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To Save a Lady by slaymesoftly
Chapters Prologue - 6

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“Hey, watch it, Slayer! You almost got me with that thing.” Spike growled and moved a little further away from Buffy and the axe she was carrying.

“Don’t be such a baby, Spike. I didn’t even come close to hitting you. Did I, guys?”

“Uh, actually, Buffster, you did kinda…” The look she sent him had Xander backpedaling quickly. “…Kinda go out of your way to miss him. Yep, that’s what I saw. You tried really hard to miss him.”

He gave the glaring vampire an apologetic shrug as he retreated behind Giles until Buffy forgot about his almost-treason. The ex-watcher just sighed and continued moving forward.

“If you two can stop squabbling until we find something you actually need to fight, I might be able to do a better job of following this map of the facility.”

He had to bite his tongue to hold back what he wanted to say about the bickering. Giles knew Buffy had argued with her current boyfriend about the vampire, but as much as he disliked the man, he had to sympathize with him. The only people who didn’t recognize the sexual tension between the two blond fighters were Buffy and Spike themselves. Everyone else was just waiting for the feelings simmering so blatantly between the Slayer and another master vampire to boil over. Giles had already resigned himself to the inevitable; grateful that this vampire had no soul to lose and a government chip that prevented him from harming humans.

“Well, it’s boring in here, Giles,” Buffy almost whined. “No left over demons to kill, no soldiers, and, apparently, no mystical books hidden away anywhere.”

“I’m confident they are here. We just have to locate Walsh’s office. I cannot in good conscience leave knowledge like that lying around for anyone to find.”

“Well, we’d better find them soon. I’m getting hungry and it’s getting late. I was hoping to get some sleep tonight.”

“Soldier boy been keeping you up too late with the boring shaggin’, Slayer?” Spike snarked, earning another glare and a raised axe.

Before she could follow through on her implied threat, Xander moved off to peer into a small, metal room standing by itself in the middle of the larger area.

“Hey, I wonder what they did in here?” he said as he ran his flashlight around the bare interior. “Look at all the fancy dials on the door.”

Curiosity getting the best of them, Spike and Buffy both moved over to peer into the room with Xander. They jostled each other good-naturedly to be the first to look in the room. In spite of their constant arguing and insulting each other, the two had reluctantly formed a very powerful team against the constant influx of demons that the Hellmouth attracted to Sunnydale. The weeks of fighting side by side had brought a grudging respect for each other’s abilities and courage and coming to the other’s aid if needed had become second nature to them.

While Xander wandered around the outside of the small, isolated room, admiring all the dials and switches, Buffy stepped inside and looked around for something of interest. What she found was a floor that slanted toward the center and she was quickly sliding in further than she had intended.

“Spike!” she yelled, reaching for his hand to stop her slide. He immediately stepped into the doorway and grabbed her wrist, halting her precipitous slip toward the deceptively flat center of the room. Just as he began to back out, pulling her with him, Xander completed his circuit of the exterior, coming around the outside corner and stumbling into the open door. His stumble caused the heavy door to hit Spike in the back, propelling the vampire into Buffy and the dark room.

“Whoops?” he said, as the door slammed closed on them, muffling their angry curses. He reached for the handle, only to find the door was firmly locked.

“Okay, not a big deal here. All I have to do is find the right dial or switch and it’ll pop right open. Looking for a switch that says, ‘open, door’. How hard can that be?”

He began to run his hands over the numerous buttons and switches on the outside of the door, mumbling to himself and trying to ignore the glare from the Watcher. When Giles realized Xander was actually turning dials and pushing random buttons, he ran over and grabbed his hands.

“What are you doing, you stupid git? We have no idea what those dials are designed to do.”

Before he had even finished speaking, a humming noise began and a green glow permeated the walls of the room. Xander frantically hit more buttons, trying to halt whatever process he’d started, but the humming just got louder and the glow brighter.

“Oh,oh. Glowing. Humming. Not of the good. Giles, we may have a situation here!”

A frustrated snort was the only reply from the older man as he grunted in effort, trying to get the door open.

Inside the pitch black room, Spike and Buffy were trying to stand up on the small center circle onto which they had slid when Xander slammed the door on them. They were so busy calling Xander names that they failed to notice the hum and glow at first. Not until they realized they could see each other again did they begin to worry about the noise and light.

“This cannot possibly be a good thing,” Buffy moaned.

“You think?” Spike snarled, looking desperately around the smooth floor for something to use to pull himself back toward the door.

“This is what you get for stepping inside instead of pulling me out! This is all your fault, Spike.”

“MY fault? You’re the stupid bint that walked into the room and grabbed ME for a lifeline. This is YOUR fault, Slayer.”

Her automatic retaliatory remark died in her throat as the hum reached uncomfortable levels and she had to shut her eyes against the bright glowing walls. Suddenly she felt like she was in a whirlpool as the wall spun around her and she felt herself being sucked into something large and empty. At the last second she reached out for Spike, only to find his hand already reaching for hers.

“Here we go, pet. Ready or not,” he growled as the room disappeared around them and it became very dark and quiet. There was no sound from Buffy, just a quick squeeze of his hand in acknowledgment before she gave herself up to whatever was happening to them.

Outside the room, there was an eerie silence as the glow faded from the walls and the humming stopped abruptly. Two sets of eyes went to the door, now swinging slowly open all by itself.

“Bugger,” Giles said softly as he stared into the now nearly-empty room.

“I see your bugger, and I’ll raise you an ‘oh, shit,’ ” Xander gulped as he too took in the not quite empty space in front of them. Sitting in the middle of floor, looking more than a little bewildered and snarling ferociously, was an eerily familiar-looking vampire in 19th century clothing.

Chapter One

Buffy landed hard, stumbling against Spike as her booted feet settled on a bumpy surface. Automatically, the vampire caught her and held her upright until she had her balance, taking advantage of the brief closeness to breathe in her scent and enjoy the feel of her strong little arms in his hands.

“Careful, pet. These cobblestones can be treacherous,” he said almost absently as he looked around and took in their surroundings.

“Cobblestones? How did we get on cobblestones? There aren’t any cobblestone streets in Sunnydale.”

“Don’t think we’re in Sunnydale anymore.”

Buffy looked around at the darkened street, noting the lack of traffic sounds and lights. “I…I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore either, Toto,” she said slowly. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Kansas?” Spikee gave her a confused look as he slipped into game face and began looking around.

“Yeah, Dorothy? Toto? Kansas? Oz? Nevermind,” she huffed, wondering why she’d been so sure Spike would be familiar with a 1939 children’s movie.

He grinned behind his fangs and enjoyed the increase in her heart rate that anger at him always provoked. As he used his vamp senses to try to figure out where they were, he wondered idly if she had any idea how often he deliberately riled her up just so he could enjoy the increase in blood temperature and heart beats that it evoked. One of his primary regrets about having the chip – right after not being able to kill anyone, of course – was that he could no longer fight with Buffy and enjoy the heady scent of her arousal while she beat him up.

Sighing for lost pleasures, he listened as hard as he could for sounds of traffic, cell phones, loud music – anything that would reassure him that they were still in 21st century California. However, his enhanced ears picked up nothing but the soft clopping of horses’ hooves at the far end of the dark street they had landed on.

He began walking toward the flickering street light at the end of the block, not looking back to see if Buffy was following or not. He heard her stumble and curse, quickly followed by an “ewww” as she realized what she had slipped in.

Smothering the laugh he was afraid might get him staked, he came back to where she was shaking the horse manure off her boots and held out his arm to her. She looked at him blankly for a moment, struggling to see his face in the still dim light of the poorly lit street.

“What do you want?

He gave a sigh of exasperation and offered his arm again.

“I’m offering to help you walk around without ruining your fancy boots there. Seein’ as how I’m the one with the good night vision an’ all.”


“Yeah, oh. Now do you want my help or not?”

She tossed her head haughtily, then caught herself just before the expected, “As if!” left her mouth.

Until I know more about where we are and how to get out of here, I’d better not piss Spike off. I might need him for something more important than keeping my boots clean.

Keeping her face carefully neutral, she wrapped one small hand around his muscular arm and stepped a little closer to his side. Aside from the clasped hands a few minutes ago, it was the first time they had touched for more than a violent second or two since the end of Willow’s disastrous will-be-done spell of almost a year ago, and she found herself having to fight back the memories of what the rest of his body felt like under her hands.

By silent, mutual, agreement, they had limited their physical contact since then to only what was necessary in the nightly dispatch of Buffy’s slaying duties. If any of the Scoobies had tried to tell them they were not touching out of fear that they would find themselves unable to stop, they would have stomped away with threats of violence filling the air.

As they got closer to the gas light at the corner of the street, another couple passed them going the other way and Spike folded his free hand over hers and ducked his head down as though talking to her. He nodded politely at the other man, still sheltering Buffy with his body.

“Stay close and hope they don’t notice your short skirt,” he murmured, his cool breath stirring tendrils of hair around her face. He’d felt her heart rate go up when she touched his arm and wondered about the cause, then felt it increase again as he leaned into her.

Probably just disgusted at having to touch me again he thought angrily. Afraid she’ll soil those dainty little hands by touching the Big Bad with ‘em.

He shook her hand off as soon as they got close to the light, ignoring the bewildered look she sent him.

“Sheesh! What’s your damage?” she growled, snatching her hand away.

“Don’t want you getting Slayer sweat all over my good leather,” he grumbled, fumbling for an excuse for his sudden temper.

