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Sunshine and Shadows by slaymesoftly
Chapters Three and Four
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“So, that’s the sitch, Giles. Mom threw me out. She says if I won’t stop being the slayer, then I can’t live with her.”  Buffy tried very hard to sum up her night and morning with a casual air, but the tremble in her lip betrayed her.
“Oh Buffy, I am so sorry.  Shall I speak with her? Would that help?”
“I don’t know. I think she thinks I’m having some kind of an affair with you—” She giggled in spite of herself at his expression. “And Angel-us told her he had sex with me, so that went over big, and then she met Spike, and you know what he looks like, and—”
“She met Spike? You mean he’s alive… er… still undead?”
“Oh yeah. Guess I haven’t seen you for a couple of days, huh? Yeah, turns out I just broke his back, and he’s been in a wheelchair all this time. He’s kinda skinny right now ‘cause Dru and Angelus didn’t do much to keep him fed, but he got better anyway and he didn’t tell them he was, and he found me after Kendra was killed and he stopped the cop from shooting me, and then he said he wanted to help me stop Acathla, and we went to my house so I could get my weapons, and….”  She stopped, partly to catch her breath and partly to allow Giles to catch his.
“Dear Lord,” he managed to gasp. “You have had an eventful few days. I was so worried when the police were looking for you, and then when you didn’t show up for school today….”
“I had my suitcase with me, which I figured wouldn’t go over big with Snyder, and I was so tired from being up all night two nights in a row…”
Giles looked around. “Where is your suitcase now?”
“It’s back at the… at Angelus’s house. He’s gone, sucked into hell or whatever. Spike pounded Acathla into little bitty pieces, and he’s leaving as soon as Dru gets back, so I’m just going to hang out there until I figure out what to do.”
“Drusilla? Gets back from where? And why is Spike—”
“Okay, here’s where it gets weird, so just listen….”
Buffy finished her recitation of her truce with Spike, how he did what he said and left, then came back to help her and how they saved each other.
“So, he figures Dru will get over being mad and come back tonight and they’ll take off for LA and I can just stay in the mansion for a while.”
“What about school?” Giles frowned. “And money for food?”
“Speaking of food,” Buffy said, just as her stomach growled. “Can I order a pizza?”
“Oh, you poor child. Of course you may. This is so unfair of your mother. I will have to speak to her.”
“Just leave it for a while, Giles. Maybe she’ll miss me after a few days and want me to come home.”
“And school?”
Buffy shrugged. “There’s only a week or so left. If I’m not still a murder suspect, I guess I can go back and try to finish it out. I probably have exams to take…”
“Is it safe in that old house?” He watched her as she dialed the number of their most frequently used pizza place. She answered him as she waited for the call to be picked up.
“Spike says I should just have Willow come and do a general vampire disinvite and then it’ll be fine.”
She held up her hand for quiet, ordered two extra large pizzas with extra cheese, gave the address, and turned her attention back to him. As though he hadn’t been interrupted, he continued the conversation.
“I’m having a hard time adjusting to the idea that William the Bloody, who has killed at least two slayers, is now assisting you with your job.”
“Spike said he really likes the world and he doesn’t want it to end.  And he really doesn’t—didn’t—like Angelus, so he made the truce with me and said he’d distract Angelus so I could get in, and then he’d take Dru away. It was just too good of an offer to turn down.”
“You trusted him?”
Buffy frowned. “Well… yeah. Spike never lied to me about anything important. And I already knew how important Dru was to him, so… yeah. I trusted him.”
“And do you still trust him?”
“Pretty much. I mean, we still have the truce until he finds Dru and gets her out of here. If she’s out there killing people, I’ll have to call it off I guess, but he thinks she’ll come right back when she gets over being mad at him for helping me. He takes care of her, so I think she needs him too much to stay mad.”
“Well, I can’t say it makes me happy that you are willing to trust another old vampire—especially after what happened to Angel’s soul, which was the only thing keeping his demon in check.” He frowned. “What do you suppose is keeping Spike’s demon under control?”
