Buffy gripped the scythe in her hand as Angel followed her back to her house. The past few days had been crazy for her. She had been thrown out of her house which was nerve wracking. She couldn’t believe that they had decided that Faith would be a better leader then she would and she really hadn’t let that go yet. Not only that… Giles had sent Spike away knowing he was her only ally in the house. Things would never be the same with Giles. As she had laid on a strangers bed, thinking of Spike, she didn’t know if he would come to her or not. He seemed to have a connection with Faith but he was still on her side.

The night that she had spent with him, in his arms, she would never forget that. He had given her the strength to do what she needed to do. She had felt horrible leaving him before he woke up but she hoped he had gotten her letter. When he had finally returned home, she froze and she had felt like they had taken two steps back. She wanted so badly to tell him that she wanted things to work with them she just didn’t know how right now. But she didn’t and he had taken it the wrong way and left.

Now Angel was in town to help. She knew this was going to be a roll in the hay. She had no idea how she was going to keep them apart or keep them from killing each other. But she knew that she had to talk to Spike before he and Angel had a confrontation. There would have to be rules in the house with them, and she would have to make it very clear where her intentions for each of them were. She wasn’t off to a good start by kissing Angel. How was she going to tell Spike? He was going to hate her now. She held her breath as she went inside with Angel right behind her. “I’m home,” she called, softly.

The majority of the gang was in the living room. Anya was curled up in the chair, and she was asleep with Xander at her feet. Giles, Dawn and Willow were on the couch reading. She knew that Spike wouldn’t be up here with them. He didn’t have a reason to spend time with them. “Angel,” Giles greeted. “I didn’t think you had enough free time to come and help us in our time of need.”

“Hey. Heard about your apocalypse. Here to help,” Angel said with a smile.

Buffy gave Giles the folder as she fingered the amulet in her coat pocket. “There’s info on how to win,” she said, before heading toward the kitchen. She knew Spike was here. She could feel him. She wanted to scream when she felt Angel following her and she paused with her hand on the basement door. “If it’s all right with you I need to be alone,” she said. With Spike. But she wasn’t going to rub that in Angel’s face. She turned to face him and he had those big puppy dog eyes. “You should talk to Giles.” She opened the door to the basement and closed it, wishing there was a lock on it. There was nothing to keep Angel from following her. The stairs creaked under her weight and she heard more then saw Spike beating the bananas out of the punching bag. He had a right to be mad. Angel was moving in on his territory again, but Buffy had no intentions of turning her back on Spike. “Spike.”

Spike paused as she came closer to him. “So, where is tall, dark, and forehead?” He asked. “Upstairs getting ready to crawl into your bed?” He was angry but there was something else. Betrayal and hurt were underlying his anger. “Figured you guys would be swallowing each other’s tongues as soon as you got back.”

She swallowed and folded her arms. “He’s… upstairs staring at the basement door,” she said, looking up the stairs. “He’s just here to help.” The ache in her chest was killing her. She was feeling serious guilt and she didn’t like it. It wasn’t like she and Spike were even dating, but she felt like she had cheated on him. Spike had been her rock, her everything for a long time. He made her feel things that she hadn’t thought she ever could again. Things she thought she had long buried. And it was killing her to think that she could lose that.

“Where will he be sleeping?” He asked softly, crossing his own arms. He was protecting himself from her. They had made such progress and she felt like they had finally just gotten each other’s trust back and she had ruined it.

She took a step toward him, letting her arms drop. “Down here,” she said, innocently. A very dangerous ‘like hell’ erupted from his chest and she stifled a giggle. There was more to it, and she decided to surprise him with that part. He needed to know where she stood with him and with Angel. No more games. “Spike, he needs protection from the sun just like you do.”

He growled as his eyes flashed yellow at her. “You must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” he grumbled. “Just move him in on my space. Like always.” She watched as he fists clenched and unclenched and she almost wished he’d hit her. At least it’d make him feel better. Her approach to lighten the mood hadn’t worked. As usual her words had gotten in the way.

“I woke up just fine,” she side, taking another step toward him. She was almost invading his personal space and that’s what she wanted. “I know that I hurt you,” she said, reaching out to touch his arm. He snorted but she could tell that his anger was fading, his hurt showing through everything. “I know that you were expecting me to be next to this morning but I had to do something. You know I did.” She sighed and ducked her gaze. “Then when you came home tonight you… you just brushed it off.”

