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The epilogue, which is.

I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.

~Lord Byron


    “Okay. So, this is probably going to be our last session,” Wesley said. “Do I understand that correctly?”

    “Yeah,” Spike said. “Things is doing better now. I mean, this last year has been...”

    “Hectic?” Buffy tried.



    “Mucked up, broken down, and not a pretty picture,” Spike said. “So... perfect, then?”

    “Shut up,” Buffy said, rolling her eyes.

    “Make me.”

    Under ordinary circumstances, Buffy would have bitten Spike’s tongue at this juncture, but they were right in front of Wes. She satisfied herself by glaring, and he smirked.

    “So, you’re pretty sure the relationship is on a stable footing,” Wesley said.

    “Yeah,” Buffy said. “I mean, we still fight, but–”

    “All the bloody time,” Spike interjected.

    “– I don’t think we really need an umpire anymore. You’re not hurt?”

    “On the contrary,” Wesley said. “My goal all along has been to make it so you wouldn’t need me. Just a few more questions. Um, Spike. So, the soul...?” Wesley asked.

    It was Spike’s turn to roll his eyes. “It’s just there,” he said. “Makes some things easier. Makes a lot of things harder. Don’t need the way I used to, which... I mean, that’s neat. Didn’t think it was gonna hit me quite that hard, though. If Buffy hadn’t been there to hold me through it... balls. I think I might have gone insane.”

    “You’re glad she was there?”

    “Well, she had to be, didn’t she,” Spike said. “Wouldn’t have done it without her.”

    “Yeah, you would have,” Buffy said. “You were going to go without me.”

    “I mean at all,” Spike said with a wicked grin. “Sodding bitch, go and make me a better person, what the hell? I’ll never forgive her for it. I punish her for it all the bloody time.”

    Buffy blushed. “Yeah, well. I’m just glad you were there when my mom died. He’s good with death,” she told Wesley. “Just held on to me, dragged me back from the shock. And he was so good with Dawn.”

    “And that was a bloody picnic,” Spike said. “One day, everything makes sense, next day, little sis-in-law getting underfoot, raiding my pig’s blood for her avaunt-garde art project. Took us a while to sort that out. Thank god the niblet’s a charmer.”

    “Fortunately, Spike had the idea to just leave town like the minute we knew,” Buffy said. “Just after Mom... well. We passed through Glory’s magic hell-key deadline somewhere... Canada, was it?”

    “Yeah,” Spike said. “I think that was the day the bear ripped the tent. Oh, man, hadn’t had that much fun in ages. Anyway, we’ve not heard from that sorry excuse for a god since. Averted another apocalypse.”

    “And I didn’t even have to drown this time,” Buffy said.

    “So you both feel that the relationship has been mutually beneficial,” Wesley asked.

    “Oh, yeah. Well... she snores.”

    “And you never clean up.”

    “And she’s still got this whole holier-than-thou attitude.”

    “And he’s got this evil streak.”

    “And she’s still got a stake up her ass.”

    “And he thinks he’s god’s gift.”

    “Hardly. I just know what you like.”

    “Not you.

    Spike grinned. “Yeah. But you love me.”

    Buffy chuckled and tilted her head onto his shoulder. They were sitting together on Wes’s couch. “Yeah. But you’re still a jerk.”

    “And you’re still a bitch.” He kissed her forehead. "And I love you, too."

    Wesley had never seen any two people more obviously fond of each other. “So, there’s no... residual resentment based on the fact that your entire relationship was founded on... well, essentially, a lie.”

    “Yeah, but it wasn’t,” Buffy said. “We had this really intense relationship even before Willow’s little spell. But... we care about each other. We always sort of did. I mean, sure, we had this one really crazy week when we were both... high or something.”

    “And then we came back to earth in each other’s arms,” Spike said with a big grin.

    “Quit being sappy.”

    “Make me,” Spike said again.

    “But that is why the party is Sunday instead of Saturday,” Buffy said. “For the day after our anniversary. That was the other reason we wanted this session. It’s gonna be a great party. It’s at the Bronze. Care to come, Wes?”

    Wesley grinned. “I believe I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”