Beyond Truth and Lies – 5

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Beyond Truth and Lies
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Am so tired right now. One more chapter to go, so I’ll persist…*thud*

Chapter 5

Spike thought it was bloody hilarious watching Angel’s face when the little contraption in his pocket began to vibrate. Even funnier when he’d finally worked out which button to push to hear his caller, only to be asked to hand the phone to Spike by some whiny sounding receptionist. But then his own shocked facial expression was worth a few as Rupert bloody Giles barked out commands in his ear. The first being to keep his trap closed tight so Angel didn’t find out who he was talking to.

Spike saw Angel’s narrowed eyes and knew that he’d picked up Giles’s abrupt manner, and in an effort to award himself a little bit of privacy, Spike had to get up and move to the back of the plane.

“What can I do for you, Rupes? Kinda up in the air right now, though. Peaches has us on a wild Immortal goose chase.” He felt like it was an occasion to grin—pun and all—yet there was nothing about chasing down Buffy’s new love interest that didn’t violently turn his stomach. When Angel had let slip that she’d moved on—and with whom—Spike wondered if he’d actually been right all along to not get in touch with her. It hadn’t been the easiest decision. His first impulse had been to run to her. He’d actually felt physical pain being so far away from her. Like someone had ripped off his arm and posted it to her in Rome.

He’d made the decision in opposition to advice he’d received—and he knew that if certain beings knew who he confided in these days that it wouldn’t be just his arm in Rome. His guts would make a pretty decoration for her flat, too. Giles had come in handy when Spike had been searching for someone to support his decision not to go to her, though his century of reading people had suddenly fallen flat. Rupert had completely stumped him with an apology worthy of several cases of plonk, and then he’d berated Spike for being the coward he’d never before been.

Despite having the apparent approval of Buffy’s father-figure, Spike had still chosen to let Buffy live her new life, free of all the hassles and the dramas that had depicted her every day on the Hellmouth.

It seemed he’d been right. Buffy had moved on—to one of his most hated fellow demons in point of fact, and as much as he loved her with everything he was, he was hard pressed to respect this decision. Hard pressed to forgive it even more.

“Y-yes, The Immortal. Er, I did try and warn you to go to her. I-It appears that there is a bit of a story there,” Giles hinted, his short burst of a chortle seriously strained. “Spike, if you get the chance, do go to Buffy—but don’t stake the bugger with her. You might end up with a result not very satisfactory to anyone.”

Spike could feel tears of resentment spring to his eyes and he clenched his jaw in frustration. “The Slayer is Angel’s concern. If she’s decided to move on to that dickless bastard, then who am I to stop her?”

Giles’s burst of laughter was more genuine this time. “Dickless, you say? I will, er, have to inquire from Buffy, though I suspect she might be rather affronted by that claim. Not after the lengths she went to get…over you.”

That really got on his goat. After all he’d done to prove to the crazy bint that he loved her wholeheartedly, she would go and easily get over him in the arms of the Don Juan of the demon world. The old Spike would have tore over there and flattened the pair of them—and really, the bastard had it coming after what he’d pulled with Darla and Dru. But no, he wasn’t the old Spike. The new Spike had wisdom and maturity he’d never tapped into before. Not when he had evil to fall back on. His demon embodied his own ancient wisdom, though unfortunately none of it was geared to keeping the heart safe of a young girl, let alone an insecure slayer.

“Put a bloody cork in it, Rupes. Nothing you say can get me to go back there. I’ve done the right thing for her, she’s hap—”

“Done the right thing for her? Why you selfish little prat. How is letting her move on to another demon—and one, by the way, you’d find frighteningly familiar—come even close to doing the right thing? I refuse to allow you to let this opportunity pass without at least giving Buffy the courtesy of knowing you are alive. I think she deserves that much, don’t you? Simply for being your only supporter and believing in you to the exclusion of all else.”

Trust the Watcher to push Spike along on the usual guilt trip. All it ever did was feed his need to see her and slaughter the resolve that kept him away. While he was far from having motive, he definitely had means, expecting Angel to dive into seeing with his own two eyes his precious Buffy’s defection within the next two hours. By virtue of his current position, Spike was along for the ride whether he liked it or not.

And he liked it—if he was honest with himself. He was so desperate to lay eyes on her again that he could have wept for how much the ache ate away his urge to stay away.

