Title:  Till the End of World

Author: Slaymesoftly

Rating: R or NC17

Word count: 7200 +

Season:  25 years after the end of AtV

Distribution:  Be my guest, just let me know

Disclaimer:  They’re not mine – but I doubt Joss, ME, et al care what I have them doing twenty-five years from now!

Summary:  When the world seems to be crashing, Spike goes looking for Buffy. Can they re-establish a relationship before the world ends?  If you want to stop when we reach the happy Spuffy ending, don’t read the epilogue.  Still Spuffy to the end, but angsty.

 

 

Till the End of the World

 

 

He found her. He started looking as soon as it became obvious that it was all likely to come apart, and before the year was out he found her. 

 

He’d checked Europe briefly, just in case she’d decided to live there till the end.  But he knew in his heart that she would have gone home – to the US and to California.  He tried the big cities first. LA, San Francisco, then worked his way down the state from north to south, stopping at demon bars to listen and ask about a blond slayer.  Finally, in a dingy bar near San Jose, someone mentioned having seen a small blond woman surprise the hell out of a group of fledgling vampires that tried to eat her.  From the demon’s description of the very short fight, he knew he’d found her city.  Now it was just a question of prowling the town until he felt her presence.

 

Weeks of walking the streets of the small city where she’d been seen without finding her were beginning to take their toll on his patience.  When he talked about his frustration to a bored bartender, the man just looked at him and asked, “Have you tried the phone book, or the internet?”

 

(Bloody hell!  Been thinking with the wrong head again – can’t believe I didn’t do that!)  

 

“Uh, yeah, of course I checked the phone book.  What d’you take me for, some kind of idiot?”  As he blustered his answer out, he was throwing down money for his untouched drink and bolting out the door.

 

A phone book, a borrowed computer and an hour later, he had an address for ‘B. Summers’ and a phone number.  He studied the address and phone number for several minutes, tracing the numbers with his fingers as though he could touch her through them.

 

  (No sense waking her up in the middle of the night with a phone call) he told himself as he drove to her neighborhood.  He parked the car, walked down the street to her address, and leaned against a post across the street from the neat little bungalow.  He could feel her as though the last twenty-five years had never happened.  Shaking his head at himself, he settled down with a cigarette to watch the house and wonder now that he’d found her what he was going to do about it. 

 

He listened to the sounds of her rhythmic breathing and steady heart beat, puzzling over the sound of another heartbeat coming from the house.

 

 (Not like she might not have acquired a roommate in the last twenty-five years, you git. Could be married for all you know.  Should be, actually.  Better suss out what the situation is before you just appear on her doorstep.) 

 

He waited quietly, leaning against the post and smoking until the approaching sun drove him toward shelter.  He dropped his last cigarette without bothering to stamp it out and turned away with a last glance at the darkened house.  As he hastened down the street toward his car, he thought he felt Buffy’s heart rate accelerate and wondered if she was waking up.  Not wanting to find out the hard way that there was someone in the same bed who might be waking her, he didn’t turn around but put his head down and ran to his car.

 

***************************

 

Inside, the small blond woman stirred restlessly in her sleep, then suddenly bolted upright.  (Spike !)  Her heart was pounding and all her slayer senses were screaming.

 

 (OK, not Spike.  Can’t be Spike.  Just a dream.  Calm down.  Just some random vampire that walked too close to the house.)

 

She sat in her bed, forcing her heart rate to drop back to normal and fighting the urge to run to the window. 

 

(OK, let’s be sensible here.  You haven’t seen Spike in over 25 years.  You don’t even know if he’s still alive – or undead. )

 

(Yes, I do. I would know if he was gone.  I know I would.  I’d feel it.)

 

(Great, now I’m arguing with myself.  So much for a good night’s sleep.)

 

After struggling to ignore what her senses were telling her, Buffy finally hissed with exasperation and got out of bed.  She walked to the window - chiding herself for being a fool - and opened the curtain to look out.  She studied the yard and street for several minutes, and just as she was about to close the curtain her eye was caught by a small glow on the sidewalk across the street.  She looked frantically up and down the street, but the small glowing object was the only thing in sight.  Even as she watched it, it winked out and there was nothing there but the hint of dawn approaching.

 

She told herself her imagination was working over time, that coincidences happen all the time, that wishing never made anything come true.  None of those calming thoughts were able to stop the trembling in her hands or the prickle of tears behind her eyes.  She sank slowly to the floor beside the window and drew her legs up to her chest, holding them tightly while she rocked herself back and forth.

