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Ten Years After

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Summary: It is 2013, and Dawn is beginning to realise that she is not, as her sister insists, a 'totally normal young woman'. This story is, mainly, about 27 year old Dawn coming to terms with an unexpected future.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Romance > Dawn/Spike(Recent Donor)curiouslywombatFR182272,5571211928,87426 May 1010 Aug 10Yes

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR15

Chapter Twenty Two... some time later.

Apologies for being a couple of days late with this, final, chapter - I was away from home, being a fandom geek, at WriterConUK!

Ten Years After, Chapter Twenty Two... some time later...


Spike gazed out of the train window into the darkness, then at his watch; only just under an hour and he would see his Dawn again. It was probably not the best time of year for a vampire to be travelling by train – only a week before the summer solstice – but this last train of the day straddled midnight and he gave silent thanks for the joy of Eurostar.

Most of him couldn’t wait. One small corner of his brain, however, was convinced that she would not be at St Pancras to meet him, and it was all a cruel joke; over the last two months she would have realised that she had managed without him for ten years, and she didn’t need him now. He mentally shook himself and tried, very hard, to squash the negative thoughts.

More than eight weeks since he had seen his girl; he looked at his watch again – but only about two minutes had passed since last time he’d checked. Even these new trains still had a rhythm to them, and this one was saying ‘Gonna see Dawn, gonna see Dawn, gonna see Dawn…’ and when it tried to say ‘She won’t be there, she won’t be there…’ he stopped listening to it, and tried to think about her to the exclusion of all else.

He remembered the sheer enjoyment of those last few days in Paris; the meal at Bayou la Seine and the cream and gold underwear that had featured later, then the dark blue underwear she had paraded for him another night. He thought of the different moods of their love-making over those nights as well; from the very first time until the last night when they had started by shagging in a Parisian park, Dawn’s back against a tree, but had finished with sweet, and long drawn out, caresses on silk sheets in his own apartment.

His hand crept into the pocket of his coat and curled around a small scrap of fabric; clean and ironed now, but not until today. He had asked Dawn for them and, instead of a look of total disgust which he had almost expected, she had kissed him and told him she loved the mental picture of him keeping them in his bed – she wouldn’t need them until they were together again anyway. The tiny silken morsel had even featured a number of times in the phone calls they had made, almost every night, since April. He imagined them; cream like the pair from the Bayou night, with ribbons, but soft lace edging to match the basque. He had loved the look of Dawn in the basque – it was the Victorian at his core he supposed.

The knickers had held the mingled scents of love-making for the whole eight weeks – although only a vampire’s sense of smell would have been able to detect it by the second month.

The two months had dragged by, in some ways, and flashed by in others. Although Spike had told Dawn that he would be tied up in Paris for a month or two, that it would be good not to be living in each other’s pockets; yet, more than once since he’d last seen her, he’d wanted to jump on the train or talk her into coming back for another visit.

‘Give the girl some space,’ he’d warned himself more than once.

Talking on the phone had been good though – long conversations about anything and everything – the Key research, books, the news, films and television. Cool that they could watch the same programmes on television at the same time, whilst chatting via the internet; when he’d been a lad no-one could have envisioned either, and now he used both without even thinking about it. Accept change to stay young – make new memories to go with the old.

‘Wonder what we’ll be doing in another hundred years?’

The thought that, whatever else would be new, he and Dawn would be there together made him smile.

Thinking of the more intimate phone chats not only made him smile, but caused him to shift somewhat in his seat, grateful that the train was quiet with no-one sitting beside him to notice the hard-on trying to escape from his jeans.

He laid the book, that he had given up trying to read, over his lap; diverting himself from constant glances at his watch by concentrating on the sensation of arousal, closing his eyes and letting his mind drift for a minute or two. He wondered what Dawn would think of the gifts for her, in his bag, and visualised her in the wearable ones; first the delicate silver necklace of tiny stars and a crescent moon set with tiny pearls – because he had told her that his dawn was moonrise; that she was his beloved moonshine and just as intoxicating.

Next he considered the silver sandals that he had seen one night in an expensive mall. He mentally dressed Dawn in the necklace and the sandals, with nothing between, and felt an increase of pressure inside his jeans which he savoured, before adding some more of the items in his bag to the mental picture.

