Five Years of Change


by Saber ShadowKitten



Several hours after he'd kicked the Slayer out of the room and closed the connecting door, the three friends made their way to the restaurant to meet Joyce and Giles. Drusilla kept up a happy chatter of conversation, trying to distract Buffy from the upcoming dinner. Except for his ducks, they were somewhat underdressed for the restaurant, but he didn't care. The Slayer was going to see her mum and that's what was important, not their bloody wardrobe.

Spike itched to snap the maitre de's neck as he stared down his nose at them. Luckily, before he could give into his urges, Giles walked over to them and escorted the trio back to the table. He was happy to see Buffy immediately engulfed in a hug by her mum. "Buffy, I've missed you so much," Joyce said, holding her daughter close.

"I missed you, too," Buffy admitted. When she stepped back, both ladies had to wipe the tears from their faces. "Um, mom, you remember Spike don't you?"

"Yes," Joyce said, extending her hand. "Thank you for taking care of my baby."

"Mom-"

"No problem," Spike replied.

"And this is Drusilla," Buffy introduced the female vampire. "Dru, this is my mom, Joyce."

"Hello Slayer's mum, Joyce," Drusilla said, curtseying. Spike winked at her when she turned to him for approval.

"And you both already know Giles," the Slayer said. She pulled out her chair and took a seat, followed shortly by Joyce and Giles. Spike pulled out the chair for his ducks and once she was seated, took his own. A short, uncomfortable silence fell over the table as Dru examined the silverware. "So, um, how's being married? That still sounds weird."

"It's good," Joyce replied. "We would have loved for you to be at the wedding, but we eloped, so it didn't matter anyway."

"You eloped?" Buffy asked. "Where? Vegas?"

"Yes," Joyce answered. "It was a lot of fun, wasn't it, Rupert?"

"What? Er...yes," Giles replied. "Excellent f-fun."

Spike barely suppressed his snort and Buffy kicked him under the table. The waiter came around to take drinks and he ordered a Scotch Rocks for himself, a beer for Buffy and a Virgin Mary for Dru, having done this sort of thing before. He watched as the Slayer blushed when her mum and Giles looked between her and him. He gave her a smirk.

"So, uh, how are things with you?" Joyce finally asked, breaking the second silence of the night.

"Pretty good," Buffy replied. "I have a job at a pub in the quarter, working five to two. I slay on my nights off or after work, depending on what Spike finds out. We have a pretty decent place in the city, a two bedroom flat. Of course, it's a bit on the messy side, seeing as someone doesn't bloody pick up after himself."

"Do, too," Spike shot back. "It's your bloody magazines all over, and your smelly socks."

"And who's twenty-five Animorphs books are piled on the floor next to the couch?" Buffy asked sweetly. "Right next to all the Goosebumps ones?"

"Bugger off," he scowled at her. "At least I read, you just look at the pictures."

"I do no-" Buffy stopped speaking when she caught Joyce and Giles' looks. She gave them a sheepish smile. "Sorry. We tend to bring out each others...colors."

"The Slayer and my Spike like to yell at each other," Drusilla said, picking up the pepper and shaking some on her bread plate. "Sometimes they'll fight. It's much fun. But I can't play unless I'm tagged first. Right, my love?"

"That's right, pet," Spike replied to her. He watched as she picked up the salt and added it to the pepper on the plate.

"And what do you do, Spike?" Joyce asked.

He looked over at the woman, clearly surprised by the question. "Well, I cook. Do the laundry and go to the grocers, that sort of thing."

"He's a regular Mr. Mom," Buffy teased. He scowled at her again. "Dru and I got him a ‘kiss the cook' apron for Christmas last year, but he refuses to wear it. Says he looks like a bleedin' nancyboy."

Spike closed his eyes for a moment and counted to ten. When he opened them he gave her a fake smile. "You are just too cute, Slayer."

"That's why you love me," she replied, grinning at him. She got another look from Joyce and she blushed. "Not like that, mom. We're not having a threesome."

"Not that I hav-mmph." Spike's sentence was cut off by another sharp kick to the shin. "No. Not like that."

"How about you, Drusilla?" Joyce continued the conversation. She frowned when she looked at the vampiress.

