TITLE: Out From Under
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never was, never will be.
RATING: PG-13 (Some sexual references, some swearing)
SPOILERS: Season 6. Set before "Seeing Red"
SUMMARY: Sometimes giving in to temptation is the hardest thing to do. Sequel to Temptation Waits.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please
The blow came from behind, driving him to the ground, cheek ground into the soil as five foot three of raw Slayer power lands on top of him and proceeds to rain blows on his back.
"Five weeks!" she snarls, driving a particularly hard punch into his side and drawing a grunt from his lips. "You've been gone for five fucking weeks without a word, without telling us where we could find you!"
"Found me though, didn't you pet?" She shifts slightly, settling all her weight back down on one knee, buried in the centre of his back. "You know, if you wanted to have sex, you could just ask."
"Don't do that," he could smell the cold fury, the rage boiling out of control, "don't joke around with me! What if something happened? What if we'd needed you?"
He moved quickly, mustering his strength, pushing himself to his hands and knees, knocking her off his back. Catching her ankle before she can scrabble away he pulls her towards him as he twists, sliding her under him, pinning her arms at her sides with his knees. "I kept my ear to the ground, you had everything under control. You didn't need my help Slayer, so get to the point."
Her eyes harden momentarily as she stares at him, studies him, then she starts to struggle. Face twisting, she gives a grunt, bringing her legs up to flip him over her head and sprawling on his back. She's back on him instantly, his shirt bundled in her fist, her other fist balled and raised, ready to strike. "You left me Spike," she snarls, driving the fist into his face. "You asked me to stay the night and then you left!"
"For fuck sake, Slayer, do you always have to beat on me?" He yells back, frustration and pain lacing his voice. "And does it always have to be my bleedin' nose!"
"You left *me* Spike!" she screams, striking out again, fist making a resounding crack on his cheekbone, "You didn't say a thing, you just walked out and disappeared!"
He blinks; tries to ignore the blood that he feels beginning to flow from his nose as he stares at her, study her. He's careful to keep his face calm, neutral, "There was nothing to talk about love. I left to give you a chance to think."
"Fuck you, Spike, it wasn't for you to decide whether or not I had to think about things!"
He groans under the sudden assault of knuckle on flesh as her fist pounds into him over and over – chest, arms, face – nothing seems to be exempt from her assault. He feels his own hackles rise; fury at her tenacity, her violence, but one look at the tears coursing down her face makes him stop fighting back. Just as quickly as the attack began, it's over and her weight is lifted from him.
She's already standing several feet away, her back to him, as he manages to prop himself up on his elbows. He was suddenly reminded of the reason he'd walked out in the first place – the violence. He wanted to be tender with her, and get tenderness in return. Surely it wasn't such a difficult ask?
Ignoring the jolting pain, he pushes himself to his feet and spits out a mouthful of blood as he wipes ineffectually at his bleeding nose. "Feel better now having used your own personal punching bag?"
He'd expected a different reception. He'd hoped, believed, that when he showed his face again, let her find him, that perhaps she'd have a change of heart. Thought she might have come to terms with what she'd denied. Realized the root of the reasons she sought him out time and time again, shared her body with him. Realized that she did, in fact, love him and that he did, in fact, love her whole-heartedly in return.
Again, he was wrong.
He could hear her soft sobs, echoing across the distance between them; see the soft shake of her shoulders. If it was repentance she was trying for it wasn't enough. He was beginning to think it wasn't possible for her to make up for how she had used him in the past. How she was still using him.
He wished it didn't hurt so much. Rejection always did though, didn't it?
Time and again, used and rejected. It seemed to be a theme in his life. It's how he came to be reborn, how he came to turn into the monster that he was now. Cecily, beautiful, sophisticated Cecily, rejecting him so thoroughly, crushing poor young William as if he were nothing more than a bug underfoot. Druscilla. Wonderful, beautiful, deceitful. She, the one that took that fatal bite, the one that turned him into the creature he now was. Dru, who broke his heart over and over, without a care, without a glimmer of remorse, until finally he had to cut the ties that bonded them together. She would be back one day, but she would never possess his heart again, would never warm his bed.
He'd followed her around like a puppy for too long … and now he was doing it again. What a weak pathetic excuse for a vampire he was.
"This was exactly why I walked out, love," he growled, spitting another mouthful of blood. "I take it all back. I'd rather have the whole package than just the tasty treats you offer and then take away. Quit kidding yourself and wasting my time, pet. If you can't love me then I don't want anything to do with you."
Turning, he starts walking away, heart hardening as the pain begins to overwhelm him, wishing that she'd done her job properly all those years before. A stake in the heart was preferable to the agony of being rejected again.
