by Sweetprincipale

A moment in an AU- season 6ish. Spike lost his sight, Buffy lost something else. Love can see you through anything. Short one shot, read and review if you enjoy!

Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.

The explosion blinded him. He will heal. That's the good thing about being a vampire. He didn't get turned to ash, so he has a chance to be healed and repaired. He's made it through fires and broken spines, he can make it through this.

She had closed her eyes, lifted her hand and arm to shield her face- or was she reaching for him? It doesn't matter now, because the end result is the same. Across the nose he called adorable, across the pouty mouth he loved to kiss, and the neck he and chin he loved to nibble his way down- burned skin and some missing tissue that Slayer healing will not regrow, will not heal. She knows the injuries are less because the super healing package did stave off some of the worst damage, but that's only a small consolation in her mind.

She is still ugly. She can see herself, and he can't. Right now she welcomes the thought of vampirism for one thing only- you don't have to see your reflection.

She avoids him. Maybe after plastic surgery, skin grafts, some sort of tissue replacement or fat replacement transplant deal. Giles is looking into everything for her, and he says the Council will pay for it, absolutely, as she was injured and -horrible word- disfigured- in the line of duty.

No one will pay for Spike's eye surgery because he won't need one. Just needs good blood and some time. He's already lost the worst of the burns, and new scars won't stick to him. Buffy takes care of the "good blood" part. She gives him some in bags, not fresh from a vein because then- well, he's blind, but he can still feel. She doesn't want him to bite down on the mottled mess that used to be such a pretty neck. No more strapless summery shirts and dresses for her. She'll be in turtlenecks for the rest of her life.

Too bad ski-masks really aren't in unless you're pulling a bank job.

Her friends get frustrated. You're more than a prom queen, more than that shallow valley girl. You saved the world one more time, and you're beautiful inside! All those platitudes about beauty being skin deep and her soul being the true star of the show.

They don't get it. They don't know that if you've always been pretty, that being ugly crushes your confidence and changes the way you think about yourself.

She could get over that. In time. It's the fact that…

Spike liked her for her looks. When they started being more than enemies or two people working a truce, it was physical, purely physical. And they never say it, but after- geez, it's more than a year now- after more than a year, they're more than scratching an itch. She will never be able to talk about it to anyone but him, and not even him at this point, but she thinks this strange "pretty piece of flesh, feel good sex" thing morphed and turned into love. At least on her part.

But when he sees just how bad she looks, something is going to change. He's going to lose the attraction, the spark is going to die, and then the rest of the fire fizzles. Ha. An explosion put out the flames.

She gets the call from Giles, who tells her Spike would have called himself, but he's waiting until nightfall to come to her in person. "His vision is back."

"Good!" And she's happy for him, because he's been going slowly mad in the darkness he can't escape, and she knows she hasn't helped by distancing herself from him. He calls me his sunshine, and I left him in the darkness… He shouldn't love me, because I'm really a shallow person after all.

The voice on the other end continues. "I know you've told him you have burns and you're waiting until Slayer healing has done all it can to pursue further treatment."

"Yeah?" That's all she's said. She never says, "I'm something out of a nightmare, now, Spike. My face doesn't match- normal top, broken bottom."

"I told him the damage was extensive, and that you hadn't wanted to worry him. He wanted to come over straight away, but I pointed out he's still recovering and risking further damage to his eyes by exposing them to the sun and subsequent singeing is unwise."

"Thanks for the stall."

"Buffy, you're being very silly. And in truth, it's not as bad as you think."

"Not once the first shock wears off, you mean?" She laughs bitterly. She doesn't know if Spike will want to stick around and wait it out. From everything she's heard, they can make her face close to normal again- but it's a few years worth of work, every procedure needing time to heal before they can start the next.

"Buffy! It hurts us all to hear you talk about yourself this way. This isn't like you."

"Never looked like this before, Giles."

"You are not just your looks!"

But to Spike- maybe I am. "I know. I gotta go."

He comes about half an hour after dark. Normally he'd have been heading over through the sunset, gambling and timing every move to keep out of direct rays.

She knows he must really be worried about his eyes because he's never that cautious, and hates to listen to any advice.

Even though she's been waiting all day, the knock on the door startles her.

Let's end this. "Come in." She calls softly from the darkened living room, but she knows he can hear her voice perfectly. His hearing wasn't impacted, only his eyes. Now he's all better, and she's still stuck at the beginning.

Spike pushes open the door. Dark. Like he hasn't had enough of that lately. "Hi, Luv."

"Hi. In here." She waves to him in the shadows, head tucked down and half-turned away.

He walks in, almost uncertainly, squinting. Not because he has trouble seeing, but because he can see just fine in the dark, and Buffy knows that. So why's she hiding? Using the dark like it's a cover that'll fool him? Little thing must be fooling herself, not him.

