All That You Leave Behind
By Devil Piglet
Disclaimer: All characters of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ are used without permission.
Author’s Notes: This story was written in response to a challenge. I really can't stress that strongly enough. I was pretty intimidated by the pairing, and I'm still undecided about the fic as a whole. But wesleysgirl, for whom I wrote it, says it's okay. And I guess that's all the matters.
Feedback: Reviews are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insistent knocking on the crypt door, a hollow and lonely sound. Spike didn’t move. One of them, surely, come to castigate him or wheedle his help with something or simply stare crudely at the aberrant sight of a grieving vampire.
The door creaked open and Spike retreated further into his corner, refusing to open his eyes.
Giles’ disapproving voice echoed through the chamber. Spike smirked faintly, lifted his bottle of Jim Beam in salute. “Shouldn’t you be comforting the kiddies? Patting their heads and telling them she’s in a better place?”
Heavy footsteps came closer. He was standing before Spike now; Spike could smell the trace of aftershave and the saline of tears.
“They’re at the hospital, with Dawn.” Where you should be.
“No point in me hanging about, once she got settled. Made sure she was taken care of, didn’t I? That doctor knows he’s not to –“
“Yes, you made quite an impression on the attending physician,” Giles answered drily. “And as unwelcome as your presence may be at Sunnydale Memorial, Dawn has been asking for you.”
A short, rasping laugh. “Scoobies must be thrilled.”
“You are hardly their main concern right now. Clean yourself up and join us at the hospital. It’s been three days, Spike.”
Spike finally opened his eyes. “Fuck you. And fuck them.”
“We’ve been properly fucked already, wouldn’t you agree? Buffy is –“
Spike shot up, was suddenly standing inches from the Watcher. “Don’t – just don’t say it. Not yet.”
Surprisingly, Giles’ expression gentled. “All right, then. But Spike, you cannot stay here. You’re injured and you haven’t fed since we first left Sunnydale.”
In response Giles rolled up his shirtsleeve, exposing one capable arm with a light dusting of amber hair. Spike stared, transfixed, then jerked back. His gaze rose to Giles’ face. The other man met his obvious disbelief with equanimity.
They remained like that for long minutes, until Spike finally looked away. “Don’t need yours. Can get the bagged stuff at the hospital.”
Giles nodded. “You may as well take some of your things, as well. You’ll be staying with me until I’m confident you can care for yourself.”
Spike bristled. “Not your charity case, Rupert, and I’ve got quite enough memories of your bathtub already.”
“Do stop being an ass. We need to be assured that you’re available for the work that surely lies ahead of us. Without a Slayer –“ Giles ignored Spike’s wince – “Sunnydale will be overrun with predators of every kind. We cannot afford to lose another warrior.”
More silence. Then Spike turned and slowly gathered a few possessions into a battered duffel.
He moves like an old man, Giles thought.
Hours later they settled into Giles’ bachelor apartment, musty from its recent lack of use. Spike headed straight to the liquor cabinet with no preamble, and if he expected protest from Giles there was none forthcoming.
Giles tossed Spike’s bag next to the couch for now and sank into the chair opposite. Spike returned to the room with the MacAllan scotch Giles had been saving for months. No bother with glasses; he simply took a long swig and handed the bottle to Giles. Giles considered it, and the vampire, for a moment. Then he drank.
They sat for a while in silence that was strangely companionable in its bereavement. There was no pressure here to reassure; no tentative youthful questions about where she was or…or if she was suffering.
Spike had wept his tears of rage and self-hatred and desperate desire back at the crypt; he was wrung dry and empty now. But Giles had remained stoic – for the children, as Spike had contemptuously referred to them – and now that he was home, alone save for a frigid-eyed vampire, he could feel the weight of the evening settle on him. The world without Buffy was now a reality and the certitude of it nearly toppled him.
He wept as a father for his daughter, great choking sobs of pure, consuming, frustrated love because she was dead and he ached with the words he’d not spoken when she was alive.
He waited dimly for mockery from Spike, or disgust, or studious refusal to acknowledge Giles’ so very uncharacteristic collapse. He was not prepared to be held.
Spike knelt before him, gently took the bottle from his hands. He enfolded Giles in his arms as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and Giles recalled how Spike had cradled Dawn back at the hospital as she cried and beat little fists against his chest ineffectually.
Giles fell to the floor and Spike went with him as Giles cursed Glory and Ben and himself, for failing. Spike was weeping too, now; quiet tears that slipped down Giles’ skin and the telltale hitch of Spike’s emotion-fueled breathing.
Later – minutes? hours? – Spike helped him to bed, lay him down on unused sheets and stood at the door until the sobbing reluctantly, inevitably subsided into the regular breathing of slumber.
