“Let the healing power begin. Let my will be safe again. As these words of peace are spoken, let this harmful spell be broken.” Willow’s voice rang through the crypt, vanishing the demons and putting everything right with the world.
Or so she’d thought.
Buffy pulled away from Spike for a minute, a shocked expression gracing her face for a split second before it turned to one of determination. After only a moment she leaned back down and started kissing him again.
Spike was confused, but hell if he was going to push her away. Maybe Dru had been right when she’d said he was covered in the slayer. He’d been horrified by the idea then, but the reality was nicer. A lot nicer.
“I thought the spell was broken!” Xander’s indignant voice made the couple break apart.
Spike looked to Buffy, letting her take the lead on this one. The last thing he wanted to do was screw things up when he had a lap full of slayer seemingly wanting him.
“It is! All the demons are gone and I’m sure when we get back to Gile’s place he’ll be all with the seeing again.” Buffy responded brightly. Maybe the slayer was still under the spell? He decided to play along.
“We should get back to him and make sure he’s okay, I know how you worry, kitten.” He wrapped his arm around Buffy, nuzzling her hair a little.
No broken nose- good sign.
“If the spell’s broken why are you still macking on Evil Dead?!” Xander’s voice was shrill, and if he didn’t have the chip (and if the slayer weren’t so damn worth not doing so- not that he wanted to think about that part) he would’ve ripped his throat out to shut him up.
“Xander, Spike is going to be my husband. Why would you think we’d stop being engaged just because the spell was finished?” Buffy stuck her lower lip out in what he decided to call the “Pouty Face of Doom” because he, for one, would sure as hell never be able to resist it.
Xander sputtered incoherently, “I… But… he… and you… WILLOW!”
“I ended the spell, I swear! I don’t know why they still want to get married,” Willow replied, backing away and folding in on herself.
Anya decided that it was finally time for her to speak up. “Maybe she just realized that the only good option for the slayer’s partner is someone stronger than human. He can help her if she gets into trouble, and she doesn’t have to worry about crushing him in bed. Match made in heaven!”
“Ahn, you’re forgetting the part where he can’t hit anything without giving himself a blinding headache. Not to mention the whole ‘would slaughter us all without a chip to stop him’ part.”
“He wouldn’t kill any of us- he’s clearly smitten. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt Buffy. And we don’t know that- he’s only tried it with humans so far. Why would they stick a chip in his brain that stops him from killing demons if demons are what they’re fighting?”
Spike’s face lit up at that. He hadn’t thought about trying to fight a demon before he’d gone to the slayer for help. He bounced on the balls of his feet, putting his hands on Buffy’s shoulders and pulling her to look at him. “Can we go find something to kill so I can try it out?! Please?!”
Buffy couldn’t hold back a giggle at how happy he looked. He was like a child on Christmas morning, and honestly she could understand. She couldn’t imagine how she’d handle being told she couldn’t fight anymore. Or maybe she did, at least a little, after her Cruciamentum—and it wasn’t good.
“Sure, honey.” Buffy turned to address the rest of them. “We’ll go patrol and meet you guys back at Gile’s after.”
Spike grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the crypt hurriedly.
They’d gotten some distance away before Buffy stopped, tugging Spike’s hand to make him stop as well.
When he looked at her she was biting her lip. “So are you still under the spell or just playing along?”
His expression turned to something like awe. “You’re not…”
“No, I’m not. Now answer me.” It could’ve come off as bitchy, but the tone of her voice made her seem more desperate than anything.
“Not anymore, love. Reckon it broke for both of us just as it should have.”
“Why’d you go along with me?” She asked quietly, breaking eye contact to stare at a spot on the ground between them.
“Why’d you pretend in the first place?” He grabbed her free hand too, holding them both tightly.
With that her courage was back, slayer-stare looking him right in the eyes. And God, she was bloody gorgeous like that- all power and fire and determination.
“I was happy. We were together and yeah, we were arguing constantly but it was fun and I was happy and I wasn’t ready to let that go. Figured I’d use your reaction to judge if you were interested.”
