Disclaimer: I don't own this universe but I have fun with it. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: When Xander comes across Spike in Los Angeles and discovers the vampire isn't dust after all, Spike is faced with an important decision. Will he go see Buffy? Will she be happy to see him or will she dust him for not telling her he survived the Hellmouth.Hope
Chapter Two: The Knock on the Door
The door bell rang in Buffy Summer's quiet apartment. The petite blonde girl jumped up off her chair and made her way to the front door. As she pulled the door open, Buffy was met by the sight of someone she believed she'd never see again.
"Spike," she choked. She blinked in disbelief, thinking he was nothing more than an illusion believing the vampire she saw before her was not really there. However, he was still there when she opened her eyes once more. He looked just as she had remembered him with the startling blue eyes and peroxide hair.
"Spike, are you real?" She asked, her voice trembling. He gazed at her, his eyes filled with emotion.
"Yeah," he affirmed softly. They stood there for a whole minute before she threw her arms around him. He pulled her close and gave her a chaste kiss on the forehead.
"How?" She sobbed.
"It's a long story, pet. One that might be best told inside, away from prying eyes," Spike said quietly, nodding pointedly at the curious glances they were getting from passersby.
"Come in, Spike." Buffy spoke quietly and stepped aside from the doorway to allow him access.
"Nice place you have got," he said, trying to delay the inevitable questions that would follow. However, instead of an answer, he was met with a familiar fist. His nose smashed under her hard blow of her small yet powerful fist.
"Nice right hook you've got!" He replied holding his aching nose. He gave her a sheepish grin that quickly wilted under her patented Buffy glare.
"This is familiar! You pounding on me for information," he said, with a touch of asperity.
"Well you know how it goes then. So spill!" Buffy demanded. So he did. Buffy sat quietly while Spike told her of his time in Los Angeles. He could see that she was fit to interrupt, but she held her tongue. He gave her all the facts, but he did not answer the one question she wanted to know most of all. After all how could he tell her why he stayed away when he did not really know? Once he was finished, he could see Buffy was close to finally losing her temper. Her fists were clenched at her side, and she was radiating fury.
"Why did I even let you in the front door?" She asked, bitterly. She avoided his probing gaze, and watched the floor intently.
"Because you missed me?" he whispered with a smirk. Somehow, it was easier to piss her off than it was to apologize. He was a master vampire from the Order of Aurelius after all. Besides he loved to fight with her. However, he could tell from her face that he had gone too far. Her eyes were narrowed dangerously, and her mouth was in a hard line. She hit his already tender nose again with a well placed right hook.
"Ouch," he yelled. "Why is it always the nose?"
She glared at him. His brash, arrogant swagger wilted under her hard glare.
"You missed me a little didn't you?" He asked, tilting his head looking almost like a little lost puppy. Her anger evaporated a little.
"What's wrong with me? I totally have a right to be angry." She balled her fists in anger. He was as frustrating as ever.
"I obviously forgot how irritating and annoying you are," she snapped. Her angry stare made him avoid her gaze.
"I am sorry pet, for what it's worth," Spike said ashamedly. "I really missed you, and I was wrong to keep mum about this."
"Huh! Keep whose mum?" Buffy asked, confused. Spike turned to look at her one more. He rolled his eyes, but when he spoke, it was patiently.
"It means to keep quiet about something."
"Spike you didn't just keep quiet about this." Buffy furiously pointed out, "You let me think you were dead all this time,"
"I was dead," he replied. It was the wrong thing to say. She screamed in frustration and threw a dishcloth at him.
"You don't get to joke your way out of this one you bastard. It is not a laughing matter. Do I matter in the slightest to you anymore?"
"Buffy, I---" he began but he was quickly interrupted.
"No you don't get to talk. For once in your life, uh unlife, you will listen and shut up!"
He nodded in acquiescence.
"I would have expected this crap from Angel, but never from you. You always came back no matter what. There was no getting rid of you, whether I wanted to or not! Then after everything that happened and everything between us you do this!"
