The Summer Series

Willow & Spike: A Collection of Short Silly Stories

by: Saber ShadowKitten

XV - You Look...Different

"Why don't you go wash up first," Spike suggested, looking around at the mess in the kitchen. "And I'll start cleaning up in here."

"Ok," Willow replied, gingerly stepping over the broken eggs on the floor. She gave him a quick smile at the doorway, then headed down the hall to her room.

Spike chuckled as began to clean up. Their impromptu food fight the most spontaneous thing he'd done in ages, especially with someone he had started off wanting to kill. Now, all he wanted to do was hear her laugh.

He loved her laugh. It was light, airy, with a tinge of self-consciousness, as if she felt she shouldn't be allowed to let her mirth bubble forth between her soft, pink lips. Her eyes would light up with merriment at the same time, showing the depth of her amusement and joy.

Spike was so introspective he didn't hear Willow return to the kitchen until she giggled. "You have a brown handprint on your back," she explained, her lips curved up in a smile.

"And I bet it is in the shape of a Willow-hand," he replied, grinning back at her.

She giggled again, nodding her head. "I…uh, left some clothes in the bathroom for you. They're Xander's emergency clothing, in case he had to stay here for whatever reason," she said, moving into the kitchen.

"Thanks, pet," Spike said, pushing to his feet. He tossed the dirty paper towel in the trash, then headed out of the kitchen.

Willow's face broke into another smile, and she began to hum the main theme as she cleaned. She was still amazed that Spike was so much fun to be with, whether sitting and watching the movie, talking or getting in a food fight in her kitchen.

And he had such an infectious laugh, deep and rich. He held nothing back when he laughed, his blue eyes dancing with mirth, his pale lips stretching into a smile over his blunt, white teeth.

She turned when she heard him come back into the kitchen, his hair wet, his body clothed in Xander's black sweats and dark green, long sleeve T-shirt. "Wow, you look…different."

"Than what?" Spike asked, moving to help her.

"I've only seen you in that one set of clothes," she replied. "In fact, I thought you only owned one set of clothes."

"I'll have you know I have lots of clothes," he said defensively. "It's not my fault they're all the same."

"Then who's fault is it?" Willow asked innocently.

"Ok, fine, it's my bloody fault," Spike grumbled. "I was the one who stole the boxes."

"Well, maybe one night we'll go out and get you something else to wear," she said, tossing another paper towel in the garbage. "Then you can choose between two colors."

"Cute, ducks. Very cute," he replied, examining their effort. "If you're nice to me, I might just take you up on that offer."

"And how nice do you want me to be?" Willow asked devilishly. Spike's mouth dropped open and she giggled. "Come on, we still have one more movie to go and if we don't start now, you won't be able to see the end of it." She gave him a wink, then left the kitchen.

Spike stood there until he heard the familiar music start up. Then, with a grin playing on his lips, he practically bounced out of the kitchen.

XVI - Branding

Spike held out his fists, waiting for Willow to pick one. They had just finished the third movie and were making sure everything was cleaned before he had to leave.

"This one," Willow said, tapping his left fist.

He set the plastic egg in his right hand down on the counter and opened the left one. "Turn around," he instructed, grinning.

Willow turned without hesitation, the squealed when he moved the collar of her shirt and licked the side of her neck. She went to wipe it off, but he clamped his hand over the spot. "What are you doing?"

Spike chuckled. "Branding you."


"In a second, pet," he said, peeling back the paper. "Go take a look see."

She gave him a puzzled glance, then left the kitchen. When she looked in the bathroom mirror, she laughed in delight. On her neck was a temporary tattoo of a cartoon red devil. She was still giggling when she returned to the kitchen.

"Like it?" Spike asked.

"Uh-huh," she replied, snatching the other plastic egg off the counter. She opened it and pulled out another temporary tattoo, then eyed him lavishly. "Take off your shirt."

Spike arched an eyebrow at her request. "Do what?"

"Off," she answered, gesturing like a queen.

"If you wanted to see me naked," Spike said as he pulled the dark green shirt over his head. "All you had to do was ask."

His mouth dropped open when she eyed him like a piece of chocolate, licking her lips. She slowly walked over to him, then ran her fingers over his muscles, starting from his navel and meandering slowly up. "Um...Willow?" he gulped.

She looked up, winked at him, then licked his chest and smacked the tattoo on him.

