Title: Law of Diminishing Returns
Setting: S7 the night before the final battle in “Chosen”
Summary: A bit of angst. Just why might Spike have doubted Buffy’s declaration of love in the cave? Why might he have had reason to be afraid to hunt her down after his return? Just what DID happen that last night? Here be angst.
A/N: Spike and Giles quote from “King Henry V” act 3 scene 1 by Wm. Shakespeare. Tiny snippet of dialogue from “Beneath You.”
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me and are being used for amusement purposes only. All rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the original writers of the episodes, books and other licensed products connected to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel particularly Twentieth Century Fox, WB, CW, and UPN, all rights reserved.
He sat on the cot staring at the amulet that Buffy had given him to wear in the fight. No one knew what it actually was or where it came from save that Angel had brought it to help them win. ‘At least she chose me to wear it. Called me a champion in all but words.’ He was proud and humbled by her confidence in him. For the first time in his vampiric existence, someone had chosen him over Angel, but it was bittersweet. Somehow in his deepest parts, he knew that this would be his final battle, his last hurrah.
He owed her this, his willing sacrifice. She had forgiven him much and had finally turned her kindness his way, taking him in and caring for him, letting him know in her own silent way that he was forgiven.
She had sent Angel home, hadn’t wished to risk him. Spike had heard the words and felt a dagger pierce his heart deeper even than the kiss he had witnessed them share. It had been a balm that she had shown confidence in him by allowing him to wear the thing in his sire’s stead. She might not love him, but he had at least earned her trust.
He would be her champion, just as these past nights he had been her comfort, her silent solace. He would follow unquestioning and with no complaint or demand. She deserved no less. She had conferred friendship at the very least upon him, the killer of her kind, her attacker.
With her, he had already tasted all of heaven that one such as he might hope for, and also had gotten more than a glimpse of the hell he might well be entering when this battle ran its course.
The part of Spike that proved having a soul could not prevent one from darkness cherished the thought that while his sire might be spared because of Buffy’s love and desire for him to survive, Angel would never have Buffy again. The curse ensured that, and Spike was glad. He knew he should want Buffy to have that which made her happy, but he couldn’t bring himself to that point of unselfish love.
The amulet spun, catching bits of light in a near hypnotic flash of power. He was going to die, he knew it. Die alone in the midst of a sea of people and once more he would likely die un-mourned. That seemed to be his curse.
He felt her presence even before he heard the opening of the door. She had long passed the ability to sneak up on him, not that she was trying to tonight. She looked as deep in thought as he had been before he rose to meet her.
“Gonna be a long night,” Buffy sighed, “but not really long enough, I guess. The girls are all too keyed up to sleep. I think I’ll need a new mattress if Faith’s doing what I think she is on it.” She smiled at her attempt at a joke.
“Principal getting lucky?” Spike gave a slight grin.
“Seems so.” Buffy walked to the cot and sat down. “Lucky. Funny to call it that. I don’t remember sex bringing me much luck and I think I could use some about now.”
“Sex or luck?” Spike tilted his head in inquiry.
“Both.” Buffy reached out a hand and beckoned him to her.
‘Am I flesh to you? Feed on flesh. My flesh. Nothing else. Not a spark. Oh fine, flesh then. Solid though. Get it hard; service the girl.’ He was still her flesh, her way to feel when hurting and alone. As always, he was willing to be whatever his Slayer, his love, needed. “You sure this is what you want, Buffy?” His voice betrayed him with a slight tremble.
“Yeah. I need you, Spike.” She gave him that wet, wide-eyed look that always brought him to his knees. “That okay with you?”
“Still your willing slave, pet, always willin’. Sure it’s me you want?” The last thing he wanted was to remind her of what happened between them the last time he touched her intimately. She needed her wits about her in the morning and he needed his sanity.
“Well, I can’t see me offering myself to Xander or Giles.” She smiled, thinking he’d see the humor.
‘And Angel’s back in L.A., the berk!’ Spike’s thoughts ran amok as he closed his eyes to disguise the hurt. Try for the funny. “There’s always the nerd boy.” He flashed a false grin in return.