Knowing the label in the, now clean, knickers in his pocket and remembering his conversations with Dawn, he had visited a couple of very exclusive underwear boutiques. Dawn had made it clear that she enjoyed wearing something a bit more unusual than 'Marks and Sparks'; and so Spike had shopped for ‘scanties’ like a child with an open cheque at Hamleys.

He added a little something by Spoylt to his mental image of Dawn – tiny knickers in navy blue, matching bra, and then the added extras. He was fairly sure that she wouldn’t have a screaming fit about the extras, and they were totally optional. The navy lace cuffs which could be clipped together with the finest of diamante encrusted chains, and the matching navy mask. The chain so fine that Dawn could easily snap it, or remove it altogether and just wear the cuffs; the mask so light in weight, so easily fastened with silk ribbons.

Not the sort of toys he had ever played with Drusilla with – those had been the real thing – but so beautiful he couldn’t resist them. He hoped Dawn wouldn’t be freaked out... and as he added these to his mental ‘Dawn picture’ he let himself enjoy the throbbing in his cock for a little longer, before making himself think of other, less arousing, things.

Considering where the money had come from, for hundreds of Euros worth of silk and lace, produced a degree of deflation. During the last month in Paris there seemed to have been a couple of ‘grudge’ killings in the underworld gangs who controlled the drug scene. Members of two rival gangs had been found drifting in the river – both with nasty neck wounds and severe blood-loss.

The second death was thought to have been a copy-cat killing, to punish the gang responsible for the first one. The first dealer had been carrying a great deal of money; the second one, Spike knew, had a number of debit cards which he had been scared enough to divulge the PINs for. Members of the first victim's gang thought that their friend, Spike, might have been responsible for taking revenge by killing the rival gang member. Spike was happy to let them think this – to a degree it was true.

The fresh blood had saved him a couple of trips to his local butcher.

Thinking of blood, funnily enough, took his mind off sex.

‘Odd for any other vampire, but not such a bad thing!’ he thought, feeling the fabric of his jeans loosen back to its normal fit.

He thought about the cool bag inside his luggage, containing a few really good meals, just in case Dawn had any problem with supplies. Ten units of packed cells, removed from a hospital freezer by Doctor Williams, although it had been a night when Yvette was off duty; he had just waited until the duty technician went for his break to access the relevant fridge.

The matching units of dried plasma should help reconstitute the equivalent of two complete feeds. Contrary to popular belief a full feed was usually four to five pints – by the time that much had been taken most victims’ hearts had stopped, and so had their circulation.

Putting the, semi-thawed, packed cells into Dawn’s freezer might denature them a bit, but they’d still be good enough to keep him in peak condition for… feeling the jeans starting to pull again he cut the thought off abruptly, looked at his watch again, and tried to think about meeting Giles.

…………………………..

Dawn stood on the forecourt at St Pancras International, where she had been for the last ten minutes. The Eurostar wasn’t due in for another ten minutes, but she had wanted to be absolutely sure that she wouldn’t be late.

She knew Spike was on the train; he had phoned just as he left the Garde du Nord, and now she had not just butterflies in her stomach, at the thought of seeing him again, but what felt like the entire squad of the Red Arrows doing aerobatics. What if he was only coming to say that he’d changed his mind and he would just keep in touch by Christmas card? Did vampires do Christmas cards? What if he saw her and wondered why he’d allowed himself to be seduced into a grown-up relationship with his ex-lover’s little sister?

The only ‘what if…’ that didn’t cross Dawn’s mind was ‘What if he never wants to have anything to do with me again?’ because he had promised that he would always be there for her, and so he would.

The butterflies, or possibly a full aerobatics team, weren’t only ‘what if?’ ones; there were also whole squadrons of multi-coloured lust butterflies in there, trying hard to chase the others away. Dawn had lusted over lots of other guys during the last ten years but no-one had ever had quite this effect. When they had talked on the phone Spike’s voice could turn her into a puddle of goo even when they were talking about soccer – sorry, football.

