"What's wrong, pet?"
Buffy felt Spike's arms slide around her waist and his chest press against her back as she stared
out the window of their apartment. It was raining outside, a cold, nasty rain that seemed to chill
to the bone. Giles had said slaying wasn't necessary and had given both Buffy and Faith the
night off. Normally, the blond Slayer would be rejoicing for a free night, but ever since mid-summer, she'd felt as though something was wrong.
"I don't know, Spike," she answered softly. "Maybe it's the weather."
"Well, I'm here," he said, placing a kiss on the side of her neck.
Buffy shifted her gaze from outside to the reflection on the window. She could see herself and
the living room behind her, but not her husband of almost eight months. For some reason, that
saddened her more.
"You know what, I think I'm going to do a round," Buffy said, turning partially around to look
up at Spike.
"I doubt there'll be vampires out there, luv," Spike told her. "Unless they were vampire fish."
"I know, it's just...," Buffy trailed off and gave him a depressed smile. "I'm going on patrol."
Spike nodded and released her. She walked around him back to their bedroom to put on her
sneakers and raincoat, then stuck two stakes in her sleeves. When she returned to the living
room, Spike had taken her place at the window, and was staring out into the wet, October night.
"Be careful," he said, not turning around.
"I will," she replied. She studied the strong lines of his back for a moment, the cocky way he
held himself even when they were alone. Then she quietly left the apartment and headed out into
Spike watched his mate cross the parking lot of their apartment complex, the dark hood of her
raincoat pulled up over her head. She held the coat tight around her, making her look tiny and
miserable, as the rain beat down upon her. He sighed, turned and walked quickly to retrieve his
Five minutes later, he was following Buffy at a distance through one of the many cemeteries in
Sunnydale, his hair plastered to his head. He was cold, wet and annoyed, but he wasn't about to
go back to the dry apartment, not when his woman was acting like she was.
He wanted to demand her to tell him what was wrong, to tell him why she'd been running hot
and cold with him for the past few months. He'd thought at first that it was because of Isobel
Hilde, the baby girl the small group of friends had brought into the world on Labor Day. But for
some reason, that didn't seem to be the correct reason, although he'd bet it added to whatever
was going on with her.
Pulling his duster tighter around himself, Spike silently followed Buffy out of the cemetery and
onto the street. He stuck to the shadows, trailing her at a discrete distance. He paused when she
did, trying not to grimace when the cold rain ran down the back of his neck and under his collar.
Spike glanced up at the street sign and realized that she had walked to her old street. He saw her
stop at the end of her mother's driveway and look at the brightly lit house. He wondered why
she didn't just ask him for a ride if she wanted to visit with her mother.
He frowned when Buffy turned and started walking slowly away, her body practically hunched
over, her feet sloshing through the puddles on the wet sidewalk. Curiouser and curiouser, he
thought, wondering where the Looking Glass was hiding.
His frown deepened when she stopped at a payphone outside of the Espresso Pump. Sliding
carefully along the wall across the street from her, he settled into the entry of the Alibi Room,
unwrapped a butterscotch sucker and stuck it in his mouth. He wished that he could get close
enough to hear who she was calling. If it was home, he'd have to come up with a pretty
inventive excuse for not answering the phone. If it was someone else...
Buffy wiped at the water on her cheeks as she waited for the operator to put her collect call
through. She had debated on going to her mother's house, but she didn't know if her mom
would understand. Heck, even she didn't understand, which was why she was calling the one
person who seemed to know her better than herself.
"I have a collect call from Buffy Summers, will you accept the charges?"
"Yes," Angel answered, his voice deep and calm over the line, making her feel better already.
"Hi, Angel," Buffy greeted quietly.
"Are you alright?" he asked, his tone filled with concern.
"No...yes...no." Buffy sighed. "I don't know."
"Do you need me to come up there and beat Spike up for you?"
Buffy laughed. "I think if he needed to be beaten, I could handle him on my own."
"I have no doubt that you could," Angel said.
She smiled, glad that she'd called him. It hadn't taken long for them to settle into a close long-distance friendship after the events surrounding St. Patrick's Day. She loved Spike and Angel
had, for reasons unexplained, given his heartfelt blessing to her before they had left that week in
"So, what is it?" Angel coaxed. "If it's not Spike..."
"But I think it is him, or at least about him," Buffy said. She wiped her fingers over the metal
plate on the phone. "I just get this feeling like I'm not suppose to be with him or that things were
supposed to turn out differently. I don't know." She sighed again. "Maybe I'm PMSing."
