They hadn’t made love that night.
Buffy sat over the breakfast table with a cup of coffee in her hand, distant. A thousand miles distant.
Spike didn’t want to interfere. The night before had been troublesome, with the incubus and the trigger of what had happened so long ago in Sunnydale. Spike didn’t say it, but... he still had a bruise on his shoulder from Buffy kicking him the morning before, when he’d surprised her in the shower. He’d already determined never to come close to her in a bathroom again. It made hot shower sex a remote possibility, but it was better that than... scare her like that again.
Even though they hadn’t made love, Buffy had clung to him that night. She’d held on to him, and from the circles around her eyes, Spike didn’t think she’d slept. He knew he hadn’t. But they’d clung to each other, anyway.
“You okay, love?” he asked.
“Yeah, fine. Why do you ask?”
“Because that coffee’s gone tepid, and you haven’t even sipped it.”
Buffy looked down at the coffee cup in her hand and pushed it away. “Sorry. Thinking.”
“Penny for them?”
Buffy bent her head and rested it on her thumbs, leaning against the table. “Have you ever realized something... that changed your entire worldview?”
Yeah, Spike didn’t say. I realized I was in love with a slayer. “Once or twice.”
Buffy leaned back. “Last night sucked,” she said. “I’m glad we killed the fucker.”
Spike was surprised. The double entendre, for one, was not quite how Buffy’s puns usually worked, and for another, she didn’t often use such harsh language. “Yeah, me too.”
“No,” Buffy said. “Not for women everywhere. Not for the sake of righteousness and... hugs and puppies. I’m glad I got to kill him.”
“No,” Buffy said. She glared at Spike, and it was only because he was fairly sure the anger wasn’t directed at him that he was able to withstand the blaze in her eyes. “He was already violating me. I’m glad I got to kill him.”
“Yeah,” Spike said. She wanted to kill those who violated her. Of course she did. They’d gone over and over and over this stupid, bloody mistake he’d made before he got his soul. She’d stopped him from going over it again last night. She was sick of it, just wanted to forget it. (And he couldn’t forget it – he had a soul burning in his chest thanks to it, he couldn’t ever forget it.)
“I’m sick of this shit happening to me,” Buffy said. “I’m sick of being forced into sex when I don’t fucking want it.”
Spike looked down. He knew he wasn’t supposed to say it, she’d told him and told him he wasn’t supposed to say it anymore, and he just couldn’t bloody stop himself. “I’m sorry,” he said. For what seemed like the millionth time.
Buffy heard the roughness of his voice and looked up. “Spike... did you think I meant you, just now?”
Spike stared at her. “Didn’t you?”
Buffy sighed, a kind of I guess we go over it again, again, sigh. “Look. That thing, that happened, with you. In my bathroom? It was scary. It was, it was scary. It looked scary, it sounded scary. Can’t deny that. But the truth is, you didn’t mean it that way. And hell, you know, I was doing the exact same shit to you that year.”
“I was,” she said. “I did it over and over. You remember when I was invisible? Slammed you up against the wall before you even knew who I was, and then later I grabbed at you when you said I had to go.”
“That’s... n-not the same.”
“Isn’t it?” She looked over at him. “Turn it around. Say someone else were doing that.”
“I like it rough.”
“So do I. Not the point. Turn it around. Watch it from the outside. Some invisible force slams me up against the wall, rips my shirt open, and starts fondling me, and we don’t know who it is. Is that consensual?”
“It didn’t bother me, Buffy.”
“You mean it doesn’t haunt you,” Buffy said. “Doesn’t mean it was right.”
Spike looked into her eyes. Sometimes she really didn’t understand. “Vampire, pet. We do stuff like that to each other all the time. Feels normal.”
“Vampires are evil, yeah?” Buffy pointed out. “Doing stuff like that is...? Which means I was being...?”
“Buffy, this is daft. Why are you trying to blame yourself for something dumb like that?”
“For the same reason we’ve all been trying to blame you.”
Spike really didn’t understand. He sat down beside her and frowned. “Buffy....”
“It’s... easier. To think of screaming and fighting and holding someone down. When I think about that word? Rape? It looks like that thing that happened between us, when we were both messed up and... and different people. Because it looked and felt scary, and it hurt me – my heart more than my body, really. It was an ugly moment. But you know what? It doesn’t even qualify.” Then she said something that shocked him to the core. “You weren’t trying to rape me.”
“I know. I’ve… I’ve called it that. Xander’s called it that, you’ve called it that. And yeah, you pushed too far, but rape is a choice, not an accident. What you did was an accident.”
“Buffy. Don’t dismiss that. You said no, I didn’t listen–”
“I was always telling you no,” Buffy said. “You were always telling me no. Neither one of us listened. How could you see I meant it that time?”
Spike couldn’t handle this. “Your face, Buffy. Everything. You had to-to stop me–”
“I stopped you, yeah. But... you stopped yourself. You could have gone at me again. I was injured, you’d have had a good chance of winning. But that wasn’t what you were after.”
“Doesn’t make it right.”