“Oh, like I WANTED to be touching you!” she snapped back at him. “And my hands are NOT sweating, bleach boy.”

They stood under the flickering light glaring at each other until another horse drawn carriage approached and they had to admit they might have bigger problems than not wanting to be touching each other. When Spike noticed the driver of the horse-drawn cab staring at Buffy’s booted legs and short skirt, he whipped off his coat and threw it around her shoulders.

“What are you—?”

“You’re gonna get arrested for indecent exposure if you don’t keep those legs covered up,” he hissed. “Now put this on and keep it closed until we get somewhere safe to hole up for the day.”

“News flash, bloodsucker. I don’t have to hole up for the day. I’m all about walking in the sunshine and finding out where we are.”

He tilted his head and looked at her curiously. “Are you just whistling in the dark or are you really that dumb, pet? Cause, you HAVE noticed we’re not surrounded by all the comforts of modern technology haven’t you?”

“I’m kinda picking up on that,” she grumbled. “But we could be in, like, a theme park or something. You don’t know.”

He tapped his nose and ears for emphasis as he said, “Vampire here, Slayer. I haven’t smelled air like this in 100 years. And I can’t hear any trace of the sounds we’re used to. No cars anywhere, no phones ringing, nothing but the sights and sounds of a long, long time ago. So, it’s not so much WHERE we are, although I’ve got to admit I’m curious about why it looks so familiar, but WHEN we are that we should be worrying about.”

“Fine, Mr. I’m-older-than-dirt. Then you figure out when we are and find us a place to stay. I’m tired and I want to get some sleep before we try to get home.”

Spike looked around the intersection in all directions, finally narrowing his eyes and absently taking her hand, he began pulling her down the side street. Buffy left her hand in his cool grasp, fighting the urge to link her fingers with his. To her surprise, the vampire initiated a more intimate hold as he turned his hand interlocked their fingers. After they’d walked that way for a few blocks, she could see that he was heading toward a large house with darkened windows..

I know he’s just doing that so I don’t slow him down in the dark. It’s not like he wants to be holding my hand.

Spike stopped in front of the big, empty seeming house and stared at it with a bemused expression on his face. He listened carefully, but heard no heartbeats that would indicate there might be human beings inside. He tilted his head at the puzzled Slayer, wondering if he wanted to share this much of himself with her. The tingles on the back of his neck telling him the sun was coming up forced his hand, and he started through the open gate toward the empty building.

He’d gone most of the way to the house before he noticed that she wasn’t with him and he turned around to say, “Come on, pet. I need to get in before I fry.”

“We can’t just walk into somebody’s house, Spike. There are probably people sleeping in there. And even if they aren’t home, you won’t be able to get in, anyway.”

“Yes, I will,” he answered and turned back toward the path leading around to the back of the house.

“Spike!” she hissed, “You’re still a vampire. We-you can’t go in without an invitation.”

“Don’t need one. I know this house.”

“Why do you think you …Oh my god. Did you eat the owner? That’s it, isn’t it? You know where we are because you ate the owner of this house!”

“You’re partly right, Slayer,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “I DO know where we are, I just don’t know when we are. But if the house is empty…”

“If it’s empty, then it’s sometime after you ate the owner.” Her voice was flat and dull as she was forcibly reminded of his violent past. “You know you can go in because you know the owner is dead.”

She heaved a deep sigh, then raised her eyes to his in resignation.

“It’s all right, Spike. I know what you used to be. I can’t help the owner now, so we might as well—“

The angry vampire cut her off explosively.

“Bloody hell, Slayer. Would you stop your yammering long enough for me to get word in edgewise? I didn’t eat the bloody owner!”

“Then why do you think you can get in? He IS dead, isn’t he?”

“Yes, he’s bloody well dead, if you must know.”

“Aha! And you know that…how?” She stubbornly stood her ground in the front yard, refusing to follow him around the house.

“Because I AM the owner, you irritating bitch.”

Chapter Two

He turned his back on her and marched off around the corner of the house, leaving the astonished slayer staring after him with her mouth open. As soon as she could no longer see or hear him, she realized how very silent the early morning darkness was and with a shiver she hurried after the muttering vampire.

By the time Buffy got around to the back of the house, Spike was rooting around under a large rock, clearly searching for something. With a triumphant, “ Ha!” he stood up, holding a large old-fashioned looking key in his hand. Without looking at the semi-contrite Buffy, he walked up the steps of the back porch and inserted the key in the door.

He opened it with a flourish, pausing from force of habit to hold it open for the wary girl right behind him. Buffy gave him a suspicious look, although she already knew from when they were “engaged” that Spike had manners he was usually careful to keep well-hidden. She slipped past his outstretched hand just as he realized what he’d done and they both turned away to pretend it never happened.

The interior of the room they’d just stepped into was hidden from Buffy’s eyes. Even with her slayer enhancements, she couldn’t see in the nearly pitch black room as well as Spike could. He stayed in vamp mode as he looked around the kitchen, sniffing to see if anyone was there recently. All he could smell was a faint trace of Cook’s scent and another, less familiar one. Neither one indicated a recent presence in the house and he relaxed a bit.

Taking Buffy’s hand again, he led her into a hallway, stopping at a small table to use his lighter to fire up a kerosene lamp. By the flickering light, he continued down the hall and into the front parlor, pausing and shutting his eyes briefly in pain when he saw the piano at which his mother had spent so much time before she became ill.

He set the lamp down and walked around the room, lighting a few others as he came to them. He was pleased to see that all the lamps had oil and the wicks had been recently trimmed. Turning to look at the Slayer, he saw that she was looking around with wide eyes. She caught sight of the portrait over the fireplace and, picking up the lamp, she walked over closer to it to gaze up into eyes that mirrored those watching her so carefully.

She turned and asked softly, “Is that your mother?”

“Yes,” was the short reply.

“She’s…she was…very pretty,” Buffy offered somewhat timidly.

“Yes, she was,” he replied, doing nothing to encourage her line of questioning.

“When did she…I mean was it before you were turned? Or did you…?”

“She had TB,” he said flatly. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I’m sorry,” she amazed him by saying softly. “I didn’t mean to bring up—“

“It’s fine. Just leave it, alright?”

With a last look at the sweet-looking woman in the portrait, she nodded and sat down in a wing chair.

“So, now what do we do?” she asked, casting another look around and noticing the lightening skies outside.

“Don’t know what you’re going to do,” he said impatiently. “I’m going to find a room with heavy drapes and catch some kip. Got a feeling it’s going to be a long day…or night.”

Buffy yawned in spite of herself. “I guess I could use some sleep too,” she said hesitantly. “Since you don’t think I can go out dressed like this.”

“You can’t,” he said, running his eyes up her bare legs appreciatively. “Not unless you’re planning to earn us some dosh the hard way.”

She blinked at him in confusion for a second, then flushed with anger and embarrassment.

“You are such a pig, Spike!”

“Oink, oink,” he agreed cheerfully, laughing as he caught the leather coat she’d shrugged off and thrown at him.

He picked up the lamp and nodded toward the double doors leading to the front hall.

“Come on, pet. Let’s find a place to bed down for the day.”

She followed him meekly, telling herself she was not noticing how the muscles in his butt flexed as he took the stairs two at a time.

I am NOT watching Spike’s butt! I’m just keeping my eye on him so he doesn’t leave me alone here in the dark.

He stopped at the top of the stairs and looked at her speculatively for a minute before pointing toward the first bedroom.

“That was my mum’s room. You can sleep there today. And there should be some dresses in the wardrobe that might fit you. Don’t go out until I’ve checked what you’re wearing – it’s important to have on the right kind of dress for the time of day.”

“I’m NOT an idiot, you know!” she huffed. “I’ve been dressing myself for years.”

“ ’S why I mentioned it, luv,” he snickered, handing her the lamp and moving toward another door. “Been watchin’ you for years, haven’t I? And I know Victorian England is not ready for Buffy Summers and her wardrobe.”

“Hmph!” she snorted, tossing her head and walking toward the closed door. She stopped when she had her hand on the doorknob and asked, without turning around, “You’ve been watching me?”

“Well, yeah. Had to know all about you if I was gonna kill you, didn’t I?”

“Oh.” She tried to keep the disappointment out of her voice as she concentrated on opening the heavy door.

Spike’s deep rumble stopped her for a second. “Wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, pet. Watchin’ you.” He waited to see if she was going to look at him, but she just nodded her head and kept walking. “I think you’re very watchable.”

She turned her head just enough that he could see the twitch of her lips as she tried not to smile.

“Well, it’s not like I actually CARE if you like watching me,” she tried to sound uninterested, but her accelerated heart beat told him different.

“No, ‘course not,” he agreed.

“Just so we’re clear on that.”

“Got it, Slayer,” he said with a small smile as he opened the door to his bedroom. “Sleep tight, pet”

“You too, Spike,” she said, closing the door softly and turning to look at the room his mother had used.

In addition to the beautiful four-poster bed and matching wardrobe and dresser, there was a small writing desk near the window and a comfortable looking chair and ottoman close to the fireplace. The sheets on the bed had a musty odor from being unused and in a closed house for so long, but the mattress was comfortable and Buffy was soon asleep.

While she slept, she dreamed that she was running along a dark street, wearing a long dress that hampered her movement and slowed her down in a frustrating manner. She became aware that she was being chased by someone or something and that it was rapidly gaining on her. Picking up the impeding skirts, she pushed herself to a faster pace, rounding a corner only to find herself facing two familiar looking people also wearing 19th century dress.

A closer look at the large man with the shoulder-length hair had her reeling back in surprise as he licked his lips and stared at her.

