When Slayers Fall


by Saber ShadowKitten

Part Ten




"Do you think we can get out of here now?" Buffy asked as they lay together on Spike's coat, fully dressed. She was looking thoughtfully at the trap door, the walls no longer threatening to close in on her. "I could really use some food." Her stomach growled in emphasis.

Spike chuckled, then kissed the top of her head. "Come on, pet. Let's go." He climbed the ladder and carefully pushed the trapdoor open. Gaping holes in the ceiling of the burned warehouse let in the starry night as they left their safe haven. Buffy looked around the wreckage, then burst out laughing, spinning in circles at being free. He watched with a raised eyebrow until she leapt into his arms, legs wrapped around his waist, and hugged him.

"Thank you," she whispered, holding him tightly.

He smiled. "You're quite welcome, Slayer." She slid to her feet, her face raised to stare into his bright blue eyes. With a groan, Spike brought his lips to hers, tasting her warmth and sweetness. When he broke it off, he stepped back, his features reflecting confusion, anger and desire. "Let's go," he ground out, turning on his heel without waiting.

Buffy's brows screwed up in puzzlement, and she hurried to follow him. They were lucky to find Spike's DeSoto still in one piece. The vampire tapped nervously on the wheel as he drove them to a fast food restaurant, glancing ever so often at the petite blond next to him. When they arrived, he gave her some money, then went in search of his own food, his emotions reeling from what happened in the warehouse.

Circling around the back of the restaurant, he was surprised to recognize two of Virginia's minions feeding. Stealthily, he crept up behind them, staking one instantly and grabbing the other by the lapels, slamming him up against the brick wall of the building. The minion's eyes widened and he began to sputter out words.

"You! But-but-but you're dead! Master Virginia sent the-the-the note herself!"

"As you can see, I'm very much still kicking," Spike said, slamming his fist into the vampire's face. "And I'm extremely brassed off for being trapped in a burning warehouse." He punched him in the gut, breaking a few ribs, then kneed him in the face. "Now, what's this about a note?" he asked threateningly, the other pinned to the ground by the neck under Spike's boot.

"Master Virginia sent a-a-a-a note to-to Angelus saying you a-a-and the blond Slayer were dead," the minion said quickly, terrified.

"Oh, she did, did she?" Spike said. "Well, then I guess I'd better let you go to correct the mistake." He lifted his foot and the minion scrambled to his feet. Before he could start running, Spike slammed into him, kicking and punching until he finally plunged a stake home. The peroxide blond looked at the pile of dust on the ground, then shrugged. "Or not."

Spike joined Buffy in the restaurant a few minutes later. Sliding into the seat across from her, he sent her a casual look. "Good news or bad news, ducks?"

Buffy swallowed the bite of hamburger, eyeing him warily. "Good news."

"Virginia and her flunkies think we're dead," he told her, snatching a French fry from her tray.

Buffy arched an eyebrow. "What's the bad news?"

"Angelus and your friends do, too," he said. He quickly explained to her what the minion told him. "This could be our ace in the hole, Slayer," he concluded.

"How?"

"If Virginia thinks we're dead, she won't be expecting us to kill her," he pointed out, grabbing her drink and taking a long sip. She glared at him, then snagged it back.

"Well, duh," she said, taking another bite of her food. "But how do we keep it a secret that we're still among the walking and talking?"

"And shagging," he added, smirking at her. She wrinkled her nose at him in fake disgust. "She probably has Angelus' place staked out by now. It wasn't too hard to follow you back that night."

"I thought I did a great job!" she exclaimed.

He chuckled. "Pet, a blind Chihuahua could have tailed you," he said. Buffy picked up a fry and threw it at him. "Temper, Slayer," he chided. She sent him a murderous look.

"Arrogant, sexy vampire," she muttered to herself. "Ok, we'll call them. Unless you think they tapped the phones."

He shrugged. "It's a possibility, luv. Never underestimate your foe," he said. "I did once, and was stuck in a bloody wheelchair for months."

"I'm good," she bragged, smiling brightly. "So, how do we talk to them?"

