On to the next chapter…
Previous parts can be found here.
“The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then. Life is dull without it.” Pearl S. Buck
Spike was bored, although that wasn’t anything new. Ever since he’d gotten the chip, life had been dull. Well, once he’d gotten out of the Initiative and found himself on Giles’ doorstep anyway. About the only thing that had broken the monotony had been the Slayer and their squabbles.
He hadn’t been terribly surprised when Buffy insisted on seeing the exit for herself. Spike had been tempted to let her go alone, but she was disadvantaged in the deep darkness of the corridors, and even breaking off one of the phosphorescent crystals didn’t help. The glow died as soon as it was separated from the wall.
Buffy had been all set to go off on her own, however, even without the extra light, and Spike—for whatever reason—wasn’t ready to let her go alone. He told himself it was just because he’d have to save her later, but he knew it wasn’t the truth.
Spike was getting really good at recognizing the truth.
He noticed that Buffy was suddenly being very careful about what she said to him. Even while talking about further explorations, she had refrained from asking him any questions that might result in something she didn’t want to hear.
Truth hurts. Spike had known that for a while now.
They had been attacked not ten feet away from their own hidey-hole. This time it wasn’t the thing with tentacles that had attacked the two of them, or the monster that had been nothing but teeth that had gone after Spike and his meal, but something amorphous that had threatened to suck the heat and the life right out of the Slayer.
Spike, being a vampire, was apparently immune.
It was a dilemma, that was for sure. Here, there was water and food, if they could get to it. There was light, and safety within that light. Should they manage to make their way back to the surface, however, Spike knew that they probably wouldn’t face the dangers of life underground, but they would be without anything to eat or drink.
Buffy was right. They would have to brave the dangers of the dark again if they wanted to eat, and Spike knew that it would have to be sooner rather than later. He wasn’t hungry right now, however, and Buffy wasn’t in danger of dying, so he didn’t particularly care whether or not she was comfortable.
At least, that’s what he kept telling himself.
Spike rolled from his back onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow to look across the floor at the Slayer. Her earlier nap had obviously taken the edge off her exhaustion, which meant that the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements were preventing her from falling asleep again. He watched as she turned over for the fifth time in as many minutes, grunting a little as she tried to get comfortable.
“Get over here.”
The words were out of his mouth before Spike could pull them back. This was stupid. They were enemies. Okay, so maybe they were allies for the moment, but he could watch her back without being nice. Spike wasn’t nice. He was evil. The Big Bad. The thing that went bump in the night.
At least, he had been once upon a time.
“What do you want?”
“I want to help.” He cursed under his breath. If he’d had his way, Spike would have ignored the question, thinking better of his offer.
Buffy sat up, watching him with a guarded expression. “Okay.”
“Look, I’m used to sleeping wherever I can,” Spike said. “You’re going to be more comfortable over here.”
She opened her mouth and then closed it again, apparently unwilling to risk another question. “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said instead.
“Suit yourself,” Spike replied, telling himself that he was not disappointed in the least. Buffy could suffer if that’s what she wanted.
He rolled over, turning his back to her and closing his eyes. His instincts were telling him that it was night, and that he should be up and about, not sleeping. Spike wanted to be hunting, and he considered trying the corridors again. They would have to fight their way through at some point.
“How’s your arm?”
That was the worst part about the spell, Spike decided. The always telling the truth part was sodding awful, of course, but the fact that he couldn’t even ignore a question was the worst. He couldn’t even pretend to have gone to sleep.
“Can I see?”
“Yeah.” He sighed, rolling over to face Buffy again. Spike let her see his arm, the multiple lacerations along his forearm where the thing’s teeth had gotten to him.
Buffy ran gentle fingers along the untouched skin carefully. “It looks better.”
Spike just raised an eyebrow, wondering where she was going with her inspection. “Do you think we’re going to get out of here, Spike?”
“I don’t know,” he replied honestly—because there was no other choice. Spike might have tried to spare her that truth if he could.
She pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging them tightly. “What you said, about being stuck here? I’ve been thinking about that. What if we can’t get back to Sunnydale?”
“I don’t know,” Spike repeated, sitting up. “Don’t have a bloody clue.”
Buffy gave him an inscrutable look. “I’m not sorry about the chip.”
Spike scowled. “Yeah, well—”
“But I’m sorry about the truth spell,” Buffy forged on. “And I’m sorry you got roped into this. You’re probably right. Maybe you deserved death, but you didn’t deserve all of this.”
Feeling marginally friendlier now that the Slayer had at least acknowledged the fact that he’d had a really bad few weeks, Spike sat up to face her. “Thanks.”
“Thanks for saving my life.”
