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Could Be You - Chapter 15/16

Title: Could Be You
Chapter: Fifteen
Previous Chapters Here
Rating: NC-17
Summary: You know you wanna dance. Spike knew it, the fans knew it, and this time, Buffy knew it, too.  Begins in the alley scene outside the Bronze during Fool for Love and moves swiftly off-canon.
Notes: I've left this story quasi-abandoned for so very long, but!  It's finished!  It's actually finished.  Initially I thought there was just one final chapter to go, but in writing it, it became two.  They are both complete.  I am posting this first and will post the conclusion in a day or so.  For anyone still following this story, thanks for hanging in there.
More notes: Time-line wise, this happens just after the opening scene in Into the Woods -- which is actually where we end off with Chapter 14.

Could Be You
Chapter Fifteen

*~*

A couple of hours passed before Joyce was released from the recovery room and brought back to the intensive care unit.  The nurses allowed Buffy and Dawn a quick visit, and though Joyce was still on the ventilator, groggy from the sedation, she was able to smile bravely around the tube in her mouth and blow both her daughters a kiss goodnight when the nurses insisted they leave.  Still floating in a blissful haze, Buffy smiled and nodded as another nurse said something she really didn’t hear, and followed her sister back out to the waiting room.  Then Giles was leaving, and the others followed, including Dawn, who hugged Buffy tightly and whispered that she was spending the night with Willow and Tara.

The empty waiting room felt a lot smaller with just her and Spike in it.

The walk back to Revello brought with it a muted sense of déjà vu.  Although it was Spike by her side this time instead of Dawn, the streets held the same weird silence that had shrouded her the other night.  The weight on her shoulders had shifted, lessened, but Buffy could still feel it there, reminding her that this wasn’t over just yet, despite tonight’s victory.

She might have missed the little piece of paper tucked into her front door if the wind hadn’t chosen that exact moment to blow a little harder and send it fluttering toward her face.  She caught it just as her foot touched down on the top step, the edges where it was torn from a spiral-bound notebook scratchy against her palm.  Buffy unfolded it, recognizing the untidy printing, messier than usual from the hasty way in which it was scrawled.

Her scalp tingled a little as she read, partly from the content of the message, but mostly due to Spike’s questioning gaze boring into the side of her head.  She could see him in her peripheral vision, staring, waiting silently for her to explain.  And she would, but not yet.  Crumpling the note into a ball in her hand, Buffy unlocked the front door and motioned for Spike to follow.

She led him through the dark house and out onto the back porch, finding it fitting they’d be out here for this.  They settled side-by-side at the stairs, an already familiar arrangement, as though this were merely one of a thousand nights they spent sitting out here in the dark beneath a canopy of stars in the waning moonlight.  The house and the trees buffered the breeze a bit, though the air was just chilly enough to make Buffy wish she had on a warmer sweater.  The repeated snick of Spike’s lighter was the only indication of his impatience. Buffy wasn’t certain how long this would take—what time was it, anyway, other than night?—but the idea itched in the base of her skull that this was something they both needed.  Something they needed together.

It wasn’t exactly comfortable, this silence, but it wasn’t precisely uncomfortable, either.  There were so many things Buffy wanted to say but she didn’t have a clue where to start. A little ball of warmth pulsed in her belly for him being here at all, and she tried to hold onto that as a reminder of how it all felt the other night, before the demon and before Riley when everything went to hell.  Things hadn’t been simple, not with everything still hanging over their heads, but Buffy hadn’t forgotten how right it felt, her and Spike.  More than they ever should’ve and too well for her to deny now, even with a few days’ separation hanging between them. 

Spike’s fingers swept gently through her hair, bringing with them both a whiff of smoke and a soft fluttering in her chest.

“Where’s the fire?” she asked, blinking her dry, aching eyes in surprise at the words her brain chose to break the silence.  She glanced quickly at Spike’s face, saw him pursing his lips as though he were deciding how best to answer.

“Not my crypt,” he said finally, his gaze dropping down to his lap a moment before he looked back up at her.  “Thanks.  Er, for Xander.”

Spike set a hand almost tentatively on her knee and Buffy watched his fingers lay still, studied the remnants of black polish he hadn’t bothered to reapply.  With a sigh, Buffy let her head fall against his shoulder, not caring anymore about awkward silences or conversations she didn’t know how to have.  The moment she settled against him, Spike curled his fingers into her leg, caressing her thigh with his thumb through her jeans.

