All About Spike

Chapter: Prologue  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24

Love is Blind
By Avalon

Part 19


 "I have thee not and yet I see thee still"
 -- William Shakespeare




ONE WEEK LATER:

'You know you wanna dance.'

Buffy woke from the dream, sitting bolt upright in bed, her heart pounding and her body drenched with sweat.  Then she closed her eyes tightly, resting her head on her knees while she waited for the shaking to subside.

Not again.  This was the -- what?  Fourth?  Fifth time this week?  Every night it seemed, as soon as she closed her eyes -- Spike invaded her dreams.  Talking to her.  Taunting her.  Fighting with her.  Holding her and... and...well, let's just say the dreams gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "impaled on a Spike".  Buffy found herself blushing at the thought of what she and the vampire had done again and again.

And again.

'You know you wanna dance.'

'That's it,' Buffy thought angrily, flinging the covers back and standing up.  'Get the hell out of my head!'  Sure, Spike had saved her life and her sight, but that didn't mean he could take up lodging in her subconscious mind and...and proceed to drive her crazy.

But what if they were somehow prophetic dreams?  What if...?

No.  No, they weren't.  It was only because Riley was gone that she was even...

Riley.

Buffy sighed as she padded to the bathroom, barefoot, feeling the familiar pang go through her.  Riley was gone.  He had left, shortly after she had returned from the Trial.  She didn't even know where he was -- some jungle somewhere, fighting demons.  Or something.

It hurt.  But not as much as she thought it would.  She certainly didn't feel as devastated as she had when Angel had left.  So did that mean that she had never really loved Riley?  Or that she hadn't loved him enough?

Probably, the Slayer decided unhappily as she stared at her reflection in the mirror.  What was it about her anyway?  Why wasn't a normal, kind, everyday guy like Riley enough for her?  Why was she always attracted to the monsters, the demons, the 'bad boys'?  Was it because she was the Slayer?  Or was it something else altogether?

Hesitantly Buffy raised one hand, lifting her hair away from her neck.  The bite was almost completely healed now, along with the gashes down her left arm.  But both had left scars -- the physical and the mental kind.  The Slayer leaned a little closer to the mirror, staring pensively at the mark on her neck.  Whether by accident or design, Spike had somehow bitten her directly over top of Angel's scar, obscuring the older one completely.  'Was that supposed to be symbolic?' she wondered gloomily.  Had he done it on purpose?

'You know you wanna dance.'

It was true, Buffy thought with a sinking heart.  She did.  But not in the way Spike had meant it, that night in the alley.  Or...maybe it was the way he had intended all along.  Looking back, she realized that there had been  undercurrents swirling between them that night, things she wasn't aware of, didn't recognize, couldn't understand...  She still didn't know what all of them meant, but she knew one thing for certain.

She wanted him.

Hastily Buffy released her hair and stepped back, reaching for the toothbrush instead.  It didn't matter, she thought determinedly, squeezing some toothpaste onto it.  Just because you want something doesn't always mean you should go out and take it.  She had learned that much, at least, from Faith.

On the plus side, though, her mom's operation had been a success.  The relief was so strong she could almost taste it.  And, strangely enough, Buffy had found herself wanting to go tell Spike, of all people, once it was over.

Not that she could have, even if she had given into the temptation.  The vampire, who had previously been underfoot constantly it seemed, was nowhere to be found.  She had actually gone to his crypt, the night after her return, to make sure he was all right, even though Giles had assured her that he was fine (and speaking of undercurrents, that conversation with her Watcher had been majorly weird).  Spike hadn't been there though.  In fact, she hadn't seen hide nor leather duster of him since that night.  In fact, if she didn't know better she would say he was avoiding her.

With another sigh, Buffy put the toothbrush back and headed back to her bedroom.  Sometimes it felt like she was the modern-day equivalent of Typhoid Mary.  Buffy Summers - scourge of vampires...and boyfriends.  Feeling more than a little dejected, she closed her door and began to dress.


 *     *     *


'You know you wanna dance.'

With his own words ringing in his ears, Spike awoke with a start...from yet another x-rated dream involving the Slayer.  With a groan he rolled over on the tomb, wondering if he could get the images out of his head if he banged it hard enough against the wall.  It wasn't fair.  Not only was she haunting his nights, but now he couldn't even get her out of his mind during the day.  She was everywhere.  Dru had been right.

He had tried avoiding her.  Her and her sodding Watcher.  No more following her around like some bloody housepet, he had told himself, no more larcenous trips to her house to paw through her clothes.  No.  Time to have a little dignity.  Let her come to him for a change.  If she wanted to see him, she knew where he was.

Except...when she had come, he had ran away and hid.  OK, he hadn't really ran away -- just walked rapidly in the opposite direction, skulking back furtively only after she had gone.  And he knew why, too.

