Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I never well. How depressing is that?

Author's Note: Yup, this story is back from its brief break. (Told you I wouldn't be too long.) It'll hopefully be a clean run through the end now, since I'm hoping to get this finished before I graduate. I hope everyone continues to enjoy...

Previously: It's Christmas break and Elizabeth is staying with the Giles', just to refresh everyone's memory. ~_^

Blue Horizons
Chapter Twenty-One

“Elizabeth!” Joyce exclaimed in delight, practically snatching her bags from her. “You have no idea how delighted we were that you could make it.”

“Some of you more than others,” Elizabeth teased, whispering in Spike’s ear before she followed Joyce into the living room. “I’m just so grateful you agreed to have me,” she replied. “Thanks so much.”

“Think nothing of it,” Joyce sat, heading up the stairs with Elizabeth’s bags. “William, I didn’t know whether Elizabeth would be staying in your room, or...” She left the question open.

“Yeah, my room, Mum,” he agreed.

Elizabeth couldn’t help but blush at that. Sometimes she really envied Spike his open relationship with his parents.

“So, Elizabeth,” Joyce rounded a surprising turn in the hallway and walked up a mini-flight of stairs, “how were finals?”

Elizabeth groaned, and Joyce laughed.

“That bad, huh?” Joyce pushed aside the door at the top of the stairs and ushered Elizabeth into Spike’s room for the first time.

“They’re over, and that’s all I care about right now,” Elizabeth agreed before taking in the sight of the spacious bedroom. “Wow...” she breathed.

The woodwork of the room was done in a deep, rich oak that culminated in a slanted peak that ran across the high ceiling of the room. A latticework of beams supported this feature, interspersed by a skylight on either side. The room itself had a homey, comfortable glow, despite the various punk and rock posters that adorned the walls.

It was the centerpiece of the room that really caught Elizabeth’s eye, however. She practically licked her lips at the idea of trying out the king-sized bed. After the cramped twins at the dorm, this would be a real treat.

She gratefully took one of her bags from Joyce and sat down on the edge of the comfy bed as she moved to begin unpacking. “I like your room,” she told Spike with a shy smile.

He returned her smile with a smirk.

“It’s lovely, isn’t it?” Joyce beamed. “We converted the old carriage house above the garage after we moved in. The project took several months.”

Elizabeth smiled as Spike sat down beside her. “It really turned out well,” she agreed.

Joyce was obviously proud of her accomplishment but couldn’t help but notice the increasing hormones in the room. “I’ll just leave you to unpack, then,” she announced, turning back to the door. “Will, I’m going to pick your father up at the bus station at five. You and Elizabeth are welcome to come if you want. Or not,” she added with a sly smile. “Whatever works best for you. Just let me know.”

“’ll do that,” he agreed, his eyes never leaving Elizabeth. “Thanks, Mum.”

“Let me know if you need anything,” were Joyce’s parting words before she shut the door firmly behind her. Ah, to be young again... she sighed wistfully before turning to the important task of dressing herself to meet with the husband she’d been parted from for over a month...

“Your mom’s really cool,” Elizabeth commented, opening her suitcase. “Where should I put my stuff?” she inquired.

“Here,” Spike rifled through his dresser, “’ll clean out a couple ‘f drawers for you...”

“Thanks,” Elizabeth agreed, “but, like I was saying, if we were at my house, my dad would have us quarantined on opposite ends of the house from each other. With armed guards.”

Spike snorted at that as a pile of black t-shirts was transported from one drawer to another. “What would be the point? ‘S not like he could stop us from shaggin’ like crazed rabbits the instant we got back to school, anyway.”

“Mmm...” Elizabeth agreed, laying back on the deep blue coverlet, “crazed rabbits...”

Spike turned to look at her at that. “You feel like unpackin’ right now?” he inquired, watching the woman he loved lying on his bed with hunger.

“Not really,” she sighed.

