Epilogue: Here Comes the Sun
Two Days Later
Spike balanced the tray awkwardly on one hand and knocked on the door. "Buffy? You awake?" he asked quietly. After receiving no reply, he nudged the door open with one foot. "Buffy? Breakfast."
He grinned at the sight, setting the tray down before moving towards the bed. "Morning, sleepyhead."
Buffy emerged slowly from the bedclothes. "Did I hear someone mention breakfast?"
"You didn't forget?"
She shook her head and yawned. "No … just a bit slow waking up."
Spike pulled her curtains wide open as she rubbed her eyes and slid out of bed. The sun was not yet up. Buffy pulled her trainers on, climbed up onto the window-sill and out onto the roof. Spike passed her the tray through the window and followed her out.
The two ate their pancakes in comfortable silence as the dew evaporated and the sun slowly rose. When its first beams of light hit them, Spike closed his eyes and just enjoyed the feel on his skin.
"It's strange," he murmured.
"All this … everything … I've only just come back from England and I haven't really had time to think …"
"I'm sorry you rushed back -"
"No, it's okay, I was about to return anyway." Spike fell silent, his eyes still closed.
"So …" Buffy said quietly. "Do you want to talk about what happened there? You said you saw your mother …"
Spike smiled and opened his eyes. "I did. She appeared." He was quiet for a moment. "She told me she loved me … that she was proud of me."
Buffy smiled too and gently slipped her hand into his. "I told you so."
"No need to get a big head about it," Spike said thickly. He wiped his eyes on his sleeve. "Sorry …"
"Really, Spike, there's no need to apologise. I understand totally. You don't have to hide from me."
"Thanks," he whispered.
He yawned. Buffy looked at him. "And you call me sleepyhead."
"Didn' sleep well. Still trying to get used to the sleeping at night, awake during the day thing. And I had dreams last night."
"What kind of dreams?"
"Not good ones." Spike paused. "I kept seeing faces … I don' even remember most of them …"
Buffy knew immediately what he meant.
"You were a vampire for over a century. That's a hell of a lot of victims. And suddenly you've not only got a soul, but you're one hundred percent human. It's going to hurt. And it's going to be really difficult adjusting. But you'll manage. I know you will. And you're not alone. I'm always here for you."
Spike finally met her eyes.
"Buffy," he said quietly, finally posing the question. "Back in the car park … What you said to stop me …" The atmosphere changed slightly. "… Did you really mean it? Or were you just saying anything to talk me down?"
Buffy's expression softened. "No, I wasn't. That would be way over the line." She squeezed his hand affectionately. "I don't think I even realised till then, you know. I mean, when you were gone and I found out about your dad – I found I was willing to do anything to keep you from going through – that – again. And then I started to wonder why …" She smiled. "If I say I love you, it's because I mean it."
"You – you do?"
"Yes, I do. I love you, Spike."
Spike didn't think it was possible to feel any happier. In fact, he thought his newly-beating heart might burst with joy as Buffy leaned across and kissed him.
The other members of the household didn't start waking for another couple of hours, by which time Spike had left for the hospital and Buffy had tidied the kitchen from the last two days and begun making pancakes for everyone else. Giles was the first up.
"Morning," he said sleepily, emerging from the couch.
"Morning, Giles. Coffee?"
Buffy poured him a mug and poured herself a third. "You look as tired as I feel."
"I'm not surprised, it's been quite a week."
"Wow, has it only been a week?" Buffy paused, before taking a gulp of her coffee and turning back to the pancakes. "Seems like forever." She yawned. "Anyway, it's not just that. Spike wasn't the only one to have a rough night."
"Where is Spike?" Giles asked, looking around at the empty camp bed.
"Hospital with his dad."
"Ah." He looked back at her. "You had a rough night as well then?"
Buffy nodded and started dishing up Giles' pancakes. "Had a weird dream – well, more like a nightmare."
She hesitated, glancing around the kitchen. "I was Spike, and I was on this game show, where if I lost, someone I loved died – and I had to choose which one." Buffy shuddered. "It was horrible. I was trapped, and I could feel everything Spike felt – his despair, his pain, his fear – he was terror-stricken."
"It was only a dream," Giles said gently. "Have you shared it with Spike?"
"No, and I'm not going to. Last thing he needs right now. He's already having dreams about all his past victims – he doesn't need this on top of that."
"I have to say, he seems to be coping extremely well under the circumstances."
"You don't know the half of it," Buffy murmured. "I think it hasn't all sunk in yet – so much happened so fast, his mind hasn't had the chance to process it all."
"Even so, to be suddenly human and realise your father is alive must be a lot to deal with."
"Seems like no-one else is getting up yet." Buffy turned the heat off. "Talking of Eric, how's he doing? You saw him last night, right?"
Giles suddenly noticed the pancakes in front of him and picked up the syrup. "He'll be out of hospital tomorrow."
"I meant, emotionally."
"I'm not sure. You would have to ask Spike that."
Buffy considered. "I guess they must be mourning together. Spike's mom," she clarified at Giles' blank face. "I mean, Eric's only just lost her, and Spike never really had the chance to grieve."
Silence fell for a moment. Giles finally broke it. "I know now is not the best time, for all the reasons we've already mentioned, but I think you and I need to discuss the Hellmouth.
These are delicious, by the way."
"Thanks." She sat down. "What about it?"
"It's still inside Spike, Buffy. Goodness knows what he could be capable of -"
"Giles, a) Spike's human now, and b) he's controlling it. Eric couldn't handle the Hellmouth because he was only human, but Spike's been controlling his own inner demon for the last year or so."
"With the help of the chip, which the Hellmouth can apparently override."
"He can handle it."
"Maybe for now, but all that power in one person, Buffy? I appreciate the fact that Spike is human now, but to have that darkness inside him scares me."
"I trust him, Giles. Just give him a chance. Besides, what would we do with a spare Hellmouth? Put it back inside Eric, so he goes on the rampage again? Or add it to the one under the school, so we have twice as much work on our hands and Sunnydale is twice as dangerous? Spike can handle it, I know he can."
"I'm still worried. I'm not dropping this. And I don't think we should give up researching the subject."
"You know what, Giles? Do what you want. Carry on researching if you must. Me, I'm going to help Spike adjust to being human. Which is much more important, don't you think?" Buffy didn't wait for an answer. She stood and left the room.
She shouldn't have been surprised that Giles wasn't happy with the situation. It was going to be almost as difficult for the rest of them to adjust to Spike being human. But Buffy felt more positive than she had felt in a long time, and she knew Spike did too, despite the downsides.
They would get there. She would make sure that the others accepted Spike as he was now. After all, he was now definitely one of the family.
Teaser of Foreshadow II: This Way Comes
"So," Spike said with a grin, "When do you think we should tell them?"
"Not just yet," Buffy said, kissing him. "I'd like Dawn to know first." A thought suddenly struck her. "Dawn!"
"What about her?"
"She and Xander are still in L.A, no-one's told them it's safe to come home!"
"You'd better phone them then."
"Yeah." Buffy paused. "… Maybe later. Kiss me again …"
Author's note: I'm taking a little break from this series to try and catch up with some of my HP fics, as well as continue with my other Buffy WIPs. So the second in the series may not be out for a little while. Keep an eye on my author page or subscribe. I know this was rather short, but This Way Comes will be quite a bit longer. I may or may not post a companion fic called Into the Fire detailing Dawn's experiences in LA. I don't have a lot of inspiration for it at the moment, though. Keep an eye out for it. Thank you all for reading, and lots of thanks to people who reviewed!