Personal Attention by Jaesha

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: After Spike Giles' wife leaves him for another man he falls into despair. Will Buffy be able to save him before he destroys himself?

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Chapter 15: The Show Must Go On

Devil Sees Red Tour~ Las Vegas



The crowd outside was going wild, stomping their feet and clapping their hands, screaming. It was sweltering in the House of Blues with the bright stage lights and people packed tight in front of the stage as they awaited the Dingoes to begin the show.

Buffy hadn’t ever been to a concert. Well, unless you counted the Tiffany Mall Tour way back when. It amazed her the energy that seemed to be radiating off the fans, feeding the collective group.

Glancing at her watch, she noted that it was still fifteen minutes to show time. She couldn’t wait to see Spike up on stage. After that day he had called his band over to practice, she had been looking forward to a real perfomance.

She hadn’t seen him since the photo shoot. Anya had ushered her off to help with the merchandising table before they were finished. There hadn’t even been time to wish him good luck.

“Buffy!”

She swung around suddenly as she felt someone tap her on the back. Roadie Frank stood in front of her, a look of mild panic on his old features.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, leaning in so he could hear her over the crowd.

“Gotta problem and Oliver told me to come and find you.”

Uh-oh.

“What happened?”

He shook his head. “No time, girly. Need to get you backstage five minutes ago.”

Frank grabbed her arm and winded his way through the crowd, then pushed her in front of him as the door to the back stage area came into view. A burly-looking security guy quickly moved out of the way and opened the door for them. Frank led her down a long, narrow corridor to the dressing rooms.

Oliver was sitting cross-legged in front of one of the doors and had his head leaning against it. “C’mon, mate. Get it together. We got this show to put on for your fans. We don’t want to disappoint them, do we?”

“What’s wrong?”

Oliver looked up and he scrambled to his feet. “Thank God, you’re here, sweets. Our boy has locked himself in his dressing room and sodding bastard won’t come out. Do your thing, he’ll listen to you.”

Buffy frowned. This was bad, very bad. “What makes you think he’ll listen to me if he hasn’t listened to you?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Oliver asked, folding his arms over his chest and raising a black eyebrow. “He’ll do anything you say. Now, go get his arse in gear, time’s a-wasting.”

Giving Oliver a doubtful glare, she sighed and went to the door. “Spike, are you okay?”

“Quit with the mum routine, Buffy. Just tell him to get out here,” Oliver told her.

“Would you just shut the hell up! Maybe the reason he wouldn’t open the door for you is that you’re such an asshole. Maybe my ‘mum’ routine will work,” Buffy snapped back.

Staring at the door, she tried again. “Spike? Come on, open the door.”

No one was answering and she felt a panic swell within her. Images of the morning she found him nearly dead flashed painfully in her mind and she knew that the time for talking was over.

“Frank, hand me your knife.”

If Frank had any reservations about giving her a deadly weapon, he said nothing. He flipped open his leather carrying case and slid the utility knife out, handing it to her.

She flipped it open and crouched down to study the latch. It was a flimsy thing and not a deadbolt so she wedged the knife between the door and the frame, then pressed back the latch, watching as the door swung open.

Oliver started in, but Buffy put out her arm to stop him. “Oliver, I think I should do this.”

“What? He’s my bloody best friend.”

Buffy shook her head. “Let me do it. If I need help, I’ll yell for you.”

For a minute, it looked as if he was going to argue with her, but instead he just nodded. “Fine.”

After giving Frank back his knife, she went inside and shut the door behind her. Scanning the room, she could find neither hide nor hair of Spike. She moved through the room, checking behind chairs and big black trunks.

“Spike? Where are you? Talk to me.”

A choked sob drew her attention to the love seat in the corner and she walked over to it. Peering over the back, she found Spike sitting with his back against the wall, his knees drawn up to his chest.

“Spike? What’s wrong?”

Buffy moved to the side of the couch and pushed it away from the wall. She kneeled down beside him and brushed a wet curl away from his forehead.

“I can’t go out there. I can’t,” he whispered.

