Art by eyesthatslay
Day Four – Somewhere in Michigan
After searching all over the rental home where the three local Slayers live, Buffy pushes open the front door and finds Spike lounging on the porch swing and sipping a beer. The only light comes from a distant street lamp and the moon, and he’s slowly swinging and staring out into the night, his arm stretched out over the back of the long seat.
She ambles slowly over so as not to disturb him and slides next to him, her hands running over the sanded wood and her hip pressing up against his. She pulls his arm over her shoulder and pushes the back of her hand into his palm, running her thumb over his.
“Hey,” she whispers.
He responds by kissing the top of her head, inhaling her distinctive scent as he does so.
“What’re you doing out here? And being uncharacteristically quiet?”
“Needed a moment.” He has something to tell her but wants a little time to gather his thoughts.
Buffy finds herself filling in the space that Spike leaves, “Away from the other Slayers? They are extremely chatty and energetic. It’s 3 AM, and they’re all wired. . . . I used to be like that.” She sighs at the nostalgia. “Guess multi-demon attacks and kidnappings are rare in these parts. The good news is that the little girls were returned to their family, and the demons at the Ford Estate are goners without destroying the historic site. . . unlike that castle the Oni burned up in Japan.”
“The castle was a reproduction.”
“Oh.” Buffy plunges on despite Spike’s unwillingness to join her light chatter. She switches gears to the thing she really wanted to bring up, “So, I was looking for you to talk with you ‘cause I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, and I have something I’ve been wanting to show you.” With her free hand, she reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out a small flat object that fits in her palm.
Spike’s attention is drawn to her hand, and he sets his beer to the side before taking the offered item. “What’s this?” He studies the dried flattened flower petals encased in the tiny bit of plastic.
“Something from Sunnydale.” At his confused expression, she explains, “We all took things on the bus, remember? Everyone took supplies we thought we might need. . . bandages, medicine, food, water. But most everyone snuck in something that meant something to them. . . something they wanted to save. . . just in case. Dawn packed the bag we shared because I was so busy and then we. . . you know.” She snuggles closer, and Spike smiles at the memory of the two of them in her basement but allows Buffy to keep going, “Dawn packed this along with photo negatives, our baby books, and some of Mom’s jewelry.”
“I see what it is, pet, but why’re you showing it to me now?”
“It’s one of the flowers that you brought for Mom.”
“When did I. . .” Spike knows exactly what this is from but how. . .?
“When Mom died. . . you brought her flowers. Don’t you remember?”
“But I. . .” He’d thrown them on the ground when Red and Harris confronted him.
“Threw them away?”
“Willow told me what happened later. . . years later. At the time, she picked the flowers up and brought them to the house. She gave them to Dawn, and in one of Dawn’s little projects, she pressed flowers from every bouquet we received and included a little note about who they were from. Out of all the flowers in her keepsake box, she chose to bring this particular one with us.”
Spike stares at the petals. He’s floored by the journey this one simple flower has taken. “I thought Dawn was. . .”
Buffy is on a roll with filling in Spike’s sentences, “Still mad at you back then? I think she was well on her way to forgiving you even if she never said it.”
“Why are you showing this to me now, love?”
“Because Mom’s been on my mind lately. . . and because I think Mom saw something in you before I ever did. . . well, she trusted you for some reason I don’t think I exactly understood at the time, but she did.” Buffy twists and tucks her arms around Spike’s waist, leaning her cheek on his chest.
“Your mum was a lovely lady.”
Buffy’s eyes fill with tears, but she blinks them away and continues, “And Dawn. She inherently trusted you, too, in a way she never really trusted. . .”
Spike decides to let her almost-mention of Angel go by for the moment and rests his chin on Buffy’s silky hair. “I suppose I have a soft spot for Summers women.”
“And not just because they’re related to you.” He wants her to know this distinction.
“I know that.” She lets one tear slip over her cheek, and the liquid wets his shirt. “It seems to me like you’ve been a member of my family for a long time now.”
Spike’s heart sinks a little. “I don’t know. . .”
“Spike. Stop it.” She pushes up to face him, forcing him to look her in the eye. She’s surprised by how hard it still is for him. She caresses the hollow of his cheek with her fingertips. “You are my family. You and Dawn.”
“Buffy. Don’t.” He can’t keep the anguish from his tone.
“Why? What’s wrong? What did I say?”
He takes a deep breath. “I’m scared.”
“What are you scared of?”
He rolls his eyes and focuses on the moon. “Lots of things.”
She doesn’t take her eyes off him despite his difficulty facing her. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here with you. I love you.”
“It’s not that, pet. It’s. . . I’m afraid that I’m taking away something that you ought to have.”
“Saving those little girls tonight. It made me think how I’m taking your chance to have a child. . . a family of your own.” She opens her mouth but then closes it again as she observes his expression. “I’m afraid that you’ll wake up one day and resent me. I-I’m afraid that someone will have a particularly good day and kill you before I can stop it. And if I’m going to be completely bloody honest, I’m scared because I’ve never had a family like this before. . . a family that hasn’t said one thing and done another or that didn’t manipulate a situation to their liking.”
“Hey, I get it. I do. I’m scared, too.” She searches her eyes, trying to pull together her thoughts. “But you know what? I’m not Angel or Dru. And yes, we’ve done some pretty bad things to one another in the past, but we’re not there anymore. While a year may not seem like a long time to you as a vampire, it is for me as a human, and the way we’ve been communicating over the past year. . . we’re on a good path. As far as having a family, I’m nowhere near ready to raise a kid. And if I survive long enough to want a family, I’ll adopt, or there’s this little thing called artificial insemination.” She says the last part in a light, playful tone, but she means the words.
Spike remains serious, “I’ve been in relationships long enough, pet. People change. . . circumstances change.”
“You might change, too, you know.”
He relaxes and glances at her, a trace of a smile at the corner of his mouth. “Highly doubtful that I’ll stop loving you at this point.”
“Listen. One thing that I’ve learned through all of this is that all we have is this moment. Time is going to keep on going by, but we have this moment. And in this moment, the only place I want to be is with you. . . . Keep being with me in this moment please?”
He needs no further invitation and pulls her onto his lap, tucking the flower back into Buffy’s pocket for safekeeping. Pushing them lazily back and forth on the swing, he kisses her with slow gentleness, his lips gliding over hers with quiet hunger, and she follows his movements, her tongue pressing into his mouth without building speed as they savor each other’s touch.