Story Title: Spirit Indestructible


Season 5. Begins with ‘Spiral’ in the abandoned gas station, and goes far off-canon almost immediately.

When Dawn makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister, friends, and the world, Buffy’s mind snaps. When Buffy's friends give up hope of her ever recovering, and become afraid that she’ll turn violent and uncontrollable, they call in the Council to help. Fearing what the Council will do, Spike, forgotten and ignored by her friends, steps in. Will he be able to reach the Slayer when no one else could? Will he be able to keep her out of the hands of the Council and away from her ‘helpful’ friends? How much heartbreak, guilt, and failure can one girl stand before her indestructible spirit finally resigns the fight and gives up hope?




22. Smile


Music Referenced:

Smile, James Marsters (also done by Ghost of the Robot)

Nelly Furtado - Spirit Indestructible


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



Thanks to YOU for reading and to Paganbaby for taking time out of her hectic life to beta this for me! Her suggestions and commentary that always makes me smile. All mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling right up to the last moment.

Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Spike/Other. Main Character Death. Implied Rape. Plenty of angst.

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.

Later the same day, after the shopping trip …


Spike rented a second hotel room while Buffy and Joan were shopping and he’d moved all of his things a couple of doors down by the time they got back.


“You’re moving out?” Buffy asked, her tone somewhere between hurt and worried as she set the bags she was carrying down on the table.


“Just for a bit. Enough t’ give you some space t’ get ready,” he explained.


Buffy furrowed her brows and turned back to look at him as Joan walked past carrying two long garment bags. “Don’t you mean ‘us’? Give ‘us’ some space to get ready?”


Spike’s brows went up in surprise. “Errrr … no. Meant you, pet,” Spike clarified. "You and me ... dinner, dancing..."


Buffy grabbed his arm and pulled him back out the door and onto the covered walkway outside. “You said 'us'. I thought you meant ‘us’ … as in the three of us,” she whispered anxiously, pulling the door closed. “Joan … she’s … feeling neglected. We can’t leave her behind.”


Spike sighed and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling. “Buffy, she knows it’s just the two of us t’night. Who do ya think’s been helping me get everything … arranged? She’s fine with it.”


Buffy bit her bottom lip and looked back at the closed hotel room door. “Are you sure?”


Spike heaved another heavy sigh and stepped past Buffy to open the door. “Joan,” he called into the room, stepping inside, Buffy right on his heels.


“Yes?” the Bot replied, coming back into the living area of the room after hanging the dresses up in the bedroom.


“Did you want t’ come tonight?” Spike asked her.


Joan looked at Buffy, who had come up to stand beside Spike, and then back at him. “That would be counterproductive to the mission.”


Spike looked at Buffy and made an ‘I-told-you-so’ face.


Buffy frowned, her bottom lip protruding in a pout. “I thought it was a date – not a mission.”


“Oh, bloody hell,” Spike groaned, his shoulders sagging. “To us, it’s a date; to C3PO 'ere, it’s a mission.”


Buffy looked at Joan. “Are you sure? Cos I thought it was the three of us…”


Joan nodded decisively. “I have researched this ritual extensively. I am certain that Cinderella, although aided in her journey by a powerful witch, attended the ball singly. I will await your return and you may relate the details of the evening to me at that time. I understand this is a custom of friends: to reveal inappropriate details about dates to each other.”


Spike cocked a questioning brow at Buffy. Buffy sighed and nodded. “If you’re sure...”


“Spike and I have gone to great effort to arrange this night. It would be counterproductive to destroy such well-laid plans,” Joan assured her.


“I’ll pick you up at dusk … would seven be agreeable?” Spike interjected quickly before anyone could change their minds or microprocessors.


Buffy tilted her head and studied him. There was something … off, or maybe not off, but different about him. “Seven-thirty,” she countered, just to see what he would do – if he would rise to the bait and bicker.


He inclined his upper body in a shallow bow. Buffy’s eyes widened and she had to press a hand to her mouth to stifle a girlish shriek of gleeful giggles at the sight. 


“At your service, milady. Seven-thirty,” he agreed amiably before heading out of the girls' room and down the hallway to his.


Buffy stared after him. “Who the hell was that?” she asked Joan as they watched his retreating form.


The Bot looked at Buffy like she’d lost her mind. “Spike,” she answered flatly. “Have you sustained a head trauma that I failed to observe?”


Buffy laughed as she closed the door to their room. “No … it was a rhetorical question.”


Joan frowned. “Rhetorical questions elude my linear logic. It must require someone possessing your abnormal reasoning skills to comprehend rhetoric.”


Buffy nodded. “Just call me Abby Normal.” A beat. “Not literally. That was of the rhetorical.”






Spike fumbled with the rented bowtie that came with the rented tux, his hands shaking uncontrollably. It didn’t help that he couldn’t use the mirror to see what he was doing or that he hadn’t worn a tie of any kind in nearly a century. It also didn’t help that he was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.


He dropped his hands from the infernal scrap of fabric, took a deep breath, and tried to calm down. He closed his eyes and just breathed, clenching and unclenching his fists to try and get his hands to stop trembling.


“There’s nothin’ t’ worry about, you prat,” Spike admonished himself.


He opened his eyes, looked down at his William-esque formal attire, and sighed heavily. “Unless she thinks you look a right poofter and falls down in fits o’ laughter.”




With nervous butterflies fluttering in his stomach, Spike knocked on Buffy and Joan’s door at 7:30 on the dot. Joan answered it and invited him in.


