Beautiful banner by sintonia!
* * *
Spike meanders through the underground parking lot at Wolfram and Hart, bounces on the balls of his feet as he rides the elevator up to Angel’s floor, and swings his briefcase through the still busy halls. The briefcase hides the box – the box which hasn’t delivered another message from Buffy. His swagger hides his disappointment and sinking heart. There’s no way in hell that he’ll be telling his grandsire about his attempt to help Fred or his new contact with Buffy. Not that he knows for sure that he’s conversating with Buffy – passing supernatural notes is hardly confirmation of her identity.
Pausing at Harmony’s desk, Spike leers at his ex, who is putting someone on hold. She turns her pout to him and sighs. “Ever since. . . well, lately, Angel has me and everyone else working weekends. How unfair is that?”
“Pretty unfair if you ask me, but that’s Angel for you,” Spike snarks. He can’t help himself with her though he’d never tell her that he cares about her. He doesn’t want to lead the bint on any more than he already has.
“Darn right!” She sighs. “He’s a decent enough boss, I guess.”
“Let me guess. He’s been your only boss.”
“That’s not true! I’ve had jobs before. . . one summer in high school. I babysat for my next-door neighbor when she went on dates. She had the worst taste in men, but her kids were sweet.”
“So, your first boss.”
“Yeah.” Harmony nods toward Angel’s closed door. “He’s in there waiting.” She widens her eyes just a little and waves her hands. “With a surprise guest.”
Spike quirks an eyebrow. “A surprise guest, eh?”
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, would it?” Harmony dusts a speck of invisible dirt off one of her unicorns and answers the ringing phone with an enthusiastic, “Wolfram and Hart. You’ve reached the office of Angel, the vampire with a soul. How may I help you?”
Spike rolls his eyes as he heads toward his destination, muttering, “’The vampire with a soul.’ As if he’s all special and stuff.” The handle to Angel’s office is smooth under his touch, but Spike’s entrance is anything but smooth when he hears the heartbeat and sees a familiar face stands beside Angel in front of his desk.
Spike’s mouth drops open as Willow barrels across the room just as the door closes behind him. She hugs him fiercely as he lets out an indelicate “oof.” His arms go around her, and he relaxes against the witch, allowing the hug, taking in the affection. Something happens during their embrace that lifts a weight of loneliness off his shoulders that he hadn't realized was present.
“I’m so glad you’re alive,” Willow says as she steps back from him, smiling up with that quirky youthfulness that she hasn’t lost despite everything she’s lost. Then, she raises her hand and slaps him with enough force that the contact stings a bit and cracks against his skin. As Spike’s hand goes to his cheek, Willow grins in a sheepish way. “That’s from Buffy. Well, not really. More from me and not Buffy. Maybe a little from Buffy. It should be from Buffy.” She takes a breath. “And I’m really sorry about that.”
Spike staggers back but only in his mind. He can’t look at Angel. “Oh.” He pauses half a moment too long and manages, “What are you doing here?”
“It’s a long story, but I’ve been gone, so I apparently missed a call from Giles and was helping Buffy with a new Slayer when I heard about Fred.” Willow is leaving out a lot of information, and Spike realizes that she’s still with him the way they’d all been together at the end of Sunnydale, the way they’d built connections over the years when Angel left and Spike was chipped. Hope rises up inside his chest.
Angel speaks from where he’s leaning back on his desk with his arms crossed. His tone reveals his anxiety. “She says she can help, and now we have to get to work.”
Spike nods. Buffy will have to wait. “Right. What do we need to do?”
“I need access to your library,” Willow says. “I heard this place has an amazing one. An amazing evil one.” Unlike in Sunnydale, she has no fear of magic in her bright green eyes.
* * *
Buffy jams the stake into the chest of the final vampire – the one who bragged about killing Abby’s parents. As the dust swirls and settles to the ground, Buffy pockets her stake without a quip to be heard.
