“Buffy!”, Giles called into the kitchen of his house. “I have to go out for awhile, something’s come up and I may not be back for a few hours. Will you be alright here?”
Buffy came out of the kitchen, munching on a cheese stick. “Yeah.” She grinned at her Watcher. “Olivia’s in town, isn’t she?”
Giles almost blushed. Almost. “Well, yes. But that’s not-”
Buffy plopped on his couch. “Don’t worry, Giles. I won’t tell anyone that you have a date. I like Olivia.”
Giles gave a relieved nod, then, “Are you sure that you’ll be alright here? I can ask Willow or Xander to come over and help you.”
Buffy glanced at the subject of Giles’ worries: Spike, tied to a chair in the corner of the room. “Naw. I can handle one annoying, neutered vampire, Giles. If he bothers me, I’ll just stake him.”
Giles gave a laugh, but then said seriously, “Buffy, you know you can’t stake him. We may still need his knowledge of the Initiative.”
Buffy exaggerated a sigh. “Oh.. Okay. I’ll just… stuff something in his mouth if he talks too much.”
The Watcher chuckled. “Alright, then. Oh, and make sure to feed him if I’m gone past ten tonight. He’s easier to deal with if he eats once every twelve hours or so.”
Buffy nodded and waved as Giles left, locking the door behind him. She turned around, looking at Spike, who seemed either asleep, or bored. Sometimes, it was hard to tell. “If you bother me, I’m gonna stuff one of Giles’ workout socks in your mouth.”
Spike glanced up. Ok. So bored, not asleep. He sneered at her, and almost stuck his tongue out, but stopped himself in time. Just because he was forced to hang out with a lot of infantile teenagers, didn’t mean he should start acting like one.
Buffy gave a ‘humph’, and turned around, grabbing the remote and flipping the TV on. Oh! The Price Is Right! This would occupy her for an hour….
Two hours later, Buffy was bored. There was nothing on TV, and she’d already raided Giles’ kitchen, and looked at all his shiny weapons, AND beat the crap out of his punching bag. Twice. She paced back and forth in the living room, trying to decide what to do.
Spike’s head went back and forth, back and forth, watching the Slayer pace. He’d had just about enough. It was like watching tennis, and just about as exciting. Finally, he had to say something. “Slayer. Quit your bloody pacing, already. The Watcher won’t be happy to come home to a hole in the floor.”
Buffy gave him a look. The ‘Shut Up Spike’, look. He knew that look, and decided to study the weapons on the wall for awhile. Gave a deep sigh. “You know,” he continued after a moment. “I’m bored, too. And you don’t see me pacing ’round the room.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re tied to a chair, moron. What are you going to do? Hop back and forth?”
He snorted at her. “Anything is better than watching you pace. I happen to be trapped here, thank you very much, and can’t even turn around, so why don’t YOU leave ME alone?”
She walked right up to him and glared down at him. “Shut up. I’m not bothering you. You started talking first. So shut up.” She turned and walked back to the couch, flopping down on it again with a sigh.
Spike couldn’t help himself. “Or what?”
“I already told you. I’m gonna shove a workout sock in your mouth.” She lay there, on her back, trying to figure out something, ANYTHING to do. Then an idea hit her. “What did they do to you when you were at the Initiative?”
He said nothing, so she rolled over, got up on her knees, and looked at him over the back of the couch. “You’re allowed to talk when I start the conversation, you know.”
He glanced up at her from where he’d apparently been studying his jeans. “Fine. NOW you want me to talk.”
She sighed, and made a motion that encompassed the whole room. “There’s nothing else to do. Besides. Maybe you’ll say something useful.”
“You really want to know?”
“Yeah. Start at the beginning.”
He gave a half chuckle. “They grabbed me. I woke up in a white cell/cage. The shoved the chip in my brain, and did experiments like making me run on a treadmill while vamped and then again without the fangs. All sorts of stuff like that. Barely fed me anything the whole time.”
“More of the same.”
She sighed. She’d hoped this would have been slightly more interesting. Then she got another idea. Got up, went in the kitchen and dragged at chair from the dining table into the living room so that she could sit in front of him. Very close in front of him. Their knees were almost touching. “Vamp.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Why?”
