The next week sped by relatively quickly despite the torture of meeting Buffy's friends--and their inevitable disapproval and, as she said, freaking out. There was that whole mess the Fall before with the love spell and the beaning of the boy with a microscope and the lusty feelings for the redhead that had to be dealt with, which had led to much uncomfortableness.
But, finally, things had settled down, and, miracle of all miracles, Buffy hadn't once gotten pissed off at him.
Which meant she kept sneaking to the basement every night for rounds of bounce on Spike.
Tonight they could finally make love in his apartment. It was moving day, and Joyce and Willow were helping. The redhead was still a bit hesitant around him, but as the evening went on and she could see how relaxed Buffy and especially Joyce were, she became more bold.
"Is this really a Gainsborough?" Willow asked, awed as she carefully held the unwrapped portrait to the light. "Not a modern copy?"
"The real thing," Spike said from over her shoulder. "That's my mother."
Willow swivelled her head, eyes wide in surprise. "But...Wait a sec. Who are you, then?"
Spike grinned. "That was who I was, the very dissolute, younger son of a baronet." He took the painting from her and glanced around the room, now decorated with his very elegant and very old furniture. "Now, where to hang her."
"So, why do you come across as a punk rocker?"
"Because that's who I am now, or closer to what I am. We're not all stuck back in the time we were turned." Walking over to the couch, he held the painting up behind it. "Perfect. Where's the level, luv?"
"Here." Willow dragged a stool over and clamored up it to use the level to hang the picture straight.
Done with unpacking Spike's china, Buffy peeked out of the kitchen and smiled at the sight of her lover and best friend getting along.
"I knew Willow would be the first to accept him," Joyce said softly as she entered the kitchen with a load of folded towels and napkins.
"She's the best best friend ever."
Buffy nibbled on a slice of pizza and smiled as Willow joined her on the floor in front of the cold fireplace. Spike was in the bedroom puttering around, and Joyce was unpacking a box of porcelain figurines and oohing and ahhing over each one before placing it in a glass fronted cabinet.
"It's really easy to forget he's a vampire," Willow whispered, reaching for a piece of pizza. "Isn't that weird?"
"You'd think it would be, wouldn't you, but it's not. He's so...human."
"He doesn't scare me anymore either. I'm not sure that's really a good thing."
"He doesn't have a soul, I know, but I don't think he's any more dangerous than Angel. Yeah, a subconscious part of you has to remember what he is, but every day he's more gentle and sweet with me and it's so easy to forget. Except, because he's a vampire, I don't have to worry about hurting him in bed." She giggled as Willow turned bright red and nearly choked on her pizza. "Careful!"
"So...does he tie you up? Or do you tie him up?"
Now it was Buffy's turn to gasp and choke. "Willow!"
Both girls started to giggle madly.
Spike peered around the corner, frowning in confusion. "Do they always do that?"
"Giggle like the teenage girls they are?" Joyce asked with a smirk on her face. "Oh yeah."
"Are they talking about me?"
The older woman simply snorted and turned back to the final figurine. "Excellent collection of Meissen you have here."
"It was my mother's. She liked pretty things sitting around and for some reason figured I would, too." He gently ran a finger over one of the shepherdess' sitting on a shelf and smiled. "She always knew I was out there somewhere, so she left me her collection and the painting when she passed."
"Buffy once told me that it was tradition for vampires to kill their families."
"That was Angelus' tradition," he scoffed, "Not mine. I loved my family, well, not my father all that much. Fathers back then weren't really very loving. But my mother and sister and even my older wanky brother. Yeah, I loved them."
Joyce smiled at him until he ducked his face in embarrassment.
As Willow was being helped into her jacket by Spike, Joyce pulled Buffy aside and whispered, "I feel very odd about letting you stay. I mean, as a parent, I should be saying 'no'."
Buffy stopped herself from rolling her eyes as her mother nibbled on her lower lip and looked anxious. "Mom."
"I know. I mean, I know what you've been doing every night in the basement and yet...letting you stay over at your boyfriend's..." She sighed heavily. "I swear my mother never had it so difficult with me."
"I remember the teenage you, mom. There were handcuffs and Giles on a car." Buffy shuddered. "I never should have had to know that. I think we're even."