"First, I suggest we find someplace to stay," he said. "Then we'll figure out what to do."

"Sounds like a plan," she replied. They stood to leave. "Think we have enough money to stay at the Yorkshire over on Beverly?"

"Ducks, that place is five hundred bloody dollars for one night!" Spike exclaimed as they climbed into his car.

Twenty minutes later he was pulling into the drive to the hotel, swearing under his breath the entire time. "I hope you're happy," he grumbled, following her through the ornate doors. The look on her face when she smiled at him sent his undead heart pounding in his chest.


*****


The bell sounded the next morning in the darkened warehouse. Faith and Xander looked up from where there were sitting, snuggled together on the couch watching television. With a shrug, Cordelia peered through the curtains and saw a FedEx truck parked outside the door. "Xander, get Angel," she instructed, heading for the stairs.

She returned a minute later, small package in her hand. Angel walked over and took it from her, carefully inspecting it. The Yorkshire Hotel was listed as the return address. Opening it, he pulled out a video tape.

"What is it?" Xander asked.

"A copy of Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail," he answered. Nothing else was in the package. Curious, he slid the cassette out of the holder. It was fast forwarded to a certain spot. He walked quickly over to the VCR.

"Bring out your dead."

"Here's one, nine pence."

"I'm not dead."

"What?"

"Nothing, here's your nine pence."

"I'm not dead, yet."

As Xander viewed the scene, his mind suddenly snapped to the last time he watched this movie.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"That's what I should have said to the Master," Buffy told Xander as they sat in front of his television, watching Holy Grail for the umpteenth time.

"What?" Xander asked.

"'I'm not dead, yet,'" she quoted. At his confused look, she explained. "When I went to kill the Master on the roof of the library, he told me I was dead. That should have been my reply."

"Buff, I don't think the big ugly had a VCR," he replied. "But if it makes you feel any better, next time you're suppose to be dead, you can say it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Buffy's alive!" Xander shouted, jumping to his feet. He gestured wildly to the screen. "It's a message from her!"

"How can you be sure?" Angel asked, his hopes raising.

Xander quickly explained the story, then grabbed Faith into a hug. "She's alive!"

"That's five by five, Xander," she said, breaking out of his enthusiastic embrace. "But what's with the cloak and dagger?"

"Virginia's spies," Cordelia answered.

Angel nodded. "You're probably right, Cordy." He looked relieved for a moment, then worried again. "Do you think Spike is with her?"

Cordelia hugged him. "I don't know," she whispered.

"So, what now?" Xander asked, his face lit with happiness.

"We call Willow," Angel said, getting to work. "And get a list of the registered guests at the Yorkshire Hotel. Buffy is not dumb. If she figures there are spies, she won't be registered under her real name."

"Isn't the Yorkshire that big, fancy joint on Beverly?" Faith said. Angel nodded. "How's she gonna pay for it?"

"That's right," Cordelia said. "If she used her credit card, she'd be listed under her own name."

"Not if she went by an ATM," Angel replied. "But we'll know as soon as we get that list from Willow."



Part Eleven




"Can you do that?"

"Do what?" Spike asked the Slayer.

Buffy looked back at him. "That hypno-thingy Odo just told him about."

They were laying on the large bed of the plush hotel room, watching videos. Buffy was on her stomach, her feet near the headboard and Spike had pillows propped up behind him as he leaned against it. She had insisted they get something fun when they'd gone in search of the Monty Python movie, and had returned with several vampire flicks. They were currently watching My Best Friend's a Vampire.

"Odo?" Spike furrowed his brow in confusion.

"You know, from ‘Deep Space Nine'?" Buffy told him. "He was also on ‘Benson'?"

"Oh, him," he replied. She kept looking at him expectantly. "What?"

"Can you do that thingy?"

He gave her a sexy grin. "Why don't we find out," he said. He let his eyes roam over the back of her muscular form which was wrapped in a robe, their clothing being laundered by the hotel. When he returned his gaze to her face, desire radiated from the blue orbs, and he watched as she licked her lips in anticipation. He whole body began to tense as she moved, crawling to his side, the front of the robe gaping, giving him a perfect view of her full breasts. Suddenly, he couldn't take any more. He grabbed Buffy and pulled her onto his lap, his tongue plunging into her mouth, seeking, tantalizing, coaxing her own.

