Disclaimer: I don't own this verse. I just like to play in it.

This one's a little short, but hopefully moves along the character development and plot.

A very special thank you all that take the time to read this story and especially to those who review.

Chapter Twenty

Spike stepped off the plane onto the tarmac. It felt bloody good to be out in the open again after sitting in the aircraft for a few hours. Nevertheless, he was a lot more rested than normal after a trans-Atlantic flight. He had to hand it to Giles; For once the tight bugger had coughed up for a first class ticket. The vampire felt very relaxed for once. He had to wonder if the man had an ulterior motive. It felt strange to be going back to Blighty again. It had been a couple of months since he had left, but Rupert had insisted he wanted him to deliver his reports in person. It was also a good excuse to catch up with the Bit and her hyperactive brood. He knew there was a chance he would bump into Buffy, yet he hoped he would avoid it. They had parted in the end on good terms, although it didn't mean he was ready to see her living her new life with her and Angel's kid. He never stayed in one place long enough to develop any attachments. However, he had moved beyond pining over her and was enjoying the company of other women. Being newly single did have its perks.

It was with the self-satisfied smirk on his face that he spotted a familiar face as he entered the arrivals area of the airport. Spike was surprised to see Giles waiting for him at the barrier. He had planned on going straight to see the Watcher after he'd arrived, wanting to get the business portion of the trip out of the way before the pleasure. He wasn't sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.

"Hullo, Rupert," he asked with a cocked brow. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

"Welcome back, Spike," Giles said. "I've got a lot to talk to you about."

Spike shook his head in mock sorrow. "I'm not quite sure I like the sound of that, old man."

"I, on the other hand, am quite sure you will. And don't call me that. You are much older than I am after all."

Spike smirked. "I age much better than you have to confess."

"Quite." Giles shook his head. "Come on. Let's go."

Spike swung his sports bag onto his shoulder, "Lead the way."

When they got out of the terminal, Spike took out a cigarette as soon as they were clear of the no smoking area. Igniting it with his lighter, he put it to his mouth and exhaled.

"Been dying for a fag since I got on that rust bucket," Spike said.

Giles snorted. "I'd hardly call that a rust bucket. It's a Boeing 747."

"I have to say that I did enjoy the first class treatment," Spike admitted. "Win the Lottery did you, Rupes?"

Giles stopped in his tracks. "First class?" he asked with a frown. "I didn't book the tickets." His lips thinned. "I have a bone to pick with Andrew."

"I should have known." Spike chuckled. "Well, I appreciated the leg room."

"You're short, you don't need a lot of legroom," Giles said drily.

Spike rolled his eyes and decided to change the subject. "I want to know more about this so called plan of yours."

"I imagine you're feeling a little restless and could do with something… ah a little more challenging."

Spike raised an enquiring brow. "Well, as much as I enjoy playing with baby slayers, I could do with a good fight."

"I surmised as much."

"Well, are you going to fill me in?"

"I want you to go to Moscow. I need some more of our more experienced fighters there. The most senior Slayer there is Vi and there's an old associate of yours that is terrorizing Moscow."

"Care to enlighten a bloke?"

"Dracula," Giles spat, "and he has been spreading rumours of how he and you were blood buddies back in the day. Last time he came to Sunnydale, he did prove quite a challenge. I think the girls could do with a bit of help considering his penchant for beguiling and seducing."

Spike rubbed his hands in glee. "Old Vlad and I didn't part on the best of terms, truth be told. In fact, I think I would rather relish handing him his arse on a plate. He still owes me money you know."

"We'll go through the finer detail back at the flat," Giles added.

Spike clapped him on the back. "I hope you stocked up on some good brandy."

Spike and Giles sat in the living room as they went through what information they had on Dracula and his minions. It had been years since Spike faced up to the wanker and he was looking forward to the chance of beating him.

"Parlour tricks, Rupes. If it came down to fists and fangs, he wouldn't stand a chance against me."

"You have to be prepared for the magicks anyway," Giles said. "I will give you some charms and some spells to give the girls."

"Not that I'm complaining but why are you sending me?"

"Faith's got her work cut out for her in Cleveland at the moment and Buffy's occupied with other things. I need someone who has a lot of experience."

Spike guessed that Giles was hoping Buffy might give up on slaying now she had a kid. Unfortunately, Spike knew it didn't work that way.

"Buffy will want to be back on the front line eventually," Spike pointed out. "She's a Slayer and as much as she'd love her little kid, the slaying is part of her now. She needs it, craves it. I know Slayers and I know Buffy. She thinks she wants normal, but she'll never be normal. You can't keep her back forever, Rupert."

"That may be very well, but I'm not going to encourage her to either."

Spike nodded appreciating the man's sentiments. The two men lapsed into silence before Giles broke it. "You still have feelings for her?"

Spike squirmed under the man's calculating stare. "That's none of your business."

"I suppose it's not," the man admitted, "but Buffy's not been happy since you two broke up at all."