But it wasn’t just lust. When she saw his number on her phone her pulse quickened and her heart did back-flips; she was pretty sure that she was truly, madly, deeply in love with this guy, as they say. So many times, over the last eight weeks, she had wanted to jump on a train, or a plane, and turn up on Spike’s doorstep. But they’d both agreed it would be best not to always live in each other’s pockets; ‘give the vamp some space, don’t crowd him,’ she’d told herself more than once.

She looked again at the station clock – still more than five minutes to go. She tried to distract herself by thinking over all her preparations. The new car was out in the car-park; gone was the practical little run-around, traded in on something a lot more flashy with heavily tinted windows, an extra layer of light protective coating on the inside, and two thick blankets on the back seat. It looked like the prized possession of a rock star, or a footballer – Spike should appreciate that!

The flat was all vampire-friendly. There were new wooden slatted blinds on every window, with thick light-excluding curtains inside them, designed for restless babies’ rooms; of course it made it more difficult for her to wake up in the morning – but now not even a crypt let in less sunshine than Dawn’s windows.

The fridge now contained wine, beer, and sealed containers of blood (the latter courtesy of the chef at the Watchers’ Council HQ, who had told his supplier that he had taken up making black pudding...); the cupboards had a plentiful supply of junk food, as well as a family sized packet of Weetabix.

The bed had clean cool sheets, the bathroom had clean soft towels, and pictures of Buffy had been confined to the living room. All that was needed now was the vampire!

As Dawn peered again down the station she could see a train approaching the platform and, as her personal tummy aeroplanes did a sudden loop-the-loop manoeuvre, she checked her reflection in an advertising screen and moved as close to the platform as she could. A lot of people seemed to have already left the train when she spotted the familiar blond head; and, although he seemed to be walking very slowly up the platform, almost as soon as their eyes met and Dawn smiled she was swept off her feet and swung around in a hug that left her breathless.

………………………

It was dark; Dawn would have been frankly amazed if it hadn’t been, what with the combination of blinds and curtains. Outside it was probably a bright and sunny day, as her clock suggested that it was mid-morning. They lay, her and Spike, in a tangle of limbs on top of her bed, and Spike’s hand was lazily drawing invisible patterns on her abdomen.

Last night’s love making had been like an old-fashioned dance – slow, slow, quick, quick, slow – well almost. Slow and sweet to start with, after Spike had looked around the flat, complimented her on her tastes, drunk coffee and unpacked some of his stuff; even though Dawn had almost expected them to jump on each other the minute they were through the doors. Instead, when they had finally reached the bed, it had been gentle and almost exploratory; rather like their first time in Paris.

Then there had definitely been some quick, quick stuff, as if having reconfirmed the relationship with the opening gambit both were desperate to be as close to, inside of, wrapped around, filled up by, each other as possible. It had not been gentle – and it had not been quiet – a second affirmation of their pairing.

Then, as if they didn’t want to be apart again now that they were together, long slow gentle strokes, spooned side by side, until both had climaxed again, and Dawn had finally slept, still with Spike’s cock inside her, his voice muttering something about Sting and “tantric bloody crap-trap” as she drifted off.

All Dawn was wearing now was the necklace Spike had given her last night – although she had come to bed also wearing the knickers he had just returned to her – she could just see them now, draped over the end of the bed.

“Penny for them,” Spike said.

“Mmm…” Dawn started, “I was thinking that I wasn’t going to get you to myself much for the next few days – going to see Giles at work this evening, then Olivia has invited us over for a meal tomorrow, and we’re taking Willow and Mhairi out…. And also I was admiring your butt – the muscles give it a sort of sculpted shape, almost like your ass cheeks match your other cheeks!”

“Ha! Knew you only wanted me for my beautifully toned body!” Spike answered, laughing. “Anyway, come to think of it, so do your cheeks match – softly rounded, and kissable!” He illustrated by bending around and nibbling on the nearest buttock.

“Hey – that’s cheating – you said kissable not biteable!” Dawn retorted.

He kissed it instead, and then slowly his mouth move across her flesh, nuzzling, and licking, and Dawn found herself pushing her butt upwards and parting her thighs to allow his tongue access to parts still slightly tender and swollen from the night before.

