Nine years, two almost-apocalypses, one great big seemingly permanent death come and gone since she's seen him last, and that's all she has to say? 'Hi, Spike'?
But then a corner of her mouth upturns for a sly smile, and he doesn't need anything more.
He drops his cigarette and grinds it under his boot without looking down. Seeing her again is... well, it's a nice surprise. "Hello, Buffy."
Level gaze never leaving his, she says, "It's been a really long time."
But time has been kind to her. Supple and achingly beautiful as ever, she hasn't changed a bit; except for an appealing new glint in her eye -- the glint of a woman who's found herself, and likes everything she found. "You look good."
"And you look the same."
He raises a brow, drops it. "Once a vampire..."
"Always pretty," she concludes.
He stares at this new Buffy for a moment too long, then figures he should say something else. "How's your boyfriend?"
A blank, guileless look. "My boyfriend?"
"World's Greatest Lover, Spiritual Guru, Undisputed Wiffleball Champ?"
She frowns. "Who, Percy?"
"Percy?" Spike awes, and chuckles. "The Immortal's name is 'Percy'?"
There's that sly smile again. "We drifted apart... about seven years ago."
Willing his face straight, he treads carefully, doesn't want to reveal too much. "And now?"
She sizes him up, draws in a breath, then lifts her eyes to his. "I'm looking at options."
Oh. Well that's-- Is she--?
"How 'bout you?"
"Oh, well," he scratches the back of his head, focusing on the pavement, "there were two or three... Five, actually. Well, a few, you know, girls here and there but not what I'd call 'friends' so much as..." He looks at her again and comes clean. "No. No one right now."
She seems mildly amused. The Slayer at thirty-one: confident, worldly-wise, and intoxicatingly sexy. It throws him off, it makes him curious; this is bad and he should probably go before he makes more of an ass of himself.
But first, he has to ask. "What are you doing here?"
"Getting a coffee?"
Following her gesture, he notices that they're in spitting range of a Starbucks. He points at the sign. "They're not just in London, you know."
"Well... I'm also catching up with old friends."
His cue to let her leave, get on with things. "Right. I get the picture." He sticks out his hand. "It's been, um--"
Their hands touch. No fiery combustion this time -- of the visible sort, anyway.
She isn't letting go. She's very close and she isn't letting go. He searches her expression, and it finally hits him -- why she's here in London, outside the Starbucks a block from his basement flat.
"Are you busy?"
Entranced, he swallows, shakes his head no.
"Wanna come with?"
A giddiness that only she brings out zipping through his veins, he twines his fingers through hers. "Can think of a lot better places for coffee, love."
"Oh yeah?" A tease of a challenge. "Like where?"
He tugs her by the hand until their sides touch, then drapes an arm over her back to squeeze her far shoulder. Nods down the street. "That little shop, for one."
"I don't know." They start to walk. "Starbucks understands coffee. The English? Not so much."
"D'you want the inside tour or what?"
"Okay, but no tea, and no shepherd's pie."
"Pity. This one pub makes a brilliant tea pie hacked straight from a mad cow and sprinkled with Earl Grey, honestly you don't know what you're missing."
Grip tightening at his waist, she glances up at him. "I'm starting to remember."
He looks down at her, smug. "About bloody time."