Buffy sat back on the couch, crossed her arms in front of her, jutted out her lower lip, and sulked.
“Buffy Anne Summers!” Joyce exclaimed in exasperation. “Will you stop stomping around the house already!”
“But Mooom,” she whined, “I’m bored!”
Joyce rolled her eyes heavenwards. He daughter was nineteen now, and still acted like she was six at times. “Well, why don’t you visit one of your friends?” she suggested.
“ They’ve all got significant others that stayed here for the summer,” Buffy complained.
“What about Mister Giles then?”
Buffy shuddered. “Scary mid-life crisis,” she explained. “Last time I went over there he made me watch documentaries of 60’s rock stars…” She shuddered again just for good measure.
Joyce bit her lip thoughtfully. “Why don’t you go find something nice and evil, and kill it?” she turned to her daughter’s hobbies for inspiration.
“It’s daytime,” Buffy pouted. “All the good, nasty demons are asleep.”
Joyce sighed. “Well, maybe you should just spend some fun time outdoors then.”
“ Mom !” Buffy exclaimed in horror. “I’m nineteen! You can’t tell me to ‘go play outside’!”
Joyce fixed her with a stony gaze.
“Beside, it’s all cloudy and gloomy out there,” Buffy sulked. “Stupid weather. Why can’t it be sunny 365 days of the year?”
“If it was,” Joyce teased, “you’d complain on that one day in leap year.”
“Mom!” Buffy protested.
“Fine,” Joyce finally said in resignation, “here.” She held out her car keys to Buffy.
Buffy looked at them blankly for a moment, blinking really slowly.
“Why don’t you take a trip to the mall?” Joyce clarified. “Have a nice shopping trip…”
Buffy’s resolved-miserable look faded slightly as she watched the car keys dangle before her eyes.
“I’ll lend you my credit card…” Joyce said tantalizingly.
Buffy snatched the keys from her hand with lightning-quick Slayer reflexes. “Credit card where?” she demanded, still in a daze.
She was confident a small orgasm passed through her when her mother pressed the plastic card into her hand. Belatedly, she decided that was kinky and stuck her reaction firmly in her ‘denial’ folder.
“Now, “I’ll be heading in to the gallery around four to sign for the new deliveries,” Joyce shouted out as her daughter dashed about the house with superhuman speed, collecting shoes, purse, and other necessities. “I should be back by six at the latest, so—”
“Great,” Buffy gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, “see you then.” And, with that, she dashed out the door.
Joyce let out a sigh of relief. “I thought she’d never leave…”
* * *
Buffy had been halfway to the mall, trying to ignore the child in the car in the lane next to her that screamed in horror every time she swerved the SUV in his direction, when she suddenly realized that she’d been duped. She cast a nasty look in the child’s direction – after all, his mother was doing an excellent job avoiding Buffy’s erratic driving – and vowed that she would have her revenge for her interrupted sulk fest.
Her mom though she could pull her out of this foul mood, huh? Well, Buffy would show her . She’d refuse to have fun today. Yeah, that’s what she would do…
She pulled into an empty parking space safely away from all the other cars in the lot – she wanted to not have fun in the sulky way, not in the smashing up her mother’s car way, after all – and headed into the mall, determined to be as miserable as was physically possible with her mom’s credit card burning a hole in her pocket.
She stalked inside, and…promptly crashed right into someone. Really hard. Like, so hard that her head hurt. She winced inwardly and made a silent apology for the inevitable hospital trip.
It was around this time that she noticed that the person she’d crashed into wasn’t rolling around on the floor, screaming in pain and clutching broken bones. In fact, he’d managed to catch her, hold her arms steady, and stop her from falling over.
Buffy opened her eyes…and groaned. “Spike,” she said wearily, “I should’ve known…”
A wide smile of recognition crossed his face. “Hey, Slayer!” he said, bouncing lightly on his toes. “Whaddaya doin’ here? Didya see the fight that broke out in the arcade? An’ all the new vendors they’ve got in the food court? An’—”
She realized with some consternation that he hadn’t paused to take a breath since he’d first recognized her. It suddenly occurred to her that with a vampire’s completely ability to survive without oxygen, he could quite possibly go on forever. And he seemed to be chatting her up as if she were an old friend he hadn’t seen in ages, rather than his mortal enemy. And he was still bouncing on his toes, and what was up with that anyway?
“Spike,” Buffy finally managed to get a word in, “what on earth are you doing here?! It’s daytime !”
“’S cloudy,” he said with a broad smile, pointing outside. “ All the vamps ‘re out. Don’ get nice, cloudy days ‘round ‘ere much. Now, back in England, you barely even ‘ave to worry about the sun, an’—”
During this little speech, he’d grabbed hold of her hands and starting swirling her in a circle. At first, Buffy’d been too stunned to protest, and now she was getting dizzy. She quickly pulled her hands away. He managed to circle her two more time until he’d realized she’d stopped, talking nonstop the entire time.
“Spike, are you feeling all right?” she finally blurted out, still a bit dizzy from his constant circling.
