FIRST DATE 3/21/04
Word count - 5075
Everything belongs to Joss and ME
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Notes: No demon eggs to worry about this time - just an epiphany. What if Spike hadn’t reacted the way she expected when she went to him for an ego boost?
“Tell me you love me”
“I love you. You know I do”
“Tell me you want me”
“I always want you. What’s....”
The Slayer grabbed him and pulled him down on the cement tomb – mouth glued to his and fingers pulling at his clothes. She was working so frantically at removing his pants and getting her own off at the same time that she didn’t quite realize at first that Spike wasn’t participating with his usual enthusiasm. Pretty soon it became hard to ignore the fact that she was doing all the kissing and undressing. Ceasing her frantic disrobing for a second, she glared at him angrily. “You could help me out a little bit here.”
Those eyes that by this point were usually looking at her with an intoxicating mix of lust, love, and awe were thoughtful and detached looking.
“I’m sorry, pet. I guess the Spike-bot’s out of order.” He pushed himself up and off the sarcophagus.
“What do you mean? What are you talking about? And, ‘Spike-bot?’ Gross!”
“Buffy, am I even here for you?” he asked quietly – fending off her hands which were busy trying to pull his shirt off.
“What do you mean, are you here for me? You’re standing right there. Close enough to touch if you’d stop pushing me away!” The Slayer’s eyes were becoming dangerously angry. “What’s going on, Spike? Don’t you want me either?”
More than anything in the world, he thought, looking at her flushed face and perfect breasts moving up and down as she breathed heavily. But all he said was, “Either? Don’t I want you either? Who else turned you down today?” In spite of his attempt to control it, he could feel his demon trying to emerge at the thought of anyone else touching Buffy.
“Nobody. Stop going all wrinkly. Nobody else wants me. And now you don’t want me anymore....” As she said that, her anger evaporated and she slumped down on the floor, the picture of dejection.
It took every ounce of control Spike had not to pull her into his arms and smother her with kisses and endearments, but his anger at being treated like an inanimate object was strong enough to keep him on his feet.
“Want to tell me what’s going on, Slayer?”
She peered up at him from under her hair and remembered that this was Spike. The one person she could talk to without fear of being judged or rejected. Although he seems pretty close to rejecting me right now, she realized with a start of surprise. Sighing, she leaned her head back against the sarcophagus and told him about Riley’s appearance at the Doublemeat Palace and the subsequent introduction to his wife.
“So, Captain Cardboard has moved on and you came here for a little ego-boost, eh? Good old, Spike. He’ll make me feel better. He always wants me.” His bitter tone caused her to to look up in astonishment.
“Well, don’t you? Isn’t that what you said?” She stared at him in bewilderment.
“I also said, ‘I love you’, but I guess that’s not the important part of this relationship – or whatever the hell it is.”
“Oh, come on, Spike. You’re shagging the Slayer. That should be good enough for any vampire.” She tried to ignore his wince of pain and continued with casual cruelty, “What’s love got to do with it? You know you can’t love – you have no soul.”
“I’m not the Great Poof, Buffy. I can love you with or without my soul. I’ve tried to make that clear to you, but I see it’s no use. You refuse to see it. It’s much cleaner to think of me as your version of a sex-bot. No messy feelings involved, no worries about hurting me. Just use and discard.”
Buffy gaped at him with an open mouth. “So, what are you saying then? That you don’t want to have sex with me anymore? I don’t believe that. You don’t mean it.” She stood up and moved toward him, face tilted up expectantly.
“Really, Spike,” she said as she reached her arms up around his neck, “You don’t want to have sex with me anymore?”
Taking a deep breath and letting it out forcefully, he took her hands and gently placed them back at her sides.
“That’s right, Slayer. I don’t want to have sex with you anymore.”
I want to love you, Buffy. Why can’t you see that?
“You’re kicking me out? You’re dumping me? “ She started breathing faster and her heart sped up as the realty of what he was saying sank in.
