Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Miles To Go Before I Sleep

Chapter Title:



Chapter Summary:


Is Buffy really over it or are there still some wounds left for Spike to help her heal?


Time line:

July 2011


Click here to view history timeline and key dates.



Music Referenced:  Anticipation, Carly Simon,

Poetic License: My wonderful beta, Anona, pointed out that whip-poor-wills are not indigenous to California. All I can say is: they are in my world.


Some Screencaps courtesy of Broken Innocence (others from ScreenCap Paradise which is, sadly, no more). and also from

Thanks: Thanks to YOU for reading! Without you none of this would mean anything! Thanks to Magnus374 and V.L. who both pointed out a fly in my logic ointment that I had missed. Their questions/comments have allowed me to address it. That's another reason I love reviews and reviewers! You guys see things that I don't always notice! Giant thanks also to Anona for betaing this chapter, including her grammatical and punctuation corrections, wonderful commentary, and final review. Also thanks to Capella42 for her insightful suggestions that made the whole story better. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
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.


Dawn, Tuesday July 5th, 2011.

Buffy woke with a start from her dream. She was still wrapped up in Spike’s arms in their tent in Willow and Tara’s backyard.  Through the window in the tent, she could see the sun was just starting to lighten the eastern sky. It had been a long night. It had been a long few months.  She remembered now. That ‘funny feeling’ that she had been fighting finally had substance and meaning. She wasn’t sure which was worse – knowing or not.


She studied Spike’s face as he slept, wrapped around her as if trying to protect her from herself.  She smiled sadly – that was exactly what he’d been doing – trying to protect her from herself.  Big scary demons she could handle. Feeling like she’d betrayed him, that she’d failed Annie, she couldn’t. She pulled a hand out from between them to touch his face. She trailed her fingers gently down from his brow, along his cheek, and down to his strong jaw. He knew her better than she knew herself – time and again he’d proven that.  Time and again he’d pulled her out of the depths of hell and shown her that she wasn’t as big a failure as she thought she was.  God, what had she done to deserve his love?


Spike’s eyes fluttered open slowly and focused on her.  “Mornin’, cutie,” he whispered to her.


Buffy gave him a soft smile. “Mornin’, cutie, yourself.”


Spike’s brows went up slowly, a little sleepily. “Cutie, is it? Thought I was your handsome knight in shinin’ armor … Which bloody reminds me – why does William get to be a soddin’ king and a secret agent man while I get t’ be a bloody surfer, a burglar, and a hitchhiker?”


Buffy smiled and bit her bottom lip. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”


“Yeah, well – too late now, Slayer. Got my Lifetime Pass t’ Buffyland, don’t I? Being a lifetime member, I think we need some changes.”


“Ya do, huh? Like what?”


“First of all – need a House o’ Ale on Main Street … oh – and a Wing House and a Bloomin’ Onion Hut. Then, we need a little more equality in the pleasure pickin’ department … some more respectable personas for ole Spike.”


Buffy snorted out a laugh. “Ok, I’ll see what I can do.”


Buffy laid her hand on his cheek and her face and voice turned serious. “Thank you … thank you for believing in me and … not hating me.”


“We all need help, pet. Wish you hadn’t shut me out for so long. Tore me up watchin’ you suffer … and hurtin’ you,” his voice trailed off and he suddenly couldn’t meet her eyes. “Buffy, I only did it ‘cos I was afraid you’d do worse if I didn’t.”


“I’m sorry I … forced you do that, Spike. I know … I know it was wrong to make you hurt me like that and … God, all I can say is I’m sorry – that’s the only thing that comes out.”


Spike shook his head and brought his eyes back to meet hers. “No worries, now. It’s all behind us. T’day’s a new day.”


Buffy smiled and nodded, then touched her lips to his gently. They felt like liquid silk against his mouth and he reveled in the tenderness of it. He’d missed how tender she could be; it seemed ages since she’d touched him with such gentleness. It was part of her allure: she could be tender and generous one moment, demanding and ferocious the next. The last months he’d seen his tender lover fade until she seemed like nothing but the memory of a dream, leaving only a brutal masochist in her place.


Buffy pulled back and leaned her forehead against his for a moment. "How do you think he did it? How do you think Spike … fixed it?”


Spike shook his head against hers. “Don’t reckon we’ll ever know, will we?”


Buffy frowned and shook her head. “I guess not … I hope … I hope he’s happy. I hope she can see what I see in you.”


Spike nodded against her and trailed a hand slowly down her arm. “I reckon she will one day – if he saved ‘er.  Near-abouts inevitable, yeah? Soul mates and all.”


Buffy smiled and nodded her agreement. “Yeah … soul mates,” she agreed with a sigh.


They stayed there for a few minutes more, each lost in their own thoughts, before Buffy brought up something she wasn’t sure Spike had thought of, that she hadn’t thought of  herself immediately. “What about Angel?”


Spike cocked a brow at her. “Relative sure the other Spike can win out over the wanker. I did,” he answered.


Buffy shook her head. “No, that’s not what I mean. Last night you said the reason I remember is because I was dead when Spike changed things … well, so was Angel. William … that is … you dusted him there.”


“Did I?” Spike drawled, savoring the thought.


“Yeah … so … do you think he remembers that? And did you see Cordy? She was like … nuts – more nuts than she used to be,” Buffy continued. “If Angel remembers you dusting him …” Buffy’s voice trailed off and she shrugged.


“Then he might come looking for payback,” Spike filled in.


Buffy nodded. “And Cordy seems to have some kind of idea that I’m still interested in Angel. I have no idea why. I mean, where could she be getting that from?”


Spike shrugged. “Only one place: Angel.”


Buffy chewed on her bottom lip a moment. “Or Fred.”


Spike furrowed his brow. “Fred don’t strike me as one t’ carry tales.”


