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Whispers, 2c/4

My first Spuffy fic, Whispers, has never been posted to my journal (it’s at seven_seasons ), so I am doing that now.  If you’ve already read it, there isn’t anything new.  I just wanted to have all my stories available on my journal. 

Title: Whispers
Chapter: Two, Part C ~ She Said, She Said
Rating/Warning: NC-17 for sexual situations and blood play.
Summary: After Spike endures torture at the hands of Glory to protect the identity of the Key, Buffy is forced to reconsider everything she ever thought she knew about the vampire, leading to some startling revelations.
Setting: Season 5, immediately post-Intervention.
Disclaimer: The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.  They are being used out of respect and admiration, and not for the sake of profit.  No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: This story is self-beta’d and I know that there are errors and other things that could be fixed to make it better.  However, this is the way it was first posted and I am leaving it be.  The chapters are massive so they have to be posted in pieces.
Banner: xtanitx 
Previous Chapter:
Chapter Two, Part B


Chapter Two, Part C
She Said, She Said

Buffy shifted her position to sit beside him, placing the length of her leg in contact with his, loath at this point to sever all physical connection.  She passed him the last of the blood and settled back into the couch while he bit into it, her breath as loud in her ears as the steady thumping of her heart.  This fourth bag Spike consumed leisurely, watching her with renewed contemplativeness.  Buffy remained acutely aware of his intent study, and attempted to search inside herself for the source of her sudden and powerful response to him.  It wasn’t entirely physical, of that she was certain, but like everything else tonight, her recognition of it was too new to have sussed out all the details.  The fact that her heart pounded more forcefully during his most emotional moments indicated some degree of emotional involvement from herself, but she had only begun to scratch the surface of its discovery.


When Spike finished, he let his eyes fall shut and leaned back into the couch, chest rising and falling with unneeded but apparently involuntary breaths.  He appeared to settle in for an extended rest, and Buffy turned her head to watch him.  Despite the hideously wounded face, he appeared peaceful, almost angelic and somehow younger in repose; so completely different from the Spike he showed the world.


Stripped of the defensiveness, the cocky bluster, the Big Bad attitude, the man beneath showed through with startling clarity.  Much of the way Spike carried himself was in effort to protect this surprisingly vulnerable side that he so rarely allowed to surface.  She had seen glimpses of it in the past.  The night he chained her up and professed his love to her he had released that part of him, but she had been too mortified, too furious, to recognize it for anything other than the twisted manifestation of a soulless creature’s unfortunate obsession.


That part of him peeked out night he came to her in search of a truce, to stop Angel from destroying the world and to win back the affections of his lover.  That hint of vulnerability exposed, and Buffy had pounced on it immediately.  It had shown in those few, desperate minutes he waited outside, starved and smoking, for Giles to invite him inside after the chip.  It was there the night at the Bronze, when he’d attempted to kiss her, and once again she had seen his vulnerability and used it to her advantage.  He had perfected the bravado, that tough-guy persona, as a safeguard, for his own self-preservation.  To let this secret part of him out meant showcasing what, to the demon world, amounted to the ultimate weakness.


She could no longer ignore that this side of Spike existed.  For all he was technically evil, he possessed a sense of honour, of morals, to which he held firm.  Perhaps they often differed significantly from the sort of morals considered, well, moral, but something inside her whispered that it mattered more that he had them in the first place.  Buffy had learned today that he was also fiercely loyal.  His devotion to Drusilla showcased that, in retrospect, as much as his actions of this afternoon.


She would never trust just any vampire to keep his word, whether or not the deal involved large sums of money.  Chances were she’d find herself double-crossed, dead, and out a couple hundred dollars.  While one or two moments of less-than-stellar word-keeping on Spike’s part flashed in her memory, she had yet to end up dead or even truly double-crossed.  Yeah, his stunt with the doctor saw Riley’s life in danger, but really, she should not have tried to have Spike help her for Riley’s sake — his part in Spike’s chipping notwithstanding — and she hadn’t exactly been encouraging with attitude or the rewards, either.


