Title: Once Upon a Wish  (April 7, 2006)

Author: Slaymesoftly

Rating: strong R

Disclaimer: Joss said we could play with them, so I did.

Distribution:  Written for Seasonal Spuffy 2006 – do not take without permission

Beta’d by the very picky and talented Amyb, who did her best to rescue this fic from suckiness.

The banner is by the very generous and talented kargrif


AN: The challenge was to write a fairy tale.  As you will see, I combined several of them into this fluffy little fic.  Takes place sometime in a not-so-canon early Season V, following a summer in which Spike has fallen into the habit of tagging along with Buffy on her patrols so as to get his “spot of violence” in for the night. Although they snark at and insult each other regularly, they have learned that they make a very formidable fighting team and they have forged a mutually respectful working relationship that may be growing into a somewhat reluctant friendship. As is often the case in my fics, the effects of Willow’s “My Will be Done” spell have left some uncomfortable and lingering memories of a short-lived, but much more pleasant relationship between our blond heroes.


(For my friends in the UK, in this country a “cot” is a narrow bed, often used for camping or extra guests.)



Chapter One - Once Upon a Time…



             “Tell me again why you’re following me?”  In spite of her words, Buffy’s voice did not hold any trace of real anger, but rather the easy bantering of someone who knew she would not be taken seriously.


              “Because I haven’t had a good tussle in weeks and that ugly thing you’re following looks like it could be a bit of fun.”


             “Hello?  Slayer here.  That’s MY demon, Spike!”


             The vampire’s lower lip crept out in a pout and Buffy’s eyes were unwittingly drawn to it before she realized what she was doing and quickly looked away.


                Damn Willow and her stupid spells!  I never used to look at Spike’s mouth – except maybe to see if his fangs were out. Okay, looking away now. Not looking at Spike’s mouth.


             “Don’t be greedy, Slayer.  You get the first chance to beat up on things every night.  I’m the one with all the built-up frustration, ain’t I?”


              Buffy shot a quick glance at him, wondering if he’d deliberately chosen that word.


              There’s no way he knows how Riley left me hanging last night. He can’t possibly know that I… He doesn’t even know we…,  and if he did, he would never dare…He’s just being Spike.


             The vampire gave her his most innocent look, wondering to himself about the sudden increase in her heart rate and the panicked look she had sent his way.


              Bloody hell.  Could there be trouble in paradise? Maybe the Slayer has a bit of frustration to work off too?


            The vampire unconsciously began to move towards her, unsure what he was going to do, but unwilling to overlook an opportunity to throw a kink into her relationship with the burly commando.


            Why is he looking at me like that? And why am I noticing how he looks at me?  And why is he moving closer?  It’s not bad enough my boyfriend can’t tell when I don’t get off, or can’t be bothered to do anything about it, I’ve got to have a sexy vampire standing here reminding me of how he…Don’t go there, Buffy!


              It was too late.  Buffy’s memories of the way Spike had kissed and caressed her the previous year forced themselves out where she had no choice but to look at them and wonder what it would have been like to have had the vampire to herself long enough to find out if his love-making lived up to the promise of his foreplay. Her eyes glazed over as she thought about the lust he’d been able to inspire with just a few kisses.


                I wish I had a boyfriend who could turn me on the way this stupid vampire does—did! The way the stupid vampire DID.


               Spike cocked his head, searching her face for some clue as to where her mind had gone, but before he could open his mouth in an attempt to provoke another reaction, they spotted the ugly, ogre-like demon they’d been chasing and sprinted after it, jostling each other good-naturedly as each fought to be first to get to the creature.  


               Just as they caught up to the beast, it waved one long, ropey arm, opening a portal directly in front of them.  Buffy’s momentum was carrying her into the glowing circle; she shrieked Spike’s name as she automatically reached for the hand he’d stretched out towards her.  With a sigh of relief, she felt him grasp her hand and begin to pull her out of the swirling lights; the sigh changed to a groan, however, when the demon loomed up behind the vampire, shoving him in the back and causing him to fall in with her.


                Buffy kept her hand in Spike’s strong grip as they tumbled through the portal, landing heavily on a pile of soft, sweet-smelling hay in what appeared to be a sun-kissed meadow.  Buffy was lying on top of the vampire, her face pressing into his chest as she gasped for the air that the fall had knocked out of her.  Spike’s arms rested easily across her back, holding her lightly in place while she got her breath back.


                 He was thoroughly enjoying the feel of her soft body lying on his--until he suddenly realized where he was and recognized the source of the light and warmth around them.  Suddenly Buffy’s lean, muscular cushion was gone as with a panicked yell, the vampire threw her off and began rolling around in the grass screaming and trying to cover himself with his coat.


                Buffy watched with bemusement for a minute, then broke into a grin as she realized what was going on.


                “Stop that, you big baby,” she laughed, nudging him with her foot as he cowered under his leather coat.  “You’re not on fire.”


                  He was still for a few seconds, then peered cautiously out from under the protective leather.


                 “I’m not, am I?” he said, clearly surprised.


               He stuck a tentative hand out into the warm sunshine, breaking into a smile when nothing happened.  Hesitantly, he sat up, turning his face to the sun and basking in the unfamiliar glow. 


               “I wonder why I’m not on fire?” he mused, his face still tilted up toward the sun’s warm radiance.


               “Maybe you’re not a vampire here,” Buffy offered with a trace of wistfulness.  She leaned closer and touched his chest with the flat of her hand, trying to feel a heartbeat, then ran her fingers lightly up to his neck to feel for a pulse.  The vampire was frozen in place, afraid to move as her hands traveled around his face and chest , searching in vain for signs of life.  Something about the hopeful look on her face made him want desperately for her theory to be true, even though he knew already that it was not. 


              Before she could withdraw her hand, he shifted into game face, saying lightly, “Nope, still a vampire, pet.”


              “Oh,” Buffy said softly.  “You are, aren’t you?”  She struggled to hide her disappointment, withdrawing her hand as he stared at her intently.


               “What if I wasn’t, Slayer?”


               “You ARE, Spike.  There is no ‘what if’’.”  She turned her face away, unwillingly to look into those perceptive eyes.


                “Some things are different,” he growled.  “Maybe I’m not evil here.”


               “You look just as evil to me,” she said dubiously. “Just, you know, with the potential for a suntan or, at least, freckles.”


              “Do I really?  Are you sure?  Maybe you’re not looking closely enough…”


                 His face, once again back to its startlingly handsome human features, was moving closer to hers as he spoke and she unconsciously leaned towards him before recalling what he was. She bit her lip and moved away, standing up quickly to avoid looking at his disappointed face.


               In a treetop a short distance away, a fairy godmother muttered to herself in disgust.


               “What is wrong with that girl?  I go to all the trouble to give her a chance to spend some time with the vampire away from her friends, and does she take advantage of it?  No!  She tells him he’s still evil and stands up, wasting a perfectly good pile of hay and a warm sunny day. It’s not like orchestrating that whole ‘chase the demon, fall into the portal’ thing was easy,” she grumbled, glaring at the oblivious blond girl.


                Buffy pulled a pouting Spike to his feet, then dropped his hand quickly and began walking away.


                 “Come on, lazy.  You can practice basking while we walk around and try to figure out where we are.”


