Word Count: 2347
Setting: Season 6
No Warnings other than bad language by Spike.
Summary: Buffy is trying to cope following her return from heaven, Spike's pissed off and Dawn is trying to encourage Buffy to give Spike a chance
This is past midnight where I live but it's still Thursday somewhere right? I hope this is ok.
Also, I haven't written Buffy characters lately, so I'm not entirely happy with their voices.
This was rushed, so pardon any typos.
The television was on low. The Summers sisters, Dawn and Buffy, sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn between them. Tara and Willow were out for the night and Dawn had convinced her sister to have a movie evening before going on patrol. Despite the younger’s best efforts in picking Buffy’s favourite movies, the latter was not paying attention. She looked pale and thinner than she used to be. Dawn was glad to have Buffy back but it was clear that her sister wasn’t herself. She didn’t know what to do about it either. The only person that Buffy seemed at ease with was Spike. Her friends might not have noticed but she did.
Dawn paused the movie. “So, what’s going on between you and Spike?”
Buffy’s eyes met hers. “What do you mean?”
“You’ve been spending a lot of time with him.”
“I’m not spending time with him. You know Spike, he’s not there and, suddenly, he is, and he won’t go away.”
Dawn tried not to laugh at her sister’s blabbering. “I like Spike.”
“You should stay away from Spike.”
Dawn shook her head and chuckled. “Spike helped patrol when you were gone. He took care of me, Buffy. He didn’t do it for any gain. The others never told us they were bringing you back. He did it because it was the right thing to do. He’s good now. ”
“Dawn, it’s not that simple,” Buffy said quietly. “Spike is not Angel. He doesn’t have a soul. He’s dangerous.”
The brunette arched an eyebrow. “If he’s so dangerous, then why did you ask him to take care of me?”
“Because he’s the only one strong enough.” Buffy sighed. “Dawnie, you don’t understand, Spike is evil. If he lost his soul, he’d be back to his old ways. The chip is a leash. It’s not the same as the soul.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Soul or chip. Same diff. I don’t think you really believe that either. You’ve seen him change. You’re just afraid of getting hurt.”
Buffy stood up always knocking the popcorn. “I should go to patrol. Will you be alright on your own for a half-hour?”
“Of course, I will,” she said. “But Buffy, it’s early and we haven’t finished the movies.”
Buffy smiled but it did not meet her eyes. “My Slayer senses are tingling. I sense trouble.”
Spike grabbed his cigarettes and shoved them roughly into his duster. He stepped out of his crypt and nearly bumped into the Slayer.
“Planning on coming in or just lurking, Slayer?”
Buffy looked tense, a serious expression on her face. “Can we talk, Spike?”
He arched an eyebrow and gestured with his palms open. “Here?”
She jerked her head towards his crypt. “I don’t know why I’m saying this but inside.”
“Don’t know why you’re asking when you usually just kick my door in whenever you want?” She raised her eyes skyward and he rolled his tongue between his teeth. “After you, luv.”
“I’m not your love.”
He was surprised at the lack of heat in her retort but then the Slayer had been half-assing everything lately. Ever since she told him where she had really been, he understood why the usual Buffy wit was dimmed. Couldn’t blame her when she had been torn from heaven by her so-called friends who still didn’t realise the pain they had caused. Buffy, ever the martyr, was saving them from the truth. They didn’t deserve it. There were always consequences to using magic especially dark and powerful magic of the level that Red had accessed. Fools the lot of them.
“Well, are you coming in?” Buffy asked from the doorway. “I thought Angel patented the brooding vampire trademark.”
Spike lifted his head and narrowed his eyes. “Don’t compare me to Captain Forehead. And I was not brooding.” He followed Buffy back into his crypt. “So, what do you want? Looking for some action?”
“Ugh, no.” Her cheeks coloured and betrayed her words.
“What then?” He sat on the sarcophagus, a shit-eating smirk on his face. “I don’t have all night, I have places to be.”
Buffy stayed standing, looking at anywhere but him. “You mean Willy’s.”
