“That was quick,”Buffy whispered.
“Spike heard her and he was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs,”Dawn whispered back. She quickly placed the glass on a coaster beside the bed and joined Buffy in the hall. They went down to the living room where Spike was sprawled in a chair. He stood up when they entered the room.
“So, what’s the plan tonight, Slayer?”
“Scooby meeting about the Council visit, and then that nest you found, I guess.”
“Council visit?”Buffy’d forgotten that Dawn wasn’t aware of the upcoming aggravation.
“Yeah, Spike’s fangirl wants to meet him and she’s bringing friends with her. I have to explain what happened to Glory, and convince them that Spike is harmless and…less evil…than he used to be.”
“Good luck with that,”Dawn said, laughing at Spike’s growl. “See? If he does that, they’ll all go for their stakes.”
“We’re not going to tell them the chip is gone. There really isn’t any reason for them to worry about him as long as they think he still can’t kill or feed.”
With assurances from Dawn that she would check on Joyce frequently –without waking her up –and that she would lock the doors behind them, Buffy and Spike walked out into the night.
“Ride or walk?”
Buffy shrugged. “Let’s walk. I’ve done enough riding for a while.”
“Alright.” They walked a bit farther, shoulders brushing occasionally, before he said. “You know that means I have to come home with you. Can’t leave my car there.”
She stopped and turned to stare at him. “You weren’t planning to come home with me?”
“Did you want me to? I mean, would see you safely home, no matter what, but—”
“Well, I didn’t mean you have to come in and….”
“And shag you on your mum’s living room rug again? Not that evil, pet. And don’t want her to hurt herself trying to brain me with whatever heavy object she can find.”
“Well then, it doesn’t matter if you have to pick up your car or not, does it? If you drive me home, or walk back there with me, we’re still going to be saying goodnight on the front porch.”
“Guess we are at that,”he said. “Best make the most of the rest of the evening, hadn’t we?” He nudged her and leered down into her wide eyes.
“Haven’t you had enough today?”Her mouth twitched as she tried not to smile.
“Not sure I know what enough is when it comes to you, Buffy. But anytime you have a few days off and want to spend them trying to figure it out….”
She shook her head. “You’re impossible.”
“I’m very possible,”he said, putting his arm around her and squeezing. “You have no idea how possible I am.”
She shook his arm off, saying, “We’re almost to the Magic Box. Remember, no PDAs. Not until everybody gets used to us being…us. And not in front of the Council when they get here.”
“Right. Don’t want to dash the hopes of my tweedy little admirer until she’s hopelessly in love with me. Got it.”
He stepped ahead of Buffy so as to open the door for her.
“All I did was open a bloody door for you. I’ve done it before, and I’ll probably do it again. Nobody’s gonna even notice unless you—”
“Unless I what?”Hands on hips, she challenged him, realizing somewhat tardily that everyone was staring at them as they argued in the shop entrance.
“Unless you make a big deal out of it,”he growled, letting the door swing closed behind them.
“See,”Xander said. “You girls are crazy. They’re still fighting. They still hate each other.”He sat back in his chair with a very satisfied expression on his face, too busy watching Spike and Buffy glaring at each other to notice the skeptical expressions on everyone else, including Giles.
“Uh, hi, guys.”Buffy smiled weakly as she walked toward the table. Spike sauntered behind her, going to his accustomed place leaning against a bookcase.
“How’s your mom, Buffy?”Tara’s soft voice reminded everyone why they hadn’t seen much of Buffy for a couple of days.
“We brought her home tonight,”Buffy said, ignoring the sideways glances at Spike who nodded in agreement. “She’s still really sleepy, so we put her to bed and Dawn is checking on her. The doctor said she’ll be fine if she just rests and watches for any of the things he told her to watch for. If she’s feeling up to it, maybe you guys can come by tomorrow night to—”
Giles cleared his throat.
“Oh. Right. The Council will be here tomorrow night. Yay.”
“Explain again why the Council is showing up now that Glory’s been taken care of and not when they could’ve helped?” Xander said what they were all thinking.
