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Catch a Falling Star - Chapter Four

Title: Catch a Falling Star
Chapter:
Four
Word Count:
1642
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em.  This fiction is not for profit and no copyright infringement is intended.
Setting:
The summer between seasons 3 and 4 of BtVS
Summary:
A heartbroken Buffy finds a bit of compassion in an unexpected place.
Rating: PG-13
Notes:
Written for the Art-to-Fic challenge at spuffy_wonder .  No beta, so all errors are mine.
Banner:
amyxaphania 
Previous Chapter:
Three

 


 

Catch a Falling Star
Chapter Four

*~*

 

Spike had the decency, or at least enough sense of self-preservation, not try to defuse the situation with his own special brand of humour or sputter off any excuses about her wanting it just as much as he—which she did not.  He just stared back at her, eyes as wide as she’d ever seen them, hands in the air as though she had a stake or something equally deadly aimed at his heart.

 

“Bloody hell,” he said, chest rising rather quickly with unneeded breaths.

 

“We—I—you—” Buffy groaned and took a step back.  “No,” she said, shaking her head at Spike as he moved toward her.  “No.”

 

A wave of dizziness swept over her, bringing with it a rush of burning embarrassment, and Buffy suddenly couldn’t look, couldn’t be here, couldn’t move fast enough to get to where Spike was not.     

 

Path!  Path!  Find the path!  Walk-don’t-run!  Oh God, oh God, oh God!

 

“Look—”

 

Spike’s hand closed around her arm and she jerked away, but the contact broke through the frantic haze, and though her legs itched with the need to run, Buffy stood tall and threw her hands up in front of her.  “Don’t!”

 

Spike scowled.   “Oh for fuck’s sake, Slayer, I’m not gonna jump you!”

 

Buffy crossed her arms and scoffed.  “What, you’re suddenly Mr. I’m-In-Control?”

 

He actually chuckled at that, with the smirking, tongue-in-teeth thing that did nothing to draw her attention away from that newly dangerous part of his face, but at least resembled the usual Spike enough to let her focus on the important things—such as not running away like a frightened dormouse and never, ever letting that happen again.

 

“Right, and you’re the bloody picture of restraint,” he said, raising an eyebrow at her that somehow gave the impression of both annoyance and amusement.  “Didn’t mean to...”

 

Crap. 

 

She could practically hear the but hovering there, just waiting for Spike to give it voice.  Didn’t mean to but—what?  Liked it?  Wanted more?  Buffy scrunched her face until her eyes squeezed shut, not wanting to see his expression as it started to soften.  A breath of air tickled her cheek, as though he meant to touch her face but stopped at the last moment. 

 

“I know, Slayer,” he said, and Buffy hoped she was imagining the little waver in his voice.  “Never happened.  Never happen again.”

 

“Right.”  She opened her eyes to find him a comfortable few steps away and looking somewhere in the vicinity of her left elbow.  “Temporary insanity.”

 

“Out of our bloody minds,” he said, now looking up at the sky.

 

Buffy nodded, willing the post-kiss awkwardness away in favour of the regular sort of awkward.  “That was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.”

 

Spike’s lips twitched as though he wanted to disagree but for once, he took her advice about keeping his mouth shut.

 

In the silence that followed, Buffy struggled to find a place to look that wasn’t dominated by Spike.  She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t notice before how big a presence he truly had.  Without saying a word, she turned and started walking back toward the fair, knowing that Spike would follow.  Why she couldn’t say, nor could she quite get a grasp on the reason she wasn’t going to stop him.  Sure enough, a few seconds later she felt his leather coat brush against her hand as he came up beside her. 

 

The night was getting weirder and weirder.  Had anyone suggested to her to take a moonlit stroll with Spike the next time they met, she’d have laughed in their faces and probably suggested they seek professional help for their delusions.  Yet there they were, moon above, strolling path below.  Bizarro-World never ceased to amaze.

 

They had nearly reached the arcade buildings when Buffy risked meeting Spike’s eyes again.  The lead weight in her stomach dropped away when the contact failed to produce the body-wracking spark that had started all the trouble.  There was a moment there, a small, terrifying moment, when she feared the event-that-must-not-be-named was just the beginning of something bigger, something even darker and more perverse than this whole mess with Angel.  But she could see now that the sparkage was a one-off, a fluke, a weird reaction to finding shared understanding with a creature she loathed.

 

Or something.  Loathe was really too strong a word for someone who helped you save the world, no matter what was — or as it turned out, was not — in it for him.  Strong mutual dislike, she decided, was a better fit.  Even if she disliked him a little less right now while they were both passengers on the same grief cruise.

