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Could Be You - Chapter 9, Part B

This chapter is apparently just slightly too long for LJ's liking, so I'm posting it in two parts!  Make sure you read the first part first!  This is Part B!

Title:
Could Be You 
Chapter:
Nine, Part B
Rating:
NC-17 for sexual situations, blood play
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.
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.
Beta:
dampersnspoons  
Banner: xtanitx 
Previous Chapter: Chapter Nine, Part A

 


Could Be You

Chapter Nine
Part B

*~*


 

“This is called oxycodone,” Dr. Kriegel said, showing Buffy the bottle of round white tablets.  “They’re pretty potent, but then those headaches she has are pretty powerful.  She can have one every four hours if she needs it, just be sure to watch her breathing.”

Buffy nodded, thankful for the drug information sheets the nurse had passed to her.  She would have to look them over carefully when they got home because her attention kept wandering away from what the doctor was saying to Dawn, sitting with her book in the hallway and staring at it without having turned a page in minutes.  Dawn was playing cool but that crazy security guard really rattled her, so much that she hadn’t even dropped a hint about Buffy’s secret since the nurses led the man away.  His claim that Dawn wasn’t real hit too close to the truth for comfort, and Buffy didn’t want to let Dawn out of her sight.

“Miss Summers, are you listening?”

Buffy turned back to face the doctor.  “Yeah, sorry, just checking on my sister.  Potent.  Headaches.  Got it.”

Dr. Kriegel nodded and showed her another bottle of somewhat larger round white pills.  “This is dexamethasone.  It’s used to reduce the swelling in your mother’s brain and has to be given three times a day — breakfast, afternoon, and bedtime.”

Buffy nodded again, and Dr. Kriegel passed over yet another pill bottle, though these tablets were small and yellow.

“Haloperidol.  It helps minimize symptoms of delirium — times when she seems confused or says things that don’t make sense.” He waited until Buffy nodded before continuing.  “One at bedtime, but you could give one during the day if you felt she needed it.”

“I-I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Buffy said, staring at the bottles, wondering if this was how their days would go from now on — endless piles of anonymous pills, none of them meant to fix what was wrong, only hiding the problem so it was harder to see. She felt nauseous just thinking about it.

Dr. Kriegel passed her a wallet-sized brown envelope. “With this type of tumour, there’s a chance she could have a seizure.  Should that happen, call an ambulance and give her these two pills once she is awake enough to swallow them.”

Buffy’s head nodded but it felt as though someone else were driving. Dr. Kriegel continued speaking, his lips moving but with no sound coming out.  Headaches.  Tumour. Delirium. Seizures.  All of a sudden the little room felt too hot, too confining.  She jumped up from the chair, which clattered backward and startled Dr. Kriegel and the two nearby nurses.

“Miss Summers, if this is too much—”

Buffy took a deep breath and jabbed her fingernails into her palms.  “No, no it’s fine, I, uh, just remembered I have to make a call.  An important call, before we go. So I’ll just go and, ah, do that.”

Dawn looked up when she rushed by, and Buffy hoped her forced smile seemed convincing enough that nothing was wrong.  The payphone hung at the far end of the corridor, and she rested her head against the metal framing a moment before dropping in her quarter and dialling the number.

It rang, and rang, and rang before Buffy realized what she was doing.  She started to pull the receiver away from her ear when the line connected, though she heard only the faint hum of background noise coming through the speaker.

“Spike?”

“Buffy.”

Of all the stupid—

“What are you doing answering my phone?” she said, the words rushing out before she could stop them.

On the other side of the line she heard a faint sigh.  “You’re the one who called me.”

“I did, didn’t I?” She let out a breathy chuckle as the shard of anger faded.  “I wasn’t sure you’d still be there.”

“Just got back,” Spike said.  “Patrolled a while, killed a few nasties. Figured you’d be busy, what with the hospital and all.  How’s Joyce?”

Buffy couldn’t deny that the fluttery feeling in her chest, the good kind of fluttery that made her head a little dizzy and brought a smile to her face, had everything to do with the notion that Spike had thought to go patrolling for her.  Riley latched onto that bone like an overeager puppy — almost.  She didn’t quite understand his look of disappointment — but he still had to be asked.  Spike, as he had the night this whole mess started, just seemed to know.

“She’s, well, she’s tired, and going kinda stir crazy in here.” Seeing Dawn watching from down the hall, Buffy gave her a little wave and turned so the telephone box hid her face from view.  “We’re bringing her home to wait until she has her surgery, so, um—”

“Want me to make scarce, then?” 

In her mind, Buffy saw Spike’s shoulders slump and disappointment cloud his eyes, and she wanted to squeeze the resignation right out of him.      

“No, not scarce, just... I don’t know who’s gonna drive us home, but don’t go far, okay?  In case I need you?”

“Need me, hmm?”

She could picture the grin now, the one where he showed just a hint of teeth, and the silky rumble of his voice spread a swirling wave of warmth through her belly and straight to her womb.  She needed him, all right.  There was little doubt of that.

“You know you have an ego the size of a barn, right?” she asked, certain he could hear the way her breath quickened.

“Not just the ego.” He chuckled quietly, and when he spoke again he replaced the cocky tone with a softer one that stirred her heart as much as the other stirred her arousal.  “You get her home, Buffy, and I’ll see you later.”

Buffy couldn’t begin to describe the soothing wave of comfort and relief that notion brought to her. “Promise?”

“Promise. Bye, love.”

