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Here we are," Buffy announced setting down the tray on the coffee table. Spike smiled awkwardly up at her. He and Buffy had done a good many things together, but having tea wasn't one of them.

Buffy poured the steaming liquid into the cups. "Sugar?" she asked Spike.

"No, thanks."



"Um, okay." She handed him the plain cup of tea.

"Thanks," Spike said. The cup rattled on the saucer as his shaky hands accepted it.

"No problem," Buffy murmured, trying not to show she noticed him trembling. She put two scoops of sugar in her own tea and a splash of milk, mostly to keep herself occupied. She suddenly felt nervous and anxious. And, after all this time waiting for answers, she couldn't seem to ask the questions.

Spike took a sip of the hot tea, his eyes closing in bliss as it traveled down his throat. He still hadn't been able to get warm even though he was now inside Buffy's heated apartment. He felt as though a sheet of ice had gathered around his bones and the tea was helping to melt it, warming him from the inside out.

Buffy watched him curiously – she had seen him drink blood before and his enjoyment had always been clear on his face. But nothing like this level of ecstasy she saw on him now. No, but she had seen his face look similar to the way it did at this moment.

She felt herself flush at the memories that flooded her mind. She waited for Spike to open his eyes, his nostrils flaring, as he fixed those icy blues on her knowingly.

But he didn't.

Instead he leaned forward and put down the saucer on the coffee table. " 'S good tea," he complimented, taking another drink.

"Thanks," Buffy murmured, her brow crinkling. Something was different about him, something she just couldn't figure. It reminded her of the feeling she had when he came back to Sunnydale after getting his soul.

Spike set down his cup so he could pull off his gloves and cap. He picked the cup back up wrapping his hands around the warm mug. He raised it to his lips to drink again but froze when he heard Buffy snicker.

He looked up at her, eyebrows raised.

"Sorry," she snorted. "it's just... your hair."

Spike's eyes rolled up as if he could see the top of his head. He huffed as he realised what she was on about. "Oh, right." he muttered. "I stopped colourin' it a while back now."

"It looks good." Buffy remarked.

Spike's brows hitched dubiously.

"I wasn't laughing because I think it's bad. I was just laughing because it's so...different, you know?"

"Yeah," Spike drawled. "I know. A lot of things about me have changed, Buffy, not just my look." He sucked in some air readying himself.

All right, moment of truth time, yeah.

Spike never had been one for dancing about the big issues.

Well, 'cept for when I got m' soul, he thought. I had been a bit evasive then at first.

But, it hadn't done him any good.

No, it was best to just come out with it.

"Buffy," he ventured, rubbing his hands on his thighs.

"Yeah?" Buffy prodded after a pause.

He licked his lips and leaned forward. "Buffy," he said again.

"Spike..." Buffy drawled.

"There's something I've gotta tell, you. Something pretty incredible.

Buffy put her cup down and folded her hands in her lap, as if preparing herself for the news.

Spike took another breath and looked Buffy straight in the eye. "I'm alive," he solemnly declared.

"Um, yeah." Buffy drawled, unfazed. "I kinda already knew that. You knocking on my door was enough confirmation."

Spike shook his head. "No you don't understand. What I mean is– " He faltered looking up at her sharply, "What do you mean you already knew? How'd you find out?"

"I'll give you one guess, rhymes with Smandrew."


"We have a winner," Buffy proclaimed. "Just FYI, for future reference; the boy can't keep a secret."

"I'll file that away," Spike dryly replied. "Little ponce. I shoulda known."

"Ah, don't be too hard on him," Buffy defended. "I put the Slayer squeeze on him. It was obvious the second he got back that something was up – he was acting all shirty. He didn't want to give it up, though."

Spike was smirking at her.


"Nothin'. Just... shirty. One would think after your time livin' here you would have picked up the proper meanin' is all."

Buffy glared at him.

Spike shook himself and tried to jump back on the right track. "Anyway, like I was sayin' before I interrupted myself; I'm not dead, or undead anymore. I'm fully alive – heart beat an' all." He looked down at his hand finishing quietly, "I'm human, Buffy."

If Spike thought Buffy looked surprised when she opened the door...

Buffy dropped her cup, it went clattering to the floor. "Y-you're... what? H-how?"

"Shansu," Spike proclaimed simply.

Buffy's brow crinkled. "The whale?"

"No, that's Shamu. Shansu,." he emphasised "is a prophecy." Spike took a big breath before launching into the whole unabridged explanation –he went into explicit detail when he got to the part when he and Angel vied for The Cup of Perpetual Torment and his right kicking of his sire's ass – his animation flagged somewhat when he told Buffy the goblet turned out to be filled with Mountain Dew, and that it had all been a ruse.

"Everybody thought it was going to be Angel," he said coming to the conclusion, "no-one thought I had any real shot – hell, I didn't even really think it was goin' to be me. I mostly just wagged the idea that it could be in Angel's face to get at 'im. But..." His jaw muscles were pulsing as he looked up at Buffy to gauge her reaction. "So," he ventured, "are you disappointed, that it wasn't Angel too, I mean."

Buffy blinked slowly and shook her head, trying to overcome her shock. "I feel sorry for Angel. I'm sure he was hoping it would be him. But, I am not sorry that you're..." She swallowed a lump in her throat. "You really are?"

Spike's mouth twitched. "Yeah, I am. I'm hot blooded" – he held open his arms– "Check it and see." He had been joking, so he was surprised when Buffy shot up from her seat and came around to him. He looked up at her, eyes wide. She held out her hand like she was going to touch his face, but then dropped down to her knees and put her ear to his chest.

"Oh my god!" she cried after a second. "Your heart...it's beating." A pause. "God, that's a good sound."

She was clearly crying, Spike could hear the tears in her voice.

"Buffy..." he entreated, wanting her look at him. Slowly she turned up her head and gazed up at him, hazel eyes swimming with tears of joy. Spike put his hand gently on her cheek and swiped the tears that had already fallen. Buffy closed her eyes and turned into the caress.

"You're warm," she whispered. Her hand going up to touch his face. Her eyes snapped open, startled. "No," she amended, "you're hot." – she put her other hand on his other cheek and shot to her feet – "In fact you're burning up." She looked into his eyes and noticed how glassy they were. "You have a fever!"

"Yeah, I've been comin' down with a bit of a cold," he informed. " 'S nothin' to worry about though."

"Oh my god!" Buffy's hands went to her mouth, eyes wide, horrified. "You need to have your head examined."

Spike snorted. "Not the first time I've had that suggested to me. An' more 'n once by you in fact."

"No. Spike, I'm serious," Buffy asserted. "I hit you. You hit your head, hard, you were unconscious. You're human and you're sick – you need to go to the hospital!"

"Pet," Spike cajoled, rising to his feet. "I appreciate that you're concerned about me, but really nothin's so wrong with me that a good kip won't cure."

"Sleep?" Buffy spluttered. "You can't sleep. You could have a concussion. No. I am taking you to the hospital and that's that." She grabbed his cap, put it on his head, and thrust his gloves at him. "Come on.

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