Joyce looked at her daughter for a moment, then nodded and smiled. "Right. You're an adult. I can handle anything." The smile fizzled. "You don't have handcuffs, do you?"
"MOM!" Mortified, Buffy started pushing her mother towards the door.
"Buffy, don't be rude," Spike scolded, leaning over to kiss Joyce's cheek. "Thanks for all the help, Joyce. You have a real eye for placing things just where they should go."
"You're very welcome, Spike. You have such lovely things. They shouldn't be boxed away. Now, I'll see you both for brunch tomorrow, right?"
"We'll come through the sewers." At Buffy's 'ew' he amended it to, "I'll come through the sewers. Leave the front door unlocked."
"Can you give me a ride home, Mrs. Summers?"
"No problem, Willow."
"Thanks for your help, too, Willow."
Willow gave Spike a shy nod and smile, then ducked out the door, followed by Joyce who gave one last lingering sigh over her shoulder at her grown-up daughter.
Then Spike closed the door behind her and turned to face Buffy.
She grinned back at the wicked smirk on his face, then giggled and ran for the bedroom. "Time to break in that bed!"
He caught her as she entered the room and drove her forward until they both toppled face first onto the bed. It was a high bed and Buffy's feet were off the floor. "Oh yeah, this bed is perfect for your teeny little butt being just at the right height."
"Pervert!" she laughed and squirmed beneath him, feeling his erection pressing between the layers of their jeans until he hopped off the bed.
"Stay," he said as she started to slide down. When she stopped, he knelt down and removed her boots and socks, then slid his hands up the insides of her legs, parting them slightly. When he reached her ass, he moved his hands around to the outside, cupping her plump cheeks, before lifting her enough to fiddle the button and zipper free. He wriggled the jeans down her legs then tossed them over his shoulder before rising to his feet again. Buffy was left in a pair of tiny pink panties and a green t-shirt.
Lifting her head from the bed and propping herself on her elbows and forearms, she looked over her shoulder to see him gazing intently at her ass.
"I want you to lay still," he replied thickly. "Don't move. Let me play."
Her breath hitched in anticipation but she nodded and continued to watch as he wriggled her out of her panties and pushed her legs farther apart. She wrapped her fingers into the navy comforter and held on as her legs dangled over the side of the bed.
Spike's fingers brushed across her bottom and she gasped. "Still."
She nodded again and watched in growing anticipation as the fingers of his free hand unfastened his jeans and freed his cock. As he stroked it, he continued to stroke her, his touch on her flesh feather-soft in comparison to the hard pulls on his cock. When he stepped between her legs and the tip of his cock brushed against her as well, she moaned and buried her face between her arms. Her nipples hardened and began to ache and she could feel her clit swelling and her body growing wet.
Still, she didn't move.
Spike's fingers slid between her cheeks and into her wetness, pushing inside her, testing her, then his cock slid past his fingers and drove into her. Buffy grunted, then moaned as he pushed her, forcing her clit to rub against the cotton comforter bunched beneath her. His hands took her hips, holding her still, and he began to fuck her slowly, moving her as he wanted, watching her back tense and her thighs quiver.
"Play with your tits. I bet your nipples are hard little pebbles waiting to be squeezed," he murmured, then watched as Buffy lifted her torso enough to slide her hand beneath her shirt. He couldn't see her breasts, but he watched her tremble in reaction and knew she was fondling with herself. His balls tightened and he groaned in longing. His next thrust was harder, driving her deeper into the mattress and making her whimper in pleasure. "Shit, want to see you." He pulled out of her and flipped her onto her back.
Buffy gave him a surprised look that turned dreamy as she added her second hand up her shirt to pinch and fondle her other breast. Leaning forward and bracing his hands on either side of her, Spike thrust back into her and began to saw in and out of her quickly. His pelvis smacked against hers and he watched her eyes roll back in her head and knew he was hitting her clit. Her back arched off the bed and her legs wrapped around his and she moaned his name, a deep, guttural sound.
The sound went straight to his aching cock and he felt his toes curl in his boots as his orgasm crashed through him. He jerked and shook and finally collapsed on her.