He shook his head and continued, “If and when you’re ready to make love, come back. I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere. But you’re using me and I’m bloody tired of it. If I wasn’t already dead, I think it would be killing me.”
She stared at him in disbelief, making no move to leave. “Are you really breaking up with me?” Why does that hurt so much?
“Breaking up implies that there is something there to break. We don’t have anything to break – as you keep reminding me. I’m sorry, Slayer,” he added sadly and turned away from her. He didn’t look around until he was sure she had gone and the door was closed.
Then he threw himself onto the sarcophagus with a groan. “What have you done, you stupid git? What have you done?”
Buffy returned to the house on Revello Drive, fighting back the tears that threatened to wash down her face. “I will not cry over Spike,” she gritted out through her teeth. “I will not cry over Spike!”
By the time she got to the house and joined the other Scoobies in the living room with Sam and and Riley, she was in control and had no trouble participating in the conversation. She was surprised to notice that her visit with Spike had taken the sting out of Riley’s new relationship and she was able to smile at them and be glad for him.
Ha! she thought triumphantly. He made me feel better and he didn’t even have to make lo-shag me. So there, Spike! And, ohmigod, that’s just disturbing.
Immersed in the realization that just being with Spike always made her feel better, Buffy missed most of the rest of the conversation. She was caught by surprise when she heard the talking stop and saw everyone looking at her expectantly.
“Oh, uh, sorry, guys. I guess I zoned out there for a minute...”
Willow spoke up quickly, “Riley and Sam were just asking if we were clear on what to look for in case those South American demons show up here.”
“Oh. Oh yeah, I think we got it all. Right, guys?” She fervently hoped Willow and Xander had been paying more attention than she was.
“Yeah, we got it. Will even wrote most of the important info down,” Xander said proudly.
“Well, good then. I guess we’re... good.”
Sam and Riley started their good bye talks with everyone – saying how good it was to see them, good luck, etc. When it was Buffy’s turn, Sam looked around and asked, “Uh, Buffy? Where’s the vampire with the chip? What’s his name? Spike, is it?” She looked at Riley for verification. “I wanted to meet... er... see him. I’ve never been that close to a vampire that’s safe to be around. Let alone one that fights with the good guys.”
Riley was staring hard at Buffy. “Yeah, Buff, where is he? Kind of expected him to be hanging around more....” His voice trailed off as he saw the look on Buffy’s face.
“He’s in his crypt. Where he belongs,” she said flatly. “We know where to find him if – when we need him.”
Buffy could see Dawn and Willow looking at her curiously, but fortunately they had better sense than to say anything. Anya, of course, did not.
“Yes, Buffy. Where is Spike? He’s always here, baby-sitting Dawn, following you around like a love-sick puppy—" She stopped abruptly as Xander elbowed her in the ribs.
“We don’t need Spike, honey. He’s not all that welcome you know.”
“He most certainly is!” said Dawn indignantly. “Spike is my friend and he is welcome here anytime.”
“The vampire is your friend?” Sam asked incredulously. “How can that be?”
“Well, it’s complicated....” Buffy started, but Dawn was on a roll.
“Yes, he’s my friend. He took care of me while Buffy was d – er – gone; he helps me with my homework; he’s going to teach me to drive, too. And, he patrols with Buffy all the time. They keep each other’s backs -– or something like that.”
“Spike has your back?” Riley stared at Buffy. “Spike?”
Something in Riley’s contemptuous tone and the look on his face sent Buffy’s sense of justice into overdrive and she met his eyes, saying firmly, “Yes, Spike has my back. He is always there when I need him or when Dawn needs him, or anybody else we care about for that matter. He was almost killed twice trying to protect Dawn from Glory, and has helped us all…” she paused to glare at the other Scoobies, “more than once.”
“You trust him?” Riley said incredulously.
“With my life. And more importantly, with my sister’s life,” Buffy said firmly, meeting Riley glare for glare.
