Backwards with Time

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Early season 6. Buffy and Spike kiss earlier than what we saw on the show.

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It’s amazing the way hopelessness and helplessness exist together, like two morally-considerate buddies who help each other out, because it’s the Right Thing To Do, and, besides, it gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling in the deep, dark depths of their figurative hearts.

I’m tired of the constant attention from the usual gang of Trying To Help, But Seriously Are Not, once known as my best friends, my only friends, the Scooby Gang. Okay, only that last one if you lived inside the wishful, somewhat exaggerated head of Xander.

I’m tired, too, of switching on my Game Face without the chance to flip it back off until I was alone, safe. Gotta be strong. Gotta stay grateful. Thank God you all came along with your spells and good intentions to drag me out of that hell dimension!


At first, pain lay inside me with all the relentlessness of Giles nose-deep in big, dusty tomes cracking centuries-old codes that spelt out in Watcher-language: Attention, Apocalypse coming! Avert! It was a literal thing: a heavy, sour, weighs-me-down anvil-y thing that made everything wrong. I mean, breaking up with Angel? Crank up the hanky-factor, but at least I had “My Heart Will Go On” to carry me through the worst of times. And even when it felt like I was dying, like I had some sudden form of some inoperable, incurable disease, I still knew deep down that it’d pass. I’d get over it.

But who wakes up 6-feet under and thinks: Oh, no biggie. I’ll laugh about this ten years from now. Ha-ha, remember the time Buffy died and nobody let her have her peace?! I’m sure they spent a small fortune on the casket–there’s a tiny, maybe made-up memory of silk lining, which I remember from Mom is the expensive kind–but all that really matters to me in the end is that I was left in that thing by myself. No Welcome back, Buffy! posters plastered inside, no balloons. Just me and a lot of hot, stale air that wasn’t staying long enough to boogie, either. And the clawing myself to freedom! Fun!

“Hey, baby,” some form of barely recognizable frat boy slurs from beside me now at the bar. I’m doing the Bronze scene tonight. “Buy you a drink?”

I could sling back a fist and aim it at them red, bloodshot eyes. How about that? That an emphatic enough no for you, or would you like me to show you how useful the heel of my shoe really is? Or maybe laugh. Laugh and offer up a haughty please.

Instead, I smile. “Sure,” I say. Hell, it’s not like I can’t nurse two diet cokes at once. Walking dangerously and living the high life, that’s me. The bartender serves up a new glass with a smile of his own, while Frat Boy does a poor job of covering up his Well, fuck, there goes my chance of getting boned face.

I take a healthy sip through the twisty red straw–it was a gift, after all, and I do have my manners–and decide, what the hell. Let’s indulge Fratty here. There’s probably a whole herd of them upstairs watching, all Aww-shucks ’cause their boy got a Diet Coke’er instead of someone more inclined to bad taste in their mouth and early-morning regrets.

Decision made, I offer a flirty, “Wanna dance?” It’s all thousand-watt smiles, charm practically spilling out of my ears. A headache thumps softly at the back of my head, but so what, maybe I like the beat.

Fratty looks like a dog who just got a whiff of the Beggin’ Strips. He hops off the stool, offering a gallant arm to lead me to the dance floor where he gallantly pulls me close and gallantly holds tight to my ass. Peachy. He’s glowing like someone about to get laid, and I’m just trying to concentrate on not indulging in brute force to get Creep-O to lay off.

Maybe I’ve got a little Faith in me after all. It’s a perverse, thrilling thought. Self-deprecation was never my gig. This here, this grope-fest being manned by my new friend Fratty, that’s–well, whatever. Self-exploration. All the kids are doing it! Point is, it makes me feel likenot-me, like somebody else–bingo, where’s my prize? Hit the nail on the head. This swaying (a generous term for what we’re doing, if ever there was one) with Fratty isn’t about broadening my social horizons–hey, maybe he’s my soulmate!–or new experiences–what, like Parker didn’t teach me a thing or… well, just the one, actually–but it’s so not me, so unlike anything anyone would expect me to do, it thrills me.

Dirty girl.

That wave of self-reflection sends something else ashore with it–dead, evil, clad in a pair of black jeans that must’ve been bought and first worn at least three fashion trends ago. Fratty disappears. It’s like one of them Now you see him, now you don’t! gags, only with a muffled, outraged “Hey!” instead of theatrical silence. Then Spike is there, dancing (another generous term), and while his hands don’t slide down to where Fratty’s left their mark, they come close enough.

