"Looks like he's the only one in there, pet," Spike said, rejoining the two women who meant the most to him outside the school.
Buffy took a deep breath, gearing herself up. "Make sure you two stay behind me. I don't want him to dust you before we have a chance to explain."
Spike nodded and took Drusilla's hand. Silently, the three close friends made their way into the darkened high school towards the library. He watched the Slayer out of the corner of his eye, noting the way her body was tense as memories assaulted her. As they stopped in front of the library doors, he saw her square her shoulders and put on her game face - stony and cold. It was one of those ‘looks.'
They entered the library, the doors swinging shut behind them with a soft swish. Staying behind the Slayer as instructed, Spike nodded to the small blond as she looked back at him for extra courage. "Gi-Mr. Giles?" Buffy called.
"Yes, can I hel-" Giles came out of the office and cut off in the middle of his sentence. His expression was one of disbelief and he whipped off his glasses as if to get a better look. "My god."
"Actually, it's Buffy, but if you feel more comfortable calling me that..." Buffy trailed off with a small quirk of her lips. She gestured with her head to Spike and Drusilla. "Don't hurt them. They have their souls and are my friends."
This seemed to shake the Watcher out of his stupor. He replaced his glasses and cleared his throat. "Oh?"
"Yeah. Don't worry, I won't be long," she said, shoving her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket. "Dru had a vision that someone was coming to hurt all of you, maybe even bloody kill you."
Spike watched the play of emotions on the Watcher's face, the obvious war going on in the man's mind. He was probably thinking about how the Slayer could be alive and in his library, speaking with a slight British accent, standing in front of two vampires who'd tried to kill him and his chums again and again. Five years can bring a lot of changes.
"Do-do you know who?" Giles finally asked.
"Nope," Buffy answered. "Just thought I'd warn you then get the hell out of Dodge before my being here causes someone to get hurt or killed." She turned to face Spike and Drusilla. "Let's go."
"Buffy, wait!" Giles exclaimed, hurrying across the room to stop her with a hand on her shoulder. The loud gasp which came from the Slayer caused Drusilla to growl a warning to the man. He immediately let go. "Please, don't leave."
"I have to Giles," she said. "If I don't, more people will die because of me."
"What?" Giles said, perplexed. Then realization dawned on his face and he quickly said, "Dear heavens, Buffy, no. How could you even think such a thing?"
Spike growled this time, making the Watcher back up several steps. He looked down at the petite blond still facing him and Dru, noting the tears streaming down her cheeks and made a quick decision. She needed to let go of the pain and guilt, and the only way to do that was to confront it head on. "Slayer, I think the Watcher is right."
The look she gave him was of surprised astonishment. "W-What?"
"It's not your bloody fault people got hurt or killed. Just like it wasn't Dru's," he told her. "I've been wanting to tell you that since we got Dru back, but I promised I wouldn't mention anything to do with Sunnyhell."
"And you find fit to tell me now?" Buffy sneered. "That's just bloody terrific! Next you'll be telling me that it was a mistake to have me stay with you guys."
"Don't even," Spike growled. He grabbed her roughly by the shoulders. "Slayer, you are my friend, you're like a sister to Drusilla and you can be sure that next to her, you are the best bloody thing that's come into my life. So don't even go there, or you'll be finding yourself on the receiving end of my fist!"
The Slayer was bawling by now. Harsh, ragged sobs tore from her throat and he cursed up a blue streak. Drusilla pushed him away and took the girl into her arms, stroking her hair. "Don't cry, Buffy. Mummy doesn't like it when you cry. It makes Miss Edith sad and then she won't talk to Princess. Spike, why did you make the Slayer cry?"
He rubbed a weary hand over his face, pushing back the emotions that plagued him. "I'm sorry, ducks. I didn't mean to make the Slayer cry." Cursing again, he spun and stormed out of the library, punching the nearby locker doors making several of them spring open. He was about to do it again for good measure when he heard voices coming from around the corner, up the hallway. "Bloody hell, can this night get any worse?"
Re-entering the library, he saw that the Watcher was still hovering nervously a few steps away from Buffy and Drusilla. His Princess had calmed the girl down somewhat and he felt the love he had for the vampiress swell. Then he remembered the voices and growled softly. "Slayer, I think your old mates are coming," he said quietly.
