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The Past Never Forgets by 3988Akasha
Calm Before the Storm
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A/N: Telepathy between Spike and Buffy will be denoted by single quotes from now on. I hope that makes it easier to read!

Calm Before the Storm

“Mom, you look tired, let’s get you home. We can talk more about this tomorrow if you want,” Buffy said once she and Spike had walked into the room.

“That sounds good, Buffy. We will be talking more tomorrow,” Joyce turned her gaze to the vampire, “You as well, Spike.”

“’Course Joyce,” Spike answered. ‘When’d your mom get so scary, pet?’

‘She has that effect on people. Even Giles. It’s funny to see him go all studdery.’ Buffy laughed at the though and blushed when everyone looked at her curiously.

“That’s really rude, you know. Having private conversations, not exactly the way to make friends,” Cordy said.

Buffy rolled her eyes at Cordy and turned to Giles, “We’ll meet up here tomorrow and talk strategy. The Council will be back in two days.”

Giles nodded and watched the group exit the library. He would not be getting much sleep tonight. Now that he was alone, the activities of the past few days could fully sink into his mind. It had not escaped him that he had “allowed” a Master Vampire to claim his Slayer. Not only that, but he “allowed” a sister claim to take place between two high school students and the second Slayer. He was amazed at how accepting Joyce had been of the whole situation. She had just recently found out about her daughter’s calling and had handled that like a parent…she lost it. He, being the Watcher, was having a difficult time taking in all of this new information. After Angel lost his soul last year, he swore that he would never again trust another vampire, soul or not. However, here he was accepting Spike into the group. He knew Buffy was different than the other Slayer’s. She was so unlike Kendra, who had been the standard Slayer, and yet, Giles knew that because Buffy was so different, she would be the one to live the longest, to accomplish the most. That thought left him feeling proud. He knew that Faith would be a lot like Buffy. She was free willed and spirited.

“You won’t be able to interfere with the test, Rupert,” Travers said.

Giles tried his best to act unaffected by the presence of the man in the room, “I am well aware of that, Quentin.”

“As I’m sure you are aware,” Travers continued as if the other man hadn’t spoken, “This test is not only for the Slayers. It is for you as well. We are unsure of your abilities…”

“My, abilities, are just fine,” Giles ground out, sounding a lot like Ripper.

“Of course. It’s you’re closeness to Miss Summers that has us most concerned. We fear it clouds your…judgment at times. It appears that Faith will follow in Miss Summers’ footsteps,” Travers continued.

“I rather hope she does,” Giles commented.

“Is that so?” Travers asked, a hint of disdain in his voice.

“Yes. Buffy is the strongest Slayer we’ve ever seen. You know this, and that scares you. You’ve never had a Slayer that you couldn’t control, never had one that didn’t quite fit into your mould. That is the true reason why a Slayer has such a short, brutal life, Quentin. It is because she has no ties to this world, nothing to keep her here, nothing except her calling. It is that, the constant pressure of being the Chosen One that kills her,” Giles said.

“You are correct, Rupert. Our Slayers are not supposed to have ties to the outside world. Watchers are the only people with whom she is to have any constant contact. This is done to protect the innocent. We cannot do that if the Slayer continues to endanger those she draws into her life,” Travers said evenly.

“She’ll prevail. I have up most confidence in both of the girls. They will be able to take anything you chose to put them through,” Giles said.

Travers smirked, “We’ll find out soon.”

Giles ground his teeth together to keep from beating the man to death. He was pleased to watch his employer leave the library. Any remaining doubts he had to his Slayer’s trust in Spike or her choices, they immediately left his conscious. He trusted Buffy’s instincts, now more than ever. Travers had made it quite plain that he did not expect either girl to live through the test. He couldn’t allow that to happen.
“You girls can sleep in the living room. Spike, I’ll have Buffy set up the cot for you in the basement. It should be enough to protect you from the sun,” Joyce said as the group entered the house.

“Wills, you know where the extra blankets and such are, right?” Buffy asked.

Willow nodded, “I’ll help Faith and Cordellia set up the big sleeping mat.”

