"Spike," Buffy called from the kitchen.
"Yes, pet," he said standing from his place on the floor.
"I need your help."
"Just a minute then," he said adjusting the couch cushions just so before joining her in the kitchen. He noticed at once she was on the verge of tears. "What's the matter, Buffy?"
"Oh God, nothing, I just," she sighed and Spike knew she was on the verge of a crying jag. She had been like this all day and Spike had no idea what in the hell was wrong. "Can you give Scotty his bottle?" she asked as she fastened the cap on the bottle.
"Sure, pet, you don't have to ask me." He took the bottle, hoping she had remembered to check its temperature. He was not so good at feeling the contrast in temperatures and did not want to be responsible for burning the baby's mouth. "Care to talk about it while I'm sitting with him?" He glanced at the bottle and noticed the color was different than normal and it did not smell as bad. That baby formula stuff smelled nasty. "What's in this anyway?" he asked with a slight frown, hating to ask but wanting to make sure she had not put something wrong in the bottle by accident.
"Cereal. Rice cereal, he hasn't taken a nap all day." She grabbed a hold of Spike's shirtfront with a hand, balling it into a fist, twisting his shirtfront. "I need him to take a nap, Spike."
"Okay, no problem, I'll get him his bottle." Spike would have laughed if this was not the Slayer going postal about her brat. She was about to snap and the only person she trusted enough to show it to was him. There were days that he thought little Scotty was the best thing for Buffy since she lost both her mom and her sister in a matter of months. Today was not one of them. Buffy had never gotten a chance to truly mourn her mother's death only to have Dawn die and then to be miserably pregnant during the hot California summer while struggling through a semester of school at the same time.
He returned to the living room to find little Scott Summers had rolled his way off the baby blanket set out for him on the floor. "Well, little one, Mommy wants the Big Bad to give you your bottle. Let's see what's on the tele," he said setting the bottle on the table near the sofa before retrieving Scott from the floor and grabbing the remote control. If anyone could see him now, sitting in the Slayer's house feeding her damned spawn he would be the laughing stock of the underworld.
Not that he was not already laughed at without little one's assistance. And he could honestly say as each day passed that he did not care. Let them laugh; Spike was getting an opportunity that he never would have otherwise. He was here, helping care for a baby, and not just any baby, Buffy's baby. Buffy, the Slayer, trusted him in caring for her baby. Even though he had failed in saving Dawn, she still trusted him.
She had left the kitchen through the doorway that led to the dining room and up the stairs that way. He had no idea what was wrong with her today. He had tried to read up on the baby stuff, but nothing he read seemed to indicate any problems she might be experiencing right now were due to post-partum. Of course, none of those studies and statistics were about Slayers, they were about normal, average, human women, which were categories that Buffy was not a member of.
He found a suspense movie on and left it there. Chances were he would nap with Scotty on the couch, so there was no sense finding something real interesting. The boy was chugging away on the bottle, little air bubbles worked their way through the bottle. He ran a hand along the light brown downy tufts of Buffy's son's hair while he sucked down his dinner. It was so soft and Spike felt truly humbled that the Slayer trusted him to take care of something so precious, pure and innocent. He had been responsible for the taking of life several times over the last one hundred twenty years, but never before had he witnessed it being born, renewed. It was as close as he was going to get to the actual creating of life and he knew it.
Xander and Willow had been hurt that Buffy had asked Spike to be with her and Spike had no idea why he had been chosen. Somehow in between the time he had shown her what Finn had been up to and when she invited him back into her home again they had built some sort of friendship.
He had been mistaken for the baby's father throughout the delivery and Buffy never bothered to correct anyone. The space for the father's name on the birth certificate was blank, which broke Spike's unbeating heart. He would have gladly given the child his name if he had one to give him. And now here they were five months later, Spike living with the woman he loved.
Their relationship was platonic and it was agonizing for Spike, though he tried to hide that fact from her. There were times after a late night feeding or a crabby episode with Scotty that she would come to him, but it was for comfort instead of being the one to comfort all of the time. Spike did not blame Buffy for wanting to be held and he gave what she was willing to let him give her. She saved people on a daily basis, had saved the world more than once and now she was caring for a baby she was probably never supposed to have. Never until dealing with Glory had Spike fully grasped all this Slayer had seen and done.
He had been the first and only person she had confided in for a very long time. It had been what hurt so much when she had continued to shut him out of her house. She trusted him enough to confide in, to tell her secrets to, but not enough to let him into her home. It hurt and yet he would silently lick his wounds like a hurt wolf when she left his crypt every evening. He was not going to beg her to welcome him back into her home. She had kissed him from time to time over the past year or so, but they were simple kisses. Certainly not like the kisses they had shared under Red's spell.
She had talked for a while about not having the baby, but he knew as each week passed that she would have it. He might have known before she did. He had hugged her when she cried, had cleaned her up when the stench or the sight of some ugly got her stomach upset on patrol, and engaged in bitch sessions with her about the bastard who knocked her up. The little bloke had been worth the pain, at least Spike thought so. He was worried about Buffy, though. She was not recovering like Spike thought she should.
Oh sure, she had recovered physically. Spike knew women who would kill for a figure like Buffy's post-partum or not. But it was these crying jags that he hated seeing her go through. It had started at Thanksgiving and he had attributed it to being her first set of holidays with a baby but she was without Joyce and Dawn. He had hoped it would get better, but it did not. Her Watcher was just as concerned, but Buffy was not talking to anyone.
"Spike," he heard her voice from the foot of the stairs. She was talking softly, too softly for a human to hear so he was not sure if she really wanted him to hear her or not.
"Thank you," she said.
"You're welcome, pet," he said withdrawing the now empty bottle from Scott's mouth. He fussed slightly at the nipple being gone. He was at that point in between being awake and being asleep, a few minutes longer of sucking on the bottle and he would have been out for sure. "Don't blame you there, kid, but I have to tell you the real thing is much, much better than those plastic things," he murmured conspiratorially with the infant.
He sat Scotty on his lap and burped him. The infant obviously inherited his mother's stubbornness, because the tyke would not even burp the way most kids do. Put him over your shoulder like the books told you to do and it did not work.
He turned to face her now that he had the ability to do so and was saddened by her appearance. Buffy had not left the house other than to patrol in weeks. She would not answer the phone and would not come down when anyone came over. She rarely came downstairs at all for that matter and when she did it was in a dingy gray terry cloth robe. Lord knew what she wore underneath. She had not tended to her hair in months, wearing it pulled back all of the time now. Spike had no idea when she had actually done herself up last. There was nothing left of the vibrant, flashy, vivacious girl that had been there before Glory came to town.
"I'm going to take a shower now, okay?"
He glanced at the clock on the mantle as he replied. It was early yet for her to be patrolling. "Sure, pet, we're fine. Do you want me to see to dinner for you?"
"No," she said softly. "We're going out."
"Yeah, Giles sort of made it an order punishable by death if I disobey him."
"Buffy, if you want to go on your own without Scotty, go to it."
"No, I want you to come too. Please," she said. He did not need to have a clear view of her eyes to know she was pleading with him. And Spike could refuse her nothing.
"Sure then. I'll get his little bag ready to go, so all you have to do is get dressed."
"Thanks," she said and rushed back up the stairs.
He trudged up the stairs holding Scott in his arms and set the boy in his crib to gather an extra outfit and diapers. He changed Scott, putting the ointment stuff on the little guy's unmentionables. The stuff was to ensure he did not get a rash from what Spike understood. Modern medicine was a bloody miracle. Not that he remembered anything about diaper rash, but he had seen it on Scott once or twice in the past few months to realize it could not be comfortable.
Tossing the diaper in the pail he glanced at the calendar on the wall above it, noticing it was two days before Valentine's Day. "Oh hell," he muttered to himself. That had to be what had her in her funk, what with Thanksgiving, Christmas, her twenty-first birthday and Valentine's Day one right after another. Well, platonic or not, he vowed to do something nice for Buffy's Valentine's Day.
He got Scott dressed, left him in his crib while Spike went to put on a clean shirt. That done he retreated downstairs to make up a bottle for the tyke and clean up the kitchen for Buffy.
What seemed like forever later he heard her begin her descent down the stairs with a sleeping Scott in her arms. Spike did not even notice what she wore until after she put Scott in his car seat. "Wow, you look great," he said sincerely feeling like a moron for saying it like that. This was the Buffy he remembered and missed deeply. She was dressed in a three-quarter length black leather skirt with a cream cashmere sweater. It was a contrast, the soft cashmere to the leather, but with her hair actually curled and arranged around her face so nicely it was a good contrast. Black and white, naughty and nice, sugar and spice came to Spike's mind.
"Thanks," she said offering him a smile that did not quite make it to her eyes. "All set," she said offering him the keys. She had learned to drive, but hated doing it and Spike loved driving so the arrangement worked well.
"Hey Buff," Xander said. "Spike."
"Harris," Spike said evenly as they walked into the restaurant. He held a chair out for Buffy, which she sat in once she had settled Scotty still in the car seat next to her. Spike pushed the chair in before taking the seat next to her. No one knew what to make of Spike and Buffy's relationship. They were all a little hurt Buffy had chosen him to confide in and feared Spike was going to use this situation to his advantage and hurt her.
Buffy was surprisingly attentive and talkative throughout dinner. She even imbibed in a glass of wine, which shocked Spike to no end. The fact that she not only ate all of her meal but agreed to share a dessert with him just about floored him. Maybe she was done with her broody depression. He would never say anything to her, but she was giving Angel a run for his money in the brooding department.
"We're going to the Bronze, Buffy. Do you want to come?"
"I would, but I have to patrol and all. Thanks, though."
"Buffy," Giles interjected. "I'm volunteering to keep Scott for the evening. At your house, of course, but if you were in the mood for a bit of a respite I'd be happy to help you in that respect. And you're certainly entitled to a night off from patrolling from time to time."
Buffy glanced at Scotty, Spike could feel the indecision rolling off of her in waves. She wanted to say yes but she did not want to give the appearance she was a bad mother. He could not read her thoughts exactly, but they were close enough these days that he had a pretty good idea of what was going through her mind.
He leaned over and placed a hand at her knee, squeezing gently. "Go, pet. You deserve it; you haven't been out of the house in months. No one's going to think you're a bad mum."
She looked at him, her hazel eyes wide with uncertainty. "Are you sure?" she asked, her voice a whisper. He loved when she whispered to him, taking advantage of his enhanced hearing because he knew she was talking just to him.
"Your Watcher wouldn't have volunteered if he thought that, Slayer. It's time to take your friends up on some of the help they offer you."
"I'm sorry, I didn't think you minded. I didn't mean to burden you with this for so long."
"Excuse us," he said and took her by the elbow as he stood from the table. The chip did not fire so he was not hurting her as he practically dragged her to the foyer.
"Slayer, you're not burdening me. Do you honestly think I'd have stuck around doing this crap if I didn't want to? But let's go out and have some fun. I want it, I want to have fun but it won't be much fun if I know you're sitting at home moping. Let's go get a dance or two in, talk to your friends about stuff. Talk to adults without the word diaper or bottle or goo goo being said. You deserve it, Buffy."
"God yes, Buffy, you do," he said softly placing his forehead against hers, his eyes drifting closed. His hands interlaced with hers and he just stood there for a moment quietly. "We both do. Take your Watcher up on his offer. If you don't want me along that's fine I'll go to Willy's or something, but you should go."
