Disclaimer: I don't own anything
A/N: This is the last chapter. This was never going to be a long fic, and I think I've explored everything I can in it. I've got a lot of ideas knocking around for the next fic, so for now, I hope you've enjoyed this one. Let me know what you think.
'I think we should tell Buffy.' Xander said as he sat at the front desk. Willow looked over at him and frowned. 'He hasn't come out of his room since I told him the truth. I think she needs to come here and tell him herself. Tell him that that is the past.' He looked up at the stairs. 'I feel bad for telling him but…I wasn't going to lie.'
'He asked you for the truth.' Willow said softly. 'I guess it can't hurt. And it would get Faith off-'
'Get Faith off what?' A voice came from the doorway, and both Willow and Xander turned guilty expressions to the door of the hotel, where an angry looking Buffy and Dawn stood with their arms folded. 'Off your backs for not telling me the truth?'
'Buffy…' Willow started. Her best friend's face softened.
'No. I understand why you guys didn't tell me. But I'm still hurt.' She stepped forward, picking up the suitcase at her feet. She moved forward to the front desk and put it down again. 'Got any spare rooms?'
'B!' Faith appeared from the office. 'Thought I heard your dulcet tones. How was the flight?'
'Too long.' Dawn huffed, following her sister to the desk. 'I'm beat. Where's Spike?' She asked and the four adults smiled at her forwardness.
'He's in his room. He…he hasn't come out in a while.' Xander said guiltily. Buffy narrowed her eyes.
'What did you do?' Faith held a hand up.
'Whoa, B. Xan's been nothing but a friend to the guy. You'd be proud. He's been a real hero.' The other slayer looked over at Willow. 'Look, let's get you two a couple rooms and then we'll see about coaxing blondie out of his bolt hole, yeah?' Willow took the cue and ushered the protesting Summers' sisters up the stairs to find a room. Faith turned to Xander who looked at her, trying to keep the accusation out of his eyes and failing miserably. She glared at him. 'I swiped your phone and told her. She deserved to know. And if it isn't mystical like Giles and Willow think, then it can't do any harm for her to be here. And after he found out the truth about his past with her, you're right, he needs to know she forgave him so he can begin to forgive himself.'
Xander sighed. 'Yeah. You're right. I should have called her right away.'
'Well you didn't. So I get to be golden girl for a while.' She huffed. 'Makes a damn change.'
The noise of someone clearing their throat came from the bottom of the stairs where a dishevelled looking Spike stood. His eyes were red rimmed and both the adults knew he'd been crying. Neither of them said anything, only offering him a soft smile. 'Sorry.' He said, his voice gruff. 'Heard a lot of noise and I got hungry. Any of that turkey you did for dinner left?'
Xander nodded. 'Yeah, I saved you a plate. Come on, we'll go heat it up.'
'It's okay. I remember how to use a microwave.' He moved towards the kitchen, aware of Faith and Xander's eyes following him. Faith's gaze was drawn back to the stairs as the blonde slayer walked down, her mouth agape at the retreated form of Spike and unshed tears glistened in her eyes.
He barely heard the soft call of his name, and he froze when he did. Slowly he turned and faced the woman stood on the stairs. For a second nothing happened.
Then Spike clutched his head and wailed in pain as he sank to his knees.
Buffy sat by his bedside, waiting for him to awaken. She'd sent Dawn to bed hours ago, and everyone else had left, except for Xander. He was steadfast in his determination to stay by Spike's side, his only explanation to Buffy being that they were friends. It had shocked her to the core, knowing that in Sunnydale, the two were anything but. She supposed that Xander had been the one to find Spike, the one who had filled him in and helped him back to recovery. Not that he had needed much help. Willow had filled her in on the changed vampire, no, human. How he was still strong, still able to fight, and healed quicker than even she.
Make me what I was. So I can give her what she deserves.
He was always her equal. She didn't think it was possible for him to be more so. He could go out in the sun. She only had to hope now that he would want to share that with her.
A knock on the door made her jump from her reverie and awoke Xander from his doze in the chair on the opposite side of the bed. The door opened and a timid Willow looked in, and then opened the door a little further. She held two cups of steaming cocoa and the smell roused Xander immediately. The witch came inside and shut the door, padding over to them.
'Thought you guys might like a hot drink.' She whispered and handed the cups to their respective recipient. She looked over at Spike and then back to Buffy, eyebrows raised in questioning.
'No change. He's asleep. Just not the sort of sleep he can wake from.' Silence for a few moments, all eyes on the occupant of the bed. 'Was it me? Was it that horrible to see me again?' Buffy whispered.
Xander felt a pang in his chest. 'No, Buffy. Maybe it was just shock.'
'You said you'd told him everything.' She said quietly, and somewhat accusingly. Xander fixed his gaze on her and frowned.
'He didn't deserve to be lied to.'
'Because you've always been his stalwart supporter.' Buffy spat, feeling irrational anger rise up inside her. Willow raised her hands in order to placate the pair but neither paid attention.
'He was nearly dead Buffy. I sat with him while he healed and he wanted to know. He asked, I didn't lie.'
