All About Spike - Plain Version
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Buffy clicked off the bathroom light and stepped out to find Spike hovering between the bed and the window. He was dressed again, or rather completely dressed, because neither of them had gotten undressed, exactly, and he looked like he didn't know what he was doing. It was if they hadn't just been silently struggling on that bed scarcely fifteen minutes earlier. Every trace of that intimacy had been erased. What struck her was that it made her uncomfortable.
He looked like he was going to leave. At the very least, he didn't look as if he was sure he could stay.
Boy, isn't this great? Buffy thought. Fight, shag, kiss, all sorts of things, but say, 'Please stay' and it's impossible. But it was. She couldn't meet his eyes, because he was staring at her with William's eyes, and that made it worse. Worse still was the thought of him not being here. No arm beneath her cheek in place of a pillow, or cool body around hers. But she couldn't even get the words on her tongue.
Instead, she maneuvered toward him, brushing her hair at the vanity, dropping her earrings off at the nightstand, turning off the light, and finally coming round the bed to draw the blinds so there'd be no sun on them in the morning. She kept her eyes to herself, hoping he'd notice the significance of that little gesture, but even with an extra century, he was still a guy, post orgasm. So she padded up to him in the dark, touching his stomach with hands as light as blown leaves, hesitating, not daring to look into his eyes, shoving his coat down his arms and lowering it. She heard his breath catch in his throat, then, and had to look away, so she took the coat away and hung it over the bathroom door. When she turned back, he was undressing in front of her, and she found herself mentally stumbling over yet another one of those odd moments that seemed to lurk where she least expected them.
She'd seen him nude, obviously, it couldn't be that. Not to put too fine a point on it, they'd been about as intimate as you could get with another person, so why did she feel so strangely frightened, so suddenly, at Spike casually tossing his clothes on the floor? Maybe it was the casualness of it. She checked her mental list of Guy irritations to see if it was a typical guy-being-messy-type-of-reaction, but it didn't seem to be that. She padded forward on silent bare feet, and let the drapes fall closed. Turning to him, she found the pitfall she'd been avoiding.
He was naked, and she was struck by it. Naked, he reminded her of all the times he'd forced her to look into his eyes when they'd had sex, and now it was just being forced to look at him while not in the throes of arousal or ecstasy. Naked, quite simply, he was just a man, not Spike like at all, not a vampire, not frightening. In fact, with his hair all mussed, and his eyes smudged with tiredness, the very idea of applying the name 'Spike' to him seemed amusing. He leaned back on his hands and cocked his head at her, the way he'd done so many times before, but this time, she climbed into his lap and kissed him. It wasn't exactly a 'hello sailor' type of kiss, not with her fingertips on his face, in his hair, her lips barely on his, but he slid down onto his back and took her with him. "William, William, William..."
"Hm?" He paused, blinking up as she pulled away, and propped herself on her elbow so she could trace circles on his stomach. "What?"
She couldn't meet his eyes; afraid she'd see the response she was always afraid of getting, afraid he'd suddenly look at her the way she'd once looked at him. Except I really deserve it. The thought unnerved her.
She sat back up and took off her sweats, getting up and going to the door to toss them haphazardly somewhere in the general direction of the bathroom. She must not have aimed really well, throwing them backhanded and blind, because they hit something in the bathroom, and knocked it to the floor with a clatter, a clatter that made him flinch.
Vampires, Buffy thought, don't usually do that.
Vampires, no. She thought. Dawn did, though; that was a very Dawn-like thing to do, when Mom's name came up; she supposed she herself did it, when Riley's name surfaced. She'd seen Xander stiffen abruptly in his parents' basement, when they reminded him of their existence by anything, and even Anya gave a little involuntary shudder at the thought of poverty, free giveaways, and celibacy. All perfectly human, given the provocation. But here was Spike, twitching at a loud noise around her. And that, she thought, I did deserve.
He sat all the way up and watched her, watching her watching him, intrigued, wondering what had shifted. There was something in the air, something in her eyes, because she wasn't a girl who was comfortable enough in her own skin to walk around nude and not care if he watched. Except... Except, just now, for some reason, he got the feeling that she had jumped past the getting-accustomed stage to the part where... He shook the thought off as being too optimistic. She tugged at the bedclothes under him and he obligingly shifted so she could slide under them and cuddle next to him.
She could see practically nothing, and hoped that he could. In the dark, she felt invisible, but not carefree as she had before. It was different than escaping her responsibilities, it was as if she could cope with them differently because they had different shapes and incomplete forms. In the dark, she was only aware of warmth and comfort and cool skin; his lips against her forehead, her hands pulling him closer. In the dark, she could do the things she wanted to do, and hoped that feeling them was as good as seeing them. So she traced his lips with her fingers, over and again, as if she were writing her name there, holding his palm to her cheek while she buried her hot face against his chest, and tried not to let it overwhelm her. His hands stroked her back, up and down, just fingertips, as if he were tracing her for memory. She did his gesture; his head on her arm while she curled her fingers in his hair, tracing his face with the back of her fingers. She couldn't see at all, only feel, and it gave her the courage to put motion to her feelings, completion to her impulses. She pressed her face to his, and braided her fingers with his, wrapping arms and everything around him, not even thinking, not even worrying. Maybe she couldn't say it with words, what it was that she felt, but this was her declaration. She pressed her lips to his palm and held his hand there till he pulled it away to take the gesture from her and give it back. In the dark, she was no longer a vampire slayer, and he was not a vampire. He was love and comfort, and all the sorrow that had permeated her melted in her fibers and seeped away.
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