"I want you with."
"Okay then. Let's go. We can go home whenever you're ready. Just say the word."
"Okay," she said softly, glancing over his shoulder at her friends. "They must think I'm such a fool."
"For getting pregnant and for acting like I've been acting. At least Giles never had to worry about things like pregnancy when I was with Angel."
"I suspect he'd take the chance of pregnancy over the chance of Angelus rearing his head again any day, pet. No sense dwelling on it now and your friends aren't judging you, Buffy. They're there for you if you let them, not that I'm complaining. Anya is all worried you're going to back out of the wedding."
"I know. I wouldn't do that. I just," she shrugged.
"Buffy, it's been five months since little one was born." He withdrew one hand from hers and placed it against her cheek lightly, careful not to startle her. "I know he's not the only reason you've been holing yourself up, but your Mum and Niblet would not want you living like this."
"I know," she said her eyes downcast.
"Just give it a chance," he said softly running the pad of his thumb along her jaw.
"Okay," she said with a lift of her chin that Spike knew was her getting her courage.
"There's my girl," he whispered with a smile. He saw her face fall and wondered what in the hell he had said wrong. "What?"
"Nothing. Let's go. I need to make sure Giles knows what he's in for."
Talking Buffy into going to the Bronze the night before last had definitely been a good thing. She had really enjoyed herself and Spike had gotten Willow and Tara to volunteer to babysit Scott so that he could do something nice for Buffy on Valentine's Day.
He had gone out the night before while Buffy patrolled to see to gifts for Buffy and was feeling pretty proud of himself. He had ordered flowers and a balloon which had been delivered earlier today and had bought one of those boxes of chocolates shaped like a heart. It was more difficult to buy a gift for Buffy than it ever had been for Drusilla. His box of chocolates that he bought for her birthday the year before had gotten him laughed at by Niblet, but Valentine's Day was about chocolate and roses so he had decided on both.
He was showered and ready before Buffy was due home. He dressed in a pair of black trousers and a royal blue silk patterned shirt that brought out the blue in his eyes, at least that is what he had been told. He had to hope those who had told him that in the past were telling the truth, he did not feel like looking like an idiot tonight. He slid into his black dress shoes and searched his closet for the nice black leather belt he had to go with the trousers. He felt like a pansy dressing like this for a girl that was not even his girl, a girl who was very possibly pining after another guy.
"How do I look, Red?" Spike asked once he was downstairs. Scotty was still asleep up in his crib, so Spike just left him there. As cool as he found his time with the baby to be Spike had learned to let sleeping babies sleep.
"Wow, Spike, you look great." He noticed the glance that Tara gave Willow and snickered.
"Thanks, Red. Good enough to bring you back to this side of the playing field?"
"Well, considering it's not me you're after I can say no to that pretty easily."
"Thanks," he grumbled and pulled a comb out of his pocket. "You're all set with little one, right? You have Buffy's cell phone number and everything?"
"Yes and the number of the restaurant you're taking her to."
"We'll be fine, Spike, really," Tara said softly. It was the most Spike had heard her say in a while.
"I know, just making sure."
"Well, we're fine, so just sit down and relax. Buffy will be home from school any minute."
"How about if I go out back and have a smoke?"
"But then you're going to smell like smoke."
"Yeah, what of it?" he asked cocking his head as he regarded her.
"But, well," Willow said flustered, "this is like a date, right? I mean, you're taking Buffy out on a date."
"I didn't ask her to go out on a date, no. She doesn't even know we're going out."
"But you think it's a date, you're hoping it's a date, right?"
"I was hoping, yeah," he admitted.
"Then no smoking or you'll taste like an ashtray if you get with the smoochies. You don't want to kiss Buffy for the first time tasting like that."
"I've already kissed her more than once. Thanks to you," he added with a low laugh.
"Yeah, well, unspell-induced smoochies should be done right."
"Bloody women," he said taking a seat on the couch. "Why do you have all of these rules?"
"They're not rules, Spike. It's just," Willow shrugged and glanced at Tara.
"Etiquette," the other witch said.
"Well, last I checked vampires did not need to adhere to human etiquette rules."
"Last I checked vampires did not play house with the Slayer and her baby," Willow said her voice deadpan.
"And who else is going to be here for the baby during the day? Her father's paying for her classes and stuff, but he refused to pay for daycare. The prick," Spike said bitterly. He had apparently made Willow realize that she had little to tease him about because he was here out of a bit of necessity if Buffy had hopes of graduating from college and getting a job that paid a decent wage.
Buffy rushed through the door and paused at the living room. "Hi guys," she said offering Willow and Tara a smile.
"Hi Buffy," Willow said, accompanied by Tara's a little slower in coming, "hello."
"Wow, Spike, you look great. Do you have plans tonight?" she asked with a frown.
"Yeah, dinner plans."
"Oh," she said and the bright look in her eyes a moment ago disappeared.
"With you, Buffy," he clarified.
"Yeah," he said standing from the chair. "Go shower and put something nice on. Willow and Tara are babysitting for us tonight."
"Oh, but it's Valentine's Day, you shouldn't make them baby sit on Valentine's Day."
"That's why they're babysitting, pet. Go on now," he encouraged sensing she really wanted to but was trying to be nice. "And we won't be gone too long, so they can have the rest of the night to do all those romantic things."
"Okay," she said. "Be right back," she said bounding up the stairs.
"Wow, she seems much better today."
"The other night made a huge difference," Spike admitted. He hated talking about Buffy behind her back to her friends. He was never sure what was exclusive to him and what was not.
"Good, I'm glad we did it then."
"Spike," Buffy called from upstairs.
"Get up here, right now."
"Your whelp's going to wake and start crying if you keep yelling at me like that, Slayer, you know he doesn't like it when you yell," he said winking at Willow and Tara as he made his way toward the stairs. He knew why he was being called upstairs.
"Is there something wrong, Buffy?" He asked ascending the stairs slowly, enjoying being difficult. He had to have his fun somehow.
"Wrong?" she asked from her bedroom.
"You called me up here," he said finally walking to the doorway and she threw her arms around him. "What the bloody hell, Slayer?"
"Thank you, Spike," she whispered before kissing him. He was stunned and in the back of his mind filed away the fact he needed to thank Willow for stopping him from taking that fag break a few minutes ago. Her kiss went on longer than he had expected it to, nothing sisterly about her lips parting and her tongue sliding along his lower lip. Too soon, though, she broke the kiss.
"You like it then?" he asked when they stopped kissing. He walked into the bedroom and took in the arrangements he had put in there for her. A dozen red roses was on her dresser and a Mylar balloon with a pig on it was next to her bed. He had bought it thinking of her stuffed animal chum.
"They're beautiful. Really," she said walking toward the closet. "Do you want to help zip me up," she called over her shoulder.
"I can get Willow or Tara if you would prefer."
"Spike, I think we're sort of beyond my being bashful around you. Certainly about you seeing my back."
"Well," he said clearing his throat and lowering his gaze to the roses on her dresser. "That was a little different, pet. I really didn't see all that much, was too focused on how in the hell I was supposed to help you breathe when I don't do it myself." He ran a non-polished fingernail along one of the rose petals, smelling their sweet fragrance from where he stood. He had a brief vision flash of that rosebud trailing along flesh. She smelled as nice as the roses did, of vanilla and something he had not identified yet.
"You didn't have to do this you know."
"I know, but I wanted to. You deserve it." He watched as she shimmied into a black linen sheath dress that clung perfectly to her every curve. God, she was beautiful, he realized as he stepped toward her to zip up the dress. She had filled out because of the baby. Her clothes still fit her, but she filled them out better than she had before. Not that she had filled them out badly, but there was definitely a difference.
His hands fell to her hips and he stood there. She did not move either. He was tempted to push aside her hair and kiss the back of her neck, but Scotty chose that moment to start to fuss. Spike had picked up on subtle movements since coming up the stairs with his enhanced hearing, but now he was up to a all out fuss. That put any plans he had on making a romantic overture at the moment on hold.
"I'll get him, you finish getting ready."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure. I'll get him set to go for the witches."
She turned around then and kissed him lightly. "Thanks."
He left the room via the door that connected her room to Scott's and set about getting him ready for Red and Tara. He came into the hall holding Scott at the same time Buffy came out of her room holding the vase of roses in her hands. "What are you doing with those?"
"Showing them off. A girl doesn't get roses every day, especially this girl," she said offering him a smile, tucking some hair behind her ear. She was acting almost shy and Spike found it charming. He loved everything about her, loved that she could take charge of any situation even if she was uncertain about what to do. But he loved this side of her most. She might consider it a weakness, but Spike thought it was her strength; it was what made her human.
Willow opened the door just as Spike and Buffy started down the stairs. "Hi Willow," an all too familiar voice said. It was a good thing Spike had quick reactions because he would have walked into her otherwise as Buffy froze on the stairs.
"Uh, Riley, hi," Willow replied nervously.
"Is Buffy home?"
Spike had to give Buffy credit for being quick to recover. He could smell the fear on her, though, and for that he wished he could kill her Army man. Of course the prick had to pick Valentine's Day to come back. Spike looked over Buffy's shoulder to the doorway and did not see any flowers or anything in the bloke's hands. Score one for the vampire, Spike mused to himself. Too bad she loves him and not you, moron, his self replied.
He placed what he hoped was a calming hand at her shoulder before she continued down the stairs. "Riley, hi," she said as she got to the foot of the stairs.
Spike could not help but chuckle at the surprised look on Riley's face when he deigned to glance at Spike standing there holding a baby. "Finn," Spike said evenly.
"What is he doing here?"
Buffy set the vase on the table in the foyer. "Actually, we were going to dinner. Did you need something, Riley?" she asked. Spike noticed her voice sounded a little forced and stopped to look at her, making sure she was all right before taking the little one into the living room. She seemed lost in thought, focused on the roses rather than Finn or Scotty, but she seemed fine.
"I, well, yeah," there was a brief pause. "Are you going out on a date with Spike?"
"Yeah, I am," she replied without pause, startling Spike and Tara, too, evidently judging by her reaction to the Slayer's reply.
Spike had settled on the floor with Scotty, fixing his blanket like he always did before placing the tyke down. He was able to sit up now for a few seconds at a time and loved to be sat up on the blanket with Spike lying on the floor. It probably had something to do with finally having his head above someone's Spike guessed. Tara joined him on the floor, picking up and shaking a set of toy keys. Spike did not put it past her to pick up on his apprehension; she was a perceptive witch.
"Can I come in? We need to talk."
"I don't know. That's up to Willow and Tara and how long you plan on talking."
"They're babysitting you nitwit," Spike said from the living room. He glanced at Tara, saw compassion in her eyes and smiled at her appreciatively. It was good to know he had someone on his side.
"My son," Buffy said simply and Spike released the unnecessary breath he had been holding.
"You have a son."
"I do. I guess you can go ahead and come in," Buffy said and walked into the living room.
"You look nice," Riley offered.
"Thanks. You look good, too. The jungle agrees with you apparently. So what brings you back to Sunnydale?" Spike did not think Finn looked good, but that was probably just his jealousy coming out to play. A year's worth of jungle work had left Finn looking tan and rugged. The rugged part Spike could manage, but the tan part well that was just impossible. Scotty had had enough of sitting up by now and Spike laid him on the blanket.
"When aren't there demons in Sunnydale?"
