Giles looked shocked when he pulled open the door to his apartment and saw Buffy and Spike standing there.
“Buffy, Spike, what a surprise. What are you doing here this time of night?” “Can we come in, Giles? We need to talk to you about something.” “Yes, yes. Is everything alright?”
“Yeah. I mean, I think so at least.” Buffy was clearly nervous, and Spike grabbed her hand and squeezed it in support.
“Do you want me to leave you and the Watcher alone?” He asked softly.
“No, no. This involves you too,” she replied softly. “I guess it’s going to be easiest just to come right out and say it” “Buffy, I must insist you explain what’s going on!” Giles was losing patience.
“Sorry, Giles. So, this morning I found something out about Spike…” She took a deep breath…
“Giles, Spike is a vampire.”
She rushed into the next part quickly, not giving him a chance to object.
“He’s not feeding on humans and he’s offered to help me with my slaying- in fact that’s why we’re here. There’s apparently something going on with some military types kidnapping demons.” “Are we not on the same side, then?” Giles’ voice was snide.
“Not when they’re taking peaceful demons as well, those that don’t hurt people. And even the ones that do don’t deserve to be experimented on, which is probably what they’re doing with them.” “And what reason have you to believe this vampire?”
“He’s got the Gem of Argara or whatever-”
Giles cut her off. “Gem of Amara?”
“Yeah, that. He’s been invulnerable the whole time I’ve known him- in fact the first time I met him he was sitting in the sunlight. We’ve been seeing each other for a couple weeks now; he’s had plenty of opportunity to kill me and he hasn’t made a move. As soon as he found out I’m the slayer he came clean and offered to take the ring off so I could stake him- Giles, I trust him.” “Why did you have your pendant off, Buffy? You know how dangerous that is. It saved your life during your Cruciamentum.” Spike stiffened beside her, but it was Buffy who struck Giles verbally, her eyes cold. “And who was the one who put me through that, Giles?” “Buffy, I–” Giles cut himself off, taking a deep breath before he continued.
“I’m sorry. But you have no idea what game he’s playing. He could be out to get to those close to you, or mess with your mind before he turns on you. And how do you know that if you broke up, he wouldn’t decide to go back to murdering people?” “I quit the tap back in ‘83, Rupert, nothin’ to do with the girl. I’d be happy to tell you about it sometime if you’ll trust your slayer and give me a chance. I might be related to Angelus, but I never did have his penchant for mind games. Prefer a fair fight.” “Related to… Oh dear lord!” Giles rushed over to a book case and grabbed a volume, flipping through the pages quickly. ”Spike. William the Bloody?” “In the flesh.” Spike rocked back on his heels, hands tucked into the pockets of his duster.
“Buffy, get back from him! He’s-”
Buffy beat him to the punch, “He’s killed two slayers before. I know, he told me.” She sighed heavily before continuing. “Giles, please trust my judgment on this. I’m not stupid, I know it’s risky to trust him. But I’ve been doing it unwittingly this whole time and he hasn’t shown any signs of betrayal. In fact, he’s volunteered information that he didn’t have to for the sake of being honest with me.
“I like him a lot, Giles, and he likes me. I know you’ve seen how happy I’ve been recently. And it’ll just get better with someone to help me with my slaying! With super powered backup I’m way less likely to get hurt out there. Don’t you want that for me?” Spike chimed in, “And, I think if you’ll check those records, they’ll be few and far between after ‘83, like I said.” Giles polished his glasses, thinking for a moment. Finally, he heaved a sigh. “Alright, Buffy, I’ll give him a chance.” He turned his attention to the blonde man. His eyes narrowed and voice became harsh as he channeled his Ripper persona.
“If you lay a finger on my slayer I’ll make you wish you’d never been born, let alone sired, understood?” “Understood, Watcher. I think she’s an incredible woman and I’ll do my best not to hurt her.” Buffy reached out a hand to squeeze his upper arm. When he looked up, she mouthed a quick, ‘I trust you,’ eliciting a genuine smile.
“Why don’t you both sit down and I’ll put some tea on. You can tell me about these military men and we’ll go from there.” As Giles walked to the counter to begin his task, Spike began to speak with his voice raised slightly to reach the other man.
