Pairing: Depends on your point of view.
Setting: Futurefic, several months after Chosen
Spoilers: None other than the Big Casting Spoiler for next season's AtS that just about everyone knows by now.
Disclaimer: ME owns it all
A/N: Thanks to estepheia for her input.
Spike shrugged, taking a drag off his cigarette and resting on his elbows on the roof's ledge. The cool night wind blew the smoke back in his face. He looked over his shoulder at Buffy, and said:
"Dunno. Whatever comes next. The big bad of the week's pushing up the daisies, no small thanks to you. Nice of you to stop by LA."
"Eh, it was on the way," Buffy replied, walking up beside Spike and leaning against the ledge. "So, you've been here, what? Two months?"
"Three next week," Spike answered, flicking his cigarette over the edge and watching it plummet to the ground.
"I would have come sooner," Buffy said. "But...."
"Forget it," Spike said. "No apologies necessary."
"Angel keeping you busy?"
"Yeah," Spike mumbled. "It's always something here. Angel and his cronies are really getting their money's worth out of this whole setup."
"I'll say," Buffy said. "I'll admit, I'm kinda impressed. This huge building, all the tech stuff, a dozen cars. Not bad at all. Imagine what we could have done back in Sunnydale with all this."
"Right," Spike snorted. "We could have bollixed things up on a much grander scale."
Buffy pursed her lips, drawing a slow, deliberate breath.
"You didn't answer me," Buffy said.
"About what's next."
"I think I did," Spike said. "I don't know."
"Look, Spike," Buffy said. "We really haven't had a chance to...well, we've had chances, but...."
"You want me to come with you?"
"It's an idea," Buffy said. "There's a lot you could do...."
"What are you offering?" Spike asked.
"I'm...I...I don't know," Buffy said. "But you could do a lot of good. With us, I mean."
"With you, you mean," Spike corrected.
"I'm not saying I have all the answers."
"Well, that puts you ahead of me," Spike said. "I don't even have the bleedin' questions at this point. I just know...."
Spike felt Buffy's stare as he struggled for his next words. Finally, he said:
"Look, Buffy, I've been doing a lot of thinking. Trying to sort all this out, all on my own. Not really looking for any help, just trying to figure things out for myself."
"And?" Buffy asked.
"I've thought it through," Spike said, turning to face Buffy. "And I think I've come up with something."
"And that would be?"
Spike stared at the ground, then looked up, gestured toward Buffy with both hands open, and declared:
"I'm cookie dough."
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "You're...what?"
"I'm cookie dough," Spike said. "It's like, I'm not done baking. I'm all gooey, right? So, I've got to stay in the oven before anyone can eat me."
"Spike," Buffy said in a low, even tone. "Have you been talking to...?"
"You see," Spike interrupted. "You can't eat cookie dough right off. You've got to bake it until it's done."
Spike squinted and cocked his head to one side.
"Well, you can," Spike said. "Actually, people do it all the time. Hell, they even make a cookie dough flavored ice cream."
"Gee," Buffy said, rolling her eyes. "You came up with that all by yourself, did ya?"
"No, no, wait," Spike said. "What I mean is, if you want to be a cookie, you've got to bake. And if you want to bake right, you can't have someone waiting by the stove for you to finish. Wait a minute. Of course you can. People bake cookies all the time. You put them in the oven, wait a bit, then...."
"Spike," Buffy said. "I get what you're trying to say."
"No, wait, it's stupid," Spike muttered. "It doesn't make any sense whatsoever. That's got to be the dumbest thing he's...I mean, the dumbest thing I've ever dreamed up."
"It's not important," Buffy sighed. "The important thing is...."
"It sounds all profound," Spike said. "But when you think about it, it's just a load of crap! It's got to be the most insipid load of nonsense that ever...!"
"It's not that bad," Buffy intoned.
"Fine," Spike sighed. "I still think it's a load of...well, in any event, what I'm trying to say is that I might be better off staying here."
"Maybe," Buffy muttered.
"There's just so much to sort out," Spike said. "Sorting out, that was never my strong suit. There's something about me...some reason why I'm here. I think here's the best place to work on that. With you, it would be about you. Here, it's a job. I think I need that right now."
"Yeah," Buffy replied. "I get that."
"Look, I know you have to go," Spike said.
"Well, no sense stalling then," Spike said.
Spike and Buffy turned, and slowly began the walk back to the stairwell.
"So, you're comfortable here?" Buffy asked.
"Who wouldn't be?" Spike responded. "It's a nice setup. Just about anything a bloke could ever want."
"And Angel?" Buffy said. "How's he like it here?"
Spike shrugged. "He seems to be settled in."
"Is there anything here he particularly likes?" Buffy said, her eyes scanning the rooftop, until she spotted a loose metal pipe that rested next to the debris of a broken crate.
"What do you mean?" Spike asked.
"Well, you've got all this neat stuff here," Buffy explained, bending over and grabbing the pipe. "All the furniture and cars and techno doodads. Anything Angel's particularly fond of?"
"He's got one of those big screen TVs in his office," Spike said. "I thought his soul was gonna pop right out when they showed 'Lawrence of Arabia' on the Superstation."
"Hi Def?" Buffy asked, slapping the pipe against her open palm to test its heft. "You know, one of those expensive plasma screens?"
"Think so," Spike answered. "Why?"
Buffy tightened her grip on the pipe, took an experimental swing at the air, and said: