Ok we are back in Sunnydale and about to enter a war zone. Wish Buffy and Spike good luck!

Chapter 57: Home Again

Dawn groaned as she lugged numerous items towards the house. "Why am I carrying the pets and my two bags? The one bag has really heavy books in it. I'm not the one with superpowers here," she whined, pushing the door open.

She dropped her belongings in a pile by the door. Dusty and Fuzzball were placed gently on the floor. With a smile, she watched as they scattered away to investigate their new surroundings.

Buffy entered the house and dropped her property next to Dawn's. She was excited to be home so she paused to take everything in; Spike wasn't planning on that and it caused him to collide into her back. He almost knocked her over but quickly steadied her. She smiled, grateful.

"Where is everyone?" Dawn asked as she looked around the living room and didn't hear anyone.

"They're probably all at the Magic Box," Spike offered, thinking it was the most likely place for them to be.

"Let's get this over with," Buffy took his hand in hers and headed out the door and to the shop. Dawn fell into step a few feet in front of them.

The closer they got to the magic shop the more he felt his family. He opened the claim so he could have a private conversation with his mate.

'Um pet, we have visitors.'

'I know, Spike: Anya, Willow, Tara, Xander and possibly Giles unless he's still in England. I told you…I'm okay with it. We're together now.

Spike shook his head. 'Good to hear, luv. But that's not what I meant. You can add Angel and Dru to that list of visitors.'She looked at him in shock.

He nodded and continued. 'The lack of a sire bond since we were in another dimension must have raised questions. They probably wondered if I was dead. You still want to go through with this?'

Buffy did want to go through with it. She cared for Spike and she wasn't going to let anyone, not Angel or Dru, change that.

Buffy nodded and Dawn turned around half way up the road. "Are you both coming or are you going to continue to stand there and have your private conversation? A conversation I'm obviously not privy to."

"Just a moment, Dawn. Dru and Angel are at the shop."
The younger girl glanced at Spike in question.

"I can't control them," he shrugged. "I sense them in the area and the closer we get to the shop, the feeling heightens."

The slayer squeezed his hand and continued her way to the Magic Box. Spike and Dawn fell into step beside her and together they walked towards their destination; together they would face the army of soon to be screaming people, no doubt.

Dawn entered the shop. The ringing of the bell was masked by the shouting of the Scooby's. They ran to her and gathered her in their arms. The reunion was short lived because Drusilla started twirling around, singing about her dark prince being dusted and someone needed to pay. The moment Spike entered the building she paused her dancing.

"He's here." the female vampire gasped. Her happiness was cut short when she noticed the Slayer holding his hand as they entered.

The room became even more silent at the image of the two blondes. Spike sat down and pulled Buffy onto his lap. Dawn joined them shortly after to sit in a nearby chair.

"We have an announcement to make," she waved her hand around the table, encouraging them to sit.

Tara smiled and instantly joined them, followed by Willow. Anya cheerfully followed but was not by her boyfriend. Xander, Angel, and Drusilla refused to sit.

Angel marched to the couple and yanked Buffy off of Spike's lap. He punched the unsuspecting vampire in the face, drawing blood. The slayer was on the defense and slugged her former love; she caused him to stagger back.

"Back off my mate, Angel," her hands directly over her hips. "You had your chance and it's gone." Angel ignored Buffy and turned towards Spike. He swung another punch his way but he ducked. Spike swung his own punch and landed it with great force.

Both male vampires were fueled with anger and adrenaline. A fight broke out and lasted a few minutes. Buffy waited until they both seemed to calm down so she could get between them.

She pushed them in opposite directions and gave them
both disappointing looks.

"If you're done acting like children, I have a few things I'd like to say," her voice was stern.

Spike nodded. "Can I talk to Drusilla on my own, pet?"

She understood why he would want to do that. Buffy gave her blessing and turned to her friends as Spike put his hand on the small of his sire's back. He led his sire away so he could speak with her as Buffy did her friends.

"Dru, pet," his eyes bore into hers. "I'm no longer yours. I'm thankful for you bringing me into the darkness with you. But only because it brought me into the light…with Buffy."

She dropped her head in sadness. "You have found your sunshine, just as I always knew you would. I always knew you belonged in the sunshine and she with you," Drusilla looked up and smiled. "Miss Edith is always right, you know," she brought her hand to his face and cupped his chin and whispered, "You will get your wish someday. Your two biggest dreams will come true." He eyed her with curiosity but chalked it up as one of her ramblings. "Give Miss Edith a kiss goodbye, Spike."

He ignored Miss Edith and gave Dru a hug and a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Good luck to you, pet. I wish you happiness."

Drusilla nodded and waltzed out of the room, satisfied with how it turned out. Spike went to stand beside his mate who seemed to need support.

Buffy sighed in annoyance as she said, "Personally I don't care how you guys feel, this is my choice," she looked at Xander. "When you started dating Anya, an ex-vengeance demon, I didn't lecture you," she looked at Willow. "And when you started dating a werewolf and now a witch, I never lectured you. Even after Oz killed people, I still supported you because I knew it wasn't his fault."

Xander moved to stand in front of Buffy. "Anya has a soul!"

