In a happier season 6, Buffy has to find ways to tell her friends about her relationship with a certain vampire. Spike/Buffy, with sides of Anya/Xander and Willow/Tara.
Author's Note: In this AU, neither Buffy nor Dawn died in the battle with Glory. Buffy attributes Dawn's safety, in part, to Spike's contributions. This story is set around the middle of the next season.
The window didn't creak as she slipped through it, courtesy of her many years' practice, back when Mom was still…there. She felt a little weird coming in that way, like a guilty teenager all over again, but they had agreed that it would be best to break the news of their newfound relationship quietly. Well, she had explained this, and then threatened Spike on pain of death to not tell a soul.
The bad thing about dating your former archenemy/punching bag? He stops taking your threats seriously.
Still, he'd given her a sincere-ish grin. That was about as much as she could expect from Spike. Besides, who would he tell? He worked with the Scoobies, but she would hardly call them "close". The secret was probably safe for now. Besides, she was going to tell everyone as soon as possible. No Angel-is-back-from-hell level secrets for her. Buffy had learned that lesson.
God, it was still weird. The words "dating" and "Spike" in one sentence. How many times had they tried to kill each other, anyway? But she couldn't deny that they'd both changed, and what they had was good, if new. She smothered a smile at the thought of his almost-bashful expression when she'd left him outside the house. She'd wanted to kiss him, but the thought of Dawn finding out that way was enough incentive to keep her lips off of his. Buffy needed to tell her sister pretty damn quickly – how long was she expected to keep this behavior up?
Footsteps. Coming closer.
Well, it looked like "quickly" was going to be an understatement.
Buffy answered the raps on her door with a sunny smile. "Hey, Dawn!"
"Okay, I know something's up. You just came back from patrolling, I'm up and it's 1:30 on a school night…and you're smiling." Dawn looked her up and down and said, "What gives?"
"Gives?" Buffy replied, steeling her face into a perfect mask of blankness. "No giving here!"
Dawn looked at her.
The Slayer sank down onto her bed and patted the space next to her. "Okay, I'll talk," she said playfully. "Jeez. You should be some kind of interrogator person."
Her sister took the offered space, scooting her booty around nervously. "Either it's good news, or it's so bad you've cracked," Dawn said quietly. Buffy couldn't restrain her smile.
"It's good," she assured her. "I promise. At least, I think it's good. Okay. Um. So…"
Dawn's expression spoke volumes. Not just any old volume, either. One of Giles's thick old Watcher books.
"Right. Getting on with it." Buffy cleared her throat. "Spike…and I…is that right? Grammatically. Willow's always saying stuff about that and, anyway, Spike…we're sort of seeing each other. As of tonight."
"Seeing each other?" Dawn repeated. "You mean like, going out?"
"Well, yeah," Buffy said awkwardly. "Except we already go out to kill stuff, and he can't go anywhere in the day anyway so not much will change as far as that goes, but yeah. Like…dating."
"For real? No spell or anything? Completely legit?"
They shared a look, cut short by Dawn tackling Buffy to the bed and mumbling something completely incoherent.
"What?" Buffy managed to ask with the breath she had left. Teenagers were heavy.
"I'm so happy," Dawn said with evident glee. She pulled back to look in Buffy's eyes. "Although I gotta ask, is he as good a kisser as I think he'd be?"
The Slayer bit her lip. "Um…better."
They laughed for a few minutes about this and that, but then Buffy grew suddenly sober. "Dawn, it's two in the morning."
"Yeah?" She rolled over to look at the clock.
"Go to bed."
Dawn looked like she might argue, but then she rose and said, "Okay, fine. Sweet dreams."
"Alright," Buffy said tolerantly.
Dawn popped her head back in the door. "Sweet dreams of Spike's lips! Lips of Spike!"
She narrowly dodged the pillow Buffy launched at her and scampered down the hall.
"Sho, 'ou gon' tull G'les?"
Buffy stopped crunching her cereal to gawk at her younger sister. "Okay, what? Repetition needed, and this time try to use something resembling English," she said, smiling slightly.
Dawn swallowed. "Are you going to tell Giles?"
"Tell him what?"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "About the Spike-and-you lovefest, obviously."
"Okay, first off, that wording – yow," Buffy paused and attempted to look more serious, "and second, yeah, I hope so. I need to stop by the Magic Box this morning anyway, I saw some kind of weird beastie on the way back from Spike's crypt." Her tongue tripped over the words.
