“Maybe Willow should be here for this. She’s usually good with ideas,” Spike said as he watched Buffy sit down on the arm of the couch.
Buffy nodded. “She is. But then that would defeat the object of your daughter’s diabolical plan to get us alone together.”
He slugged his beer and pointed at her. “Good point.”
“And yet, here we are. Doing exactly as she planned. What does that make us?”
“Just plain sexy?” Spike offered.
Buffy nodded. “I can work with that.”
They both grinned and Spike settled into the armchair. Mya’s motives may have been a little skewed but he had to agree that maybe this would be a good chance to try and come up with ideas to get Buffy out of the mess she was in. You put Spike and Buffy in a room together and they’re bound to come up with a plan! Or, maybe just destroy the room. But he had no plans on doing that. None whatsoever.
“What’re you thinking?” Buffy asked.
He blinked. “Wondering what to do.”
“We could get some Super Soakers and have a water fight,” she smiled then frowned suddenly. “They do still have those, right??”
“Buffy,” he said warningly.
She sighed. “Yeah. I get it. This is serious.”
“Once we clear your name of murder, we can fight with water. And pillows,” Spike told her. “But until that time – we should keep our minds on the task at hand.”
Buffy pulled a face. “Water and pillows? Weird. Anyway, I think its simple enough – he was a vampire, not a human. Ergo – no murder charge. The End.”
“Buffy,” he said again in that same tone.
“Oh, fine,” she huffed sliding down onto the couch and folding her arms. “What do you suggest?”
He sat forward and looked her in the eyes. “We have to prove you were in that dimension for thirty years. And…I have no idea how to do that.”
Buffy sat forward too and rested her chin on her hands. They both sat like that for a long while, looking at each other across the coffee table. Buffy was drawing blanks on ideas and finding herself much more drawn to the colour of his eyes. She’d never seen eyes like that anywhere else.
Spike spoke suddenly. “We’ve obviously got the testimony of people who knew you who can say you went missing all those years and haven’t aged. Me, Willow, Xander…but that’s not enough. That doesn’t prove you weren’t in this dimension all that time. If only someone who was in that place could testify for you.”
“Yeah, sure,” Buffy nodded. “’Cept there was no one there. It was just an empty desert. Just me and the Shadowmen of Doom.”
His eyes brightened. Making her stare at them even more. “Maybe we could get one of them to –”
“Oh yeah, Spike. I’m sure they’d be real keen to traipse out of their little sandy getaway to give evidence for me in court,” Buffy sat back, slumping into the couch.
Spike wasn’t about to relent though. “Why not? From what I’ve researched they’re not evil beings. They created the First Slayer, what’s to say they won’t help?”
“They tried to force-feed me a demon.”
“Okay, that was…misguided,” he nodded. “But –”
“Misguided? Spike! Demon! Down my throat!” Buffy threw her hands up.
Spike nodded. “I know! But they were doing it to help! To make you stronger so that you could face the First Evil, right?”
Buffy said nothing.
“So – misguided, but not evil.”
Buffy snorted. “Even so, I really doubt they’d take time out of their busy chanting schedule to be character witnesses for me. I’m just one Slayer.”
“You’re the Slayer. And if they wanted to help before…”
“Against the ultimate evil, Spike,” Buffy pointed out. “Not the evil of a courtroom.”
Spike grunted and slumped back in his own chair. It was slump-fest. They both stared at each other now, frustrated and angry. Not at each other, but at the situation itself. Buffy shook her head and stood, walking over to the kitchen, just to get away. Spike watched her the whole time.
“I just don’t know what to do,” he said quietly.
Buffy leant against the counter with her back to him. “I know.”
She stared at the tiles on the wall and thought about his idea. Even if they could get the Shadowmen involved somehow, what’s to say it wouldn’t take another thirty years to get them out of the portal? By that time she’d be totally old and in jail. Or dead. And there’d be no point. Besides, the Shadowmen were mystical beings who didn’t care about her and her trivial human problems. Also they were kind of mean.
She was so busy thinking about all of this, all this mess, that she didn’t hear Spike walk up behind her. Only realised he was there when he placed his hand beside hers on the counter, his chest brushing against her back. She turned rigid for only a moment before she relaxed. Moved her little finger just enough that it touched his.
Spike spoke softly. “I was never the brains of the group.”
“No,” Buffy looked down at the counter. “But I liked your brawn.”
He laughed, his lips close to her ear. “Really?”
“Yeah. It was good brawn.”
Spike laughed again and Buffy pressed herself into the counter to stop moving backwards into him, or worse, turning around and facing him. She couldn’t look at him when she felt like this. She didn’t even know what she was feeling. Spike would know, he always knew, and she couldn’t let him work it out before she herself did.
