New Horizons: Chapter Forty-Four

The Continuance

By Annie

06-01-2002







"Buffy."

"Yes?"

"Hi, love."

"Hi, love."

He smiled at that, pulling her closer and she smiled widely as she sighed contently.

"We should probably get up sometime soon," she mumbled and he huffed.

"What time is it anyway?" he asked and she turned her head lazily to look at her alarm clock.

"Close to two thirty." she answered, putting her head back on his shoulder.

He grinned a little over nothing and everything and let his left hand, which he had had around her shoulders, slide up and start to gently run through her hair.

"Spike." she said and moved her head to look up at him.

"What, pet?" he asked and she pulled up a little, looking down at him slightly as she suddenly smiled a little sadly.

"I'm so sorry," she mumbled and he furrowed his brow a little, questioning. "I can't believe," she continued, her voice growing strained with held back tears, "how I could say all those things to you.do what I did. God, it just seems like such a waste now!"

He smiled a little, shaking his head slowly.

"Never a waste to figure out how you really feel, love," he grumbled, the thought of her actually being in his arms to stay was still strange in his head and he wondered if it would ever feel completely right there, even though he had craved it for so long. "And this," he added, letting his fingers grab a gentle hold of her hair and moving his head forward to kiss her briefly, "would probably never have happened if we hadn't gone through what we did, all of it. Hell, it probably wouldn't have happened if we hadn't gone with Sarah."

Buffy licked her lips, savoring the taste of his mouth, and then she smiled as she opened her eyes, which she had closed, and met his gaze.

"I owe her so much," Buffy said silently. "And I never even got a chance to thank her.for everything."

Spike smiled a little.

"What exactly did she do, then?" he asked and Buffy put her chin down to rest it on his shoulder, her eyes still in his as she sighed.

"More than I even realized," she answered, shaking her head slightly. "She just.pushed me in all the right directions at precisely the right time. She got me thinking, REALLY thinking. I couldn't just get her words out of my head as easily as I could my own, or yours for that matter. I mean, my own thoughts were so messed up that I just didn't have the strength to deal with them half the time and what you said to me.well, I'm sure you know the excuse I used to get them away from me."

He smiled slightly at that, his hand once more gently gliding through her hair, and then he nodded.

"I think I have a pretty good idea, yeah," he said and she smiled, then she looked a little sad again.

"But Sarah, she wasn't someone that I had a good excuse to just disregard and. God! I just can't understand how I could make myself so damn blind," she grumbled.

He laughed a little.

"Didn't you know that love IS blind?" he asked and she laughed with him, shaking her head.

"Very funny," she then said, still smiling, and he ruffled her hair.

She drew a deep breath and sighed again, pulling down to rest her cheek on his chest. Closing her eyes and remembering all the times when she had pushed the wanting to stay for a while in his bed as far away from her as possible and scared of the mere thought she had rushed out even faster, afraid that it would show on her, that he would use it against her and somehow break down her defenses. Make her stay.

"When did you realize that you were in love with me?" he suddenly asked quietly and she could so clearly hear the hesitation in his voice as he uttered the last four words that she looked up and into his eyes.

He looked insecure and she was overwhelmed with a need to hug him hard, which she didn't have to think twice about it; she simply slid her arms up and pulled herself on top of him, wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tightly.

Spike felt his eyes grow a little at the gesture and then he put his arms around her as well, holding her and closing his eyes he felt like he was finally right where he had been headed for over a century, he finally understood why he hadn't put up a struggle when Dru showed her true face, why he had been lost and alone and angry and resentful to everybody that he met. He had spent a lifetime frustrated looking for this missing part of him that was now so closely pressed against him, letting her sweet scent and her heavenly warmth and unbelievable love just reach into him and fill him up.

The reason for everything had been her all along.

"I love you," he whispered and her hold hardened a little more before she pulled away slightly and looked at him.

"I love you too, Spike" she whispered as well, smiling before kissing him carefully on the mouth. "William Thackary Kinsley," she added with a smirk as she pulled away again and his eyes widened slightly once more before his hands slid down her sides and started tickling her.