“Bloody hell, of course I’m interested, Buffy.” Spike’s face was incredulous.
“Would you, though? Go back to killing without the chip?” As quick as she had showed up the slayer was gone, leaving Buffy the girl- lost and insecure.
He let go of her hands and cupped her face between his hands. “I was right there with you. If this is something we could have for real…” he looked away for a moment before setting his jaw in determination. “I’d give it all up for you. You’re worth it.”
It only took him a moment to notice the tears spilling over and he reacted on instinct, pulling her close and stroking her hair. “Shh, pet, it’s alright. I’m sorry if I upset you.”
She pulled back to look at him. “No, they’re happy-Buffy tears. I probably shouldn’t believe you, but I do. And no one’s ever thought I was worth just sticking around for, let alone giving up their whole nature.”
“First off, anyone who’s made you feel like you’re worth less than you are deserves to go right to hell. Because you deserve EVERYTHING, Buffy. You deserve better than me, that’s for sure. Second, there’s more to me than just killing. Always has been. The person I was tonight, with you—he’s always been there, just a little rusty from lack of use. Everything that made me William is still right here, I just stopped giving a toss about pleasing people I don’t care about. But for the ones I do—I’d go to the ends of the earth. I promise you that.”
Buffy couldn’t speak then, overwhelmed with tears, so she went for the next best thing- she threw her arms around his neck and hung on for dear life.
A few minutes later when the tears subsided she pulled away again. “Sorry about that.”
“No need to be sorry, love. If this is going to work you’ve got to let me be there for you and vice-versa.”
Buffy sniffed, smiling up at him. “You’re right. Why don’t we go find you a demon to hit like we’d planned? We can talk more later… hopefully without the tears this time.”
“Sure thing, love.”
They only had to go halfway across the cemetery to find a group of twelve vamps, all waiting around a fresh grave.
Buffy stood back, releasing Spike’s hand. “You get first dibs, honey,” she said laughingly.
Spike sized up the opponents and, steeling himself for pain, threw a punch at the nearest vamp. When his head didn’t hurt he turned around, jumping up and down. “It doesn’t hurt! I can fight demons! I can FIGHT again! Help me take them out?” He elbowed the only vamp smart enough to attempt to go after him while his back was turned.
“Don’t mind if I do!” Buffy replied, throwing herself into the fray. Together they took out the whole group in record time, working seamlessly as a team. Having Spike guard her left felt like the most natural thing in the world and she had to send out a silent thanks to Willow for showing her how good this could be.
She dusted herself off and walked over to grab Spike’s hand. “How long do you think we’re going to have to wait for this one?” She nodded towards the grave.
“Not sure- maybe long enough to talk?” He led her over to a wide headstone, sitting down and leaning against it, leaving enough room for her to join.
“I just want to, I guess, clear some stuff up. First- I’m not in love with you yet, that would be crazy. But I do like you and like I said, being with you made- makes- me happy. I definitely don’t want to get married until we’re in love. But I also know that the easiest way for us to get my friends used to this is to pretend we’re still under the spell- which means keeping up the engagement thing.”
Buffy looked up worriedly when he didn’t respond right away, so he quickly replied, “No, no. I completely understand. I’m with you there too. Besides, your mum might take another fire-axe to my head if we really tried to get married this fast.”
He chuckled, pulling her closer as she joined him in laughter.
“You’re probably right. But speaking of my mom- she’s out on a buying trip right now. We could go stay at the house, if you wanted? It’s easier than navigating Giles and the gang tonight.”
“Do you… I mean, I don’t want to assume, but-”
Spike stammering was new, very new. And kind of cute. “We’ll see how it goes? I mean you’ve only been my boyfriend-slash-fiance for a day now, but we’ve also known each other for years so it’s not quite like putting out on the first date…” She trailed off again. “We’ll see how it goes. And how tired I am.” She added with a laugh.
Spike leaned over to kiss her hair. “Whatever you want, love. I just want you to be happy.”
Buffy snapped her head to look at Spike, staring him in the eyes. “But don’t just go along with everything because you want me to be happy- I want to make sure we’re BOTH happy.”
