Word Count: 11,000ish
Author’s Notes: Set Post S2 after Buffy left Sunnydale, but she doesn't go back.
Beta’d by the spectacular mommanerd and spiralleds. Any inconsistencies or typos made after they looked this over is entirely my fault. Why? Because they’re the best of the best! Love you, ladies.
Someone was knocking. She pushed herself off the couch and padded to the front door. Peeking through the peephole, there was no mistaking the hair.
“Damn it, Spike. I told you I wasn’t going to invite you in. I don’t want you here. You’re lucky I haven’t staked you yet. I’m serious. Leave while you still can.”
Her hand was now resting on her chest. She had been having the Angel dream again. Damn it, Spike. Why did he ever have to show up here? Yeah, he had helped her out a few nights before, but that was a fluke. She hadn’t been paying close enough attention to what had been going on around her. That’s all it was.
His hair was replaced in the small window by a bag. Upon closer inspection she saw that it was from the local bakery that had best baked goods she had ever tasted - the kind that literally melted in your mouth. What was he up to? “I don’t get it.”
“Slayer’s got to eat.” He waited a beat. “And there’s nothing to get.”
“And you’re going to feed me.”
“Thought crossed my mind.”
He was up to something. She wasn’t sure what. Well, there was only one way to find out. “Try anything and you’re ...”
"Yeah, yeah. Dusty Spike. Heard that one, love," he said.
She opened the door. She could always revoke the invitation. She had gotten good at that the last few months in Sunnydale. That expression ‘keep your enemies closer’ fluttered across her mind like a summer’s breeze.
“Still can’t come in, pet.”
“What makes you think I won’t take the bag and slam the door in your face? Hmm?” Heaving a sigh she said, “Hurry up before my neighbors see you.”
He closed the door behind him. “You’re concerned with your neighbors?”
“They’re kind of old and really nosy,” she said, walking into the kitchen. “And I think there’s boredom in there someplace, too.”
She took a plate out of the cupboard and dumped the bag of pastries onto it. There were different kinds of donuts, danishes, and muffins. She couldn’t help but smile when she took a bite out of a jelly one. Strawberry. Her favorite. She was glad she hadn’t been mistaken about the gooey red goodness that was leaking out of the hole in the side.
“Do you mind?” he asked, motioning for the chair. Before she answered, he had swung it around, and sat down, straddling it. He grabbed the plate and took two donuts, one muffin, and one danish.
“Jeez. Help yourself.” She poured herself a cup of coffee and then grudgingly poured him one, too. “I don’t do tea.” That was an Angel thing. She didn’t do any Angel things anymore.
He tipped his head in acknowledgement and after adding quite a bit of sugar and some powdered cream from the tray in the middle of the table he took a sip. “Not bad, pet.”
“Um, thanks.” She sat down across from him and studied his face. There was no seeing him well in the dimly-lit restaurant, on the walk home all those weeks ago, or on the street, or in the graveyard, but he looked different. Not older, because he would never age, but something was off. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was. She was afraid if she did she’d realize it was the tinge of sadness around his eyes that mirrored her own.
“Nice place you got here.” His eyes took in her small apartment that consisted of four whole rooms: bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen. And the areas were so small she wasn’t even sure you could call them actual rooms.
“It does what it needs to do.”
Lifting a danish, he dipped it into his coffee and then shoved half of it into his mouth. “That’s what counts I suppose,” he said in between chews.
“How did you get here?” The arch in his brow made her say more. “It’s the middle of the day. Hello. Vampire.”
“Have you looked outside?” Actually she hadn’t, so she shook her head. “Dreary, overcast day. Gives the likes of me certain advantages.”
That would explain it, and it wasn’t strange that she hadn’t opened any of her shades yet. She didn’t usually open them at all when she was home and what was the point when she wasn’t? Yeah, the irony of lucking out getting an apartment with windows and never using them wasn’t lost on her.
