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Who Says You Can't Go Home? by slaymesoftly
 
complete
 
 
 
  WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME?
(Set during Angel the Souled Vampire, season five)
 
Part One
 
Robin and Spike stared at each other across the big room.
 
"Spike."
 
"Wanker."
 
Angel looked back and forth between them.
 
"I take it you two know each other? Did you meet in Sunnydale?"
 
"He tried to kill me, back there," Spike replied. "Didn't go well for him."
 
Angel glanced at the tall man who was still staring at Spike. "As much as I can appreciate that urge," he said, "having had it myself many times, I'm going to have to ask you to leave him be while you're here."
 
"What do you care, if you want to dust him yourself?"
 
"The urge comes and goes... But he's family, and right now he can't fight back, so he's under my protection." He nodded toward Spike who was holding up his heavily wrapped wrists.
 
"He killed my mother," Robin said, still glaring at Spike.
 
Angel glanced at Spike who shrugged. "She was a slayer."
 
"Nicky Wood?"
 
Spike nodded.
 
Angel turned back to Robin. "It was his thing—fighting slayers."
 
"You mean there were more than two?"
 
Angel snorted. "Once he killed the first one, it was all he wanted to do. I don't know how many times he had to be dragged away from a fight he was going to lose. Plenty, if Dru can be believed."
 
Robin narrowed his eyes at Spike. "You fought other slayers and walked away? Is that why Buffy was so sure she needed you on our side?"
 
"Got my arse handed to me more than once," Spike admitted. He gave a toothy grin. "But I learned and I got better."
 
"So by the time you met my mother.... Wasn't she a strong slayer? How did you manage to kill her?"
 
Spike walked over to Robin and stared up at him, seemingly unintimidated by Robin's advantage in height and reach. "Your mum was the best slayer I ever faced... Until Buffy. But she was tired. Tired of being out there every night fighting the forces of evil, tired of being alone 'cept for her watcher.... And you, I reckon. Didn't know about you." He shrugged. "Probably wouldn't have mattered. Not back then."
 
"What do you mean she was tired? Are you saying she let you kill her?"
 
Spike shook his head. "No. She gave me one of the best fights of my life. But when it was over and I was on top, I could see it in her eyes. The warrior was done. She was willing to go."
 
"Willing to leave me, you mean." The bitterness was clear.
 
"It's what she was," Spike said, almost gently. "There was no shame in her dyin'. And no intent to abandon you. She was a warrior and she died the way she was meant to... After a glorious fight."
 
“You told me once she was all about the mission. That I came after that.”
 
Spike nodded. “She was all about the mission. It flowed from her, around her.”He paused and sighed. “She loved you. Never doubt it. Slayers are full of love. But they exist to fight evil and that gives them early expiration dates.”He cocked his head at the taller man. “Lovin’a slayer—for any reason, cause she’s your mum or your child or your sweetheart—means havin’to accept that. Having to expect to lose her before you’re ready for it.”
 
Angel heaved a sigh. “Isn’t that the truth?”
 
Robin shifted his gaze. “What would you two know about it?”
 
Angel and Spike exchanged looks and Angel shrugged at Spike who took that as permission.
 
“Been there. Done that. Both of us.”He gestured at Angel. “The big poof there had to deal with it more than once.”Spike shuddered, “But at least he didn’t have to watch it. Either time.”
 
“I’d have helped if she asked me,”Angel protested. “I’d have been there.”
 
“An’that hellgod would have chewed you up and spit you out, just like she did me.”Spike shook his head. “If I’d only been able to keep the Bit safe a few seconds longer…tried to…but….”He took a deep breath and swiped at his eyes, ignoring the shocked look from Robin Wood. “It’s over. She saved the world, went to her reward, and then got pulled back into the fray—”He glared at Robin. “Just be grateful your mum got to stay in Heaven,”he growled. “Not all slayers are that lucky.”
 
He stomped away and threw himself on the couch, bandaged arms lying on his legs.  He shut his eyes briefly as if in pain, and Angel glanced at Fred who ran to Spike’s side.
 
“Do you need more meds, Spike?”she asked, putting a tentative hand on his shoulder. “It’s a little early, but I can—”
 
“That’s alright, luv. Your meds can’t touch this pain. Just something I have to live with. I’ll be alright.”
 
“Okaaay,”she said dubiously, frowning at him.  “You’ll let me know if there’s anything you need, won’t you?”
 
“You know it,”he said, his leer only half-hearted, as was her smack on his head.
 
“Behave yourself.”
 
“Don’t have much choice right now, do I?”He snorted a wry laugh, holding up his incapacitated arms.
 
Robin stared at the affectionate by-play, then back to the vampire he’d been assured had a soul and had been fighting on the side of good for years.
 
“Why isn’t she afraid of him?”Robin demanded of Angel, clearly not getting the irony of asking one soulled vampire why another would be safe to be around. The irony wasn’t lost on either Angel or Spike, although only Spike growled.
 
Angel just sighed and responded, “Maybe because he gave up his first chance at being really here to save her life?  Or maybe because neither one of us is interested in frightening or harming sweet innocent girls and Fred knows that?”
 
Angel shot Spike a glare, daring him to bring up Angelus and his predilection for young girls, but Spike just smirked and nodded.
 
“Never given her any reason to fear me,”Spike said. “And never will. You, on the other hand….”
 
“Spike.”Angel’s growl held a warning. “Mr. Wood is our guest.”
 
“Right. Didn’t kill him before, not likely to try now.”Spike waved one heavily wrapped hand.
 
Robin seemed to be struggling to find words, finally saying, “Why didn’t you kill me?”
 
Spike gave him a hard stare. “Told you then, didn’t I? I gave you a pass on account of your mum. But one pass is all you get. Even Buffy told me if you ever tried again….”
 
“Yeah, she made it very clear she’d let you kill me if I tried it again.”  Robin shrugged, looking uncomfortable. “I guess she was right to do that, given what you did later.”He sighed, then frowned. “But I don’t understand how you pulled a whole city down around you and ended up here. Buffy said you were on fire when she ran out. She thinks your ashes are at the bottom of a crater.”
 
