Spoilers: none really
Characters: Buf 'n' Spikey
Disclaimer: All characters owned by Joss 'Poohead' Whedon et al, names and identities have been changed to protect the innocent (not) - this is all totally illegal, the jacks are pounding at the door as I write, and all I have to fend them off with is a spork. Etcetera.
Summary: Haven't you ever listed your all time top five anything? Hence, the conversation below.
Spike plonked himself down cross-legged over the grassy knoll that was Mrs Beale, and brushed off his shoulders. "Bloody hell, I didn't think the whole thing would explode like that - I mean, it was only made of earth." He was decidedly uncomfortable - there was dirt down his t-shirt, and he had scratches on his face from where the thing had pawed him.
"Yep, those dirt-creatures - you can't trust 'em." She flapped a hand at his hair. "You have, um, a leaf..."
"Oh - ta." He flicked the debris away, then reached for the fags in his coat pocket. He lit up with one hand, and reached inside his t-shirt with the other, trying to brush the dirt off his chest. Itchy.
Buffy swiped at her neck and wriggled. "God, I feel like I'm covered with ants."
Spike took a long drag of his cigarette and ran a hand through his hair, wishing he was an ant.
"Oh well, at least it was comparatively easy. No blood and guts, eh?"
"For which we are eternally grateful, I'm sure. But all the same, hoping we don't run into any more of them tonight - and could you please stop that?"
Spike frowned at her. "What?"
"That - what you're doing. Blowing smoke in my face. It reeks, you know."
He looked miffed. "Well, pardon me, but I think lung cancer is the least of your worries."
Buffy sighed. "Whatever - just...blow it over there, or something." She waved a hand in a direction opposite to herself. "You wanna smoke, s'fine by me. It's just one of my pet hates."
Spike gave her a dose of eyebrow. "Your 'pet hates'? Really?" Then he grinned, amused. "So what are your other 'pet hates'?"
Buffy shrugged. "I don't know - ants. My alarm clock. Purple velour. What - you want them in order or something?"
"There's an order?" Spike settled his back against Mrs Beale's gravestone, and blew his smoke away obligingly. "As in, a 'pet hate' hierarchy?" He found the idea a bit ridiculous, but entertaining.
"Sure." Buffy stopped scratching at the dirt under her hair, and gave Spike a curious look. "What, you don't have any pet hates? Now that can't be true." She slid down the gravestone and mirrored his position companionably.
"Well, yeah, of course. I mean, I hate stuff - but I don't have, like, a top five list or anything."
"Well I sure as hell do." Buffy snorted and switched her attention to brushing dirt off her jeans. She had a rip over one knee - damn. It was a new pair, too. "My top five hates - my alarm clock, purple velour, studying for exams..."
Spike gave her a blank look. "So this would be regular hates, not Slayer-related hates."
"Oh, yeah - regular stuff." She nodded, then rolled her eyes. "Oh, god - if I had to list my Slayer-related hates we'd be here all night."
"Oh - um, studying, cigarette smoke -" She looked at his fag pointedly. "And - destroying new clothes." She flicked at her ripped knee, then considered. "Well, that could be Slayer-related too, I guess..." She brightened. "Anyway - what about you?"
Spike looked taken aback. "Me? Oh - bloody hell, I don't know..." He shrugged, then thought about it. "Er - geez. Losing my cigarettes. Holy water -"
"Come on - it has to be non-vamp-related."
"Oh - well, um...Disco. Stupidity. The 60's, I guess - that was a pretty crappy decade. " His brow furrowed. "Erm - I dunno. Well, fluorescent lights give me the creeps..."
"Yeah - that's a good one." Buffy looked contemplative. The she grinned at him sideways. Picking Spike's brain was kind of fun. "So we've covered the dislikes - what about likes? Come on - you're on a roll here..."
Spike shrugged and flicked ash onto Mrs Beale's place of eternal rest. "I don't know, Slayer, it's a pretty broad category."
"Well, okay, let's make it more specific. Say...music. What's your all time top five favourite songs?" She was twisting blades of grass together, but her eyes kept darting over to spy on him as he thought it over.
He gave her a quick, bothered glance. "Look, you're talking about a rather wide spread of musical history here - I mean, the wireless hadn't even been invented before I was turned, and there wasn't even a BBC until 1922..."
"So?" Buffy just stared at him expectantly. "You must have preferences. Have a crack at it - go on, your all time top five."
"Well, yeah, but -"
"Hurry up, before my limited store of patience runs out. Come on - spill."
Spike looked into the distance and waved a hand dismissively. "Oh, you wouldn't know them..."
She gave him a pained look. "My god, this is like pulling teeth. Look, I'll choose not to take your last comment as an insult, now spill!"
"Geez, woman, alright, alright. Just let me think -"
"Careful - your head might explode."