“I love Buffy,” he said in a hoarse, tired voice. “Nothing can change how I feel. But she doesn’t need a vampire holding her back now she has a chance.”

“A chance to destroy the equilibrium of the universe, you pillock. I’m warning you now, as someone who would rather stake you than marry you off to my d-daughter, that this whole Immortal situation is nowhere near what you think it is. Stop being such a bloody coward and go claim your woman. You have no idea what she’s been through while waiting for you to stop fiddling with yourself. Do it, Spike. And one day you’ll really thank me.”

Spike cracked a smile at that. The thought of ever owing the Watcher a word of thanks was priceless. He’d never done him any favours before, though long distant memory told him how different it could have been. Once.

“Seems I don’t have a choice. The Poof is hellbent and determined to make sure the Slayer isn’t being duped or spelled into being with the git. I think it’s probably temporary madness from her missing me, but you—”

“You don’t know how right you are,” Giles interjected and Spike could hear a tussle going on in the background and then the mouthpiece being covered as the man shouted in exasperation at someone.

“Andrew givin’ you a spot of bother?” Spike grinned, nowhere near forgetting what a trial it was to be around such an impressionable lad.

“Among others,” was the terse reply and Spike felt himself buckling a little under the nostalgia of his more recent past. All this time he could have been back—being hated by Harris, suspected of treachery or some other such evil by Willow and Dawn, and Buffy… Well, he had no idea about Buffy. She’d said she loved him, and as much as he believed her, he was too afraid to give them the chance and find it wasn’t for keeps. Because she was human, right? She’d loved Angel for years, and then to say that she’d finally shifted that to Spike? Well, it was a little more than hard to take. Bloody impossible to make the mental shift and allow the possibility.

It was what he’d wanted—why he’d gone and fought for his soul. But even though he knew it was his lack of one that always held her back, gave her the excuse to never believe what she could feel for a monster was the tender feelings, he’d always known it could never happen. He wanted her to have what she deserved, it was true. And after what he’d done, a soul was small recompense. On the flip side, he’d always expected to get what he deserved—now that he had a soul. Soulless he could be selfish in believing deserving went with want. He’d wanted her love and there was no explanation he could have been given to convince him that it was completely out of his reach. Until he’d accepted the change and saw himself for what he truly was. A walking nightmare that could only offer his heart for her protection and his body for her life. He hadn’t even deserved to die a hero, and yet he had. Not that Peaches believed it.

To Angel, he was just a vampire that had a yen for trying to be him. Wanting Dru, wanting Buffy, getting himself a soul. Sure, he’d set the benchmark, but Spike had walked away with the prize. With the understanding. While Angel turned his possession into something to gain friendly support from people he regularly betrayed, Spike only wanted Buffy to be happy. He’d gotten it for her—because he’d made her suffer that long year after she’d been brought back. It was his gift of apology that he would never treat her hurtfully again. He expected nothing from it—which was lucky as he was the bloke that always walked away with nothing.

And now one Rupert Giles wanted him to wallow back in the one situation that would be broiled with hopelessness, but which would give him a dose of the one thing that made him feel alive. Buffy’s sunshine was like a drug, and for a being that knew he would dust if he didn’t remain in the dark, he craved it with all his might.

With a gut wrenching sense of doom, Spike nodded at the phone with tears in his eyes.

“Rupert, I’ll be sure to say hello. You’re right—it’s the least I can do.”

And thus ended the call and Spike’s determined self-banishment.

He had an hour left on the plane with Peaches. Might as well get his money’s worth teasing the Poof into a powerful brood.

Anything to block out the building fear of seeing Buffy again.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy was going to kill him.

Spike being an asshole was not news to her. She’d witnessed years of his attitude and vindictiveness toward her friends, but nothing like this. God, he’d never been like this. Even when he was insulting her knees and her inability to keep a man for ‘more than one go’ after Angel and then Parker dumped her, he’d never been so thoroughly hateful.

Back then he hadn’t been playing her. He’d been taunting her, sure. He’d exploited her weaknesses, her fears so that he could find a way to make her stop the fight—become too focused on her pain so that he could win.