“Don’t understand it either. All I know is that piece of ugly jewelry channelled my soul to set fire to all the vamps in there, including yours truly. Then it somehow ended up in Angel’s office and ghostly me popped out of it. No idea how it got from underneath Sunnyhell into an envelope in the mail here, or why it brought my soul with it.”
 
“You aren’t a ghost.”
 
“Not anymore. Don’t know how that happened either. None of us knows how or why.”  Spike winked at Fred. “Might be just because Wolfram and Hart thought they’d need me to keep Angel in line.”
 
“Somebody has to,”she agreed with a giggle. “Sorry, bossman,”she added when Angel growled. “I couldn’t resist.”
 
Robin looked bewildered as the slender girl joked with the growling vampire that he knew to be very old and strong. “Are you a slayer too?”he asked.
 
“Oh my no! I’m just a geeky little scientist from Texas who was rescued from a terrible place by a handsome man. Turned out he was a vampire, but hey, nobody’s perfect.”She smiled at all three men, then turned to Spike again. “If you don’t need me for anything until it’s time for your meds again, I’m going back to the lab.”
 
“You go on, luv. I’ll be fine. Know where to find you when I’m ready.”
 
With a little wave, Fred left the room, heading directly to her little office in the lab. She bit her lip, then opened her laptop and put in Willow’s email address.
 
XXXX
 
Once she’d left Angel’s office there was a short silence, broken by Angel. “Did you want something in particular, Spike, or were you just bored…again?”
 
“Bit of both,”Spike said with grin. “As long as I can’t use my hands, I can’t amuse myself, so I have to depend on annoying you for fun.”
 
“You annoy me just by existing,”Angel growled. “You didn’t have to come in here to do it.”
 
“Well, that’s the other part, isn’t it? Heard you had another visitor from the Sunnydale bunch and came to see who it was.”  His grin faded as he looked at Robin again. “Can’t say he’s one of the ones I would have hoped for, but—”
 
“We all know who you’re hoping for, Spike. If she’s not here by now, she’s not coming. Get over it.”Angel’s response was curt.
 
Robin looked at Angel in surprise. “I don’t think Buffy knows—”
 
“Of course, she knows. That supercilious twerp she sent here to pick up Dana will have told her about Spike by now. Obviously, she doesn’t want to see him.”
 
Robin looked a question at Spike, who was growling softly. “Andrew,”Spike said by way of explaining Angel’s description. “Thinks he’s an important watcher now, all tweedy and what not.”  Spike changed his focus to Angel. “And I asked him not to tell her about me. Wanted to do it myself, but….”  He held up his hands.
 
“Ah.”Robin nodded his understanding. “Well, I can call—”
 
“Why the hell would you do that? I thought you hated Spike.”
 
“He’s not my favorite person…but he was Buffy’s, and she needs to know he’s alive. So to speak,”he added, pulling out his phone.
 
“She won’t come,”Angel said over Spike’s less forceful, “I’m not ready to see her yet.”
 
Robin looked back and forth between. “That’s probably her decision to make, isn’t it?”He turned his back and hit a number, listened, said “May I speak to Buffy, please?”frowned and said, “I think she will want—”He paused, listening, then shot Spike a startled look and tried to hand him the phone, ignoring Spike’s frantic head-shaking.  “Take it,”he said, then realized Spike couldn’t hold the phone with his bandaged hands.
 
He hit the “speaker”button and set the phone down on the cushion beside Spike. “He’s here, Buffy, but he can’t hold the phone so I put you on speaker.”
 
There was silence on the other end, then, “I can’t say what I need to say to you right now. I’m in the middle of a crisis here—but don’t go anywhere. You hear me, Spike? You stay right there!”
 
“Um…I…don’t….”
 
“The words you’re searching for are ‘I’ll be right here.’” 
 
Spike stared at the phone as if it might bite him. He looked helplessly at a fuming Angel and curious Robin, then back at the phone. 
 
“I’ll be right here, lo—Slayer. In the poof’s office.”
 
“Fine!”The phone went dead.
 
There was silence for a few seconds, then Spike said, “Well, that went well…all things considered.”He glanced up at Robin as he retrieved his phone from the cushion. “You didn’t get a chance to tell her. How did she know? Did that little weasel break his word?”
 
Robin shrugged. “She grabbed the phone from whoever answered it, and started yelling to put you on the line. She already knew I was coming here, so she must have just now found out about you or she would have told me to have you call her.”He shot a look at Angel. “Or wanted to come with me.”
 
Spike dropped his head against the back of the couch. “Fred,”he said with a sigh. “She’s been nagging me about Buffy ever since I got solid.”
 
“I told her to mind her own business,”Angel grumbled. “Not to bother Buffy. She’s busy helping Giles get a new Council set up. She doesn’t have time to worry about you.”
 
Robin looked back and forth between the two vampires. “What am I missing here?”
 
Spike got to his feet, graceful in spite of not having the use of his arms. “Angelus here wants to believe he’s still the love of her life. Doesn’t want to find out it might not be true.”He gave Angel a surprisingly sympathetic look. “Might still be true. I don’t know and neither does he. Buffy’ll sort it out when she gets here. I’ll be in my room.”
 
He walked out, nodding to Robin. “I’ll let you get back to your business here.”
 
XXXX
 
“Where the hell is he?”The door Buffy had kicked open was still vibrating against the wall.
 
Angel looked up from his computer with dismay.
 
“I…I thought you would call first. You were busy. You said—”
 
“I said he shouldn’t go anywhere. If he’s more than a hundred feet awa—”Buffy stopped and stared around the large office. “Holy crap, Angel. When you said you had a new office….”
 
“This is Wolfram and Hart, Buffy,”Robin said as he stood up from where he’d been looking over a history of the company. “He’s taken over the LA branch. The whole building is his to run. It’s why Giles sent me here. He wants to make sure Angel hasn’t taken over something so evil he isn’t going to be able to control it the way he says he can.”  Robin’s expression indicated how dubious he felt that was.
 