“I need to shower and get dressed.” She stretched her arms over her head and his gaze settled someplace lower. The small top she had worn to bed had hiked up and the hem of it was resting below the lower curve of her breasts. “Oh, give me a break! Stay if you want, but don’t come near the bathroom or bedroom if you know what’s good for you.”
As she showered, she wondered why she had left an unattended, unsouled vampire in her kitchen, eating donuts and drinking coffee, but she didn’t particularly care. Sitting there in her pajamas with him fully dressed had started to make her feel uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than leaving him alone in her kitchen even. They had been a team once upon a time. A team responsible for sending Angel to hell.
She scrubbed her head even harder, making more lather from the bargain-basement priced shampoo. After rinsing out the shampoo and double-conditioning, she turned off the shower, blaming the tears in her eyes on the overabundance of suds.
After she wiped the condensation off the mirror, she stared at her reflection. It had been years since she’d left Sunnydale, and it still felt like yesterday. She had lost Angel and it was all her fault. If she had only known... If she could’ve stopped Angel without killing him Willow could’ve worked on the re-souling spell some more before the entire Acathla mess. Somehow they could’ve contained Angelus until they got Angel back. But it hadn’t worked out that way. The wheels of her biggest failure had been put into motion and now she had to live with it every day. Maybe it was penance. Maybe that’s why she had invited Spike into her home. Seeing him brought all the bad memories rushing back in all their Technicolor glory. Failing Angel, her friends, and her mom. Her dear, sweet mom. Maybe Buffy was meant to suffer.
When she finished getting dressed, she stepped into the living room, brushing out her still wet hair. Spike was parked in front of the television, remote in hand.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Watching the telly.”
Of course. What else could it have been? But it did sound like a good idea. That had been her plan anyway. After gathering what snacks she could from the kitchen, she flopped down on the couch next to him.
“I don’t have much,” she said. “I need to go shopping.”
“Whatever you have is fine by me, Slayer.”
They snacked, watched soap operas and game shows until late afternoon. They didn’t talk much. What was there to say? Yeah, so what if he was the sworn enemy? She was glad to have company. Self-imposed exile wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
The soap operas were long over, and the talk shows were pretty much boring them both to death. Spike couldn’t get over how many judge shows were on the ‘telly’. One thing was certain though - if he continued to flip stations faster than the speed of light she was going to hurt him. She was about to say as much when he finally settled on a station.
“What is this?” she asked.
“Who Will Love My Children. A classic, love. A mother’s devotion to her children. You should know how important a mother’s love is,” he said.
What was that supposed to mean? She waited for the punch line, but there wasn’t one. There wasn’t even a mocking tone she could yell at him about. There was no mischievous, no grin, no sneer. Could it be that he was serious? Fine, he might be a vampire, but he had a mother once upon a time, too. Not to mention Drusilla who had been his mom in her own way. Okay, now was the time to jump off the train of thought she had climbed aboard. Enough thoughts about her mom or anyone’s mom for that matter. She had closed that section of her heart off a long time ago. But if that was true, why did it still hurt so much?
“I didn’t say it wasn’t a classic,” she mumbled, settling herself back onto the couch. She knew she was pouting, but she didn’t care.
In less than two hours her pout had turned into a session of berating herself. Not only had she let Spike into her home, she was now crying in front of him.
“Are you okay, pet?”
“That was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said in between sobs. “The mom… and the kids. I don’t… the little boy… and she was dying and…” She hiccupped and then ran into the bathroom to get a tissue. Once she regained her composure, she blamed her hormones and went back into the living room.
“Is there something you need?”
“I need real food,” she said suddenly. She was pretty sure if she ate any more sugar she’d pass out or go into sugar shock. That and all the coffee she had drunk was making her feel a little jittery and there was no way she was going to watch any more television with him. With her luck the next station he settled out would be the Cartoon Network and Bambi would be on.
“What did you ‘ave in mind?” he asked.
His gaze had been intent on the TV, and he had been holding the remote control since he'd turned it on. With a quick push of a button, the room was filled with silence and his total attention was focused on her. It made her feel a little uncomfortable, but she brushed it off.
