A/N: Obligatory on-the-edge-of-the-T-rating warning. ;) Non-graphic discussion of the bathroom scene from Seeing Red, and a long tender night for the newlyweds. I'm not explicit about any private anatomy in the love scene (because I want to keep the T rating, and I don't think my writing could do justice to Spike anyway), but it gets pretty steamy, definitely 13 and up. ;)

As always, all rights to these beloved characters belong to Joss Whedon.

Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Instead of fleeing the collapsing Hellmouth, Buffy stays with Spike as the cavern crumbled, and they survive, buried in the debris. The Scoobies consult with Angel in LA and decide to attempt to resurrect Buffy again, unaware that she and Spike are digging their way up through the caved-in remains of Sunnydale. The amulet has suppressed Spike's vampirism enough to allow him to survive in sunlight without burning, and he secretly wonders if he now can give Buffy a truly complete life. When the Scoobies return to Sunnydale and are reunited with a very much alive Buffy and Spike, he proposes to her on the spot. Their wedding day draws to a close, and they are finally alone together . . .


Chapter 11: "United" (Season 8, Episode 4, Act V)

In the back seat of the Wolfram & Hart limousine, the newlyweds rest comfortably, barely registering the many winding turns of the narrow LA streets as the car weaves toward its destination. Buffy yawns, exhausted from standing and smiling for so many hours.

"First I was noddin' off and now you, pet?" Spike notes with a smile. "You sure no nasty witch types put us under some kind of sleepin' sickness?"

"I'm still awake," Buffy whispers, nestling closer into his side. "I just thought we'd be at the hotel by now. We're keeping our plans, right? The Hyperion?"

She doesn't say Angel's name, but Spike knows she's tempted to reconsider anything associated with their angry groomsman, even his reluctant, but nevertheless extravagant, wedding present – an extended stay in the largest honeymoon suite of the Hyperion Hotel.

"Seems a shame to let such a fine gift go to waste, luv. I promise we won't have to see him. We'll go straight up to the penthouse floor and . . . forget the world."

She leans against his shoulder and sighs, and he kisses the top of her head, eyes closing contentedly.

"I keep thinking, 'Shouldn't I be going back to my old house on Revello Drive?' and then I remember that it isn't there anymore," muses Buffy, tracing a pattern on Spike's tuxedo sleeve with her fingertip. "The whole street isn't there, nothing left. It's surreal, not having a home to go back to."

"Maybe now that I'm un-dust-able I should join Xander's construction crew, learn how to build you a proper house, not to mention work on my tan, eh?" Spike suggests merrily. He reaches down for Buffy's doodling hand and tenderly lifts it to his lips. Buffy gives another relaxed sigh, adjusting her forehead so that it rests against Spike's wonderfully cool neck.

They feel the limo come to a gentle halt outside the imposing headquarters of Angel Investigations, and Spike wraps his arm more securely underneath Buffy's right shoulder.

"Hold your train up, luv."

"Why?"

"Got to carry you over the threshold, haven't I?" he grins, kissing her left eyebrow. He helps her gather up the excess skirt material in her hands, and when the limo driver opens the door, Spike stands and swings Buffy up into his arms. He carries her across the moonlit courtyard and enters the lavish hotel foyer, the ceiling shrouded in romantic shades of orange, then continues across the marble floor to the staircase winding around the edge of the room.

"You could have just taken the elevator," Buffy teases, noticing Spike's breathing grow more and more labored as they near the fifth floor. Spike scowls playfully and buries his nose into the soft flesh of her neck, sending her into a hysterical fit of giggles.

"Spike! We'll wake up everyone in the hotel," she protests when she regains control of her voice.

"Weren't we plannin' on doin' that a little later anyway?" he chuckles, hoisting her a little higher in his grasp as they reach the fifth floor landing.

"Why Mr. Summers!" Buffy cries in mock astonishment. "How very naughty you are!"

"Only if you want me to be, my love," he whispers back, adjusting her in his arms so that one hand is free to grasp the doorknob of the honeymoon suite. He pushes it open, steps inside, and taps it closed again with a nudge of his foot. Spike carefully sets Buffy on her feet as they look around the extravagant set of rooms.

Immediately in front of them is a carpeted common area and attached kitchenette, a half-wall separating the first room from the large bedroom. White and crimson rose petals and tendrils of black ribbon are strewn everywhere, sprinkling the ruby-colored sheets of the king-size four-poster bed and marking a trail into the adjoining bathroom, like drops of blood upon the creamy tile. Strategically placed candles emit soft light over the room's surfaces, and classical music plays quietly through a hidden speaker system.