“Spike and I will set up the cot,” Buffy said as she dragged Spike down the stairs.

‘What’s all this about?’

‘Wanted you all to myself, Big Bad. Kiss me.’

Spike smirked at her before he gathered her up in his arms and kissed her breathless. He would never get enough of her warm little body pressed up against his cool one. She was his sunshine, everything he would never have again. He didn’t deserve her or her friends, he knew this, and because of that he would do whatever he had to do to keep them safe.

Buffy moaned into his mouth. She would never tire of Spike Kisses. It amazed her how a vampire, cold, dead, vampire could make her feel so warm and alive. Everywhere he touched her she felt a little fire erupt. She traced his retracted canine with her tongue and smiled internally when she felt him growl in approval.

‘Playin’ with fire, there, pet. Don’t know what you’re doin’ to me.’

‘I think I know exactly what I’m doing to you.’

To prove her point, Buffy pulled his lip into her mouth and nibbled on it gently. He tightened his grip on her and ground his jean clad erection into her pelvis. As much as Buffy would love to have Spike pin her to the wall and pound into her all night long, she knew she couldn’t do that here, with her mother upstairs. It just wasn’t fair. Hesitantly, Buffy pulled away from her mate before things reached the point of no return.

“You’re a terrible tease, Slayer,” Spike growled at her.

“You think my mom was scary at the library? Just wait until she comes down those stairs and catches me doing the ‘act’ with my Vampire lover,” Buffy retorted.

Spike shuddered involuntarily. He certainly didn’t want to give Joyce any reason to become angry with him. ‘Woman’d prolly plunge a stake through my undead heart.’

The cot was stored on a shelf, a high shelf. Spike watched in amusement as Buffy attempted to reach it. He knew she wouldn’t ask for help. She was a right stubborn bint. Finally giving up on bouncing on her toes to reach it, Buffy climbed up onto one of the lower shelves and threw the cot down to the ground.

“Could’ve just asked for help, luv,” Spike said with a smirk.

“From you? Never going to happen, Spike,” Buffy said.

“Not complainin’, Slayer,” Spike said. ‘Looked right cute being all fussed about it.”

Buffy glared at him before turning on her heel and walking up the stairs. She was stopped half way up by a vice like grip around her midsection.

‘Where in the bloody hell do you think you’re runnin’ off to?’

“Upstairs. And I’m not running. I’m walking calmly up the stairs. Where my mother and friends are,” Buffy said.

‘No goodnight kiss?’

She could feel the purr in his voice and momentarily melted. “No. Mean vampires don’t get those.”

Spike growled before capturing her lips with his. She stubbornly resisted for a few seconds before giving into the wonderful sensations his tongue was causing. Spike felt her mold against him and it took everything in him to remember that her mother was upstairs. With one last peck, Spike pulled reluctantly away.

“Goodnight, Slayer,” Spike said.

“Night, Spike,” Buffy said.

“Someone was making with the smoochies,” Willow said teasingly when Buffy reached the top of the stairs.

Buffy blushed deeply, “It’s his fault.”

“I heard that,” a gruff British voice called.

‘I know. And it is so your fault.’

“This claim is way wicked. I could totally feel you getin’ all excited for Blondie,” Faith said enthusiastically.

“Can I just say, eeww!” Buffy exclaimed.

“Not in a gross, eeww, way,” Willow said quickly, “More of a really happy Buffy way.”

“Are we always going to know when you and Spike get all…” Cordy let the sentence hang in the air, “Because if you are, I’d really appreciate a warning.”

All of the girls laughed at Cordy’s apparent distress.

“I gotta know, B. What’s it like?” Faith asked.

Buffy smiled knowingly. It was so nice to have a girl talk for a change. Even if said girl talk was about her hundred something year old vampire boyfriend. “It’s amazing. I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s weird at first, because of the lack of body heat, but once you get over that it’s amazing. So unlike kissing normal guys.”

“As in guys with a pulse,” Cordy interjected.

