Willow noticed right away that her friend was walking on air as she came into the classroom. Unfortunately, right as Buffy sat down Professor Walsh came in to start class. And so, with Herculean effort, she managed to keep from pestering her friend for details until they were leaving their seats after the lesson finished.
“Okay, I’m dying here, dish!” Willow demanded.
“You know I told you about that hottie in the quad?”
“Yes! Did you make contact?”
“Not only that- we have a date tomorrow!” she and Willow joined hands, jumping up and down in a mini happy dance.
“Nuh uh! Finally, someone for you to be interested in. I always feel bad when we go Bronzing now ‘cause Xander and I have dates and you don’t.”
“You know I don’t care, Wills. There just hasn’t been anyone worth dating until now, honestly. And besides, I like Oz and Anya so it’s not a huge chore to spend time with all of you.”
“If you say so.” She shook her head skeptically. “But right now you’re in violation of best friend code, missy. I need details!”
“Okay, so I decided to make with the brazen and just walk over and ask to sit next to him- he was all sprawled out like he has been the last couple days. God, Wills, he’s even hotter up close. His eyes! They’re blue and expressive and-” she finished the sentence with an inhuman squeal.
“Anyways he said yeah, and I was lame-o Buffy and said something about ‘you’ve gotta have a girlfriend or wife or something’ but he doesn’t! For once in my life luck is on my side! And I was afraid he’d make fun of me for the lame almost-pickup line but then he fished the same way. He pointed out my necklace and knew what amethyst does- apparently he reads a lot, but he’s not a student here. Oh god, I didn’t even tell you the BEST part—he’s BRITISH. And not, like, stuffy Giles British, sexy missing letters and pet names British. So, we got to talking about families and then I had to leave for class, you know, but we’re meeting at the Espresso Pump tomorrow at ten and I legitimately cannot wait.”
“Wow, Buffy, I’m so happy for you! And ten is almost early in the morning for you, Miss Slayer—this guy really must be something.”
“Not just something, Wills, like. SOMETHING something. I think if tomorrow goes well I’ll invite him out to the Bronze to meet everyone.”
“That sounds awesome. Does this incredible mystery man have a name?” Willow prodded as they walked the stairs to their floor.
“I only got a nickname, I guess he doesn’t like his real name at all. He goes by Spike.”
“Sounds like he’s even got that bad boy thing going that you like.”
“Mmhm,” Buffy murmured dreamily, flashing back to the feeling of his hand on hers.
They finally reached the room and walked in, but as she sat down on her bed Buffy froze.
Willow took notice. “What’s wrong?”
There was a horrified look on Buffy’s face as she turned to stare at her best friend. “What the hell am I gonna WEAR?!”
Spike arrived at the Espresso Pump fifteen minutes early, wanting to ensure he could find a table for them. He kept a close lid on his anxiety, opting to instead focus on how intriguing he found the young woman. He hadn’t seen anyone since Dru, not beyond a couple of one-night stands, and definitely not with a human. Humans were fragile and easily scared off; he’d never seen the point in dealing with it before. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was that made this one different, but somehow, she was. Something about her beauty and confidence and honesty with him knocked his walls down more easily than he’d ever liked to think possible.
Buffy was only five minutes early- after all, she wanted to avoid coming off as crazy or something. Her calling was already going to be enough of a problem when attempting to form a relationship with this man (and, she’d decided last night as she lay awake, that was exactly what she wanted), the last thing she needed was to drive him away with something so stupid. That didn’t change the fact that she’d been ready and pacing her dorm room for an hour before it was time to go. She thanked her lucky stars that Willow had an early class and hadn’t seen just what a wreck she’d been.
She’d been on dates before, of course, but she’d never seen so much potential in anything. She was 18, in college, and survived longer than anyone thought possible- now she wanted a boyfriend damnit. She tried to get back to that confident state she’d been in the day before, but when she wasn’t standing in front of him all she could do is focus on her nerves. What if he changed his mind? What if he didn’t think she was pretty enough? What if her words got all jumbled and he decided she wasn’t worth it?
All of her anxieties fled the minute she saw him, blonde hair shining bright under the sunlight, as he waited for her at the table he’d taken on the patio. Today he wore a navy-blue button up shirt undone over his black tee shirt, and the way it brought out his eyes took her breath away. She noticed the long black coat he’d worn the last three days was draped over the back of his chair.
