Chapter Four- Letting Them In
Buffy, with Spike only a few paces behind her, stepped out into the crowded hallway, welcomed by countless girls who were dispersed throughout the house enjoying their pizza dinner. She spotted Xander and Dawn portioning the last of the slices out to the unfortunate few that had not gotten any yet. “Mental note: Pay Xander back,’ Buffy reflected as she made her way over to them just as the last slice was handed out.
“Hey guys. Thanks for covering pizza duty,” she said, taking a few empty boxes from Dawn and heading back to the kitchen.
“No problem. But, if I were you I’d start feeding these girls more often or at least get them muzzles. I haven’t seen a mob that ravenous since my Hyena days,” Xander chuckled, following her with a similar stack of cardboard.
“That bad, huh?” Buffy asked.
“I’m surprised I still have all ten fingers,” Xander joked as he placed the boxes by the back door with Buffy.
Suddenly, all that could be heard was a loud squeal and the sight of a blurred figure zoom past them to the kitchen counter. Throwing open the lid, Dawn nearly dove into the pizza box. “I’m starved!” she announced, wolfing down a full slice in mere seconds.
Xander turned to Buffy and gave her an apologetic look. “We saved a pizza. Want a piece of whatever Dawn hasn’t managed to consume in the past thirty seconds?” he asked.
“That’d be great, Xander,” Buffy replied, quickly getting disgusted by the sight of her sister’s binge fest. “Hey Dawn, ever hear of mastication? It means chew,” she scolded, receiving an annoyed look from Dawn.
“So you guys have fun today?” Buffy asked as she bit into the pepperoni slice that Xander handed her.
“Totally,” Dawn enthusiastically announced. “Impending doom and possible world annihilation really brings out your inner shop-a-holic.”
“Plus, getting out of the house, extra perk,” Xander added.
“So what’d you do, Buffy?” Dawn asked, polishing off her third slice.
It was only at that moment that Dawn’s question made her realize she hadn’t seen or heard Spike since they had come back inside. Glancing around, she spotted him leaning against the archway leading from the kitchen to the hallway, quiet eyes simply observing those who usually paid him no heed. Their eyes met, and where she would normally turn away from his penetrating gaze; she held steady her hazel eyes to his blue. “Took a nap,” she answered Dawn’s question, smiling in Spike’s direction.
Neither Dawn nor Xander paid any attention to the exchange, too wrapped up in their pizza eating. But when Xander spoke again, Buffy broke away from Spike’s cerulean gaze. “How could you sleep with super slumber party going on?” he asked, biting into his second slice.
Glancing back at the vampire, still with a smile on her face, she responded. “I found a way.” Not wishing to seem obvious, she changed the subject. “So are Willow and Kennedy back yet?” And almost as though they were waiting for those words to be spoken aloud, the two women walked through the front door.
“Buffy?” Willow called out.
“In the kitchen, Will,” she responded.
They walked into the room hand in hand, never looking as happy as they did at that moment. ‘I guess all’s forgiven,’ Buffy figured.
“Hey Willow. Hi, Kennedy. Pizza?” Buffy asked, gesturing to the nearly empty box on the counter.
“No thanks. We already ate,” Willow replied, looking over at Kennedy who shook her head, also not wanting to eat.
Buffy didn’t say much after that. Everyone broke out into conversation about how they spent their day, with Xander and Dawn finishing off the last few greasy slices. Willow and Kennedy had seen some sort of indie film before they had dinner at some swanky French restaurant. Dawn had managed to drag a begrudging Xander around the mall, taking full advantage of that fact that her shoplifting induced banishment was now lifted. Needless to say, by the end of the day poor Xander had had his fill of being Dawn’s personal shopping bag mule. As those she loved reminisced about their day, one without any appearances by the First or Bringer ambushes, all she could dwell on was how she was lying to all of them.
She hadn’t told them about what had happened to her in that dimension and how she had, thanks to those misogynistic shadow men, become extra demony. She’d only told Spike, and that was only after he forced it out of her. It wouldn’t be good if it somehow came out that she had confided in Spike before she had ever considered telling anyone else. She realized that she needed to tell them; that she had to tell them tonight. She needed to tell them before she completely destroyed the fragile balance she had finally managed to restore since last year.