 

When the alarm went off two hours later she started up, groaning at the stiffness caused by falling asleep curled up in a ball on the floor.  She got up, went to the bathroom and stopped across the hall to wake up her ten-year-old niece. She studied the sleeping girl for a minute, marveling at how much she looked like Dawn at that age.  Once again she felt tears stinging her eyes as she gazed upon the only family she had left.

 

(Good job, Buffy.  It’s not even 7:00 and you’ve already been in tears twice.  Must be shaping up to be one hell of a day.)

 

“Come on, sleepyhead,” she coaxed, bending to kiss the girl’s cheek.  “School today.”

 

“OK, Aunt Buffy.  I’m up.  I promise.”  The small figure in the bed stretched and yawned, but didn’t get up.

 

“To really be up, you have to actually get out of bed, you know?”  Her aunt smiled at her with affection.  “Get yourself dressed, Bit. I’ll be downstairs fixing breakfast.”

 

Buffy threw on some clothes and went downstairs to begin breakfast.  While the coffee was perking, she finally gave in to temptation and slipped out the front door to run across the street.  It took everything she had not to sink down onto the sidewalk and soak the small collection of cigarette butts with her tears.

 

“Where are you?” she whispered.  “Where are you, Spike?  Have you come back after all this time?”

 

She knew she wouldn’t be seeing a vampire in the unusually bright sunlight, so she forced the tears away and walked back to the house to begin her morning routine.

 

After she got Sarah off to school, Buffy gathered her things and headed for the campus of the small community college where she taught self-defense and did some counseling.  With the world in the shape it was in, there was always someone in need of counseling and with the steadily darkening skies, everyone needed to be able to defend themselves at all hours of the day or night.  She was able to push thoughts of Spike to the back of her mind for several hours as the daily routine took over.

 

But there was no keeping him there as she finished up and started the walk home.  She hurried a little when she realized that the morning’s bright sun had been eclipsed by the heavily overcast sky and, as happened so often lately, the sky was so dark that it was very possible for vampires to be out and about.  Her heart started pounding a little harder and she changed her route to head toward Sarah’s school rather than waiting for her at home.  Once again, the possibility that Spike was around was pushed to the back of her mind and she hastened toward the school becoming more worried by the minute.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Several blocks away, a confrontation was taking place.  Facing two hungry fledglings was a small girl with thick chestnut hair and a fierce look on her face.  Clenched in her right hand was a wooden stake.

 

“Stay away from me, you overgrown ticks or I’ll dust both of you!” She glared at them and waved her stake threateningly.  The two vampires stopped and looked at each other with surprise.  This was not the way food was supposed to behave.  Especially not small food.

 

Before they could get over their surprise and realize that they were being faced down by a single little girl – not a full grown slayer – a compact blond man stepped up behind the girl and asked mildly,  “Is there a problem here, bite-size?”

 

Large green eyes turned up to look at him, saw the human face and kind eyes and turned back toward the vamps.  “No problem.  Just a couple of fledgling vamps.  I can handle them until my Aunt Buffy gets here.”  She spoke with perfect confidence and he had to beam at her with admiration before he turned his gaze back to the increasingly confused vamps.  The larger of the two growled at Spike and said, “Well look here.  We get an appetizer AND a full meal.”

 

“Guess again, mate,” Spike said softly as he allowed his face to change, giving them the opportunity to see a master vampire’s amber stare before he shifted back into his human visage and moved in front of Sarah.

 

“I haven’t had any exercise today, Niblet.  How about if we don’t wait for your Aunt Buffy and you and ole Uncle Spike take ‘em ourselves?”

 

“Cool!” She was practically jumping up and down with excitement.  Then she frowned. “But Aunt Buffy doesn’t like for me to try to fight them if she’s not there.  She’ll be mad if I do it without her.”  Then her face brightened. “But she probably won’t get mad at you!”

 

Spike laughed and ruffled her hair,  “Well, I wouldn’t count on that, bitty-Buffy, but I’ll take the chance.”  As he spoke, he turned in time to catch the fist of the larger vampire as it came toward his face.  “You didn’t want to do that, mate.  Really find it irritatin’.”  He squeezed the vamp’s hand and smiled as he felt bones breaking under his fist.  When the second one leaped at him he quit playing, throwing his first opponent over his shoulder, as he kicked the attacker in the face.  Within seconds, both fledgling vamps were on the ground and unconscious. 