He had kept his word during their truce to stop Acathla — took Angel out of the fight while she handled the minions and kept Drusilla distracted.  He had not actually promised never to return to Sunnydale.  Spike had watched over Dawn and her mother, with the words of recognition of his strength and her need for it his only payment.  He patrolled the graveyards as faithfully as she, and while logically he did so to satisfy his innate need for violence as well as his more unsettling urges to stalk her, more than once she came across the remnants of something big and ugly and very recently dead and felt a rush of gratitude that she hadn’t had to fight it herself.  And then, defying everything he was supposed to be, everything she thought he was, Spike had looked a hellgod in the face while she tortured his body and refused to reveal a secret that, if spoken, meant certain death to someone other than himself.  He had chosen his own suffering over the suffering of another.  Another that wasn’t even her.  That was huge.


There was something inherently different about Spike.  The realization was not new, but her recognition of it was profound.  Perhaps it had something to do with age, for most of the vampires she encountered were fledglings, or those less than two decades old.  Her experiences with master vampires was limited to a handful, and even that selection biased itself with a rather homogenous sampling, for five of them belonged to the same ancient line.  The differences between elder vampires and younger existed, for to live as long as they had required certain strengths and intelligence lacking in many vampires — and the stupid-enough-to-linger-alone-at-night humans from which they were sired.


Of those masters, however, only Spike — discounting, of course, the anomaly represented by soulful Angel — had ever done anything not geared toward some personal gain.  After more than a year of living with the chip in his head, Spike had adapted, learned to survive on his own.  He did not need to remain in her good graces in order to maintain his existence, and yet he continued to help her out, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes in small ways she hadn’t even consciously recognized. 


Despite the odds, completely contrary to everything she’d ever been taught about the nature of vampires, Spike was actively trying to be good.  At present, his feelings for Buffy provided the impetus for this shifting of character.  Certainly, much of what he had done and not done related to his attempts to earn her attention, possibly her respect, likely her trust; the amazing part was that he was trying at all.


Everything pointed toward the glaring truth that at the heart of Spike was a man.  A man unlike most, perhaps, with his demon companion constantly whispering sweet nasties in his ear, but a man.  She saw that man clearly, her denial over his existence crumbled to dust in the face of evidence she could no longer ignore.  She saw a vampire struggling against everything he was supposed to be, to become something else.  She saw the creature that by destiny represented her mortal enemy fighting by her side in her endless battle against evil.


Spike wanted to be good, wanted to do good, even though it warred with his instincts.  She saw the conflict, the reluctance at giving up the lifestyle lived over twelve decades for something so foreign, so far outside of his realm, and the simultaneous struggle toward embracing this new path, fraught with sunlight and crosses and sharp, pointed wood.  Today, Spike tried to be good for her, but she saw, saw so clearly she wondered if this new view of him was actually something more prophetic, that someday, someday soon, Spike would strive to be good for himself.


In the face of everything she had realized tonight, the fact that her vehement rejection of the notion that Spike was in love with her had faded into nothingness failed to shock her.  Neither did she doubt the veracity of his feelings.  He did not love her in some twisted, vampiric parody of human emotion.  This love was real and honest and immense.  With his usual guards stripped away, this simple truth radiated from him with brilliant intensity, and rang powerfully in her heart.  And for the first time, this knowledge was not cause for upset or disgust.  That he was capable of such real emotions — where other vampires certainly were not — only bolstered her revelation that Spike was unique...special...one of a kind.  And he was hers.


Gobsmacked, Buffy figured, was the best way to describe how that stray thought left her feeling after it rocketed its way through her consciousness.  While she undoubtedly owned his heart, however unintentionally on her part, thinking of Spike in the possessive sense was something to which she was completely unaccustomed.  And yet, in a way, he was hers.  Her greatest adversary, her resident pain-in-the-ass, her strongest fighter, and at one time, her only option.  Spike suddenly felt more hers than Angel ever was, and the implications of this threatened to knock her universe right off its axis.


Looking into the endless blue depths of his one visible eye, Buffy saw the possibilities, the potential, that someday this vampire — this man — could, would, coexist with her in an entirely different way.  Already he had managed to tumble down some of her own walls, revealing an emotional connection she hadn’t known existed, mingled somewhere within immediate, overwhelming desire that had, if she were honest with herself, simmered just below the surface for a very long time.  With the world around her spiralling out of control, she didn’t think she could take the time to explore this potential, even if she wanted to.  Something inside her whispered that she did want to find out if Spike could live up to everything she suddenly saw when she looked at him.


