Title: Better Late Than Never (3/9/04)
Season: BtVS season VII
Word Count: 1629
Disclaimer: Joss made em up, I just play with them
Distribution: Just tell me who you are and where you’re taking it!
Summary: One of many set in Season VII giving Buffy a chance to give Spike what he needs before he is about to be incinerated.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Buffy finished applying lip gloss and checked her outfit and hair one more time before leaving her room to go to Parent-Teacher Night at Sunnydale High School. In her hurry, she ran right into Spike who was coming from the bathroom wearing nothing but a pair of jeans. His hair was still wet from the shower and curled in an unruly mass on his head.
“Oops! Sorry, Slayer. This hall needs a traffic light.” He grabbed her gently to keep her from losing her balance (Yeah, like a Slayer needs help keeping her feet) but quickly let go and stepped back.
“My fault, Spike. I’m running late as usual.” She tried very hard to keep her eyes off his bare chest, but couldn’t control the increase in her heart rate. She wanted to touch him so badly she was sure it must be obvious to him, but he refused to look at her directly.
“So,” he said carefully, “off to Parent Night, eh?”
“Yes, no matter how old I get, it seems like I’m stuck with parent-teacher nights. Sure you don’t want to crash this one - just to liven things up?” She smiled at him.
“Oh, I think one back-to-school arse-kicking is enough for this vampire.” He smiled back and they were momentarily lost in memories of the first time Spike had come to Sunnydale.
“Well, I’m not too sure whose ass got kicked that time. If it wasn’t for my mom....”
“Yeah, that’s true. Wasn’t the Slayer that ran me off - it was her mother. Quite a woman, your mum.”
Buffy’s face fell for a second and she blinked back a tear.
“I’m sorry, love. I didn’t mean to.....”
“It’s OK, Spike.” She gave him a watery smile of reassurance. “I just miss her, still.”
“I miss her too, Buffy. She was always nice to me. And so strong and beautiful. Just like her daughter,” he added.
Buffy flushed. “Yeah, well, except for the whole being-nice-to-you part, maybe.”
“You never did anything I didn’t deserve,”
There was an uncomfortable silence for a minute, which Spike broke by saying, “It’ll do you good to get out. Even if it is only Parent-Teacher Night.” He studied at her for a minute, then added, “You look gorgeous, pet.”
Buffy blushed again. “Thank you. I guess I’d better get going.” She walked away, giving him a little smile over her shoulder. The vampire remained as still as a statue until she was out of sight and down the stairs. Then he shook himself, growling “Don’t go there, mate.” and returned to his cot in the basement.
Much later, when Buffy had come home, he heard her footsteps on the stairs. Without glancing at him, she headed for the laundry area, pulling her shirt off as she went. “Damn, stupid punch,” she grumbled as she reached for the stain remover. A strangled noise from the other side of the basement startled her and she turned quickly to see Spike staring at her.
“Oh, I forgot - I mean, I thought you’d be... I’m sorry. Am I disturbing you?” As she asked that, she realized she was clad only a lacy, push-up bra, her shirt held uselessly in her hand.
“You might say that, love.” His mild tone was belied by the look on his face.
Buffy had the grace to flush, then said, “I’m sorry. This, this really isn’t very fair is it? I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“You were probably thinking it’s your basement and you have the right to be in it whenever and however you like,” he said flatly as he moved nearer. “I shouldn’t be here. We both know that.”
Buffy’s heart ached for the sadness she could read in his body and the resignation on his face.
“I want you here, Spike. I - I like having you close.....I mean...” She fumbled for words and moved closer to him, reaching a hand out and resting her palm on his bare chest.
“For the love of God, Buffy!” he exploded. “ I got a soul - not a bloody sex change!” He recoiled from her touch, trying desperately not to think about how good it felt to have her hands on him again.
She stared at him with startled eyes; then squeezed them closed. The expression on her face was one of infinite sadness.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I just wanted to touch you. I didn’t mean to.....”