 

“May I borrow that for a minute, mini-slayer?” he requested politely, nodding at her stake.

 

“Aunt Buffy says I should never let go of my stake,” she said, shaking her head.  “Let me do it!”  She pounced on the nearest vamp and skillfully drove her stake through his chest.  She beamed proudly at Spike as the dust settled to the ground, then went to do the same to the other one.  Unfortunately, he had regained consciousness and was busy trying to sneak away.

 

“Hey!  Come back here!  I wasn’t done with you.”  Sarah pouted as she saw her second attacker sprint down the street.  Suddenly the fleeing vamp became a cloud of dust and when it settled, there was a petite blond woman standing behind it, just lowering the stake in her hand.

 

“Aunt Buffy!” Sarah cried.  “I staked a vamp all by myself!”  Her innate honesty made her roll her eyes and add,  “Well, I had some help at first.  This is –“

 

“Spike.”  It was more a breath than actual speech.

 

“ ’Lo, Buffy.” He never took his eyes off hers as he ducked his head shyly and struggled not to shuffle his feet like a schoolboy. 

 

(My god, I know she’s over fifty, but she doesn’t look a day over thirty. She’s still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.)

 

(Don’t cry.  Whatever you do, don’t cry.  Try not to look as though you’ve spent the last twenty-five years wondering if you would ever see him again.)

 

Sarah looked back and forth between the two adults who seemed to have completely forgotten her presence.  She watched curiously as they moved slowly toward each other – they never stopped staring into each other’s eyes, even as their feet carried them closer and closer together.   Finally they were standing toe to toe, still lost in each other. 

 

(I wonder if this is what thrall looks like?) Sarah wondered to herself as she marveled at the look on her Aunt Buffy’s normally somber face.

 

Suddenly, so suddenly that Sarah jumped, they were wrapped around each other and her quiet, contained aunt was laughing and crying all at the same time as she clung to the blond man.  A man, who, Sarah realized in amazement, also had tears flowing down his cheeks as he buried his face in her aunt’s hair and seemed to be trying to inhale her.

 

            Eventually, long after Sarah had stopped watching them and was drawing stick figures in the dirt with the point of her stake, they broke apart far enough to look into each other’s eyes again and share a long, but chaste, kiss.   At Sarah’s impatient, “Are we going home now? I’m hungry.”  Buffy gave a shaky laugh and turned to pull her niece into an embrace. 

 

            “Yes, Sarah, we’re going home now.”

 

            “Spike, are you coming home with us?” she asked curiously, noticing that while he and her aunt were no longer wrapped up in each other, they were still holding hands.

 

“Yes, Bit.  I’m coming home,” he said softly to her, but without taking his eyes off her aunt.

 

“’K, then. Let’s go.  Hey, you called me Bit – that’s what Aunt Buffy calls me sometimes.”  She skipped happily toward home, turning around periodically to be sure they were still behind her.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

When Buffy had finished dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and sent Sarah upstairs to get ready for bed, she settled onto the couch next to Spike, nestling into his shoulder.   He put his arm around her and they sat there comfortably waiting for Sarah to come back downstairs and say good night.  Both were amazed at how natural it felt to be together – as though they spent every night like this.  Neither one was in a hurry to discuss the past twenty-five years and the reasons they had spent them apart.

 

Sarah came back down, dressed in her pajamas, but clearly not at all willing to go to bed yet.  She climbed up beside her aunt and proceeded to look Spike over carefully.  He tried to hide the smile that her serious scrutiny was evoking.

 

“Aunt Buffy.”

 

“Yes, Sarah?”

 

She leaned into her aunt and whispered in her ear, “I think Spike might be a vampire.”

 

Spike coughed to cover the burst of laughter he couldn’t control, taking his arm away from Buffy’s shoulders and turning away from them so Sarah wouldn’t see the smile on his face.

 

Buffy smiled at her niece and stroked her shiny chestnut hair.

 

 “Yes, my love, he is.  But he’s not like other vampires.  He has a soul.”

 

“A soul? Really?  Can I see it?”

 

She climbed over Buffy and grabbed Spike’s chin to turn his face toward her.  After she stared intently into his amused blue eyes for a full five minutes, she nodded her head and let go of his chin.

 

“Ok, I think I can see it.  So, we don’t have to stake him then?” She looked at her aunt calmly.