In an instant he was at her side, placing gentle kisses all down her throat. “Mmm,” he practically purred against her, the vibrations tickling her sensitive skin.

She giggled and swatted at him lightly. “Cut that out,” she protested, trying to wiggle away from the body that was persistently trying to cover hers.

He pouted at her refusal. “Why not?” He gave her the most pitiful look she’d ever seen. “Don’t you wanna break in this nice, big bed?”

That pouting lower lip of his was just too tempting to ignore, and she sat half up so that she could nimble on it lightly. “Very much,” she murmured against his lips, “but not right now.”

“Why not?” he sulked like a petulant child.

She couldn’t help giggling whenever he did that. Seeing sexy, badass Spike acting all cute and cuddly? Absolutely priceless. She wrapped her arms around his neck and settled into his lap, giving him a conciliatory kiss.

“Your mom knows what we’re doing in here,” she informed him, “and it’s weird.”

He rolled his eyes. “’S not like she can hear us. And Mum’ll undoubtedly know what we’re doin’ in here every night, too,” he argued. “’re we gonna make this entire holiday an exercise in frustratin’ abstinence?”

“Mmm, you’ve got a point there,” she conceded...and then squealed as Spike toppled them both back onto the bed, pulling her body down on top of his.

“We could just settle for a old-fashioned snog, if you like,” he offered. “Be ready to go and pick dad up then...”

“Mmm, old-fashioned snog...” she repeated before scrunching her nose up. “Y’know, that really doesn’t sound nice. I mean, ‘snog’? It sounds like snot should be involved in some way...”

“No snot,” Spike assured her, pulling her lips down to his. “Now, c’mere...”

She let out a contented little sigh and ran her fingers through his peroxide locks, transforming his well-groomed hair into a mass of wild curls. Her lips parted against his, and she pressed her body down into his own, savoring the feel of strong, lean muscles beneath her.

His tongue lapped at hers hungrily as his arms slid around her waist. He could already feel the scent of her vanilla shampoo washing over him, surrounding him... He let out a groan and how painfully far away she still was and rolled them over, pressing his hardness down into her, relishing the excited little gasp that escaped her lips.

“Oh god, Spike...” she whimpered, her head lolling about on the mattress as he reverently kissed every inch of her face and throat. Her wandering hands explored his familiar body, skating along the curve of his spine, running over the contours of the sleek muscles of his back, before moving lower to grasp that tight, firm ass of his in both hands and gently squeeze...

His jean-clad hips ground down between her spread thighs in response, and her clothing suddenly became unbearable to him. He wanted to feel her flesh against his, warm and yielding, wanted to taste the salt of her sweat, inhale the perfume that was so distinctively her...

His hands slid up under the thick turtleneck she was wearing, exposing her toned body for his mouth’s pleasure. She seemed to have the same idea and yanked at his blood-red button up, opening it wide before sliding it sensuously down his shoulders. He lifted her up for a moment to get the turtleneck up and off of her head.

They fell back onto the mattress then, skin-on-skin, enjoying the feel of the other. His gorgeous, sculptured chest was too much for Elizabeth to ignore, and she shoved him off of her briefly before rolling with him and landing on top.

“Mmm,” she commented, “big bed has it advantages.”

“It certainly does, luv,” he agreed, enjoying the sight of her straddling him, her red-lace covered breasts heaving as she panted for air.

“Verrry nice...” she gazed down at the pale body beneath her before slowly leaning in to lick up the sweat on one pectoral.

He squirmed and thrashed beneath her, and she smiled against him at that. She loved the way his body responded to her touch, loved the way he seemed to melt into her, loved the feeling of power and desirability it gave her.

Eager to feel him squirm some more, her mouth lowered to his abdomen, outlining that delightful six-pack with the pointed tip of her tongue.

“Christ, luv,” he sighed. “You make me feel so good...”