Speaking so quietly it almost seemed that she was talking to herself, she turned away from him. “No one touches me, you know. They’re all afraid of me, or mad at me, or something. I just wanted to feel...”
She didn’t finish the thought, just began walking toward the stairs, her shoulders slumped and her head down. Spike watched her for a second and felt his heart break for her loneliness. He leaped in front of her before she could go very far.
“Don’t go, Buffy. I’m sorry. I’m a complete wanker.” He reached out tentatively to put his arms around her. She stiffened for a moment, then relaxed against him with an audible sigh. They stood like that for several minutes; taking comfort from the contact and trying to ignore the fact that they were both essentially naked from the waist up.
Spike was torn between wanting to hold her chastely and safely for as long as she wanted or needed and the desire raging through his body that her touch inspired.
Finally, Buffy raised her head and asked tentatively, “Can....would you... could I stay here tonight? With you? I just want to be held for a while, I promise.”
Spike swallowed hard, but agreed immediately. “Of course, love. Just do me a favor, OK?”
She look at him in puzzlement and shrugged, “OK, what is it?”
He grabbed his tee shirt off the cot and handed it to her. “Just put this on - please.”
Buffy gave an embarrassed giggle and pulled the shirt over her head. “Is that better?” she asked.
“It helps,” he admitted, grabbing another tee shirt from a bag and pulling it over his head.
Spike reclined on the cot, moving back as close to the wall as he could and waited to see if she was serious. It seemed she was, as she crawled up beside him and pulled the blanket over them. He folded her in his arms carefully and she snuggled up with her head on his chest. “Shirt feels good,” she murmured. “Smells like Spike.”
She was asleep within minutes, and he thought of all the times last year he had wished she would stay with him all night. He’d wanted so badly to hold her while she slept and she wouldn’t have it; jumping up when the sex was over and dressing to run home, no matter how he pleaded with her to stay with him. Now, here she was asleep in his arms, trusting and warm. He planted a light kiss on the top of her head, and closed his own eyes. He didn’t really plan to sleep - he wanted to savor every moment of this - but he was soon lulled by her rhythmic breathing and dozed off.
He awoke to the feel of warm hands under his shirt and warm lips kissing his neck and jaw. He gasped as he realized some body parts had awakened long before he did.
“Buffy, Buffy,” he groaned, grabbing her hands. “ What are you doing, pet?”
She stopped running her hands over his body, but didn’t move away. Keeping her head buried in his neck, she murmured into his throat, “I’ve missed you. Don’t you...do you miss me?”
“I missed you while I was gone. And I definitely missed you while I was stuck in that cave being entertained by the First. But I’ve been living in your house most of the time I’m not somewhere being tortured. I see you everyday, lo- Buffy.”
She raised her head and looked into his eyes, blushing slightly as she did so. “That’s not what I miss.” She kept her eyes on his face, willing him to get her meaning. “Are you going to make me say it?” she asked quietly.
She could feel his body trembling. “You might have to, love. I’m gonna need to have it spelled out real clear. I don’t ever want to make a mistake like...” He stopped, swallowing hard. She could see the tears he was trying to blink away.
“Oh, Spike, what have we done to each other? You’re afraid to touch me; and I can’t admit I want you to until I’m so desperate for affection I just want to climb inside your skin.”
Buffy’s eyes were now full of unshed tears as well and she buried her face in his chest and wrapped her arms around him.
“Please love me, Spike. Just love me like you used to.”
“Like I used to? Or like I used to want to, Slayer? Seems to me you weren’t big on affection being part of the picture. I can’t go back to that, love. Not now.” He touched her face gently and tipped her chin up so she could see his eyes. The soul was clearly visible in their blue depths and Buffy gazed back at him with more tenderness than he’d ever seen from her before.
“The way you wanted to,” she whispered. “Spike, will you make love to me?”
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