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    Setting: about two years after BtVS season 7 in Rome.
    Notes: this is pretty long, i know. i would love your feedback.
    Rating: i'm gonna say nc-17, just to be safe. things got a little hot in this.
    -1-

    The pretty Italian bartender had told him he could find her at her house. She had said that they were there most of the time, and she had given him directions. So, after stealing a motorcycle from the parking lot he followed the directions. Sure, he could have bought one, since he had enough money saved up from some bank job he'd pulled in the fifties just for the hell of it, but stealing a bike was fun. Once he got the bike, he tore off in the direction he'd been told.

    After an hour, Spike found the house the girl had directed him to. It was a massive three-story thing that looked more like a boarding house than anything else. Every window was open, and the sounds of female voices drifted down to the street. Some of the words were Italian, most were English, and some were other languages Spike didn't try to place.

    He climbed off his bike and stepped into the alleyway net to the house. He walked down the alley until he heard the familiar sound of her laughter.

    "Oh, please, Faith," she was saying. Spike stopped in his tracks and searched the windows for the source of her voice. He saw her through a window to his left. Buffy looked just as beautiful as he remembered. Her hair was longer; it fell in a straight curtain down almost to her waist. She looked thinner than he remembered, but she still had that same glow about her.

    "No, I'm serious, B," Faith was saying. The darker Slayer was leaning against one wall of the kitchen they were in.

    "They aren't a problem," Buffy said.

    "They could be and that's my point," Faith argued. "We should just take care of them now and be done with it."

    "Fine, we'll do it tomorrow," Buffy said. "But Dawn's on in an hour, so we gotta go now."

    "Where's she at tonight?" Faith asked.

    "You don't know?" Buffy's voice had a slightly teasing tone to it.

    "Shut up," Faith said. "Where?"

    "Casa," Buffy said. She jumped up onto a countertop as Spike stepped close to the window. He was pretty sure they couldn't see him since it was so dark in the alley. Just in case, he kept out of direct sight of the window.

    Faith nodded and stepped away from the wall. "I'm gonna go change," she said. "I'll meet you and Will in five minutes?"

    "Yeah," Buffy said. Faith left the room, but Buffy kept her seat on the counter. She turned slightly and stared silently out the window. Spike watched her, and his heart broke at the intense pain and sadness he could see in her eyes. She sighed heavily and jumped down from her perch. She walked to the window slowly, staring at nothing. Playing with a tendril of hair, she shut the glass pane with one hand. Spike watched her walk out of the room. His motorcycle- well his now, he amended- was parked behind a car a few feet away, so he walked to it and waited. He was far enough away from the house so that when Willow emerged from the house and glanced in his direction, she didn't notice him.

    Faith and Buffy followed Willow closely out the door, and an entourage of teenaged girls filed out after them. Spike guessed the girls were Slayers, and he watched as they mounted a literal fleet of black motorcycles. Buffy, Faith, and Willow climbed into a red sports car. Spike smiled in appreciation. Who had picked out a '69 Mustang, he wondered?

    The group of women started their engines and took off, with the motorcycles flanking the Mustang. They were bodyguards, he realized. Each bike had two girls on it, one who was driving, and one who was armed. Spike gunned his engine and followed at a distance as they raced through the streets of Rome.

    Eventually, the group of Slayers came to a halt in front of a populated nightclub. The car stopped at the curb and Buffy stepped out like a celebrity. Truth be told, they were treating her like one. As soon as she stepped out of the car, the bouncer at the door had the ropes parted and the door open awaiting her. The people in line- who were past the edge of the building- muttered their protests. Spike gunned his motorcycle past the club as Faith stepped out of the car. She glanced at him and did a double take. Spike hoped she didn't recognize him yet.

    He found a door around the back of the club marked "Employees Only"- in Italian of course- and parked his bike. In a few moments he had the lock picked and open. The door opened to a brightly-lit hallway, which looked more like an office building than a nightclub. There was a hallway to his left and one in front of him. Music was pounding through the building, and it was loudest in the hall in front of him. Before he had a chance to start in that direction, a door opened down the hall and people stepped out. Spike darted into the hallway to his left, shielding himself from view with the wall, but not before one of the people had turned and looked at him. Holding his breath, he listened to their conversation, ready to bolt or fight, whichever came first.

    "Signorina?" a man was saying in a thick Italian accent. "Is everything all right?"

    "Yes, everything's fine," a woman said. The voice sounded familiar, but different some how. Definitely American. It was as if he'd heard the woman when she was younger.

    "Dawn! Hurry up!" another woman called out.

    "I'm coming, hold your horses," the first woman said. Spike almost stepped out into the hallway. There was not way that had been Dawn's voice. She sounded so? adult. He did the math quickly and decided she must be close to eighteen now. He waited for the footsteps to die away before he glanced around the corner again. It was clear, so he moved down the corridor quickly but silently.

    After a few minutes, Spike found his way to the main area of the club. It looked like most other places he'd been in: darkened with strobe lights blinking, a raised stage on one end and a bar at the other. He glanced up at the stage and did a double-take. Standing onstage, scantily clad and singing sexily into a microphone, was Dawn.

