Spike woke and turned on his side to snuggle with Buffy, but his arm went around air. Opening his eyes, he frowned when he found the Slayer missing from his bed. "Buffy?"
He turned over and looked towards the bathroom. The door was open and the room empty. Pushing himself to a sitting position, he ran his hand tiredly over his features, then climbed out of bed. *She's probably downstairs eating,* he thought as he slid on a pair of jeans. He smiled to himself when he thought of why she'd be downstairs eating and quickened his step.
His steps faltered when he found the kitchen empty. "Slayer?" he called out tentatively. No answer. He turned in a slow circle, eyes scanning the immediate area, his brow knitted together. "Slayer?" he called, louder this time. He looked towards the refrigerator, thinking perhaps she went out and left him a note.
There were no notes on the refrigerator. None. Not even the ones which he'd put up there months before with Joyce's phone numbers or the first note he had received from the Slayer. The letter magnets still proclaimed that he loved Buffy, but there was no message underneath it as there had been that early morning.
Spike heard the sound of the newspaper hitting the front door. Puzzled at the missing things, he went to retrieve the paper. He opened the front door and squinted at the bright sunlight shining down on his front steps. He stepped into the light to pick up the paper and screamed as his bare skin started to burn.
Jumping backwards into the house, he looked down at his slightly smoking arms. "BUFFY!" Spike yelled, slamming the door shut. He turned on his heel and sprinted to the basement, hoping she was there. Not only did he not find her, the drawings on the wall were missing as was the one of his sire on the dart board.
He ran back up the stairs, yanking open the powder room door. No Buffy. Continuing to the second floor, he checked the second bedroom, quickly glanced in the bathroom then ran back into the master bedroom. His eyes darted over the surfaces of the room, noting the fact that there were no candles, no overnight bag, no tuxedo.
Dread settling over him, he went into the master bathroom and turned on the cold water. He splashed his face several times, then reached behind him to grab the towel of the rod. Straightening, he pressed the towel over his face, wiping downward. That's when he saw...or didn't see...his reflection in the mirror.
"No," Spike whispered, hitting the light switch. He saw everything in the bathroom, including the towel in his hands, but not himself. Dropping the towel, he touched the mirror in hopes that he was imagining things, but it was solid. Panicking, he slapped his hand over his neck, searching for the pulse that had beat there for months. It was gone.
"NO!" he yelled, slamming his palm against the mirror, shattering it. The large shards rained down onto the sink, cutting him as it bounced of the hard surface. Dashing back into the bedroom, he scooped up the portable phone and dialed. "Pick up, pick up, pick up."
"There's something wrong," Spike said rapidly. "Buffy's not here and I don't have a bloody reflection!"
"Interesting," Oz said over the phone.
"Is that all you can say?!"
"How about who is this?"
"It's me, Spike," Spike replied.
"I don't think I know a Spike," Oz said cautiously.
"Cor, no," he said quietly as he heard the werewolf speak to someone.
"Hello?" Willow said.
"Willow?" Spike said. "Do you remember me? Please say you do."
"Um, yeah. Wh-why are you calling? Do you still want me to do the spell?" Willow asked tentatively, her voice slightly fearful. "I thought you were going to torture Drusilla into loving you again. Unless I got that wrong. Or it didn't work. Didn't it work?"
"Willow, you know I didn't go back to Brazil," Spike practically pleaded. "And Dru is dead, you sent me a bloody sympathy card!"
"N-No, I don't think so," Willow replied. "Uh, I have to go now, Spike. Bye."
The line disconnected and Spike sat there in shock. Willow and Oz, his two good friends, didn't remember him. He had no reflection, no pulse, got burned by the sun. He suddenly clamped his hand on his chest near his neck, looking for the cross necklace Buffy had given him. It was not there.
Dialing another number, he waited for the woman he thought of as his mum to pick up. "Hello?"
"Joyce, it's Spike," he said hopefully into the phone.
"Who?" Joyce asked over the line.
"You don't remember." It wasn't a question, it was a statement.
"Spike? No, I'm so-...wait, Spike as in Drusilla's Spike?"
"Yeah," he answered.
"Wh-What do you want?" Joyce asked fearfully.
