She opened her eyes at the sound of her name, blinking to bring the darkened room into hazy focus. She saw the face of the man sitting on her bed, yet her momentary rush of excitement stilled when she realized she saw him every night.
I’m dreaming again…
Whether she loved or loathed these dreams was still something she couldn’t seem to decide. While again experiencing the touch of the man she loved was something she yearned for desperately, having to spend her waking hours with the knowledge it wasn’t real – would never be real again – was almost too much to take at times. A phantom lover wasn’t enough.
But it was all she had.
He was staring at her with that look of awe she’d seem on him before, the one that always made her wonder how he could feel what was written on his face just from looking at her. She didn’t feel as special as his eyes said she was, especially after everything she’d done to him, to them.
She met his gaze and her own eyes filled with tears. She didn’t know why she couldn’t have seen the beauty in him when he was still there with her, still real. Although no, that wasn’t true… She had seen it, but she hadn’t wanted to see it. She’d hidden from the truth, hidden from what he was, what he was to her.
She didn’t need to hide now. He was gone, and all she had were dreams that would fade with the morning light.
She wished she’d never hidden at all…
But her past mistakes could weigh on her in the morning, when the harsh emptiness was there with no dreams to chase it away.
The sound of his name on her lips seemed to stir him from his reverie, and he blinked, took a deep breath, then reached for her, his hand stilling against her cheek. Buffy sighed happily, nuzzling into his hand. Just that slightest of touches of his skin against hers felt wonderful, perfect. “You feel warm,” she muttered sleepily, her eyes closing for a moment as she turned her face to nudge the inside of his palm with her nose. “Warm is nice.”
He chuckled, that deep, low sound he made, and she warmed as well, feelings she’d once tried to run from now bursting inside her. Still, everything stayed tinged with sadness, the knowledge this couldn’t last never seeming to stray far from her mind. The realest man she’d ever known wasn’t real anymore.
His hand moved up, his thumb now brushing at her eyes, wiping away the wetness he found there. “Hey, sweetheart. Don’t cry now, yeah?”
“I can’t help it,” Buffy replied, even as she did try to stem the flow of her tears. “I miss you.”
Spike leaned down then, as if he was suddenly unable to keep himself from kissing her. Yet he still didn’t meet her lips, pressing tender kisses instead on her eyes, her nose, her forehead. “I’ve missed you, kitten,” he said against her skin, raw emotion in the words. “Every bleedin’ second.”
She didn’t think she could fight her tears anymore; she stopped trying. What did it matter if the Spike in her dreams saw her cry? She should’ve let the real one see them more anyway…should’ve done a lot of things with him more than she had. Like tell him…
“I love you. I want you to believe me. Please, Spike…” Buffy didn’t know why she implored him the same way every night. He never did believe her, he never said anything in response at all. He’d always only kiss her, touch her, but never give her the answer that could lift the burden off her heart.
Yet what absolution could a dream grant her anyway?
Though this time, something changed, shifted. Her declaration made him pull up, gave him pause as he searched her features, her eyes. Another look she knew so well, the one of hope, the one that spoke of his need to find what he’d been wanting forever still etched in her mind. She’d scorned him every time he’d looked at her like this before, and the memories of it tore at her, shrouding her in guilt and regret.
She wouldn’t reject him this time, even if it wasn’t the time that counted.
Her small, trembling hands cupped his face, making his gaze stay locked with hers. “I love you, Spike. I always did. You were right all along.”
He responded like he always did, a touch, a kiss, only this time, something different, a change that made her heart want to burst. Soft words, almost too soft to hear, breathed against her lips: “I love you, too. Always.”
She kissed him back, pulled him close, wrapped her tongue around his, wrapped her legs around his waist. Words weren’t enough anymore. She’d never been good with them, and she didn’t know which ones could express all she felt anyway. But she could show him.
In her dreams, she let Spike make love to her, let him see everything she felt play across her face. She never swallowed one sigh, one moan of pleasure. She never held back; she let him see it all. The way she should have before.
