Fic: Ostara Blessings

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Title: Ostara Blessings

Author: fancyflautist 

Era/season/setting: S6/S7

Rating: PG (minor language)

Summary: Willow enlists the help of the Scoobies for a big abundance ritual for Ostara.  Meanwhile, Buffy is trying to push forward in her relationship with Spike. Featuring grass facts, a hell-bunny, and an original Wiccan ritual!

“So, I have the ritual all planned, and I want everyone to take part!” Willow was thrilled as she looked at her group of friends sitting around the table at the Magic Box. Unfortunately, no one but her girlfriend could summon the will to act the same.

“No, come on guys, it’ll be great! We’ll pair up, Dawnie will play the maiden, we’ll do the ritual, and voila, extra blessings for the coming year!”

“Pair up?” Xander asked.

“Playing the maiden?” Dawn chimed in.

“Well, the ritual requires pairs, because Ostara is a holiday of fertility and abundance. It’s why we can invoke the blessings of the goddess for those things in the upcoming year. When we cast the circle, we need two pairs- one to stand for fire and water, and one to stand for earth and air. Dawnie, as the aspect of the maiden goddess, you’ll stand for spirit. Tara and I will lead the ritual.”

Anya looked around the table, confused. “That would leave Xander, Buffy and I as the only ones left. We’d be missing a partner.”

Tara spoke up. “We thought Spike could partner with Buffy.”

The girl in question’s head shot up. “You think he’s going to say yes to this?”

“If you asked him…” Willow trailed off knowingly.

Buffy sighed. “Wiiiillow!”

Willow saw her whine and raised her a begging face. “Please?”

“Fine.” Buffy dropped her head to the table. “I’ll talk to him about it before patrol.”

~

“Hell no.”

“Spike.”

“Hell. No. Summers!”

“Spike, please? It means a lot to her.”

“Usually when you’re talking about partnered fertility rituals there’s naked dancing and sacrificing of men- I’m not gettin’ mixed up in that.”

Buffy sighed and punched his shoulder. “Don’t be so dramatic, Spike. Dawnie’s gonna be involved, do you really think Willow would do anything objectionable in front of her?” At his raised eyebrow, she rolled her eyes and added, “Again?”

“Don’t think I fancy riskin’ it, Slayer.”

The next move in her arsenal was risky. They’d studiously avoided pushing any kind of boundaries since their agreement to go back to the friendship they’d had right after Buffy’s resurrection. Buffy had come to him after Xander and Anya’s wedding, when the couple left the reception for their honeymoon.

“Spike?” She called out softly into the darkness of the crypt.

Her eyes caught his figure, his head shooting up from where it had rested on a couch cushion. “Buffy?” He looked stunned.

She decided to dive right in. “Things were fine, for a while, you know?”

“Huh?”

“Right when I got back. You were the only thing holding me together, Spike. I could come to you for anything, and somewhere in our whole screwed up journey, we lost that. I want it back. I can’t use you anymore, but… we could start back again? Back when you were my best friend? And maybe someday I’ll be better, and I’ll be ready to take the next step with you, but- for now, for right now, could we just…?” She trailed off, looking lost.  Even in the dim light, he could see the tears in her eyes.

He stood up and walked over to her, taking her hands. “I’m in.” He smiled sadly down at her as a tear fell down her cheek and her eyes shone with relief. “Can I hug you?”

She answered his question with action, grabbing him in a bear hug. In his arms, she relaxed for the first time in weeks.

Things had gone back to the old way between them fairly easily, and the few awkward moments where one or the other forgot themselves didn’t seem to be having a negative effect on their relationship.

Which was what made Buffy brave enough to just go for it.

She grabbed his arm, hanging on it and pouting up at him. “But it would make me happy.” She fluttered her eyelashes.

“God, woman, you’ll be the death of me yet.” Spike groaned. “Fine, fine! I’ll do the sodding ritual. But if I lose any bits, I’m holding you personally responsible.”

Buffy giggled. “I’ll protect your bits with my life, promise.” And with that, she placed a light kiss to his cheek.

His head turned towards her quickly, and he gave her a strange look. After a moment of looking at her, he shook it off and stared straight ahead as if nothing had happened.  They continued to walk with her arm threaded through his.

