Hi! Sorry I’m posting so late today. I was stuck in a meeting all day with no LJ access. Here’s my little contribution, a rather sappy, fill-in-the-blank type fic set in S7. Hope you enjoy! :-D
“All decisions regarding Hostile 17 are to be left in your hands. This chip… we can either repair it… or remove it.”
The soldier’s words and the choice she had to make continued to play over and over in Buffy’s mind long after she’d made her decision. It had come so easily, it almost frightened her.
Buffy adjusted the arm she’d curved around Spike’s waist and braced her free hand on the wooden railing beside her. As she helped him down the basement steps, she tried as hard as she could to quiet her mind. The decision had already been made, and she had no regrets. No point in dwelling on it now.
Although he seemed alert, Spike still appeared somewhat lethargic and allowed her to help him without much protest, as if he were still feeling the effects of the drugs the soldiers gave him before the surgery. He had stayed mostly silent throughout their trip from the old Initiative headquarters back to her house, but Buffy chalked his silence up to surgery aftereffects and the considerable headache she assumed he continued to feel.
Despite her lingering worries and way too busy mind, she much preferred his silence to his earlier screams of agony, so rather than asking him endless questions or babbling on about nothing at all – and likely saying something she’d rather not say out loud – she kept her mouth shut and enjoyed the quiet.
Everything around her was so noisy these days. Teenage girls everywhere she turned, talking or giggling or arguing or all three at the same time. Music, television, and video games blaring throughout the house in someone else’s futile attempt to drown out the constant stream of voices. Xander hammering as he attempted to fix the latest damage to the house. Andrew.
The rare quiet moment was nice, and it was easy to be quiet with Spike these days. Comfortable.
But while Buffy had her own theories about his silence, the current awkwardness between them didn’t escape her, nor did she miss the confusion that covered his face every time she met his eyes. Something was on his mind. She just forced herself not to wonder too much about it all. Avoiding the weird, confusing stuff was much easier. Especially where she and Spike was concerned.
Confusion. Join the crowd, she thought wryly. Confusion was the story of her life these days.
She released him as they reached the bottom of the steps, and he made his way over to the cot. He wobbled slightly as he settled down on the cot, avoiding her gaze as he did.
“Do you want some blood? I could—” She stayed several steps back from his bed, restlessly twisting one end of her scarf in her hands. Her gaze traveled down to him, but she forced it away quickly.
“Maybe later,” he answered simply. He leaned his back against the wall, careful not to press the back of his head against it. Their eyes met for less than a second before both looked away.
Yep, definite confusion with a large side of awkward.
“You should try to rest. Take advantage of what’s left of the peace before the girls come back and it’s gone forever.” A lock of hair slipped out of her now-loosened ponytail and fell into her eyes. Sighing, she brushed it behind her ear before stuffing her hands in the pockets of her pants.
“Should probably take your own advice. You’ve been up all night. Looks like you’re about to drop.”
She shook her head, ignoring the way her achy bones and weary mind seemed to be crying out in agreement with him. “I’ve got things to do. I need to check on Willow and figure out just where Xander, Anya , Dawn and Andrew went. Not that I’m missing Andrew or anything, because I’m now thinking he needs to vanish like this more often. He’s just as noisy as the Potentials and ten times as annoying.” The gurgling of her stomach interrupted her babbling. “And I might want to eat something while I’ve got the kitchen and the fully stocked refrigerator all to myself.”
He chuckled quietly, easing down onto his side and laying his head on the pillow.
Neither spoke for several minutes. Buffy let her mind replay the events of the last hours. Her involuntary cringing as the officer referred to Spike as ‘Hostile 17.’ The decision she’d been forced to make with no input at all from Spike. How easily the words “take it out” came out of her mouth.
The sudden realization of just how far their relationship had come in the last few months.
“Are you sure I can’t get you anything?” she asked, suddenly uncomfortable with his silence and the way it encouraged her thoughts to run away from her.
“Why?” he asked after several seconds.
She blinked. “Why? Uh, because your head almost exploded, and you just had major surgery, and I’m worried about you?”
He glared at her, more irritated than angry. “You know what I’m asking, Buffy. Why’d you tell them to take the chip out with the First still hanging around and all?”
So that’s why he was so quiet, she realized. Leave it to Spike to force her to say the words she wasn’t sure she was ready to say.
She smiled nervously and sunk down on the edge of the cot, her thigh brushing gently against his chest. She ran her fingers along his cheek and then took his hand in hers. “Because I trust you, Spike, and I care about you. You don’t need to be on a leash anymore.”
And because I can’t lose you, she added silently.
But she’d never say it out loud. No need to create any more confusion than what they already had.
“Now if you won’t let me bring you anything to eat, at least try to get some sleep.” She swallowed before saying her next words. “We can talk later if you want.”
She stayed beside him on the cot until she was sure he’d drifted off to sleep. She let go of his hand and brushed her fingers against his forehead before gently tracing the line of his cheekbone. Then, without thinking about what she was doing or why, she brushed a soft kiss across his forehead.
“Maybe someday I’ll be able to do that when you’re awake,” she whispered as she stood up and hurried from the room.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/20936.html