Almost a Date by Dusty273

ReviewsRating: PG

Summary: Buffy finally lets herself see how much Spike has changed.

Author's Notes: Set around Crush, Season 5, I suppose, but goes drastically AU. Written for the spuffy_wonder Date Night prompt challenge. Considering how difficult my muse has been lately, I'm surprised I actually could write this in time for the deadline.

Many thanks as always to the lovely Tina for spanking my muse into action and editing my booboos. *huggles* Next in line, AAO, I hope. *sighs*

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Buffy threw Spike a curious look when he opened the door of his Desoto for her, but the hopeful smile he gave her in return prevented her from saying anything to him. Instead, she just sighed and slid inside the car, sitting primly on the front seat.

There was no way she would admit that she was slightly flattered by his chivalrous gesture, or that her heart beat just a little harder when she found him sitting on her kitchen counter talking amicably with her mother and sister. Neither would she admit that he looked… not too bad when he let go of his all black attire and added a little color into the mix, even if it were just a light grey t-shirt and a nice muted earth green button-down shirt. Or that his eyes seemed bluer because of that, not that she’d noticed the same thing at the Bronze when he was wearing the grey shirt. Only, she sort of did.

And if she were honest with herself—and she so wasn’t—she’d been noticing little things about Spike for quite a while now. Not just his clothes, but about him. The way he seemed to always appear when she needed help, despite how much she said she didn’t want it. How he treated her mother and Dawn, how safe they felt with him and how she’d come to rely on the fact that if they ever needed him in any capacity, he’d be there for them.

He’d changed. And despite how hard she tried to deny it, to credit the chip for it or whatever else she could come up with, deep down she knew that wasn’t the reason. Without a soul, Spike could love, more deeply than Angel could with one and it was time she acknowledged that. Her relationship with Riley had only proved that normal wasn’t in the stars for her. Perhaps it was time to give Spike the chance her mother had suggested that morning when they were talking over breakfast. At least the vamp in question didn’t have a soul to lose.

She shuddered as she thought back to Angelus and how different he was from the platinum blond vampire. She was certain that if the brunet hadn’t been cursed with a soul by the Gypsies, he’d still be traversing the globe, terrorizing both humans and demons alike, destroying lives and families in his wake. No, there was no question Angelus was not capable of love and she’d recently began doubting Angel’s capacity as well, even in his human years. It was very convenient for him to love her at a distance and expect her to return his feelings just because he’d been her first love. Very convenient to suggest she needed a ‘normal’ relationship, when what she really needed was a partner, an equal, someone she could trust and that wouldn’t smother her, that would have her back if she needed.

Someone like … Spike.

She threw him a covert glance, swallowing as she focused on his handsome profile as he drove. Had she ever allowed herself to look at him, really look at him? At how devoted he’d been to Dru all those years; it was more than obvious he had deep and abiding feelings for the skanky ho, no matter how she treated him. That was something she’d always admired about him, especially once confronted with the reality of Angelus. Not to mention how chiseled his cheekbones were, how full his bottom lip appeared even from this angle, how soft his hair looked under the dim moonlight that filtered through the tinted windshield.

Just then, he turned towards her and she felt her cheeks burn from embarrassment at being caught staring, but to his credit he didn’t make any mention of her faux pas.

“You’re awfully quiet, pet.”

“I,” she shook her head to clear it. “I was just thinking of something my mom said.”

“Really?” He smiled warmly. “I like your mum quite a bit.”

“The feeling is mutual, believe me,” she scrunched her nose slightly at that, thinking how she’d managed to miss it before now. Her mother was an excellent judge of character and she’d always liked Spike, even before the chip. Angel, she’d barely tolerated, not that she could blame her.

She raised her gaze just in time to see Spike’s expression fall a little before he turned back to look at the road and was surprised by the urge that seized her to put the smile back on his face.

“I-I,” she started, but he interrupted her before she the thought could fully form in her head.

“No, don’t.”

Buffy saw him swallow, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down with the movement and guilt crushed her.

“I know what you think of me. No matter what I do, it’ll never be `nough, will it?” He chuckled humorlessly. “Don’t know what I was thinkin’—” he paused when she put a hand on his arm.

“You didn’t let me finish,” she smiled at him hesitantly. “I’m aware my mom likes you… a lot, Dawn, too. I’m ashamed to admit that up until today I’ve been too blind to see, or rather accept what’s been in front of my eyes all this time. You’ve changed, Spike. I’ve seen you change, I’ve seen you turn into the kind of man I could…”

“Could what, love?” he pressed, stopping the car in front of the warehouse they were supposed to investigate.

She inhaled deeply, begging to whoever was listening for the strength to take the step she was about to and hoping against hope, she wasn’t making yet another mistake. “The kind of man I’d… I’d like to get to know better.” And possibly love given the chance, she added to herself, as she bit her bottom lip in a nervous gesture.

“Know better? I’d like that. You mean as a friend or… or—”

“Or is sounding pretty good at the moment,” she answered, knowing she’d made the right decision when she saw the way his eyes illuminated with happiness.

“So, if I were to ask you out, er, in a, on a… date,” he cast his left hand over his hair in a motion that revealed his nervousness and looked at her through lowered lashes, “—do I stand a chance of you actually acceptin’?”

“Well, play your cards right and ……” She giggled when he growled, murmuring under his breath about indecisive chits, whatever that meant.

He raised an eyebrow inquisitively. “And?”

She opened the door and got out of the car before he had a chance to stop her; however she leaned back in before closing the door. “You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself. You don’t expect me to do all the work. Do you… Spikey?”

Buffy couldn’t hide the bright smile on her face as she heard the DeSoto’s door open and close again, before he fell into stride beside her. It was odd that she could feel this carefree and happy with someone who one day ago had been the bane of her existence. And while this was not a date per se, it almost felt like one.

The end.

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