“Wankers,”Spike said at the same time Anya spoke up. “They don’t like to get their hands dirty. That’s why they have slayers.”She nodded as if she’d just added to everyone’s education.
“Thank you, that was so helpful.”Giles glared at both of them. “They are here to verify that Glory is gone, to get Buffy’s first-hand account of what she was like, and…a few other things.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “We can tell them, Giles. They should know.” She turned to face her curious friends. “The reason they’re here is because Spike has a groupie that wants to meet him, and she brought some friends with her. It’s no big deal.”
“Spike has a groupie?”Xander choked on a bit of stale pizza.
“Ms. Chalmers wrote her thesis on William the Bloody. She has studied Spike extensively and is anxious to meet him in person now that he is harmless.”Giles gazed around the room. “It is in his best interest that she continue to have reason to want him undusty, so we need to be careful what we say to her about him and his reasons for helping us.”
The girls all exchanged looks with each other, and then looked at Buffy whose slightly pink face was turned away from them.
“Right,”Willow said after a pause. “So, the chip has made him safe around humans and he gets his violent yayas out by helping Buffy kill vamps and demons.”
“And hellgods,”Tara added.
“That’s our story and we’re sticking with it,”Willow said with a firm nod.
“Exactly,”Giles said. “There is, however, one more thing….”
All eyes turned to him, including Buffy’s. She frowned, trying to think what else there might be to worry about. “What more thing?”
“The reason Ms. Chalmers did not come alone is that her colleagues wish to meet…the Key.”
“No way!”Buffy leapt to her feet.
“They simply want to assure themselves that she is an ordinary young girl with no special powers.”
“How do you know they don’t want to kill her? Like those stupid knights?”
Spike snarled and was beside Buffy so quickly everyone blinked. “Over my dust,”he growled from behind her. “I’m not going to play nice with some tweedy bint while her mates are after the Bit.”
Giles sighed heavily. “I tried to tell them their presence wouldn’t be well-received, but they came anyway. I don’t believe they mean Dawn any harm, but they would like to meet her here tomorrow evening.”
“I’m not leaving my mom alone. If they want to meet Dawn, they’ll have to…I don’t know. I don’t want them in my house. Wait a few days or something. They can’t talk to her if Spike and I aren’t here to protect her, and we can’t leave Mom alone yet.”
Tara spoke up quietly. “If you’d like, I can stay with your mother, Buffy. They don’t want to talk to me, I’m sure.”
“What’s the fangless wonder going to do if they do try to hurt Dawn?”Xander asked, looking around the room. “They’re all humans aren’t they?”
“He can still be pretty scary,”Buffy said calmly. “And if it comes down to that, I can kick Council butt while he takes Dawn out of here and hides her someplace safe.”
She smiled at Tara. “That’s a very nice offer, Tara. I’m sure Mom would be fine with it, but I want to talk to her about it in the morning before I say yes. I’m still trying to decide if I think the Council –or however many Council wannabes they sent over –has any right to see Dawn at all.”
“Should we all be here tomorrow? Scooby solidarity or something like that?”
Buffy looked at Giles and shrugged. He glanced at Spike, then back at Buffy.
“That’s actually not a bad idea,”he said. “The more they can see how easily Spike and Dawn fit in with other people, the less likely they are to view them as anomalies to be studied.”
“Does that mean I have to pretend to like him?”Xander asked, glaring at Spike, who was sending him a rude gesture.
“It might be helpful.”
Xander pointed his finger at Spike. “You hear that, fangface? You and me. BBFFs.”
Spike’s only response was to snort and move toward the door.
“So, we’re all up to speed then? Giles will let us know what time to be here tomorrow—”
“And I’ll come by after my classes so you can show me around and your mom can be comfortable with me there…. assuming she’s okay with it.”
“I’ll come with you,”Willow said quickly. “I can ride or walk to the shop with Buffy and Dawn.”
“Tell your mom I hope she feels better soon,”Xander said as he stood up. He nudged Anya’s arm until she said, “Yes, please tell her Xander says he hopes she will be better soon…oh, and the same from me.” She gave Xander a murderous glare until he finally quite poking her.
