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Pairing: mild Spike/Buffy
Summary: Post-Doublemeat Palace. Short Buffy POV piece.
This was an experiment. Forgive me if it's a little choppy.
It doesn't matter whether I want him there or not. I don't, really. He knows that. But he comes all the same. And every night, we have some variation on the same conversation.
"Buffy... let me help." He's leaning toward me, talking quietly, looking all intense with those piercing eyes that I avoid as though they burn me. In a way, they do.
"I don't need help."
"You're lying to yourself, love. This isn't what you are."
I can't hear this. Every night the same. Not the same words, but the same conversation. Sometimes there are no words at all. Sometimes I shut him up before he can start. I always shut him up before he can finish, one way or another.
The truth that I admit freely to myself when I'm alone is that he's right. This isn't me. I'm not Worker Girl. Which is what makes it so hard. But I have to try. What else can I do? I have responsibilities. Not just the saving the world kind - and truthfully, I think about that as little as possible, and sometimes these days it even starts to recede into the fog - but the other kind, the life kind, the real kind. The awful, inescapable kind that you can't beat up, or run away from. I'm not very good at that kind.
I'm not strong enough for this. I tell him that, but he doesn't believe me. In an odd way I think that he has more confidence in me than I have in me. But of course that's not new - everyone has more confidence in me than I do. But when Spike looks at me I don't think he's looking entirely at the Slayer any more. If he ever was.
If I were prepared to think about it, his confidence would terrify me.
It's a good thing, the not thinking about it. Actually I try to not think very much about anything. It seems to work better that way. It dulls the edges of the world.
When he talks too much, which happens mostly if he comes while I'm outside on my break, I take him around back, and shut him up the only way I know how. I've stopped trying to hit him, because that doesn't stop him from talking. The other way -- well, let's just say that he finally shuts the hell up when I let him screw me.
I don't let him look at me when we do this.
I'm surprised that he goes along with it. It's not really his style. He likes fire, and that's not something that I have to give. I think that he thinks that the sex might reach me, somehow, where his pleading and his anger can't. He does things sometimes, strokes my hair, tries to make me look at him. I can feel his eyes boring holes through me, and I'm afraid of what might leak out.
If I look at him, I will be in serious danger of crying. And if that happens, I know I won't be able to stop until there is nothing left of me except an empty husk, like the shells that grasshoppers leave when they shed their skins. Still clinging to the bushes even though there's nothing left inside.
Empty husks can't pay the bills.
He tries to talk to me afterwards. During, sometimes. I kiss him then, and I think he understands it for the brush-off that it is. I don't kiss him unless I have to, because it's entirely more intimate than I want to get. It's like admitting defeat. Too easy to get lost in it. I hate that it's so easy for him to get to me. I hate what he does to me, just by being around. I hate myself for wanting him.
Last night, he didn't show up. I'm not sure what that means.
I hate myself for missing him.