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Never Alone by Lilachigh
Chp 17 Being Buffy Summers
Never Alone by Lilachigh

Chapter 17 Being Buffy Summers

Buffy headed upstairs to say goodbye to Clem and Elsa. She didn’t know what would happen once she began her fight against the Hellmouth. Perhaps she wouldn’t survive.
She dashed at the stupid tears that burnt her eyes. She refused to cry over Spike. God, she’d spent months doing that when she thought he was dead. No more.

Let the stupid vamp go off to L.A. See if she cared. She was going to do what she had always done - her duty as a Slayer.

‘But you’re not the only one in the world now,’ a voice in her head whispered, but she ignored it. She knocked on Clem’s door and Elsa opened it, a finger to her lips.

“Come in, Buffy,” she whispered. “But don’t make too much noise. I’ve just got Tosh off to sleep. He’s been over-excited, what with getting lost and fighting the octipider.”

Buffy followed her into a small room, the walls covered with brightly spattered paintings which looked like any other small child’s nursery school efforts, except most of the people had two heads, or fangs or tentacles.

Tosh was lying on top of his bed, wearing Superman pyjamas, arms and legs splayed like a small starfish. Buffy felt her lips curve into a smile, something she hadn’t thought she would ever do again. He looked so innocent, the skin not quite as wrinkled as it would be when he grew up, the ears not quite so large.

Buffy sighed. She loved small children but knew the chances of her having one were remote. The thought of making love to anyone except Spike was repugnant. Would there ever come a time when she could look at another guy? And she was still a Slayer. Riley had been unable to cope with her strength. What ordinary man could.

Elsa drew a light blanket up over Tosh’s legs, then ushered Buffy into the living-room.
“Clem’s out, if you need him. Can I get you a drink? We’ve got all sorts of fizzy ones and chips and dips and I could rustle you up some ribs? We’re barbecuing the octipider tomorrow night. Will you and Spike be coming? You’re more than welcome.’”

‘Oh - Oh!” Buffy swallowed hard, suddenly wondering if that had been the fate of lots of the monsters she’d dispatched over the years. Demon wives came and cleared them away and cooked them for their families! Weirdly gross and yet somehow neat.

“No, that’s very kind of you, Elsa, but Spike’s going to L.A. and I’ve got to start work on closing the Hellmouth again. Or at least find out what these Shade things are up to. There is no way I can let Sunnydale slide back into its old familiar routines again.”

Elsa sat on the sofa and plucked at the edge of a cushion. She was smaller than Clem but just as wrinkly. Her eyes were soft and wise when she glanced at Buffy. “So you’re not going to L.A. with Spike?”

“No. It’s ridiculous. All of a sudden he needs to know who he is, why he can’t remember his past. The fact that he’s needed here isn’t important to him. So, he can go. I’ll be just as well off without him.”

Elsa picked up a little toy car that was lying on the floor and ran it gently across the sofa seat. “When I first met Clem,” she said, seemingly not paying any attention to what Buffy was saying, “I used to get really tired of hearing about his friend Spike. That’s all he ever seemed to talk about - Spike said, Spike did, you should have seen what happened when Spike and Buffy fought this demon or this monster, on and on and on.”

Buffy sighed. “Ouch! Boring! Poor you.”

Elsa smiled gently. “Oh no, not boring. Just that I was angry. I imagined Clem thought he was second best in some way, not as exciting, as brave, as clever, as evil as Spike .”

Buffy winced. “Geez, that’s rubbish. Clem’s always been marvellous. Kind, helpful, a true friend. OK, not so much with the evil, but hey, I like him just as he is. Spike would have done anything for him, and he would now - even though he can’t remember being his friend !”

“Oh I know, Buffy. So does Clem. Because you see, I was wrong. Clem never believed he was second best to Spike. I honestly think the idea never entered his head. He was his friend, and that was that. It was me who had the problem with it.”

Buffy was curious. “What happened?”

“I’d never met Spike. I was living in Arizona with my parents and Clem would come and visit. He’d drive up in that little red car and we’d go off into the desert and camp out under the stars. That’s where Tosh was made.”

“Oh!” Buffy bit back the hundreds of question she wanted to ask. Such as, why could demons have children but not vampires? And why had she never seen any little demons before in all her years on the Hellmouth. “So Clem went to Arizona when he left Sunnydale when the First was about to put in an appearance?”