"Have you been feeling this way since around July?" Angel asked.
"How did you know that?" Buffy said in surprise.
"Because I've been feeling that way, too," he replied. "But I can't seem to pinpoint the reason."
"You tell me," Angel said.
"I doubt it," Buffy said. "That would be the same as saying my life was easy."
"It's Columbus Day this coming Monday," Angel said. "Do you have classes off?"
"Yes," Buffy answered.
"Why don't I come up there for the long weekend then and we'll try to figure this out."
"I'd like that," she told him. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I feel better now that
I'm going to do something. Now all I have to do is break it to my annoying husband that you're
"Have fun," Angel said with a chuckle.
"Thanks a lot," Buffy said dryly. "I'll see you Friday?"
"Okay. Bye, Angel...and thanks."
"I'm always here for you," Angel said.
Buffy hung up the phone, but held onto the receiver for a few moments, staring blankly into
space. The hairs on the back of her neck raised and she slowly turned to scan the semi-dark
street. She could feel eyes watcher her, but since whomever they belonged to hadn't attacked,
she really didn't care. Still, she kept her guard up on the walk back to the apartment.
There was no way for Spike to beat Buffy inside, so he waited in the hallway for ten minutes
before entering their apartment. "Hello, ducks. How was patrol?" he asked, shedding his duster
and hanging it on the coat hanger.
"Wet," Buffy replied from her seat on the couch, a steaming mug in her hands. "Where'd you
run off to? I thought you didn't like the rain."
"I don't," Spike replied, bending down to remove his boots. He glanced over at her. "Unless
you happen to be wearing a certain little black raincoat."
"Is sex all you ever think about?" Buffy asked with an exasperated sigh.
"Is there anything else worth thinking about?" Spike countered with a devilish grin.
She rolled her eyes, took a sip of her drink, then asked again, "So, where'd you go?"
"Out," he replied, padding across the carpeting barefooted. "I'm going to take a hot shower, pet.
You're more than welcome to join me..."
"Nah. I've had enough wetness for tonight," Buffy said.
Spike shrugged and continued down the hallway to the bathroom. Once he'd closed the door, he
leaned back against it and bit the inside of his cheek. Buffy never seemed to want him anymore
and he didn't know whether to be angry, hurt or worried. He clenched his fists together, then
walked over to the tub and turned on the water.
It looked like yet another night of tossing off in the shower.
"He's what?" Spike stared at Buffy incredulously, not believing his ears.
"Coming up here for the weekend," Buffy repeated. "In fact, he'll be here sometime tonight."
Spike ground his teeth together, his jaw ticking, as the news of his sire's eminent arrival sunk in.
"How long have you known he was coming?" he asked in a deceptively calm tone. He was
feeling anything but calm. Mostly he was feeling anger with a slight bit of jealously.
"Just this morning. After classes."
He knew she was lying. He also immediately know that it was Angel whom she had called on
Wednesday night. His anger flared to barely controlled rage and it took everything he had to say
a simple "Right," then walk out of the bedroom.
Thirty seconds later, he stormed back into the bedroom and grabbed Buffy by the back of the
hair, smashing his lips down upon hers, his fangs drawing blood. His eyes were open, but all he
could see was a red haze.
Snarling, he tore his mouth away from hers and threw her down upon the bed. His hands
grasped the waistband of her sweats and yanked them down her legs, along with her panties. He
dimly heard her protesting, but his emotions were out of control, as was he. He covered her
body with his own, his left hand delving between her forcefully spread legs and penetrating her.
His mouth claimed hers again with a savagery bordering on desperation. The same hand that got
her juices to flow freed his hard shaft from his jeans. Without hesitation, he plunged into her
core, burying himself deep inside her heat. He snarled again, breaking away from her mouth to
stare down at her face, his golden eyes primitive and wild.
"You. Are. Mine," Spike growled, each word punctuated with the hit of his pelvis against hers, as
he thrust furiously. "My. Woman. My. Wife. My. Slayer. My. Mate. You. Are. Mine."
With the last possessive word, he sunk his fangs into her neck, marking her. His orgasm was
hard and intense, causing him to buck wildly before his entire body shuddered. He drank her
blood in a possessive manner, making it clear that she was his and his alone.
