Unreal Together

Chapter Eleven: Warnings and Satisfaction

Leaves floated along across the way, picked up by the gentle September breeze as they walked together down the street following Dawn. Spike thought the almost full moon looked downright cheerful with the dark yellow haze and thin clouds covering it. He gazed at Buffy and realized that, at this point, everything looked cheerful.

Dawn had come over after school wearing his bomber jacket even though it was ninety degrees out. He'd sat in his chair and watched the girl talk to her sister about how great school was. When she mentioned all the cute boys he mumbled some remark about killing them all, but she just ignored him and went right on gushing.

Now that the sun had gone down, they were on their way to the house to see Willow. He offered to stay at the crypt and to his disappointment, they both protested. He was afraid he was just going to make every one else uncomfortable, but at least he would be with Buffy. Spike glanced at her again and his heart swelled when she smiled back. As he grabbed her hand, he delighted in the fact that she didn't pull away.

How had it happened? Buffy loved him. He had convinced himself that she did a long time ago, and he had been going slowly mad as she denied it. Last night, his wildest dreams had come true and she'd told him, as she looked him straight in the eye. She'd said it more than once and in more than one way. Just the fact that she stayed in bed with him and let him hold her while they slept said it.

Dawn turned back to say something and smiled at them when she saw their linked hands. He quickly let go and Buffy stared at him with one eye closed.

"Don't stop on my account," Dawn said as she walked backwards before them. "It's only obvious what's going on. I'm mean, gee, you moved in with him." She gave Buffy a pointed look.

Buffy put her arm around Spike's waist, and he put an arm around her shoulder. He raised an eyebrow at Dawn and she laughed, turning around swinging her backpack as she skipped a little.

He expected the house to be filled with happy noise when they entered. Instead, they found everyone sitting around the dinning room table: with the exception of Giles, who stood leaning with one hand on the china hutch. Giles gazed, stern and watcher-like, at a strange man who also dressed in tweed. Faith glared at the man and kept her hands on the table, ready to spring up and fight at a moment's notice.

Willow jumped up from her seat next to Xander when she saw Buffy. Spike stayed back by the stairs while Buffy went forward to hug her friend. Dawn hung back behind Spike, and feeling her apprehension, he took a wider stance, stepping closer to the young girl. Whatever had happened with Willow during the summer had really done a number on Dawn.

"Oh, Buffy!" Willow said. "I missed you." She held her at arms length. "I heard about what happened and I am so sorry. How do you feel?"

"I feel fine." Buffy glanced over Willow's shoulder at Giles. "Is everything okay?"

The stranger stood up. "No, everything is not okay. One of my operatives is dead, and I want to know who is responsible."

Spike took a step forward, but Giles pushed away from the china hutch and shook his head at the vampire. Giles stood close, getting in the man's face, and again Spike was glad that Ripper was not directing all that anger at him. The man could be down right scary.

"Listen here, Travers," Giles said in a low, deadly voice. "Your man is dead because you gave the foolhardy go ahead to assassinate your own slayer. If anyone's to blame, it's you."

Giles tapped the man firmly on the chest to bring home his point. Quentin Travers glared back at him.

They both stared at Spike when he took that moment to step completely into the dining room. "This is the head of the Watcher's Council, then," he drawled while pointing at the man.

Travers puffed up a bit. "I am, and you must be William the Bloody. Our very own vampire with a government chip in his head."

Spike charged forward and shoved the man against the wall while vamping out. Travers' eyes got big but he didn't cringe. "You've got the name right but your intelligence is a little out of date." Spike got his face up close to his. "I'm a chip-free kind of vamp, you are enemy number one and I'm feeling kinda peckish."

Travers squirmed and showed real fear now as he pushed at Spike's chest, but the vampire wouldn't budge. Not taking his eyes off of the furious vampire, he said, "Faith, do your duty and stake this monster quickly!"

Xander let out a short laugh, and Faith stood up casually going over to the two of them.

"The only monster I see here is you. Unfortunately, I don't think my stake will have much effect. It might hurt a little though." She twirled the stake like a gunslinger and shoved it into her back pocket before stepping away and taking another seat.

Spike backed up half a step but gave the man no room to run. He morphed in to his human visage and narrowed his eyes at him. Oh, how he would love to just break the stuffy Watcher's neck and leave him for dead. Trouble was, he could feel how wrong that would be and that made him even angrier.

Directing his anger at Travers, he said, "I'm going to say this once, mate and you'd better get it the first time." Spike swept his hand over the room. "You see the people here?" Travers just glared at him. "Answer me, you pillock!"

In a haughty tone, Travers said, "Yes, I see them."

"Each and every one of them is under the protection of this Master Vampire." He poked at his own chest. "If I find out that you've been asking around or giving orders to have any one of them harmed, you'll wish you were dead." He was on a roll now and he had the man scared. "Your little chum died right quick and painless when I cracked his neck. Yeah, it was me." Spike did his best to act proud of the fact. He postured and jerked forward, causing the man to jump. "You won't get off so easy and neither will any of the rest of those wankers back in London."

He paused for effect and looked around the room. They were all staring at him as if he'd grown an extra head. He did like to shock.

He turned back to Travers. "I mean what I say. I learned the art of torture and just what to do to keep a man alive and coherent while applying the right amount of pain from Angelus. And speaking of the git, if he knew you were trying to off his ex here, he'd join in on the torture."