“I didn’t say it was right. I said it wasn’t rape. No more than… than nearly clipping someone with your car is the same as pre-meditated murder. It looked like rape, it sounded like it, but the moment you realized what was happening, I mean... I remember the look on your face. You looked just as shocked and violated as I felt. It was like your own demon had attacked you.”
He looked down.
“And I know it was the pivot point,” Buffy said. “That’s why it stays so bright in both our minds. I know that was the moment you decided you couldn’t be that anymore.”
Tears, annoyingly, were brimming in his eyes. He brushed them away and stared at the floor.
“But what happened, when that incubus was looking at me? He planned that. He wanted that. That was his agenda, to take me without my consent. And for a moment... I did want it. If you hadn’t closed the trap we set and stopped him, I’d have lain down and spread it for him right there, and said do it again.” She made a disgusted noise and cringed. “I’d have said do it again,” she whispered. Her voice at those words sounded like claws on his heart. He wasn’t sure why it hurt so badly, but it did.
“That’s not real, love. Demonic influence–”
“I know. It wasn’t me. But that’s just the thing, Spike. I have felt forced like that before.”
“When I held you down.”
“No. A lot. When that magic coat made me fall for that stupid highschool student? And when Willow cast that ridiculous spell that made you and me want to get married? And once when I was possessed by a ghost with Angel.” She shuddered. “That one was... weird. It’s like this shit always happens to me.”
“I kinda liked the marriage spell,” Spike confessed, looking down.
“Well, it didn’t go very far,” Buffy said. “It was fairly innocent for what it was.”
“Well, I actually always figured that was just us.”
“Willow’s spell was only, ‘go get married.’ I knew enough marriages of convenience in my day. We could have been handling the whole thing as a business contract.” He shrugged. “Lovey-dovey lusty stuff wasn’t part of the spell. There was no reason for us to decide it was a love match apart from… well, inclination.” He looked up. “And you gotta admit, things had been kind of heated between us even before that.”
Buffy smiled. “I like that. I’ll think of it like that, then. Not that I don’t have enough sea of ugly in this Pandora’s-thinky-box I’ve opened.”
“What do you mean?”
She paused, not as if she was hesitating, but as if the words stuck on her tongue. “Twilight.”
Spike looked over. “I...” He stopped. “You’ve never said that before.”
Now it was Buffy looking at the floor. “I know.”
She’d always said it was destiny and mystic forces and that she was part of something greater than herself. She said it sometimes with dreamy eyes and a wistful look. That wasn’t the look she had now.
He didn’t know what to say. “You... and Angel had this....”
“I know. And then I said I made the choice and walked away. As if I always could have. And I did. Once I was able to. But before that....” Her face twisted. “Before that I was gleefully fucking a guy who had been murdering my sister slayers not an hour before. With enough power to tear down mountains and rip apart dimensions.”
“We tore down a house once.”
“We chose to do that,” Buffy said. “You and me. What happened, then, with Angel?” she shook her head. “I didn’t choose that.” She hugged herself. “Rape is supposed to look like that scary thing, not all enthusiasm or acquiescence. But… tell that to a girl roofied at a party? Or someone coerced by their boss? Or-or–”
“Buffy… you don’t have to.” Spike wasn’t sure if he was trying to stop her or what. He was terrified by the implications of what she was saying.
“It’s just... I’m looking at it... and I look back on it... and I’m... disgusted and horrified and tangled up. Just... just lost in it. It was like that first time with Angel, when I was... young enough that I look back and I’m horrified about it now. I mean, even before he went all Angelus, god, I was a sixteen year old kid!” She gasped, like she was holding back tears. “Seventeenth birthday, like that makes a huge difference.”
Spike wanted to reach out for her. And what fell out of his mouth he regretted instantly. “Angel always did like them young.” He cringed. “Sorry,” he said.
Buffy shook her head. “Don’t cover for him. You’re right. I know you’re right.” She swallowed. “And it hurts, ‘cause I did love him. But every time I’ve touched Angel that way, it’s been so ugly. Rape. Every. Single. Time. Raped by this man I loved....”
“Buffy. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“What other word can I call it?” Buffy said. “The first time, I was underage. If he’d done that to Dawn?” She shook her head. “At sixteen? I’d have staked him. Soul or not.”
Spike actually agreed. He hated to think of Buffy feeling this way, though.
“And that last time? With Twilight? It felt so good. The powers made it so that it would feel so good. Do you know how disgusting that is? I was being forced to feel good. And I wish I could blame Angel for it, but I can’t, because he was under the influence of the same shit I was.”
Spike wasn’t sure that didn’t mean she couldn’t blame him, since Angel had made a lot more choices about that situation than she had, but he said nothing.
“And... think about it,” she said. “It’s worse... it’s so much worse than if it was just Angel, wanting to fuck me and influencing me to. It was bigger than that. It was deeper than that. It was a poison in my life for... god knows how long.”
She stood up, and started to pace. “God. I’m supposed to be the hero. I’m supposed to be the slayer, the destroyer of monsters, the symbol of-of girl power, the strength behind the people. And in the end the universe reduced me to who it was gonna have me fuck.”
