Buffy couldn’t wait to get back to her fiancé. The magic supply store was closed, so she was returning empty-handed. But instead of worrying about her mysteriously blind Watcher, her heart soared on wings of love. ‘I always thought Spike was hot, but if I had known how sweet he could be…how his kisses could nearly make me come…I’d have never let him leave last year when he was heartbroken over Dru.’ She smiled at the memory of how even then her vampire had sought out the Slayer’s mom for comfort and cocoa.
Her musings were cut short when a field of white came into her peripheral vision. The lone bridal shop had never been a magnet for the Slayer before. ‘I never dreamed I’d get that white wedding.’ She laughed to herself at how appropriate that expression was considering her groom looked a bit like Billy Idol. ‘Maybe I should have said I wanted that for our first song instead of “Wind Beneath My Wings,” she considered. ‘That would be more up Spike’s alley.’
As she evaluated each dress in the window, she let her mind return to that first meeting in a literal alley. Spike had made her heart jump from the start. She had considered herself hopelessly in love with Angel then, yet the deep voice that rolled over her like honey, the snark that showed him to be unafraid of the Slayer and the challenge in his eye had made her lose her breath as her heart skipped a beat.
The wedding dress in the window was lovely. Yards of net scattered with white satin flowers flowed from the nipped-in waistline beneath a fitted bodice guaranteed to make Buffy’s modest bustline look lush and womanly. The elbow-length veil was perfect too. She tried to imagine her own blonde curls instead of the dark hair of the mannequin. ‘Looks too much like Dru,’ she pouted.
Her happy musings were interrupted by that TA Willow was always going on about. She searched her memory for his name, finally lighting on it. “Oh, hello, Riley.” She pointed to the dress that had captured her fancy. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
Riley Finn looked nothing less than confused. “Um, yeah…they’re nice.” Oh, God, this girl must be one of those looking for a husband at an early age, a quick road to retirement on his dime. He shuddered. “A little dressy for school, but….”
Buffy let out a slight giggle, then sobered as she realized the young man might have had an interest in her after all. She had thought him nice enough, a little large like Angel had been though. “I really like you and hope you know that you mean a lot to me.”
Here it came! He waited in expectation for the words that were usually heard after at least a few dates. ‘Don’t you just love the idea of a big wedding?’ or ‘I always dreamed of a nice wedding and lots of kids. How about you?’
Buffy was talking again; he could hear it over the roaring sound in his ears. “I want you to promise me that we can always be friends, and I’d really like you to be there on the big day.”
“The day?” he was befuddled and it showed.
“My wedding day. You know, THE wedding,” Buffy practically gushed.
“The wedding? What wedding?” he asked dumbly.
“Mine!” Her voice was practically producing visions of flowers and rainbows. “I’m getting married. Can you believe it?”
Riley blinked in confusion. As far as he knew, Buffy Summers was as single as he was. In fact, he had planned to work his charm on her in the very near future. She was a pretty little thing and looked like she would appreciate a big strapping fella to look out for her, protect her from the nasties in life. “Congratulations?”
“It’s fast and kinda crazy, I know. Mom’s gonna have a cow! I mean, she likes him and all, even before I did,” Buffy was babbling and she knew it, but it didn’t matter. Happiness overflowed from her, pouring out over the acquaintance she had been assessing as a potential boyfriend just the day before. “I mean, we used to fight. A lot, actually. I think it’s like in grade school--you know what I mean--how you really like a boy, or a girl if you’re like…you, and you pick on him because you don’t want him to know you like him?”
Riley just looked at her as if she had run mad.
“I think maybe we fought because we couldn’t admit how we really felt about each other.” Buffy could feel her heart beat wildly as she remembered each battle that ended in a draw, each time Spike’s body had pressed close only to push away from her as if burned by fire. “Gotta go. I’ll send you an invitation!”
Buffy rushed past the dazed young man and turned towards Giles’ apartment and the arms of the man she loved. Her rush was interrupted once more as she spotted a notions shop that was still open. On an impulse, she took a detour into the world of fabric with its small section of wedding paraphernalia. Her eye was drawn to the cake toppers and she snapped up one with a blond couple in wedding finery. ‘Wonder how Spike will look in a tux?’ She nearly drooled at the mental image produced by that thought.
Giles was disturbed--or even more disturbed, to be technical--that Buffy had failed to get the needed ingredients for the spell removal. Now he had to listen to the kisses and cooing of the mismatched bespelled couple in the corner of his living room.
“Aren’t they a perfect little us?” Buffy had been using the cake topper to perform a wedding march up Spike’s arm, much to his amusement.
Spike looked at the ceramic couple and frowned, “I don’t like him. He’s insipid and clearly human.”
