"So...we gonna talk?"
Buffy glanced across the bunk at Spike. Right. Last night before the apocalypse and she'd come down here to...what, exactly? She wasn't even sure herself. She just somehow knew that this was where she wanted to spend her last night.
He was still waiting for an answer. Okay, yeah, he was acting casual, but she could see the tension in his muscles.
"I think I just wanted to be with you tonight," she said, looking down at her hands. Her head snapped up as her mind processed her own words. "Not...I mean, not like that. Not that I don't like you like that anymore, but I mean...you and I...it might be a not so good thing. I just meant in a companionable sense of being and feel free to stop me at any time..."
"Dunno. Think it's more interesting watching you get all flustered." He looked away from her, gazing into the bleak darkness. "Though I'd rather not spend the night with you doing that. Be too much like you throwing me a bone."
"Throwing you a bone?"
He locked eyes with her, trying to act cavalier with a shrug. "Might be the end of the world tomorrow, right? Don't want you shagging me cause you feel obligated to or whatnot. Not my idea of a perfect evening."
"I'm not here because I feel obligated," she denied. "Obligated" had been her rescuing him from the basement so many months ago. This...this went beyond "obligation" now.
"Why are you here, then?"
Why did her heart get louder? It knew what she was trying to put off. She couldn't put it off any longer, though. He had to know. Now. Take a breath.
"Spike, I lo-"
"No!" He jumped up from his seat as if shocked, walking several paces away from the cot.
Buffy frowned. "Would you just let me finish?"
"No, Buffy, no." His voice was earnest. "After all these years of hoping and trying and wishing and...giving up on this, you can't tell me this now. The bone, pet. There's no way it could be real unless you tell me when we're not thinking we're all gonna die tomorrow."
"But it's true."
His expression softened. "Then wait. Wait and tell me when we get out of this."
"But you believe me, right?"
He gave her a cocky grin. "I will once we've saved the world."
She sighed. That was as good as she could get for now. She couldn't blame him for being resistant. It did seem flaky for her to confess her feelings at this time. Timing. She had to work on timing.
"So," he stepped closer to her. "Why are you here, again?"
Ah, yes. That question. She wanted to love him. She'd hoped to give him everything that he wouldn't accept right now. But he was right. It wasn't fair to do that tonight. She couldn't ask that of him.
"Could you just hold me?" she finally asked.
Spike smiled. "Till I'm dust, luv."