Another Taming the Muse - the prompt was creolization
No Rest for the Wicked
A sequel to "Slayer's Night Off"
No Rest for the Wicked
"So, G-man, what was all that stuff with the vampires going all Halloween on us this year?"
"Yeah, Giles. I was expecting to have a night off, and instead I ended up staking vampire zombies, vampire pirates and vampire freakin' Hobbits!"
Buffy glanced over at Xander.
"Yeah, you guys missed that little bit of 'please scrub my brain' fun."
"Where did you find vampire Hobbits? Were they real vampires? Were they real Hobbits? Did they have furry feet?" He seemed genuinely curious.
"Of course, they weren't real Hobbits, you—Ó Giles took a deep breath. "Hobbits are imaginary creatures from literature. They aren't real."
Anya raised her hand and opened her mouth; then shut it and just watched with interest.
"Kinda like vampires and werewolves, huh, Giles?" Buffy said, raising a sardonic eyebrow that reminded her watcher too much of the vampire that had apparently figured into the previous night's activities.
"I suppose it's an example of the creolization of Sunnydale's demon population," Giles said with just a trace of an indignant sniff. "With the Master gone, the newer vampires have no one to teach them the traditions and it will be only a question of time before it spreads to the rest of the demon cultures."
"Oh goody. No more days off for Buffy," she huffed, slumping back with a pout.
"I thought you were happy to have something to kill, Buffster? Isn't that what you were saying just before the undead pirates showed up?"
Buffy flushed as she remembered why she'd been in such a bad mood.
"I was just having some issues that required me to kill something, Xander. It doesn't mean I want to spend every Halloween staking cartoon characters with fangs!"
"Technically," Willow ventured, "Hobbits aren't cartoon characters..."
"Not the point, guys." Buffy looked around the room and frowned. "Does anybody know where Spike is?"
"Why would we know if you don't?" Anya asked with a clearly puzzled frown.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, usually, if we see Spike, it's because he's following you around like a...a..."
"I was going to say 'a puppy dog'. A scary puppy dog," she added as they all turned to stare at her with wide eyes.
As the Scoobies and Buffy mulled over what Anya was implying about Spike and his relationship with Buffy, the vampire in question burst into the room.
"Hey, Watcher, have you seen...oh, there you are."
No one questioned who Spike was talking about, only nodded and pointed at Buffy's direction.
"Where have you been?" she asked with some asperity. "It's been dark for hours."
He cocked his head at her, ignoring the interested eyes and ears that were focused on them.
"Let's be clear, pet. Are you brassed off because you think I should have been here the minute you wanted me to, or because you're worried about what I may have been doing instead?"
Their eyes met, Spike's challenging Buffy to admit she might be still jealous of his aborted 'date' the night before.
"Or, I could have been worried that Riley came after you again with helpers," she snapped, grabbing her coat and heading for the door. "But I forgot, you have other things that might have kept you away. What did you do – go hide out with your new 'friend'?"
She slammed the door behind her and stormed across the parking lot, ignoring his muffled shout when the door shut in his face. With a snarl, he wrenched it open and followed her rapidly disappearing form.
"See?" Anya said with a smile. "Scary puppy dog."
Before Buffy could decide which way she wanted to go, Spike had caught up with her at the edge of the parking lot. Ignoring her "Don't touch me" he put both hands on her shoulders and turned her around to face him.
"I'm sorry," he said, completely disrupting her intended rant. "It was inconsiderate of me not to let you know where I was. I should have known you'd be worried."
"As if!" she sniffed, totally contradicting what she'd said earlier.
"Exactly," he growled, dropping his arms and adopting the same attitude. "It's not like I expect you to worry about me, is it?"
"He tried to kill you last night! Why wouldn't I be worried?"
She turned and began to march down the sidewalk, Spike falling in beside her and matching her long stride easily.
"I dunno," he said more cheerfully. "Maybe because staking me is something you threaten to do on a daily basis? Hard to imagine you'd mind all that much if soldier boy did it for you."
