New Year. New Life
December 29, 2006
Buffy Stood against the railing, looking down onto the foyer where her friends and family were all gathered, ready and waiting to ring in the New Year. She smiled as she thought over the past three years. The destruction of Sunnydale, Spike’s return to her life and their wedding. Her eyes fell on Spike and Xander, standing near the refreshments, deep in conversation. She could remember when the two could barely stand to be in the same room together. She had never thought she’d see the day when they would be able to stand around and discuss sports like two old collage buddies.
When Buffy had announced Spike’s return to her friends, things had not gone as smoothly as she had liked. She still remembered that balmy spring day in Cleveland. She and Spike had decided to head straight for Cleveland after the big confrontation with Angel. It was best to get everything out of the way. Sooner or later her friends would have found out about Spike’s presence in her life . It was best to tell them now. After all, she remembered their reactions when they had found out that Angel was back from hell and she had known of it much longer then they had. It had taken a full week to get any of them to speak to her again. She hadn’t wanted to make the same mistake with Spike.
Xander and Giles’s reactions had been the worse:
“Are you insane?” Giles hissed, pulling Buffy away from Spike who hadn’t moved an inch from her side. The couple had hoped to get positive reaction to Spike’s return and their announcement to be a couple, but unfortunately a there were some objections to the idea. “Another Vampire? Need I remind you of the debacle with Angel? Do you really want to go through that again?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. She couldn’t believe that Giles was going to throw Angel and his stint as Angelus into this. Why couldn’t he see the good man she saw whenever she looked at Spike? Couldn’t her watcher give Spike credit for not only saving the world, but for making a positive change with his life? Must Giles always assume the worse?
“Giles, we’ve already covered this. Spike is not Angel. He died for me, for all of us! He’s a good man. Why are you being so stubborn about this?”
“Because he’s a cold blooded killer. That’s why,” Xander stepped up next to Giles. “A soul does not change anything.”
“It’s not just about a soul. It’s about Spike. Even before the soul, he helped us. He protected Dawn with his life. He…”
“Almost raped you.”
Buffy glared openly now. How dare Xander bring that up? That night was so far away, it felt like it had happened to another person entirely. Besides, Spike wasn’t totally at fault. She had a hand in what had happened too. If she hadn’t been sleeping with Spike from the start…if she hadn’t been using him…most likely that night wouldn’t have happened. Besides, it wasn’t like Spike was remorseless. He was so disgusted by what he had done that he had went and got a soul. Just for her. It was that soul that had saved the world. “That was long ago Xander, and we’ve already worked through that. That night is now buried along with Sunnydale. We plan to keep it there.”
“Buffy, come on! You’re not thinking clearly about this! Willow, tell her!” Xander turned to Buffy’s best friend, the one person who had a chance of getting through to her.
“I think Buffy should do what makes her happy. You’ve seen her after the battle. How destroyed she was over Spike’s death. Look at her now. She’s happy. For once she’s at peace with the world and I think that it’s horrible of both you and Giles to try to take that away from her,” Willow went to her friend and hugged her tightly. “Buffy, Spike. You have my blessing and if these two try to get in the way of that, I’ll turn them into frogs.”
Spike repressed a laugh at how pale both Xander and Giles had turned at the threat. According to Buffy, Willow was into white magic now, but she was still a force to be reckoned with and both Xander and Giles knew it. They dared not cross her.
“Thanks Will,” Buffy sniffed. She turned back to Xander and Giles, determination sit in her hazel eyes. “Listen you two. I appreciate the concern, I do. But I know what I’m doing and for the first time since May, I am thinking clearly. For seven years I have pushed aside my own happiness to make you comfortable. I didn’t mind, because I was the slayer. I wasn’t meant to be happy. But now things have changed. I’m not the slayer anymore. I’m a slayer and now the only happiness on my shoulders is my own, not the worlds. Not my friends. I’m sorry if you’re uncomfortable with my being with Spike, but get over it. He is going to be a part of my life, regardless of how you feel about the matter. We don’t need your blessing on this. We just want your support. But we don’t need it.”
