"Hello, pet," Spike greeted Buffy, who was sitting on the back of a headstone, staring up at the night sky.
"Hey Spike," Buffy said, not breaking her gaze.
Spike leaned on a headstone next to her and looked up. "What are we looking at?"
"The stars," she answered. "Have you ever noticed that we don't just look at them anymore?"
He frowned at her melancholy tone. "Is something the matter, luv?"
"Nah, I'm fine," Buffy said, straightening. She gave him a half-smile. "Ready to hunt down some of your friends?"
Spike walked silently beside her as they left the cemetery for the next one, following the route they'd set up months before. He wondered what was wrong with her, she seemed very down. It couldn't be his sire, because she didn't have that look of resigned sadness that came into her eyes when she thought of him. From what he'd heard, school was going fine for her, with Willow's expert tutoring.
"Is everything ok with your chums?" Spike asked, playing process of elimination.
"Yeah," Buffy replied. "Willow and Oz are going down to San Francisco this weekend. They promised to bring me back a souvenir from Fisherman's Wharf."
"What about the whelp?" he said.
"Xander's got a date," Buffy grinned. "A real human this time."
"As opposed to a Cordelia?" Spike joked.
"Got it in one," she replied.
"What about your Watcher?"
"Giles? I think he's going to a seminar," she answered. A soft smile replaced her grin. "There's a professor of mine, Dr. Kallecki, I think she likes him. She's going to the seminar, too."
"Slayer, are you playing match-maker?" Spike teased.
"More like ash-maker," Buffy said, pulling her stake free of her waistband as she spotted several vampires. "Looks like it's time to kick some demon butt."
As Buffy launched herself at the vampires, Spike realized exactly why she was feeling down. Her friends were going off for the weekend, leaving her home alone. He mentally resolved to cheer her up, then joined her in the fight.
"Spike, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked in confusion when she opened her front door.
"Hello to you, too, pet," Spike said.
"Sorry," she grinned sheepishly. "Hi, Spike. What are you doing here?"
"Get your coat," he told her. "There's something you need to see."
"Why is it the bad guys insist on ruining my Saturday nights?" she sighed. She grabbed her coat out of the hall closet and slid it on, then grabbed a few stakes from her slaying supplies located in the same closet.
Twenty minutes of loud rock music blaring on Spike's car stereo later, the vampire parked and shut off the engine. "We're here," he told her.
"Wherever here is," she said. "It's kinda hard to see out the black windows."
"Part of the charm of my motor," he said. "Come on. It just atop the hill."
"So, what sort of nasty are we talking about here?" Buffy asked quietly, as she trailed up the hill behind him. "Big, little, horns, big pointy teeth, funky col-"
She cut off suddenly when she saw a large telescope when they crested the hill. On the ground next to it was spread a colorful blanket, with a picnic basket resting on one corner. She looked at Spike, who gave her an absent shrug. "I thought you might like to look at the stars a little better than craning your neck in a cemetery."
"How did you...why...when...," she stammered, then gave up and threw her arms around him. "This is so great!"
"Yeah, well...," Spike trailed off, not realizing that he was blushing furiously.
Buffy stood on her toes and planted a quick kiss on his lips, then grabbed his hand and pulled him after her over to the telescope. "Now, show me how this works."
"Er, look through here," he said, tapping the small lens-piece. "This is the focus." Buffy looked through where he pointed as he sat down on the blanket, then laid back with his arms under his head. An hour later, she joined him on the blanket and laid her head on his chest. "See anything good, luv?" he asked quietly.
"Just some stars," Buffy replied. "And a wonderfully, thoughtful man."
Spike smiled and impulsively kissed the top of her head. Then he returned his gaze to the sky.
They stayed on top of the hill for the remainder of the night, staring up at the stars.