She’d forgotten how nice it was to walk with him like this. The self-enforced distance they’d placed between them over the last few months seemed to have done its job, and now she was just happy to be with him.

The Scoobies were slowly starting to accept that he was part of the group, at least. And the two of them were back to banter without heat- his usual demeanor which she found so soothing. She wouldn’t be using him this time. No, this time she wanted all of it. They’d gotten back to their foundation, and now it was ready to be built upon.

And so, she flinched when they reached her house and he pulled away like he’d been bitten.  He refused to meet her eyes as he called out a quiet “G’night,” and spun on his heel, disappearing off into the night.

Her face fell, and her quietly whispered “Good night, Spike,” was heard only by the darkness.

~

The next day, Willow was waiting to ambush her at the Magic Box.

“Did you manage to get him to say yes?!”

Buffy rolled her eyes, walking past her friend and sitting down at the table in the back next to Xander. “Yeah, Wills, he said he’d do it.”

“Yes!” She turned to her girlfriend. “Okay, so we have 2 days to get everything together. It’s probably a good idea to have a run-through the day before, and maybe some prep the day of…”

Tara looked at the group apologetically before following Willow off to the corner where she’d taken a notebook, and was furiously leafing through magic books.

Buffy looked over at Xander and whispered softly, “Is it too late to bail on this?”

Xander’s laugh was louder, but Willow was so entranced in her research she didn’t notice. “I think so, Buff. Besides, it shouldn’t be too bad. We could all use a little abundance!”

She raised her eyebrows challengingly. “And the fertility? You and Anya ready to be parents?”

He choked for a minute before recovering, glancing up at his wife.  “No, but I don’t think doubling up on birth control is too much to pay for having a better year than last year.”

Buffy sighed heavily. “I guess you’re right. And it does seem to mean a lot to her. At least it’s a white magick thing that she can focus on.”

He tipped his imaginary hat to her. “Amen to that!”

Eventually Buffy headed to the back room to train some, not stopping until she heard a commotion from the store proper.

“Oh, I was just about to come get you, Buffy! Spike brought Dawn over, so I thought now that we’re all together we could go over more details for the ritual.”

Dawn skipped over to the table happily. “Oh, yes, tell me all about how I’m going to be a goddess!”

Everyone followed her except Buffy and Spike.  Buffy looked over and saw the sour look on his face, so she grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the empty seats at the research table.

“Come on, Big Bad, time to help us plan some white magicks!” She stuck her tongue out a him playfully.

Spike’s anger was clearly fake, which made her smile even wider. “Bloody hell, woman. One of these days I’m going to drink from your brainstem.”

She shoved him down into a chair, leaning over him gently to wrap an arm around him, reaching to tap his shoulder in consolation. When she spoke, her voice was close enough that he nearly shivered. “Go ahead and try me, mister.”

He froze completely, looking away without responding as she took her own seat.  The atmosphere around the table was tense for a minute or so before Dawn broke the spell of awkwardness. “So, Willow, the ritual!”

Everyone but the couple in question threw her grateful looks.

“Okay, so the basic plan is this- we show up, we smudge ourselves and the area, and everyone helps us cast a circle. Then Tara, Dawn and I will anoint each other with seasonal oils, the three of us will do some chant-y goodness, and the moon water we consecrate will be passed around for everyone to sip from- that’s that part that does the abundance-bestowing.”

“So, no sacrifices or nudity?” Spike piped up.

Willow gave him an odd look. “No, none of that.”

“Don’t worry about him, he’s terrified this is going to turn into a man-hating ceremony and he’ll lose his bits.”

Buffy’s comment had been joking, but Xander looked up in alarm. “It’s not, is it?!”

Willow rolled her eyes. “No, Xander. For non-Dianic wiccans the sabbat is about the union of the Horned God and Maiden Goddess. We plan on calling on the Goddess most prevalently, but the Horned God will still be invoked, since balance is part of the whole fertility and abundance thing. I don’t think he’d take kindly to us sacrificing the male energy of our circle.”

Anya nodded her head decisively. “Good. Because we’ve only been married a few months, and I was told I could expect years before the orgasms die out.”

Tara patted her friend gently on the arm. “Don’t worry, there’s no risk to anyone’s orgasms.”

