Story Notes: Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Dedicated to the *ahem* dreamy BriarRose. May she continue to dream and provide inspiration for the rest of us!

Buffy thanked her lucky stars for Slayer healing. The initial stages of her hangover were pretty awful, but she was able to get past it relatively quickly. Drinking with Spike last night had been...interesting. He didn't exactly solve all of her problems, but at least she knew now that she hated whiskey.


"Buffy? Are you listening?" Giles' voice cut through her thoughts. She sighed.


"I'm sorry, Giles, I spaced. What did you say?"


"I was merely suggesting that you ask Spike about your recent difficulties in the workforce. It may be that he knows of a demon that was cursing you. He may even have some ideas for employment."


Buffy scrunched up her nose. "A world of no. I was with him last night and he didn't know anything. All he did was get me drunk and play poker. Completely useless."


Giles eyed her shrewdly. "Did it occur to you that he was trying to impress you last night? Could be a vampire's twisted idea of a date." When Buffy's eyes widened theatrically, Giles softened his voice to a more comforting tone. "All I'm saying is, ask him some questions. He may take you more seriously this time. And, for God's sake, stay away from the liquor."




Spike wasn't in his crypt or at Willy's. Buffy's patience was wearing thin. At this point, Spike is lucky she didn't beat up his poker buddies in the back room, but it took a lot of restraint. She decided to check the Bronze. 


Good thing Giles offered to stay home with Dawn- this was turning into an all night Where's Waldo. Buffy assured herself that she only engaged in this ridiculous vampire because Giles seemed to really believe that it would have a beneficial outcome, but there was that little voice in the back of her mind that pointed out the peace she felt when she was around Spike. It hasn't been easy being resurrected, but Spike at least made it bearable. He always seemed to know whether she needed someone to talk to, someone to make her smile, someone to get her drunk...


Oh God. Speaking of drunk. Buffy caught a flash of bleached hair over at the bar. She took a second to smile to herself. His hair was mussed and curly- has she ever seen Spike looking so adorable? 


Buffy shook herself. Not adorable. Exuberant. She could see his erratic motions from across the room. He looked like he was miming...climbing something? Ugh. A Slayer's work is never done. 


She was just behind him when she realized who he was talking to. Bright blue eyes with smokey makeup, straightened dark blonde hair, cute black outfit, strappy shoes...And here Buffy was in her post hangover sweats. She crossed her arms self consciously, hoping Spike was too drunk to compare the simply adorable woman he was talking to to the exhausted Slayer. She was just about to make her presence known when she caught what he was saying. 


"She wanted me, she wanted me bad," He drawled in a deep voice. His timber made the woman he was talking to shiver and lean in. Buffy could just quirk an eyebrow and listen harder. "She was practically salivating, wasn't she? Her eyes boring right into mine." He gestured to his eyes with two fingers and leaned in closer to the woman. She licked her lips, seemingly unable to look away. It was a struggle for Buffy not to roll her eyes. "She was in heat, I could tell exactly what was going through her mind. Pure animal attraction." The girl giggled attractively. 


Buffy was starting to get amused with the whole situation. Spike was slurring his speech more than a little and the woman he was talking to was starting to look a bit concerned despite her obvious attraction. Buffy let a small smile grace her lips. She didn't know where the slight jealousy came from, but she felt smug knowing that, regardless of how everything played out, she would be the one taking Spike home tonight. In a sense.


Suddenly, Spike's arms swept out to his sides, as if to display his torso. His voice just a bit too loud, he said, "Could you blame the bint? Look at me! How could she resist this?" Lowering his arms, he leaned in with an elbow on the bar and looked directly into the girl's eyes. Lowering his voice to that sexy timber again, he said, "I got the body of a cat. Ask anyone." Lifting an eyebrow, he curled his tongue behind his teeth and leered at her. The woman smiled somewhat nervously at the drunk man hitting on her and turned as if to summon the bartender.


Buffy had had enough. "Ask anyone?!" 


Spike whipped around in surprise. "Shlayerrrr!!!" he drawled. Loudly. Ugh, Buffy was getting a headache. Are hangovers contagious?