                   They followed a meandering dirt path that neither had noticed before, enjoying the strangely relaxing atmosphere of the unfamiliar dimension into which they had fallen and walking in the warm sunshine, feeling no real hurry to get anywhere.


                     I suppose I should be trying to figure out how to get home from here, Buffy sighed to herself as she strolled along the path, sneaking sideways glances at the vampire now walking quietly beside her.  Except for that brief, violent encounter almost a year before when Spike had been wearing the Gem of Amara, Buffy had never seen him in full sun.  The one-of-kind vampire regularly risked immolation by dashing in and out of buildings in the daytime, covering his extremely flammable body with a ratty blanket, even so, he’d been wary of the world and being unprotected from its sun. Now that he had been walking for a while, however, he seemed completely adjusted to the idea that he could enjoy the sun’s warmth with no thought of bursting into flames.


                  As they strolled side by side, their shoulders brushing occasionally, they found themselves moving closer and closer together until it just seemed natural for Spike to take the hand that was brushing against his and hold it lightly.  Buffy stiffened, her sense of how nice and somehow “right” it felt at war with her ingrained lessons about the danger of allowing a vampire to get too close. Something about this soft, warm world seemed to be dampening the normal defensive responses she would have had to Spike’s attempts at physical contact if they were still in Sunnydale.


               She let go with some reluctance, stepping away so that he couldn’t reach for her again.  An angry scream had her whirling around, seeking the source, but she saw nothing but the equally puzzled vampire also peering around for whatever could have made the furious sound. They stood, back to back in fighting stances, completely alert to any sign of attack.  When there was no follow-up sound and no sign of any approaching danger, they looked at each other and shrugged, relaxing again; they were finding it difficult to believe that there could be anything in this strange, but pleasant, dimension that could be of much danger to the two experienced warriors.


                    The path soon took an abrupt turn, bringing into sight a lovely little pond with a small bubbling fountain gently sprinkling the pink lilies floating there.  Buffy gave a small squeal of appreciation and, uncharacteristically heedless of any potential danger, ran towards it, falling to her knees at the edge and dipping a hand into the clear water.  She splashed some on her face and took a small sip from her hand before turning to see if her companion was as delighted with little oasis as she was.


                    “Oh, Spike, isn’t it pretty?  Like something out of a fairyta—Spike?  Spike? Where are you?  Where did you go?”


                   She searched all around, but there was no sign of the blond vampire, just a few friendly frogs hopping on and off the stones at the edge of the pond.  With a stab of fear, Buffy began to examine the ground carefully, wondering if Spike’s immunity to the sunlight had suddenly expired leaving him to dust while she played in the water.  When she found no ashes or dust, she breathed a sigh of relief, then raised her voice in irritation.


             “This isn’t funny, Spike!  Come out from wherever you are.  Spiiiiike!” There was no answer as she glared around the peaceful setting.   “I’m going to kill that stupid vampire,” she grumbled, torn between staying beside the pretty little pond and leaving to search for the missing vampire. 


             One of the bigger frogs was hopping around her feet, bumping into her leg and croaking angrily.  She looked down at it in confusion.


              “I don’t know much about frogs, but shouldn’t you be afraid of me?” She squealed as it tried to jump up on her.  “What are you doing, you dumb frog? Leave me alone—you’ll give me warts!”


               “Ribbit, ribbit,” the frog replied, glaring at her with eyes that flashed with…amber?  


                She bent over to look at the frog more closely and saw that, along with the very angry amber eyes, it had a strangely wrinkled forehead and tiny fangs sticking from its mouth.  “Ribbit” it tried to snarl.  “Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit!!!”


              “Spike?”  Buffy squatted down to the frog’s level and reached a curious hand towards it.  “Is that you?  Has something turned you into a frog?”


               She glanced around quickly to see if Willow—who was constantly threatening the vampire with slimy greenness—had somehow found them; but she saw no sign of anyone except herself and the frog that was bumping against her so persistently. With a sigh, she picked him up, cradling his body in her hands while she looked him over.


               “Well, you look like a pretty healthy frog – but I don’t know what to do with you.  I mean, I’m not a witch; I don’t know anything about breaking spells.”


                She could have sworn that the frog had just growled at her and she was certain that she had seen it roll its eyes.


               “What?” she responded with indignation.  “I DON’T!  I’m a slayer, not a…”  Her voice trailed off as she remembered how frogs got turned back into people in fairy tales.  “Oh. Oh, no. No you don’t, buster.  I am NOT kissing a frog!  Even if it is a Spike frog – and I didn’t mean that I would kiss a Spike that wasn’t a frog…er,you, if you weren’t…I just meant…gah!”


                The frog just continued to stare at her; its fangs and wrinkles disappeared as the small face took on a pleading expression, and it licked her hand with its long, sticky tongue.


                   “Ewwww! Spike!  You licked me!  You eat bugs and you licked me with that tongue.”


                     “Ribbit,” the frog croaked apologetically.  “Ribbit?”


                    “Oh, for--- this better work, or you are so…so… still a frog,” she finished lamely.


                      Lifting the eager amphibian towards her face, she suddenly remembered that if the kiss broke the spell, she would be holding a 160-pound vampire and she stopped before she got him to her mouth.   Ignoring the frustrated growl from the unhappy frog, she knelt down and carefully set him on the ground.


                     “Shhhh,” she soothed at his questioning croak.”.  “I just didn’t want to drop you.  And keep that disgusting tongue in your mouth,” she added quickly as she knelt down in front of him.


                   Lying down on her stomach so that her head was level with the frog, she waited while he hopped carefully up to her face; then she pursed her lips and shut her eyes.  Before she had time to cringe away from the frog’s cold, wet mouth, it had changed into a pair of soft lips that were pressing against hers and moving around expertly.  Keeping her eyes shut, she felt herself being pulled towards and against a lean, muscular body that felt almost too familiar.


                The tentative touch of a most un-frog-like tongue to her lower lip was all it took to cause her to open her mouth and give in to the bone-melting kisses she remembered from almost a year before.  When she was – rarely – being honest with herself, she could admit that the thing that had made her the most angry about Willow’s little “my will be done” spell was the fact that, for the rest of her life she would have the memory of those kisses. A memory against which any other man that she kissed would be measured and, she feared, found wanting.


Chapter Two –Not all Fairy Godmothers are Jolly


              Somewhere in the back of her admittedly somewhat kiss-addled brain, she thought she heard a satisfied, “Ahh” from somewhere behind her.  When she felt Spike stiffen and glance up, she turned her head to see a small, plump woman wearing what appeared to be wings on her back.  The woman’s satisfied smile turned to a frown as Buffy immediately rolled away from the vampire in embarrassment, pushing him off when he tried to put his arms around her again.  “Stop it,” she hissed, jumping to her feet.  “There’s somebody watching us.”


              “We weren’t doin’ anything to be ashamed of, Slayer,” he growled, standing up and shaking out his coat.  “You were just snogging me.”


               “I was NOT ‘snogging’ you!  YOU were kissing ME!  I was just letting you do it… in case you were a prince or something.”


              “So, you didn’t want to be kissing me?”  His voice was uncharacteristically soft, his expression unreadable.


               “What?”  Buffy’s expression said clearly that she had not been expecting the questions and had no idea what to do with it.  She looked around, frantically seeking a distraction so that she wouldn’t have to answer the question honestly.  “Look!” she said with relief, “She has wings!  Wings, Spike!  Like a fairy or something.”