Buffy knew it was too late. She knew it had been the times before that had counted and that this was empty, not real. But it was all she had, all she could do now that real was gone.
She liked to think he could see her, somewhere.
She liked to think somehow, he knew.
He told her once that every night he’d saved her.
Every night, she loved him.
His hand trailed up her thighs, under the fabric of her short, black nightgown, blazing a trail of fire in its wake. However, he stopped at the lace of her panties, tracing the edges without dipping beneath them. Spike pulled away from her lips, gasping, flushed, and met her eyes, seeking permission.
She didn’t hesitate to give it to him. Instead, she opened her legs wider, letting him know he was welcome there, welcome inside her.
Spike’s fingers darted beneath the dark lace, coating the long, pale digits with the moisture seeping from her. Buffy heard a low growl rumble from him, watched as his eyes darkened. “Always so wet.”
“Only for you.”
Her words had the desired affect when he growled again, then ripped her panties away, leaving her exposed, open to him. Buffy brought her legs up, slid them up his back, then brought them down, pulling him flush against her.
“I just need to feel you,” she whispered against his ear. “All of you.”
Spike pressed a hot kiss against her neck as her legs slipped down again, letting him up. He pulled his t-shirt over his head, knelt down to remove his boots before shucking his jeans as well. Moonlight streamed in from her parted curtains, bathing him in light, illuminating him. He was gorgeous, chiseled, and Buffy wondered if he had truly been as beautiful as she always remembered in her dreams.
Then he was covering her with his body again, the reassuring bulk of him soothing her broken heart and wounded soul. She wanted to forget this could only be a dream. The feel, the smell, the taste of him – it all seemed so vivid, triggering all those memories of him she treasured. She wanted to immerse herself in this, forget about what was real and what was illusion.
If she could only have him when she slept, then she would cherish her non-waking moments.
Spike gripped his cock, rubbed the tip up and down over her twice before pushing inside. Buffy was grateful he didn’t tease, didn’t make her wait. She needed the connection. She needed to feel him.
And feel him she did… Hard, heavy, thick. He was all around her, inside her, pulsing, thrusting, making her remember what it felt like to be whole. His touch was a salve, coating those old wounds they’d made together, pushing away the darkness and the hurt. She gasped over and over again, and somehow through the dreamy haze she realized she was saying his name.
This was what she needed, what she yearned for in the daylight hours, why she couldn’t fill the aching pit in her stomach. This was why her attempts to fill the void with another man in her bed had failed so miserably. No one else was him. No one filled her like him.
He made everything break apart; he made everything come together.
It started like a slow burn, rising up into an explosion until she was screaming, crying, clinging to him. It was a full, true release, a surrender to what she felt, what she needed. She heard him gasp, heard him make the sound he always made right before he came, and held him as he rode out the tremors, keeping him close as she remembered what it had made her feel to give him pleasure like this.
Sated, he rolled off of her, but brought her with him, holding her close against his chest. Things seemed hazy, and she knew this was where the dream ended, knew this was where she’d lose him until the moon rose once more.
Still, she murmured, “Never leave me again.”
“I won’t, sweetheart. I promise.”
It wasn’t real, a promise from a dream, but she held on to it anyway, savoring the last moments of her fantasy before it was gone and things were dark again.
*** *** ***
Buffy woke, blinking away the sunlight that streamed into the room. She groaned and pulled the blanket over her head.
Her eyes closed again and she remembered the night before, remembered dreaming of Spike yet again. She tried to will her brain to let her go back, to let her return to something other than the harshness of reality.
But she couldn’t, the dream too far from her reach for her to wrap herself in it again. It was in these cold, frustrating moments that she wished the dreams wouldn’t come at all. To have him return to her at night only to wake alone time and time again was maddening, torture.
Perhaps it was supposed to be. Perhaps this was her penance.
She sighed, pulled the blanket back down. If she couldn’t fall back asleep, couldn’t recapture that little taste of a return to heaven, then she might as well force herself to face the day. Maybe if she could just keep busy…
Buffy froze suddenly, something rustling behind her.
A warm hand on her shoulder; a deep, soothing voice.