Spike let out a startled yelp, causing her to burst into giggles. He glared down at her, but couldn't hold it as his face broke out in a smile. "You really had me there, luv. Pure seductress."

Willow blushed, but was still laughing as she peeled the paper back. "Perfect," she declared, stepping back from him.

He dropped his chin to see it and chuckled. It was little boy angel, minus the wings but including the halo. And he had blond hair. "Absotively posolutely," he replied.

Her eyes widened at his words. Willow's response should be "You've seen Oliver and Company, too?"

Spike shrugged, sliding the borrowed shirt back over his head. "Hasn't everyone?" He took a glance out the kitchen window, then frowned. "I have to get going, ducks."

"Oh," Willow said, disappointingly as she followed him out of the kitchen.

He slid on his duster. "Do you want me to take the pictures back?"

"Nah," she replied. "I'll do it."

"I do need my clothes," he pointed out as he stood by the front door.

"Why don't I wash them for you and you can pick them up tomorrow?" Willow suggested. "It's my fault they got all dirty. But you really do need to get more clothes."

"Then you'll just have to take me clothes shopping," Spike replied. "I'm liable to come back with another bloody box full of the same stuff."

Willow laughed. "It's a date."

Spike's lips curved into a slow smile. "Yeah. A date."

"I guess you'd better go," she said. "I don't want to have to vacuum vampire off my front step."

"Clogs your runner, anyway," he teased, opening the door. "I'll see you tomorrow night?"

"Right. Seven o'clock, on the nose."

Spike reached out and tapped her nose. "Got it." He put one hand in his pocked as he turned to go. "Oh, wait. I almost forgot," he said, pulling out a laminated card. "This is for you."

Willow took it and grinned. "A Hollywood Video card! I've never had a rental card before," she said excitedly.

"Well, they said I could put anyone on the card, and I couldn't put any of my minions, because the Slayer killed them off, and if I made more, she'd kill them, and I'd be constantly changing the names. Then I thought of you and figured why not?" Spike rambled. "If we ever did this again, you'd be able to get the pictures during the day if you wanted, or anytime that you want to rent one..."

"Spike," Willow interrupted. "Thank you."

He sent her a killer smile. "You're welcome, luv. See you, tonight. At seven."

"On the nose," she said, tapping her finger on her nose. He laughed, turned and walked off into the fading night.

XVII - I Licked Him

Willow groaned when the phone rang near her ear. "We don't want any," she mumbled into the receiver after she picked it up.

"Hey, Will!" Buffy's bright voice came over the line. "What's up?"

"Not me," she grumbled.

"Willow, it's one in the afternoon," Buffy said. "You're usually up by eight, even on a day off. But now, we have lots of days off, because we graduated!"

"Buffy, I was up all night last night," Willow said.

"On the computer?"

"No," she replied, smiling at the pleasant memories. "Watching movies."

"And you didn't invite me?" Buffy said with a pouty voice.

"Well, it was kind of a...a date," she stammered.

"A date! You had a date and didn't tell me! I'll be right over!"

"Buffy, no-" Willow was cut off as Buffy hung up on her. Sighing, she put down the receiver and climbed out of bed, heading for the bathroom. She groaned at her reflection in the mirror, then started to giggle when she saw the tattoo peeking up from under the collar of her sleepshirt. "I'm a little devil, ain't I?" she asked her reflection. Her reflection grinned back.

She had just finished getting dressed when the doorbell rang. "Hey, Buffy," she greeted, letting her best friend in.

"So, dish," Buffy said immediately. "Who's the guy? What did you watch? Is he a hottie? Did you get smoochies?"

"Just a surprisingly nice guy," Willow replied. "We watched the Star Wars trilogy. He's a hottie in a naughty sort of way, and no, I didn't get smoochies. It wasn't that kind of date. It was more of a...friendship date." She smiled mischievously. "But I did lick him."

"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed, her mouth dropping open. "Tell me from the second you opened the door to the second he left."

Willow shut the door to her bedroom and flopped on the bed. Buffy perched on the end, bouncing slightly in excitement. "We said hi, he came in, we watched the first movie, he made more popcorn, we watched the second movie, we tried to make a No-Bake cake but got in a food fight instead...oh! I have to put in the laundry," she suddenly said, bounding off the bed and out the door.

Buffy chuckled and followed. "Then what."

