The cabin was literally in the middle of nowhere. Towering pines were all that was visible in every direction. A dark brown building to match the surroundings, with no visible wires or tanks. They had stopped for provisions close to an hour before arriving, and the remainder of the drive had been spent in silence.
Willow looked around tiredly as Spike brought the grocery bags into the small kitchen. The main floor of the cabin was open, with all the normal amenities, including an entertainment center. She smiled when she saw the stack of videos falling out of a cabinet and a few scattered, empty cigarette packs. There was a bathroom in one corner and a set of stairs that led up to the loft in another.
Slowly, she climbed the stairs and dropped her backpack on the floor as the double bed beckoned to her. The loft held only the bed, two night stands and a small dresser, all of which were conducive to a single person living at the cabin. She leaned over the balcony to look down at Spike. "Where are the sheets?"
"Bottom drawer," he replied.
She nodded and began to make the bed. Once done, she collapsed upon it face first, not bothering to remove her clothes. She was somewhat conscious when she heard him come up the stairs and whimpered when he turned on the lamp.
"Come on, luv," Spike said, pulling off her shoes and socks. "Let's get you into bed right proper."
He helped her sit up, then removed the rest of her clothing. Digging through her backpack, he found her nightshirt and put it on her, then tucked her under the covers.
"Spike?" Willow said, her lids heavy.
"Will you hold me?"
"You never have to ask," he replied, stripping down to his boxers and climbing in the bed next to her. She curled up against him after he switched the light off. Soon, the only sound in the cabin was of her steady breathing as they both drifted off into sleep.
"Spike?" Willow called, sitting up. She had woken a few minutes ago to find the other half of the bed empty and had panicked slightly. She was still shaken up over the events that occurred earlier and needed reassurance that everything was to be alright. "Spike?"
When she didn't receive an answer, she crawled out of bed and over to the loft railing. Looking down, she could see no sign of him. The only light in the cabin was coming from a single night light plugged into an outlet in the kitchen. "Spike?" she called out for a third time, her voice rising with worry. She hurried down the stairs and checked in the bathroom and on the couch. No one.
Opening the door, she stayed just behind the invisible barrier and peered out into the night enshrouded forest. She was afraid to even stick her head out, afraid that there would be someone next to the door waiting to kidnap or kill her before she could blink. The man earlier that evening had been a vampire, she'd seen his ridged face, and from what Spike told her, figured there had to be a leak of sorts in the Gehenna Cult which meant that they could know where the cabin was. Which meant that Spike could be dead.
"Spike!" Willow yelled out the door as loud as she could, her thoughts having taken that horrible turn. "SPIKE!"
Spike was halfway up the steps to the cabin when the red head threw herself in his arms. "What is it, Willow? Are you alright? Did something happen?" he asked in rapid session, his eyes darting around the shadows.
"I thought someone took you and you were dead," she cried, holding him tightly.
"Cor, no, luv. No one knows where we are," he told her as he picked her up and brought her into the cabin. Shutting the door behind him with his foot, he brought her over to the couch and sat down, with her in his lap. He held her close, rocking her slightly against his bare chest. "I had to run out for a bite before dawn, that's all. I had expected you to still be asleep when I returned, because I planned on rejoining you in bed."
The last part was said with a teasing note in his voice, causing her to raise her head. "And just what do you think was going to happen in that bed, buster?" Willow said, the tear tracks bright against her face from the night light.
"Well, I was hoping for a few sheep to miss the fence," Spike teased. "Then I could have breakfast in b-mmmp."
His sentence was cut off by Willow smashing her tear soaked lips onto his, her mouth plundering his mouth as she wrapped her hands around the back of his head. Her short nails dug into his scalp as the kiss intensified, all of her feelings of the past few days pouring into it. Fear, love, sexual tension, the unknown. Each of which prompted her to let go of his head and pull off her underwear before she straddled his jean-clad lap right on the couch, their mouths never parting.
Spike had been surprised at first, but her burning lips against his brought forth everything he'd been feeling for the past few days. Love, hate, sexual tension, fear, anger. All of this coursed through him, causing him to push his hands up under her night shirt and hold her close, his cool fingers against her heated skin.