“They’ve been around for a little while now. Lots of rumors around the demon world- kiddies and older demons being snatched up off the street. They go after ‘em indiscriminately- I had to help out my mate Clem the other day because they’d gotten ahold of his cousin’s kids, an’ he’s a Loose-Skinned Demon.” Giles looked up, apalled. “But they’re completely harmless!” “Exactly. And don’ worry, I only knocked the jugheads unconscious. Anyways, word on the street is they’re doing experiments. Seen it before during World War II, the Nazis were obsessed with using demon power. Buffy an’ I had to fight a couple of the gits off in the cemetery this evening.” “Dear lord, are you alright?”
Buffy answered. “Yeah, we’re fine. Managed to throw two of ‘em into the other two, therefore winning the game of Soldier Bowling. Told them I’m the slayer and to back off.
“The real question is what do we do about this?”
Giles walked back to the table carrying his tea pot and three mugs. “I’ll have to make a call to the Watcher’s Council. They have some diplomatic contacts who might be of some assistance with this. You should make an effort not to be anywhere without witnesses until we get this sorted.” “What about patrol?”
“It would likely be best if you were to skip it for at least a few days, Buffy. They know what you look like now– it’s not worth the risking what might happen if they capture you.” Giles handed a mug of tea over to Spike.
“Ta, Rupes. I agree with your watcher, pet. You don’t want to know the sorts of things they were doing to demons in that Nazi program. If this is anything like that, I want you as far away as possible.” Buffy huffed, but gave in. “Fine. I don’t like it, but I’ll skip for a few days. But hurry up and phone the council, I want to be back to work as soon as possible.” “I’ll call as soon as it’s a reasonable hour in England.” Giles turned to Spike, “In the meantime, would you mind terribly telling me about your dietary changes and how you came by that ring on your finger? I thought it was a myth.” “Only on the condition that the council doesn’t hear a word of it. Don’t think I didn’t notice Buffy mention her Cruciamentum.” Giles looked down, ashamed. “Indeed, indeed. I won’t say a thing to them. I suppose it’s probably best not to advertise that my slayer is fraternizing with William the Bloody anyways.” “A’right then,” Spike launched into an abbreviated version of the tale he’d told Buffy earlier that evening.
Giles was fascinated. “You’re saying you haven’t bitten anyone since the 80s?” “Mid-80s, but yeh. It was a slow transition, but it worked for me. Took me a little while to let go of everything Angelus had beat into me, but eventually I did because it was best for me. Damn glad I did, too- would’ve hated to come up against Buffy here as enemies.” “I don’t know, you pretty much had me when we were sparring earlier.” Buffy’s laugh was lighthearted and it warmed Giles’ heart. She’d been beaten down so much the last few years; he’d watched as some of her light slowly drained from her. Suddenly it was back, and although he was worried for the girl, he couldn’t help but be grateful to see it again.
“You’ve gotta remember, pet, that if things hadn’t changed, I wouldn’t have had 17-odd years of experience fighting demons either. You’d have had a much easier time with me.” “You managed to take out two other slayers, though.”
Giles blanched, but Spike just looked at Buffy earnestly. “Neither as good as you, love, and both were ready to be taken down. I’ll tell you more about it sometime if you’d like, sweets.” When Buffy nodded, Giles found his voice.
“You want to hear about the deaths of your sister slayers from their murderer?!” He was horrified.
“No, Giles, I want to go straight to the source and find out why they lost. Maybe it’ll help keep me alive someday.” Buffy’s voice was harsh, but when she continued it had softened. “I know I’d like to be taken out in a fair fight, like Spike and those two slayers, rather than in a cheap trick like the thrall Drusilla used on Kendra.” Giles sighed. “I don’t claim to understand, but then I think only a slayer really could.” “You’re probably right.” She sighed.
“We should probably get going, we want to catch Mom before she goes to bed.” Giles stood and walked behind the couple to the door, observing how they kept close to each other, as if unconsciously seeking out the other’s presence. When he spoke, his voice was serious.
“Be safe, Buffy.”
