|Destroying Entropy by BuffyMeetsSpike|
|Chapter #1 - Chapter 1|
|This story goes AU in the middle of Entropy, Season 6, during the confrontation outside the Magic Box. This is a response to challenge 477 on the Bloodshedverse. All characters and recognizable dialog belong to Joss Whedon. Review early, review often!|
Destroying Entropy by BuffyMeetsSpike
en·tro·py /ˈentrəpē/ Noun
1. A thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
2. Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
“It is impossible for any system to operate in a way that entropy is destroyed.” – Second Law of Thermodynamics
“I don't want to know this. I don't want to know any of this.” Xander shook his head, dropped the stake and left, with Anya and Buffy staring at his retreating back.
Spike stood up, his midsection sore. “Stupid tossbag,” he grumbled. “You know, I wish he would…”
“Don’t,” said Anya wearily.
Buffy turned to face Spike. He could see the shame, the anger, and the disgust all etched on her face. Here it comes, he thought, tensing in expectation of the 843rd blow to the face this year. But then, unexpectedly, she turned and walked off without a word. Spike watched until she passed from his sight, longing to touch her, fight with her – anything other than this cold silence. He turned toward Anya, but she was already going back into the Magic Box. Shaking his head, and kicking the wall in frustration, Spike stalked off into the night alone.
Buffy wandered the streets for a while, lost in her thoughts. She had told Spike to move on. He’d moved on. Why was she so hurt then? I don’t love him. This whole thing with him was bad for both of us. So what explained her reaction? Why did the sight of Spike and Anya going at it on the table in the Magic Box feel like a knife in her gut? She was over him, right? You hurt him badly, you know, said a dissenting voice in her mind. You saw it in his eyes when you dumped him and you saw it tonight. That feeling? That would be guilt. Why else would you stop Xander from killing him?
Buffy slowed her steps at that last thought. Xander. He had looked so crushed. He loved Anya, despite all his stupid behavior of late. Buffy knew Xander really had no room to criticize his ex-fiance. Truth be told, he really didn’t have any business criticizing her either. His ex spent more years as a demon than my ex. Why is what I did so terrible? But she couldn’t shake the image of the horror etched on Xander’s face as he realized that Buffy, his golden idol, had also slept with the cocky vampire. The more Buffy thought about him, the more concerned she was about Xander. He wouldn’t do anything stupid would he? Well, more stupid. After a few more blocks, Buffy stopped and changed direction, heading for Xander’s apartment. She had been disconnected from her friends for far, far too long. Now one of her friends was hurting, badly. Time for her to start rebuilding those connections.
Xander was halfway through his second beer when the doorbell rang. He had stalked home in a rage, unable to comprehend what had happened. They fucked Spike. The woman I love and my best friend both. Fucked. Spike. What is wrong with this picture? How could they… stoop so low? Anya, ok, vengeance is sort of a long standing habit with her. But Buffy? What the hell could drive Buffy to sleep with that… thing? When he got in the house he threw his coat in the corner. Then he picked up a picture of Anya off a side table. He looked at her smiling face and his eyes clouded again. Hurling the frame into a corner he reveled in the sound of the glass shattering. He stomped over to the fridge, got a beer, chugged it, then got a second one. Now the doorbell was ringing. After the third ring he slammed down the can and stomped over to the door. “What?” he barked as he yanked it open.
Buffy stood there, her hands in the pockets of her jeans, not quite meeting his eyes. “Can I come in? I just… I just want to talk.”
Xander contemplated slamming the door in her face, but finally stepped back and gestured toward the apartment. Buffy came in and sat down at the table, watching Xander grab two more beers out of the fridge before joining her. “It’s not good for you to be here drinking alone,” she commented.
Xander grabbed a glass from a cabinet, filled it, and pushed it toward her. “Then join me,” he said shortly. He continued to ignore the niceties of glassware in favor of guzzling the beer straight from the can.
Buffy hesitated. Nothing good usually came from her drinking. But in the end she caved under Xander’s red-eyed gaze and took a swallow, and another. They drank in silence for a while, not quite knowing what to say. Finally, Xander spoke up. “Why, Buffy? Why him?”
Buffy chewed her lip and took another drink. “It was so hard. Coming back. You all wanted me to be the way I was, and I couldn’t. You were all so happy with what you had done, and I couldn’t think of any way to tell you what I was going through.”
“So you confided in the evil dead, rather than your best friends?” Xander remarked bitterly.
“At least Spike was there!” Buffy snapped. “You and Anya were in wedding mode, and Willow was having her little magic fest. I was depressed, dealing with Dawn, working all day and slaying on top of it. Excuse the fuck out of me for not considering your feelings while I was having my total meltdown!” She angrily finished the rest of her beer and started to get up.
“Wait,” said Xander, in a less angry tone. “Just… Look, I want to understand, ok?” He got up and got the whole case of beer out of the fridge, putting it on the table next to him so there would be no interruptions. He refilled Buffy’s glass and popped open another for himself. “Please, just let me in, will you? We’ve all somehow gone to hell and I gotta know how this all happened. How did we get here?”
Buffy reluctantly sat back down and took another drink. “I think it all started after I defeated that demon that came back from the grave with me,” she began.
Buffy talked for nearly an hour. Xander’s face was impassive as Buffy poured out the whole story. Once the floodgates opened there was no stopping her as she told the long, convoluted tale of her relationship with Spike. Xander said nothing except the occasional “Go on.” In between he kept refilling Buffy’s glass, first with beer and then with Jack Daniels when that ran out. A small warning in the back of Buffy’s brain started flashing as she started on the whiskey, reminding her about the unmixiness of Buffy and alcohol. But it felt so good to finally let go of all these secrets. Why did I shut the others out all this time? I could have avoided so much misery if I just let them in. She ignored the sensible voice and gulped the whiskey, shuddering as she did so.
“I finally told him that this couldn’t go on,” she was finishing. “I was using him. I couldn’t love him back and it wasn’t fair to him.” She found tears running down her face unexpectedly. “But it still hurt to see him with someone else, so I just don’t know what I feel.” She downed another shot of whiskey as she finished.
Xander had been listening to all this in silence. He had no idea she had been this depressed, this close to the edge. He reached out and took her hand. “You don’t need to worry about him. He’s a vampire, Buffy, remember? He can’t feel love the way you and I can.”
Buffy shook her head. “You didn’t sh… see the look on his face.” Her words were starting to slur as the alcohol seeped further into her brain. “I was cruel. To him,” she added. Words were definitely becoming harder to come by.
Xander looked at her small hand in his. This is the way it should have been all along, his beer soaked brain reasoned. It should have been me and Buffy. I know all her slaying tales and secrets. I could be her shoulder to cry on. “You should have told me about all this earlier. I could have helped.”
Buffy shook her head. “You and whatsername. Anya. You had plans and stuff.”
Xander’s head was buzzing. His thoughts about Anya, Buffy, and the whole fucked up situation had been whirling in his head as he listened to Buffy’s tale. Had he really been so blind to what Buffy was going through? “I think I was wrong about Anya,” he said at last. He finished one more shot of JD for courage. “I think I should have been looking elsewhere all along.”
Buffy looked confused. “Wha? You and her have been insef… instep…insheperabable,” she finally spit out. Buffy focused blearily on the wall clock. “Ish two in the morning. I should go. Home.” She stood up, and instantly wished she hadn’t as the room spun around her. Xander leaped up and grabbed her shoulders to steady her. “Thanksh, Xander. You’re a good friend.”
Xander’s brain was nearly as addled with drink as Buffy’s. He looked down at her green eyes and his mind started its treacherous chant. Mine. She should have been mine back in high school. What does she see in all these fucking vampires? She’s just never had a guy who wasn’t some supernatural freak. I could show her. Taking her drunken staring for interest, he pulled her to him and kissed her.
“Mmm! Xander!” Buffy sputtered, pulling away from him. “What the hell?”
“We need each other now, Buffy,” Xander explained, moving closer again. “We’re free of the others. I could show you… I could help.”
Buffy reeled again dizzily as she tried to get her feet to comply. “You’re drunk,” she said. “I need to go.”
“Stay, please,” Xander pleaded, grabbing her shoulders again. “I need someone. So do you.” He pulled her into another kiss, mashing his lips against hers.
“Xander, shtop it,” she said, pushing against him. But as she did her feet tangled and she went over backward. The back of her skull slammed with a resounding crack into the corner of the coffee table as she fell, and she blacked out.
Xander saw her lying there, stretched out with her blonde hair arranged in a halo about her face and was momentarily concerned. “Buffy?” He knelt down a little unsteadily and stroked her face. His hand continued down her lithe body and he found himself getting harder and more aroused by the moment. He wavered for a moment, then started unfastening her jeans. She’ll see, he reasoned. When she comes to she’ll see how good we are together. She’ll see how we’re meant to be together. Any shred of conscience was washed away in a sea of grief, anger, and alcohol as he pulled off her shoes and her jeans.
Buffy started to stir as consciousness returned somewhat. Cold. Why are my legs cold? She felt someone moving near her, over her. “Spike?” she murmured. “ Izzat you?”
The sound of her calling out that hated name drove Xander over the edge. ”No, goddamnit. It’s Xander! Xander!” With that he shoved her thighs apart and forced himself into her.
Buffy cried out in pain and shock. Xander pinned her wrists to the floor, kissing her resisting mouth and neck. Buffy struggled, but between the alcohol and the head injury she couldn’t quite get her limbs to cooperate. She started sobbing as it registered that her assailant was Xander, her friend, the one she had just poured her heart out to. ”Stop. Please stop,” she pleaded in a small voice.
Xander didn’t even hear. He kept pounding away at her, all the time muttering, half to himself, “Never good enough for you. Should have been me. I knew you first. Should have been me.” His full weight pressed down on Buffy, making her gasp for air as he grunted and moaned on top of her. Finally he gave one final vicious thrust and came, as Buffy gave up the struggle and passed out once more.
Buffy’s head was still spinning when she came to. At first she couldn’t quite figure out where she was. She started to get up and realized that something heavy was lying across her. As her vision cleared, she realized that the heavy something was Xander, passed out on top of her. She shuddered and shoved him off, scrambling back away from him. He rolled onto his back and kept snoring, his flaccid penis hanging out of his trousers. Buffy held her hand over her mouth as she remembered him grabbing her and her falling into the table. Her mind replayed his hurtful mutterings as he shoved himself into her. She realized that her thighs were sticky with come and a little blood – she had been dry and unprepared for him and he hadn’t cared. Shaking, she got to her feet and pulled her jeans on. She found her shoes and put them on with fumbling fingers. She took one last look at Xander and retched at the memory of him grabbing her, covering her. Turning, she fled from the building, dizzy with shock and horror.
|Chapter #2 - Chapter 2|
|The usual disclaimer: All the characters belong to Joss Whedon. Thank you for the reviews so far! Warning: Still pretty dark, so don’t say I didn’t tell you so! Also, I initially posted only half of this chapter by accident, so if you read it early, it probably made less sense than it does now. Sorry about that!|
Destroying Entropy - Chapter 2
Spike wondered why he was bothering.
He was in his usual position, smoking by the tree in front of Buffy’s house. He wasn’t entirely sure what he intended to say to her. ‘Sorry I screwed your friend?’ ‘About damn time you admitted we were lovers?’ ‘How does it feel, bitch?’ All of these were possibilities. If he had any brains whatsoever, he would get on his bike and get the hell out of Sunnydale before things went even further south. But he never had consulted his brain about the whole Buffy situation before, so why start now? He sighed, and lit another cigarette.
Just as he was getting ready to give up and go home, he saw her coming down the block. She was half walking, half running, and seemed to be stumbling over her own feet. Just as she reached her house she went to her knees and puked her guts out in some nearby bushes. So, been drowning our sorrows, have we Slayer? He was secretly pleased that he had gotten under her skin that far.
He swaggered over to her with some quip on his lips about not being able to hold her liquor. The quip died unspoken when she raised her face to his. Her face was pale, and streaked with tears. He instinctively went to help her up and then stopped and sniffed. Xander. She fucked Xander. Hypocritical bitch.
“So, I see that didn’t take long,” he snarled. “I can smell him all over you. You figure you’re even now? You and the whelp? Rather childish. Anya and I get drunk and have a go, so now all’s fair? Fucking hypocrites, both of you.”
Buffy’s face crumpled further as she staggered to her feet. “Shut up!” she cried. “You don’t… it wasn’t…” She clutched her stomach and threw up again, shaking and gasping.
It was then that Spike noticed the lump on the back of her head, and realized that he smelled blood along with the scent of Xander. His eyes grew large and his mouth dropped open. “He raped you?” Spike asked in disbelief. Without meeting Spike’s eyes, she nodded and covered her face with her hands.
Hesitating, Spike reached out to touch her shoulder, all his anger at her instantly replaced with concern. Buffy turned and buried her face in his chest, sobbing and unable to speak. Spike held her quivering form silently, stroking her hair. “You should go to the emergency room, love,” he said quietly after a few minutes. “You’re hurt.”
“No,” she protested, speaking into his chest. “No doctors. Just… want to sleep.” She pulled away from Spike and turned blindly toward the house. She tripped over a bump in the sidewalk and nearly fell, but Spike sprung forward and grabbed her. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder he led her up to her front door. She turned to Spike and put her hand on his chest, stopping him. “I… I’ll be ok. N…no need to come in.”
Spike’s heart twisted at seeing her like this. “Buffy, you need some help. You’ve probably got a concussion, and you’ve had quite a shock. You should let Willow take you to the crisis center or something.”
“No! Just go, ok? Just…” She shook her head, unable to finish her sentence. Tears started falling anew as she turned and bolted into the house.
Buffy locked the door behind her and ran up the stairs. She locked herself in the bathroom and just barely made it to the toilet in time to vomit again. After she had practically turned inside out, she started the shower, making the water as hot as she could stand it. Stripping off her clothes with shaking hands she climbed in, closing her eyes and letting the water wash over her. Grabbing the soap and a loofah and scrubbed and scrubbed at her skin until it was red and raw. When the water started turning cold she got out and dried off, wincing at the small streaks of blood on the towel. She brushed her teeth again and again until her gums bled, trying to get rid of the taste of vomit and the memory of Xander’s alcohol laden breath. Finally she put on her bathrobe and made her way to her bedroom. She put on the first pair of pajamas she could find and climbed under her quilt, shivering. She curled into a fetal position under the blankets and squeezed her eyes shut, desperately trying to block the entire evening from her mind. Drink, shock, and exhaustion ganged up on her and she passed out within minutes.
The next morning brought the mother of all headaches. Buffy felt dehydrated, sore, and utterly shattered. How had things gone so wrong? She had been finally coming out the other side of the depression, the despair of having fallen from Heaven. She had broken off the mutually destructive relationship with Spike and had started to rebuild her life with Dawn and the others. There had been such a sense of hope in her slow but upward trajectory. Now it seemed as if it had all been an illusion, just a momentary blip in the constant assault on her sanity that seemed to come from all sides. Of all the blows, this seemed the worst. Xander had turned on her, violated her. Xander. She found herself crying again as the rape played over and over in her mind, despite her efforts to block it out. Burrowing even deeper into the blankets she surrendered to the misery and darkness inside her.
Spike had stood on Buffy’s porch for a long minute, staring at the door and hearing the click of the lock. The rage that had been simmering below the surface from the moment he realized what had happened started boiling up. That fucking bastard. I’ll kill him. Chip or no chip, he dies. Spike stalked off toward Xander’s apartment, looking like the angel of death with his black coat flying behind him and his jaw set in fury. About halfway there, his vampire senses kicked in and he realized it was nearly sunrise. Damn it. He considered his options. If he sprinted he could get to Xander’s, but then what? He didn’t have an invitation, so he couldn’t go in and give the bastard the thrashing he utterly deserved. There was nowhere in particular to hide and wait for him. And if Xander had any sort of weapon, he was screwed. Motherfucking chip. Growling in frustration, he realized that his revenge would have to wait. He turned and picking up his pace made it back to his crypt just in time.
He slammed the door behind him and ripped his duster off, throwing it violently onto a sarcophagus. He grabbed a bottle of whiskey off the window sill and threw himself into his chair. Viciously pulling the cap off he drank a third of the bottle in one go, then leaned back and closed his eyes. Jesus Christ, it’s all gone to hell. He had known that the Whelp was an ass, and a bigot where vampires were concerned. Harris was inept and immature, and Demon Girl totally deserved better. But a rapist? Never saw that coming. He took another drink, and leaned back once more. Wincing, he remembered Buffy’s face, her haunted eyes and her desperate shaking. The girl had wronged him, true, but he had never wanted anything like this to happen to her. The thing with Anya had been a drunken, impulsive act by two lonely people, both of whom would gladly have given anything to be in the arms of someone else. Spike still didn’t entirely understand how Xander and Buffy had known. That camera, he realized. Whoever was spying on Buffy’s house must’ve hid one in the shop too. Bloody hell. That moment of solace with Anya was turning out to be the spark that started a wildfire. Christ, Slayer, how did it come to this? He downed more whiskey, barely aware of the tears gathering in his eyes.
Xander rolled over in his sleep. Bed’s awfully hard this morning, he thought fuzzily. He opened his eyes and came face to face with his living room rug. Sitting up in a daze, he looked around. A chair was knocked over, and the table was littered with beer cans and a glass with lip gloss on the rim. His eyes widened as he started to remember the previous night. Buffy was here. We got drunk and then… He got to his feet and looked down at his half open pants. What did I do? He tucked himself up and zipped his pants, then ran a hand through his unkempt hair. He had a memory of kissing Buffy, of her ending up on the carpet somehow, of the feeling of her half naked body under him. Oh my God, what have I done? He sat down heavily at the dining table and dropped his head into his hands. Did I just rape my best friend? The scenes played back in his mind, but they were hazy and disjointed. Her voice begging him to stop echoed distantly in his head. Then denial started to creep in. I didn’t mean to hurt her. We were both drunk. I thought it would do us both good. She’s got to know I didn’t mean it. I never would have gone that far, but I was drunk and upset. Why didn’t she stop me? She’s the Slayer! If she really wanted to she could have thrown me across the room. The longer he sat there trying to figure out what had happened, the more he managed to convince himself that this was all just a misunderstanding. I’ve got to go talk to her. Apologize to her. She has to forgive me. It was all an accident. He continued talking himself down that river in Egypt as he stumbled off to take a shower.
“Have you seen Buffy yet this morning?” Dawn asked Willow when she came down to breakfast.
Willow shook her head. “No. I don’t know when she got in last night.”
“Have you heard anything from the others?” Dawn was worried about Spike. Xander had taken off in a fury, and although she had faith in her sister’s abilities to stop him, she was still concerned.
“No. I was hoping Buffy would let me know what happened between Xander and Anya last night.” Willow frowned and looked up the stairs. “Maybe we should go see if she’s awake.”
Dawn munched her cereal then said, “I don’t know. She was pretty upset over the whole hidden camera thing last night. Not sure if I want to prod the sleeping Slayer if she’s pissed off.”
“Good point,” Willow said. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Tara entered the kitchen at that point. Dawn sat up in astonishment. “Tara? You’re back!” Dawn squealed and hugged both witches in turn. “This is so awesome!”
“Glad you approve,” Tara laughed. She got herself something to eat and the three of them chatted pleasantly for a few minutes. Gradually, the conversation got back to the events of the night before.
“Do you think…” Dawn hesitated. “Do you think Xander got to Spike before Buffy did?”
Tara was quick to reassure Dawn. “You know Spike. He can take care of himself.”
“I’m a little more worried about Xander,” Willow remarked. “He was completely devastated. I think I’ll call him up later and make sure he’s alright.”
Tara quietly wondered about Buffy. Although she and Willow had discussed Tara’s knowledge of the relationship between Spike and the Slayer, Tara didn’t think Willow fully appreciated the ramifications. Buffy claimed she didn’t love Spike, but clearly there was some connection, or else she wouldn’t have reacted so strongly to the scene with Spike and Anya. Tara glanced toward the stairs. Buffy was usually up by this hour. She chewed her cereal thoughtfully and murmured assent at Willow’s plan to call Xander.
Dawn finished up her breakfast and cleared her place. “I’m going to the library. I’ll be back before lunch.”
“Ok, see you then,” Willow said offhandedly as Dawn headed out. She glanced over at the stairs, then at Tara. “Do you think we should check on her?”
Tara considered. “Let’s give her a little while longer. She must have gotten in near morning. Maybe she’s just tired.” Willow agreed, and poured them both some more coffee.
Dawn went straight to Spike’s crypt after leaving the house. By now they really should have figured out that I almost never actually ‘go to the library’, she thought. Slowly pushing open the crypt door, she called out, “Spike? Are you here?”
“Yeah, I’m here Nibblet,” Spike responded. He was sitting in his armchair, staring thoughtfully at an empty bottle of whiskey. He sat up as she came in and set the bottle down. “Is Buffy alright?”
“I don’t know. She was still in bed when I left,” Dawn said with a shrug. “Why wouldn’t she be alright? You were the one who had Xander going after you with an axe.”
Spike jumped to his feet looking a little alarmed. “Dawn, Buffy needs looking after. She… she had a very rough night last night,” Spike finished evasively.
“Why, because she got to watch you and Anya doing the deed?” Dawn snapped. “You really hurt her, you know. I know she can be a pain in the ass, but she does care about you.”
Spike turned away to hide his hurt and anger. “It wasn’t my intention to hurt her,” he said. “The thing with Anya meant nothing. But she needs help, Bit. She got… hurt.” Spike fought an internal battle over whether or not to tell her what had happened. Buffy might not want to deal with being fussed over, but at the same time, someone needed to see to the girl.
Dawn’s brow wrinkled in confusion. “Spike, what are you talking about? She’s a big girl, she’ll get over it.”
Spike took a deep breath. He spoke in a flat voice without looking at Dawn. “Buffy must have gone to check up on Xander last night. I don’t know exactly what happened. I think alcohol was involved. But when I saw her it was pretty obvious that she’d been… assaulted.”
Dawn looked at him uncomprehendingly. “Assaulted?”
“Raped,” Spike ground out, turning so Dawn could see the pain in his eyes. “Xander raped her, Dawn.”
“That’s… that’s not possible,” Dawn said, backing away. “Why would you say that? Xander would never hurt Buffy! Never!”
“Like I said, I don’t know how it happened. But she was crying, and puking her guts out, and…”
“No!” screamed Dawn. “I know you hate Xander, but it can’t be true! He could never do something like that. You’re wrong!” A small ember of doubt burned in Dawn’s mind. Spike had never, ever lied to her. But to believe that Xander was capable of that? Impossible. She backed away until she ran into the door, then yanked it open and fled back toward home.
Buffy was still in bed at eleven o’clock. She was so thirsty, and her head hurt so badly, but she couldn’t face the others. They’ll know something’s wrong, and I just can’t… The thought of having to tell the story, to relive it for them was just unbearable. Eventually they’ll have to know, the sensible part of her brain said. Don’t care, she thought. She opened her eyes and stared at the clock, watching each new number tick over in turn.
The door opened downstairs. She heard Willow’s voice say, “Hey, Xander! We were about to call you!”
Buffy sat bolt upright, breathing fast. She scrambled out of bed and out of her pajamas and grabbed some clothes. In a panic she pulled on some sweats and a t-shirt, throwing her hair into a careless ponytail. She heard Xander ask, “Is Buffy around? I need to talk to her.” Buffy didn’t wait to hear any more. She slid into her sneakers, hurried to the window, and climbed out. Looking around and seeing no one, she clambered down the tree and took off down the street at a dead run.
In the kitchen, Tara was saying, “She’s still in bed. What… what happened last night?”
Xander didn’t meet Tara’s eyes. “I… it wasn’t pretty,” he said. Tara frowned a bit. His aura had taken on a darker hue, which usually happened when someone was being untruthful.
“I can imagine the whole scene with Anya was pretty uncomfortable,” said Willow, trying to be sympathetic.
“Did you get into an argument with Buffy?” Tara asked, trying to figure out what Xander was hiding.
“What did she tell you?” Xander asked, trying to sound casual.
Willow shrugged. “We haven’t seen her since she got in.”
Just then the back door banged open and Dawn came in, looking upset. Tara noticed her distress and asked, “Dawnie? What happened?”
Dawn looked at Xander, who was once again having trouble exactly meeting people’s eyes. “I went to see if Spike was ok,” she started. “He told me that Buffy went to check up on you last night. What happened?”