Speech was forgotten for some time, until they were lying again in a tangle of limbs on top of the bed, but about ninety degrees further around than when they had woken.

Spike broke the satiated silence. “I quite like the idea of your friends wanting to spend time with me. Appreciate Olivia inviting me to their home – means a lot that does.”

“I know. Actually she knows as well, if you see what I mean, that’s why her and Giles invited you sooner, rather than later,” Dawn answered.

“I didn’t finished telling you my thoughts, before,” she went on. “I was wondering whether you wanted your Weetabix yet and, if so and we were leaving our pit for a while, I was also thinking that there were some more mysterious boxes and bags in your luggage. I kinda hoped one or two of them might be for me… ‘cos I’m greedy like that!” she finished.

“They’re all for you, moonbeam,” Spike answered. “We’ll have to get flowers to take to Olivia – unless you want to share some of the bits from Arabesque or Spoylt with her!”

………………………..

It was a pity, Dawn thought, that she didn't have vampire hearing so that she could listen in on the conversation between Spike and Giles but, she knew, she would only ever find out what either of them chose to tell her about it.

Giles met them at the main door with a large and colourful golf umbrella to protect Spike until they were in the portico; where he ushered the vampire inside with “Welcome to the Watchers’ Council Headquarters, come in.”

Dawn was fairly sure that she could have invited Spike in if, indeed, an invitation was necessary – it being a place of work not a home in the strictest sense – but the significance was more important than the actual act. She had been left to park the car, with no more than “Willow and Mhairi are in the Library, Dawn. Spike and I will join you later,” from Giles.

Andrew was on vacation, for which Dawn was grateful; time enough next week to let him loose on Spike. Willow and Mhairi were studying at a table in a bay window, heads close together over a book. Dawn liked this other Wiccan a lot, with her ready smile and her soft Highland voice, and thought that she was a good match for Willow.

After some friendly banter, mainly from Willow, about whether Dawn had had any sleep, and offers to make her some energy boosting potions to keep her strength up, they talked quietly about the research they were doing, and waited for Spike and Giles to join them.

Instead of joining them, however, Giles called down to ask the three young women to come up to his office, where he had arranged for food to be brought.

Now they were sitting in the study adjoining Giles’ more formal office. Spike sat in a large leather chair, with a glass of Tallisker in his hand, and a smile on his face. Dawn sat on the arm of his chair, Willow and Mhairi were similarly perched on a second chair, and Giles had a third all to himself. A trolley stood in the middle, covered with plates of sandwiches, salads, and savouries; and a vacuum flask. It said a lot for the reformed Watchers Council that there had been no dissent, and no queries at all, about providing body-temperature blood for Spike to dip his onion bhajis in.

Giles opened the more serious conversation once everyone had eaten.

“I know that Dawn has been giving you up-dates on our research into The Key, Spike. We four have done most of the work ourselves, and have met like this weekly, making both written and electronic records of our findings...

“I think it would be a good idea, now, to give you a proper résumé of our work so far. Clearly you need to be a part of the team; our conversation together has confirmed for me, completely, your commitment to caring for Dawn, and therefore The Key, when none of the rest of us will be able to.”

Reaching across, Giles took a large, leather-bound, file off his desk and referred to it occasionally as he continued.

“We know that there is a complex web of cloaking spells hiding the existence of The Key, and it is unlikely that many, if any, major forces of evil are aware of its existence, let alone have any inkling that it is an integral part of a beautiful young woman.”

He smiled in Dawn’s direction.

“There is always the possibility that someone, or something, will become aware of the existence of The Key, however, as has happened before. We don't know, yet, how Glory knew of it. We must ensure that someone in the Council is aware of the power of The Key, for all generations to come, but, also, that there will only ever be a small number of people with that knowledge at any one time. The existence of the cloaking spells will help with this – accidental mentions are likely to be forgotten very quickly. Only regular contact with the knowledge leads to an ability to retain it, we have learnt.

“On-going knowledge in the Council will mean that the Slayer, or Slayers, will always be available to protect Dawn should it ever be necessary. But your decision to become, in effect, her guardian reassures me as much, if not more, than any preparations I will be able to make.”

