Part Four: Day and Night
She glanced at Giles, and then away, curiously relieved. Dawn in a bad mood was normal, and this was good. Or maybe bad.What was normal for a teenage girl who didn’t technically exist; whose sister was a vampire slayer, and who had as friends demons and vampires?Was there a self-help book for that? Maybe the more important question was how did anyone react to two funerals in one year?And this of course had followed Joyce’s the previous year.Who knew how to deal with all that? In Buffy’s case, the deaths that had hit her hardest had been her own.
Giles turned into the driveway and turned off the engine. He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “I don’t know about you, Buffy, Dawn, but I’m really not in the mood to cook.”
“Me either.” Dawn said quietly. She’s talking, Buffy thought. More than I expected. “Could we just get something takeout? I don’t want to go to a restaurant.” She looked from Giles to Buffy, and shrank somewhat. “Unless you guys do.”
“Oh, no,” Buffy said. “I just want to eat in my jammies.”
“Perhaps we could compromise on that,” Giles said dryly. “I’d prefer not…”
“Yes, Giles, we know.” Buffy said. “You just don’t want to settle one of the big questions of my youth:Do Watchers wear pyjamas with little W’s all over them?”
This got her both a look from Giles and a smile from Dawn, so that had to be the best moment of the day. “C’mon, Dawn,” She said, climbing out of the car.
Dawn smiled again.”You—you rhymed!”
“I have all sorts of talents,” Buffy said expansively. “Including making sure Giles gets the maximum amount of cholesterol possible.”
“Yes, I know.”She saw he was wearing one of his pained looks. Where once his irritation had, well, irritated her, now it comforted her, because it was so normal. “Let’s all harden our arteries, shall we?” He imitated her California accent, and she had to smile again. With that, he pulled away, and she had to face the house.
When Willow had been sent off, Buffy had reclaimed her mother’s room. It struck her that she should have done this from the beginning, asserted her rightful place in her own house, but after Tara’s death, it somehow seemed necessary. Dawn hadn’t wanted to switch rooms, so she had moved Joyce’s bed into her old room, and there Giles slept, looking up at the ceiling. She wondered if it kept him awake as often as it had her. She wondered if he thought of her mother. She wondered what memories arose out of the dark as he slept under blankets that still, no matter how often washed, had the faintest scent of Joyce’s perfume.
She unlocked the door and stepped quietly inside, tossing the keys on the table, not looking at the couch. Dawn touched her arm.
“We could all sleep downstairs tonight, you know.” She said hopefully. “Like a slumber party.”
“Maybe.” Buffy said. The truth was, she didn’t want to disappoint Dawn by refusing outright, but she wanted to be alone. Today, she desperately wanted to close a door between herself and other people, just to remember, and it didn’t look like it was possible. “There’s always the possibility of Giles ‘jamas.”
Dawn was hanging up her coat and her voice was muffled. “Now that’s scary.”
“I’m not sure.” Dawn said thoughtfully. She flopped down on the couch in a way that made the springs sproing painfully.Maybe, with luck, if she did it often enough, the couch would break, and Buffy could douse it with gasoline and set fire to it in the backyard. Maybe that would get rid of the memory of her mother..
“Well, you know, Giles and the whole pyjama thing. And saying ‘jama’?” She said skeptically. “Now I just picture him in those surfer shorts things.”
Buffy did her part to wreck the couch by flopping down beside Dawn. “Giles in jams and a Hawaiian shirt.”
That did it for her subconscious, which abruptly presented her with a mental image of Spike, soon after being chipped, wearing shorts and an old shirt of Xander’s. “Great,” she muttered. Dawn looked at her curiously. “I’m going to go change. You too?”
“Yeah, good idea.” Dawn gestured down at her nice, unusually serious outfit. “Want to get comfortable again.”
Don’t we all? Buffy thought.