Willow picked up her dirty clothes first and shoved them in the wash after checking the pockets of her jeans. "Cleaned up. The kitchen was really messy. Then we watched the third movie. Then I got branded," she said, pulling her shirt to show Buffy the temporary tattoo.

Buffy arched her brow. "A devil?"

"It was a fifty-fifty chance. I could have got the angel," she replied, then giggled at the brown hand print on the back of the black shirt she picked up. She threw it in the machine, then picked up the jeans. "That's why I licked him - to put on the tattoo. You should have seen his face! He was so surprised. I was so surprised I actually did it!"

"You go, girl," Buffy said. "Does this mystery guy have a name?"

Willow pulled a handful of change out of one pocket of his jeans, setting it on the counter, then dug into the second one. "Er..." She didn't know what to say as she took a wallet out of the pocket. "Billy," she said finally, throwing the jeans in the wash and turning it on. She picked up the wallet and change.

"Did he go to Sunnydale High?" Buffy asked.

"No," she replied. "He's older." *Much older, like Angel,* she thought and had to stop herself from giggling.

"So, when are you going to see him again?"

"Tonight," Willow answered. "We're going shopping."

"Do you want me to do a demon test on him for you?" Buffy asked.

"No!" Willow said loudly. "I mean, I already did one. He passed." *Yup, he's a demon,* she thought, then had to hold back another laugh.

Buffy looked at the clock and groaned. "Ugh. I have to go meet Giles for a fun afternoon of training. Wanna come and keep me company?"

"I think I'll stay home and try to get some more sleep," she replied.

"Ok. But you have got to call me tomorrow and tell me all about your date."

"Buffy, we're just friends," Willow insisted.

"Give it time, Wills," Buffy said. "Just give it time."

XVIII - Snooping

"Hmm," Willow said as she returned to her room after seeing Buffy out, wallet and change still in hand. "Vampires carry wallets. Well, why shouldn't they? They need a place to put their stuff, just like humans. And you're talking to yourself, Willow."

Chuckling, she put the wallet and change on the bed and went to get something to eat. But the black object sitting innocently in her room was beckoning to her, taunting her. "Well, I can always let him go through my purse. If I carried one, that is."

She unfolded the simple leather. There were slit pockets on both sides, a picture holder and the main bill holder. "I hope curiosity doesn't kill this cat," she said, deciding where to start first. She pulled out a handful of faded, multicolored bills and leafed through them. "Marks, yen,, 1879."

Willow set the put the bills back, then started through the cards. "Ooh, drivers licence. Hey, this isn't Spike," she frowned, reading the information on the California ID. "Naughty, naughty vampire. Stealing people's licenses."

She set the license aside, then flipped through the other cards. "Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Hollywood Video Card, Lucasfilm Fan Club Card," she giggled. "Sunnydale Library Card, Los Angeles County #258 Library Card, Fishing License...Fishing Licence?"

Willow shook her head. "Spike, you are really weird," she said, putting all the cards back into place. The picture holder was the last part of the wallet and she was surprised at the items set between the plastic.

The first looked to be a very old ticket stub. She held the plastic closer to the light and read the worn paper. "This is for the first movie ever shown! Wow," she said, awed. The second was just as interesting - a faded photo of a 1898 Mercedes, the first automobile invented with a hand written sign propped up on the front bumper that read ‘Spike's auto' in German.

The next three held more ticket stubs - one for a concert, one for an art show and one for the movie they'd seen a few days before. Her lips curved into a large smile when she saw that. She looked up at the mirror above her dresser and saw the matching stub tucked under the edge. Laughing in delight, she turned to the last pocket.

A tiny, perfect violet sat pressed between the plastic. It still held its vibrant purple color as if it were just picked. Willow felt her heart fill with a sweeping tenderness that he would keep something as simple as this flower.

Sighing, she closed the wallet and held it to her chest. The monster in her closet was turning into nothing scarier than a kitten.

XIX - Waiting

Spike stared up at the ceiling as he tossed a baseball he'd found up in the air, catching it on its descent with deft hands without looking. By all regards he should be sleeping, but his thoughts wouldn't let him. Thoughts about a certain red head with the luminous green eyes and the inquisitive mind.

He hadn't enjoyed anyone's company like he did hers in over a century, not since before Angelus was cursed. As much as he loved Drusilla, there was only so much crazy talk he could stand. He had turned Dalton for that very reason, wanting to be able to have intelligent conversations. Plus, the bookish vampire knew how to summarize novels relatively well. But then the Judge had him for an appetizer, and he'd ended up stuck with Angelus again. "Bloody wanker," he muttered, giving the ball a harder toss. It hit the ceiling with a thunk.