Dawn looked from Giles to Spike. She had a feeling that, if vampires could blush, this one would be doing so; and as her hand went out to him it met his reaching towards hers. Their fingers intertwined, and gripped tightly, as Giles continued.

“There is no point, though, in having an inter-dimensional key and not knowing how to use it. Glory believed that Dawn had to die for The Key to be released and to function.

"We are beginning to come to a different conclusion. We believe Dawn’s blood is able to open portals, but that something under half a pint is probably sufficient for a portal that a person could easily pass through. A decent sacrificial goblet full or so, in effect.” Giles laughed gently.

“We are still working on exactly how to ensure where the other side of a portal will be, and my natural caution…” he paused as he saw Spike’s eye-brow lifted a touch and the vampire try to hold back a smile as his eyes caught Dawn’s.

“Hmm, yes, well as I was saying, my natural caution leads me to believe that the less often we make use of this remarkable ability the less likely we are to signal the existence of The Key to those who may wish to abuse it. However – perhaps a small demonstration, Dawn?”

Spike looked startled; Willow and Mhairi both looked at him, and grinned. Dawn reached out to Giles desk and picked up a small knife; at first sight a paper knife, but with a very real sharp point. She sat down cross-legged on the floor, began to chant quietly to herself, and then pressed the end of the knife, firmly, into the ball of her left thumb. She slowly drew a circle in the air, about thirty centimetres in diameter, with her left hand. The blood seemed to hang in the air, becoming a circlet of ruby red drops.

The air in the circle began to shimmer. Dawn stopped chanting and put her right hand through the shimmering circle; it disappeared. Spike looked like a cat about to pounce, every muscle ready for action, but Dawn grinned at him, before her hand appeared again - carrying a small scrap of cream silk that he had last seen hanging over the end of Dawn’s bed.

She scrunched the tiny garment into a ball and tossed it at Spike; who snatched it out of the air and pushed it straight into his pocket. Willow and Mhairi seemed to be stifling laughter, as Dawn circled her left hand around the edge of the portal in the opposite direction, scooping the blood up in her palm. The shimmering circle disappeared as if it had never been there - and so did the blood in Dawn’s hand.

The two Wiccans, and Giles, all tried to compliment Dawn at the same time, before Giles said “I presume that small token was something that you recognised?” to Spike.

Dawn, Willow, and Mhairi all burst out laughing – Giles didn’t seem to have recognised what Dawn had brought through the portal at all. Spike glared in their direction briefly, and then laughed as well.

“Could say that, Rupert,” he said, “yeah, could say that.”

“We think opening a small portal within this building, for practice, is almost certainly completely safe; there are so many protective spells that none of the magic is likely to leak at all. And, as you can see, Dawn can open a portal to somewhere that she can clearly visualise. Proof, if any were needed, that The Key is still very much an active force. Of course we need to do more research - and to gather up all the information we can,” Giles finished, glancing over at Mhairi.

Mhairi nodded her head gently then, turning to Spike, began to talk. “You know that I am a member of the same coven as Willow, but you may wonder what someone from the north of Scotland is doing in a coven in the south of England.”

She paused, but Spike didn’t say anything, and so she continued. “Both my mother and grandmother have some natural ability and, when it became clear to them that I also had a talent for magic, they guided me and taught me what they could. But they realised, to use a well know phrase, that the power was strong in me.”

This time, when she paused slightly, Spike grinned at her.

She went on, “They asked around, decided that I might learn best how to use my skills by going to the ladies of Bath, and when I left school I came down for a couple of years. Since then I have lived at home, coming south once or twice a year; although I intend to spend most of my time down here for the foreseeable future.”

She looked at Willow, whose hand had strayed into Mhairi’s hair as she had been speaking, and the look spoke of understanding and deep affection.

“Anyway,” Mhairi went on, “the relevance of this is that the healing talent of my Mother, and my Granny, depends on their ability to see people’s auras. And for me; I had to learn as a child how to filter them out, because I saw everyone’s. It took me a few years to realise that my friends did not see the same thing; but at least in my small community no-one took it amiss.

“So I have been sitting here watching everyone's auras, and it is only fair that you know this, as the others already do. What I have seen simply confirms everything that Willow, Dawn, and… Giles… have already told me.”

