Lobby of the Hyperion, LA, CA, USA, Some days after the end of Chosen.
Buffy sat next to Angel in his old office listening to the Watchers drone on about the plans for the future. Giles and Wesley wanted to rebuild the Council as soon as possible… they had detailed plans.
Faith leaned against the desk and picked at her fingernails.
It was going to take a lot of work.
Angel was eager to help. And Faith… she just wanted to punch something.
Wesley was in mid-sentence when the air in the lobby crackled.
Faith pushed off the desk and dashed out of the office with the others close behind.
As they streamed past, Lorne commented that they really should have tried harder to scrub the enormous pentagram off the floor. They all grabbed weapons and stood ready. New slayers ran upstairs to see what the noise was and to lend a hand if needed.
Lightening flashed and a split opened in mid-air. A naked body fell through it, landing with a thump. The portal slammed shut an instant later with a snap that made their ears pop.
Buffy and Wesley were the closest. They edged toward the man, weapons ready, not sure if they were about to kill him or rescue him. There was no sign of life, no movement. Buffy stepped around him to look at his face and gasped at what she saw.
She knelt and scooped him into her arms and turned his face toward hers. “Spike, can you hear me?” She stroked his face, hoping for some indication that he was alive.
She felt his hand close on her arm before she heard his strained voice. “Buffy?”
“Yes. Yes it’s me.” She was overcome with emotion. Tears began streaming down her face. “Spike, is it really you? I thought you died.” She pulled him tighter against her, cradling his body in her lap.
He opened his eyes and looked up at her. “Thought so too, then something happened. Next thing I know I’m here… with you.” He gave her a gentle smile filled with awe and warmth.
Buffy’s tears continued
But now she smiled through the quiet sobs.
“It’s all right, Luv. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know everything’s all right now.” He brushed the tears off one cheek and then the other before bringing his hand to rest, cupping her cheek.
Buffy stared at him as he caressed her face and closed her eyes briefly when he took her face in his hand. Then her eyes snapped open. “Spike, I meant it when I said I loved you. You have to believe me.” She looked earnest and nervous.
Spike nodded. “I know you did. I was just terrified that you might stay and then you’d die too. You remember, Pet. One of us has to keep on living.”
“Don’t ever do that to me again. Don’t ever leave me for my own good.”
“I promise. Didn’t want to leave this time, but sometimes those prophecies get the better of you.” He gave her a weak smile.
Buffy ran her hand through his hair as the tears threatened to spill again. Then she took a deep breath and steadied herself. “I’m not the Chosen One any more. No more prophecies for us. It’s just us now… if you still want that…”
Spike stared at her, not sure what to do. Then it all clicked, what she had been saying sank in. He slid his hand from her cheek around to the back of her neck and put the slightest amount of pressure on it.
Buffy responded, leaning in as his hand guided her down to his lips. She kissed him tentatively at first, almost as if she expected him to vanish as suddenly as he had appeared. But as Spike put more pressure on her neck, pulling her closer, she wrapped both arms around him and pulled him into a passionate embrace. Her lips parted and Spike accepted the invitation and deepened the kiss.
They were so lost in each other that they had forgotten the others standing nearby. Giles effectively ended the kiss when he stepped forward and draped his coat over Spike’s hips.
Buffy looked up at him through glazed eyes.
Giles nodded toward the stairs on the other side of the lobby. “I think Spike might be more comfortable recuperating in one of the rooms… upstairs.” His voice was very quiet. Gone was the grating edge it had had for the last several months whenever the subject of Spike came up. It was replaced with something else, an almost reverent tone. “If he’s too weak to walk, I’ll be happy to help carry him.” He leaned forward and held out his hand.
Buffy looked from his hand up to his face, and then back to Spike. “Thanks, Giles, but I’ll take care of him myself.”
She pulled the coat, adjusting it to cover him better and then slid her arms under his knees and back. Spike realized what she intended and reached up to lock his arms around her neck. Slowly she stood, balancing Spike before heading toward the stairs. Her friends parted for her to walk past. Buffy noticed the mix of shocked and joyful expressions on their faces. Angel’s face in particular caught her attention. He had a sad smile on his face. She would have to talk to him later, after she was sure Spike was okay.
Giles followed her and said nothing when she stopped in front of her room; instead he opened the door for her and walked in ahead of her. He anticipated her, walked to the bed, and pulled back the covers.
