Willow came to the door and waited while Buffy thanked the girls who’d carried Spike in. As soon as Buffy turned to her, she said, “He’s going to be okay. I’d boost him again, but then he’d just crash again, so I think it’s better to just let him recover on his own. The effects should wear off in a few hours, but he’s still going to be weak for a day or two.”
“Okay. Thanks, Will. You’ve been a champ this week. I know you’re antsy to get back to Merry Olde. Maybe you can fly out tomorrow sometime. It’s going to be awhile before we’ve cleaned up all the stragglers here and the Army can let people back in. Which reminds me, I need to thank Graham before he leaves.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Willow snorted. “Those soldiers think they’ve died and gone to heaven – if heaven was full of teenage girls giggling at them and asking questions about their flame throwers. I think Graham might have a hard time getting them out of here for a while.”
Buffy laughed. “Too bad we can’t send out for pizza and let them have a party. I’m going to find him anyway. Once I go into that room, I’m not coming out until Spike can walk out with me.”
The two old friends walked toward the lobby, leaving Spike’s door open in case he woke up and wanted something.
Buffy found Graham and laughed again at the expression on his face.
He shook his head. “I should have seen this coming. I don’t suppose you know which ones are too young for my men to be hitting on?” he asked, half-seriously.
“Not exactly. Most of the girls I brought with me are in their mid-to-late teens. Rachel is twenty, I do know that. She probably knows how old her girls are. At least one of them is old enough to think Spike was going to be interested in her.” Buffy’s voice trailed off to a growl.
“Yeah. I heard what happened. We were really confused when the slayers all came jogging out of the tunnel before we even heard the explosions. But when the one said Spike had told her to get out…. That was dumb of me. You told us what could happen. I should have known better than to—”
“Don’t sweat it. My girls figured it out before your men could shoot us or pull the building down on us. I’m just glad they stopped firing!”
“I wasn’t going to let them shoot blindly into the tunnel after your girls ran in. I told them to hold their fire until the girls came back… with or without you.”
“That’s exactly what you should have done.” Buffy smiled at him. “Anyway, it’s been a long afternoon and evening, so I just wanted to thank you before I turn in. You’ll probably be gone before I come out again….” She looked around the lobby where each soldier and two or three girls seeming to hang on his every word. “Or maybe not. The hotel has plenty of rooms if you want to stay here tonight and go out in the morning.”
He groaned. “Not really what I want to do, but it might be easier than tearing these guys away from their admirers.”
Buffy wished him luck and went to the kitchen where she snagged some drinks and food, and a bag of frozen blood for Spike. She then made her way to the room, only to find Jessie and two of the other girls standing in the doorway and staring at the dead man on the bed.
“What are you doing here?” Buffy snarled, setting the food on a table just inside the door.
“I just wanted… we wanted to… is he going to be all right?”
“Not as all right as he would be if our backup hadn’t been sent away and we didn’t have to fight our way out,” Buffy said, making no attempt to soft-pedal the situation. “If my girls hadn’t come after us, we’d both be dead – or dust in Spike’s case.”
She ignored Jessie’s moan and the gasps from the other girls, shutting the door in their faces. Checking Spike to see that there’d been no change, Buffy decided to take a quick shower before joining him on the bed. She grabbed another one of his tee shirts from the drawer and carried it in to the bathroom with her.
When she emerged a short time later, hair still damp, she brought the food in and put it in the small fridge. She studied Spike for a minute, then wrestled his coat off and removed his boots. She briefly considered taking his jeans and shirt off too and hiding them so he couldn’t sneak out if he woke up before she did, but shook her head at herself.
“You’ll either stay or you won’t,” she said to his inert body. “And you’d probably leave naked if you had to.”
She turned off the lights and slipped into the bed, curling up beside him and throwing one leg over his just in case.
Buffy awoke slowly, her first thought being to check that Spike was still next to her. Her initial panic when she realized her leg was no long pinning his to the bed faded when she felt his hand gently stroking her head.
“Know you’re awake, Buffy. Felt your heart rate go up.” His hand stopped stroking but remained resting on her head.
“Stupid vampire senses,” she grumbled, rolling toward him to meet his amused gaze.
He smiled at her. “I feel weak as a kitten, but I don’t seem to be hurt anywhere. What happened?”
“What do you remember?”
He frowned. “Remember being knocked flat, getting’ up and runnin’. Get’s a little blurry after that. What happened to me?”
“Willow’s little power boost this morning made you really fast, but running like that used up what was left it. Remember, she said you’d be weak when it wore off. I guess you just used up so much getting us out of there that when it ran out, you crashed. I had to carry you.”
He gave her a quick hug, saying, “I appreciate that, pet. But where were our backup slayers?”
“The First got to your little hero-worshipper and she told everybody you said to leave.”
His eyes shut briefly. “He appeared to Jess as me?”
