p i k e / B u f f y
. F a
n f i c t i o n . b y .K
r a f t
An Empty Place
KJ (Katherine Jay) Draft
Spike's prowling the house in his sexy leatha coat. Buffy's curled up,
all cute and asleep. He appears at her bedroom door. And our tale begins...
Season 7, spoilers up to "Get it Done." Ohhhh, they get it
done, all right!
WARNING: It's fluffy!!!!!
(Eventually.) (Well, for me. So maybe not *that* fluffy.)
My LJ, and the site that Nauti built.
To Truecrystal for nudging and encouraging, especially since I never
finished my First Evil Fic. And as always, Nauti for my site.
Nobody and nothing belongs to me. Sniffle. But I can still make them
prance! Prance, Dammit!
Will be frantically enjoyed then lovingly caressed. If that appeals
to you, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
('cuz it's always the quiet ones.)
He's in the doorway.
Buffy's eyelids part, a mere sliver, just enough to glimpse intermittent patches of round, muted hall light through the places he's not. Mostly he fills the frame with darkness:
Long black sleeves, smooth leather. His cape of intangible motives. Before he even separates his lips to speak, she knows his voice will be different; hard.
"You asleep?" Spike questions, low. Not caring.
"Not anymore," she murmurs drowsily, rolling to face him and swipe the dreams from her eyes.
He shuts the door, softly, in direct violation of the tough advancement he's doling out. Keeps his back to her longer than necessary, shoulders tight and straight. Buffy wants to reach out, coast her fingers down his back... caress the material of his coat and steal its familiarity.
Instead, she sits up, allowing the bed covers to slide off her legs. She wears faded shorts and a lopsided, threadbare t-shirt that exposes her nearly gaunt left shoulder. Flicks on a light that neither of them needs, because it seems like the normal thing to do. Like Normal didn't skip town weeks ago. Like Normal didnt skip this relationship altogether.
She draws her knees in. Tries to subtly rearrange her t-shirt for equal shoulder coverage.
"What are you doing, Spike?" Her voice is quiet and direct, almost polite; no hidden agenda for him to plunge his fist into, rupture and untangle. In some ways, he misses it. The not knowing.
He studies her pose. The appealing curl of her back, the way her fingers clasp together at her ankles... The full body equivalent of a tenderly clenched fist. Is she bein' Protective or Modest? Pretending, in any case.
Spike sheds his jacket (the jacket, she thinks, watching him with catlike wariness), easing it summarily to the floor. He seems smaller without it; Less. Which, if she's honest with herself, is how she's thought of him since he came back: Lacking in some way, even as she knows he gained a soul.
Why does he never answer until I ask twice? she ponders with gentle exasperation, Like that postman who always rings... twice -- "Again I ask: What are you doing?"
His eyes glint like scratched marbles and his cheeks contract as he responds with a single word: "Sharing."
He removes his shirt, adds it to the growing pile.
Buffy's eyebrows raise, either in annoyance at his behavior or appreciation for the peep show, but she doesn't move; makes no gesture to stop him. Nor does she pull the covers aside and welcome him, either.
Typical. "You got, what, thirty birds crammed together downstairs? When there's a perfectly good bed up here going to waste?"
He sits on the edge of the mattress, as though they do this every night, and proceeds to unlace his boots.
Her heart's been pounding since he arrived, but she didn't notice until now. That's how it always is between her and Spike: every confusing, terrible feeling occurs at the last possible instant, too late to properly act on it, words forming only when she's alone, love happening only when he's already left the room. Their ships don't pass in the night, they collide, then retreat with missing pieces and cracked foundations only to pretend nothing happened at all.
"Me sleeping in my own bed is a waste?" she repeats, trying to reign in her trepidation, of him, of this, of feeling. To punctuate the question she crosses her arms at her chest.
"No, but you sleeping alone is." Next shoe. "How long you figure we got?"
His conversational tone throws her. She glances at the clock. "I dunno, five hours?"
He smirks, alone in the joke. "Didn't mean it like that, but that's good to know."
"Oh!" Her mouth stays open, embarrassed, then she looks down, trying to halt a flushed smile from altering the shape of her lips. Clears her throat once, discreetly. "You meant how long do we have to live. Which is, ya know, a much better question."
Spike nods, chuckling, then stops abruptly, body poised but motionless. "Who says we're living now?"
Good point, she thinks. "Yeah. Bracing ourselves for impact? Sure. Living? No."
Her gaze lingers on his bare chest. She thinks of the way his smooth, pale skin used to feel under her hands, her nails, her tongue... her body.
He also notices when she shifts away under a sudden shroud of anxiety.
Feeling the need to sooth her rapidly fluttering heart, he assures her, "This really is just sleep, Buffy. I'm not trying to -- "
"I was harsh on them, wasn't I?" she cuts him off. She's fooling no one, and he's miffed at the interruption, the aborted attempt at a conversation of Clear the Air variety.
"Isn't really for me to say, is it? Having never had to lead a battle against Evil, myself."
There's a sarcastic slant to his tone she's not crazy about, but before she can slide down it to counter strike, he mutters, "And clearly, it worked wonders. Much better off than we were this morning. It's a gift, really, your gift of gab, bloody inspirational speaker, you are -- "
"Well you know what *you* are, Spike?" Buffy interjects crisply.