When they came together, he felt as though he was on fire as she met him thrust for thrust, her mouth burning a trail on his neck and shoulder. He went over the edge with a hoarse shout, bringing her with him. He could swear he was about to have a heart attack as he settled against her, his mind racing at the implications.

"I guess you can do that thingy," she said, her warm breath tickling his neck.

Spike chuckled. "I guess so."


*****


"I found them!" Angel said, his voice filled with excitement. In his hands he held a printout of the guest registry for the hotel. "And Spike is definitely alive."

"If you call being a vampire living," Xander said. Angel glared at him, but the smile on his face belied it.

"What name did they use?" Cordelia asked, taking the printout from him. "And more importantly, how did they pay?"

"Cash. They're registered under Mr. and Mrs. William Masterson," Angel replied.

"And you know it's them how?" Faith said.

"That's Spike's real name," he answered. He looked away, his eyes distant. "He hasn't used that name in more than a century."

"Uh, I'm still stuck on the Mr. and Mrs. thing," Xander said.

"Maybe they eloped," Faith teased. "Giving them the chance to do the watoosi all legal like." Xander paled at the thought.

"Don't worry, Xander," Cordelia said. "I'm sure you'll be invited to the baby shower."

Xander put his face in his hands, shaking his head. "I don't even want to go there."


*****


"Let's go shopping," Buffy said, pulling on her newly cleaned clothes.

"Uh, pet, it's nighttime," Spike pointed out, sliding on his own jeans. "Virginia's minions? The plan?"

"But these are all ripped from the fire, even if they're clean," she said, pouting. "Besides, I'm going stir crazy waiting. The note on the flowers said tomorrow, so we have a whole night free."

He shook his head, knowing he was defeated, but tried once more. "We'll be recognized."

"Not if we get you a hat," she replied.

"I'm not wearing a bloody hat."

"Then we'll dye your hair," she told him. At his mortified look, she laughed. "Hat it is."

Fifteen minutes later they were strolling down the street, a baseball cap planted firmly on Spike's peroxide blond locks. Buffy had purchased one as well, sweeping her own telltale hair up under it. "Let's go in here," she said, pulling him into one of the many stores on the block.

The Yorkshire was located in a posh part of the city, with the surrounding neighborhood filled with stores, restaurants and other entertainment for the rich and beautiful. Grinning happily, Buffy fingered the expensive clothing as she wandered around, Spike trailing behind her reluctantly. Somehow he knew his bank reserves would be dangerously low when she was done and wondered when he turned into a lap dog like Angelus.

"May I help you?" a nasally voiced woman asked Buffy and Spike, looking down her nose at the pair.

"I'd like to try this outfit in a six," Buffy replied, pointing to a mannequin.

"The garments are a tad on the expensive side," she said, not moving.

"Pretty Woman much?" Buffy said, her eyes steely. At the reference to the famous Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie, the woman's whole demeanor changed.

"I do apologize. Sometimes we get vagrants," she whispered the word as if it were dirty. "Size six, did you say?"

Buffy nodded and the woman escorted the Slayer to a fitting room, leaving Spike behind. The woman soon returned, addressing him. "And for you, sir, we have an exquisite selection of men's clothing. You're companion said to, and I quote, ‘fix him up so I can take him out in public,' end quote." She tried to hide her amusement from the vampire.


*****


"Faith, can I talk to you a second," Xander asked, coming into the bedroom where the brunette Slayer was reading a magazine, waiting for her toe nails to dry.

"I'm all yours," she replied, giving him a smile.

"That's what I…uh, wanted to…um…talk about," he stammered, sitting next to her on the bed. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, looking anywhere but at her.

Faith's happy mood disappeared instantly, to be replaced by fear. Fear that the man she secretly loved wanted nothing to do with her. "Spit it out," she said, sullenly.