It was fear.  Not the old, adrenaline-filled rush that the Slayer might kill him, if he didn't get her first.  No, this fear was much, much worse.  It was the feeling that he wouldn't be able to hide his emotions from her any longer if she came face to face with him.  That she would see what he was feeling in his eyes...and she would laugh at him.

"Bugger!"  Spike lashed out with one fist at the marble tomb, succeeding only in making his knuckles bleed.  He licked half-heartedly at them then sat up, holding his head between both hands.  What was he supposed to do now?


 *     *     *


*Whump*

Buffy blinked, staring down at the book as it thumped onto the table in front of her, then looked back up at Giles.  "And this would be...?"

The Watcher sat down across from her, the pleased expression of a paleontologist who has just found the world's biggest fossil, on his face.  "Information about the Trial."

Buffy's gaze sharpened.  After almost a week of searching she had pretty much given up hope that they would find anything at all.  None of Giles' books had contained even a syllable about the Trial, and it had taken some creative interlibrary loanage with just a touch of blackmail, from what she could gather, to get hold of this one -- which might or might not contain the information they were seeking.

"And?"  She stared at him expectantly.

"And...well, I think you should read it."

She stared at the book doubtfully, then flipped it open.  "Hello -- Latin.  Unlike you, Giles, my knowledge of Latin begins and ends with Antonio Banderas."

"Oh.  Sorry.  I meant this."  He quickly handed her a sheaf of papers.

"And...to repeat myself...this would be?"

"The English translation."

It was dauntingly thick.  Buffy shot him a winning look.  "Couldn't you just tell me the Slayer-friendly, Cliff Note's version?"

"Ah...I rather think you'll want to read this yourself."

Buffy frowned.  "Giles," she said slowly, "what aren't you telling me?"  Silence.  "Come on.  You've been acting wiggy ever since I came back.  What's going on?"

He turned away to fiddle with some books.  "Ah...I..."

"Giles!"

"All right."  With that he turned back and met her gaze.  "Buffy -- what are your feelings for Spike?"

Her jaw dropped open.  Whatever she had been expecting -- it wasn't that.  And...what were her feelings for Spike anyway?  Lust.  Need.  Dislike.  Desire.  Passion.  And a dozen more that she couldn't even put a name to.  And none of which she could tell her Watcher.

She swallowed hard.  "Um...why?"

He nodded at the papers.  "Just read those."


 *     *     *


Buffy leaned back on her bed, letting the last page fall to the floor as she rubbed her left arm absently.  It had healed a little slower than usual, she had found, and was still somewhat sore despite the careful exercises that Giles had designed to strengthen it.  And then there were the scars...  Buffy turned her forearm slightly.  The gashes from demon's claws had turned to three long lines, white against the darker colour of her skin, running down the full length of her arm.  A reminder of what had happened.

As if she could ever forget.  Buffy tilted her head back, closing her eyes as she sifted through her memories of that night.  Fear.  Sadness.  Determination.  Pain and blood.  And then Spike.  Always there, never leaving her.  He had saved her.  From the demon, from herself...  But why?  That was the one question he had never really answered.  Why had he done it?  What possible reason could a vampire have for saving the Slayer?

And...how much did he have to give up to do it?

Buffy leaned over and picked up the last page again, staring down at it blindly.  Most of the text had been pretty boring, she had found.  Guesswork mainly.  Various scholars' attempts to record what they thought the Trial was, speculation as to its true purpose.  But nothing useful.  Except for the last page.

It was a relatively straightforward account of one champion who had failed.  Actually, most of them had failed, from what she could tell (the author wasn't really big on details, despite his or her apparent ardour for footnotes).  But this story was different -- this one said why the champion had failed.

Because he had not made the ultimate sacrifice.

Which, by extension, meant that Spike had.  Made the ultimate sacrifice.  For her.

Which, again, brought her right back to the why.  And the what.

The Slayer scowled, rubbing her forehead with one hand.  This whole thing was giving her a headache.  First there was Spike haunting her every moment, waking and sleeping, pervading her dreams so that she woke up each morning feeling as if she had had no sleep at all.  And now this.  Why did things have to be so complicated?  Why couldn't she just put it all behind her?

Because...because he had made an ultimate sacrifice for her.  And because he had kissed her.

And she had kissed him back.

So -- what were her choices really?  She could go on as she was, letting this slowly drive her insane.  Or she could do something about it.

Which was no choice at all.  And she had always preferred action over the alternative.

'You know you wanna dance.'

Resolutely now, Buffy got up, pulled on her coat, tucked a pair of stakes into her pockets, then headed for the doorway.  Once there, she paused briefly, as if debating the wisdom of what she was about to do...then she opened it and headed out.



Continued in Part 20

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