“Hello, luv,” a deep voice rumbled in Buffy’s ear causing her to shiver. She spun around and green met blue. She furrowed her brow and took a step back to take in the person pressing so close against her.
She couldn’t help the happiness that flooded her at seeing her best friend. If he even was that anymore. “Spike?”
He grinned saucily and spread his arms open wide, “in the undead flesh.”
She broke out into a huge smile and took the opportunity of his arms open wide to fling her arms around him and hug him.
He gently embraced her and enjoyed the warmth of her body against his. He allowed himself a sigh. He had missed her.
She broke away from him and studied him. “It would be really dumb to say you look the same wouldn’t it?”
He rolled his eyes, “yeah, luv, I think so.”
“Hey, you could have changed your style.” She giggled, “so the jeans and t shirt haven’t yet welded themselves onto your body huh?”
“Ha bloody ha,” but he was smiling. “How I’ve missed your sarcasm.”
She shrugged, “how could you not? So, the last time I saw you was…last year? About this time?”
“Yes, I believe you were on your way to England for a vacation. I got a letter that said you were staying indefinitely. But, funny how I never got the return address.”
She looked down and away. Then, she shrugged. “I liked it there.”
He cocked his head to the side and she met his gaze straight on. He was doing the classic look of trying to get to the bottom of what she was thinking. The best way to not give him any fodder was to meet his gaze.
“Hiding something, pet?” He asked.
“Why didn’t you want me to know where you were?”
She shrugged. “What does it matter?”
“I missed you. I wanted to know where you were, if you were all right.”
“Well, I’m here, aren’t I? And I’m all right. All in one piece.”
“You’re lucky I didn’t come after you.”
“Bit dramatic, don’t you think?” She raised her eyebrows.
His eyes flashed then, humor gone. “I had a half a mind to.”
“Why didn’t you then?” She challenged him.
“Figured you’d rather have me stay and protect those nearest and dearest.”
“You don’t have to do anything for me, Spike. You never had to.”
“No, but I choose to.”
“A vampyre with the deep-seated respect and desire for a family. How sweet.” She was being bitter now. Their reunion had gone from pleasant to horrid in seconds. It figured she wouldn’t be able to come back and have no questions asked. She had hoped that enough time had passed for her departure and her desire to not come back to be, if anything, forgiven.
“Don’t give me that. Just because you felt the need to abandon everyone-“
“Oh for Christ’s sake! I didn’t abandon anyone. I traveled. Everyone knew where I was—“she stopped then. Uh-oh. She hadn’t met for that last part to come out.
His eyes went from anger, to hurt and then back to anger. “You kept in touch with everyone? You mean to tell me I was the only one who was kept out of the loop as to where you were? How is that, Supergirl?”
“Don’t call me that,” she told him through clenched teeth. “I’m not Supergirl. I’m just Buffy.”
“Just Buffy, huh? Did visiting a different country zap you of your super powers then? Or can you still take out a few vamps, a demon and whatever else comes along without breaking a sweat?”
Her eyes flashed then, “shut up, Spike,” she hissed.
“Prefer Wonder Woman then?”
She glared at him, clenching her fists.
“I know you want to hit me,” he said darkly. “Why don’t you just do it?”
She straightened, “because I’m not that girl anymore. I left her here when I left. I became me and I don’t have any desire to be ‘wonder woman’ any longer. Good-bye Spike.” She stalked off, beer on the bar forgotten.
Spike watched her walk away and clenched and unclenched his jaw several times. Bloody chit. No, no this wasn’t right. There was no way she was going to walk away from him. There was no way she was going to up and leave for a year without telling him where she was and what she was doing. There was no way she was going to get away with keeping him out of the bloody loop. Not after he’d stood by her, fought by her side, been there for her…loved her. He stormed off in her direction. Pushing his way through the crowd he followed her scent outside. He took a right onto the sidewalk out of the bar and saw her halfway down the street, pulling her sweater tighter around her. He took off in a flash and grabbed her arm. She quickly twisted his arm so that she was the one grabbing his and flung him halfway across the street.
“Not Wonder Woman any longer huh?” He asked as he sat up on his elbows.
She narrowed her eyes at him, “Jesus Christ, Spike! What the hell are you doing?”
He got up, wiping blood away from his mouth and planted himself in front of his fuming Wonder Woman.
