Disclaimer: I own Buffy's family, excluding Joyce.
Previously: Buffy let it out to all the Scoobies that she and Spike are dating, which led to an argument. Spike hit Jim after an argument of their own and that caused Buffy to send Spike away…
Buffy didn't want to get up the next morning. It was the day before New Year's and all she wanted to do was sleep. Rolling over, she felt the empty space beside her and opened her eyes sadly. She had half-expected--no, hoped--that he would've come back during the night. But Buffy knew that Spike was just as stubborn as she was and he wouldn't be coming back ever. Giles is going to be mad I lost him, she thought bitterly.
The fabric of the cotton sheets was cool under her skin, the last traces of her fading sickness barely clung to her. She sighed deeply, letting her eyes flutter closed again as she tried to take in the scent of Spike remaining on the pillow. She heard the door above the stairs open and close and groaned. She wanted to be left alone, didn't they get that?
But it was her mom; Joyce moved quietly, thinking Buffy was still asleep, but when she saw her daughter's eyes open, she walked over faster. She knelt on the concrete by her daughter's head. Joyce didn't speak but looked Buffy in the eye.
"I was really, really, happy," Buffy said softly as she began to cry again, covering her eyes.
"Oh, baby," Joyce pulled Buffy into her arms; holding her like the little girl she once had been. When Buffy had ceased her loud sobs, Joyce pushed her further onto the cot so she could sit. Buffy leaned her head on her mother's shoulders, and Joyce hugged her tightly with one arm.
"It hurts," Buffy said meekly.
"That's why it's called falling in love. If it didn't hurt they would call it something else," Joyce replied. (A/N: That's from John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles") Buffy smiled a little into Joyce's shoulder. Joyce laughed once and hugged Buffy again. The Slayer curled into her mother's embrace and held her tightly, giggling despite the pain in her heart. Joyce hated to think it--but she had known all along that Buffy was going to break Spike's heart--she just had no idea how much Spike was going to break Buffy's.
Willow Rosenberg had never been so scared in her life--and she'd helped stopped more than one major Apocalypse--she'd used intense magic to re-curse Angel--she and Tara had whipped the Gentlemen's buttstoo--but there, standing on Buffy Summers' porch, her hand raised to knock on the door, was the most frightening day of her life.
Still, she needed to do what needed to be done. So, she took a deep breath and knocked slowly; one rap…two raps…three…Buffy's mother opened the door. But this time Joyce didn't hug Willow in joy to see her, today, that balmy afternoon, Joyce stood in the door and gave Willow a look that made the witch feel such shame.
"H-hi Ms. Summers, is Buffy home?" Willow asked, averting her eyes as to not meet Joyce's cross ones.
"Buffy's in the basement, Willow, I don't think she really wants to talk right now," Joyce answered, but as she did, Buffy came up beside her.
"Who is it Mom?" she closed her mouth when she saw Willow standing on the porch looking incredibly uncomfortable. Good, Buffy thought resentfully.
Joyce looked between the two girls and made a quick decision, "I'll leave you two to talk out here." Joyce turned, kissing Buffy on the forehead, and went back inside.
"You wanna sit?" Willow offered pointing to the porch swing. Buffy nodded and followed Will over to the chair. They sat in silence for a few minutes, an uncomfortable one at that, before Willow decided to speak.
"Buffy, I'm really sorry. I wasn't planning on going in there and siding with Xander and Giles, I just…"
"I know, Wills, I get it. You, pressure, unmixy things," Buffy finished, "But you got your wish: I'm not going to be dating Spike anymore."
Willow looked up in disbelief, "But…I…want you to be."
Buffy looked at Willow, shock splayed across her face, "what?"
"I'm sorry. I just kept thinking of Oz; and then the green monster of jealousy came out and I got angry and upset and hurt! But the truth is, you falling in love with Spike is kind of a miracle," Willow looked sadly at Buffy, "and love, what better miracle is there?"
"Well, we'll just have to find a different miracle; not better, just different," Buffy replied.
"Yeah, but is that what you want?" Willow asked gently. Buffy looked away and off into the early afternoon sky. The sun was already up--Spike would be sleeping somewhere now--and shinning brightly above the house--that was not the 'somewhere' where Spike was sleeping--and--if it was possible--Buffy felt her heart break just a little bit more.
"Hey, Grandpa," Buffy hugged him, leaning over the side of the hospital bed to do so.
"How are you?" Jack asked when she had sat in the chair beside him. She looked tired and hurt--as was expected, "Your mom told me what happened."
"I'm okay. I'm teetering between severely and completely destroyed at the moment, you?" Buffy joked.
