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04 April 2008 @ 10:08 pm
How Many Blonds Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb? (1/1)  
Title: How Many Blonds Does it Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?
Author: ClawofCat
Timing: Season 6
Rating: PG
Pairing: Spike/Buffy
Summary: Set sometime around “Flooded,” Buffy struggles to reintegrate herself into the realm of the living. Luckily, the undead is willing to lend a helping hand.
A/N: Written off the cuff for louise39’s birthday on a prompt that asked for Spuffy and the word “ladder.” I hope you enjoy this! It has a decent helping of fluff. 

Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No profit is gained from my writerly endeavors and no copyright infringement is intended.
Being short had its drawbacks. More than she could count, actually. She could never reach the popcorn bowl on the top shelf of the cabinets. For some reason, it was Xander’s personal vendetta against her to make it a challenge every time. She couldn’t drive without a little booster seat cushion, not that she did. Drive, that is. But if she did, she would. Little Miss Can’t Reach the Psych Book On the Top Shelf of the UC Sunnydale Bookstore had kicked off her first meeting with Riley because she was short. Which was a dumb way to meet someone when you thought about it.
Teetering precariously on the top most step of the ladder, Buffy carefully unscrewed the burnt-out light bulb in the kitchen fixture. She could handle the dark, but dark for four days running was just too much. She had asked Dawn to take care of it, but of course that request had fallen on deaf ears. So here she was, about to topple onto her ass, with a fresh Phillips-60 watt in one hand and a dead one hanging by an evil thread stubbornly clinging to the fixture with the other.
“Go for the gold,” she muttered under her breath, giving the bulb one last rotation in its track before successfully dislodging it. Scrutinizing it carefully, she saw that the head was a dark, smoky grey. It was as foggy as she was. Buffy Summers: Resurrection Edition. Now with scuff marks, smudges, and burn-out factor times ten!
Staring morosely at the tarnished white surface, she shook the bulb in her hand. The tinkling sound of the broken filaments confirmed that this one was in fact a goner.
“It’s the trash for you,” she tisked and shifted her weight as she stretched to insert its brand new twin. However, she hadn’t anticipated that the toe of her boot, which caught on one of the rungs, wouldn’t follow as well. With her center of gravity thrown off, Buffy toppled sideways, thinking for the first time that perhaps these boots weren’t as sensible as she first thought.
Usually fall meant ground, but instead she found herself partially supported by none other than vampire numero uno. She blinked slowly, noting the arms linked beneath her armpits, and pushed herself to a standing position with her heels.
“I really hate that light,” she hissed to Spike through gritted teeth. Disengaging from their embrace, he scratched the back of his neck and shot a curious glance up toward the fixture in question.  
“Looks standard issue to me,” he observed.
As Buffy stomped forward toward the ladder again, this time toeing off her boots, she turned to Spike and asked, “Where the hell have you been anyway? I needed help with that pipe in the basement, like, yesterday.”
Raising his brows, Spike conciliatorily put up his hands. “I got here as quick as I could, Slayer. Though it might be hard to believe, I do have things I gotta attend to now again.”
“Let me guess. Blood and smokes?” she murmured, her lips screwed up into a knowing smile as she took the first rung of the ladder slowly.
“Got it in one,” he admitted. Moving around to the side of the island, Spike leaned against the counter to watch Buffy’s hesitant ascent back up the ladder.
“What’s with the fall, pet? Fresh out of that famed Slayer grace you girls are supposed to have?”

Looking down at him, Buffy frowned and crossed her arms. “It was the ladder,” she said. “It’s all wobbly. And hello, it’s pitch dark in here. I can barely see six inches in front of my face.”
Turning back to the task at hand, Buffy stubbornly took another step up.
“Here. Take this one. It’s spent,” she said and tossed the burnt-out bulb to Spike, who carefully turned it over in his hands before setting it onto the counter. He watched Buffy teeter, struggle, and curse under her breath for a few moments until deciding to come around behind her. She really was the most stubborn bint sometimes.
Buffy paused and turned to look at him over her shoulder when she felt his hands come up to rest lightly on her hips. 