Because she did see it, that potential, a potential for greatness beyond anything she could fathom, and while it frightened her, it also thrilled her and filled her heart with an inexplicable sense of pride.  While she didn’t understand it, she knew with certainty that she was proud of him, for everything he was trying to be.


She did not love Spike, but knew that if something happened to him, she would mourn him.  This feeling wasn’t new, either.  Had Glory killed him and she never learned that Spike had refused to talk, or if she’d been forced to dust him herself, she would have felt his loss deeply.  Her world just would not be as interesting without Spike in it.  At times, her polar opposite, at others so startlingly complementary, he fit into her existence in such a unique and irreplaceable way that having him gone from the world would leave a gaping hole that no other could hope to fill.  When he had become this, Buffy didn’t know, but could tell it wasn’t a new state of being.  Likely this odd entanglement had grown upon them slowly, below the radar, outside the recognition of either of them.  Perhaps, she pondered, it had been there all along.


How many times had they failed to kill each other?  Were those failures the result of being so evenly matched, or did it involve something more karmic?  Spike was the greatest adversary she had ever faced — greatest, because everyone else she had gone up against, she had beaten, but not Spike.  He had won as many small battles as she, but neither one had yet bested the other.  Spike gave it as good as he got, whether physically or verbally, and she mourned the loss of his ability to fight with her in the physical sense, despite the obvious benefits.  But so long as he existed, he remained to fill that part of her she had only just discovered.  While she would have no shortage of opponents if Spike became dust, she’d certainly never find another like him.  Likewise, she understood intuitively that long after she left this world, no matter how many slayers he faced — assuming, of course, that he managed to lose that chip — none of them would ever represent to him what she did.


So no, she did not love him.  But she respected him, trusted him, and with everything she had come to realize tonight, she could look upon the man behind the rough exterior and consider him a friend.  The potential for more-than-friend hovered tantalisingly in front of her; part of her was pretty certain she’d already grabbed onto it, and that leap, while initially terrifying, buzzed with potentiality.  Her feelings for Spike were changing and her acknowledgement of it failed to register as shameful or disconcerting.  The possibility that someday she would look at him and realize that she returned the feelings he held for her no longer seemed to linger solely in Spike’s imagination.  Her body tingled with anticipation, excitement, as though this one thought amongst millions was the first step in a long, arduous, epic journey, one that would lead her in directions unforeseeable, the final destination a place of untold greatness.


This shifting of paradigms, while so clear to her now, would grow murky and muddled again come morning.  With daylight came doubt, denial, and the opinions of those yet to make the shift in thinking that brought her to this place.  Buffy stood on the cusp of accepting that which her entire being was meant to reject, and that sort of devastating change was simply too much to handle all at once.  Right now, she could almost make that leap of faith, could nearly throw everything away and take that chance, but reality, common sense, and duty held her back.  Everything inside of her led her to the truth that one day she would do it — this had moved into inevitability, no longer mere possibility — but with hellgods on the loose, sisters to protect, duties to uphold, and friends not yet ready to accept it, she could not let go and take that jump.  She would have to go with baby steps, small shuffles ever closer to the edge of that tempting chasm.


She would start by showing her faith in Spike, despite the expected opposition.  Only by allowing him the chance to prove himself to them, by showing them that she trusted him — by showing Spike that she trusted him — could he ever hope to reach that potential she saw glowing around him like an aura.  It wouldn’t come easily.  Just as he’d fought against his burgeoning feelings for her, she would fight to maintain her recognition of the changing nature of her feelings for him. 


Buffy came slowly to the realization that for an inordinate amount of time, she and Spike had been looking into each other’s eyes.  The silence had stretched on between them, not uncomfortably, leading to her many revelations.  She thought it possible that the odd glimmer of something in Spike’s eye signified revelations of his own.


When his hand found hers, it seemed only natural to lace their fingers together.


“Buffy,” he said softly, and the use of her name rather than her title set every nerve in her body buzzing with sensations she could not define.  “Penny for your thoughts, love.”


Buffy huffed quietly.  “I could ask you the same thing.”