Giles and Xander just stared at each other and sighed in defeat. Buffy was right. Giles was the first to nod.
“We understand. Even though we can’t give our blessing to this…arrangement…we won’t stand in the way,” Giles stuffed his hands in his pocket in order to keep from strangling the smirking vampire standing behind Buffy, who now looked at Xander curiously.
The young man just nodded and pointed at Giles. “What he said.”
Buffy could only smile as Spike wrapped his arms protectively around her, a bit relieved that the discussion was over and there wasn’t no big argument like she had been expecting, even though she knew that Willow had something to do with that fact. She looked at her friend, who happily winked back as Kennedy came into the room and took her hand.
“Everything ok?” The slayer asked, looking at Giles and Xander who were unhappily staring at their feet. They weren’t happy with Spike’s new position in Buffy’s life, but there was nothing they could do about it. They would just have to get used to it.
And they had. After some days of male bonding and discovering that they all loved the blooming onion that was served at the Outback, Cleveland’s version of The Bronze, the three found common ground and were now the best of friends, much to Buffy’s satisfaction. Looking at them now, she marveled how there was no signs of ill will. There was only friendship and trust. .
Buffy rubbed her shoulders as everyone cheered the announcement of Gunn and Faith’s engagement. After Robin Wood had left her at the alter, it took Gunn to open Faith up to the world again. With his brash yet gentle street smart manner, he gained both the former rogue slayer’s love and trust. The engagement was a huge mile stone for Faith. It also brought back memories of Spike proposing to the blond slayer:
“Yuck!” Buffy exclaimed as she stepped through the door of the apartment she shared with Spike and Dawn. Buffy and Spike had joined the other slayers in hunting for a Gienga Demon. It had attacked a hospital and had devoured a few babies. Of course there was an outrage. Normal people thought that it was some bizarre cannibal, but Buffy and her friends knew better. After three hours of searching they found and slayed the beast, but not before it covered Buffy with its horrible green slime that seemed to insist on sticking to every part of her body.
“It’ll wash right off, Luv. Nothing to fret about,” Spike reassured her, leading the way into the bathroom and helping Buffy out of her now ruined clothes. “A little soap and water and you’ll be as good as new.”
Buffy sighed, peeling off her jeans, grimacing at the gunk that caked the fabric. “I can’t see how you can even stand to touch me like this. I can barely stand to touch myself…uh that came out wrong,” Buffy blushed at the wording. She sure had a way with terminology. One of the things Spike loved about her.
Chuckling, he started the bath water and took her hands in his as she sat on the toilet seat, waiting for the tub to be ready for her total submergence in vanilla scented bubbles.
“I love touching you, Pet. Whether you’re covered in slime or silk. Doesn’t matter to me, since I know that underneath it all you’re still Buffy.”
“You’re sweet,” Buffy smiled, forgetting about the slime on her hands as she touched his face. Silently she wondered how she ever got through the day without Spike. Before Spike, there were times when she felt like the most unattractive girl in the universe. But ever since Spike returned to her, he had made her feel beautiful and wanted. Even now, when she was covered in disgusting demon goo.
“You’re beautiful,” He took a damp wash cloth and wiped some of the substance off her face. His blue eyes examined ever curve and angle of her features, marveling at no matter how long he looked, or how many times he saw her, he’d always find something new. “Marry me.”
The phrase just slipped from his lips automatically, surprising both Buffy and Spike . He hadn’t planned on proposing. Far from it. He was only planning to seduce her and spend the night under warm bedcovers, making endless love to his slayer . No marriage proposals in sight. But instead, there he was, wiping green gunk off her asking her to be his until the day she died.
“Huh?” Buffy looked at him. She had heard what he said, but she wasn’t sure she heard right. Marry him? Was that it? If so, was he serious? What had brought this on? Why? She hoped that he didn’t feel that he had to marry her. She was his forever anyway, piece of paper or no.
“Marry me. Become Mrs. William Ashbury.”
