Warning: If you're not spoiled for AtS, or don't want to be, please, skip this fic.
This morning, he shows up in the passenger seat of her sedan right as she opens the car door. Startled, Fred jumps back a little, sloshing her morning cup of coffee over the rim in the process. After she’s done swiping off the spilled drops from her pant leg, she looks up at his smirking face. Shoots him her best glare, even if the resolve behind it isn’t nearly as certain.
“Thanks for that,” she mutters sarcastically as she clambers into the driver’s seat.
“Anytime, love,” he responds with an even wider cat-ate-the-canary grin, then nods to her cup of coffee. “Sure you want to be drinking that? You’re jittery enough as it is, don’t you think?”
“It’s decaffeinated,” she informs him, buckling herself in and jerkily thrusting the keys into the ignition at the same time. “Not that it’s any of your business.”
“A bit touchy today, eh?”
She sighs. “I’m running late, I’ve got a presentation in two hours, I still have to get a bunch of stuff together and I-- I have no idea what I’m doing--” Her nervousness is ringing through clear, apprehension fringing the edges of her voice. She hates being late, and shit, she doesn’t even know if she has her notes with her, and what if she panics and forgets what she’s supposed to say, and oh god, they’re all going to be staring at her, with those eyes, because she’s supposed to be the boss and--
“You’ll do fine.” His words are calm, serious. When she looks in his direction, he smiles a little, raises an eyebrow at her playfully. “Just imagine them all naked. Isn’t that what they say? Or, for more pleasant imagery, you can imagine me naked.”
She laughs at that, the knots twisted up in her stomach slowly unwinding as she pulls out of the parking lot and onto the road. The radio is blaring some music from a classical station, and Spike keeps making disdainful remarks about wanting to listen to something else. After a few minutes, however, the complaints die down, and when she glances over at him out of the corner of the eye, she can tell he doesn’t really mean it. In fact, judging by the way he bobs his head a little and taps his fingers on his knee in time to the music, she thinks he actually likes it. Even if he’ll sooner eat a sock than admit to that.
The sun’s already rising, just peeking over the western horizon, and she catches Spike studying his hand in the morning light. She hesitates, wanting to say something, but not sure if she should. Finally she plunges ahead and asks anyway.
“Can you feel it?”
Now it’s his turn to be caught off guard. Quickly he lowers his hand, feeling as if he’s been discovered doing something shameful, and she thinks that if he could blush, that’s what he’d be doing right now. He looks over at her in bemusement. “Feel what?”
Fred nods towards the daybreak outside the window. “You know. The sun.”
“No.” He turns his gaze back to the sunrise, wistful. “I can’t.”
She tries to imagine what that must feel like. To not be able to feel the sun, not feel any warmth. Not feel anything at all. And suddenly she wants to say something. Wants to apologize, tell him that she’s sorry. Which is stupid, really, considering it isn’t her fault he’s like this. Still, she can’t help but feel like it is. He was counting on her, after all, and she failed him.
Maybe he’s not in any peril now, no longer being sucked into hell, but he’s still a ghost of what he was, unable to touch or feel. He says he’s okay with it, that it isn’t so bad. But he misses it. She can tell. All the apologies in the world won’t change that.
So she drives, and she doesn’t say anything at all.
The window in her apartment bedroom is open just enough to see the tiny lights of the city below. Fred flicks on the switch just inside the doorway, and the lights suddenly blink on. The room seems hollow and sterile, blank and disconcerting. She hasn’t gotten around to decorating it. Doesn’t feel like home, not quite yet. With a sigh, she shimmies out of her skirt and blouse, slips into her nightwear. As she perches on the edge of the matress, she notices how her shoulders are bare, freckles showing brightly under the intense light. Always hated how little-girlish they make her look.
She turns off the lights and lies down, and in the darkness, feels him. Spike is there. Her eyes are closed, but even so, she can sense him. She can imagine him perfectly in her mind’s eye-- standing at the foot of the bed, watching her as she falls asleep. It doesn’t surprise her; he’s been doing this for awhile now. She doesn’t mind. His presence is steady and solid, and for some reason, strangely comforting.
When Fred falls asleep, she dreams of him. Dreams of moments that have never happened, will never happen. Hands glide down her shoulders, featherlight, fingertips skimming across her skin and making her shiver. A kiss pressed to the nape of her neck. Lips trailing down her spine, and she arches her back, closing her eyes in sweet surrender. Melting like honey as two of his fingers slide into her, teasing her folds, and she clenches against him, tight and hot, begging for more.