Spike looked over at his love and saw that she was drawing in the salt and pepper on the plate with her finger. He reached over and took the dish from in front of her. "Luv, Joyce asked you a question."

"Do I get my design back if I answer?" Drusilla asked him, pouting slightly.

"We're at a restaurant, ducks," he explained patiently. "You don't create designs in a restaurant."

"But Spike," she whined.

"Drusilla," Spike warned. "Be good or Miss Edith will be mad at you." He gave Joyce and Giles a small smile. "Dru helps the Slayer out with her duties."

"I scare the bad men away," Drusilla added, catching onto the conversation. "I take there food and set it free, like birdies. Did you know that I got to fly the big metal bird? My Spike made it so I could fly."

"Here's your drink, kitten," Spike interrupted her as the waiter placed her drink in front of her.

"It's got a green stick in it," she pointed out.

"That's celery, Dru," Buffy spoke up. "Humans eat it. So do bunnies."

Drusilla's eyes widened as she looked in question at Spike. "If I eat it, will I be a human or a bunny?"

The Slayer got her mum and old Watcher's attention, beginning a new conversation with them while he explained to his poodle that she would be neither a bunny nor a human if she ate the celery. Then he had to convince her that she did not need to use the utensils to eat it. By then, the waiter returned with their menus and conversation fell silent as they each read the selections.

"Spike, do they have soup with little chickens?" Drusilla asked.

"Yes, but we had that last night, ducks," Spike replied. "Wouldn't you like to have something else. It's not often we got to go to a fancy restaurant."

"Drusilla, you are welcome to have anything on the menu," Joyce said. "All of you are. Our treat."

"Thanks, mom," Buffy said. "I know what I'm having. The Scaloppine."

"That sound delicious," Joyce replied. "What about you, Rupert?"

"I think perhaps the Shrimp Alfredo," Giles told her.

"Slayer," Spike leaned over and whispered as the two ‘adults' at the table began to talk about what Joyce should have. "Do me a favor and bloody pick something for Dru and me, will you?"

Buffy arched her brow. "Ok. How about the spaghetti or the lasagna?"

"Fine, either of them," he replied, closing the menu. "I'm going to run outside for a smoke. Keep an eye on Dru, please?"

"Sure, go ahead," she said.

Spike excused himself and made his way out the front door and around the side of the restaurant. Once there, he lit up a cigarette and took a deep drag. He hated going to fancy restaurants, with all their fancy names for simple food. He hadn't recognized one word on the bloody menu and it really ticked him off. Plus, he was going to have his hands full with his Princess during the meal and he needed a few minutes to himself before the festivities commenced. Luckily, neither of them had problems with eating human food, though it wasn't necessary. His pumpkin thought it was fun, and he'd do anything to please her.

Joyce nor Giles had said anything regarding his plum's mental state, so either the Slayer had filled them in before hand, or the Watcher knew enough about Dru's insane tendencies and told his wife. He agreed with Buffy in the fact that it was ridiculous her mum was married to the tweed clad man. On appearance, he had to wonder what they had in common, aside from the Slayer.

With a final drag, he crushed the smoke under his boot and returned to the restaurant, glaring at the maitre de as he went by. He frowned when he found himself back at the table alone with the Watcher.

"Ladies room," Giles explained. Spike nodded and polished off his drink, flagging down the waiter for a second. "Spike, h-how is Buffy? Really?"

He thought for a moment before answering. "The Slayer is doing alright. She has Dru and me, and we all sort of take care of each other. I think it'll do her good that she's seen you and her mum and old mates. Even if we go back home, maybe she'll stop blaming herself for every bloody thing that has happened here."

"We will do our best dispel that notion," Giles said. "No one blames Buffy for anything, not even for leaving. Once we found out what h-had occurred that night, we worked double to-to try to make things right. Of course, we never did find Buffy, though not from lack of trying."

"We moved around a bit," Spike told him, sipping his refreshed drink. "Looking for Dru. She was a rascal, always eluding us by a few days. Set my teeth on edge, she did."

"Was that before you received your, er, soul?" Giles asked.

