AN: Hey guys! Thank you so much for your reviews, they've been great! Please keep them coming, they make me update faster. Please enjoy! This was tricky to write, so I'd really appreciate the feedback.

Time Bomb

By Secret Slayer

Chapter Four

"It has to be a spell – some kind of illusion."

Angel nodded. He leant forward on his big leather chair and rested his elbows on his desk. This was an impossible situation. Wesley sat in the chair opposite him, whilst Lorne lingered towards the back of the office by the door, making sure they weren't disturbed. The green demon smiled fondly, catching a peak of Fred and Cordelia chatting in the lobby through the crack in the door.

"I think you're right," Angel sighed and then laughed bitterly. "We get the women we love back and Spike leaves. Too good to be true."

"It feels so real though," Wesley countered, beginning to doubt his own prognosis of the situation. "And even if it is a spell, to see Fred again..."

The British man trailed off sadly. "I know Wes. I never thought I'd get a second chance with Cordelia or my son."

"What if it isn't a spell?" Lorne piped in, momentarily leaving his post to stand closer to the others.

Wesley frowned, "We are forgetting that Spike must have some part to play in this. Didn't Cordelia mention he was with..."

"Buffy," Angel grumbled.

"Perhaps it would be best to contact her and see if the Spike she is with knows anything."

Angel nodded and reached forward for the phone, ringing Revello Drive. He never thought he'd be dialling that number again. It was supposed to be a giant crater in the ground.

"Hello?"

"Uh Joyce? It's good to hear your voice."

"Oh hello Angel.. well thank you, but you were only here last week. I'm sure you can't have missed it that much," Joyce laughed sweetly, but Angel could still hear the resent she held against him in her tone. "Can I help you dear?"

"Is Buffy home?"

There was a short silence and Angel wondered what he had said wrong, but Joyce started speaking before he could say anything else. "I would assume so, but I think the best thing to do would be to ring her home. Angel is everything okay? This seems a little strange."

Angel laughed nervously. "Everything's fine Joyce. I err, I don't suppose you have her number? I must have lost it..."

Lorne and Wesley watched as Angel scribbled down a number and then awkwardly said goodbye to the woman who had been dead for over two years. Without a word, Angel started dialling the new number.

"Come on Buffy, pick up..." Angel sighed, but it went through to answer machine.

"Hi, you've reached Buffy and Spike, we're not home right now, please leave a message and..."

Angel slammed the phone down. "We're going to Sunnydale."


Giles wished he had never opened his door.

After blinking several times to try and clear his increasingly blurring vision, he confirmed to his horror that what stood before him was not due to his bad vision at all, but in fact Spike and Buffy were indeed holding hands... willfully.

And getting married apparently.

Clearly the work of magic, he concluded with relief. Only that morning he had warned Buffy not to get too attached, but he very much doubted she would marry the vampire.

He had called Willow, asking for her help to resolve the issue, but she had yet to arrive. He mentally cursed the young red head when Buffy started yelling at Spike, who had become irritated at her mention of Angel. She turned the argument around, telling him her insecurities over Drusilla. It was all giving Giles a headache, which was only made worse by his deteriorating vision. He cringed when Buffy mentioned Spike making "sweet love" to her and decided he needed another sip of his scotch. As he reached forward, the limited vision he had suddenly went all together. His fingers brushed the glass, but he knocked it off the edge of the table.

"Giles, are you okay?" Buffy asked, pulling herself away from the vampire with great reluctance. Spike pouted at the loss of contact.

"I rather think not. I seem to be rather.. rather.. blind. Completely, in fact," he replied, frowning.

Buffy walked to Giles, concern etched all over her face. She gently put a hand on the older man's shoulder.

"What? How could this happen?" she asked.

She waved her other hand in front of Giles' face, but he didn't respond in the slightest. Buffy swallowed the lump in her throat.

"A spell, I believe," Giles said, staring blankly ahead.

"Oh bollocks."

Buffy turned to Spike, who was still sitting on the chair in the corner of the living room. He was leaning forward, head in his hands.

"What's the matter honey?" she asked sweetly, walking back to the bleach blonde and began to soothingly stroke the back of his head, twirling a lock of curly bleached hair around her finger.

"I remember now," he said thoughtfully, still trying to fit the pieces together and then his head snapped up as the realization hit him. So that was the nagging feeling he had had. "Willow!"

Buffy frowned, "What about Willow? Is she in trouble?"

"No luv, Red did a spell. Told your chum Xander she thought we should get married..."

"And that I didn't see anything," Giles added.

"Right and any minute, Xander and Anya are going to –"

As if on cue, the couple crashed through the front door, panting heavily. Xander quickly pulled a bookshelf in front of the door.

"Board up the windows, and barricade the doors," he yelled.