“I just brushed it off?” Spike asked in disbelief as he back away from her. “You’re off your rocker Buffy. You’re the one that brushed it off. Not me. And just because I didn’t make a big deal out of it doesn’t mean that I didn’t care. You’re the one who said that it didn’t have to mean anything.”

She sighed. “I’m sorry I said that,” she whispered. “I didn’t know what you wanted me to say.” And to be honest with herself she didn’t what to say to it to begin with. The only right answer to that question meant that they were actually… exclusive or whatever it was called and she just wasn’t sure if she could do that yet. Was she ready to give herself to him with no reservations? She didn’t think she was. And she didn’t want to do this half way.

“The truth for once,” he said in a soft voice. “I told you what last night meant to me. I didn’t expect you to say the same thing.” He raised his angry eyes to hers. “But I didn’t expect you to brush it off and start making out with your ex like you didn’t have somebody at home.”

Her eyes widened. “You saw that?” She whispered. Guess she didn’t have to tell him now. She wished she hadn’t seen that. She felt sick to her stomach and her arms wrapped around her stomach.

He almost laughed. “Yeah,” he said. “Shouldn’t surprise me though. You always welcome him with your lips when he’s in town.”

“It wasn’t like that,” she said, as she felt tears sting her eyes. She did not want to cry. “It was… it was a mistake.” And she realized with clarity that it was. She was so used to just welcoming Angel into her life because she didn’t usually have anyone else in her life. But now she did. She had Spike and she shouldn’t have been doing anything with Angel other then talking.

“Didn’t look like one to me,” he grumbled. “You sure as hell never kissed me like that.”

She pursed her lips before making up her mind. He was definitely right about that. She closed the space between them and cradled his face between her hands before pulling his lips down to hers. She slipped her tongue inside his surprised mouth and gently stroked her tongue along his. She sighed happily into his mouth when his arms dropped from his chest to close around her. She pulled back to breathe but slid her arms around his neck. “You’re right,” she whispered, her knees almost trembling. “I never kissed Angel like that. And I never will.” She kissed him softly again. “They are especially for you.”

Spike’s body relaxed against hers and he pulled her closer to him. “Are they now?” He asked, a soft smile forming across his lips.

“Promise,” she said, tilting her head up to kiss him again. She pressed her body up against his and neither blonde notice the second vampire that decided to join them. And when he growled, Buffy jumped in Spike’s arms, killing the oh so good mood that she was lost in. She felt Spike tense and she stroked his hair. “Angel, please go away,” she whispered turning to glance at him. Obviously he couldn’t follow simple instructions.

“What in the world is going on down here?” he demanded, shooting daggers at Spike.

“I do not have to explain anything to you. You are not part of my life like that anymore,” she seethed. “And if you couldn’t tell, we were kissing and you interrupted.” She felt Spike chuckle behind her and she was glad that he didn’t feel threatened by her oaf of an ex. “So just go upstairs and leave me alone.”

“Not until you see what you’re doing,” Angel said, stalking toward her.

Buffy backed away from him and for some reason, tried to hide behind Spike. The look in Angel’s eyes was actually scaring her a little. She didn’t think that Angel would ever hurt her physically but anything was possible. Jealousy drove people to do crazy things. She smiled to herself when Spike moved in front of her. Always protective of her. “She asked you to go upstairs,” Spike said calmly.

“Get out of my way, Spike,” Angel said, growling.

Spike’s fist shot out, sending Angel sprawling. She had jumped, not expecting Spike to hit him, but she was okay with that. “Maybe you didn’t hear me. I’m not in the mood to fight with you but I will,” he threatened. Buffy didn’t know when Spike got so bold but she liked it. It was nice to see him defending her and confident in his place by her side. This was exactly what she wanted with them.

“You can’t honestly think that this means anything do you?” Angel taunted. “She doesn’t love you.”

“You’ve been gone a long time,” Spike started. “And maybe she doesn’t love me, but that doesn’t mean that she’s going to let you walk into her life whenever you feel like it like you never left. But it’s different now,” he said, relaxing a little as Buffy stroked his back. He hadn’t said anything out of line and she didn’t think he would. “She has me and I’m not about to roll over and let you move back in on her like nothing is wrong.”

“You don’t know anything about what happened between us,” Angel snapped, defensively. Buffy rolled her eyes. There wasn’t much to know. She made him lose his soul, he tortured her friends and family, he left. Not much else to know. And Spike knew that too. He had made it his business to know what made her tick. Maybe before it was to get on her nerves, but now… it was better that he knew without having to ask her for the information. It was just easier then for her to relive everything.