“Uh, Buffy, maybe you don’t know....I mean I never told you, but Spike, he, um, he was kind of obsessed with you. Don’t you think maybe he’s just doing those things so that you will... er... let him... um... you know....”
“Exactly my argument!” shouted Xander. “Thank you!”
A poke from Anya and a glare from Dawn were enough to make him subside, mumbling, “Well, that is what I’ve been saying.”
“So that I will let him what, Riley?” Buffy asked too sweetly and innocently. “What is it that you think he wants to do that would be worth being tortured, burned, beat up, and verbally abused by my friends?” Another glare in Xander’s direction made it clear to whom she was referring. “Do you really think somebody who looks like Spike needs to put up with all that just to get laid?”
Riley turned beet red and swallowed hard. “I, I don’t know. I just know he wanted to be with you last year, and now it sounds like he is. Like you might have, I mean, I know you wouldn't, but if you were grateful enough to, to....”
“To what? To have feelings for him? To give him my body, or my... heart?” She paused at a gasp from Xander. “No, Riley, I haven’t fallen in love with Spike out of gratitude. But if I had given him my heart, I know I could trust him not to break it by hanging out with vampire whores and then leaving me.” With that final barb, Buffy turned around and stomped into the kitchen.
An awkward silence ensued in the other room until Sam finally broke the tension by pointing out that the helicopter was waiting for them. After quick “good-byes” and an exchange of e mail addresses, Riley and Sam left the house and were pulled up into the night.
Buffy sat in her kitchen, drumming her fingernails on the counter, trying to calm down. Willow came in timidly and said, “Buffy? Is there something we should know?”
Buffy turned to glare at her and Willow quickly raised her hands defensively and said, “Not judging, here. Just curious. I’d never thought that much about how much Spike has changed until you started defending him”
Is that what I was doing? Was I defending Spike?
Buffy sighed and looked at her friend. “Neither had I, Willow. But he has done a lot for us, for all of us, and that doesn’t even include the way he....” She paused, not quite sure what she meant to say next.
“The way he..” Willow looked at her inquisitively.
“The way he’s always there for me. No matter how bitchy I am, or how unhappy, or how, how... Oh my god, Willow. He really loves me. And I’ve been throwing it back in his face for months.”
“Well, you’ve had a lot on your mind. What with being pulled out of Heaven and all.” Willow looked down with a guilty face.
“Yes, I have, Will.” She saw no reason to pretend that she was okay with what her friends had done to her. “I was miserable. I didn’t want to be here and Spike listened to me and let me be miserable and let me cry, and – and he gave me what I needed to feel alive again. And I repaid him by telling him how loathsome and evil and unworthy he was.” Buffy slumped over the counter and put her head on her arms. “How am I going to fix this?”
Buffy’s plan was simple. She would wait for Spike to show up again, as she knew he would, and then she would apologize and be nicer to him. And then he would forgive her and put his arms around her and... After several nights of waiting for and.... to become a realty and not an erotic fantasy that kept her awake half the night, it occurred to her that he might have meant what he said. He wasn’t coming back to her.
Spike’s evening of watching TV and drinking whatever he could find left in the mostly empty liquor bottles in the crypt was interrupted by a soft tapping on the door. Since when do any of my visitors bother to knock? he wondered as he moved toward the door. Suddenly he realized who was out there. He could sense her presence as well as if he was standing right beside her. He hastened back to his chair in front of the TV and called, “It’s open” as he tried to look bored and content at the same time.
The door opened slowly and Buffy edged her way into the room. Her approach was so different from her usual confident barge in to his home, that he had to look hard to be sure it was really her.
She came in several steps, then stopped a good distance away from him. Trying to match his casual air, she glanced idly around the crypt before looking in his direction.
“Well, Slayer, to what do I owe this pleasure? Do you want help patrolling tonight?” As he said that, his eyes took in her outfit – mini skirt, frilly, scoop neck top, high heeled sandals. “Or, maybe you just want me to do it for you? You’re not exactly dressed for demon-hunting, are you?”
