwise reply. “We do what we like.”

“Grandpa?” Spike sputtered, causing Buffy to barely miss being bitten as she lost her focus while she giggled. Stung by the way the Slayer was laughing at the disrespect the young vampires were showing, Spike’s demeanor abruptly changed and he allowed his demon out. Facing the remaining three vampires, he drew himself up to his full height. “That’s Master Grandpa, to you,” he snarled, his voice dripping with cold menace. With a speed that none of them could hope to match, he spun into action, kicking and tearing until they were lying on the ground moaning in fear and pain.

Buffy’s laughter had quickly faded as she watched the fearsome vampire that had come to Sunnydale three years ago replace the harmless and easily mocked constant presence to which she had become accustomed. The ease and speed with which he’d incapacitated three relatively large and fit vamps was more sobering than she wanted to admit. Her attention went back to his victims as he reached his hand back, demanding, “Stake, slayer.”

“Um...I don’t have...I mean, not...”

“You don’t have a stake? What kind of bloody slayer are you?”

He whirled, game face still to the fore, and glared at her. She raised her chin and snapped, “If I’d had a stake with me, do you think those three morons would have still been standing?”

“Fine.” He reached down and twisted off the head of the first vamp/zombie, then did the same thing to the other two. When the last one had crumbled to dust, he dropped back into his normal human face and turned around. He found Buffy staring at him, an unfamiliar expression in her eyes. If he’d had to identify it, he might have called it respect – except that it was on the Slayer’s face, and he knew that couldn’t be right...

“What?”

Buffy shook herself. “Nothing. I just...” She cocked her head at him. “I guess I’ve forgotten what a good fighter you are,” she admitted. “That was pretty-impressive. Almost...slayer-worthy work.”

“Bite your tongue!”

He glared at her indignantly, then noticed the twinkle in her eye and let a reluctant grin break out on his face.

“It was a bit of alright, wasn’t it?” he agreed.

“It was very...impressive.”

“You said that already, pet,” he said, dropping into step beside her. “So, I impressed you, did I?”

“Well...let’s just say, that if I hadn’t already seen you wearing Xanders Hawaiian shirt and shorts...I might actually find you frightening. In a totally ‘I’m the Slayer and I can kick your butt’ kind of way, of course,” she added hastily when he cocked an inquisitive eyebrow at her.

“Of course.” They walked a little longer, then he nudged her arm., “So, what does frighten the best Slayer I’ve ever seen?”

“Oh, lots of thin—I’m the best Slayer you’ve ever seen?”

“Never was able to kill you, was I?”

“You came close a couple of times,” she admitted reluctantly.

“Yeah, well, you dropped a bloody organ on me! If it hadn’t been for Dru...”

She gave him a look out of the corner of her eye. “I hope you aren’t expecting me to apologize. ‘cause it’s sooo not gonna happen.”

“Wouldn’t expect it of you, Slayer. Not who we are.”

“Exactly!”

They continued to stroll through Sunnydale, laughing at the little “monsters” running by pursued by harried-looking adults, and dodging small demons and witches that were half-blinded by the masks they were wearing. Not letting go of their earlier conversation, Buffy asked suddenly, “Were you afraid of me? Was I scary?”

“Scary? Hell no! You were magnificent.”

“I was mag...You thought I was magnificent?”

Her voice rose to a squeak, and she felt a blush creeping up her neck to turn her entire face red. Along with the embarrassment was another, warmer, feeling suffusing her insides, and she dropped her eyes to stare at the ground intently. Thereby missing the look of sheer panic that flew across the vampire’s face as he realized what he’d said.

“Well, that was before I got to know you and found out what a pain in the arse you can be,” he muttered in a feeble attempt to save face. “Now that I know you better...”

“Quit while you’re ahead, Spike.”

“Right.”

They continued their aimless walk through the residential area, the silence suddenly much more uncomfortable than it had been. Unable to tolerate the it for long, Spike finally said what he’d meant to as soon as he finished dusting the vamps.

“Why didn’t you have a stake?” he demanded abruptly, appalled at the tone of concern in his voice.