Buffy stared at Angel. “You’ve gone evil? Again?”
 
“No, of course not.”Angel quickly took advantage of the change of subject. “I think I can do a lot more to combat evil from the inside than I could from the outside. I thought Giles understood, but then he sent Wood here to check up on me.”
 
“Does Giles know Spike is here?”
 
“Uh…I don’t…I have no idea. I didn’t tell him.”
 
“You didn’t tell me either.”  Buffy’s lethal glare faded to a sadder expression. “You didn’t tell me, either,”she repeated quietly.  “Whydidn’t you tell me, Angel? Didn’t you care that I was grieving?”
 
Angel sighed heavily. “I knew you were unhappy about Spike’s…well, not really a death, I guess now, but—”
 
“It was a dammed real death when we stopped here and I had a meltdown about it in front of you.”
 
“Well…it was fresh then. And you believed he was some kind of hero. I just thought you were sorry to have lost somebody who fought the First with you. I didn’t think you really meant it that….”He paused and shook his head. “I’m sorry, Buffy. I should have known you don’t use the word love lightly, but I really thought it was up to him to tell you he wasn’t as dead as you thought he was.”
 
“It was. And I didn’t. It’s not on Angelus, love. If you’re brassed off, take it out on me.”
 
Spike voice preceded him into the room just enough that Buffy had already turned in that direction by the time he entered. They stared at each other for several seconds, then she narrowed her eyes and began to stalk toward him. Spike stood his ground, but the expression on his face could only be attributed to sheer terror.
 
IF I’m ‘brassed off’?”  She reached him and stood on her toes, the better to glare into his eyes. “There’s no if here, you miserable jerk! If I wasn’t so happy to find out you’re not dead, I’d kill you!”
 
“I’d deserve it, pet. Know that now, but I—”
 
“If you’re about to say what I think you are, we need to have this conversation somewhere private.”
 
“You can stay here,”Angel said, gesturing for Robin to follow him out the door. “Try not to break my new furniture, Buffy.”
 
XXXX
 
Angel and Robin went out the door, pulling it shut behind them. They paused outside and Angel waved Robin to silence when he started to speak. He didn’t notice that Fred had accompanied Spike to his office until she walked up and got between him and the door.
 
“Private means private, Angel,”she said, pointing toward the elevators. “You two need to go far enough away that you can’t listen.”
 
“I wasn’t really going to—”He tried to argue while moving away as directed.
 
“Yes, you were. Now go!”  Fred placed herself a few feet from the door and crossed her arms over her chest, an immobile sentry.
 
“I have a right…”Angel was mumbling as he followed Robin to the elevator. He was still grumbling when the door slid shut.  Fred gave a satisfied smile and relaxed her vigilant posture.
 
“You’re welcome, Spike,”she whispered to the door. “Now don’t screw this up.”
 
XXXX
 
Inside the room, Buffy was still nose-to-nose with Spike as he processed her words.
 
“So, you’re happy I’m not dead?”he ventured for lack of anything better.
 
“Happy. Furious. I could go either way,”she said, coming down off her toes but still holding his gaze. “How could you let me think you were dead?”
 
“It’s a long story…”
 
She tapped her foot impatiently. “Bottom line. Now.”
 
“I’m a bloody coward, love. Just thought being a dead hero might have been…Didn’t want you to feel obligated to…”He turned away from her angry glare and didn’t see it fade to heartbreak.
 
“You really didn’t believe me,”she said dully, sinking onto a nearby leather sofa. “You thought I would lie to you while you were dying.”She squeezed her eyes shut against the tears.
 
“Ah, sweetheart,”he cringed a little when she flinched at the endearment, but sat down beside her. “I knew you meant it just then. It was…trust me when I tell you I ‘died’a happy man. But I wanted you to get the hell out of there, and you wouldn’t have gone if we were in the middle of a big romantic moment. I said the first thing that came into my mind. Which was to thank you for giving me those little words, and do it in such a way that you wouldn’t feel obligated to die with me. Didn’t know I was gonna be back, did I? Wanted you to feel free to…to be free.”
 
“So when did you decide it wasn’t true?”She still wasn’t looking at him, but her hands were clenched into fists.
 
He sighed and rested his head on the back of the sofa, staring at the ceiling. “Don’t know. Things were so confusing for a while. First thing I did when I popped out of the amulet was say your name. Peaches said you were in Europe somewhere, like he didn’t really know where you were, and then I realized I was a ghost, and things got complicated. Couldn’t leave the building, even if I wanted to. Almost got dragged into hell…I really thought I wasn’t meant to be with you, that I was dragged back here to haunt this building. I think Wolfram and Hart is where the amulet came from, so it made sense it would bring me back here.
 
“Then, when I got solid, before I could decide if I wanted to take a chance that you only said it in the heat of the moment—” 
 
Buffy glanced at her hand which still had the scars from the flames between them. “Literally the heat of the moment,”she snorted.
 
He gave a short laugh of agreement, then continued, “Anyway, before I could work up the courage to risk finding out you’d rethought those words, we had some things to do here, and then I found Dana—”He held up his bandaged hands. “And I’m not really able to travel right now. Wouldn’t be able to carry my luggage, would I?”
 
Buffy snorted again, then looked thoughtful and shook her head. “You’re an ass, you know. A dumb ass.”
 
“Always have been. Where you’re concerned, anyway.”
 
“So, if I tell you now, will you believe me? Or don’t you care anymore if I love you? Maybe you don’t love me anymore.”
 
“Don’t be daft. Didn’t stay away because I didn’t love you. Just thought you might be doing all right without me and I didn’t want to complicate your life by showing up expecting to be in it again.”
 
She finally turned to face him. “You know, if you had half a brain, you’d be kissing me right now and telling me how much you love me and missed me and—”
 
Showing that his bandaged arms weren’t a handicap, he had moved into her space and fastened his mouth on hers before she finished speaking. When they paused, foreheads pressed together, Buffy gasped, “I’d almost forgotten what a good kisser you are.”
 
