No amount of retail therapy was going to make it easier to return to being plain old Buffy Summers, Slayer the. She’d had the most amazing convergence of power zinging through her body and it had allowed her to take out Adam like he was nothing more substantial than a moth. Now she felt empty and useless—ordinary—and it was the second most deflating experience she’d had lately. The first of course was that she’d lost the second vampire that had meant anything to her. Her stupidity had forced distance between her and Spike and Buffy still didn’t fully understand why that fact made her ache inside.
Buffy flopped back on her bed, sucked in a huge breath and contemplated her ceiling. It was amazingly cobweb free and just that alone gave her a happy. Man she was pathetic. Just lying still, she could almost feel the remnant buzz of all that primitive power. It amazed her how it manifested. How connecting with her friends and Giles had made her into something that could beat anything—and with pretty butterflies to boot!
But with the end of the fight went the end of her power. They’d been damned lucky to get away with the spell at all, left exposed to the fury of freed demons and monsters as they had been. With no Spike to watch their backs.
Not that they needed Spike watching their backs—or their fronts. Especially not Buffy. She didn’t need a coward who ran at the first sign of things not going his way.
A churning guilt in her belly pushed Buffy into a roll and she buried her hot, tear-streaked face into the comforter. This was the last thing she needed right now, feeling all vulnerable and alone. Thoughts of Spike had been brutally banished to that part of her brain she only visited on rare occasions when she was up for a bit of self-flagellation. It was kind of unexpected for Buffy to be reaching for those moments after one of the biggest highs of her life. She should be out celebrating, partying like it was 1999, but instead, here she was, alone and brooding.
Why did Spike leave her?
She knew the short answer. Riley. Not that her overbearing TA really had a shot so soon after the other romantic disasters of her life. But was seeing her at the Bronze with another guy really enough to send a chipped vampire into the world with nothing but his name to pave his way?
As much as she wished she could deny it, Buffy knew that being with Spike had started an emotional stir in her heart. Had he felt something for her as well? Was that why he hadn’t wanted to stage their break-up? Was that why he’d run from Sunnydale faster than a roadrunner on speed at the possibility she might be interested in someone else?
She hadn’t been. Buffy wasn’t sure what Spike had thought he’d seen, but all she’d done was speak to Riley. She’d barely even noticed him there when she’d felt the vampire’s approach.
These questions were going to make her head explode—she just knew it. Sniffling miserably, Buffy resolved to ignore the stab of longing for the black-clad thorn in her side. The sound of the doorbell was exactly what she needed to launch that objective and so she jumped from her bed, swiped at her face with the sleeve of her sweater, and bounced with determined peppiness down the stairs.
Flinging it open, the smile froze on her face as Buffy encountered the strangest looking courier she’d ever seen. Tan-coloured fur covered his hands and neck, his face startlingly bare except for the swollen green lips and luminous yellow eyes.
“Got a delivery for Buffy Summers,” he informed, clucking his tongue impatiently as Buffy struggled to come to terms with the weirdness.
“That’d be… uh… me?” She shivered at his piercing glare and took a comforting step back inside and closer to a weapon.
“You sure about that, sweetheart?” The oily expression seemed shocking when teemed with the endearment and Buffy struggled against her revulsion.
“Um, yeah. The surest.”
“Right. Sign here.” He held out a clipboard and Buffy hastily scribbled her name and caught the smallish parcel the demon courier tossed her way. His focus had already left her as he jogged down the porch steps and back to his van. Gunning the engine, he was down the drive and spinning into the street in less time than it took Buffy to blink.
So she did it twice.
Closing the door on the bizarre experience, Buffy looked at the box wrapped unassumingly in brown paper, and frowned. It was no bigger than the palm of her hand. Perplexed, she walked to the kitchen and retrieved a sharp knife to cut open the seal. And it was with a sense of fascinated apprehension that Buffy held her breath and popped off the lid.
There was a note. The first thing she saw was a note with an old-fashioned script. Something about it caused a fire to rise to life in her stomach and her body flushed with wonder. Fingers shaking, she took out the sheet of folded paper with her name written prettily on the top flap, and sighed.
Searched far and wide for a remedy to your little problem. Make sure you burn this paper as soon as you understand its intent, though, won’t you, pet? Don’t want the wrong sort to get their hands on it.
This pendant is more than something pretty to adorn your neck. It will protect you against all those who might choose to impose their magical will upon you. No one will be able to look at it and identify its purpose. Your little witch friend might get a headache with trying to decipher its secrets, but she never will. To her, it’s just a pretty accessory for your varied wardrobe, but it will keep you safe. You have my word on that.
I can’t make you wear it, luv, but I hope you’ll do me the honour of doing this one little thing for you.
Till we meet again,
As four long months had passed, following Spike’s cowardly run from the Hellmouth, Buffy had been positive he’d forgotten all about her. How she’d believed that was slightly beyond her, being that Spike had proven on more than two occasions previously that he’d never surrendered his desire to kill her and make her his third slayer notch on his belt. Here was the evidence that not only had she remained on Spike’s mind—to wherever he’d vanished—but that he was plotting ways to keep her safe and protected. And alive.
She could never have anticipated how happy that fact would make her feel.
Placing the letter from Spike safely on the bench for one more read-through before she destroyed it, as requested, Buffy poked her finger into the box and admired the pretty pendant. It looked old, a metal disk made possibly of brass, flattened around the edges to make it look Aztec in origin. Buffy fell in love with it at first sight, but the second it touched her skin she was warmed with the knowledge that this piece was sourced especially for her.
There was no argument in Buffy’s head as she lifted the pendant and clasped it at the back of her neck. It fell heavily and low between her breasts and she shivered for the promise it held and the remnant touch of Spike. Closing her eyes to better savour this momentous occasion, Buffy breathed in deeply.
Spike hadn’t forgotten her.
As happy tears stung her eyes, Buffy laughed out loud. There’d be no getting rid of him now that she wore his jewellery. Strangely, she was totally all right with that.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/217713.html