Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Can't Buy Me Love

Chapter Title:


I'll Be Your Man

Chapter Summary:


The big fight is coming up, Buffy tries to help Spike be ready for it. Will he appreciate her ‘help’?


Time line:

December 2010



MacKenzie Verity Weckerly born October 9th, 2010

Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010

Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880 1890; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.

The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.



Music Referenced:

I’ll Be Your Man, James Blunt


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:



Thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter. Any mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling ...

Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.

(Next Day) Thursday, December 30th, 2010, 11:00am, at the mansion:


“Hey, Li’l B!” Faith called to Bess as the girl passed the door of the training room where Faith was working out.


Bess stopped and turned back, aborting her path towards the garden doors, where Xander was working on hanging new French doors.  He’d asked her to give him a hand getting them into place and holding them steady while he shimmed and leveled them.


“Yeah?” Bess called, stepping into the room.


“Busy?” Faith questioned as she punched half-heartedly at the heavy bag that hung from the ceiling.


“Uhhh … I’m supposed to help Xander…” Bess offered, looking back over her shoulder to see if he was ready for her yet.


“It’ll only take a minute … come in – close the door,” Faith requested.


Bess pulled the door closed behind her and stepped up to where Faith was still punching lightly at the bag.


“You know,” Faith started as she tilted her head, silently asking Bess to hold the bag for her. “You and I are a lot alike …”


Bess got on the back side of the bag and held it still as Faith hit it harder. “We are?”


“Yeah … you know … free spirits. Not fools for love, like Buffy and Spike. We’re not tied down by all the insanity of true love and romance and all that crap like they are,” Faith explained.


“Oh …”


“I mean … honestly! Have you watched them?  Have you noticed the way Buffy sidles up next to him on the couch and how he slips his arm around her shoulders when they’re watching TV? Or the way Spike twirls one finger in her hair after she does that … round and round like he was hypnotized by it or something – geez, give me a break. Or the gooey way they look at each other when Princess Fiona gives up her royal life, defies her family, and stays an ogre just to be with Shrek?” Faith rolled her eyes. “How many times can you watch Shrek, anyway?”


“I think … I think Annie likes that movie…” Bess pointed out, but Faith just ignored her.


“We’re hunters … solitary hunters. We see what we want … take it; Want, take, have,” Faith continued in a conversational tone. “We’re Slayers … true Slayers, in the sense of what that used to mean, when there was only one – we stand alone.”


Bess pulled her lips in between her teeth and listened, but didn’t respond as she continued holding the bag and Faith punched and kicked harder.


“Buffy and Spike … they totally don’t get that.  Buffy’s always had her little Scooby gang and her boyfriends fighting with her … first Angel, then Spike … Pffffft!” Faith snorted. “Slayers aren’t supposed to have Scooby gangs, they aren’t supposed to have relationships – you and I know that.  All those strings, all those feelings … people pulling you in a hundred different directions, always having to worry about them. That’s not how we’re built, you and I.”


“No?” Bess questioned with a slight furrow in her brow as she made a mental note of Buffy’s first boyfriend’s name … Angel. That’s why Spike doesn’t like the name…


“No way,” Faith continued confidently. “And don’t get me started on love … I mean, that’s just what a Slayer needs! Her heart getting all fluttery, bursting with some kind of crazy joy or something when some guy walks in the room! Please! How lame is that? Totally distracting is what it is; it’ll get you in nothing but trouble, take it from me.  Nope – want, take, have,” Faith repeated, “… that’s us – you and me.  We don’t go for flowers and love notes and being serenaded in the moonlight and long walks on the beach … that’s all saccharine bullshit. ‘Wham, bam, thank you, Sam … now get the hell out’. That’s us.”


When Bess didn’t say anything, Faith continued. “I mean, who wants to go to the effort of talking to a guy, getting to know them, actually trying to connect with their brains? Did you know that, in hockey, a protective cup for a guy’s balls was first used in 1874, but the first helmet for their heads wasn’t used until 1974?  What does that tell you about what part of a guy’s anatomy is most important?”