 

“No, sweetheart, we don’t have to stake him.  He won’t hurt us.”

 

“Why not?”

 

Before Buffy could open her mouth to answer, Spike leaned over her to look Sarah in the eye.  “Because I love you both very much.  And I would never do anything to hurt you.  I promise.”

 

“How can you love me?  You just met me.”

 

“I love all the women in your family.  It’s a curse.”  He laughed as Buffy punched him lightly on the arm. 

 

“Do you----did you love my mother?” she asked solemnly.

 

“Yeah, Bit, I did.  I truly did.”  He closed his eyes briefly as a sharp pain shot through him at her use of the past tense.

 

“As much as you love Aunt Buffy?”

 

He took a deep, unnecessary breath and answered her as honestly as he could.  “Yes, I did.  In a different way, but just as much.”

 

She studied him again then nodded her head and relaxed back into Buffy’s side.  She pulled a stake out of her pajamas and gave it to her aunt. “Here, I guess I won’t need this then.”

 

Buffy took the stake from her carefully and put it on the coffee table in front of them.

 

“No, Sarah, you won’t need that for Spike.  You – we are safe with him in the house.  Now, tell us goodnight and get upstairs to bed and let us talk. OK?”

 

“OK” she agreed reluctantly and kissed her aunt.  She looked shyly at Spike from under her thick eyelashes and said, “Good night, Spike.”

 

“Good night, Miss Sarah.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

 

Chapter Four

 

“So.....”

 

“Well...”

 

“I guess it’s time to talk.” Buffy said softly.  “Do you want to go first?”

 

“Why don’t you start, love, and let’s see where the conversation takes us.”

 

Buffy leaned back against the couch cushions and closed her eyes.  “Where do you want me to begin?”

 

“Dawn?  Where, how? When?” He tried to keep the tremble out of his voice.

 

“A little over a year ago.  When the bomb went off in New York.  Sarah was visiting me for the summer so I could give her some training....” She stopped for a second and glanced at him. “You did notice she’s a slayer?”

 

“Yeah, kinda picked up on that,” he answered dryly.

 

Buffy smiled at him briefly then continued, “Dawn, her husband and their other two kids were caught in the blast.  We didn’t even have bodies to bury.”  She squeezed her eyes shut again, but tears leaked out and slid down her cheeks.

 

Spike pulled her into his chest and wiped the tears with his thumb.  “I’m sorry, love.  I’m sorry you had to go through that alone.”  He felt a sharp pain go through his unbeating heart as guilt flared up.

 

(If I’d only started looking for her sooner.  I should have started sooner. She needed me and I wasn’t here.)

 

He looked away and muttered,  “I should have been here.”

 

“You didn’t know.  How could you?  It’s not like I knew where you were and could let you know.”  When he flinched, she realized how accusatory that sounded and she forced him to look at her.

 

 (Oh god, he’s only been here a couple of hours and I’ve already hurt him.  No wonder I haven’t seen him for twenty-five years!)

 

“I didn’t mean it like that.  I didn’t.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me?”  She stared at him anxiously, willing him to see that she hadn’t meant it the way it sounded.

 

“S’all right, love.  Never should have let myself stay away so long.  You needed me and I wasn’t here.  No need to apologize to me. I deserved it.”    His face was a mask of pain and regret and she could see the tears he was trying to blink back.

 

“No, you don’t deserve it.  And even if you did, I thought we’d at least get through tonight without my turning into bitchy-Buffy.”

 

“Guess I bring out the best in you, eh, pet?”  He stroked her head and ran his fingers through her silky hair as he gave her his trademark smirk.

 

“Apparently,” she answered, rolling her eyes.   “Why don’t we try this again?” She leaned forward and gave him a hug and a gentle kiss.  “Hi, Spike.  It’s good to see you again.  What have you been doing since the last time I saw you?”

 

“Oh you know, the usual.  Resurrection, fight the good fight, apocalypse, coma, amnesia – your run of the mill stuff.”

 

“Okay, resurrection, check, apocalypse, check.  But coma? Amnesia?  What is this, an episode of Passions?  Details, please,” she prodded.

 

It was his turn to sigh and lean his head back with closed his eyes.  “What do you know, Slayer?  Where do I need to start?”

 

Buffy had moved away from him slightly and she twisted her hands together as she answered, “I...I know about the amulet.  That you came back and were a ghost for a while.  Then you became corporeal and....and....

