Author’s Notes: Written for Rachel2205 in last year’s Spuffy Ficathon on LJ. Criteria posted at end.
Warning: Character death.
“We’ll go be heroes.”
The words echo in Spike’s head as he steps from the porch, hands going through their ritual of searching through the pockets of his duster for cigarettes and lighter, and tamps down on his disappointment at Buffy’s refusal to almost admit…something. Mission accomplished, Spike spends a few moments lighting up before moving off down Revello Drive in the direction of the vineyard.
Absently dragging on the cigarette between his lips, Spike glances up at the night sky as his strides take him further from where he wants to be, beside Buffy. Starlight battles to filter through the light pollution thrown up by the street lighting and, despite the importance of reconnoitring the vineyard, Spike does nothing to stop his thoughts from drifting like the smoke he exhales into the balmy summer night.
He hadn’t lied when he’d told Buffy last night had been the best of his life. It had been all he had thought about through the long day, waiting for the sun to dip – or for Buffy to return – Spike allowed foolish hopes to gain a foothold in his heart, his soul. The night they’d spent in each others arms meant the world to him, an unlooked for gift of trust and comfort between a woman and a man.
The note he found beside him on waking alone had done nothing to dispel his feeling of connection with Buffy. He’d read it over and over during the day, the girlishly scribed words easily memorised.
You told me things last night that I really needed to hear.
I feel stronger now, because of you. I know what my mission is, and that Caleb’s holding the secret to it all.
This one I have to take care of alone. You take care too.
It was safely tucked into the inside pocket of his duster, as near to his undead heart as possible, and there it was going to stay. Until he took it out to touch and read again.
Sighing, Spike tossed the remnant of his smoke away, conscientiously stamping on the glowing tip. Buffy was right; it didn’t have to mean anything. And the timing was as wrong as it could get, on the brink of the biggest battle to be seen on the Hellmouth. But if not now, when? Later? Never? Was there ever a right time for any of those dwelling on the Hellmouth?
With a soft growl, Spike rolled his head, working out the kinks in neck and shoulders, pulling his focus back to the here and now with an effort. Had to do what he could to help the Slayer with the mission, had to have her back against the nasties under the First Evil’s command. Not precisely being a hero, but useful was about the most a recently souled vampire – just a step ahead of crazy – could hope for. Didn’t have time to be dreaming of a future where Buffy…didn’t have time.
Despite the warmth of the night, even though it was still summer, he could sense a thread of change in the air. Fall wasn’t as far away as it seemed. Death was in the air, a chill of loss he could almost taste, could almost feel settling in his bones – and Spike would be damned thrice over if he unlived to see Buffy die again. Had been almost unbearable without the soul, when the stubbornness of the demon kept him hard to the promise he’d given the Slayer before her leap from the tower. With the soul… Wasn’t going to happen. Not again. He knew he was a dead man walking
“Right, Spike,” he muttered, straightening and stepping out with more purpose, a hand patting the duster above his left breast. “Sounds like a plan.”
The familiar sound of running Slayer halted him moments later. Half turning, Spike drank in the sight of his golden girl trotting towards him, a smile ready to welcome her.
The door had barely closed behind Spike before Buffy started cursing herself. She could have handled that better. Should have handled that better. If she could admit to herself that he was in her heart, why couldn’t she just say it to him? Emotions and words not so mixy in the hands of Buffy.
Huffing gently, Buffy swept a hand over her hair, fingering her ponytail absently. It was his fault, he always did this to her, made her feel – even when she didn’t have time for it. But there was never time, was there? There was now, that’s all they could be sure of. Tomorrow or the next day, some of them would be dead, maybe all of them if she couldn’t find out about the power of the scythe, discover if it could be used as something other than the weapon it obviously was.
She couldn’t talk about this right now. Fact. But she could show him that right now – if there was to be someone – it would be him. He never ceased to surprise her, and just like always he alternatively stirred her still waters and poured oil on her troubled ones. Spike was just so… Infuriating, always! Truthful, too often! Caring, like a shepherd. Loyal as a guardian angel. Loving as… Honestly? Somewhere between Casanova…and a priest.