Those words stung him. Comparing him to his grandsire was always a sore point. He resolved to remain calm. He was in the wrong after all, but the woman always riled him up.
"I came in the end, just took a detour is all!" he said, defensively. She gave him another fierce glare. He could see that she was getting steadily angrier, and she was gorgeous when she was angry. It was an unfair advantage in a fight. He really missed it.
"I mourned your sorry ass while you were taking a ‘detour' with your grandsire whom you apparently hate." she shouted. He could see the pain behind her anger, and he felt incredibly guilty. However, he fought the rising emotion within him and embraced his own anger instead.
"And while you were mourning me you were also throwing yourself into the arms of the Immortal," he snapped angrily. As soon as the words were out of his mouth he wanted to take them back. She looked incredulously at him.
"You really have no clue," she said, shaking her head.
"Buffy, love, I'm sorry!" He pleaded.
"What part exactly?" She asked coldly. He walked towards her and she turned her face away. He gently turned her to face him.
"For everything," he said, looking into her eyes trying to convey to her the sincerity in his statement. She stepped back from him, and he wondered again for the hundredth time that night whether he had done the right thing in coming back to her. He really needed a cigarette, but with the mood the Slayer was in he knew it was not a good idea. He had done enough baiting tonight. He settled for pacing instead.
"Oh Buffy, why do we always do this?" he said, exasperated, gesturing frantically when the silence got too unbearable. He could see the tears in her eyes, and he hated being the cause of them. She rubbed her eyes.
"There was a time when we could have had a civilised conversation," she said, in a dead voice.
He raised his eyebrow sardonically.
"Oh, my bad, I forgot who I was talking about! I should have said almost," she said with a half smile. The ache in his chest lessened a little. If she was feeling up to banter then maybe there was a way they could both could end this day without ripping each other to pieces.
"I missed that. I missed you," he said, softly.
"Hold me, Spike!" she said, softly, and he duly obliged. She basked in his presence and his smell. He smelled just how she remembered. He was there, really there. She pulled away slightly and brushed her hand on his face. He watched her with a mixture of wonder and adoration.
"Stupid dumb vampire!" she said affectionately. He smiled, really smiled.
"Bossy bint!" he retorted, but in an equally loving tone. They did not know what the future held yet, but they just basked in the moment. The time for recrimination was over for now. Those serious conversations could wait. For now, it was enough to just be there with one another. They looked at each other and laughed. For the first time in a long time, Spike could feel that flicker of hope he thought was long since extinguished.
It was not long before the atmosphere between the vampire and the slayer became tense again. Buffy motioned for Spike to sit and she did the same but made sure that there was plenty space between them. An uncomfortable silence stretched out between them.
"So how is the bit?" Spike enquired and Buffy gladly latched onto the topic. Spike smiled as Buffy listed Dawn's achievements. The Nibblet had grown up and he had missed it all. Would she even want to see him again? She had once told him if he hurt Buffy again, she would set him on fire while he slept. Unfortunately, the truth was he had hurt Buffy again because he was a selfish coward. The warring emotions must have shown on his face because Buffy put her hand on his arm.
"She missed you too," Buffy said, reassuringly.
"Did she really?" He asked, in a hollow voice.
"Yes, you idiot. She was very upset when she thought that she never got a chance to settle things between you. She will be thrilled to see you." This bolstered him, and he felt a rush of gratitude for the amazing woman beside him. She was comforting him when he really did not deserve it.
"Buffy I..." he began feel the need to apologise once more. Buffy sighed.
"Can we not for now?" Buffy asked, desperately and Spike nodded, not a little relieved as well. Buffy was too tired to get into any further meaningful discussions. She was still angry, but she decided she wanted to bask for a little while in his nearness. He wasn't gone after all, and she did not know if she could ever forgive him for the last year. She was torn between wanting to hit him again and jump his bones. For now they could just be two old friends who found each other again. They were never good at the talking part after all. Suddenly, the front door swung open, and the sounds of an ungainly gait filled the apartment. Dawn Summers burst into the room.
To be continued..