“I think Fred loves Angel … I mean, I know she’s with Wes ... and she seems to love him, but still, she refuses to leave A.I. and move here to be with him. What if she’s telling Cordy lies to maybe make her … you know, leave Angel? Maybe she thinks she could … step in if that happened,” Buffy suggested.


Spike shook his head. “I don’t think so, pet. Fred’s got too much … integrity for petty games like that.”


Buffy nodded. “You’re probably right. I just … we just need to be on our toes around them. Angel’s always been … unpredictable; now it looks like Cordy’s there with him. Mr. and Mrs. Cuckoo's Nest. Don’t they make a cute couple?”


Spike snorted softly. “Just add ‘em to the list, I reckon, pet. Unless you want to take ‘em out?” he asked hopefully. “Starting with the enormous git.”


“They have a son …” Buffy pointed out. “Wouldn’t really be fair to him, would it?”


Spike rolled his eyes. “Might be better off as a bloody orphan. Less chance of going mental and joining the family business.”


Buffy rolled her eyes. “We’ll just keep our guard up,” she concluded with a resigned sigh.


Spike nodded his grudging assent. He’d dusted Angel and didn’t even remember it. How twisted was that? He hadn't seen that on Buffy's little montage of 'life flashing before her eyes' either, so she must not have witnessed it either. Bugger.


“As much as I’d love to stay here all day, I need to check on ‘Kenz and find a toothbrush,” Buffy announced, stretching her arms over her head and yawning widely.


Spike nodded and released her. Buffy crawled out of his arms, pulled her shoes on, and headed out of the tent.  The morning was dawning bright and clear, with just a few small tufts of cottony clouds against the lightening eastern sky. The air was still cool from the night and she took in a deep, cleansing breath. It felt fresh and clean and smelled of summer: newly-mown grass mingled with the sweet scent of roses and jasmine blooming, and just a hint of the wood still smoldering from the previous night in the fire-pit.


A new day – time to leave regrets behind. Spike had shown her something last night though. He showed her how her Slayerness could manipulate her into doing its bidding by wrapping its desires in righteousness.  With the memories of the other dimension fresh in her mind, she vowed to not forget that lesson or be tricked by it again. She may need to trust her ‘mother instincts’ over her ‘Slayer instincts’ to keep her family safe. It wouldn’t be easy – she wasn’t even sure she could do it – but she promised herself she’d at least go into such decisions with eyes wide open.  At least she could weigh the risks fairly now, without an unseen Slayer’s thumb on the back of the scale, tipping it to its advantage.


In the house, Willow and Tara were already up and had a big breakfast started. It looked to be enough to feed a small army, which was basically what was camped in their backyard. Buffy spoke with them for a few minutes as the dream that had awoken her came back to her mind. With information in hand, she headed upstairs and got MacKenzie up, changed, and dressed, then she headed for the phone.


“Giles! I didn’t wake you did I?” Buffy asked as soon as he answered.


“No … no … I’m quite used to waking up at the crack of bloody dawn,” he rasped back sarcastically.


“Ok, good,” Buffy replied brightly. She’d learned the ‘ignore the sarcasm’ trick from Anya – it saved a lot of time that would otherwise be spent insincerely apologizing for waking him up. “I need you to do me a favor…”




That evening, a little before sunset:


A little while after they'd fed the kids their dinner, Buffy came out of the house into the backyard carrying a picnic basket. She’d packed fresh strawberries, a loaf of fresh, crusty French bread from the bakery, some assorted meats and cheeses, and a sweet, white summer wine from a local vineyard.


She found Spike embroiled in a ruthless game of foursquare on the patio with Dani, JJ, and Annie. Billy was waiting his turn to rotate into the fray. As Buffy walked up, she watched Annie and Dani exchange a conspiratorial look before Annie slammed the ball down at her father’s feet. Spike jumped back, barely able to dodge it, and managed to return the ball into Dani’s square. With her father still off balance and nearly out of his square, Dani dropped a soft shot just over the line between her square and his. Spike lunged for it, nearly falling, and tapped it back to Dani – his only real option at that point. Before he could recover, Dani had slammed the ball past him into the back of his square, out of reach.


“No bloody fair,” Spike moaned as he watched Billy chase after it.


“Totally fair!” Annie and Dani chorused with glee.  “You’re out!”


Spike pursed his lips and looked between the two conspirators. “What the bloody hell did I ever do t’ you?”


“Well, you told Clem about that … problem I had at the library,” Annie began, ticking ‘one’ on her fingers.


“And you embarrassed us at the mall when you jerked that boy’s pants up,” Dani added as Annie ticked ‘two’.


“Indecent, it was!” Spike defended. “Showing ‘is soddin’ plaid knickers to the bloody world. Shoulda bought the git a belt … and used it on ‘im.”


“And you made me redo my book report two nights before it was due because you said the book I choose was too easy,” Annie added, ticking ‘three’.


“And you…” Dani began, but stopped when Spike held his hands up in surrender.


“Bloody ungrateful lot you are,” he moaned as he stepped out of his square and relinquished the number one spot to Dani.


“You ‘ear this rubbish?” he asked Buffy as she walked closer, jabbing his thumb back over his shoulder at the kids.


“Poor baby … welcome to fatherhood,” she cajoled, giving him a sympathetic look.


“C’mon, I’ve got just the thing to take your mind off your problems,” she continued, lifting the picnic basket up with one hand and extending her other hand towards him.


Spike looked at her a moment and she inclined her head towards the hill across the street, silently urging him to come with her.


“What about the bits?” he asked, looking back at the kids, who had started another round of their game.


“Willow and Tara will be out in a minute. They’ll be fine,” Buffy assured him.


Spike raised his brows. That was different.  He’d been watching her all day, but they hadn’t really been able to talk much about last night and the memories that he’d helped her unleash.  He hadn’t caught her sneaking off to cut herself, or found her in their tent crying for no reason, today.  That was a good sign, but he knew she wouldn’t just get over what had happened. She did seem more relaxed today than she had been in weeks, though; more like the old Buffy.