In her room, in her new room, she flopped down on the bed and stretched. Hours and hours in the car, the itchy serious dress, the pantyhose…and then the funeral. Ah yes, the uneral. Tara’s family, glaring with red eyes across the grave, as some inbred-looking minister from some off-brand religion mumbled on and on about sin and redemption. She heard the word ‘lesbian’ several times behind her, but didn’t bother to glare. Tara deserved better. She noticed the smarmy cousin was wearing dark glasses, and as she walked past her after the service, a sideways glance confirmed her suspicions; both of the girl’s eyes had been blacked. Is that why they’re mad? She wondered. It’s only okay if one of them does it to one of them? Keeping it in the family?
Her mind, which lately seemed to do nothing but betray her, then presented her with Spike. For days now, her rebellious brain had been confronting her with Spike at the most inopportune moments, and in the most unpleasant ways. So in the car after the service, she had found herself in the alley beside the police station, seeing Spike’s face as it changed under her fists, becoming something worse than Glory had made it. He trusted me.
Spike’s face over her, so different from the face she was used to, twisted, empty, almost unrecognizable.
“I can’t trust you.”
And then realizing, too late, that she had trusted him.
Worse yet were the dreams. Never of the bathroom; not once did her brain conjure up that particular horror. No, her brain was more insidious. When she slept, she found herself with him yet again, naked and defenseless, back when the person needing the defending had been him. The dreams were so vivid that once, as she reluctantly swam back from the depths of sleep, she had a mild orgasm that jolted her awake.
The dreams were why she’d started sleeping on the couch where her mother had died, hoping that that would end them. No such luck. Instead, she’d found her treacherous subconscious replaying the odd moments with Joyce and Spike, relishing the odd innocence of those days.
It hurt more than anything to close her eyes and find herself beneath him, able to indulge in things she hadn’t dared linger over before. The way his stomach muscles rippled as he thrust inside her; the way her head fit into his shoulder as he came; the way he stared into her eyes afterward, stroking her hair with one finger. He always looked her in the eye, and she always tried to look away. The feel of his skin, the arch of his back, the way they both stiffened as he thrust inside her for the first time. His arms beneath her fingers, the muscles there moving like quicksilver as he moved over her, under her, in her….She groaned aloud. Oh, God, the things she’d said to him, the things she’d whispered, overwhelmed at it all, the things he must have wanted to believe. But it had been so important to retreat, to save herself.
He was evil. She’d believed that. It was dangerous…
There’d been a night where nothing had gone wrong, where she’d had a nice day before coming to him. Usually she’d only gone to him when something had gone wrong, but that time…she had been in a good mood, and her feet had turned in toward him. She’d come to his crypt and they’d actually kept their clothes on for a while, nestled together on his bed, chatting in whispers that turned to murmurs, and then to thoughtful silence. She’d never noticed the sound of kisses before, the sound of lips meeting and parting, mouths ravenous and hungry.It had been so vivid, so much more so than normal. And then…
She’d once had nightmares about Angel making love to her, vamping out at orgasm the way he’d done when he’d kissed her for the first time.What had scared her that particular day was not Spike vamping out at an uncontrollable moment, but …
It had started slow, as their voices faded away, and he stroked her hair with one gentle finger. Sex, she’d thought, as his face got that soft look. Just sex. But something about him had made her want to put her arms around him and cover him entirely, shield him from something she couldn’t name. She couldn’t even define the feeling, hadn’t known where it came from. Like everything to do with Spike, it had confused her terribly, even while she was urgently shoving his clothes away. It had been so hard to look in his eyes, because he never looked away from her, studying her like an artifact as if he had to preserve her face somehow. It was so….different. She’d always thought that making love had to be roses, candles, and stuff like that. According to Harlequin, there would then be lots of tender, gentle foreplay, to be followed by lots of nice friction and orgasm.Not like this. No roses, not what she’d call romance, except the way he kissed her. He had only to touch her to arouse her, and she was the one who’d hurry to get him inside her, to push away obstructions so she could see him, feel him. Sex, or, rather, making love, in her experience had been a nice thing, but this…This…This was furious and hard. When they had sex, well, it was sex. Plain and simple. That was all. She wouldn’t go far as to call it just fucking, but she had no words to sum it up, the way he made her feel, except maybe confused.