Elsa nodded, her ears waving. “I had Tosh on the very day you and Spike closed the Hellmouth and Spike died. I thought Clem was going to go mad.” The toy car jerked out of her fingers and crashed to the floor, rolling away under a chair.

Buffy frowned. She’d been so busy coping with her own grief, trying to pick up the pieces of a life that made no sense without him, that she’d given very little thought to how Spike’s best friend must have felt.

“He was joyful at Tosh’s arrival but devastated that Spike had gone. I was jealous. I admit it now. Clem knows how I felt. We don’t have secrets from each other.”

Buffy laughed sadly. “Wish I could say the same about Spike and me. Our whole relationship has been one big secret.”

Elsa sighed. “Well, I was jealous of a dead vampire. Not my finest hour as a wife, I must admit. For a few months life was difficult. I didn’t know how to make Clem feel better. I refused to talk about it. I felt that he should move on with his life, stop looking back, agonising over how he should have stayed in Sunnydale and helped you and Spike fight the First.”

Buffy looked up, her green eyes sharp. “What? But Elsa, nothing would have been any different, except Clem might have perished. Spike would still have used the amulet and died.”

Elsa nodded. “Eventually he seemed to accept that and for a while we rubbed along together, looking after Tosh and making a new life for ourselves. But deep down, I knew we were just papering over the cracks and in the long run, neither of us was going to be happy.”

“So what happened?”

Elsa stood up and began sorting some washing ready for ironing. Buffy curled herself up in the big armchair. She was so comfortable. It was relaxing listening to Elsa. She reminded Buffy of another homely girl, with long amber hair and a soft voice that sounded like melting honey.

“A parcel arrived, very battered. A Murpf demon brought it one night. Clem said it was important and took it to New York.”

“He came to give it to me. It was from Spike.”

“Yes, he told me when he got back. It didn’t make me feel any better. Then I realized he wasn’t sleeping. Tossing and turning, night after night. Finally I got him to tell me that he’d been having the same dream - a vision of the New Sunnydale. As if it was calling to him, insisting that he return. He wanted to leave at once.”

“Some power wanted him here? Because of Spike?”

Elsa nodded, her ears waving vigorously. “That’s what I think now, but then,of course, I just thought he was being over dramatic, imagining it all. I told him to go, if that was what he wanted, but I had a duty to Tosh and my parents and that had to come first before some silly dream.”

Buffy felt the heat stain her cheeks. There was that word again. “But duty’s important,” she insisted. “That’s why I can’t go to L.A. with Spike. I’m needed here.”

Elsa was silent for a while, busily ironing one of Clem’s shirts with the vast sleeves. “I’m sure you are. When you’ve got a single purpose in life, it makes you feel good about yourself. As far as I was concerned, I was Tosh’s mother, that was my role; I was important. No one could do that but me.”

Buffy bit her lip. “You’re saying I think I’m all important? I don’t, Elsa! But I know what I can do to help.”

Elsa looked up from the ironing. “All I’m saying is that I muddled up my ‘duties’ in my head. I forgot I had a duty to Clem, too. I’m his wife and my place is at his side. The second he left for Sunnydale, I realised I was wrong. I packed up my things and Tosh and got my Dad to drive us here.”

“But it’s so dangerous. What about Tosh? Weren’t you scared for him?”

Elsa picked up the iron and for a second, Buffy could see her wielding the axe against the octipider. “Tosh is a demon, Buffy. Never forget that. He might only be little, but he loves the fighting, the killing. What’s the old saying - tigers breed true.”

Buffy fell silent. She wasn’t Spike’s wife; she only wished she was. But deep in her heart she knew that in some ways Elsa was right. She had always been intensely proud of being the only Slayer, even if it had stopped her having a normal life.

When the other Slayers had appeared, she‘d been thrilled in lots of ways, but there had always been that little niggle of resentment that she had lost her role in life.

She knew that this was a time when she had to be honest with herself. Hadn’t she felt a thrill of excitement when she realised the Hellmouth had opened again and that she was here, on the spot, to deal with it?

“Go and talk to him before he leaves,” Elsa said suddenly. “I knew I could follow Clem, but if Spike goes and you don’t know where he’ll be or what will happen, will you ever forgive yourself? Will doing your duty be worth it?”