She screamed and rolled over on her back but he followed and she was laughing, wrapping her legs around him instead of pushing him away and then she put her face up and kissed him.

His hands forgot their mission at once as he kissed her back and she smiled a little against his lips.

Then she pulled away softly, looking up at him.

"I was talking to Willow." she said now and he raised his eyebrows a little. "When I realized that I'm in love with you I was talking to Willow," she elaborated and he smiled slightly. "She just kind of. stated it, like it was something so obvious. I had been hurting more than I thought was possible since the morning when I fell through the mirror, missing you so badly I couldn't breathe and feeling at such a loss for anything. All I wanted to do was have you here again, to hold me and love me and make the pain just disappear somewhere. I knew you were the only one who could ever take it away.like you had so many times before that."

She suddenly smiled lovingly at him and he almost felt his eyes water but he bit it back, didn't wanna lose it completely, he had already cried enough around her to last a lifetime. Or ANOTHER lifetime.

"Just to hear someone say it out loud." she now mumbled, the look in her eyes suddenly distant as she remembered. "It just made me realize how true it was.how much I really do love you, Spike." Her eyes now in his again and he fought the tears bravely even though they were deceitful and rose in his eyes at her words. "How much I need you in my life. I need you so much," she now said and smiled a little as she put her head up and gently kissed both his eyes.

He felt the damn tears run over at the soft touch and he didn't want to look at her.

What a sad and weak being he had become.

He couldn't feel any anger at that, but he felt a small sting of fear.

What if she had fallen in love with the master vampire who took her roughly against a wall and didn't care if she shouted hateful words in his face, he just kept coming back for more? What if she had fallen for the extremely violent side of him that just mocked her, grinned at her efforts to push him away, laughed at the fact that she said she didn't love him, grabbed her when she tried to walk away and then didn't let go no matter how much she struggled?

He was still that, he knew he still was that, he would always be that. He would be cruel when he needed to, he would hit and kick and kill when he needed to, he would most certainly still be violent, but with her?

Hearing her utter what he had waited so long for her to finally admit, that she needed him, that she loved him, it had changed a great deal at how he looked at her.

How could he grin if she suddenly chose to push him away again? How could he laugh if she ever decided to take her words back? How could he ever force her to stay if the push combined with the words retracted would break him?

He was afraid to relax. This was too new, too fickle it felt like and even though he could feel her love, though he could see it so clearly in her eyes, it was too much; simply too much. His mind, his heart, his being had been unloved for a hundred years and more, and the feeling now was just too unfamiliar to trust.

"I want to trust it." he mumbled and she met his eyes. "I want to just stay here, Slayer, with you. But we can't do that, can we? Sometime we need to get out of bed, get dressed and face the world and then what?"

She looked at him, her heart starting to beat a little harder at his words. She swallowed.

"Then we'll face it together," she said, her face splitting in an assuring smile and he smiled a little back, shaking his head.

"I'm.scared," he grumbled now and she looked at him for a moment, reaching up and gently stroking the tears drying on his cheeks away before putting her arms around him.

"Me too," she said, closing her eyes as his arms slid underneath her and held her hard. "But that's part of it," she added. "We can't know what's going to happen, we have to find out and TO find out we need to not care that we're scared. I love you, Spike. I know that you love me and I think that if this love has been strong enough to last this long, if OUR love has just waited for the right moment to let it FINALLY link us together, I don't think it'll break that easily, do you?"

She pulled her head back at her last question and he smiled a little before shaking his head.

"We don't have to rush," she now whispered with a slightly teasing hint in her green eyes as she let her mouth slide over his. "We have all the time in the world."

***

Buffy had been wearing a smile for nearly six hours, ever since the moment she woke up in his arms to when she danced in the rain to the hours they had spent talking quietly in her bed.

She washed the last plate off and put it down in the sink just as she felt his arms slide around her waist and pull her a little close to him as his lips kissed the back of her head tenderly.

Spike marveled over how every time he touched her she immediately became even more relaxed than she already seemed, how she sighed a little, sounding so satisfied with his company. He smiled as she leaned back against him.

"Are you happy, Slayer?" he asked silently and she closed her eyes.