Spike extracted his fangs and raised his head to stare down at Buffy again. Blood ran from the
sides of his mouth, bathing his pale skin in red, his fangs coated in the life-giving substance. His
eyes bore into hers, and he snarled, "MY MATE," before crushing her lips beneath his once more.
He suddenly rolled their bodies so Buffy was on top, his tongue masterfully sweeping along the
inside of her mouth. His arms tightened around her waist, holding her close against him. He was
hardening inside of her already, his body, demon and the soul that she'd given him with her love
calling for her to claim him as her mate as he had claimed her.
He loosened his tight hold on her, pulling away from her mouth and meeting her hazel eyes.
"Claim me," he told her, his voice raw and feral, not registering the tears streaming down her
face. "Claim me as your mate."
The word pierced Spike like a stake, causing him to jerk his head to the side as if he'd been
struck. Buffy shoved herself off of him and ran from the bedroom. He heard the bathroom door
slam and his world shattered into a million pieces.
Buffy was sitting in the bathtub, sobbing, her bare knees pulled to her chest. She had been in
there for hours, pantless and crying, an aching in her chest where her heart used to be. Spike had
hurt her, not on accident and not because of a spell, but on purpose. He had meant to take her
violently, to force himself on her. And then he wanted her to claim him as her mate?
A hysterical bubble of laughter erupted from her at that thought. There was no way in hell that
would happen. He was lucky she didn't go out there and rip his dick off, then shove it down his
There was a knock on the bathroom door, and she yelled, "GO AWAY, YOU GODDAMN
Because the lock was broken on the door, there was no way to prevent anyone from entering if
they wanted to. Buffy saw the knob turn and she grabbed a bar of soap, then heaved it at the
door. "GET LOST!!"
"Buffy, it's me," Willow said, sticking her head in the bathroom, looking like she was prepared to
duck another missile. "Only me."
"Oh god, Willow," Buffy sobbed, burying her face in her hands.
Willow entered the bathroom, closed the door behind her, then walked over to the tub and
climbed in. She awkwardly took her best friend into her arms and held her as she cried.
"...He let me in as soon as I got here, then he left," Willow explained, telling Buffy how she came
to be at the Brody residence. "Oz gave me a ride."
"I'm glad you're here, even if it was him," Buffy practically spat the word, "who called you."
The two girls were curled up on opposite ends of the couch. Buffy's eyes were red and puffy,
her nose still running from her crying jag. She was wearing her oldest and most favorite
comfortable clothing, the extra-large sweatshirt pulled down over her knees.
"Are you sure it's that bad, Buffy?" Willow asked. She held up her hand when Buffy went to
yell at her. "Spike's a vampire, remember? I know we don't think about it much anymore, but
he isn't a human. He doesn't follow the same set of...human rules and stuff like we do."
"Stop being logical. I want to be mad," Buffy growled.
"Will, he's never been this violent before or has forced himself on me. Never. Aggressive, yes,
but we both wanted to have sex. This was him throwing me on the bed and shoving his fucking
cock into me, biting me and then expecting me to want to claim him or whatever he wanted me
"Vampire, remember?" Willow said, giving Buffy a pointed look.
"Stop it," Buffy said, frowning at her best friend. "You're just trying to make me not hate him."
"Do you?" Willow asked.
"Yes," Buffy stated. Willow sighed and Buffy scowled. "Fine, no. I still love him, the bleached
"Good," the redhead replied. "Now, tell me what else is wrong."
"What do you mean?"
"Normally violent...you know, wouldn't turn you into a sobbing mess in the bathtub," Willow
said. "You would have beat Spike within an inch of his life, or death, or is it non-life? Anyway,
you would have hurt him back, then you two would have smooched and made up, just like the
other hundred times something like this happened."
"This hasn't happened-"
"Grr, stop being with the smarts," Buffy said. "You're suppose to sympathize with me, be on
my side, burn your bra..." Willow just looked at the blond Slayer. "You are a real pain in the ass,
you know that?"
"Yep," Willow agreed. "Now spill."
"Okay." Buffy sighed. "Ever since Julyish, I've been feeling kinda wiggy. Like something is off,
but I can't put my finger on it."
"Bad guy on the horizon off or normal off?"
"Normal off," Buffy replied. "It's almost like I'm suppose to know something or something was
suppose to happen, but it didn't."
"Like you forgot a birthday?" Willow suggested.
"Yeah," Buffy said. She looked at Willow in horror. "I didn't forget someone's birthday, did I?"
"Nope." Willow shook her head. "All birthdays remembered and accounted for."