“’m great!” he insisted. “Been here since ten. Never see this many humans walkin’ ‘bout at night. Went over to the Starbucks, ‘ad a double espresso an’ watched ‘em. Do you know that they’ve got these little sugar packets on all the tables?” He held his thumb and index finger about an inch apart to emphasize the ‘little’. “’S bloody brilliant. You can just rip off the top an’ gulp ‘em right down, an’ back in the twenties me an’ Dru—”
The answer to the mystery of Spike’s unusual behavior hit her like a tone of bricks. He was hyper. And he’d had caffeine. Caffeine with sugar . Lots of sugar. Buffy felt a bit faint at the prospect. She wondered if she still had any of those industrial strength tranquilizer darts they’d used on Oz…
“You all right, Slayer?” Spike paused his monologue for a second and cocked his head at her. “You’re lookin’ a bit pale…”
“I think I need to sit down,” she said, still horrified at the prospect of ultra-ultra-hyperactive Spike.
“Sit down?!” Spike exclaimed in disbelief. “But you just got here!” He caught her wrist before she could protest. “C’mon,” he dragged her along with him, “I think I saw an ice cream vendor ‘round here somewhere, an’—”
Buffy debated fleeing for her life while there was still time. Unfortunately, Spike could quite easily manage to set World War III in motion if she left him alone like this…even with the chip. The last time he’d gotten hyper… She shuddered. They still hadn’t finished cleaning up that trail of destruction, and the pet store would never be the same again. And the way he was acting right now made him seem practically sedated back then…
Oh well , she rationalized. You wanted to be miserable, and what better to make you miserable than hanging out with Spike? However, even she had her limits.
“Spike!” she caught his arm and pulled him away from a sugared donuts vendor. “No more sugar!” she insisted.
Apparently his sugar-addled mind couldn’t grasp the idea of just not listening to her. He jutted out his lower lip and sniffled a little instead. “Why not?” he asked piteously.
“Because you’re scarily hyper,” she informed him matter-of-factly. “If you have any more sugar, bad thing will happen – like, apocalypse-scale bad thing.”
“We could go the Java The Hut,” he suggested.
“And no caffeine, either!”
“You’re no fun,” he accused.
“That’s right,” Buffy agreed, grabbing his hand so that he couldn’t break off on his own to create mayhem. “Now, you’re coming with me,” she ordered. “I need new shoes…”
He padded along beside her eagerly enough into the shoe store, and Buffy breathed a sigh of relief. With any luck, she could get her shopping done quick and then convince him to let her dump him off and Giles’. Let him watch the old washed-up rock stars. Hell, he’d probably even like it…
“Get those, Slayer!” Spike pointed to a hideous pair of platform shoes with bright purple glittery stars all over them.
“Are you crazy?” she demanded. “Those things are hideous !”
“Yeah, but wouldn’t it be funny ta try an’ slay in ‘em?” he countered. “Big purple star’d be the last thing they see!”
He began giggling uncontrollably at that point, and Buffy backed away in horror. If there was one thing she knew for certain about the universe, it was that vampires were not supposed to giggle.
Everyone else in the store seemed to be watching The Spectacle That Was Spike Giggling as well. She suddenly felt the irresistible urge to flee from their disbelieving eyes.
She grabbed his hand and yanked him down onto one of the booths in front of the gym shoes. She hadn’t exactly been looking for tennis shoes, but compromises had to be made in order to defend herself against complete and utter embarrassment.
“Sit,” she instructed Spike, yanking him down onto the bench beside her. She began checking through the styles before her, deciding that, yeah, she could use a good new pair of apocalypse shoes.
She found a pair she liked and sat back down…to find that the bench was swaying back and forth with alarming speed.
“One o’ the bolts ‘s loose!” Spike said excitedly, rocking the bench even harder. “Whaddaya bet I can—”
“Stop!” she hissed under her breath, holding his legs down so that he couldn’t continue to kick against the wall. “We are not going to rip the nice bench out by its foundations,” she informed him.
“’K,” he flashed her a dimpled smile.
She breathed a sigh of relief when the rocking stopped. At least he was a happy hyperactive vampire…
She moved to try on her shoes. They fit nicely. She wiggled her toes. She could see the toe of the shoes wiggle a bit as well. Things were good in the universe. She turned back to Spike…
OK, she’d only left him to his own devices for five minutes. Less than that. Maybe more like three and a half.
But apparently that was enough for him to have opened a dozen boxes of shoes and switched them all up so that none of them matched. She watched in horror as he put the last shoe in a box with the wrong mate, a satisfied smile plastered on his face.
“Spike!” she hissed. “Put them—”
“Can I help you, miss?” she was interrupted by one of those too-pushy shoe salesmen.
Buffy’s face flushed bright red. “Er, um, no…” she stuttered. “Look, I’m really sorry for…” She turned back to Spike and discovered that all the boxes had been put back neatly on the shelf. He had the most suspiciously angelic expression on his face that she’d even seen. She narrowed her eyes.
“Would you like to buy those shoes, miss?” the salesman persisted.
“Er, yes,” she agreed, still distracted by Spike’s falsely innocent smile.
“Come with me then. I’ll ring them right up for you,” he gestured for her to precede him to the counter.