Buffy looked a bit closer and could see that the miniature bride in her hand was stuck with a rather ordinary looking groom--not a hottie like her Spike. “Red paint! We could smear a little on his mouth like blood of the innocent!” She was so proud of her solution to the problem marring her groom’s joy in their wedding planning.
Spike beamed. “That’s my girl,” He pulled her into another heart-stopping kiss.
The silence was the worst for Giles. He just knew what they were getting up to in those moments when they weren’t billing and cooing. “Stop that right now! I can hear the smacking.”
The happy couple sighed with regret but obeyed Buffy’s father figure. They went back to planning their happy day. Spike utterly refused to reveal his human surname, much to Buffy’s amusement. ‘Has to be embarrassing for him to hold back. I may have to take up research before the wedding, find out just what will go after that Mrs.’
“Can just use Summers,” Spike insisted. “Nice name, fits you, and I’m not so old fashioned that I can’t just take your name to keep it all proper-like.”
Buffy pouted, “No! It’s the woman that takes the husband’s name…or hyphens it. Hey, you don’t already have a hyphened name, do you, ‘cause that would be too weird.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “No hyphen. Name’s just not me anymore. Been simply Spike for near a century.”
“Well, ‘simply Spike,’ I want a married name,” Buffy insisted. “Cough it up.”
Spike took a deep breath and whispered something in her ear.
“Really? I thought Giles was just using British cuss words or something. Wonder where he found out?”
Giles forced himself not to join in to satisfy his curiosity. The last thing he wanted was to seem interested in anything about Spike.
The need to join in the lovebirds’ conversation was interrupted by the abrupt entrance of Xander and Anya yelling something about demons. “What’s going on?”
Anya was breathless but managed to gasp out, “Demons! They keep coming and coming.”
After more confused discussion and disclosures, Xander noticed Buffy holding Spike’s hand and that she was standing far too close to the untied vampire for his liking.
Buffy held out her hand and flashed a hideous skull ring. “Spike and I are getting married!”
Much huffing and puffing and horrified exclamations later, a seed of a thought planted in Xander’s mind, “Wait! Married…I know something. What is it? Everything is so familiar.” He hit his head with the open palm of his hand and ordered, “Work, brain, work! Oh! Oh! Willow!” His eyes lit up at the answer to this night of impossible wrongness. “Something about Willow and her grievy ‘poor me’ mood swings. So, so tired of it.”
Buffy sighed. “We’re all tired of it, but what does it have to do with what’s going on?”
“She called me a demon magnet and said that you two should get married.”
Giles perked up at that. “And she told me that I didn’t see anything! She did a spell! A spell to have her will done. Whatever she says is coming true.” He felt a shiver go up his spine at the thought of all the havoc the untrained young witch might create with that spell.
Buffy nodded in understanding. “That’s it! All of you are affected by her spell. I’m glad I’m a Slayer; it must be what kept me safe from it, a sort of natural immunity.”
“Right. You’re marrying Spike because you are crazy in love and so right for each other,” Xander snarked as he made hand gestures that showed how little he believed that possibility.
Buffy snuggled even closer to Spike and was grateful as he whispered, “It’ll take a bit of time for them to get used to it, pet.”
“We have to find her and get her to fix this mess,” Anya declared as the pounding of demons at the door continued to threaten to drown out conversation.
“Okay, let’s go find her.” Buffy started for the door, then looked at her blind Watcher and back to the door holding back the horde of mean uglies determined to get in.
“Maybe Spike and I should stay here with Giles to keep him safe. You guys head out through the back while I keep the demons occupied out front.”
Not long after Xander and Anya headed out to search for their willful witchy friend, the incessant pounding stopped and Giles let himself slip over the edge into the eighty proof liquid dreams that had been beckoning him since he finished his first bottle.
“Ah, peace at last,” Buffy smiled up at Spike. “I’ve been wanting alone time with you ever since you surprised me with that proposal.”
“Been thinkin’ ‘long those lines for a mite,” Spike admitted. “Had a few dreams. Never dared believe you might say yes.”
“Really?” Buffy was blushing at the thought that Spike had been thinking of her that way all along. “I thought you hated me.”
Spike snorted. “Not bloody likely. Woulda killed you right off if I did. Always thought you were a vision. Full of spunk and fire too. Love watchin’ you kick and spin and fight like a tiger.”
Buffy stuck her lower lip out and looked at him through her lowered lashes. “You tried to kill me not long ago when you had that ring.”
“Not really. Had me worried ‘cause you weren’t givin’ the fight your all. Had to get right nasty with you to light that spark.” He hugged her closer. “Wish I had that ring now though so you could have that outdoor wedding you wanted.”
He kissed her tenderly and drew her even closer. As the kiss deepened, Buffy moved her hand to his tight manly arse and gave it a squeeze that caused Spike to let out a surprised squeak.