Spike laughed again, but his eyes held a warmth that took her breath away. “When have you ever known me not to speak up, kitten?”
She shoved him playfully before resting her head on his shoulder. “Point taken. OH! You didn’t mean all that about me quitting slaying, right?”
“God no. I think that was some holdover from my William days that got caught up in the spell. Part of what I’m so attracted to in you is your strength and dedication. And honestly the only friends I have at this point are a couple of demons I played poker with, but they’re both harmless, so you slaying them shouldn’t be a problem.”
“You played poker with demons? There are harmless demons?”
Spike stared at her, wide eyed. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know that? You’ve been the slayer for, what, almost 4 years? Most demons are peaceful, pet. They’ve got a whole community here, and in plenty of other cities as well. Jobs, families- poker games.”
Buffy, for her part, looked a little sheepish. “I guess I should have realized- I mean the butchers don’t even blink when you ask for blood. And some of the people who work night shift around town set off my vibes, but I just assumed I was faulty or something.”
Spike leaned down again, placing a kiss on her lips this time. “Not faulty, just learning.” His smile was sweet.
If anyone had told Buffy the day before that Spike had a sweet side she wouldn’t told them they were crazy. Or at least crazy to think she’d ever see it—she knew he’d loved Drusilla and was probably sweet with her, but she hadn’t really witnessed it much. Once again she was grateful, though she probably shouldn’t be, to Willow for casting the spell that put her in a position to see for herself.
Instead of responding, Buffy leaned up and kissed him again, something in between the heavy spell-induced making out and the chaste barely-there kiss he’d just given her. It felt like heaven.
So of course, the vamp picked that minute to make its appearance. She grabbed the hand poking through the dirt, hauling the fledgling up enough to drive a stake into his heart. She held her hand out for Spike to take, pulling him up to stand by her.
“House now? I’ll call Giles when we get there so he doesn’t worry.”
“House now.” he agreed.
The walk home was quiet, both of them taking advantage of the opportunity to process. They held hands and walked at a leisurely pace until they reached the porch of 1630 Revello. Buffy turned the key and stepped inside, waiting for Spike to step through after her.
When he didn’t, she turned around with a confused look on her face. “What are you doing?”
“Need invited, pet.”
“I never disinvited you, stupid. Now get in here.” She reached across the threshold to drag him in.
Once again she was greeted by that stare of what could only be considered awe. She knew Dru had been a cheating ho-bag, but who else must have hurt this man for something as simple as not being disinvited to affect him like this? She hoped she’d get the chance to find out all of his stories, even the painful ones.
“My room’s right upstairs to the left if you wanted to make yourself comfortable while I call Giles?”
He nodded and gave her another peck before starting up the steps.
Giles was weary when he picked up the phone. He’d spent the whole day blind and now he had to deal with Xander losing it and Willow not far behind him.
“Giles residence, Rupert speaking.”
“Hey Giles, it’s Buffy. Spike and I decided to just stay at my mom’s tonight because we had to wait so long for this one fledge to rise. He can hurt demons though, so that’s good news. I figured we’ll come by tomorrow, I know everyone is still freaking out thinking that it’s a spell. I told you guys we probably had some sort of immunity but no one believed me.”
“Buffy! Surely you can’t believe that you’d want to marry Spike without a spell’s influence?”
Buffy had to bite back a lip, imagining the furious glasses-cleaning that must be happening on the other end of the line. “I do though, and it wouldn’t kill you to be supportive. He’s going to be my husband and help me with slaying. He’s already been off human blood for a while.”
“But Buffy,” his voice was condescending, “without the chip Spike would turn on us all. He’s on a leash but he’s not safe. You can’t trust him. Demons can’t love.”
“Giles, he wouldn’t hurt anyone because he knows that would hurt me. It’s not just the chip holding him back now. And don’t tell me he can’t love when he obviously can- he spent a hundred years devoted to Drusilla for god’s sake.”
“Obsession, nothing more. You’re forgetting Angelus.”
