Coffee or Something


Summary: Wherein Fred and Spike first meet.
Rating: PG-13 for nudity
Story Notes: For Minim, because she asked and who can deny her anything?
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel the Series, and all the characters appearing on either show are property of Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, Sandollar, Kuzui, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, et al. This site is not officially involved with Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel the Series, makes no profit, and means no infringement.

Fred worked feverishly. She was so close, so close. She glanced again at the formula on the wall behind her, top left corner, squinting to make it out in the gloom, and nodded. This is it. Yes, ammonite. Who would have suspected ammonite? Really, this was more like a spell than science, though, suppose, if you actually measured, input, output, distinguishing... you'd need quite a few experiments, and it would have to be in controlled conditions. She thought about, and then dismissed the idea that wearing patchouli might be required. Still, scent as carrier, energy, waves.... She rushed over to the wall where the windows used to be and began writing feverishly in the last white space left.

A minion poked his head in and stood waiting for her to recognize him, looking bemusedly at the walls. It had been really frustrating trying to get anything done around here until she'd commandeered her own lab. When she started writing on the walls, Lilah arranged for her windows to be removed and her walls to be covered in white boards. She'd taken out half the bulbs herself. She needed controlled conditions to do her work. At least, if they didn't understand, they'd finally left her alone to do it.

Still, she'd had to give some stern talkings people, to get them to stop knocking. Knocking just, it made her uncomfortable, interrupted her train of thought. It had been very frustrating. It was weeks and weeks before she'd been able to get that last thought down. It was, probably, not the stern talking, more likely it was opening the door with a taser in her hand the last time someone knocked that had made them stop. She hadn't actually thought about it, she was, really, just so frustrated. Weeks of work, and then weeks more just because they wouldn't stop knocking! If they'd just stand there quietly until she had her idea down. She shouldn't have had the taser though. It had made working with them all a little more tense for awhile.

The minion cleared his throat and Fred ignored him. Really, how they ever expected her to get anything done with this kind of interruption, she couldn't imagine. This one more, something about the waves, and energy, and the patchouli. She wondered if Willow ever wore patchouli, or any kind of perfume, though, really, Willow seemed pretty outside the norm. She regretfully dismissed thoughts of Willow participation. One experiment with Willow and the results would just all be skewed and she wasn't sure Wolfram and Hart could even get Willow for her. She sincerely doubted Willow would just volunteer, not for an experiment at Wolfram and Hart. She laughed.

"Ma'am?" The minion spoke hesitantly, but with the air of a man who'd steeled himself to an unpleasant duty.

She continued scribbling, humming along with the rhythm, hurrying. She had to get this down, just a little more, it was really so very important.

"Ma'am. I'm afraid..." He stopped when she whipped around with a look of pure fury on her face.

"What are you doing?" She asked despairingly. Not a minion, a guard. Really the numbers, the ideas, she was losing them, every second took away from what she could get down, and it would take so much time! They'd let anyone bother her, and she supposed it was okay, because, after all, she was just crazy old Fred. She snorted in derision. Crazy old Fred. That was a laugh and a half. She took a deep breath and got ahold of herself, corralling the wild thoughts.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean. Though, you've just. If you'd all just stop interrupting."

"Ma'am, I'm sorry." He actually took a step back, which made Fred try very hard not to smile. It was kind of strange how much she actually liked it that they seemed a little afraid of her. Strange and wrong, of course, yes, anyway, she returned her attention to him in time to hear, "so, if you don't mind me looking around." At her quizzical look, "for the intruder." He had an air of one who'd repeated himself to her more than once. "There seems to be an intruder in your area. I've been instructed to look for him or her and escort the person off the premises."

"Oh!" She laughed as the light dawned. "Really, no, there's no need. There's no intruder. I'm just conducting an experiment. Energy, you know, that kind of thing." She went to the poor guard and put her hand on his shoulder, turning him toward the door and urging him out. "I'm fine, really, everything's fine."

The guard stopped, immovable. That was hardly fair, she thought resentfully. He's all bigger than me. Well, they're all bigger than me. "Ma'am, the sensors picked up an unidentified mass in this room. I really need to search."

Well, it didn't matter that he was bigger. She wasn't letting him wander her lab and smudge her walls, and, it didn't matter. She had work to do. She smiled. "I'm sorry, energy can do some very strange things, can't it?" She started walking again, hanging onto his arm, and he began walking with her. "It's so amazing, all these waves, and the way they bounce off of some things, and through other things, and how they can carry, and, you know, it's really fascinating."

"I'm sure, Ma'am." He was at the door, looking a little puzzled, but she didn't care. She wriggled her fingers at him with a bright smile and then shut the door in his face.

A sound behind her made her stiffen and hope she hadn't just done something very stupid. He'd said something about an intruder?

"When I open my eyes, this all bloody well better go away or I'll be pissed." She turned jerkily.

There was a blond man.

A blond man on her worktable. Where the elements had been.

There was a very attractive blond man laying on the table where she'd been working.

A really, really attractive blond man with a nice accent, not Texas, but still, wow, nice. And he was just laying there, on her table, naked.