It's sensual and Gothic . . . and distinctly prepared for them by Angel.

Neither one of them wants to speak, and the first sound to break the stillness is the click of the door handle as Spike locks it behind them. He swallows uncomfortably.

"Think we should check for cameras, luv?" he asks, his voice sounding unnaturally loud in the room's uneasy near-silence.

"And if we find any, who do we blame? Andrew or Angel?"

Her voice catches, and – almost afraid to touch her – Spike reaches over and tenderly rubs one of her shoulders.

"Buffy . . . darling . . ."

"I . . ." she murmurs quickly, unable to stop the tiny shaking in her voice, "I need . . . to w-wash my face, s-so I don't wake up l-l-looking like a raccoon. Take my v-v-veil off, please, Spike?"

Exhaling slowly, he reaches up to the mound of gauzy white fabric and eases the headpiece out of Buffy's silky blonde curls.

"Thanks," she whispers, turning around to look at him. "Spike, are you . . . paler than usual?"

"Must be the light," he smiles, fingering the gossamer veil. "S'pose I might be a bit nervous. Never been married before, luv."

"Do you . . . want to come in with me?"

He looks past her, eyes following the path of rose petals into the bathroom, and a rush of sick, guilty memories seems to plow deeply into his gut. Buffy swathed in a thin grayish-blue robe, his hands snatching roughly at her, shoving her to the floor . . .

"No, I . . . I'll let you have your privacy, sweetheart." All the air has gone out of his voice, and Buffy realizes what he must be thinking, remembering that horrible night.

"Spike, don't . . ."

"Oh, Buffy, I'm so sorry! I'm so very sorry, love."

He sinks to his knees, his cold fingers slipping down her arm and drawing her fingers against his lips, bowing his head so she can't see the tears filling his cobalt eyes. But she can feel them, frigid drops like shards of ice against her skin.

"Spike, no, don't do this to yourself."

"I'll never hurt you again," he gasps against her fingers, his tears falling freely now. "So long as I live, I swear I'll never lay a finger on you 'cept when and where and how you tell me. Oh, dear God, Buffy, how can you forgive me?"

She drops to the carpet beside him and gently pulls his face into her shoulder, cradling his head in her arms as he shakes and weeps with repentance. Though she's sure she subconsciously knew this already, she realizes that, if all goes as she had hoped, tonight will be the first time they will consummate their love since the unspeakable happened. But . . . in a way, this night will be a different kind of first. No agendas, no furtive hasty coupling, no terror of their twisted relationship being discovered by their friends. Tonight they are going to make love, and they're going to do it fearlessly.

Buffy runs her fingers soothingly through Spike's hair, further mussing up his jumble of white-blond curls.

"Look at me, baby," she whispers, gently tugging until he leans back enough to gaze into her eyes. "William, I love you. I forgave you the moment I realized you'd gotten your soul for me. You never claimed to be perfect, and anyone who knows me could tell you I'm not. We're two very screwed up people, and we're bound to make a lot of mistakes over our married life. But if I know anything, it's that I love you, and nothing could ever change that."

She draws him back towards her and kisses him, tasting the cool salt of his tears on his lips. He momentarily hesitates, then gives in to her kiss, his mouth kneading a familiar rhythm against hers until she pulls away to draw breath. He fixes his eyes on hers, caressing her cheek with two feather-light fingers.

"My beautiful, darling Buffy. How lost I'd be without you."

Her hands slip down from his hair to wrap around his neck, but then her fingertips make contact with what feels like little scraps of paper-thin velvet.

"Spike, you . . . you have rose petals down the back of your shirt," she giggles, pulling out the one that had caught her attention.

"Faith's work, I imagine. Thought I felt somethin' hit me right as we got out the church door." He smirks, picking another few petals out from between his tuxedo jacket and shirt collar, then nods toward the bathroom. "Go on and freshen up, luv. I'll be waiting."

He helps her to her feet, smoothing out the silky layers of her dress so she doesn't trip on her train. Smiling, she kisses his cheek tenderly.

"Okay. I'll be out in a minute. And I won't take anything off. That's your job."

