Author's Chapter Notes:
As I said before, these are true events that have happened to me! I honestly can't make this silly stuff up! If you read, please review, it really makes my day!
Buffy burrowed deep under the covers and opened one eye to see the state of their tent after the raging rainstorm.

It was barely past dawn and no one else was awake as she surveyed the damage. The right end of the tent where the guys had started out the night was dripping, the little screen window open to the elements.

Through the mesh screen, Buffy could make out a woodpecker at the bottom of a tree, pounding away for its breakfast.

She was startled from her inspection by a loud snore from Xander, who happened to be laying half on Willow, half on the floor. Willow was in much the same position as Xander, smacking her lips and murmuring funny sounds into Xander’s shirt.

She smiled softly and then scooted back, only to come to a dead stop when she backed into something hard. She looked down at her arms and realized that Spike had wrapped his arms around her in a protective gesture. She listened to his soft breathing and prayed he was still asleep. She lost that hope the next second as his grip tightened.

“Buffy,” he whispered near her ear and she froze.

As gently as she could, she extricated herself from Spike’s embrace and rolled over to face him. She could at least deal with him if she were face to face with him.

His eyes were still closed, as he seemed to be reaching for her in his sleep. She inched away from his hands but he caught her off guard when he started nuzzling her throat and murmuring nonsensical words of affection.

“Buffy, so beautiful…get lost in your eyes…you smell like the forest after it rains…beautiful Buffy, my Buffy,” Spike breathed into her neck, nuzzling as if he was trying to crawl beneath her skin.

Buffy closed her eyes and was lost to the sensations Spike’s actions were causing. She leaned carefully towards his head and inhaled deeply of his platinum locks, smiling with delirious giddiness. He started nipping her jugular and she stifled a giggle, trying not to squirm from the ticklishness of the act. No one had ever kissed her like this. No one had even touched her like this.

His hands started moving down her arms to her hips and pulled them towards him, grinding his erection against her thigh and whimpering. Buffy went into sensory overload.

“Spike,” she whispered in his ear, trying not wake up Willow and Xander. She tried pushing his hands away. He whimpered louder and she tried to wake him again.

“Spike, wake up!” she whispered a little louder and shook his shoulder.

He startled awake and looked into her fearful green eyes. “Buffy?”

She smiled shyly and tried to move away from him, but he caught her face with his hands.

“Stay,” he pleaded, longing plain to see in his eyes.

“I…” Buffy started but was silenced when his lips pressed against hers desperately.

“Please stay,” he whispered against her lips.

“I have to use the bathroom,” she grimaced as she heard him chuckle.

His hand trailed down her thigh and lightly tapped her firm ass in mock irritation. “Go on then, off to the loo.”

She smiled hesitantly and scooted herself away from his disturbing body. She pulled back the flap, looked once in his direction and then was gone.

As she started walking, Buffy traced her lips with her fingers, smiling every once in a while. Spike was really messing with her peace of mind and she would need to seriously back away from him if she was to keep any shred of her heart intact.

Absentmindedly, she followed the trail back to the port-a-john that her and Willow had come across, sloshing her way through the heavy mud in Xander’s boots.

She didn’t fully gather her thoughts until she had made it back to camp and sat at the picnic table, watching the sunrise over the treetops. She heard a rapid clicking and searched the area for the noise, finally settling on the tent as the source of the sound. There she found Spike sitting in the doorway taking pictures of her in all of her rumpled state. She scowled.

“What are you doing with that?”

“Taking pictures, luv. What did you think I was doing?”

“All I can think of is when I was in the shower and you decided to take a few porno shots,” Buffy huffed as she turned away from him, leaving nothing but her back to photograph.

“You know what? Those were tasteful photos I’ll have you know. Actually won me a couple awards with them,” Spike pointed out.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe you showed those pictures to people,” Buffy moaned in embarrassment.

Spike had made his way over to the picnic table and sat down on the opposite bench. “Here, you bloody prude,” he ground out as he laid several black and white photos in front of her to look at.

Buffy cringed and started to look over the incriminating pictures, her temper receding as her mind finally took in the actual photos.

“These are…me?”

The shots were silhouettes of Buffy’s figure in the shower behind a beveled and frosted shower door. One arm was raised above her head as she washed her chest and hips in one picture. Another showed both arms raised to her head as she washed her hair. There were no discerning body parts to be seen, no suggestive arrangements to leer at. Just a nice hourglass figure in black and white posed in graceful positions. Even she would have to admit they looked classy.