Turning his thoughts away from his infuriating sire, he let his mind picture Willow's beguiling smile, the way her mouth curved slightly at the edges when some little thing amused her. Or the way two frown lines would appear between above her nose when something puzzled her. Spike grinned as he pictured the way she tucked and untucked her hair from behind her ears when she was nervous, and the way she arched one delicate brow when she thought he said something ridiculous.

And of course, around her, almost every other thing out of his mouth was ridiculous. He liked her, and for some reason that made him act very non-Spike-like. Sure, he enjoyed a lot of things humans had to offer, but he was still a hard, unforgiving bastard who had little patience for them unless they possessed something he wanted. With Willow, however, he wanted nothing more than to be in her company. Which he would be...Spike looked over at the another six hours and thirty-seven minutes.

With a frustrated sigh, he let the ball drop to the bed and grabbed a magazine from the night stand. A bit of light reading ought to knock him right out. "Terr-an-s Malick is standing at the top of Dancer, one of the hills nested in the moun-mountans of the Da-in tree Rainforest. Oh, Daintree Rainforest. Right, wherever the bloody hell that is...."

XX - Shoes on Feet

"Hi!" Willow said excitedly as she opened the door. "Seven o'clock."

"On the nose," Spike finished, tapping her nose with each word.

She grinned. "Come on in. I just have to put my shoes on, then we can go," she said, stepping back to let the blond vampire pass. She tucked her hair behind her ears and smiled up at him as he stood in the entryway.

"Um, luv?" Spike said. "Shoes?"

"Shoes?" Willow asked, puzzled. "Oh, shoes! Right. Can't go shopping in my socks. Be right back."

Spike chuckled as she hurried down the hallway. He saw the pile of his now clean clothing sitting on the arm of the couch with his wallet and a handful of change on top. He picked both up and tucked them in his pocket as Willow returned. "All set?"

"Shoes on feet," she replied, pointing at her Vans. She looked at the pile of clothes. "Did you get your wallet?"

"Yes," Spike said. "It seems a bit lighter though."

"But I put everything ba-" Willow saw his large grin and hit his arm. "Ooh! That wasn't very nice."

He was about to say something when the doorbell rang. Both of them jumped, startled, and shot each other wide eyed glances. "Um...hallway,"she said, giving him a push in that direction. The bell rang again and she squealed in despair. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and plastered a huge smile on her face before opening the door.

"Hey Willster," Xander greeted, Buffy standing at his side.

"Hi, what are you two doing here," Willow replied through her clenched teeth.

"Aren't you going to let us in?" Buffy asked.

"What? Oh, yeah, sure," she said, letting them pass. She looked nervously at the hallway, then back at her friends. "What's up?"

"I lost my necklace this morning," Buffy confessed. "Can we check your room?"

"" Willow squeaked.

"Yes, your room," Buffy said, giving her friend a confused look.

"Oh, uh, my room," she said. "My room. Which is down the hall. That hall. Which leads to my uh, room."

"Will, are your feeling ok?" Xander asked, putting his hand on her forehead.

"Me? I'm fine. Nothing going on here," Willow replied quickly. She gave them a half smile, untucking her hair from behind her ears, then tucking it back.

"Uh, Will? Necklace?" Buffy said.

"Oh, necklace! Right," she said. She turned without lifting her feet, the Vans making a loud squeak on the wood floor. She swallowed heavily and gave her friends a tight grin, then headed for the hallway. When she didn't see Spike standing there, she breathed a sigh of relief, then looked around quickly. The door to the bathroom was open, as was the one for the spare bedroom, but she didn't see him.

"So, what are you doing tonight?" Xander asked from behind her.

Willow screamed and jumped to face him, hand pressed to her chest. "Xander! You scared me!"

Xander's brow furrowed as he looked at his oldest friend. "Little jumpy there, Will," he said, then blinked in surprise when he saw her neck. "Is that a tattoo?"

"A who?" Willow asked.

He brought his hand up and touched her neck. "This devil."

Willow clamped her hand over the spot. "What this? Heh, heh. It's a tattoo."

"Willow's friend Billy put it on her," Buffy informed him with a grin.

"Oh really?" Xander said, putting his hand on his chin. "Velly, velly interesting."

