full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
Destroying Entropy by BuffyMeetsSpike
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.
<<     >>