Author: Slaymesoftly

Title:  Wake up, I Love You

Summary: Dana’s drug has put Spike into a coma from which he will not emerge. Angel’s dip into his mind shows him that there is only one person who will be able to reach the sleeping vampire.  He makes the call.

Rating: NC17 (sexual situations)

Banner Number: 33 by lilieath  Banner and fic guidelines to be found at http://community.livejournal.com/spuffy_haven/155132.html#cutid1

Words 9300 +

Disclaimer – giving them the happy ending Joss didn’t, but he said I could!

AN: Beta’d by my wonderful Always_jbj

 

 

Wake Up, I Love You

 

 

Part One

 

 

“We don’t know what else to do.”  The words from the head of Wolfram and Hart’s medical team were frightening.  They had reattached Spike’s hands and, by any measure, they were healing beautifully.  The combination of Wolfram and Hart’s excellent demon medicine department and Spike’s innate vampire healing meant that recovery was almost complete.  And yet, the blond pain in his ass continued to remain unconscious.

 

Am I doomed to have the people I care about go into comas?  What is it with this place?

 

“So, you’re saying that someone has to go into his mind and find out why he won’t wake up?  Is that it?”

 

“Yes, Sir.  There is no medical explanation for it; the drug is completely out of his system now, so it must be that he would rather not be awake.  He’s happier wherever his mind has taken him.”

 

“Yeah, well, his happiness isn’t all that important to me,” Angel muttered.  “I need him awake and functional.”

 

“I’ll do it,” Gunn said quietly.  The vampire started in surprise.  He had forgotten that Gunn was with him – and that the street smart boy-cum-brilliant lawyer had been the closest thing that Spike had to a male friend.  Of course Harmony and Fred continued to pop in and out to see how he was, but Fred’s interest was as much scientific curiosity as affection for the flirty vampire; and Harmony’s was just...delusional, most likely.  Spike had not paid much attention to his ex girlfriend after that initial encounter that ended with her trying to bite him and screaming about the Slayer.

 

“I can’t risk you,” Angel said with an abrupt headshake. “You have no idea what’s inside that mind...I think I’m going to have to do it.  Only another vampire would be able to tolerate what’s probably going on in there.”

 

“I thought Spike had his soul – just like you do?” Gunn looked genuinely confused at the suggestion that his blond friend might be reliving his glory days as a killer.

 

“Having a soul doesn’t make you less of a vampire,” Angel explained.  “Those cravings are still there, just...controlled...muffled, in a way.  I’m sure he still dreams about killing.”

 

“Do you? “

 

“What? Oh, no, no, of course not.  But I’m on the path to redemption and I’ve had my soul much longer than Spike has. I doubt he has my control over...” his voice trailed off as Gunn raised a skeptical eye.

 

“Yeah, all he did was go get himself a soul – for the love of a woman.”

 

“It wouldn’t have been the first time he made a fool of himself over a woman he was never going to have,” Angel growled.  “He even calls himself ‘Love’s Bitch’ – like that’s something to be proud of.”

 

“So,” Gunn said in his best courtroom voice, ”what you’re saying is that even before he got his soul, Spike had more humanity than Angelus ever did?”

 

Angel’s glare said very clearly that he was done with the conversation and the man wisely backed off, just nodding as he added that knowledge to what he already knew about the two vampires.

 

“Let’s do it,” Angel interrupted his thoughts by speaking to the doctor still present in the room.  “He’s my grandchilde, if anyone should go in and get him, it should be me. He should listen to me.”

 

Gunn couldn’t suppress a snort of laughter and he braved another amber-tinged glare as he asked, “Should or will? I can’t say I’ve noticed a whole lot of listening to you going on lately.”

 

“Very funny.  Let’s go.  I’ve got actual work to do today.”

 

The doctor nodded and brought out a syringe.  “We can use this drug to put you under,” he said proudly. “Most people would need a powerful witch to accomplish the same thing. The shot will put you where you can observe what he’s thinking – you just need to be touching and concentrating on him while I inject you.”

 

Without comment, the older vampire sat down beside Spike’s bed and took his grandchilde’s cold, still hand in his own.  He stared at Spike’s face, making note of how peaceful and young he appeared as he lay dreaming of happier times.  So entranced was he by the look on Spike’s face, he barely noticed the prick of the needle entering his arm.  He felt his eyes closing and he seemed to fall into the body in front of him.

 

He opened his eyes, expecting to see a scene of bloodshed and carnage, perhaps the fight with the Chinese slayer or worse.  Instead, he found himself watching as Spike brushed some hair off Buffy’s face and sang to her. Sang?  He’s singing to her? And she’s listening? What the hell....

 

He watched, unseen and unnoticed, as Giles and Dawn, Willow and Xander and two women he didn’t recognize joined Buffy and Spike in holding hands and singing together.  Spike abruptly broke off from the group, waving his hand in disgust and leaving the building.  He leaned against the wall outside, shaking his head as though to clear it of the music.  Suddenly, Buffy was joining him, countering his curt suggestion that she let him know when she decided what she wanted by beginning to sing again. As she did so, her eyes never left Spike’s face, and Angel watched in horror and amazement as they both sang while moving closer and closer together.  When they came together in a kiss that was as intense as it was unexpected, the older vampire groaned.

 

He watched, unable to look away, as the girl he had fallen in love with when he first saw her and the grandchilde that had been both the bane of his existence and the source of many pleasant memories, stood embracing tightly and kissing as though they were starving.  To his relief, they eventually stopped, still standing with their arms around each other, foreheads pressed together.  Spike opened his mouth and whispered, “Buffy—“

 

“Jackass,” Angel scoffed, as Buffy immediately realized what they’d been doing and pulled herself away.

