Things That Go Bump in the Night by Slaymesoftly

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: Set several years post NFA, Buffy has moved on, is no longer in mourning for her two dead vampires. Then Dawn calls her for some help and she finds something she never expected to.

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Chapter 20

The days passed in a pleasant haze of training, talking and making love on the big bed in the basement. Buffy, who had always walked everywhere in Sunnydale, discovered a love of hiking, and she and Spike spent their nights and a few cloudy days exploring the countryside surrounding the small city.

When their nocturnal wanderings took them close to other nearby towns, their fun was often increased by stumbling onto the occasional vampire nest. They soon learned where the nearest cemeteries were located, and, with the help of Spike’s vampire night vision, the quickest routes there and back. Soon, slaying whatever fledglings they came across became a part of their normal nighttime rambles.

“Mine!” Buffy would shout, as if there could be doubt as to who was going to engage the vamps.

“Have at it, pet,” Spike would reply, leaning up against the nearest upright object to watch and appreciate the fight.

The occasional lone vampire or demon still showed up sometimes to attempt to collect the price Wolfram and Hart had apparently placed on Buffy’s head, but her immediate disposal of each one soon had the attempts tapering off.

Only once had Spike stepped in to interfere, when, upon returning home one evening, they were surprised by a large demon that had been waiting in the garden. Taken by surprise, Buffy found herself in the unaccustomed position of being on the ground, dazed and barely aware of what had hit her.

Before she could recover, and long before the demon could attempt to follow up with a killing blow, Spike had barreled into the much larger creature and begun to express his displeasure at seeing it attack Buffy. For the first time since she’d found him, Buffy saw Spike in his vampire mien as he ripped and tore at the equally ferocious demon.

She struggled to a sitting position and leaned against the side of the house as she watched Spike systematically destroy her attacker. She flinched when he took a blow that sent him spinning away, but her frightened leap to her feet was unnecessary as he was back in the fray before she could ask if he needed help. Gradually, as the other demon began to flag and the fight became more one-sided, Spike slipped back into his human features and his usual joy in the fight was readily visible on his face.

When, with a final triumphant roar, he tore the demon’s head off, she sank back down on the cool grass and smiled indulgently.

“Are you going to beat your chest now?” she inquired when he continued to celebrate.

He gave her an abashed look, but continued to strut around the lawn.

“Sorry, love,” he said finally. “I intended just to teach him to keep his hairy paws off my girl…but, bloody hell! It’s been a long time since I’ve had that much fun.”

“I guess having a slayer school nearby does kind of cut down on the opportunities for mayhem.”

He dropped down beside her. “Says the woman who always yells ‘mine!’ when we find anything worth fighting and killing.”

“I guess we need to find some way for both of us to get our aggressions out,” she admitted. “I don’t want us to start taking them out on each other.” She thought for a minute. “We could spar, though! We used to do that sometimes. When we weren’t fighting for real – we did spar with each other. It was fun,” she added wistfully.

“Could do, if you’d like, love. Don’t want to hurt you, but fighting with you was a lot of fun. What little taste of it I got before you discovered I was your long-lost love and you quit trying to hurt me.”

“Knowing you were my lover has never been enough to keep me from hurting you,” she said, shrugging ruefully. “I’m just trying to be more patient and less physical when you make me mad.”

“And my nose appreciates that, sweetheart. Now, let’s get you inside and get some ice on that bump on your head.”


~~~~~~~~~~~

When Giles hesitantly mentioned that the school’s student slayers were feeling put out at no longer having access to their “final exam”, Spike and Buffy tried to come up with a way for Spike to continue to spar with the girls before they graduated and were sent out to risk their lives.

“They could still come here,” Spike said. “I’ll just fight them outside instead of in the house where something might get broken.

“I wish you could spar with them at the school,” Buffy sighed. “It would be so good for them to train with a real vampire.”

“I imagine having to spar with you is enough excitement for most of them,” he said giving her an appreciative smirk. “Having to face me, too, might be a bit much, yeah?”

“Yeah, since they can’t get at you, they’ve made me their ‘must kick her butt’ goal.”

“You can’t tell me that any of those wannabes is good enough to give you any trouble, Slayer.” He stared at her incredulously.

“Well, not in the sense that they could beat me - no, of course not. But that doesn’t mean I’m not fighting strong girls who are trying their best to do it. One of them might get lucky. As it is, I’m going to be black and blue all the time.”

“Can’t have that. I like you all peaches and creamy…”

“Stop that!” She tried to push his hands away from where they had slid under her shirt. “We have work to do. I have a whole tray full of flowers to put in.”

“Spoil sport,” he growled with mock irritation.

He watched with warm interest as Buffy went to the flowerbed that she’d been working on and began digging small holes for the flowers she’d bought on sale. Even though it was getting late in the season, she’d insisted on clearing as many beds as she could unearth, and putting cheap, root bound potted flowers in them. The grounds around the old house were taking on a pleasantly cared for look that was as much due to Buffy’s horticultural efforts as it was to Spike’s hacking and mowing.

Although he teased her about loving the house and garden more than she did him, he sometimes felt his chest would explode when he watched her planting flowers or dusting furniture. He long since stopped questioning the way he had instantly fallen in love with her, settling for being grateful to have had the opportunity.

They lived mostly on the first floor of the house, although Buffy had claimed the closet and wardrobes in one of the upstairs bedrooms for her extra clothes and her other “stuff”.

“We could sleep up here, if you like,” Spike had offered one day as he watched her putting away some of the things that Faith had shipped from Cleveland. “Since I don’t really have to hide from the sun, there’s no reason for you to sleep in a damp basement.”

“I don’t mind,” she said with a faraway look. “It reminds me of…” She stopped and smiled at him. “I don’t mind. I like it.”

If he was hurt that she was still wishing for the Spike who knew her, he hid it well, only nodding and saying, “Alright then, love. You’ll let me know if you change your mind, yeah?”

As Fall began to put a bite in the air, Buffy switched her allegiance from the summer annuals she’d been planting to pots of mums to be placed on the front porch and in bare areas in the back garden. She was up to her elbows in mulch and potting soil one afternoon when Spike excused himself to go downstairs.

While Buffy labored outside, trying to get all her plants in before darkness fell, Spike worked on making his bedroom warmer and less damp. He’d already brought down a dresser for Buffy’s clothes, and he now worked on placing a space heater where it would warm the room and take the dampness out of the air. At the sound of the door opening, he glanced up to see Buffy framed in the light from the kitchen. He couldn’t have said why, but his heart suddenly clenched in his chest.


“What’s wrong with your hands, love?” he whispered

She came down the stairs slowly, hiding her dirty hands behind her and saying, “I just wanted to see what you were doing in here. I guess I should have cleaned up first, huh?”

The sight of Buffy standing there on the stairs, hands clenched behind her back to hide the dirt and torn nails, threw him a sudden image of another time and another place. A time and place when he’d seen her walking down stairs just as she was now. A night when his world had regained the color that had been missing for the previous 147 days. A time when a younger, more hesitant Buffy, hid torn fingernails behind her back as she came slowly down the stairs, following her beaming sister.

With the force of a hurricane, long hidden memories assaulted him, sending him to his knees. He looked up at her puzzled face and whispered, “Buffy?”

He never heard her frightened cry as he toppled over.

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