Bess suppressed a small laugh. “Is that true?”


“As I live and breathe,” Faith assured her, raising her right hand in oath. “Don’t worry about Buffy and Spike, kiddo … you hang with me, keep doing what you’re doin’ and you’ll be fine.  You won’t have to worry about all that mushy love and romance or comforting support from someone who’d do absolutely anything for you getting in your way. You won’t have to worry about finding your soul mate and feeling that empty glass inside you fill up with sweet, red wine and intoxicate you with joy. Nope – we’re tough, and we don’t need any of that sappy shit – not us.”


Bess furrowed her brow but nodded lightly. She was afraid Faith was wrong … she wasn't sure about that intoxicating feeling the other Slayer spoke of, but she knew the joy of love. She loved Angelpie like the kitten was her baby … and she was pretty sure she loved Sue-Ann in a best friend sort of way, and she was very sure she loved Buffy and Spike and Annie, Dani, and Billy, and even MacKenzie, even though the baby didn’t seem to do much more than eat, slobber, and make very smelly poop … then laugh about it, in a family sort of way.  She’d never loved a man … not in that gooey, intoxicating way that Faith spoke of, not like Buffy and Spike loved each other, but would that really be so bad?  Besides Bess, Buffy was the longest living Slayer in history, so something must be working … and she and Spike seemed genuinely happy … most of the time, anyway. And what was wrong with staying an ogre if it meant you could be with the person you truly loved?


“So – you just keep that in mind, ok L’il B? Just keep those guys at arm’s length … don’t let them get too close, you don’t want to risk all that fluttery, walking on air, stupid grin plastered on your face 24/7, love stuff,” Faith concluded, pretty sure she’d made her point … in a completely reverse psychology sort of way. 


Faith sometimes wished her parents had figured out the theory of reverse psychology when she was young – because she was nothing if not a mirror … always doing the opposite of what was being shown to her or expected of her.  It had taken her a long time to see the error in that … not that doing it her way was always wrong, but at times … at times it was. She hoped she could show Bess what she was missing … something that Faith only recently realized might have value, in a way that maybe the girl could get.  Buffy and Spike were often just too straightforward; ‘I say it, it’s true, therefore you will believe it’.  Ideas presented like that might work for Annie or Billy … even Dani, who was a bit more of a rebel than the other two, but didn’t always sink in through the high defensive walls of someone like Bess … or Faith. Sometimes to hit your target, you have to aim a little off to one side to compensate for the crosswind of past experiences.


“Ok,” Bess agreed softly as she let go of the bag and headed for the door to see if Xander needed her yet. “I’ll certainly keep all that in mind.”



(Next night) Friday, December 31st, 2010, New Year’s Eve, 10:00pm:


Buffy and Spike were alone in the mansion. Finally. Completely, utterly, absolutely alone for the first time in he didn’t know when.  Everyone had gone to Xander and Anya’s New Year’s Eve party to watch the ball drop in Times Square and ring in the New Year … 2011.  Willow and Tara had even taken MacKenzie with them … not another living soul in the whole house, not even a termite … so why was Spike sitting alone on the couch watching the telly while Buffy was in the kitchen cleaning up?  That’s what Spike would like to know, too … she’d been acting strangely most of the week. Distant, avoid-y.


Buffy finally trailed in from the other room and sat a mug of blood down on the coffee table for him before taking a seat on the opposite end of the couch. Spike rolled his eyes as he picked up the mug – Slayer blood, not pig’s blood, he could tell before even raising it to his lips.  She’d gone down to the blood bank and had them draw her blood … she’d been serving it to him in his mug for three days now…


Not that he didn’t need it or appreciate it – because he did, on both counts. Anything to give him an edge over the Pele demon he would face tomorrow night was welcome, but this was just wrong, as Buffy would say.  Half the joy of Slayer blood was sipping it directly from the beautiful chalice of the Slayer … he hadn’t even had a nibble … of anything, now since Tuesday.  He was healed, his knee felt fine, his bruises and other injuries from the fight the previous Saturday night were completely gone – and yet, here he sat; drinking Slayer blood from a novelty mug while the actual Slayer sat on the opposite end of the couch pretending to be completely engrossed in the documentary that had just come on Animal Planet … ‘A Day in the Life of an Earthworm’.


