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Love And Hate

Buffy sat alone in her room. She was lying on her bed trying to absorb everything that had happened tonight, everything that had happened the last few days. Riley was gone. She had tried to catch him, but she was too late. She knew she may never see him again and her heart ached. She wasn't sure if it was because she loved him or she was just afraid of being alone. He had hurt her, but she had hurt him too. She was never there for him emotionally and she knew it. She still wasn't sure why.

In the beginning, she thought she was crazy about him, but as time went by it was more a comfort thing than a love thing. Xander and said a lot of things that made her think. Maybe Riley was just the rebound guy? Maybe she never really did give him a chance? He might have been the one, and she let him go.

She rolled over to her side and clutched her pillow tight. Tears were forming again in her eyes. She heard a noise and sat up, still holding her pillow. She saw Spike standing in her doorway.

"You again? Don't you ever come to the door like a normal person?" She was clearly annoyed with him.

"I just wanted to see how you were." Spike said to her softly.

"Haven't you done enough already? Did you come here to revel in my misery?" Buffy wiped the tears off her face.

"Hey, I didn't do that to hurt you. I did it because I thought you should know what lover-boy was up to." Spike was defensive.

"Why? So you could watch me suffer? I know you must have enjoyed the horrified look on my face. You are just a jerk!" Buffy was angry.

"Bloody Hell, Slayer, I didn't enjoy that. I didn't want you to suffer. If I wanted anyone to suffer, it was that fool, Riley." Spike was trying to explain. "Besides, if it was misery I was after, it would have been better to have known about it and watch you make a fool of yourself thinking he was Mr. Wonderful."

"Oh yeah, that would have been much more fun." She said sarcastically. "Just look at poor stupid Buffy. She thinks she's got it made."

"And see, I didn't do that. I was trying to help, believe it or not. I mean, what if one of your Scoobies had seen what I did? Don't you think they would have told you?" Spike reasoned with her.

"Well, they might have told me, but they certainly wouldn't have dragged me there in the middle of the night for a front row seat to his betrayal."

"And if I had just told you, you would have believed me?" Spike asked knowing that she would have probably beaten him senseless rather than believe that story.

"No. I see your point. But still. I wish I had never seen that." Buffy was relaxing a bit. She threw her pillow down and flopped back onto the bed.

"Look, I know how hard it is to see the one you love in someone else's arms. It rips right through you. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone." Spike told her thinking about Dru and Angelus. It still hurt to think about that.

"Not even me?" She asked.

"No. Not even you."

Especially not you, he thought. He didn't know how he had gotten to this point, but he cared for her. It was more than just pure lust, it was something more. He couldn't explain it. He didn't want to.

Buffy sighed and stared at the ceiling. Her life was just so confusing, she didn't even know what to think or feel anymore.

"None of this matters anymore, anyway. He's gone." She said.

"He's gone? What do you mean? Did you kill him?" Spike asked excitedly.

"No, I didn't kill him, you idiot. He left me. He said I didn't love him."

"Wait, you catch him getting a fang job with some vampy whore, and he leaves you? What kind of an ass is this guy?" Spike couldn't believe what he was hearing. This guy had it all and he just walked away.

"He made it seem like it was my fault that he did what he did." Buffy said sadly.

" He said that?"

"No, not in so many words. I mean, he said it wasn't my fault, but he sure as hell made me feel that way. He accused me of being emotionally detached, not letting him in, blah, blah, blah..." Buffy said as she sat up again crossing her legs in front of her.

"Well, if he thinks it's your fault, he is an even bigger moron than I thought." Spike sat down on the edge of her bed.

"I think that he thought I would like him more if he was dark and bad or something. I don't know. He thinks I have some sort of fascination with vampires, which is so not true! Just because I dated one once doesn't mean I look for that in a guy." Buffy was getting irritated just thinking about it.

"I'm sure you don't look for that, but come on, admit it. You do like a little edge to your men, am I right?" Spike asked her. He knew it was true, or at least that is what he wanted to think.

"No. That's not true. Well...I don't know. Maybe a little, but not like that! Not some guy getting snacked on by undead whores. Definite turnoff." She said making a face.

"He was a fool. He wanted to be something he wasn't and it didn't work."

"Nope, it didn't work." Buffy sighed. "But now he's gone and I'll never know what might have been."

"What do you mean? You don't actually miss him, do you?" Spike thought for sure that she would be happy he was gone.

"Yes, I miss him. I tried to stop him tonight, but I was too late."

"I thought you were disgusted by him. I'm confused. You still wanted him?"

"I don't know, Spike. I was disgusted, horrified, pissed, betrayed. All of it. But I still had feelings for him. I was with him for a long time, and whatever we had isn't going to go away in one night. What if he was the one, and I blew it?" Buffy started to get teary again.

"The one? If he was the one he wouldn't have looked elsewhere for naughty kicks. Be glad that you are rid of him. He doesn't deserve you." Spike was just irritated that after all this, she still didn't hate that bastard farmboy.

"But I never gave him a chance. He made a huge mistake, but if I loved him, we could have worked it out." She said tears rolling down her cheeks.

