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Out of the Shadows by Aurora
Chapter Sixteen-A Certain Amount of Connecting
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Chapter Sixteen: A Certain Amount of Connecting

Buffy groaned in protest as her bedside alarm went off; its irritating buzz proclaiming to the world that it was only a few hours past dawn. With a few lumbering swings of her arm, the quasi-conscious Slayer managed to put an end to the bothersome noise.

“I think it’s dead, pet,” a gruff voice muttered. Buffy rolled over, her sleep blurred gaze landing on the vampire who shared her bed. A smile played across her lips. Spike’s face was inches from hers, eyes still firmly closed. His hair was an unruly mess of curls.

“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” she playfully murmured before groaning in frustration. “Spike we have to get up.”

Spike scoffed, eyes still shut. “We don’t have to do anything; you got to get yourself outta bed. Got to play councilor for all those pimply faced teenagers,” he objected.

Buffy huffed indignantly. “And you have SITs to train.”

Pulling the blankets up to his chin, Spike rolled over onto his other side so that he faced away from the indignant Slayer. “Vampire’s are ‘sposed to be nocturnal, luv. Think it’s ‘bout time I revisited the lifestyle,” he whispered his argument.

Buffy watched in amusement as he continued to feign sleep. As much as she wanted to bust Spike’s chops, she couldn’t help but laugh at his antics. After the whole ordeal that was last night, especially with the momentary loss of all her mental faculties upon Faith’s arrival, Buffy felt good knowing all was forgiven. It was nice being able to be goofy and playful with each other again. It felt safe and on some deeper level, it gave her strength.

The Slayer smirked as a devilish idea popped into her head. Slinking over to Spike’s side of the bed, she propped her chin on his shoulder. “Spikeee,” she called softly.

He responded with a non-sensical grunt.

Stifling a giggle, Buffy placed a light kiss on the skin near his ear, before taking the soft lobe into her mouth, sucking on the flesh gently.

Spike stiffened in surprise, his whole body tensing at the unexpected sensation. This was new.

Eventually, the feel of Buffy nibbling on his ear outweighed the shock, causing him to release a long, guttural moan.

“That’s cheating,” Spike sighed, rolling onto his back, the pupils of his sapphire eyes dilated with desire as he stared up at the unexpectedly naughty Slayer.

Buffy didn’t reply. She chose to capture his lips in a kiss instead.

Spike sighed as her lips languidly caressed his. Snaking one arm around her small waist, the vampire yanked the Slayer down to his chest with a lustful growl. His other hand found its way to her golden locks, fingers entwined in the silken strands.

Buffy actually giggled at his ardent need for her, her body molding on top of his, her tongue worming its way past his lips.

She gasped suddenly into his mouth when she felt the evidence of his arousal pressing into her thigh.

Spike paused beneath Buffy. This was definitely uncharted territory, where their new relationship was concerned anyway. The last thing he wanted was to push Buffy into something she wasn’t ready for and potentially ruin the best thing that had ever happened to him.

But God how he wanted her! Wanted her so badly it hurt. If it weren’t for his daily cold showers, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to face a house full of girls.

Buffy didn’t even seem to notice his hesitation, one of her hands slipping beneath the hem of his t-shirt, her soft fingers grazing the skin of his taut stomach. He hissed at the warmth of her touch. It was the ‘all’s clear’ sign he needed. If Buffy was ready to go a little further, so was he.

His mouth moved to her jaw, kissing a trail down her neck until he reached the bite mark he’d made the night before. As he lapped at the wound, the hand that he’d had on her waist drifted down to her pajama clad bottom, gripping it firmly as he ground his erection into the junction between her legs.

Buffy released a hoarse moan, feeling a familiar fire kindling within her. Her plan at getting Spike out of bed was backfiring on her.

Not since last year had they been this physical with one another. It was probably the thought of repeating past mistakes that had them donning invisible chastity belts. But after last night…God what hadn’t happen last night?

Buffy had seen Spike at his worst and he in turn had been a witness to hers. And despite all the ugliness and vulnerability they’d seen in each other, it still was the most profound night their relationship had faced thus far. She’d never connected with anyone like she had with Spike.

Though she knew he loved her, truly and completely, and she trusted him wholly, Buffy wasn’t ready for sex, which sounded so absurd considering she’d done things with Spike that would make a porn star blush. But the overwhelming fear that reared its ugly head whenever she thought she might be making a mistake was too strong to ignore. Buffy didn’t want to regret doing anything with Spike. She didn’t want to hurt him.

Buffy writhed above him involuntarily. Just because she didn’t think they were at the sexcapades stage yet didn’t mean she wanted him any less. “Spike…”

His lips were on hers again, his kiss stealing the breath from her lungs.

