Title: Something (4/4)
Summary: What if Spike hadn’t died in “Chosen”? How would their relationship have reached its natural conclusion/consummation? 4000 words.
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, I am making no money, etc.
Author’s Note: I started this fic a very long time ago during the last week of August, and I have been so happy to finally be able to share it today. Thank you so much everyone who’s read and commented. And thank you again to the mods and to all the contributors/readers who make this community so awesome!
The next patrol gives him new appreciation for the word “boring.”
“You’re a selfish jerk who would rather mope about not meeting the perfect, idealized, imaginary woman than appreciate what you actually have in front you-”
“I’m selfish? All you care about is money! And you’re one to talk about idealizing! You were practically drooling over that moron in the store today-”
“Moron? He was a gentleman! You-”
Spike grits his teeth and tries to tune out Xander and Anya’s argument. It’s distracting on top of annoying. Not that there’s much to distract them from. Anya and Xander’s dulcet tones will have driven any demon that might have been out and about into hiding.
Tuning Fred and Ethel out doesn’t help matters, though, because then he hears Willow.
“-She said she didn’t think she’d been in Cleveland long enough to take a vacation. I’ve been waiting over a month for this weekend…”
Poor Dawn’s eyes are glazed over. She nods and murmurs “uh huh” every few minutes. Willow just keeps on prattling.
He sneaks a look at Buffy next. Her lips are bunched into a frown, and she twirls her stake in the way that means she really, really wants to kill something.
Just as he’s about to offer to hold the Scoobies while she does the punching, a hulking figure comes around the side of a mausoleum. He and Buffy burst into a run.
“Spike!” Buffy shouts, and he looks to his left to see another demon emerge from the shadows. He pivots and races toward it instead.
The demon is at least seven feet tall and has long curved horns. It flexes a clawed fist and growls. Spike briefly contemplates making some snarky comment about how it should try for some originality but finds he can’t be bothered. He’d much rather just hit the thing.
So he does. Well, technically he kicks it first, but then he punches it when it stumbles. It gets in a few hits of its own, and its claws rake him hard enough that he mourns his duster, but then he’s got a hold of its horns and is yanking it neck-
The demon keels over.
Dawn’s shout quells Spike’s triumph. He turns to see the other demon holding Buffy over its head. She’s wriggling and kicking, but she’s too small, and the demon is too big for her writhing to do much damage. Dawn hefts her stake, but she’s either paralyzed by fear or she can’t find an opening. The Scoobies are shouting, but they aren’t moving-
Spike rams into the demon, and it, he, and Buffy tumble to the ground. He rolls over just in time to see Buffy spring up and begin viciously beating the demon. A moment later she snaps its neck.
“Are you all right?” he gasps, and without thinking he takes her hand, grips her shoulder.
“Yeah.” She grimaces and massages her side where the demon held her. “Just…ow.”
It’s the ‘ow’ that does it- her quiet little admission of pain when she so often internalizes everything.
He rounds on the Scoobies. He’s more furious than he can ever remember being, and before he knows what he’s doing, he’s shouting.
“What the hell were you were doing? You’re supposed to be her backup! You’re supposed to keep her from being killed! And you just stood there like lumps! Useless! You!” He points at Xander and Anya. “Stop bickering! Stop bickering and go shag because any fool can see that you’re still in love, and your sexual tension is driving everyone insane. And it’s distracting you! Get your heads out of your arses and go! Shag! Stop being imbeciles!”
He turns to Willow. “And you! Stop dithering! If you want your girlfriend, tell her that! Don’t expect her to read your mind! And next time a demon almost kills your best friend, use that goddamn magic you’re always nattering on about!”
He rounds on Dawn. “ And you! You are too young for this! I don’t care how good you are with a stake, it’s too dangerous! And it’s a school night!”
He whips back to Xander, Anya, and Willow. For the first time in years they’re all wide-eyed and cowed by him. He may be on the verge of liking the Scoobies now, but he still appreciates that.
He stabs a finger toward each of them as he speaks. “Take Dawn home. Now. If she doesn’t get home safely, I will personally snap each of your necks. Are we clear?”
None of them answers. Xander’s eyes dart toward Buffy, and he obviously expects her to come to their defense. Spike doesn’t look at her, but he also doesn’t hear a peep from behind him.
Casting each other disgruntled looks, the three adults turn and begin shepherding Dawn, who gives Spike a glance that is half reproving and half terribly amused. He knows he’ll get crap from her later about bossing her around and treating her like a child, but he doesn’t care.
When they’ve reached the cemetery exit, Spike turns to Buffy, suddenly deflated, gearing himself up for any verbal or physical lashing she offers.
He isn’t prepared for her launching herself at him and kissing him.
He catches her, though, because she’s Buffy and he’s Spike and that’s what they do- and when she kisses him he kisses back because that’s another thing they do and do quite well, incidentally.
