Finding Home Again

Spike and Buffy stood looking up at the impressive mansion. The stone walls were covered in climbing ivy and the moonlight gave it an ethereal appearance. It was grand, old and very, very English. He could easily see the Watcher fitting in her with wooly jumpers. Buffy, however, seemed out of place in Merry Olde England.

"You really live here, love?"

"Yeah, I do along with Giles and Dawn." She turned to look at him with a wide smile. "You ready?"

He gulped. "You've got great expectations, pet, and sometimes a fella just can't live up to them."

"Sometimes a fella just surpasses what I expect so often. " She pronounced the word fella in a mocking voice. "Like for example when he sacrificed himself to save the world. That sound familiar, huh?"

He shook his head. "It's too much too soon, love. I can't do this. 'Sides she won't want to see me."

"Yes – you can. And of course she wants to see you. She missed you."

He lit a cigarette and put it to his lips. "I doubt that very much. The closest we've come to conversation would suggest she was happy to see me go up in flames."

She flinched at that. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her but there was no point pretending everything was rosy. Nevertheless, he hoped she was right. He could tell she believed her words, but he wasn't so sure when he remembered the look on the Bit's face when she had made that threat. The rest of the time he was treated to the cold shoulder and the occasional word but only when necessary. He could understand why and agreed that he deserved it. That didn't make it lessen the pain however. He had told Buffy she was the one with great expectations. In truth it was Dawn that always had the great expectations when it came to him. She had hero-worshipped the soulless monster and saw beyond his demon veneer to the man within. She hadn't realised what he was capable of and when she found out about what happened in the bathroom his true nature was revealed. He felt the sudden touch of Buffy's hand on his and she squeezed it. There was a sympathetic look in her eyes and he knew she had figured out what he was thinking. His Buffy wasn't the most intuitive person in the world; however she was one of the kindest. "You know I forgave you a long time ago. Dawn did too."

He stared at the amazing woman in front of him and asked himself for the umpteenth time, since she had told him that she meant what she said in the hellmouth, what on earth he had done to deserve her. She had heard of his return from Andrew and came barging into his apartment in LA and practically kidnapped him. There were no chains; he wouldn't have minded chains.

She tugged at his hand. "Come on you big dope! She is expecting us!"

Spike threw down his cigarette and used his boot to stamp it out. He could see in the distance that the door had opened. The figure in the doorway was clearly female. It couldn't be Dawn. Surely she hadn't grown that much in the last year? The walk up the long drive was one of the longest. His tummy was full of butterflies, which was ridiculous. Why was he afraid of a little girl for? When they reached the door the girl gave him a look that was so cold it could turn water to ice. "So here's the big hero."

He bent his head. "Hullo, Dawn," he mumbled.

"Hullo Dawn?" She looked at him incredulously. "Is that all you have to say you dumb vampire? We thought you were deader – never to be seen again. Have you ever heard of a thing called a telephone?"

He was speechless in the face of her fury. She was furious. He thought about that for a moment before a smile replaced his slack jawed expression. "You missed me?"

Dawn slapped him hard across the face. "Of course- you're an idiot!"

He turned to Buffy with a wide smile. "She missed me."

The slayer rolled her eyes. "I told you."

Dawn's furious expression was started to fade as Spike threw his arms around her. She half-heartedly smacked his arms again before relaxing in his embrace and bursting into floods of tears.

"You jerk- I hate you!"

"I love you too."

He had an armful of Buffy too as she joined them in the hug. He was home again and it had nothing to do with being in the mother country but rather his two favourite girls in the world.