Leaning forward with her hands on her thighs, she takes a moment to catch her breath. A gang of ten vamps is no easy kill, but part of her is grateful for the distraction. She blows loose, damp curls out of her face and peers up at the cloudy sky. The moon still peeks down at her, shining white gold in a sea of darkness.
She hasn’t heard from Spike again, not since Willow left for L.A. Her heart lodges itself in her throat, and she tries and fails to swallow it back into place. Damn it.
She turns in a circle, trying to make sense out of the landmarks all around her. They’re all unfamiliar. Everywhere in the world is unfamiliar except for the people she loves. Her eyes find the road, and she pivots and trudges in that direction – the direction that leads back to Dawn, who is still researching ways to help Abby, the littlest Slayer. Buffy doesn’t blame Abby at all for hiding away. She’s a smart girl – a survivor. She just got tangled up in something bigger than she probably imagined.
As her boots hit the pavement, Buffy realizes that she’s hiding, and she needs to reply to Spike. She wants to reply, but the emotion now that Willow and Dawn know has been too big to work around. Before, when they didn’t know, writing back was easy because part of her thought it wasn’t real.
A laugh slips past her lips, and she marvels that no matter which way she turns, there she is again – the same girl whose heart has been through too many ringers. She is afraid, of what she isn’t sure. One half of her is afraid of rejection. No, that isn’t quite right. She’s afraid of losing again. The other half of her tells her she’s crazy and needs to hold onto the remnants of the stable world she has left.
So, she decides. She will write him back when she arrives at the shelter of the rental house. Breaking into a light jog, she composes messages to him in her head. . . multiple messages of different lengths and intonations.
When she reaches the door and turns the key, she discovers her sister asleep on the sofa yet again, an open book on her chest. Buffy locks them inside and goes to her sister, studying her sleeping face. Then, Buffy pulls the volume away and begins her search for the right book – the one Spike’s note was tucked into.
The book seems to be playing hide and seek with her, and after several minutes of searching and finally finding, she plunks down on the carpet. She fishes Spike’s latest message out of her jeans pocket, grabs for the pen on the coffee table, and writes with her heart still in her throat.
When Buffy finishes and sends her message, Dawn’s voice sounds low and crackly with sleep from the couch. “Did you accomplish all you wanted?”
Buffy isn’t sure what her sister is referring to, so she answers both possibilities. “The vamps who hurt Abby’s family are finally all dust, and I wrote back to Spike.” Her heart thumps in her chest as she says his name.
“Good,” Dawn says, snuggling down into the depths of the cushions for more sleep.
* * *
Spike forgets about the box until Willow mentions Buffy. Now, weak from the battering he took, he stands in front of the safe in Angel’s office, trying to remember the password for the lock. He watched Angel take items in and out a time or two and saw him work the controls when Spike needed to borrow the space.
Closing his eyes, Spike wills away the pain in his leg, his arm, his head. . . who is he kidding? Everything hurts. Taking a deep unneeded breath, he forces himself to focus. Imagining the flit of Angel’s fingers over the buttons, Spike remembers. He sets his jaw and opens his eyes, his own fingers typing out the code.
When he finishes, there’s a beep, and the door hisses and slides open. Spike snatches out the briefcase and stares into the emptiness that is the rest of the safe. As the door automatically begins to shut itself, he flips open the case, pulling out the box. His fingers don’t even fumble on the lid, but his hand shakes when he finds the slip of paper inside. The briefcase thuds to the floor as he unfurls the note to find a new message from Buffy.
I composed so many messages in my head to you before I wrote this one. I was angry but mostly hurt that you didn’t tell me that you were back, but then, I wondered why you didn’t. It was probably something I did. It’s usually something I did with guys. How am I? Honestly? I’m not doing very well. I’m dealing with new consequences to the spell we cast, and while I didn’t want to be on the hellmouth, it was home. It mostly wasn’t the place though. It was Dawn and Mom and Willow and Xander and Giles and Tara and Anya. And you, too. I miss you. My world hasn’t been right without you here. I wasn’t ready then, and I’m not ready now to be without you. Xander said I wasn’t clear enough about how I feel in the past, but I’m going to be clear now. Please come home to me.