"Nothing," Spike said, trying hard not to give into the tears that were forming behind his closed lids. He hung up and set the phone on the night stand. He sat there for several minutes before deciding on a course of action.
Two hours later he hit the Welcome to Sunnydale sign, backed up and ran it over again for good measure.
He pulled into the parking lot of Sunnydale High School, then slumped down in the seat. He lit up his twentieth cigarette and tried to push the horrible feeling in his heart away as he waited for the sun to set. His mind flitted over everything that he clearly remembered happening over the past months - waking up human, becoming friends with Oz, Willow and Joyce, Drusilla's death, kissing Buffy, dancing with Buffy, making love to Buffy, finding out Buffy was pregnant with his child.
Finally, the sun went down enough that he could get from the car into the school. Walking quickly, he made his way to the library, bursting through the doors to see his friends and the Watchers sitting there, but no Slayer. They stared at him, too surprised to move. "Tell me you bloody remember," he demanded without preamble.
Willow was first to react, letting out a squeak and jumping from her seat in front of the computer to Giles' office. She came out with a large cross, handing it to Giles who was frozen in the doorway. Oz stood, brandishing a pencil like a stake. Wesley looked confused.
"Spike," Giles said with menace in his voice.
Spike let his gaze go from person to person, studying them. All he saw was fear, and he could smell it, too, as well as hear the blood rushing in their veins. He pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, the world he'd gotten use to belonging in disappearing beneath his feet. "Please no," he said in a hoarse voice.
The door opened behind him and he heard the beautiful voice of his Slayer. "Hey guys, wha- Spike!" He suddenly found himself shoved up against the counter, stake pressed up to his chest, a furious blond glaring at him. "What are you doing back, Spike?" Buffy demanded.
The tears that had threatened to fall all day filled his eyes as he looked down at the woman he loved more than life itself. He squeezed his eyes shut, choking back a sob, then opened them as those very tears silently streamed down his cheeks.
Buffy frowned at him. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"You don't remember, either," he stated quietly. Slowly, he brought his hand up to touch her cheek and flinched when the stake was pressed further into his chest as she jerked her head away.
"Remember what?" Buffy asked with little patience in her voice.
"Me," Spike answered.
"Actually, I've been trying to repress," she replied. "But for some reason, it doesn't help if you keep showing up."
"I can't do this," he said. "I can't bloody do this. I can't go back to the way things were before."
"Listen, blondie, will you tell me what the hell you want before Giles needs to get out the dust buster?" Buffy growled.
Tears still streaming down his face, Spike took a deep, unneeded breath and looked her right in the eyes. "I love you," he told her. "Please remember. I need you to remember. I don't want to be a bloody vampire again."
Buffy just looked at him with confusion written all over her face. "Are you on drugs?"
Not able to take it anymore, he shoved her away and ran out the library doors. He halfway down the hall when he spun and punched a locker door, denting it. Then he turned and leaned against it before he slid down as the sobs overcame him. "NO!"
"NO!" Spike screamed in anguish, ignoring the Slayer who called to him.
"Spike!" Buffy yelled, shaking him hard.
Spike shot straight up, looking wildly around him, his breaths coming in short gasps. Sweat coated his body as he focused on the blond at his side. "Buffy?"
"Hey, what's wrong?" Buffy asked, concern on her face.
He grabbed her and pulled her to him in a tight hug, not caring about the awkwardness of their positions. All that mattered was that he was there, in his bedroom, with Buffy. "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you," he repeated over and over.
It had only been a nightmare.
Unable to get back to sleep after the nightmare, the couple was down in the kitchen making cookies. Actually, they were making a mess, but the dough tasted good. "I've turned into a bleedin' pansy," Spike said, sprinkling flour on the pastry towel.
"How's that?" Buffy asked, alternating between decorating the cookies and eating the decorations.
"Crying all the bloody time, having all these bloody emotions," he replied. "I've even brooded for days on end."
"No," she said in mock horror.
"Piss off," he growled back. "I'm no wanker like Angel."
"No, you are nothing like Angel," Buffy replied. "And you already had all the same emotions, Spike, you just didn't show them."
