Willow & Spike: A Collection of Short Silly Stories

by: Saber ShadowKitten





XLIII - Fireworks



Willow sat on the blanket leaning back on her hands, legs stretched in front of her, head back as she watched the fireworks light up the sky.

Reds, golds, blues, greens in many star burst and sparkly patterns created ooh's and ah's from the families in the park. Smiles stretch across faces, parents pointed to the sky while speaking to their children, lovers snuggled together, long married couples held hands.

And Spike sat nearby, watching her watch the fireworks, absently pulling at the grass.




XLIV - Winnie, the Pooh



"Ok, are you ready?"

"Yes."

"Begin."

Willow looked at the sheet in front of her as Spike read the passage aloud, circling the words he missed. They had started the tests earlier that day and had gradually progressed from simple three letter word passages to more complex stories. The only break they took was for lunch, which was extremely hard on the vampire who alternated between sitting, pacing and smoking as they worked.

"...the ends des-destroyed for the ground were fre-...were chad in a pit of glowering coals. Because there were no prospering tremors back then as we know them this char-ring vap-vapor- vaporing mouse and seed the surefire," Spike read. He put the page down and looked over at Willow, who was tapping the end of her pen against her lips.

At first, Spike didn't think he was going to like having her tutor him. The idea, when she first brought it up over a month ago, had sounded fine. However, when she suggested it that morning on the phone, he'd been apprehensive. Now, he didn't mind at all, although it was hard to sit still for so long. Of course, it had nothing to do with the fact that he had spent the day with her in his kitchen or the night before watching her at the park. Not at all.

"That's the last one," Willow said, piling the xeroxed test papers together. "Now I need to go through the book, then we'll start officially."

"We're done?" Spike asked hopefully.

"We're done."

He was on his feet immediately, grabbing her hand and pulling her up, as well. He grabbed his cigarettes from off the table, then led her out the front door into the night. He didn't stop his fast pace until they were several blocks from the house, entering a playground.

"I take it you needed to get out of the house," Willow said with a laugh as he dropped her hand and lit up a cigarette. He nodded, inhaling the smoke, then jumped up on a low, wooden beam. "Well, I think you suppressed your Tigger-ness quite well."

"Tigger-ness?" Spike asked.

"You know, Tigger. From Winnie, the Pooh," she explained. He nodded again, jumping off the end of the beam and running up the slide. She rolled her eyes at him as he slid down it on his feet like a skier. "Spike, you're silly."

Spike gave her a wicked grin. "Among other things."

She snorted, walking over to the swings. With a push, she stood on the plastic seat, swinging like she and Xander dared each other to do when they were kids. Her red hair flew behind her with each forward movement and she inhaled the crisp, night air, happy to be outside after being cooped up all day.

Spike crushed out his cigarette and rolled the pack in the sleeve of his T-shirt. He watched Willow swing for a moment, a happy smile on his face before he rounded behind her and gave her a push.

"Spike!" Willow shouted as she swung higher. The shout wasn't because of the push itself, but the fact that he touched her backside in order to do it, seeing as how she was standing on the swing.

He stopped pushing and came back in front of her, cocking his head to one side. "You know, ducks, I don't think that's how you're suppose to swing."

"Says who? The Sunnydale Swing Police?" Willow said.

Spike rolled his eyes at her, then turned and surveyed the area surrounding the playground. He held up a hand to her and she let herself slow down as he silently made his way towards the bushes lining one side of the play area. Heart pounding in her chest, she waited.

"Bloody hell," Spike swore when he caught sight of Buffy fighting a vampire just beyond the bushes near the jogging path through the park. He turned and hurried back over to Willow. "It's the Slayer."

"I guess we'd better skedaddle then," Willow said, already heading back the way they came. She looked up at him with a mischievous grin. "Where's daddle? And is it a black diamond run?"

He burst out laughing as they left the park, heading back for his house. "Cor, pet, I think that you're the silly one."

"That's me, the silly pet," she agreed. "Arf, arf."

"Oh bother," he sighed, mimicking a close to perfect Winnie, the Pooh.

Willow giggled and linked her arm with his. "Now what?"

"As long as it doesn't require sitting, I'm game for anything," Spike replied.

She thought for a minute, then a slow smile crossed her face. "I have the perfect activity."




XLV - Brilliant Ideas



"I can't believe I'm doing this," Spike said as he tied the laces.