"Don't be stupid," she muttered, shoving her hands in her pockets and hunching her shoulders. The conversation they'd had in the Bronze's ladies room ran through her head and she tried to remember exactly what she might have admitted to feeling.
Spike just nodded, every word of the conversation firmly fixed in his memory; as were every one of Buffy's actions that evening, from her obvious jealousy over the red-head to her words to Riley after he'd tried to dust the vampire she referred to as "mine".
"Get the impression you might have already been in a bad mood before I got there, pet. Care to share?"
Buffy sighed and slowed down.
ÒI was just complaining about all the stupid vampires running around last night and Giles said it was probably going to continue to happen. I'm not sure what it has to do with New Orleans, but—Ó
"Yeah. He said something about Creoles. Isn't that where they live?"
"He called the vampires 'creoles'?"
"No. Pay attention. He used some word like that to say that the old traditions were being replaced by... something. I don't know. All I know is that he was basically saying I'm losing my only night off. I have to be the Slayer three hundred and sixty-five days a year. It's not fair!"
"Creolization," Spike said almost to himself. "The Watcher likes those big words, doesn't he?"
Buffy peered at him from the corner of her eye. "How come you know that word?"
He shrugged and changed the subject.
"I thought you were enjoying yourself last night, luv. I'm surprised you're so upset to learn you might not have that night off any more."
"I was... okay, not enjoying, cause that's just too much like...." She glared at him. "I needed to work off some steam. But that doesn't mean I want to have to work every Halloween. That's supposed to be my night for parties and... stuff."
She could see him cutting his eyes at her, doing his best to suppress a smile. She tried to glare at him, but ended up smiling ruefully.
"I sound like a spoiled brat, don't I?"
"No, love." His voice was suddenly serious, the smile gone. "You sound like somebody who spends too much of her time killing things in the dark, and not enough time having fun in the sun. Where you should be."
Buffy shrugged. "The last time I had that kind of fun in the sun, I was beating up on you." Her eyes lit up. "Hey! Maybe you could find another ring and we could spar during the day."
He just stared at her until she blushed and looked away.
"Well, I mean, you'd have to give it to me for safekeeping when you weren't, you know, actually with me. But...."
"Do you really think I'm that housebroken, Slayer?"
Her shoulders slumped. "No, I guess you aren't," she said sadly. "I don't know what I was thinking...."
He pivoted in front of her again, putting hands on her shoulders and waiting until she brought reluctant eyes up to his.
"You were thinking that I'd do pretty much anything to be allowed to spend time with you, weren't you?"
"I... wasn't... maybe?" Her eyes dropped again. "I'm sorry, Spike. I do take you for granted, don't I? Of course you wouldn't...."
As though she hadn't spoke, he tipped her chin up so that she had to look at him again.
"And you'd be right, love. I would do just about anything to spend time with you. You know I would...."
Buffy flinched at the reminder that he was willing to endure watching her cuddle with Riley just to be around her; then she remembered what Riley had tried to do and she nodded.
"I know you would. But I'm thinking that after last night's little performance, you won't have to put up with some of it anymore."
"Was trying to stake me a deal-breaker, then?" The hope in his voice was palpable.
"It always has been," she admitted. "It's one of the first and only fights we ever had. I told him that unless he found you with your teeth in somebody's throat, he had to leave you alone."
"Oh." His hands fell from her shoulders and he stuck them in his pockets. "So, nothing new about it, then." He turned away and began walking. Buffy stared after him or a second, than ran to catch up, grabbing his sleeve and pulling him to a halt.
"It's always been a deal-breaker," she said, willing him to listen even as she watched his face shut down. "The difference is – back then, I would have just been really, really mad; and now... " She touched his cheek, stroking it until he met her eyes. "Now, I would be heartbroken."
"Can't have that," he whispered, kissing her palm and holding her hand against his cheek.
Buffy blushed and looked away from the adoration in his eyes.
"Well, no. It's not my favorite thing to be. Hence the worry when you were late tonight."
He released her hand and they began walking again, slowly this time and with their shoulders brushing occasionally as they strolled around Sunnydale in search of slay-worthy demons.
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