Buffy filled his dreams; clinging to him as they kissed, her warmth surrounding him as they made love and whispered their devotion to each other throughout the long hours of the night.
‘Another one of those dreams, he thought as he woke, running a hand through his hair and groaning. Although, if there was any truth in what the slayer and he had surmised, then they weren’t dreams at all, but memories of the time he was gone… Trapped inside the amulet?
He’d loved her then. His intense love for her was a memory that stayed with him upon waking.
Buffy arrived at Spike’s flat just before eleven the next morning. Knocking on his door, she tried to overcome her nervousness at the thought of seeing him again.
She had been devastated when she’d left him the night before. His anger was gone, he was Spike again, and he still didn’t love her. As the night progressed, however, she had felt better about things; at least they were talking now. At least he wanted her friendship, and, hey, wasn’t that how things had started with them anyway? ‘I mean,’ she told herself, ‘if you think about it, it hadn’t even been friendship at that point, not really. So if he could fall in love with me from there…. well, anything was possible.’ She’d decided she would do as Spike wanted—be his friend, and she was confident that, given time, he would realise once again that he loved her and that they belonged together. ‘Yep, a good solid plan!’
She was lost in thought when the door opened to a room filled with blazing sunlight. Her first instinct was terror—he would burn! She would lose him again! Her ungrounded fear lasted only a fraction of a second—just long enough for her brain to catch up and remind her that he could go out in the sunlight now. Just long enough for her heart-rate to skyrocket and for Spike to register both her increased pulse rate and the sudden scent of fear.
“’s wrong, love?” His vampiric senses searching the corridor for whatever nasty had set the slayers nerves awry. Finding nothing, he turned his attention once again to the young woman in front of him, his head tilting slightly and his eyes narrowing as he tried to fathom what could have caused her momentary panic.
Feeling foolish, the slayer mumbled something so quiet even his keen hearing was unable to pick up more than the word ‘light’.
Stepping back from the doorway, he ushered her inside, at the same time asking, “What was that, pet?”
“I said, I forgot about the sunlight!” She ducked her head, not wanting to see him laughing at her stupidity.
“’s alright, love, I forgot myself a few times in the beginning. Takes a little getting used to. Bloody lovely, though, I must say.” He beamed at her, his eyes glowing and she thought he’d never looked so gorgeous, standing in the sunlight with a genuinely happy smile on his face. None of the pain, or doubt that had shadowed his features so much in the last few years, just simple contentment. Her beloved vampire was at peace at last—with his soul and his world. This realisation brought her more happiness than she could have imagined.
Even if their relationship never again passed the friendship status she would be happy. Happy that he was back in her life, that he was still her friend and that he had finally found happiness himself! She felt her mouth curving into the first real smile in longer than she cared to remember.
“It’s no more than you deserve, Spike. You saved us—all of us. The whole world!” At his look of discomfort, she allowed her voice to take on a teasing note as she continued, “You know that makes you a hero, don’t you?” Her eyes widened as she looked at him with mock adoration.
“Knock it off, Slayer,” he growled at her as they settled back into an easy banter.
They had spent a couple of hours talking, both catching up and trying to understand what possible reason the Powers could have for messing with them they way they so obviously seemed to be doing.
Later they had gone for a walk, and Spike had bought her a lovely lunch in a small Italian restaurant he’d told her was good. And he was right! The food had been excellent, the service was friendly but discreet and the atmosphere was warm and inviting. She would have to remember this place and bring Dawn here for dinner one night.
He hesitantly told her of his plans to become a History teacher, waiting for the mockery he was half certain would follow his announcement. He was pleasantly surprised when her reaction was one of enthusiasm and encouragement.
Walking back to his apartment that afternoon, they were back on the topic of their possibly not so friendly Puppet Masters and what to do about them.
“Maybe we should have us a chat with the watcher, pet? He might have a bit more of an idea about it than we do.”
Buffy hesitated. “We could. I mean, if we can’t think of anything else…”
“You haven’t told ‘em, have you? They don’t know I’m alive?” Spike looked at her incredulously.
“I just... it’s... well.” Buffy stopped walking and Spike had to turn to look at her as she spoke again, “After that stunt in Sunnydale with Giles and Wood trying to kill you... I just worried. I don’t want anything to happen to you, Spike. Okay? Is that so wrong?” She was on her defensive now, and a defensive slayer was a snarky slayer.
Spike couldn’t help but grin at her; she really was beautiful when she got her back up.
“I’m not sayin’ a thing, Slayer. It’s your call if you tell your watcher or not.” He softened his voice and looked her in the eye. “Only thing I will say, pet, is anything your watcher has ever done, he has done out of love and commitment to you. I‘m not sayin’ he was right—bloody stupid wanker’s made some pretty bum calls as far as I’m concerned, but he has always had your best interests at heart. Just think about it, love. I’ll leave the decision entirely up to you.”
They parted outside his building. Buffy heading home for a sisters’ evening with Dawn—they were going to watch sappy movies and paint each other’s toenails. There were so few days left that they would be able to do these things, pretty soon Dawn would be heading off to University and then on to Watcher’s school.
Spike kept walking past his building and off towards the seedier side of town, seeking out the vampires and demons that preyed on the city’s unsuspecting.
He’d enjoyed his day with the slayer; they had been at ease around each other in a way that had previously only really happened in the days just prior to that final battle in the Hellmouth. She was different now, he noted, less careworn, freer than he ever remembered. Even more so than the young innocent he remembered from his arrival in Sunnydale. The sharing of her burden was obviously a huge factor in that development.
She was still terribly thin; the last few years she had become almost gaunt as she ate less and trained more—hardening her body to become a finetuned weapon. Maybe now that her life was less stressful, now that the fate of the world no longer rested on her tiny shoulders and hers alone, maybe now she would start to take a little more care of herself. If today was anything to go by, her appetite was definitely on the improve. He laughed to himself, maybe he could make it his mission to see that she ate at least one good meal a week.
His dreams that night continued to haunt him with visions of his arms happily filled with a warm loving slayer.