“But—” she began.
“You heard the man,” Spike yanked her up to her feet, “let’s go buy you those shoes.”
Buffy moved to protest and then decided that she actually didn’t want to spend the rest of her day resorting shoes…especially since she’d never know if she found them all unless Spike decided to be cooperative. She let him guide her over to the front counter and paid for her new shoes as hastily as possible.
She was waiting for her receipt to be printed out when a woman shouted from the back: “Jim, these shoes are all in the wrong boxes!”
Jim frowned and turned to give the customer her receipt…and found that she and her boyfriend had already left…
Spike was doing that strange giggling thing by the time they rounded the corner and ended their frantic run from the shoe store. Buffy was less than amused.
“What on earth would possess you to do something like that?” she demanded. “Do you have any idea how much time it will take them to—?”
“Photo booth!” he suddenly exclaimed in delight, dashing right past her.
Buffy took off after him, catching him just as he ducked inside the photo booth. “Spike!” she exclaimed in irritation. “Come out here this instant!”
His head stuck out of the curtain, a wide grin on his face. “Gonna get my picture taken,” he insisted.
“Spike!” She let out an annoyed sigh. “Oh, that is it , Mister. No more nice Slayer…” she grumbled under her breath and pushed the curtain aside…to instantly be grabbed around the waist and yanked into the dark booth. “ Spike !” she gasped in indignation at suddenly finding herself in his lap.
“Smile for the camera, Slayer,” he said enthusiastically, plastering a smile on his own face.
She turned and gave the camera a nice smile as well when the flash fired. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded once the picture was over. She squirmed about, trying to get out of his lap, but he held her tight.
“’S the only way I can see what I look like,” he said with a piteous tone.
Buffy sighed and bit her lip. “All right,” she finally agreed, albeit reluctantly. “How many did you pay for?”
“Jus’ six,” he assured her with a bright smile.
“Fine,” she agreed, “only five more…and do I have to sit in your lap?”
“If you wanna be in the picture fully,” he insisted.
She let out a weary little sigh and posed for picture number two. Before she had time to react, however, her Slayer sense went crazy. Just then, the flash went off. She spun back around on him just in time to see him shift back out of game face.
“What the hell—?” she began.
“Never get to see my vamp face,” he insisted.
“What were you doing behind me?” she demanded suspiciously.
“Nothin’.” He had that false innocent expression on his face again.
“Now I know you did something!” she declared.
The third flash went off, but both of them were too busy arguing to notice.
“I did not !”
“See, told ya I din’t,” Spike said with a cheeky grin.
Buffy’s eyes widened in indignation just as flash four went off. “Why you sneaky little—!” she exclaimed before her rage got the better of her, and she dove for him.
He grabbed hold of her hands before she could throttle him, and they were still struggling by the time flash five went off. Spike belatedly seemed to realize that he was losing all his shots, and Buffy used his distraction to tackle him back onto the bench just in time with flash six.
She gave him a triumphant grin when she finally had thoroughly pinned beneath her…until she realized that she had absolutely no idea what to do with him.
“Always knew you were the kinda girl that likes ta be on top,” he said in a deep, husky voice, his lips curled in a seductive smirk.
Her face flushed a deep red, and she leapt back off of him, stumbling out of the booth. Her appearance was abrupt enough to startle many of the passers-by into staring at her. Her hands instantly flew to her hair, remembering that their little tussle had messed it up.
Just when she thought she couldn’t get any more embarrassed, Spike emerged from the booth, hair looking like he’d just crawled out of bed and cat-who-ate-the-canary grin spread across his face.
Several teenage girls giggled as their suspicions about the strange noises coming from the booth were confirmed.
One mother, toddler in hand, marched right up to Buffy. “This is public place!” she exclaimed in outrage. “There are children here! Why don’t you and your boyfriend go home, if you can’t control yourselves?!” With that, she stalked off.
“But he’s not…” Buffy protested meekly.
“Not bad.” Spike was busy inspecting the photographs. “You look cute in this one, Slayer.” He held up the picture of her indignant outrage for her to see.
“Give me those!” Buffy snatched them from him and flipped quickly through them. “Aha!” she exclaimed, finding the one of him in vamp face. “I knew you were up to something!”
The picture showed her smiling sweetly for the camera while he had his fangs just inches from her jugular, an evil grin on his face.
“Couldn’t’ve done it,” he sulked slightly, “wot with the’ chip an’ all. Jus’ wanted a reminder of happier times…”
“You trying to kill me was ‘happier times’?!” she demanded.
“Liked fightin’ you,” he replied meekly, staring straight down at his boots.
Buffy let out a resigned sigh. “Here,” she handed him back the photographs, and his face instantly lit up again.
“Wanna go get some coffee, Slayer?” he asked, slipping the photographs into his duster pocket.
“No more caffeine,” she reminded him.
“Oh yeah…wanna go see a movie?”
“Something tells me you won’t be able to sit still for two hours,” she commented wryly, watching him bounce on his toes once more.
“Well then, what do you wanna do?” he demanded.