* * * * * *

Spike was standing in the shadows where the mall was being built. He was still angry at Buffy. Why couldn’t she see that he had to find out why he couldn’t remember her properly, that he needed to know who he was, what he was?

Clem’s little red car came bucketing up the rough track and screeched to a halt. The demon jumped out, loaded down with grocery bags. “Hi, Spike! How you doing?”

“I need the car.”

“Wow. Well, OK, where you going?”


“Buffy, too?”

“No! Slayer’s busy being Superwoman, killing Shades, closing Hellmouths.”

Clem’s wrinkled face contorted into a huge frown as he struggled with various brown bags to stop them slipping to the ground. Spike reached out impatiently and took two.

“Thanks! I’ve got blood in there for you from the butcher. Well, it’s what she’s always done, isn’t it. Would be hard to walk away.”

Spike’s face was bleak. “I want to find out why I lost my memory. Who I am. What I am.”

“So you’re leaving her to cope on her own?”

Spike raised an eyebrow at the demon’s tone. It was the first time he’d heard Clem sound disapproving. It was a weird sensation. Even though he didn’t remember the bloke, he accepted that they’d been good mates at some time and he had a feeling that Clem had always agreed with him on everything.

“She doesn’t need me.”

Clem stared at him and shook his head, ears waving wildly. “Spike, if you believe that, then that bang on your head must have done more damage than destroy your memory. Buffy’s always needed you and you’ve always needed her. ”

“I need to know who I am!” Spike repeated stubbornly.

“Well,” Clem said cheerfully, “I suppose you do, but whoever you are, you’re not going to change, are you? If you go now, find out who you are and come back and discover Buffy dead, will it be worth it?”

He turned, leaving Spike standing in the dark shadows, his blue eyes guarded and troubled. Then the vampire realised he was still holding two brown bags, one of which was dripping ominously. He turned and walked hurriedly back towards Clem’s rooms. Perhaps if he could just see Buffy, speak to her.

He rounded a rough concrete post, and almost bumped into the Slayer who’d been running to find him. The bags went flying as his hands went out to catch her and, without thinking, he pulled her close and held her as tightly as he could. For seconds she stayed motionless, then her arms wound round his neck and her grasp became as fierce as his own.

Sitting on the gritty, dirty floor, Spike shifted his back against the rough concrete wall. The underground parking lot of the New Sunnydale shopping mall was only half built but the workers had vanished to tackle another job in the cavernous building.

Buffy sighed, leaning against his shoulder, she glanced down to where she could see their boots in a line - two large black and dirty, hers smaller, scuffed, a splash of blood from some long dead demon indelibly smeared on the laces.

She remembered once - another lifetime ago - sitting on the porch steps at Revello Drive, staring at their boots, side by side, as she’d cried over her mother‘s illness and a clumsy vampire had patted her shoulder to comfort her.

Revello Drive was long gone, porch and all. As were her mother, of course, Tara, Anya, all those potential Slayers. Vampires and demons she’d lost count of - not that she’d kept lists. Perhaps she should. Kendra would have kept a neat little notebook with all the kills written down and marked.

“You dropped your blood,” she said at last, sitting up a little and looking across to where the soggy brown paper bag was still leaking its contents in a spreading puddle.

Spike grunted and his arm tightened round her as if loosening the contact scared him.

“Elsa will scold you for making a mess,” Buffy said drowsily. She didn’t understand why she felt so tired. But her limbs ached with weariness and her eyelids felt so heavy.

“Scary lady,” Spike murmured. “Fights Clem’s corner without asking questions. And bloody hell, did you see her with that axe when the octipider attacked us?”

There was a pause, then, “Are you saying I don’t fight yours?”

“Slayer, if I had a corner of my own, you could fight it any time!”

Buffy slid a hand round his waist, wiggling her fingers until they pulled his T shirt loose and could touch the smooth slope of his stomach. “That’s what it all comes down to doesn’t it, Spike. Having something of your own?”

The vampire frowned. He knew he wasn’t much of a thinker, knew that he fought from the blood, from feelings and emotions. Thoughts were more complicated to put into words. “You know who you are, where you come from - hell’s bleeding bells, Buffy, you even know more about me than I do. I wanted - still want - to have that knowledge myself, not just what you tell me.”

“But you’re still here? You didn’t go to L.A.”