"Well, I've been tracking a Suvolte demon and I tracked it here to Sunnydale. I was thinking you might want to suit up and join me on an op. There's rumor of a nest here in town, which is probably what it's looking for."
"You came here on Valentine's Day to ask me to go on a military operation with you?"
"Well, yeah, I figured you'd be up for it," Riley said and Spike scoffed softly.
"You figured I'd have nothing else to do you mean."
"No, I didn't say that."
Spike glanced in Riley's direction, noticed the soldier looking at the baby on the floor and felt his human face slip away. It was the demon's instinct to protect what it considered to be his, territorial things demons were, and Scotty was Spike's. He expected Buffy to say something to him, fearing he would give something away but apparently she understood it was not intentional on his part.
"You let him play with your son like that?"
"He does it all the time and Scotty loves it." As if on cue, Scotty giggled and cooed at Spike's bumpy face and yellow eyes. His feet kicked out and his little hands, one balled into a fist, waved in the air excitedly.
"I don't believe you let that thing near your baby, Buffy. What are you thinking?"
"You know, Riley, it's really none of your business, is it? But Spike has lived here since Dawn died." She smiled at Spike, Scotty and Tara, but it was a sad smile. Spike smiled back knowing this was difficult on her, the last time she had seen Finn her mother and sister were still alive and she had no idea she was pregnant. Tara was still sitting there holding the toy keys, looking nervous and trying hard not to.
"He lives here? You live with him?" Riley was across the room in an instant, pulling Spike up off the ground by his shirtfront before Spike had a chance to react. "You son of a bitch. Did your little plan work out for you then? Did you get some good pity sex off her?"
"Riley," Buffy shouted.
"Don't talk about Buffy like that, White Bread and mind the shirt," Spike said evenly. There was nothing he could do against Finn physically.
Riley turned his attentions to Buffy. "He did it on purpose, you know. He wanted to get into your pants, that's why he brought you there that night, Buffy. I caught him here going through your dresser drawers, sniffing your sweater. If he fooled you into thinking there was another reason behind his taking you there that night, he's lying."
"Put him down, Riley," Buffy said placing her hands over Riley's and prying them off of Spike. "So Spike forced you to pay some whore to suck your blood? Spike did that? I don't think so. And I won't let you come into my house over a year later and disrupt my family."
"Family? You call this freak show a family? You've got a vampire lover, two lesbian witches, the Slayer, and a baby. Is Angel back in town living here, too? Who the hell is the father? Xander?"
"I'm not even going to stoop to answer that. You come in here casting stones at me after you cheated on me with whores?"
"I did not cheat on you."
"You were paying women to spend time with you, Riley. Letting people I deal with see my guy pick up whores. And you didn't even give us a chance to talk it out. You gave me an ultimatum and left."
"Because I thought it was what you wanted, Buffy."
"And you expected her to what? Be sitting here knitting you a sweater waiting for you to return?" Spike asked smoothing down his shirt. At least Soldier Boy had not ruined it, good thing too that, it was a damned nice shirt.
"Spike," Buffy said softly.
"No, luv, let me talk to the fool. You come here looking for her help with a demon. Where the hell were you when she needed your help? When her Mum died? When she had to sacrifice her sister in order to save the world? Mr. High and Mighty off doing his government work, you left here knowing the danger she was in. I'll bet you didn't give her or Glory or any of it one bit of thought until your little escapades brought you back here."
"Spike," Buffy said again.
"I've got it under control, Slayer," he hissed, he was not going to reveal anything about Scotty. "You are fucking unbelievable, mate. Just waltz back in here because you need her help. No bloody word from you since Christmas before last. She's moved onto better things."
"Back to fucking vampires."
"Shut your soddin' hole," Spike swung at him. "Jesus Christ," he swore clutching at his head at the pain that shot through him, but at least he had connected well against Riley's jaw. Riley was clutching his jaw in a similar fashion to the way Spike was clutching his head.
"At least I don't pay them." Buffy said. Spike did not need to be a vampire to feel and sense her anger. She was brassed off big time and it was emanating off of her loud and clear. Even Scotty seemed to sense it; his big hazel eyes were wide watching the goings on in front of him.
Willow moved to Spike's side and helped him to sit down on the couch. "Thanks, Red," he said grateful for the help. The headaches could be blinding sometimes.
"I think you've upset her enough, Riley," Willow said from her spot next to Spike on the couch. "And you're scaring Scotty." Sure enough, he was starting that scrunching of the face thing he did when he was about ready to cry to beat the band. That sound always broke Spike's unbeating heart.
"He doesn't like yelling," Spike added under his breath.
"So you're letting this thing raise your baby?"
"He," Buffy started to say and glanced at Spike. Spike felt Buffy take his hand and lace her fingers with his. She squeezed his hand gently. He was surprised at her touch, but it was a pleasant surprise. They had touched and embraced many times over the past year or so, but never in front of others. "He's not a thing, Riley," Buffy said.
Riley did not say anything for a while and Buffy's grip on his hand tighten. Spike watched Riley who was looking intently at Buffy's hand interlaced with Spike's. He started to say something and then stopped. "I just figured you'd like to be in on the action," he said softly. "Bring him along if you want."
Spike almost felt sorry for the bloke. It could have been him here with the baby the past five months. Spike did not know why he was feeling sorry for him because here was the end of Spike's little fantasy. Finn was not a man to walk away from the responsibility of a baby. Spike had told her several times over the past year to try and get word to Riley. She never had.
Spike could see Buffy's conflict clearly on her face. She had been looking forward to dinner, Spike had too. An evening alone with Buffy with no baby, no friends, and no slaying; he should have known it was too good to be true. And for the briefest moment upstairs he had sensed she would not have been put off or insulted by an advance on his part later in the evening. Not that he just had sex on his brain, but months of holding her and sleeping with her when she came to him for comfort left him wanting her. "It's up to you, pet. We can go change into civvies if you want to muck around with demons in honor of St. Valentine and Cupid."
"Are you sure you don't mind? I mean, you got Willow and Tara to baby sit and everything."
"They'll be able to baby sit another night." He brought her hand joined with his to his lips and kissed the back of it. "I know your mind would be on the demon and I'd rather not play second fiddle to a demon hunt."
"You are a demon, Spike," Riley interjected.
"Do you mind, Soldier Boy, this is a private conversation."
Buffy's eyes followed Riley as he turned to face Tara who was sitting on the floor holding Scotty on her lap, patting his back gently. Scotty had never actually started crying, but his lungs were still working hard at taking calming breaths from his excited state of moments ago. "Maybe we can get takeout on the way back," Buffy suggested hopefully.
"We can do that, luv, whatever you want. You don't mind, Red?"
"No, it's fine. Tara and I weren't going out or anything, just a quiet evening to ourselves."
"Are you sure, Will?"
"I'm sure, Buffy. Go, if Riley's asking for your help, he must need it. I'm just sorry you won't be going to dinner."
"Like Spike said, some other time."
"Yeah," Willow said glancing at Spike. The witch held his gaze and seemed to apologize to him. "Some other time."
"All right then, let's go get changed," Spike said wanting to get on with it if they were going demon hunting with Buffy's ex. The sooner they were done, the sooner they could get back and Finn would be out of her life again. Until the next time he came gallivanting back into town on the trail of a demon.
"Are you going to wait for us or should we meet you somewhere?" Buffy asked.
Spike grimaced with a tilt of his head. "Come on, luv, let's go find you some commando gear."
He joined Buffy in her room once he had changed, closing the door behind him. He wanted to give her a couple of minutes alone, but suspected she would want some of the comfort she turned to him for before going downstairs. Instantly, her resolve crumbled, the strong front she had been putting on downstairs gave way and she was in Spike's arms, tears rolling down her eyes. He whispered what he hoped were soothing words to her and shut the door joining Buffy's room with Scotty's nursery so that no sound would carry downstairs.
"It's okay, pet," he whispered his hands running along her back, smoothing down her hair. He kissed the top of her head, knowing his shirt was going to be more than slightly damp when she finished crying.
"No, it's not. I can't believe he just came here like this. And he didn't even come back to see me, but because of some military operation."
"Do you want him back, Buffy? Do you want someone so insecure about where he stands with you that he has to go out and do the things he did?"
"No," she mumbled against his chest. She sniffled loudly and Spike reached for the nearest thing for her to wipe her tears with, which turned out to be one of Scotty's undershirts. He sniffed it to make sure it was clean, which it was. It smelled good, like the infant laundry detergent she insisted be used for Scotty's laundry. Of course, everything about babies smelled good, well the stuff that went onto them anyway. "Here," he said softly placing the undershirt in between his chest and her face.
"Thanks," she said taking it and wiping her eyes. "You must think I'm an idiot, but I just never expected to see him like this."
"I don't think you're an idiot."
"I had it all planned out in my head, what I would say, where I would say it even and in my plan I didn't sound like an idiot."
"It's probably better this way, pet."
"How can you say that?"
"If you tell him you know he'll ask you to marry him."
"And that would be a bad thing?"
"Do you want your son raised by parents married out of necessity or convenience and not because of love?"
"I didn't think so, pet. If ever I have come across as big a proponent of true love and all the goodies that go with it as I am, it's you."
"But how am I supposed to tell him?"
"I don't know, Buffy. Do you want to tell him? It seems to me if you wanted to you would have before now."
"I just didn't know how or how to find him," she shrugged. "I didn't want to tell him over the phone."
"I know," he said kissing the top of her head again.
"You're so good to me, Spike."
"Only because I love you."
"I know," she said softly and placed her head against his chest again. The crying had stopped, there was no more sniffling and she did not balk about his declaration of love.
"Let's get you out of your dress then and into some demon hunting clothes."
"Are you sure you don't mind? You went through all of this trouble, the flowers, the balloon, the candy."
He took her chin in the palm of his hand and brought her head up from his chest. He met and held her gaze, her eyes looked so sad. He hated that she was being exposed to more pain. "I do mind," he answered truthfully. "I wanted to give you a nice day. But I know you wouldn't enjoy yourself knowing there's a demon running around. I already changed, so let's do it."
"We can do it another night. The dinner. I like the sound of it."
"I thought you might."
She kissed him lightly, not nearly long enough for Spike, but she had initiated it so he would take it. He would take whatever crumb of affection she offered him, even if it was meant in friendship. "Thank you. Maybe we could rent a movie? Something action packed and worthy of the Big Bad?"
"That's not very Valentine's Day like."
"Well, neither is going out on a demon hunt, but it beats getting death threats from my demon possessed boyfriend."
"Is that the only memorable Valentine's Day you've had, pet?"
"Yeah, that's pretty much it. I haven't really scored too high on the keep the boyfriend around on mushy holidays test."
"Well, I've been around for more than one round of them, not just the mushy ones neither. Even helped you with the cranberries at Christmas, and in case you don't realize it, Christmas is not exactly a vampire holiday."
"I know you have, you've been great, Spike. I don't know what I would have done without you since Mom died." She turned around, presenting her back to him so that he could unzip the dress. She was silent while he unzipped it, so just the soft sound of the zipper and her breathing was heard. "I'm glad she didn't know I was pregnant, she would have been so disappointed in me."