“Yep. Very convincingly it seems.”
He opened his eyes and raised an eyebrow. “Is she still alive?”
“For the moment….”
He sighed and shook his head. “You see why I stayed away from you now? If I had my soul, I never would have given her any reason to be so…. I wouldn’t have chatted up a girl her age.”
“Yes you would. This isn’t your fault, and the missing soul never kept you from flirting. Not once you got over being crazy, anyway. This isn’t your fault… well, okay, maybe a little…. no more flirting with impressionable little girls.” She smacked him on the chest, getting a huff of laughter from him as he grabbed her hand. “But we warned them all. It’s on her that she didn’t listen and was stupid enough to think you’d leave your position just to come talk to her. She made a bad slayer decision and we almost paid the price.”
“So, how’d we get out then?” They both ignored the way he continued to hold onto the hand resting on his chest.
“My girls came back in after us. And Graham stopped after one shot when he realized we weren’t out and there were slayers going in. Once we were all out, they fired until the whole place fell down. It was pretty cool. I’m sorry you missed it.”
“I’m sorry I missed it too. How long have I been out?”
“I dunno. What time is it?”
“No idea. Feels like it’s still night.”
“Probably is. Are you hungry?”
“I could take some nourishment…” He released her hand and went to get up, then flopped back on the bed. “On the other hand, I might just stay here where it’s comfy.”
Buffy laughed and sat up. She saw him eyeing her tee-shirted body and said, “What? I wasn’t going to leave you alone, and I didn’t have any clothes in here. I didn’t want to get into bed naked.”
She got up and walked to the mini-fridge to take out his blood. “It didn’t thaw very much. Can I trust you to stay here if I go warm it up?”
“Not going anywhere, Buffy. Even if I could. Won’t do that to you. If I go, it’ll be because we both decided it was the best thing to do.”
“You were never a Boy Scout.”
“No, but I ate one once.”
“Ugh!” She went to the door and peered out, hearing no voices. “I guess everybody’s finally asleep. I’ll be right back.” She slipped out the door and ran to the kitchen without seeing anyone, warmed his blood in a mug in the microwave, and walked back to the room, holding it carefully.
Spike was sitting, propped up on pillows and growling to himself.
“Here, stop growling and have something to eat.” Buffy handed him the cup, making sure he was strong enough to hold it before going back to the fridge to get herself something to eat and drink.
“When I get back to the Slayer School, I’m going to talk to Giles about changing the curriculum. We need these girls to be more independent and smarter. That’s not happening. I don’t want to bring back the Cruciamentum, but I think we need some kind of a test before we send the girls out. Something that shows they can think on their feet and adapt to changes. And make good decisions.”
“You sound like quite the school marm,” Spike said, looking at her over the rim of the mug. “Not saying that’s not a good idea, love, but the truth is, some of them are going to be smarter than others. That’s just how people are.”
“Slayers aren’t just people!”
“No. They’re not. But these girls… they’re not quite what slayers used to be. Maybe that’s their training, but maybe it’s just that – when you aren’t the only one in all the world, you don’t have to be quite as…. I dunno. I’m just talking out of my arse. Pay me no mind.”
Buffy stared at him. “Are you saying they aren’t as strong as the slayers you fought before? I thought it was just that Faith and I were stronger because we’re older – you know, kinda like vamps get stronger when they’re older?”
He shrugged. “I’m not saying anything. Just… maybe… that slayer demon got its essence thinned out a bit when it was shared with so many potentials. They aren’t ordinary girls by any means, don’t misunderstand me, but I don’t think many of them could hold a candle to you… or even Faith… when you were that age.”
“Wonderful – I’ve created a bunch of fighters who can’t fight.”
“No you haven’t. You’ve made the world a safer place – and sent the First packing again – using those fighters. Just maybe something else to add to those changes you were talking about making at the school. See if you can sort out which ones have the brains to go with the brawn.”
“If only I had a bad ass vampire that likes to fight slayers to take back there with me…..” Buffy blinked her eyes innocently at him.
“No fair. We can’t have that argument when I can’t get up and walk out.”
“I think it’s the perfect time to have it. Then if I can’t convince you to come back with me and give it... us… a chance, I can tie you up before you’re strong enough to leave.” She smiled at him. “I thought about hiding all your clothes, but I figured being you, you’d just walk out naked.”
“Pretty sure if you got me naked – or tied up – leavin’ would be the last thing on my mind.” He gave her a lascivious grin.
She just stared at him, her smile fading. “If you mean that, how can you keep talking about not… not being with me? Where I am.”
“Because I still want you. And I still love you. And having a soul has fuck all to do with either of those things. Didn’t need it before, and I don’t need it now. Don’t think I’d take it back if it was offered….” He glared at her. “Just in case you were planning to ask Willow for a little favor.”
