Chapter 4 - There's Always Consequences
Saturday, May 4th, 2002
Spike arranged the candles in a circle around the herbs and other items he'd removed from the box. He read through the instructions in the spell book one more time making sure he had everything straight in his head before he started.
It was time.
Spike picked up one of the candles and held it at an angle, using his lighter to light the wick, then moved round the circle using it to light the others. He picked up the spell-book and moved into the circle before replacing the candle, closing the gap. He took a seat cross-legged on the floor behind the various accoutrements necessary for the spell and lit the incense in its censer. He took deliberate deep breaths, inhaling the fragrance, trying to clear his mind of all thoughts not directly connected to casting the spell. The candles had burned down a full two inches before his mind was calm and clear enough to proceed with the rest of the spell.
"Harken all ye elements, I summon thee now." He dropped something into a bowl resting inside a pentacle drawn in front of him.
"Control the outside, control within.
So mote it be."
Picking up a goblet from the floor he poured its contents into the bowl. Flickers of electricity flashed around the circle like blue-violet lightning. The flame atop each of the candles flared to a height of six inches before returning to normal. The crypt as still as the grave.
Spike finally rose and extinguished the candles one by one, clearing away them and the other items used in the spell. He was confident that the spell was active. The light show at the end was proof of that. Now he needed to check that it was working as he intended.
He retrieved the empty bourbon bottle from its resting place on the floor. "I will this bottle to be filled again." He watched and waited. Nothing happened.
He let forth an exhausted sigh. "Guess I'm not all that passionate about alcohol after all. So much for the test run."
Spike let the events of the last few days run through his head. He focused on the pain that Buffy had caused him. He let her rejections make him angry and he thought of how it had infuriated him when she had said she didn't love him because he knew even if she didn't want to there was part of her that did. Only when his rage was like a red-hot coal inside him did he give voice to his desires.
"I wish that Buffy would decide exactly what it is that she really wants."
Buffy made her way through the centre of town, her shift at the Double Meat Palace finally over. She hadn't heard from Xander since they had finally parted company at dawn this morning. It was only after they had left the Bronze that the two of them had realised that neither of them had even asked Anya where she was staying. The Magic Box had been shuttered and dark and Spike's crypt barren; cold and forbidding.
She had checked the subterranean portion of his home and found that whilst the room had been cleaned and those items damaged beyond repair had been removed, he had made no effort to make the room hospitable. She had felt guilty, not for the obvious reason that she had been the one to destroy it, but for something worse. She had felt that his efforts to make that room seem like a home had been part of how he'd tried to be better for her. Like some sort of nest-building exercise. The fact that he hadn't made any effort to restore the room seemed to be a sign of defeatism on his part. She had thought about all their times together, as enemies, as allies, as friends and as lovers. Always there had been a fire in everything he did, never still unless in sleep. His eyes always betraying some form of emotion, be it hatred, despair, sympathy, lust or love. Even though she knew he was dead, she had never known anyone with more passion for life. As she had looked round that sterile chamber, scrubbed until the smells of lemon and pine obliterated the lingering odours of soot, ash and burnt vinyl, she felt like she had broken some essential part of him, like she had somehow desecrated a work of art.
That feeling had stayed with her all night as she and Xander waited for his return. The hours had been slow to pass. Xander had paced the room, fidgeting with the stake he carried, checking his watch every few minutes, his ramblings first hopeful, then accusatory, then worried and back to accusatory again. Finally, the sun peaking over the horizon had forced him to admit that it was unlikely the vamp would return to his lair and Buffy had felt free to return home and get ready for work. Just the same she couldn't help but spend all day wondering just what it was that had kept Spike so busy he wasn't home before sunrise.
She told herself that she was just going home this way because it took her past Starbucks and she really wanted a proper coffee, not the stewed brew that came with non-dairy creamer which they sold in DMP, but something foamy and delicious. It was only coincidence that she would pass both The Magic Box and Spike's crypt. Pure coincidence.
