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.
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