“It’s a talent,” she declared, rising up against him once more and pillowing her head on his chest. For the first time, she felt the air on her back and shivered slightly. “Uh-oh,” she complained, “I’m cold, but I don’t wanna move...”

She gave him a pathetic, little sniffle.

He scoffed at her innocent act and reached over with his free hands to grab the corner of the comforter. She whimpered slightly in complaint when his stretch made him shift beneath her, but mumbled her approval when the blanket covered her.

“I could stay like this forever,” she decided, the fingers of one hand playing with one of his dusty-rose nipples.

“Me, too, kitten,” he agreed, wrapping his arms around her back.

“You make such a warm, comfy pillow,” she informed him, nuzzling deeper into his chest.

He chuckled at that, the vibrations relaxing her. “I aim to please, pet,” he commented, stroking her hair absentmindedly.

“Mmm...” she agreed with a  contented sigh, already drifting off into sleep...

* * *


Joyce’s voice broke through the haze of his sleep, and let out a lion-sized yawn.

“William?” she repeated. “I’m going to go pick up your father. Are you coming?”

His first thought was, And leave this nice warm bed with Elizabeth in my arms? Are you out of your mind? His second was that he was really eager to see his dad again, too. He decided to leave the choice up to the tiny blond on top of him, who was now stirring from her peaceful slumber.

“We going?” she mumbled groggily.

“Only if you want to, pet,” he whispered into her hair.

“William?” Joyce’s voice called.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Elizabeth said, reluctantly prying her body from his. “I want to meet this supposed ‘dad’ of yours,” she teased lightly.

He chuckled at that. “We’re coming, Mum!” he shouted out to Joyce. “Just give us a minute!”

“I’ll be waiting in the living room,” she agreed before her feet could be heard going back down the stairs.

“Wow,” Elizabeth said, running a hand through her tangled bed hair, “I must’ve been really tired...”

“Finals ‘s more drainin’ than it seems at the time,” Spike agreed, getting out of bed and searching for his discarded shirt.

Elizabeth had no trouble finding hers and then rolled her eyes at her boyfriend’s complete incompetence, retrieving his shirt from where it was draped across the bedpost and handing it to him.

“I’m thinking I should go for something other than the ‘I just ravished your son’ look for our first meeting,” she commented conversationally, finding the brush in her purse and using the mirror in the small bathroom off to one side of his room to straighten her hair.

“Don’t know, luv,” he countered. “Knowin’ dad, he’ll be absolutely thrilled that ‘m gettin’ ravished on a regular basis.”

Elizabeth scrunched up her nose. “Your parents are so weird,” she announced.

“I thought they were ‘cool’?” he pointed out.

“For parents to be cool, they have to be very weird,” she argued reasonably enough before emerging from the bathroom. “How do I look?” she demanded with a dancer’s pirouette.

Spike licked his lips. “Quite ravishable,” he replied in a husky growl.

She batted him on the chest and proceeded to fasten the buttons he’d managed to miss in his haphazard manner. “You can ravish me tonight,” she promised.

“’ll hold you to that,” he warned.

“No, I’ll hold you to that,” she countered with a wink. She ran her hands over his hair, slicking back the peroxide locks before appraising him. “Huh,” she teased, “you look almost presentable.”

“’ll make you look unpresentable...” he threatened.

She batted him playfully in the arm. “Later. Right now, we have to go pick up your dad.”

* * *

Elizabeth would’ve recognized Rupert Giles even if he and Joyce hadn’t practically plowed over the rest of the passengers to greet each other with a fierce hug. Spike and his father shared many handsome features, in particular that rakish smile Giles graced Joyce with when he saw the deep purple dress she was wearing. Elizabeth had seen that same look directed at her in the younger Giles’ eyes all too often.

In fact, Spike seemed to be giving her that look right now...

She gave him a playful swat and turned to where Giles and Joyce were approaching.

“Hey, dad,” Spike said with a little nod.

Giles didn’t let him get away with the cold greeting, of course, and pulled him into a quick hug.

