Spike walked into the ceremony early, complete with a date on his arm, only to be stopped by Clem.
“Nu-uh mister, that’s a bad idea.”
The girl looked disgusted at the intrusion, but Spike contemplated his friend’s words.
“You reckon?” he asked, earnestly.
“No disrespect to the lady, but I don’t think it’s fair to, uh…” Clem gestured in the direction of Buffy “…the lady.”
“Right,” said Spike. He turned to his date. “Guess you better sod off then.”
“Excuse me?” She released his arm and put her hands on her hips.
Clem shot Spike a disapproving look before telling her, “You should stay. There’s actually a quite few eligible bachelors here. If you don’t mind horns, that is.”
Either she didn’t believe the horn comment or wasn’t fazed by it, Spike couldn’t tell, but she entered the crowd willingly without him.
“Great. Now what am I gonna do?”
Clem looked at him sympathetically. “Maybe I could have a word with Buffy. Smooth things over?”
Spike waved a dismissing hand. “Don’t bother, she’s made her choice.”
Clem nodded solemnly. “But you’re both unhappy. It’s clear to see.”
Spike shrugged and slopped off to the bar.
Just then, Clem noticed Krelvin and made his way over to him, not noticing when he accidentally tripped up an old man with his own umbrella. Said old man transformed into his true demon self upon hitting the floor, causing Xander’s young cousin Karen to scream and inadvertently draw Halfrek’s attention.
“Good lord!” she exclaimed, grabbing hold of D’Hoffryn’s cloak.
He turned around. “What is it, Hallie?”
“That demon, I recognize him. He’s one of Anyanka’s.”
D’Hoffryn squinted. “Anyanka made him? You’re sure?”
She nodded. “Probably here to cause trouble.”
He let out a sigh. “There’s always one can never let things go. I’ll see him out.”
Spike was on his third Jack Daniels when Buffy walked up behind him.
“I think Clem’s matchmaking Krelvin and Xander’s Aunt Carol,” she said, conversationally.
“Only right someone should be happy,” he replied glumly.
“No, don’t,” he said. “I don’t need your pity.”
Buffy gave a gentle nod before asking in an almost-whisper, “What do you need?”
He looked back at her like she was made of gold, his eyes saying it all.
“I’m sorry,” she said then.
“Yeah, well, aren’t we all,” he agreed, before pointing behind her. “Think Red’s trying to get your attention.”
“Oh, we must be starting. You’ll stay, right?”
He nodded his assent and took another swig.
A cheer went up as the bride and groom kissed then, almost immediately, everyone was on their feet and heading in the direction of alcohol. Anya and Xander carried on their heated embrace, not paying the least bit of attention to their guests.
Buffy remained in the seating area, alone, watching them.
“Beautiful, ain’t it love?” said Spike, coming to stand behind her.
“Really is,” she agreed, wiping the tears from her eyes. “God, I’m a mess. How can I want this when I….”
She shook her head and turned to face him. “I don’t know. I’m kinda all over the place. Ignore me.”
“Never could,” he replied, brushing her cheek.
“Spike, I told you,” she said, quietly.
Just as softly, he said, “You told me you couldn’t carry on as we were. Can’t rightly say it was doin’ me much good either. But… I think this is the drink talking, but what if it was something different? Something that didn’t hurt?”
She eyed him speculatively. “You think anything between us could ever be good?”
He should have been stung by her words, but they were asked in earnest. Even so, he didn’t answer.
“If there was something good,” continued Buffy. “If we could be good…. God, I want it.”
Spike’s heart swelled. “You mean that?”
“I do,” she confessed, then laughed. “Pardon the pun.”
He smiled. “Buffy, if you’ll let me, I want to try and do right by you.”
Her eyes began to well up with tears again. “I can’t not let you try,” she said. “I can’t say no to you, but I don’t know if it’s right. Spike, make it right? Can you?”
Once more, he was silent, but his expression spoke volumes. It drew Buffy in. She couldn’t help but lean in to feel his soft, cool lips on hers again. The moment she kissed him, she knew it was different.
Then she heard Xander’s voice and the kiss broke apart.
“Woah!” he exclaimed. “What the hell, Buffy?”
“Oh, leave them be,” said Anya. “It’s been building for weeks – years, even. You can freak out about it after the honeymoon.”
The mention of her honeymoon reminded Anya of a few things she had in store for her new husband, so she started telling him about them successfully getting his attention back on her.
“Quick,” said Buffy, “Let’s go while he’s not looking.”
Spike chuckled but she pulled on his arm. “Oh, you’re serious?”
She rolled her eyes. “Duh!”
His smile grew wide. “Wait, have you seen Clem? I wanted to thank him.”
“Last I heard, he was giving Xander’s parents marriage counseling.”
“That so,” said Spike. “I’m impressed.”
“Hidden talents,” agreed Buffy, grinning back at him.