Chapter 3 - A Kiss & A Wish
Friday, May 3rd, 2002
Anya's tears had tailed off now and Spike's hands traced gentle caresses over her face. He placed a gentle kiss on her brow and she wrapped her arms around him under cover of a layer of black leather drawing physical and emotional support from the vampire's strength.
He spoke softly into her blonde curls, inhaling the green-apple scent of her shampoo. "They don't have the guts to follow their hearts. I wish they did, but they don't. They spend so much time being scared of everything that could go wrong that they won't let anything go right."
Anya ducked her head until her face was hidden between his chest and his duster. "Done," she whispered so quietly even Spike remained oblivious. A wave of surprise travelled through her as she realised who was the second recipient of her efforts. She reflexively raised her head, looking into Spike's eyes even as she admitted that on a certain level she had known the truth all along.
His forehead came to rest against hers and they stood in their own private world for minutes, each simply taking comfort from the other's closeness before the jostling crowd caused the vamp to guide Anya from the dance-floor.
"Come on, kitten. I'll walk you back to wherever you're staying before I go back to my place. A morsel as pretty as you's bound to run into trouble walking home alone after dark."
He paused to pick up the bag of candles from under the table they had previously occupied, and then moved sideways breaking a path through the club's patrons. He kept one arm draped protectively over her shoulders and Anya's arm circled his waist, her thumb hooked through the belt-loop on his jeans, each was reluctant to lose the connection engendered by the other's touch.
Buffy and Xander rose from their seats, moving around the table to get the screen in view just as Spike closed the gap between him and Anya.
"What?" Buffy was the first to query Willow's shocked expression, but the redhead was preoccupied with a belated attempt to prevent Xander's approach.
"Wait, Xander, no."
The young man, if anything, was hastened by her pleas and stared at the screen as Spike kissed his former fiancée, a desperate epithet falling from his lips at the sight. Buffy's look of horror soon matched Xander's own and after a quick glance at the brunette's face her gaze returned inexorably to the screen.
Around the monochrome pair the crowd gyrated and swayed but the two stood statue still oblivious to the seething motion around them.
The front door clashed shut and Dawn slung her backpack to the floor as she entered. "Hey guys, what's-" She too was drawn to the screen. For a second a huge smile illuminated her face until she looked across at Xander and it faded.
Willow glanced across at Buffy, hoping for guidance on how to deal with Xander and became aware of the same devastated look on her best friend's face. Microseconds later the younger Summers also noted her expression and drew her own conclusions.
Buffy's voice cut through the silence. "That's enough." She headed off through the living room. After a quick glance passed between the remaining females Dawn followed her. The pair barely had time to start a discussion when Willow caught up with them in the back yard.
"Buffy, Xander's gone. and he took a stake."
"Yeah. So. It's not like Spike can't." Buffy's indignant response stalled as she remembered that her former kick-ass patrol partner had a major Achilles' heel. "Look after himself. Oh God. Does he have the car? How much of a head start has he got?" She even as she framed the questions the blonde was off and running round the side of the house.
"No and about a minute," Willow bounced on the balls of her feet as she shouted back.
"Sheesh," Dawn moved to watch over her shoulder and shook her head. "And she says she broke up with him. 'D Like to see how fast she could run if she was hung up on the guy."
"Love makes you do the wacky. well, um, not love, em, well in Xander's case, then love but. I think I'll go back and see if there are any more channels and then try to trace the source again."
Buffy caught up with Xander long before he got anywhere near the Bronze.
"Xander, you've got to calm down. You're not going to achieve anything by going after Spike."
"Other than an immense feeling of satisfaction, you mean? The thing should have been staked years ago."
"You don't even know what you saw. Maybe he was just comforting her. She's had a bit of a rough time lately and it's not like we've. Well, the rest of us are all closer to you than to her."
"Yeah, and Captain Sarcasm's the guy who's always there waiting when you're looking for a shoulder to cry on and I don't think." Buffy at least had the good grace to look uncomfortable but didn't interrupt. "He kissed her. Twice. He's decided to cut his losses as far as his little obsession with you's concerned. Now he's after her while she's vulnerable. Well, you know what. He's not going to get her. This thing stops right now."
"I still don't think you're right. It's not like he had his tongue down her throat or anything. is it? But, even if. Xander. You left her at the altar. You can't do that and then go throw your weight around like you've got some sort of claim."
"I can if I'm going to put her in a car, drive to Vegas and marry her tonight."
"When I was watching them, you know at first I just felt sick to my stomach. The whole thing just. eew. Then he kissed her and she sort of snuggled her face in against his chest, and right then I just had to do something about it. I'm the only one I want her getting that close to, and if the only way she'll have me back is if we get married, then we're getting married. I mean, it's not like we don't love each other. We do. And we'd been living together, that's pretty much like being married except for a little bit of paper. And I know I ruined her big day, but if we elope now we can always have a blessing done later when we've saved up some more money."
"Wow, big U turn."
"Yeah, well, I guess I got freaked about everything that could go wrong, but I've just got to make sure I don't let things happen like that."
"So, were you planning on staking Spike before or after the proposal?"
".Okay, maybe it wouldn't make the best impression, but if he's trying to take advantage of her, it won't stop me."
Buffy looked over at Xander. "Think you can cover both of us in. I kind of left in a hurry and I don't have any money?"
The pair scanned the bar but finally conceded that their quarry had eluded them. Buffy, however caught sight of a familiar face, Willow's one-time history tutee.
"Percy, I'm looking for someone. She was here about ten, maybe fifteen minutes ago. Anya Jenkins, she was in our year?"
"Yeah, sweet lookin' chick." Percy became aware of Xander's presence behind Buffy. "Seems I heard she got dumped even worse than Xander that Valentine's day. Way harsh, dude. She left with some guy."
Buffy, turned to face Xander briefly, indicating with frantic eye movements that Xander should back off. "Look, we just want to be sure she's okay. The guy she left with, sort of white-blonde hair, leather coat, that right?" Percy looked over to where Xander now stood a few feet away before giving a brief nod.
"Did they look like they were together? I mean together together?"
Percy moved his head closer to Buffy's, pitching his voice so only she could hear. "Looked like more of a friends thing. They had some food, couple of beers. Danced a bit, then she got all upset. Chick was cryin' her eyes out in the middle of the dance floor. He seemed to get her calmed down and then they left. I'm not saying they weren't together, I mean, I wasn't about to go ask for a dance while she was with him, but..."
The jock looked over at Xander. "What's the deal with him anyway? Dump her then stalk her?"
"Not really. He heard she was here with that guy and he was worried about her. Look. Thanks."
Buffy went over to where Xander leant against the bar. "Percy reckons they weren't, you know. but we've pretty much missed them."
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