“Oh, but we do need to get a dress for Dawnie- is it okay if we take her out when she gets off of school tomorrow?” Willow asked Buffy, who nodded.  Then she addressed the table, “And everyone should try to dress in light clothes, if possible.”

Spike just raised his eyebrows. “You seen my wardrobe, Red?”

Buffy rolled her eyes and nudged him with her shoulder. “I’m off again tomorrow, we can take the sewers to the mall and get you an outfit, how’s that?”

“You paying, Summers?”

Another eyeroll. “Yes, I’ll pay. You’re lucky I managed to get hired at the only martial arts school that gives bonuses.”

With that he actually turned to look at her. “’Managed’ to get hired, as if you didn’t have every sodding school climbing over themselves to get you.”

She tried to look annoyed as she shouldered him again, but she couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across her lips. It’d been his idea to get a job teaching fighting, and all the local schools really had been desperate to give her the best offer.

Anya glanced up at the clock and stood, pulling Xander with him. “It’s after eight, Xander and I have to go home for orgasm time. It’s important for a healthy marriage.”

Willow laughed and grabbed Tara’s hand to drag her towards the door as well. “We’ll go do that too.”

That left Spike and the Summers girls alone in the store. It was quiet for a minute before Spike spoke up.

“Want me to walk home with you and the niblet, pet?”

“That’d be nice. Dawnie, grab your things. And be thinking about what you want for dinner.” She turned to Spike as he slid his duster back on. “Do you want to stay and eat with us?”

He shook his head.  If she didn’t know him as well as she did, she wouldn’t have noticed the tension in his jaw. “Not tonight, I’ll probably catch a poker game or summat.”

“Oh, so if you win does that mean you’ll buy my dress for me since I’m getting your stuff?” She hooked her hand through his arm again.

He looked down into her sparkling eyes, trying to keep himself from getting lost in their depths. “Cheeky bint.”

She squeezed his arm, beaming up at him. “Yeah, but you love me.”

His face flashed with fear before he shrugged off her arm and jogged ahead.

“What was that, Bit?”

Dawn just raised her eyebrows, taking in the sad look on her sister’s face and the desperation on Spike’s. “I didn’t say anything.”

He ran his hand through his hair awkwardly. “Uh… oh. Thought you’d said something.”

Dawn turned onto the pathway to the front steps. “Nope, nothing at all. See you guys, goodnight!” And with that she took off running into the house, leaving a pair of bewildered blondes in her wake.

“So, I, uhm… yeah… better be off, then.”

“Yeah,” she replied, trying to keep the sadness out of her voice. “I’ll come by once Dawn’s off to school tomorrow, then?”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you then.”

He turned to leave, but Buffy caught his hand. “Hey,” she said softly.

“Yeh?”

“Can I have a hug, maybe?” She figured it was a nice, happy, medium between her flirtations the last couple of days and the previous strictly-platonic status quo.  Besides, he’d held her when she was upset a million times before. Even if he didn’t want her like that anymore, it shouldn’t be a problem. She hoped.

His arms were stiff as they wrapped around her, but when she settled herself against his chest, a moment later he began to relax. She held him tightly, reveling in the familiarity of his body.

A few minutes later, she whispered a quiet ‘thank you,’ against his chest and pressed her lips down.  Immediately he stiffened once again, and in seconds he was gone, pulled away.  “See you in the morning.” He had taken a few steps away, then turned back. “Sleep well, Buffy.”

And then he disappeared into the dark yet again.

~

The next day Buffy left for Spike’s crypt the second Dawn was safely in Xander’s car. She’d ignored her sister’s ribbing as she tried to find a good outfit for the mall- something that was reasonably pretty, but still easy enough to change in and out of a million times as she tried to find a ritual dress.

She was hopeful as she slipped through the doors to the crypt, trying to keep out as much sunlight as possible. They’d

Inside the mall, Buffy led them to one of the anchor department stores to start shopping. They split up to find things to try on, but agreed to meet back up by the dressing rooms.

He was waiting for her when she approached, arms full of dresses in soft pastels.

“How many bloody frocks do you need, woman?”

Buffy glared at him without heat. “There are a lot of pretty ones to try on, okay. And what about you? Did you seriously only get ONE outfit?”

“If I don’t like it, I can go back out and get more things. I’m not all fussy like some silly chit,” he teased, and Buffy rolled her eyes.