Buffy thought a moment, then shrugged. “I think Spike is. He’s really… different… from Angel—or Angelus. I’m not saying he isn’t a stone cold killer, but he loves Drusilla. And he’s… you know what? I don’t even know how I know he’s different, I just know he is.” 
The rest of the Scoobies arrived at the same time as the pizza, and while everyone was eating, Buffy filled them in on her very busy last twenty-four hours. Including that her mother had thrown her out of the house for being the slayer.
“Wow. That sucks. I always thought your mom was so awesome, but I guess there’s something to be said for having parents that don’t pay much attention to you.” Xander and Willow exchanged looks and nodded their heads.
Buffy sighed her agreement. “Sure would have made my life easier the past couple of years…”
“Did you say Spike and Drusilla are still here?” Willow was visibly worried. “And that you’re living where they live?”
“Yeah, well, not so much ‘living there’ I hope, as just crashing for a few days until Mom gets over being mad.  Which reminds me, you need to come there with me tomorrow and do a general ‘no vampires welcome’ spell, so it’s safe for me to stay.”
“Will Spike be there?”
“I don’t think so. He’s pretty sure Dru will come back to him tonight and they can leave town. So, they’ll be gone and—”
“And you’re letting them do that… why?” Xander was staring at Buffy as if she’d lost her mind.
“We have a truce, Xander. It’s still in effect. The deal was, Spike would help me with Angelus and I’d let him take Dru somewhere else.”
“But, you don’t need him anymore, Buffy. You stopped Angelus and saved the world. All you need to do now is stake his roomies and—”
“Truce, Xander. Look it up.”  Buffy glared at him, not sure if she was angry at herself for extending the truce, or at him for pointing out that she didn’t need Spike anymore.
“But it’s over. You saved the world from Acathla. No world-ending equals no need to make truces with bloodsuckers.” Xander stared back at her as if he was explaining something very simple.
“Technically, Spike stopped Acathla and saved the world,” Buffy growled back. “When my foot slipped before I could push Angelus into the portal opening, it was anybody’s game. It would have started sucking the world in as soon as it opened far enough.  Spike pushed Angelus into it, and almost got dragged in himself in the process. He saved my life… and the world. So if he wants the truce to last long enough to get his girlfriend out of here, he gets it.  Am I clear on that?”
She glared around the table, reading nothing from Giles but resigned acceptance and just a trace of what may have been shock that Buffy was crediting Spike with saving the day.  Willow looked bemused, but supportive. Only Xander continued to protest, until Giles said, “Do be quiet, Xander. Buffy is quite right. It appears that Spike was of great assistance to her last night, and if the price for saving the entire world is that she allows two vampires to take off for parts unknown, that seems a very reasonable cost.”
Xander subsided into disgruntled muttering to himself, leaving Buffy, Giles and Willow to talk about how unusual it was for a vampire to be able to control his demon the way Spike obviously could.  Buffy decided it was probably not a good idea to mention that Spike was also capable of being sympathetic and understanding. “Safe to be around if he agrees to be” seemed to be about as much as she could hope to have believed.
When the pizza was gone and conversation had tapered off, Buffy stood up and stretched. Xander and Willow said their goodnights, asking if they were going to see Buffy in school the next day.
She made a face, but said, “Yeah, I guess so. I’ll have to come up with a good excuse to put in the note I’m pretty sure my mother isn’t going to write for me. But yeah, I’ll try to be there.”
After closing the door behind them, Buffy stretched again and sighed.
“I guess I should try to get a short patrol in. I still haven’t caught up on my sleep.”
“Are you planning to return to the mansion, then?” Giles was frowning vigorously. “That hardly seems like a safe place to sleep until after Willow has done the spell.”
“It probably isn’t, but what else can I do? Even if I had the money for a motel room, they wouldn’t rent to somebody my age. If the other vamps don’t know that Angel—Angelus is gone yet, they probably won’t be poking around his house.”
“I strongly suggest you stay here tonight, Buffy.”