“ I think,” Buffy began, “that we should go to Giles’, and—”
“’Scuse me,” a rather rude man half shoved them out of the way as he stalked by.
“Can you believe that guy?” Buffy said indignantly. “I mean who does he think he is?”
“David McIntyre,” Spike answered her rhetorically question.
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut tight. Oh no. She really didn’t want to look and find out that – she opened her eyes, dammit! – Spike was flipping through the man’s stolen wallet.
“Spike!” she hissed, looking around nervously. “You give that back right this instant!”
“Don’ know where ‘e went,” Spike retorted, removing the money.
“Put that back!” Buffy squealed. “We have to turn it in to mall security so—”
“So what?” he demanded. “So they can arrest us?”
“ Us ?!” Buffy practically screamed. “You—!”
“Excuse me, miss.”
Buffy turned around to see a woman in very official-looking clothing right behind her. She gulped.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d come with me, sir,” the woman addressed Spike in a no nonsense manner.
Spike moved to run for it, but Buffy caught him by the elbow. “You’re going ,” she hissed.
“Thank you for cooperating, sire,” the woman took his arm. “Just come with me. Your girlfriend had better come, too.” She glanced back at Buffy.
“I’m not…” she began, but the woman was already dragging Spike away, and she had nothing left to do but follow.
She stepped through the door Spike and the woman had stepped through…and got the surprise of her life. Whatever she’d been expecting, it wasn’t this. Lights and cameras illuminated a small set where a sand dune toped with a beach blanket lay in front of a sunny sky backdrop.
The woman’s formal manner instantly dropped. “Congratulations, sir,” she said with a wide grin, “you’ve been select in our local model search!”
Spike’s jaw dropped.
So did Buffy’s. “Y-You mean you’re not security?” she stammered.
“Oh not,” the woman shook her head. “My name is Jenny, and I’m a national talent scout.” She eyed Spike’s strong cheekbones and lean body. “And you’ve definitely got the talent. Anyway, we’re modeling the late season swimwear today, and if you’re willing to do the work, we’re willing to pay…”
“Pay?” That word caught Spike’s attention.
“Base fee for this shoot is two hundred dollars,” she informed him. “You in?”
“N—” Buffy began.
He slapped his hand over her mouth before she could finish. “You got me, luv,” he said to Jenny, giving her that irresistible smirk of his.
“Take off your shirt,” she instructed, “so we can see if you should do bathing suits or—”
He pulled his t-shirt over his head.
All the women in the room collectively licked their lips.
“ Definitely swim trunks,” Jenny said, still slightly daze by the gorgeous muscle of his chest. “G-Go with Dennis here, and he’ll get you what you need to wear. The changing rooms are in back.”
Once Spike was ushered away, Jenny muttered under her breath. “Oh yeah, can I pick ‘em…” She turned to Buffy. “I’ve gotta congratulate you. That’s one hell of a man you’ve got yourself there.”
Buffy couldn’t do anything but nod numbly. She didn’t care that Spike had agreed to this just to annoy her. She didn’t care that he’d just stolen that wallet. Hell, she wouldn’t even care if he killed her then and there. Only one thing in the universe mattered at that moment: gorgeous, lickable Spike-chest. Why, oh why, had no one ever bothered to inform her that that was hidden under that leather duster?
Her eyes followed him as he acquired the suit he was to wear, back muscles rippling as he strode confidently about the room. Finally, he vanished into one of the small changing rooms, and she breathed a sigh of relief when she was freed from his spell.
OK, it was time for a new defensive strategy. So what if he had the most scrumptious, delectable, lean, muscular, gorgeous…huh, what? Oh yeah, building up her Spike resistance. So what if he had a great body? Of course he would, what with all the exercise he got killing demons. Lots of vamps probably did, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t evil and…ooh, swim trunks…
“Like what you see, Slayer?” Spike taunted, his tongue flicking up under his bottom teeth when he noticed her new drooling habit.
She snapped out of it. “Just thinking about how much wear and tear it would save on my stakes if you weren’t wearing a shirt,” she retorted. Oh yeah, that’s how she resisted. She listened to the stuff that came out of his mouth and remembered that he was obnoxious and irritating and fun and exciting and sexy and…woah! Backtrack there a second…
She belatedly noticed that Jenny was once again leading her around. She knew instinctively that it couldn’t be for any good purpose…especially since they were heading straight for Spike.
“I’ll just need you to make sure his back gets slicked up properly,” she explained, “while I go talk to the cameraman.” She watched the hairdresser that was currently playing with Spike’s peroxide locks, much to his dismay. “Curl it just a bit in front, Sarah,” she advised. She handed Buffy the bottle of lotion. “Boy, do I envy you,” she said with a wink.
Buffy stared dumbly down at the lotion, then up to Spike, then back down to the lotion…
“Well, Slayer,” he said, delighting in her discomfort, “ready to give me a li’l back massage?”
“ ‘No’ doesn’t even begin to answer that question,” Buffy gulped.
“Now, Slayer,” he teased, “I don’t bite…not any more, at least.”
She rolled her eyes, and the temporary annoyance was enough to stop her drooling long enough to get the lotion and her hands on his back.
