Buffy had ended up going to the high school. She had keys to the building, so it was not as if she broke into the building or anything. She spent hours there, patrolling the basement and just sitting at her desk playing solitaire on her computer. She had stopped at the diner a block from the high school for breakfast and had gone there again for lunch. Eating out was not something she allowed herself to do, she even brought her own lunch to work every day, but now with the mortgage paid off she decided she could splurge on two meals out on the day she was informed she was immortal.
She was on her way back to the house now. It was after six o'clock, over twelve hours after she had left the house. Hopefully, Spike would still be there. He apparently had not dusted himself because she was still here. Everyone Buffy had ever met who had been immortal had been on the side of evil, vampires, Glory, the Mayor. It was with that realization that she decided Angel might have had a point about the good side needing someone who would always be there. She just wished for once these prophecies having to do with her would not be so life altering.
She picked up her pace when she spotted a car parked on the driveway. If Travers had lied to her only to come back and stake Spike she would be furious. She broke out into a jog, bounding up the front steps at the thought of something happening to Spike.
"Spike?" she called out as she opened the front door almost tearing the heavy wooden door off its hinges.
"Buffy," Giles said as he stood from the couch. "We were getting worried about you."
"He's upstairs, Buffy, what's this about?"
She ran up the stairs and burst into their room, reminiscent of the times she would enter his crypt without a knock. "What the hell?" he called out as he turned to face her buttoning his jeans. "Buffy, what's wrong?" She threw her arms around him and clung to him. "Buffy?" he called out his hands running along the length of her spine. "What is it, pet?"
"I thought something had happened to you."
"What? Why?" She drew away from him and kissed him, apparently surprising him because he drew away with barely a brotherly peck. "Talk to me, pet. You're scaring me."
"I saw the car parked in the driveway and I thought they'd lied to me."
"You knew your Watcher was coming back today."
"I know," she said, rubbing her cheek against his chest. His shirt front was slightly damp from her tears. "I just, I wasn't thinking. I saw the strange car and my first thought was that it had been a trick."
"Shh, pet," he said, smoothing his hand down along her back and her hair. "It's okay. No tricks. Rupert's been here, going stir crazy, since about one o'clock. I had no idea where you would go during the day."
"I went to the school," she admitted with a sniffle, collecting herself. "I didn't mean to scare you. I'm glad you're okay," she said, drawing away to look him in the eye.
"Yeah," he said simply.
"You don't believe me?"
"I want to, pet. I just, Christ, has anything gone right for you since you've known me?"
"Of course it has," she said simply. Her breathing returned to normal and he drew away, her hands clutching his forearms. They both stood there, quiet, neither saying anything for several minutes. "I should go talk to Giles I guess. He flies all the way here from London and I run into the house searching for you. I didn't even say hello to him."
Spike chuckled and kissed her lightly. "I'm sure he understands." He slid an arm around her and reached for the bedroom door with his other hand, opening it. "After you," he said, letting her pass through first.
She descended the steps, Spike following close behind and stopped almost sheepishly at the foot of the stairs. "Let's try this again," she said as she walked toward the living room. "Hi Giles," she said.
He stood from the couch again, ever the gentleman Buffy couldn't help but think. "Buffy. Is everything? Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I just saw your car and freaked. No big. But with Mr. Travers here and all."
"Right," he said. "I have some good news for you."
"You mean that Mr. Travers isn't here to kill us?"
"I, well, yes, that and I'll be returning here to Sunnydale."
"You what? Giles, that's amazing, but," she frowned. "I thought you didn't think I needed you anymore."
"Well, the Watcher's Council seems to think I need to be here, journaling your events."
"So you know?"
"Yes, I found out after you and Spike had already left. I flew here because I knew if you weren't at Angel's he'd know where to find you and would only tell me where you were."
"So it's true," Buffy whispered.