“Amazin’, innit?” Spike asked dryly.


“Yeah … who know they could breathe through their skin like that …” Buffy agreed.


“That’s not what I meant…”


“Oh – that they can live for six years in captivity?” Buffy wondered. “Who, exactly, keeps earthworms as pets, anyway?”


“Probably the same poor sods that keep bloody hermit crabs … but that’s not what I meant…”


“That they don’t have eyes but can detect light? How do they do that … with their skin or something? So they can see and breathe with the same organ?” Buffy wondered idly. “That would be handy though … if I could see with my lungs, then guys might actually look me in the eye when they talked to me…”


“Noooo … three strikes, Slayer, you’re out,” Spike informed her, rolling his eyes.


“What then?” she asked, finally looking at him.


“That even earthworms get shagged … unlike certain vampires and Slayers,” Spike clarified.


Buffy’s face flushed slightly and she shifted uneasily in her seat. “You have sex … we have sex all the time … well, not all the time … but … like … lots of times.”


“But not of late…” Spike pointed out.


Buffy shrugged and wrapped her arms around her torso. “Look…” she began, pointing at the TV, “…they can tell when a robin is hopping around looking for them… that’s a neat power to have … if you’re a worm.”


Spike raised his brows and clicked the TV off with the remote.


“Hey! I was watching that!” Buffy objected. “They were just getting to the exciting part about composting…”


“What the bloody hell is wrong with you, Slayer?” Spike questioned, turning in his seat to face her. “Did I do something to offend? Say something wrong? Tell a tale out of school? Didn’t wash the dishes ‘fore I put ‘em in the dishwasher? Stole the prize outta your cereal box?”


“No … nothing’s wrong. I’m fine; we’re fine…” Buffy assured him, reaching for the remote to turn the TV back on.


Spike grabbed her wrist when she reached towards the remote and pulled her hand farther – past where the clicker sat on the seat between them, to his lap. He pressed her palm down against his erection as he watched her eyes; he could see the desire flash in them even as she jerked her hand away like she’d just touched hot coals.


“Buffy … what the bloody hell is wrong with you?” Spike tried again. “Are you … is something wrong?” he asked with concern, looking down briefly to her lap and then back up again.


“No! No … nothing’s wrong – I’m fine …” Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed, her shoulder’s slumping. She’d been trying to be strong for him … he wasn’t making it easy.


“Ok … ya got me, then, Slayer – you won’t even touch me. Do I smell funny?” Spike wondered, lifting an arm and sniffing. “I took a shower …”


Buffy rolled her eyes again. “No … you smell fine …”


“Then please tell me what’s going on in that noggin o’ yours … ‘cos I can’t suss you out,” Spike begged.


Buffy looked up at the ceiling a moment, before turning her eyes back to him. “It’s just … well, you’ve got that fight tomorrow night and … well … you know,” Buffy explained with a shrug.


Spike waited a moment for her to continue, then shook his head. “No … I don’t know.”


Buffy looked at him like he was stupid or something, shaking her head and rolling her eyes. “You know … fighters … football players … athletes that need to be all mean and … ‘grrr-arrgh’ … they aren’t supposed to have sex before a competition. It … weakens you … you know – your knees or something,” Buffy clarified.


Spike laughed in relief and dropped his head back against the headrest, so he was looking up at the ceiling now. They really should paint some pictures up there … like the Sistine Chapel … maybe they could start pinning some of the kid’s drawings to the ceiling, the fridge was getting a bit overwhelmed with artwork, anyway.


“What? It’s not funny! I’m trying to … help. You don’t want to go in there and have weak knees and just … collapse or something!” she defended, angry that he was laughing at her.