 

“It was the spell!” she blurted, as Spike reached a pleading hand toward her cheek.  “Don’t”, she whispered, taking his hand with surprising gentleness and forcing it down to his side. “Just don’t, okay?”

 

“Alright, love,” Spike amazed his grandsire by agreeing.  “Let’s just get you and the Bit home then, yeah?’

 

As if on cue, Buffy’s sister emerged from what Angel now realized was the Bronze and joined them in the alley.  Angel was amazed at how comfortable she clearly was with the unsouled vampire, and at the open affection in Spike’s eyes as he pulled her into his side.

 

“You alright there, Bit?  Don’t have to follow that wanker into hell and tear his delicate parts off for touchin’ you do I?”

 

“No, he didn’t touch me. And, ewwww, gross!”

 

Angel watched with interest as Buffy seemed to relax and enjoy the banter between her sister and Spike, walking silently beside them as they made their way back to Revello Drive.

 

Suddenly the scene switched and Angel was watching a much younger Buffy and a much rougher-looking Spike as they sat together in an overstuffed chair kissing and cooing. He shook his head in disbelief as Buffy brought out a tiny bride and groom set. She giggled as she pointed out the tiny fangs on the groom and the spot of red on his chin.  The look of adoration on Spike’s face as he glanced from the cake decorations to the Slayer gave Angel an uncomfortable feeling in his gut. 

 

It wasn’t long before he realized that he was watching a reenactment of the spell Willow had done after Oz left her.  He was momentarily puzzled about Spike’s presence until he remembered being told about the chip, which prevented Spike from killing and sent him crawling to his mortal enemy for aid when he could no longer feed himself.  Angel had a vague memory of sensing family when he’d shown up on Thanksgiving to offer unseen, and apparently unneeded, help; he wondered if Spike had even then been living in the watcher’s apartment.  His fists clenched as he watched Buffy’s fingers trailing down Spike’s muscular arm, and watched her giggle at his soft growl of arousal.  It was clear from the amount of time Spike spent dreaming of the spell-induced engagement that it had meant something to him even then.

 

The younger vampire’s thoughts moved around from year to year – forward, then back, with no apparent focus except for Buffy’s constant presence and her willingness to let him spend time with her. Angel had to close his eyes during the scenes of their love-making – both because he hated the thought of anyone else enjoying what he knew he couldn’t, and also because the passionate, inventive and enthusiastic woman he saw enjoying his grandchilde’s skills bore little resemblance to the shy virgin that he remembered.  Even the day they had spent together when he was human had been tame and boring compared to Spike’s memories.

 

There was no doubt in his mind that they were memories – not dreams of something that Spike had wished would happen, but memories of actual events.  If he were honest, Angel would have had to admit that he had expected to see more sexual activity than he did.  Much of what Spike was replaying over and over were scenes of tenderness - few and far between as they obviously had been – and scenes that indicating a surprising level of trust in him. Buffy’s leaving Joyce and Dawn in his crypt long before she could have known about his feelings for her, was a definite surprise. That Spike could have remembered it so fondly was another.

 

Angel found himself wishing he could leave; he was having no problem understanding why Spike didn’t want to wake up, and he had no desire to watch any more scenes of the budding friendship between the two, or the violent and raunchy sex that followed Buffy’s return from the grave.  Her rescue of the now-souled vampire from the First’s torture chamber, her refusal to stake him even when he’d confessed to killing, his taste of her blood and it’s immediate affect on his demon, their entire friendship during that last awful year in Sunnydale, gave Angel a completely different perspective on the relationship between the two people who meant more to him than almost anyone else in his life.  Their obvious closeness, in spite of its lack of physical expression, was so much deeper than what he remembered of his time with Buffy that he could no longer deny what he was seeing. His grandchilde and the last Chosen One had something very special; something that no one except they, themselves, had ever imagined.

 

 He watched the replay of those final moments in the Hellmouth, saw Buffy look up at Spike in awe, eyes brimming with unshed tears. Angel tried to will her not to say what he could read in her eyes.  He could almost feel the swell of happiness from the unconscious vampire as the woman he loved beyond life itself told him that she loved him.  In spite of Spike’s response, obviously designed to force her to leave, Angel was sure that Spike must have realized the truth in her words. 

 

“Come on, Spike,” Angel spoke up suddenly.  “She loves you. I get it. I’m going to call her.  Right now.  Don’t you want to be awake when she gets here?  Come on, William, wake up. Now!”

 

He got no response, just the beginning of another scene in which a naked Buffy sat astride Spike’s hips, head thrown back and eyes closed in ecstasy.   While she kept her eyes shut and rode Spike into his release, he never took his eyes off her, closing them only when she had collapsed upon his chest.  They lay together in a spent heap, Buffy eventually sliding off to curl next to his side in a position that seemed more than familiar to both of them.  Spike was stroking her arm where it lay across his chest, and kissing the top of her head as it nestled under his chin.

 

In spite of himself, Angel groaned in sympathy as Buffy’s eyes opened and she obviously regretted finding herself cuddling with Spike.  She was pulling away when his whispered “Please” caught her attention. She remained frozen for a few seconds, then with a nod of acquiescence, she put her head back down and allowed him to cover them both with a blanket.  “Just for a little while,” she murmured into his chest as her eyes drifted closed.

 

  “Just for a little while, love,” he agreed, wrapping both arms around her, and falling asleep himself, a happy smile curving his lips.

 

With a sudden wrench, Angel pulled himself back out of Spike’s mind, dropping his hand and stepping back from the bed. He stared hard at the still-immobile vampire on the bed and wondered if he was imagining the tiny smile on Spike’s face.

 

“Well?” Gunn’s tone was both curious and demanding.

 

“I can’t do it,” Angel said firmly.  At the other man’s disappointed look, he added quietly, “But I know who can.”

