Sorry this took so long! My muse hasn't been cooperating with this story. Thanks for all your reviews. Please review and let me know that your still with me and what you think!
Special thanks to Spikelissa for her wonderful beta job!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Bella's training had begun with meditation. Buffy knew this would help Bella in finding her power and honing it was the key to getting her moves right. This would ultimately help her become a stronger and powerful Slayer. Now Buffy had her working on a punch block combo, and she was doing fairly well. Buffy stepped around Bella watching her intently as she repeated the move until it became permanently engraved in her mind. Buffy sighed feeling sorry for the poor girl as every single Cullen was watching her while she trained. Buffy didn't mind, but she felt it might prove to be a distraction or cause Bella not to give her full potential.
"You're dropping your shoulder again." Buffy said watching Bella wince in humiliation. "You're too afraid of what everyone else thinks. Forget about them, pretend they're not here. No one is here to judge you," she paused. "Besides you're doing well."
Bella frowned. "You're just saying that."
Buffy laughed. "Trust me Bella, if you weren't, I would let you know."
Bella smiled slightly, "Really?"
"Really, really," Buffy said smiling. "Now, let's try something a bit harder. We're going to work on kicks."
"You're really trying to test the theory of gravity with me today, aren't you?" Bella said laughing.
Buffy snorted. "You have to learn to trust yourself."
She stepped around Bella getting into position. "Okay, now what I want you to do, bring your leg up like this and slowly kick outward. Make sure when your leg is completely extended that the sole of your foot is flat. Got it?"
"Not really," Bella mumbled slowly repeating the move.
"Good," Buffy said smiling. "Again!"
She had Bella continue the kick for the rest of their session until the sun began to go down. "All right I think that's enough for today." Buffy said heading towards the house.
As she passed Edward, he asked. "How is she doing?"
"Excellent," Buffy said. "Just make sure you bring her here every day after school."
"That won't be easy. She has a job." Edward said, knowing exactly how Bella would react having to quit her job.
"Tell her to quit, my girls don't work if they're going to be risking their asses every night. Anything she needs the Watchers Council provides for her." Buffy paused. "If she wants to go to college when she graduates, she goes. If she wants to work in her major, she can. I have absolutely no problem with that, but my Slayers don't have to work for money to help support themselves."
Edward sighed and looked down. "It's not about supporting herself, or it is, but not in the way you think. It's more about her needing to prove to everyone she doesn't need help."
Edward ran his hand through his hair. "As I'm sure you have already guessed we are quite wealthy. In fact, the Watchers Council would not have to help her in any way, but she has even refused our help. I think it's because she doesn't want to look like we are together for my money."
Buffy blinked a few times, and then she shook her head. "She really cares what everyone thinks about her?"
Edward looked at her frowning, "No, not necessarily. I just think she minds people thinking that particular thought about her." His frown slowly softened and a soft smile spread across his face. "I like to think the reason behind that is because she wants people to think our love is real, but-" His smiled changed to wistful as he looked off into the distance. "I can never be sure with her."
Buffy followed his line of sight straight to Bella, and her expression softened. "Look Edward, I get that. I do, but you saw my life through Alice's eyes. She will not have time for anything other than school and slaying."
"I know, but she will try to fight this." Edward answered.
Buffy grinned, "As any good Slayer would."
He couldn't help it; he rolled his eyes and scowled. "And what arguments do you suppose would be sufficed?"
Buffy smiled evilly as she felt Bella approaching. She turned looking at the girl sternly. "Bella, I need you to quit your job."
"I…What!" Bella said angrily.
"I not only can't protect you, but you are putting innocent people in danger. Do you really want to put your co-workers at risk?" Buffy asked.
Bella's eyes widened, "Of course not."
Buffy smiled sweetly. "Well then, you understand why you have to?"
"Well… um…" Bella looked at Edward helplessly as he watched their exchange with amusement. Buffy could give Alice a run for her money.
Buffy patted Bella's shoulder. "Good."
She turned back to Edward, "Now that we got that settled. I need you to take me to the wolves. I need to talk to Oz."
Edward looked at Buffy warily. "Why?"