“Well, seems like Will has done something right a change,” Angelus said with a leer. “Drove this little darlin’ right to us, he did.”

The blond woman at his side sneered and dismissed Buffy with a toss of her head.

“She’s hardly big enough to be a snack,” she sniffed. “Just kill her and be done with it.”

Buffy had just recognized Darla under the powder and hair when a slender brunette seemed to float out of the mist to join them.

“Oh no, Grandmummy. Daddy. That is my William’s sunshine. You mustn’t try to take it. He will be very cross with you.”

“Shut up, Dru,” Angelus said absently. “She’s mine if I want her. Will has nothing to say about it.”

“You willin’ to argue that point, Angelus?” came a growl from the shadows as a Spike Buffy had never seen before stepped up beside her. He was dressed in the same old fashioned clothing as the other vampires and his much longer hair was threatening to block his vision as soft, brown curls hung over his forehead. The sharp cheekbones and startlingly blue eyes were the same ones she saw every day, though, and she had no trouble recognizing him.

Although she had been running from him at the beginning of the dream, Buffy realized that he was now the only thing standing between her and the rest of the Scourge of Europe. Even as she chastised herself for behaving in such an unSlayerly fashion, she shrank into his side and allowed him to place a protective arm around her.

Angelus shook his head in mock dismay. “Ah, Will, Will, Will. Poor boyo. You still don’t get it, do you? If I want her, I’ll have her. She’s mine. Always was, always will be. They’re all mine,” he gestured expansively to include Darla and Dru. “I only let you borrow them sometimes.”

“Not this one. You don’t get to touch her.” She could sense Spike shifting into game face as he pushed her behind him and challenged the much larger vampire.

Moving faster than the eye, Angelus was in front of them, holding Spike/William up by the collar. “I take what’s mine, boyo. You’ll want to be pickin’ your battles a little more carefully. She’s not worth losing your unlife over.”

With a snarl, he tossed the smaller vampire into the street and turned to reach a hand toward a frozen Buffy. Just as he was about to touch her breast, a growling blur flew into him and knocked him down. Buffy watched in horror as the two vampires rolled around snarling and snapping, their claws rending and teeth tearing flesh. The older, heavier vampire was soon on top and switching back to human guise, he began pounding William’s face with his fists, turning the beautiful human features into a mass of broken, bloody flesh.

When there was no longer any movement from the younger vampire, he rose to his feet and spat contemptuously on the inert body.

“I’ll be back for her, William. And she WILL belong to me.”

With that, he offered his arms to the two waiting female vampires and they walked off as though they were strolling through the park.

Released from her immobility, Buffy fell to her knees beside the bloody, broken body of the only person she knew in this time and place.

“Spike?” she whispered softly, “Spike? Can you hear me?” Her voice rose as there was no sign of life or movement from the vampire. “Spike! Spike!” She could feel herself almost screaming as she tried to revive the very dead-looking man on the ground.

Suddenly, she felt a gentle shaking on her shoulder and she woke up abruptly to find a concerned-looking Spike bending over her asking what was wrong. Without thought, she threw herself at him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and sobbed into his chest.

After a startled second, he tentatively put his arms around her and began rubbing soothing circles on her back as he murmured comforting words in her ear. He tried to ignore the effect her warm, barely covered body was having on him as she clung to his neck and repeated, “You’re ok, you’re ok,” over and over.

“It’s all right, pet. It was just a nightmare. I’m right here. Spike’s got you, luv. You’re all right. Stop crying, Slayer. It’s okay.”

As Buffy woke up more completely, she realized that not only was she completely overreacting to the dream, but she was pressed up against Spike’s body wearing nothing but a tee shirt and her underwear. The vampire, she noticed with a blush, was only wearing a pair of jeans and the hard object pressing against her stomach told her he wasn’t wearing anything else.

The jeans were barely zipped, the top button undone, as though they’d been thrown on hastily. As awareness came back to her, she realized that she must have been screaming in her sleep and awakened the vampire. (Spike sleeps in the nude) irrelevantly crossed her mind as she somewhat reluctantly pushed herself back from his chest, and stopped crying.

“I…I’m sorry,” she hiccupped. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I was dreaming.”

“Yeah,” he said softly, letting his arms drop to his sides with a small sigh of regret. “I think I got that. Must have been a really bad one to get you that upset that you’d be calling for me.”

She blinked at him in shock, then remembered her reaction when she’d seen him standing over her, alive and uninjured. She blushed and ducked her head as she mumbled. “In my dream I was afraid you were dead.”

“I am dead, luv,” he said gently. “You already knew that.”

She rolled her eyes at his deliberate refusal to get what she was saying. “You know what I mean,” she grumbled.

He grinned at her and sat down cautiously on the side of the bed. “So, then, pet. Want to tell me about this dream of yours? I mean, I’ve got to be curious when the Slayer has a dream and wakes up screaming my name…”

At the sight of her glare, he lost his grin and hastily added, “Not that I think you were screaming my name in anything but sheer terror. Was I trying to kill you?”

“Yeah,” she growled, still glaring at him. “I was screaming in fear that you were killing me, that’s why the first thing I did when I woke up was give you my best octopus imitation.”

“Jus’ teasing, pet,” he said mildly. “So, if I wasn’t killing you, and you weren’t in the throes of passion… were you?” he gave her a hopeful leer, causing even more eye rolling.

“You wish!” she huffed.

Remembering how it had felt to hold her warm, trembling body against him a few minutes ago, he was tempted to nod his head in agreement, but the expression on her face told him she was still too traumatized by her dream for that kind of revelation.

“So, what was it then, Buffy?” he asked seriously. “What got you so upset about my possible demise? ‘S not like you don’t threaten to dust me yourself every couple of days.” He stared at her curiously, waiting for an explanation of her out-of-character behavior.

The Slayer started at his use of her name, but began to recount her dream in a shaky voice. When she got to the point where Angelus said she was his, Spike’s eyes flashed amber for just a second. He nodded at her to continue and she described the fight, ending with his lifeless-seeming body on the ground.

There was silence for a minute as he digested her story. Skipping over, for the time being, the fact that she seemed so upset over his apparent death, he mulled over her words and tried to make some sense of it. When Buffy shifted uncomfortably he looked over at her and asked, “Is there more?”

She twisted her hands together in her lap, drawing his eyes to where her tanned thighs disappeared under the hem of her tee shirt, and said slowly, “I think it might have been a Slayer dream.”

“A what?”

“A Slayer dream. I have dreams sometimes… about things that are going to happen…or that might happen. Sometimes…they’re hard to understand. Giles usually has to help me figure them out.”

“Well, the Watcher’s not here, is he? So I guess we’ll have to suss this one out by ourselves.” He looked at her worried face and before he could stop himself he ran a hand lightly up her cheek, pushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

“What’s got you so worked up, pet? Know it can’t be seeing my old body being abused like that. You’ve done worse to me yourself.”

She gave a ghost of a smile and looked up at him gratefully.

“In my dream, I couldn’t move. I was all…girly. I hid behind you and then when Angelus came toward me, I froze. I couldn’t defend myself and I couldn’t help you. It was…I hate that. I don’t like feeling helpless,” she finished in a rush.

He stood up, the filtered light from behind the curtains giving her a good look at his flat stomach and the line of soft brown curls that plunged into his precariously zipped pants. She unconsciously licked her lips as her eyes traveled down his torso to the obvious bulge just behind his zipper.

“You’re not helpless, pet. Know that first-hand, don’t I? An’ I’m not all beat up. I’m my usual handsome self…” He deliberately ran his hand down his body, smiling as her eyes followed it to where he hooked it into the waistband of his jeans, causing them to open even further.

Terrified they were going to slide right off his narrow hips, Buffy squeaked out, “You need to zip your pants!”

“Sorry, pet. Just had an armful of warm Slayer. They’re just a little too tight to fasten right now.” The leering smirk he gave her said he wasn’t sorry at all and she jumped to her feet to glare at him.

“Have I mentioned lately what a pig you are?

“Not in the last couple of hours, no.” He paused for effect, then added, “Course we’ve been asleep most of that time, so…”

“Well, you can go back to sleep now,” she said with asperity. “Nightmare’s all gone. No more screaming Buffy to keep you awake.”

She deliberately turned her back on him and got back into the warm bed, sliding under the covers and shutting her eyes against the morning light. She kept her eyes squeezed tightly shut until she heard him give an exasperated sigh and the sound of the door shutting behind him, then she sat up and put her head in her hands.

“I’m in Victorian England, dreaming about Angelus trying to turn me and all I can think about is how sexy Spike looks without his shirt on. This cannot be good.”

Giving up the idea of getting any more sleep that morning, she got out of bed and wandered around the room looking for a bathroom. Buffy’s grasp of history in general was pretty shaky, and she had no idea whatsoever when the indoor toilet had been invented but she sincerely hoped it was before whatever time they were in. When she found nothing in the bedroom, she ventured down the hall quietly opening and shutting doors.

She thought she was being very quiet about it, but an amused drawl behind her told her that she wasn’t.

“It’s the last door on the hallway, pet. And there may or may not be water in the cistern for flushing. It’s not like anyone’s been living here for the last several years.”

“Thank you,” she muttered, flushing with embarrassment at his having guessed what she was looking for.

“You’re welcome, pet. Make yourself at home – jus’ don’t go outside without asking me first.”