There should’ve been a moment where Earth to Buffy, come in, Buffy! went off, maybe a half-dozen alarm bells sounding, not to mention a giant, frantic, “DEAR LORD, END THIS MADNESS!” smoke signal by Giles, but, nope, nada. Actually–I grab Spike by the lapels–this feels better–I move in closer–this feels right.

“Buffy…” It’s the first thing he’s said to me tonight (and he’s been skulking in the shadows since I got here, I know), the first since he helped clean out my flooded basement. Even with my nerves loosened on that glass of diet coke, clarity drips through. It’s not some breathy, where have you been all my life?, verge-of-reverence voice, like–well, like when I first wasn’t-dead and walked down a staircase. Nope. This was, Who are you, and what is Faith doing in your body again? Maybe a little annoyance rumbled underneath, too. Almost fatherly. I mean it, young lady. You quit that dirty dancing, or else…

Well. So what? The Gang wasn’t here. Giles was at home. Mom was buried too far down to care. This was me now. Hah, wouldn’t Willow love that? Hey, Wills, it’s me! You brought this back! Guess maybe you screwed up a–

“‘Least let me get you outta here.”

Oh! Seriously? Are you kidding me? He’s Mr. Concern now, oh, sure, with those long fingers curling comfortably into exposed Buffy-flesh, holding on mighty tight for someone so damn concerned. Suddenly we’re friends, is that it? Good friends. Friends whose conversations all start with, So, that time I died… And now he thinks he has the right to guide my poor, lost soul back to the light? Please. In fact: puh-leeze.

His fingers leave their claim on my waist (a’ha! Like Fratty afterall), but instead of trailing that slow downward path, they take an East-ish detour. Oh. It’s then, his hand covering mine, that I realize I’ve balled the ol’ puncher into a tight fist. And my smile has since crawled back to the barren place from whence it came, likely never to be seen again, and that general glazed look I had perfected for Fratty feels harder, sharper.

Spike is smiling like a dope, which is so like him. The dope part.

That’s when I peel back and reclaim my hand. Who does he think he is? So we sat on my porch that one… couple of times. And? Like that was an invitation into my social circle? Welcome to the Gang, where our motto and mission is ALWAYS INTERVENE! And here he was supposed to just be my–well, whatever. Confidant. That person (thing) I could go to when the going got tough–wah, I have bills to pay! Wah, I think I hate my friends a little! Pretty clear-cut, right? If I knew he was going to get all Bambi-eyes on me I would’ve punched him in the nose, told him to cut the crap, and kicked him off my porch.

Too late for that, I do what anyone in my situation would do: turn up the ice for an awesomely powerful glare, hold it, hold it, twirl on my heels (see? useful) and power-stride my way outside. The swell of an imaginary inspiration follows in my wake and I revel in it. Once outside, as the exit door swings behind me, it brings with it the garbled noise of the Bronze–loud music, loud talking, just general loudness that seems impersonal standing on this side of the door. Well, good riddance.

Congratulating myself on my return to sanity, I begin to march down the back alleyway. I’m feeling proud of myself, in that way drunks do when they manage to walk a semi-straight line without toppling over. Like a kid who takes a first, curious drag on something stupid, but puts that baby out and Febrezes the hell out of the place seconds before Dad comes swarming in. Tingly, almost giddy.

And at the same time–whoosh–on schedule, there’s that remarkably timely wave of guilt. Dawn… Giles… if they were here tonight, if they ever saw me…

There’s a part of me that’s screaming inside at the unfairness of it all. I didn’t even do anything, except maybe let some wet-nosed fratboy cop a feel, and so what? Xander and Anya practically do the same thing while they’re getting their Bronze on every night! And Willow and Tara. Why can’t I have that? Why do I have to sit by myself and pretend to be happy playing the celibate martyr just because I have an extracurricular activity that includes stake whittling and 2-for-1 sales on the holy water?

My victory march has slowed into something far less calorie-burning, like a sluggish stride, and that’s when noise enters the alley again. A vampire, of course. Spike, of course.

“Runnin’ off for some alone time, I wager,” he calls after me, like some kinda taunt meant to provoke a response. It’s immature. It’s juvenile. It’s so far below my level of class–

I twirl around and yell, “You give terrible financial advice!” Not something that zings, but what can I say? Tried the deep stuff already (I think I was in… well, you know) and never mind insulting his lack of actual inherited evil-ness. That just catapults him into a tantrum of self-pity, all wallowing in despair ’cause he’s got that chip in his head. So I strike where it hurts most, buster. Right in the gut.

