* * * *
* * * *
Buffy sat on the edge of a very
large tombstone that belonged to a man named Lockwood, wooden stake in hand and
eyes searching the night around her.
“Vaaaaampiiiiires…” she called with bored tantalization. “Here vampy-vampy-vampires.”
Nothing. Not even a scratching of bush bristles against a tombstone.
Buffy yawned and looked down at her watch. Minute hand’s on the seven… that means twenty-five past, right? No, twenty-five ‘til.
I can’t tell time.
She leapt off of the tombstone and proceeded to walk around the edges of the cemetery.
“Great,” she muttered once she’d returned to where she’d started. “All I’m asking for is one vampire. It doesn’t even have to be strong.” Buffy kicked a pebble into the large stone wall that lined the edge of Eastbank Cemetery as she followed it on her way towards the gate.
“What’s this town coming to, anyway?” she continued to rant as she took out her frustration on another innocent pebble. “Usually a girl can’t take one step alone at night without being attacked by a…”
As she reached the gate Buffy found herself unable to pass through. For the tiniest part of a split second she suspected a blocking spell until she realized that she’d run into a person. A very cold person…
Buffy whipped her stake back and shoved it towards the vampire’s chest.
“Whoa, hang on!”
There was a loud crash and Buffy blinked suddenly as she recognized Spike’s face in front of hers. He had his hands around her wrist, having barely stopped her from plunging the stake into his chest.
“Oh,” she said, breathing heavily from surprise. “You.”
“Yeah,” he said, his nose nearly touching hers.
Buffy suddenly realized that she was standing dangerously close to her evil, undead ex. More on that, he was currently touching her hand, which just happened to be gripping a phallic-shaped object. She jumped back and ripped her hand away from his, and in order to distract herself from the painful wince on his face she examined her feet.
“My shoes are wet,” she said before noticing the broken bottles of a six pack of beer at Spike’s feet. “Oh.”
“Figures,” he muttered bitterly to himself as he bent down to clean up the mess. “Fella can’t even drown his sorrows before he finds himself new ones.”
“What are you doing here?” Buffy asked, her voice cold.
“I was on my way to have a couple of drinks before you ran into me,” he replied defensively. He picked up two of the bottles and sighed. “Not all of them broke…”
“I can see you’re about to have some exciting alone time,” she replied sarcastically with a glance to the beer bottles. “I’m more interested in what you’re doing here. Aren’t you in the wrong cemetery?”
“Thought I’d wander outside the boundaries of my usual haunts. Can’t stay in the crypt all day.”
I wish you would.
“Really? This,” she said, gesturing towards the bottles in his hand, “isn’t some lame cover for stalking me?”
Spike rolled his eyes to the sky and smirked resentfully, biting his lip. “You’re really full of it, aren’t you?”
He looked her in the eyes. “You really think everything I do has to be about you, don’t you? As I recall, you’ve frequently reminded me that I’m a selfish bastard. Well, the bastard’s out for some quality time with his favorite guy,” he finished firmly.
“Just stay away from me,” she spat, walking past him onto the street.
“I was trying,” he retorted to her retreating back.
Buffy cringed but kept walking.
* * * *
“Where’ve you been?” Dawn asked once
Buffy arrived at home, dropping the magazine she’d been reading onto the coffee
Buffy stopped in her tracks, her hand resting on the banister. “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“I was waiting for you.”
“You probably kept Willow up.”
“She doesn’t sleep very good anyway,” Dawn said nastily.
Buffy hadn’t expected that response. “Dawn…” she began disappointedly.
“You would’ve noticed if you’d spent more time at home instead of boinking Spike.”
“I was not boink… I am not sleeping with Spike.”
“Anymore,” Dawn replied. “Only instead of doing that you spend extra time patrolling so you won’t have to face everyone with the guilt.”
“Hey, I’ve always stayed out late on patrol.”
“Not in high school.”
“I had homework then,” she replied defensively. “Not to mention… you know what? I don’t have to explain myself to you. I can stay out as late as I want…”
“…and do whatever you want, right? I wish I was a Slayer, then I could get away with everything too.”