"Good." Buffy let her head drop back on the high arm of the couch. "Angel's gonna be here in
a few and we-"
"Angel's coming up?" Willow interrupted. She whistled. "No wonder Spike went nuts." Buffy
rolled her head down and arched her brow at the redhead. "Hello? Spike? Angel? Hate each
other with a 'bloody passion?'"
"But Angel and I are just friends," Buffy said.
"And ex-lovers and loves," Willow pointed out. "Spike knows you love him, but, vampire or not,
he is a male." She tapped her forehead. "They're not too intelligent."
"Willow!" Buffy exclaimed. Then she burst into giggles. "What would Oz say?"
"Remember a little fluke called Xander?" Willow said. "Those two still can't be in the same
room together for too long without Oz making a facial expression, and when he does, look out."
Buffy sobered up and looked at her friend seriously. "Willow, you know I love you, right?"
"Yeah, I know," Willow said, giving her a smile.
"Sometimes women aren't too intelligent either, huh?"
"Not on a whole, no."
Spike sat on the steps that led to the various floors of the apartment complex, watching the
sunlight glint off his ring each time he put his hand in the stream coming from the window above
him. He wasn't seriously contemplating on letting himself catch fire. His world may have just
ended, but that had happened once before, so he knew he'd get over it. Eventually. In a century
Self-depreciating thoughts continued to revolve around his brain. He was stupid to try and claim
the Slayer as a mate. He was stupid to think that he was more than a filler for his sire. He was
stupid to fall in love again. He was stupid to think that he meant something important to her.
After sitting there until the sun set, he realized that all his thoughts boiled down to one simple
fact: Buffy didn't want him.
"Spike, can I talk-"
"Not now, Slayer," Spike interrupted her, not stopping as he walked from the front door of the
apartment back into the bedroom. If he stopped, he would cry, and there was no way in bloody
hell he was going to cry in front of his sire. Angel had been sitting on the couch next to Buffy
when he had entered, and the two looked quite cozy together, like they were meant for each
Which they were. And that was why he was leaving.
Reaching under the bed, Spike pulled out an old, well-worn duffle and unzipped it. He set it
down on the queen-sized bed and walked over to the dresser. T-shirts, jeans, socks and boxers
that he rarely wore got shoved into the bag. He ignored Buffy, who had come to stand in the
doorway to the bedroom.
"You're leaving?" Buffy finally asked, when he zipped up the bag.
"Nothing left for me here," Spike replied in a flat, emotionless voice.
The word was said in a tiny voice, causing Spike to break his promise to himself not to look at
her. He turned and saw the stunned expression on her face, and his heart broke again. He
needed to leave, before he did something like beg for her to want him. He didn't beg.
Picking up the bag, he passed her easily and headed into the living room. Angel was standing at
the end of the couch, a frown on his face. Spike pressed his lips together for a moment and kept
his eyes centered on the taller vampire's chest. He dropped his duffle by his side, then tugged
the wedding band off his left finger.
Reaching out, he snared his sire's hand and pressed the ring into it, folding Angel's fingers over
the top. "Tell Buffy I love her," he said in a harsh whisper. Then he grabbed his bag and quickly
left the apartment.
Buffy was still standing stunned in the doorway to the bedroom, not really seeing anything, when
Angel came up behind her. "Buffy, I figured out what it was that we're not remembering."
"What?" Buffy said, turning and looking up at him.
At her husband's name, tears welled up in Buffy's eyes. She inhaled slowly and forcefully
pushed them back. "What about him?"
"He was there," Angel said. "A couple of weeks before your seventeenth birthday. He was
Buffy frowned. "What do you mean he was there? Where?"
"At the library. He wanted us to help him get back to his time, remember?" Angel replied. He
held open his hand. "He was wearing a wedding band..."
Buffy eyes had focused on the plain, gift store bought band that was sitting on his palm. Her
knees went weak and her heart felt as though someone had stabbed her. "No," she breathed, her
lower lip trembling.
Not realizing what she meant and angry with his childe because of past events, Angel continued.
"Buffy, yes he was, and he could have told us about the curse. Can you imagine what that would
have meant? To you? To us? To me and everyone who suffered because I lost my soul? Jenny
Calendar would still be alive! God, the selfish bastard," he snarled. "I am going to hit him until
"He didn't want to lose me," Buffy whispered, remembering. "He said that his mate meant more
to him than blood and he didn't want to give that up for anything." Realization dawned on her.