“Yeah, as in guys with a pulse. But, Spike’s different than Angel with the kissage. Angel was all tender and loving, which was good, but with Spike, it’s raw…melting need. It’s like he can’t get enough, like he lives, or well, I guess, unlives for it,” Buffy continued.

“Wow,” Willow whispered.

“Oh like you don’t know what I’m talking about, Will!” Buffy admonished.

Willow turned about the same color as her hair, “I-I, uh, I, uh…”

Again the girl broke into fits of laughter.

‘Can’t you bloody women ever shut up?’

‘Oh, poor Spikey. We’re doing the girl talk thing. It’s what girls do.’

‘Do you lot have to do it so loudly? Vampire, luv. I can hear almost every bloody word.’

‘Oh god! Stop listening! Girl talk is for, girls…not boy vampires! Shut your ears, go to sleep.’

‘Night time.’

‘Stupid vampires.’

“Maybe we should try whispering,” Buffy suggested.

The girls all raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

“Our resident vampire thinks we’re being too loud,” Buffy explained.

“He can hear us?” Cordellia asked.

“Apparently,” Buffy said casually.

“Now that is rude,” Cordellia said seriously.

Faith laughed, “Can’t understand why Blondie’d be interested in what we’re sayin’ anyway.”

“I don’t think he is. It’s more, he just can’t help hearing cause of the whole vampire hearing thing,” Buffy said, “Now, tell us about Oz.”

“Oh, I’d, uh, hoped you’d forgotten about that,” Willow said softly, “Since you haven’t, I, uh, it’s nice.”

“Come on, there’s got to be more than ‘nice’. Hell, kissin’ you’re cousin is nice,” Faith said.

“Really?” Buffy asked with a raised eyebrow.

Faith shrugged, “Sure, I mean, it wasn’t all ‘family lovin’, but you know, it was something to do.”

“You must have had a very troubled childhood,” Cordellia said as she shook her head.

Faith smiled.

“Kissing Oz is not like kissing my cousin,” Willow began, “Because, of course, I’ve never kissed my cousin.”

“What about Xander? I mean, you guys have been friends for like ever,” Faith asked.

“Never kissed Xander,” Willow said in a small voice.

“I for one am happy about that,” Cordellia said.

Buffy and Faith both laughed.

“Girls,” Joyce called from the stairs, “You all have school in the morning. You really should get some rest.”

“Alright, mom,” Buffy called, “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” Joyce answered. She was reluctant to interrupt their obvious good evening. It was such a change to see Buffy being just a girl. Catching up on guys and gossip with her friends. For a moment, it was easy for Joyce to forget that her daughter was the Slayer and that her boyfriend was a vampire. Shaking the thoughts from her mind, Joyce ascended the stairs and went to bed.

Buffy laid down next to Willow and Faith. She was reminded of her life before she was the Chosen One, her life in L.A. To her surprise, she didn’t miss it. She was content right here. She knew her life would never be “normal”, but then she didn’t really understand what was so great about being normal anyway. For the first time since she knew she was the Slayer she felt safe. She didn’t know if it was because of the vampire sleeping in the basement or the three girls sleeping around her. At this moment, she didn’t care what the Council had in store for her. Whatever it was, she was confident that she could defeat it.

Spike was jarred from his sleep by a wave of panic that whipped through his Mate. He was in game face instantly and ready to dash up the stairs just as the basement door silently opened. He relaxed his stance as he saw Buffy descending the stairs, but was too worked up to make his demon recede.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to make you all panicy,” Buffy said shyly.

“’S alright. What’s wrong, pet?” Spike asked.

“I just realized that I hadn’t given you the ring yet. I wanted you to have it before I go to school tomorrow. You know, incase the Council decides to move up their timetable or something,” Buffy said quickly.

Spike looked at Buffy, trying to read the true reason for her sudden panic.

“Look, I know Giles isn’t exactly happy about you having it, but I want you to have it,” Buffy said, “I need you to have it.”

Spike nodded. He couldn’t find words. He was overwhelmed. Not only had Buffy trusted him enough to allow him to claim her, but she trusted him to have the Gem. The same Gem she had kicked his ass to get from him not a month ago.

