Buffy walked down the stairs to the basement, making sure the door was shut tightly behind her. Spike sat up as she approached, pocketing the amulet she had given him earlier that night.
“So,” Buffy said casually as she reached the bottom of the staircase, tucking a blonde strand of hair behind her ear.
“So,” Spike echoed, looking her over. He played this game enough times to know they were playing according to her rules, same as always. And that was fine with him. Less she could blame him for later.
But just as he was a different man, this was a different Buffy. She looked up at him, then back down, fiddling with her hair again. Suddenly what Buffy said in his crypt came flying back to him. Something about him not knowing the real her. He had played rough and tumble with the Slayer, but Buffy herself had never let him get that close. Now, here she was, shy and bashful. He was going to have to make the first move.
“You know, I never gave up on you,” Spike said. “When I was down there and that thing had me in chains, it told me you wouldn’t come. That I’d become a killer and there would be no way I could earn your forgiveness.” He stood there, taking her in, almost marveling at her. “But here you are. You came for me. I knew – I knew deep down that you would come and I never let go of that. You always pull through. You’re – you’re a wonder, Buffy.”
“Yeah?” Buffy asked with a soft smile, taking a step closer. “What about last night, huh? If it weren’t for you, I’d still be lying on that bed feeling sorry for myself.”
“I don’t believe that.” Spike shook his head. “So the Scobbies turned you out in the cold. They’re still your friends, Buffy. That little niblet up there is still your sister. There’s no way you can tell me you were just going to turn your back and leave them to go down swinging on their own.”
Buffy took a step closer, still holding that same, soft, wondering smile. “You have so much faith in me,” she said as she stopped in front of him. “No matter what happens, you always think I can win. Why?”
The answer came immediately to his mind, but it took him a moment before he dared verbalize the words, unsure of how she would react. “Because I know you.”
And at that moment, it was like a key turned in a lock. As obvious as it had been before, actually saying it out loud, to her, just made it all the more real. He did know her. And she knew him. They could fight it all they liked, but they had a connection that wasn’t going to be shaken by free will alone.
She reached up and kissed him, the first kiss since he had gotten his soul back. This wasn’t lust. This wasn’t physical, or even emotional, need. This was something purer than that. But was it love? She thought of when Spike kidnapped Willow, almost tried to bite her, when he had kidnapped her and almost tried to rape her. She thought of all the bad, awful things he had done and all of the people he had killed…and yet he changed. He truly had changed. He had gotten a soul for her, yes, but he had worked to become a better man on his own. The chip was out of his head. He had a soul, but he was still a vampire. He could hurt people if he really wanted to. But he didn’t. He had become a better man. He had become the kind of man that, well, that she could see herself dating. Yes, she had told Angel that sometimes she did think that far ahead. And sometimes, yes, it was with Angel. But what she couldn’t tell him was that most of the time, she was thinking about Spike. If he really had changed, could she give him a chance then? If they both survived tomorrow, she promised herself she would.
The kiss was gentle, although almost a bit awkward. She expected him to grab her forearms and pull her into a rough embrace as he usually did, but he seemed to be as hesitant as she was.
“Hey, do you remember when we were almost engaged?” He asked with a laugh as he broke the kiss. She paused for a moment, searching her memory, before she giggled in return.
“That was-“ She buried her face in her hands. “-horrifying. Thank goodness Giles couldn’t see it. And the rest of them….” Her laughter trailed off as she tried to remember their reactions, but all she could remember was Xander storming off after he learned that she and Spike had been sleeping together for real.
“Yeah, well, at least I know you really loved me once,” Spike said glumly, pulling away. “Even if it was just a spell.” Buffy wanted to tell him to stop, that maybe she could grow to love him, but she couldn’t. The words were there, but she just couldn’t say them. “It’s okay. Not like your mates would have approved anyway. And I hate to think what the little niblet would do to me if I broke big sis’ heart.”
“She was just being protective,” Buffy said quietly, but Spike seemed to be retreating in on himself.
“I sometimes wonder,” Spike began with a laugh. He shook his head as if he thought better of it, then decided to say it anyway. “If your mates hadn’t cared about us, I mean, if they didn’t mind me so much, ¬if we could have gotten together, what then?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy admitted quietly as they both sat down on his bed. “Tara knew. Before the others…” Her voice trailed off. “Tara knew.”
“She knew? At your birthday?” Spike asked, slapping his knee with the back of his hand. “Oh, and she was giving me a right good time making fun of me and my cramp.” His voice trailed off as his mind trailed back to that night, when Tara was still alive. “So what did she say?”
“She said that you had done a lot of good,” Buffy admitted. “That it wasn’t wrong if I…if I…if I loved you.” She paused, looking at Spike then looking away. “I mean, I didn’t then, but…”
“But?” Spike pressed.