"I'm doing better," Jack answered, "But it you I'm worried about."
"Huh, yeah, and you probably should be," Buffy replied. Jack took her hands as the Slayer leaned against him, "I brought you something," she leaned over and pulled a box of chocolates from her purse, "contraband." Jack kissed her forehead.
"You shouldn't have let him go," Jack said softly.
"And you should have told me that before I told Spike to get out…but it's not like I had a choice--and while the truth is, if given the chance, I would love to hit my father myself, I can't let Spike go around doing that. And the girls saw him in game face too--um, his vampire face," Buffy finished off her grandfather's confused look.
"Yeah, maybe, but were you happy with him?" Jack put his arm around Buffy's shoulders.
"You mean, before?" Jack nodded, "I was happy about the person I got to be with him. I could be myself--all of myself--with Angel, I was always the Slayer--I spent so much time showing off to him and not enough time loving him--and with Parker--my god, let's just forget him--with Riley, I was Buffy. I was normal gal. But with Spike I get to be Buffy and the Slayer--together--even though sometimes I think he likes Buffy better than Slayer--but he didn't care."
Jack saw the pain in his granddaughter's eyes as she struggled against tears. Even with--he assumed--all those Visine drops, Jack could still see that Buffy had been crying a good deal this morning. But he didn't say anything he simply squeezed her shoulders tighter.
"This morning, I didn't want to open my eyes--I figured, if I kept them closed then maybe he wouldn't be gone," Buffy choked out the last word, as her voice cracked, "that maybe it would all just be a bad dream…" And with that, she broke, and the tears flowed once again. She buried her face in her grandfather's shoulder as he held her close to him.
Even as Buffy stopped crying, Jack held her solidly. She just lay against him, her head on his shoulder.
"You should go after him--he's the only one for you--your 'Prince Charming' as the cliché goes," Jack looked down at Buffy's upturned face.
"Only Princesses get their Prince Charmings. I don't deserve one," Buffy replied softly.
"Who says you're not a Princess?" Jack asked. Buffy smiled and lay back down against him. A knock at the door rose Buffy away from Jack, though. It was Kevin and he looked nervous and a bit high-strung.
"Hey, Kevin," Buffy said, staring at him.
"Um, Buffy can I talk to you?" Kevin asked.
"Sure, about what?" Buffy glanced over at Grandpa Jack and frowned--he seemed to be glaring not-so-subtly at his grandson.
"Um, vampires," Kevin pronounced the word strictly and nodded outside the room. Buffy stood up and followed Kevin outside.
"Kevin, how did you find out?" Buffy asked in a hushed voice.
"I've been eavesdropping on you two for a while; I was going to use it for blackmail," Kevin answered in a volume like hers.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Buffy exclaimed, she turned into Jack's room, "I'm leaving, Grandpa Jack, I have to go get ready for my party," she turned back to Kevin, "this is ridiculous." She started to walk past him when he called out,
"I sold it to your dad!"
Buffy stopped and walked back to Kevin, purpose in her step. In one swift motion--without breaking her stride--she hauled back and slugged him--the teen crumpled to the ground clutching his nose in pain. Gracefully and without effort, Buffy picked him up and slammed him against the wall.
"So, you're the reason my dad knew about us, huh?" she inquired.
"I didn't know he was going to be so nuts! I just told him for the personal monetary benefit. And then he told me what he was planning on doing to you guys--and I've been beating myself up for the last few days--."
"Really? Well, you could have just come to me for that," Buffy snapped.
"He used the fact that you two are so different to make Spike angry enough to hit him--it was a plan," Kevin finished. Buffy dropped her cousin to the floor--she was in just a little bit of shock--but she simply backed away from him.
"I have to go get ready," Buffy ran away from Kevin who was slumped against the hospital wall.
Jim wasn't really doing anything--sitting was all--staring at the television--he wasn't alone though--Joan, Judy and Joyce were all sitting in the room with him--along with Anne--Denise was complaining of morning sickness and was upstairs. The kids were outside playing with Rob and Hank.
"Hey Buffy," Joyce said as her daughter walked into the room but Buffy didn't reply. Jim looked up as Buffy grabbed him by the collar and slammed her fist into his already broken nose. He screamed bloody murder and fell back against the couch.
"Buffy!" Judy screeched backing away from her irate niece.
"Buffy, what the hell is going on?" Joyce asked in shock, keeping her two distressed sisters behind her. Grandma Anne was still knitting, apparently unaware of what was happening in the room.
"He's the reason Spike left. He planned it," Buffy accused, pointing down at her father.
"What do you mean?"