It’s fierce and passionate and demanding but also soft and yearning and sweet all at the same time, and most of all it’s perfect.
And he’s thinking, inanely (because inanity is really all his brain has room for when he’s surrounded by Buffy), that this is just like riding a bicycle, you never forget, when that makes him think about other times they’ve kissed that didn’t end well, and he realizes what they’re doing and pulls away.
Buffy instantly cups his cheek to try to bring his lips to hers again, obviously not realizing that he pulled away for a reason and not just for a (unnecessary) breather, so Spike whispers her name.
Her eyes focus, and she stares up at him. They’re standing very close together and she wore tennis shoes, so the difference in their heights, normally a non-issue, is accentuated. He drinks in her gaze and realizes they are holding hands and feels twin thrills of anxiety and excitement course through him; they have just tumbled off the brink of something, and there’s no pulling back.
“What’s wrong?” she whispers. “I thought- don’t you want- is it okay?”
She sounds so nervous, so unlike her usual self that it makes Spike remember the girl she used to be, the one whose innocence and capacity to love Angelus nearly destroyed. He feels a familiar flash of anger at Angel and Soldier Boy and every other man who’s ever made this precious woman feel unworthy, but he also takes bizarre comfort in the fact that deep down, she’s just as insecure as he’s always been. It gives him the courage to say what he must.
“I don’t know what you want from me.”
Buffy blinks, as though this were the last answer she expected to hear. “I just want you. Spike, I…I’ve wanted to do this for weeks.”
She cups his cheek again, her thumb brushing over his lips and leaving him in no doubt what she means. He has to close his eyes and swallow, but he also feels a burst of incredulity.
“So you waited until after I yelled at your best friends?”
To his amazement, after her lips make an ‘o’ of surprise, they turn upward in a smile. “Yeah.” He doesn’t ask why because he senses it could be awkward, but he does raise his eyebrows. It’s enough to prompt her to add,
“Ever since we defeated the First you’ve been…” She hesitates, and he knows she’s trying to figure out how not to hurt his feelings. Even after all she’s done for him, it still awes him that she cares about his feelings. This knowledge makes him unafraid of what she might say, because even if it’s somehow hurtful, he’ll know she didn’t want it to be.
“You’ve seemed fragile,” says Buffy reluctantly.
Spike’s first instinct is to laugh, because he knows that after kicking that demon’s ass and sending the Scoobies on their incompetent way, this is the least fragile he’s been in weeks.
And then he understands why she kissed him now, tonight.
“You’ve been so quiet and- and sad,” says Buffy. She squeezes his hand. “And that’s okay! You almost died and you were so badly hurt and being melancholy is totally, completely okay!” She’s so earnest, both in expression and voice, and it’s so adorable that Spike wonders why he ever stopped kissing her in the first place.
“But I didn’t want to…to rush you.” Her cheeks pinken, but she doesn’t look away from him. “And I thought…I didn’t know…” She mumbles her last words so quickly and quietly that even Spike can’t understand them.
Her cheeks turn an even darker shade. “Ididn’tknowifyoustilllovedme.”
Spike stares at her, replaying her words and making sure he heard them right. He half-smiles. “You thought I didn’t love you? You have gone carrot-top.”
An impossibly wide smile blooms on her face, so innocent and lovely and relieved that Spike finds himself grinning, too and resisting the impulse to gather her into his arms. He can’t remember the last time he saw her wear such a big smile, and it’s because of him.
Her gaze finally drops, and she glances at him from beneath her lashes, her cheeks still a pretty pink. “I didn’t know. You don’t…say it anymore.”
Her smile finally slips, as does his. He hesitates a long moment before replying,
“I thought you didn’t want me to. And with everything that happened…it didn’t seem appropriate.”
She continues to avoid his gaze, so he says gently but firmly, “Buffy, I will always love you.”
Her head shoots up, eyes catching his, and he repeats, “Always.”
Her breath hitches and comes faster. “Spike, I…”
He swallows hard, his euphoria fading. He didn’t really expect her to say it back, but he knows what the look on her face means, the glazing of her eyes and slight parting of her lips. She wants him. But what does she want of him? Because he can’t be her fuck-buddy, not again. That’s why he stopped kissing her, and he knows he’ll never kiss her again if that’s all she wants.
Before his discomfort can grow, she shakes her head a bit and says, “You called me carrot-top.”
Possibly the statement he least expected, but it’s better than silence. “Yeah,” he says cautiously.
“Do you remember the first time you called me that? The night I got the scythe? The night after…”
He nods. “Course.” How could she think he could ever forget that conversation?
Her blush returns. “Remember how you asked what it meant, and I said did it have to mean something?”
Seeing as how that part of the conversation had been more than a bit painful and recalling it isn’t particularly fun either, he settles on nodding.