Of course, now that she'd actually got into Starbucks she had no idea what she actually wanted. Hot or cold? Small, medium or large? What blend? Half-fat, whole-fat, No-fat? Half-caff, Decaff or regular? Oh boy, choices, choices. It always took her a full five minutes to make up her mind. She pulled the change from her pocket, comparing it with the price of the various coffees.
Then, instantly it came to her. Medium, half-fat, half-caff, iced mint mocha. Perfection.
Spike wondered if this was working. The thing was he didn't want to repeat Red's mistake. He had to make his wishes and then end the spell. The little Wicca had decided the spell wasn't working and then every little thing she said when she was all fired up started coming true, including him and Buffy getting engaged. If he wanted to, he could make that same wish, but he didn't want Buffy like that. Not if he could do it properly. He wanted the feelings she had for him to be genuine, not some spell-induced figment of her imagination. He didn't want to use the spell to make her fall in love with him. He just wanted her to own up and stop kidding herself about the feelings she did have.
"I wish Buffy would be honest about her feelings, to herself and others."
Buffy took her coffee and strolled in the direction of The Magic Box. When she got there her little sister was sitting on the shop's doorstep and the shutters were still down, or back down.
"Hey to you too."
"No Anya?" Buffy tried to conceal the turmoil caused by Anya's absence.
"No Anya. Did you find her and Spike last night?"
"No. No sign at the Bronze and Spike was a dirty stop-out and didn't make it home all night."
"So, d'you think.?" Dawn raised an eyebrow.
Buffy just shrugged her shoulders.
"If they had, would you care?" Dawn asked quietly as Buffy joined her on the doorstep.
"No, I mean it would just kill Xander if-"
"I'm asking about you not Xander. Would you care?"
"Me? .Care what Spike does? .Of course n-. I do." Buffy slapped a hand to her mouth. 'What on earth did I just say? .and in front of Dawn.'
"So if you have feelings for him, then why did you break up with him."
"Because I finally had to face up to the fact that sooner or later, if he stays here, he'll do something that'll force me to kill him. So I broke things off before I got any deeper in, before I ended up feeling more for that blonde pest than I already do because I'm not strong enough to do that again. I just can't. and because I'm ashamed of myself for being with him, so whenever we're together and anyone sees us I treat him badly 'cause I don't want them to think there's. It's easier if I keep people thinking that I hate him. Then, I'm ashamed because he's in love with me and that makes him vulnerable and I keep treating him like dirt. It's all sorts of badness, and that's just the tip of the iceberg."
Dawn smiled at her sister. Her happiness at being confided in, at being treated like an equal evidenced by the gleam in her eyes.
'Okay, one last item on the wish list and then it's time to call it quits on this little escapade.'
Spike worked himself up into a temper again, ready to make his last wish. 'It's real for me, is it? Well, it's going to be real for you too, pet. No more treating Spike like a simpleton who can't even know how he feels without Buffy telling him he's wrong.'
"I wish that Buffy would really truly understand my feelings for her."
He picked up a piece of paper on which he had scribbled some notes. Unlike Willow, he didn't want to reverse the spell effects he might have achieved. He just wanted to make sure he didn't inadvertently cause any disasters, so now he had to close of the spell from accepting further wishes.
" These wishes are all that I ask
So mote it be."
"But if there's all this badness, then you must have cared about him a lot, or it wouldn't have lasted as long as it did."
"I don't know about that. At the start I was just numb, but with him I felt alive. I knew it wasn't fair on him, but I used him to get me through. I would have probably had a nervous breakdown if he hadn't helped-"
"Buffy?" Dawn shook her sister's shoulder. "Buffy?" Her sister sat on the doorstep, both hands holding her coffee in which the ice was rapidly melting. Her eyes were empty as her grave.
"Buffy, speak to me. Buffy, you can't leave again. I need you. Stay with me." She shook Buffy harder. "Please wake up, please."
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