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 27: Just Too Tired...

Spike watched as Buffy disappeared down the hallway, wincing slightly when he heard the door click shut.

There was no mistaking the expression on her face before they were interrupted by the shrill ringing of the telephone. She had been seconds away from bolting, a string of angry words already lining up on her tongue, just waiting to cut him down. The fear shone brightly in her eyes and her whole body trembled, tensed for retreat.

With a sigh of complete frustration, he stood up from the couch and marched to the wet bar. He picked up a rock glass from its decorative pyramid and stared at it for a moment.

In one way or another, this thing between them would end. Maybe it would end in the way he hoped, that she would stop fighting her feelings and admit that she needed him. Of course, if he took into account the most recent event, their end would come with Buffy leaving or with him sending her away.

He was at rope's end.



******






Leaning against the door, Buffy took a minute to steady her breath. Slowly she brought the phone in her hand up to her ear, swallowing hard to clear her throat from the sadness that had thickened there.

"I'm here, Dawn," she finally got out.

"Are you okay? I've been trying to get a hold of you for hours. You didn't pick up your cell phone," Dawn's worried voice replied.

Vaguely, Buffy realized that she had no idea where her cell phone even was. It had probably been forgotten in the midst of all the hustle to get her to the hospital and was most likely gone by now.

"I'm fine. There was just a..." Severe mental breakdown "A little accident."

"Accident? Omigod! Buffy, are you all right?"

No, not really.

"I'm fine, Dawn. Really."

"Was it a car accident? Was anyone else hurt?"

Buffy felt her heart drop. Someone was definitely hurt, but she couldn't blame it on some external source. No, she had caused it, caused it all.

"No, not a car accident. Everyone else is fine," she said, trying to ignore how sick to her stomach that last lie made her.

"Are you with Spike? He answered the phone."

Something inside of her broke and the tears she had been holding back suddenly rushed forward. "Oh, Dawnie..."

"Buffy? What happened? What's wrong?"

"I screwed up. God, Dawn, I screwed up so bad."

There was nothing but silence at the other end of the line for what seemed like hours. If anything, it only made her cry harder. Her body felt like dead weight and she let herself crumple against the door, her legs splaying out as she hit the floor.

She sniffled loudly. "Remember how I told you that I was interested in Spike?"

Dawn hummed, but didn't say anything.

"Well, the truth is, we've been kinda seeing each other."

"Kinda?"

"Yeah, I mean, I guess we're together. He told me he loved me and-"

"He told you he loved you! Holy crap, Buffy!"

Buffy couldn't help but smile. "I know."

"What did you do? Kick his ass?"

"No! Why would you think-"

"Did you call him a liar?"

"No, I didn't, Dawn," she retorted. Although to be honest, Dawn probably had some basis to her assumptions. Those three little words had never been received well by her, making her lash out in anger at the poor, unsuspecting sap that had uttered them.

"But it didn't end in a fairytale kiss either, did it?" Dawn said with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

Not really. In fact, if she recalled correctly, most of the time it ended with the beginning of another argument. Or sex...

"Oh, god! I'm such a horrible person!" Buffy exclaimed, banging her head against the door. "Why can't I just be normal? Why do I have to be such a freak?"

"I keep asking myself the same thing."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Not helping."

"Well, fuck, Buffy-"

"Dawn!"

"What?" Over the phone, Buffy could hear her little sister gesturing in frustration. "I'm not a little kid anymore. I can say fuck if I want to. I can go get it on with my boyfriend, if I had one, and I can certainly tell you where to stick it if you're acting like a complete moron! Which you are, by the way."

"No, you-"

"Yes. Yes, I can," Dawn told her. "I love you, Buffy. You're my sister and you'll always be my sister. You took care of me after Mom died and I know I've been really crappy about showing it, but I feel so blessed to have you in my life and nothing will ever change that. But I'm an adult now. You don't have to take care of me anymore because you taught me how to take care of myself."

A stronger wave of sobs wrenched themselves from her tired body and this time, she couldn't push them away. Tears rained down her reddened cheeks, stinging her hot skin. Dawn didn't need her anymore. If this were any other day, Buffy would have ignored the declaration, would have brushed it off with some sort of joke about how Dawn wouldn't be able to pair her socks together without her around. But today, the truth was cold and harsh and real, refusing to abandon its stronghold even against the army of her will.

"You can let it go. Nothing bad is going to happen if you stop worrying about everyone else's happiness and go get some for yourself. I want you to be happy."

"But I-"

"Jesus, Buffy! For once in your damn life, listen to me!" Dawn shouted. "I know you better than anyone on the planet. You wouldn't be nearly this upset about someone you had no feelings for. You like Spike, in fact, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you are actually falling for him. Tell me I'm wrong."

She wanted to. With a sarcastic cackle, at that. She wanted to scream at her sister that she was completely off-base and that the only interest she had in Spike was purely professional. But that would be a lie, and for some reason, her mouth wouldn't work if the words coming out were even a hint untruthful. They just lingered and burned her tongue, only being soothed by the absolution of honesty.

"You're..." Buffy paused, trying to come to grips with what her next words meant. "You're not wrong."

"What are you so afraid of then?"

Now that was a damn good question. What was she afraid of? She knew what she'd told Spike, that she was afraid he would leave her and to some extent, that was true. He was an unknown variable, a round block in a square hole, and she couldn't control him. If he wanted to leave, he would and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

Just like she couldn't control her mom's illness or her dad's desire for a new life or Parker's true nature. And maybe she was trying to push Spike away so that she had control over something because letting him in gave her power over nothing, not even her own emotions.

