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Previous Chapter: Chapter 8
Next Chapter: Chapter 10

Buffy stood at her dorm room door, trying to decide whether or not to knock or just walk in. It was her room too, but she also had Spike with her and it was pretty early in the morning.

Finally, she gave in and knocked, but only after Spike’s laughing ‘We gonna wait all day?’ cut into her anxiety.  She gave him an annoyed look, but the smile making its way across her face at the same time undercut it.

“Oh, Buffy, did you forget your key?”  Willow opened the door, leaning against it sleepily.

“No, I just have Spike here so I didn’t want to just walk in.  We wanted to talk to you, actually.” “Okaaaay. What’s going on?”

Buffy walked over to her bed and bounced down on it, sitting cross legged and looking across at where her best friend had perched on her own bed. Spike was standing by the foot of hers, leaning against the edge.

“I’m going to go the band-aid ripping route, mmkay?” Buffy asked anxiously.

“You’re scaring me, what’s going on?”

“Nothing’s wrong, I promise.” She paused. “Actually, it’s kind of perfect.” Assured that nothing bad was happening, Willow slipped into best-friend mode. “Okay, so spill.” The words spilled out in one breath. “Yesterday I found out Spike’s a vampire and he knows I’m the slayer but he isn’t going to hurt me because he doesn’t eat people anymore and actually he’s gonna help me with patrols and fighting and training and stuff.” “Hold up, wait. Hold the phone. Did you just say Spike’s a vampire?” “Yep.”

“And he’s not going to eat us?”

“Yep.”

“And he’s going to help with your slayage?”

“Yep.”

“Why though?! Did I fall into Bizzaro-universe and not notice?” Buffy gestured to Spike to take the lead on this one.

“Hunting humans just doesn’t work for the lifestyle I wanted. Needed to keep a low profile, stay in one place for a while. ‘S hard to do with bobbies chasin’ all over. I like fighting demons, see, it’s far more of a challenge. An’ that’s what I enjoy- a real fight. So, I’ve been on bagged blood for a decade and a half, give or take.  I’ll tell you what I told the watcher, and that’s that I’m damn lucky I made my decision when I did. Not only do I think I would’ve lost to Buffy, here, but I wouldn’t give up the chance I have to be with her for anythin’.” Willow looked him up and down wearily. “So, you’re not going to kill us?” “Nah, Red, not my style and wouldn’t be worth it.” He chuckled and settled down on the foot of the bed, reaching a hand out to grab Buffy’s.

“Well, more firepower is always a good thing. And Buffy’s been walking on air since she met you. And I trust her, and she trusts you. So, I guess we’re good. But there IS a pointy piece of wood with your name on it if you hurt her.” “Roger, loud and clear. The line’ll form behind the slayer herself.” Spike chuckled when Buffy slapped his arm. “I wouldn’t stake you.” “You’re right, the line would form behind me.  Couldn’t forgive myself if I hurt you, pet.” Suddenly Willow jumped up. “Wait, wait, wait! Buffy met you in the quad in the middle of the day.  And the sun’s out right now.” She jammed a finger accusingly at the light creeping past the drapes.

“This,” he lifted his hand, “is called the Gem of Amara. Makes vamps invincible. Can walk in the sun, touch crosses, all that good stuff.” Willow crossed the room quickly, grabbing at his hand to look at the ring.  He gave her an amused glance, but allowed it. “Where did you find it?! I’ve read about this before, I thought it was just a legend.” “Right here in good ole’ Sunnyhell, ducks. It’s why I was in town in the first place.” She looked up and suddenly realized she’d just walked over to an invincible vampire and grabbed his hand out of nowhere. She backed up quickly, stuttering, “O-oh, s-sorry, I got a little carried away.” Buffy giggled and vaulted up to grab her best friend in a hug. “Calm down, Wills. Just think of him as my boyfriend, you don’t have to be afraid. The only thing that’s changed is now I don’t have to spend 80 hours consulting with you about whether or not to tell him I’m the slayer.” Willow chuckled at that. “I should bake you cookies for that one, mister.”  She turned back to Buffy. “Have you told Xander yet?” “Not yet, I’m going to try to catch him with Anya after we leave here. I’m hoping that the thousand-year-old ex-vengeance demon might be able to keep him calm long enough to hear me out.” “Xander’s bird was a vengeance demon?” Spike piped up.

“Oh, yeah, it’s a whole thing. I’ll fill you in on the way to Xander’s how’s that sound?” “Sounds good. Thanks for having me, Red. And for giving me the benefit of the doubt.” “Like I said, I trust Buffy. And even as bummed as I am about Oz, I’m really glad she’s finally happy.” She turned to the other girl, “Will you be back tonight?” “I’m spending tonight at Spike’s, but I’ll be back tomorrow night. We can eat ice cream and read magazines and work on getting you feeling better, okay?” “Okay. Thanks for being here for me, Buffy. I hate that I’m tearing you away from your amazing new relationship…” “Willow, I’ve been your best friend for years. I’m here for you.  I’m spending plenty of time with Spike, promise.  And maybe he can come to one of the pity parties sometime- nothing like someone with a shittier ex to make you feel better about your life!” Willow and Spike both laughed. “Okay, you’ve got a standing invitation and you can tell me all about this awful ex of yours.” “Sounds like a deal, Red. I’ll see you around.”