Spike placed his hands on either shoulder and drew her back against his chest. God she felt good against him. He tried to push down his desire, but it was getting harder to do. At first it had not been too hard with her being pregnant and then after Scotty was born he knew she could not have done anything anyway. But now that Scotty was older and the medical reasons were gone he was finding it more difficult to hold back. He placed his mouth against her ear, his eyes drifting closed as he took in the scent of her. His lips parted and he had to force himself to speak in lieu of doing what he truly wanted to do, take her earlobe in his mouth and suckle it until he rendered her weak in the knees. "She would not be disappointed in you, luv. Don't even think that. She's looking down on you proud that you have a son to love."
Buffy tilted her head, pressing her ear against his lips and sighed softly. "Thank you," she whispered.
"Don't mention it," he whispered giving into temptation just a little and kissing her earlobe. She made a soft keening sound in response and he had all he could do to remember Soldier Boy was downstairs waiting for them. He wanted to hear more of those noises, but when he had all night to enjoy doing the things that caused her to make them.
"Maybe if it doesn't take too long to find this thing we can still do dinner. If it's not too late and Willow and Tara don't mind. Or maybe Giles would babysit again. He can't be doing anything tonight."
Spike inhaled and drew away from her. "We'll see how we're feeling when we're done. Takeout and a movie sound fine to me, pet."
"But that's what we always do; you were trying to do something nice for us."
"There will be other nights, Buffy."
"Do I get the roses and the balloon and the chocolates again?"
He smiled and shook his head slightly as he paused at the door. "You ask a lot of a man, but yeah, I think that can be arranged. I'm glad you liked them."
Buffy placed the last bottle over the bottle rack to dry and finished wiping down the counters. Tara and Willow were good at cleaning up, but there was always a forgotten bottle or something that needed to be tended to before bed. Those little baby spoons were often the biggest culprits of getting forgotten about. She was still wound up from the evening. Tracking the demon had been messy - and weird.
It was clear that Riley and Buffy were not suited to fight together. She was comfortable with Spike and came to realize during the evening why she used to dread Riley patrolling with her. She did not have to worry about Spike unless something they came up against turned out to be human. As it turned out, Buffy had taken care of the Suvolte demon when it managed to get both Riley and Spike pinned with their backs against a wall. They then went in search of the eggs, which Buffy and Spike had a little chat with Willy about. Spike paid him while Buffy punched him so that he would not lose face in front of his clientele for helping the enemy.
Buffy pulled her hair back and secured it with a scrunchie before taking a Coke out of the refrigerator. "Spike, I'm done in here do you want anything?" She walked to the doorway when he did not answer and felt tears form in her eyes at the sight in front of her. Spike was dozing on the couch with Scotty soundly asleep on Spike's bare chest. She could not blame her son for falling asleep on Spike's chest; she had done it many times over the past year.
She wondered if Scott noticed Spike had no heartbeat and how she would explain it when he got old enough to ask. Heartbeats were supposed to be soothing to children, the mother's heartbeat in particular. She remembered the first time she heard little Scotty's. Spike had come with her because she had been too afraid to go alone, afraid that something would be wrong with her baby.
No one else seemed to understand her fears about that exactly, but Spike understood. That was no surprise; Spike always seemed to understand Buffy better than the others. Spike had tried to assure her before she heard the heartbeat for the first time. He claimed with his enhanced vampire hearing that he could hear it, but she would not be consoled until she heard it with her own ears. She had been thrilled at the sound of the baby's heartbeat and seeing him on the ultrasound screen had brought her to tears.
They looked so at peace, anyone looking at the man and the baby would assume they were father and son. Scotty shifted his head slightly, rubbing his downy hair against Spike's ivory chest and made the cute little noise he made when he was sleeping. It was not a coo exactly, sort of a mixture of coo and exhale of breath.
She set her Coke down and lifted Scotty from where he slept on top of Spike. She cradled him to her, one hand under his little butt and the other at his head. He had the softest brown hair and the biggest hazel eyes that were so expressive. He was precious and a miracle, Buffy knew it. That is what ultimately led to her decision to have him; she knew it might be her one and only chance to have a child.
Had she known both her mom and Dawn would be gone she might have made a different decision. She had never gotten to tell her mom she was pregnant, she had died before she knew for sure she was going to have Scotty. But Dawn knew and had been thrilled about becoming an aunt. Willow and Xander assured her that should anything happen to her they would take Scotty. Buffy was grateful to her friends, grateful to know that her son would be taken care of, but felt bad that if something were to happen to her she had nothing to leave behind to aid her friends in raising her son.
She stepped away from the couch and went upstairs, placing Scotty in his crib. She opened up his sleeper to make sure he did not need to be changed. She turned on the baby monitor and took the receiver end, closing the nursery door behind her. She stopped by the vase in the foyer and lifted out one of the roses. She still could not believe that Spike had bought her roses. The only other time she had gotten roses had been from Angelus.
She sat on the edge of the couch and traced the rose along the still sleeping vampire's jaw and chin. He mumbled something, turned into the rose and Buffy found herself crying again. She was so tired of crying all the time; it seemed that's all she did anymore. No one but Spike ever saw her do it, which she was glad of.
"Buffy?" came Spike's voice soft and questioning as if he thought she might be a dream.
"Yeah," she said still holding the rose by his face. "Hi."
"What are you doing, luv?"
"Nothing," she said embarrassed he had caught her and drew her hand away.
"It smells nice," he said watching her, his eyes wide. She could not see the color of them because there were no lights on in the room but she had his eyes memorized anyway. She did not need lights to know that he was looking at her, his blue eyes wide with love and sincerity. "Did you put little one to bed?"
"Yeah, he didn't even wake up between here and his crib."
"I miss him when he's gone," he said, his eyes drifting closed at the statement.
"You miss him?"
"Yeah, his warmth, his smell, his trust. For the briefest of moments, when he's taking his bottle, grabbing onto my finger, rolling around on the floor, or even just sleeping on me I feel alive. I feel human."
"No, luv," he said lifting his arm, his hand cupping her cheek. "You have nothing to be sorry for. I like it. In one hundred twenty years, I'd never held a baby until now," he said with a slight shrug. "Well," he said and stopped.
"Don't go there," she said with a light laugh. She took a deep breath and moved her head just a little, just enough so that she could kiss the palm of his hand resting against her face.
"Are you going to tell him?"
"I don't think so. Is that wrong?"
"There's different levels of wrong, pet. I don't think it's right, but I can't say as I blame you."
"He could try and take him away from me."
"He could," Spike admitted. "Of course, the grounds he would have to get him would be difficult for him to prove. Like a lawyer would take him seriously talking about Slayers and vampires and demons."
"Well, all they'd have to do is throw you out into the sun without a blanket and they'd believe part of it. Besides, I only have a part-time job and you're living here, helping me support my son."
"You have a part-time job so that you can go to school, Buffy. No one can fault you for that. Your dad's helping you with the bills, paying for your schooling. You have me here so he's never in daycare, yet he's around Willow, Tara, Xander, Anya and Giles enough that he's not cut off from the world or anything. All that babies need socializing crap I read about in one of those books you bought."
"I know," she said lowering the rose to his chiseled jaw once again. His lips parted and he moaned as she traced the bud along the length of his jaw, tickling his earlobe with it. Buffy found she was surprisingly aroused at the sound such a simple action on her part elicited in him.
She had been debating for months on what to do with Spike, whether to take their relationship past friendship. She was afraid of him, of his devotion to her, which was the reason behind her hesitation. Angel and Riley had both left her, what if she let Spike into her heart and he left too? She had realized recently that letting him so totally into her life was the same as letting him into her heart. Tonight had proved to her that maybe, just maybe she should take the risk. He had gone out of his way to do something nice for her because of the holiday, even though he was not her lover.
The one friend she had made while working at the local drug store as a cashier did not believe Buffy's denial of involvement with Spike beyond friendship. Lara reminded Buffy of Faith even in physical appearance. She wondered if that was why she had gone out of her way to befriend Lara.
Like Faith, Lara seemed alone. She had no family here, was uncertain but tried to cover that up with bravado and false pride. Buffy worked at the drug store because the hours were flexible around her school and slaying schedules. Lara needed the job, which worked out well for Buffy because Lara was always willing to fill in for Buffy if something came up that she could not make a shift.
Yesterday at work, Lara told Buffy what a rare catch Spike was. Buffy had laughed at the comment. But she supposed it was true in a way. How many chipped, evil vampires was Buffy going to get to know well enough to have them fall in love with her? But something that Lara said Buffy could not brush off and dismiss easily.
"You've got some man there, Buffy," Lara said once Spike had left the store from getting a carton of cigarettes. The fact that he paid for the carton was amazing to Buffy, but he always managed to find some excuse to visit her on her shift.
"Yeah, why do you say that?" Buffy asked watching through the window as Spike put Scotty into his car seat and then stood outside the car, smoking a cigarette. The fact that a vampire would be considerate enough not to smoke in front of her baby was pretty amazing. She wondered if Spike even realized he did it, she never asked him not to smoke in front of Scotty he just always went outside.
"Because, girl, any guy as hot as he is who helps take care of a baby that's not even his rates being called some man."
"You think so?" Buffy had asked really never thinking about it. She just took it for granted because Spike had more or less worked his way into being involved with her pregnancy with his persistence.
"Take a poll around here, Buffy. Ask any man who works with us or a customer if they would even stick around knowing the woman they loved got pregnant by another man."
"But we're not even dating and we weren't dating when I got pregnant."
"But you said he loved you."
"Well, yeah, I thought it was just a phase, though. I mean, he's Spike," Buffy said as if that explained everything. In a way it did, Spike could probably have any woman he wanted if he set his mind to it. Buffy sometimes wondered if he had set his sights on Buffy because she was unobtainable and if he would lose interest in her and set his sights on someone else if that went away.
"Does it seem like just a phase to you, Buffy? I mean, he's living with you. Does he change diapers?"
"Well, yeah, I do when I'm home, but yeah he does."
"Girl, if you don't snatch him up I might. Though looking at you, I don't know that I'd be his type."
"Oh, you'd be surprised about Spike," Buffy said softly, her thoughts turning to Drusilla, his dark princess who was the opposite of Buffy. Dark to light, vampire to Slayer, grandsire's childe to grandsire's lover.
"What are you thinking, pet?" he asked and Buffy could tell even without the lights on he had slipped into game face.
"Oh nothing. I was thinking about how happy you made me today. And I was thinking that I never even got to give you my gift."
"You got me a gift?"
"Yeah, it's not as nice as what you gave me, but yeah," she said and stood from the couch. She went and got the card she had bought him the day before after her conversation with Lara and the long stem, solid chocolate rose she had bought to go with it. "I'm sorry it's not much."
"Buffy," he said and Buffy thought she saw tears in his eyes. It had to be a trick of the light, there was no way Spike would cry or tear up over a simple card. But he remained lying on the couch, the card and rose clutched to his chest before he sat up and turned on the lamp by his side. She sat next to him while he read it, not recalling a time she was more nervous. It was a huge step for her; surely he had to know that.
The card was nothing gushy or mushy, it was Snoopy hugging himself, blowing kisses into the air, and clutching a heart in between his paws offering his Valentine hugs, kisses and well wishes.
"I know it's stupid and lame," she said when he had not said anything. There were not that many words on the card, even if it was one of those trifold cards, so he had to have read it by now. "I just, there aren't that many cards that don't profess undying love and all of that other stuff."
"I understand, pet, thank you," he said still regarding the card. "I don't mind Snoopy; he's probably my favorite cartoon character. He's cool after all, Joe Cool, the red baron and all that," he said with a tilt of his head regarding her through hooded eyes. And sure enough, there were tears in his eyes, unshed ones forming watery diamond like crystals in his eyes.