“So, are you ready?” Willow asks from behind him.
Spike turns toward the witch – the witch who found the spell to pluck the pieces of Fred’s soul from nothingness, extract Illyria from her body, and destroy the giant Old One once again. This time, the god king is ashes, and Wesley and Fred are reunited in a hospital room. “For what?”
Willow’s scarlet hair is ruffled, and she has a cut on her cheek that’s scabbing over. Otherwise, she’s intact. “You’re getting on the private jet meant for me.”
“You are if you don’t want to fly coach.” Willow offers a thick, very ancient-looking tome to Spike. “Put this in your briefcase. It’ll help Abby.”
Spike accepts the book. “Abby?”
“The Slayer. The one Dawn and Buffy are trying to find. She’s a little girl – ten years old. She cast some kind of spell to get away from the vampires, and she tripped into something bigger than her. Poor girl.”
“Oh.” This is what Buffy meant by consequences. “Where are you headed?”
“With Angel and Gunn to the Deeper Well to make sure Illyria is tucked safely away where she was.” Willow’s eyes are suddenly tight with exhaustion.
“Tired, Red?” The question’s rhetorical. Spike retrieves the briefcase and stows the book and box inside.
“I am, but I can’t sleep until Illyria’s secure.”
Spike touches her shoulder. “Sleep on the plane. You expended an awful lot of energy. If something big comes up at the Well, you’ll need to be prepared.”
Willow covers his hand with hers. “You’re right.”
This time, Spike hugs her first. “Glad you came. Thank you. For Fred.”
“Of course. Fred is worth fighting for.” Willow holds him tighter. “Buffy’s worth fighting for, too.”
“Preaching to the choir.”
And just like that, Spike’s decision is made. He steals a pen off Angel’s desk – the fancy one that he doesn’t let anyone else use. Spike dashes off a quick note and stuffs it in the box. Thinking for a moment, he removes the note and sets it on Angel’s desk but slips the pen in his duster pocket.
* * *
Every muscle in Buffy’s body is tense even after Dawn convinced her to go into the city for pedicures and a massage. Buffy’s momentary state of relaxation following one of the best massages she’d ever had lasted until they were in the car on the way back to the house. It’s not the driving that’s increasing her tension; it’s the fact that they still haven’t found a way to help Abby. That and Buffy still hasn’t heard from Spike.
The rental where they’re staying just reminds her that she can’t solve the problem with the Slayers, she still can’t manage her love life with any sort of finesse, and she hasn’t heard from Willow.
“How can you possibly be stressed again already?” Dawn asks from where she is lounging on the passenger side, her long legs curled up in the seat.
Willing her shoulders to drop and her muscles to release, Buffy glances at her sister. “How do you know I’m stressed? It’s all dark and stuff.”
“Easy.” Dawn nods at the steering wheel where Buffy’s knuckles are white from gripping.
Buffy forces her hands to loosen. The rental car is somehow unharmed. “Oh.”
Neither of them says anything for a long time, and Buffy focuses on the sound and feel of the tires over concrete, the brightness of the stars and dwindling moon, and the light of the headlights catching on the brush along the sides of the road. No vehicles are behind them and none are coming their way. It’s as if she and Dawn are in the middle of nowhere – the only ones in the world.
Dawn lays her head against the passenger side window and asks, “Do you think we’ll settle down somewhere soon? I miss belonging to a place.” She’s talking about the predictability of places like the crowd at the grocery store on Saturdays and the local coffee shop filled with college students and mochas. . . about the routine of getting up early for school and curfews on weeknights even if curfew is broken. . . about waking up in the same place every day and making funny-shaped pancakes and coffee for breakfast.
Buffy has no idea how much more they’ll all be on the move, how many Slayers are out there to discover, but she needs the familiar, too. “Soon.”