Oh god, he felt even better than he looked! All cool and sleek and…
“Think that’s good enough, luv,” he commented when her hands had been on him an obscenely long time. He turned around, and her outstretched hand brushed the front of his chest as well. “Although,” he added with a sly wink, “you’re welcome to give me a nice rubdown any time you like…”
It should’ve been illegal to be this tempted. She tried to come up with a snappy comeback, but there was a naked Spike chest there, making speech damn near impossible!
“ Verrry nice!” Jenny approached, appraising Spike. “OK, we need you on set now. Just have fun and act naturally.”
Buffy relaxed when she was separated from certain temptation. She rolled her eyes as Spiked flashed her all sorts of sexy smiles and winks.
“He’s a natural,” Jenny commented before turning to Buffy. “Look, would you be willing to take a few shots with him?”
“Wh-What?” Buffy felt her cheeks burning already.
“We need some of him with a woman,” Jenny explained. “Show that the suit gets the girls, increase sales, you know.”
“A-And you want me ?!” Buffy still couldn’t believe it.
Jenny eyes her bare midriff and narrow thighs. “You’ve got the stuff,” she agreed. “I just thought you would be more comfortable if it was you with him, since he’s your boyfriend and all.”
“He’s not—” Buffy began.
“But we can always use Candy,” she gestured.
Buffy turned to find a bleached blond bimbo whose chest practically screamed “silicone!” Spike didn’t seem to be regarding her with the obligatory disgust, however. In fact, he licked his lips and gave Candy a flirtatious smile.
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll do it!” she hissed, snatching the thong bikini right out of Jenny’s hands and stalking over to the changing room.
In a matter of second, she stalking back out, and it was Spike’s mouth’s turn to water.
“What do I do?” Buffy asked primly, smiling inwardly at the way Spike was trying and failing to breathe. That’ll teach him to look at another woman , she thought triumphantly…before quickly deciding that she really didn’t care what Spike thought. After all, he was just a soulless vampire, and now she was lying beside him on the beach towel, and she was near that bare chest again, and…
The make-up artists flew upon them like a flock of ravenous vultures, and then Buffy was left alone with five feet ten inches of gorgeous nearly-naked vampire and what seemed like half the world watching on.
“Rub some more lotion into his back,” Jenny instructed from the side.
The bottle was quickly rushed to Buffy, and she turned to see Spike laying on his stomach, head resting in his folded arms and looking up at her.
“Just ‘ave fun an’ act naturally,” he teased.
“Don’t think they’d appreciate me beating the crap out of you in front of all the cameras,” Buffy retorted, her hand rubbing little circles up and down his spine.
He moaned slightly when she hit a knot in his back, and she leaned over him further, her fingers digging hard into him, forgetting the rest of the world around them…
“Oh, wow,” Jenny fanned herself with her brochure.
“You’re sure they’re not, like, closet porn stars?” Sarah asked.
“You can’t fake that kind of enthusiasm, honey,” Jenny retorted. The test prints of Spike’s solo shots were rushed to her just then. “Seriously, we should sign this guy on,” Jenny said, licking her lips at the sensual yet masculine poses he managed to affect.
“St one done,” the cameraman informed her.
“All right, you two,” Jenny called out to them, “just one more pose. Spike, roll over on your back. Buffy, I want you to lean right in over him, like you’re about to kiss him.”
Buffy gulped at the very real possibility of hovering over a nearly-naked Spike. This was so like all the dreams she was in denial about, it was scary.
She cautiously propped up one hand on either side of his shoulders and looked down at him.
“Imagine gettin’ paid for somethin’ this fun,” he teased her.
“Asshole,” she felt obliged to point out.
“Spike, get more into it,” Jenny called out from the sidelines. “Get your hands up on her waist.”
Buffy shivered when his cool hands rested on her bare waist.
“Love the tiny black thong, by the way,” Spike felt obliged to point out. “No place to conceal your stakes.”
“Isn’t there?” Buffy replied with one eyebrow raised.
Spike licked his suddenly dry lips.
“Buffy,” Jenny called out, “put all your hair over you right shoulder. It’s obstructing the shot.” She studied the new effect. “No, no, no,” she muttered to herself, “we can do better.” She looked up from the screen again to call to Buffy. “Straddle him!”
Buffy and Spike’s eyes both widened in alarm at that. “Wh-What?” Buffy managed to ask.
“Straddle him!” Jenny repeated. “The angle’s all funny otherwise.”
“You heard ‘er, Slayer.” A lascivious grin spread slowly across his face. “Spread those li’l thighs ‘f yours an’ wrap ‘em right around the Big Bad…”
“I-I can’t do this,” Buffy pulled abruptly away.
Spike sat up as well. “Buffy,” he stopped her with a rare use of her real name. “’m sorry, Buffy. ‘ll behave, I promise. ‘S just a little picture. Nothin’ big…”
She found his words oddly comforting and nodded slowly, watching him lay back down beneath her. She crawled forward over him again and carefully set her knees on either side of his waist.
“See?” he was still comforting her. “Not so bad. Jus’ like you’re about to drive a stake through my heart.”
