*****Spell Checked

Title: Akoshta

Author: Kaylorin

Beta Read by: RogueAngel

Synopsis: Buffy is the connection in a prophecy involving two Vampires being tested so they can continue down the paths set before them. B/S and other couples we already know about on ATS and Buffy. Set after OAFA, and Couplet.

Rating: R

Distribution: Fine with me, make sure it's the final edited copy, and let me know where it's going. My e-mail is kaylorin90@yahoo.com

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Epilogue

The group gathered while Spike told what little he could remember of the past week. All in all, it wasn't much. The letter was read one at a time as it passed around the table, then back to Spike, sitting on the steps up to the loft with Buffy seated next to him.

Spike's memories were broken and contained little more than pictures in his head, a few words and phrases. He was looking at Buffy as he continued.

"I was back at the store I'd gone to for the blood, right? So I was leaving and all I wanted was to get my hands on some food." He turned to the group and motioned over at Dawn, sitting between Willow and Tara. "Her kind of food. I musta bought ten kinds of candy bars and those crisps, I mean potato chips." He looked back at Buffy. "Bloody wonderful, those sour cream and onion ones, by the way."

Buffy's smile held confusion, but she listened as the Vampire told of his new fascination for junk food. "Oh, and Coke. I'm gonna be bringin' some over for you to keep for me when I come by. OK?" She just nodded.

He smiled at her, knowing this was a lot for her, for all of them, to take in. "So I got in my car, and went for a chocolate bar, but the bloody bag falls over. I go diggin' under the seat for them, and there was this." He held up the now-familiar envelope. Plain white, just like the paper that had been written on.

Willow, who had been taking notes from the beginning for the Diary, held her pencil in the air as if in class.

"Yeah, Red? What is it?"

"You said the envelope was under the seat? Why would they hide it?"

Spike looked over at her. "I think I might have pushed it off the seat when I woke up the first time. Was too sore to get up and passed out." He looked back at Buffy. " 'Urt like hell, it did. Bloody head was poundin'...I haven't felt like that since...well since you dropped that organ on me, luv." He winked at her.

She put her head down a bit shamefully and looked up at him. "Sorry."

"S' in the past." He looked over the group. "All in the past. One thing I know: this," Spike stood up, and pointed at the floor. "is where I am supposed to be." He looked back over the group, then to Buffy, still seated on the steps. "Can't say I'm sorry for anything I did. It's who I was, but I can tell you that it isn't who I am now."

Spike stepped up next to Xander who had remained silent at Anya's request to 'just listen to him'. He looked down at the young man to make sure he understood.

"Look whe-." He took an unneeded breath. "Look, mate...you hate me, and for good reason. I wanted you dead. I wanted all of you dead. This is your worst nightmare come true. Am I right?"

Xander straitened up in his chair. He'd done as he was asked. He'd been quiet. He'd even paid attention. He didn't believe half of it, but he'd listened. Spike calling him 'mate' didn't make him his mate. Helping last summer only held so much water, considering half of the demon population wanted Spike a little more than damaged themselves. Spike had needed them as much as they needed some muscle. Ok, so maybe Buffy had a point earlier about impressing her corpse, but still. It's Spike! Not of the good. Xander lifted his head and stared up at the Vampire. "I'd say it's close."

"Xander!" Anya yelled and whapped him across his back. "You take that back."

"No, it's alright. Not wantin' this to start out with lies. He hates me. I just said that. Can't blame him." Spike walked back and sat next to Buffy. "I'm telling you this right now. All of you. I'm not going to hurt her," He placed his hand on Buffy's knee. "I won't hurt any of you. I even won't harm a human, unless it's a bad human." He looked over at Buffy. "Muggings, you know?"

She shook her head. "Not a good idea. The chip."

Spike's face changed as realization hit him full force, and he shot to his feet. "Huh, I didn't even think..." He looked back at Buffy. "That's what I was gonna ask for." He began pacing the short distance to the check-out counter. "I didn't even think to see...Bloody hell...I can't believe I forgot."

"Spike's chipless?" Dawn smiled as she asked.

Xander, Willow and Tara had worry on their faces. Anya and Buffy were curious.

"Don't know, Bit. Didn't even think about it 'til now." Spike stood still. Not sure who to ask to test it on.

"Well, see?" Buffy motioned at the Vampire while looking at Xander. "He didn't even think about if he could hurt a human 'til...I...brought ...it...up." She frowned at herself for being the reason the mood had changed.

Dawn quickly stood up. "Here, hit me."

"NO!" both Spike and Xander yelled at the girl. The two males shared a curious look with each other.

Spike looked back up at Dawn.

"Thanks for the offer, pet, but I just promised not to hurt any of you. Won't go back on my word."