"You could have said no at anytime," Willow told him as she stood. "But you didn't, now you're stuck. Like a pig." She paused and frowned. "What does a pig get stuck in anyway? I thought with all that mud, they'd be slippery."

Spike rolled his eyes and carefully stood. When he didn't immediately fall, he breathed out a sigh of relief...which cause him to loose his footing and plop back onto the bench.

Willow giggled and held out her hand. "Does the big, bad vampire need some help?"

He growled at her, knocking her hand away and stood again. He took a few, tentative steps past her, latching onto the waist high wall. "Next time you get any brilliant ideas, kitten, remind me to kill you."

"You're the one who said you didn't want to do anything that required sitting," she pointed out.

"But I don't know how to bloody roller skate!"




XLVI - Big Evil Calling



Several hours and bumps and bruises later, the two friends returned their rented skates amidst the chaos of parents and children getting ready to leave the now closed rink. "Come on, admit it, Sexy Knickers. You had fun," Willow said as she got her shoes in exchange for the skates.

"If you call falling on your arse and having annoying little snots laugh at you fun, then I had a riot,"Spike replied, grasping onto his Doc Martens as if they were a lifeline.

Willow laughed as they moved away from the rental counter. "But you looked so cute when you fall on your butt."

He growled at her, bending to put on his shoes. "Next time, I pick the bloody activity."

"Well, it can't be tomorrow because I'm going to the Bronze with Buffy and Xander for fifties night," she told him, tying her sneakers. "But I'm free Saturday, unless big evil comes calling."

"Say you're not interested and hang up on them, luv," Spike said with a smirk. "Those telemarketers can keep you on the line for hours."

"Oh brother," Willow replied, shaking her head in pity. "That was sad."

"That's what happens from spending too much time with you," he teased as he threw his arm over her shoulder and led her to the door. "You lose all capacity to tell good jokes."

She swatted him. "Not funny."

"Has your chum Xander ever told a good joke?" Spike asked innocently.




XLVII - Bance?



"Hey, Buffster," Xander greeted as the blond joined the table. Fifties music was playing loudly in the Bronze and teens dressed in various fashions from the times were bopping to the beat.

"Guys, you'll never believe what I heard," Buffy said without returning the greeting. She looked at Xander, then Willow with an amused smile on her face. "Someone was entertaining kids by singing at the park on Wednesday night and the sources say it was Spike!"

Willow almost choked on her drink and she started coughing. Xander rubbed her back. "Spike and singing? It doesn't sound like a match."

"I know, that's what I thought," Buffy replied. "But the vampire I was pounding on tried to trade that bit of info for his life. I didn't believe him, though, because if Spike were back in town, everyone would know it. That bleached doofus has a problem staying out of trouble."

"What if he is back?" Willow asked worriedly after her choking fit was done. "And he wasn't causing trouble. Would you still stake him? Even if he didn't do anything?"

"Will, he's a vampire - a bad one, at that. If he was back, it would only be to make a mess of my life. I most definitely would stake him," Buffy replied.

"But what if he was good?" Willow persisted. "And he didn't cause trouble? Or-or create more vampires? Or...or..."

"It's the Slayer's super-secret sacred duty to slay," Xander said. "Slaying Spike would be a part of the Slayer's super-secret sacred duty."

"You've been watching the Cartoon Network again, haven't you, Xand?" Buffy said.

"All day yesterday," Xander replied proudly. "My red headed friend here abandoned me."

"Really?" Buffy said, arching an eyebrow at Willow. "And where were you at all day, hmm?"

"Tutoring," Willow answered. It was the truth.

"In the middle of the summer?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"He's special," Willow said, then frowned. "Well, not special in the riding the special bus way. Special in the...special way."

"And this, ladies and gentlemen, was one of the top students of the graduating class of 1999," Xander said in an emcee voice. A new song came on, saving Willow, and Buffy dragged her two best friends to the dance floor, their fifties attire blending with the others.

Several songs later, they laughingly made their way back to the table. "Ladies, drinks?" Xander asked after checking the two empty cups on the table.

"Mountain Dew," Buffy replied.

Willow shook her head no. "Hey, is Angel coming?" she asked as Xander walked away.

"I mentioned it, but I don't know if he'll show," Buffy replied, looking around the club. "I hope so, considering I was able to stay here for the summer instead of going to dad's so I could spend time with him before he moves to LA."

"LA, ugh," Willow commented. "Don't remind me about moving there."

