.Deep breaths, Buffy, deep breaths. Buffy stood in the living room in front of her oldest and dearest friends, Dawn had her arm around her sister's tiny waist for support. Buffy finally cleared her throat, "I need to tell you all something important. I've decided...." She hesitated briefly before Dawn gave her a quick squeeze and smile, "Spike is going with Dawn and I to Virginia. I hope you are all okay with that,,,,but if you're not. Well thats too bad." Dawn giggled and Buffy joined her.

"I knew it!" Willow stood up, "I don't have a problem with it at all. I know he'll take care of you."

"Well, I......kind of figured she'd choose Angel." Xander replied seriously, then began to laugh, "Buffy, I've been watching the two of you for months, and although I tried to deny it.....I knew it too. Whatever makes you happy, you deserve that." He stood and hugged both Summer's girls close to him.

Buffy's face turned to Giles and Wesley, neither of them looked ecstatic about the decision. "Buffy are you quite sure?" Wesley asked softly.

"She is." Giles answered for her a small smile on his face.

"Then I wish you all the best." Wesley smiled and offered his hand to her clasping her's warmly.

"As do I." Giles went a step further and hugged Buffy and Dawn both to him.

Tears suddenly filled Buffy's eyes as she surveyed her friends...her family, "I'll miss you all...so much."

"But this isn't goodbye, it's a see you soon." Xander smiled brightly at them.

"Yeah....a see you soon." Buffy nodded.

"I looked it up on the net, Virginia Beach is a really nice vacation spot." Dawn assured the others.

"Well, we best get the beds and some of these boxes in loaded in the truck." Giles bent down to pick up a box, "Spike can drive that truck can't he?"

"Giles, I'm sure it's no problem remember the antique motor home?" Buffy smiled as she picked up a box and followed Giles outside.

"Well, here's my bag." Spike announced as he entered the living room. He sat the small suitcase with the boxes littering the floor.

"So you're going with her?" Xander asked his voice serious.

"Yeah, what of it?" Spike replied defensively.

"Nothing of it. Take care of her and Dawn too." Xander grinned as he clasped his hand on Spike's shoulder.

Spike seemed speechless at the affectionate gesture after several moments he finally found his voice,
"I will do my very best." His voice was soft and sincere.
"We know you will." Willow grinned as picked up a box and headed for the door.

Xander smirked at Spike as he picked up his own box, "You really got this planned well, make us load the truck cause you can't go out in the daylight."

"But I have to drive all night and listen to boybands with Dawn." Spike smirked back.

"We're even then." Xander told him as he went out the door.

Several hours later as the sun went down and many hugs and tears were shared, the three travelers left on their road trip.

Three months later in Virginia Beach

"Buffy, you can't scrub that floor any harder you're gonna take up the linoleum." Spike shook his head as Buffy vigorously mopped the kitchen floor for the second time that day.

"I just want it all perfect for Xander and Willow." Buffy told him as she wrung the mop out into the bucket.

Xander and Willow were due for a visit a few days and she was in cleaning mode.

"They don't care how clean the floor is they just want to see you and Bit." Spike tipotoed across the wet floor to pull her into his arms.

"The floor..." The complaint died on her lips as his mouth met hers, their bodies melding together in a close embrace.

"Is Niblet home yet?" Spike asked between kisses.

"Not coming home till later.....gone to Pembroke Mall and then to the movies with Bridget." Buffy answered as a wicked smile crossed her face.

"So we're alone?" He grinned as he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.....their bedroom.

Hours later as they lay wrapped in the bedsheets and each other, he grinned at how far they had come in three months. Buffy had a part time job and was enrolled in night classes three nights a week, Niblet was doing great in High School, she'd made some good friends already and he had even found a small bar down on the Strip that needed a bouncer a couple nights a week. They took turns cooking and cleaning and they knew their neighbors by name.

Buffy sat up beside him, "It's dark, want to take a walk down by the lake?"

"Sounds good." He smiled as he one finger down her cheek.

They loved the house that Giles had found them, it wasn't huge but big enough for the three of them. It sat on the shore of Lake Bradford and the kitchen nook looked over the lake, sometimes over breakfast they would watch the ducks swimming among the lilypads in the cove of the lake. There neighbors were an older couple, Melba and Steve. They had been married forever and bickered constantly but Buffy and Spike could see the deep love between them.

After they dressed they walked past Melba's colorful azaelas down to the small pier behind the cottage. The moon shone on the water and if you stood long enough you could see the occasional fish jump and splash in the water.

"You want a beer?" It was Steve asking as he pulled the trash cans round to the back of his house.

"Yeah, that would be good." Spike answered with a grin, Buffy held tightly to his side.

"Be right back." The older man tucked the trash next to the back porch.

"This is nice..." Buffy sighed against him.

"Always nice to be with you." Spike nuzzled the top of her head.

"Yeah..but not just that. I mean everything is......I never knew it could be this nice." He backed them into the old fashioned wood lounge chair and pulls her into his lap.

"Here you go, Will." Steve returned with two beers and handed one to Spike as he took the chair next to them.

"Thanks." Spike replied as Buffy gets comfy in his lap.

"It's a lovely night." Buffy sighed as she looks at the stars dotting the sky, "I love this place."

"It's nice enough I suppose - normal nothing special." Steve said as he sips his beer.

"You don't realize how special normal is." Buffy grins at him.

"Guess not but I've never much had anything but normal ." The older man sighed.

"But you have a good life and a wife who you love and loves you back, a great family, I'd say that was special." Buffy pointed out to him.

"Steve - leave those two alone. Looks like they have the evening to themselves for a change." Melba walked down the back porch steps to join them.

"Speaking of special.....here she comes." Steve grinned as Melba came to stand in front of him.

"It's okay, Melba. Just having a beer together." Spike smiled at Melba and used his charm on her.

"Well...okay. How are you doing? You're still going to dinner with us at the Duck Inn next week? We really appreciate Spike helping Steve with that leak the other night." Melba asked as she turned towards the house.

"Yes, but you don't have to do that." Buffy smiled at her.

"We want too." She grinned, "Come on, Steve."

"Okay, okay. See you soon." Steve goodnaturedly grumbled as he followed his wife.

Spike and Buffy could hear Melba asking, "How many beers did you have today?" They laughed softly as they heard the door next door close.

"That could be us in a few years." Buffy giggled as she curled her hand around Spike's neck leaning in for a kiss.

"Could be." He kissed her again, "Never ever thought we could be this happy. I wasn't sure you would ever be happy without the fight."

"I know - everyone was worried that I couldn't do normal." Buffy took his hand in hers raising it to her mouth and planting a soft kiss in his palm, "The thing is.....that everyone's definition of normal is different. And if this is normal......then I can definitely live with it."
"Me. too. Luv. Me too." His soft laughter filled the night air as he carried her back into the cottage.
The End