"Kevin sold him information about me and Spike and Dad used it to get me to kick Spike out of the house!" Buffy explained. Joyce turned to her ex-husband.
"Is this that true?" Jim didn't answer but Joyce didn't need him to, instead she lunged at him, clawing. Buffy grabbed at her mother who was screaming, "Why you little bastard!" Joan and Judy tried to help Buffy by pulling her away--they held her back as Buffy finished confronting her father.
"Get out Dad," Buffy pointed to the door, "and take your pregnant whore with you." Buffy turned on her heel ignoring the appalled look from her father and went upstairs to get ready for Willow's New Year's party.
A few hours later--well actually, it was in fact nearing midnight--eleven thirty--and Buffy sat alone at a table in the Bronze. Willow had managed to scrounged up enough money to rent the place out and invite all their friends and anyone else who wanted to come. Buffy was kind of thankful Willow hadn't sent an invitation to Angel and Cordelia in Los Angeles though--she didn't think she could deal with Cordelia at the present time--of course, Buffy thought haplessly, Cordy would probably have great advice on my situation. She was always the one to turn to for that sort of thing. Cordelia Chase had never been one of Buffy's favorite people--Buffy actually being sane and all--but she had helped Buffy one more than one occasion--a very important "occasion" coming to mind…
She left the club with a smirk on her face. Xander had looked so stupid--she had looked hot!
"Buffy!" Buffy stopped and turned to find Cordelia standing with her hands on her hips, "You're really campaigning for bitch of the year, aren't you?"
"As defending champion, you nervous?" Buffy replied snidely.
"I can hold my own," Cordelia continued unflustered, "You know, we've never really been close, which is good cause I don't really like you that much, but…you have, on occasion, saved the world and stuff, so…I'm gonna do you a favor…"
"And this great favor is…" Buffy asked cynically.
"I'm gonna give you some advice: Get over it," Cordelia answered.
Buffy was genuinely surprised, "Excuse me?"
"Whatever is causing this Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. Cause pretty soon, you're not even going to have the loser friends you've got now," Cordelia finished.
Buffy sighed; yeah, that was probably the best advice that girl had ever given her. But it had been true--and that's what had always really bothered Buffy. Cordelia had been right--really, and truly right. The Slayer hung her head and sipped the cup of soda in her hand--she was still sticking relatively beer-free ever since Cave-Buffy had emerged. Willow walked over with a look of pure happiness on her face that Buffy had seen less and less of since Oz left.
"Having fun?" Willow asked. Buffy looked up and smiled.
"Yeah. Tons," Buffy replied.
"Right, because you always sulk in the corner alone when you're having tons of fun," Willow countered, setting her cup down.
"I'm not sulking! I'm…brooding. And the alone part isn't my fault…not really anyway," Buffy defended, but in all honesty it was terribly pathetic.
"Well, maybe you should go talk to Giles and Xander," Willow suggested.
"About what?" Buffy questioned, eyeing her other two laughing friends. They were situated around Tara and Anya and a few other random college students.
"Spike, maybe?" Willow watched Buffy carefully to gauge her reaction but the statement didn't seem to bother her.
"They don't want to talk about that," Buffy replied. Willow looked over at the other two as well.
"You're probably right," she agreed, "oh, hey Giles!" Willow exclaimed as the Watcher walked up to them.
"Hello Willow--wonderful party," Giles nodded to her, "Buffy."
"Hi," the slayer replied.
"Willow," Giles looked at the red-head, "may I speak with Buffy for a moment?"
"Sure," Willow answered, glancing between the two before walking back over to Xander.
"Willow told me--about you and Spike," Giles started.
"Don't tell me you secretly wanted us together too," Buffy said skeptically.
"Actually, almost every part of me is jumping for joy--but one part--my heart--is telling me that this is not how it's supposed to end," Giles replied.
"It's too late, Giles, he's gone…and he's not coming back," Buffy whispered weakly.
"Buffy, do you really believe that?"
"What else do I have, Giles? I've got nothing," Buffy replied.
"You've got Xander, Willow, your mother and I, and we're not going anywhere any time soon," Giles confirmed.
"I guess you're right. It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt though," Buffy concurred.
"And it won't stop hurting, Buffy, not for a long time."
"It didn't hurt like this with Angel--I mean it hurt--but this is just…" Buffy couldn't finish.
Giles looked at his Slayer--a mess of pain and tears--he took a deep breath and sighed--there would be no getting around it--something had to be done--he couldn't see Buffy hurt again…
"Do you love him?" Buffy looked up, confusion and tears in her eyes, "No more lies, now. Do you love him?"