“I appreciate that Giles, I do. And if my mom hadn’t said such crazy things…. But she did. And I don’t want you losing your job or going to jail because my mom goes to the police when she finds out where I am.”
“Where did she think you were going?”
Buffy bit her lip. “I don’t think she really expected me to really leave.  I mean, she was mad enough to tell me I should, but she probably thinks I can just stop slaying if I really want to and I’ll come crawling back in a day or so telling her I’m sorry and I’ll never disobey her again.”  She grimaced at Giles. “We both know that probably isn’t true, don’t we?”
“Dear lord.”
“I’ll be fine, Giles. Either Spike and Dru will be gone and I can lock up the place, or she won’t be back yet and Spike will be there waiting for her. Either way, I should be safe enough.”
“I find it a bit daunting that your idea of ‘safe enough’ is based on the presence of a vampire who is reputed to have killed two slayers. I’m going to speak to your mother tomorrow,” Giles said. “I’ll force her to understand your position. This is an untenable situation.”
“Yeah, well, good luck with that.”  She paused. “I don’t suppose I could borrow some money for food later tonight or tomorrow?”
“Oh my dear girl. Of course you can.” He opened his wallet and handed her a twenty-dollar bill. “I’m going to fix this… in fact….” He glanced at his watch and sighed. “I suppose it is a bit late tonight, but I do wish you’d reconsider coming back to sleep here tonight. You and Willow can do the spell tomorrow and then perhaps, if you don’t mind being alone there, it will be safe to stay in that house until I can convince your mother to be reasonable.”
“I’ll think about it, Giles. And thanks. Don’t wait up, but maybe… no, don’t leave the door unlocked either. I’ll be fine.”
Buffy’s slaying went fairly quickly. She hit the three cemeteries between Giles’s apartment and Crawford Street, striking and dusting every vampire she encountered with no quipping or playing, but with cold efficiency.
When she passed an all-night convenience store, she abruptly turned in and used some of the money Giles had given her to buy a box of cereal and some milk and bananas. Carrying her breakfast purchases, she approached the mansion cautiously, walking around to the garage to see that, although the door was open, Spike’s car was still there. She sighed and wondered if she should have taken Giles up on his offer of staying at his place for the night. She didn’t sense any strong vampire signatures except for one she already could somehow recognize as Spike’s, so she walked through the garage and pushed open the door into the house.
She hadn’t even gotten the door closed behind her before Spike appeared, a smile on his face. A smile that faded as he saw who had come in.
“Oh. It’s you, Slayer.”
“Sorry, Spike. I didn’t mean to startle you.” She noted the sadness on his face and said with more sympathy than she actually felt, “So, Dru’s not back yet, huh?”
“No,” he said tersely. “But you’ll be safe enough. I’ll be awake till dawn. Keep that window closed and locked and the dresser in front of the door just in case, but I’ll be able to feel her as soon as she gets close and we’ll just leave right off.”
Buffy nodded and walked past him to put the food in the kitchen. It wasn’t until she was safely in the bedroom that she realized she’d turned her back on the vampire famed for killing slayers without even thinking about it. Shaking her head at herself, she got into bed and fell into a much-needed sleep.
She woke in the morning in plenty of time to get cleaned up and dressed to go to school. She went to the kitchen and got the box of cereal and a reasonably useful-looking bowl that she rinsed out. The milk, in spite of having been in an old refrigerator, was a little warm, but still good, so she had a nice big bowl of cereal and fruit.  A sound in the doorway made her glance up to see Spike leaning against the jamb and watching her eat.
“She isn’t back yet?” Buffy guessed, based on the expression on his face. He shook his head slowly, then lit a cigarette, not speaking until he’d taken a deep drag and exhaled the smoke.  Buffy waved her hand as a hint, but he just gave her a grin that faded quickly and blew another puff of smoke in her direction.
“Jerk,” she muttered into her bowl, shooting him a glare from under her eyebrows.
He didn’t respond, but he did put the cigarette out and rest it on the counter before he slid onto a stool beside her. He sighed and shook his head again. “Nope. Watched for her all night. Not a sign of her.”