“Yes, you can.”

He shook his head furiously. “No. No, I can’t”

Buffy frowned, a grim line setting on her mouth. What to do? If he wasn’t ready, how could she push him? But if he was, how could she not?

With her mind made, she grabbed his chin and made him look at her. “You are going out. You’re not going to disappoint your fans again. You’re strong enough now, Spike. Now, I don’t want to hear any more crap about not going on. Get up!”

As if her orders were the only thing he knew, he pushed himself off the floor. He wiped away the tears and took a deep breath before walking over to his guitar and picking it up. “Okay.”

She followed him to the door and when he opened it, Oliver fell over onto his feet. Spike looked down and nudged Oliver with his boot.

“What’re you doin’ down there?”

Oliver gave him a sheepish grin. “Nothing, mate. Not a thing.”

“Well, come on then. Got a show t’ put on,” Spike told him, walking down the hall.

Oliver rolled his dark green eyes. “’Got a show t’ put on.’ Wanker.”

Buffy stifled her laughter. Her opinion of Oliver was still mixed, but the guy sure did have a wicked sense of humor.

“Told you he’d listen to you.” Oliver pressed the tip of his finger on her nose. “Buttons.”

Alrighty then. Buttons. Buttons? Huh?



******



The stage lit up blood red as the familiar bass line of Devil Sees Red thumped out of the speakers. A shaft of white light hit Oz as he pounded out the notes.

Buffy could feel her heart stop as Spike stepped up to the microphone and screamed a primal call to the audience. God, he was magnificent, like he was born just to be on stage.

He belted out the notes as if his life depended on it, jumping on the balls of his feet to the beat.

The crowd was going crazy as the front row tried to grab at him. He didn’t seem to notice that they were trying to pull him off the stage, he just kept singing.

Oliver stepped up for his guitar solo and made the most phenomenal noises come wailing out. It wasn’t humanly possible to make those kinds of sounds, Buffy was sure, but somehow Oliver coaxed the unnatural tones from the instrument any way.

She watched as Xander beat down on his drums with a fury that she knew he never possessed outside of the stage. He looked determined and intense, his head banging up and down as he struck the drums. Suddenly, he broke a stick and within seconds, another was thrown to him from someone off-stage.

They really did this whole tour thing down. If she had broken a drumstick in the middle of a song, she probably would have just stopped playing and ruined the whole thing. But not Xander, it was like he hadn’t even noticed.

The beat started to overtake her and her body began to sway. She could lose herself in this music. It was so emotional and powerful as if it was speaking just to her. Her arms went up as her body twisted, sending her spiraling into a complete trance.

“Did you miss us?” Spike asked, the music dying down to a low whisper as he spoke to the audience.

The crowd screamed in response and Buffy found herself transfixed on Spike. He had a sexy grin on his face, his eyes hooded.

“Just on our way back from Hell, thought we’d stop by and give you a little show,” he said, chuckling when someone screamed, “I want your baby!”

It might have been funny to Spike, but the woman’s outburst had made Buffy turn red with anger. Oh, I don’t think so! He’s mine, you groupie ho-bag!

Blinking, she realized that she had indeed just staked her claim on Spike, even if it was only in her mind.

“This is a new one. Hope you like it,” Spike said, picking up his guitar and strumming out a few notes.

And when you wanted me
I came to you
And when you wanted someone else
I withdrew
And when you asked for light
I set myself on fire
And if I go far away I know
You'll find another slave


The rest of the band looked a little bewildered for a minute. Obviously, they hadn’t practiced this one. Xander was the first to pick up the beat and he tapped on his drums. Oliver and Oz followed suit, their guitars adding to the notes that Spike was picking out of his guitar.

It was silly to think that he hadn’t been writing new songs, but Buffy hadn’t seen him nor had he mentioned anything about writing. She felt a little privileged to be one of the first people to hear it, even if it was about Dru.

‘Cause now I'm free from what you want
Now I'm free from what you need
Now I'm free from what you are


He was screaming into the mic now, his eyes shut as if it hurt to sing the words.