    Her hair was darker, almost black, and it fell to almost all the way to her hips. And she'd grown up. The last time he'd seen her, she was this skinny, bony little thing no bigger than a stick. Now? Spike understood why there were so many men in attendance. She looked like the ultimate woman: tall, with curves any man (except Spike, who was trying valiantly not to notice) would appreciate. And she'd learned to accentuate her figure. Her skirt was cut short and rod low on her hips, and the black bikini top she more than filled out left little to the imagination.

    "She is very attractive, yes?" a man asked from behind Spike. He turned to see a dark-haired Italian man sitting at a table near him. He was wearing a black felt fedora on his head, even though he was inside the club.

    "Do you not find her attractive?" the man asked.

    "Kinda can't," Spike said. "Saw her grow up, so this-"

    "Ah, si, si, I understand," the man said. "I know her as well. I am Pietro."

    "Spike," he said. Pietro gestured for him to sit, so he did.

    "I believe she has told me of you, no?" Pietro said. "Spike... yes, you dated her sister, didn't you?"

    "Don't know if you'd exactly call it dating, but yeah," Spike said.

    "I believe Dawn told me you were dead," Pietro said.

    "Kind of a long story, mate," Spike said by way of an explanation. Pietro nodded knowingly.

    "Do they know you are back?" he asked casually. Spike shook his head.

    "I'm not sure if I should tell them yet," he said. "There's a lot of water under the bridge with me an-"

    "You love her, yes?" Pietro interrupted.

    "No, it's not Dawn that I-" Spike stammered.

    "I know," Pietro said. "You love Buffy. It is obvious."

    "How's that?"

    "I am an empath demon," Pietro said. He lifted his hat up just a bit to reveal two horns protruding from his forehead.

    "I knew one of those in LA," Spike said.

    "Si, si, then you know that I can feel what you feel right now," Pietro said. "I feel her too."

    "What's she feeling?" Spike asked.

    "Her feelings have been much the same since I have known her, but I think they are different from when you knew her," Pietro said. "She feels mostly pain, anger, and sorrow. Occasionally, when she is with her friends or when she is hunting, for instance, I feel her happiness and her strength. But that is rare."

    "Why?" Spike asked, suddenly worried that someone had broken her. He had a sneaking suspicion who did it. "What happened to her?"

    "I cannot see the reasons behind emotions," Pietro said. "I have asked her before, but she will not answer me. Dawn and Faith tell me she lost someone she loved. They say she mourns for him."

    "Was it the Immortal?" Spike asked. "Is he dead?"

    "Well of course he is, but why would she mourn him?" Pietro asked. "Signorina Buffy killed the Immortal. He tried to harm her sister, if I remember."

    "I thought they were together?" Spike asked.

    "Buffy and the Immortal?" Pietro asked incredulously. "No, never! She despised him. He had been corrupting Rome for decades. And he was trying to train his own army of Slayers. She killed him without a second thought."

    "Then why-" Spike began quietly.

    "Wait!" Pietro interjected. "Something's changed."

    "What?"

    "She is angry," Pietro said, closing his eyes. "I've never felt anger and pain mixed like this."

    "Where is she?" Spike had a sudden, overwhelming urge to find her. He scanned the crowd anxiously.

    "The VIP area," Pietro said, pointing up to a balcony above the bar. Spike followed his gesture and saw Buffy standing against the balcony railing, staring down at him. He could se how white her knuckles were, and he knew how angry she was. She turned and moved out of his sight as he stood up.

    "I'm so bloody stupid," he muttered. He moved through the crowd of gyrating bodies to a large staircase leading to the balcony.

    When he got to the stop of the stairs, two large men and four young Slayers blocked his path. He could hear Faith and Willow's voices talking to Buffy, but he didn't hear her answer them.

    "Move," Spike said to the guards.

    "Nice try," one of the Slayers sneered. "Get out of here."

    "Get out of my way," Spike said, pushing through the guards. One of the men grabbed his arm, and he spun around, clocking the man fiercely in the face. Spike pulled free and moved towards Faith and Willow.

    They were standing by a wall, Willow's arms thrown around Buffy. And Buffy was? crying. Sobbing. Spike had never seen that from her, she'd never shown that much emotion when she was with him. She was always stronger than that. Faith turned and glared at him, hatred written on every inch of her face.

    "Will you just leave us alone?" she snarled. "We are sick and tired of you haunting us because you lost."

    "What?" Spike asked. Then it dawned on him. "Faith, I'm not the First."

    "Liar," Buffy growled. She pulled away from Willow and glared at Spike. "You've been doing this for moths. I've had it. You want to haunt me? Fine, do it. But get out of his face. Just let him rest."

    "Buffy-" Faith said slowly, looking at the bodyguard, who was rubbing his face where Spike had hit him.

    "No!" Buffy snapped as Spike stepped closer to her. "You want to hurt me? You've got it, okay? You win."

    "Buffy," Spike murmured, stepping closer to her still. Her eyes widened, but she was against a wall with no escape. He placed a hand against her cheek. Buffy's eyes went even wider and she reached a hand up to touch his.