Xander tried to pass it off. “Oh, we had a few drinks. We were both pretty upset. We were talking things out.”
“Spike said…” Dawn bit her lip. “Spike said that he saw Buffy later throwing up.”
Giving a nervous laugh, Xander said, “Well, she never does react well to alcohol.” Tara frowned more deeply. What are you hiding?
Dawn noticed Xander’s evasiveness and grew more anxious. Finally she blurted out, “Spike said you raped her.”
“What?” gasped Willow. “Dawn, how could you believe that? Xander would never do something like that!” She turned to Xander and said, “Xander? What really happened?”
“It was all a misunderstanding,” he began in a pleading tone. “We were drunk and one thing led to another and…”
“Oh my God,” breathed Tara. “Xander, what did you do?”
“Nothing!” he yelled. “God, you’re going to listen to that fucking bleached bloodsucker?” He pushed past them and up the stairs. “Buffy! Buffy tell them, it wasn’t like that!”
The girls looked at one another and raced up the stairs after him. Dawn hollered after him, “Xander, leave her alone! She’s been through enough already and…”
Xander had stopped dead after opening the door to Buffy’s room. They all stared at the open window, the fluttering curtain, and the otherwise empty room.
|Chapter #3 - Chapter 3|
|Disclaimer: The characters all belong to Joss Whedon, who is nice enough to let us play with them.|
Thank you ever so much to all the encouraging reviewers! I really appreciate it! You don’t know it, but you are my betas after the fact! Not sure when Chapter 4 will occur, as I've got some business travel ahead of me, but hopefully this will tide everyone over!
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 3
Buffy ran, not immediately knowing where she was going, but wanting to put the greatest distance possible between herself and Xander. She slowed down when she got to Restfield Cemetery and saw Spike’s crypt in the distance. She really didn’t want to fall back into that relationship morass, but she could think of nowhere else to go. Quietly, she crept up to his door and opened it just enough to stick her head in.
Spike was completely passed out, sprawled in his armchair. The empty bottle of whiskey next to him told her that he would be out for a while, most likely. She silently slid through the door, hugging herself against the chill in the tomb. Spike had left a few candles lit on one of the coffins that made up the bulk of the ‘furniture’ in the room. His basement is probably still trashed, she reasoned. Taking one of the candles, she made her way down the stairs to the lower level. Maybe he won’t even know I’m here, she thought hopefully.
The room was still a burnt out wreck. She saw that Spike had done some cleanup work, but it was still mostly a mess of charred, mostly unrecognizable objects. She found a clear spot on the floor, next to a wall, and sat down, carefully putting the candle next to her. Suddenly exhausted, she drew her knees up to her chest and rested her head on them. Now that she was alone again, all her feelings of hurt and disgust and anger came flooding back. She found herself crying again, wondering how she could possibly have any more moisture in her. After a while she sniffled and sat up a bit, staring blankly around her. She saw the remains of a book next to her. Most of it was destroyed, but a few pages had half survived. It turned out to be a book of poetry. She remembered that Spike had been reading it one night when she had come to him. He had thrust it away almost guiltily, as if ashamed to be caught reading something so far away from his Big Bad persona. One of the surviving pages had the line “She walks in beauty like the night.” She vaguely remembered reading that somewhere before. Next to the phrase, in the margin, was a small but detailed sketch of her own face. She ran her fingers tenderly over the page, marveling at the skill shown by this tiny drawing. This is what he thinks of me. Angel tried to kill me and left me, and Parker treated me like a notch on his belt then left me, and Riley cheated on me and left me. But Spike… She couldn’t understand it, and she was just too broken to try right now. She carefully put the book down, lingering over the burnt cover. She wrapped her arms around her knees again and closed her eyes.
Spike woke with a jerk. He had thrown himself back into his chair when Dawn left, trying to figure out what the next move should be. Apparently, his next move was to pass out from too much whiskey and too little sleep. He looked around blearily. His senses told him that something was in his crypt. Sitting up, he noticed one of the candles was missing, and then caught the unmistakable scent of Slayer. What is she doing here? He would have expected that the last thing she wanted was to be anywhere near him. “Buffy?” he called softly. He followed her scent down the stairs to the blackened room below.
It was so easy to forget when she was fucking your brains out or beating the shit out of you that she was still such a young girl in so many ways. Barely into her twenties, small and slight, she looked even smaller as she lay curled in a ball in his ruined bedroom. She was a little island of white in the candle light, surrounded by the charred detritus of his possessions. She had sunk to the floor and dozed off again, and Spike saw that her face was streaked with tears. He approached her softly, not wanting to startle her. “Buffy?” he said again, stopping a few feet from her huddled form. “Slayer?”
Buffy startled awake and scrambled back toward the wall, eyes wide and heart racing. “Steady on, pet,” Spike said soothingly. “Not gonna hurt you.”
“Spike,” Buffy croaked. “I’m sorry, I just needed somewhere to get away and I didn’t know where else to go and…”
“Shh,” he said, going down on one knee next to her. “It’s ok, I don’t mind. How do you feel?” She looked terrible. She had enormous circles under her eyes, and her lips looked cracked and dry.
“Thirsty,” she mumbled. “My head still hurts so bad…”
“Why don’t you come upstairs with me, love,” he said, offering his hand. “You need some attention, yeah?” Hesitating, she finally took his hand and allowed him to help her up. She swayed a bit and his arms steadied her carefully. He once more put an arm around her shoulders and guided her through the rubble to the stairs. On the upper level he settled her into his armchair and grabbed a blanket to wrap around her shivering form. In his fridge he found a bottle of Gatorade – he had started keeping things around for her to drink after their bedroom marathons. He opened it and handed it to her, watching her guzzle it down with shaking hands. As she finished it, he handed her a bottle of plain water and some painkillers from his first aid kit. “Take these too. Make you feel better.” Buffy swallowed down the pills and whispered, “Thank you.”
Spike knelt down in front of her and looked her over. “Really think you should see someone, love. I don’t know what all happened last night, but you had a nasty crack on the head, and I know you were bleeding.” Buffy looked away, shamed and embarrassed. Spike swallowed and continued, “And I know this topic never really came up with us, but you’re not on any kind of birth control, are you?”
“No,” Buffy whispered miserably. She hadn’t even thought of that aspect. Her stomach turned over at the thought of it.
“I can take you to the hospital, if you want,” Spike said gently. “We can get there through the tunnels. I won’t stay if you don’t want me there, but you need some help.”
The idea of doctors and hospitals generated fear and loathing in the Slayer. But she knew that Spike was right, if only from the emergency contraception point of view. At least if she went with Spike she wouldn’t have to face the Scoobies yet. “Ok,” she agreed quietly. She followed Spike like a phantom down the stairs and into the tunnels, allowing him to lead her by the hand through the darkest parts. They emerged in the hospital’s underground parking garage and made their way upstairs. “Do you want me to stay with you?” Spike asked. Buffy hesitated, mulling it over, then nodded. They found their way to the emergency room, and checked in at the desk.
“May I help you?” asked the nurse on duty.
“I was…” Buffy swallowed, finding it hard to continue. Spike squeezed her hand gently in silent support. “I was raped last night.”
The nurse sat up in concern. “Did you report this to the police?”
“No,” she said, feeling herself get red in the face. “I just… I hit my head, and I want to make sure I’m not pregnant, and… and that’s all. I don’t want to talk to the police.”
“And you are?” The nurse looked suspiciously at Spike.
“I’m just a friend,” he said. “Wanted to make sure she got taken care of.”
“Alright. But you’ll have to wait out here.” The nurse got up and led Buffy to a nearby room. She looked back when she reached the door of the room, apprehensive. Spike smiled reassuringly at her and nodded. “Go on, love. You’ll be ok.” Then Buffy vanished and Spike went to haunt the waiting room.
Buffy returned about an hour later with a prescription for emergency contraceptives and strict instructions to take it easy for a few days, and to have someone watch for signs of complications from her concussion. They went to the hospital pharmacy to fill her prescription. As they waited, Spike heard her stomach grumble. “When’s the last time you’ve eaten?” he inquired.
“Don’t know,” she answered. As soon as her prescription was ready, Spike led her down to the basement cafeteria and fed her some pasta and a salad, washed down with more Gatorade and some coffee. They barely spoke. Buffy was still so shaken and traumatized that the effort of making conversation was more than she could muster. On his part, Spike didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. She had used him, abused him, and dumped him. By all rights he should have thrown her out of his crypt on her ass. But as he looked at her, hunched over her food, looking somehow shrunken and so vulnerable, he couldn’t turn his back on her. God help me, I still love her. After all this bullshit, I still love her. Just tattoo ‘Love’s Bitch’ on my forehead and call it done.
As she was finishing up her coffee, Spike spoke up. “What now, love?”
Buffy looked down at her mug, as if reading her future in tea leaves or something. “I know I have no right to ask this. But can I stay at your place? Just for a day or so? I don’t want to deal with the others right now.” It was the longest sentence she had uttered so far that day.
“Shouldn’t you let Dawn know you’re ok?” Spike wondered.
“I’ll call her from the payphone before we leave here,” Buffy answered. “So, can I?”
“Sure,” he answered. “Can’t guarantee how comfortable it’s going to be, but you can stay as long as you need, Slayer.”
“Thank you,” she whispered again. Spike cleared the trash for her and they found a payphone. There was no answer at her house, so she left a message saying, “Hi, it’s me. I won’t be home for a few days. I’m ok, I just… need to be alone.” Since she couldn’t think of anything more to say, she hung up and followed Spike back to the parking garage.
They retraced their steps to Spike’s crypt and once again came upstairs. Spike had been sleeping in his chair or on top of a sarcophagus since his bedroom got trashed, but he figured Buffy might need something a little more comfortable. He gathered all his scattered random quilts and blankets and layered them all to make a sort of bed for her on the floor between two of the stone sarcophagi. He plumped up his one pillow and set it at one end. “It’s not much, but it’ll have to do.”
“It’s fine,” Buffy said. She was sitting on the edge of a sarcophagus, arms wrapped around her knees as she watched Spike work.
Spike realized that he hadn’t eaten in a while. “Will it bother you if I have some dinner?” he asked. Buffy shook her head, so he rummaged about in his fridge for some blood. Buffy watched in silence as he poured himself a large glass and sat down on his armchair to drink it. The silence grew oppressive after a while, and he found himself saying, “Want to tell me what happened?”
Buffy didn’t answer immediately. Spike thought he had pushed her too far and started saying, “Never mind, pet…”
“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to hurt himself,” she said in a flat, tired voice. She stared into the distance as she talked, not looking at Spike or anything in particular. “He was drinking when I got there. I joined him. Didn’t want him drinking alone. I ended up telling him all about us.”
“How did he take that?” Spike asked quietly.
“I thought at first he was being understanding.” Buffy’s words started coming out faster, and her voice cracked with distress. “But then I stood up to leave and I was so drunk I could barely stand. He grabbed me and he kissed me and when I tried to get away I fell and hit my head. I must have blacked out because when I came to he was on top of me and it hurt and I was too drunk to get him off of me…” Her tale dissolved into great whooping sobs. She covered her face and wept uncontrollably.
She felt two strong arms around her, lifting her off the coffin. Spike sat down in the armchair with her in his lap and rocked her like a child, murmuring soothing words and waiting for the storm to pass.
|Chapter #4 - Chapter 4|
|Disclaimer: All of the characters are Joss Whedon’s. All the reviewers rock my world! Thanks so much!|
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 4
“Where’s Buffy?” Dawn asked when they saw Buffy’s empty room. The bed looked slept in, but then sometimes Buffy was a bit lackadaisical about bedmaking, so that didn’t mean much.
“Are we sure she came home last night?” asked Tara. Tara looked at Willow. They had spent much of the night having extremely satisfying make-up sex and then had slept like logs. “Did you hear her?”
Willow frowned. “I don’t really remember. But since her door was closed, I assumed she was in there.”
“But, if she didn’t come home, what happened to her?” Dawn narrowed her eyes at Xander, who backed away slightly. Fierceness seemed to be an inborn Summers trait. “Buffy’s not here. You’re the last person who saw her.”
Xander raised his hands in surrender and said, “Guys, it’s me, remember? I wouldn’t hurt Buffy, you know that!”
“Xander, was Buffy drunk when she left your place last night?” Willow asked. “Maybe she got hurt or something.”
Dawn’s eyes grew wide. “You don’t think… Could some demon or vampire have…?” Dawn was suddenly very, very worried about her sister.
Tara went over and hugged Dawn. “Hey, take it easy. Buffy’s the Slayer. I’m sure she’s alright.” She turned to Xander. “What can you tell us? When did she leave your place?”
Xander squirmed a bit. He didn’t precisely know, having passed out himself at some point. “We drank a lot. We were both pretty wasted. I… well… I kissed her,” he admitted, blushing slightly.
“You did what?” said Dawn suspiciously. That nagging seed of doubt that Spike had planted was growing again. “That’s all? What did she have to say about that?”
“It’s all kinda blurry,” Xander said, truthfully. Tara noticed that his aura was flickering, as if he was telling half truths. “I know when I woke up she was gone. I don’t precisely remember what all went on. I passed out at some point.” Tara narrowed her eyes at Xander, doubting him. “What?” he cried. “How could I have done anything? She’s the Slayer for God’s sake! If she had any issues with me I’d be in intensive care by now!”
“We’ve got to go find her,” Dawn said. “We need to make sure she’s ok. We can worry about what happened later.” She looked at Xander, who swallowed, but managed to meet her gaze…mostly.
“Dawn, you know that Xander wouldn’t hurt Buffy!” Willow said, jumping to Xander’s defense. “We’ve all been friends since high school!”
“Look, let’s just go see if we can find her, ok?” Tara said. “Where might she be?’
“I was just at Spike’s and she wasn’t there,” offered Dawn.
“Why don’t you and Dawn check at the Magic Box,” Willow said to Tara. It was probably best to keep Xander and Anya away from each other at present. “Xander and I can check out the Doublemeat Palace. Maybe she just went straight to work or something. We can come back here after we’re done.”
“Someone should check the police station, see if anyone… found her.” said Tara.
“We can do that,” said Xander. Tara gave him one more doubtful look, then they all turned to go.
“Is Xander lying?” Dawn asked Tara after they had parted from the others. They were walking toward downtown Sunnydale and the Magic Box.
Tara hesitated. “I don’t know,” she said finally. “I don’t think he’s telling the whole truth.”
“Could Spike be making it up?”
“Well, I guess it’s possible. Remember that whole thing with Adam a few years back? He managed to get everyone at each other’s throats, from what I hear.”
“I guess,” Dawn said. It saddened her to think that Spike would resort to lying to make Xander look bad. “He doesn’t usually lie to me, though.”
“He’s pretty angry too,” Tara said. “I guess if you’re angry, and you have no soul, you might not think twice about getting back at someone that way. Especially if you can’t hit him or anything.”
“What do you think happened between Buffy and Xander last night?”
Tara shook her head. “Probably more than Xander is saying, but less than Spike thinks. But we really won’t know until we find Buffy.”
By this time they had arrived at the Magic Box and went in. Anya was examining a skull with a camera poking out of the eye. “I found the camera,” she said dully. “I’d like to find the creeps who put it there and curse them to Tierra del Fuego and back.”
“How… how are you doing?” Tara asked gently. Dawn squirmed a bit uneasily. She wished she could bleach the image of Spike and Anya on the table from her brain. She really, really didn’t want to imagine that every time she came into the Magic Box for the rest of her days.
“Oh, just peachy,” said Anya sarcastically. “I mean, it’s just so much fun having your ex get all possessive and homicidal about a meaningless fling after he left you at the altar. Because you know, he has so much high ground to stand on there.”
Dawn and Tara didn’t quite know what to say. Finally, Dawn brought up the reason for your visit. “Anya, Buffy didn’t come home last night. Or at least, we don’t know if she did. We were wondering if you had seen her today.”
Anya shook her head. “I haven’t seen her since she went off last night. She didn’t say where she was going.”
Tara swallowed, wondering if she should say anything. Then she said tentatively, “She went over to Xander’s after she left here. I guess they got drunk together.”
Anya rolled her eyes. “Oh, that must have been rich. Buffy can’t hold her liquor to save her life, and Xander is a mean drunk, just like his father. Sometimes I wonder if him leaving me at the altar was really that bad.”
“You don’t mean that!” Dawn protested. She still harbored hope that Xander and Anya would patch things up. She was still rattled by the repeated relationship crackups that seemed to surround her wherever she went. Her parents, Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Riley, Tara and Willow, Xander and Anya – she was beginning to wonder if anyone ever stayed together anymore.
“Maybe I don’t,” sighed Anya. “I’m just sick and tired of the whole thing. I haven’t seen Buffy, but if I do I’ll tell her you’re worried, ok?”
Dawn’s face fell a bit. “Ok. Just please keep an eye out for her?” she pleaded.
“I will,” replied Anya a little less harshly. Tara and Dawn said their goodbyes and left. “Where to now?” asked Dawn.
“I’m not sure,” Tara replied. Worried, they continued wandering downtown.
Willow and Xander made their way toward the Doublemeat palace. Xander seemed on edge, which puzzled Willow. There is no way Xander could have hurt Buffy. He just doesn’t have it in him. And he’s right, Buffy could always stop him. So why does he seem so evasive? Finally she could stand it no longer. “Hey, Xander, what’s with the stony face?” she asked finally.
“I’m fine,” Xander protested. “Just a bit hungover, that’s all.”
“Want to tell me what happened?” Willow said.
Xander walked in silence for a few more minutes. Not 100% sure what happened, actually. Finally he said, “She came over to see how I was. We started drinking. She told me all about her… thing with Spike.”
“Was she really… you know… with him?” Willow asked. She still had a hard time believing that Buffy had been sleeping with Spike of all people.
“She told me the whole sordid story,” Xander replied. “I guess it really got started after the whole singing thing.”
“But… why didn’t she tell us?” Willow wondered.
Xander shrugged. “I guess she was a lot more depressed than we picked up on. She wasn’t exactly being very talky about a lot of stuff at the time.”
Willow mulled that over guiltily. Between the magic issues and missing Tara, she hadn’t paid very close attention to Buffy in a while. She found it hard it believe that an entire torrid affair could have occurred right under her nose, but apparently it had. Trying to avoid her own guilt, she asked, “What else happened last night?”
“Like I said, we got really drunk. I kissed her. Bad idea. But I don’t know when she left. I passed out at some point.” Xander’s conscience niggled at him. I really hope I can get Buffy to understand that whatever happened was an accident. Images of Buffy with a hurt look on her face flashed on the edges of his memory, but he pushed them aside. Need to lay off the booze. Xander was grateful to see that they had reached the Doublemeat Palace. “Here we are.” He held the door for Willow.
The restaurant was only mildly busy, so they reached the counter quickly. “Welcome to Doublemeat Palace, can I take your order?” said the overly cheerful young man behind the counter.
“Actually, we were looking for Buffy Summers. Is she here?” Willow asked.
The kid frowned. “No. She didn’t show up for work today, and the manager is really irritated. If she doesn’t call or something she may find herself out of a job.”
Willow grew even more concerned. “She didn’t even call?”
“Nope. She should have been here half an hour ago. She’s never been this late, but like I said, the manager is in a mood today, so she’s in trouble.”
“Thanks anyway,” Willow said as she and Xander left. Outside she turned worried eyes toward Xander. “Where could she be?” Xander didn’t answer right away. Could she be avoiding me? But then why wouldn’t she go home? Was she really that drunk? Willow stared at him. “Earth to Xander?”
“Sorry, still a bit out of it,” he muttered. “Maybe we should go to the police station and see if they know anything.”
When they got to the police station, they were surprised to see Dawn and Tara heading down the block toward them with the same destination in mind. “She wasn’t at work?” Dawn asked.
Willow shook her head. “I’m guessing you guys struck out at the Magic Box too.”
“Anya hadn’t seen her,” said Tara, noticing the slight wince from Xander at the mention of his ex-fiancé’s name. Xander had really dug himself a hole, and seemed unable to figure out how he ended up at the bottom of it.
“Well, I guess we should go see if the police found her,” said Xander uncomfortably. They all trooped in and went up to the officer at the desk.
“May I help you?” he asked.
The Scoobies looked at each other for a moment, then Dawn spoke up. “My sister didn’t come home last night, and we were wondering if something happened to her.”
“Can you give me a name and a description?”
“Her name is Buffy Summers. She’s about five foot two, blonde hair, green eyes.”
“Just a moment,” said the officer. He pulled up the previous evening’s arrests and incidents on the computer. “I’m sorry, miss, there were no incidents last night involving anyone of your sister’s description. Would you like to file a missing person report?”
Dawn looked doubtful. “N… no. At least, not yet. If she’s still missing later I’ll come back.”
The officer shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He turned back to his paperwork and the Scoobies turned to go.
“Now what?” said Willow when they got outside.
“Maybe we should go back home,” said Dawn. “She might be there already.” They all agreed and headed back to Revello Drive in silence. Dawn was becoming more and more anxious. Buffy had stayed out all night before, but Spike’s words troubled her deeply. Tara was still very suspicious of Xander and his evasiveness. Willow could see that Xander was extremely agitated, but was at a loss for why. Xander, on his part, was trying his hardest not to think too deeply about the previous evening. He wasn’t sure he really wanted to clearly remember what had happened.
Dawn burst into the house and called, “Buffy? Are you home?”
“There’s a message on the machine,” said Tara. She pressed the button and they all heard, “Hi, it’s me. I won’t be home for a few days. I’m ok, I just… need to be alone.” Buffy’s voice sounded flat and tired, like it had when she first came back from the grave. They had just missed the call by about fifteen minutes or so.
“Well at least we know she’s ok,” said Willow, feeling much more relieved.
“Yeah, but where could she have gone?” Dawn asked. “She sounded really… exhausted or something. And why would she need to go away for a few days?” Dawn looked accusingly at Xander.
“Dawn, I swear, I didn’t do anything to her! You’ve got to believe me!” Xander protested. Dawn said nothing, but just frowned and stalked into the living room. She turned on the TV and curled up in front of some cartoons, glancing at the door from time to time. The others made a late lunch, utterly failed to get Dawn to join them, and continued discussing the situation. They were torn between the idea that ‘Buffy is the Slayer and can take care of herself’ and the fear that ‘Buffy might need our help so we should find her’. The conversation went round and round for ages, but seemed to get nowhere.
“I hate to suggest this,” interrupted Tara at last. “But maybe we should do a locator spell. Just to put Dawn’s mind at ease.”
“Could you? Please?” Dawn begged as she bounded into the room, having eavesdropped on the whole conversation.
Willow locked eyes with Tara and saw the permission and trust in her eyes. “Ok,” she agreed. “Let me get the stuff together.”
Fifteen minutes later a map of Sunnydale was spread out on the dining table surrounded by candles and herbs. Willow chanted the spell, causing a small point of light to appear. It hovered over the map and then came to rest – on Restfield Cemetery.
“Restfield? That’s where Spike’s crypt is!” exclaimed Dawn. “But she wasn’t there this morning!”
“Are you sure?” said Xander, seizing on the opportunity to deflect attention from himself. “How do we know he didn’t tell you something to get you to leave? He’s got that whole downstairs area to hide stuff in.”
Tara rebuked him. “He’s in love with Buffy. He wouldn’t hurt her.”
“He’s a vampire, for God’s sake!” Xander cried. “He could be having another round of ‘chain Buffy up so she’ll go out with me’ for all we know. She could have been making that call under duress. He could have grabbed her last night while she was drunk. We need to go find her!” The fury at the sight of Spike screwing Anya, which had started to fade a bit, was back in full swing. His brain desperately looked for someone to pin all this on, someone who wasn’t him.
Tara spoke up. “Xander, did it occur to you that maybe she might have gone there voluntarily? I mean, she and Spike had a relationship. She might have wanted to talk stuff out with him.”
“But then why would Spike be telling Dawn that I attacked Buffy last night?” Xander said. He once more found himself working very hard not to avoid Dawn and Tara’s eyes. He ended up focusing on Willow, his long standing ally in all things.
Willow tried to defuse things a bit. “We just need to make sure we’re not jumping to any conclusions, ok?” She gathered up the spell materials. “Why don’t we just clean this up then go over there, calmly.” She looked pointedly at Xander. “And then perhaps we’ll have some answers. Alright?”
