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Strange Times by Zoya
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"Buffy, what's up with you?" Willow asked. All day her best friend had been completely zoned out. During classes, and even now, while they were supposed to be enjoying some nice, frothy mocha goodness, she seemed out of it. "Buffy?"

"Huh?" Buffy came out of her reverie, looking across the table at the redhead. No matter how she had tried to focus, her mind kept returning unbidden to Spike's words the night before, and then the utterly sinful dream.

"Buffy, all day you've been off in la-la land. Talk to me, lady. Tell what's on your mind." Willow gave the blonde an appraising glance. Her eyes narrowed. "Is it Riley?"

"Riley?" Buffy seemed almost confused by the question. "Oh, no, it's not Riley." She sighed, looking around. The Espresso Pump was decently crowded this afternoon. "Let's go for a walk, I don't want to talk about it here," she said, motioning to the other customers.

Willow raised her eyebrow, then agreed. Whatever was bugging Buffy was serious if the cozy coffee house made her uncomfortable.


Spike awoke late in the afternoon, his head still reeling from yet another erotic Buffy dream. Harmony slept like a rock as he got out of bed, nude. Looking down at his erection, he sighed. "You and I are going to have to have a bit of a wank, eh?" It bobbed at him a bit, and he went to the upper portion of his crypt, seeking privacy.

This dream had been different. Usually he dreamed about shagging the slayer silly, in every way he could. This time, it had been about the bite. Not to kill or drain her, just to taste. It was his hottest dream to date. He could still almost taste the spiciness, the delicious flavor of her blood as he had dreamed it. Settling himself into his "comfy chair," he remembered the night before, when he had felt her hot little body in his hands. Closing his eyes, he gripped his cock firmly, and began to stroke it, imagining that the slayer was in his lap, riding him.


"So, in your dream, he bit you? And you liked it?!?" Willow couldn't believe her ears.

"Yeah Will, I liked it." Buffy blushed. "Like really, really liked it," she said. Her hair fell over her face as she looked down, unwilling to meet the witch's eyes. "And he wasn't killing me. It was just..just.." She faltered, trying to think of the right word. "Just a taste," Dracula's words came back to her. "He was so hot, Will. Like, Brad Pitt on the scale of hotness." Idly she reached up, touching the spot where, in her dream, Spike's fangs had penetrated her. The girls sat on the park bench, sipping their coffees as they pondered the weirdness of Buffy's dream.

"I just don't get it, Buffy. It's Spike. Spike, kidnappy, fangy, annoying, evil Spike! It's just so weird!" Willow said, shaking her head. "Not that I mean you're weird, of course. I mean you're just fine, of course you are. And Spike's not a bad looking vampire, if you're, you know, into that sort of thing, which, of course you're not. I mean.." babbled the redhead.

"God, I know that it's weird. And I am so not looking for another vampire boyfriend. One was so enough for me. And it's Spike." Buffy sighed. "I saw him last night, you know. After Giles came by I went for a quick patrol, and found him fighting a few vamps. He didn't see me, and he was going on about what happened at the Bronze."

"What happened at the Bronze, Buffy? The fight with the Troll?" Willow was a bit confused.

"No, afterward. I found him putting a jacket under a wounded woman's head, propping her up. He expected me to be impressed that he wasn't feeding from her, or any of the other wounded people. Like that's anything to be proud of. Besides, ew! That's what he was talking about, as he destroyed those vamps. That he hadn't had any of the blood, because of me." Buffy fell silent as the implication of that sank in. "And he called me a bitch!" She added, trying to cover the pregnant pause.

Willow looked thoughtful. "Well, Buffy, not to play devil's advocate, or vamp's advocate in this case, but he was able to control himself among all that blood last night. Maybe he does deserve a bit of credit. I mean a little, tiny, minuscule amount credit."

"Maybe," came Buffy's response. She pondered that as she finished her mocha. Maybe he does deserve a bit of credit, she mused to herself. Just a little bit.

"Well, I'd better head over to the Magic Box. I promised Giles I'd come train. Want to come?" asked Buffy, changing the subject.

"Sure," agreed her best friend. Getting up, Willow decided to leave the whole Spike subject until later. "So, what did the Giles find out from the Council?"


Buffy sighed. All throughout training, and then at home for dinner with her family, she had been dreading this. The sun had set, and she finally had no more excuses. Her homework was done, she had helped Dawnie with hers. Buffy had even done all the dishes from dinner, insisting her mother relax. As long as she kept herself busy at home, she put off having to patrol that evening. She just didn't know what to do if she ran into Spike. Just thinking about the dream last night made her temperature rise. That, and his words. 'Never be good enough for her.' Buffy found herself wondering if it could be good enough; if he could be good enough. Maybe Willow was right, maybe he did deserve some credit for his restraint.

"Wait!" She said aloud. "What am I thinking?! This is Spike! No more thinking about Spike like that! I'm just on the rebound from Riley," she insisted, trying, unsuccessfully to convince herself. "It's nothing."

She pushed thoughts of Spike away, and turned her attention to tonight's patrol. I'll change my clothes, she thought, put on something more patrolly. She stopped halfway up the stairs. "Since when do I care about what I wear to patrol?" She asked herself under her breath. "I'll just put on something less flirty," she decided, looking down at her frilly blouse, coupled with a short skirt.