“I think Buffy will be ready soon. I am not certain. She said something about it always being best to keep a date waiting. I’m not certain I fully understand this custom, despite my efforts to familiarize myself with all aspects of this mating ritual.”


Spike snorted ruefully. He plucked a white rose from the bouquet of pink ones he had with him, and handed it to Joan. “No worries, luv. Been waiting for Buffy for bloody years – a few more minutes won’t make any difference.”


“For me?” she asked, her eyes and smile brightening. She brought the rose to her nose and inhaled the sweet fragrance.


“For you, pet,” Spike confirmed. “The three of us’ll go out somewhere fancy one night, promise.”


Joan’s eyes widened in surprise and joy. “Oh! That would be wonderful!  I could wear the new dress and stylish pumps that we bought for me today. Buffy said I looked …”


Spike’s brows rose up higher and higher in surprise the longer she spoke.


Joan stopped talking abruptly and bit her bottom lip. “Please disregard the previous subject matter. That was not to be divulged except to those that need to know. You do not need to know. Buffy would be quite upset.”


Spike chuckled. “Didn’t hear a thing,” he assured her.


Before Joan could argue that he most certainly had heard, otherwise he would not have been able to respond to her in a coherent fashion, Buffy emerged from the bathroom.


Spike turned at the sound of the door opening. His heart leapt up into his throat and all the butterflies in his stomach stilled. He was rendered speechless, utterly motionless – even his trembling hands froze.


Buffy was a vision, an earthly angel. Her hair was curled and piled atop her head in a way that made it look almost haphazardly windblown. A few tendrils framed her face, which absolutely glowed. She had on a light dusting of makeup, but what Spike noticed most was the natural beauty beneath it. Poets had written about the glow of a mother-to-be for ages, but Spike had never really witnessed it before – not like this, not in all its heavenly glory. Perhaps you had to be in love with the woman to really see the change it made in her – he could see it now in Buffy.


Her soft-pink dress highlighted the gentle glow of her skin.  It was a strapless, satin dress that hugged her bodice then flared out over her hips and tummy all the way to the floor. The bodice was heavily adorned with silver sequins, beads, and rhinestones in an intricate, yet random, design that was just as haphazard as her hairdo. The silver detailing spilled down onto the wide, full skirt, transforming as it went into the outlines of giant flowers – orchids, if he wasn’t mistaken.


Buffy blushed under his unabashed scrutiny, and forced herself not to fidget as she took in his very un-Spike-like attire. He was dressed in a classic black tux, right down to the bow tie, and looked like GQ personified. He’d even changed out his Doc Martens for spit-shine dress shoes. His only concession to color was a pink rose on his lapel – obviously from the bouquet of them that he held, forgotten, in his hand. There was little that you could dress Spike in that he wouldn’t make look good, but in a tux he simply oozed glamour and a Hollywood-esque sex-appeal.


The two remained frozen for many long moments, staring at each other, and then Buffy smiled. She wasn’t laughing at him, he realized after a brief moment of panic, but smiling approvingly – sweetly.


Buffy’s smile only intensified her glowing beauty. Spike was blinded by her radiance. It was like looking into the sun: warm and bright and dazzling – and it was shining just for him.


“I believe it is customary to greet your date and present the flowers to her now,” Joan reminded Spike, breaking the stunned silence that had engulfed the other two.


Spike jumped a bit and cleared his throat. He rubbed a hand on the back of his neck and looked down at his shoes dumbly, trying to recompose himself.


“Right,” he agreed after a moment, his voice a bit squeaky. He cleared his throat again, looked up, and took one long stride forward toward Buffy, extending the bouquet of dusty-pink roses to her.


“You look … gorgeous ... bloody ravishing, luv,” he said reverently as she accepted the flowers.


Buffy’s blush deepened, and she brought the bouquet up to her nose, just as Joan had her single white rose, and inhaled their heady perfume.


“Thank you,” she replied, smiling wider. “The roses are lovely, and you … look … pretty wow, yourself.”


“I will put those in water for you so they will not wither prematurely,” Joan offered, reaching for the bouquet in Buffy’s hand.


Buffy plucked a single rose out and handed the remainder to Joan with a grateful smile. “Thanks.”


Turning to Spike, Buffy said, “So … I guess without any male, father-figure types here, you got off pretty light. No embarrassing questions about what you do for a living, your aversion to sunlight, or what your intentions are with regard to their sweet, innocent daughter.” She batted her lashes at him coquettishly and gave him a coy smile, like a sweet, innocent daughter might.


Spike pursed his lips together to keep a straight face, and gave her another of those shallow bows like he’d done that morning. Once again his accent changed, softened to something Buffy could only liken to Giles’. It seemed incongruous coming from Spike’s lips and made her want to giggle, but she restrained herself. "I can assure you that my intentions are nothing if not purely and sincerely scandalous. I will, however, try to control myself and not sully that comely frock, my dear, Elizabeth.”


Buffy inclined her head and curtsied slightly. “Well, I couldn’t really ask for more than that, could I?” she replied, trying to mimic the snooty accent he’d used, but failing miserably.


Spike chuckled lightly at her lame attempt and extended his arm to her. “Shall we?”


“We shall,” Buffy replied stiffly, keeping the mockery going.


“I’ll have her back before dawn,” Spike assured Joan as he opened the door for Buffy to precede him.


“Is that appropriate for a first date?” Joan asked. “As I said, I have undertaken some research on this human mating ritual. Cinderella was required to be home by midnight.”


Spike tilted his head, considering that a moment, then nodded. “Too right. Midnight it is, then.”




