"So what's the Avril brigade doing today?" quipped Spike. Buffy smiled. He was coming up with new nicknames for them everyday. Standing at the sink, she shrugged and watched the girls train on the beach.
When the Hellmouth had started to close and the building had begun to fall around them, Buffy had tore the chain from Spike's neck. Spike had been blasted to the ground unconscious. Surprisingly, the necklace had continued to hang in the air, suspended. Angel really hadn't had a clue about what he'd brought her. Promising a hefty chewing-out, she had dragged and carried Spike up and out of the basement. Giving no thought to the sun, she'd carried him along with her and had thrown him onto the bus. Running with it, she'd lept to safety at the last second.
They had moved up the coast and out towards the beach. Surprisingly, Giles had kept a secluded summer house no one had known about. Gifting them with it, Giles had flown back to England with Faith, Wood, Andrew, and surprisingly Xander. They knew he'd needed time to grieve and quiet Bath had seemed just the place. It had come highly recommended by Willow.
Although not many of the girls had made it, including Rona at the end, they had stuck together and had refused to return home. How could someone return to regularity after facing Evil itself?
It had taken months, but after watching their backs for a while, they had relaxed and looked towards recovery. Surprisingly, Spike had taken the longest. He'd had no visible injuries, but apparently the necklace had wiped him out. As he had healed, they tried to study the side affects but they really had no way to. It was an unprecedented situation. They slowly took one day at a time.
As of late, Spike and Buffy had fallen into a relaxed, day-by-day relationship. They weren't sleeping together but they were definitely closer and the trust was at an all time high. She had contacted Angel about the necklace, but he'd said that he wanted no part of it and for her to handle it. She'd heard from Wesley that a friend named Fred had died recently and Angel was understandably upset. She'd heard from Willow that Wesley had fallen in love with the girl. Her heart went out to him. Knowing there was nothing she could do, she didn't contact Angel again.
Now it was just her, Dawn, Spike, Willow, and a handful of tough new slayers. Spike still laid low-key for the most part and helped with training.
Glancing behind her, she smiled softly at Spike. "Training." Approaching softly, Spike wrapped his arms around her and sighed. "Agapi Mou."
She had no idea what it meant but ever since Spike had woken up, he'd uttered those words to her. He never said them around anyone else, but she knew they were special.
Spike had become more affectionate and even quoted poetry to her sometimes. From what she understood, mostly Shakespeare and sonnets. She had giggled at first but then considered it their special time. He usually quoted in the evening as she was going to sleep. The sound of his rumbling, soft, British voice echoing in her head, lulling her to sleep, was the best feeling in the world. She felt so safe and cherished.
But she never asked what the words meant.
Buffy smiled softly as he rested his chin on her shoulder, watching the girls train with Kennedy. "That Ms. Patton is a right general isn't she?" mused Spike. Buffy watched as Kennedy kept the girls in line and issued demands.
"I think she'd rather be referred to as Mrs. Willow."
Spike scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Don't say that! She's the closest person I have to a bloke around these parts."
Buffy laughed and snuggled back into his embrace. Looking past the girls to the ocean, she stared as the late afternoon sun glinted off the waves.
Suddenly the front door crashed open. Glaring across the open-space towards the front door. Spike automatically put Buffy behind him and stepped forward. Shock covered his face as the sun blinded him.
There was a hefty silence.
"Why isn't he on fire?"
Xander stood shock still as he was rushed with hugs and pats on the back. He barely noticed them. He continued to stare over their heads at the non-dust vampire.
Spike stared right back.
"I don't get it. How is he not dust?"
Buffy started for a second and did a double take. Xander was right. Spike was standing in full sunlight and not...dusty.
Spike stood as if in a daze. Slowly his hand came up and he softly touched his chest. "It's like reliving it all again. The bright, blinding light...the warmth...how can this be?" Turning his pleading gaze to her, he whispered, "Buffy?"
Buffy stared at him, eyes burning with tears.
A door slammed at the back of the house. "Xander!" yelled Willow. "I knew you'd-" She skidded to a stop at the scene that greeted her. Xander stood to the side, with most of the slayers around him, facing Willow. To his right, stood Buffy, crying softly. And in the center of it all, stood Spike. He stood in the direct stream of sunlight from the open front door. It shone on him so brightly, he looked like he glowed. A slightly dazed, euphoric look was on his face as he gazed at Buffy, a hand resting on his chest.
