Chapter Twenty – Five: My Final Curtain

Spike opened his eyes, sensing that night had once again fallen over the town of Sunnydale. He stretched and rolled onto his back, staring at the ceiling in the dark. His sense also informed him that Angel wasn't here, which was expected. After the battle a few days previous, Angel had informed him that the possibility of losing his soul through magical means, just to make trouble for Buffy was too great, and he had to leave soon. Spike hadn't seen his Sire for two days now, and whilst a part of him mourned the departure of the older vampire, the rest of him was glad he wouldn't have to put up with the great brooding sessions anymore.

He hadn't seen Buffy since the fight. He had lost his soul, but he didn't feel any different. He still loved her, still wanted her, didn't feel the urge to go out and slaughter half the world. He had fed upon his return, but since then, he hadn't even felt the craving for blood that he usually did. He wondered why she hadn't been by – she knew he wouldn't hurt her, knew he wouldn't risk losing her by doing anything stupid.

He stretched again and sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He pulled his jeans on and trudged down the stairs, feeling the cold against his bare feet but not caring. He hadn't put a shirt on and the cuts and bruises from the battle, whilst faded, were still visible. One ragged wound ran down his back, which pulled when he walked, but he ignored it, like the cold and headed for the kitchen to get some blood. He didn't crave it, but he knew his system needed it, and he wasn't going to weaken himself by not feeding.

He couldn't take chances. Not with Angel gone.

He sensed her before he heard her. The microwave beeped and he instinctively knew she was standing behind him, watching him as he poured the blood into a mug. He turned, offering her a small smile as he raised the cup to drink from it.

'He's gone, isn't he?' She asked and Spike nodded in reply. Buffy sighed and leant against the wall. She motioned to his wounds and frowned. 'You haven't healed fully.' She stated and he shrugged.

'Neither have you.' He said, and her hand went to the cut on her forehead, which was taking its time healing. She smiled, and turned, walking into the living room. Spike followed, setting his mug down on the table by the sofa. Buffy sat down and watched as he set the fire, filling the room with flickering light and rising warmth. He finished his task and sat down at the opposite end of the couch to Buffy, his face turned towards the flames, his mouth a thin line and his eyes avoiding her.

'They're rebuilding the library. Official excuse is a gas explosion from the boiler.' She said, her eyes focused on him. He nodded in acknowledgement, his jaw set. She frowned. 'The others were okay. I told them what happened. Giles wants to talk to you.'

'What for?' Spike asked, finally turning to look at her. 'I don't feel any different.'

'That's the thing.' Buffy said quietly, watching his reaction. 'He thinks that when David did his melting act, you got your soul back. I mean, you haven't gone out and killed anyone have you?' Spike shook his head, feeling appalled by the idea on some level. 'And I haven't seen you around, not in the cemetery. And you didn't seem any different when we were down there or when we left. That's what I told Giles.' She waited for his reply, watching him carefully as he looked away from her, got up and walked over to the fireplace, leaning against it in a gesture that reminded her of Angel.

'I attacked you.' He said, not meeting her gaze. 'I bit you.'

'But you didn't hurt me. You recognised me. You remember doing it.'

'It was like I'd just woke up. I was hungry and you were there and I didn't realise until I tasted you…' He squeezed his eyes shut and then opened them again. 'I remembered you. And I knew it was wrong, because…cos I love you.' He said, looking into the flames. He didn't hear a reply from her and shut his eyes, leaning against his forearm.

A few seconds of silence passed, and then he felt her tiny hands encircle his bare waist, her arms holding him tight. She buried her face in his chest and he stepped into her, holding her tight as the fire roared behind them.

'I know you're not evil and I'm not angry with you for attacking me. You didn't realise what was going on and David had just drained you, so it's natural you were hungry.' She whispered. She raised her face, looking up at him with tears in her hazel eyes. 'But when I thought I could have lost you, and how it all could have ended, it hurts. I'm terrified that this will end like every other relationship I've had and I can't do it.' Her voice broke and Spike felt his heart go with it. He clasped her hands, bringing them around to cup them in front of her. He kissed her fingertips and smiled softly.

'I am never going to leave you, Buffy. I can't promise it will always be easy, I can't promise we're never gonna fight or disagree. But I can promise that I'm always gonna be here for you. I'm always gonna love you and I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not like the others, pet.' She smiled at him, rising on her toes to brush her lips against his.

'I know.' Hazel eyes connected with blue and the smile became contagious. 'I trust you, Spike.' He pulled her into another embrace and they stayed like that for a moment, letting the fire cast a warm glow over them. Then Buffy pulled away, frowning when Spike winced. 'Come on. Put some shoes and a shirt on, we're going over to Giles.'

'No.' Spike said firmly, holding her hand tight and looking directly at her. 'It's nothing. I'll heal. And Giles can wait until tomorrow to do his full account and what-not.' Buffy began to protest, until Spike bent his head, capturing her lips in a full on passionate kiss and she stopped, letting the vampire take control. She flung her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss, their tongues battling for control.

Then they parted and Buffy panted for air, her eyes full of longing and want, mirroring in Spike's face. She waited for her breathing to slow and then she stared at him, wondering what he was thinking. He didn't speak, watching her intently, the blue depths of his eyes studying her, full of emotion.

'Can I stay?' She whispered, as if speaking aloud would ruin the moment. For a terrifying second, she thought he might reject her, as Angel once had. But then his face almost cracked and he nodded, leading her away from the fire and to the staircase.

Tomorrow they would have to face the real world, and the consequences the last few weeks had had. Faith was still imprisoned, Spike may or may not have a soul and the Hellmouth, whilst sleeping, would awaken at any time. But right now, they could take comfort in the few hours they had alone, while the world didn't bother them, and they could rest.


Author's Note: I was hoping for it to be a little longer than this but I thought this was the best place to end. If you've read the whole thing, please review, as I spent a very long time writing this story and think it's probably my best one to date. And the fact that I've kept it away from the NC-17 rating is something I'm also very proud of, since this now proves I'm not obsessed with a certain subject, lol. For any Cordelia, or Wesley fans out there, who will probably object to the lack of, well, them in it, I didn't think I could fit her in too well, and I didn't like Wesley until Angel, so sorry…Ok, well, thanks for reading, hopefully I'll be posting again soon with either a prequel, or a new fic. TTFN x Rhi