Chapter Six- Dealing With It
Patrol had been a remote success. No one got hurt and the Potentials were actually using the skills they had been taught. Buffy had decided to take the girls who had had the most training, namely Kennedy, Molly, Amanda, Vi and Rona. With the exception of Amanda, it had been these few girls who Buffy and Spike had earlier taken out on a slayerette fieldtrip to the various demon haunts of Sunnydale. Buffy remembered that night with a bit of self-deprecation, remembering the not-so-graceful demonstration she and Spike had put on for the Potentials in the cemetery after the girls had been unsuccessful in facing off against the vampire. Unintentionally pouncing on Spike while he had still been healing from being tortured by the First, and the somewhat inappropriate ‘so do we like make out wif’ ‘em?’ remark Molly had made after Buffy had instinctively shoved her hands under the vampire’s shirt hadn’t been the only faux-pas of that night.
Sure, discovering that Amanda was the Sunnydale Potential and managing to give the girls a fair amount of field experience had been major bonuses, but there had still been some setbacks. The problem lay in the simplest fact that the girls were growing dangerously accustomed to working with a safety net. Spike’s mock attacks had been just that, mocks. Even if the girls had been scared of him, deep down they must have known Spike would never actually hurt them. And when Buffy had locked them up in the crypt with that newly risen vamp, she knew the girls would be okay because the odds had been on their side. The slayer realized that as long as she was around to hold their hands, they were never going to be completely ready for what lay ahead. So this time around, things had gone a little differently.
Buffy gave each girl only a stake and placed them in front of a freshly dug grave, making them wait for the vampire to arise. Just like she had done for Dawn during the summer, the Slayer would simply stand by and watch. But that was all she did. None of the other girls could help and Buffy would only intervene if the Potential’s life was in danger. It was up to them and them alone to kill the vampire.
Buffy didn’t expect anything extraordinary. They were amateurs and it was their first real patrol. Hell, she had even missed the heart on her first try and she was the Slayer. Yet, the girls had left her astonished. The fact that they had used their newly acquired skills gave her further hope that they weren’t completely doomed. Kennedy’s form had been flawless, which was to be expected but what had really floored Buffy was that the brash overtly self-assured attitude was gone, replaced instead with a humble ‘thank you’ for any compliment sent her way. The other four girls had also dusted their vamps, and apart from Vi’s not so graceful and fearful squeals, they had done a pretty good job of it too.
As the gang made their way back to the house from Restfield, the girls chatted about their one-on-one’s with the vampires, bubbling over with excitement and still reeling from the adrenaline rush that patrolling always brought on. Spike and Buffy remained a few paces back observing the group and even chuckling at some of the remarks the girls made. No words, however, were exchanged between the two of them, a residual silence that had passed over from patrol. It wasn’t until they had reached the front porch with all the girls safely inside the house that Buffy finally spoke.
“So, what do you think? And I mean what do you really think? They’re inside so you won’t hurt any of their feelings,” Buffy asked, leaning against the brick wall opposite to Spike, who was himself leaning against a column.
“They did good considerin’ a few weeks ago they were a bunch of scared girls without a chance in hell,” Spike replied.
“And now? Where do you think they stand?”
“Still a bunch of scared girls, but with a slightly better chance in hell. Even still, it’s some sort of an improvement,” Spike said, trying to sound optimistic.
“‘Slightly better’ is better than nothing,” Buffy shrugged. “But the scared part, that’ll stick around for a while, even if any of them become slayers.”
Spike’s casual and relaxed countenance disappeared at her words. With tense hesitation, he turned his cerulean gaze to the ground, knowing that what he was about to bring up was in no doubt going to upset Buffy. “Pet,” I know we haven’t talked ‘bout the little prophecy Red found today, but…” Spike began, nodding his bowed head, as though he were agreeing with some unspoken truth.
“There’s nothing to bring up,” the Slayer cut off, dismissing the issue with a wave of the hand. Spike’s head shot up, taken aback by her uncharacteristic cavalier attitude. “Just another message that confuses more than it helps,” Buffy quickly stated, refusing to look the vampire in the eyes.