 

 

 

and this banner made by a reader who liked the story – thanks, Ben!

 

Part Two

 

            Buffy was with the Immortal when the call came in.  She smiled apologetically when she saw Angel’s number come up on her screen, and excused herself from the table, flipping the phone open as she did so.

 

            “Hi, Angel.  What’s up? Nothing apocalypty, I hope. I’m wearing my good clothes and new shoes.”

 

            “Buffy,” he plunged right in, hoping he was right and that Spike hadn’t been imagining the events he was reliving.  “Buffy, it’s...it’s Spike.”

 

            There was silence on the other end. 

 

            “Are you there?” he finally asked when she said nothing.

 

            “What about Spike?” she replied woodenly.  “Haven’t we already had this conversation?”

 

            “Buffy...he’s alive.”

 

            “Not funny, Angel.” Her voice was pure Slayer and he was suddenly glad they were having the conversation via long distance phone call.

 

            “It’s not meant to be funny; he was trapped in the amulet and it spit him out in my office.  He’s here. With me.”

 

            “With you?  At Wolfram and Hart?  Are you sure it’s Spike? Not the First?”

 

            “It’s Spike,” he said wearily.  “Trust me. I’d know that bleached pain in my ass anywhere.”

 

            “If it’s Spike, then why isn’t he calling me?  Why isn’t he here?”

 

            The beginning traces of hope in her voice almost undid him, as he accepted that Spike had not misheard or misinterpreted her last words to him.

 

            “That’s what I need to talk you about,” Angel responded. “It’s a long story, you probably should sit down.”

 

            “I’m not sitting down, I’m hailing a cab. I have to get home and pack.  You can tell me about it while I’m on the way.”

 

            Without a backward glance, she walked out of the restaurant, remembering at the last second to ask the Maitre ’d to tell the Immortal that she’d been called away for an emergency.

 

            By the time she reached her apartment, Angel had provided her with as many details as he felt she needed to understand the importance of his request that she come to LA.  At her angry demand that Angel do something to wake him up, he stammered his careful reply.  “Buffy... I don’t think he can...he’s happy where he is now.  He just keeps replaying...he can be with you in his head.  The only one who is going to be able to get him out of there is you.  As long as you’re in there, he isn’t going to leave.”

 

            “I’ll be there as soon as I can get a pla-“

 

            “The Wolfram and Hart jet has already left.  It will be waiting for you at the Rome airport by tomorrow morning.”  Angel’s voice left no room for argument and only the thought that Spike needed her kept her from telling him what he could do with his evil law firm airplane.

 

            “Fine,” she answered tightly.  “We’ll be there as soon as we...as your plane can get us there.”

 

            “We?”

 

            “Dawn would never forgive me if I didn’t bring her.  I’m not the only Summers woman to have been mourning him.”  She thought for a second and said somewhat reluctantly, “I suppose I should call Giles and—“

 

            “No!” She blinked at the certainty in his voice.  “No,” he repeated less forcefully.  “Giles doesn’t need to know anything about this.”

 

            “But Angel...I saw him burn up, we all saw Sunnydale collapse on top of his ashes.  This is important stuff—“

 

            “This is my grandchilde we’re talking about – the one your watcher has already tried to kill once. He’s not going to have a chance to succeed on my watch.”

 

            Saving her arguments for when she could face down her former lover in person, she just nodded silently, then realized he couldn’t see her and said, “All right, Angel. I’ll see you soon. And...thank you,” she whispered.

 

            “You’re welcome, Buffy.”

 

            She hung up and immediately redialed, getting Dawn’s cell phone on the second ring.  She gave a brief explanation of Angel’s call and told her sister to come home to pack.  Dawn gave her friends a quickly made-up explanation for why she was making an emergency trip back to the States and accepted a ride home on the back of a scooter.  She was home and already stuffing clothes in a bag before Buffy had even finished notifying everyone she needed to that they would be gone for a while.

 

            She hesitated as she finished talking to the Rome-based slayer – wondering how much to share of her reasons for leaving.  Remembering what Angel had said about telling Giles about Spike, she glossed over the reasons for the trip, just saying that she would call from LA and let them know how long she would have to stay there.

 

            As she packed her bag, she tried to smother the steadily growing ball of hope warming her chest from the inside.

 

            He’s back. He’s alive and...Dana cut his hands off?  It’s a good thing she’s insane or I’d have to kill her for that.  In a coma. Can vampires actually go into comas?  This is Spike – he does things no other vampire can do all the time.  If anyone can do a coma, it would be Spike. Stupid vampire.

 

 

            The flight across the Atlantic and then across the continental US to Los Angeles was long, even at jet speed, and the two girls eventually dozed off in their comfortable seats.  The whole vibe of the plane, owned by the notorious evil law firm of Wolfram and Hart was making Buffy’s slayer instincts scream with frustration.  The urge to do damage to it and to the obsequious humans doing their best to make her journey comfortable was making her skin crawl; she opted for sleep as a way to avoid scratching herself raw.

 

            Dawn remained awake a bit longer, chatting quietly with the flight attendant about Angel and Spike and what it was like to work for an evil law firm.  The man’s shrug and “Their money spends just as well as anyone’s” was as much as she could get out of him about his bosses and she soon gave up and closed her own eyes.  When next she opened them, they were approaching Los Angeles and preparing to land.  Buffy, whose popping ears had alerted her to the descent, was already awake and looking eagerly out the window.

 

            The plane landed smoothly, taxied to the terminal reserved for private planes, and came to a halt within a few feet of a long black car.  The girls emerged, blinking in the bright sunlight, to find the driver waving for them and calling their names.

 

            “Ms Summers! Welcome to Los Angeles.  If you’ll just step into the car, I’ll get your luggage and we’ll be on our way.”

