full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
If That's What it Takes by slaymesoftly
<<     >>
Chapter Seven  
Spike opened one bleary eye to see Dawn peering in the door.
“Mornin’, Bit,” he yawned.
“It’s almost four in the afternoon,” she replied, opening the door a little more. “So, does this mean I need to buy earplugs?”
He tossed the spread off, allowing her to see that he was still dressed except for his boots and coat.
“Don’t know why,” he said, getting up and stretching. “Buffy here?”
“No. She’s working the early shift at the Doublemeat.  She said she wanted to go with you tonight when you patrol.”  Dawn came into the room and sat down on a clothes-covered chair. “So, dish.  What’s going on between you two? Are you going to be my brother-in-law for real?”
He shot her a sharp look. “For real?”
“Buffy told us about being married when you were gone.”
“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t be countin’ on that here, pet. I don’t think marriage is on the Slayer’s short list... or her long one...” he added softly.
“Would you? If it was on her list? Would you marry her?”
“You know,” he said, sitting down to put his boots on,  “that’d be something I’d prob’ly talk about with her before I told you about it.”  He stood and picked up his coat. “Don’t suppose there’s any blood in that kitchen anymore, is there?”
Dawn followed him out of the room and down the stairs. “There’s probably some yucky old frozen stuff in the bottom of the freezer, but I think Buffy bought you some before she went to work today.”  She opened the refrigerator and pulled out a new container.  “Here it is.”  She handed it to him, and watched with interest as he took down a mug, poured the blood in it and set it in the microwave.
“I see you haven’t forgotten how to feed yourself in our kitchen.”
“Don’t you have somewhere to be? School or something?”
“School’s over for the day. I’m home already. Just waiting for Tara and Willow. Tara’s going to teach me how to cook.” She looked at his dubious expression and frowned. “I can learn to cook,” she said. “I don’t think the ‘I can’t cook’ thing is genetic. I think it’s just Buffy.”
Spike thought back to some of the meals they’d had in the other world and laughed.  “Could be, pet. Could be.  In all fairness to your sister, she’s been a mite busy most of her life – what with stopping apocalypses and keeping you from being Hellgod Helper.”
You saved me from Glory! If you hadn’t taken Doc with you when you fell off the tower—”
“While your sister was fighting a god down on the ground. Don’t forget that. I was just the emergency services guy; it was Buffy doing the SWAT team work.” He took his warmed blood from the microwave and sat down at the counter. “So, Red actually cooks food – she doesn’t just wave her magic wand over it?” He raised a skeptical eyebrow.
Dawn shrugged. “I think Tara’s upset about how much magic Willow uses. They had a pretty big fight while you and Buffy were gone about using magic without knowing what might happen. I thought Tara was going to leave her, but Willow got all sad and said she’d stop using magic all the time if Tara would stay with her.  So she doesn’t do it anymore. Not when Tara’s watching, anyway....”
“But she does use it when the good witch isn’t around?” he asked, pretending to be uninterested in the answer. 
“Yeah. I think she does. She’s determined to de-rat Amy, and I think she works on that when Tara isn’t around.  I don’t know why Tara would object to that, though. I mean, poor Amy. She’s a rat!”
“I’m sure there are a few things that Red could do – magically – that would do more good than harm,” Spike said, draining his mug and walking to the sink. “I can think of one or two...”
Dawn frowned at him, but didn’t ask what they were.  The witches in question came in just then and the conversation turned to teaching Dawn to cook. Spike did his best to defend Buffy’s culinary skills, but in the face of three disbelieving faces, he had to admit that he’d had to choke down more than one meal when his status in the other dimension meant he had to eat what was put in front of him. Buffy came in with a bag of Doublemeat sandwiches before he got around to admitting that he’d learned to do some cooking himself.
“’lo, Buffy,” he said, somewhat uncertainly. Except for Dawn, he had no idea who else might have known he spent the night and most of the day in Buffy’s bed.
“Hi,” she replied, giving him a smile.  “Did you sleep okay?”
“Considering that he just got up a little while ago... I’d say he slept like the dead.”  Dawn seemed oblivious to the expressions on Willow’s and Tara’s faces, watching only to see what Buffy would do. After a quick glare at her sister, Buffy sighed and turned to her housemates.
“I would have told you guys before this, but it was kinda a last second decision and it was really late... or early, depending... when he got in, so...”
“So, he spent the night?” Willow shrugged. “Does this mean he’s going to live here?”
“I... we haven’t...” Buffy looked helplessly at Spike who was waiting for her response, his expression giving no sign of his own preferences.  “I guess that’s up to him... and to you guys,” she hastened to add. “I mean, how would you feel about having Spike in the house?”
The witches exchanged looks while Dawn just sighed, explaining, “Buffy, you do know that he slept here a lot while you were over there pub-crawling with Giles, right?  He was my...” her mouth curled in disgust, “babysitter... when Willow and Tara or Xander and Anya couldn’t be here.”
