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Destroying Entropy by BuffyMeetsSpike
Chapter 6
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Disclaimer: All the characters are Joss Whedon’s. All hail Joss Whedon.
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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.
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