Never Alone by Lilachigh

The story so far: Following the L.A. apocalypse, Buffy has discovered Spike living in the basement of the New Sunnydale mall. But her joy is short lived as he has lost his memory and has no knowledge of her or their love affair. But fighting together to overcome some particularly nasty demons called Shades brights them together once more. But they are in danger of ruining everything. Spike wants to go to L.A. to find out what happened to him and Buffy wants to stay in Sunnydale to watch over the Hellmouth. Strong words of advice from Clem and his wife Elsa stop them in their tracks.

Chapter 15 - final chp - Fighting corners

Sitting on the gritty, dirty floor, Spike shifted his back against the rough concrete wall. The underground parking lot of the New Sunnydale shopping mall was only half built but the workers had vanished to tackle another job in the cavernous building.

Buffy sighed, leaning against his shoulder, she glanced down to where she could see their boots in a line - two large black and dirty, hers smaller, scuffed, a splash of blood from some long dead demon indelibly smeared on the laces.

She remembered once - another lifetime ago - sitting on the porch steps at Revello Drive, staring at their boots, side by side, as she'd cried over her mother's illness and a clumsy vampire had patted her shoulder to comfort her. Revello Drive was long gone, porch and all. As were her mother, of course, Tara, Anya, all those potential Slayers. Vampires and demons she'd lost count of - not that she'd kept lists. Perhaps she should have done. Kendra would have kept a neat little notebook with all the kills written down, described and marked as to their quality.

"You dropped your blood," she said at last, sitting up a little and looking across to where the soggy brown paper bag was still leaking its contents in a spreading puddle.

Spike grunted and his arm tightened round her as if loosening the contact scared him.

"Elsa will scold you for making a mess," Buffy said drowsily. She didn't understand why she felt so tired. But her limbs ached with weariness and her eyelids felt so heavy.

"Scary lady," Spike murmured. "Fights Clem's corner without asking questions. And bloody hell, did you see her with that axe when the octipider attacked us?"

There was a pause, then, "Are you saying I don't fight yours?"

"Slayer, if I had a corner of my own, you could fight it any time!"

Buffy slid a hand round his waist, wiggling her fingers until they pulled his T shirt loose and could touch the smooth slope of his stomach. "That's what it all comes down to doesn't it, Spike. Having something of your own?"

The vampire frowned. He knew he wasn't much of a thinker, knew that he fought from the blood, from feelings and emotions. Thoughts were more complicated to put into words. "You know who you are, where you come from - hell's bleeding bells, Buffy, you even know more about me than I do. I wanted - still want - to have that knowledge myself, not just what you tell me."

"But you're still here? You didn't go to L.A."

"And you're not half way down the Hellmouth, looking for Shades to slaughter!"

"So why are we both here?" Buffy asked cautiously. She tightened her grip on the vampire, as if he could slip away if she once let go.

Spike sighed. "I was talking to Clem and I suddenly realised that even though I can't remember the past properly, you and me, we're two halves of the same circle. Just like Clem and Elsa belong together, so do we, Slayer. Just because I can't remember how the circle was made in the first place is no excuse for breaking it now."

He dropped a kiss on the top of her head and she smiled, her face hidden against his shoulder. She was so desperately tired. "I feel as if we were both standing on the edge of a precipice and somehow we've stumbled back, away from falling," she said slowly. "All I could see, until I spoke to Elsa, was my duty as a Slayer. And that - that's the whole problem, Spike."

"What? Your duty as a Slayer? You're not making sense, luv."

"Listen, you've just said it. too. 'A' Slayer. Not 'The' Slayer anymore. I am not the only Chosen One in the world. There are lots. I think - I think deep down I've been jealous of them," she said in a rush, hurrying to get the words out while she was brave enough to say them. "Suddenly, there was this big chance to save the world, close the Hellmouth again, being the old Buffy Summers, doing my Duty."

"Well, I don't remember the old Buffy Summers, but the new one will do me very nicely," Spike said.

"And I think that was part of the problem as well," Buffy whispered, determined to have the whole tangled web laid out in front of them.

Spike shifted round, pulling her onto his lap so he could look down at her face. "You mean it upsets you that I've got hardly any memory of you?"

Buffy ran a finger tip along the new scar that forked through his dark eyebrow. She wondered what on earth - or some other dimension - had given it to him. "No - maybe - yes, of course it does, you idiot! But I can live with that. Every day we're making new memories. I think what I was worried about, what I'm still worried about is, what if you go to L.A., remember everything, then decide - "

"Decide what, pet?"

"That you don't love me. That all those feelings you had for me died when you closed the Hellmouth. That you have a new life there with Angel and other friends I don't know."

There was a long silence. From far above their heads, came the echoing clanging and hammering of workmen intent on constructing a bigger and better New Sunnydale mall. "Would that be such a bad thing as far as you're concerned?" Spike said at last.

Buffy felt an icy ripple run down her spine. She wanted to jump up and walk away. Even yesterday, she would have done just that, refusing to talk out the problem, determined to hide behind pride and an overwhelming sense of rejection. 'What do you mean?" she forced herself to say. "You know I love you."

"But there's no future in it, is there, luv? Slayer, Vampire. Not going to end with a nice little house, a yard, a white picket fence - "

" - fat grandchildren," she whispered, remembering another conversation, another vampire..

"Hey! Well, yes, if we're honest. No kids, so no grandchildren. I think - being with you is fine for me, Buffy, but it all sounds a bit bleak for you. You should have more in your life than – well —than me."