Finally, he raised his head and looked at her, shaking his head slightly. Only Buffy … only Buffy would go to all that trouble, get her blood drawn, watch earthworm documentaries, keep her own desires under lock and key, to help him.  “Old wife’s tale … maybe old coach’s tale, luv… complete bollocks, that is,” Spike assured her.  “Makin’ love to you only makes me stronger …”


Buffy looked at him with a furrowed brow. “But … but I saw it on TV lots of times … they always say ‘no sex before the big game’ … I don’t … drain your energy?” she asked with a pout, her feelings slightly hurt ... well, maybe more than slightly.


Spike pursed his lips together to keep from grinning and making her mad. “For a bit … but you give back more than you take, luv. You give me a piece of your soul, a bit of your heart … all of your love – you give me strength, pet. You make me remember why … why I fight, why I’ll win – for you, for the bits.”


“Are you … sure?” she questioned with sincere concern. “‘Cos, it’s ok, I can … hold out. I mean … earthworms are very … totally interesting, in an unbelievably, utterly boring way. And composting! Wow! Can you believe how that works with the sitting there and just … sitting there? And … I think there’s a show about slugs later … also mind-numbingly dull.”


“C’mon over here, luv … and no worries ‘bout sapping my strength – trust me, feeling your body next to mine only makes me more wickedly invincible,” Spike enticed her over from the other end of the sofa, raking his tongue over his teeth and reaching a hand out again to pull her towards him.


“I don’t have to watch shows about earthworms anymore?” she wondered, looking at the dark TV screen.


“Never…” Spike assured her.


“Or slugs? Sloths?”


Spike shook his head, a bemused smile on his lips.


“Oh, thank God …” she breathed as she launched herself at him, catching him slightly off guard as she captured his lips with hers and wrapped her arms around his neck while she scrambled onto his lap.


It didn’t take Spike long to recover though and he wrapped his arms around her body and pulled her tighter against him.  It seemed like forever since she’d touched him … it had only been four days, but she’d been acting so distant and he couldn’t suss it out … he thought he might’ve contracted cooties or something.


Spike found the hem of her shirt and pulled it up, their kiss breaking only briefly as the garment slid over her head and she flung it off, then she was pulling his shirt off and it joined hers on the floor by the Christmas tree.  Their hands danced over the other’s flesh; Buffy’s body warm and supple under Spike’s palms; Spike’s hard and cool under hers.  Spike expertly unhooked her bra and Buffy dropped it off her shoulders, then his hands were cupping her breasts as their tongues continued to cavort … dancing to a refrain only they could hear.


“God, Buffy …” he moaned against her lips as he began trailing his lips and tongue across her jaw to her neck, setting her body ablaze with desire.  Her skin tingled, not just where he was touching her, but everywhere, it seemed.  Her loins ached and contracted, yearning for him to fill her; her juices flowed, dampening her panties, soaking through to her jeans, sending her fragrance wafting up to drive him even more insane than he’d already been.


Spike caught one hot nipple between his lips and sucked down hard as he teased the other with a silken touch of a slender finger.  Buffy’s back arched and a small cry escaped her throat as she pushed her hips down harder against his erection.  She could feel his hardness through their clothes and she rubbed her pussy against him, which only succeeded in teasing her clit and fanning the flames that were building in both of them.


“Spike … need you,” Buffy moaned as she tangled her hands in his hair and pulled his mouth harder against her breast.  Her hips jerked involuntarily against him. She felt like she would explode if she didn’t have him soon … watching earthworms mate wasn’t any easier on her than it had been on him.


Her name tumbled off his lips as a deep rumbling growl while his hands slid down to her jeans and easily opened the top button and slid the zipper down. Then his fingers were searching, sliding down her hot skin to find her damp folds and then … ignition ... blast off. Buffy screamed out and her body tightened and arched as his finger found her clit and the teasing ended as he tapped down on the raging bundle of nerves with ever increasing speed and pressure. 


