Chapter Eleven

"Closing time, people," the deejay announced. "Finish your drink, finish your dance, then head out. We'll still be here tomorrow guys, so don't you worry."

Spike quirked an eyebrow at Buffy, sitting next to him in their booth. "Care to dance?"

Buffy made a face as the deejay put the final song on. "To that? You have got to be kidding me. Let's go."

Spike nodded. At least she showed some understanding to what good music was. He moved to help her out of her seat. As he did so, Buffy's lips tilted up. That's one of the funny things she learned about Spike tonight. He did all these old fashioned, gentlemanly things with her. Like help her up, or pull the chair out for her first. When Riley had done them, there was a faintly patronizing air that accompanied it. With Spike, it was all 'this is the way you're supposed to treat a lady'. Angel had done that too. Must be their whole born in another century deal.

They threaded their way through the few remaining stragglers tiredly gyrating to the music, then stepped out the door. Under the dim illumination of the Bronze's sign, Buffy stuck her hands in her pockets and looked at the ground. Here came the awkward moment. Does he leave her here? Try to walk her home? Do some typically Spike-like crude thing and shatter the illusion?

Spike mimicked Buffy and slipped his own hands into his duster pockets. This was feeling decidedly too human date-like. Not an area of expertise for him. Where was his guide to dating, Anya? She must have some advice for this sort of thing. Hell, she had advice for everything else.

"So," Buffy said suddenly, breaking the awkward silence thing, "what next?"

"Well, my original plan involved kissing you senseless and taking you away to my crypt to ravish you. But I'm open to suggestions."

"You try it and this whole thing's off."

"That's why I said I'm open to suggestions. Knew you'd feel that way about it."

Buffy frowned. "What are you saying?"

"Probably not what you seem to think I am."

"I heard something about ravishing me. How did you mean that?"

"It was a joke, luv. I didn't mean it," Spike back pedaled, sensing impending Slayer wrath. Not how he wanted this night to end.

"So you don't want to ravish me?"

Spike got a deer caught in headlights look. What was the right answer? Yes meant he only wanted her for sex, no might mean he doesn't find her attractive...

"Uh..."

Buffy laughed at his confusion. Teasing Spike was fun; he got the cutest look on his face when you stumped him.

What was so funny? Then Spike realized - "Slayer, were you just flirting with me?"

"Maybe," Buffy taunted, a sparkle in her eye. "What do you think?"

"I think you were."

"Then I guess I was."

The two smiled at each other, enjoying the silliness of the moment. This wasn't so bad, now was it?

Buffy was the first to look away. This evening wasn't going according to plan. First, he's all Boyfriend!Spike at the Bronze, and here she is being all Flirt!Buffy, and that so won't lead to the big messy break up that's on the schedule.

Spike sighed mentally. There she goes again. He could see the wheels in her head turning - and they were spinning in a direction away from him.

"I have to go now," Buffy announced abruptly. "Patrol. Dorm. Stuff."

"I'll come," he offered.

"I don't need help."

"'Course you don't. Doesn't mean I can't tag along for the fun."

"Fine. Just don't get in my way," Buffy said as she set off to patrol. Spike grinned. Well, coming from Buffy that was a positively friendly invitation. He trotted after her.

She marched through a few cemeteries, the park, and the usual route checking out the alleys behind the bars. The few vamps they found, Spike wisely let her stake. She was obviously in a mood. Not to mention, it was fun to watch her fight. Spike had thought so since the first time he had seen her.

Lost in memories of that infamous meeting (with occasional alterations making it turn out much more enjoyable for the both of them), Spike didn't notice the pack of vamps until they were upon them.

He wasn't long in recovering, though, taking out his stake the instant the first vamp made a jab at him. A few feet away, Buffy dealt death to hers with equal grace. Spike watched her a moment before impaling his attacker without turning around to face him. Before the dust had hit the ground, Spike had already started in on another.