 

            Eyeing the man dubiously, Buffy approached the open door and peered inside, finding, to her surprise, that Angel was seated in the back seat, safely away from the open door, but near a window that allowed sunlight to bathe his arm and face.

 

            “Angel! I wasn’t expecting you to meet us...is something wrong?”

 

            He sighed, as her immediate concern for Spike took obvious precedence over any happiness to see him, and tried to answer her in a friendly fashion.

 

            “Nothing more than what you already know,” he said tightly. “I just thought it would be- that you’d like it if I met you myself rather than leaving you to ride with a stranger.”

 

            Giving him a guilty smile, she entered the small limo and brushed her lips against his cheek before settling into the seat beside him.

 

            “I’m sorry, Angel.  I do appreciate it...especially since you’re risking flames for me,” she added, gesturing at his sunlit arm and face.

 

            “It’s treated glass,” he responded, watching her eyes widen. “It protects me – us – from the sun without blocking it out.”

 

            “Pretty cool.”  Dawn spoke for the first time.

 

            “Yes, it is.”  Angel’s response was short – his usual discomfort with Buffy’s sister evident.  Even though the monks had given him memories of Dawn to match everyone else’s, his knowledge that she hadn’t really existed when he lived in Sunnydale was always there and he wasn’t sure how to talk to her.  He remembered Spike’s ready affection for the girl and realized that, as far as Buffy’s sister was concerned, there was only one vampire in her life and it wasn’t the first one to have a soul.

 

            Fortunately, Dawn had no more interest in Buffy’s ex than he had in her and she devoted the rest of the drive to staring out the windows and trying to identify landmarks that she remembered from her imaginary childhood in the city.

 

            “How is he?”  Buffy’s voice was quiet and controlled, giving no hint of the emotions roiling through her.  Had she been able to, she would have willed the car to go faster. Now that she knew she was in the same city as the man she’d thought dead for the past several months, the urge to find him and see for herself was becoming overwhelming.

 

            “Pretty much the same as what I explained over the phone.  Physically, he seems healthy—“

 

“For a dead man,” she put in, sounding much too much like the subject of discussion than he would have preferred.

 

  “For a dead man,” he agreed with a sigh.  “He seems to be completely healed, he just won’t wake up from the coma.  Whatever Dana used on him is what put him into it, but it’s his own stubbornness that’s keeping him there.”  He couldn’t keep the aggrieved tone out of his voice, and she looked at him suspiciously.

 

            “Tell me again what’s going on in his head – and how you know about it.”

 

            “I was injected with a drug that allowed me to enter his coma – but it didn’t allow me to interact or communicate with him, so I wasn’t able to bring him out.  And nothing that anyone does from the outside seems to reach him at all. I think everyone in the building who knows him – including some people I had no idea he’d even talked to – has tried to talk him out of there.  Nothing works.”

 

            “Because he thinks he’s with me – in his head – he thinks we’re together.”

 

            “So it would seem.”

 

            “Dumbass!”  Dawn’s interjection made Angel sit up straighter.

 

            “I beg your pardon?”

 

            “Not you; Spike.  It’s just like him to want to play pretend in his head rather than have to face us and explain why he wasn’t on a plane to Rome the minute he popped out of that amulet.”  Dawn’s disgruntled look said that the blond vampire might be in for a rough time once he was actually conscious, and Buffy smiled at the thought of how he was going to have to grovel in apology.

 

            The girls were unfastening their seatbelts before the car had rolled to a stop in the underground garage, and Angel put a restraining hand on Buffy’s arm when she reached for the door.  “Let it stop moving before you jump out, Buffy.  He isn’t going anywhere.”

 

            Ignoring him, she opened the door and was on her feet by the time the driver had shut the engine off. Dawn was right behind her, standing by the trunk to grab their luggage.

 

            “Don’t worry about your bags, George will bring them to my office,” Angel said, beginning to walk toward the elevators.  “I can see that you’re anxious to see him.”

 

            Buffy studied the face of the vampire she had once thought was her soulmate, searching it for any sign of the pain she expected.  He kept it resolutely blank, waiting until Dawn had exited the elevator and followed his pointing finger toward the medical wing before turning to Buffy.

 

            “I learned a lot while I was inside Spike’s head,” he said slowly. “About him and about you and how much you two...mean to each other.  I’m not going to pretend that knowing you love someone else is making me happy, but I think I understand it.”

 

            “So, you’re all right with this?”  Her voice was soft, full of the affection she still felt for her first love, even as she chaffed at the delay in getting to her new one.

 

            “I’m as all right as I can be,” he said with a sigh.  “We’ve moved on – both of us.  I understand that.  And, as much as I hate to admit it, I know that Spike will never knowingly hurt you.  When he loves...it tends to be pretty permanent. For what it’s worth, you have my...”  He threw his hands up in the air.  “I just can’t say ‘blessing’ – you have my willing acceptance.  Is that good enough?”

 

            “It’s good enough,” she said gently. “And, thank you.  Now where’s my vampire?”

 

            Without waiting for his answer, she began walking in the direction she had seen Dawn take, Angel striding quickly behind her in an effort to keep up.  He indicated direction with a hand on her elbow and she soon found herself standing outside a large window and staring into a hospital room where her sister, tears streaming down her face, was clearly yelling at the comatose vampire.  With a grimace, Angel flipped a switch and Dawn’s voice carried to them clearly.

 

            “How could you do that to me?  How could you d-die without making up with me?  I wasn’t mad any more.  Well, okay, I was mad, but I never stopped loving you.  Since when do you stay away from somebody just because they tell you to?  I forgave you.  You should have given me a chance to say so.” 

 

            Her voice rising, she began a whole new rant, completely ignoring the fact that the object of her ire was peacefully sleeping with a small smile upon his face.

