Title : Feels Like Heaven
Rating : PG
Warnings : None
Disclaimer: Sadly, the characters nor their motivations belong to me. I bow to Joss and his genius, and thank him for letting us play with his toys.
Summary : Set Season 7; Buffy is well aware of her likely lack of longevity and decides that life is too short to let something good get away. My take on what might have happened during the lead up to the apocalypse and what might have happened between Buffy and Spike that led to them being wrapped in each other's arms the night before the final battle.
Thanks : to seductivembrace for taking a chunk out of her precious free time to beta on the fly and for understanding my hopeless Spuffy love despite all of her efforts to tempt me into other playgrounds :)
Word count : 2315
FEELS LIKE HEAVEN
It was becoming increasingly difficult for Buffy to function, distracted as she was. Her home had been taken over by baby slayers, as Spike called them, and Dawn was moody and clingy in equal measure. Xander and Anya were dancing around each other but fooling nobody, and Willow and the extremely annoying Kennedy were making moon-eyes at each other at every opportunity. Add to that the fact that Andrew insisted on everybody sitting down to dinner every night and had even tried to make it a rule that nobody left the table until they'd finished their greens and it all seemed surreal.
In fact, the only normality she had was when she was with Spike.
Buffy chuckled; only she could think it was normal to be spending time with a vampire. And that was the problem...
Somehow there'd been a complete shift in her moral compass and it was scaring her half to death. Time was that she'd deny with a fiery passion that she yearned for Spike's company, but lately she craved him like a drug. Oh, there was still a distance between them. Neither of them had yet brought up the 'bathroom conversation', but it was imminent, she could tell. And she was impatient, if truth be told, to get it over and done with. Giles would no doubt frown and pout and tell her that she was being foolish to let a vampire get close, to remember her training and act like the Slayer. But Buffy was struggling against letting her heart rule her head and this close to an apocalypse, she was tending to side with her heart. What could it hurt if she had days to live?
The vampire in question seemed to sense that she was deep in thought about him, slinking up from the basement the way only he could, hands thrust deep into his pockets and scuffing his feet across the wooden floor. He stopped a couple of feet away from her and leaned against the wall, going for nonchalant but only achieving adorably vulnerable. Buffy couldn't help the smile tugging at the corners of her mouth that turned into a full-on chuckle when Spike rolled his eyes. And there it was again; the happy that she got only when Spike was around.
Raised voices from the dining room signalled yet another disagreement between the corralled potentials and home was suddenly far too cosy for Buffy's liking. Striding towards Spike and past him to the back door, she turned the knob and stepped out, waiting for him to follow and receiving a shiver of pleasure when she sensed him doing just that, muttering all the while under his breath about 'mixed signals' and 'bloody women'. He did have a point though. She had been split-personality Buffy lately, dismissing him without a thought at times, frantically checking him over for wounds after a bloody encounter with the First's minions at others. No wonder the poor guy was confused.
Well; she was about to fix that for him – and for her – finally.
Spike fell into step at the Slayer's side, wondering what was going on inside her head. The smile and the giggle in the kitchen had at least clued him into the fact that she wasn't likely to stake him, but other than that he had no idea what the night had in store. Buffy was chatting away to him about all sorts of inane rubbish and as far as he could tell was in no hurry to get anywhere. She didn't even seem to have a stake, although he knew – intimately – that just because he didn't see one, didn't mean she couldn't produce one should the need arise. All in all, she was a bloody enigma – and he loved her all the more for it.
As one, and without any spoken agreement, their footsteps turned towards the cemetery, a risky business in this landscape of uber-vamps and age-old evil. Still, if a master vampire and the Slayer couldn't protect themselves, nobody was safe and they may as well just lie down and wait for the First to rip out their throats. And it might be fun, a bit of rough and tumble, to release some pent-up emotions.
Spike cast down his eyes at that thought, clenching his jaw. A bit of rough and tumble was the way he identified the pain and the heat of their odd relationship back in the day. It was hard keeping his feelings hidden around Buffy, but he was determined not to hurt her ever again. When he'd first come back to the hellmouth, she'd made it perfectly clear that she regretted the physical relationship they'd had and under no circumstances would she want to go through the hurt/comfort/hurt thing again. Even before he'd got the soul, he regretted what had happened between them to force him to leave; since the soul had been in residence, he couldn't bear the thought of being able to do that to the woman he loved.
Buffy nudged him, disturbed by the frown on his face and his sudden silence. Spike smiled at her, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. “Hey,” Buffy said softly. “Why the grim? Thought you liked patrolling?”
“I do. Just...thinkin' is all.”
There was no way that Spike wanted to share his thoughts, so he was grateful for the appearance of a H'alkan demon, a rare sight these days in Sunnydale, and took off after it when it spotted the Slayer and turned tail and ran. It didn't put up much of a fight, the whole gloopy mess seeping into the ground no more than two minutes after he and Buffy double-teamed it. It did clear the air between them, though, so he was grateful for that, Buffy grinning in answer to his post-slaughter roar of satisfaction and hitting him with a high-five and then a hug.
It was only when Spike inhaled the scent of Buffy's hair as he nuzzled her neck that he realised what they were doing and froze. Buffy seemed to notice at the same time and took a step back, her eyes fixed on him and her breath coming in short huffs. She chewed on her bottom lip, and Spike barely stifled a groan. The woman was killing him.
