The characters in this story do not belong to me. They belong to Joss Wheddon etc. I am not making money from this. It's is just for fun.

This is a sequel to 'Rebirth'. It would be best if you read that first, but if you really don't want to, the following will hopefully allow you to make sense of the rest of the story.

Previously: After Buffy died closing the rift created by the Key, Spike found a way to bring her back. This had the side effect of getting him a soul and required Buffy's soul and awareness to reside in Spike's body for a while. This created a bond between them. Loving Buffy and wanting to give her time to sort out her feelings for him, Spike left for London and reclaimed his family fortune. While there he uses his original name – William Stevas. Meanwhile in Sunnydale, Buffy was one of many victims of a Halkrew demon which drains humans of life energy. Spike had been in contact with a watcher named Lydia Watkins while in London. When Spike learned of Buffy's attack through his bond with her, he tried to return to Sunnydale but was prevented from doing so by a jealous Lydia. In trying to escape, Spike was staked. However, his bond with Buffy meant that his soul joined Buffy's and could then be put back in his body – in this case a human body. Spike saved Buffy and killed the demon in the process becoming a 'super charged' human. Buffy and Spike decided to get married.

Chapter 1

It was an anonymous office in an anonymous block in a city which could have been anywhere in the world. One man ushered another inside, gesturing to the raft of electronics filling the room. The first man was aged 40-ish and wore jeans and a t-shirt. He was generally untidy – his appearance was clearly unimportant to him. The other was a complete contrast. He was stylishly dressed in a suit and tie and his perfect face was set off by perfectly arranged hair. He was dark and blue eyed. If you can imagine the next line-up for would be James Bonds – this man would be the winner. He could almost have been Pierce Brosnan – almost.

The James Bond type interrupted the other's description of his equipment. "I assume you've finished your analysis of the chip?" His accent gave no clue as to his origin. The English was perfect, but the accent a little of everything.

"Oh, of course," the other replied. I've got everything on this." He handed the other a CD. "Is there anything else you want?"

"Not now," the perfect face replied. "I assume this will keep you quiet until I need you again." He opened a brief case, which was filled with money. "What we agreed plus a 50% bonus – as a retainer. You do understand what will happen if anyone else hears about our deal?"

The perfect face smiled and his companion thought he'd never seen anything so frightening. "Y...yes," he stammered.

It was two weeks into the new year in Sunnydale. Spike was sitting at the dining table of the Summers house – he still thought of it that way – with a laptop and a pile of paperwork. He fingered the small white-gold cross he now wore round his neck – a wedding present from Buffy. He was muttering irritatedly to himself, "Bloody paperwork. And they wonder why I avoided money all those years."

There was a knock on the door – wonder of wonders - everyone who normally called just walked in. Since Tara and Willow moved to their own apartment, they seemed to pop in so often, Spike reckoned he'd seen more of them than he had when they'd lived in the same house. He approached the door expecting a salesman and opened it to find – Riley. Both simply looked at each other for several seconds before Riley growled, "What're you doing here?"

Surprised, Spike answered, "I live here." Suddenly, Riley grabbed Spike by his black t-shirt and pulled him through the door into the sunlight. When Spike didn't immediately start smoking, Riley stood and stared. Spike sauntered up to Riley in the manner most likely to irritate him and hit him once, hard.

While Riley picked himself up from the ground, Spike calmly walked back in the door saying, "You'd better come in, mate. It seems there's an awful lot you don't know." He saw Riley rubbing his chin. "The punch? That's just for old time's sake. For all the times you hit me when you knew I couldn't hit back. You want some coffee?"

Riley followed Spike into the kitchen. "Where's Buffy?" Riley started. "And Joyce and Dawn?"

Spike looked round, surprised. "Joyce? She died. After effect of the brain tumour. Not long after you left." This silenced Riley until the two were sitting, sipping their coffee.

"So, you want to know what happened after you left?" Spike began. "Well, you know about Glory, well, she got hold of Dawn – she needed her blood to open a rift between dimensions. Well, she succeeded, she opened the rift, and the only way to close it again was for Summers blood to be sacrificed. So Buffy threw herself off a tower to save Dawn and the rest of the planet, and she was dead."