“Because somebody has always said that Halloween is vampires’ night off! I guess I should have known it wasn’t true – considering the whole damsel-in-distress Buffy that you almost had a few years ago.”

“Hey! I didn’t go out lookin’ for you. Was just mindin’ my own business when you fell into my lap. So to speak,” he added, remembering the way he’d had her pinned down with his body. He cast a look sideways and mumbled, “Wasn’t going to eat you then, anyway.”

“Excuse me? I distinctly remember gloating and drooling and...”

“Well, yeah! Course I was gloating. Had you where I wanted you, didn’t I? But I could see the Slayer wasn’t home. Was having a good time scaring you, but I probably would have just drunk enough to give myself a---nevermind. I wanted to fight you, fair and square. I wouldn’t have killed you then...at least, I don’t think so,” he admitted honestly.

“Well, I thought you were going to kill me – and so did everybody else.”

They walked a while longer, dodging eager trick or treaters who eyed Spike’s long duster as though wondering if it was a costume. Buffy noticed that more than one of the moms also gave Spike a second look and she smothered a twinge of something she assured herself could not possibly be jealously.

When one little shrieking demon plowed right into Spike, the horn on the top of his costume striking him just between his legs, the vampire doubled over and went into game face. He snarled in pain, then felt Buffy’s powerful grip on his arm as she hissed in his ear, “Suck it up, and drop the wrinklies; here comes the mom!”

With a supreme effort, he shook off his demon and bent over the crying child who had bounced off him and fallen to the sidewalk.

“Hey there, scary demon. Are you alright? Didn’t hurt yourself emasculating me with your horn there, did you?”

“Spike!” Buffy’s gasp was accompanied by a hard poke in his side, even as she smiled at the approaching woman. “I think he’s okay,” she said quickly. “More scared than hurt, I think.”

To her surprise, the woman ignored the crying child and stepped closer to Spike, purring, “I saw what happened. I hope he didn’t hurt you.” She ran her eyes down his body, ending at the sore spot that Spike’s hand was still hovering over protectively. “Is there anything I can do?” She batted her eyes at him.

As Spike stood up straighter and began to speak, “Well, I think I’ll be alright in a bit – if you’d like to—” Buffy stepped in front of him and growled, “Don’t you want to see if your child is hurt before you worry about some guy you don’t even know?”

The curvy redhead looked back and forth between the narrow-eyed blonde girl and the clearly astonished, and gorgeous, man, a frown creasing her brow. Spike’s obvious surprise at Buffy’s comment decided her and she waved a hand at the now-silent little boy.

“He’s my sister’s kid. I just said I’d take him trick-or-treating. He’s all right, aren’t you, killer? He’s tough.” She patted the little demon on his green head and pointed to the next house. “Why don’t you run up there and see what they have to offer? Auntie Ruth will be right here.”

She turned back to Spike and offered, “If you can wait until I run him home, I’ll buy you a drink to make up for your sore...whatever.”

“His ‘whatever’ is just fine,” Buffy said, yanking Spike’s arm and pulling him away. He looked over his shoulder at the disappointed woman and shrugged helplessly as he was towed down the street. It wasn’t until they had gone almost the whole block before Buffy realized what she was doing and let go of his coat sleeve.

“Hey, Slayer, you want to explain why you dragged me away like that? I think she fancied me. I was hoping to get a good sha—“

“You’re not only a pig, you’re a rude pig!” she huffed, walking faster so that he had to lengthen his stride to keep up. Trying very hard not to examine the feeling that had swept through her at the thought of Spike’s ditching her for the redhead, she stomped down the street in the general direction of the Bronze.

“What did I do?” He seemed genuinely bewildered for a few seconds, and thought back over the conversation with the little boy’s sexy aunt. He studied Buffy’s deliberately blank face, hearing her accelerated heartbeat and noticing the way her fists were clenched. A small smile of understanding broke out as he answered his own question.

“Wasn’t going to blow you off for her, Slayer,” he said carefully. “I just figured you had plans for later in the evening and I was gonna make some plans of my own.”