She allowed herself to settle atop him a bit further, now able to feel the muscular body between her thighs. She suddenly felt very damp between her legs and just itched to rub that wetness against something hard…
“That’s great, Buffy,” Jenny called out. “Now, lean in really close. It’s the second right before you kiss, your lips are only a hairsbreadth apart and…beautiful! Stan, are you getting this?”
Buffy looked right into his eyes the entire time. She knew that if she allowed them to drift closed, that millimeter between their lips would close in a heartbeat.
Beneath her, Spike was trying very, very hard to be good. She was nervous, he knew, and even the slightest touch of their lips would probably scare her off. But the feel of her warm breath against his lips! It was everything he had ever dreamed of and more… Suddenly, it wasn’t his lips he was worried about anymore, because down south, something was slowly rising…
Buffy’s eyes widened when she felt a thick, hard head brush right up between her thighs. It felt so good, and she could tell that he was long and…
“And that does it!” Jenny announced. “You can get up now.”
With a sigh of relief, Buffy pulled back. She was surprised at just what a loss she felt no longer being pressed into Spike’s body. He had a bereft look in his eyes as well, but quickly turned to cover up the large bulge in his trunks. Luckily the camera angle hadn’t been able to pick it up.
“You were wonderful!” Jenny gushed, ushering them off the set. “Absolutely fantastic! The chemistry between you two – it’s unbelievable! If you’re ever interested in joining the business, I’ll give you my card. You can take quick showers back here,” she opened the door for them, “get all that make-up and sweat and lotion off. There are towels inside, and when you get out, I’ll give you your checks and complimentary doubles of the pictures. Really fabulous!”
They stepped into their separate shower stalls, and Buffy blushed horribly when she realized that, instead of a curtain, they had that frosted glass between them. She could see the fuzzy outline of Spike through the two layers of glass, and soon his swim trunks were hung on the outside hook. That meant that it was naked Spike that was in there…
She forced herself to turn to her own shower, bathing quickly and efficiently, using the shower cap provided to shield her hair. She wrapped herself in the robe provided and discovered that their clothes had been brought in. She slipped into the changing room…
And Spike breathed a sigh of relief, finally able to tent to his persistent erection now that she was gone. He tried to be as quiet about it as physically possible, but something about the blond little spitfire just made that physically impossible. “Cor, Buffy!” he cried out as he shot his pleasure into the shower spray.
“Did you say something?” she asked, reentering the shower room, fully clothed and ready to move on.
“Nothing, luv.” He was sure he was blushing. He turned off the water, checking first to make sure that he was thoroughly cleaned off. “Can you hand me the towel?”
She passed it to him over the shower wall. I’m handing things to a naked Spike , she realized with a little rush of excitement. “You want your clothes, too?”
“Yeah, could you hand me my jeans?”
She heard him jingling with the belt, and soon he stepped out, still tousling the towel through his hair. He slipped on his boots before walking over to his t-shirt and duster.
She felt a little pang of loss when he covered up that gorgeous chest of his, but it was all of the good. The less naked he got, the easier it was for her to think. “I picked up our checks,” she said matter-of-factly, “and our pictures. Is your last name really Aldrich?”
“On one ‘f my fake IDs,” he replied with a smirk, hanging up his towel. “We ready to go?”
She nodded, and they excited the set, waving goodbye to Jenny as they went. “Have you calmed down yet?” she ventured to ask when they’d reentered the mall proper.
“A bit,” he agreed before turning to her. “Now that was good, harmless fun, wasn’ it?”
She nodded shyly.
Little did she realize that exactly one month later, a certain Agent Riley Finn would pick up the magazine from the tabletop on his family’s Iowa home, thinking that he needed a new pair of swim trunks. He opened up the appropriate page and…
His scream could be heard for a one-mile radius. Fortunately, no one lived within a one-mile radius to hear him.
But, back to the present…
“Where d’ya wanna go next, Slayer?” Spike asked.
She gave him a surprised look. “Well, er…I still have to get some new clothes…” she began. Spike’s no longer hyper and he still wants to hang out with me! A very naughty, inappropriate part of her mind was doing a little happy dance.
“Let’s go then,” he agreed, grabbing hold of her hand and pulling her along with him through the crowd.
They arrived in the large department store in record time, and Buffy promptly began the difficult task of browsing while Spike waited patiently…not. She let out a little sigh of irritation when he’d tapped his foot and muttered under his breath one too many times.
“What?” she demanded.
“We’ve been ‘ere for half an hour, an’ you haven’t picked out a bloody thing yet!” he finally exclaimed.
“I’m looking,” she insisted.
“Well, could you look faster?” he demanded.
“Why?” she retorted. “So you can find more petty crimes to commit?”
“I have no idea what you’re talkin’ about,” he insisted with wide, innocent eyes.
“Shoes, wallet,” she pointed out.
“Shoes was jus’ a good practical joke was all,” he insisted.
“And picking that man’s pocket…was that a practical joke, too?” she said sarcastically.
“No idea what you’re talkin’ about,” he repeated.
“I saw you steal it,” she crossed her arms in front of her. “You’ve got it right in your pocket.”