Buffy’s resolve to stay calm broke. “No, I’m not. Just because Angel didn’t love me without a soul doesn’t mean a soul is necessary to love. Angel’s just an awful person under his leash—Spike’s never come after me or my family and he’s had an invite to my home since Acathala. I’m HAPPY, Giles. The least you could do is give him a shot. For me.” Her anger dissipated towards the end, leaving only the sadness of a girl who’d been hurt too many times.
Her change in tone prompted Giles to change as well. “Alright, I’ll try. But I want to do a full check for spell residue when you get here. Even if you think you’re of sound mind doesn’t necessarily mean you are.”
“Fine. Just try to keep the Spike insults to a minimum when I get there? He’s trying here but it’s hard for him not to lash out when everyone attacks him.”
“Okay, Buffy,” Giles acceded grudgingly. “Good night.”
Meanwhile, upstairs, Spike was taking in the room of the Slayer. He wasn’t sure what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t this. He knew the Joyce hadn’t known about the slaying until their truce, but he’d expected there to be at least some sign of it here now. Instead he found what looked like a typical teenage girl’s room.
He walked around, taking in the knick-knacks scattered around. He noted the “class protector” umbrella on the dresser and scattered jewelry. Her mirror was covered with photos of her with all her friends- and damn, his girl was radiant. Was she his girl? He’d have to clear that up.
He rounded back towards the bed, dropping his duster on the armchair near the armchair and picking up the plush sitting on the pillows.
Buffy came in and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind, placing a kiss between his shoulder blades.
“I see you’ve met Mr. Gordo.”
Spike’s laugh rumbled under her chest and she leaned further into him. This whole thing might be completely insane, but damn it felt good. HE felt good.
He turned around, pulling her chin up to look at him. “Buffy. What’s going on in that head of yours?” He could feel the slight tension in her body and just-too-even breathing.
“Guess I’m going to have to get used to not being able to hide much.” She laughed a little, then sobered. “It’s just- my mom will be back tomorrow. We’re going to have to stay together to play the sickeningly-cute engaged couple, but I’d rather be honest with my mom at least, and I definitely don’t want to stay with Giles. The dorm just isn’t big enough. How are we going to make this work?”
Spike sat down on the bed, pulling her to sit in his lap. “’Ve got some dosh, love, don’t worry. The Gem of Amara wasn’t the only thing down in that cave. We can go tomorrow night and find a nice furnished apartment, or you can look for one during the day if you’d rather not be on the demon side of town. Quick trip to one of those 24-hour shopping joints and we should be all set.”
“But you can’t-” Buffy started to protest, but he cut her off.
“I can, love. And if you don’t feel comfortable not paying we can consider it my place until you’re ready. I know you don’t need it, but I’ll take care of you. You’re strong as hell and god knows you can get by on your own, but I’ve got your back now. Whatever you need.”
“Oh no, here comes weepy-Buffy again!” She chuckled, wiping harshly at her eyes. “I’m not usually this bad, I swear. I guess I’m just not used to this.”
“Of course you aren’t, pet. Forehead’s never been the type to do anything that didn’t benefit him personally. I know I’m not always going to be great- we’ll fight, we’ll get defensive and say things we don’t mean, I’ll stick my foot in my mouth twelve ways to Sunday- but I swear I’ll always do my best to treat you right.”
Instead of a response, Spike was rewarded with Buffy’s lips on his. They kissed leisurely for a while before Buffy had to stifle a yawn when they broke for her to breathe.
“You’re tired pet, and it’s late. Let’s try to get some kip, yeh?” He slid her off his lap onto the bed proper and leaned down to untie his boots, setting them on the floor by the chair with his coat.
When they’d finally made themselves comfortable snuggled together, Buffy decided she had to speak up. Figuratively, at least, her voice was no more than a whisper against the vampire’s chest.
“I’m going to try too, you know. To treat you right. I know you’ve been hurt before, especially by women with a history with Angel.” He tensed up at that so she plowed right along, looking up at him finally. “But I’m not going to do that. I’m with you because I want to be. Because this feels right for me, not because I want to take advantage of how incredibly wonderful you are until time to dump you off. That’s not me.”