"Um..." Buffy's fingers tugged on his ear. "Yoo hoo." She sounded pissed.
Spike lifted his head and gave her a sloppy kiss, then slid out of her and rose on unsteady legs.
"Don't you dare go anywhere, buster."
"Like I'd leave you hanging. You'd kick my ass," he muttered as he dropped to his knees and buried his mouth between her legs. One long lick made her yelp very loudly and he glared up at her. "You get me kicked out of here, I'm moving into a crypt." As he resumed his licking and sucking and driving her crazy, Buffy dragged her top over her head and stuffed some of it in her mouth to keep in her yells when she came.
Much later Spike lay awake as Buffy slept in his arms, her face young and free from care, her skin still flushed from several rounds of lovemaking. It felt odd but good to be sleeping in his old bed-- with a new pillow-top mattress; he wasn't going to forego that pleasure for the authenticity of feathers and straw ticking-- surrounded by things both from his mortal life and the two hundred years as a vampire.
Drusilla had never liked staying in one place for too long so he'd long since packed most of his belongings away. It was nice to have them out in a home.
It felt weird to think of that, but looking at Buffy made it much easier.
He was going to be one of the first vampires to make a life in the mortal world. He wouldn't be the first with a mortal lover by a long shot, but it was traditional to bring the mortals into the world of the night, not go with them into the light. Buffy made him want that, though. He really was love's bitch.
And for the first time he let that thought sink in without fear or confusion. He was finally open to the possibility.
He was going to fall in love with this mortal girl and keep her alive for a long and happy life, give her everything she could ever desire and never make her regret for a moment that she let him into her life.
There was just one obstacle standing in his way.
Drusilla stood in the dark and silent mansion, head cocked as if listening to ghosts whispering to her. Slowly she swept her fingers across the mantle and raised them to the moonlight streaming in the French doors, murmuring, "No dust. And it smells like Angel." She drifted up the stairs, not making a sound on the rich carpeting, and opened first one door after another. Finding the room that smelled most like her sire, she curled up on the burgundy duvet and breathed in his scent as she slid into sleep.
"I really love this bathtub."
Spike glanced over his shoulder and watched Buffy splashing in the bubbles she'd insisted on pouring into the water, which made the whole bathroom smell like gardenia. "I can tell." He resumed shaving.
"How can you do that without being able to see yourself?"
"Do you ever cut yourself?" Curious, she watched him carefully swiping the blade up his throat as she reached for a washcloth and a bar of soap.
"If I do, I like blood, remember?"
Buffy grinned and scrubbed herself clean. It was never a good idea to go home looking and smelling like she'd been in an orgy.
Pulling the plug, she rose from the tub and wrapped herself in a towel--her mom's contribution to the new apartment had been a full set of wonderful fluffy cream and navy bath linens. "So...I have a bag with me this time but I thought it might be more convenient if I just left a few things here. Y'know, deodorant, panties."
Spike rinsed the razor beneath a stream of water in the sink and smirked at her though shaving cream. "There are two drawers free in the bureau and room in the wardrobe. All I insist on is no dripping tights over the shower rod."
Squealing in joy, Buffy hugged him from behind and dashed into the bedroom to unpack.
"And I plan on fingering your naughty bits of lace and tat when you're not around," he continued with a whistle.
Brunch went well--as always Joyce kept a fresh supply of blood for him, and also made a mean omelet--and they spent a lazy Sunday afternoon on the couch watching cheesy vampire movies. At dusk, they headed out, Buffy to patrol and Spike tagging along. She kept her mouth shut when he said he'd just stand back and let her fight.
Like that was going to happen.
"Did you get any of your homework done this weekend?" Joyce called out from the porch as the couple headed down the driveway.
"Didn't have any," Buffy lied and slipped her arm through Spike's.
"That is so you, not me."
"Too old to be a brat," Spike protested, trying not to grin.
"Well, yeah, you are ancient."
"Come on, race you!" She took off down the street with Spike fast on her heels.
As soon as he awakened for the evening, Angel felt her presence. Sighing in resignation, he rose and dressed and fed from the mini- fridge and microwave he'd added to Spike's former chambers. Stiffening his spine and resolve, he opened the door and strode into the warehouse to face another day as leader of the Clan Aurelius. Most of the assembled vampires cowered from him--he'd had to dust half a dozen of them over the past week for attacking humans- -but Daria approached him without fear.