 

            “And don’t get me started on what a jerk you are for not telling us you were alive!  Did you think we didn’t care?  Didn’t you know we were...we were mourning you!  We were crying – Buffy didn’t let anybody else see it, but I could hear her at night.  It wasn’t enough that we thought you were dead, you couldn’t be bothered to let us know when you weren’t dead anymore?

 

            “Forget what I said about not being mad – I AM mad.  And when you wake up, I’m going to make your life so miserable....”

 

            Her voice trailed off and she sniffled before adding quietly, “If you wake up...please...wake up?”

 

 

 

 

Part Three

             

            Unable to wait any longer, and knowing that if there had been any way for Spike to hear Dawn, he would have responded to her, Buffy entered the room and walked to the bed.  She stared at the body lying there; only the slight trembling of her hands giving any indication that she was affected by the sight of the vampire she had been mourning for months. 

 

            This is my fault, isn’t it, Spike?  If I’d told you sooner, if I’d been able to make you believe me, you wouldn’t think the only way to have me was to stay unconscious.  

 

            She stood beside the bed, every fiber of her being wanting to throw herself on top of the sleeping vampire and tell him how much she loved and missed him.  Instead, she sat sedately in the chair Dawn had just vacated and calmly reached for one of his hands.  She flinched at the way it felt in hers, so much like a corpse that she almost dropped it.  Spike had always seemed so alive that she had never given much thought to the fact that his body was actually that of a dead man.  She spotted the scar around his wrist where the insane slayer had sawed off his hands, and she stroked it gently, shuddering to think of what he’d gone through.

 

            Of course, if the insecure ass had bothered to call me...

 

            Her internal rant was interrupted by her sister who said with some asperity, “Are you just going to stare at him, or are you going to try to talk to him?”

 

            “Huh?  Oh...oh, yeah.” She sat up straighter and leaned toward him while muttering, “I was talking to him...sort of...in my head...”

 

            “I think into his ear might be more useful, Buffy,” Angel said gently.  “Why don’t I show Dawn where you will be staying and leave you here to tell him to get his ass back in gear?”

 

            He ushered the protesting teen out of the room, and walked her to the main lobby in front of his office.  Dawn froze when she spotted the vampire behind the desk, her eyes narrowing dangerously and her hand producing a stake from a pocket he hadn’t even noticed.

 

            “What are you doing?” he growled.  “That’s my secretary!”

 

            “That’s Harmony! She kidnapped me and tried to kill me! She’s evil.”

 

            “Not anymore,” he whispered while Harmony began to wave timidly.  “Be nice.”

 

            “Be NICE? To Harmony?  You’re joking, right?”

 

            “I am NOT joking.  This is my office and there will be no staking of anyone who works for me.  Now put that away and tell her ‘hello’ before she waves her hand off.”

 

            “Dawn!” Harmony’s squeal caused Angel to wince in pain.  “How are you?  It’s so good to see you.  Are you visiting your father?”

 

            “We’re here to help Spike,” Dawn said stiffly, hiding the stake behind her back. 

 

            Harmony’s face fell.  “We?” she asked stiffly.  “You mean the Slayer is with you?  Where is she?”

 

            “Where do you think she is, airhead?  She’s with Spike.” Dawn rolled her eyes and put the stake away.  “You know Spike, right? Bleached blond hair, blue eyes, in a coma...”

 

            “I know my Blondie Bear,” she sniffed.  “I just don’t know what the Slayer thinks she’s going to be able to do if he wouldn’t wake up for me.”

 

            Dawn stared at Angel with wide eyes, but he just shrugged and said quietly, “She’s surprisingly good at her job.  Really.”

 

            Completely oblivious that her IQ had just been questioned and found wanting, Harmony turned back to her desk and sat down, no longer interested in talking to Dawn or being reminded that either one of the Summers sisters was more important to Spike than she had ever been.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

            “So,” Buffy began experimentally, “You came back, huh?  I guess you had your reasons for not telling me about it.  Of course, if you don’t wake up, you won’t get a chance to tell me and I’ll just have to go on thinking that you didn’t care enough to call me and tell me to stop...to stop crying over your undead ass!  Spike, how could you do that to me?”  Her voice had risen to a shout and she clasped a hand over her mouth in horror.

 

            Oh my god, I’m here five minutes and I’m already yelling at him.  No wonder he didn’t want to tell me he was back!  Oh, god, Spike, I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry...

 

            “It might be better for you to apologize out loud, dumpling.” The kindly voice coming from behind her and breaking into her self-scolding caused her to jump slightly. She turned around to find a large green demon gazing at her with such empathy that she had no urge to attack him.

 

            “Wha—what?”

 

            “I’m sorry, sweetcakes. I didn’t mean to startle you. Let me introduce myself.  I’m Lorne.  I’m an empath demon,” he added when she continued to stare at him blankly.  “Usually, I ask people to sing for me so that I can read what’s going on with them, but your feelings are just pouring off you – sort of the way short, blond and gorgeous there used to be.”

 

            “My...my feelings?”  Instinctively, Buffy tried to smother the anxiety and guilt she was feeling.

 

            “Yes, your feelings – that worry that you’ve found him, only to lose him again; your guilt over getting angry at him for letting you mourn longer than you needed to; and the love that he thinks he isn’t worthy of....those feelings.”

 

            “Oh,” Buffy muttered in defeat. “Those feelings.”

 

            “Tell him, Slayer,” Lorne suggested gently.  “He might hear you – and if he doesn’t, you will at least have said it.  At least one of you will feel better.”

 

            Buffy looked back at the vampire that she hadn’t stopped missing since her race to outrun the city crumbling around his head, and stroked his face softly. 

