All About Spike

Butterflies
By jodyorjen

Spike/Tara, PG, Season 4, alternate version of The Initiative



Not long before my mother died, we sat out on the porch of our house. It was a clear summer night, and the stars shone bright in the sky. She lit a candle and gently took my hand in hers. "Tara Belle," my mother said in a soft voice, "someday you're going to meet a man." Her finger traced delicately across my palm and slid down my love line. "He's going to make you feel like your stomach is full of butterflies, like your heart has grown wings. He'll be champagne and fireworks and your birthday all wrapped up in one." My mother tapped firmly on the center of my palm. "And do you know what you do when you meet a man like that, baby?"

"What, Mama?" I asked.

She took a big sip of her whiskey. "You run."

********

It had been a horrible day. I slept through Speech Communication, the glaze hadn’t set properly on my project in art class, and I’d had another meeting with the Wicca group that left me feeling out of place. I was walking to the cafeteria to grab a quick dinner before I met my study group when I noticed the blonde guy jiggling the handle of the door to the housing office. "They're closed, its after hours," I said to his back. "They won't be open until tomorrow morning."

He turned around and gave me a look. "Thank you for the helpful information," he said in an odd accent. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen in person. His cheekbones were high, his lips full, his eyes large and deep blue.

I stared at him for a few seconds before I realized something was off. I reached a hand out to him. "Are you okay? You look very pale."

He tilted his head and looked at me. "Yeah, I'm sick," he said, slowly. "I need to find my... friend Buffy. She has medicine I need, and I don't know where her room is. I'm just back from out of town."

"I don't know anyone named Buffy," I said. "Do you know what dorm she's in?"

"I have no bloody idea," he said, as he kicked the door

"I have a copy of the campus directory in my room," I offered. "We can see if she's in there."

He looked me over. "There's an idea," he said.

He followed me down the hallway and out of the building, his black leather coat brushing against my legs. We walked across the quad to my dorm. He walked with a cocky, but graceful stride. I watched his profile in the moonlight. He turned to look at me and smiled. I knew that he knew I had been staring at him. I blushed and he laughed. "It's alright pet," he said jokingly. "I know you can't help yourself. I'm a handsome devil."

I laughed, despite my embarrassment. I unlocked the door to the dorm and led him down the hall to my room. Opening my door and stepping inside, I began to rummage around, looking for the directory. "I know it's around here somewhere." I looked behind me and saw that he still stood in the hallway. "I'm sorry, how rude of me," I said. "Please come in." He smiled wide and shut the door behind him. He sprawled back on my bed, and winced when his head hit the headboard.

He was so pale, his skin nearly bloodless. I leaned over and pressed my hand against his forehead. "You're really cold," I said, surprised. I unfolded my afghan from the foot of the bed and tucked it around him. He smiled at me, amused. "I have a hot plate, I can make you some tea or cocoa," I offered. "And I have some cookies."

His eyebrows lifted. "What kind of cookies do you have?"

I opened up the metal tin and looked inside. "Peanut butter chocolate chip and some brownies."

He smiled at me. "That would be brilliant."

I put the electric kettle on to boil water as I handed him a brownie on a plate. I rummaged through the bookshelf until I found the directory. "What's your friend's last name?" I asked.

"Summers," he said as he ate his brownie.

I thumbed through the S listings. "I found her," I said excitedly. "Buffy Summers. She's in Stevenson Hall."

"That's great," he said with a grin. He peered over at me. "Do you have any more brownies?” I handed him the tin. He quickly ate two more. "These are fantastic," he said.

"Thanks, I made them myself."

"A girl who bakes," he said. "I didn't think that was popular in this day and age."

I sat down on the bed next to him and held out the tin. "I'm kind of an old-fashioned girl. I sew, I bake, I crochet." I pointed at the blanket that covered him. "I crocheted that."

He took a good look at it. "It's very pretty.”

The kettle went off and I fixed him a mug of cocoa. "You have a real sweet tooth," I commented, as he ate another brownie and sipped his drink.

"I love chocolate," he replied. "Everywhere Dru and I went, she would always find me some new kind of chocolate." A shadow crossed his face.

"Who is Dru?"

“She was my girlfriend," he said sadly. "She broke up with me."

"I'm sorry," I said. "That must have hurt you very much." And she must have been insane, because I had never seen anyone more beautiful in all my life. “Did you go out with her for a long time?”

"We lived together for years," he said. “Two minds, two hearts, as tight as a knot.” He shrugged. "Something changed, we were a bit off and on. Still, it was better than being alone."

"I don't like being alone either. I've never been away from home before, and I don't know anyone here."

"I got lonely, and bored, tried to make a go of it with another girl," he elaborated, "but it didn't work. It wasn't the same. She was such an idiot. I couldn't even talk to her." He caressed the side of his mug, and I was mesmerized by the way his fingers moved back and forth.

"Well, I've never been in a relationship," I said, "but I imagine you need to be able to have a decent conversation."

"A pretty girl like you, so sweet and everything, and you've never dated anyone?" He looked at me curiously, and he seemed sincere.

I shook my head. "I come from a very small town, and I didn't really fit in." I blushed, "I-I wasn't very popular, to say the least."

He looked at me warmly. “Well, their loss," he said, as he reached out and stroked my hair. He looked into my eyes, and his eyes were so soft, so blue. His thumb traced the edge of my lower lip, and I shivered. The cookie tin slid off my lap, hitting the floor with a crash.

Startled, I leapt to my feet. We looked at each other for a long moment, awkward tension filling the air. "D-do you want me to call your friend for you and see if she's in?" I asked.

He looked thoughtful. "No, I'll just go over there." He took both my hands in his and shifted to his feet. We held hands for a moment, his thumbs trailing across my skin. I tried to memorize the feeling, to keep the sensation of this boy, this man, touching me. His eyes met mine and I felt like he could read my mind. He leaned down and kissed me. His mouth was firm, his lips were soft, and he tasted like chocolate. I felt warm and tingly all over.

"What's your name?"

"Tara," I replied.

"Tara." He said my name softly, his accent forming my name into something new and unfamiliar. "You're a really sweet girl, Tara, giving sweets away to strangers." There was a raw look in his eyes, something lurking under the depths that I didn't understand. He kissed me again, more deeply, and his tongue slipped inside my mouth. We opened to one another lingeringly, our fingers twining in each other's hair. The strands slipped through my fingers soft and rough, and the leather of his coat slid across my cheek.

I heard the laughter and chatting of people walking past my door, and I stiffened. What was I doing, kissing this stranger? He could be a psychopath, a murderer. I didn't know him at all. I pulled away from his embrace, and the moment was broken.

"I should go. I have plans, loose ends to tie up," he said hurriedly, as if he wanted to be the first one to break the silence.

"Nice to meet you," I said lamely, falling back on etiquette for lack of anything more lucid coming to mind.

He smiled. "Been a long time since anyone said that to me." He brushed aside a strand of hair which had fallen across my face. "You're a good girl, Tara. You should be more careful whom you let into your room." He kissed me on the forehead and left, my directory in his hand.

I sat down on my bed and pressed my hand to my lips. My stomach was full of butterflies, and my heart felt like it had grown wings. I didn't even know his name.

The End

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