Buffy watched Wes’s face as his gaze followed Spike and the laughing teenager out the door. He gave a little frown when Spike didn’t even flinch away from the last dying ray of sun that touched the hand he was using to hold the door for Dawn. When the door had closed behind them, he looked back at Buffy in time to catch her impatient stare.
“Have you learned what you wanted to know?” she asked, making no attempt to hide her lack of interest in continuing the discussion.
“Truthfully, no I have not,” he responded, meeting her eyes and holding them without blinking. “I have learned more than I’d cared to about the behavior that the souled vampire I do know is capable of. However, I’m still not clear on how, in the less than two years between when you and Spike were bitter enemies and last spring, you became so romantically involved as to bond yourselves together forever. Even allowing for the mutual affection you seem to have, why go to that extreme so early in a relationship?”
Buffy sighed and glanced at Giles again before responding. “Wes, all I can tell you right now is that Spike and I know each other much better than you might think, and that we had good reason to be concerned about our ability to remember that going forward.” She cocked her head at him and smiled. “I wish I could tell you why I’m comfortable with being bonded to William the Bloody, but unless and until you understand that Angel isn’t giving you the whole story…..”
Giles cleared his throat and interrupted. “If you could just take the word of a fellow former watcher that I’ve had time to watch this relationship… develop….” He paused, and glanced at Buffy who was smothering a smile at his careful lie. “Let me assure you that I have every confidence in both their commitment to each other and to the world’s safety.” He shook his head and added, “And I will likely be apologizing to them for the foreseeable future for not realizing what Angel had done to her when she was vulnerable.”
“I’m over it, Giles,” Buffy said. “None of us figured it out, including Spike who probably should have at some point….” She frowned. “We might have to have a conversation about that. He could’ve figured this out—” She stopped herself just before she uttered “years ago” and smiled broadly at Wesley who was narrowing his eyes. Reminding herself that the Wesley Wyndam-Pryce they first met had been inexperienced and naïve, not stupid, she looked for a way to change the subject.
“So,” she said brightly, “the nerd trio. We ran into Andrew last night and he tried to sic a demon on us.” She giggled. “It didn’t go quite like he wanted it to, but the point is, he was trying to tell it to ‘get’ me, and he escaped in a black van, so….”
“So, you think they’ve already begun?” Giles was careful not to say what had begun, but Buffy could see Wes’s gaze bouncing back and forth between them, a frown creasing his forehead.
“Begun what?” he broke in. “Is this something Spike has foreseen?”
“In a way,” Buffy said quickly. “I mean we knew we needed to watch out for a black van, and there it was. Right in front of us and giving Andrew an escape route.”
“And who is Andrew?” Wes persisted.
“Oh, just the younger brother of a kid I went to high school with. He thinks he can summon demons and make them do what he wants, but he’s not very good at it yet.”
“And you expect him to get better?”
“He might,” Buffy muttered, throwing another “help me!” look at Giles and Winston.
“And this ‘nerd trio’,” Wesley persisted. “Who are they?”
“Just Andrew and another kid who went to my high school and an older guy that I had a run-in with last year. It’s no big deal.” She was pretty sure all three men could see that she was reaching the end of her patience.
Winston, who had remained quiet throughout, came to Buffy’s rescue. He smiled at Wesley.
“I understand you are something of a practitioner of the magic arts,” he said in his smooth flattering manner. “I dabble a bit on occasion. I wonder if we might compare notes?”
Buffy mentally rolled her eyes as Winston’s soft language had its usual calming effect. Wes’s face lit up and he seemed more than willing to get into a discussion of magic with Winston. As she stood up, saying she was off to stake some vampires and meet up with Spike, she and Giles exchanged small smiles. “I still think it’s magic,” she whispered as she walked past him. She just barely heard his snort of agreement as she went out the door.
Buffy had only been waiting a few boring minutes before Spike came strolling up, whistling as he walked.
“Well, you’re in a good mood,” she said, smiling at his happy expression.
“I guess I am,” he said. “Had a chance to talk more with the Bit, and she seems to be liking me a bit more. She actually apologized for snappin’ at me. Said she wanted to sit down some time and let me tell her about what we did back in our time to get so close. I promised to do it whenever she’s ready.” He smirked at Buffy. “And now I get to spend some time killing things with my lady. All in all, shaping up to be a good evening.”
Buffy shook her head and poked him. “You know you probably just jinxed us, don’t you?”
“Ah, it’s still summer-time. Evil’s probably still on vacation, don’t you think?”
As he spoke, they were strolling through the cemetery, watching for new graves or disturbed ones, finding only one that looked as if it might contain a new vampire.
“What do you think? Stay here and watch, or keep going’ and check it again on our way out?”
“I think we ought to follow the black van that just came in that gate.” Buffy pointed across a swath of older graves to where a van without lights on was just visible entering the cemetery.