“Buffy,” he said in a low, rumbling voice.
She stared at the tiles. “Yeah?”
But he didn’t say anything.
Instead they stayed silent and Buffy could hear her breathing getting a little too erratic. He would hear it; he would hear her blood pumping. He was made that way.
Just as she thought about making an escape, he leaned down and placed a kiss upon her shoulder.
Buffy blew out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding; his lips were cool through the material of her shirt. Almost as soon as he had done it he was apologising for it. She didn’t understand why. She didn’t see what he had to be sorry for. When he made a move to leave she hitched her little finger onto his to stop him. He still could have gone if he had wanted to. He stayed where he was. Right behind her, like he always had been.
She leant back into him giving in to the urge to do so. Her back against the solidness of his chest with his heart not beating and hers beating too fast. Spike sighed softly and she closed her eyes, content to just be near him.
It occurred to her that in her time, at her house, surrounded by Potentials…they could never have done this. Not just because they never had many moments to themselves but also because they were constantly being judged, being monitored. As if they were children. As if they couldn’t make their own decisions. Buffy resented that. Sure, they had a history. Part of it was a bad, terrible history. This she could not deny. Nor did she want to. However, the more important fact was that she had moved past it. She’d moved past the things…the mistakes…they’d both made. And her friends would never have understood that. At least here, in this future, she was free to pursue…whatever the hell it was she wanted Spike to be to her. It was just between the two of them.
She trusted Spike. Even after their past. That had to mean something. A big something.
“Your mind’s going a mile a minute,” Spike whispered in her ear.
She opened her eyes. “How do you always know?”
“I don’t,” he was smiling, she could tell. “I’m just a good guesser.”
Buffy grinned. “What am I thinking now?”
He paused as if thinking. “I don’t think I can repeat that without getting arrested for lewd conduct.”
Buffy laughed warmly and then quieted, voice serious. “Thank you.”
“No problem. Gotta keep your modesty intact.”
She smiled but shook her head. “No. I mean for everything.”
“It was nothing.”
Buffy did turn around to face him then, trapped between the counter and his body, their faces close. She looked him in the eye and saw that he meant it. He really thought that everything he had done for her since she came back, and probably before then, was nothing.
“It was everything,” she placed her hand on top of his on the counter, his skin cold and smooth. “So, thank you.”
Spike’s gaze ticked down to their hands and then back up to her face. “Anytime,” he said rakishly.
And there it was. He still didn’t get it. Still thought she was being…what, polite? He should have known better. For one thing, she was rarely polite and for another, he meant something to her.
“I want you to know that I’m proud of you, Spike.”
He frowned then arched an eyebrow. “For what?”
“For doing something good with your life. For fighting evil and for looking after Mya. For being a friend to Angel, for helping Faith and…for looking out for me,” Buffy said, looking at the floor because she couldn’t look at him as she said perhaps one of the most important things. “For everything.”
Spike seemed to be uncomfortable with the attention because his feet shifted as if he was going to move away. Buffy looked up and he looked more scared than uncomfortable. Like he was scared of her, of what she might say next, or maybe that she was toying with him.
“Spike,” she said, he started to step backwards but she caught his tie in her hand and pulled him back into her. “Don’t.”
Reaching one hand up she traced her finger along the sloping line of his cheek and then drew the tip along his bottom lip slowly. He had such soft lips, so betraying of his tough guy image. Or, once tough guy image.
“Buffy,” he murmured.
“Come here,” she whispered.
He didn’t move. Just looked at her, unsure. So, she took action. She didn’t know why she was suddenly so sure she wanted this now, but she did know. Hand still firmly holding his tie she pulled him closer. Their foreheads rested together and Buffy closed her eyes, feeling at home for the first time since she had arrived in this brave new world.
Spike’s hand moved slowly up her arm to rest on her shoulder. “You’re vulnerable, we shouldn’t –”
“Don’t even,” she opened her eyes.
“Buffy, you’ve been gone for thirty years, everything has changed,” he looked flustered.
Something occurred to her. Something she hadn’t wanted to think too deeply about.
She tilted her head, watching him. “Do you not…want to?”
He opened his mouth to say something but hesitated and that was enough to shake her confidence completely. She let go and pushed past him.
“God, how stupid am I? Of course you wouldn’t,” she started to flee.
“No, Buffy –”
“I’m an idiot,” she kept going. “I have to just leave and –”
She never did get to finish what she was saying, because at that moment Spike grasped her by the shoulders and slammed his lips down upon hers.
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