Two weeks later:
“Bloody Hell, Buffy.that hurts!” Spike snapped.
Buffy rolled her eyes behind his back, “Don’t be such a baby.” Seeing his dark scowl she amended, “I did tell you not to do it but .No-o-o.don’t listen to the California girl.”
“Ya never said it would be this painful,” he complained. “You know I’ve had my share of lumps and bumps in the past, but this is the WORST!”
She surveyed his back and had to agree, it was pretty bad. The skin was already peeling and blisters continued to break out across his shoulders. It was a good thing he would be well in a day or two, thanks to his accelerated healing. It would be a shame to mar his beautiful skin. She smiled as she thought, William the Bloody with a.sunburn.
He was like a kid that day, lying in the sun, playing in the sand with Dawn and eating ice cream on the boardwalk. He had been too impatient to apply sunscreen. It was the first time in his life after over 140 years, that he had been to the beach in the daytime. She had never seen him laugh and smile so much. She fell in love with him all over again. He still didn’t remember her but they were becoming closer each day. She could tell he wanted her but he never said he loved her. She definitely wanted him but wanted to wait till he remembered her. She had to know he could forgive her like she had forgiven him. She loved him so much, she just had to give him time to remember. Spreading more aloe on his back she said, “I hate to say I told you so,” not really meaning it, “but I told you so.”
“Humph!” He refused to respond. Nothing like a pouting ex-vampire she thought.
Then hesitantly, she said, “You know I’ve seen you hurt worst than this.before.”
He turned and looked at her with eyebrows raised in question, “Have you now? When?”
Carefully choosing her words she said, “Well for one, when Glory tortured you.” She watched carefully for any sign of recognition.
They were sitting on the sofa in his new apartment. It had been two weeks since she had found out he was alive. She tried to give him ‘hints’ about their life before, hoping to jar his memory.
He sat there looking at her, trying hard to remember but .nothing. Everything about her was a blank except the feeling that she was important to him. Sometimes he would wake in the middle of the night, sit straight up in bed and scream her name. Shaking, he would sit on the side of the bed, trying to get the dream or was it a nightmare, to become clear.
Seeing the confused and distressed look on his face she raised her hand and placed it gently on his cheek. “Never mind.don’t try too hard, it’ll come when it’s ready.”
She just hoped ‘she’ would be ready when he remembered how horribly she had treated him. At first it was because she hated him, followed by need mixed with pain. Then finally, hurt, after she had broken it off and he had tried to rape her. She didn’t want to love him back then, or at least she didn’t think it was the right kind of love. Not like now anyway.
The last few months before he ‘died,’ after he had returned with a soul, they had begun to rely on each other and had become friends. Ha, she thought. She remembered what Spike had said about her and Angel:
‘You’ll never be friends. “You’ll be in love till it kills you. You’ll fight, and you’ll shag and you’ll hate each other till you quiver, but you’ll never be friends.”
He had been wrong about that, because Angel had become a friend. Maybe it had worked out that way because Angel wasn’t the man she was meant to be with. He was sitting right here beside her, Spike. He had fought against his demon instincts and fallen in love with her. How many times had he proven that love? Even before the soul. Could she ever make it up to him?
The phone rang, and Spike reluctantly reached over to the desk and answered, “Hello.No I haven’t forgotten.just a minute, she’s right here.” He turned, grimacing at the movement and handed the phone to Buffy. “It’s Dawn, she wants to talk to you.”
Buffy took the phone and answered, “Hello.” She talked for a few minutes then replaced the phone on the receiver. Her face was pale and drawn.
“What is it, luv?”
Looking up at him she said, “Dawn said Willow and Xander are coming in early. They should be here tomorrow afternoon.”
“Why the long face. They’re your friends, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, best friends. The bestest of friends. It’s just that I don’t know how they’ll react to you being here and human and all.”
“You can’t do anything about that, luv. Anyway if anybody ought to be nervous it should be me. ‘Cause from what Dawn told me, I wasn’t exactly their ‘bestest’ friend, especially this Harris bloke.”