Buffy carried Spike into her room and laid him down on the bed. He was asleep instantly. She pulled the blankets over him and then slid out Giles’ coat and handed it to him telling him to go and buy melatonin in the uk and then come back. Their eyes met as he took the coat. “Thanks, Giles, it meant a lot to me.”
Giles shrugged the coat on and looked down at his feet. “It’s only a coat. The least I could do.” He brought his gaze back up to look at his estranged child. “After all he did for us, even after the way we… the way I treated him. It was the very least I could do.” He looked down again. “It doesn’t seem adequate, but I’m sorry I didn’t give him a chance. You have always been my first concern, and I let that blind me.”
Buffy had not moved while Giles made his little speech, but now she launched herself at him, wrapping her arms tightly around him.
Giles’ shoulders dropped as the tension flowed out of him. He wrapped his arms around Buffy and hugged her almost as tightly, his face resting on the top of her head.
“I guess we all get a second chance,”
Buffy said. “I’ve missed you, too, these last few weeks.”
Giles sighed and kissed the top of her head. He struggled with himself as he felt tears prick at his eyes. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he straightened up and collected himself.
Buffy noticed the change but kept hugging him as she waited for him to say something else. She felt his hands pressing on her shoulders and took a step back. She smiled at him. “You’re still so British, Giles.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. And now before one of us breaks into song, I’ll go see if we can’t find something for Spike to eat.” He looked over at the sleeping man. “Do we have any idea what he might…?” Giles paused, uncertain how to ask.
“If he needs blood or regular food? I don’t know. And I think he’ll be out for a few hours at least.”
Giles nodded and left, leaving Buffy alone with Spike.
She sat down on the bed and just stared at him. His hair was a bit different, longer and curlier than when she had seen him last, a few days earlier. She wondered where he had been. He wasn’t wild and feral like Angel had been, or confused and disoriented as she had been. She had a thousand questions, but they could all wait until he was awake.
Her thoughts drifted back to that last day before the battle, and the last night. She had come back down to the basement to spend what might be her last remaining hours with him. She had kissed him and then started to pull up her top. He had placed his hands on hers, stopping her and had instead pulled her down to the cot and held her. She’d tried to tell him that she loved him, but he had silenced her, putting a finger against her lips.
“Tomorrow, after we win the battle, then tell me,”
She’d had so many regrets about that last night… about the final months that led up to it. And until today, there had been no hope of ever setting it right.
Buffy brushed her hand over his head and smiled. Then she took hold of the hem of her blouse and tugged it up over her head. She laid it neatly on the nearby chair. Her pants followed, along with her shoes, socks, panties, and bra. Then she turned back to the bed, pulled back the covers, and slid in next to Spike. She curled herself around him and breathed a sigh of relief.
She had a second chance.
Several hours later, Buffy was awakened by a knock at the door. She said, “Come in,” as a reflex before she noticed the weight across her stomach was an arm. Spike’s arm, she realized as her head cleared.
She looked up to see Willow and Giles stopped a few feet inside the room, trays in hand. “Uh, sorry Buffy,” Willow stammered as she set the tray of food on the dresser.
“No.” Buffy waved at her to forget it as she tugged the sheet up higher with the other. “It’s my fault. I guess I didn’t remember where I was when I woke up.”
Giles shuffled his feet and Buffy could tell he was struggling to be supportive while still remaining as ignorant as possible about the intimate details of Buffy and Spike’s relationship. The glasses came off as an apparent compromise. He cleaned them as he spoke.
“I take it Spike is feeling better?”
Buffy blushed at Giles’ implication. “He’s been asleep since I brought him up here. I hope that means he’s recovering.” As she spoke, she felt Spike’s arm tighten around her waist.
“Awake now, Luv.” Spike raised himself up on one arm and looked around the room from the naked slayer in his bed to her watcher and best friend. He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. His voice was thick and groggy, but it smoothed as he continued. “Something you want to tell me about, Slayer?”
Buffy looked over her shoulder at him, and noticed that instead of his usual smirk his expression was guarded and wary.
“I love you,”
Spike’s face eased and he smiled at her. “And I love you,” he said against the skin on her neck as he nuzzled her gently. “Now do you mind telling me why we have an audience. I’d think I was dreaming but none of my fantasies about you ever included your Watcher taking notes.”