"Hit me." Xander stood up in front of Spike. His fists were clenched and he squeezed his eyes shut tight. "Just remember, after this, you no longer have permission. Got it?"

Spike looked back at Buffy. She shrugged her shoulders. He took that as an ok and punched Xander in the stomach. Not as hard as he would in a fight, but enough to set the chip off in his head. The pain came quickly, and the Vampire gripped his head as Xander doubled over, coughing a little to catch his breath.

Willow scribbled on her pad as Buffy and Anya went to their boyfriends.

"I'd say that's a 'no' on the chiplessness," Dawn chimed in on the scene.

A few minutes later, the guys had recovered and Spike was again sitting with Buffy. Xander noted that through this whole conversation, the couple didn't hold hands, they didn't cuddle. This was all business.

Whatever was going on, something was definitely different between them. The tension in both was gone. The thing that he noticed most was that Buffy seemed genuinely happy. Something he hadn't seen in so long.

There was no way he could tell his best friend he couldn't support this. There was no way he would trust Spike. At least not yet. Something big would have to happen before he could truly believe that Spike was now one of the good guys, but he could never deny the one thing that seemed to bring the friend he'd known for six years back to life. Back to really living.

"Fine." Xander stood up and looked down at Spike. "But you go back on your word, and I stake you."

Spike stood. "I hurt any of you, I'll do it myself." Spike put out his hand; Xander stared at it. A Vampire offering his hand.

'This is just weird,' Xander decided, and took the Vampire's cool hand. The two shook on it. The deal was made.

As darkness fell, the group talked, a bit uncomfortably, but they talked. Buffy told Spike about her trip to Nevada, about the Slayer he'd met sixty years ago, and that her husband was once a Vampire. Tara shared as much information with him as she had about Buffy's 'change' since the resurrection. Anya told him about the Twins of Akoshta and what "the Gift's" true meaning was. Willow showed him his Diary and the newer entries while proudly sharing it was her job to keep the Diary up to date.

"Better be careful what I say around you then, eh'?" he joked.

"You betcha, mister," the redhead said while chastising him playfully with her pencil. Even Xander smiled at that.

Willow took the book back and put it in her satchel. "I hate to be the party pooper, but it's getting late. I need to get home and research a paper for class."

Buffy checked the clock. It was nearly 9:00. "Jeez. I didn't even...I need to get Dawnie home and go patrol."

"Why don't Anya and I just drop you two off?" Xander asked Willow, then looked back to Buffy. "And then you...and Spike can go patrol?" Xander looked over a Tara. "You need a lift?"

"Sure, if you have room, I mean."

"It'll be a squeeze, but I think we'll survive." He helped Dawn with her books and started for the door. Spike pulled Buffy to her feet, keeping hold of her hand as they followed the Scoobies out of the shop. After Anya secured the door, they walked over to Xander's car. He unlocked it and held the door open for Anya. "Hey, where are you two going to patrol?"

Buffy looked at Xander. "I'm not sure. Hasn't been a lot of slayage lately." She turned to face Spike. "I think the cemeteries are our best bet."

"If it's been slow, probably," Spike said, then looked over to Xander. "Why?"

"Just not all that tired. Thought I'd meet up with you, see if I can still distract the demons by letting them pummel me," he laughed.

Anya whined a little, and Xander assured her he wouldn't be late. "Just let me make sure everyone gets home, and I'll meet you by the Hampton mausoleum, OK?"

"Why not? Haven't had a good group patrol in awhile," Buffy agreed. "About half an hour?"

Spike had really been hoping to try the idea Buffy had whispered in his ear but making a good impression was important, too. Maybe not as important....

Xander looked into his full car. "Better make it an hour even," he amended and got behind the wheel.

The car drove off as the two blondes headed in complete silence for the first of twelve cemeteries that held the dead and undead of Sunnydale.

Spike walked with his Slayer, matching her stride, and tried fruitlessly to think of something to say. A week ago they would have bantered, quipped, argued, even talked...he felt so stupid. Here he was, practically any wish he'd ever had all come true, and he couldn't think of a damn thing to say to the woman walking beside him.

Buffy's mind raced. Nothing seemed right. The weather was a bad subject. The kiss of death. A muffled giggle shook her slightly. Kiss of death...if that wasn't just the most ridiculous thing for a girl who kisses dead guys to think. She looked over to the Vampire. He seemed to be very intent on watching his feet. He looked over at Buffy, who was now watching his boots as they carried him along.

"I feel like I'm on a bloody first date," he finally said as they entered the gate to the cemetery.

Buffy stopped walking as she took in his words. "That's what this is. In a very Sunnydale way, this is like our first date."