“I wasn’t—” Buffy swallowed, fighting the odd wave of dizziness that hit her out of nowhere.  It spun the world around in a surreal way that left her heart pounding in her chest, and she squeezed her eyes shut against it.

Spike squeezed her leg, and the world stopped spinning, grinding to a halt.  “How long’s it been since you slept?”

Too long, but instead of replying, Buffy just tipped her face up, knowing she’d find him looking at her and that he could read the answer in her face.  She imagined she looked as exhausted as she felt all of the sudden, restless in the way she felt after the battle was won and there wasn’t anything else left to fight.  To his credit, Spike didn’t tell her to go to bed, just moved his hand from her leg to tuck it around her and tugged her to his side. Buffy closed her eyes and rested her head in the crook of his shoulder, breathing in the scent of smoke and blood and Spike.

Whatever this thing was with her and Spike, it was strong enough to survive a few bumps in the road and that’s something she should’ve known that all along.  She could feet it buzzing around them, as strong as ever, that connection, even beneath the weight of all they hadn’t said yet and probably needed to.  Silence stretched out long enough for Buffy to skirt the edges of sleep, where the sounds of the night blended into the dreamy memories rolling in her head.  Spike’s whispering of her name brought her up from the edge and she mumbled in response but didn’t open her eyes.

“Mmm?”

Spike chuckled softly and caressed her cheek with his fingers.  “Missed you, is all.”

Buffy smiled and nuzzled in deeper.  “Where are we going, Spike?”

He smoothed his palm over her hair until he was cradling the back of her head.  “Bed?  Disneyland?  Hell, the bloody moon, maybe.”

Buffy snorted, and sat up to look at him, dislodging the hand in her hair but keeping the other wrapped around her side.  “You know what I mean.”

“Yeah,” he said, tilting his head ever so slightly.  “You sure you wanna do this tonight?”

Buffy sighed and shook her head, already fearing this was heading entirely the wrong direction.  She should’ve started a different way, said something else or maybe nothing at all, and a little ball of nerves tightened in her gut.  “I don’t—I mean—you came back, Spike.  I thought—”

“Shhh.”  Spike touched a finger to her lips and Buffy closed them, waiting.  Spike’s eyes shone even in the darkness, with that intensity that always surprised her.  “You know how I feel, Buffy.  Nothing’s gonna change that.”

Spike let his hand drop back into his lap and Buffy fought hard not to look away.  Taking in a deep breath, she reached over and took Spike’s hand in hers, threading her fingers in between his and squeezing. 
“I thought I was too late,” she said.

Spike huffed, mouth twisting into a smirk that was anything but pleasant. “Take more than a plastic stake and Riley Finn to stop me, love.”

Something heavy pulsed in her chest, bringing with it a wave of prickling heat over her scalp and a corresponding pounding in her chest.  “A plastic—plastic what?”

Spike reclaimed his hand from hers and yanked his black tee out of his jeans, lifting the edge almost far enough to pull it off if he wasn’t wearing his coat.  The stark white of the gauze bandage stood out clearly in the darkness, paler than the vampire whose heart it covered, stained dark red in the centre.

Buffy gasped and raised her hand to touch the bandage, but drew back at the last second.  “Oh, god.”

She heard Xander’s voice in her head, those emotional words from only a day ago, though it felt more like weeks or months. I dont like it, but I like what I found out about Riley even less. Maybe Riley hadn’t ever intended to kill Spike, or maybe the plastic stake mindfuck was just the beginning of some drawn-out, torturous and dusty end, but whichever it was, Buffy clenched her fists and dug her fingernails into her palms until she felt the skin give, just a little.  If she hadn’t called Xander, if he hadn’t agreed to go—Buffy squeezed her eyes shut and looked away, refusing to continue that line of thought, though it knotted in her chest and roiled in her gut anyway.

Spike’s fingers tucked under her chin and slowly pulled her back to face him.  “It’s nothing,” he said, smoothing down his shirt with his free hand while the fingers on her chin drifted up to sweep across her cheek.  “Already healing.  Be right as rain by tomorrow.”