“Uh... no. I guess I didn’t... I mean, I know he was patrolling for me, and I know he was protecting everybody, but I didn’t know—Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked, turning on the vampire. “Why didn’t you tell me you were living here while I was gone?”
“Wasn’t sure how you’d take it, love,” he said. “And I wasn’t so much ‘living here’ as just sleeping here from time to time.  Made myself a little place downstairs where I could hide from the sun during the day, and just snoozed there until it was safe for me to go outside.”
“What else went on while I was gone that I should know about?” Buffy glared around the room. Except for Dawn, everyone looked mildly ashamed and glanced away. Dawn, however, just grinned and said, “Well, let’s see, Spike taught me how to cheat at poker, and we went out barhopping with Willow and Tara, and we almost got arrested but Willow magicked up a glamour and we stole a car and got away, and then we—”
It was the snicker from Spike, and the muffled giggles from Willow and Tara that clued Buffy in before she could explode.  “Very funny,” she growled.  “And there was no crawling...pub or otherwise... while I was in England, I’ll have you know. It was all rest and research.” She shook her head. “Apparently, R and R means something different in England than it does here. It does to Giles, anyway.”
“So back to the question. Is Spike going to live here?”
“Whatever he wants, I guess,” Buffy said, looking at him. “Maybe he won’t want to live with a bunch of girls... Never mind,” she added when he gave her an incredulous stare. “Silly me.” 
Moving closer to her, but carefully not touching her in any way that could be construed as being possessive or too overtly affectionate, he said, “Let’s play it by ear, Slayer. I’ve got to go back where I was stayin’ at some point, pick up my last paycheck and get my stuff from the apartment there.  Was thinking maybe I’d do that tonight.”
“Do you want company?” Buffy’s question put a delighted smile on his face.
“I’d love company. If you’re alright with a long car ride.”
“Oh, crap.” She sighed and gave him an apologetic smile. “I kinda forgot for a minute there.  That’s probably one of those things I shouldn’t do.  Remind me to ask Dr. Parada when we go in for the ultrasound next week.”
He nodded. Neither of them noticed the expressions on the faces of the other girls as Buffy blithely talked about the two of them going in for the untrasound as a couple. The three girls exchanged looks and Dawn said, “Xander’s head is going to explode.” 
Spike gave a low growl, subsiding when Buffy nudged him.  “You knew it wouldn’t be that easy,” she said. “You’re going to have to play nice for awhile.”
“As long as the other people who live here are okay with it, don’t know why he’s even entitled to an opinion,” he groused.  “I hope his soddin’ head does explode. Would serve him right.”
“Okaaay, so I’m guessing we need to break this to him while you’re off packing up your other home?”
“Where the hell would he think the father of your baby would be living?” Spike looked at Buffy’s face and his expression darkened. “Unless, of course, he doesn’t know who it is...” When there was no response, he said, “Buffy?”
She refused to meet his gaze, waving her hands around and addressing the refrigerator. “There just hasn’t been an... opportunity... yet. It hasn’t been the right time, and—”
“I’ve been here for almost a week, Buffy. You said yourself he’s seen me standin’ outside. What the bloody hell did he think I was here for?”
“Just to help with the patrolling?” she said meekly, then hastened on when his expression hardened. “Not that I told him that. I didn’t! He just assumed and I didn’t feel like... I let him think it. I shouldn’t have, I guess. Now he’ll be all offended ‘you were keeping things from me’ guy, and—”
“Uh, Buffy?” Dawn waved her hand for attention. “I think Anya knows. She’s not dumb, you know. I heard her say something the other day about Spike probably being the father.”
“Really? What did Xander say?”
“Oh, he blew her off. You know how he is: ‘Oh, Anya, you don’t know anything’. But at least he’s had to think about it. Maybe he won’t be as surprised as you think.”
“Don’t give a flying fuck how surprised he is,” Spike growled.  “But if he’s goin’ to be a wanker about it, he’d better get it out of his system before I get back.” He walked to the door, peered out at the gathering dusk, and said, “I’ll be back before morning, Slayer. Don’t go out without me.”
“You’re not the boss of me!” Buffy shouted at the closed door.  “What?” She turned her glare on the other girls. “He’s not. I can patrol without him one night. It’s not like I haven’t been doing it up till this week.”
Tara frowned in concern, but a nudge from Willow kept her from pointing out that Buffy had been on her feet working all day and a good dinner and early to bed might be a better option. She sighed and said instead, “How about if you sit down with your feet up while I fix dinner, and then after you’ve eaten a good meal, you can go out to kill things.”
“Yeah, okay. That makes sense...” Buffy’s willingness to agree was evidence of how much of her anger at Spike’s demand was put on.  “I’ll just go change and then... sit.”
<<     >>