Buffy twisted away from the ill timed blow of one lady vamp, pivoting to line up for a strike. Dust. Another vampire flung himself at her, practically begging, 'stake me!'. Buffy obliged. Dust. The same went for the vamp sneaking up behind her. Buffy turned at her waist, stake in ready position, and stabbed. Dust. She was on a roll, pumped and ready for action.

Very soon, there was only one vampire left. He had probably been the leader, sending out the minions to soften up the enemy before coming in for the kill himself. Spike guessed the vamp's age at about twenty or so. A little young to think he could take on a Slayer, but then Spike had been that age when he'd killed his first one. However, Spike had no intention of allowing any Slayers to die tonight.

Buffy saw the last vampire coming in at her. Waiting until it was almost upon her, Buffy lunged forward to stake it. Just as her stake pierced its heart, Buffy realized that Spike had had the same idea, only his stake came through the back.

As the vampire collapsed to dust, Buffy and Spike were just barely able to turn away their weapons from striking each other. Buffy collapsed against him, causing him to trip and fall backwards to the ground, taking her along for the ride.

"Oops." Buffy blushed as she realized what a compromising position she'd gotten them into. Spike lay on his back, with her stretched out on top.

"I'm not complaining." In fact, Spike was quite enjoying the feel of the Slayer lying all squished on top of him. Parts were touching other parts in a verrry nice way. Though it would be better if she would just scoot down a little further - No, remember what Anya had said. Think with the brain above, not below, the belt. Well, actually she had said, 'Don't be a typical male and think with your penis,' but it all meant the same thing.

Just as he was getting that under control, Buffy had to sit up. And straddle him.

Now that was a lovely sight. Eyes bright, cheeks flushed, good view of her heaving chest. She was obviously still charged from the fight. Not to mention exactly how she was straddling him. He could get used to this.

Buffy wondered why she wasn't, you know, pulling away. Probably had something to do with how good this felt. Especially the way Spike was pressing against her - Buffy's eyes flew open. Was that what she thought it was? She started to bolt away.

However, Spike had other ideas. He sat up abruptly and grabbed hold of her arms, pulling her against him. Anya was probably right, but no way was he watching Buffy run away. He kissed her, hard.

"Mmph!"

Buffy couldn't honestly say that she hadn't seen that coming - or that she'd fought particularly hard against it. Instead of breaking away, she opened her mouth and let his tongue in. They kissed passionately for a few minutes, stopping only when her annoying need to breathe interrupted. Spike tugged her back down, so they lay on the cemetery ground. His hands let go of her arms and ran down her back, ghosting their way back up under her shirt. Buffy responded with an eager moan.

"You know," he murmured into her ear, trailing little kisses against her, "we would be much more comfortable back in my crypt."

Spike's words served as a cold dash of ice water to Buffy. She quickly rolled off him and got to her feet. "I knew this was too good to be true. You always have to screw things up!"

Spike stood up, frustrated. Things had been going so well! "It's not like you were saying no!"

"Now I am! You actually thought I would go back to your CRYPT with you?"

"Well, yeah. Why not?"

"For starters, it's a crypt!"

"So that's it. Not that I was asking for more, but that I was reminding you I wasn't some milk-sop college boy? C'mon, SLAYER, you know better."

Buffy's face tightened. "Maybe I do. Thanks for the night, Spike. I think I'd better go now."

She left him standing in the graveyard. Spike watched her go, then kicked a gravestone in disgust. It shattered. Looks like another trip to Anya's was in order. Hopefully her advice would stick next time.

***

Buffy stomped up the stairs to her dorm room and flopped onto her bed, grateful that Willow had found other places to sleep at night. Right now, she was not going to pleasant Buffy company. She was cranky and wired and edgy -

And seriously horny from an aborted make-out session.

Buffy rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. Everything was going all screwy now, and she wasn't even getting screwed. Well, the last part was her own fault. Spike was more than willing in that department.

