By Valerie X
His mind always skipped the details. It was the details that tripped him up, that destroyed the entire fantasy. He couldn’t pretend that they were humans lying in a bed in a two-story house with a motion detector light over the garage, and he couldn’t pretend that they were vampires lying on the moist grass of a cemetery, drunk on blood and plotting their next kill . But it didn’t matter either way. Good or evil didn’t make that much of a difference to him; it never had.
So when she collapsed on top of him, he closed his eyes and pretended simply that they were normal, and that, in a moment, she wouldn’t be leaving.
It took Buffy’s brain a few minutes to be able to form coherent thoughts, as it always did after sex with him, but once she was lucid again, the thoughts came quickly. First, that she felt like a total slut for doing this right after he’d bought her groceries. Second, that it was really all his fault for taking off his jacket and having those arms. Third, that she was lying completely on top of him, with his hands at the small of her back, and her face against that delicious curve of his neck, and that in about five seconds, this would officially become a hug. And fourth, that she didn’t want to move.
I could be asleep, she thought. If I’m asleep, then it’s not a hug, it’s just an unconscious body that accidentally wrapped around another body, and that’s way less creepy then a hug.
She willed her breath to slow.
“Yeah?” Dammit. “I mean no. I mean, I’m asleep.”
His stomach shook slightly with a silent laugh. She decided that if he did something stupid like kiss her forehead, she would go completely insane and kill them both.
But maybe being awake was for the best. The milk would go bad if she didn’t get it home soon. And Dawn would freak if she woke up and the house was empty. And she had to get some sleep before tomorrow afternoon, when she had to work.
And also, she had to tell him something.
It had been a nagging feeling in her stomach for a while, and throughout their shopping trip she’d been forcing it to the back of her mind involuntarily. But it was too quiet now, and too dark, and some last vestige of rational thought told her that if she didn’t move, if she didn’t get up and run out the door, then she had to say it.
She could sense the change in his facial expression without even raising her head. Maybe because he had about a thousand and one facial expressions, and at some point she must’ve memorized and cataloged them all. It was strange, because when he was all vamped-out, he just had the one expression - kill. But in his human semblance, the language seemed endless. It was funny, since she’d learned at some point in her jumbled slayer training that the vampface was the true face, and the human one the façade. Still, Spike as a demon looked like a caricature, while his other appearance seemed real.
The unseen expression he was wearing now was the one that could most fool her into thinking he was human. It was where he raised his eyebrows just slightly and opened his eyes a bit wider than usual, indicating that he thought she was about to say something, perhaps something not wounding or sarcastic for once, and that he was listening.
He better listen good, she thought. Because this is gonna be hard.
“”I...” she began again. “I want you to know that.....” Dammit.
“This spirit guide once told me that I was full of love. Which made me think that the spirit guide was full of crap, because really, when you think about it, I haven’t loved a lot of people.
“I never said it to Riley. A year together, with all we meant to each other, and I never said it. With Angel, it was different. I was all ‘love, love, love’ with him. But now I feel like I never even knew him.
“And then, when my mom died, I kept trying to remember the last time I told her I loved her. I’m sure I said it at some point, probably a bunch of times, but I can’t remember even a single instance, something where I could say, Yeah, that one time, after the Glablawhatever demon came to town, I was wearing that cute white shirt and I said, ‘I love you, mom.’
“Now, with Dawn, I try to say it a lot. But when I do, she looks at me like she doesn’t believe it. And why should she? It’s like a task to me. Like, do laundry, clean the stove, tell Dawn you love her. I have to remind myself. And it’s not supposed to be that way.
“Something’s wrong with me. Not just because I came back from the dead and I’m all depresso-girl and you can hit me. Something was wrong with me a long time ago.
“But not with you.
“I don’t mean that there’s nothing wrong with you. Because if I had the time, I could write a book titled ‘What’s Wrong with Spike, Volume One: A through F’. I mean, everything that’s bad, with us, it isn’t just because of you. Or even mostly because of you.
“I was over the whole vampire prejudice a long time ago, before I ever touched you. And as much as I might say it, the being-evil thing hasn’t been an issue for a while. Kitten-eating aside, you know you’re not evil.
“So I just wanted you to know.....”
Underground, time could stop. Light couldn’t reach here, so they had no way of knowing whether or not daytime had arrived. Even the air was different in the lower level of his crypt. Without windows, it was stale with memories, and completely still, like the bodies of two people trying not to feel each other even as they lay connected at every corner of their flesh.
“If I was capable of it... If I wasn’t so massively screwed-up.....” She pressed her lips together and drew in a long breath through her nose, taking in the scent of his neck. “If I was a different person, I could love you.”
She waited for the facial expression and accompanying comment. It would either be the nasty-smirk “Hit the nail on the head there with the massively screwed-up part, love.”, or the clenched-jaw-glare “Why don’t you go then; just get out of here.”, or the puppy-dog “But you can love me.” The first two were standard, expected. The last one would bring about a wave of pain that could drown her. She realized that she was holding her breath, waiting to see whether she would need to run away or fall to pieces, or, more likely, both.
“And if you were a different person, I wouldn’t love you,” he said finally. His arms moved from her lower back to encircle her, one cool hand resting on each of her shoulder blades, and he leaned his face against the top of her head, his mouth brushing against her hair and, oddly enough, not inspiring thoughts of murder-suicide. “So if nothing else, we can at least appreciate the irony.”
Her breaths were shallow, and to anyone watching, they would’ve looked like corpses, piled on top of each other in the depths of the cemetery.
She closed her eyes, and pretended to be sleeping.
Continued in Part Six