Chapter Three- Never Let a Girl Watch You Sleep
The next morning had been pretty much uneventful, except for Anya chasing after Andrew with a wooden spoon, but Buffy had never really gotten the details. Instead, she let the girls have some R and R. Most of them spent it huddled in the living room, watching chic flicks, gossiping over teen magazines while they porked on junk food. Buffy knew the distraction was necessary for the Potentials and everyone else in the house. Xander and Dawn had opted for some away time, volunteering to do some errands, which gave them a chance to get out and peruse the mall. Willow had convinced Kennedy to go out for some coffee and talk, needing the privacy to deal with resolving their relationship problems. Anya, after delivering a few whacks to Andrew with the wooden utensil, had managed to rope him and a few other girls into board games. The last time Buffy had checked, Anya owned both Boardwalk and Park Place, with a hotel on each.
Buffy, on the other hand, was pacing her room, unsure of how to spend her day off. After she had said goodnight to Spike, she just went on autopilot and headed straight to sleep. She hadn’t really reflected on what was spoken between them the previous night. So now, she was in her room, alone and all she wanted was to go see him, talk to him. Walking over to her door, she stopped. “No. He’s probably asleep,” she said out loud, finding any excuse to not go down to him. She started to pace again. “But, how could he possibly sleep with the all day slumber party going on downstairs,” she rationalized, heading for the door. “No! I can’t,” she yelled at herself, getting frustrated. “God, its just Spike! Why the hell is this suddenly so complicated?” Finally, throwing the door open, Buffy stormed out, determined to not let her insecurities affect what she wanted to do.
She went downstairs, acting as though she hadn’t spent the last twenty minutes contemplating whether or not she should go down and see Spike. No one noticed her come down and slip into the basement; they were all too preoccupied with having a little fun. It was dark and she had to wait a moment for her eyes to adjust to the change. Taking the steps one at a time, she stealthily made her way down without a sound. Scanning the room, she spotted the cot and found Spike, deep in soundless repose. He was bare-chested with a single sheet draped over his jean-clad legs. His chest never rose, but he would occasionally let out some sort of rumbling noise, which Buffy figured was the closest thing he had to a snore. She smiled at the idea.
The fact that she was standing there watching Spike sleep suddenly hit her and she nervously slinked back towards the steps, feeling guilty for invading his privacy. “Buffy…” She froze when she heard him, thinking he had caught her. Turning around, she saw him, still in la-la land. “Buffy…” he called out, obviously dreaming. She smiled sadly at the longing in his voice. ‘I guess I am all he dreams about,” she reflected as she made her way closer to him. It was only when she got close enough that she saw that his brow was furrowed in pain and that his eyes moved erratically beneath their lids. “Buffy, no…” he whined. “‘M sorry… Never meant…Never hurt…” His chest started to heave and his body trembled as he let out one last choked sob. “‘M sorry.”
Buffy watched, like one would watch a train wreck. She couldn’t bear seeing how Spike’s guilt had filtered into his dreams but she couldn’t bring herself to wake him, afraid she’d crossed a line by merely being there. God, all she wanted to do was comfort him, like he had done with her just last night. It was then that she realized that what Spike needed was to know how she felt. He needed to know that she forgave him. If Spike could see past the demon, why couldn’t she get over his?
Taking in a deep steadying breathe, Buffy inched toward him, kneeling next to the cot as she reached out a hand which hovered above his shoulder. “Spike,” she called to him, her voice firm but soft. Spike remained fitfully asleep, moaning as he tossed in his bed. “Spike, wake up,” she repeated, lowering her hand to touch him. He nearly flew out of the bed because of it. Buffy suddenly found herself lying down beside him with two strong arms wrapped around her waist while his face was buried in the crook of her neck. From his whimpers and moans, she knew he was still asleep, still agonizing in his own personal hell.
“Spike,” Buffy called his name out again, hoping her close proximity would stir him.
He didn’t wake. Sighing, she allowed herself to settle into him, wrapping one of her own arms around his bare torso while her other hand soothingly stroked his bleached head. His cool body pressed up against hers sent shivers down her spine and she could tell her proximity was taking its toll on him as well. He fretted more in his reverie; most likely due to the fact that her presence made the dream a little too real. She knew she had to wake him up. She wasn’t really helping him, but just furthering his torment.
“Spike, wake up,” she urged.
That scent, that of vanilla, spice and her. It was her scent and it was consuming him. He couldn’t get away from it and it tore into him. It was only when he felt her warmth as well that he slowly withdrew from unconsciousness. Inhaling deeply, the scent invaded him and he knew he wasn’t alone on his cot in the basement anymore. Buffy was there with him, holding him. He didn’t deserve it, but he was too afraid to open his eyes and not be able to pull away from her. What form of grace had brought him into her arms? He didn’t really care. It was the loss of contact that left him filled with trepidation. How could he think it was okay for him to touch her? How was he going to summon the strength to actually let go?