She quickly changed, putting on black leather pants and a tight knit red sweater. She surveyed herself in the mirror. "Yeah, that's covered enough. All covered up, nothing to see here, move along!" She declared, making a serious face in the mirror. Grabbing her black leather coat, she took off.

Buffy decided that the best way to avoid Spike would be to go downtown, rather than through the graveyards. Lost in her thoughts, she was startled when a scream rang out from an alley down the block.

Sure enough, it was a typical vamp, about to chomp on some poor co-ed. Still, it gave the Slayer a welcome distraction, and she jumped at the opportunity.

"Come on, baby," growled the vamp as he pushed the terrified girl up against the brick wall. "I'm going to give it to you good!"

"Ooh, baby!" Came the girly voice from behind him. Whirling, he saw one petite blonde behind him.

"Can I go first? I want you to give it to me good!" cooed Buffy, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Dropping his dinner the vamp leaped at Buffy, roaring "Slayer!"

Buffy easily dodged the clumsy attack. "See, I thought you were going to give it to me good!" Her foot shot out, and the vamp went sprawling on his face. She staked him through the back before he could even get up.

"Well, that was unsatisfying," she stated, turning to see the girl already running out of the alley. "You're welcome!" called Buffy irritably behind her, and then she continued her patrol, her thoughts automatically returning to her dream. Catching her reflecting in a shop window, she gasped as if seeing herself for the first time. Running her hands down the front of the black leather coat, noticing the way the sweater clung to her breasts just right, the Slayer realized what she had done. Black and Red. "Oh no!" she groaned, "I'm total Spike bait!"


Spike walked into Willie's just after sundown. He was itching for a brawl, and fledglings in the cemetery weren't going to do it tonight. Willie set down a rocks glass and the usual bottle in front of the vampire. "So, Spike," began Willie hesitantly. "D-do you think you can fight outside, tonight? I can't afford to replace any more chairs this month."

Spike scowled at Willie, then nodded. "Just cause you've got such a nice classy place here, Willie, I'll do it for you." Picking up the bottle and the glass the bartender had put next to it, he made his way over to a booth that had a few fledges in it. A bit of a growl, coupled with his reputation was enough to send them scampering away. Settling in to wait for his brawl, he poured himself a drink.

As he drank, his mind turned back to the Slayer. That damned bitch! He slammed the glass down on the table, and filled it up again. Dru had been right, she was all around him. In his thoughts, in his blood. He defied his very nature for her, and she called him disgusting for it. "Stupid Bitch!" He growled, attracting more than a few glances. With a withering gaze for the onlookers, he continued to slam back the shots. As he finished his first bottle of whiskey, a gang of four fyarl demons came in. Spike grinned. He had found his brawl.

Starting the fight proved to be easy. All it took was Spike deliberately bumping into one of the burly demons, coupled with a few imaginative insults, and they readily took his invitation to finish the fight outside. Now, bobbing and weaving as he traded blows and insults with the enraged demons, Spike grinned like a madman.


Lost in her thoughts, Buffy was surprised to find herself near Willie's bar. She was not, however, surprised by the fight outside. As she came closer, she counted four, no five combatants. Four big burly demons, and one.. "Spike!?" Buffy called out. She cringed as he took a heavy punch from a fyarl when he turned to look at her.

"Stupid. Annoying. Cocky. Vampire!" She practically growled the words as she crashed into the fight, throwing one fyarl to the ground, then slamming her foot into the side of another.

Spike jumped to his feet, and began trading blows with the two demons that weren't occupied already with Buffy. "What the bloody hell are you doing here, Slayer?" He asked as he struck, not missing a beat. The two fought back to back, each holding their own.

"Helping you for some strange reason," she answered. As if choreographed, they each landed a hard right cross to their opponents, knocking them out.

"Didn't exactly ask for your help, luv. In fact, I'd prefer you didn't." He tried to sound annoyed, but secretly, he was thrilled she was there. He loved fighting by her side. They danced so beautifully together, he thought to himself as they easily dispatched the remaining two demons.

Turning to look at her, noticing for the first time what she was wearing. Bloody hell! She looked amazing, the black leather hugging her curves just so. She was panting and flushed from the hard fight. He inhaled deeply, to enjoy the scent of her sweat, her adrenaline from the fight and her... arousal? Arousal!? Spike casually shifted his stance so his duster covered his growing hardness. "So, got anything silver, Slayer? Can't kill a fyarl with anything else."

Buffy shook her head. "So what was this all about, anyways? Why were they after you?" She tried to sound cool, disinterested. I hope I don't sound too worried, she thought to herself.

"Oh, this?" He motioned around at the fallen demons. "Just didn't like the way they looked at me, I guess," He said, lighting a smoke. At her blank expression, he smirked. "What can I say, pet. A man needs a bit of the rough and tumble now and again." He raised a scarred eyebrow at her.

"This was a bar fight?!" Buffy nearly shrieked. "I was helping you in a bar fight? Here I thought you were being ambushed, thought you needed help. But of course I should have realized you started the fight in the first place!"

Spike felt his anger boiling up again, remembering that she was the reason he had sought out a fight in the first place. "And why would you help me? Huh, Slayer? So you can keep your whipping boy safe?" Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but he kept going. "You here to tell me how disgusting I am again? Or are you just here to get in a few cheap shots? Well, not tonight. Sod off, Slayer!" With that he turned, his duster swirling behind him as he took off down the street, leaving a stunned Slayer in his wake.
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