 

(I will not ask why he didn’t come to me, I won’t.  Just listen and try to be non-judgmental) 

 

…you started working with Angel and there was an apocalypsy kind of thing and we thought everybody.....all of you....were killed....again,” she finished softly remembering her anguish at finding out he was alive and then finding out he was gone again before she’d had time to decide what she wanted to do about it.

 

As was so often the case when they were together, he seemed to know what she was thinking and he answered her unspoken question. 

 

“Buffy, I.....I never wanted to hurt you.  I just thought it would be better to remain a dead hero than to interrupt your life by showing up just when you’d moved on.” 

 

She flinched at the “moved on”, knowing he’d seen her in Rome dancing with the Immortal.  Andrew had finally admitted that Angel and Spike had been there looking for her and that he’d told them she was happy with the Immortal.

 

Buffy looked at him with eyes swimming in tears.  “I meant it, you know. I was telling the truth.”  There was no need to tell him what she was talking about. They both knew the three words he’d waited years to hear and that she hadn’t said to him until he was dying.

 

“I know you did, love.  I believed you.  But if I’d let you know that, you wouldn’t have left and I needed to know that you were out there in the world having a life, even if I was gone.” He stroked her face.  “Not saying I saved the world just for you, but knowing you were going to be around to enjoy it was an important part of it.  I couldn’t let you die with me.  I just couldn’t.”

 

She leaned into his hand as it ran down her cheek and whispered, “I was so sure you’d died thinking I was lying to you – and that was why you didn’t want to see me when you....came back.  I thought I’d hurt you one too many times and you just didn’t love me anymore.”

 

Suddenly he was crushing her to him and covering her face with kisses as he breathed in her ear,  “Not possible, love.  I will love you until I’m dust – and beyond if the soul means that’s possible.”

 

Her voice shaking with relief, she asked, “Then why.....?”

 

“Well, told you, when I first came back I thought you’d gone on with your life and I didn’t want to disrupt it.  I changed my mind about coming to find you almost every other day.  One day I was ready to steal Angel’s fancy plane just to get there faster, and the next day I’d worry that you wouldn’t want to see me.  Was a mixed up time, love.  Just couldn’t decide what to do or how and when to do it.  And then, it all fell apart and I knew I had to help with the fight that was comin’.  Couldn’t duck out on Peaches, or Gunn and Wesley.  Even the soddin’ Fred-killing god had become a comrade of sorts.  Knew it was gonna be a hell of a fight.  You wouldn’t expect me to miss that, would you?”  He looked at her out of the corner of his eye.

 

She just shook her head and rolled her eyes.  “No, of course not.  Heaven forbid you should pass up a chance to kill things.”

 

“’Bloody right!” He nodded his head and grinned.  Then his expression turned sober again and he continued his story.

 

“When the dust had cleared from the battle to end all battles, I guess Ilyria and I were the only ones left.  She carried me to a hospital that had some ex-Wolfram and Hart doctors on staff and they managed to get me in and keep my undead state a secret somehow.  She hung around for a couple of months, but I guess they didn’t really expect me to ever wake up and she finally left.  I don’t know what happened to her.  I s’pect she went looking for someone who could make her a god again – or make her gone.  Don’t think she’d planned to survive that fight.  There was enough Fred still in her that Wes’s death.......well, I don’t think she cared if she died, just so long as she took plenty of them with her.  Probably did too.  Even with her powers reduced to keep her from blowing up, she was one bleeding awesome fighter,” he added with admiration.  He paused for a minute, lost in his thoughts and memories and Buffy fought the pang of jealousy that went through her.

 

“Sorry,” she muttered as he flinched and she realized that she had unconsciously squeezed his leg harder than she meant to, as he got lost in thoughts of Fred/Ilyria.

 

He shook himself slightly and looked at her curiously, then continued his tale.  “ I was in the coma for almost two years and when I finally woke up I didn’t remember anything.  They had to explain to me who and what I was – and that was an experience, let me tell you.  Nothing like finding out you’re a hundred and fifty-year-old vampire to get your attention.  They filled me in on as much as they knew.  Wasn’t all that much, but at least I knew my name and that I needed blood to survive.

 

“Got a job as bartender/bouncer in a dive near the docks and just kind of existed for another few years.  Made enough to keep myself in blood and smokes.  Thought that was all I needed; then I started having dreams....” His voiced trailed off again as he remembered the nights waking up screaming about being on fire, or the nights he woke up in tears remembering a dream about a blond girl diving off a rickety tower. 