Buffy pulled away, panting heavily as she placed her hand lightly on his chest. “We should stop,” she said breathily.

Spike stared up at her, worried that he’d crossed some kind of line. Before he could plead for forgiveness, Buffy lifted herself up, sitting lightly on his thighs, a big smile plastered on her flushed face. “You have SITs to train,” she said impudently.

A wave of relief washed over Spike, which was immediately followed by an amused sense of frustration. “Why you cheeky little…”

He was cut off by a quick peck Buffy placed on his lips. “I’m gonna go take a shower,” she informed him as she jumped out of bed.

When she saw he wasn’t moving she asked, “Aren’t you getting up?”

He stared back at her, his annoyed expression negated by the mischievous twinkle in his eye. “Actually I’m waitin’ to get back down,” he complained, feigning indignation as he crossed his arms for dramatic affect. “Wouldn’t want to scar any teenage girl sensibilities,” he added, gesturing with his head to the door.

Buffy smirked at the pout he didn’t even realize he was making. She bent down and kissed him sweetly on the lips, her hand softly cupping his cheek.

“You want me to clear the hallway? You could take a cold shower?” she asked sympathetically, trying to help him out. The tight spot he was in was, after all, her fault.

Spike stared up at her in awe, his cerulean eyes sparkling as they looked into Buffy’s sympathetic gaze. She felt bad about leaving him hanging, which made his heart swell. The old Buffy would have left him hard and unsatisfied without a second thought. Now, his girl felt guilty for getting him all hot and bothered with no intention of finishing the job. Well not with her assistance anyway.

It still felt strange to him, that she cared. He knew without a doubt that, even if only in the most fundamental way, Buffy loved him. Spike just wasn’t certain how far that love extended. Was it a companionship, a friendship complemented with desire? Or was Buffy truly in love with him? The vampire pushed the thoughts away. When Buffy was ready, she would tell him. Unless, that is, the world came to an end before she got the chance.

Nodding, the Spike gave her a smile in gratitude. “Thanks, pet.”

Buffy made her way to the door, opening it slightly to peek out into the hallway. She sighed when she saw that the morning lineup for the bathroom was nonexistent.

“Coast is clear,” she announced.

Spike hopped out of bed, wincing slightly as his hard on rubbed against the zipper of his jeans.

Racing to the front door, he planted a kiss on her lips. “I love you,” he whispered, before taking off to the bathroom, hoping his luck was good enough that the Potentials were all just having a tardy morning.

The Slayer watched as her vampire boyfriend shut the bathroom door, in a hurry to deal with his embarrassing predicament. She sighed. She felt bad for getting him all worked up just to leave him hanging.

Buffy couldn’t help but think how sensitive Spike was being. The old Spike would’ve made her all lusty and horny until she gave into him. It wasn’t that she hadn’t wanted him. Hell, more than half of the time she’d been the one jumping his bones. But last year, when he had wanted it, Spike had known exactly how to seduce her.

It was why her gaze remained transfixed on the bathroom door. In the heat of the moment, Buffy had stopped them. Spike had not argued her decision. He hadn’t even gotten upset, not really anyway. She figured his huffiness was fulfilling some kind of male ego requirement.

Spike loved her enough to place her needs before his own.

The smile she’d been sporting transformed into a frown. He loved her so much and she couldn’t even tell him how she felt. Spike had said he already knew that the First couldn’t use his guilt for what he had done to her because he knew she still loved him despite it.

Buffy groaned at the memory. Last night he had said those words to her and her response had been to totally change the subject on him. Heartless much?

She loved Spike, she trusted him but she couldn’t overcome her deer-caught-in-headlights fear. Sure, they’d hashed out all their problems yesterday but you just don’t get over years of self-conditioning over night. Spike deserved to know. She just hated that there was an apocalypse looming over them, that she had a deadline to deal with to work out her feelings. Buffy didn’t want it to sound forced. She wanted to mean it.

Heading back into the room, Buffy started to make the bed. She still needed time. She just hoped it wasn’t going to take the end of the world for her to tell Spike she loved him.


“The Yankees suck!” Faith stubbornly stated.

Robin glared at her, unconvinced. “You gotta come up with a better argument for your case,” he countered. “And the Yankees do not suck.”

“Whatever,” she dismissed, taking a sip from the coffee she’d picked up from the Java Hut.

The two of them were out on Buffy’s front porch, reclining on the railing, enjoying the morning sunshine as they delayed their trip back into the house for as long as they possibly could.

“You know, an 85 year old curse that still hasn’t been broken is clear indication that the Yankees are a much better team,” Wood continued the quarrel. He loved pushing Faith’s buttons; it was so easy to get her all riled up.