It was true. This was the first time they were together, not just in each other's company, but together. The cards had all been laid out on the table. No more secrets and here they were now.

Spike smirked at her. "If ya don't mind, luv, I'd like to skip to the end of the date." He stepped up to her, cupped her cheek, and kissed her softly.

When he pulled back Buffy's eyes were still closed. Without opening them she asked, "What if had been a really good date?"

Spike smiled and pulled her close, flush with his body, and kissed her hard. Their tongues danced as a moan escaped Buffy's throat. Her hands slid up the arms of his duster, and she grasped the back of his neck. Their lips were crushed together with fierce passion.

His hand slipped underneath the back of her jacket and blouse. Her soft, warm skin fueled his progress up her back. Her hand slowly slid to his chest, and she pushed him back gently.

"OK. We keep this up, there is no way anything is getting patrolled."

He pulled her back against him. "Been slow, remember?" He brought his lips back to hers. Once again, she was pulled into a kiss that freed her from restraint. Another low growl grew in her throat. Spike chuckled quietly, happy to know he had this effect on her.

She pulled back and pressed her hand to his chest. "And the laughing? Not gonna help you here." She looked at him seriously.

"Buffy, you were growlin'."

Embarrassment welled in her. "Oh."

Spike wrapped both arms around her. "Don't be ashamed. It's a hell of a compliment...for me," he told her, his cocky smile firmly in place.

She smacked his chest playfully, and he kissed her again.

"Xander," she whispered.

Spike yanked himself back. "Bloody...what did you just say?!" he asked angrily.

Buffy looked up at him, barely able to contain the laughter. "We're supposed to meet Xander. Remember?"

"Oh. Yeah." He straightened his duster, and the furrow on his brow eased.

She smiled at him, still trying to contain the giggling that threatened to escape, and walked towards the second cemetery. "Jealous?" she threw back at him when he didn't fallow.

"Hey, now," Spike began to jog and caught up with her, "not bloody jealous of the kid."

Buffy just loved pushing her Vampire's buttons. "I dunno. I don't think you could call Xander a kid anymore." She looked at Spike's newly furrowed brow, checking to see just how seriously he was taking her. "Looks all grown up to me." She ran ahead.

Spike stood there, confusion on his face. She was playing with him. A smile soon took over. "You want to play, Slayer?" And he took off after her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Xander stood waiting. They were late, but that probably meant they had found a few Vamps on their way. He twirled the stake in his hand. The one trick he had mastered in six years of Slaying alongside his friend. He heard some screaming, then laughter. It was Buffy. He dropped the stake mid- twirl. "Damn."

The brunette picked the wood up off the ground, and saw Buffy, being chased by Spike. She was laughing, but the scene gave Xander a feeling of foreboding. Just as he was about to walk to meet them, a cold hand gripped his neck.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Buffy saw Xander out of the corner of her eye just as Spike tackled her to the ground. "You sure you want to play, Slayer?"

"Spike?" a voice called from behind him. Xander was standing stock still as the male Vampire behind him kept his grip tight on his shoulder and waist. "We all heard you were fighting alongside the Slayer. I am so glad to see it was a mistake."

Spike looked down at Buffy and gave her a grimacing smile. A knowing glance passed between the two as she he pulled the stake from her boot, and hid it inside his sleeve. Then, in a quick motion, he pulled her up and gripped her around her waist from behind, just as the Vampire had Xander. "Well, there is only so much you can do with a Slayer before you get bored. Know what I mean, mate?"

The other Vampire nodded. "Slayers are only good for two things, and the other is feeding." The Vampire laughed at his own joke.

Spike gripped Buffy tighter, then abruptly loosened his grip. The Slayer moved with preternatural speed and pulled Xander from the distracted Vampire. In the same motion, Spike brought the stake from his sleeve. The confused, and now empty-handed, Vampire was dust.

Xander, who had been thrown to the ground after Buffy pulled him away, was stunned.

"Gotta say, well executed rescue plan."

For the second time that night, Xander did something he never thought he'd do. He took Spike's outstretched hand.

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So...whacha think? Not too awful for my first fic...turned novel??? I'd really like to know. Gonna answer some questions now that came up on the review board. "Akoshta" was never mentioned on either show. Not that I know of anyway. I made 'er up all by my little self. As far as spelling goes, I am using the spell checker. Thank you, Maid of Many Names, but I also found that it jumbled allot of the sentences...so I still need to go back and fix some of those on individual chapters. I can't spell at all...so I am really sorry for those of you who were first to read them...but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for r&ring despite it's virtual unreadability. Really want to thank those at the Cross and Stake, especially JuniorK, mushmush, and any others who use different names but I have no idea who you are. :-) If you're asking "weren't there supposed to be more Council scenes?" I have one thing to say...sequel.