TITLE: Night Divine
AUTHORS: Eurydice & Pepperlandgirl
SETTING: 6 months post-NFA
DISCLAIMER: Not ours, which is a shame because usually we're nicer to them than Joss was.
AUTHORS' NOTE: For those of you who didn't read the other fic, all you really need to know is that Faith was supposed to spend the holiday in London but volunteered for a mission where she found a resurrected Wes. They have lots of happy sex and agree to become a team, but in opening their last gift, get zapped back to London. In their robes.
Or, you know, you could go read the story. ;)
This was not how he’d imagined spending his first Christmas with Buffy. Granted, Spike had been around for previous holidays, but always at a distance.
There had been the year right after he’d been chipped, when he would have gladly had a Slayer-nog if he’d only been able to bite her.
Then there was the year when he realized he loved her. That had been a special kind of hell, wanting to get close, hating that he wanted it, unable to do anything but watch outside the glass as the Summers women turned a blind eye to the stresses that had ravaged their lives and lost themselves in shiny baubles and empty promises.
The following year, Spike had held high hopes that it would be different. After all, he and Buffy were having sex. That was a relationship. Well, he’d thought it was a relationship. Apparently, he’d been mistaken, and the locket he’d nicked for her had stayed stowed away beneath the bed, to be destroyed when the ex-loverboy showed up to torch the place.
Spike didn’t think about that last year in Sunnydale.
Or that year in Los Angeles. It was just easier not to.
So this year, with six months of learning how to be around each other again, Spike had expected something different. Something for just them and Dawn. Family, he’d said.
Turned out family included a few dozen Slayers who’d never heard of him, Andrew dressed in a snowsuit and insisting everybody call him Ralphie, Buffy and Dawn, Giles, and the piece de resistance, Angel with his wolfgirl in tow.
Buffy got bitchy within moments of the old man’s arrival. And when Spike made the unfortunate observation that Faith’s Christmas, traipsing through snow to kill a nasty demon, sounded like a hell of a lot more fun that what Giles had planned, things went from merely cold to downright frosty. Especially when she and Nina unexpectedly bonded and kicked both vampires out on their respective asses.
Angel and Spike spent the night in Giles’ library, getting drunk. By the time everybody came down for breakfast, the liquor cabinet was mostly empty and all the Ferrero Rocher was gone. Spike figured it was going to be the highlight of his miserable holiday.
Until Faith showed up, almost naked, straddling a dead man.
Nobody moved. Angel stood there staring at the couple like someone had swapped out his otter for rat, Giles turned a distinct shade of pink at the exposed curve of breast Faith’s robe showed, and Buffy’s eyes saucered, most likely at the obvious evidence of the other Slayer canoodling with her ex-Watcher. It wasn’t until Wesley’s soft greeting cut through the silence that the room exploded, with both Angel and Buffy springing forward at the same time to pull the pair on the couch apart.
When Angel dragged Wes from the room, Spike was torn about which argument to opt to listen to. On the one hand, Faith smelled like bloody heaven, dripping in sex, and her accounts about what had happened would undoubtedly be far more colorful than Wesley’s.
On the other hand, it was Wesley. The friend who had gone down in the big battle in LA. The friend they’d mourned.
Spike slunk out of the library as Buffy began her demands for answers from Faith. Resurrections would always win.
“I was dead,” Wesley was saying as Spike slipped into the room. “I was with Cordelia, and Gunn…and Fred. But yesterday morning I woke up in…well, I woke up in a cabin. It was quite nice, actually. I wasn’t given any sort of warning or instruction, it just happened. It was clear that another person would be joining me, and then Faith showed up.”
“And so you had to jump her?” Angel demanded.
Wesley look perplexed. “Why are you yelling at me?”
“I’m not,” Angel shouted. “I’m not,” he repeated, his voice lower. “I just…if the Powers were going to send you back, why send you to…why not send you here first?”
Spike snorted. “A night of serious shagging with a Slayer, or listening to us whinge about our women? Clearly, you drank too much, mate. Or not enough.”
Angel shot him daggers. “Yes, thank you for that Spike. Why are you in here? I don’t remember inviting you to this discussion.”
“Yeah, well, as the resident expert on resurrections, I’m reserving the right to share my savvy.” He turned to Wes. “Lucky bloke. Least you got to come back with all your danglies solid.” He couldn’t suppress his grin. “I’ll wager Faith was grateful for that.”
“I think it’s safe to say we were both quite grateful for that,” Wesley said with a small smile. Spike realized it wasn’t a smile he had really seen before—it was easy. “Angel, this isn’t exactly how I envisioned…meeting again. The Powers didn’t provide a warning on the last gift. A card or something would have been nice.” His smile never faltered, an invitation for Angel to crawl down from his cross and join him.
“Gift?” Angel asked.
