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Dreams and Desotos by bloodshedbaby
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Buffy played it safe and removed herself from the house in case Spike attempted to guilt her into helping with the morbid cleanup, calling over her shoulder as she ushered her mom out the door that she was going to show her mom the town.

Because she did feel guilty.

Buffy and her mom had managed to spend several enjoyable hours together, and had just finished having lunch at the diner on 3rd street when Buffy's cell phone rang.

"Hello?" she answered cautiously, already knowing who was on the other end.

"You can come home now, Miss. Mouse-slay-teer."

The teasingly spoken name brought a smile to her lips and Buffy was relieved to note that he sounded slightly amused rather than irritated at her so obvious defection.

"Ok. Mom and I were just having lunch. We'll be home in a few." Buffy slapped the phone shut with a quick flick of her wrist and grinned conspiratorially at her mother. Both women were relieved that they had been spared the gruesome task.

A few minutes later, the two Summers women were pushing open the heavy glass door, each laden with a stout brown sack. Buffy had wisely purchased an entire apple pie from the diner rather than the usual piece she usually brought home to Spike. Belatedly, they had remembered Giles and the fact he quite possibly had missed lunch and had ordered him the daily special before heading home.

When they stepped through the front door, they did so with much trepidation. There was a lingering smell of decay, but scented candles had been lit and now the smell was battled by the heavy aroma of pumpkin spice. Buffy hung her coat and scarf on the coat rack next to the door and took the box from her mother, holding it stiffly before her as the peace offering it was.

"We're home," she called, slightly unnerved by the silence.

"Know that, you silly bint. Vampire here, ya know."

Buffy spun around to catch the amused smirk as Spike stood in the doorway behind them. "God! You scared the crap out of me!"

Spike snorted derisively. "Some bleedin slayer you are." He eyed the box in her hands, and one eyebrow lifted towards the ceiling. "A whole pie, is it? Feeling a wee bit guilty?"

"No!" Buffy denied heatedly, then softened. "Ok fine, maybe a little."

"Good." Spike stalked across the room and relieved Buffy of her offering, heading purposefully into the kitchen.

"Where's Giles?" Buffy called after him, not wanting to follow.

"I ate him," Spike tossed back. "Tossed his body in the basement along with the others."

At her mother's horrified gasp, Buffy couldn't help but shake her head. "He didn't eat him, mom."

Spike's derisive laughter sounded loudly from the kitchen. "He's taking a shower."

"Ok, I'll just put his lunch.... here then." Buffy took the bag from her mother and set it on the dining room table. With a casual stroll, Buffy settled herself down on the couch and picked up a magazine, more than content to spend the rest of the day in such a fashion.

As the afternoon passed however, Buffy's nerves escalated. She knew there was little she could do to avoid the reason her watcher had been so intent upon finding her, but she was determined to keep the knowledge at bay as long as possible. Every time Giles would open his mouth, Buffy would point her finger at him and making a shushing gesture, and his pained sighs grew in volume and frequency.

"Buffy, we must discuss this," Giles finally announced, thoroughly exasperated.

"Giles, I don't want to know. You know why? The second you tell me, it will be like this entire year never happened and I'm just not willing to let it go. I don't want to be that Slayer anymore."

Another put upon sigh followed by a grimace met this current vehement denial, as Buffy maintained her current status on the couch, a stack of magazines beside her.

Spike had gone upstairs to catch a few more hours of sleep leaving Buffy alone with the onslaught. Finally after a harsh glare from Joyce, Giles finally threw himself into the large leather easy chair after selecting a novel from the extensive selection lining the large antique bookshelves.

It seemed like the day that had no end to Buffy, especially she had no intentions of going into the kitchen anytime soon.

Relief came with a knock on the door. After yelling that the door was open, Buffy was ecstatic to see her friend Elaine posing herself dramatically in the now open doorway.

"Since when do you knock?" Buffy asked with a grin, getting up to embrace her friend.

"Uh gee... that would be since your mother came to town. And that other one," Elaine replied derisively, looking around the room. Her grin widened as she discovered Giles sitting in the corner. "Oops, sorry," she acknowledged, sounding anything but.