"Yes, Buffy, it is. My contact phoned me again later to tell me, but you had already left and Spike had already called me to let me know you were out of the house and somewhere safe. I had no idea when you would call back, so I caught a flight here."
She went up to him and hugged him. "I'm so glad you're here, Giles."
"I'm glad to be back, Buffy," he said, kissing the top of her head. "So glad. I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you, too," she said through tears. "God, I feel like I've done nothing but cry all day," she said drawing away, brushing her tears away. She kissed Giles on the cheek. "I'm sorry you had to come back, though. I know you were looking forward to a life back in London."
"Oh, Buffy, it was nothing like that. I would have stayed if I thought you needed me and I was not holding you back. But you have Spike to spar with you now, and I think the Council is hoping you will allow me to train you in the correct way."
"You mean using the Japanese words and everything?"
"Do I have to? I don't want to, Giles."
He laughed. "Yes, well, it seems we have plenty of time to deal with that."
"He's at the train station, I took him there a while ago. On his way back to LA."
"Oh," she said, frowning at the thought of his not saying good bye.
"He realized you were safe, Buffy, and recognized his place is not here. Nothing more."
"I know, it's just," she shrugged. "He could have said good bye at least."
"He's only a couple of hours away, pet," Spike volunteered and Buffy spun around to look at him. She had not forgotten he was there, but it was so strange to hear him talk about Angel so calmly. "It's not like you won't see him again."
"I know," she said softly, offering Spike a bit of a smile. "He's got stuff to deal with at home anyway."
"Yes, I understand things have gotten even more complicated with his son."
"I guess so," Buffy said in agreement. "It was strange seeing an eighteen year old young man standing in front of me instead of a toddler barely old enough to walk."
"I imagine it would be. It's rather a good thing you were gone all day, it gave Angel and I and Spike and I a chance to talk."
"And lord knows you wouldn't want me around for that," she said somewhat teasingly. She knew that both vampires probably had much to tell Giles and it was more than likely best said out of Buffy's presence, but she still hated knowing that Giles knew things that she did not.
"Buffy, you know that's not the case," Giles said.
"I know, Giles, I do. I was teasing. I've had a lot to digest recently, I feel a little overwhelmed and I don't know what to tell Dawn."
"Just tell her when you're ready to tell her, Buffy, no one expects you to grasp this concept in one day. I'm surprised you did not go out today and try and get yourself killed to test it out."
"I thought about it, but it would have taken a lot to kill me to begin with and I really wasn't up for that kind of punishment today."
"I brought Willow back with me," Giles said and Buffy recognized the caution in his tone. He was rewarded with silence on Buffy's part. If he expected her to be overjoyed, he was mistaken. Not that she hated Willow or anything, but still it was a little frightening what Willow almost accomplished only a few months ago. "She's at her mother's house, if you would like to phone her."
"Maybe tomorrow. Dawn's due back any minute and I'm not sure she'll be too thrilled about seeing Willow unannounced."
"Still upset with her?"
"Yeah," Buffy said softly.
"Very well," Giles said, looking past Buffy. "I suppose I should leave you two alone then."
"But you just got here, Giles."
"Yes, but after a twelve hour flight and customs and driving here. I'm ready to have a spot of dinner and call it a night."
"Okay, Giles. I'm glad you're back, but I'm sorry it's so sudden." She hugged him again.
"I'm used to it by now with you, Buffy," he said with a low chuckle. He lowered his voice then. "Spike tells me your father provided you with a check?"
"Yeah, he did," Buffy said just as softly, though it was really pointless, Spike would hear them anyway if he wanted to eavesdrop. "The house is mine," she said simply.
"Good. I'm so glad for you, Buffy."
"Thanks, me, too."
"And you're all right?"
"Well, I'm a little overwhelmed, but I'll deal like I always do. There's not much else I can do, is there? I can't give it back, can I?"
"I didn't think so. So I'll be fine."
"Yeah. Thanks. We can talk more tomorrow after you've gotten some sleep."