"Yeah, it's interesting," Willow chuckled nervously. "Now about that necklace..."

XXI - The Emperor's New Clothes

Willow thumped her head repeatedly against the door she just closed behind Xander and Buffy.

"That was interesting, ducks."

"Aah!" Willow screamed, looking in startled fright at the blond vampire.

Spike chuckled. "Willow, I think you need to cut back on the caffeine."

She stomped over to him and began hitting his chest. "You scared me,!"

He grabbed her wrists and grinned down at her. "Tsk, tsk. What language."

Willow wrinkled her nose at him as he released her. "Where were you hiding?"

"In your room," Spike replied with a wink.

"But, I didn't see you," Willow said, frowning.

"I thought that was the point?"

"Just be glad I like you, or you'd be in big trouble, mister," she said, giving him a scathing look. "Now, let's get you some new clothes."

Twenty minutes later, the two new friends entered the automatic doors of Sunnydale mall. "So, what kind of clothes do you want?" Willow asked, hooking her arm through his. "More jeans and T-shirts or something different?"

"I'm in your hands, kitten," Spike said, giving her a lewd grin. She arched her brow at him, then led him to the first good store, where they were immediately pounced on by a bubbly salesgirl.

"Like hi! Can I help you?" Her name tag told them her name was Sissy.

"Like sure," Willow replied, just as air-head like. Spike bit his cheek to keep from laughing. "We're gonna need, like, a dressing room. That one over there in the, like, corner would be, like, perfect."

"Like, ok!" Sissy gushed, turning on her heel and bouncing to the dressing room.

"That was annoying," Spike commented. He looked down at his companion. "Can I eat her?"

"No eating the salesgirls, no matter how much they deserve it," Willow told him, as she began to weave her way to the men's clothing at the back of the store. "What's your favorite color?" He arched his brow, giving her a pointed look. "Never mind. Take off your coat."

"Do what?"

"Spike, first of all, it's eighty degrees outside. Secondly, I need to see what size you wear," she said exasperately.

He sighed dramatically, but complied. "Happy?" Willow rolled her eyes, then walked around behind him and lifted up his red shirt. "Hey now! What the bloody hell are you doing?"

"Relax, ‘fraidy cat, I'm just reading the label on the back of your jeans," Willow said. *And checking out your cute butt,* she thought to herself, then blushed. She dropped his shirt, walked back around him and looked him over with a critical eye. "Medium," she concluded. She turned to the rack of clothing and began going through it. "If you see something you like, don't hesitate to grab it."

Spike's eyes widened at her words. *Down boy,* he thought, swallowing heavily. He took a step away from her before he could do exactly that. *Don't screw this up, * he admonished himself. *You wouldn't want to lose your first real friend.*

"Earth to Spike," Willow said, waving a hand in front of his face. He blinked and looked at her. "Where did you go?"

"Nowhere, pet," he replied.

"If you say so," she said. "Come on, let's go try these on."

"Are you going to help me change, too?" Spike teased.

Willow blushed. "No, but you can model, if you want."

"You all, like, ready?" Sissy asked when they approached the dressing room.

"Like, yes," Willow replied, shaking the clothes in her arms.

"Ok, here you go," Sissy said, unlocking the door. "Let me know if you, like, need anything else." Sissy bounced away as perkily as before and the red head sighed.

"Are you positive I can't eat her?" Spike asked.

In response, Willow pushed him into the small, dressing room and shoved the clothes into his arms. "I'll be in this chair, expecting a show," she told him, then shut the door with a devilish grin.

As she waited, she kept an eye on Sissy, who was hovering just far enough away not to be intrusive, but ready enough to help if called. Good employee.

The wooden door opened to reveal a completely different Spike. Willow's mouth dropped open when she saw him, dressed in a pair of tan khaki pants and a dark blue, long sleeve shirt with a blue on white stripe around the middle at chest level, tucked in. The outfit made him look younger, less tough, but no less male.

"Willow?" Spike said, uncertainty in his voice.

Willow closed her mouth with an audible clack, then began to nod her head in approval. "You," the word came out as a squeak and she blushed. "You look good."

Spike gave her a half grin and looked down at himself. "This sort of thing will take some getting used to."

"You'll be a hip vampire in no time," Willow teased, overcoming her amazement at his appearance.

He rolled his eyes and closed the door again. He modeled several more pants/shirt combinations until he was down to a pair of really ugly plaid pants and an obnoxious striped shirt. "Um, Willow?" he called out through the door.