"Well, you know Buffy," he said, then laughed self mockingly. "Of course you know Buffy. What I meant was, in high school I had a…thing for her."

"A thing," she repeated.

"Yeah. A big thing," he replied. "And I told her I had this big thing for her. Let's just say I would have rather slit my wrists and offered a drink to the Master than what really happened."

"And this is relevant…" she said in her coarse manner.

He took another deep breath and looked at her. "Should I just slit my wrists now or do I have a chance with you?"

Faith's own breath caught in her throat, her heart pounding. "Do you have a…thing…for me?"

His mouth quirked in his patented boyish grin. "A big thing."

"Good," she said. "'Cuz I, uh, have a big thing for you, too."

His grin turned into a full-fledged smile, his eyes lighting up. "So, if we put are things together…"

"Skin will be slappin' tonight," she finished, smiling widely in return. He leaned forward and pressed a tender kiss on her lips.

"I'm glad we had a chance to talk about…things," he murmured against her mouth.

"Me, too," she said softly, pulling him down with her on the bed. "Definitely."



Part Twelve




"Wow. You look…" Buffy trailed off as she surveyed her companion's new attire. "Tasty."

Spike sighed heavily, sliding on his leather duster over the dark gray chinos and off white, mock turtleneck. Their clothes and other purchases were being sent back to the hotel. "Can we bloody go now?"

She grinned at him, her own body encased in a yellow slip skirt and matching spaghetti strap blouse. "Yup. On to the next store!"

He grumbled as he followed the Slayer outside, the sales woman smiling after them behind her hand. He fingered the baseball cap in his hand, reluctant to put it back on. *Whoever heard of a vampire wearing a bloody ball cap. It's not even a good team,* he thought, trudging next to the perky blond. His keen hearing interrupted his thoughts and he whipped his head to the noise. Several of Virginia's minions emerged from an alley. They conversed briefly on the sidewalk, then split up, five going one way and five coming straight for them.

He quickly plunked the hat on his head. "Slayer, keep facing straight ahead. Next door we get to, go in," he instructed, taking her hand in his.

Buffy nodded, fighting the urge to look behind her. She grabbed the handle to an unnamed door, with only a sign that said ‘We're Open. Please Come In' on the window. They hovered near the door, watching for their followers.

"Hello, and welcome," an extremely elderly man said, walking up to them. "I'm Mr. Thompson. Will this be cash, check or charge?"

"Uh…cash," Buffy said distractedly. "Do you see them?"

"Not yet," Spike replied. "Wait, here they come."

"If you'll just follow me, then," Mr. Thompson said, gesturing with his hand to a large room. Windows with large, ornate script let the night into the tastefully decorated room. Soft, cushioned chairs were set up facing a white podium, where two elderly women sat waiting, large smiles on their faces. "Names please," he asked them.

"Buffy," the Slayer said, looking over her shoulder.

"And you sir?"

"Spike," the vampire replied, mimicking the Slayer's action.

"Your full, real name, sir," Mr. Thompson requested.

Spike looked at the man, then answered quickly when Buffy squeezed his arm. "William Masterson." He quickly returned his gaze to the window. Outside he could see two of the minions arguing on the sidewalk in front.

"Martha," Mr. Thompson said, writing something on the podium. One of the two women stood and went over to Buffy and Spike, taking each of their hands in turn with a small tape measure. "Shall we begin?" he said, as Martha did her job.

"Go ahead," Buffy replied, looking at Martha strangely, then returning her attention to the window. The vampires were still there. "Spike, should we get out of here?" she whispered, leaning closer to him.

"…Does any one here object?" Mr. Thompson said.

"No," Spike replied to Buffy.

"Very good," Mr. Thompson continued. "As a legal adult in the State of California, do you promise to…"

Spike stiffened next to her, his head whipping to face Mr. Thompson as the vampires looked up towards the window. Buffy did the same.

"…Do you Buffy?" Mr. Thompson asked.

"Uh, yes?" Buffy answered, having no clue as to what he just asked.

"Slayer, lean closer and peek over my shoulder," Spike instructed, ignoring Mr. Thompson's words.