"More than ever," she said and he smiled wider.

"I don't believe you," he grumbled and she laughed, turning around and wrapping her arms around his neck.

"We've been out of bed for an hour, you can't already have forgotten," she said, smiling and he grinned mischievously at her.

"What can I say?" he mumbled, bending down to kiss her. "Need to refresh my memory, love," he added right before their lips met and she smiled a little, mouth against his as she kissed him back.

She pulled away reluctantly.

"I need to go to the store," she said, reaching out a hand and picking up the list she had made, situated behind her on the counter. "It won't take long, though."

He frowned a little, and she smiled, standing on her toes she planted one more quick kiss on his lips before taking a step back and going to get her wallet.

The kitchen door opened and Dawn came in; looking exhausted she threw her backpack down and groaned a tired "hello".

"What's up with you?" Buffy asked as Dawn leaned heavily against the breakfast table before simply lying her upper body down on it, closing her eyes.

"I HATE school," she grumbled and Buffy smiled a little.

"Come on, niblet," Spike said comfortingly. "If you want I can go burn it down," he then offered and she shot up to a standing position.

"Would you?!" she cried, the sarcastic tone of her voice not escaping the vamp and he nodded, a smile growing on his lips.

"Sure, Buffy and me can take care of it later tonight. Ain't that right, Slayer?" he asked and Buffy looked at him, smiling as well before nodding.

"Sure, and when where done with that we'll trash the Double Meat, rob the bank, wreck the police station and turn over some of the really ugly head stones at the cemetery," she suggested and Dawn giggled.

"Sorry to give you the whole I'm-a-winy-teenager-please-someone-kick-me-in- the-head routine as always, but I'm just so TIRED of school and I just want the summer to be here NOW!" she grumbled, still smiling a little and Buffy smiled back, walking over to her.

"Don't worry, Dawnie," she said. "I think I kinda remember what it was like being in that kinda mood. Only I was more in the damn-I-don't-wanna-do-this- stupid-homework-AND-patrol-for-ONCE-could-I-just-have-a-regular-evening- with-some-TV! mood."

Dawn grinned at her, then saw the wallet in her hand and she raised her eyebrows a little quizzically.

"You going out?" she asked and Buffy nodded, sighing a little.

"I gotta get some milk and stuff," she said and Dawn smiled, nodding.

Then she stepped around Buffy to pick up her backpack and Buffy looked up at Spike.

"So." he said and she smiled a little.

"I'll be back soon," she stated and walked up to him, standing on her toes again she placed one hand on his chest and then kissed him gently.

Dawn turned around just as their lips met and her eyes went from big to huge as Buffy pulled away and the Slayer and the Vamp smiled a little at each other.

"Holy CRAP!" the teen exclaimed and the other two both turned two scornful looks her way. "Oh, come on!" Dawn added at the sight of them. "I'm not FIVE, remember, and besides, 'holy crap' isn't exactly as bad as dammit or bloody hell or bollocks or bugger or."

"How come you're only dragging up things I'd say?" Spike interrupted with a smirk, which died a little when he got an unappreciative look from his ladylove.

"Because yours are much more fun to." Dawn began but shut herself up when she got a look from Buffy as well.

Then the latter sighed, smiling a little.

"I'm going now," she said, turning to Spike again. "Behave yourself, okay?" she added, still smiling and he grabbed her, pulling her closer to him and kissing her deeply.

Dawn stared at them again, then she cleared her throat a little, looking away slightly and biting her lower lip a little self-consciously. Still, a smile was inevitably spreading on her lips and she was practically grinning when the two finally let go of each other. Buffy suddenly aware of the fact that they weren't alone anymore and Spike smirking at the look on the younger Summers sister's face.

Buffy smiled a little at it as well, Dawn was beaming and Buffy felt the happiness increase in her chest when she saw how absolutely ecstatic her sister looked.

"You're like together, or something, now?" the latter asked breathlessly, her eyes shining with excitement and Spike met Buffy's gaze as she reached out a hand to him and he took it carefully.

"Yeah," Buffy answered, turning to Dawn again with a smile, now the elder sister's eyes were starting to glitter as well. "We are."