With a wink, she gathers her gown to ankle height and swishes into the suite bathroom, kicking aside the rose petals so she can close the door. Spike swallows roughly, flicks open the top-most of his shirt buttons, and loosens his bowtie slightly, his sapphire eyes assessing the room once again. His hands trembling, he wanders farther from the door and notices an expansive closet on the opposite wall from the bathroom. All of his and Buffy's possessions – any items of hers that the Scoobies scavenged in the getaway bus as well as new purchases made during their current stint in LA – are stocked within, and Spike proudly notes his duster on a reinforced hanger near the back of the walk-in closet.

His restlessness mounting, Spike paces past the over-the-top scarlet bed to the matching window curtains, shrouding them from the city outside, then back to the couches close to the door. With a sudden flood of retaliatory inspiration, he begins rapidly scooping up the pieces of black ribbon from the floor and furniture, gathering them all up and hurling them into a rubbish bin by the closet. As his self-confidence gains strides, he glances at the full-length mirror on the back of the closet door and runs both hands through his hair multiple times, giving up when the stubborn curls absolutely refuse any attempt to smooth them out.

"Spike."

He turns at the sound of his beloved's voice, and her face captures his eyes instantly. With her makeup scrubbed away, she looks so natural and innocent, like years of pain, loss, and hardship have been stripped away along with her rouge and eye-shadow.

"Buffy . . ." He takes a cautious step towards her, one hand resting on the waist-high partial wall between the living area and the bed. "You're . . . stunning."

Buffy blushes, the natural rising color in her cheeks more visible now that her makeup is gone. Spike is acutely aware that his own blood is not rushing in the direction of his brain, but he knows what he has yet to say before he dares to touch his bride.

"Please, Buffy, I want . . . I want this to be perfect for you. If I do anything you don't like, anything at all, one word from you and I'll stop the second you . . ."

"Spike," she interrupts, closing the small distance between them and threading her fingers into his, her other hand resting on the center of his chest. "Just kiss me."

Smiling gratefully, Spike barely has to incline his head for her lips to be within perfect reach. He starts with gentle, chaste kisses, his free hand softly cupping her cheek, relishing the softness of her lips. His kisses are tender, but Buffy wants fire, impatience mastering her after only a few seconds. Without giving him any warning, she probes her tongue between Spike's lips. He groans involuntarily, chuckles, and then returns in kind, plundering her warm mouth with his tongue.

"That what you were after, sweetheart?" he inquires when she has to gasp for breath.

"Mmhmm . . . I want you, Spike. All of you."

"All in due time, luv. The whole night is ours."

"The whole forever is ours," she corrects him.

"No hurry then," he grins, kissing up the side of her nose and between her eyebrows.

Their hands begin an exploratory dance, Spike's cautious, Buffy's deliberate, both of them chuckling occasionally when they unearth more rose petals in between the shifting folds of each others' clothing. Buffy pulls lose the knot of his tie and uses it to draw his face even closer, dragging his mouth back to her lips.

"Oh my," he whispers, raising one eyebrow seductively. "Whatever is my wife doin' with my clothes?"

"Taking them off," replies Buffy boldly, her fingers eager at the collar of his shirt. She pushes his hands off of her momentarily so that she can slide his black tux jacket off his leonine shoulders.

"Hey, I've never seen you in white before," she realizes, holding him at arms length so she can admire him. "Very sexy. Might have to make it a habit."

"Didn't think white matched well with the duster," he shrugs, "but if you say so, pet."

"Spike, if you don't stop talking, we're going to miss the bed, and it's a very nice bed, and I want you in it."

He smirks. "I'll just stick with 'I love you', eh?"

To her surprise and delight, he suddenly hoists her into the air, lifting her bodily using only the strength of his arms. For a second she thinks he's going to set her down on the half-wall, but instead he backs her up against it, lowering her slowly, holding her tightly against the length of his body. When her feet touch the ground again, he swivels them both around until his own back faces the wall and then hugs her back against his chest, one hand pressing against her pelvic bone, the other gliding up from her waist to pause between her breasts.

"I love you, Buffy," he whispers, nuzzling her neck with his lips. He kisses and gently bites along the back of her throat, never breaking the skin, just setting all her sensitive nerves tingling. "I love you so much. I love that I can finally say this to you, and you'll never run away from me for saying it."

"Never ever," she promises, twisting in his arms so that she faces him again. She guides his hands back around her waist and continues attacking his clothes, plowing down the front buttons of his shirt and vest, desperate to feel the cool muscles beneath. When she finally succeeds in ripping the cummerbund away and lays her warm hands over his bare, defined stomach, Spike gives a purr-like moan and thrusts his fingers up into her hair, drawing her lips against his for a stronger, demanding kiss. Then, just as quickly, he yanks his hands away and yelps.