"It was," he replied. "We made a truce and a deal that I'd help her against Angel if she'd let me and Dru skip town. When I ran into her in LA, I extended the truce. I think she was happy to be with someone familiar, even if it were her bloody enemy. Then I asked her to stay after we'd found Dru and the rest, as they say, is history."

"What about A-Angel?" Giles inquired. "Is she...does she..."

"Don't even mention that bastard's name, especially around her," Spike growled. "That pillock has hurt her enough, still hurts her, even from hell where the git belongs."

Giles looked surprised at the vehemence in his words as well as another emotion he couldn't quite name. Fear, perhaps? His attention was taken away from the man as the ladies returned. He stood and pulled out his kitten's chair.

"Spike, they had magickal water," Drusilla said excitedly as she sat down. "Mummy put her hand under it and it turned on all by itself!"

"Sensors," Buffy said under her breath to him.

"Sounds exciting, ducks," Spike replied. The food arrived and he found himself with a plate of lasagna.

"There are worms on my plate," Drusilla said, picking up her fork and pushing the spaghetti around. "I like worms, they're all squishy and mummy gets to slurp their little insides out."

"Dru, do you want the stinky cheese for your worms?" Buffy asked, holding the dish of Parmesan cheese.

They had spaghetti at home every once in awhile, so his pet's reference to eating worms was not new. At her nod, Spike took the cheese and sprinkled some over her plate. The female vampiress dug in right away, eating just like a tot, sucking on one strand at a time. He glanced at Joyce and Giles and was glad they didn't seem to be put out by her childish actions. If they had been, he would have had to take some heads, soul or not. No one teased or looked down upon his poodle and lived.

The rest of the dinner went off without a hitch. Spike ordered ice cream for his pet for dessert while the conversation revolved around bland topics such as work or slaying. The Watcher discussed in more detail some of the creatures they'd fought over the past five years, about Xander's conversion to the dark side and restoration of his soul. That got him to thinking about what Willie had told him and he brought it up.

"Willie told me that you had two vampires in your little bunch," he said. "If that whelp is the first one, who's the second?"

Joyce and Giles exchanged looks and he frowned. This was similar behavior to the red head and the Watcher two nights ago. He felt like he was missing something big, something important and he didn't like it. Not one bit.

"Th-that would be, er, Willow's husband."



Part Seven




"Willow's married?" Buffy asked, astonished. "She didn't tell me that. I also don't remember seeing any rings on her hand."

"They had a-a-a handfasting ceremony," Giles explained. At her puzzled look, he added, "Wiccan marriage ritual."

"So, does that mean it's not legal?" she said.

"No, it's very legal," he replied. "They have both license and a certificate of-of marriage, however, they decided not to ex-exchange rings."

"I wonder why she didn't tell me," Buffy said thoughtfully. "How long has she been married?"

"A little over a year now," Giles answered.

"Huh, imagine that," she commented. "What about Xander and Cordelia? Are they married, too?

"Ac-actually, they are," he said. "They were married before Xander's...uh, change. Oz and Amy are-are-are handfasted, as well."

"Wow. Looks like everyone has it good," she said. She looked over at Spike and he could see the tears behind her eyes. "Bloody hell," she whispered softly, biting the inside of her cheek.

"I think we ought to call it a night," Spike suggested, standing. "Long day and all that rot. Plus, I'm rather hungry and I promised the Slayer I wouldn't munch on the help."

Buffy gave him a grateful look and stood. "Thanks, mom, for a good dinner."

"Um, you're welcome, Buffy," Joyce replied. "Would you like to do something tomorrow?"

"Don't know," she shrugged. "I'll call you." Joyce went to hug her, but the Slayer avoided it by turning towards the door. "Thanks again, guys," she said as she began to walk out.

"Are we leaving?" Drusilla asked as Spike helped her to her feet.

"Yes, luv, supper's over," he answered. He looked over at Joyce. "I wouldn't hold your breath for that call, Joyce. I'd garner that we'll be going home tomorrow now that the Slayer has seen that her leaving was a good thing."

"What?" Joyce said. "Why would she think that? Everyone missed her so much, we were all miserable without her. I was miserable without her. I prayed every night for my baby to come home, but she never did. Until now. I don't want to lose her again."

