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Title - Life is Complicated (3/304)
Rating - G
Season VII - Filling in the blanks
Word count: 1454
Feedback - yes
Disclaimer - just helping Joss out -IÕm sure he meant to put this scene in......
Dstribution - sure, just tell me about it
Thanks to Kirsty for her beta help.
Life is Complicated
Getting everyone out of the school basement alive was the first priority. Freeing Xander, killing the demon that had suspended him over the Hellmouth, all took time and kept Buffy from having to look at Robin. But she knew he had seen Spike change and she had seen the shock and horror on his face when she ran to Spike first to see if he was hurt.
Typical Buffy first date, she grumbled to herself, as she tried to come up with a way to explain what he'd seen. Oh well, Big Bad, First Evil, apocalypse... not really a good time for romance anyway. Buffy shrugged mentally and decided not to worry about it. He was either going to be all right with it, or he wasn't. Nothing she could do about it either way.
The ride back to her house in his car was a little tense - Xander and Spike in the back seat, quiet except for the occasional male piggy comment about the voluptuousness of XanderÕs demon date. Robin said nothing - just drove and stared straight ahead, both hands clenched on the steering wheel. Every once in a while, Buffy caught him glancing toward the back seat - and she knew he wasn't looking for XanderÕs reflection.
Robin followed them into the house and was introduced to those he didn't know. He seemed interested in the pending war and more than willing to be involved, but his gaze kept drifting to the blond vampire leaning against the wall. As usual, Spike was in the room, but on the fringe. An observer of the activity; with them, but not really a member of the group. As the potentials gathered around Robin to ask about his mother - curious about a slayer who had lived long enough to have a child, Spike slipped out of the room and back down to the basement.
Buffy found him there, much later after everyone was asleep. She came down the stairs quietly, but she knew he was awake and sensed her presence.
Okay, Buffy sighed mentally, calling me Slayer is not a good sign.
"Guess I spoiled your date, huh? Sorry for the interruption, but I thought you'd want to help to rescue the whelp"
"You thought right, Spike. You know I would have been pissed if you'd tried to do it without me."
"Well, I hated to spoil your good time. You looked like you were having fun." His voice was carefully neutral and he continued to lie on his back staring at the ceiling. "Haven't seen you look that happy in a long time. Not since the wedding-that-wasn't."
Buffy sighed, and moved closer to the man on the bed. "I haven't had much to be happy about lately," she said softly. "Not for a long time, actually".
She saw him flinch just a little as he shut his eyes to hide the pain in them.
"I'm sorry, love. I know I've been responsible for a lot of that unhappiness. If I could change....."
"None of us can change the past, Spike. If we could, don't you think I would change some of the things I've done......that I've done to you?" She reached her hand tentatively toward his face, but stopped before she actually touched it. Instead, she sat on the edge of the bed; close, but not touching.
"You've done nothing I didn't deserve, love. In fact, I don't know why you haven't staked me by now. You should, you know. We don't know what the First has planned, but we know he's not done with me. Maybe I should just leave. Now that you have another demon-killer to help you....."
He looked up in surprise as he heard her gasp of dismay. "I don't want you to leave. I...I need you here. And I certainly am not going to stake you - if I didn't do it when I caught your TV performance with Anya....." She let her voice trail off and gave him a small smile to let him know she was trying to make a joke.
He stared at her in astonishment for a few seconds, trying to decide if she was serious, then dropped his gaze. "Buffy, you know that was not.... it was just two very drunk, very unhappy people trying to make each other's pain go away. I would never have...... and if I'd had any idea you would ever find out about it, let alone see it - or be... or be hurt by it..." He swallowed hard, trying to quell the little spark of hope in his chest at the thought that she cared enough about him to be hurt by a quick tumble with someone else. Had cared, he reminded himself forcefully. Past tense, before I tried to rape her.
"I know, Spike. I had no right to be angry at you. After all, I'm the one who told you to move on. I know that. It's just - it hurt a lot, you know? And it caught me by surprise - I didn't know it would hurt that much to see you....." She took a deep breath and shook herself. "OK, old stuff - got nothing to do with now. I shouldn't have brought it up. Bad Buffy, trying to make a funny out of something that isn't.Ķ
There was an uncomfortable silence for several minutes as both tried to forget the memories dredged up by her thoughtless quip.
Finally, the vampire spoke again, "Back to my original suggestion, love. I'm as much a danger to you as a help. You don't need me so much any more. You have plenty of fighters. I should just leave...."
"That's not why I need you," she said softly, not looking in his direction.
"No? Then why......?" He met her eyes and felt himself falling into the liquid green pools he knew so well.
ŌYou donÕt know by now? You used to be so perceptive. I could never fool you - even when I was fooling myself.Ķ
ŌBuffy, donÕt play games with me. If you need me here, just say so. You know I wonÕt go if you donÕt want me to. But you could be so much more efficient if you didnÕt have to stay near me to protect the others.Ķ
ŌThatÕs not why I keep you close, Spike,Ķ she said quietly. ŌGiles sees it, Willow sees it. Even the potentials see it. Why canÕt you?Ķ
ŌSee what, love?Ķ He felt his unbeating heart clench into a hard knot, but he refused to allow the ball of hope trapped in there to expand. She canÕt mean what it sounds like she means. DonÕt even try to think it. DonÕt allow yourself to dream....
ŌYouÕre going to make me say it, arenÕt you?Ķ And why shouldnÕt he? He deserves that much. ŌItÕs not enough that everyone in the house knew it before I did.Ķ Denial much, Buffy? Ō After spending most of last year trying to convince me, now youÕre going to pretend you have no idea what IÕm talking about,Ķ she huffed in exasperation.
Spike could feel the warmth spreading from his heart throughout his body. There was no containing the ball of hope now. It was exploding inside his chest and sending off sparks in all directions. He was sure it was radiating off his body in visible rays.
ŌBuffy, either say it now, or stake me and put an end to this.Ķ He sat up and grabbed her arms in both hands. ŌIf youÕre playing with me....Ķ His eyes flickered back and forth between blue and gold.
ŌSpike, I love you. And, you were right, I loved you last year - I just couldnÕt allow myself to believe it. You have to stay here, in Sunnydale, with me. You are my other half. I canÕt fight without you by my side. I donÕt want to. IÕm so tired of being lonely. Of being the One. I need....I want to be - canÕt I have one person who doesn't see the Slayer when he looks at me? Can I just be your girl? For just a few hours a day? Ō
Unshed tears were prickling his eyes as he pulled her into his arms and onto the bed with him. ŌYou can be whatever you want, for as long as you want, my love. IÕll never leave you. Never.Ķ
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