After Buffy filled him in about Anya, they made the walk across town to see Xander in relative silence, just enjoying being close to one another.

When they walked up to the house, Buffy led him up the driveway and to stairs that led down to a doorway.

As she knocked, she explained, “Xan’s parents are terrible, so he’s living in the basement to get some space from them.” Xander opened the door and grinned. “Buffy! Spike! I wasn’t expecting you guys, what’s up?” Buffy shifted uncomfortably. “Could you, um, invite us in? And is Anya here?” “Yeah, sure, come in. Yeah, Ahn’s here too.”

The brunette in question popped up from the couch. “You want to see me?” “Yeah, we wanted to tell you guys something. I think I’m just going to go the band-aid route again. Spike’s a vampire, but he isn’t hunting humans and he isn’t going to hurt us. He knows I’m the slayer now and wants to help out.” Xander’s face was full of alarm, but Anya just shrugged and sat back down with her magazine. “At least Buffy won’t have to worry about breaking you.” “Truer words, pet,” Spike laughed.

“Buffy! Did you just get me to invite a vampire into my house? You trust him? How? Are you under a thrall or something?” Buffy sighed and shook her head. “No, Xan. I’m not even sure if Spike has thrall. He found out I’m the slayer when I took my amulet thing Willow made off to shower, and he came clean about himself right away. He’s had plenty of opportunity to hurt all of us and he hasn’t. Giles and Mom and Willow all have agreed to trust me and give him a chance, and I don’t think Anya could care less. That just leaves you.” Xander looked in her eyes for a minute, debating. Since Buffy had first gotten to Sunnydale, he’d been confronted with the supposed fact that vampires were evil, end of story. The demon took over the person who’d lived in the body before, but they weren’t the same. The vampire in front of him was very, very different from those he’d met before, but he wasn‘t sure just how far those differences reached.

Could Spike really be trusted?  He wanted to complain further, but Buffy was almost pleading. He didn’t want to lose one of his best friends over this, and he did trust her. “Fine,” He turned to Spike, “But you should know that-” “Yeah, yeah, Harris. There’s a whole line of people waiting to stake me if I bollocks this up, I got it. Gonna do my best to not give anyone a reason to try.” “You’d better not.” Xander sighed and turned back to Buffy. “Are you guys going to hang out for a while?” Buffy’s expression turned apologetic. ”I’m sorry Xan, I just wanted to give you the whole update spiel.  We’re actually going to go check in with Giles. Mom told me she’s going out of town for Thanksgiving this year, so I want to ask him to let me use his kitchen to host a meal.” “Tell the G-man hey for me, then.” Xander wrapped her in a hug, whispering a quiet, “be careful,” before he let her go.

“I will, I promise.” Buffy smiled affectionately before turning and grabbing Spike’s hand. They waved as they climbed the stairs back to ground level.

“So, that’s it. Everyone important knows, and I don’t think any of them are planning on staking you.” “Wouldn’t do them much good.” He nudged her shoulder.

She rolled her eyes up at him. “I don’t think being staked would tickle though, so maybe you should still avoid it.” He rolled his eyes back. “If you insist, pet.”

“I do. My boyfriend is staying strictly stake-free.”

“I’m glad you care.”

“I do care, so much.” She smiled softly at him, pulling him down for a kiss. The warmth that spread through her when she was close to him was starting to feel less strange and a lot more like… home.

~

When they arrived at his apartment, Giles was on the phone.  He gestured them inside and went into the kitchen to finish his conversation.

“Well, that was the council.” He said as he made his way back into the living room.

“Do they know anything about these military dudes?”

“I’m afraid not, but they do have diplomatic friends in high places. I think it likely that they’ll be shutting their doors in the next few weeks as word gets around.” “Well that’s good. I’m going to go stir crazy not being able to patrol.” “At least you and Spike can spar.”

“True. Oh! I wanted to ask you, mom’s going out of town for Thanksgiving, and I wanted to have a big get-together for the gang. Would you be willing to let me use your kitchen? Seeing as you are the patriarch of our little group.” “And this is in no way an elaborate scheme to stick me with the clean up?” Buffy gave him an innocent look. “What? No, no. You’ll have all of us here to help out, your place is probably going to end up cleaner than you’ve seen it in years.” “I’ll believe that when I see it,” he said dryly.

She nodded curtly. “Exactly, you will.”

They only stuck around for a few more minutes, anxious to get back to Spike’s place for more interesting activities.

The next morning, they showered together and Spike helped her get ready for her classes.  When it was time to go, he drove her back to campus.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, love. Have a good time in class and with Red,” he said, smiling warmly at her.

“Thanks, honey. I’ll try to call you tonight.”

She pressed a kiss to his lips and practically skipped across the quad towards the lecture hall.


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Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Chapter 8
Next Chapter: Chapter 10

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