Title: The Long Road Home

Rating: PG

Summary: Post-Showtime. Buffy takes Spike back to a house full of curious SIT's. Xander is being nice. This will prolly lead to spuffyness, so beware.

"We're almost there…" Buffy muttered quietly, sparing a pitiful look at the vampire clinging to her side. She felt a familiar lump in her throat at the sight of him like this. This was what, the third time his eye had been so swollen he couldn't see? Yeah, three. Glory, The First Evil, and her. The last time he was like this was because of her. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind and tightened her grip around his waist, supporting most of his weight on her own small form.


She ignored him. As much as she would like to let him get his almost incoherent rambling out of his system, there just wasn't the time. She had no clue when The First would be coming back, and she didn't want to stick around to find out.


She suddenly found herself supporting him completely, the sudden onput of his weight nearly knocking her to her feet. She sunk to her knees, swallowing back more tears. "Spike?"

Great. Unconscious. She glanced up the tunnel. She hadn't wanted to force him to walk this far, but there was no way that he was going to be able to climb up the cave walls to exit through the Christmas tree lot. She had no chose but to lead him through the twisting caves to another opening she knew let out it the woods. It wasn't much further ahead, and with any luck, she could carry him the rest of the way.

Looking back down at the vampire, she swallowed and quickly pulled her cell phone from her pocket. "Xander? I need your help…"


Warm. That was the only thing his mind could register at the moment. And a voice. Calling him. The First? No, couldn't be. Buffy. Buffy had come.


"Spike? Come on, please wake up…"

A slight moan escaped his throat as he pried his eyes open wearily. "Buffy?"


He was surprised at the concern in her voice. She was looking down at him, her green eyes shining with concern. She was…. upside down? His face scrunched up. It hurt.

"Buffy, where are we…"

"Shh." She said softy, giving him a small smile. "We're almost home…"

He closed his eyes. Yep. They were moving. In a car, he supposed. Him in the lying in the back seat, his head on the Slayer's lap, and…

"He awake?"

Spike groaned inwardly at the voice from the driver's seat. Harris was driving. Had he had the strength, he would have protested, but as it was, he could barely keep himself awake. He could feel Buffy's hand wrapped firmly around his left arm, her thumb brushing against his skin in an almost reassuring fashion.

The rest of the trip was made in silence. Spike had to fight to keep himself from drifting off again, the idea of lying down in the backseat of a warm car with his head in the Slayer's lap all to appealing after the amount of time he had spent chained tot hat stupid cave wall. He was content to stay here for the rest of eternity, even if the Whelp was in the front seat.

Then he felt someone pulling him up. He opened his eyes to find they had arrived at the Summer's home. Xander was standing outside the door, one of his hands clasped firmly around Spike's as he pulled him up from the seat. The world began to spin as Spike found his feet hitting the pavement, and for a moment he thought he was going to fall to the ground, but much to his surprise, Xander had caught his arm, keeping him upright as Buffy climbed from the backseat of his car and shut the door.

"Come on." She said gently, putting one of his arms around her neck as she wrapped her arm around his waist. Xander walked ahead as they made their way slowly towards the front door, shuffling along slowly. It took a bit of doing to get up the stairs and in the front door, but when they did, they almost regretted it.

Spike looked around curiously as a group of people gathered around, coming from all over the place. The kitchen, the living room, the dining room, upstairs… He heard whispers as he limped through the door, cling desperately to the Slayer as she led him towards the stairs.

"Is that Spike?"

"He's a vampire, right?"

"Why'd she bring him here?"

"He's going to kill us while we sleep…"

Looking past the unfamiliar faces, he saw Red, Dawn, Anya, and Giles, each with the same look of pity and astonishment on their faces.

Buffy swallowed, stiffening, ignoring the continued whispers and the eyes following them. It seemed to take all to long to get from the front door to the base of the stairs, where she finally let Spike slide easily from her hold and sit. She turned, facing the inquiring group behind her. They fell silent almost instantly, eager to hear anything at all about the vampire that had just walked into their midst. The silence lingered for a moment, but they couldn't take it any longer.

"Did The First do that?"

"Where was he, Buffy?"

"Were you attacked again?"

"Why didn't you tell us you were going?"

"Do you think he's…"

"Girls, girls!" Buffy felt all too much like her mother as she nearly shouted to get their attention. She straightened, pulling back her shoulders as she began to speak firmly. "Look, I know you have questions, but now's not the time. I need you to go out into the living room for a little bit."

"But Buffy…"

"No buts." Buffy said shortly, her voice firm. "Dawn, would you?"

The teen nodded, giving Kennedy's shirt a slight tug when she didn't follow the rest of the SIT's. She followed reluctantly, glancing over her shoulder at Spike one last time before disappearing from view.

"Will, could you get me a first-aid kit?" Buffy asked, not looking at the redhead as she crouched down before the vampire.

"Yeah…" the Wiccan muttered, disappearing towards the kitchen.

"Dear Lord…" Giles muttered, listening to the rather loud arguments coming from the living room. Seems the SIT's all had different ideas about Spike.

"I suppose we should break it up?" Xander suggested.

"After you." Giles offered, waving his arm out towards the living room as Xander walked by. Anya followed behind them, not completely comfortable about being left alone in the hall with Buffy and Spike.