 

            I love you, Spike, she began, then cleared her throat and said clearly, “I love you, Spike.  I’m sorry I yelled at you.  I just...I missed you so much, and when I found out you were back and didn’t tell me...” She stopped, sure that if she continued, she would be yelling at him again.  She shot Lorne an apologetic glance and admitted, “I don’t think I know how to talk to him without yelling.”

 

            “Ah well,” the empath demon said as he turned to leave, “then he’s probably used to it and he’ll recognize it for what it is.”

 

            “For what it is?”

 

            “Yeah – your way of saying that you love him so much it makes you mad.” 

 

He waved his hand gracefully and left the room, leaving a very subdued slayer behind.  She moved closer to the bed and leaned down, putting her cheek next to his and whispering softly, “I love you, Spike.  Please come back to me and I promise that I will learn how to say it without yelling.  Please?”

 

When Dawn and Angel came back later, she was on the bed beside the inert vampire, her head resting on the same pillow and her hand stroking his arm.  She looked up when they entered, then reluctantly sat up and said, “I want to go in.”

 

“Buffy—“

 

“It’s not up for discussion, Angel.  I want in there.  If I’m already part of whatever is going on in there, then maybe I can find a way to work myself into one of his memories and get his attention.  It’s worth a try.”

 

“All right.  Why don’t you get some rest and we’ll do it in the morning?”

 

“Now.”  There was nothing in her tone but command from a slayer and he nodded his head.

 

“All right.” He gave a resigned sigh.  “Let me call the doctors.”

 

While she waited for the medical staff to follow Angel’s muffled instructions and bring the required drug, she lay back down beside Spike and resumed stroking his arm softly.  Dawn sat in the chair on the other side and held that hand, squeezing it periodically, then waiting with unconsciously held breath for any response.  When none came, she would release the breath in a sigh, and resume squeezing.

 

Angel studied the two girls as he waited for his staff to arrive, noting the care with which they touched Spike, and the sad affection on their faces.  With a start, he realized that, in one way or another, his annoying grandchilde had been a part of their lives longer than he had.  Yes, he had known Buffy (and, by extension her sister) longer, but he had not been a part of her life since he walked away from her tear-stained face five years ago.  Five years in which Spike, on the other hand, had been very much a part of their lives in one way or another.  He remembered how Spike and Buffy had joined forces to defeat Angelus, years before they had ever considered any kind of relationship other than bitter enemies, and he wondered if that truce had sown the seeds of the incredible connection that he was seeing now.

 

Wouldn’t that be the height of irony?  If Angelus was responsible for the two of them spending enough time together to fall in love?  The love of my life and the bane of my unlife – together because of me.

 

He was jostled out of his thoughts by the arrival of the medical team that had monitored his own trip into Spike’s brain, and he resolutely pushed his memories aside to assist them.  The doctor quickly explained to Buffy that she needed only to be touching and concentrating on Spike as the drug entered her system, and that they would monitor her vital signs, ready to step in with the antidote if they needed to get her out.

 

“Hey! You didn’t do that for me,” Angel complained, then coughed with embarrassment when they just stared at him until Dawn pointed out dryly, “You don’t have any vital signs, doofus.”

 

“I knew that,” he mumbled, moving closer to Buffy and away from her intimidating younger sister.

 

Dawn rolled her eyes and Buffy had to smother a smile, a quick flash of how much Spike would have enjoyed hearing his Bit taking his grandsire down a peg making her want to giggle.

 

She lay back down next to Spike, clutching his hand tightly and staring at his immobile face as she obediently held out her free arm for the drug.  She was close enough to him that their legs were touching as well as their arms and shoulders and she concentrated as hard as she could on him while feeling the drug pull her out of her body....  And into her body, which was now lying next to his, but in his old crypt, in the large four-poster bed that he had installed for her – a lovely thought, even if they were often too impatient to wait until they got to it, tearing off their clothes and coming together for the first time on a table, the floor or against a stone wall.

 

 This time, they appeared to have made it to the bed, as she was curled up next to the equally naked vampire and was idly running her fingers up and down his taut stomach.  He gave a little hiss every time she seemed to be planning to dip lower, growling when she then giggled and trailed them back up his chest.  She watched his cock twitching and swelling as she continued to play with him, and the memory of what she was seeing and participating in came back to her.  It was one of the few times that she had allowed her desire for his body and her appreciation of it to overcome her innate need to flee as soon as he had satisfied her.  She remembered that there had been a weekend when everyone was busy or gone away somewhere – including Dawn – and she hadn’t had to worry about anyone wondering where she was all day.

 

They had spent the entire day in bed, getting up only for quick meals upstairs and Buffy’s occasional trips to Spike’s makeshift bathroom.  From her new perspective, she could see and appreciate all the things that he had done to make his home more comfortable for her – the space heaters for cold nights, the smooth sheets on the comfortable bed, the running water that was somehow warmed before it came out of the cobbled-together shower.  He had even installed an old toilet in the sewer cave behind his crypt – putting down a wooden walkway so that she could get to it without stepping in the flowing water.  His refrigerator was always full of her favorite snacks and drinks, and he had even filled one dresser drawer with underwear and sweats in her size for those nights when her clothes suffered from their impatience.

 

With the knowledge that came with hindsight, she understood why this would have been one of his favorite memories.  It was one time when she relaxed and treated him like a lover, rather than a machine to be used for her satisfaction.  She felt herself growing warm as his hand came around to stroke her flank and she allowed herself to fall into the memory without regard for those who might be watching her.

 

As Buffy’s pulse went up, and her cheeks reddened, the doctor frowned and looked at the readings from the instruments that he had attached to her arm.  He was reaching for the antidote when Angel cleared his throat and said with a cough, “She’s okay.  She’s not in any trouble.”  Without the vampire’s sensitive nose, which had told him immediately why Buffy’s blood pressure and temperature were increasing, Dawn and the doctor were left puzzled until suddenly the teenager said, “They’re...ewwww! Why are we watching this?”