Spike escorted Buffy to the parking lot of the hotel where a horse-drawn carriage waited for them. Buffy was shocked into silence as Spike gave her a hand up into the open carriage, then climbed in behind her.  The driver already knew where they were going, apparently, as there was no conversation between the two men before the driver clicked his tongue and the carriage began moving.


“Tell me you didn’t conjure this from a pumpkin,” Buffy whispered to Spike as he wrapped one arm around her and tucked her against his side. “I didn’t see any horse-drawn carriages in town today.”


Spike snorted a short laugh. “Might’ve been simpler, but no … jus’ … arranged it. Still got a few contacts scattered ‘round ‘ere and there.”


Buffy looked at him with awe and wonder, shaking her head slightly in disbelief. All the work he, and Joan, apparently, had gone through to make this night happen was worth it in that moment. He dipped his head and touched her perfect, pink lips with his – a chaste kiss – a first date kiss.


“You're a vision, Buffy. Never seen anyone as beautiful as you are tonight,” he murmured to her as he ran a finger lightly down one bare arm.


She shivered from the touch, but pretended it was from the slight chill in the autumn air, and reached for the blanket that lay in the seat across from them. Spike helped her tuck it around them as the carriage meandered slowly through the streets of Gibraltar.


Buffy felt like a princess … a fairy-tale princess with her fairy-tale prince. Tourists and locals alike looked at them as they passed through the town. It was all Buffy could do to keep from waving at them, as if they were her loyal subjects. She couldn’t remove the ridiculous grin from her face if she’d wanted to – it was plastered on there ‘good and proper’, as Spike would say.


After a few minutes of comfortable silence she asked, “Did Joan tell you my dress was pink? Is that why the pink roses?” Buffy twirled the single rose she’d brought with her between her fingers and lifted it to her nose again. It smelled heavenly.


“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” Spike replied. “Hate t’ kill a girl on the first date. Rather gauche, don’t ya think?”


Buffy nodded. “Ahhhh … it’s another of those ‘need to know’ things.”


Spike inclined his head in silent agreement. “Do you like them, then?”


Buffy nodded, her smile never wavering. “Love them. They’re my favorite … the dusty pink ones. I’ve loved them ever since I was a girl.”


“That right?” Spike replied, his brows lifting slightly. “Lucky, that.”


Buffy looked at him suspiciously. “I’m pretty sure that Joan does not know that those are my favorite roses.”


“Doesn’t she?”


“Spike … how…?”


Spike shook his head. “Can’t expect a bloke t’ reveal all his secrets, can ya? What would life be without intrigue and mystery?”


Buffy sighed, shaking her head, but dropped it. Maybe he was right. After all, every fairy-tale had some intrigue and mystery … and even a pinch of magic to them, didn’t they?


“You know, I wanted to talk to you about the babies’ names. I mean, I sort of … jumped in there in full Buffy-mode and named them, but I never asked you.”


“What you said was brilliant, pet,” Spike assured her.


“Are you sure? I was thinking maybe you’d want your mom’s name as part of the girl’s name. I just didn’t know … I don’t know what her name is … or was.”


Spike looked out at the shops as they rolled down Main Street and became quiet for several long moments. Finally, his eyes still focused outside the carriage, he said in a quiet voice, “Anne. Her name was … Anne.”


“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to … pry,” Buffy apologized sensing she’d brought up bad memories, the smile she thought couldn’t fade doing so immediately.


Spike shook his head and looked back at her. “Not prying. There’s nothing about me I wouldn’t tell ya, pet – if ya really wanted to know. Just some things I’d … rather leave buried. Some visions I’d rather the mother o’ my children not have dancin’ in her head.”


Buffy nodded but couldn’t help but wonder what he wanted to leave buried. Angel had killed his entire family – probably Spike had too; it seemed pretty status quo for vampires to do that. Is that what he didn’t want her to know? She thought about how Spike had gotten along with her own mother. Even before being chipped, he'd never offered to hurt Joyce. In fact, the elder Summers woman was the more dangerous of the two of them, having hit Spike over the head with an axe.


Buffy tried to picture Spike hurting his own mother, but she couldn't get her mind to conjure it. Maybe it had been Dru ... or Angelus. Maybe Spike didn't want her to know that he'd gotten them invited in and one of them had... Buffy shook her head, clearing her mind. Those images were far too easily conjured.


Buffy focused her gaze back on Spike's face, wiping the disturbing images away. Whatever had happened, the demon, the man, next to her wasn't that person anymore. “Sometimes I forget. I forget that you’ve lived so long before me, that you’ve had … more than one lifetime.”


“I forget sometimes too – when I’m with you,” Spike admitted. “Nothing that came before really matters when I’m with you. Everything’s different now.”


Buffy gave him a warm, reassuring smile. “Maybe we can both forget the past together.”


Spike inclined his head in agreement. “Sounds brilliant.”




Buffy tried to reserve a rash and harsh judgment on their final destination: the Hellmouth. Well, the sign said it was St. Michael’s Cave, but she knew very well – even if Joan hadn’t educated her when they’d arrived – that this was a Hellmouth. She could feel the energy of it prickle her spine more surely than if she was in a crypt full of vampires.


She bit her lip to keep from being negative about this. Did Spike think this was her natural habitat like it was his? Did he think she’d feel relaxed and at ease here – as if she’d come home? Well, she didn’t. She absolutely didn’t feel at home here. She was not a creature of the darkness. She wasn’t drawn to the Hellmouth like a demon. She wasn’t … she … damn it.