Buffy sat there, staring at him in shock and trepidation. She wanted to marry him, she did. But something was holding her back from accepting right away. She did love him. There was no question about that, and he obviously loved her. Dawn adored him. He knew everything there was to know about her past. He had seen her at both her best and worst. When she was down or depressed, he was always there to cheer her up. Really…there was no reason to reject him…except for the vampire thing. It didn’t bother her as much as it used to, but every once in a while, Buffy’s inner slayer reminded her what Spike really was and why she really couldn’t expect a real future, like marriage, with him. He was a creature of the night. He couldn’t even have children.
“Spike…I don’t know what to say…I want to say yes…”
“Well then say yes, pet. I love you. More then I should, really. I’d move heaven and earth to make you happy. Sure, we don’t always get along, but what couple does? We always make up in the end anyway. Buffy…I know I’m a monster. But you make me feel like a man. A man that is worthy of your love.”
Buffy closed her eyes, remembering that horrible year she had returned from heaven. All the mean and heartless things she had said to Spike, even while fucking him. It was inexcusable. She still couldn’t understand how Spike could even want to be with her now, not after all she had done to him. A tear fell from her eyes as she looked at her lover, guilt almost overwhelming her. She didn’t deserve someone as wonderful as Spike…not after her behavior.
“Spike…I love you. More then anything. That’s why I have to say no. I can’t marry you.”
Instant hurt flashed through Spike’s features. He didn’t understand. She had just said that she loved him. Their relationship seemed to have been growing stronger. She no longer thought of him as William the bloody, slayer of slayers. She just thought of him as Spike, the man she loved…or at least he thought she had. Bloody hell! What exactly was going on with this silly bint! She had to stop doing this to him. Either she loved him or she didn’t. One or the other. No more games. “Buffy…I don’t understand. I thought we were ok with each other. I thought that you saw me in a different light now.”
“Well then what’s the bloody refusal for? I mean, I know this isn’t the most romantic proposal that it could be better, but this is from the heart. I want to marry you. Now if you don’t love me after all, just tell me so I know. Don’t string me along like you had before. Not again. I won’t be able to bear it this time, pet. Please, tell me what’s going on. Why won’t you marry me?” The plea in his voice revealed his breaking heart, his fears that this was just Buffy using him once again. He cursed, wishing that he could stop wearing his heart on his sleeve like this…especially when it came to Buffy.
Buffy sniffed, wiping away her tears. She was right on the edge of losing him and she knew it. If she pretended like this relationship meant nothing, Spike would leave. She didn’t want that. She needed him to stay with her. She needed his love and support, and it wasn’t like she didn’t love Spike, because she did. More and more each day. “Spike…I do love you. But…I’ m not good enough for you. Not after how I’ve treated you in the past. You deserve to spend eternity with someone so much better then me. Someone who could never hurt you in the way I’ve had numerous times. That’s why I can’t marry you. I’m beneath you. Always have been.” Buffy stared at her hands, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t go away.
“Who told you that load of rubbish, luv? Someone did a number on you didn’t they? Maybe I should call Red and…”
“Spike, it’s not a spell. No one never told me that I didn’t deserve you. This is all me. Buffy Anne Summers. I can’t marry you because you’re too good for me. I’m sorry but…”
“I don’t accept that. You’re going to have to come up with a much better excuse then that, slayer. Now, what’s the real reason? Still Jonesing for Angel are ya? Or how about Captain Cardboard? He’s been coming around and filling your pretty head with nonsense? If so…”
“Spike, it’s me! Why are you refusing to even hear me out on this?”
“Because it’s stupid. Not good enough for me, please. I know better. You more then good enough for me. I already told you once; you’re one hell of a woman. You’re brave and you’re loyal. You stand by your friends no matter what, and you’ve stood by me more times then I can count. Saved me from the first, defended me against your friends, even before the battle of Sunnydale. Pet, we belong together. I’m the darkness to your light. Heck, you are my light. Buffy, please. I’m begging ya here, and you know how I hate to beg. Marry me. Become Mrs. Ashbury. Buffy Ashbury. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it, Luv?” He smiled, now on bended knee, gripping her hand tightly in his.