“Okay, whatever. Let’s just get to the actual trying-on part.”

They took changing stalls on opposite sides of the aisle.

“Let me know when you’re dressed and we can come out at the same time, okay?” Buffy called out after she locked the door.

He agreed, and it was silent for a minute while they both changed.

“Got my kit on, pet. Ready whenever you are,” Spike called.

“Okay, come out on the count of three. One, two, three,” she counted off and stepped out of the dressing room.

She could hardly believe her eyes.  Spike looked like an angel in his khakis and open white button-down. She allowed her eyes to feast for a minute before walking over and fingering his lapels.

“You sure clean up nice,” she smiled up at him sweetly.

His voice was hoarse when he replied, stepping back from her to look at her in the dress again. “Buffy, love, you look…”

Her eyes gleamed wickedly. “Aw, come on, Spikey. It’s the first dress, don’t tell me you’ve run out of adjectives already.”

“Oh, I’ll give you adjectives! Infuriating, impossible, pain-in-my-ass…”

She looked at him thoughtfully. “Is that an adjective?”

He rolled his eyes at her, leaning against the door to his changing room. “Who bloody cares.  Go try on more of the frocks so I can do the whole ooh-and-aww routine.”

She turned to go back into the room, shaking her head. “It’d better not be a routine. If you’re not being honest, I’ll stake you, I swear.”

“I’d like to see you try, Slayer.”

The cocky confidence on his face when she walked out again set a fire in her. A fire which quickly turned into butterflies as his stare turned to one of awe.  He looked at her the same way during their first time together, and it took her breath away.

“What, something on my face?” She laughed nervously.

“Bloody hell, Buffy.” He took her hand and gestured for her to twirl, looking her over appreciatively. “That’s the one.”

She finished twirling and pouted at him. “But I’ve only tried on two!”

His amusement at her pout broke through his awe at the vision in front of him. “You asked me for my opinion, pet, and I’m giving it to you. That dress was made for you.”

Her face broke into a smile as her heart swelled. Spike was always so good at making her feel beautiful and wanted. She walked over and looked into the mirror at herself. She ran her fingers over the lace on the bodice and held out the flowy, gauzy skirts. “You really like it?”

She felt his hand on her hip even though she was alone in the mirror.  He tugged her and she turned to face him. He leaned down and pressed their foreheads together. “You should be the one playing the goddess, kitten.”

They stared at each other for a long minute, lost in the heat and connection between them.  Then once again, seemingly out of nowhere, Spike stiffened and pulled away.

“Better get back into my normal clothes so you can pay for these, huh, Slayer.”

She sighed and turned back to her own dressing room with a quiet, “yeah, I guess so…”

~

Buffy wasn’t sure what had happened back there, but she knew her heart hurt.  Instead of walking back with him in the sewers and hanging around his crypt like she normally would, Buffy went straight home to wait for her sister. Dawn was getting older, and she was also good at getting into Spike’s head. Hopefully she could calm Buffy’s fears that Spike had fallen out of love with her.

When she came in, she walked right past Buffy, heading towards the kitchen.

“Dawn!”  Buffy laughed as her sister jumped out of her skin.

“Don’t DO that to me! What are you doing home?”

“I wanted to talk to you.”

Dawn looked at her sister wearily. “Okayyy.”

“It’s about Spike.”

The younger girl was quickly losing patience. “What about Spike?”

“Do you think he’s over me?” she asked quickly, trying to keep the extent of her anxieties off her face.

Dawn’s response was to laugh out loud, but to her credit, she did look apologetic when she saw Buffy’s wide eyes. “No, Buffy, there’s no way he’s over you. The way he looks at you when he thinks you can’t see- he’s clearly still head over heels.”

Buffy sighed and sat down on a stool, shoulders slumped. “Then why the hell is he not picking up the hints I’m dropping? Hints with about as much subtlety as Olaf’s hammer?”

Dawn smiled sympathetically and put an arm around her. “He’s scared, Buffy. I don’t know details, but I know things were really rough with you guys for a while. I think he’s worried about pushing you and losing all the progress you’ve made.”

Buffy pouted unsympathetically. “Well that’s just stupid. He’s supposed to read my mind like he always does.”

Dawn shook her head. “You’ve got to be patient. If you keep it up, he’ll figure it out. I’d recommend you have a conversation with him, but having lived on the same planet as you two I know better.”