    "Are you really-" she started, tears falling again from her eyes.

    "Yeah," he said. He took his hand away from her face as she fell against his chest. He held her there tightly and let her cry into his shoulder. He kissed the top of her head and murmured softly into her ear.

    "You've gotta stop this cryin' thing, love," he whispered. Buffy chuckled a bit and sniffled. She pulled away slightly to look at his face. She kept her hands on his chest, and he didn't move his arms from her waist. There were still tears on her cheeks, so he reached a hand up and brushed them away with his thumb. Buffy just stared up at him.

    "How?" she asked suddenly. Spike frowned in confusion. "We thought you died."

    "I did," Spike said. "And then something happened, and I was in LA, an-"

    "No, we know about that," Buffy said quickly. Spike's frown deepened.

    "Andrew told us," Faith explained.

    "We thought you died in the alley," Buffy said. "What happened?"

    "Army of demons," Spike said. He didn't really want to, but he pulled away from Buffy and stepped back. He ran a hand through his hair and started his story.

    "Angel was tryin' to overthrow this group of demons called the Circle of the Black Thorn," he said. "They were pretty tight with the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart. So we each got an assignment. Take out one of the Circle and then meet in the alley behind Angel's hotel.

    "Angel got there first. Then me, then Gunn- he wasn't doin' too well- then Illyria. She told us Wes was dead. Then the demons started showin' up, and we fought.

    "Then it was over. The demons were just gone. Gunn was dead. Then? Anya and Tara showed up."

    "What?" Willow interrupted. "They're dead."

    "Yeah, I know," Spike said with a half-smile. "Ahn told me what happened to her."

    "Why were they there?" Buffy asked.

    Spike opened his mouth to answer, but got cut off by a yell of "Bastard!" and a sharp slap to his face.

    "Nice to see you too, Niblet," he said, rubbing his face. Dawn was glaring at him, eye to eye. "You got tall, kid," he observed.

    "I'm not a kid anymore," Dawn spat. "And you're a bastard."

    "So you mentioned," Spike said icily. "Any particular reason why? Or is this just pent-up teenage rebellion?"

    "You-" she snarled.

    "Oh, and you're dressed like a whore." He pushed past her to face Buffy again. Faith and Willow were watching warily.

    "Yeah?" it's good to see you're still a dick, Spike," Dawn said. "Even if you are human now." She turned and stomped off.

    "Dawn!" a new voice called. It was Xander. Spike hadn't even noticed him standing there, but now he was off and following Dawn down the stairs.

    "Huh," Spike said. He turned back to Buffy. "So where was I?"

    "Why don't you get to the part where Dawn says you're human," Faith said.

    "I'm gettin' there," Spike said. "And shouldn't you be off followin' Boy Wonder to calm her down?"

    "If Xander can't handle his own girl, I ain't gonna help him," Faith said. Willow suppressed laughter.

    "What?" he asked. Now way Dawn was with that wanker. There was just no way.

    "Spike," Buffy said, pulling him back to reality. He looked back at her. "Finish the story about why you're back." She sounded tired. Everything Spike was wanted him to just hold her forever.

    "Right," he said instead. "So Anya and Tara show up. Demons go poof. The girls say they're messengers from the Powers. They're there because the Powers have decided to make good on this prophecy they made.

    "It's called the Shanshu," he continued. Willow gasped and sat down, hard. He ignored her, looking only at Buffy. "It's a prophecy about a vampire with a soul. Somethin' ?bout this vampire playin' a pivotal role in the apocalypse an' bein' rewarded for it."

    "So why you?" Faith asked. "I mean, no offense, I like ya an' all, but Angel's saved the world a few more times than you, and he didn't do it to get in some girl's pants. And he had his soul way longer than you did."

    "Yeah, I said that too," Spike said. "Except for the getting in the pants part."

    "And what did Anya and Tara say?" Faith asked with a grin.

    "Somethin' about the Chosen One bein' the one that chose," Spike answered. Faith frowned in obvious confusion, and Spike smiled crookedly. "It didn't make much sense to me either."

    "It means that you're the one in the prophecy because you chose to get your soul," Buffy said, smiling for the first real time since Spike got back. "Right? Angel's soul was cursed on him. But you fought for yours, because it was what I wanted."

    "Yeah," Spike said. "So really, this is your fault." Buffy smiled again.

    "Wait, there's one thing that's buggin' me," Faith said. Spike turned to look at her. "The fight in the alley was almost a year ago. Where you been all this time?"

    "The Powers had some? stipulations they required before they gave me my reward," Spike said. "I had to take out this demon lord, shut down another Hellmouth, and kill the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart. Not an easy task."

    "You had to do all that by yourself?" Willow asked.

    "Nah, I had a couple not-so-evil demons and two angels workin' with me and Illyria- she's this hellgod that took over this girl Fred's body," he said. "Anya and Tara stayed with us until I got my reward."


    "Which was?" Faith prodded.

    "Hold on, I'm going to interrupt again," Willow said as Spike opened his mouth to answer. "What happened to Angel?"

