8 Little Words
Summary: The missing basement scene from "Chosen."
Disclaimer: Did I mention I own nothing?
Author's note: I couldn't let Spike die believing
himself unloved, so this is the story of how "No, you
don't. But thanks for saying it" means Spike knows he
was loved. Hope really does spring eternal.
They stared at one another for a moment in silence.
"Whatcha thinkin' about?" Spike asked.
"Oh, you know," Buffy answered, crossing the room to
him. "Big scary evil, big scary vamps, big scary
magick. The usual. You?"
"I'm thinking I have nothing that goes with this
little bauble." Spike fingered the amulet.
"I was just saying the same thing to--. Ahh, never
mind," she amended hastily as his eyes narrowed.
"Trading fashion tips with Peaches, were you?" He
He really needed to. "I thought we were done with
this," she said, hands on hips in a posture of
"Yeah, we are." He sighed. "Sorry. Old habits dying
hard and all that." He took a moment to study her
face, saw the exhaustion in her eyes. "Why don't you
try to get some sleep?"
"I can stay here? I wanna be with you." Buffy took a
step closer to him.
"Holding you all night while New Age music swells in
the background? I can think of worse things." He
paused and touched her cheek tenderly. "Strike that. I
actually can't think of anything better."
Buffy placed her hand over his, tilted her head into
his hand, and closed her eyes. "I had a slightly
Spike took a step backwards, startled, and she opened
her eyes. "Spike? Are you okay?"
"I don't think that would be such a good idea, pet,"
he said quietly.
"You don't want to be with me?" she asked.
He just stared at her. Had the woman gone completely
sack of hammers? She could think that he didn't want
"So you do want to be with me," Buffy filled in. He
studied his cariacture of Angel across the room. A
good likeness, that, he thought absently. Anything to
keep himself from looking at her.
"Spike, look at me."
When he couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes, she
lifted his chin and forced the issue. "Look at me.
It's okay. To let yourself be with me, I mean."
Oh, God. Not *those* words. He's said almost the same
exact words a lifetime ago, upstairs, when he'd....
Spike felt sick.
Buffy's brow was furrowed as she watched the emotions
play over his face. Then she inhaled sharply. She was
Spike sank to his knees in front of her. "I'm sorry,"
he said brokenly.
"Shhh," Buffy whispered, dropping to her knees as
well. She took him in her arms and guided his head to
her shoulder. "I'm sorry, too."
He pulled away from her. "That was *not* your fault,"
Spike stated thickly. "I'm not gonna have you feel
responsible for that."
"And I'm not gonna have you feel responsible for it,
either," she shot back heatedly. "The people we were
then, they don't exist anymore. That doesn't excuse
what happened, or make it okay, but it means we stop
beating ourselves up over it." Her grip on him
tightened. "You said you love how I try? I love how
*you* try." His eyes widened, and he tilted his head
to one side as he watched her. "You left because you
thought you were someone that I couldn't trust? Well,
I trust the man you are now." Her voice softened. "Do
you hear me? I trust you."
"I don't have the right to ask for your forgiveness,"
Spike started, but she cut him off.
"You already have it," Buffy finished. She took his
face in her hands and repeated gently, "You already
have it." She studied his eyes and, satisfied by what
she saw there, said, "I'm going to kiss you now, if
"Yeah, that's all right," he answered faintly, every
nerve exploding as she leaned in and pressed her lips
to his. All right? Bloody perfect.
It felt...different. Every touch, every look, every
sigh. They weren't the athletes or the contortionists
they'd been last year, but for the first time, they
weren't alone. And it was good.
"I love you," Buffy murmured some time later, tugging
the edge of the sheet over her skin and kissing his
There they were, the 3 little words he'd been waiting
forever to hear. That girl, the one who knew the
future, said she'd tell him someday. Most of the time
after he'd first come back and was living in the
school basement was still cloaked in a haze of
mystery, but that he remembered clearly. She hadn't
mentioned that Buffy would tell him in the face of The
Apocalype, capital T, capital A, Spike thought
ruefully. Put a bit of a different spin on things.
Tended to make a fella think impending death might be
the motivating factor.
And it wasn't like he needed it. He was okay without
it. He'd meant what he said, about not wanting
anything from her. She was enough.
So he stroked her hair and replied gently, "No, you
"Ummm, is this some clever new way to tell me that you
love me? Cuz, FYI, the old standards like 'I love you,
too' still work for me," Buffy said, planting her chin
on the tops of her hands, clasped in the center of his
chest. "And next time, you could at least say thanks
or something. It's only polite."
A flicker of a smile crossed his lips at that, and
then he sighed. "Buffy, you don't have to--." Wait a
sec, did she just say "*next* time"?
She didn't give him the chance to contemplate where
that line of thought might lead. "I know I don't have
to say it," she stated firmly. "I'm not saying it out
of obligation. I'm saying it because I love you." She
paused. "I know, radical concept, huh? I'm not
even sure when it happened. But it did happen."
Spike searched her eyes, and a look of wonder passed
over his face.
"I'm not so good with words," she continued
hesitantly. "But it's important for me to try to
explain this to you, and you deserve to know."
He nodded, encouraging her, afraid words might break
"I think that the part of my heart that could love
stopped working when Angel went away. It was too hard
to feel that vulnerable, to open myself up to hurt
like that again." She stopped for a moment, unsure how
to go on. Then she plunged ahead. "That's part of why
I always used to get so irritated whenever you would
say you loved me. No matter what, no matter how many
times I put you off, you could always put yourself out
there again and take the risk and the consequences. I
had stopped doing that a long time ago.
"I told Angel that you were in my heart," she said,
"but that's not entirely true. The truth is," she
gazed steadily at him, "you're the reason it started
working again. I may not be done figuring out who I'm
gonna be, but at least this lump of cookie dough is
capable of love again, and that's because of you."
Spike raised his scarred eyebrow.
"Uhh, you really don't want to know." Buffy cringed.
"God, I'm really bad at this."
"Poetry," he assured her softly. When she looked
sceptical, he added, "I didn't say it was *good*
poetry, but it sounded perfect to me."
"Good." Buffy laughed.
"Hmmm, I wonder if this is all part and parcel of the
whole champion gig," Spike mused. Off her look of
confusion, he finished, "You know, the whole groupie
thing, birds throwing themselves at my shoes -- or
other parts of my attire and anatomy." His eyes were
Buffy snorted and rolled her eyes. "Full of yourself
much?" she teased.
"Oh, you know you love me," he retorted playfully.
"Not because you're a champion," she answered simply.
"Because you're my champion."
Spike closed his eyes and exhaled. Forgiveness and
love, very, very good for the soul.
He felt her lips on his as she whispered, "I love
"No, you don't. But thanks for saying it," he replied,
"Oh, great. This is gonna be a *thing* now?" Buffy
thought for a moment. "Ooo, this can be our thing."
She looked at him, smiling. "Check us out. We've got a
"Yeah, Buffy, we've got a thing." As she curled up
beside him, her cheek came to rest on his shoulder,
and he kissed the top of her head. "Now shut that
gorgeous mouth of yours and get some sleep. Big day
He was loved. It was gonna be a good day.