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Catch a Falling Star - Chapter Five

Title: Catch a Falling Star
Chapter: Five
Previous Chapter: Four

Setting: The summer between seasons 3 and 4 of BtVS
A heartbroken Buffy finds a bit of compassion in an unexpected place.
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em.  This fiction is not for profit and no copyright infringement is intended.
Written for the Art-to-Fic challenge at spuffy_wonder .  No beta, so all errors are mine.




Catch a Falling Star

Chapter Five



In the half second it took for Buffy to process what just happened, the vampires scattered.  The big one dashed around to the left and the little one charged, screaming as he ran straight into her stake.  Unfortunately, it crumbled to dust with him, but she didn’t have time to worry about it just now.  She caught the arm of the fleeing fledgling and flung him into the side of the building, rattling the flimsy wooden walls with the impact.  From inside came the sound of several target guns firing followed by a chorus of angry cursing.


The vampire scrambled to his feet, but Buffy kicked him in the chest, knocking him into a more solid wall.  When he didn’t rise right away, she darted her eyes around the space between the buildings, searching for something she could use in place of her dusted stake.  A snarl from the corner snapped her attention back to her opponent before she could find a suitable weapon.


He snarled again, curling his lips and baring his fangs as he shifted his weight back and forth from one foot to the other.  He was going to charge.  It would be clumsy and she already had a plan for avoiding the move, seeing as how her lack of stake meant his continued existence for a little while longer.   She scanned the space around her quickly for anything wooden and pointy, but again found nothing.  Any second now—


He charged, barrelling forward with a bestial growl.  Buffy jumped and caught the edge of the roof and used the vampire’s shoulder for leverage.  It worked better than she’d hoped and she landed in a crouch atop the metal roof with a clang that stirred another flurry of cursing from the people inside and a round of applause from Spike, who was standing on the ridgepole and grinning like the Cheshire cat.


Buffy scowled and aimed her finger at him.  “I’ll deal with you later!”


Spike chuckled in a way Buffy could only describe as evil.  “That a promise, Slayer?”


Somebody below yelled at them to get the hell off the roof, saving her from having to come up with a response.   The vampire on the ground tried to leap up, but he landed hard on his belly and started sliding down, fingernails scrabbling for purchase on the smooth metal roof.  A strappy leather sandal to the forehead sent him soaring backward onto the pavement below, where he let out a pained yelp before staggering to his feet.


Buffy ran along the roof and jumped down, landing just next to a narrow path leading between another two buildings.  She didn’t look to see if he would follow, knowing even before she heard his lumbering footsteps behind her as she ran that he would give chase.   A grin came to her lips as she recalled thinking a similar thought about Spike just a few minutes ago.  Vampires, it seemed, could be predictable like that in any given situation.


The broken broom handle lay against the back wall of a concession building, right where she spied it from the target-shooting roof.  Buffy dove for it the moment she broke out of the narrow alley, letting her momentum carry her motion into a rolling somersault.  She came up on her feet just as the vampire tore his way into the wider space, broom handle aimed and ready for business.


Saliva dribbled from the vampire’s mouth, gathering to foam at the corners and glistening on his fangs.  His yellow eyes were wild beneath his angry brow, pinpoints of mindless fury fixed in her direction, unaware of the danger. 


Buffy hefted her broom handle.  “Anyone ever tell you you’re ugly when you’re angry?”


He answered with a sickening roar that died away as he turned to dust.


Buffy yanked back the broom handle before it met the same fate as her stake and swung it at Spike’s head when he landed beside her.  He ducked and caught the end of it, and held it just firmly enough that she couldn’t easily get it back.


“Ah-ah-ah, Slayer,” Spike said, lips turned up in a hint of a smirk.  “Save the pointy and wooden for the fangy lot.”


“You are  the fangy lot, Spike.”  He raised his eyebrow at her, waiting, until she lowered her arms and he released the handle.  She scowled at him.  “Evil.”


His grin turned into a smug smile and he splayed his palm over his chest.  “Why, Slayer, didn’t know you cared.”


Buffy rolled her eyes and huffed.  “As if.”


“So!”  Spike clapped his hands together and bounced on the toes of his boots.  “That was fun, wasn’t it?”


 “Shyeah, that was exactly what I wanted to do tonight,” Buffy said, tossing the broom handle to the ground.  “No thanks to you, you big jerk.”


But Spike only chuckled and walked away, heading down the narrow path with an annoying little bounce to his step.  Oh, he was infuriating—which explained why she was following him, half running to catch up to his longer strides. 


She came up beside him as he wove his way around clusters of teenagers and shoved into him with her shoulder.  “That could’ve been a lot quicker if you’d just minded your own business, you know.”


Spike slowed his stride to a more Buffy-friendly pace and turned his head to answer her.  “Yeah, but where’s the fun in that?”


“I’ve had enough fun for one night, thank—”  Spike’s eyebrows shot up and Buffy felt the colour rise in her cheeks.  “God, ego much?  I meant—never mind.  Why am I even doing this?”


She spun around, fully intent on walking away, but once again Spike caught her by the wrist and pulled her back.


“Cos you got nowhere better to be?”


Damn him for that irritating smirk.  She wanted to wipe it off his face with the pointy end of the broom handle, but it was just as well she had left it behind because she didn’t feel much like a repeat of the suicide-by-stake attempt and its corresponding crowd of completely oblivious would-be do-gooders.  So damn him for being right and for being smug, and while she was at it, for being a vampire and a moron and not all that bad an individual to spend an evening with in mutual heartbrokenness.


Yes, that’s right.  Buffy’s cracked and the world’s gone insane and William the Bloody makes a great wallowing companion.


Buffy sighed and felt the anger rush out of her like a deflating balloon.  “Do you think anyone would care if I punched you right now?”


“Likely not,” Spike said.  “Just watch the nose, will you?  It’s taken enough of a beating lately.”


Her gaze drifted to the body part in question, where she noticed for the first time a cluster of faded bruises over the bridge of his nose and beneath his eyes.  Buffy fought the bizarre urge to touch her finger to the darkest of the marks, clenching her hands into fists as an added precaution.


“Could do without the googly eyes, Slayer.”


Buffy blinked and shifted her eyes to meet his.  “Not googly,” she said, scowling at the little smirk teasing the corner of his mouth.  “I’m just not used to seeing you so...beaten.”


The smile fell and he looked down at the ground, his shoulders slumping subtly beneath his duster.  “Yeah, well...”


If that sharp little blade weren’t still lodged in her chest, jabbing a little deeper each time she took a breath, Buffy might have wanted to further damn Spike for the raging flood of compassion pouring into her heart.  But the knife was still there, cold steel chilling her insides, whispering of stupid dreams, of wasted time, of not being worthy enough for even a goodbye.  Buffy gasped, feeling her eyes prick with tears, as Spike turned to her again, jaw clenched so tightly he looked like he might shatter if she so much as breathed.


She couldn’t find any traces of the brash, prideful vampire beneath the fallen creature in front of her, and she swayed with sudden dizziness at the sensation of being pulled outside of her body into some weightless, tingly limbo, where all she could see, looking at Spike, was a reflection of herself.



>>To Be Continued in Chapter Six


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