“Buffy, what Willow was alluding to, ‘bout you possibly…and my involvement…” Spike pushed, interrupted again by an exasperated Buffy.
“Can we not? Things are crazy enough already. Getting all freaked about it isn’t going to help anyone. Who knows? Maybe this mystery message is completely bogus and it’s just the First messing with us,” she replied, urgently reaching for any reason to disregard the issue.
“You’re dodgin’,” Spike commented.
“I am not. I don’t think it’s worth getting all upset over, is all,” Buffy defended.
“Oh really? Then you mind tellin’ me why the hell your hands are shaking?”
Buffy was about to tell him she didn’t know what he was talking about until she glanced down at said hands. Noticing that they were trembling, she instantly drew them to her chest. “It’s from patrolling. You know the ever infamous rush I get?”
“Denial, pet. Not a river in Egypt.”
“What are you my shrink?”
“Don’t answer that.”
“Just sayin’, for someone who’s so sure about the unimportance of that lil’ cryptic note Red found on the web, you seem real edgy,” Spike quipped.
“You know you are pet,” Spike said, growing a little solemn. “I thought we were past this?”
“Lying to each other.”
“I’m not lying,” she stated, but seeing Spike’s unconvinced face made Buffy groan in surrender. “Fine, I’m a liar. A big fat horrible liar. Are you happy now?” she unwillingly admitted, clearly deflated by the fact that she was actually going to have to talk about this with him.
“You know you don’t have to keep it all together when you’re ‘round me. The brave face you put on for them doesn’t work with me. I know you Buffy. This thing has got you more scared than you’re willin’ to admit. And rightly it should. I’m even bloody petrified.”
Buffy looked at him a little skeptical. “You didn’t really seem that scared when you were nearly ripping Xander a new one,” Buffy pointed out, not sounding upset but being matter of fact.
“I should have. Throwing his mouth off like that ‘bout you. A good thrashing is what the whelp needs, and not even you can convince me otherwise,” Spike scowled but realized he was getting off track. “You’re wrong ya know. I was terrified from the moment Red read us that stupid bulletin from hell. Just didn’t want to loose face in front of the Glorified Brick Layer.”
“That’s just great. You wanna be scared, go right ahead. And while you’re quivering in your boots, I’ll be using my time to actually do something productive in our fight against the First,” she sardonically admonished, subconsciously trying to get him so mad that he’d forget what they were arguing about.
“God, why can’t you just admit it? Not too long ago you were so frightened that you were about ready to give up, ‘bout to throw in the proverbial towel. Now, you’re refusin’ to even acknowledge the possibility that that fucking prophecy might actually be true!” Spike vented, throwing his arms up dramatically in the air when she didn’t respond. “What is going on, Buffy?”
The Slayer stared at her boots for a good while, knowing that her misleadingly composed demeanor would instantly crack if she glanced up at those all knowing azure eyes. “If I admit it, then it might actually happen. I don’t wanna die again, Spike,” she mumbled; her voice tight with fear and vulnerability.
Spike watched as Buffy finally let down the stone walls she had put up since they had discovered the prophecy. He had known she was avoiding the topic and he had known she was frightened. More importantly however, Spike knew that Buffy needed to admit to it before any of them could deal with the impending doom foretold by the anonymous web posting.
Walking over towards her, Spike took Buffy’s still shaking hands into one of his own while he lifted her chin so that he could gaze into those pools of emerald that generally shone with such life. The single tear that trickled down her cheek broke his unbeating heart. He wiped it away, wishing to be rid of any evidence of Buffy’s unhappiness.
“When you left the room this afternoon, Xander and I had a few words. Told him I would never deliberately hurt you and that I’d do anything to keep you from gettin’ hurt,” he frankly started to explain, making sure she didn’t misunderstand what he was saying.
“Spike, I know…”
“No, wait luv, lemme finish,” Spike continued. “Even though I said it and I meant it, deep down I don’t even know if I can keep that promise. With our not so stellar record of being good for each other and with the First being all trigger happy, I don’t know if I can promise anything. The thought of you bein’ takin’ away from me again is excruciating enough as it is, I can’t even bear the thought that I’d…” he choked, not wanting to finish the sentence.