"You may have bloody missed her, but everyone is happy and has their own mates," Spike told her. "You and the Watcher, the werewolf and that blond witch, the whelp and the prom queen and Willow and whoever her bloody husband is, even me and Dru. Each of us has someone. The Slayer does not. Being here now that she knows this is going to tear her apart, especially since my wanker of a sire is still in hell. Come on, Dru, time to go."

He quickly led his Princess out of the restaurant. Buffy was standing there, staring up at the night sky, a pensive expression on her face. With a silent curse to the gods, he put his arm around her shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze. "Spike, I want to go home," she told him without preamble.

"I figured, pet," he replied. "We'll catch a plane back home as soon as the sun sets tomorrow, ok?" Buffy nodded and they began walking back to the motel.


*****


A loud knock at the door woke Spike the next morning. Glancing at the clock, he frowned and sat up. Looking through the open connecting doors between rooms, he saw that the Slayer was still sound asleep, as was his ducks next to him. The knock came again and he growled, climbing out of bed to look through the peep hole. On the other side stood a nervous Willow.

He walked away from the door to throw on his jeans. Then, standing well out of the way, even though the rooms were on the north side of the building, he opened the door and glared at the witch. "What?"

"Oh, um, is-is Buffy here?" Willow asked. "The manager told me this room number and..."

"Yeah, she's in the room next door, but she's bloody sleeping, like I should be," he told her.

"I really need to talk to her," she said, nervously shifting from foot to foot. "I have to get back to school in an hour, so I don't have that much time."

Spike sighed and motioned for her to come in. He led her through the connecting doors after putting a finger to his lips not to wake Dru and went to Buffy's side. "Slayer," he said, shaking her slightly. "Your red headed mate is here."

Buffy woke immediately, lifting her head to look at Willow standing by the provided dresser. She thanked him and he left, closing the connecting door behind him. He thought about listening in, but his tired body wanted something else, so he climbed back into bed with his ladylove and went back to sleep.

The sound of a fist breaking glass snapped him out of slumber. Drusilla sat bolt upright as he scrambled from the bed and into his jeans once again. "No, no, no," his Queen repeated, holding her head. "This is all wrong."

"What is it, Dru?" Spike asked anxiously.

"The little witch has hurt the Slayer," she said.

That was all he needed to here to rip the connecting door practically from its hinges. On the other side he saw Buffy cradling her bleeding fist in tears, a shattered mirror that once adorned the area above the dresser and the red head looking horrified. "What did you do to her!" Spike yelled, rushing to the Slayer's side. He checked the wound, wincing at the shards of glass imbedded in her skin.

"I-I-I-I-I told her the truth," Willow said. "Angel wants to see her. I didn't want to hurt her."

His head shot up, his eyes burning yellow as what she said sunk in. "Angel wants to see her?" She nodded, fearful of him. "As in Angelus, my sire? The one who's suppose to be in HELL?!?"

"He-he-he's not in hell anymore. Amy and I got him out a few months after Buffy ran away. We did it for her! But then, we couldn't find her and the weeks became months and the months became years and-and a lot can change in five years," Willow babbled defensively. "Especially since we didn't know if Buffy was alive or dead or undead or-or-or anything."

"Get. Out," he hissed, his demon face in the foreground.

"But Angel..."

"NOW!"

Willow yelped and threw open the door, tearing outside without a second glance behind her. He stormed over to it and slammed it shut, causing it to shake on its hinges. With a savage growl, he spun and punched the wall, leaving a massive dent before returning to the Slayer's side.

"Drusilla! I need you," he called to the other room.

Drusilla scurried through the connecting doors, having put on one of her long nightgowns. She immediately took over for him, leading the sobbing Slayer towards her bathroom to cleanse her wounds. "Mummy's here," she cooed as she led the blond away. It seemed when Buffy was hurt, his Princess became lucid enough to take care of her like a mother would, and it made him very proud of her. He was inadequate to help the girl, wanting instead to lash out violently and kill something, damned his soul.