She leaned forward and kissed him. She fought the urge to pull away, to draw back and shield her heart from anymore pain she might inflict on it by getting involved with a man again. But Lara was right, if he had not left by now Buffy suspected he was not going to.
They fell into the kiss easily, comfortably, both giving and taking. Their lips remained together, parting slightly to allow Buffy to breathe but nothing more. She sensed that Spike was holding back and was grateful he was, for right now. This was a big enough step, she was not sure she was ready to be French kissing Spike.
She drew away needing to breathe more than the small gasps she had been getting in during their kiss. Her heart was racing, her hands were sweaty due to her nervousness over the card and the kiss, and she was struggling to breathe normally. These were probably things of the good as far as Spike was concerned.
"Buffy," she heard him say as he set the card and chocolate rose on the table and looked into her eyes.
"Thank you, for the card, for the candied rose, for the kiss. Especially for the kiss, but I'm not here to help you put ghosts to rest."
"I know, I'm not, that's not what I was doing." Her hands went to his chest, her fingers spreading along the width of his pectorals.
"Are you sure about that?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. What you said earlier is right, Spike. I wouldn't be happy with him. I don't know yet about telling him the truth."
"Hopefully, he doesn't suspect and won't go sniffing around asking questions."
"Well, no one would tell him."
"Well, no, but it wouldn't take a genius to look up his birth certificate, take in his date of birth do a little subtraction and come up with forty weeks before then being just before he left town in the middle of the night."
"You're right. Sooner or later I'll have to face it or lie about it. I could always say it was some guy I hooked up with after he left."
"Right, like he'd believe that."
"You forget about the guy before Riley."
"I try to forget about all your guys, Buffy, but yeah I guess I had forgotten about the little weasel."
"I could say that you and I wanted a baby."
"And you think he'd buy my letting you go out and shagging someone to get that way? Buffy, he knows me better than that. Pain in my head or not, I'd rip anyone to shreds who came near you."
"Really," he said evenly, his eyes conveyed his seriousness.
Buffy swallowed hard. She had forgotten about the possessiveness thing. She used to torment Angel back before they had stopped denying their feelings for one another. Sometimes it had been intentional, sometimes it had been out of spite because she was tired of not being able to have him yet wanting him, and sometimes it had been because she truly wanted to try for some normalcy in her life. That was a long time ago; she had been sixteen and seventeen, a high school girl. She was a junior in college due to some hard work last summer catching up on the semester she dropped out of because of Glory, a mother, and an adult. Her life would never be normal; Scotty was the most normal thing she would ever hope to do. "Well, at least we know he can't beat it out of me," she said with a light laugh, hoping to make the conversation a little lighter.
"That's one way of looking at it, and he's no Glory so I think you know I'd never tell."
"Do you really like Snoopy? Or were you just saying that to make me feel better?"
"It's from you, so I'd like it no matter what, pet."
"Okay," she said softly, shyly and with her hands still at his chest pushed him so he sat back against the couch. She straddled him and draped her arms over his shoulders. "I want to give you some of those hugs and kisses now, is that all right?"
"Do I get to collect more later or is this a one-time payment?"
"I think there's the chance of more later," she murmured before lowering her body along his until their mouths met once again.
Memories of kissing him under the influence of Willow's spell came flooding back as her brain shut down and she opened her heart, letting her heart decide for the first time in years. She had not even let her heart decide with Riley. Riley had been safe, they had taken things slow but she still did not know Riley as well as she knew Spike. Riley certainly never knew her, at least not the real her because there were parts he could not deal with.
She had said once the spell had been broken that kissing him had been disgusting. She had been too afraid of Spike's ridicule to admit he had kissed incredibly well so she had lied. She was no pro when it came to this stuff. Sure she had two years of intense kissing under her belt with Angel and about a year of sex with Riley. But sex with Riley was pretty dull and monotonous, so she was not sure how that counted toward experience. Was it experience when you felt smothered and unsatisfied all of the time?
Her hands went from his shoulders around his neck, pulling her body flush against his. She had showered and changed into one of her tank tops and a pair of workout pants when they got home earlier. His hands were at her back, caressing and she knew when his hands went over the spot at the middle of her back once, twice and a third time followed by a muffled groan that he realized she was not wearing a bra. She could not help but feel the heat of arousal rush through her when that seemed to turn him on.
The doorbell rang and Buffy drew away from him with a whimper of protest. His hands slid from her lower back to her bottom, cupping her with his palms as his fingertips grazed the backs of her thighs. "I don't want to get it. Anybody coming to the house at this time of night is only coming here for Slayery stuff. I don't want to be the Slayer tonight, I want to be Buffy tonight."
The doorbell rang a second time and she groaned. "They'll go away," she whispered until a rap at the door came. She sighed and slid off his lap, feeling the loss of his touch as soon as she pulled away from him and his hands were no longer on her. "Don't go away," she whispered.
"I don't think you have to worry about that," he said with a smirk. She smiled when his eyes raked over the length of her body. She knew her arousal was apparent, her peaks were at attention and he had not even done anything to stimulate them. But she was not embarrassed about it, instead she found it exciting. Exciting that he wanted to sit there with the light on and look at her. Riley had never wanted to look at her. Always the lights were off.
Another knock at the door. "I'm coming," she called out as she walked from the living room to the front door. "Riley," she said tugging on her top until she realized it was probably making her current state more obvious. "What are you doing here?"
"Buffy, we need to talk."
"Riley, you can't come here at this hour telling me we need to do anything."
"Buffy," he said crisply, in that military voice of his. He was used to getting his way; he was not used to having to say please to anyone.
She placed a hand in her hair, running it through her blonde tresses and sighed heavily. "Come in," she said softly and stepped away from the door. She walked to the living room, where the card and chocolate rose were in plain view. She was embarrassed at how lame the chocolate rose would look after Spike had gotten her roses. She stopped feeling quite so embarrassed when her eyes fell on Spike who was draped casually on the couch, still shirtless and looking yummier than the chocolate rose. The real rose she had used to touch his face with was clutched in his hand. Buffy had no idea where his shirt even was, he might not have bothered to put one on after his shower for all she knew. Not that she cared. There was certainly nothing wrong with a shirtless Spike.
Riley came into the living room just as Buffy sat next to Spike. "Is there another demon or something?"
"No," Riley said obviously watching the two of them on the couch. Good, Buffy thought, let him wonder what he interrupted.
"Well, then what? It's late and I'm ready for bed."
"I was hoping we could talk. Privately."
"We can talk sure; I don't know what we have to talk about. We broke up, you left town, you came back to fight a demon and looked me up for help. You can look me up anytime, Riley. I have no problem helping the home team."
If looks could kill the look Riley bestowed upon Spike as he adjusted his jeans with faux discreetness and stood from the couch would have dusted Spike where he stood. "I guess I'll leave you two to talk then, pet. I'll be upstairs, try not to be too long." Ordinarily, Buffy would have gotten angry at him for saying something like that. But she could not find it within herself to get angry tonight. She was turned on and wanted nothing more than to follow Spike up the stairs to see where their kissing might lead if it were done in a bed. His words about ripping someone to shreds repeated in her mind and she smiled slightly that he really had meant it. He slid the rose into her hand carefully and kissed her. "Finn," he said with contempt and left the room.
Buffy sat on the couch feeling very underdressed. She really was not, but it was the fact that Riley had to have seen that she was excited when she answered the door. She folded her arms over her chest, her hand clutching either arm and gathered her feet underneath her.
"What is it, Riley? I really am tired, Scotty will be awake in a few hours and I have class in the morning."
"You're back in school then?"
"Yeah, I worked my ass off last summer to make up for the spring semester I had to drop out of. I worked with my professors during fall semester to get any assignments ahead of time since I was due right when the semester started. Slayer healing and all, I was up and walking around in less than three days. I really only missed one day of classes, because he was born Thursday night and I was back in class Monday. So, I'm in my sixth semester."
"Good," Riley said and he seemed sincere. "What are you majoring in?"
She smiled slightly. "Criminal justice. It seems to be what I'm most suited for."
"Yeah, I guess I see your point there." He leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees, hands together, tapping his fingertips against each other. "Are you really all right, Buffy?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, we didn't get the chance to talk earlier because of everyone being here and then going after the demon. Spike didn't seem willing to let you out of his sight."
"Yeah, well, vampires are that way, you know."
"No, I'm afraid I don't know that much about them. Spike's the only one I've ever gotten to know, and I wish that weren't the case."
"It's not his fault, Riley."
"I know it's not, Buffy. I liked to tell myself it was. It was so easy to blame him, to blame anyone but myself. I was sorry to hear about your mom and Dawn. I didn't know. I tried to get a letter to you, but mail was just not something we had access to where we were. And to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure what to say in a letter. You couldn't have written me back, so I wouldn't have found out anyway."
"Thanks, and you don't owe me any explanations, Riley. We broke up."
"I should have been here for you. Spike was right in what he said earlier, I left when I knew you were in trouble, up against something pretty unstoppable."
"She was a god," Buffy said wryly.
"Yeah," she said simply. "A god. I don't really want to talk about it, though. I mean, no offense, but if you came here to make me cry I'd rather not."
"No, that's not why I came. Are you happy?"
"Yeah, I am."
"But, it's Spike? What was I? The transition guy between vampires? Didn't you learn your lesson with Angel?"
"Angel and Spike are not the same, Riley. And you weren't a transition guy, but you were my first human guy and it just didn't work. It wouldn't have worked even had you stayed. I did go to the airfield that night."
"Yeah, I did, but I was just going to tell you that I was sorry. I wasn't going to ask you to stay, because as much as it hurt that you left like that, just picked up and left without seeming to want to give us a chance to work on things, I knew that they weren't going to work. We never could have gotten past what happened."
"But you can forgive Spike for his crimes against hundreds of people?"
"I can because those crimes weren't done against me."
"Buffy, he tried to kill you. He worked with Adam."
"Yeah, he did, and I tried to kill him, too. And I kept him tied up to a chair like an animal. But you know what?"
"He was there for me after my mom died. He did exactly what I needed him to do, he just sat with me. He did not try to fix my problem, did not try to tell me everything was going to be okay. He was there, helping me try to stop Glory from using Dawn to open the dimension gates. He was willing to drink some of Dawn's blood and jump off that tower to see if he might be able to fool the gates into thinking he was the key. He was willing to sacrifice himself to save the world, Riley. He was the one who encouraged me to go to school during the summer, to finish my sophomore year knowing once I had the baby it might be hard for me to go back if I wasn't already in school. He hasn't passed judgment on me, and ironically he was the one I was scared of most."
"Scared of him judging you? Why?"
"Because he's from an era where women didn't have babies on their own."
"Well, I have to admit I don't much like the idea of you doing it on your own either. Where's his father?"
"He's not involved," she replied evenly.
"Does it matter why?"
"I guess not," Riley said and grew quiet. "Does he know a vampire is helping to raise his child?"
"He knows Spike is with me, yes," she answered carefully.
"What if I offered to marry you?"
"And do what? Leave the military and stay here to be miserable? Or would I get to live on a military base somewhere and move around every year or two? Or better yet, I could stay here and wait for you to get weekend passes and leaves."
