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If That's What it Takes by slaymesoftly
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Chapter Five  
She approached Spike’s crypt with determination and enthusiasm – right up until she got to the door, where her courage failed her.  She leaned against the stone wall, chewing her lip and trying to talk herself out of running away.
“It’s Spike. He loves me. He’ll forgive me.  He probably already has forgiven me. He’s just sleeping until it’s dark enough to come back to the house. I can do this. I can tell him I’m sorry and that I want him to be part of the baby’s life. How hard can it be?”
Purpose renewed, she opened the doors and entered the big stone room. In the dim light coming through the dirty windows and open door, she could see that Spike was not on that floor. With a sigh, she pulled the door shut and waited for her eyes to adjust to the gloom. When she felt she could see well enough, she walked to the open entrance to the lower level and peered down. There was no light, so she grabbed a candle and Spike’s lighter off a nearby table.  She lit the candle and worked her way down the narrow ladder until she was standing on the dirt floor.
Spike, naked and barely awake, was sprawled across the bed peering at her through bleary eyes.  The empty bottle on the floor beside him explained both the eyes and the smell of booze that she couldn’t miss.  Setting the candle down, she walked over to the bed, averting her eyes from Spike as she picked up the empty bottle and tossed it in a trash box.
“Spike. You wanna cover up so we can talk?”  She kept her back to him, but peeked over her shoulder to see if he’d pulled the blanket up.  He returned her look, leaning back on his elbows.
“Nothing you haven’t seen before, is it, Slayer?”
“Fine!” she snapped. “Be an ass.” 
She looked around for someplace to sit, but there was nothing but the bed and a pile of rolled up rugs.  She sat on the rugs and stared around the room, determined not to look at him or talk to him until he covered up.  There was a stubborn silence that lasted so long Buffy was beginning to think he’d gone back to sleep. She flicked a glance at him to find him staring at her with a mixture of frustrated affection and mulish determination. He crossed his arms across his chest and lifted his chin defiantly. Buffy tossed her head and crossed her own arms, settling back on the rugs in a clothed imitation of his posture.
They held their poses until Buffy noticed Spike’s lips twitching. He looked away, but she’d already seen his eyes crinkling at the corners and she snorted in spite of herself. In only seconds they were laughing so hard they couldn’t talk. Buffy fell off her pile of rugs, which sent Spike into more laughter, doubling over as if in pain.  When they’d slowed down, Buffy hiccupping as she tried to catch her breath, he grabbed the blanket and stood up.  He wrapped himself in the blanket and walked over to where she was lying on the floor gasping, extending his hand and waiting for her to notice it. Her gaze flickered from his hand to his face and the laughter faded from her eyes.  She took his hand and let him pull her to her feet.
They stood, only inches apart, hands still linked, eyes locked.  They spoke simultaneously.
“I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry.”
Spike shook his head and squeezed her hand. “No, Buffy. I should apologize. I got you into this, and then I left you. I’m the worst kind of wanker.”
“You didn’t know. Hell, I didn’t know until it got to where only an idiot wouldn’t have figured it out.” She gave him a small smile. “I think Willow and Dawn were about to stage an intervention when I finally admitted it to myself and told them.”
“Doesn’t matter. If I’d stayed around I’d have noticed it sooner.  You wouldn’t have got so run down and tired.”
“I’ll live.”  She looked down at their linked hands, then raised her eyes again. “I… I know I wasn’t very… nice to you when we got back. I… I just didn’t know what to do.  You were still… you, but not….” She shook her head and dropped his hand.  “I know I drove you away. It’s kinda what I do with men,” she added with a grimace. “You shouldn’t take it personally.”
When he didn’t respond except to raise an eyebrow, she swallowed hard and forced herself to continue. “I did... do… sometimes… miss… us. The us that we were… before. In that other place...” As though that admission had opened floodgates, she rushed on.  “I missed it so much, and I was afraid to tell you I missed it, and I….” She stepped away. “I’m sorry. I know it hurt when I wouldn’t talk to you, and then last night I hurt you again and I didn’t mean to.”  She crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head. “I don’t want to hurt you, but I don’t think I know how to stop.”
“Buffy—” He stopped, remaining uncharacteristically speechless.