Buffy smiled. "Because Spike told me to pack an overnight bag, which means we are probably going out of town tonight, and I won't be able to protect Bella. If something happens, I need someone to watch out for her who I can trust."
Edward frowned. "I do not believe that will be necessary. After all there are seven of us."
Buffy looked at Edward, her eyes narrowing, "Four of which are going to be hunting tonight." Buffy paused placing both hands on her hips. "Look Edward, I know you and the wolves don't exactly get along. I'm going to tell you the same thing I told that Jacob kid. If we want to fight this and come out on top, we need to work together."
Edward sighed in irritation. "All right, I'll drive you to the treaty line."
"Can I go?" Bella asked.
"Bella," Edward growled.
"What?" Bella said innocently. Edward's rivalry with Jacob could be so irritating sometimes. Jacob was her best friend after all, and not being able to see him was really starting to bother her. "Buffy will be there so if there's danger I'll be protected."
Edward's jaw clenched, and Buffy could feel the tension in the air. She placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I'll take care of her Edward. I promise."
He looked at both girls before he closed his eyes and sighed. "Fine, but please be careful."
They pulled up to the treaty line, and Buffy got out of the Volvo. She ignored the couple as they said their goodbyes. It was strange watching the obvious love triangle that was going on between the couple. It was like watching her problems all over again, except Bella was lucky, because even though she had two men fighting for her affections. She really did seem to know who she wanted. Also both Jacob and Edward were innocents.
Oh, she had heard that Edward had killed before. However, because of his gift, all his victims had been decidedly guilty. Even though Buffy would never make the decision to kill humans she had grown a lot in the past year. There were some people in this world that did not deserve to live. She began slowly walking in the direction of the reservation.
"Hey Buffy. Wait up!" Bella yelled running towards her.
She turned around and smiled walking backwards. Finally letting her curiosity show even when she knew Edward could still hear them. "So, why's Edward so jealous of Jacob anyway? I mean besides the obvious of course?"
Bella sighed. "It's complicated."
Buffy snorted. "So un-complicate it for me."
Bella shrugged, kicking at the ground as she walked. "Well besides Jacob and the pack being the Cullen's natural enemies…"
"And Jacob being head over heels for you," Buffy added with a knowing smirk.
"Yeah, there is that..." Bella bit her lip combing a hand through her frizzy locks. "Jacob's father and my dad are really good friends. Anyway, we met before I knew who and what Edward was, and I heard the pack talking about how the Cullen's aren't allowed on this land. I was curious… and well…I-I sort of flirted with Jake to get information. He-he wasn't a wolf then…or you know hadn't gone through his transition yet. So he really didn't know about his tribe's legends being true."
"So that's when he started crushing on you?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah… I think that's when it started." She sighed. "We weren't close then or anything. In fact, our friendship started when Edward had left…"
"Wow, wow, wow…" Buffy said holding up her hand. "Hold the phone. Edward left you?"
Bella looked at Buffy surprised. "You didn't know?"
Buffy raised both eyebrows, "And probably for a good reason. Why did he leave?"
Bella shrugged. "Well…he thought he was putting me in danger." Bella could actually hear Buffy's teeth grinding. "And…" She gulped at Buffy's narrowed eyes. "He wanted me to have a normal life."
Buffy growled her eyes glinting with rage. "That vamp is so getting his ass kicked when we get back."
"What…why?" Bella shrieked.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Didn't the Cullen's tell you anything about how my world ended, or you know, is ending?"
Bella shook her head. "No."
Buffy sighed and gritted her teeth. "It was my ex, Bella. He started this mess."
Bella's eyes widened. "I-I don't understand."
Buffy sighed. "He was my first…well everything." She clenched her fists as they walked down the road. "I thought he was the world, you know. That we were like soul mates or something."
Bella nodded. "Yeah, I think I understand."
"I met him when I had first moved to Sunnydale. He was like this tall dark mysterious man who would show up and give me these cryptic messages, before he would vanish into the shadows. I didn't realize he was a vamp at the time." Buffy sighed getting a haunted look in her eyes. "Needless to say, I found out when we first kissed. I should have known then it was going to end badly. Hell, actually I did know, and I tried to fight it, but he had a soul, and somehow I convinced myself that it would be all right."
