Chapter 1 – Giles
Later that morning, Spike stepped off the porch and into the sunshine. He marveled at the change his ‘life' had taken in the past few hours. Dogged determination not to give up had been the only driving force in his existence for years. Crushing guilt, despair, and hopelessness had mellowed into joy and hope for the future with Buffy's simple, "I love you."
Arms slightly spread; he closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and gloried in the feel of the sun's warmth caressing his body. After several moments of silent bliss, he straightened, wondering at the fact that his demon wasn't shivering in fear of the sunlight, but enjoyed bathing in it just as much as his soul did. ‘Perhaps I'm finally becoming integrated, beginning to accept myself for what I am,' Spike thought as he walked downtown, and stopped in at the City County building.
Across the street, a dark haired man, newly out of the hospital, stopped short as he was helped into a car. Staring in disbelief at the bleached blond man, he asked his ride to take him to Revello Drive.
Some time later, Spike left City Hall and turned into the local bank; and down the street a red headed woman stopped short and goggled in astonishment.
Xander burst through the front door into Buffy's living room and shouted, "I just saw Spike! Or Spike's twin...and he didn't burn, no spontaneous !poof! and pile of dust in broad daylight! How can that be?"
Willow hurried in several minutes later, querying, "Since when is Spike a Daywalker?"
"Huh?" said Xander, turning in surprise towards Willow. He'd been glaring at Buffy because she had merely answered his frantic question with, "I'll explain later. I need to talk to Giles first." Then she had changed the subject, asking Xander how he was feeling, and saying how glad she was to see him. She'd refused to comment more about Spike, and had turned silently back to sharpening stakes when Xander brushed aside conversation about himself, persisted in asking about Spike, and questioning why Giles got top billing.
"Daywalker, what's that?" queried Xander as Buffy gave Willow a silent greeting of a smile and nod of her head.
"A vampire that can walk in daylight without burning," Willow informed him, rolling her eyes, and thinking, ‘Obvious, much?' Willow was thoughtful as she focused on Buffy, ‘She didn't answer my question...why?...she seems different. It's almost as if she's found new inner strength. I wonder what's going on.' Sitting down next to Buffy, Willow continued to observe her curiously.
"Well?!?" demanded Xander of Buffy. When she still didn't answer, he continued, "What is this, some new slayer mentality, where you get to ignore us at your leisure?" He didn't much like this new attitude in Buffy that couldn't be cajoled into whatever he wanted her to do.
"I'll tell you both later," Buffy repeated, and walked off to gather laundry, leaving Xander and Willow staring at her back in surprise.
Buffy was sitting on his cot, folding clothes when Spike bounded down the stairs. His black duster flared out behind him, and she noticed that underneath he was wearing a familiar red silk, button down shirt open over a black Tee with black jeans.
Kneeling down in front of her, Spike took Buffy's left hand in both of his and slipped a ring on her finger. Looking up at her beseechingly he asked, "I love you, will you marry me?"
Buffy stared in surprise at her hand, then back at Spike.
"Just say yes, and make me the happiest man on earth," he pleaded.
Buffy cracked a grin, "Wow, déjà vu!"
"Yeah, it's one of my fondest memories. I just couldn't resist reliving it," Spike smirked.
With a brilliant smile, she cried, "Oh, Spike, of course it's yes!"
They both burst out laughing, and Spike stood up, pulling Buffy into his arms, reigning kisses over her eyes, cheeks, and jaw before stopping at her lips.
"It's beautiful, Spike!" Buffy said, holding her hand out at arms length and admiring the stunning diamond solitaire. How did you afford it?" Money was always short in their household, its origins always of interest. While Buffy didn't openly charge him with obtaining it by nefarious means as she would have done in the past, the hint of an accusation was still there.
"I have money, love, always have had. Interest adds up over a hundred twenty some odd years. Just never bothered having it transferred to the States." He shrugged, "I told you I could get money last year, tried to help you, but you acted like anything I gave you was tainted."
"I thought it was. I'm sorry for always assuming the worst, Spike. Forgive me for all my thoughtlessness and cruelty." Her lower lip jutted out, threatening to tremble. ‘Gah, I'm going to be doing a lot of apologizing to him in the near future.'