Spike cleared his throat. “Maybe I should leave. It’s probably best. You got Red, and maybe you could give Peaches a call. He’d be here in no time if you needed him. I could go and you could be safe.”
Buffy averted her eyes from his gaze, making Spike believe her silence was an indication that she felt as he did. “I’ll leave tomorrow at dusk,” he added.
The Slayer still said nothing, an indiscernible expression on her face. Spike nodded, the grip he had on Buffy’s trembling hand loosening as he took a step back. As he pulled away, he was surprised to find Buffy still holding onto him, refusing to let go. Spike stared at their clasped hands, his eyes following up from them to Buffy’s face. If it was possible she looked even more terrified.
“Do you love me?”
“Just answer me. Do you love me?”
“Of course I love you, you crazy bint.”
“Then that’s all that matters,” Buffy said, tugging him back toward her.
“What about the prophecy?” Spike asked, as Buffy slowly placed her hands on his shoulders.
“I remember another prophecy we encountered a few years back that also proclaimed my untimely end. And here I am, still living,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. Making sure he saw the sincerity in her eyes, Buffy continued. “I don’t care what that message says. It could literally say ‘Spike kills Buffy’ and I still wouldn’t believe it. They’re just words. I said that I believed in you and I meant it.”
“When did this lil’ epiphany happen? Two seconds ago you were scared for your life and now you’re tellin’ me you don’t care what the bloody hell the message says? Gotta say, you get over things real quick,” Spike stated, enjoying the intimacy Buffy was bestowing on him.
“Don’t get me wrong. You were right. I was freaked and the prophecy thing did throw me off for like a second but that doesn’t change how I feel about us. About you.”
“And how exactly do you feel, pet?”
Almost as though the god’s were working against the vampire, the front door swung open, revealing a very distraught Andrew.
“Buffy, Xander won’t pay me the twenty bucks he owes me,” he whined, at first oblivious to what he had interrupted. Snapping out of his bout of ignorance and seeing Spike and the Slayer in such an uncompromising position, the boy pulled out his video camera. “Hold that pose. This will be great for my segment I’m doing on you guys. I’m calling it ‘Buffy and Spike: Enemies Turned Lovers’.”
“If you press record, I swear to God I’ll smash that camera over your head,” Buffy warned from within Spike’s embrace, sending the newfound filmmaker a searing glare that looked as though it could potentially boil the geek from the inside out.
Andrew gulped and slowly lowered the video camera.
Groaning, Buffy grudgingly slipped out from Spike’s arms. “We’ll talk about this later,” she whispered to him. Spike nodded and followed after Buffy as she grabbed hold of Andrew by the collar and dragged him into the house. After ordering the ex-Trio member to go anywhere else that she wasn’t, Buffy spotted Willow and Xander waiting for her in the living room.
“Buffy,” Willow said calmly. “We need to tell you something,” she added, her voice strong and confident, devoid of its usual meekness.
Upon seeing Willow’s stern face, Buffy became instantly worried. “Uh oh. Please don’t tell me you found another anonymous posting cuz I just don’t know how much crypticness I can take in one day,” Buffy said as she made her way over to them, dispiritedly flopping down on one of the room’s sofa chairs.
“No. It’s not like that. There’s just still the one.”
“Oh. Good,” Buffy exhaled in relief, feeling the reassuring squeeze from Spike’s hand that had somehow settled on her shoulder.
“But what I have to talk to you about is kinda on the one we found today. Let me just say first of all that I’m really sorry Buffy. I hope I didn’t mess things up for the two of you,” the redhead rambled nervously, the old Willow coming through in full force.
“Willow, whoa! You wanna let us in on what’s going on?”
“I made a mistake in the translation,” the redhead squeaked out.
“Just let me know one thing, the new prophecy- better or worse?” Buffy asked.
“Depends on how you look at it,” Xander remarked, breaking his bout of silence.
“Don’t listen to him. It’s definitely better. Here look,” Willow said handing Buffy the notebook.
The Slayer scanned the page, searching for any differences between the new version and the last. Discovering the changes, she asked, “Lifeless life? What does that mean?”
Buffy suddenly felt Spike’s hand squeeze her shoulder again. “Read it out loud for us pet.”