She sighed and shook her head. “Just do it. I wanna see.”
He shrugged as best he could and pulled his demon to the fore, allowing his teeth to lengthen into fangs, his eyes to glow golden/yellow, and his forehead to become all bumpy. “Now what?”
She didn’t say anything, just cocked her head at him. Stared into his eyes for a moment. “You’re eyes are different than Angel’s. You’ve got more gold, and almost no green.”
He gave a snort. “We’re related, as much as that pains me. But we’re not blood brothers. They’re supposed to be different.”
She brought up a hand and touched his ridged forehead, pushing on the bumps slightly. “Are these bone, or muscle? They feel hard.”
“Bone, I think. Feels like the bones of my face shift a little when I do this.” He cocked his head at her. “What are you doing, Slayer?”
She shrugged. “I’m bored. I’ve never examined a vampire up close before, just for the purpose of examination. So, I’m examining. Think of yourself as a test subject.” She ran a finger down the bridge of his nose. “Your nose gets all scrunched up.”
“Yeah. I think that keeps it out of the way when I bite.” He watched her as well. He’d never noticed how nice her skin was. It looked so soft. He found himself wondering what it would be like to touch her cheek, like she was doing to him at that moment.
“Your cheek bones still show, though. Hmm.” She tugged on the end of his nose, trying to straighten it out a little, laughed when he sneezed. “Touchy, aren’t you?”
He gave a half growl. “No. Don’t do that. It hurts to sneeze when I’m like this.”
She chuckled. “Sorry.” Didn’t mean it. Went back to her examination. “Do you breathe all the time, or only to talk?”
“To talk, or when I’m tired. I’ve been told that I breathe in my sleep sometimes.”
She laughed. “Do you snore?”
He gave a half chuckle. “Not that I know of.”
She was done examining his face. Sat back. Tried to think of something else to do. Allowed her eyes to travel down his neck, over his black clad chest, and down to where the shirt was hugging his abs. Ah! Inspiration. She reached out with one finger, and poked at his stomach, grinned when he jumped and his face went back to human. “Hmmm. Seems you are touchy.” Poked again, more toward his ribs.
Spike snorted, and his eyes got wide. “Slayer… What are you doing?”
She gave him an evil grin. “Just what I said I was. Experimenting.” Poked both sides at once and giggled when Spike bit his lip and squirmed. “Mr. Big Bad is ticklish.”
His blue eyes got wider and locked on hers. “No. Not at all. Quit it.”
She giggled again, and positioned both hands over his ribs. “Then this shouldn’t bother you then.”
He licked his lips, and his whole body tensed. It was true, and he knew it. He’d always been ticklish. Excruciatingly so. And hated it. “Slayer.. Don’t do what I think you’re going to do…”
She grinned. “You mean.. this!?” Her fingers descended, wiggling like mad, onto his sensitive ribs. Spike tried to hold it in, but she was playing his ribs like piano keys, and he couldn’t take it. He started laughing like crazy, and trying to hop the chair away from her, but it didn’t work. She worked his ribs over good then moved on to his stomach, resisting the urge to dig in, knowing from personal experience that the lighter the touch, the more it tickled. Spike was giggling and laughing like mad now, tossing his head back and forth simply because that was the only thing he could move.
“Slayer… Stoooop!”, he gasped out. To his surprise, she did.
She sat back, giggling as she watched the now panting vampire. “Oh God..”, she laughed. “This is too good. If I had only known this three years ago, you’d be dust now.”
Spike was still breathing hard, but he was also realizing something. Now that she’d stopped, he actually wanted her to start up again. When he’d been tickled in the past, the tickler would always dig into his ribs, admittedly eliciting loud and prolonged laughter, but Spike absolutely hated it. The way Buffy had been doing it, lightly, was a whole different sensation. And he found, to his great shock, that he had enjoyed that! He looked up at her. She seemed to be thinking. This could not be good. “What.. what’s on your mind, Slayer?”, he panted out.
She grinned at him. “I was just thinking that I’m gonna do that again. But! I have an idea.”
The vampire swallowed, and gave her a half grin. “Ok.”
She froze, looked at him. ” ‘Ok’?”
He chuckled and nodded. “That was… kind of fun.”
She laughed. “Oh goody. Then I’m gonna roll up your shirt, this time.”