Spike’s fingertips felt like they were leaking magic out all over her skin and it had somehow seeped into her body and was, this very moment, devouring her with its power and beauty.  There was no other explanation for the bright flashes of color that were bursting behind her closed lids as Spike brought her to orgasm with only his delicate hands, his slender fingers … they must hold magic … that’s all it could be.  Spike drew his hand back and lifted it to her mouth, his fingers glistening with her honey.  Buffy opened her eyes and met his as she slid her lips over his digits slowly, sucking him into her mouth, wrapping her tongue around and around, tasting herself on him; devouring them both.  When she released him, Spike’s lips captured hers, his tongue replaced his fingers inside her glorious mouth where the taste and feel of her juices lingered on her tongue, her lips.  Nirvana.


They both moaned in pleasure as his hand slipped back between them, his index finger sliding past her clit to tease the sensitive skin of her slick hole. Buffy’s hips jerked against him and she pulled back from the kiss and leaned her upper body back until her shoulder blades touched his legs, giving him more room to work as he caressed her with that magical touch…


Spike gazed down on her – her back arched, her breasts swaying, bouncing, her hair hanging down towards the floor like a golden waterfall, her face contorted in delectable pleasure.  His other hand reached out and brushed one nipple and her body spasmed then undulated like a wave rolling in from the sea. His thumb found her clit as his long fingers continued to tease her throbbing hole and Buffy screamed out again as more brilliant, colorful fireworks exploded within her and chill bumps covered her skin, embracing every inch of her like a diaphanous, magical lover.


Then they were on the floor … Buffy didn’t remember how they got there, had they fallen or had Spike lowered them down? She didn’t know … magic, perhaps. Spike was tugging her jeans the rest of the way off and she was kicking and wriggling out of them and then those fingers were touching her again and she gasped as they slid in, one, then two … then his pinky pressed into her puckered hole and she moaned his name … low and gravely with unabashed lust.


“Tell me what you want, pet…” he murmured as he finger fucked her ass and pussy, but she couldn’t tell him anything at that moment because what she wanted right then was exactly what he was doing. She could only moan his name and call to God. Was it a prayer of gratitude or a plea that this feeling never end that she sent to the heavens?  Not even she knew … it was just what rolled from her lips, this was heaven on earth and Spike was the wizard that could transport her there with just a touch.


His other hand found her clit and Buffy’s hands came up to her breasts, pulling, twisting, ravaging her hard, sensitive nubs as Spike’s fingers invaded her and lifted her higher … up above the bright fireworks that were exploding above them to heaven itself.  A scream ripped from her throat and her prayers and moans were slashed from her lips, replaced by the primal cry of a woman taken beyond the stars by her lover, her husband, her friend … her soul mate. 


Spike watched her rise higher and higher. He could feel her supple walls tighten around his fingers – her pussy throbbed and clamped down on him, her ass tightened, silently begging him to stay … don’t pull out, don’t go, don’t stop.  Then she screamed and her whole body convulsed in pleasure so intense that he wasn’t sure how she kept it from ripping her apart – but he knew, it was the scream that kept that from happening; otherwise the bliss would explode within her.  He briefly thought that would be his choice for how to go out of this world … when the time came, to simply explode with bliss.


When the brilliant lights busting within her subsided, Buffy's eyes fluttered open and she was met by Spike’s.  When had he moved? When had he shed his own jeans? She didn’t know, but now he was above her, looking down, watching her. His blue eyes were burning with a brilliant flame of lust and love, and there were flashes of gold which seemed to glitter and sparkle within the field of blue. Spike’s body pressed against her and she welcomed his hardness into her aching core as they fell together. Magic danced between their eyes … blue and green locked together, neither wavering, as he slid into her and she engulfed him, surrounded him with her desire.


“Spike …”


“Buffy …”


Their moans of the other’s name was music … sweet, beautiful, lyrical … magical. 


