Disclaimer: I do not Buffy, Spike or the world of BTVS but time to time when Joss is not looking I steal them away for my nefarious purposes.

This is the final chapter. "Finally" I can hear you say and the only excuse I have is serious writers block and real life intruding. This one is a bit longer than normal .

Chapter Seven

Buffy did not spend long crying in Spike's arms. She had been tearing up too much these last few days and Spike had seen enough of her red rimmed eyes. She quickly pulled away once she managed to compose herself. Her movement was so sudden that Spike was startled.

"Are you ok now, love?" he asked tentatively, afraid of overstepping his bounds as she had been so quick to pull away.

"Yeah thanks, Spike" she smiled gratefully at him.

Spike was just relieved that she was not pushing him away as she was wont to do.

"Do you want to talk about it, pet?" he asked.

"It seems Giles and Andrew had been comparing notes regarding Andy's trip to Wolfram and Hart. Giles was under the impression that he was acting for the best. Just like you in fact."

She could not resist that last dig. Spike flinched just as she intended and she smirked satisfied. As she examined the vampire's face it occurred to her that he did not seem all that surprised by the revelation.

"Why are you not surprised?" she grilled him.

Her eyes were narrowing and Spike knew there was no point lying. Buffy could always tell or maybe he was just rubbish at lying.

"I did not know exactly" he began, "but today I was thinking about how the boy could possibly keep all that that secret without spilling his guts to someone."

He deliberately left out Dawn's part. He may not be much good at telling lies but lying by omission was another thing. She gave him a searching look but she left the topic be for the time being. The vampire was grateful for the reprieve.

Later that afternoon, Spike gazed out the window into the darkening sky. He realised that he had better be going back to his hotel soon if he wanted to make sure he had a place to stay for the next few nights. He had only paid up until the following day after all. He was reluctant to leave though. Spike and Buffy were sitting comfortably in front of the television when Buffy's cell phone rang. Buffy pulled it out of her jeans pocket knowing it was likely to be either Willow or Giles. Sure enough the name Willow appeared on the screen and Buffy decided to ignore it and let it go to voicemail.

"Are you going to answer that, love?" Spike inquired.

"Obviously not" she said rolling her eyes, "but that reminds me."

She got up and grabbed a piece of paper from a drawer and scribbled something on it.

Spike raised his eyebrow quizzically as she walked over waving the piece of paper.

"Did you write me a love letter, Slayer?" he grinned.

Buffy feigned a long suffering sigh and handed him the piece of paper.

"Not exactly a love letter" she said, "I just realised I never gave you my phone number."

"I'll write your number in my little black book" he said pompously, "Well actually it is not so little. I guess I am just popular with the ladies."

"Spike, you are so full of it" she laughed.

He winked in response and pulled out a small black cell phone and dialled the number on the paper. Buffy's phone rang twice and cut off.

"Now you have mine."

Buffy smiled widely at Spike. He was glad to see that she seemed to have cheered significantly. He hated to see her in pain. The front door burst open and brought Spike out of reverie.

"Hey guys" Dawn called out. She was carrying what appeared to be take out and she placed the bags on the table

"Hello Bit" Spike said.

Dawn quickly noted the close proximity in which her sister and her friend were and smiled apologetically.

"I did not interrupt anything did I?" she asked.

"No you didn't" Buffy assured her.

"Honestly" Spike added when Dawn remained unconvinced.

"You brought dinner?" Buffy asked changing the subject.

"Yep" Dawn chirped happily, " I also rented some dvds from the video store. I thought we could have a movie night."

"Sounds good to me" Spike declared and Buffy nodded as well.

"There is just one thing. Can I please invite Xander? " Dawn begged. She was feeling a bit like a third wheel and would feel much better with somebody else there.

Buffy looked at Spike but he was showing no sign of discomfort.

"I don't see why not" Buffy answered. Dawn turned unexpectedly to Spike.

"Don't need my permission. It is your house and not mine!" Spike pointed out.

"Well you and Xander are not exactly best pals " Dawn explained.

"I might not like him but I think I can cope with his company of an evening if it makes my girls happy"

Dawn threw her arms around him happily.

"Come on let's eat before the food goes cold" Spike said a little gruffly once Dawn let go of him.