"If he would have told us, this him never would have existed, I never would have loved him."
She looked up at Angel, tears freely running down her face. "He's gone, isn't he?"
Angel looked down at her, then slowly nodded. "Yes, he's gone."
"Tell me...," Buffy began, then had to stop and close her eyes tightly together so as not to burst
into sobs. After a moment, she began again. "Tell me what it means to claim a mate."
Angel took Buffy's hand and led her over to the bed, then sat down beside her on the edge of it.
He glanced down at the gold band in his other hand, then spoke. "As I told you back in
December, when a vampire claims someone, he or she is letting the rest of the community know
that person belongs to him or her. That vampire would protect their claimed one with their own
life and kill anyone who tried to harm their claimed one," he explained.
"When a vampire claims a human, normally the vampire wants that human as a mate. He or she
will end up turning the human when the time is right, then make the claim of mate to the
"So claiming and mating are two different things?" Buffy asked, a frown forming between her
"Yes," Angel said. "A claim on someone is because the vampire wants to protect that person,
human or vampire, and is usually very close to that person. Remember the Gorches? They
claimed each other, but they weren't mates."
"Did you claim anyone?" she asked.
"Not until you," he answered. He gave her a wry smile. "Without my soul, I'm a real self-centered, uncaring prick."
"No disagreements from this corner," she said. She wiped her cheeks with her free hand. "Tell
me about mates."
"A mate is sort of like husband and wife in mortal terms," Angel said. "A vampire chooses a
mate because he wants to be with that person exclusively, shares everything with them, and loves
them. Vampires can love, there's no question about that; but that love is usually violent, bloody
and very possessive."
Buffy's thoughts immediately turned to what happened earlier that day, but she did not say
"The main difference, though, that makes claiming a person different from claiming a mate is that
mating is reciprocal. One can claim the other as a mate, but it is not..." Angel thought for a
moment. "Official I guess would be a close enough word, in the vampire community unless the
chosen person claims him or her as a mate, as well.
"That doesn't mean that a mated claim can't be broken. Just like a husband and wife in mortal
terms divorce, mates split, too. Spike and Drusilla were mated, until I lost my soul. You and I
were mated, although you didn't know that you claimed me as a mate, until I lost my soul." He
frowned and added, "I'm sensing a pattern there."
"Wait, what? When did I do that?" Buffy said.
"You did it twice," Angel told her. "The first time, you marked me as yours with a cross. The
second time, you gave me your virginity, which in my mind, is one human way to claim a mate.
I claimed you as my mate in return that night, too, although because of my soul, I didn't bite
you. I marked you with the Claddagh ring instead." He paused. "Of course, that pattern I
mentioned a minute ago ruined that mating. Damn Spike. That could have been stopped if he
would have said something."
"Angel, why would Spike have said something?" Buffy asked seriously. "You said that a
vampire's love is very possessive, do you honestly think that he would have done otherwise?"
"I would have."
"Yeah, but you have a soul. If you didn't, we wouldn't even be having this conversation," Buffy
said. She extracted her hand from his and rubbed her temples. "I suppose I should be furious at
him, but I'm not. I love him so much, Angel. Yes, things would have been different if he would
have told us, which explains the feelings I've been having, but would they have been better? We
still probably wouldn't be able to be together, and we could very well have been dead with both
Spike and Drusilla after us at full strength. We both know that I'm a much better Slayer now
than I was before you lost your soul. The strength that I have now comes from losing
everything; from reaching rock bottom and rebuilding again."
She took a shaky breath and let it out, then turned and met Angel's eyes. "He wanted me to
claim him as a mate, and I said no, then shut myself in the bathroom."
Angel sucked in a sharp breath of unneeded air. "Ouch."
"He's gone, isn't he?" Buffy asked, repeating her question from earlier.
"Yes," Angel replied softly. He took Buffy's hand and pressed Spike's ring into her palm. "But
I doubt he went very far."
"Really?" Buffy said hopefully.
"Mate or not, he loves you, he claimed you, and he'll do his best to protect you for as long as
Buffy looked at Spike's ring, then slid it on her middle finger and said, "Tell me how to claim him
as my mate."
Spike had made it as far as his car in the parking lot. He was sitting behind the steering wheel,
alternating between crying and staring blankly at the blacked-out windshield. He had nowhere to
go. He had no idea what to do. He couldn't seem to work the ignition, either.
Which was why he was easily yanked out of the car and was laying on the hard ground before he
knew what was happening.
