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 25: Naked Truths

Staring at the closed door, Buffy tried hard to keep the tears at bay. She wasn’t sure whether the sudden urge to cry was from dredging up old memories or because Spike had seemingly abandoned her afterward. Either way, all she could do was sit there, bewildered and hurt.

It occurred to her that she could just charge into the other room and demand that he tell her what he was up to or she could leave all together, but her limbs wouldn’t move. Besides, what would she have to gain? If she barged in there, she would only end up making him angry and she was beginning to realize that an angry Spike was never in her favor. And leaving? Jobless, boyfriendless and being in a general state of emotional hell didn’t appeal to her at all.

Spike had turned her life upside down and sideways. He was everything she had tried to avoid since Parker had left her, but the funny part about it was that she had known exactly who Spike was when she got involved in his life. A part of her had always known that this would happen, that he would change things, that he would change her. And maybe that same part had secretly reveled in the fact that he would thrust her out of a black and white world and into the bright kaleidoscope of colors.

Truth was being cold and dead inside wasn’t what Buffy was hard-wired for. It went against her very nature to be so numb and distant, but circumstances had forced her to be someone she wasn’t. She wanted more than anything to reclaim the part of her that had been driven into hibernation and the only thing stopping her was fear.

She wasn’t as strong as her persona would lead people to believe and fear alone was enough to give her pause.

Suddenly, the door opened and Spike strode out, stopping when he realized she had been crying. His breathing was rapid, chest heaving as he stared at her in…disbelief? Was he surprised that she had stayed? It was what he’d asked her to do; did he not believe her when she had agreed?

He shook his head gently before moving toward her, coming to stop just inches from her knees. “C’mon,” he all but whispered as he reached his hand out to her.

“Where are we going?” She asked, her voice thick from crying.

Instead of answering her, he grabbed her hand and hauled her off the couch. “Shhhh,” was all he said as he led her across the room and through the doorway.

The room that Spike had disappeared to and the room that they were now both standing in was the bathroom. Of course, Buffy immediately wondered what he had been doing in here for almost twenty minutes, but then all of her thoughts were swept aside as she took in the sheer brilliance of the room itself. There were thousands of multicolored tiles of various sizes covering the walls and floor; some shimmered in the flickering copper lantern lights and threw reflections around the room giving the appearance that there was a mirror ball hanging from above. But when Buffy looked up there was no mirror ball, just a skylight that was blurred from the rain.


She spun around and found Spike gazing at her. “What are we doing in here?”

His expression hardened momentarily before he closed the distance between them and gave her a soft smile. “You trust me, don’t you?”

Warning bells and sirens went off in her brain and the fear began to bubble in her stomach. Gritting her teeth, she shoved the worrisome feelings aside knowing that it was just an automatic reaction that she had trained herself to have whenever she felt her emotions were in danger.

She did trust him or at least she wanted to. That was a start, wasn’t it?

“Buffy?” He ran his hand over her arm, causing goosebumps to rise over her skin.

She nodded. “I do.” Which, of course, wasn’t entirely true, but this was the only way she would be able to begin the process of finally letting herself go. What he had in mind, she hadn’t a clue. Whatever it was, though, she would willingly put herself into his hands and let go.

Intense blue eyes never left hers as he trailed his hand back up her arm, across her collarbone and over to the top button of her shirt. Her breath hitched as he pushed the button through its hole.

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. “I won’t do anythin’ you don’t want me to.”

She closed her eyes, trying to calm herself. This wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought. Nodding, she replied, “I know.”

After a moment’s hesitation, Spike continued his descent, popping each button open to reveal the skin beneath. Once her shirt was completely undone, he slid his hands up and brushed the thin material down her shoulders, the garment quickly falling to the floor.

His fingers dropped down to the waistband of her jeans and made fast work of the button there and then the zipper. Anticipating that he would remove her jeans, Buffy was surprised when he suddenly dropped to his knees and starting pulling at the zipper on her boots. He yanked her boots off with much less finesse than he had used when removing her shirt, tossing the shoes behind his shoulder before divesting her of her socks. Without getting up, he dragged her jeans down her legs and helped her out of them.

Standing, he gently fingered the straps of her bra, his gaze questioning.

She desperately wanted to ask him what exactly his plans were, but she refrained from doing so. Instead, she just nodded again. Putting trust in someone meant having faith and how would it look if she questioned him now? It would derail everything she was trying to accomplish in one fell swoop.