Buffy, for her part, was equally disturbed. Yes, she'd decided to stop dancing around the issue of the bathroom and their whole relationship and yes, she knew that this was the ideal chance to make a start but – scary. She'd spent so long hiding her feelings from everybody, including herself, that opening her heart was probably the most terrifying thing she would ever have to do. Obviously, her indecision was showing on her face, because Spike spoke.
Spike took a step towards her, concerned for her welfare and Buffy fought the ingrained urge to step back away from him. Taking a deep breath, she fixed him with her big, hazel eyes, and exhaled.
Spike frowned. She was apologising to him? For what?
“Love?” he queried, head tilted in confusion.
Buffy took his hand and moved closer to him. “I'm so very sorry. You were just trying to get through to me. I was just...I was tired and hurt, and I was scared because I felt something that I tried desperately not to and I wasn't ready. But, it was as much my fault as yours.”
At first, Spike didn't understand what she was saying. When he figured it out, he was dumbstruck. The last thing he expected was for Buffy to be apologising to him for what happened in the bathroom. He panicked, tried to withdraw his hand and so that he could escape and deal with his tumultuous emotions elsewhere, but she held on tight.
Spike followed along after Buffy when she sought out a seat, tugging him behind her with her relentless grip. Clearly, Buffy had made her mind up that she had something to say to him and that he was going to listen, and she wasn't giving him the chance to break free.
Ironic, really. That she would be the one to want him to stay for a change.
His fingers remained clamped in her tiny hand as they sat, Buffy turning to him to grab his other hand, opening and closing her mouth as the words she wanted to say came to her then were apparently not quite right. Just as Spike was struggling to find words of his own, she continued.
“I get it, Spike. It took a while, but I get it. Doesn't make it right, what you did, but I understand why, and let's face it, it wasn't the first time I pushed you away. Except – that time, I meant it. I was hurting and I think deep down I expected you to read my mind.”
Spike hung his head. Being back there was purgatory. He could see her eyes, full of fear and loathing, the way she pushed at him but couldn't break his hold on her, the bruises that were forming even as he held her down. He sucked in his breath and closed his eyes.
“Hey,” Buffy said softly as Spike started shaking. “Hey! Look at me – trying to make things right, here.”
Spike opened his eyes and focused on her tight face. Clearly, Buffy was battling her own demons.
“My place to do that,” Spike replied, “but nothing ever will. I shouldn't have-”
“No, you shouldn't, but then neither should I.” Buffy squeezed his hand, and shuffled closer to him. “Can we just accept that we were both wrong and move on? I really need to move on, Spike.”
Spike was more shocked than he'd ever been. Buffy Summers was accepting that she was wrong. And what's more, she was giving him signals, big flashing neon bright signals that the moving on she wanted to do involved him.
The world must be ending.
Oh, right. It was.
Well, at least that made sense, and he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
“Spike? Are you with me?” Buffy was still gripping his hands and fiercely gazing into his eyes. She was a little concerned that since she'd stripped off the layers concealing her inner self, Spike seemed to have gone bye-bye and was looking at her like she was an apparition. Had she misjudged him? Was he moving on, and without her? The lump in her throat at that thought confirmed to her that no matter the ridicule and the hurt that she was exposing herself to, she had to know whether the short future that was in store for her could be with him.
Spike's restraint crumbled. He gathered Buffy to him, held her tight and unleashed his pent-up emotions, allowed all the thoughts and feelings that he'd concealed to come tumbling out. He apologised, he cried, he swore enduring love and devotion, he promised to keep her safe and begged her to let him fight whatever was coming in her stead.
Buffy snuggled against his chest. It felt like home.
It felt like heaven.
Letting go of the big 'thing' was liberating. Guilt and regret had vanished, and all that was left behind was love. Spike was talking softly, the words indistinguishable between the kisses he was bestowing, but she understood anyway. She felt the same.
When all was said, they sat for a while just holding each other. The moon had risen high and if there were nasties abroad in Sunnydale, they were giving the Slayer and her vampire a wide berth. The only sounds were Buffy's breathing and the occasional rustle of leaves as the sparse wind moved through the trees. The moon moved through the skies, following its eternal arc until the faint pink tint of oncoming dawn made Spike uneasy to be inside, his instinct for survival battling against his will to remain where he was, Buffy in his lap, her body curled trustingly against his chest.
Buffy moved first, tugging him to his feet and slipping her arm through his as they made their way back to Revello Drive. She wasn't going to lose him now to a burst of sunlight.
There were faint mutterings of sleep-tinged conversations as Buffy and Spike slipped silently through the door. Every room was a bedroom this close to the apocalypse, and they stepped over sleeping girls to make their way into the kitchen. Buffy grabbed an orange juice, Spike a blood-bag, Buffy fighting the urge to look away as he fed – and winning. She even managed a weak smile, and although Spike hadn't thought it possible to love her more, he did in that moment when she chose him over her instincts.
The blinds were slightly ajar, light creeping its way across the kitchen floor until Buffy pulled them tightly shut, reaching around Spike as he leaned back against the sink to do so. As she stretched she turned her head, was lost in his blue eyes and the wonder and adoration she found there. She'd been a fool, denying herself this love for so long. Fighting not only him but herself. And now that there was nothing left of her life but a handful of days, her end in the coming slaughter inevitable, the last vestiges of her self-imposed denial were fading away.
She melted against him, her arms wrapping around his neck, her lips finding his and electrifying him as she kissed him. Spike held her close and let all thoughts of what had been and what was to come fade away. It didn't matter. All that mattered was now. And now, right now, she was his.
Tomorrow might bring his destruction, but he was determined it wouldn't bring hers.