Buffy looked over at him with red, puffy eyes. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, stepping away from Drusilla. "Do you really think they'd want to see me after all I did?"
"Of course they would, pet," Spike told her. "Although they might be scared away with you looking like that." He gestured to her tear streaked face.
She socked him in the arm, then stepped over and gave him a hug. "Why haven't I staked you yet?"
"And ruin your nightly fun of teasing me?" he replied, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "Never happen."
Spike groaned. Of course the Slayer's old chums would have to arrive at the time he was giving her a hug. It never failed. Bloody soul.
"Um...hi guys," Buffy said quietly, slowly stepping back from him. She wiped tears from her face for the second time that night. "Long time no see."
Spike walked past the Slayer and put his arm around Drusilla's waist. He nodded in encouragement to Buffy when she looked over at him. "Go ahead, pet. We're not leaving."
"Buffy?" Willow said in amazement. The red head suddenly launched herself at the blond. "Oh my goddess! You're here! You're alive! As in not dead! You're not dead, are you?"
"No, I'm not dead," Buffy replied. "Jeez, Will. I need to breathe sometime."
"Oh, heh, sorry," Willow said. Spike noticed she suddenly became pale and exchanged a look with the Watcher. He wondered what that was about.
"Hey, Buffy," Oz greeted, giving the girl a small wave.
"Hey Oz, hi Amy," the Slayer said. She noticed the two were holding hands and frowned.
"Are you staying long?" Willow asked.
"Um..." Buffy looked over at Spike, who shrugged. "We could stay for a bit, I guess." She suddenly gave the red head a puzzled look. "Hey, not that I'm not happy, but how come you're not trying to stake Spike and Dru?"
"Oh, I figured they had their souls," Willow answered.
"So it was you who did it," Buffy said. She turned to Spike. "Told you."
"That you did, pet," Spike replied, then looked over at the red head. "Remind me to kill you later."
Willow frowned at him. "But-but..."
"He's kidding, Will," Buffy told her. "He wasn't too happy when he got it. Cursed for over two bloody hours. But, in the end, it helped us find Dru."
"Oh," Willow said.
"How long have you a-and Spike been, er, friends?" Giles asked.
Buffy shrugged and walked over to the counter where Spike and Drusilla were standing. She hopped up onto the surface. "‘Bout five years," she answered.
Spike could hear the nervousness in her tone, feel the tension radiating from her once again like it had been on the plane, even though she acted cheery. Dru looked up at him with worry and he squeezed her in reassurance. His ducks didn't like it when the Slayer was hurting.
"But I only did the spell four years ago when Xan-" Willow cut off in similar fashion as Giles had, but Buffy caught on.
"Xander?" Buffy said. "What about Xander?"
"He's one of the two who got turned, isn't he," Spike surmised. He looked over his shoulder at the Slayer. "Willie said your old band of merry men had two vampires as well as a couple of witches and a werewolf. Plus a prom queen, scary as that sounds."
"Oh god," Buffy whispered in horror.
"No, it's ok. Xander has his soul," Willow said. "We got to him pretty quickly, right Amy?"
"Before he even woke up," Amy confirmed.
"She's a pretty witch," Drusilla commented. "Lots of power running through her veins, like soup. Mummy likes soup. With little chickens in it. Can we get some soup?"
"I'll make you some soup later, ducks," Spike told her.
"With little chickens?"
"Yes, luv. With little chickens," he replied. He nodded at Oz. "I take it you're the werewolf, then."
"Yeah," Oz answered.
"You know, Slayer," he said, turning his head to look at her. "You have a bloody hell of a lot of non-normal chums."
"Old chums," Buffy said so softly he almost didn't catch it.
"Hey, enough about everyone's not-so humanness," she interrupted. "Dru had a vision that someone was coming after you guys. Thought maybe you'd want to know."
"Is that why you came back?" Willow asked in a small, questioning voice.
"Of course," Buffy answered in an offhand tone. "Wouldn't be any other reason."
She was doing it again, and Spike didn't like it. Pushing her feelings away as well as those who cared for her. He'd seen it often enough. Whenever on of the regulars at the pub or a fellow employee tried to make friends, she'd be stand-offish. If someone were to ask who her mates were, he could only answer Dru and him. Not that he was rolling in them.
"I see," Willow said. "Well...um, thanks."