'Did you have to tell him every little detail?' Buffy asked, hurt by a seemingly deep betrayal.
'I couldn't lie to him!' Xander said, his voice getting louder. Willow flinched, and saw the still form of Spike twitch in response to the noise. Buffy scoffed at Xander's reaction, not noticing the movement on the bed.
'You lied to me!' She shouted, and Spike's eyes flew open.
'I didn't lie. I just didn't want to get your hopes up!'
'Protecting me again?! Always a good excuse of yours. Everyone is always doing what is best Buffy. Doesn't matter what Buffy wants, does it?' She spat. 'You knew, Xander. You knew how much I missed him, how much it tore me up that he was gone. I thought you understood!'
'Be quiet!' Willow shouted suddenly and the two others jumped, having forgotten she was there. The red head lowered her voice. 'He's awake. You woke him up.'
Spike blinked a few times, and then pulled himself up. Buffy rushed to his side, whilst Xander edged closer. The ex-vamp looked around, his gaze coming to rest on the slayer.
'Buffy…' He whispered. She smiled, tears flowing freely down her face. 'You made it.' He said, reaching out to touch her face. She flung her arms around his neck and held him tightly, sobbing for all she was worth.
'You stupid, stupid man. You died. You left me. You didn't have to do that. Stupid vampire.' She didn't notice her slip of the tongue. He inhaled the scent of her deeply and held her back, just as tightly. Willow watched the scene and tears fell from her eyes. Xander watched impassively, holding back his emotion in a manly fashion. For long moments, the two held each other, whispering comfort to each other.
Reluctantly they withdrew from the other and Willow coughed. 'Spike…what do you remember of the last few days?' She asked and he replied without looking at her, his gaze still firmly fixed on Buffy.
'Everything. I remember being in that alley and the hospital. I remember…Xander…' He broke his eye contact with Buffy to look at the one eyed brunette. 'You…I owe you mate. Big time.'
Xander smiled at him.
'What are friends for?'
Spike stood out in the garden, a place he'd come to find peaceful since his return as a human, even before his memories came back. Willow had ascertained that his guilt from his previous life had held his memories at bay and when he had seen the source of his guilt, the floodgates had opened so to speak and he'd "awakened" to everything. Shockingly enough, even though he had gained back everything from his former life, his and Xander's burgeoning friendship from the past few days had done nothing but flourish. Xander was true to his word, finding his own behaviour of the past below standard and wanting make amends. Spike himself, with the increased guilt over his own part in their damaged relationship of the past few years, had also been making an increased effort. He had even been sparring with Xander to teach him a few tricks.
Buffy had been adjusting to the change between her best friend and….well, Spike. She wasn't sure where they stood. There had been stolen kisses and fleeting touches but nothing further. She was worried that now he was alive, he would want to carry on his life elsewhere. She'd planned to confront him several times but had not gotten very far due to a lacking in courage: a new sensation that she didn't like.
She watched him now from the lobby as he indulged in the sunshine outside and she jumped as Xander appeared beside her.
'Jesus, Xand. You been picking up tips from Spike?'
The brunette chuckled at his petite friend. 'No. You were just too involved in oogling.'
'I was not…oogling.' She defended herself and then returned her gaze to Spike. 'I was…contemplating.'
'What he's got under the shirt? He's been flaunting it to the entire building the last few days. Not intentionally all the time though.' The former carpenter scratched his chin. 'Maybe you should just tell him Buffy. You can't pick up your relationship from broken scraps. You guys need to start again. And do it right this time.'
'Since when were you an advocate of the Spike and Buffy train?' She asked, looking at him sideways.
'Since I realised exactly how precious that one-time-only type of love it.' He said sadly, his thoughts drifting to Anya. Buffy felt his sadness and reached out to grasp his hand.
'What if he doesn't want me?' She asked, her voice sounding very much like a scared little girls. Xander smiled softly.
'Don't be stupid.' He chided gently. 'The guy is clearly still crazy about you. Even when he didn't remember you, he still felt funny when he said your name. He told me so. If that isn't true love, what is?' Buffy smiled back, and then pulled him into a hug. Xander returned it and for a few moments, he felt jealous of his best friend. Then he pulled away and felt nothing but happiness for her. 'Go to him.' She nodded and turned away, heading to the garden. He watched as she approached, and they spoke, before they embraced and Xander felt a warmth spread through his heart.
He turned away to give them privacy and looked towards to front door. What he saw made his heart stop.
In the doorway, dressed in a flowing white dress and very much real, stood his own happily ever after. She smiled softly at him and held her arms open, tears glistening in her eyes. He swore his heart stopped before he ran to her, no doubt in his mind that she was real, she was here. He picked her up and span her around, kissing her breathless as she laughed.
'I'm so sorry, Ahn. I love you so much.' He whispered, setting her on her feet.
'I know, Xander Harris. That's why they sent me back.' She whispered in return, kissing him hard. 'They said that we were not meant to be separated. Just like Spike and Buffy. We're forever, me and you.' She rubbed her nose against his in an eskimo kiss and they embraced again.
And they all lived happily ever after.
A/N: Another cheesy ending. I couldn't leave Xander alone! He needs his Anyanka!