    "He's gone." Spike looked down at his shoes. He may have hated his Grandsire most of his life, but there at the end they'd been friends. He'd never say it, but he missed having Angel around.

    "What happened to him?" Buffy's voice was so quiet and heartbroken Spike could hardly bear it.

    "There was this dragon," he said slowly. "And the bloody ponce decided he needed to slay it. He got it, but it took a pretty good chunk outta him before Anya and Tara showed up. I doubt he would have lasted much longer.

    "The girls offered him two choices once it was clear he wasn't getting the Shanshu. He could stay a vampire, keep his soul, basically live as he was, or he could die. They promised him that he'd be made into some kind of higher being or something. They said something about him bein' able to be with Cordy. He took their offer."

    "He's dead?" Faith asked. Angel had quite literally saved her soul. How could he be gone?

    "I'm sorry," Spike said quietly.

    "I'm sorry too," Buffy said. A single tear fell, and she brushed it away, straightening up again. "So what was the reward you got for being the one that chose?" she asked, straight-to-the-point as always.

    "The Shanshu lets its subject live," Willow said.

    "That's it?" Faith asked. "Sucky prophecy. I thought you'd be rewarded with somethin' good."

    "No, Faith, you don't get it," Spike said with a small chuckle. "It means I get to live."

    "What?" Buffy asked. Spike took a step towards her, holding out a hand to her.

    "Let me show you," he murmured. He took one of her hands in his and pressed it to his chest, right above his heart. He held it there as he watched her face turn from confusion to awe as she felt the gentle, unmistakable thudding of a human heartbeat.

    "What?" she whispered again. "Your heart's?"

    "Beating," he said with a grin. "I know. I'm human, completely and totally. ?Cept, I'm still vampire-strong."

    "You're human," Buffy echoed, her hand still pressed firmly to his chest, as if she thought his heart would stop if she let go.

    "Yeah," Spike said. Suddenly, so quickly it startled him, Buffy had wrapped her arms around his neck and was pressing her lips to his firmly. It only took him a second until he was kissing her back, picking her up to hold her in his arms.

    Faith coughed loudly, and Buffy pulled away from Spike's lips but didn't take her eyes off his.

    "You're warm," she said, grinning.

    "Not to be a buzzkill, but are we forgetting the fact that he's been alive for two years and never told you?" Faith asked.

    "Just for a minute," Buffy said, still staring up at Spike. He'd set her back down on her feet, but his arms hadn't moved from her waist. Buffy rested her hands lightly on his forearms. Her touch sent shivers through his skin. He never wanted to stop kissing her; he wanted to make sure his hands were touching her at all times.

    "I would've come to you," he said quietly. "I was going to. I had the ticket and everything. I just couldn't. I wasn't sure if you'd-"

    "Sh," she said, pressing two fingers to his lips. "It's okay. You're here now. And you're human. If you had come back before, you couldn't be here like this."

    "I should have fought for you," Spike said.

    "You don't have to fight for me," Buffy said. "I'm right here."

    "Not even a little bit?" he asked with a devilish grin. He dropped his voice so only she could hear. "That's half the fun."

    "You can if you want to," Buffy said, matching his grin with one of her own. She took his hand in hers and turned towards the stairs.

    "Buffy what are you doing?" Faith asked.

    "We're leaving," Buffy said.

    "Where are you going?"

    "Somewhere that's away." Buffy pulled Spike down the stairs with her, keeping his hand locked tightly in hers. When they got to the bottom of the stairs, Spike spun her quickly so his arm wrapped around her shoulders. She giggled and leaned into him, dropping her hand to around his waist. They made their way through the throng of people and headed towards the main entrance. A doorman opened the door quickly for them and signaled a valet, who brought Buffy's mustang up in seconds.

    "Tell Faith and Willow to catch a ride with one of the girls," Buffy said, slipping the valet a tip.

    "There's a motorcycle around back they can use," Spike said, tossing the keys to the boy. Buffy let go of his waist and slipped around the front of the car to the driver's side.

    "What do you think you're doing?" Spike said, gazing at her crookedly. "I just got my mortality back, I don't want to die yet."

    "Just shut up and get in," Buffy snapped. He did so hesitantly, sliding in next to her. Buffy shifted the car into gear and pealed out of the parking lot.

    "When did you learn to drive?" Spike asked.

    "Faith taught me a few months after we got here," she answered, shifting as she steered the car through traffic. She had gotten much better, he had to admit, but it just went to show how much he had missed while he was in LA.

    Much quicker than he'd expected, they were pulling up to the curb outside the boarding house.

    "See? I got you here in one piece," she said, climbing out of the car. Spike followed her, catching her by the arm as she stepped onto the curb in front of him. Buffy turned to look at him, a puzzled look on her face.

    "What's wrong?"

    "Come here," he said, pulling her to him. He pulled her lips to his and dropped his hands to her waist. Buffy's hands reached up and touched his face and hair. She entwined her fingers in his blonde locks and pulled him closer to her ravenously. Spike wasn't sure he'd ever get enough of just the taste of her. A small part of his brain (the part not focused on her) said she tasted differently to him than the last time he had kissed her.