When Buffy and Dawn arrive at the house, an unrecognizable car waits for them in front. Buffy turns off the headlights and slows down to a roll. They’re far enough away that whoever is there may miss their approach.
“That’s not Bekah’s car,” Dawn whispers. The witch drives a beat-up red Kia; this car is black as night, sleeker, and newer.
“And I haven’t heard from Willow. Have you? She always lets us know she’s on the way.” Buffy tries to recall what Willow drove the first time but can’t. It would be different this time anyway.
“Maybe it’s Willow,” Dawn whispers. “No one else is nearby.” She’s right. Giles and Andrew are in England, and Xander is still in Africa. The rest of the Slayers from Sunnydale are stationed at different points around the world and are helping out with transitioning the girls who are found.
Buffy stops the car several yards away. The brakes squeal a little, and she winces as she puts the car in park. She and Dawn move in synchrony. They’ve been together for so long – just the two of them – that they have a rhythm when danger is afoot. In these types of situations, Dawn has learned to move as silent as a mouse without a squeak and slows to be just behind Buffy but not too far back. Dawn can even hold her own in a fight and cast a few spells. Once after she saved Buffy from a giant demon, Dawn playfully said she and Buffy were now dynamic duo sisters. At the time, Buffy rolled her eyes, but now? Now, Buffy is grateful that she has family left in her life to come up with annoying nicknames.
As they approach the car, the moonlight shines in the windows, revealing the inside of the car to be empty. As Dawn is gazing into the car, Buffy feels a prickle at the back of her neck – a sensation that tells her that a vampire’s near. She turns her head in the direction of the source of said prickle, and her nose detects the hint of cigarette smoke.
“Hey, Buffy, there’s a cooler in here. And a big, very old-looking book,” Dawn whispers, but Buffy ignores her sister and takes a step and then a few more toward a silhouette that she can make out in the shadows near the house.
The silhouette moves, and Buffy sees the flick and arc of a cigarette – the pinprick flame winking out as it reaches the ground. The moonlight catches and illuminates platinum blonde, and she inhales with such abruptness that she feels lightheaded.
“Spike?” His name tumbles past her lips and sounds faraway like in her dreams when she tries to reach him and he moves away, evading her like an ephemeral spirit or dust slipping through her fingertips as she tries to piece him together again. She’s scared to move in this reality lest he turns out to be a figment of her imagination.
* * *
Wednesday night, continued
Spike hesitates. He can’t fathom that she’s standing before him: a living, breathing woman. His Slayer. The one he’s terrified will reject him now that he’s no longer dust, now that he’s back from the grave. The moonlight touches her face though, and he studies her expression from the safety of the shadows.
Is that hope in her eyes? Are those tears? Does he dare believe that she’s not going to give him the same speech she gave Angel about cookies and dough before she sends him away?
Spike clenches one fist, digging the nails into his palm to reassure himself that he’s not dreaming, that he’s awake and she’s here. He read what she wrote; he still has the slip of paper in his pocket, but he doesn’t know if he believes.
She runs toward him, reaching him in a moment as she did in the cave when his insides were burning and his soul was asserting itself. This time, she doesn’t just hold up a hand to him. This time, she throws herself at him, tucking her arms around his midsection under his duster and holding him tight.
He hesitates and then melts against her, all his muscles relaxing as he feels her body relax against him. He buries his face in her hair and inhales her familiar scent.
“Oh, pet,” he says, stroking her back as she trembles. He trembles with her. “I missed you, too.”
“You didn’t write back.” Her voice is muffled.
“I came instead. That okay?”
Before Buffy can answer, Dawn is there, too, hugging them both without a word. Spike smells tears, but he doesn’t know if they’re Buffy’s or Dawn’s or his. He’s too focused on how standing in the middle of nowhere under the moon and stars with them feels like home.
