Title: Thinky Thoughts
Artwork: Her fabulousness Blondebitz
Charachters: Spike, Buffy
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Adventure
Prompt: sb_fag_ends Something from the top shelf tamingthemuse Gilded Cage
Disclaimer: Charachters belong to someone cleverer than I. Just having a free for all play with them. The sandbox is big enough for all of us.
Summary: Ten years post Chosen. Buffy found Spike, not dead, in a supermarket. Chapter 13 of ? Previous parts here.
Buffy looked around the table at her 'family'. They were such a mixed bunch. How far she'd come from her childhood days of spoilt 'valley girl'. In her wildest dreams, she'd never have seen this. A watcher, a sister, a former mystical key, a former vampire, a werewolf and Xander. Dawn looked radiant chatting to Nina. Xander was still a surprise to her. She'd thought Dawn's crush on him way back in high school had been cute but she'd never pictured them together. True, Xan had been her best friend; helped get her through the change of school and circumstance; fought beside her through all of Sunnydale and beyond. He was Dawn's friend.
She'd been a bit worried when she finally realised that they were more than just hanging out as friends. Her worry had seen her talking with Dawn about it, in the usual round about fashion and even a chat with Giles. But when she saw how tender Xander was with Dawn, how he looked at her with that little bit of awe guys get, when they realise a hot girl likes them and how happy Dawn was, she realised she was more than okay with it. Besides, she'd messed up her own chance of love so much, she was no-one to be giving advice.
Giles was still mostly the same. Overbearing and stuffy, one minute, fatherly and caring the next. Their relationship had been strained after she'd found out about Spike having been in LA with Angel. Andrew had told Giles and together, they'd decided not to tell her. She'd had a yelling match with him, or more accurately, at him, because he hadn't really joined in. In fact, when she drew breath, he'd simply apologised, said he'd been wrong and that he was sorry. Took the wind right out of her rant. She'd been pretty good at secret keeping herself, in the past. To her own detriment. She forgave him and with mutual sighs of relief, they'd moved back to a comfortable relationship.
He doted on Billy, insisted on being called grandpa. He'd never married, at least not yet, though she knew he occasionally had friends stay over. She snorted to herself, when the words 'orgasm friend' drifted through her head. Poor Anya. She'd really tried hard to fit in, be a human, after a thousand years of being a demon. They'd held a little memorial, each year, for those they'd lost closing the Sunnydale hellmouth. The ex-demon had proven herself in those last months and at the end had given her life. Buffy had felt ashamed she'd not cut the woman more slack and included her more and she'd felt extra guilty when they remembered her sacrifice. Not as guilty as she did about Spike though.
She looked across the table, at the vampire in question. She'd felt more than guilt for him. She still did. It was something else for a girl to find out how loved she could be. Back then it'd been scary because she hadn't known anyone could love as hard as Spike did. What he did for her. She shook her head at the thought. He'd completely changed himself, even before the soul, and that still just blew her mind, by himself. Oh sure the bit of plastic Riley's mob stuck in his brain started it, but he'd made that journey by his own choice and without anyone's help.
If she were honest, she couldn't blame them before Glory. He'd been one of the foulest vampires in history, had tried to kill them so it wasn't easy to believe he'd really changed. But, after what he did, for her, with Glory, and that summer she was gone. She sighed to herself. They'd treated him badly, after she was brought back. She'd been in a bad place and used him badly. It was all so awful. He did have blame in it too. He'd said as much to her. But she'd been the one with the soul. They all had. And he'd acted far better than any of them. He'd saved them all in the end.
She smiled as she watched him sitting beside Xander, talking quietly. She'd seen him and Angel having a quiet, serious few words before, as the rest of them had moved tables and for a minute she was worried they'd start fighting like they used to. But they didn't and Nina took Angel in hand and everyone just got on with the business of ordering food and she'd relaxed and joined in.
God, she so couldn't believe that even human, Angel still thought he had to take care of her, keep her in a gilded cage and protect her. If that's what he thought he'd been doing. Which, she supposed is exactly what he'd have been thinking. Though, watching him sitting there between his wife and Spike, she noticed the way he looked at the vampire from time to time. It was like a father looking at a son, just checking he was okay. When he looked at Nina, she could see he loved her and there was something of the same look on his face, when he looked at Spike. Maybe, he'd been trying to protect Spike as much as he thought he was protecting her.
A shiver went through her body. All these thinky thoughts of feelings and emotions. So not her thing. Maybe she was getting old. She was thirty after all. One thing she did know. Her family, this family sitting at the table around her, was something from the top shelf. They might argue and get hot under the collar but when it came down to it, when it was them against some big ugly or the next apocalypse, or anything life threw at them, they came together and stood as one. She was lucky to have that. She knew it. Now, it was time to bring the last member back to the fold.
"Oh thank the Goddess, I found you."