"You're not moving, Will, you're just going to school there," she told the hacker.

"I know," Willow sighed. "I'm having Hellmouth sickness. Like homesickness, but with more research involved."

"Hey, Will, this was left for you at the counter," Xander said as he put the drinks on the table. He handed her a folded napkin with her first name poorly scrawled across it.

Willow opened the note. *bance? S,* she read the horrid printing to herself. *Bance? What...oh!* She realized who it was from, filing away the common dyslexic error, and started looking around the club.

"Who's it from?" Buffy asked, taking a sip of her soda.

"Sp-er, Billy," Willow replied.

"Ooh, Billy," Buffy and Xander said at the same time in sing song voices.

Willow blushed. "Guys-"

"So, when are we going to meet your mystery friend," Buffy asked.

*Not in this lifetime,* Willow thought. "He's...shy." *Right, shy. Just like Cordelia is nice.*

A Chubby Checker song started and Xander jumped to his feet. "I hear the music calling."

"You guys go ahead," Willow said as Buffy stood.

"Come on, Xander," Buffy said. "I think someone wants to find her friend."

Willow blushed again, tucking her hair behind her ears. They were not gone more than thirty seconds when she heard a deep, familiar voice in her ear. "Dance, pet?"

She turned on the stool, a worried look on her face. "Now? With Buffy and Xander right over there? You could be staked. Buffy would stake you."

Spike chuckled. "The Slayer won't do anything, luv," he told her. He gestured to his white t- shirt, cuffed blue jeans and very old Converse All-Stars. There was a pack of cigarettes rolled in his sleeve and he was wearing the Dodger's cap backwards again. "I doubt she'd recognize me."

Before Willow could protest again, he grabbed her hand and pulled her off the stool. They wove their way around the crowd away from Buffy and Xander, then he snaked his arm around her waist, putting her into the classic dance position. Forced to follow his lead, Willow decided to cheat after the fourth stumble. She stopped him, then climbed on his feet.

Spike laughed, holding the red head closer. "Cor, you're a silly girl."

"You bet'cha," Willow agreed. "But you have to admit this is much easier."

"For you, maybe," he replied. "I'm the one with the dead weight on my feet."

"Live weight," she corrected with a grin. Spike rolled his eyes. "Oh, hey, I think your secret is out."

"That I like vanilla ice cream?" Spike asked innocently.

"No, silly," Willow sighed with fake exasperation. "I meant that you're here in Sunnydale. A vampire that Buffy was slaying told her."

"Did she believe it?" he said, a frown on his face.

"No. She thinks that if you were in town she'd know because you'd be out causing trouble," she answered.

"Normally, I would be," he said. "But I have this bloody red headed conscious now that took all my fun away."

Willow wrinkled her nose at him. "Watch it, Sexy Knickers. Or I'll give you handwriting lessons, too."

"It's not that bad," Spike protested. Then, after a pause, he asked, "Is it?"

"On a scale of one to ten, with one being bad, I'd say negative three," she replied, giving him an evil smile.

"I just can't seem to please some women," he sighed dramatically. "You let them dance on your feet and they insult you." Willow laughed, making his heart constrict. He was getting in way over his head, coming to the Bronze while the Slayer was present, reaffirming his insanity.

"Spike?"

"What was that, pet?" Spike asked, snapping out of his thoughts.

"You went to that place again," Willow told him. "I'm beginning to think you like it there more than in the real world."

"Ah, but in the real world, I have you," he said, executing a quick spin with her on his feet. He frowned at her. "I don't know if that's a good thing or not."

"Hey!" Willow exclaimed. Spike laughed, making her heart constrict. She was getting into very deep water, dancing this close to him with Buffy just across the room. But she liked it, a lot.




XLVIII - Going to School



"Would you like to do something tomorrow, pet?" Spike asked. "Not more learning, but something fun. We have all the time in the world for books."

"Um, actually, we only have the summer," Willow told him.

He frowned. "Why?"

"I'm going to school in LA at the end of August," she replied.

"Oh," he said, not liking how that bit of news made him feel. "Where at?"

"UCLA," Willow answered. "I'm looking forward to it, but I'm not."

"Why's that, luv?"

"Well, it's school and I really like school. And college will be much more challenging than high school. Not that high school was a breeze, I did have to work. But since I liked that sort of thing, and I spent most of my Friday and Saturday nights at home and alone doing homework, it made school easy," she rambled. "But LA. As in two plus hours from here. As in not on the Hellmouth where I'm needed to be the net girl and research girl and help Buffy stop the nasty things that want to play here."

