And the schmoop goes on…
It took very little time for them to reach the Bronze, although finding a safe place to leave the bike was a little trickier, the parking lot being crowded with the vehicles of celebrating lovers. As was the club, full of warm, young bodies hopeful of connecting with other warm young bodies before the lovers’ holiday was over.
Spike hesitated as they entered the club, gesturing towards the bar.
“Probably shouldn’t look like we arrived together, Slayer. I’ll just go get-”
“No,” she said, brushing her hand over his briefly. “Everybody knows we went patrolling together. They won’t be surprised to see us arrive at the same time. It’ll be okay.”
It wasn’t until they got to the table, to be greeted by questions about the “vamp nest” they’d gone to check out, that they realized they hadn’t come up with anything to explain where they’d been.
“I… we… they…” Buffy was wearing her ‘I’m on the highway and there’s a semi bearing down on me’ expression, causing Dawn to snicker. When the vampire frowned at her, she hid her laughter behind a cough; then got up from the table.
“Here, one of you can sit here. I’ll be over there with the cool kids,” she said, waving her hand in the general direction of a laughing group of teenagers.
“I, we, they; good explanations, every one of them. Except for the whole, actual, explanation part,” Xander said, still watching Buffy expectantly.
“They’d scarpered off,” Spike said quickly.
“Yep, yep. They were already gone. Totally a false alarm.” Buffy smiled with relief and pulled her chair out.
“Oh. Where’ve you been then?” Anya’s question was accompanied by a narrow-eyed perusal of their appearance. “You don’t look like you’ve been having sex, so where were you?”
“Ahn!” Xander choked. “Of course they haven’t been… doing that! What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with you? It’s Valentine’s Day, they’re dressed up and they’ve been gone for hours. It seems logical to me.”
“On our way back from the not-a-vamp-nest, we stopped to have something to eat,” Buffy said. She leaned back casually, twirling a stake in her fingers until she realized what she was doing and put it away with an embarrassed shrug.
“That’s right,” Spike chimed in quickly. “Stopped to eat at a place I know. But she’s back now. All safe and sound.”
“So,” Willow said with wide-eyed innocence that fooled neither of the two nervous blonds. “I guess you’ll be on your way now, Spike? You know, to pursue those ‘plans’ you have for the evening?”
Spike’s hand was resting on the back of Buffy’s chair, his knuckles just barely touching her back. He gave her a quick touch and then said with quiet resignation, “Yeah. Too bloody right. Got better things to do than hang out with you lot. See you later, Slayer. Sorry we didn’t get to kill anything tonight.”
“I’m thinking seriously about killing something…” Buffy muttered, glaring at her best friend. Tara gave them a sympathetic smile while Willow giggled.
When they realized that Spike was actually going to leave, Tara nudged Willow, who quickly apologized.
“I’m sorry, Spike. I’m just giving you a hard time. It’s not like you dress up on a regular basis. Don’t leave. If you do, Buffy won’t have anybody to sit with.”
Xander’s eyes flew back and forth between the two smiling witches, the uncommonly quiet vampire, the embarrassed Slayer, and his eye-rolling girlfriend.
“Am I missing something here?”
“Oh, for god’s sake, Xander. Spike and Buffy have obviously been on a date and Willow is teasing them about it.”
Anya’s impatient remark brought a sudden silence to the table as all eyes turned to the dark-haired boy now studying Buffy and Spike more closely. He took in their nice clothes, panicked expressions and the way the vampire was hovering protectively over the slayer. He shook his head in disgust, but said nothing except, “Then I guess the evil undead ought to sit down – after he gets drinks for all of us,” he added quickly, lifting his empty beer mug.
With a slow smile, Spike nodded. “Anyone else? What do you want, Slayer?” Buffy asked for more white wine and the witches said they were fine. As Spike began to work his way toward the bar, Buffy smiled uncertainly at Xander.
“Thank you,” she said.
“For what?” He shrugged and tried to appear confused.
“For not making a big deal out of it.” For not making me feel like I’ve let everybody down.
Xander gazed around the table and then said with a sigh, “Buffy, I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that if the peroxided menace is the reason you’ve started smiling again and started acting like you don’t hate it that we… that you…” He stopped and started again. “If he’s making you happy, then we’re happy. Not ecstatic, mind you,” he hastened to add, “but happy, for you. We’re happy that you’re happy. Are you happy?”
Smiling at his babbling, Buffy nodded. “I think I am. I’m not really sure, it’s been such a long time since I …but I think that’s what I’m feeling. I’m pretty sure it is.”
Spike arrived back with their drinks and set Xander’s beer down in front of him, managing to slosh it just enough to spill foam on the table. He gave his best imitation of someone pretending to be sorry and smirked his, “Oops!”
“There will be no ‘oopsing’ with my beer, Deadboy, Jr,” Xander growled, grabbing his mug and moving it out of the small puddle. “Don’t make me sorry I told Buffy she could have you if she wanted you.”
“Didn’t know she needed your permission,” Spike bristled, calming when Buffy said quietly, “Spike…”
“Sorry, love.” He immediately took his attention off Xander and focused on the petite blonde now glaring at him. He followed her glare to the chair next to her and sat down quickly, bringing his own beer to his mouth and ignoring the whispered discussion across the table where Xander was complaining to Anya that there was “no point in being nice to the undead”.
Anya dragged Xander off to the dance floor, quickly followed by Willow and Tara. Left alone, Buffy and Spike found themselves at a loss for conversation until he finally asked, “What did he mean, you could have me if you want me?”