Oh. There was a naked man on her table. Fred felt all the blood rush to her ears and throb there. Well, it didn't all rush, not really, but some did, and she was blushing, and her chest was probably all blotchy. She closed her eyes and touched her chest resentfully. It did seem to be warmer. When she opened them he was staring at her. Still naked. Laying there naked, but with his head turned and looking at her. He looked, well, fretful.

"So, who are you, love, and how did I get here?" He sat up and looked around. "This is a new one on me. Am I Frankenstein?"

"Frankenstein's monster."

He propped his head up with one hand. "Monster, am I?"

She realized that he'd misunderstood and got flustered, again. "No, I mean, it's not Frankenstein, it's Frankenstein's monster." She laughed. "Lots of people make that mistake. But you wouldn't be Frankenstein because he was the mad scientist." He looked at her and she blushed even more furiously. "No, I'm not Frankenstein, either!"

She felt resentful of his smirk and refused to look away from him. She could outstare anyone and didn't mind doing it. But, he didn't bother to cover himself, or, well, it's not like she hadn't seen it before, but, she wondered if Gunn or Wesley had any idea that average might not look so attractive to her anymore, well, if they cared, which they said they didn't, exactly, but sometimes, anyway, it didn't, average that is, look quite as attractive anymore. She realized she wasn't staring into his eyes anymore.

"Like what you see, then?" She raised her eyes to his, admiring everything on the way up, because, you couldn't help, but, and she was blushing even hotter, could someone die of a blush? That would be an interesting, well, no, because someone would have to die, but... her mind shut down entirely when she looked into his eyes. Oh. Wow.

"You're a littlebit, aren't you?" He winced at his own words. She didn't understand, but that was okay because she hadn't quite figured out what to say so she just stood there, awkwardly, her right hand cupping her left elbow. "Have I been out of things long?" He waited for a response but none came. "Hey, brown-eyes, are you all here?" He dropped his head a little, joggled it back and forth, trying to regain her attention.

"You're Spike."

"Bingo. Got it in one."

"Oh, wow." Fred shook her head, he'd have so much, and he didn't know, and, "Um, what do you remember last?"

"Last I remember was having tea with me mum."

"Your mother? You don't remember being a...." she hesitated. How to say, well, really, you can only say, "a vampire?

He snorted. "Course I do, silly git. This was after. After Sunnydale and all that First Evil and Turok-Han and whatnot. Did they all get out all right?" He looked around him as if searching for something.

"Oh, you were with your mom after... Wow. What was that like?"

He rolled his eyes. "Got a cigarette?" He smirked. "I seem to have left mine in my other pants." She frowned a little and he sighed. Really, where did this bird come from?

"Your mother?"

"Oh. Right." He looked away from Fred, still distracted. "I was having tea with my mum, and she was asking me about my poetry, but the only poetry." He caught himself and looked back at Fred. "I, uh, haven't written any poetry lately, not so's you'd. None. No poetry."

Fred nodded. Poetry, perhaps poetry just happened after you died and, but then, no, that didn't seem reasonable. She wrinkled her nose.

"Uh, love?"

"Oh!" Fred jumped. "I'm sorry. I kind of forgot you were here, I mean, I have these ideas, and..." she trailed off with a shrug and grinned. "I kind of get carried away."

"Yeah. I noticed that. I don't suppose you have any clothes around?"

"Oh!" Fred's eyes got big and she blushed again. "Of course, sure, clothes, I can, that's not a problem, I mean." She took a deep breath and held it for a minute. "Just, just give me a minute, okay?"

"Sure, love, it's not like I'm cold or anything."

"No, I can see you're not." He looked startled and then grinned, and when Fred realized what she'd said her eyes got even wider. Why had she said? But, well, it was true, but. Oh, this wasn't going well, not at all. She went to her desk in the corner and hit the speaker button on the phone. She didn't like touching it anymore, not since that last thing with the demon and the phone wires. She still hadn't gotten that done. Something about turning a telephone line into a portal... really, there was just too much to do. She was so caught up in those thoughts that she had a hard time remembering why she wanted to talk to her assistant, but, she remembered without too much flustering, really, the idea, have to be something in the energy, maybe peak calling times?

"So, did they get out all right?"

"Who?" She turned away from the phone. She hoped she'd guessed right. He looked somewhere around Wesley's size. At least, he was sitting right there, naked! Her mind offered, yes, um, sitting right there and hadn't complained about her size guesses, and her assistant seemed rather dauntingly cheerful about getting some men's clothes for her. Strange.

"Buffy. The girls. Did they all get out?"

"Oh, gosh, I'm sorry. I can't believe I didn't. Really, there's just no excuse." She looked around wildly for something, and then whipped off her lab coat. "You can wear this." She hesitated before stepping close enough to hand it to him. She looked like she wanted to put it on him or keep holding it and staring, and wasn't sure which. "No."

He looked up from squeezing into her coat. Obviously it was too big for her, but not quite too big enough. "No?"