Spike gave her a small smile, although he wasn't feeling particularly happy at that moment. "I'm sure that you can still help with that sort of thing over the Internet."

"Yeah, but it won't be the same," Willow said depressingly. "I won't get to see Buffy and Xander every day. Or Giles. Or the library. I'm really going to miss the library. It's been like a second home to me...well, more like a first home. I don't wanna go."

*I don't want you to go either, Willow,* he thought. But instead he replied, "Think of all the new things you'll be experiencing and learning instead of what you'll be leaving. And LA isn't that far away. It's not like you're going off to Oxford for university or somewhere else on the other side of the bloody world."

"I know. But still...," she trailed off. Then, she added silently, *I'll miss you.*

"No ‘buts' allowed," Spike told her firmly. "You're going and you're going to like it and that's final."

"Getting a bit pushy in your old age, aren't you," Willow smiled up at him, shaking off the sad mood. "Next you'll be telling me stories about how when you were my age you walked fifteen miles to school, uphill both ways, in the snow..."

Spike scowled at her. "I'll have you know that my primary school was less than a street away. It was easy to walk there."

"And how often did you actually walk there?"

"Every day," he answered solemnly. Then added with a grin, "Didn't mean that I actually went in to the schoolhouse."




IL - He's Mine



"Oh boy," Willow said, looking past Spike's shoulder to the trio headed their direction.

"Oh boy what?" Spike inquired, looking down at her.

"Buffy and-and Xander and Angel at ten...no eleven...coming this way!"

"Then I guess I'd better scoot," he told her as she stepped off his feet. "I'll ring you tomorrow, kitten."

"‘K," Willow replied, nervously biting her lip as her friends got closer. "Now go."

"Methinks you want me to go," Spike teased. The panicked look she gave him made him chuckle. "Alright, pet. I'm gone."

With that, he quickly slipped away in the opposite directions of the Slayer and her friends. Willow pasted a large, fake smile on her face as the three joined her. "Hi guys! Boy, I'm tired. I think I'll be heading home now."

"How come Billy ran off?" Buffy asked.

"He...uh, has to go to work....early. Gotta get his forty winks," Willow replied.

"So when can we meet this mystery friend of yours?" Xander asked as they headed for the door to the Bronze. "I want to know if I have to get out my machete and go Jason on him."

"Well, he's busy. Very busy. Does a lot of stuff. During the day. And night. In fact, you'll probably never meet him," she said. Then, mentally she added, *Count on it*

"Come on, Will. I'm your bestest friend. If you got a hottie, share," Buffy whispered conspiratorially to her.

"No, he's mine," Willow said fiercely before she could stop herself. Her eyes widened comically as she began to blush bright red. "Um, heh heh. I, er, didn't mean it like that."

"Uh-huh. Tell me another one, Wills."




L - Driving That Monstrosity



"Hello?"

"Hello, luv."

"Hey, what are we doing today?"

"You are going shopping."

"I am?"

"You am."

"Nice grammar. Why am I going shopping?"

"You need specific clothes for what we're doing tonight."

"Like..."

"Just come by and I'll tell you and give you my card."

"I get to use your credit card?"

"I'm a looney, yes, I know."

"I'll be right over...wait. I don't have a car. How do I get to the store?"

"You can take mine."

"No, uh-uh, not again. I will not be driving that monstrosity."

"Hey, I like that car."

"You're a monster, so it fits."

"Very funny, kitten. A laugh a minute, you are."

"Thanks. I know, I'll call Buffy and see if she wants to go to the mall with me."

"Fine by me, pet. But how are you going to explain having to come by here?"

"I left something I need. Like, your charge card."

"Maybe this is a bloody mistake."

"Too late now. I'll be over soon. Bye."

"Bye."




LI - Hearing Is Second To Go



Joyce was nice enough to drive the girls to wherever they needed to go, after serious begging from her daughter. She pulled up in the drive of a nice, ranch home and Willow hopped out. "Be right back," she said, then scampered towards the front door.

"Who lives here?" Joyce asked Buffy.

"My guess is Billy," Buffy replied, watching as Willow opened the door and went inside without knocking.

"Who's Billy?"

"Some friend she's tutoring," she shrugged. "Haven't met him."

"Are you sure he's...human?" Joyce inquired.

"Willow says he passed the test," Buffy told her, her eyes roving over the windows. The sun glinted off the glass, preventing her from being able to see past the surface.

Inside the house, Willow called out to her friend. "Spike? The red headed witch has come to take your credit card!"

"You don't have to yell, pet," Spike said, emerging from the kitchen. "I'm not deaf."

"Yeah, but you're old. I've been told that the hearing is second to go," she teased.

"What's the first?"

Willow's eyes darted down to the front of his jeans, then back up to his face. "Um..."

Spike started to laugh, impressed by her courage to make that naughty joke. His shy kitten wasn't quite so timid all the time. "Here," he said, handing her the plastic and a bright yellow flyer. "This is where we're going tonight."

"Really?" Willow said, eyes skimming the paper. "I've always wanted to try this."

"You know what to purchase, then?" Spike asked.

"Yeah. I'll have Buffy's mom take us to Fetla's. They'll have everything there," she told him. "I bet Buffy's never been there before. Hunting and fishing stores are not her forte."

"Wish I could go with you, ducks," Spike said as she turned to go. "But until they come up with SPF one million, I'm stuck."

Willow giggled. "What time do you want to go?"

"Why don't you meet me at the armory at eight," he suggested. "That way I'll have time to..."

"Hunt," Willow finished, giving him a sorrowful look. "Try not to munch someone I like, ok?" She opened the door and stepped out into the sun, turning back to face him again. "See you later."

"Bye, kitten," Spike said. He sighed as he watched her return to the car from the darkness of the house, the sunlight playing off her fiery hair. At that moment, he was feeling low because of her look. He shut the door and grimaced at his depressing thoughts, venturing back to the kitchen.




LII - The Dangers of Skating



Willow had an interesting shopping experience at Fetla's with Buffy and her mom. Neither of them had been at the store before, and they couldn't understand why she wanted to go. Even after showing the Slayer the flyer, she only got a puzzled look for her troubles.

"Why would you want to do this, Wills?" Buffy asked, looking at the bright yellow paper.

"Because it looks like fun," Willow replied, digging through the racks for pants in her size.

"Fun," she humphed. "Xander fun, definitely. Me fun, maybe. You fun? Don't see it."

"I'm not just research gal or ‘net gal, you know," Willow said defensively. "I have other interests. I can be dangerous or daring. I have a tattoo. I went to LA for the weekend by myself with S-er-Billy. I took him roller skating, which was a great danger to all the other skaters."

"Hey, I'm not going to stop you,"Buffy replied. "I just wondered why, that's all."

"Because I was asked to go," Willow answered. "Now, help me find a pair in 29/30 before I start to throw things in frustration."




LIII - Hating Waiting



Spike's brow was netted together as he concentrated. He had been digging around the basement yesterday after he'd gotten bored, which was half an hour after he'd woke up, and found the kit he was meticulously trying to put together. Glue was sticking to his fingers as he dabbed it on the next piece and held it in the correct place to set.

Waiting was always the worst. He'd go slowly nuts the time between when he got out of bed until the sun set. It was horrible for him when he'd been stuck in the wheelchair, unable to get around easily. But now, his antsy-ness was due more in fact that he'd be seeing Willow that night than wanting to get out of the house. He really liked her company, liked her, and the time between when they saw each other was becoming harder to bear.

He looked at the picture on the box, then at the model that was in front of him. They looked nothing alike. With a growl, he stood and left the kitchen to go see what was on television.

He hated waiting.




LIV - Blast Camp



Willow walked partway to the armory with Buffy, who was starting out on patrol later that night. Her friend couldn't get over the way she looked in the clothing they'd finally found at the store, right down to the heavy boots on her feet. Her red hair was braided tightly against her head and she carried a plain, black ball cap in her hands. Her money and id were in one of the many pockets in the camouflage and she had a grin on her face.

She was going to play paintball.

The armory held Blast Camp every Saturday night during the summer, opening up to the public over 18 years of age. Some people brought their own equipment, others rented, then spent the night pummeling each other with high velocity balls of paint.

Willow grinned at the guard outside the gates as she passed. She joined in the small knot of camouflaged twenty somethings that were heading to the outbuilding that housed the equipment. It also served as a meeting spot where the players rested between games.