"Buffy, I love you, that hasn't changed. All those things I did," he sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Buffy watched him and wondered how she ever thought she could have been happy with him. He was nice and he would certainly make someone happy. But he wanted the June Cleaver type of wife. He probably wanted to return to Iowa and a farm when he got done with his stint in the military.
"I know, Riley, I do. But I don't love you. Your offer is kind, but I can't marry you."
"If you weren't with Spike?"
"I'd still say no. My dad isn't happy with me, but if things were to get real bad I could move in with him. There's always Angel, he's got a whole hotel, I'm sure he'd be willing to put me up until I got my feet on the ground."
"What kind of life is that for your son?"
"I said if things were to get real bad. But they won't. I've got a job, I'm working at Swanson's as a cashier part-time. My dad is paying the bills on the house and college. I have to pay for the cable and Internet because those are luxuries Dad says. So, my job pays for Scotty's stuff and Spike helps, too. Willow and Tara or Xander and Anya or Giles are always willing to baby sit."
"So they don't live here anymore?"
"Who? Willow and Tara? No, they're on campus."
"I'm heading out tomorrow."
"I figured you would be. Demon's been caught, eggs have been destroyed, mission accomplished."
"I can give you an email address and an AFP address for regular mail. I can't guarantee I'll get either in a timely fashion, but if you ever need anything. I was wrong leaving the way I did, Buffy, I know that. I was hurt, hurt about what I did to you, and hurt that I let myself believe I couldn't be what you wanted and that I was willing to change."
"Don't ever change who you are, Riley, not for anyone. That's how I know it wouldn't work between us, too much changing needs to be done by both of us."
"And you're happy?"
"Yup," Buffy said cheerily.
"You wouldn't be lying so that I won't feel bad for leaving again, would you?"
"No, Riley. I am happy. I can't say that being a mom is easy, I thought taking care of Dawn for the few months she was alive after Mom died was hard. That was nothing compared to a baby. But he's worth it. I can come home exhausted and he rejuvenates me just by smiling at me. He smiles at me because I'm his mommy and I make him happy. He doesn't want anything from me. He's not old enough yet to smile because he wants to get his way, he just smiles because he's happy. I've never felt anything like it, it's," she paused searching for the right word. "Amazing. It doesn't describe it right, though. It's beyond amazing." Riley was staring at her with an odd smile on his face and she lowered her head, embarrassed at her rambling.
"You know, I've never seen you talk about anything like that. The look in your eyes," he said smiling wider. "It looks good on you."
"Thanks," she said softly. "That means a lot."
"Okay well, as much as I hate to do it, I guess I'll let you go on up to bed. Say good bye to Willow and Tara for me, and tell Xander, Anya and Giles I said hello and that I'm sorry I didn't have more time."
"I will. Xander will be sorry he missed you, you know."
"Maybe on the next trip I'll have more time," he said as he stood and walked to the downstairs extension. Buffy watched as he took the pen and wrote something on the paper next to the phone. His address more than likely, not that she would ever use it. But maybe one day she would be ready to tell him the truth and she would need the information.
"No rest for the demon hunters."
"Nope," he said as he walked towards the front door and Buffy followed him, opening the door for him. He handed her the slip of paper. "Good night, Buffy. Good luck. As much as it hurts, I'm glad to see you're happy."
"Take care, Riley."
"I will," he said and turned to leave. She waited until he had made it to the public sidewalk before closing and locking the door.
Buffy stood at the head of the stairs and debated about which way to go. To her right was her room and to her left was Spike's. Going to his room was not a foreign occurrence for Buffy, but tonight was different. Tonight if she went to him things would change. She entered her room, deciding a change of clothes might be in order. She found what she was looking for in her closet, still wrapped in tissue paper and inside the shopping bag from when she had purchased it over a year ago.
She hesitated only a minute before deciding to take a chance. She had taken little to no chance with Riley. Her last chance taking experience had ended badly, but it had been her fault. She was vulnerable and Parker played on that. Looking back two years later she realized how stupid she had been to fall for his lines. She did not even need to think hard to remember the time before Parker she had been Buffy the chance taker. But Spike was no Parker, Riley or Angel, he had stayed despite her repeatedly telling him to go away and leave her alone.
She walked down the hall toward Spike's room, pausing by the door leading to the nursery to make sure that Scotty was quiet and then turned out the hall light. She stopped in front of his door, her hand on the knob, hesitating between going in without knocking and knocking. She usually knocked, but she suspected he was expecting her.
"Are you going to stand out there all night, Slayer?" he asked from behind the closed door making her decision for her.
"I guess not," she said and then opened the door. The room was dark, but she felt his eyes on her anyway and she was nervous. He wore his human mask, but he still had acute vision even without the game face in place. The floor-length satin gown was a deep crimson, appropriate for Valentine's Day even if she had not bought it with the holiday in mind. She had bought it before knowing she was pregnant and was more than a little self-conscious about what she looked like in it. The bodice was tighter along her breasts than she remembered it being, but that was the case with most of her tops. A side effect of pregnancy and the whole childbirth gig from what she had read and been told.
She traced a hand along her hip and abdomen along the negligee's smooth satin as she pushed some hair behind her ear nervously with the other one. "Happy Valentine's Day," she said softly, suddenly feeling stupid.
"Happy Valentine's Day to you," he said sitting up in bed to really look at her now. He raked a hand through his hair and seemed almost nervous. Bravely, she put her right foot in front of her left and walked toward the bed. "And here I thought you couldn't surprise me anymore."
"A surprise of the good variety," she said softly standing in front of him now. "I hope."
"Oh yeah," he whispered. "You can give me this kind of surprise anytime, honey."
She smiled brightly in part due to his choice of pet name. Pet or luv were things he called lots of women, but honey was not one he would address just anyone by. She was rather fond of Slayer truth be told, but it was nice to hear something a little more romantic and heartfelt. He placed his left hand against her right hip and her breath hitched at the contact even though it was expected. "I've never worn anything like this before," she said softly, shyly.
"You should do it more often, Buffy."
"Yeah," he said with a tilt of his head. She could make out that he bit his lower lip and was studying her, looking at her as if she was on the menu tonight. "Do you have more of these numbers?"
"Why? You don't like this one?"
He shook his head with a scoff. "I love it, pet, I was just wondering if maybe you had different ones, you know, one for every day of the week."
She smiled and bowed her head. "Oh. No, this is it."
"Well, you certainly made a damned good choice," he said gently, his hand at her hip sliding along the fabric to the small of her back. He drew her to him suddenly, not violently but she had not expected him to just yet. Her hands went to his shoulders and she leaned down practically crushing her mouth to his. There was nothing violent about the kiss, but his response was powerful as if a year of pent up desire and need was on the verge of being released. She keened against his mouth and placed her arms around his neck, arching into him. The satin gown stimulated her breasts as she moved against his bare chest and she groaned, breaking the kiss gasping for breath.
"Spike," she murmured as she straddled him, kneeling over him so she was in his lap.
"Too much," he murmured as his mouth traced along her jaw.
"What's too much?" she asked, gasping violently as he swirled her earlobe with his tongue. This is what it was supposed to feel like, Buffy realized.
There had been passion with Angel but she had been an innocent and so nervous. She knew he restrained himself from unleashing all of the pent up desire that had built up in him so as not to hurt her. He was not a sixteen year old high school boy after all. Unfortunately, the aftermath had overshadowed any pleasure she had gotten from her experience with him. Parker had been a bumbling idiot, for a player he really needed to be taught a thing or two, even Buffy with her inexperience knew that. And Riley, well, he was a typical straight laced conservative. White Bread Spike had unfondly referred to him as, and had been right, Riley's personality extended to the bed. Kissing him never left Buffy breathless, never left Buffy wanting. Lovemaking left her feeling unfulfilled more often than not, resulting in her needing to hunt or a long hot shower if hunting netted her no slays to rectify that problem. She had just assumed that it was how it was going to be, even if she wanted more.
"Your warmth. This," he said his fingertips running over the satin negligee. "So soft on top of being warm. I don't deserve this," he murmured. His cool hands were setting her on fire. How was that possible? How was it possible to be warmed, to feel heat from a cold body that had not felt warmth in over a century? And yet she knew this was how it was supposed to feel even if she did not know how it was possible.
She silenced him with a searing kiss, not wanting him to talk like that. She had forgotten what kissing Spike had been like; kissing vampires was way different than kissing humans. And she liked the difference, had missed it. She no longer believed she would find in a human what it was she needed. Angel had spoiled her for others and then left. Who would have thought she would find another vampire to like? "Okay, more than like," she murmured as she broke the kiss. Her hands found his chest and rubbed, her fingernails teasing his cool flesh.
"More than like what?" Spike asked.
"What?" she asked not realizing she had said that aloud.
"You said more than like."
"Oh, I was thinking."
"I gathered that," he said his hands caressing her and she moaned softly. He sure seemed to like touching her, not that she minded. "Though I'm not sure I like that you're thinking about things while we're kissing," he said with a wicked grin.
"Oh no, I was actually thinking good thoughts," she said taking advantage of her Slayer strength to push him so he was laying instead of sitting on the bed.
"Yeah," he said, moving his hands up her hips to the small of her back. "Like what?"
"I was thinking how right kissing you seems, how good it feels, and that I think I might actually more than like you."
"Oh really, now, this wasn't brought on by Soldier Boy, was it? We had a good hunt tonight and if it's left you, you know, in the mood, I can accept that. No need to put on airs with me, Slayer."
"We've had good hunts before now, Spike, and I haven't come to you like this."
"Yeah, well, I know you two used to work off post-patrolling energy this way."
She did not bother responding to him, at least not with words. She leaned toward him, her knees still at either side of him, and kissed him. "This has nothing to do with Riley or patrolling or anything else," she said softly, finding his ear and nibbling on the lobe. "Honey," she whispered before taking it between her teeth and tugging on it.
He growled and she stopped her biting to look at him. "I didn't say to stop," he said. He was still in human form, which had been what she was looking for. She could deal with his being a vampire and might even have no problem doing all of the sex stuff with him in his true face, but not tonight. She wanted this face tonight. "Did I scare you?" he asked as if reading her mind.
"No," she whispered kissing him again. She drew away from his chest, just enough to place her hands between them so that she could touch him. She needed to touch him, wanted to feel the cool smoothness of his skin in contrast to the satiny warmth of hers. She liked it, as deranged as others might find it.
She slid her mouth lower, kissing his neck and throat, nipping where his pulse point would have been if he had one. Both hands moved to his head, his hair, her fingers running through it, finding one curl that had escaped his gel and wrapped it around her pinky. She was burning for him and was of the mind to just rip the negligee off and ask him to take her. She traced her tongue along the length of his collarbones and the hollow of his throat, taking pride in the soft groans that she elicited in him. She was doing that, exciting him.
Her hands slid from his hair to his chest as she slid herself lower along his body. Touching him was of the good, so she took her time letting her fingers trace over his neck, his shoulders, and his chest stopping from going lower than that for now. Her mouth found a nipple and sucked on it greedily as her fingertips found and stroked the other one. He was growling again, softly but she heard it which only served to embolden her. She took his nipple in between her teeth and bit, glancing up at him as she increased the pressure.
"Buffy," he groaned, a hand finding her cheek and touching her. She slid her mouth to the other nipple, her tongue grazing his flesh along the way and repeated her actions. His other hand was at her hip, sliding along the bare skin of her thigh the slit in the gown allowed him access to. She arched into him and keened as his hand slipped underneath the gown to cup an ass cheek. Her sound was nothing compared to the one he made when he realized she was not wearing any panties underneath the gown.