She stumbled over Giles’ name, and Dawn smiled – Mhairi could never quite decide between Mr. Giles, Rupert, or plain Giles.

“Spike,” Mhairi continued, “your aura is definitely not what I would usually see around a vampire. It is not the aura of a saint either – it is mainly the aura of someone with normal feelings and desires, like many a man from my own village. There are undertones there which are the demon as well, of course, but that I expected.

“You care deeply about Dawn – even if I did not see it on your face I can see it colouring your aura, whenever you look at her, and setting off sparks whenever you touch. You were very worried about her when she opened the portal. You responded also to the presence of her blood.”

Spike looked as if he was going to deny this, but didn’t get the chance, as the Scottish witch continued speaking.

“If you had not, I would have been worried that you were in some way masking your aura – a vampire who is totally oblivious to fresh blood is an impossibility – but your concern over Dawn was what shone most at that time.

“It can be very much like watching the Northern Lights sometimes,” she said with a wry smile and a soft throaty chuckle.

“It is only fair," she went on, “that I also describe the auras of the others in the room. Willow’s aura shows the power of the magical talent within her – under control but always an undertone; like your demon.”

Willow looked slightly surprised by this description, but still played gently with Mhairi’s hair, whilst Mhairi continued.

“When Willow hugged you, Spike, and told you she was pleased to see you, and how well you looked, she was being totally truthful – and, when she said you looked good, that she is attracted to men as well as women was clear to see!”

“Hey! Too much information there!” Willow said, but with a smile.

“No, it is only fair that I am as personal about you all as I was about Spike,” Mhairi said, “and anyway – there is a soft love there when you look at me, and there are more sparks when we touch than there were when you hugged Spike in welcome.

"I cannot see my own aura – but if I could, I would have seen a similar flash of colour when I first saw you, Spike. Because I can also appreciate a good looking male – so no secret about Will that you do not know about me too!

“Giles is content. His aura when he looks at Dawn is exactly what I can see when any father looks at a beloved daughter that he is proud of. And when he told you that he trusted you to look after Dawn, even more than he trusted the Council, he was speaking the absolute truth. In effect Giles is a father willing to trust you with the well-being of his beloved daughter. Also, he was only slightly put off his supper by the sight of you dipping bhajis and samosas in your mug of blood!”

She looked at Giles, as she spoke, and he simply nodded in agreement with her summing up.

“And Dawn,” Mhairi continued, “Dawn’s aura is beautiful.”

“Like the rest of her then,” said Spike.

Mhairi smiled, and went on “It is undershot with a luminous green, which I know to be The Key. Don’t worry,” she said looking from Spike to Giles and back again, “the reason for it is not obvious – I only know what causes it because I have been told, otherwise I would have thought possibly a touch of demon blood, a magic user or, simply, an unusually healthy young woman. It does make for a very beautiful aura though.

“Anyway – Dawn has a strong bond with you Spike – trust, love, and physical desire – I don’t think this is anything she has not told you, I do not usually give people’s secrets away!

"She had no fear about creating the portal and I knew, before she did it, that she was going to do something which amused her greatly to prove, to you, that she had created a genuine portal. Also, I don’t think anyone will be surprised that Dawn’s aura, when she listens or talks to you, Giles, is what I would expect from a daughter interacting with a respected parent.

“And now, before I explain to Spike why this was important, I will perform my own variation of the cloaking spell, so that I will not be prying on anyone, or be so distracted by my own personal aurora borealis that I cannot concentrate.”

She looked quickly at Spike and Dawn as she said that last, and Dawn rather wished that she could see their sparks fly herself.

Mhairi closed her eyes, sat quietly for a minute or two, then opened them, shook her head a little, and smiled at all the others before continuing talking – still primarily to Spike.

“You may wonder why I was doing my ‘party trick’ on you. Giles knows, and was in agreement. It was not for his sake, or mine, but at the request of my Coven Mother. She wanted me to be sure that what Giles, Dawn, and indeed Willow, believed about you was unbiased and that the man in you is more powerful than the demon. She wanted me to be sure that you really would be a suitable guardian for The Key. We all care about Dawn’s well-being.”

