This is my second and final offering for the day. My first fic, Elegy, was more than a little depressing, so I thought I’d try writing something else; something where Buffy and Spike actually get to interact with each other.
Many thanks to enigmaticblues for all her hard work in organizing this round. Until two days ago, I hadn’t completed a new Spuffy fic in about five years. So many, many thanks. ^_^
Title: Four Sonnets
Summary: Spike and Buffy confront their issues through a selection of Shakespeare sonnets. Post “Storyteller”
Author’s Notes: The sonnets used are 65, 129, 145 and 35, respectively.
Buffy and Spike walked through one of the many cemeteries that dotted Sunnydale’s landscape. It was a cool spring evening and they were on patrol. Of course, there hadn’t been much activity of late, not with the First on its way, but patrolling was as good an excuse as any to escape the chaos that had so recently overtaken the Summers’ house.
Buffy looked up at Spike. He was staring out into space, as if his mind were a million miles away. It wasn’t a vampire or a demon. He hadn’t latched onto any unknown noise or scent in the distance. If he had, Buffy would have sensed it herself. No, it was something else.
Buffy stopped, forcing Spike to come up short beside her.
“What’s up?” she asked, as she stared at the bleached-blond vamp.
Spike closed his eyes and inhaled a deep breath of air. “You know the world may end, right? In just a few short days. Was thinking about the end of the world, that’s all.”
“The world is not going to end,” she protested with well-earned bravado. “Not if I have anything to do with it.”
Spike opened his eyes and leaned his head to the side so he could look down at Buffy. “Egotistical much? Just because you’ve got that little army of hormonal teenage girls, does not mean that you’re going to save the world this time. Actually, they’ll probably do you more harm than good in the end.”
“Way to go with the optimism Spike. I’m really glad I asked you to tag along.”
Buffy sighed and started walking again, keeping her pace slow and leisurely. She really had nowhere to go, and the longer she stayed on patrol, the less time she’d have to spend at home, dodging Potentials. She could hear Spike’s footsteps behind her, treading lightly through the lush cemetery grass.
“Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea / But sad mortality o’ersways their power / How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea / Whose action is no stronger than a flower?”
Buffy’s feet stopped. She swung around and looked at Spike. He came to an abrupt halt just inches in front of her.
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“That? Those words? That poem, thingy?”
“That, was a poem. Words, set to rhyme, expressing some deeper, profound meaning.”
Buffy glared at him. “I know what a poem is Spike. What I meant was, what does that have to do with anything?”
“It’s about the end of the world.” Spike closed his eyes and began to recite:
“Oh how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of battering days
When rocks impregnable are not so stout
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?
Oh fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
Oh none, unless this miracle have might-
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.”
Spike opened his eyes again and looked at Buffy. “Which means, that only a miracle can save us. Although,” he let his eyes travel down her body in innocent appreciation, “if ever a miracle graced this earth, it would be you.”
Their eyes met and Buffy’s breath caught in her throat. Spike looked away quickly and began walking on his own. It took a moment for Buffy to recover, before she was able to run after him. As she came up alongside him she said, “Who wrote that?”
“A man named William.”
“The Bloody Awful Poet?”
Spike looked at her as if she were crazy. “Shakespeare?”
“Oh.” Buffy looked away, shamefaced. Well how was she supposed to know? She’d never made it all the way through college. She’d always had more important things to do, like saving the world. It wasn’t her fault that she wasn’t well versed in William Shakespeare. She knew “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but that was about it. It was only as far as her pre-Slayer education had taken her.
“So, do you know any others? Shakespeare poems, I mean.”
He raised an eyebrow at her quizzically, as if surprised that she would ask him such a question. “Sonnets? Yeah. Know a few.”
“Can you recite another one? But not about the end of the world this time. I still think we’re going to make it just fine.”
“All right then.”
Spike stopped. He leaned up against the nearest tombstone and gazed out into the darkness. After a moment spent deep in contemplation he said, “All right, I think I’ve got one. Think it’s more than appropriate, considering the company.”
Spike eyed her knowingly and Buffy suddenly felt a little self-conscious. Her feet carried her restlessly back and forth along the grass, as she waited for Spike to fill the emptiness between them with poetry. As his words finally rent the evening air, she stopped and listened with grave understanding.
“The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.”
They stared at each other, both lost in a time, not that long ago, when lust and anger and cruelty had been the only thing between them. A time they never talked about anymore. A bad memory that they had both tried so valiantly to leave in the past.
“I’m sorry Spike.” The words were quiet, barely a whisper, falling from Buffy’s lips.
Spike swatted his hand in the air, trying to brush it off. “It’s not important. All in the past now. No point in dwellin’ on it.” He pushed himself away from the tombstone, intent on taking up on patrol again, but Buffy couldn’t let him go.
Her voice stopped him, but he refused to look at her again.
“It is important. So much has happened—“
“We really don’t need to talk about this.” Now he did push himself away and began walking.
Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but Spike beat her to it. “How about another poem?”
“All right,” she said hesitantly. “What did you have in mind?”