 

“Took me a while to suss it out.  ‘Nother couple of years of dreaming and writing down the dreams as soon as I woke up to start putting things together.  By the time I’d been at it long enough that my mind was able to start remembering things when I was awake, it was ten years later and I had no idea where you were.  Didn’t even know where to start looking, so I ...I called the Council of Wankers and asked for you.”

 

Buffy started and sat up abruptly.  “No one told me you called! “

 

“I asked ‘em not to, love,” he said softly.

 

“But.... but why?  If you remembered....?”

 

“Think about the time frame, Buffy.  Would have been about 2014 or so....”

 

She shut her eyes briefly as he bowed his head.  She could feel the remembered pain coming from him in waves.

 

“I was engaged,” she said flatly.  “They told you I was getting married.”  She took a ragged breath and turned his face up to hers.  “But I didn’t.  Get married, I mean.”

 

“Yeah, so I gather.  Why not?”  He knew if his heart could beat it would be pounding in his chest as he waited for her answer.

 

“Because I was dreaming too.  And, and in my dreams you were very much alive.  I just felt....I dunno....maybe because of the connection we made when we – our hands – just before you....”  She couldn’t bring herself to say it, but he nodded his head knowing full well what she was talking about.  She shrugged and continued, “Anyway, I just couldn’t do it.  All I could think was, ‘What if he isn’t gone. What if he comes looking for me?’  I knew I couldn’t do that to Paul.”  She stopped to squeeze his hand gently as his eyes flashed yellow when she put a name to the man she had almost married.

 

“I think he knew.  Even before I told him.  He said I...I talked in my sleep.  He asked me who Spike was and why I was dreaming about him.  So, I told him.  Everything.   I apologized for dreaming about you, but it was only a question of time then.  He wasn’t surprised when I said I couldn’t marry him.  He said he knew he couldn’t compete with a heroic ghost and kissed me good-bye.  I figured it was just another blip in the ongoing train wreck that is Buffy’s love life.”  She smiled up at him tremulously.

 

“Fifteen years,” he said softly as he held her face in his hands, falling into the soft green eyes he remembered so well.  She looked at him quizzically so happy to have those love-filled eyes looking into hers again it wouldn’t have mattered what he was saying.

 

“Fifteen years? What about fifteen years?”

 

“That’s how long I wasted before I came looking for you.  Fifteen years that we could have been together.  I would have seen the Bit get married, been Uncle Spike, been here when she...when you needed me.  Oh, god, love. I am so sorry!”  His eyes filled with tears as he pulled her into his lap and held her tightly.

 

“I’m sorry too,” she whispered softly.  “I could have swallowed my pride and come to LA as soon as I knew you were back and we could have had even longer together.  What’s the worst that could’ve happened?  You would have told me you didn’t want me.  No biggie,” she said with a quiver in her voice. 

 

“I will never not want you. Buffy Summers. Never. Don’t ever doubt that” 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

For several minutes they clung together, both mourning silently for the years they could never get back, and embracing the joy of being together again.

 

Finally Buffy sniffled and pulled away enough to ask, “So, why now?  After all this time?”

 

He met her eyes and said softly, “D’you have to ask, love?”

 

She sighed and slumped against his chest. “So you think it’s going to happen, then?”

 

“Looks like, pet.  If not with a bang then ....  I had to be with you.  Had to at least be close enough to watch over you.”

 

“How did you find me?” She frowned up at him.  “When did you start looking?”

 

“Started looking when I decided you soddin’ humans were going to do what no hell god or demon has ever been able to.  ‘Bout a year ago, I guess.  Checked Europe first, then decided you’d probably come home so I started prowling through California till I found you.”

 

“I’m glad you did,” she sighed into his neck.  “I missed you so much, Spike.  You have no idea.”

 

“I think I do, love.  Even when I didn’t know who I was, I knew there was something important missing in my life.  Just didn’t know what it was until the dreams started.”

 

“Well, you’re here now – and don’t even think about trying to leave again,” she threatened.  “I’ll stake you first.”

 

“I’ll never leave you again, my love.  If I try, you have my permission to stake me.  Or, to try anyway,” he smirked at her.  “Who knows, at your age, you might have slowed down enough for me to beat you.”  He grinned at her indignant glare.

 

“Oh, you are so going to get your ass kicked!  Flash about slayers, Fang-face, we don’t age at the same rate as other humans.  I’m still in my prime and I can still take you any time I want to!”