Buffy motioned with her head again and extended her hand further towards him. Spike looked back at the kids one more time, then saw the witches coming out of the house with MacKenzie and Eddie.  He gave Buffy a smile, took her hand, and they started out for the hill.


They walked in silence, Buffy leading the way up the trail this time in the dwindling evening light.  At the top, she sat the picnic basket down and walked over to the overlook where they could see the lake and Willow and Tara’s house.


Beyond that, the sun was setting, painting the sky with infinite shades of yellows, oranges, and reds. Spike stood behind her, wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and Buffy leaned back against his chest. They stood there in silence, watching the changing colors as if the sky were a living, breathing work of art.  As the sun dropped lower, the reds faded into deep mauve near the horizon with layers of pink and peach reaching out into the twilight blue of the sky. As the sun drew further away, the sky was washed with a pale yellow, and finally all the warm colors gave way to an ever-darkening blue. It was amazing how fast the sun moved once it met the horizon. Did it move that quickly all the time, or had it just gotten impatient to start a new day on the other side of the world?


“What’s that star?” Buffy asked, pointing to a glittering spot on the western horizon that stood out brightly against the indigo blue of the sky.


“Evening Star …Venus,” Spike replied, nuzzling against her neck. “Goddess of Love.”


“Mmmmm,” Buffy moaned as his lips touched her neck and nibbled gently against her warm skin. “Fitting,” she murmured, reaching a hand up and laying it against his cheek. She closed her eyes and melted against him as he suckled and kissed her neck tenderly.


“Missed you, Buffy,” he murmured against her damp skin. Above them the stars began to sparkle brighter as the twilight sky faded from blue to black.


Buffy pulled away from his embrace and turned around to face him. “I’m so sorry,” she began, returning her hand to his cheek. “I should’ve … I should’ve known you would forgive me. I was just so scared. I didn’t know what I’d done; I just knew … it was bad.”


“I know, pet. Ya gotta know that I’ll love you until the end o’ time,” Spike assured her.


Buffy nodded shamefully. “I know … I just love you so much, I was terrified to take the chance. I was afraid to look inside the house … afraid to see – afraid to let you see.


“I never meant to hurt you,” she whispered apologetically.


Spike tilted his head, leaned his face against the warmth of her small hand, and closed his eyes. “I know,” he murmured, taking solace in her touch. He wished she had trusted him enough to let him help her sooner.  But, he also understood her trepidation.  How hard must it be to know something is wrong, but not be able to remember what it was?


“You need t’ have more faith in yourself, pet,” Spike said at last, opening his eyes and meeting her gaze. They shone like sparkling sapphires in the dwindling twilight, so full of love that it made Buffy’s breath catch in her throat. “I knew you’d never do anything t’ hurt me, pet – not intentional. You’re not Dru,” he pointed out with a quirk of a smile.


Buffy rolled her eyes, but let a small laugh escape her throat. She dropped her hand away from his face, trailing her fingers gently down his cheek and across his strong jaw, before pulling it away. “You probably thought I’d turned into her lately,” she admitted.


Spike shrugged noncommittally. “Naa…” he said at last, “… got a ways t’ go on the crazy scale ‘fore ya ring that bell.”


“Should I have tried harder?” Buffy wondered. “I’m sure there’s more crazy in here just waiting to come out,” she offered. She tilted her head to the side and banged her palm lightly against the side of her head, as if to knock more crazy out of her ear.


Spike smiled at her, but shook his head. “Got all the Slayer-crazy I can handle right ‘ere,” he admitted, stepping forward and jostling her in his arms before pulling her into a tight hug. “I love you, crazy an’ all.”


“Good thing you like insane women, Spike. Have you ever thought of getting help for that condition?” Buffy wondered as she wrapped her arms around him and leaned against him.


“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, pet.”


“Well, it’s a good thing I like all your old tricks, then, isn’t it?” Buffy asked slyly as she raised her face up to his.


“It’s a good thing,” he agreed, dropping his lips towards hers. Suddenly, he jerked back and groaned. “Bloody hell! I sounded like Martha-jailbird-Stewart just then! You’ve driven me round the soddin’ bend, Slayer!”


Buffy laughed and slapped playfully at his chest. “Well, then it’s also a good thing I like ‘round the bend vampires, isn’t it?” she queried.


Spike growled lightly and pulled her body back against his, lifting her up onto tiptoes, before capturing her lips with a passionate kiss. That was a good thing, he agreed silently.


Buffy’s body dissolved against him and, for the first time in what seemed a very long time, the guilt and need to be punished did not surface when he kissed her.  She moaned in pleasure and relief at the realization that, even though she still felt badly for her failures in that other dimension, it no longer controlled her. The strangle-hold it had had on her heart and soul had been released.


Her knight in shining armor … or Doc Martens and a well-worn, leather duster, as it were, had broken the evil spell. Unlike the fairy tales, it hadn’t been as simple as dropping a kiss on her lips – but that wasn’t surprising. Her life was no fairy tale. But her knight was just as real: he was her partner, her friend, her lover, her husband, her soul mate. He didn’t ride in and sweep the damsel off her feet, but rather stood by her, lending her the strength she needed to face her demons … and conquer them, just as she’d done for him in the past.


Her heart felt like it had sprouted wings and was lifting her up with it to heaven at that very moment.


When the kiss broke, Buffy pulled away and led Spike by the hand back to where she’d left the picnic basket. Away from the overlook, they could no longer see the houses around the lake or even the lake, for that matter – and no one, except perhaps a passing whip-poor-will, could see them.


Buffy pulled a dark blue, quilted coverlet out of the basket and spread it on the ground over top of the grass and summer wildflowers that made the hilltop their home.  Then she turned to Spike and, without saying anything, began lifting his t-shirt up by the hem.  Spike stilled her hands, clasping her wrists in his hands.