Her eyes darted around the semi-lit open room, looking for Spike. Tables were covered with open boxes, guns, paintball bags, masks and cleaning equipment. Men and women stood or sat, chatting as they prepared for the next outing. All were dressed similarly in fatigues or dark clothing. Frowning, she climbed up on a chair in order to see better.

"Nice view, kitten?"

Willow turned and looked down to see Spike grinning at her, holding a box similar to those on the tables. It was painted a funny brown color, had rope handles and a latch with a small padlock on it. She hopped down off the chair with a smile. "Hi!"

"Follow me," he instructed after winking at her. As he led her through the crowd, Willow studied his own clothing. His fatigues were well-worn and faded, tucked into combat boots that no longer shined. He had on a tight, olive green t-shirt, tucked in and was wearing a no-longer- black, backwards, Marlboro cap to cover his telltale blond hair. Hanging from his hand that carried the box was a camouflage jacket that matched his pants.

All in all, he made one fine looking military specimen, in her opinion.

He stopped at a table in the corner with several players sitting at it. "Hello, people," he greeted, plopping the box down.

"Spike, greetings," a pretty young man greeted. The two clasped wrists in a manly greeting and Willow arched her brow. She quickly took inventory as hellos were exchanged with the others at the table. There was a woman in her mid twenties, average height, with her brownish red hair loose around her face and excited blue eyes. She sat next to a young man about her height, very stocky, wearing a bandana on his head and had ears that stuck out slightly.

Across from them was another young man around Spike's height, wearing a beret of all things. He had a goatee and looked French as he sat smoking a mini-cigar, peering at her with soft, brown eyes. Next to him sat a tall, gangly fellow with short, dark hair and a lazy eye. She couldn't tell if he was looking at her or not. Finally, her eyes met the pretty boy that first spoke. He was slightly taller than her, with shoulder length, soft blond hair, smooth feminine face and squinting eyes. All of them were wearing fatigues and combat boots or hiking boots.

"Everyone, this is Willow," Spike introduced her, putting his arm around her shoulder. "Willow, I'd like you to meet Jamie, Deuce, Schu, Joe and Kurt." He pointed around the table in the same order she'd studied them.

"So you're the reason Spike hasn't been around for a couple of Sats," Kurt said. "Sly dog."

Willow blushed as the blond vampire responded, "You're just jealous, Catterlin." Kurt gave him a wolfish grin and she noticed his canines were elongated. Eyes widening, she felt her side pocket for the cross she had stuck in there.

"Better hurry up, Spike," Joe said. "There running out of semis fast."

"Right, mate," Spike replied, escorting Willow away from the table. They headed for the line at the rental counter, his arm still around her shoulder.

"Spike, that guy - Kurt. He had fangs," she whispered as they waited. "But he didn't look like you do or Angel. Can you show your fangs without going game face? I thought that wasn't possible. Or am I wrong?"

"Willow, Kurt's not a vampire," he answered. "He's a Masquerade player."

"A what?" Willow asked, wrinkling up her nose in confusion.

"He is heavily into role playing that vampire game, The Masquerade," Spike replied. "He makes porcelain teeth for the players. Looks bloody ridiculous, if you ask me."

"Oh," she said, understanding. "Like AD&D."

"That's right, pet. Except its a live game," he told her.

"What about the others? You seem to know them pretty well," Willow said.

"Joe and Schu are best mates, Jamie is married to Schu and Deuce is Jamie's friend from university. Met them when I first started playing after I got back here in Sunnyhell. Be sure to watch out for Jamie, she's a hellion on the field."

They were next in line and he spoke up for Willow, getting her a semi-automatic paintball gun, a mask and a case of paintballs for the both of them. They both quickly filled out and signed their waivers and the hacker had to leave her id in exchange for the gun.

At first, it felt awkward in her hands. She wasn't too sure how to carry it as they made their way back to the table. She finally settled on cradling it in her arms, the face mask dangling from her fingers. Once there, she set both down and tucked some loose strands of hair behind her ears, slightly nervous around the others. She hadn't known that he had other friends, good ones from the easy banter that flew back and forth between them.

"...Elsie, the flying chicken carcass,"Joe was explaining. "We had Schu go to the back of the barn and throw it over the top while we filmed it, all the while Kurt was narrating about the many uses for dead chickens during the Depression. Mr. Cannon was not happy with our efforts."

"The only movie I got to be in was the one where Duffy killed me," Jamie said. "It was way cool. He played the song from the Dracula soundtrack, and then slit my throat with fake claws. I had red dye all over me, remember Damon?"