“It’s been far too long, Will,” Giles said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “And you must be Elizabeth,” Giles held his hand out to her.

“Pleased to meet you, Mister Giles,” she agreed with a smile.

“Please, just call me Giles,” he insisted. “Everyone does.”

“Except me,” Joyce teased, “but only because I know how much you hate being called Rupert in public.”

“Yes, quite,” Giles cast his wife a mock-annoyed look.

Elizabeth chuckled slightly. “Giles,” she agreed.

“You’re every bit as lovely as William said you were,” Giles informed her with a twinkle in his eye.

Elizabeth blushed. Damn, what was it with her and Giles men? Spike slipped his arm around her waist, and she managed an embarrassed little smile.

“Thanks,” she said softly.

“So, then,” Joyce announced, “now that we’re all introduced, why don’t we head out for dinner? Rupert, dear, did you have any more luggage?”

“Just this,” he gestured to the roller bag he had dragged along with him. He gave Joyce a crooked smile. “I figured I wouldn’t be needing many clothes...”

Spike groaned and buried his head in Elizabeth’s shoulder while she furiously blushed. “Dad!” he complained. “You’re old! That’s gross!”

“Ah, it’s lovely to see how much he’s matured,” Giles joked wistfully.

Spike sent a scowl his way and took his father’s bag from him.

“So, Elizabeth,” Giles began as they made their way back to the car, “I heard you’re from California.”

“Sunnydale,” she agreed with a nod, setting pace with him.

“So, how are you faring in the land of two-foot blizzards?” Giles inquired.

“The snow is nice,” Elizabeth’s brow furrowed, “...at first,” she admitted with a grimace.

Giles laughed at that, trudging through the slush at the edge of the street alongside her. “Yes, it is a bit...extreme,” he agreed. “I always feel sorry for Joyce and William. They’re trapped here while I enjoy the delightfully mild English winters.”

“You mean the nonstop rain?” Joyce countered. “Give me cold, clear skies any day.”

“Americans,” Giles rolled his eyes heavenward. “Right, Will?”

Spike merely shrugged, uncharacteristically silent as he watched Elizabeth and his father interact.

“Not for me,” Elizabeth retorted. “I live in a land where clouds and snow are a myth.”

“Californians,” Spike imitated his father’s scoff perfectly.

Elizabeth gave him a playful whap in response before linking her arm through his. “So where are we headed for dinner?” she asked. “’Cause I’m starved.”

She smiled up at Spike as he helped her into the back seat. She noticed Giles treat Joyce with the same gesture and finally solved the mystery of where Spike had picked up his seemingly-out-of-place gentlemanly habits.

The gentleman was gone the instant he slipped into the backseat beside her, however. Hidden from his parents’ eyes now, Spike let his hands slip up her inner thigh, stroking the sensitive flesh there through the fabric of her pants.

Elizabeth looked into those blue eyes of his, and they shared a conspiratorial little smile before her hand drifted over to his thigh as well, studiously avoiding the bulge in the jeans; there were some embarrassing accidents that Elizabeth didn’t feel like cleaning up with Spike’s parents less than five feet away. Elizabeth fluttered her eyelashes at him coyly and inched closer, letting their thighs brush as they cuddled up together.

Giles couldn’t help but smile to himself at the affection Elizabeth and his son so obviously shared for each other. “Did you two enjoy your classes this semester?” he inquired.

Spike shrugged. “Not bad,” he agreed.

“I heard you were both in Barb’s class,” Giles continued. “I take it she hasn’t lost her touch?”

“Professor Hall’s very cool,” Elizabeth agreed, slipping her free arm around Spike’s waist. Damn, this whole forced distance thing was difficult. She was used to being able to just jump those sexy bones of his whenever she wanted when it was just the Westing House crowd around.

“Are you going to take her class next semester?” Giles asked curiously.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Elizabeth admitted, biting her lower lip. “I mean, it’s not a requirement or anything...”