"So you get your Watcher back," Spike said from the room's entryway.
"I guess so," she said taking a seat on the couch, her arms folded over her chest.
"Buffy, if you want me to go, for a while or for good."
"No," she said quickly looking at him. "Why would you say that?"
"I don't know. I realize you didn't ask for this."
"Well, I'm a little shocked, astounded really, but I don't want you to go. Spike, if you left what would I do?"
"Well, that's a handy reason to have me around."
She laughed and moved her hands so they rested in her lap. "That's not what I meant. I mean, I always sort of felt bad for Angel and for you. If he had used the not wanting to watch me die excuse I would have bought it without question. I don't blame him. I lost my mom and it can't possibly be the same as watching someone you gave your heart to. But in all honesty, I would have been selfish and wanted you to stay with me until I was gone."
"I would have done it, pet. Without a doubt, without hesitation, and without you having to ask."
"I know, that's one of the things I love about you. Angel ran away from it, you were willing to live through it."
"I had to, Buffy. You're too much a part of me to give up on you."
"So you're not going to go disappearing on me, right? I mean, if I've got this eternity gig going on and it's connected to you."
He chuckled and seemed to sense it was safe for him to come near her, so he took a seat next to her on the couch. A hand slid to her knee. "I'm not going anywhere, no. I'm sorry. I honestly had no idea."
"Well, maybe those Powers That Be are telling us both something. I guess it serves us right, something amazing had to happen as a result of your doing such an amazing thing, Spike."
"Are you sure you think it's amazing, Buffy?"
"Well, it's a bit of a shock, but who wouldn't think it's amazing. I mean, so long as I don't have to drink blood and I still get to go to the beach and stuff," she shrugged. "I was never that bookish in school, so I guess I'll have plenty of time on my hands now to learn all of those things Giles thought I should learn."
"And there's nothing that says you have to stay in Sunnydale forever, you know. I mean, I've traveled a lot, but it would be different to travel without worrying about being chased out of town by angry mobs of people."
"Oh yeah, you know me, I'd be causing trouble wherever I go." She frowned and shook her head. "You might want to rethink that philosophy there, baby."
"I'm destructo girl, you know?"
He chuckled. "Well, I don't think we'll have the good citizens chasing us out, Slayer."
"You'll really bring me places?"
"I'd love to, pet. I'd love to show you anywhere you want to go."
"And you don't feel obligated?"
"Obligated? What kind of nonsense are you thinking up now?"
"Oh, you know, that you caused this so now you have to stay with me?"
"Buffy," he said, sliding his hand from her knee to her hands still clutched together in her lap. He squeezed lightly. "I did cause this, but if I didn't want to stay it would have scared the hell out of me into leaving already. You're stuck with me, Slayer, so just deal with it and quit trying to get rid of me." He reached with his other hand and slid his fingertips along the left side of her neck. "Besides, I've marked you, claimed you as mine. You're my mate, Buffy."
She lifted one hand to touch the right side of her neck, where other scars were. "What about these?"
"They were different. The Master wanted to kill you, Angelus was feeding, and Dracula," he said, a low growl rumbling in his chest. "He did not claim you. He could not claim you."
"I don't think I understand any of that."
"Well, you did not recognize him. Your soul answers me and my demon recognizes you. Dru knew it almost from the beginning."
"What does that mean, exactly?"
"I don't know. I could write a poem about it, but it wouldn't be very good and it probably wouldn't explain it any better. All I know is that when I'm near you I feel as though by sheer proximity to you my heart might start beating and if it did it would be in perfect time with yours. And now that I have this soul," he said growing quiet.
"Christ, Buffy, I feel everything so much more intensely and it all feels so new."
"Is that why you always touch me?"
"Does it bother you?"
"No, I just noticed if you can you do. Even if it's just a finger while you're driving, it's there against my leg."
"I don't know if that's why, but I need it."
