Title: Fools Rush In
Here’s the last completed chapter — I hope to have the remaining four chapters up on my lj as soon as possible. Thanks for reading! And of course, any and all comments welcome.
Chapter 6: The Lost Art of Conversation
“…and then I woke up as near to terror as ever I’ve been since I was turned.” Spike leaned back on his elbows, serious and beautiful in the moonlight, and then gave a self-deprecating snort. “I mean please, a vampire in love with a slayer? Almost roused Harm and had her stake me on the spot.”
Sitting up, he belted another healthy dram of whiskey and then offered the flask to Seraphiel, perched serenely at the opposite end of the step with her wings folded neatly behind her. Taking great care to avoid physical contact she took the flask from his hand and matched his swig in equal measure, albeit followed by a delicate cough.
“It is not unheard of for dark to be drawn to light, vampire.” Seraphiel gestured unsteadily in his direction, scattering golden drops across one silvery thigh. “Even after the fall, Lucifer sought me, begging to renew our bond. Yet this is not love. Perhaps what thee feels for this vessel is a longing after thine own lost soul.” She set the flask down midway between them on the stair, clearly having to concentrate — tongue between teeth — to keep it upright.
“Pffft.” Spike flapped his hand dismissively in Seraphiel’s direction. “As if I’d want that parcel of Victorian bollocks redelivered.”
He lit a cigarette, shaking an extra from the pack. “Another fag, love?” Seraphiel took the cigarette gingerly between thumb and forefinger and raised it to her lips. Leaning in with a flame, Spike watched the momentary play of dark and bright across her unearthly features, then flicked the lighter shut.
“And yet it is not unlike thee to be drawn to elements of thine own destruction.” The angel’s glance from the lighter to Spike’s face was almost sly as she exhaled a stream of smoke.
“Analogy’s not lost on me, wren.” Spike resumed his former languid pose. “Know I’m playing with fire, loving the Slayer. Can’t help what I feel, though. Can’t stop hoping.”
“Is it not enough that she regards thee as a warrior of merit, and perhaps one day her strongest ally?”
At these words a rush of unabashed delight coursed through the vampire. He covered it with a scowl of disapproval. “Peeking into the Slayer’s thoughts now? She won’t thank you for that. Or me, for listening.” Spike sat upright, elbows to knees, and gazed out across the yard. Then a thought struck him. “Mind telling me where Buffy is right now, while you’ve got the com? She know what’s going on here?”
“She is… in a sleep of sorts. It is necessary to keep her so.”
“Heard that once already today. Look how that turned out.” Spike cocked his head Seraphiels’s way and fixed her with a penetrating look. “Send her to sleep and play prying Paul in her head — really not clear on this whole good and evil thing, are we? Even I know that’s not on the up and up.”
The angel regarded him with a guileless expression, cocking her head in unconscious imitation.
“Would’st thou hear more regarding the Slayer’s vision of thee? It is not…uncomplicated.”
Spike froze, unable to look away from this fey version of the Slayer, stricken with a longing so sharp and visceral he felt cut from the inside. What would it be like, he wondered, to know how the Slayer really felt? Not what she was willing to admit to herself, or to the Scoobies, but the real, perhaps less simple, truth? Worst case, he might learn that her emotions matched her words. Well, perhaps that would put paid to his unrequited state and allow him to move on. But if her feelings weren’t as cut and dried as she liked to believe? Wouldn’t that be something to hold to through nights of thankless slaying, through the march of empty, sun-caught days — the golden crumb of hope he had asked for and never received. She need never know he had it, but he would hold it close, and it would warm him.
But to snatch something out of the Slayer’s head that way, without her leave? The thought rankled him somehow. Be as bad as Seraphiel if he agreed to it and christ if he wasn’t sitting here one-upping a bloody angel in the good and evil department! Fucking hell, was he to be allowed even one shred of his former demonic dignity?
Spike shook his head ruefully, breaking the angel’s stare.
“Never you mind what the Slayer feels for me. She’ll tell me in her own good time. Or not. Her decision, either way.”