"Yes," Buffy said barely above nothingness.
"Then, Buffy, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I told you Giles, he's gone--."
"Who said he'd left?"
Buffy looked at him, hope filling her tear-darkened eyes, "But what about Xander?"
"Oh, I have a feeling he's starting to warm to the idea," Giles answered, a twinkle in his eye. Buffy looked past him at Xander; he was sulking but when Willow noticed Buffy, she jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow; he looked up and gave her a smile and thumbs up. Buffy laughed.
"Best hurry, it's already almost eleven thirty," Giles glanced at his watch. Buffy stood on her tip-toes and hugged him.
"Thank you," she whispered. She let go and grabbed her coat and purse off the table, running for the door. She halted as soon as she was out the door--not knowing which way to go first--she closed her eyes--and instead of thinking--she felt--and headed right.
She'd looked almost everywhere in the entire town. Spike wasn't at any of the bars--he wasn't in any of the cemeteries--he wasn't anywhere! It was almost midnight and she had no idea where he was.
"Goddamn it, Spike! Any time I don't want to find you there you are--and then now…" Buffy exclaimed furiously. She hugged her coat around her shoulders as she walked passed Sunrise Ridge--the place where Angel had been two seconds away from dusting himself the previous year--she paused--No, he wouldn't be there--she glanced up the hill--at least I'll get to see a pretty view-- with that she ran up the ridge.
She breathed silently when she saw him standing there--the same place as Angel--looking out over Sunnydale. She came up on him quietly--even though she knew he had already heard her arrival.
"It's a little early don't you think?" Buffy approached slowly as he turned around, "Sunrise isn't for another couple of hours."
Spike laughed, "for your information, I'm not some bloody poof who would try and dust himself with sunlight!"
"Yeah, and asking--no, begging--me to kill you every time I see you isn't stupid?"
"No, actually," Spike replied. He frowned, infuriated by her, it seemed, but he gave up, "What are you doing up here anyway?"
Buffy took the few steps towards him and closed the gap between them. She reached out to touch his cheek but he pulled away. She retracted her hand quickly in embarrassment.
"Two reasons: first one goes a little like this…I miss you. I miss you so much. I miss the way you laugh; the way you smile; the way you look; the way you talk; the way you correct me; the way you piss me off; and I miss the way you love me; and the second one…when you realize you wanna spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible," Buffy touched him and this time he didn't pull away, "You wanna know why I've been walking around for half an hour freezing my ass off to find you? It's cause I happen to kind of love you."
Spike's eyes gleamed--a glimmer of hope sparked behind the azure color. He took her hand in his two and held it close to his chest. But then the light died and he dropped her hand and backed away.
"I can't give you anything--not even my heart--it doesn't work anymore," Spike looked to the ground. Buffy didn't falter for more than a second. She stepped forward again and took his hand. Holding it in her own, she placed it over her own heart.
"Feel that? That's all the beating I need," Buffy said. Spike looked into her eyes--genuine happiness shinned in them--but a small, mischievous twinkle quickly replaced it.
"You think I'm stupid enough to take you back?" Spike asked.
"There was a question?" Buffy joked. Smiling, Spike pulled her into a hug and then leaned down to kiss her--as painful as it was, she stopped him--the vampire looked at her, confused--instead of answering she looked at her watch, "Five, four, three, two, one: Happy New Year." Spike didn't wait for an invitation he pulled her off her feet and kissed her deeply. When he lowered her back to the ground, they let the kiss go.
Leaning her forehead against his, she sighed, "I love you."
Spike reveled in hearing the beautiful words, "And I love you…still."
Buffy snuggled close to him, resting her head against his chest and closing her eyes. His arms wrapped around her were comforting and protective--she could have stayed like that for eternity--but something cold made her eyes flicker open. She looked up as another cold something hit her cheek. Small, white, flakes were falling from the vast sky. She looked at Spike who looked down at her.
"Good holiday?" Spike asked.
"Best holiday," Buffy replied, closing her eyes once again…
A/N: I hope you liked it! I have plans for an alternate ending and possibly--possibly a sequel. The BIG LINE of Buffy's was actually from 'When Harry Met Sally' and I tend to use it in a lot of my fics but it's such a perfect line--and whoever wrote should have made a lot of money! Anyways, thanx to Niki for the support and anyone who reviewed! It inspired me to keep going even when I had writer's block! Thanx to my grandfather, Jack who inspired his character, my four cousins, Jackie, Erin, Sarah and Celia who inspired their counterparts and my two aunts, Carol and Donna for the inspiration in Judy and Joan. EVERYONE THANK YOU!