"No prob," the Slayer replied. "Well, I'm gonna get gone. Promise of Spike's soup has made me hungry." She slid off the counter and towards the door. "Coming guys?"
"Dru, why don't you run ahead," Spike said, giving her a quick kiss. She smiled at him and floated out of the room in her usual graceful way. Once gone, he turned to the Watcher. "The Slayer didn't want to come back to Sunnyhell - ever. She's got it in her bloody thick skull that she's at fault for everything, as you heard. When I met up with her in LA, it was maybe three weeks after the whole Acathala thing, she was literally a walking dead person. There was no life in her what-so-ever, so don't expect her to be all rosy while we're here. I'll try and get her to come back, but no promises, eh?"
He didn't wait for an answer. Pushing through the swinging doors, he walked quickly out of the school, catching up with his two favorite women on the steps outside. "Ready, pets? Le chef is making soup tonight. With chickens."
Shopping with Drusilla was like letting a kid go free in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Spike rarely took his Queen with him when he went to the grocers because he never got anything accomplished if she was with him. He'd been cooking for the Slayer since a few months after they met up. He had been sick of watching her slowly starve herself to death, so he learned how to cook her favorite dishes on a hot pot. When they'd finally moved into an apartment with a stove, he'd become a better chef and his ducks liked to eat what he made, despite not needing it.
The Slayer had gone off to get some soda and snack food, putting distance between herself and her mates as she tended to do after an emotional confrontation. He wanted to go find her and shake some sense into her, but he knew from experience that would only piss her off and he'd end up with a boot to the head. She'd calm down and be her normal, annoying self in a few hours, especially after she'd had something to eat.
"Spike, can we get this?" Drusilla asked, picking up a jar of pickles.
"We don't need it, luv," Spike replied, taking it from her and putting it back on the shelf as he did almost everything she wanted. "We're here to get ingredients to make soup." Which was located in the canned goods aisle, but he didn't mention that fact.
"Miss Edith likes soup," she informed him. "She likes the ones with the fun guys in them."
"Fun guys?" Spike asked, confused. Then he realized what he meant and he rubbed his temples. Perhaps he was getting one of those dreaded headaches the Slayer sometimes got, as she claimed, from hanging around him too much. "Oh, mushrooms."
"Whole rooms of mush, yum," Drusilla said, snapping her teeth at him playfully. "Ooh, look. Can we get this?"
"No, Dru, we can't get the diapers," he told her patiently. "They're for babies."
"I like babies, with their chubby cheeks," she commented. "They smell of sunshine and fluffy clouds. What does your Princess smell like?"
"Like roses and blood, kitten," Spike replied, grabbing her around the waist and nuzzling her neck. "You smell delicious."
"My Spike, you are attracting attention," Drusilla said, repeating Buffy's words from earlier.
"I don't bloody care," he growled, nipping at her. Her laugh curled his toes in happiness and made his heart swell. "Come on, luv. Let's get the food so we can go back to the room."
"Are we going to be naughty?" she asked coyly, batting her lashes at him, then dancing away.
Spike groaned and trailed after her like the whipped sod he was. He'd do anything for his Black Queen and she knew it. The Slayer told him once that he was pathetic, but he only shrugged and agreed with her. He didn't bloody care what people thought, human or otherwise. He loved his plum and that's all that mattered.
He rounded the corner and saw his ducks pressing her nose against the glass of the lobster tank, talking to the inhabitants. Knowing now was as good of a time as he was going to get, he went off in search of the Campbell's soup. Buffy had packed the electric hot pad as she normally did when they traveled. In fact, he doubted she'd even removed it from her bag from their last jaunt.
Engrossed in looking for the chicken soup, he didn't see the object hurling towards him until it smacked him in the side of the head. He looked down at the floor to see a package of toilet paper rolling away, then raised his head in time to get smacked by a bag of marshmallows. With a scowl, he turned to see the Slayer at the end of let go with a bag of powder sugar.
He caught the offending bag and white powder wheezed from it, covering his black shirt in a light sheen. Buffy was laughing at him and he growled, dropping the bag to the floor as she threw something else at him. He caught the small box of Jell-o and had to drop it immediately as she began to pelt him repeatedly with the little boxes.