“Keep that up, missy, and I’ll stop bein’ the gentleman you’ve been dealin’ with and give you a good seein’ to,” he mock threatened.
“Promise?” Buffy’s honeyed voice nearly undid him. She motioned to the staircase leading to Giles’ sleeping loft. “I think we’ve earned some private engagey time, don’t you?”
Spike grinned widely. “Anything for you, Slayer of my heart.”
Buffy shot him a tender glance. “You know, you say the sweetest things, Spike. I never knew that about you before.”
“Lots you don’t know, lots I’ve wanted to show you for a long, long time.” He picked her up and carried her up the flight to the unmade double bed and gently laid his fiancé upon it. “Sure you don’t want to wait for the wedding night, precious, ‘cause as much as I want you, I can wait. I’m not a complete monster here.”
She giggled and then sent him a smoldering look that said much more than the simple, “Want you now,” that came from her lips.
“Got me. Now and always,” Spike then began to unbutton his red dress shirt while giving her a look that melted her into the mattress.
Willow baked yet another batch of cookies and grinned ingratiatingly at her friends and the newly sighted Watcher. She felt like the worst of all possible people for having put them all in such terrible positions with her botched spell.
She noticed the looks Buffy kept shooting at Spike whenever the bound vampire was not looking her way. She also noted that Spike had the same look of naked longing whenever he was certain Buffy wouldn’t catch him. This was NOT good. Shades of Angelus level badness overtook Willow’s imagination and the memory of Spike offering to sire her rather than kill her made her blood run cold.
She watched as Spike whispered something to Buffy, causing her to flush slightly. Spike smirked and then audibly complained of not getting any of the guilt cookies Willow had been baking all afternoon. Buffy shoved one in his waiting mouth and returned to the kitchenette.
“Spike giving you a hard time?” Willow noticed how red Buffy became at the question.
“He’s a pig.” Somehow her face belied the words. “He knows it was just a spell, but he won’t let it go.”
Willow became very concerned at that. “Is he coming on to you? I thought you guys hated each other.”
Buffy looked at the floor and continued to blush brightly. “Will, can you keep a secret?”
“You know me, even torture can’t pry a confidence from me,” Willow vowed. “Well, maybe I’d crack a little with torture, but I’d try really hard.”
Buffy smiled and gave a short burst of a laugh. “Okay,” she glanced toward Spike and saw that his vampire hearing had picked up on the fledgling girl talk.
Buffy motioned that she wanted to take the conversation outside and out of earshot.
“Back in a sec,” Willow called to Giles cheerfully.
“Take your time. I’m certain my oven can use the break.”
When they were far enough away from the apartment to ensure no nosy vampire ears would hear, Buffy began to pace and then speak. “You know how you said the spell was that Spike and I would get married?”
“Um, hence the cookies of shame,” Willow nodded.
“Well…you didn’t say anything about love, did you?”
“LO--Buffy does Spike think he’s in LOVE with you?” Willow was horrified--this was worse than she thought.
“NO, NO…or I don’t think so. We haven’t had any time alone to talk…not that I WANT time alone with him.” Buffy was blushing again.
“I’m not sure what I’m feeling.” Buffy bit her bottom lip in nervousness. “I mean it’s not love; it’s too soon for that. But, Willow, he was so sweet and gentle and you should see him naked.”
“YOU SAW HIM NAKED?!?!” Willow sputtered.
“Can you possibly say that any louder?” Buffy’s eyes were huge.
“Sorry,” Willow replied automatically. Her brain had short-circuited with that last bit of information from Buffy. “You saw him…you know…?”
“Yeah, I saw and…um…did,” Buffy wouldn’t look at her. “We were engaged and in love and it felt right and natural.”
Willow blinked rapidly and then began to hyperventilate. “Oh, goddess! Oh, goddess!”
“Will, it’s okay, or at least it will be. He knows I’ll dust him if he says anything. The problem is that I really liked it. He was….”Buffy got a faraway look in her eyes that troubled Willow way more than the words her friend had just said. This looked like it could become serious. Seriously bad.
“I’m not sure what I want to do. I mean he’s got that chip and all,” Buffy mused.
Oh dear, she was actually thinking of starting up with Spike, even without a spell. This was majorly not good. This was bad on a scale of fish murder.
“Buffy, I thought you were thinking about maybe dating Riley?”
Buffy looked blank. “Who?”
“Riley. You remember…tall, handsome, smart, kinda shy?”
“Oh, him. I really hadn’t decided on that one. It’s just that Spike was just so…unexpected,” Buffy let out a happy sigh. “In every way. In every GOOD way.”
“Buffy, promise me you won’t do anything for a while. You want to make sure it’s not still part of the spell, right?” Willow knew full well the spell was limited to what she had said and the length it ran before she reversed it. If Buffy were falling for yet another vampire, it was because it was real. If Spike were falling for Buffy, then that was just plain trouble.