"What?" he dares condescendingly. "What am I? Oh, how I would *love* for you to enlighten me once and for all about What. I. Am.-- "
"You're a scab picker."
"Voice down," she hisses, and he purses his lips, acquiescing.
"That's right," she continues in low tones, partially controlled, "You've been back, what, six months? Still adjusting? I don't think so. No, truth is you'd rather scratch open old wounds again and again than let them heal and move the fuck on."
"And who do you suppose gave me my wounds?"
"Right, because I *made* you go to Africa. I *made* you get a soul."
"Oh!" his eyes widen mockingly. "Is that actual guilt I detect?"
They're nose to nose, blood boiling.
She's either going to kiss him or pummel him, as usual it's fifty-fifty, so she opts to continue the argument until the scale crashes definitively to one side.
"Remind me when I told you to do that? Oh wait, you can't! Because there never *was* any such instruction, express or implied, you took it upon yourself to go questing about for one -- "
"Yeah, I took it upon myself, like I take *you* upon myself, with all your bloody ambivalence, and your bloody speech, in front of the little *bints* no less to be extra specially emasculating, and hell, maybe I was due, needed a good boot to the ass, but -- !" He screeches to a halt, which puts her on edge, makes her breathing escalate. His next words ooze and push like dough through a sieve, hot and thick and slow: "Just what did you mean by dangerous?"
She titters for a moment until he drops an ominous warning.
"Think very carefully before you answer, Pet, spell it out good and precise, because we wouldn't want any *misunderstandings*, would we?"
She hesitates again, unable to articulate an explanation, particularly after his jab concerning her speaking ability. Finally: "I want you to be the way you were... well, the *good* parts of that, but also... the way you are now *is* good, so I don't -- know -- "
He pulls back slightly, talking mostly to himself. "No, of course not. You never do. Maybe you want something similar to me, a close *approximation* of me, something to bend to your daily will, but not me. Considering I don't exist unless you're looking. Right? Out of sight, out of mind?" His throat burns as his voice leaps in pitch: "Did you even *think* of me when I wasn't around?"
Her eyes widen. How can you ask me that?
Spike stops. Waits patiently, because he can do that now, or likes to think he can. The tight circle of tension surrounding them expands and diffuses, wafting outward with each passing second.
"Everyday," she whispers.
Then she's back in his arms and they're kissing, sick with pent up need, lips meshing, mouths opening. She whimpers so softly he almost doesn't catch it. They mutually separate only to melt immediately into a tight embrace. He presses his hands to her back and she burrows her face deeply into his neck.
"I don't think we've ever hugged before," she murmurs in wonderment, muffled, wrapping him closer to make up for it.
He nods against her, afraid to speak. Such a tiny thing, but so strong, my Slayer.
His strong Slayer starts to tremble.
"I just... I missed you," she explains somewhat unconvincingly, keeping her face buried. A droplet of salt water hits his collarbone.
"Look at me," he requests kindly, "And don't give me some line about 'happy tears.' "
"Kiss me," she demurs, struggling up and trapping his bottom lip between hers, stroking it with her tongue to get things going. She knows he'll submit, and if she can keep it together just a bit longer they'll never have to have this conversation.
Her strategy may have worked before, but Spike's different now. Different enough to stop her, at least. Had some practice with Anya in recent weeks, too. He cautiously backs away, holding her off.
"I can't, if you're crying," he explains simply, then quieter, "It's the stuff of my nightmares."
"Mine, too," she admits in a lost voice.
He realizes with sticky, clotted queasiness that she's referring to their 'incident' in the bathroom. Well what'd you expect, you stupid pillock? She'd just get over it? The idea of her re-living it while she sleeps makes him want to do something drastic, preferably violent and preferably to himself, but he fears he's run out of options. Not much left to do after getting himself a soul.
"I'm sorry," Buffy says, which only makes him feel worse. Her eyes and voice drop in a matched display of weariness. "I just... this is sort of a lot to take, with everything else that's -- "
He pets her hair with shaking fingers, trying to remain calm. "S'all right, don't apologize." A moment passes, and he can't resist adding a disclaimer. Looks her straight in the eye. "Just know that I'll never hurt you, Buffy, *never*," he swears passionately.
The stricken look she serves him in response chills him to the depth of his aberrant, unholy bones, stripping him of skin and blood or any other trace of warmth. Oh, *hell*, shouldn't have said that, not this soon, maybe not at all, oh, shit...
"I've heard that one, Spike," she reminds him. "It was followed by you sleeping with Anya -- "
"You'd just split my heart into pieces -- "
"... and trying... to -- ohh..." She buries her face in her arms, not wanting him to see. Her back rises and falls silently. When at last she regard him, her face is slathered in tears. "How could -- ?" she hiccups, sincere in her confusion, "How could you try to rape me?"
Kicked in the gut, face down in the dirt, teeth broken and mouth arid from dust, he tries to muster up an explanation, give her some type of response that won't upset her further, though he suspects nothing can do that; nothing should do that. "I'd been drinking, Pet," he offers lamely.
"I didn't ask for excuses," she spits out.
"I was pathetic, all right? Desperate. That what you want to hear? We both know it. Couldn't bear the idea of being without you."
"I -- I won't overstep, I won't cross the line -- "
"Words," she mutters, shaking her head and squeezing her eyes shut, "Just words -- "
"Well if you're not gonna give me a second chance, than why were we kissing?" he grills her, harsher