Buffy sighed to herself. As much as she insisted she was the ex-Slayer, she couldn’t banish that moniker from her soul with words. No matter how much she denied it, she realized in a moment of clarity that the tinglies down her spine did have an unsettling feeling of comfortable familiarity to them. Double damn it.


The cave was closed to tourists this time of night, but Spike had apparently made some special arrangements for them, as they were admitted without question by the solitary night watchman. Buffy curled her fingers tightly around the bend in Spike’s elbow as they walked down the long tunnel past rock formations that were undoubtedly centuries, perhaps eons, old.  The deeper they moved into the cavern, the more she could feel the power of the place buzz against her skin. She nearly stopped more than once, but honestly didn’t want to hurt Spike’s feelings. He’d obviously gone to some trouble to arrange this, the least she could do was endure a few wiggy tingles down her spine.


Finally, the walkway opened into a large, impressive chamber. The stalactites and stalagmites that covered the walls and ceiling looked exotically beautiful, all bathed in a subtle rainbow of colored lights. To add to the ambiance, there was music playing softly from unseen speakers. It seemed to match the majesty of the cavern perfectly – something orchestral that she couldn’t begin to name. Buffy did stop then just to take it all in. It was humbling in its rugged beauty. Awesome in the truest sense of the word: breathtaking, impressive, overwhelming.


Spike stopped beside her and watched her as she looked around the magnificent collaboration of man and nature. He couldn’t help the satisfied smile that curled his lips as he watched her grow from pensive and jittery to awed by Gibraltar’s mouth of hell.



“Wow,” she said at last, shifting her gaze from the rock formations to Spike’s face. “This is … the prettiest Hellmouth I’ve ever seen.”


“Seen a lot of ‘em, have you?” Spike teased.


Buffy shrugged noncommittally.


Spike chuckled. “Does that mean you’ll stay for dinner, then?” He waved a hand at a small, cozy table in the center of the enormous chamber. A white linen tablecloth covered the intimate table for two. Another pink rose, like the one she still carried in her hand, stood in a vase in the center.


Buffy gave him a smile and nodded. The tinglies down her spine had faded into little more than a background noise, like the hum of tires on asphalt, waves lapping on a beach, crickets chirping in the night, or wind through the trees.


Spike led her to the table and pulled one of the chairs out for her. Buffy smoothed her full skirt and took a seat as he pushed the chair in for her. He removed the tented, linen napkin from the table in front of his date and laid it gently in her lap, before taking his place opposite her.


He’d no sooner taken his seat than a waiter, dressed to the nines in a black tux and tails, appeared at the table with a bottle of very expensive-looking champagne and two flute glasses.


He showed the bottle to Spike, who approved with a nod, and then the waiter decanted the bubbly with a soft ‘pop’. Buffy fretted her lip, her hand going to her tummy, as she watched the waiter pour them each a glass before he departed as quickly as he’d appeared.


Buffy leaned forward as Spike reached for his glass. “I don’t think I’m supposed to drink that,” she whispered to him as if there was anyone around to hear her protest.


“Why not?” Spike whispered back just as quietly, amused by her quiet tone.


“The babies…” Buffy explained simply, still whispering.


“Ahhh …” Spike replied, nodding. “I called and asked Marie-Élise about it. She said a little won’t hurt the bits, just don't overdo. Also said as much in a couple o’ those books I bought.”


“Really?” Buffy asked, dropping the whisper as she reached for her glass. “You checked?”


“‘Course,” Spike assured her. “You think I wouldn’t?”


Buffy blew out a soft snort and shook her head. “No, of course you’d check,” she realized.


Spike lifted his glass for a toast. “To first dates and forever.”


Buffy gave him a shy smile and raised her glass to his. “First dates and forever,” she repeated as the glasses clinked together lightly.


After they both drank to their toast, Buffy looked around the cavern again, taking it all in. “This place is really amazing. Have you been here before?”


Spike looked around as well. “Yeah, long time ago. Wasn’t nearly as nice then. Peaches kicked me off that German sub during the war, had t’ swim for it. Twenty bloody miles, he said. More like fifty, it was! Had t’ fight off three soddin’ sharks on the way. Ended up ‘ere … barely made it into the cave ‘fore sunup. Bloody wanker.


“Lucky for me it was nicely stocked with warm soldiers t’ snack on.”


Buffy’s brows were back up near her hairline again by the time he finished talking. “Maybe we shouldn’t forget the past,” she suggested. “I think I’d like to hear how you and Angel ended up on a German sub during the war.”


Spike snorted. “Well, obviously, I was tryin’ to steal it for the King,” Spike lied …. errr embellished. “Peaches was tryin’ t’ steal it for the Yanks. Forgot where he came from, he did.”


Buffy cocked a brow at him. "You were stealing a sub for Elvis?"


Spike almost did a spit-take with his champagne, but managed to hold it in. Thank goodness for vampire strength. "No, pet, the King o' England. King George was the monarch at the time," he explained.


“Oh ... I knew that," Buffy insisted nonchalantly. "So, you were trying to steal it to give him a ... birthday present? Christmas? Or is giving a submarine something just celebrated in England ... like Boxers Day?”


"Box-ing ..." Spike began to correct stiffly, but dropped it, heaving a loud sigh. “Not the literal King; the Crown – the government, Churchill, the Union Jack, and all that rot.”


“Oh, you were a patriot. That totally tracks,” she agreed sarcastically, rolling her eyes to let him know he wasn’t fooling her. “I guess you lost,” Buffy deduced.