“But—”

Spike’s eyes hardened and he clenched his jaw until that muscle in his cheek twitched.  Buffy swallowed her words and pressed her teeth into her tongue with the same force as the fingernails in her palms.
“Didn’t see your hand guiding his,” Spike said, his tone far softer than the look on his face allowed.  “And Harris didn’t just pop round for a cuppa and some telly, did he?”

Buffy didn’t answer, even when Spike dropped his hand back into his lap.  Couldn’t answer, because what could she possibly say? 

In the end, Spike broke the silence, and though the words he chose didn’t reflect the torrent of self-deprecating statements bouncing on the tip of her tongue, some not-so-little part of her raised its metaphorical fist and roared in agreement.

“Finn’s a bloody idiot.”

The moment of solidarity passed quickly, though, and the sting in her palms and the storm in her belly insisted that she wasn’t exactly innocent in all of this, either.  Buffy swallowed hard and closed her eyes around the well of unwanted tears.

“Then what does that make me?”

Spike sighed, his breath flitting over her face.  “Glad to be rid of him?” he whispered, so softly Buffy could barely hear him.

As if on cue, a helicopter took to the sky in the distance, recognizable from the whirr of its rotors cutting through the midnight silence.  Buffy snapped open her eyes, spotting it as it hovered in place for a moment, headlights pointed toward her as though giving her one final chance to come to her senses.  Buffy took a deep breath in and let it out slowly, sadness—but not regret—thickening at the back of her throat.  Guilt too, because she couldn’t stop that anymore than she could stop breathing.  But no, that ship had sailed a long time ago.  It just took her this long to swim back to shore. 

When the chopper faded from sight, Buffy pressed the crumpled note into Spike’s palm and watched as his eyes skimmed the paper, able to see the words despite dark.  When finished he growled low in his throat and tore the scrap into tiny peaces, which blew away in the breeze like Riley Finn’s helicopter.

“Like I said, good riddance.”

Even in the dark, Buffy didn’t miss the way Spike’s lips twitched, pursing as they did when he was trying to be tough, but pulling at the corners as though fighting a smile.  He lowered his gaze and ducked his head, snapping both back up again almost immediately and reaching for her hand, eyes wide and dark.  His fingers trembled, so subtly Buffy was certain she’d  have missed it had she not become so intimately familiar with his touch.  Oh.  Oh.  He thought—

She tangled her fingers together with his and covered their two hands with her other one, stroking his abraded knuckles with her thumb.  “Oh, Spike…”

Spike swallowed, and this time allowed his mouth to pull into a smile, bright for all it was shaky.  When he spoke, his voice was quiet and thick, as though the same lump now lodged in her throat had lodged itself in his, too.  “Hoped it’d be me.”

“It—it’s you, Spike,” Buffy said, feeling it with every heartbeat, every hot surge of blood through her veins. “Of course it’s you.”

Spike’s eyes opened so widely she might have laughed, if not for the fact that her own reluctance was once again to blame for it.  “Yeah?”

Buffy nodded, tightening her grip on his hands and hoping he could see in her eyes that she meant it.  “I want this, Spike.  I want us, even if it’s the last thing I should want.  It’s the last thing either of us should want.” 

“Never much cared for should,” Spike said, with a small huff of amusement.  “Should is completely overrated.”

She might not have put it quite that way, but it made sense, too, in a Spike sort of way.

“This—” Buffy gestured back and forth between herself and Spike.  “—is completely wrong.”

Spike tipped his head, eyebrow lifting.  “And yet…”

“And yet.” She sighed.  “Here we are.  With the wanting.”

“Oh, pet, I do want,” Spike said, and the warm drawl of those few little words sent a strobe of heat through her belly and down between her thighs.

A tingling sense of déjà vu swirled in the air as Spike tugged on Buffy’s hands and she moved to straddle his lap.  She draped her arms around his shoulders, and Spike gripped her waist to pull her forward.  He was already hard in his jeans and Buffy rolled her hips against his erection, a smile stretching across her lips when he groaned in response.

“I’m the worst slayer ever,” Buffy said, a little shiver dancing along her spine, though she only partially meant it.

“Nah,” Spike said, lifting his hips from the step in time with her movements against him, his dismissive tone completely ruined by the glint of his eyes and the rapid rise and fall of his chest.  “Not a big leap from mortal enemies to fucking fantastic lovers.”