"I don't know what to do. What do I tell Dawn? I have to tell her something. And the rest of them. I mean, they're going to notice I don't get any older, don't you think?" He chuckled lightly, lacing his fingers through hers as he sat back against the couch. He was more comfortable, which was good, but Buffy was still overwhelmed and not overly comfortable yet with all of this.
"I would suspect so, yeah. Lots of people are going to notice, Buffy. What you tell them is up to you. I don't know what to tell you there. Your dad gave you a nice gift, this house here, so it seems stupid to pick up and move all of the time."
"But we could always just move around, keep this house but move around, right?"
"We could if you want to, sure. You're much too calm about this," he said softly.
"I don't know, I was more than half-expecting a fight."
She drew her hand away quickly. "I told you I wasn't going to do that anymore, Spike."
"I know, pet, I wouldn't have blamed you if something like this sent you over the top a bit."
"Is that what you think of me? Do you think I like what I did to you? Do you think I like looking back at the past year and see that I beat the shit repeatedly out of the one person who even cared to try and understand what I might be going through?"
"No, Buffy, I don't. But you tend to take out your frustrations violently. Whether it be on me or on a punching bag is irrelevant."
She stood then and paced the room. "No, it's not irrelevant. I'm not going to beat on you, Spike. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm thrilled about this. I just needed to know you're not going to leave me."
"I'm not, Buffy. I don't know what else I can do or say to convince you I'm not."
"I don't either. At least I guess I should thank you."
"Well, you got Giles back for me. I'm no longer the only Slayer in history without a Watcher."
He snickered. "Yeah, I guess I did at that. The look on that Council big wig's face was priceless. I don't think he could have lied if he'd wanted to."
"Yeah, it was, wasn't it? I always feel like I need a bath in holy water after I've threatened a human."
"Just be sure and let me know if you ever do that, pet. I'll forego joining you in one of those baths."
She smiled and shook her head. She did not know how Spike was doing it, getting through this. He had bad moments, she knew. There were times he would just sit or lay with her and she would know by the way he held her that he was having a bad moment. Sometimes he would wake up like he had done earlier that morning on the couch, calling out her name. Angel probably thought it was an affectionate or claiming thing, but Buffy knew it was just assurance Spike was seeking. Assurance that he was not dreaming, that he was really here with her and she had not only forgiven him but accepted him into her home and admitted she loved him.
"There's so much to tell Dawn, and with Willow coming back, too. I don't know where to start."
"Why not just start with Red's return, luv, and let her digest that before telling her the rest. I mean, it's not like you have to tell her tomorrow."
"I know." Spike stood from the couch and walked to her, placing his hands at her shoulders. She leaned into him, fitting against him so nicely. His arms went around her, holding her close when he seemed to realize that she was not going to pull away.
"You're mine, Buffy," he whispered against her ear.
"What?" she asked softly not moving from his embrace. In fact, if anything, his words made her cling to him even more. Her body started tingling, and it was not the normal sexual tingling feelings. She had felt magic at work before, remembered vividly the empowerment she felt when she and the others had connected with the First Slayer. This was not quite like that, but it was the only thing she could compare it to.
"I said you're mine. I would never have made such a claim on you, would not have wanted to shackle you to me in such a way. But now," he said softly.
"Now what?" she asked, feeling oddly at peace despite everything that had happened today.
"I have no qualms about doing it." He slid his hands up along her back, moving them to cup her face and look into her eyes.
"What does that mean, exactly?"
He lowered his mouth, grazing her lips briefly before lowering his mouth to the left side of her neck. He grazed his tongue over the bite marks there. She whimpered softly, arching into him as she pulled his mouth closer to her neck. He had not answered her question, but he was making her feel so alive, the earlier tingling sensation was now intensified by the tingling sensation of arousal. He worried the marks, was reopening them and she should stop him. He and Angel had both said she should be careful about letting him bite her. But, "oh god," she said aloud, she did not want him to stop.