Spike was silent as he rolled the dough out, contemplating what she'd said. "You know what else is different?"
"I haven't bloody killed anyone in months," he told her. Picking up a cookie cutter, he pressed it into the dough. "I haven't had the desire to rip someone's head off and bathe in their blood."
"Pleasant," Buffy muttered.
He went on as if she didn't say anything. "I'd wager it's because I don't have the taste for blood anymore. Well, that and no one has annoyed me, yet."
"I find that hard to believe," she said.
"It's true," Spike replied. "I go to the grocers before the rooster crows and the humans everywhere else have been bleedin' saints when helping me. The only time I came close was when some brat came to the door while I was in a foul mood, but he had chocolate."
Buffy laughed, sliding the tray of cookies in the oven. "Chocolate cures what ails ya."
"Then there's you and your chums, all helpful and nice to me. Makes me want to be nice and good and all that rot," he continued. "I'm telling you, I've become a bloody wuss."
"But a cute wuss," Buffy said. He scowled at her, making her laugh again. "I have a question for you."
"Ask away," Spike said.
"Your nightmare," Buffy began. She picked up the green sugar and began sprinkling the cookies. "What was worse - you being a vampire again or me not remembering?"
"Now that's a loaded question if I ever heard one," he replied. "But I'd have to say being a vampire again."
Buffy arched her brow. "Really?"
"Slayer, I loved you for a long time before you knew it," Spike said. "If you suddenly didn't remember all this, but I was human, I'd take my chances on you giving me an opportunity to at least be your friend."
"Well, you do have the tendency to grow on people now that you're not an annoying, blood sucker," Buffy said. He flicked flour at her. "Hey!"
"Watch it, pet. Just because you're pregnant with my baby, doesn't mean I'll let get away with talking like that," he growled playfully.
"You're no fun," she pouted.
Spike gave her a wicked grin as he set the cookie cutter down. Buffy's eyes grew round as he sauntered over to her, trapping her between himself and the chair. "Are you sure about that, Slayer?" he said in a low voice just before his mouth descended upon hers.
Spike and Buffy looked at each other when the doorbell rang. They were snuggled together on the couch, watching a movie after a long day of lovemaking, sleeping and eating, in the Slayer's case. Glancing at the clock as he disentangled himself from the comforter, Spike made his way to the door.
"Maybe it's more chocolate," Buffy suggested, pulling the blanket up to her nose. He glanced over his bare shoulder at her and rolled his eyes. "Well, I'm hungry."
"There are cookies on the table by your feet," Spike pointed out as he unlocked the door.
"They're burned," she whined.
"Then get off your cute arse and get yourself something," he told her. "Do I look like your bloody manservant?"
"Depends. Do manservants wear frilly aprons?" Buffy asked.
He scowled at her, then opened the front door. His scowl deepened when he saw who it was. "What do you want?"
"Buffy," Angel answered, glaring at Spike. He was not happy when he found out that Buffy was at the former vampire's house for the weekend when the emergency arose. He was now even unhappier to see that Spike was only clad in a pair of well-worn jeans which were not buttoned and riding low on his hips. The gold cross around his neck only further perturbed him. "Are you going to let me in?"
"No," Spike replied, folding his arms over his chest.
"Spike, who is it?" Buffy asked, not able to see the door from the couch.
"No one, pet," he replied over his shoulder, not removing his eyes from his sire.
"Spike, Buffy is needed in Sunnydale," Angel told him sharply. "Now let me in the house."
"Fine. Come in and close the door behind you," Spike said as he turned and walked back into the great room. He grabbed the remote from the end table and switched off the television as Buffy turned to see who came inside.
"Angel? What are you doing here?" Buffy asked, blushing because she was only wearing a white tank top, panties and socks. She was glad she was buried under the comforter.
"You're needed," Angel answered. "Rupert sent me down to pick you up."
"Why didn't he just call?" Buffy said as she stood, making sure the blanket stayed around her.
"He did, but there was no answer," he replied.
"But we've been here the whole...oh!" Buffy blushed deeper. "I'll go and...go."
Comforter trailing behind her, the Slayer quickly headed up the stairs. "What did you drive?" Spike asked as he watched her hurry up the stairs.