“Might frighten you.”


“Well, mine would frighten you,” she replied, then raised her free hand to form a claw and said, “Grrrr.”


Mingled laughter filled the darkness of the subterranean room, dwindling down until only the sound of their breathing — and it didn’t seem shocking that Spike would have maintained that habit — broke the silence.  Spike’s eye regarded her a moment longer with the same openness to which she’d grown accustomed over the course of the evening, but just before he dropped his gaze, Buffy saw some of his barriers rise back into place.  Though he kept hold of her hand, his whole body vibrated subtly with nervousness.


“Slayer...Buffy.  What is this...all of this?” 


There was that vulnerable Spike again, that sensitive man terrified of being hurt, as he had been often in the past, and many times by her own hands, her own words. Her heart broke for him, that such a radiant soul should live out its existence in this monstrous shell.  Despite the fact that he technically had no soul, many of Spike’s characteristics forgot that they were only supposed to manifest in soulful human beings.  And that thought added another pull on the already shaky axis of her reality.


Buffy sighed softly, and squeezed his hand tighter, strengthening this physical connectivity.  While she couldn’t hope to put to words everything she was feeling inside, her brain supplied her with a simple but truthful explanation that would do just as well, for now.  “This...it’s your crumb, Spike, if you still want it.”


At first he remained stony-faced and uncertain, but as the moment ticked on and her statement lay open and un-repealed, the mask faded away and his eye shone with gratitude.  The most genuine smile he had ever shown slid smoothly onto his face, and he looked down when the emotions of the moment became too great to hide, but to personal to share fully.


“Buffy, I...” Spike trailed off, shaking his head as he, the vampire who never shut up, struggled to find words.  In the end, he looked back up at her, hand on the back of his neck, grin lessening into a small, serene smile, and said, “Thank you.”


Anything else she tried to say, any words of explanation, would only ruin the moment.  With the amount of insight she’d gained into his nature tonight, simply by sharing a few hours of quiet sincerity, without their barriers in place, she was certain that Spike had come to understand her more profoundly as well.  So instead of trying to explain herself, to explain what had brought her to that point, she chose to take her confession one baby step further.


“I can’t promise you that we’ll ever be more than we are now,” she said, reaching as they turned to face each other to take his other hand into hers.  She looked down at her lap, at the strong yet gentle hands tangled with hers.  “But I can’t say that we won’t and...there’s something inside me whispering that when I let myself take that chance, we’ll be greater than anything either one of us can imagine.”


She had not intended to say that, had meant to stop after I can’t say that we won’t, but the words that followed flowed unbidden, demanded an audience, refused suppression, at once freeing and utterly terrifying.  The shock on her own face was nothing compared to the expression on Spike’s when she looked back up.  Astounded didn’t even begin to cover it.



>>Chapter Three, Part A


( 9 have spoken — take the speaking stick )
Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
Just whipped through these three parts without commenting because I would have had to slow down to do it. Part B was incredibly hot, and the end of this part was just lovely. Why have I never seen this before? Is it on the BSV? Is it, huh?
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
LOL, you have read it, actually. It was the first story I posted anywhere, including BSV. In fact you sent me a nice long PM about it when I first posted it there. But I'm glad you're enjoying the re-read!
Mar. 23rd, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
Seriously? I mean I know you said it was your first fic, but I truly didn't remember it (Sorry! Bad Patti!) and was wondering why I hadn't read it. Well, I am thoroughly enjoying the reread. I'll have to go back and see what I said to you the first time. LOL
Mar. 23rd, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
Yep :) To be fair, it was over a year ago now, and I think you may have been in more of a mod-mode than a reader mode at the time. (It's okay. Good Patti.)

Still, I'm glad you're liking it. You did like it the first time, too, lol!
Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
Hee! Good to know. Yeah, I was thinking that - I was probably in mod mode and reading quickly to make sure the chapters could go through. May have had several others waiting in the queue at the same time.
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
And it was right around the time that the BSV was having all those problems, too, so I'm sure you had your virtual hands full at the time.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad to hear it! I will be posting the next chapter momentarily, likely in three parts again due to length.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:07 am (UTC)
Jun. 7th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
( 9 have spoken — take the speaking stick )


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