“But…I don’t know,” Buffy said. “It’s a little complicated between my friends and the world ending tomorrow and…”
“It’s okay, Buffy, really.” Spike smiled at her reassuringly, but she could almost see the sadness creeping into the corners of his mouth.
“I wish I could be sure of how I feel,” Buffy said after a brief period of silence, to no one in particular. “But I just don’t know.”
“But you do?” Spike asked. “Feel something?”
“Yeah I do,” Buffy looked up at him and smiled, confident and sure.
The next moment they were kissing, although neither could be sure who first started the kiss. She felt something for him, whether it was love or not maybe she didn’t know, or maybe she wouldn’t say.
The kiss wasn’t rough, but it wasn’t awkward either. It was just him and just her, pushing and pulling, giving in to the ebb and the flow. He had wanted this so badly, ever since he had gotten his soul back, but even Buffy herself wouldn’t admit how much she had missed this too.
“Buffy,” Spike breathed as she pushed him back onto the bed, straddling him. She kissed him, kissed his neck, pulling his shirt up and over his head as she kissed down his chest.
“Are you sure you want this?” Spike asked as she unbuckled his pants, hesitant.
“I want you,” she replied honestly. She looked him square in the eye as she said it, but it did nothing to ease his doubt. “I’m here, Spike. Possibly our last night alive and I’m here, aren’t I? I don’t want to spend it with anyone else.”
That got his attention. He pulled off his jeans quickly, tossing them to the floor along with Buffy’s shirt. He pushed himself against her, feeling her warm skin brush against his own. He ran his lips over the silky skin of her shoulder, breathing in every last inch of her.
“Make love to me?” Buffy asked, gently skimming his earlobe with her teeth.
“Buffy,” Spike pressed his forehead to hers. “I never – I mean, I’ve never –“
“It’s okay,” Buffy whispered against his cheek. She ran a hand through his hair. It was so much softer than it had been when he soaked it in peroxide. It smelled better, too. She pulled herself on top of him, planting her hands firmly on Spike’s shoulders before pushing herself onto him.
This was different than before. Before it was a whirlwind of bites and bruises and broken furniture. Even when it was quick, like outside the Doublemeat Palace or even against the tree outside her house, it was quick and good but never really all that satisfying. But as she moved slowly on top of him, his hands against her hips and her palms flat against his chest, she knew that this was something different. Her eyes were locked with his and she couldn’t look away. The expression on his face was of pure awe, as if he couldn’t believe that this was really happening, that she really could have chosen him.
As if reading her thoughts, “This is the first time-“ Spike said between breaths. “-with a soul.”
And it hit her against just how much this meant to him. With Riley it had been sweet, but this was different. Spike had been alive for over a hundred years and although she didn’t want to think of all the women he had been with, he was more experienced that her. He had so many girls that he could choose from. But for some reason, he had chosen her. And not because she was the Slayer. He had fallen in love with who she was a person, no Slayer bits attached. He had fallen in love with her soul, and she could at least admit in her own head that she was falling in love with his, even if she couldn’t say it aloud.
She collapsed beside him on the bed with a gasp, resting her forehead on his shoulder. He gently lifted her, their bodies still connected, until he was on top, his forearms on each side of her narrow frame. “Spike,” she breathed, eyelids fluttering as he moved inside her, slowly, gently, pushing her through another orgasm.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him into her, pulling him close. He ran his lips against her neck but didn’t bite her, didn’t even think to. He just wanted to embrace her, all of her, to please her, to love her.
He came once more before he finally pulled out of her, curling up on the bed beside her. She immediately rested her head against his chest, letting his arms wrap around her. It felt….good. It felt natural, it felt right. She almost wished she could have done this in her own bed, as she so often dreamed of.
“How was that?” He whispered in her ear. Confident Spike was back.
“Mmm,” she murmured, snuggling into him. “Good.”
“Good?” Spike repeated. “Just good?”
“I wish we could do that more often,” Buffy said, letting the words slip out. Her eyes shot open as Spike tensed beneath her. “It was nice, that’s all.”
“Yeah,” Spike said hollowly. “Nice.”
“Mmhmm,” Buffy said to fill the silence.
“After this thing is all over, if your Scooby gang would give me half a chance, do you think maybe we could do this again?” Spike asked.
“Maybe,” Buffy said softly, kissing his cheek.
Spike remembered when he offered to stake Drusilla to win Buffy’s affections. How had asked her for that sign, for that hint, for that maybe. It had been a long time coming, but he had finally gotten it. Not just sex, but a chance, a real chance of being with her. Of spending time with her in front of her friends. Of going on patrols together without all the suspicions and accusations and embarrassment. Of her sleeping in his arms like a proper couple. Of spending time together without all the same and snippy comments. That was what he really wanted, and whether she would admit it to him or not, it’s what Buffy wanted too.
It would be a long time coming, but he wasn’t getting any older. All he had to do was survive tomorrow, and then they could give it a proper try and be together at last.