Before she could expel the indignant response in her mouth, he shut the door to his room and went back to bed. Buffy huffed silently and went into the surprisingly large bathroom at the end of the hall. She looked longingly at the large, claw-footed bathtub, but remembering Spike’s warning about the water, she decided to skip the bath and just take care of her business.

When she found that there was water in the tank to flush the toilet, she took a chance and turned the tap, allowing a small amount of cool, not overly clean water to fill the sink. One look at the greenish water and she decided to skip the face washing for the time being and went back to her room to look for something to wear.

She rummaged through the wardrobe and dresser, discarding undergarments which she had no idea how to wear, and examining the plain, but well-made dresses with a critical eye. She pulled out a light green dress that looked like it would be appropriate for day time wear and shrugged out of her tee shirt. She pulled the dress over her head, and buttoned the tiny pearls on the front as she walked toward the window.

She pulled the curtain back and looked out onto what was obviously a well-planned, but neglected garden. Tiptoeing back out of the room, she listened for a second at Spike’s door, but when she didn’t hear anything, she went silently back down the stairs to the kitchen.

I don’t know what I thought I was going to hear. Vampires don’t breathe, so they obviously don’t snore. And I doubt Spike ever wakes up screaming from nightmares.

Chapter Three

Contrary to what Buffy was thinking, Spike WAS dreaming, although he was still wide awake. Lying on his bed, the one he hadn’t slept in for well over a hundred years, he couldn’t get the sight of Buffy in her tee shirt out of his mind. He could smell her scent all over him and if he shut his eyes, he could still feel her warmth as she pressed her body against his.

She was such an incredible combination of soft femininity and incredible strength that his whole body ached to feel her against him again. With his eyes shut, he could almost feel her as he inhaled her scent off his chest. With a growl, he buried his head in his pillow, ordering his body to stop wanting what it couldn’t have.

His body wasn’t listening, though, and his throbbing cock told him he wouldn’t be getting any more sleep this morning. He groaned and gave in to the demands, wrapping one of his large hands around the turgid shaft and pulling up and down. With Buffy’s scent so heavy in his nostrils, and her heartbeat still audible as she went down the stairs, it didn’t take long before he was arching off the bed and spurting into the sheet he was holding in his other hand.

He gave a satisfied sigh, and turned over to try to catch some more sleep before tackling the problem of when they were and how they were going to get back. Pulling the pillow into his chest, he dozed off with a small smile on his face and his arms wrapped around an imaginary Slayer.

Blissfully unaware of the effect she’d had on the vampire, Buffy prowled around the lower floor of the house, lightly touching things that caught her attention and absorbing the feeling of the house. It was pretty obvious that Spike’s whole “I’ve always been bad” persona was a sham. The house definitely had an air of genteel poverty about it. She could see that some of the furniture was worn in places and the clothes in his mother’s room were of good quality, but well-worn.

At the same time, the size of the house, the paintings and other art objects, and the tarnished silver tea set on the dining room buffet told her that they had obviously seen better times. She wandered into the kitchen, her growling stomach reminding her that she hadn’t eaten since the previous night’s dinner. There was, of course, no refrigerator, although it took her a few minutes of searching to realize with an embarrassed flush that she was looking for an appliance that did not exist yet.

She was just starting out the door to the garden, hoping that there might be some fruit or vegetables ready for picking, when she was startled by the appearance of a portly middle-aged woman and a younger, but strongly built man. With a “whoops!” Buffy retreated to the kitchen, closing the door quickly on the advancing couple. She backed up to the far wall, hoping against hope that they weren’t planning to come in the house.

Damn Spike! I knew he was going to get us in trouble. There are people living here and now we’re going to be arrested or thrown out, or something.

When the door opened to admit the frowning woman and her companion, Buffy offered a tentative smile and small wave as she said brightly, “Uh, hi, there!”

The woman gave her a cold look, her frown deepening as her eyes ran over the dress Buffy was wearing and she recognized it as one she had seen before.

“Who are you and what are you doing in Mr. Sinclair’s house – and wearing poor Mrs., God rest her soul, Sinclair’s gown?”

The rather strong looking woman was advancing on her threateningly and Buffy was wondering if she should use her slayer speed to escape or just wait and see if she would need it to keep from being thrown out the door bodily.

“It is quite alright, Cook,” she heard a familiar voice behind her. “This is my wife, the new Mrs. Sinclair. She is wearing Mother’s gown because our luggage was stolen and we have nothing with us but what we had on our backs last night.”

Buffy turned around, knowing it was Spike speaking, but completely thrown by his accent and the explanation for her presence. She gawked at the sight of him in tight fitting trousers and a loose shirt very similar to the clothing he’d been wearing in her dream. Before she could respond, he took her arm in a very strong grip and turned her back toward the now smiling woman, putting his other arm around her shoulder as he introduced her.

“Darling, this is Mrs. Barstow, better known in the Sinclair household as 'Cook'. She has been with us since I was a small child.”

Inwardly seething at his easy familiarity, Buffy gritted her teeth and sputtered, “How nice to meet you.”

She tried to pull away from Spike’s iron grip, but he held on and squeezed her in warning.

“Let me go, I’ll behave,” she hissed low enough for only his vampire hearing. “You don’t have to hold on to me like I’m a possession.”

Spike let go of her arm with a low warning growl and edged his way into the kitchen, carefully avoiding the patches of sunlight coming in the windows. He was suddenly very grateful for Victorian stuffiness as he realized that in any other time the old family servant would have been hugging him, and, as shrewd as Cook was, no doubt picking up on his lack of body heat and heart beat. He nodded briefly when she introduced her grandson, saying he had seen the lights the night before and offered to accompany her to the house to be sure everything was all right.

“That was very thoughtful of you, George. And we certainly do appreciate it. I can see that you’ve taken your responsibilities quite seriously,” he added, turning to Cook with a smile. “Everything looks just as I left it.”

“I’ve done my best, sir,” she said with a worried air. “But if I had known you were coming…”

“It’s quite all right. It was actually a rather spontaneous decision on my part. I wanted Mrs. Sinclair to see my home country and the house in which I grew up.”

She turned to Buffy and looked her up and down with interest.

“You’re not from here, then?” she inquired politely.

Answering for Buffy, who was still somewhat thunderstruck by the whole conversation, he said, “No. Buffy is from America. This is her first trip out of her own country, so we must make some allowances for her and help her get used to our ways.”

Mrs. Barstow nodded in understanding and immediately began thinking out loud.

“Well, then, she’ll need a lady’s maid, and of course a dressmaker if you’ve lost your luggage. And I’ll need to get some girls in here to dust and air the house out. It’s very stuffy from being closed for so long. And, you’ll be needing some food….Oh my! It’s almost noon and you’ve had nothing to eat!”

She bustled over to the table and began jotting down things she would need from the market, at the same time telling George to get some men to work out in the yard and garden. Spike disappeared for a minute, coming back to hand George a couple of handwritten notes.

“Before you worry about the yard,” he said smoothly, “I will need for you to take these notes to my barrister and to the bank. Your grandmother will need money for all this food she is intending to purchase.”

“Yessir,” George replied, ducking his head in respect. “I’ll take them right now.”

After answering Buffy’s timid question about whether there was anything edible growing in the garden, Mrs. Barstow hustled off to order the supplies she was going to need to feed them and to get some servants in to clean the house.

Once they were along again, Buffy whirled on Spike to demand, “Wife? You couldn’t come up with anything better than your WIFE?”

“No,” he growled. “I couldn’t. Go pick yourself something to eat so you aren’t so cranky, and I’ll explain it to you.”

He turned and stomped back into the main part of the house, heading for the library, which he knew got no direct sun at any time of the day. He slammed down into an overstuffed chair, wondering why he was so angry at Buffy’s reaction to having to pretend to be his wife.

“It’s not like I’m asking you to sleep in my bed,” he was growling when the flushed Slayer entered the room with a handful of small fruits.

“Really?” she asked in a chilly tone. “Exactly where will they be expecting your wife to sleep, then?” The disbelief was clear in both her expression and her voice and only the knowledge that the chip would fry his brain kept him from smacking the look off her face.

Instead, he took a deep breath and said as calmly as he could, “This is Victorian England, pet. No one has sex – not that they allow anyone to know about, anyway. Should any of the servants be upstairs, they won’t blink an eye at your sleeping in another room. They will just assume I visit you when I get the urge to assert my marriage rights.”

“Oh,” she said, somewhat deflated by his ready explanation. “Well, I still don’t see why you had to call me your wife. Couldn’t I be a distant cousin or something?”

“Again, you’re not understanding the times. There is no way a young, unmarried woman could live in my house without a full-time chaperone. Nor could she go out and about in the city as you will undoubtedly have to do at some point if we are to find a way back from here. As my wife, you will be free to go places and conduct business for me during daylight hours.”

He glared at her challengingly and she finally shrugged and said more meekly than he’d expected, “Oh. Well, okay, I guess that makes sense then. But don’t expect to be exercising any rights around me!” she finished with what she hoped was a haughty glare.

“Don’t flatter yourself, pet. If I want to get my rocks off, I know where to go around here. I prefer my women skilled and willing. Not ice queens.”

He stood up angrily and missed the startled, hurt look that crossed her face at his words.

“Well, as long as you know where to find the ho’s, then I guess you’ll be happy,” she snapped back, smothering the urge to pout at his angry dismissal.

“Know exactly where to find them,” he said, leaving the room and heading for his bedroom. “I’m going back to sleep,” he threw down the stairs at her, as she followed him. “Wake me up when George comes back with some money, or if the barrister shows up.”

“I’m not your servant!” she yelled up at him. “Wake yourself up!”