“Fine,” snapped Xander. As the others got their things together he quietly slipped one of Buffy’s extra stakes into his pocket. Any chance I get, Fangboy is history, he vowed.
|Chapter #5 - Chapter 5|
|Disclaimer: All the characters and recognizable dialog belong to Joss Whedon.|
Thanks to the reviewers for all the encouragement!
Destroying Entropy: Chapter 5
Spike’s arms were starting to get sore by the time Buffy finally stopped sobbing. Embarrassed by her outburst, she sat up, rubbing her eyes with the heels of her hands. Spike wordlessly offered her his bandana. “Thanks,” she whispered, blowing her nose. She stood up and turned her back to him, wrapping her arms around herself. “I’m sorry. I’ve got no right to dump all this on you.”
Spike rose and gently turned her around. With his hands on her shoulders, he leaned down until he caught her eyes. “Now you listen to me,” he said in a firm voice. “You may have some things to apologize for. There are about three hundred broken noses that I could have done without, for example.” Buffy tried to turn away but Spike held firm. “But you never have to apologize to me for being human and for needing a shoulder to cry on. Never.”
Buffy looked up at his blue eyes and saw nothing but concern and tenderness. She stepped closer and rested her head on his chest, realizing that his shirt was soaked with her tears. Their arms wound around each other as she once again whispered, “Thank you, Spike.”
After a few minutes, Spike straightened up. “I’m going to go off to get some supplies. Don’t have much in the way of human fare at present.” He pushed an errant lock of hair back behind her ear and continued, ”The loo downstairs is a bit blackened, but I think it still works. Shower definitely works. Make yourself at home, such as it is. I’ll be back soon, ok?”
Buffy nodded. Spike slipped into his duster. The sun wasn’t quite down yet, so he made his way toward the stairs to hit the tunnels. “Spike?” Buffy called. Spike turned his chiseled profile her way. “Hurry back, ok?” Spike nodded and disappeared downstairs.
Buffy took a candle and went downstairs, picking her way through the rubble to Spike’s makeshift bathroom. He had enlarged it since they started their relationship. He had no use for a toilet, but he had somehow rigged one up for her, mostly to get her to stay longer, she suspected. His shower curtain had been shredded, and his sink had overturned, but as he said, his toilet still seemed operational. She went to the bathroom then made her way back upstairs. She curled up under the blankets he left for her and closed her eyes. Why is he taking care me? she wondered. He could have just laughed at me puking my guts out and left me on the street. I dumped him for God’s sake. So why is he letting me stay? And why do I only feel safe with him again? She contemplated these questions over and over until she drifted into a fitful doze.
The Scoobies converged on Restfield cemetery and started winding their way through the tombstones towards the crypts at the back. “Xander, you’re not going to start a big fight with Spike again, are you?” Dawn asked. She wasn’t sure exactly how Buffy currently felt about the vampire in question, but Dawn still considered him a friend and didn’t really want him dusted.
“I’m not sure why you’re so worried about Captain Peroxide. Buffy’s the one you should be worried about.” Xander grumbled.
“You’re still assuming that Buffy is there against her will, which we have no evidence for,” Tara put in. “If she is there because she wants to be, don’t you think she’s going to be annoyed if you go barging in there?”
By this point they had reached Spike’s tomb. “Is Buffy even in her right mind anymore?” Xander cried, flinging up his hands. “She’s been depressed, she just got over that whole ‘Sunnydale is a dream so I should kill my friends’ episode, and she’s been banging Spike for months! Don’t you think this calls for some sort of intervention?”
Inside Spike’s crypt, Buffy jerked awake at the sound of Xander’s voice. When she heard him talking about an intervention she decided that there was no way she wanted to face him, or anyone. She scrambled to her feet and practically dived down the stairs, disappearing from view just before the door opened and she heard Willow say, “Spike? Buffy? Anyone here?”
Downstairs, Buffy ducked into the tunnel entrance and hid around a corner out of view. She heard the Scoobies’ footsteps on the stairs as Dawn called, “Buffy?” Buffy froze wide-eyed in her corner, seized with a completely irrational panic.
“There’s no one here,” said Tara in a puzzled voice. “Did we do the locator spell right?”
Willow shrugged. “As far as I know.”
Buffy flinched as the sound of someone kicking something echoed in the tunnel as Xander said, “For all we know he’s holding her captive and moved her somewhere else. Why else would she just leave Dawn for a few days with no warning?”
“Xander, Buffy’s the Slayer, and she’s an adult. I don’t know why you’ve gone into macho protector mode here,” Tara admonished.
“Look, if she was here, she’s gone now,” said Willow, trying to keep the argument from escalating. “Let’s just go home so we’ll know if she calls.” They trooped out, and Buffy heard the crypt door slam behind them. Losing control of her legs, she sank down onto the floor, wrapping her arms around her knees and shivering. You can’t hide from them forever, said the practical voice in her head. Watch me, she thought bitterly. No matter what I say, Spike’s evil, I’m crazy, and they get the last say in what I do. I’m done. She couldn’t come up with a good reason to do anything other than sit curled up on the floor, so she stayed, rocking slightly in the blackness.
Spike had emerged in the parking garage of the Sunnydale Mall. There was a convenience store there that yielded some drinks, some energy bars and other snacks, and some of Buffy’s favorite shampoo. In another store he found a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, to give her a change of clothes. Not what he would generally choose to see her dressed in, but he judged that comfort was needed above all in this instance. He ended his shopping trip in a candy store, where he bought a simple box of chocolates. Having dealt with years of Drusilla’s issues, he knew that clothes and comfort food went a long way toward soothing the female soul. Granted, Drusilla’s idea of comfort food tended to be a tender young schoolchild, but the principle was the same.
By the time he finished the sun had gone down, so he took off through the town toward his crypt. He deliberately cut through several cemeteries on the way, setting down his bags to dust a few fledglings when they arose. Might as well take care of patrol while I’m at it. No telling when Buffy’ll be back in action. He was alarmed by Buffy’s reaction to all this. When she had come back from Heaven she had been silent, withdrawn, and depressed, but she was still able to function somewhat, and go through the motions. Now she was fleeing from her friends, and this helpless, uncontrollable sobbing was like nothing he had seen. Even when her mother died she had somehow kept it mostly together, if only for Dawn’s sake. But now she seemed utterly crushed.
He staked another fledgling, lit a cigarette, and picked up his bags. More than anything else, he wanted to go to Harris’ house and make him pay for reducing the Slayer to this state. Should probably check on the bint first, I guess, he sighed. He found he was having flashbacks to his long years of caring for Drusilla. Angelus had utterly destroyed Drusilla through his systematic psychological and sexual torture. Even after she was turned, Angelus had occasionally reduced Drusilla to a quivering, huddled mass, just because he was bored. Spike had always been there to hold her while she raved and screamed at the stars after Angelus had used her until she bled and passed out from the pain. The experience had left Spike with a deep distaste for rape. Didn’t seem much point in sex if the woman wasn’t getting off on it. Half the pleasure for him was in making his partner writhe and scream in ecstasy. It had been a matter of pride for him that he had managed to have a willing partner every time he had wanted one. He had persuaded and seduced women, but never forced one. And yet here was Harris, a card carrying member of the White Hats, doing just that, to someone he ostensibly cared about. To add to the unreality, Buffy once again turned to William the Bloody for solace. Makes no fucking sense, none of it.
Spike arrived at his crypt to find the door slightly ajar. He frowned and entered cautiously, all of his senses stretching out and ready for danger. He saw no one, but caught the faint scent of the Scoobies. He had spent enough time around them to recognize the scent of herbs that clung to the witches, the fruity scent of Dawn’s favorite lip gloss, and Xander’s male musk. “Buffy?” he called. She wasn’t upstairs, and he wondered if the gang had persuaded her to come back home. Probably got her to put on her ‘Everything’s Fine’ mask again and skip off back to denial land with them, he mused. But he realized that her unique scent was still strong on the stairs, so he softly descended to the lower level.
His former bedroom was pitch dark, and he vamped out to see more clearly. He followed the trail over to the tunnel entrance, where he picked up the rapid hammer of Buffy’s heartbeat. “Buffy? It’s me. You ok?” he said.
“No,” came a small voice. “I’m not ok.” Spike entered the tunnel and found her, once again curled on the floor and huddled into a corner.
“Come on out of there, love. No one here but us.” When she didn’t respond, he gently but firmly tugged on her shoulders until she got to her feet, then led her carefully through the basement and up the stairs. In the candlelight of the upper level she looked paler than ever, and she seemed tiny and lost in Spike’s armchair. Spike handed her a bottle of water and her prescription bottle, and busied himself with putting a few things away while she took the pills and drank. He knelt in front of her and pushed the hair away from her face. “Tell me what happened, pet.”
“They were here. Looking for me,” she muttered. “Xander thinks you’re holding me hostage, or that I’m crazy or something. Willow did a locator spell trying to find me.”
“So you hid from them?” Spike said quietly.
Buffy nodded miserably. “I can’t win. They’re not going to believe me, or you. I can’t win.” She shook her head helplessly and kept repeating, “I can’t win. They won’t let me be. I can’t win.”
“Slayer, listen to me,” Spike ordered. He didn’t have thrall, but when he allowed his voice to grow low and stern it was nearly the same. Buffy found herself meeting his earnest eyes. “Right now, you are exhausted and still half in shock. You’re going to make yourself ill if you don’t get some decent rest and give yourself a break. You need to get some sleep, that’s an order.”
Buffy realized that Spike had a point. She nodded again, and stood up, accepting Spike’s arm around her shoulders as he led her to her sleeping spot. He saw that she was settled and comfortable, then started to pick up his coat to go back out. Got a score to settle with the Whelp, he thought.
“Spike?” Buffy said. “Where are you going?”
Spike paused. “Have some business to take care of, Slayer.” He wasn’t sure, even now, how she would feel about him pounding the living crap out of Xander.
Buffy hesitated, biting her lip. Then in a barely audible voice she said, “Could you stay? Please? Just… don’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be alone.”
Spike’s demon howled in his head, wanting desperately to find some way to make Xander pay. But the William side of him couldn’t deny her. He could no more turn his back on her pleading eyes than he could go sunbathing tomorrow. He put his coat back on the nearest sarcophagus and sat down to take off his boots for the night. He started trying to get comfortable in his armchair when Buffy said, “Spike?”
Another hesitation. “Could you just… hold me? Just until I fall asleep?” She blushed, embarrassed but desperate in her need for comfort.
Spike took a deep breath. How’s this gonna end then? She wakes up and kicks you in the teeth again? Scoobies bust in and dust you for her own good? Haven’t you had enough of being yanked around yet? But despite all his inner fears, he found himself blowing out the candles, padding softly over to where she lay and sliding next to her under the covers. He had left his clothes on, as had she, and he gently wrapped his arms around her as she nestled her head into his chest. Despite his misgivings, a large part of him reveled in the soft warmth of her, and he listened to her heartbeat until they both fell asleep.
Dawn arrived home with Willow and Tara, and ran straight up to her room, slamming the door behind her. She threw herself on her bed and squeezed a pillow tightly. Her head was in a total whirl. Why would Buffy run away? She seemed like she was getting better. We were actually talking together for the first time in months. Where did she go? What happened to her? The teen ran all the scenes of the day through her mind again and again. Xander was acting weird. Had he really… done what Spike said? Dawn turned over restlessly. Even if nothing happened, what if some demon got her when she was drunk? I guess she called, so she’s still alive, but where is she? She hugged her pillow tighter and worried her stomach into knots.
Tara and Willow watched Dawn run upstairs with concerned looks. “She’s pretty upset,” Willow observed needlessly.
“She’s had a rough day. Let her be for a while,” Tara answered. Tara got herself a drink and sat down on the couch. Willow joined her and rested her head on Tara’s shoulder. “Willow, did Xander tell you anything more about what happened?”
“Not really,” Willow sighed. “He said he they both got really drunk. She told him all about her and Spike. I get the impression he wasn’t too thrilled to know about it.”
“Sometimes I think he forgets that he’s not Buffy’s keeper,” Tara observed quietly. “He spends an awful lot of time worrying about what Buffy does.” So do you, she added silently. She was glad to be back with Willow, but Willow still seemed to see Buffy more as a fix-it project than as a human with her own agenda. The guilt of pulling Buffy out of Heaven had sent Willow into some sort of hovering overdrive where Buffy was concerned, and Tara didn’t think it was good for Buffy or Willow.
“He’s really messed up right now,” Willow defended him. “He feels bad about Anya, he feels bad about not being there for Buffy, and he’s always found Spike irritating. He needs some cool down time to figure himself out.”
“True,” Tara conceded. “But we can’t let him go charging in there and hurting Buffy more by acting without thinking. Buffy and Spike had something, and I think they still have something, or could, if we weren’t all jumping down her throat and judging her for it.”
“But I thought they broke it off with each other,” said Willow.
“Perhaps. But did she do it because she wanted to, or because she thought we wanted her to?” Tara asked pointedly.
Willow mulled that over. “I guess we’ve all been off in our own worlds for so long that I don’t know what the answer to that is. Seems like we’re due for a long talk after she gets back from wherever she went.”
“Do you think Xander could have hurt her?” Tara asked after another silence.
“I just can’t imagine Xander hurting Buffy. I just can’t,” Willow replied. She knew that Xander could lose his temper, and sometimes he said things that he regretted later. She knew that he had a way of trying to downplay the consequences of his actions, like with the whole dancing demon thing. But she just couldn’t conceive of anything he could do to Buffy that was so bad that she wouldn’t want to come home.
“I hope you’re right,” Tara sighed, and she turned on the TV.
Anya was nearly done cleaning up the Magic Box when there was a slight noise and a puff of smoke. “Good evening, Anyanka,” said Halfrek as she brushed off her dress and straightened her sleeves. “Have you given any more thought to the whole ‘vengeance for Mr. Harris’ thing?”
Anya leaned on the counter with her chin in her hands. “No. Spike was here last night looking for some spell to forget his relationship troubles. We got drunk together, and one thing led to another, and…”
“You didn’t!” gasped Halfrek gleefully. “Now that’s my Anyanka. No better revenge than to find somebody new. And somebody new that he detests? Masterful. But how did Xander find out?”
“This,” Anya grumbled, hauling up the camera from under the counter. “Someone who has it in for Buffy has been spying on her all over the place. The others found the camera feed while Spike and I were… engaged. Xander was here last night trying to kill Spike, and then apparently he went off to sulk and drink. I guess Buffy went after him and got drunk too, and now she’s missing. Not sure what’s up with that.”
“You don’t think they…?” Halfrek said suggestively.
“Buffy would never do that in a million years. Xander’s been carrying the torch for her since high school, but I can’t see Buffy going along with that. I mean, come on, if you’ve been sleeping with various supernaturally enhanced beings like William the Bloody for years, then why on earth would you go for…”
“Ah, William,” Halfrek interrupted thoughtfully, shaking her head. “That really wasn’t one of my best days.”
“Ok, Hallie, spill,” said Anya. “You obviously have met him before; you recognized each other at the Party that Wouldn’t End. I’ve been meaning to ask you about that for weeks. What’s the story?”
“I spent an awful lot of time in London in the late 1800’s. Those repressed Victorians had all sorts of Justice needs. They were all so prim and proper and uptight that someone could shoot their mother and their response would be, ‘Oh dear, how troublesome’.” Halfrek rolled her eyes at the memory. “I had been hanging around one particular crowd for a while, dispensing justice as needed, when this mousy little poet started making moon eyes at me. I didn’t think the poor thing needed to fall for a justice demon, so I did my best snooty Victorian upper class bitch act and shut him down.”
Anya’s jaw dropped. “Spike had the hots for you? When he was human? What happened?”
Halfrek blushed slightly. “He went off in a huff, ran into a certain well known female vampire, and… well, you know the rest.”
“You drove him into getting turned by Drusilla?” Anya was floored at the random series of coincidences.
“It was an honest mistake! I didn’t want to blow my cover, and I didn’t want to just vanish and have him get all freaked out! I thought he would get over me and find someone suitable.” Halfrek shook her head. “I guess it all worked out in the end. He seems much happier as a vampire than he ever did as a human.”
“Except for lately,” Anya sighed. “Between Buffy dumping him and Xander wanting him dead, he’s not really having an easy time of it.”
“Hmm,” mused Halfrek. “I’ll have to see if there’s something I can do for him. I probably owe him one. “
Xander went back home and closed the door behind him. He surveyed the wreck of his apartment and thought about cleaning it up, then decided fuck it. I’m the only one here, and right now I don’t care. He saw that there were still a couple of shots of JD in the bottle. He picked it up, and stared at it for a moment. I really shouldn’t. But after another moment he sighed and polished it off anyway. He tossed it in the trash and threw himself onto the couch.
The whiskey had burned going down, then turned into a somewhat pleasant warmth. But when he closed his eyes the warmth faded into a mangle of mental images. I kissed her. She pushed me away. I kissed her again. She went down. She was laying there so still, like some kind of centerfold. She didn’t do anything when I undressed her. Wouldn’t she have kicked me or something if she hadn’t wanted it? He kept playing the scene in his mind. He remembered her warmth, the taste of her neck. She said to stop, his conscience spoke up. But she didn’t fight me, he shot back. She couldn’t possibly have been too drunk to fight! She’s the Slayer! Even drunk she should have been able to kick my ass if she wanted to! His brain couldn’t find a satisfactory way out of this dilemma.
Then there was the question of where she had gone. Had she really just taken off for a couple of days? Was she mad at him? Mad at Spike? Did she go all vigilante on whoever was spying on her? If he was honest with himself, he had to admit that he was highly disappointed that Buffy hadn’t been chained up in Spike’s basement. The more he thought about the bleached blond vampire, the more he wanted to see him dust. The bastard had dared to touch Anya. His Anya. And what was it with Buffy and the freaks? Didn’t she learn from Angel, and to some extent Riley, that she should try to find some semi-normal guy? Angel nearly killed them all, Riley ended up being a conniving bastard, and why was he the only one who seemed to remember that Spike was a fucking vampire who wanted them dead. Or at least had wanted them dead not that long ago. But no, Buffy wanted to take a walk on the wild side, and they were supposed to just look the other way. And why the hell was Tara so quick to defend this abomination of a relationship that Buffy had gotten herself into? Hello? Our friend is sleeping with a serial killer and you’re ok with this? The fuck is wrong with these people?
He got up and searched his kitchen, but there was no more alcohol of any kind to be had. I should probably lay off the booze for the night anyhow, he thought grudgingly. Kicking dejectedly at an empty beer can, he slouched off to the bedroom, stripped down to his boxers, and threw himself in bed.
|Chapter #6 - Chapter 6|
|Disclaimer: All the characters are Joss Whedon’s. All hail Joss Whedon.|
Thanks again for the helpful reviews!
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 6
Buffy woke up to find that Spike was still curled up behind her, one hand resting protectively on her hip as he slept. She gently turned over to avoid waking him and just watched him sleep. She had never really stayed around much after they had had sex. A few times she had passed out from sheer exhaustion, but she had always woken up angry and embarrassed, punched Spike in the nose, and fled. Lather, rinse, repeat the next time the depression and emptiness got too bad. But at the moment, she just looked at him, for what felt like the first time. She was always amazed at how very young he looked when he slept. He must have been close to thirty when he was turned, she guessed. But asleep he wouldn’t have looked out of place in a college dorm. The contrast between his vampire face and his human face were like night and day. That night in the high school, he had looked like the devil himself with his yellow eyes and bloodstained fangs. Here, he was like some sculpture of an angel, his white skin and hair standing out against his dark clothing. Part of her brain screamed that she shouldn’t be here, that this could lead to nothing good, and that breaking it off with him was the only possible thing she could have done. But the rest of her brain didn’t care. Her nerves were raw, and she couldn’t get up the urge to care about what she ‘should’ do. She needed something to hold on to, and he was the only one in her life who was strong enough to deal with her right now.
She realized that his eyes were fluttering open and she looked down, feeling foolish at having been caught staring at him. She tensed a bit, waiting for some smart ass remark, accompanied by the customary smirk. But he just said, “How’d you sleep?” in his quiet, deep voice.
“OK, I guess,” she replied. She sat up and ran her hands through her hair. She could see that the sun was just barely up through the high crypt windows. Why do they put windows in crypts anyhow? she wondered randomly.I mean, the occupants don’t typically need to see out.
“How’s the head?” Spike asked, watching her carefully from the pillow. She definitely looked a bit better, with a little more color in her face and smaller circles under her eyes.
“Mostly healed. Just a little sore, but nowhere near as bad as yesterday,” she responded with a shrug.
“Glad to hear it,” he said sincerely. He got up and stretched. “Would you like some breakfast? I have some orange juice, and a box of those pop tart things you girls seem to live on. No toaster, I’m afraid.”
“That’s fine,” Buffy assured him. “I sometimes eat them cold anyhow.”
Spike rummaged around and handed her the juice and the box of pop tarts, then poured himself a glass of blood. Buffy ate sitting on the bed, leaning against a sarcophagus while Spike occupied the chair. They shared their meager meal in silence, neither really knowing what to say. Spike was deeply conflicted. Holding Buffy, having her need him and letting him show her tenderness – that had been his deepest desire. Sex with her was amazing, but he had craved this closeness, this trust. But the circumstances which had brought this about were unspeakable. And there was his nagging fear of having his heart stomped yet again which kept him wary and on edge. He wanted her to snap out of this post traumatic stress or whatever it was, but he was convinced that the second she did she would kick him to the curb once more. Finally the silence got too much for him and he spoke. “Buffy?”
Buffy had been staring into space and jumped a bit at the sound of his voice. “Yeah?”
Spike took a deep breath, wondering what to say. “What happens now?” he finally blurted out.
Buffy looked down at her lap and frowned. “I don’t know,” she began quietly. “I know I can’t stay here forever. But I just don’t know how to face them. They’re just going to want to fix me, or they’re going to side with Xander and think I’m nuts, or they’re going to try to sweep it under the rug, and I just… can’t…” She faltered, and Spike could hear her heartbeat speeding up again.
“Shh,” Spike said, moving over to kneel in front of her and lift her chin up so he could catch her eyes. “Don’t go getting yourself worked up again. Deep breaths, ok?”
Buffy nodded slightly. She took a deep breath, let it out, then whispered, “Thanks again.” Spike stood up and finished off his blood. Buffy got up as well, brushing the crumbs off her lap. “I’ll be right back,” she said, heading for the stairs. She paused at the top of the dark pit below her. “Here,” Spike said, handing her a freshly lit candle. She murmured her thanks once more and headed down to the bathroom.
Spike fidgeted and paced, straightening out her bed and tidying things up, for lack of anything better to do. He realized she was taking an awful long time, and finally decided to light another candle and check on her. He found her standing in the middle of room, looking around at the mess. “You alright, Slayer?” he asked, wondering what she was up to.
“All your things,” she said, sounding like she was miles away. “You had such nice things down here. Those rugs. Your books. They all got destroyed because of me…”
“Not because of you, pet,” he reassured her. “It was me, doing something stupid. Thought I could help out a demon pal of mine and pick up a few extra bucks on the side. Didn’t know what I was getting into.”
“But Riley followed me here,” Buffy persisted. “And I didn’t stop him, or defend you. I just let him destroy everything you had and then I dumped you.” She was near tears again for reasons that she could barely explain.
“They’re just things,” Spike soothed. “’S long as I still have my coat, I can manage without the rest of the junk,” he said lightly, trying to defuse things a bit.
Buffy went over to where the remains of the book of poetry lay on the floor and picked it up. It fell open to the page with the sketch on it, and she held it out to him like a piece of courtroom evidence. “This isn’t junk,” she said, looking up into his eyes.
Spike swallowed, taking the book from her hands. “No, this isn’t junk,” he murmured, his fingers caressing the words on the charred page. “It’s Byron, and it suits you. Beautiful and deadly as the night, you are. Always were, from the moment I laid eyes on you.” His head came up slowly and he returned her gaze.
Buffy stepped forward and softly touched her lips to his. Spike was reminded of that very first kiss, when he had been sitting there, battered after facing Glory, convinced until that moment that he was talking to that cursed Bot. He closed his eyes, but did nothing to deepen the kiss or pull her closer, wanting to see what she did.
At first Buffy nearly sighed at the feeling of his soft, familiar lips. But suddenly her mind flashed back to Xander’s beer soaked breath, his rough hands grabbing her shoulders, and she pulled back suddenly. She turned away, covering her mouth with her hand. “Oh God, I’m sorry,” she sobbed, ashamed.