Willow rubbed against him, the denim of the jeans making her growl in frustration. Her fingers danced down his bare chest, scratching lightly over his nipples before going directly to the fastenings. She knelt up and undid them, his hands pressing firmly into her back as he kissed her with a passion. Dipping under the material, she freed him, his cold, hard length pulsing in her grip. He growled at her as she stroked him once, twice, then positioned herself over him.
As she sank down upon him, they both hissed in pleasure and Spike started kissing down her jawline to the slender column of her neck. He scraped his blunt teeth over her jugular as she began to ride him, her mound pressed firmly against his abdomen, creating friction against her clit. Her fingers were digging into his shoulders as he moved along her collarbone, dipping his tongue into the hollow of her throat before moving back up the other side of her neck.
Her pace sped up, rocking hard on him as her throbbing center rubbed against his dark curls. He captured her ear with his teeth, tugging on it and she shuddered. Her breasts ached, the nipples were pebble-like, brushing up on the material of her sleep shirt over and over. "Spike," she whimpered, before his mouth captured hers again.
He could feel her orgasm, the muscles of her inner walls quivering around him before she ripped away from the kiss with a loud cry. He grabbed her hips and plunged up into her rapidly until the animalistic snarl tore from his throat as he climax. With one final stab, he held her in place, spilling his dead seed deep within her core.
Willow collapsed upon him, burying her face in his neck, holding him close. His arms encircled her again under her shirt, the material the only thing preventing them from sinking into each other as he brought his head down and kissed her on the side of her neck. "I love you, Willow," he whispered, so quietly she would have missed it if not for the proximity of his mouth to her ear.
She raised her head and looked into eyes that reminded her of a blue sky reflected on a sheet of clear ice. "Oh, Spike, I love you, too," she told him, tears of happiness filling her own. "I was so scared that I wouldn't get to tell you."
Spike was startled. He never expected for her to hear his confession, and he sure as hell didn't expect her to return his feelings. He raised a shaking hand to her cheek and she nuzzled into it. Sitting up straight, their bodies still joined, his lips met hers in the sweetest kiss he'd had in close to one hundred years.
"Any more?" Willow prompted the next evening. They had returned to bed shortly after their admissions and made love until dawn, then slept the day away snuggled together as close as they could get. Spike had made her ‘breakfast' and she saw first hand how he almost lit himself on fire. Now, they were sitting at the small kitchen table as he regaled her with stories about the many times he saved the world.
"You know the other ones, luv," Spike replied. "The Judge, although I wasn't much help in that being stuck in the bloody wheelchair." He frowned over the memories. "Teaming up with the Slayer to stop Angel from opening Acathala. Didn't do too much, then, either. I was too busy trying to get Dru out, as promised. I really should have stuck around."
"You did what you thought was right," she said. "Plus, I don't think Buffy would have wanted you there, especially because of what happened."
"What did happen?" he asked. "Poopsy never told me."
"I gave Angel back his soul just as Acathala opened," she answered. "She had no choice but to send him to hell.
Spike's eyes widened, a pang of remorse in his undead heart. His sire may be a bone of contention in his unlife, but he didn't deserve that. "Fuck, that's harsh."
"Yeah. Buffy ran away and didn't come back until almost a month into school. I didn't even find out that the curse worked until Faith showed up in Sunnydale four weeks after she got back," Willow said, giving him a sad look. "I don't know how she managed to stay alive. The guilt and grief would have driven most people to suicide."
"Buffy is the strongest Slayer I've ever met, and I don't just mean physically," he told her. "She's got something in here..." He put his hand over his heart. "That makes her better. I'm glad I'm not on her shit list any more, because sooner or later she'd get me."
"I'll protect you," Willow said, reaching across the table to pat his hand.
"And who's going to protect me from you?" Spike asked with an arch of his scarred brow.
"Nothing, if you keep saying things like that," she replied with a sweet smile. "I can levitate a mean pencil."
"I know, I've seen it," he said.
"When?" she asked, confused.
"When you were searching for a way to defeat the Mayor," he replied. "I popped up through the tunnels to leave that green book..."
"That was you?!" Willow said. "We couldn't figure out how that book got to the library for the life of us. Goddess, we must have puzzled over that for a good ten minutes before we realized we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Or a gift vampire, I guess. That's what you meant that night of the first conclave meeting when you said you saw us pull that all nighter. Wait, you were helping us?"
"My job, remember?" Spike said.
"Oh yeah," she replied. "Color me blond and call me Buffy."