Laughter bubbled up from her chest, releasing some of the worry knotted there, and Buffy decided right then to stop wondering why and just accept this as inevitable.  Against all odds, against all reason, she and Spike fit and it was about time she made the most of that.

“They’re going to hate it,” Spike whispered, scratching his fingernails up her spine and grinning, despite his words, when the sensation made her shiver and sigh.

The thought should’ve been sobering.  Should’ve snapped some sort of sense into her brain, except she’d already seen the preview and it wasn’t nearly as dire as her imagination.  “So let them.”

Beneath her, Spike stilled the motion of his hips.  The hands under her shirt came up to tangle in her hair, and he gazed at her with those flaming eyes more full of life and feeling than most humans could ever hope to capture.  “You sure about that?” 

Buffy fell forward until her forehead met his and stroked the soft hair at the back of his neck with her fingers.  “There’s something I learned out of all this, and it’s that they might not like it, but it doesn’t mean they’re gonna hate me.  They’ll come around.”

Spike’s breath flitted over her face.  “And if they don’t?”

Buffy shrugged, and wiggled in Spike’s lap.  “They will.  That’s what friends do.”

Spike chuckled, the sound rumbling through his chest and into hers.  “Alright then, Buffy, you tell me.  Where are we going?”

“To hell, probably,” she said, grinding down hard and smiling when he growled low in his chest.  “I don’t know.  Do we need to know?”

“No,” Spike said, sliding his arms beneath her bottom and rising to his feet.  Buffy tightened her legs around his waist and held on as he headed for the house. “I reckon that’s something we can figure out together.”

“Together,” Buffy said, nipping at his bottom lip before pulling back to see his face.  “Okay.”

Spike shut the kitchen door with his boot and Buffy flicked the deadbolt locked with her toes.  She met Spike’s gaze, and the tenderness in his eyes momentarily overshadowed the heat simmering there.  A rolling warmth surrounded her, wrapping her up in a warm a fleece blanket, spreading through her insides like the perfect mug of hot chocolate—sweet, comfortable, and hers.  The smile tugging at her lips wasn’t wide, was almost secretive in the way it refused to be obvious.  But, as Spike set her down on her feet and traced his thumb along her bottom lip, his own parted in the same subtle way and Buffy knew he understood.
 

“Come on,” she whispered, catching his fingers in hers and tugging him toward the hallway. “I need about a week’s worth of sleep, and I’m not letting you anywhere near my bed until you’ve showered.  You smell like a chimney.”

Spike laughed, his hands wrapping around her waist from behind as they climbed the stairs, fingertips digging gently into her belly.  “Wet naked Slayer and little bed for two?  Could think of worse ways to spend a night.”

“Me too, Spike,” she said, pausing at the top of the stairs and leaning back into him, his cool body a solid presence behind her.  “Me too.”
*~*

>>To be concluded

Comments

( 5 have spoken — take the speaking stick )
xtanitx
Apr. 18th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
Oh. OH.

"'Never much cared for should,” Spike said, with a small huff of amusement. “Should is completely overrated.'"

So there's Spike in a nutshell. ♥

This is just wonderful. I dearly love stories that tweak canon just enough to let us see a sort of multi-verse version of Spike and Buffy and how truly excellent they can be together. And how freaking hot the sex is, because PLEASE. Those two. Pass the ice packs and fans!(Basically what I'm saying here is that while I love seeing these two connect on an emotional level to the point I get teary-eyed, I'm very much looking forward to the sexy-times epilogue.)
abelina
Apr. 18th, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
And that is why I couldn't just leave it here! Seriously though, thank you. I'm more than a little thrilled that you did a re-read in anticipation of this and I hope it didn't disappoint too badly. Sexy-times conclusion tomorrow night.
abelina
Apr. 19th, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)
Pssst... this is your smut warning. It's up. Heheh, yeah it is.
debbartram
Apr. 19th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh yay! I have soooo missed this story and it's just like coming home! Thank you thank you thank you!

And it was totally worth waiting for! :)
abelina
Apr. 19th, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)
It's such a relief to finally get here. Seriously, it had been so long I was afraid I would never finish but I'm so glad I did. Don't miss the next and actual chapter -- I think I was uploading it just as you reviewed this one.

Thank you!
( 5 have spoken — take the speaking stick )

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