“Do not!” he protests, stung. And at my side, already having caught up with me in the course of one exchanged insult. I try not to notice how comfortable it feels to walk beside him now-a-days, with him bumping into my elbow every couple of steps. Rewind back to this time last year and I would’ve pulled a face, shoved him out of my way and out of my sight, and gave myself a metaphorical bleaching to rid myself of eau du evil, annoying vampire. And now I find myself actually wanting that casual, accidental touch. Walking side-by-side, sharing smiles and jokes and–okay, I think this says something about the extent of which I am social, because wanting those things from Spike? Oh, god.

“–you still with me, Slayer?”

What? Yes! Of course. Absolutely. I’m attentive Buffy. I’m all ears Buffy. Okay, I haven’t heard a word he’s said since he had to rebut his financing advice as being usable, but I am filling in the missing blanks myself and, I got to tell you, I picked a good time to get all spacey.

But then he goes and says, “You feeling alright?” in this quiet, concerned voice that, on anyone else–my friends, Dawn, Giles–it’d grate on my nerves, make my skin crawl, make my stomach flop in a way that feels like a once upon a time ago leap off of a tower to save the world. But Spike says it, he says it, and it does something to me that I don’t think I want to delve too deep into to get the meaning of.

He grabs me by the arm, stops us in our tracks. Gut reaction is to jerk away, and I try that, but he’s holding on too tight. He won’t stop looking at me. Even with us swallowed in the recess of shadows I can see that look on his face. Mega-concern, a whole bunch of sympathy. Part of it pisses me off, but mostly it makes me realize that I can’t hide anything from him. I mean, pretty much already spilled the big beans with the Guess Where I Spent My Summer Vacation? confession, so what else is there to hide behind?

Spike hesitates. I can feel his fingers tightening around my arm. It’ll probably leave a red mark. Quick, so quick he probably isn’t even aware he’s doing it, his eyes leave their hold on mine to stare at my lips. Which instantly propels my heart rate from a reasonably mellow state of calm to something that could probably spell out WARNING, APPROACHING DANGER in Morse code, quick and frenzied.

He says, “Buffy,” not like inside. Not like it at all. This is the breathless, awed, help-me-I’m-drowning voice, this is the stop-me-before-I-do-something-stupid voice that I’ve heard and ignored a dozen times before. His eyes are searching mine again, and you’d think, I swear to god, you’d think maybe I’d take the out he’s giving me and, I don’t know, bolt out of their like a dignified bat out of hell, but I’m just as glued to this spot, this moment, as he is. Maybe more, because I can taste the dirtiness in my mouth already. I can feel it in my blood, in my gut. I want him to kiss me. I want him to give me a reason for feeling wrong the way I do. I want it so bad, I can’t hardly think straight. Give me that reason. Make it feel okay.

I can see him turning over each new thought in his head. He wants it in a way different than I want it, but he wants it too, I know. Even if he hasn’t chained me to a stone slab in his crypt lately to declare some warped, twisted version of what he thinks is called love, it’s still there, I know it is.

That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. I free myself from his white-knuckled grasp in a way that makes my shoulder ache with the force of my effort, then, with fire in my eyes, aim that punch I’ve been meaning to deliver all night. I aim it at his face, but before there’s that satisfying moment of feeling it connect, he grabs me again, spins us so that we’ve switched sides of the alley, and in the same movement, with not even a second passing, shoves me up against something hard and solid.

Then he’s kissing me, hard and desperate, like he’s got to get all he can get out of this before I come to my senses and stake him. Which, in an alternative universe where a sane Buffy lives in a nice sane neighborhood this would’ve happened, but now, here, all I can do is flatten against the wall I’m pressed against and hold on, hold him there.

He slows down in surprise–I can feel his wide eyes on me, watching–but I grab his face, grab around his mouth, push myself closer. Smart vampire, he doesn’t question insane-o Buffy’s actions, just pushes into me and speeds things up again.

It takes a while before reality catches up with me. Seconds, minutes. Who knows, maybe I was making out with Spike against a scattered collection of nasty, moldy old cardboard boxes for hours. But when it does decide to filter through without that rose-colored film to give things no sane person would do actual appeal, it’s instantaneous. It’s quick, it’s reflexive. I gasp, pull back. Spike’s got his head titled in an angle that would suggest he’s interested in more of the same of what we were currently just doing. With a pathetic sound that is mostly a mixture between disgust and regret, I push him away, pull out of the space he’s got me pinned in.