If he was happy about her willingness to participate, he didn’t show it. A somber expression strained his features almost as if he were in the middle of diffusing a bomb or something as equally delicate and dangerous. Is that what he saw when he looked at her? A ticking time bomb?

She choked out a sob. God, what had she done? Is that what everyone saw when they looked at her? Someone who was unstable and difficult? It hadn’t ever been her intention to put everyone on edge, but that didn’t seem to matter now. She had done this to herself.

“How can you even look at me?” Buffy asked in self-disgust as she pulled away from his gentle hands.

His dark eyebrows shot up and he tilted his head slightly to one side. “How can I not? You’re beautiful, luv.”

Buffy shook her head furiously before he steadied her with a hand under her chin. His gaze was deep and it pierced into her soul. “Don’t do that.”

Without another word, he finished stripping her, taking her bra off so quickly that she didn’t even realize until he had moved to slip her panties down her legs. He didn’t look at her naked body, his eyes stayed glued to hers, watching her facial expressions as she stood completely bare to him.

It could have been just a few minutes or hours before either of them moved, but when he finally closed the gap between them Buffy felt like the world was melting away. His fingertips grazed her shoulder before whispering down, around the soft swell of her breast, over each rib and then the full curve of her hip. He was bending down, his breath tickling at her skin as his hand drifted lower until he reached her knee.

Abruptly, Buffy found herself being lifted off the ground and she squeaked out her surprise. His arms were strong and sturdy as he carried her a short distance. He tipped her feet forward and she felt her toes being submerged into very warm liquid. Her legs followed until Spike was kneeling down beside the large copper tub to deposit the rest of her body into the sweet abyss of lavender-scented water.

Realization finally smacked her right between the eyes. All this had been to get her to take a bath?

Spike chuckled as he sat down on a short stool beside the tub, the expression on her face more telling than any words. “What did you think I was gonna do?”

Um, what had she thought he was going to do? Obviously, the first thought she had while he was stripping her down was that he was finally going to take what she had been denying him. Of course, now that she thought about it, she knew that would have never happened. That wasn’t how Spike operated. He didn’t use sex as a weapon.

Unlike some people...

Okay, so she hadn’t ever intentionally used sex as a weapon against him, but she knew that every time they had been intimate together she threw his desire for her in his face. It was wrong, so very wrong. She could finally see that and it made her self-hatred grow even more.

“What now?” She asked, intentionally dodging his question.

He quirked an eyebrow at her. “Does it matter?”

It was a test. A test to see how much she really trusted him. Much to her shock, she just shrugged. “Not really.”

Her response must have shocked Spike, too, because he froze and gave her a dangerous look. Oh, how the tables had turned. Who didn’t trust who now? Buffy took a small bit of pride in the fact that it seemed she wasn’t the only one with trust issues.

Of course, to be fair, he had every reason to distrust her. After all, how many times had she begged him for a second chance because she couldn’t keep her word? Too many times to count, if she were at all honest.

He studied her for what seemed like forever before he let out a sigh and scooted the stool closer to the tub. Grabbing a sponge, he dipped it into the warm water, soaking it before pouring some bath gel onto its porous surface. He worked the sponge into a generous foaming lather and brushed it down her shoulder.

“So, this Parker git…” He paused, the sponge resting in the crook of her arm as soapy suds trailed down her skin. Swallowing hard, he took a deep breath before continuing on. “He was your first, then.”

Buffy’s gaze shot upward. He wasn’t looking at her, his attention purely reserved for the sponge he was gliding over her arm. “How did you-”

“That’s the way o’ it, innit? The first one always has the power t’ make or break you,” he said softly, a haunting ghost swirling in the dark blue depths of his eyes.


He was starting to believe he was a glutton for punishment, that he was a closet masochist for putting himself through all this. The fact that he was still trying at all to get Buffy to open up to him was proof enough of that.

Despite his impending hurt and humiliation, he pressed onward, all at once dreading and needing the conversation to come.

Of course no man ever wanted to hear about his girlfriend’s sexual relationships prior to him and Spike was no different. But he was torn with desperately needing a window into her past and hating the idea of knowing the details of a life without him in it.

Swallowing hard, he urged her on with a soft look as he continued washing the sponge over her brilliant skin, which it should be mentioned was torturous in and of itself.

“I don’t know why I was even with him,” she admitted with a sigh of relief. Her hazel-green eyes searched his, looking for some sign that she was making a mistake by delving into her relationship with Parker. When she found none, she glanced down into the water. “I guess I have some idea. He was popular and good-looking and he made me feel...”

