- Fic: The Distance Between Us (1/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (2/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (3/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (4/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (5/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (6/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (7/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (8/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (9/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (10/11)
- Fic: The Distance Between Us (11/11)
Title: The Distance Between Us
Summary: Nineteen years after leaving Sunnydale, Spike encounters a startlingly familiar young woman fighting vampires in the alleyways of London – a young woman who holds the key to both his past and his future.
Later that night, Buffy sat at the counter in Spike’s kitchen, staring across at her daughter and her baby daddy. It was one of the most surreal moments of her entire life.
Buffy had never quite imagined any scenarios like this one; Willow and Spike, sitting her down at what approximated a kitchen table, trying to convince her that it would be just peachy keen if she let Willow continue her slayer training. It was like they were trying to convince her to let Willow go away with friends for a weekend, or have a boy over. It felt oddly ordinary and domestic, and it made Buffy surprisingly uncomfortable. She felt like she was in some kind of alternate universe.
“So, if we don’t train her, you really think the vamps are gonna just stop coming?” Spike was saying, as Buffy half listened. “’Cause they’re not. Sooner or later, some nasty little thing’s gonna try to take another bite out of her, and then what? Better to see her well prepared, then dead, huh?”
“And really,” Willow chimed in, the second Spike had finally closed his mouth, “I’ve already been training with Spike . . . I mean, dad . . . for a month. And I had a whole month before that on my own. Just because I had one little accident, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing. Dad said you had plenty of accidents of your own. It’s just part of being a slayer, right?”
Buffy raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at Spike. What the hell was wrong with him? Why was he so dead set on letting Willow be a slayer? She wasn’t even a slayer, for God’s sake! She was just an ordinary girl. Just because her mother was a slayer and her father was a vampire, didn’t mean she had to spend her life fighting vampires. That’s not what Buffy wanted for her. She wanted her daughter to be safe and protected; not sacrificed to some impersonal greater good. Buffy had seen too many of her friends fall in the name of righteousness. She didn’t want her daughter to be just another victim.
“You’re not a slayer,” Buffy said matter-of-factly, trying to nip this thing in the bud as quickly as she could.
“Well, maybe I’m not the Chosen One, but Spike… I mean, dad… says I’m faster than any human girl he’s ever seen. And maybe a bit stronger too sometimes. If I really worked on my skills, I’d definitely be able to hold my own.”
Willow and Spike both looked at Buffy with hopeful eyes, waiting for her approval. Apparently, they thought their idea was the most brilliant thing in the world. Buffy felt like knocking some sense into both of them.
“You do realize that this isn’t a game, right? That next time it might not be just a little accident. You could die,” she said somberly, a tinge of anxiety lacing her voice. “I don’t want to see anything happen to you. I want you to be happy. I want you to lead a full life. I don’t want to see you end up dead in an alley somewhere because you thought it was your duty to fight the bad guys. It’s not your duty. You’re not the Slayer. I won’t stand idly by and watch you throw your life away.”
“No buts,” Buffy said, as she pushed herself up from the stool. “End of discussion.”
“But I won’t be happy, knowing that innocent people are dying because I was too selfish to try and save them. I could never live with myself.”
“Trust me, you learn to live with yourself.”
Buffy glanced at Spike. His eyes were intently focused on her face. He seemed pained, as if he almost pitied her. Buffy turned away, unable to bear his scrutiny.
“I don’t want to learn to live with it. I want to do something about it,” Willow replied. “You may not think this is my duty, but it is. Do you think it was just an accident that I happened to get attacked by my vampire boyfriend and lived to tell the tale? Do you think it was an accident that Spike found me in the alley that night? No. None of it was. This is what I’m meant for mom. It’s instinct. It’s in my blood and I don’t want to fight it anymore. And neither do you.”