“You’re my wife, Slayer. Same thing almost.”

His laughter echoed down the stairs as he closed the door to his bedroom, leaving her fuming with nobody to take it out on.

A long walk in the over grown garden, enjoying the warm sun, and she was much calmer about their situation.

“It’s not like we haven’t been close before,” she muttered to herself, taking a vicious swipe at a weed. “I mean we were engaged, for cripe’s sake. I can stand pretending to be Mrs. William the Bloody for a few days.”

She wandered back to the house to find that Cook had returned with several boys in tow, all laden with bags and boxes of food stuffs. With nothing else to do, Buffy followed her around, watching as she put potatoes and onions in the cool root cellar, and flour and rice in the large canisters. When she saw Buffy staring hungrily at the loaf of bread she’d brought in, she immediately insisted on cutting off several slices of both bread and cheese for her.

“You need to put some meat on those bones,” she said cheerfully, adding a glass of cool, clear water from the pump to the food. “The master won’t want me to let you get any thinner than you already are.”

“The Master?” said Buffy with a squeak. Unpleasant memories of her first year in Sunnydale providing unbidden thoughts of master vampires and their minions.

“Yes,” the older woman answered with a puzzled frown. “Young Mr. Sinclair. He’s been the master of the household since his father died. Whether he lives here or not, he is the master of this house.”

“Oh, yeah, I knew that,” Buffy agreed quickly, embarrassed at appearing so ignorant in front of the other woman. Changing the subject, she asked quietly, “Tell me about Sp- er – William when he was a child.”

“Oh, such a sweet boy, he was.” The cook immediately began to reminisce about the days when Spike’s father and sister were still alive and the house rang with laughter. “He was so naughty sometimes, but then he would look at you with those beautiful blue eyes and you just hated to scold him. Of course, I would never tell him that,” she added with a conspirator’s wink. “He was already his mother’s pride and joy. It wouldn’t have done to let him know we all loved him as much as she did.”

Her face darkened and she frowned lightly as she continued, “Of course after the master died, things were harder. William was too young to take his place in the business world and his mother so wanted him to complete his schooling. If it weren’t for the scholarship, I’m afraid Oxford would have been out of the question. As it was, things became more and more difficult for the Mrs. Then, when his sister died and his mother became ill, he had to give up his studies and come home to take care of her. Quite a shame, it was. “

She shook her head, tsking in sympathetic distress and completely missing Buffy’s opened mouthed shock.

OXFORD? Spike? MY Spike went to Oxford? On a SCHOLARSHIP?

She was saved from having to make an intelligible reply by a knocking on the kitchen door. Mrs. Barstow opened it to admit a plump young woman with rosy cheeks and dancing eyes.

“Ah, there you are!” she exclaimed. “It took you long enough.”

“I’m sorry, Auntie,” she said breathlessly. “I came as soon as I could.”

“Mrs. Sinclair, this is my niece, Molly. She has some limited experience as a lady’s maid and should be able to assist you until we can find someone more experienced. At least you will have someone to help with your dress and your hair, as well as to accompany you shopping.”

“Shopping?” asked Buffy, picking up on the only familiar thing in the conversation. “There’s shopping?”

“Well, yes, of course you’ll go shopping. Mr. Sinclair indicating your luggage was lost, so you will have to replace everything. Molly can show you to the better shops and help you find what you’ll like.”

Shopping. With Sp – William’s money. This could be more fun than I thought.

Chapter Four

When Cook assured her that she would be able to charge to Mr. Sinclair’s account anything she needed to get that day, Buffy and Molly left the house and headed for the nearest shopping area. In the daylight, the streets were much busier and more lively than they had been in the wee hours of the morning and Buffy gazed around with wonder and curiosity at the sight of late 19th century London in full bustle.

She was enjoying all the attention she seemed to be drawing as people looked at her intently when she walked by with her free swinging stride and long, loose blond hair. Just as she was basking in the frequent looks of male admiration she could feel, Molly stepped in front of her and placed her hands on her hips. She had positioned herself between Buffy and a good-looking young man who was tipping his hat and clearly about to speak to her.

“Get away from my mistress,” she hissed. “Master Sinclair would surely cane you if he saw your disrespectful behavior.”

The young man was somewhat taken back by her vehemence, and apologized immediately.

“I’m quite sorry,” he said hastily, eyeing Molly’s arms akimbo stance in front of Buffy with some trepidation. “My mistake. I assumed your mistress was…” Molly’s darkening face made it apparent that it would not be in his best interest to finish that statement, and with more mumbled apologies, he back away and went in another direction.

“What’s wrong, Molly?” Buffy asked in genuine confusion. “He was just going to talk to me.”

“He has no business talking to you on the street. You are a respectable woman,” Molly huffed.

Buffy remembered how Spike had shielded her from the eyes of the cab driver the night before, and his comment about earning money with her short skirt. Flushing, she realized that her 21st century, southern California friendliness could be easily misunderstood in this extremely up-tight era and she looked at Molly gratefully.

“Thank you, Molly. Things are very different here from the way they are in my…country. I’m afraid you’re going to have to work very hard to keep me out of trouble.”

“That’s quite alright, Ma’am. In spite of what my aunt said about my inexperience, I know what’s what, I do.”

“Ok then,” Buffy smiled at her. “Let’s make a deal. You keep me from embarrassing myself…and William…too badly, and I’ll tell your aunt you’re the best maid I ever had.”

Molly beamed with pride. “It will be my pleasure, Ma’am.”

“All rightie, then. Let’s go spend my husband’s money!”

Several hours and many pounds sterling later, the two laughing girls stumbled through the kitchen door, their arms laden with small packages. They both sobered up when they caught Mrs. Barstow glaring at them, but collapsed in giggles again almost immediately.

Glaring at her niece, the cook shepherded Buffy out of the kitchen and toward the front of the house.

“I believe Mr. Sinclair would like to introduce you to his barrister,” she said with a trace of disapproval in her tone. “They have been waiting for you to get back.”

“Oh,” Buffy said meekly. “Where are they?”

Cook gestured toward the drawing room and then went back to scold her niece for keeping Buffy out so long. Taking a deep breath, and practicing her newly learned Victorian expression of aloofness, Buffy swept into the room and went straight to Spike’s side.

‘Ah, there you are, darling,” he said, an angry glint in his eye that belied the light tone of voice. “I was beginning to worry about you.”

“I’m so sorry, William,“ she shocked him by saying with a smile. “I was having so much fun spending your money that I just lost track of the time. Will you forgive me?” she asked with a wicked grin that only he could see and going up on her toes to kiss his cheek.

Buffy had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing in an unladylike fashion at the expression on Spike’s face, and she turned her face into his shirt front until she had her face under control. While she was hiding her face in his chest, she couldn’t resist inhaling the unique scent that said “Spike” to her. Ever since the spell Willow had done the previous year, Buffy could not get the aroma of leather, tobacco, whiskey and an earthy scent all his own out of her mind. She knew that she would know him anywhere, no matter how dark it might be, as long as she was close enough to smell him.

The curious expression on the barrister’s face caught Spike’s eye and he forced himself to shake off the gobsmacked feeling Buffy’s kiss and closeness had caused.

“Darling, this is our barrister, Mr. Saint-John. He has been handling most of my personal affairs while I’ve been…away. I was most negligent and had not told him about our marriage and he has been scolding me shamefully.”

It was Buffy’s turn to appear to have been smacked in the face with a cold fish as she gawked at the suddenly urbane, well-spoken man wearing Spike’s face. If it weren’t for the shock of platinum hair curling softly around his forehead and the sardonically lifted eyebrow, she would have needed to be close enough to smell him to recognize him.

Recovering herself, she turned to greet the patiently waiting man in front of her. Spike’s warning hand on her arm stopped her before she could extend her arm for the handshake she was expecting. Pulling her arm back, she blushed and said softly, “How nice to meet you, Mr. Saint-John. I hope my tardy return from shopping has not kept you here too long.”

Ha! Put that in your stuffy pipe and smoke it, vampire! she thought triumphantly as she felt Spike’s incredulous gaze on her. The other man smiled warmly and insisted it had been no trouble at all, that he and her husband had caught up on many things while waiting. He had risen to his feet as soon as Buffy entered the room, and continued standing, leaning down to pick up his briefcase and extending his hand to Spike.

“I will be getting to work on those things we discussed immediately, Mr. Sinclair. I should be able to wrap it up and have the papers ready for you to sign by this time tomorrow.”

He turned to smile at Buffy again and said smoothly, “Let me be among the first to congratulate you on your happy union. I would be very pleased if you and your husband would do me the favor of allowing me to host a small gathering to introduce his lovely bride to his…friends.”

A shadow crossed Spike’s face, but he said smoothly, “That would be extremely kind of you. I’m sure Mrs. Sinclair would enjoy that thoroughly, wouldn’t you, Darling?”

“Huh? What? Oh, a party? Yes, that sounds like wonderful fun,” she stumbled back into her 19th century voice. “We shall be looking forward to it.”

While Spike walked the man to the door, carefully avoiding the slanted rays of the waning sun, Buffy walked around the study. She studied the well-worn books, noticed with curiosity the many pens, large supply of paper and bottles of ink spread around on the desk. She was just picking up a sheet with what appeared to be lines of poetry on it when Spike came back in the room and snatched it out of her hand.

“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” he demanded, looking more embarrassed than angry.

