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 21: Turning of the Tides

The rain from Las Vegas had finally followed them over to Phoenix a couple of hours ago, steadily beating on the huge roof of the US Airways Center. Earlier everyone had been in a rush to finish setting up and anxious to get on stage, but once the rain began, the pace had begun to slow into a smooth and comfortable slide.

Even the music had been toned down to suite the mood of the weather outside. The rock hard sound that usually accompanied the Dingoes’ music was thickened and muted so that it was almost unplugged. On more than one song, Spike had traded his electric guitar for the simpler sound of his acoustic, weaving notes rather than yanking them out.

Buffy had to admit that the new sound was due not only to the rain but to the opening band as well. They had been horrible. Oliver had called them ‘emo rolled in death metal with a slight hint of bluegrass’, whatever that meant. Either way, after the screaming gargles and screeching noises had finally ended, everyone was under the agreement that the fans needed to hear something a little less abrasive.

The fans seemed to enjoy the new take on the music even though most of them had come thinking they’d hear their favorite radio single.

“What are you doin’, luv?”

Turning around, Buffy found Spike leaning against the doorjamb of the dressing room, a lazy smirk on his face. He looked exhausted, but that didn’t seem to bother him much.

“Just hanging out,” she replied, her hands coming up to rub her arms.

He hummed before pushing away from the door and walking to her. “So, I’ve got that interview in a few minutes. Do you wanna come?”

The debate in her head didn’t last very long. She really didn’t want to sit and listen to him answer questions about Dru for an hour even though she was really curious about what he had to say on the subject. Truth was she was a little upset that he could tell the entire world about what he was feeling but had yet to mention anything to her.

“No thanks. I’ll just wait,” she told him. She added a small smile when he frowned, hoping to discourage him from asking why.

“Are you sure?”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

He stared at her for a long time, his bright blue eyes searching hers for the reason, but he couldn’t find it. “Everything okay, pet?”

Sighing, Buffy nodded again. “I’m fine, just a little tired.”

Reaching out, he picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. Buffy closed her eyes at the sensation of his mouth on her skin. It never ceased to amaze her how he could affect her so easily. That one simple gesture had ignited her skin, heat coursing from her hand outward towards the rest of her sensitive nerve endings.

“I want t’ kiss you, Buffy,” he said breathlessly. He hadn’t released her hand yet, his fingertips caressing the soft skin they found.

“So, why don’t you?”

He chuckled. “Well, I jus’ wanna make sure you’re not gonna knock me in the mouth afterwards.”

Her heart ached at his admission. She was the one had caused his hesitance and it killed her that she had so callously played with his emotions that way. It had never been her intention to hurt him, but that mattered little now. Instead of just coming out and saying that she was scared to get that close to him, she pushed and pulled until he no longer knew what to expect from her.

God, she was turning out to be a horrible girlfriend.

Girlfriend? Is that what she was? They hadn’t really discussed the dynamics of their relationship or whatever the hell they had was. Did they really need to? She wasn’t sure they needed to define what they were to one another. They were just taking this thing one day at a time so there was really no need to rush into some serious commitment, right?

“I’m not going to hit you for kissing me, Spike. I-I want you to kiss me.”

Despite her invitation, he still looked worried. Not that she could really blame him. How many times had she said one thing and done another? It was no wonder the man was so confused.

Spike took a few steps towards her and tentatively slipped his arms around her waist. When she wrapped her own arms around him, he grinned, knowing that his affection was indeed being accepted and returned.

He dipped his head down and brushed his lips against hers. “I wish I didn’t have t’ go. I’d rather be with you,” he said before his tongue flicked out to moisten the entrance to her mouth.

“Really?”

He pulled back and stared at her. “O’ course. Christ, Buffy, do you really have t’ ask?”

“I…it’s just that I’ve treated you so bad and-”

“It doesn’t matter now. You’re with me an’ that’s all I care about. What ever happened before, I-” He shook his head. “Can’t we jus’ forget about it? I’m tired o’ walkin’ on eggshells around you, Buffy. I love you an’ I want t’ be with you. If you want the same thing, then let’s start over an’ forget all the bad stuff.”

“You make it sound so easy.”

“That’s because it is. I can’t keep worrying that you’ll suddenly decide you don’t want t’ do this. So, either you want me or you don’t. If you do, then we’ll wipe the slate clean. If you don’t…” His eyes pleaded with her not to make him finish that sentence.

Could he really just forget all the horrible things that she had said and done? His ability to forgive was famous. How many times had he forgiven Dru for running around on him? But Buffy couldn’t help thinking that she didn’t deserve his forgiveness and even if he could forget, could she?

Buffy let out a heavy breath. She did want to be with him and she wasn’t going to deny that anymore, but could she promise not to hurt him again? She wanted to say yes even though the voice in her head was telling her no.

“I do, Spike,” she told him. “But-”

“No, you do or you don’t. No ‘buts’ this time. It’s an either/or deal, luv.”




******





Spike looked up at the blinding lights, spots forming behind his eyes. This was the last bloody place he wanted to be right now. He didn’t want to answer stupid questions about Dru or his sexual preference. All he wanted to do was spend some time with his girl.

A chuckle escaped from his chest. Buffy had really had him worried there for a minute. He thought for sure she’d crawl back into herself and push him away again after he had all but demanded an answer about her wanting to be with him. But she had shocked the hell out of him, yet again.