“Guess I won in the end, though, didn’t I?” Spike retorted. “Sittin’ here with you, ain’t I? Got my babies in your belly, don’t ya?”


Buffy’s smile faded. She felt her stomach coil into a knot and her heart clench in her chest. “Is that what this is? What I am? Just another contest between you and Angel?” she croaked out, her throat nearly closed up with choked-back tears.


“Buffy, you know it isn’t,” Spike retorted immediately, reaching his hand across the table, palm up. “Don’t take it like that. It … that came out wrong. I love you more than … more than the universe is wide. You gotta know that by now, don’t ya?”


Buffy sighed and laid her hand in his on the table. His fingers closed around hers gently as she bowed her head and closed her eyes to try and calm her run-away emotions. “Yeah, I know … I’m … I’m sorry. I’ve just been extra emotional lately and I feel like …”


“Feel like what, pet?” Spike prompted when she didn’t finish, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.


She opened her eyes and looked across the table at him. “I feel like I’m gonna turn into this big blimp and … you won’t …” she shrugged one bare shoulder and looked down at her glass of champagne, unable to meet his eyes.


Spike’s brows rose. “You think you won’t be sexy when you’re further along?” Spike barked out a sarcastic laugh. “Couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful than your belly swollen with our babies, pet. Never stop wanting you, Buffy – never stop loving you.”


Buffy looked up at him through her lashes, her head still bowed. “You say that now…”


“I’ll say that in six months too … in six years, in sixty years when ya got our grandbabies on your knee.”


Buffy pursed her lips trying not to frown at the thought. “Thank you for that very disturbing visual. Grandma Buffy,” she said aloud, trying the feel of it on her lips. “I’ll be all old and wrinkly and you’ll be … horny and … handsome as ever.  I’ll be downstairs sleeping in the living room ‘cos I can’t make it up the stairs anymore, and you’ll be up there with Joan…”


Spike shook his head. “Wherever you are is where I’ll be, pet. Love you for more than what’s on the outside – not that the packagin’ isn’t brilliant, mind you – but there’s more than that. If you let me spend my life with you, I’d be the happiest man in the world.”


“You love me for my brain?” Buffy asked skeptically. “That’s like saying you loved Dru for her sanity.”


Spike scowled slightly, though for which comment Buffy wasn’t certain – probably both.


“Don’t sell yourself short, Summers. Among other things, yeah, I love you for your brain. Love your heart, your determination, your fire, your passion, your wit; love the way you look at the world. Love your indestructible spirit. Never known anyone like you, Buffy.


“And, hard as she tries, Joan ain’t you. She’s a good girl, but you’re the one I love – the one I’ll always love. And when you’re gone, I’ll follow you, pet. I’ll lay you to rest in a beautiful cemetery – have a view of a lake with swans and flowers and whatnot – and I’ll lie down atop your grave and join you that very day. Let the sun take me off this earth, ‘cos I couldn’t bear a single day without you.”


“Spike, I …” Buffy’s heart caught in her throat, choking off her words. She shook her head and blinked back emotion-laden tears, but a small smile gave away her delight at his heartfelt sentiment. She had no doubt that he meant every word. There was a time not long ago that thoughts of being a wife or a mother, let alone a grandmother, were nothing more than flights of fancy, and rarely indulged. That was someone else’s life – not hers.


And then there was Angel. How easily he’d been scared away from her with the same argument she’d just made to Spike: she would get old and he wouldn’t. For her own good. How was it that this vampire across from her could have so much heart without a soul? She’d always thought those two things were inexplicably intertwined – heart and soul – but Spike had proven that wrong, just like he’d proven so many of her other beliefs to be untrue.


“You mean it, don’t you?” she finally asked in an emotion-laced voice.


“Every word.” Spike gave her a lecherous grin. “Sexiest grandma on the planet, you’ll be.”


Buffy snorted and let her smile widen. “Probably the most over-sexed grandma would be more like it.”


Spike shrugged, his grin never fading. “That too.”


“You might’ve been better off if you’d won the sub from Angel instead,” she told him.


“Piffle!” he disagreed. “Angel could’a captured the whole bloody German fleet for the Yanks, and I’d still be the lucky one. Nothing compares to you, pet. Wouldn’t trade anything on heaven or earth for being right here with you right now.”


“Yeah, and they thought I’d lost my mind…” Buffy mused almost to herself.


“Lost more than my mind, luv. Lost my heart to you long ago. No chance o’ getting it back. Just gotta hang about and not let ya take it too far away.”


Buffy tilted her head and considered him a moment. “What would happen if I took it far away?”


“Aw, well – that’s simple, luv. I’d dust.”


Buffy lifted her champagne glass up. “Here’s to safe hearts and over-sexed grandmas.”


Spike laughed, bowed his head slightly in agreement, and touched his glass to hers. “Here, here.”




After perhaps a quarter hour, the waiter appeared again. One moment they were alone, talking about past lives they’d previously decided should be forgotten, and the next moment he was there. A stout penguin – dressed entirely in black and white – bearing a stand that held two covered trays.


“Hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of ordering for ya, pet,” Spike said as the waiter placed one fancy, covered tray in front of her and the other in front of Spike.


“As long as there’s no tofu involved,” Buffy agreed, but she eyed the covered tray warily. She’d seen old movies and cartoons with food being served like this. Inevitably what was under the shiny, silver dome was … well … not anything she’d actually want to eat. Images of snails and octopi and ducks with their heads still attached danced in her mind, and her stomach started feeling queasy.


