Eventually, they came to the end of their little vacation. Buffy had mentioned wanting to join the other slayers to the carnival to check how it was going while they stayed at the hotel, but he’d seen right through that feeble attempt at responsibility and had just tied her to the bed instead.
(God, that sex store idea had turned out to be one of his most brilliant plans ever.)
As it was, they had only met the other slayers in passing twice, in the hotel hallways. Both times they’d been holding hands and a thrill had gone through him when Buffy hadn’t taken her hand from his, even though she’d blushed and looked embarrassed at their pointed glances. Spike had had to bite back the urge to gloat at the ladies but he’d kept it classy — just tugged her closer to him and grinned at them widely, even when they raised their eyebrows and shook their heads at him, bidding them a fun time.
… all right, so maybe he had gloated a bit. But really, he couldn’t blame himself, especially when she got all righteously furious-like and felt like punishing him afterwards… yeah, he really couldn’t wait for their next trip to the sex store.
But now the time had officially come, so they gathered their luggage and went to check out from the hotel. He felt a little pang of sadness at the thought of leaving that place and all the very lovely memories he’d made there, in that bed, and that floor, and the door and the walls and the shower… then again, the thought of Buffy’s tub at the hotel perked him right up.
And Buffy kept sending him glances that made him think she was sharing his exact thoughts — which wasn’t really convenient, considering they were actually stopping at the carnival before leaving for the castle. So he willed his blood back up to his brain and contented himself with keeping his hand on her thigh while she drove them there, using the car Willow had left for them at the hotel. And thank Christ for horrible weather and covered skies.
Once they arrived Buffy took the lead and it didn’t take her more than half a minute to go from embarrassed new girlfriend to chief authority of the place. The slayers hadn’t arrived yet since it would still be a few hours before the opening of the place, but the ever-present Tùrtik was there already, together with his more-than-unpleasant little brother.
"For you, vampire," said unpleasant goblin told him gruffly, pushing a piece of paper in his hands. He raised his eyebrows at him, looking down at the paper. "Vamp girlie left it for you. If you ask me, we should've thrown it away, but no, Tùrtik's got to be the bigger person, he's too good not to do favours left and right, of course we'd pass it on…"
The little bugger kept on muttering to himself and without sparing him another glance he turned and went inside the carnival, shaking his little green head and glaring at everything in his path.
Spike blinked, confused for a second. Then he looked down and opened the folded piece of paper: inside there were a mobile number and a message written in round, clear letters.
I've noticed you and your girlfriend are stuck like glue at the moment, so I'm just going to wait for the novelty to wear off and for you to call me. Please don't forget about me.
He remembered that it was the name of the young girl-vampire who’d wanted his help to deal with her human friends and shook his head, surprised. He'd kinda forgotten about her those last few days and he'd expected her to write him a message anyway, but the girl clearly had more tact that he'd given her credit for. Good for her. She’s gonna need it, around humans.
“What was that about?”
Buffy came next to him, clearly having finished talking to Tùrtik, her relaxed stance a good sign that meant all was good with the carnival. He looked up at her from the paper, smiling at the way she stood close to him.
“Remember Maria, the vampire with human friends?” He waved the paper slip. “Left me her number. She’s clearly really serious on wanting my help.”
“Or really serious on stalking you for a date,” she muttered, crossing her arms and frowning at the paper slip. Spike felt himself grinning.
“Stop the jealous routine, pet, or I’ll have to give all new meanings to the concept of public indecencies.”
She scoffed but he could see the corners of her lips quirking.
“Well, are you gonna call her or not?”
He chuckled and stuck the paper in his pocket before putting his arm around her shoulders and tucking her close to him, kissing her temple sweetly.
“Am I going to call the vampire who’s trying her damnedest to live a peaceful life with her human friends and is reaching out to the one vamp in all the world who decided to go and get his soul, for love of a human?” He gave a sigh, walking towards the car and shaking his head in mock-thought. “Oh, I don’t know, not sure that’s the best course of action, pet…”
“Very funny,” she grumbled, but she was really making an effort to look grumpy so he chuckled and gave her temple another kiss before stopping her at the passenger door. “Hey, what do you think you’re doing? I’m driving girl, here!”