 

While he laughed at her and rejoiced in the fact that her old spark was still there, Buffy suddenly sobered and looked at him anxiously.

 

“Do I look old to you?  Is that why you said that?  Am I getting old and ugly?” 

 

He shook his head at the idea that this incredible woman, this wonderful combination of strength and beauty could still be so insecure about herself.

 

“You look bloody gorgeous, Buffy.  And I’m not just saying that because I think you’re amazing.  I’m saying it because you still have the same effect on me that you did the first time I saw you.”

 

“And that would be?” she breathed, moving toward him again.

 

“You know what it is,” he growled as he pulled her closer and lowered his lips to hers.  He could hear her heartbeat speed up and hoped it was for the same reason his pants had suddenly become very tight.  This time when they kissed there was nothing chaste about it.  It began softly and tenderly, warm supple lips meeting his cool soft ones.  He used his tongue to tickle her lower lip and she immediately opened her mouth to let him in.  Her tongue met his and they became lost in each other in a way they never had been able to when violence and denial had been such a big part of their physical relationship.

 

Long minutes of bone-melting kisses left Buffy with legs of jelly.  She knew if she tried to stand up she would collapse into a puddle of desire.  Without touching her anywhere but on her back, which he continued to stroke and knead as they put a quarter century of bottled up feelings into unending kisses, Spike had brought her to such an edge she was sure she was going to faint from denied release.

 

The vampire was equally frustrated, but an irrational fear that Buffy would disappear if he let go of her, made him reluctant to release her long enough to move them to the floor or a bed.  As long as he was kissing her warm lips and holding her warm, supple body to him he could believe she was there in his arms. He was terrified that taking his hands away long enough to begin undressing them would turn it into a particularly real dream that was over.

 

Finally, their mutual urge to feel each other fully and the squirming they were doing to make that happen caused them to fall off the couch to the floor. Buffy’s “ooof” as he landed on top of her broke the spell and they stopped kissing long enough to laugh at themselves.

 

“Looks like we’re going to miss the bed again,” she twinkled up at him as she shifted her hips to rub against his erection.

 

“Some things don’t change, do they?” he groaned as he ground his hips into hers.  The heat from her body was making him light headed and he was sure he would explode if she so much as brushed her hand across him.

 

“Some things do,” she whispered as she pushed him away far enough that she could look him in the eye.  “I want you, Spike.   And,” she added as she held his gaze,  “I love you.  More than you’ll ever know.”

 

“I love you, too, Slayer. Never stopped. And I never stopped wanting you,” he added as he ran his hand down to the zipper on her pants.  As soon as he touched the waistband of her jeans, she was tearing at the buttons on his and pushing them down off his hips.  Still reluctant to let go of each other, they struggled for a minute to get out of their clothes without actually losing contact. Finally they settled for keeping their lips together in another demanding, impatient kiss while they removed the last barriers between them.

 

They were both so desperate for each other after the lengthy kissing session that there was no question of foreplay.  With a “Can’t wait, love, got to be in you now,” Spike slid into her moist warmth and sucked in a breath as he felt her clench around him.  Buffy moaned with joy as she felt him filling her the way she’d only dreamed about for so long.  With matching sighs of relief, they remained still for minutes, lost in the sensation of being joined together for the first time in years.

 

(Home, I’m finally home.  I could turn to dust now and know I’ve had my heaven. Never want to be anywhere else.)

 

(He’s where he belongs.  I’m complete for the first time in forever.  I don’t ever want him to be anywhere else.)

 

“I’ve ached for you, my love, my golden girl.  Never want to leave you, want to have you forever.  My life, my love.” Spike murmured a stream of endearments into her ear as he slid his lips around her face and neck, licking and nipping in between light, tender kisses.

 

Less verbal Buffy settled for grabbing his neck in her blunt little teeth and biting gently as she murmured his name into his throat.  The feel of her teeth on his neck was all it took to make the vampire begin rocking his hips against hers as he thrust into her warmth as far as he could.   Very quickly the super powered couple were panting and gasping as they pounded into each other, reaching their release almost simultaneously.  As the slayer muffled her scream in his neck and clenched around him shuddering with the waves of pleasure going through her entire body, the vampire growled his release and exploded into her, letting his extended fangs pierce the soft skin on her throat as he did so.