"Why?" Angel said.
"Because one, I'm coming with and two, there's no way in bloody hell I'd let her ride on the back of that stupid motorcycle of yours," Spike snapped.
"Like hell you're coming with," Angel growled. "Buffy doesn't need you."
"Listen, mate," Spike said in a deadly tone. "That's my woman and my child and I'm going to protect them no matter what, so fuck off!" He turned and stalked up the stairs to get dressed.
Angel stood staring after him with a dumbfounded expression on his face. He felt as though he'd been hit by a sledgehammer as Spike words ran over and over in his mind. *That's my woman and my child, my child, my child, my child...*
Upstairs, Buffy exited the bathroom to see Spike shoving both their clothes into her overnight bag. She saw that he was fully dressed and had a pensive look on his face. "Spike, what's wrong?"
He stopped what he was doing to when she touched his arm. Looking down into her worried face, he sighed and pulled her into a hug. "Nothing, luv. I'm just concerned about this emergency. I don't want you or the baby getting hurt."
"We won't," Buffy promised. "This is my job, remember? And I'm damn good at it, too."
Spike chuckled, then gave her a quick kiss on the nose. "That you are, pet."
The two hour drive back to Sunnydale was made in silence. Buffy had curled up against Spike in the backseat of Angel's car and was sleeping while the former vampire stared out the window, absently stroking her arm. Angel would shoot fiery daggers with his eyes at Spike every so often, but since he didn't reflect in the rearview mirror, it was rather pointless.
"We're here, ducks," Spike said quietly as they pulled into the high school parking lot.
"Good, I have to go to the bathroom," Buffy replied sleepily. "And I'm hungry again."
"I think I stashed some of those cookies in our bag," he said with a small grin. Buffy rolled her eyes, then got out of the car.
The trio made there way to the library to find Wesley and Giles waiting for them. The look of relief on the librarian's face made Buffy giggle, knowing it was because her new Watcher must have been driving him up a wall. "I'm here, oh fearless leaders," Buffy said. "Even though I'd much rather still be on the couch watching the rest of True Lies in my underwear and did I just say that out loud?"
"You-you did," Giles replied, then cleared his throat. "I'm sorry to have to break into your weekend, but Faith has disappeared again and a Slayer was needed."
"No big," Buffy said, pulling Spike's arms around her waist as she leaned back against him. She could feel his tension fade somewhat at her actions.
Giles noted what Buffy had done and was glad that it seemed she and Spike were together. After overhearing countless conversations between her and Willow, the one thing that immediately came forward in his mind was, *About time.* The fact that he was at one time a soul-less vampire didn't bother him as much as Angel with his soul did. Perhaps he was just prejudiced against the vampire part.
"Buffy, it would seem there is a demon of sorts causing havoc, raising the dead and what not," Wesley said. "So far, according to Miss Chase and Mr. Harris, he has turned a party of teenagers into monkeys and is currently amassing a small gaggle of zombies."
"I hate zombies," Buffy grumbled. "They don't die unless you kill the creator."
"Yes," Wesley said. "We have ascertained that with Angel's assistance, you should be able to get close enough to-to...well, kill him."
"Sounds like a plan," she replied, moving out of Spike's arms towards the cage. "What kind of weapons should I use?"
As the Slayer talked weapons with Giles and Wesley, Spike shifted on his feet before going over to Angel and pulling him aside. "You better not let her get hurt, or I will rip your heart out with my bare hands," he growled. Before the vampire could respond, he turned and stalked over to Buffy and kissed her hard.
Buffy staggered when he released her, a slightly dazed look in her eyes. "Well," she said, then cleared her throat. "I think I'm ready to kick some demon tail."
"We shall be right behind you, Buffy," Giles said, packing a bag with more weapons.
"Ok," Buffy said. She smiled at Spike, then looked at Angel. "Let's go."
After the two had left the library, Spike spun and kicked the cage. Wesley jumped, but Giles just raised a brow as he put on his jacket. "I say, what was that for?" Wesley asked, nervously wiping his forehead with his handkerchief.
"I'll explain later, Wesley," Giles said with a small sigh. He shouldered the bag and left the library, Spike right behind him.