“Brought my A game to that one, love. I may be dumb, but I’m not completely stupid.”
 
“I think the jury’s still out on that,”she murmured. “You should probably kiss me again.”
 
 
XXXX
 
 
Several kisses later, they were nestled side-by-side, with one of Spike’s heavily bandaged arms around Buffy’s shoulder and his other arm resting across her lap. She touched the wrappings gently.
 
“Did Dana really do this?”
 
“She did. Seems getting her slayer powers was the final break in her link to sanity. Girl had some terrible things happen to her and was looking for somebody to take that anger out on. Then she suddenly had the means.”
 
“Why you?”
 
He shrugged. “Dunno if I really reminded her of the wanker who did those things to her, or I was just a handy—no pun intended—substitute. Either way, she thought she was getting a bit of her own back.”He glanced at Buffy’s frowning face. “How’s she doin’now that she’s among her own kind?”
 
Buffy shook her head. “We don’t know. Sometimes she seems fine, and then she tries to kill somebody. The doctors aren’t sure she’ll ever be safe to be around. I think they keep her drugged most of the time. She seems happier that way.”
 
“Probably is,”he said. “If the drugs can keep those memories out of her head.”
 
“You sound like you aren’t mad at her at all! I want to kill her, and you’re all ‘poor Dana’.”Buffy shook her head.
 
“No sense being mad at her, love. Not sayin’she didn’t know what she was doing, but she didn’t know who she was doing it to, and she had good reason to want to hurt the monster that hurt her.”
 
“I wonder if they caught him? Her records didn’t say anything about that, just that she’d been rescued but the ordeal drove her crazy.”
 
“No idea, but if he’s out there, he’d better hope the police get to him before I do.”Spike’s guttural growl was one of the most dangerous sounding things Buffy had ever heard from him.
 
She cocked her head at him. “Do you know why I love you? I mean, one of the reasons I love you?”
 
He blinked at her in bewilderment. “Got no bloody idea, I’m too busy being happy about it to worry about the whys.”When she didn’t respond right away, he nudged her with his hip. “I’m guessing you’re not going to say it’s my good looks and brilliant kissing skills.”
 
She laughed softly and pressed her hip back against his. “Well, maybe a little bit…. But, no, one of the things I love about you is that you can forgive the girl who did this to you and want to kill the man who hurt her so much she went crazy.”
 
“Killing’s the least of what I plan to do to him,”he growled again.
 
Buffy was silent for a moment, then said, “Isn’t that sort of what Angelus did to Dru? Tortured her to make her crazy?”
 
She felt rather that saw the muscle in his jaw twitch. “It was,”he said shortly. “Not physically so much as mentally. It’s one of the reasons the poof and I don’t always get along. I wasn’t there, didn’t see it, but I lived with the result for over a hundred years. I don’t blame the victims, I blame the wankers that made them what they are.”
 
XXXX
 
The quiet knock on the door preceded Fred’s voice.  “Spike? Buffy? Is it okay if I—we come in now?”
 
“It’s fine,”Buffy said. “We’re good now.”
 
A smiling Fred opened the door and entered the room, beaming at the two people still cuddled together on the sofa. Angel was right behind her, his eyes going immediately to Buffy and Spike.
 
“I thought you were going to kick his ass,”Angel growled. “He looks surprisingly unbloody…and happy.”
 
“He can’t fight back,”Buffy said. “It wouldn’t be any fun if he couldn’t defend himself.”She squeezed her eyes shut as an unbidden memory shot through her.
 
“Don’t go there, love,”Spike whispered. “I didn’t.”
 
She gave him a grateful smile, but there was a trace of sadness to it. Then she looked up at Angel and Robin who had come in behind him.
 
“I want to talk to his doctors,”Buffy said. “I need to know how long it will be before he can travel.”
 
Angel’s eyes narrowed, but he just said, “There’s a clinic in the building. Spike knows where it is. He can show you.”
 
“Okay, thanks.”Buffy stood up and waited for Spike to join her. “I guess we’ll see you guys later—or tomorrow maybe. Spike is taking me out to dinner tonight.”
 
“I am? I mean, yes, I’m taking her out to dinner. I’ll need the company credit card.”
 
While Angel struggled to speak, Robin said quickly, “I’m sure the Council will spring for it, Buffy. Why don’t you use your card?”
 
Spike’s expression settled into a stubborn pout. “Want to take my girl out for the night. Can’t do that if she pays for it.”
 
Buffy rolled her eyes, and poked him. “You’ll have lots of chances to buy me dinner. Let’s just go talk to the doctors.”
 
“Right,”he said, swaggering to the door with her. “We’ll have plenty of other opportunities for me to buy you dinner.”
 
As they walked out the door, Buffy’s “Don’t push it”was only audible to Angel, who growled, then shook his head.
 
Fred gave him a sympathetic smile, saying, “I’m sorry, Angel, but you knew this is how it was going to be. That’s why you didn’t tell her he was here. I’d feel more sorry for you if I didn’t know you were trying to keep them apart. Shame on you.”
 
“It was worth a try,”he sighed, then shrugged. “That boy never has been very obedient.”
 
 
Part Two
 
After a visit to the clinic, where it didn’t take long for Buffy’s slayer persona to have everyone going out of their way to answer her questions, Spike escorted her to a nearby restaurant. He ordered a piece of “very rare, bleeding even”steak, but explained to the server that he’d be sitting adjacent to Buffy, rather than across from her, holding up his bandaged hands by way of explanation.
 
“Really? I’m going to cut your food and feed you like a baby?”In spite of her words, she smiled at him.
 
“Bit like holding my cup of blood for me when I was all chained up, isn’t it?” 
 
“No. Feeding you your dinner in a nice restaurant is nothing like feeding you because you were chained up and evil.”
 
“Don’t have to if you don’t want to, pet. I just thought I’d blend in a bit better if I was eating something.”
 