He had to get the hell out of Sunnydale.
His words sear at her, stabbing and twisting, the pain in his voice unmistakable. The pain that she'd caused. The sobs wracking her petite frame increase as she listens to his footsteps as he turns and starts walking away from her.
Maybe she didn't deserve him. Maybe she didn't have the right to corrupt his love of her any longer. That was all she'd done in the last couple of months – twist his feelings to suit her. Used him, abused him, walked away only to come back for more when she needed it. Needed to feel some ones love for her, even if the very thought of it sickened her.
When had she become this horrible and twisted? So violent?
Oh, she knew when, and she knew how it all started. She'd needed to feel human again, to feel alive, to experience something that took her away from herself for that short period of time, enough to forget what she had lost when her friends had resurrected her. He was right, she did come back wrong.
Now she was just this fucked up mess of negative emotions, going through the routine of being the person that she was, but knowing that she was no longer the same and never would be.
He had been the only person she could turn to, the only one she could confide in. He understood. In a convoluted sort of way he was just like her, and though she could never really admit it, she'd cherished having that sort of contact with someone, any one … and she'd thrown everything he'd given back in his face every opportunity she got.
Only, he'd thrown it back in the end, hadn't he? Asking her to stay only to leave a couple of hours later. His words still reverberated in her head, still hurt, but the anger she'd felt when he'd walked out had dissipated as his words struck home.
She had used him. She'd abused him, treated him like dirt, like a plaything as he'd so eloquently called it. He was right about that and she'd been wrong to do it. No one deserved to be treated like she had him; no one deserved to have their feelings twisted to suit someone else.
She couldn't blame him for leaving, and in retrospect she'd wondered why he hadn't sooner. The reason she knew all too well and for the first time she forced herself to confront it … and it hadn't been as revolting to her as she'd tried to tell herself. He loved her, and the first thing she admitted to herself in those hours she remained in his bed after he'd left, was that she didn't completely dislike him.
That had been her first revelation.
When she'd returned to his crypt that night she thought nothing of it when she found no sign that he'd returned. Spike was always out and about, she always managed to find him. She didn't that night, nor was there any sign that he'd been back to his crypt when she went back during the next day expecting to find him asleep.
He was simply gone.
Every day and every night she returned to his crypt. Every day her concern increased, changed, turned to anger, frustration, annoyance. Rage. At the same time, she could feel something else, something she hadn't wanted to define.
As the days stretched into the second week, then the third and the fourth, she felt not only her concern increase, but a multitude of other emotions she would never have begun to attribute to her twisted relationship with Spike – bereft, lost, lonely – and she knew it wasn't just about the sex. She *missed* him. Missed his company, his understanding. His tender affection, though she only allowed it infrequently, was what she'd missed the most.
It had made her feel special. Loved. Complete.
She just could never admit it. Not to herself, her friends, certainly not to him. He was trouble, even inch of him oozed and emanated trouble and mischief, violence, yet he was so thoroughly enamoured with her. He was different with her … except when she pushed him. And that was all she ever did - run him down, beat on him, insult him, seduce him, spurn him – and she didn't want to do it anymore. It was wearing her down … it was destroying him.
She was destroying him … but he still loved her.
And her instinct told her he was about to leave her forever. She couldn't let that happen. He couldn't leave her. She can't lose him; she cares too damn much to let him go. So she runs, as fast as her legs can carry her, not needing to think about where she was going, she could find her way there blindfolded.
The door to his crypt is closed, but she knows he's in there. Drawing a deep breath she does something she's never done before – she knocks – her first step in showing that she's ready and willing to change.
"Bloody hell, pet," his voice filters through the door, emotionless and hollow, "why change things now? Why not just burst your bloody way in?"
Pushing open the door her eyes automatically seek him out, finding him next to the bed, shoving clothes into a bag. Shirtless and with a cigarette perched between his lips, she's never seen him look sexier … and is surprised by the thought.
The bruises, dark and purple, the swelling, covering his torso and face and caused by her, sickened her. She steps closer to him, but not close enough to get into his space. "I'm so sorry Spike."
He doesn't meet her eyes, just keeps on shoving clothes into the bag, pausing only to take the cigarette out of his mouth and flick the ash onto the carpet. "Bit late for that isn't it? There's no need to apologize, love, we all need to let off steam from time to time. Just as well I heal quick."
She clicks her tongue, sighs in frustration. He wasn't going to make this easy for her and she didn't blame him in the least. "Yes, there is. I saw you and … I just reacted. I didn't mean to hit you. I didn't want to, but seeing out for a walk like you hadn't just disappeared for five weeks just … pissed me off."
