Rewrite of Seeing Red (5/23/05)
Characters belong to Joss Wheedon, et al
Ficlet – 3100 words
A rewrite of “Seeing Red” – Buffy/Spike in bathroom – begins with a line from the show and goes AU from there.
A RE-WRITE OF SEEING RED
“You could try not sleeping with my friends.” Buffy’s voice was tired and flat, but the pain in it was unmistakable.
“Buffy…please…I said I was sorry. I didn’t – I’m so sorry, love. Please believe me. I would never have--”
Ignoring him, she turned toward the tub and began playing with the taps, without turning the water on. She took a quick glance at him, looking back at the tub quickly when she saw that the anguish on his face matched her own.
“When I told you to move on – I had in mind someone a little farther away from me than Anya,” she gritted out, edging away from his pleading eyes. “And, I thought it might have taken a little longer…”
“I wasn’t…I haven’t…that wasn’t…” He threw his hands up in frustration. “Fuck this! I got drunk and helped a heartbroken girl feel a little better about herself. I’m NOT going to apologize for that. I’m sorry you found out about it. Or that it…it…bothered you, but-“
The emotion that Buffy had been suppressing for three days suddenly burst forth in spite of her best attempts to control it. She glared at him, clutching her robe tightly as she choked out, “You’re sorry I ‘found out’ about it?” Her voice rose as she let out all the pain she felt every time she relived the scene from Willow’s laptop; one that she had played over and over in her mind until it seemed burned into her brain.
“I didn’t just ‘find out’ about it, Spike. I SAW you! I don’t just KNOW what you did; I had to watch it. In living color – with my friends and my sister. Do you know what that felt like, Spike? Do you even care how much it ‘bothered’ me?”
“My god, Buffy!” he whispered desperately. “How can you ask me that? How can you think I would deliberately hurt–“
He tried to reach out to her to offer the comfort of his arms, but she waved him off with one hand, still clutching her robe with the other. They faced each other from opposite ends of the bathroom. The air shimmered with repressed violence. The vampire replayed in his head what she’d just said and frowned at her.
“What do you mean, you saw me?
Were you there? Why didn’t you just stop us if you didn’t want it to happen?”
She took in huge gulps of air, struggling for control as she continued to avoid looking at his stricken face. “There was a camera in the store. I saw you kissing her, saw her wrapping her legs around you, heard her screaming your name. I saw you…” She sank to the floor, ragged sobs finally tearing from her throat as she turned her head away from the man she had been so sure she didn’t love.
“Go away…just go…I can’t…” Now that she had begun to let out the pent-up agony of seeing him between Anya’s thighs, she couldn’t seem to stop and she curled into a ball of misery on the bathroom floor.
Unable to think of any way to make up for the pain caused by his unthinking attempt to ease his own anguish, he started to slink out of the bathroom; not sure if he was going home to drink more, or to just sit outside his crypt and wait for the sun.
He got as far as the bottom of the stairs before the impact of what she’d been saying hit him and he whirled to rush back up and into the bathroom.
The Slayer was still lying on the floor, the sobs still shaking her body as she gave in to the pain and jealously she’d been fighting since that night. She didn’t look up when he came back into the room, but she did try to control her sobs and to appear less devastated.
“Go away, Spike. I’m tired and I’m hurt and I need to soak my back and get a good night’s sleep. I don’t want to talk about this any more.”
“I’m sorry, pet,” he said softly. “But we’re going to talk about it. I’m not leavin’ until we sort this out.”
“There’s nothing to sort. You’re a pig. I knew that. I forgot. Then I got reminded. Now get out of my bathroom!”
She tried to stand up with dignity, but her sore back made her stumble and grab the edge of the tub with a hiss of pain. Her robe gaped open momentarily and he could see the bruises and cuts on her chest and abdomen before she quickly pulled it closed again.
Knowing that she wouldn’t let him touch her just now, he waited while she pushed herself heavily to her feet and moved away before he reached into the tub and turned on the hot water. Ignoring her sniffling threats to stake him if he didn’t leave immediately, he set the plug and added aromatic bath salts to the water pouring in.
While the tub filled, he sat back on his heels and gazed at her furious face. He knew if she wasn’t hurt so badly, she would have thrown him bodily down the stairs and out of the house, but it was plain that she wasn’t able to do that yet. His heart clenched in fear at the thought that she’d come so close to being seriously injured and he accepted his own responsibility.
Whether she wanted to admit it or not, seeing him with another woman had left her distracted and vulnerable. The demon in him celebrated the sweet taste of revenge, while another part ached for her, wanting to grovel at her feet while begging forgiveness.
“Buffy-“ he ventured, silencing immediately when she glared at him and started to raise her fist. Her involuntary moan of pain, had him reflexively reaching out to her, but the snarled “Don’t touch me!” was enough to make him drop his hand.
“Let me help you, Love. Please?” he pleaded softly, gesturing to the rapidly filling tub.