Spike gently put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “I understand, Slayer,” he assured her. “Don’t worry about it.” She put a hand over his and squeezed back, but still couldn’t quite face him.
Spike cast around for something to break this awkwardness. He spied a box of trash bags he had bought with the intention of cleaning up the mess. “Look, I’m going to do a little more clearing up down here. You want to just sit and keep me company while I work?” It was lame, but he usually could think more clearly when he was moving, and he was otherwise out of ideas for the moment.
“I’ll help,” Buffy offered. She too found that movement helped when she was at a loss. Usually she just went and killed something, but since the sun was out there wasn’t much to kill. Killing this mess will have to do for now, she thought as she grabbed a trash bag.
They worked in silence for a while. Most of the debris was unrecognizable, and easy enough to bag and haul upstairs to be taken out later. After the top layer was cleared, they started coming across a few items worth saving and made a small pile of these on the side. Buffy came across a cracked doll’s head in a pile that must have once been under the bed. “Was this Drusilla’s?” she asked curiously.
Spike came over and took it from her. “Yeah,” he said, half smiling at the memory. “Forgot what she called this one. Had names for all of them. Used to talk to them and punish them when they misbehaved, and lord knows what else. They were a comfort to her when she had a really bad spell, so we hauled them everywhere we went.”
“Was she ever… sane?” Buffy wondered.
Spike gave a little half laugh. “Hardly ever when I knew her. Angelus worked her over right good before he turned her, and occasionally felt the need to show her who’s boss afterward as well.” Spike shook his head a little. “Probably wouldn’t have recognized her the way she was before. Devout Catholic convent girl type, devoted to her family. But then I guess she always had the sight, so who knows. Might have driven her crazy in the end anyhow.”
Buffy was perplexed to find herself feeling a stab of pity for Drusilla. It had never occurred to her to see the mad vampiress as a victim of torture and rape. “Why did she stay?” Buffy wondered. “How could she stand to be around someone who had done that to her?”
Spike considered that for a while, picking up random pieces of trash while he thought. “He was her sire,” Spike said finally. “Without him, she would have probably starved in a month. Angelus was evil and manipulative. It was sort of a Stockholm syndrome thing, I guess. He held the power of life and death over her, and he would give her enough of what she wanted to keep her coming back for more.”
“Would have been better, somehow, if it had been Angelus,” Buffy said bitterly. She turned her back and bent down to sift through rubble so she wouldn’t have to face Spike while she spoke. “Vampires are evil. You expect the worst from them. You don’t expect that from your friends.”
“I don’t think beings are inherently evil or good,” Spike said philosophically, still sifting through the wreckage. “I think actions are evil or good. Or indifferent maybe.”
Buffy looked at him. “What do you mean?”
Spike carefully kept working as he spoke, choosing his words carefully. “It’s like… if someone had gotten to Angelus before he killed anyone, and locked him in a cage forever, would he be evil? Sure he would have the potential for evil, and you sure as hell wouldn’t want to let the bastard out, but how would that be any different than a tiger in the zoo? And what if a vampire rose and somehow never wanted to eat humans? Just bagged it from day one? Would he be evil?”
Buffy mulled that over. “I never really thought of it that way,” she said finally. She sat down on the floor, turning the doll’s head over and over in her hands, trying to make sense of it all.
Spike set down the bag of trash and sat on the floor next to her. “You never saw this coming, love,” he said. “Totally blindsided you. Probably why it’s hitting you so hard.”
“I should have been able to stop him,” Buffy said softly. “I’m the Slayer.” There was a deep note of shame in her voice that tugged at Spike’s heart.
“You’re also a woman, Buffy,” Spike replied. “You were drunk, and you had a head injury for Christ’s sake! Goddamn pillock should have kept his hands to himself.” He found his voice rising with irritation. “And if you talk yourself round into saying it was your fault or that he couldn’t help himself I will bloody well kick your ass.”
Buffy’s eyes widened at Spike’s outburst. Spike continued more quietly, “If he had done it to any other woman, it would have been wrong. You’re no different in that regard, despite all the Slayer baggage.”
Buffy was at a loss for words. Do you hear what he’s saying? said the practical side. Xander had no right to do what he did. Aloud she said, “I hear what you’re saying. I just… I don’t know how to face him. And them. Dawn sees Xander as some sort of big brother, and Willow’s been his friend since kindergarten. I just don’t know how…” She stood up and paced, wringing her hands in confusion and frustration.
Spike sighed. Buffy and the others would go to incredible trouble not to cause any confrontation. Which usually just meant more trouble and a bigger confrontation when it did happen. “I’ll go with you, if you like. You know I’ve got your back.”
“But why?” Buffy cried. She stopped her pacing and whirled to face Spike. “Why are you taking care of me? Why are you even still here?”
“Well, I live here…” Spike quipped, trying to calm her down.
“They all left!” she ranted, stunning Spike with this sudden onslaught of words. “Angel, Parker, Riley - I treated them nice, and they left! I save Xander’s life a dozen times and he rapes me! But I treat you like crap, beat you senseless, insult you, and dump you, and you stay! Why?” Her voice had risen to a hysterical scream of utter bewilderment.
“Because I love you, you stupid bint! Haven’t you figured that out yet?” he yelled back. He kicked a trash bag, unable to contain himself, then wheeled back to face her. “You know what your problem is? You’ve got these little boxes you put everyone in. Xander’s in the ‘good guy’ box. And because he’s in that box you turn a blind eye to everything he does. He calls down a demon that nearly gets you killed, leaves his girl at the altar, and you all overlook it, because he’s in the ‘good guy’ box. He just has to give you a contrite puppy dog look and you lot let him off the hook, but he never actually has to pay for his mistakes, does he? Oh no, he’s a good guy!” Buffy was completely dumbstruck.
Spike didn’t even notice, he was so worked up. All the frustration that had built up for the last few weeks couldn’t be contained any longer. “And I’m in the bad guy box. I know – vampire. Evil demon creature and all that. So it doesn’t matter if I do something good. Doesn’t matter if I get thrown off a tower, or look after your sister, or let you fuck me then beat me, or care for you when you’re depressed, or any of that. None of that counts unless it’s in the right box.” Spike’s voice cracked with emotion and he turned away from her.
Buffy just stood staring at him, shell shocked. He’s right. That’s exactly what I do. For once the sensible half of her brain and the traumatized, sick-of-all-of-it half were in complete agreement. Xander never got held accountable for the hyena incident, or the singing demon, or any of that. She thought about Willow, who dragged her back from the grave, erased her memories, and nearly killed her sister. Had she ever really taken Willow to task for any of that? Willow and Tara lived rent free while she worked in a grease pit. She had never once said anything about that. When she had told Tara she was using Spike, Tara didn’t think it was a bad thing. Because I’m one of the good guys, she thought bitterly.
As she had when he was sleeping, Buffy looked at Spike, really looked at him. He was wrapped in all this black and white armor, surrounded by his Big Bad costume. But she had heard the hurt in his voice. Her mind replayed all the moments when he had shown her tenderness. The way he had held her hands after she returned from the grave, as if they were too fine and delicate for him to dare to touch. His voice whispering, ‘Every night I save you’ as she realized that he had counted the days without her. The way he had dropped his completely justified anger in a microsecond when he realized she had been raped. What the hell else do I want from him? Swallowing, she came up behind him and put a shaking hand on his shoulder. He turned to her, his eyes trying and failing to mask the pain he felt. “What is it Slayer?” he asked in a weary tone.
“Spike, I’m sorry,” she said. She found herself so ashamed that she couldn’t meet his eyes. “You have been doing a lot of good things, for a long time. And you’re right – I gave you no credit. I was too wrapped up in my own head to do anything more than throw everyone back in their boxes to deal with later.”
“’S alright, love,” he said, ashamed of his own rant. “Had no right to yell at you like that.”
“No!” said Buffy, finally meeting his gaze. “No, you have every right. And I’m not just saying that because you helped me yesterday. I’m saying it because I can’t live with myself any longer if I don’t!” She found herself on the verge of tears for what seemed like the ten thousandth time in two days. I’m going to turn into a giant blob of salt water pretty soon.
Spike slowly brought his hands up, cupping her face and stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. Moving with gentle deliberateness, he bent his head down and kissed her, caressing her lips lightly with his. Buffy closed her eyes and returned the kiss, resting her hands lightly on his hips. Her mind started the dreadful instant replay again but she forced herself to focus on what was happening here and now. Xander had had hot breath, foul with beer and whiskey. Spike’s lips were cool, and his scent was a comforting mixture of leather and cigarettes. Where Xander’s hands had been bruising, rough, and possessive, Spike’s were gentle. She knew from experience that his hands could fight and rip and bruise, but she had never taken the time to notice the times they held her like a precious object. Xander’s words had been snarls of selfish possession. Spike broke off the kiss, rested his forehead against hers with closed eyes and simply whispered, “Thanks, pet. Means a lot to me.”
“You’re welcome,” she whispered back. They remained as they were for a few minutes, eyes closed, savoring the connection. Then Buffy said, “Spike, I’m not sure where I can take this right now.”
“’S alright, love,” he shushed her. “We don’t have to work everything out this second.” He kissed her forehead and released her. He looked around and said, “Should we finish the job? Or should I just move to a cleaner crypt?”
Buffy half smiled for the first time in days. “Let’s finish the job. I really need some mindless movement right now.” Spike smiled back and they both went back to work in companionable silence.
|Chapter #7 - Chapter 7|
|Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns all the cool characters, I just use them to shorten my commute.|
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 7
Dawn groaned as her alarm clock went off. Monday, she thought blearily. Then she suddenly remembered all the events of the day before. She flung back the blankets and raced down the hall to Buffy’s room, hoping that she had returned. Dawn was dejected when she saw that Buffy’s room was as she had last seen it – messy and empty.
“Dawn? Are you ok?” Tara had come out of her room to see what all the noise was about.
“Yeah,” said Dawn. “I was just seeing if she had come back yet.”
Tara came over and gave Dawn a hug. “She’ll be ok. And she’ll be back soon, you know that.”
“I’m really worried, Tara!” moaned Dawn. “I can’t take her constantly bouncing in and out anymore! I can’t stand this wondering every day if she’s going to leave me again!”
“Shh, Dawnie,” Tara said, stroking her hair. “We know she’s alive. I’m sure she’ll be back in a day or so, just like she said.” Dawn hugged her tight, burying her face in Tara’s shoulder. “But in the meantime, you have to stay out of trouble, ok? So why don’t you go get dressed and I’ll make some breakfast.” Dawn nodded and disentangled herself, slouching off toward the bathroom.
Tara and Dawn ate a mostly quiet breakfast. Afterward, Dawn cleared her plate and slowly gathered up her school things. “Dawn?” Tara said.
“You really need to go to school today. If you skip out, I’m worried that you and Buffy are going to get into trouble. But if she comes home or we get any leads, I’ll call school and have them give you a message, alright?”
Dawn came over and hugged Tara again. “Thanks for being here,” she said, grateful for Tara’s understanding nature.
“Anytime, Dawnie,” Tara replied. “Now, straight to school, got it? You can meet us at the Magic Box this afternoon.”
“Ok,” Dawn agreed, and in a moment she was out the door.
Tara was just finishing straightening up when Willow came downstairs in her bathrobe. “Any news?” she asked.
Tara shook her head. “Nothing. I sent Dawn off to school, but I’m not sure what to do now.”
Willow poured herself some coffee and a bowl of cereal. “Do we do another locator spell?” she asked as she munched. It was the only thing she could come up with before the coffee sunk in.
“Not sure that would help,” said Tara as she sat down and stirred her own coffee. “If she doesn’t want to be found right now, then we should probably leave her be.”
“But what if Xander’s right?” Willow persisted. “What if she’s in trouble?”
Tara stared into her cup. “I really don’t think Spike would hurt her, regardless of what Xander thinks.”
“Could it be whoever is spying on her?” Willow offered. “Maybe they got lucky while she was incapacitated.”
Tara couldn’t figure out why Willow had such a hard time with the idea that Buffy might simply be upset and need some time alone. “I really think we should be careful about assuming things,” she said, looking into Willow’s eyes. “We assumed she was in hell, and that was wrong. We assumed she would want to drink that antidote and come back to reality, and she nearly killed us. She could just… need a break.”
Willow shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. I just feel so helpless! Like I’m letting her down.” Willow finished her cereal and put her bowl in the sink. “I just had a thought. Maybe we should go check out the camera Anya found at the Magic Box. It could give us some sort of clue as to who’s been snooping around. Whether or not Buffy is in trouble, that’s something we should work on.” Tara agreed on this course of action and they went upstairs to shower and get dressed.
By that afternoon, Buffy and Spike had managed to clear up the bulk of the mess. The larger pieces of junk – primarily his destroyed bed and mangled sink – had been moved into the tunnel to clear space. The rest of the garbage was now bagged in a rather large pile on one side of the upstairs, to be taken out after dark. The small pile of salvageable mementos had been gathered into a cardboard box. They surveyed the room, which was empty, if not exactly spotless.
“Never thought I would ever get up the energy to clear all that out,” Spike said. “Thanks for the help.” His stomach rumbled a bit, and he realized they had been working for hours. “You hungry, Slayer?”
“Ravenous,” Buffy replied. She, like Spike, was streaked with black smudges and dirt. But she felt much calmer than she had in a while. Spike’s words had struck a chord with her, and something had changed. She couldn’t quite quantify the change, but she felt more at peace with him and their situation. The Scoobie situation was still up in the air, but she would deal with that later, she decided. For now, she followed Spike upstairs.
“I tried to find something you could eat that didn’t require cooking,“ Spike explained as he offered her a tub of hummus and some crackers.
“This is fine,” Buffy said as she sat down and dug in. Spike was quietly pleased, and poured himself some blood. He found he was truly hungry himself, and gulped it down in a minute before going for seconds. After he closed the fridge, he rummaged around in one of the shopping bags and turned to Buffy with the box of chocolates.
“Dunno if you want any of these for dessert, but…” he said shyly.
“If I ever refuse chocolate, you will know that there is something terminally wrong with me,” she said, eagerly accepting the treats. She closed her eyes and savored the sweet taste. Spike watched her, reveling in the simple pleasure of giving her something she enjoyed. She ate several of the chocolates in silence before closing the box. “I really needed that,” she sighed gratefully. She was about to say something more when she spied the prescription bottle and her mood sank again.
Spike followed her gaze and frowned a bit. He handed the bottle to her and passed her a bottle of water to go with it. “Best finish these off, pet,” he said.
Buffy took the last of the medication and then sat there, staring pensively at the empty bottle. “I guess I have to go home sometime,” she said quietly.
Spike went back over to the pile of shopping bags and handed one of them to her. “Got you some spare clothes. Nothing fancy, but at least you won’t have to go home looking like something the cat dragged in.”
Buffy looked in the bag and saw a comfortable looking pair of gray sweats, some underwear, and a light blue t-shirt, along with a bottle of her favorite shampoo. She was touched and amazed by his thoughtfulness. “You got all this for me?”
“Well, the girly shampoo doesn’t exactly go along with the whole vampire look so, yeah,” he said. He was certain he would be blushing if he could. Ponce, he told himself. Bloody well going to start spouting awful poetry again if this keeps up.
Buffy got up and gently planted another kiss on his cheek. “Thank you, Spike. You… you’ve been amazing through all this. I don’t know that I deserve it, but I do appreciate it.”
“You’re more than welcome, pet,” he said. “You go hit the shower first. Should be a semi clean towel down there you can use. I’ll stay up here, so you needn’t worry about the lack of shower curtain.”
Buffy gave him another grateful look, and made her way downstairs. The space seemed cavernous and echoing now that it was mostly empty, but it somehow suggested possibility, rather than despair and destruction. She felt minutely less guilty about the whole affair, having done something tangible for Spike, however lame that might be. She made her way to the shower, which still didn’t exactly look like the Ritz, but it was better than nothing. Going home filthy would just mean more well intentioned interrogation, she realized. The water was lukewarm at best, which made lingering unappealing, so she quickly de-sooted herself and her hair and got out. The clothes he had gotten her were just her size. She idly wondered if he had been used to shopping for Drusilla, and thus had acquired a knack for figuring out women’s clothing sizes. Why am I only now finding out about his hidden talents? she wondered. Maybe you were too busy beating the shit out of him to figure it out earlier, you think? she answered herself. She borrowed Spike’s comb to tackle her hair, assuming he wouldn’t mind. As she attacked her tangles, she grew more pensive. I wish I knew what I felt. I’ve been reeling for so long, I don’t even know which way is up, which voice to listen to, or who to trust. She sighed, once again pushed the task of figuring things out to the back burner, and went upstairs.
Spike had cleared away their meal and was watching the end of Passions on his battered TV. When he saw Buffy come upstairs, he grinned and said, “What do you know? There was a Slayer under all that grime.” Buffy half smiled, but otherwise said nothing. Spike clicked off the TV and cocked his head to the side. “You alright?”
“Yeah,” she said unenthusiastically. “I just feel… confused. I don’t know what I’m going to say to the others, but I’m afraid they’re going to do something stupid to mess my life up more if I don’t go back and let them know I’m ok.”
“If you need moral support…” he began.
“No,” Buffy interrupted. “I’m afraid that if you’re there, they’re just going to blame everything on your bad influence or something.”
Spike knew she had a point. But he still worried that she wasn’t strong enough to make the Scoobies understand. She could face a dozen vampires and all manner of demon foes. But lately, all it took was two or three ‘friends’ to utterly defeat her. “I understand what you’re saying, Buffy. Just… don’t let them talk themselves out of this, ok?”
“I’ll try,” she said, without inspiring a lot of confidence.
“I’ll be here if you need me,” Spike promised. Buffy came over and gently planted one more kiss on his lips, then took a deep breath, turned, and left. Spike watched her go with a great sense of unease. Good luck, Buffy. You’re gonna need it. Frowning, he made his way downstairs for his own shower.
Outside, Buffy blinked in the afternoon sunlight. She hadn’t really been out in the daylight except to sprint to Spike’s crypt since that night. Given the hour, she decided to head home. The gang usually convened in the Magic Box in the afternoons, and she wanted to ease her way back into things. If she called the store from her house, she would have a few minutes to collect herself on her home turf before she had to deal with the others.
As she walked, she tried to puzzle out how she felt about Spike. Spike still loved her. She had never wanted to admit that it was real, that it was possible, but it was clearly true. She had used him as a punching bag and a sex toy, treated him like garbage, and yet he let her in, took care of her, and comforted her. There was no denying it anymore – he loved her, and he wouldn’t leave her unless she drove him away. That fling with Anya had been the result of her pushing him away, not him pulling toward another. She got that now. But where would they go from here? Was he just being nice because she was traumatized? Would he disappear as soon as she was herself again? Would they go back to fighting and hurting each other?
And how was she going to face Xander again? What had he told the others? If they didn’t believe her, how was she going to be able to stay around them? And if they did believe her, what then? What was the protocol for a friend changing from a person who was there every day, to someone that she never wanted to be alone in a room with again? She rubbed her arms as she walked, having absolutely no answers. She was just going to have to play it by ear, and that fact alone made her nearly nauseous. She fought the overwhelming urge to flee back to Spike’s crypt and forced her feet to continue toward Revello Drive.
She got home and found to her relief that the house was empty. She checked the answering machine and found one message, from the Doublemeat Palace. She hadn’t shown up for work in two days, and was going to lose her job if she didn’t call and explain herself, said her manager. Buffy stared at the machine for a long time. I don’t know if I can go back there, she nearly whimpered. God, I’m just so tired of it all. She deleted the message, throwing yet another thing on the infamous Back Burner of her mind. Someday there was going to be an avalanche in her brain of all the thoughts she had pushed aside until later, and she was just going to completely lose it. At which point maybe they’ll lock me up in a nuthouse again and I can finally get a break.
She wandered around the first floor of the house for a few minutes. She noticed Tara’s jacket hanging in the hallway. Guess Tara’s back to stay. Great – another body soaking up utilities. She continued her circuit until she arrived back at the telephone. She stared at it for a few long minutes, then snatched it up and quickly dialed the Magic Box number before she lost her nerve completely.
“Magic Box, how may I help you?” Anya chirped on the other end of the line.
“Hey Anya, it’s Buffy,” she said. “Is Dawn there?”
“Buffy! Where are you? Were you captured by something while you were intoxicated?” Anya’s usual lack of tact instantly drew the attention of Tara, Willow, and Dawn, who had been sitting around the table looking at spellbooks and homework, respectively.
Dawn leaped to her feet and all but knocked Anya down for the phone. “Buffy? Are you ok? Where are you? What happened?”
Buffy had to yank her ear away from the onslaught of questions coming over the phone. “I’m ok, Dawn. I’m at home.”
“Are you staying there?” Dawn asked defensively. “Or are you going to disappear during the time it takes the three of us to get home?”
“I’ll be here,” Buffy said. I can handle Tara, Willow, and Dawn. I can handle Tara, Willow, and Dawn, she repeated to herself, hoping she would believe it by the time they got there.
“You’d better be,” snapped Dawn. “See you soon.”
Buffy said goodbye and hung up the phone, slowly. So what do I tell them? If she hadn’t promised Dawn that she would be there she would have bolted again. How could she look them in the eye and tell them she had gotten so completely drunk that she had tripped over her own feet and knocked herself out? Or that while she was incapacitated Xander, their trusted friend, had taken advantage of her? How could she ever admit to anyone, even Spike, the horrible, twisted, possessive words he had spouted while violating her? She fought the rising panic and went into the living room, curling up on the couch to wait for the others.
When Dawn hung up, she turned to Willow and Tara with a look of joyous relief. “She’s at home! She’s ok! Can we go home? Please?”
“Of course,” said Tara, sharing Dawn’s relief. The three girls gathered up their things, said goodbye to Anya, and headed out the door.
“Where are you off to?” came a voice from behind them. The turned to see Xander, who had just gotten off work and was on his way to the Magic Box to check for updates.
“Buffy’s home!” said Willow. “We’re heading there right now.”
“Do you want me to drive you? Car’s right here,” Xander offered.
“Sure,” said Tara uncertainly. She wondered about whether having all four of them descend on her at once would be a good idea, especially since they weren’t really sure where she had gone or what had happened to her. She still had a nagging feeling that Xander was covering something up. But since she didn’t want to cause a scene, and didn’t have a good reason to refuse the ride, she held her tongue.
Dawn heard the tone in Tara’s voice and looked at her, but also said nothing. She wanted to get home to see her sister, and quicker was better. “Thanks for the offer,” Dawn said as she followed the others to the car.
Xander carefully guarded his expressions. On the one hand, he really wanted to see Buffy alone, so he could apologize and explain himself without an audience. On the other hand, he didn’t mind having the others as backup in case he had to deal with a severely pissed off Slayer. Besides, he wanted to be able to give his version of the story, in the hopes of not coming out the villain of the piece. As soon as the others were situated, he drove off toward Revello Drive.
The second the car stopped Dawn leaped out and flew up the walk and into the house. “Buffy?” she called. Buffy sat up on the couch and smiled faintly at her sister. Dawn ran up and flung her arms around her, practically tackling her as she said, “Don’t ever disappear like that again! You gave me a heart attack!”
“Relax, Dawn,” Buffy said, trying to disentangle herself. “I just went away for a couple of nights. I didn’t run away to join the circus.”
“Buffy! Are you ok? What happened?” said Tara as she joined them in the living room.
Buffy stood up and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I took off on everyone. I needed to…” Her voice trailed off as Willow entered the room, followed closely by Xander. She felt a rising nausea as he came into view. Should have been me, his voice echoed in her brain. She winced and squeezed her eyes shut, blocking out the memory.
“Buffy?” said Willow. “What’s wrong?”
She looked into Willow’s earnest eyes, but couldn’t entirely block out Xander, looming in her peripheral vision. “I… um…” she stammered. “Sorry, it’s just… I’ve had a rough couple of days.” Can’t do this. I just can’t do this.
“But where did you go?” Dawn persisted. “Xander said you left his house drunk and we were worried something had gotten you!”
His stinking breath on her mouth, crushing her lips with his. The pain. It had never, ever been painful after her first time. Her voice sounded distant to her own ears as she said, “I had had a lot to drink. Needed to be somewhere else for a while.”
“We were all worried about you, Buff,” said Xander, wading tentatively into the conversation.