Buffy wrapped her arms around his back … his hard muscles tensed and his skin quivered under her touch as they both began to move together.  For many moments, the only sound that could be heard was the tenor of their bodies as he slid in and out of her wet pussy … which struggled to keep him in, to pull him back; the sound of their flesh touching … sticking slightly with perspiration, then pulling apart with a small sucking sound, and their labored breathing. It was an age-old melody that never grew tiresome, no matter how many times they sang it.  As their passion grew, the dance changed; the melody morphed and the delicate lilt was overpowered by a more raucous refrain.


Flesh slapped against flesh as the tempo of their lovemaking quickened, Spike’s balls smacked hungrily against Buffy’s ass, his hips slammed against her as he drove his cock deeper, harder into her burning womanhood. Their gasps and moans and cries were the harmonious chorus which lifted their chant of love and lust and desire up to the heavens and beyond.  Their song filled the empty house with bliss … with joy and passion and it seemed to revel in it as if it could feel their love and passion. The beleaguered mansion, which had seen them at their best and at their worst, added its own voice to the symphony … somewhere a curtain fluttered in the breeze coming in the window, ice dropped from the maker into the half-full tray, a motor on some appliance whirled to life, a joist creaked and moaned as it settled against its sister, and the grandfather clock at the top of the stairs began to sound its countdown to the New Year.


But the lovers didn’t hear the familiar sounds of the old house – they only heard the other’s aria as their symphony crested.  Their bodies climaxed together as the powerful crescendo threatened to drown them with its resonance and reverberated through the mansion. Their voices merged, somehow magically melding into one glorious zenith, as the baritone of Spike’s deep roar and the soprano of Buffy’s passionate scream escaped their throats and blanketed them both with the love and power of the other’s orgasm.


Buffy clung to Spike as her body arched and quivered under him, her sugar walls tightening around his hardness almost painfully and pulling him deeper as her legs held him prisoner with their strength and power.  Spike’s cum surged into her, filling her tight channel with his essence as they both found paradise in each other’s arms.  Colorful pixies danced on their bare skin as the Christmas tree lights blinked and blazed nearby … was it a sacrilege to have sex under the Christmas tree? Was Santa taking notes? This would definitely get them on the ‘naughty’ list … no doubt about it. Dear Santa, define ‘good’.


Buffy giggled joyously as she finally loosened her grip on Spike, freeing him from the tangle of her limbs as he settled his body down gently atop hers and wrapped his fingers in her golden mane.  He gave her a smile as he dropped soft kisses on her face … trying to capture the dancing colors from the tree that glistened on her damp skin with his lips.


“So … are you the Caped Crusader now? … Ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Faster than a speeding bullet? Or do I have more work to do?” Buffy teased.


Spike laughed and pulled back to look at her face.  He loved that look on her – hair mussed, skin rosy and flushed, damp with perspiration, eyes dilated from their naturally-occurring drug of choice. “You’re mixin’ your superheroes pet … Batman was the Caped Crusader … Superman leaped the buildings.”


“Oh,” she pouted lightly. “You know, I never understood that leaping the buildings thing … I mean, Superman could fly … why would he need to leap over anything? He could just … you know … fly over it.”


Spike nodded and rested his head down next to hers. “A valid question, pet … one which I reckon I got no answer for.”


Buffy ran her hands up and down Spike’s back, gliding them softly over his flesh, down to his firm ass cheeks and then back up to his strong shoulders as the two fell silent for a few moments. The whole house seemed to sigh contentedly with them.


“So …” Buffy asked softly, “…what invincible superhero are you?”


Spike lifted back up and looked her in the eye. “I’m your man … that’s all I need t’ be.”


Tears stung Buffy’s eyes and she ran a finger lightly down from his scared brow, across one sharp cheekbone to his lips. “You don’t have to do this, Spike … we can find another way to get money,” she whispered to him. "I know Scrunchies sound crazy ... but I swear..."


Spike shook his head slightly. “I've no doubt 'bout your crazy hair baubles, pet, but I have to do this, Buffy … if not for you, then for me,” he countered. “I can win.”