Spike winced. Even he didn’t want her to have had this revelation.
Her fist clenched. “It was cruel, and it wasn’t necessary. I mean, it wasn’t like my egg and his sperm needed to combine to make this fucking new dimension. We just needed to be near each other. Why couldn’t we have just been fighting that whole time, like every part of me should have been allowed to want to? That would have broken mountains, and shattered worlds. But no, the universe decided it wanted to watch us fuck.” She shook her head. “It’s sick. It’s positively obscene.”
There was a long, long silence. Spike wanted to reach out for her, hold her, take the feeling that was crashing down on her away. He wished she’d never realized it. He wished she’d stayed in her quiet delusion of It felt good, so that means I really wanted it. She’d been happier there. Hell, even he’d been happier there, jealousy and all. The idea that his beloved had been raped was more horrifying than if she’d just wanted someone else.
“And you want to know what’s scary?” Buffy said. “It wasn’t Angel who did that. It was the creators. It was the Powers That Be, the same people who decided to make me a hero in the first place.” She buried her head in her hands. “Ugh, god, I knew there was a reason I wasn’t thinking about this.”
“It undermines my entire existence,” she said. “I was made strong, so that I could be forcibly fucked. It’s like I was raped by my own father. I was nothing but a sex toy for some power somewhere, if not the universe itself. They claim it was so I could be the mother of a dimension. Well, a dimensional rape-baby is no excuse for doing that to your supposedly chosen hero!” She was almost crying now, and the rage in her face....
“No. No, Buffy, don’t think like that.”
“Just suck it up?” Buffy demanded.
“No! What I mean is, even if you had some… piss-poor bollixed up destiny of… that. That doesn’t negate what you are. It doesn’t take away from… the wonder and the beauty and the strength that is you. It can’t diminish you to a whore, because you are a hero.”
“But to whatever power decided that was my fate, I was nothing better than a whore,” Buffy said. “A roofied whore, at that.”
“Then that problem is with the Powers, not with you. You are the slayer, you are a fighter, you are magnificent. You’re bigger than them, and their stupid space-sex agenda.”
Buffy laughed suddenly. “Say that again?”
Spike was actually embarrassed to. “You’re still the slayer,” he said. “You’re the one, Buffy. You’ll always be the one. You glow out of the darkness, a beacon for… every girl, every person, everyone who doesn’t just want to roll over and take it. Even if something, somewhere, made you roll over, and tried to reduce you to a sex-slave for one dumb agenda, you are better than that idiot. Even if that asshole is part of the Powers That Bugger Us.”
Buffy scrubbed the tears from her eyes and gave a bit of a wan smile. “You know… you give some of the greatest pep talks ever.”
Spike looked down. That hadn’t been a pep-talk. That had been desperation. The truth was, he was horrified, more horrified than he had ever been by anything. (Except one moment.) Buffy. The woman he loved, had been... knew she had been....
The truth was, if he had been Angel, forced (if Angel had indeed been forced) into that scenario, he’d have wanted to dust himself. Forced into raping the woman he loved? How could anyone live with that?
And here I’ve been jealous….
The realization of even just that appalled him. The trauma and the horror she had undergone, even if she had gone into flat denial and hadn’t allowed herself to realize it at the time…. She had to be so wounded. The whole idea of sex must seem horrific.
How could he ever dare to touch her again?
Maybe he pulled away, or maybe she read the thought in his eyes. (They did know each other damn well.) Suddenly she lunged, grabbing hold of his shirt and slamming into him. They fell to the ground, Buffy atop him, and she glared into his face. “I want you, Spike,” she said fiercely. “Did you know that? I want you. I choose you.” The fierceness faded from her eyes and she gently touched his face. “I love you.”
She said those words so rarely. They were so hard for her, he knew they were. And now he knew why.
“I love you, slayer,” he whispered. “And I wouldn’t want you... if you didn’t want me.” He gently reached up and touched her hair. “Not like that. Never. Never like that.”
“I know,” Buffy said. “You fought for a soul so we’d both know that.” She ran her thumb over his lips, her fingers along his jaw, traced up his cheek to the scar on his eyebrow, gazing into his face. “I want you,” she said again. She placed her hand on his chest, over his unbeating heart.
“This,” she said quietly. “This. This, I want.”
Chapter End Notes:
No doubt others have done stories like this, but I had to write it anyway. This story came about because thinking about the comics had lately become rather traumatic for me. My horror and disgust over them started trickling into ordinary moments, and I refuse to believe such a travesty as season eight was ever considered canon. As a result, my idea of Spuffy future is not comic canon, and thus this is the only comic-canon story I have ever wanted to write. This was an attempt to purge the demon. Because maybe I can’t make the comics go away. Maybe I can’t change how ignorant people (including the season 8 writer) think about it. I can’t even make the season 10 writer address these issues in the way they deserve to be addressed. But I can give Buffy a voice about it, dammit, and give her the freedom to bitch!