Her “humph!” of disbelief brought out his own temper, and his voice dropped into more of a growl.

“You tellin’ me we’re heading in this direction because you want to walk into the Bronze with me?” he scoffed. “You know and I know, that you’re on your way to meet all your little Scooby friends for a night of fun and frolic that doesn’t include yours truly. Prob’ly gonna meet the giant boy scout, too,” he finished under his breath.

“I heard that.” Her indignant reply couldn’t hide the guilty start at his mention of Riley and his face darkened.

“Right,” he said flatly. “It’s been fun, Slayer. I’ll see you around.”

He whirled and began striding in the opposite direction, his coat billowing around his legs. Buffy stared at his rigid back and bit her lip.

I should call him back – no, I should go after him – but what could I say? I AM on my way to the Bronze to meet everybody; and Riley probably will be there, and he gets completely unreasonable about Spike hanging out with us.

While she worried about what to do, Spike disappeared around a corner and the opportunity was lost. With a shrug and a muttered, “I’ll make it up to him tomorrow,” she continued on her intended path.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What is wrong with everybody tonight?” Buffy asked rhetorically, as she threw the last vampire off the stage at the Bronze and onto Riley’s stake.

“Maybe they didn’t go to vampire school?” Willow suggested timidly, wondering what had put Buffy in such a foul mood.

Her friend had been angry since she walked into the Bronze, and several drinks and a lot of dancing hadn’t done a thing to improve her attitude. In fact, Willow felt sure that it had deteriorated over the course of the evening, taking a sharp downward turn when Spike had walked in with a red haired woman clinging to his arm. At Riley’s worried, “Do you think we should warn her that he’s a vamp?” Buffy had snarled, “Let the skanky bitch find out the hard way,” shocking everyone into silence.

Only Riley seemed more annoyed than shocked at Buffy’s casual dismissal of any potential danger to the clearly-human woman running her fingers admiringly over the vampire’s biceps.

“Buffy, are you sure?” he ventured, watching her face closely. “I don’t trust him. What if the chip malfunctioned? Or he found a way to get it removed? He’s a loose cannon. I don’t know why you don’t just stake him and be done with it.”

“I’ll drink to that!” Xander raised his beer and agreed cheerfully.

One look at Buffy’s face told him she had no intention of doing as Riley asked, and he felt comfortable maintaining his normal public aversion to the vampire. If someone had pointed out to him that he’d spent more time in Spike’s company – as a roommate, pool shooting partner, backup muscle and drinking companion – than he had with any male friend since Jesse died, he would have denied it vigorously. However, if he were honest with himself, he knew that he would miss exchanging insults with the blond vampire and he was grateful that Buffy seemed to have lost any inclination to dust him.

She sent Xander an irritated look and then answered Riley with barely-contained impatience.

“I’m really tired of this conversation, Riley. Spike isn’t dangerous – to humans – and he helps us out. I’m not going to stake him unless and until he gives me a reason, so stop ragging on it.”

“How do you know he hasn’t given you a reason? Look at that woman he picked up somewhere. Who knows what he has planned?”

“I know exactly what he has planned,” she growled, slamming her beer can down. “And he didn’t pick her up, she picked him.”

Without further comment, she marched towards the long hallway to the restrooms, leaving Riley staring after her speculatively. She went into the ladies room, grateful to see that it was empty for a change, and splashed cold water on her face.

What the hell is wrong with me? Spike’s a big boy. If he wants to ‘shag’ that skank, that’s his business. Why is it bothering me? You’d think I was jealous or some ....oh my god...I’m jealous!

She collapsed against the sink, moaning in dismay.

“No!” she shouted at her reflection in the mirror. “No, Buffy. This is badness. You will not fall--”

“Talkin’ to yourself, pet?”

She whirled just in time to see Spike push the outer door closed behind him and drag the vending machine in front of it.

“What are you doing in here?” she hissed. “This is the ladies room!”

“Don’t see any ladies in it,” he responded, walking towards her and noting how she backed up until she was pressed against the sink. “Just a Slayer and a vampire.”

