Look Who’s Stalking
For three days, Buffy had watched the comings and goings of the vampire across the street. She had slept in short, two-hour intervals, trying to time her sleep with his own, or with his absences. She’d lived mostly on yogurt from the seven-eleven but she hadn’t been very hungry what with all the espresso beans and, eventually, all the coffee as well. Probably it wasn’t healthy but there was no way her heart rate could sound anything like normal.
She looked down at a stale half-empty cup on the floor. Cold dead speed. Eew.
It had all been worth it. She had a good sense of his rhythms, which were not, as she noted with a certain satisfaction almost tinged with pity, too exciting. No one had come to see him. He slept late into the day and either went out at night, typical vamp, or in the day was picked up by a car with what she assumed was the same kind of treated glass she’d heard Angel had fitted the law firm with.
She still could not get over that one, Angel in the corporate world—had he lost his soul again? Careless. No. She had to assume that he was up to something at least ok there because otherwise Spike wouldn’t. . . .He wouldn’t be involved with anything–
Underhanded. Right. Spike. And I think that because, yes, thank you very much, I am on crack. Three days in my skanky junky undercover, and I’m living the dream.
Although, to be fair, just because he wasn’t interested in her, didn’t mean he wasn’t still interested in doing the right thing. He still had his soul, according to Andrew, and he had died to save the world. Lots of good men weren’t interested in her.
Like, apparently, all of them.
Back to business.
She unpacked the Walgreens’ bags and spread her supplies out on the bedspread. She sorted out the ones she would need for the shower and placed them neatly on the rim of the tub. Off with the skanky-junky outfit, and on with the . . . she unwrapped the soap, studying the unfamiliar green and white stripes. “Irish Spring. Fresh and. . .clean as a whistle.” Coming right up.
Buffy turned the water to hot. The strong water pressure was the one pleasant surprise of her luxury vacation accommodations.
Vacation. That’s what she’d told Dawn. She hadn’t told her about Spike. She hadn’t told anyone. Hadn’t wanted to know who knew. She just told Dawn that what with all the other Slayers now, she was going to actually go off for a week, just her, that she could do that. She’d be home soon. She’d check in on email, but just for one week, she wanted to be completely alone—not taking care of anyone but herself, answering to anyone, doing any duty, Dawn understood, right? She’d be ok with Andrew and the others? Dawn hugged her.
“Duh, Buffy. I’m eighteen. Get out, have fun. To you, not having any responsibility for a week must sound like . . . I don’t know, Disneyland, except, that doesn’t sound like fun so much anymore because . . . hey! I’m grownup—but not so grownup that some extra responsibility doesn’t still sound like I’m getting away with something. Can I boss Andrew around more than usual? Can I not listen to Giles? Whee!” Dawn paused, “What about, you know, Immorto-guy? Does he know you’re leaving?”
“Well, Dawn, I kinda called it quits. I mean, not that there was much to call. You know, we were just . . . club and couch buddies, really. But he’ll be by, he and Andrew weirdly hit it off . . .”
“Sure, Buffy.” Dawn ran a hand through her sister’s hair. Maybe she’d find someone new this time . . . someone completely unconnected with her past, someone who would appreciate her. Someone with a pulse. Could happen. She smiled comfortingly. “I’ll tell everyone you’ll be back in about a week and not to look for you. You just go and be . . . you! And, um, check in so we know you’re not dead again.”
Buffy. Go and be . . you. Sure, I’ll do that. In a not at all way. Buffy took the strange soap and lathered it in her hands, sliding the pale green foam over the body she’d almost forgotten the last few days. Fresh as . . . Ireland. Whatever.
As the water pulsed over her body she could feel parts of it both relax and wake up in ways that were disruptive to the mission. The stream hit at her breasts and between her thighs for a moment, if she let it. As always, those sensations had their own visuals.
Images of his face on her, his hands moving over her, eyes wide, looking up in wonder or darkening, looking down in angry passion. She could feel his mouth move along the trails the water left on her torso. It was always, always his face, his hands. It didn’t matter whether she fought them off with shame and rage, as she had after that awful day in the bathroom, or encouraged them with confused hope, as she’d begun to those last weeks in Sunnydale, whether she’d given in to them with sorrow or accepted them with wistful longing, as she had all those months since the end. These were the images of her body’s arousal and they drove any others away. Pictures of you, she thought. Right. The Cure. Except there wasn’t one.