Spike laughed. “I can guarantee no tofu, luv.”


Buffy smiled back at him weakly as she fought back the unsettled feeling in her stomach that her imagination had conjured. Maybe a random vampire would jump out from the rocks and attack them, knocking the food over. Buffy looked around hopefully, but saw nothing. This had to be the only Hellmouth in the world with no random vampires in it. Just her luck.


"They've got a lotta nerve calling this place a Hellmouth," she groused under her breath as she continued to look around for any sign of a demon ... or a bat? A spider? Anything? "I guess some Hellmouths are more Hellmouth-y than others."


Without any further warning, the penguin removed the covers from both of the trays on the table with a flourish. Buffy held her breath and closed her eyes, praying for a demon attack. Then it hit her … the smell …


Her eyes flashed open and the scream that jumped from her lips could not be stopped. “A Quarter Pounder! With cheese! And fries!


“Oh my God! Spike! I didn’t see a McDonald’s in town today. How did I miss that?”


Spike cocked his head to one side and smiled at her child-like enthusiasm. As much as he’d loved introducing her to new places – the azure splendor of the Mediterranean, the timeless-beauty of the art at the Louvre, the magic of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower – he’d much rather have her gleefully embrace the comfort-food she craved than suffer through an introduction to something she had no desire for.


“Can’t give away all my secrets, now can I?” he answered as he watched her squeeze out the little ketchup packets – Heinz, of course – onto the expensive bone-china plate her meal sat on. The red splattered over the dainty Forget-Me-Nots adorning the white background of the expensive, antique plate, nearly obscuring all the blue posies that gaily winked up at her.


When she took a bite of the Quarter Pounder, Spike thought she might’ve cum. If he closed his eyes, the moan that tumbled from her throat sounded very much like the one he thought was reserved for him and him alone. He just sat mesmerized and watched her indulge her craving for a couple of minutes.


There were times when Buffy seemed like she had lived a thousand lifetimes. Her Calling placed inside her the power and instincts and even some dream-memories of every Slayer that had come before, and she wielded that responsibility like a wizened master of the art. But in times like this, she was just Buffy: the giddy – perhaps a bit spacey – girl inside the woman.


Spike couldn’t decide which he loved more. Luckily, he had them both, he didn’t have to choose.


“Have I told you lately that I love you?” Buffy wondered between bites, her words muffled with the rapturous meal. The penguin was gone again. She still didn’t know how he appeared and disappeared so quickly. She didn’t care anymore.


Spike started on his own burger and fries. “Don’t reckon you have, luv,” Spike replied shamelessly. “Perhaps you’d care to elucidate.”


Buffy laughed, stuffing a fry into her mouth. “Elucidate? That’s very Giles-y!”


“Insultin’, that is!” Spike argued in mock agitation. “It’s a perfectly good and proper word. Don’t reckon Watchers have a monopoly on it.”


Buffy shrugged, still smiling, as she washed down her cheap fast-food with expensive champagne. “Why do I think there’s more to you than meets the eye, Mr. Pratt?”


Spike fixed her with a leer and curled his tongue over his teeth. “Be happy t’ give you the full tour later of what’s not meetin’ your pretty, little eyes,” he offered, sliding a hand down over his tux-clad chest until it disappeared beneath the table.


Buffy bit her bottom lip coyly. “Oh, so this is dinner and a show, huh?”


Spike wagged his brows at her suggestively. “Play your cards right, Summers, and you’ll get the Full Monty.”


“Oooo …” Buffy cooed. “And I thought this was going to be a perfectly respectable first date.”


“Just lucky for you, I can respect you just as properly with our clothes off as on,” Spike countered.


Buffy laughed again. “Well, I declare!” Buffy breathed, channeling Scarlett O’Hara, fanning her face with her hand. “How you do vex me, Mr. Pratt! I do believe I may faint dead away with just the notion of it.”


“Be a right shame that, pet. I can make you faint dead away in much more pleasant ways than jus’ thinkin’ ‘bout my hot, tight little body.”


Buffy licked her lips like a cat stalking a canary. “I believe, dear sir, that I will call you on that and see what just you’ve got as your hole card.”


Buffy’s eyes flashed in victory. “I think I played my cards just right, don’t you, Mr. Pratt?”


“Taught you too well, I did. You’re a bloody card shark.”


Buffy laughed but didn’t correct him as he’d done her thosez weeks ago. She liked being the predator in this game.




After they finished their dessert – hot fudge sundaes, of course – Spike laid his napkin on the table and stood up, offering Buffy his hand.


“May I have this dance, Miss Summers?” he requested in his Giles-y voice, which Buffy was starting to suspect was more like true ‘Mr. Pratt’ than Spike was willing to admit.


Buffy tilted her head considering the soft music that was playing in the background. Spike can actually dance? Spike can … slow dance?


She placed her hand in his and rose from the table with all the elegance she could muster after a gourmet meal of burgers and fries, and gave him a shallow curtsy. “It would be my pleasure, Mr. Pratt.”


Spike flashed his boyish grin at her and Buffy couldn’t help but return it as her heart fluttered in her chest. Yes, there were definitely more layers to Mr. Pratt/William the Bloody/Spike that needed to be peeled away. Her chest swelled at the notion of spending a lifetime doing just that.


Spike took her in his arms, moving away from their table at bit, and began to sway with her over the smooth floor of the cavern. Buffy leaned against him, savoring the feel of his strong hand against her bare back, and let him lead them in a gentle dance to the slow beat of the music. Spike’s thumb caressed her spine as they moved and sent tingling lances of pleasure up and down her body as they swayed, each lost in their own thoughts.