Buffy stuck her tongue out, following her sister as she grabbed an apple and headed for the stairs.

“Patient. I can do patient.”

At Dawn’s sharp turn and raised eyebrows, she sheepishly amended, “I can do that… if you keep me distracted.”

“Come on, I’ll show off my dress and you can show off yours and then we’ll go watch some movies.  Then tomorrow when you go get him for the ritual practice run you can fall all over yourself for him some more and maybe he’ll pick up on it.”

Buffy elbowed her with a smile. “Brat.”

~

When Buffy walked into the magic shop with Dawn the next day, everyone was already there.

“Oh, good, we can get started!” Willow ran over and grabbed Buffy’s hands, pulling her to a tape-marked spot on the floor. Over her shoulder she directed Dawn to her spot in the center.

Spike was directly to her right in the circle when she looked up, which she supposed she should have been expecting.  She held his gaze and smiled, then watched as Willow handed him a candle.

“Okay, so we’ll pretend the smudging thing is already done. Then Tara and I will start casting the circle.”

Tara walked over to where Anya stood and lit her candle.  Then Willow approached Spike and lit his, and Tara lit Buffy’s.  Willow lit Xander’s last, and then she instructed Dawn to light hers.

“Okay, so that’s the circle.  Now we’ll do our anoint-y, chant-y goodness.  Tara and I will work with Dawn on that part tonight and tomorrow morning. Then… we did decide to add something.” She looked a little sheepish, but then her confidence came back. “Basically, we want to have the elements make offerings to aid in the consecration of the moon water, and part of that is a celebration of balance. So, the pairs have to commune- hug, or kiss or something.”

Buffy’s eyes lit up, but she noticed Spike stiffening. Inside, she wanted to dance with glee. This could be it! If she could just get a kiss from him, even for a ritual, maybe he’d figure out what she wanted.

“So, Xander and Anya first will come up to the center altar and do the communion thing, and then place their offerings- the flowers that’ll be taped to the candles you’re holding- in the goblet of water.”

The couple did as instructed, walking to the center and sharing a warm kiss before putting their pretend offerings in the pretend water.

“And now Buffy and Spike.”

Her eyes didn’t leave his for a second.  They both approached the center, and he watched as she slowly leaned in.

Closer.

Closer.

Her lips were nearly touching his now.

And suddenly she’d been pulled against his chest, but her head was tucked to the side against his neck. She was only in his arms for a split second and then he pulled away, walking quickly back to his spot.

Buffy stayed there for a minute, stunned. What the hell had just happened?

As she halfway listened to Willow going over the rest of the ritual, Buffy went over those couple minutes in her mind a million times.  She had no idea how Dawn thought he still had feelings for her, because clearly, he didn’t. Or if he did, he had lost about a billion brain cells since they’d been together.

Except that wasn’t true. She knew why he was so afraid, and it was disgusting of her to pretend not to. She’d hurt him the first go around, a lot. She’d fucked with his sense of self-worth enough that she’d be lucky if he understood anything but the truth slapping him over the head to get through to him.

She was so caught up in her regrets that she didn’t notice that Willow had concluded practice until Dawn was waving in her face while Spike looked on, concerned.

“Buffy? Earth to Buffy?”

“Sorry, I must have zoned. Time to head home?”

“Yeah, sure. Spike, will you walk with us?” Dawn turned her best puppy dog eyes on the vampire.

“Those eyes and your sister’s lip. Lethal weapons, I tell ya,” he grumbled as he headed for the door. Behind his back, the girls stopped and shared a look.

He’d mentioned the lip. The pouty lip of grabbing! Was he finally figuring out what she was doing? Was it a slip? Buffy wanted to cry at how complicated it all was. She missed being confident in her ability to read him.

When they caught back up, Dawn started discussing her most recent English paper with him. Buffy fell behind a step or two and just took in the moment.

God, this was part of why she was finally so sure about what she wanted.  She’d finally stepped back and started letting Spike and Dawn spend time together. It still shocked her just how well he fit into her family. He was a good big brother, helping keep track of her homework and tutoring her where he could. They’d had plenty a movie night and game night together in the last few months, just the three of them, and it was always a great time.