But this Spike. Oh. My. God. Relentlessly evil just did not cover it. The way he looked at her was filled with so much hate and resentment, and yet the constant flirting and attempts to get her into bed—or more accurately, anywhere he could—threw her into so much turmoil that Buffy was ready to tell Willow not to worry about sending him back because her stake had accidentally slipped and he was gone. Poof into the warm Italian breeze.

Except she just knew Willow would give her the geeky sci-fi talk about how killing this Spike would rule out her Spike and losing him Buffy just could not deal with. So she endured, pushed him away when his appendages drove too deep into her flesh, and tried to keep her hands off sharpened wooden objects.

But tonight he was crossing a line.

One month of being out and dancing with him while he kept up his ‘Immortal’ act was one month way too many. She’d managed to find ways to be around him without losing her mind, and familiarity had taught her so much about her Spike—and it made her love him so much more.

In the beginning she’d drooled at his longer, more naturally coloured hair—at the pirate-like strap of leather that held it back and made him appear rakish. His clothing had been dated but somehow appealing in a ‘whoa did that neutral flowing shirt suit him’ kind of way. His accent was rougher, more concentrated to be bad than Buffy remembered her Spike being, though she suspected after a century it had become second nature for him to lose the polish and settle into it like he belonged. This Spike exploding about “bloody colonials” made her cringe for the harshness of it. It strengthened the craving for the natural smooth insults of her Spike in a way that was deep and agonising.

It gave her new appreciation for peroxide and eyeliner. And it made her heart squeeze with despair.

All Buffy had left now was to lose herself to the music, remaining alert enough to stop Spike from going and munching on the unsuspecting public, but also losing herself enough to fantasy to believe he was really with her.

The feel of him near her was overwhelming. As Buffy danced with him, he was everywhere around her. But for tonight, it was the first time she felt him inside her as well and that scared her more than she had words to express. Buffy had been forcing Willow to put everything she had into the spell to send him back, refusing even to let her friend leave Rome to return to her own life. No way were they leaving a Spike who belonged back in the beginnings of the twentieth century to roam free and munch on the people he would later die to save. The real sequence of events had to be reversed, and if they could manage it, with him losing all knowledge of where he’d been this past month and who he had been with, then she could see nothing but ruin for her. This Spike would not let himself fall in love with her, and that alternative to not having any form of Spike in her life at all was enough for the loss of that to hit Buffy hard. In light of this she would gladly hide in her room till it was time for the next apocalypse. It was a pity that she so sucked at recognising the important things until they were ripped away and gone.

It was painful to have to spend so much time with him—and yet it was immeasurably entertaining as well. She’d learned the whole origin of the Immortal thing—why he’d felt the need to take over the name and systematically ruin the real one’s reputation. After hearing what he’d done with Darla and Dru—and seeing how angry it made Spike—Buffy was all for allowing the odd romancing of the women and then snickering as he had to make excuses for his inability to deliver on the suave promises. Sure, Buffy felt kind of sorry for them—in a way that you could for lonely women jumping at men for one night of fun. She so wasn’t getting any from her vampire, so seeing these women try to snag Spike and then run away in embarrassed rejection was just what she needed to sustain his presence.

The music pulsed through the club and Buffy gave into it, relying on her natural slayer senses to remain alert to any tricks Spike might try to pull. Considering the regularity he liked to get violent with her, and the number of times he’d managed to scratch her neck with his fangs, he’d not yet really tried to break away. She guessed she had his desperate love for Dru to thank for that.

They both felt Angel at the same time.

Buffy knew by the widened eyes and the growling that Spike had sensed him at her back before rushing off to cause some kind of trouble—of this she had no doubt. It was when she turned around almost lazily, wondering if she could really be bothered to see Angel that she came face to face with him and knew why she’d felt his presence so strongly tonight. Inside her as well as around.

Spike stared at her, his face vulnerable, his hair white and his coat as black as sin. He raised a shaking hand to brush a strand of hair away that had become stuck to her lips and they both sucked in identical tortured breaths.

Buffy blinked, almost terrified that if she moved even an eyelash he would disappear and she would be left with nothing but an incredibly vivid hallucination.

He hadn’t moved, and the love in his eyes shone as bright as it had in their last moments in the cavern. Buffy’s heart thumped rapidly and she felt that the shock may cause a heart attack. And then he opened his beautiful mouth and she knew it was him, knew he’d come for her and that she didn’t have to cry alone anymore.

“Hello, cutie.”

 

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/100552.html

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