Joining in again in this fine seasonal_spuffy round. Thanks to the mods, as always, for having me, and thanks to any kind readers who feel brave enough to peruse my scribblings. I did hope to have more, but you know how it is…
TITLE: In His Eyes
SEASON: Erm, not really sure. After Spike knows he loves her, after Joyce’s death, and after they started with the smoochies.
RATING: PG13 for some very mild language
SUMMARY: Buffy and Spike are getting along just fine, so long as Buffy can use him to scratch an itch and then hightail it out of his bed. But one night Buffy sees something in his eyes, and she has to face the truth of who she is, and who Spike is, and what they are – or could become.
DISCLAIMER: None of the characters, sadly, are mine. If they were, they’d be sitting on the porch of that lovely little crypt for two right now, holding hands.
THANKS: To seductivembrace for her lightning fast beta of my scribbles. If you see anything amiss, it’s because I fiddle; let me know?
WORD COUNT: 3,256
Spike didn’t sleep like your usual vampire, Buffy thought. She watched him twitch and moan, his limbs thrashing, occasionally making fighting moves that she recognised and could consequently duck before he made contact. She didn’t have much in the way of experience in sleeping with vampires, she’d admit. But from her limited experience, Spike was completely different.
Okay, she’d admit it in the dead of night with no witnesses. The limited experience Spike was completely different to was Angel, the only other vampire she’d slept with all those chaste nights when they were trying to be a couple with a no-touch policy.
And she’d slept with Angel far more than she ever did with Spike. She shared a bed with Spike, certainly, but sleeping was definitely optional and fairly rare. Generally she took what she needed then she ran. Tonight was different. Tonight the banter had been fun, the patrol had been heavy and she’d found herself looking at Spike and admiring the sleek body that bent and bowed in tandem with her own, and the joy he had in his task. She’d felt alive. As a consequence, she’d been reluctant to leave once she was sated and before she knew it the sun was tinting the sky with pink and Spike passed out in response to his primal urges. Usually she was well gone before sun-up and once she’d left the comfort of the bedclothes – or the rugs, the duster, the pile of leaves, whatever was handy – she didn’t look back as she gathered her clothing, dressed herself until sufficiently decent and dashed off home.
In sleep, he looked almost innocent and she leant up on one elbow and gazed down at his pale features. His lips were full and luscious, promising sin and completion all on their own. Those lips, the things that mouth could do…
Buffy felt her heart-rate rocket as she remembered those lips brushing across her heated skin earlier that night. She wriggled, finding it hard to breathe as she forced herself to look away. Her eyes gratefully focused on his cheekbones – but that was only a temporary reprieve because she found herself visualising those cheekbones as he laughed, as he cursed, as he watched her and moved slowly towards her, his intent evident in the way he stalked. She could now feel the pulse beating against the skin of her throat and the butterflies in her stomach made it hard to keep still. She shook herself, and continued her perusal.
And was lost in swirling memories.
She recalled his eyes, now closed in repose, but when open startlingly blue and framed with the most dramatic eyelashes that swept his cheeks as he did that head dip thing that drove her mad with desire; the one where he looked down at his feet, shuffled a little, hands in his pockets, then looked up below lowered lids with eyes so loaded with lust and love and…
Buffy gasped. In her reverie, she’d somehow missed the fact that the object of her fascination had those very same eyes wide open and fixed on her. And she’d seen love.
She didn’t mean to say it, but his name slipped out anyway, breathy and real and unfettered by any doubt or filtered by any second-guessing.
Spike leaned up to mirror her pose, scared to move in case whatever spell Buffy was under dissipated. Unless he was dreaming. Oh, that would just be too cruel, to see her look at him the way he’d always imagined she would, only to find that he was still asleep. He tried desperately to put all of the tangled emotions that overwhelmed him in the presence of this woman into his eyes as she seemed fixated on them, willing her to see just how much he adored her, would do anything for her. Would be a man for her, if she’d let him. Was a man for her, every day.
And then it was gone, and she blinked and jerked away.
Of its own volition, Spike’s hand reached out and gripped her wrist. Buffy stopped and glared at the fingers digging into her flesh – but she stilled, and Spike shuffled nearer to her.