“Think I’d make it easy for you to just walk away from me?” He asked.
She rolled her eyes, “the real question is do you ever make anything easy? Which is exactly why I didn’t tell you where I was, specifically.”
He didn’t try to hide the hurt any longer. “Why? Why did you lie to me? Why did everyone else lie to me?”
“They were respecting my wishes.”
“And you? I can take their lying to me—sort of. But you? How could you do that?”
“I did what I had to.” She whispered.
“What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?”
“It means that I wanted to get away from here for a while Spike. Boston wasn’t my home anymore. It was becoming something entirely different. And goddammit, I’m not the damn Slayer. It’s not my job to clean up the streets. I’m not a Chosen One. I’m just a girl that happened to be born with powers—”
“A witch with the ability to kick ass.”
“Exactly. And I didn’t want to be her anymore. I wanted to be me. The me without the powers. The me who enjoys the sun and hanging out with her friends. The me who has choices.”
He folded his arms across his chest and studied her. She was shaking. Obviously upset. “You always have choices, Buffy. No matter who you are or what powers you have.”
“I protected them the best I could as I was gone. I still practiced my magic.” She sighed heavily. “And I knew that you were here. That was another reason I asked them to not say anything.”
“Bloody hell, woman!” He threw up his arms. “You mean to tell me that you used me?”
She looked away. “Part of going away to be me meant leaving behind the vampyre that was my friend. Not exactly part of the normal life I was trying to…try on.”
Now, his hurt was more than apparent. It was broadcasted for any to see. He looked as if she had driven a stake through his heart.
“How could you?” He whispered. “After all we’d been through?”
Her eyes welled up in tears. She hadn’t ever wanted him to know the truth. She couldn’t stand the hurt apparent on him. It rolled off of him in waves and made her want to break down and beg forgiveness. Which, she realized, was what she should do. Instead though, she looked straight at him.
“I always have choices, remember?” She told him and walked away again.
He grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him. “I should be the one walking away from you after what you did to me. Not the other way around.” He ground out.
“Then walk away,” she challenged him. She stared defiantly at him and nearly faltered when she saw tears forming. Instead though, he grabbed her and pulled her against him and kissed her hard. It was a wholly carnal, demanding and possessive kiss.
She pushed at him and still he kissed her. His canines nipped her tongue and she pushed with all her might, but his anger and hurt gave him strength greater than hers. Usually, they were equals, but when emotions were running high—especially with Spike—he had insane strength. He growled at her as she pushed and for once in her life, she was afraid of him. He left her mouth as blood spilled into it and within a second she felt his fangs sink into her neck. She tensed with shock—no, no, no—oh god.
“Mine!” He growled fiercely as he sipped her blood, “You’re mine.”
Oh, God. He didn’t. He just claimed her. Marked her as his mate. Her fear gave her back the strength that seemed to leave her body after his assault. She pushed with all she had in her and succeeded in shoving him clear away. He landed in a heap in the alley and hit the wall. He slid down, eyes fixed and glowing on her. She swiped at the blood she could feel trickling down her neck. His eyes went wide with shock as blood dripped off his canines.
“Oh god, no, I didn’t—Buffy, I didn’t—Oh god, I’m so sorry—“ He started to stand but this time she ran as hard and as fast as she could. Away from the monster who bit her; ran away from the monster who claimed her so savagely. Away from her once best friend.
Spike sank back down into the concrete floor and sobbed. He’d hurt her. He hadn’t meant to, he was just so hurt…he felt so betrayed and he loved her so much. He had missed her while she was gone. Missed her so much his undead heart seemed to constantly ache. When he had been told by her letter that she was not coming home any time soon, his whole world had fallen apart. The only thing that had kept him going was the thought that one day she would be back and that by staying beside her family, he was doing her good. It hurt to know that she hadn’t even sought him out when she’d arrived home. He tried to be casual about it, figured she’d tell him in her own time. But, there was something different about her and if there was one thing Spike wasn’t, it was patient. Her betrayal of him cut so deeply, and his fear of losing her completely obliterated all rational thought. With his claim on her, she would be bound to him forever. She belonged to him now. Oh God, what if she left again? She could. She could up and leave…but he could find her this time. She hated him now. There was nothing stopping her from staking him this time! His thoughts jarbled, his feelings strewn, there was only one thing he knew he had to do: get her to forgive him.