The next fifteen minutes or so went by with only slight awkwardness. While Willow was stilted and uncomfortable in her conversation now there was a certain peroxide blonde vampire involved, the usually so quiet Tara was speaking to both Spike and the Slayer, her gaze switching between the two of them as they spoke. The conversation itself was relatively small, interrupted but the heavy pound of music and the yells and cheers of drunken clubbers, and it remained mostly trivial- how often did Spike help with patrol, how were Buffy’s classes and things like that.
Spike looked uncomfortable, despite how much he was warming to Tara as the minutes moved by, and Buffy offered him an encouraging smile as he glanced her way. It was strange to see Spike so uncertain, but she found it weirdly endearing as he gave the witch a shy smile. She looked out at the dance floor absentmindedly, swallowing down the remains of her drink.
“So, do you still live with Harmony?” Willow piped up curiously, popping a Skittle into her mouth.
Spike grimaced. “In a matter of speaking. Can’t get rid of the sodding bint.”
Willow looked confused, and Buffy shrugged. “You know Harmony, once she gets her claws into something, she won’t let go.” She told her, pulling off her jacket.
The thud of the music made the others miss Spike’s sharp intake of breath at the sight of the smooth skin of Buffy’s naked back. The shirt had seemed so… professional, but now, Spike fought to hide any sign of his budding arousal. She was so beautiful.
Buffy was oblivious to the attention, and idly swirled her finger through the steadily melting ice cubes in the bottom of her otherwise empty glass. Spike stood, giving Buffy a small smile as she turned and looked at him questioningly. “You want another drink, Slayer?” Buffy nodded, reaching for her wallet. He shook his head. “It’s on me.”
Buffy opened her mouth to argue that he’d already bought her the burger and a large serving of fries, but when she noticed Willow’s confused expression at his offer, she decided to keep that information between them. She shut her mouth, offering him a grateful smile.
“You two want anything?”
Buffy had to hold back a giggle at the looks of shock on both Willow and Tara’s faces at Spike’s offer, despite disbelief of her own. Still, his face held no humor, his offer was genuine. Tara’s open mouthed expression turned warmer, and she grinned shyly at him. One look at her still-shocked girlfriend, and she decided to speak for both of them. “Two sodas?”
Spike nodded, picking up the empty glasses and headed for the bar.
There was a moment of silence between them before: “What just… Did Spike just offer to buy us drinks?”
Buffy shrugged at her best friend. “Apparently the demons at Willie’s suck at poker.”
Willow looked like she was going to say something else, but was cut off by Xander and Anya’s return to the table, slightly more out of breath than before. “I like this music,” Anya told them all matter-of-factly, settling herself down on a free stool between Tara and Buffy. “It’s very good for the sexual grinding that is popularly shared between men and women, often leading to sex.”
She completely missed the looks that the rest of the group gave her, helping herself to a handful of peanuts.
Blushing, Xander glanced towards the bar, catching sight of the blonde vampire currently talking to the bartender. His expression hardened slightly, before he offered the girls all an innocent smile and took the remaining stool- the one Spike had just vacated.
“Yeah… the DJ is pretty good tonight,” he asserted, smiling at Buffy. “Not in a dance-y mood there, Buffster?”
She shook her head. “Hurt my ankle on patrol. Not really dance-capable right now.”
“A vamp get too friendly with you?” Xander asked, and Buffy almost rolled her eyes at the pointed comment.
“Yeah, actually,” she replied breezily. “She pushed me down and I landed badly. Spike killed her though, so a little harm, no foul.”
Spike returned then, tray in hand. He balanced it on one palm with ease, handing the girls their drinks and smiling when Tara thanked him. Buffy smiled at him gratefully, and he nodded. He set his own Jack and Coke down and moved the tray to a nearby empty table. He said absolutely nothing about the new seating developments, nor did he look at the man in his seat. He simply took a stool from the empty table and set it down between Anya and Buffy.
This new arrangement put the vampire and Slayer decidedly closer than before, their knees brushing against one another. Xander scowled.
“You get a job as a waiter or something, Bleach Boy?”
“Actually, Spike just bought us all drinks,” Willow told him awkwardly, quickly sipping at hers when Xander turned to look at her.
“He paid for them?”
Spike merely grinned at Xander, turning to Buffy. His lofty expression didn’t change, but Buffy could see concern in his eyes. “How’s the ankle?”
“Better now that I’m off of it.” She told him, taking a mouthful of her Malibu and Coke. “Should be fine in a few hours.”
He nodded again, giving her the tiniest of smiles.
“No Riley tonight, Buff?”
Buffy shrugged, and only Tara noticed the way Spike stiffened slightly next to her. But then, she was the only one watching him. “He had papers to grade. Didn’t Wills tell you?” She gave Willow a questioning look. She shrugged in reply, busying herself with her drink.
Xander nodded, his face smoothing a little. He seemed to realize he was going to make things worse with his friend if he kept harassing her. Still, that didn’t mean he had to like her choice of patrol-buddy. “You sure you don’t want to dance, Buff? C’mon, we’ll keep you upright, I promise.”
Buffy was buzzing slightly from the alcohol in her system, and the idea of dancing was steadily becoming more and more appealing, particularly with the music that was currently playing. Some band heavy on the bass. She glanced between Xander’s grin, Willow’s eager smile and Anya’s longing expression directed at the dance floor, before she turned her head incrementally towards Spike.
The corners of his mouth turned up slightly and his chin dipped the tiniest bit in a nod. She grinned, and tipped her head back, swallowing down the rest of her drink. She took Willow’s hand and, giggling, let her friends lead her to the dance floor, leaving Spike alone at the table.
* * * * * * *
Buffy waved to her friends, finding it pointless to strain her voice over the speakers. She jerked her head back towards their table and then pointed at her ankle. Willow nodded in understanding before turning back to the others and getting back into the moves.
Buffy headed back to the table, putting her weight gingerly on her ankle. It had been improving, but the crazy-dance styles Xander invoked in his friends had sent it back in the other direction in terms of pain. She stopped still when she reached the table however.
Spike was gone.
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