“I will, Giles,” she said, moving over to give him a quick hug. “Goodnight!” Spike chimed in. “Night, Watcher.”
“Goodnight,” he replied.
When Giles closed the door behind the couple, his mind swam as he went over the night’s events. He needed a damn drink before he called the council.
“So, you ready to come meet my mom for real?”
Buffy’s voice was bright beside him as they walked through the clear night.
“You think she’ll be up this late, pet?”
“Mom’s gotten on a more nocturnal schedule since she found out I was the slayer. She liked to wait up for me after patrol and sort of got into the habit.” He looked down at her curiously.
“How’d your mum find out, then?”
Buffy laughed, but he felt her breathing stutter for a moment. She took a deep breath to brace herself before she replied, decision made to tell him the whole story.
“Well, after I burned down the gym at my old high school, I tried to tell her and dad. I tried to explain it all, but they thought I was just losing it. They had me institutionalized for a few days. I had to pretend I’d made everything up to get released.” Buffy could feel Spike’s chest rumbling next to her, and when she looked up his eyes were flashing gold.
“Don’t- don’t hold it against her. It was my dad’s idea mostly, and she was worried about me. I’m doing better with it now. We talked about it a little after Angelus started stalking me- it was a minion he sent that I had to dust in front of her that made her listen to the truth. Even Sunnydale’s Egyptian water supply couldn’t make her forget what she saw. She’s been really good since then, super supportive. Giles came over and helped me explain to her. I think after a couple years she’s finally starting to really get it.” “’M glad, pet. Do you think she’s going to be very happy about her little girl dating a vampire, though?” “She already likes you. Just keep being your charming self and it’ll all be fine.” He pulled her to a stop on the sidewalk, looking seriously into her eyes. “I’m not good enough for you, Buffy. You’re a champion of light and I’ve done things I’d prefer you didn’t try to imagine. An’ I don’t really regret them is the worst part. It was a part of who I was, and I’ve long accepted I can’t change the past. You deserve not to be dragged down.” “Don’t you dare, William Pratt.” She poked him hard in the chest. “You are… incredible. You made the decision to be a better person on your own, regardless of motives. You might not regret the past, but you aren’t repeating it either.” “Wouldn’ want to,” he mumbled under his breath.
“Exactly! You’ve changed. I think that makes you more worthy of me than if you’d never had to struggle at all- not that I’m some great prize.
“I sleep with my childhood stuffed pig. I don’t clean toothpaste out of the sink right away. I’m impulsive. I cheat at Candyland. I jump to conclusions and I get bitchy and high and mighty. I’m not some paragon of virtue, I’m just me. I’m Buffy. I thought you saw that?” Spike lifted his eyes to meet hers again when he heard the sadness in her question.
“I do, Buffy, I do. But you don’t seem to understand that everything you just mentioned pales in comparison to just how beautiful you are. Not just your face, but your whole heart and soul. You’ve lasted almost four years of being the slayer- being apart from everyone else and feeling responsible for every bad thing that goes wrong. The day we met, love, what drew me to you was the maturity in your eyes.
“You’re strong, you’re a leader- but you haven’t lost your ability to love. You could’ve closed yourself off, tried to spare yourself from being hurt. But you stand by your friends and your family. You came up to me with your heart in your hands hoping I wouldn’t break it. You might be the slayer, but you haven’t lost your humanity. Your spirit is purely vibrant, Buffy Summers, and I’ve never met anyone like you.” Buffy lost control of the tears that had been slowly tracking down her cheeks, and pulled him to her with a sob.
When she could finally breathe with some semblance of normality she apologized, “I’m so sorry, getting all weepy again. No one’s ever gotten it before, you know? You’ve only known me for a couple weeks, how do you see me?” “I dunno how no one else sees it, sweetheart. I think they do, in some ways. They might not understand you, but they’re drawn to you.” “I said it before and I’ll say it again- you’re incredible. You completely changed your lifestyle with no help. You went against everything you were taught and listened to your heart, and it’s beautiful. You were kind to me when I was just some weirdo who came up to hit on you and wound up talking about my dad drama. You realized I was a slayer and you decided to help me instead of kill me. It takes incredible strength to be true to yourself when everything is telling you not to.” “I wouldn’t consider what I’ve done with my life honorable. I just made a choice that made sense for me, mostly out of personal gain. But seeing how you see me…. I want to be the man you think I am, Buffy. I’ve been embracing my human side slowly for almost two decades now, and you make me want to throw it out there for everyone. You make me less afraid, Buffy.