"But that would mean you leaving me, breaking the circle, as you put it. So we're back to square one."

"I can't leave you, Slayer," Spike said, pulling her close and kissing her deeply. "You can send me away, and I'll go. But I won't ever leave."

"You were going to L.A. to find your past," Buffy said, her head swimming from his kiss.

"And you were going to try to close the Hellmouth on your own! So, snap, we were both bloody stupid."

"There's that precipice again."

Spike uncurled his long legs and stood up, pulling Buffy with him. "I reckon we'll come to the edge over and over again, pet. Life's a bitch and then you die! Or, in my case, you don't. As long as we know it's there, we'll pull each other back from it."

Buffy reached up, not very far, and cupped the thin pale face with her hands. How had she ever been stupid enough to imagine she could go on without him? She'd lost him once before and had come so close to throwing everything away again this time out of stupid pride. Green eyes blazed up into blue. "Let me say this out loud, drill it into your brain. I love you, Spike. You denied it the first time I said it, but if you won't accept now that it's the truth, then I'll...I'll, I'll kick your stupid vampire butt all over town."

Spike flinched in agony as a picture shot through his brain. Light, heat, their hands entwined in flame and his voice, "No you don't, but thanks for saying it."

Buffy winced at the sight of the pain on his face but didn't take her hands away. She pulled him closer and kissed him, lightly, softly at first, then harder, deeper, pushing her body against his, twining her hands into his hair, desperate that he believed her words, hoping that her body would convince him if nothing else would. When they drew apart they were both shaking with intensity of the emotion that coursed through their bodies. "So, what now?" Buffy asked.

"Well, Slayer, all I want to do is sleep for about a thousand years. I'm going to bed. Coming?"

"You, me, a bed, and all you can think about is sleep?" Buffy teased as they wandered back towards his room.

Spike grinned, then yawned and Buffy realised that they were holding each other up, almost stumbling as the exhaustion from the past few days began to catch up with them.

She was asleep before the door was closed, unaware of Spike picking her up and laying her on the bed, pulling a quilt over them and crashing out next to her, his arm thrown possessively across her shoulders.

It was dark when she woke - and she was alone. He'd gone! The quilt was thrown on the floor, abandoned. Buffy swung herself off the bed, fumbling for the light switch., all the cynical bitterness sweeping back over her. Well, of course he'd gone. Had she really expected him to stay? All this nonsense about circles and belonging and love. Just vampire talk. And he hadn't even bothered to leave her a note.

She remembered that at least she'd done that the last time they'd slept together like that. She'd told him where she was going, what she was doing, but now - Spike had probably hoped she'd give in and go with him to L.A. Well, she hadn't, so he obviously had decided to clear out and -

The door opened and the vampire stood there, dark in his leather coat. "Hey, Goldilocks! Got something to show you." He held out his hand and she pushed her doubts aside and linked her fingers through his.

"Where are we going?"

"For a ride."

He strode through the dark caverns of the building site, up the stairs to where the car park would one day be. Clem's car was parked by the door, gleaming in the moonlight.

"Spike, where on earth are we going? Are you heading for L.A. after all?"

"Just sit quietly and you'll see," he said. "it's a surprise."

Buffy pulled a face as they roared out onto the road with a screech of tyres. She wasn't at all sure that Spike's idea of a surprise would be hers.

The road gave way to a rough track and then they were driving along, through another building site, this time big wide lots where the frame work of houses had been erected and even a few spindly saplings had been planted. The car stopped, Spike got out and Buffy joined him on what would one day be the sidewalk and stood, bewildered, as he put his arm round her shoulder and waved expansively with the other.

"Clem told me they'd started building houses in this area again. For some bizarre reason, the planners are trying to recreate the town exactly as it was. I don't remember your old house in Revello Drive, but this new one will be ours. I've no idea how much it'll cost, but whatever it is, I'll bloody well beg, borrow or steal it."

Buffy stared at what the moonlight was showing. A small house, awaiting its roof and windows. But the shape was the same, there was a porch and steps and it was all rising from the rough ground - her home, their home.

"Ours?" she whispered.

Spike pulled her close. "Well, Slayer, we can't stay with Clem and Elsa for ever. Chap needs a bit of privacy, especially for what I intend to do with you! And there's that sis of yours you've mentioned. She'll need somewhere to stay when she visits, won't she?"

"But what about L.A. ?"

Spike rubbed his chin into her hair. "Big town, isn't going anywhere. Hell, I know I'm old. Another few months won't make any difference. You've got Shades to destroy and a Hellmouth to close. Could just let you get on with it on your own, but hey, where's the fun in that, Slayer?"

Buffy twisted in his arms to look at him and he caught his breath at the blazing happiness on her face . "No fun at all, Spike."

She gloried in the strength of his arms as they closed round her and gave herself up to his embrace, realising for the very first time, that she was giving everything to him, heart, body, mind and soul, holding nothing back. So she was back in Sunnydale to stay. Back to Hellmouths and demons and vampires. Back to fighting and killing and being Buffy Summers. All the things she'd hated and desperately wished to end would start all over again. And she'd never been happier in her entire life.

She was home at last, but this time she was with the man she loved more than life itself, and she would never be alone again.

the end.

Hi guys, hope you enjoyed this last chapter. Please let me know if you did. I felt I needed to bring this particular story to a close because Buffy and Spike had moved such a long way from that first episode.

There might be a sequel because there are several issues to resolve, especially Spike's returning memory. We'll see.

Until then - take care. Lilachigh