Smothering a smile, Buffy assured them that she would pass the word. While Giles locked up the shop, having offered to give Willow and Tara a ride home, Buffy explained to them that Spike had found a good sized nest of new vamps that they were on their way to clean out.
They said goodnight to Giles and the two witches, and began walking toward Restfield.
“Mine!”Buffy shoved Spike out of the way to retaliate against a vamp that had thrown a flashlight at her. “What kind of vampire carries a flashlight, anyway?”she muttered as she stalked the now-retreating vampire. “Don’t you know you can see in the dark?”
“It makes a good weapon,”the vampire said, still retreating from her. “I can hit people with it. Well, not you, cause you ducked, but most people—”
Buffy addressed his dust as it drifted to the ground. “You had fangs, you moron.”She sniffed in disgust and turned to see how Spike was doing against the only other nest occupant not already dust. She perched on a nearby tombstone as he danced around his much-larger opponent, dropping his vampire mien to rub it in that he was just toying with him. Buffy watched for a while, admiring Spike’s fluid movement before saying, “Quite playing, Spike. It’s time to go home.”
Without answering her, he knocked the surprised vamp down with a flurry of punches that carried much more force than anything he’d shown so far. He ran a stake into his victim so quickly that Spike was at Buffy’s side before the dust even settled.
“Good night’s work, Slayer.”
“Did we get them all? I stopped counting.”
He shrugged. “Dunno. I didn’t count when I found them, just made note of where it was. If we didn’t, I imagine the others are looking for new hiding places now.”
Buffy worried her lower lip. “Maybe we should have saved a few for tomorrow night. In case the Council wants to watch me or something.”
“I’m sure we can round up a few poor sods to demonstrate on if we need to.”He stood up and stretched. “Should be getting home to your mum and the Bit, shouldn’t we?”
Buffy hopped off the stone and began to walk toward the gate. “I guess so.”She looked around at the surroundings. “These guys really found themselves a remote corner, didn’t they? I don’t know if I’ve ever been back here. It’s all really old graves.”
He nodded as he joined her, linking their hands as they walked. “No reason for you to be. I keep my place clean, and these are old graves. Nobody new has been buried back here in a long time. Any vamp that hasn’t climbed out of his grave long before this has probably starved to death.”
“Can that happen?”
He shrugged. “Maybe? I don’t know. Far as I know, everybody makes it out eventually.”
Buffy shuddered. “How awful to be stuck there. Even for a vamp.”
He squeezed her hand. “You know what I love about you, Buffy?”
She shook her head and braced herself for something piggy.
“You can show compassion for a creature that you know is evil and that you’d stake in a heartbeat once it got out. You’re an amazing woman.”
He kept walking, holding tightly to her hand, which had gone slack in surprise. She was speechless for several minutes, but moved closer to him so that they were touching with every step. Just before they reached the gate, he stopped and turned in front of her so they were face to face.
“Didn’t mean to rattle your cage, love,”he said, pulling her closer and leaning down to whisper in her ear. “There are lots of other things I love about you –this for instance…”He ran his tongue down the side of her neck. “And this…”His hand cupped her ass as he raised his mouth to hers. “And I really, really love—”
While still lost in what she’d started thinking of as “Spike’s make-the-world-go-away”kisses, Buffy found herself against a stone pillar, legs around Spike’s hips and well on her way to wanting to rip their clothes off.
“We don’t have time,”she gasped as she rubbed against him.
“Won’t take long,”he promised, dropping to the ground and taking her with him, his hand already working it’s way into her jeans. Buffy gave a muffled shriek when his cool fingers began a skilled massage of her neediest body part. True to his word, without any of his usual teasing, he worked her clit until she shuddered against his hand, biting his neck to keep from crying out.
She lay there, fully clothed and completely boneless, until she felt him start to rise.
“Oh no you don’t,”she said, pushing him down and onto his back. “Fair is fair.”She tugged his zipper down, releasing him into her hand. She cocked her head and studied his fully erect cock. “Hmmm. What would work best? My hand or my…. mouth.”
Spike’s response was a deep groan as he canted his hips and pushed up toward her face. Buffy giggled. “I can’t tell if that was an answer or not. Guess I’ll just have see what works best.”