“Don’t call me that!” she almost shrieked, shaking from anger and some other emotion she chose not to explore. “You don’t know what that word even means!”
Somewhere inside her tortured mind, she knew she was being wildly unfair, but she couldn’t stop the words flying from her mouth.
“If you loved me, you never would have…you wouldn’t want to have sex with--I hate you!”
“No, you don’t.” he said confidently. “You may not want to admit you love me, but you don’t hate me.”
“The hell I don’t.” She subsided sullenly, refusing to look at him again.
Spike sighed and turned the water off, turning his back on her to do so. When he looked over his shoulder to see if she was ready to get into the tub, he caught her looking at him with such despair that, had it been possible at that moment, he would have staked himself. Crossing to where she was leaning against the counter, he sank to his knees in front of her.
“Bloody hell, Slayer. Tell me what to do. Tell me how to make this go away. You know I love yo-“
“If you loved me, you would never have gone there to do that. It just shows that Xander was right. You can’t love because you have no soul.”
Biting back the urge to fly out of the house and hunt down the whelp, he tried to explain instead.
“I didn’t go there because I don’t love you. Or for sex. I went there BECAUSE I love you. I was looking for something…something magical to make the pain stop. Not being with you was killing me and I just wanted it to stop hurting.”
“Apparently it did,” she huffed with just a trace of her usual wit.
“No, love,” he ventured, encouraged by the lack of venom in her voice. He lightly touched the back of her hand where it rested against her leg. “It didn’t stop. But the scotch dulled it enough that I could see how much the demon-girl was hurting too. At least you never told me you loved me or gave me any reason to think…” He paused, squeezing his eyes shut briefly. “There were no surprises when you walked out. Knew it was coming some day, yeah?
“But the whelp. He was such a cowardly wanker that he waited until she was completely vulnerable to tear her heart out. She thought there was somethin’ wrong with her. That it must be her fault he left. I was just trying to make us both feel a little better, love. I swear. It was never about sex. Or love. It was just solace for two very unhappy, very drunk people.”
Buffy was silent, but she hadn’t flinched away from his light touch on her hand and she wasn’t screaming at him. Encouraged, he stood up and reached out his arm.
“Let’s get you into the tub, pet. A good hot soak and that back’ll feel a lot better.”
When she didn’t move, he dropped his voice to the low rumble he knew she couldn’t resist and said, “Come on, love. Let me help you.”
“Don’t call me that,” she muttered, but she straightened up with a wince and began to take off her robe.
Spike quickly reached for the collar and helped her slide out of it, allowing her to keep her arms down at her sides. When it slid to the floor and he saw the huge bruise across her back he hissed and went into game face.
“What did this to you?” he snarled.
“A pile of dust,” she replied dully, moving toward the tub.
She allowed him to hold on to her as she gingerly stepped over the side of the tub and lowered herself into the steaming water. She couldn’t resist the small sigh of satisfaction when she was finally all the way in and lying bonelessly in the comforting warmth.
She closed her eyes and allowed the moist heat to loosen the tight muscles and strained joints as she half-floated in the deep water. After several minutes, she opened one eye to see the vampire, now back in his human face, leaning against the wall looking very much as though he wanted to be dust himself.
“This was my fault,” he said morosely when he noticed her looking at him. “If you hadn’t been distracted--“
“Don’t flatter yourself. Somebody just came close to his one good day. It happens. You’ve even come close once or twice,” Her lips twitched in what was almost a smile.
“Stop saying that! This had nothing to do with you – or what you did. If I was distracted, it was because…because…” She waved her hand around for lack of a good reason; then winced again.
“You just won’t admit it, will you, Slayer?”
She cast a weary eye at him.
“Don’t start,” she warned, her voice tired but firm.
“Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me,” he demanded.
“I. Don’t. Love. You.” The words rang with heartbreaking finality, but instead of meeting his eyes, she had her head back against the rim of the tub and her eyes were tightly closed.
“Bull shit,” he growled, straightening up and taking off his shirt.
“What the hell are you doing?” Her intended stern voice abandoned her and it came out almost as a squeak. She instinctively licked her lips as he began to unzip his pants; then, remembering the last time she’d seen them unzipped, she bit her tongue.
“I’m going to prove it to you.”
The now naked vampire advanced on the tub full of warm water and Slayer, ignoring her sputtered instructions to take his lying, cheating self out of her bathroom, and out of her life. He slid into the tub behind her, gently moving her forward just enough for him to squeeze in behind her.
He stretched out his legs on either side of hers and pulled her unresisting body back against his chest. He began to gently massage her arms and legs, working out the tension and soothing the aches. Nudging her forward, he very lightly ran his fingers over her back, checking for any permanent injuries or broken bones. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found nothing but a deep bruise and spasming muscles.