“Are you sure, pet? We don’t … if you’re still feelin’…” he stammered. He really didn’t know how to say that she didn’t need to pretend. If she wasn’t ready, if she needed more time to deal with everything, that was okay.


Buffy gave him a soft smile and shook her head. “For the first time in a while, I’m not … pretending.”


Spike loosened his grip on her wrists and Buffy pulled her hands, along with his t-shirt, up as he lifted his arms over his head.  She tossed his shirt aside and let her fingers glide softly back down from his strong shoulders, across his pecs, and slowly over his abs to settle lightly on his belt.


Spike stood still, watching her. Her eyes followed her hands over his body. He could almost feel her drinking him in as her hands fluttered like angel wings across his skin.  A shiver of desire skittered down his spine as he let her undress him. Her face was serene, outlined against the dimming sky as she unbuckled his belt. Gone was the edgy, tight-set jaw that she’d worn the last weeks.  The stormy, angry feeling that she’d been projecting was replaced with something light and airy – like the proverbial breath of fresh air. Even her eyes seemed different. Their emerald depths sparkled in the light from the rising moon with a glint of mischievousness mixed in with smoldering desire. Spike felt himself relax, felt the tightness in his traps loosen, and the tension he’d been holding in his shoulders and upper-back fall away.  His wife was back.


Buffy slid her hands down his outside thighs and his jeans dropped from his legs. His belt seemed to rejoice in its freedom, hitting the ground with a clatter, which sounded almost like applause, as the prong rattled loudly against the buckle.


Spike tried to step out of his jeans, but he still had his boots on, so the legs just caught on his feet and rose up with each step.


“Ooops,” Buffy laughed, dropping down to the ground in front of him. “I guess I’m out of practice,” she teased as she reached under his jeans and untied the laces of his boots so he could step out of them and his jeans at the same time. “I should’ve learned from William – start with the boots.”


“William, is it?” Spike asked, cocking a brow at her. “And when did ‘e get so bloody smart … and lucky?”


Buffy stood up and gave a small shrug. “Seems like … pretty much now, William,” Buffy teased, taking a step back and pulling her own shirt up and over her head.


Spike thought perhaps he needed to go back to Buffyland and pay more attention to the William bits in there. Thoughts of William didn’t last long, however, as she dropped her shirt in the pile of clothes. Her skin was smooth and creamy in the moonlight – except for the slash marks on her stomach. They still stood out slightly red against the lighter skin there. 


Buffy saw him staring at them and her chest tightened. She wrapped her arms around her torso to hide them, and quickly turned away from him, putting her back to Spike. Tears welled in her eyes and she realized she should’ve waited … waited for those scars to fade. This was no good; he couldn’t look at her and not see the damage she’d inflicted on herself. She wanted to show him what he’d done – how he’d helped her escape that prison of fear and guilt, but instead she’d just reminded him of it. Reminded him of her failings; her infidelity.


Spike sighed and immediately wished he’d kept his eyes on something other than those marks on her stomach. And now he felt even worse, because on her back were the remnants of the whipping he’d inflicted on her only two nights ago. The welts had faded and nearly healed, but he could still see the white marks where new skin had grown back over the wounds.  He stepped forward slowly and traced the crisscrossing lines on her back with a gentle finger.


Buffy had forgotten about those, and she cringed away from his touch as soon as she realized what he was doing.  She bent down quickly and retrieved her shirt, then pulled it back on hurriedly as tears fell in silent rivers down her cheeks.


“Buffy,” Spike called in a gentle voice as she moved away from him, wiping her tears away with the back of her hand.


Buffy shook her head and started for the trailhead. “I’m sorry… I … shouldn’t’ve … sorry,” she muttered as she hurried away from him, her arms wrapped tightly around her torso, still trying to hide the scars even though she had her shirt on.


“Buffy, don’t, luv,” he called louder, moving to cut off her retreat. Spike darted in front of her and took both her shoulders in his hands. She stopped immediately. She didn’t fight him, but didn’t look up and meet his eyes either.


Spike released one hand from her shoulder and tilted her head up with one curled index finger under her chin.  She looked past him, her eyes trained on the trees behind him – she couldn’t look him in eye.


“Buffy, I’m sorry, pet,” Spike began. “Didn’t mean t’ …” he sighed heavily, wrapped the arm that was on her shoulder around her, and pulled her against him. Buffy stumbled forward, taking a stiff step towards him as he wrapped both arms around her.


“Don’t go, pet. Don’t need t’ run anymore … not from me,” he whispered against the top of her head. “I know your scars, Buffy … inside and out. They don’t bother me – they’re what make you you. I’ve seen the best and worst of you – it’s not scarin’ me off, pet. You’re all that I have; you’re all that I want. I love all of you: all the scars, all the smiles, your tender heart and your fortitude, your strength, your courage, your triumphs … even your mistakes.”


Buffy clamped her eyes closed and nodded against his chest. “I love you too, Spike,” she whispered back, her breath warm and damp against the bare skin of his chest. “I wanted this night to be perfect – a new start … but …” Buffy’s voice broke and she shook her head against him.


Spike soothed her as she cried, running a hand gently through her long, golden tresses and down her back.  “We don’t need a new start, pet. Wouldn’t trade the years with you and the bits for the world. We don’t need t’ start over – just keep movin’. That’s all we can do – hold on and keep movin’ – the both of us … together.”


Buffy took in a deep, shuddering breath and finally looked up at him. “I really wanted to make love to you here tonight … under the stars and the moon. Just … hold you and love you.  I missed that … I missed your tenderness.”


Spike gently wiped a tear from her cheek with the pad of his thumb. “Well, ya got m’ lily white ass shining here in the moonlight. Reckon it’s up to you what you want t’ do with it,” he teased lightly, giving her a small smile.