Buffy stood up and put her bowl in the sink, remembering at the last second that there was no mom here to wash it for her. She filled it with water to soak, telling herself she’d wash it when she got back.
“I’m going to try to go to school today.” She saw him look at her in surprise. “Assuming I can write a good enough note to get away with missing the past two days and Snyder doesn’t call the cops on me…. Anyway, is there… do you want me to bring you anything? Or do you want me to look for Dru somewhere?”
“Do you really mean that, or are you just looking for an excuse to skip school again?”
Buffy glared at him, then noticed the slight twinkle in his eye. “Does it matter?” she huffed.
“Guess not, but as long as you’ve got the opportunity, you should probably try to get what passes for an education in this country. No sense growing up ignorant if you don’t need to.”
Buffy stamped her foot and deepened her glare. “Stop talking to me like I’m some kind of kid!” she said. “I’m as grown up as I need to be.” She paused and sighed before muttering, “You know as well as I do I probably won’t live long enough to be a legal adult, so what difference does it make? I was really just trying to finish high school because my mom wanted me to. She thinks I’m going to go to college!” Buffy rolled her eyes. “Like that’s gonna happen.”
Spike’s demeanor changed and he stood up, asking permission with his eyes as he touched her cheek.
“You’re right, pet. Life as a slayer has meant you had to grow up fast. But you aren’t a typical Watcher-raised slayer. You’ve got friends, family—” He shook his head when Buffy snorted. “You do. Your mum loves you, she just doesn’t understand anything about what a slayer is and she’s frightened for you. I could see that when I met her. You’ve got a watcher that’s not as big a wanker as most of them are. You’ve had a more normal life than most slayers ever get. And you’ve already lived longer than most do.”
“Uh, technically, I died last year but Xander did CPR on me and brought me back.” She smiled at his shocked expression. “And this time, you saved my life. I think the ‘normal’ ship sailed away about the time I set fire to the gym in my old high school.”
“All right. You win. Not normal. But not a typical slayer, either. You’ve got other things in your life besides the mission. You may as well enjoy them for as long as you can.” He frowned. “When do you turn eighteen?”
Buffy blinked at him. “In January, why?”
“Don’t let your watcher… well, I’m not sure how they do it… but if you think you’re losing your powers, don’t… Fuck!”  He turned away. “Get to school, Slayer. When you get back, we’ll do some catching up. You can tell me how you died and then didn’t, and I’ll tell you about the Cruciamentum and what to watch out for.”
“What are you going to do all day?”
“Reckon I’ll sleep. Dru isn’t likely to show up here in the middle of a sunny day, so I’ll need to watch for her tonight.” He paused, then reached in his pocket and handed her a wad of bills. “If you have time to bring me some blood from the butcher….”
“Sure.” Buffy took the money. “What kind?”
“’K.” she hesitated. “See you later, Spike.”
“Later, Slayer.”
After a week in which Drusilla hadn’t returned, Buffy found herself suspended from school for the rest of the year, and a drunk Joyce had slammed the door in Giles’s face, they settled into a routine. Spike would watch for Dru all night while Buffy slept, and she would bring him fresh blood picked up on her way home from talking to Giles or hanging out at her house while Joyce was at work.  She rarely saw him in the mornings, but wasn’t sure she hadn’t heard him cursing and sobbing in his room. Empty booze bottles were beginning to accumulate in the kitchen. 
She wondered how long it would be before he admitted Drusilla wasn’t coming back any time soon.
In the afternoons, she would put his blood in the fridge and have a snack herself until he woke up. Then, while he drank his blood and she nibbled on whatever she’d bought herself for lunch, they would talk.  
Early on, Buffy had explained about how the master killed her, and that Giles and Angel had both allowed it to happen because it was a “prophecy”. During a later talk, Spike brought it up again.
“So he is a typical watcher-wanker,” he said, when she repeated how Giles had sent her off to die.