“Spike … he’s a fire demon … you’re a very combustible vampire,” she pointed out unnecessarily. “Please … you won’t be any good to anyone sitting in a fancy urn up on the mantle collecting dust mites.”


“No worries, pet,” Spike assured her, dropping a soft kiss on her forehead. “Don’t intend to find my inner dust-bunny anytime soon… You’d keep me in a fancy urn up on the mantle?” he asked with a look of awe.


Buffy rolled her eyes. “Or a shoebox under my bed – which do you prefer?”


Spike wagged his brows at her and gave her a teasing smile.


“You’re insufferable… I’m serious,” Buffy moaned.


“I know you are, pet … trust me, yeah? I know what I’m doin’. He’s not made of bloody fire, not a soddin’ dragon … doesn’t breathe it … just conjures it ... only in his fists, best I can find.  And, I have it on good authority he’s not invincible,” Spike continued to assure her.


“And you know that how?” Buffy wondered.


Spike shrugged. “Well, first off, he’s not the Slayer’s man. Bet he didn’t even get laid t’night, right dangerous that’d be for some unlucky bird … what with the palms bursting into flames bit…” Spike offered.


Buffy laughed and shook her head despite her worry, which, regardless of Spike’s assurances, was only growing as the hours ticked by and they got closer to the bout.  “You know, if you dust, I’ll kick your crumbly ass.”


“I’ve no doubt, Slayer.”




(later that night, New Year’s Eve) Saturday, January 1st, 2011, 1:00am:


The giddy revelers clattered noisily down the garden steps and through the new French doors, spilling into the great room and filling the once peaceful space with commotion. The kids had noisemakers, which they blew incessantly, and the adults struggled to talk over the racket. How MacKenzie and Eddie remained asleep, neither Willow nor Tara knew … but thankfully, they had.


Buffy and Spike looked up from the couch where they were sitting, talking quietly, watching the fire dance in the hearth and the lights twinkle on the Christmas tree.  The kids surrounded them and wished them Happy New Year as they blew their noisemakers and tossed confetti on their parents.


Buffy and Spike laughed and instinctively ducked the confetti as it rained down on them and embedded in their hair and slid down their shirts, covering the couch and floor all around them with a dusting of sparkly dots and shapes of little hats and ‘2011s’.  Spike growled, jumped up and grabbed the closest Party Demon to him – Dani, and lifted her high into the air, swinging her around as if such a tactic would actually scare her or convey even a drop of annoyance from him.  She squealed in delight and begged, ‘Do it again!’ when he set her back down … when would he ever learn?


When she was finally able to get a word in above the ruckus, Annie asked, “Did you make noise at midnight to scare the bad spirits away and attract the god of wealth and fortune?”


Buffy raised her brows. “It looks like you guys made enough noise to scare every evil spirit within ten miles away … and attract the god of hullabaloos…”


“Moooom!” she moaned, “I’m serious!  Everyone knows you have to make noise to keep the evil spirits out of the New Year … please tell me you did it!”


Buffy looked at Spike and bit her bottom lip as she cleared her throat. “I think we’re safe … we … uhhhh … might’ve made some noise about that time,” she assured her daughter.


“Oh, thank goodness! Billy wanted to come back and bring you some noisemakers, but Willow and Tara wouldn’t let us. Did you light some firecrackers or bang on some pots and pans or …” Annie stopped when she saw the look pass between her parents. “Oh … that noise,” she moaned, rolling her eyes.


“What noise did you make, Mama?” Billy asked. “I said we should come back, but no one would listen to me…”


Buffy smiled at her son and ruffled his curls. “We set off some fireworks…” Buffy explained innocently.


Billy started to say something about being sorry he’d missed that when he was interrupted by a loud screeching noise followed by the Christmas tree wavering, as if caught in a strong wind, then suddenly toppling over and crashing to the ground, just barely missing Dani who was standing nearby.  Everyone jumped back and squealed in surprise as ornaments shattered and the lights flickered once then died. 