“And you’re not half way down the Hellmouth, looking for Shades to slaughter!”

“So why are we both here?” Buffy asked cautiously. She tightened her grip on the vampire, as if he could slip away if she once let go.

Spike sighed. “I was talking to Clem and I suddenly realised that even though I can’t remember the past properly, you and me, we’re two halves of the same circle. Just like Clem and Elsa belong together, so do we, Slayer. Just because I can’t remember how the circle was made in the first place is no excuse for breaking it now.”

He dropped a kiss on the top of her head and she smiled, her face hidden against his shoulder. She was so desperately tired. “I feel as if we were both standing on the edge of a precipice and somehow we’ve stumbled back, away from falling,” she said slowly. “All I could see, until I spoke to Elsa, was my duty as a Slayer. And that - that’s the whole problem, Spike.”

“What? Your duty as a Slayer? You’re not making sense, luv.”

“Listen, you’ve just said it. too. ‘A’ Slayer. Not ‘The’ Slayer anymore. I am not the only Chosen One in the world. There are lots. I think - I think deep down I’ve been jealous of them,” she said in a rush, hurrying to get the words out while she was brave enough to say them. “Suddenly, there was this big chance to save the world, close the Hellmouth again, being the old Buffy Summers, doing my Duty.”

“Well, I don’t remember the old Buffy Summers, but the new one will do me very nicely,” Spike said.

“And I think that was part of the problem as well,” Buffy whispered, determined to have the whole tangled web laid out in front of them.

Spike shifted round, pulling her onto his lap so he could look down at her face. “You mean it upsets you that I’ve got little memory of you?”

Buffy ran a finger tip along the new scar that forked through his dark eyebrow. She wondered what on earth - or some other dimension - had given it to him. “No - maybe - yes, of course it does, you idiot! But I can live with that. Every day we’re making new memories. I think what I was worried about, what I’m still worried about is, what if you go to L.A., remember everything, then decide - ”

“Decide what, pet?”

“That you don’t love me. That all those feelings you had for me died when you closed the Hellmouth.”

There was a long silence. From far above their heads, came the echoing clanging and hammering of workmen intent on constructing a bigger and better New Sunnydale mall.
“Would that be such a bad thing as far as you’re concerned?” Spike said at last.

Buffy felt an icy ripple run down her spine. She wanted to jump up and walk away. Even yesterday, she would have done just that, refusing to talk out the problem, determined to hide behind pride and an overwhelming sense of rejection. ‘What do you mean?” she forced herself to say. “You know I love you.”

“But there’s no future in it, is there, luv? Slayer, Vampire. Not going to end with a nice little house, a yard, a white picket fence - ”

“ - fat grandchildren,” she whispered, remembering another conversation, another vampire..

“Hey! Well, yes, if we’re honest. No kids, so no grandchildren. I think - being with you is fine for me, Buffy, but it all sounds a bit bleak for you. You should have more in your life than – well —than me.”

“But that would mean you leaving me, breaking the circle, as you put it. So we’re back to square one.”

“I can’t leave you, Slayer,” Spike said, pulling her close and kissing her deeply. “You can send me away, and I’ll go. But I won’t ever leave.”

“You were going to L.A. to find your past,” Buffy said, her head swimming from his kiss.

“And you were going to try to close the Hellmouth on your own! So, snap, we were both bloody stupid.”

“There’s that precipice again.”

Spike uncurled his long legs and stood up, pulling Buffy with him. “I reckon we’ll come to the edge over and over again, pet. Life’s a bitch and then you die! Or, in my case, you don’t. As long as we know it’s there, we’ll pull each other back from it.”

Buffy reached up, not very far, and cupped the thin pale face with her hands. How had she ever been stupid enough to imagine she could go on without him? She’d lost him once before and had come so close to throwing everything away again out of stupid pride.

Green eyes blazed up into blue. “Let me say this out loud, drill it into your brain. I love you, Spike. You denied it the first time I said it, but if you won’t accept now that it’s the truth, then I’ll...I’ll, I’ll kick your stupid vampire butt all over town.”

Spike flinched in agony as a picture shot through his brain. Light, heat, their hands entwined in flame and his voice, “No you don’t, but thanks for saying it.”

Buffy winced at the sight of the pain on his face but didn’t take her hands away. She pulled him closer and kissed him, lightly, softly at first, then harder, deeper, pushing her body against his, twining her hands into his hair, desperate that he believed her words, hoping that her body would convince him if nothing else would.

