Summary: Spike wrote a letter to Buffy before the final battle in Not Fade Away. What happens when Buffy finally discovers Spike is back from the great beyond?
Genre: Romance, Angst
Warnings: Spoilers for the end of Angel Season 5, After the Fall and up through Issue #23 of Buffy Season 8.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Just playing for fun.
A/N: Special thanks to sueworld2003 for the beautiful banner and to Aisalynn for being a wonderful beta.
1) Buffy was never in Rome as shown in The Girl in Question, but rather leading a new Slayer organization of over 500 members in the fight against evil. The "Buffy" that Angel and Spike tried to visit in Rome was actually a decoy set-up by Andrew to protect the real Buffy and keep her true location a secret.
2) Out of the 1800 Slayers that were activated during Chosen and the 500 Slayers that have chosen to work with Buffy, a group of Slayers led by one Slayer named Simone have gone rogue and have been abusing their power a la Faith in Season 3. Want. Take. Have. In Issue #23, Buffy and Andrew go to Rome to try to gain intel on Simone and her gang, only to be forced into a standoff on the island Simone has taken over off the coast of Italy. Andrew's squad of Slayers ("Italy squad" as he calls them) come to their rescue, but Buffy fails to rein in Simone or remove her from power. Simone's violent acts have brought intense scrutiny on the Slayers from the world's media coverage.
3) Angel survived the battle in Not Fade Away and the events of After the Fall, but now everyone in LA knows Angel exists and is a vampire just as they know about the demons that walk the streets. He's become a citywide legend.
Spike stared back at Buffy, mesmerized. “Hello,” he said softly, afraid to break the moment.
Buffy raised her free hand to brush at the remaining tears on her cheeks, rubbing them away with her sleeve. She laughed and rolled her eyes. “God, I must look awful. Puffy Buffy isn’t what I was going for here.”
Spike shook his head, never breaking eye contact. “No. You look beautiful.”
Buffy’s smile wavered as she bit her lip, her eyes still holding a fragile air. “Liar,” she whispered.
Spike tilted his head to the side, his smile widening as he reached forward to push Buffy’s hair back from her face. “I’m many things, love. But I’ve never felt the need to tell tales about the God-given attributes of a beautiful woman. Now take your compliment and stop acting like you don’t know you’re bloody gorgeous.”
An involuntary laugh escaped Buffy and she quickly swallowed it, shaking her head at him. She looked down at their intertwined hands resting against her chest and slowly lowered their joined fist to hang between them. She noticed the absolute quiet of the hotel lobby and swiveled her head to discover that Angel had disappeared from the office behind them and his son – her mind figuratively blinked at the concept – his son was gone as well. She looked back at Spike, eyebrows lowered in confusion. “Where’d they go?”
“Cleared out right quick. Was the tears, I expect. Nothing scarier than a woman having a good cry.” He looked down at their joined hands. “I’d have gone running, too. If I could.” He grinned openly, tongue curling behind his front teeth as his cheeks dimpled.
Buffy shook her head playfully, swinging their hands back and forth as she muttered “idiot” underneath her breath.
Spike’s grin widened. “You know, this is going a lot better than I’d imagined. Thought you’d be right angry with me what with telling Andrew to keep his trap shut. Figured I’d be down on the floor holding a bloody no – ow!”
Buffy’s right fist connected with Spike’s face, forcing him to fall back from the impact and stretching their joined hands tautly. Buffy pulled Spike back into her with her grip on his right hand, glaring at him while he clutched his nose.
He looked at her angry expression suspiciously, his voice carrying a nasal quality. “So that’s it, then? We on to the kick the Spike portion of the evening?” He scoffed, dropping his hand from his face to jab his finger at Buffy. “At least you’re predictable, Slayer. I’ll give you that.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“What? Other than a bleedin’ nose ain’t nothing wrong with me. I don’t go around hitting people to work out my feelings.” His eyes widened significantly at Buffy before his face fell into a sheepish expression. “Well, okay. I do. But it’s totally different and perfectly right in a completely different context and I’ll have you know that I…I…what were we talking about again?”
“How you’re an idiot?” Buffy supplied eagerly.
“How you kept the fact that you’re back from the dead a secret for over a year?”
“Pfft. Wasn’t that long. A few months shy of a year at most.”
“Well okay, yeah. But…”
Buffy’s raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
“I had reasons, you know. Very good reasons.” He huffed. “Oh, you’d be impressed.” Spike tapped his temple, nodding. “The thoughts in here. Yeah, very impressed.”