The air caught in Buffy’s lungs and she suddenly found it difficult to breathe. Of course she was sick of fighting it herself, denying who she was, but she had done it for Willow. She had done it because she had thought it was the right thing to do. Now, her 18-year-old daughter was standing there, telling her that it was all for nothing. That she had made the wrong choice. That she should have just told her the truth from the beginning and kept on slaying.
No. Buffy, forced the air out of her lungs. For once, she hadn’t made the wrong choice. If she’d continued slaying, she might have been killed, and that would have left Willow a virtual orphan. No, she had made the right decisions at the time. But what about now? What was the right thing to do now?
Buffy slowly turned around to find Willow and Spike watching her intently. “I don’t want to see you get hurt,” she somehow managed through the lump in her throat.
“I could get hit by a bus the moment I walk out that door. There are no guarantees. But mom, if you let me do this – if you help me, and dad helps me – I’ll be prepared for just about anything that comes my way. And that’s what I want.”
Buffy’s eyes flickered to Spike’s. She knew this was what he wanted. He had a lot of confidence in Willow, even though he’d only known her for a month. Then again, he had seen her fight and Buffy hadn’t. Maybe there was something to this. Maybe she did possess some special abilities inherited from her extra special parents. Before any decision could be made, Buffy had to see for herself.
Buffy crossed her arms over her chest and looked squarely at Willow. “You really want this?”
“More than anything.”
“Then you’re going to have to prove to me that you can handle it. I want a demonstration.”
Willow looked about the room awkwardly. “Here? Now?”
“No.” Buffy couldn’t help but smile, her stern façade cracking just a bit. “Let’s visit your training ground, wherever that is, and you can show me what you’ve got. If I think you have potential, I might consider allowing you to patrol. Alright?”
Willow nodded her head vigorously, a huge smile on her face.
“Alright then,” Buffy said, looking again at Spike, “let’s go.”
* * *
Buffy hadn’t set foot in a cemetery in nearly twenty years. Although Sunnydale was full of them, she always gave them a wide berth, having to consciously resist the temptation to enter.
The moment they entered the cemetery, every nerve in Buffy’s body came alive. She inhaled deeply, filling her nose and lungs with the oh-so-familiar scent of fresh ground and decaying corpses. “Ah,” Buffy sighed. “Just like being home.”
Willow ran ahead of Buffy and Spike, eager to show her mother the patch of ground where they usually set up shop. “Here we are,” she said brightly, as she came upon a cluster of tombstones on the far end of the graveyard.
“Is this where it happened?” Buffy asked her. “Is this where you were attacked?”
“Nah,” she shrugged it off. “That was a different cemetery. We try to mix it up a bit. Patrolling a different place every night.”
That’s how it had always been when she and Spike had been out on patrol. Suddenly, she felt jealous of her own daughter. Buffy mentally shook herself, trying desperately not to let it bother her.
And then, before any of them could say another word, all three were instantly alert. A long forgotten scent filled the air and Buffy felt her spidey senses tingling. She knew that Willow and Spike felt it too, just by their change in demeanor. It amazed her that Willow was able to sense whatever it was. Usually only slayers and demons were sensitive to such things.
“Over there,” Willow whispered quietly, nodding in the direction of the unseen threat.
“Got it,” Spike replied.
The two set off at a casual pace, walking side by side toward the darkened corner of the cemetery. Buffy wanted to join them, but she was too mesmerized. All she could do was watch.
They chatted nonchalantly, as if they weren’t out hunting at all. Suddenly, something jumped out at them from behind a tombstone; a vamp. And it wasn’t long before they were batting the vampire back and forth between them.
Buffy was amazed at how well they worked together, like a well-oiled machine, like she and Spike used to be. Her heart caught in her chest and unbidden tears stung her eyes. How she missed it. How she longed to be a part of it again.
Before Buffy could stop herself, she sprinted across the grass, reaching Spike and Willow in record time. Without thinking, she pointed to Willow’s stake and said, “May I?”
“Sure,” Willow replied with a smile. “Have at it.”