She tenses. Can't breathe, can't turn, wants to look at him so bad, and wants to run away, wants to run to him and hug him like she's been denying herself the privilege of doing. Too many conflicting directions, so she's still, frozen.

"Glad to see me? I'm glad to see you. Actually, glad to see anything." He jokes.

She swallows a sob. He won't be glad to see her once he really makes out her face.

"Buffy?" He's in the room with her now, and rounding the chair that she's perched in. Her head turns farther away, but soon there's no escaping meeting his eyes, because he kneels solidly in front of her. "What's wrong, Baby?"

She lets out a hysterical laugh. He's looking at her! Right at her! From the worst vantage point too, head on, but also head under, able to see the neck, the chin, the lips, nose, everything that's burnt and twisted, all at once. "Can't you see?" She quavers out, knowing it's a poor choice of words.

"Har, har." He smirks and shakes his head.

Wait. He hasn't even flinched. He's smirking. He's joking. He called me baby. "Spike… I… Look at me." She finally manages to whisper.

"I am." And he is.

What's more, he's touching her. Sliding his hands into her lap, then up her arms, and before she can say no, or pull back, his hands are cupping her face, and he's kissing her lips tenderly. His head even makes the extra little turn so he can fit his mouth to hers as it droops crookedly in its burnt state.

Buffy gasps, pulls away after a few seconds, eyes leaking. It has to be a cruel joke, because this can't be how he feels. It can't be this easy.

"Don't do that." He shakes his head and reaches for hers again. "I'll be gentle. Does it hurt?" His eyes are full of sympathy, and his thumbs stroke away her tears.

"No!" The pain in her flesh left after the first week or so.

"Then come here. I missed you. I've been wanting to kiss you for so long, seems like forever."

She flicks the lamp beside the chair on, and he blinks. "Ow. Easy." He rubs his still healing eyes. "I can see you just fine, Luv."

"Is this a game?" But he's not mean to her. He's not cruel. They've been kind and beyond for months now.

"No, Sweetheart." He wants to call her idiot, but he knows better right now. Though she is acting all kinds of stupid. "This is love. I love you."

She gasps. She blurts. "I love you, too!"

And things are no longer slow and tentative. He's puling her up, so he can embrace her properly. "I was so scared I'd never be able to see your beautiful smile again."

"My smile…" It's not what she'd call beautiful, to put it mildly.

"Is still right where I left it." He traces her lips, flawlessly and unflinchingly along the jagged line.

"I didn't stay with you as much as I should've because I knew if you got too close you'd see- I mean, you could feel that I'm-"

"Shhh. Sh." He kisses her to silence. "Are you still my Slayer?"

"Yes." She's startled into instantaneous reply.

"That's all that matters."

"But … when we- the first time we were 'together', you told me you couldn't take your eyes off me- I was the hottest thing on the dance floor and you've been watching me ever since." Buffy mumbles.

"I looked your way 'cause you had the moves. I liked what I saw. I kept looking because I fell for you. And I'm good and fallen now. I still like what I see."

"They might not be able to fix me."

"My girl isn't broken." He shakes his head. "She's beautiful and she's perfect." She just stares in mute disagreement. He snorts impatient snort. "I might've been blinded, but you are obviously the one who can't see." His fingers deftly caress her face. "I love you. I love the fighter in you, and you've got some battle scars now, yeah. Love you more, the stronger you are, the more battles you win. I love the person you are- annoyin' and all, and that doesn't change, unless you let it. My girl is too strong for that."

"Sometimes accidents change people." Buffy admits. She is one of the casualties.

"So if I'd kept my burns and the milky scarred up corneas, we'd be done?" He asks with a skeptical scowl, knowing full well that's not what would have happened.

"What? No!"

"Because you do, don't you, Slayer? Love me?"

Buffy nods.

"I love you." He gives her a long appraising stare, not at the changed face, but at the woman inside. "That was why you were scared." He whispers eventually. "It's not vanity. You really thought I couldn't love you if you looked different." Of all the damn nonsense…

His tone is so shocked and annoyed, the voice he uses when he's raving about something that really bugs. Buffy knows right then- nothing changed. It's not pity or loyalty that makes him look past the scars. It's love. What's more, he's been using that tone with her, around her almost from the beginning of their "romantic" relationship.

He's loved me all along. Even before I loved him.

A true smile breaks out. Her eyes are still that green sparkle that bespells him. His tone softens, lightens, as he realizes he's reaching her. "Looks might be where it started, but that's not where it ends."

"I missed you." She whispers.

He pulls her into his arms and holds on tight. "Good to see you back, Luv. Good to see you back."

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery