Slow Good-Byes, Silent Hellos

By Annie

2003-03-07

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"Don't," he said, opening his eyes slowly and looking out at the night on the other side of the threshhold.

The front door was standing gaping towards a freedom he knew he would never have again. In that freedom all he did was grieve. He wanted to be locked down, wanted to be right where she was. And still the allure of the fresh air reaching out its fingers to stroke them over his cheeks was wicked and real. He took a breath of it, and it strengthened him.

Buffy felt her eyes grow after he had said that single word. Oh, no.

"Spike," she tried hoarsly and at that he turned around to face her, his gaze holding hers firmly enough for her to feel as though a steel wire was forming in the air between them.

"Don't you bloody well dare say that to me if you don't mean it," he stated warningly and she swallowed, her eyes growing rounder as he approached her. "If you're not sure of what saying it WILL mean. If you're not ready to take the consequences of saying that to me. If you even for a second think that you might've said those words just to keep me here, then you'd better tell me, Slayer. Right now."

She shook her head.

"You won't tell me?" he asked and she blinked at a fresh batch of tears as she looked up at him where he had stopped right before her.

"No," she mumbled.

He closed his eyes and she could see the rising desperation, the leashed anger, the utter despair and she reached up one hand and gently touched his forehead with her fingertips, letting them slide down his cheek before she moved her hand back and entangled it in his short strands. Putting her other arm up she did the same thing with her right hand and took a step closer to him.

"No," she repeated as he lazily opened his eyes to look into hers, growing wonderment on his face as he stared at her. "I didn't say those words just to keep you here."

He blinked, tilting his head slowly to one side as he eyed her and she observed him back. Carefully, almost as though he was frightened any movement would splinter the reality of that moment and make him wake up to find it had all been in his mind, he moved his hands and placed them on her back before pushing her a little closer.

If what she said was true...

He held her gaze and searched for the answer.

She looked so vulnerable... so hurtable... so frightened... and so open.

Finally he could see it. What he had waited to see ever since he first told her he loved her. All defenses were down. Her eyes wide open for him to read what he willed in them. She was showing him her heart. And in doing so telling him that she trusted him enough to not break it.

So, what she had said was true...

His mind couldn't even begin to process the fact that she... that she...

"You love me?" he asked, voice so low it was bordering on silent and she looked up at him.

His eyes... How many memories were not linked to those blue orbs? And all she could really remember now, as she catiously let herself drown, was those thousands of times he had looked at her with love, devotion, hope... warmth.

The emotion within her was new in its aged state, moving around with the rest of the confusion and unwilling willingness and tiptoeing fear. The emotion within her was growing with every new breath she took as his love for her became the brightest spot in all their history together. What would their story have looked like if he HADN'T loved her? They would probably have killed each other by now. She didn't even want to think about that. He had loved her. He did love her.

And...

"Yes," she now answered his question, feeling how her pulse was rapidly increasing.

Wrapping her arms around his neck she pulled herself even closer to him, putting her head by his shoulder as she closed her eyes.

He couldn't believe this. It was just too...unbelievable! Was she giving him the world?

Closing his eyes as well he bent his head forward slightly to rest it by the side of her face, gently breathing her scent and feeling too many things to actually feel anything. His chest was a jumble of emotions that were screaming at each other to get out of the way and still colliding with each other as they went.

The happiness was the key one, though. It spread soft wings within his chest and he wanted to cry at the soothing feel of it. The shadow of doubt crept along his ribs, however, and soon it reached his heart. Overpowering it placed itself over the still muscle and he blinked as he opened his eyes again.

"Buffy..." he mumbled and she put her head up, tilting it back slightly to be able to rest her gaze in his.

And then she suddenly smiled. It was tentative, but as it grew the light of it chased any remaining shadows away and he couldn't take his eyes off of her.

"What?" she asked quietly and he shook his head slowly before moving one hand up to brush it through her blonde locks.

"You are so...beautiful," he murmured and her smile grew self-conscious, her eyes leaving his for just a moment before she looked back at him.

Those words filled her like the wind fills a sail and makes it billow. She felt them, and the feeling was sweet. He made her FEEL beautiful.

They grew serious, just like that. Staring at each other and then he bent down, gently letting his lips meet hers and she closed her eyes.

Oh.

Parting her lips for his tongue she met it with her own. The kiss was slow and deep and long. Arms wrapping around his neck, her waist. Bodies pressed against one another. Mouths locked together and time standing still. Everything else ceising to exist except for that other. Except for hands and mouths and tongues and the sensation filling them both.