"It means," he said licking the marks again to close them and brought her mouth to his neck.
Without question or thought her blunt teeth worked at his neck until she had broken the skin. She groaned as she tasted him, his blood on her tongue, her teeth, and her lips. She should be repulsed, revolted, disgusted but for that moment, then and there, she felt nothing but an overwhelming sense of rightness that seemed to be partnered with the tingling sensations. Visions flashed before her eyes, pictures of her and Spike fighting side by side, unstoppable, amazingly fast and strong. She knew it was visions of the future, their future. She felt him grow hard, was aware of his hands dropping to and cupping her backside, drawing her against him.
She drew away from him, uttering a soft "mine," and it was as if the curtain had been lifted from in front of her eyes. She had no magic healing abilities in her saliva so there was nothing she could do to the ragged bite mark on his neck. It would have to close on its own. She stared at it and then looked at him, not expecting the look of sheer pleasure in his eyes. Had she pleased him just by biting him? "Finish telling me."
"It means that I'm in you, you're in me. Your blood is in me, mine is in you, and we're connected through that, a bond. No one can break that bond; it's what Dracula was trying to get you to do."
"I tasted him," she said softly.
"Yeah, but it didn't work. At least, I don't think it did what he wanted it to do."
"Because I saw me, he was trying to tell me that my power was centered in darkness. And I saw that he was right, I mean, you were sort of right that I don't belong in the light with Xander and Dawn."
"Slayer, I shouldn't have said anything like that."
"No, it's okay. I mean, like I said, he was right. You both were. There is a darkness to my art, and I think maybe that's part of why I didn't think anything was up with my getting better. With you gone, I was giving into that darkness. Anyway," she said, shaking her head realizing she was getting off track. "I saw visions when I drank from him, but they were Slayer visions, they drove home the point that I am not evil. The darkness in me does not make me evil."
"Of course you're not evil."
"I know that," she said with a wry smile. "But just now," she said, lifting her eyes to meet his evenly. He was afraid of what she was about to say. She would love to torment him, if today had not been so outrageously weird and he would be up for such a joke she might be tempted to. "I saw us, together. It was the future, I don't know how I know that but I do. We were fighting, together not against one another. And we were both amazing, it was like we were of one mind."
"You saw that?"
"Yeah," she said quietly.
"Well, with time and practice we very well could be of one mind. With the exchange of blood comes some telepathic like powers. It's not telepathy, but we can communicate with our minds. Maybe that's what you saw."
"You're scaring me now, Spike."
"Your Council leader told you our abilities and so forth would continue to increase."
"Well, yeah, but talking to one another in our minds?"
"Do you know what I'm thinking without my telling you?"
"Well, yeah, sometimes."
"And do I answer your questions before you ask them or respond to you before you say something?"
"So why is it so farfetched for you to believe that we can meld our minds together even more when it's crucial, like a fight?"
"I don't know. Willow and Tara did it sometimes, but I always thought it was like a spell."
"I think if two people are together, truly and totally together, they just get that way, pet. I've heard Willow say Tara was her soul mate, and it would seem that in some otherworldly way we are too, our souls know and want one another."
"I get that," she admitted. "I do."
"If your life is in my hands I'm not going to complain about having some connection to you, Buffy. I don't want to be responsible for my getting staked and ending your life."
"I'd want to go anyway."
"What's the point of living forever if I have to live forever alone? I wouldn't want to do it."
He reached with a hesitant hand and touched her face, pushing her hair back from her eyes, stroking the corners of her eyes with his thumbs. "Can't say as I blame you there. I've done it, lived without you and it sucked."
She placed a hand over his and squeezed. "I know. I'm sorry. Just try not to get yourself staked for a while yet. Like years and years. I'd like to keep rewriting those Slayer history books."
"I'll do my best, pet," he said with a lift of his lips, his head tilting. "What time is Niblet expected home anyway?"
