Buffy sat up on her bed.
He's in the house?
He's in the house.
In her ear: "...can't wait to get out of this hellhole, I feel like a freaking rat in a--"
"Amy? Can I call you right back?"
"Yeah, okay," Amy said. "Sure."
Buffy pressed a button on the phone, threw it aside, and listened.
He was downstairs, humming to himself.
How dare he. How dare he just come and go as he pleases! Jumping up to check her hair in the vanity mirror, she noticed that her cheeks were flushed, and surprise, her nipples were hard.
Instant arousal; just add Spike.
"Bra, bra..." She opened her drawer, picked out a lacy pink... What am I doing?
She chose a plain white slightly padded one, slipped it on under her tank top and went downstairs.
Buffy found him in her kitchen, rummaging through a cupboard. Scavenger.
He had a chocolate chip cookie in his mouth, and took it out, intact, to say, "Hello, cutie."
Cutie. He just called me... She folded her arms, lifted her chin. "What are you doing in here?"
"Lookin' for eats. You're all out." He put the cookie back in his mouth.
"Then what's that in your mouth?"
He took a bite, chewed for a second, and threw it in the trash. "Stale."
"Why don't you go buy something to eat?"
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking." He wiped the crumbs off on his black t-shirt. "Wanna come?"
No, no. Say no. Not gonna come. "Where?"
"Grocery store?" He sauntered up to her, placed his palms on either side of the island she stood against, and leaned so close she could smell chocolate chip cookie and aftershave. Leisurely, his gaze slid up her body to her face. "7-11?"
Jesus, he can even make the friggin' 7-11 sound sexy. Her breath caught in her throat as she said, "Okay."
* * *
Mouth at her ear. "Done yet?"
Buffy jumped, startled and flustered. "Don't do that!"
He stepped back with a smile. "You got ice cream in the car, love. Gonna melt on my spotless interior if you stand here reading..." he nodded at the page she had open, "Saucy Young Tart all day."
She leveled her eyes to his, turned the magazine toward him. "Elle. Not Saucy Young Tart."
"Right. The difference is clearly huge."
"Clearly. Saucy Young Tart sounds like something more up your alley."
He smirked, reached up the magazine rack. "You mean like this one?" He waved a copy of Barely Legal in her face.
"Oh, god." Eyes downcast and darting from left to right, Buffy turned red. "Put that away?"
Flicking his wrist, he appraised the cover model. "Hey. She looks a bit like you, pet."
With a scowl, she said, "Put. it. away."
Spike opened it up to the centerfold, and grinned. Minxy come-hither expression, tan thighs and pink, pink lips spread wide. "Yeah, she does sort of look like you, round the..." he circled his hand in front of his chest, "eyes."
She snatched it out of his grasp and stuffed it back in the rack. "Can we go now? Please?"
Laughing, he raised his arms in surrender. "All I was trying to do."
Spike watched her spin on her heel and make haste to the cash register, jean-clad ass switching from left to right.
As he moved to follow her, he quickly scanned the store and stuck the magazine in his back pocket.
* * *
"Now I wanna be your dog," he sang, hitting the steering wheel for percussion. "Now I wanna be your dog."
Buffy exhaled harshly, irritated. "Okay, I get it, you're my dog! Can you turn it down?"
He turned it down. "What's 'at?"
"Nothing, it's just... loud."
He shrugged, and nodded his head to the quiet beat. "You feelin' okay?"
"Just peachy." She took a sip of her blue-raspberry Slurpee.
And now I’m ready to feel your hand
And lose my heart on the burning sands
He lit a cigarette.
"You smoke more than Smokey the Bear," she complained, waving her hand.
"Smokey didn't smoke," he said, exhaling through his nose. "He prevented forest fires."
"Smokey the Bandit, then."
"Want me to put it out?"
"You'd just light another one. You chainsmoke on autopilot. How could you ever quit?"
"Why would I want to?"
"So you don't die?"
"Aw, pet, didn't know you cared."
"I don't." Stonefaced, she shrugged. "But you should."
He stopped at a traffic light and pushed down the grocery bag between them. "What's gotten into you?"
"Who said anything's into me?"
"Since last night. You've been... I don't know, odd-like. Did I do something?"
She looked out the window. "Believe it or not, Spike, not everything is about you."
Eyes on the car ahead of him, he nodded slowly. "Fair enough. What's this about, then?"
"Nothing," she snapped, exasperated. "Why do you always have to drag everything out of me?"
He frowned at her. "Are you on the rag?"
"No!" She scoffed, rolling her eyes. "God! Men."
"Alright," he held his hands up. "You know what? I won't say another word."
"Good!" She sipped at her drink. "And why do you even care?"
"Now what are we talking about?"
"About me. Why do you care about me?"
"I--" He exhaled. "What are you looking for here?"
"Nothing!" Her brow furrowed. "I don't want anything from you."
He looked up at the blue sky, shaking his head. "I don't understand you, Buffy."
The hell is she on about? "What is your--"
She watched the light turn green and interrupted angrily, "I just want to go home."
"Fine." He hit the gas pedal.
* * *
"Some of this is yours," he said, hand in the grocery bag.
"I'm not hungry. Take it." She opened the car door.
She sighed, and waited.
He squinted at her. "Do you want me to leave?"
Eyes on the ground, she said, "Do what you want," and slammed the door behind her.
He stared after her, brow knit, mind backtracking over the last day.
* * *
As Spike stuffed the bag of groceries into the guest house mini fridge, something dropped with a splash behind him. He turned his head.
Half a glossy Buffy lookalike was smiling up at him.
He picked her up, opened her to full size and ran his fingers down her two-dimensional, long, blonde hair.
What have you done to me, Buffy?
Breathing a rueful chuckle, he tossed her into the trash, and stood up.
Deep, cleansing breath. That feels better.
"Irritating little bitch."
He looked around the room, and back at the trash can. After a moment, he fished the magazine out.
* * *
Buffy sat at her bedroom's windowbox, head pressed against the glass, gazing down at the guest house. His light was on. Hers was not.
Six hours had gone by since she'd seen him last, and she still couldn't think of anything else. It was official: she was a sick, sick puppy and she would never, ever get this infuriating, incredible, strange, wonderful, badly dressed, sexier-than-Wolverine bastard out of her tainted blood. Not until...
Not until she...
Her heart thudded in her chest.
What if she just did it?
What if she said to Hell with everything, and just did it?
* * *
Too strange to be strangers
friendly fucked up to be friends
Spike was startled out of his reverie by a tinny ringing noise. He looked at the bedside phone, yellow light flashing, and wondered if picking up was the right thing to do.
Oh hell, he could say it was the wrong number. "Hello?"
"Master bath, five minutes. Bring a towel." Click.
Spike sat up, and stared at the phone.
Then he looked out his door and through the darkness to the illuminated window on the second floor.
Tit for tat.