"So what, you're planning to just smush it in?" Dawn asked. "Like, 'Oh hey, Giles, I saw something new and freaky! Probably a monster you can research I spent last night glued to Spike's face and it was awesome so you should get on that right away'?"
"I wasn't glued to his face!" she protested as she carried the bowls to the sink. "I was considering the Oreo strategy, though. Ooh, or the pregnancy scare. Pretend to puke in his bathroom and hold my stomach and stuff, and then when he freaks I'll just go, 'Surprise! I'm not pregnant, just dating a soulless vampire'."
"I'm sure that'll go over." Dawn slung her bookbag over one shoulder. "See ya."
"Love you! Be careful! And if you tell anybody –"
"-you'll whoop my ass. Yeah, yeah."
She took a deep breath. So deep, in fact, that she almost choked on it. "Okay, Buffy, this isn't that bad," she whispered to herself. "At least this vampire didn't torture and kill his girlfriend."
Somehow, she didn't think that was the best angle to sell Giles on Spike, but she went inside anyway.
"Buffy," Giles said with evident surprise.
"Yeah, it's me." Buffy leaned against the counter, casually inspecting a small ring. "Hey, this is kind of pretty."
"Oh." She dropped it.
Her Watcher cleared his throat and took a sip out of his mug. She wondered briefly if it was coffee or tea. "It's a pleasure, Buffy, but I must assume that you have some reason to be coming here so early –"
"I do," she said quickly. "Um…I was out last night and got a glimpse of a big hulky demon." She gestured with her arms and made a grunting noise. "It was pretty far off, though. I don't know that I have much to ID it."
"I see," he replied. "Did it appear, er…dangerous?"
"Big and hulky demon, Giles," she repeated. "Doesn't scream 'invite me to your birthday party'. Although considering my usual luck with birthdays, it might actually be an improvement."
Giles did crack a teensy smile at this, and she was almost feeling warmed up to hint around about her true purpose in coming when the door was flung open by none other than her smoking boyfriend. Not smoking as in hot (although he was), or smoking as in cigarettes (although she could smell them on him as he came in, and why was that attractive?), but smoking as in actually on fire. As in, Spike was stupid enough to come into the store in the middle of the day with only a blanket as protection. She rolled her eyes, closed the door behind him, and slapped the vampire upside the head.
"Moron," she said unapologetically. He glared a little.
"Spike," Giles said, in that mumbly English disapproving tone. Buffy's heart sunk a little. "What a…well, I can't say it's a surprise."
"Aw, Rupes," Spike replied with a smug grin, "don't tell me you're sick of seein' my handsome face around here."
Giles evidently decided to let that one go. "Why are you here this time? Come to 'borrow' more of my burba weed?"
"No, nothing like that." He shot Buffy a glance, as if to assess the situation. She gave him nothing. "Er…your Slayer and I saw a nasty last night. Found it in the sewers just before dawn and got a better look. It's a K'nockluck if I ever saw one."
"Have you?" Giles asked in surprise. "They're native to western Canada."
"Dru was never fond of the warmer temperatures," the vampire said easily. "Me, on the other hand –" He cut his eyes to Buffy. "I like things…hot."
She tried to keep from rolling her eyes, but she knew she was smiling a little. "So, you got anything about this Knock-Knock monster in your books?" she asked, turning her attention to Giles.
"K'Nockluck," he corrected absently, turning away from the pair and disappearing into another room. Buffy waited a full second, and then turned her gaze back to Spike.
She expected him to be smirking, but instead he looked oddly lost. Buffy frowned. "What?"
"'s nothing," he mumbled, cutting his eyes away. The Slayer glared in reply. "It's nothing."
Buffy stared for a moment until it clicked. "Oh my god," she said, mouth dropping. "You think that I've changed my mind."
"I never said that."
Okay, it was drastic action time. She put her hands on his shoulders (and wow, it was so nice not having to lean up forever to get to him), pushing him against the wall roughly. "I'm not as fickle as you seem to think," she said softly, before pressing her lips against his.
It had only been nine and a half hours since she'd last done that, but it was already even better than she'd remembered. Her mind was reminding her that she needed to pull away, that the assurance phase of this kiss was over by the time they started using tongues. He knew by now that she hadn't changed her mind about him, but the thought of peeling herself away from cool cool hands and warm warm lips and swooshing jacket and needless breathing and –
Giles cleared his throat and she tore herself off of Spike like a Band-Aid.