“And you’re right. Although you probably could get away with not eating by waving your hands around too. You could just have said you already ate because you were on a liquid diet or something.”
 
‘This’ll be more fun,”he said with smirk. “And anyway, I like rare steak.”
 
She moved her chair closer to his and shook her head with mock indulgence. “What am I going to do with you?”
 
“I have suggestions…. Jus’cause my hands are out of commission doesn’t mean the rest of me is.”He leered at her hopefully.
 
“I think I might have to get over being pissed off at you before you get that lucky,”Buffy snorted. “And stop pouting,”she added when his face fell. “The doctor said you have to keep those bandages on for another three days before he thinks it will be safe for you to do anything very vigorous. We’re not taking a chance on tearing those stitches out, so just forget it.”
 
He sighed theatrically, then chuckled. “Ah well, I tried.”He brushed one of his wrapped hands against her cheek. “Don’t really expect you to fall all over me, love. Just bein’here with you is enough. It’s just, when you’re around, my mind tends to wander to—”
 
“I know exactly where it goes,”she said, blushing slightly. “Just deal with it.”
 
“I can’tdeal with it!”he said, raising his other hand. He held them both in front of her face. “As you can see.”
 
“TMI, Spike. Here comes our food.”
 
“Oh, that’s right, change the subject why don’t you?”he grumbled, but he was smiling at her.
 
Buffy blushed again and patted his cheek. “Just hold that thought.”
 
“Consider it held,”he said, his smile growing wider. “Now how about we enjoy our first actual date?”
 
“Our first….”Her eyes grew wide. “Oh wow. I guess it is, isn’t it?  Wow,”she repeated. “How can we be…but it is. You couldn’t really call anything else we’ve done ‘dating’.”
 
“You know I would’ve, if you were willin’,”Spike said softly. “Nothing would have made me happier than being able to take my girl out for a meal, a drink, a movie—”He stopped and gave himself a little shake. “Sorry, love. Not who we were then.”
 
“No,”Buffy agreed softly. “It’s not who we were. But it’s who we are now.”She raised her anxious gaze to his. “Aren’t we?”
 
“We are if you say we are, love. Know we’ve got some catching up to do, but as long as I’m back in your life, I’m happy.”
 
XXXX
 
They walked slowly in the direction of the Wolfram and Hart building.
 
“Where are we going?”Buffy asked. “I don’t really want to spend the night in Angel’s new building. It makes my skin crawl. It doesn’t seem to be bothering Robin, but my slayer senses go crazy.”
 
He stopped. “Bloody hell, pet. I’m so used to staying in that den of iniquity, I never even thought about how it might affect you.”He looked around. “We can probably find you a hotel room somewhere nice.”
 
“It’s getting pretty late…where do you live?”
 
“I have a bed in a room by the clinic for now. I’ll be moving out into my own apartment—”He felt her stiffen beside him. “Sorry, love. That was my plan when I thought you—”
 
“When you thought I wouldn’t come for you?”
 
He shuffled his feet, obviously frustrated that he had no way to put his hands in his pockets. “When that, yeah.”
 
“And now?”She was tapping one foot and had her hands on her hips.
 
“And now, I reckon I’m waiting for you to tell me what you want me to do.”
 
“What I want you to do, is to come home with me as soon as the doctor says your hands aren’t going to fall off. Is that okay with you?”
 
“You know it is, Buffy. It’s all I’ve ever wanted—to be wherever you are.”
 
“Then let’s see if we can find a hotel close by. I’ll have to call Giles in the morning and tell him to cope without me for a while until we get the okay for you to travel. In the meantime, we can do some of that catching up you think we need to do.”
 
XXXX
 
Buffy gazed around the plain, but clean and good-smelling hotel room.
 
“Could be worse,”she said. “This should do me—us—for a few days.”
 
Spike nodded. “It should be okay. I asked Fred to find us some decent places close by. She said this one looked nice.”
 
Buffy yawned. “At this point, I think I’d be happy with a park bench and a blanket. I’ve been up for over twenty-four hours.”
 
“Get some sleep, love. The world will still be here when you wake up.”
 
“Will you still be here when I wake up?”
 
“I will. Just right down the street at Wolfram and Hart.”
 
Buffy stopped in the act of taking off her boots. “Where?”She narrowed her eyes at him.
 
“Um…I meant to say, I’ll be right here. Sitting over here in this big chair and watching over you while you sleep.”He sat down and beamed at her. “See? Here I am. Right here. In a chair. In the same room. Not goin’anywhere. Nope. Not me.”
 
“Nice save,”she muttered, continuing to take off her boots and socks. She sat up as a sudden thought occurred to her. “Do you need blood or meds? Is that why you want to go back there?”
 
‘No, I’m fine, love. That piece of bloody meat will hold me till I can get something better. But you know I won’t be able to walk back once the sun is up.”
 
“Well, crap. I forgot—I’m so used to you running around Sunnydale whenever you want to…Guess it’s harder to do that here, huh?”
 
“There’s plenty of tunnels and sewers and such, but it is a bit harder to get in and out of them without being seen doing it. And pulling up those manhole covers is a bitch, even when you have hands to use. I haven’t even tried it without yet.”
 
Buffy yawned again. “Maybe I can go get you some blood in the morning. After I’ve had some sleep.”  She bit her lip, then reached under her shirt and, after some wriggling, pulled out her bra. “That’s better.”She stood up and unzipped her jeans, smiling when Spike turned his back. “I know you’re peeking at me in that mirror,”she said. “I know you too well for that to work.”She dropped the jeans on the floor and, wearing only her shirt and underwear, turned down the bed covers.
 
He turned and gave her a shamed-faced grin. “You do know me too well,”he said, then after a long pause, “I think I like that.”
 
“I think I like it too. But I’m going to like it from down here, with my eyes shut. There could be snoring…and drool.”She slid into the bed and curled up on her side.  “Don’t leave,”she mumbled as she drifted off. “Maybe you should sleep here…with me….”
 