    "My room's upstairs," Buffy murmured, pulling away from him. She laced her fingers into his and pulled him to the door with her. Spike followed her inside and up one flight of stairs, then all the way down a hall to the very last door.

    "Who else lives here?" he asked.

    "Faith, Willow, Dawn, Xander, and Giles live on this floor with me," Buffy said, inserting a bronze-colored key into the door, "and the top three floors are for the Slayers. Don't go up there if you can help it. It's scary."

    "So this is like Slayer High?" he asked as she got the door opened.

    "No, that's the compound outside the city," she said, stepping into her room. It was more of a loft-style apartment than a bedroom. "Just the older girls live here once they turn sixteen. We have them patrol in the city, so this was the most logical place to put them where we could keep an eye on them."

    "It's some operation you've got going then," Spike said. Buffy shrugged out of her jacket.

    "It's a lot to handle, but it's important," she said. She smiled up at him. "Why are we talking about work?"

    "Isn't that what we always talk about?"

    "Before," she said, stepping closer to him. "Now, everything's different."

    "I know," he said. Buffy turned and walked towards her bed. She sat down on the edge and gestured for Spike to join her. He approached her slowly, not wanting to push anything too far, especially now that he may actually have a chance to really be with her.

    "Buff, it's gettin' late," he said. "I'll let you get some rest. I'll find some place to crash for the night."

    "No, you won't," Buffy said. "Spike, we have plenty of room here." She glanced away briefly and then back up at him. "I have plenty of room here. You can stay in my room."

    "Buffy, are you sure-"

    "I don't bite," she said with a smile. "Well, I don't bite harder than you like it." Spike laughed softly and gazed back at her. Through her joking, he could still see the feelings in her eyes.

    "Come here," she said, patting her hand on the bed next to her. Spike stepped up and sat down next to her, and she leaned her head down to rest it on his shoulder.

    "You have no idea how much I missed you," she whispered. "All the time, I felt like my heart would break all over again. Every day I walked past the Trevi Fountain and I'd throw a coin in and beg whatever god was listening to bring you back." Hot tears had begun to fall from her eyes, and Spike wrapped a strong arm around her shoulders, holding her tight to his chest.

    "All I wanted, the only thing I needed in the entire world was just to see you again," she sniffled. "To see that crooked grin you only give to me, and to hear you call me Love. God, I know I hated it so much when you'd never call me by my name, but all I wanted in the entire world was to hear your voice tell me you loved me."

    "I'm so sorry," he said, using his free arm to pull her into his lap. She buried her face into his neck, and he could feel her tears splash onto his skin.

    "I missed you so much," she whispered.

    "God, I wish you hadn't gone through that," he said, kissing the top of her head. "I'm sorry, Love." Buffy chuckled a little at the pet name and sat up. She looked at him through tear-blurred eyes, and he reached a hand up to gently wipe the tears from her cheeks.

    "Spike?" She looked away, focusing on something else in the room.

    "What, pet?" he asked, combing his fingers through her hair.

    "When I told you that I loved you, why did you say I didn't?" she asked. Spike looked away guiltily.

    "I wanted to try to make it easier for you," he said. "I thought? hell, I don't know. I thought maybe I could convince you that you were just sayin' it ?cause I was dying. I didn't want to be another guy you loved that left you."

    "I wasn't saying it because you were dying," Buffy said. "I loved you. I loved you more than anything. I still do." He looked up at her questioningly, surprise flitting past his eyes, and she laughed lightly. "I love you," she said, kissing him gently. "Always have."

    "Always?"

    "Well, there was awhile there where I couldn't stand you," she said with a grin. "And I could never admit that I loved you when we were together. I couldn't love the demon in you. But then you got your soul for me, and it took me awhile, but I realized what I felt. I love the man you are. You're a good man."

    "Well, we're gonna see, won't we?" he smiled at her. She leaned in and kissed him again, a little firmer than a moment ago. She placed her hands squarely on his chest and pushed him back onto the bed, flipping around so she was straddling him. Gently, she pushed his ever-present black t-shirt up over his chest and ran her hands over his smooth torso. She pulled the shirt over his head and tossed it onto the floor.

    "What are you doing, pet?" he asked, laughing as she kissed his abdomen. "I mean, I like it, but are you sure-"

    "I'm sure," she interrupted. "I want to make love to you." She kissed his lips again and stood up. Slowly, she removed her shirt and jeans, until she was standing in front of him wearing just her bra and matching panties and heels. Spike's eyes went wide as he took in the whole of her appreciatively. She slid back onto his lap, and felt his hardness through his jeans. She unbuckled his belt and pulled it off of him, tossing it with the growing heap of clothes. Then, aggravatingly slowly, she unbuttoned his jeans. She slipped on hand under his waistband, and he gasped as she caressed him.

    Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. Gripping her by the hips, he flipped her onto her back and slid on top of her. She giggled as he kissed her, starting just behind her ear and moving slowly down her jaw to her throat. He kissed his way across her collarbone as one hand cupped her breast under her bra. She moaned as he used his other hand to touch her in her most private place. She almost went over the edge when he inserted a finger inside her.