Buffy teetered on the edge of control. What do I say? Her eyes got a bit wider as the silence stretched out and she bit the inside of her cheek trying not to scream. Finally, she blurted out, “I can’t talk about it all right now, OK? I was gone, I’m back, so just… drop it.”
Tara was alarmed at Buffy’s behavior. “Buffy, what happened? You can tell us, you know that?”
Buffy shook her head and backed away toward the stairs. “No. No I really can’t. Not now. Later,” she said as she turned and fled up the stairs to her room, slamming the door. The others stared after her in shock.
Tara turned to Xander with accusation in her eyes. “Xander, the truth! What did you do to her?”
“What do you mean, what did I do?” Xander sputtered defensively. “We drank together! She got drunk! I didn’t force beer down her throat!”
“Then why is she acting all skittish around you?” Dawn asked. My God, was Spike right? The idea nauseated her.
“She’s acting weird around all of us, not just me!” Xander argued.
“I think we need to give her some time alone,” said Willow. A tiny niggling of doubt was flashing in the corner of her mind. Was it just me, or did she clam up when Xander come in? What’s wrong here?
Dawn spoke up. “Xander, I don’t know what the truth is, but Buffy seemed to get all upset when you showed up. So maybe you need to leave for a while until she’s herself again.”
Xander was a little taken aback at the steel in Dawn’s voice, but finally he said, “Fine. I’ll call later.” He turned and left, closing the door slightly harder than strictly necessary.
Dawn left the witches in her wake and went up to Buffy’s room straight away and knocked softly. She got no answer, so she pushed the door open. “Can I come in?” she asked. Buffy was curled up on her bed, facing the wall. Dawn came over and curled up behind her on the bed, resting her head on Buffy’s shoulder. “Please, Buffy, don’t ignore me,” she pleaded.
“I’m sorry I took off on you again,” Buffy said in a flat voice. “I was just really stressed out.”
Buffy shook her head. “I just can’t talk about it yet. It’s too much.”
Dawn bit her lip then said, “I saw Spike yesterday morning. He told me that Xander had…” Dawn searched her brain for the word Spike had used. “Assaulted you.”
Buffy closed her eyes against the flood of memories. “Dawn, I know you’re trying to help,” she said quietly, “But it’s just not something I can talk about yet, ok?”
“But if he did something, he shouldn’t get away with it!” Dawn protested.
“I know,” Buffy whispered. “Just please, don’t make me face him. Not yet.”
Dawn was helpless in the face of Buffy’s desperation. Not knowing what else to do, she wrapped her arm protectively around her sister and held her tight.
|Chapter #8 - Chapter 8|
|Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Joss Whedon. Lucky Joss.|
Thank you so much for all the encouraging reviews. Sorry this update has taken so long – work intruded!
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 8
Dawn lay there next to Buffy for a while, growing more and more afraid for her sister. Buffy wasn’t crying, she was just staring at the wall. She had squeezed Dawn’s arm as it lay wrapped around her, but otherwise hadn’t moved or talked. Dawn didn’t know what to do or what to say. Finally she couldn’t take it any longer and said, “Buffy, can you at least tell me where you went? You know, after you left Xander’s?”
“I went to Spike’s,” she answered after a long pause. “He took care of me.”
“Are you two… together?” Dawn asked. She quietly hoped that they had somehow mended their relationship. Dawn thought the two of them needed each other, even if they didn’t realize it.
“Don’t know,” said Buffy. “We hurt each other a lot. But he helped me the last couple days. I guess you can say we have a truce.” Be honest, you want it to be more than that, she admonished herself. But the thought of dealing with the Scoobies’ reaction to her and Spike as a couple, on top of the situation with Xander, made her shudder.
Willow poked her head in. “I made dinner, if you’re hungry,” she said. Her gut twisted a bit at the sight of Buffy staring blankly at the wall.
“Buffy?” Dawn inquired, sitting up and looking anxiously at her sister.
“You go ahead, Dawn,” Buffy said. “I’ll be down a little later.” Dawn hesitated, reluctant to leave her. Buffy reassured her sister, “I promise I won’t run away. Just… give me a little time, ok?”
“Alright,” Dawn conceded. She paused at the door, looking back at Buffy. “I’ll be ok, go eat,” Buffy said, dragging her eyes off the wall long enough to look into Dawn’s eyes. Dawn nodded and made her way past Willow and down the stairs.
Willow lingered, hesitating, then came in and sat down on the edge of the bed. Looking down at her lap she said, “Buffy, I know I haven’t been there for you as much as I could have been recently. I guess we’ve all been sort of drifting apart lately. But I just want you to know that I’m here now, if you want to talk.”
“What is there to talk about?” Buffy said in a tired voice, returning her gaze to the wall.
“I don’t know what happened between you and Xander, but I think maybe talking about it might help you two to work it out. I know he hasn’t been himself lately after all the stuff with Anya, and I guess finding out about you and Spike really threw him. But he was just as worried as the rest of us when you were missing. I think we all just want things to go back to the way they were.”
“The way they were when, Willow?” Buffy demanded, rolling over to fix her friend with a pained expression. “The way they were before I died? Before mom died? Before I was called? When?”
Willow was taken aback, and found that she had no quick answer. Buffy found herself getting angry at Willow’s hurt expression, and went on. “I’m supposed to feel sorry for Xander? Because he ditched his fiancée at the altar? Because he’s so fucking jealous of Spike that he goes into a murderous rage at the thought of Spike touching ‘his’ woman?”
“I know he’s made some mistakes lately,” Willow countered. “But deep down he’s still a good person.”
“Mistakes,” Buffy said bitterly. “We all make them. But we all seem to be experts at dodging the consequences, don’t we?” Including me. I treated Spike like shit, and he forgave me again, and again. He should have had his one good day ten times over.
Willow stood up, finding herself unbearably uncomfortable in the face of Buffy’s bitterness and anger. “I think you need some more time alone,” she stammered. “I’ll just… be downstairs.” Willow turned and practically bolted from the room. Buffy stood up and paced the room, alternately clutching herself and balling up her fists as she wrestled and wrestled with her feelings.
Willow, Tara, and Dawn shared a nearly silent supper. Willow had come down saying that Buffy ‘wasn’t ready to talk yet’, and they had left it at that, all of them at a total loss for what to do. After the meal, Dawn helped clear the dishes and then went to sit on the back porch, leaving the two witches to confer in whispers about the situation.
Night had fallen, and the first few stars were emerging. Dawn sat in Buffy’s usual spot, hugging her knees and leaning against the railing. How do I get her to open up? Dawn puzzled to herself. If Xander really raped her, what does that mean? Does that mean he isn’t part of the group anymore? Do we turn him over to the police? What do we do?
“Evening, Nibblet.” Dawn sat up, startled, as Spike emerged from the shadows and approached the porch.
“Jeez, Spike, don’t scare me like that!” she said.
“Sorry, pet. Vampire, you know. Scariness is sort of part of the package,” he said with a slight smirk. Growing serious, he gently inquired, “How’s Buffy?”
Dawn sighed. “She won’t come out of her room. We all came home when she called the Magic Box to say she was back, but the second she saw Xander she clammed up and went upstairs. She just keeps saying she can’t talk about it.”
Spike ground his teeth in frustration. “Is the whelp still here?” he growled.
Dawn shook her head. “I asked him to leave after Buffy locked herself in her room.”
“Glad someone in the bunch has some sense,” muttered Spike.
“Spike, please, tell me what happened. She said she was with you. You’ve got to know more than she’s saying,” Dawn pleaded.
“Dawn, I really don’t feel it’s my place to tell her tale,” Spike said. “But as far as her time with me, I made sure she was taken care of. Made sure she got checked out at the hospital, fed her, gave her a safe place to sleep.”
Dawn’s eyes widened. “Hospital? She was hurt?”
“Nothing major, Bit,” Spike reassured her. “But I really don’t want to violate her privacy any more than I have. She… needs to come to her own understanding of what happened, and she needs time to process it. I can tell you all the details, but I don’t want her more upset than she already is.”
“I’m so scared, Spike,” said Dawn. “It’s like she’s back to the way she was after Willow’s spell, and she won’t let anyone in, and Xander just seems to make everything worse, and no one knows how to help her.”
At Xander’s name Spike found his ire rising again. “Dawn, you just keep an eye on your sister, and you run interference if that whelp shows up here again. I’ve got some business to attend to. Tell Buffy I’ll take care of patrol.” With that Spike set his jaw, turned, and disappeared into the night, leaving a confused but oddly comforted teen in his wake.
Xander had left Buffy’s house feeling hurt and angry. She could at least talk to me. We’ve been friends for so long, you’d think she owed me that much. He had driven to a bar that his coworkers tended to frequent. Not a teeming, colorful dance hall, like the Bronze, but a serious working man’s pub, designed for people who wanted to drink and watch sports on TV, but not much else. It was still relatively early, so the bar had few patrons. He ordered a beer and drank it, pondering the situation.
Buffy won’t talk to me. Dawn’s angry at me. Tara seems angry at me too. Didn’t even do anything to them, so not sure why they’re so pissed. At least Willow’s still on my side. But how long can Buffy keep this up? Is she going to stay in her room forever? She’s gotta come out some time, if only to patrol. He took two more long pulls at his beer, finished it, and called for another.
As he started on beer number two, his thoughts turned to Anya. How could she have done it? I know she’s still mad about the wedding. I guess she has a right to be. But to sleep with Spike? In the Magic Box? What is it about him? If he was honest with himself, some part of him would admit that he was jealous of Spike’s looks and confidence. Nothing seemed to faze the vampire. Even having that chip in his head hadn’t cramped his style that much. Still don’t get why Buffy didn’t stake his ass the moment he showed up on Giles’ doorstep. For a Slayer, she has a lot of trouble slaying sometimes. Angel for example. Should have slayed him the first time he vamped out in front of her, saved us all a lot of grief. He sighed and worked on finishing off the second beer, then called for a third.
A faint voice in the back of his head warned him to slow down, but he ignored it. He instead found himself contemplating how he could get back to at least speaking terms with either Anya or Buffy. Anya would probably be easier at first, he thought. She still cares enough about me that some serious groveling might get us back on speaking terms. The third beer seemed to drown out the portions of his brain that remembered that Anya and Buffy were the injured parties in all this. By the time he reached the bottom of the glass his mind was made up. He was going to the Magic Box for some serious, fence-mending groveling.
Buffy’s mental turmoil was briefly interrupted when she heard soft voices in the yard. Her Slayer sense told her vampire, and she soon recognized Spike’s smooth accent. She couldn’t quite make out what Dawn and Spike were discussing, but she would wager that the topic was her current hermit-like behavior. Part of her wanted nothing more than to run down to Spike and throw herself into his arms and let him keep taking care of her. But was that fair to him? She wasn’t sure exactly what she felt toward him, but she knew one thing: she was done hurting him. He had earned the right to be counted as a friend and treated as a friend. That means I shouldn’t be running to him only when I need something from him. I guess. But he seemed to enjoy just being with me. God, I’m so confused!
As Buffy kept pacing and turning everything around in her mind, she realized that the voices had stopped. She heard the back door slam and decided she couldn’t stand it any longer. She needed to know what he had said. She bit her lip, opened the door, and made her way downstairs.
“Buffy!” Tara exclaimed as Buffy entered the kitchen. Tara’s heart broke a little at the haggard look of Buffy’s face.
“Was that Spike?” she asked Dawn, who had just come in from the porch. “What did he say?”
“He told me he had taken care of you,” Dawn said carefully. “He said he’d patrol for you tonight, not to worry about it.”
Buffy nodded. It was so like him to remember those simple little things that helped her out. Willow and Tara can’t even remember to, oh, pay rent, like ever, but somehow Spike can remember that patrol needs to happen even when I’m not up to it. She silently poured herself a glass of water and sat down at the counter.
Willow, Dawn, and Tara all exchanged nervous glances. Willow said, “Buffy? Would… are you hungry?”
Buffy shook her head. “Not just yet,” she said. She immediately clammed up again, staring at her water glass as if it was a crystal ball that held all the answers.
Dawn hesitated, then spoke up. “Spike said you had gone to the hospital.”
Tara looked alarmed. “Hospital? Oh heavens, Buffy what happened?”
What happened? What happened? What happened? They were all like a bunch of parrots that had learned exactly one phrase and repeated it again, and again, and again. Those chattering, pitying, concerned voices that demanded to know why she wasn’t the perky, perfect Slayer anymore. What happened? What happened? What happened?
Willow chimed in, “Buffy, it will really help if you can just talk about what happened so we can do something for you.”
Buffy snapped. She jumped to her feet, knocking the stool over backward, and with an incoherent roar spun and whipped the glass at the wall, sending water and glass shards everywhere. The others jumped and unconsciously backed away from Buffy and toward each other, edging closer to the door. Buffy whirled to face them, her eyes blazing and her fists clenched.
“You want to know what happened?” she screamed. “Fine! I was worried that my friend was upset, so I went to check on him. He was drinking, a lot. I had the brilliant idea that he shouldn’t drink alone. He asked about me and Spike, because God forbid I should have a relationship without official Xander approval. I thought he was being sympathetic, until I was too drunk to stand and he grabbed me and kissed me!”
“He told us that,” Willow interrupted. “He felt terrible about it…”
“Yeah, so terrible that he did it again! Only I fell over backward trying to get away from him and knocked myself cold on the edge of his fucking coffee table!”
“Oh, Buffy,” said Tara in a voice full of pity.
Buffy ranted on as if she hadn’t heard. “Then, as all good friends would obviously do, he decided that my being unconscious meant that I wanted him to fuck me!” She was raging at the top of her lungs now, only dimly aware of the tears beginning to roll down her face.
Willow was shaking her head in disbelief, while Tara and Dawn just stood there, slack jawed with shock. “I just can’t believe he would…” Willow started.
“Rape me?” Buffy spat out, as Willow flinched back from the word. “Yeah, I had a hard time believing that too. But the blood and the pain and the lovely things he said about how I should have been his all along made it sort of a dead giveaway,” she growled sarcastically.
“Did you tell him to stop?” Willow asked, and then wished she hadn’t.
Buffy advanced on Willow, furious. “I can’t believe you’re still defending him!” she cried, as Willow backed away. “Of course I told him to stop! Didn’t make a damn bit of difference. I was drunk and I had a concussion, Willow! I could barely move! He outweighs me by about 90 pounds! What the fuck could I do?“ She was practically vibrating now with emotion. Willow was shaking her head back and forth, unable to comprehend what she was hearing.
Tara was pulled between the utter shock in her girlfriend’s face and the pain, hurt, and rage in Buffy’s. She did her best to interject a calming note. “Did you go to Spike’s afterward?”
The sound of Spike’s name somehow pierced the rage. Buffy tried to get her breathing under control. “Spike found me when I was stumbling home, puking my guts out. I… I didn’t let him help me right away.” She found herself looking away from them, addressing her remarks to the countertop. “I climbed out the window when I heard Xander coming in the morning after. I couldn’t…” She found herself unable to explain the blind panic that had seized her at that moment.
Dawn came over and tentatively laid a hand on her sister’s back. “It’s ok, Buffy,” she soothed.
“Spike made me go to the hospital. He… took care of me.” She realized those words didn’t really express the way he had listened to her, held her, kept her sane. “He loves me,” she added quietly, finally believing it, really accepting it, after all this time. She covered her face, lost in the whirlwind of thoughts and feelings.
Dawn gently tugged at Buffy until she turned around. She wrapped her arms around Buffy, who finally gave up the struggle and broke down, clinging to her sister and letting it all out.
|Chapter #9 - Chapter 9|
|Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Joss Whedon. I’m not making any money off of this.|
Thank you, so much, to all the reviewers! Your feedback has inspired me to ignore my laundry and write instead!
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 9
Anya was alone in the Magic Box, as was usual these days. She had always idly wondered what her status was with the Scoobies, but now it seemed painfully obvious. Xander had gotten custody of the friends in the breakup, and Anya was on the outside looking in. Oh sure, Tara and Willow came by to use the books, and Tara at least was trying to be understanding. But Willow seemed unable to let go of her vision of Xander the Ideal Friend. Willow avoided the subject of the wedding, or somehow tried to deflect the blame onto Xander’s upbringing or the demon that had tricked him or the phase of the moon or whatever. Couldn’t possibly be that Xander is a stunted little adolescent. Oh no. Devil made him do it, obviously. Anya slammed the register drawer in frustration and picked up a bottle of cleaner and some paper towels to get the handprints off the display cases.
Just as she started on the first case, she heard a tapping at the door. She looked up and saw Xander’s dark eyes and shaggy hair framed in the small window. Anya debated just ignoring him, but then decided that it would just lead to more aggravation down the line. Rolling her eyes she stalked over and unlocked the door. They stood there for a second, Anya with her hand on the doorknob and Xander staring down at her. “What do you want, Xander?” Anya said at last.
“Please, can I come in? Can we just talk?” he pleaded.
Anya hesitated. She could smell beer on his breath. “How much have you had to drink?” she asked warily.
“I only had a beer or two at the bar with the guys after work,” he said. Ok, it was a while after work, but there were guys there. Somewhere. “I just want to talk, ok?”
Anya sighed and stepped back. “Come in then.” She made her way back to the cleaning supplies and went on with her work. “I need to get this done. You talk, I’ll clean.”
Xander already didn’t like how this was going. He was hoping for a heartfelt reconciliation, and here he was being barely tolerated. But he sat down on a stool behind the counter and watched her work for a moment or two. “I just wanted to apologize for the other night. I was… upset. Shocked. I said the first things that came to my head.”
Anya kept cleaning without making eye contact. “I understand that it was a surprise. Wasn’t meant to be broadcast to the world. Doesn’t give you the right to treat me that way.”
“I know,” Xander sighed, running a hand through his hair. “It’s just that… I still care about you, Anya. I feel like something is missing now that you’re gone.”
“Yeah, regular orgasms and someone to feel superior to,” Anya muttered bitterly as she moved on to the next case.
“Is that what you think I felt for you?” he asked. He got up and came up behind her. He moved his hand as if to touch her hair, then dropped it with a sigh. “Anya, I loved you. I still love you. I made some mistakes but…”
“Mistakes? Is that what you call it?” She spun to face him angrily. “You broke my heart, Xander. You used that demon as an excuse to keep acting like the immature permanent teenager you are.” She turned her back to him and continued scrubbing the counter.
“So, what, that’s it? I get no chance to make it up to you? No chance to make amends?”
Anya leaned on the display case and hung her head. “I don’t have any more chances to give you, Xander.” She turned once more to face him. “I still care about you. I do. But I can’t bounce back from this right away. I don’t know if I can ever bounce back from this. You’re just not the man I hoped you’d be.”
Xander felt a hot ember of anger growing in the back of his brain. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go. She was supposed to notice how contrite he was, and they were supposed to come to some new understanding, a fresh start. Instead she was yelling at him and insinuating that he wasn’t even a man. “So what do you do now? Stay around and just screw every demon who comes through the door?” he spat out.
“Fuck you, Xander!” Anya cried, slamming down the bottle of cleaner with a bang. “Like I told you the other night, it was all about solace. At least Spike is honest! He didn’t say he loved me and then dump me like a pair of old shoes! He just wanted to forget his pain for a few minutes. So did I. That would have been the end of it if you hadn’t come barging in where you had no business being!”
Xander grabbed her upper arms. “You are my business, Anya! What part of ‘I still love you’ do you not understand? How the hell can I stand by and watch you screw that animal and not step in?”
“You’re hurting me,” Anya said. Xander let go and stepped back a fraction. “And for the record, Spike is not an animal. He’s a man and he’s…”
“He. Is. Not. A. Person!” roared Xander. “What the fuck does it take for all you stupid bitches to realize that he is nothing but a monster that should have been destroyed years ago?”
A small knot of fear bloomed in Anya’s gut. Xander was growing belligerent, and she wasn’t entirely sure how much the alcohol had blunted his self control. But she swallowed her fear and retorted, “Monster or not, he kept Buffy from dancing herself to death when you called down that demon! He saved our asses a dozen times over the summer! And Buffy definitely considers him to be an ally. So who are you to say he should be destroyed?”
Xander ground his teeth in fury. He grabbed Anya’s arms again in blind rage, shook her, and shoved her to the side, causing her to land in a heap on the floor. She scrambled back from him with wide, frightened eyes. “You and Buffy are blind. As soon as he’s removed from the equation, you’ll both see how wrong you were.” With that he stormed out, slamming the shop door behind him. Anya stared at the door for a moment, then covered her face, shuddering.
Behind her, unseen, a dark curly haired figure came into view. I think it’s time to give William the Bloody Awful Poet a hand if I can, Halfrek thought as she faded away again.
Buffy managed to get herself back under control after a few long minutes, while Dawn held her tight and Tara and Willow stood, staring and shellshocked. She pulled away from Dawn and stood up, pushing her hair back and wiping her eyes. Tara went over to the cabinets and found another cup, plastic this time, and filled it with water. “Thanks,” said Buffy as she drank it down.
“So, what happens now?” Willow said quietly. Her head was spinning. Xander, who had been her onetime secret make out partner, who had comforted and shielded her since kindergarten, had raped Buffy. No more ambiguity, no more ‘big misunderstanding’. It was a bald, stated fact, and Willow had no earthly idea what to do with that fact.
Dawn spoke up indignantly. “We should call the cops on his ass!”
“Dawn! Language!” said Buffy, but without much force. “There’s no point in calling the police. There’s no evidence or anything. I came home and scrubbed myself down to the third layer of skin, and I told the hospital I didn’t want to talk to the authorities.”
“So he just gets away with this?” Dawn yelled.
“She didn’t say that,” said Tara. “Buffy? How do you want to handle this?”
Buffy bit her lip and leaned back against the counter. “I don’t think I can be around him anymore. I don’t want him in my house ever again.”
“But Buffy, he’s… one of the Scoobies,” said Willow. “How can we just cast him out forever? I know you’re angry, and you have every right to be, but there has to be some way to fix this!” Willow’s stomach churned in knots as she thought about having to break off all contact with Xander. He had been a constant in her life for so long, she just couldn’t conceive of him not being there.
Buffy stared at Willow, appalled at her obtuse behavior. She struggled to find the words to make the witch understand. “Remember high school chemistry, Willow? We mixed something with something else and got some new color, or a puff of smoke or whatever?”
“Yes,” said Willow with a puzzled expression. She was frankly amazed that Buffy remembered anything of high school chemistry, given the lack of effort she had put into it.
“But you couldn’t make it go in reverse, could you?” Buffy went on. “It’s not like you could pour whatever was left into two different containers and have it magically go back to the start. Once the reaction happened, that was it. You were left with something new. And if you did it wrong, you were left with something you didn’t want, but there was nothing you could do about it.”
“But this isn’t an acid-base reaction!” said Willow. “These are relationships, with real people who care about you. Don’t you remember how we used to be a team? Don’t you want to work to get that back?”
“We weren’t a team before,” Buffy sighed. “Before I had Giles telling me what to do and second guessing me, and I had you all staging ‘interventions’ whenever I did something you thought was wrong, regardless of what I thought. You dragged me back from the grave, erased my memory, spent all my money while I was dead – I didn’t ask for my ‘team’ to do any of that. There is no more ‘way it was’. There’s no way to reverse this or wipe it out.” Buffy closed her eyes and rubbed her temples, exhausted with the effort of continuing the debate.
Willow was hurt at Buffy throwing her sins back into her face in the midst of all this, and couldn’t stop herself from saying, “How many times can I apologize for the magic? I know it was wrong – I’ve tried to change. And how can you bring up the money? We used it to care for Dawn!”
“Which, yeah, I appreciate,” said Buffy. “But since then, you’ve been living here, rent free, while I sling burgers!”
“But I never…” Willow began.
“Willow, she’s right,” Tara interrupted, quietly but firmly. Willow turned to look at Tara, who had kept more or less silent during this whole argument. “When’s the last time we actually listened to what Buffy needs? We’ve been telling her how she should feel, and what she should do, and she’s just been too messed up to stop us. We’ve dumped all this stuff on her nonstop, and it’s got to end.” Tara turned to Buffy with sincere, sad eyes. “I’m sorry Buffy. I kept my mouth shut when I shouldn’t have. You’re absolutely right. We should be helping with the bills, and we shouldn’t be telling you what to do.”
Buffy was absolutely stunned by Tara’s heartfelt apology. She stepped forward and hugged Tara, whispering, “Thank you” with a deep sense of gratitude.
