Buffy woke to the sound of Spike's purr rumbling under her ear, and found her head pressed to his chest with his arms around her.
"Mornin', pet," came his tender voice as a hand stroked her hair.
"Mmmm, morning," she replied sleepily, snuggling close. "You're still purring."
"Can't help it, luv. I purr when I'm happy."
She smiled and stroked his chest. "And I gave you a happy."
"Biggest happy of my unlife."
She laughed softly and lifted up to kiss him. He was in demon-face, and his yellow eyes looked back at her until his features melted into his human ones. Their kiss started sweet but quickly turned passionate.
"Mmmmmm. Care to go another round before we have to face the world, eh pet?" he suggested with a knowing twinkle in his eyes.
She punched him lightly. "Insatiable."
"Yeah. Just like you and you love it."
"True," she admitted as she climbed on top of him and kissed him deep.
When they woke up again, it was well after sunrise and the clock read 10:44. Thankfully, they had remembered to close the blinds and curtains before they went to sleep. Buffy stretched and yawned as she sat up.
"Yuck, I've got sweaters on my teeth," she complained.
"Want me to lick them off, pet?"
"Eww. No thanks. I have to go to the bathroom anyway."
"I don't have that problem."
"Consider it a perk."
He watched her from the bed, leaning on one elbow, his eyes dancing with love and mirth as she threw on a set of sweats. He pouted when she pulled on the sweatpants.
"It should be a crime to cover that gorgeous body," he commented.
"The world is not ready to see me naked."
"I should damn well hope so! I'm the only one who should be seeing you naked from now on, pet."
She gave him a sideways look. "You're not gonna go all possessive and Cave-vamp on me now, are you?"
"Nah, I'll let you out of the house occasionally. After dark. Dressed in baggy clothes that cover you up from your ankles to your chin," he quipped with a grin.
"I dunno if I like your attitude, Bleach Boy," she smirked.
"Ooo, catty. Well, baby, if you don't like my attitude, why don't you come over here and do something about it?" he cooed as he licked his lips and gave her a leer.
He saw her shudder and thought he had her, but then she put a hand on the doorknob.
"I am going to the bathroom," she announced.
"Spoilsport," he grumped and rolled to his back.
"I'll be back before you can miss me," she assured, slipping out.
"Too late," he whispered, but he didn't think she heard him.
He was staring at the bedroom ceiling when a timid knock rapped on the closed door.
"Spike?" Dawn's voice asked; it was all the warning he had before the bedroom door cracked open.
"Nibblet?" he said, surprised.
"Can I come in?" Dawn replied.
"Uhhh give us a sec" he answered, scrambling to cover himself with the blankets since his clothes were strewn downstairs on the living room floor. "Okay."
The door opened further and Dawn's head appeared, followed by the rest of her.
"About time you woke up. You've been sleeping for over twenty-four hours. Had us all worried, you did," he told her.
Dawn didn't answer right away, and she kept her eyes down as she stood by the doorway, looking lost.
"I'm sorry," she whispered faintly.
"Nibblet? What's wrong?" he asked, concerned by her downtrodden expression.
"Do you hate me?"
"Hate you? God, no! I could never hate you, Lil' Bit."
"But I lied to you and disobeyed"
"Oh Little One," he breathed. He moved to go to her, then thought the better of it, opening his arms to her instead. "Come here."
With a sob, she ran to him and threw herself into his arms. He pulled her onto the bed with him, heedless of his naked chest, and tucked her head under his chin so he could rock her.
"I love you. You know that, right? I'll always love you. You're my Nibblet. Nothing you could ever do would ever make me stop loving you."
"I didn't want to lie, but I knew if you knew what I was going to do, you'd try to stop me, and I just couldn't let you. I had to do it. I had to."
"Shhh, I understand. I know why you did what you did even if I don't agree with it."
Dawn pulled back to look at him. "But I did it, didn't I? I brought her back."
The smile he gave her outshined the sun. "Yeah, Little One, you did. You surely did."
She beamed back at him, then frowned, dropping her eyes.
"What is it?" he asked, concerned.
"Are you naked under there?"
"Dawn," Buffy's voice interrupted.
Dawn whirled in Spike's arms and faced her sister.
In heartbeats, Buffy joined them, her arms around Dawn as the sisters cried tears of relief and joy.
"Oh God Buffy. We missed you, we missed you so much!" Dawn sobbed. "I had to bring you back! I just had to. You understand, don't you?"
Buffy looked seriously at her. "I understand. But what you did, Dawn, was very dangerous. If your spell had gone wrong"
"But it wouldn't have! I knew what I was doing, I mean, The Key knew what it was doing and I used it. I can use it. It's part of me."
"We kinda figured that out," Buffy admitted.
"Are you mad at me?"
Buffy shook her head. "No, I'm not mad, but I am a little freaked out," she said, sitting on the bed. Spike put his arm around her so Dawn was held between them both. "Actually, I'm a lot freaked out, but I'm getting better." She gave Spike a fond look and patted his hand. Spike smiled dreamily at her.
Dawn looked from Buffy to Spike then back to Buffy. "So, I guess you guys worked out your umm differences?"
Buffy blushed furiously, but Spike just grinned. "You could say that."
"That's cool. I was kinda worried there for a minute when you weren't in the basement."
"No need to worry about me, luv. Big Bad can take care of himself. You know that," Spike said softly.
"I know. I just wasn't sure how you'd react."
Spike pulled them both a little closer, tucking Buffy in against his side. "Oh, I think I handled it pretty well, don't you, pet?" he replied, looking fondly at Buffy.
"Better than I would have," Buffy answered.
"No. You're stronger than you think you are. You're stronger than all of us. You just won't admit it to yourself," he cajoled, then kissed her temple. "I love you, Buffy."
Buffy didn't answer with words. Instead she gave a little sigh and entwined her fingers with his. Dawn looked at their joined hands and smiled.
"Does this mean you're not gonna make him move out?"
Buffy laughed. "Umm, no. I think Spike will be staying."
Dawn grinned. "I'm glad. I mean, I really like having him around. He makes a mean breakfast."
"So I've learned."
"And he's great at helping me with my schoolwork."
"Ahh, speaking of schoolwork," Spike interjected. "In light of your recent use of Big Mojo, Willow and Tara have decided to teach you witchcraft."
Dawn gave him a shocked look. "They have?"
"It was decided that it would be better if you had some formal training instead of your trying to learn things all by yourself," Buffy explained. "Giles offered to help too."
"In fact, we should probably get dressed and call them. We promised to let them know when you were awake, and they're probably sitting by the phone," Spike said.
"After breakfast?" the teen asked hopefully.
"After breakfast," Spike agreed.
Spike rolled his eyes. "Biscuits. Now out with you so I can get up."
"I'll go let Annie out and feed her," Dawn offered, hopping off the bed.
Buffy gave him a quick kiss. "And I'll bring you some clothes."
"Clean ones are in the basement," he told her, stealing another kiss. "Gonna take a shower."
"Okay, I'll bring them to the bathroom," she said, moving to get off the bed.
Spike stopped her and looked seriously at her. "Have you given any thought as to what you're going to do?"
"About life? About Slaying?"
"Right now I'm going to take some time getting used to being alive again. After that, I might go back to school, or get a job. As for Slaying I'm sure I'll take it up again eventually, Sworn Duty and Sacred Calling and all, but I think I'll let Hope take care of it for now. I've got better things to do."
She smiled and kissed him, then slipped out of his grasp, leaving the bedroom to go get him his clothes. He stayed on the bed for a few moments, knowing that he was grinning like a fool, but not caring.
"That you do, luv. That you do."