 

“A very good question,” Angel muttered.  “I think we should all leave for awhile.”  Even though neither the slayer nor the vampire had so much as twitched, the knowledge of what was going on inside the Spike’s mind was too much like watching to suit him. 

 

The doctor tried to argue.  “What if he attacks her?  What if not all his memories are as...happy...as this one?”

 

“He won’t attack her,” Angel said with sad finality.  “He loves her.  She’s perfectly safe with him.”

 

“And if he does, she’ll just kick his ass,” Dawn said brightly, rising to her feet and following the two men out of the room.

 

Part Four

 

On Spike’s bed, Buffy had stopped teasing the vampire and was now allowing her fingers to glide gently up and down his firm erection.  She lowered her head and nibbled her way down the smooth skin of his stomach, rubbing her nose in the light brown curls that led from his navel to his sac.  She giggled when his eager cock bumped against her face, then gave it a small nip and blew across the tip.

 

“You’re killin’ me here, Slayer,” he groaned – desperate for what she seemed to be planning, but afraid to demand it lest she change her mind.

 

“You’re already dead, Spike,” she responded cheerfully, running her tongue up the thick vein on one side.  “What could I possibly do to a dead man?”

 

“You could cause me to spontaneously combust,” he growled, giving in to impulse and grabbing her legs, putting her damp warmth within easy reach of his mouth.  “Two can play at this game, pet,” he added, barely tickling her folds with his tongue.

 

“I’ll bet you give in before I do,” she challenged, blowing her warm breath across him and eliciting another groan.

 

“Oh, we’ll just see about that,” he growled, even as he was arching his hips toward her mouth.  “We’ll just see about that, Slayer.”

 

“You...oh!...might as well give up now, vampire. You know I—“

 

The rest of Buffy’s response was lost as she began to pant, trying to maintain her focus on teasing Spike’s cock while he used his arms to lift her up and down, keeping her from settling onto his talented mouth.  He used his powerful tongue to tease her, while never allowing enough contact to build up the friction needed for her release. She could tell from the roughness of his tongue, and the way it could reach inside her, that he had gone into his vampire face. The thought turned her on even more, and she moaned in frustration before suddenly seizing his cock in her mouth and running her teeth over it.  His sudden cry and the way he clenched his hands on her thighs told her that she’d got his attention and she put her mouth to work.

 

“I thought...” he gasped, pushing into her mouth, ‘that we were going to see who lasted the longest before they begged?”

 

“I changed the rules,” she mumbled around the mouthful upon which she was sucking. “It’s who makes who come first.”

 

She filled her mouth with his eager flesh and began to suck in earnest, holding herself up on one arm so that she could caress his sac with one hand.  She squeezed his balls, wringing another groan from him when, in reaction to his pulling her clit into his mouth, she accidentally squeezed too tightly.  There was no sound but the pants and moans of the two strong beings as they worked to see which one could bring the other to a powerful orgasm first.

 

Buffy distinctly remembered that Spike had come first – she remembered swallowing him down and then shuddering all over when he nicked her clit with his fang and sent her over the edge.  Knowing what was coming, she softened her movements, waiting for the tremors to shake her body before plunging down onto him and pushing his cock into the back of her throat.  She allowed the scream of her release to vibrate against him, bringing him off with a snarling roar.

 

There was silence again for a long moment, both of them collapsed in sated exhaustion, her head resting on his flat stomach and his mouth ghosting kisses over the inside of her tanned thigh.  Suddenly she felt him stiffen and he moved her legs off his head, tugging her back up to nestle beside him again.  He was quiet, stroking her bare arm absently, a small frown creasing his brow.

 

“You won,” she said softly.  “Congratulations.”

 

“No,” he said suspiciously. “I didn’t win.  This isn’t right – something’s wrong.”  He sat up, staring down at her, his eyes fearful.  “Something’s happening to my memories.  They shouldn’t change---“

 

Buffy reached up and touched his face gently.  “Maybe it’s time to stop living in your memories,” she said softly.  “Maybe it’s time to come out and start making new ones.”

 

“Buffy?” 

 

She could feel the bed tremble with him as he gazed at her, realization beginning to set in.  She allowed her hand to slide down his cheek, cupping it briefly before moving to his shoulder and down his arm to clasp the same hand that she knew her real body was holding.

 

“Come back with me, Spike,” she whispered.  “I love you.  I miss you.  I want you to come back to me.”

 

“No,” he shook his head fearfully.  “I’m happy here. You love me here—“

 

“I love you everywhere,” she insisted.  “Even if I am really mad at you for not telling me you were alive, I still love you.  I still want you.”  She pulled away slowly, leaving their hands clasped, but sitting up and smiling at him.  “I’m going to go now – please come with me...” 

 

She opened her eyes to find herself in the same position in which she’d been lying when she entered his mind.  There was no change in the vampire, except that his mouth, which had been fixed in a small smile, was now twisted into a worried grimace.  She sat up and leaned over him, whispering against his lips, “Come with me, Spike.  Please come back to me.” For long, agonizing seconds, nothing happened; just as despair was beginning to fill her eyes with tears, she felt the slightest pressure against her lips.  She quickly pressed back, then darted her tongue out to trace around his now noticeably mobile mouth.  When she felt the rumble of his growl and his own tongue beginning to caress hers, she couldn’t hold back the tears.  The kiss quickly became a lost cause as she gasped her joy into his mouth, soaking his face with the tears that she couldn’t seem to stop.  When she felt his arms banding around and pulling her into a powerful embrace, she quit trying and just sobbed her relief into his chest until she was spent.

 

With a final, shuddering breath, she stopped crying and picked her head up to look into his eyes; finding them also moist and filled with wonder as he gazed at her happily.