"I shall await your return," Wesley called after them.
"Pillock," Giles and Spike both said under their breaths. Giles chuckled as he led the way to his ancient car. "We need to stay back unless Buffy needs our assistance. She cannot be distracted by trying to safeguard us as she fights."
"I can take care of myself," Spike growled.
"I have no doubt," Giles said as they started towards the cemetery. "However, I'd imagine Buffy would be rather put out if you got yourself hurt. I know she hounds me for bloody hours if I do."
They arrived at the cemetery to see Buffy and Angel embroiled in battle with several zombies and vampires. Spike grabbed the crossbow from the bag, and before the car even stopped, he was out the door, picking the vampires off with well placed bolts.
He watched as the zombies were knocked down, only to rise once more. A song drifted through his mind as the Slayer made her way closer to the demon leaning casually against a large, ornate tombstone. *I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down.*
Giles started beating back several of the zombies that had turned their attention towards them and Spike bashed one in the head with the crossbow just as he saw a vampire holding a knife behind Buffy. "Slayer, behind you!" he yelled, ducking under a slow swing and coming up behind a second zombie to crack him across the back of the neck with the metal weapon.
Buffy spun and shot her leg out in a low sweep, knocking the vampire to the ground. She quickly staked him and turned back to the demon only to see that he was no longer there. Turning, her eyes scanned the immediate area, lashing out with her fist as a zombie came close to her. She grabbed its arm and flung it over her shoulder to the ground.
Spike shoved a zombie away and turned to see the demon standing in front of him. "Hello, Spike," it said. "Fancy meeting you here."
The former vampire narrowed his eyes, kicking back with his foot at the approaching zombie. "Do I know you?"
"No, but I had the pleasure of knowing your beloved Drusilla," it said with a leer. "Such a charming girl. Her screams are very pleasant on the ears."
Spike saw red as the demon began to laugh. He launched himself at the beast, but it stepped out of the way, using Spike's momentum to send him flying against the side of the car. "You know," the demon said conversationally. "I am rather surprised to see you. Drusilla insisted that if you became mortal again, you would commit suicide. But, seeing as you're standing here before me, I guess she lied."
"I'm going to eat your intestines for breakfast, you bloody pillock," Spike growled, sending a kick at the demon's chest.
The demon went on as he blocked Spike's kick. "It makes me wonder what would destroy you."
"I know what's going to destroy you," Buffy said from behind the demon. It turned to face her. "Me."
Her hand holding a long, wicked knife shot out towards his chest in a killing blow. It stopped a millimeter from the demon's bare chest, held by an unseen force. "I think that you will find you are mistaken, Slayer," it said, using magick to turn the blade in her hand.
"NO!" Spike screamed from behind them. He tore around the demon and shoved Buffy away from it, the knife in her hand clattering to the ground. He spun and kicked the beast, connecting with its face.
The demon began to laugh maniacally, ducking under Spike's next kick. "So that is what would destroy you," it said. The knife shot from the ground to his hand. "A double bonus for me - killing the Slayer thereby killing you. It gives me goosebumps." He raised the knife in his hand.
Buffy had gotten to her feet in time to see the demon holding a knife in its hand, just like her dream. And just like her dream, she threw herself at Spike, pushing him out of the way, thinking that the blade was meant for him.
Spike crashed to the ground as the demon let out another delighted, evil laugh. He saw the knife fly from the beast's hand past the Slayer's blocking to embed itself in her stomach. He heard her gasp out in shock and pain and something inside of him snapped. With a vicious roar, he flew at the monster, grabbed its head and twisted with all his strength. A loud snap was heard and suddenly the zombies disappeared as the demon fell dead to the ground.
He was at Buffy's side in an instant. "Slayer, pet, luv, Buffy," Spike said in a choked voice as he saw her blood covered hands as she held them around the knife sticking out of her.
Buffy opened her tear filled eyes to see Spike. "I hate my dreams," she whispered, pain wracking her body.
"Buffy, hold on," Spike said, tears running down his own cheeks. "We'll get you to the infirmary, just you don't die on me."
She felt her world growing dark, as it did in her dreams. "Spike, I'm glad you came down with a case of humanitis," she told him, her voice small and weak.