Buffy pulled back slightly and looked him up and down, finally settling her gaze back on his eyes and returned his smile. “I suppose the least I could do is buy you a drink … now that I’ve got your clothes on the ground.”


They walked back over to the quilt Buffy had spread on the ground and they both sat down.  Buffy pulled out the wine and a corkscrew and handed them both to Spike as she got out a couple of glasses and the container of fresh strawberries.


Spike leaned back against the picnic basket. Buffy sat between his legs, leaned against his chest, and held the glasses up. Reaching around her, Spike poured them some wine and then Buffy opened the container of strawberries. When the aroma of the sweet berries hit her, it reminded her immediately of the day she’d dreamt of in the Common with William and the children.


“How much could you see … of what happened … before?” she asked tentatively.


Spike shrugged behind her and took a sip of the wine. “Enough to piece most o’ it t’gether, I reckon.”


“We shared a dream – when you were trapped in the octopus. Instead of telling William that I couldn’t stay, I lied and said that I could. And then … I did. We had a picnic in the Common, you and me, Anne, Bess, William Jr., and Wanda… MacKenzie was named Wanda there. It was a magical day. I taught you all how to do the hokey-pokey right there in the Common,” Buffy reminisced as she took a bite of one of the juicy berries.


“Did ya now? Made William into a right ponce, I reckon,” Spike observed, taking one of the strawberries for himself.


Buffy laughed, leaned slightly to her left, and turned her face to the side to look at him. “No more than you.”


 “I can state with certainty that I have never, nor would I ever, do the hokey-pokey in the bloody park, luv,” Spike contended.


Buffy smiled and leaned back against him again, taking a sip of her wine and laying a hand on his thigh. She began to draw lazy circles on his skin as she talked. “I wonder what would’ve happened if I had lied that night. Rack said I had twenty-four hours at most – but it wasn’t Rack that got me there, it was Wanda. I wonder …” Buffy sighed and shook her head.


“Back t’ wanting a ‘normal life’, pet?” Spike asked softly.


She nodded and her hair flowed softly against his shoulder with the movement. She took another sip of wine and sighed again. “I know … I know that was a dream and … I probably would’ve gotten … restless. But I can’t help but wonder now what might’ve happened if I’d … stayed.


“Providing Angelus didn’t show up, of course,” she added dourly.


“Ya know what I think, pet?” Spike asked, picking up another strawberry and holding it up to her lips.


“What?” she asked before biting down on the sweet treat, taking half of it.


“I think William woulda been the happiest, and luckiest, man in the bloody world.”


A slight blush rose to Buffy’s cheeks and she smiled, half from embarrassment and half with smug satisfaction. “I think William always had Spike inside him, he just needed someone to let him … you know, show it. I don’t mean he was, well, evil at all, I just mean he had so much to share, so much imagination and heart, but no one would let him be himself … until Dru came along.”


Spike swallowed a lump in his throat and gave the arm he had wrapped around her a squeeze. “When’d you get ta be so insightful, Slayer?”


Buffy shrugged. “I spent a lot of time with William. We … bonded.”


“Did ya now?” Spike questioned, cocking a brow at her. “I reckon you taught him a thing or two ‘bout imagination and heart then.”


Buffy shook her head. “No … he taught me. He taught me about bravery and what it is to love and trust someone so deeply that you’d …” Buffy sniffed back her tears and wiped at her eyes, remembering first William, then Spike, insisting on staying behind on the Reefer to keep the Reds from pursuing her, Bess, and Gift-less!Spike.


She turned and leaned to the side, and looked at her husband. “William’s a good man, Spike. You’re a good man, and I love you more than life itself.”


Spike tilted his head and considered her a moment before saying, in William’s proper Oxford English, “And you, my dear Avengelyne, are my heart. Without you I’d be lost in a desolate world without hope or love … an empty husk.”


Buffy gave him a sad smile. Hearing him talk like that and call her ‘Avengelyne’ made her miss William deeply. It felt strange, as if she loved two men at once; each different and yet each so very much the same. She wondered if somewhere, in the vast universe of dimensions, there was one where she lied to William and told him that she would stay with him forever … and then she did. Buffy imagined a world where she’d stayed and, together, they’d kept their children safe. She could see them living a normal, happy life, and growing very old together. Then, when their mission was done, their children grown with families of their own, she and William would move on together. They’d fall asleep and never wake up – passing peacefully as they dreamt, in the nude, wrapped in each other’s arms. It warmed her heart to think there was such a place.


Her smile widened and she chuckled to herself as she thought of a shocked and appalled undertaker that would’ve been called to remove their most improper corpses.  She’d be a bad influence on William right to the very end. They’d probably have to be buried in the ‘social lepers’ section of the cemetery.


As if reading her mind, Spike leaned near her ear and whispered, “He’s always ‘ere, luv. Just inside, lookin’ out at ‘is angel.”


Buffy turned back to Spike, her bemused smile softening into one of love and understanding. “Then I guess we’re stuck with each other … the three of us, huh?”


“Like bloody glue,” Spike agreed, returning her smile.


Buffy wriggled closer against him and settled back against his chest again. Spike set his glass down and wrapped both arms around her, pulling her even closer. 


Buffy leaned her head back against his shoulder and to the side, resting the side of her head against his cheek, and closed her eyes.  “You feel so good,” she murmured to him, practically purring.


“You do too, luv,” Spike replied as he dropped his mouth down and placed a tender kiss on her shoulder.  Buffy tilted her head to the other side and let her hair fall away in silent invitation for him to continue.  Spike brushed a soft kiss against her neck, lingering on that special spot behind her ear.


Buffy moaned and shifted her body, pushing back even harder against him. His erection, which she’d effectively squelched with her tears earlier, began to swell again against her back.