"Yeah, I had to guard the men's shower while you cleaned up," Deuce replied. "I didn't even peek."

"Only Elmo gets to peek," Jamie said. "Right Kurt?"

"I've never envied a stuffed animal before until you stuffed him down your pants," Kurt told her. "Schu, your wife is a cruel woman."

"I know," Schu replied. "Lucky, aren't I?"

Willow took a seat as Spike dug through the things in his box. He pulled out a wicked semi- automatic, hopper, two extra paintball carriers, face mask and pipe cleaner. He opened the case of paintballs and began filling the plastic hoppers that were shaped like kidneys. He then filled the extra carriers and hooked them to the belt she didn't know he'd been wearing. When she raised her eyes to his, he gave her a cheery smile, tucking the pipe cleaner in the leg pocket in his pants.

"So, Willow, how did you meet Spike?" Jamie asked as she rolled her black Saint Joseph's College t-shirt up and tied it in a knot due to the heat.

"Well, I knew him when he first came here two years ago with Drusilla, but I didn't meet him personally until he kidnaped me to work a love spell," Willow told her. She started to blush again, embarrassed by what she revealed.

"You're a witch, too?" Jamie said. "Way cool. Merry meet, I'm Saber."

"Hey, I've spoken to you via Witchware," Willow said. "I'm Red Witch."

As the girls began talking animatedly about witchcraft, Spike let his gaze rove over Willow. He loved the way the fatigues emphasized the tininess of her waist. She was wearing a black sports bra under a black tank top, having taken off her long sleeve jacket. The tattoo on the back of her neck was clearly visible and he found himself itching to place a kiss over it. He must have made a face, because Schu spoke up.

"You got it bad, man," he told the vampire, stubbing out his cigar. "Run now before she marries you and makes you scoop the poop, even though that's her job."




LV - Balls



"Game," a referee called, interrupting the conversations flying around the room. Men and women stood and gathered their guns and masks, heading out of the building towards the man wearing the bright orange shirt.

"Wonder what we're playing this time?" Joe said as he put the face mask on.

"I hope football," Schu said, leading the way out, Jamie goosing him as she passed. "Or embassy. We haven't done those in awhile."

Willow looked worriedly up at Spike. "I don't know how to play," she said, standing as he slid on his jacket.

"It's simple, kitten," Spike said, gesturing for her to take her things. "We get arm bands from the ref indicating our team, then you shoot at those on the other side. ‘Piece of cake. Piece of crumb cake.'"

She didn't laugh at his bad quote. "But I don't know how to hold a gun. I never fired one. What if I suck? I could have major suckage. And what if I get hit?" Willow complained.

"Willow, you'll do fine," he told her.

They joined the others by the referee, who passed out white and red arm bands. Tying the plastic around her jacket arm, she listened intently to what game they were to be playing.

"...the most team members in building two at the end of the five minutes, wins," the referee was saying. "Masks down past the gate. As always, if you remove them you will be excluded from Blast Camp for non-compliance with the rules. Check your velocity on the way in."

He turned and pulled down his own mask, leading the twenty or so players past the gates to the old part of the armory. People stopped and shot off their guns, the paintballs ringing loudly as they hit broken satellite dishes while being tested, the carbon dioxide compressors on the guns thumping rhythmically while being shot. Spike and Willow hung behind, their faces obscured by the plastic masks.

It was sort of hot under the mask, her breathing fogging the clear eye piece slightly. The thick, stretch band that wrapped around her head held the black cushioning right against her face. She'd bet that she would have a ring around her eyes after the game. While her face mask was painted in camouflage colors, as were most others, her companion's was all black giving him a sinister look.

They were the last two to use the testing equipment, and Spike took her semi from her and removed the pink tip that covered the end of the barrel. She watched as he rested it on the pad and squeezed the trigger. The needle which told the velocity ran up to two hundred. "Perfect," he said, his voice muffled by the mask. He gave it back to her, then tested his own before they walked quickly to catch up with the others.

"White behind building three, red behind building one," the referee called in a loud voice. "When the whistle blows, you have thirty seconds to be out from behind them. You may go inside, but remember, no climbing up on anything or you will be asked to leave. If you are hit, raised your hands high and call out ‘hit' loudly, then make your way out of the game area. Be sure to put in your cap back in the barrel. Any questions?"

"No!" The shouts came back at him, everyone ready to begin play.