A few blocks from the house Buffy resolved to make another move of some sort before he left for the night. When they reached her house, Spike had given Dawn a quick hug but didn’t broach the porch where Buffy was unlocking the door.  Instead he called out a quick ‘goodnight’ and walked away.

When he had faded from view, Dawn walked over to where her sister stood frozen on the porch. “You okay, sis?”

“Yeah.  If at first you don’t succeed and all that, right? Come on, let’s go get some dinner before it gets any later. You’ve got school in the morning and I have work, and then you’ll be going straight from school to get ready for the ritual, right?”

“Yeah, there’s all kinds of extra purification I have to do since I’m the aspect of the goddess or whatever. Are you going to see Spike before you guys head to the place?”

“No, he’s going to pick me up from here so I can get a shower and get dressed and everything. I’m teaching a couple extra classes tomorrow.”

Dawn wrapped her arm around her big sister as they made their way into the house.  “Just try it again. And don’t forget to be patient with him, alright?”

Buffy sighed. “Alright. Go ahead and order us in some Chinese, okay?”

As she watched her sister hop excitedly into the kitchen, Buffy sighed. Patience. She could do that, right?

~

Spike picked her up from Revello a few minutes after dusk and together they drove to the parking lot for the trail to the ritual space. When they arrived, Tara’s car and Xander’s car were already there.

As they got out of the car and headed for the trail, Buffy directed herself to his side.  He didn’t object when she grabbed his hand, just clenched his jaw.

“Thank you for driving me,” she said sweetly.

“Not a problem, pet,” he replied reflexively.

They were only a few meters past the tree line on the trail, but she pulled him to a stop. “Wait, I mean it.”

He stopped, but didn’t meet her eyes. His lack of attention meant she made it quite close to his face before he realized her intention and ducked the kiss.

He moved away awkwardly, stepping deeper into the woods. “I don’t think we should… uh…”

Patience, Buffy.

Patience.

Patience.

Ah, screw it. When had either of them ever been patient?

She rounded on him. “I’m coming on to you, doofus.”

Spike was taken aback. “You’re what, now?”

Buffy walked over and punctuated her words with pokes in his chest. “I’m. Coming. On. To. You. How have you not picked up on it yet?”

He ran his hand through his hair awkwardly. “I guess… I just… uh…”

She rolled her eyes hard at that. “Don’t you think it’s a little suspicious that we’ve lasted months keeping things perfectly friendly, but now in the last 3 days I’ve put us in about a billion situations where you could make a move? I want you, you dope! Things have been better, we’ve been better, and I want you.”

She could see hope and fear warring in his eyes as he struggled not to back away from her.

“Do you not want me anymore?” Her voice was soft as she looked away.

His unseen expression was horrified. “Don’t be daft, of course I want you.”

She went from sad to fired up in a split second. “Then what’s the problem here?!”

Spike sighed and grabbed her upper arms. “I’m not eager to go back to how things were, Buffy. I want to be with you, yeh, but I don’t think it’s worth to going back to Kick the Spike, not with what we have now.”

Her eyes welled up and she felt her heart breaking, all traces of annoyance vanished. “I’m so sorry, Spike. That’s not what I want either. I know I screwed up. I know I was… so awful. But I’ve matured! I’m all with the admitting-I-like-Spike-age now, you know? I’m not looking to sneak around in the dark with you. I want what we have now, but with a lot more smoochies.”

“Really?” She could see the walls he’d built up around his heart breaking down.

“Really,” she confirmed, smiling brightly at him.

“Think I can handle that, Buffy.” His gaze was fire against her soul, and the embrace he wrapped her in as he kissed her felt like completion and soaring and…

And finally. How had she not appreciated this the first time?

She wanted nothing more than to lose herself in his hair and his hands and his lips and…

“Guys, we’re ready to start the ritual!” Willow’s voice sounded through the woods from the clearing, and Buffy and Spike both deflated.

“After?” Buffy asked.

“After.”

~

Tara looked around the group, where everyone waited in their places. “Everyone ready?”

When they nodded, Willow and Tara moved from her position in the center of the circle over towards Anya.

“Element of air, Guardian of the East, you are the spring breeze that cools us.  We ask that you be present in our circle.”  Tara lit the candle Anya held, then walked with Willow over to Spike.