“I don’t have much here. I don’t eat at home a lot.” She watched as his eyes traveled down her body, not missing the changes.
"Yeah, I can see that." He tossed the remote on the table in front of the couch he added, “I don’t know the area well, but there’s got to be something good to eat around here.”
“Not much of a cook then?”
She shook her head. “Never have been and probably never will be.”
“Never say never, pet. You don't know what the future holds.”
Buffy took a long-sleeved sweater out of her closet and then hung it back up. She wasn’t in the mood to wear long sleeves. Sometimes she wished she would’ve brought more clothes with when she had left Sunnydale. Her current finances didn’t allow for a new wardrobe or many additions to it. But then again, its not like the clothes from back then would’ve fit her nowadays anyway.
Her dress from the restaurant was tossed on the bed, and her heels rested at her bare feet. The getup was fine for a while, but when she got home from work she was happy to put on her sweats and t-shirt and take off the shoes. Too bad she couldn’t find sweats or a t-shirt though. She wandered over to her dresser. Oh look! A t-shirt. She pulled it out of her drawer and slid it over her head and down over her chest.
A new routine had taken over her life. When she wasn’t at work, she was at home or out slaying with Spike. Not like she’d ever admit it to anyone else, but she truly liked his company. The detached feeling she’d had didn’t work for her anymore since he’d shown up. They didn’t talk much, if at all, about Sunnydale and that was fine with her. He asked her once if she’d ever go back and she’d said no and that had been the end of the conversation.
She was getting used to Spike waiting for her when she got home from work or showing up at the restaurant out of the blue. Sometimes he had snacks. Sometimes he had movies. Sometimes he had poetry books he wanted her to read. He never came empty handed, and if she were being honest with herself she found it kind of sweet. She mentally gave herself a face slap. He was a vampire. A vampire without a soul!
She was staring into her closest again. She still needed some pants or something to wear on the bottom half of her body. Spike still insisted that it was a fluke that he had found her. Right place, right time kind of thing he had said, and she hadn’t believed him at first. Now she thought that he might actually be telling the truth. He was a different vampire than the one he had been when he first came to Sunnydale. More thoughtful. Not as self-centered. Was it possible to mature after a hundred and fifty plus years? Or was it the chip?
“Balls!” he yelled from the kitchen.
“What now?” she asked to no one in particular, as she bolted out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. She was greeted with plumes of black smoke billowing from a frying pan on the stove.
“What happened?” she said, grabbing the fire extinguisher from under the counter. She pushed him out of the way and sprayed the pan.
“Trying to make a snack,” he said, his eyes glowing yellow before changing back to their brilliant blue.
“Cute, Slayer.” After taking the towel off its hook, he grabbed the handle of the pan and pitched it into the sink. After he turned on the cold water, the black smoke turned into white smoke.
Once the air cleared she moved closer and inspected the blackened mess. “What was it?”
“You can’t tell?” he asked, standing next to her. He poked at the contents of the pan with a fork that was on the counter. “Eggs.” She couldn’t help herself and she giggled. “It’s all you bloody had! Do you ever go to the market?”
She crossed her arms over her chest. “I go to the market! Um, er, the grocery store.”
“Nice knickers.” He gave her the once over. “Put on something and let’s go.”
Stretching her t-shirt as far down as she could, and covering what she had, she asked. “Where are we going?”
“Shopping. A vampire could starve around you.”
“Which reminds me…”
She pushed the cart and Spike filled it with all kinds of food. By the time he was done, it was packed with fresh and canned fruits and veggies, frozen entries, boxed, bagged, and cartoned foods. Before they left he paid a visit to the butcher. That’s how he’d been feeding since he’d been chipped.
“I can’t afford all of this,” she whispered when he grabbed the end of the cart and maneuvered it into a checkout lane.
“I got it covered, love.”
“You secretly rich or something?”
“Forget how long I’ve been around?”