“I was just looking at it. Sheesh! What’s wrong with you? You’d think it was something you’d written it or someth—“

She stared at the mortified vampire with her mouth open as he looked all around the room in an effort to avoid her eyes. Buffy’s mouth gradually curved into a smile as Spike crumpled the paper and stuffed it in his pocket.

“Not a word, Slayer,” he snarled. “Not one bloody, fuckin’ word.”

In spite of the snarl, she could tell he was more embarrassed than angry and she moved closer to him and ran her hand playfully up his chest to play with the collar of his shirt.

“What’s the matter, Spikie? Don’t you want me to see your poem? Are you afraid it isn’t good enough? Huh? Come on, Spikie, show your wife what you wrote.”

Spike was torn between the pants-tightening effects of having Buffy pretending to be coquettish with him and his absolute determination that she never, ever read the half-written sonnet he’d been working on before the barrister came in. Biting his lip, he grabbed her hands in his just before she was about to plunge one of them into his pocket to retrieve the paper.

“Much fun as I think it might be to have you rootin’ around in my pocket, luv, that’s private property there and I’m gonna have to tell you to keep your hot little hands to yourself.”

Buffy pretended to pout, leaving her hands in his as she batted her eyelashes at him.

“But I want to see the poem, William. Please, show it to me. Come on, pleeeeese.”

Spike blinked at her switch to his human name, frowning slightly at the uncharacteristic flirting behavior. The Slayer he knew would have just twisted his arm until she wrenched it away from him. When she moved even closer, her hands slowly pulling out of his to rest on his wrists, he was sure they had fallen into another alternate dimension.

“This is not negotiable, pet,” he groaned. “Now stop that. It’s cheating!”

As he spoke, he stood helplessly while she ran her hands up his arms to wrap around his neck, standing on tip toes to whisper in his ear.

“Mrs. Barstow is watching us, and I think she heard me call you Spike.”

“Bollocks!” he whispered back, putting his arms around her waist and pulling her closer. “Do you think she heard me call you Slayer?”

Even as his mind raced frantically trying to recall if they’d said or done anything so out of character that the long-time family servant might suspect something awry, he couldn’t stop himself from taking advantage of the situation by inhaling the scent of warm blood, lavender soap, and Buffy’s own unique scent that he would recognize anywhere.

“I…I don’t know,” Buffy stammered, shocked at how overwhelmingly good it felt to be wrapped in Spike’s arms, his mouth ghosting over her ear as they kept on with their whispered conversation. “May…maybe she’ll just think they’re pet names we have for each other when we…”

“Better make it look good then, luv,” he crooned in her ear just before he slid his lips over to capture hers in a chaste, but warm kiss. When his cool, soft lips touched hers, Buffy couldn’t contain the small sigh that escaped her parted lips and he shuddered at the sensation caused by her warm breath in his mouth.

The presence of the older woman was forgotten as they used the excuse of her watchful eyes to prolong the tentative exploration going on between them. They’d kissed before, of course, during the previous year’s magical “engagement”, but those had been loud, public lip smackings – meant more to demonstrate their feelings to others than to please each other. Now, what had begun as another demonstration of a pretend relationship quickly deepened into something neither one wanted to examine too closely.

When Mrs. Barstow’s embarrassed throat clearing caused them to break apart, they could do nothing but stare at each other in shock and horror. Tearing his eyes away from Buffy’s wide, green pools of confusion, Spike turned to the cook and said politely, “I’m sorry, Cook. That was most unseemly of us. Please forgive us and remember that we are newly wed.”

“Yes sir, Master William. I’m quite sure I didn’t see anything untoward. I just wanted to know if you and Mrs. Sinclair would be having supper here tonight.”

“Yes, Cook,” Buffy spoke up briskly. “I believe I’ve spent enough time out and about today and I would enjoy a quiet dinner at home with my husband.”

“Very good, Ma’am. I will send someone to tell you when it’s ready.”

“Thank you, Cook,” Spike said quickly, “That will be most appreciated.”

When the older woman had turned and left the room and Spike’s enhanced senses told him she was safely away at the other end of the house, he moved even further away from Buffy, going behind the desk and studying the loose papers on it with great interest.

The Slayer stood where he’d left her, mentally trying to reconcile the tenderness of the kiss they’d just shared with the snarky vampire who annoyed her so often. Ignoring her own, more than willing, participation in the kiss, she snapped at him, “What was that all about?”

Equally eager to forget the way she’d made him feel, and unaccountably angered by her question, Spike snapped back, “Jus’ got caught up in the moment. Don’t be getting your knickers in a twist about it. Won’t be happening again, pet. You can count on that!”

“Oh, I know it won’t! You just keep your lips to yourself there, William,” she emphasized his name with a sneer.

“Not a problem, pet.” With a nonchalant shrug that belied the empty feeling causing his belly to clench up, he sat down at his desk and pulled a ledger out of drawer. When she hadn’t moved to leave the room, he glanced up with a raised eyebrow, holding his place with his finger.

“Something else, Slayer?”

Buffy was at a loss for something to say. She’d been gearing up for a good fight and instead, Spike was ignoring her and acting like he didn’t care what she did. Her lower lip came out in an unintended pout as she tried to come up with a reason for still being where she clearly wasn’t wanted anymore. She ran her eyes around the room, looking for an excuse to be there, thereby missing the look that flashed across Spike’s face when he saw that plump lip poking out.

“I just thought…maybe we need to start calling each other Buffy and William all the time. Just in case…I mean, we don’t want this to happen again, do we?” His eyes flew to hers as her voice faded from a firm suggestion to a hesitant question.

“I…I meant…almost getting caught fighting and saying things that…”

“I know what you meant, pet,” he said gruffly. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes, sighing loudly. “And you’re right.” He ignored Buffy’s start of surprise. “We’re going to have to be careful all the time, even if we’re alone. That way we won’t be as likely to slip up when someone’s watching.”

“That…that sounds like a good idea.”

This time it was Spike’s turn to twitch in reaction to words he never expected to hear from the Slayer. Putting on his unnecessary spectacles and looking back down at the ledger in front of him, he asked carefully, “Is that all, luv? Because I need to go over these books before I meet with the banker tomorrow.”

Leaving the questions raised by Spike’s having a barrister AND a banker at his beck and call, Buffy nodded silently and turned to leave the room. His soft voice stopped her just outside the door and she couldn’t be sure if he was actually talking to her or just thinking out loud.

“I’ll explain about the barrister an’ all at supper, Buffy.”

“ ‘K,” she replied so softly even his vampire hearing strained to hear her.

She went back to the kitchen, only to find that Molly had already carried her purchases up to her room and was supervising the unpacking of the larger items that had been sent directly from the shops. When the young maid insisted Buffy take a nap before dinner while she put things away, Buffy found herself thinking, I could get used to living like this. just before she closed her eyes and drifted off to the sound of rustling tissue paper and fabric.

Chapter Five

When she joined Spike in the dining room for a light supper, served by a silent, but attentive, young girl who had been brought in to help Molly around the house, Buffy was feeling quite rested and energetic. As soon as the serving girl was out of earshot, she said quietly, “I’m getting antsy. Do you think I should patrol tonight? There must be vampires in a city this big.”

“I don’t doubt there are, pet. But I’m not sure you want to be drawing that kind of attention to yourself just now. Not till we know what that dream was all about, anyway.”

“You think Angelus is here?” Buffy couldn’t control the way her voice rose anxiously at the thought. “I never thought about that. Angel doesn’t have his soul in this time, does he?”

“Nope, the bloody great poof is his original sick, mind-fucking self right now. And I don’t know exactly where he is. Should be somewhere in mainland Europe, or even Asia, but I can’t be sure.”

“Would—where do you think you are? The other you, I mean.”

He frowned and said honestly, “I don’t have any idea. I feel like I’m me; but I know there’s got to be another me running around somewhere out there just beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to be a vampire. And he’s not chipped.”

He looked up at her abruptly and said, “You need to remember that, pet. Make sure I’m me before you let your guard down. He’s not the fighter I am now, but if he catches you by surprise…”

Buffy blinked at him, not sure how to react to his obvious concern for her well-being.

“The Spike in my dream…he wasn’t you. At least I don’t think he was. You would never have lost a fight to Angel that easily. But he was still trying to protect me.”

“He was trying to protect his PROPERTY, pet. The demon was fighting Angelus for possession. Doesn’t mean he didn’t intend to do you harm of some kind. Jus’ be careful, all right?”

“All right,” she agreed softly, wondering at the sudden change from the cold shoulder he’d given her earlier.

While they finished their meal, Spike filled Buffy in on how his barrister - “that’s another word for lawyer, pet. Means he handles my affairs for me when I’m not around or can’t go out because of the sun.”- supervised the running of Spike’s various business interests and maintained his bank accounts for him.

“So, you’re rich? You have money in this time?”

He grinned ruefully, “Yes, my poor father wanted so much for me to forget about my poe--other interests and go into business with him, but I wanted no part of it. We used to fight about it all the time. After he died and I had to make sure my mum was taken care of, I had to get involved. It took awhile, but it turns out I’m pretty good at managing money – even if it did take me until I was a vampire to really make it work for me.”

“What happened to it?”

“What happened to what, pet?” he asked absently, toying with the very rare meat on his plate. He realized he was going to have to find a way to get fresh blood delivered to the house without Mrs. Barstow finding out about it and was pondering that and not really paying attention to Buffy’s question.

“Your money, this house,” she waved her hand around the room. “All this stuff. Where did it go?”

“Didn’t go anywhere – I still have it. House is rented out in our time, but if I wanted to come back and live here, I could.”