It was strange how the tables had turned. There was a time when Buffy would have been considered the strong one, the rock. Now, Spike seemed to be holding everything together.

Despite what everyone else may have thought, it hadn’t all been about Dru this afternoon. Sure, Dru was on his mind, but it was Buffy that really had him thinking. Much of the remaining hours on the bus after the interview had been used mulling over his relationship with Buffy.

He was pretty sure he had figured out why she ran so hot and cold. The what, why, and who he didn’t know, but he was confident that he knew the how. She was scared of getting hurt again.

“Hi there, Mr. Giles. I’m Joe Garner, the producer.” The guy offered his hand before continuing. “Have you met Kurt before?”

Spike glanced up at Kurt and nodded. “Yeah, we did that documentary thing last year with you, right?”

“Right. It’s nice to see you again, Spike. I wish it was under better circumstances though,” Kurt replied, taking the seat across from Spike.

“Me too, mate, me too.”

“So, I had your manager look over the questions beforehand. She said they were all fine, but you can read through them if you’d like.”

Spike glanced over at Anya, who just nodded spastically. That was his cue to get this thing rolling apparently. “No, it’s fine. Let’s just get this done.”




******



Buffy glanced at her watch and grimaced. She really needed to talk to Dawn but it was really late, almost eleven.

Ten minutes later, she was still staring at her watch and playing with her cell phone.

“Screw it!” She muttered as she flipped the phone open and dialed Dawn’s number.

It took a couple of rings but finally a groggy voice answered. “Hello?”

“Dawn?”

“Buffy? What’s going on?”

Slumping against the cushions of the couch, Buffy sighed in relief. “Nothing. I’m fine, I just really needed to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“Me and Spike.”

Suddenly, Dawn didn’t sound so sleepy. “What happened? Did you guys hook up?”

“Well, remember how I said that I wasn’t at all interested in him?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s kinda not true.”

Dawn squealed. “I knew it! You little Spike groupie!”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “No, not a groupie. Trust me, there’s no way in hell I could ever be considered a groupie.”

“Whatever. Did you sleep with him?”

“Dawn! I can’t believe you just asked me that!”

“Whaaat’s the big deal? I am legally an adult now, you know. I can discuss sex with my older sister if I want to and you didn’t answer the question,” Dawn replied.

“We-I-not exactly.”

“Wow. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me this before.”

Buffy sighed. “Yeah, well, I was trying to tell myself nothing was going on.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“That you’ve been living in denial since Parker.”

“I have not!” Buffy exclaimed, slapping her palm against the cushions.

“Oh, you so have. I hate to tell you, Buffy, but the reason none of your relationships have lasted is because you’ve put yourself on the emotional defensive from day one. Not every man is like that prick Parker.”

Okay, since when did her baby sister start talking like a sailor?

“I never said every man was like Parker.”

“No, you didn’t have to say it; you just treated them that way.”

“I did not!”

Dawn groaned in frustration. “I can name at least four guys that you dated that worshipped the ground you walked on and you treated them like shit. You found a reason to dump each and every one of them, but guess what? It was all a bunch of BS. In the end, you dumped them because you were too scared to let anyone in, not because they were horrible boyfriends.”

Buffy’s eyes began to fill with unshed tears. God, she was right! Every word of it.

“Buffy, he dumped you six years ago. When are you going to let it go?”




******




“Did you physically abuse your wife?”

Spike took a deep breath. He had known that the questions would be this straight forward, but he hadn’t really prepared himself for it.

“No, completely untrue. I never laid a hand on Dru,” he replied.

“Why do you think she would say that you did then?” Kurt asked, trying his best to be both considerate and thorough.

Spike shrugged. “I don’t know, but then there’s a lot about Dru that I don’t understand.”

“How do you feel about the allegations of infidelity?”

“I never cheated on my wife, Kurt. And I certainly have never had any relations with men, so I’m not sure where she’s comin’ up with these accusations that I had some secret double life. I was completely faithful t’ her even before we got married.”

“But it has been rumored that Drusilla has had relationships outside of your marriage, isn’t that correct?”

Nodding, Spike looked down at his hands. “No man wants t’ admit that his wife went out seekin’ other partners, but I’d be lyin’ if I said that it wasn’t true. She had admitted t’ me on a couple o’ different occasions that she was seein’ other people.”

“And yet, she was the one who filed for a divorce.”

“I wanted t’ work it out, but she had already made her mind up to leave,” Spike said, shaking his head.

“Is it hard to see her with another man?”

Spike laughed nervously. “That’s a difficult question.”

A few minutes passed as Spike tried to figure how out he really felt. He supposed it hurt the most in the beginning, seeing her flaunting her new guy, knowing that she had really left him for someone else.

“-but now? No, it’s not hard at all. If she wants t’ be with someone else and he makes her happy, then I can only wish them the best of luck.” Sodding bastard is gonna need it after she gets through with him.

Kurt smiled then jumped into another line of questioning. “The pictures. Who is she?”

Spike and Anya had both agreed that it would be best to keep Buffy’s name out of the press for now. Eventually, they would have to deal with their relationship being in the spotlight, but for right now, he could keep her anonymity safe.

“That would be my girlfriend,” Spike said cryptically.

“Can you tell me anything about her?”

“She saved my life.”

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