Before she knew it he had moved them so she was lying on the bed on her back and he was on top of her. Her eyes were wide, but she smiled up at him. "Oh my," she said as she encircled his neck with her arms. "Is there something the Big Bad vampire wants?" Her voice sounded foreign to her, throaty and seductive, but she liked that he brought that out in her.
"You know what he wants, baby," he whispered as he placed kisses along her neck, throat, shoulders and collarbones. He did not nip even though she bared her neck to him. She would not let him go all fangy, but in his human form she did not mind. He pushed the gown up slowly, too slowly. "Faster," she ground out as she arched off the bed, wanting it off of her and her skin against his now.
"Easy, luv," he whispered as he slid lower, kissing her stomach. She moaned loudly as his tongue swirled her belly button.
"Spike," she whispered, tugging on the gown to bring it lower suddenly a little self-conscious of her figure. She had returned pretty much to her pre-pregnancy state, but she had a few stretch marks. It was to be expected she had been told, and she knew she had gotten off pretty easily probably due to her Slayer healing and training.
"You're perfect, Buffy. You look and taste perfect," he said as if reading her thoughts. He paused, though, his hand over her hand that still clutched some of the fabric. "Do you want me to stop, pet?"
"No," she said and after a moment's hesitation released the gown.
He pushed the gown just even with her breasts and smiled at her almost primal-like before taking first one nipple and then the other into his mouth. They were already hard and sensitive from anticipation, having his mouth actually on them was almost too much. He was gentle, but it was in a caring way. She sensed he was holding back, which was fine for now. She was not sure she was ready to deal with the full package tonight. He found the underside of her breast and bit her, hard enough for her to feel some discomfort and just when it bordered on the side of pure pain he stopped causing her to groan and slide her hands to his head. She moved against him even though he still had his jeans on, her legs going around his calves, rubbing her sensitive pearl against him.
"Cum for me, Buffy," he whispered as he laved the bite mark with his tongue. She should be embarrassed that he did not need to actually touch her to bring about her release, but instead it aroused her more. She came loudly in time with him biting the underside of her other breast. He rested his head against her abdomen and she ran her fingers through his hair.
"What are you doing," she asked softly, feeling very relaxed after her orgasm.
"Listening to your heart, and remembering what it was like to hear little one's heartbeat when you'd lay down with me while you were pregnant."
"Oh," she said softly. "Do you miss it?"
"Sometimes. All I have to do is go on down the hall to his room and I can hear it loud and clear, but it's not quite the same."
"No," she said with a shake of her head agreeing with him. It was not the same. She still remembered hearing Scotty's heartbeat for the first time at the doctor's office, seeing his form on the monitor during the ultrasound. It was not the same. "It's not," she whispered. He rolled onto his back. "Where are you going," she asked.
He turned to look at her, his hand pausing at the zipper of his jeans. "Nowhere, was just going to slide out of my jeans."
"Oh," she said, feeling the heat of a blush which he obviously saw by the way he looked at her.
"Is that all right?"
"Yeah," she said softly. "Or I could help," she said, kneeling above him once more. She took over his quest to shed his jeans, her eyes widened at the sight of his length. He was large, real large.
"Something a matter, Slayer?" he queried with a wicked grin. "You have seen one of those before."
"I, well," she said blushing further.
"I mean, well, um, no not really. I've touched, but never really gotten to see, no."
"In that case, look all you want, honey, it makes me hard as hell to have you looking at me like that."
Not that she needed or waited for his permission, but his words warmed her, gave her the courage to explore. And she did explore, not just intimately either. She utilized her hands and mouth to touch and kiss him everywhere from his face to his feet. She tasted him everywhere and watched for his reactions to her various touches and kisses. She drew the line at kissing his feet, but she rubbed them which brought a pleasurable groan from Spike.
When she knelt above him, taking a hold of his length once again she was a little surprised to find he was still so hard and ready for her. Her eyes met his briefly before she resumed watching her hand stroke him, rubbed his essence onto him when she encountered some at his tip. It felt cool to the touch and she wondered if she could warm it. Wanting to find out she slid her mouth over him.
"Oh god, Buffy," he moaned as he arched into her, startling her at first. She had just been sucking the head, darting her tongue around the tip and its opening, tasting his cool essence as it trickled out of him. And then suddenly he was deep in her mouth. She fought the urge to gag at the sudden intrusion, knowing it was just reflex on his part he was not trying to hurt her, and relaxed. Once she relaxed and he let her have the control she found that she liked it.
Spike apparently liked it, too. She had sort of tuned out what exactly he was saying, concentrating more on his physical reactions. But he sure was talking a lot, whispered words that probably should have been offensive. He seemed to find her mouth as hot as she thought it felt sheathed over him. He tasted, different, that was the only word she could think of. She did not know what she had expected exactly, to be repulsed by it maybe. Riley had never let her taste him. She had gone down on him a few times, but he always stopped her before she was ready to stop.
"Slayer," he groaned. "I'm going to," he said but she cut him off by sucking harder and sliding his length further into her mouth. He apparently forgot what he was about to say because he returned to his murmuring. His murmurs began to increase in volume and then he erupted. Her mouth stilled, but she drank all that he provided.
His hands found her hair as she inched up slightly, placing her head against his washboard abs. His physique was part of the reason she was so self-conscious about her own. He was perfect, even his pale skin was flattering. She tried to imagine a tanned Spike, but the two just did not go together. He was from a time where beaches and tanning were just not of the norm. She turned her head and placed a kiss against his stomach and groaned contentedly. She licked her lips and he must have seen her because he chuckled lightly. "What?" she asked pretending to be offended.
"Nothing, pet, just watching you is all."
"And I'm doing something funny?"
"No, your appearance of innocence sometimes just strikes me as amusing."
"Appearance? I'm really not all that experienced, you know."
"I forget. It's easy to forget, Buffy, when I work beside you night after night watching you kill demons and other evil beings."
"Oh," she said softly crawling up so her face was even with his. "So, because I kill things I can't be innocent?"
"Slayer, you were with your Boy Scout at least a year before he ran off. And Scotty's proof you weren't playing gin rummy when you were alone together."
"Well, we didn't right away and that's not all we did. What between the Initiative, Angel, you, Adam, Dracula, Glory and Mom's tumor," she shrugged. "It's no wonder he left, really."
He placed both hands at the back of her head, the look in his eyes told Buffy he was angry. But she could not figure out why. "Don't ever say that, Summers. Do you hear me? If a bloke really loves you he's not going to leave because you're not spreading your legs for him whenever he wants you to."
"Don't be crude, Spike."
"I'll be crude if it means you'll listen, Buffy. No one is going to leave someone because their sex life has taken a nosedive when one or the other of them has hit a snag in their lives outside the bed. At least not if they're worth anything."
"I don't think you do, Summers, or you wouldn't have said it."
"I do, but honestly the problem wasn't our lives interfering," she said moving next to him on the bed. It seemed so strange to be lying in her old bed with Spike. Naked Spike lying in her bed. She had dreamt about it, even before the chip and Willow's spell.
She giggled softly and buried her head in the space between his shoulder and the pillow. "No."
"Don't go all coy on me now, Slayer. What then?"
She did not really feel like talking about this right now. She used her Slayer strength to draw him on top of her, her hand slid between his legs. "You know for someone who has a willing, wanting woman in his bed you sure are talking a lot."
"Is that right?" he asked as her hand was producing the desired affect on his body.
"Definitely, too much talking. I realize you're up all night, vampire and all, but I have to sleep so that I can wake up when Scotty wakes up."
"A quick shag, is that what you're looking for, Slayer? Something to lull you to sleep?"
"Well, no, but I mean, he's going to be waking up in six or seven hours."
"Yeah, and your point is?"
"You couldn't, I mean, you can't, it's not possible."
He entered her and she wrapped her legs around his waist, her hands clutching his arms as she adjusted to him. "You want to put a little wager on that, Slayer?" he asked once he was completely inside of her.
"What kind of wager?" she asked as she found his shoulder and bit down. Not enough to draw blood or even really mark him, but she had to stifle a loud groan as he thrust inside of her, hitting a spot she never even knew existed before just then.
"You liked that, eh?" She merely nodded her head in response, not that she needed to because he already knew the answer. "I keep you up all night and as my reward you have to get one of your mates to take Scotty for a full night, so we can have a right proper date and the possibility of a right proper ending to that date." He grew quiet, his face tensed as she squeezed her inner muscles.
"You liked that?" she asked coyly. Two could play at that game. "And I agree to your terms," she said softly. "But what if you lose?"
"I won't lose, particularly with you as my partner. Vampire and Slayer stamina, we could go at it for days more than likely."
"Days? Did you say days?"
"Yeah, baby, days." She started laughing then and he drew back, but did not pull out of her. "What in the hell are you laughing at? Laughing at me out of bed is one thing, sweetheart, but in bed it's bloody rude."
"I'm not laughing at you. I was lucky to get minutes out of Riley."
"Oh well, that's a human for you. I always knew he was unworthy of you."
"Spike," she whispered against his ear. "Shut up or I'm going to nullify the bet because you were distracting yourself by talking too much."
"At your service, milady," he whispered before nuzzling against and kissing her neck.
Her head sank back into the pillow, her body bowed toward him, moved with his as if she knew what he would do even though she had never done anything like this before. He had not removed the negligee, but she did not mind, it felt good, she wondered if he thought so too. She had no idea sex could feel like this, like an out of body experience when she reached a climax, and he brought them out of her almost too easily.
At first she thought he had been joking or just talking to impress, or scare, her. But when he had to get up out of bed to close the curtains because the sun was about to greet his bed she realized the joke was on her. Her body ached, but it was a pleasant type of aching that she would not change for anything. She took it to mean she had experienced good sex and would not trade it for anything.
He came back to the bed, looking very pleased with himself and judging by the fact he was hard - again - ready to go. She covered her face with her hands and groaned, turning to face the wall. "I give in."
"So soon, Slayer?"
"So soon? Seven hours is soon?"
"So I win, right? You forfeited, so I win the bet."
"Oh my God, I can't believe you're talking like this. Do you actually want more," she said rolling over to face him. God, he looked amazing, predatory and satisfied yet hungry for more. Hungry for more of her and her body reacted to that realization, tingling, wanting. "Stop it," she said frustrated wishing her body would cooperate with her head.
"Yeah, I look at you and I want you, but my head knows that I won't be able to walk if I let you go until we physically can't anymore." He smirked, his scarred brow rose as he planted a kiss on the tip of her nose. "And stop looking at me like that."
"All sexy and proud because you've just gotten to know things about me no one else knows."
"What kind of a girl do you think I am?"
He ran a fingertip up the length of her arm and she shivered. "I don't think you're a girl at all. I think you're a woman, pet. My woman," he said and Buffy saw the look of question pass in his eyes, as if he had said the wrong thing.
"You want me to be your woman?"
"What the hell do you think I've been hanging around here for, Summers? Do you think I help raise some other bloke's kid out of the goodness of my vampire heart?"
She traced a path with a fingertip along one of the scratch marks she had left on his chest that led to his heart. His chest and abdomen were covered in them, and she felt the heat of a blush on her face. She scratched him when she was on top of him. Her negligee had been removed by that point and when they had finished she had collapsed on top of him, getting blood on her body from the scratches. Spike had lapped the blood off her like a cat drinking from a bowl of milk. She tried to be disgusted with the fact that it was his blood he was licking off of her, but it was sort of hard to be disgusted when they had tasted one another on themselves more than once during the night. What was a little blood thrown into the mix?