“Not tellin’.” He tapped his nose. “A man’s got to have some mystery. Makes the unlife less boring.”
Buffy turned to look at him and was surprised at the raw emotion on her face “Why did you help when I was gone?”
“We talked bout this. I made a promise to a lady and I intended to keep it.”
She shut her eyes and shook her head. “You keep saying that, Spike, but it doesn’t make any sense. You had nothing to gain. You’re a vampire.”
“I promised you I would protect Dawn.” He stood up and walked towards her. “Believe it or not, I’m quite fond of the Nibblet even if she is annoying. Never wanted any harm to come to her.” He stopped in front of her and looked into her eyes. “But it’s because I love you. I couldn’t give a toss about your friends but I did it all for you.”
For Buffy. For Dawn. Even for Joyce.
Not for Red, Rupert and Harris. Hypocrites the lot of them. Even Tara and Anya whom he would have expected better of. That summer they all fought together. He would never admit it but it stung when they turned on him after Buffy returned. All of a sudden, he was their enemy again instead of an ally.
Buffy whirled around. “You can’t love me. You don’t have a soul. Maybe you think you love me?”
“I’ve changed Buffy,” he whispered.
Her shoulders dropped. “I can see that but you’re still-”
He clenched his jaw.
She turned around to face him. “You don’t have a soul.”
Angelus again. She was fighting this because of that bastard.
“And just because, he couldn’t love you without a soul, you think I can’t. That’s bullshit. You’re kidding yourself.” He reached out to brush her hair from her face. “There’s something between us, I’m not the only one. I know you feel something.” He moved in closer and she didn’t step back. He dipped his head to kiss her but she pulled away. “No - Spike, this is a mistake.”
“Fine!” he snarled. “Think what you like but look at these first!”
“What are you-” she started.
He climbed down to the lower level. He felt under his bed and grabbed a small wooden chest, the size of a large shoe box. He tucked it under his arm and climbed back up to the upper level.
He threw the box at Buffy, who caught it easily. “What’s this?”
“I wrote letters every day you were gone. Makes me sound like some sort of wanker but I guess I am when it comes to you.”
She opened the box and looked inside. 147 letters, one for each day Buffy was gone.
“You should have them,” he said gruffly, “I wrote them to you anyway.” He shoved her towards the door before he could change his mind. “You should go.”
Buffy was looking at him with an expression he couldn’t identify. “Spike-”
“What?” he demanded.
“I don’t think I thanked you for looking after Dawnie when I was … gone.”
His face softened. “You’re welcome.”
Several hours later, Buffy found the courage to read the letters. The house was empty and the early morning light was peeking in between the curtains. She sat in her bed and opened Spike’s letters.
Some were rage-filled and full of grief. Grief and rage over losing her, self-hatred for not being able to save her and full of what-ifs. Most were about his dreams when he saved her or when he woke up to find she was still gone. He wrote about taking enough blood to fool the portal and jumping himself, killing Ben despite the headache and tearing Glory limb from limb.
I’m sorry. I should have been faster.
There were even letters that described how they had patrolled without her. A team that managed to keep Sunnydale safe. Maybe Spike really had changed?
Sunnydale can’t know The Chosen One is gone or Sunnydale would be overrun by demons or vampires.
She knew her younger sister was attached to Spike but it was clear from the letters that the feeling was mutual.
We can’t protect Dawn if she is taken away. She’s not making it easy though. I can see the pain in her but she’s strong like her sister. I still can’t believe I’ve babysitting a teenager. It’s not so bad though. She’s a good kid and I’ve been teaching her how to cheat at poker. She’s a quick study.”
She hoped he meant poker with matchsticks not poker with kittens. She resolved to quiz both her sister and the vampire in the future.
I want to rip the Buffybot limb from limb and to burn the infernal thing. I hate it. It is a reminder of what we all lost. It’s not you. But the rub is we need it and I have to see it every day and patrol with it every night.
These letters were proof that there was a lot more to Spike than she wanted to admit and her conflicting feelings were getting harder to reconcile. She put away the letters and wiped at her eyes. Maybe a bit of time away from Spike and she could get her head together.