She shuddered. “I’d rather join a convent!” Then she laughed. It was a sparkling sound that Spike would give his hard earned soul to have her make often, even if it pained him to do so.
“Leaves me, then.” He moved towards her and allowed her to pull him closer as soon as he was within touching distance.
“We were pretty good together.” Buffy let out a wistful sigh. “Even with all the bad, there were plenty of good times too.” She looked to him for confirmation.
“Yeah,” Spike smiled at her with genuine warmth this time. “Perfect fit. Best moments of my whole existence.” He included the past few nights of closeness that were his only claim to real happiness in all his time on earth. Over a century of looking for the kind of love that would bring that sense of belonging, of genuine emotion, and never really touching but the edges of it and then only here at the last.
Buffy frowned and bit her lip. She had admitted to Angel that Spike was in her heart. She suspected it was far more than that. Very likely he WAS her heart, but she didn’t have time now to think it all through. Right now she just wanted to feel him again, all of him. To touch and taste and lose herself in his arms. She wanted to do it the way he had always wanted to, slowly and lovingly. Maybe it would wipe out the bad from the past year. Perhaps he would sense the emotions she knew he engendered in her, feelings she couldn’t find the words to express. She knew that when this battle was over, if she survived, they would need to talk to decide where to go from here. For tonight though she just wanted him, the heaven of his touch, the power of his love. “Don’t talk, okay? Just feel.”
She didn’t see the pain flash across Spike’s face as his fears seemed to be confirmed. Once more, he was simply convenient. Well, if that’s what his beloved needed, it was precious little to ask. Not like he wouldn’t get enjoyment from it too. “As you wish.” He wondered if she would understand all he meant to convey with that phrase.
“Good. Can we kiss now?” She offered her irresistible pout to his parted lips.
“Yeah,” he whispered and proved once more how perfect it could be when she allowed it to be real.
He carried the ache into battle without a word. Buffy had enough to shoulder without having to deal with his issues. She had been more kind and compassionate to him than he deserved this past year and he would bear his burden to the end before he would cause her one more moment of pain. His bruised heart and noble soul would far rather die unloved and miserable than see her suffer.
The short bus ride was conducted in total silence. All of the warriors lost in their own thoughts, awash in their own fears. Spike mused on all that had led him to this time, this place, these people. His companions included men who hated him, two having recently attempted to send him to his final death, one who would likely have joined in and the annoying lad. It was fitting that he face what might be his last battle in the company of slayers. He had been defined by them, after all, having built his reputation on killing them only to lose his heart to the greatest of them all.
Once he had told her that love wasn’t brains but blood, blood that screamed to work its will. That had been true once, before the soul. Love still bypassed the brain, but now instead it screamed to work HER will, her best interests. He had once more been cold comfort in her dark days and that would have to suffice. It had been his moment of benediction in a sacred rite.
Buffy looked at the silent vampire at her side. He had been tender and sweet last night. She wished she had permitted herself to accept the love he had tried to lavish on her sooner. It was far more than powerful and mind-blowing orgasms, although they were given as well. It was a connection that reached inside her to a part she had kept frozen, locked away for far too long. He had finally been allowed to touch her and she discovered the joy in being touched.
‘Later I’ll have all the time in the world to figure this out, talk it out if that’s what he wants. Right now I’ve got an army to lead, probably to their death, and a non-corporeal monster to slay.’ Buffy looked at the back of Spike’s head as he placed the gaudy necklace around his neck then picked up his favorite ax in preparation for leaving the bus for the high school.
“Okay, troops, last chance for anyone wanting to opt out.” She waited a moment before ordering, “All right, mount up then. We’ve got uglies to slay.” She smiled at Spike and hoped he read between the lines. Prayed he could see how proud she was of him, how much last night meant to her, how much he meant to her.
“Welcome to Sunnydale High,” the former principal of said school intoned and opened the door to destiny for the busload of heroes. “Time to save the world.”
“Time to save the world for puppies and Christmas,” Spike muttered. “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more…”
Giles glanced at the vampire and finished the quote: “Or close the wall up with our English dead.” He grimaced. “I rather hope that was not prophetic.”
“Been dead a long time, Watcher,” Spike replied with a hint of his old bravado. “Let’s go be heroes.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/310815.html