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Spike was wide awake, staring up at the ceiling, his mind going through plans on how to get rid of Angelus when Buffy entered, looking right nervous. She stood there, just staring at him, wondering on how to approach him with the subject of their relationship. She still remembered the last real discussion they had about their blossoming friendship that seemed to be growing into something more.

He had wanted to just forget the night before, when he had held her and given her strength. He had thought that it meant nothing to her, and she had let him know that it had meant everything. She had tried to tell him that there was a chance for them. That after the battle, she wanted to explore where this thing between them were going, but he had cut her off, probably not wanting to get his hopes up. Now the subject of their relationship had come up again and now there was no coming battle to disrupt the topic. They both had no choice but to face it head on.

“Spike?” Buffy entered the room, biting her lip nervously. A gentle smile curved her lips as his eyes went from the ceiling to her. Her heart leapt as his eyes lit up with a welcoming smile. Maybe this wouldn’t be as hard as she thought it would be. “Uh…we need to talk and now seems to be a better time than any.”

Spike nodded, pushing himself up into a setting position. He knew that this moment was coming up, the moment when they would really set and discuss their relationship and where to go from here. It was just a matter of when she was ready. He had to admit…he was surprised that she would be ready so soon. Usually, getting Buffy to confess her feelings was like pulling teeth. “Sure, Pet. Set. We’ll talk about anything you want.” He patted the edge of the mattress, a mischievous gleam in his eye. He wanted so much to reassure her that there was nothing to be afraid of. He wanted to tell her that he loved her and if she didn’t love him back, that was ok. But doing such a thing was such a Peaches thing to do and he certainly was no Peaches and the last thing his slayer needed was some poof telling her how she felt. She’s had enough of that already.

Buffy avoided his gaze, embarrassed by her reaction to his return. Looking back, she seemed so irrational. Her hurt had blinded her and caused her to lose him for good. How could she make him understand, when she couldn’t understand herself. Taking a deep breath, she looked him straight in the eye, gathering up the courage that had gotten her this far. “I…I feel like I should tell you why I was so hurt about your failure to contact me when you first returned.”

“You don’t have to explain, pet. I understand…”

“Spike please,” She placed a finger against his lips, silencing him. Interruptions were not allowed. Especially when she felt like fleeing the room, never to return again. “I need to say this. I need you to hear this. It’s important, and if I don’t say it now…I never will.”

“Ok, Luv. The floor is yours. Talk your pretty little head off,” Spike chuckled in an attempt to lighten the mood. It didn’t work, though. The atmosphere was still heavy with tension. It was so thick, that he could practically reach out and touch it.

“Ok. After the collapse of Sunnydale…we got to safety. The first place we went was to Angel. He put us up. Gave us food and shelter. Everything we needed. It wasn’t enough. Something was still missing…or rather someone. Your absence…it just ate away at me. I couldn’t sleep…I could barely eat…everyone was getting worried. So I solved that by packing up Dawn and heading for Europe…trying to forget. It didn’t work though. I still thought of you constantly. The only difference was that I hid my grief. I had promised to show Dawn the world and I didn’t want my tears to ruin that. I couldn’t even pull myself together when we moved to Rome. You still filled my mind, and I just couldn’t get over the fact that I lost you, after discovering that I truly did love you. I told Angel that you were in my heart. But you were so much more Spike. You were my heart…losing you like that…it had nearly destroyed me,” She wiped away a tear, looking away from him. She hated herself for this show of weakness. “When I said I loved you back there, Spike…I meant it. It killed me every day that you didn‘t believe me. I had thought you died thinking that I still hated you, or that I was using you to win the war.“

She had hoped to be strong and secure. Show no signs of weakness as she bared her soul to him. But that plan was out the window. The only thing she could do now was wait for his reaction.

Spike, meanwhile, cursed himself. He had caused her so much pain without even being in the same country. It seemed that all he ever did was hurt her. Soul or no soul. There was nothing he could do to take away the pain he had caused. All he could do was explain his reason why. Hopefully she didn’t think him too much of a ponce.

“To be honest, pet…I knew that you were telling the truth…I just said that so you’d go. I was afraid that you would have stayed down there with me. I couldn’t let you do that…not when you had a chance for a normal life now. Not when I knew that Dawn and all these new slayers needed you. So I lied. I hate that those three words caused you so much pain. If I had known…”

“You would have come back?”

“As soon as I was corporeal again,” Spike half-smiled. Hesitantly, he reached a hand out and wiped away a stray tear.