He looks at her then, quirking an eyebrow. "Pissed you off?" he asks with a glance down to his battered torso. "Putting that mildly aren't you?"
Closing her eyes, she takes a moment to try and organize her thoughts, but gives up when she realizes that it's not going to happen. Every thing about him confuses her, tests her. He's baiting her, she realizes, trying to get her to lose her temper, show him that she can't change. She's determined to show him differently. "I guess I am. Would you prefer me to tell you that I'm sorry that I beat you to a pulp again?"
"Well, it'd be a start." There's sarcasm in his voice, bitter, resolute. He draws deeply from his cigarette before dropping in and crushing it into the carpet. His attention is back on his packing.
Gritting her teeth she bites back her own sarcastic reply. It wouldn't help. It would achieve nothing but to chase him away. "Then if it helps I'm sorry. I'm sorry for beating you tonight. I'm sorry for every time I've beat on you, every time I've used you, abused you."
He zips the bag closed and turns to face her; his expression is grim, hurting. "It's not enough, love," he murmurs, slinging the bag over his shoulder.
Meeting her eyes for the first time since she entered his crypt, she's surprised by the amount of emotion in them – hurt, desolation, remorse, resolve. She moves herself to stand in front of him, merely a foot of space separating them and stops herself before she reaches out and touches him.
And boy, does she want to do that.
"I don't know what to do or say to make you believe me, but I promise you I will never do it again. I won't use you, I won't beat you to a bloody pulp every time I get antsy."
He blinks, still holding her gaze and for a brief instant she sees a tiny glimmer of hope flash in those dead eyes of him. Reaching out on instinct she gently cups his battered cheek. "I don't want you to leave, William."
His eyes slide shut, a soft sigh leaving his lips, but he pulls away from her, steps around her and puts some distance between them. For a fleeting instant she thinks he won't stop, but he turns, drops the bag to the floor. He looks defeated. "You have to do better than that. Using my name gets you a foot in the door, nothing more."
Oh, he is definitely trying to make this difficult.
Unable to deal with the bleakness of his gaze she tears her eyes from his, focuses at a point just above and behind him. She can almost feel his smirk. "You've changed Spike, and I don't know whether it's because of me, but even if it is … you've made me see that there's more to you than I'd always assumed and I don't think it's all because of that chip in your head."
He shifts, her eyes drift back to him, watch as he pulls at battered pack of cigarettes from his pocket, pulls one out and lights it. Takes his time to absorb, dissect. "See that's where I beg to differ, it's all because of this sodding chip. I wasn't given a choice, those wankers made it for me."
A small smile touches her face. That's the Spike she knows, still trying to make the illusion of evil Big Bad. She wasn't buying into it. "It stopped being about money. You really do want to help."
Another long drag, another slow exhale, an eyebrow wrinkled in frustration. "Just like to get down and dirty and fight. Get to the point."
She could see it was a ploy, an attempt to bait her, but as he plucked a fresh t-shirt off his armchair she felt something inside her snap. He was going to leave. He was going to leave her. Everyone left her. She didn't want to be alone any longer.
"You can't leave," she blurts desperately. "I need you and not just to fight the fight. I need you; I want to be with you. I … I need you in my life William."
That glimmer of hope returns and he isn't so quick to quash it this time. "Is that so?" His voice is slow, ponderous, question rhetorical. "Tell me, pet, do you love me?"
She tears her eyes away, panic filling her. She flushes, "I feel something for you, something that goes beyond friendship or lust. Something that made me miss you like hell while you were gone."
"You can't say it though, can you?" Tone hollow, empty, resigned, enough to make her look at him, see the same emotions playing across his face. It's strange to her, seeing the absence of cockiness that she'd always attributed to him. To see him showing what he actually felt rather than the mask that he preferred people to see.
She takes a hesitant step forward. He seems so fragile, so broken. "No. Not yet. It's still too early for me, too new. I'm trying to get my head around it."
"That's better than what I ever could have hoped for." His voice, so quiet and soft, seems to echo in the crypt. The hope has blossomed into something else, relief; his eyes slowly start losing their desolation, the light slowly beginning to return to them. He reaches out, gently touches her cheek, fingers moving to trace the line of her cheekbone. "I didn't want to leave, but I didn't want things between us to be what they were. Self-destruction doesn't suit you, love."
Closing the gap between them she wraps her arm about his neck and pulls him against her. Gingerly, his arms wrap around her waist, she nestles her head under his chin. She can't remember them ever doing this, and yet it feels so right. She could spend the night like this, just wrapped in his arms. "Tell me how you feel," she whispers.
"I love you, pet."