"Yeah, Spike?"

"Did you pick out these bloody ridiculous pants?"

"Do what?" Willow said, mimicking one of his British expressions.

He opened the door a crack and stuck his hand out, gesturing for her to come over. She stood, approached the door and suddenly found herself being yanked inside the small fitting room. "Look," he said, facing her to the awful clothing on the hangers.

But Willow had her eyes tightly closed so she wouldn't look. "Spike," she squeaked again. "What are you doing?"

"I'm asking you if you picked those out," he replied. "I will not wear plaid."

"Plaid?" Willow asked, her eyes opening to silts, ready to shut at the slightest view of a certain vampire. In front of her was her own reflection and the most hideous clothing she'd ever seen. Her eyes widened. "Orange, green and blue plaid? I didn't even think that was possible."

"So, you're not conspiring against me?" Spike asked.

"I wouldn't even force this on my most feared enemy," she said, fingering the pants. She suddenly conjured up an image of Angel wearing them when he attacked her at the school that terrible night and burst out laughing.

"What's so funny, ducks?" Spike asked, watching as tears streamed down her face from merriment in the mirror.

"I just pictured Angel wearing these pants," she gasped out between laughs.

The image of his sire in the plaid appeared in his mind's eye. He started to chuckle, then all out laugh as the striped shirt was added to the picture. "Cor, luv, that's bloody hilarious," he managed to get out, resting his forehead on his arm on the wall as he laughed.

"Could you see Buffy's reaction?" Willow asked, wiping her eyes as she turned to face him. "She'd never have to worry abo-" She cut off suddenly as she saw him. Almost all of him. She felt her cheeks start to flame, her eyes widening again as he stood leaning against his arm, wearing nothing more than a pair of black briefs.

Spike's laughter trailed off and he turned his head to see her looking at him, her face flushed, her green eyes large. He was suddenly very aware that he was standing only in his knickers, and would have blushed if he could have. Instead, he faced her fully, standing proud and made a grand gesture. "Do you like the emperor's new clothes?"

Willow's hand shot up to her face, covering her eyes, and she squealed in embarrassment. But behind her eyelids she could still see him clearly, all pale and sculptured, with the angel tattoo prominent on his pectoral muscle. "!"

He chuckled and quickly slid on his own black jeans. "You can open your eyes now, Willow," he told her as he leaned casually against the wall, arms crossed over his bare chest, smirk on his face.

"Are you decent?"

"Luv, I'm never decent," Spike replied.

XXII - Plain Vanilla

"How about some ice cream, ducks?" Spike asked as they made their way out of the store loaded down with bags of new clothing. He was going to have some serious bills on his credit cards.

"Ice cream!" Willow exclaimed, bouncing on her toes. "You bet'cha!"

Spike chuckled and led her over to the food area on the second floor of the mall. He looked at all the flavors while they waited in line. "What would you like?"

"One scoop Rocky Road, once scoop Mint Chocolate Chip," she told him. "What are you going to get."

"Vanilla," he replied as they stepped forward in line.

"Vanilla? But that's plain," Willow said.


"So, why vanilla?"

"It's my favorite flavor," Spike admitted. "Plus, all these bloody weird names try on my patience when I go to read them all. Vanilla. Plain. Simple. Goes good with a side of blood."

"Um, eew?" Willow said, wrinkling her nose. They were next in line, cutting off further conversation until they had their cones. Walking over to the glass railings, they leaned on the protective dividers and watched the people below as they ate. "Spike? If I ask you a kinda personal question, do you promise not to use me as your side of blood?"

Spike arched an eyebrow at her. "What's that, pet?"

"No, promise first. I know you keep your word," she said.

"Ok, I promise not to eat you," he said. "Now, what's the question?"

"Do you..." Willow trailed off, licked her ice cream, then took a deep breath and let her thoughts rush out. "Do you have problems reading?"

"Why?" Spike asked, frowning at the vanilla cone as the ice cream dripped onto his hand.

"Well, I kinda noticed that you stumbled over the words as you read the beginning to the Star Wars movies, then the cake mix and now you tell me you don't like to read the names of the different ice cream flavors," she said. "Not that having trouble is a bad thing. In fact, it's normal for some people. Lots of people. Old people. Not that I'm saying you're old."