Spike burst out laughing at her insult to her best friend. "Cor, pet, don't let the Slayer hear you say that or you'll be wearing your bottom lip over the top of your head."
"Um, eew," she said. "That's a graphic picture."
"I can paint a few more for you, if you'd like," he replied with a devilish smile.
"That's ok, Spike," Willow told him. "You keep your sick, disgusting, evil, demented, gross, perverted, vomit inducing..."
"You can stop any time now, little Witch," Spike said. She gave him a grin and stuck a bite full of food in her mouth. "Anything else you want to know? I'm going to have to run to town in a few to make the calls."
"Yeah, how come there's no windows in this cabin?" she asked.
"I built it that way," he replied.
Willow's eyes widened. "You built this place? Yourself?"
"All by my bloody lonesome," he answered.
"How long did it take? What did you use? How come it's so nice?"
"Two months, trees and I'm not going to dignify that last one with an answer," Spike said, scowling at her. He stood and took her empty plate to the sink. "While I'm gone, don't go outside. There are a lot of wild animals out there that would be happy to gobble you up, and that's my job."
"I don't see why I can't come with you," Willow complained, walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his waist and laying her head on his back.
"Because the townies know me, you'd stick out like a red thumb," he answered as he washed the dishes. "I don't want anyone knowing where you are, not with the leak." They had both come to the agreement that there had to be a leak inside the Gehenna Cult that needed to be dealt with before she would come out of hiding. Of course, with college classes starting in a week, that put additional pressure on the situation.
"Fine, I can take a hint," she sighed. She let go of him and wandered into the main room, picking up the remote off the floor behind the couch. "Just remember to call Buffy or Angel and tell them that I'm safe."
"I will," he replied, drying off his hands and coming up behind her. He turned her in his arms and placed a soft kiss on her lips. "I'll be back in a few hours, ok?"
"Ok," Willow said. She watched as he went over to the cabin door and opened it. The dark sky beckoned to the night creatures to come out and play. "Be careful."
"Hey, it's me," Spike replied with a cocky grin, then shut the door behind him.
"Isn't that what Han Solo said before failing his sneak attempt on the Stormtroopers in Jedi?" she muttered to the closed door.
"Christoph, you have a leak, you stupid pillock," Spike growled into the pay phone at the small town store. "Willow almost got killed. Luckily, only her ear was barely grazed, or you would have had a very fucking pissed off Toreador on your arse."
"I know, William," Christoph's voice came over the line. "All of those involved in the G1 call have been dealt with in the proper manner."
"Do you think that's going to bloody appease me?" he said with venom. "Anyone could have overheard along the chain of command! Fuck, Christoph, she almost died."
"You have feelings for this human," the Ventrue stated. "Does she know of your ties to the Cult?"
"Of course she fucking knows, someone tried to FUCKING OFF HER!" Spike yelled into the receiver.
"William, calm yourself," Christoph said. "I understand the circumstances to which she has become knowledgeable of the Cult. And because you feel she falls under G1 status, it was only a matter of time until she would know."
"I am so glad you approve," Spike replied snidely. "I'd hate for someone to come and kill her."
"You are now assigned Protector," Christoph instructed, ignoring the remarks. "And as such, no further contact with the Cult will ever be made, your previous assignment is reneged and your pledge to the Cult shall be centered around this human. Good luck, William Longstreet. It has been a pleasure having someone like you on our team. May God have mercy on you when Judgement Day comes." With that, the leader of one of the branches of the Gehenna Cult forever cut ties with Spike.
Spike hung up the phone and leaned his head on his arm against the privacy wall. He needed to calm down and digest what he had been told. As Protector, it was his sole duty to ensure that Willow stayed alive and had many children in order to continue her bloodline. There were several Protectors all over the world, had been since the Gehenna Cults started. Anyone who bore a mark of the Moon garnered a Protector, whether that person was knowledgeable or not. As long as they lived to have multiple descendants, the Protector did his or her job.
Which meant that someone would have to father Willow's children, because he could not.
That depressing thought settled heavily on him as he picked up the receiver again and dialed the mansion. "Maurice, get me Angel," he said, interrupting the butlers rapid questioning. He waited, scraping at what little nail polish was left on his thumb.
"Spike, where's Willow?" Angel asked upon picking up on the other end. "She was suppose to meet with Buffy..."