He looked like a descended angel.
As if sensing her, Spike looked over his right shoulder and gave her a soft smile.
"Holy Crap-ola!" Willow whispered, before Buffy fainted.
"Well that got us nowhere," sighed Willow, slamming the phone down.
"What does that mean?" asked Buffy, who was doing some non-stop pacing.
Xander calmly sat in the living room, flipping channels. Every so often, he'd glance outside and shake his head, then go back to the TV.
The girls, led by a very giddy Dawn, had dragged a protesting Spike outside. Dawn had gifted him with some sunglasses and said, "You have to get a little pink!"
Spike and Xander had both had a little coughing fit.
Muttering about boys under her breath, Dawn and the girls had dragged Spike outside, determined to get him some color. Spike had protested but didn't fight back. He stood awkwardly on the beach as the girls cheered and ran circles around him. Every time he tried to bow out, the girls had dragged him back. Finally, he started picking the girls up three at a time and throwing them in the water. As of late, they were using him as a piggy back in the waves. Buffy stared at the sight as Spike laughed and fell back into the water.
"What does that mean?" she asked again urgently.
Willow had called Giles after Buffy had came to. Now that he was head of the Council, he sent Buffy a little stipend every month, as well as a progress report.
"Giles is looking into it but so far there is no info or prophecies about this," Willow replied.
"Call Angel," Buffy said firmly.
"Are you sure about that? I mean-"
"Spike is more important right now. Call him."
Willow sighed and picked up the phone to call Wolfram and Hart.
Buffy understood that Angel would be upset. After losing Cordy, and now Fred, Angel was walking a tight rope. The last time she'd spoken to Angel, she had suspected that he'd had some strong feelings for Cordy and had oddly not felt the tug of jealousy. She had realized that she'd put those long ago feelings to bed and had moved on. Yes, she'd moved on to another vampire but this was different. Spike tried. Spike changed. Spike had gotten his soul for her.
He had almost died for her.
She was almost sorry to say that Spike was more of a man than Angel would ever be. He had shown that he truly and honestly loved her. She was stunned by it everyday.
More times than not, she felt like a giddy school girl around him; and felt is so much she felt like the spinning German nanny from that musical from the Fifties, the one with the Mary Poppins lady. Now she had this new situation on her hands.
What was Spike?
Spike felt oddly numb. He was standing on a beach in broad daylight, flinging Slayers left and right, absorbing the sun beating down on him. He felt the head pounding on top of his head and shoulders. It was almost too hot to stand. He loved it!
Thank God for sunglasses!
Settling down on the sand, he laughed as Dawn and the girls charged him. They seemed to be more excited than he was. Tumbling back, he let the girls start burying him in the sand.
"You dames put sand in my ears and I'll bite you!" he warned.
The girls just laughed and rolled their eyes. Some big bad he was. More like a bloody marshmallow.
"Spike, you're all talk and no bite," replied Kennedy.
"He knows he loooves us," cooed Dawn.
"Oi! I do not!" protested Spike.
He continued to lie there, sand piled all around him.
"Pretty Spike nice man," said Cho-An, smiling softly at Spike.
Spike glared at her as the girls laughed. He grumbled under his breath as Cho-An patted his leg.
"That's what you get for teaching her English," Dawn said glibly. Spike vamped out in frustration, hoping to scare them off. They just patted more sand around him and Dawn patted him on the head. "It's no use Spike. We're immune to your vampiness."
Spike said something to Cho-An in Cantonese. Her head shot up and she stared at Spike in horror. She replied rapidly and shook her head. Switching to English, she said, "Ice cream no good! Tell Buffy! Bad Spike!" She patted the sand around his legs harder.
Dawn giggled. "Did you threaten her with ice cream?"
Spike glared at the sand. "Only thing the bint is scared of."
Cho-An laughed and shook her head. "Spike silly. Good we love you."
The girls smiled at Spike.
He didn't say a word.