She began pulling on him, remembering some of the things he’d taught her to do earlier in the day. His whispered encouragement kept her going, even when she thought she might have heard footsteps nearby. He pulled his coat to cover her hand and his open zipper just as two drunk fledglings came around the corner.
“Hey, get a room, you two,”the shorter one sneered. His companion, putting a hand on the pillar to hold himself up shook his head.
“Got better idea,”he slurred. “You get yourshelf a room ‘n leave the lady here for ush.”
Spike was on his feet and in game face before they’d had time to register that they hadn’t interrupted two humans, but the Slayer and a master vampire. He didn’t bother with threats or fists, just slammed their heads together and while they were stunned, twisted them off. He stood, staring at the dust they’d left behind, taking deep, unnecessary breaths.
A few feet away, Buffy was also on her feet, staring at him. When he remained in his true face, facing the dust and snarling, long after there was anything to snarl at, Buffy finally said his name.
With a gasp, he shook himself back into his human features and turned to meet her frowning gaze.
“Guess that was a mood killer, huh?”he asked as he approached her, more cautiously than he normally would have.
“Ya think?”Buffy tried to keep her voice light and casual, but she couldn’t hide the way her body was tensed for a fight.
Without another word, she went out the cemetery entrance and began walking home. Spike tucked himself away and paced after her, close enough to keep her in sight, but far enough way that she could pretend he wasn’t there. As they turned onto Revello Drive, she sighed and halted, waiting for him to catch up.
“’m sorry, love. Lost my temper. Didn’t mean to….”
“You didn’t mean to kill them? Or did you mean to kill them, and just got lucky that they turned out to be vamps?”
“Fuck!”He turned away and punched a nearby tree. “Is that what you’re thinkin’? That I thought they were human?”
“Didn’t you?”Her expression was cold, but there was a slight tremor in her voice.
He shook his head. “No, Slayer. I knew what they were. No heartbeats, no fear of entering a cemetery at night. If they were human, I’d’have heard them coming long before I did. Humans wouldn’t have caught us like that.”He cocked his head at her. “But you don’t believe that, do you?”
“I…I want to believe it. But…what they said, and you were on them so fast…”She raised her eyes to his. “What if you’d been wrong? What if they were human, Spike?”
“They weren’t, Buffy. All I did was dust another couple of vamps. With extreme prejudice, I admit. But they were just vamps. Just like the ones we already killed earlier. Probably heading for that nest we wiped out.”
“What if they had been human? What then?”
“Then they’d probably have pissed their pants, and they’d still be running. Cause I would have been just as brassed off, and just as fangy…. But I wouldn’t have touched them, Buffy. You have to believe me.”
They started walking again, side-by-side, but not touching. When they reached Buffy’s house, she paused by his car. Rather than look at him, she drew random designs in the dust on the trunk.
“I guess I better go in now. See how mom is.”
They remained standing, just a few inches apart, until Spike exploded. “Bloody hell, Slayer! You’ve seen me kill before. You saw me trying to pull the bitch’s heart out of her chest. That didn’t bother you.”
“I’ve never seen you like you were tonight,”she said quietly. “I don’t think I ever want to again.”
“Can’t promise that, love. Can’t say it’s likely, but in a similar situation, if there was a threat to you—”
“You do remember I’m the Slayer, right, Riley Finn?”She glared at him, hands on hips.
He slumped against the car. “Touché, Slayer. You’re right. They were no danger to you and I had no right to think they might be.”He peered at her from under his eyebrows. “In my defense, they did interrupt what was turning into a rather spectacular handjob. It’s possible that had something to do with my bad temper.”
“I’m pretty sure that had everything to do with it,”she said, her lips twitching at the corners.
“Could be…. Am I forgiven, then?”
She sighed and moved away before he could touch her. “You will be by morning. I’ll see you tomorrow –will you come by to drive Dawn and Willow to the Magic Box?”
“All right, love. I’ll see you tomorrow –later today, actually. Check on your mum and get some sleep.”
She nodded and went up the steps, unlocking the door and stepping inside. “Goodnight, Spike.”
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