It had been this way since the moment she first kissed his bloodied, swollen lips when she found out he’d stood up to Glory for her and Dawnie. Even before she died, before she came back wrong, before that night they brought the building down. He had been right. That part of her, he owned. And no one had been there since the first time he’d touched her. Not really.
Now that face, that body was back in the world, not wanting her anymore—at least, not enough to put up with her, wait for her, heal with her.
She trailed her own hand down between her legs, trying with a finger—And Wham! back on a bathroom floor, every muscle tensed against entry, vulnerable to the point of breaking, unbelieving, just like any other girl . . . and still his face, that other one, the visual that cancelled all arousal. Instantly.
That’s right, Spike. You broke it, you own it. Bastard.
She turned the water closer and reached for her new coconut shampoo. She had a mission. Papaya conditioner. Out of the shower. Grapefruit moisturizer. Old Spice deoderant. Nope, never been near that one. Now. Spritz of Carefree Curl. . .but just to be safe, tuck it under the cap. Oooh, that’ll be attractive. Give new meaning to hat-head.
And on to the squicky bits.
Eew. Can I just say again with the eew? She shuddered. But sacrifices for the mission were what it had always been about for her. Sun blossom. Her dedication had, apparently, no bounds at all.
Her toilette complete, Buffy slipped on first one sweatsuit, then another. Combat boots. Insoles. Latex gloves. Then leather. She looked in the mirror. Yup. Puffy Buffy. Luckily, body image? not so much my problem.
Lipgloss. Mmm. She licked her lips. Fake blueberries.
She grabbed her black bag and was out the door.
She made her way across the street. According to her calculations, Spike wouldn’t be home for at least another hour, but she didn’t need much time.
Outside his door, she reached into the black bag and pulled out a large ring of keys. Thank you, Initiative, once more with feeling. After a couple of tries she felt the single lock give and she stepped into the room.
Nice. Orange. Beige. Must be a theme. She looked up at the walls. Aww, we have matching stains. Sweet. We must be soulmates.
I wonder if his send him messages, too? said the little voice speculatively.
“Now, don’t be catty!” Buffy said out loud. Anyway, I don’t see that these have much to say.
Buffy bent over the tiny fridge and looked inside. Packets of blood—but marked with a butcher’s logo, so probably not human. In the tiny freezer, a frostbitten package of onion rings. And in the very back, what looked like a fairly archival container of fat-free yogurt. Frowning, Buffy reached in and pulled it out, because yogurt? So not Spike. She looked. Vanilla. Hey, that’s my favorite! She looked at the date. Or not so much. Maybe he does have a girlfriend—or, did.
Or maybe he misses you, said the voice.
Right, because nothing says I love you like superexpired fatfree yogurt. . . Why call when you could have that??
Buffy made her way around the rest of the room, the tour taking all of about ten seconds. She paused by the chair, noting the empty bottles, and the bed, which looked unslept in. She lay down a minute, looking up at the ceiling. It’s where he sleeps, does he think about me here? Does he ever dream? She buried her head in the pillow, just for a moment. It smelled of him. God, she didn’t think she’d ever smell that again. It was less smoky, more bourbony than she remembered. And no leather. Well, if he wasn’t wearing leather to bed, that might be a good sign.
He didn’t wear anything to bed, of course.
Fuck. Guess those precautions weren’t such a bad thing. No telltale smells here. She twisted uncomfortably.
She started to look on the sheets for stains but decided she didn’t really want to know. She smoothed the blanket and pillow and, paused to glance over the desk. Nothing but a few scraps of scribbles and a receipt or two (what, paying now?).
No crumpled piles of letters saying “Dear Buffy, I didn’t know how to tell you before but I am alive and I’m dying to see you. Please forgive me” or “Dear Buffy, I’m alive and I’ve been mystically prevented from contacting you, which is all I’ve thought about doing. I miss you. I love you. I always will.” Butcher’s receipt. Lovely. She stopped to rearrange a few things, just subtly—she opened the door and left. It was enough for now. Enough to suggest, withhold, confuse.
He should like that.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/69166.html