Buffy looked up to see Spike watching her and she blushed. “I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions. But please, next time, ask me…don’t just start taking pictures of me without my permission,” she pleaded.

“Does that include this one?” he asked as he pulled out a faded and worn picture of Buffy from his jacket pocket. He laid it in front of her and she gasped.

“How did…” she said in awe as she caressed the worn paper. She remembered that evening well. The lake had been peaceful and the doe was more than obliging as it let Buffy pet her soft nose. When the grain was gone and the doe had taken off, she had just sat and enjoyed the falling twilight and felt at peace for a few moments in her life. She had never heard Spike’s camera shutter nor even realized he was in the area. She had just closed her eyes and felt her spirit lift.

“This is me, Spike…this is…really me!” she said fervently, her smile so bright even though tears misted her eyes.

Spike grinned. “This is how I see you, luv. I always carry this with me. If I’m feeling a bit down, I just pull it out and have a look. Lifts my spirit, it does.”

Buffy’s eyes shot to his. “Really?”

“Hey guys, got coffee going?” Willow mumbled from the tent, breaking the mood.

“No, but I’ll start up the nosh,” Spike called to her. He glanced back at Buffy and found her gone from her seat, rifling through the cooler for the coffee and bottled water.

Willow and Xander then appeared looking quite bedraggled. Xander’s hair had shaped itself into a mohawk and Willow looked like she had stuck her finger in a light socket.

“Great look, guys!” Buffy laughed at their mutually grumpy expression.

“There is no making fun of the Xan Man before his cup of java,” Xander mumbled as he scrubbed the sleep from his eyes. “That was one hell of a night!”

Willow still hadn’t woken up completely and she was slightly snoring as she leaned against Xander’s shoulder while they sat on the bench. Buffy moved to wake her but Xander stopped her. “Let her sleep. With me snoring in her ear all night, it’s a wonder she got any sleep at all.” Buffy smiled and nodded, moving to start boiling the water.

After a rousing breakfast of pressed coffee and FastShake blueberry pancakes, the group started getting dressed for the day ahead. Spike had brought a large container of water to wash with and Buffy had indulged washing her hair with honey shampoo. She was blindly reaching for a towel when one was laid over her head. She stood still and let the person towel-dry her hair, pulling it up into a turban when they were done.

“Thanks for that,” she murmured to Spike. He smiled tenderly and pushed a stray strand behind her ear. “Welcome, luv.”

“Oh, you can’t make this stuff up! I can’t believe this…” they heard Xander yell from the tent.

“What’s wrong, mate?”

Xander slung both his and Spike’s duffle bags out of the tent. He dug around in them and pulled out the underwear. “They’re soaked. And it’s just the shorts, nothing else. How do these things happen?”

“No way!” Buffy and Willow both exclaimed.

“Oh yes way, look!” Xander pointed to the bags and the girls bent to take inventory.

It was true. Most all the clothing was dry except the underwear, bizarre as it may have seemed. “Guess we’ll have to string a line and let them air dry,” Willow offered.

“Uh, not hanging my knickers out for the world to have a gander at, Red,” Spike countered.

“Oh, like there’s anyone around?”

“Gentle Ben and Smokey, maybe even Yogi,” Spike supplied.

“Bears? You think bears are going to eat your ‘knickers?’” Buffy snickered.

“Oi! It could happen.”

“Hey! Only my swimming trunks are dry enough to wear,” Xander groused. “Who’s for boating then?”

“Definitely! I haven’t been canoeing in years!” Willow said excitedly.

“Guess that settles it. Canoeing it is,” Spike grunted as he strung a line between two trees and begun hanging his soggy underwear, Xander following behind him.

“But I swear Red, if one piece of my kit goes missing…” Spike threatened.

“I’ll have Buffy buy you some banana hammocks,” Willow teased. Spike gaped at the giggling girls and actually blushed.

“Mental picture SO not what I wanted,” Xander said disgustedly.

“Yeah, with you there mate,” Spike grimaced and moved to change into his trunks inside the tent.

An hour later and they were all headed towards the park rental office to purchase time for boating. Two canoes for four hours should have been enough. At least, it should have been.