“Why didn’t you get in contact with me, Spike? I mean…I just don’t understand. I mean…you could have at least called…”

Spike bowed his head, really feeling like a wanker. He winced each time he thought of what he had told Harmony. He couldn’t top dying for her. What kind of an excuse was that? A poor one. Buffy deserved more then that. She deserved the truth for once. “I thought…I had thought that you were living the normal life to the hilt. I didn’t want to bollucks it up for you, luv. I thought if I showed up at your door, that it’d be the beginning of the end. Really. Think about it. What kind of normal girl has a vampire boyfriend?”

“Here we go with the normal excuse again,” Buffy sighed, rolling her eyes. She had been through this with Angel, and had let him go. Now Spike seemed to have been infected with the same excuse, but this time, she wasn’t going to let go. She was going to fight tooth and nail until he saw reason. “Spike…hello! Vampire Slayer here! I am never going to be a normal girl! Do you understand me? I mean…”

“Pet, I know. I…I was just being a insecure prick. Plain and simple.”

“Oh. Well, you were. An insecure prick. Now are you done being insecure? Are you ready to really explore whatever this is between us? Or do I need to call Riley and ask him if he has a spot open in that special operations thingy?” Buffy crossed her arms.

“Captain Cardboard? You can not be serious,” Spike nearly choked as he saw the seriousness in her eyes. “Well…do I have anything to be insecure about?”

Buffy rolled her eyes again at the question. This was pure Spike. She smiled, happy to see that his edge seemed to have returned. “No. You don’t have a reason to be insecure, Spike. I love you. I loved you then, and I love you now. The only person standing in the way of us being together is you. You do still love me…don’t you?”

Spike pulled her into his arms. “Of course I do. I never stopped loving you. Being with you…it’s been all I’ve dreamed about this past year.”

Buffy grinned, before pressing her lips against his, waves of relief washing through her. He still wanted her…as much as she wanted him. He had always known that she loved him…and now…now they were going to be together. Really together. She wasn’t using him to feel good, and she wasn’t just some obsession. They were really going to be a real couple. Nothing will ever come between them again. She was going to make sure of it. “Make love to me Spike.”

Surprised by the request, Spike pulled away and looked at her in concern. Was she serious? Did she really want to take their relationship to that level this soon? “Buffy…you don’t have to…”

“I want to. I’ve waited too long to be in your arms again. I can’t wait any longer. So, please. Make love to me. It’s what I want.”

“Well…I was never one to refuse a lady,” Spike pulled her closer to his body, being careful of the almost healed wound just below his heart. Not hesitating for a moment, he claimed her mouth, parting her lips with his tongue, tasting the sweet honey of her mouth. He groaned at the warm sensation of her breath.

“Spike,” She moaned, sliding her hands down his arms, enjoying the solidity of him as she reminded herself that this wasn’t a dream. He was really here and wasn’t going anywhere. “Spike, I need you so bad. Please…” She began unbuttoning the shirt he had slipped on earlier. Pushing the shirt off his shoulders, she ran nimble fingers down the smooth chest, sighing at the cool temperature.

Before they could go any further, shouts and screams rang out. Frowning, Buffy and Spike raced out of the apartment to find a flaming vampire standing out in middle of the foyer, surrounded by slayers with stakes ready. The vampire looked straight at Buffy, pointing at her with a knarled finger. “Angelus has Dawn. Come to the park alone, or the girl is dead!” Message delivered, the vampire disappeared in a burst of dust.

“Damn it!” Buffy cursed, racing to her room, followed by a barely limping Spike. He just stood there for a minute, watching her stuff a handful of stakes into a duffle bag, her face set in determination. He sighed, knowing that she planned doing just as Angelus said. Which, in his opinion, was a big mistake. Something was off here. He could feel it. He had to make her see the trap for what it was. He couldn’t lose her. Not after what they had just confessed.

“You’re not actually planning to go alone, are you?” Spike narrowed his eyes.

“What else can I do Spike? He has Dawn! I can’t just ignore this! She’s my sister!” Buffy looked at him, a bit exasperated.

“I know that, Luv. But don’t you think this can be a trap?”

Buffy frowned, remembering the last trap Angelus had set for her. Kendra had paid the price for that mistake. But things were different now. There were more then two slayers now. Angelus would be a fool to send minions into slayer central.

“I’ve thought of that. But what kind of trap can he set, Spike? This is slayer central, or have you forgotten? It’s not just me and Kendra anymore…”

“No. But you are still mortal. So are all those girls. Buffy…I’m not saying to leave Dawn in his claws. I’m just saying…bloody hell…just let me go with you. We can face Angelus and save bit together.”