Buffy peeked over at Spike again. She wasn’t surprised to find him staring at her, a perplexed look etched across his face. She knew he was trying to read her; he was usually good at it. Giving him a reassuring smile, Buffy took in a deep calming breath and addressed her unsuspecting friends.
“Guys,” she said, cutting into Dawn’s ode to strappy sandals.
“Yeah, Buff?” Xander replied.
“I need to tell you something,” she said, her voice a little unsteady.
“So spill,” Dawn retorted, slightly annoyed she’d been interrupted.
“Not now. When the girls are asleep, I want you all to meet me back here,” she instructed.
“Buffy, what is this all about?” Willow asked, obviously concerned.
“There’s something you should know about what happened to me when I was with the shadow men. But I can’t get into it now,” she stated, leaving them to dwell on the possible reasons for holding a secret meeting as she made her way into the living room.
“C’mon, let’s get them to bed. Early morning training tomorrow,” Buffy called back, making up an excuse to make a houseful of girls turn in before ten o’clock.
By nine o’clock Buffy had managed somehow to get a large group of hyperactive adolescent girls to get to bed, knowing most of them wouldn’t be getting to sleep until hours later. Walking into the kitchen, she could see that everyone had been waiting for her as though they had never left and anticipating the worst. Without a word, she made her way to sit on one of the kitchen stools and waited for a barrage of questions to fly her way. When all she received was mind numbing silence, she realized that they were waiting for her to start.
“When I went through the portal, I met with the men who had made the First Slayer. They explained to me how they had given her power and then did the exact same thing to me.”
Willow was the first to speak up. “Buffy, what do you mean they did the same thing to you?”
The calm and collected demeanor she had been trying so hard to keep up crumbled with a single tear trickling down her cheek. “They made the First Slayer by putting a ‘demon spirit’ in her,” she explained, her voice hoarse with emotion.
“And they did it to you too, didn’t they?” Xander confirmed, his heart sinking at the thought.
Buffy only nodded in response, unsure if she could vocalize a reply.
“Do you feel any different?” Dawn asked gently, placing a comforting hand on her sister’s shoulder.
Buffy shook her head. “No, not really. Just feeling a little violated I guess.”
Dawn pulled Buffy into a tight hug. “I’m so sorry Buffy. I’ll do anything you want to help you get through this, ‘kay?” she sniffled.
“Thanks Dawnie,” Buffy whispered back, squeezing her sister one last time before letting go of her.
“Buffy, why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Willow asked, somewhat afraid of what could possibly be manifesting itself inside her best friend.
“I guess I had to deal with it first. I was total denial girl for a while,” she responded, twisting her hands in her lap nervously.
It was then that she noticed that Spike was, for a usually hyperactive and impatient vampire, being completely stoic. He was still in the same spot, leaning against the doorframe, but this time with his trademark leather, wordlessly watching her as she spilled her guts to her friends and sister.
“That was,” she continued, “until Spike pulled the confession out of me.” She said the words out loud and immediately glanced around, scrutinizing everyone’s reaction. Seeing the concerned and slightly bewildered looks she was receiving, Buffy persisted in her explanation. “So, I’m telling you now. This thing they did to me is suppose to help us, but I really don’t know how. I’m sorry I kept this from you guys,” she finished, her voice cracking ever so often with an escaping sob.
“I knew something was up. I just didn’t wanna push it,” Dawn told her, hoping in some way it would be comforting.
“So,” Xander chimed in, trying to drain out some of the tension that had accumulated in the room. “We research? Figure out what exactly they possessed you with and how it’s suppose to help us against the First?”
Buffy smile at his words; her friends weren’t mad at her. She was relieved and allowed herself to exhale the breath she had been holding ever since she had entered the kitchen. “I guess that would be the thing to do, right? Get into Giles’ mode?” Buffy responded lightly.
“Sure. I’ll hit the net and Xander’ll get those donuts he promised,” Willow reassured, while Kennedy, who had remained uncharacteristically silent, graced her with a kind smile.
“Okay, but can we leave it until tomorrow? Teary eyed confessions take a lot out of a Slayer. We can start after I get back from work,” she proposed, receiving nods of agreement.