The guys had decided to pair up and take out the first canoe. But, as soon as they had the long monstrosity hauled down the beach and idling in the water, Buffy and Willow jumped in and started rowing off towards the middle of the lake.

“Oi! You dozy bints! Come back here with our boat! We worked our arses off to tow that down there! Come back!” Spike yelled to no avail at the retreating girls, their laughter carrying across the lake.

“Thanks for the help with ‘our’ boat, guys!” the girls yelled back and continued paddling.

“Let’s get em’,” Xander challenged. “Oh they’re gonna regret that little stunt,” Spike agreed.

They started pushing the second canoe towards the beach and then stopped when half of it was in the water. “Wait, one of us has to get in or it’ll capsize if we both try to get in while it’s in the water,” Spike explained.

“Right, I’ll get in first, I’m heavier,” Xander said as he walked on the small deck above the boat and slowly lowered himself to sit on the metal bench in the back, paddle in hand.

Spike had one leg slung over the end that was still on the sand tried hoisting himself over.

“Wait! Shift your weight! Shift your weight!” Xander yelled trying to keep balance on his end.

“I am shifting, doughnut boy!” Spike yelled back as he slung his other leg into the boat. He glared at Xander as they sat there in tense silence. “I have to get out and push, damnit.”

“I swear if we catch up with them,” Xander started but never finished his sentence. He was tossed head first into the water as Spike got out to push the canoe further into the water. His life jacket made him look like a floating fishing bobber as his legs flailed around trying to get purchase on anything solid.

Spike pulled him out of the muck at the bottom of the lake, laughing himself silly. There was seaweed-like plants clinging to him and silt down his shorts.

“I hate you,” Xander ground out as he spit a pebble at him.

“Oi, spew your venom on the chits that stole your boat, not me,” Spike said, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“Fine, c’mon then, lets try again.”

It took two more tries before they were finally able to push off from the shore, both of them soaked from the dunkings.

The girls had been enjoying themselves, having gone around the lake several times while the guys floundered with their boat. They watched the proceedings with great amusement and even garnered laughter from the passers-by on the shoreline.

“Think they’ll catch us?” Buffy wondered aloud.

“Not if we’re quick,” grinned Willow.

They watched as the guys rowed with much fury and little coordination towards them. They calmly paddled away from them having mastered a comfortable rowing technique that got them where they wanted to go in short order. Apparently this incensed Spike and Xander.

“Tip em’! Tip em’!” Xander yelled as Spike tried to land his paddle in their direction. All they got was a lone oar floating a great distance away from them. Buffy and Willow just laughed loudly and rowed away, blowing kisses from their hands and waving.

“Arrgh!” Spike roared and lunged, leaving Xander alone in the canoe. Which was enough to tip him backwards.

“Oh shit!” was all he was able to get out before he went under.

The girls dissolved into hysterical laughter and a roar was heard from the shoreline. All the spectators were bent double with laughter at the boy’s antics. Two orange life jackets floated in the middle of the lake, a capsized canoe between them.

“C’mon mate, lets get this rig back to shore,” Spike panted as he tread water and pulled the canoe.

It took them an hour and a half to tow the boat back to shore where a ranger just stood and watched them in silent amusement. “Nice swim?” he questioned.

“Lost my shoe,” Xander huffed as he moved slowly through the clay and sand bottom. He watched as a snake slithered its way through the cattails and past his leg. He turned three shades of white and faltered.

“Oh no you don’t, mate!” Spike yelled as he drug Xander up the shore and deposited him in the grass.

“I’m gonna kill them, that’s all there is to it. Dead, chopped into little pieces, axed,” Xander muttered incoherently.

“Don’t think you mean that, do you boy?” the ranger asked as he bent over the prone men.

Xander audibly gulped. “Hehehe, no sir, not at all.”

“Good. Hate axe murderers as much as I hate pyro’s. Just remember that,” he advised and moved away.

“Way to go, mate. Keep your gob shut,” Spike said as he hit Xander’s arm.

“They’re still out there, aren’t they?” Xander asked as he tried to sit up.

“Yup. And we still have an hour left on boating,” Spike offered.

“Hmm, really?”


“Something a little sturdier, you think?”

“Such as?”

“How about a paddle boat? It’s wider, no oars, faster, harder to tip.”

“It’s an idea.”

“I say we go for it. We’ll tip em’ for sure this time.”

“But will they give us another boat?”