"Hush now. It's all in the past. You'll let me help from now on?" he whispered, planting kisses down her throat as he told her about his other errands that morning. Past wounds no longer mattered. He was sorry he had brought it up.
"Yes Spike, anything," she murmured as he pulled her neckline aside so he could nuzzle her shoulder and upper chest. She leaned her neck to the side, baring the mating scar for his seeking lips.
"That's what I like to hear," Spike leered at her, as he toppled them onto the cot, folded clothing falling unheeded to the floor.
That afternoon, Buffy called her Watcher at the Magic Shop. "Spike and I need to speak with you in private, Giles. Please come over when you're finished there." She hung up, leaving Giles wondering at her sudden formality, and worrying about why she hadn't elaborated over the phone. He decided he'd better not wait until he finished inventory. When her Watcher arrived on the doorstep, Buffy smiled enigmatically and led him to the basement.
Spike stood up from the cot as they descended the stairs, and invited them to have seats. He studied his fingernails and asked with seeming casualness, "What do you know about Vampire Mating Rituals, Rupert?" He glanced up when Giles inhaled sharply but didn't answer immediately.
Giles stared at Spike with dread blooming inside him for a moment before replying, "Enough to know that they are very powerful, and very dangerous."
Spike nodded. He'd suspected that the Watcher wouldn't be completely in the dark about them, though knowing the ‘Council of Wankers,' they probably had it all wrong. Instead of explaining, though, he said bluntly, "We've mated. We have each other's powers."
Dread deepened into fury in Giles' breast. ‘What have they done? Buffy couldn't possibly know how deadly that ceremony was. How could this have happened again?' He despaired. ‘Another vampire, only this time, they've mated, there's no going back, no recourse.' Giles jumped to his feet and rushing forward, grabbed Spike's shirt front with both fists, "What!?! You selfish git! You put her life in danger, you..."
"Hands off, wanker!" Spike backhanded Giles, swatting him away like a fly to pitch up against the far wall. "I did no such thing. She loves me. It was safe." Jaw muscles flexing, Spike scowled at him, disgusted that Giles thought he'd endanger his Slayer.
"Giles," Buffy interceded, stepping between them and putting her hand on his chest to effortlessly hold him back when he jumped up and lunged at Spike again. "Did you hear him? We have each other's powers! And on top of that, our strength has quadrupled! This will be a great help in fighting those uber vamps and Caleb!"
"Buffy, you don't understand! In this desperate time you could have been left powerless, or worse! You could have been killed! You both could have died!" Giles shook with rage, pushing against her restraining hand.
"I do understand. Giles, listen to me, we didn't die. These desperate times are one of the reasons we did it. Spike explained the requirements and the risks to me beforehand." At Giles' continued cold stare, Buffy's gaze also turned frosty. "I love him. Get over it, Giles." She turned around and stomped up the stairs.
Giles turned back to Spike. "You Risked HER LIFE!" He lashed out, roaring by the time he finished. Then, Ripper in control, he suddenly turned cold, and ended in a deceptively soft tone voice, "I just may have to finish what Wood started, to keep her safe from you!"
Spike's eyes chilled to ice. His face stilled into a deadly mask. A shiver ran down Giles' spine. He wondered if it might have been more prudent to just do it rather than warn him. He hadn't seen that ‘William the Bloody' expression on Spike's face since the vampire first came to Sunnydale.
Giles took an involuntary step back; then sank onto the cot when the back of his knees hit it. Spike leaned over him and quietly, tonelessly said, "You can try. But make no mistake, Rupert. When I want something, I do whatever it takes to get it. Whatever. It. Takes. I wanted Buffy. I turned away from evil for her, became a white hat for her, when that wasn't enough, I won my soul for her. I would give my life for her. Now that I have her, I will do whatever it takes to keep her. Do not get in my way." Spike turned his back on the watcher, and with a flare of his duster, strode up the stairs.
Giles sank back against the wall, removed his glasses and polished them so vigorously that they snapped in half at the bridge. With a sigh of frustration, he slipped them into his shirt pocket, wiped his forehead, and then slowly followed the others up the stairs into the kitchen.
