Buffy Summers was sitting quietly on the bus. The woman who had seated herself next to the blonde had been talking her ear off the whole time, but Buffy simply stared out the window, too saddened to say anything but a few 'Uh-huh's' and 'really's' to the overly talkative woman's stories and questions. Buffy had had the worst week of her whole life and now she was on her way to live with people she didn't even know. Her mother had died the week before. Joyce Summers was a very organized and prepared woman. When she had first been diagnosed with a brain tumor, she had feared her life would soon be over. She, unbeknownst to Buffy, had handled everything that would need to be done if and when she passed, including Buffy's new living arrangements. After her mother's funeral, Buffy was to go live with her mother's oldest and dearest friend, Rupert Giles, and now, that's exactly where she was headed.
Buffy had so many emotions ripping through her. A sickening mixture of horrible sadness, fear, nervousness and depression were intoxicating her body, making the seventeen-year-old physically and emotionally ill. She had been seated on this bus for fifteen hours, and it was finally coming to a stop. Finally or already, Buffy couldn't decide. Even though she was sore and stiff from the unbelievably long bus ride, she also knew that reaching their destination meant a new life, with new people, in a new country, without her mother. As the bus came to a jolting stop, the drive announced over the loud speaker.
"Last stop, Birmingham."
Buffy sighed deeply, both with sadness for the loss of her mother and nervousness for what was to come. She slowly stood up, the annoying woman that had sat next to her already long gone, and grabbed her carry-on from the compartment above her head. She made her way off the bus, looking around at her new surroundings. She could feel butterflies in the pit of her stomach and her heart begin to race as she looked around for the man her mother's lawyer had described to her before getting on the plane. She hadn't seen a picture of him so she wasn't completely sure of what he looked like, just a generic description of the older man. As she took her suitcase from the group of luggage the bus driver had taken out of the storage compartment of the bus, she felt a tap on her shoulder and quickly turned around.
"I'm sorry, did I frighten you?" an older man with glasses asked and she nodded slightly.
"No, it's fine…" Buffy's tone seemed unsure and the man could sense this.
"I'm Rupert Giles" he introduced himself, sticking out his hand to her and she shook it politely.
"Buffy, yes, I know" he told her. Her expression still looked confused so he figured he'd better elaborate. "Your mother sent me a picture. Well, pictures actually."
"Oh" she said plainly.
"Please allow me to start by giving my sincerest condolences on your loss. Joyce was a wonderful woman and we were great friends." Buffy just stared at him, not replying so he continued. "Why don't we get home, aye? You must be exhausted after such a long journey." Buffy again nodded, after a fifteen-hour plane ride and seventeen-hour bus ride, she really was beyond tired. "May I take your bag?" She handed it to him, still not speaking, and followed him to his car. He put the suitcase into the trunk and opened the passenger side door for her and she got in. After shutting her door, he got into the driver's side and began driving. "I've arranged for the rest of your belongings to be sent here" he told her, trying to make small-talk; she wasn't the only one who was feeling uncomfortable.
"Thanks" was all Buffy said, not making eye contact. She just stared at the window, silently taking in all that was around her.
The remaining ten minutes of driving was filled with uncomfortable silence, neither of two knowing what to say to each other. It was true, they had never met before, but Joyce had told him many things about her daughter. He knew he would have to give her time to adjust. If losing her mother wasn't hard enough, now she was in a completely new place, with no friends or family to speak of – this had to be hard for her.
Soon, Giles pulled into the long driveway of his enormous house, a mansion really, Buffy thought. As the car came to a stop, he got out, retrieving her bag from the trunk as she looked around.
"Holy crap" she said, mainly to herself, at the sight of what would now be her home. This house was much bigger than hers, in fact, she thought her house could fit in this one.
"What do you think, Buffy?" Giles asked, pulling her out of her thoughts. She looked at him and then back at the house.
"Nice" was what she settled on, not really knowing what else to say.
"Let's get inside, it's cold" Giles said. She followed him up the porch steps and watched him unlock the door, opening it for her to enter first. She hesitated for a second, looking around once more before entering the house. Giles set her suitcase just inside the big foyer as she looked around in awe. Right passed the foyer was a large staircase that led to upstairs. To the right of the was the huge living room and to the left of the stairs was a dining room that led to a large kitchen. Buffy walked around, checking out all the rooms on the first floor. Giles just stood back, letting her familiarize herself with her new home. After a couple minutes he spoke.
"Would you like to see your room?"
Buffy looked at him and nodded.
"Follow me" he told her, grabbing her suitcase and ascending the staircase; Buffy followed. Once they climbed the stairs, Buffy noticed you could either turn left or right; there were many rooms on either side. Giles turned right and walked down the wide hallway and stopped at the door at the end. He opened the door, motioning for her to enter and she did, him following. "So, this is it. I know it isn't much, but you'll be able to fill it with your belongings in a couple days."