“Oh yeah? Last World Series your boys played, they got their asses handed to them,” she retorted.

“Eighty. Five. Years,” he simply replied, punctuating every word. “That’s almost a century of an asswhoopin’,” he chuckled.

Faith scoffed. “Shut up and drink your coffee.”

They’d spent the whole night hanging out, just talking. Well, for the most part.

The Bronze had been closed, and Willy’s was shut down indefinitely. She hadn’t thought of it until now but maybe the little snitch new something the rest of them didn’t. She shrugged the thought off. No point in over analyzing the weasel’s life plans.

Faith eventually had found a bar open late on the outskirts of town. At first she and Wood just kept to themselves, downing a few shots of tequila to drown their sorrows.

What neither of them had realized was that, much like Willy’s, the bar catered to both human and demon clientele. So when the recently returned Slayer and vampire slaying Principal walked into the establishment, a table of vampires weren’t all too happy to see them.

Faith smiled behind her Styrofoam cup of coffee at the memory. They’d left the place trashed, having dusted every last vamp, much to the owner’s dismay. The two of them had left the place laughing hysterically, the tensions they’d been under the whole night suddenly lifted.

The duo spent the rest of the wee morning hours simply walking the empty streets of Sunnydale, talking about everything and anything that came to mind; everything and anything except the subject of vampires and slayers. It was nice to pretend, to forget their problems, even if only for one night.

The whole Boston Red Sox versus The New York Yankees debate had started just after the sun had risen, when they’d bought themselves some coffee from the just opened Java Hut.

Neither Wood nor Faith had decided to return to Buffy’s. They’d just ended up back there, a silent agreement between the two of them that they’d wait a while before venturing back into the house.

“You’ll never convince me, ya know,” she said unwaveringly. “I’m pure Bostonian through and through. I got the Red Sox in my blood.”

“Yeah well, born and raised in Manhattan,” Wood countered. “It’s bad enough I moved out here. What right minded New Yorker leaves the Big Apple? The Yankees are my only lifeline back to city living.”

Faith nodded. “Know what you mean. California’s all bimbos and granola types. They wouldn’t last ten minutes where we grew up. An hour in a blizzard could take ‘em out,” she wisecracked.

Faith and Wood laughed lightly at her joke, both their gazes inadvertently landing on the front door. They were avoiding the inevitable and it was likely that sooner much rather than later they were going to have to face Buffy.

They could hear the going-ons of the Summer’s home behind the solid wood door, a hum of excitement and nervous chatter of a houseful of teenage girls reaching their ears. Robin looked down at his watch, wondering when Buffy would be heading out for work. If she decided to go in today at all.

“Guess everybody’s up,” Faith commented, a bittersweet tone to her voice. Having to go back into the house meant she had to step back into reality, into the hell that was her existence. Faith didn’t want the night to end. She didn’t want to stop pretending.

“Yeah, sure sounds like it,” Wood replied, his own voice laced with melancholy. He’d much rather spend the rest of his day hanging out with Faith than have to face the Slayer he had backstabbed.

“You know we don’t have to go in,” she suggested, trying to sound logical. “Maybe we should give it a day. You know, let everything blow over before we go back into the snake pit?”

Wood was about ready to agree when simultaneously a car pulled up behind them and the Summer’s front door swung open to reveal a flustered Slayer.

“Hurry up Dawn!” she shouted over her shoulder. “We’re running…” her voice faltered when she saw the last two people she expected to see that morning lounging on her front porch. “Late.”

“Buffy,” Wood said in surprise as he stood up.

“Robin…” Buffy responded in shock. “Faith,” she added with involuntary hostility when she noticed the woman standing beside her boss. “I see you two have met. Lemme guess, you’re trading notes on how to kill my boyfriend?” she inquired scathingly.

Wood winced at her remark. True, it was warranted but that just made him feel all the worse. “I deserve that,” he sighed.

Buffy placed her hands on her hips, evidently unimpressed by Robin’s shabby appearance and his blood shot eyes. “Look, obviously you’re spending your day playing hooky but Xander’s waiting and I’m running late,” she harshly stated, taking a step to leave. “Dawn!” she yelled.

“Buffy, wait,” Robin implored, hoping she’d just give him a minute to plead his case.

The Slayer sighed, turning around to hear whatever it was he had to say. She couldn’t well leave without her punctually incompetent sister.

“I’m sorry, Buffy,” he immediately apologized.

She stared at him in surprise, having detected the sincerity in his voice.

“I’m sorry about last night,” he continued. “You were in a vulnerable position and I took advantage of that for my own means.”

Buffy quirked a brow. “And Spike?” she wondered skeptically.