Buffy stared at Spike, wordlessly expressing ‘you’re an idiot’ with her eyes.
Spike looked off to the side and opened his mouth, working his tongue from cheek to cheek as he wrestled with his words. “Like for one, can’t top an exit like that. Everybody knows you burn up in a blaze of glory savin’ the world, it’s a bit anticlimactic to just show up again a few months later.” Spike glanced surreptitiously at Buffy, noting her increased glare of death directed at him. “Plus figured it was time to be my own man. Nothing wrong with being a bachelor. Setting out on my own.” He nodded solidly, affirming the notion. “And Angel practically begged me to stay and help him. Poor sod was at a loss and needed me around.” He glanced back at Buffy, seeing her clenching and unclenching her jaw. “And it’s not like you left a forwarding address, pet.” Buffy eyes narrowed to slits. “Not that I’m saying it’s your fault. Didn’t expect you to think up a contingency plan in the event of my resurrection. Though the way our world works, any idiot could see…” Buffy began to squeeze Spike’s fist, causing him to cough and clear his throat. “Right. Well, those are just a few of my very well thought out reasons why I didn’t…you know, tell you.”
The anger melted away from Buffy’s face, her expression going blank. She looked down, roughly swallowing the knot in her throat. Her grip loosened, letting Spike’s hand drop from her grasp.
Spike’s body reeled back from the loss of contact, his eyes bereft as he looked at her avoiding his gaze. He looked down to stare at the same spot on the floor that had absorbed Buffy’s attention, opening his mouth to speak and closing it repeatedly before finally working up the nerve to continue. “’Course I forgot to mention the most important reason.” Buffy’s gaze sharpened, listening carefully as she stared at the floor. “Didn’t think you meant it.” Spike watched Buffy’s eyebrows scrunch up in confusion. “There. At the end. When you said you…”
Buffy slowly raised her head to stare at Spike solemnly. “You’re an idiot, Spike,” she said softly. “Why do I always fall for the stupid ones?”
Spike half-laughed through his wavering smile. “Couldn’t tell you, love. Doesn’t make a lick of sense. Not worthy to even look at you much less – ”
Buffy grabbed his shirt and pulled him close till they were face to face. “Shut up.”
“Right. No more talking.”
Buffy nodded. “Good.”
“Brilliant.” Spike tilted his head to the side, gazing intensely into Buffy’s eyes as his face inched closer towards her.
“Uh huh.” Buffy stopped as her lips gently brushed his, breathing into his slightly open mouth.
“Hmm.” Spike waited, watching her, afraid to move and break whatever spell held them this close.
Buffy kissed his lower lip softly before pulling back to move to the right side of his mouth. She pressed a dry kiss on the corner of his lips, holding for a moment then brushing her lips against his and moving to the opposite corner to repeat the caress. She reached up to touch his lips with her right index finger, testing the softness and resiliency as she pressed down gently in the center before brushing his lower lip with her thumb, pressing her soft kiss deeper into his lips rather than wiping it away. She looked at Spike, eyes serious and warm and slightly uncertain. “Can I kiss you?”
Spike’s eyes narrowed questioningly. “Thought that was what you were doing, love.”
“I thought I should ask,” Buffy said softly.
“Stupid question, pet. Always want to be kissing you. And for the record, seeing as you’re being all proper-like, it’s ‘may I kiss you’.”
Buffy rolled her eyes and pulled him down to her with a strong grip on his neck, kissing him firmly. Her hands looped around the back of his neck as she pulled herself up into his embrace, hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder, feeling the entire length of him with her body. Her body sighed into his, relaxing for a moment only to tense immediately and pull him even closer to her while she rose up on her toes to meet him head-on. Yes, she thought. This. This is what’s been missing. Her stomach tightened unbearably only to unfurl and jump inside her, making her insides quiver.
Spike tilted his head, deepening the kiss while opening his mouth to duel with Buffy’s tongue. She pulled back slightly and took his lip between her teeth, nipping gently before kissing away the sting. He groaned, his throaty rumble intensifying while his hands roamed her back. His right hand began to play with the hem of her shirt, sneaking up to stroke the skin of her lower back before slowly moving forward to the soft skin of her abdomen. With each renewed note of their battling tongues, his hand inched upward only to be forcibly stopped by Buffy’s grip as she pulled back gasping. She looked around at the hotel lobby and shook her head.
Spike looked around and shrugged ‘why not’. Buffy pushed his hand out from under her shirt, frowning.