“Kinda my point.” She struggled to control her voice and her breathing as he moved even closer. “Vampire – male vampire. In the ladies room. Ringing any bells here?”

“Thought we needed to have a conversation – and this seemed like the best time to do it – what with all the glaring male Scoobies out there and me with a sex-starved woman glued to my side.”

At the reminder of what had sent her into the restroom in the first place, Buffy stood up straight and glared up at him.

“Shouldn’t you be out there taking care of her little problem, then?” she spit out. “You don’t want her getting jealous if she finds you in here with me.”

“Don’t give a bloody fig if she does,” he said quietly. “It’s somebody else’s jealousy I want to talk about.”

“Oh? There’s another delusional woman out there who’s jealous?”

“Not out there anymore - is she, pet?” He put both hands on the sink on either side, trapping her against it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she muttered, her eyes shifting from side to side to avoid his penetrating gaze.

“You want to lie to yourself, luv, go right ahead. But don’t try to lie to me. You’re jealous. You think I’m your own little pet neutered vampire that just follows you around all the time and doesn’t have a life. The minute it looks like I might have one, you get all outraged and huffy.”

Buffy’s nostrils flared, but she couldn’t think of anything to say, so she settled for glaring at him.

“The only thing I don’t know,” he continued, “is why you’re jealous. Is it because you think you have the right to run my whole unlife – just because you’re the Slayer?”

She shook her head, dumbly.

“Or,” his voice softened and he leaned in until his mouth was right beside her ear. She shivered involuntarily as he murmured, “Is it because you want me yourself and just can’t admit it?”

She raised her eyes to his, and allowed him to see the confusion and indecision there as she whispered, “I just can’t do it, Spike. Not again. I can’t...you’re a vampire. Someday I might have to slay you...and...and I don’t want to put myself through that again.”

Hope and understanding flared on his face.

“Would never put you in that position, Buffy. You have to know that. Would never do anything to hurt you. Not you, not the Bit or your mum, or any of those annoying prats out there...” He tossed his head towards the main room of the club. “Well, maybe, the big git...I owe him.”

“Don’t, Spike.” She allowed herself to rest her head briefly against his chest, gasping when his arms went around her and held her chastely. “We can’t do this. Ican’t do this. I’m...I’m sorry I acted the way I did. I have no right to interfere with whatever social life you want to have. No matter how much it hurts to see...” Her voice trailed off to a whisper.

“It hurts?”

She nodded silently, rubbing her face against his tee shirt and inhaling the scent that said “Spike”.

“She’s nothing to me, love,” he whispered back, pulling her closer. “Don’t want to hurt you – I’ll just send her home...”

Buffy shook her head. “No,” she said forcefully, raising her eyes to his. “Don’t do that. Not unless you want to for some other reason...” She tried not to sound hopeful. “It’s not my place. I’ve got no claim on you, and no right to...”

“You’ve got a bigger claim on me than you can imagine, Buffy.” He met her eyes and held them, letting his feelings for her shine through in a way that he never had before. “You own my heart, love, and that gives you every right to ask me not to hurt you.”

“No, it really doesn’t,” she said firmly, pushing gently on his chest until he stepped back. “We can’t do this. We’re just going to hurt each other. Have you forgotten that I have a boyfriend?”

“I never forget that,” he growled. “Speaking of hurting...”

With a guilty start, Buffy thought of all the times she had cuddled with Riley while Spike sat quietly on the edges of the group, or jumped up abruptly to go outside for a smoke.

“Oh, god,” she breathed. “I’ve been so...I didn’t know. I’m sorry. You must...”

“Shhh, love. I’m a big boy. Could jus’ stay away if I really wanted to. It’s worth it just to be around you. Wouldn’t get to see you much if I didn’t come around when he’s there, now, would I?”

Buffy allowed herself to lean into him again. “This is a mess,” she groaned. “I don’t know what to do.” She stood up straight again. “I think I need to go kill something. Damn Halloween!”