Growling explicatives under his breath, he grabbed the phone in his and Drusilla's room and got the number for the high school. When the Watcher got on the line, he let the man have it. "Why didn't you tell us that Angel was out of hell?! You stupid, bloody pillock! You've probably destroyed her again!"

"Spike, I-I wasn't at liberty to-to-to tell you," Giles replied over the line. "That was A-Angel and Willow's desires."

"Well, you tell that bloody bastard to meet me at the school as soon as the sun sets," he snarled, then slammed down the phone. He was going to give his sire a piece of his mind that revolved mostly around his fist in the wanker's face. He stopped pacing suddenly when an odd though occurred to him. If Angel was out of hell, why didn't Dru know it? She knew when he gained his soul and when he lost it again, but why not this? Perhaps that witch had something to do with it.


*****


The hours passed slowly for Spike as he waited for the sun to go down. He fed quickly on the blood packets from the stash, all the while listening to his ducks trying to calm the Slayer. He was going to beat the bloody crap out of his sire for doing this to her. He long beyond deserved it for all the shit he put all three of them through.

Finally, the sun slipped over the horizon and he slid on his duster. "I'm going now," he called into the other room. Without waiting for an answer, he was out the door and stalking towards the school. Once there, he lit up a cigarette and leaned against a convenient wall, waves of barely suppressed rage coming off of his body.

"Spike," Angel greeted quietly as he came out of the darkness. "Where's Buffy?"

Spike didn't answer. He observed his sire, noting that there was no change in his appearance other than the painful look in his eyes. With lightning speed, he lashed out his foot, catching Angel across the face. He followed it with several quick, hard punches to the gut, the older vampire bending in pain. He spun, backhanding him with enough force to send him spinning to the ground. With a growl, he begun kicking the downed vampire in the ribs.

"Spike! Stop!"

The Slayer's commands stopped his assault and he looked up to see her and Drusilla almost upon him. Taking a few steps back in order to adhere to Buffy's wishes, he shoved his hands in his pockets and waited for them to arrive at his side. Angel pushed himself to his feet, grimacing in pain which he so richly deserved.

Spike wrapped his arm around his kitten's waist, holding her close as soon as she came within grabbing distance. He watched as Buffy halted a few feet from Angel, her expression tense and somewhat hostile. The vampire's own expression was one of sadness. He so wanted to beat the wanker again.

"Angel?" Buffy finally broke the uneasy silence that filled the night air.

"I'm sorry, Buffy," Angel replied immediately. "I'm so sorry. For everything."

"I'll take your sorry and shove it right down your throat, you git," Spike muttered to himself. Drusilla shushed him, her liquid brown eyes wide as she gazed at her daddy.

Angel continued, "I'm proud of you. You did what needed to be done and saved the world. I'm sorry I was unable to find you and tell you that. We searched..." He paused, his eyes flicking over to Spike and Dru before returning to the blond. "Three years I looked for you, but it was as if you vanished. I thought...I thought you were dead. Willow..."

"You fell in love with her," Buffy whispered. Angel nodded. They stood there for several moments, staring at each other. Finally, the Slayer asked, "Do you...could you ever forgive me for all I've done to you?"

Angel's eyes widened in shock. "All you've done to me? I should be the one asking you that question." He took in the seriousness of her posture and the misery and guilt in her eyes. "Oh, Buffy. Of course I forgive you. I never held anything against you, ever, even sending me to hell. You did the right thing and I'm so sorry I hurt you."

Buffy suddenly launched herself into his arms, hugging him tightly. It made Spike want to lose his lunch. Drusilla shushed him again for his muttering, laying her head on his shoulder in happiness, a smile on her beautiful face. He had to admit it was a touching scene, if one went for that sort of thing. Something right out of a bloody picture, although he would have chosen someone much more of a man for the leading role than his lapdog of a sire.

The Slayer finally released Angel, smiling up at him through her tears. "I'm glad you're not in hell anymore," she said, wiping her face with her sleeve.

"I'm glad you're alive," Angel replied, reaching forward to run his hand along her cheek.

"And I'm glad this is going to be over soon," Spike said loud enough for them to here. "I'm getting bloody nauseous."

"Dru, smack him for me," Buffy said over her shoulder.

"Ow!" Spike said when his precious did as the Slayer asked. He scowled at both of them.