"I don't know. Why? What did you have in mind?"
"A walk," she repeated not expecting that at all. She had assumed he had something devilish in mind.
"Yeah, you know, two people doing the thing that bipedals do, maybe with a little hand holding thrown into the mix."
"Sure," she said, offering him a curious glance.
"I don't know."
"I told you I wanted to treat you right, Buffy. The making love thing happened a bit sooner than I had planned, but I still have every intention of treating you like you deserve to be treated. I'd love to shag you senseless twenty-four hours a day, but if we're going to spend the rest of our lives together I think we might want to start looking at other ways to keep us occupied."
She smiled almost shyly, touched by his thoughtfulness yet amused at the same time. "Not that I'm arguing, but why?"
"Well, because we simply cannot do it all the time," he said exasperated and Buffy laughed. "I don't know. One day we might find that we have to do something else, so it's best we figure out what else we can do together."
"Well, since you put it like that. Practicing the art of bipedalism sounds pretty good to me."
"Yeah, let's go. I have a question though," she said as she wrote a note for Dawn in case she came home before she got back.
"What's that, pet?"
"Do you even watch baseball?"
"Do I what?"
"Watch baseball? I'm curious to know just how gullible I was to fall for the lie my dad told that you were talking about the World Series."
"Oh, well, I've watched a few games, sure, but I'm dead set against any team with Angel in the name winning anything. So go Giants."
She snorted and put the note on the front door after she led Spike outside and closed the door. "So, I can basically know from now on if you and my dad say you're talking about sports that you're conspiring?"
"Well, yeah. Maybe. I don't know. Maybe if he turns out to be a likeable enough bloke I would watch a game with him or something. He is like my father in-law," he said with a shrug. "It's what men do after all."
"How do you figure?"
"I don't know. Go to any bar, pet, and that's what men are doing, sitting around together, drinking beer, watching some sporting event, getting all hyped about men playing a game they're getting paid outrageous salaries to play. I can't explain it."
"No, silly, I meant my dad. You said he's like your father in-law."
"Isn't he," he asked with a concerned frown.
"I suppose he would be, yeah. It's weird to say that, though."
"Because we just really started doing this couple thing, it just sounds so permanent."
"I hate to tell you this, babe, but you can't get much more permanent than this."
"Don't gloat, or I'll think you did all of this intentionally."
He scoffed. "As if."
"It's a pretty neat trick, though, if you wanted to go bad and all."
"Because I couldn't stake you, unless I have a death wish."
"Well, there you figured out my plan, to go and get this soul, turn evil just so that I could finally take down my third Slayer."
"Well, it's about the only way you'd be able to take me."
"Pfft, right, Slayer."
"You know," she said quietly as they walked in the direction of town.
"Well, when you first told me Willow was on her way back I was all concerned about it, but you know in the grand scheme of things it just doesn't seem so important anymore."
"No, if the images I saw are true, come true, Willow's not going to be turning evil anytime soon and making good on her threat to destroy the world. Which I take to mean she's going to be okay, Giles wouldn't bring her back here if she wasn't."
"So, I'm going to take that to mean things are going to be all right. Dawn forgave you pretty easily, so maybe she'll come around easily enough with Willow, too."
"We can hope."
"And maybe you and Willow," she said, glancing sidelong at him as he dropped her hand and placed his arm around her waist, drawing her against him.
"Me and Red what?"
"Well, maybe you two can talk, too. If you have bad days, help one another."
"Maybe," he said seeming to agree.
"I realize it might not be on the same level as you, but you know, it might do her some good. And you too, you know, you might feel like you're helping someone. Help ease some of your guilt."
He nodded and stopped walking briefly to kiss her cheek. "You know, you can be kind of smart when you want to be, Slayer."
"There's an insult in there somewhere, but I'm going to ignore it and simply say thank you."
"That's probably best," he said with a low chuckle.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com