“Why are you being like this?”
“Because you’re lying! You’re never around, you’re always out there doing whatever and you’re never here!”
Buffy blinked and took a moment to recover from the outburst. “Dawn, I…”
“I didn’t care that you were sleeping with him. It’s not like you guys weren’t all over each other anyway.”
“Please. He’s always been crazy about you, even when he wanted to kill you. He’ll always love you, but you don’t even care.”
“Is that why you’re so mad at me? Because I broke up with Spike? What did you think would happen, Dawn? Did you think we were going to start dating or something? Could you see him coming by, spending time with us like a normal person?”
“Why is it so crazy for you to imagine him in our lives? He’s here, isn’t he? And yeah, I could see him being a good boyfriend to you. He came over all the time when you were gone.”
Buffy didn’t respond. Instead she tried to imagine Spike coming over and watching TV with her little sister, babysitting her and taking care of her. She was suddenly overwhelmed with jealousy.
“But now you’ve pushed him away. How many more people are going to go away? We’ll probably never see Anya again…” Tears shone in Dawn’s eyes. “You know, the monks made me out of you. They could’ve made me some friends. But then I’d have to worry about you pushing them away, wouldn’t I?”
Dawn flew up the staircase, hair bouncing with each step she madly took. Buffy sighed and covered her eyes with her hands. No matter what she did, no one would be happy.
“I love you.”
Her eyes snapped open. She hadn’t thought about her hallucination with orderly Spike in weeks. Every time she thought about him she felt something twisting in her chest, like a key in a lock. Was it love? Did she love Spike? No, no she couldn’t. He had no soul, he wasn’t good enough. What is there to love?
Buffy sat on the edge of the sofa. She loved the way he touched her, even when he had been rough. She liked having someone she could trust to protect Dawn…
Trust? She couldn’t trust Spike. He was evil; he lied and manipulated to get what he wanted. He didn’t have any real feelings. He couldn’t…
Her eyes turned to the sofa cushions before closing. She imagined Spike lounging on them; his eyes on the TV, Dawn nestled on the other end of the sofa. They both looked miserable, and Buffy could see pain on his face. Was that what it was like?
He could feel. But he had no tact, he didn’t like her friends and he never got along with anyone. Well, he and Xander seemed to have the most issues; Spike tolerated the rest of them. He would never defend them, though. He would never support Willow with her magic addiction or help Anya sort through her various issues. He’s really just a selfish bastard.
Yet still, Buffy loved him.
Her eyes shot open. God, no. No, no, no…
It had gotten cold and misty out since she’d left the cemetery. Buffy did notice, she was operating on auto-pilot while her conscious thought focused on her disturbing realization.
She found him sitting on top of a broken stone sarcophagus, knees bent and his feet flat on top of the mossy stone. He was staring intently at the empty beer bottle in his hand, and Buffy wondered if he was contemplating throwing it at her. She didn’t even know if he was aware of her presence, but he had those enhanced senses. She didn’t know if two or three beers were enough to dull them.
“What do you want?”
His voice was thick and quiet. She watched him turn away from her as he hopped off the sarcophagus, and though his back was to her she noticed him wipe at his eyes with the sleeve of his jacket.
“I didn’t know if you’d still be here.”
Spike faced her, sniffing and sticking his chest out, trying to hide his vulnerability. It wasn’t working. “Yeah?”
“I need to tell you something,” she said slowly. Oh god, what are you doing?
“Let’s have it, then.”
Her eyes were wide and full of apprehension. What if she’d hurt him too badly? What if she was making a mistake and her feelings weren’t real? She’d just be adding fuel to the fire…
“I may have all night, Slayer, but I don’t want to waste it.”
Buffy moved closer towards him and took in his scent. He smelled like beer and cigarettes, and something about that disgusting mixture was so appealing, so familiar.
She looked deep into his red-rimmed eyes, hoping she’d find a reason to turn away. But all she saw was him.
“I love you,” she whispered. The words sounded strange to her, but saying them made her feel something familiar. Was it hope?
Spike stepped backwards, stunned. “No you don’t,” he quickly replied.