                “Don’t change the subject,” the irritated fairy godmother said, surprising them both.  “Answer his question.  Tell him you wanted to be kissing him.  Tell him that you are just too stubborn to admit it.”


                “What?”  Anger flashed across the Slayer’s face. “Who the hell are you and what business do you have telling me who I want to kiss?”


                “I’m your fairy godmother, and I am trying to give you a happily ever after, but it’s not been easy, let me tell you!”   The petite fairy got right up in the Slayer’s face, totally unintimidated by the lethal glare she was being given. “You can’t see what’s right under your nose.  Your taste in men is appalling.”


             “I don’t need your help finding a man,” Buffy growled, ignoring the smirking vampire beside her.  “I know who the love of my life is, and we can’t be together.  There are issues…”


             The fairy godmother rolled her eyes. “Oh, puhleeze!  That pompous ass?  The love of your life?   Get over yourself.  You aren’t sixteen anymore.  I didn’t even have to do anything to get him out of your life; he did it all by himself. And I’m not even going to discuss the whole now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t soul nonsense!”


            “I have a boyfriend,” Buffy continued stubbornly.  “A perfectly nice, normal, non-vampire, non-evil boyfriend.  Who loves me,” she finished triumphantly.


              “You don’t know what love is, you silly little twit,” the fairy responded, her face rapidly darkening with anger.  “You have someone who could make you happy for the rest of your life and you are too--“


              “That’s enough,” Spike interrupted, afraid he knew where she was going with that train of thought.  “Leave the chit alone.  Like she told you, she has a boyfriend.” 


             Bugger this.  I don’t need some busybody fairy telling the Slayer I love her before I’ve even sussed it all out for myself.


               Buffy stared at Spike in surprise; after all, there was no love lost between the chipped vampire and Riley and she was amazed that Spike would be so quick to shut down any attempts to discourage her from dating the former soldier--even if the attempts were coming from a plump fairy with an urge to meddle.


               The fairy godmother’s face was almost purple with rage.  “You two…” She struggled to speak.   “I try to…and then you…Well, that is it!  No one is leaving here until at least one of you shows some common sense!” 


               At the angry flick of the fairy’s wand, the warm sun vanished and lightning flashed in the suddenly dark sky.  Black clouds soon emptied themselves onto the two blonds, soaking them to the skin instantly.  Spike whipped off his coat and put it around Buffy’s shoulders, though not quickly enough to keep her from being drenched.  Without so much as a “Thank you,” she pulled the coat around her body and started down the path again, hoping it would lead somewhere dry. The dirt track was now straight and narrow, leading them directly away from the pond and toward a small stand of woods.  As they trudged through the pouring rain, a brisk wind blew up and by the time they reached the shelter of the trees Buffy was shaking with cold and the vampire looked as dead as she’d ever seen him.


             There was little let-up under the trees; what they spared the two wet travelers from the still-emptying clouds, they more than made up for by spilling at regular intervals the large amounts of water that had accumulated on their leaves.  Eventually, the path led them to a small cottage into which a barely-conscious Buffy shoved her way without so much as knocking. Left outside, Spike put his hand up to the doorway in what he assumed was a futile gesture, only to find there was no magical barrier there.  With a shrug, he followed Buffy inside, finding there a cozy little room with two chairs and a fireplace in which a fire was already burning warmly.


            While Buffy huddled silently in front of the fire, Spike explored the small building, finding a pile of fluffy towels in the surprisingly modern bathroom.  In addition to the bathroom, there was a softly lit bedroom with two beds – one a queen-sized, comfortable-looking four-poster, theother a small, hard cot.  In the tiny kitchen he found a teakettle, tea bags, hot chocolate mix, and, to his amazement, a small refrigerator containing bags of blood.


               Leaving the question of what sort of blood-drinking demon might live in the house, he returned to the bathroom and proceeded to shed his sodden clothing, hanging his shirt and jeans over the shower rod to dry.  He wiped the water off his body, then wrapped one towel around his hips and carried some more towels into the living room where Buffy was still huddled miserably in front of the fire.          


                  He held out the dry towels and when she didn’t respond, gave an exasperated sigh, pulling the coat off her shoulders and ignoring her feeble attempts to keep it wrapped around her shivering body.  He began to rub vigorously with one of the spare towels, not stopping until her hair was no longer dripping and  he’d dried as much of her as possible.


              “Slayer?  Buffy?  Luv?” He tried to get her attention, but she just continued to huddle in front of the fire and shake.  “Come on, pet. You need to get out of those wet clothes and get wrapped up in something warm and dry.  Buffy?  Can you hear me?”


             When she didn’t move or acknowledge him, he rolled his eyes heavenward as though asking for protection before grabbing her wet shirt and pulling it over her head.  She made no protest when he knelt before her, tugging off her equally soaked shoes, socks and pants; she didn’t put up any of the struggle or arguments he’d expected, instead remaining still and allowing him to rub the fluffy towel over the newly exposed skin.  Deciding that removing the two damp scraps of lace left on the Slayer would be pushing his luck, he wrapped her up in the remaining large towel and lifted her, considering his options.  He cast a quick glance at the large tub in the bathroom, but concluded that trying to give the Slayer a hot bath would be to invite massive pain, if not a staking; instead, he continued into the bedroom, placing her in the middle of the big bed and covering her with the soft blankets.


            When she curled up tightly under the covers, still shivering, he frowned with concern and went back to the kitchen, quickly putting the kettle on to boil and searching the cupboards for cups.  He found two mugs, one large enough to hold a decent amount of blood and a smaller one that he thought would suit for the Slayer’s tea.  While he waited for the water to boil, he took some of the blood from the refrigerator and sniffed it suspiciously.


            “Smells fresh enough,” he muttered, pouring it into the larger mug and setting it in the microwave to warm. By the time he had fixed a mug of hot tea for Buffy, his blood was warm and he carried the two cups into the bedroom.  Buffy was still shivering lightly, but seemed more lucid as he handed her the tea saying, “Come on, luv; sit up and have a cuppa.  You’ll feel better for it.”


            She took the cup from him and raised it to her lips, giving him a puzzled but grateful smile..


             “Careful, pet. It’s really hot.  Don’t want to burn those lips; never know when I might need ‘em again.”


             With a bit of her usual spirit, Buffy snapped, “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not kiss any more frogs.”


             “Who said I was talking about me as a frog?” he leered at her, earning himself a blush and a glare.


             As the hot liquid got into her system, Buffy found herself relaxing and taking the time to look at her surroundings.


             “Where are we?” she asked, taking in the two beds, the open bathroom door, and another that housed what appeared to be a small closet.


              “Cozy little cottage for two?  Bloody hell, Slayer, I don’t know where we are any more than you do, but I know one thing.” She raised a curious eyebrow at him and he responded as if she had asked the question, “I’m not brassing off any more fat little fairies.  I don’t know when I’ve seen a rain like that before.”


              “Didn’t she say she was my fairy godmother?  Shouldn’t she be more…likable?  Not all with the temper tantrums and the yelling at me?”


             “Well, in all fairness, pet, you did yell at her, too.”


            “Whose side are you on?  She was telling me I have terrible taste in men. That was rude!”


              “ ‘S not like she wasn’t right,” he grumbled, taking the empty cup from her hand.   “Do you fancy another one?” he asked, starting back toward the kitchen.