And when you wanted blood
I cut my veins
And when you wanted love
I bled myself again
Now that I've had my fill of you
I'll give you up forever
And here I go far away
I know you'll find another slave


This was the window into his thoughts. He didn’t like to talk about her, but he couldn’t help singing about her. Buffy didn’t know when he had written it but it sounded as if he was struggling to finally let her go.

‘Cause now I'm free from what you want
Now I'm free from what you need
Now I'm free from what you are


The crowd seemed to be enjoying the new song. They jumped as one to the solid rhythm, their hands in the air. She could see mouths moving as they sang along with the chorus, already having committed it to memory.

The band played for more than an hour and half, giving in everytime the crowd called for more. With one last encore, Spike thanked them for coming and started singing a rousing rock version of With A Little Help From My Friends.

As the song came to and end, Spike let his guitar swing behind him and he saluted the crowd. A deafening roar bounced between the walls of the club, screams piercing and whistles hitting decibels only a dog could hear.

And the lights went out.



******



Spike bounded off the stage, sweat running off of his skin and a renewed energy zipped up his spine.

He had forgotten what it was like to be up there. To sing his heart out and hear the crowd cheering. And to think, he had almost missed it while he wallowed in his own self-pity.

But then his angel had swept in and gave him the courage to push on, just like he knew she would.

“Dude, you rocked it!” Xander exclaimed as he ran up behind Spike.

Spike shook his head. “No, you did. How many sticks did you break?”

“Five and I think Oliver broke a string on Burn. We killed ‘em!”

They could always gage how good a show had been by how many instruments were broken during the concert. The more broken drumsticks and severed guitar strings, the better the show. Of course, no show had ever compared to Berlin ‘02 when Xander had beat his snare so hard it broke and Oliver fried an amp. Now that had been a bloody magnificent show!

The band was being ushered back to the dressing rooms and Spike glanced over his shoulder looking for Buffy. She wasn’t there. Maybe she was still out in the club. He’d seen her a few times while he was on stage, a surge of pride going through him when he saw how much she was enjoying the music.

He plopped down in a chair, exhausted but restless. It’s the way he always felt after a show. The act itself drained him, but the high he got kept him up for hours on end.

“See, you stubborn mule, would have bloody missed it if I hadn’t sent Buffy in after you skinny arse,” Oliver told him, pointing in an accusation.

“Bite me,” Spike returned.

“Don’t tempt me.”

Spike grinned. Always the perpetual joker, Oliver always had to have the last word. Unfortunately, sometimes his mouth got away from him.

“Say it a little louder so the tabloids can hear. Maybe then I won’t be the only one who has a secret gay relationship with my gardener, Fernando,” Spike said.

Oliver held up two fingers. “If I did have any gay tendencies, you wouldn’t be the one I’d pick. Too girly. Think I’d like a butch biker type.”

“What the hell are you guys talking about?”

Spike and Oliver looked up to see Buffy standing in the doorway.

“Oh, nothin’, luv. Olie was just sayin’ how I wasn’t his type,” Spike told her, giving Oliver a knowing glance.

“Lord, I hope not. I already have to beat off your fans. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to compete with him,” Buffy replied. She walked into the room and sat down on the arm of Spike’s chair.

Spike snaked an arm around her hips and yanked her down onto his lap. He wasn’t used to having his girl with him while he was on tour. Dru had never come. It was a great feeling that he would be able to share this with her. His two favorite things in the world, performing and Buffy, and now he could have his cake and eat it too.

Her arm slipped around his neck and he for a minute he was content. But then he realized that she wasn’t fighting him tooth and nail about the public display of affection. His brow wrinkled together and he turned his gaze to her face.

She smiled down at him, a brilliant show of teeth and lips. Well, that was new.




A/N: 1) The song Spike sings is ‘What You Are’ by Audioslave. I know I used another song of theirs earlier in the fic, but the lyrics to this one were dead on that I couldn’t pass it up. Hopefully, there were be a little less angsty music as the story progresses.

2) And as always, I hope everyone enjoyed. ; - )

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