Chapter 8 – White Wine and Chinese

"No, Love, I don't want to turn you," Spike reassured her while keeping her wrapped in his arms. After the time apart he couldn't believe how good it was to feel her, to smell her, to have her arms around him. "I want to claim you. Come, let's go back to the other side and we'll talk."

Reluctantly he let her slip from his arms but kept contact by holding her hand until they reached the living quarters. There wasn't any furniture except for the mattress but he piled the pillows so that she could lean back against them.

"Are you hungry?"

"Yeah, actually I am."

Spike smiled as he reached for the phone, "Chinese good?" Then when she nodded, he placed the call and ordered some food to be delivered.

"Spike?"

"Yeah."

"It's good to see you."

While they waited for their dinner to be delivered they made small talk about what she had been doing while he was gone. The classes she was taking now and she explained about her becoming more active in the slaying.

"After you left I felt like I didn't have any control over anything. My spells were still going wacky and I wasn't sure what I wanted anymore so Giles started helping me train with Buffy. Not that I have her strength of course but the movements and the fighting it made me feel like I could handle myself more. I felt more confident."

Spike reached over and moved her hair behind her ear then let his fingers drift across her face. "I'm glad that you did. And actually, noticed the difference when you kicked everybody out of here. I was proud of you."

Willow smiled. "Oh, I forgot to tell you. A couple of months ago I made contact with a coven and they are helping me to focus my powers. So, I'm like getting all focused and strong and…"

How could he resist? Her eyes were dancing as she proudly told him how much she had progressed in their time apart and he had to kiss her again. He shifted closer to her, holding her, as their lips moved together then she moved onto her back pulling him with her. It was everything he wanted and had dreamed about.

Then the buzzer on the door downstairs went off.

"Bullocks. Now isn't that great timing."

Willow could only laugh as she watched him go retrieve their food. As she started to follow him, Spike pointed toward the kitchen and told her there were some plates in a box and some wine in the refrigerator. She gathered up plates, utensils, the wine and some plastic cups then moved back to the bedroom. The comforter was spread out and the pillows evened out for them to share.

"Did you get the corkscrew?"

"No," Willow answered as she glanced at the bottle warily.

"Not all wines have a twist top, pet; we are going to have to educate you some on the slightly more expensive but still cheap ones."

She giggled as he sat down and made a big production of telling her about the wine and how to open one using a corkscrew. "Don't ever buy one that is more than ten dollars." He stage whispered to her.

As they prepared plates of food Willow tried to work up her courage to ask about the claiming. Giles hadn't looked too happy about it whatever it was and although she wanted to be with Spike she didn't want to get into something over her head.

"Go ahead and ask," Spike told her softly.

"I'm sorry. It's been so long and I wonder if you're the same Spike I spent so much time with before."

"Like I wonder if you're the same Willow."

She understood what he meant. They were both the same people in all the ways that counted but they were only stronger and better than before. Whatever changes they had gone through would only make their relationship better and more likely to last. 

"What is claiming?"

"I would mark you to show the world that you belonged to me. It would show that you are under my protection and in the demon world it's like saying that you're my wife."

"Oh, are you sure that you want me?" Willow asked hesitantly. No matter how many changes she would go through and how strong she felt there was always going to be the little geek girl who was always on the outside hiding somewhere inside of her.

"Always. I had a lot of time to think of things while I was gone and yeah, I'm sure."

"How do you do this claiming?"

Spike turned to lay his plate on the floor then did the same with hers so he could hold her hands in his.

"I would bite you and drink just a little from you," in this moment he was all William. Shy and scared of rejection. Not sure if the girl would take him or make fun of him. "It's usually done while making love. If it's done then the bite shouldn't hurt much at all."

Willow's eyes got big at the thought of making love with him and having him bite her during the act. It didn't scare her as much as turned her insides to mush.

"Is it all right if I think about it? Please, I'm not saying no, it's just that you just got back and you want to take all these huge steps at one time. I'm feeling a little confused."

"Take all the time you need. I'm not going to rush you."

But he was disappointed. It had all been planned out in his head and heart and now he wasn't sure if it was going to be the way he dreamed but for her he dropped the subject and started to ask how her friends were doing and what they had been up to. They finished eating while she gave him one anecdote after another of what had been going on. He found himself wishing that he had been there to enjoy some of their exploits.

After they were done they took everything into the kitchen and cleaned things up working in synchronized motions as if they had rehearsed it.

"Come on; let's have a look at those plans." Spike said while grabbing some rolls of paper from the floor and headed back into the bedroom with them.

They settled onto their stomachs as he unrolled the first one showing the plans he had drawn for the bathroom.

"See, the front part would have the closets with a dressing area and in the back would be the actual bathroom with sink, shower and garden tub." While he talked to her he pointed them out on the drawings.

"Spike, you should have dual sinks in the bathroom, his and hers. And I wouldn't do a corner tub but a tub that's elevated in the center so that you can look out the windows while you're soaking. The closet area should be one big closet with built in shelves and drawers."

"You think so," Spike smiled as she changed his plans to suit herself as if she is going to be there. He took notes to talk to the contractor about because he wanted this to be her home. Through the rest of the evening they went over all the plans and soon the loft was the way that she would want it. Even the kitchen that was to be started the next day was changed to give her what she needed in order to do her potions and concoctions.

When they were done she laughed softly, "I kind of took over your place."

He kissed her gently but thoroughly with his hands tangled in the red richness of her hair and silently asked her to stay. Words he wouldn't speak aloud again.

"I wanted you to make suggestions. This place is for you. The factory where I first wanted to make love to you," he reminded her.

But for her it wasn't a good memory. This place was where they had all gone through so much, the Master, Spike when he tried to hurt them with Drusilla and the place where she had kissed Xander and lost Oz the first time. She stood to stare out the window as she contemplated who she was really getting involved with.

Spike, a vampire, chipped but still a vampire that had tried to kill them. He was someone that had brought a lot of pain and terror into their young lives. She had so much of life ahead of her and she wondered if she was ready to be claimed and belong totally to one person.

She knew he was hurting and that he had brought up something that was good for him and she had run from it. Needing a moment to clear her head she started to move through the old factory. It was a place of broken dreams and death and misery and he didn't see that. He only saw the birth of their relationship.

Willow wandered through the upstairs, softly touching things that were his, imagining it the way he saw it envisioned. Slowly she ambled across the cat walk looking at the merchandise that he hoped to sell to support them and into the office he had set up. She sat at his computer and looked briefly at his files looking for evidence to make her doubt him but found none. There was poetry he had written though. Endless streams of words about her and the dreams he had for them.

She questioned her own heart and if she could trust it more now than she could six months ago. Finally she returned to find him bringing down heavy shades over the windows and she moved to help him. Once again they worked together in unison with barely any words spoken. Then once his home was safe from the morning light he turned to her with inquisitive eyes.

"Time to take you home, pet?"

And her heart answered for her, "I'm already home."

The End