“You said I was holding back. I just… I wanted to see if you were right.”
Spike stood frozen as she lightly grazed his left cheek with the backs of her fingers.
“W-What are you doing?” His eyes were wide and he looked like a frightened little boy.
Buffy he pulled him to her and propped her chin on his shoulder, and after a few moments his arms shakily wrapped around her shoulders. She closed her eyes held him tight, willing all the love she possessed into him. Love him, love him, love him…
Wanting him wasn’t hard. He was sexy and dark and beautiful and seductive, and every time he touched her she felt a heat that couldn’t possibly come from his cold skin. But to love him, to really love him, she knew that she had to cherish him.
Buffy tilted her head back and looked into his eyes. She saw an odd mixture of emotions as panic played with desire and hope. Her eyes spoke to him, trying to calm him, to tell him she hadn’t come to him for the same thing she had wanted from him before. As they closed, her eyes told him to wait as she slowly kissed his lower lip. Buffy felt Spike shudder, his unnecessary gasp for air painfully loud amidst their silent moment. She pulled an arm free and his arms fell rigidly back to his sides. Her lips returned to his in a quiet declaration as his own shakily tried to respond, but something held him back. Buffy pulled away.
Spike suddenly shot backward, his blue eyes as wide as they could go. Buffy’s brow set in confusion as she watched him fiercely wipe at his lips. She didn’t understand… didn’t he love her? Wasn’t her love what he wanted? Did she not do the right thing?
“Spike, I’m sorry…”
“No.” His voice was small, as if he were whispering to her from far away. “I can’t… you’re not supposed to…”
“What? Spike, I don’t understand.”
“You can’t tell me that you’ll never love me and then do this. Not that I…” his expression changed and his eyes softened. It didn’t last long, however, as Spike’s eyes turned cold and his nostrils flared. It was the only warning she had before he punched her in the nose.
Buffy gasped in shock and reached for her nose, feeling blood. “What was that?”
“Do you love me, Slayer?” he asked coldly, before rushing towards her and grabbing her violently by the shoulders. Buffy fell onto her back and Spike landed on top of her, leering. She didn’t move, she was too curious as to what his next move would be and why he was reacting this way. Spike grinned at her wickedly before leaning over her and covering her upper lip with his mouth, his tongue licking at the small trail of blood. His throaty moan of pleasure gave birth to a different sort of confusion and Buffy pushed him away, but he fell back on top of her, pressing her arms to her sides. “She loves the darkness,” he spoke in an ironic tone as he moved sensually above her. “But there’s nothing to love,” he said in high pitched voice, mocking her earlier declarations. His hands moved beneath her breasts as he thrust against her. “Oh, wait.” Spike laughed huskily and then lowered his voice. “You love that.”
Buffy shoved him off of her and rolled onto her stomach. She cried out as she felt him on top of her again, crushing her painfully into the ground. “C’mon, say it again, Slayer!” he shouted, shoving his hands beneath her sweater. “Say you love me!” She stopped fighting him as he pressed himself harder against her. “Say it!” he growled angrily into her ear. She felt something wet fall onto her neck and roll away. Buffy scrunched inward and shut herself out from him, and soon he stopped pressing into her. He heaved a heavy sigh and collapsed on top of her, sobbing.
Inside she was screaming in agony, her heart breaking. She’d tried to love him and the first thing he did was break her heart. Buffy didn’t realize that by giving him her love that she had broken his. She let him sob into her neck and place his hands on her shoulders as he did so.
He’d done it. He had reminded her that what she felt for him wasn’t love, but that only hurt her more. She wanted it to be love. She wanted to share herself with him, to give herself completely to him. But now she understood more clearly that it was impossible to love someone who wasn’t complete.
Buffy slowly moved from beneath him and he rolled onto his side, still weeping. She straightened herself to her feet and looked down at him, her face expressionless. He returned her gaze with watery eyes that spoke of what he knew. Spike was angry because he knew that she could not love him, and it took giving him what he wanted to make him understand. His understanding gave her closure, and Buffy walked away, hoping that she would never have to see him again.
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