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Hope Chapter Six
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.  Disclaimer: I don't own BTVS, but I really enjoy playing in Joss' shoes.   Thanks again to Sanity Fair.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chapter Six: Starting Anew

Spike was nervous. The night before had been like a nice dream, but he knew they were simply delaying the inevitable. They clearly still had a lot of talking to do, and her friends also would be yet another breaking point. The Watcher would surely be unwelcoming, and he was unsure as to how Red would react. Still, he had been pleasantly surprised by Harris, so maybe the others would surprise him as well. Spike sighed. Andrew was still talking a mile a minute but he wasn’t listening.
Dawn broke his reverie. “Andy, you better get moving if you want to get to that meeting with Giles.”
Andrew suddenly stood up straight. “Oh yes, if you will excuse me Spike, I’ve a very important meeting to attend,” he said in a dignified tone.
Spike caught Dawn’s eye silently thanking her. The vampire stood and headed up the stairs. Trying to figure out which room belonged to Buffy, he sniffed the air. He smirked to himself; vampire senses were terribly handy he mused. He noticed the room in question ironically bore the sign “Buffy’s room.” He rolled his eyes and knocked tentatively on the door. “Buffy?”
“One moment, Spike. I’m getting dressed.”
“Nothing I haven’t seen before, Slayer,” he pointed out. However, he waited as she asked.
Minutes later Buffy opened the door. He gave a brief look around the room noticing its simplicity in comparison to her room in Sunnydale, which had been full of mementos and old photographs. Those were all gone now of course like Sunnydale itself. He turned his attention back to Buffy.
“You okay, love?” he asked concernedly.
“Sorry for snapping earlier.” Buffy smiled apologetically.
“Never mind, pet. I probably deserved it,” he conceded.
“You really did, but I don’t want to go into that conversation right now,” she said. “Can you stay here and we can talk later? I really need to get to work right now.”
“Don’t see I have much choice, love.” He gestured towards the curtained window.
“Not that it ever stopped you before,” she replied.
He shrugged. “Don’t know this place as well as Sunnyhell.”
“I guess you don’t.” Buffy laughed hollowly. “That’s sorted then. No adventures for Spike today. Buffy can’t yell at dust in the wind after all.”
“Might be a better end than a Slayer’s wrath,” Spike quipped. He immediately knew he had said the wrong thing.
“Don’t even joke about that!” she said heatedly.
“Sorry, love. It was just a joke. Besides you were the one who brought it up.”
“Some joke! Is that what you were thinking when I was clueless?”
He winced as though she slapped him. She was being unreasonable. He considered her for a moment tilting his head to the side and shook it in exasperation.
“I’m not even going to answer that. You’re looking to pick a fight and as usual, it’s a round of Kick-the-Spike. Yeah, I’m an insensitive idiot. That’s been covered already, love. I’m not your punching bag any longer, and when you’re through being a bitch, we need to talk proper like.”
Spike turned to leave the room, as he could tell that Buffy was about to explode.
“Did you just call me a bitch?” Buffy asked incredulously.
Spike stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. “Yeah you’re acting like a bitch. I know you, Buffy, and while you are pissed at me, you’re also worried about your precious do-gooder friends.”
“How can you say that?” Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Back in Sunnydale, I chose you over all of them,and you still think I’m afraid to go against them.”
He let out a derisive laugh. “Funny isn’t it?”
He had killed thousands of men, women, and children, yet here he stood, vulnerable. This tiny woman could make him more terrified and angry than anybody else ever could and he suspected ever would. Buffy’s face had lost that look of rage and she grabbed hold of his hand, squeezing it tight.
“Spike, you were never my dirty little secret,” Buffy began shyly. Spike raised his brow ironically.
“Sorry I guess you kind of were,” she admitted. “What I mean is that you were important to me back then, after I was brought back. I couldn’t have got through it all without you. I want you to know that.”
Spike’s heart lightened with Buffy’s words. He was momentarily stuck for words.
“Thanks,” he said simply, once he figured how to use his mouth again.
“Guess I had better be off then,” Buffy said, with what sounded like forced cheerfulness.
“Buffy you don’t have to tell them yet if you do not want to,” he offered, “I sort of liked being your dirty little secret.”
Buffy smiled and kissed him chastely on the cheek.
“I want to, but thank you,” she whispered.