Later that night, Spike sighed as Buffy rubbed aloe on his shoulders. "You shouldn't have let them keep you out there that long!" she chided.
Spike shrugged and smiled. "The girls wanted to have some fun. I wasn't going to stop them."
After twenty minutes in the shower, he'd finally gotten all the sand off. It had went into some very uncomfortable places. The shower had felt so relaxing, he'd almost stayed longer.
Over the past couple of months, Spike's hair had grown out, almost to how it was when he'd come back from Africa. Buffy and the girls had claimed it was 'majorly cute' so he'd put off coloring it. He'd taken a chance after her shower and looked in the mirror.
Shaking his head, he sighed as Buffy wrapped her arms around him from behind. He felt her tense as she softly laid her hand on his chest. He turned his head towards her and softly shook his head. "It's not beating luv."
Tears pinpricked her eyelids and she blinked rapidly. Shaking her head, she leaned into him. "I don't get it! It's not fair! How can you go in the sun but still not have a heartbeat?"
"I don't have a reflection either pet," he murmured.
"Why?" she yelled.
Spike turned around and cupped her face. Stroking her cheek, he shook his head. "I don't have the answers luv. I can't fully say what that bloody charm did to me. We'll just take it one day at a time." Wrapping his arms around her, he hugged her close. "What did Angel say?"
Buffy shook her head. "He had no information but he's having Wesley look into it."
Spike rubbed her back as he slowly laid her down on their bed. Crawling in beside her, he pulled her close as she pulled up the covers. Spike turned away and switched off the light. Hugging her close, he rubbed her back as she sighed.
Spike kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes. "Agapi Mou," he whispered.
The next morning, Spike still had a slightly pink hue to his skin. Apparently he still had the vampire healing too. Buffy sighed as Spike calmly looked out the window, drinking a cup of blood. Not saying a word, he grasped her hand and pulled her close. They both stared out the window content.
Setting his cup down, Spike leaned down and kissed her temple. "Agapi Mou," he whispered.
"What the hell does that mean?" Xander asked, standing in the doorway.
Buffy and Spike looked over their shoulders at him, silently.
"What does what mean?" asked Buffy.
Spike just quirked an eyebrow.
"A Gap E Moo."
Spike looked at him, brow furrowed in confusion. Turning silently to Buffy, he rolled his eyes and tilted his head towards Xander, as if to say 'He's your friend '.
Buffy bit back a laugh and cleared her throat. "Um Xander, we exactly don't know what it means. Spike's been saying it ever since he woke up from the Hellmouth."
Xander snapped his fingers and clapped his hands together. "Well okay! Alright! Lets get on that! You never know! Might be a curse or a chant of some kind!" Putting up his hands, his gaze got serious. "Hey! He could've gotten some more old exotic demon put in him! Like that time we brought you back! Wouldn't want anymore of that running around, trying to kill people!" His gaze darted back and forth from Spike to Buffy.
They were silently staring at him, like statues.
Buffy smiled softly. "Xander I don't think Spike has any demon in him." She shot a quick look at Spike.
Spike crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow at her.
"Well...anymore than usual. It's just something he says every once in a while." Smiling, she walked towards Xander. Patting his arm, she went around him. "I wouldn't worry about it."
Xander glanced at her as she went into the living room. "Yeah well, it sounds like Greek to me! I still say check it out."
Sighing he faced Spike, only to find him facing the window again. Silently grabbing a cup of coffee, Xander stood beside him. Facing the window, they gazed out at the girls training.
"I'm sorry about Anya."
Xander froze for a second, then looked at Spike. He was gazing down into his own cup, frowning. Looking back outside, he sighed.
"I had her for four years. She went down fighting the good fight. I'll always love her. Now she's gone...I'm still working through it."
Spike nodded and squinted his eyes at the sun as he looked outside again. "We can spar if you want, like old times. Get out some aggressions if need be. Chip's gone but I won't hit you back."
Xander gave a little smile and shook his head. "Na. Wouldn't be as fun." Chuckling, he said, "You know, you being re-souled and all...I'm finally beginning to think you're good for Buffy."
Spike looked at Xander for a good, hard minute. "I love Buffy. That's all this bleedin' soul is good for."