 

“You’re really here,” he breathed.  “It’s really you.”

 

She nodded vigorously.  “I’m really here.  And I really love you and when we get over this emotional meltdown, I am totally going to kick your ass for not believing me!”

 

She the sound of his happy laughter was sweet music to her ears; she enjoyed the feeling of it shaking his body as he gasped out, “Just say when, pet.  My arse is all yours.”

 

“Really?” She reached an arm around him and pinched his muscular buttock, rubbing the pinched spot immediately in apology. Her mouth became dry as she watched his eyes darken with desire, and she couldn’t prevent the little moan that left her throat when he pulled her against his suddenly-erect cock.  It was very obvious that he had nothing on under the thin hospital gown and she couldn’t resist running her hand under it to squeeze him lightly.

 

“Got any other body parts that belong to me?” she murmured, beginning to caress him.

 

“Oh yeah, Slayer.  I think you found one of them...” He shoved the sheets off and shrugged out of the useless gown, smiling at the way she ran her eyes down his body.  She caught the smirk on his face and tried to appear innocent and offended.

 

“What?  It’s been a long time since I...I mean I was just checking you for...like wounds or scars or...”

 

“Yeah?  And what new scars might you have acquired, hmmm?” His hands made quick work of her shirt and bra and were working on the fastening to her pants when she remembered the big window into the room and that there had been three other people in it when she went under.

 

“Window!” she squealed, squirming away from his busy hands.  “There’s a window – and people – there might be people!”

 

“Sod the window, and sod anybody stupid enough to look in here.” He growled in frustration when it appeared that she might actually be planning to thwart him, and, picking up a heavy book beside the bed, he threw it unerringly at the overhead light, plunging the room into darkness in which only the sound of glass pattering to the floor was evidence of what he’d done.

 

“Well, that was just---“ Before Buffy could complain about his method of seeking privacy, her pants had been tugged off and she was pinned beneath a very amorous vampire.

 

“Do you know what else it’s been a long time since?” he asked rhetorically, already nudging at her entrance.  Without waiting for an answer, his mouth dipped to hers and she lost herself in one of the kisses that had haunted her dreams for so long.

 

“Mmmph!”

 

Unable to reply – what with her mouth being held hostage by his soft lips and eager tongue – she acted in typical slayer fashion, wrapping her legs around his hips and pulling him in until he was filling her completely and they were both sighing.  Spike took his mouth off hers long enough to murmur, “Missed you so much, Buffy.  Thought I’d never—“

 

She squeezed him gently, smiling when he groaned his pleasure. “I missed you too,” she whispered.  “I missed you and I cried and I wanted to die again, thinking that I would never--“

 

Lips found lips again and their hips began to rock in a timeless rhythm that built gradually until her gasping whimpers told him that she was close.  She felt

 his face shift against hers and with sudden understanding, she pulled away from his mouth and turned her head.

 

“Yes,” she whispered. “Do it.  Let me prove how much I love you.”

 

“You don’t have to prove anything to me, love,” he said, maintaining his rhythm, but meeting her eyes intently. “I didn’t mean to change – it just happened.”

 

“I want you to,” she insisted, even as she climbed towards the ecstasy she knew was coming.  “Make me yours, Spike...do it now!” Her voice rose as she clenched around him, her body arched into a bow as she shook with the force of her orgasm. He struck, his fangs slicing easily through the soft skin of her throat and letting the powerful slayer blood flow into his mouth.  “Mine,” he shouted as he exploded within her.  “Mine.”  His voice was softer, even though he was still pumping into the quivering slayer, the feedback from the bite and the claiming keeping them both in a repeating loop of sensation.

 

“Yours,” she sighed, finally recovering enough  to be able to speak.  “I am yours.... And you are mine!” she added with her own version of a growl, sinking her teeth into his neck until she drew blood.  The reciprocated claim was all it took to send them both into another quivering orgasm that continued until they were lying, totally spent, and gasping for air.

 

They remained still for several minutes, the magic of their actions still reverberating in the air around them, until Spike suddenly sat up and pulled the sheets and blankets over them.

 

“I’m not cold,” Buffy protested, bringing a chuckle from the vampire.

 

“That you aren’t, pet.  But I don’t really think you want whoever’s making those footsteps I hear to get an up close and personal look at the goodies, do you?”

 

“Somebody’s coming?” She sat up, clutching the sheet to her chest and staring at the lighted hallway just visible through the window.  When she saw Angel’s thunderous face, and Dawn’s bright red one, she groaned and fell back onto the pillow.

 

“What the hell happened in there?” Even his grandsire’s bellow couldn’t smother Spike’s happiness, and he replied cheerfully, “Nothing that can’t wait till the morning for clean up.  We’ll be needing a little privacy for a while longer, so if you’ll just post a ‘do not disturb’ on the door...”

 

Dawn’s excited squeal of “it worked!” wasn’t able to drown out Angel’s disgusted growl, but he obediently shepherded Dawn and the doctor away, instructing the night nurse that she wouldn’t be needed anymore and to be sure the ward was closed and locked before she left.

 

With a happy sigh, Buffy snuggled into Spike’s side, unable to hide her yawn.

 

“Bored already, love?” he teased.

 

“More like been up for most of the last twenty-four hours and sleepy,” she murmured into his chest.  “If I take a little nap, you won’t go back into a coma will you?”

 

“Not going anywhere, Buffy.  Not leaving your side, ever again. You have my word on it.”

 

“’kay, then,” she whispered, her lips moving against his skin.  “I love you, Spike.”

 

“I love you, too, Buffy.  Always have and always will.”

 

His only answer was a soft snore and he smiled down at her as he settled back to wait for the morning and the inevitable conversations and explanations. 

 

 

the end

 

 

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