“Okay, tomorrow I’ll be here with armful of crullers, but for now, I wish you all goodnight. I definitely need to get some good quality time with my neglected bachelor pad,” Xander said, giving Buffy a reassuring hug before heading out the back door.
“Guess we better get off to bed too. Goodnight,” Willow said, giving Buffy a hug before she took her girlfriend’s hand and headed to their room.
“Love you, Buffy,” Dawn said, giving her sister a quick peck on the cheek. As she passed by Spike in the kitchen’s doorway she gave him a sappy grin, telling him that she was grateful.
And then, like so many times before, it was just the two of them. “Night, pet,” was all he said as he turned toward the basement door, not wishing to keep her from the rest she had said she needed.
“Spike,” she called out to his leather clad back.
“Yeah, luv?” he answered, glancing back at her over his shoulder. She walked over to him, took his hand in hers and pulled him along with her, away from the basement and up the stairs.
Spike couldn’t make one coherent thought or verbalize one single word. He was dumbfounded and extremely confused; he hadn’t had the slightest idea as to where she was taking him or why. Finding himself set on autopilot, he simply followed Buffy in a haze.
They abruptly stopped in front of her bedroom door. Spike wanted to scream when she opened the door and guided him in, but he was frozen in a mix of shock, fear and complete happiness. Finally managing to get his vocal chords to work, Spike began to sputter. “Luv…what…why?”
“I don’t really like it in the basement. It’s too cold and the cot hurts my back,” Buffy explained not really acknowledging his incoherent question.
Leaving him to stand in the middle of her room, Buffy made her way over to her dresser, pulled out her Yummy Sushi pajamas and walked directly passed Spike to go to the washroom to change. All of this was done in what seemed comfortable silence as though she believed it was the most natural thing to have Spike in her bedroom. Spike on the other hand was absolutely bewildered as he stood there alone in the room that was the setting of so many of his dreams.
Seconds later, Buffy returned all pj sporting and scrubbed up for bed. She eyed Spike wearily. “You gonna sleep in your duster?” she asked, nonchalant.
“Buffy, what the hell is going on?” Spike demanded to know.
Sighing, Buffy dropped her casual façade and plopped down on her bed, shoulders slumped and head slightly bowed. “I just want you here, with me, okay?”
Spike stared at her as though she were growing horns. “So what you’re tellin’ me is that you want ME,” Spike thumped his chest, “to sleep with YOU,” he pointed to her, “in your…” he gulped, causing his Adam’s apple to bob, “your bed?” he managed to say almost letting out a very unmanly squeak.
“Yeah. I do,” she said, smiling at his nervousness. “But sleeping as in actual sleeping, you know, with the clothes and…the clothes.”
It was Spike’s turn to smile. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said, shrugging off his duster.
Buffy quirked an eyebrow, giving him a disbelieving look.
“What? I wouldn’t,” he reiterated, kicking off his boots.
“So you don’t expect this to get all with the groiny?” Buffy asked a little surprised.
Sitting himself down beside her, though careful not to touch her, Spike fixed his eyes to the floor. “If it means going back to the way things were last year, luv, yeah, I’d rather steer clear of the good ole rough and tumble, if that’s alright with you.”
In silence, Buffy took his hand for the second time that night and held it for a brief moment; to tell him that she felt the same way he did. Glancing up, Spike could see her pulling him up to the head of the bed, but it all seemed so surreal. What he wouldn’t have given to have been in her bed and in her arms all of last year? To be wanted by her not just physically. If his heart could beat no doubt it would have exploded by now. But as much as the elated feeling of being wanted was making him unbelievably happy, all the soul did was remind him how he didn’t deserve any of it. It made him ache just knowing he might actually get what he always wanted but couldn’t bring himself to actually take it. He was beginning to tremble like a ponce and at any moment could possibly break down sobbing at the unfairness of fate. With a steadying, yet unnecessary breath, Spike slipped beneath her comforter and wrapped his arms around her waist so that her head rested lightly on his chest.
“Spike?” she whispered.
“Yeah, pet?” he rumbled, finally managing to calm himself.
Sleep didn’t take either of them. He sure as hell tried, but having her so close and so willingly trusting him was making it impossible to even stay still. Not to mention that having her body sprawled over his was causing blood to rush in directions that would draw some unwanted attention. Even with the soul and its accompanying guilt, his body still reacted to her like it always did. Making sure that specific part of his anatomy never came into close proximity to her, Spike shifted slightly, desperately trying to alleviate his discomfort.