Spike waited until she was fully asleep, then shrugged his coat onto the floor and settled himself on the bed beside her. With his hands wrapped up, he was unable to do anything about his boots, but the combination of the day’s events and his happiness at being asked to share Buffy’s bed, had his own eyes closing as the morning neared and his body reacted to the approaching sun.
 
XXXX
 
The hotel blackout curtains made it possible for Buffy to sleep until almost noon.  She woke up, checked the clock and groaned before reaching for her phone to call Giles. A glance at Spike, still clearly sound asleep, sent her into the bathroom behind a closed door to complete her call.
 
“Yes, Giles, it is Spike…. No, he’s not evil, and neither is Angel, at least not so I can tell right now. Robin can fill you in on what Angel is hoping to do with an evil law firm, I’m only going to stay here until the doctors clear Spike to travel…. What? Oh yeah, ask Andrew about it. Dana did cut off Spike’s hands, but Angel got there before she could do anything else to him, and turns out evil law firms have their own clinics with doctors that can work on vampires and demons….
 
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sure that probably isn’t a good thing most of the time, but this time it was. Anyway, I’m not leaving until he can come with me, so you’ll just have to cope. Okay…. Yes, I will. Talk to you in a couple of days.  Or, you know, you could text me if there’s an emergency.”  She laughed heartily, then controlled herself….  “It was funny…. Okay. Thanks, bye.”
 
When she came out, Spike was peering at her out of bleary eyes. Buffy walked over to the bed and began unlacing his boots.
 
“I didn’t mean to make you sleep in all your clothes,”she said. “I forgot you couldn’t do any of this stuff for yourself.”  Her eyes narrowed. “Who has been helping you in and out of your clothes?”
 
“Couple of big ugly wankers that work for the firm. Soon’s I was awake enough to complain about it, I started sleeping in my clothes.”When she looked at him dubiously, he added, “Really hasn’t been all that long, love. A few days in bed while my hands got reattached and they could tell it was working—I was out of it for a lot of that—then a few more days of killing time until the drugs and my vampire healing kicked in and I felt good enough to go to my own room. Been in these clothes ever since.”
 
“Drugs? Like for pain?”
 
“Some of them, I s’pose. One has something to do with the reattachment. If I had to guess, I’d wager it has some magic in it. Either way, I should try to get back there as soon as I can tonight so I don’t miss a dose.”
 
“Okay. We’ll head back as soon as the sun goes down.”She stood up. “In the meantime, you should go back to sleep while I go out for something to eat.”She stared at him, frowning. “Do want me to help you get undressed?”
 
She was surprised when he shook his head.
 
 “No?”
 
He smiled at her. “Not that I’ve lost my interest in getting naked with you, love, but you’re doing enough to take care of me. Unless we’re playing ‘naughty nursie’, I don’t really want you having to do things like that for me. I’ll be fine, and by the time you get back, it might be almost time to go.”
 
While he was talking, Buffy had been pulling her jeans and shoes back on. She glanced at her bra, then shrugged and left it on the floor. “I guess I should do some shopping too. I didn’t pack much before I jumped on that plane, and I left that little bag in Angel’s office.” She walked to the bed and brushed her lips across his. “Go back to sleep. Heal up.”
 
“Yes’m,”he said, with no trace of irony.
 
“Was that a crack about me giving you orders?”
 
“No, love. Just a bit of old William raising his head. I swear to you. I’m no more obedient than I ever was.”
 
“Hmmph. I still think that was a crack…”  She gave him another chaste kiss, then straightened up and put the key in her back pocket. “But I’m too hungry to argue about it.”She walked out, leaving him giving a sleepy laugh as he settled back into the bed.
 
XXXX
 
When Buffy returned, fed and wearing new jeans and a form-fitting red blouse, Spike was sitting up in bed and swearing at the TV remote, which he managed to fling at the television, although with very little force. He turned to look at her, the snarl on his face fading to admiration when he took in her appearance.
 
“Already frustrated enough from fighting with the telly,”he said, never taking his eyes off her. “Comin’in here looking like that isn’t going to help my disposition at all.”
 
“Do you like my new jeans? They’re stretchy—good for slaying.”Buffy turned her back and stuck her butt out at him, glancing back over her shoulder.
 
“And you think I’m evil!”In spite of his words, he was grinning at her, his expression a mixture of lust and affection. “Get that luscious arse over here and help me get my boots on. The sooner I eat and get my meds, the closer I’ll be to having hands we don’t have to treat like they’re made of glass.”
 
Buffy laughed as she knelt down and helped guide his feet into the boots. ‘That was kind of mean, I guess.”She tied his laces without looking up at his face. “Maybe we can come up with some way to work off that frustration without hurting you. Put your hands over your head, tie your arms to something….”
 
His eyes momentarily glazed over, then he stood up. “Now you’re just taking the piss,”he growled. He shook his head at the coat she held up. “Don’t need it, love. Let’s just get over there.”
 
XXXX
 
The way Spike’s face relaxed and his shoulders dropped after he received his drugs and began drinking his blood was Buffy’s first hint that remaining with her all night and day had been hard on him.
 
“You moron!”she said.
 
“What have I done now?”Spike looked up from the mug she was holding for him, licking the blood moustache off his upper lip.
 
“Yes, what has he done now?  And where the hell have you been all day, Spike?”Angel stomped in, glaring at him.
 
Before Spike could answer, Buffy said, “I don’t like it here, Angel, and I didn’t want to sleep in this building. Spike and Fred found a nice hotel nearby for me, and I asked Spike to stay there last night. Obviously, he couldn’t come back until the sun went down a while ago. Why? Is he supposed to report to you every day or something?”
 
Angel didn’t answer her, just continued to glare at Spike. “What the hell were you doing all this time?”
 
This time Spike did speak up, standing and glaring up at Angel. “A. I was sleeping for most of that time, and B. None of your bloody business if I wasn’t.”  He glanced at Buffy, who shook her head and set the mug on a table.
 