“She and spirits will unite, but in slumber they will remain. Only to be awakened when the lifeless life kills the Tainted One. Its power initiated by the wielding. The source will find its end,” Buffy read out loud, feeling Spike’s grip gradually loosen as she finished.
“What the heck is a ‘lifeless life’?” she asked.
“You should know Buffy,” Xander answered. “You are dating one.”
Buffy instantly turned around to look at Spike. “So Spike kills the Tainted guy?” she asked, her gaze never leaving the vampire.
“That’s what it says,” Willow replied. “And for certain this time. Have I mentioned how sorry I am for messing up?”
Buffy turned away from Spike, who appeared relieved by the news, to speak to her best friend. “You did. It’s okay, Will. Now that we know what it really says, we can move on with our lives,” Buffy reasoned, peering down at her watch. “Wow, it’s late. I think I better get to bed.”
“I second that. Ancient translations really hurt Willow’s brain,” the witch stated before she made her way to the stairs. “Goodnight.”
“Night, Will. I better get going too,” Xander said, picking up his jacket and car keys. As he headed toward the front door, Buffy called out to him. “Xander, wait.”
Upon seeing Xander stop and face her, Buffy turned to Spike. “I’ll be just be a minute. Go on up. I’ll be right there,” she instructed before planting a quick peck on his lips.
“Don’t keep me waitin’ long,” the vampire replied, giving Buffy another much deeper kiss than the one she’d given him, knowing that Xander was watching them. Leaving her slightly breathless, Spike marched up the stairs, giving the two friends some much needed quality time.
“Xander…” Buffy started.
“Buffy, I know I shouldn’t have said some of the things I said. And believe me, right now, I’m suffering from major foot in mouth disease.”
“I wasn’t going to pick a fight and I wasn’t expecting an apology,” Buffy explained. “I just don’t want us being angry with each other.”
Xander could see how much he had actually hurt Buffy. It was a rare occasion when she opened up enough to let him in. So seeing her like that told him he must have really screwed up. “I’m not mad at you,” he said.
“Then what was with the silent treatment in there?” Buffy asked, pointing to the living room.
“Okay, I am mad but not at you.”
“Only a little,” he admitted.
“So if you’re not mad at me and only marginally peeved at Spike, what has got you so moody?”
“I’m mad at myself, Buffy.”
“What? Why?” the Slayer inquired, uncertain as to what her friend was referring to.
“About what I said to you. I’m mad at the fact that I might actually ruin our friendship because I can’t get over my stupid fear.”
“What fear?” Buffy asked, becoming concerned.
“That you’ll end up dead and there was nothing I could do to stop it,” he answered, his voice weak.
“And I know that technically you already died. But the whole time you were gone was worst time of my life. I hated feeling like we failed you somehow. That’s why I agreed, why we all agreed to help Willow bring you back. We thought we were doing the right thing,” he explained.
“I know you did,” Buffy said, trying to put him at ease.
“And then you came back and the thought of seeing you die again…” He paused. “And then when Willow read that prophecy, I guess I just snapped. I’m really sorry, Buffy.”
“It’s okay, Xander. I understand. I’m kind of just relieved that we’re not angry with each other,” Buffy told him, giving him a hug. “And you know you’re one of the reasons why I’m still around, don’t you?”
“What are you talking about?” he asked, pulling away.
“You’re worried that I might die and you wouldn’t have been able to do anything to stop it, right?”
“Well, if I remember correctly, there was this one time, when I was fighting this really ugly vamp and I almost drowned…”
“The Master,” Xander interjected.
“Uh huh. As I recall, you were able to do something about it and you saved my life.”
Xander gave Buffy another hug. “Thanks.”
“Hey, what are friends for?” she responded, squeezing him back tenderly.
Once Buffy waved goodbye to the man she’d been best friends with since her first day at Sunnydale High, she bolted up the stairs. Opening her bedroom door, she found Spike staring at some of the pictures on her dresser. “Did the whelp apologize?” he asked, knowing she was staring at him.
“Yeah, he did.”
“Good,” Spike replied, placing the photo of Buffy and her two friends back down in its original spot. “Didn’t want to beat it out of him.”
“Thanks for being so civil.”