Buffy turned back to Willow. “I know you and Xander have been friends for a long time. I won’t tell you what to do. But I do not want him near me.” Having drawn the line in the sand, Buffy could feel her strength and control returning, a little at a time. She straightened up and faced her friend square on. “If that means you can’t be near me either, then so be it. But there is no way I can forgive this.”
Willow grew pale at the quiet menace in Buffy’s voice. Buffy meant every single word. But Willow found herself still unable to process the fact that Xander was no longer going to be part of the everyday routine. No more sending him for donuts, or listening to his bad jokes, or his geeky science fiction references. “I don’t know what to do,” she said after a long pause. “I think that…”
Her words were interrupted by the telephone. Dawn grabbed it and said, “Hello?” After listening for a moment she handed it to Buffy. “It’s Anya.”
“Anya? What’s going on?” said Buffy.
Anya’s voice was shaky as she said, “Xander was here. He’s been drinking. We argued. He says…” she paused then continued, “He says he’s going to remove Spike from the equation.”
“Remove… He’s going after Spike?”
“Yes. He just completely flipped out.”
Buffy recognized the tone of Anya’s voice. It sounded a lot like hers had the last few days. “Did he hurt you?” Buffy demanded.
“No… not much. But you’ve got to go warn Spike.”
“I will. Thanks, Anya.” She hung up and turned back to the others. “Xander just got done flipping out on Anya after a few drinks. He’s going after Spike.”
Dawn gasped, “Buffy, you’ve got to stop him!”
Buffy was already shrugging into her jacket and putting on her shoes. She stood up, and the others could see that the Slayer was in the building by the fire in her green eyes. She locked her gaze on Willow. “If he dusts Spike, I’ll kill him.” That statement was left hanging in the air as she turned and dashed out the door.
|Chapter #10 - Chapter 10|
|Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Joss Whedon et. al.|
Thank you again for all the reviewers! You have completely inspired me to stay up late working on this!
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 10
Spike stalked out of the Summers’ yard, anger pouring off of him in waves. Harris must pay. Son of a bitch will never make my girl cry again. He paused only to light a cigarette on his way into town.
After Buffy had left his crypt he had showered and changed, then he’d made his way through the tunnel with a few loads of garbage to a side passage that led nowhere in particular. He supposed he could have waited until dark to take the garbage outside, but he found himself restless and unable to sit still to wait out the sun. By the time the sun finally set he had reduced the enormous trash pile to a relatively small trash pile, which definitely improved the surroundings somewhat. He had lit a bunch of candles and contemplated the next move over a cigarette and a large glass of blood. He wanted to find Harris and beat him to a bloody pulp. His dilemma was how to do it without exploding his brain with the fucking chip. It was hard to get around the fact that the chip worked on intent, and he fully intended to harm the slimy little bastard. Finally, after turning the situation around endlessly in his mind, he decided to go check on Buffy first. Maybe she had recovered enough to want revenge on the bastard, and would lend a hand in administering the requisite pounding.
But now, as he left Buffy’s yard, he was torn with rage and a fierce pitying sadness. The thought of the Slayer, his Slayer, huddled in her room away from the world tore at him. The fact that the asshole that put her in this state was still walking around, and still running his mouth and upsetting her was not to be borne. He was done caring what it was going to do to his head. Don’t care if my whole sodding skull bursts open. He is going to pay dearly.
Spike thought about Harris, and how he fought. Wild, swinging haymaker punches. A fair amount of force, due to his size, but very little grace. Decent enough with an axe or some other long handled weapon. Must be the whole American baseball thing. Spike figured that if he could get Xander swinging and charging, he could probably do a fair amount of damage just by redirecting him and letting his momentum be his own worst enemy. Spike lit yet another cigarette as he ran through it in his mind. He wasn’t a big thinker, or a strategist, but he was a fighter, and he could map out a brawl in his head with a surprising amount of detail if he knew his opponent. Course that didn’t stop Buffy from kicking your ass did it? He smirked ruefully at the memory of carefully studying Buffy, watching videos of her fighting, sending minions to test her, and still getting the shit kicked out of him on a regular basis. Magnificent specimen, my Slayer, he thought.
He shook his head, returning to the problem at hand. To execute the desired thrashing, he needed to locate the whelp first. He headed over to Xander’s apartment as a first guess. When he got there he didn’t see Xander’s car around, but then Spike wasn’t completely sure where he parked it. He read the names on the door, and rang the appropriate bell. No answer. So either he’s not at home, or he’s completely passed out. Spike looked around, and seeing no one else he vamped out to use his senses better. He could smell the scent of various people, but no recent Harris smells. Guess he didn’t come home after work then.
Thinking a bit, he went to check out the Magic Box. As he got there, he could tell instantly that Xander had been there. For one thing, his scent was everywhere around the door. For another, he could pick up the faint sound of sobbing within. He tried the door, which turned and opened. Anya was seated at the table, her head in her arms, crying her heart out. She looked up when he came in. He noticed some bruises starting to blossom on her upper arms and it increased his irritation level to new heights. “You alright, pet?” he asked.
“Spike, what are you doing here?” Anya asked, sniffling and wary.
“I was looking for Harris. I take it he came and left.”
Anya nodded. “He’s out looking for you, actually. Thinks that getting rid of you will solve all his problems.”
Spike scoffed. “His problems would take fourteen of my lifetimes to solve. He got any weapons you know about?”
Anya shrugged. “Just the usual stakes, as far as I know. Unless he raided Buffy’s weapons chest again.”
“Unlikely. Dawn booted him out of there after they got home.”
“What happened between them? No one seems to know, or want to tell me.”
Spike looked with sorrow on her tearstained face. “This isn’t going to be easy to hear, Anya,” he warned. Taking a deep breath he quietly said, “He raped her. She fell and got knocked out, and he raped her.”
Anya’s face registered pity, but not much surprise. “I never thought he would ever actually go that far, but when he’s had too much to drink on a bad day anything is possible. Is Buffy going to be ok?”
“I hope so. But I need to find Harris. He needs to be made to understand what he did. He is not getting away with this.” Spike fixed her with his blue eyes. “Can you help me find him?”
“Believe me, I wish I could,” she said bitterly. “But I don’t know where he is. My guess is that he would go somewhere to try to ambush you or something, the coward.”
“Thanks anyway, love,” he said gently. “Are you ok here by yourself?”
She nodded again. “I need some time alone. Thanks though.” As an afterthought she added, “You probably shouldn’t kill him, I guess. But beyond that, I’m done with him.”
“You’re better shut of him, pet. You deserve better.”
“Thank you, Spike,” Anya said softly.
“No problem,” Spike said, and he turned to leave. Outside he fought to control his rage. Fucking bastard. The two women who he should be worshiping on his knees are the two he’s hurting the most. He stopped and sniffed again. The scent here was much stronger, and he was able to track Xander through the town. He passed Xander’s car parked away on a side street. Xander had clearly lingered here, but then left on foot. As Spike followed the scent, he realized that it lead straight to Restfield. So that’s your plan, is it? Leave the car far away so I don’t notice and stake out my crypt. Needs to be a disinvite spell for humans. Bloody unfair advantage, it is.
Spike approached his crypt silently. He could see a faint glow of candlelight through the high windows. He had gotten in the bad habit of leaving without blowing the candles out, given how all of his flammable possessions had pretty much gone up in flames already. Guess Harris is smart enough to leave them lit so that I don’t suspect anything. Pity. The dark would have given him more of an edge. If Harris had a crossbow things might go badly for him. In the end, though, he hardly hesitated at all. He stood in front of his crypt door for a moment, cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders, then slammed the door open with a bang and growled, “Hello, Harris.”
Xander had left the Magic Box and driven away in a red fog. He had driven around town somewhat aimlessly for a few minutes, until his head cleared enough to formulate a plan. The best thing to do would be to stake out his crypt. Right now he’s probably out stalking Buffy or playing poker or whatever the hell he does. He’s got to come home sometime, and I’ll be waiting. Satisfied with that plan he had parked the car, grabbed a few stakes out of the trunk, and set off for Spike’s crypt. He had been relieved to find it empty, save for a number of flickering candles and a pile of garbage bags. Well what do you know? An evil demon who cleans up after himself. Go figure. Somehow it irritated him even more to see the signs of normal human occupation. He can talk, walk, and clean like a human but I know what he is. Xander had checked around for any hidden dangers, then sat down in the armchair to wait.
Now the demon in question was standing at the door, seemingly relaxed but with undisguised malice in his ice blue eyes. “Spike,” Xander said, rising from the chair with a stake in each hand. “Good to see you. Hopefully we can make this a short visit.”
Spike circled slowly into the crypt, watching Xander like a mongoose watching a cobra. “To what do I owe the pleasure,” Spike growled. “Come to boast of your latest achievement?”
“What do you mean?” Xander asked, keeping his distance.
“Well, you so successfully reduced Buffy to a complete wreck, so I assumed that doing the same to Anya was part of your general plan.” Spike had worked himself over next to a tall iron candlestick, which he felt would give him a bit of a leg up on the situation. But he waited, wanting Harris to make the first move.
“You’re one to lecture me,” Xander barked. “How many people have you killed and terrorized?”
“Didn’t terrorize my friends, asshole,” Spike snarled. “And I never forced myself on a woman. Was always man enough to have a willing partner. Never had to wait until a woman was knocked unconscious in order to get some.”
That was the second time someone had insulted Xander’s manhood that night, and it filled him with incoherent rage. “Shut up! Goddamn fucking undead bastard!” he roared. With that he charged at Spike, both stakes at the ready.
Spike whirled, grabbed the candlestick, and leaped sideways, causing Xander to crash into a sarcophagus. Before Xander had a chance to recover Spike clenched his jaw against the pain and swung the candlestick at Xander’s head. The pain from the chip was so blinding that the blow missed, hitting his opponent’s shoulder instead. Spike staggered, dropping the candlestick and clutching his head, desperately trying to stay upright.
Xander found his left shoulder throbbing and his left arm almost useless, but the pain just spurred him on. He went low and tackled the vampire, knocking him to the floor with his momentum and weight. Xander reared up to stake him with his right arm. Spike gathered all his strength to heave Xander off of him, landing a blow to Xander’s nose at the same time. The blow was accompanied by a scream of pain from Spike, and he rolled sideways, trying to get away long enough for his vision to clear.
Xander staggered to his feet with a broken nose and a dangling arm, while Spike had made it as far as one knee, his nose bleeding from burst blood vessels and his vision doubled and blurred. Spike fixed his wavering stare on Harris. “So what’s your plan, whelp? What do you think is going to happen after you kill me? Think Buffy and Anya are going to just leap into your arms again? One big Scoobie family, all forgiven and forgotten?”
“What do you care?” said Xander. “All you’ve ever wanted is to see our group torn apart so you could pick us off one by one!”
Spike couldn’t believe this guy. He really thought that this would just blow over, like all his other fuck ups. He really believed that somehow the others could forgive this. “Right now, my only wish is to give you the thrashing you richly deserve, you fucking prick.”
“Wish granted,” said a voice from the doorway. Spike looked up to see the former Cicely Underwood, in her full demon form. He clutched his head as a blinding flash like lightning when through his mind. Then he heard the smallest click and saw a small silvery computer chip bounce on the floor in front of him. “I figured I was a bit harsh to you way back when. But maybe you could take care of Anya’s vengeance while you’re at it?”
Spike’s face slowly bloomed into an ecstatic grin as realization dawned. “My pleasure, pet. Think we’re square now.” Halfrek smiled, nodded her head graciously, and vanished, leaving a stunned Xander staring into her wake. Spike got to his feet, head still throbbing, but the pain was muted by the utter joy of being free. He stepped forward and slowly, deliberately crushed the chip under his boot heel. “Now, where were we?” he said, stalking toward Xander one slow, determined step at a time.
Xander grew pale and backed away. “You know if you kill me she’s going to have to stake you. She’s the Slayer. She can’t have you running around treating Sunnydale like your own personal buffet.”
Spike continued advancing. “Who said anything about killing you?” he said in a low, menacing voice. Moving in a blur of supernatural speed he closed the distance. In the space of seconds Xander found himself disarmed and up against the wall, held there by the throat with a set of long, amazingly strong pale fingers. “Well, look at that,” Spike purred, grinning like a madman. “No migraine. Guess that Underwood girl was alright after all.” Spike released one of his hands from Xander’s neck and brought it down to Xander’s crotch. Striking like a snake he grabbed Xander’s balls in an iron-like grip and twisted. Xander groaned in agony as tears sprung to his eyes.
Still keeping a firm grip on Xander’s throat and crotch, Spike leaned in until he was inches away from Xander’s sweating, terrified face. He vamped out slowly, letting each bump and wrinkle pop out one by one, and letting his eyes fade slowly from that brilliant blue to a dangerous yellow. “Now that I have your undivided attention,” he growled. “Let me explain a few things to you. You hurt my girl. You also have behaved like a complete and utter bastard to a perfectly good woman who deserves better than a drunken lackbrain such as yourself. As a consequence, I am going to hurt you. Very badly. But I guarantee, you will survive to pay for what you have done.” Xander’s eyes bulged from their sockets as he literally shook with fear.
Spike twisted and lifted Xander into the air, flinging him across the crypt to bounce on the floor and come to rest against the wall in a heap. Damn, that feels good. He had honestly, truly forgotten the feeling of being able to act in any way he wished without his head exploding.
Xander was stunned, but shook his head and tried to scramble back away from the smirking demon approaching him. One of his flailing hands fell upon one of the fallen stakes. He clutched it behind his back, still retreating as Spike sauntered over. “You’re a real piece of work, aren’t you, Harris?” Spike said, looking at Xander as if he were an insect. “Girl goes over to make sure you’re ok, and you pay her back by assaulting her when she’s knocked out.”
Despite his fear, Xander said in a hoarse voice, “She’s the Slayer. I think she could have stopped me if she had wanted to.”
“With a concussion and a blood alcohol level high enough to fell an elephant? Or didn’t you notice that she had knocked herself flat out on your goddamn table?” Spike bent over and grabbed Xander by the front of his shirt.
As Spike hauled him up, Xander yelled and whipped the stake around, trying to stab Spike in the back. Spike noticed just in time and dodged, but the stake caught him in the meaty part of his upper arm, gouging a hole in his beloved duster, not to mention his bicep. Roaring, he flung Xander across the room once more. Wincing, he pulled the stake out and examined his coat. “Fucking bastard. I just might kill you for that.”
Spike strode over to the cowering man and aimed a kick at his groin that would have felled a vampire. Xander was gagging in agony as he curled up on the floor like a cooked shrimp. Another kick and two ribs broke, making him gasp and cough up blood. Spike watched him writhing on the ground with disgust. “Always hid behind that Scoobie label didn’t you? Thought you could do anything and dodge the consequences because you’re a White Hat. Hypocritical bastard.”
Xander tried to form a coherent sentence. He finally ground out, “Buffy… kill you… with no chip…” He tried to sit up and failed. “Evil. Thing.”
“I’m evil?” Spike was incredulous. “When I had Buffy chained up and unconscious, did I rape her? Chip hasn’t worked on her since she got back.” Xander’s eyes registered surprise at that previously unknown tidbit. “Never gave her a fucking concussion! Could’ve let you get killed by your stupidity on patrol this summer twelve times over. Didn’t. Maybe I should’ve, saved the girls a lot of heartache.”
“Fuck. You.” Xander gasped.
Spike bent down and dragged Xander up by his collar again. “You fucked yourself, mate,” he said quietly. Xander swallowed, and silently prayed for deliverance.
As the kitchen door slammed, Willow, Tara, and Dawn hung there for a moment stunned. Willow was the first to act. She ran to the door and flung it open crying, “Buffy! Wait!” But Slayer speed had already carried Buffy nearly out of sight. Willow turned to the others. “We have to do something!”
Tara found herself wanting to smack Willow upside the head. Instead she said, “Willow, what is wrong with you? After all this I think you should be worried about Buffy and Spike, not Xander!”
“But Buffy and Spike have supernatural powers! Even someone who… did what Xander did doesn’t deserve to die!”
Dawn weighed in at this point. “Hello? Spike’s a sitting duck with a chip in his head! Buffy needs Spike. If Xander kills him…” Dawn found herself literally unable to conceive of what Buffy would do if Spike died. Images of her sister staring blankly into space came unbidden to her mind. Biting her lip she whispered, “If Xander kills Spike we’re going to lose her forever. Don’t you see that?” She and Tara both looked at Willow.
Willow’s mind was rent with conflicting feelings. Dawn’s words recalled Buffy’s catatonia after her sister had been taken by Glory. Could that happen again? Does Spike really mean that much to her? Would she really kill Xander? “This is so hard,” she said finally. “I just don’t know what to do here.”
“Look, let’s find Xander,” Tara said, taking charge of the situation. “Either we’ll prevent him from doing something that’s going to get him killed, or we’ll prevent someone from killing him before he can answer for what he’s done. He’s the key to all this. We need to find him.” Moving with deliberate purpose, Tara quickly reassembled the materials for the locator spell that they had used just days before to track Buffy. Willow shook herself out of her inert state after a few more moments of lip chewing and hand wringing to help Tara. Within minutes, the spell was ready. They cast herbs and said the ancient chant while Dawn watched the map intently. Just as it had the previous time, a small glow hovered and settled on Restfield Cemetery.
“Spike’s crypt!” cried Dawn. “He’s already there!”
“We’ll take your mom’s car,” said Tara. Without waiting for confirmation, she grabbed the keys and headed out to the car, followed closely by Dawn and a deeply conflicted Willow.
Buffy sprinted at top speed through the streets of Sunnydale. She wasn’t sure where Spike was, but she knew Xander. Xander was a coward at heart. He would want to ambush Spike to try to gain the advantage. The best place to lie in wait for Spike was where Spike would have to come eventually anyway – his crypt. As before she burned up the streets of Sunnydale in an all out rush to get to Spike’s place, but this time the urgency seemed even greater. I need him. Oh God, I think I love him. And if he’s gone… She buried that thought. She would get there in time. She had to.
Xander thought he knew what fear was. Growing up on a hellmouth, one tended to experience fear on a fairly regular basis. But he had never pissed himself before. He had never wept and begged before. But here he found himself doing all those things, and not for a moment caring what anyone thought of his manliness. “Please… I’m sorry. I’ll do anything. Please,” he blubbered from the corner where he was huddled.
Spike stood over him and surveyed his work. In addition to the broken ribs and broken nose, Xander sported two black eyes, a probably dislocated shoulder, and a foot with several broken toes. Spike had snapped two of his fingers like kindling, and had been prepared to make the whole set match when Xander had finally broken. Spike wasn’t looking his absolute best, given the wounded arm and the still seeping bloody nose, but he felt hale and hearty next to the wreck before him. Spike crouched down and straddled Xander, pulling him closer. “I could drain you right now,” he whispered. “Listen to your heart beat slower and slower until it just… stops.”
“Do it then,” gasped Xander in one last burst of defiance. “Show everyone what a monster you are.”
“Wouldn’t drink from your filthy veins if you were the last living human on earth,” Spike said contemptuously. He stood up, pulling Xander with him. “Here’s what you’re going to do. You are going to admit, to Buffy, in front of the others, what you did to her. Let’s go.”
“I can save you the trip.”
Spike turned to see Buffy coming through the door. Xander noticed her through his swollen eyes and squirmed in Spike’s grasp. “Buffy! Look out! His chip is gone!” Xander cried.
“Quiet, whelp,” Spike barked. He released Xander who crumpled to the floor again in an ungainly pile.
Buffy moved closer to Spike, looking concerned. “You’re hurt,” she said, touching his torn coat and watching her hand come away bloody. “Is your chip really gone? What happened?”
“That demon friend of Anya’s, Hallie,” Spike explained. “Turns out she felt she owed me one. Long story. But when I expressed my wish to pound this little worm into the ground, she obliged.”
Xander spoke up again, struggling to form words with his bruised lips. “You’re not going to stake him? He’s evil! Soulless! Now there’s nothing preventing him from…”
“Shut up, Xander!” yelled Buffy. Spike stepped back as Buffy moved forward to stand over Xander. She was struck by the reversal in roles. She must have been lying on the floor like this, unable to move, in pain, and Xander was standing looking down at her. “Do you remember when our places were reversed? What were you thinking when you saw me laying there on your floor? Far as I know I didn’t say anything, let alone something like ‘I want to have sex with you.’”
Xander’s mouth moved without forming any words for a moment. Then he managed to say, “I was drunk. I thought it would help us both. We’ve worked together for so long. We know each other.”
“Oh, I know you, Xander,” Buffy said with contempt. “I know how you never, ever take responsibility for your actions.”
“Buffy, please, it’s just been such a rough time lately.”
“Lately?” she exploded. She was so worked up that she didn’t notice Tara, Willow, and Dawn slipping into the crypt behind them. Willow gasped when she saw Xander, but Tara held her back and Buffy kept yelling. “You remember that hyena incident? How you swore that you didn’t remember almost raping me then? I know you lied about that. Found it in one of Giles’ books after the fact. But because you were my friend I didn’t say anything.”
“But that wasn’t my fault!” Xander cried, then groaned as his attempt to sit up ground his broken ribs together.
“Calling down that dancing demon was, though! How many people danced themselves to death because of you, Xander? Do you ever think of them? Do you remember that I could have been one of them if it wasn’t for Spike? If Spike had called down that demon you would have been screaming for his head. But because you did it, we’re supposed to brush it under the rug?”
“I didn’t mean…”
“You never ‘mean it’ but you also never pay any price for it either, do you?” Buffy continued. She stopped her furious pacing and stared hard at Xander for a moment. Then she looked away and said in a cold, hurt tone, “You raped me, Xander. I hit my head on your table and gave myself a concussion. And instead of helping me, you pulled off my jeans and raped me.”
Xander shook his head back and forth, registering the hurt tone in Buffy’s voice. “I didn’t know,” he said. “I thought… You’re the Slayer. I thought that you would have thrown me off if you didn’t want it. I didn’t know you were hurt.”
“Even if I hadn’t whacked my head, wouldn’t the words ‘Xander, stop it’ mean something to you?” she said. Her eyes turned to him, angry and sad by turns as she spun out her tale. “You hurt me Xander. I was bleeding when I left. But even worse, I got to hear how you really felt about me. Like I was some prize or possession that you deserved because you had seen me first. I heard you in Spike’s crypt, telling everyone I must be crazy or being held prisoner, or anything you could say to make sure that you weren’t the bad guy. Didn’t matter that Spike hadn’t done anything to me. You would have killed him, or let the others kill him, just to cover up what you did.”
Buffy turned and fixed her stare on the others. “And you guys would have gone along with it. You would have let him kill the one man I feel I can depend on, and then let him off the hook because ‘Spike’s a vampire’. You would have helped him push it all under the rug again.”
The group all stared at each other in stunned silence. In a quiet voice Willow finally said, “Xander is all this true?” All eyes turned to the battered man on the floor.
Xander quailed under the stares. He searched his brain for some angle, some spin that could justify what he did, but he found himself trapped. There was nothing he could come up with that would defuse this situation. What have I done? Jesus Christ, what have I done? At last he whispered, “Yes. It’s true. It’s all true.” With that he covered his face with his hands, curled into a ball and wept for all he had thrown away.
|Chapter #11 - Chapter 11|
|Disclaimer: All the vampires belong to Joss Whedon and all those folks.|
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the folks who left a review. It really spurs me onward.
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 11
Xander’s admission of guilt brought out different reactions in all of them. Buffy had once again turned away from the others, wrapping her arms around herself and trying to focus on her breathing. Spike ignored the others to come over and wrap an arm around her, causing her to lean into his shoulder and wrap one of her arms around his waist to steady herself. Dawn looked like she was going to throw up, with her hand over her mouth. Tara moved over to comfort the teenager, rubbing her back and looking anxiously at the others in turn.
But Willow just stood as if turned to stone, staring at Xander as he wept. How did this happen, Xander? How could you have gone so far off? Why didn’t I see this coming? What are we going to do? Willow glanced at Buffy, who was wrapped in Spike’s protective embrace while she collected herself. Willow realized that Buffy was right. If Willow had come upon Spike and Xander fighting, she would have defended Xander without question, even if it had meant dusting Spike. And she would have been completely and utterly wrong, just as she had been when she had dragged Buffy back from the dead, convinced her friend was suffering in hell. Only if Spike had died, there would be no one to help Buffy pick up the pieces this time. Willow shivered a bit with guilt and sadness. “Xander, why?” she found herself saying. “Why?”