This time it was Spike’s turn to hold back tears. “Thank you, Buffy. That means a lot.” His voice was thick with emotion, and Buffy leaned up to give him one last kiss before snuggling back down into his chest.
“Sweet dreams, Buffy.”
“You ready?” Buffy asked, looking up at the manhole cover. They’d gotten up just before dawn to avoid the worst of the Blanket Run of Death, but he was still going to have to make it the rest of the way to Giles’ apartment.
He knew that wasn’t what she meant, though.
“It’ll be alright. We’ll act the part of overly sappy lovesick fools, let them do their revealing spell, and head back out to look at that apartment complex down the road you mentioned.”
“Wait!” Buffy caught his hand as he turned to make his way up the ladder. “Want to try see who can come up with the most ridiculous wedding ideas?”
He laughed at her devious smile and pulled her in for a quick kiss. “You’re on, Slayer.”
Buffy went up first and held the door to the apartment open for her smoking boyfriend. Pun definitely intended. As soon as he was through, she shut the door, wrapping herself around him as he stomped the small flaming patches out.
“Buffy, Spike.” Giles acknowledged them both, his voice hardening with the second name.
“Hey, Giles! You said you wanted to do some spell stuff?” She kept her voice in the same cheery disposition she’d had under the spell the day before.
“Yes, yes, please sit down while I get the things ready.”
They walked over to the armchair they’d occupied the day before and Spike pulled Buffy onto his lap.
“Isn’t Willow here?” Buffy asked.
“Ah, no, she said she had plans with a friend on campus. I assured her that I’m more than capable of performing this particular spell myself.”
“Have you ever thought of getting the little witch some training, Rupert?”
Giles looked at Spike in surprise. “That’s… actually quite a good suggestion. I do have some contacts in England who might be willing to work with her.”
Buffy looked back at Spike as Giles went back to gathering, her eyes sparkling. “Okay baby, hear me out- what if the wedding party held kittens. They would make for such good photo ops!”
“Only if my mates can use them for poker at the reception.” Spike laughed.
The horror on Buffy’s face was real. “Kitten poker? Why kittens?”
“Delicacy, lots of demon types like to eat them.” He held her as she tried to shoot up off his lap.
“You EAT KITTENS?!”
Spike had to take a minute to calm his laughter before he could answer. “No pet, no. They’re too fluffy and cute for my tastes. I usually just trade anything I win to one of the other guys for cash.”
“There will be no kitten eating at my wedding!” She poked his chest, punctuating each word.
“But think of the buffet opportunities!” He laughed at her indignant expression before stroking her hair calmingly. “Relax, cutie, we’ll put up a sign- No Noshing On the Kittens. Oh, we could have matching drink fountains- one with red wine and one with blood.”
Buffy looked at him curiously. “How many vamps do you actually plan on inviting?”
“Only a few, but I thought it would be cute.” It was Spike’s turn to pout and Buffy’s to kiss it off his face.
“If you two are quite done, I’m ready to do the spell now.”
The couple looked up at the man standing in front of them. “Kay, Giles. Hit us with the spell-y goodness!”
Giles chanted for a few minutes, waving some smoke over towards the couple. When he stopped his face was troubled.
“Everything alright, Watcher?”
“Apparently. The spell showed no residue from the Will Be Done. I have no idea why you still think you should be engaged.”
Buffy’s voice was whiny as she pretended to be under the spell, but her frustration was real underneath it all. “Giles! You said you’d try to be nice. Spike has been nothing but sweet since this whole thing started.”
“I’m sorry, Buffy. This is just a lot to take in. You’re both still acting like you’re under the effects of a spell that no longer exists.”
“I’m not the one you need to apologize to, Giles.” Buffy huffed. “I’ll meet you in the tunnels, Spike, I need to walk.”
Both men watched as the slayer stormed out.
“She’s something else when she’s brassed off.” Spike said, voice filled with very real admiration.
“Indeed.” Giles turned to Spike. “I’m sorry, Spike.