"Spike, can I go see my daddy?" Drusilla asked him.

He looked at her pleading face and sighed. "Go ahead, luv," he told her.

She beamed at him and scampered over to Angel, pulling him into a quick hug. "My Angel has a soul, just like mummy," she said, releasing him.

"That's right, Dru," Angel replied. "I see you are as beautiful as ever."

"Thank you," Drusilla said, looking shyly down at her feet. "My Spike takes care of me. He loves me lots."

"I know he does," Angel said, looking over at him. Spike glared in return. "He still has no respect for his betters, though."

"Shove off," Spike told him. "And what makes you think you're better than me?"

"Spike, half the population of the bloody world is better than you," Buffy teased, walking over to him and linking her arm through his. "But I still like you anyway."

"You're too bloody hilarious, Slayer," he retorted, seeing the first genuine smile on her face since they'd left home for Sunnyhell.

"Buffy," Angel said. "Willow is anxious to see you. She feels bad about not telling you, which is my fault, not hers."

"Say no more," Buffy said. She stood on her toes and kissed Spike on the cheek, then went over and gave Dru a hug. "You two go out, have fun, terrorize the local vampires. I'll see you later."

"Ok, pet," Spike replied. "Do you still want me to make arrangement to go home tonight?"

"No," she answered. "I'll let you know when I get back to the room. Have fun." With a secretive wink to Drusilla, to which his plum giggled, she and Angel walked off together.

"Ducks, what are you laughing at?" he asked as they turned and headed in the opposite direction.

"Just girl stuff, my love," Drusilla replied with a feminine smile on her face. Spike closed his eyes and groaned. The rest of the night was either going to be very enjoyable or a nightmare.

It turned out to be very, very enjoyable.



Epilogue




"Hit me."

Drusilla leaned over and smacked the Slayer on the arm. "Hey! What was that for?"

"You said to hit you," Drusilla answered.

Spike laughed, throwing the blond a new card. The three friends had gone home the next night after meeting with Angel, but it was with an air of happiness. Since then, the Slayer had allowed herself to heal, making new friends and keeping in touch with her old chums through letters and email. At times, she'd get on the phone for bloody hours with Willow, driving him up a wall with their incessant chatter until he was forced to flee for his sanity into his bedroom with a book.

"Watch it, Dru. I may hit back," Buffy replied, playfully scowling at his ducks.

"But that would not be nice," Drusilla said. She picked up her cards and turned them over. "I have five bleeding hearts."

"Slayer, I think you're right," Spike said in disgust as he tossed down his own cards. "Dru cheats."

"Told you," Buffy replied. "Miss Edith lets her in on the psychic track."

He stood and wandered into the kitchen as the Slayer shuffled the cards. The ‘bad man' that was suppose to hurt the Slayer's chums had arrived in Sunnyhell only to be easily trounced by them. It turned out to be an old friend of the Watcher's. Buffy said he was the one who turned everyone into their Halloween costumes. He remembered that fun night. It was...neat.

Grabbing three sodas and the pretzels, he returned to the table, catching the end of a conversation between the love of his unlife and his best friend. "I'm telling you, Dru. You have to try it sometime. Gives whole new meaning to the term ‘flying'."

"What are you filling her head with now, Slayer?" Spike asked, setting down the bag and drinks.

"Nothing, Spike," Buffy said innocently.

"How come I don't bloody believe you?"

"Spike, can we go in the big metal bird again?" Drusilla asked, looking up at him with pleading eyes. "I want to fly."

"Anything for you, pet," he answered. "Where do you want to go?"

"To the WC," she replied.

He frowned in confusion. "Why do you want to go to the loo, ducks?"

"So I can be a pilot in the mile high club," Drusilla replied, her eyes completely clear. She gave him a wicked grin. "Do you think they give you gold wings for that, luv?"

Spike groaned and left the room to Buffy and Dru's girlish laughter. His Princess never failed to surprise him and he loved her so bloody much. He needed her as much as he needed to avoid the sun. He needed her as much as he needed blood to live. Their laughter reached his ears again and he thought of what his Black Queen suggested.

He needed a cold shower.


End