Finally, she'd run out of ammunition, took one look at his murderous expression and ran. Laughing under his snarl, Spike loped after her, sliding around the corner and back up another aisle. He saw her hair as she tore around another corner and he picked up his pace. "Slayer," he called. "You're going to regret that."
Laughter was his answer, soothing his worry for the little girl, and he chuckled in return. He slowed his pace, carefully looking up each aisle for her. He saw Buffy coming up the cookie aisle and he waited until she was more than halfway to him before he showed himself. She froze and gave him the ‘deer in the headlights' look, pressing her lips together to hold back her laughter. He sauntered confidently up the aisle, knowing he could catch her if she ran. What he didn't expect, however, was to be ganged up on by both the women in his life.
Spike was suddenly tackled from behind, knocked to the floor by his goddess. She giggled delightedly, grabbing his arms and holding them above his head so he was pressed face first onto the floor. The Slayer ran over and slid to him on her knees in mimic of that John Travolta movie...or was it Kevin Bacon? Either way, she was at his side and was using her deadly fingers to tickle him mercilessly.
"Slayer! Ducks! Stop it!" Spike yelled, squirming under his kitten. Laughter was coming from all three of them, and tears from his own eyes as he continued to be tickled. It was so bloody unfair, the two of them against him. He hadn't a prayer. "Bloody hell, will you two quit it!"
"Now this is something you don't see everyday," a male voice said from just beyond them. "Spike getting tromped by two beautiful women."
The three looked up to see Xander standing there, leaning casually against the shelves. "But I wouldn't protest if I had two women holding me down."
"Xander?" Buffy said in a quiet voice. Spike pushed himself up, then helped his Dru to her feet. The Slayer stood on her own power, not removing her eyes from the young man standing there. "Are you..."
"A bloodsucker?" Xander finished for her. "Sure as I no longer breathe."
"Makes for interesting make out sessions," Cordelia said as she came around the corner. "Hi Buffy. Get tired of being a run away?"
"Cordy," Xander warned. Spike growled at the prom queen.
"What? I was only asking," Cordelia said. "I know you're dying to find out why she's back after all this time. Oh wait, you're already dead."
Xander rolled his eyes at them. "She's going to haunt me for the rest of my unlife."
"Pet, you stay and chat," Spike told the Slayer. "Dru and I will go get the soup." He put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed in reassurance, then put his arm around his sweethearts waist and led her away.
"That boy has dark and light in him," Drusilla said as they walked back towards the canned goods aisle. "He's like us."
"I know, ducks," he replied. "That chap is the reason why we have souls."
"I like him, then, because I like my soul," she said. "It sings beautiful music to me. Like a rainbow."
"That's because you are beautiful like a rainbow," Spike told her. He frowned, wondering where he'd heard that expression before. Perhaps it was a song. Now it was going to bug him until he figured it out. With a mental growl, he began to search the cans for the chicken soup once again.
The Slayer appeared a few minutes later with her small shopping basket, looking a bit worn around the edges, but not unhappy. "Hey, my two favorite fiends. Ready to blow this pop stand?"
"Did you have a good talk, pet?" Spike asked her as they headed up the aisle for the check out.
"Yeah," she replied. "Cordelia is a tactful as I remember and Xander gave it to me straight. I guess that they are still together, even after the whole vampire thing."
"Did he say who turned him?" he inquired.
"Just some random attack," she answered. "He said that Oz was with Amy now and that, get this, my mom is married to Giles."
Spike arched a brow. "Now that's interesting news."
"Wiggy is a better descriptive," Buffy said. She frowned. "He didn't say much about Willow, though. Only that she was a full-fledged witch, like Amy and a teacher at the high school."
"Well, luv, you can always ask her tomorrow," he suggested, hinting strongly. He wanted her to see her old chums and get over her pain so she could get on with her life. "I'm sure she'd love to see you at lunch."
"You think?" she asked, nervously biting on her lower lip.
"I know," he replied. "Why don't you give her a bell when we get back to the motel? I'm sure your old Watcher has her number."
"Maybe," Buffy said. Spike knew that she would by that answer. Perhaps the little red head would put her guilt to rest like the Slayer did for Dru. Then all they had to do was stop whoever was coming and life would be good.