“Right there with you, love,” he growled as she pushed him away again. “Maybe we can find some more non-traditionalists, yeah?”

They walked to the door, shoving the vending machine away and leaving the room. Outside, a long line of waiting girls and women glared at them.

“Get a room!” one them said as they went by, shrinking away when Spike flashed his fangs and Buffy fixed her with a slayer’s most intimidating stare.

By mutual consent, they left the hallway separately and made their way back to their respective dates. Buffy was non-committal about why she’d been gone so long, saying only that she wasn’t feeling well and really needed to slay something. Riley’s confused frown was a reminder of the gap between what her boyfriend considered proper behavior and emotion and the reality of her life. She winced as she couldn’t help thinking about how Spike so often knew instinctively what she was feeling and why.

She resolutely kept her eyes away from the bar area and Spike and his ‘date’, focusing her attention on the band and the music. When a group of vamps in pirate costumes burst into the Bronze and set her vampire senses crazy, she jumped to her feet with a happy grin.

“You’re just what I need!” she said to the first one she grabbed. She punched him unconscious and broke a leg off one of the chairs to use as a stake. In a very short period of time, the club had cleared out except for the Scoobies and the band, which was bravely continuing to play while chaos reigned in front of them. Willow and Tara put up a protective wall around themselves and Anya, while Riley and Xander produced stakes and positioned themselves at the doors to eliminate any escapees.

Spike continued to sit at the bar and watch with interest as Buffy took out her frustration on the unsuspecting vampires. His date had run out of the club along with the other patrons, so he had no distractions as he watched Buffy spinning and kicking her way through the pirate gang. When one of the ‘pirates’ tried to use his hook to snag the Slayer’s hair, he found himself held aloft by a strong hand that was squeezing his throat shut.

“Wouldn’t do that if I were you, mate,” Spike said mildly. “She’s got more than a bit of help on her side.”

The suspended vampire gurgled helplessly as he tried to protest Spike’s obvious interference. When he was sufficiently tired of holding the kicking, punching vamp, Spike threw him towards Xander with a, “Here you go, whelp. Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

“You’ve given me plenty of things,” Xander said as he plunged his stake into the moving vamp’s chest. “Headaches, nightmares...”

When Buffy had thrown the final vamp/pirate onto Riley’s stake and made her comment about what was wrong with all the vampires this Halloween, she stood with her hands on her hips and glared around at the dust-covered floor.

“I guess we should get out of here before they make us clean it up,” she said with a sigh. “I’m not taking the blame for all this dust.”

Grabbing their sweaters and jackets against the cool night air, they all left by the back door, Spike trailing behind and ignoring Riley’s glare. At the end of the alley, they all stopped to regroup.

“I guess we’ll be getting back to the campus,” Willow said, squeezing Tara’s hand, “We have to get up early.”

Anya quickly spoke up. “Us too!” she said, pulling Xander along. “We have orgasms to have before he falls asleep.”

Spike’s snicker caused Xander to glare at him in mock anger. “Don’t know what you’re laughing at, deadboy. At least I’m going to have some. Looks to me like your date came to her senses and took off on you.”

Spike continued to snicker, sending Xander the expected obscene British gesture. It wasn’t until Riley put his arm around Buffy and grinned at him, saying, “Yeah, Spike. Looks like you’re the odd man out,” that the reality of the situation sank in. Without a word to anyone, he whirled and started up the street in the direction of his crypt. However, the furious vampire had taken only a few long strides away from the group when he heard Buffy’s clear voice.

“Let me go, Riley! Obviously I still have to patrol tonight. There are too many vamps out there who haven’t gotten the message about this being our night off.”

Spike slowed, but didn’t turn around, using his heightened sense of hearing to following the conversation, even as he continued walking away. He heard Buffy’s increased heart rate and the quick breathing that usually indicated someone was in danger of receiving a beating.

“If you’re going to patrol, then I should go with you,” Riley argued. “We can get a few cemeteries in before we turn in. I have to be up early, too.”

“I don’t,” she said shortly. “You go on home. Spike can patrol with me.”