Everyone looked from Willow to Xander. “I don’t know,” he moaned. His voice was muffled as he kept his hands over his face, unable to meet their eyes. “It’s all just so fucked up. I fucked up my wedding, and my relationship with Anya, and I…” Even now he found he couldn’t say the words aloud.
“I want you out of my sight, Xander,” said Buffy coldly as she turned to him. “I never want to see you or hear your voice again. I am done. You are not welcome in my house, and you had damn well better stay away from my sister and my vampire.”
Spike looked at her with wonder. Her vampire? “You mean that, pet?” he asked, hardly daring to hope.
Buffy turned to face him. “Spike, I know we’ve got a mixed history. I’ve got some things I’m ashamed of, and we’re probably going to have to have a few long talks. But I need you in my life.” She reached up and kissed his surprised lips, showing the Scoobies once and for all where Spike stood.
“Buffy,” said Xander. “You can’t… you’re throwing me out of your life? For him?”
“No. Not for him,” she said, stroking Spike’s cheek before turning to face Xander again. “I’m throwing you out of my life because you raped me, Xander. You raped me, and it nearly destroyed me. And I just can’t overlook it this time.”
Xander struggled to sit up further. “Buffy, I’m sorry. Please, I’ll do anything I can to make it right. Just tell me how to fix this,” he begged.
“There’s no way to fix this Xander. No way to make this right. You need to leave.” She turned to the others. “This is twice now Spike pulled me back from the edge. I think it’s time we all stop treating him like shit. He’s going to be a part of my life, if he wants to be. Tara and Willow, you can put up and shut up, or get the hell out. You want to stay in my house, you’re going to have to start paying rent. You want to stay in my life, you’re going to have to treat my man with respect.”
Dawn broke away from Tara and hugged Buffy and Spike in turn. “You guys need each other. I always thought so,” she said happily.
Tears were threatening in Willow’s eyes. “Buffy, I… I can’t just pretend Xander doesn’t exist!”
“You do what you need to, Willow,” Buffy said firmly. “Unlike you, I’m not going to tell someone else who they can and can’t associate with.” Willow winced at the verbal dig. “But if he comes near me again, he’ll think that Spike was gentle with him.” Xander paled further when he heard that.
“But he needs help, Buffy!” Willow cried.
“Then you help him,” said Buffy. “Start right now. Get him out of my sight.”
Willow bit her lip, but could think of nothing to say that would improve the situation. She went over to Xander and helped him to his feet. Tara watched Willow struggling to support Xander, but made no move to help as Willow helped him hobble out toward the car. They paused when they came abreast of Buffy and Spike. Xander searched Buffy’s eyes for any sign of mercy or emotion, but all he found was anger and hurt. With one last whispered, “Forgive me”, he allowed Willow to escort him out of the Slayer’s sight.
Spike and Buffy walked Tara and Dawn home, saying little. Buffy walked with one arm around Dawn’s shoulders, while her other arm held hands with Spike, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Spike still had an aching head, and he was going to have to find a tailor to patch his duster, but he was in heaven. She called me her vampire. She wants me in her life. His brain couldn’t quite compute how this could be so, but he told his brain to sod off and just reveled in it. Her hand, soft and small and warm, fit in his as if they were two halves of a whole, and it was nothing short of a miracle in his eyes.
They reached the house to find it silent, the car still gone. It’s going to take a while to get Xander patched up, Buffy thought. Maybe it will give him some new perspective. Maybe. Buffy wondered what the future would hold. She doubted Willow would let this stand. Buffy could hear Willow pleading, begging for understanding on Xander’s behalf. Don’t care. If she starts pulling that emotional blackmail crap she can find a new place to stay. Not going back to that. Spike held the door for the girls as they filed in and made their way to the kitchen.
Dawn turned to Spike. “I’m sorry I doubted you, Spike. I just… I didn’t want to believe it.”
“’S okay, Nibblet,” said Spike. “You did what you felt was right, and that’s what you should do. But I never will lie to you, remember that.”
“I will,” Dawn promised. She yawned then. “I think I’m going to go upstairs. It’s been a long couple of days, and I’m beat.”
“Plus, it’s a school night,” Buffy added. She stroked Dawn’s hair and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Good night, Dawnie. Thanks for being there for me.”
“Any time,” Dawn replied, and she made her way up to her room.
Tara looked at Buffy and Spike. “I w… want to apologize,” she said, her stutter returning in her shame and nervousness. “I f..feel like I should have p..put my foot down with W…Willow sooner. If we stay, I swear to you we’ll help out with the bills.”
Buffy came forward and hugged Tara. “I know this is hard for you. But I know you were trying to rein them in as best you could, and I appreciate that.”
Tara hugged her back then stood up. “I’m heading to bed too. Goodnight, Buffy. Goodnight, Spike.” The blond couple echoed her good night and watched her retreat up the stairs.
Spike moved to sit down on one of the stools, but Buffy stopped him. “Come upstairs. Let me help you get cleaned up.” She took his arm and led him up to her bedroom. “Wait here,” she said, as she disappeared into the bathroom.
Spike took off his duster, wincing where the lining pulled out of his wound. Harris had driven the stake in a good inch and a half, and blood had coated half his arm. As he was twisting to try to see it, Buffy returned. “Ouch. That looks terrible,” she commented.
“Could have done without that, truthfully,” he admitted. He sat down on the bed and let Buffy clean the wound with a washcloth and a small basin of water. She bandaged it up and rinsed out the cloth, passing it to him to clean the blood off his face. “Thanks, love,” he said when he finished. Buffy smiled and went to put the supplies away. Spike took off his boots and leaned back against the headboard, closing his eyes and waiting for the last of his headache to go away.
Buffy came back and sat next to him on the bed. “How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Head still feels like Manchester United used it for a substitute ball, but I’ll survive.”
“What happened back there?”
Spike opened his eyes and sat up gently, so as not to jar his aching cranium any further. “I came to talk to you, but Dawn said you were holed up in your room. I decided that Harris needed to be taught a lesson. I tried the Magic Box, but all I found was Anya in tears. Followed that wanker’s scent to my place and we had a bit of a discussion, shall we say.”
“But what happened to the chip?” Buffy was confused about that part of the evening.
“First of all, I want you to know that I didn’t wish the chip out. And I’m not going to go on an all night feeding frenzy either. You’ve got my word on that.”
“I know,” Buffy said, laying her hand on his chest. “I trust you. I just want to hear what went on.”
Spike covered her hand with his and continued, “Had to fight him with the chip like usual at first. Hence the lingering migraine. But at one point I said something about wishing I could thrash him like he richly deserved, and Halfrek showed up. Flash of light, chip was on the floor. Then the thrashing could begin in earnest.”
“And you said Halfrek knew you?”
Spike ran his hand through his hair and said ruefully, “Yeah, well. I sort of had a thing for her when I was human. Thought she was human too at the time.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open in astonishment. “She knew you when you were alive?” I guess those vengeance demons do get around.
“Yeah. She was masquerading as this society bitch named Cicely. I used to write completely awful poetry in her honor. She shut me down, rather rudely I might add. Got so broken up about it that I went storming off into an alley to sulk. Ran into a certain insane young woman there, and the rest was history, as they say.” Spike shook his head at the memory.
“She drove you to Drusilla? I should say she owed you a favor!” Buffy said indignantly.
“Hey, becoming a vampire was the best thing that ever happened to me. Saved me from being the most pathetic, worthless git on the planet. Can’t say I hold it against her. Won’t refuse the chip removal services either.” Spike looked at Buffy, whose hand was still resting on his chest, but who had fallen into deep thought. “Buffy? You still with me?”
“I could have lost you,” she said quietly, focusing her eyes on his. “As I was running to your crypt I was praying that I would be there in time. I don’t think I could have gone on without you.”
“Shhh, pet, don’t talk like that,” he said as he stroked her hair.
“It’s true though. You gave me what I needed to get through this. You always manage to give me what I need.” She looked at him, searching his blue eyes and tracing his face with her hand. A thought had been growing in her mind, and she made her decision. As Spike looked on in confusion she got up, climbed onto the bed, and straddled him, running her hands through his hair.
“Buffy?” he asked softly. “What…?”
She pulled her hair back from her neck and kissed him. “I know you’re hungry, and you’re hurt. Drink. Let me give you something of me. You’ve given me so much. Let me do this for you.” She gently pulled his lips to her neck, twining her fingers in the curls at the back of his head.
Spike hesitated, inhaling her scent and ghosting his lips down the outline of the veins that pumped below her smooth skin. “Don’t have to do this, love. I’ll heal just fine without it. You don’t owe me anything.”
“Please, Spike,” she said as she shuddered from the sensation. “Please let me say I’m sorry for all the things I did. Please.”
“Alright love,” he said tenderly. He continued his attentions to her neck as his game face slowly came to the fore. He palmed the back of her head to steady her and gently sank his teeth into her neck. After the initial pinch, Buffy felt slow, consuming warmth spread from her neck to the rest of her body, and she sighed and leaned into him. Spike moaned softly at the rich, spicy taste of her. He drank slowly, savoring every drop. Ambrosia. After a few long pulls, he gently sealed the wounds with his tongue and let his human face return. He opened his eyes and fixed them on Buffy. They rested their foreheads together, both panting with emotion.
“Spike, that was…”
“Yeah,” he agreed. He pulled her into a kiss, parting her lips gently with his searching tongue. Buffy closed her eyes and drank in the familiar taste and feel of him. Can’t believe I gave this up. Spike’s hands moved from her hair down to her shoulders, squeezing them to pull her even closer. Suddenly the memory of Xander grabbing her shoulders and yanking her into that bruising kiss flashed into her mind and she abruptly pulled back. Startled, Spike opened his eyes and looked at her. He took in the wide, embarrassed eyes and the shuddering breath and said, “Flashback?”
Buffy nodded, fighting the urge to cry again. “I’m so afraid, Spike,” she whispered in a shaky voice.
Spike cocked his head. “Afraid?”
She stared at his chest, stroking it softly. “Every time I kiss you it’s so… perfect. But that night just keeps coming back and I’m afraid that I’m never going to be free of it. I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to enjoy… this.” She rested both hands on his chest, then drew her eyes slowly up to meet his, willing him to understand.
Spike ran his hands through her hair. “I’ll never push you love. Never do anything you don’t want. But this is a demon you’ve got to face just like all the other demons you face every day. And I know you’ll defeat it, just like you defeat the rest of the demons. Just gotta get past it, pet.”
Buffy heard the truth in his words. Gotta work through it. Taking a deep breath, she put her hands on his shoulders and leaned down, kissing him slowly at first, then with increasing heat as she moved her hands down his arms and over his chest. He rested his hands lightly on her hips, letting her have complete control. Her hands found the bottom of his t-shirt and ran lightly under it, exploring his skin as if for the first time. He groaned softly at her touch, but kept his hands still with an effort. She felt his muscles move and twitch, and she knew the effect she was having on him. “Spike,” she whispered into his neck. “I need you. I don’t know if it’s too soon but…”
“Not too soon, love,” he whispered back. He nibbled on her ear, running his tongue along her piercings until she shuddered with anticipation. “Take your time. I’m yours, Buffy. Yours.” He found her mouth again, tasting and tasting it, as if she was the last spring in a desert.
Buffy slowly worked his shirt over his head, carefully avoiding the bandage on his arm. She slid down his chest, sucking and nibbling as he went, and he threw his head back, reveling in the feeling of her warm flesh on his. God I missed this, he thought as he closed his eyes. Buffy continued her downward path, pausing to work at his belt and his zipper. She eased his jeans down his slim white hips and slid off him long enough to pull them off. Her brain flashed, and she remembered feeling cold, thinking it was Spike, hearing Xander’s snarled response. She winced, closed her eyes, and willed herself to return to the present. Shaking her head she opened her eyes and beheld Spike, naked and staring at her with half lidded eyes full of desire. The flashback departed and she stood up. Slowly she removed her clothes, dropping articles one by one to the floor. Spike’s eyes widened. He took himself in hand, lightly stroking his lengthening cock as he watched, entranced.
Buffy found herself melting with need as she climbed back up on the bed. She straddled him, kissing him again and then slowly lowering herself down onto his waiting cock. Again the memory of Xander’s intrusion flitted into her mind, but as Spike’s cool length filled her the memory disappeared as quickly as it had come. “Needed this,” she sighed. “Dear God, Spike you feel so good.”
“Yes,” he purred. “Yes, my slayer. My perfect, beautiful girl.” He gasped as her inner muscles squeezed his length and she began to ride him, slowly at first, but with rapidly gathering speed.
“Touch me Spike, please, oh God,” she moaned, struggling to keep her voice down so as not to wake Dawn and Tara.
Spike circled her clit expertly with one thumb while the other hand reached up to tease her nipples one after the other. They knew each other’s bodies well, but this time it was tempered with a sweetness that had never been there before. They had been wild, and passionate, but rarely tender, and Spike found that this encounter surpassed his deepest wishes. To be in her bed, with her wanting him, pleasuring him, needing him – this was heaven.
They moved faster together, panting and gasping until with a startling suddenness Buffy found herself over the edge and flying. “Spike,” she cried, bending down to capture his mouth. She cried out again, biting his shoulder to stifle the sound, and that was enough to send him spiraling into his own orgasm. “Buffy, oh Christ…” Coherent words failed him as he thrust into her one more time and spilled himself, vibrating beneath her.
Buffy collapsed onto him, burying her face in his neck.This is where I want to be, she thought. This man. My refuge. My vampire. As she held him through the aftershocks, she knew finally, with absolute clarity what she felt. “Spike,” she whispered. “I love you.”
“Buffy?” Spike said, hardly believing his ears. “Did you… what did…?”
She picked her head up, looking deep into his eyes. “I love you, Spike. I don’t know if it’s the right thing, or the good thing, but I love you.”
“You know I love you, Buffy,” he said, kissing her gently. “I’ll always love you.” His unbeating heart soared as she settled back down into his arms, and they slowly drifted off to sleep.
|Chapter #12 - Chapter 12|
|Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns all the vampires. Lucky Joss.|
The wonderful reviewers here at the BSV have really given me the boost needed to finish this story! Only a couple more chapters to go…
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 12
Beep beep beep beep
Dawn opened one eye and considered throwing the alarm clock out the window. But she figured that would probably cause more problems than it solved, so she smacked the off button and rolled out of bed. She shuffled off to the bathroom, yawning, noticing Buffy’s closed door. She couldn’t help grinning. She knew that Spike had stayed the night. She just knew it. The thought made her feel more secure than she had felt in a long, long time. She practically skipped into the shower, thrilled that her sister had finally gotten a clue.
She made her way downstairs to find Tara there, drinking coffee alone in her bathrobe. “Morning, Dawnie,” she said. She looked drained and weary, not her usual pleasant self.
“Morning,” Dawn replied, grabbing for a box of pop tarts and sticking two in the toaster. “You look tired.”
“Couldn’t sleep. Willow hasn’t come home yet. Not too sure how things are going to go when she does.” Tara poured more coffee and stared into it. She loved Willow, but she didn’t share her concern for Xander right now. Yes, he had needed medical attention, but Tara was unsure if Willow still harbored some desire to see things put back the way they were somehow. Willow had to be made to see that Buffy was right – Xander could no longer be part of the group. He had betrayed too many people’s trust, too many times.
Dawn poured herself some orange juice and sat down next to Tara. “I sort of know how she feels. I mean, Xander has been like a big brother or something for so long. It’s so hard to imagine him doing that to Buffy. It’s like he betrayed all of us, not just her.”
“Yeah,” agreed Tara. The toaster popped up and they lapsed into silence as Dawn ate.
Dawn soon finished up and gathered her things. She looked toward the stairs. “Think we’ll see those two before noon?” she said wryly.
Tara gave a look of mock disapproval. “I think that’s none of your business, young lady. Now get yourself to school or I’ll send a Slayer and a vampire after you.”
“Oooh, scary,” said Dawn, rolling her eyes. She grabbed her backpack, waved to Tara and left.
Tara’s smile faded as the door slammed behind Dawn. She washed the dishes, still turning the events of the previous night over in her mind. She was drying her hands when she heard the car roll up and the door slam. Willow came in, looking pale and exhausted and lost. Tara was moved with pity for the woman she loved, and came over to pull her into an embrace. “Oh, Tara,” Willow sobbed. She couldn’t get anything else out for a while, so Tara just held her, stroking her back and soothing her as best she could.
Gradually, Willow’s sobs tapered off. Tara led her into the living room and they sat down on the couch. “Tell me what happened,” Tara said.
Willow had driven Xander to the emergency room, with him half unconscious by the time they got there. She had told the doctor that he had been attacked by a gang of men outside his apartment, and that she had been going to meet him and found him on the street. They seemed to accept this explanation – this was Sunnydale, after all, and every night brought some new oddity to the emergency room. They whisked Xander away for x-rays and other treatment, leaving Willow in the waiting room alone with her thoughts.
How could he have done this to her? To all of us? How could he just suddenly turn like that? The longer she sat and thought, though, the less sudden and shocking his behavior seemed. She recalled those stolen kisses with him that had ended his relationship with Cordelia, and would have ended her relationship with Oz if she hadn’t groveled. It had been so easy to lay the blame on snotty, uptight Cordelia, rather than on Xander and herself. When Xander had walked away from his wedding, she saw it through the filter of his awful upbringing, never once really thinking about Anya’s point of view. Xander had taken the scene with Anya and Spike as a personal affront – not the natural reaction of a woman jilted at the altar. Xander always took it as a given that he would be forgiven. Probably because with most of them, but especially with her, it was a given. Willow had stood by his side without question through all his screw ups. He was Xander. He had been her friend for almost her whole life. Sticking up for friends was what you did, right? But what would it say about her if she let him off the hook this time?
She wandered the hallways a bit, restless and trying to sort it all out. As she wandered back toward the waiting room she passed a young woman in the company of a friend at the check in desk for the ER. The woman was disheveled, crying, and her friend was telling the nurse, “We were at this party, and someone must have slipped something in her drink…” Willow turned to look as she passed by. The victim was shaking, hardly able to form coherent sentences. Was that what Buffy was like? This afternoon was bad enough, but what was it like for her right afterward? Unbidden, Willow’s mind conjured up images of Buffy crying helplessly, struggling and unable to stop her assailant. She said she was bleeding when she left. Willow suddenly felt sick to her stomach thinking about the implications of that. She finally got her brain around the idea that Buffy was a rape victim, just like the unfortunate party-goer she just passed. And the rapist was Xander.
Willow sat back down and spent a few more eons in the waiting room, her mind churning and rearranging all these thoughts constantly. Her soul searching was finally interrupted by a nurse who told her that Mr. Harris had been moved to a room and was asking for her. She followed the nurse to Xander’s bedside. His nose had a small bandage on it, and he looked like a raccoon with two black eyes. One arm was in a sling, with his hand in a cast, his ribs were strapped, and his broken toes were bandaged. There didn’t seem to be any exposed skin that wasn’t bruised. He opened his eyes when Willow came in and said, “Hey, Wils.”
“Hey,” she replied. She sat down in silence, not at all sure what to say. After the pause became ridiculous, she said, “Are you in a lot of pain?”
“Some,” he answered. “I really screwed up this time, didn’t I?” he said, the words sounding odd as he forced them out around his bruises and breaks.
“Yes, you did,” Willow said, raising her eyes to meet his face.
“Do you think she’ll ever be able to forgive me?”
Willow hesitated. Then she reluctantly said, “No, Xander. I truly don’t think she will. You… you didn’t see her Xander. She was… broken. Utterly betrayed. If Spike hadn’t come by, I think she would still be in her room now, staring at the wall. It was the last straw.”
Xander closed his eyes. “I didn’t know she had knocked herself out. I really didn’t.”
“But still, Xander, you never should have let it get that far,” Willow persisted. “Buffy never wanted to be more than friends with you, ever. There’s no excuse for what you did.”
“I know!” Xander moaned. Willow’s words were like salt in a wound. Then he closed his eyes again and said, “I was just so drunk, and upset, and to hear her going on about that whole thing with Spike, I just… snapped.”
Willow looked down at her folded hands, trying to think of the best way to broach this subject. “Xander, you need to let that go. She cares about Spike. And like it or not, Spike loves her.”
Xanders’ eyes flew open, angry and hurt. “Look at what he did to me!” Xander cried. “His chip is gone! Do you realize what that means? When he starts killing again, she’s going to have to take out her boyfriend, again, and we’re going to have to deal with the fallout, if we don’t get eaten in the process!”
‘Xander, listen to me!” Xander paused in his rant. Willow almost never raised her voice to him. Even when she was annoyed with him, her voice rarely got above conversational volume. But now she was snapping at him in a tone that commanded attention. She had figured some things out during the long stint in the waiting room, and she had to make him understand. “We’ve been wrong, ok? You and I and the others, we’ve been wrong. We were wrong to pull her out of heaven, and we were wrong to leave her to her own devices afterward. And we were wrong to rag on her about Angel, and we’re wrong to question her dealings with Spike.”
“But he’s a killer!’
“Look, Buffy is the Slayer. She knows vampires. I think we can trust her judgment here,” Willow responded. “We ask her to save the world, and raise a teenager, and all that stuff, but then we act like she needs to be protected from her own choices.”
“Oh, and her choice of boyfriends has been so stellar,” said Xander sarcastically. “Let’s face it, her track record is nothing to be proud of. Angel, Parker, Riley, now Spike? Tell me again why we should trust her judgment?”
“Spike took care of her,” said Willow. “Even after Buffy dumped him, he took care of her. If you had killed him, I think Buffy would have just… stopped. Stopped caring, stopped fighting. Stopped living.” Willow fixed a miserable stare on Xander.
Xander found his righteous anger wavering, replaced with cold realization. He suddenly recalled Buffy dancing, whirling, starting to smoke, her eyes dull and empty of everything but pain. You did that, Xander Harris, his conscience nagged. You. And Spike was the one who kept her from killing herself. Aloud he said, “What do we do then? Do we just step back and let the chips fall where they may?”
Willow bit her lip, tears welling in her eyes. “Xander, there is no more we. Buffy doesn’t want you around. She says she’s not going to the police, but you can’t keep butting into her life. She’s done with you. I’m so sorry, but she’s right – this can’t be fixed.”
Xander grew pale under his bruises as the complete impact of his actions crashed down on him. He wasn’t a Scoobie anymore. He wasn’t Buffy’s friend or Anya’s fiancée or The Donut Guy. They had cast him out. “What about you, Willow?” he asked quietly.
The threatening tears started to fall in earnest. “Xander, I don’t know. You… you need some help. You’ve been drinking too much, and you’re hurting people. Tara and Dawn are on Buffy’s side in all this and I can’t choose between you and Tara! I can’t!” Willow stood up, unable to take any more.
“Willow, wait! Please!” Xander begged. “I can change, I just need some time, but please, don’t shut me out.”
Willow came over and took Xander’s hand. “If you need someone to talk to, you can call me. But you can’t come around anymore. I’m sorry.” She leaned over, kissed his forehead, and walked out, tears still rolling down her face.
“Willow!” Xander called. But his only answer was the light thump of the door closing, cutting him off from the world he’d known.
Willow was cuddled into Tara’s chest by the time she finished her tale. “I feel so lost, Tara. He’s just been this constant in my life for so long.”
“Shh, baby,” Tara said. “I know this is hard for you. But you’ve got to be strong. He needs to change, and it’s not going to happen if we keep letting everything slide. Sometimes friends need to tell friends something they don’t want to hear.”
“I know,” Willow whispered. “I still hate it.”
“You did the right thing,” said Tara. Pulling away, Tara looked at Willow with deep, serious eyes. “Willow, I need you to listen to me.”
Willow sniffled. “I’m listening.”
“I love you. But you’ve got to change the way you act toward Buffy as well. You saw her. She almost lost it completely this time. What we did dragging her back from heaven nearly killed her, and it was Spike who brought her back then and it was Spike who kept her sane this time too. You cannot interfere with their affairs. I won’t sit in silence anymore. They need each other, and if you can’t grasp that then I don’t know if I can stay around to watch.”
Willow gasped. “You… you’re leaving?”
“No,” said Tara. “Not unless I see you trying to get in Buffy’s way again. I’ve sat by and watched you, with the best of intentions, hurt her almost as much as Xander did. I can’t let you do that anymore. They need each other, and you need to stay out of their way.”