“No. He said for me to come alone, or he’ll kill her,” Buffy shook her head, trying to force back the urge to give in to Spike. It would be easier with him by her side, but Angelus’s instructions were clear, and she wasn’t about to risk Dawn’s life because she didn’t want to face Angelus by herself.

“Buffy don’t be a bloody fool! You barely defeated Angelus before!”

“I’m stronger now.”

“Like hell…” Spike was cut off as she pressed her lips to his, her tongue forcing it’s way into the cool cavern of his mouth. He moaned in dismay as she felt her hand move down to his erection, caressing his manhood through the thick denim. He knew then that all conversation was lost. Especially when his hands began unbuttoning her blouse and began to fondle her silk-clad breast.

“Shhh…let’s not fight about this,” She pushed him down onto the bed, unzipping his jeans, releasing his shaft. Claiming his mouth again, she ran her hand from the base to the head of his length.

“Buffy,” He groaned in pleasure as he hardened even more. Pulled down her skirt and underwear, and found her core. He then began to rub her clitoris. He inwardly grinned as he heard her moan of pleasure .

“Spike! God, Spike, I need you so much,” She leaned down to claim his lips, trapping his throbbing length between their bodies. He groaned as his hips arched gripping her hips, he slid her up and then down over his cock, where he quickly entered her, after flipping Buffy on her back. The blonde slayer gasped in pleasure and began to ride him, each thrust sending waves of pleasure through her body.

“Spike,” She gasped, feeling her building climax. She gripped his shoulders, as he leaned down and nibbled the skin of her neck with blunt teeth. She had never felt such pleasure before. She knew it all had to do with the love she had for him. It made everything so much more real and pleasurable. “I love you, Spike!” she declared as they both climaxed at once. “God, I love you.”

“I love you too, kitten,” Spike pulled a blanket over their sweaty bodies. He held her close as he breathed in her scent of strawberries and vanilla. He loved her more then anything, and this time, he wasn’t going to bullucks it all up. He was going to make their relationship work. “I love you too.”

Laying in each others arms, exhausted from their lovemaking, Buffy and Spike were secure in each other’s love for one another. They both knew that their relationship had changed for the better. At that moment, nothing on earth could come between them.

“Spike?” Buffy asked, her voice full of hesitation. She hated to ask him this. Something told her that it was a sensitive subject, but she couldn’t resist. She had to know. “How did Angel lose his soul?”
Spike sighed, looking away from her. He knew the question was going to come up sooner or later. He was just hoping that it was later. Spike hoped to the powers that be that she would be able to forgive him. “I did it. It’s my fault that Angel lost his soul.”

“Well…he was so depressed…I just wanted…hell, I don’t even know what I wanted. I never thought it would have endangered his soul.”

Buffy frowned, not following what Spike was trying to say. What had happened, and why was it Spike’s fault? “Spike…you’re losing me here. What did you do?”

“I…I asked him to be my sire again. To teach me how this whole soul thing worked. Show me the ropes,” Spike sighed, fighting the tears that wanted to over take him. “I had no idea that it would make him that happy. Pet, believe me, if I had known…”

“Shhh,” She pressed a finger to his lips, her eyes were understanding and her touch comforting. She knew all too well the guilt of causing Angel to lose his soul. It had eaten her up all that horrible year. She shivered to think of what it was doing to Spike now that he had a soul. “Spike, listen to me. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t know that the offer would have him obtain complete happiness. It’s just like I didn’t know. It’s just one of those things that happen. Please, stop blaming the man I love for Angelus’s return.”

Spike looked in her eyes and drowned in the compassion and love he found there. She really did love him. He now had no doubt about it. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For loving me, like you do. I mean…I always loved…but this was the first time it was returned,” He laid his head on her stomach, where she stroked his platinum locks.

“I’m sorry it took me so long to realize it. I mean, I was always attracted to you…it was the love part that was so hard to admit,” Buffy blushed at the memory of her first meeting with the British vampire. She had thought he was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and it was a shame that she had to dust him. She was so glad that it never came to that.

Spike just smiled as he drifted off to sleep, warm and comfortable in their love for one another. There was no one else for him, but Buffy. That was an undeniable fact.

Kissing Spike’s forehead, Buffy waited until she was sure that he was asleep. Then she slipped out from under him and quickly jotted down a note, before slipping out the door, duffle bag in hand. She was going to end this once and for all. She was glad now that she refused to have Spike accompany her. It would kill him to have to stake his sire. His soul would never allow him to recover. So she was going to kill him herself. She did it before, and she’ll do it again. Sure, she mourned the loss of Angel, but it couldn’t be helped. Angelus was too dangerous to be kept alive any longer. He had taken Dawn, and no one got away with that and lived. Not even him.