Spike’s caught on by then and I expect a fight. Maybe some parting words to chase me into the night, to keep me awake. Instead, he just sighs and smiles a smile that is both self-deprecating and annoyed, moving out of the way to let me go. It’s not chivalrous, he’s not trying to be some noble version of himself. I know that. He’s pissed off, but he doesn’t say anything, he clinches his jaw with the effort to not say something, even as I brush past him and make my way down the alley, away from this.

With my head held high, my shoulders stiff and square, I’m glad that he can’t see my face, not with the way I’m trying to keep myself from breaking.


It’s easy that first night, at least that’s what I tell myself. The garlic and the crosses. The bottles of holy war stocked like the basement of a church. I’m loaded with enough arsenal to keep away the town’s worth of unwanted, but it’s only the one I’m concerned about. Bad choice of word right there. I’m not concerned about Spike. I’m not. I’m… unconcerned, but in an occupied way that might vaguely look like concern if you squint hard enough, or look at it through a magnifying glass.

I try to be inconspicuous about the whole thing, because getting busted by Willow or Dawn with the Magic Shop’s entire supply of anti-evil bundled in my arms? Yeah, not gonna quip my way out of that. Besides, there’s this whole demoralizing issue of feeling like I can’t handle it myself, with adult-type words and maybe some Slayer-type fists. I have to resort to stereotypes and bad horror movie props.

I’m just finishing in the redecorating of my bedroom when I notice I have company. From outside, a string of muttered, colorful British curses pulse like a breeze through my open window and into hearing range. Oh, great. Perfect. And winning the award for Most Likely To Be Grossly Predictable…

When I look down and out the window, carefully, only peeking through the crack in the curtains because a strong, powerful Slayer am I, I spot him down there. Like some perfectly-roasted marshmallow, the ball-of-white that is the top of his head bobs in the cover of darkness. He’s leaning against the tree Mom always thought was too repulsive and large for our yard, wiping his hands on his pant legs. There’s a still-lit cigarette burning brightly on the ground at his feet, and he stomps it out with the heel of his boot. Even as he’s doing so, his attention flickers skywards, toward my room, and on instinct I push backwards with an expel of air.

He didn’t see me. He couldn’t have seen me. No way, not unless vamp eyesight came with a bonus special of 3D vision. Still. My heart’s battering against my ribcage, echoing into my neck and throat–leftover shock at nearly having my cover blown. Feeling vulnerable, I grab a nearby stake. Yeah, let him climb into my window now. I’d like to see him try. I take another look out the curtain, this time from a larger distance, and he’s looking up, looking annoyed.

“Know you’re in there, Slayer!” he calls towards the sky. He could’ve been talking about anyone. “Think you’ve gone beyond overkill, don’t you?” What, who? Me? That’s not true. Earlier I rejected the idea of wallpapering my whole room in crosses, and it only took a brief pause before I realized that lugging a stake-flinging bazooka upstairs would possibly tip Willow or Tara off. “You know that’s all a crock,” he keeps going on, in typical Spike fashion: talk until punched, and, unfortunately for me, he was all the ways down there, out of fist-range. More impatient now, in a way meant to get my attention, he tacks on, “Cooking me up something hot, are you?”

A rush of disgust curdles my blood. So, so not.

He lets out a suffering sigh. “You’re not gonna makes this easy, are you?”

Warning bells go off. He’s not gonna–no way he’d–I ease forward and, sure enough, there he is, scaling the side of my house like it’s Mt. Everest.

“Spike!” I hiss. False pretenses be damned, I stick my head out the window and whisper-shout, “Go home!”

His response is a jovial smile, the kind that pushes me over that fine line of being merely annoyed and into that gray, dangerously pissed zone where homicidal tactics are the preferred response of choice. Slayer with a weapon here. You do NOT want to be on the receiving end of that.

“Boo,” he says, at my window now, and without thinking I fall back a step. Then he’s crawling boot-first into my room and that propels me into action. I drop the stake and rush forward, pushing at his knees.


“Bloody hell,” he complains, all offended, which he totally shouldn’t be because, hey, dropped the stake, remember? I could be cleaning up his tiny, ashy pieces right now instead of trying to get him to see the positive of a 2-story drop. Besides, vampires are like cats, right? They always land on their feet. Or… maybe that was squirrels?