He still wasn’t paying attention to her and missed the looks of amazement, disbelief and anger that flew across her face.

“You have MONEY? In our time, you have money? And you steal your cigarettes from the 7/11? You charge us money for information?” Her voice was rising and he gestured for her to keep it down.

“Shhh, Buffy. What happened to staying in character?” He looked at her, completely puzzled by her surprise and anger. “I haven’t asked any of you for money for a long time, pet,” he said mildly. “You know that.”

“Well…well, you steal! And you…you live in a crypt. With dead people.”

“Now, darling, that’s not a very nice way to talk about our neighbors. I know they aren’t very lively, but comparing them to corpses is just not sporting. And I do not steal. I am merely a very good businessman.”

Buffy didn’t need the warning jerk of his head to realize he had heard someone coming back toward the dining room, and she subsided immediately, only mumbling, “Well, I didn’t know you were rich.”

“And that’s how I know you married me for my good looks and charm,” he said with a smile. “None of this is anything you need to worry your pretty little head about, my love. I just wanted you to know where to go for help if anything happened to me; and to have some idea to what you are entitled. It was very difficult for my mother to deal with things after my father’s death because he had never told her anything about the family assets. I do not want that to happen to you.”

Buffy gawked at him momentarily, wondering briefly is this was how Spike would be treating a real wife if he had one.

“Oh,” was the best response she could come up with immediately and she waited impatiently until the serving girl had returned to the kitchen to get their dessert before following up her original question.

“So, if you still have all this stuff – why do you—“


“Where?” She leaped to her feet, cursing the lack of a handy stake.

Spike rolled his eyes at her. “Here, you silly bint. I’m a vampire. If we want things, we take them. We’re evil, you know, or did the Council of Wankers forget to include that in your Slayer handbook?”

Buffy glared at him, then, to his amazement, relaxed and laughed.

“No, it was included. I just forget sometimes that you’re still evil.”

“Well, I am,” he huffed. “And don’t you forget it.

She rolled her eyes, still laughing and snickered, “Ok, Big Bad. I’ll remember.”

“See that you do,” he growled, still feeling offended but happy to see her laughing and enjoying herself.

When they had finished their meal and gone into the living room where Spike had an after-dinner brandy, Buffy repeated her remark from earlier in the day. She settled back on the sofa and said with sincere appreciation, “I could sooo get used to this.”

He cocked his head curiously and she elaborated, “No dishes to do, no cooking, somebody to pick my clothes up off the floor, somebody else’s money to spend…”

“Speaking of that, pet, do you have any idea what you did spend today?”

“Nope!” she replied cheerfully. “Not a clue. But I don’t think you’re as rich as you used to be. Is that okay?” she added, less cheerfully as he growled and came over to sit at the other end of the sofa.

“Guess it’ll have to be, won’t it? What kind of husband would I be if I couldn’t keep my wife in frillies and baubles?” He smiled over at her and toasted her silently with his brandy.

Buffy smiled back and leaned forward to delicately sniff the dark liquid in the glass. She wrinkled her nose, inspiring a full belly laugh from the vampire when she said, “Ewww! It smells like cough syrup!”

“It IS an acquired taste, I suppose,” he laughed. “But I like it. And it helps me relax so I’ll sleep tonight. This being on the same schedule as you humans is going to kill me if I don’t start sleeping at night when you do.”

His reminder of the differences between himself and humans reminded her abruptly of his eating habits and she gave a guilty start as she asked, “Where are you going to get blood? I didn’t even think about it today, or I would have got you some when I was out. I’m sorry, Spike,” she said, surprising him with her genuine sympathy, “You must be really hungry by now.”

Warmed by her apology and concern, he just shrugged and said, “I’ll be all right. Mr. Saint-John is going to arrange for a regular delivery. I just have figure out how to get it past Cook’s eagle eyes.”

“Mr. Saint-John? Your lawyer knows what you are?”

“Well, yeah, pet. Wouldn’t be much use to me if I had to come up with reasons why I couldn’t be about in the daytime now, would he?”

“But, but, his company…the people he works for…don’t they…how can…”

“He works for a very unusual law firm, Buffy. They’ve been handling my affairs for over a hundred years.”

Their conversation was interrupted by a soft, “excuse me,” from the doorway. Mrs. Barstow stood there waiting patiently until they noticed her.

“If it’s all right with you, sir, I’ll just be on my way home now. Molly will stay her tonight to help Mrs. Sinclair and to get the fire going in the morning.”

“Yes, thank you, Cook. That’s quite all right. Please do go home and get some rest. You’ve done wonders today and you must accept my apology for not warning you about our arrival.”

“That’s quite all right, sir. I’ll just be off, then. Goodnight, Master William, Mrs. Sinclair.”

“Good night, Mrs. Barstow,” Buffy said politely. “Thank you for everything and please be careful going home.”

With a nod, she left the room and they could hear the kitchen door shutting behind her.

“Should we have gone with her?” Buffy worried. “It’s dark out.”

“This isn’t Sunnydale, pet. She’ll be fine. I think the sight of either one of us skulking along in the shadows would bother her more than the walk by herself.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she sighed doubtfully. “I guess we – I’d better get to bed. I don’t think either one of us got much sleep today.”

He rose easily to his feet and offered her his hand as he said, “Right you are, pet. Between your nightmare and Cook’s arrival, I don’t think we got more than a couple of hours of kip.”

Flushing, Buffy took the proffered hand and allowed him to pull her to her feet. They stood, facing each other, her hand still in his, each of them remembering the kiss they’d shared earlier in the day.

Simultaneously, they let go and turned away, neither one willing to revisit the afternoon’s events. Each equally sure the other was disgusted with their behavior.

I’m sure he doesn’t want any reminders of what happened this afternoon. It was just like that stupid spell of Willow’s. For a minute it was so easy to believe we were…gah! What is wrong with me?

I’m sure she didn’t mean for that little performance to go as far as it did this afternoon. It was almost like Red’s spell there for a minute. Could almost believe we really…bloody hell! This is the Slayer, you stupid git. Get over it!

When Buffy reached the top of the stairs, Molly was waiting for her and she gave Spike a quick peck good-night before turning to go into her own room. She saw that Molly had laid out a soft, embroidered nightgown on the bed and had a basin and ewer of water on the dresser waiting for Buffy to wash her face and hands.

She smiled her gratitude and turned so that Molly could undo the buttons on the back of the new dress she’d chosen to wear to dinner. She asked about bathing arrangements and when Molly assured her she could take a bath anytime she wanted to, as long as she let her know in time to heat the water, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“How about tomorrow morning?” she said with an apologetic smile. “I feel so grubby from the trip.”

Molly assured her that tomorrow would be fine, that she would have the bath ready by the time Buffy awoke. With a sly smile, she told Buffy that she would be sleeping downstairs in a small room off the kitchen where she probably wouldn’t be able to hear Buffy if she called her. She showed her the bell rope that she could pull if she needed to wake Molly up for something.

Blushing just like the new bride she was pretending to be, Buffy nodded vigorously, forcing herself to sound unembarrassed as she assured the girl that she would be fine and that if she needed anything, William would be close by and could undoubtedly take care of her.

She then blushed even more as Molly couldn’t smother a giggle and an eye roll. When the girl stopped giggling long enough to agree that “Master William” should be able to take care of anything she needed, they both collapsed onto the bed giggling like school girls.

‘I’m sorry, Ma’am,” Molly gasped. “Please don’t tell my aunt. She’d let me go for sure if she knew I was behaving like this. I’m just so pleased that Master William has come home and that he has you. He was so lonely before, and those other girls were so mean to him. I was only small when he left, but I can remember how unhappy he was that he didn’t have anyone and I could never understand why someone so handsome and nice couldn’t fall in love with someone who would love him back.”

Buffy smothered a twinge of guilt at deceiving this friendly and caring girl, but played her role as best she could and sent Molly off to bed convinced that her “Master William” had made a love match.

Chapter Six

She slipped into the freshly made bed, enjoying the fresh sunshine smell of the new sheets and vowing to get up early and get to work on figuring out how to get home before she became completely spoiled.

A few hours later, she was tossing and moaning as she was immersed in another Slayer dream. This time, she and Spike were walking through a park in the moonlight when suddenly Angelus, Darla and Dru appeared in front of them. Once again, Angelus threw Spike away from her, and once again she could do nothing but shrink away in fear as he ran his hands over her body and licked his lips.

While Drusilla and Darla kept a raging Spike from reaching them, she cowered and cried while Angelus touched her all over and whispered in her ear all the things he was going to do to her. When he lifted the hem of her long gown and slid a hand up her leg, she screamed for Spike, squirming to get away while the vampire struggled with his sire and great grandsire.

She was still screaming, “No, no, Spike, help me!” when she realized that she was still in her bed and the vampire in question was holding her tightly and trying to wake her up.

When she relaxed and slumped into his arms, he loosened his hold and began rubbing small, soothing circles on her back. As soon as he was sure she was awake and under control, he reluctantly let his arms slide down and off, moving off the bed to give her some space.

“You alright, pet?” he asked softly.

Buffy nodded tiredly. “Yes, I’m fine now. Thank you,” she added softly, looking up at his concerned face gratefully. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

“Was it the same dream?’

“Not exactly, but it was the same situation – I couldn’t do anything to defend myself, you were trying to help me but you couldn’t get to me…” She stopped and looked up at him. “Spike, I need to go kill something. I need to know I’m still the Slayer, not some fragile little girl that...”