Buffy looked away, staring blankly into the trees that surrounded them. It was cold today and dark clouds threatened rain. She shivered as a gust of wind whipped around them. "I didn't know his curse…" Buffy glanced at Bella's look of confusion and clarified. "The soul was a curse, a tribe of gypsies gave it to him, and I didn't know there was a way to undo it. The night of my seventeenth birthday we made love and…" Buffy wrapped her arms around herself and began to walk faster. "Perfect happiness was the loophole, Bella. He lost his soul because of me."
Bella gasped and covered her mouth, her eyes filling with tears. "Oh god, Buffy! I'm so sorry."
Buffy held up her hand and smiled even though it did not reach her eyes. "I'm not telling you all of this for sympathy. I have a point I'm trying to get to, but you need to hear everything first. So, as I was saying Angel lost his soul and…well it was bad. He killed a teacher who my Watcher was in love with. It was a hard time for all of us. Angel found this rock, Acathla, and tried to bring hell on earth. He tortured my Watcher, Giles to find out how to open the gate to hell."
"What's a Watcher?" Bella interrupted.
"A Watcher is the Slayers trainer, but Giles was more to me. He was like a father to me." Buffy replied with a small smile gracing her lips.
They finally could see houses, signaling they were entering La Push. They slowed their pace as Buffy began to relate the horrors of that year in high school. Bella was doing everything she could not burst into tears. Thinking of something like that happening to Edward made her tremble in fear.
"So I ended up having to send him to Hell even though his soul had been returned." Buffy said sadly. "I was a mess after that, and I ran away for a little while. When I came back it was hard, but I dealt with it as best I could. I was just starting to get my life back when he somehow returned. I don't really know how he came back, but I suspect the Powers had something to do with it. I felt obligated to help him get on his feet again. We knew we could never have a physical relationship again, but our feelings for each other were still strong. After awhile we decided to give the dating thing a try again. I loved him so much, and the physical part wasn't really that important to me. I just wanted to be with him."
Bella nodded her eyes wide as she took in the strong woman before her. She was like an Amazon, so brave and unyielding. It was amazing that this girl could relate such a heart-breaking tale without even a tear springing to her eye.
"Right before the end of my senior year, he made a decision. He decided to leave. He said I deserved someone who could bring me into the light. Someone I could have a normal life with." Buffy snorted. "I'm the Slayer, when is my life ever going to be normal?"
She sighed looking around at the small town they were walking through. "My point is he made that decision for me. He walked away from me without giving me a choice or even thinking about what I wanted or needed."
Buffy stopped them looking deep into Bella's eyes. "Don't ever let anyone do that to you again Bella. It doesn't matter what Edward or Jacob wants. It's about what they're willing to sacrifice for the ones they love. If they don't love you enough to stick around and watch your back no matter what decision's you make, then they never really loved you to begin with.
Buffy smiled slightly continuing the trek through town. "If I've learned anything over the years it's that you have to compromise when it comes to relationships, and you have to have understanding and trust. So, I suggest you nip this telling you what you can and can't do crap in the butt. Edward needs to learn to put some trust in you. If you love him, he has nothing to worry about, but if it's not meant to be, he also needs to learn to let you go."
Bella sighed. She knew Buffy was right, and she could honestly admit the trying to keep her safe line, was getting old. "I already know who I want, Buffy. Edward has nothing to worry about. You're right though he does need to learn to trust me. I think because he doesn't know what I'm thinking it makes me unpredictable to him, and that really scares him sometimes." She rolled her eyes sighing again loudly. "It would be so much easier if he could read my mind. At least, he would know it's all about him."
Buffy shrugged, biting her lip. "I can see where that would be a problem. So, he seriously never met anyone else who could shield there mind, or at least just had an ingrained natural shield?"
Bella shook her head, "No, never."
There was one thing she was very curious about Buffy's story, especially since Edward kept insisting he was soulless. "I am curious about something though?"
Buffy looked at Bella nodding. "Shoot."