“Special?” Spike offered, silently choking on the word.

She nodded. “Yeah. Special.”

Neither wanted to admit that they knew exactly what sick game Parker had been playing, so the word just hung there for a while, hovering like thick smoke in a crowded bar.

When Spike couldn’t take the silence any longer, he rested his elbows on the edge of the tub and gave her a good, long look. “You know, if you can’t... I know it’s hard t’ talk about-”

“No,” she said, smiling sweetly as she shook her head. “I can’t not talk about it now. It’s there, just waiting to burst out, but I want to make sure it comes out without me sounding like a freaking lunatic.”

Spike chuckled. “No chance o’ that happenin’, luv.”

“Shuddup.” Buffy splashed a little water and a fair amount of bubbles at him, the light finally returning to her eyes.

She sobered up a bit and sat a bit straighter in the tub before giving him a questioning quirk of her eyebrow. “Do you think many women regret their...first times?”

“I’d bet,” he began, inhaling deeply and letting the warm, moist air flow into his burning lungs. “That there are a lot more than you’d think an’ I’d even guess that there were quite a few men that regretted it too.”


“Well, I would hope that I wasn’t the only one out there.”

Her brow scrunched up in surprise. “Really?”

“Oh, bloody hell, it was terrible. I was terrible.”

“Somehow I can’t see you doing that badly at it,” Buffy retorted.

He leaned back and smirked. “That so?”

“Well, I mean, just from experience, you don’t seem to be lacking in that department.”

“An’ you think we’re jus’ born with the ability t’ give it good?” He laughed loudly, the booming sound echoing off the walls. “Please, luv. I was a bumblin’ fool an’ if she hadn’t o’ done it before, I wouldn’t have known where t’ put it.”


“That’s what he did, wasn’t it?”

Buffy frowned. “Did what?”

His blue eyes narrowed and he brushed his soapy thumb over her cheek. “Made you feel like you were stupid for not knowin’ what t’ do.”

“Well...I didn’t.”

“You’re not supposed to. It’s like anythin’ else, luv. We aren’t born knowin’ how t’ walk or talk an’ we sure as hell aren’t born with an instruction manual on how t’ shag well!” He hadn’t meant it to come out like an angry shout, but buggering hell if he wasn’t right pissed about this bloke.

“I know that now!” She shouted back. “But geez, Spike, it’s not like they teach you these things in Sex Ed. They don’t tell you to beware of the smooth-talking guy with the hot ass and gorgeous eyes. They don’t tell you that the first time is supposed to be a learning process. All they tell you is that you should wait until you get married and if you don’t, you’re going to get Chlamydia and die.”

He squeezed his eyes shut. “Buffy, I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Don’t start that,” he warned her, knowing exactly where her flippant attitude was going to lead them if she kept it up. “I didn’t bloody well mean it t’ sound like an accusation. Damn it, Buffy, I’m-”

“Really crappy at trying to explain yourself.”

Spike rolled his eyes at her. “Besides that. Look, I jus’ meant that it wasn’t your fault an’ that this Parker git was a bleedin’ wanker for makin’ you feel like you weren’t up t' par. An’ yeah, I’m fuckin’ angry, but not at you, kitten. Never at you.”


The world seemed to slow to a stop as he realized what he was getting ready to say. It bubbled in his throat, making him hoarse and suddenly so very weak.

“Yeah, angry. Angry that I hadn’t met you years ago. Angry it wasn’t me that got t’ taste you first. Angry it was him an’ now you’re so bloody damaged. An’ I’m so bloody lost. I’m angry that I love you an’ you can’t love me back. Wish I could jus’ disappear right now so I didn’t have t’ deal with this bullshit with Dru or worry about my soddin’ responsibilities. Wish I could jus’ fly us away an’ make you forget...”


Buffy didn’t think she could breathe. Just when she thought Spike couldn't say anything more that would make her heart burst, he pulled something like this out of thin air. And of course, she was at a loss.

How could she possibly respond? She would ruin things if she even attempted to. Just like she always did.

"Spike, I-"

He glanced up suddenly, his blue eyes glassy like the surface of the Pacific, bright and deep. "Is there a chance for me at all, luv? Or is this a losin' battle?"

"I'm here, aren't I?"

The snort of laughter that came in response wasn't very reassuring and Buffy had the strong urge to slap herself. That hadn't taken long at all. Once she opened her mouth, it was inevitable that she would fuck things up.