    "Tell me you love me," she panted. He grinned up at her.

    "I love you," he said.

    "I love you," she echoed. He stopped touching her for just a moment as he tugged his jeans off with one hand and unhooked her bra at the same time. She wiggled out of it and threw it away from her as his hands resumed their places on her body. She arched her back and moaned from the pleasure of having him touch her again.

    "I love you," she panted again. "I want you. Now." Not one to deprive a girl, Spike pushed aside the lace of her panties and entered her in one motion. She cried out in pleasure and pain as he thrust against her. She pulled his mouth back down to hers hungrily. Her hands kneaded the firm muscles of his back and dug into his skin with her nails. His pace quickened as her body clenched against his, and she moaned his name as he pushed her over the edge. A moment later he found his release as well. He rolled off of her and pulled her in close next to him. Buffy curled up next to him, loving the way his skin was hot next to hers. Spike murmured that he loved her again in her ear as she drifted off to sleep.

    -2-
    Dawn was sitting at a table in the library of the boarding house, singing softly to herself, when the door opened. She'd long gotten over her self-consciousness when someone caught her singing, mainly because she now got paid to sing for people. She didn't look up from the demon text she was studying, but from the weight with which the person walked, it wasn't any of the slayers. Probably Xander coming in to bug her again for the tenth time today.

    She finished the song she was singing as she turned to a new page in her text.

    "I told you, I'm not changing my mind, Xand," she sighed.

    "I'll tell him that." Damn, it's Spike, she thought. Why did he have to come in here? Buffy wasn't in here, and she sure as hell didn't want to talk to him. But he probably wouldn't go away until she did.

    "What do you want?" she snapped.

    "When did the singin' thing start?" Spike asked nonchalantly, moving about the room around her. He ran his hand over the spines of the books as he walked.

    "Sometime after you tried to rape my sister and before you came back here," she said icily.

    "Right." Did she imagine that he sounded amused? God, she wanted to hit him so badly right then.

    "What do you want, Spike?" she asked again. Her voice was so cold and filled with hatred she almost didn't recognize it.

    "To talk," he said, turning to look at her. She may have grown up in two years, turned into more of a woman, but he was sure that somewhere under all that she was still his Little Bit.

    "I don't want to talk to you," she said watching him warily. Her hand fell down under the table, to the knife she kept strapped there.

    "I don't much care what you want at this point," Spike said. She slid the knife out of its sheath and held it in her hand under the table. Spike walked around to her chair and stepped close to her, sliding his hand under the table to pull the knife away.

    "You're gonna play nice for a while, Niblet," he said, tossing the knife onto the floor away from her. He moved away from her and sat down at the chair across from her.

    "Get out," she growled.

    "No." He grinned; he was loving how angry she was at him. She wanted to kill him.

    "Whether you like it or not, I'm gonna be around, Bit, and we're gonna settle this right now," he said. "So you can scream and yell and cry like you always do-"

    "You don't know the first thing about me," Dawn growled.

    "Then why don't you educate me?" Spike taunted. "Why don't you tell me what's been botherin' you all this time."

    "God, I hate you!" Dawn yelled, standing up from her chair. It fell with a clatter onto the floor. She turned to go to the door, but Spike, who was much faster than she was, blocked her path before she could get there.

    "See, that's what I thought," he said with a small grin. "You want to hate me, but you can't. Come on, Dawn, grow a pair and tell me why you hate me."

    "I trusted you!" she cried. "You were my only friend that entire summer when Buffy died, and then as soon as she was back, you were gone again! You were the only one who would talk to me, you were the only one who didn't think that I should have been the one to jump, and-"

    "No one thought that," he said gently. His eyes softened, going from the stormy grey of the argument to the soft blue she remembered.

    "They did, even if they never admitted it," Dawn said ruefully. "But you didn't, or at least, you didn't let it get in the way of still talking to me and being my friend. But as soon as Buffy was back, you were just? different." She turned around so she wasn't facing him and looked out the window.

    "I knew, y'know," she said conversationally. She glanced back at his bewildered face. "When you and Buffy were together. It was just one of those things, I guess. She'd come home smelling just a little too much like you, and then she'd get all flustered whenever someone would say anything about you. It wasn't too difficult to figure out what was going on.

    "So I got why you weren't paying attention to me anymore," she said, her voice heavy with tears. "But it still hurt, and I still wanted you to be around like you were, even after I found out what you'd done."

    "I'm sorry, Dawn," Spike said. "I should've? I dunno, been there more or somethin'."

    "I just missed you," Dawn said as the tears fell down her cheeks. Spike pulled her into a hug, letting her cry into his shoulder.

    "What is it with you Summers women cryin' all over a bloke, huh?" he said, ruffling her hair. She giggled a little and pulled back.

    "So you're really gonna be here?" she asked, more than a little hopeful.

    "'S long as Big Sis wants to keep me around," he said, releasing her. He kept one arm around her shoulder, pinning her to his side.

