It Has to Mean Something

A/N: This takes place during the scene in S7 'End of Days' with Buffy and Spike trying to admit how they really feel about each other and, as usual, they messed it up terribly. This is how I think it should have gone.

"...And it was the best night of my life. So, yeah, I'm...terrified" Spike admitted, his raw emotion rising up, displayed on his face alabaster face.

"You don't have to be" Buffy replied softly watching the way the dim candlelight flickered across her old lover's face.

Spike paused a moment as he let it sink in, tilted his head "Were you there with me?" He looked intently into her eyes.

Buffy looked back at him, unwavering for once "I was"

The vampire inclined his head a little a small flicker of hope etched on his face "What does that mean?"

She blinked, looked down, unsure again "I don't know. Does...does it have to mean something?"

Spike looked at the Slayer, his Slayer, and knew how hard this was for her. To admit that she felt something for him, to commit herself to someone like him when she did not know if she would even live through the night. He knew it was hard but it didn't stop him wanting to know. He had waited a long time to have the talk with Buffy and now seemed to be the right time. No more putting things off. Something had to be said and now was the best time because tomorrow they could all die.

"Yeah, it has to mean something" Spike said, squaring his shoulders and readying himself to be shot down as he had been many times before "Good or has to mean something"

Buffy bit her lip and inhaled a deep breath. This was it. Their moment. Spike had asked to be told and though she was more scared than she had ever been she had to honor his request. He deserved that much. He deserved more. It was funny how she could take on the army of hell and not bat an eyelash but when faced with voicing her feeling towards the vampire who stood before her she felt her heart pounding and her hands began to shake. She gripped the handle of the scythe in a death-grip and tried to focus her breathing. Nothing worked. Buffy was just going to have to tell him.

"Something? It meant more that just...something" Buffy looked down at the floor then slowly turned her eyes back to his "It meant everything"

Spike started to step towards her but stopped himself "What do you mean?"

"You need me to spell it out?"

He smiled a little "In a relationship like ours? I need you to spell it out and then repeat it. I never was a quick study"

Buffy felt a tremble in her voice that she could not repress "I want to tell you what you want to hear. I want to say that I love you and mean it. But I can't. I'm not in love with you..."

Spike sucked in a breath and nodded rapidly he looked down at the floor. He hadn't expected any more but still he felt like his dead heart was being shattered into a hundred pieces. The Slayer didn't love him. He knew it. Didn't mean he had to like it. The vampire turned to leave decided now would be a good time to write some awful poetry.

The Slayer's grip on his wrist heeded his exit. He stopped and his back muscles tensed before he turned around to face her again. He could see the flames from the candles reflected in her eyes. A bloke could loose himself in those eyes. Spike had on many occasions.

"Let me finish. God, do you always have to be so melodramatic?" Buffy asked, a chiding tone in her voice.

Spike's eyebrows lifted and he nodded once "Carry on, luv. The audience awaits with baited breath"

Buffy rolled her eyes "I'm not in love with you. But...I'm starting to be. I'm falling in love with you Spike and I'm scared. I am terrified"

He looked at her and frowned. Had those words really just come out of her mouth or was he dreaming again? He pinched himself. No, he was really here. So was she. Buffy Summers was falling in love with him. Spike felt a rush of emotion overtake him but he had to stay silent, had to let her say what she needed to say and what he desperately needed to hear.

"You don't have to be," He mimicked her earlier words "Why would you be?"

She turned her face away "Because...Because I've never fallen in love before. With Angel and Riley it just, like a freight train. It just hit me. With's gradually happening. Every day I learn something new about you, something that makes you more real to me more...human. Every day that I talk with you some more, or tease, or makes me feel warm and safe and normal. When I'm with you I'm not just the Slayer I'm Buffy too. You don't put any pressure on me and you give me the chance to feel like a normal girl. So...the more I get to know you the more I fall and the more I fall the more I feel like I should just let myself go completely. But I can't"

Spike felt a lump in his throat; tears were glistening the corners of his eyes "Why not?"

"Because I'm afraid," Buffy voice was near a whisper now "I'm afraid that if I fall will all change and we'll go back to what we were – spiteful lovers and nothing more"

He shook his head "That could never happen. We aren't the same people we were back then. It took me over a hundred years but I have changed, Buffy. I'm not gonna try and drag you into the darkness with me because...because I don't want to be in the dark anymore. When I'm with you I feel like I'm standing in the sun and...god, I sound like such a ponce!"

Buffy reached out and took his hand in hers "No you don't. At least you're not afraid to show me how you feel"

"You don't have to be. You know if you fall that I'll catch you" Spike said gently, squeezing her hand.

Buffy smiled "Hey, I'm no damsel in distress that needs saving you know"

Spike chuckled too and the warmth was held in his expression "Okay, I'll be there to break your fall, is that okay? Just land on me, I am your crash mat"

"That's better" She confirmed, nodding. Her face turned serious again "Spike, I want you to know that if we get past this apocalypse that I...I may be needing you to be my crash mat sometime soon"

The vampire nodded "I look forward to it"

They both looked at each with a new found understanding. If they made it through to the other side of the end of the world then things were going to get interesting. Spike looked at his love, his lady, his girl, his world and he smiled. She was the most beautiful thing in the universe and she was looking at him. He was sure that the Powers That Be would bollocks the whole thing up but he was content for these few moments and that was enough for him.

Buffy always loved the way Spike looked at her. Like all he saw was her and he was blind to the rest of the world. She had begun to feel the same way about him. His bluest of blue eyes could capture her at the most surprising times. It was always a nice feeling to be lost in him for a little while. To escape the burden of her work and her life. Spike was hers. And, now it seemed, she was his. What surprised her most about this was that she didn't mind. In fact, she liked belonging with someone. It felt wonderful.

"We should go be heroes," Spike said softly, breaking the moment with regret.

The Slayer blinked, hefted the scythe "Right. Got a job to do"

"Right" He nodded back and started to leave again.

"But Spike," She called after him and he turned back "When we're done being heroes can we just be ourselves?"

The vampire smiled at her and nodded. Buffy smiled back. She stepped into him, leaned up on tiptoes and kissed him softly on the lips. They took their last moment of peace. Then they separated. Looked at each other. Spike winked at her then turned and left by the back door.

Buffy looked out the open door and took a deep breath.

She smiled.