A fist smashed into his jaw, sending his head flying to one side. When he went to look at the
person, he was struck again, this time with a back fist to the other side of his jaw. A hand
enclosed around the front of his shirt, pulled him slightly up off the ground, and that same fist
that had struck him twice before slammed into his face, causing blood to spurt from his nose.
His eyes flared yellow and a loud snarl tore from his throat. He went to throw his attacker off,
but froze when he heard an intimately familiar voice.
"You are mine," Buffy growled at Spike, touching her forehead to his ridges to stare hard into his
She released him abruptly, causing his head to smack back down on the ground. Then he felt her
hands on his jeans and he swelled in response. Violence turned him on more than anything, even
Buffy in her little black raincoat. And the Slayer was being more violent than she'd ever been in
He felt her sharp nails dig into the skin of his abdomen, as she ripped the zipper of his jeans
down. He grunted when she also tore some of the hair surrounding his already throbbing
erection as she freed him from the confines of the denim. He tried to grab her to pull her down to
kiss her, but he received a hard left hook for his attempt. Her wedding band, despite it being
smooth, cut his lip upon impact, adding to the blood pouring down his face.
His wrists were captured in her tight grip the same time she impaled herself on him. The backs of
his hands scraped along the pavement as she forced them above his head. The expression on her
face was feral, almost ugly in its intense snarl. Her lips were pulled back, her teeth were gritted
together, her nose was wrinkled and her eyes were narrowed as she stared down into his. Right
there in the parking lot, she took him hard and savagely, uncaring of the fact they were in a public
"You don't leave me," she hissed suddenly, grinding her pelvis down onto his. "You can't leave
me. I won't let you leave me. You're mine. My husband. My Spike. My mate. Do you hear
me? You. Are. My. Mate!"
Unbelievable joy filled Spike's heart at her words as well as the desire to flip her over and love
her properly. However, Buffy had other plans. His right wrist was released and she grabbed his
hair with her left hand, yanking his head to one side. Her voice was soft, a breath of air near his
right ear. "Mate."
Then her teeth closed over his jugular, tore the skin right off of his neck, and she affixed her lips
over the gash. Spike howled in pleasure, his hips arching off the ground, lifting her along with
him. Shockwaves of ecstacy ripped through his system as he was thrown into a climax so
intense, he blacked out.
"Hi baby," Buffy whispered, stroking her fingers along the ridges of his brow, when Spike swam
back to consciousness. She was beside him on the pavement, both of their clothing straightened,
and the blood that had been on his face was wiped away. "You were out for a long time."
"Slayer?" Spike said, his throat somewhat sore. He turned his golden gaze on her and he saw a
gentle smile on her face. "What-"
"Shh." Buffy put her finger over his lips, then leaned down and replaced her finger with a touch
of her lips against his. "I love you."
"Cor, Buffy, I love you, too," Spike said, reaching his hand up to brush her hair behind her ear.
Buffy captured his hand, pressed a kiss to his palm, then slipped the wedding band off her middle
finger and put it back on his ring finger, where it belonged. "I'm sorry, Spike, for not
understanding. For being so distant. I didn't mean to hurt you."
"It's okay, luv," Spike said. "I hurt you, even though I didn't mean to do it. I'm so bloody sorry.
And will you listen to me? Can I sound like any more of a nancyboy?"
Buffy laughed lightly. "You are getting kinda mushy there, which is so not you." She pushed
herself to her feet, smoothed down her skirt, then held out her hand to him. "Come on. I want to
make love to you in our bed. Not that the parking lot wasn't fun, but I think my knees are
scraped up enough for one night."
Spike accepted her hand up, then smiled broadly when she squeaked as he scooped her up into
his arms. "I think that sounds like a marvelous plan, ducks. In fact, since it's a long, holiday
weekend, I don't think we'll leave the bed until you have to go to class on Tuesday."
"But Angel came up-"
"Sod the poof," Spike interrupted, carrying her towards the apartment building. "He can hitch a
ride on the Nina, the Pinto or the Santa Maria for all I bloody care, so long as he shoves off."
"The 'Pinto?'" Buffy said with a giggle. "I think you mean the Pinta."
"Pinto, Pinta, Piņata, Pimento, whatever."
They had more to talk about, and there were more fights to come; but at that moment, they were
simply two beings who loved each other with all they could. And to Spike, they were now as
close as two could get in the vampiric world.
They were mates.