"Uh huhhh. Ok, Spike, let's get you out of here." She looked over his shoulder at the woman he had been talking to. "I'm sorry, you seem lovely. I'm just gonna make sure he gets home safely."


The woman smiled. "Thanks! It was starting to get to be a bit much. I'm just glad you came to make sure he was alright."


The two women shared a smile before Buffy grabbed Spike's arm and steered him away. Spike stumbled and sputtered indignantly all the way out of the club. His usual delicious scent of tobacco and something else that seemed singular to Spike was hidden under the strong stench of copious amounts of whiskey. Buffy swallowed reflexively as the alcoholic scent gave her flashbacks of the previous night. She had to sling his arm across her shoulders to steer him towards Restfield. Sadly, Spike felt compelled to continue his story from inside the bar.


"I haven't told you that story, have I, pet? I'm quite a catch, ya know," he slurred.


Buffy rolled her eyes. "No, you haven't told me that story. By all means, continue with dashing tales of your conquests."


Sarcasm was apparently lost on Drunk Spike. "Yeah! I am irresistible to Pantera Demons. Ever see one, love? Like bloody panthers walking around on hind legs. One took a liking to me, damn near tried to make me her mate! Dru was right vexed," he chuckled affectionately. "Hissed at the chit and off she scurried. Pantera demons don't usually take to humanoids, but vampires can be downright feline, you know?"


Buffy snorted. "Ok, I'll bite. Give me one example of how vampires are like cats."


There was a long pause. For a moment, Buffy thought Spike was so drunk that he had forgotten they were even having a conversation. When he finally spoke, it was abrupt and loud. "We purr!"


Buffy was absolutely poleaxed. "Excuse me?"


"We purr. When we're content like."


Buffy shook her head in denial. "I have never heard a vampire purr."


Spike turned his head to leer at her. "You're just not stroking us the right way."


"Ewww," Buffy intoned, turning her head away from his whiskey breath. "I think your cat comparison ends there. I don't exactly see you basking in the sun."


Spike bust out laughing. Buffy didn't think her pun was that particularly funny, but Drunk Spike seemed to find her hilarious. Thankfully, they had reached the cemetery, Spike cackling at her joke all the way through it to his crypt. 


"Listen, pet, I 'ppreciate you getting me back and all. I'm just gonna go shleep it off."


Buffy eyed him critically. "Alright. Go on downstairs. I'll grab you some blood from your fridge before I go home." She had just opened his mini fridge when she heard a huge crash. Wheeling around with Slayer speed, she realized he had fallen down his trap door to the lower level of his crypt. Muttering to herself, she went down the ladder to check on him.


Spike was sprawled across the floor and showed no signs of getting up. Buffy went over to him and rolled him over so he was face up. His head lolled to the side so that he could look at her. "I fell," he said helpfully.


Buffy groaned to herself and got him up so he could sit on his bed. As she took his boots off, she realized that she actually felt pretty good. Taking care of Spike was giving her a sense of purpose, something she hadn't felt since coming back from the dead. She didn't have to hide with Spike, she could just be herself. It was such a freeing feeling. And it was nice to take care of someone who always seemed ready and willing to take care of her. She smiled to herself as she straightened up and unbuttoned a few of the buttons on his shirt. 


Spike was mumbling something, but it was too quiet and slurred for Buffy to make out. Right, definitely time for Spike to sleep it off. 


Getting him situated on the bed was turning into a chore. She couldn't seem to get him to scooch back. She ended up getting on the bed herself and bracing him with her arms to lightly pull him back against the pillows. Being the difficult vampire he is, he instantly engulfed her in an embrace and snuggled against her shoulder and into her neck.


Buffy looked around frantically, trying to figure out a way to escape him without waking him up. Then she realized...he was pretty comfy. It had been so long since she had cuddled with anyone, much less let someone hold her. And he might need her help with something later in the night...


Buffy settled in and made herself comfortable. Warmth and peace spread from her heart and enveloped her. Smiling, she curled her arm around so that she could stroke Spike's surprisingly soft curls.


She was drifting off to sleep when she realized that Spike was purring.

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