She tried to defend him.  “I think he changed his mind and wanted to rescue me, but then all the vamps came to the school and he had to help Willow and Cordy and Ms. Calendar…”
“Wankers. Both of them. Not surprised at Angelus, even though old Batface wasn’t his favorite relative any more than he was mine, but thought your watcher might be made of sterner stuff.”
Buffy had shrugged. “Well the prophecy said I would die and it would free the… what did you call him?”
She giggled. “I like that.  Anyway, I did die and he—Batface— did get loose, for about ten minutes. The prophecy didn’t say I had to stay dead, so I didn’t. Angel and Xander found me face down in a puddle and Xander did CPR on me.”
“Good on him,” Spike said. “Not as worthless as he seems. And then you dusted the old relic?”
“Yep!” She made a popping noise on the “p”, causing Spike to give a chuckle before settling back into his unhappy normal expression. Buffy studied his face, then rested her hand on his briefly.
“I’m sorry, Spike,” she said softly, snatching her hand away when he growled. He sighed and shook his head, reaching for her hand and squeezing it gently.
“No, I’m sorry, pet. I know you mean well. I’m just not sure how I feel about getting sympathy from the Slayer.” He gave her a shrewd look, indicating he’d heard sobbing from her room. “I should be the one doling it out, seems to me. I just had a fight with my lover, you had to kill your… whatever he was.”
“I honestly don’t know what he was by then.” Buffy shrugged. “I mean, if he was Angel, then he was my boyfriend and I loved him, but he wasn’t my Angel after he lost his soul, and….”
“And he didn’t deserve a single one of the tears you’ve shed,” Spike nodded. “You’ve got a good heart to be worrying about an old vamp’s feelings when your own aren’t in very good shape.”
“It probably isn’t going to happen very often,” she admitted. “I can’t believe I’m feeling sorry for a killer because his crazy girlfriend hasn’t come back to him.” Spike started to snarl, then stopped himself.
“Fair enough from your point of view, I reckon.”
They had sat in silence for some time before Buffy asked, “So, what were you saying you were going to tell me about turning eighteen?”
“You mean, other than you’d be legal for me to shag by then?”  He gave her a leer that never reached his eyes and she snorted her disbelief.  “Right, then. Here’s the short version. If and when a slayer turns eighteen—which doesn’t happen often, mind you—her watcher takes her powers away somehow and she has to fight a vamp provided by the Council of Wankers. If they want to keep her, it’s a stupid git of a fledgling and she has weapons to use. If they don’t want her around anymore, the vamp is something older, stronger, and likely to kill her.”
Buffy gasped. “Why would they do that?”
“Because they’re wankers, luv. Don’t ever forget it. They don’t like it when slayers get old enough to question their orders or are too independent. It’s a way to rid themselves of troublesome bints and replace them with somebody too young to question them.” He peered at Buffy. “Given your history, I doubt they’ve got you on the list of obedient slayers.”
“Well, that’s just… Giles would never do that!”
“Did he or did he not send you off to be killed by old Batface for no better reason than some old book told him it should happen?”
“Shut up.”
“Just sayin’, luv. Don’t trust him when you get close to your birthday.”
He doesn’t think I should trust you,” Buffy said, giving him a sidelong glance.
“An’ he’s probably right to think that. Havin’ a truce between us doesn’t mean I’m not what I’ve been for past 120 some years. You haven’t pulled my fangs, Slayer.”
“Oh.” Buffy tried to hide her disappointment, realizing that she had almost forgotten what Spike was.
“Don’t give me that face,” he growled. “Keep those big eyes to yourself. You and me are not friends. We can’t be. We’re born enemies.”
“Right. Silly me. I forgot. You hate me, I hate you.”
“That’s the natural order of things,” Spike said firmly, then sighed and shook his head at her. “I don’t hate you, Buffy.” She blinked at his use of her name. “And I liked your mum when I met her. Wouldn’t harm her if I could. But none of that means I’m not what I am. As soon as Dru—” He stopped himself when he saw the expression on Buffy’s face.
“Don't say it,” he warned. “Don’t even think it.” His growl almost sounded more like a moan, and Buffy struggled to cover her mistake.