There was no use pretending that she hadn't just been making out with her ex-archenemy, but she tried to regain her composure a little by fixing her hair. The vampire could never keep his hands off of her golden locks.
Her Watcher wasn't meeting her eyes. "Buffy, I think we should speak privately."
"You're right. Totally, totally right. Speaking. Um." She pressed the blanket back into Spike's hands. He frowned.
"Hey," he protested as she led him to the door. "Can't just kick me out like that. It's a free country."
"I'll see you tonight," Buffy said seriously. "Try not to catch on fire."
His snarky comeback was lost in the slam of the door.
They weren't looking at each other, just sitting in the training room all quiet and awkward. It felt like the aftermath of a battle, only Buffy'd lived through plenty of those and they were usually a lot more fun.
"I was coming here to tell you," she said finally. Her voice sounded pitiful and small. "No secrets. Not like…not like before."
She felt Giles look up at her and she raised her head to meet his eyes.
He didn't ask any of the questions she'd expected him to, like "why would you become involved with another vampire?" or "have you forgotten Jenny's death?" or even "why the hell would you want to be with Spike?". He merely began cleaning his glasses and remarked, "At least the holidays are over. Nothing puts one off of Christmas cake quite so much as the sound of blood being slurped out of a novelty mug."
Buffy shuddered. "Too true."
"If he tries to harm you in any way, Buffy – and I don't doubt that he would be capable, chip or no chip, if he put his mind to it – I will not hesitate to put a stake through his heart."
In an unusual show of affection, she clasped his hand in both of hers. "Thank you," she said earnestly.
"I don't approve," he informed her.
"I wouldn't expect you to."
Buffy drummed her fingers on the table. It wasn't like Willow to be late, and okay, she wasn't technically late by a strict definition of the word, but she wasn't five minutes early, either. The Espresso Pump was pretty busy, so the waitress hadn't really noticed that Buffy had been there for fifteen minutes without ordering.
In what had seemed like a good move, she'd called Willow up and invited her to come hang out. She knew that the other woman would know something was up – all the more reason for her to be there early.
It was 2:30, and she suddenly let herself wonder what Spike was doing. Sleeping, probably. It could be fun to sneak into his crypt all stealthy-like and wake him up. Maybe with a kiss -
"Hey!" the witch panted, sliding easily into the chair across from Buffy. She blinked. "Sorry I'm late," Willow continued. "Miss Kitty Fantastico was missing and Tara was worried. So what's the big news?"
"No big news," Buffy said nervously. "I mean, we should get our drinks first. It's not apocalypse-y."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, seconds, or maybe years. Buffy wasn't sure. She twirled a finger in her coffee, and then looked up to meet her best friend's curious eyes. "So you know how sometimes things happen that are…unexpected. But good, in a good way? And…and sometimes people – or not-people, like…vampires, we'll just say for argument's sake – sometimes they're not what you expect? You know, they can…change."
Willow furrowed her brow a little. "I'm not exactly following you, Buff, but I'm pretty sure you're talking about a certain friend of ours with a mad yen for the hair dye."
"Yeah," Buffy said quietly. "It's about Spike."
Willow adjusted her position to lean in a little more. "So?" she asked, eyebrows shooting up almost to her hair. "What's the sitch? It's not…bad, is it? His chip – "
"His chip is fine." She could feel her cheeks heating up. "Everything's good. Great, even."
"Oh, okay, so then – wait." Willow looked closely at her. "No way. You – "
"Kind of with the…together," Buffy said awkwardly, compelled to wet her lips. What was Willow going to think? Crap. Maybe she should have engineered an "accidentally-catch-us-kissing" scenario for her. Even though it'd been an accident with Giles, it had worked pretty damn well.
The witch's jaw dropped. Her eyes widened. And then she said, "Wow, Tara's not gonna let me forget this."
That wasn't the response she'd expected. "Forget what?"
Willow raised an eyebrow. "She said that you two were…you know…or about to be. A change in your auras, I guess, or maybe she just noticed that bright shade of red you're turning right about now. Anyway, I told her 'no way', and…how long? With you and Spike." Her tone was suddenly worried.
"Nothing happened-happened until yesterday," Buffy assured her.
Miss Kitty Fantastico had to have been rubbing off on Will, from her cat-like grin. "I'd ask for a recap, but I think even a fuzzy watercolor would be too graphic with the pair of you," she said, laughing a little. "And I can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth."