“I know her better then anyone. I know that you’ll only hurt her. Unless you want me to kick your ass into next week, I suggest you go upstairs,” he repeated. “You’re in my house now.” She did smile at that because it was true. Spike lived here and after the battle Angel would leave and Spike would still be by her side. It wasn’t a hard choice.

Angel had to try really hard not to laugh. “I don’t take orders from you boy,” he said, grinning. “You’re confined to the basement. Hardly in her life.”

Buffy sighed and moved from behind Spike. He was about ready to rip Angela new one and as pleasant as it sounded she was getting a head ache. “Enough!” Buffy ordered. She squeezed Spike’s arm before going over to Angel. “I’ve had just about enough. The only who will be confined to the basement is you, Angel. Spike will be staying in my room while you’re here.”

“You’ve lost your mind, Buffy,” Angel said, trying to grab her arm. “I’m taking you upstairs and away from him so we can talk without his influence.”

Spike’s fist connected with Angel’s jaw for the third time but this time, Angel kicked Spike in the stomach. Spike swung low and took Angel’s feet out from under him before placing his foot on Angel’s chest. “Don’t ever touch her,” he growled with yellow eyes. “She has enough problems without dealing with your brooding self. If you want to stay, you better learn your place.” He removed his foot, allowing his sire to get off the floor.

Buffy grabbed Spike’s hand and tugged him toward the stairs. “Come on,” she said. “I gotta kick Faith out of my room. Might have to change the sheets though. She decided it was okay to have sex in my bed.” She shuddered at the thought and tried to push it out of her mind.

“Lovely,” he grumbled as she led him toward the stairs. Of course it wouldn’t be that easy. Xander made a protest and headed toward them and Spike growled at him.

Buffy giggled as her friend made a squeak. “He just laid Angel out on the basement floor for trying to separate us,” she said. “You want a turn?” Xander shook his head as he backed off and she continued up the stairs with her vampire in tow. She knocked on the door of her own room and was surprised when Faith opened the door.

Faith smirked at them and walked by them. “All yours B,” she said, heading downstairs.

Buffy smiled up at Spike and pulled him into her room, closing and locking the door behind them. “Where were we?” She asked, sliding her hands up his strong arms before wrapping around his neck. “Before we were so rudely interrupted.” The way he looked at her, like she was the most precious thing in the world was enough to make her weep in happiness. He was everything she had ever wanted and she was so stupid for not realizing it sooner.

“I think I can remember,” he said, pulling body against his as his lips descended on hers. He backed them toward the bed and scooped her up before climbing on the bed with her. He lay next to her so he could run his hand along her side, something he probably never thought he’d be able to do again. His touch was innocent, not pushing her further then she wanted to go.

She broke away when the amulet dug into her side. “I almost forgot,” she said, as she sat up a little. She pulled it out of her pocket and held it out for him. “I’m not sure how much you saw earlier… but…” She wanted him to be the one to wear it. She had no doubts in her mind about who to give it to. There was no competition. Not anymore.

“You’re sure?” He asked, taking it out of the palm of her smaller hand. The look in his eyes was one of disbelief and she smiled, closing his fingers around it.

“I don’t think there’s anyone better,” she said, relaxing against her pillows as she watched him. “But the choice is yours Spike. Not mine.” If he didn’t want to take the risk, she wasn’t going to make him. She knew that she might lose him because of this, but she couldn’t think of any other way that would help them. The right person had to wear it, and she couldn’t risk messing up with her own selfish reasons. She knew she would make the right decision.

“And pass up being the hero?” He teased, setting the necklace on her end table. “Not a chance, Luv.” He turned back to her and ran his fingers over her cheek. “You know how much I love you right?” He hadn’t told her that as much as he used to and she missed hearing it. She never realized how much it meant to her for him to tell her he loved her. It gave her strength to know that she wasn’t alone and she never would be.

“Yeah,” she said. “And I’m still sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Even though it was clear that he had forgiven her, she just wanted to make sure. She didn’t want anything between them right now. They didn’t have time for wounds. The butterflies in her stomach were multiplying with everything looking he gave her and she knew she was a goner for the night.

He leaned down and kissed her softly. “’Tis the past,” he said. “No worries.” He slid down next to her to pull her into his arms. “Think this more then makes up for it, don’t you think?”

Buffy smiled and rolled over so she was on top of him. “I’m not even close to being done,” she whispered, leaning down to kiss him passionately. His hands moved up the back of her jacket and shirt as she reached over to turn the lamp off. She had all night to make it up to him.

Chapter End Notes:
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