"I can't control it."

Dawn sighed. "No, you can't, but that doesn't mean it's gonna end badly or even end at all. Did you ever let yourself imagine that you could actually be happy with him? What's the worst that's gonna happen?"

"That I'll push him away and he'll hate me."

"Seriously? That man couldn't hate you no matter how much you tried to sabotage your relationship."

"You don't even know him, Dawn."

"I don't need to know him," she replied with a giggle. "He's on television right now telling the world how much you mean to him."

"What?"

"Do you have a t.v. in your room?"

"Yeah," Buffy said hesitantly.

"Go turn it on. It's on MTV."

Jumping up from the floor, she ran to the bedside table and snatched up the remote, pressing the buttons as quickly as her fingers would allow her. The channels flashed in a blur of colors and voices until she finally found the right station. It was pretty hard to miss anyway, with Spike's handsome face plastered all over it.

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

“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.”

“I'll be honest, in the beginning it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, it hurt a lot. 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.”

“The pictures. Who is she?”


The screen cut to several pictures of that day on the Strip, of them kissing while tourists walked by, completely unaware of what they were ignoring.

“That would be my girlfriend.”

“Can you tell me anything about her?”

“She saved my life.”


Buffy watched, dumbstruck. He was talking about her and wearing the biggest grin she'd ever seen.

"I'm thinking there is quite a story there," Kurt said with a knowing smile.

Spike nodded. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her."

"How do you feel about people saying it might be too soon to get into another relationship, especially considering that your divorce isn't even finalized yet?"

"I feel like people are entitled t' their own opinions, but in the end, if I love someone an' want t' be with them, not much is gonna stop me from doin' that. As far as the divorce goes, Dru an' I are done regardless o' what the courts say."

"So it's pretty safe to say that your new relationship is getting serious then."

Spike looked off-camera and arched an eyebrow before nodding and returning his attention back to the interviewer. "I'm in love with her. I'd say that we're passed the gettin' part."


Taking a deep breath, Buffy moved the phone back to her ear. “I slept with him.”

“Yeah, and?”

“Dawn, this is serious. I shouldn’t have-”

“What? Got some release from a guy who worships the ground you walk on? Got down with the horizontal Macarena with someone you are falling for? What’s the big?”

“Horizontal Maca- Is this what they’re teaching you in college?”

“You’re changing the subject again. What’s the problem?”

“It’s too soon for us to be-”

Dawn groaned. “That’s lame. You’re both adults. He likes you. You like him. You think he looks hot in his tight jeans. You get it on. No. Big. Deal.”

“It’s not that simp-”

“Actually, it is. An insert tab A into slot B kinda simple.”

“Oh god,” Buffy yelped. “Berkley has turned my baby sister into a sex therapist. You’re not doing drugs are you?”

“Now that would be an interesting job.”

“Dawn!”

“Whatever. No, I have not been doing drugs. I’m just too tired to bullshit,” Dawn said with a yawn.

Buffy’s eyes popped up to the clock and eeped when she realized it was almost four in the morning. “I should let you get some sleep. I’m sure you have classes tomorrow.”

“I do.” Dawn yawned again. “Buffy?”

“Yeah?”

“Do me a favor, would you? Quit worrying so damn much. Go enjoy your life for once and while you’re at it, don’t fuck up a good thing.”



******






A half an hour later found Spike sitting on the couch, staring at the double shot of bourbon in front of him.

He couldn't count the number of times he'd wanted to barge into the bedroom and ask her what the hell had happened, but he never moved. What would have been the point?

His head shot up when he heard the door open, his heart pounding heavily in his chest as he waited for her to round the corner. Her form finally came into view and she stopped just short of the living area.

"Hi," she said softly.

Spike swallowed hard. She had changed out of her towel and into his discarded shirt from earlier. Was she trying to kill him? The picture she made and the reality of the situation didn't match up, not when she was planning on leaving but still made the effort to imprint herself in his life.

Glancing back down at his drink, he could only respond with a short nod. He didn't know what to say. Should he beg her to stay or tell her to get the hell out of his life once and for all? Would it matter what he said?

"Are you drinking?"

He should have been furious that she even brought that up, considering she was the whole reason he had even poured that drink, but the tone of her voice caused a different reaction.

"No," he told her, shaking his head. "It's jus' in case."

She took a few steps forward. "Just in case?"

"Yeah. Jus' in case you leave."

Bracing himself for a fight, he was shocked when it never came and even more shocked when she walked over to him and sat down on the edge of the coffee table, grasping his hands in hers.

"I'm not leaving."

"You're not?"

"No. Unless...unless you want me to." She had a hopeful expression on her beautiful face, her eyes wide in question.

"I don't want you t' leave, luv. You know I don't."

She nodded and let out a sigh of relief. "Good. I was hoping you would say that."

"Why wouldn't I?"

"Oh, maybe because I am a complete idiot. I almost did something really stupid and from the looks of it, you were expecting it to happen," she told him.

She had lost him back at the 'almost did something' part. From where he stood, they had gone beyond almost and went straight for best shag of his life. It was after that that she'd...

Oh. Right. That's what she had meant.

Wait a bloody minute... "Does that mean you don't think that...it wasn't...I mean, you an' me wasn't a...mistake?"

"I think I've wasted too much time worrying about what's right or wrong. All I know is that you made me feel so...loved. How could that ever be a mistake?"




A/N: Well....?

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