***

Buffy stopped in front of the cash register and put her milk cartons and some other groceries, including cocoa mix and a bag of small marshmallows, on the counter.

She was still grinning like a fool to herself, her mind replaying the last twenty-four hours over and over in her head. She sighed that content sigh she had grown used to during the last six and a half or so of those twenty- four as the cashier started ringing in her prices.

"You look happy, honey," the pretty lady said with a smile and Buffy looked up, a little surprised but smiling wider nonetheless. "Any special occasion?"

"No," Buffy said, feeling her heart start to leap in her chest. "I'm just. in love," she added and the woman raised her eyebrows and then smiled understandingly at her.

"Must be a special guy to put that expression on your face," she stated and Buffy laughed.

"Yes," she agreed. "He's special. He's really special."

The woman smiled again.

"That will be ten ninety-five," she said and Buffy handed her a twenty.

"Thank you," Buffy said as she got her change back.

"Sure, hon. Paper or plastic?"

"Oh.eh, plastic's fine, thanks."

Buffy was putting the change back in her wallet when she looked up and her eyes landed on a familiar figure. She stared at him for a moment and then she swallowed hard, grabbing the bag with a brief smile to the nice lady before she slid out of the small isle and started to walk towards her 'arch nemesis', or the ONE of them, at least.

Jonathan was having his nose so deep into the comic book he was holding in his hands that he didn't even notice the Slayer stopping by his side. Buffy stared at him for a few moments, growing more and more impatient and then shrugging, reaching out a hand and grabbing the comic out of his hands.

"Hey!" Jonathan protested, turning to her with and angry expression that immediately turned to a badly startled one when his eyes met the cold gaze of the Slayer. "Hey.!" he said, voice wavering as he took a step back.

"Hey," she grumbled, flipping the comic around to look at the cover. "Star Wars - Episode two?" she said questioningly, raising her eyebrows and turning her head to him. "Hmh, would have thought you'd seen the movie already," she added and he looked at her, suddenly insulted.

"Of COURSE I've seen it already," he said, shaking his head at her. "Like three times. I just love it when."

"Shut up," she interrupted and he did, swallowing hard. "We need to have a little chat," she now added and he took another step back as he said:

"Don't think so. See ya!"

Whispering something he made a strange looking mist rise at his feet. Buffy looked down at it, raising her eyebrows again. Jonathan did the same when the mist refused to rise and engulf him, as had been the plan.

"Darn it," he murmured, looking up at her and then turning, making a run for it.

Buffy was about to chase him down when she heard a scream from behind her and she looked at the disappearing 'villain' before sighing deeply and twirling around, running swiftly towards where the sound had come.

She stopped by the cash register at the far wall opposite the magazine stands and looked down. A woman was kneeling, cleaning up the mess of a dropped juice carton.

Buffy stared at her, then moaned to herself.

"You have got to be kidding me," she grumbled before leaning forward a little, the woman now looking up at her questioningly. "Excuse me, did you just scream, loudly, as if you were in really big trouble and needed help?" Buffy asked and the woman raised her eyebrows a little before nodding.

"Yeah, sorry. Eh, I just was a little surprised when I dropped the stupid juice," she answered and Buffy nodded, her mouth twitching with held back laughter, but her brow furrowing deeply as she straightened her back, shaking her head to herself.

"That's what I thought." she grumbled, the laughter retracting and leaving room for the growing annoyance in her chest as she turned around and walked away, the latter caused by the thought of what getting to Jonathan might have meant. "Dammit!" she cursed as she walked out of the store, stopping on the sidewalk to have a look around, just incase there was a van parked nearby that looked suspicious enough to search.

There wasn't and she heaved a sigh again.

She had completely forgotten about the Trio from Dorksville, sent on a frigging mission to seemingly screw up her life, something they had been able to accomplish on numerous occasions.

She started walking, her head buzzing with thoughts and her body tensing up.

"I've had enough of this, time to FIND them," she grumbled, thinking of the girl they had killed and starting to walk faster. "They are going down, nothing more to it," she added as she started running towards the Magic Box.