                “Yes, please.”  As he left the room she whispered, “Did you forget I was engaged to you?”


              Pretending he didn’t hear her, the vampire continued into the kitchen a big smile on his face.  He quickly fixed her another cup of hot tea, returning to the bedroom to find that Buffy had ventured out from under the blankets and was looking through the closet,  still wrapped in the fluffy towel he had given her.  He set the cup down on the nightstand and sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard as he watched her going through the clothes in the closet.  He was still wearing only a towel around his lean hips, and apparently Buffy’s first goal was to find him something to wear.


              It’s not fair that he looks like that.  How am I supposed to concentrate on our situation when there’s a naked vampire sitting on my bed?


           Somehow, the fact that there were several pairs of black jeans, as well as some shelves with folded tee shirts, did not surprise her and she tossed one of each over her shoulder without looking around.


               “Here, Spike.  Put on some clothes.  You’re making me cold just looking at you, all…almost naked, and not with the clothes on.”


             “Are you sure it’s making you cold, luv?”  he leered, standing up and tossing the towel away.  Buffy had turned when he began to speak , and gasped as the only thing between her eyes and a completely naked Spike was removed. 


           Turn around!  Must turn around now! Or shut eyes.  Yes, shutting my eyes is the way to go. That will take less time than turning around and…oh my god, he’s turning around…


I don’t see why I have to get dressed anyway,” the vampire grumbled, bending over to pick up the pants.  “It’s time to go to bed.”


             Buffy was speechless as she watched his tight buttocks flexing and tightening as he stepped into the pants.  His words didn’t really penetrate her consciousness until he had zipped them up and turned around again.  Then Buffy looked back and forth between the two beds.



             “Bed?” was all she managed to squeak out.


             “Yeah, Slayer. Bed. You know, that warm, comfy place you were all snuggled into a few minutes ago? “


               Buffy looked back and forth between the vampire, whose zipped but not yet buttoned jeans still hung low on his hips, the dark fabric contrasting with his pale, smooth chest.  “P…put your shirt on,” she ordered, her voice sounding much less authoritative than she had hoped.  “We need to look around.”


             “One,” the vampire said, holding up a finger, “I AM dressed. You’re the one wearin’ nothin’ but a towel and your pink underwear.   Two,” he continued, ignoring her blushing peek under the towel to check the color of her bra, “I can look around just fine whether I’m dressed or not.  Got you warmed up and back to your cranky self all right, didn’t I?”


            Refusing to look at or answer him, she ducked into the closet and grabbed a sweatsuit that looked warm and that would cover her from neck to ankle.  She hid behind the door and quickly pulled the pants up under the towel before dropping it and sliding the sweatshirt over her head.  When she was sufficiently covered, she picked up the towel and stalked past the smirking vampire to hang it in the bathroom.


               Spike followed Buffy as she prowled around the small house, testing the chairs, looking though the cupboards and refrigerator, and peering out the windows into the rain.  She poured herself another cup of tea while in the kitchen and found a box of her favorite cookies in one cupboard. Opening the cookies eagerly, she began to eat while she strolled around.


               “Well, what do you think, Goldilocks?” Spike asked, finally breaking his silence.  She had looked into every nook and cranny in the house and tried every piece of furniture except the narrow cot.


               “Don’t call me that,” she said absently as she pulled a book off a shelf.


              “Have you been watching yourself?” he asked, gawking at her in genuine amazement.  “All that’s missing are the bowls of porridge and a big bear!”


               “Bear?  You think this house belongs to a bear?”


              The vampire rolled his eyes at her denseness.  “I have no bleedin’ idea who or what this house belongs to.  There was blood in the fridge, your favorite cookies in the pantry, clothes that fit us in the closet…”


              Buffy’s face went pale.  “Didn’t she say something about not letting us leave?”  She ran to the door and tried to yank it open.  When it didn’t budge, she didn’t even bother trying to exert more of her slayer strength; instead, she just groaned and walked back into the room.


               “We’re stuck here.  That’s why everything fits us – she’s going to make us stay until…what the hell does she mean, until we show some common sense?  I have plenty of sense.  I’m all about the sense – common or otherwise.  She must have meant you.”


              “Me?  I’m not the one pining over a self-centered poof who worries more about his hair gel than he does you.  Or dating a bloody soldier what can’t keep up with you without all his chemicals and chips!”


              “I have one word for you,” Buffy said through tightly clenched teeth.  She walked over until she was standing on her toes glaring into his eyes from mere inches away.  “Crazy vamp ho.”


              “That’s three words,” he snarled back at her, stepping close enough to feel her breasts pressing against his still-bare chest.  Buffy’s chest was heaving as she took deep angry breaths and fought to keep her clenched fists at her side.  When she grew uncomfortably aware of just how close to Spike she’d gotten, she broke the staring contest and flounced away without answering.


              “I hate you!” she growled over her shoulder as she walked back to the bedroom and threw herself on the bed.  She burrowed back under the blankets, facing the wall and it’s darkened window.


              “I hate you, too,” he replied, following her into the room and unzipping his jeans.  He pushed them to the floor and stepped out quickly, reaching for the blankets as he did so.


              When Buffy felt the bed give under his weight, she flew from the bed and onto her feet, shrieking at the naked vampire,  “What the HELL do you think you are doing?  Get out of my bed!”


              “I’m going to bed.  Here.  In the big comfy bed with pillows and blankets.”


              “It’s MY bed!  That’s yours over there!” She pointed at the narrow cot with its tiny pillow and threadbare blanket.


             “I’m not sleeping in that thing,” he said firmly, sliding under the covers, but remaining well away from her. 


             “I am not going to sleep with you!” 


             “Your call, Slayer.  There’s another bed in the room.”  Without further conversation, he closed his eyes and ceased breathing, making it impossible for her to tell if he was awake or not.




              ‘Fine,” she snapped.  “I’m a slayer.  I can handle a cot.  I’ve slept worse places.”






 Chapter Three – A Long Night and the Morning After


                  Dragging one of the soft blankets with her, Buffy marched over to the cot and dropped onto it, wincing as something poked her in the back.


              “Ow!” she muttered, feeling around for the source of her discomfort.  Her hands could find nothing that might have caused the jab into her back and she slowly lowered herself onto the bed again until she was lying with her head on the hard pillow.   The bed was just a camping cot- canvas stretched over a frame, without even the give to be found in a hammock - and Buffy glared through the now-dark room in the direction of the big, comfortable bed and its fluffy pillows.


              She had no sooner squirmed into a semi-comfortable position when, once again something was poking her in the side.  She shifted away from the area, again not finding anything when she searched with her hand, only to have the source of her discomfort follow her and poke her in the leg.  She moved her legs to escape it; the object relocated itself under her hip.  With a growl that would have done credit to a vampire, she turned completely over, only to find that something was now poking her in her other side.


               Forty-five minutes later, Buffy was no closer to getting to sleep, in spite of the heaviness of her eyes and the tiredness of her body.  No matter how she tossed and turned, or into what positions she contorted herself, she could not avoid lying on something small and sharp.   Convinced that there must be gravel in the bed, she jumped up and turned it upside down, shaking it thoroughly before setting it down and cautiously lying on it again.