“I’m not patrolling tonight. I decided to take the night off. We’re all going to the Bronze and..." She took a deep breath and as she let it out she added, “Ithoughtyoumightwanttocomewithus” This last part was said so quickly and quietly that he wasn’t sure he actually heard it correctly.
“You’re going to the Bronze, and what?” he asked, looking at her face for the first time. He was surprised to see it was flushed and there was a look he’d never seen on it before. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was standing in a vampire’s lair looking shy, embarrassed and somewhat wistful.
“I thought you might, maybe, if you didn’t have plans....want to come with us.” she forced out.
He looked at her outfit again, noted the freshly shampooed hair, make-up. He could smell a faint perfume complimenting her own unique scent. And, he could hear her heartbeat – much faster than it needed to be for someone standing perfectly still.
“Are you asking me out, Slayer?” he inquired, raising his eyebrow at her. “Is this a date?”
“I’m asking you to come with me – us – to the Bronze,” she got out before she looked away. “Are you coming or not?”
Alright, you git, don’t be stupid and push this too far. Just see where it goes.
“Sure, Slayer. I could use a night out on the town. Just let me get a clean shirt.”
He changed as quickly as he could and ran back up the stairs, half expecting her to be gone. To his surprise, she was still there, waiting impatiently for him. He snatched up his duster and held out his arm for her.
“Ok, love, let’s go. One night at Sunnydale’s hot spot coming up”
As they walked out of the cemetery, her heels kept sinking into the damp ground and after several stumbles Spike was grinning in spite of his best efforts to control it. He was grateful for the dark that prevented Buffy from seeing his amusement at her choice of footwear. The next time she stumbled and he had to hold her up, he couldn’t suppress the snort of laughter. He was rewarded by her snatching her arm away and giving him her death glare.
“You find this funny?” she demanded.
“I’m sorry, pet,” he gasped out, “ But what were you thinkin’ wearing ‘come-fuck-me’ heels like that into a cemetery?”
They both got very still and quiet as he mentally kicked himself arsehole! for using that expression and Buffy tried to think of some snappy comeback that wouldn’t dig a deeper hole. The best she could come up with was a quiet “I just wanted to look nice tonight”; she turned away before he could see the humiliated tears in her eyes.
“Bloody hell,” he muttered, “Let’s get out of here.” With that, he scooped her up and began carrying her out of the cemetery, covering the ground in long strides, his duster billowing behind him.
After her first surprised gasp, she leaned against his chest and just relaxed into the comforting feeling of being held by him. He strode along in silence for a minute, then said softly, “You do, pet.”
“I do what?” she mumbled into his shirt.
“Look nice tonight. In fact, you look bloody gorgeous.”
And I’m never going to make it through this night without beggin' her to come back. I am such a wanker.
“Oh.” She smiled softly to herself. “Thank you”
“You’re welcome. Here we are.”
He stopped on the sidewalk and reluctantly set her back on her feet. Her nearness and the warmth coming off her body were having their usual affect on him and he stepped back quickly before he could give in to the urge to crush her against his body.
“Maybe we’d better take the car, yeah?” he asked, looking at her again. “Not exactly hiking shoes there.”
“Okay, maybe you’re right. I’ll wait here for you.”
Spike ran as quickly as he could, and roared back with the DeSoto in record time. As quick as he was, it wasn’t quick enough to prevent a car full of boys from the college from stopping to ogle Buffy in her high heels and mini skirt. Just as he pulled up, one of the braver boys jumped from the car and attempted to pull her in.
“Come on there, sweet cheeks,” he leered at her. “You know you want to come with us.”
“She bloody well does not!” Spike burst from the DeSoto in full vamp face and threw the boy across the hood of the car. Then he screamed and sank to the ground, holding his head and moaning. The other boys, who had not seen the vamp face, piled out of the car ready to avenge their buddy. The fastest one ran up to kick Spike where he was lying on the ground with Buffy leaning over him. She backhanded the would-be kicker away to join his friend on the hood of the car.