And she dreams of how his body would interlock with hers, fitting so perfectly. Her hands running across the liquid-smooth planes of his back, his wrapping around the flat of her stomach. Warm or cold, human or vampire, she doesn’t know, doesn’t care. The way he touches her in these dreams, it makes her skin sing, his fingers knowing the curvature of her breast, the camber of her thighs, like he has an atlas mapped out of her entire body.
She knows it’s him she’s dreaming of; knows it by the flashes she sees. Glimpses of blond hair, porcelain skin, a scarred left eyebrow. And, of course, his eyes--those eyes that she can never get enough of, so bottomless and blue. Oh, yes, she’s definitely dreaming of him. Can feel his smooth tongue swirling in her navel, fingertips tracing over the slope of her neck, legs tangling, mouths meeting. The taste of him dances on her tongue, dark and heady, intoxicating, ripe and rich and full of secret things, hidden treasures underneath his skin.
More than anything, she wants to hold him. Pull him closer. Explore his skin, taste his soul, see the stars in his eyes. Kiss him and touch him and god, she wants Spike to let her love him, because she knows, given time, she could, so easily. And she wants him to one day love her back.
Once she awakens, she knows she should feel ashamed for what she’s dreamed of. But she isn’t. She just lies there, wet and trembling with desire for him at ten in the morning, completely content. And she is not a morning person.
When she looks around the room, Spike is not there.
Spike likes to watch her.
Not in a stalker-type way. No, he knows better than that by now-- this isn’t like Buffy, isn’t like when he used to stand outside of the house on Revello drive, lurking beneath the tree on the front lawn as he gazed longingly up at her window, smoking countless cigarettes and hating himself for loving her.
With Fred, it’s different. Most of the time, she knows he’s there, and she doesn’t seem to mind. If she ever told him that she did, he’d stop, too. It’s just, he doesn’t have anything better to do, really. Could be more of a nuisance to Angel, he supposes, but believe it or not, he doesn’t take the same pleasure out of it as he used to. Besides, there’s only so many times he can snark about selling out to an evil law firm before it starts to grate on even his nerves.
So he likes to be with Fred, sometimes just watch her. For some reason, she treats him like no other person has--treats him like a friend, like he’s worth something. That’s what she’d said to him, wasn’t it? You’re worth saving. And not only does Fred say the words, she means them. He still doesn’t understand why she cares so damn much about him when they’ve just met so recently, but he finds himself not really caring these days. Because she actually seems to like him, genuinely enjoys having him around, and he covets that more than she’ll ever know.
Spike studies her now, as she’s spread out over her bed, eyes shut as she drifts into sleep. He imagines how his arms would fit around her, and how she would lean into him with her arched back, closing her eyes as his flittering fingers traced her spine. Her legs would be wrapped around his, calves rubbing up against one another gently. Such long, fine legs she has.
All he wants is to be touched again. To soothe this aching inside of his chest. He remembers the last time, remembers how he held Buffy, how she stroked his arm and gazed into his eyes, and he was fool enough to believe that maybe, just maybe, having her in his arms meant something. Meant that maybe she could love him, some day. Meant that maybe she already did. Of course, he knows now that she never did, not really. Doesn’t hold that against her; it’s just the simple truth of the matter. And he knew, after that, that his dreams would never come true, no matter how much he wished they would.
Spike looks down at Fred now wistfully. She’s beautiful, and she’s sweet, and for some reason, she means as much to him as he means to her. Here she is, a girl who isn’t isolated by her calling, who isn’t afraid to love. A girl who he could even come to love, eventually. She smells like Sunday afternoon, like golden summers and dragonfly melodies. Feverish fantasy and words that can mean nothing and everything. He sighs at his own elegiac thoughts.
Once a poet, always a poet.
The filtered moonlight dances across Fred’s face, loving her eyelashes, illuminating her beautiful jawline. So still she’s almost statuesque. She shifts languorously in her sleep, and he wishes more than anything that he could touch her. He reaches out, runs his hand over her cheek. It goes right through her, of course. She doesn’t even stir.
He draws back, watches her sadly as she sleeps, feeling his heart break just a little bit more.
Yes, he certainly could come to love her.
He thinks that, maybe, he already does.