    "Like she'd ever kick you out," Dawn scoffed, wriggling in his grasp. Spike chuckled and tightened his hold. "Ugh, lemme go," she whined.

    "Oh good, you two girls aren't fighting anymore," a voice said behind them. Spike whirled Dawn around to face Buffy and Faith. The women wore identical smirks.

    "Did you kiss and make up?" Faith asked.

    "Nah, that's your style, Faith," Dawn said sarcastically.

    "Yours too, baby," Faith said with a wink.

    "What?" Spike asked, confused.

    "You didn't tell him?" Buffy asked, looking from Faith to Dawn.

    "Why didn't you tell him?"

    "Sorry that I wasn't so concerned with telling him about my sister with my best friend while I was sleeping with him," Buffy said.

    "Wait, what?" Spike dropped his hand from Dawn's shoulders and turned to look at her. "What is going on here? I thought you were with Xander."

    Dawn laughed loudly, and Buffy and Faith snickered. "Um, no, I'm not with Xander," Dawn said. "Let's just say he's not my type."

    "So, you-" he pointed at Dawn- "and you-" he gestured at Faith- "you're?"

    "Yeah, for about two months now," Dawn said, shrugging. Spike's brow wrinkled in confusion and he combed his fingers through his hair.

    "You still processing?" Buffy asked playfully.

    "I think I'm okay with it," Spike said.

    "Oh, good, now that I have your permission, I can officially come out of the closet," Dawn snipped. Spike frowned down at her, but she grinned back.

    "Is there something you two were looking for?" Dawn asked, looking back at Buffy.

    "Have you translated the Twilight Codex yet?" Buffy asked.

    "It's in the process," Dawn answered. "Give me another day or so and I'll have it done and to Gabrielle for transcription."

    "We were just checking," Faith said, tugging on Buffy's arm. Buffy frowned at her, but Faith whispered in her ear. "C'mon, it's not like she's gonna make a pass at your man."

    Buffy giggled and turned towards the door.

    "See you two later!" she called as she and Faith walked out of the library.

    "They're insane," Dawn said, shaking her head. She turned back to Spike, who was looking at her like she was a completely new person. "What?"

    "You've changed, I guess," he said, still scrutinizing the new Dawn.

    "Sorry, that's what happens in two years," she said.

    "I guess." Spike looked off into the light of the window. Then he smiled. "Hey, Niblet?"

    "Yeah?"

    "I need you to help me with something."



    "Where are we going?" Buffy asked, as Spike shifted the car into a higher gear.

    "Somewhere."

    "Where?" she asked again. He looked over at her and grinned.

    "Do you trust me?"

    "Fine, I won't ask."

    "We'll be there soon," he promised. Buffy just looked out the window as they drove. Spike held one of her hands in one of his on the seat in between them. She smiled when he squeezed her hand, and slid over on the seat to rest her head on his shoulder.

    "Y'know, I like human you," Buffy said as he slipped an arm around her shoulders.

    "That's funny, I like human me too," he said, kissing the top of her head. He turned the car off the main highway they'd been driving for awhile and onto a neat, gravel driveway.

    "Where are we?" Buffy asked again, looking up at his face.

    "Dawn told me we should come here," he explained as he pulled the car up to a massive villa. Buffy could just barely see the blue water of a lake peeking out from behind the house. She drew in a deep breath at the sheer beauty of the place Spike had brought her to.

    "Apparently, since you killed the Immortal, you took possession of all of his belongings," Spike said, opening the door and climbing out. He moved around to Buffy's side of the car and opened her door for her.

    "Uh, yeah, I know," Buffy said, still staring at the house.

    "Well, he owned this house, so now you do," Spike said. "And Dawn said you'd never been here."

    "Wow," Buffy breathed.

    "You like it?" he asked, whispering into her ear.

    "I love it," she answered, turning around to face him. He grinned and leaned down to kiss her just behind her ear. Buffy giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. Spike grabbed her by the waist and lifted her up so she could wrap her legs around his waist. He leaned up to kiss her gently on the lips as he carried her to the house. He opened the door and carried her inside and up a flight of stairs.

    "You really have this planned out, don't you?" Buffy giggled as Spike carried her into a massive bedroom and lay her down on the bed. The little voice in the back of her head said she should tell him now before anything else happens.

    "Well, I wanted to talk to you," he said, kissing her neck, "and I didn't want any interruptions."

    "You brought me to this gorgeous house so we could talk?" Buffy asked.

    "Yeah," Spike said. He laid a hand gently on her hip and used the other to prop himself up over her.

    "What-"

    "I love you," he interrupted.

    "I love you," she answered. "But that-"

    "I want to be with you," he said, cutting her off again. "I want to be with you forever."

    "What are you trying to say?"

    "I want to marry you," Spike said. Buffy's eyes went wide has he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black box. He opened it, and slipped a diamond ring onto her finger. Her breath caught in her throat.

    "So? Do you like it?" he asked.

    "I love it," she said, smiling up at him. "But before I give you my answer, there's something I need to tell you."

    "What is it? What's wrong?" he asked, sitting up. Buffy sat up too and touched his hand.