“I’ve got this, Spike,”she said getting between them and doing her own version of glaring up at her first love. “A. What he said. And B. Also what he said. I told you I asked him to stay with me.”She turned to glare at Spike. “Which I wouldn’t have done if you’d been more honest about needing those meds and the blood.”She looked back at Angel. “I was calling him a moron because I just figured out that he shouldn’t have skipped eating or taking his pain meds.”
 
“I was fine, love,”Spike said. Ignoring Angel, he smiled at Buffy. “Being in the same room with you all night did me more good than any medicine.”
 
“No, it didn’t. You were in pain, I just didn’t see it until the meds kicked in and I saw the change. Don’t you ever be that stupid again!”
 
“Yes’m”he said, ducking when she took a half-hearted swat at his head.  
 
“And stop doing that!” He just laughed at her and sat down to wait for someone to hold his mug for him. Shaking her head, Buffy picked it up, put a nearby straw in it, and held it out where he could reach it with his mouth.
 
Speaking stiffly, Angel said, “When you are through taking care of Spike’s wants and needs, Buffy, I’d like to have a private conversation with you in my office.”
 
“Yeah. Okay. In a minute.”She watched him leave the clinic and sighed. “Guess I’d better go get this over with. Will you be all right?”
 
“I’m fine. Go chat with the big poof and assure him that I don’t have you under some sort of spell.”
 
Buffy snorted. “That’s probably what he’s thinking. Okay. I’ll be right back.”
 
 
It didn’t take long for Buffy to make Angel understand that she was taking Spike back with her.
 
“But what if I need him?”
 
Needhim? For what?”
 
“As irritating as he can be, Spike is one hell of a fighter. And if I’m going to do what I hope to do here, I’ll need all the help I can get.”
 
“If you have something going on that means you need another fighter, you let me know and I’ll bring him back…along with some friends of mine who aren’t too shabby either.”
 
“I can’t ask you to—”
 
“I’m the Slayer. I’m one of hundreds of slayers now. If there’s something evilish going on here, it’s our job to be here.”
 
“Fine.”Angel sighed. “I know you don’t think so, but I’m just trying to do what’s best for you…and for Spike.”
 
Buffy gave him a sad smile. “I’m sure you think that’s what you’re doing, Angel, but I’m a big girl and I’ll decide what’s best for me. And Spike can make his own decisions.”
 
“Spike will go wherever his dick…and his heart…tell him to. They don’t always make good decisions.”
 
Buffy shrugged. “That’s crude, but true.’She stood up. “Pardon me for being glad they point him in my direction. Let us know if and when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.”
 
XXXX
 
“So, what’s the plan, love?”Spike’s blissed-out smile and lack of concern about her private conversation with Angel indicated his pain meds were really kicking in.
 
“I dunno. I want…but that isn’t good for you….”She sighed. “The important thing is to get you healed up enough to come home with me. If that means we have to sleep in separate buildings—”
 
“It doesn’t.”Spike came out of his happy fog long enough to argue his case. “Fred fixed me an overnight bag.”Spike waved a bandaged hand at a leather briefcase with W&H embossed on it. “Got some blood to put in the room fridge, and got my meds and a written schedule of when to take ‘em.”
 
“Okay. If you’re sure…Is there anything in your room here that you need to get?”
 
Spike shrugged. “Reckon I could collect some clean shirts. I haven’t really been here and solid long enough to have much. Ghosts don't need clothes.”
 
Buffy picked up the briefcase and said, “Okay, let’s do that, then get out of this building.”
 
Spike frowned at her. “It really does get under your skin, doesn’t it? Never known you to be afraid of anything.”
 
“I’m not afraid of it. I just feel like I should be fighting something every second. Must be a slayer thing. This place is evil and full of demons. I can feel it, and it makes me uncomfortable. I want to kill things.”
 
“Right then, let’s pick up my wardrobe, stuff it in a bag, and get you out of here before you decide to start slaying the poof’s clients.”
 
“Could happen,”she muttered as she followed him to his room.
 
XXXX
 
Once they were back in the hotel room and Buffy had ordered her dinner from room service, there was an awkward silence. The small room, while offering the usual amenities of TV, fridge, and microwave didn’t have much room for furniture. A small hardback chair in front of the tiny desk, the larger upholstered chair Spike had sat in the night before, and the king size bed took up most of the available space. With a sigh, Buffy grabbed the remote and sat down to take off her shoes. She propped the pillows up and gestured for Spike to come closer to the bed.
 
“Let me get those boots off so you can be comfortable,”she said, smiling to herself when he gave a relieved nod and moved quickly to her side. When his boots were off, and she’d helped him sit against the pillows, she picked up the remote. “See what you can find to watch until my food comes.”She brought up the menu and began clicking through the offerings until room service knocked on the door.
 
“There’s my food. Is this movie okay?”
 
“It’s fine, love. Get your dinner. We can look for porn later.” 
 
“As if,”she said, going to the door. She signed for her food, thanked the server, and sat at the desk to eat her dinner. 
 
 
Dinner finished, watching porn being soundly rejected, they sat side-by-side on the big bed.
 
“So now what, Slayer? It’s too early for me to go to sleep.”
 
“I know. But I might fall asleep.  My body’s still on Europe time. Let’s get you ready for bed, then if I drift off, you’ll be all comfy.”She smiled at him and began to tug his shirt up.  “This can’t be good for your arms,”she said with a pout when she realized she’d have to pull the tee shirt over his not-to-be-touched arms.
 
“I haven’t had this shirt off since they let me get dressed, love. What are you trying to do?”
 
“Take it off. Or maybe just….” She pulled it up as far as she could get it. “Raise your arms.”
 
He complied, a slow smile growing on his face as he realized what she was doing. “Whatever you say, Slayer,”he said, lifting his arms until she could pull the shirt around his shoulders, pinning his arms over his head.
 