“Oh no,” Buffy shook her head, “you’re not tricking me again. Here, gimme the wallet, and I can drop it in the lost and found.”
“Don’t ‘ave it,” he insisted.
“Yes, you do!” She caught him quickly and searched through his pockets…only to find several packs of cigarettes, a lighter, a roll of money, some change, and… OK, she didn’t even want to know why a guy with dead seed would have one of those . She hid her blush with anger. “What did you do with it?” she demanded.
“Chucked it,” he shrugged.
Buffy let out a sigh of irritation. “Now that poor man will have to cancel all his credit cards, and—”
“He deserved it,” Spike insisted.
Buffy put one hand over her face. “He didn’t deserve it,” she began.
“Yes, he did,” Spike countered. “Shoved you right outta the way. No one gets ta do that to you…not while ‘m around, at least.”
She couldn’t decide whether to be flattered or mortified. “He was a rude, bad man,” she finally agreed, “but no more stealing!”
“What’ll I get if I don’t?” He said with a cocky grin, stepping right into her personal space.
“A few precious more hours of unlife,” she retorted coldly.
“Humph,” he sulked, “ruin all my fun, why don’t you, Sl—” He looked up abruptly to notice that she was gone. “Slayer?” He looked around nervously, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw her standing in front of a dress display.
Buffy was in heaven. Fun, playful neckline, ebony iridescent folds, short skirt just the way she liked them…
“Does this mean you’ve finally found somethin’?” Spike demanded, irritated.
“Ooh, shiny,” Buffy said, her eyes still wide.
He checked the tag. “’Bout your size, too…”
She lifted the fabric up as if it were a sacred treasure. “Where are the fitting rooms?” she demanded.
He scanned around. “Uh, over there. Look, Sl—”
She was off again.
“Slayer!” He ducked into the fitting rooms as well – the women’s fitting rooms.
“Spike!” she squealed. “You can’t be in here!”
“’S a bleedin’ hallway,” he retorted. “Look, Slayer…”
“I’m changing!” she insisted, slamming one of the doors in his face.
He paused…and then opened the door right behind her. “I jus’—”
“Eek!” Buffy squealed, covering her chest with the top she’d just removed.
“Hey, nice lace,” he commented with an amused smile. “Red, too. My favorite color. Now, about—”
“Get. Out!” Buffy screamed.
He gave her an annoyed look. “’S not like I haven’t seen it before,” he pointed out. “That little bathin’ number you had on earlier…”
Forgetting about her mortification, she let her shirt drop to grab him roughly by the lapels of his duster. “I swear,” she hissed, inches from his face, “if you—”
“Eep!” A squeak sounded from down the corridor.
Buffy belatedly looked up to see that several old women had just entered the changing area. She quickly realized that 1) She had no shirt on, 2) She was very, very close to Spike’s lips, 3) She was grabbing hold of him as if to pull him into the changing room with her, and 4) The real mall security had finally found them.
“Please, put your blouse back on, miss,” one of them requested sternly.
Buffy nervously clutched up her shirt and pulled it down over her head.
“If the two of you will come with us then?” another instructed.
Spike gave her a ‘please can’t we just beat these guys up and run for it?’ look.
Buffy gulped. It actually didn’t seem like such a bad idea right about now…
Thankfully, they were saved by a high-pitched scream. The guards spun around and were practically tackled by a frantic young woman.
“Monsters!” she screamed right in their faces before taking off again.
The two security guards looked the way the woman had come from, their eyes widened, and they ran for it.
Buffy and Spike exchanged a curious look.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” she asked.
He nodded slowly.
“Right,” he agreed. “Let’s run for it.”
“No, dumbass!” she whapped him in the arm. “C’mon.”
They ran out onto the main display floor to discover that, yes indeed, several other vampires besides Spike had taken advantage of the weather to use the mall as their own personal playground.
“Slayer!” one of them hissed out in alarm right before the sharp toe of her designer boot caught him right in the face.
The other two lunged at her, and she disabled them both with quick punches to the gut.
“Well?” she turned to Spike, who was watching the proceedings with quiet interest.
“One’s up behind you, luv,” he pointed out, sitting up on one of the displays to watch.
Buffy’s fist connected with the vampire’s face, and she sent Spike a nasty glare before turning to face the two newest arrivals. She fought them off with a swift series of kicks and punches.
“Don’t,” kick, “suppose,” dodge, “you’d be willing,” punch, “to hand me,” block, “something wooden?” Spin and kick.
He cocked his head to one side. “That s’posed to be dirty?” he asked. “’Cause it really sounds that way…”
“Spike,” Buffy caught one vampire by the throat and held it flailing in the air, “get off your lazy ass and help me.”
He sighed and shrugged before a wicked little grin crossed his face. All Buffy heard was a loud war whoop before a hyperactive vampire in black leather ran through the battlefield, breaking necks and dodging blows.
She rolled her eyes and returned to the vampire she still had by the throat. “He’s gorgeous, but a pain in the ass,” she informed the fledgling before ripping off the wooden leg of the table and thrusting it through his chest.