Giles stood shakily, "What on earth is going on?"

"Demons," Anya answered. "They keep coming and coming."

Spike nodded knowingly, "Because Xander's a demon magnet."

Xander frowned, "Hey, that's what Will said to me earlier." Then his eyes went wide with panic, "Wait, why aren't you tied to your chair?!"

"And why are you holding hands?" Anya asked, raising an eyebrow at the blonde couple.

It occurred to Spike, as Buffy clung to his arm and looked up at him with adoration, that the mystic fog that had shrouded his thinking had dissipated almost immediately. He no longer had the overwhelming urge to marry the slayer. In fact, the whole thing seemed rather daft now he could think clearly. Vampires didn't get married and this Buffy certainly wouldn't entertain that notion. Remembering that he was under a spell must have broken it's control over him. He should have told the slayer that there and then and tried to keep her at arm's length to relieve the humiliation she would feel when the spell was broken. But when Buffy turned to her friends and was about to excitedly announce their engagement, Spike only had one thought.

He was really enjoying having Buffy on his arm and he'd only ever really seen her look at him like that in their final days in Sunnydale. Decision made. Nobody needed to necessarily know the spell had broken. He could enjoy the slayer's affections that little bit longer. After all, it wasn't hard for him to return those loving looks; he was in love with her. What Buffy didn't know, didn't hurt.

"Spike and I are getting married!" Buffy squealed.

Xander's jaw dropped, "How? What? How?"

"I'm afraid Willow has done a spell," Giles replied tiredly.

"And you both were affected. I probably only escaped because I'm the Slayer. Some kind of natural immunity." Buffy turned to Spike, who falsely nodded in agreement.

"Yeah. Right. You're marrying Spike because you're so right for each other," Xander retorted.

"Xander," Buffy scolded.

Spike smirked, enjoying Buffy standing up for him, even if it was spell induced. He turned to Xander with a glare.

"That's it – you're off the usher list," the vampire announced smugly.

"People, Willow is out there and she probably doesn't know what she's doing," Giles stood from the couch, blindly reaching out to feel his way around it.

"We gotta find her," Xander said.

Buffy nodded, already heading for the door, "Before somebody gets really hurt."

Thump. Giles misjudged the amount of space around him and landed face down on the other side of the sofa. Spike bit back a laugh, reminding himself he should be under a spell and that Buffy wouldn't approve of his laughing at her father figure.

When Buffy opened the door, she was met with a demon almost twice her height and dripping in green, mucus-like gloop. She quickly shut the door in its face and backed up against it as the demon pounded heavily on the wood. Spike frowned. Demons hadn't come to the house last time. Perhaps they'd spent more time here than before and they'd had a chance to catch up with them. The sound of scraping at the window confirmed more monsters had joined the party.

"We're trapped," Xander said.

"How are we going to help Willow?" Buffy asked, digging her heels into the carpet as various creatures tried to push their way in. "Spike, honey, a little help?"

Spike leapt to Buffy's side, his heart swelling at the tone of her voice when she asked for his help. He backed up against the door with her, taking the opportunity to lace her fingers with his. A flash back of fire creeping up his arm and a crumbling Hellmouth almost had him flinching away, but when she squeezed his hand, he smiled at her reassuringly. "We don't need to help her. D'Hoffryn is going to make her an offer to be a vengeance demon and she'll turn him down. She'll pop up here any minute and break the spell."


Any minute had been wishful thinking.

The amount of demons had become too much to barricade out, even for the slayer and vampire. Three demons had managed to get in the house and countless more were outside. Giles was in the far corner with a baseball bat, blindly swatting it towards a particularly foul smelling creature. He got in a couple of lucky hits, mostly because Anya was on the other side, whacking it with a frying pan, preventing its escape.

"Hey Dead Boy, I thought you said Willow was coming back!" Xander said, shortly before a red demon put him in a headlock.

Spike opened his mouth to retort, but another demon caught him off guard and barrelled into him from the side. He was knocked half way across the apartment. The vampire could have easily fought the demon off, but in that moment, there was a flash of lightening, missed by the others who were too preoccupied fighting. Willow stood in the corner and started a reversal spell. Spike knew his engagement to the slayer would be over soon, and he wanted Buffy to come to his rescue before the magic was broken.

"Spike!" Buffy ran to him, just like she had the first time.

He wanted one last kiss. After all, he might not get another in this timeline for years, if ever. Buffy grabbed the demon Spike had been half-heartedly wrestling by the neck and hurled it away. She worriedly looked down to him before lowering herself to his level and cradling his face. Spike felt fine, but he groaned as though he had been hurt to improve his chances of a kiss. Oh, he could be a diabolical fiend. And a bloody good actor.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

Spike smiled, "I am now."