Two short words that held a wealth of emotion, and just for a second he thought she would – until she wrenched her arm away and scuttled off to dress in the half-light of the crypt.
Spike didn’t even bother watching her. He’d played this scene before, countless times, and the hurt never got any less intense. As the door slammed behind her, he turned over and let the oblivion of sleep overcome him.
For Buffy, she didn’t have the luxury of allowing the onset of dawn to take over her body; her mind was racing so fast she couldn’t sleep, couldn’t get the image of those eyes out of her head. Couldn’t avoid thinking about what it meant that she saw – actually saw – what Spike had been trying to tell her for months.
He loved her.
A demon, with a man’s face, loved her.
Even she couldn’t pretend she hadn’t seen it, regular inhabitant as she was of the land of denial. She felt herself shivering as she sat on the edge of the bed, arms wrapped tight around her body as if that was the only thing stopping her from fracturing into pieces. All those nights he’d whispered against her neck, caressed her, stroked her hair and told her that he loved her. She’d just dismissed it as Spike’s delusion, not thinking him capable of feeling anything pure and good. She’d allowed that he felt something for her, but that something was dirty and animal and degrading, and she needed to believe that so that she could use him to scratch her itch. Now…
Now, she couldn’t breathe.
Buffy stood and paced, taking deep draughts of air to try and calm herself down. The pulse at her neck was pounding and her head felt as if it was in a vice. She’d never felt so confused in all of her life. Buffy Summers, the Powers’ Chosen One, supposedly the poster-girl for all that was good, wasn’t coming off looking too shiny. She was supposed to be the one that didn’t take advantage.
“But he’s just a vampire,” Buffy told herself as she stared at the mirror, the words dropping leaden into the early dawn silence.
Even as she spoke, she knew she was lying to herself; Spike was far more than just a vampire, always had been. And she was the bad guy in this scenario.
Question was – what was she going to do about it?
By the time she was showered and changed and had made sure Dawn got off to school, she was no closer to knowing.
Spike avoided Buffy for three nights, going so far as hiding in the crypt when she came calling. He allowed himself a quiet moment of hope when she did so, but he beat it down. He’d been stupid to think that anything could happen between them that meant anything to her, and he would have to reconcile his heart to that fact, grow a set and move on.
By the fourth night, he stopped kidding himself that he could keep away from her.
He trailed her through the cemetery, making sure that he was well outside the range of her vampdar – as the Bit called it – and tried to look at her with an objective eye. He failed, miserably. As she strode determinedly between the headstones, he found himself recollecting exactly what she looked like beneath the denim and the leather – god, she was wearing the leather – and picturing her muscles flexing as she rode him hard, beads of sweat running down her naked body. He knew that she’d seen something in his eyes the other night, something that he’d been telling her forever but that she simply chose to ignore. Whether she believed it was another thing, but to be honest, having been away from her for a while, he knew that it didn’t really matter what she believed. He was sure of what he felt; that was good enough for him. He just needed to be near her.
“Spike. Quit stalking me.” Buffy’s voice carried on the night air and brought the vampire to a halt.
“Ah. You heard my dainty footsteps, huh?”
Buffy snorted and turned to wait for him, her arms folded. “No. Slayer, remember. The whole vampire tinglies thing that comes with that? You forgot?”
“No, I didn’t forget. I just didn’t think it stretched as far as it clearly does. Or is it that I’m a special case, Slayer?”
Spike had lost no time in closing the distance between them and was now toe-to-toe with her, barely resisting the urge to kiss her, make her see what he felt.
“Erm,” Buffy managed, blinking fast. For some reason the easy banter she’d managed previously with Spike had deserted her. Still blinking, she took a step backwards and started in on straightening her clothes. Before she could think, her mouth was opening and she was talking. “Where have you been? I tried the crypt…”
Buffy was horrified. She’d never meant to let him know that she’d missed him, that she’d actually gone looking for him. And she really had missed him, loath as she’d been to admit it.
