Spike breezed out the doors of Heathrow airport into the night and took in a deep, greedy breath of the crisp English air; it was a refreshing change from the smog filled atmosphere of Los Angeles. It had been years since he had set foot on his native soil. It was good to be home. He had stayed far too long in that cesspool excuse for a city, and in California in general. Though, prior to his stint in the city of Angels he had a good reason to hang around; Buffy.
She was the reason now for his return to the mother country. Apparently, she and Dawn had had enough of La dolce vita in Rome and decided to move closer to Giles. It took awhile before he was able to track her down – he'd went to Rome first and found no trace of her. He asked around the demon community and heard that the 'True Slayer' was in London. He used regular human resources – the internet– to get her exact address.
Bugger me, Spike thought as a bitter British wind slapped him in the face. Has it always been this bloody cold here? He wondered. He reasoned that it probably had, colder even, he just didn't notice as much before.
He hugged his woollen charcoal-gray peacoat tighter around himself. He pulled a matching knit cap out of its pocket and pulled it over his head. He rubbed his gloved hands together, hoping the friction would bring some heat to his numbing fingers; it didn't work as well as he'd hoped. He peeled back the seam of the glove on his right hand, brought it to his mouth and expelled a gust of hot breath underneath. He closed his eyes in delight as his digits began tingling with feeling. He repeated the gesture with the left hand. Afterwards he stuck both hands under his armpits wanting to hold on to the warmth as long as possible.
Spike kept himself moving, hopping foot to foot, as he waited to catch a free taxi. Finally he caught the sight of a man exiting one out of the corner of his eye.
"Oi, cabby!" He hailed, rushing to the empty car. He made it there just ahead of a fellow, weary looking, traveler. "Sorry, mate," he said, sliding in the back seat a smug smirk on his lips.
"Where to?" The cabby enquired.
"Ah..." Spike dug the piece of paper that had the Summers' new address on it out of his jeans pocket. He squinted at the writing. "Um..." Bollocks. "Just a tick." He took out his spectacles from his breast pocket. That's much better, he thought with a touch of bitterness. He wasn't pleased at having to rely on glasses once again. He cleared his throat, "Take me to ..."
Spike looked up at the building he knew Buffy was inside of somewhere at this very moment. His senses may not be what they used to be, but he could still feel Buffy's essence as strongly as ever. Or maybe it was just an illusion. He wondered not for the first time if he was making a mistake, showing up here like this, on today of all days; Valentine's Day.
He looked at the bouquet of flowers he held in his hands he'd gotten from a shop he'd seen along the way; they were violets. He knew that roses were the more traditional choice of course. But he wryly reasoned that things between him and Buffy had never been all that traditional anyway. Besides, she seemed to him like a violet.
Oh god, Spike thought. This is really it. It was the moment he had been waiting for for so long; to see Buffy again.
What would she say when she saw him?
Hell, forget about what she'd say; what would she do?
Spike closed his eyes and envisioned it, her opening up the door to see him standing their, her face would be one of disbelief that would soon give way to utter joy. She'd fling herself into his waiting arms and kiss him with in an inch of his life. Then she'd pull him into the flat and they'd shag like rabbits.
Yeah, right. Spike thought derisively, still grinning just the same. She'll probably hit me more like.
With a resigned, yet determined sigh, Spike strode toward the entrance to the building.
Taking in a breath he ran his finger along the nameplates next to the buzzers. It stopped when he found the one that read, Buffy and Dawn Summers.
He smiled at the thought of seeing his girls again. His heart warmed at the idea, overpowering his anxieties about the confrontation that would no doubt ensue.
Resolve renewed, he pressed the buzzer.
"Yes?" Came her voice after a moment.
Oh, god. That voice washed over him like a balm.
"Helllooo?" She singsonged when she didn't receive a response.
Spike opened his mouth, but no sound came out; his throat had closed up.
"Is somebody there?" Buffy's demanded, voice tinged with irritation.
Again Spike's mouth moved, but all he released was air.
"Ugh, wanker!" Buffy cursed, and then she was gone.
"No wait!" Spike croaked, now his voice was working. But it was too late.
He poised his finger to ring her again, but feared she wouldn't answer this time. So, instead he moved his hand down and pressed someone else at random.
" 'Ello?" said and elderly sounding female voice.
"Uh...I, um," Spike floundered not knowing what to say to get this woman to buzz him in. He rubbed his and over his forehead, hoping for inspiration, then remembered what was in his other hand. "I got flowers," he blurted, not a lie. He had flowers, they just weren't for...Mrs. McDougall.
"Oh, 'ow lovely!" The woman gushed. Spike winced at how happy she sounded. When this was all over and done with, Spike vowed to go back to the flower shop and get one hell of a bouquet to leave on the woman's doorstep.
The buzzer sounded and the door yielded to allow Spike inside. Spike was greeted with a blast of warm air from the heating vents; he paused for a moment to let the sensation wash over him, before preceding on to the lift.
Spike heaved a sigh as he hit the button to the sixth floor. Yep, he thought, she's probably goin' to hit me.
He watched as the light ascended on the numbers as the lift climbed upward. A ding sounded when it came to the six and the doors slid open. A young man and young woman were waiting and rushed inside immediately. The man reached over to the press the lobby button.
"Oi, hold it," Spike protested. "This is where I get off."
The man pulled his hand back.
Spike made no move to leave the lift.
The man cleared his throat impatiently. "Oi, mate you gettin' off or no'. We got reservations."
"Yeah, gotta few of those m' self," Spike muttered staring out into the hallway. Just a few steps away behind one of these doors was the woman of his dreams.
Spike shook himself. He spared a glance at the couple. "Sorry," he said slipping out of the elevator.
"Tosser," the man said, hitting a button.
"Hope the Mickey D's don't give your table to someone else." Spike rejoined as the doors started to close.
The man's face reddened and he took a step forward with clenched fist; he was a big man, out did Spike by a good five inches and fifty pounds, at least. "Oi, you little shi–"
The doors closed in his face cutting him off.
Spike grinned. "Have fun you two."
He turned and with a confidence imbued swagger made his way to Buffy's door. His hubris immediately faltered once he was standing before number 12; Buffy's door.
Spike poised his hand to knock. He hesitated. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then rapped on the door three times. He put down his hand and waited.
He heard her foot steps coming closer, he cast a glance at the elevator considering backing out. The door flung open; too late.
Buffy's eyes went wide; The disbelief in them exactly how Spike had imagined. She was speechless for a moment. Spike stayed quiet as well to allow her time to digest his being there.
"Oh my god...Spike?" she murmured her voice mirrored her stunned expression.
Spike gave her a shy, timid smile and took a step forward. "Hello, Buffy."
"A-are you real?" She asked the same as she had when she saw him that first time in the basement of Sunnydale high after his return from getting his soul.
Spike chuckled slightly. "Yeah, pet, I'm real."
In an instant the shock was gone from Buffy's eyes, a burning anger taking its place. "You son of a—" Too angry to even finished the epithet, Buffy reared back her balled fist and thrust into Spike's face.
Light exploded behind his eyes. His arms windmilled trying to keep from losing his balance. He failed and went crashing into the wall, his head banging against it as he went down.
"Spike!" Buffy shrieked.
Spike's eyes were crossed as they were each trying to follow the flock of birds that were going about his head in opposing directions. He blinked and shook his head. He looked up into Buffy's worried face and smiled. He held up the bouquet of violets– which had lost a few petals– and proclaimed, "These are for you."
Then his eyes closed and the world went dark.