                 She breathed a sigh of relief when she felt nothing poking her anywhere and closed her eyes gratefully as she drifted off to sleep.  No sooner had her breathing evened out and her mind begun to surrender to oblivion, then she felt the slightest nudge against her hip.  Resolutely keeping her eyes closed, she tried to ignore it, only to sense it growing in size until it was jabbing her hard enough to make her yelp.


                She lay on her back, feeling the hateful--and apparently sentient-- object under her butt as she glared at the ceiling.  She tried folding the blanket she’d taken from the other bed up and putting it between the cot and her body, only to become uncomfortably aware of the fact that the temperature in the room had dropped by at least twenty degrees as she began shivering again.  She fought her body as long as she could; then with a frustrated sigh, she got up and carried her blanket over to the big bed. 


           Walking all the way round to the far side in order not to awaken Spike, she slowly eased her way into the comforting warmth of the soft bed; she squirmed around until she was satisfied that she was in a comfortable position, and yet far enough away from the vampire that he wouldn’t notice her.  With a happy sigh, she allowed herself to fall into a deep, peaceful sleep.


              On the other side of the bed, the wide-awake vampire grinned to himself as he felt her try to sneak back into the bed. 


               Silly Slayer.  Thinkin’ she could sneak into bed with a vampire.  Stupid bint could have been asleep an hour ago if she wasn’t so bloody stubborn.


          He listened quietly as her breathing quickly evened out and her heart rate dropped to the slow, steady rhythm that told him she was deeply asleep.  When he was satisfied that she was out for the night, he moved slowly towards the warmth coming off her body and curled himself up behind her.  Once she was snuggled into his side, his arm loosely wrapped around her waist, he nuzzled her hair briefly and then allowed himself to join her in sleep.


              Buffy woke up just enough to wonder why she felt so safe and comfortable; she noticed the strong arm holding her just tightly enough against what was clearly a naked man’s body, then went back to sleep with a contented sigh, resolutely pushing away the knowledge of exactly whose arm it was holding her so familiarly and deciding to blame her fairy godmother for her ready acceptance of his presence.  The next time she awoke, dawn was seeping into the room; she suffered a moment’s panic as she remembered whose arm was holding her, and another unwelcome jolt as she watched the sun creep across the bed towards that arm. She calmed herself, remembering that, as long as they were here, Spike needn’t fear the sun’s rays; the momentary acceleration of her heart, however, was enough to disturb the vampire’s sleep, and he mumbled against the back of her head, “What’s the matter, luv?”


              She bit back the snappish, “You’re touching me, that’s what’s the matter,” that would have been her response the day before, instead, saying softly, “Nothing. I just forgot for a minute that the sun couldn’t hurt you here. Go back to sleep.”


            He smiled into her hair and squeezed her gently before doing as she asked and falling asleep again.  Buffy lay there for quite a while before deciding that, since she was trapped in the house, there was no reason to get up yet.  She rested one hand on top of Spike’s arm and, snuggling back against his body, went back to sleep.


               She awoke again to find the sun was well up in the sky, bathing the room in a soft yellow light.  Spike had rolled onto his back at some point, bringing her with him as he did so, and she was now resting against his side, her head on his shoulder, her arm across his chest, and her right leg draped over his thigh.  It felt incredibly natural to be lying there with the vampire’s arms wrapped loosely around her and that she resolutely kept her eyes shut and tried to will herself back to sleep.  When Spike softly whispered, “Morning, luv” she burrowed her head into his shoulder with a groan and tried to pretend she was too sleepy to know what she was doing.


                 “I know you’re awake, Slayer,” he growled.  “Vampire here, remember? You can’t fool me by shutting your eyes and mumbling.”


                  Damn stupid vampire! Now I have to either move away or admit I don’t want to.  And I don’t want to…do I? Oh my god, I don’t.  I want to stay here and…


            Buffy’s panicked realization of her happiness at being curled up next to William the Bloody sent her heart rate up again, and the pace of her breathing increased as well as she fought the urge to bolt.  With a resigned sigh, Spike removed the arms with which he had been holding her and waited for the inevitable push out of her personal space.


               To his surprise and delight, instead of leaping away from him, she kept her eyes squeezed shut, murmuring,  “I don’t want to be awake. I…I like it here.”


               His arms went back around her immediately and he barely trusted his voice as he whispered, “Don’t have to pretend to be sleeping to stay here, luv. Could stay here forever if you wanted to.  I’d never make you leave.”


              Her quiet admission that she was happy in his arms, coupled with his own heartfelt response left them both with nothing else to say.  Neither was willing to take the conversation any further, and both were afraid to say or do anything that might ruin the moment.


             They might have remained like that for hours, afraid to move or say anything, had Buffy’s stomach not begun to complain audibly about its emptiness.  And had Spike’s body not begun reacting favorably to having a warm slayer lying on him. 


              Laughing at her flush of embarrassment, he kissed the top of her head lightly and released her, turning slightly so that she would not notice the tent he was making of the covers.  Buffy sat up quickly, more than aware of the sudden erection he was trying to hide and warmly grateful that he was willing to pretend it wasn’t there.  It was one thing to admit that she wanted to cuddle with him, but to admit there might be anything more between them brought up unpleasant thoughts of Riley; she was certain he would be furious if he knew that she was staying in the same house as Spike, much less in the same bed.

                  With a sudden burst of insight, she realized why there was always so much animosity between the two men, animosity that was not all about Spike’s being a vampire and Riley’s having been part of the organization that installed his chip.  She mentally groaned at the implications of all this; however unwitting, there had been a huge change in her relationship with the vampire whose presence had become such a big part of her life.


                    Ever perceptive, he cocked his head at her before asking softly, “What’s wrong, pet?”


                 “Nothing.  Everything.  You. Me. Riley….” She looked at him sadly.  “I don’t know what to do.”


                 “No sense worrying about it right now, Slayer  We’re stuck here until her royal plumpness decides we can go home, so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts, yeah?  I’m guessing if you check those kitchen cupboards again, you will find some breakfast food that wasn’t there last night.”


                He deliberately waited until she was on her way to the kitchen before getting out of bed and getting dressed, carefully tucking his slowly softening hard-on into his jeans.  This time, he fastened them all the way up and pulled a tee shirt over his head before joining her for breakfast.


                 Two bowls of cereal and a banana later, Buffy was leaning back in her chair with a contented smile while the vampire rinsed out their dishes and smiled back at her.


                  “Feel better, do you?” he said teasingly. “A hungry slayer is a careless slayer, I always say.”


                 “Oh, is that what you always say?  I thought it was, ‘a careless slayer is a dead slayer.”


                As soon as she saw his face darken, she was sorry she’d reminded him of their former history and she started to apologize, only to be cut off by his abrupt, “You know I don’t want you dead anymore.”


                “I know,” she admitted, standing up and crossing to where he stood with his back to her, his hands tightly gripping the edge of the sink.  She put her arms around his waist and rested her cheek against his back.  “I’m sorry.  I have Buffy-foot-in-mouth disease.”


                They stood like that until she felt his body relax against her face; once she felt the tension leave him, she leaned back so that he could turn around to face her.  He dropped his own arms around her shoulders, resting them there lightly as he looked into her apologetic face.  “ ‘S alright, luv.  It was fair.  I just…I don’t want you to be afraid of me.  And when you remind me that you should be…” He lifted one hand and brushed some hair off her face. His eyes searched hers for any sign of rejection before he took a deep breath and began, “Buffy, I lo-“


              A hand on his lips stopped his declaration and he nodded, dropping his arms in resignation.  “Right, pet. Not my place, I know that.  But keepin’ me from sayin’ it isn’t going to make it any less true.”