Gradually, he gathered enough will power to lift himself up and open his eyes so that his gaze would fall upon the woman who unwillingly laid claim to his heart. “Buffy, what are you doing here?” he said, his voice hoarse with emotion.
He expected anger, and some pushing on her part, but all he received was Buffy smiling up at him. The image almost made his dead heart beat again. She lay beneath him, her blonde hair slightly disheveled, out of its ponytail and the smile spread over her lips was truly genuine. God, she was beautiful. And it made his guilt all the lot worse. But before he could pull away, she lifted a hand to his face and stroked his cheek.
“I’m just returning the favour.” It was all she said, wrapping her arms back around his body and lowering his face back to her neck. That sole action said much more than mere words; she was offering more than just comfort, Spike realized. Buffy was giving him her trust, and with that, no doubt, her forgiveness. With full comprehension of what was occurring between them, the dam broke and he began to sob uncontrollably into her shoulder.
The day had progressed, and there they remained in each others’ embrace. When Spike had finally pulled himself together, he had been completely humiliated that Buffy had actually witnessed his break down.
“Sorry for going nancy boy on you, Slayer. Blubbered my eyes out enough,” he had said, sulking.
“Call ourselves even, one spaz attack for another,” she had joked in response.
She had been careful not to act repulsed or ashamed of him; she jus stayed there with him. When sleep refused to take her, she watched him, allowing herself the simple pleasure of gazing upon him, something she had never done in all the time they had spent together. She had never given herself the chance to; she would usually fly out of his crypt the moment she regained feeling in her legs. But now, as he slept peacefully, she scrutinized over every feature. How she had never really noticed the scar on his eyebrow before. How his jaw would clench occasionally and how his mouth would twitch. She lightly traced her fingertips over his cheekbones, marveling at how they could probably cut glass. She even allowed herself to inhale his scent, tobacco, soap and something that was all his own. She was surprised that she found it comforting. That being here, in his arms, pressed against his bare chest would make her feel the safest she’d had in months.
Buffy’s inspection was short-lived when Spike jolted awake. His heavy eyes searched the basement; he needed reassurance that he hadn’t dreamt it, that she was really there with him. Relaxing, he rolled onto his side so that he could look at Buffy directly, his eyes a mosaic of emotions. “Hey,” Buffy said.
“Hey, luv,” he responded, his voice low, as though he subconsciously tried not to do anything that might scare her away.
“Good sleep?” she asked.
“Not bad,” he said, but his azure gaze told her differently. He never looked more content. “What time is it?”
“I don’t know. They’re still pretty noisy upstairs, so I’m guessing it’s probably coming close to dinner time.” Spike’s stomach gurgle confirmed her estimate.
Buffy giggled at the sound. “Guess you’re right, pet. Better get myself my sanguine supper,” Spike commented, but he didn’t move.
“Spike, for you to get blood, it would require moving. As in getting up from bed,” Buffy chortled, slowly sitting up.
“I don’t want to. Scared I’ll never get this again,” he said, wrapping his arm around Buffy’s stomach.
“I don’t know what this is, or what it means. But I know I can trust you because I wouldn’t be here with you otherwise.”
Spike released his hold on her and sat up, his eyes focused on hers. She knew that she hadn’t said the words out loud yet, that she had simply shown him through her actions. But now, that they had been vocalized, that they could never be taken back, did he allow himself to actually believe he was forgiven. It no longer made him feel unworthy, to be in her company; if anything, he felt, for once in his unlife, loved. Even if he was being delusional, he felt it.
Nodding, he scooted off the cot, throwing on a black t-shirt and lacing up his boots. Buffy just sat and watched him, until he was standing before her, waiting for her to get up as well. They moved soundlessly to the stairs and up to the awaiting mob, leaving behind them their sanctuary and one brief moment of closeness.
The basement door opened upon the utter chaos that was the Summer’s main floor, the kitchen being the focal point of disarray. Somehow Buffy had found herself pulled away from Spike’s grasp and into the mayhem; Molly had almost burned the house down trying to make some sort of meat sludge, Vi had broken three plates in her attempts to wash dishes and Amanda had spilled a jug of orange juice all over the counter. Each we’re desperately cleaning up their messes, only to bump into other Potentials which lead to further demolishment of her kitchen. The clean up soon turned to yelling and frustration where you couldn’t even hear yourself think from all the noise. ‘That’s it!’ Buffy thought. “Everybody Shut UP!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Well, it worked. All eyes were on her, bodies frozen in their actions. They all looked at her in fear, and she knew they we’re expecting ‘MeanBuffy’ to rip right through all of them like she had the other night. She didn’t; keeping her composure, she calmly started to give orders. “Molly, Vi, and Amanda stay and clean up your messes. Everyone else, get out of the kitchen and I’ll order pizza. The few grumbles were muted by the loud cheering of at least twenty teenage girls. Buffy sighed when everyone did as they were told.