That moment of mental derailment gives Spike all the momentum he needs, and as I unconsciously loosen my grip on his tacky, lame faded jeans, he lurches into the room like a cricket on crack, dragging me down with him. Of course in this scenario of How To Be A Slayer gone wrong, he lands heavy on top of me, hard. There’s a brief moment of surreality that creeps in as body parts are being pressed mercilessly into scratchy carpet that’s in need of a good deep cleaning, while we lay there tangled together in a heap of leather and limbs. In the calm, he’s looking at me, looking none too apologetic about my rug-burned elbows or the knee he has wedged indelicately between my thighs. Pig. A lesser woman would take a defensive tactic in the form of a shrill, hysterical scream, the kind all them good Samaritan neighbors hear in the middle of the night and inform the local authorities about. Fat chance that’d work around here. Besides, Slayer perks mean Slayer powers, including but not limited to quick reflexes and even quicker wit.

“Breaking and entering?” I snark. “Gee, Spike, you’re not getting soft on me, are you?”

He smiles, this slow-forming, easy, comfortable smile that isn’t really a smile at all. More like a smirk. A thin, hollowed out smirk that makes his cheekbones razor sharp. Which is when my poor choice of words catch up with me. Soft? Really? Of all the words in the dictionary? Luckily, he’s not as suicidal as he currently appears, opting to skip the lame innuendo for something else. “You mean, I’m not invited?” He looks around the room. At the line of garlic cloves strung around my bed frame like a string of Christmas lights. The travel-size bottle of holy water on my bedstand. The crosses. Okay, point made. “Could smell you brewing this up a mile away.”

“I got bored.”

“Got something, alright.”

“But not your blindingly stupid intuition.” A bright smile blossoms across my face. “Did you want me to stake you? You only had to ask, Spike.”

The vulnerability of our position bursts into awareness when Spike moves his leg a little. His knee nudges indecently against parts of me better left unmentioned, his lips purse into a scandalized ‘O’, his eyes, the very picture of surprise, widen dramatically, and there, dancing in the depths of those shock-filled baby blues is a flicker of amusement that sends a flash of white hot anger erupting through my body. Something else tags along, something I don’t think I want to think too hard about, but I focus on my anger, keeping a tight hold on it.

With a laugh, Spike sits up, and, feeling annoyed, embarrassed, and thrown off, I get up too. I’m scowling, because I do have a point to make and sometimes you can’t trust Spike to pick things up by mere common sense alone. Sometimes the straight-to-visual helps. He doesn’t even notice, because he’s glancing around my room, taking yet more stock in the latest decor of Buffy Summers. Oh, look. There’s that boiling rage again.

“You can feel free to go now, anytime.”

That gets me a patronizing look. But just as quick as it forms, it melts away to reveal a deep seriousness; soft mouth, soft eyes. That’s worse. Sarcasm I can handle. Genuine concern and deep, emotional feeling-related stuff I can’t. “I figured we could talk,” he says, like we’re the type of people who have these kinds of conversations. “About last night.”

I step away. I’m inching closer to the stake, but it’s not done purposefully–that’s instinct. “There is nothing we need to talk about, Spike, ever.”

Now he pushes off of the ground and into a standing position. There’s this smooth, almost liquid eruption of black and leather, all angles and lines. It’s harderer to ignore the intensity in his eyes at this height, especially with the way he moves in closer. “We kissed.”

“We had a mental lapse in sanity. That’s not the same thing.”

“Sure as hell felt like it. Buffy…”

I reach down and pick up the stake, probably a little more intentionally than I mean to. I’m not trying to be dramatic. It’s a comfort thing. Feeling the wood beneath my fingers, feeling the splinters, it helps me think better. It keeps me focused. “You need to go,” I tell him, in as low, deadly serious of a voice as I can manage.

He cocks his head to the side. Snide, playful, sarcastic: “Scared?”

“Of what? You? Yeah, Spike. I’m terrified. In fact, the only time I’ve been more terrified is the time I stumbled across that basket of kittens.”

Through narrow eyes, he says, “You felt something. I know you did. Except you can’t admit it, can you?”

“Repulsion, bile, disgust. Regret.”

“Heat, desire.” When I groan in outrage, not to mention that aforementioned disgust, he actually looks amused. I tighten my grip on the stake. He’s treading dangerously here. Seriously, one accidental lunge forward on my part and, oops, bye-bye, Spikey.