Spike unwrapped his arms from around her and pulled her shirt up from the hem. Buffy tentatively lifted her arms and let him pull it off her.  Spike resumed his exploration of her skin with his lips, dropping her bra straps off her shoulders, intent on kissing every square inch of her.  Buffy unhooked her bra with the front snap and let it fall away. She steeled her nerve with Spike’s earlier assurances, gathered her long hair up with one hand, and exposed her back to him.


Spike bit his bottom lip as he looked at the marks across her back – marks that he’d put on her tender skin.  He didn’t hesitate long, though – dropping his mouth down and kissing one that began at the base of her neck and ran over to the left shoulder-blade. He caressed the length of it with his mouth and tongue, then started on the next as Buffy leaned forward and exposed all her scars to him. Not that he hadn’t seen them – hell, she’d forced him to put them there, but now she was ashamed of them and ashamed of making him do that.  The physical marks would soon fade, she knew, but she’d always regret putting him in that untenable, heart-wrenching position.


“Let it go, pet,” he whispered to her. “Can’t move forward dragging all those regrets … they’ll pull ya under.”


Buffy nodded and let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, then took in another deep breath and let it out slowly, imagining the regrets flowing out of her body with the air. 


It didn’t completely work, but it helped enough for her to relax and shift her concentration to the sensation of Spike’s lips against her skin, which was infinitely more enjoyable. She inhaled again and allowed a low moan to flow out with the air. Buffy put her mind and body in Spike’s capable hands and focused on the moment – not the past, not the future, but the now. And right now her husband’s hands were roaming gently over her arms and sides, and his lips and tongue were lighting small flames of tingling desire up and down her spine.


Spike worked his way back up to her shoulder and neck. He then nuzzled against her ear, burying his face in her soft mane of gold, which shimmered in the bright moonlight.


“Love you,” he murmured into her ear. Buffy shivered as his words and his cool breath against her skin combined to create a blissful harmony for her senses.


She turned her head and body slightly to the side, letting her hair fall, and laying a hand on his cheek. She lifted her lips to his hesitantly, shyly – as if it were their first kiss.  The kiss was soft and gentle, made up of small nibbles and darting tongues; slow and silky and sensuous.   Buffy turned in his lap, straddling his hips with her legs, wrapped her arms around his neck, and the kiss resumed. It seemed to last for hours, sometimes little more than parted lips barely touching the other, breath mingling in the cool evening air.  There was no rush, no panicked fervor, which didn’t mean there was no desire or passion. 


This seemingly eternal kiss was a reconnecting of their souls, each once again fully exposed to the other. With no secrets lurking in the darkest corners, they could finally touch each other again without reservation or guilt. They could once again give themselves to the other completely: mind, body, spirit.


Spike turned them on the quilt and laid Buffy down onto her back next to the spot where they’d been sitting. It was a slow, gentle shift that barely rustled the grass beneath them. He came over with her, his body flowing with her as if they were one, and ended up atop her, their lips still tasting and teasing the other’s.


Spike slid down her body, nibbling his way across her jaw, to her neck, then to her collarbone. Supporting himself over her with one arm, his other trailed silkily down from her shoulder and circled a full breast so gently that his fingers felt like nothing more than wispy feathers against her heated skin. 


As his hand circled one hard nipple, his mouth and tongue found the other. His tongue left a cool, damp trail on her hot skin and chill bumps sparked and washed over her, tingling through her whole body.  The small hairs on her arms stood on end, as did the hair at the nape of her neck, as he continued ever so slowly touching and kissing her with the gentleness of a soft breeze. Buffy shivered with desire as her heart pounded furiously in her chest. The thundering of her heart reverberated through her whole body like a giant kettledrum building in an ever-quickening roll to a fantastic crescendo.


Buffy tangled her hands in Spike’s hair as he enveloped her in his slow, sensuous love spell.  She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed this. In her lust for punishment, she’d forgotten how he could build her desire so high, until that drum-roll literally exploded in a frantic crescendo of blissful cymbals.  She longed for the climax, longed to hear and feel it crash down over her, but at the same time the anticipation was nearly as sweet.  It was a completely different kind of torture, sweet and absolutely luscious … like being completely engulfed in something ambrosial. It was like drowning in an airy, yet decadently rich, soft, and velvety chocolate mousse – not anything you’d ever want to escape from.


Spike moved down further, trailing his hand and mouth across her ribcage then down to the flat of her stomach. This time, he didn’t hesitate when the scars from her self-inflicted wounds came into his field of vision.  He touched a kiss down on each long, thin line, wishing all the while that the simple gesture could take the hurt away. But, unlike a child’s skinned knee, he knew Buffy’s hurt went much deeper.


As Spike sat back slightly and his hands moved to the button on her shorts, something occurred to him. He’d told her he didn’t blame her, he’d told her he loved her, he’d told her he always would –but he never told her he forgave her for what had happened. But how could he tell her she was forgiven if he didn’t blame her for any of it? The problem was, she still blamed herself. That wasn’t going to just go away because Dr. Spike, Slayer Psychologist, said so.


Buffy lifted her hips up off the quilt and Spike slid her shorts and thong down, trailing his hands down her legs, which were tanned an even darker golden than normal by the last days spent with the children in the lake. Buffy kicked her sandals off and lifted her legs up so he wouldn’t have to move completely off their blanket in order to finish disrobing her. Spike pulled her shorts off over her bare feet and tossed them to the side with the rest of their clothes.


Spike took a moment to look at her in the moonlight. She was as thin as he’d ever seen her. He kinda missed the bit of ‘baby-fat’ that she’d been wearing proudly since the C-section that was needed to birth Billy.  He’d always seen that as kind of a badge of honor – she’d earned it, very nearly paying with her life when the twins were born.  But, even thinner and with the scars of her latest ordeal still on her skin, she was absolutely resplendent as she lay before him, bathed in the soft glow of the moon.


