And here’s the last chapter (Did I mention it was a very short fic?) I hope you enjoyed my twist on the season’s beginning.
“Spike’s crazy. He’s hearing things. I was just trying to get him to admit it.”
Buffy stood up and walked out of the room. “I’m going to fix up a bed in the basement and you can stay down there for a while. Till you get over being crazy.”
Dawn watched Buffy leave, then cocked her head at Spike.
“What was that all about?”
“Your sister is crazy,” he muttered.
“I thought that was you?”
“Might be. But if I’m crazy, she’s not far behind.” He looked at her with eyes that once again seemed to be almost normal. “Did you know she could growl? Not as good as I do, mind you, but a real growl. Makes you wonder what kind of stuff they stick into these little girls to make them killers, doesn’t it?”
“I try not to think about things like that,” Dawn said. “You know – it just reminds me about being all green and glowy. I don’t want to know what’s inside either one of us.”
“I’m just saying…most girls can’t growl, and Buffy can.”
“Will you drop it?” Buffy’s voice came from the entrance to the room.
“Wasn’t talkin’ to you,” he grumbled.
“You were talking about me.”
“Always talk about you, don’t I? Even the voices in the cellar knew about you. Used to come to me looking like you, they did. Just like you. Sounded like you. Didn’t smell like you, though. That’s how I knew. That and they couldn’t touch me.”
“Well, I can, and if you don’t stop saying I growled, I’m going to bloody your nose.”
“You just growled again…”
Buffy snapped her fist out and, while missing the much-abused nose, managed to knock him against the back of the chair. She was immediately sorry, but before she could say so, Dawn’s furious “Buffy!” and the vampire’s retaliatory “Nice to know some things never change,” combined to keep her irritation level up.
“You started it.”
“I did. And I’m sorry. You have every right to…I’m an evil man, Slayer. You should send me away.” Once again, Spike was cringing back in his chair, refusing to meet her eyes and withdrawing into himself.
With an annoyed huff, Buffy tried to control her impatience, snapping, “You’ve been away. I want you here.”
There was a crashing silence while Buffy bit her tongue and Spike stared at her with confused eyes.
“You want me here?”
“Well, in the ‘I don’t want you to not be here’ sense of the word,” she muttered, refusing to look at him.
“You know,” he said almost to himself, “if I wasn’t already crazy, being around you would probably do it…”
“Don’t start,” she warned.
He nodded his assent. “Right, then. Don’t talk to you, but don’t leave again. I think I’ve got it. Anything else I should know?”
“You should know that the room I fixed for you downstairs is ready, and if you were smart, you’d get your insane ass down there before I forget that you’re not responsible for what you say right now.”
With another silent nod, he stood up and slipped past her, shooting Dawn a shy smile before disappearing into the kitchen. They heard the basement door close behind him, and his boots thumping on the steps as he followed instructions and went down to live in their basement.
“So, a soul, huh?”
“So it seems.”
“How long was Angel crazy when he got his?”
“This is nothing like Angel’s! Spike went and got this soul – for me. And yeah, I guess it’s hard to get a soul and still remember all the evil things you’ve done…but Spike will be all right.” She stared at the doorway through which Spike had disappeared and repeated softly, “He’ll be all right. He has to be.”
Buffy went to bed that night, congratulating herself on how much better Spike had appeared to be when she checked on him before going to her room.
All he needed was to get out of that place and away from the Hellmouth. He’ll be fine now. He should be back to normal pretty soon and then he can…
She lost focus when it came to thinking about what she would do with him once she was sure he was sane again. She gave a brief thought to calling Angel to ask him to come to Sunnydale and help Spike learn to live with the soul, but quickly abandoned the idea when she had a vision of them trying to kill each other over which vampire was the more soulful.
Yeah, okay, maybe not. I’d end up with two piles of souled up dust. Stupid vampires. You’d think the testosterone would have died off with the rest of their hormones.
Snuggling into her blankets, and telling herself that the fact that she couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of having Spike back, safe and secure, if not quite sane, did not mean that she was still in love with him. She held onto that denial until his screams startled her awake and sent her flying downstairs to find out what was hurting him. She was vaguely aware of Dawn pounding right behind her as she followed the screams into the basement where they found the vampire crying his apologies and screaming for peace.
The simultaneous shouts did nothing to wake the vampire up from what was clearly a nightmare. Buffy approached the cot upon which he was thrashing and crying, chewing her lip and wringing her hands. When she did nothing but watch Spike flail around, Dawn made an exasperated sound and shoved her sister out of the way so that she could grab Spike’s arms and try to stop his struggles.
When he threw Dawn away as though she was a toy, Buffy snapped out of her daze and leapt onto him, holding his arms still and calling his name.
“Spike! Spike, wake up. It’s just a dream, William. They can’t hurt you now.”
Slowly, as though her words were reaching him through water, he began to struggle less against her strong hands and his crying and shouting tapered off to soft sobs. As he stopped flailing and settled into a steady trembling, punctuated by the occasional whimper, Buffy found herself sitting on the cot beside him. Her arms were now wrapped around his trembling body and she began rocking gently, murmuring soothing phrases as she held him firmly.
She had completely forgotten Dawn’s presence until her quiet whisper interrupted Buffy’s soothing murmurs.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“Shhh. I’m not sure, but I think he’s being haunted by all the people he killed before he got his soul. I was hoping getting him off the Hellmouth would get rid of the voices, but I guess not.” She glanced over at her sister. “Are you all right? Did he hurt you?”
“Hurt the girl! Never meant to hurt the girl!” Spike’s sudden cry reminded them that he was still physically present, even if he did seem to be trapped in a dreamworld.
“Shhhh, shhhhh. She knows that,” Buffy crooned, pulling him against her a little harder and beginning to rock again. “You didn’t hurt her.”
“I’m fine, Spike. You didn’t hurt me. I know it was an accident. But I’m okay, see?”
Dawn tried to get where Spike could see her, but he kept his eyes squeezed tightly closed and she finally shrugged and straightened up.
“Okay, if you’ve got this, I’m going back to bed,” she said, trying to hide her disappointment.
She flashed back to the previous year when her constant companion over the summer had suddenly gone missing as soon as her sister returned. Although her middle school crush on the vampire was long gone, it had been replaced by a deeper and more enduring affection based on Spike’s care and the genuine friendship they had developed over the summer. It had been a blow to her self-esteem when she saw even less of him after Buffy returned, rather than the more that she’d been expecting. But now she understood.
“I’ll be upstairs, if you need me,” she said, turning to go and leaving her sister to comfort the vampire who loved her enough to get a soul for her. As she walked out and left Buffy cradling Spike’s now-quiet body, she suspected that neither one of them was likely to need her. She paused partway up the stairs and looked back over her shoulder to see the two powerful blonds now curled up together on the cot, their arms around each other and their heads sharing the pillow as they exchanged whispers.
They had what they needed.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/251873.html