“I’m sorry, Spike.” She tried to look cheerful. “I’m sure she’s just trying to teach you a lesson, and she’ll be back any night now.”
“Don't patronize me, Slayer,” he sighed in what she was coming to recognize as one of his sudden mood swings. “You think she’s gone for good, don’t you?”
“I patrol every night,” she said in what she hoped was a neutral tone. “It seems like I would have seen her or some sign that she was around.”
Spike nodded, his shoulders slumping. “I expect you’re right. If she was here, even if she was still too brassed off at me to come back yet, I’m sure she would have come after you by now. She’s mad at me, yeah, but you’re the one she thinks took away her precious ‘daddy’.” He looked up, his expression determined. “I’ve been sitting in this house too long. I think I need to kill something.”
Buffy realized with a start that he’d been drinking pig blood every night, not leaving to hunt for fear of missing Dru’s return. She bit her lip, then offered: “I’m going to patrol in a little while. Want to come out with me?”
“How is that going to help me?”
“Well… I dunno. You can watch me kill things, I guess. Or maybe we’ll meet some vamps or demons you don’t like and you can kill one of them.” Anything to keep him from hunting again.
He stood up, palming his cigarette. “Not exactly what I had in mind, but I guess it doesn’t matter how I get my spot of violence as long as I can beat something up.”
“Is that going to make you feel better?”
“Well… yeah. Don’t you feel better when you’ve beat the stuffing out of some poor sod?”
Buffy opened her mouth to deny it, but at the knowing grin on Spike’s face, she nodded slowly. “Maybe? Sometimes? I guess I never thought about it, but it is a good way to work off some tension.”
“Too bloody right it is.”
“I think it’s disturbing. That we both like to beat up on things,” she explained when he raised his eyebrows.
He shrugged. “It’s who we are, innit? Our names say it all.”
“Spike? Buffy?”
He cocked his head at her and waited.
After a short pause she sighed. “Okay, okay. Vampire. Slayer. I get it. It’s still disturbing.”
“Can we go be disturbing somewhere else now? I’ve been stuck in this bloody wreck of a house for a week. I think I have cabin fever. And I’m running out of Jack.”
Buffy glanced at the empty bottles scattered haphazardly around the kitchen and had no trouble figuring out what he meant by “Jack”.
“Does it help to get drunk?” she asked as they walked out the door.
“It helps me. Wouldn’t do much for you but make you sick, I’d wager. But if you want to try it sometime…”
“My mom drinks. She doesn’t get sick.”
“Your mum’s an adult. She’s had years to learn how much she can drink before she throws up. Trust me, luv, it’s a hard lesson, but everybody learns it.”
“So you won’t teach me how to drink?”
“Teach you whatever you want, Slayer,” he said without taking his gaze off the cemetery entrance they were approaching.  “Why don’t we start with how to kill a Fyral demon when you don’t have anything silver on you?” 
“Or a sword,” she said. “Crap. I knew I should have brought it with me.”
The demon had changed his path to intercept theirs, roaring his challenge.
“You take high, I’ll take low. When you get a chance, put a stake in his eye.”
With no time for argument, Buffy leapt for the demon’s head while Spike barreled into its knees. It staggered, but didn’t fall. Buffy was able to stab it in one eye before it threw her off, shaking its head and throwing mucus around in a toxic circle.
“Watch that stuff, Slayer. It’s dangerous to humans.” Spike pulled her aside just as the demon aimed its snot at her. It hit Spike’s coat, sending him into a rage. Buffy watched with interest while Spike pummeled the much larger demon, snarling obscenities the entire time. When he had it on the ground, he grabbed the horns and began to twist until there was a loud crack and the Fyral demon went still.
“Is it dead?” Buffy peered at the inert body. “And wow. I’m impressed.”
Spike gave her a fangy grin, then his face melted back into his human one. “That was a bit of alright,” he said. “I feel much better now.” He brushed the hardened mucus off his coat sleeve.
“Huh. Broken heart mended by beating up a demon. Who knew?”