             Buffy dropped her arms also, stepping away from him and trying to find the words to wipe the crushed look from his face.  She opened her mouth and shut it again twice before giving up, admitting to herself that she had no idea what to say.  She couldn’t pretend that she didn’t know what he’d been about to tell her; if she was honest with herself, she would have to confess that it wasn’t a complete surprise.  Although she hadn’t really known the depth of the feelings he was now expressing, she had known for a long time that he was grateful for his place in her life; she knew that he enjoyed their bantering and sparring as much as she did, and that he always had her back, even to the extent of watching over her annoying younger sister if he spotted her out alone after dark.  She had taken advantage of that gratitude-- and all of its side effects-- without ever stopping to consider from where the feelings came.


            Leaving the uncharacteristically quiet vampire in the kitchen, she walked around the tiny house, admiring the bright sunshine outside and wishing she could go out and enjoy it.  No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than the window out of which she was staring turned into a set of French doors, the ground beyond them transformed into a small patio and yard.  With a delighted, “Spike! We can go out now!” she threw open the doors and stepped out into the warm sunshine.


             She quickly learned that her new freedom extended no further than the small picket fence surrounding the yard, and she resigned herself to the fact that they were still trapped.  Spike had come to the doors when he had heard her calling him, and stood there staring dubiously at the bright sunlight in which Buffy was so happily standing. As soon as she noticed the large hammock on the patio, she swept past the vampire and into the house, saying,  “I hope there’s a bathing suit in there that fits me.  I might as well work on my tan while I’m stuck here.”


              Spike gingerly extended his hand into the outside air, breaking into a smile when he still seemed immune to the sun’s rays and stepping the rest of the way out. Stripping off his tee shirt, he went directly to the hammock and settled himself in the middle of it, closing his eyes and soaking up the warmth he hadn’t felt in over a hundred years.  Buffy’s voice when she emerged interrupted his intended nap.


             “Spike!  That’s where I was going to lie. You have to find somewhere else.”


             “Plenty of room, luv,” he said without opening his eyes. He scooted over, leaving half of the large canvas hammock for her.


             She rolled her eyes, grumbling under her breath, “Here we go again.  It’s last night, act two.”


            Carefully edging onto the gently swinging hammock, she settled down beside the vampire and closed her own eyes; she could feel him only inches away and wondered if he’d heard what she said.  His quiet, “That didn’t turn out so badly, did it, Buffy?” told her that he had; she shook her head, causing the hammock to rock slightly.


              “No,” she answered softly. “No, it didn’t turn out so bad.”


              “Alright, then,” was his quiet reply as he allowed his hand to move toward hers.  His fingers lightly brushed her hand and when she turned it so that her palm was facing his, he linked their fingers and sighed with contentment.  She might not be willing to hear him say he loved her, but it looked like she was going to allow him to feel it and that, for the moment, was enough.


             The warm sun and soft breeze had them both dozing off and on as the day wore on into afternoon.  By the time Buffy was hungry again, she had gotten all the sun she wanted on the front of her body and was ready to get up anyway.  She took a wary look at Spike, wondering if a vampire could get sunburned; it seemed, however,  as though his protection from the sun extended to softening its effect on his skin, which had darkened to a pale golden color with no sign of burn.


                  “Where are you going?” he asked without opening his eyes.  She surprised herself by leaning down to ruffle his untamed hair before straightening up. 


            “I’m hungry again.  I’m going to go get something to eat and then I’m going to come back out and get some sun on my back.”



Chapter Four  When it’s Inevitable…


             When Buffy returned, she was carrying a mug of warm blood that she extended towards him with a shy, “I thought you might be hungry too.”


              With a grateful smile, he sat up and put his feet on the patio floor, stopping the movement of the hammock.


             “Thank you, luv.  That was very thoughtful of you.”


              “I can be thoughtful,” she said with some asperity, as though she thought he was accusing her of something.


                “Never said you couldn’t, Slayer.  Jus’ not something I usually get to be on the receiving end of, yeah?”


                 “No, I suppose not,” she agreed with a sigh, carefully lowering herself to the now-stationary hammock.


                   Thankful for her slayer flexibility, she lay easily on her stomach, having no problem with the arch in her back created by the sagging hammock bed.  She closed her eyes and allowed herself to enjoy the quiet warmth of Spike’s companionship and the virtual lack of responsibility.   She felt the hammock swing gently as Spike set his empty cup on the patio before easing back down beside her.  Rather than lying down on his back again or trying to imitate her more limber body and lie on his stomach, he propped himself on one elbow and gazed down at the smooth, lightly tanned skin of her back.


              Without thought for anything except his desire to feel that silken skin beneath his fingertips, he allowed his free hand to drift towards her back, gently stroking the golden skin there. Buffy shivered slightly at the contact, but didn’t flinch away or say anything to discourage him; emboldened, he leaned over and planted a light kiss on her shoulder, inhaling the heady aroma of her sun-warmed skin. Her heart sped up and Spike smiled to himself as he continued to stroke her back and shoulders, absently running his fingers back and forth along the thin tie that fastened her bikini top before sliding one finger under it, tracing the fabric’s path from one side of her back to the other.


             Stretching out his supporting arm, he put his head down next to hers and allowed his free hand to move down to the dip of her waist and then lower, to slide across the skin just above the bikini’s bottom.  Buffy’s pulse was pounding as she tried her best to ignore the sensations Spike was creating just by lightly caressing her.  When he nuzzled her neck, flicking his tongue over the spot just behind her ear, she groaned and turned her head, meeting his eyes.


              Their faces were barely inches apart as she searched his eyes, seeking something, anything there that could provide a reason for her body’s response; every cell was humming with desire after only a few barely noticeable caresses.


                 “What are you doing?” she whispered, very conscious of the nearness of those tempting and talented lips.


                 “Trying to seduce you,” he said honestly. His mouth moved closer to hers as he whispered, “Is it working?”


                 “I’m afraid it might be,” she whispered back, already opening her lips for his kiss and rolling to her side to face him.


                For a while they were content to lie together, exploring the delights to be found in honest kisses, those not the result of any spell or, in Buffy’s case, a denial of whom she was really kissing.  Their libidos, however, could not be denied, and it wasn’t long before their heavy breathing and moans of frustrated desire were drowning out the sounds of bird song in the surrounding woods.  Spike’s leg slid between Buffy’s thighs and she wrapped her own tanned limb around his hip in response grinding her barely-covered pelvis into the offered muscular thigh. 


             The vampire had both arms around her and, as he pulled her more tightly against him, he rolled onto his back.  Of course, rolling onto one’s back while in a hammock can be a less-than-safe maneuver-- as they discovered when the hammock tipped, dumping them onto the patio.  They landed, Buffy on the bottom, only to find that the stone had suddenly become a soft cushion rather than the painfully hard surface it had been only moments before. Go Fairy Godmother! she barely had time to think before her mind went somewhere else entirely.


               Spike had caught himself on his elbows in an attempt to cushion his fall and not knock the wind out of Buffy; an action, that prevented his upper torso from jarring her, even as it drove their lower bodies together in a manner that brought groans from both as the bulge in his jeans pressed between her legs.  After another minute of fruitless grinding, the vampire’s hand was frantically working to unzip his pants and pull off her bikini bottom at the same time.