“He means they’ve all noticed that I’ve been… happier… lately, and since they all feel guilty about bringing me back, they don’t care who or what is making me happy as long as it continues.”
“An’ they know it’s me?” His eyes narrowed supiciously. “It is me, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Mr. fisher-for-compliments, it’s you. Who else would it be?” She huffed in exasperation, bringing a relieved smile to his face.
“Jus’ checking, love.” He leaned in and nuzzled the side of her neck, pushing her hair out of the way with his nose and running his tongue over the tiny bite marks there. She giggled and squirmed, then stood up, holding out her hand imperiously.
“Dance with me.”
“Dance?!” The horror on the vampire’s face caused another giggle.
“Don’t pretend with me. Dawn ratted you out a long time ago. I know you taught her to dance last summer so that she wouldn’t be embarrassed at school dances; so you can just get up off your British ass and dance with me.”
Without waiting to see what he was going to do, she flounced to the floor and began to move with the music. With a put-upon sigh that was as fake as his hair color, Spike dropped his coat on the back of the chair and joined her. Coming up behind her, he put his hands on her hips and began to move with her in time to the music, letting her firm butt bump into him with every step. He was soon wishing he’d kept the coat on as the front of his pants began to bulge.
Buffy began rubbing against him, laughing at his growled threats to tear her clothes off right there if she didn’t get her “delectable arse away from my sensitive parts”. The song soon switched to a much slower tempo, and he turned her around to settle against his chest. Buffy put her arms around his neck and rested her head against his shoulder, relaxing into him as he moved them around the floor in graceful arcs.
“Knew you could dance,” she murmured as he managed to avoid all the couples groping each other on the dance floor while still holding her tightly against his body. “Did you learn that when you were human?”
He laughed softly. “When I was human, dancin’ was done at arm’s length, pet. Would have scandalized society to see couples hanging on each other like everybody in this place.”
“There was society to scandalize? Why do I get the feeling there’s stuff I need to know about you that you’ve never told me?”
“There’s nothing you need to know, love. I was a weak, worthless git who wouldn’t have known what to do with a woman like you. Would have fallen in love and made a prat of myself, no doubt about it; but you wouldn’t have given me the time of day…and rightfully so.”
“You don’t know that! Maybe I would have liked William. He was probably very sweet.”
Spike put his mouth down to her throat and growled softly while pulling on her skin with his blunt human teeth. He waited until her heart rate sped up and she growled back at him, then, with a final kiss on the damp skin, he raised his head and whispered, “He was very sweet, pet. But you like a little monster in your man. It’s the slayer in you.”
“Sheesh,” she muttered, “fall in love with a couple of vampires, and suddenly you’re a dem—“
She stumbled as Spike stopped moving, frozen in place; he pushed her to arm’s length so as to stare at her. She frowned at him and glanced around the club quickly, scanning for trouble.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“What did you just say?”
“Wha? I… nothing… I just said…” Buffy’s eyes widened as her words came back to her and she understood the suddenly intent look on the vampire’s face. “Oh, shit,” she murmured, more to herself than to him.
“Gonna take it back now, are you?” he asked, his eyes still fixed on hers, refusing to allow her to look away. “Tell me it was a slip of the tongue?”
“It WAS a slip of the tongue,” she insisted. “I was just…”
She watched in fascination as his face settled into lines of cold resignation and he dropped her gaze. Without saying anything else, he began to move her around the floor again, holding her firmly but much less intimately than before. With an exasperated huff, she stopped them again, and then, when he wouldn’t meet her eyes, kicked him in the shins.
“Look at me!” she ordered, stubbornly refusing to move until he gave her a flat stare. She stared back, searching behind a killer’s icy blue eyes for the warm, caring man that she knew was in there.
“It was a slip of the tongue because I didn’t even know it myself until it popped out of my mouth. Not because it isn’t true. Because I just realized it, and I would have liked to have some time to…to process it before I told you. That’s all.”
She glared at him, only relaxing her lethal stare when his face softened into the expression of annoyed affection that she knew so well.
“Oh,” he said in a failed attempt to appear only mildly interested, “well, that’s alright, then.”
He pulled her in and, with his face buried in her hair, began to sway to the music. This time, he made no attempt to pretend they were dancing, just held her against his body with a grip that she wasn’t sure even she would have been able to break. Not that she particularly wanted to.
“So,” she whispered, going up on her toes to put her mouth against his neck, “it’s just ‘alright’?”
She felt his chest shake as a chuckle rumbled up.
“It’s a bit more than ‘alright’, sweetheart. You know that. I’m just…” He shrugged and pulled her even tighter.
“Gobsmacked?” she suggested.
“As good a word as any,” he laughed, abruptly dipping her almost to the floor and then twirling her around in small circles while she laughed with delight.
When the song ended, they stayed on the floor, their gazes locked and their eyes darkening. The big room was suddenly too crowded; they simultaneous moved back to the table, pausing only long enough for Spike to grab his coat and Buffy her sweatshirt.
Not waiting for anyone else to make their way back to the table, Buffy waved at Willow and, grabbing Spike’s hand, began working her way towards the door. With Spike’s chip going off every time he tried to push someone out of the way, the petite slayer was soon leading the way, her “excuse us” and “pardon me”s barely making up for the way she was shoving people to one side or the other.
They raced to the motorcycle, which Spike had running before Buffy had even fastened her helmet. The instant her hands were firmly clutching his ribs, the bike roared out of the parking lot and towards Restfield Cemetery.
Whew! got this community caught up with my own LJ. Now to finish the corrections polishing of the last chapter and post it. Be back soon.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/237689.html