Spike felt a sudden rush of emotion fill his heart with a new wave of adoration for his fallen angel.  He never knew anyone who tried so hard to do the right thing, or beat themselves up, quite literally this time, when their best was judged to be unworthy. Simon Cowell would’ve made a more generous and compassionate judge than the one that reigned over her: the Slayer herself. Maybe there was something for him to forgive, after all: her pitiless and harsh judgment of herself.


Buffy wrapped her legs around his waist and began pulling him back towards her, breaking him out of his naked Slayer/fallen angel induced hypnosis.


Spike let her pull him towards her, putting his hands down on each side of her body and walking them forward. He moved silkily, like a prowling cougar, until his body was over hers and their gazes met. 


Buffy’s legs were still wrapped around his hips, and she could feel his erection pressing hard and cool against her soft, warm flesh.  She laced her arms around his neck, holding his sparkling, azure eyes captive with hers and said simply, “Penny.”


A small smile quirked the corners of Spike’s mouth. “Might get the short end o’ that bargain, Slayer,” he warned.


Buffy shrugged. “My penny.”


The smile slowly faded from Spike’s lips and he swallowed hard, but never broke eye contact with her. “I forgive you, Buffy,” he said at last, sotto voce.


Buffy bit her bottom lip and nodded, blinking back the tears that glistened in her eyes. “Thank you,” she whispered back. “Thank you for saying it.”


Spike leaned down, the muscles in his arms bulging as he bent them, and dropped his mouth near her ear. “Forgive yourself, luv.”


Buffy swallowed hard and nodded, then pulled him down against her so his body was lying atop hers. She wrapped her arms around him tighter, and he snaked his arms around her shoulders and under her. 


Spike could feel her heart thudding against his chest and her chest fall and rise beneath him with every breath. She was holding him so tightly with arms and legs that he doubted he could escape even if he’d wanted to.


Buffy took comfort in his body against hers, but it was his words that had released a flood of emotion from somewhere deep inside.   She could feel the love and sincerity in his words – he really did forgive her. She felt her soul sigh in relief, as if it had just gotten the message that he’d been trying to send her since the previous night: he loved her and he forgave her.


Knowing that gave her the courage to forgive herself – but she knew she could never forget. She needed to always remember what had happened. She needed to always see her Slayer impulses for what they were: self-serving compulsions wrapped in righteousness. She needed to remember that so she could weigh them accordingly in the future.


Buffy turned her face until her mouth was right against his ear. “Make love to me, Spike,” she murmured softly as she loosened the grip she had on him with her arms and legs.


Spike pushed up slightly and captured her lips with a gentle kiss. They teased and tasted each other with lips and tongues dancing together to music only they could hear. Like a soldier returning after being away from her husband for too long, the kiss had the familiarity and comfort of a long-married couple mingled with the excitement of teenagers stealing their first kiss in the backseat.


Spike lifted his hips, pushing his lower half away from her enough for her to reach between them. Buffy slid his erection down from where it had been trapped between their bodies, across her clit, and between her damp pussy lips. With that same familiarity of something that they’d done innumerable times before, Spike pressed forward and slid slowly into her.


The excited rush of it feeling like their first time washed over them both as Buffy, for the first time in a long while, let him set a slow and sensuous pace.


They both gasped against each other’s lips as Spike pressed in and her sugar walls engulfed the head of his cock, wrapping around him in a strong embrace. Spike’s eyes closed and he stopped moving before resting his forehead against hers for a few moments. He stayed motionless, savoring the feeling of her body under him, the sound of her breathless gasps of anticipation, and the thudding of her heart.


Buffy loosened her grip on his neck and ran her fingertips slowly up and down his back, relishing the feel of his silky skin over hard, bulging muscles. She cupped her hands around the globes of his ass and fondled them gently before tickling her fingers back up towards his shoulders, dancing over the hills and valleys of bone and muscle above her.


Despite the need that pulsed within her for him to plunge in completely, she found herself enjoying the anticipation that was building. Her pussy throbbed around his hardness, beckoning him into its hot, undulating depths. The longer he waited, teasing her with only the mushroomed head within her, the stronger her need grew. 


She fought the desire to pull him with her legs, unwilling to break the spell he’d been weaving for what seemed like hours now.  That deep, bass kettledrum began to reverberate through her body again as her heart raced in her chest and her breathing became labored, despite the fact that neither of them was actually moving. She was fairly certain that the whole valley down below them could hear that drum thudding within her. To her ears it seemed to be a decibel or two louder than a Metallica concert.


Finally, Spike pulled his forehead from hers and opened his eyes. Below him, Buffy opened hers and they gazed into each other’s souls as he began to move again.  His hips moved excruciatingly slowly as his hardness pushed into her. It was at once heaven and hell, and the blissful frustration of it made Buffy’s breath catch in her throat.


When Spike’s pubic bone touched down onto her clit, Buffy’s eyelids fluttered and she took a sharp inhalation of breath as a small orgasm tittered through her body. Her skin flushed with perspiration and chill bumps as the heat building within her met the cool night air. Her whole body tingled with pleasure which washed out from her core like waves lapping lazily on a sandy beach.


When the euphoria waned enough for her to focus again, she was met with blue pools of love looking down on her. Spike’s eyes glistened in the soft moonlight and Buffy thought, for just a moment, she saw William looking out at her from deep inside.


“Welcome back, luv,” Spike whispered to her, dropping down to his elbows and resting his body against hers. “Missed you so much.”


“I missed me too,” Buffy admitted as she wrapped her arms around him tighter. “Thank you for finding me. You’re the only one who would’ve even known where to look.”


Spike’s heart swelled as he tangled his fingers in her long, silky mane of gold and began dropping soft kisses over her face. “Love you so much, Buffy,” he murmured softly. “Feel so good, you do. Like heaven, you are. William’s angel brought a bit o’ heaven back with ‘er, I reckon,” he continued to murmur to her between kisses.