"The guards you posted at your mansion have reported in. She arrived a few hours before dawn and is still inside."
"Why didn't you wake me?"
"The guards were trapped by the sun. They returned as soon as it was safe and I was coming to wake you."
Angel felt a pang of guilt over the defensive tone in her voice but brushed it aside. They were still muddling through their new relationship. She completely resented him, yet obeyed him because Spike had told her to.
And he found having a childe around him all the time for the first time in a hundred years...too alluring for his own good.
Mentally shaking himself, Angel forced his thoughts to Drusilla and how to deal with her. "I'm going to go find her and...I have no clue." He really didn't know what to do about her. He didn't want to kill her but she was too dangerous to leave free. "See that a set of unbreakable chains are strung through the rings in the wall of my room."
His thoughts darkening, Angel exited the warehouse and disappeared into the night.
"You had to take on Patrokia demons, didn't you," Spike yelled as he ducked and kicked out at one of the bright green and oozing eight foot tall demons that had surrounded them when they'd interrupted their feasting on some poor schmuck.
"They were eating that poor schmuck!" Buffy punched the nearest demon, then made an 'ewwing' sound and shook goo off her hand. "Why are they oozing?"
"They're in the middle of a mating cycle. That's not ooze."
"YUCK!" Ferociously wiping her hand on the back of Spike's coat, Buffy pulled a long knife from her slaying bag and cut off the next appendage reaching for her. "This is so gross!"
"Oh come on, you drink mine!" At the intrigued look from the demon he was fighting, Spike nodded proudly. "Yep, the Slayer's my woman." He then punched his hand through the demon's head and watched it drop dead at his feet. Another demon, a female as she had four pendulous breasts, wailed and charged at him, and he went down beneath her. At least, with her mate dead, she'd stopped oozing.
"Gross, gross, gross," Buffy yelled, punctuating each 'gross' with a stab of her knife until finally every demon except for the one Spike was wrestling with was dead. "Need any help, you who were going to stand by and watch me fight?"
Spike rolled his eyes at her as he flipped the still wailing demon over his head with such force she hit a tree that cracked her spine, killing her. Rising to his feet, he shook down his duster and made a face at the stains all over it. "This had better come out of the leather." He kicked one of the dead demons for emphasis.
"I'm boiling my hand." Grabbing up her bag with her uncontaminated hand, she stuck the knife inside and slung the strap over her head, then held out her sticky hand, making a face at the tiny traces of demon spunk that remained. "Or chopping it off. I haven't decided."
"You're so girly sometimes."
"That's a good thing, Spike," she retorted, ignoring his rolling eyes as they headed out of Gardens of Bliss Cemetery, bickering all the way.
From behind a tall monument Angel watched them, a smile flickering at the corners of his lips. While it hurt to see them together, it also made him feel good to see Buffy happy.
Before Angelus, she'd joked with him like that, but after...Nothing had been the same.
It was time to move on.
As he'd watched them wrap up the fight, he'd debated on whether or not to bring them in on his hunt for Drusilla.
He'd decided to handle it on his own. Let them be happy. Or at least, let Buffy be happy.
Turning, Angel headed in the direction of Crawford Street, vaulting over the cemetery wall in the opposite direction of the two lovers.
Drusilla knelt before the fireplace watching imaginary flames dancing behind her eyes. It was there that Angel found her, dressed in blood red lace and silk, her hair falling in curls to her waist. She was beautiful, caught outside of time, trapped by her madness in a world no one else could see. He watched her for several minutes until she became aware of his presence and turned her head to look at him from luminescent eyes.
"I knew you came back. I felt you walking the world again. I felt your soul." She seemed saddened by that and looked away for a moment in confusion, before returning her attention to him and rising to her feet. "There's not going to be a feast."
"He's gone to her. Like I saw." There was deep sorrow in her voice, but she was calm and still. "Our enemy is in his bed and in his heart. How could I let him into mine if he chose to be so perverse? If it had been you, I would have understood, but he doesn't have his soul. How can he love her?" Her voice rose sharply and the familiar wildness slipped into her eyes. "It's sickening! He was mine, the only one who ever loved me, who took care of me. I can't do it alone, Angel. You broke me too far." Tears began to stream down porcelain cheeks and slender fingers clenched into fists.