“Fucking bitch!” yelled one of the boys as he tried to grab Buffy’s arm. He quickly found himself pinned to the car with his arm twisted painfully behind his back and an extremely pissed off Slayer promising him the imminent removal of his private parts if he didn’t take his friends and leave immediately.
By this time, Spike was back on his feet and in full vamp face again. Buffy let go of her captive and all four boys jumped into the car and sped off.
“Goddamn bloody chip,” Spike raged. “I can’t even stop a pack of soddin’ college boys from trying to...” His voice dropped to a growl and he stomped back to the car, wrenched open the door on the passenger side and waited for Buffy to get in. As she went to get in, Spike holds doors for women? What else don’t I know about him? she looked up at him and asked softly, “Are you OK?”
“No, I’m not OK,” he grumbled as he got in and started the car. “I should’ve been able to protect you.”
“Spike, Slayer here, remember? Super powers? I can take care of myself.”
Buffy was torn between indignation that he thought she needed his help with a couple of rowdy boys, and a warm fuzzy feeling that he still cared that much about her.
“Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t,” he was still grumbling as they pulled into the parking lot of the Bronze.
“Well, I’ve certainly kicked your butt often enough,” she snarked back at him.
A loud snort was his only reply until they were parked and approaching the door of the club. Spike slowed his steps. “Uh, Buffy, do you want me to... I mean... should I come in separately?” He shuffled his feet while he waited for her answer.
To his surprise and delight, she took his hand in hers and pulled him into the building saying, “No, Spike. You’re with me tonight.”
Buffy spotted the Scoobies across the room and pulled him along toward the table. He did notice she dropped his hand before they actually got to her friends, but decided he could live with that when she asked them brightly, “Hi guys. Did you save seats for us?”
“What is the evil undead doing here?” Xander glared at Spike.
“He’s joining us for a night out,” Buffy said firmly. “Is that a problem, Xander? Cause, if it is, we could just sit some where else, by ourselves, alone, together...”
Xander looked like he was choking, but managed to refrain from saying anything else. He continued glaring at Spike, who smirked back at him, until Anya grabbed his arm and said, “Xander, dance with me – now!” and dragged him to the dance floor.
“Xander Harris, if you’re going to ruin everyone’s evening by being nasty to Buffy’s date, we might as well go home now.” Anya said angrily.
“That is not a date!” he practically shouted. “It is an evil, soulless demon...” His voice trailed off as he met Anya’s hurt eyes and remembered that he was engaged to a “soulless demon.”
“Who loves Buffy very much and who she obviously wants to spend time with. What is your problem, Xander?”
“I hate him,” he muttered. “I don’t know what she could possibly see in him.”
Anya looked at him patiently. “Well, let’s see. He’s loyal to a fault, he loves her enough to change his whole life for her, he loves her enough to help protect her friends -– even the ones who hate him,” she said pointedly. “ He is incredibly good looking and sexy...” At the look on Xander’s face, she hastened to add, “if you like that type. And the sexual tension between them practically makes the air shimmer. Other than that? Probably nothing.”
Xander spent the rest of the evening in sullen silence, while everyone else seemed to be having a good time.
Eventually all the girls decided to go to the restroom at the same time, leaving Spike and Xander by themselves at the table. Xander glowered at the vampire who stared back at him and finally said with a sigh, “I’m not going to hurt her, you know. I would never do that.”
“She deserves better than you,” Xander snarled. “She deserves better than another blood sucking demon.”
“That she does, whelp. That she does. But until that person comes along, she should be allowed to be with who she wants. Don’t you want her to be happy? Or is it more important to you that her choices make you happy? Like Captain Cardboard? Bet you were crazy about him, huh?” Spike curled his lip in contempt.
“Riley loved her! He would have been great for her.”
“Yeah, except for running away like a bleedin’ wanker while her mum was sick. He couldn’t handle what she is and you know it. How many human men do you think can? Damn few, if you ask me.”
“Nobody asked you, evil undead,” Xander muttered, but he relaxed for the first time all evening and began to sip his beer.