The line clicked dead and Buffy leaned against the wall beside the phone box, still holding the receiver to her ear.  Without Spike to distract her, the sounds of the hospital filtered back into her awareness, as did Dawn’s unwavering stare as she walked slowly down the hallway toward Buffy.  Buffy hung up the phone and sighed, telling herself this wasn’t going to get any easier by delaying the inevitable. 

“Was that him?” Dawn asked, raising an eyebrow and tossing her head in the direction of the payphone.  “You know, the guy you’re boinking who isn’t Riley?”

Buffy cringed at her sister’s choice of words, and reached out to set her hand on Dawn’s shoulder. “Dawn—”

Dawn pulled away and set her hands on her hips.  “Well it’s true, isn’t it?” she asked, lifting her chin and shaking her head as she spoke.   “I didn’t hear anything, by the way, just talking.  I figured out the rest on my own.  I’m not stupid, you know.”

Buffy resisted the urge to squeeze her eyes shut and avoid the hurt and accusation in Dawn’s eyes.  “I never said you were.”

“Whatever.  Is he going to be there?”  Dawn tightened her arms around her stomach and looked down at the floor.  “Because I wanna be prepared if I run into some strange guy on the way to the bathroom or something.”

The words hit her like a hard punch to the gut, and Buffy took a step back, struggling to calm her sudden shortness of breath.  “I-is that what you think?  That I—with some stranger?  When Mom—?”

But it did look that way, Buffy realized, from an outsider’s point of view.  It was a logical assumption when Dawn only had one tiny piece of the story to work with, and Buffy felt like an even bigger failure at life for setting such a horrible example for her sister.

“Buffy?”  Dawn’s voice held a bit of a waver now.  “Are you okay?”

Buffy gripped Dawn’s shoulders tightly enough that Dawn couldn’t pull away.  “It’s not like that, Dawn, it’s not.  I-I can’t explain it—I don’t even really get it myself.” 

She released her hold when Dawn flinched, and stepped back further before she could do any more damage.  “All I know is it’s the only thing that makes any sense right now.”

Dawn nodded, though she kept her arms wrapped firmly around her middle.  “Who is he?  If it’s not a stranger, then...?”

Buffy knew by the heat in her face that her cheeks were already a deep red, and the prickly lightheaded feeling that followed only made the temperature beneath her skin unbearable.  Dawn waited, an eyebrow arched expectantly.  Buffy let out a breath and took the plunge.

“Spike,” she said, the word coming out as a barely audible whisper.  “It’s Spike.”

The world didn’t end.  No lightning struck, no earthquakes rocked the ground beneath them, no plagues of locusts swarmed the hallway.  Only the soft thud of Dawn’s book landing on the floor broke the strange calm that settled around Buffy’s confession.

Dawn stared at Buffy with a slack jaw and very wide eyes, not looking away even as she knelt to retrieve her fallen book.  “You—Spike?”

Buffy nodded quickly, afraid that saying anything more about it would break the spell.  “I have to finish talking to Dr. Kriegel,” she said.  “Can you go help Mom get ready to go?”

But Dawn only stared and repeated, “Spike?”

“Spike.  Dawn, please?”

“Mom,” Dawn said, with a little shake of her head, which seemed to clear some of her daze.  “Right, okay.”

She headed toward Joyce’s room, but spun around before she had gone more than half way.  “Oh, my God, Buffy!  This is like—” But she stopped, took a deep breath, and nodded once.  “Mom, right. But you so have some explaining to do later.”

Dawn continued on and Buffy looked back toward the nurses’ station and Dr. Kriegel who was waiting where she left him.  Telling Dawn was easier than Buffy imagined it would be — Dawn almost seemed excited by the idea, once the shock had lifted — but she had a feeling that this particular confession would be the exception, not the rule.  Telling herself to shelve her relationship woes for a little while longer, Buffy picked up the telephone to call for a ride home. 

“First things first, Buffy,” she said aloud, tipping her head up to stare at the ceiling as she waited for Giles to answer.  “Take care of Mom, then worry about everything else.”

But she really doubted that life could ever be that simple.

*~*

 

 

About Timelines:  This chapter, which immediately follows chapter 8, begins in the morning before episode 5.09 Listening to Fear.  The second half of this chapter is a missing scene during that same episode, and timeline-wise occurs just prior to the scene where Buffy and Dawn take Joyce home from the hospital.  She hasn’t had her surgery yet and will be waiting at home until her surgery date which is two days away.

>>To Be Continued in Chapter Ten

Comments

( 4 have spoken — take the speaking stick )
slaymesoftly
Jul. 30th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, nice to see another update on this fic. Bit worried about the Riley reaction, though... More soon?
abelina
Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
More as soon as I can, which really isn't saying much! Thanks!
sarian71
Jul. 31st, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
It was lovely to see the sisterly bonding between Buffy and Dawn. Now more than ever, they really need to rely on each other. I loved how Dawn observed and made comments about Buffy's boyfriend situation! “Lots of tossing and turning.” Hee! It's great that Dawn now knows about Spike. It was an important step for Buffy to tell about him.

Hmmm, interesting how differently Riley and Spike reacted to the same situation.
abelina
Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Well, you couldn't expect a bratty little sister not to comment, can you? Haha. I like exploring the sisterly relationship between Dawn and Buffy, and yeah, they definitely need each other now -- more than they even realize. Buffy's making all sorts of important confessions...

Thanks!
( 4 have spoken — take the speaking stick )

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