"You said Angel lost his soul. Did…did he love you even without it?" Bella asked biting on her bottom lip.
Buffy looked at Bella surprised, before a frown graced her lips. "No. No, he didn't."
Bella looked at the ground kicking the gravel a bit. "And Spike… did he already have a soul?"
Buffy's lips quirked upwards as a slow proud smile slowly graced her lips, and she whispered. "No, he didn't, and before you ask. Yes, he loved me without a soul."
Bella looked up and bit her lip before saying. "So why was Spike different?"
Buffy looked at Bella and grinned. "I have a theory. Do you want to hear it?"
At Bella's nod, Buffy continued. "Okay, so on my world when a vampire is sired, he or she loses their soul when the demon invades the body. But in some cases their humanity remains. In essence, what makes them human is still intact. They don't have a conscious anymore, but those feelings that were once there remained. The humanity part is easy to lose after that. All you have to do is kill the people that you loved in your human life."
Buffy sighed. "I think that's why so many vampires insist on their children killing their families. They already know this. But I also believe the humanity can remain permanently as well. I think that one act of kindness, whether it be a smart decision or not, can bind the humanity to a newly risen vamp."
Bella looked at Buffy a long moment. "So what was the act of kindness?"
"Nuh-uh," Buffy said shaking her head. "That's something you're going to have to ask him yourself. That is totally not my story to tell."
Bella nodded. "Edward thinks he's soulless."
Buffy was just about to comment about how Edward certainly was not, when a howl sounded to their right. Bella grinned at Buffy. "That's got to be Jacob! Come on!"
The pack had been following Buffy and Bella for awhile now. Oz had told them Buffy could sense them, so they had done it from a distance. They had listened intently to their conversation. It was difficult hearing Buffy's story, especially because of the growl or whine of sympathy Oz would give off. They knew the werewolf had been there to witness everything Buffy was describing. It sounded almost too unreal to believe, and the wolves couldn't help feeling sympathetic towards the small blond for what she had gone through.
Leah whimpered, and they all were bombarded with her thoughts when Buffy was telling Bella that love was about sacrifice. Jacob did the same when Bella said she already knew who her choice was. The disapproving snorts and comments from the pack was a bit too much for Jacob as the girls got closer to the Black's residence. Jacob let lose a howl informing them the wolves were close and shot off in the direction of Buffy and Bella. Sam snorted and rolled his canine eyes running after Jacob and the pack quickly followed behind him.
Just as Buffy and Bella stepped up the drive Jacob stepped out of the bushes wearing only his cutoffs. "What's up?"
Buffy and Bella smiled in greeting and walked towards him. "We need your help."
Spike had been on the phone most of the day making reservations and preparing accommodations for the night he had planned with Buffy. He had just finished preparing everything when a knock sounded at the bedroom door. He walked over opening it to reveal Alice on the other side.
"Yeah?" He asked, eyeing the pixie girl warily.
Alice grinned at the vampire. "We have a surprise for you."
Spike blinked a few times before he cocked an eyebrow and croaked. "Me?" What on earth could have possibly possessed the Cullen's to by him a gift? Hadn't they done enough for him already?
Edward stepped out of the room smiling at their exchange. "You better go see what it is, or she won't stop pestering you until you do."
Spike looked at him, eye's narrowing. "As if you don't already know what it is?"
Edward grinned. "Oh, I'm quite aware of the gift, but Alice will murder me if I give it away. So you may as well go with her."
Spike looked back at Alice rolling his eyes. "Lead the way, Pixie."
Alice grinned at the nickname and lead Spike toward the garage. They walked in silence for what seemed like forever until they reached the door to the garage. Alice opened it and giggled when Spike stopped dead in his tracks. Rosalie was polishing the hood as Emmett grinned at the vampire patting the top.
"She's all yours man." Emmet said laughing.
Spike had to swallow back the tears as they began to swell in his eyes. Never had anyone ever done anything like this for him before. He couldn't believe it. He knew it wasn't the same one as he used to have, but it was beautiful regardless. He looked in awe at the vampires around him before his eyes finally focused back on his gorgeous sleek black Desoto.