“Color me confused. You want me. You love me. You don’t need a soul to do it….”
“Only difference the soul makes to me as far as we’re concerned is it would give me the will to walk away without having you in my arms one more time. Without it, I’ll take what I can get, while I can get it. Just like soulless me did back—”
“You aren’t ‘getting’ anything! If you think I’m going to go to bed with you, knowing you’re planning to leave me after…after…. You—” She almost sputtered her outrage. “Your thinking sucks!”
Before he could reply, she went on, hands waving around as she paced the floor. “I haven’t said a damn thing about the soul. The only one who keeps harping on not having it is you. I loved you without it, I loved you with it, and I can love you without it again.”
“You hated yourself for loving me without it. Don’t try to deny it.” His voice was firm, but his eyes held just a trace of doubt.
“I did.” When she saw his face shut down, she added, “But that was a thousand years ago, you moron! Before you went and got the soul… for me. Doing that for me was all it took to show me you didn’t need it. And if that didn’t convince me, the way you’ve been helping slayers all over the world for years would have.”
She sighed and moved closer to him. “Face it, Big Bad. You aren’t big or bad any more. You haven’t been evil for so long you don’t even remember how. And if you did get the urge to do something evil, how better to keep that from happening than living with a slayer? THE Slayer. The one who always foiled your evil plans?”
“I reckon that would put a damper on any evilness I might want to get up to….”
His resolve was visibly weakening, and Buffy pressed her advantage, moving
even closer to the bed.
“It would. I’d be watching you like a hawk.”
“You’d probably have to keep me beside you all the time… just in case…” He reached a hand forward and tugged gently on a piece of hair. “Really close like….”
She nodded as she moved even nearer. “It’s a tough job, but somebody’s going to have to do it. It should probably be me…”
“You’d be the one with experience,” he agreed, brushing his lips over hers. He leaned back against the pillow, pulling her toward him.
“Exactly.” She followed her lips until she was lying against his chest and he was deepening the kiss. For long minutes all they did was indulge in the kisses they hadn’t shared for so many years. “I almost forgot how good a kisser you are,” she murmured against his mouth. “Almost…”
“Almost doesn’t count,” he replied, leaving her mouth to nibble on one earlobe. “Long as you usually remembered.”
“Did you?” she asked, pulling back suddenly. “When you were ‘not being a monk’? Did you forget me?”
He shook his head. “Not possible, Buffy. I might have exaggerated just a tad about the not being a monk, but not by much. Anytime I tried to shag somebody else, I’d end up comparing her to the woman I really wanted and… it never ended well.” He nuzzled her ear again and Buffy felt the increasing tension in his body. “What about you? Didn’t go into a convent, did you?”
“Close enough,” she muttered. “Why do you think I fell for that….” She felt him stiffen even more at the reminder of something they’d both just as soon forget ever happened, and she stopped herself before she could completely ruin the mood. “Never mind. No, I hardly date at all. I’m busy, I’ve long since given up on normal, and I just….”
She felt him relax slightly and sighed. “Do we need to talk about that? I thought you were dead, you know. This business of disappearing and letting me think you’re dead is getting old. I don’t think you’ve got any right to get testy about anything I do… did… when you were playing dead somewhere!”
He loosened his arms and dropped his head back against the pillow. “You’re right, love. I don’t have a right. Demon has a jealous streak and without the soul to keep it in check….”
Buffy huffed and sat up straighter. “That jealous streak was still there when you had the soul, and you know it.”
He laughed softly. “I guess it was at that. I’m sorry.” He dipped his head to meet her narrow-eyed gaze. “Think we can forget the past and just start over?”
She smiled at him and leaned back into his embrace. “Knowing us, probably not. We’ll be fighting about things from years ago all the time. But we can try. We can try to start over.”
“A new beginning, yeah?”
She nodded and squirmed around to be lying on him, smiling when he slid down to a more horizontal position.
“A new beginning… starting now.”
“Can we get naked before we start?” He pulled her tee shirt up until it came off over her head.
“I thought you’d never ask.” Buffy sat up and tugged on his shirt until he sat up and shrugged out of it. Sliding down his legs, she undid his jeans, then moved all the way off the bed to tug them down his legs. She dropped them to the floor and stood there, hands on hips and staring at his erect cock. “I see at least one part of you has recovered from spell.”
He gave a shrug and looked away. “So it seems. Got to admit though, the rest of me still feels weak as a kitten. Maybe we should wait—”
Buffy just smiled and pushed her thong down her legs. “I think I can handle this. You just lie there and think happy thoughts.” She moved back up on her hands and knees until she was hovering over him, his cock brushing her stomach as she leaned in for a kiss. “I think I remember how to be on top… and what you like…”
He spread his arms and legs out and grinned at her. “I’m all yours, Slayer. Do with me what you will.”
And she did. Repeatedly.
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