“They have to, we paid a deposit.”

“Sure, let’s go.”

At this point, the crowd on the shoreline wondered who was the more foolish, the boat rental shop or the men. They watched as Xander and Spike paddled furiously towards the girls once more.

“Uh oh, here they come again,” Buffy warned.

Willow smirked. “Let them come, not like they can catch us in that old junk heap.”

The guys looked winded from having to paddle so much to get so little speed. The boat tilted on Xander’s side because he was heavier and Spike’s paddles barely reached the water causing Xander to be the one doing most of the paddling. It was also causing them to go in circles.

“Going nowhere fellas?” Buffy and Willow taunted.

“Oi, you come here you bossy chits!” Spike yelled to them across the lake.

There was a surge of bubbles that suddenly erupted near the girl’s canoe and it startled them. “What the hell was that?” Willow said as she peered over the edge.

They looked as a rather large catfish surfaced and then dove back down, grazing their boat. It was enough to tip them off balance. “Oh shit!”

Both girls fell side ways into the water bringing the canoe with them, knocking Buffy on the head.

“Buffy!” Spike yelled and dove off the paddleboat, swimming towards the girls.

That left Xander swimming in circles trying to get to the girls. He finally gave up and dove off the boat and started swimming towards Willow who was trying to tow the canoe with her to shore. He reached her and helped her pull the overturned boat through the sludge and onto the beach. They turned to watch Spike drag an unconscious Buffy with him to the jetty.

Xander helped pull her up and tore off her life jacket checking for breath. She was breathing, just out of it from the blow to her head. Spike crawled onto the jetty deck and cradled her in his lap.

“C’mon love, open those eyes for me, please,” he begged. He felt the lump on the back of her head and winced at how large it was.

“Spike?” Buffy whispered.

Spike pulled Buffy closer and kissed her forehead. “S’ok kitten, got a goose-egg on the back of your noggin is all.”

She smiled and started to laugh but it brought a flash of pain. “God my head hurts.”

“You’re lucky we don’t fine your asses!” the ranger yelled from his boat as he towed the forgotten paddleboat into dock. “Don’t plan on renting a boat from here…ever again!”

“Fine by me,” Willow muttered as she helped Buffy to her feet.

“Oh god Willow! You’re…you’re…well, let’s just say your hair matches your skin now!” Buffy gasped looking at a completely sunburned Willow.

“Hate to say it, but you too Buffy,” Willow pointed out as she took hold of her arm. The girls looked like veritable lobsters.

“Didn’t you put sun block on before we left camp?” Xander asked

“Apparently we didn’t Xander, by the looks of us,” Buffy groused.

The journey back to camp was slow going, the girls feeling prickly the whole way. If they stopped too long they froze in that position.

“God, what I wouldn’t give to be slathered in mint chocolate chip ice cream right now,” Buffy mused as she fanned herself.

“I’d give a lot for that, luv,” Spike whispered in her ear, out of range from Xander and Willow who were walking ahead of them.

“You’re still a pig Spike, you know that.”

“Oink, bloody, oink.”

“Oh man, you’ve got to be kidding me!” Xander moaned.

“What?” Spike questioned as he caught up with his cousin.

Xander just gestured towards the campsite and laughed in that hysterical way people do when they’ve gone through too much.

The guy’s underwear was strung out all over the ground, some ripped, some bearing the brunt of whatever the intruder was rooting around in. The spare tent was ripped to shreds and the cooler was over turned.

“Looks like Yogi did make an appearance,” Willow said in a small voice.

“Well, we still got the one tent, right?” Buffy offered.

“Not sure how safe it is though, pet,” Spike said as he crept towards the tent flap.

A low grumble sounded from the tent and the group froze. It became louder and chirpier, as if someone were having a conversation. Spike stepped slowly up to the flap and pulled it back.

Three raccoons tumbled out and scurried into the forest, dragging some of Buffy’s pink socks with them.

“Hey! Those are mine!” she yelled starting after them before Spike could catch her.

“Now, now pet. You’ve got some to spare, let em’ go.”

“But,” she spluttered.

“Raccoons can carry rabies. Best not see if they go Cujo on your ass, luv,” Spike explained.

“Ugh.” Buffy grumbled and crossed her arms. “So what now?”

Surveying the mess that was left of the camp, Spike ran his hand through his messy locks. “Don’t know pet…don’t rightly know.”

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