Funny, for a minute she had. She guessed when you were around for more than a century you could work up quite the savings. She knew Angel never seemed to be lacking in that area – Angel was never lacking in any area as far as she was concerned - and then she realized she had never asked Angel about it.
“You invest or something?” she asked as he began unloading the cart and the cashier began to scan their items.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re a frugal vampire?” The cashier stopped scanning and a jar of maraschino cherries hung in the limbo between the electronic red eye and the conveyer belt. Her blue-lined gaze rested on Buffy.
Spike shot Buffy a look and then said, “Yeah. That’s it. How many times have I told you, young lady, that vampires aren’t real? Did you forget to take your meds today?” He shook his head dramatically and then put his hand on the cashier’s, lowering it. His action was rewarded with a ‘beep’ and the cherries went on their merry little way.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yes, how could I forget my meds?”
Once he finished paying, they loaded up their arms and headed back to her place. The market was around the corner, and between the two of them it wasn’t a big deal to trudge back. She didn’t even drop anything when she grabbed her hide-a-key from its hiding place and unlocked her door.
“Impressive,” Spike said when she put the key back.
“It’s all in the training,” she said with a smile.
As she put the food away in the cupboards, wiping out the dust as she went, Spike leaned against the counter and snacked on the cherries. “Want one?” he asked, holding it out to her.
She was tempted, but she wanted to finish putting the food away and her hands were full. “I will later.”
“There won’t be any left later.”
Before she knew what was happening, he had slid one of the sweet treats into her mouth. She quickly chewed and swallowed it. “Um, thanks,” she said, somewhat shocked at his action and the funny feeling that was taking root in the pit of her stomach when his fingers had touched her lips.
Smiling wickedly, he licked his own fingers - why was he sucking on his fingers so much longer - and then snatched another one from the jar. “Want another?” he asked, leaning back against the counter and crossing his legs at the ankles.
“No. I’m good,” she said as she quickly finished putting away the food she was holding. When he took a step toward her, her hand flew up to stop him from doing it again. “Not now. Are you going to eat them all?”
His gaze rested on the now half-filled jar and then back on her. “Yeah.”
Once everything was put away they worked their way into the living room and started watching a rerun of Friends.
“I think you should go back to Sunnyhell,” he said during a commercial break.
“What?” She looked at him, wide-eyed. She finished chewing the piece of apple she had in her mouth, trying not to choke on it, and then placed the core on the napkin in front of her. “I can’t go back there.”
“I can’t see how you can sit here day after day all content-like without settling the stuff there first.”
She jumped to her feet, knocking one of the throw pillows off the couch and onto the floor. “I do stuff here! I don’t need to do stuff there!”
“Like what?” He crossed his leg over his knee and laced his fingers behind his head. “Name one thing that’s good for you that you do.”
He had no right to look so relaxed when she was about ready to jump out of her skin. “None of your business.”
“I work. I have a job. And Sunnydale has a slayer and the G.I. Joes. It doesn’t need me.”
He stared at her for what felt like forever and then shook his head. “If that’s what you believe.” He was watching television again.
It wasn’t so much what he said that felt like a punch to her gut, but how he said it. She had to be wrong, but it sounded like he was disappointed in her. “What do you mean ‘if that’s what I believe’?”
“It’s what I said, innit?” he said never even looking at her.
She was falling victim to that blood-boiling thing and her heartbeat had picked up its pace. The pounding in her ears pretty much clinched it. The feeling that she was overreacting wasn’t lost on her and that her outburst was an accumulation of everything she had been thinking and feeling the last few weeks. But now? She hadn’t felt anything this strongly in quite a long time. She picked the pillow up and threw it at him, hitting him squarely in the face. “If you have more to say, Spike. Just say it.”
Here it came. Everything was getting ready to blow up in her face. She should’ve known better. She should’ve told him to get the hell out of town the first night he had shown up at the restaurant. And most of all? She should’ve known better than to get mixed up with a vampire again in any way, shape, or form!
