Art by eyesthatslay
Day Two – Somewhere in Ohio
“You took me here just to see the polar bears?!” Spike is more amused than irritated, after all he likes seeing the gleam of childlike excitement in Buffy’s eyes.
“What else would be worth driving two hours from the hellmouth for?” Buffy still can’t believe Spike let her drive the rental car the whole way. . . even on the highway.
Spike can’t believe his girl actually wanted to break into the zoo in the middle of the night. Granted, there wasn’t much breaking and more just entering by hopping over the fence. “I thought we were following a lead to some supernatural badness to kill.”
“Polar bears were pretty much the agenda.”
“So no fighting.”
Spike feels a twinge of disappointment, but he tucks her warm hand into his cool one. “Okay. Lead on to polar bears.”
Buffy skips a little and beams at him. “You’re going to like them. Apparently, here, they have this amazing enclosure where you can watch the polar bears swim by underwater.”
“Sounds extraordinary, pet.”
She pokes him in the arm. “Mr. Sarcasm. It’s going to be fabulous!”
“So how do you know the bears will be swimming in the middle of the night, and even more importantly, how do you know they won’t be sleeping inside somewhere?”
She frowns a little and then shrugs. “I hadn’t thought of that, but I’m going to hope for the best.”
They wind their way past the different kinds of bears in North America before they find the polar bear exhibit. Buffy drags him by the hand down an incline to the tucked away, glassed-in viewing area of the giant swimming space. The water is dark and murky-looking but is lit by a soft light, so the liquid isn’t completely opaque. The only problem is that no polar bears are swimming by.
Buffy puts her nose up to the glass without touching it and squints into the water. “Well, darn.”
Spike joins her, their faces close to the glass and to each other. “Sorry, pet.”
She’s determined though, to carry out her plan, so she maintains her position. “Let’s give it a minute.”
Hearing stubborn Buffy come out of hiding, Spike wonders how long this is going to last, but over the decades, he’s learned to hone the art of patience, especially, and perhaps only, with those he cares about, so he’s content for the moment. “Okay.”
Waiting doesn’t mean he can’t be comfortable though, and he snakes his arm around her waist and pulls her in front of him, his hips against hers. Buffy smiles up at him, and then, she surprises him by opening the flap of her messenger bag and withdrawing a small metal object.
Spinning the lid open, she hands him the flask. “A date?”
Taking a drink, Spike grins and whispers in her ear, “Is this another one of those things to make me feel. . .”
“Special, important, like you matter to me? Uh huh.” Buffy takes the flask back and downs a swig, the bourbon burning the back of her throat. She wiggles her hips a little against his, musing how very different Spike’s idea of a date is from the other vampire from her past. She decides that she kinda prefers it this way, sort of a mix between traditional date night fun and something a little more dangerous.
He’s tempted to turn her and take her against the glass, but he promised her they’d wait for polar bears, and he’s curious. “So, this time. . . ?”
She runs her fingertips over the back of his forearms. “An actual date. That we both want to be here for. We haven’t exactly had time to do any regular stuff with all the city hopping, averting apocalypses that keep cropping up since we have so many new Slayers, and killing of things that need to be slain.”
“Breaking into the zoo in the middle of the night isn’t exactly ‘regular stuff.’” He briefly pushes his nose against her ear.
She turns in his arms then and hugs him close, “Well, I wanted a re-do of the last time we went on a date.”
He snorts. “In Sunnydale with the vamp nest when I tricked you into going with me and then you were disgusted by me? Not sure I want to re-live that particular lovely evening.”
She lifts her gaze to his. “Well, yeah. I wasn’t exactly very nice to you, and I don’t want to re-live it; I want to re-do it. Important distinction.” She tugs his head down, threading her fingers through his curls. She kisses him gently on the mouth and then pulls back, her forehead resting on his. “I love you.”
Spike opens his mouth to reply when a giant splashing sound resonates from above, and the pair turn their attention to the glass to witness a giant white polar bear swim by, her powerful body pushing through the cold water with ease, gentle eyes watching them as they watch her. They continue to observe in awe as the graceful bear turns a slow flip in the water and gives them one last knowing look before gliding up and away to the surface.
Buffy feels like she’s holding her breath, and Spike is silent behind her for several long seconds. The bear doesn’t return, but their moment with her was breathtaking.
Spike’s hand splays gently over her stomach. “Well, that was worth it.”
Buffy nods, covering his hand with hers. “Yeah.”
Then, they hear the distant sound of laughter and muffled chatting.
Spike tenses. “Zookeepers nearby, love.”
Buffy shakes her head. “No. It’s too late at night for the zookeepers.” She pulls out a pair of stakes from her messenger bag where she’s stowed the flask.
Spike raises one eyebrow.
She grins and slaps a stake against his palm. “You think I’d drag you out here for a date without a little fight? Wouldn’t be a proper re-do.”
“That’s my girl. What’re they doing? Taking a little nibble from the security guards?”
“Nope, word on the street is that they’ve been breaking in by the bears and dining on the gorillas.” Her eyes sparkle. She’s having far too much fun with this.
“The gorillas?” Spike is halfway incredulous, halfway unsurprised. He’s heard that gorillas are sometimes considered a delicacy in certain vampire circles.
“Yep. Weird but true.”
“Where are the gorillas?”
“Other side of the zoo. That’s where they’re probably headed now. C’mon!”
“Of course,” Spike grumbles good-naturedly and takes off after Buffy, drawn by her blonde ponytail bouncing along behind her as she runs after their prey.