I didn’t get any of my remaining three unfinished ficlets done for today, but I’m sneaking in just under the wire to get this first part posted. I’ll post the second and final part on my LJ in the next few days. Hope you enjoy!
Title: I Never (1/2)
Setting: Season 9 comics (AU post-Issue #1)
Warning: Slight mention of Spike/Other
Summary: Did they or didn’t they? Plus Buffy has a little competition for Spike’s attention and she’s not sure how to handle it.
Two more seconds and Buffy thinks she’ll have to stake Spike right where he stands.
It’s not like she’ll have to cover it up or make up a lame story about spontaneous combustion (without the flames) when he does a slo-mo crumble-to-dust right in the middle of her living room. After all…vampires. Public knowledge now. Plus he and Willow have already blown his cover at the last party held here with their stupid story about the time he tried to bite her and couldn’t.
And since when does he consider Willow so “bite-able,” anyway, Buffy wonders with vicious mental air quotes. It’s enough to make her question what other necks he’s been eyeing these past several years when he supposedly was jonesing only for hers.
“So…who’s your friend?” She thinks she’s hit the right note of nonchalance and polite curiosity, but something in his eyes as he gives her a quick glance makes her not quite sure. So she follows it up with an insincere smile and a carefully rehearsed observation. “She’s pretty.”
It’s enough to draw his gaze from the woman in question, this time for more than a second or two.
“Nice of you to notice,” he says, with a tilt of his head. Then he nods and smiles and looks back at her again. Honestly, you’d think he’s never seen a pretty face before.
Not that his friend is even all that beautiful. Not in the traditional way, at least. But Buffy has to admit there’s something about her that’s been turning more than one head in the room ever since she and Spike arrived nearly an hour ago.
Which is how long Buffy’s been trying to talk to him and how long he keeps slipping away. Until at last, she’s finally run him to ground at the party bar where’s he’s come for a refill.
And he has to know for sure now she’s hunting him because she’s the only one here who’s chosen not to drink. She’s still not sure what happened at the last party. She doesn’t need another night of did-or-didn’t-she debauchery to angst about.
So she’s trying hard to think what her next move should be when Spike solves the problem for her.
“Almost forgot. Picked up a bit of intel from a Breenok demon. Wanker frequents a demon bar in one of the back alleys off Fisherman’s Wharf. Says there’s something in the works. He’s not sure what, but he’s got all six of his ears to the ground.”
She nods, pretending to think it over. Whatever she can do to keep him engaged. “Can we trust him?”
He shrugs. “He’ll be loyal enough, as long as he gets his dosh and the whiskey keeps flowing.”
She frowns. “Dosh? I know what that is. It means money. So where is that coming from?”
Spike eyes her. “Does it matter?”
Buffy gathers herself, the better to glower up at him—five feet two inches of righteous judgment…
“Didn’t rob a bank or anything, if that’s what you’re implying,” he adds.
…and just as quickly deflates.
Pinned in the path of his speculative gaze, it strikes her that somewhere along the way she’s lost the high road. Lost the right to judge. The right to criticize. She’s lost the right to expect anything at all from Spike—not the secrets he keeps to himself or the time he spends elsewhere or the unspoken devotion that seems a lot less undying than it had been once upon a time.
Most of all, she’s lost the right to be jealous—of this woman or any other. Gave it up when she didn’t rush into his arms the second he strode down the ramp of that stupid bug ship of his. Before that, even, when she found out he was more or less alive again, only to let hurt feelings and running an army—and the nagging resentment that he really hadn’t believed her—stop her from taking the first plane to LA.
And now she’s lost his attention, too, as his head turns in answer to the call. With a brief glance back at Buffy and a quick half-nod, he moves to join her. Hands over the drink he’s fetched. Leans in to whisper a few words. Smiles as she tosses her head back and laughs long and hard at whatever remark he’s made.
Not long after, Dawn and Xander are there, chatting easily with Spike in a way that still strikes her as surreal. Xander is okay with him these days. Dawn’s okay with him. Willow’s okay with him, too. Andrew, of course, has always been okay with him.
Seems like Buffy is the only one not okay.
Her feelings for Spike are all over the place. Sometimes she’s jealous. Sometimes she’s hurt. Most of the time she’s angry because she has a terrible suspicion they slept together that unremembered night, only she can’t bring herself to confront and confirm.
Because then she would know he truly has moved on. That he got what he wanted only to learn it’s not what he wants anymore.
That thought kills her just a little. But not as much as the possibility he would betray her in the most intimate way possible. Not this Spike. Not after everything that went before. So she’s trapped somewhere between furious denial and bleak resignation.
Yet a perverse part of her looks forward to the little thrill of anticipation she gets each time she sees him, because of course her life isn’t complicated enough and hasn’t she always been the queen of conflicting emotions?
Each new declaration gets more risqué as the game progresses.
“I’ve never…wait a minute…let me think.” Anaheed’s friend—whose name Buffy can’t recall at the moment—bows her head, brow crinkling. “Okay…I’ve never had sex in a busy public place.”
With a smirk, Buffy lifts her glass and downs another big gulp, her gaze firmly fixed on Spike as he reluctantly does the same. Two hours into the party and she’s forsaken her vow of alcoholic abstinence, taken down by a rousing game of “I’ve Never” and a grim determination not to be bested by Spike’s wanna-be girlfriend, who is currently way too close to him for Buffy’s liking.
The cold beer slides down her throat like pure liquid gold. But this time, she barely makes a face.
Spike frowns a little, giving a slight shake of his head and shoots a quick look at what’s-her-name sitting next to him. Buffy feigns innocence as she shrugs, offering up her best “who me?” look. It’s not her fault she and Spike have made love in almost every way and every place imaginable. Well, maybe it is…partly. But it’s certainly not her fault that others here apparently haven’t.
She deliberately ignores the evil eye Dawn sends her way and the heavy sigh that comes from Xander as another sexually charged declaration has her raising her glass again. Spike tries not to drink this time, but a pointed clearing of her throat puts an end to his brief attempt at gentlemanly discretion.
A part of her misses when it was just the two of them and he was all hers whether she wanted him or not. Now he’s all presto-chango Vamp with a Mission. A mission apparently not named Mooning Over Buffy.
Now there’s Miss Stuck-Up Medical Intern from a well-to-do San Francisco family who apparently took one look at Spike fronting the band he and Tumble formed and decided she had to have him.
Oh, yes. Dawn has given Buffy the complete rundown on Spike’s personal groupie.
But the game continues, and now it’s her turn again. “I’ve never…” She thinks hard. Then feels a wicked grin steal across her face. “I’ve never…begged Buffy to marry me.”
She stares at Spike. He stares back, a dangerous tic in his rock-hard jaw. Then, without warning, he surges to his feet, grabs her by the wrist and tugs her up to a wobbly standing position beside him.
“Excuse us,” he grinds out through clenched teeth. Without looking at her, he turns and strides away, pulling her along behind him. She lets him, knowing at least a dozen pairs of eyes are following them across the room.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/332300.html