Buffy gently took his hand in hers and placed the Gem on his middle finger. She didn’t know why she picked that finger, but she picked right because it fit perfectly. She smiled up at him and watched the emotions play across his blue eyes.

“Penny for your lack of thoughts?” Buffy asked teasingly.

Spike smiled down at her. In an attempt to show her how he was feeling, he gently brushed his lips against hers. Buffy smiled against his lips and traced his lower lip with her tongue. She knew what he was feeling, because she could feel it and it warmed her through. She knew Giles’ only concern was for her safety and she appreciated it, but Spike was the last person she was afraid of. In reality, she was more afraid of Cordellia than Spike and that was a bit on the sad side for the Master Vampire.

Spike chuckled as he heard Buffy’s whimper of complaint when he pulled his lips away from hers. “Love you so much, Buffy.”

“I love you too, Spike,” Buffy said.

Spike felt the truth of her statement through the claim. “You’re mum was right. You need to get some kip, pet. I have the ring now. If the wankers try to do anything to you or your mates, I’ll be there.”

She kissed him lightly on the lips, “Goodnight.”

Spike smiled, “Night, luv.”

After he was sure Buffy was safely sleeping the sleep of tired little Slayers, he allowed himself to drift off to sleep on the incredibly uncomfortable cot.

“Dawn! Dawn! Are you there?” Spike yelled frantically after he walked into the Summers’ home.

“It’s, it’s just Spike,” Spike heard Dawn tell someone, “I’m here!”

Spike let out the unneeded breath he didn’t realize he had been holding when he saw Dawn walk down the stairs. “Thank God. You scared me half to death…or more to death. You – I could kill you.”

Spike watched closely as Dawn walked down the stairs. He was afraid to look away, because if he did, she’d be gone…again.

“Spike,” Dawn said in a warning tone.

“I mean it. I could rip your head of one-handed and drink from your brain stem,” Spike ranted.

He watched as Dawn shook her head in exasperation. Once she had reached the bottom of the stairs, he began to realize that something was different.

“Look,” Dawn said as she stepped aside.

“Yeah? I’ve seen the bloody bot before. Didn’t think she’d patch up so – ” Spike stopped abruptly as he realized that the bot, was not a bot at all.

“She’s kind of, um…she’s been through a lot…with the…death. But I think she’s ok,” Dawn said shakily.

Spike stares dumbstruck at the sight before him. He watched at Buffy realized her blouse was still unbuttoned and quickly began to button it. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Buffy was back, she was alive. “Yeah, and she’ll never forgive you for breaking your promise, you git.”

“Spike? Are you ok?” Dawn asked.

“I’m…what did you do?” Spike asked.

“Me? Nothing,” Dawn said sharply.

Spike watched as Buffy nervously clutched her shirt.

“Her hands,” Spike said.

Buffy moved her hands behind her back and looked at bit embarrassed.

“Um, I was gonna fix ‘em. I don’t know how they got like that,” Dawn said tentatively.

“I do. Clawed her way out of a coffin, that’s how,” Spike said as he turned to Buffy, “Isn’t that right?”

“Yeah,” Buffy said softly, “That’s…what I had to do.”

“Done it myself,” Spike said just as softly.

He continued to stare at her. “Do something you git!”

“Um…we’ll take care of you. Come here,” Spike said as he led the girl to the living room.

He looked up at Dawn, “Get some stuff, uh, mercurochrome, bandages.”

“Okay,” Dawn said as she took off up the stairs.

Spike sat down on the coffee table facing Buffy who had settled herself on the sofa.

“How long was I gone?” Buffy asked once their eyes had met.

“Hundred forty-seven days yesterday. Uh ... hundred forty-eight today,” Spike paused and smiled, “’Cept today doesn’t count, does it?”

When she didn’t answer, Spike began to worry.

“How long was it for you…where you were?” Spike asked in an attempt to keep her talking, prove to himself that this was real.

Buffy paused, “Longer.”

Spike awoke with sweat pouring down his face.
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