“Not to steal your crown or anything, pet,” he said in a low voice, crowding her against the car door and slipping his hand in her slacks’ front pockets. He couldn’t help licking his lips at her gasp when he stroked her thigh through the fabric. “Just don’t fancy getting myself killed in a car crash while you’re feeling all this blinding jealousy, is all…” he breathed, lips touching hers, and after a swift, searing kiss, he stepped back from her, triumphant grin on his face and keys dangling from his fingers.
She scoffed at him and he winked at her, nudging her to the side so he could open the door for her.
“M’jerky,” she muttered, entering the car and slamming the door behind her. He laughed, walked to the other side of the car and started it as soon as he got inside. She still had her arms crossed and an annoyed pout on her lips, so he couldn’t help but lean into her and kiss her breathless before putting the car into motion.
“Let’s go home, pet.”
He felt the usual flip-flop of his stomach when she couldn’t hold back her smile anymore and he smiled at the road ahead, which, as cheesy as it sounded even in his own head, had never looked so bright, Scottish clouds be damned.
By the time they reached the castle both of them had started to show signs of nervousness. Spike’s answers to her had gotten curter, just as Buffy’s reactions to his touches had become tenser. When he finally parked the car in the garage and they got out to get their luggage, they both slammed their doors shut with the same amount of needless, noisy force.
He looked at her from above the car and they both huffed a little laugh, embarrassed.
“We’re getting ridiculous, ain’t we?”
“Yeah,” she answered with a head shake, helping him get their luggage out. “Keeping control of a whole carnival of demons and humans? That’s all peachy with a side of keen. But facing my friends with my new relationship status? That’s what makes me all scaredy-cat-Buffy. Of course.” She let out a frustrated breath and he pushed her against one of the car doors as soon as the boot was closed.
“New relationship status, huh?”
She raised her eyebrows at him.
“Yeah, didn’t you get the memo? I’m a whole new girl.” He pressed against her, his hands on the car on either side of her, and she inhaled a bit hard.
“Yeah. I’m… I’m gay!” He blinked at that and she grinned, nodding. “Yep, totally gay. And I’m so worried about what my friends will say…”
“’Course you are, pet,” he said, biting his lower lip not to smile. “Awful, close-minded lot of friends you got there. Never stop judging you, will they?”
She laughed, the remaining tension melting inside him as she relaxed between his arms.
“Yeah, they’re the total worst. And the news will be so surprising to all of them…”
They both chuckled and he leaned closer, his lips a hairbreadth from hers.
“And who’s the lucky girl, Slayer?”
She blinked, her eyes fixed on his lips, and he licked them slowly. She made a little sound that made him consider fucking her right there and then.
“Satsu!” He blinked, leaning back to look at her in surprise. “Yeah, bet ya didn’t expect that, huh? We’re totally perfect for each other. She’s a girl, so she knows exactly how to touch me to drive me insane and… Spike? You know I’m joking, right?” He’d taken a step back, confused by the fact that she could speak like that of her friend, all things considered. “Spike? Isn’t this when you get all jealous and growly and sexy?”
He shook his head, threading a hand through his hair.
“You don’t know, do you?”
“Know what?” He looked at her pointedly and she gave a small gasp. “Wait, is Satsu really gay? I didn’t know, she never really talks about personal stuff! Well, I suppose she never talks about guys, that should’ve been a clue… but wait a second, how do you know?” She scrunched up her nose, adorably disgusted. “Oh, tell me you didn’t smell it on her, it’s so —”
“Buffy,” he interrupted her gently, one hand going to her elbow. “I just realised it because I noticed the way she looks at you.” At her mystified expression he sighed a bit. “She looks at you like… well, like I do.” A beat. “She’s in love with you, Buffy.”
Buffy gave a little laugh, then she must have registered his seriousness because she stopped and gaped at him.
“Nope. Figure it’s why she hates me, yeah?”
“Satsu doesn’t hate you!” He raised a brow. “Well, OK, maybe she doesn’t like you, but… oh.” She went to sit on the car truck, stunned. “Well. This is gonna be awkward, isn’t it?”
He smiled, reached her and couldn’t resist brushing some stray hair behind her ear.
“Least it takes your mind off the whole facing your friends with me thing, yeah?”
She looked down, abashed — but then her brows furrowed and she looked up at him with a resolved expression.