“I’m not ashamed of the person I am with you, which is un-bloody-believeable because I’ve been ashamed for so long. ‘M not sure you quite understand the gift you’ve given me. You find strength in caring, in feeling. You take the things I hid away because I thought they made me vulnerable, and turn them into a force to be reckoned with.” “Maybe we’re just meant to be.” Buffy’s voice was teasing, but there was nothing funny about the kiss Spike gave her. She held him as close as she possibly could as they both tried to communicate the way they felt. For the first time neither one was in this alone. They were partners, and neither of them were sure they could be any happier.
When the kiss started to escalate and Spike’s hand slipped under her shirt, she pulled away.
“I think we should probably get going before we get too far into this. I do want to tell mom about everything tonight.” Spike sighed, but acquiesced without argument. He took her hand and they made their way back to the house on Revello.
“Mom? Are you home?” Buffy called out as they came through the front door.
“I’m upstairs, Buffy. I’ll be right down!” Joyce’s voice echoed from the stairwell.
Buffy tugged Spike over to the couch and sat down next to him, cuddling up a little, but not enough for her mom to object. It only took another second or two for them to hear her footsteps on the stairs.
“Oh, Spike, how good to see you again!” Joyce smiled warmly at him.
“It’s good to see you too,” he smiled back.
“Mom, why don’t you sit down. We want to talk to you about something.” Joyce sat slowly, eyeing her daughter wearily. “You’re not pregnant, are you?” Both of their eyes widened and Buffy burst out into laughter.
“Oh no, mom. World of no! Actually, this’ll pretty much be a blow to all your grandchildren hopes and dreams.” She was thoroughly confused. “Buffy, explain, please?”
Buffy sighed. “Spike’s a vampire, mom. He doesn’t hurt humans anymore, and he knows I’m the slayer. I trust him.” Joyce processed for a minute, trying to figure out what to say.
She finally settled on, “And you’ll look after my baby?”
Her gaze had Spike pinned.
“I will. Nothing will happen to her if I have any say about it. I know how to fight; I’ll watch her back the best I can.” “I suppose that’s all I can ask for.” Joyce sighed, then smiled at him. “Will you two take me up on that cup of cocoa tonight? Do vampires even drink hot chocolate?” Spike laughed, “Do you have those tiny marshmallows to put in it? Those are my favorite.” She smiled widely and jumped up, headed for the kitchen. “That I do! I’ll get it started.” Buffy smiled over at her boyfriend. “That went… really well, actually.” “That it did, pet. I’m going to have to hightail it out of here after our drinks though, so I can make it back to my place before sunrise.” Joyce peeked her head out of the kitchen. “You can stay here tonight if you like, but your bedroom door stays open. I don’t care if you’re technically an adult, I’m going to keep pretending you’re a nun for as long as I can,” she chuckled.
“Not a problem, Mrs. Summers. Wouldn’t want to be disrespectful anyways.” “Riiight.” she rolled her eyes. “I already like you, you can quit sucking up. And call me Joyce.” “I was raised in the mid-1800s; ‘ve had etiquette drilled into me since I was a tot. Trust me, only about a quarter of me sucking up is intentional.” “I’m sure it is.” She laughed and went back to the pot of hot chocolate.
Buffy stood and held her hand out to Spike, leading him into the kitchen as well. Spike broke the silence as Joyce began to pour the drinks.
“So, Joyce, being the slayer’s mother, you’ve got to have some good stories.” Joyce blushed. “The only thing that stands out in my mind is the band candy incident, and that was…” Buffy cringed. “Ew, mom!”
“What happened?” Spike asked, confused.
Before Joyce could respond, Buffy chimed in. “She slept with Giles! The candy made all the adults act like teenagers and she SLEPT with GILES.” Spike just shrugged. “Could’ve been worse, you know.”