"Willow," he interrupted. She looked over at him with wide, green eyes, and he knew he could never hold anything back from her. She was becoming that kind of friend. "Yes, I have trouble reading. It's bloody annoying at times, especially because I can't ask anyone what a certain word is. Can you picture me, William the Bloody, ask one of my minions what the ice cream flavors are?"

"That would pose a problem," Willow said, her forehead wrinkling in consternation. "Um, would you...I mean, I, if you'd like. But, you don't have to like. Or want. My help that is. We can just stand here and eat ice cream. That's slowly dripping down my arm."

Spike chuckled at the face she made as the green liquid ran down her hand and wrist. He handed her one of the napkins he grabbed. "Kitten, I'd be happy to have your assistance."

"Really?" she said, getting excited at the thought of teaching.

"Yes, really," he replied, hitting her nose with his cone, leaving a white blob on the tip.

Willow swallowed heavily when he did this, her mind going back several years to when Xander almost kissed her because of the ice cream on her nose. Then they were interrupted by vampires, and kissed two years later causing Oz to dump her on graduation. Now, she was with a vampire because Oz dumped her, and she had ice cream on her nose.

Spike leaned forward and she started to panic, her breathing becoming fast and erratic. *Oh god, oh god, oh god,* she thought over and over. *What's he going to do? Oh god, oh god, oh god.*

He sucked the ice cream off her nose.

Her knees collapsed and she fell heavily against the protective wall and they both watched as her cone slipped through her fingers and plummeted to the first floor. It landed with a splat.

"I don't think that's how your suppose to eat ice cream, pet," Spike said seriously, trying not to give into the laughter that was threatening to burst out.

Willow turned bright red and took a few steps back from the edge. "Um...oops?"

XXIII - Pictures in the Mind

"That was fun, pet," Spike said as they walked back to Willow's house after the mall had closed. They were both loaded down with bags of clothes. He was glad he'd driven to her house earlier, but should have thought to drive to the mall. Too late now.

"Yup," Willow agreed. After the embarrassment over the ice cream, she scolded herself for thinking he actually wanted to kiss her. And for actually wanting to kiss him.

Not that he was bad looking. In fact, he was extremely handsome in a hard, rebel sort of way, with the bleached hair and the leather duster. *He was pretty sexy in nothing but black briefs, either.* Willow began to blush at the way her thoughts were taking her, so she started to babble.

"Spike? I wanted to let you know, in case it ever comes up, or you hear something and you wanted to know who I was talking about. It's you. I had to think of something when Buffy asked. I couldn't just tell her that it was you who put the tattoo on my neck. She'd wig. Lots of wigging would have occurred. And that would not be good..."

"Willow," Spike said, interrupting her dialogue.

"Um, yeah?"

"What did you want to tell me?"

"Oh! I told her your name was Billy," Willow replied. She looked over at him and saw he was frowning at her confession. "Is that ok?"

"Sure," he said with a shrug. "Why not? I have new clothes, might as well have a new name to go with it." He shot her a cocky grin.

Willow let out the breath that she'd been holding in relief as they approached her house. "Well, this is where I get off."

Spike stopped walking suddenly and looked at her as a picture formed in his mind. A very graphic picture. He shifted the bags in his hand to the front of his body to cover the result of his vivid imagination. "Willow," the name came out as a high pitched squeak, as if he were going through puberty again. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Willow?"

Willow looked over at him and could swear he was blushing. "Yeah, Spike?"

"Would you like to get together tomorrow and do...something?" he asked. He felt like he was once again reduced to a sixteen year old with a hard on asking a beautiful woman out on a date. Which was what he was doing, although he was a tad bit older than sixteen.

"During the day?" Willow asked. He nodded. "Ok. But you better give my your phone number just in case. Oh, and what time?"

"Anytime you want, kitten," Spike replied, a grin spreading across his face. "And the number is 749-5211."

"Ok," she nodded and handed him the other bags. "I, uh, guess I'll see you tomorrow."

"I'll count the hours," he told her.

Willow blushed and tucked her hair behind her ears. "Well, goodnight."

"Goodnight, Willow," Spike said. She gave him a little wave and went into her house. His grin turned into an uncomfortable frown as he walked to the back of his car, the material of his jeans just a little to tight for comfort. "Bloody hell. You're acting as though you've never had a woman before, mate. This is Willow. Your friend. Not someone who'd want you like that." He threw the bags in the trunk, then jumped into the car and sped off down the street.