"I think it's best if you left for London right away," Giles told Travers coldly.

Travers hid his shaking well, except for his voice. "Well yes, I'll be getting a flight out tonight. I need to get a cab back to the airport."

"Yeah, you do that." Spike glared at him. "Let me make this perfectly clear. Faith and Giles have this hellmouth covered. You just go back to your little organization and Giles will ring you if you're needed."

Spike got in his face again when the poor agitated man tried to get passed him. Travers stared at the big white hand with nails covered in black polish gripping his shoulder. "I've got contacts in London and I'll know what you're doing."

Travers wrenched his shoulder away from him and walked towards the door while pulling out a cell phone. He turned to glare at them all before he rushed out and slammed the door.

Then they were all talking at once and Spike fought the urge to put his hands over his ears like a child.

"That was so cool, Spike!"

Willow put a hand to her breast. "Oh, my goddess, when did he get the chip out?"

"I bet he needs to change his tighty-whiteys before he gets on that plane." Xander joked.

"No shit, man, he was quaking in his loafers," Faith agreed.

Buffy was silent but she smiled at Spike and he grinned back. She came forward and hugged him and the room was suddenly quiet again. Willow looked a little surprised but she smiled at Spike.

Dropping her backpack onto the table, Dawn spoke up. "I thought Willow might enjoy a quiet movie night for her welcome back celebration, so I got-" She fished in her backpack pulling things out. "Movies. The Princess Bride and a whole bunch of other stuff. Oh, and popcorn and goobers."

"I love the Princess Bride," Faith said. "What? I can't like that movie?" she asked when Dawn snickered. "I'll go get some pillows." She bounded up the stairs and out of sight.

Dawn threw the box of microwave popcorn at Xander. "You're on snack duty."

He saluted and went to the kitchen. Dawn and Willow went to get the DVD player started, leaving Buffy and Spike with Giles.

"Contacts in London?" Giles asked with a smile.

"I could have contacts in London. Lived there off and on for years. But I don't. Think he believed me?"

"I think he did." Giles smiled at him and Spike couldn't think of too many times that the man had ever done that. "I'm off to my room, leave you to the frankly uninspiring titled of 'Princess Bride'."

Spike watched him leave and scratched his head.

"Did he just smile at me?" he asked Buffy.

"I think he did."

She went on her tiptoes and gave him a soft kiss. That was never enough for him so he pulled her close and kissed her back. He wished they were back at the crypt, but his mind started going through all the places they could hide for a quickie.

"Oh, please!" Faith said behind them. "None of that, in this house, unless I'm invited."

"You're not invited." Buffy turned in his arms and glared at the grinning Slayer.

"Well then, I guess we'll all go watch a movie now instead, won't we?" she said cheerfully and threw a pillow at them.

"How long is this movie?" Spike asked with a groan as he ran a hand up and down Buffy's side.

"Too long, but we're going to watch it and make nice with the humans," she told him seriously.

"Bugger. Can I at least have another kiss to hold me over until later, then?"

They missed the opening credits but his lips were throbbing and he felt good knowing he had been thoroughly kissed. The group had pushed the smaller couch over at an angle and left it free for them.

He'd seen the movie before-not that he'd ever admit that to anyone-and while it was entertaining, he wasn't in the mood to watch it again. So he watched the people in the room instead. Dawn was at one end of the big couch and Willow sat on the other. Faith sat between them but pressed herself up against Willow. At one point, she even put her hand on the witch's knee. Spike smiled and looked away when Willow firmly grabbed her hand and moved it off without missing a word of dialog on the screen.

Spike thought of Giles upstairs in Joyce's room. That smile had thoroughly blindsided him, but now he wondered why the man wasn't down here with the rest of them. The Watcher was much older than the rest of this group, but he usually joined them for things like this.

Come to think of it, he hadn't even said one word to Buffy tonight. Making a mental note to himself, Spike determined that he would speak to Giles alone soon. What did the man know that he wasn't telling the rest of them? Why was he avoiding Buffy? It just didn't settle right in Spike's mind that Xander would be taking Buffy's turning better than Giles.

He stared at the boy as Xander sat stretched out on the floor and munched on his popcorn. He glared at Spike, so the vampire raised an eyebrow at him and licked his teeth, causing Xander to stop in mid chew. Buffy was engrossed in the film already and was oblivious to their little exchange. When he smirked at Xander and put his arm around Buffy's shoulders, she instinctively leaned into him. He sighed in contentment and kissed the top of her head while he stared at Xander.

The boy turned his head and watched the screen with a pained expression. Some things in life or unlife were very satisfying.

- The End -

Final Author's Notes:

Betas: slaymesoftly and spikesdeb. Two of the neatest ladies in the fandom. Thanks for all your help, ladies.

I have answers to the questions left open in this story and some ideas for what I'd do for a sequel, but only if there is interest from the readers.

I am very open to con-crit so if you saw things that you feel I need to improve on or have any advice for this newbie, I'd love to hear from you. If you feel unconfortable leaving con-crit in a review, please feel free to write via private message or contact me through my LJ (link in my profile). I promise not to cry and cower in the corner if you write to me with things you saw wrong with the fic. : ) 01/04/08