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All the Graces of the Dawn

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When Buffy announced her intention, several weeks later, to take a vacation, no one raised an objection. She had, after all, finished up her second year of college without failing a class, while at the same time defeating a god and taking care of her mother.

 

That wasn’t something very many people could boast of.

 

Spike had managed to get signed on for the next academic year as the senior-year English and creative writing instructor at Sunnydale High. The fact that his first novel was about to be published had made for a rather good offer. (Not to forget the fact that he was a warm body already living in Sunnydale and used to its quirks. Teachers were difficult to find, never mind published ones.)

 

As Joyce was back at the gallery full-time, and everything else was back to normal, it was not a hardship for everyone to wave bon voyage. Especially as Buffy had commented that she deserved a break, no one had dared to disagree.

 

And so it was that the Slayer and her ex-vampire found themselves ensconced on a little beach in Cancun, soaking up the sun.

 

A warm climate was absolutely imperative, as Buffy had every intention of keeping Spike as unclothed as possible, and slapping the sunscreen on his still fair skin often. Like, a lot.

 

Spike, for his part, had looked forward to time spent in the sun, forgetting as much as possible the darkness that was still inside him. Sunny days like this on the beach with his girl caused the horrors to seem rather far away.

 

“Do we have to go back?” Buffy asked on the fourth day. It was only the second day they’d been to the beach, since the first two days had been spent in their hotel room getting reacquainted in as many ways as possible.

 

Spike groaned. “Don’t wanna talk about it. We’ve still got a few days, pet.”

 

“Yeah, but it’s not enough,” she replied. “I mean, it’ll be back to the real world, and slaying demons and vampires…”

 

As Buffy trailed off, Spike raised his head just enough to give her a lascivious grin. “Slaying’s not so bad. Gets the blood going.”

 

“You don’t need any help to get the blood going,” Buffy teased. Then, serious again, she said, “You know what I’m saying.”

 

“I know what you’re saying,” Spike replied, rolling over to get a better look at her. “And I wouldn’t mind staying here forever myself, but you’d miss your mum and friends.”

 

That was true enough, and Buffy knew that Spike would miss them too. “What if I moved in with you?” she suggested.

 

“Moved in?” Spike asked, raising an eyebrow. “Sure you want to share that apartment of mine?”

 

“We could look for one together,” Buffy coaxed. Although her suggestion had been spur-of-the-moment, the idea had appeal. No longer would they need to catch stolen moments in the midst of busy schedules. They would actually be living together.

 

The thought of waking up next to Spike every morning definitely had appeal.

 

“What if you got tired of me?” he asked.

 

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Not going to happen. Besides, don’t you remember what it felt like when you spent a few days in L.A.? I want you around as much as possible.”

 

Spike remembered. He also remembered the lovemaking that followed their separation. Let’s just say that if he didn’t find being away from Buffy so painful, Spike would plan on taking regular over-night trips. Turned out that “coming-home-sex” was better than “making-up-after-a-fight sex.”

 

“Besides,” Buffy added. “I know Mom wants to keep Giles around as much as possible, and if we’re there, it doesn’t make it much fun for them.”

 

Spike considered the idea. He was getting used to waking up with her head on the pillow next to his. The thought was tempting.

 

“When we get back home, we should look for apartments then,” Spike said finally. “Or houses.”

 

“Houses?” Buffy squeaked, thinking of the kind of commitment that took. Not that she was afraid to make it, but still. A house. Who would have thought she might be buying a house with an ex-vampire?”

 

“Well, not for right away,” he acknowledged. “But in a year or two. Should have enough money for a down payment then. We could get married and then buy a house.”

 

Spike had pondered this a lot, had thought about what it might be like to set up housekeeping with Buffy. He’d thought more about what it meant for him to have a job, to have a book accepted for publishing, to be with the woman he loved. Spike was aware, down deep, that by protecting Dawn he had helped to save the world again.

 

While the guilt over his past crimes was still difficult to bear, there had been entire days recently that he’d not given it a second thought.

 

Spike had decided that he liked being normal—or as normal as a person like him could ever get.

 

Buffy looked over at him, realizing that he was waiting for an opinion or an answer, or perhaps both. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so strange that they might be talking about buying a house, or getting married. A year or two ago, Buffy would have said she had only a few years to live. She would have hesitated to make such long-term plan.

 

As Spike had said, however, just because she was the Slayer, didn’t automatically mean she couldn’t grow old and have kids. It just made it a little more unlikely.

 

Life might be short and hard and brutal, but with Spike, it would be a good life.

 

“We should set a date when we get back home,” Buffy suggested. “For the wedding, I mean.”

 

Spike smiled. “Whatever you want, luv.”

 

And on a Mexican beach, two people found themselves to be perfectly happy.