"Here, Buff…" Willow said quietly, handing the bright yellow box to the Slayer. "I brought this too." She offered Buffy a small mug, half filled with warmed pig's blood. "There wasn't much left…"

"Thanks Will." Buffy said softly, giving her friend a smile as she walked away. She sank silently to sit on the step besides the vampire, slipping the mug into his shaking hands. "Drink this, it'll help."

"Buffy, I…"

"Not now." She said gently, giving his shoulder a small squeeze as she stood. "I'll be right back."

Spike could hear her retreating up the stairs behind him, taking the steps two at a time judging by the number of times her feet touched the ground. He brought the mug shakily to his lips, sipping at the warm red liquid inside as he strained to hear the voices from the other room.

"….but he'll kill us!"

"Now, Molly, I assure you, Spike's…." he heard Giles begin.

"A vampire! You're supposed to be protecting us, not letting the things that want to eat us spend the night!"

"He can't eat you."

Spike was surprised to hear Xander's voice sticking up for him. Must be a new kindness record for the Whelp. First helping him to not fall on his face in the driveway, and now defending his reliability as a decent houseguest. He was pulled from his musing as he felt something slide over his shoulders. A blanket. Buffy wrapped it around his shoulders as she sat back down beside him, glad to see that he had finished off the blood, even if it had been such a meager amount.

"Here." She took the mug from him, placing it absently on the floor and picking up the discarded first-aid kit. He felt himself nearly drifting off again as he leaned his head against the wall, barely ware of the Slayer's attempt to fix up some of the wounds on his chest.

"Spike. Spike?"

The vampire jumped a bit. Hm. Apparently he had drifted off. Buffy brushed the hair from his face, giving him a small smile as she stood. "Come on. I'll take you upstairs." She said, offering him her hand.

"But…. the girls…." Spike nodded over his shoulder as she helped him to his feet.

"Oh, them…" Buffy cringed a bit at the thought of introducing them to the vampire.

"Who are they?" He managed, chocking back the bit of blood he felt in the back of his throat. Apparently his stomach wasn't too keen on eating after going so long without feeding.

Buffy sighed. "I guess now's a good a time as any…" She looked up at him, her eyes still brimmed with unspilt tears. "You up for introductions?" The only reply she got was a confused look. She sighed once more. "Come on…"

A silence fell over the occupants of the living room as Buffy led Spike in, directing him gently towards the couch. Xander got up, making room for the vampire to sit between Dawn and Willow.

Three points for the Whelp… Spike thought cynically, tightening the blanket around his shoulders as he sank into the seat. He found five unfamiliar faces staring at him, all wide eyed. They seemed around Dawn's age, except for a girl sitting on the coffee table in front of Willow. She seemed a bit older than the rest.

"Spike, this is Kennedy, Chloe, Vi, Rona, and Molly." Buffy said, pointing to the girls as she named them. Kennedy, the girl in front of Willow, was the only one who offered him even the faintest smile. "Girls, this is Spike…"

There was a brief silence as they took in the fact that they were sitting in front of a real vampire. It was quite odd, really. They had been expecting a vampire to be a bit more intimidating than this. Spike just sat there, beaten and bruised, staring at them as he tightened his hold on the white and pink flowered blanket he held tightly around himself.

"I'm glad you're back." Dawn said honestly, breaking the silence. "…. I was worried." She sounded almost ashamed to admit it, her eyes falling a bit as the words left her lips.

"Thanks, Bit…" Spike said earnestly, giving the girl a small smile.

"Are you really a vampire?" Spike turned to face a girl with long brunette hair. Molly, as Buffy had labeled her.

"Well, duh. We all already knew that." Chloe responded, giving her an odd look.

"But he's not very scary." Vi added, eyeing him over.

"I thought you said he was strong, Buffy." Rona inquired, looking at the Slayer as if she were the biggest liar on the face of the planet.


They all turned, surprised. Kennedy sunk back a bit, suddenly feeling a bit foolish for raising her voice like that. "Chill out a bit, alright?"

Buffy gave the girl a small gracious smile. "Thanks, Kennedy. I think I can take it from here." Spike watched as the Slayer stood from her perch on the arm of the couch, facing the group gathered in front of them. "As you all seem to know, yes, Spike is a vampire, but no, he will not hurt you."

"But what if he…"

"No. He can't hurt you. Hurting you would only result in him hurting himself, therefore it will not happen. He is not a threat to you, which means you are not to be one to him, got it?" She raised her eyebrows, getting a couple of nods. "Good." Turning back to Spike, she sighed heavily. "Spike, these girls… they're Potential Slayers. The First has been killing them off one by one, so they're staying here until we can find a way to stop it." Buffy was proud of herself for making it seem a lot more simple than it really was.

"Uh…" Spike looked over the girls again, then refocused on Buffy. For the first time that night he noticed that she seemed nearly as beaten up as him. His heart sank. "Seems like I've missed a bit, 'ey pet?"

"Oi! You're English?" Molly piped, sounding excited. Everyone stared at her curiously and she sank back a bit.

Buffy rolled her eyes, walking back over to Spike. "We can finish this tomorrow. Come on, you can take my bed for the night…"



Alright, prolly only one more chapter after this. I just needed to do something after I was left hanging at the end of "Showtime". *grumbles* Review! I thrive on reviews and they only inspire me to write more. :D