Buffy said nothing about the letters the next time she saw him. But then Dawn was in trouble, so that was understandable. First, they rescued her from an eternal teenager and then from a tap-dancing demon. To top it all off, Buffy had revealed to her friends she was ripped from heaven and he had sung his socks off and he was just about done. He walked away from the singing Scoobies. The day couldn’t get much worse.
Spike left the Bronze but was surprised when Buffy followed.
“You should go back inside. Finish the big group sing. Get your kum-ba-yayas out.”
“I don't want to,” she whispered.
He sighed. “The day you suss out what you do want, there'll probably be a parade. Seventy-six bloody trombones.”
“Spike..” she started.
“Look, you don't have to say anything.”
The music started up again and Buffy sang, “I touch the fire and it freezes me.”
Spike’s eyes widened and they walked toward each other looking into each other’s eyes.
Before he could stop himself, he started singing too. They finish the song with the music rising and suddenly her lips were on his. He was on fire and he pulled her as close as he could.
A loud squeal startled the kissing couple and they sprang apart to see they had been followed by the whole gang. They slowly came to life around them.
“Buffy?” Willow said in a low plaintive voice.
“What on earth are you doing?” Giles took off his glasses.
Xander stepped forward. “Spike get your hands off her?”
“Shut up! Shut up, all of you.” Dawn’s eyes were flashing and her hands were curled into fists. “This isn’t your decision, it’s Buffy’s.”
Buffy looked around at the disapproving faces of her friends and the sole face of approval. took Spike’s hand. “I think I need to explore what this could be with Spike.” She smiled at him before she turned back to her gaping friends. “You’re entitled to your opinion but only one person gets to tell me how to run my life and that’s me.”
Spike was looking down at their joined hands, his mouth still open. “Who are you and what have you done with the Slayer?”
She squeezed his hand. “You’re the only person I feel at peace with. I don’t need to pretend with you.”
“But Buffy, he’s taking advantage of you,” Xander said.
Buffy turned back to her friend, her eyes narrowed. “I didn’t ask you for your approval.”
“You just admitted you were in heaven,” Xander continued. “You’re the Slayer. If he didn’t have the chip in his head, he would probably be eating us right now.”
“He tried to kill us,” Willow added.
“At least Angel had a soul.” Xander had an unpleasant sneer on his face.
“Don’t compare me to Angelus,” Spike said.
Anya looked troubled. “But I’ve killed people too, Xander. But you love me. Why shouldn’t Buffy love him?”
“I - I never said love.” Buffy tried to ignore Spike’s satisfied smirk.
Anya raked her eyes over Spike. “I mean he has a nice body, I imagine he is well proportioned. And you know, how an experienced lover can-”
The vampire’s smirk grew. “Always knew I liked her.”
“Ahn,” Xander grumbled.
Tara put her hands over Dawn’s ears. “Hey, you guys, impressionable teenager here.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “This teenager isn’t completely clueless, you know.”
Buffy looked at Giles who was still cleaning his glass furiously. “I know you’ve got something to say. Spit it out.”
He wouldn’t meet her eyes. “I can’t say I approve but it’s your decision.”
Willow sighed. “I guess I’ll give him the benefit of doubt for now but the moment he steps out of line, I’ll kill him myself. The chip or no chip.”
“No offence, Red,” Spike said, “but the Slayer can more than hold her own. She doesn’t need you defending her and she certainly doesn’t need a lecture on morality from you of all people.”
Willow’s eyes widened and she winced. She wasn’t the only one. The revelation about pulling her out of heaven had really made them all think about what they had done.
Dawn stepped forward. “You say he’ evil but Spike has done more for me than all of you combined. What does that say about you?” She turned to Buffy and Spike. “I’m going home. You coming?”
Buffy turned to Spike questioningly and he nodded. They trailed slightly behind Dawn, who was giving them space to talk.
Spike’s blue eyes searched her face. “What made you change your mind?”
Buffy cocked her head. “There were 147 reasons.”