Buffy and Spike left the room in a much better frame of mind than when they entered. Spike was surprised to see that Andrew had not left. Obviously, the boy was too nosy for his own good. Andrew looked at Spike then turned to look at Buffy and grinned even wider if possible.
“It’s just so romantic,” Andrew said teary eyed, “The vampyr and the slayer reunited despite all the odds. They can be together, get married, and have babies. I would be best man, right?”
The other three were looking on incredulously at a clueless Andrew, who was waxing lyrical.
“Yes I think they would make beautiful babies,” he declared.
“Don’t be stupid boy, vampire here and I can’t have-” Spike interrupted impatiently.
“Oh, my bad. Wow! Did your soul come with a curse like Angel’s, or are you just not able to perform?”
“What! No!” Spike spluttered. Buffy and Dawn were in tears with laughter. He turned helplessly to the sisters.
“Help me out Slayer,” Spike pleaded. Buffy stayed quiet, but Dawn obliged taking pity on the vampire.
“He means vampires can’t have children, not that he can’t have sex,” Dawn explained.
“I happen to have had no complaints,” Spike said indignantly. He stood up straighter.
“Mmm fun times,” Buffy murmured, but didn’t realise she’d spoken aloud until she spotted Spike with a huge smile.
“Oh I bet!” Andrew said suggestively.
Spike didn’t like the look Andrew was giving him.
“Well, Andrew, I’m off to Slayer Central now if you want to come with,” Buffy said to the young man.
The slayer and Andrew left leaving Spike and Dawn alone.
“So you two looked pretty cosy this morning,” The girl probed.
“Nothing happened. Not that it’s any of your business, you nosy bint,” Spike replied in a light tone.
Dawn’s brow furrowed. “I’m worried about her, Spike. She hasn’t been the same since that day.”
Spike met her worried eyes. “Losing your home and town is bound to do that to you. You’re not the same either, I’d wager,” he pointed out. She bristled at that.
“It was losing you,” Dawn said impatiently. “You’re just unwilling to accept that because you feel guilt for not letting us know you were back.”
“I know I should have now, but then I did what I thought was best. I don’t regret wanting the best for my girls.”
“You still have a lot of grovelling to do by the way.” She pouted childishly.
“Hot chocolate and those little marshmallow things?” he offered with a grin.
“You betcha. I could do with some chocolaty goodness.”

Buffy resolved that she was going to make sure everything was out in the open this time. She did not want Spike to be her dirty little secret. She still was not fully sure exactly what she wanted him to be and what was possible with their complicated history. She was sure of one thing though. She couldn’t bear to lose him again and her friends, if they truly loved her would respect her decision. Buffy finally reached Slayer Central with Andrew trailing after her all the way. His fascination with Spike was bordering on obsession, and it took all her strength not to snap. What was more unsettling was that she felt like she should tell him to back off that Spike was hers. She shrugged off the impulse. Spike wasn’t gay, but then again vampires were known for sexual ambiguity. She laughed as soon as this thought quickly passed. Even if he was, Andrew was no competition after all. She was soon musing again realising she had referred to Spike as hers. Wow when did that happen? She told him he was her champion before but never hers. Buffy was still considering her relationship with Spike as they arrived in the door. Andrew took off in the direction of Giles’ office while Buffy was waylaid by some of her charges enquiring after her health. After assuring fellow slayers Satsu and Bianca that she was well rested, she walked quickly in the direction of her Watcher’s haven. I swear if Andrew has told Giles about Spike I will kill him.

To be continued….


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