“Yeah, I’m starting to get that,” said Willow, sniffling again. “But do you really think he’s going to be safe without the chip?”
“I can answer that one,” said a male voice from the doorway. The witches turned to see Spike standing there, dressed but with bare feet and obvious bed hair. He walked into the living room and sat down in the armchair farthest from the windows, facing them. He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and looked Tara square in the eyes while he spoke. “Won’t do anything to hurt her. Ever. I had every right and every desire to kill Harris for what he did to Buffy and Anya, but I didn’t. I won’t do anything to make Buffy have to stake me. I will never put her into a position where she has to choose between me and her calling. I don’t hurt the woman I love.” His voice was low and firm and Tara could see in his aura that he meant every word he said.
“I know you love her,” said Tara. “It’s obvious every time you look at her. I trust you Spike.”
Willow had been looking at her hands, then looked up at Spike. “I don’t know if I trust you. I have too many memories of you to trust you completely. I feel I have to trust Buffy, and she needs you. But I swear to you, if you hurt her…”
“You’ll turn me into a lizard,“ Spike interrupted. “Duly noted.” Willow half smiled at that.
Tara stood up. “I’m hungry. Anyone want some breakfast?”
“Now that you mention it, it’s been a while since I ate,” said Willow, following Tara into the kitchen.
“I’ll go see if Buffy’s up yet,” Spike said, and he headed back up stairs. He had woken early, having heard the car door slam when Willow came home. His vampire hearing had allowed him to hear the entire sordid story of Xander and his continuing efforts to remain in the land of Denial without having to dislodge the sleeping woman from his chest. At some point though, she had rolled over in her sleep, and he had quietly slipped downstairs to get this chip issue out on the table. Won’t have them worrying at Buffy about me or thinking they need to get rid of me for her own good. She’s had quite enough of that.
He opened the door to her bedroom softly, hoping not to disturb her. He was alarmed to find her awake and clutching a pillow, breathing rapidly with wide eyes. “Buffy?” he said, rushing to the bed. “What is it?”
“Oh, Spike,” she said, her panic turning instantly to relief. She wrapped herself around him like a blanket and buried her face in his chest. “I had a nightmare, and when I woke up alone I just panicked. I don’t know why I just thought…”
“Now then,” he said, stroking her hair. “Relax. I’ll never leave you. I’m like a bad penny, love. Always keep coming back.”
“I love you, Spike,” she said. “In my nightmare I didn’t get there in time, and all I found was Xander standing in a pile of dust, telling me that it was because he knew me first, and when I woke up and you were gone I…”
“Freaked?” Spike said. Buffy nodded. “The dreams will pass, love. You won’t be haunted by them forever.” He paused, not knowing how Buffy would take to his eavesdropping. But taking a deep breath, he said, “I overheard the witches talking. Willow told Xander to stay away.”
Buffy sat up and looked at him. “Really? Willow said that?”
Spike nodded. “They were talking downstairs before you woke up. I guess Xander was still hoping for some sort of reconciliation, but Willow broke the news that he’s not welcome.”
“Was she upset?” Buffy asked.
“Yeah, she was,” Spike admitted. “But Tara is helping her come to terms with it. And I went down to reassure them that my new chipless status doesn’t mean that I’m going to start using them for a midnight snack.”
“Hopefully that will be the end of it,” Buffy said. “I really don’t want to have to fight them about this.”
“Don’t worry,” Spike said, kissing her forehead. “I won’t let them badger you. Promise.”
Buffy sighed in deep contentment and rested her head on Spike’s smooth chest, idly running her hand along his skin. “How is this all going to work?” she asked after a while.
“How do you want it to work, love?”
Buffy thought about that. “I don’t want to use you anymore. I want us to be a team. No more hiding.” She looked up at him and caught him staring down at her with warm, tender eyes. “But I don’t want you to feel trapped, or pressured. You’re an adult. More than an adult. You’re ancient,” she said with a half smile.
“Watch it, missy,” he growled. “Far as you know I’m only 28 and holding.”
Buffy let out a soft chuckle, then grew serious again. “What I mean is, I don’t want you to feel obligated. I don’t want you to feel like you have to ask my permission or change the way you are. I mean, yeah, eating people is still off limits. But… do you see what I mean?” She found that as usual, she and the English language parted company once anything serious had to be discussed.
“Goes both ways, Buffy,” Spike said, staring into her green eyes and tucking a stray hair behind her ear. “You need to let me know if you need some space, and I really, really don’t want any more broken noses.” Buffy turned red and looked away, but Spike gently lifted her face back up. “I love you, Buffy Summers. I’ll do whatever you want, whatever you need. Only let me love you. Let me take care of you and fight with you and share your life. That’s all I want.”
Buffy pulled him in for a long, sweet kiss that only stopped when Buffy required oxygen. “You can stay here, if you want,” she said, looking into his eyes again. Spike’s unbeating heart jumped at the idea. To be with her, every night, and not have her run off. To share every day with her. You’ll screw it up, Spike. You always do. Buffy took his hesitation as a negative and started to shift away, embarrassed. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have suggested that. You have your crypt and we just cleaned it up and of course…”
“I’d love to,” he whispered, stilling the stream of nervous babble. She stopped and stared, and he continued, “I’m just so afraid I’m going to fuck it up. You’re giving me my heart’s desire, and I’m afraid I’m going to wake up in my crypt and find out this was all some long dream.”
Buffy kissed him again. “Not a dream, Spike. You showed me the kind of man you are. I want you in my life. Period, full stop.”
Spike’s mouth widened slowly into the most beautiful smile Buffy had ever seen on his face. “You’re amazing. I don’t care if I’m dreaming. I bloody well refuse to wake up.” Then he tackled her onto her back and kissed her breathless once more.
|Chapter #13 - Chapter 13|
|Disclaimer: Mutant Enemy and their ilk own all the characters. I just borrow them.|
Thanks so much to the loyal readers who have stayed with me! This is the second to last chapter, so we’re almost there.
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 13
It was after noon when the two of them finally emerged. Buffy felt rather shy for some reason. Although she had all but taken out a newspaper ad announcing their relationship the night before, she was still rather uncertain about how Tara and Willow were going to react. But when they came into the kitchen it was tidy and empty. A note on the counter read: We had some errands to run. Back this afternoon, T&W. Buffy gave a small sigh of relief and went to start some coffee.
Spike had started rummaging in the fridge. “Don’t suppose you have any vampire fare around anymore, have you?” he asked.
“Check the freezer. I think there was an extra container from a while back that I shoved in there to get it out of the way.”
Spike explored and was rewarded by a plastic container near the back. After a few minutes of microwaving, he was sitting at the kitchen island with a cup of coffee and a cup of blood, perfectly content. Buffy had made herself some toast and grabbed a yogurt and joined him. “I guess I’ll have to add blood to the shopping list,” she said, wrinkling her nose a little at his breakfast.
“Probably easier than getting a cow,” Spike joked, making Buffy smile. He never got tired of that smile. “Any plans for today?”
“I suppose I need to look for a new job, or do some serious groveling at Doublemeat. I sorta haven’t gone to work or called or anything for three days.”
“You’re not going back there,” Spike said, his voice bordering on a growl. “Don’t care if I have to get a job dancing naked in a ladies’ club to support you, you are not going back to that soul sucking grease pit.”
“Don’t hold back, Spike, tell me how you really feel,” she laughed. “But you’re right. I need to find something better. And I don’t think I want to have to buy tickets to see you naked.”
“Don’t worry,” he purred. “You’re entitled to free shows whenever you ask.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively and she laughed again. “Love to hear you laugh, Buffy. Seems I haven’t heard your laugh in years.”
“Haven’t felt much like laughing in years,” she admitted. “Must be your bad influence.” He growled playfully once more and they went back to their meal. After they finished, Spike stood up and stretched, then said, “Gonna make a quick run to the crypt, love. I’m a bit short on clothing and such things.”
“Um, daylight?” she said, looking out at the California sun.
“Please. Haven’t I been haunting you constantly since you came back? I’ve got the dash to the sewer down to a science.”
“Just be careful, ok?” Buffy asked, growing serious. “I just finally figured out how I feel about all this. Really don’t need to deal with anymore crises.”
Spike came over and embraced her, kissing her forehead tenderly. “You’ll never be rid of me pet. I’m here until you dust me personally.”
“Never happen,” she said, kissing him warmly in return. After a few more minutes they reluctantly pulled away from each other. “Hurry back, ok?”
“Count on it, pet,” said Spike. He ran upstairs to get his coat, boots, and an old blanket from Buffy’s closet, and soon was out the door, dashing for the sewer.
Buffy walked around the house a little aimlessly for a while. It had seemed like forever since she had been alone in the house. She was always working, slaying, sleeping, or conferring with the others it seemed. She took a good look at the first floor. Might need some better blinds in the living room so Spike can sit on the couch during the daytime. She paused at that thought. Was she making a mistake, diving back into this relationship again? Is it love, or post traumatic stress? She made her way upstairs, still contemplating that question. In her room, she started straightening up, changing her sheets and scooping up laundry. She picked up the clothes that Spike had bought for her. She found herself smiling involuntarily. He didn’t have to do that. He could have tossed you out, or bought you something skanky, or any number of other things, she told herself. He loves you. And if you try to talk yourself out of loving him, you’re an idiot. Having suitably admonished herself, she made her way down to the washer.
She was putting in a second load when Dawn came home. “Hello?” Dawn called from the kitchen.
“Down here,” Buffy yelled back, still fussing with the laundry. Dawn came bounding down the stairs, quietly relieved that her sister was still here, and seeming calm and normal for a change. “How was school?” Buffy asked.
“Not bad. I managed to pass my algebra test, which is a miracle. What have you been up to?”
“Well, Spike and I sort of hung out, had lunch. He’s off to his crypt to get some stuff.” Buffy felt a bit embarrassed. Should she really be having this relationship with an impressionable teen in the house?
“Is he going to stay with us?” Dawn asked excitedly.
“How would you feel about that?” Buffy asked, jumping up to sit on the washer.
“I think it would be awesome!” Dawn said. Then she added, “But only if you guys aren’t going to be arguing all the time. When Willow and Tara weren’t getting along that was bad enough, but to have the two of you fighting…”
“I think we’re past most of that,” Buffy reassured her. “I mean, we still have some things to work out. And I don’t know if he’ll be staying here all the time. I worry about you coming out all warped if your guardian is shacking up with a vampire and all that.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “I was some mystical energy Key. I already live with two lesbian witches and the Slayer. I mean, how much more warped could I get?”
“Good point,” Buffy conceded. She looked down at the floor for a moment, then said, “Dawn, I’m sorry I’ve been such a crappy sister since I came back. I don’t want you to think it’s because of anything you did. You know that, right?”
Dawn came over and gave her sister an awkward hug that almost pulled her off the washer. “Buffy, I get it. I know the whole heaven thing really messed you up. And I get it that you didn’t really feel like Willow and the others were listening to you. It’s like the whole group needs a ‘do-over’ for the whole last year or something. And I know I was sometimes a pain in the neck too.”
“Part of the teenager package, I think,” Buffy said, jumping off the washer and hugging Dawn again. “You’ve been a real trooper through all of this, despite your occasional lapses into juvenile delinquency.” Buffy headed upstairs with Dawn close behind. “You should probably do your homework. I’m going to go do something about the pit that is the upstairs bathroom.”
Dawn grimaced. “You are brave.”
“That’s me, Slayer of the soap scum,” Buffy said as she headed up to do battle.
“If you sign these forms here and here Mr. Harris, you will be all set to go.” A dark haired nurse held the clipboard so that Xander could sign awkwardly with his left hand. The nurse checked to make sure that all was in order then added, “You probably shouldn’t be driving with that hand, and with all the painkillers. Do you have someone who can give you a ride?”
Xander paused. He hadn’t been expected to be let go so soon, but since no signs of internal bleeding or head injuries surfaced, they had decided he could recuperate at home. But he wasn’t sure if anyone was going to talk to him. Willow said to call… To the nurse he said, “I’ll see if any of my friends are home.” The nurse handed him the phone and walked out to process the forms.
Xander took a deep breath and dialed Buffy’s number. In the kitchen, Dawn was working on her homework when it rang. “Can you get that?” called Buffy. “I’m up to my elbows in cleaner!”
“Got it!” called Dawn. “Hello?”
“Dawn? It’s Xander. I was looking for Willow.”
Dawn’s face became an angry mask that would have caused demons to sit up and take notice. “What do you want?”
“I was… They’re letting me out of the hospital. I need a ride home.”
“Sucks to be you, then,” Dawn snapped, and slammed the phone down as hard as she could. How dare he even call here after what he pulled?
Buffy came down into the kitchen at that point, slightly disheveled from her epic battle with the bathroom. “Who was on the phone?” she asked.
Dawn shrugged. “Wrong number,” she said quietly as she went back to her homework.
In his hospital room, Xander was staring at the phone in disbelief. Dawn had summarily dismissed him. Little Dawnie, who had always tagged along and formerly crushed on him wouldn’t even pass on a message for him. He wracked his brain trying to think of who else he could call. All his work buddies were, well, at work. There’s really no one else. With a sigh, and another deep breath, he dialed the Magic Box.
“Hello, Magic Box.”
“Anya. It’s me.”
He was greeted by silence for a long moment. Then Anya said, “What the hell do you want, Xander?” in a cold voice.
“I’m in the hospital. I’ve got a broken hand and a broken foot and I need a ride home,” he said, speaking quickly so she wouldn’t hang up on him.
“You hurt the woman William the Bloody loves,” she said. “You’re lucky to be alive.”
“I just thought maybe, for old time’s sake, you could…”
Anya let out a short, bitter laugh. “So, what, you think you can insult me, bruise me and throw me around, and I’m going to drop everything to help you? Tell me another one.”
“Anya, please, I know I screwed up. I know I need to fix things, but right now I just need…”
“What you need,” Anya interrupted, “Is to listen very carefully to what I am going to say. I. Am. Done. I asked Spike not to kill you, but other than that, I don’t want to see you or hear from you again. If you call me or show up here again I will get a fucking restraining order and call up my friend Halfrek for another round. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
Xander paled as he heard the vitriol coming through the phone. “Loud and clear,” he croaked out. “I’m… I’m sorry, Anya.”
“Too little, too late, Xander. Have a nice life.” With that, she hung up the phone with a bang.
Xander was hanging up the phone when the nurse came back. “I… um… my friends aren’t home,” he stammered. “I’ll have to take a cab.”
About forty-five minutes later, Xander pulled up in front of his apartment. He had had the cab let him off where his car was still parked and had driven home slowly and awkwardly. He was slightly grateful that Spike had not chosen to stomp his driving foot into oblivion. Steering was difficult with one hand, but he had managed. Now he struggled into the building on crutches, a bag with painkillers and discharge instructions in one hand. It took him what felt like forever to get to his apartment, but he made it at last and fumbled with his keys. He limped inside and closed the door, lurching over to the couch and collapsing. He surveyed his apartment, which was still a complete disaster. The scattered beer cans, Anya’s broken picture, and a previously unnoticed small bloodstain on his carpet stood in mute testimony to the wreck he had made of his life. He leaned back his head and closed his eyes, feeling completely alone as the tears started to come.
Tara and Willow returned not long after Xander’s call, bearing groceries. “We picked up some blood for Spike too,” Tara explained as Buffy helped them put things away.
“Thanks, Tara. That was really thoughtful of you,” Buffy said. Willow brought in the last of the bags, but didn’t say anything. Buffy watched her out of the corner of her eyes as they all put things away. Which speech is it going to be? The ‘Xander’s had a hard life and we should forgive him’ speech? The ‘How can you be involved with a vampire’ speech? Buffy had heard all these speeches, or variations on them, so many times from the Scoobies she felt like she should give them numbers. That way, they could just say ‘Speech 38’ and save time.
Finally, after the last of the groceries were sorted out, Willow said, “Buffy, can we talk?”
Buffy sighed. “I guess so.”
Willow took a deep breath. “I was… I mean, I’m…” she stumbled over her words. She made an effort to collect herself and then tried again, “I shouldn’t have doubted you or questioned you. I was too ready to defend Xander and I didn’t listen and I’m so, so sorry.” She forced the words out in a rapid stream so she wouldn’t lose her nerve. “And I’ve been telling you what to do and how you should feel and I haven’t been listening and…”
“Willow, listen,” Buffy interrupted. She closed her eyes and took her own deep breath. “We haven’t been communicating at all for a while now. Some of that was you, some of that was me. It really hurt when you were questioning whether Xander did what I said he did. And I meant what I said – I won’t be around him anymore. If you even think about using magic to try to patch things up between him and us…”
“No,” Willow said with a quiet finality. “I realize what he put you through. I get it now. I told him that he can’t come around anymore. What he did was terrible, and I understand why you can’t forgive him.” Willow looked up at Buffy with sad, pleading eyes. “Can you forgive me though?”
Buffy looked back at her old friend, then made her choice. Stepping forward, she pulled Willow into a hug, “I think so. Might take some time, but I think we can move past this. Just let me work it out in my own way and in my own time, okay?”
“I’ll follow your lead,” Willow said, hugging her back. Tara and Dawn looked at each other with hopeful smiles. Things were looking up.
|Chapter #14 - Chapter 14|
|Disclaimer: Joss Whedon created all the cool characters. Thanks Mr. Whedon!|
Thanks once more to all the reviewers who took a few minutes to give me feedback. It is greatly appreciated. Enjoy the final chapter, with the challenge requirements at the end.
Destroying Entropy – Chapter 14
Three months passed, with life settling gradually into a routine. Buffy had managed to find a job teaching kickboxing at a local gym, having stunned them by her demonstration during the interview. She had to tone things down somewhat for a non-slayer audience, but she enjoyed it immensely. The hours weren’t particularly long, and although the pay wasn’t stellar, it was enough once Tara and Willow’s money was added in. Willow had managed to wrangle more of a monthly allowance from her wealthy parents, and Tara had begun working for pay at the Magic Box, helping Anya and giving her some time off. Tara had also befriended the former demon, listening to her and allowing her to vent when she needed it. Spike had had less luck finding anything that wasn’t illegal, which Buffy wouldn’t tolerate, but he helped Dawn out with her homework and patrolled for Buffy sometimes when she was worn out after a long day. He also turned out to be more of a linguist than anyone suspected, and was very helpful with translating certain annoying demon languages and doing research.
Buffy came home on this particular day rather sweaty, having had to cover an extra class for another instructor. She opened the door and said, “Hey, I’m home!” She didn’t hear an answer immediately. Dawn had left a note saying she had gone to the library, and the witches were out. Setting her gym bag down, she rolled her eyes at the sight of several mugs of blood coagulating in the sink again. Moving on into the living room, she found a few random demonology texts on the coffee table, an empty beer bottle, and she tripped over a black Doc Marten boot. “Spike?” she called. She went upstairs and realized that the shower was running. The bedroom looked like a cyclone had hit it. Despite Spike’s promise to straighten up a bit, there were toppled candles, undergarments, and at least one ripped shirt littering the room, along with some empty cigarette packs. The only thing that seemed to actually be put away was his duster, hung carefully in the closet, without noticing that he had knocked one of her sweaters to the floor in the process.
“Ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba ba. I wanna be sedated!” Spike had such a lovely voice, when he wasn’t screaming the Ramones in the shower at the top of his lungs. Ok, I used to have a somewhat tidy, reasonably normal home. Now, I’ve got blood stained coffee cups, scary looking ancient texts, and a bedroom that looks like someone had a fight in here. The man is a walking chaos machine. She stared at the mess, bemused and shaking her head, then headed back downstairs.
There had been no word from Xander since Willow left him at the hospital. Willow had gotten curious after a week and called him, to find that there was never any answer. After another week the red-haired witch had gone to see if he was there, only to find his name removed from the mailbox and the apartment empty. Anya hadn’t heard from him either, and let Willow know that she was extremely glad to be free of him. Willow had been worried and had wanted to do a locator spell to find him, but Tara and Buffy had made it very clear that she would be out on her ear if she even thought about it. Surprisingly it was Spike who really smoothed the situation over by saying, “Give the bloke some time, Red. He’s just had his ass handed to him. Needs to go off and kick himself for a while. ‘S what blokes do.” At last, Willow had reluctantly let it go.
Buffy fetched the mail and started sorting through it on the dining table. Bill… junk… bill… junk… junk… She stopped and looked at the last envelope which was addressed to her in familiar looking handwriting. She opened it slowly with shaking fingers.
I know you said you never wanted to hear from me again. But one of the steps in AA is making amends to those you have hurt through your drinking. I figured you were probably number one on the list.
It took me a long time to admit to myself how wrong I was. I was such a loser before I met you. You brought me into a bigger world, even if it was a world with a lot more demons that I really needed. You made me part of something important, and kept me from being just the loser son of a couple of loser drunks. I had you up on a pedestal, and somewhere along the way I forgot that you’re more than just the Slayer. I forgot that there was a human behind all the weapons.
I used the booze as an excuse to try to somehow, I don’t know, pay you back for turning out to be flawed. Or something. But whatever reasoning I had, I was wrong. I hurt you, and then I wanted to hurt you more by killing Spike, partly because he was a vampire, but mostly because he had you and I didn’t. I let the booze and the jealousy control me, and in the end I hurt you and broke your spirit. And the knowledge that I did that, to someone who has saved my life twenty times over, will haunt me for the rest of my life.
I’m living near L.A. now. I’ve got a new construction job, and I haven’t touched a drink in two months. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I hope you’ll read this and it will give you some sort of closure.
Buffy’s hands shook slightly as she put the letter down on the table. She closed her eyes and braced herself for the flashback. But this time it didn’t come. For weeks after their last confrontation she had been plagued by nightmares and flashbacks. They had become less frequent, but still happened sometimes when something reminded her of that night. Now, other than that shaky feeling, she was ok.
“What’s that, love?” Spike had come into the dining room, shirtless and still toweling off his hair. He dropped the towel on the floor as Buffy handed him the letter in silence. He read it over, his face giving nothing away. “How are you feeling?” he asked cautiously. He had been the one holding her during all those nightmares, soothing her during panic attacks, being patient with her in bed. He had been relieved to see her gradually returning to normal. But here was Harris, popping up like a prairie dog again, and he wasn’t sure how Buffy was going to take it.
“I’m… I’m ok,” she said, as if she scarcely believed it. “I actually didn’t have any Technicolor flashbacks for a change.”
Spike let out a breath that he hadn’t been aware he had taken. “So glad to hear that,” he said. He stroked her hair as she leaned against him, wrapping her arm around him to pull him close. “Wouldn’t want to have to drive to L.A. to beat the tar out of him for upsetting my girl again.”
Buffy smiled. His girl. She had once screamed that she would never be his girl, but she had long since eaten those words. “I still don’t want to see him, but I am glad he’s getting help. Maybe someday…”
“Never say never, pet,” Spike advised. “I thought I would never have a chance with you and I was wrong. Harris might have a use someday, you never know.”
Buffy stood up and wrapped her arms around him, kissing him deeply. “I don’t want to talk about him anymore,” she said smiling her million watt smile. Her eye caught the towel on the floor, and noticed the other of Spike’s boots there as well. She kissed him again then said, “I think what I really want to talk about is…”
“Yes?” he purred suggestively.
“Housekeeping,” she responded in a breathy voice.
Spike came up short and cocked an eyebrow at her. “That’s supposed to drive me mad with lust?”
“No. But if you want to drive me mad with lust, I suggest you start picking up after yourself,” she said, looking pointedly at his belongings on the floor in the dining room, and then turning her gaze to the wreck of the living room beyond.
“Ah, well, I got a bit sidetracked,” he said with a grin. “I mean, I am evil. Dedicated to chaos and mayhem and all that. Can’t go against my nature now.”
“Believe me,” Buffy said as she broke away and picked up the towel. “I promise not to lose interest in you if you perform domestic acts, and I won’t tell any of your demon buddies.” She stepped back and with a lighting movement snapped him with the towel. “Now get to work, vampire.”
“Ooh, you’re going to pay for that, Slayer,” he growled as they chased each other upstairs, laughing.
Season: Season 2
I would like to see a fic where Xander believably rapes/attempts to rape Buffy and Spike saves/picks up the pieces. I want it to be a bit dark (obviously) but also fluffy and don't be afraid to pour in the angst. I don't particularly care when it's set. Have fun.