Buffy raised her eyebrows at him. “Worse than finding out about it because some demon gave me mind reading powers that nearly killed me? Finding out about it I could’ve handled. My mother’s unfiltered thoughts on the matter? Totally wig worthy.” Joyce, who’d spent the whole time they’d been arguing trying to come up with another topic, finally shouted out, “The mask!” “Huh?”
“You remember, honey, the mask that caused all the zombies?” “Oh, yeah. That was an interesting one.”
Joyce turned to Spike. “I’d gotten it in through the gallery and decided to keep it to decorate my bedroom. Turns out it was a magic mask.” Spike nodded, finishing up his drink. “Worst kind.”
When she saw he was done with his, Buffy gulped down the rest of her cocoa and stood off towards the kitchen door.
“Are you going to bed then?” Joyce asked.
“Yeah, we have to make the rounds with the Scoobies tomorrow so everyone is updated before the next meeting. I also have to ask Giles about using his kitchen for Thanksgiving, since you’re visiting Aunt Arlene.” “Good night, then. Spike, is there anything you need?”
“No thanks, I’ll be alright.”
“Are you sure? Because I could-”
Buffy cut her mom off. “Yes, he’s sure.”
She decided she’d had enough waiting and pulled her boyfriend upstairs. “Good night, mom!” Joyce watched them go with a laughing, “Good night, kids.”
“Feel free to get comfortable, I’m just gonna go change into some pajamas and brush my teeth,” Buffy said, gesturing to her room as they walked in.
Spike leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. “I’ll be waiting.” He took his Docs off, then his duster and overshirt which he laid on the chair next to the bed. When he sat down on the edge of the bed to wait, something caught his eye. On her nightstand there was a stack of books, topped with a new-but-wearing copy of Persuasion.
He grabbed it, then looked at the spines of the other books- “English Romantic Poetry,” “The Complete Poems: Samuel Taylor Coleridge,” and “Northanger Abbey.” When she came back in the room, Buffy was greeted with the sight of her boyfriend, looking down at the group of books which now sat on his lap, a huge smile on his face. Hers, of course, promptly flushed scarlet.
“I… uh…” She stammered awkwardly.
Quickly his eyes locked on hers, and she was struck by just how beautiful he was when he was happy. He rushed over to her, books discarded on the bed, and picked her up and spun.
Buffy giggled, “What?”
“You get those after talking to me, pet?” His eyes were on hers again, searching.
After a minute the intensity was too much and she had to look away.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to seem stupid when we talk about books or whatever.” “Is that the only reason?” He tilted her chin up and caught her eyes again.
“Itmademefeelclosertoyou,” she mumbled as she pointedly kept her gaze on his cheek in embarrassment.
“What’s that?” Spike’s eyes were sparkling.
Buffy just huffed. “I said, it made me feel closer to you. I got them when I was out with my mom after our second date. Persuasion has been going back and forth to the dorm with me, but I’ve read some stuff out of the two poetry books when I’ve been here.” Suddenly his mouth was on hers and he was spinning her around again. “You’re incredible, Buffy Summers.” She giggled again.
“Why, what’d I do?”
“You were interested in something I told you about. You treated the things I like as if they matter. We talked about seeing each other, love, and this is what I mean. No one has ever considered my opinion valuable. I was the laughing stock of my peers as a human, and targeted for my weakness as a demon. It feels a little like a dream to be seen and accepted.” “It’s not a dream. It’s real. I’m real. And there’s nothing wrong with you being so incredibly smart- in fact I kind of find it sexy as hell.” “Oh really?”
“Yeah really. Tomorrow how about we spend the night at your place and you can read to me and I’ll show you just how hot it gets me?” she asked saucily.
“Oh, don’t tempt me pet, might lose track of my Victorian morals and take you right here.” “I wouldn’t mind, but we probably shouldn’t. We’ve gotta tell Willow and Xander and Anya tomorrow, and my mom will probably wake us up early before she leaves for the gallery.” “Sleep it is, then.” Spike said decisively. He walked over and pulled the covers back, crawling in and scooting over to make room for her. “Cuddle on up.” And she did. For the second night in a row, she fell asleep with him holding her close.
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