The Gentleman Takes His Leave by slaymesoftly
Chapter #1 - one-shot

Buffy tries to fit back into her life and forget what happened to her on Halloween. Harder than you might think....
 Wildly AU – season 2
The Gentleman Takes His Leave
Buffy reached out the window and plucked the rose from it’s resting place. Without thinking about what she was doing, she lifted it to her face, sniffed it and brushed the soft petals against her cheek.  The sudden memory of what had occurred to spark the romantic gesture, and who had made it, caused her to shudder.
Oh my God... I’m not a virgin anymore. I’ve had sex. And I can’t even tell anybody about it because... Spike!  I had sex with William the Bloody. A vampire! And not the one that is my boyfriend.  Gah! I have a boyfriend. And he’s a vampire. And Spike’s a vampire. And I’m screwed, but not in a fun way...
Bad word choice, Buffy.... It was not fun. No fun was had, just... sex. Sex I got tricked into having with an evil, soulless vampire.  It was tricky sex. So it probably doesn’t even count. Not really. It wasn’t me having tricky sex, it was that stupid girl the costume turned me into. She had sex with Spike. She believed him when he said we—they— were married. I would have known better. So, it was totally not my fault and it doesn’t even count because I wasn’t me.
Feeling much better about what happened now that she’d convinced herself it couldn’t have been helped, she went to the closet and pulled out what she was going to wear to school that day. All thoughts of how much herself she’d been when the dress came off were firmly banished from her brain.
In spite of her pep talk to herself about her own innocence, it took a while for Buffy to become comfortable around her friends again. She did a lot of apologizing for allowing herself to be carried off, leaving them to defend themselves against Spike’s minions, even though they assured her over and over that they didn’t blame her for what Ethan had done to all of them. She managed to avoid any discussion of what had happened with Spike after they left the warehouse, saying only, “Oh, you know. He was all ‘I’m going to drink your blood’ and I was all ‘Eek! What a bad man!’ And then the spell broke and I was me and he was... still Spike... and he ran away while I was looking for something to stake him with.”
It took even longer for her to accept Angel’s tentative attentions. In spite of knowing that any trace of what she and Spike had done was long since scrubbed away, she felt sure he would be able to read the guilt on her face. Guilt that she had a harder time denying when her boyfriend’s sad brown eyes were staring at her.  Her flinch the first time Angel put his arm around her surprised them both. Buffy had to fight down the memories of what Spike had said about Angelus and the things he’d done back in the day. She vigorously refused to remember how tender and passionate Spike had been with her, even after she’d come back to herself. 
“I’m sorry, Angel.  I guess I’m still a little freaked out and you’re setting off my vamp radar.”
“It’s all right, Buffy. It must have been pretty terrifying – spending all that time with Spike.  I don’t quite understand why he didn’t kill you while you were helpless, but—”
“I told you, he wanted to fight me. When I was being all scared, wimpy Buffy, he got mad at me.  He said he didn’t want to kill me if I wasn’t going to fight back.” She peered at Angel out of the corner of her eyes. “He’s a very... strange vamp. Different, you know?”
Angel growled, a sound he rarely made around her. “He’s different all right. Always has been.  Boy’s been the bane of my existence since Dru brought him home.”
“Relatively speaking. He was a grown man, but not exactly a man of the world. And I’d already been a vamp for a hundred years by the time he was turned. He’ll always be a boy to me. A dangerous boy, but a boy.”
“I think he might have grown up a little since then,” Buffy said without explanation. Fighting back her body’s inexplicable lack of interest in making out with her boyfriend, Buffy forced herself to take Angel's arm and move closer to him.  “I don’t want to talk about Spike anymore.  He’s probably not even still around.”
“He’s here,” Angel said without explanation.  “They haven’t gone anywhere.”
“He’s here to make Drusille better; that’s why he brought her to the hellmouth. He doesn’t go anywhere without Dru. She’s his... his everything.  I told you about them. How I turned Drusilla – which I’m thoroughly ashamed of now – and she found William—Spike in an alley and brought him into our family without even asking permission...”