* * *
Wednesday night, continued
Spike is sitting on the sofa when Buffy finishes her shower. She wasn’t sure her invitation inside would work given that they were temporarily renting, but it had. Do buildings know that anywhere Dawn inhabits is home to Buffy? She has no idea. In any case, he’s here now, Dawn took the car and the book Spike brought and headed back to town to gather with Bekah and her witch friends and to research what they needed to do to help Abby, leaving Buffy alone with Spike.
Buffy’s hair is damp and hanging uncombed around her shoulders. When his eyes immediately scan over her and land on her face, she feels self-conscious and naked even in her pajamas, so she hugs her arms. She let him shower first after his flight, and he’s been waiting for her. She missed him waiting for her. Even when they were enemies, he always seemed to be waiting for her.
“Tired, pet?” His blue eyes are bright with something Buffy identifies as hope. Hope for what she’s not sure.
Buffy summons her courage to take a risk. “I am, but I really don’t want to go to sleep right now.” She glances over her shoulder at the bedroom because she can’t quite meet his gaze. “I know it’s almost been a year, but I missed you, and I. . .” Her eyes flit to his and away again. God, she’s used to being so direct with Spike, but that last year in Sunnydale changed everything. He found his way into her heart, and she became that annoying, awkward person she always became when she had feelings. She can’t repeat that again. She just can’t. Feeling bold, she locks her eyes on his. “Come with me. Hold me. I mean. . . if you’re okay with that.” She cringes inside at her bad landing.
Buffy swears she glimpses something akin to hunger in his eyes, but it passes before she can be sure. He stands and offers his right hand to her. She hesitates but extends her left hand. When he sees the scar on her palm, he turns her hand over and runs a thumb over the thicker flesh. She shivers at his touch as if she forgot how much he could make her come to life just by being tender.
“Have one, too, eh, love?” He shows her his scar – one that would fit over hers if they clasped hands.
She nods. “It’ll fade with time.” But she doesn’t want it to, especially if he isn’t going to be here with her for good.
He slips his fingers through hers and squeezes, not questioning what she means or diving in with expectations. “Show me where you lay your head.”
She smiles at him then and leads him to the bedroom and the bed she shares with Dawn, turning off the overhead light as she goes. The sheets are cool against her bare calf as she slides into place on the bed, and then, she pats the space beside her. “Come on.”
Spike eases onto the bed, his head landing next to hers on the pillow. He turns to face her with a small smile on his face, and as she runs her hand over his abdomen, she wants his lips on hers, so she kisses him, infusing the touch with the tenderness she has for him. This. . . this is what she wishes she would have done that last night in Sunnydale but was too scared to do. She sinks into the sensation, relishing the glide of his lips over hers. As he follows her lead and deepens the kiss with her, she rises up, straddling his waist with her thighs. He pushes up without jostling her too much as the heat between them builds and the pace of their kiss quickens. Her whole body is singing out that she wants him and loves him and –
He pulls back, and she lets out a soft moan of protest that he’s stopping. But then, she recognizes that she needs oxygen, and as he traces a slow finger from her neck to the base of her throat, she notices how much he wants her, too.
Oh, god. Is she ready to go here again with him? This is different, right?
“Buffy, pet. Do you want this?” His voice quavers a little at the end of his last question, revealing his complete vulnerability with her.
Buffy knows he wants to know what this means to her, for them. So, she flips the question back to him. “What do you want?”
“I always want you, but. . .” Buffy’s heart almost stops until Spike strokes her cheek. “But if we do this, I won’t want to go back to L.A.”
“Did you even read my note?” she asks, leaning into his touch.
He gives her a look – the kind that makes her want him more. “’Til I had the bloody thing memorized.”
“There’s no physical structure to my home anymore. Sunnydale’s toast. And with all the globetrotting, my people are my home. You’re part of my home. A big part. Don’t go. Stay with me and make love to me.” Tears fill her eyes. “If you still do. Love me, that is.”
“I love you, pet. Never stopped.” With gentleness, he thumbs away her tears. “Do you. . . I mean, do you think that maybe someday, you could. . . never mind.” He sighs and smiles at her though there’s sadness in his eyes.