“You can’t hide forever.”
“Hide? I’m not hiding.”
“Who am I hiding from? It’s not like I ran off to Timbuktu.” She picked up her napkin and apple core and stomped off to the kitchen.
“You’re hiding from yourself.” He followed her. “And Angel, too. Your friends. Your mum. No one even knows you’re here.”
That was the first time Spike had ever said Angel’s name since that night. How could he? He had no right. After slamming the lid of the garbage can closed she spat, “Don’t you ever,” she took a menacing step toward him, “say his name again.” She stormed out of the kitchen and back into the living room. She needed to get away from him. Not only was her head spinning, it was beginning to hurt.
He laughed, but there was no humor in the sound of it. “Say his name? Angel. Angelus. That name? Your first love? Your first lover! And probably your only one.” He pushed past her and they were now face to face. “Keep it up, slayer, and he’ll always be the only one.”
“What do you know? You’re a vampire, but you’re nothing like him.” She shoved him hard, and he rocketed back onto the couch. The momentum made the couch tip over, taking him with it. She had momentarily forgotten her own strength.
He roared over the top of it, game face on and grabbed her by the shoulders, shoving her until her back was against the wall. He let go of her just as quickly and grabbed the sides of his head. The chip. It actually worked. He hadn't been lying.
Through gritted teeth he said, “He was my family. Angel, Dru, and Darla. Do you understand that you crazy bint? They were all that was left of my family. I have no one now. Angel and Darla are gone. Who knows where Dru is. All I know is that she doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore. I have no one! I wanted to hurt you. That first night I saw you in the restaurant, but then I couldn’t. I realized that you’re the only one I have left!”
Her green eyes locked with his yellow ones and they stared at each other. With a slight shake of his head, the demon visage of Spike was gone and his hands dropped from his temples. “I’m leaving. I have a bugger of a headache all of a sudden,” he said with a touch of sarcasm in his voice.
“I… I never…” she began, but she didn’t know what else to say. Shaking his head he turned to leave. “Wait! No.” She grabbed him by the arm, but he twisted free and darted out the door.
She thought she had been alone all along. She had been wrong.
Spike stalked down the street.
“Is that anyway to greet an old friend?” he had asked her when she had first seen him.
“Old you might be. Friend you will never be!” had been her reply
He hadn’t thought anything of her retort at the time. It was typical slayer. Maybe he should have. He lit a cigarette and began to walk even faster. He had left her place hours before and he still didn’t know where he was going.
“Bugger,” he mumbled, taking a long drag on his smoke. He didn’t even know why he had brought Sunnydale up. Before that they had been getting on splendidly.
Slayer thought she was alone. She had friends and family to go back to if she wanted. He didn’t have anyone. Anyone but her. And now he suspected he had lost her, too.
Thinking before he spoke wasn’t high on the top of Spike’s list. He wasn’t logical that way. He spoke from the heart and that always seemed to get him into trouble. Got him into trouble with Cecily, his mum – or the demon that she became, Drusilla, and now Buffy.
Would he ever learn? No. He suspected he wouldn’t.
“You okay, toots?” Vinnie asked as he passed by Buffy.
“What?” She had been staring blankly again and she had been caught. “Yeah. I’m good. It’s all good.”
He eyed her suspiciously. “If you say so.”
He didn’t believe her, and she didn’t care. She hadn’t seen Spike in over two weeks and that was a long time to think about what he had said.
Had she been that selfish? The thought of Spike’s family had never crossed her mind. Angel had staked Darla. As for Angel… She still couldn’t think of him without her heart clenching in her chest. It should’ve been easier, but it wasn’t.
“Excuse me, miss?”
The man in front of Buffy startled her. She hadn’t even known he was standing there. “I’m sorry. Can I help you?”
“Yes, my wife and I have a reservation. We would like to be shown our table.”
Once she apologized, she seated them and returned to her station. Vinnie was waiting for her. “I’m not sure what’s going on with you, babe, but maybe you should call it a night.”