“Somethin’ a little less depressing. But just a little.” Spike spared a sly look in her direction before focusing his gaze on the view in front of him. He recited as he walked:
“Those lips that love’s own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said ‘I hate,’
To me that languished for her sake.
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet.
‘I hate’ she altered with an end
That followed it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who, like a fiend,
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw.
And saved my life, saying “not you.”
Buffy couldn’t help but smile as the poem ended. “I think I like that one much better.”
“Me too,” Spike confessed, a sensual smirk playing at his lips. “Much prefer the ones where you don’t hate me, to the ones where you use me.”
“Spike.” Without thinking, Buffy reached out her hand to lay it on the sleeve of Spike’s duster. They both stopped. Buffy self-consciously let her hand drop, as Spike stood staring out into the surrounding night. “I don’t hate you Spike. I haven’t for a very, very long time. And I never meant to use you the way I did. If there was anything I could do to make things right—“
“There’s nothin’,” he said, finally turning to look at her. “Look, pet, you don’t have anything to be sorry for. I’ve committed my own litany of sins against you. I think maybe we’re even.”
Buffy nodded her head wordlessly. Her heart suddenly felt heavy in her chest. There was so much she wanted to say to Spike. So much she wanted to explain, to make right. But he wasn’t going to let her. He had his own ideas about what he was worth and what he deserved, and no amount of arguing on her part was ever going to convince him otherwise. She wished she knew the words to say to make things better between them.
“How many sonnets did Shakespeare write?”
“One hundred and fifty four. Why?” Spike eyed her curiously, confusion clearly evident in his crystal blue eyes.
“I wish I knew some of them. Actually, I wish I knew just one.”
“Sorry Slayer, I don’t follow.”
“Did he write any poems about forgiveness?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“Could you teach me one?”
“Why would you want—?”
Spike sighed. He closed his eyes and shook his head. “This is probably a bad idea.”
“Please?” she pleaded again.
Their eyes met again and Buffy knew that Spike wasn’t going to deny her, he could never deny her anything.
“All right luv, but just one. I’m only gonna do this once. All right?”
“Yes, understood,” Buffy replied resolutely, like a little teacher’s pet.
“Right then, here goes nothin’.”
Spike dug his hands into the pockets of his duster and looked up into Buffy’s eyes.
“No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense–
Thy adverse party is thy advocate–
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
Such civil war is in my love and hate
That I an accessary needs must be
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.”
“That’s beautiful,” she said softly, when he was finished.
Buffy moved closer to Spike, laying a hand against his chest. His eyes instantly darted to where she touched him.
“I wish those were my words Spike. I wish I had the education or the eloquence to speak them as you do. But just because the words don’t fall from my lips, doesn’t mean that they don’t resonate from my heart. You know I forgive you, don’t you? For everything. I wanted to make sure you knew that, before it was too late.”
Buffy could feel Spike’s chest rising and falling beneath her hand. She waited for him to pull away, but he didn’t. Instead, his hand came up to cover her own, holding it tightly against his unbeating heart.
“I never imagined, I’d be here with you like this. Even when I got my soul back, I never truly believed that you would ever forgive me. I wanted to. But there was always a part of me that believed it would never happen. I don’t . . . I don’t know what to do.” He looked up at her then, tears clearly glistening in his eyes. “Buffy?”
She inched closer to him. “It’s all right Spike. It’s all going to be all right.” And then, she did the thing that she had never imagined herself ever doing again. She lifted up on her toes and placed a soft kiss against his lips. When she pulled away, Spike was staring at her in amazed silence.
It took a moment for him to be able to speak. “Must be the poetry,” he mumbled, almost inaudibly.
Buffy couldn’t help but smile to herself. She kissed him once more for good measure. “It’s more than the poetry. It’s the poet.”
“Shakespeare? Have a thing for dead guys do you? Oh wait—“
“Not Shakespeare Spike. You. You’re the only poet I want.”
“What?” Spike instantly sobered; she could feel his body tense beneath her hand.
Buffy slowly backed away, realizing that what Spike needed most was some space. “Or not,” she offered lamely, suddenly overcome by self-consciousness. “Actually, we should probably get going. It’s kind of late.” Buffy looked down at her wrist, at a watch she didn’t have. “Lord knows what kind of trouble Dawn and Andrew will get into if we don’t—“
Before she could finish the thought, Spike reached out and pulled her to him. Without any more words, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her, sweetly, softly. Buffy nearly fainted from the sensation.
When he was done with her, he let her go and Buffy was amazed that her legs were able to keep her standing.
“Maybe you’re right,” he said, his trademark cockiness returning, “maybe we should call it a night.” He began walking without her. Over his shoulder he said, “After all, we’ve still got a hundred and fifty sonnets to go.”
Buffy’s breath caught in her throat, and for a moment, all she could do was stare at Spike’s retreating form. She had to physically shake herself to start moving again. They still had a lot of ground to cover, a lot to discuss. Maybe somewhere in those remaining hundred and fifty poems was the one that could help Buffy tell Spike how she really felt about him. She knew, if it existed, they’d find it together; those magical words that would make Spike see the truth, once and for all.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/342946.html