Wood exhaled loudly, struggling to come to grips with the conflicting emotions he had regarding the vampire in question. “I’ve been talking to Faith,” he began. “She explained a few things to me. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I can’t honestly say I’m sorry for trying to kill Spike…”

“Then we’re done here,” Buffy cut him off with the wave of her hand, making her was down the porch steps.

“Buffy, please,” Robin begged as he followed her to the front lawn, immediately trailed by a silent Faith.

The Slayer spun around, glaring at the two of them, wishing Dawn would move her ass.

“I can’t forgive him, Buffy. Not for what he did to my mother. It’s why I can’t be sorry for trying to kill him last night,” Wood attempted to clarify. “But I understand now why you need him,” he revealed, glancing briefly over to Faith. “How important he is to you.”

Buffy’s gaze also turned to the brunette, astonishment evident in her expression as she realized that Faith had somehow assisted in Robin’s little epiphany.

“I’m sorry I hurt you, Buffy,” he finished.

Buffy nodded, silently accepting his apology. “Despite my relationship with Spike, he’s still the strongest warrior we have. We are gonna need him if we're gonna come out of this thing alive,” she told him, facing him with a grave demeanor. “You try anything again, he'll kill you. More importantly, I'll let him.”

It was Wood’s turn to look shocked.

“I have a mission to win this war, to save the world. I don't have time for vendettas,” Buffy warned, making her way over to the car, her hand resting on the door handle. “If you still want to be a part of this, you’re going to have to work with him. Can you do that?” she wondered questioningly.

“I can try,” he replied honestly.

“Okay. I’m planning on having a meeting tonight so everyone can get caught up on what Giles dug up in London. Can I count on you to be there?” Buffy asked. “With intentions that are not of the nature of staking my boyfriend?”

Robin nodded wordlessly.

It was at that moment that Xander, who had been patiently waiting for Buffy to finish her reconciliation with the High School Principal, rolled down the passenger window, staring anxiously at the Slayer.

“Real sorry to interrupt here, Buff, but my ass is canned if I’m not at that meeting in fifteen minutes,” he pleaded.

Without another word to Robin, Buffy opened the front door to Xander’s car, about ready to scream at the top of her lungs for her sister when the teenager dashed out of the house, flying down the walkway of their front lawn.

“I’m here. I’m here. I’m here,” she rambled as she jumped into the back seat of the car.

Wood took a step back as Buffy closed the door behind her, standing next to Faith, who had remained suspiciously silent throughout the whole ordeal with Buffy. They quietly observed the car race down Revello Drive until it turned a corner, no longer in range of sight.

“You think she meant it?” he asked with a trace of fear.

“What? Letting Spike kill you if you pull another stunt like the one last night?” Faith already knew that was what Wood was thinking. “D’ya even wanna take the chance?”

“No. I guess not,” he admitted tiredly. “I better get going. I need some sleep.”

“Yeah, the coffee was definitely lacking in the caffeine department,” Faith remarked in agreement.

“Thanks for the slayer insight,” Wood lightly joked. “And for the much needed distraction,” he added with a smile.

“No biggie,” she shrugged. “But just that we’re both clear, everything that was said last night remains…”

“Totally between us,” Wood assured.

Faith sighed. “Good.”

“So, I guess I’ll see you later?” he asked, placing his hand on her arm.

“Uhh…yeah. Big meeting,” she responded, feeling a foreign twinge of nervousness.

Since when did she get nervous around guys?

‘Maybe since you’ve never met one who wasn’t a total creep or who wasn’t completely turned off by your criminal record,’ she mentally admonished.

The dark Slayer stared up at the man standing beside her. ‘And never one who looked this fine’.

Wood placed an innocent kiss on Faith’s cheek. “Bye,” he whispered with a grin.

Faith prayed to God she wasn’t blushing.

“Bye,” she said softly, watching with a smile as the closest person now in her life, a guy she’d known for less than forty-eight hours, began his march back home.

Staring back at the Summer’s front door, the Slayer groaned wearily. What were the chances she could make it to the basement without running into Andrew?


Meanwhile, as the Xander’s car drove slightly over the speed limit on its way to the Sunnydale High School, Dawn’s eyes narrowed suddenly in confusion.

“This might be the lack of sleep talking, but did I just see Faith and Principal Wood on our front lawn?” she asked, openly doubting her own perception of reality.

Buffy gave the teen a curt nod. “I think they were out the whole night…talking,” she answered without any real emotion. Buffy was as baffled as her sister, if not more so.

Dawn shook her head in disbelief. “Weird.”


A/N: Before you Red Sox fans point out that the Curse of the Bambino was recently broken, this story is taking place in 2003 so the Sox wouldn't have won the World Series until 2004.

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