She holds his face in both her hands as if that can erase his uncertainty. “I said it before, didn’t I? I’m glad to say it again when you’re not about to sacrifice yourself to save the world. I mean you – ” She kisses him briefly to shut herself up. “I love you, Spike.”
This time, his expression isn’t one of disbelief, and he doesn’t hide behind denial. Buffy can tell by the buoyancy in his eyes and shoulders, that he accepts her words as truth. He loves her, and she loves him. Then, without warning, he grins and sweeps off his black t-shirt. Buffy smiles and does the same with her pajama top. In seconds, they’re caught up helping each other discard clothing while exchanging kisses in between. When they’re naked and Spike’s skin touches hers, her body is awash with overwhelming desire. They fall into a familiar routine of caressing and kissing and sucking and biting as if they’ve never stopped. This time is different. There’s mutual emotion. . . mutual love between them. When he finally plunges into her, she’s more than ready for him, keeping her eyes locked on his as his thrusts speed up faster and faster until she comes and then he follows soon after.
They collapse next to each other on the bed, and her heart thundering in her chest, Buffy cuddles up to Spike, wrapping one arm around his chest. His fingers sweep over her back in soothing motions, and he sighs in contentment. For the first time since Sunnydale, her world feels right-side-up and clear again.
“Did you rescue Fred?” Buffy asks.
“Willow did. There was quite a fight when she ousted the god king from the girl’s body, but we managed to subdue her, stuff her back into her sarcophagus, and trap her for now. Willow and Angel are headed to the Deeper Well to plug her back in for another eternity.”
Spike sounds different when he talks about Angel – less prickly and angry. Buffy doesn’t want to ask about this though, not because she doesn’t want to know but because she needs to understand other stuff first.
“I’m glad. I’m glad she’s okay. Willow said she’s really nice and really smart.” Buffy isn’t sure why that little insecure note came in.
“And completely in love with Wesley,” Spike reassures her. “’Sides, she’s not my type. She’s resilient as hell and a fighter, but she’s not you.”
She lifts her head from his chest to look up at him. “Maybe. Was briefly. Not now.” She snuggles back down and hooks a leg over his. “The first note from you appeared under my pillow.”
“Oh yeah?” Spike shifts as if he is feeling under the pillow.
“I still don’t understand how it works. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it did, but how did it appear? And why?”
“There’s this box. Picked it up in Sunnydale and put it in storage after you died. Got it from Doc’s house. He threw it in the fire to distract Xander and me from sussing out information about Glory, and I rescued it. It’s an enchanted box that allows the possessor to communicate with the people they’ve loved and lost. I thought maybe it might help us find Fred. Everyone was devastated by her loss. Hell, I’d only known the bint for a few months, and I was devastated. I had to find out if she was safe or in pain, or I dunno.”
“You were trying to help them. Angel and the others.”
“Sounds like the Spike I know. Helping out even if others have hurt you in the past.” She doesn’t know all the details, but she knows his family relationships are complicated.
Spike chuckles. “You didn’t use to think so.”
“True, but I know better now.” She places her palm over his chest where his heart doesn’t beat. “And I love that about you.” She’s had a lot of time to think, too, about Sunnydale and Spike. He told her that he loved how she tried; she now sees how hard he tried, too.
Picking up her hand, Spike kisses her palm and then doesn’t let go, holding her hand back over his heart. “Means a lot. You saying so.”
“Why didn’t you come find me? Why were you scared?” Buffy isn’t sure she’s ready for these answers, but she has to ask the questions.
Spike is silent for a long moment before he sits up again, and Buffy turns to face him – her bare knee on his. “I’m going to sound barmy, but in Sunnydale, we almost had something at the end, but it wasn’t exactly well defined. And I – ”
“Then, I kissed Angel.” The words pour out of her mouth before she can stop them. She studies her hands, playing with the edge of the sheet but then gazes up again. “I know that hurt you. And then, you didn’t believe me when I. . .” Tears fill her eyes.
