This is stupid. Really stupid. Buffy Summers brushed soggy hair out of her eyes for the dozenth time in half an hour. There’s a psycho hellgod after my little sister and I’m out here alone in the cemetery waiting for a vampire to rise. So what if he was some super-powerful sorcerer. The guy can’t have been too important; he was buried in an unmarked grave.
She brushed her bangs out of her eyes again and tried to concentrate on why she was here. Sure, an evil vampire sorcerer could cause them a lot of problems, especially on top of the ones Glory was already causing them, but babysitting graves was freshman Slayer stuff and she was definitely past that stage. She sighed and then shivered; this two-day-long cold rainstorm wasn’t helping her disposition either.
The Slayer was reaching up to brush her hair back again when the rain was abruptly blocked. She whirled around quickly to see Spike standing behind her holding an umbrella and a cup of coffee. He handed her the coffee.
“Shouldn’t let the big bads sneak up behind you like that, love.” He gave her a soft smile; he stopped referring to himself as the Big Bad in capital letters a while ago. “Thought you might be cold out here.”
“Must be getting too used to having you around. Thanks.” Buffy took a sip of the coffee. It was hot, but not too hot, and caramel mocha. Good stuff. “I guess I was thinking too hard.”
“That’s happened a lot lately.” Spike sat down on the ground next to her, careful not to tangle the umbrella in her hair. “Anything you need to talk about?”
She shook her head. “Nothing that hasn’t been said before. Where’s Dawn?”
“Xander and Anya’s place. Everyone else is there with her; she didn’t need me.”
They both knew what he really meant was “Xander wanted me to get the hell out.” Best friend he might have been, but Xander Harris really didn’t know how devoted Spike really was to the Summers sisters. He would have done anything for Joyce too, while she had been alive.
“Dawn always needs you.” Buffy took a sip of her coffee. “This is really good. Thanks.”
They fell silent then, neither sure of exactly what to say not to hurt the other. There had already been too much pain for both of them lately, both mental and physical.
After a moment, Spike sighed. “Look, I can go if you want.”
“What? No! I mean, please don’t.” The Slayer grabbed the vampire by the coat sleeve to keep him from standing. “That wasn’t ‘Spike, I want you gone’ silence. It was ‘I don’t want to be horrible to you again’ silence. I really don’t want you to leave.”
He looked her over carefully, almost as if he was gauging the truth of her words. Finally, he said, “I never thanked you for having Joyce’s funeral where I could be there.”
Buffy knew his words were a truce of sorts. “She liked you; it would have made her mad if you couldn’t be there.”
“It still meant a lot. Thanks.”
She nodded, not sure she could trust herself to say anything more on the subject. Her mother’s death was still likely to cause her to start crying at random moments, and she couldn’t afford to let one of those moments be while she was on patrol.
“Is this guy ever going to wake up?” Buffy toed the dirt at the edge of the grave, trying to change the subject.
“Well, if I had a couple of Chatty Cathies sitting on top of my grave waiting for me to get up so they could put a stake through my heart, I don’t think I’d be in much of a hurry either.” Spike grinned at her, fully aware of what she was trying to do and of the irony of his statement.
She looked down at the coffee cup in her hands, not sure how to say what she wanted. “Just…Thanks.”
Carefully, Spike put one arm around the Slayer and hugged her close. For once, Buffy let him. He knew what she was thanking him for.
Thanks for being here when things went so wrong.