“Yeah, you’re right. Giles would wig for sure. I’ll figure out a way to make sure Spike is feeling the same as I do and then we can decide how to talk Giles around.” Buffy got a sappy grin on her face. “Really, Will, you should see him naked!”
“NO, no, I shouldn’t and neither should you, missy!” Willow looked both horrified and panicked. “Please promise?”
Buffy relented. “Okay, pinky swear, but I won’t wait too long. He was….” She blessedly didn’t finish the sentence, merely sighing in far too contented a way for Willow’s peace of mind.
‘My mess, gotta fix it,’ Willow began to think of what and how to undo this disaster she had innocently created.
“You sure this spell thingy isn’t going to backfire?” Xander looked about nervously. “You know I love you, Will, but your success rate hasn’t been exactly comforting.” Xander had been even more horrified than Willow when she had told him about Buffy’s confession and enlisted his help.
“No, I really researched this one well. I’ve got all the right candles and incense for what I want and I wrote the spell myself.” She saw Xander shudder and rushed to assure him. “It’s more powerful to write spells for yourself, and I made sure I said just what I wanted to this time.”
Xander felt his throat go dry. “I think I’d rather not be here when you do it, you know, just in case.”
“Plausible deniability,” Willow chuckled. “Got it!” She was confident nothing could go wrong. “Did you get that picture?”
“Yeah. It’s a good one too, kind of a shame to burn it.” He handed a Polaroid to her. “I’d better get home. Anya’ll be driving my folks crazy if I don’t get there to head her off at the pass.”
“That’s the real disaster waiting to happen,” Willow teased.
Xander blanched. “Would you stop saying things like that! I didn’t like being a demon magnet and I’d really not like to have this thing with Anya jinxed by you saying stuff like that!”
Willow mimed zipping her lip and grinned at her oldest and dearest friend. She waved her fingers at him as he rapidly backed out the door.
“Okay, now to finally fix this.” Willow set about positioning the candles, oil and other paraphernalia needed and began to draw her circle in chalk. She set the brass bowl with scented bits of birch and jasmine to use for her fire and wrote Riley Finn’s name on the back of his picture, setting it beside the bowl.
Willow began to call on the elements. “Earth, my body. Water, my blood. Air, my breath. And Fire, my spirit.
“I call upon the Guardian of the East and the Element of Air to enter this circle and be witness to my purpose. Aid me here tonight. So mote it be.” She lit the first red candle for passion and love.
“I call upon the spirit of the South, the Element of Fire, to enter this circle and be witness to my purpose. Aid me here tonight. So mote it be.” She lit the second red candle.
“I call upon the spirit of the West, the Element of Water. Bless us with your power of change. So mote it be.” She lit the black candle meant for banishing.
“I call upon the spirit of the North, the Element of Earth. Bless us in this purpose. So mote it be.” She lit the other black candle.
Finally, she faced her makeshift altar and lit the white taper for balance and peace. “Goddess, guide my purpose this night as I make what is wrong become right.”
“Aphrodite, goddess, fair of face
Grant to me this simple grace.
Slayer’s memories of love replace
Of acts and thought leave not a trace.
Fires of lust toward another burn
One more suited so she will learn.
Transfer emotions and deep desire
To one whose name I place on this fire.”
With those last words she held the photograph to the flame of a black candle and then placed it in the bowl watching in silence as it burned to ash, leaving nothing but the sweet smell of jasmine incense.
Buffy stretched, yawned and glanced at her roommate, who had somehow slept through the blaring of the alarm clock.
“Yo, Willow! Sleepyhead! Time to get up and get ready for another fun-filled day of endless boring lectures!”
Willow opened one puffy eye and noticed that Buffy was looking carefree once more. “You look all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning. Have nice dreams?”
Buffy blushed slightly. “You know that cute TA in Psych? Well, let’s just say he had a starring role.”
Willow smiled to herself as she got out of bed and slipped into her plush monkey slippers. “I think he likes you, Buffy. Maybe you should jump into the dating pool again. You know a nice normal guy.”
“You know…I just might,” Buffy grinned. “If he’s interested, that is. He asked me if I liked picnics the other day. I might just bring that up after class.”
“Picnics are a good start--fresh air, sunshine, all kinds of yummy goodness,” Willow agreed and snagged her bath gear before heading to the showers. “I’m just glad to see you looking happy, Buffy. You know I love you. You’re my bestest girlfriend and I want you to have every good thing.”
Buffy smiled at the strangely serious redhead. “Thanks, Will. I love you too. Don’t worry about me. I think a whole new world is opening up for me suddenly.” She grabbed her bag and joined Willow on her trek down the hall. “Besides I’ve got the best of friends to look out for me, so what’s to worry?”