Title: Finding Spike
Author: Sandy S.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Joss.
Summary: Set in season five of AtS. What if Buffy met up with Spike after “The Girl in Question”?
Dedication: For the wonderful –tiana–! :o)
Thank you so much to sharelle for the beta job! *hugs* :o)
Finding Spike, Part 3
I’ll spare you the details of what happened next. I wanted to stay and help Spike even though I didn’t say it at first. Truth was, I was a little afraid to say I wanted to stay. I was afraid to jinx what we were starting.
Anyway, I did end up having to head back to Rome. Turned out that the Immortal raised this huge stink about me not being present at his intra-species trial and refused to continue until I came back.
Spike never said, but I worried that he didn’t believe I planned on staying with him in the first place. He didn’t call me when things starting falling apart with Angel. . . actually, now that I think about it, I had to call him.
* * *
A hushed silence fell over the audience.
Spike took a deep breath at the end of a long, dramatic pause and prepared to launch into another stanza of his lengthiest poem about Dru when he felt something vibrating in his pants.
“What the–?” He clambered off the stool, beer sloshing, and the microphone sent out a wave of ear-piercing feedback.
The crowd groaned as Spike tried to decipher what was moving. He dipped his hand into his jeans pocket and pulled out the emergency international phone Buffy had given him.
He flipped open the tiny phone. “Hello?” The microphone squawked again.
“Spike? It’s Buffy.” Her voice sounded teeny and far away.
He straightened the instrument to cover his ear better and in doing so, his elbow dipped against the mic stand. “Oh, shit.” His voice caught the tail end of the microphone range before it tumbled off the mini-stage.
Someone in the crowd boo-ed, and Spike squinted into the glare of the spotlight in an attempt to glimpse the heckler.
Buffy could tell something was off. “Spike, are you drunk?”
He acknowledged the crowd and stage manager with a raised hand and hopped out of the light. Humans and demons immediately began talking amongst themselves, surrounding Spike in a comforting blanket of sound. “No, not really. Bloody vampire constitution. Just pretending so that they don’t kick me off the stage when I’m reciting poetry.”
She laughed, and he realized it might be the last time he heard her laughter. “You’re on a stage? Reading poetry? You write anything about me?”
“Stanzas and stanzas, Slayer,” his voice was suddenly hoarse with emotion.
“Oh, god.” She remembered when he’d told her about the bad-ness that was his poetry.
“What?” he sulked. “Not good enough for you?”
“You know better than to ask me that.” Buffy refused to play into his insecurity.
“Right.” He ended up at the end of the bar and leaned on the blank wall next to the reeking bathroom. “What’s going on?”
She didn’t bother to sugarcoat her concern, “What’s Angel up to?”
“You mean besides murdering guardians to join a ring of nefarious evildoers and betraying the trust of his own inner circle before telling them it was all a front in order to trap the bad guys in attempt to redeem himself from sinking too far into the corporate mire? Willow’s premonitions – all right, by the way.”
Buffy was silent. “You didn’t call.”
Spike couldn’t resist continuing with the snark, “Don’t like hearing that your ex-boyfriend could do something so sneaky even with a soul and that now because of this mess he’s got us into, we’ve got another apocalypse on our hands?”
“No, I’m *not* worrying about Angel,” she snapped. “I just. . . it’s just I wish I could be there with *you* even if you don’t believe that I really want to be.” She paused as if she’d just hit upon the idea. “I could come! I could catch a flight. Just give me a sec to get on the net and reserve. . .”
“No!” Spike practically bellowed into the phone, ignoring her implication that he didn’t believe her and jumping on the idea that she could fly across the world to help. Several of the bar patrons turned to stare at him. He shot them the glare he wished he could fire at Buffy.
“Why not? Spike, I want to do *something.*”
Catching his anger and channeling the emotion into words, he was firm, clear and far from drunk, “Now hold up here, pet. I didn’t save the world that sodding cavern in Sunnydale for nothing.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” She wasn’t annoyed; she’d spent too much time being annoyed with him. Now, she was merely curious.
“I want you to stay there. . .you have your hands full.” Spike knew about the Immortal’s seemingly unending trial.
Buffy was silent for several moments, and Spike checked the phone to make sure the call hadn’t ended. Then, she spoke, “I know what I’ll do.” She sounded proud of herself.
He was amused by her childlike excitement. “What are you going to do?”
“Send Slayers to help you, of course! How many are there here in L.A.?”
“How am I supposed to know that?”
She didn’t miss a beat, “I’ll find out exactly what our resources are at this point. Andrew has to know. He helped with Dana, this Slayer in. . . wait, on second thought, I’ll just call whoever’s in charge in. . .”
“*Don’t* send that crazy Slayer to help. I don’t fancy being thrown out of any windows.” The bartender offered Spike a cold beer. He shook his head and passed off his warm, flat one instead. He was through with drinking for now.
