Title:  WHO’S THERE?  (2/4/04)

Author: Slaymesoftly

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1303

Season: - AtV, season V

Summary: Spike answers the phone at just the right/wrong time...




              “Harm! Harmony, you lazy bint.! Where in hell are you? That  phone is driving me crazy”.  Getting no response to his bellowing for Angel’s secretary, Spike grabbed the phone himself just to stop the noise.


              . “Hello? Wolfman and Bleedin’ Heart - great Poof’s office,” he growled into the mouthpiece.  There was a gasp and then silence on the other end.  A hard knot  formed in his stomach as he heard a very faint, tentative “Hello? Hello? Who is this?”


              His already pale face went completely white, and he froze with the phone at his ear.  With painful slowness and a shaking hand, he lowered the phone to its cradle and broke the connection.  He wanted to run from the building, but his feet seemed to have grown roots and all he could do was stare at the phone, imagining the person on the other end.


              “Blondie Bear? Who was that?  Was it for me?” Harmony asked as she came back to her desk.  Before he could make his mouth form a coherent sentence, the phone was ringing again.  Harmony picked it up but she didn’t get any further than, “Good morning, Wolf-...” when she was cut off by a very frantic and shrill voice asking “Who was that?”  She looked at where Spike was shaking his head rapidly back and forth and tried to change the subject. 


              “Uh, Buffy?  Hi, How are you?  Angel,s not ln yet....” She was interrupted again by a voice that had gone up several decibels.


                “WHO.answered the phone?”


              Harmony gulped audibly.  “Phone?”


              A suddenly very dangerous sounding Slayer gritted out, “Harmony. Who. Answered. The. Phone?”


              “Nobody?” she tried gamely.  “It was nobody.” 


              Spike rolled his eyes and mouthed the name “Wesley” as he pointed toward the other Brit’s office.  But Buffy’s voice was now a growl.  “Harmony...” she warned.


              Remembering that Buffy was supposed to be in Europe, which she was sure was too far away for a thrown stake to successfully reach Los Angeles,  Harmony gulped and said, “It’s my Blondie Bear, andhedoesn’twanttotalktoyou, so there!”


              Spike groaned and reached for the phone as a deadly silence fell at the other end. With some difficulty, he wrenched the receiver away from Harmony and brought it back to his ear.  There was complete silence on the other end and he was half afraid and half hoping that she had hung up already.  Then his vampire hearing picked up the sound of soft sobbing and his resolve crumbled. 


              “Ah, Buffy... Slayer... please, love, I’m sorry - don’t... Please, baby, please don’t. Don’t cry, love, please.” His anguish at her tears was causing his own eyes to prickle and he didn’t even notice Harmony turning away with slumped shoulders, her own tears running down her face.


              Now that he knewfor sure that it was her, Spike clutched the phone as if he could feel her just by holding it tightly enough.


              “Spike?” she said raggedly, “What, how? Why?...”


              “We don’t really know any of those things,” he answered quietly.  “Had something to do with the amulet. That’s all we know.”


              He could almost picture her going into Slayer mode as she took a deep breath and asked, “Well, why LA?  And what are you doing answering Angel’s phone?  How long have you been....back? And.. and... “ just as quickly, the Slayer was gone and Buffy was back, ”and why didn’t you tell me?  How could you let me think.....”   Spike could tell she was fighting not to cry again and wished he could climb into the phone and put his arms around her.


              “Well, to tell the truth, Pet, we weren’t sure at first how long I was gonna be around - I wasn’t very solid and I kept slippin’ away.  I just didn’t think there was any point in .......I didn’t want you to grieve twice, baby.  And, it’s not like I could’ve picked up a phone or anything.  Couldn’t even leave the bloody city.  Every time I tried, I wound up back here in Poofter Central.”   He waited to see if she had any response.


              “Well, Angel knows how to pick up a phone!  And Fred talks to Willow all the time.  And.....”


              “I asked them not to, Buffy.  I wanted to be the one to tell you - when I knew I was going to be here permanently.  I just - I knew you were traveling and I,  I - oh bollocks! I can’t talk about this over a phone.  I just wasn’t ready yet.  That’s all. I’m really, really sorry, love. I really am.”


              She didn’t answer immediately, and his unbeating heart began to feel the debilitating ache that was so familiar to him when she was around. When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he ventured, “Buffy?”


              “You didn’t believe me,” she said quietly.  “I told you and you didn’t believe me.”


              He sighed heavily (so that’s it)  “I believed you, love, I did.  I just wanted you to get out of there and away.  And make a life for yourself.  One that didn’t include.....Anyway, how was I gonna top that exit?  Would have been a good way for you to remember me, wouldn’t it?  Might make up for some of the less pleasant memories.....”


              “Why would I want memories if I could have you? Why would I want that, Spike?”


              He couldn’t speak for a minute, as he digested what she was saying.  Do you want me, Slayer? Do you really want an unemployed vampire who doesn’t even know why he’s still here? You need to think about this carefully, Pet.  God knows, I haven’t thought about anything else for the last two months.”


              “Two months?  You’ve been able to touch ..things,  to...to.. call me, for two months and I had to find out by accident?” The outrage he expected to hear in her voice was there, but muffled by the sadness she couldn’t hide.  “So, you decided what?  That if I didn’t need you, I wouldn’t want you?  Or, did you just decide you don’t want me anymore? Is that it? When did you stop loving me, Spike?”


              He groaned into the phone, “Never, Buffy.  I have never stopped loving you. I never will. Don’t you know that by now?  I just don’t want you to feel obli-....... dammit, I can’t do this over the phone.  I need to see you, to look in your eyes, feel you, touch you..........Tell me where you are, love.  I’ll get there as soon as I can.  Are you still in Italy?  In London with the watcher? Where do I need to go, Slayer. Tell me and I’ll be there tomorrow”.  He was so desperate to convince her that he was practically babbling.


              “Actually, I was hoping for something a little sooner than that....” He could hear a smile in her voice.


              “Oh, me too, baby, but I don’t think I can get a .....”


              “Spike, I’m at the airport.  The LA airport. I was calling Angel to see if someone could pick me up and take me to my hotel.”


              A jolt of pure joy went through his whole body.  He grinned into the phone, “Thirty minutes.  Red Viper, tinted windows.  Be waiting outside. Naked.”


              A soft laugh came over the phone. “I’ll be waiting.”


              “I’m on my way.”  He started to run out without even hanging up the phone, then rushed back to grab it a yell,  “I love you, Buffy.”


              “I love you too, Spike”


              “Thirty minutes. ....Naked!” he shouted as he ran for the elevator that would take him to the garage.


The end


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