Donut Boy 9




"Honestly, was it something I said?" Buffy pouted, focused on unwrapping the white tape from her knuckles. "I mean, I know I'm not the only one who thinks he's acting seriously wiggy lately."

"He's not acting
wiggy, Buffy." Willow passed her a croissant. "I told you, he called me this morning to tell me he's sick, so he's not coming in today. It's nothing big, just a cold and a little fever, and so he's gonna spend the day sleeping."

"But he could sleep here. He's slept here before." Buffy looked around for confirmation. "Hasn't he?"

"Several times," Giles said, "and often on the most delicate books. May I ask where this new fixation on Xander's whereabouts comes from Buffy?"

"What? I can't worry about one of my friends? And what is this?"

"A croissant."

"And the English are too good for donuts or something?"

"For God's sake, Buffy! It's - it's jam filled, it will

"But it's not a donut."

why don't you walk down the street and get a donut yourself?"

Buffy gave Giles her most puppy-eyed look. "Because they have
calories if you buy them yourself!"

Giles opened his mouth as if to answer, and then thought better of it. Much better of it, and took off his glasses for cleaning. "But if Xander were to buy the donuts, they wouldn't have calories?"

"Right," Buffy said. "But he's not
here, therefore, no calorie-free jelly-filled goodies for Buffy."

"Oh, go ahead, Slayer. You could stand to put on a few pounds. Starting to look like you'll blow away with a good stiff breeze."

Buffy whirled on Spike. "Know what else blows away with a good stiff breeze? Dust."

"I'm terrified," Spike said without the vaguest sincerity and plucked a croissant from the box, sniffing it and taking a bite. "Really," he added around a mouthful. "Ta Rupert! You got the raspberry croissants. Must have shown up early. These sell out before- Hey!" He complained as Giles snatched the pastry from his fingers.

"How did you get in here? I didn't see you come through the door, and believe me, it's rather difficult to miss when you do."

Spike snatched back his croissant, taking a mutinous bite. "Got in through the tunnels, didn't I?"

"There are tunnels?" Giles turned to appeal to Anya, peering at her through spotlessly clean glasses. "Why didn't I know there are tunnels leading into my shop?"

She took his arm with a smile, patting it reassuringly. "We wouldn't want to turn around the demonic customers, would we, honey?" Anya waved an arm at Spike, currently the only demonic customer present to make an example of. "They're paying clients too."

"I'm quite certain
Spike doesn't pay.

"Well, maybe not, but I check your security for you!" Spike broke a piece off of his croissant, licking a drop of jam off his thumb. "You ought to be paying me. And it's not like I steal much. Dirt cheap for security analysis if you ask me."

"I don't
need security analysis."

"Actually, you do." Spike's eyebrows knit and he cocked his head. "See, there's this collapsing wall in the tunnel system about three blocks over. Gonna be funneling all the
nasties into your shop pretty soon if you don't put in something better down there."

"Do they need magical supplies?" Anya asked.

"Suppose they might," Spike admitted. "I could ask around a bit. Let you know."

"I'll give you some business cards to take with you."

"Anya!" Giles stopped her with a hand on her arm. "We are not advertising our services to the town demons."

"Spike comes here. Hallie comes here. Why can't others?"

"Because we - I don't
want Spike to come here. Spike, why are you here?"

"Huh? Oh. Legitimate business this time. Come to look up a little symbol then
poof, out of your hair."

"This is a shop, not a library."

"Oh come
on. It won't hurt your precious books for me to look something up in them."

"You've got
jam on your fingers."

Spike glared at his fingers, then stuck the offending digits into his mouth, smirking around them when Anya looked interested and Giles paled.

"Ew! Spike, could you
be any more disgusting?"

At Buffy's outburst, Spike looked at her with eyebrows raised. "Oh yeah. Lots more," he answered, with perfect honesty.

Anya sighed, looking at the box of croissants with greater speculation in her eyes before turning to Spike. "Well do you have the symbol with you?"

"Yeah, right here." Spike pulled a piece of paper from his duster, handing it to Anya. "Got any idea what it is?"

"It's a protection symbol that was worn by the ancient Vikings."

"Don't look like any Viking symbol I've ever seen."

"Well, no, but you see, Xander had it done in a little tattoo shop in Oxnard, and they talked him into making it more- Spike?" Anya called after the vampire's retreating form, and they all heard boxes clatter to the floor as he passed.

"For god's sake. What's he broken now?"

"It sounded like the crate of singing pebbles we ordered in from Borneo," Anya said helpfully. "I'm fairly certain that they're too small to have broken, only spilled."

"Oh good lord. Buffy, would you fetch a broom, please?"

"What? But, I just had a manicure, and I'm the Slayer, not the-" Buffy caught Giles' look and swallowed. "I'll just be getting the broom and dust pan now."







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