"The little Witch is with me," Spike replied. "I need you to resign me as Primogen, effective tonight."
"What? Why?" Angel said. "Spike, is something wrong?"
Spike chuckled humorlessly. "You could say that," he answered. "Now I know how you feel about being so close to the Slayer, yet are unable to have her."
"Tell me," his sire prompted, concern lacing his voice.
"Willow and I will be gone for a bit, so tell Buffy not to worry and to pass the info on to her parents," Spike replied instead. "Eventually, I'll have you ship us some stuff from the suite..."
"What, are you two having some little lovers holiday?" Angel interrupted sarcastically.
"For once in your bloody unlife can you not be your jagoff self and help me!" he started to yell again, his emotions getting the better of him. "Willow almost got killed the other night and now I'm her Protector, which means that despite how much I love her, it doesn't fucking matter because I can't have fucking children!" By now, tears were streaming down his face, and his sharp gasps rang clearly over the line. "Cor, Angelus, I love her so bloody fucking much. I didn't think I'd ever love again after Dru..."
Several hours away, sitting on the edge of his bed in his suite, Angel's heart broke for him. Souled or unsouled, Spike was the one who meant the most to him of all his childer. Hand clenching the receiver, he forced his own confusion and sadness down to speak soothingly. "Tell me what you need and I'll get it to you," he said softly.
"We're in Ventucopa," Spike said in a harsh voice. "Bring whatever you think Willow would want, including more clothes. There's no phone at the cabin, but I bet she'll want to use the computer. Can't use that cell phone, because the number is too well known. Fuck, I don't know, Athos. You just pick stuff. The only thing I want is my necklace on the night stand."
Angel caught the dreaded Musketeer nickname and knew Spike was pulling himself back together. "It's too late to head out tonight, but I will as soon as the sun sets tomorrow," he told the blond vampire. "Take care."
"Tell that pitiful excuse for a butler that Willow sends her noggin', whatever the bloody hell that means," Spike said. They said goodbye and he hung up the phone. Wiping his face off with the back of his hand, he made his way to the stolen car and back to the cabin.
Something was wrong. Spike entered the cabin and narrowed his eyes, wondering why things seemed off. "Willow?" he called.
"Up here!" Willow called back from the loft.
"There's something wrong here," he said, his eyes darting around the cabin.
Willow's leaned over the banister, her bare feet peeking over the edge. "The cabin is clean, silly," she teased. "That's what's wrong."
She was right. The cabin was immaculate. No more empty cigarette packs laying about, the surfaces were dusted, even the throw rug looked vacuumed and he only had a dustbuster. "It's clean," he said in amazement.
"Spike, I think you need to have your eyes checked," she said down to him. "While you're at it, get your head examined, too. Maybe that pea brain of yours rolled out your ear again."
She squealed as he tore for the stairs, rounding the other side of the bed as far from him as she could get. Of course, it wasn't going to help, considering the only way out was past him and down the stairs. But she had an idea to get him away from his thoughts of revenge.
"Pet, that wasn't very nice," Spike mock scolded, slowly stalking her.
"Yeah, but this is," Willow replied, then pulled her shirt off, leaving her quite naked.
Spike froze, his pea brain now resembling pea soup. "Cor, luv, you don't play fair."
Willow smiled seductively at him, then laid across the bed on her side, her head propped in her hand. "But at least I share my toys nicely," she said coyly.
Those were the last words out of her mouth for a very long time.
"What did they say?" Willow asked much, much later. "About the leak, I mean. Did they plug it?"
"As best as Christoph can," Spike replied, not wanting reality to intrude on their idyllic world. But he had to tell her sometime, especially since they might be there for awhile. "My job is now to protect you and..."
"And what?" she said, looking up at him.
"Make sure your bloodline continues," he finished with a quick mumble.
But, being so close to him, she caught it. "You mean, you have to make sure that I have children?"
"Yes," he replied with a harsh tone.
Willow frowned. "But I thought vampires couldn't have children."
"We can't," Spike said, wishing the sun hadn't come up so he could escape outside.
"Then how am I suppose to...oh," she breathed. "You're going to leave me, aren't you." It was not a question.
"Willow, you have to find a mortal mate who can give you lots of brats," he told her, swinging his legs off the bed and lowering his head into his hands.
