“So, you ready for this?”
“You have no idea how ready I am.”
“Pretty eager, aren’t you?”
“What can I say? I’m a man of passion.”
“Yeah? Well, how’s this for passion?” Buffy threw a right hook, grinning as the man in front of her yelled out in pain.
“Bloody hell, Slayer. You’re gonna break my nose!”
Buffy giggled but she grimaced in apology. “I thought you wanted me to throw a punch? Cut out the soap opera crap.”
They were in the training room, after hours again, and sparring like before. Minus the kissage, she reminded herself forcefully. That wasn’t going to happen again. She ducked a wide swing at her head, only to be caught in the thigh by his opposite knee, and she flipped back, catching him lightly on the chin.
“I more meant at your soldier-toy.” Spike dealt a few more faux-blows before catching her foot before it collided with his face. “Someone needs to.”
Buffy rolled her eyes at him, using his grip to spin, catching him with her other foot in mid-air. She laughed as he fell back, and she jumped to her feet as he did, both of them returning to throw punches at the other. “Are you volunteering chip-head?”
“Would if I could, love,” He grinned, curling his tongue behind his teeth.
“There’ll be no boyfriend-beating.” Buffy warned playfully, her fist landing against his chest. “By either of us.”
“Save the honor for me will you?” Spike teased.
Buffy rolled her eyes, backing off. She was tired, but not from the fight. The argument she’d had with the others was really weighing her down. Wearing on her. She held up a hand, and Spike immediately backed off, a concerned look on his face. His hair was curling at the front, and Buffy was really trying not to think about how cute it was making him look. Softer than the hard, punk renegade style he was the face of.
She stretched out her arms before rearranging her top. She hadn’t bothered changing before coming, so she felt a little overdressed in red lace and jeans, but she was too wiped to care. Besides, she thought, next to the trademark jeans and tee shirt, everything is bound to look overdone.
Spike moved towards her, taking her arm and leading her to the couch against the wall, handing her a bottle of water. She hadn’t brought it, and was immediately touched- although a little confused- to know he had brought one for her.
“You okay, Slayer?” He sat down next to her, hands in his lap.
She took her time before answering, swallowing down water. “Tired is all. Guess I didn’t get enough sleep last night.”
“You want to call it a night?”
“Don’t look so guilty,” she laughed as she glanced over at him, stifling a yawn. “I asked you to meet me here, remember? I needed the workout.” He nodded, leaning back. She did too, their shoulders touching. She found a strange comfortableness in that. “Riley offered to patrol for me, but I needed the workout. Work off the tension, you know?”
“I’m familiar with the feeling, yeah.” Spike nodded, “Just figured you’d be spending the night with your boy.”
“I told you, this is—“ she yawned again, “This is what I want. Something separate from all of them,” She nudged him playfully, even as her eyelids drooped.
Spike smiled, warmed by the sleepy expression on her face. “You read it yet?”
“Hmm?” She forced her eyes to stay open. She really was exhausted. What with the late night before and the… less that peaceful day today, she was really starting to feel it.
“The note,” Spike began, careful to remain casual. “The thing that got the lot of them fired up in the first place.”
“Not… not yet,” She sighed heavily, her eyes closing again. She snuggled back against the couch, closer to Spike. Pulling it out of her pocket, she turned it over in her hands. “After all that… that happened today I could barely get away from Riley to come here to-to,” she yawned again. “…tonight.”
“If he’s patrolling for you, love, where’d you tell him you were?”
“Study group.” She grinned with a lazy shrug, and the man next to her chuckled. To her sleep-addled mind, the deep, throaty laugh sounded wonderful.
“Summers, you diabolical fiend.”
“What can I say? I’m a criminal mastermind.” She smiled, listening to him laugh again. She decided she really did like that sound. She held up the card, looking at it thoughtfully. Then she sighed. “I have this feeling. If I go home, or back to the dorm, Riley’s going to be there waiting for me. And he’ll be looking for—“ Spike stiffened next to her. “…A chance to make up. And I really won’t get a chance to sleep.”
“I know the feeling, love.” Spike sighed, settling back further. “Try going home to Harmony every night.”
“No, thank you,” Buffy giggled. “Is there a reason she’s still around? You never really seemed to like her.”
“Woman can’t take a sodding hint,” Spike shrugged as Buffy shifted next to him, tucking her legs up underneath her. “Got drunk one night after Dru dumped me, woke up next to her. I haven’t been able to lose her since.”
“So you’re not really with the wanting to go home either, huh?”
“Not really, pet.” He looked over at her shrewdly.
“Spike?” she asked sleepily. She held up the piece of card to him, a small, almost pleading smile on her face. “Will you read it to me?”
He took the paper from her gently, uncertain, and her smile widened, warmed. He melted, unfolding the card and taking in his own handwriting. He looked down, startled, as she laid her head down on his shoulder. Clearing his throat, he shifted into a more comfortable position without unsettling her.
“Anything for you, pet.”
“No— yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever— or else swoon to death.”
“Beautiful…” Buffy murmured, snuggling closer. One hand crept under his arm so she was hugging it and her knees rested on his thigh. He felt her eyelashes flutter against his shirt. “Can you read it again?”
And so he did, over and over, until she fell asleep.
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