Angel waited for the attack but it didn't come. The sorrow washed over again, stripping her of the momentary anger, and she sagged, arms wrapping around her narrow waist. He realized she was too thin, almost fragile, and knew she wasn't thriving on her own.
He'd broken her soul and then he'd broken her demon. The madness wasn't enough to sustain her.
"When I heard about the Feast I thought, I hoped..." Drusilla shook her head sadly. "Word had spread of the Clan he was building beneath your very nose, and I was so proud and excited. It's taken me weeks to reach here but as I got closer I knew something was wrong."
"I stopped it, Dru. I couldn't allow the Feast to happen. Even if Spike had truly wanted to hold it, and I don't believe he did--it was his demonic instincts driving him to build a Clan and win you back--I would have had to stop him."
"It was going to be so pretty, all the red spilling over the ground," she murmured, her eyes drifting to the ceiling and then down to the floor. "Like poppies. Like the fields of Flanders. Spike took me there. Oh the carnage was so glorious."
"Dru," Angel said sternly, trying to snap her out of her memories.
Her eyes flew to him and she frowned. "You don't know what to do with me. You think you should kill me, but you can't do it. Too guilty," she sneered, one hand reaching out to brush across his chest. As he looked down, her claws slashed across his cheek. "You're a bad man, daddy."
Angel gasped and jerked back from her, watching as she licked his blood from her fingers. Hunger flared in him and he forced it down hard, drawing on his anger to turn cold in the face of her madness. His hand shot out to grab her wrist, twisting it behind her and pinning her back to his torso. Drusilla whimpered and struggled and he squeezed her wrist until he felt the delicate bones shift beneath the thin skin.
"There are chains awaiting me," she moaned, sinking against him. "You want me chained and defenseless
"I want you to obey," he growled.
She nodded helplessly and let him drag her away.
Having had a long, sweet snog with Buffy on her mum's doorstep before sending her in since it was a school night and one of Joyce's rare rules was that Buffy sleep at home on those nights, Spike arrived at his apartment shortly after midnight to find a note tacked to his door. It was heavy, engraved vellum.
"Can't just use a post-it note, can you, you prat," he muttered, rolling his eyes as he took down the folded note and flipped it open. There was only one word: Come. "Oh for fuck's sake, can the dramatics!"
Cursing more under his breath, he stuffed the note in his pocket, gazed wistfully at the door behind which was a six-pack of beer, a quart of blood, and the classic The Devil in Miss Jones on DVD, and turned to leave comfort behind and face his sire.
The warehouse was oddly quiet. When he'd been running things these were prime hours for play and feeding, but now the vampires that were there were sitting around in quiet groups, drinking from mugs, murmuring beneath their breaths. He could tell most of the Clan was in residence but most were in their rooms.
"Never was any fun at all," Spike muttered as he looked around for Angel. As he turned slowly, noting the looks, some of resentment, some of hope, coming from his former minions, his Sire strode out of Spike's former bedroom, dressed all in black, and brooding darkly. Across one cheek were healing claw marks, the dark red of dried blood his only color.
"Well, I'm here."
Angel frowned even harder.
"Gonna strain something there, peaches."
At that, the brooding broke, and Angel snorted a laugh. "You never stop, do you."
"Tormenting you? Nah. So, what did you want?"
The plaintive voice from behind Angel made Spike freeze, his features going slack with shock. "Dru?" He shot his attention to his sire, demanding, "When the hell did she get here?"
"Right before dawn."
"No party for me." She wafted from the bedroom, eyes sad and empty, as beautiful and ethereal as she'd been the first time he'd seen her. Spike felt a pang of sorrow in his chest for what he'd lost. She no longer lived in his heart, and there was no going back.
She'd been right all along.
"What are you going to do with her, Angel?" he asked, his voice low and even. If Angel said 'kill her' Spike wasn't sure how he'd react.