None of them had any idea for how long they stood like that, and neither one of them cared. As they as slowly as they had started the kiss, ended it and pulled apart they once more stared the other.

As a child might look at that gift it had longed for for so long they Slayer and the Vamp looked at each other and then she smiled again.

"Isn't this...strange?" she asked and at that he smiled as well.

"What?" he wondered and she shrugged a little.

"It's just strange," she replied. "It's like we just did that for the first time. Couldn't you feel it?"

His smile widened, then he nodded slowly.

"Perhaps it isn't so strange," she added now, thoughtfully. "It's just...everything else is, you know?" He nodded again, and she did as well. "Yeah. I never would've expected this to happen... I can't believe it!" she sighed.

"What?" he asked and she looked up at him.

"I've done this. I've tried this on for size and it didn't fit me," she murmured, her eyes filling with quiet suffering. "You're immortal. I'm not. No matter what I feel for you... or what you feel for me, we can't change that."

"The only reason for it to stand in our way, Buffy," he replied softly, "is if we let it."

She swallowed, feeling her body ache at the mere thought of having to give him up. God, she couldn't do that again. Not ever again.

"But I'll grow old... and then I'll die," she said and a flimmer of pain cut through his gaze before he leaned down and kissed her on the lips.

"Are you scared of dying?" he asked and she raised her eyebrows questioningly before she shook her head. "Are you scared of growing old?" he inquired now and at that she paused, before answering:

"Not scared... It's just that I haven't really been expecting that I will..."

He smiled at that.

"Then let's take it one day at a time, yeah? And I'm sure that I'll see you just the way I see you right now, no matter if you're twenty-two or seventy- two. That's what love is... That's why people stay together all their lives," he stated and then he smirked. "And I can't believe I'm having this bloody conversation with you."

She giggled, pulling herself closer and nestiling her face against the side of his throat again.

"Me neither," she mumbled. "This is so...complicated."

"You're scared out of your mind," he translated and she smiled.

"More or less," she admitted and he held her tightly.

"No need," he assured.

"I take it you're staying?" she asked now and he laughed softly, making her look at him and having that big butterfly of joy spread its wings beneath his breast again.

She loved him. She wanted him to stay.

She loved him...

"Have you been thinking about that immortal thing for a long time?" he asked and she smiled, cocking an eyebrow before she replied:

"Can you blame me?"

His eyes filled with that warmth they carried and he slowly shook his head.

"Let's get rid of the obstacles," he said.

"What obstacles?" she replied with a small smile before standing on her toes to kiss him deeply.

He immediately returned it and once again they lost themselves.

Walking into the living room, still forged together, they sunk down on the couch. Spike ton top of her and she spread her legs to give him room as the kiss went on.

Once they finally parted Buffy ran one hand through his hair, giving him such a loving gaze that he felt a shiver of pleasure run down his spine.

"I guess I owe Dawn an apology," Buffy said and Spike smiled widely before nodding.

His eyes suddenly caught the mug of merely sipped soup and he turned his head to Buffy again as he said:

"You should finish that," and then nodded to the object he was referring to.

She glanced at it, than back at him.

"Don't tell me you're gonna be a nag," she muttered, though a hint of wryness seeped through her words and he smirked.

"I'm not," he promised. "I'm just gonna bug you 'til you listen - if I remember correctly that's what it bloody takes with you."

"Oh!" she exclaimed with mock-insult. "Look it," she then added with a wave to the mug, "it's cold now anyways."

"I'll heat it," he stated and she smiled a little.

"I'm not hungry."

"I'll be back in ten seconds," he said, pulling off of her and getting to his feet.

"I love you..." she whispered as he had grabbed the mug and was heading out to the kitchen.

He froze, then turned around and came back.

"Damn," he grumbled with a smile spreading as he put the mug down again and had her arms around his neck once more as their lips met for another kiss.

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Aw, thanks y'all! So many still reviewed though I said there would be installments regardless! Thanks a lot for that sign of courtesy!

Thanks so, so much to Cate, Ayren, PineTranio, Haley, lal, Charlie (!), Tinks, She-Devil, wendy, wolf116, kaiyana, Sally-Jo and Warrior-Prinzess. Your reviews meant a lot to me and all the great feedback and incredible kudos I recieve from you is just so wonderful! Thank you so much!

I believe this is it. It's finished. I'm not fishing here, but tell me what you think, though. Okay? I'm sure you will anyways so... ;)

A.M.L, Annie.