She spotted Spike making his way out toward the back door but she didn’t stop him. He probably needed some space and a smoke. Hell, at that moment, she wouldn’t have said no to a cancer stick. Shaking her head she made her way to the phone and ordered eight party size pizzas, hoping it was enough to sate all the hungry girls in her home.
Hanging up the phone, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall to watch the girls. “We so need a maid,” Molly complained, scarping the bottom of the pot she had been using. “Or at least a cook.”
“We could always make Andrew a slave boy. He’s a hostage so he’s got no rights,” Amanda suggested.
“Knowing him, his only culinary expertise will be that featured on Star Trek,” Vi commented, wiping down a glass.
“I thought he was a Star Wars geek?” Amanda rebutted, only to receive an apathetic shrug from Vi.
“We’re not making Andrew our maid,” Buffy stated with a smile. “So what you girls do all day?” she asked.
“Nuffin’ much. Watched the telly mostly,” Molly answered, still working at her pot.
“Yeah, we just hung out,” Amanda added. “But…uhh… I wouldn’t go into the living room if I were you.”
Buffy shook her head and pushed off the wall, not heeding Amanda’s warnings, she ventured into the other room. She really should have stayed in the basement. Calling it a mess would have been a compliment; it was as though she had stepped through a portal and where her living room had once stood there was now the city dump. Rest and relaxation day this was not. Okay, General Buffy resurfaces once more.
“Okay,” she called out to every girl in the house. “There will be no food if the house stays this way. Everybody find a spot and clean it up. I want to see floor people!”
More groaning, but the threat of no food had worked; the girls scurried to clean the mess they had made. Within half an hour, the floor was rid of every piece of garbage, all sleeping bags had been rolled up and the house almost sparkled. Buffy patted herself on the shoulder on a job well done. Letting the girls go with the promise of not making any messes, Buffy ventured upstairs to change since somehow brown goop had splattered on her shirt during the anarchy. She found Andrew helping Anya bring down laundry; she thanked the gods that they had only brought it down now, when she wasn’t in Spike’s bed wrapped in his arms. She grinned at the memory and longed to be back on his cot with him. Everything seemed so simple.
Yanking off her top, she flung it onto her chair, throwing on a simple black t-shirt instead. After inspecting her jeans for any traces of missile food, she made her way back down, straight to the back porch. She found him, pacing the back yard, hair still a bunch of disheveled curls and body tense sans black leather duster. The moon illuminated his pale features as the ember of his cigarette danced back and forth against the backdrop of night. “Spike, you’re making me dizzy,” she said, announcing her presence to him.
He turned his head to look at her but continued treading back and forth, letting out short puffs of smoke after every inhale. “What happened today?” he asked, his voice brimming with insecurity.
“What do you mean ‘what happened today’?” she asked, praying inwardly that Spike wasn’t regretting what they had shared in the basement.
“Downstairs, luv? With me makin’ an ass of myself, openin’ up to you,” he explained, annoyed that she was playing dumb. He lowered his voice suddenly. “And with you being there, in my arms. Being with me. What was that, Buffy?”
“I don’t know. What makes you think I’ve got any clue as to what’s going on?” she exasperated, throwing her arms up in frustration.
“Well I sodding well don’t! One minute you hate me, then you believe in me and then I wake up to find you in my bed of all places, telling me that you trust me!” he yelled, luckily not drawing any attention from those inside. “Can’t you see why I’m being such a headcase ‘bout it? It doesn’t make a lick of sense.”
Buffy sighed and plopped herself down on the back steps. “I wish I had answers for you but I don’t.”
“So what? We just strike it up to a bit of cold comfort? A glitch? Is that all that was?” he asked, becoming frantic.
“You know it wasn’t,” Buffy said, staring up into his distraught eyes. “Whatever it was, whatever it meant, all I know was that it didn’t feel wrong. I didn’t feel wrong.”
Why did he have to look at her like that? Had she really messed with him that badly? Had she crushed him so painfully that his eyes fill with so much joy at the mere thought that she didn’t find him repulsive? Buffy trembled at the thought, pleading with the fates that she’d never return to what she had become last year.
She noticed Spike had stopped pacing and had sat himself next to her, all too reminiscent of a previous night where he had comforted her. “Where’d we go from here, pet?” he inquired.
Buffy shrugged in response. “We work, we fight and we try not to hurt each other. Hopefully time will tell.”
“Okay,” Spike said, obviously disappointed.
“And if there are spontaneous basement sleepovers, so be it,” she added, giving him a warm smile, which was received with a big goofy grin.
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