"B. Buffy's dead?" Riley started.

"No, listen to the whole story." Spike still found it difficult to talk about that time and was telling the story mechanically. "She was dead, but I did some reading and found a place where I could get her soul back. So I went there to call her soul back and in the process got one of my own. For a while Buffy was in here." He pointed to his head. "Her soul, her awareness, her memories, all in here." Spike was lost for a moment, remembering how happy that time had been. It had been the beginning of the closeness he now had all the time. "So, after a while, we were able to reunite her body with her soul, and Buffy was back."

"Ok," interrupted Riley, "So you have a soul – that shouldn't make you impervious to sunlight."

"No, but that's only the beginning of the story. Just after Buffy got back, I went to England. I wanted to give her time to sort herself out. Anyway, she carried on with her slaying; I got involved with some work for the Council. The problem was, I succeeded in brassing off one of the watchers over there. Then there was a Halkrew demon in Sunnydale. It killed a lot of people – and eventually it got Buffy. She wasn't dead, but she'd had most of her life energy sucked out of her – so it wouldn't have been long. The thing is, the time Buffy spent with me, left some sort of a link. Anyway, I knew something was wrong and decided to come back. Unfortunately, the Watcher I'd irritated took exception to my leaving and had me staked."

"Then how?" asked Riley, struggling to take in all this information.

"Did I manage the trick of being here now?" Spike continued for him, grinning. "Simple really. You see, once it was freed from my vampire body, my soul made for the one place it knew it would have a warm welcome. I came to Buffy. But she was ill. No one had ever survived a Halkrew demon attack before. But then no one had ever had a visitor with a separate supply of life energy before, either. I spotted how to get the energy back, healed her and the others who hadn't died yet. And got me an extra helping of life energy. Buffy did the same ritual she used to get her own body back, and I was the result."

Neither said anything for several minutes. "So, where's Buffy?"

"She and Dawn're at the Mall – should be back any minute," Spike replied.

"That still doesn't tell me why you live here now," Riley's aggression was erupting again.

At that moment, the front door opened and Dawn bounced in, "Spike, wait 'til you see what we've bought. I've got some terrific new jeans and tops and Buffy has a ...." At that moment, both girls spotted Riley.

Buffy swayed a little, reaching out her left hand to the nearest wall for support.

Riley looked at her face for a moment and then his gaze was drawn to her ring finger. "Two rings, an engagement ring and a wedding band," he thought. It was all he could see. "Y're married?" he stuttered incredulously.

"Yeah, well, I was just getting to that part," Spike interrupted. "Still getting used to the idea myself. Sixteen days ago." As he spoke, he walked up to Buffy, put his arms around her possessively and kissed her cheek. He guided her carefully to a chair and said to Dawn, "I think we should give these two a little time. Fancy going to the Magic Box?"

"Yeah, sure, I'll just put the shopping upstairs," Dawn replied. Spike picked up the laptop and pile of paper and stood at the front door waiting for Dawn.

When they'd gone, Riley and Buffy sat in silence for several minutes. " I thought you must be dead," Buffy started. "When you didn't get in touch at all, I thought, ..."

"I can't believe you married that idiot!" Riley was shouting. He'd looked forward to seeing her again. He knew she'd more than likely found someone else, but Spike! "Why? Was it gratitude? Rebound? Why?"

Buffy was angry now too. "Rebound? From you? Conceited much. Yeah, I was sad when you left. But you were right. I didn't love you. I wanted to, but it would never have worked. I married Spike because I love him. Really love him. I fell in love with him while he was still a vampire. But now, it's even better because I still hope for a little normality in my life. He's everything I want."

Riley stood up and started pacing the floor. "When he opened the door, the first thing I thought was that he'd hurt you. That stupid infatuation he had with you. You know what I did when I saw him? I pulled him out into the sunlight. I thought I'd finish him right away."

Buffy was looking at him now, her face more terrible that he'd ever seen it. "You tried to kill him," she whispered. Riley realised he'd never heard a colder statement. "Get out," she added, getting up and opening the front door. "Get out!" This last was a scream. Riley left and spent the rest of the day getting slowly drunk and staying that way.