Shopping. Not a bad way to spend an evening, really. Especially since Spike was in the company of his three favorite humans.
“Okay,” Joyce said, looking at her list. “Hmm. Spike, Dawn, you two go get sugar, milk, macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and.. Oh, just take this half of the list.”
Spike chuckled and accepted the half of the list that Joyce handed him. “Don’t worry, Joyce. We’ll meet you and Buffy in the frozen foods.” He and Dawn went to get their own basket, and their half of the groceries.
Buffy watched until she was sure that the vampire and her sister were out of hearing range, then, “Mom? I have a problem.”
Joyce pushed their basket toward the vegetables. “What is it, dear?”
The Slayer sighed. “I think I’m in love.”
Joyce smiled at her. “Oh? And why is that a problem?”
“Because it’s with two guys at once.”
Her mother frowned. “That *is* a problem. May I ask who they are?”
Buffy picked up a pear and frowned at it. “Riley. And… Well, can we just deal with this one at a time?”
Joyce took the pear, put it down, then picked up a better one and placed it in her bag. “Alright. It seems pretty simple to me.”
Buffy picked up a peach and sniffed it. Frowned, and put it back. “Simple? This is not simple. This is… impossible!”
“Who did you love first?”
“Sp- The other guy.”
“Then go with him.” Inwardly, Joyce sighed. Another vampire. Oh, well. At least she liked this one. And trusted him. Unlike that Angel fellow. He was bad news from the start.
“It’s not that easy, Mom! He’s… he’s.. There’re reasons that it wouldn’t work. Besides, he’s my friend.”
Joyce had to say it. “Xander?”
“NO!” She nearly dropped her banana. “No. Not Xander. Another.. friend guy.”
“Just tell Spike how you feel.”
“I can’t. He- MOM!” She did drop the banana that time, but caught it before it fell too far. She gave her mom an incredulous look. “You knew?!”
Joyce chuckled and nodded. “It *was* rather obvious, dear. It was either Spike, or Mr. Giles. And I seriously doubted the second possibility.”
Buffy made a face. “Eww. A world of no on that one.” She sighed. “Am I really that obvious?”
“Only to your mother.” Joyce picked up a bunch of bananas and bagged them. “And why wouldn’t it work? Spike cares for you, you know.”
“I know.” She laughed a little. “Did you know he purrs?”
Joyce smiled and nodded. “Yes. He’s like a big cat at times.”
Buffy smiled. “Okay. I’ll do it.” She shook her head. “Wait a minute. I can’t tell him! I’m not even sure of it yet. And besides. He probably just thinks of me as a friend, anyway.”
Joyce sighed. If only she could tell her daughter what their vampire had told her two weeks earlier. But she wouldn’t betray his confidence. Not directly. “You might be surprised, Buffy. Spike is a very… complex person.”
“Last thing’s the sugar,” Dawn said from her perch on the end of the basket that Spike was pushing. At thirteen years old, she didn’t think that she’d quite outgrown riding on the end of the basket yet. “Then we can go find Mom and Buffy.”
Spike was scanning the signs that said what was on each isle. “Sugar.. sugar. Sugar. There it is.” He turned the basket onto the isle. The sugar was at the far end. However, the closer he got, the weirder he started feeling. Nauseous. Dizzy. He shook his head to clear it and kept pushing. Got a bag of sugar and turned the basket around to go back in the other direction. The feelings got worse. Spike was really feeling as if he was going to hurl. Which was supposed to be impossible for a vampire. He clamped his jaws shut, holding one hand to his stomach and rubbing gently. Trying to get the nausea to pass. Dawn was saying something, but he wasn’t paying attention, he was too busy trying to keep his breakfast down.
“-and then she..” Dawn trailed off, looking at her companion with her head cocked sideways. “Spike? Are you okay? You look paler than usual.”
He shook his head. “Somethin’ s not right, Bit. I don’t feel so good.” Blinked hard, cause his vision was going a little. Once they got out of the isle where the sugar had been, he started feeling a bit better. He leaned on the cart a little. “Ooh. What was on that isle besides sugar?”
Dawn got off the end of the basket to walk to his end and pat him on the back a little. She glanced up at the sign. “Flour, spices, canola oil, sugar.” Her eyes got wide. “Uh-oh. Spices. That means garlic powder. Did the garlic powder make you sick?”
He shook his head. “I’m not sick. But that is probably what caused it. I’m okay, now.” He motioned to the end of the basket. “Go on, get back on and let’s find the family, shall we?”
Dawn gave him one last worried look, before climbing back on the end of the basket. She still didn’t like his color. Too pale with a hint of green. That was not normal. He’d looked kind of like that a few days earlier when her mom had forgotten about his ‘allergies’ and made garlic spaghetti sauce. “Are you sure that you’re okay?”
He nodded. “Yeah. Fine.” Too bad his stomach didn’t agree with him.
A couple of hours later, they were back home, and all the groceries had been put up. Spike was down in his basement, laying on the bed, trying to will away the nausea that he was still feeling. He licked his lips slightly. This was most definitely *not* a good feeling. Not a good feeling at all.
“Spike?” Buffy’s voice. “Are you okay? We’re about to put on a movie.”
“Not so sure I should get up right now, luv. Not really feelin’ up to a movie.”
Buffy came downstairs and sat on the edge of the bed. “Dawn told us about the garlic powder.” She put a hand on his forehead. “You don’t feel hot or anything. But I guess you’d have to have a pretty high fever to feel hot to me, huh?”
Spike licked his lips again. “Yeah. About twenty degrees above normal, for me.”
Buffy cocked her head. “You know, when Dawn or I get nauseous, mom gives us flat coke. It really helps.”
Spike sighed. “I don’t think that would work for me. My stomach doesn’t exactly work like yours, luv.” Gave her a half smile. “Thanks for caring, though.”
She smiled down at him, gently stroking a hand over his hair. “Like I wouldn’t care about you. I lo-” Swallowed. “Care about you. You’re my friend, and Dawn’s surrogate big brother. My mom loves you. Dawn loves you.”
He swallowed. “I- uh. I love them, too. And.. And I’ll try to come upstairs. What’re we watching?” Bloody git, he thought with a mental snort. All you had to say was, ‘I love you’. Three words. Eight letters. Too hard to say.
Buffy laughed a little. “Shrek. Dawn picked.”
Spike chuckled, his stomach feeling a little better at the prospect of spending an evening with his favorite girls. “Ok, luv. I’ll be up in a minute.”
Buffy grinned. “Great. I’ll tell Mom and Dawn to hold the movie for you.” She got up and headed back upstairs. Paused at the top of the stairs turned around. “Spike?”
Spike sat up slowly. “Yeah, luv?”
“Remind me how your story ended. Did Prince and Misty live happily ever after?”
Spike chuckled. “Yeah. They did.”
She swallowed. “Even though they wound up in love, did they still stay friends?”
Spike stood at the bottom of the stairs. “I would think so. Maybe even better friends.” Hope surfaced, unbidden. Bleedin’ hell. She’s not talking about you, ya git. She’s probably talking about that Riley guy.
Buffy smiled. “Good.” Opened the basement door. “DAWN! DON’T START THE MOVIE! SPIKE’S COMING!!” Door shut behind her.
Spike shook his head and chuckled, then trotted up the stairs. Well, there was hope. He had to believe that there was hope, otherwise, this would turn into Cecily all over again.