Buffy looked around the room. Holy hell, this is huge! Buffy thought as she did a 360 turn in the room, taking in everything. The room was at least twice the size of her old one, if not more. She could feel a twinge of excitement at the enormous bedroom, but still would have taken her old, smaller one in Sunnydale with her mother any day.
"What do you think, Buffy?" Giles asked after a few moments of silence. She looked at him and gave him a small smile.
"It's…I like it" she told him, not really knowing what else to say. He returned her smile and put down her bag.
"Well, I'll leave you to settle in. When you feel up to it, come downstairs and I'll introduce you to my son…whenever he returns" Giles told her, looking out her bedroom door.
"You have a son?" Buffy asked.
"Yes, he's twenty and quite the ruffian sometimes. He has a good heart though and he means well" Giles told her. She was a little relieved it wouldn't just be her and Giles in the house, not because she got a creepy vibe from him or anything, but just because she thought it might be awkward, it only being the two of them in that big house. On the other hand, it somehow made her even more nervous that there would be a guy not too much older than her in the house. How would she walk around in her pj's with no makeup when his son would be around? Hopefully he's a dud, Buffy thought, feeling that if he were the slightest bit attractive to her, she'd never be able to leave her room.
"What's his name?" Buffy asked after a few moments. Giles sighed with exasperation at her question and then answered.
"His name's William…but he insists people call him…Spike." Giles shuddered at the nickname, obviously irritated at the sound of it. Buffy couldn't help but chuckle a bit.
"Spike? Okay…" Giles smiled at her, removing his glasses and cleaning them with a handkerchief he retrieved from his pocket. After polishing them for a moment, he stuck the handkerchief back in his pocket and sighed.
"Well, I'll let you get settled. I'll see you in a bit." She nodded agreeably and he gave her one last small smile before leaving her room, shutting the door behind him.
Buffy sighed, looking around the room again. It had what had to be a king sized bed, which was covered with what Buffy guessed was a pretty expensive bed set. It was pink and had orange, lime green and purple polka dots on it. The pillows were the same orange as the comforter and had smaller polka dots that were pink, lime green and purple; the bed skirt was the same pattern and color as the pillow cases. Buffy swung her suitcase on to her new bed and opened it, looking at the stuff she had decided she needed right away. There were a few outfits—Giles had promised to have the rest of her stuff there in the next three days—her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo, a picture frame with a picture of her and her mother, a smallish makeup bag that had her most used makeup in it, a couple pairs of pajamas, her mp3 player and her laptop. In her carry-on bag she packed all her beauty essentials like her toothbrush, hair brush, a small hair dryer and hair straightener, her deodorant and her body spray. After putting the few things she brought away—her pajamas in the dresser that was already in the room and her clothes in her large walk-in closet—she pondered joining Giles downstairs like he had requested. She was still very uncomfortable and didn't feel easy wondering the house, whether it was alone or with Giles and/or is son. After thinking it over a few minutes and hearing her stomach demanding food with a growl, she decided to suck it up and go downstairs.
Buffy walked down the stairs and into the kitchen—no one. She sighed, not really knowing where anyone was. She decided to check in the living room and found Giles, and a guy she assumed was his son, sitting on the large, fluffy sofa.
"Oh, Buffy, come and sit, please" Giles greeted her with a warm smile. She took a deep, but quiet breath, before entering fully into the living room and sitting in the recliner near the couch. "Buffy, this is my son, William." Buffy saw his son roll his eyes before speaking.
"How many times do I have to tell you, pop? It's Spike" Spike told his father before turning his attention to Buffy. "Nice to meet ya, luv. I hear you're gonna be stayin here." Buffy just nodded, not really knowing what she should say. "Name's Spike."
"Buffy…but you knew that already" Buffy said, feeling her cheeks turning red. Spike smirked at her, obviously amused at her discomfort.
"William, why don't you show Buffy the town? If you can tear yourself away from those dreadful mates of yours for a night" Giles told his son and Spike once again rolled his eyes. Buffy wasn't sure if it was because of his father's remark or the fact that he had just volunteered him as a tour guide.
"Oh, y—you don't have to…" Buffy said, not wanting to be any trouble.
"S'alright, pet" Spike said. "It's not a problem. If you'd like to see the town I could show it to you." Buffy nodded in agreement.
"Good, then. You all can clear off after high tea. I trust you must be puckish after your trip" Giles told Buffy.
"Yeah, I am actually" Buffy said and Giles nodded.
"The cook is preparing dinner now. Should be ready in the next half an hour. William?... William?" Giles aid, trying to get Spike's attention. Buffy looked at him and noticed he'd been staring at her and instantly felt self-conscious.