“Can’t see what it’s got to do with some old hag, long as the Watcher here is happy,” Spike muttered grumpily.

“Hey, not so much of the hagness – she may be old, but she’s so not a hag!” Willow said.

“Yeah, well, still can’t see what it’s got to do with her,” Spike said, still grumpily.

“Dawn asked Willow, when she got back from Paris, about the possibility of making a particular magic item. Willow discussed it with both Giles and the coven. Our Mother wanted to be sure of the motives of the beneficiary before we could go any further. Giles and Willow both felt sure enough about Dawn’s beliefs to rely on those alone; but there is no harm in caution,” Mhairi said, quite firmly.

Dawn looked at Spike – who looked only mildly interested, but inside herself she felt like Tigger – she wanted to bounce, bounce, bounce. When she had asked Willow, Willow had not been very optimistic, and had only once mentioned that she was considering the suggestion. Now it looked as if it must be possible, or no-one would be taking any precautions.

Willow took up the narrative. “You see, Spike, Dawn asked me whether I could make another Gem of Amara kinda thing. I don’t think I could do anything quite like that – I mean, I guess it would need human sacrifice, and using the dark magic, and the sort of places I just don’t want to go. But I asked Giles what he thought…” she looked over at the Watcher.

“And I said that if any item could be made, to allow you to walk in sunlight, this would be advantageous for Dawn – if you are meant to be her long-term companion and guardian. A guardian that can be defeated by daylight could be easily overcome under certain circumstances.

“I am happy that you have Dawn’s interests at heart and, as I told you earlier, the more we read the more convinced I am that this is indeed your role. Therefore, I would be happy to put the resources of the Council behind providing you with such an item; but the power of manufacture lies with Willow, and the coven.”

“Don’t know quite what to say,” Spike began. “Would be easier to keep Dawn safe. Can’t believe anyone would really do something like that for me, though, even if it was to help Dawn. Bloody Hell – I might not trust me – can’t believe you would!”

Dawn turned fully towards him and took both her hands in his.

“I trust you. Although I was thinking more of going to Disneyland than life or death struggles!” she admitted ruefully.

“Hey – anyway,” Willow attracted everyone’s attention again. “I came up with an idea. I mean it wouldn’t be a good idea to go making something that any old vampire could use, in case they got it off you, you know, like you got the Gem of Amara. Uh, and a ring on your finger – maybe not good, because, you know, quick chop of a knife and crispy fried vampire here.

“So I reckon I, well we, can make something that will protect you against sunlight. But I don’t think, with purely good magic, we can do the total invulnerability thing. I reckon we can draw the power for it from your soul, so that if any other, ordinary, vampire gets hold of it, it won’t work. It wouldn’t weaken you or do you any harm; just, no soul, no factor ten thousand. Cool eh?”

Spike still looked slightly bemused, but nodded his head slowly.

“Yay, Will, that’s so neat!” Dawn said.

Willow blushed slightly, but continued, “We can start to develop the power we need at midsummer so, if our Mother is happy now, we can include it into our rituals next week.

“I think it will have to be a circle of metals, to contain the power, but, like I said, finger ring maybe not the best thing, so uh, if you have any particular preference – torc, arm band, navel ring – uh, anything else, let me know. Although we might have to wait until mid-winter to complete all the protective stuff.”

Dawn had a sudden mental picture of a ‘Prince Albert of Protection from Sunlight’, and had to hold back a giggle, until she looked at Spike and realised that he must have had the same thought, as he was also trying not to laugh. They gave in, and laughed.

Willow was obviously on the same wave-length herself, because she said, “Well, you know, I mean... you wouldn’t be likely to lose one from there by accident… would you?”

……………………………..

Dawn slept. Spike lay and listened to her. This part of sharing a bed with her was almost as good as the earlier part. Although he wished that he had a packet of fags within reach – this was one of those times when he most wanted a smoke – but he couldn’t, really, move away from where Dawn slept.

Still, it was good to lie here and think over the evening at the Council HQ.

His meeting alone with Giles, Rupert even, ‘cos friends didn’t use each other’s surnames in friendly conversation – well not modern day English friends anyway.