“Whose permission would she need?” Buffy frowned her puzzlement.
“Mine. I was her sire. She shouldn’t have done anything like that without running it by Darla or me. Preferably me.”
“It was just you and Darla and Drusilla before that? You and two women? How did that—” Her frown deepened and she took her hand off his arm.
Angel cleared his throat, and pulled her into a hug. “It’s just vampire stuff. Nothing you need to worry your pretty head about. It was a long time ago. Before I had a soul.  Hey, there go your friends. Why don’t we join them?”
As Angel held her hand and pulled her toward Willow and Xander, she continued to frown.  “I hope you’ve gotten over this ‘permission’ thing.  I don’t ask permission,” she muttered as she followed him. “I don’t care if you are my boyfriend....”
“You know I never tell you to do anything unless it’s for your own good.”
She rolled her eyes and pulled her hand out of his.  “I’m pretty sure I can figure out what’s in my own good all by myself, Angel.”  She ignored his sad expression and smiled at her two best friends.  “Hi guys. Why don’t we find a table?”
Ford’s arrival in Sunnydale was a welcome surprise.  Buffy ignored Angel’s jealous posturing and spent a lot of time catching up with all the news from L.A. and her friends there.  Her disappointment when Ford turned out to be working with vampires was more painful than she allowed him to see, although she still did her best to convince him and the other vamp groupies in the Sunset Club that they were in imminent danger of dying painfully. However, Ford’s attack on her and her subsequent temporary loss of consciousness destroyed any chance she had of saving everyone before the vampires they were waiting for got there.
Spike’s arrival was right on schedule, a few minutes after sunset.  In the chaos and screaming that accompanied the arrival of the vampires, Buffy was able to get to her feet. She forced back a tinge of disappointment on seeing that Spike had obviously worked with Ford to set her up, but she didn’t let it stop her from leaping into action when she spotted Drusilla on the balcony. Hoping that Angel was right about what the insane vampire meant to Spike, Buffy grabbed her from behind and put a stake over her heart.
“Spike!”  Buffy held the stake at Drusilla’s breast, waiting for him to notice.
“Everybody stop!” He glared up at Buffy, fear for Drusilla plain even on his demon face. 
She met his eyes firmly, her intentions clear.  “Good idea. Now you let everyone out, or your girlfriend fits in an ashtray.” She pressed the stake a little harder against Drusilla’s chest.
Dru whimpered. “Spike?”
“It's gonna be alright, baby.” He whirled on his minions. “Let them go!” he shouted, snarling until they’d all released their captives to scramble up the stairs and out the open door.
Buffy was a little surprised at his ready acquiescence. Although she’d used Dru, she hadn’t really been sure the threat would work. She silently thanked Angel for the information about how long Spike and Dru had been together and that she was his “everything”. Without it, it probably wouldn’t have occurred to her that a vampire would stop a killing spree just to save another vamp. She frowned briefly, remembering that Angel had killed Darla to save her.
Guess that sire bond wasn’t as strong as the one Spike and Dru have.  Or Angel didn’t care as much about Darla as Spike does about his girlfriend.  Of course, Angel and Darla weren’t together any more. Him having the soul probably put a big dent in that relationship.
Buffy toyed with the idea of staking Dru anyway, knowing she was part of the infamous Scourge of Europe and, sick or not, a potentially very deadly vampire.  Somehow, knowing that Spike was trusting her to keep her word, made it impossible not to. As soon as everyone was safely out of the basement club, she pushed Dru down into Spike’s arms. She glanced over her shoulder as she was leaving and met his eyes. Even as he cradled his lover and soothed her fear, he gave Buffy a small nod of thanks.  While she made her escape, Buffy wondered if her indecision had been visible to him.
I guess it was visible...  Buffy stared back at the vampire that had come out of nowhere to pin her against a wall. She was beginning to realize that defeating someone as old as Spike was not going to be easy. No wonder he’s already killed two slayers.
Buffy flexed her legs, hoping to use the wall to push herself off and get the vampire away from her throat, but before she could move, Spike had tightened his grip and increased the pressure on the arm he had across her neck.