“You listen to me.” He lifts her chin with his thumb and then rubs gentle circles in her leg. “Let’s not rehash what was said before. As long as you aren’t holding onto it, I won’t either.”
Buffy catches her fresh tears with her fingertips and nods her head, sniffing. “Okay.”
“I see my role in not believing you, pet. If I’m scared, I’ll talk to you about it before it gets all hairy and out of control.”
“Even if we’re miles apart?”
“Even if,” he promises.
Buffy’s own insecurities rise up. “I haven’t been good at communicating with guys when the relationship. . . gets romantic.”
“Except with me.” The fierceness in his eyes tells her that he’s immovable on this.
She tilts her head, considering and notices that her hair is dry. “That’s true.”
“And I’m not looking for the sodding sweeping romance based on grand gestures. I’ve had that. Doesn’t last.”
Buffy laughs at how quickly he dismissed his century-long relationship with Dru. “It lasted over a hundred years.”
He shrugs with a nonchalant expression. “This is different. I’m different. You’re different. I want different things this time around.”
“That’s a whole lotta different,” Buffy teases.
But Spike remains serious. “The thing between you and me? It’s different than what Dru and I had. It’s better.”
If he wants upfront, Buffy will give it to him. She tells him what he’s walking into. “I’m difficult and distant. I get caught up in whatever Slayer thing I’m doing and lose track of what’s in front of me in my relationships. I push people away.”
“I’m snarky and sarcastic, and I have a temper, especially when I feel slighted or if someone’s being right annoying and not seeing what’s right in front of their face,” he counters, lifting an eyebrow at her.
Buffy sighs. “We know each other too well.”
He kisses the tip of her nose. “And I love you all the same.”
“I don’t know how, but I’m glad. I love you, too.” Buffy yawns then and shivers. She’s cooled off from the hot shower and even steamier love-making, and now she really wants to sleep next to him.
Spike sweeps her hair behind her shoulder. “Let’s get some kip, love. We’ll save Abby in the morning when Dawn and her witch friend come back with the proper spell.”
“I have a lot to tell you about the spell we cast in Sunnydale and the Slayers and oh, god, about how tired we all are and don’t know what we’re doing.”
“There’s some stuff with Angel and his people that I need help sorting, too. We’ll suss it out together.”
“Okay. After sleep.”
Buffy hunts around for her clothes, and Spike does, too, for when Dawn returns with Bekah, reinforcements, and supplies. Before they get back into bed, Buffy goes to the window and opens the curtains, and Spike turns off the lamp. Buffy studies him in the moonlight – how the light plays with his pale hair and skin, the sharp angle of his cheekbones, and she wonders if she’ll still have nightmares about losing him.
“Trying to fry me in the morning?” Spike asks, breaking her reverie.
“The sun comes up the other way. You’ll be up before we have direct sunlight. You’re not allowed to be dust anymore. I won’t let you.”
His eyebrow quirks up. “Oh yeah?”
She smiles. “Yeah.”
As they curl up together, she makes sure to face him, so she can see him and feel him. He’s not elusive anymore. He’s real and solid and here, and he holds her tight as if he knows how much she missed him, as if he missed her, too. She knows he did.
“I’m glad the magical box sent your messages to me,” Buffy whispers.
“Me, too, love. Me, too.” His voice is low and deep and full of hope.
As they drift asleep under the light of the moon and stars, Buffy muses that for the first time in a long time, her world feels whole and real and right again with Spike by her side. She makes a mental note that even though they still have a long way to go with the consequences of their choices, all the people she loves who are under that same moon will be together again soon. She nestles closer to Spike, relishing the comfort of his arms around her. He makes a soft noise of contentment, and she lets blissful dreams take her away.
November 21, 2019
Hope you enjoyed the story! (I used bold font because regular font wasn't showing up as distinguished enough in LJ for some reason.)