Usually it had been urgent and breathless, as arousal rolled through her veins and made her heart gallop. Usually, there’d have been ripping aside of clothes, and then, there was always a moment where she had to stop and look at him, at how beautiful he was. Riley had always insisted on covering himself with a sheet before and after, but Spike thought nothing of walking around naked casually, probably because he knew what it did to her.
That time was slow, something resembling her schoolgirl perception, and she’d thought, oh. And then… Oh, no. Slow and soft, long, lingering kisses that made her weak and strong at the same time, opening her legs for his fingers and then his tongue, shivering, eager. She’d clutched at him with shaking hands, not even able to breathe, looking down her own body and seeing him between her legs, her hands fisted tightly in his hair. After she came, and pulled him up her body to her mouth, she could taste herself on him, and it had been scarily arousing. She had reached between them, finding his cock, watching herself do it, pulling him toward her, watching as he positioned himself and thrust inside her for the first time, freezing as if in pain.
Not making love, just sex. It could only be sex when it had made her lock her legs around him and claw at his back, made her watch the way he thrust inside her, made her move with him until they were one thing, and cry out in time to his movements. It had only been sex, except for the way he had looked at her, except for the way he had kissed her, and held her with desperate hands, clutching her tightly, his forehead pressing against hers. It had only been sex, except for the way he kissed her when she came, lingering at her lips, then sliding inside her as far as he could and then further, setting off another aftershock. It had to have been just sex, because it couldn’t be a relationship. Relationship sex was nice, not like this. She had been afraid it would burn her up, and the idea that it had been just sex had been perversely comforting. They were just having sex, albeit, make-your-legs-weak-sex, but still sex. That was it, that was all. Therefore, they were not making love, and it was not a relationship.
It had only been sex, except that when he came, when he stiffened and froze over her, he looked like an angel and not a vampire, chest heaving with panting breaths as it began to hit him, and then….
He’d pulled out of her.He pulled out of her, as if afraid to come inside her, something only humans had to worry about, along with pregnancy and other consequences of sex, like love. He came on her stomach, so addled by orgasm that he forgot everything, including the fact that he wasn’t a man any longer. The ecstasy on his face had twisted into confusion as his brain cleared. And she’d watched him, pulling him down to kiss her again, frightened of things that scared no one but her.
When they had had sex, he was making love, and she was having sex. He turned into someone else, then, a young man, barely out of boyhood, lacking any finesse at all, and having only passion. He gave her everything he had, and that included a glimpse at the man he might have become, had he lived long enough to grow up.
Dawn lingered outside her door, her shadow falling over Buffy’s bed, before knocking. “Hey.”
“Oh, these? I save these for extra special occasions.”
“I’m a special occasion?” Dawn sat down tentatively next to her. Buffy craned her head. “I’m honored.”
“You’re always a special occasion.”
“Okay, not that’s laying it on a little heavy.”
“Sorry, just light headed from lack of hunger.”
“Which will be rectified shortly. Which still leaves the pajama question.”
“Well, I’m definitely pro-pajama.”
“A good thing. So does that mean you’ll be demonstrating your support for pajamas by choosing some?”
“Well, there are so many worthy candidates…” Buffy said, then had to give it up. She smiled up at the ceiling. “When in doubt, I go with a classic…” She got up and rummaged in her top drawer, pulling out a pair of plaid flannel pajamas. “What do you think?”
“A good, conservative choice.” Dawn said gravely. “Suitable for many occasions.”
Buffy looked at her and she looked soberly back. “How are you doing, Dawn?”
Dawn gave a huge, explosive sigh that seemed to inflate her whole body and then deflate it. “Don’t know yet.” She looked down, then back at Buffy. “You?”
Buffy grimaced wryly. “Don’t know yet, either.”
Continued in Part Five: Buffy and Anya