“It means something.” The words come out soft and rushed, and she’s still blushing, but her eyes are bright and fierce, and her fingers, interlaced with his, tighten.
“Spike, it means something.”
All he can do is stare at her. He’s very aware of his heart sitting like a useless lump in his chest, because he knows that if it could, it would be ricocheting all around, skipping beats and plummeting and soaring and possibly having an attack.
It meant something. She didn’t just want his body.
And there’s not even an apocalypse around the corner.
He can feel a silly smile spreading across his face, but before he can gather anything resembling his wits about him, she speaks again, softly but clearly, and with as much conviction as she uses in her speeches but with none of the hardness.
“I love you.”
He’s dreamed of this moment so many times, imagined it in countless ways, that it takes him precious seconds to realize he’s not dreaming now.
She really said it, just like that girl from the high school said she would.
She loved him.
Elation fills him; and awe and disbelief and joy and emotions he can’t even name (let alone spell).
And he feels warm. It starts in his chest where that not-so-useless-after-all lump is and radiates across his whole body, suffusing him from his toes to his gelled hair with unimaginable warmth. He could burst from his joy and the heat, the sunlight glowing inside him.
Effulgent, he thinks. Am I…?
And then it starts to pain him a bit, the warmth, because it’s all too much and all so extraordinary, and it feels more like burning than glowing and he’s terrified that any second she’ll take it back.
Her eyes are glazed again, but with tears now, and she steps closer until there is a scant inch between them. She takes his face in her hands and smiles up at him. “I love you.”
And he believes her. He doesn’t think he would have if she’d told him in other circumstances- if, for example, she’d told him in the cave as the amulet was killing him- but he believes her now, because he’s not dying, it’s not the end of the world, and so there’s no reason for her to say it.
Unless she loves him.
“I love you, too,” says Spike, dazed, because that is, after all, the proper thing to say to a declaration like that; and then they’re kissing again and Spike knows that nothing could pull them apart if it tried, not a pack of uber-vamps and certainly not his own self-will.
They make it back to the house somehow, holding hands, bumping shoulders, stealing kisses, and smiling like lunatics the whole way. The warmth doesn’t leave Spike, and he’s further elated to see a peacefulness about Buffy’s face that hasn’t been there in far too long.
She looks content.
The fire in Spike’s chest burns stronger.
The house is dark when they sneak inside, and Spike’s never been more grateful that the potentials are gone, not to mention Giles. When Willow appears at the top of the stairs, she starts to tell them that Xander and Anya went to Anya’s apartment until she sees their clasped hands and falls silent.
For a moment she looks shocked; then a tiny, almost mischievous smile appears and she bids them goodnight and disappears back into her room.
They’re quiet as they mount the stairs. The same anxiety and excitement thrum through Spike again with each step they take nearer to the bedroom. It’s not just a bedroom now. It’s a bedroom, and he has no idea what the rest of the night has in store. They could go to sleep like they usually do, holding each other. Or they could stare at each other in the darkness and whisper meaningless things, sensible things, romantic things- anything. He would be fine with either scenario.
But they could also do what couples in love normally do, and that possibility fills him with unbearable longing and even more unbearable trepidation.
He eyes the bathroom door as they pass into the bedroom, and heat sears him.
“I’ll be back,” says Buffy. She leaves, presumably to brush her teeth and wash graveyard dust from her face and hands, and he can’t help but notice that she doesn’t take her pajamas with her. Spike doesn’t change into the sweatpants he normally wears to bed. He sits gingerly on the bed and waits, and in a few minutes Buffy is back. She closes the door with a soft click and faces him.
“Will you turn that on?” she asks, with a nod of her head to show what she means, and when he turns on the bedside lamp, she turns off the overhead light.
She sits on the bed next to him, and he sees a plethora of emotions on her face, from excitement to nervousness to anticipation. But not fear.
When she leans in to kiss him he closes his eyes and tries to relax, to just let the evening take him where it will. He doesn’t want to fight it. And he doesn’t want to have any expectations.
With these goals in mind he loses himself in her. They’ve never done this before, just kissed. Usually when they kissed it was an angry, demanding prelude to even angrier, more demanding sex. And when it didn’t lead to sex it was filled with frustration and tension. They never enjoyed kissing for what it was in and of itself.
They do now, for so long that Spike forgets what there is to be afraid of, until she tugs his tee shirt from his jeans. He stills. She trails kisses down his jaw and neck for a moment and then looks at him.
“What’s wrong?” she whispers.
What’s wrong? Nothing. Everything.
“Buffy…” His voice is hoarse, and he wets his lips. “Are we…”
Her palm rests on his thigh, her fingers splayed near his groin. It’s very distracting.
Luckily for his sanity, she doesn’t mince words or show any insecurity this time.
