Sorry it's taken so long to update this fiction! I have a few more chapters in the works, so hopefully – reviews pending – updates will be coming a lot more often :)
WARNING: This fiction contains issues of self-harm.
Chapter Eight: Saved…If Only For A Day
A Week Later…
His voice was calm as he spoke, not a hint of the anger or frustration he was feeling inside. "Okay, pet. Water shouldn't be too hot, I'm just popping downstairs for a bite to eat and then I'll be back up, okay?"
As always she said nothing. Her eyes remained vacantly on a single spot behind his head.
Earlier this week he hadn't been sure what was better, her silence or her anger.
He had decided, late last night, that the anger would have been better. The anger he could deal with, the anger he could have used to draw her out, the same way he had that first night.
But she was simply unresponsive; a stark contrast to her persona of the past four weeks. Her friends had a hard time dealing with it. That, and the fact the Joyce was adamant that the Slayer stay in Spike's care had kept them away more than it should this past week. He was ashamed of them, but stayed silent for the eldest Summers' sake, opting instead to keep a quiet and watchful vigil over Buffy everyday and most nights.
"Alright, Buffy, up we go…" He gently slid his arms under her limp legs and behind her back, and lifted her with an ease that was, to the unknowing eye, supernatural to say the least.
He walked carefully out of the bedroom door and into the bathroom. With strong arms, he lowered her into the tub of shallow water, politely averting his eyes from her naked body.
His hands moved away from her skin and he stood up. "I'll be just a minute, pet…"
With one last look, he swept down the stairs, making sure to leave the door open so that he could hear…anything.
The moment she heard him enter the kitchen her eyes unglazed and she blinked several times to dispel the dry sensation that seemed to spread over her face with every aching moment spent silent and expressionless. Her body tingled all over and she took a deep breath to calm herself.
She could feel his hands imprinted wherever he'd touched, wherever he'd brushed her skin.
Her eyes rolled back in their sockets as a shiver of remembered pleasure ran through her body. Tears leaked from beneath her now tightly closed lids as she recalled his lack of reaction to touching her. Before the accident she had taken great pleasure in watching Spike when she would brush up against him in one way or another.
His eyes would roll back, much the same way hers just had. His nostrils would flair and she would watch him inhale purposeful breaths to calm himself down. And then, when he finally thought he was in control, his eyes would open allowing Buffy to see the full exposure of unadulterated passion within them.
But that didn't happen anymore.
There were no eye rolls, no unneeded but oh-so-expressive breaths; no passion.
He wasn't in love with her anymore.
Her heart ached in a way she hadn't known was possible from the emotions this epiphany had brought her. The knowledge only doused oil on the fire of her determination.
God....what was wrong with her? This was what she had wanted, what she had planned for...she knew it would hurt...
Just not this much.
She looked around at the warmish water she was bathing in; barely ten inches deep. Her chest expanded with a silent, scornful laugh at the erudition that he'd done it so she couldn't slip and drown.
Oh, the irony…
With quick, jerky movements she practically scratched the tears off her pale cheeks. No more tears; no more pain.
Her breathing sped up as her hands reached out towards the other side of the bath, the one close to the wall. Her no longer short nails slid down the side of the plastic with frightening ease. They searched around until she came across her quarry and dug her nails in to stop it slipping away.
With silent determination she pulled up and drew out a thin piece of metal from the side of the bath.
She had found it there three days ago, but this was the first time she had been left alone since making her discovery and consequently had thought of little else but its existence. She could only assume that Xander had unknowingly and accidentally let it slip down the edge when he was installing the hand rail in the bath, and had since forgotten about it.
Buffy looked down at the metal sheet that lay lightly in her hands. She could barely feel it, the weight hardly made an impression.
Well, it'd soon be making a huge impression…one that she doubted anyone would ever forget.
She shifted the weapon to her right hand, lifting it above her up-turned left wrist.
Her hand shook as face after face flashed through her mind and indecision and determination warred within her.
Willow, Xander, Anya, Tara, Giles, Spike, Dawn… Her Mother.
Her breathing sped up and she began to hyperventilate as fear and uncertainty spread through her body.
She had to do this.
It would be better for them; they could get on with their lives.
She would finally be able to rest.
I have to end it.
With quiet determination, she drew the metal deep into her wrist, watching dispassionately as the deep red blood welled up from within the vein she'd broken.
The precious life-giving fluid slid rapidly from the wound on to her milky white skin and into the shallow water, mixing slowly with the other liquid; turning it a rusty shade of pink.
She couldn't feel a thing.
She was past pain.
And she was about to be free.
Spike watched, as if hypnotised, the blood rotate round and round in the microwave, listening to the machine sound out its final affirmations as it concluded its cycle.
His mind was blank, shut down in protection against the constant emotional onslaught that had been the past month; all that he knew was that he had to eat – and the hunger drove him to complete this daily task.
With a weary sigh, he popped open the door and, out of habit, carefully removed the heated mug. His stomach growled, reminding him that he was just watching the food and not actually eating it. He lifted the cup to his face, taking a deep breath as he did so; savouring the scent of the liquid.
However, it wasn't pig's blood that hit his senses but something much sweeter, much richer and much more powerful that overrode all other scents in the house.
For a millisecond he paused while his brain caught up with what it was that his senses were detecting; and the ramifications of such recognition.
"Buffy!" The words left his lips through a growl, though he did not realise it. The mug fell carelessly to the floor where it shattered instantly upon impact, sending shards of pottery, and splatters of blood to the ground. It spread quickly over the kitchen floor, staining the perfect white tiles.
He was unaware of it all.
Spike flew up the stairs in a burst of vampiric speed and was in the bathroom mere moments later. He didn't need any time to take in the situation; he'd already come to the accurate conclusion downstairs.
The blade was whipped out from her hands and flung from her vicinity in an instant. It imbedded itself in the wall outside the door.
The once translucent water was a dirty pink hue that was getting darker and darker as more and more innocent blood flowed from her body.
The vampire growled loudly, snatching her from the water, thinking of nothing else but getting her out and far away from this destructive scene. Slayer in his arms, he stormed into her bedroom, dropping her on the bed as his eyes roamed her body searching for other cuts, though logically he knew there to be none.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, his senses recognised that she hadn't lost too much blood. The wound was in fact healing, and had been from the moment the blade had entered her skin despite the continued pressure of the sharp metal on her wrist – a plus of Slayer healing. He could practically hear the blood cells regrouping and replicating within her veins.
With quick, sure movements he tore a long strip off the bottom of his black t-shirt, wrapping it securely around the angry, yet perfect wound. Still growling continuously the vampire dragged Buffy's unresponsive body towards him, clutching her close as tears of worry, pain and concern poured down his marble cheeks.
His body rocked them back and forth as he tried to come to grips with the fact that he'd nearly lost her. Again.
Buffy didn't move.
She wanted to lash out, to scream, to cry, to hit out at the injustice of it all...
But she couldn't.
Her whole being was in shock, hardly capable of believing that she had been able to take the first step.
To make the first attempt.
She could barely feel Spike's arms as they tightened cruelly around her. She couldn't hear his furious growl, or the whining purr being emitted from his taut body as he continued to rock.
Thoughts and accusations swirled in her brain.
She. Had. Failed.
She was still alive.
Still alive, still a burden, still paralysed.
No, no, no, no, no….
She had to try again, she had to end it.
It was for the best.
Together they sat infolded with each other, lost in their own thoughts.
Each enveloped by pain.
TBC…want more, review!!!
NEXT CHAPTER: Interlude: Guilty