Doing Their Best by lovesperoxide


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She’d seen candles alright.

Various ledges and corners of the crypt had been filled with assortments of them. It was even more warm and homely that she’d remembered. The floor had been covered in layers of those luxurious Persian rugs, similar to the ones which had adorned the lower level. The single-seater couch stood in the middle of the space and had a couple of rich blankets draped over it. Some plush cushions rested against its base. But what caught Buffy’s attention was the television. Or lack of television. The screen had been smashed and the electronics gutted out, and in their place a wood-burning fire had been lit. The sound of the gentle pop and crackle filled the crypt.

She wandered further inside, taking it all in. “What is this? Is there...someone living here?”

Spike sighed behind her and pushed the door shut.

“Plans never go the way they’re supposed to,” he murmured regretfully.

“What?”

He caught up with her, standing beside her in the middle of the room. “No one’s staying here. I”I did it.”

Already losing herself in the warmth, she looked at him with a puzzled, “Huh?”

“This is where I was before, when you were looking for me. I was going to bring you here after we finished the patrol; you know, have it all a ‘mysterious surprise’. Guess I should have taken the longer route first...oh.” He turned away suddenly, and headed towards the fridge where he bent down and rummaged for something.

Returning to her side, he presented her with a single long-stemmed rose, a burgundy ribbon tied round the stem. “Happy Birthday, Buffy. Sorry, it’s not much. And in a crypt. I just thought you might like to get away for a little bit; get some rest. Can’t fight the Big Bad if you’re dead on your feet now, eh?”

Speechless the whole time, she looked from the delicate flower, to the deep blue of his eyes, back to the flower and back to his eyes.

“Spike,” she whispered. “This...this is...thank you.”

Her birthday. She’d remembered when she’d woken up that morning, but no one had said anything, and what with training the Potentials and worrying about the First, somehow it had slipped her mind. But Spike had remembered. The thought warmed her He looked bashful as she smiled her gratitude.

“Come on, Slayer.” He led her to sit down on the couch. “What do you fancy? Cup o’ hot chocolate? Nabbed some o’ those mini marshmallows from your place.”

“That’d be nice.” She curled up on the blankets, stroking the delicate petals of the rose before laying it down on a cushion beside her. “You know, you really didn’t have to do this.”

“Nonsense, luv.” He pulled out a thermos and mugs, going about pouring her a drink. “Just ‘cause we all got stuck in the house that one time, doesn’t mean that we should just forget ‘bout our Slayer’s special day.”

“You went to so much trouble,” she mused quietly. “But I have to say I was wrong, this isn’t just a crypt. It’s your crypt. Spike’s comfy crypt.”

He chuckled as he handed her the drink and settled down on the rugs at her feet. He looked up at her with that boyish expression and she had a sudden urge to run her fingertips through his platinum locks. She wandered if it still had that same silky texture as it did during their brief affair.

Of course it would, but it couldn’t hurt just to find out.

Instead though, she slid down to join him on the floor, resting comfortably against the couch and pile of cushions. Resting her head on the seat, she watched the crackling fire before turning her attention to the blond beside her. She’d never had the opportunity to be so aware of her surroundings before, to be able to take in and appreciate every single detail. She just felt so...warm.

And it was all because of Spike.

She took another sip of her drink and smiled at the thought.

“What are you thinking about in that pretty head o’ yours, Slayer?”

She sighed contentedly. “Everything, I suppose. This.” She gestured around them and added light-heartedly, “And where you got these rugs from!”

She looked at him with mischievous eyes before feeling around for the edge of the top rug and manoeuvring herself underneath it.

Amused, he watched on. “Buffy, luv, what are you doing?”

“Reliving the old days,” she giggled. “How can you resist?” She lifted another edge, inviting him to join her. “Although, in the old days I guess we... didn’t really wear anything...” Arranging the cushions against the base of the couch, she snuggled down and took another sip. “Hmm, this is perfect.”

He rested his arm on the seat of the couch behind her head. His fingertips brushed her hair and she shifted in a little closer.

He chuckled. “Huh. The old days. Things seemed simpler back then.” He twitched a cheeky eyebrow and his eyes smouldered, “More fun too.”

She rolled her eyes playfully and suppressed an embarrassed grin. “Yeah, when you could actually hit the Big Bad that didn’t look like you and other dead people.”

They shared a laugh and settled into a comfortable silence.

“You know,” she whispered. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” She reached over to brush an imaginary bit of lint from his t-shirt and felt his body shudder as he released a shaky breath. “And I don’t just mean the whole...sleeping together. But before that, it was nice. We were like...friends. Confidantes. I guess... I miss that.” Her smile was laced with melancholy.

He watched her with careful eyes. “Buffy, those days, they don’t...have to be over.” He offered her his hand. “What do you say, Slayer, friends?”

She took it in a delicate grip, her thumb stroking his skin. “I thought we already were.”

To be continued...


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