"If he loved you, he would have stayed and fought for you. Instead he ran away like a coward." Spike told her.

"He did love me. He loved me more than I could love him." She said quietly.

"Did you love him at all?" Spike knew she didn't. It was obvious, but he wanted to see if she realized it herself.

"Yes. I mean... I don't know." She ran her fingers through her hair. "I loved him, but I wasn't in love with him. But maybe, if he stayed and we tried to work it out..." She said sadly.

Spike moved closer to her. He reached out and touched her hair to brush it out of her face. She looked at him startled. She wasn't expecting him to be kind to her. This tenderness made her uncomfortable. Spike felt her tense up. "Don't worry, Luv, I don't bite." He smiled. "Well, not anymore, anyway."

She couldn't help but laugh at that. She took his hand away from her face and held it for a moment before she realized what she was doing. She quickly let go and got up and walked over to the window.

"You know if he stayed here, I might have realized that he was the love I had been waiting for. I just feel like I never allowed myself to feel anything when he was around. I guess I just felt like he didn't or wouldn't understand me." She turned and looked at him.

Her eyes were so sad. He wished he could just make all the pain go away. He wanted to hold her and kiss her and tell her that he would never leave her like that. He wanted to tell her that he understood her, that he even loved her. But he wouldn't dare say that out loud. He hated that he was even thinking it.

"Maybe he didn't understand you, but even if he stayed, that doesn't mean he ever would have." Spike reasoned with her.

"I don't think I will ever find someone who does. But Riley, he was so nice. I could have loved him. I wanted to." She said in a far away voice.

"You know, you can't control love, Buffy. It isn't something that you learn to do, or plan to do, or try to do. Love just is. If it is love, you don't have to think about it. When it's love, it consumes you. You can't breathe or think or feel anything else. If you didn't have that with Riley, then it wasn't love, and it never would be, no matter how long you tried to work it out."

Spike was babbling and he knew it. He was talking about his own feelings as well as hers. She was probably thinking what would a vampire know about love? But he knew all too well.

She just looked at him. He was right. He was so right it was scary. She had to stop lying to herself. She didn't love Riley and she never would. Not like that. Everything he said made sense to her. The feelings he described, she had felt them before with Angel. Riley never made her feel like that.

Suddenly she was saddened by that thought. This was exactly what Riley was talking about. He felt that way about her, but she was indifferent to him. She never let him in because she knew he wasn't the one. He was just filler in her life until the real thing came along again. If that ever happened. She doubted it. That kind of love is once in a lifetime. She already had her chance with Angel and she knew they would never be together like that again.

"You're right. It wasn't love. I just wanted it to be so much. I thought that Riley was good for me. I thought he should be the one, and when he wasn't I was just too afraid to let him go." It felt good to admit her feelings, to stop the lie that she lived with for so long. She still felt sad, but more at peace with the way things turned out.

She knew that Riley would be happier with someone else who did feel that kind of crazy, all consuming love for him. He deserved that. So did she.

"You'll see. You'll be feeling better in no time. He was all wrong for you. You don't need him. You'll find someone else." Spike told her.

She looked at him and smiled. "Thanks for listening to me, although, I still don't understand why you are being nice to me. What's wrong with you?" She asked suspiciously.

"What? I can't be nice?" Spike asked with mocked surprise. "I have my moments. Just don't tell anyone. I have a reputation, you know." He smiled at her.

"Secrets safe with me." She said. "God, does this mean we're friends or something now?"

"Friends? I don't think so. I still hate you, you know." Spike said with a faint smile.

"Good. Because I still hate you too." She said with a determined look.

They both smiled because they knew they were lying. They didn't hate each other. Not any more. Maybe they never really did.

"Isn't this the part where you tell me to get out and threaten to stake me?" Spike asked her with a smirk.

"Oh, Right. Get out of here Spike before I turn you to dust!" She giggled.

"Fine! See if I ever help you again!"

He got up and walked towards the door. He turned around. She was still smiling at him. It was easier like this. Pretending to hate each other rather than admit that things had changed. Spike had known for a long time that his feelings had changed, but Buffy was only beginning to realize that there was something deeper going on. She wasn't ready to admit it. Not yet, maybe not ever. It was better that way.

He walked out the door and she fell back on the bed. She actually felt happy for some reason. She knew she should still be crying and sad, but something about talking to Spike had changed things. Her heart didn't feel empty like it should. Maybe because she made a new friend. Spike was her friend. Of all the people, he actually understood her better than anyone. Talking with him made her feel good, much as she detested the thought.

She rolled over and turned out the light. She laid there for awhile thinking about Riley and thinking about what Spike had said. She was still going to miss Riley, but not because she loved him. It was because he was a friend. She hoped that he would find the kind of love Spike was talking about. She hoped that maybe someday she would too.

Outside, it was dark except for the faint, tiny, red glow of a cigarette. Spike stood under her window looking up. He saw the light go out. He thought about what had just happened. He remembered the way her tiny, soft hand had felt in his before she pulled it away. He dropped his cigarette to the ground and stomped it out.

"Someday, Slayer." He said to himself. "Someday you'll find that love, I only wish it could be me."

He turned and walked away into the night, knowing that he would never be the one.