He stroked her hair tenderly, confusing them both, then said, “You’re still the Slayer, pet. I’d bet on it. Here, why don’t you hit me?” he asked, only half joking. “I’ll tell you if it feels like a Slayer’s punch or like a little girl’s.”

“I don’t want to hit you,” she said wearily, causing him to put his hand on her forehead in a mock attempt to take her temperature. “Very funny,” she growled, shoving him away hard enough to put him on the floor.

“Oops?” she said meekly as he glared up at her from several feet away.

He stood up and shook himself, growling softly, “I guess we can agree you’re still the Slayer, strength an’ all.”

Buffy looked up at him apologetically. “I’m sorry, Spike. Really I am. And I’m sorry I woke you up again. I’ll be fine now. You can go back to sleep.”

She slid back into the bed and pulled the covers up to her chin.

“See? All tucked in and ready for non-dreamy sleep.”

He shook his head with a soft laugh and said, “Ok, luv, but if Angelus comes around this time, how about if you put a stake through his miserable heart, yeah?”

“K,” she said with a smile. “One dusty Angelus coming up.”

In spite of her brave words to Spike, she didn’t close her eyes for a long time, only shutting them when exhaustion forced her into another troubled sleep. Before long she was moaning and crying again as she found herself held immobile by some force that left her unable to move but wide awake. When she realized she was naked, her heart beat went up as fear seized her body. There was no surprise this time when Angelus stepped out of the shadows and leered at her frozen face and the panicked eyes looking back at him.

“What do you think, Will?” he threw over his shoulder. “Looks right tasty all spread out like that doesn’t she?”

Buffy’s eyes followed his voice to the other side of the room where a battered and bleeding Spike was chained to the wall, his demon snarling in impotent rage. Angelus laughed at his grandchilde, then moved toward the bed, beckoning Darla and Drusilla forward as he did so.

“I guess Will doesn’t want to play,” he said, laughing cruelly. “But he can watch us.”

Dru moved closer to Buffy, meeting the Slayer’s frightened eyes with an almost lucid gaze. She leaned in and whispered in Buffy’s ear, “Don’t worry, Sunshine. William takes good care of his things. He won’t let Daddy have you. You just have to tell him—“ she stopped abruptly as Angelus yanked her away.

“Quit babbling nonsense, Dru,” he growled, backhanding her across the room to crumple beside Spike’s struggling body. “The chit is mine and after I get tired of fucking her unconscious, I’m going to turn her and add her to our little family. William will just have to get used to it.”

Darla had been running her sharp claws down Buffy’s body while Angelus was disciplining Dru. Buffy hissed at the pain as the blond vampiress left bloody trails from Buffy’s nipples to her knees. She leaned over and ran her tongue up from Buffy’s knee to her breast, licking the blood as she went. Angelus moved to the other side, applying his own tongue to the bloody line on that side and moving up to her bleeding breast. He ran his tongue around her nipple, then suddenly sank his fangs into it causing Buffy to scream in fear and pain.

She could hear Spike raging against the chains holding him while Dru rocked herself and sang about Sunshine and Slayers. It briefly crossed Buffy’s mind that if Dru actually wanted to be helpful, she could let Spike loose, but she knew the dark-haired vampire would never disobey her “daddy” no matter how insane she might be.

When Angelus stood up and undid his pants, allowing Buffy a glimpse of his rather modestly-sized cock, she began to scream in earnest, tears of fear and frustration pouring down her face as she fought whatever drug or magic was keeping her from moving. The big vampire leered at her and knelt between her knees, forcing her to look at him as he stroked himself and stared at her exposed sex.

Spike burst into the room just as Buffy’s screams were reaching a crescendo, picking her immobile body up and speaking into her ear, “Slayer! Buffy! Come on, luv. Come back to me. Wake up, Buffy. Wake up. I’m here. I’ve got you, luv. Spike’s got you, pet. Come on,” he pleaded as she continued to cry and moan. “Wake up, luv, Please. Wake up for me.”

Buffy’s heart was beating so fast he was afraid it was going to break out of her chest and he tried frantically to bring her back from whatever was frightening her so badly. Where once, the smell of fear on this slayer would have made his mouth water, now he just wanted to make it go away.

Afraid that her screams would awaken Molly, Spike sought for a way to smother her cries before he had to deal with more explanations than he cared to. Finally, frustration took over and he fastened his mouth on hers, swallowing the sounds she was making and willing her to calm down. To his surprise, her lips began to respond to the cool pressure he was exerting and the terrible sounds tapered off to soft moans.

He felt her body shudder and then go limp in his arms as her lips continued to press back against his. He softened his mouth, no longer feeling the need to swallow her cries, and began kissing her gently, murmuring soothing things to her in between light kisses. When she began to stir and he felt the light flutter of her eyelids, he pulled his mouth away and looked down at her carefully.

“Slayer? Buffy? Are you back with me, luv? Gave me quite a scare there, you did.”

“Spike?” Buffy’s voice was raw and scratchy, her expression disoriented. “Are you really here?”

“Course I’m here, pet. Where else would I be? Wouldn’t leave you there, luv.”

Buffy slumped against him, not caring that she was wearing nothing but a light muslin nightgown that was twisted around her hips. She briefly noted that he was not wearing his jeans, but seemed to be wearing a large shirt made out of the same fabric as her gown. She spent several minutes just basking in the safe feeling she got with his strong arms around her and letting her heart rate go back to normal. When she felt more like herself, she took note of the fact that he was rubbing her back soothingly with one hand, while he cradled her in his other arm and dusted light kisses all over her closed eyelids, nose and cheeks. All the while, murmuring reassurances to her that he was there and nothing was going to hurt her.

As wonderful and safe as it felt, now that the dream was fading she was ashamed of her reaction and she struggled to sit up straight and look in control of things. Which did her no good at all, as the vampire took her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. In the dim light all she could see was the amber glow of his eyes as he used his vampire senses to check her over.

“Now, Slayer,” he growled, giving her a little shake, “You’re going to tell me everything about these soddin’ dreams you’re having. I want to know what can turn the strongest, bravest Slayer I’ve ever met into a…a…”

“Crybaby?” Buffy suggested wearily.

“Wasn’t going to say that, pet,” he said gruffly, “but, yeah, what’s with all the waterworks and screaming? Was it Angelus again?”

She nodded dumbly, unwilling to even say the name. “And Dru and Darla.”

“What was he doing to you? Was the bastard torturing you? Did he kill you? Turn you?”

“He hadn’t quite got to that part of his plan yet,” she answered dully, looking away from his probing stare. She really didn’t want to tell Spike what Angel had been doing to her, but he wasn’t giving up.

“Tell me,” he said grimly, his voice suddenly hard and cold. He had a pretty good idea what he was going to hear, but he wanted to hear it just the same.

“It didn’t happen. It was just a dream. Let’s just drop it.”

“Let’s not and say we did,” he said firmly. “I want you to tell me what was going on – in both dreams.” He titled her chin up to look into her eyes. “And I want to know everything, every bloody detail. If these dreams are prophetic, we need to suss out what they’re trying to tell you.”

“I really don’t want to talk about this,” she said, trying to move away from him.

“Don’t care,” he said stubbornly.

Buffy took a deep breath and in a flat, uninflected voice she recited the two dreams, even including Dru’s cryptic whisper in her ear before Darla and Angelus went at her. When she got to Angelus opening his pants a guttural snarl was ripped from Spike’s throat, and she almost flinched away from him in fear before she realized it wasn’t her he was snarling at.

“Where the bleedin’ hell was I?” he demanded, his voice almost shaking with emotion.

“You were chained to the wall. You couldn’t get loose and I couldn’t move anything except my face. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless – and then he…and I screamed and then you were here and I was awake and….oh, Spike, he was going to…going to rape me and then turn me. And I couldn’t do anything about it.”

As she finished speaking, she began trembling and he immediately pulled her back into his lap, doing his best to soothe her while his demon was screaming to be let out to kill something. Flashbacks to tales of how Angelus had tortured Drusilla for months before finally turning her, made him tremble in fear for the slight figure in his arms.

The feel of Spike’s arms and the surprisingly reassuring rumble of the low growls coming from his chest soon calmed Buffy down and she pushed herself away again.

“What the hell is wrong with me? I’m the Slayer. I’ve been stabbed, bitten, tortured… hell, I’ve even been dead for a few minutes. Why is this dream scaring me so badly?”

“Because it’s the poof?” Spike ventured. “And because you think it might be a warning.”

“I guess,” she sighed. “I wish Giles was here to help me figure out what the dream is trying to tell me,” she grumbled. “I’m all action girl; he’s all researchy guy.”

She peered up at Spike from under the curtain of hair hanging in her face. “What do you think they mean?”

“That you have bleedin’ awful taste in boyfriends?” he teased, pleased to see the tiny smile she couldn’t hide.

“Well, then, what does that say about you, husband?” she teased back, beginning to feel more like herself with every second.

“Clearly, it says that your taste has improved tremendously in the past few days.”

They smiled at each other for a few seconds, then Spike pushed her gently back down on the bed. When he covered her up, then laid himself down beside her she frowned and asked in a much squeakier voice than she intended, “What are you doing?”

“Saving m’self another sprint from my room to yours, is what, pet. Now close your eyes and let’s try to salvage something from what’s left of this night.”

He extended his left arm and pulled her against chest ignoring the stiffening of her body. When she realized he was only trying to provide a sense of security for her while she slept, Buffy relaxed against him. She was quickly lulled to sleep by the soft purring sounds coming from the vampire’s chest and spent the rest of the night in a restful and dreamless sleep.