“’S a bit safer this way, innit? Got a spotter now,” Spike whispered, looking at her hopefully through his lashes. He brought one booted foot up to the first rung of the ladder and put some weight onto it to keep it steady.
When Buffy didn’t turn back to her task, but continued to stare at him, Spike cleared his throat and broke eye contact. Nodding up at the ceiling, he said, “Go on then. Light won’t screw itself in.”
Leaning forward, she felt Spike’s grip tighten at her hips as she stretched her arm out. Holding the fixture with one hand, she blindly prodded around with the base of the bulb until she found the track.
“I got it,” she whispered with a hint of triumph in her voice.
Spike patted her hip in response. “Knew you would.”
A few twists and turns later, the bulb was securely in place. Drawing back to look at her handiwork, Buffy nodded with satisfaction and began to climb down, feeling more confident than she had going up. When she reached the third to last step, she was surprised to feel herself lifted clean off the ladder and placed gently onto the floor in front of Spike.
“Was that necessary?” she asked with a raised brow and a tiny smile dimpling her cheeks.
“What?” Spike countered with a mischievous head tilt of his own. “You did all the work. Man’s gotta know he contributed something to the process.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” she shot back sarcastically. “Like prime ass-staring time wasn’t your reward?”
“Hey, you said it, not me,” Spike pointed out. Turning toward the threshold of the kitchen door he pointed to the neglected switch plate that had remained unused for the last several days. “So, you taking the honors?”
“Yeah, I’d like to know if I can finally close this horrific chapter of my life for good.”
Coming to stand next to the wall, Buffy turned to look at the light.
“Count of three,” Spike murmured. “One…”
When the kitchen flooded with sorely missed light, Buffy turned to Spike and graced him with a smile. To her chagrin, it turned out the saying was true. It really did take more than one blond to screw in a light bulb.

mere ubu: spike buffy floodedmere_ubu on April 5th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Awww, this made me smile--funny and sweet with a killer punchline. I know you don't usually go for the fluff, but you've done a lovely job here.
ClawofCat: buffy poutclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the compliments. I really enjoyed working on this piece. I very rarely take prompt requests from my flist, but I felt as though I got to limber up a bit on this one and stretch my writer muscles. Early S6 is one of the few canon time periods where Spike and Buffy actually are sort of friendly with each other, so it seemed to me that was the easiest place to insert some fluff. I always thought her frustrated confrontation with the flood in the basement and "copper repipe" was sort of hilarious, and I could just see her struggling with really mundane tasks and getting fed up.

The problem with fluff for me is that it too often seems utterly improbable. But I think something like this could have happened. Maybe shortly after their porch chat when she asks, "So, what do you know about finances?" Also, I don't get a chance to write a lot of humor, so poking fun at Buffy was a blast. She's pretty awesome at self-deprication.
The Anti-OTPsnowpuppies on April 5th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)

You've captured the S6 depressed!Buffy humor well.
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I never write funny or cute stuff, so this was my chance and I ran with it. Before everything went to angst hell (*drool*) later in the season, Buffy was actually sort of funny and self-depricating in her post-resurrection ennui. I took the attitude from the whole "No more copper repipe!" incident and ran with it.
Tamspikeslovebite on April 5th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
ClawofCat: spuffy redclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
From you, that is a compliment! And this is only my first go a Spuffy humor too.
flake_sakeflake_sake on April 5th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)

It's great how sweet you made such an everyday act!
ClawofCat: crapclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks. I never write fluff, so I'm proud of myself for even being able to do it. "Ladder" is a pretty random word, so I quickly thought "What do people do with ladders? I dunno, fix things?" And I recalled Buffy's unfortunate basement flooding incident and ran with that concept. And also I got to poke fun at her!
ldyavalonldyavalon on April 5th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
It's nice to see them helping each othr. Verra swweet :)
ClawofCat: trust meclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it! I think Spike just sort of pities her in this fic because she's such a spaz. Of course, he doesn't judge her for it though. I was sort of trying to illustrate that through support and "spotting" her, they actually make a great team.
louise39: spuffy sm/blue meant to belouise39 on April 5th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)

What a fabulous birthday present!

Fierce little Buffy doing battle with a ladder and a light bulb. Spike to the rescue...and she lets him help her.

You wrote a warm and lovely moment.
Thank you very much.
ClawofCat: yayclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yay, glad you liked it! Buffy is at her funniest when she's faced with everyday tasks. For all her super heroics, she kinda does fail at life. But she's a trooper and keeps struggling on because she just can't let life beat her. If Spike was going to be a little harsher with her, he'd probably say, "You're bleedin' useless, Slayer. Move off and let me do it." But he knows that everything is hard for her, so he helps her do it, which is the sort of support that the Scoobies should have given her in S6 all along.

I know how you like to hear about process, and believe it or not this fic is a bunch of metaphors for Buffy and Spike's relationship, heaven, and the season as a whole. Let me know if you're interested, and if you are I'll write a little DVD commentary to go along with this. It's deeper than it looks.
(no subject) - louise39 on April 5th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
petzipellepingo: buffy and spike animated by buffypurple1petzipellepingo on April 5th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
Lovely little FitB!
ClawofCat: spikesmilesclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I never write fluff, but I could see something like this happening, especially since Buffy and Spike seemed to be getting along alright at this early point in the season.
(Deleted comment)
ClawofCat: coc spuffyclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yup, it's my MO. I place a lot of my fics in domestic spaces. Exploring the characters as people who have to deal with normal, mundane things rather than saving the world and fighting demons in why I enjoy writing fic. It humanizes them, gets down to their bare essence.
Sotia: Spuffy wantssddgr on April 5th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
Awww, how cute and fluffy! Your writing can do any gender justice, yay you!
ClawofCat: huhclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it. It's definately a departure from my usual angst/sex/h/c.