Spike watched the way she was fidgeting, spied the blush that prettied her cheeks and dipped his head to hide the hopeful smile that he couldn’t keep off his face. It was vital that he didn’t do anything to spook her if he was hoping for something – anything – to happen, so he played it cool.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Had something on, Clem’s family and whatnot. Figured nobody would miss me.”
Was that guilt he saw in Buffy’s eyes? What did that mean? Was he finally getting through to her?
“Was there something you wanted me for? Slaying… or… something. Monsters. Grr.” Spike accompanied the last with curled fingers and a play snarl, and Buffy couldn’t help but giggle.
“Erm, yeah. Slaying. Monsters. But they’re gone now.”
Spike thrust his hands into his jeans pockets and started whistling softly, rocking to and fro on his toes and heels. Buffy had apparently found something very interesting happening with her fingernails as she studied them intently while biting on her bottom lip. Spike watched her teeth worrying at the flesh and lost the tune he’d only been hitting intermittently anyway. Eventually, it petered off to nothing, and after a tense silence they both spoke at the same time.
“I should –”
“It’s getting –”
They both stopped, and grinned as they did it again, and then again, Spike finally bowing flamboyantly and sweeping his hand in front of him, beckoning Buffy to go on.
Buffy smiled and did so. “I was just saying, it’s getting late and I think I killed all the bad guys. I should go. Unless you can think of something else to do…”
The unspoken suggestion, based on their previous attempts at ‘something else to do’, hung in the air and Spike was paralysed with indecision. In the past he would have grabbed onto the suggestion and worked his charm on the slayer, trusting in her need for his particular skills to ease her anxiety. Now – he didn’t know how to react. Before this meeting he would have sworn he would be happy to take whatever she wanted to give, but… was it his imagination, or did she seemed changed, somehow?
Forlorn though it may be, Spike found that he was hoping for more than just a quick shag, and for the first time thought he could see a crack in Buffy’s defences. Ordinarily, a quick shag would be nice, no doubt about it; but he wanted the dream – at least now that he thought he could see a glimpse of it.
Buffy’s brow furrowed, and she took a step towards him.
“Spike?” Her voice was filled with concern; he was just gazing at her, motionless. “Spike – you’re scaring me. Did we get hit with magic again?” Buffy laid her hand on his arm, and it was enough to jolt him out of his trance.
Spike laid his hand over hers, squeezing her fingers.
“I’m fine, pet. Just thinking is all. And you know what? I do have a suggestion for something else to do.”
“Yeah. Come on.” Spike grabbed her hand and tugged her to follow him, walking purposely and ignoring Buffy’s queries as to where they were going.
“Shhh, love. You’ll see. It’s not far.”
After a few minutes of walking close to the cemetery boundaries, Spike turned off towards a small cluster of trees surrounded by shrubs. Buffy resisted, slowing down, but Spike laughed and asked her if she was she afraid of going into the woods with the big bad which had her rolling her eyes and snorting. Finally, he stopped.
“Where are we?” Buffy queried, looking around at the patch of grass and the shrubs and trees, nothing else visible in the partial light.
Spike feigned being offended, laying his palm flat on his chest over his heart. “You mean, you don’t remember? I’m hurt.”
Buffy looked around again, gave up and huffed. “Remember what, Spike? It’s grass and trees. There’s a whole lot of greenery. I’ve seen greenery before.”
Spike watched her, with her crossed arms and her pout, the set of her hips as she stood and cocked her head at him. His eyes softened and he took a step towards her. “You were over there, love, just through those trees. I was holed up in here, stalking the enemy, watching the Slayer at work, you know? Three big buggers rushed you, all horned and slimy, and I watched as you killed two of ’em, real smart, real quick – but the third, he was a nasty brute, had you in a headlock and try as you might, you couldn’t get up. And just as you stopped flailing, stopped fighting…”
Buffy took a step towards him, her eyes misty with tears. “…you saved me.”
Spike nodded, moving closer. “Yeah. Didn’t have a soddin’ clue why at the time, but I just couldn’t let you die like that. Called myself a stupid bastard a whole lot after that, every time you beat me up.”