"Spike, can we get this?" Drusilla asked, holding up a pack of Bubbaliscious Bubble-gum. He saw that she'd already opened it and was chewing on a piece. With a groan, he grabbed the gum and tossed it on the conveyor belt with their other purchases, wincing when the loud bubble popped. He had yet to figure out when she learned how to blow bubbles when she didn't even need to breathe. He looked over at the Slayer and saw her grinning at his ducks. He had a sneaky feeling....
Spike was sitting up in bed, reading his book when the Slayer returned. He looked up to see her come into the room through the connecting door and flop down on the end of the bed. He glanced at the clock and noted that she'd been gone for several hours. "Pleasant lunch, pet?"
"It was ok," Buffy replied. "Where's Dru?"
"In the bath," he answered.
"With or without Miss Edith?"
"Without. I managed to convince her the doll already had her bath," Spike replied. "I don't want to have to dry that bloody thing out again. It was a bugger the first time."
"Maybe we should get her one of those bath time dolls for Christmas this year," Buffy suggested. "I think they still see them at the toy shop."
"As long as I don't have to get her anything to do with planes, my unlife will be good," he told her.
She chuckled, reaching over to tickled the bottom of his foot. "How's the book?"
"Bugger off," he retorted.
"Hey! What if I really wanted to know?" Buffy asked, grinning up at him.
"The day I believe that is the day I'll cut my own bloody head off," Spike said. He stuck the photo in the book and closed it. "Now, I know you want to chat with me, so spit it out."
The Slayer sighed and rolled over onto her back to stare up at the ceiling. "Lunch was...weird."
"Oh?" he prompted.
"I kept getting the feeling Willow was not telling me something. She use to not be able to lie at all, but now..." Buffy trailed off thoughtfully. "It was like talking to Xander last night. I heard about her job and her witchcraft, lots of stories about the others and the baddies they've fought, but nothing about her personal life."
"Sounds like she's hiding something to me, pet," Spike told her. "Either that, or she really doesn't have much of a personal life. But with her looks, I couldn't tell you why."
"Spike, what would Dru say about you checking out other women?" Buffy teased.
He scowled at her. "What now, luv? Are you going to go see your mum?"
"We're meeting them for dinner at Mario's at 8:00," she answered. "I still can't believe Giles is now my step-dad. That's bloody wig-worthy."
"We? As in all three of us?" Spike asked.
"Yup," she replied. "I'm not going to this one alone, so be sure you two eat before we leave. I don't want you eyeing the bus boys as a la carte meals."
"Are you certain you want to bring Dru?" Spike said. He loved his Princess, but taking her to a restaurant was flirting with disaster. Especially if they were meeting important people in the Slayer's life.
"Yes, I sure," Buffy answered. She reached up and snatched the book off his lap. "Don't you think you should go see if Dru drowned?"
"She can't drown, she doesn't need to breathe," he said, frowning in the direction of the bathroom. Then again, this was his ducks. With a sigh, he stood and ambled to the bathroom. "Dru?"
Spike couldn't see her in the mound of bubbles and he wondered if the Slayer was correct. He went over to the tub and sat on the edge, reaching his hand down into the foam to find his plum. He did not expect to be suddenly pulled into the tub with her.
Drusilla's laughter filled the bathroom as she slid above the surface with him on her lap. His clothes were getting soaked, but he wasn't about to move for anything. "I got you, my Spike."
"That you did, my water nymph," Spike replied, smiling at her. "You're a clever girl."
"Are we going to see the Slayer's mum tonight?" she asked, scooping some bubbles and putting them on his peroxide blond head.
"Yes," he answered, letting her play. "You have to promise me to be on your best behavior."
"I'm a good girl, Miss Edith says so," Drusilla said. She blew at the bubbles on her hand. "The Slayer is not happy with going to meet her mum. She is frightened."
"I suppose she would be, luv," he replied. "She hasn't seen her in over five years. Lots changed since then."
"The Slayer hasn't been here since she went with you to find your Princess," she said. "I'm happy she took care of my Spike for me while I was gone. I like my Spike."
"Your Spike likes you, too, ducks," Spike said. "Are you ready to get out of the tub?"
"No," she pouted. "I like it in here with all the bubbles. They make my skin tingle."
"Ok, luv, but not too much longer," he told her. He pulled himself out of the tub. "And don't bloody drown."
He bent to give her a kiss and found himself being yanked back down, half falling back into the water as Drusilla took control and kissed him passionately. He may not need to breathe, but he was panting pretty heavily after that.