"Then get in position."

"Oh goddess," Willow said, her heart pounding and her breathing coming in short pants. Her hands were sweating as she followed Spike back behind building three. The vampire was talking to someone in front of him, Jamie she guessed, and she was left to her panicking thoughts. "I can't believe I'm doing this."

Half the group stood at ready behind the building when the whistle blew. Players suddenly took off running around the side, the sounds of shooting echoing in the night. Her eyes were huge behind the mask as she hurried behind Spike, almost tripping over a branches that littered the ground.

He popped around the corner of the building and ducked inside, the hacker right behind him. Paintballs were flying by her head, smacking into the wall with loud splats. She squeaked in fright and hunched over, staying under the window against the wall. She watched as Spike trained his gun outside and began firing.

"Incoming!" Willow heard someone yell, then lots of fire fight at the other end of the building they were in.

"I'm heading out, Willow," Spike said loudly. She shook her head violently, but he was gone, out the door he'd been firing from.

Willow raised her gun and peeked out the door. People were running back and forth, dodging ‘bullets' and shooting at each other. Suddenly, her head flew back and her vision disappeared as she was hit. Right in the face mask.

"Um, hit," she called, standing and raising her hands up as instructed. Of course, she couldn't see anything. She tried to rub the paint off with her sleeve, but all that did was smear it over the entire area. She had no choice but to tilt her head as far back as she could and lift the mask slightly to peer out the bottom.

Eventually, she managed to make it back to the gates. She capped the gun, then stepped beyond the fence and was able to remove the mask. She was drenched with sweat as she walked back to the building. Collapsing onto a chair next to the empty table, she set the mask and gun down and quickly took off her jacket.

"Hey, Willow," Jamie said, joining her. "Looks like you got nailed."

Willow held up the mask. "Right between the eyes," she sighed. "Maybe I shouldn't be here."

"No way," she said. "This is your first time, right?"

"Yeah."

"Then let me give you some advice," Jamie replied. "You need balls to play this game."

Willow stared at her wide eyed. "Wh-what?"

"You have to have a ‘fuck it' mentality," she continued. "Don't worry about getting hit, cuz it's gonna happen no matter what. Just charge out there blasting away. Chances are you'll take a bunch out before you get hit. One time, we played ‘storm the hill' and I made it all the way across the open field and halfway up the hill before I bought it."

"Oh," Willow said. Joe came back with Deuce, both arguing about something, but she was busy thinking about what Jamie had said. Perhaps the other girl was right, she just had to go for it and screw the worrying about getting hit. She had a vampire for a friend, why should a game scare her?

"Hi, pet," Spike greeted, coming up behind her. She looked up and saw that he had a smear of white paint across his cheek. "Have fun?"

"I got hit," she told him, holding up her mask.

"Ouch," he frowned. "It didn't hurt, did it?"

"No," she replied. "Not at all. I just couldn't see anything."

"There's some cleaning solution out there," Joe pointed outside. "Doesn't work too well, though."

"Thanks," Willow told him. She stood and went outside to clean the mask off.

Spike watched her go, then turned his attention to refilling their hoppers. He frowned, wondering if bringing her was such a good idea. He thought that she would enjoy herself, but she seemed sort of unhappy. He decided they'd play one more game, then see if she wanted to leave. It was early enough that they could still go to the pictures.

"I think I have a contestant for the worst mark," Deuce said, holding out his arm as Willow returned to the table. There was a semi-bleeding bruise forming the size of a quarter on his forearm.

"That's nothing," Kurt said. "Last week's was much better."

"Spike, are you going to join us afterwards for the Taco Hell run?" Schu asked. "Not that you ever win."

"Perhaps," Spike replied, looking over at Willow.

"Win what?" Willow asked, arching a brow at him.

"It's a sadistic game," Jamie told her. "The one with the worst injury from tonight's game gets bought a taco from each person."

"We're heading out to the beach, later, too," Kurt said. "Duffy and Nel are having a bonfire. I think Gowan and Piz will be there, too."

"We'll let you know," Spike replied. The referee called out for the start of another game, interrupting further conversation as the gang gathered up their equipment. He stopped the red head from following. "Willow, please tell me if you want to leave at any time."

"I will, don't worry," Willow said, reaching up to wipe the paint off his cheek. She gave him a small smile, then turned and went out the door.

If Spike's heart had actually worked, it would have skipped a beat.

Continued