“Took all the will power I had in me to not wring his neck,” Spike exclaimed, gesturing a faux strangle to emphasize his point.
“I know,” Buffy smiled, walking up to him. “Can we go to bed now?” she asked, pouting.
“Pet, you know what that lip does to me,” Spike half-heartedly scolded.
“Yup,” she giggled. “Now get to bed.”
Slipping out of his duster and unlacing his boots, the vampire did as he was told and jumped onto the bed. “Happy?”
“Very,” she answered as she kicked off her own stylish yet affordable boots.
Before Buffy could even ask, Spike turned his back to her so that she could change into her pajamas. Suppressing a groan, he waited patiently until he felt Buffy’s side of the bed sink in. Lying down beside her, Spike drew Buffy into his arms as she pulled the covers over them.
“Can we stay like this forever?” Buffy asked, snuggling into the vampire’s chest.
“Won’t get any opposition from me, luv.”
“You never did tell me how you felt.”
“Us. Me,” Spike said quietly.
“You said that we’d talk ‘bout it later since the boy wonder interrupted us.”
“That I did.”
“Well, it’s later.”
“That it is.”
“Luv, if you don’t wanna talk about this, we can just go to sleep. That’s fine with me.”
“No. I think that this is too important to put off.”
Exhaling, Buffy pulled herself off of Spike and rolled onto her side so that she could talk to him face to face. “I know, Spike, that you love me. I won’t deny that fact anymore. And as easy as it is for you to know it and say it, I wish that were the case for me. It’s no secret that Buffy Summer’s has severe emotional issues. You of all people should know how messed up I am.” She stopped to calm herself. “Being the Slayer, coming back from the dead, loosing my mom are just some of the numerous reasons why it’s hard for me to let anyone in. Not to mention the fact that all the men in my life have left me at one point in time or another,” she paused in reflection. “Sorry, correction. All but one.”
“The whelp,” Spike filled in the blank.
“The guy who’s got no superpowers or combat training or any extensive demon book smarts is the one that sticks around. Xander’s never left. It’s partly why I couldn’t let him leave here tonight without making sure everything was alright between us. I can’t have him leave me,” Buffy explained, her voice choking with emotion.
“I can’t have you leave me either, Spike. When you weren’t here last summer, I hated you so much, but God how I missed you. And I know why you left and I’m so grateful for what you went through for me, but it still hurt because you were just another person I had managed to drive away,” Buffy sniffled, wiping away a tear. “Tonight, when you told me you were gonna leave, all I could think about was how I wasn’t ready for you not to be here. I need you Spike.”
“You know I would never intentionally leave you, pet. Thought I was doing what was best,” he commented as he stroked her cheek lovingly.
“I know you were, but you can’t leave me.”
“I won’t. Gotta prophecy to fulfill now,” he joked and kissed her softly on the lips. Slowly allowing Spike to pull her back into his arms, Buffy nestled against him. “I can wait until you’re ready,” he whispered.
“I want to say it but…”
“It’s alright, luv. Now go to sleep. School day tomorrow.”
Buffy groaned into Spike’s shoulder at the thought of having to wake up in another five hours. The room grew quiet suddenly as the two of them began to fall asleep. Yet, before the vampire could slip into sweet repose, he was brought back by Buffy’s voice.
“What was that, luv?”
“Were you actually serious about having me call up Angel to help us out if you ever left?”
“Total lapse of sanity. Don’t know what I was thinkin’. Why, you’re not considerin’ ringin’ him up, are you?” Spike asked, sounding apprehensive.
“Naw, already got one souled vampire to deal with.”
“Plus, he would’ve probably self-combusted the second he found out about us,” she added.
“I’ll go get the phone.”
A/N: Thnx Darkezza for helping me paint my Spuffy world.
If you are under the age of 17, please use your head and do not read fics that are labeled "NC-17". Parents, I cannot control what your children are reading, so please be advised that the majority of the fics archived here are NOT suitable for those under the age of 17.
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I am in no way making any profit from this site. This is for pure entertainment purposes only.
Concept: (c)bringonthebloodshed.com (2004), Code & Design: (c)Diabola (2006), Graphics: Selene & Always