They smoked companionably in silence, while the stars wheeled on. Then Seraphiel spoke.
“This vessel. Does she know of thy love?”
“Wish you’d quit callin’ her that,” said Spike, scowling. “She’s the Slayer, not a sodding soup tureen.”
Seraphiel made no reply. Spike sighed and tossed a fag end out into the darkness.
“Told her, haven’t I? More than once. Doesn’t believe me. Not capable of love, far as she’s concerned.” He glanced at Seraphiel. “Ringing any bells?”
“Wouldst thou have her know the truth, vampire? Feel the truth?”
“What’s in my heart, you mean?”
“As if it were her own.”
Spike considered this.
“Take some kind of mojo to make that happen. Thought you lost your powers when you got kicked to the curb.”
“’Tis not a matter of power, but of nature. Touch me, and she will know.”
Spike narrowed his eyes.
“And burn in the process? Don’t think so.”
“If thy love is true, thee will not burn. The Slayer will feel what thee feels and know the truth of it, beyond all doubting.”
“Say I’m wrong, though, and what I think is love turns out to be this arsewipe need to be love’s bitch? What then?”
“Then thee will most assuredly burn,” said Seraphiel, sounding amused.
“Oi! Drinking my whiskey and havin’ a friendly chat here. If I’m to go out in a blaze of glory, least you could do is try to sound regretful.”
“Yet what wouldst thou not risk for love, vampire?”
Spike looked out into the darkness, Seraphiel’s question hanging fire in the air between them.
If the Slayer could be convinced of his love, feel it like she felt her own emotions — well, hopefully a bit more clearly than that — might she understand him at last, see him with fresh eyes? What she might do with the knowledge was anyone’s guess, but the task of proving himself would be over. And it could make a right bit of difference to the Slayer, to believe she had that ally she so desperately needed, without pause or question. Help her stand a little taller, maybe, under the weight of it all, knowing he would never willingly fail her. Goose girl’s proposition was sounding like a good idea all the way around, more he thought about it.
And if it turned out he was wrong, got himself burned and dusted for his hubris? Be well rid of him in that case, wouldn’t she. Aye, but there’s the rub… because it wasn’t that simple, was it? Say his love turned out to be the mongrel sort — obsession, lust, a twist of Victorian chivalry — he’d be gone then right enough, and no one to watch the Slayer’s back, not the way he could. Glory would mow the Scoobies down like Spring wheat to get at Dawn. Then all hell would break loose. Literally.
Bollocks, he saw it clear enough now. Against the Slayer’s need for a powerful ally, his longing that she see him as more than a tamed killer held no weight. Went without saying he would risk everything for her — ‘course he would. But he had no right to risk himself if it might mean leaving her to face Glory alone, with no one of his caliber to fight beside her. She’d lose Dawn then sure enough. And that would end her, he knew, even if the Scoobies liked to pretend otherwise.
So there it was.
Spike rose to his feet and stretched mightily, shoulder muscles rippling like liquid silver in the moonlight.
“Thanks but no thanks, pet,” he said, looking down at Seraphiel. “A bloke likes to do his own wooing. Shortcut might take all the fun out of it.”
Seraphiel said nothing, but seemed to be listening intently, as if hearing all that he felt but would not say. Despite her urging she looked strangely satisfied at his refusal, and for a moment Spike thought he glimpsed some other agenda percolating behind those lovely eyes. But before he could question her, the night’s quiet was broken by the sound of a car racing full throttle down Revello Drive. He recognized the sound of Giles’ sporty little number, and wondered what could be sending the Watcher careening his way. Some new catastrophe involving that bitch-god Glory, most like.
The sudden screech of brakes was followed by the sound of car doors opening, and he could hear Willow and Tara already chanting as they tumbled out and headed his way. Spike began a slow lope towards the front yard.
“Hold.” Seraphiel was suddenly and disconcertingly directly behind him. “They shall not interfere.”
A wall of white light sprang up in Spike’s path. Before he could turn around, something indescribably soft feathered against his shoulder, and Spike screamed in agony.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/155992.html