She looks him straight in the eye. “Spike, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. We can wait. But we can do it tonight if you’d like, and I’d very much like to, and I promise it will be okay.”
He stares at her wordlessly, unable to believe how anyone could be so perfect and, more importantly, how anyone so perfect could love him.
But he can’t help himself.
“Are you sure?” he whispers. “I don’t understand- after what I did-” How can you trust me after I hurt you? How can you bear for me to touch you like that?
Her face goes blank, and her fingers briefly dig into his thigh. He begins mentally preparing himself for a long, aching night of emptiness, probably spent on the couch, but then she says slowly, carefully,
“You hurt me. Badly. But I know you didn’t mean to. And you did everything, literally everything that you could to make up for it. And we…we’re not normal, you know. Even less so then. You didn’t have a soul, and you couldn’t always…control your impulses. Couldn’t always tell right from wrong. And considering what else we did to each other…” She sighs. “None of that excuses what happened, but it means that now, with your soul…I trust you, Spike. You need to know that. I trust you.”
She searches his eyes, her own filled with a tenderness that he can’t comprehend in light of what they’re talking about.
“You know that, right?”
“Yes.” He clears his throat and feels his eyes grow hot with tears. “Yes. I’m sorry- god, Buffy, I’m so sorry.”
“I know,” she says. “I forgive you, Spike.” She touches his cheek and presses her lips against his. It’s a short kiss, chaste compared to what they’ve done in the past hour, but it’s reaffirming. It promises more than lust.
“And I’m sorry for what I did to you,” she whispers. Shame twists her features, and Spike says instantly, “Buffy, no, you didn’t-”
He falls silent. She looks at him, stubborn and resolved, and he thinks of when she beat him in the alley.
“I forgive you,” he says, even though he never really thought there was anything to forgive but because, with his soul, he can understand now why she might think that and because he knows that’s what she needs to hear.
She relaxes, smiles, and her hand inches further up his thigh. “So…do you…?”
He pulls her to him for answer, and when she lifts his tee shirt again, he yanks it off so fast he hears a rip. By the time he’s flung it aside Buffy’s own shirt is gone. He’s a little disappointed that he didn’t get to do the honors himself, but then she pushes him down and crawls across him and he stops caring about the intricacies of undressing.
The foreplay seems to last an eternity, but even as part of him screams with impatience, a bigger part of him revels in it, the gentleness, the slowness, the surety with which they can still touch each other’s bodies after all this time. The heat in him builds in intensity until he begins to wonder if she can feel it, if she’s confused by his abnormally high body temperature.
And then, as the heat reaches a crescendo, they’re suddenly there: she kisses her way up his jaw line, whispers into his ear, “Make love to me,” and guides him into her. They’re words he never expected to hear from her, and if he didn’t wonder ever so slightly that he misheard, he’s sure his ecstasy would carry him away.
They’re quieter than they’ve ever been before. Not subdued but contained, their soft moans and quick breaths swallowed up by kisses. Not frantic but relaxed, sure of themselves and of each other.
She cums first, her fingernails digging into his arm and back. He holds painfully still when she goes temporarily limp, and doesn’t move again until she stirs and kisses him.
“I love you,” she whispers fervently, and he explodes.
When the world settles again, his mind is blissfully foggy. All he’s aware of is Buffy- her body, her scent, her lips, her hands, her breasts, her hair, her breath, her sweat. She’s his whole world, and he thinks that for the first time, in these precious minutes, he might just be her whole world, too.
His love fuels the heat inside that still rages. It’s crackling away, starting to hurt again, and he knows that soon it’s going to be too much. It’s going to consume him.
“I love you,” he tells her, just because he can. He feels the curve of her lips against his neck. He’s glad she can’t feel the fire.
And it’s all right that he does. He’s with Buffy; she loves him; and no matter what else happens, if his world ends tonight, he’ll have that truth.
He feels complete. And for the first time since he got his soul, maybe for the first time since he came to Sunnydale all those years ago, he feels at peace.
Tendrils of flame erupt on his right hand, which is clasped with hers. Buffy doesn’t notice; Spike doesn’t care.
The fire licks its way across his skin, but it doesn’t hurt much.
He knows he’s loved.
Spike opens his eyes when the door bangs open and Angel strides in. The corporeal bastard yells a bit about Spike getting out of his chair and out of his office and preferably out of his life as well before grabbing a folder from his desk and storming out again.
Spike’s only reaction is to blink slowly, ostensibly as careless as ever, even though inside he’s crumbling from the ache of loss. He glances at his hand, pale and unscarred from his incineration in the Hellmouth, and feels phantom pain from phantom flames.
When the echo of Angel’s presence fades, he closes his eyes and listens to the silence and tries to remember where he was.
Burning. Love. Buffy.
He’s a ghost shackled to another man’s city, and dreams are all he has.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/425914.html