“Spike…do you really mean this? Do you really want to be tied down to someone who used to tortured you and beat you to a bloody pulp?” Buffy looked at him, openly crying now. He was such an amazing man. Why hadn’t she seen that upon her return from the dead? The way he had stood by her side…the way he had listened to her and kept her secrets…no one had ever done that for her before. And by all appearances, he had forgiven her for all the wrong she had done to him.
“Wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t. Besides, I’ve spent over a century with Dru, so your bit of torture was no big,” Spike shrugged, a chuckle in his voice. “So, now. I’m going to ask you one more time. Will you marry me?”
Her lips stretched into a smile as she fell forward into his arms, clinging to him tightly. “Yes Spike. Yes I will marry you.”
That night had been a very emotional for them both. They had made love until dawn that night and slipped into a peaceful slumber, knowing that they would be together forever. The wedding had been small and intimate. Spike had been handsome in his simple black suit and Buffy glowing in the simple white dress she had purchased earlier in the year. The weather had been perfect and when the Justice of the Peace declared them man and wife, Buffy finally felt like she was where she belonged. Now it was Faith’s turn. Buffy couldn’t have been happier for her sister slayer. Faith had seen her share of sorrow. Now it was time for her to be happy at last.
“There you are, Pet,” Spike sprinted up to her and wrapped her into a warm embrace. “I was beginning to wonder where you had disappeared off to.”
Buffy smiled, placing her head over his beating heart. She still felt a sense of wonder over listening to the rhythm of the once still organ. She closed her eyes, sighing in complete comfort as she remembered the day the change had happened and both of their reactions:
Buffy yawned and stretched luxuriously as she woke out of a peaceful dream. It was wonderful. Her and Spike were in a beautiful garden playing with their children. A little boy and a little girl, each a carbon copy of their parents. Of course the dream was impossible since Spike couldn’t have children…or so he said.
Sighing, feeling the pull of sleep once again, Buffy snuggled up to her husband. She smiled, grateful for the heat of his body and the comforting beat of his heart. Now she can sleep more peacefully now that she had his body heat to drown in. Buffy’s eyes popped back open, confusion and disbelief danced in the hazel depths. Body heat? A beating heart? But that was impossible! Spike was a vampire! Vampires had neither of those functions! She sat up and began to shake her slumbering husband awake when the shrill ring of the phone caught her attention.
“Buffy!” Giles’s voice bursted through the phone when she reached over Spike and picked up the receiver.
“Giles, what is it?” By the excitement barely contained in her watcher’s voice, she knew it had to be something big. Giles barely got excited about much of anything these days.
“It’s Angel. Wesley had just ringed me and told me of something miraculous. Angel…he’s no longer a vampire Buffy. He’s human.”
Buffy almost dropped the receiver out of surprise and fear. She glanced down at Spike who was just beginning to wake up. This was not a coincidence. Angel was now human and her husband had signs of life as well. What was going on here? Was Spike and Angel in danger? To say that she was confused was the understatement of the century. “Uh…Giles…Spike is breathing and he’s warm. Something is telling me that Angel’s sudden change has something to do with this. What else did Wes say?”
Shocked silence was all Buffy received at first, causing her to roll her eyes impatiently. She had no time for this. She wanted facts, and she wanted them now. She glance at a fully awake Spike now, who was staring at his hands, his blue eyes full of disbelief.
“Bloody hell,” He examined his arms and placed a hand over his chest, feeling his heartbeat.
“Giles, if you have an explanation for this, will you please tell me? I mean, we’re floating around in the dark over here.”
“Of course, it makes perfect sense. Two vampires with souls…two champions…”
“Huh?” Buffy asked, irritation clear on her face. “You’re losing me here, Giles.”
“Ok. According to Wes, there’s a prophecy of a vampire with a soul turning human. Obviously, this prophecy has come to pass last night. Since Both Angel and Spike have souls…I suppose the powers that be decided to award them both by giving them back their humanity.”