“Do you have a death-wish?” I ask. “Are you obtuse? Can’t take a hint?”

His smile grows, which is wholly disconcerting. It throws me off my game. Anger, denial, lame comebacks. Those I expect. Compliance in the form of ear-to-ear grinning? Who takes that defensive tactic besides lunatic vampires? I would expand on this subject and my thoughts thereof, but he starts taking steps backwards. In itself that wouldn’t warrant a mention, except these steps are bringing him closer to the window. Then he’s actually at the window, the curtain fluttering from the breeze at his elbows, his back.

If he says something, anything cliché, like, ‘Til next time or Until we meet again, Slayer, I may just have to stake him on principal alone.

But he doesn’t. He just backs up until he’s not in my room anymore, until he’s hanging at the edge of the window frame, silhouetted by night. I reclutch the stake. My nerves are burning, my thoughts bouncing all over the place. I want him to leave–I have never wanted anything more than I want that, in this moment–but I can hear this voice inside my head, this small, getting louder by the day voice, the one that wants me to sink into Spike and let him take me somewhere my friends can’t reach me, where I don’t have to worry about being happy for the sake of everyone else. It scares me, and not because it’s upsetting, but because it’s so appealing. So captivating.

He drops from view and I hurry to the window. The stake falls from my hand, rolls under the bed, ends up with the dust bunnies. He’s not there. He’s gone, and I should feel relieved. I should be grateful that we didn’t get into a full out scuffle, all on the merit of his word versus mine when it comes to the whole kissing-in-the-romantic-glow-of-the-Bronze’s-back-alley thing. Instead I’m tired. I’m tired and I’m gutted with ten times more guilt, and on top of of that I feel bad for not paying for all this stuff that I took from the Magic Box.

There’s a knock on my door. “Knock, knock,” Dawn says before she turns the knob and opens up. She looks concerned, but in that way that is glazed over with forced chirpiness. Does she think I don’t notice? “Everything okay in here? I thought I heard a noise. Or, uh, backtrack. That makes me sound crazy. To totally clarify, I thought I heard a noise that is not related to the possible insanity that lives inside my head.” She blusters through this without even seeing the crosses and the holy water–which all seems so ridiculous and unnecessary and overboard now.

It takes some effort, but I manage a smile. “Nope, no noises here.”

“Great,” Dawn sighs. “So I’m nuts.”

“But on the bright side, you’ve got some amazing self-awareness.”

“That’s true!” The perkiness deflates a little. “Are you, uh, gonna come downstairs? And eat? Xander said he’d come over and order ‘us gals’ some pizza and we could do the whole pizza/popcorn/movie thing. That could be fun.”

I could be an Olympian smile-forcerer. “Sorry. I’m all… tuckered out.”


“Busy night of slayage. You know how it is.”

“Right. So, should I–”

“Don’t cancel because I’m a party pooper. I’m serious.”

“Xander did mention Clueless.”

“See? There you go. Guaranteed fun.”

“I guess.” She hesitates, and I almost think maybe she’s seeing through everything I’ve said, but that would be expecting too much. With a smile, one that makes me hope mine don’t look as fake and limp, she says, “Goodnight, Buffy.”

‘Night, Dawnie.”

After she’s gone and I’m alone again, I sit at my bed and stare gloomily into the dark. I’m feeling alone, sorry for myself. I hate that. It makes me feel weak and powerless, and I hate that even more. I stand up again, my hands clenching and unclenching at my side. I’m nottired, or tuckered, or any other -ered. I’m wide awake, I’m feeling frenetic and it’s all Spike’s fault. If he would’ve just come close enough for me to punch, or–

I’m clenching my hands again. I need to hit something. I need to stake something. I’ve got this wild, churning, simmering something inside of me. I feel too confined.

My body aches to move, but I know where my feet will take me once they hit pavement. Spike’s crypt. I’ve walked that path too many times, I’ve sought that comfort more than I will ever, ever admit out loud. I can’t do it again. I just, I can’t.

Outside, the wind picks up. A car drives by. I can hear the bristling of the leaves next to my window, dry and crackling.

Every second, every breath that passes feels like another weight added to my shoulders. It’s getting heavier, and I don’t know if this is the end that I’m waiting for or if I’m just going to get myself buried alive.

So I go back to my bed. Sit down, sit on top of the covers. And I wait to see what happens next.

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