“Settle down there, love.  Not trying to kill you. Just want to set some rules...” He loosened his arm just enough that she could gasp in air and get her vocal cords in working order.
“Wha—”  She coughed and began again. “Rules?  We have rules?”
“Not something I’d ordinarily do with a Slayer, I admit, but you’re a bit special now, aren’t you?”
“Am I?  I didn’t feel all that special when Ford clocked me so he could hand me over to you.”
“Didn’t ask for you, luv. It was his idea. He volunteered to turn you and all those tasty, but too-stupid-to-live wannabes over to me if I’d do him that favor he wanted.”  He grinned at her. “I’m guessing he didn’t get that long unlife he was hoping for?”
“I didn’t even let him get all the way out of the dirt.”
“That’s my girl.” He beamed at her.
“I’m not your ‘girl’. I’m not your anything. We’re enemies, remember?” In spite of her words, Buffy made no attempt to take advantage of the way he’d stopped pressing her against the wall and was just standing over her, one hand on either side of her head. She glared up at him, hands on hips, refusing to respond to his warm smile.
“Spike the vampire and Buffy the vampire slayer are enemies...” He moved one hand down to stroke her hair.  “William and Buffy were very close.... friends.”
“It was a spell, Spike. A spell you took advantage of to rape me.”
He flinched, and his expression hardened.  “Don’t be looking for an apology, Slayer.  Didn’t kill you, didn’t even hurt you, and I know you bloody well enjoyed what I was doing to you.”
“So that makes it all right? Because I thought we were married and in love? I was a virgin, Spike!  You took something from me I can’t ever get back. Something I might wish I had someday when I really fall in love and want to get married.” Her temper rising with her voice, she shoved him in the chest, following him into the center of the alley to continue to yell at him.  “I have a boyfriend! And now I’m afraid to let him touch me, in case we... if I.... He’d know!  He’ll know and he won’t....” She hiccupped, her angry shouting turning to gulping sobs.  “He won’t love me any more and it will be all your fault!” 
“Ah, Buffy. Sweet, innocent Slayer.” Spike pulled her against his chest and murmured into her hair as she cried against him.  “I am sorry, love.  Not for what we did – I can’t ever be sorry for that. Was an eye-opening experience, it was.  But I’m sorry it made you so unhappy. Never thought that far ahead, did I? The blood wasn’t exactly rushing to my brain that night once I’d felt your warm little body against me.” 
Glancing around once to make sure none of his minions were near enough to see him holding Buffy in a less-than-evil way, he continued his soothing words.
“Trust me, sweetheart, any man worthy of your love isn’t going to back out of your life for something so unimportant as not being the one to get into your knickers first. Can’t promise you that my grandsire is that man, mind you — narrow-minded, virgin-raping bog-trotter that he is — but anyone really deserving of someone as amazing as you wouldn’t hold it against you. Blame me, the evil raping vampire, if somebody ever demands an explanation. But if that happens, you prob’bly should be rethinking your taste in men.”
He rubbed soothing circles on her back as her sobs tapered off to embarrassed sniffles. They both froze as Buffy stopped crying and realized what they were doing.  Keeping her eyes focused anywhere but on him, she pushed gently as he dropped his arms and allowed her to step away.  Equally embarrassed at having been so easily distracted by Buffy’s tears, Spike drew himself up and did his best to look evil and dangerous. Neither one spoke for several minutes, during which they both studied the trash on the alley floor and the graffiti on the walls.  With a final sigh that indicated her emotions were under control, Buffy spoke.
“So, rules?  You want rules?”
“Not usually. Don’t like rules as they apply to me, but I think we need some.”
Buffy’s voice sounded weary and much too resigned for someone her age.  “The only rule we need is the one we already know. I’m the Slayer and I slay vampires. You’re a vampire. And so’s your skanky girlfriend,” she added in a lower tone.
“Not going to let you kill her, pet.  Don’t want to kill you.  Don’t even really want to hurt you anymore – although I’ve got to admit, fightin’ with you is a lot of fun....” He shook himself out of his memory of the first night they met.  “But I will if you go after Dru.  Make no mistake, Slayer. If it’s you or her, it’s going to be her. Every time.”
