Spike strolled through the cemetery, arms full of groceries. His long legs made quick work of the grass-covered dead, a good speed as it was nearly sunrise. His usual midnight shop had been closed tonight (sick cashier or some rot) so he’d had to roam around sleepy Sunnydale searching for another 24 hour grocery.
To occupy his mind on this unplanned trek, he’d attempted to remember which band had sung that song about zombies. Some bird was a zombie, or made you a zombie; he didn’t actually recall how the song went which made it even harder to puzzle out. This fruitless endeavor had drifted off into his regular thought patterns: Buffy.
What with Buffy back from the dead, Spike had been trying to figure out how to get around to the subject of love again. She’d been coming round quite often lately. Couldn’t stomach the living much anymore, and Spike didn’t blame her. When Dru had first turned him, he’d had a hard time of it, especially after the ordeal with his mum. Without Dru, who more or less understood the emptiness of death, he’d probably have lost his nut. But Buffy only had Spike, and her situation was so different from his he barely knew what to say to the girl.
But Buffy seemed to need him, and that was enough for Spike.
His crypt wasn’t much farther, but Spike paused. He slung his groceries down against a rotting tombstone and lit a cigarette. It was quiet, as a graveyard should be. A few birds chirping in the trees, but a respectful silence seemed to reign in the garden of dead and stone. He pulled a long drag from the cig.
Buffy. He loved her. Nothing had changed when she’d died. Actually, it had made him realize just how much he loved her. He’d wanted to tumble her practically since they’d met, but up to her death that had been changing. And when she was actually gone… It was only looking after the little bit that had kept him from spending all his time cooped up in his crypt, drinking and watching crap tv. Doing what Buffy had asked him to do before the fight with Glory had given him a purpose without her.
Buffy was visiting him a lot these days, but mostly for the company, Spike thought. A sympathetic ear. And he was willing to lend one, whenever she came, because he loved her. God, how he loved her.
She was beautiful. Long hair, like sunlight. Ironic that he’d fallen for someone that resembled what could kill him. Strong, with muscles like a bull, but graceful, like a panther.
And when she fought, it was otherworldly. A Slayer, sure, but Spike had known Slayers. Had killed two. And while they all had an innate skill in fighting, Buffy seemed to breathe it. Beheading a vamp was second nature to her, if not first. The way she moved, threw punches, kicks, flips…
And then there was just her. Being with her made him...complete. He couldn’t think of another way to describe it. Her wit, her humor, her mid-battle puns, the way she tossed her hair, the way she scrunched her nose. Everything about Buffy made him fall in love with her a little more each day, because each day he saw her, Spike was reminded of how wholly perfect that woman was.
Spike whirled, cigarette flying from his fingers half-unsmoked, coat slapping against the tombstone.
And there she was. Head cocked, bundled in a large white coat and hat, Buffy stood a few feet from him, watching as he smoothed his hair and picked up his groceries.
“Oh, h’lo, Slayer.” He nodded to her and half-turned toward his crypt. “Going my way?” he asked casually, but he gazed at her softly. Not pressuring. Just offering.
Buffy looked at him. Her eyes were deep, a mix of green and gray and brown, impossible to distinguish.
“Sure.” She strode to his side and they walked the short distance to his home. Their figures were opposites: one short and white, the other tall and black. The only physical trait they shared in common was their blonde hair, and Spike’s wasn’t even real. Spike tamped down that disheartening thought and opened the door to his crypt, breathing deeply as Buffy passed him and left a waft of vanilla in her wake.
“So, what’s got you out and about this close to dawn? Normally you’d be home sleeping by now.” That sounded a bit odd, like he followed her on patrol. Which he used to do, but not for months. Not since right after she came back.
Buffy either didn’t notice the vaguely stalker-vibe of his words or chose to ignore it. She merely said, “I couldn’t sleep.”
Spike nodded. “Right,” he replied softly, eyes on the soft face half hidden behind sunshine hair. He snapped out of it just as Buffy turned to look at him, and he held up his grocery bags. “Care for a nibble?”
She raised an eyebrow at this suggestive phrasing. “Heh, sorry,” said Spike, chuckling. “I meant--”
“I knew what you meant,” Buffy said quietly as one corner of her lips turned up in a smile. “And no thanks. I’m not hungry.”
Ducking his head, Spike turned to put away his Weetabix and vodka. Care for a nibble? Sodding idiot.
He could hear Buffy moving behind him, the soft rustle of her thick wooly coat, the gentle scrape of her boots on the stone floor. It felt right, having her here. Not talking, not fighting, not planning to take down some Big Bad, just sharing space with Buffy Summers did more for him than any amount of vodka and kittens had ever done. She probably didn’t love being in a crypt--it was cold and dim--but still she visited so his location apparently didn’t bother her.
Groceries away, Spike moved to his armchair and plopped down. They’d never spent time together this close to dawn. Normally, Spike would be settling into his bed downstairs, ready for another day of dreaming about the girl who visited at night. Said girl was standing a few feet from him, looking around his crypt as if anything might have changed in the few days since she’d last been there.
“I’m sorry it’s so drab,” Spike said suddenly. Didn’t I just decide she didn’t care about the place? “I know it’s cold and I don’t really go in for blankets myself.”
“No, it’s...it’s fine, Spike. I’m not cold,” she assured him even as she rubbed her arms in a coat that was probably lined with something soft.
Spike scoffed lightly and said, “Right.”
Buffy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms, no longer trying to stimulate heat in them but also tucking her bare hands into the folds of her coat. Still she only glanced at him, never making eye contact for longer than a few seconds.
You could show her downstairs. It’s not as cold down there.
Yeah, but there’s no telly down there. She probably doesn’t want to talk and having the telly on makes our little...whatever less awkward.
“You want the telly on?” Spike said in a voice that came out more brusquely than he’d intended. He winced internally but grabbed the remote anyway.
“No, that’s ok. I’d rather not have to listen to anything right now. It’s...a lot to focus on.”
Her voice, strong when she was with the scoobies or fighting a demon, was tired. The voice he couldn’t get out of his head, that haunted him in his sleep, was exhausted.
Spike mulled this realization over in his head for a few minutes while Buffy roamed around the small, gradually warming crypt. A few rays of dawn light were beginning to creep in the barred windows, but they didn’t reach his chair. He was careful to position it out of the sun’s path. Her circuit around the room occasionally took her into the weak morning light, causing her hair to grow more golden and the dark shadows beneath her eyes to grow deeper.
“Anything I can do, love?” His head pulled naturally to the side, lips parted so he could breathe in her scent and taste it on his tongue. Her perfume of vanilla rolled into his mouth, a sensation almost as delicious as hearing her voice.
At last, with this question, she looked at him. She had paused in a shaft of light, a hint of it catching her eyelashes and turning them a dusky gold a few shades darker than her illuminated hair. It brought out the green in her eyes which met his own blue ones and didn’t look away. He saw her lip tremble as she said, “No, Spike.” Her eyes were shining but she smiled forcibly and sighed. “But thanks for asking.”
“Anytime, Buffy,” he said quietly but earnestly, trying to say with his eyes that he meant it. For now it was all he could do. She was suffering, and the last thing she needed now was a full-blown confession of love from an undead, wannabe poet vampire.
But he would be there for her and he yearned for her to understand this, even as he said nothing but a repeated, “Anytime.”