They’d done the whole physical bit. There was no doubt in Buffy’s mind that they were…compatible in bed. And when did blushing become this uncomfortable? She couldn’t lie to herself and say that their bodies didn’t make music together; maybe not the sweetest, but it was real. The aftermath had always been her undoing; the envelope of time when most post-coital couples would be snuggling – and whispering sweet nothings together – had been her signal to dress and leave, disgusted at herself and what they’d just enjoyed together.
His love had meant nothing compared to her pain.
But now it did.
Last night he had been the only light in her darkest hour. When no body else stood beside her, there was Spike. Once he had been a problem. Now he was the solution. His stubbornness and belief had never been more needed, not even in her direst days – nights – after her resurrection.
And the vineyard was in the same direction as the cemetery she had to go to…
He had a two minute head start. If she left now she could see him again. Maybe walk part of the way with him.
Gripping the scythe tightly in her right hand, Buffy slipped through the door and ran as if death were at her heels. And then he was there, yards ahead, stopping and looking toward her. He was smiling, happy to see her; but not as happy as she was to see him. My hero.
Slightly breathless, Buffy came to a halt to Spike’s right. Just like always. His glance held an unspoken question, but his pleasure in her company was as open as his eyes.
“We’re gong the same way…well, until the cemetery.” Buffy peered down the street. “Um, about a hundred yards. Want some company?”
Breathing in deeply, savouring the full bouquet of Buffy Summers, Spike twisted slightly and offered his right arm to his Slayer.
“Would you care to stroll?” he enquired, this gift of time with her held gently in the knowledge that these moments would ever be precious to him.
Giving her eyes permission to disclose all, Buffy gazed up at him. “I’d love to.” She tucked her hand in the crook of his arm, hugging it close to her side. After a slight hesitation, Spike took the initiative and started their stroll.
They had two minutes, tops.
Agony and ecstasy. This was something. Buffy had sought his company, and he wasn’t about to undervalue that because of the lack of time. Quality was so much better than quantity. Sorry, Dru.
Warmth from her hand seeped through the soft leather of the duster, his every nerve ending attuned to her. If this were the movies there would be a rising orchestra and he would get to kiss her. And it would be as if this were the first time they’d kissed – as it would be…for Spike with a soul and Buffy.
This wasn’t the movies, and the orchestra could go get stuffed even if it was. When this was over, if he was still in a position to do so, then he would call her on this, demand – or beg – an explanation. What does this mean? But until then he would enjoy it, bask in the warmth of her touch – and the occasional brushing of hip and thigh as they strolled.
All too soon they reached the point where two roads diverged. And before Spike trod the one less travelled by, he was gently touched on the face by the One.
“Later,” Buffy promised, giving in to the rightness of reaching up to softly kiss his cheek before pivoting and entering the cemetery.
Slowly, Spike raised a hand and touched his cheek, the imprint of her lips still burned upon his skin. Before he could descend into utter poncedom, he shook himself, gave the back of the disappearing Slayer one last longing look, and started trotting towards the vineyard.
The scent of summer, of Summers, perfumed the night.
The moment the amulet slid onto her skin she knew. Her easy pleasure in seeing Angel was doused under the ice pouring over her the second the outlandish jewel touched her palm.
The price for this was high. It needed a hero.
And it wouldn’t be Angel.
The bus eventually pulled over in the next town along the highway. Giles, thankfully, was taking care of all the details; Buffy didn’t have the strength to be a general any more. The stench of loss was too strong, and it made her sick to her stomach. It would have been so much worse if he…if he hadn’t sacrificed himself for them all. Without Spike they could well have lost the world. Our hero.
Buffy found the envelope tucked into her backpack about an hour later.
- a keyword/ situation/ line you want to see: it was if it were the first time they had kissed
- Three other requests for your fic: season 7; romantic but not too fluffy; a balmy summer night.
- Up to three restrictions for your fic: stay in season – no changes to previous canon either please.
- Rating preference: I’d rather not have sex in this one but romance, refs to adult content etc are fine.
A/N: The words for the note to Spike were taken from somewhere – and I’ve forgotten where! If you know whom I should credit please shout my way and will add here.