"Still there," she whispered. "Think we should try to find a back door?"

"…Do you William?"

"Yes," he said. He carefully looked over his shoulder again as Martha came up to the two of them and pressed something in their hands. Spike looked down at the object, frowned, then turned his attention to Mr. Thompson.

"…them on your left hand," Mr. Thompson said. Spike gave Buffy a questioning glance, then shrugged and did as told. She did the same, then looked back over his shoulder.

"They're gone," Buffy said with a sigh of relief. "That was a close one."

"Yes it was, pet," Spike replied, facing the elderly man once more.

"…I now pronounce you Husband and Wife," Mr. Thompson declared with a large smile.

Buffy and Spike's mouths dropped open at the man's words as the two elderly women threw confetti in the air above their heads. "What did you say?" the Slayer asked in a small voice.

"I just need you both to sign here, and pay me of course," Mr. Thompson said with a grin, not hearing her. He gave Spike a pen clipboard, pointing to the ‘x' at the bottom of the page.

Spike's mind had completely shut down, he was so stunned at what the man had said. Numbly, he signed where indicated, handing the items back. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times to say something, but nothing came out.

Buffy repeated the vampire's action without thought, signing her name, her own mind whirling. *Did he say what I think he said and oh my god did what I just think happen actually happen?* "Spike?" she managed to squeak out, turning wide eyes on him.

He snapped out of his stupor and looked down at her vulnerable face, her hair and shoulders dotted with colorful bits of paper confetti. She'd never looked so beautiful to him. Unable to help himself, he bent his head and kissed her softly on the lips.



Part Thirteen




"You know, when you signed the register as Mr. & Mrs. William Masterson, I didn't think it mean literally," Buffy said as they entered the hotel. They had taken a roundabout way to get back to their current home, being sure to avoid any of Virginia's minions.

"Me either, pet," Spike replied, looking down at the folded wedding certificate in his hands. He thought a license was needed for a marriage to be preformed, but Mr. Thompson said that people came to him to get around that ‘technicality' and still have it be legal.

Buffy held up her left hand, the fluorescent light from the elevator glinting off the plain, gold band. Spike had a matching one on his ring finger. "Mom and Giles are going to majorly wig when they hear about this. And dad…how am I going to introduce you? ‘Hey, dad, this is Spike…It's his nickname, he got it about a hundred years ago by torturing people with railroad spikes…Actually, he's over two hundred. And did I mention he was a vampire?' Yeah, I can see that going real well." She sighed and rubbed her temples. "Ok, I need food. And a bath. And an aspirin. And a bag of ice to put on my head. And not necessarily in that order."

The elevator doors opened, leading to a long hall with multiple numbered doors. Spike followed the Slayer to their room, then she turned and looked at him. "What?"

"The key? It's a credit card like thing that fits in this little slot," she said sarcastically.

"Key…right," he said, digging in the pocket of his coat. He inserted it into the key slot and turned the knob, pushing the door open. Buffy was about to enter when his arm shot out, blocking the way.

"Spike, what are you doing?" she asked. "I really don't want to play games right now."

"Not games, Slayer," he told her, swooping her up in his arms. He gave her a grin. "Tradition."

The tension headache that had formed behind her eyes vanished as Spike carried her over the threshold, kicking the door shut behind them. "Boy, pet, gaining a bit of weight, aren't we?"

She smacked the back of his head. "Hey!"

"Hmm, what to do, what to do," he said, standing in the large room and looking around. "Since you're in my arms, I could drain you dry. But, that wouldn't be very husbandly now, would it?"

"Spike…"

"Oh, I know," he continued, gesturing with his head to the heavily curtained wall. "I'll toss you out that window over there, make me a widower."

She started to struggle in his arms, but he only tightened his grip. "Put me down, you overgrown leech," she ground out.

"Better yet," he said, his voice lowering, his head turning to face hers. "I can take advantage of the fact that I'm you're husband, you're my wife and this is our wedding night."