Buffy broke the comfortable silence first. Looking up to his eyes she asked, “Just who are you, Mr. Pratt, and what have you done with my Spike?” 


Spike smirked at her, releasing the hold around her body, and spun her in a slow pirouette before gently guiding her back into his embrace. His hand found her back again and this thumb resumed tickling her warm skin before he answered her. “Spike’s ‘ere, luv,” he assured her. Then, softening his accent he added, “So is Mr. Pratt.”


Buffy smiled, thinking that Spike was a lot like her: sometimes just a girl and sometimes a Slayer. Sometimes he was just a guy – admittedly a Victorian guy, and certainly a man, not a boy – and sometimes he was Spike.  Now that she thought about it, she’d seen flashes of William Pratt out of Spike in the past, she just hadn’t realized the depth of the man within the demon.


“If I ask you something, will you promise not to get angry with me?” Buffy wondered, looking back up at him as they swayed together.


Spike pursed his lips a moment considering her, then nodded. “Alright.”


Buffy took a moment to consider her words carefully before continuing. “You ... don’t have a soul, but you still … I mean, the man is still inside. It’s like William Pratt’s heart survived the demon. Even before the chip, you were able to put the demon aside, make a deal with me to save the world, drink hot chocolate with my mom. Angel…”


Spike stiffened slightly, his thumb stilled on her back, but he kept his feet moving to the slow tempo of the music.


“…Angel, when he didn’t have his soul … well, there was nothing of Liam in there. Angelus could’ve never done any of that. I … just … I’m trying to understand why you’re so different.”


Spike took a deep breath but didn’t answer her right away. Buffy laid her head back against his shoulder and waited, afraid she’d spoiled the mood when his thumb remained still against her back. Stupid Buffy.


“I reckon,” Spike began after what seemed an eternity to Buffy. “What you don’t understand is that Liam never had much of a heart t’ start with. Oh, I suppose it was average as hearts go, pet, but what I heard from Darla ‘bout your boy …”


Now it was Buffy’s turn to stiffen. “He’s not my boy,” she interjected immediately.


Spike shrugged. “Right,” he agreed. “Anyway, what I heard from Darla ‘bout Liam was what made her choose him to be her partner was his lack of moral fiber … and apparently she thought he was pretty.” Spike snorted in disagreement.


Buffy pursed her lips to keep from smiling at his disdain.


“So, Liam with a soul was … well … not that much different than Angel without one. A bit less violent, I reckon, but he wasn’t ever gonna be voted ‘Greatest Humanitarian',” Spike concluded. “The soul helped him control the demon’s worst urges, I reckon. To be honest, think part o’ his broodiness was ‘cos he missed the violence and cruelty, not ‘cos he felt guilty about it. If ya don’t have much of a heart as a human, then you bloody sure won’t have one as a demon.


“The demon lowers your inhibitions. It’s not that ya don’t know right from wrong, ya just have a hard time carin’. Not saying I haven’t done my fair share of violence, luv, ‘cos I have, but I’ve never been as … depraved as Angelus. Just wasn’t in me.”


“I heard you stuck railroad spikes in people’s eyes,” Buffy argued, suddenly feeling defensive of Angel. It was stupid, she knew. But somehow it seemed to reflect on her own character that she’d let herself fall in love with someone who didn’t have a heart, as Spike contended.


Spike tsked. “Yeah, well, that was personal.”


“What do you mean?” Buffy wondered.


“Them fellas deserved t’ have spikes poked in their eyes,” Spike retorted angrily. “Bloody arrogant wankers had no appreciation for …” Spike stopped talking abruptly, suddenly feeling he was giving too much away.


 “For what?” Buffy wondered, stopping their dance to pull back out of his embrace and look at him.


Spike ducked his head and rubbed hand on the back of his neck as he stood before her feeling exposed, flayed open, just as he’d felt when those tossers had read his poncey poem aloud at the party and laughed at him.


“Spike, please … I’m … I just want to understand,” Buffy begged.


Spike took a breath and blew it out, then looked up at her. “They had no respect for another’s feelings. They were as bloody heartless as Angelus, and they deserved everything I done to them … me and Dru.”


Buffy tilted her head and studied him for several long moments. “You told me you’d always been bad, but that’s not true, is it? That was one of your smoke screens. You’ve always had a tender heart,” she concluded gently. “The demon didn’t change that … at least for the people you care about.


“Love’s Bitch,” she whispered, her eyes boring into his like emerald lasers.


Spike gave a short, shallow tilt of his head in acknowledgement, not breaking eye contact, but didn't say anything as he waited for her mocking laughter to begin.


“Liam … Angel never really loved anything, did he?” Buffy wondered forlornly, surprising Spike with her tone. “Even me.”


Spike shrugged as relief washed over him. Was she honestly not gonna poke fun at him? “Couldn’t say for sure,” he replied hesitantly.


“But you don’t think so. He’s like a … what do they call them? A sociopath,” she concluded, drawing on her days in Psych 101. “Like Ted Bundy. He looks and acts fine on the outside…”


“But got no heart – just a shell, an act,” Spike finished.


Buffy turned away from Spike, wrapping her arms around her torso. “But … that doesn’t make sense. I mean – the perfect happiness thing. If he didn’t love me how did he achieve perfect happiness?”


Spike took a step forward and laid a gentle hand on her bare shoulder. “Demon like Angelus shagging a Slayer her first time? Blood in the air … maybe not just in the air. Not all that hard to imagine, pet.”