Your writing can do any gender justice
Well, I usually write men and women together. Did you mean genre? *g*
(no subject) - ssddgr on April 5th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jesterlady: spuffyjesterlady on April 5th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Aww, I love it. It's so cute, but not perfect. It's a good example of their lovely relationship before the badness set it.
ClawofCat: glancesclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad it was effective. I don't usually write fluff, so doing this was a bit different for me.

It's a good example of their lovely relationship before the badness set it.
That's really what I was aiming for. I don't generally think cute or fluff has much place in the Spuffy canon relationship, but I could legitmately see something sweet like this happening in those early days following her resurrection. They had an easy friendship that just fizzled out once Buffy gave him to her depression and passion.
eowyn_315: OMWF Spike/Buffyeowyn_315 on April 5th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Omg, you wrote fluff! Hee! And yet, inside the joke, there's still depth and interesting characters. I really like Buffy comparing herself to the burned out light bulb. And maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I thought I detected a wee bit of sexual tension in Spike acting as spotter. :)

I noticed in one of your other comments about how Spike lets her do this herself, rather than taking over. More than once, I thought, "Spike would be better at this." Buffy is short - Spike is taller. Buffy can't see in the dark - Spike can. But if he just did it for her, it would only knock her down, one more task that the Slayer can't handle. So he does what he's always done, what he will continue to do for the rest of the series - let her take the lead and be her support.

Dammit, you've made me all thinky about a blond joke. *hugs you*
ClawofCat: smugclawofcat on April 5th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Yay! I am so thrilled you like it cause, honestly, when I was writing it I could just see you mocking me for the fluff. Of course, it would be you to also see that there was a decent amount of depth to this cute ficcie. The light bulb is Buffy, and you picked up on the whole support thing as a metaphor for the Spuffy relationship for the rest of the season, but I also thought the issue of her getting up and down the ladder was a nod to being caught between heaven/earth. Her fall off the ladder was also supposed to signify Spike making amends. Every night he saved her from the fall off the tower, and now, in reality, he was finally able to act out his promise.

Anyway, this just proves that I'm a huge dork that way overthinks things and is all caught up in the meta. So I'm like uber proud of myself that this fic wasn't an exercise in staring at my own naval, but it gave you thinky thoughts too.

Also, there totally was a whiff of UST. I mean, he wants her bod. Hands on hips is like foreplay for him at that point. Also, as she pointed out, he got a good view of her booty =)

Your comment made my day. I'm passing much love at you as we speak. Can you feel it?
Barbrahirah on April 6th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
ClawofCat: faithsmileclawofcat on April 6th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!
Lady Anne: spuffy_afterlifeladyanne04 on April 6th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Aww - that was excellent! A lovely dose of lightness in the 6th season.
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on April 6th, 2008 05:06 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I don't often write light or humorous fare, so it's good to hear I hit the mark. Those early S6 episodes had lots of light moments that soon disappeared once Spike and Buffy shared their first kiss. It was nice to be able to work within that time period when their friendship, however short lived, was just taking form.
Kristine: lol (by earth_vexer)my_perfect_muse on April 6th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
Firstly, brilliant punchline! I gotta say I love my blonde jokes, even though my dad religiously sends me new ones at least once a month. The curse of natural blondeness. I really liked your natural vibe between the two as well. I know you don't often write light fluffy scenes and this was fantastic. Well done :)
ClawofCat: buffy smileclawofcat on April 6th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you dug this. Half of the things I write are sort of challenges to myself to see if I can pull them off. I was pleasantly surprised with this fic, and feel really proud of myself that I was able to effectively step out of genre for a sec. I play with pairings constantly, but I like to stay firmly nestled in my little angst/smut corner of fandom. I suppose this should be a lesson to myself.

When I saw the prompt "ladder," I thought of fixing things, which lead to the idea of her fiddling with the light bulb. My rememberance of that blonde joke stemmed from there. I'm also a natural blonde. Thankfully, I've never been on the receiving end of any intelligence-bashing jokes =)
empresspattiempresspatti on April 6th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Very nice - and a real change of pace for you, yes?

ClawofCat: thesparkclawofcat on April 6th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
Heh, yeah, major change of pace. I'm actually just finishing up another humorous Faith/Xander piece. Must be something in the water. Once that shot is done, I'll have to write something really tragic and heartbreaking to get back on track *insert evil laugh*

As for the "yahtzee!" line, I couldn't remember if that was something Buffy actually said in canon, but I could have sworn that it was.
(no subject) - empresspatti on April 6th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - moscow_watcher on April 6th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - empresspatti on April 6th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)