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Beloved has a New Chapter!

It's only been a few days, but I feel the need - the need for speed - in posting another chapter.

Forgive me, I'm feeling a bit euphoric.

I have a secret. A wonderful secret.

I'll be sharing it with you all shortly.

Hopefully it will please you.




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Several More Weeks Have Passed

They sat in the car, staring at the storefront that was Sanctum Sanctorum. The posters and cutouts had changed since he’d last been there, but the feel of the place was the same. A couple of years hadn’t changed that, at least, and that was comforting.

Will reached out for Buffy’s clammy hand, rubbing circles around her clenched knuckles. “It’ll be okay, Buffy,” he said, trying to exude a sense of peace. “I found this place when I was at the lowest point in my life and I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped me.”

Buffy looked at him, her pupils blown wide with fear, unable to voice her discomfort.

“And you’re so brave to agree to see my old therapist, Lorne,” he pushed forward, filling the silence. “He made space as quickly as he could as a favor to me – to my family. I’ll stay with you, if you want – at least for this first visit.”

She nodded her agreement. Good, he thought. At least she’s not chickening out.

“Since we’ve got some time to kill, I wanna introduce you to the owner, if he’s still here. He’s a real hoot.”

Buffy remained silent, but managed an old, familiar eye-roll, letting Will know she wasn’t as far gone inside herself as she seemed.

They wandered through the aisles, checking out the latest superheroes, and the old, classic familiars. As they neared the register, Will grinned. “He’s here, Buffy. He’s still here!”

Glancing at the proprietor, Buffy gasped. Yes, he was way older than when she’d known him, but there was no mistaking the chubby man for anyone but…

“Andrew!” she called out, walking up to the counter. “What the hell are you doing here?”

He stared at her for a moment, trying to figure out who she was, then it hit him. “B-Buffy? Is it really you?” he gasped, striding from behind the counter to hug her. “There – there were rumors that you had died a long time ago. And why are you still so young? You haven’t changed a bit since… since last time I saw you.”

“It’s a long story, Andrew,” she said, unable to tear her eyes away from her former “guestage”. “But… I’m not here alone. I’m with someone you haven’t seen in quite awhile.”

Will strode up to meet his old friend, who – instead of welcoming him – stumbled backwards a few steps. “No,” he gasped. “It’s not true – it can’t be!”

“What’s wrong, Andrew?” Will asked, worried at how worked up his old friend was. “Don’t you recognize me? It’s just me, W…”

“Spike! You’re freaking Spike, back from the dead!” He turned around, reaching for a nearby chair and sat heavily, shaking his head. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it before, but there’s no mistaking that face anywhere. Why… how… when…?”

When he’d run out of words, Will took a deep breath and tried to explain the unexplainable. “Trust me, Andrew, it hit me like a ton of bricks when I found out I had once been the very Spike you had told me about the first time I met you. Apparently, at the end of an apocalyptic battle of some sort, Spike – I, was turned into a human infant. Whatever wrongs I’d committed as the vampire I was had been forgiven by some higher power, and I got to live life over again as William Matthew Jamison Pratt Dowell.

“Angel adopted me, married the woman who became my mother, and you pretty much know the rest of my story.”

“There’s a lot of traumatic drama you’re leaving out, Will,” Buffy offered. “Even after the horrible kidnapping.”

“It doesn’t matter!” Andrew declared, standing up to his full height. “Look at you two – back together again and all is well. Am I right? True love rules and all that?”

Buffy would later swear she saw little red hearts in Andrew’s eyes.

“Well, we’re working on it,” she said, stroking her beloved’s arm. “We’re actually going to see Lorne. Seems I have some issues of my own after that twenty years long ordeal,” Buffy admitted.

Andrew nodded. “He’s the best there is,” he said, happily. “And more importantly, well able to understand the supernatural side of things without thinking you’re nuts. You do know…?”

“That he’s a demon?” Buffy filled in. “Yeah, Will made sure to tell me before I agreed to this.”

Unable to stop staring at Will, Andrew’s eyes filled with tears. “It’s just wonderful,” he murmured. “For I have seen the second resurrection of you both. You’ve renewed my faith in the universe.” He sniffled, this time managing to gather Will into a bear hug. “I should have known, somehow,” he murmured. “Spike given his just rewards for becoming one of the white hats.”

“I still go by Will, not Spike,” Will said, patting the little man on the shoulder. “I acknowledge who I was, but who I am is someone different.”

“And Will you shall remain,” Andrew acquiesced, still staring at him with awe. “But I’m gonna smile extra wide every time I think of you both.”

“Andrew, you couldn’t have said a truer thing,” Buffy added. “We both hold a special place in our minds and hearts for Spike. He will never, ever be forgotten. But Will is his own man, and I love who he’s become.”

Andrew gathered Buffy and Will’s hands into his own and as he promised – smiled widely. “Welcome back, you two. Don’t be strangers.”

*****

Will and Buffy stood hand–in–hand in the storage area in the back of Sanctum Sanctorum, staring at the glimmer of the portal to Arashm’har.

“Well, I guess it’s time,” Buffy said bravely. “We’re off to see the Wizard!”

“Follow the yellow brick road!” Will quipped back, as they stepped through the portal, together.


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