"What if I don't want a human?" Willow said, crawling over to him and sitting at his side. "What if I think humans are boring and not worthy of my time? Oz wasn't human, he was a werewolf. In fact, I can proudly say that not once have I even kissed a human."
"Is something you sit on," she interrupted. "It's you I love, dummy, and it's you I want to be with. If I can't have your children, so mote it be. We'll go down to the frozen pop store and nuke ourselves a passel of rugrats. But we don't need to do that right now. I'm only eighteen. I think, with you as my knight in tarnished armor, I'll be around for awhile. So, stop moping and make me some cheesy noodles, without lighting yourself on fire this time."
Spike stared at her in amazement. She just solved all the problems plaguing him without even a pause in speaking. He turned so he was facing her and took both her hands. "And then Caine's eyes got the look of Visions, and he quieted, then he spoke: ‘But if ever one of us is gifted with the love of a mortal without command or awe, without compulsion, a Love given freely, then that Love will be as the gentle rain to even the lowliest of us. And though we shall not Embrace it, it will feed us as if we supped at our Father's table. It will satisfy our deepest thirst.'"
"That was beautiful," Willow said quietly. "Is it part of The Book of Nod?"
"Yes," Spike replied. "The Chronicle of Shadows. It's part of Caine's prophecy Of Love. I know I'm sounding bloody sappy right now, but I always wanted to find a love like that. Don't get your knickers bunched, I did love Dru with all my undead heart. I loved her before Angelus disappeared and I loved until it had to end. And I swore that I'd never love again. But then a little red headed Witch sneaked up on me one night and smacked me with her sass and I fell head first into the Mersey without a second thought."
"Talented, ain't I?" Willow grinned. She darted forward and gave him a quick kiss. "Come on, pet. Let's get some bloody supper in me."
"You're accent is terrible, ducks," he told her as they both stood and threw on some clothing.
"I know, but you love me anyway."
"That I do, Willow," Spike answered. "That I certainly do."
"Jingle Heimer Schmidt," Spike added from behind Willow.
Willow turned and glared at him, crossing her arms over her large stomach. "If you say that one more time, I'm going to let Angel pound you into the ceiling beam like he asked."
"Promises, promises," he scoffed, sliding the hammer into his tool belt. "When is the coifed one getting here, anyway?"
"He, Buffy, Xavier and Maurice should be here in about twenty minutes," she told him. "Which is why your children better get their little arses into this house before I tan them!" She yelled the last part out the door. Soon, two tow headed boys came running down the wrap around porch to the vastly expanded cabin in the woods.
"It's his fault, mom," Jacob said, pointing his finger at his little brother. The seven year old was streaked with dirt, his blue jeans ripped in the knees as he tried to pawn off the blame on his sibling.
"Nu-uh," John stated, staring up at Willow with his very blue five year old eyes. "Jake held me down and made me eat worms."
"They're good for you," Spike spoke up. "Corey eats them all the time, don't you, luv?" He looked down at the three year old attached to his leg.
The redheaded, green eyed, little girl smiled up at him and began to bounce on his foot. "Ride, daddy, ride!"
"Spike, you're not helping," Willow told him as he began to walk around with Corey screeching in glee. She turned to her sons. "Both of you, bathtub. Grandpa Angel, Gramma Buffy, Uncle Xavier and Uncle Maurice are coming and they don't want to see filthy children."
"Yes, mom," they both replied, taking off their muddy shoes and heading for the bathroom.
"And I don't want to see any dirt on the backs of your hands," she called after them. "And you, munchkin." She pointed at Corey as Spike came to a halt. "You're gonna help mommy in the kitchen until so your idiot father can clean up his mess and get ready for company."
Spike watched as Willow picked up Corey and headed for the kitchen, her rounded tummy causing her to almost look like she was waddling from behind. A smile crossed his face when she turned and blew him a kiss before going fully into the other room. He never in a million lifetimes thought that he'd be a father going on four times over, even though biologically they weren't his children. Emotionally, he loved them as if they were his, almost as much as he loved his red headed little Witch.
Whistling to himself, he started to clean up his tools that were used in the always going additions to the cabin. The no longer little place was where he and Willow admitted their love, made their life together, and now were raising their children. He never got to see them in the daylight, but he never felt the need. For wherever his Willow went, there was sunlight.
Wherever his Willow went, there was love.