Across the room, Spike had taken to the decapitation technique of disposing of his kind. A wide, nasty grin spread across his face as he mowed through the young vampires like they were nothing. One of them tried to pull a stake on him, but he snatched it easily from the fledgling’s hand, dusting her as he went.
The enemy numbers dwindled rapidly until Buffy had only one opponent left. He ducked behind the display, and she tried to chase him around it a few times, but he always kept on the opposite side of it from her.
Spike watched with amusement for a few seconds before sneaking up behind the fleeing vamp and catching him from behind.
Buffy staked him in an instant, stopping her arm’s forward momentum just as her stake passed through the fledgling vampire’s dust. It ended up just an inch above Spike’s heart.
He raised one eyebrow at her, and she gave him an enigmatic little smile.
“You wouldn’t,” he insisted.
“Wouldn’t I?” She stepped right up against him, the wooden tip grinding into his shirt.
He gulped. And then did something really, really stupid.
Buffy gasped as his lips crashed upon hers. The stake clattered from her hand as she reached up to twine her fingers into his hair, pulling him down closer to her. Her tongue did battle with his, their lips slanting together, closer, closer…
Buffy slumped against him, panting for breath, when he finally pulled away. His arms remained wrapped around her back, holding her against his cool, hard body. She let out a contented little murmur…
And applause broke the silence.
Buffy and Spike looked up in surprise to see that the entire human population that had been hiding in the clothing racks had come out just in time to see their kiss. Both their faces flushed a deep crimson as the store’s manager came out to thank them and offer them anything they wanted…
The dress fit Buffy just perfectly.
She cast another amused glance at Spike as he sat in the passenger seat of her mother’s SUV, gripping the dashboard in horror.
“Should be a law ‘gainst Slayers drivin’,” he said, his voice weak with fear.
“Ooh, that was our exit!” Buffy realized belatedly, dodging through three lanes of traffic and driving over two curbs to get on the appropriate exit ramp.
Spike kept his eyes squeezed shut tight the entire time, watching his unlife flash before him. He made sure to play all the parts with Buffy in his arms in slow motion. Just in case that was all he ever lived to do.
The car pulled into the driveway at Revello Drive with a screech.
“You can open your eyes now,” Buffy informed him.
“Spike, the car’s stopped. You’re alive, er…undead.” She jabbed his shoulder lightly.
He yawned and opened his eyes. “Was all a nefarious scheme to wear me out,” he accused lazily. “Stake me in my sleep…”
“Uh-huh, sure, Spikey. We’re home. You have to get up and go inside,” she informed him.
“Carry me,” he requested unreasonably.
“Spike, it’s raining,” she pointed out. “That would take too long. Besides, I can’t carry you and my stuff as well.”
He grumbled in complaint and then noticed that, yes indeed, it had started raining. “You were drivin’ in the rain ?” he gulped.
“We’re still intact,” Buffy insisted. “Mostly.” She cringed and hoped that her mother wouldn’t notice that missing hubcap for a long, long time.
They quickly dashed into the house and slammed the door behind them.
Buffy began setting her things down on the table while Spike slipped out of his duster. “I had a nice time,” she commented.
“Yeah,” he agreed, “was a good idea askin’ me out on that date after all. Who woulda thought, huh?”
“What?!” Buffy exclaimed. “ I didn’t ask you out. If anything, you asked me.”
“So you’re agreein’ it was a date then?” Spike asked with a coy smile.
Her brow furrowed. “Spike,” she began slowly, “would you be really mad if I made a lame movie quote?”
“Why would I be mad?” he asked, baffled at her non sequitur.
“Good,” she agreed. “Now shut up and kiss me.”
Their lips met with fiery intensity, and they groped their way over to the living room, dropping accessories as they went. Buffy practically fell over the arm of the couch and pulled Spike down with her. She moaned at the feel of his wonderful body finally atop hers and ran her hands up and down his back…only to realize that he wasn’t responding.
“Spike?” she ventured to ask.
A snore was her only response.
* * *
Joyce dashed in out of the rain, shutting the back door behind her. She shook the water out of her hair, turned to look at the kitchen, and paused.
A black leather duster lay on the floor at her feet. She moved to hang it up. Turned back…
A pile of photographs on the table. Buffy and Spike smiling in the first two and arguing in all the rest.
In the doorway to the living room was a box of new tennis shoes. She picked it up to put by the front door.
Over the lamp in the living room hung a dress, still in its plastic cover. She picked that up as well.
The next item she encountered was a pile of papers on the floor. She stooped to pick those up as well, and her eyebrow rose when she saw that they were more photos. Of her daughter and Spike. Wearing virtually nothing at all. And locked in a passionate embrace.
She suddenly realized that the trail of unusual items was leading straight to the living room couch. Not sure she really wanted to see, she carefully peeked over the back…
To see her daughter, an annoyed scowl upon her face, watching Spike sleep against her chest. She looked up in surprise when she saw Joyce.
“Hey, mom,” she said with a guilty smile. “Go on. Ask me how my day went.”
A/N: Fun and pointless. And, yes, I am qualified to mock Iowa and 60’s rock documentaries since I lived in one and watch the other. ~_^