“There was a tree with presents. And a lot of food. It was all rather splendid.” He pulled the belt around his robe tighter. “The third gift was some sort of stone. When Faith touched it, we ended up here. Trust me, if I had known that would happen, we would have been dressed first.”
Personally, Spike didn’t mind the near-nude aspect. Faith was a bit of all right, though if Buffy caught him ogling, it would likely mean another night in the cold. He was sure Faith’s state of undress would be remedied swiftly; the question remained on what they could do with Wes.
“Rupert’s probably got something that’ll fit you,” Spike offered. “Unless you’re planning on whisking Faith away, in which case…” He smirked. “…good on you.”
Angel’s beady eyes refocused on Wesley, and he finally smiled like his best friend had just been brought back from the dead with a bloody Christmas miracle. Wesley’s own smile widened, and it was an almost genuine Hallmark moment. Any minute now, the music would start swelling.
Wesley looked away first. “Spike, could you go get me something non-tweedy from Giles’ closet? There’s a bit of a draft in this old place.”
With a nod, Spike backed out of the room to leave the pair at it. The interesting part, the part where Angel’s head exploded because he could never really fathom wrapping his brain around any sort of change, was already done and past. All that was left was the hugging and the maudlin nostalgia that didn’t include him. If Spike wanted to feel left out of a conversation, he could do that anywhere in the house.
He nearly barreled over Buffy when she unexpectedly stepped out of the library as he passed the door. Pulling up short, he regarded her warily, wondering if the new arrivals were enough to distract her from her ill-temper the night before. He hoped so. The one thing he could usually count on Faith for was brassing off Buffy more than he did.
“Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t go instead of Faith,” he commented. “Not that I don’t like Wes, but he’s not really my type.”
Buffy tried to give him the sour look that indicated she wasn’t amused, but it didn’t last for longer than a beat before she smiled wryly. Shaking her head, she said, “I think we’re all thankful you didn’t show up in the middle of Giles’ library straddling Wesley. And am I the only one who is very confused by all of this?”
“I’m not even sure the pair in question have got it all fathomed out.” The fact that she wasn’t jumping down his throat was a good sign, Spike thought, and he took a tentative step toward her. “What did Faith say?”
“She didn’t provide any of the juicy details, if that’s what you want,” Buffy said, turning to the stairs. When Spike didn’t immediately fall in step behind her, she looked over her shoulder with a look that clearly said are you coming or what. “She basically told us that she found Wesley in the cabin and apparently, the Powers set it up. I guess death isn’t final for any of us. What did Wesley say?”
He lengthened his strides in order to catch up. “More of the same. Oh, and they got prezzies.” He risked settling his hands on her hips and pulling her to a stop. Leaning in to her ear, he murmured, “Makes a bloke think that maybe just bein’ together at all is enough of a miracle.”
Buffy tilted her head back. “What did Angel say?”
If he needed a reminder of what had driven them apart the night before, it came through loud and clear with her brief question. With a frustrated growl, Spike let her go and brushed past, up the stairs and towards Giles’ room. “He’s probably still talking. Can catch the live and uncut show if you hurry.”
Buffy sighed, and he could practically hear her eyes roll. “Spike, do we have to do this right now? This is a big deal. I just wanted to know how Angel was dealing with his friend coming back from the dead.”
Spike paused. The truth was, he didn’t want to do this right now. He wanted to take her in his arms, and he wanted to show her how glad that he could, that she let him, that she loved him back even a little. But that year in LA had helped restore one thing that had been lost to him for awhile. And as much as he’d move heaven and earth for Buffy, he didn’t want to throw away his scraps of pride to go crawling back, without even an acknowledgement that she’d been a little wrong, too.
“He’s dealing like he always does,” Spike replied. “But things looked good when I left. They’re probably sharing battle scars, even as we speak.” He resumed his climb, his step slower. “Gotta get Wes some kit. The man doesn’t want to have his Christmas pud with everything in the shop front window.”
“Yeah, I was sent on a clothes finding mission, too. But at least she knows where my true talents lie.” She paused outside the room they were ostensibly sharing and looked over her shoulder with mock-innocence. “If you ask me, those robes look pretty comfortable. They mostly cover everything. And I’m sure Wes and Angel don’t want you to interrupt their big reunion scene.”
Any other time, under any other circumstances, Spike would have taken Buffy’s words as an invitation for something more, especially since she was heading into their room and not Faith’s. But it hadn’t been that long since he’d been on the wrong end of her cold shoulder, and for whatever it was worth, he feared making the situation even worse by jumping to the wrong conclusion.
Leaning against the wall, Spike hooked a thumb through one of his belt loops as he regarded her with more solemnity than he’d shown downstairs. “Not just Wes and Angel,” he said. “Looks like the Powers were of the mind that Wes and Faith had unfinished business, too.”
Buffy snorted. “Yeah, we could all see what unfinished business they had.” Her shoulders shook in a delicate shudder. “He was her Watcher.”