"Huh? What's that?" Spike asked, snapping out of his trance. Giles seemed to notice he'd been staring too and shot a warning look at his son. Spike ignored it, waiting for his father to continue.
"Would you show Buffy the house, please?"
"Uh, yeah, sure thing, pop" Spike said, standing up. "Right this way, luv."
Buffy followed him from room to room as she showed her around, making small talk at the same time. Before Buffy knew it, it was time for dinner and they all gathered in the dining room where the cook had placed three plates of food on the table and three glasses for beverages.
"Buffy, I didn't even ask. Do you like pot roast?" Giles asked once they had sat down.
"Oh, yeah" Buffy told him. She suddenly felt a wave of sadness hit her. It was true, she loved pot roast, but it was also her mother's specialty and did nothing but remind Buffy of her mother and how she was gone—forever.
"Drink, miss?" a man dressed in a butler's uniform asked, pulling Buffy out of her thoughts.
"Buffy, this is Vincenzo, our butler. Vincenzo, this is Buffy" Giles introduced them and Vincenzo smiled politely.
"Nice to meet you, Buffy."
"You too" Buffy said in a small voice. "And I'll just have water, please."
"Of course" Vincenzo said, turning his attention to the men of the house.
"Master Giles, William?"
"Vinny, please, I have to deal with pop calling me that Nancy-boy name. Not you too" Spike told him.
"Right, Spike" Vincenzo corrected himself.
"Iced tea, please, Vincenzo" Giles said after rolling his eyes at his son's remark. Spike ignored it and answered Vincenzo as well.
"Tea too, please."
"Right away" Vincenzo said and disappeared into the kitchen. A few moments later, he returned with a pitcher of iced tea and a pitcher of ice water. He poured some water into Buffy's glass and then poured the men their iced tea.
"Thank you, Vincenzo. You can retire to your room if you wish" Giles told him and Vincenzo smiled gratefully and went upstairs.
Dinner was filled with uncomfortable small talk with even more uncomfortable silence in between. Every time the room fell silent, Buffy hoped someone would start talking again, so they didn't stare at her, expecting her to say something. After they finished eating, Spike kept his promise to show her around town. Even though Buffy would have been just as happy—maybe happier—returning to her room for the night, she agreed to let Spike take her out and show her around.
"Where are we?" Buffy asked when Spike pulled into a parking lot and turned off the engine.
"Just a spot the mates and I like to hang out" Spike told her, getting out of the car. Buffy got out also, following him into the club, which Buffy knew was called The Chatterbox only from the neon blue sign that hung above the entrance. Spike immediately went over to a table full of people, Buffy in tow.
"Hey, Spike" a woman greeted him.
"Hey, guys. This is…well, a new friend I guess" Spike said. "She's gonna be livin with pop and I; her name's Buffy. Buffy, these are my mates. That's Ellie, Scott, Emma and Hunter."
"Hi, Buffy" the girl who had greeted Spike, who Buffy now knew as Ellie, said with a friendly smile.
"Nice to meet you all" Buffy said with a small smile, feeling a little nervous. She honestly would have rather have went up to her room after dinner and stayed there, indefinitely. She appreciated what Giles was trying to do though, attempting to keep her busy so she wouldn't be overpowered by sadness. As good as his intentions were, Buffy was still very sad and really just wanted to go home—her new home—and sulk in her new room.
"So, luv" Spike spoke up, pulling Buffy out of her thoughts. "Care to dance?" She looked at him and then down to his hand that he had stuck out to her. She thought, only for a second, before taking it in hers with a small smile. He led her through a crowd of people on to the dance floor, the two other couples at the table following, as a slow song came on. Buffy instantly got nervous; fast dancing she was good at, but slow dancing? It wasn't that she didn't know how, it was dancing with Spike that made her nervous. Even though she tried to ignore it, she had to admit, he was damn sexy. His bleached, platinum blonde hair was gelled back some, but small curls still formed all over his head. He had the bluest eyes of anyone Buffy had ever seen and the black t-shirt he worse under his leather duster showed off his tight—and hot—muscled body. The air caught in Buffy's throat as Spike pulled her close to him, his arms around her waist. Buffy wasn't sure where to put her hands, but settled on placing them around his neck. As the music continued to play, she slowly started calming her nerves. Spike smirked as he felt her relax against him as they swayed to the music. By the end of the song, Buffy's head was rested on Spike's shoulder, one hand in his, pressed against his chest and the other on his upper arm. Spike's grip on her waist didn't loosen until the song came to an end. When the song transitioned to a faster one, Spike reluctantly let her go and they moved far enough away from each other so Buffy could look in his eyes. What exactly was happening here? She had just met this guy this afternoon and already had a crush? Maybe it was just all that had happened over the past week. Maybe her nerves were so shot that she just needed to feel…anything.