Spike took out another cigarette and lit it. He had an idea where Rupert was going with this. He knew Rupert had never been his biggest fan in the past and even though the two had formed a good working relationship recently, he would have thought that a normal relationship with a human would still be what he wanted for her.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose and continued, "I'm worried about her. Is there any way you think you could work things out? "

Spike shook his head. "Who are you? What have you done with the Watcher? Buffy and I are over."

"Running away doesn't solve all problems," Giles said softly.

Spike shook his head. "As far as I remember you were happy enough to facilitate my running away. Still are."

Giles sighed and walked over the drinks cabinet. "Maybe it's time for that brandy."

"Make it a double," Spike said to the man's back.

Giles brought him a glass of the amber liquid. "Spike, you needed space and sometimes you can use space to examine your feelings. Obviously you just buried everything rather than deal with it. Brooding, I'd wager."

"Shut up, Dr Phil. I've never been one for falling out of love easily and I haven't been brooding. That's Peaches' gig."

Spike took a large gulp from his glass. "Cheers, mate."

Giles rolled his eyes. "Why on earth do you call him that?"

Spike smirked. "Wouldn't you love to know?"

"I would actually," Giles said.

Spike laughed and swallowed the rest of the brandy in one gulp. As he looked at Giles, he was struck by the change in their relationship.

Giles noticed the stare and shifted uncomfortably. "What?"

"Why are you being so kind to me?" Spike asked.

"Me being kind to you," Giles scoffed. "I think you could probably count on one hand the amount of times I've been kind to you."

Spike shook his head. "I appreciate it is all."

"Another drink?"

Spike held out his glass.

An hour later Spike was leaving Giles' apartment when he almost bumped right into Buffy.

"Spike!" Her eyes lit up. "It's good to see you."

Spike knew he was still fucked. He was filled with warmth at the sight of her and the sincerity in her smile. Bloody hell. She looked gorgeous. She had cut her hair a couple of inches and it was a darker shade of blonde.

"You look good, Buffy," he managed. What the bloody hell was the Watcher going on about? Buffy seemed perfectly happy to him.

His eyes turned to the buggy she was pushing and despite himself he looked inside, preparing himself for the inevitable knife in the chest at the proof of Buffy and Angel's indiscretion.

The little girl inside smiled up at him. She was the most adorable child he had ever seen. She had her mother's eyes, a full mouth and a headful of dark hair.

A smile tugged at his lips. "She's a pretty little mite."

He fixed his gaze back to Buffy, who was smiling.

"Would you like to hold her?" she asked.

Taken aback, Spike stepped back from the buggy. "What? No!"

She put her hand to her mouth in horror. "Sorry. That was inappropriate. It's just you were looking at her and I..."

Spike squirmed feeling the need to explain. He shook his head. "That's not it. I mean I'd probably drop her or break her or somethin'."

Buffy bit her lip . "How are..uh things? You"

He raised a brow. "Been busy. The job keeps me moving around a lot." This was bloody awkward. Next she'd be asking him about the weather.

She nodded. "Well, I better get inside and see Giles."

"Best not stay out too long in this wind with the kiddie."

He felt the tension leave his body as he saw the door close behind her and he leaned against the wall. Seeing Buffy again was a reminder of the pain she put him through. Every time he thought he was over her, he would be reverted back to square one; Love was a bitch.

Spike knocked on the door of Dawn's house. The door swung open and he was attacked by two small bodies. Spike chuckled at the warm welcome. It was nice to be home. Sarah and Timmy could always cheer him up.

"Did you bring us presents?" the smaller and bolder of the two asked.

"Knew there was something I forgot," Spike joked.

The two little faces fell.

"Only joking. As if I would forget you little brats."

They cheered.

"Let me in the door now. I want to speak to your mum."

Dawn must have heard his voice as she came rushing from the kitchen giving him a bone crushing hug.

"Missed you," she said as she pulled away.

"The little ones are up late," he commented.

"Told them that they could stay up until you came and then they have to go to bed." She lowered her voice to a whisper, "Figured they might sleep in tomorrow if they're exhausted."

Spike chuckled looking down at the two expectant faces.

"Let Spike come on in. He can't stand here for the night and if you're good he can tell you about his adventures tomorrow."

"Adventures my arse," he muttered. "It's been right boring, truth be told. I'm turning into a mini Giles and that's a scary thought."

Dawn shook her head. "As if that could ever happen."

"You're much too cool, Spike," little Timmy put in.

"Thanks, mate." Spike ruffled his hair. "Appreciate the vote of confidence."

"Now, you've seen him." Dawn pointed at the stairs. "Off to bed."

Spike watched fondly as the Bit followed the kids up the stairs. This was proving to be a good trip if he ignored the fact that he had the journey coming from Giles apartment to here thinking about a certain blonde. Giles proposition was a good one. The promise of a good fight again had his blood singing. He was in danger of going soft if he didn't get into a good scrap soon. He enjoyed the odd patrol here and there on his travels but he mainly had to leave the violence to the baby slayers. Knowing this old vampire like he did, he knew this was going to be bloody fun. Watch out Moscow, William the Bloody is coming back.

To be continued…