Buffy, though she tried, couldn’t sleep either. She was feeling something strange. Not bad strange, but more like different strange. Being in Spike’s arms should feel wrong and totally inappropriate after everything Buffy had done to him and what he had done to her because of it. Yet that wasn’t how she felt at the moment. If anything being with him seemed so right. Since she came back from the grave, Buffy hadn’t felt as at peace as she did with him right then. She didn’t understand it. Was she finally making peace with not only what happened with Spike, but with her life in general? Was she finally allowing herself to see the love he always claimed to have for her? Was she finally letting him in? And if so, could she actually find a way to have a healthy relationship with Spike?
Mewling, Buffy rolled out of his embrace and peered up at his misleadingly sleeping face. His brow was furrowed as though he was thinking but his eyelids were gently shut. Dreaming, maybe? She kept her eyes on him and reflected on what had occurred between them since she had been pulled out of the portal not two nights ago. ‘He does love me,’ she internally admitted. ‘Maybe even truly before the soul.’ Buffy shook her head not wanting to even consider that possibility because if she did, then having used him like she had seemed all the worse. Acknowledging Spike’s love for her was one thing, but being able to reciprocate those feelings was another. She was going to need some time, but she wasn’t sure with the lingering apocalypse, if she could afford it.
Rolling back into his arms, Buffy snuggled into his chest and allowed herself to fall asleep. Spike, who was still feigning sleep, opened an eye to peer down and wonder why Buffy was so restless.
Buffy was the first to wake up to the sound to the sound of girls giggling, chattering and even yelling outside her bedroom door. Groaning, she glanced over to look at her alarm clock. 7:00 a.m. She let out an annoyed moan only to hear a low chuckle reverberate the air next to her.
“They could at least be a little considerate for those of us still trying to get a few more winks,” Buffy stated, rubbing her face into Spike’s chest.
“Wasn’t it you who ordered early morning training, luv?” Spike pointed out.
“Whose side are you on?” Buffy mumbled into his black shirt. “If I let them wake me up, I’ve got to get up out of this bed.”
“Right. You want me to kill them or maybe just sew their mouths shut? Make it real quiet for ya. Could stay in bed all day,” Spike joked, in total seriousness.
“With you of course,” Buffy said.
“Of course, pet.”
“As tempting as that sounds, I gotta get up anyway. Ugghh, I hate Mondays,” she stated as she tumbled out of bed without the slightest indication of Slayer grace.
Spike remained perfectly still and watched as Buffy stretched, yawned and stomped her way to the bathroom. He could hear her arguing with one of the wannabe slayers, declaring that her job required showering, and that since that said job paid for their accommodations, she was allotted line butting privileges. Spike chuckled when he heard the recalcitrant girl begrudgingly give up her spot at the head of the line.
It suddenly hit him then. He was lying in the Slayer’s bed after a night of just sleeping, comfortably observing her morning routine as though he had been doing it for centuries. It irked him how simple everything felt at that moment. Unfortunately, he knew it was anything but. Though Buffy was moving on, no doubt her demon essence possession was going to be on the top of the Scoobies’ to do list. They hadn’t really talked about the confession she had made to her friends the night before. He was surprised when she had told them what had happened without him having to push the issue, and he was thrown even more when she admitted that he was the first person she had told. He knew it was significant; some sort of indication that things were progressing with them. Spike knew she wasn’t going to go running to tell the Scoobies about their little sleepover, but she had to know it couldn’t continue. Not without someone finding out.
It was fine by him though. Well, sort of. He didn’t want to be her dirty little secret. Had enough deception last year alone to last two lifetimes. Spike decided he would wait. He had enough faith in Buffy that she wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes. He had to trust her, right? She was giving him that much, so shouldn’t he? He chuckled. The whelp’s gonna have a coronary when he finds out. Then again maybe he should push the issue. No. He would wait. He would trust Buffy’s judgment and simply wait.
“Hey Buffy, just wondering if I could borrow your…”
Spike’s head shot up to see someone standing at the doorway, eyes wide in shock.
A/N: BIG thanks to Darkezza for betaing my story.
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