He shrugged, uncomfortable with her gratitude. It reminded him of just how twisted this whole thing had gotten. “Couldn’t very well let that thing kill you,” Spike muttered. “Your friends would probably just leave me here if they found out.”
“Probably,” she agreed. “Can I ask you a question?”
The last time she’d asked him that, Buffy had requested that he kiss her. Spike just raised an eyebrow, waiting to see if she’d ask without giving her any encouragement.
She huffed impatiently. “Come on, Spike. I really won’t ask if you don’t want me to.”
“Sure you will,” he replied knowingly. “Moreover, if you ask, you know I don’t have any choice but to answer. You’re just worried you’re goin’ to hear more of the truth than you can handle.”
Buffy grimaced, a little dismayed. “You said you didn’t want to kill me anymore,” she stated.
Spike’s lips quirked. He was amused. The Slayer was trying very hard not to ask a question and yet still get the information she wanted out of him. “I did say that.”
“And you saved my life.”
“I might’ve. Then again, maybe you would have rescued yourself,” Spike replied,
“You being dead isn’t nearly as much fun as you being alive.” Spike felt a surge of elation. That wasn’t the whole truth, but apparently the spell was beginning to weaken. It was the truth, though. Fighting with Buffy had always been fun.
She frowned. “That didn’t seem to stop you before.”
“Does that have anything to do with why you came back to Sunnydale?”
“Yes.” The word was a hiss, the bare minimum he could get away with. Spike really didn’t want to tell her what Drusilla had said. It would put him even more at the Slayer’s mercy than he was already, if that were possible.
Buffy apparently decided to take pity on him. “What’s the worst part about having the chip?”
“Being helpless,” Spike said immediately. “And why are you asking me all these questions?”
“Because I can’t sleep, and I’m bored,” Buffy replied. “Talking to you is the only thing there is to do.”
“You could go for a swim,” Spike suggested, knowing exactly how Buffy was going to react.
At least, he’d thought he knew exactly how she was going to react.
“Only if you promise not to look.”
Spike let out a short bark of laughter. “I think you’re forgetting that I’m evil, Slayer. What makes you think you can trust me?”
“I don’t know.” She gave him a thoughtful look. “I honestly have no idea why I trust you.”
Spike blinked. “You trust me?”
“Well, not in a blind faith kind of way like I trust Willow or Giles,” Buffy replied. “I trust you to keep your promises, though. You helped me out with Angelus and Acathla.”
“Had a good reason for that,” Spike reminded her.
She shrugged. “Yeah, and you have a good reason now.” Spike couldn’t really argue with that. Buffy continued, “Promise not to look, and I’ll do the same.”
Spike snorted. “Now you’re forgetting something, pet. There’s nothing in it for me.”
“Yes, there is,” Buffy replied. “You get to stay undusty.”
Buffy risked another cautious glance at him as she pulled her clothing over still-damp skin. Even without the benefit of soap and shampoo, just being able to rinse off some of the grime had been nice, and as far as she knew, Spike had kept his promise.
Okay, so technically he hadn’t promised not to look, but he’d kept his back to her while she’d bathed as far as Buffy could tell.
“Your turn,” Buffy announced. When he didn’t move, she winced, guessing that he was asleep. Thinking back, the Slayer wondered when Spike had last slept.
“You going to make me the same promise?”
Buffy frowned as he rose. “About what?”
“Not looking,” he replied with a smirk.
She could feel her face turn red. “Like I’d want to,” she scoffed, grateful that she didn’t have to tell the truth. Ever since the spell—the kisses—Buffy had been hyper-aware of how hot Spike was. Not that she hadn’t noticed before that, but it had become even more apparent to her since then.
“Suit yourself,” Spike said, shrugging out of his duster, letting it drop on the ground. He pulled his t-shirt over his head in one smooth motion, leaving Buffy momentarily stunned.
Oh. Wow. It was about the only coherent thought that passed through her brain.
She was snapped out of her confusion when his hands went to his belt buckle. “What are you doing?” she squeaked.
Spike lifted an eyebrow. “Getting cleaned up. You said it was my turn.”
“Oh. Right. I, uh, I’m going to try to get some sleep,” Buffy announced, moving as far from the pool as she could and turning her back to him. She heard Spike chuckle, and then heard the twin thuds of his boots as they hit the ground.
She tried to ignore the speed of her heart rate, tried to breathe deeply and ignore the fact that Spike was getting naked not twenty feet away from her, and if she just turned a little…
No. That would be wrong. Spike hadn’t invaded her privacy. Of course, he knew she would stake him, and Buffy didn’t have to worry about that.
Listening to the sounds of the water splashing was strangely soothing, though. Buffy could hear him humming under his breath, and so she was half-asleep when she rolled over, not really thinking about what she was doing.