 

 

He took several deep draughts of her blood, then licked the wounds closed as he murmured, “Mine.”

 

“Yours,” Buffy responded immediately, gasping for air.  “Forever.”

 

Buffy was taking such ragged breaths that she almost seemed to be sobbing as she struggled to recover from the powerful orgasm.  She was holding onto Spike so tightly she was worried about breaking his ribs, but she couldn’t make herself let go.  It had been too long and she hadn’t realized until he was inside her exactly how much she had missed him.

 

“Never leave again. Never leave me, never, never, “ she practically chanted as she clutched his cool muscular body to her. 

 

“Never,” he agreed.  “I’ll never leave you.  You are my life, my love.”  He shut his eyes and let himself drown in her.  The feeling of her soft and yet so strong body under his, her lips on his neck, her warm breath on his body along with her unique scent and the taste of her blood on his tongue filled his senses to the point he didn’t know where he ended and she began.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

            Several hours later, the temporarily sated slayer nudged her equally tired companion and said,  “We should get upstairs. If Sarah wakes up early......”

 

He groaned but reluctantly agreed that finding them both naked on the living room floor probably wasn’t the best way to break the news that he was joining their little family.

 

When they reached Buffy’s bedroom she hastened around carefully hanging blankets and sheets over the windows to keep out the morning sun.  When the windows had been covered to suit her, she slid into her bed and held up her arms to him.

 

“I need to get some sleep before I go to work – will you just hold me?  Please?”

 

He climbed into the bed and folded her in his arms, holding her to his chest like something very precious.  “Till the end of world, love.  Till the end of the world.”

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 At breakfast the next morning, Sarah seemed completely unfazed when she came to down to find Spike sitting at the kitchen table and sipping from a mug of hot chocolate.

 

“G’morning, Bit” he smiled at her.

 

“Good morning, Spike,” she chirped as she held up her cheek for her aunt’s kiss.

 

“Spike? Can I ask you a question?”

 

“Sure, Bite-size.  What is it?”

 

“When you said you love – loved all the women in our family.......”

 

“Yes, love?” he encouraged her as she hesitated.

 

“Did - do we love you back?”

 

Before he could stammer out an answer, Buffy turned away from the stove and saw his anxious face.  Without taking her eyes off his to look at her niece, she answered for him,  “Yes, Sarah, we do. We love him very much.  All of us.”

 

“Oh....Okay then. So you’re staying for a long time.” She shrugged and began to eat her cereal.  That was the last time she asked about Spike’s place in her life.  With the resilience of youth, she accepted his presence as part of their lives and never questioned his right to be there.

 

“Yes, I am, Bit,” he said softly, remembering what he had promised Buffy the night before.  “Till the end of the world.”

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Author note:  There is a conclusion to follow, but if you want to quit while they’re all happy, feel free to stop here.  I’d always planned for this to be angsty, but the sappy stuff took over.  For the still Spuffy, but very dark, conclusion, continue reading.

 

 

“Yes, I am, Bit,” he said softly, remembering what he had promised Buffy the night before.  “Till the end of the world.”

 

 

 

Epilogue:

 

Which came only a few years later.  Spike and Buffy tried to meet it as they had met every other apocalypse – head on.  Only this time, there was nothing tangible to fight. All that was left was to cling together and watch as the skies became darker and colder, the air less breathable, and Sarah weaker and weaker.  When the light in her sparkling green eyes finally went out, the two heroes gathered up some supplies and walked away from the bungalow where they had been a family for such a short time.

 

When Spike ran out of blood, the Slayer insisted he take hers.  When they ran out of food for her to eat and she no longer had blood to share, they sat side by side on the ledge outside the shallow cave in which they had sheltered from the burning cities below.  For another couple of weeks he carried her to the ledge every morning so she could watch the few hours of sun that reached them at their altitude.  When the sun retreated, he would join her until it was time to go back into the cave and sleep under the warm blankets.

 

Came the night he was too weak to carry his semi-conscious love back in to bed and they stayed wrapped in each other’s arms as the stars rose and the air cooled. The rapidly weakening vampire held Buffy’s frail body and murmured his devotion into her ear until he felt her last breath leave her body and heard her brave heart still forever.  This time, he knew she would be allowed to stay in Heaven and he was glad for her. 

 

“Give my love to Joyce and the Niblets,” he softly whispered as he stroked her unfeeling head.  And he waited for the sun to rise above the black clouds hiding the world below him.

 

The end

 

 

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