He began to massage the cramping muscles, being careful to avoid the bruise and working to bring blood flow to the sore, tight areas. When he felt he’d done all he could without aggravating the bruise, he let her settle back against his chest and enjoy the relaxing heat.
Taking the sponge, he poured some bath gel on it and gently cleaned off the scratches on her chest and stomach. To her surprise, he made no attempt to caress her or to touch her anywhere that didn’t require some sort of cleansing. He pushed her back down to rinse off and leaned against the back of the tub himself so that she could slide down and stay completely under the warm water.
For long, comfortable minutes they remained as they were, the vampire sitting up and provided a softer cushion for the slayer than the cold porcelain of the tub. His hand was moving absently up and down her uninjured arm, stroking it soothingly and lulling her into a waking doze.
When he leaned forward to plant a soft kiss on her head, she startled and sat up straight suddenly. The pained hiss that escaped her lips brought a frown of concern to his face and he put his arms around her gently, encouraging her to lie back again.
She struggled weakly, then gave in and sank back against his chest.
“I’m not forgiving you, you know,” she grumbled as she relaxed against him. She didn’t prevent him from folding his arms around her, but stiffened when he nuzzled her ear.
“And I’m not having sex with you, so just forget it,” she added, more to calm her body’s response to his nearness than to share information with him.
“Not askin’ you to, love,” he smiled into her hair. “Jus’ don’t want to leave until I know you’re gonna be okay.”
“I’m fine,” she growled. “Just jim dandy. My back hurts, my front hurts, and one of my friends hurt another one so badly that she slept with my boy-“ She bit off the rest of what she was about to say, wondering where in the hell that came from.
Wisely, Spike didn’t push the issue. He just resumed stroking her arms and inhaling the scent of her hair. He’d been dozing off himself, lost in the unusual sensation of cuddling with the Slayer when he felt her shaking softly.
“Buffy? Baby? What is it?” He could smell her tears again and was at a loss as to the cause.
Now that she knew he knew she was crying again, she quit trying to hide it and just leaned against him letting the tears flow down her cheeks while he murmured soothing nonsense in her ear. After a while the tears dried up and she gave an exhausted sigh, tipping her head up to look at him for the first time since he got in the tub with her.
“What are we going to do, Spike?” she asked softly, her eyes still damp with tears. “What are we going to do?”
“You’re gonna get out of the tub before the water gets cold, put on some warm jammies and get a good night’s rest. Let that Slayer healing kick in and make you all better.”
“That’s not what I meant,” she grumbled at him, letting him help her to her feet.
“Know it isn’t, pet, but it’s what you need right now. You and me? That’s a problem for another day, yeah? When you’re all recovered and can kick my ass if that’s what it’s gonna take to make you forgive me.”
He put a big towel around her, carefully lifted her out of the tub and began patting her dry. He then gently carried her to her room and rummaged around in her drawers until he found her yummy sushi pajamas.
“Yeah, love?” He didn’t look up as he pulled the pajama pants up her legs and tied the string.
“Go put your clothes on. What if Dawn and Willow come home?”
He glanced down at his pale, naked body and gave her a wicked grin. “Then I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about explaining what you see in me,” he smirked. Her angry glare sent him hustling back to the bathroom to get his clothes on.
When he got back, she had squirmed her way into the pajama top and was sitting on the edge of the bed staring at the floor. She was exhausted from her hysterical outbursts earlier, but the emotional pain that she’d been carrying around for days had abated. In its place was a deep ache for the mess that she had to be honest and admit that she and Xander had created.
Sensing her mood, Spike moved slowly to the bed and pulled down the covers.
“Here you go, pet.” He helped her slide into the bed and pulled the covers up. “Sleep tight, love,” he whispered, kissing her forehead.
“I don’t love you,” she insisted, sticking her lower lip out.
“Okay,” he responded, kissing her nose.
“I mean it.”
“I know you do,” he agreed, taking her lower lip in his teeth and pulling it gently into his mouth. He ran his tongue over her lip, caressing it until a whimper escaped her and he dared to slant his head into a real kiss. He kissed her until he felt her heart rate and temperature increase; then slowly pulled away to look into her confused eyes.
“Come on, pet. Let’s get you tucked in before your body forgets that you don’t love me and says something you don’t mean.”
Buffy dropped her head on the pillow with an exasperated sigh.
“I want you. I won’t deny that. But it doesn’t mean I love you. It just means my body makes bad decisions for me.”
He tilted his head in the way she found so endearing and said with a smile, “Your body knows what’s what, pet. You need to listen to it.”
“Stupid body,” she groused, snuggling down in the bed. “What does it know?”
“It knows you love me,” he whispered softly, leaving another gentle kiss on the top of her head and standing up. He walked out of the room, closing the door quietly and listening outside until he heard her breathing and heart rate even out into the unmistakable sounds of sleep.
“Your body knows,” he whispered again, letting himself out the door and into the night. “Someday you’ll know too.”
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