"She's coming with me to L.A. She'll obey or she'll be punished," Angel replied cooly, crossing his arms over his chest, the motion not at all defensive. He was the alpha male again. In charge.
For the first time Spike felt only relief that he no longer had to make the decisions for an entire Clan. Slowly he nodded in agreement and acceptance. "When do you leave?"
"I'm going to go say goodbye to Buffy in the morning and then we'll leave at dusk. I've found a place for us to live, an old hotel. I'll send Buffy all the details once we're settled and I've dispersed the clan."
"And you'll keep your word and keep Daria with you?"
"As long as she and Drusilla can get along."
Drusilla began to pout but both males ignored her for the moment, their attention drawn to Spike's childe who strode into the main room like a queen. Spike felt a glimmer of pride and smiled at her. When she saw him, her cool look turned animated and she smiled back.
He held out his arms and she went eagerly into him. She still smelled like him and it pleased him.
"I don't like her," Drusilla proclaimed petulantly.
"She's an obedient childe," Angel stressed, giving her a pointed look.
"She's not yours. I'm yours."
"Yes, you are, but Daria has equal status because I say so."
Drusilla subsided into silence, glaring bitterly at the vampiress who had pulled back from Spike.
"You're well, Sire?"
"Well and happy. And you?" He brushed his fingers over her cheek and smiled as she purred.
"He's not you, but..." She shrugged, "It's not so bad. I still get to kill things. Demons crunching beneath my teeth are almost as satisfying as humans." She lowered her voice so only the four of them could hear. "He told me about why you left us, about her. I don't understand it, but I always knew there was someone special drawing you away."
"Pet, I don't understand it either."
"He loves the bitch," Drusilla snarled, only to gasp in shock when Angel backhanded her, sending her spinning into the doorframe.
Spike's lips tightened but he held his tongue. He'd tilted at too many windmills for her over the one hundred and forty years they'd been together. Angel would need a strong hand to keep her in line, and for once Spike wasn't going to argue about it.
It would keep her alive, and a part of him would die if she did, he just knew it.
Instead, he went to her side and took her gently in his arms, brushing away her tears as she mewled in pain and confusion.
"Why wasn't I good enough?"
"You were, luv. You always were. I was the one who changed."
"You'll go to the ends of the earth for her, win back what you've lost for her. I've seen it. It burns behind my eyes. It's so wrong yet...for you it's so right." One shaking hand went to his cheek cupping it as he leaned down to place a tender kiss on her forehead.
"I'll miss you, Dru. I do miss you."
At his solemn murmur, her lips formed a quavery smile and she nodded in acknowledgment. "Come visit me?"
"Goodbye my Spike." She slipped from his arms and turned to walk back through the open doorway to the bedroom
"Goodbye Dru," he whispered back, swallowing against the lump of emotion in his throat. Finally, he turned back to Angel and Daria. He smiled at his childe and kissed her goodbye, then drew Angel aside. "Buffy's changed me for the better. Don't let them change you for the worse."
"You think I'll lose control?"
"I think you're incredibly lonely," Spike admitted honestly, surprising his sire. "They'll want to be with you. Daria says she doesn't, but it's instinctive." His lips twisted into a smirk. "I should know."
Angel snorted and shook his head. "Incorrigible brat."
"Apparently I am." Spike gave the older male a clout on the shoulder. "Stay safe. Watch your back. Let Daria do that thing she does with her tongue before you explode from sexual frustration."
Another snort, then a light-hearted but still slightly serious threat, "You take care of Buffy or I'll be back."
And with a grin and a wave, Spike headed across the floor to the outside door, feeling lighter than he had in decades.
Buffy poked her head in the doors of the Library ten minutes before her first class and was surprised to see Angel talking with Giles. Her first thought was fear for Spike and she hurried across the floor. "Angel? What's going on?"
He'd stopped talking at the first sight of her, and waited for Giles to excuse himself and go into his office, before he reached out and took Buffy's hand, pulling her down to a seat, then taking the one next to her. He kept her hand in his. "Everything's fine, Buffy." The worried look vanished from her face and he tried not to feel bitter, knowing her concern hadn't been for him. "Drusilla arrived yesterday. I've neutralized her," he added quickly, staving off her questions. "She's coming to L.A with me. We're leaving tonight."