They both gazed out at the beach. Xander sipped from his cup and sighed again. "Yeah. I'm starting to get that."
"Pay-dirt!" yelled Willow. Buffy came running downstairs, looking for danger. Seeing non, she frowned at Willow.
Excitedly, Willow danced around her chair. "I said PAY-DIRT!" That yell brought the rest of the Scooby gang.
Spike and Xander rushed from the kitchen. Dawn turned off the TV.
Gathering them around the phone, Willow hit a button. "Go ahead Giles."
Giles cleared his throat and Buffy swore she could see him cleaning his glasses. "Yes...well...hello everyone."
"Hey Giles," squealed Dawn.
"Rupert," acknowledged Spike.
"Ah good, Spike is there. Good. Good. Now from what I could gather, Angel never told you the name of that amulet did he Buffy?"
Buffy crossed her arms, frowning. "No, he didn't."
There was some faint shuffling of papers from Giles' end. "Yes, well and for good reason. It appears from the Watcher's extensive records that there was a good reason for that."
"I thought all the records got destroyed?" asked Dawn.
"The British records yes. But not all the records. There's more than one Watcher's Council in the world. The British Council was just the headquarters. Now as I was saying..." More rustling sounded over the line.
"C'mon with it Rup," declared Spike.
"Yeah, what he said," exclaimed Xander, doing a hurrying motion with his hands.
"Now, it seems some two hundred years ago or so, Wolfram & Hart stole the amulet from the Council. The name of it is 'Keeper of Light' or 'Life Keeper'. It's mystical properties date back to early Greek or Middle Eastern. Possibly Aramaic. It was said that-and bear with me on the translation-
And the ensouled keeper of the demon will be washed away in light
and be made reborn
It will sweep away the darkness and itself will be born of life
There was a long hefty pause as Giles went through some more papers. "Ah here..."
The truly ensouled will be given light
and it's darkness will vanish
Those not true souled
will burn to cinder
There was a long pause. "Buffy do you realize what this means?"
The group was silent around the phone. Dawn was silently crying. Xander was patting her on the back, shooting a smile towards Spike. Willow was giddy with her smile.
Buffy was staring at the phone crying.
Spike stared at the floor.
"Is Spike human?" she asked, sobbing.
Giles cleared his throat. "Well part of him...yes."
Buffy started to collapse. Spike sprang forth and caught her to him.
"Can he have children?" quipped Dawn.
"Dawn!" exclaimed Buffy.
"What? I know you two sleep together and I would like to be an aunt someday."
Spike smiled down at Buffy and ran his hand over her back.
"So let me get this straight. Spike has some human injected back into him...will he die?" asked Xander.
Buffy buried her face in Spike's chest.
More shuffling. "No. From what I understand, Spike is still a vampire. He's just been given more human attributes. Buffy this is why Angel couldn't wear the amulet. Spike fought for his soul outright. It's his. Angel...if Angel had worn it, it would've immediately killed him. His soul is cursed and non-permanent. If the amulet had cleansed him, he would've been Angelus again, before he died."
"Wanker," muttered Spike.
"I concur," added Xander.
Willow clapped her hands together. "So, Spike is more human, and Buffy might be able to have children! Is that about right Giles?"
Giles cleared his throat. "Yes and also...Spike...you might have more side affects show up as well. The scroll doesn't say how soon they would appear though. Be sure to report though, will you?"
Spike nodded his head. He and Buffy were still wrapped around each other, smiling.
"Giles, Spike says yeah," reported Dawn.
Spike kissed the top of Buffy's head. "Agapi Mou," he whispered.
"What was that?" asked Giles.
"Oh nothing," replied Xander, rolling his eyes. "It's just something Spike says to Buffy."
"Yeah, he's said it ever since the Hellmouth," added Dawn.
Spike and Buffy smiled at each other. Spike kissed her nose and brushed the hair back from her face.
"Well it really is quite lovely," commented Giles.
"What does it mean?" asked Willow.
"Well it's Greek for one," he said.
"I knew it!" exclaimed Xander.
Giles chuckled. "It means, basically translated, 'my love'."
They smiled as Spike kissed her again, deeply.
"Agapi Mou," she whispered as they parted.