Meanwhile Spike was feeling the same shock, and he struggled to remember that he didn’t actually HAVE to breathe. Buffy looked absolutely gorgeous- he’d been around a long time and nothing had ever been quite so beautiful as she was. Her blonde hair was up in a clip, messy waves falling around her face. She wore a long sleeved red off-the-shoulder blouse with flowers decorating the sides (and shouldn’t anyone living on a hellmouth know that leaving such a beautiful neck exposed was just ASKING for trouble?), paired with dark wash jeans that looked almost painted on. None of that compared to just how beautiful she looked when she saw him and her face lit up. She looked at him like she’d just gotten everything she’d ever asked for at Christmas at the same time. The past insecurities he’d felt as William bubbled up for a moment- surely HE couldn’t have put that expression on the face of such a goddess- but he tamped it down quickly to aim for the sexy confidence he knew made him nearly irresistible.
“Good morning, love, you look beautiful today.” He felt her heartbeat speed up just like it was supposed to—always nice to have confirmation that he still had it.
“Thank you,” she said with a blush, ducking her head in that adorable way of hers. He’d have to flatter her more if it got that reaction.
As she approached the table he reached for her hand and kissed it lightly before pulling the chair out for her (never let it be said he’d forgotten how to be a gentleman). He flexed his hand after he let her go, still feeling the incredible heat of her touch on his skin.
“What would you like? I’ll go order for us.”
“Just a latte, thank you so much,“ she responded with a sweet smile, watching as he walked away. Well, more like staring, but anyone who saw his butt in those jeans would understand it was a necessity.
She spent the couple minutes the drinks took trying to get her breathing under control again- the lack of anxiety didn’t stick around long, that’s for sure. There was just something about interacting with him that made her comfortable and all her fear drop away. When he looked at her, she felt like the only girl in the universe.
Spike smiled inwardly as he turned around carrying the two drinks- the poor girl was clearly nervous. He’d been right about her not being the typical queen bee type- all her confidence from yesterday dropped away when she thought he wasn’t looking. Seemed like her confident demeanor was something of a defense mechanism, and those he knew well. He decided to take pity on her and start the conversation as soon as he was close enough to the table to speak without yelling.
“How was your class yesterday? Psychology, you said?”
The confidence was back, tempered by the sweet shyness she sometimes exuded. “Yeah, it was alright. I don’t remember a lot of it, actually, I was pretty distracted.” She paused for a moment before her face turned bright red. “I- uh… I mean-” she looked up, finishing with an earnest “I swear I’m not crazy!”
“Relax, pet, I understand what you mean. Found my thoughts drifting to you often enough as well.”
Her eyes widened a little. “Oh, okay. That’s um… thank you?”
He winked. “Welcome. Not gonna lie and say you aren’t bloody distracting yourself.”
And once again it was time for poncy-William-comes-out-to-play-without-permission. His next words were softer. “I’m glad you came.”
She once again gave him the smile that men would fight wars over. “I’m glad you came too.” She paused for a moment as she sipped her latte, but the silence wasn’t really uncomfortable. “So, you mentioned traveling yesterday- where have you been?”
He chuckled. ”Might be easier to ask where I haven’t been, honestly. I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe- France, Italy, Austria- all over, really. Been to Brazil a couple of times too, China a while back, and a lot of places here in the States.”
“Wow,” she replied emphatically. “And here I’ve never even left California. What’s your favorite place you’ve been?”
“Have some fond memories of Prague- it was the first place I visited on my own after my girl left and I got my head on straight.”
“I’m probably going to sound like a complete idiot with this, but where is that?”
“Central Europe, Czechoslovakia. Suppose it’s the Czech Republic now. It’s beautiful there- sort of a sea of red roofs and gothic architecture. Lots of churches, and everything is incredibly old. The castle was built in the 9th century, actually.”
“And again I say, wow. It sounds like a fairy tale.” Buffy was captivated- not only did it sound like a beautiful place, but hearing it described in that smooth, sexy accent was dreamy. “When I was younger, I always dreamed of traveling the world,” she added wistfully.