"Angel, she's too dangerous. You need to...I'm sorry, but she needs to be staked."
"I can't do that. Not unless she breaks my rules. Buffy, you didn't see her. She's frailer than she was when she and Spike first came to Sunnydale. She doesn't eat or take care of herself, not enough, at least. She doesn't know how to be on her own. The lovers she's had since Spike have been the only things keeping her from going under."
"No," he replied firmly. "Spike's unique. He changed for you. I can't expect any other vampire to ever do that, but I can put Drusilla on a leash and control her. I'm the only person who can."
Buffy sighed heavily. "I don't understand it, Angel, but it's your life." She rose and he did as well, their hands falling apart. "I gotta get to class. I...I'll miss you." Smiling sadly, she hugged him for a long moment, feeling his hands hesitate then sweep across her back. When she pulled back, there were tears glimmering in the corners of her eyes but she smiled bravely up at him. "Let me know where you're going to be staying, what you're doing. I want regular phone calls and emails."
"And I'll come visit you. It's only a couple hours away."
He nodded, and she continued, "And try to be happy."
"Harder done than said, I'm afraid. And you take care, too, Buffy."
"Spike won't hurt me," she protested.
"I don't mean that. I know that. But with him in your life out in the open, everything's going to change. I always knew you were special. With Spike at your side, you're going to live for a very long time and be the best Slayer ever."
"Thanks." Buffy gave him a watery, sincere smile, then turned to head to class. At the door, she looked back and waved, then disappeared into the hallway.
After a quick dinner with her mom, Buffy headed over to Spike's to see how he'd taken the news of Drusilla's arrival and quick departure. She'd suffered through a boring lecture by Giles about all this meant to the underworld of Sunnydale--the power vacuum Angel was creating by leaving with such a large Clan, and where Spike fit in, and if someone else would try to hold the stupid feast thingie.
All that could be dealt with in the future. Spike needed her now.
She knocked impatiently on the door, nearly bouncing on the balls of her feet until it slowly opened and a yawning, half-dressed Spike stood there. "You're okay!" She'd known that, but seeing it was so much more reassuring. Throwing herself into his arms, she babbled, "Are you really okay? Did you see her? Did she want you back?"
"Huh? What?" Manhandling her into the apartment, he kicked the door shut and let her pull him over to the sofa. Buffy immediately crawled onto his lap and began plastering his face with kisses. "Did seeing her hurt you? You...You don't want her back, do you?" she finally asked the most important question.
"Wake up!" A hard kiss to the lips brought him out of his stupor and he grinned up at her.
"These lips are mine. They better not have touched that skanky..." At his look she pouted and broke off from calling Drusilla a whore.
"Everything's taken care of, Buffy. They're gone or on their way. Angel will take care of her. After all, she's his responsibility. I only took care of her because I loved her. I...don't love her anymore."
Her brilliant smile made his heart ache and he tugged her face down for soft kiss. "Love you, y'know. Can't help it."
Buffy gasped and raised her head to stare down into his shining eyes. "You...love me?"
"Pretty sure. I know it's really sudden," he added quickly, not wanting to force her into saying something she didn't mean.
Trust her to not follow along with the plan. "I...I think I love you, too."
She grinned a bit awkwardly at him. "I mean...You're my boyfriend, my lover, I want to spend like all my time with you. You make me laugh. You really piss me off sometimes. We get along and when we don't, the making up is worth it. I think about you during the day. I have really naughty dreams of you at night. I don't like not seeing you. Is that love?"
"Dunno. I haven't had much experience with love."
"You were in love with Drusilla for over a hundred years," she said in exasperation.
"That was different. That was demons. That was...nothing like this. It was real and deep and true, but this is something totally different, totally...good." He kissed her again, a quick peck, then hugged her close. "We have time to figure it all out. I'm not going anywhere and I'm not pressuring you. Well, I'm pressuring you to have sex with me as often as possible, but somehow I don't think you'll protest too much."
Buffy laughed and smacked his shoulder. "Pervert."
"Yeah, but you love that about me."
"So I do." Wrapping her arms around his neck and slipping her fingers into his mussy hair, she drew his mouth to his for another loving kiss.