Buffy shuddered. “You think his demon achieved the happiness?”


Spike caressed her shoulder in a way he hoped conveyed comfort. “Just a theory, pet. I could be wrong. He … probably loved you … in his, ya know, own depraved way.”


Buffy huffed out a long breath. “You’re a horrible liar. How can someone so evil be such a horrible liar?” she wondered as she turned back around to face him.


Her expression softened when their eyes met. “But you’re different, aren’t you? You … really love me. It’s not … an ‘in your own evil way’ thing, right? It’s not a demon and Slayer thing, right?”


“Can’t lie, luv. I love the Slayer. My demon thrills when you’re next t’ me, craves you, it does. But that’s not the half of it. I love who you are more than what you are. My heart feels like it’ll burst when ya look at me with affection. When ya give me a smile, or a touch … a teasing glance. Wasn’t lying when I said I loved you for your brain and your spirit, pet. You are the most remarkable woman I’ve ever known. Love the way you try, the way you think, the way you’ve fought for everything you are, the way your heart glows with an inner fire. So young and so …”


“Don’t you dare say ‘old’,” Buffy interjected sternly, blinking her emotions back from her eyes.


“Errr… right. Not old … timeless.” Spike reached a hand up and cupped her cheek gently. “I’m not Angel. My heart is yours, Buffy … and my soul.” He lowered his hand to her abdomen and pressed gently against the babies growing there. “You’ve got it all. I’m yours. I’ll stand in the light with you, pet; Angel … Angelus never could … never could come outta the dark. I can, I will, I have – for you.”


Buffy’s chin quivered and she wiped a tear from the corner of her eye before it had time to run down her cheek. “I love you … all of you: the demon, and the man,” she replied, her voice rough with emotion.


Suddenly Spike dropped to one knee in front of her and the little diamond engagement ring was in his fingers, presented to her as if she were a queen and it the queen’s jewels.


Spike’s voice was a quavering rumble when he spoke. “Then marry me. Let me show you what love can be, Buffy. Be my wife. No one could ever love you more than I do. I'll love you forever, Buffy – cherish you 'til the stars blink out and time stops. You're my destiny ... my heart, my soul, my life.


"Will you do me the honor of marrying me?”


Buffy hadn’t actually been expecting this tonight. I mean, who proposes on the first date? Admittedly, this was a long-delayed first date, but still.


She stared at the proffered ring a moment and then her gaze met Spike’s. His face was hopeful, his cobalt eyes promised forever. Who proposed on the first date? Spike, that’s who.


Buffy extended her left hand toward the ring. “Yes,” she squeaked back.


“Yes?” Spike repeated, afraid he hadn’t heard her correctly.


“Yes, yes. Yes, Spike, I’ll marry you,” she confirmed, her voice stronger now.


Spike slid the ring onto her hand with trembling fingers, silently cursing himself for being a git the whole while.


Once the ring was settled onto her finger, Spike rose and drew her into a loving embrace. His lips tickled over hers, teasing, tasting, tantalizing her until her knees wobbled. She was suddenly doubly glad for his strong arms around her, and she clung to his neck as much to remain standing as for the feel of his body against hers.


“When?” she asked when the kiss finally broke. Her breath was warm against his lips, as he didn’t let her pull too far away, and she had no desire to at any rate.


“Would tomorrow night be too soon?”


At that Buffy did pull back to look into his eyes. “Tomorrow? How … here? Can we do that?”


“I … might’ve made some … inquiries,” Spike revealed sheepishly.


“Pretty sure of yourself,” she accused, her eyes narrowing.


“To tell you the truth, wasn’t sure at all, pet. Just … tryin’ to be prepared, in case,” Spike admitted, ducking his head and stuffing his hands down into the pockets of his jacket uncomfortably.


“Oh, so now you’re a Boy Scout, too, huh?” she teased.


Spike shrugged and looked back up at her. “Was pretty clear you weren’t gonna make it much longer on that boat. No way you’d make it back to the good, ole USA on it – so I … took the liberty of making some other arrangements.”


“Including marriage arrangements?” she asked, cocking a brow at him.


“Well … while I was greasing the governmental cogs o’ progress, figured I’d get our money’s worth. That doesn’t ruin the fairy-tale bit, does it?” he wondered worriedly.


Buffy laughed sharply and shook her head, pulling him back into a hug. “I guess not. I suppose even Prince Charming has to get his hands dirty from time to time.”






End Note: Don't forget, Ghost of the Robot's LIVE online StageIt show is this Saturday, April 6th, 2013. Get your ticket for TEN CENTS:

What do you have to lose!?? Come check them out and chat with us! Everyone is welcome!


Smile, James Marsters (also done by Ghost of the Robot)



In, I'm falling in, I didn't want to
Not so fast boy, slow
Don't wanna hurt the girl
Get her a pretty box, you'd better fill it

And I get blinded when she opens the door
It's like looking into the sun, you know
And I'm just blinkin', mumblin', starin' at my shoes
And she just looks at me 
And smiles,

So, there we go again and it feels so good
To fall up and down
Damn, it's 2 am again and she kisses me goodbye
For the sixteenth time
And I'm drivin' home, it's 5 a.m.
And I look at the sun come up over the hills
Clouds are turnin' pink and green
And all I can see is her eyes, 

And I get blinded when she opens the door
It's like looking into the sun, you know
And I'm just blinkin', mumblin', starin' at my shoes
And she just looks at me 
And smiles,


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