She stepped closer and extended a hand, letting it hover just over his heart.  “I don’t think you should trust me with this.” She tapped on his bare chest lightly. “I’m probably going to put a stake through it someday – metaphorically, if not for real.”
“You’re doing a pretty good job of it right now,” he said with a slight tremor in his voice. “I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me, Buffy. Are you saying you’re sorry you hurt me, but you’re not planning to change anything so I should get used to it? That I can be part of your life, but at my own risk? I’m here for you, love, no matter what, but I’d really like to know where I stand. What am I to you?”
She gave a shaky laugh and rested her hand on his chest. “I don’t know what I’m saying. I kinda want us to be… us again... I think. But I don’t know how to do that here.” She stroked his chest, trying not to flinch when it wasn’t the warm skin she’d been used to. “You’re different. I’m different. You’re not—I’m afraid I’m going to keep hurting you. I don’t want to be that Buffy. The one who lives here and... I want to be the Buffy who was falling in love with her Spike, not the one who always hurts him.”
He raised one arm and stroked her head, watching her hair slide through his fingers. “Not feeling all that much pain just at the moment,” he whispered, lowering his hand to touch her shoulder.
He put both arms around her, moving tentatively as though not sure if his embrace would be welcomed, but Buffy sighed and let herself melt into him, putting her own arms around his waist.  They stood like that for several minutes, letting their bodies speak for them as they found their way back to a comfort zone of sorts. Eventually Buffy raised her head and frowned up at him.
“When we let go, that blanket’s going to fall right down, isn’t it?”
She felt his chest move as he chuckled.  “Could do.  Maybe you’d best stay like this… jus’ to keep me decent.”
“You wouldn’t know decent if you fell over it,” she snorted as she stepped out of his loosened embrace.  As predicted, the blanket fell to the floor, but Spike quickly picked it up and pulled it around his body.
“I don’t think we’ve been made up long enough for you to start insulting me already,” he huffed, his words and tone belied by the happy smile on his face.
“Have we?” she asked, suddenly serious again.  “Made up, I mean. Are we okay now?”
“We’re as okay as we can be without having had any of our famous make-up sex,” he said with a half-serious leer.
“And there he is – piggy Spike,” she said, laughing and tugging on the blanket.  “Why don’t you put some clothes on so I won’t feel like a perv for staring at you?”
“Why don’t you take yours off, so I can stare at you and feel all manly?” he countered, dropping the blanket and moving closer.  “Or, better yet…”
Buffy held up a hand in the classic sign for “halt”. “Back off, vampire.   We’re not getting naked together.”  She bit her lip and peered at him out of the corner of her eye, sure that she’d probably just hurt him again. “I didn’t mean, not ever. I just think we’ve got some getting to know each other again to do before... And I need to talk to a doctor about what I can and can’t do for the next few months.”
He was immediately contrite. “Of course not. I’m a git.” He moved away and picked his jeans up off the floor.  “Need to get those bloody rugs down,” he muttered, brushing off some dried mud before he pulled them on.  He wandered around looking for his shirt while Buffy stared at the pile of rugs.
“Speaking of rugs… are you going into the used carpet business?”
He looked uncomfortable, but said quietly, “Got those when we first got back. Didn’t want you having to walk around on a dirt floor, if you…” He coughed. “Turned out they weren’t needed.”
Buffy winced.  “Did I mention ‘sorry’?”
He shrugged and, now safely clothed, put his arms around her again. Nuzzling the side of her neck, he inhaled the scent he’d told her he missed when he was human. “You’re here now. ’S all I care about. Missed you so much, I could spend the next three days just drowning in the way you smell.”
She stiffened at the additional reminder of his undead status, then relaxed against him.  “It’s going to be different, isn’t it?”
He didn’t pretend to misunderstand her, just nodded and hugged her tighter. “It is. Take a bit of getting used to I imagine. For both of us. On the plus side,” he added, raising his head and grinning, “we should have a whole lot more stamina now.”
She laughed and moved away from him. “Do you ever think about anything else?”
“Not when you’re around,” he countered immediately.  “Although, now that I think about it, I could use some nourishment with a lower alcohol content than I had this mornin’.  Let’s go upstairs and see if I was sober enough to bring the extra blood in from my car.”
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