“What the bloody hell?” Spike questioned, pushing Annie back behind him and pulling Dani away as he and Buffy started moving cautiously towards the possessed tree. Willow and Tara kept the other kids back, moving MacKenzie and Eddie, both still sleeping in their carriers, well back out of the line of fire.  Bess stepped past the witches and began closing on the tree from the opposite side from Buffy and Spike, but they all stopped short when the demon that caused the destruction showed itself …


“What the…” Buffy started but was cut off …


“Angelpie!” Bess scolded as the kitten casually sauntered out of the mangled limbs and brightly colored debris field, perfectly proud of herself for climbing all the way to the top of the tree and besting it.


“Bloody hell!” Spike exclaimed again. “This! This is the very reason I said no bloody Angelpie in this soddin’ house!”


Bess scooped the kitten up and checked her for injuries, but the kitten was fine and purred happily as she rubbed the top of her head against her human’s chin.


“She didn’t mean it …” Bess defended. “I’ll … clean it up … replace the broken…”


“That’s not the bloody point!” Spike retorted angrily as Buffy put her hand on his arm to try and calm him down. It wasn’t that big a deal … she didn’t think. She hoped none of the ornaments the kids had made over the years had gotten broken, but … well, that’s what they made superglue for. It would make a cute story … one day.


Bess shrank from his outburst and held Angelpie protectively, backing up a step away from the angry vampire. “She’s sorry…”


“As well she should be! She’s a whole bloody hour late with the royal ruckus! If your mum and me hadn’t been ‘ere, the whole soddin' house woulda been filled with evil spirits! Can’t trust anything named Angel t’ get the bloody job done properly!” Spike chastised.


“I said I’d …” Bess began to defend again when his words actually sunk in. She looked at him with confusion then saw a small smile playing on his lips and she blew out a sigh of relief.  “You have the strangest sense of humor that I’ve ever encountered in a hundred years …” Bess informed him.


Spike shrugged. “Now, if the little nipper was named ‘Spike’, I reckon she’d a’ brought the whole bloody house down and on bloody time.”


Spike wrapped an arm around her shoulders and hugged Bess against his side as he ran a hand gently down the demon kitten’s back. “Happy New year, pet…”


Bess laughed and shook her head as she looked around at the faces of her family. Some had started picking up the undamaged ornaments, Tara had gotten a broom and a dustpan and started sweeping up the shards of broken glass and dropped pine needles, Buffy was gently picking the tree back up and righting it in its stand. Everyone was talking at once and laughing and working together to get things put back right, and Bess suddenly knew she was really home. 


Despite what Faith had said, there was love in her heart and the walls had, if not fallen, at least weakened a bit, and that was okay. These people weren’t gonna send her away … they weren’t gonna withdraw their love from her; they might have disagreements, but wasn’t that to be expected in any family? Certainly they could work through them.   


Spike, she was sure, was certifiably crazy … he should probably be on medication.


“Happy New year … Dad,” she offered quietly as she leaned against his side.


Spike closed his eyes a moment and let that sink in … Dad. Yep … the crazy apple didn’t fall far from the crazy tree … even if that tree was a toppled Christmas tree on New Year’s Eve. 




I’ll Be Your Man, James Blunt 



Too many voices
Too many noises
Invisible wires keeping us apart
So many choices
Some disappointments
And they only steal me away from you
Climb into our private bubble
Let’s get into all kinds of trouble

Slide over here let your hands feel the way
There’s no better method to communicate
So girl stop your talking
Words just get in the way
I’ll be your man

So baby come over
From the end of the sofa
I’ll be your man
I’ll be your man

So many faces
Staring at their shoelaces
When all anyone want is to be seen
Well tonight let’s be honest
We all want to be wanted
And darlin’ you’ve got me wantin’ you
Everything that I’m trying to say
Just sounds like a worn out cliche, so…


What are we all looking for?
Someone we just can’t ignore
It’s real love dripping from my heart,
You’ve got me tripping
What are we all looking for?




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