Elaine slung her jacket off and hung it on top of Buffy's while closing the door. Suddenly, her nose wrinkled up in disgust. "Holy crap on a hotdog stick, what is that smell?"

"So not a story I want to go into right now. I'm trying to repress here." Buffy's tone was firm but Elaine caught the shudder of revulsion that struck her normally fearless friend, and allowed herself to be herded over to the couch.

"Where's Rick?" Buffy asked.

"Oh, he'll be over later. He was doing the manly puttering thing in the garage. Mostly I just heard a lot of swearing, so don't think he's doing much of anything." A wicked and familiar gleam entered Elaine's eye as her head swiveled around searchingly. "Speaking of manly...."

"He's sleeping," Buffy interrupted before Elaine could finish what was so obviously about to commence. She snickered at the crestfallen look on Elaine's face. "Don't worry, His Manliness should be getting up soon."

"Well... alright then." With that said, Elaine settled back against the couch and looked at Joyce, still pointedly ignoring Giles. "Don't you think Spike is pretty much Manliness Personified, Joyce? I mean... those cheekbones, those eyes.... that body!," Elaine pronounced dramatically.

"Elaine!" Buffy hissed, slightly mortified for once at her friend blatant appreciation of her husband. She flicked a glance over at her mom who she discovered only wore a bemused look on her face.

"You silly bints talking about me again?" Spike inquired as he strolled nonchalantly into the room.

Elaine took one look at him before clapping her hands together and tipping her head to the ceiling to offer silent thanks for the delicious sight before her, then quickly commenced with the blatant leering. "Oh yeah, my personal favorite. We have 'Fresh from the shower Spike'," Elaine revealed, as her eyes widened appreciatively.

"You should see 'In the Shower Spike'," Buffy replied mischievously , then slapped her hands over mouth. She shot her mom an embarrassed look, her face turning the color crimson for making such a lewd remark in front of her mother. But then realized her mother's own eyes were riveted on the damp, hard muscled torso in front of them; the pale, smooth skin a harsh contrast to the dark jeans he wore.

Elaine turned to Buffy and crossed her arms petulantly in front of her. "You so suck. If you weren't my best friend, I would hate you. You know that, right?" She looked past Buffy to Joyce, and gestured widely. "See? Your mom totally agrees. If you weren't her daughter, your mom would hate you too. Right, Joyce?"

At the secretive smile that played across Joyce's face, Elaine countered, "What? Am I wrong here? I don't think so!"

Joyce laughed at Elaine blatant teasing. Spike snorted in disgust, but it didn't escape anyone's notice that he deliberately stretched his arms over his head in a long, leisurely stretch, causing the corded muscles in his abdomen to ripple in an enticing manner.

"Show off," Buffy remarked lightly, shaking her head.

"Wait, do that again," Elaine commanded, "I missed the first part."

Spike sent her a dirty look. "Bloody hell, what am I? And where the buggar is your husband at? Need his support here, you know. Don't know how many times I've told the sod not to let you over here unattended, Elaine."

Elaine shrugged, completely unaffected. "He's at home, doing manly stuff in the garage. Of course, he'll never be as manly as you, but..." Elaine allowed her voice to trail off in pained acceptance.

"You getting all this down, Watcher? Should be note worthy, and all. Maybe Elaine could be your secret weapon in the fight against evil; make all Big Bads run screaming in the opposite direction." With that effort of civility towards Giles, Spike headed into the kitchen, all eyes following his exit. "Hey Buffy, what are we doing for dinner?" he called back.

"I don't know, but I'm not stepping foot in that kitchen until my heebie jeebie Factor is at Defcon: Not So Much."

"Why? What happened?" Elaine questioned, fully alerted to the potential for gossip.

"I don't want to talk about it." In a manner of dismissal, Buffy picked up the magazine she had been looking through and pretended to become engrossed in its glossy contents, ignoring the uncharacteristic snort from her Watcher.

Elaine opened her mouth to probe further when a low knock on the door was heard.

Buffy, glad to have the distraction knowing full well how tenacious her friend could be when she set her mind to something, called out quickly, "Come in."

Buffy tossed a look of exasperation in Elaine's direction. "Sheesh, what is it with you guys and the sudden all-knocking-ness?"