Spike immediately went into his vampire mien to see better. He growled low in his chest as he watched it move slowly between the rows of graves.
“Where do you think it’s going?” In spite of knowing they were probably too far away to be heard, Buffy was whispering.
“If I didn’t think I knew better, I’d say they were headin’ for my crypt,” he whispered back as he pulled his coat up over his head. “I’m gonna try to get closer.”
“Not without me, you aren’t!” Buffy’s indignation made him smile.
“I promise not to do any damage without you there, love, but your hair and that white jacket you’re wearing aren’t exactly invisible, are they?”
“I hate it when you’re being practical,” she muttered. “Okay, fine. Go be all creepy creature of the night guy. But you better let me know what’s going on.”
“Will do, love. We could probably use the practice anyway.”
She snorted at his reference to the telepathy they’d learned was part of their claiming bond. With Glory gone and little fighting to do over the summer, they rarely bothered with it except when they were making love.
“If I’m remembering last night, I don’t think we need any practice. It works just fine.”
“Mmmmmm,” he agreed. “Now that you mention it, we do seem to be bloody good at that part of it. I think I remember….”
He sent her a mental image of her sitting on his face with her head thrown back in ecstasy, and sprinted away laughing when she leaned against a tombstone for brief support.
“Not funny!” she thought at him. “Payback’s a bitch, you know.”
Silent laughter was the only response, so she settled against the tombstone and watched the new grave while she waited for Spike. Her growing boredom was relieved when the surface of the grave erupted and a pale hand waved around, grasping for something to use to pull himself up. Buffy waited until he was almost all the way out of the grave, then leaned in and thrust her stake through his back before he even noticed she was there.
“I guess Spike would make one of his ‘that wasn’t very sporting’ comments , but I didn’t get any grave dirt on my new clothes, so yay me.”
Pleased with herself, she began to wander in the direction Spike had gone, sending out tentative hints that she could use a little direction. The curt “stay put!” from him made her frown, and she picked up her pace, only to feel his fear and anger through the connection. “Do as you’re bloody well told for a change!” he sent clearly, following it with a mental image of himself on the roof of a crypt peering down at something.
She slowed her steps, but continued in his direction, ignoring the vague threats he was muttering until she was near enough to see the large crypt upon which he was crouching like a gargoyle. Shaking her head at both his posturing, and the complete obliviousness of the three young humans below him, she walked right into the circle they had painted on the grass and began kicking over the candles around its perimeter. Their outraged shouts quickly changed to shrieks when Spike leapt down from the roof, duster spreading behind him like wings.
He landed lightly, game face to the fore, and snarled, repeating it just to enjoy the way they all flinched away from him. Which put them closer to Buffy, whose expression wasn’t any less frightening.
She stared from Jonathan to Warren and back again, opting to talk to Jonathan first.
“Didn’t we talk about this a couple of years ago? About making good choices for your goals in life?” She waved one hand at Warren and sneered in his direction. “Not to mention, how important it is to have decent friends?”
Without waiting for an answer, she turned her coldest slayer gaze onto Warren. “And I know Spike and I talked to you last year. I thought we made it pretty clear we’d be watching you? Did you think I was kidding?”
From the corner of her eye, she could see Andrew trying to slink away, but before she could say anything, Spike’s growled, “Sit down, Andrew.” had him flinging himself to the ground, eyes wide.
“You… you know my name….” he whispered. “William the Bloody knows my name.” He slumped against the side of the van, his expression a mixture of awe and fear.
“Bloody hell,” Spike growled, rolling his eyes as he brought out his human face. “I can’t get away from—”
Buffy’s giggle made him growl again. “Not funny, Slayer.”
“Yeah it is,” she said, giggling again before turning her attention back to Jonathan and Warren. There was no trace of the giggle left in her voice as she asked them, “What were you trying to raise?”
“None of your business,” Warren said with a sneer. “It’s a free country. If my friends and I want to spend time in a cemetery, it’s got nothing to do with you.”
“If you’re raising demons I’m going to have to fight, it’s got everything to do with me,” she snapped back. “Now what was it?” She stepped toward him, fists clenched and the full power of a slayer glare aimed at him. To her surprise, Spike touched her arm, stopping her advance.
“Let it go, love,” he said. “We stopped it, and they know we’re on to them now.”
Buffy stared at him with her mouth open.
“What is this? Good cop, bad cop?”
“Something like that.”
“Fine. Be the good cop then.”
She rolled her eyes, but stopped staring at Warren as though deciding how hard she could hit him without killing him. Instead, she turned her attention to Jonathan.
“You really, really should have paid more attention to me. It won’t be my fault whe—if he gets you killed.”