Perfect. Buffy's eyes darkened with desire and she leant forward and kissed him, like before, and Spike returned it, pulling her as close as possible knowing it was only moments before the spell was broken.

Something was off.

He heard Willow stop chanting and felt the magic leave the room. The lack of grunting and yelling indicated the demons were gone and the fighting was over, but Buffy was still kissing him. Giles coughed loudly. Buffy stopped abruptly, looking down at Spike with wide eyes. She jumped off, but unlike before, didn't wipe her mouth with the back of her hand, she simply blushed and avoided eye contact with him.

Interesting.

"Hi guys," Willow waved sheepishly from the corner of the room.


"Eat a cookie, ease my pain?"

Buffy gave Willow a short glare, but then rolled her eyes, taking a cookie from the proffered plate.

"Mmm, better?"

Willow bit her lip pensively, "Well, baking lifts about 30% of my guilt, but only 7% of my inner turmoil. Guess that'll just take awhile."

"It'll happen," Buffy said. Spike moving by the couch caught her attention and she gently grabbed Willow by the arm, pulling her out of view. "Will, something weird happened when you broke the spell."

"Weird?"

"When I was kissing Spike... I could feel the spell break, but the way he was kissing me..." Buffy trailed off and looked around to make sure the vampire in question was out of ear shot, and then she lowered her voice. "I've never been kissed like that Will. It felt like he knew me. I – I think maybe, that's not the first time he's kissed me. The real me, not under-a-spell me."

Willow's eyebrows shot up in surprise, "You liked kissing Spike?!"

"Shhh! Gee Will, could you say that any louder?" Buffy narrowed her eyes at her friend and then shrugged, feigning nonchalance. "No, well maybe a little, but that's not the point. I think there's a lot that vampire isn't telling us."

"Like the fact you might be smooching buddies one day?"

At that moment, said vampire turned the corner, not realizing the women were standing there. He bumped into Buffy, who planted her hands on his chest and grabbed his T-shirt for support before she fell back. Instinctively, Spike wrapped his arms around her to stop her falling. They froze.

Buffy pulled away, adjusting her clothes awkwardly. Spike scratched the back of his neck.

"Sorry luv, didn't realise you were there," he mumbled.

"It's fine Spike," she replied, avoiding eye contact and the tingles running down her spine.

Willow looked between the pair, "I'm just going to ermm... stand over there."

She hurried away, much to Buffy's annoyance.

"Sorry I forgot to warn you about Red's spell before I got down on one knee," Spike said.

Buffy barely smiled, but finally made eye contact with him, which she immediately regretted. Memories of their kiss caused her cheeks to flush, but she retained eye contact to prove, mostly to herself, that their spell induced romance had no lasting hold on her. "It's cool. Apart from the fact we'll be mending Giles' apartment for the next month, no real harm done."

Spike nodded and assumed the silence that followed meant that Buffy had finished this conversation. A heaviness fell in his chest. He had kissed her with everything he was made of, trying to pour every ounce of love into that single moment. It had been too long since he'd been able to kiss her. A part of him was hoping, maybe stupidly, that if he kissed her that way, it would ignite a spark inside her that he was convinced deep down, she must have always felt for him. When the kiss had lingered after the spell was broken, it had given him hope, but now she seemed to be back to the same old Buffy. He turned to leave.

Buffy bit her bottom lip, "Spike?"

"Yeah luv?"

"That kiss..." she trailed off, trying to find the right words.

"I'm sorry about that Buffy." Spike looked at Buffy intensely, trying to figure out where she was going with this. Hope began to show it's ugly head again.

"Don't be," she replied quickly. Spike raised an eyebrow at her and she blushed, quickly back pedalling. "I mean, it wasn't your fault. We were under a spell."

Spike looked away guiltily, which luckily Buffy didn't notice. She was under the spell. He was taking advantage.

"It's just ..."

"What Buffy?"

She suddenly felt stupid for saying what she was about to say. The notion of her and Spike being "smooching buddies" in any timeline was utterly ridiculous, even if he did have a soul and better manners and was a damn sexy fighter...

"It's nothing, I'm just pleased the spell is over," she said.

Spike looked hurt for about half a second, which Buffy did notice, before he shrugged it off and put on his best bravado.

"Right, yeah. Me too," he said. "I need one of Red's cookies. I still have Buffy taste in my mouth."

"You're a pig, Spike," Buffy said with a glare and she pushed past him to join her friends in Giles' living room.

Spike chuckled, watching the flustered slayer hurry away. He had a feeling he wasn't the only one who was good at acting.

TBC...

AN: Oooo, we almost had a fluffy spuffy moment, but it's far too early for that! I really hope you guys enjoyed that chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it! And hey, we had a little bit of an insight into who will be in the new Spike-made future. Please leave a review!