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Running Up that Hill

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The girl looked like she’d fallen straight out of the 80s. A weird kind of 80s, with a spangly Kate Bush leotard and leggings giving way to the highest platform boots Buffy had ever seen outside of a magazine, but the big hair and the makeup and the earrings didn’t lie. Hell, even her perfume was loud, screaming VAMPIRE! at anyone who cared to listen.

And so, naturally, as she’d left the blue light of the club all furtive and snuggly in the arms of some poor guy in a polo shirt, Buffy had followed. Waited in the shadows. Watched with a predator’s eye for the vamp to make her move.

The thing was, the move never came. The couple just kept on making out, like the twenty-somethings they both appeared to be. Buffy found herself shielding her eyes as polo-shirt-guy started to investigate the ins and outs of lamé spandex. Sequins were flying free of stitching, glittering through the darkness.

Most damningly, however, in the heat of the night and outside of the beguiling colours of the dancefloor? Kate Bush’s skin was flushing a deep, vivid red.

As she realised her mistake, Buffy’s looked much the same.

“Aw, but it’s kind of cute,” Dawn was saying later. They were decompressing back at the house; Buffy still mortified, Dawn still drunk and Spike still thoroughly entertained. “Like Romeo and Juliet – the houses of Hipster and Hollister coming together despite their differences. And you,” she added wickedly. “Right there to see it happen…”

Spike snickered. Buffy groaned, clutching a fuzzy cushion to her chest as she slumped deeper into the couch. “It’s not funny, you guys! This is…” She shook her head, brain spinning with despair. “My life is over!”

“Oh, come on, poppet,” Spike said, moving to sit next to her and sling an arm around her waist. Without A/C it shouldn’t have been the most welcome of gestures, but Buffy leaned into him all the same. He was comfy. “So you’re a bit off your game. You’re retired; it’s allowed.”

“But you don’t understand!” Buffy whined. It hadn’t been her spidey sense that had let her down, after all – that had never been reliable. No. She’d been let down but something much more important than that. “My fashion sense is gone.” It had been coming for a while, but now she was certain of the truth. “I've lost it,” she recognised. “Forever.” And then she began to cry, burying her head in the cotton of Spike’s shoulder. “I’m old!

There was a pause as the guy with centuries to his name presumably shared a look with the gal who had millennia. Buffy could imagine what they thought of her, but she didn’t care, just sobbed. Nothing would ever be the same again; her rights to cool had been irrevocably withdrawn. She didn’t understand vintage; she didn’t understand why Mumford & Sons needed a banjo; she didn’t understand what was so great about glasses with plastic lenses in and she had no desire to own a pair of overalls again. At least three girls at the Slayer School wore their hair in beehives and Buffy could only wonder what had happened to straighteners.

It was hopeless. She was hopeless. Stupid London was too cool for a small town California biddy like her and all she was left with was the inevitable descent into mom hair.

“There there now, love,” Spike comforted her, voice breaking into her sobs. It sounded like Dawn had abandoned them. “It’s not all bad.”

“What do you know?” she asked petulantly, sniffing. Billy Idol was probably back in these days, wasn’t he? Spike must have seen it coming all along. “You get to never hit thirty.”

“And ten years ago no one thought you would, either.”

Buffy raised her head, startled. In the soft, heavy light of the living room Spike’s expression looked nothing but sincere, like he was trying to make this a moment – a moment Dawn had left them for.

She narrowed her eyes, which still burned with tears. “You’re such a freaking cheater.”

And then he was grinning, face alight as immortal vigour allowed him to leap to his feet. “I just know what’s expected of me.” His eyes glinted with experience, which it was fair to say she’d always found attractive. “Now, are you coming to bed, Old Nelly, or can’t you make it up the stairs?”

Buffy chased him as he fled. She caught him on the landing – so on balance hoped maybe all was not quite lost.