“C’mon, luv,” Spike urged. “It’ll be fun...” His thumb nicked a certain spot right between her thighs that reminded her just how much fun she and Spike had in class together.

“Sounds good,” she agreed, cheeks flushed.

“I was glad to see that you’re sticking through Visual Arts 102,” Joyce commented, pulling up in front of the only French restaurant in town – the one that was way too expensive for anyone but the college professors to go to.

“That was the only class I automatically pre-registered for,” Elizabeth agreed with a smile. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” She accepted the hand Spike offered her out of the car and gave him a quirky, amused smile in response.

“What?” he demanded, fidgeting slightly.

“Cute kitty-cat,” she accused in a whisper, then headed after Giles and Joyce before he could retort.

He watched her hips sashay back and forth for a minute, a dreamy smile on his face, before he finally joined the rest of his family in the restaurant.

“You’re an artist, then?” Giles asked approvingly as they were immediately led to a quiet table in the corner.

Elizabeth let Spike take her coat and sat down. “Well, this is the first art class I’ve taken,” she admitted, “but I really like it.”

“You should have seen Elizabeth’s final project,” Joyce said excitedly. “She’s done this entire series of landscapes – like George Morrison but with a bit more of a personal feel to them that makes them seem realistic and surreal at the same time. They’re really quite exquisite.”

“I’ll have to stop by the gallery some time over the holiday,” Giles agreed with a smile. “Have you thought about taking further art classes?”

Elizabeth bit her lower lip. “I’m pretty sure my father wouldn’t be too happy if I did,” she admitted guiltily. “He kinda wants me to be an econ major.”

Giles waved one hand in the air dismissively. “If you’re meant to be an artist, then there’s no way your father can stop you,” he insisted.

“You haven’t met my dad,” Elizabeth countered with a grimace.

“’S not like he would even find out,” Spike shrugged. “It’d just be another li’l conspiracy.”

Giles raised a curious eyebrow at that.

“Technically,” Elizabeth confessed, “I’m staying with Willow and Tara over break.”

“Our William’s her secret boyfriend,” Joyce agreed with a conspiratorial giggle.

“Running around behind the old man’s back,” Giles raise his glass with a smile. “Good for you...”

* * *

“So,” Spike demanded the instant Elizabeth and Joyce had disappeared on one of those mysterious two-person bathroom breaks women always seemed to engage in, “what do you think?”

“Well...” Giles began with a frown, unable to resist teasing his son.

Spike winced inwardly.

“I like her.” Giles broke into a wide grin.

Spike blinked in confusion for a minute, trying to process that the worst of all scenarios hadn’t just occurred. “Huh?” he gaped eloquently.

“I find her clever, witty, engaging, and obviously quite genuinely fond of you,” Giles clarified. “In short, I like her quite a lot.”

A wide smile of relief lit up Spike’s face at that. “Thanks, dad.” He let out the breath he had been holding.

“I cannot imagine why you’re surprised,” Giles teased, turning back to his wine...

* * *

Willow and Tara exchanged a curious glance when a knock sounded on the door to Tara’s dorm suite.

“Elizabeth and Spike?” Willow guessed as Tara went to open the door.

Tara shrugged.

The sight on the other side was anything but what they were expecting, however. A teenage girl of no more than sixteen at the most seemed highly out of place in the college dorm – especially with the duffel bag she toted over one shoulder and the suitcase on the floor behind her.

Tara blinked in surprise.

Willow approached the door curiously, an inquiring frown on her face.

The girls apparently didn’t notice, and merely tossed her long, brown hair over one shoulder. “Hi, I’m Dawn Summers,” she said with a bright smile, “and I’m looking for my sister, Buffy...”

And, with that tantalizing taste of things to come, I will cruelly leave off. ~_^ Be sure to review 'cause, y'know...just 'cause.

On To Chapter 22