“Still a man. And the way he tells it, them comin’ back nearly starkers wasn’t exactly expected.” His mouth twitched. “And since when do you have a problem sharin’ too much with the class, pet? I seem to remember a certain Slayer yanking me out of a dragon’s path and jumping me in front of a legion of attacking demons. Still got the scratches on my back to prove it.”
“That was totally different. I thought you were…” Buffy paused then offered a sheepish smile, hooking her fingers around his belt. “Okay, maybe it’s not totally different. But I didn’t even know she missed Wes. I mean, she never really mentioned him?” She looked up, her eyes quizzical. “Did she?”
“Faith’s not one for reflection,” he said. The nearness of her fingers made his cock twitch, the delicate heat already seeping through his jeans. Spike uncurled his hand to caress the back of hers, tracing the fine sinew reverently. When she didn’t pull away, he almost smiled in relief. “But just because she never talked about him, doesn’t mean she didn’t care. How much did you talk about me when you thought I was gone?”
“Not much,” Buffy admitted. Her other arm snuck around his waist, pulling him into a half-embrace. “It wasn’t anything I really felt like discussing. Giles got a funny look on his face whenever your name was mentioned.”
She was close enough now that if he tilted his head just a few inches, he’d have his nose buried in her hair. Even from that distance, though, Spike smelled the new shampoo he’d got for her for the holiday. It had been an early gift, when he’d been trying to coax her into sneaking away, just the two of them. Buffy must have used it that morning in the shower.
He succumbed to the urge, inhaling the scent until it filled his senses. In that moment, he couldn’t remember why it was he hadn’t done this earlier.
“Regardless of what we think about Faith,” he murmured, “there’s an ex-Watcher down there who’s bloody glowing from how happy he is. And I really don’t think it’s just because he’s walking and talking again.”
“Oh yeah?” She tilted her head back, looking at him with wide eyes. “What do you think is making him all glowy?”
How to put a word to what he’d seen? If he was a better poet, Spike thought he’d be able to describe to her satisfaction what it meant to be a man who’d found purpose, how it felt to be at peace with his own identity, what it was like to have a woman at his side who both challenged and inspired. But for all his delusions of grandeur, he knew he couldn’t, knew that the words would fail him, as they had so often in the past.
So he answered her question in the best way he knew how.
Letting his lips skim across her temple, Spike kissed a path down her cheek to find the corner of her waiting mouth. The tip of his tongue darted out to tease the slight opening, and he swallowed Buffy’s small gasp when her lips parted further. She tasted of chocolate and Rupert’s best brandy, making his head spin without even trying. He had no choice but to pull her closer. He needed her strength and prayed she needed his.
Buffy had a way of opening to a kiss that made him forget about everything and everybody else in the world. Her arm tightened around him, and her body fit so perfectly against his. She followed his lead, her tongue teasing his, her teeth scraping lightly across his lips. He loved that she didn’t hesitate, didn’t hold back from him, and for a moment, it felt like he was the only person in her world, too.
His hand smoothed down her back, molding over the taut curve of her ass to pull her against his growing erection. “Missed you last night,” he confessed.
She only tortured him for a second before she ducked her head and admitted, “I missed you, too.” She let go of his belt and trailed her fingers up his chest, her hand slipping behind his neck. “I had a good talk with Nina, though. We decided it was a vampire thing. You know, dense as a rock and impossible to live with.”
There was a choice to be made here. He could get upset about his Christmas issues getting dismissed so casually, or he could take to heart that Buffy had had as rough a time being separated last night as he had. And that she admitted it. Without having to drag it out of her.
Easy choice in the long run. Of course, it helped that she was grinding her pelvis against his and smelled like she was creaming already.
Spike tilted his head toward the door. “Guess that means we have to keep working on it. That livin’ together part, I mean.”
“We’re definitely a work in progress,” Buffy agreed pertly.
She moved in to kiss him again, her breath warm and sweet against his face, when Faith shouted loud enough to echo through the house. “Where the hell are my clothes, B?”
“I’ll be right down!” Buffy shouted over her shoulder. When she turned to face Spike again, her lips were twisted in a rueful grin. “Want me here again in about ten minutes?”
“Want you here now,” he growled. He grabbed her hips and yanked her to him, grinding against her until a fresh wave of her arousal hit his nose. “But I’ll give you the ten to get Faith off our backs. Then you’re mine ‘til teatime.”
She kissed him one last time before twisting out of his arms, heading down the hall for the room Faith had been sharing with one of the other Slayers. Spike watched the deliberate swivel of her ass, and even after she disappeared into the other room, he stood there, contemplating the implications of the shift in her mood. Perhaps nothing had been said aloud, but he had tasted her apology with every brush of her lips. Even her mild jest about hard-headed vampires attested to it.
Now it was his turn.
As Spike slipped inside their bedroom, he smiled. Perhaps this bloody awful Christmas could be salvaged after all.
To be continued in Chapter 2…