Spike was laying face down on the bed, his nose buried in Buffy’s pillow, trying desperately to find a lingering trace of her scent. She’d only slipped out for a bit but he was missing her terribly.
He grinded his hips against the bed uselessly.
Spike knew that Buffy liked to come home and find him hard and waiting for her, but it seemed that just wasn’t going to happen tonight. No matter how much friction he created, he stayed frustratingly limp.
Just as Spike was wondering if he ought to search the laundry hamper for something of Buffy’s with a stronger fragrance, he heard the door slam.
“I’m home!” Buffy’s voice rang out cheerily.
Buffy had barely taken a couple of steps from the door before she was engulfed in a tight hug by Spike, who buried his face in her hair.
“Spike? Everything okay?”
“M’just glad you’re home kitten.” Spike said hoarsely.
Usually Buffy would have punished Spike for the nickname, but then again, usually he didn’t greet her at the door with a desperate hug.
“Spike.” Buffy’s voice was gentle but commanding. “Let me go for a second, alright?”
The vampire let go of her immediately, stepping back few feet for a good measure.
Buffy studied his face for a bit and then took Spike’s hand as if he were a little boy and led them to their bedroom. She sat him down on the edge of the bed, from where he looked up at her with wide blue eyes. Then he lowered his gaze.
“M’ sorry lady Buffy.” Spike mumbled.
The slayers heartbeat sped up a little. What had happened?
“Why are you sorry, honey?” She asked softly.
“Called you kitten instead of your proper title.” He said morosely.
Buffy suddenly understood. Spike was depressed. Of course she’d known that he suffered from depressive episodes from her stroll through his soul-center, but the was the first time it was happening since they’d mated.
“It’s alright Spike.” She said, and watched as he visibly relaxed. “You have permission to call me any pet name you’d like tonight.” Clearly, he needed lots of TLC, not punishment.
“Thank you.” He murmured.
Buffy tilted Spikes chin up with her hand, forcing him to meet her eyes. Once his gaze met hers, she caressed his face gently.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” she said firmly, “you’re going to lay down and let me hold you. And we’ll talk. Okay?”
Spike made a small sound of protest. “You’re going to hold me?”
Buffy ran her fingers through her mates carefully gelled hair, mussing it up adorably.
“Is that a problem?”
“Wanna hold you, ‘nd make you happy, pet,” he protested.
“What would make you happy right now is taking care of you.” Buffy countered.
Cowed by this logic, Spike nodded and consented to lie down.
Buffy positioned herself carefully behind him, draping an arm over the vampire and twining their legs together.
“Now tell me what’s wrong.” Buffy said quietly.
“There isn’t anything really,” Spike croaked, “I know that. It’s just how I’m feelings, all in my head.”
“Then tell me how you’re feeling.” Buffy insisted.
“I just feel sort of empty,” Spike murmured, “like there’s a great sodding hole in my chest. And when you were gone, I thought you were never gonna come back.”
Buffy’s heart squeezed painfully.
“I’ll always come back.” She promised.
She’d surmised that he was feeling inferior and abandoned by his tight greeting and apology. He wanted to make sure he was good for her so that she wouldn’t leave him. Even though it made Buffy ache to see Spike like this, she had to admit that it was at least a little bit nice. She rarely got to see him so submissive and docile for her. He was usually battling her for dominance every step of the way.
“I’m going to try to stay with you until you feel better.” Buffy said. “But if I can’t then I call Willow and Angelus over if that will help.”
Spike squirmed a little. “You don’t need to trouble yourself, luv,” he protested dully.
The slayers arm tightened around the vampire.
“Yes I do, Spike.” She said sharply. “You’re mine, which means that I take care of you.” Her voice softened. “You’re worth everything I do for you. I care about you, and so do Willow and Angelus. So unless you specifically say otherwise, they’re going to come stay with you if I can’t.”
Buffy watched the back of Spike’s head move as he nodded, his hair glinting in the light.
“It would probably help if they were here when you aren’t.” Spike said in a subdued tone.
“Good.” Buffy replied.
Spike snuggled closer and let out a yawn.
“You want to take a nap?” Buffy asked. “You might feel better when you wake up.”
Buffy slid out of the bed to turn off the lights.
Spike twisted around to see where she’d gone. “Buffy?” He asked plaintively
“Just turning the lights off.” She flipped the switch and rejoined her vampire under the covers. “See? Already back.”
“Buffy?” He said again, his voice thick with fatigue.
“Love you.” He said quietly.
Buffy pressed a soft kiss to his forehead, smiling. “I love you too, Spike.”