“It’s alright, Rupes. I’m used to it, and I don’t expect to be accepted right away after everything I’ve done. “
“Buffy mentioned last night that your chip allows you to fight demons and that you’d agreed to help her. Have you thought, maybe, that this could be part of a higher calling?”
“I don’t know about a higher calling, mate, but I can promise you I’ll do whatever I can to help the slayer. To help Buffy.” Spike looked at the older man, sincerity shining through his blue eyes.
“Right. See that you do.” Giles coughed, squirming uncomfortably. He had no idea how to act in the situation, alone with someone who’d only a few weeks ago wanted to kill him and now professed to being in love with his slayer.
“I’m going to go catch up with her before I end up on her bad side too. I’ll see you around.” He gave a small wave and picked up his blanket, running out into the sunlight towards the open manhole cover.
6 Months Later
“Thank you everyone for coming. I know it’s been hard getting used to the idea of Spike and me being together, but it means a lot that you’ve all tried. So, we’ve got to come clean about something.”
Buffy paused, taking a shaky breath, looking at all her friends- her family, crowded around the dinner table in the apartment she was finally ready to consider THEIRS- her’s and Spike’s.
“What’s going on, Buff?” Willow asked with concern. She’d been especially kind to them since the beginning of their relationship since she felt like it was her fault, so Buffy worried how their confession would influence the friendship Willow had cultivated with Spike.
“Yeah, is everything okay with you guys?” Xander added. He too had gotten over his anger at the situation fairly quickly- although that might have had something to do with Spike saving him from an angry Vahrall demon.
Spike grabbed Buffy’s hand, and the support and devotion in his eyes when she looked down at him gave her the strength to keep going.
“The spell broke for us at the same time it did all of you. Mom knows,” she looked at Joyce, “but we didn’t tell anyone else. I wanted to make sure you’d give Spike a real shot and maybe not try to talk me out of it as much. So, when the spell broke I pretended it didn’t and Spike played along. I was happy, really happy during that spell, and I wasn’t really ready to give it up yet. And I’m glad I didn’t because I’m happier than I ever dreamed I could be that day. We’re happier,” she added, squeezing her boyfriend’s hand.
When the room was quiet for a minute she added and awkward, “So, um, yeah. That’s really it.”
It was quiet for another minute while everyone absorbed, but to everyone’s surprise it was Xander who spoke first.
“I want to say that wasn’t necessary and that you should have just told us right away, but I know as bad as I reacted it would’ve been worse if you had. And I probably would have tried harder to talk you out of it. So I understand why you did it, and I’m glad you’re happy. And besides, Bleachboy here isn’t a half bad pool partner either, so it worked out on my end.”
“Yes, your winnings give him lots of extra money to buy me gifts with!” Anya added brightly.
Spike lifted his beer in acknowledgement. “Cheers, mates.”
Giles’ two cents came next. “I can’t say I didn’t have my suspicions, but I didn’t want to say anything. Still, it seems the consequences of Willow’s spell were more positive than D’hoffryn would have led us to believe.”
“That’s NOT an excuse to go playing with more magic though, Red.” Spike reprimanded playfully.
“Oh no, believe me, personal-gain Willow is on complete lockdown.” She put her hand on her girlfriend’s shoulder, leaning close to her. “That’s why Tara and I are going to go study with the Devon coven over summer.” She looked over at her best friend. “I’m just happy that you’re happy, Buffy. Spike saving my life a bunch hasn’t hurt either.”
That earned a chuckle from the whole group, and they turned their attentions back to focus on serving themselves from the Chinese takeout containers in the middle of the table.
As everyone began to talk amongst themselves, Buffy took a moment to sit back and just relax. The spring apocalypse was over, she had her own place that she shared with the man she’d fallen in love with and come to depend on, and everyone she cared about was getting along. She trusted Spike to have her back and stick with her no matter what, and that kind of security made anything else she went through easier. She knew sooner or later the next Big Bad would show and they’d all have to kick into work mode again, but for the moment, everything in her life was just right.
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October 29, 2020 20:58