Buffy stopped struggling, her eyes shooting to his. She could see fire burning in the icy depths, melting his tough-guy persona into a passionate lover. Swallowing heavily, she tentatively leaned her head forward and kissed him.

As kisses go, it wasn't the most intense, the most enticing, the most arousing one they had shared over the past two days. But it was, by far, the most earth-shattering kiss each had ever felt. It was a kiss that would change their lives forever.


******


Loud knocking on the door to the hotel room woke Buffy from her pleasant sleep. Her growl rivaled Spike's as she tried to block out the noise, but it was to no avail. She pried her lids open, looking at the clock on the night stand. They had only gone to sleep two hours before.

The knocking continued and she sighed, sliding out of Spike's embrace. She donned the plush, terrycloth robe, belting it around her waist, then left the bedroom for the small living room type area. The nice room had a small couch, table, four plush chairs and a coffee table. Floor lamps sat on each end of the couch, and a television sat across from it. Buffy went to the door and peered out the peep hole to see Xander, Faith and Cordelia standing in the hall. She opened the door and plastered a tired smile on her face. "Hi, guys."

"Buffy!" Xander exclaimed, making her wince from his exuberance. He swept her up into a large hug, planting a loud kiss on her cheek. Faith mimicked Xander's actions, minus the kiss and Cordelia smiled at her.

"We're glad you're not dead," the former cheerleader said as Buffy closed the door to the small suite.

"I'm glad I'm not dead, either," Buffy replied, gesturing for them to take a seat. "Let me go throw some clothes on."

"Wait, where's Spike?" Cordelia asked.

"Sleeping," she said, moving into the bedroom. She shut the door behind her and quickly changed into a new pair of Capri pants and cropped pink sweater. She went into the bathroom to freshen up, then returned to the bedroom to see Spike peering at her with one eye. "Faith, Cordy and Xander are here," she told him, leaning down and kissing his forehead.

"Tell them to go away," he mumbled, trying to pull her back into the bed with him.

"I can't," she replied, backing away from the his reach. "Remember the plan?"

"Bugger the plan," he growled. "I want my wife back in bed with me."

She smiled, her whole face lighting up at his words. "Well, your wife wants to be in bed with you, too, but she can't. You can join us or go back to sleep."

He rolled over onto his back and pressed his hands on his eyes, sighing dramatically. "I'll be up in a minute."

"Ok. I'll order up some coffee," she said, exiting the bedroom, closing the door behind her. She smiled at her friends, going to the window and making sure the heavy curtains were shut completely. "Do you guys want some food? I'm calling room service."

"Food?" Xander said, eyes perking up.

Buffy laughed. "I'll take that as a yes." She dialed the well used number and ordered, then sat on a plush chair next to Cordelia. Faith and Xander sat close together on the couch, his hand on her knee. Noticing this, the Slayer arched a questioning eyebrow. "So, what have you guys been up to since I've been dead?"

"Little bit of this, little bit of that," Faith replied, her eyes dancing. "And a whole hell a lot of the other."

"They've been rutting like pigs," Cordelia said, tactless as always. Xander blushed and Faith glared at her. "What? It's true."

"I take it you two...talked?" Buffy said to Faith.

"Oh, yeah," Faith said, giving Xander a quick grin. "And everything's five by five."

Spike came out of the bedroom, wearing a pair of tan khakis and a green, button down oxford which he left untucked, his feet bare. He walked over to Buffy, picked her up and settled her on his lap, her back pressed against his chest. He let his head fall forward to rest on her shoulder, eyes closed.

The three friends looked at Buffy and she gave them a small, embarrassed smile. "Uh, Spike? You could say good morning," she said.

"Morning," he grumbled into her back, not moving.

"Buffy, is there something you wanted to tell us?" Xander asked. "Like why Son of Deadboy is using you for a pillow?"

"And where'd he get those great clothes?" Cordelia added. "I thought he only had one set."

"We went shopping last night," Buffy started to reply. There was a knock on the door, and the Slayer climbed off Spike to let room service in. She signed the check, grinning like an idiot at the sight of her new last name, and turned to the cart full of goodies. "Dig in."