“She threw you out of a window?” Spike imagined her frowning. “I didn’t even realize you ran into her.”
“Oh, I did more than run into her. There were also chains and loss of limbs,” Spike said with mock fondness.
Buffy strained to remember what the latest report from L.A. had said. “She’s actually doing a lot better from what I’ve heard.”
“That’s great. Keep her away from me.”
“Okay, Mr. Fraidy Cat.”
“I am *not* afraid of her. . . would you want to add her to your team if she sawed off your arms because she had delusions that you kidnapped and tortured her as a child?” A couple of the rougher bar patrons stared at him.
“God. She really thought that? And she tortured you because. . . wait a second. You didn’t. . . did you?”
“When she was a kid, I was probably in Sunnydale or. . . Europe. What. . . no concern about my arms?”
Buffy was thoughtful. “Well, you had arms last time I saw you.”
“That’s because Angel had them sewn back on at W and H.” Spike headed for the back door and slipped out into the quiet alleyway.
“That’s a relief. With evil stitches?”
He chuckled. “With evil stitches. This avenger-of-the-night gig doesn’t exactly come with a healthcare plan.”
“Point taken. Your arms worked pretty well when I saw you.” She paused. “Spike?”
Spike was still mulling over her first reference to the night they’d shared together. “Hmm?”
“I’m sending Slayers. You have to call me when you need them, when you figure out your plan. Promise me.”
“Fine. Slayers sans insanity.”
She knew he kept his promises. “I promise, Buffy,” he said with utmost sincerity.
“Good.” She was satisfied with his response. She took a deep breath and played with the notepad she kept next to her cell phone charger, flipping through the blank pages and summoning her courage. “I love you, Spike.”
He was struck dumb. . . as completely taken aback now as when she’d said the same words in Sunnydale. He closed his eyes. She’d slipped them in so casually. What did those three little words mean to her? He knew what they meant to him, especially after the night they’d spent in L.A. . . .
“Say something,” she prodded uncertainly.
Spike swallowed past the lump in his throat and nudged the toe of his scarred boot on the corner of the overflowing dumpster. Although his automatic response was still denial, he forced himself to try something different, “W-why now?”
The words cascaded out of her mouth before she could censor, “Because you promised you’d talk with me again.”
“What does that have to. . .”
“Because last time, you didn’t believe me. . . you thought I just said it because you were dying.” The tears came out of nowhere, fast and strong over her cheeks. Lost in her memory of the past, she didn’t bother to brush them away.
A thousand thoughts rushed through his head as if a dam had just been broken and water was flooding through the streets of his mind. The corner of the rusty dumpster was rough beneath his fingers. “Buffy.”
“What?” She sniffed and swiped at the teardrops on her cheeks, tearing off and crumpling a note she’d left for Dawn three days ago.
“I believe you.” How to tell her the next part? As simply as possible. “I believed you then.”
“Then, why did you say. . .” She couldn’t bring herself to repeat the words he’d said in reply.
His forehead replaced his fingers against the metal. In the last year, he hadn’t let himself slow down enough to center on her; it was too painful to remember what they almost had. . . what they had, but this was too important. The truth was always important when it came to Buffy. “Because I wanted you to leave.”
“We could have both gotten out of there,” she said stubbornly.
“We wouldn’t have, and you know it.”
Hot tears cascaded down her face. “And now. . .”
He enunciated each word carefully to let her know what he said was true. “Now, I still love you. I never stopped. Never will.”
She smiled. “We have to talk again. You *have* to call.”
“Of course, I promised, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, you did.” Buffy sat back on the bed, tucking a strand of errant hair behind her uncovered ear. “Talk with you soon.”
Spike hung up the phone, remaining still for a moment. He wanted to absorb the enormity of what they’d just shared. A handful of seconds passed, and then, he shook his head and opened his eyes, taking in the empty alley, the stench of rotting garbage, and the graffiti-filled door of the bar.
Life awaited him. An apocalypse and Team Angel awaited him.
Time to fight.
Determined, he set his jaw and reached for the greasy doorknob.
Then, he stopped.
Flipping open the phone, he punched in a number.
Somewhere across the globe, a phone rang.
“Spike.” She was amused but delighted. “Did you need the Slayers already?”
“No, not yet.”
“Good ‘cause I haven’t had the chance to call anyone in L.A. since we last spoke. What’s up?”
“I love you.”
She laughed, and he grinned even though she couldn’t see it. He’d been wrong; her laugh filled his ears again.
“I love you, too.”
Spike scratched behind his ear, as self-conscious as a schoolboy who’d just revealed his newborn feelings to his first crush. “Just had to see if it was real.”
“It’s real. Promise.” She crossed her index finger over her heart.
“Good. Talk with you soon, pet.” Still smiling, Spike cut the connection and turned the doorknob.
TBC… one more part to go! I’ll be posting it in my LJ tomorrow in a public post! :o)
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/60054.html