Buffy was alone, chopping vegetables at the counter. Giles snagged her arm as she passed to the refrigerator, and said in a low voice, "He's dangerous, Buffy."
She rolled her eyes, "Of course he's dangerous. Warriors are. A good thing, too, or we'd be in worse trouble than we are right now."
"Buffy..." Giles persisted. "He threatened me." How was he to get through to her the gravity of what she'd done?
Buffy looked him in the eye and asked evenly, "Were you threatening him?"
Giles glanced down momentarily, silently admitting that his own threat had been a factor, then looked steadily back into her eyes, and stated, "I'm frightened for you."
Buffy's face softened, and she said, "There's no need to be. He'd never hurt me or anyone else for that matter, unless he had to in fighting for the cause. You do realize, Giles, that he now has my dedication as a Warrior of the Light?"
At his continued silence and hard stare, she exclaimed, "We didn't just get each other's powers, and four times'd the ones we already had in common; we also got each other's personality strengths and commitments...Oh, Giles, I'm so happy. Please accept us. We'll be marrying legally. I wanted you to be the first to know, and to give me away. Please?" She batted her eyes pleadingly at him, her lower lip quivering slightly, and he deflated.
"I haven't done a very good job of keeping you safe in the past, Buffy. I'm trying to make up for that." Too little, too late; a silent voice taunted him that his resistance was futile.
Buffy studied him for a moment, thinking of his part in Robin Wood's mess of an assassination attempt. "Don't try, Giles. You can't keep me safe. I have to do that for myself, now. Please don't attack Spike again. I don't have time to worry about whether or not you're going to betray me. I desperately need you on my side."
Giles sighed, rubbed his forehead, and felt for his glasses, momentarily forgetting that they were sitting broken in his pocket. "Can't you see how reckless it was, Buffy?"
Buffy nodded soberly. "It may seem reckless to you, Giles, but it wasn't, not really. I know how I feel. I never would have done it if I wasn't sure. There wasn't any danger."
He admitted to her that his threat to Spike had been spoken in the heat of the moment, and was pointless, anyway. He couldn't kill Spike now without killing Buffy as well.
‘It's certainly true that there will be no killing of one without the other,' thought Buffy. ‘We'll both see to that. We're together now in life, we'll be together in death.' She realized that her devotion to Spike had gone through the roof. ‘Huh, it seems like I caught his sense of dedication in the mating.' Then her mind left morbid thoughts of mutual death, and her face lit up as she started telling Giles about her new abilities and senses.
"You have no idea how great it is. I can feel when others are near now, not just vampires - but demons, people, animals, anything. I can actually see in the dark! I can sense emotions; think how much that will help with my fighting strategy! It is kind of ooky, how I can smell everyone now, but oh, my hearing! I can hear your heart beat! I can hear the conversations in the upstairs bedrooms! I'll have to work on not hearing those..." Buffy looked pensive for a moment, then shook her head and continued, "Nothing can kill either of us now that can't kill both of us! And our strength, you have no idea!..."
‘Why, I haven't seen her this animated since she was a new Slayer, before Angel hurt her and she became cynical,' Giles thought, as Buffy continued babbling.
"I can't wait to show you how much stronger and faster we both are. You've got to come watch us train...oh, and our healing! Giles, you won't believe this..."
Giles watched in shock as Buffy picked up her knife from the counter and sliced her palm. Before he could voice his instinctive protest, the cut sealed itself. As Giles gaped at her hand, Buffy continued more calmly.
"I can feel a new sense of determination. Nothing will stop us now. We won't stop until we find a way. We will win this fight." She looked into his eyes, willing him to see that it was so.
Giles softened, his dread lessening, and to his surprise, a feeling of hope infused his heart. "All right, Buffy. I can see your point. We have much work to do, checking the extent of these new abilities...learning how to use them to our best advantage..." and he walked off, his mind filled with the necessities of research.
Spike stepped through the back door into the kitchen. "One down, three to go," he murmured, as he put his arms around Buffy, pulling her close and kissing her upturned lips.