"Oh, hah hah." He glared at her, then dove in. "Okay - well, number one has to be 'Anarchy in the UK'"
"Is that a song or a national condition?"
"A song, you twit. By the Sex Pistols."
"Oh yeah - I've heard of that." Buffy untied the sweater at her waist and pulled it on, pulling her hair out from under the collar. " Can't really dance to it, but...anyway, next is...?"
"Um...number two is - 'Heroin' by Lou Reed."
"Geez - grim, already. And see 'can't dance', above."
Spike made a face at her. "Do you want to know this stuff or not?"
She held up one hand placatingly. "Okay, okay - sheesh, Mr Sensitive. So what's number three?"
His lips mde a little moue as he considered his options. "Three...probably 'Smack My Bitch Up' by Prodigy." He nodded at his choice - he quite liked that. Maybe it should have been number two.
"Hm - detecting a running theme here..." Buffy gave him an amused glance.
Spike countered with an eyebrow and a tilt of his head. "But you can dance to it."
"True. What's four?"
"Um - I'm not sure..." He looked a little embarrassed, like he wanted to say something but didn't know if he should.
Her curiousity was piqued. "Well you can't hold back now - what is it?"
"Well..." Oh bloody hell, he was going to get it for this. "Well, um, probably...'Lady Marmalade'. But the original - not the latest chick band cover."
A broad grin spread across Buffy's face. "Hey! Get down, Spike, you disco-funkster you!"
He rolled his eyes, abashed.
"Hey - hold on, I thought disco was one of your pet hates?"
"It was - I mean, it is. I just like that one song." He shrugged. "What can I say - I'm a walking mass of contradictions."
"Yeah, well - no need to tell me that. Anyway, you're trying to distract me - what's number five."
Spike lit another cigarette from the butt of his last one, and mumbled out of the corner of his mouth. "Ah - you wouldn't know it."
Buffy threw a twig at him. "Hey - a little faith, please. Come on."
"It's 'La Boheme', by Puccini."
He flicked her twig back at her. "He's a composer, you nonce. I said you wouldn't know it."
Buffy just looked innocently at him. "Yeah - so enlighten me."
Spike looked at her, but there was no antagonism in the gaze she returned. He looked away, out over the graveyard. "Well, like I said. Puccini was a composer - a really brilliant one. He wrote this opera called 'La Boheme' - the Bohemians - a few years after I was turned." His face grew wistful, remembering. "I saw it in Milan, just before the war - it was amazing. The colours, the voices...it was beautiful." He seemed to come back from a far away place, and shrugged, shaking off old visions. "Anyway, that's my number five."
"Well, I'd love to hear it." Buffy's face had softened, watching him lose himself in the memory. Then she gave a gentle grin. "But I have to tell you, I don't think you can have a whole opera as number five - that's cheating. Technically, I mean."
He looked at her archly. "Technically? Well, technically, destroying new clothes is Slayer-related -"
"Well, technically, 'Lady Marmalade' is way disco."
"Well, technically-" Spike glanced at her, then away. His expression changed, went dark, and he flicked his cigarette butt out in a wide, sparkling arc. "Technically, it's all just bollocks, isn't it. I mean, I'm a vamp, you're the Slayer - that's it. That's the reality. Not bloody likes, dislikes - purple velour and music..." His mouth a thin line, he waved a hand to dismiss their casual banter of a moment before. Buffy looked on in tense silence as he pulled a stake from inside his duster, and held it up for a grim perusal.
"Technically, it's just - this." And in one furious motion, he drove the wood deep into the dirt.
Buffy stared at him, still and intent. Then her expression hardened into resolve.
"I don't believe that. I don't." Her lip trembled with emotions reined hard below the surface. "I'm not playing a role here - the 'Slayer-extraordinaire'. That's not all I am. I'm a person - an individual. Thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes - the whole baggage. I'm more than just this." Her final words rang as she reached out and wrenched the stake out of the ground, flung it away to follow his cigarette into the dark. She caught Spike's gaze, and held it hard. "I have an identity. And so do you."
His expression was unreadable, but his voice was a low whisper. "You really believe that?"
She nodded slowly and firmly. "Yes. I always have."
Spike blinked, broke the contact between their eyes, looked away into the night. Tension flowed away from him - he sighed it out. Buffy watched him as he closed his eyes, considering his words carefully. He tilted his head towards her.
"Then I have to tell you..." When he looked at her again, the faintest of smiles tickled his lips. "...my favourite song is 'The Wind', by Cat Stevens."
Author's note: Alright, alright - so I just watched 'High Fidelity'. I've tried not to just impose my musical tastes on Spike - I really think that he would go for these songs (well, most of them). Since writing, the question of whether this is an accurate reflection of the character has occurred - so if you think of any other ideas for Spike's best-songs list, mail me, or include it in a review. Who knows, there could be a sequel.