 

And what a wild ride that was turning out to be.

 

They came to a bench beneath a dimly lit lantern in that same old-fashioned style, and by unspoken agreement sat down at opposite ends.  Spike stretched his legs out, crossing his booted feet at his ankles.  Buffy heard the snick of his lighter, but the breeze carried the smoke away and she said nothing, just stared out at the throng of people laughing and screaming in their carefree fun.

 

“Like to watch, sometimes,” Spike said, and when Buffy cast a glance at him, he was looking straight ahead and wearing a hint of a wistful smile.

 

“If this is about picking out your dinner, stop right now.” 

 

Spike flashed her a quick smirk and sidelong glance.  No,” he said, drawing the word out as if she should have known better.  “None of them have any clue what’s out there hunting them, you know?”

 

“Oh believe me,” she said, a smile stretching across her lips.  “I do.  I can’t imagine ever being that innocent.”

 

“But you were, once.”

 

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Spike turn to face her.  Buffy looked over, started by the way he was looking at her—head cocked to one side, eyes very lightly squinted, a hint of his usual sardonic leer on his lips.  It kind of felt as though he was somehow seeing her for the first time, but what he saw she couldn’t imagine and didn’t want to.

 

“I was,” she answered, after a long moment in which the world around her seemed to blur just a little.  “And so were you.”

 

“Was a long time ago.”  In the distance, somebody screamed, and Spike scanned the crowd.  “Vampires.”

 

Buffy hadn’t felt a thing, but when she followed the direction of Spike’s gaze, she saw the young woman struggling as two vampires pulled her into the shadowed space between two buildings in the distance.

 

She didn’t wait to see whether Spike would follow or not, and honestly she hoped he wouldn’t, because bench buddies or not, she didn’t want to have to wonder at his motives when she had a couple of other fang-faces to fight.  A couple turned out to be three bumbling fledglings, hoping to share a meal of trembling blonde behind the target-shooting booth.  The blonde was smart enough to run away without being told when Buffy burst onto the scene, stake in hand and tired of the fight before it even began.

 

“Hey!  That wasn’t nice!” said the closest vampire, staring past her to the retreating form of his would-be dinner.

 

“Know what else isn’t nice?”  When he blinked stupidly and looked toward his cohorts for an answer, Buffy thrust her stake through his heart and watched the breeze scatter his dust onto the other two. 

 

“Ruining the weirdest night of my life,” Buffy said, providing the answer to her own question and stalking toward the vampires who were hurrying quite steadily backward.  “And biting people?  That’s not so nice, either.”

 

“We—we didn’t bite anybody!” said the smaller vampire, scrambling to hide behind the larger one.

 

“Not for lack of trying.”  Buffy twirled her stake in her hand and stopped a few feet in front of the vampires who had backed themselves conveniently into a corner.  “So, who’s next?  Let’s make this quick.  I’m wasting primo wallowing time here, and you guys?  So not worth it.”

 

The larger vampire gaped at her.  “Who are you?”

 

“She’s the Slayer, you twerp,” said Spike, voice rumbling very closely behind her.

 

A shiver ran up her spine, cold and prickly.  The vampires stopped trying to hide behind one another, and Buffy didn’t need to see Spike’s face to know which one he was wearing.

 

The vampires blinked and said, “What’s a slayer?”

 

Their eyes followed some movement behind her, gazes landing frighteningly close to her neck, and the shiver in her spine intensified, exploding into a pulsing vibration in time to her pounding heart.  Around her, the air felt dangerously still.  Spike chuckled humourlessly and the sound churned her guts to the point of nausea. A chill crept up her back, ghostly fingers trailing up her spine like a deadly caress, and when Spike spoke next, his breath fluttered over her ear and left her fighting not to cringe. 

 

“The best night of your life,” he said, fingers brushing along the line of her jugular.

 

Buffy gripped her stake to the point of pain, mind whirling as she sought to find a way out of this.  Stupid, so stupid, to think Spike could be anything but the evil monster destiny had made him.  She had dropped her guard and was going to pay for it now.  Spike’s presence resonated at her back and the fledglings moved away from the wall, sudden confidence blazing in their yellow eyes as they started forward.

 

Just as they were nearing the danger zone, Spike vanished.  The fledglings halted, the little one stumbling into the big one, and from somewhere above her head, Spike laughed again, a cocky chuckle oozing with glee.

 

“Who am I kidding?” he said.  “She’s your worst nightmare.”

 

*~*

 

>>To be continued in Chapter Five

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