But doing anything with Spike seemed wrong. And not just in a he's a vampire way. That was the scary part. As much as she tried to blame the most recent mess on his vampire-ness (is that a word?) she knew that wasn't true. It really boiled down to the fact she wasn't ready to sleep with a guy she'd only gone on one date with. Even if they were married. And that's what really freaked her. Because that meant that she DID want a relationship with Spike; she just needed time.

Why couldn't she just declare him vampire, therefore evil and off limits? Why did he have to be so sweet sometimes, like at the Bronze when that sleazy guy was checking her out and Spike made the lumpies at him and then they went and slow danced on the floor and he held her really close but still gave her room to breathe?

Buffy smiled. It had been so strange, and kind of nice, to see Spike in that light. Everything at the Bronze had been wonderful, barring Xander's little interruption (she was still a little pissed at him about that), and she had had a great time. Much better time than with Riley.

Okay. Stop analyzing date. Date analysis only leads to freak outs and badness. Go to sleep, forget the Spike date ever happened, and deal with it in the morning.

Buffy put on her pajamas and tucked herself under the covers.

And decided not to acknowledge the hope her dreams had a special peroxided, blue eyed guest star helping her work out any residual horniness.

***

After Graham and Forrest had reported their observations to Walsh, she ordered Finn to come and see her. They had much to discuss.

"Agent Finn, I understand you were recently engaged in a relationship with the paranormal being known as the Slayer."

"Yes ma'am."

"And that you are aware of her own relationship with Hostile 17."

"Yes ma'am."

Walsh got up from behind her desk and walked around the room a moment. "At ease, Agent Finn. You're not on trial for your private life."

Riley relaxed minutely.

"Did you know that there are a multitude of paranormal beings in the world?" she brought up conversationally. "We've got the bulk of the HSTs catalogued, we believe, yet there are others we have insufficient data on. Witches, for example. Humans who are capable of tapping into the very forces HSTs thrive on. Seers, born with the ability to perceive the world with senses the average human cannot comprehend."

Riley made no comment. He merely stood there, waiting for Professor Walsh to reach her point.

"This brings me to the Slayer. According to current data, a human girl is somehow granted the powers of most HSTs and charged with the protection of humanity. She may even be possessed by an HST herself. Quite a fascinating story, when you think about it."

"It is," Riley agreed cautiously, wondering where this was leading.

Walsh turned to him. Bluntly, she said, "I want to get my hands on the current Slayer. She would make an excellent test subject, providing us with data on a paranormal being like herself. If at all possible, I want to recapture Hostile 17 as well in order to study their interactions together. The amount of data we have on anything approaching human/HST relations is abominable. Studying the Slayer and Hostile 17 together might remedy that. Do you understand me?"

"What do you want me to do?" Riley responded tersely.

"I'd like you to help us capture the Slayer and Hostile 17, using any information you have from your association with them."

Riley paused, his soldier fašade breaking a moment. "I don't think I can betray Buffy, Professor Walsh," he admitted.

"Even though she betrayed you by lowering herself to be with a hostile?" Walsh asked. She was well aware of his opinions regarding the Slayer's relationship with the vampire.

"Even then. As useful as data on the Slayer might prove to us, I believe it helps the cause of the Initiative more to have her out on the streets."

Walsh was not surprised by this, by any means. Agent Finn was a soldier with a rock solid honor code. He had yet to fully embrace all the - the subtleties (yes, that's a good word), all the subtleties of the Initiative's work. She wasn't worried. In time, he would learn.

"I understand. I'll take your opinion into consideration. And Hostile 17?"

Riley's face now betrayed a flicker of pleasure at the thought. "Ready and willing to help you there, ma'am."

That would do, for now, Walsh decided. Hopefully, his position regarding the Slayer would change in the future. And if it didn't do so naturally, she would help it along. Finn was one of their best recruits; there was no reason to alienate him.

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