“I’m fine.” She stood up straighter. “Honest.”
He shook his head. “I know fine and you’re not it.” He took her hand in his. “Haven’t seen Spike around. I'm guessing you being a space-cadet tonight has something to do with that.”
“Buffy, you’ve worked here for years and have never taken any time off that wasn’t scheduled. The wife can handle the hostessing. Not like it’s a busy night.” He grabbed her coat and handed it to her. “Go home. Talk to Spike. Fix it.”
Not like he left her any other choice.
After all the time they had hung out together, Buffy had never asked where Spike was staying. No, she wasn’t self-absorbed at all. The city was big, and she had no clue where to start looking for him.
She walked into her bedroom and absently slid her dress down off her shoulders as she kicked off her shoes. She curled her toes into the carpeting in front of her closet, lifting her foot to kick her dress away. A cat-call whistle from behind her made her stop breathing, but the familiar tingle told her who it was. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to hug him or hit him.
“Ever hear of knocking?” she asked, feeling self-conscious, but not really sure what to do about it.
“And miss surprises like this?” She turned to face him. He was leaning on the door frame with a big ol’ smile plastered across his face. She tried to blow off the fact that his eyes were actually twinkling as they took her in, from head to toe, and she felt the heat of an entire body-blush that started at her feet.
She grabbed the first thing she could reach, a red, silk scarf Vinnie had given her one Christmas, and tried to cover up with it. Spike’s smile only grew broader. Keeping her eyes on his, she tied the scarf around her waist and then she reached behind her back into the closet and grabbed something else. The light blue fuzzy turtleneck sweater wasn’t exactly stylish, but it was something. She slid it over her head. “Excuse me,” she said, passing him and walking into the living room where he followed.
Had she forgotten to lock the front door? She didn’t think she had. She gave the lock the once over to make sure it wasn’t broken, and then she spun on her heels to face him.
“How’d you get in?” He held up her hide-a-key. “Oh.” Now that the breaking and entering issue was settled, she had absolutely no idea what to say to him. “How’d you know I was here?” Her schedule never changed and he’d know she should have been at work now.
They set her up!
“I’m sorry,” he began.
She willed her heart to stop beating so fast. It was drowning out the sound of his voice, but she did hear him apologize. She thought that’s what she was supposed to do. She took a step toward him.
“Don’t apologize. Please,” she said softly.
His eyes grew wide in surprise and that expression was quickly replaced by one of confusion.
“I never stopped to think, with Angel and Dru and even Darla… I’m sorry.” Vampires or not. They had meant something to him, and now he meant something to her.
“Ah, pet.” He was now standing directly in front of her. “It’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault.”
“I didn’t know Dru had left you,” she said. “That surprised me.”
“That’d be my Dru.” He smiled a sad smile. “Always with the surprises.”
“Surprises suck,” she said.
“So I’ve seen.”
“I would give anything to have Angel back.”
“The same with Dru.”
“But they’re not coming back.” He shook his head and she felt her eyes fill. She repeated the words to make them more real. “They’re… he… Angel’s not coming back. I sent Angel to hell because I had no other choice.”
Admitting it aloud made her heart break all over again. Angel was never coming back. She was never going to see him again. Running away from home didn’t change that fact. A small sob escaped her throat. Damn it! She had vowed not to cry again in front of Spike and here she was doing it. He took her in his arms and hugged her tight to his chest. She didn’t fight him.
“He loves you. You know that, right?” Vinnie asked casually as Buffy filled the salt shaker.
“What? Who? Huh?”
“Who?” Vinnie actually rolled his eyes. Buffy had never seen him do that before. “Spike,” he said.
“We’re friends, Vinnie. That’s it. Nothing else.”
He shook his head. “Honey,” he whispered, “if you don’t see the way he looks at you, you better open your eyes a little wider.” He tipped his head toward the door and Spike was standing there. When Spike saw her, he smiled.