“Not here, Spike,” she panted. She looked up at the ceiling, wondering where Angel had disappeared to. “Most definitely not here.”
Spike dropped his forehead against Buffy’s, groaning. “Woman, why do you insist on tormenting me?”
Buffy grinned, breathing heavily. “Oh come on, you can take it. Tough guy like you. You’re probably just faking so I’ll feel sorry for you.”
Spike grabbed Buffy by the hips and pulled her into him, his eyes zeroing in on hers as he raised his eyebrow. “Who’s faking?”
Buffy swallowed, eyes closed. “Okay, not faking. But still kinda milking it for all it’s worth.”
Spike groaned again. “If you’re not gonna use your tongue properly, stop with the double entendres, pet. Please.”
“Double who?” Buffy asked as she pushed away from Spike.
Spike shook off her question. “Nevermind. So where to? I don’t have a place here anymore. A hotel?” He looked around at the lobby. “Another hotel?”
“Well, that just sounds skanky.” Buffy pouted.
“You do have a hotel room here, right?”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean I want to have dirty-hotel-reunion-sex.” She looked up at the ceiling as she whispered the last word.
“Pet, there’s nowhere else to go.”
Buffy’s lip jutted out even further.
“And that.” Spike pointed at her lip. “That’s not helping. Love, you want me to go get a room somewhere? I’ve got the blunt. Just say the word.”
“No.” She sighed heavily. “We’ll go to mine.” She pouted again and Spike leaned in towards her lips, forcing her to jump back. “Hey! No touching. Not here. This is a no-touching zone.” She waved her arms around herself. “No kissing. No hugging. No caressing of…things. Got it?”
Spike held his hands in the air. “Got it. Can we go now?”
Buffy nodded urgently. “Oh yeah. Right now.”
Thirty Minutes Later
Buffy and Spike stood at opposite ends of the elevator, watching the lights blink as they went up to the 16th floor. As each floor passed, Buffy let out a little sigh. The air hummed between them. They’d stopped speaking on the ride over to Buffy’s hotel. Buffy’d had trouble not accidentally making with the sexy talk and after the third time Spike nearly drove off the road, she’d decided silence was golden.
The light dinged at 16 and the doors opened. Buffy turned to meet Spike’s gaze and they stepped out into the hallway, never breaking eye contact. They stood outside the elevator, frozen for several long moments as they looked at each other. Finally remembering herself, Buffy jolted back into motion and started walking towards her room at the end of the hall, Spike following close behind. She paused at the door and started digging into her pocket for the key, raising it to the electronic lock. Spike’s hand caressed her back and she fumbled her grip, dropping the card to the floor. She bent down the pick it up, her hand unsteady as she tried to insert the key into the slot. Cursing, she tried again when the lock didn’t light up.
“Any time now, love,” Spike rumbled from behind her.
Buffy scowled at him over her shoulder, turning to make another attempt at unlocking the door. The lock lit up and Buffy turned to grin triumphantly at Spike, only to find him already in motion. He picked her up and spun them both across the threshold, shouldering the door closed. Never one to be left behind, Buffy took advantage of her new position and angled herself down to meet his mouth in the darkness of the room. Her arms wrapped around his shoulders and her thighs gripped his hips as Spike slowly worked his way towards the bed, turning at the foot of the bed to fall back on the mattress.
“Oomph,” Buffy grunted and sat up to smile, resting her hands on his shoulders as she looked down at Spike’s returning grin.
His smile melting away, his eyes locked with hers in the faint moonlight shining in from the window. Buffy’s hands relaxed their grip to splay wide on his shoulders and slide down to his chest in a massaging pressure while Spike’s hands simultaneously gripped the hem of her shirt and started pulling upward. Buffy’s hands fell on top of his, helping him pull her shirt over her head, tossing it to the floor behind her without a glance. She shook her head, letting her blond hair fall forward over her shoulders while she grinned down at him.
“Your turn,” she murmured throatily as she reached for the bottom of his shirt.
Spike stilled her hands, pressing them against his sides. He traced his right index finger from her belly button to the middle of her chest, his eyes following the motion until he stopped to lay his hand flat right above Buffy’s left breast. His eyes unfocused as he listened to her heart and felt the vibrations of its beat beneath his palm.
Buffy looked at him in confusion before covering his hand with her own. “What?” she asked softly.
“Just makin’ sure.” His eyes raised to look into hers. “You’re really here.”
She smiled. “I’m here.” Slowly leaning down without dislodging their hands, she kissed him. “I’m really, really here."