“Element of fire, Guardian of the South, you are the warmth of the sun which nurtures the plants. We ask that you be present in our circle.” Willow lit Spike’s candle, then the witches made their way over to Xander.

“Element of Water, Guardian of the West, you are the rains that cleanse away the detritus from the frost. We ask that you be present in this circle.” Tara lit Buffy’s candle.

“Element of Earth, Guardian of the South, you are the new growth of the season, providing us with abundance. We ask that you be present in this circle.” Willow lit Xander’s candle, at which point both witches made their way to stand on either side of Dawn where she faced the altar.

“Element of Spirit, Guardian of the Center, you are the spark of life and beginnings we all hold inside. I ask that you be present in this circle,” Dawn called and lit her candle.

Tara was the next to speak. “I stand today as the aspect of the Crone, whose experience gives way to the youthfulness of the Maiden as we begin the time of new growth. I anoint you, aspect of the Maiden, in oils of prosperity that you may bless our ritual.”

Dawn bent her head and allowed Tara to draw a pentagram with oil on her forehead.  Then she turned to Willow.

“I stand today as aspect of the Maiden, who rules the spring in youth, beauty, and fertility. Soon my influence will give way and I shall transform into the nurturing Mother goddess, and so I anoint her aspect in oils of prosperity that she might bless our ritual.”

She drew the same pentagram on Willow’s forehead, who then walked to the over to face Tara.

“I stand today as aspect of the Mother, who produces abundance and nurtures new creation.  When my time passes, the experience I gain shall transform me into the wise and seeing guise of the Crone goddess.  And so, I anoint her aspect in oils of prosperity that she might bless our ritual.”

Together, they closed their eyes and spoke as one. “Together we are the aspect of the Great Goddess, and we call upon Her to be present with us and aid us in our quest. We call also the Horned God, whose power and virility provide energy to the growth of the season.”

The three then sat in a triangle around the altar, holding hands.

“We call upon the powers in our circle to invoke our magical works. We call upon the powers in our circle to invoke our magical works. We call upon the powers in the circle to invoke our magical works,” they chanted together.

After a moment of silence, the trio stood up and Tara spoke again. “This water was consecrated under the sacred light of the full moon.  Tonight, we ask to strengthen its magical power and connection to the goddess with offerings from the bearers of the circle of elements.”

“We call for balance. Air, and Earth.” Willow intoned, and Xander and Anya put their candles down on the tables behind them and came to the center of the circle.  They placed down their offerings with a kiss, then walked back to their spots.

“Water, and Fire.”

It was their turn. Spike and Buffy placed their candles down and headed for the center. When they met, Spike pulled her into a tight embrace, kissing her deeply for a long moment. The look they shared as they made their offerings made Buffy’s heart swell, and she halfway noticed the cheers from her friends.

Tara cleared her throat as the couple made their way back across the circle from each other, and the noise subsided.

“And Spirit, the harbinger of which stands in communion with the Maiden Goddess.”

Dawn placed in her own offering before bowing to the goblet and taking it in her hands. The water made the petals of the floral elemental offerings shimmer lightly. The air felt magical, the potential of the ritual filling the area.

Suddenly a voice broke the moment.

“What the hell is that?” Xander looked across the circle at a point behind Anya. They’d all heard the branch break, but Xander was the only one to see the thing.

“Bloody hell!” Spike shouted, and he and Buffy were after it right away as it stalked the edges of the circle.

Whatever it was looked almost like a bunny, but with terrifying teeth and blood splattered across its face.

“Don’t break the circle! Wait for Tara to let you out!” Willow shouted, and Tara hurriedly grabbed the two knives sitting on the altar.

“Buffy, Spike!”

They followed her to the side of the circle opposite a cowering Anya, and she handed Buffy the white knife.  With the fancier black one, she cut an entrance in the circle and rushed them through it.

The terrifying rabbit thing had been nosing around the edges of the circle looking for an entrance, and its head shot up as soon as the couple breached the edge. Before they could blink it jumped on Spike, making savage attempts at biting.

“Spike!” Buffy called his name and tossed him the knife she’d been given.  His stab went straight for the creature’s neck, but it took several attempts before the thing weakened enough to be thrown off.

Buffy ran straight for Spike, who had sustained several scratches from the thing’s claws. “Are you okay?!” she asked worriedly.

“I’m fine. Is it dead?”