“I… I didn’t know. I must’ve passed out and when I woke up, the last one was dead, heavy across me. I figured I’d gotten a lucky shot in – but it was you…”
Buffy’s voice was full of wonder, and awe. That Spike would do that, save her, for whatever reason, when they were mortal enemies… it just amazed her.
Spike continued. “I told myself it was because it was my glory to kill you, didn’t want anybody else to steal it; but then I kept asking myself why I didn’t finish you off while you were down. Figured I wanted to do it in a fair fight, honourable like.”
“I get that,” Buffy said quietly, “warrior to warrior.”
“Yeah.” Spike paused, rubbed at his eyes, fidgeted. “But I was wrong.”
Buffy swallowed. “Wrong.” Her voice was shaking.
“Yeah. Totally wrong, as it happens.” Spike moved closer so that he could rest his hands on Buffy’s shoulders, waiting until she tipped her face up and met his eyes. He spoke softly. “Thing is, love – well, to be honest. Oh sod, it!”
Spike bent down and kissed her, thoroughly, completely, leaving her in no doubt that whatever she thought, he knew his feelings for her were real. After a moment’s hesitation, Buffy kissed him back, clinging to him until she became breathless. They stood, forehead to forehead until eventually, Spike had to speak to fill up the silence.
“Buffy. I know you don’t believe me, but-” Spike took a deep breath, “I do love you. That’s what I brought you here to tell you. Here, right here, all those years ago, when I didn’t kill you – I’ve thought about this a lot – right here is where I fell in love with you.”
Buffy didn’t say anything for a good while, but she moved away slightly and Spike dropped his arms from around her. He opened his mouth once or twice, but found he didn’t know what to say. She either believed him or she didn’t. And either way, what happened next was up to her.
“I know,” Buffy stated quietly. “I know you love me, Spike.” She reached for his hand and tangled her fingers with his. “That’s why I’m scared. The other night…”
Spike kept quiet; he knew exactly which night she meant.
Buffy cleared her throat and carried on, her voice a little stronger. “The other night, when I was watching you sleep – and don’t say anything about being creepy or I swear I’ll…”
Spike smiled at her and shook his head. “Never crossed my mind, love.”
“Well, when you opened your eyes… I knew. I just knew, and I panicked and I ran. Because, how can you love me? You’re not a man, you’re a demon, and demons can’t love.”
Spike lost the smile and clenched his jaw, steeling himself for the rejection that he knew was coming. He struggled to stem the tears that threatened to fall, hating himself for being so stupid.
“…would make everything that I know a lie.”
Spike had no idea what Buffy had just said, but it didn’t matter. He’d heard it all before, didn’t need a re-run. “Sorry, Slayer. Wasn’t listening. Must be the demon in me, wanting to be off into the night for murder and mayhem.”
Spike turned to go, but Buffy raced round in front of him and made him stop.
“Will you let me finish, you stupid vampire!” She even stamped her foot, which garnered a raised eyebrow from the vampire she was addressing.
“What I was trying to say was that if I believe that you love me, it means that everything I’ve been told, everything I thought I knew about demons and my calling, is a lie.” She took a deep breath. “And I don’t care. I do believe you. How can I not?”
She placed the palm of her hand on his cheek, blinking away tears. “I believe you, Spike,” she repeated, “and… well, I care about you too.”
Spike was stunned. He couldn’t believe she was saying what he was hearing. She cared about him – she’d actually said it. And yeah, it wasn’t love she was professing, but he could wait…
“Let’s just walk, Spike. It’ll be light soon. Need to get you all tucked up before the sun comes out to play. And I don’t have to be anywhere until the afternoon. Dawn’s at Janice’s…”
For once, Spike was lost for words. He nodded and started to walk beside her, risking occasional glances to make sure she really was holding his hand as they made their way back to his crypt. At the threshold, just as the sun was pinking the sky, he paused before opening the door.
“Buffy – are you sure you’re not under some kind of spell, or drugged maybe? Because I don’t think I could -“
She smiled and placed a soft kiss on his cheek before swinging the door open and walking inside, pulling his hand so that he followed her. “Well, they do say that love is a temporary madness.”
Spike’s eyes widened in surprise. And he kicked the door shut against the world.
That’s all folks! See you next time :)
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/435502.html