He blanched. “What?”
She nodded. “Oh yeah. Right on the skin is the best way to tickle someone.” She raised an eyebrow. “Unless you’re scared..?”
He snorted at her. “I’m not scared of you or anything, Slayer. Bring it on.”
She grinned. “Ok.” Leaned forward, rolling his shirt up to his armpits. “Hold your arms up out a bit, ok?” He did as she asked, and she shoved the sides of the rolled up shirt under his arms. “Clamp down.” He did, effectively pinning his shirt up. “Good…” She couldn’t help but notice his abs. They’d been impressive with the shirt down, but now… Yummy.. NO! Bad Slayer. It’s SPIKE for crying out loud!
He must have noticed her focus. “Somethin’ wrong, Slayer?”
She snapped up, then covered quickly, “Uh. Nope. Just deciding how best to start this.” Evil grin again. “I think I found the spot.” Her eyes had locked on his bellybutton, which was totally exposed just above the waist band of his jeans.
His eyes grew wide, and he licked his lips again. “Alright. I’m ready.” He was tensed up, but not as much as before.
She grinned. “Ok.” She took one finger, and began tracing the lines of his abs. Spike began to giggle quietly almost immediately. She brought her other hand up and played the fingers up and down one set of well muscled ribs. Spike started laughing harder. But when her finger found the spot just above his belly button, he went totally nuts, throwing his head around and laughing hysterically. She laughed along with him and brought the other hand down to play near his belly button as well. After about ten minutes of this, they both needed another break. Buffy had been laughing almost as hard as Spike had been. She leaned back in her chair, giggling. “I think this is the most fun I’ve ever had with you, Mortal Enemy.”
He chuckled. “Yeah.. Same goes..” He was breathing hard. “I think I need some water…”
She laughed and got up. “Me too.” Went into the kitchen and got two glasses of water, one with a straw so she wouldn’t have to untie him. She sat back down, taking a long drink from her glass, then held the other one out to Spike, who latched onto the straw and sucked down half the glass in under ten seconds. “Whoa, slow down there. You can get a cramp drinking like that, you know.”
He stopped drinking and settled back in his chair again. “Not me. I only get cramps when I’m in one position too long.”
She cocked her head. “Have you been sitting there too long?” All the venom that was usually in both of their tones was missing. They were talking like.. friends, almost.
He shook his head. “Naw. Rupert moves me around a bit, so I don’t get cramped. I’m fine.” He grinned at her. “Are we done now?”
She shook her head. “Not yet.. I got somethin’ I wanna try.” She got up and walked over to where she’d left her purse on the coffee table, began rooting through it. “Where is that stupid thing?”
“What’re you lookin’ for?”
“My make up kit.”
Spike sat up straight. “Now wait a minute! You aren’t giving me a make over!”
She laughed. “That didn’t even occur to me. I want the brush that’s in the blush.”
He chuckled, wondering why everything was suddenly so funny. “Blush brush..” Chuckled again.
She shook her head. “You need help. Seriously. AH!” She held up the item in question. “Found it.” She blew the excess blush off the brush and brought it over with her to sit back down in her chair again. “This,” she said, showing him the brush. “Is very soft, almost like a feather. I don’t have a feather, and this was the first thing I thought of. See?” She ran it down his stomach, causing him to snort out a giggle. “Perfect, isn’t it?”
He licked his lips again. When had that become such a habit? “Yeah. Uh.. Slayer.. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take. Seriously. I’m starting to feel really tired from laughing so hard.”
She giggled. “Yeah. I know. Me too, actually.” She grinned at the brush, then at him. “But do you really want to pass this up? I know you like this. You don’t even beg for me to stop.”
He ducked his head for an instant. “I never did before.” Chuckled at himself and looked back up at her. “But you’re right. This is fun. If tiring. And I do want to see what that brush can do.”
She laughed. “Figured. And don’t you mean ‘feel’ what it can do?”