She smiled, “It’s true you and Xander didn’t exactly.get all ‘bondy’, but you two had stopped fighting as much.”
Spike just smirked and said nothing.
Buffy went to the airport by herself, leaving Dawn and Spike alone to hang out together. They had really come to love each other and she was glad that the two most important people in her life had grown close, but she couldn’t help but feel left out.
Buffy stood waiting at the terminal gate when she heard a loud voice yell. “Hey, Buffester, over here!”
She turned to see Xander and Willow exit the ramp. She really missed her friends and was glad to have them near, in spite of the nervousness she felt over their reaction to Spike.
Willow had let her hair grow long and had it pulled back in a plaited braid. She walked with more confidence than she had in a long time. She came rushing to Buffy and enveloped her in a huge hug.
Xander stood behind waiting for his chance to get a hug. “Hurry up, Will, Cyclops needs hugs too ya know.”
Willow looked over her shoulder with a grimace as she released Buffy. “He’s been calling himself that all week, it’s so getting old.”
Buffy turned to embrace Xander when she noticed he wasn’t wearing a patch. “Your patch is gone. Where’s the patch?”
Xander smiled, gave her a hug and said, “I wanted to surprise you. I had an artificial eye put in two weeks ago. Cool uh? I’m bionic-man now, but without the super powers.”
“You look great. I like it.” She helped with Willow’s shoulder bag and said, “So, let’s go, the guys are waiting.”
“Ah, Buffy, speaking of guys. what’s with Captain Peroxide?” Xander asked.
“Well, first of all he’s not ‘peroxided’ any more, he’s gone all natural.”
“An all-natural Spike. That’s gonna take some getting used to,” smirked Xander.
“I bet he looks kinda good, ’cause the whole Billy Idol look, was so dated. Not that him being 146 years old isn’t dated enough,” Willow added.
“Well, 146 years as William then as a vampire but really only a couple months as ‘Spike the man’,” Buffy explained.
“Yeah, ‘Spike the man’, how’s that working out?” Xander asked.
Buffy’s smile fell and she just shrugged her shoulders. Willow saw her friend’s distress and said, “Xander why don’t you go to baggage pickup and get our bags. Let me and Buffy have a little girl-type time.”
He looked at both of them and nodded, “Sure, Will, take your time. I’ll go and ‘periscope’ out the babes.” He leaned over and kissed Buffy on the cheek, smiled and walked off.
“Ugh! Those one-eyed jokes are really getting bad,” Willow groaned.
“Were they ever any good?” asked Buffy.
Willow and Buffy stepped into the nearest bar and sat down. “So tell me Buffy, what’s up with Spike? He’s not all ‘Grrr’ anymore?”
Buffy smiled, “No.No ‘Grrr’, and no memory.of me.or you guys either.”
“That’s gotta be rough. But, you said on the phone that he does remember Dawnie? That’s something, I mean partial memory means that there’s a memory there, right?”
Buffy shrugged, “I guess so, Will. It’s just so hard to be with him everyday and know how I feel, but.” She drew a deep breath and sighed, “I always knew Spike loved me even when I didn’t want to believe it. He never varied how he felt. I never thought that he could really love, you know because of the whole ‘evil, soulless’ thing, but he did. He proved it so many times and I treated him so bad. Then, when I figured it out and told him, it was too late. He didn’t believe me.”
“Why do you think he didn’t believe you?”
“I think he thought that I was just saying it because he was going to die, that I didn’t really mean it.”
“But you did.”
“Yeah. But you know the worst part, what if he gets his memory back and remembers how I treated him and still doesn’t believe me. The Powers That Be took his memories of me away for a reason.”
Willow sat quietly, not knowing what to say to her friend, when suddenly she said excitedly, “I could do a memory spell and give him back his memories.”
Eyes-wide, Buffy said, “No Willow. Uh that’s okay. It would be better if it came back on its own.”
Feeling disappointed, Willow said, “Okay, but I’m here it you need me.”
They were interrupted by a loud noise as a loaded-down Xander dropped two suitcases. “You girls ready? I don’t know how much longer I can hold these.”