“We’re being dumb. Who cares what they think?”
He chuckled again and kissed her nose.
“You do. And… yeah, maybe a little bit, I do too.”
“Just a bit, huh, mister ‘I’m Xander Harris’s new best buddy’?”
“Oi! Take that back!”
“Call it as I see it, love,” she mocked him with a sweet smile — and then she flushed as soon as she realised exactly what pet name she’d used, rushing to talk again. “Anyway, you guys totally love each other, so he can’t throw stones.”
He decided to ignore the somersaults his stomach was so intent on doing, cleared his throat and shrugged.
“Not that he’d want to, anyway. He and the watcher were both asking me why I hadn’t asked you out, a while back…”
“Not you too! I got basically attacked with questions by Dawn and Willow!”
Spike shook his head and chuckled, feeling one last weight lift from his heart.
“Well, far as I’m concerned, if the Little Bit’s OK with it, I’m good.”
“Oh, I’m so glad her opinion’s the one that matters the most here.”
“Exactly. Glad we’re clear on the matter, Summers,” he chuckled, pressing against her again. She tried to lean back but then he was kissing her and she gave this little sound of pleasure that sent a thrill of desire all through his body, right down to his toes. They stayed there kissing languidly for longer than he’d have been able to tell. When he finally moved back both of them were panting lightly and her lips were wet and swollen, and he wished he could just teleport them both right to her bed.
“OK. OK. Going now,” she said with a breathy voice and a nod to herself. He kissed her cheek, her nose, her forehead. “Stop distracting me!”
He chuckled, feeling like he’d be on a constant state of drunkenness around her as long as this worked between them.
But then they did get their luggage and finally started for the castle. When she took his hand and kept holding it even while they entered the castle’s doors and hallways, he could feel her warmth reaching his chest in ways that had really nothing to do with thermodynamics.
When they entered the kitchen both of their holds on the other’s hand had gotten tight enough to make the average human wince.
“Oh, Dawnie, look, they’re here.”
The young girl smiled broadly at them and quickly walked over, going to hug each of them tight.
“Well, it’s so lucky that Spike didn’t want to ask you out, Buffy. I mean, if anyone else had stayed with you in a hotel room for four days, I would’ve thought that maybe they had some kind of intentions… but no, not our resident vampire, here.”
“Xander!” Dawn’s voice was exasperated and Spike did his best not to look in Buffy’s direction. “That joke wasn’t funny the first time you said it, it definitely isn’t the tenth!”
“Well, it’s the first time they hear it!”
“Dawn is right, Xander, please do cease the sub-par humorous remarks.” Giles reached them too, a half-full glass of whiskey in his hand and a little smug smirk on his face. “I hope you found the room to your liking, you two. I’d ask about the city but frankly, I’m certain you didn’t see much of it,” he added with a roll of his eyes and a sip of his drink.
Spike’s brows rose as Buffy sputtered next to him.
“Giles, are you drunk?”
“Nah, he’s just sore that the brilliant idea of giving you guys the room for three more nights wasn’t his,” came Willow’s voice from his right. The witch quickly climbed down the stairs and went to hug them both, like Dawn. “Ignore the guys, they’re being poopheads. You had a good time?”
Spike risked a glance Buffy’s way and saw her looking at him too, cheeks bright pink.
“Really good time, Wills, thank you so much.”
“Yeah, Red. We owe you one.”
“Of course you don’t! I’m just happy you had a bit of a holiday.” Her eyes were warm and, even though she was less excited than she’d been four days before, Spike could still see some of her enthusiasm for the two of them. He still felt entirely too shocked to do anything about it but blink stupidly at her.
“I don’t suppose you’ll want to join us for a movie, this evening?”
He turned to look at Giles and forced himself to beat down his instinctive reaction to the man’s question. Wouldn’t do to tell his girlfriend’s surrogate father No, thanks, think I’d rather get right down to fucking your surrogate daughter in her bed and leave all this horrible awkward-fest behind, would it?
“I’m actually a bit too beat, guys,” said Buffy in an overly honest-sounding voice. Spike bit his lip to avoid a smug smirk. “Yeah,” she added with an obviously fake yawn, “I think I’m just gonna go upstairs and, uhm, relax. We did a lot of walking through Edinburgh, didn’t get too much sleep.”