            “No, no,” she gasped. “Inside.  Inside.”


             “I’m trying to get inside,” he growled.  “You could give me a little help here.”


             “No, you dummy!” she growled back.  “I meant ‘inside the house’.  We’re out here in front of everybody.”


             Spike raised his head and glanced around briefly. “What everybody?” he asked, genuinely perplexed.  “The birds?”


             Squirming out from under the muttering vampire, Buffy looked around suspiciously. “Not the birds – that meddling old fairy godmother.  I just know she’s watching somewhere.”


            Heaving a sigh, he gave in and quit trying to pull her back down. “Alright, pet.  Have it your way. “  He stood up and scooped her into his arms in one easy motion, moving with vampire speed through the doors and into the shade of the house.  When Buffy struggled feebly, declaring, “I can walk you know!” he silenced her with another kiss, almost running them both into the wall as he lost track of where the bedroom door was.


                He dropped her onto the bed, following her down immediately and covering her body with his, all the while kissing her until she was dizzy with lust.  This time, when he unzipped his pants, freeing his erection to lie against her bare stomach, she welcomed his action, shoving her hand between them and wrapping it around his hard shaft.  His gasp and the involuntary jerk of his hips as she touched him brought a smile to her lips and she began to squeeze and stroke him as he shifted his attention to removing the two small scraps of cloth that made up her bathing suit.


            Impatient, he pushed the bra top up around her neck, fastening his lips on first one nipple, then the other, suckling and licking until she was moaning his name.  When he felt her trying to push his jeans down over his hips, he stopped momentarily and asked seriously, “If I get up and take them off, will you still be here?”


             Buffy frowned at him.  “Of course I will.  Do you really think that if you stop touching me for a few seconds I’m going to change my mind?” At the abashed look on his face, she colored with a mixture of anger and embarrassment.  “You do, don’t you?  You think I can’t make this kind of decision unless you’ve got me so hot I don’t know what I’m doing.”


             He rolled off of her and sat on the side of the bed, his now-idle hands dangling between his knees.  “I just thought it might be easier for you if you didn’t have to think about it, is all.”


             “Do you really want me that way?” she asked quietly. “Do you really want to make me do something you think I might regret later?”


            “Bloody hell, no, Buffy!” His turned his head quickly, meeting her hurt eyes.  “There’s nothing I want more than for you to look me in the eye and tell me you want me.  But…but I’m not sure you would admit it to yourself even if it was true and I…I’m a weak man, pet.  I want you.  Any way I can have you.” He looked away. “I’m sorry,” he added so softly that she could barely hear him. “I’ve ruined it, haven’t I?”  His shoulders slumped with dejection as he prepared himself for her rejection.


             Rather than the angry dismissal he was expecting, what he heard behind him was the tiniest of sniffles, a small sound that wouldn’t have been heard by a human man.  When he scented salt on the air, he turned quickly to find Buffy staring at him with wide eyes brimming with tears.


               “Buffy?  Love?”  The anguish and regret in his voice was so real it was painful to hear.


                “Am I that big of a bitch in your eyes?” she whispered softly. “Do you think that I’m that dishonest about my feelings that I would deny…You think I don’t want you?  Do you think I don’t dream about kissing you and touching you and how about wonderful you made me feel when we were under that stupid spell?  Do you think I don’t know what it could be like to be loved by you? You’re good, Spike, but you’re not THAT good.  If I hadn’t made up my mind that I was willing to see where this could go, I never would have gotten into that hammock in the first place.  Do you think I didn’t know what was going to happen?  Do you think I didn’t want it? Yeah, you were seducing me – but news flash, fangface. It was a sure thing.”


              Hope and joy transformed his face as he stammered, “Are you saying…Do you mean…?”


             “I’m saying get those damn jeans off and get back over here before miss Short, Fat, and Cranky blames me for this fiasco!”


             Spike had stood up, shed his pants and made his way back into the bed beside her before she had finished speaking.  She blinked up at him, muttering under her breath, “Note to self, vampires can be very speedy when they want to be.”


              “Vampires can be very slow when they want to be, too, love,” he purred, nuzzling her neck and rejoicing in the way her breath caught in her throat.  To prove his point, he spent the next ten minutes coaxing the two pieces of bikini off her writhing body, using his lips and teeth to remove them only after he’d ensured, with every nip and lick, that she wanted them off even more than he did.


             The afternoon passed into evening, the passing of time barely noticed by the lovers as they occupied themselves in the big bed.  Spike gloried in being allowed the time to learn her body, to find out what she liked, what made her gasp and clutch him tightly, what could make her scream his name.


             I’ll never get tired of feeling her shaking around me, squeezing me so hard I think I’ll burst inside her.  Could stay here like this for the rest of my unlife and never miss the rest of the world.


              Now that she had stopped denying-- to both herself and Spike--how much she craved his touch, Buffy found that she could not get enough of it.  Thanking the Powers that Be for vampire stamina all the while, she gloried in his response as she reached for him over and over.  She used the time between mind-shattering orgasms to explore the beautiful body that she had tried so hard to ignore for so long.  Her fingers traced his chiseled cheekbones, lightly touched his full lower lip and drifted down along his chest and abdomen to play with the curls surrounding his never-more-than momentarily soft cock as she attempted to commit him to memory. 


              I’ll never get tired of the way he feels against me, in me, filling me up. I could stay here forever, just letting him make love to me until we’re too tired to walk.


                “Do you think this is what she meant by my ‘happily ever after’?” Buffy asked quietly, once they were finally just resting side by side.  The vampire’s hand lightly caressed her arm and her hand gently stroked his chest as they basked in the afterglow.


                 “I bloody well hope so,” he declared fervently.  “If it isn’t, you may as well stake me now, because I can’t give this up.  Can’t give YOU up.”


                  “We have to go back, you know,” she whispered, her lips barely touching his nipple.  “I have friends, a family, not to mention apparently, a key to protect .


                “A boyfriend,” he said with no inflection.  His body was suddenly as still and cold as a corpse.


                 She raised her head and glared at him.  “Do you really think I could go back to him after…after this?”  She gestured around them, not sure if she was talking about the bed or the whole dimension they were visiting.


                 “So you won’t?” he said hopefully. “You’re not going to kick me to the curb when we get back?”


                 She shook her head, letting her hair cover her face as she tried to give him an honest answer.  “No, no curb.  But it isn’t going to be easy.  Dawn will be okay with it, once she gets over being jealous, anyway,” she giggled, reminding him of the crush her little sister was clearly holding for the sexy vampire.


                  “What can I say, pet? I’m irresistible,” he smirked, a bit of his old cockiness coming back at her words.


                    Ignoring him, she continued, “Mom likes you a lot, but I don’t know how she’s going to feel about me dating another vampire; you might have to do some work there…” She smiled at his snorted “Bloody poof”, and then continued  down the list of people they would have to deal with when they got back. “Giles is going to wig, but he’ll get over it; you never really did anything to him.  Jenny wasn’t your fault, that was Angelus, and if Giles can get along okay with him now, he should be able to handle being civil to you.”


                  Spike cocked his head at her. “You’ve given this some thought, haven’t you, love?”