After a few beats of silence, Spike cleared his throat awkwardly, scratching the back of his head.
"Uh, y—you're a great dancer, luv" he told her. What the bleeding hell is wrong with you, you git? He asked himself. She's just a girl and you barely know her. Get a grip!
"Thanks" Buffy said in a small voice, smiling slightly. Neither of them really knew what to say next.
"Thirsty?" is what he settled on as she followed him back to their table.
"Parched actually" Buffy told him.
"What'll you have?" he asked as she sat down in the seat that had her coat draped over the back.
"Diet coke, please" Buffy told him, reaching into her purse for her wallet. Spike stopped her with a wave of his hand.
"Don't worry about it, luv. I'm paying."
Buffy looked up at him. "No, you don't have to—"
"I know, I want to" he told her before disappearing back into the crowd, making his way to the bar. After he was out of sight, his friends came back over to the table, as if they had waited for him to leave before returning.
"So, tell us about yourself, Buffy" Scott said as the two couples sat back down. Buffy picked at her cuticles nervously.
"Not much to tell."
"Where are you from?" Hunter asked her.
"Originally from Los Angeles, but when my parents got divorced, my mother and I moved to Sunnydale, a small town a few hours from LA.
"What brings you here?" Scott asked. Buffy looked down at her hands, which were still fidgeting apprehensively.
"Uh… m—my mom died. She had a brain tumor and… Well, after she died I found out that she had arranged for me to come here to live with Giles and Spike if…"
"I'm really sorry for your loss" Emma told her. "When did it…?"
"8 days ago" Buffy said sadly, looking down at her hands that were now fidgeting. Just then, Spike came back to the table with two drinks and set one down in front of Buffy.
"There ya go, luv."
"Thanks…" Buffy said, turning the straw around in her drink and taking a small drink from it.
"You okay?" he asked her, sitting down next to her.
"Would it be okay if we just went home?" Buffy asked. She chuckled to herself, she still wasn't used to her home being here instead of back with her mother. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be trouble, I'm just not…"
Spike looked at her, noticing that her eyes were glistening from tears she was trying to keep at bay. "Uh, sure, luv. It's no problem. Let's get you home." She put on her coat and he put a comforting hand on her back to lead her out of the club. "Bye, guys" he called over his shoulder to his friends as he and Buffy made their way outside.
Spike and Buffy made their way back home rather quickly; the traffic was low and, somehow, they made all the lights before they turned red. Once Spike pulled into the long driveway and turned off the engine, he got out, quickly going over to her side of the car and opening the door for her.
"Thanks" she said in a small voice. He shut the door and she followed him up the porch steps and into the house. He took her coat off for her and hung it on the coatrack, then ushered her into the living room. She didn't understand why he was being so nice and caring to her; he barely knew her. Her honestly didn't know why either, he just felt for her, having gone through the same thing a few years ago. She sat down on the sofa and he sat next to her. They were silent for a couple minutes until he spoke up.
"Not that it's any consolation, but I know how you feel" he told her. She looked at him seemingly confused, so he continued. "My mum died when I was fourteen."
"No, I didn't tell you because… I just wanted to let you know, I know what you're going through… If you ever wanna… talk…" He felt a little embarrassed, her seeing the softer side of him, but for some reason – which he didn't understand – he felt for her and just wanted her to feel better.
"Thank you" she said, managing a smile and then yawned.
"Maybe you should go get some rest, luv" he told her.
"Yeah" she agreed. "I haven't slept much since my mom…"
"Nightmares?" he asked and she looked at him surprised. "Been through it too" he reminded her and she nodded.
"Night" she said, getting up and going upstairs. He looked on after her with a bit of sadness. What the bleeding hell is goin on? He usually didn't crush on a girl this quickly this much. He wasn't sure if it was because he could relate to her or because she was just so damn hot. She really is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, he thought and shook his head, trying to make the thoughts go away. He knew his father wouldn't like it if something were to happen between him and Buffy. He didn't even know how she felt about him, and he didn't want to hit on her when she was mourning so much. He sighed, the many thoughts making him tired as well, and went upstairs to his own room, which was on the other side of the house.
Buffy changed into her pajamas and sat down at the vanity. She brushed out her long, blonde hair and put the brush back down on the vanity, looking into the mirror. Her eyes had bags underneath them, which was a look she wasn't used to. As she stared at herself through the mirror she could see tears starting to form in her eyes and slowly trickle down her cheeks.
"I miss you so much, mom" she said. "How am I supposed to go on without you?" The tears continued to fall as she got up and went over to her bed, laying down and hugging a pillow to her chest as she started to cry.