“Why not now?” He cocked his head with interest.
She froze for a minute before recovering. “Oh, I just… family! My mom is here and everything, and I’m all she has since my dad left,” she replied. “Trust me, leaving Sunnydale isn’t in the cards for me anytime soon,” she added wryly, her expression turning almost mournful.
He could tell from her heart rate that she wasn’t quite being truthful, but he decided to let it slide- after all, the things she didn’t know about him could fill several books. He noticed her fiddling with the same necklace she wore the day before.
“Still got that necklace on?” He hoped changing the topic would take some of the sadness from her beautiful face. Anything to make her smile again.
“Ah, yeah. As Willow likes to remind me, ‘protection charms do nothing if you don’t wear them.’” She said it as if reciting from a book, and he laughed.
“Well, she’s not wrong.” It only took him a minute to pick a topic that might let her speak a little more- he wanted to get to know this girl. “Tell me about your friends.”
“Oh! Well, there’s Willow. She’s my roommate this year, we’ve been best friends since I first moved here sophomore year. She’s super smart and good with computers, but also all the witchy stuff she’s into. Then there’s Xander, he and Willow have been friends pretty much their whole lives. He’s kind of a dork, but he’s loyal and a great friend. Good to have when you need cheering up.
“It was just the three of us for a while, but nowadays our little group has Oz, who’s Willow’s boyfriend, and Anya, who’s dating Xander. Oz is pretty stoic, but chill and easy to get along with. Anya is… strange, if I’m being honest. She’s not… from around here, I guess you could say, and she doesn’t have the greatest brain-mouth filter.” She considered for a moment and laughed. “I guess you could say that about me a lot of the time too though. Anyways we all get along pretty well, so most nights at the Bronze it’s just the five of us.”
“Sounds like a right interesting group. The Bronze is that club downtown, right?” He’d overheard some vamps talking about it in Willie’s the first night he got here.
“Yeah! Really the only interesting place in Sunnydale.”
“I wouldn’t say that, love. Seems pretty interesting right here where I’m sitting with you.”
Buffy blushed so much she was sure it was impossible to be any more red. “You sure know how to charm a girl, don’t you?”
“You just make it so easy.” He reached across the table and touched her hand.
It was like electricity, even more so than when he’d kissed her hand earlier. His breathing sped up in time with hers, though he wasn’t consciously trying to match it. Her skin was warm and soft, and he was grateful he’d had the presence of mind to keep his hands on his coffee to warm them up.
Buffy looked at where their hands touched, mind blanking of any thoughts beyond the adrenaline coursing through her system at this small touch. When he pulled away and she could finally think again, she decided to push the topic back onto something to get him talking.
“Books!” she exclaimed. When his response was nothing more than an amused smile she blushed again. Way to go Buffy, forgetting how to use complete sentences. “Um, I mean, you said you read all types of books. What’s your favorite?”
His smile grew wider before he replied- somehow, she’d picked up one of the few topics he could go on about for hours. “It’s hard to choose just one. I enjoy a good novel, but really, I’m partial to poetry. Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner has been a favorite since I was a child.”
“I enjoyed the poetry unit we did in my English class a couple years ago, but I don’t really know much about it beyond that. What’s that one about?”
“I suppose the shortest explanation would be that during the journey the mariner’s crew mutinies and he’s the only one who survives to the end. When I was a tyke I liked to imagine myself on an epic journey like that, although without the loneliness and death. Nowadays I’m partial to the theme of betrayers getting what’s coming to them.” He voice grew rougher, like his smirk held back seas of anger.
When she was silent for a moment, he shook his head as if to push away the negative emotions. “Anyways, I know you said you don’t get a chance to read much, but you must have at least some in school. What’s your favorite from those?”
“Well, to be honest I cheated off of Willow a lot. Really the only one I read myself was Pride and Prejudice.”
“Mm,” he said, taking a brief sip of coffee, “Austen was definitely a good writer. Pride and Prejudice is a classic for a reason, but my personal favorite of her’s is Persuasion.”
“What’s that one about?” She asked curiously.
“A man and woman who fell in love but allowed their families to come between them. Then years later they reconnect and finally manage to get together. ‘S probably my problem with authority figures coming through in my preference, but I still like it.”