    "No, nothing's wrong," she said. "It's just? um, okay, don't freak out, okay?"

    "Buffy?"

    "I'm pregnant." Spike's eyes were as big as saucers.

    "Are- are you sure?" he asked.

    "I went to the doctor yesterday," she said. "I think we forgot that since you're human we should have used a condom."

    "So? we're gonna have a kid?" he asked.

    "Yeah," Buffy answered. Spike was quiet for a long moment. "Tell me what you're thinking, please," she asked.

    "I'm thinking that we should leave," Spike said. Buffy's face fell. He touched her chin and forced her to look up at him. He was smiling. "We should go find a judge."

    "What?" she asked.

    "Well, I suppose we could find a priest if you wanted," he said, still smiling.

    "I don't-"

    "Let's get married today," he said. Buffy gaped at him. He grinned down at her. "I mean, if we're gonna have a kid, we should get married before you start showing."

    "Spike, are you-"

    "I'm sure," he said tenderly, touching her face. "I want to be with you for the rest of my life. And since you're going to have my baby, I'd better make you an honest woman."

    "Okay."

    "Okay?" he echoed.

    "Yes," she said, smiling hugely. "Let's go. Let's get married."

    -3-
    "Where the hell have you two been?" Dawn asked as Buffy walked into the kitchen of the boarding house. Faith was leaning against a counter, and Willow, Dawn, Xander, and Giles were sitting at the round table in the middle of the room.

    "It's been two days since we've seen you, B," Faith drawled.

    "Uh, yeah, we were up at the place on Lake Como," Buffy said, sliding into a chair next to Giles. She realized she hadn't talked to her Watcher since Spike came back. "Uh, Giles, you do know the whole story with Spike, right?"

    "Yes, the others filled me in while you were occupied," Giles said diplomatically, looking up at Spike. "Spike, I'd say it was good to see you, but-"

    "Likewise, Rupert," Spike said sarcastically. Buffy grinned back at him.

    "So how was the lake?" Willow asked.

    "It was good, really good," Buffy said, still smiling at Spike. "Uh, guys, we have a couple things we need to tell you."

    "What's wrong?" Dawn asked, looking from Buffy to Spike.
    "No, nothing's wrong," Buffy said quickly. "We just, uh?"

    "We got married," Spike said, stepping up behind Buffy and placing his hands on her shoulders.

    "What?!" Dawn cried. She looked up at Spike. "I thought you were just asking her!"

    "You knew?" Buffy asked. Dawn grinned.

    "I helped him pick out the ring," Dawn said.

    "Nice, baby," Faith said from the counter.

    "Which brings us to the other bit of news," Buffy said.

    "Huh?" Xander said. "There's more?"

    "Yeah," Buffy said. "I'm pregnant."

    "Holy crap," Dawn breathed.

    "You're?" Willow whispered.

    "Yeah," Buffy said, holding Spike's hand on her shoulder. "We're having a baby."

    "Are you asking for our blessing?" Giles asked.

    "It's a little late for that, Rupert," Spike said.

    "Spike?" Giles trailed off angrily.

    "Enough," Buffy said, holding up her hand. "I'm not asking for your blessing, but I would like it. Whether you guys like it or not, I'm with Spike, and I'm having his child. So deal with it."

    "I'm good with it," Dawn said, standing up. She dashed over to Buffy and enveloped her sister in a tight hug. "I'm so happy for you guys!" she gushed. She released a laughing Buffy and hugged Spike tightly.

    "Nice job, Blondie Bear," Faith said, coming up on Spike's side and punching him in the shoulder. She gestured down to Buffy. "So is this kid gonna hate me for awhile too?"

    "Probably," Buffy said, standing. She gave Faith a big hug, and the darker Slayer returned it.

    "It's probably gonna be the dumbest kid ever, you know that, right?" Faith said. "I mean, you two-"

    "Okay, felon," Buffy said, shoving Faith away. Willow was next to congratulate them, followed by a very reluctant Xander, who didn't shake Spike's hand.

    "So what's your name now?" Dawn asked. "I mean, Spike, do you even have a last name?"

    "Foster," Buffy answered. "My name is Buffy Foster now."

    "Huh," Dawn said. "It works."

    "Thanks," Buffy said, grinning. Giles was still sitting at the table.

    "Well, I can't say that I'm completely thrilled with this," Giles said, finally standing. "But if it's what you want?"

    "It is," Buffy said.

    "Then I am happy for you," he said, pulling Buffy into a tight hug. He released her, kissing the top of her head. He turned to Spike, who was watching him warily. "Spike, all I have to say to you," Giles said, "is that if you hurt her again, I will kill you, and this time I won't fail."

    "Fair enough, I s'pose," Spike said.

    "Oh my gosh, I'm so happy right now!" Dawn cried. Buffy laughed.

    "Yeah," she said, "me too."
    Last edited by scarlet's rain; 10-06-07, 04:43 AM.

  • #2
    I love the story, so far. I'm not into the whole Faith date Dawn. But I really love Buffy and Spike get merry and Buffy being Pregnant. keep going.
    http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n...layerSig-1.jpg

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