After they finished dinner Dawn announced that she was going to head out for a little while and would drop in on Xander on her way back. Buffy and Spike were left alone once more. Buffy decided that now was the time for her to get some of her feelings off her chest. She turned to the vampire with an earnest expression.

"Listen Spike, for once I want to be open Buffy and I am a little scared so don't you dare interrupt me" Buffy began unable to meet the vampire's eyes.

Spike nodded equally terrified. This was new territory for them both after all. While Buffy was still avoiding his eyes she took his hand into hers trying to impart the sincerity of what she was about to say.

"That year after I died you were the only one that let me just be myself and I think we could have been good friends then if we didn't..."

"shag each other's brains out." Spike finished with a bitter smirk.

"Yeah" she affirmed softly, "That is when things got real bad but when you came back from Africa all souled up I knew I had been wrong about you."

"Buffy.." Spike began.

"Sssh no interrupting. Buffy talk and Spike listen " she said punching his arm playfully. She met his eyes for the first time since she began the conversation.

"You are special and not an evil thing. Our connection that year was the only reason I was strong enough to get through it all. I want that friendship back. Do you think we could be friends again?"

"We are friends" he said squeezing her hand but she could see that he was clearly affected by her words.

"Did we just have a conversation about feelings?" Buffy asked a little hysterically.

"I think so" Spike replied, his voice hoarse with emotion.

"You are not off the hook yet mister" she reminded him.

To his horror Spike felt a lump in his throat. Buffy had never been this open about her feelings before. They both just sat there in silence for a few minutes. Unlike the comfortable silence they had experienced the night before this was more oppressive.

"I had better go back to my hotel and pay up for the next few days before they give my room away. I will be back in a bit."

"Do you want me to come with?" Buffy asked.

"Nah, love. I need a smoke and besides I won't be long"

Spike headed towards the door but Buffy called him back. He turned around and she was right beside him.

"What I said in the Hellmouth.." she began.

Spike immediately raised his hand in a gesture to stop her.

"Please Buffy don't" he pleaded.

She ignored his protests.

"I meant what I said that day. Maybe I was not in love with you like you were with me but I think I could have been in time and perhaps I still could be."

"Buffy don't say things you do not mean. It is not fair" he said softly.

"Dammit Spike. I am not giving you a cookie dough speech or trying to placate you. I am trying to be honest about how I feel"

"Cookie dough?" Spike asked in spite of himself.

"Never mind" Buffy snapped and turned punching the wall in frustration.

There a big dent in the wall she had smashed her fist through. Spike grabbed her hand and examined it carefully.

"What the hell do you think you are doing, Slayer?" he snarled once he established that her hand was uninjured.

"Trying not to punch you" she retorted pulling her hand from his grasp.

Spike just stared at her for a moment and despite his irritation began to laugh. Buffy's lips began to quirk and soon they were both bursting with laughter. When they recovered Buffy was relieved that Spike's eyes were still dancing with amusement.

"See I am a new Buffy" she quipped.

"So I see" he replied.

"Yet it is strange you are still the same dumbass vampire"

"Guilty as charged" he admitted.

"So Mr William the Bloody will you let me finish what I was saying?" she asked trying to keep her tone light hearted.

He took a deep breath. "Go ahead. I am listening."

"You drive me crazy! You are an ass, insensitive and rude. I could go on ... Still for some reason I missed you even the smell of your stinky cigarettes. I just need to tell you how I feel. I never thought I would get the chance. However first I want to get to know you again as friends again. I honestly do not know if we could be anything more what with our history and baggage. We certainly are not ready yet but I would like to think that there is hope for us someday."

"Buffy I don't know what to say" Spike confessed.

"Then don't say anything" Buffy whispered, "I just needed to tell you."

Spike leaned over and kissed her tenderly on the forehead.

"I still love you, Buffy Summers" he declared.

"Please don't think I am asking you to wait for me" she insisted, "I want you to be happy even if it is with somebody else."

He looked at her in awe. Buffy truly was an amazing woman. They stood there in silence for a few moments just looking at each other and smiling.

"So no naughty touching! Do you think you can handle that?" Buffy challenged him finally breaking the silence.

