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Thank you one and all and a very hearty goodnight. :)
Title: The Dark
Summary: Buffy watches them dance.
Buffy watched them dance and felt out of sorts. Out of place. Left out. All other kinds of out. The music tempo was fast and their dancing was erratic and lively but as she watched them they seemed to move with an unnatural slowness. She sat on the sidelines and watched because it was all she felt she could do. She had become the Watcher. Her friends asked her to dance, of course. It used to be her doing the asking. Now she refuses them and they don’t push too hard. Don’t mind too much. She decided perhaps they like the break from her company. She was not much company at all these days.
Just sits and looks and tries to fit in. But in trying to fit back in with them she ends up further on the out.
“Don’t care for it?”
She was startled at his presence but covered it up well. Turned to see him leaning against a beam, the beer bottle in his hand matched the one she currently clung to. She had been caught. Caught sitting in the Bronze watching her friends and being remarkably out of the inner circle. There’s another one of those outs.
Buffy shrugged. “Maybe I’ll dance next time.”
It’s a lie and they both know it. She never dances anymore. And it used to be all she did. All they did, according to him. Buffy looked at Spike and noticed there was something different about him. He was dressed in a black shirt rather than a T-shirt and maybe that’s all it was. Just something aesthetically different but she thought not. She thought it was more. Thought he held himself differently. She could not be sure of it, could not be sure it meant anything, mostly because she could not be sure of herself.
In any case nothing came of it. He stood and she sat and they were both aware of each other but not talking, not conversing at all, barely publicly acknowledging one another. To a strangers eyes they would be mere acquaintances. Not old enemies. Not almost friends. Not dangerously close to something else. She thought ‘something else’ because she hated the term ‘something more’– because who’s to say that sex is worth more than friendship?
Buffy had gone back to watching her friends. Watching them couple up and begin to sway. Was so immersed in the watching that she forgot about Spike. Didn’t remember him until he was standing by her side, his hand resting on the table in front of her. His skin was pale and smooth and entirely disconcerting. Her mind briefly touched upon the idea that the rest of him must be the same. She brushed that thought aside and looked up at him, questioning.
Spike lifted that white hand from the table and held it out to her.
“What?” She asked entirely stupidly.
“Dance with me,”
Buffy tried to gage his expression, determine his seriousness. And he was. She could see that he was entirely serious. “No, Spike.” She looked out towards her friends.
She waited several long moments; her face flushed and then finally turned to where he had been standing. He was gone. Buffy turned around on her stool and couldn’t see him anywhere. She frowned, entertained the idea that she’d imagined it all and was going mad. It wouldn’t surprise her.
“What’s up, Buffy?” Willow asked, appearing beside her.
Buffy shook her head. “Nothing.”
+ + +
She patrolled later that night. It was the expected thing and she was all about expectations. Buffy hadn’t been out long when she came upon the body. It was lying out in the middle of the graveyard waiting to be discovered. Limbs twisted, eyes staring, two dark holes in its neck. She couldn’t think of it as a him, as a person. It was a body.
Buffy continued on.