’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.