Now I'm going to kick back, answer comments if I have any coherence left, and indulge in some S2 Spuffy from my buddy in postage, the resplendent annapurna_2. All future chapters of Tekubi will be posted to my journal. Fair warning,
Oh, and if anyone was curious: tekubi is Japanese for wrist, or literally, the hand's neck.
Previously: Tekubi, Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3.
Tekubi, Chapter 4
Feedback: Now more than ever. /movie announcer voice
Though she'd said he was leaving her, Spike had expected the opposite to happen. He'd expected her to pack up and leave as soon as she could without it being unseemly. If anything, he'd expected an awkward hallway goodbye. Instead she seemed to be continuing to arrange her new life in L.A. And right now, she was in his apartment. He didn't know why he was surprised. No lack of invitation had ever dissuaded her from barging in on him before.
"I have a compromise for you."
All there and stubborn and noble, his Slayer, chin jutted out and arms crossed, five foot two of holy terror. How he adored her. If he still had fingers, they would itch for pen and paper with which to spill all his praise of her. As it was, these tender feelings were swamped by mutilated animal rage.
His skin sang in her presence, but his missing appendages were all too evident in silent notes and sour chords.
"Back in William's day, unmarried couples didn't sleep together, did they?" she asked. He already thought he knew where she was going with this line of questioning.
"No, luv, but I'm not William, and this isn't..."
An imperious finger and a little "hup!" noise forestalled his objections. Against his will, he allowed a slight smile. Sometimes, Buffy in command mode was a formidable warrior. Sometimes she was an exacting bitch. And sometimes, like now, she was just cute.
"Now. Back in your day," he opened his mouth to argue semantics, but shut it again to her pointed glare. "In your day," she repeated, victorious, "we'd probably barely be allowed to spend time alone together without a chaperone. And if we were serious, say engaged, what would we do?"
"Well, young couples might take a turn in the park together of a sunny Sunday afternoon, holding hands," Spike replied sourly.
"Stoppit! God, why do you have to be so difficult?" She ran both hands through her hair in a gesture he believed she learned from him, a gesture he could no longer make. "I'm saying that we could have been a couple, could have been serious, without any of the physical stuff that makes it worse for you."
"'Physical stuff'?" he echoed in disbelief.
"Fine. Without fucking. Happy?"
"Without making love, you mean." His reproach was tinged with the fear, never fully banished, that he was still alone in thinking of sex between them that way.
Her expression softened. "Yes. Without making love. You could, could court me, or whatever that was called. Or if you don't wanna be all Victorian about it... You could be my boyfriend like we were fourteen again, and just watch movies and go out for frozen yoghurt and kiss."
Despite himself, he was intrigued. "I can't even feel you up," he protested weakly.
"I didn't let my freshman year boyfriend feel me up," she said primly.
He laughed. "I don't love you like a fourteen-year-old boy," he warned her.
"'I love thee with the passion put to use / In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith,'" she recited.
His resolve staggered. She'd come armed with poetry. Lines from a sappy Sonnet from the Portuguese, no less. A mortal blow to romantic, Victorian William.
"You really... you wouldn't mind?" He asked tentatively. "I can't give you... I can't be the boyfriend you deserve, and I know you, and you need a lover who can match you, and do for you, and..." her fingers on his mouth stopped his rambling words.
"If you're about to tell me that I need a little monster in my man, or my man's little monster in me, or anything else that boils down to me being a horny sex fiend, I'm going to be very offended," she warned.
"'m not saying that. You've got needs, is all. Need someone you can be with, completely. You deserve more than a broken man," he mumbled. He was looking down at his feet now.
"You are not broken. And where is this coming from, anyway? Why are you so sure that I can't be in a relationship without..." His eyes rose to meet hers. Realization dawned. "Angel. You think that because Angel left me because of his curse, that I can't go without sex in a relationship? Is that it?"
"Makes for a convincing argument, pet."
"No, it does not. For one thing, he didn't leave me because we couldn't have sex. There was a lot of shit going on with us, including our baggage from fighting each other and the disapproval of my friends and my mom. And okay, my friends aren't that wild about you either, but you do get the super extra bonus points for dying to save the world.
"And by the way? He left me. All, 'live your normal life, Buffy.' All, 'walk in the sunlight, Buffy.' Like I was gonna retire from Slaying after high school and be a Starbucks barista." She paused and gathered herself, stepping back from the brink of a tangential rant. More calmly, she stated, "I would have stuck by him regardless of the sex thing. Or the vamp thing."
"So you're telling me he was wrong to leave," he challenged.
"No, he was right. Because all we did was hurt each other. We were all jagged and bitter and yearn-y around each other."
With bitter irony, he said, "Whereas you and I have such a stellar history. We'd never hurt each other." Old reasons to hate himself, to feel unworthy, bubbled up through the mire of his conscience.
"Fine." She spoke more gently now, acknowledging his guilt, and her own. "We did. I know that. But we stopped, didn't we? You and me, we learned how not to hurt each other. How to care for each other. We were friends."
"Oh right, because all great romances start with platonic friendship."
"Maybe more should." That startled him quiet. "Look. I'm not saying it's ideal. I'm saying that I want to be with you. On whatever terms you'll accept. Because I'm so grateful to have you back in this world, back in my life. And if it's a choice between you and some random guy who would sleep with me, it's no contest. You're the one." Delight blossomed on his face at this. "And if you're gonna be all stubborn and, and self-abnegating..."
"Self-what?" he crowed.
Rolling her eyes, she muttered, "I've spent too much time with Giles and Wesley. Shut up," she said, at his grin. "Anyway. Me and my needs will be fine. I need you. And if I need to get off, then I've got my Rabbit and my imagination, and just in case you're wondering? It's always, always, you I think of. Okay?"
It was not within his power to refuse her, especially since she had clearly taken his declarations seriously. He relented. "Okay."
"Good. Now kiss me."
[Continue to Chapter 5]