                 She blushed and mumbled, “Well, yeah.  I mean sometimes I would think about ‘what if’ and then I’d think about Xander, and Willow, and…”


               “An’ you’d decide it wasn’t worth it,” he said with quiet resignation.


               “That was before!” she responded indignantly. 


                “An’ now?  Are you sayin’ it’s worth it now?  That you’re willin’ to take them on?  For me?”


                “I’m saying, YOU’RE worth it.  WE are worth it.  Don’t you think so?”  The voice that had been so sure suddenly trembled with a touch of uncertainty.


                  “I’ve always thought so, love,” he said, pulling her closer and nuzzling her neck.  “Just never really expected you to agree with me.”


                   “I probably wouldn’t have if my fairy godmother hadn’t given us this chance,” she admitted.  “I guess this is what she meant by showing some common sense, huh?”


                  “Well, it’s about time!”  The fairy in question appeared in the doorway, a very self-satisfied look on her face.  “And have you two no shame?  Cover up!”


                 Buffy squealed and yanked a blanket up over them, glaring at the smirking fairy.


                  “Don’t you know how to knock?”


                   “Pffft!” The fairy waved her hand dismissively.  “As if I couldn’t hear you screaming all afternoon.”


                     Grabbing the angry slayer and holding on as tightly as he could, Spike quickly asked, “So, your highness, does this mean we can go back home?  Not that this isn’t a very nice place,” he hastened to add.  “And not that we haven’t enjoyed our stay, but the Slayer has things she needs to do…demons to kill-“


                   The plump fairy looked them over carefully.  “I don’t know,” she said, a dubious expression on her face.  “I’m not sure that either one of you is going to be able to stick with this when you get back.  I think you need to stay at least another night, and then I’ll decide.”


                   Without so much as a ‘good-bye’ she disappeared, leaving Spike holding onto a furious Buffy and calming her muttered tirade about ‘ripping her wings off’ and other such dire vengeance.


                  “Easy, pet,” he soothed.  “She just said one more night.  We can do that, yeah?”


                 Buffy had to admit that the idea of leaving their comfy bed and returning to her lonely room was not all that appealing; only slightly grudgingly, she allowed him to coax her back into a playful mood.


                   “That’s my girl,” he laughed as she waved a playful fist, mock-threatening to take out her frustration on him. “Lay it on me. Pick on somebody your own size.”



     Chapter Five -  It’s All Different Now


                  After an evening meal, a hot bath in the tub that turned out to be just big enough for two people and whatever activities in which they might want to indulge, and a quiet evening lying in the hammock and watching the unfamiliar stars, whatever remaining insecurity either one of them might have had about their new relationship was pretty much vanquished.


                 With no false modesty, Buffy undressed and slid into the bed, holding the blankets up until an equally naked Spike joined her there.  Even slayers and vampires could exhaust themselves if they worked at it hard enough; as a result,  their love-making that night was slow and gentle, a comfortable melding of bodies that were already well on their way to being intimately familiar.


                 When they had enjoyed what was going to be their last mutual orgasm of the night, Spike whispered against her neck, “Can I say it now, Buffy?  I need to say it.  I need to tell you.” Throughout their long day and evening of vigorous sexual activity, and the less athletic, but equally fulfilling night’s gentle love-making, the vampire had smothered the “I love you” that wanted to make itself known, settling instead for a long litany of murmured endearments that carefully avoided the words that, less than twenty-four hours earlier, she had forbidden him to say.


                Buffy worried her lower lip, wondering why she was so reluctant to have him put into words what was so readily apparent to them both.


                 Is it because I’m afraid I can’t say it back?  Or is it because I’m afraid I will say it back and that will mean I’ve given up on the idea of having a normal life with a human man? Have I given up that idea? Is that what that fat little busybody meant by trying to give me a happily ever after?  Is Spike my happily ever after?


                 She felt him sigh in resignation; as he took her lengthy silence to mean that she was going to refuse to hear what he wanted so badly to tell her.  The pang that she felt at the thought of hurting him made her decision for her and she said softly, “Spike, look at me.  Please?”


               He raised his head obediently, his eyes showing how clearly he was preparing himself for her rejection.  She held his gaze as she whispered carefully, “I think I could learn to love you, William the Bloody.”


              Confusion, hope and sudden acceptance flew across his face before he buried his head once again to hide the sudden moisture in his eyes. 


               “I love you, Buffy.  Love you so bloody much.  I will love you forever.”


              “I know,” she murmured, holding him close and pretending she didn’t know the big bad vampire was crying.  “I know you will.  You’re my happy ever after.”


                Exhausted from both the day’s activities and the emotions roiling through them, they fell into a deep sleep, still intimately connected.



Epilogue – Happily Ever After (in Sunnydale?)


                  “Mmmmmmm,” the Slayer moaned and stretched, wincing at the lack of comfy softness underneath her. 


                   An answering groan from the vampire beside her told her that, wherever she was now, she wasn’t alone; she snuggled into his willing embrace, trying hard to pretend she was still in the big comfy bed.


                A “Bloody hell!” that did NOT come from the still groggy vampire brought them both awake and they sat up quickly, scanning the area around them.  When Buffy saw that the source of the exclamation was her Watcher, she groaned and dropped her head onto Spike’s shoulder.


              “I think we’re back,” she whispered.


               “Yeah, and I think I’m about to be dust if you don’t start explaining right now!”  The panicked edge in Spike’s voice made her look up into Giles’ face and note the anger there. 


                 “I presume,” he said coldly, “that you have a good explanation for your absence for the past two nights? And for why, when I have finally found you, it turns out that you are sound asleep, in a graveyard, on the ground - with Spike?”


                The vampire in question rose to his feet, prepared to flee if needed, but unwilling to leave Buffy to face the watcher on her own.


                “Beastie, portal, alternate dimension, frog, rain, fairy godmother, trapped, back,” he rattled off before Buffy could say anything.  “Anything else you need to know before you go accusing her of slacking?”  He had quite obviously placed himself protectively between Buffy and her Watcher, causing the man’s eyes to narrow even more.


               “If you have turned her…“ he began ominously.


              “Sheesh, Giles!  Can’t I take a little nap in a cemetery without you thinking I’ve been vamped?  Give us a little credit, will you?  If Spike had turned me, would we be lolling around out here where anyone could find us?  Or where the sun could—“ She turned to look at the vampire anxiously.  “It’s almost dawn; you need to get in. You’re not sun-proof here.”


               The Watcher glared at them suspiciously, more than a bit uncomfortable with the obvious affection between the two former enemies.  When Buffy stepped up beside Spike and held his hand, saying only, “Let Spike get home before the sun comes up.  I’ll tell you all about it on the way back to your place. Okay?” he began to get a sinking feeling.


                “I already gave him the shorthand version,” the vampire grumbled, recognizing the truth in what she was saying but reluctant to leave her so soon after their return.


                Buffy’s whispered, “I’ll be back later,” as she stood on her toes and kissed him quickly reassured him enough that, after another stolen kiss under Giles’ horrified gaze, he moved away to duck into his near-by crypt.


               As soon as he was safely inside, Buffy turned to her watcher and took his arm, leading him out of the cemetery as she chattered about her fairy godmother, enchanted cottages, and ‘happily ever-after.”  Giles cast an eye at the rapidly brightening sky and wondered idly if it was too early to begin on his newest bottle of scotch.  Somehow, he felt he was going to need it.


The End


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