Chapter 23: A New Start

Yorkshire, England…

Willow was in the middle of teaching a class to a group of newly called Slayers when she got a message to meet some visitors. Thinking that it may be Xander and Dawn, flying in from Rome or Cleveland to surprise her for her birthday next week, the red head had a smile on her face as she opened the door to her office.

"Willow!!" Kayla yelped happily as she jumped off of Spike's lap and threw her arms around the witch's legs.

"Kayla?!" Willow muttered in confusion as she bent down and received a big loving hug from the little girl.

"Hey Red" Spike muttered from Willow's office chair that he was occupying.

"Well…this is a surprise…" Willow said with a nervous smile as she looked between the blonde pair.

*~*~*~*~*~

Willow and Spike watched through the two way mirror as four Slayers played with Kayla on the balance beam in the large training room.

"Wish you called me and gave me a heads up that you were coming." Willow broke the silence as she turned to look at Spike.

"And say what? 'Help me Red, help take care of my kid?'"

"Spike, there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help…everyone needs help from time to time."

"Ya…but I've been relying on you too much…"

"I love taking care of Kayla…Giles does too…"

Spike nodded his head; he knew that the Scoobies didn't think of his daughter as a burden to their everyday life. When Kayla was little there were constant fights of who would take care of her. From what he heard, Giles thought the little girl was his grandchild. It was merely the fact that he wasn't doing his job as 'the father' when he handed over Kayla to Willow, Giles or Dawn.

"Where is Rups?"

Willow cracked a smile at the nickname for Giles, "He's in Cornwall for the weekend...will you be sticking around for the next few days?"

"Ya, why?"

"Because Giles will be kicking himself if he learned that he chose this one weekend to go away and he missed seeing Kayla."

Spike gave a small smile too at the thought of the old Brit pouting over not seeing a child.

"So, where have you been since you left Wolfram and Hart?"

"Here and…well…here basically" Spike muttered as he rubbed the back of his neck. After his big speech to Angel about going some place that he'd never find them, well…it seemed that his speech lost all meaning now.

"Well, you know you're welcome to stay as long as you like…"

"I don't want to impose."

"Well you're not because I just invited you." Willow argued.

"I don't expect you to play mother to her this time Red…I'll be here so she won't be a bother."

"You know, you're lucky that I think you're a decent guy now, because I am this close…" Willow held her fingers close together that only a gap smaller than an inch was showing, "…to turning you into a punching bag that the Slayers train with."

Spike rolled his eyes.

"How many times do I have to tell you that I like having her here?"

"I don't know…a million." Spike joked as he left the room and entered the training room. Kayla was practicing her cartwheels and laughing. Spike smiled at his daughters sudden burst of happiness that he hasn't seen since the basement incident, "Hey munchkin, how do you feel about staying her for a while?"

Kayla's eyes lit up, "Really?"

Spike's heart melted on the spot, "If you liked."

"Yay!" she squealed and ran up to hug her father's legs. When Spike bent down and picked her up Kayla asked, "You're staying too right?"

Spike blinked and then frowned a little bit, "Of course…where else would I be?" he whispered.

"Back in L.A…"

Spike's frown deepened,"Love, I'm not leaving you ever again…ever…I go where you go. Okay?"

"So you're not mad at me?"

"Mad at you? Kayla…why would I be mad at you?"

"Because I went into the basement."

"I wasn't mad love…just…you know your not suppose to wonder off and I just got so scared when you disappeared."

"So you're not leaving me here and going away?" she asked again.

Spike sighed and turned to look at Willow, who was giving him a sympathetic look.

When he turned back to address his daughter he decided he needed to have a much longer talk with her.

*~*~*~*~*~*

When Spike exited the bedroom that was officially Kayla's whenever she lived in England, he leaned his back against the door and looked up the high heavens and muttered, "I really needed you on that one love…"

Whenever it came to delight situations with his daughter, like the one he was just in, Spike always thought that Buffy could have somehow dealt with the matter better than he could have. He was already dreading the teen years when his sweet little girl turned into a hormonal monster.

"How'd it go?"

Spike turned around and saw Willow walking down the dark hallway with a cup of tea in her hand.

"Alright…I hope." Spike shook his head and sighed, "I always doubt myself on these types of things."

"Spike, as long as she knows your not leaving her and that you love her then she'll be okay."

"Why would she think I would leave her again?"

"Spike she's four years old. Plus, the more we protect her from the lives we lead I think the more confused she gets…so she doesn't really know what's going on."

Spike nodded, "Right…"

"Umm…I hate to change the subject but umm…" Willow looked down nervous inside her cup of tea, avoiding Spike's eyes.

"What?"

"Well…sleeping arrangements need to be settled for you exactly."

"Please don't tell me you're bucking me with Giles or Andrew."

Willow bit her lip and shook her head, "Well…you don't have to…I mean you can stay with Kayla if you like…we just need to find a cot…"

"Great…another cot that is narrower than French fry" Spike muttered sarcastically.

"Or…"

"Or?"

"Or…we…we have one other room."

*~*~*~*~*~

The door creaked as Spike turned the knob and pushed the door open. Willow stepped ahead of him when he didn't move. She flipped on the light and looked around the abandoned room.

"It…it hasn't been touched in a while…in the beginning, before Rome, she lived here for about a year…even when she moved to Rome this was her room when she visited…" Willow explained as she saw some dust on the mirror, "…I don't think anyone cleaned the room at all…"

Spike took a step forward into the large room and eyed a few objects—a bottle of perfume, a sweater hanging over a chair, a bra hanging on the door knob to the entrance of the bathroom.

"I'll get some clean sheets for you tonight and bring in the cleaning supplies tomorrow so you can—"

"No…"

Willow glanced over at Spike when he interrupted her.

"No…" he said again, "Don't touch anything…I'll…I'll take care of it if I want to."

"Spike, you don't have to stay here." Willow said quickly, "I—I don't know why I even showed you—"

"It's alright Red." He whispered as he came up and placed a hand on her shoulder, reassuring her that she didn't do anything wrong, "I…I'm glad you showed me."

"You are?"

"Yes." He said firmly, "Thank you for…for not getting rid of anything."

"It's Buffy room…" Willow thought that that was all the explanation she needed. "Cleaning it up and packing everything away just felt…"

Willow let her words hang there in the air.

Spike took a deep breath and walked off to Buffy's vanity table. Her hair brush still had strains of hair in it, the cap to the bottle of perfume was unscrewed and resting beside the open bottle, a little note with her handwriting on sat still next to a pen. Spike smiled at these things instead of cried, it felt like she was still here. How could he be upset with Willow for that?

TBC....hey what do you know, i still have ideas :)