Both of them walked over and peered at the body.  Buffy nudged it with the toe of her shoe.

“I think so,” she shrugged.

“Evil Easter Bunny. Well, that’s one way to interrupt an Easter ritual.” Xander chimed in as the group watched the heroes stand, out of breath, over the body of the… thing.

Willow just sighed. “Buffy, Spike, take your spots back. Let’s get this finished and get away from the scary bunny monster carcass.”

~

A few minutes later, with the ritual formally ended and the hell-bunny dead, the group began the slow walk back towards civilization.

After a few minutes of relative silence, Dawn turned to Spike.  “Tell me something about grass.”

“Are you off your bird? What are you on about?” Buffy had to laugh as he stared at her sister like she’d grown a second head.

In return, Dawn looked at him like he was stupid. “It’s Ostara, which is Easter, and grass is Easter-y. So, go on, you’re a hundred-something years old, you have to have some sort of grass facts stored up there!”

“Hate to break it to you, Lil Bit, but in my hundred years of evil I didn’t do much grass research.”

Dawn groaned and stamped her foot. “Okay, Willow! You have to know something out grass.”

“Corn is grass. And bamboo,” the witch replied offhand.

“Grasses hold down the topsoil and prevent erosion, I know that much.  It’s part of why it’s so important to protect natural grasslands like in the Midwest,” Tara chimed in.

“Grass grows from the bottom up, too.  That’s why we can mow lawns and not massacre all the plants,” Xander chimed in.

“Huh.” Dawn looked pleased. “Grass is cool.”

Spike chuckled at her. “You’re a strange one, Niblet.”

The group walked together until they reached the parking lot, listening in amusement as Xander and Anya argued over whether mowing lawns counted as torture to grass. When they reached the car, the couple had reached an impasse (Anya insisted that intelligence wasn’t needed for something to be tortured, to which Xander could only counter, ‘but it’s GRASS!’), and they all said goodbye before heading for home.

Dawn came with Buffy and Spike this time, but she scurried off to her room right away once they arrived to give them some privacy.

“Porch?” Buffy asked him, tilting her head towards the kitchen door.

“Sounds perfect, love.”

They made their way out to sit on the steps. As they sat, Buffy made to kiss his cheek softly.  At the last second, he turned his head and caught the kiss full on the lips.

“Hey!” Her protest was belied by her girlish giggle.

“Evil, pet, don’t forget it.” His eyes sparkled, but Buffy’s response was serious.

“You haven’t been evil for a long time, Spike.”

His lips twisted in a smirk that closer resembled a grimace, even though her voice was warm.

“I think, ‘you came back wrong,’ begs to differ.”

She pulled him closer to her, sliding her hands up his lapels to wrap around his neck. “You weren’t evil, Spike, you were hurting. I coped by hurting you, and you coped by hurting me back. Neither of us had our heads on very straight there for a while. It’s in the past, though. We’ve come a long way.”

“Suppose we have, at that.” He moved a lock of hair off her face as he looked at her in semi-disbelief.

It was quiet for a moment, and as he twirled her hair around his finger, she looked up at him shyly. “You should call me Goldilocks sometimes.”

He smiled curiously at her, tilting his head in that way that made her heart skip a beat. “Why’s that, pet?”

She ducked her eyes away quickly. “I regret cutting my hair a lot. I mean honestly, it’s way too “ear cutting to spite my face” to suit me. I mean, what was I, five? I was just overcompensating because I liked it so much.”

His smile was searing and seductive. “I’ll keep that in mind, Goldilocks.”

Her only response was to kiss him again, passionately.

“Happy Ostara, Buffy,” Spike whispered softly in her ear when they pulled back for her to breathe.

“Happy Ostara, Spike,” she replied before kissing him again, pulling him close to her.

As they melded together, Buffy reveled in the fact that he was hers, finally. They’d made it through the pain and the awkwardness, and finally everything about them fit just right. They’d built a foundation of friendship and trust, and it was high time to build something bigger and better on it. Something meant to be.

Happy Ostara, indeed.

End Notes: Feel free to point out any editing mistakes I’ve made. I procrastinated and didn’t finish before today, and then wound up stuck in bed with a migraine until almost 7p. But hey, it’s up! Thanks for reading, y’all :)

Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/650505.html

fancyflautist

fancyflautist