All About Spike

The Hardest Word
By Ariana

Buffy/Spike - [PG] - 09/02/2002
Set straight after "Dead Things" (6.13).Buffy is feeling guilty. Spike doesn't get it.
What Buffy should have said after beating Spike in the alley.

"What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it's all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word"

- Elton John - "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word"

Buffy sat on the cold porch steps and stared up at the black starless sky. She realised she was still wearing her silly Doublemeat Palace hat and pulled it off to wipe her eyes. The one tissue she had was a sodden little ball by now.

The back door creaked open and she could smell him behind her. She had known he was in the house even before she saw the motorbike outside. So she had slipped to the back of the house, waiting for him to go. But he hadn't gone.

Spike leaned on the railing on the other side of the steps.

"I came around to see the bit," he said, his tone neither angry nor affectionate. "I didn't think you'd be back from work so early."

Buffy wiped her nose on the tissue and hazarded a glance in his direction. She looked away immediately.

"Oh God. She saw you like that."

"Didn't you hear?" Spike paused. "Fell down the stairs at Willy's. Can't hold my drink these days."

"Oh my God."

Buffy buried her face in her hands. She tried not to cry, because if she started crying she'd never stop and he would probably try to comfort her. She didn't deserve comfort.

Despite her best efforts, she let out a strangled sob. Her whole body shook as she started to cry, clutching the cold hard banister. How had she fallen so low? She'd been a good guy once, the Chosen One with a sacred mission to hunt evil. But now she was just some girl who worked in a fast food joint and beat her lover to a pulp when she needed to vent her frustrations. Buffy wept with abandon, rubbing her eyes raw on the hard material of her cap.

"I don't know if this'll help, pet," said Spike when her sobs had subsided, "but I can tell you this is a fairytale romance compared to a century with Dru."

"That doesn't h-help," hiccupped Buffy.

There was a pause; she heard the sound of his lighter and then smelled cigarette smoke on the breeze.

"Maybe if you tell me what you're feeling, I can do something," he suggested. "I mean, are you upset because you hurt me, or is it because good guys don't do that kind of thing? Either way, it's okay. No biggie."

"No biggie?" said Buffy with disgust. "You really don't get it. What I did was wrong!"

"I don't think so." Spike shrugged. "You were upset; you wanted to vent. I didn't understand why you were upset, but I've done the venting bit myself sometimes. And on the positive side, you were wanting to feel some emotions. You've obviously been feeling a lot of emotions lately. Mostly negative ones, of course. But maybe you'll work your way around to more positive ones later. I can always hope," he said under his breath.

"I don't feel too positive right now."

Buffy heard him sigh. "You're right. I don't get it. I mean, to feel regret because you weren't able to do something you really meant to do, yes. I understand that. But if you made a conscious decision and it turned out to be the wrong one; well, I don't see how being guilty will help. You wanted to thump me then, and now you wish you hadn't. But you can't undo it by beating yourself up about it."

That didn't make Buffy feel either. She thought back on what she had done and buried her face in her hands again. She suddenly wished he was sitting beside her like he usually did. Like he had done the night she'd discovered her mother was ill.

"Spike." She looked up at him pleadingly, hoping he would take the hint.

He didn't. Or at least, Spike did understand the hint, but didn't sit down beside her. Instead, he looked embarrassed and fiddled with his cigarette.

"I'd love to hold you, baby." He frowned. "But I'm just kind of... having trouble with my... um... Sitting isn't very comfortable..." His voice trailed off.

Buffy felt physically sick; tears welled in her eyes again. God, she thought she'd cried when Angel was in hell. This was just as bad. And she hadn't even done it to save the world. She sniffed and stared at the sodden tissue in her hand, black and beige from the mascara and foundation her tears had wiped off her face.

"You know, I don't think I've ever seen you without makeup," said Spike, leaning over to look at her. "You look nice."

"Nice?" repeated Buffy, avoiding his gaze. "I'm not nice. I'm evil and cruel."

"Well, not inherently, right? Not like me. By nature you're compassionate and good." Out of the corner of her eye, Buffy noticed that Spike winced and rubbed his neck. "Though you do have a selfish streak the size of this house. But I'll make sure to knock you about next time I'm feeling bad about something. Would that make you feel better?"

"I beat you up... just like Glory." Buffy shook her head. "Nothing is going to make me feel better!"

"Evidently. You and the Poof really are made for each other. What bloody chance do I stand? It's a bit difficult to be your soul mate if I have no soul." He threw away his cigarette. "Anyway, I should be off. Only dropped by to see the Bit."

He walked down the steps past her. Buffy felt panic clutch her chest.

"D-don't leave me," she pleaded tremulously.

Spike stopped at the foot of the steps and looked at her, his tumified head cocked slightly to one side.

"I'm not going anywhere, love. Just back to my crypt as usual."

He turned and walked away. Buffy watched him, tears filling her eyes again. She stood up.

"Spike," she called after him. "I'm sorry."

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