“I told him you wouldn’t like it,” he protested. “But he said you wouldn’t hurt humans, and Spike can’t, so—”
Spike’s guttural snarl made Jonathan cringe in spite of his words. “You go believin’ everything that piece of shite tells you, it will get you killed. I promise you.” He turned his glare on Warren. “And just so we’re clear, my lady doesn’t kill humans—if she can help it. I don’t think she’s all that fussed about how badly she has to hurt them to stop them from being stupid.”
“So much for good cop!”
“Decided it didn’t suit me,” he replied silently with a quick grin only she could see.
“So, what are we going to do with them?” she said, kicking a candle. She walked around the area, stepping on any candles she hadn’t already kicked away and dragging her feet through the painted grass forming the circle. “It’s going to be a real drag if we have to follow them around all the time just to keep them from being evil.”
“We already know one of them is evil,” Spike said, casting an amber glare at Warren. “If the other two gits are stupid enough to stay with him, then I guess we’ll just have to let them get what’s comin’ to them.”
“Morons!” she said, glaring at Jonathan, who was looking apologetic, and Andrew, who had yet to move from where he’d collapsed when Spike yelled at him. “Both of you. He’s using you, you know. He’s not your friend.”
“Get out of here, the whole lot of you,” Spike ordered, going back into game face until they had all scuttled into the van and it was weaving its way through the tombstones toward the gate.
“They’re going to be pains in my butt again, aren’t they?” she said as they walked farther in to the cemetery.
“Not if they’re smart.”
“I’m pretty sure they are smart – but only in some ways. Dumbest geniuses I’ve ever met.”
Spike snorted his agreement.
“Hey, we’re at your crypt.”
“Yeah, thought that was one of our reasons for coming here? Check up on the place and see if it’s alright.”
“Home, sweet home, huh?” Buffy said as Spike pulled the metal door open, then nudged the inside door until he could get in and pull it open a little more so she could enter. When she was safely inside, he pulled the outer door shut, then closed the interior door and dropped a bar across it.
“Well that’s new? When did you do that?”
He walked in a little further and lit a big candle.
“Last year. Fixed the place up a bit in case we needed to use it and thought it might be a good idea to be able to shut the world out.”
“Shut the world out…. kinda what we used to do here, isn’t it?” she said as she gazed around at the familiar stone walls.
“We did.” He cocked his head at her. “Think you might like to revisit those days once in a while?” he asked as he walked to the sarcophagus in the middle of the big room and lit a lantern. “Do a little reminiscing?” He pulled the cover away from the entrance to his bedroom and held the lantern over the opening.
Buffy walked over to peer into the lower area, gasping when she saw the bed and rugs looking so much as she remembered them from when this had been her place of refuge from the harsh world she didn’t want to be in. Of course, in this time line, there’d been no fiery explosion down there and wasn’t likely to be one, but it was still amazing how well Spike had replicated what the room used to look like.
“Did you plan this?”
“Maybe. Do you like it?” He preceded her down the ladder and lit a few more candles, then blew out the lantern’s brighter light.
Buffy followed him, gazing around at the familiar and yet, totally new room. “This brings back a lot of memories,” she said, shaking her head.
“Good ones or bad ones?” He gazed at her, giving no indication of what he might be thinking.
Buffy stared back. “Some of both, I think. For me, anyway. How about you?”
He moved closer and pulled her into an embrace. “A mixed bag,” he admitted. “But more good than bad. As unhappy as I may have been watching you run out, virtue fluttering, I still had the memories of what we’d been doing just before. And those memories usually made up for the lack of post-shag cuddling.”
She cupped his cheek and smiled ruefully. “Didn’t know what I was missing, did I? I had a world class cuddler and didn’t appreciate him.”
He held her palm to his lips and kissed it, tickling it with his tongue until she giggled.
“As long as we’re here with this nice bed, I’m more than willing to give you a chance to appreciate me properly.”
“You’ve been planning this all day, haven’t you?” She shoved him away and followed him, continuing to shove until he fell backwards onto the bed, laughing at her.
“Now this feels familiar,” he said, leaning back on his elbows. “Gonna start ripping my clothes off, are you?”
“Maybe.” Buffy knelt at the edge of bed and began to move up his body on her hands and knees. “Maybe I’ll just take my virtue and run off fluttering it and leaving you here to take care of this little….” She grabbed his cock and squeezed it hard. “problem yourself.”
“Little!” His outraged snarl made her collapse on top him, shaking with laughter.
“You are so easy,” she snickered as he wrapped his arms around her tightly and pretended to be biting her neck while snarling threats. When his mock bites turned to open-mouthed kisses and his hands slid down to pull her hips against his, she stopped laughing and rocked against him. “Maybe not so little,” she gasped, opening her legs so his cock would be where she could rub against it.
“Tell me what you want, Slayer,” he said, arching into her and groaning. “Tell me what you want from me.”
“I want you to make the world go away. Just like you used to….”
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