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Freedom by icemink
Chapter 22
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A/N Sorry for the long delay in updates. My updates are probably going to be irregular for a while until I get my life back in order.

Chapter 22:

Despite the fact that he had barely slept from worry, Spike woke as soon as the sun went down. As soon as his eyes were open, he began to examine the body that shared his bed.

There was no sign yet that Buffy was anything other than dead. She was pale again, like when he'd first met her. but very very still, which didn't seem like her at all.

He wasn't surprised that she hadn't risen yet. Usually it was several hours past sunset that a new vampire opened her eyes, so there was no reason to think anything was wrong. That didn't comfort Spike. He just wanted this over with. Wanted her back, or to know that he would never have her again, anything to get out of this limbo.

Patience wasn't Spike's strong suit, and sitting in a room with a dead body wasn't very entertaining. He could have left of course. After all, most vampires insisted on burying their fledglings, forcing them to dig and claw their way into a new life.

But Spike couldn't bear the thought of her alone, under the ground. The night before, he'd left her for a few minutes to give orders to his minions and to make preparations for her rising; but he'd quickly returned, feeling guilty for leaving her. He'd even put on some music for her, remembering how she'd hated long silences.

Suddenly he couldn't stand to be near her. He couldn't stand lying there just waiting and worrying about her. He got up, got dressed, and turned on the television, trying to ignore her. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, pretending the girl he was in love with wasn't lying dead behind him, but after a while he couldn't take that anymore either.

He got up and headed towards the bags his minions had brought him the night before. He pulled out a white dress, and a pair of white sandals.

He put the sandals down on the floor by the bed, and threw the blankets off of her body. Then he began to dress her. It wasn't an easy task since her body had stiffened, and he cursed himself for not doing this the night before.

Finally he had her arms through the sleeves of the dress, and he rolled her on her stomach so he could zip up the back. He had the zipper halfway up when he was thrown backwards as her elbow connected with his nose.

Before he could utter a single 'bloody hell', Buffy was kneeling on the floor in front of him. He blinked to clear his vision, and took in the sight before him.

He didn't need to know she was dead to know she was a vampire. Her soft golden eyes seemed to glow in the darkness. The tips of her fangs were visible beneath the pink of her lips, and on her forehead were delicate ridges. Spike thought she was the most beautiful demon he'd ever seen.

"I didn't mean to," she purred as her eyes fixed on the trickle of blood that came from his nose.

"So why did you?" he asked.

She shrugged and licked her lips, "I woke up, and someone was holding me down. It was a reflex."

He whipped away the blood with his hand, and held it out to her. She darted forward, and eagerly licked the blood from his fingers, murmuring with contentment.

"Are you hungry, baby?" he asked even though he knew the answer.

"Yes," she sighed.

He stood up, pulling her up with him. Then he twirled her around so he could finish zipping up the dress.

As the fabric of the skirt settled around her legs she looked down and frowned.

"Why am I wearing a dress?" she asked.

"Something wrong with it?"

He was annoyed. He thought she looked great. The dress was a white satin sheath that clung to all her curves. Over that was draped a translucent white fabric that created strange patters as it shifted over the satin. It was gathered at the neckline, and fitted until it hit her waist. Then the fabric flowed freely swirling around her legs as she moved.

"It's a dress," she repeated. "Besides it's white. Won't I get blood on it?"

"Probably. That's not the point. It's symbolic." He paused. "So I suppose getting blood on it is the point." She looked at him skeptically. "Just trust me. Besides, don't you want to get something to eat?"

She put her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his. He could feel her body vibrating as she purred, "I could eat you."

He tisked her. "I've spoiled you already with that taste of blood. No baby, you're going to have to earn that."

She pouted jutting her bottom lip out at him, and he had to fight the temptation to nibble on it. Nibbling would lead to other things, and he remembered how painful a fledgling's hunger could be.

He put his arm around her shoulders instead. "Let's go get you some dinner, kitten."

"Shoes," she said lifting her foot and pointing her toes. "Or are you going to carry me?"

"Both," he said as he scooped her up. She giggled as he carried her two steps to the bed, and then dropped her on it.

He knelt down then and picked up the sandals he'd left there earlier. Then he slipped them on her feet.

She pointed her feet again, and kicked them in the air. "They have bows," she complained.

"Do you have to complain about everything?" he asked, exasperated. Most girls would be delighted with the new clothes. She looked very beautiful and classy. Besides it's not like he'd dressed her up as his own personal sex kitten, although the thought had crossed his mind.

"Well, what if we're attacked? They'll slip off my feet if I try and kick. I don't see what's wrong with the boots you got me," she said nodding towards one of them, which had ended up against the wall. "They're far more practical." She paused and looked around the room. "If I knew where the other one was. . ."

Spike sat back on his heels and sighed. "They don't go with the dress, that's what's wrong with them."

She looked glared at him, "I'm not taking fashion advice from someone who hasn't changed clothes since we left Sunnydale."

"I have too. I just like to stick with black. It's practical."

"So why am I in white and the impractical shoes?" she demanded.

In all his nightmare scenarios her complaining and being so stubborn about her clothes hadn't come up. He decided the best way to deal with it was to ignore it.

He grabbed her hand and hauled her to the feet. Then he pulled her out the door.

"But-" she started.

"Do you want to eat, or argue?" he asked, not waiting for an answer as he continued to drag her along.

She didn't resist and followed him through the factory and outside to his car. She got in the car and crossed her arms, just in case he'd missed the fact that she was annoyed. After a moment or two she fiddled with the radio, until she'd figured out how to turn on the tape deck. She didn't speak, but he could feel her glaring at him.

They drove in silence that way for a while until the inevitable happened.

"Where are we going?" Buffy asked.

"To get you dinner," he replied.

"What about you?" she asked.

He shrugged. He hadn't really thought about it, mostly he'd been thinking about what her first hunt should be. Since he'd left her with her parents, he'd returned to his old feeding habits. He was usually a rather picky eater, preferring pretty young girls. He was less likely to find that where they were going. Still he probably should grab a bite to eat after Buffy had hunted, and he'd seen her reaction to killing.

He glanced over at her. She was still in her game face, and that wouldn't do.

"Can you change?" he asked.

"Change . . ?"

"Back to your human features. Get rid of the bumpies?"

"You don't think I'm pretty?" she asked. He could hear the pout in her voice.

Spike sighed. For someone who denied being a girl, she sure was good at it. "I think you're gorgeous. But you'll probably scare away a potential meal like that."

Buffy knitted her brows and concentrated really hard. Spike forced himself to watch the road and not her, both to keep from crashing and to keep from laughing.

She reached up to feel her face. "It didn't work," she complained.

"You're trying too hard. Relax. Breathe," he instructed her.

"Vampire's don't breathe," she pointed out.

He let out an exasperated breath, just to make his point. She seemed determined to fight him on everything.

"Vampire's don't need to breathe to live," he corrected her. "Doesn't mean we can't do it. Point is, breathing will make you feel more human. Think of it as a meditation. Don't try and fight the demon, just concentrate on moving air in and out of your body."

She regarded him skeptically then she took a deep breath. She made a couple hiccupy noises as she tried to remember how to breathe, but after only a few false starts she was breathing evenly.

Once she got into the rhythm of it, her features smoothed out, her fangs retracted, and her eyes returned to their original soft green.

"I did it!" she beamed.

"Good, cause we're here," he said as he began to parallel park on the side of the street.

"It looks more like nowhere to me," Buffy commented as she peered out the blackened windows of the Desoto.

Spike sighed. It was going to be a long night.
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