“Is that Ripper on the phone?” Spike asked, the fear and confusion in his voice kept under tight rein. “Does he know why I’m suddenly a happy meal on legs?”
“Wait a minute. Are you telling me that Spike and Angel are now human…for good? That this was all foretold in some stupid prophecy and you didn’t know?”
“Well…I knew but it never occurred to me…”
“This is permanent!” Spike yelled, standing up from his bed, not knowing what to think of this development. Part of him was angry. His fate was his alone. No damned powers were going to affect how he lived his life. They had no right to take away what had made him so useful to Buffy. Yet…he was happy. Now he could truly give Buffy what she deserved. A normal life. A house with a picket fence, with children playing in the yard. Heck even a dog! Now he could really make her happy.
“Giles…how do we fix this?” Buffy asked, drawing the wrong conclusion by Spike’s outburst. Of course he wouldn‘t be happy by this. Spike loved being a vampire. From the super strength to the eternal life. Being human was probably torture for him. It now meant that he could no longer do what he had enjoyed for centuries, such as smoking those awful cigarettes. She hated them, but the fags were a way to relieve built up stress. Now what was he going to do to relax? “Is there anyway to turn Spike back the way he was?”
“Afraid not. What has been foretold in prophecy is impossible to undo. You should know that more then anyone,” Giles sighed, a hint of regret in his voice. “How is Spike taking this by the way?”
Buffy met her husband’s stormy gaze and immediately knew that he had mixed feelings. They were going to have to really talk about what the future held for them both, now. “I think he’s more confused then anything else. Listen, we’re going to need some time to digest all of this. Can you give us a couple of days?”
“Of course. Call me and keep me up to date. If there’s anything I can do…”
“We’ll be in touch,” Buffy forced a smile. She needed Giles to be by her side right now. To help them through this new development of their marriage. But some things were best left between a husband and wife and she had a feeling that this was one of them.
“Buffy Luv,” Spike was the first to speak after she hung up the phone. His voice was void of any emotion and he eyed her uneasily. There was no telling what his slayer thought of all this. Was she happy? Was she now making happy little plans for their future? Or was she disappointed. No longer was he on the same level as her. Now he was just a normal man. Good enough to shag, but not good enough to patrol with, if needed. Of course, Buffy had retired from her slayer duties, but there was no telling when something may come up that she would need someone with vampire strength to help her out. “Does this make you happy?”
Buffy looked at him, her heart beating rapidly in her chest. What did he want her to say? Of course, she was happy. Now they can really live like two normal people. They can start a family together, go to the beach and frolic in the sunlit ocean. But how did he truly feel? Was he horrified? Did he miss the demon that had restrained him for all these years? Did he even want the freedom he now had?
“Spike…I admit. I am happy that you’re human. I mean, we can do so much more together now. We can start a family. We can go to sunlit beaches and walk in the sunlight. I had never thought I’d be able to see you in the sunlight again, but now that I can…it means so much to me. But how about you? How do you feel? I know you had liked being a vampire. Even with the soul, you enjoyed the other benefits. Now you can grow old and die. How do you feel about that?”
Spike shrugged. He looked away from her as he searched his own mind about what being human meant to him. She was right. He had looked forward to living centuries more…even played with the idea of turning Buffy so they could enjoy eternity together. But now…that was no longer a problem. Did that make him angry? Eh, not really. Living an eternity only meant living an eternity without Buffy, because he knew that he wouldn’t have been able to turn her. He wouldn’t have been able to before the soul and definitely not after the soul either. Now he was living by the same time table as his wife. Plus, she was right. New opportunities were now opened to him. He can now give her children and take her out in the sun. Warm her on cold nights with his own body heat instead of giving her cool comfort under the sheets. Maybe this change was a good thing.
“Spike?” She touched his arm, not liking his silence. She wanted to talk about this, get a grip on his feelings.