Spike held in his snort, even though Harris didn’t. He turned to glare at him but the boy just grinned at him.
“I’m sure you didn’t,” came Giles’s patient voice, with a barely hidden little eye roll. “Well, I wish you plenty of rest, my dear. What about you, Spike?”
“I, uh, I’m pretty beat too.”
“Bet you are,” he heard Dawn murmur through a smirk and he cleared his throat.
“Come on, guys, stop being jerks and let them go and rest!”
Giles just shook his head with a mildly disapproving expression and waved them goodbye, turning to go towards the hall that led to the room with the biggest screen in the castle, the one everyone used as an in-house cinema. Xander chuckled, patted Spike’s shoulder in a gesture that left the vampire both warmed and incredibly uncomfortable, and followed the other man. Willow followed them too after a little wave and a big smile, but Dawn stayed there.
“Guys, I just wanted to say —”
She got interrupted by a group of slayers loudly coming down the stairs — first of whom was Satsu. She stopped at the feet of the stairs for half a second, her eyes on Buffy’s, then she lowered her gaze and continued walking towards the door that led to the courtyard.
“Good to see you, ma’am.”
“Hi, ma’am!” Chorused the other slayers, seemingly oblivious to the tension.
“Hi, girls… Satsu.”
Oh, his girl’s voice was tiny. He stomped down the urge to hold her hand in support — all in all it would’ve been counterproductive, given the situation.
Satsu gave her a little sad smile as an answer before walking to the courtyard, her back a bit more tense than usual. As for the other girls, they kept sending him and Buffy glances that were anything but subtle, and he fervently hoped the whole army of girls would stop gossiping about them and do it bloody quickly too.
“Wait,” Buffy said with an incredulous look to her sister, “did you know about Satsu liking… me… too?”
Dawn just raised a brow at her and shook her head slightly.
“Sometimes I really don’t know how you can stay oblivious to certain things, big sis.” She sent Spike a pointed look and he suddenly found himself interested in the ceiling’s wooden beams. Buffy scoffed but Dawn just smirked and shrugged before giving them a warm smile. “As I was saying, I just wanted to say that I’m so happy for you two. And that I support you and whatever you decide.” She looked genuinely happy and Spike felt the urgent need to hold his Little Bit close and tight. “Well! Now go and use Buffy’s stupidly big tub as it’s supposed to be used!”
Buffy gasped and Spike barked out an incredulous laugh.
“Spike,” his Little Bit whined with the mother of all eye rolls, “please tell your girlfriend that I’m eighteen now, and know what sex is?”
Buffy sputtered next to him and he covered his eyes with a hand, laughing again.
“Nibblet, you’re killing me here, come on!”
He looked at her again in time to see a triumphant grin on her mischievous face, then she shrugged again.
“Well, anyway, even if you won’t use a perfectly adequate tub for hot, sexy times —”
“Dawnie!” Any more and Buffy’s voice would reach out-of-human-range pitches.
“I hope you guys have a good time.”
Dawn hugged them both, this time together, and then scurried off before her older sister could try some good ol’ fashioned physical punishment to put her in her place.
“I — I can’t believe she’d —”
“Oh, come on, pet, she’s eighteen…”
“No! My little sister knows nothing about sex, and that’s final!”
He couldn’t help a chuckle while he adjusted his bag on his shoulder and wrapped his other arm around her shoulders.
“All right, all right. So… your tub really that big?”
Her blush seemed to become more eager than embarrassed and he grinned at her widely.
“So… you still wanna spend some time with me, after four whole days plus four nights at the carnival?”
“Well,” he said with a bit of a sigh. “I was looking forward to some alone time in my bed, but if you really feel like it, I guess…”
She scoffed and he laughed and nuzzled her temple, inhaling her sweet scent.
“Next time I’m the one coming to your bedroom, though.”
“Oh, you'll be coming all right, baby,” he whispered in her ear, his insides firing up at her little squirm and harsh inhalation. “Again, and again, and again…”
“OK,” she said breathlessly. “Race you to my room!”
She slipped from under his arm and rushed forward, her ponytail swinging behind her. Laughing for what felt like the millionth time that day he gave chase, his heart doing all kinds of gymnastics at the feeling of finally being home.