A smile lit Buffy’s face as Spike rained kisses down on her. She’d forgotten how wonderful it felt to have him whispering those sweet nothings to her.  But he was wrong – he was the one making her feel like she’d been transported back to heaven.


“I love you so much, baby,” Buffy whispered back. “It doesn’t seem like enough to say … but it’s all I have.”


“It’s all I need, pet,” Spike assured her as he pushed back, straightening his arms and rising up onto his hands. He began moving his hips against her, pulling out just as slowly as he’d pressed in.


They kept their rhythm slow and gentle there on the hilltop under the stars. Between kisses, soft murmurings of tenderness and devotion punctuated their enchanted dance.  There was no hurry, no frenzied fervor to the night. There were two bodies, two souls, two hearts, moving together as one, giving pleasure and love to the other. There were gentle caresses in the moonlight, there were times when the movement of their bodies nearly stopped, there were loving nibbles of earlobes, and fingers tangled in soft tresses.


They made love in the most literal way possible, each weaving a spell around the other with whispers and moans and gentle touches, as their anticipation lifted them both higher and higher.  It was a magical night: a night of reconnecting and new beginnings, a night to remind each other ‘why’. Why they battle. Why they struggle. Why they try. It was a night to remind each other of the love they share and of the unconditional bond that ties them together ‘for as long as they both shall live and beyond.’


As the lights from the houses around the lake blinked out below them, the stars in the night sky seemed to multiply exponentially. The far-off sound of tires humming on pavement slowly died to a low murmur and gave way to the sounds of nature. A distant whip-poor-will called out through the forest and a killdeer trilled its name in a high-pitched cry from the sky above them. Crickets chirped and frogs croaked, occasionally a startled heron would give a shrill cry from the lakeside, and somewhere very far away, a lone wolf howled a haunting refrain.  And, at the center of it all, the lovers made love.


With the stars in the sky twinkling even brighter above them, Buffy and Spike lifted each other up to dance among them. Their rhythm slowly built as the need inside them expanded and demanded to be satisfied. The passion within them grew from a low simmer to a rolling boil until it overflowed and burned them both with its ferocity. Their moans and whispers became urgent pleas and declarations; their gentle movements became feral as they crossed over and joined in with the creatures of the night, leaving the sleepy, civilized world behind them.


Their souls soared on the wings of their passion as their bodies poured every ounce of untamed desire into their dance. Spike slammed his hips down onto hers, thrusting hard and deep, touching her core with every stroke and stoking the flames ever higher. Buffy writhed and jerked her hips up to meet him, digging her heels into the backs of his thighs and her nails into his ass as she pulled him deeper and deeper into her. 


The anticipation that had been building for so long was at last fulfilled as they took each other up past the stars. Their passion boiled up from deep within them and finally exploded into the darkness that spread out beyond the edges of the universe.   In the moment of eruption, they both poured every ounce of euphoria and ecstasy they had out through the bond and into each other. They smothered each other’s cries with a tempestuous kiss as the bliss of the other flowed across the bond between them. Like an infinite reflection between two parallel mirrors, their rapture multiplied as it bounced back and forth in a seemingly unending spiral.


Buffy clung to Spike as the law of gravity seemed to suddenly become optional. She felt like she was floating, soaring, flying, gliding. Bright lights flashed behind her closed lids as all of Spike’s love and passion flowed into her in a brutally beautiful blaze of euphoria. She could feel it all – every single drop of love he had for her flooded her senses and sent her mind and body reeling.  And for every ounce he gave, she gave back just as much.


As their cum surged out of their bodies, their love surged out of their hearts, and their bliss out of their souls, until it was hard to tell where one lover stopped and the other began.  It was more than a physical release, more than telling the other person that they were loved – it was allowing them to feel what was in the other’s heart for themselves. In that moment all defenses were shattered. All that was left were raw, un-censored, pure emotions laid out naked and vulnerable at the feet of the other.  It was powerful enough to break the law of gravity … and any one of a dozen other natural laws, and perhaps a few unnatural ones, as well.


Feeling about to pass out, Buffy finally broke the kiss with a gasp, pulling in a lungful of cool night air. The bond between them seemed to close with a palpable ‘pop’ and she regretted the law that said she needed to breathe couldn’t have been bent for a while longer.  Even Spike seemed to need to breathe though, and he didn’t complain as his chest heaved with deep inhalations of his own.


The entire world seemed to have been holding its breath. Everything around them was still and quiet – not even the crickets chirped their never-ending background music of the night. The only sounds that could be heard were the labored breaths coming from the hilltop as two souls clung to one another and reveled in the pure, powerful emotions they’d just shared.  If there had been any doubt before in either of their minds, there was not a shred left now. There was nothing to forgive; there was no need for guilt or self-recrimination.  Their love was still as strong as it had ever been.


After some time, the reverent silence was finally broken by the whip-poor-will once again singing its familiar refrain for them. Then the crickets and the frogs joined in and slowly the night was once again filled with the sounds of the creatures that owned it. 


The night creatures on the hilltop melted together without another word. The rising refrain of nature’s symphony washed over their trembling, spent bodies and lulled them into a peaceful, easy sleep under the stars, which were starting to fade in the pre-dawn sky.




End Notes:


There's good news and bad news to be had next. Which will Buffy want first? Then Buffy stands up to the CGC about signing on with the FBI. Will she win that battle, or will they over-rule her and take the retainer money? Later, Sue-Ann comes for a visit and acquires a not-so-secret admirer.



Anticipation, Carly Simon




We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasing after some finer day.x

Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting

And I tell you how easy it feels to be with you
And how right your arms feel around me.
Oh, I, I rehearsed those words just late last night
When I was thinking about how right tonight might be.

Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting

And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, I don't know nature’s way
So I'll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here, 'cause these are the good ole days.


These are the good ole days

And stay right here, 'cause these are the good ole days.

These are the good ole days

These are the good ole days

These are the good ole days

These are the good ole days


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