“I think I like it. You’re right, the opportunities outweigh the loss. I’m free now, pet. We can now do whatever your heart desires,” He pulled her into his arms, burying his face in her neck, enjoying the scent of her skin. “So, what is it you want to do?”
“Spike…come on. I’m serious,” She pushed away, standing up from the bed and away from her husband so he couldn’t pull her back down. “I want to know how this is really affecting you. Please…”
Spike sighed, and got to his feet also. He wanted to convey to her his sincerity. There was nothing to hate about this. He was human now. He was just going to have to adapt. Dwelling on what he had been before was useless. So he was going to accept this humanity with open arms. Vampire Spike was now just a memory. In his place was an honest to goodness man, wanting to make love to his wife until noon, if possible.
“Buffy, luv. I don’t mind this. I’m adapting just fine. And as for living forever and being super strong…don’t miss it a bit. Well…maybe later I will, but like I said, I can adapt. What’s important to me is that you’re happy. That you still love me; rather I’m a monster or a man.”
“Of course I do,” Buffy stepped forward, allowing him to take her hands in his. How could he ever doubt her feelings for a moment? She didn’t care what he was. He was still Spike. William the bloody, who wrote bloody awful poetry. The man who loved unconditionally. “How could you ever think I wouldn’t?”
“Never said I thought you wouldn’t. Just wanted you to know that your love is the only important thing to me. If I was to die right now, I would die happy because you loved me. Being a vampire has nothing to do with it. So I don’t mind the loss of the demon. Don’t mind it a bit.”
Buffy smiled, running a hand through his unruly curls. Her love for him shone in her eyes as she allowed him to pull her into a warm embrace. “I love you Spike. Nothing will ever change that. Whatever surprises that the Powers have yet to spring on us, we’ll get through it together.”
“I’m counting on it, slayer,” Spike devoured her lips into a steamy kiss, full of passion and promise. It was a start of a new life, one that Buffy looked forward to with all her heart.
“What are you thinking about?” Spike growled into his wife’s ear, bring Buffy back to the present. She grinned, remembering the news that she had yet to tell her husband. She had wanted to wait until the right time, and glancing at the clock, she knew the time was now. She turned around in his embrace and wrapped her arms around her neck. She stood on tiptoe and whispered her news into his ear.
Spike’s eyes grew wide as she told him her news. With a shout of joy, he lifted Buffy off her feet and twirled around, his face lit up in laughter and joy.
“Spike! Put me down!” Buffy squealed, laughter in her own voice, as she held on tightly to her husband.
“Everyone!” Spike yelled down to the foyer, placing Buffy back onto her feet, not able to contain the news any longer. “We’re having a baby! Yeah!”
“Spike,” Buffy giggled, slapping his shoulder as she blushed. She hadn’t expected this joyous reaction, but at least it was a happy one. Her blush deepened as the hotel thundered with applause.
Only one person was clapping and that was because he was holding his own daughter in his arms. Angel glanced at his wife Fred, feeling deep love for her at that moment. She stroked the baby’s brunette hair and touched his shoulder.
“Are you alright?” Fred knew that Angel still had a place for Buffy in his heart, and probably always would. But he was in love with her. After he became human, he had proposed and they had been married only a few days after. Now they had Ashton, their beautiful daughter and Buffy was just a figment of the past. Fred looked up at her friend and smiled, happy that Spike was now getting what he deserved. A family.
“I’m fine. Glad that the Summer’s line will go on. I’m sure the little one will be just as beautiful as his and her parents,” Angel grinned, kissing Fred, tenderly.
Spike and Buffy smiled down at their friends, happy that they were all together, safe and happy. Buffy had dreamed of this moment for so long, and now it was finally coming true. This wasn’t only the start of a new year. It was the start of a new life as well.
“Ten…Nine…Eight…Seven…Six…Five…Four…Three…Two…One…Happy New Year!” The crowd cheered.
“Happy New Year,Luv,” Spike wrapped his arms around his wife and pulled her into a kiss just as the guns to shoot in the new year began to fire, and cheers went up around the place.
A new year and a new life had now just begun.
SHORT STORY INDEX