The vampire slowed his steps even more, holding his unnecessary breath as he waited for the explosion. Instead of the expected verbal eruption, he felt a hard object hit him in the middle of his back. There were simultaneous gasps from Buffy and Xander and, when an unharmed Spike turned outraged eyes on him, a heartfelt curse from the big soldier. Lying on the ground at Spike’s feet was the stake that Riley had been wielding so effectively earlier in the evening.

A chill went up Spike’s spine as he realized at the same time as everyone else that, had Riley still had his chemical enhancements, the accurately-thrown stake would have left nothing but vampire dust on the sidewalk. As it was, Spike’s movement away from them and Riley’s more normal human strength meant that the intended stake to the vampire’s heart had bounced harmlessly off his leather duster.

“Riley...hey, man...” Xander’s bewilderment was plain. Anya was, as always, blunt and to the point.
“Let’s go, Xander. This could get ugly and we don’t need to be in the middle of it.” She cast a wise eye at Buffy and then at Riley, saying cheerfully, “It’s a good thing for you, I’m not a vengeance demon anymore. I think you’d be in a lot of trouble right now.”

Her eyes were not on the vampire whose life had been threatened, but on the Slayer, who was staring at her boyfriend as though he was something she’d found under a rock. With a wave to Buffy and an apologetic shrug at Spike, Xander followed Anya’s advice and walked towards his car, leaving the soldier, the slayer and the vampire facing each other.

Spike’s eyes were focused completely on Buffy. He doubted the big man had any more stakes in his pockets, and he was comfortable that he was far enough away to be well out of reach if he did try it again. His attention was on the girl who had sparked the attack by telling Riley to go home while she patrolled with a vampire. Her eyes never left Riley’s and Spike grinned as he saw the man flinch involuntarily.

Guess he’s never seen the Slayer when she’s really brassed off.

Buffy’s expression had run the gamut from shocked, worried, relieved and furious all the way to lethal. Her cold eyes held no trace of the girl Riley thought he knew, as she fixed them on him and spoke clearly.

“If you ever try anything like that again, I will make you wish you’d never come to Sunnydale.”

Without another word, she turned away and began to walk towards Spike. As he had earlier in the evening, he fell into step with her, walking quietly by her side until he could tell that she had calmed down.

“Are you alright, pet?” he asked quietly as he saw her shoulders slump and her steps slow.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?” she asked wryly.

“You can tell that I’m alright,” he responded. “You’re the one who just walked away from your boyfriend.”

“Ex-boyfriend,” she sighed. “I don’t know why I bother. Slayers just aren’t meant to have a love life, I guess.”

“Bollocks! Slayers just don’t usually live long enough to find the right man.”

“And what would that be, Spike? What would be the ‘right man’ for a girl who spends her nights in cemeteries, up to her knees in demon guts and vampire dust?”

He stopped and tugged on her arm so that she turned to face him.

“It would be a man who could match her physically, one who admired what she is instead of wishing she was somethin’ else. A man who enjoys a bit of rough and tumble and who understands the need to kill things.” He tipped her chin up so that she was looking into his eyes. “A man who thinks demon guts can be a sexy accessory – under the right circumstances.”

“And what would those circumstances be?” she asked, watching his mouth coming closer.

“Just about anything that involved you and me bein’ in the same place at the same time,” he breathed, dipping his head to meet hers.

Before they could begin what would have been their first non-spell-induced kiss, a group of very large and very undead Hobbits came around the corner, laughing and calling each other “precious”. With a wicked grin, Spike handed her the stake he’d picked up off the sidewalk.

“Ready for a happy Halloween, Slayer?”

“Never let it be said that you don’t know how to show a girl a good time,” she quipped as she took the stake from him and stepped away to gain some fighting room.

“I haven’t even begun to show you a good time,” he said with a leer as he jumped into the middle of the ‘Hobbits’ and began punching and slashing. “Just you wait.”

As Buffy staked the first ‘Hobbit’ to mistake her for a meal, she grinned back at him.

“Happy Halloween, Spike.”

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