"Ow! Luv, somethin' in your hair bit my finger!"

"Pins! Willow's hair pins," she explains breathlessly, desperate to keep his mouth interlocked with hers. "Don't lose them, m'kay?"

"Right."

Cautiously this time, Spike's fingers comb adeptly through her golden tresses, extract each borrowed pin, set them on the nearby half-wall, and replace them with kisses along her scalp. Buffy untucks Spike's shirt from his tuxedo pants and then slips her fingers inside his waistband, feeling the soft, cool skin stretched taut over his hipbones. He groans raggedly, his body instinctively arching at her touch.

"Oh, Buffy."

When his tongue presses at her lips again, she opens her mouth to him, slipping her own tongue against his at the earliest opportunity. He still tastes of chocolate, rich and smooth and sweet, just a twinge of iron-flavored blood as well. She gulps him in, savoring him, making him moan in pleasure.

"My wife . . . my . . . beautiful . . . Buffy . . ."

Starting very cautiously and gently, he grinds his hips against her, his hands skimming slowly up and down the sides of her wedding gown from waist to thighs, making no effort thus far to remove it.

"Too many clothes," she protests into his lips, earning a chuckle.

"I only get to take your wedding dress off you once, Mrs. Summers, and I'm relishing it as long as I can . . ."

Compromising slightly, he lifts his hands up to her shoulders and guides the thin strap-like sleeves down over her deltoid muscles, his fingertips caressing the shape of her collarbone above the curves of her chest.

"Spike, I'm not made of glass," she mutters, impatience winning over romance again. "You know what I like."

"Not rough tonight, baby, please," he breathes, lips skimming slowly across her cheek. "Let me worship you."

"Can worship include screaming in pleasure?"

He gives a laughing, playful growl. "Maybe."

He is kissing her ear again, gently sucking on her lobe. Experimenting, he rolls her two accessible stub earrings around in his mouth and is quickly rewarded with her gasps and moans as he toys with this hidden pleasure point.

"Yes, yes, Spike . . . William . . ."

"Need the bed," he gasps, and she hears the throbbing in his voice, matching his body's obvious yearning for her. He scoops her up – her legs tight around his waist – and strolls across the candle-lit room like a conqueror. Still impeccably gentle, he lays her down on her back and then stands over her majestically, divesting himself of shirt and silk vest in one fluid roll of his shoulders. Naked from the waist up, he kneels at the edge of the bed to remove her white, shallow-heeled sandals, kissing the soles of her feet and sending violent tingles of pleasure up her legs.

"Oh . . . oh, Spike . . . I love you," she whispers, aching for him. "Please . . ."

"I love you, Buffy," he purrs, another lick across her ankle nearly turning her vision red with desire. "So . . . much . . ."

"Spike . . ." is the only word coherent word she can utter now. Every other sound coming from her mouth is a mewl of longing, of desperation so powerful she wonders if this is what bloodlust feels like. She reaches for his hair and pulls him up toward her on the bed, but at the last second Spike flips them over so that he's flat on his back against the sheets, holding her above him so her dress isn't crushed.

She's already breathless as Spike's fingers skillfully undo the lacing on the back of her wedding gown, her own hands trembling at the clasp of his tuxedo pants. He pulls down layers of silk and satin until – just as she releases him – he finds the softest layer of all: her bare, warm skin. Then at last his hands roam free.

Finally united – husband and wife, vampire and Slayer, ice and fire – they spend the night soaring their way to Heaven and back . . .

The End.


A/N: If this ending isn't really how you imagined it, please don't be devastated. Everyone has their own semi-idyllic vision for how things could have played out in the Buffyverse, or even multiple versions. In this particular AU of mine, Spike's altered vampire state would allow him and Buffy to get busy making little Spikes. ;) But that is another story for another day.

Please consider voting on my poll (see my profile page, AGriffinWriter) to help determine audience interest in my next long Buffy projects. Right now I'll be continuing to work on The Substitute Slayer and Five Words or Less, and then a Hells Bells re-write, probably. Also, if it's not too much trouble, I'd love it if you'd R&R my Buffy one-shots that I'm really proud of: Can I Spend the Night Alone? (Spike in 'Conversations with Dead People', might become a two-shot) and Taste of Buffy (short angsty Spike POV during season 6). Thanks again for joining me for this Spuffy happily-ever-after! 3