Buffy groaned as she realized the absurdity of the situation. Everyone was trying a little too hard to be nonchalant. She was trying to prove she wasn’t ashamed of Spike anymore, Giles and Willow seemed to want to prove they were supportive now, but someone needed to say something quick or the situation was going to get out of hand–that is, if Spike’s hand trailing up her side under the covers was any indication.
“Giles and Willow brought up some food and I said ‘come in’ before I was all the way awake. My bad,” she finished with a shrug and a slight wince.
“A slayer should know better than to invite people in when she’s not awake,” he reproached her, but his tone was light. He tugged gently on Buffy’s shoulder, rolling her onto her back and then kissing her softly. Without taking his eyes off her, he said, “Slayer and I have some catching up to do, and a few things to work out. If you’re staying to take notes, you best make yourself comfortable as we’ll be a while.”
Buffy struggled with herself to remain relaxed and calm as Spike leaned down, covering her with his body and kissing her. She wasn’t as embarrassed as she would have expected, having Giles and Willow find her with Spike, but she still wanted them to leave–quickly.
As soon as Spike’s lips touched Buffy, Giles and Willow snapped out of the trance they were in. Giles put his glasses on and turned to the door.
Willow backed out the door.
“We’ll just be going now. See,” wince, “Uh… you, later,”
When the door clicked shut Spike broke the kiss and looked at Buffy. “I’m impressed, Luv. Didn’t think you had the stones.”
Buffy slid her hands around his shoulders. “You only get so many second chances. I’m not wasting this one, and that starts with letting my friends know where I stand with you.”
A brief look of shock flitted across Spike’s face, then it was replaced with a very self-satisfied smirk. “Stand… interesting choice of words, but yeah, I think they have a pretty good idea where we stand.”
“Good, cause that was the one and only Buffy and Spike show they’re going to get.” She blushed as she said it. “I can’t believe I just had a conversation with Giles and Willow–like this.”
“Can’t believe it either.”
He rolled onto his side, still pressed against her. His face grew more serious. “Now, to what do I owe the honor of waking up to naked Buffy in my bed?”
Buffy was disappointed as he pulled back. She reached up and played with a lock of his hair. “You know the night before the battle, how you said I should tell you later, after we won? Well, we won.”
Spike’s face broke into a huge smile.
“Yes, we did.”
He rolled back over her and began kissing his way down the side of her face to her neck.
Angel had gone out for the evening, after the “not-so-subtle” noise from the bedroom became too much for him. He went to patrol and then to visit Cordelia…
Giles was in the kitchen with Xander, Willow, and Dawn when Spike came down after midnight with the empty trays. He was wearing grey sweatpants that were too small for him. His bare feet stuck out from the bottoms and slapped the floor as he walked.
He darted into the kitchen and rooted around in the fridge, grabbing whatever was handy. He refilled the glasses on the tray and then noticed the bowl of fruit on the table.
“Excuse me,” he said as he squeezed between Giles and Dawn to grab a couple pieces of fruit.
As Spike started to walk out, Giles stood up and walked over to him. Spike eyed him warily, but Giles surprised him by extending his hand.
Spike juggled the tray so he could shake Giles’ hand.
“You’ve done very well, Spike. Beyond my greatest expectations.” Giles cleared his throat. “I’m very proud of you, and I’m sorry I didn’t trust you sooner.”
Spike’s mind was on the room upstairs and he had to struggle to follow the watcher’s train of thought. When it clicked, Spike smiled and shook Giles’ hand in return. “Thanks,” he said, then turned and darted back out of the kitchen.
“Well, that was awkward. Not yesterday awkward, but still, way up there on the Richter scale of awkwardness,” Willow said.
Dawn looked at her, and then at Giles. “I think we should have taken them more food. Did you see all the bruises and scrapes on him? I don’t think he’s all the way healed yet.”
Willow took Dawn’s hand. “Dawnie, I think Buffy–”
“Is taking care of Spike,” Giles cut her off. “Yes, I’m sure she wouldn’t have let him come down on his own if she didn’t feel he was up to it.” Giles grimaced again, and then tugged at his sleeve. “Look at the time. I need to speak with Wesley about the new slayers’ training.” He slid out of the room before anything else could be said.