Buffy grabbed the stake, taking one glorious moment to heft it in her hand, to feel the wood grain against her skin. Then, as Spike held the vampire at bay, she raised the stake and drove it deep into the creature’s heart.
Buffy’s entire body shuttered with the kind of ecstatic pleasure that she had only thought sex could bring. She inhaled the vamp dust deeply into her lungs, welcoming the slight irritation. God how she’d missed this! How had she ever gone for so long without it? For the first time in nineteen years, she felt alive. Truly and completely alive.
Buffy’s eyes fell on Spike. He was smirking at her. He knew, didn’t he? He knew what killing that vamp had done to her. It had awakened every part of her. She was sure he could smell her arousal. She wanted him so desperately now, and she could tell that he wanted her. If this had been the old days, he would have just thrown her up against a tombstone and taken her right there. But this wasn’t the old days. They had a lot standing between them now… well, a lot more than they once had… not the least of which was an 18-year-old daughter who was literally standing between them.
“Wasn’t that awesome?” Willow exclaimed. “How can you not love this? Killing vampires? Saving countless lives? It’s amazing, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, amazing,” Buffy said absently, her eyes still focused on Spike.
“Well, what do you say? Can I keep training?”
“What?” Buffy wasn’t sure she understood the question. For some reason her brain didn’t seem to be working properly.
“Can I keep training? Can I patrol?”
“Yeah, sure,” Buffy said with a slight wave of her hand. “Go for it.”
“Thank you!” Willow squealed, as she threw herself bodily at her mother and nearly squeezed the life out her. Maybe she had slayer strength after all.
Being tackled by her overly enthusiastic daughter, helped bring Buffy back to her senses. She slid her way out of Willow’s iron grip and put her at arm’s length, so that she could get a good look at her. “You’re going to be careful, right?” Buffy asked, putting on her best stern parent voice.
“And you’ll do everything your father and I tell you?”
Buffy sighed. She remembered what she had been like at that age. How many times had she defied Giles’ instructions because she had thought she’d known better? Just what in the world were they all getting into?
“Alright then,” Buffy conceded. “You can keep training and patrolling.”
“I told you she could be reasonable,” Spike said to Willow.
“Of course I can be reasonable. I’m always reasonable,” Buffy protested petulantly.
“Of course you are mom. So,” Willow turned to Spike, her voice filled with eager enthusiasm, “where do we go next?”
“You are going home,” Spike replied.
“What?” She sounded positively dejected.
“You just got out of hospital. I know you think you feel fine, but you need some time to recuperate. Besides, it’s a school night, and I know you have class first thing in the morning.”
Willow crossed her arms over her chest and pouted at him. “You never cared about that before.”
“Well, I wasn’t your father before, was I? I thought you were someone else’s brat. What did I care if you flunked out of uni?”
“Now, you’re my responsibility and you have to do as I say. You can only patrol if you keep your grades up. If they start to slip, no more training.”
Willow’s mouth fell open in disbelief and Buffy wanted to laugh. Spike was actually parenting. There’s was something she’d thought she’d never see.
“But… but that’s not fair.”
“It’s perfectly fair, pet. You prove that you can keep up the more mundane responsibilities of your life, and it’ll prove to your mum and me that you can handle slaying. Got that?”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“Good,” Spike said with a sigh, shoving his hands into the pockets of his duster. “Now, why don’t we walk you back to the dorms? Call it a night?”
“What about mom?” Willow asked, as the three of them began to walk toward the entrance of the cemetery.
“What about her?”
“Where’s she going to stay tonight? With you?”
Buffy’s heart seized in her chest. She was afraid to hear Spike’s answer.
“Yeah,” he replied. “You got a problem with that?”
Buffy’s heart started beating again and she was finally able to breathe normally.
“No,” Willow answered, with a sly smile. “No problem at all.”
Buffy didn’t quite like the knowing look in her daughter’s eyes. She wished she had as much confidence in the situation as Willow did. Maybe Spike was just bringing her back to his place so he could torture her some more. Buffy wouldn’t put it past him.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/366440.html