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Drowning In You by BloodEnvy
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Buffy turned towards her door as the phone began to ring, grimacing in its direction. “Dawn! PHONE!” She grinned as she heard something unintelligible but undoubtedly indignant yelled back at her, teamed with much foot-stomping and sighing from down the hall. The smile became smaller as she returned to her dresser, but stayed on her face as she reached for her brush.

A pointed cough made her turn back to her door a moment later; Dawn was standing in the doorway with a hand on her hip and a raised eyebrow. She held out the phone. “It’s Willow. She’s been trying to call for a while now.”

Buffy avoided her sister’s confused expression as she took the phone. Turning her back on her little sister, she waited until the younger Summers sighed heavily and closed the door, her footsteps padding down the stairs before she let out a sigh of her own. Buffy knew Willow had been calling for a while… at least since sometime that morning.

Buffy had told her family that she had stayed at Riley’s the night before after she’d ducked in mid-morning hoping she didn’t smell like the sewers. Thankfully, her mother hadn’t questioned the slight bed hair or the fact that she was still wearing the clothes she’d left the house in; she actually kept a few changes of clothes at Riley’s for that reason. But, Joyce had bought the story and let her shower and change in peace.

But she’d been ‘busy’ every time the phone had rang, or just not quick enough to catch it. Willow and the rest of the gang had cooled off after their argument at the Magic Box, but Buffy wasn’t ready to play happy-friend-Scoobies with them.

Putting the phone up to her ear, Buffy held it against her shoulder with her cheek so it rested in the crook of her neck. She closed her eyes for a second before heading for the wardrobe, tying her hair back in a low ponytail, the loose curls hanging between her shoulder blades.

“Hey, Wills. What’s up?” Buffy’s greeting was weary. She tried to inject as much happiness and enthusiasm into her voice as possible without sounding phony.

“Buffy!” Willow’s voice came out hurried and jumbled, as it always did when she was worried. “I tried calling you last night at your dorm, and you weren’t there, and you weren’t at home… where were you?”

Buffy sighed, “Chill, Willow. I went out. Riley was out patrolling for me, so I… went to the park and… studied.” She lied. She was really lying to everyone lately. To Riley, her mom, Dawn and now Willow. “You know, had a caffeine fix from the Espresso Pump and a study session by torch light. Thought I might get a little leftover vamp action, but no such luck…”

Well, not of the slaying kind, anyway. She thought to herself. It was just the fighting and the talking…. and the sleeping-type of action.

Sleeping in the sense of unconsciousness,
she found herself adding.

“Oh. You should have called… we could have been study buddies.”

“I totally spaced. I thought you and Tara had plans.” Okay, so the lying is actually really easy.

“It’s okay.” Willow said perkily, and Buffy grimaced. Willow might be ready to be all happy and forget about their argument, but she wasn’t. Call her petty, but she hated that the others had gone behind her back about something that really wasn’t any of their business. “Speaking of plans, last minute decision to Bronze? The whole gang is coming.”

Buffy ignored the hope in the witch’s voice. “Sorry, Will. I gotta patrol. Riley needs to grade papers or whatever it is you do when you’re a T.A… apparently the new psych professor isn’t as lenient as Walsh was when it comes to tardiness due to demon-slayage.” Buffy told her, adding a sigh for good measure. “So he can’t cover for me. Besides, I’m the Slayer. I should probably actually do some slaying.”

“Oh…” Willow said, disappointed. “Well, do you want company?”

“What? Oh, no. It’s okay.” Buffy replied hurriedly. There was a long pause on both ends, and Buffy sighed again. “Tell you what, I’ll swing by the Bronze after I’m done.”

“Okay!” Willow’s tone turned immediately perky. “I’ll see you there.”

The line cut off.

Buffy groaned, throwing the cordless handset onto her bed. So much for indulging in the immature desire to avoid her friends, she thought with a frown. At least I get to work off the tension first.

She let out a heavy sigh through her nose and untied the belt of her robe, shrugging it off onto the floor. She pulled on a pair of tight, dark blue jeans and searched her wardrobe for a shirt. Her first choice was an old, slightly oversized Cheap Trick shirt that bordered on vintage, but she tossed it aside for something a little more club-y.

She settled on a tight, dark green top with a scoop neck and elbow-length sleeves and a back that was pretty much nonexistent. There was an inch thick band that went around the bottom and tucked into her pants. It was professional-Slayer looking with a jacket, party-ready without one.

Throwing her favorite brown leather jacket over the top, she zipped on a pair of black boots with a decent square heel and put a stake in her back pocket, along with a few in her handbag. She ducked her head under the chain of an ornate silver cross that hung down past her breasts and swept her ponytail out from under it as she heard a tap against glass.

She turned to her window as another stone hit the pane, and pushed the sash up. She leaned out with a grin, catching the next rock to come flying up, “Rocks against the window? A little old school, don’t cha think?”

“I was born a long time before bad teen movies, pet.” Spike’s English accent floated up to her. He stepped out from under the tree, into the moonlight. She could see his smirk from where she was. “’Old school’s not really an issue for me.”

Buffy laughed, shaking her head at him. She was leaning forward out of the window, her hands braced on the ledge. “Hey, don’t be dissing the old school. Eighties movies happen to be awesome.”

“Didn’t know you had such bad taste in movies, love,” Spike chuckled. “Ow!”

Buffy giggled as the vampire below rubbed the spot on his head where the rock she had thrown had hit it, smiling innocently down at him, “Like you have any right to be mocking the eighties, Blondie.”

Spike rolled his eyes so she could see it before dropping and crushing his cigarette beneath his boot. “You coming or what?”

“Sure, hold on.” Buffy turned and grabbed her handbag off her bed, slinging it over her shoulder and swinging a leg over the sill.

“You’re not going to use the door?” Spike called up to her, amused.

Buffy paused, looking down at herself. “Old habits die hard,” she shrugged. “Besides, it’s more fun this way.”

Spike smirked as she swung her other leg over, slid down the slanted roof and gracefully swung around to grab the guttering and drop to the ground. She turned to face him, flipping her ponytail over her shoulder.

“So, what are you waiting for, vamp-man? Let’s go kill stuff.”
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