Xander needed no second prompting, quickly getting to his feet and descending upon the donuts and fruit with abandon. Buffy laughed, pouring herself and Spike some coffee. She handed the grumpy vampire his cup, then sat in a chair next to him. "So, have you guys decided how to use our 'deaths' yet?"

"Angel is going to send a message that he wants to meet her," Cordelia said. "When they meet, Xander, Faith and myself will stay visible to her..."

"And you two pop out of no where and dust her," Xander finished.

Cordelia glared at him. "Actually, you'll stay hidden and try to cap her off with crossbows," she said.

Buffy nodded. "Makes sense. What do you think, Spike?"

"We'd have to get to the meeting place ahead of time," Spike replied. "And we should have a backup plan. I don't want to be stuck in another bloody hole in the ground." He lifted his mug to take a sip of the hot brew, but paused, turning his head to look at Buffy. "Then again, it wasn't all that bad."

She blushed slightly and looked down at her coffee. "So, when does all the fun begin?" she asked, returning to the subject of conversation. When no one answered, she raised her head to see Faith, Xander and Cordelia staring at Spike's hand, gape mouthed. Puzzled, she leaned forward to see what captured their attention. "What are you guys looking at?"

"Uh, Buffy," Xander said. "Please tell me the Mr. and Mrs. thing is a disguise."

Buffy comprehended the fact that they were looking at the gold wedding band on Spike's left hand, which was plainly visible as he held the mug near his mouth. "Um...no." The looks on their faces made her start to giggle, then laugh as Spike winked at her, his blue eyes twinkling.

"I guess the honeymoon's over, pet," he said. For some reason, the fact that it was no longer a secret made him feel proud and happy. He knew he loved shagging the blond Slayer, fighting with her, talking with her, but he thought that was the extent of those feelings. He now realized he was wrong.

Xander had turned to glare at Faith. "I thought it was a joke," he said, referring to their earlier conversation.

"I meant it as a joke," Faith defended herself. "Don't go all postal on me!"

"Oh, look, their first fight," Cordelia said conversationally. "Isn't that cute?"

"Eat me," Faith snapped at her.

"Rude much?" Cordelia replied.

"Faith, knock it off," Xander said. "You, too, Cordy."

"Screw you!" they said simultaneously. Silence filled the small room, then they burst out laughing. Buffy and Spike watched with amusement until they settled down and returned their attention on the newly married couple.

"So, when did'ja do the deed?" Faith asked. "And is he any good in the sack?"

"Faith!" Buffy and Xander exclaimed. Spike almost choked on his coffee at the brunette Slayer's question, then smirked, turning to face his wife with a raised eyebrow, waiting for her answer.

Buffy blushed bright red, then mumbled something about going to the bathroom and quickly left the room. Spike shrugged, then looked over at Faith. "Want to find out yourself, ducks?" he asked, giving her a cocky grin.

"Hey!" Xander said, putting a possessive hand on Faith's thigh. "This is my woman. Stick to your own, you undead woman stealer."

Cordelia gave her former boyfriend a pitying look. "You really told him off, lame-brain." She turned on Spike. "And you. Buffy would kick your ass if she heard what you just said."

"Probably," Spike replied, not caring. "But then we get to make up." He gave her a leering grin.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, then stood. "I'm going to talk to Buffy."

"Ditto," Faith said, standing as well and following the brunette into the bedroom. The two men heard the sound of the bathroom door opening and closing, then looked at each other, Spike with a small smirk and Xander with trepidation.

"I hate to ask," Xander began, looking slightly nervous. "But why did you two get married? And don't give me any crap about loving her, because I you can't."

"And how do you know that?" Spike asked in amusement.

"You don't have a soul," Xander pointed out. "This is just some big elaborate plan of yours to kill her, isn't it, soul-less boy?"

"Bugger, you figured it out," he replied, acting defeated. "Now what the bloody hell am I going to do?"

"You can start by drinking holy water," Xander sneered. "Then follow it up with a nice, thick, wooden stake to the heart."

"Don't threaten me, mate," Spike warned. "I haven't eaten yet."


Continued 1