“Vinnie?” She turned and Vinnie was gone. The kitchen door was swinging back and forth. Nice exit. “Hey,” she said, turning back toward the front door.
“Ready to go?” Spike asked, walking up to her.
He loved her? They were friends. Nothing more. Friends that had spent pretty much every single day together. He was the friend that brought her favorite movies and snacks over. The friend that walked her home from work every night. The same friend that handed her a tissue whenever she’d start crying over some tear-jerker movie he had picked out. The friend that made her chicken noodle soup when she had gotten the flu from one of the waitresses. The friend she’d argue with when they didn’t agree on what to eat for dinner.
“Um, yeah,” she said as she looked at him differently.
Okay, and once she had tried to make him homemade spaghetti, but it had turned out horrible, and they had ended up with carryout. Friends do stuff like that for each other. And so what if she had spent some of her meager earnings to buy him a new pair of blue jeans and a red button-down shirt to go with them? She wanted to see how different he looked not wearing black. And what did it matter that a simple purchase had led her to buying him another shirt. This one royal blue, because she had wanted to see how much it would bring out the color of his eyes. Or that the first time she had seen him in the black jeans and the skin-tight blue shirt had made her forget how to breathe. So what if her mouth went dry as soon as she saw him standing there?
“What’s wrong, love? You seem a bit… distracted?”
“Nothing.” She shook her head and then buttoned up her coat. “It’s nothing.”
When she woke the next morning, she had a horrible kink in her neck. No wonder! One half of her body was lying on the couch and the other half was lying on Spike. They had fallen asleep while watching another movie he had picked out.
She moved her head a little to the right so she could get a better look at him. It was Spike. Her friend. But could he be more? She felt butterflies the size of elephants flapping around inside her stomach. Lifting her hand, she ran her finger down his cheek. He was cool to the touch, but not as much as she expected him to be. Her body’s heat must’ve kept him warm throughout the night. His eyes opened and it surprised her. She didn’t have the same advantages as he did. His breathing pattern didn’t change when he woke up like normal people. And if he was anything, he wasn’t normal people.
His lips were mere inches away from hers, and without thinking she tipped her head closer and studied his lips, his eyes, and then his lips again. Especially how soft they looked, and then she wondered what it would be like to nibble the lower one a little bit. The thought of it made her lick her own. She couldn’t seem to help herself. He didn’t move. It was as though he was waiting for her to make up her mind about something. She leaned in and touched her lips to his. It wasn’t exactly a kiss, but a feather-like touch. Her tongue darted out and tasted him.
He shifted below her a little and now she was suddenly closer to him and that’s when she realized how much he was enjoying what she was doing. She leaned in and kissed him for real this time, surprised that it wasn’t fear that she was feeling. When she pulled away from him, she was smiling.
“Happy with yourself?” he asked.
“Maybe a little bit.”
“Care to tell me what that was all about?”
“Do we have to talk right now?”
He shook his head. “We can do whatever you want to right now, love.”
She wriggled a little bit and he moaned. “I was thinking a little bit of that,” she wriggled again, “and this.”
“You are a dangerous woman.”
“You’re just figuring that out?” The speed in which he moved made her laugh. He was now straddling her and peppering kisses down her neck. “My mom always said when one door closes, another one opens. Do you believe in that?” she asked.
His eyes met hers and then he nodded. “Yes, I do. I believe that's exactly what this is.”
“That's what I was thinking.” But could she really move forward without facing her past?
“You’re thinking about Sunnydale, then?”
Was she that easy to read? "Am I that easy to read?"
Squeezing her hand he said, "Been around a long time, pet. Makes reading people a little easier at times."
“I’ll need to go back one day.”
“It would probably be for the best.”
“Would you go with me?”
“Buffy, I love you and would follow you anywhere. Even to Sunnydale.”
Still reeling from the fact that he had used her name for the first time, the rest of his words registered and she muttered, "Huh?"
“I love you.”
She smiled brightly then. Funny thing was, she knew that she loved him, too.