"Do I disgust you now, pet," he said as if he read were her thoughts were going.
She shook her head. "No, no disgust here. Are you? Disgusted with me?"
"Christ, woman, no. You're amazing, make me feel like a man."
"That's because you are one, William," she said softly before kissing him.
He rolled on top of her, her earlier protests flew to the wayside as he touched her. His thumb stroked her hardened nub as a finger slid inside of her. That was it, all it took, for her to give into him and he apparently sensed it because he chuckled softly against her ear as he slid into her. This time, like their first time, was gentle, soft, all about lovemaking. There was no scratching, no biting, no desperation, just two people expressing their love for one another in the basest, most primitive way to go about it.
Buffy's release came swift and intense, causing her to fall to the bed exhausted and spent. Spike was not done yet, but he seemed to like a non-participatory Buffy every once in a while. Her hands clutched the sheet beneath her as he reached his climax and collapsed on top of her. Maybe he was as exhausted as she was. She ran her hands through his hair, clutching her to him, not wanting him to move from on top of her just yet. "Spike," she said softly.
"Yes, luv," he said placing a kiss against her jaw.
She pulled his head away and met his eyes, the eyes of a very sated man. Did she have that same look in her eyes, she wondered. Her inner muscles clutched around him still inside of her but no longer hard and he groaned softly. She had not really meant to do it, but instinct kicked in. "I love you," she said softly.
"I love you, too, pet, but you already knew that."
"Yeah," she whispered, tears forming in her eyes. "I did. You probably already knew it, too. I mean, that I love you."
"Well, yeah, knew it two years ago after Red's spell."
"Did you now, Mr. Arrogant?"
"Yeah, well, spell or no, your kisses were real."
"I haven't kissed anyone like that since then, until tonight."
"No," she admitted almost shyly.
"Good, I like that. Like that your Nancy boy didn't turn your crank for you."
"Not even close," she said with a light laugh. "God, I feel so bad saying that."
"I'm certainly not going to tell him, pet."
"I decided something else today, too."
"Oh? I'm not sure how my day can get any better, but let's hear you out."
"I want you to be Scotty's daddy."
"I already am, pet. You know I treat him as if he were my own."
"I know, I just want it to be official like. You know, you don't have to ask me to discipline him or anything when he gets older. I don't want you to think of yourself as the nanny or a houseguest or anything."
"I'm saying yes, Buffy, but I want you to think on it," he said sitting up, his feet on the floor.
"What's there to think on?"
"Buffy, I love you and I love little Scotty like he was my own. I'd do anything for you, I'd go to Hades and back if that's what you needed from me, but as a man," he sighed softly.
"As a man what," she asked gently even though she sensed she was not going to like or agree with what he was about to say.
"As a man, I try and identify with Riley as much as I hate to admit it. He's the lad's father, and I can't help but think that he deserves to know the truth."
"Ordinarily I would agree with you, Spike. I would, but I told you it's too risky. He could take Scotty away from me. I refuse to take that risk, and I can't imagine him letting Scotty stay with me knowing about me and that you're here. And I refuse to give you up. I'd quit slaying before I'd quit you. Especially," she said sitting up to place a kiss on his shoulder. "After last night," she whispered before nibbling his ear, her arms going around him.
He turned his head to look over his shoulder at her. "You liked last night, huh? Was it worth losing the bet?"
"Worth it? I was hoping I'd lose," she said with a light laugh. "I didn't think I would, but I wanted to. And now I can't wait."
"I just want it on the record that I wanted you to tell him."
"The record is duly noted," Buffy said kissing his shoulder. "I should get up and shower and do other Mom things before he wakes up and I can't for hours."
"But we already did do it for hours," he said with a smirk.
"I meant the showering and things. You know what it's like for me once he wakes up. And today's Friday, so you kept me up all night and I have class to sit through. You're evil."
"I didn't hear you complaining about that until now."
"Yeah, well, I wasn't thinking too clearly when you practically dared me."
She stood from the bed and walked to the door. "Going to join me?"
"Sure, I'll be in in a minute. I'll go down and get his bottle ready in case he wakes up while you're primping for school." He stood from the bed and stepped into a pair of cutoff sweat shorts he wore around the house at Buffy's insistence. They rode low on his hips, and looked about as old as Buffy was.
"Is he awake?"
"I heard him moving around in there, yeah."
"Okay, change him, give him his bottle and then join me."
"Don't wait on my account, pet. You've got class this morning. We can take one later tonight after patrolling if showering together is what you have a hankering for. I'll make you breakfast, you'll need to build up strength after all that energy you expended last night."
"You're entirely too proud of yourself."
"Hell yeah, I wore out the Slayer, through loving rather than fighting, but well, I can fudge the details a bit."
"Uh huh," she said making her way to the bathroom. "Oh and Spike?"
"I meant what I said earlier. I love you."
"I love you, too, sweetheart," he said kissing her lightly.
Four Months Later
Spike answered the door with Scotty fast on his heels rolling around in the walker contraption of his. Spike joked with Buffy that he was going to install carpet throughout the first floor so that Scotty would encounter some resistance when rolling around to slow him down some.
"Hey Red," he said, offering the witch a sincere smile. "Tell me you've been able to work your computer mojo."
"Hi Spike and I have. Willow Rosenberg, computer hacker extraordinaire. Are you sure Buffy's not going to get mad about this?"
"No, Red, we've had a lot of conversations about this and I know how scared she is."
"Okay, yeah," she said patting Scotty on the head. "Hi Scotty, are you giving Daddy fits?"
"He's cutting another tooth, so he keeps gumming those toys. Makes a drooling, slobbering mess all over the damned place, too."
"Yes, I know it is part of the whole baby development thing. I hate hearing him cry knowing there's nothing I can do besides swab some of that stuff on his gums."
"It's cute," Willow said cupping Scotty's head with the palm of her hand. "Anyway, I got all of the paperwork you wanted."
Spike kissed Willow's cheek and chuckled when she blushed. "Thanks, Red."
"You're welcome, Spike. I'm glad I could do it for you. It was kind of fun, actually."
"I'll bet you had a good time doing it. How much do I owe you?"
"You don't owe me anything; I did it for you and for Buffy and Scotty. I find it hard to believe he hasn't come back."
"Me, too, Red. But this should take care of all of that, right?"
"It should. Scotty has a dad listed on his birth certificate now and the forms were filled out with bogus information, and if anyone were to really look they'd find a death certificate, too. I didn't know how else to handle that, I couldn't just list some guy and risk having someone show up at his door asking questions."
"Red, you're bloody brilliant."
"I've got your stuff, too. So, you're all legal like, can work and everything."
Spike opened up the envelope and glanced at his identity. He had specified to Willow that Scotty's father's name could not be William; Riley might have caught onto that if he really got to digging. But for Spike to look at his actual name on legal documents again was somewhat shocking. William Sutton said his passport and the green card Willow had procured for him. His date of birth had been altered by about one hundred ten years, but otherwise this was him. She was indeed amazing. "Thanks, Red. If I can do anything for you, just let me know."
"Don't mention it, but I will. And everything is legit, as legit as my hacking into databases and altering information is."
"I doubt this will be necessary, but I wanted to be sure and since I was having you doctor up my papers I figured might as well do it, too."
"You don't think he suspects?"
"I don't know, Willow. I find it hard to believe he'd just leave if he thought Scotty was his."
"True," she said with a nod. "Well, I'm going to go."
"No problem, it was fun." She bent down and kissed Scotty's cheek. "Bye Scotty." The nine month old had no words for Willow, but he did grab a hold of some of Willow's hair and tugged on it not so gently. "Ouch," Willow said. This was an activity Buffy complained about frequently, so Spike had to chuckle when he saw Scotty tugging on someone else's hair. She dislodged her hair from his fist and then stood. "Bye Spike."
Scotty was sleeping in his playpen in the living room when Buffy came home from her last final exam of the semester. She was taking the summer off from schooling, but was not going to pick up any more hours at the drug store she worked at. That was at Spike's insistence, and now that Willow had provided him with legal documentation he felt confident that Buffy would soon be able to quit that job entirely if she wanted to.
Spike watched her from the doorway as she stood over Scotty's playpen and adjusted his blanket around him. It was blue with a sheep embroidered on it and was Scotty's favorite blanket. It had been with him since he was born, one of Joyce's friends had made it for Buffy, and Spike suspected Buffy cherished it because someone had made it.
"Hey," she said walking up to him once satisfied Scotty was safe and sound. Her arms went around his neck and she kissed him, lingering just enough to give him a taste. He loved that she came home to him and that he was on the receiving end of her kisses.
"Hey yourself, Goldilocks, I've got a bit of a surprise for you."
"Oh? A surprise of the good I hope."
"I hope you'll think so, yes. Willow came by earlier."
"Is everything okay?"
"Yes, Slayer, everything's fine." He led her into the dining room where the envelope Willow had given him earlier was. He slid it over to her; his own surprise in another envelope could wait a minute or two.
"Willow did this?"
"Uh huh, I asked her to. I needed her to do some things for me, so I figured may as well put into action what you and I had talked about since Riley's last visit."
"It's just so weird seeing a name on here that's not yours or Riley's."
"I know, pet."
"I'm glad it's done though, I keep having dreams. Well, you know. But he comes back and takes him or I wake up and he's gone. I can't lose him, Spike. I'd go crazy."
"I know you would, why do you think I agreed it should be done if we could find a way? I still think that he has a right to know, but understand your fears and I know it would crush you to lose Scotty. You're my concern, not Riley Finn, so I have to side with you on this."
"Thanks," she said as she paged through the few additional papers. "What did you get?"
"Well, I got my passport and my green card and that means," he said holding out a second envelope to her. "I can actually earn a living now."
She took the envelope and frowned as she opened it. "You wrote a book?"
"Yeah, and someone's actually going to buy it. Can you believe that?"
"What's it about?"
"Believe it or not," he chuckled. "The Boxer Rebellion. A foreigner's perspective of the events that took place."
"How are you going to get away with that? I mean, you can't look as young as you do and be able to write about something that took place one hundred years ago."
"Memoirs. Familial memoirs."
Her eyes widened and Spike assumed she had gotten to the part in the letter that talked about his compensation. "Wow," she said, apparently as stunned as Spike had been.
"I have others I can write. Some experiences during the Depression, wars and so forth and they want to see my ideas."
"Wow that's great, honey," she said putting the papers back into their envelopes. "How long has he been asleep for?" she asked as her fingers began to dexterously unbutton his shirt.
"Not long, twenty minutes or so."
"Mm, good, long enough for me to congratulate you on a job well done then," she said. "Maybe I can give you some different things to write about, you know that don't have to do with death. A good love story maybe?"
"I like the sound of that," he said as she took his hand and led him upstairs. "Death is seriously overrated."
"We'd better get working on it then."
"We already have been working on it, pet. Got it all committed to memory, bitter enemies turned adversaries turned friends turned lovers."
"It's the stuff little girls dream about. Well, except the bitter enemies part of the story, but we're better for it."
"You know it," he said joining her on the bed. "I guess what they say is true about there being a fine line between love and hate."
"We're certainly proof of that."
"I'd say so," he said kissing her.