When they drew apart they were both shaking with intensity of the emotion that coursed through their bodies. “So, what now?” Buffy asked.

“Well, Slayer, all I want to do is sleep for about a thousand years. I’m going to bed. Coming?”

“You, me, a bed, and all you can think about is sleep?” Buffy teased as they wandered back towards his room.

Spike grinned, then yawned and Buffy realised that they were holding each other up, almost stumbling as the exhaustion from the past few days began to catch up with them.

She was asleep before the door was closed, unaware of Spike picking her up and laying her on the bed, pulling a quilt over them and crashing out next to her, his arm thrown possessively across her shoulders.

It was dark when she woke - and she was alone. He’d gone! The quilt was thrown on the floor, abandoned. Buffy swung herself off the bed, fumbling for the light switch., all the cynical bitterness sweeping back over her.

Well, of course he’d gone. Had she really expected him to stay? All this nonsense about circles and belonging and love. Just vampire talk. And he hadn’t even bothered to leave her a note.

She’d done that the last time they’d slept together like that. She’d told him where she was going, what she was doing, but now - Spike had probably hoped she’d give in and go with him to L.A. Well, she hadn’t, so he obviously had decided to clear out and -

The door opened and the vampire stood there, dark in his leather coat. “Hey, Goldilocks! Got something to show you.” He held out his hand and she pushed her doubts aside and linked her fingers through his.

“Where are we going?”

“For a ride.”

He strode through the dark caverns of the building site, up the stairs to where the car park would one day be. Clem’s car was parked by the door, gleaming in the moonlight.

“Spike, where on earth are we going? Are you heading for L.A. after all?”

“Just sit quietly and you’ll see,” he said. “it‘s a surprise.”

Buffy pulled a face as they roared out onto the road with a screech of tyres. She wasn’t at all sure that Spike’s idea of a surprise would be hers.

The road gave way to a rough track and then they were driving along, through another building site, this time big wide lots where the frame work of houses had been erected and even a few spindly saplings had been planted.

The car drew up, Spike got out and Buffy joined him on what would one day be the sidewalk and stood, bewildered, as he put his arm round her shoulder and waved expansively with the other.

“Clem told me they’d started building houses in this area again. The planners are trying to recreate the town exactly as it was. I don’t remember your old house in Revello Drive, but this new one will be ours. I’ve no idea how much it’ll cost, but whatever it is, I’ll bloody well beg, borrow or steal it.”

Buffy stared at what the moonlight was showing. A small house, awaiting its roof and windows. But the shape was the same, there was a porch and steps and it was all rising from the rough ground - her home, their home.

“Ours?” she whispered.

Spike pulled her close, his hair almost white as the moonlight touched it. “Well, Slayer, I reckon we can’t stay with Clem and Elsa for ever. Chap needs a bit of privacy, especially for what I intend to do with you! And there’s that sis of yours you’ve mentioned. She’ll need somewhere to stay when she visits, won’t she?”

“But what about L.A. ?”

Spike rubbed his chin into her hair. “Big town, isn’t going anywhere. Hell, I know I’m old. Another few months won’t make any difference. You’ve got Shades to destroy and a Hellmouth to close. Could just let you get on with it on your own, but hey, where’s the fun in that, Slayer.“

Buffy twisted in his arms to look at him and he caught his breath at the blazing happiness on her face . “No fun at all, Spike.”

She gloried in the strength of his arms as they closed round her and gave herself up to his embrace, realising for the very first time, that she was giving everything to him, heart, body, mind and soul, holding nothing back.

So she was back in Sunnydale to stay. Back to Hellmouths and demons and vampires. Back to fighting and killing and being Buffy. All the things she’d hated and desperately wished to end would start all over again. And she’d never been happier in her entire life.

Finally she was home at last, but this time she was with the man she loved more than life itself, and she would never be alone again.

the end.

Hi guys, hope you enjoyed this last chapter. Please let me know if you did. I felt I needed to bring this particular story to a close because Buffy and Spike had moved such a long way from that first episode.

But watch out for the sequel. There are a lot of unresolved issues - Spike’s memory being the most important but the reaction of the rest of the gang is going to be interesting - and surprising, I think.

Until then - take care. Lilachigh