As the girls came back, the band went into a bouncy rhythm piece and they all stopped at the dance floor and began moving to the music.
Spike watched Buffy moving around the floor and remembered the first time he’d seen her, what was to have been his third slayer, dancing with her friends, smiling and laughing. I was a goner, then,” he realized suddenly. She had me from that first good look at her. Just took me a while to realize it, is all. Dru saw it though. She knew.
When the song ended, the girls came back to the table to sit down. With Xander no longer glowering angrily at Spike, the atmosphere was much lighter and everyone relaxed and enjoyed the music and conversation.
As the band went into its end of night series of slow tempo songs, everyone got up to dance, leaving Spike and Buffy sitting alone and staring at the dance floor. Buffy looked at Spike out of the corner of her eye and saw that he was looking sideways at her. They both looked away quickly, then back to see if the other had noticed. When their eyes met for the second time, they started laughing and the tension that had been building was broken.
“We’re a proper couple of fools, you know that, Slayer?” he said, shaking his head.
“Well, I don’t know how proper we are, but we can both be pretty foolish. That’s for sure,” she agreed softly.
“Buffy, will you dance with me?” Spike stood up and help out his hand, then remembered the last time he talked about “dancing” with her and froze. The look on her face told him she remembered it too, and for a moment he was sure he had spoiled the whole evening. Then she relaxed, smiled and took his hand. “Yes, Spike. I’d like that.”
They reached the dance floor and melted into each other as though they had been dancing together for years. Vampire and Slayer moved gracefully, swaying together; their bright blond heads like candles as they moved around the darkened floor. They danced in silence, just enjoying being together again. Neither one was willing to take a chance on spoiling the moment by talking. Buffy’s head was nestled under Spike’s chin, resting against his chest, her arms around his neck, resting lightly on his shoulders. His face was buried in her hair, his arms around her waist, and he was sure this was as close to Heaven as he was ever going to get.
No one who bothered to look at the two lithe blonds would have had any doubt that they were in a world of their own. They stayed together through all the last slow songs, completely oblivious to anyone else in the building. When the music ended, they continued to stand together, swaying to something only they could hear.
After waiting tactfully for several minutes, the Scoobies began clearing their throats and making loud conversation about “closing time”, “time to go,” and other completely ignored suggestions. Eventually their less-than-subtle hints got through the pleasant fog Buffy and Spike were in and they reluctantly stopped moving. Buffy raised her head and looked into Spike’s wary eyes wistfully.
“I guess it’s time to go,” she said carefully.
“Yep, seems to be,” he agreed. Neither one made a move to separate.
“Which means,” Anya put in, “that you will have to actually let go of each other long enough to walk out of here.”
Sighing and rolling his eyes at the ex-demon, Spike let his hands slide off Buffy so he could pick up his duster.
When everyone was finally outside and Xander had driven off with Tara, Willow, and Anya, Spike and Buffy slowly walked toward his car hand-in-hand.
“That was nice,” Buffy said. “We should do it again?” This last was said tentatively with a sideways glance at his face.
“Yes, love, I think we should.” He stopped at his car and pulled her to him. “I wonder if you’re the kind of girl who kisses on the first date?” he smirked.
“I think I could be,” she replied, rising up on her toes to plant a playful peck on his lips. She tried to lean away, laughing softly at his look of indignation. With a growl that sent a shiver through her whole body, he captured her mouth with his and began a kiss that lasted until she broke it to gasp for more air. She whimpered when he pulled away slightly and pulled him back in for another.
“Spike,” she said breathlessly when she had to stop for air again, “Can we go home now?”
“You want to go home already?” he teased. “I thought we were having a good time. Why do you want to go home?”
“Because I want to make love with you, Spike. Will you? Make love to me?”
He leaned down until his forehead was resting lightly against hers.
“Are you sure about this, love? If you’re playing games with me, I’d rather you just staked me now.”
“ I’m very sure.” she whispered against his mouth. “Very, very sure.”
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