When she heard the sloshing, and a brief curse that seemed to indicate that something had gone wrong, Buffy opened her eyes. It was only to be expected.
Buffy remembered the picture of Michelangelo’s David, mostly because it had been in one of her history books, and the pictures had always been the best part of history. The names and dates did nothing for her.
Too bad she couldn’t say the same for Spike.
A naked Spike.
What made it worse—a lot worse, actually—was the fact that he could be nice. It was a lot easier to hate Spike when he wasn’t leading her to water and saving her life and taking care of her bruises. When they weren’t having civilized conversations that involved their feelings.
If Spike had merely been a pretty, evil vampire, Buffy could have gotten over it. After all, Angelus had been pretty, and she’d had no problem killing him, once she figured out that Angel wasn’t coming back anyway.
It was just that Spike wasn’t entirely evil.
“Like what you see?”
Strike that. Spike was totally evil.
Buffy quickly turned so that she had her back to him again. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, please, Summers. Do us all a favor and be honest for once.”
It was the disgust in his tone that had Buffy sitting up and facing him. Spike was facing her, naked and rather obviously unashamed. “Why would I want to do that?” she asked. “Your ego is big enough already.”
The pleased smile on his face told Buffy that Spike had caught the buried compliment. “Like you don’t have an ego the size of the moon?”
“What are you talking about?” Buffy asked without thinking. Belatedly she realized that she might not want an honest answer to that question.
Spike reached for his pants and tugged them on. “You’re the Slayer. You have to believe you’re the best, that you’re better than everyone else, because if you don’t believe, neither will your friends. And if you don’t believe, you’ll die that much sooner. That’s the way it works when you’re a predator. You have to believe you’re going to win.”
“I’m not a predator,” Buffy objected.
“No?” Spike asked, tipping his head to the side, giving her a sharp look. “Then what do you do after dark, Slayer, if you’re not hunting?”
She wanted to argue with him. Buffy wanted to tell Spike just how wrong he was, but she found herself incapable of doing so. Spike wasn’t far wrong.
“You do what you have to do to survive, pet,” Spike said, his tone softer. “We all do.”
“Even you, Spike?”
“I came to you, didn’t I?” Spike asked.
Buffy shook her head. “You could have gone somewhere else, Spike. You could have, I don’t know, found some of your old minions.”
“And if they found out I couldn’t hunt?” Spike asked, a melancholy note in his voice. “They’d have killed me right off. Knew that you wouldn’t if you agreed to help me out.”
“You’re saying you trusted me.”
Buffy wondered how they’d gotten here. A few days ago, she would have said that she hated Spike more than anyone else in the world—with the possible exception of Parker. Now? Not so much.
“You should try to get some sleep,” Spike suggested. “We’re going to have to make another run for it tomorrow.”
Buffy nodded, knowing that he was right. Both of them were going to have to hunt if they wanted to eat. If they could find a way to have a fire, so much the better. Up until now, Buffy could tell herself that there would be a portal opening up any moment. That Giles and Willow would find them and bring them home.
The gnawing in her belly told her that even if it was soon, they needed to get serious about their survival, because they could be here for a while.
No. Buffy wouldn’t let herself think like that. She gave an involuntary shiver.
Spike’s question startled her. “Huh?”
“You cold?” he repeated patiently. “You were shivering.”
Buffy sat up again, glancing over at him. He’d moved closer to her, so that he was only a few feet away, his duster hanging from one hand. Spike looked torn, as though he had no idea what to do next, but he wanted to do something.
She could relate to that.
“I’m not cold,” Buffy replied, which was true. The dark corridors were cold, but the well-lit cavern with the warm pool of water in the center was a comfortable temperature. Buffy supposed that Spike wouldn’t know that, being a vampire and all. He probably didn’t feel the temperature at all.
“Right.” Spike glanced down at his feet, then back up at her. “This is bloody ridiculous,” he announced.
“You an’ me,” Spike replied. “I’m used to sleeping on a hard surface, and you aren’t. Only makes sense that we share my coat.”
It was the last thing she had expected to come out of his mouth. “Okay…”
Apparently that was enough encouragement, because Spike dropped down beside her. “So, uh…”
Buffy realized that she was pretty much going to have to sleep on top of him in order to get any sort of benefit from his coat. Then she realized that he’d been offering himself as a pillow with the comment about the hard ground. “Right.”
She met his eyes, and in that moment, everything changed. No, that wasn’t true. The truth was that everything had been changing, and this solidified it. Maybe what made it okay was the fact that Spike looked just as bewildered about all of this as she was.
Buffy watched as he settled himself, maintaining eye contact the whole time. Gingerly, she rested her head on his shoulder, feeling him pull the duster over the both of them, his arms coming around her.
It turned out that Spike was right. She did sleep better when she was sleeping on him.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/77766.html