Buffy stiffened and stepped away from him. “Then I think the best thing you two can do is leave town. Take her far, far away from me.”
“Can’t leave here till I get what I came for.”
“Which is?”
“Something to cure Dru of what that mob in Prague did to her. That’s why we came to the Hellmouth.  Didn’t know there was a slayer here until we got here. You were a surprise, and so was Peaches.”
“Angelus. Your ‘boyfriend’.  I hadn’t seen him since World War II, and I don’t know how long it’s been for Dru. Probably since the whore kicked him out of the family for having that bloody soul.  Got to say, when I heard he dusted his sire for the Slayer, I was really curious about you.”  He risked stepped a little closer and touched her cheek lightly. “Now that I know you, I can almost see how—” He growled and backed away again. “But I don’t have any soul to blind me. My eyes are clear. You’re a slayer, and my dark princess is the love of my life. I’m going to stay here until I figure out how to cure her.”
He took a deep breath and looked at Buffy who was just raising her eyes to his. “So we need some rules.  Something that will get us through the next few days or weeks without one of us killing the other.”
“It’s my job, Spike. It’s what I do... what I am.”
He cocked his head and studied her face and the stubborn, unhappy expression on it. 
“It is, and you are. But that’s not all you are.  You’re a warm, passionate woman with a lot of love to give.  Not asking you for a free pass for the minions. Just saying, I’ll stay out of your way if you stay out of mine. You won’t catch me feeding in your town, and I won’t try to notch up my third slayer.”
With a trace of wry humor, Buffy said, “I think you already got that notch, didn’t you?” She shook her head. “At least you can’t brag you killed this one, just—”
He stepped back into her space and tipped her chin up, forcing her to look into his eyes. 
“Won’t be braggin’ about anything I did with you, Buffy.  Was just between us. I’ll remember it, and I’ll think about you from time to time, but I won’t be sharing it with anyone else. As far as the minions know, the spell broke and you got away before I could do much more than rip your dress.”
Buffy blinked in surprise. It had never occurred to her to wonder what Spike told his followers happened after he carried Buffy off over his shoulder. She studied his face, hoping he was telling the truth.
“That’s actually kinda what I told Angel,” she said. “He’d go apeshit if he thought you....”
“That he would,” Spike agreed with a smile. “And much as I’d enjoy knowing he knew, I wouldn’t do that to you.  Do you believe me?”
“I’m trying to,” she said with another sigh. “But you’re a vamp, and....”
“I’m a man of my word, Slayer.”  He brushed his lips over hers, too quickly for her to object or flinch away.  “Besides, if I brass you off, I know I’ll never get a chance to do it again.”
“Again?” Buffy’s voice was a high-pitched squeak.  “We’re not—” She backed away from him, reaching for the stake in her waistband.
“Easy there, pet. Didn’t mean now. Just meant... someday, somewhere, sometime... we could meet again, under different circumstances. Could be twenty years from now.”
Buffy just stared at him, eyebrows raised in disbelief, and holding her stake up until he shrugged and looked away.  His silent acknowledgement of the unlikelihood of a slayer living that long had Buffy nodding until she noticed the sad expression on his face.
“Hey, who knows? Maybe that’ll give me something to live for, huh? Nothing will be able to kill me because I’ll be fighting to live long enough to—”
He laughed softly.  “Chuffed as I am to think that might make you fight harder, we both know I wasn’t that good. You’ll last longer than most because you’re such a good fighter – inventive and smart. And you’ve got your family and your little gang of sidekicks. Most slayers live and die alone. Not you, though. The longer you live, the stronger you’ll get and more creative you’ll be.”
A sound from the end of the alley brought Spike’s head around and he growled deep in his throat.
“Time for me to go, Slayer.  Stay alive.  I’ll be back someday.”
He leapt to the top of a dumpster, and then to the roof of the building, blowing her a kiss before disappearing just as Angel came running down the alley, shouting her name.
The end (for now) But Spike always comes back...