"I mean-" She squeezed her eyes shut and cursed herself a million ways from Sunday. "I'm here. I could have run. I could have thrown a fit and you could have had me on the first plane back to LA. But I'm here."

"You're here. What exactly does that mean?"

"It means that I know I'm... I know there's something wrong with me. There must be, right?" She giggled a little hysterically. "Here I am with the perfect man sitting next to me, telling me he loves me and just wants to help and all I can do is get defensive about it? I must be out of my freakin' mind!"

"Not perfect," Spike muttered.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Right. Because women don't fantasize about having a gorgeous guy who's smart and talented and funny and who loves them so much he's willing to go through hell to get her to see reason... Who'll drop whatever he's doing, no matter how many fans he's going to disappoint, to bathe the stupid girl who got herself thrown in the emergency room over a little breakup that happened years ago. Oh, no, Spike, you're not perfect at all.

"Of course, now, I've really convinced myself that I belong in the looney bin."

Spike stared at her like she was nuts for a second before bursting out into wild laughter. It must have been that contagious kind of laughing because before she even realized she was doing it, Buffy was laughing so hard her stomach hurt.

"We're a pair, aren't we?" Spike said, shaking his head.

Her laugher ended abruptly as she reached out to touch his face. "We are."

He swallowed hard. "I can't do this again, Buffy. I'm in soddin' love with you an' every time you push me away, I... It's too bloody much."

"I won't. I won't push you away anymore. I know I've told you that before and that I've always-" She grabbed his face between both of her wet hands and held steady. "You told me tonight that we could just start over, that we could throw everything that's happened between us out the window. Were you just saying that or did you mean in?"

"You know I meant it. Although, looking back, I might not have been entirely whole-hearted in the effort."

Buffy frowned. "Oh."

"There are quite a few things that happened between us I'm not so sure I want t' forget."

It took her a minute to realize what he'd said and then she noticed the wicked smirk he was giving her. The man was positively evil, she was sure of it.

"You!" She shouted, splashing water at him.

He dipped his hand into the cooling bathwater and scooped a handful over her head. Screaming, she kicked her leg up and a whole lot of water with it, drenching his shirt and spilling onto the floor.

"If you wanted t' get me wet, luv, all you had t' do was ask," he said with a leer.

"What if I'm asking now?"

He groaned. "You're playin' with fire there, pet. I've been three words an' good rub down away from burstin' since I met you so tread lightly or you're liable t' find yourself with a whole lot more o' me than you're ready for."

Her heart stopped for a minute. She wasn't sure how serious he was from the non-expression gracing his face. Normally, it was easy to tell, but he was purposely keeping his emotions far from the surface.

"And what if I'm still asking?"

He was off of the stool so quickly it was like a blur of color flashing in front of her. She found herself being hauled out of the tub and into strong, sturdy arms. Her skin was over-sensitive from the warm water and the sudden rush of cool air that attacked her naked flesh and a shiver went through her so fierce that it almost made her slip from his grasp.

Looking up, Buffy felt another tremble as she took in the intensity of his gaze.

"Is that what you're askin' for, luv? 'Cause I am more than happy t' oblige," he told her, his nostrils flaring from the force of his breathing.

Buffy felt her nerve slipping away. As much as she wanted to be with him, she honestly didn't think she was ready to have sex. It was stupid, really, but she couldn't shake the feeling that now wasn't the time.


His jaw tensed. "I know," he said, sighing.

"It's not that I don't want you, Spike. I just-"

"I know."

Buffy's eyes dropped to his chest, not able to take the emotion spilling from his face. "I'm sorry. I'm always ruining things."

"Hey," he began, tilting her chin upward. "You have nothin' t' be sorry for, pet. An' you didn't ruin anythin'. Us bein' attracted t' each other was never the problem, it's everythin' else. I'm not completely brainless. I know this is gonna take a lot of work an' gettin' physical right now would only muck things up."

She nodded, amazed at how he could see through her despite all of her attempts to hide away from him.

"One day at a time, yeah?"


He bent down and captured her lips with his. The grip he had on her tightened as he deepened the kiss, his tongue sweeping over hers in slow deliberate strokes. His hand smoothed over the moist skin of her back and moved downward, playing against her spine until sparks of pleasure zapped through her.

"I should go," he murmured against her mouth.

She broke away. "What? Why?"

Brushing a strand of damp hair back, he smiled at her. "Because if I stay, you're never gonna finish your bath."


With one last kiss, he started for the door. "I'll be waitin' for you, luv," he said with a grin, then shut the door behind him.


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