Here is my offering for this Seasonal Spuffy, just under the wire. Thanks to all the moderators for all their hard work! Y'all rock.
Timeline: Season 6. In that nebulous time between Flooded and Once More With Feeling.
Word Count: about 600
Genre: Fill in the Blank
Disclaimer: Nothing in this story really belongs to me, not even the crickets. Joss is all.
A/N: This wasn't what I originally planned to post today, but I've been stuck like mud in July. I'm pleased with what finally came out, though, even if it is short. I hope y'all enjoy. Many thanks to my illustrious betas, as always, ghostyouknow27 and ever_neutral. Y'all encouraged me and made me write when I thought I had nothing to say.
They were like magnets. Sometimes magnets get near enough to each other and they stick together like glue. Unavoidable attraction.
Other times they push apart if they get too close. Shatter the elements that brought them together. Unavoidable damage.
It all depends on which end is up.
Buffy could never kiss Spike, never touch him.
Not again. Not now that she was alive again. Clean slate and all that.
Which was why they were sitting here, bathed in sallow porch light, staring off into the dusky gloom. There just inches between them, but it might have been a million miles. There were no borders to be crossed tonight.
"Beautiful night." A dart of Spike's eyes to catch her non-reaction, and he returned to contemplating the vagaries of his own undeath.
Buffy folded her hands in her lap. The maroon leather of her jacket squeaked as she stretched forward.
A cigarette butt lay near Buffy's toe, left from a few nights ago. Spike had flicked it at her and she'd caught it under her toe, crushing it into dust. She hadn't bothered to clean it up.
The air was damp. It clung to Buffy's skin. She dragged it into her lungs, combined with the ash from Spike's current cigarette and the green mold lurking in the corners of the wooden planks. She turned her face toward him, then away. "I looked for a job today."
Spike raised an eyebrow – his signal for her to continue.
"It wasn't much. There isn't exactly a wealth of high level employers placing want-ads for recently deceased college dropouts or single mothers with second jobs, but it was a start."
Spike's mouth twitched. "I bet you had them crawling to you."
"Not exactly. There was one restaurant manager who kinda crawled away after I tried to do experimental surgery on his nose."
"There's a profession I hadn't considered. Unlicensed medical practitioners make a decent wage down in Mexico, I hear."
Buffy scoffed. "He had all this snot coming out of his nose. I tried to pull it out. I thought his boogers were tentacles. Turns out, not so much."
Spike let out a snort.
"Watch it, buster, or your nose might be next."
Spike scooted away in self defense, holding his hands up to keep her at bay. With greater distance he could finally risk watching her as she spoke to him.
Buffy's hair fluttered in the breeze. The smell of wood fires crept up around them. She sighed softly and closed her eyes. "A job means real life, you know? One more thing this girl is no longer equipped to handle."
Spike leaned back on his elbows and moved his gaze to the hollow sky. "It doesn't have to mean that if you don't want it to, Buffy."
She pursed her lips in confusion.
"All I mean is, if stuff's too real for you right now, why not pretend? Pretend that this here, this is what's real. Not those nutters with their 'improper resume' bollocks and their past due notices. There's you, and there's me, and there's all the bleeding stars. That's it."
Buffy tilted her head to see the stars, and then turned quizzically to Spike. "Pretend."
"Yeah," Spike reached out and lightly gripped her fingers. "Like we're the last sane ones on earth."
When their skin touched, a flare of electricity drew them in for a moment before they broke apart, repelled. Spike stared at his hand and Buffy curled her empty fingers.
She flew to her feet, leaving Spike no choice but to follow her. They stood, looking at each other for a long moment before turning in opposite directions and fleeing for the safety of their respective homes.
The next night, they both pretended it never happened.