Kept a good choice of whiskies in that cupboard, the Watcher did, and, as promised, the first thing he’d done was offer Spike a comfortable chair and a large glass of whichever he preferred. Conversation had been a bit awkward to start with.

“How are you, and by the way thank you for burning to death at Sunnydale, I was certainly wrong to want you dusted before the big battle,” would have been the simplest way to put what the Watcher had said, but it took him a while to paraphrase it, with a few ums and ahs, some throat clearing, and a good bit of spectacle polishing.

Giles hadn’t actually asked Spike his intentions towards Dawn; although, Spike thought, Giles might well have done if he hadn’t brought the subject up himself first. Spike had made it clear that he wanted to be around for Dawn, that he had thought about it and, as long as Dawn wanted or needed him, he would always be there for her. He loved her, he had ever since she had existed. Right now they were lovers but, if one or other of them decided to end that relationship, he would still always be there for her – until he was dust blowing in the wind.

He’d told Rupert that, the more he’d thought about it, the more convinced he was that this was the reason he was still walking the earth, rather than blowing in the winds above it, despite the number of times he should have become dust. He didn’t think it was pre-ordained that Dru should turn him, or any fancy nonsense like that, but, since Dawn had come into being, he thought she was the reason that one or another of The Powers kept him in one piece.

Rupert had listened gravely.

‘Yeah – definitely gravely – Watchers can probably listen more gravely than anyone else – must ask Dawn if they give them lessons in it,’ Spike thought, side tracked for a moment.

So, Rupert had listened gravely, said that he was most reassured by Spike’s decision, and that he thought that Spike might well be right in thinking that this why he was not blowing in the wind. He could, in fact, be the only Answer that wasn’t, Rupert had said, dryly cracking a joke.

The Watcher had gone on to say that there were at least three prophecies, predictions, whatever, that seemed to confirm that Dawn would have someone to remain with her as time passed, and he was glad to be able to think of this being Spike.

They’d downed a couple more whiskies in companionable silence, Spike had thought that that was all the business done, and had felt remarkably content.

But then the business with the witches. He liked Mhairi, she was warm and comfortable to be around, and truth to tell he didn’t mind the aura reading thing, especially as she’d insisted on reading everyone’s. Funny that she’d mentioned Willow finding him attractive, then even admitted she did herself! If it wasn’t for Dawn he would have loved to find out if a threesome was out of the question...

Actually, the mixture of gentleness and firmness reminded Spike of Tara, ‘Poor little Glinda, she shouldn’t have died like that’, he thought sadly, considering the similarities, and the differences, between the Scot and the young Alabamian for a while.

And Dawn’s ability to create a portal without being harmed… but bringing back those knickers – in front of The Watcher – he hadn’t known whether to kiss her, or strangle the bloody little minx with them!

Then, just as amazing, the possibility of being able to walk in the sun. Well, drive in it, ride bloody big motorbikes in it, roll around on the grass bare-assed having wild and passionate sex with Dawn under it – he hadn’t expected that. Just the thought of it; that Dawn should ask for it for him, and that it could be possible to achieve it… Have to decide, soon, exactly what format he wanted it to take…!

He tried to move a little, to get more comfortable, and thought for a while about doing all sorts of things with Dawn in the daylight. If everything went as well as Willow had predicted then, by this time next year, instead of celebrating the summer solstice by going skinny dipping at Granchester at midnight, which he planned to do, they could do it as the sun came up. Somehow that seemed more desirable than anything more exotic.

Anyway, before the end of the evening Rupert had come up with something exotic for them to do in the meantime. Come autumn Spike and Dawn were going together, to the Czech Republic, to find out whether there were any more sources that mentioned The Key. It looked as if life wasn't going to be dull, anyway.

Spike tried, again, to ease his position on the bed; but it was not easy. He looked ruefully down at his right wrist where a blue lace cuff linked him, by a diamante chain that he could very easily break, to a matching one on Dawn’s left wrist, casually flung across her face, where she slept with her head on Spike’s stomach.

It wasn’t quite what he’d had in mind when he’d bought them...But, then, it just went to prove that a very long life with this woman was never going to be boring and predictable!

The End …


As usual - The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The End

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