"No. They didn't all make it out." Fred's eyes were so intense she looked as if she were going to try to crawl into his head, physically. She reminded him of Dru, for some reason, all there, but a little scrambled, and pretty in a different sort of way.

"Who?" He asked jerkily. He turned his head away and his jaw worked. "Buffy?"

"She made it. She's okay. For someone whose whole life and town and everything just, just disappeared. She's surprisingly perky."

"She's here? No," he shook his head, "never mind, it doesn't matter."

"She's not here." Fred rushed, breathlessly to reassure him, or, something. She frowned. Last thing Angel had said was that she smelled like Spike, so, really. No, not that it was any of Fred's business. Spike looked back at her with one eyebrow raised. She really liked how mobile that eyebrow was. It had a personality all its own. "Buffy's not here. She left. We don't, actually know where she is. Oh, someone in Wolfram and Hart may know, but they're not telling us, which is, really, what you get when you make a partnership with an evil entity, but, really, we did, though I'm still not sure why. Of course, I like the lab a lot, and I get all the best equipment, and it's really... really..." She stopped, not sure how to go on.


"Dawn's okay." Fred smiled, glad to be able to give him good news. "Not a scratch on her. She's actually gone to live with Giles in England. At least, I think, though she could be with Willow, who was also going to England, but might have stopped in New England with that Kennedy girl." Damn. Fred bit her lip. Why couldn't she just shut up? She just, it was so nice to see his eyes get sparkly when she could tell him something good.

"So the witch's okay." He nodded. "That's good. The other girls?"

"I don't know. I mean, I know Anya died because Xander, well, no, Xander didn't tell me because he couldn't really talk about, but Andrew told me, all of us, really." Fred's face took on an expressive scowl. "She must have been amazingly strong to hold ten Turok-Han off at once. I wonder if that had anything to do with being a demon?"

"More with being the heroine, I'd think." Spike snorted, a quiet, laughing sound. Fred wanted to hear it again.

"Andrew told some really amazing tales."

"Oh, the boy's good at that, right enough." Spike looked down, pensive. "Giles okay then? And the principal?"

"Sure, yeah, they're okay. I think a couple of the girls bought it." Fred slapped her hand to her mouth. "Oh, I'm sorry. That wasn't the right way to say that at all. I don't know what made me."

Spike smiled again. "It's okay, love. I think we all pretty much thought of them as "the girls."

Fred smiled back. He had a lovely smile. A knock on the door interrupted her train of thought, again. She turned and whipped the door open with a scowl.

"What? I thought... I told you not to knock!"

The unassuming young man flinched and Fred looked down at her hand. Damn. The taser was back. If they'd just stop knocking!

"I didn't think you wanted to be, to be, to be." The boy stopped, flushing a deep red.

"To be what?"

He shoved a bag at her and backed away. "To be interrupted, Ma'am. I'm really, very sorry."

She smiled at him, taking the bag in her left hand and putting her taser hand behind her back. "Thank you. Really. I hope it was no trouble."

"No, no trouble ma'am. It's what I do, gopher guy, you know."

She didn't, but she just smiled absently at him and shut the door in his face. When she turned around Spike was right behind her.

"Oh." She smiled up at him, just as absently. "Do you think you being here scared him?"

He grinned. "I think it was more likely the taser there." She looked down and away. The coat really didn't cover much, uh, much of anything, especially since he didn't have it closed. Spike peeled the taser out of her unresisting hand.

"So, right." Her eyes darted back, and away again. If she could just keep her eyes on his face, but it was, I mean, there was so much, and really, no, average wasn't going to be good enough anymore. She shook her head regretfully.

"Is that for me?"

"What?" She looked up into his eyes, dazed.

"That." She didn't respond, so he took the bag out of her hand and turned around to dump it on the table. Trousers, socks, boots, a decent shirt, a light jacket, not too poncy. It'd do. "Thanks love."

"Oh, sure." She stood there while he dropped the coat, until he cast a look over his bare shoulder. "You like to watch?"

"Huh?" She flinched. "Oh! No, really, and I have a lot of work to do. I'll just, just." She stopped and tried to gather her thoughts. "I'll just go over here." He dressed to the sound of her muttering something about curves and angles and muscle reaction. He could have sworn he heard her muttering something about average as well.


"Huh?" She looked up from the floor where she'd dropped to write on the very bottom near the floor. It was the only space left.

"I should go."

"Oh, no!"


"Really, no. I, I can't just let you.." She waved her hands, trying to find the words.

"Am I prisoner then?"

He looked almost as good dressed as he did naked. She bit her lip and tried not to look at the button fly of his jeans. "What?"

"Prisoner? Got chains? Angel gonna bust in here any minute and tell me I can't be trusted out on the loose?"

"Oh! No!" She blushed, again! Really, this was ridiculous. "I just thought, well." She looked him in the eye. "Would you like to go for some coffee? Or, pancakes? Or, or something?"

He laughed. "Sure, coffee. Or something. Let's go." He reached around and shut off the lights as they walked out the door. "You know, you remind me of someone."

"Really?" Fred replied. "Who might that be?"