He half grinned. “Yeah. Good point.” She gave him a smile, and wiggled the brush down his bare side, while running a finger up and down his stomach with the other hand. He was instantly in hysterics this time. By the time she’d brought the brush down to wiggle it in and around his belly button, he had tears streaming down his face from laughing so hard. Finally, after another good fifteen minutes of that exquisitely maddening torture, she stopped. They both took a couple of moments to stop laughing completely, and Buffy got up and got a tissue to wipe the laughter induced tears from Spike’s cheeks. He was panting again, and still hadn’t quite stopped laughing yet, a quiet giggle escaping him here and there. She gently pulled his shirt down again, and settled back in her chair, waiting for him to calm down completely. It took a couple of minutes.
Finally, Spike looked up at her, a kind of goofy grin on his face. She had the feeling that she looked about the same way. Neither of them had laughed like that in a long time. Maybe even years. Both of them were on an endorphin induced high at that moment, and feeling really good. Spike chuckled. “I’m itchy now.”
She laughed, and, without a second thought, she reached over and scratched his sides and stomach gently. “Better?”
He made a quiet rumbling sound, and looked surprised at himself for it. “Uh.. Yeah..”
She cocked her head. “What was that?”
“That sound you just made. You’re still doing it. Just quieter.” She smiled a little. “Sounds like a happy cat.”
He shook his head and grinned at her. “You hit it on the head. I’m bloody purring.”
She laughed. “Seriously?”
He chuckled. “Yeah. I haven’t purred in… I don’t even remember when it was.”
“Is it like a cat? Means you’re happy?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Contented. Relaxed. Happy. All those things.” Chuckled. “Not words I usually associate with you, though.”
She chuckled. “Yeah. Things change, I guess.” Gave him a considering look. “You’re okay, I guess. For a bloodsucking fiend.”
He laughed. “Don’t let word get around that I said this, but you’re pretty alright, too. For a Slayer.”
She gave a grin, then frowned at his ropes. “That can’t be comfortable. If I untie you, you won’t try to run away, right?”
He cocked his head at her. “You’re serious?”
Nodded. “Yeah. I am. Promise not to run away, though.”
He nodded. “Okay. I promise.” Glanced outside. “I don’t really want to, anyway. There are things out there that don’t like me.”
She went behind his chair and began working at the ropes that held his hands. “Yeah. They don’t care much for me, either.” Got one hand free, then winced when she saw the rope burns on his wrist. “God. Giles really tied you tight, didn’t he?” She took his wrist in her hand and examined it. “When I get you untied, I’ll get the first aid kit. Wrap these up a little.”
He fish-mouthed slightly. “Okay…” Since when was she THIS nice to him? He grinned. He could get to like this arrangement.
She got the other hand free and found that the wrist was worse on that side. “Can you untie your legs? I’m gonna go get the aid kit now. I really don’t like the looks of those burns.” He nodded, and she got up and headed for the bathroom to retrieve the kit.
He untied his legs and stood up, stretching. It sure felt good to be off that hard chair. He turned around and grabbed the back of the chair, using it to stretch his back, yawning widely and showing fangs for an instant. Buffy came back as he wound the stretch down and shook his head a little. She grinned at him. “Hey. Come sit on the couch, so I can see your wrists.”
He followed her to the couch and sat down at one end. She sat close and put the first aid kit on her lap. “Gimme a hand.”
He couldn’t help himself, he clapped. To his surprise, she laughed. “Not that kind of hand, you sack of stupid.” There was no anger behind the insult. It was more like the way she would insult that Harris wanker, than him. She took one of his hands, the one with the worst rope burns, and began to gently clean them with antiseptic. He winced at the sting. She gave him a ‘sorry’ look, and kept cleaning the wrist. Then she wrapped some gauze around it and taped it in place, and then repeated the performance with the other wrist. “There you go. All fixed. Better?”
He smiled at her. Not a smirk, not a grin, a smile. “Yeah. Thanks, Sl- Buffy.”
She grinned. “Don’t call me Buffy. Makes me feel weird. You never call me Buffy. Stick to Slayer.”
He chuckled. “Ok, Slayer. Whatever you say.” He yawned, prompting her to do the same.
“On’t ooh at,” she said around the yawn. Yawning Person to English translation? ‘Don’t do that.’ “It’s contagious.”
He laughed. “Yeah. I know. Sorry.” He picked up the remote. “What’s on the telly?”
She made a face. “Can’t you just say ‘TV’ like a normal person?” She reached for the remote. “Gimme.”
He pulled back. “Nuh-uh. I want to do IT!” The ‘it’ went up a notch because she started tickling his stomach. He promptly dropped the remote, and she snatched it up, scooting to the other end of the couch and sticking her tongue out at him. He shook his head. “That’s cheating, Slayer.”
She laughed, flipping the TV on. “Yeah. I know.” Flipped channels for a moment. Paused. “Ooh! Terminator 2!” She looked at him. “You should like this. Lots of violence and fake blood.”
He chuckled. “I prefer the real thing.”
“The violence, or the blood?”
She chuckled. “Yeah. Sometimes I do, too. But not now. I’m too tired to fight.” She grinned at him. “You wore me out with all your contagious laughing.”
He laughed a little. “Tickling me was your idea, Slayer. And for your information, I’m tired, too.”
She grinned. “Yeah. I know.” Looked at the TV. “Oh! It’s the part where that liquid guy impales the kid’s adopted dad!”
Spike chuckled at her enthusiasm, and turned his attention to the TV as well. The fake blood in this particular movie did have a nice semblance of realism to it…
Three hours later, a key turned in the lock and Giles came in. He froze when he realized that Spike’s chair was empty. He started to call for Buffy, a panic rising in his mind and heart, but then he caught sight of her hair over one arm of the couch. He walked toward the couch slowly, almost crying when the thought that Buffy could be dead came to his mind. Memories of finding Jenny Calendar’s body in his bed flashed unbidden to the forefront of his mind. He reached the couch and swallowed, preparing for what he was sure he would find: Buffy’s dead body, left there by Spike. But, what he did find nearly made him collapse with relief, and DID make him scratch his head in a very confused manner. First of all, he could hear not one, but two deep breathing sounds coming from the couch. That calmed him a little, and also confused him a bit. Two breathing? Not one? Ok, Rupert. Time to look.
He leaned over the couch, and had to physically restrain himself from making a very loud shocked sound. Thinking he wasn’t seeing right, he walked around one end of the couch, and looked from the front. Nope. He’d seen right the first time.
Buffy was laying stretched out along the couch, her head on the pillow by one arm, in a deep sleep. This was not the shocking thing, however. Spike was in the exact same position, with his head at the other end of the couch, bandages around his wrists, and a contented smile on his sleeping face. That too, wasn’t that unusual. Giles had let Spike out a couple of times, so that he’d stop complaining, and he had gone to sleep on the couch before, but what shocked the Watcher was that the Slayer’s and the vampire’s legs were tangled up, since they were occupying the same space on the couch. Both sleepers had happy looks on their faces, and Spike was making a deep purring sound in his sleep, along with breathing in the exact same rhythm as Buffy. In at the same time, out at the same time. Totally in sync. Giles decided against waking either of them up, partially because their tangled legs assured that one could not get up without waking the other.
Giles reached down and gently extracted the remote from Buffy’s hand, switching off the TV, which was showing a test pattern, anyway, and put the remote on the coffee table. He picked up the empty Kiss The Librarian mug, which Spike had obviously had blood in, two glasses, two empty coke cans, and a big bowl with some popcorn still in the bottom. He shook his head as he took the items into the kitchen. When he’d left that evening, he’d been afraid that he’d come home to either a pile of dust in the chair, or Spike in a closet, or something equally likely for Buffy to do to him, if the vampire’d annoyed her. He had not been expecting to come home to them sleeping on the couch together after having an apparent popcorn party. He finished washing out the mug, glasses, and bowl, and started to head upstairs to bed, with one last glance at the pair on the couch. They hadn’t moved since he’d first seen them, and he suspected that they’d probably be that way all night. Oh well. Buffy deserved a night off every now and then.
Still, as he walked up to bed, he couldn’t help but wonder what had brought on this sudden and total reversal of Buffy and Spike’s opinions of each other. He shook his head. He’d ask Buffy in the morning.
Meanwhile, the Slayer and vampire continued to sleep, aware of the other’s presence, but not worried in the least. Spike’s deep purr continued to rumble from the unconscious vampire’s chest, and he smiled in his sleep. Buffy also smiled, lost in a most intriguing dream involving Spike, feathers, a blush brush, and his ribs. Hmmm. She’d have to try that tomorrow……