“It’s not quite that easy, Slayer,” Spike said, sounded like he was disappointed in her, then shrugged, admitting, “But it does make me feel a little better.”
“I guess I’ll have to try it. The next demon is mine.”
“Have at it, luv. I’ll just be over here having a fag.”  True to his word, Spike perched on a tombstone and pulled out a cigarette, leaving Buffy to face three newly risen and hungry vampires. They glanced at him, but when he didn’t claim ownership of what looked like a good meal, they concentrated on Buffy.
The first vamp to reach for her found himself sailing over her head and into the side of a crypt. His companions paused for a second, confused about how he got there. While they were trying to figure it out, Buffy ran her stake into the chest of one and took the other one’s legs out with a sweep across his knees. She staked him while he was still bent over, trying to stand. Hands on hips, she said, “These guys were no fun at all.” She walked over to the one just climbing to his feet and rubbing his head. “Are you going to be fun?” she demanded.
His “huh?” made her roll her eyes and put a stake through his chest. “I’m going to take that as a no,” she said, kicking the little pile of dust.  She looked at Spike, who was blowing smoke rings and grinning at her. 
“They weren’t any fun,” she complained. “I don’t feel any better.”
“Bollocks. If you could see the sparkle in your eyes and the color in your cheeks, you’d know that’s a lie.”
“So we both killed things and it made us feel better?  I still say that’s totally disturbing. I mean, maybe not you, ‘cause—vampire, evil…. But I’m the Chosen One. I don’t do evil, I slay it.”
“Do you hear yourself?”
“Shut up.  And come on. We’ve got two more cemeteries to hit.”
“Yes’m, Slayer, ma’am.”
“Are you mocking me?”
“Maybe? Wanna make something of it?”  Spike was bouncing on his toes around her, pretending to throw punches at her face.
She cocked her head at him. “Maybe? Fighting you is always a lot of fun.  If we didn’t actually try to kill each other….”  She began walking again. “I’ll have to think about it.”
“Anytime, Slayer. Anytime.”
After they’d hit two more cemeteries and begun a contest to see who could take on the most fledgling vampires at one time, they paused on the sidewalk.
“I won!”
“Did not.”
“Did too!”
They glared at each other, then broke into grins at the same time.
“Tie?” Buffy said.
“If you say so, luv.  So now what?”
Buffy looked uncomfortable. “I usually go by Giles’ to report to him. And to find out if I’m going to be allowed to take my exams so I can go back to school next year.”
“Still think it’s stupid they wouldn’t let you back in. After the Council of Wankers pulled strings and got the murder charge dismissed.”
“Yeah, well, that was just Snyder’s excuse to get rid of me. And since my mom won’t fight for me…”
Spike growled. “I might have to take back what I said about liking her. She should be over it by now.”
“Yeah, well, she isn’t. She won’t let Giles explain, and she won’t talk to me either. I can sneak in while she’s at work and do laundry and get more clothes, but she never answers the notes I leave. I even told her where I am, just in case, but she’s never shown up here.” Buffy gave Spike a quick look. “I told her never to come after dark. I hope that’s okay.”
“Place is as much yours as mine, luv. Told you that. Invite whoever you want. I promise not to eat anybody you care about.”
Buffy snorted and put her hands on her hips to glare at him. “You do know my job description is to save the world, right? I’m pretty sure that includes even people I don’t like.”
He laughed. “Know that, Slayer. I was just yanking your chain. Why do you think I haven’t gone looking for someone to eat yet tonight?”
Yet?” Her eyes were narrowed and she tensed, her hand hovering over her stake.
“You’re such a treat to rile up. It’s almost too easy,” he said, laughing and dancing away. “You go report to your watcher, and I’ll hit Willie’s for some O neg that won’t even be warm.”
“You promise?” Buffy relaxed, never questioning why she should believe him.
“I promise,” he said, walking away. “You just be sure to tell your watcher which one of us killed the most.” His laughter floated back as he quickly disappeared into the darkness.
“Smartass,” she muttered as she turned to go to Giles’s.
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