Arching her perfectly waxed and groomed eyebrow in response, Elaine commented dryly, "It's a little something called manners, oh dearest friend of mine."

"Please. Like that has ever stopped you before," Buffy grumbled before yelling for Rick to come in as she geared up to brave her stinky kitchen. One thing she knew, they were going OUT to dinner. There was no way she was cooking in there tonight. Nooo way.

When the front door still failed to open, Buffy spun around before reaching the archway that would take her into the kitchen and to Spike. "Hello! Are you deaf now on top of developing an annoying case of manners? This is the part where you turn the knob and walk in," she yelled.

"I think you need to get Spike back out here to answer the door," Elaine suggested helpfully, not moving from her place on the couch. Giles muttered to himself once more and got up to prepare a drink at the bar on the other side of the room.

The front door opened slowly, and a head peeked around. "H-hello?"

It wasn't Rick.

Buffy spun around, her eyes widening in shock. "Willow?"

"Buffy?" Willow stepped through the open door way, still hesitant.

Buffy took a step forward, staring at her friend as a vortex of emotions washed over her. Suddenly finding herself with tears in eyes, Buffy wasted no time in crossing the distance and throwing her arms around the other girl. Suddenly she was pried from Willow's arms to be ensnared in a more masculine set.

"Oh my god, Buffy..." Was all Xander was able to get out before finding his voice compromised by the large lump that had formed in his throat.

"Xander... Oh god, you guys are really here," Buffy commented dumbly as the true reality of her defection seemed to suddenly hit her. She had missed her friends. She had missed them way more than she had let herself believe. It took seeing them again to bring those suppressed feelings fully to the surface.

Rick chose that moment to arrive, sliding through the open door unnoticed as he looked with curiosity at the bittersweet reunion taking place.

"What's with the sobbies?" he asked his wife as he joined her by the couch.

"Buffy's 'friends'," she commented with airquotes without the slightest bit of jealousy. She knew her place in Buffy's life, and was more than secure with their friendship.


A sudden, sharp threatening snarl had everyone jumping, and Xander and Willow spun around, their eyes widening comically.

"Spike!" Xander yelped, his voice several octaves higher than usual.

Willow took the moment to study the body language of those around her. Her immediate thought was that Spike had followed them there, figuring they would lead him to Buffy so he could finally kill her. But that theory didn't mesh with what she was seeing. There were no looks of alarm, no fear. Not much anyway.

In fact, Buffy looked... exasperated? Xander still had his arms around her, and when Buffy attempted to detangle herself, the growls rose in ferocity when Xander refused to let her go. Eyes flashed yellow, and sharp ridges emerged on the vampire's previously smooth forehead. The tension in the room was palpable.

The terse silence was broken by the sound of an open palm striking flesh. "Ow! What was that for?" Rick complained, rubbing his injured arm.

Elaine put her fisted hands on her waist and glared at her husband for the unknown slight. "THAT was for never being all sexy and possessive," she revealed haughtily, her eyes once again frozen on the half naked vampire standing by the kitchen. Elaine smirked over at Buffy. "Ok, I've changed my vote. I think I like 'All Possessive Spike' the best," she revealed. "He's yummy."

Buffy found herself grinning at her friend, especially after hearing Giles's muttered, "Oh, good lord. Does the woman ever stop?"

"Yeah," Buffy found herself whole-heartedly agreeing. Just like that, things fell back into place and Buffy was on sure ground again. This is where her life was now, where she belonged. She managed to finally detangle herself from Xander's confused embrace, and took a step back, her eyes traveling around the room. Her mom looked pensive, Giles looked disgusted, Xander and Willow appeared confused, and Spike....?

She could practically feel his intense gaze burning a hole right through her, his low growls still rumbling. They sent a shiver right through her, and her body had to agree with Elaine. Possessive Spike was very yummy.

Buffy smiled at him, her love shining through in one quick quirk of her lips, and Spike relaxed, his game face sliding away as they regarded each other from opposite ends of the room.

"What in the flying bean burrito with hot sauce is Spike doing here?" Xander asked, his voice dripping with suspicion and distaste.

Giles sighed heavily. Sometimes he couldn't stand the little twerp, and this was proving to be one of those times, especially when he saw Buffy immediately bristle with anger.

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