"I've never lost it," Anya interjected. "All vengeance demons have souls. We are just too bitter and angry to bother with petty feelings, such as guilt."

Xander was shocked but shook it off, going back to his original argument. "See, she has a soul!"

The slayer shrugged. "Yeah, so did Hitler. We all know what a stand up guy he was," she rolled her eyes and Spike chuckled because she took that comment directly from him. His chuckle wasn't heard though because the room up-roared into tempers.

Spike could tell that Angel was getting ready to tackle him again so he moved to him first. Putting a hand on his chest to stop the older vampire's advances, he spoke.

"Listen, peaches. I know you're my grandsire and I trust and respect you. I realize me being with Buffy, is coming off as me stepping on your turf, and yeah perhaps I did. But you left her. You did a piss poor job of claiming her and didn't even tell her you did. Then you just up and leave and expect her to, what- be alone for the rest of her life? How bloody fair is that?"

Angel glared at him. "It was for her own good. I didn't want her to be alone," both knew from his voice that he meant something else. Something like, 'if I can't have her than no one can.' "She deserved to be with a human and to have children. She needs to be in the sunshine and other things only a human male could give."

"Yeah, and death like only a human can offer. A human would never be able to protect her or fight by her side. She would constantly worry about her human lover and eventually get herself killed. Buffy needs a bit of monster in her man and someone who has tasted the darkness but chooses to be good."

"But she deserves to have children!" Angel whined, desperate to make any point to change Spike's mind. Angel refused to think about how true Spike's statement rang based on their own past.

"There's more important things to life than having children and getting married; we're mated now, something more valuable than marriage."

Angel growled. "Like what? Love? The result of love is children, Spike. You ruined Buffy's life by being selfish. You wanted her all to yourself and the first chance you got to take her, you jumped and snatched it. You gave no thought to her future. You were reckless and careless and will hurt her by it."

Spike whispered softly, "I'll never hurt her. I'll never leave her either unless I'm dust blowing in the wind. I love her. Don't you understand that, pillock?"

Angel nodded and said, "I felt the same way and had to leave so she could be given the chance for a normal life."

"She's the Slayer, damnit! She'll never be normal; she doesn't want normal. She tried with that Parker fellow and look how that turned out. She was miserable with Captain Cardboard because he was too weak for her. I give her what she needs, what she craves. We're mated now, Angel. I need you to respect that."

Angel refused to believe they were meant for each other. He didn't respect them together at all. The moment he could, he was going to take Buffy aside and talk some sense into her.

Spike walked back to Buffy's side, knowing Angel would try at any moment to pull her aside. He grinned as he watched his bit yelling at everyone.

"I haven't seen Buffy this happy in forever! Not even before mom died, have any of you?"

The gang had to admit that they have never seen her as happy as she looks when she looks at Spike. Tara and Anya had already given their full support, thinking it was great that Buffy had finally found happiness. Xander and Willow were harder to convince; they weren't too happy with the situation.

Spike looked around surprised that Giles wasn't there but said nothing. He knew the old man had a life of his own and couldn't be bothered with their petty problems especially when the rest of the gang probably never bothered to even inform him that things were going down. Buffy was often the only one who thought to contact Giles to keep him up to date of things going on and since Buffy had been missing, so had the information that he should be there.

Spike had enough of the disapproving looks the two were giving and didn't need a third.

"I promised I would let my mate speak with her friends and I wouldn't interrupt. Frankly though, I've had enough of this shit. Buffy and I are mated and not one of you can change that. We both chose it and in fact it was Buffy's idea so just stop this already. You can either choose to be her friend, and therefore be mine, or you can choose to be ignorant wankers and leave," he wrapped an arm around Buffy's side and pulled her close to him. "Buffy has saved your lives numerous times since you've known her. She's saved the world at least three times. Now that she has finally found happiness and her equal, you're gonna treat her like you are. She respects your decisions and you need to bloody well respect hers."

Spike stepped back and let his mate address her friends. Before she spoke to them she whispered in his ear, "Well said, baby." Looking at her friends, she continued. "I guess that about covers it. This isn't up for discussion. It's a done deal. I made my choice; it was a good choice and should help both of us to live a long and happy life. I know the consequences, the pros and cons. But still, I chose Spike. I love him," Buffy turned to her sister. "Dawn, ready to go?"

Dawn nodded and walked out. Buffy grabbed Spike's hand and started walking out.

Angel was quick to block their exit. "I want to talk to you, Buffy."

"I don't have much to say to you. I said what I wanted to say to everyone back there. You half claimed me and then left me, deserted me. I made my choice. Now please let me pass so I can enjoy my first night back home," she smiled at Spike. "-with my mate in my bed."

Angel sighed. "This isn't over."

Buffy put her hands on her hips. "What will you do? Kill Spike? Kill me? The claim is permanent and reciprocated." She lifted her hair as she said, "See, the only mark I now have is his. This debate is closed. You were my first love, Angel and I won't forget that but Spike is my future. I chose him to be with forever and nothing you say or do will change my decision."

Angel frowned but said nothing. He knew she was right; a claim was permanent. Nothing he could say or do could change that.

The two lovers walked back hand in hand as they followed Dawn back home.

Only 3 chapters left. Hope you guys had a great new years and look forward to finishing this up in the new year!