And so it went. The others had no idea; when the time came to patrol Spike and Giles were once again distant and remote, exchanging nothing but cold words and occasional barked orders. Giles continued to research and Spike provided the soundtrack to his evenings: a feral shout, the unmistakeable sound of tearing flesh and the thud of another body hitting Sunnydale’s blood-soaked soil.
Despite all that determined violence, it was often Spike who succumbed to despair. One memorable evening the vampire, in the midst of stoking the embers in the fireplace, had simply sunk to his knees and buried his head in his hands. Giles crouched beside him, rocked this desperate creature in his arms until Spike wrestled away and stalked off to the next room.
Some nights were better than others. They could stave off her memory for hours if they were really lucky, and retire to bed nicely pickled to dream their separate dreams of redemption. For Spike, though, the dreams easily turned to nightmares.
Tonight Giles had stumbled into the lounge where Spike had passed out on the couch. The vampire writhed there now, tangled up in sheets and begging forgiveness from a dead girl. Blearily Giles grabbed him, braced his forearms and held him down while Spike thrashed and moaned.
“Steady, steady,” Giles was saying. Spike froze, blinked up at him and then fell back against the pillow. Giles continued to grip him while he watched Spike’s throat work in the blue light of the television. Tremors wracked his frame, shaking Giles as well in their intensity.
And suddenly Giles felt something else. Spike’s hardness, pressed against his stomach.
They were both shocked into stillness, waiting for the other to flee. But then Giles let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, and Spike shifted forward. This time his body met an answering hardness.
“Do you want it?” Giles heard the catch in Spike’s voice, the fear of rejection.
And God, yes, Giles wanted it. Wanted to lose himself in another’s flesh, someone who knew the deadness of his heart and understood it and did not demand what Giles could not give. And he wanted to give this to Spike; Spike who had been bereft for so long. Giles thrust.
Spike grunted, fastened his hands on Giles’ hips. They moved in rough unison, and Giles dropped his head until it brushed Spike’s hair. He thought he might come from this alone, a desperate dry hump on his living room couch. That wasn’t what he wanted. This might not be love, and it might not be forever, but it was good and Giles was going to savor it. This wasn’t going to be some half-arsed five minute shag that he’d feel dirty about afterwards.
“Strip off,” Spike muttered. “Want to see you.” And Giles did. Spike’s long fingers tangled in the hair at his chest, then drifted downward when Giles had finally shucked his pants. No delicate, experimental fluttering of hands here – Spike was a guy, knew how to push and pull until release was seconds away.
Giles’ harsh panting filled the room. He lifted Spike’s t-shirt over his head, ran his hands over the lean flesh that was revealed. Spike groaned his appreciation, moving into the touch. Giles belatedly realized that Dawn had likely been the only person to show Spike physical affection in a very long time. So he lowered his whole torso and enveloped the other man in warm, living humanity and Spike rose up to meet him.
Spike had fallen asleep in his jeans. Giles worked the buckle until they slipped down Spike’s too-slender hips and then there was Spike’s cock – bursting with life even while Spike was not. It jutted forward, red and pulsing. Before Giles had time to consider he took it in his hand, cupped Spike’s balls with the other.
“Yes, yes, yes…” Spike fucked his hand and it was wonderful but not enough. Spike wriggled away and brought Giles up from his crouch. He settled the other man over his chest until Giles’ own cock dangled above him.
“Let me…” Spike pleaded and Giles guided himself into Spike’s eager mouth. And oh, it was right. And if there was grief and gratitude mixed in with the lust, they both knew and welcomed it. No shame, just fleeting pleasure. He brought his hands up to guide Spike’s head, but carefully. Tenderly.
“Spike – damn it, Spike!” He was an expert at this, no doubt, and Giles felt the orgasm approach like a freight train. Spike’s fingers tightened around his hips, right at the curve of his ass and then Giles was coming, jagged hard spurts into Spike who just pulled him closer.
Giles shuddered in the aftermath and it took him long moments to become aware of Spike’s cock, straining beneath him. He moved downward to return the favor but Spike stopped him.
“Just your hand,” Spike told him unevenly. “Want – want you to hold me while you bring me off.”
And strangely, Giles understood. He turned until his back was against the arm of the couch and Spike sat before him. Spike was shorter than Giles, and smaller, and Giles knew that he loved the feeling of being wrapped up in the other man’s blood-heated body.
He tipped Spike’s head back until it rested on his chest, and then began working Spike in earnest. He murmured encouragement in his ear, nudged his own hardening cock against Spike’s buttocks.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck…!”
When Spike came it was almost as good as if Giles had himself, because he could see that something had loosened inside Spike, uncoiled and healed. As Spike slumped back and Giles ran his hands through his hair, it came to him: this had been an act of deliverance.