Never Alone by Lilachigh
Chp 7: Treading on the Dark Side
Buffy stood very still, staring at the vampire lying on the bed in this tiny, basement room, her mind a whirling kaleidoscope of thoughts. The last time she’d seen him in the Hellmouth he’d been consumed with fire, the pendant’s magical light killing everything it touched. Now - He’s alive, he’s here, I found him, he doesn’t recognise me, how can he not know me. he’s alive, oh, thank you God, thank you God, he’s alive!
“Clem - ?”
“Yes, Buffy,” the wrinkly demon whispered hoarsely in her ear. "He’s been like this since, well, since he turned up in town. He doesn’t know me. Doesn’t know what happened to him. Doesn’t even know his name is Spike. Calls himself William. I - I didn’t tell you. I didn’t want you to be upset. I thought you’d just return home and forget... Perhaps we should go.”
“You go,” she said quietly, never taking her eyes off the figure on the bed.
“When you two have quite finished your sodding conversation, remember this is my room and I don’t want to have to start wiping your blood off the ceiling!”
“Go - now!” she urged and heard the demon slip away.
“Spike - ”
“How many more times - the name’s William. And what are you still doing here? If you’re from the landlord and are after some rent money, you can think again, lady,”
“Sp - William, my name’s Buffy Summers. You don’t remember me?”
Spike stood up, thrust his fingers through his curls and sighed. “No.” He raised his head and she realised he was scenting her, his nostrils flaring in a way she knew only too well. A puzzled expression crossed his face and he reached up to touch the new scar that slashed across his forehead as if it hurt him. “You’re...you’re a Slayer! Come to kill me, have you, what did you say your name was, Buffy? What sort of poncy name is that?”
“My mother gave it to me,” Buffy said quietly, taking another step forward.
“Your mother - ” he stopped, winced in pain again and the puzzled expression returned.
“Do you remember the battle, the fight in Los Angeles? Don’t you remember another vampire called Angel?” she asked quietly, gripping her hands together so tightly that she could feel her fingernails bite into the skin of her palms.
Spike threw himself back down on the bed and yawned. “That’s what the demon asked. You’re giving me a headache. Nope, don’t remember any fight. Don’t remember any vamp called Angel. What sort of pansy name is that, for god’s sake? Don’t remember the past at all. But then, I reckon that’s normal for vampires. And I am one, that I do know! Just as I know you’re the Slayer.”
Buffy sat down gingerly on the very end of the bed and Spike sat up, crossed legged and stared angrily at her.
“Not just The Slayer, there’s lots of us now. All over the world. Don’t you remember the Hellmouth?”
“What Hellmouth? What the hell do you care whether I can remember who I am or not, Slayer. Do you want to fight?” His eyes suddenly gleamed like blue ice. “Hey, that’d be fun! Kick a little Slayer butt. Reckon you could take me, Buffy Summers?”
“I always could!” she snapped, and then had to resist the dreadful urge to burst into hysterical laughter. All these weeks of anger and grief, of sorrow and loss, desperate to believe he was alive, that he still cared, wanting to tell him how she felt, that her words just before he died had been the truth. Lying awake at night, rehearsing over and over again what she would say if she was given the chance to speak to him, just one more time.
Night after night she’d feverishly worked at her body, to gain some relief from the tension that held her in a vice. But writhing in the clammy sheets in the heat of a Roman night, the nerves that had died in Sunnydale refused to awaken to her touch, unless she pretended that he was there beside her, not just an empty pillow on an empty bed in an empty room.
She imagined that minutes after they saw each other again, he would pull her into his arms, tear off her clothes and make love to her until they were both exhausted and sated by passion. And what happened? Within minutes of them meeting, he was annoying her again, in that effortless fashion only Spike could achieve. She was torn between wanting to punch him or kissing him until he gave in and kissed her back. But neither seemed the right course of action just now.
Buffy realised, with a sinking sensation in her stomach, that she didn’t know what to do. Should she tell him who and what he was? Did he know he had a soul? Indeed, did he still have it? Something had obviously happened to him during the L.A. apocalypse. The scar on his forehead made that plain. But did he still have the soul that he’d fought so hard to get - for her sake.
“So, are you saying we knew each other?” Spike was asking now, suddenly looking interested.
Buffy bit her lip. How on earth did she reply to that question? Well, yes, we’ve been bitter enemies, but then we had a passionate affair and you loved me and I loved you but didn’t realise it and you went and got your soul for my sake and died to help save the world but the Powers brought you back to life just in time for the next apocalypse and now here we are, back where it all started! She shivered. This wasn’t how she’d imagined their first meeting. How could he not remember her?
“You cold, Slayer, or just shivering with excitement?”
“This basement isn’t the warmest place in California,” Buffy said dryly.
“Shame, thought it was being so close to me that was giving you the quivers. Anyway, you still haven’t told me, do we know each other?”
“We - we worked together for a while,” Buffy said quietly.
“I worked with a Slayer? Must have been mental. Good job I got this bang on the old bonce. Oh, don’t worry, the demon told me I must have been in a bloody big fight. Got the scar to prove it, apparently.” He suddenly swung himself up off the bed and stretched.
Buffy shrank back against the wall, trying not to look too closely at the way his black T shirt strained against the muscles of his chest, the way his jeans slid down over narrow hip bones until only the belt was keeping him decent. The room seemed very small with Spike prowling around it.
“I’ve got to get out of here. Hate being shut in for too long. If we’re going to fight, can we do it outside, luv.”
She winced at the casual nick-name. He’d used so many for her. In the beginning they’d been said to annoy her, pet, luv, Goldilocks. Then, as their strange relationship had grown and deepened, others had been said. Sweetheart, princess, and some that were so intimate, so precious that she couldn’t even repeat them out loud to herself, it hurt so much to think she might never hear him say them to her again.
“Oh, not in the daylight. You’re not going to get shot of me that easily. There’s a new sewer system being put in town. There’s a tunnel that runs right up to - ”
“Willie’s Bar,” Buffy said with a small smile. It was just like old times. Spike already had the tunnel system under Sunnydale marked out as his own personal highway.
“Hey, you know it? We could fight there if you like, Slayer.”
“Do we have to fight at all?”
Spike shrugged. “What else can we do? Dance? Hey, vampire here. Treading on the dark side and all that. I just don’t want to make this room all messy. It’s all I’ve got.”
Buffy stood up. “Do you really not recognise me?” she asked in despair, gazing into his face.
He looked at her and, for a second, the blue of his eyes darkened to midnight - then he winced and rubbed at the new scar. “Sorry, no. I take it we weren’t close or anything, otherwise I suppose I would.”
Buffy felt her throat closing and a flood of tears desperately trying to burn their way out of her eyes. No! She wouldn’t cry. Wouldn’t give in to this tearing grief. She had to hang on to what she’d done. She’d found him and he was alive. That was all she’d prayed for, all these months. She hadn’t prayed for them to be together again, in any way, just for him to be alive. And he was. She had to be thankful for that.
Alive and aggravating. He turned and picked up a leather coat. Buffy couldn’t help gasping. If it wasn’t the same one he’d taken from the Robin’s mother in New York, then it was as close a match as you would get. He shrugged into it and held the door open with a mock bow. “After you, Slayer.”
She eased out, trying not to turn her back on him. She was just waking up to one vital fact, something she knew Giles would have pointed out to her right away.
If, for whatever reason, Spike was determined to fight her, there would be no holds barred. She found she was automatically reaching for the stake she still carried, because if they fought and she wanted to live, she would have no option but to kill the man she loved. She would be forced to kill Spike!
to be continued