“I think you’re just a closet romantic under all those punk vibes,” she teased. Then she thought for a moment, sobering. “I think I get that. People telling you what to do and how to think- it makes you miserable unless you stand up for yourself.”
Spike’s smile was bright as he nodded in recognition. “’Zactly.”
It was quiet for a moment and they both finished their drinks in the midst of the comfortable silence. They were both sneaking glances at each other when they thought the other wasn’t looking—but they always were.
Finally, Spike spoke up. “See something you like, pet?”
Instead of the cute blush and ducked head he’d come to expect, she instead met his gaze with confidence.
“Maybe. And you?”
He squirmed a little before he replied, attempting to adjust his tightening pants. That take-charge voice might have been the sexiest thing he’d heard in his hundred plus years. “Think so, yeh.”
Once again they were silent, just smiling at each other with thinly veiled heat and desire in their eyes. When her watched beeped this time, she jumped and looked apologetic. “I’m really sorry, I’ve got to go if I’m going to make it to class on time.”
“I could walk with you, if you wanted?” He planned on sticking around campus anyways, hoping to catch a glimpse of the slayer still. Well, that’s the excuse he would have used to spare his reputation, but in reality he just wanted to spend more time with his sweet girl.
Wait, not his girl.
…at least not yet.
He was rewarded with another one of those brilliant smiles. “Yeah, I’d love that!”
They disposed of their cups on the way to the sidewalk and Buffy decided she was going to be brave. After all, all the signals this guy was sending were screaming ‘INTERESTED.’ So, she grabbed his hand as they walked, not noticing him stiffen for a moment in surprise before relaxing and threading their fingers together.
As they neared the building her class was in, Buffy spoke up. “I had an amazing time today.”
“I did too,” he said, looking down at the tiny slip of a girl who seemed to be stealing his heart already, not that he would admit it. “I’d like to see you again.”
Well, he wouldn’t admit it, didn’t mean he wasn’t going to act on it.
“Are you free Friday night? The group I told you about is going to meet up at the Bronze, celebrating my hopefully finishing the ten-page paper I’ve got due that afternoon.”
“Name a time,” was his simple response.
“We usually get there around 8, if that’s good?”
While his inner monologue was snarky (‘I said name a time, of course it’s fine’), he couldn’t bring himself to say something that might hurt her feelings. Instead he went with, “I’ll see you there, then.”
She stopped by the door to the building they’d approached, keeping hold of his hand still. “Well, this is my stop. I’m excited for you to meet everyone Friday.”
“I can hardly wait either, love. Have a good class.”
He knew he was going to do it. It was another leftover from poncy-William, but he couldn’t quite make himself stop. He leaned down and lightly brushed his lips against her cheek before squeezing her hand and turning away.
He only made it a few steps before he heard her call out to him again. “Wait, Spike!”
“Forget something?” He chuckled a little.
“I just… I know you said you don’t like your real name, but we’ll be going on our second date and all…”
He should’ve waited to respond. He should have used one of his billion aliases. There were a million things he should’ve done or said in that moment, but instead what came forward was the truth.
“My name’s William Pratt, love.”
She tilted her head a little, a fond smile on her lips. “I don’t know why you don’t like it, but I understand you don’t want to use it. Speaking of, I don’t think I ever gave you my last name- I’m Buffy Summers.”
He walked forward again, grabbing her hand to raise to his lips again. “I look forward to our date, Miss Summers.”
“See you then, Spike.” She waved a little before turning and walking into the building, once again on cloud nine because of this incredible, beautiful stranger who’d waltzed into her life and brought some excitement back into it.
As Spike walked away for some more hours of sitting on campus, his thoughts were filled with the beautiful girl who somehow managed to bring out the best parts of the human he’d once been without even trying.
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March 9, 2022 09:07
First, thank you so much for reposting this story here. I was just looking for it yesterday so: Yeah!
Unfortunatly I don't have this chapter. I think you would have better chances to find someone who downloaded this story by posting a message in A Son's love summary or chapter note. People who downloaded Unberied Hearts most likely won't be re-reading it online. Or maybe on you AO3 account if that's possible cause I found this website fortuitously by following links on differrent Sleeping Tigress's accounts.
Thank you again.