"The question is can you" Spike replied his eyebrows dancing suggestively.

Buffy slapped him on the arm.

"See you are unable to keep your hands off me!" he joked as he headed out the door. Buffy watched as he headed off in the distance.

About a half an hour later Dawn arrived back home along with Xander. Spike still had not returned.

"Hey Buff" Xander said, "where is the Bleached Wonder?"

"Out" Buffy announced. She noticed the crestfallen look on her little sister's face at her words and laughed.

"Relax, Dawnie. He had to go back to his hotel to pay for a couple of extra days. He will back soon"

"Do not call me Dawnie. I am not a kid anymore"

The slayer ignored her sister's glares while Xander laughed nervously.

Just then Buffy heard music coming from somewhere in the sitting room. Buffy excused herself and went into the sitting room. It took her a moment to realise that the sound of Sid Vicious was coming from Spike's cell phone which must have fallen down the side of the sofa. She picked it up and pressed it her ear.

"Hello, Spike's phone" chirped Buffy.

"Who are you?" a female voice on the line demanded.

Buffy was taken aback at being addressed like that and wondered jealously who this woman was.

"Buffy, Spike's old friend and who the hell are you?" she snapped.

"I do not answer to a low being like yourself but for now I will humour you. I am Illyria, God-King and one of the Old Ones. Now get my pet. I wish to speak to him now."

"Your pet?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"Yes the white headed vampire is my pet and I wish to speak to him right away."

"That would be kind of hard as he is not here right now but I will pass on the message"

The phone suddenly cut off.

"How rude" she thought and vowed to find out some more about this Illyria later when Spike returned. She returned to her sister and Xander who were busy helping themselves in the kitchen.

It was another hour before Spike returned and Buffy, Dawn and Xander were halfway through a board game.

"Hi all" he greeted them. To his surprise Xander stood and shook his hand.

"Thanks" Spike said quietly so that only Xander could hear. Xander knew Spike was thanking him for providing him with the impetus to come clean to Buffy. Buffy and Dawn watched with delight and astonishment.

"Don't get used to it" Spike said bluntly to the girls who were still grinning.

"Just so you know I still don't like you" Xander said to the vampire.

"Ditto" replied the vampire.

"You took your time" Buffy said but there was no accusation in her words.

"Took a little longer than I expected and then bumped into some vamps on the way back" he explained.

He picked up the bunch of movie rentals that Dawn had picked up. He looked more and more downcast with each one.

"Harris please help a bloke out here. The chits are looking to watch chick flick. I am in need of a bit of male solidarity, mate"

"Spike you love Passions for goodness sake" Dawn protested, "You are a total softie when it comes to romantic movies. Besides Brad Pitt is hot."

"I am not watching a movie with Brad Pitt in it" Spike said crossing his arms.

"You don't still have a grudge against him for starring in "Interview with the Vampire"?" Buffy laughed.

Spike opened his mouth furiously when Xander interrupted.

"As much as I enjoy watching Spike being humiliated I do not want to watch Brad Pitt either."

Spike looked smug as Xander came over and rifled through the dvds. After much deliberation and argument eventually the four decided on what to watch. The night passed pleasantly and it was not until the film was almost over that Buffy remembered about the phone call earlier.

"Oh I meant to tell you that you got a phone call while you were out. Someone by the name of Illyria"

Spike looked at her in confusion.

"Blue called me. That can't be anything good. Something must be wrong in LA. I better call Peaches" Spike said worriedly.

"Watch the rest of the film" Buffy insisted, "it can wait till morning. Besides if it was that important they would have called again."

Spike looked down at Buffy who was resting her head comfortably on his shoulder and decided she was right. He was here with Buffy and things were looking up for once. What she had told him earlier had made him deliriously happy. She had not made any promises but she had let him in. Buffy wanted him around and she had admitted there was a chance for them. For the first time in a long while Spike held hope for the future.

The End

End note:

I know I am very mean but I feel that Spike and Buffy have a lot to work through before they could work romantically which is why it did not feel right for them to jump into a relationship just yet. However the good news is this is not the last you will see of this universe. I have a sequel planned. If you have not already reviewed please leave a review. Constructive criticism is always welcome.