Buffy was surprised to wake alone in their bed. Spike, really-most-sincerely alive for more than four months now, still slept like the dead. Even when he did wake before her, he was usually there when she opened her eyes, eager for a quick cuddle (or more, if time allowed). She looked towards the bathroom, noting that the door was open. She listened, but didn’t hear anything to suggest his presence, either.
She put her hand on his pillow. It was cool, suggesting he’d been up for some time. Maybe he’d gone to the kitchen to start breakfast? Food had become something of an obsession with him, considering the change in his circumstances. Basically, he ate like a horse; one of those big, brown and white, wagon-pulling types you see in the beer ads on TV.
Eating had led him to cooking, and it turned out he was really good at it. He certainly wasn’t afraid to try new things, either. Lately, he’d been taking her on “a culinary tour of North Africa and the Near East.” Mmmm-mmm-mm: yummy food lovingly prepared by an equally yummy boyfriend. Who could ask for more?
Needing to use the bathroom herself, she got up and went to do her business. That’s when she noticed her favorite snuggly flannel robe wasn’t hanging on the back of the door where she’d left it. Sighing, she went back into the bedroom, crossed over to the closet, and got out a different one. In robe and slippers, she scuffed down the stairs to the living room.
A woman sat on their couch, wearing Buffy’s robe. She seemed a stranger, but strangely familiar. She had her head in her hands, and it sounded like she was muttering to herself. Ah, that voice; Not as deep, but just as sexy.
The woman looked up at that. It was, well, not him, exactly, but, yeah. The same person radically altered in shape. Even with swollen, red-rimmed eyes and tear-stained cheeks, she was quite possibly the most beautiful woman Buffy had ever seen.
She crossed over to the couch and sat.
“Don’t tell me, let me guess. Magic?”
Spike bobbed her head and took a deep breath. It did interesting things to her anatomy.
“What else? S…sodding magic. Miserable bloody stuff. Hate it. Always comes back to get you.”
Buffy decided now was not the time to launch a spirited defense of magic. It had brought them both back to life, after all. No. What Spike needed was a sympathetic ear.
“But why now?”
“Dunno. Woke up from a dream, got up to use the loo, only to find I wasn’t quite m’self anymore. You were teasin’ me the other night; said somethin’ ‘bout havin’ a wife rather than bein’ one. The idea seemed to hold some appeal…but this…it isn’t really what you…what we…wanted. A bloke doesn’t just wake up as a bird. It ain’t normal. I’m not normal. I‘m…I’m Abby Normal.”
“Well, it’s not so bad, when you think about it. If you’d been a ‘normal’ vampire, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
Buffy could tell Spike wasn’t listening. So, not words, action. She had had her share of crying jags, and sensed that Spike was definitely on the verge of having one. Moving closer, she reached over and gently pressed her hand to Spike’s jaw, turning her face in Buffy’s direction. Then she went in for a kiss. An innocent little peck it was not.
Spike pulled back, eyes wide. Under other circumstances the look on her face would’ve been comical.
“Buffy…? I thought… but… you never….”
“I didn’t say anything, because it didn’t seem relevant, but, yeah, I have.”
“You…weren’t around and my options were limited, so I hooked up with another slayer. Nothing much came of it, obviously, but it was…nice…while it lasted. Which wasn’t very long, but we parted on good terms.”
“You and Faith settled your differences then?”
Buffy made a face.
“It so wasn’t Faith. In fact, she isn’t any one you’d know. Last time I saw her was well over a year ago, in Japan.”
Hope flared in Spike’s eyes.
“So even if I can’t switch back…we could still…?”
“Well, I’m not saying it would be easy, but where’s the fun in that?”
That got her a watery smile.
“I’m assuming you have tried to switch back, yes?”
“Well, yeah, but it’s kinda tough, not knowin’ how I got here in the first place. Thinkin’ it could be a deal breaker… “
“Wait. What? A deal breaker? Why would you think that? You’re still you in there, right? The ‘you’ I love. Besides…I mean…well…you already use your mouth and hands on me a lot anyway when we…and the results are always satisfactory. The other’s good too, but you might be the one who misses it most.”
“Clearly, I wasn’t thinkin’ too…clearly. And… “
A very becoming blush mounted her cheeks.
“ And then… there’s… the other thing.”
“That dream I mentioned.”
“What about it?”
“I was in a house. Not this house, but it felt like home. I was in the kitchen, puttin’ a pie in the oven to bake. But pie wasn’t the only thing I had in the oven, if you get my drift.”
She sat up straight, and held her hand out in front of her belly, by way of illustration.
“So you were like this, in your dream?”
“Oh. Oh, wow.”
“One of the ‘perks’ of Slayer-hood is prophetic dreams. It might not be referring to a literal pregnancy, but, wow. Was I in it, too?”
“Not physically, least not in the bit I remember. I think we were still together, though. I don’t remember feelin’ lonely or sad. Quite the opposite, actually. D’you think, maybe, that’s why I can’t change back…? Buffy, what if it’s true? The magic…”
Panic rose in her voice.
“Then we’ll deal.”
Buffy pulled her in for another kiss.
She was smiling when she pulled back.
“Oh, thank God.”
“Are you gonna be ok? Do I need to reschedule? I can call Willow.”
“Nah. I should be fine now. Knowin’ the change isn’t permanent….Maybe I was just too wound up to relax and let it happen. This…if I c’n get a handle on it…We could have ourselves a hell of a good time.”
“Who doesn’t like a little hot girl-on-girl action?”
Buffy rolled her eyes.
“You’re such a perv.”
“And you love it.”
“Who says I’m complaining? Seeing as you’ve made such a remarkable recovery, I think I’ll start getting ready for my day. Don’t worry about breakfast. I’ll grab something later. You do look kinda tired though. Why not go back to bed. Try and get some rest. Should I call to check in with you later?”
He looked at her askance.
“You patronizin’ me?“
“Well…I don’t s’pose I’d object to hearin’ your voice. Call if you think of it, but don’t put yourself out on my account.”
Mentally, Buffy added ‘call Spike’ to her list of things-to-do-today. She rose from the couch, and Spike got up too.
“It’d be somethin’, though, wouldn’t it? After all the damage I’ve done… to be a vessel for new life.”
His tone was pensive, eyes distant.
“What about all the fun we were gonna have?”
He refocused on her and smiled.
“Oh, fun first. Definitely. Y’know, I don’t think I will go back to bed yet…if ever. God knows what I might wake up as next. Think I’ll head to the kitchen, have a bit o’ nosh. Sure I can’t tempt you?”
She smiled back.
“You are temptation made flesh. The question is: can I resist?”
“Don’t forget, I made that batch of maple-bacon scones the other day. I’ll reheat a couple. When you’re ready, you grab one and go.”
“So, upstairs with you then.”
He leaned in for another kiss first, and Buffy was more than happy to oblige.