Chapter 10: Waking

Icy circles are traced on the Slayer's shoulder. Buffy's head lies on Spike's chiseled chest and the only thing to cover her bare body is a single thin white sheet. She feels truly rested for the first time in over a year and sighs wishing this moment could go on forever. Spike takes a deep breath taking in the sight of Buffy in his arms and places a kiss upon her forehead. For the first time since receiving his soul Spike is at peace. For the first time he is not plagued with guilt, or tormented by his past deeds; for the first time Spike is focusing on his future and not reliving the past. Buffy twists to face him and she takes in every line on his face, every inch of his features before she speaks.

"We can't stay lost in our minds forever you know," Buffy says then feels her nerves overcome her as Spike looks away for a moment.

"Don' see why not… not so bad here really." Spike looks around the imagined version of Buffy's bedroom.

"Spike…"

"I know… it's just," he looks to her now eyes big and round. "What happens when we get out, when we get back to the real world, who's to say this… this thing with you an' I won't just stay a figment of our imaginations?" Buffy sits up never removing her eyes from his.

"Me, I say… this is real to me Spike."

"Yeah… you say that now when everything is just brainwaves and…"

"No, I say it for always… Spike, since… since I've been… here, I've gotten to see you, the real you, the big evil scary Spike and the sweet poetic William, I've seen all of you and I know exactly who you are. You're a good man, a man I care about, and nothing is going to change that." Their eyes search one another's. "Please Spike… come back with me." He stares into her eyes for a moment then he looks away. His eyes catch the window and he glares out into the imaginary street. There's no wind out there, no animals scurrying about. It's a fixed image beyond the window. Buffy hadn't a reason to construct more than that with her thoughts. It reminds Spike just how unreal this world is around them. He doesn't want this. Yes, he's wanted her, wants her, but not like this. Spike knows what it's like to be with her and not really have her and he knows if he stays here that will be all he can have; a fantasy. He turns back to face Buffy then and nods. Slowly a bright smile creeps across Buffy's face and she leans in to him kissing him swiftly on the lips. They pull away and stare at one another. Green eyes meet blue, a deep turbulent and passionate blue.

Buffy blinks. Her eyes feel dry and scratchy, she rubs at them and then she looks around. Her bedroom is now dark. The white candle has gone out and has melted down to a stub, wax soaking into the carpet. Ribbons of grey and white smoke dance, spiraling upwards into the air. Buffy follows the smoke up until it dissipates, and then she sees him. Spike, he sits across from her, his eyes now full of life once again look her over inquisitively. For a short while neither dares to speak, they simply eye one another up as if to assure themselves that the other is really there. This is no longer a dream; reality has crashed down upon them. Spike opens his mouth to speak then shuts it again quickly. He sighs.

"You're back," Buffy says and Spike smiles at her but still seems apprehensive. Then Buffy sits up on her knees. She leans forward and presses her lips to Spike's in a short chaste kiss. As she pulls away her eyes lock with his. Then she stands and reaches a hand toward the still sitting vampire. He takes it and she pulls him to his feet. They both wobble for a moment having been sitting in the same position for hours. Then Buffy reaches out and grabs Spike by the hand.

"So what now?" Spike asks.

"I guess we go from here… see what happens." Her voice wavers with nervousness, but holds strong and sincere none the less.

"You're serious about this aren't you?"

"Very…" Buffy sighs, "but it's not gonna be all hugs and kisses, we've still got a big bag on our hands."

"Right, the bottom eater," Spike says with a smirk.

"The First… hopefully telling the gang what you know will help us figure out the what in what were up against." Buffy smiles then steps closer to Spike. He wraps his arms around her holding her tight against him. "And since there's a new big bad on the loose that means I'm gonna need you close by, you should probably stay here… never know when I might need some extra muscle."

"That so?" Spike quirks an eyebrow and Buffy smiles.

"Very so." He leans in and kisses her, passion building with every movement of their lips. Then Spike pulls away and rests his forehead against hers.

"What about your mates?" He asks in a husky whisper.

"They'll deal." Another kiss. "They don't see you like I do… but I know you can make a difference and they will see that." Spike smiles then glances at the door.

"Suppose we should tell them that the spell's been broke, eh love?" Buffy thinks it over then she shakes her head.

"They can wait a little longer," she replies as she pulls him into another fiery kiss.

THE END