"Shh," Spike said, brushing her hair off her face.
"I love you," Buffy said, blinking rapidly. Then everything went black.
"I love you, Slayer," he choked out as the former Watcher pulled the car up.
Angel had finally killed off the remaining vampires and had just arrived at their side in time to hear Buffy and Spike's words. But he did not hesitate as he helped get the unconscious Slayer into the car.
The trip to the hospital was fraught with tension, Spike's pain filled voice whispering to Buffy as he applied pressure to her wound to staunch the bleeding the only sound. Giles drove right up to the emergency entrance and leapt from the car to run inside and get assistance. Angel opened the back door and, between him and Spike, got the injured Slayer onto the gurney. The former vampire was stopped at the swinging emergency room doors and Angel had to physically push him down into a chair.
Waiting was agonizing for the trio, each of them loving the petite blond in their own way. Giles called Joyce, who arrived shortly thereafter and immediately drew Spike into her arms, comforting him. Xander and Cordelia appeared, as did Oz and Willow, each having been called by the librarian.
"Mrs. Summers, Mr. Giles?" a doctor asked, approaching the worried group.
"How is she? Is she ok?" Spike said rapidly, grabbing the doctor by his white coat.
"Spike," Joyce put a hand on his arm. "You have to let him speak first."
Spike let go, taking a step back from the doctor. "Is she ok?" he asked again, his voice tinged with fear.
"She going to be fine," the doctor told them. "As will the baby. The knife missed her vital organs, which was very lucky. Family will be allowed to visit with her until she is cleared from ICU."
"Thank you," Giles said as the group collectively breathed a sigh of relief. The doctor nodded and walked off.
Spike closed his eyes and sent up a prayer of thanks to a god he hadn't believed in for a long time. He opened them when he felt someone tug on his arm. "Come on," Joyce said, giving him a small smile. "Let's sneak you back there."
"You are a bloody pain in the arse, you know that Slayer?" Spike said as he lifted her feet and put the pillow she requested under them.
"Hey, don't talk to me like that," Buffy replied. "I might get mad and make you go get me some ice cream. Ooh, ice cream. That sounds good."
Due to the Slayer's enhanced healing, Buffy was out of the hospital in no time. Graduation came and went with no major problems save the Mayor's ascension. Faith had been killed by him for failure to destroy Buffy, but between the Slayer, her Watcher, her former Watcher, the vampire, the former vampire, the mother, the werewolf, the Witch, the Zeppo and the prom queen they were able to defeat him.
Now Buffy was in her seventh month of pregnancy and college would be starting soon. As promised back when Spike had been sick, she visited him every day while in LA with her dad for the summer. In reality, it was closer to her visiting her dad while she stayed with Spike.
"We have mint chocolate chip, pistachio, praline, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, cookies and creme, chocolate chip cookie dough, hot fudge, peanut butter cup and chunky monkey," Spike rattled off, giving her a smug grin.
Buffy giggled. "Chocolate, please."
"Chocolate, coming right up," he said, leaving the bedroom. Buffy sighed happily, her hands resting on her very swollen belly. She giggled again when she remembered the look on Spike's face when the baby kicked after their lovemaking session. After close to three months of feeling that very thing, he was still amazed.
"Here you go, pet," Spike said as he came back into the room, holding a bowl and spoon in his hands. "I put some of those decorations you like so much on top."
"You're sweet," she replied, taking the bowl from him without looking. She held out her hand for the spoon and growled at him when he proceeded to play with it rather than give it to her. "Gimme that."
"What do you say?" he asked, grinning.
Spike chuckled and handed it to her as he sat on the edge of the bed. His heart was hammering in his chest as he watched her. Unconsciously, he wiped his hands nervously on his jeans.
Buffy was about to dig into the ice cream when she froze, her eyes growing huge. She looked up at him, then back at the dish, then up at him again.
"Well?" Spike asked. She squealed in reply, quickly setting the bowl aside to awkwardly throw herself at him. He grabbed her up in a passionate kiss, holding her as close to him as he could, wanting to never let her go.
On the bed beside them, the diamond ring sank a little further into the melting ice cream.