“Oh dear, that doesn’t look very comfy…Here, let me help you get more….”She took the pillows out from behind his back and eased his upper body down flat. “There. That’s better, isn’t it?”Buffy didn’t wait for an answer, but trailed her hands down his torso to the button on his jeans. She teased the soft hair below his navel, smiling when he sucked in his stomach, making space between his skin and the zipper. She opened the button, then glanced up at him.
 
“What a shame that you can’t unzip your own pants…Let me help you with that too….”She nuzzled her way down to the zipper, taking time to suck on his nipples and leave kisses on his chest and stomach, and then took the zipper pull in her teeth. After a few unsuccessful attempts to move it, attempts that resulted in nothing more than biting her own lip when her teeth slipped off the small piece of metal, she sighed and dropped her head on his abdomen. Blowing out a frustrated breath she said, “Well, that was sexy as hell, wasn’t it?”
 
His stomach muscles flexed under her cheek as he chuckled.
 
“Close enough to it for me, love. ‘n case you didn’t notice, you have my undivided attention.”
 
“True, I do seem to have made something sit up and notice me.”  She rolled her head to the other side and looked up at him. “Angel said you always follow your…that…and your heart.”
 
“He said that?”
 
Buffy nodded and put a light kiss on his stomach. “You know what I said?”She didn’t wait for his answer. “I said I was glad they always pointed at me then.”
 
“Buffy…love….”Spike sounded as if he was choking. “Want to touch you so bad….”
 
“Nope. No touching for you. Not taking any chances with those arms.”She pulled the zipper down with one hand, laughing when his cock popped up from the opening. “There it is. Pointing right at me.”
 
“It always will, love. And my heart will be right there with it.  Ah!”His hips arched up as Buffy ran her tongue across the tip of his cock. “Trying to have a romantic moment here, love…. You’re making it hard to concentrate.”
 
“We can have a moment later. I think we should get the reunion sex over with now so it won’t be such a big deal when we get home. And so we won’t be thinking about the whole time I’m here.”
 
“Just so you know, love…. Ah! That! Again!.... It will always be a big deal, and I will still be thinking about it all the time…. You aren’t going to cure that with one….bloody hell! …”His hips arched up off the bed  “…rather spectacular blow job.”Buffy stopped what she was doing to scold him.
 
“Stop that! If you can’t hold still, we can’t do this.” While Spike obviously struggled to get his breathing under control to answer her, she sat up and quickly shed her own clothes, dropping them off the side of the bed.  “Maybe this will be better,”she muttered, swinging one leg over him and after a few seconds of teasing and rubbing her clit against his still hard cock, she sank down on him.
 
They gave matching sighs, followed by short bursts of laughter at the mutual reaction.
 
“This is much better,”Buffy sighed again, wriggling around until there was nothing between them but skin. She began squeezing him, becoming so lost in her own sensations she barely noticed what he was doing until it was no longer possible to ignore it. A glance at his face showed her how hard he was working at holding still, as well as confirming that the change in sensation was because he was now in game face.
 
“Oh yeah,”she breathed, gasping as he began moving his hips just enough to hit the internal spot no one else had ever found. She squeezed even harder, bringing a guttural growl from him that vibrated throughout her body.
 
With a surprisingly minimal amount of violent movement from either one of them, they quickly climbed to the point that Buffy was gasping his name over and over while his snarled “yes, Slayer, yes!”sent them both over the edge. With a cry, Buffy collapsed forward, remembering at the last second not to put pressure on his upper body and catching herself on her hands. Beneath her, Spike was taking deep, unnecessary, gasping breaths—only his chest moving as he kept the rest of his body immobile.
 
She dropped a lingering kiss on his heaving chest, then, with reluctance, moved off to lie beside him, keeping one leg over his and draping an arm across his stomach. She propped her head up on the pillows she’d pulled from behind him so she could snuggle into his chest without putting any weight on it.
 
“Think you could let my arms down now, Slayer?”Spike asked after a few minutes. “Unless you’re planning on another go —then you can leave them right where they are!” he added hastily.
 
Buffy smiled against his skin, but shook her head. “That was fun, but I think it would be pushing it to try it again.”She sat up and frowned at the shirt. “Can I get that off without hurting you?”
 
He tried to shrug, then gave it up as impossible in that position. “As best I remember, it took two people to get it on. One to hold my arm while the other one pulled the sleeve over it.  I’ve been wearing it for over a week. Just cut it off.”
 
“Ewww, and good idea.”She got off the bed and rummaged around in the small overnight bag she picked up from Angel’s office until she found the knife she was looking for. She quickly slit the neck and arm holes of the tee shirt and pulled it out from under Spike’s body.
 
He brought his arms down and sat up, gazing at the knife with admiration. “How’d you get that pretty little piece of potential death through airport security?”he asked.
 
“Willow put a glamor on it so it looks like a curling iron. And when I fly on Council business, we get to skip security anyway.”
 
“So I’m Council business now?”
 
“Well, you’re my business, and I’m the head of the Slayer half of the Council, so….”
 
She put the knife back into the bag and came back to the bed. “You might as well stand up and get out of those jeans too. Now that you have clean stuff to put on tomorrow.”
 
He stood up and allowed his jeans to fall to floor, stepping out of them and kicking them to one side.
 
“Now what, Buffy?”he asked.
 
She pointed at his twitching cock that was slowing filling again. “Put that thing away. We’re going to get some sleep. You’ve got important healing to do.”
 
He sighed his disappointment, but obediently got back on the bed and used his teeth to drag a pillow into place before lying down on his back.
 
“This is the best I can do, love. Have to sleep on my back to keep weight off my arms.”He crossed his arms over his chest.
 
After turning off the lights, Buffy climbed onto the bed and pulled the covers up over them both.  “Just so you’re there, beside me, it’s fine. We’ll have lots of time for cuddling and spooning when we get home.”She curled into his side and kissed his bare shoulder. “Lots of time.”
 
“When we get home,”he repeated, kissing the top of her head. “We’re going home.”
 
The end
 
Reunions:
 
            1 –Spike and Robin
            2 –Spike and Buffy