"Well, don't put them back," Buffy said, blowing a little air out (and feeling a little like a whale). "I need some support. I mean, besides from Dawn, who doesn't count anyway because of the whole infatuation tango."
"I can do support. I mean…it's a little freaky, but I'm not in the most conventional of relationships. By society's standards, anyway." Willow rolled her eyes. "And Tara seemed pretty much in the yea camp, Spike-wise. She believes he's changed."
She looked away. "He has, you know."
"I believe you. Xander, on the other hand…he'll probably need some convincing."
"You what?" Xander asked, mouth dropping wide. Buffy winced.
Anya patted his arm. It was weird how normal it had become to see them all couple-y. Sure, they'd been together for years, but Anya was anything but normal to begin with. With Xander, though, she seemed…right. And right now, Buffy was seriously grateful for her presence. "She went on a picnic with Spike," Anya said plainly. "Nothing to get all…gaping over. Although," she continued, turning her bright eyes to Buffy, "that's definitely an interesting choice. I, for one, have never viewed any pornography that began with a picnic."
"What?" Buffy was aghast. Or maybe even multiple ghasts. "No. No pornography. That's not where I'm going with this."
Not exactly, anyway. There might have been details, but they sure weren't getting them.
"Then what is your point in telling us this picnic story? Oh, or is it to tell us that you'll be bringing Spike to the wedding? He's invited anyway, you know, and if you two go together then we won't have to worry about either bringing plus ones."
"A picnic," Xander repeated. Buffy sighed. The full disclosure route had seemed like a good idea initially, but it was turning into a disaster area.
"Look, the point is…he's changed, and…you know…"
"You want to have inappropriately timed sex with him?" Anya put in helpfully. "The training room is a great location. Oh, and the Bronze has a back room…"
Xander's mouth still hadn't closed.
"Um, you know what, I've said my piece so I think I'll just…show myself out," Buffy said nervously, standing up and smoothing her skirt.
"Wait! This means I'll have to rearrange all the seating." The ex-demon paused. "Do you and Spike mind sitting with Xander's Uncle Rory?"
"Picnic," Xander mumbled to himself, barely audible. Buffy chose to ignore him.
"Yeah, sure, Uncle Rory. I need to go…kill things."
She left in a hurry.
Buffy felt the tingles before she heard the crunch of boots on leaves. "Hi," she said lamely.
The air was thick with tension. She could have cut it with a knife, but she only had a stake and a couple of crosses on her person. It was a short patrol night, anyway. She had better plans.
"About earlier – " Spike began, tracing his teeth with the tip of his tongue. She tried to swallow.
"Don't," Buffy said. "It wasn't your fault."
"Didn't mean to make trouble."
"You didn't. I was going to tell Giles, anyway. I told Dawn, too. And Willow and Xander and Anya." She could feel his smile and his eyes upon her, but she didn't look at him. It wasn't quite time.
"So…everyone, then," he said, a note of wonder in his voice. For an instant her mind raced with how much her action had evidently meant to him, but she pushed the thoughts away. It wasn't time for that, yet, either.
"Not quite," Buffy corrected quietly. "Come on."
It wasn't far.
She knelt beside the grave. "Mom? I'd like to introduce you to someone."
Behind her, Spike was taking more unnecessary breaths, so close that she could almost taste him. Silently, he took a place beside her, brushing her arm as he did so. Buffy closed her eyes briefly.
"I know you already met him, but he's changed. He told me how you were always kind to him. I…I think you saw something that was kind of there, way deep. Even though at the time, I thought you were crazy. I get it. Maybe he's not – good, exactly, in the way I normally think about it. But he's right."
A cool hand met her shoulder. She struggled to continue, eyes welling up. "So…I'd like to introduce you to him. I don't know what title to give him, what you'd want me to say. Boyfriend seems so high school, but I guess that's the closest thing I've got. Anyway. You'd know what he means to me."
"Joyce," he joined in, and she realized in horror-amazement that his voice was catching and his eyes were teary, "I know you'd be right proud of Buffy. You raised a hell of a woman. It'd be too much to ask for, for you to approve of me being…whatever title I am. I can't say I'm a good man. Can't even say I'm a man. But I do love her. Got more love for her than I know what to do with. So I hope that's okay. I think you'd understand."
Buffy sniffed. She gasped for air.
And then she tackled her titleless vampire lover to the ground and kissed him hard.