Title: What to Expect

Author: Sandy S.

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all…

Summary: Set after "Intervention." Buffy takes care of Spike after the kiss.

Dedication: This fic is for Tiana! Hope you enjoy, sweetie. . . although I must apologize in advance for the lack of excessive angst and sex in elevators.

What to Expect, Part One

Spike sleeps.

Funny how innocent someone can look when dreams overtake him.

I used to watch Angel sleeping. Even after he came back from hell, I would worry that he would open his eyes and be Angelus. Rationally, I knew that we hadn't done anything to make him lose his soul, but irrational Buffy was afraid. I felt like I was always holding my breath. . . even when I believed I was happy.

With Spike, I always know what to expect when he rouses. I've startled him awake enough times. . . kicking in his crypt door and slamming him against walls. He would give that little grunt of surprise, sneer at me, and ask me if I've finally come for. . .

I close my eyes and open them again.

No.

He won't be doing that today.

And I didn't make a sound when I entered.

The morning light slices indirectly across the crypt, over Spike's inert body, and I step a little closer as my eyes adjust to the diffuse glow. He doesn't look comfortable on the top of the concrete sarcophagus. . . not that a sarcophagus could be comfortable. His right ankle is swollen and twisted in an abnormal fashion, and he's still wearing his torn, bloodied clothes from yesterday. Pale flesh peeks out from beneath black, and I have a hard time telling where the bruises end and cotton begins. His platinum blonde hair is normally slicked back, but now loose strands curl gently over his red-slashed forehead.

Without thinking, I reach out to brush aside the hair. My lips tingle in the phantom remembrance of the kiss I gave him earlier. . . yesterday evening when I found out what he had done for Dawn. . . for me. I'd expected his lips to be icy and hard. . . even though I knew from kissing Angel that they wouldn't be.

Spike is hard, cold, bitter. . . at least when he talks to me lately. And neither of us were under a spell. I hardly recall what kissing Spike was like last year. . . the memories from Willow's spell quickly became vague, unwanted, pushed aside figments of leftover musings. . . .

And earlier I expected his kiss to match his. . .

But his lips were soft, pliant. . . gentle.

He must have been nice because he thought I was. . .

Lucky for me, Spike stirs before I can make contact, startling me out of my trance. His hand moves over his face as if he's swatting away a fly, barely missing my hand.

Inhaling sharply, I stumble back a bit. What am I doing here? Spike doesn't deserve this much attention. . . no matter what he didn't tell Glory. After all, he recently threatened to kill me if I didn't return his distorted, evil affections, and he had sex with that. . . robot.

What would my friends think if they knew I stood in Spike's crypt, left arm full of medical supplies and heart in my throat?

I take a few steps back.

Maybe if I'm quiet enough, I can escape before he wakes up, and he'll be none the wiser to my presence.

Of course, there would happen to be that pesky table behind me. . . the one that Spike picked up from the junkyard with the half-broken, wobbly leg. The candles that are sliding are thankfully unlit, and somehow, I manage to juggle the medical supplies, three pillar candles and the table without too much noise.

My legs are slightly crossed and in opposite directions and my arms are bent in an awkward position. How the hell am I supposed to get everything back in place without waking Spike?

Okay, Buffy.

First things first, right the table. The dilapidated wooden thing sways back and forth as I tilt it back into place. Now why would Spike pick furniture made of wood?

Then, candles. . . slide them into place.

Done.

Now, crap! Stupid box of supplies is suddenly too slippery for my fingers and tumbles to the floor with a soft thud.

My head whips up.

Spike hasn't moved.

I stoop to pick up the package, ready to make my escape.

"What are you doing here?"

No "Slayer" is tacked onto the end of the question, and his words are halting, almost scratchy like he has something in his throat. My heart stirs just a little, and I remember what Xander said earlier.

God, I feel kinda bad for the guy. . . . It's just... the guy was so thrashed. . . .

How can I possibly leave when he sounds so. . . hurt?

Spike is not supposed to get hurt. . . be hurt. . . not unless I am the one doing the damage. Somehow, that option doesn't seem quite as appealing as it used to.

He coughs, turning onto his side and squinting into the shadows. "Slayer?"

Oh, there he is. My voice comes out in a whisper, "Yes?" So much for confident, head-held-high Buffy.

"What are you doing here? Come to take back what you said earlier?"

I feel the tug of familiar annoyance, and the irritation renews my confidence. "No. Why would I do that?"

"Cause you. . ." In a move that I'm certain must be extremely painful, he flips his legs over the side of the coffin and balances on his left foot, one hand behind him to hide his need for extra stability.

Guess he's not the only one who feels uncertain after our last encounter.

He studies me when I say nothing. . . eyes flicking over my jeans, flowered peasant blouse and onto the carton cradled in my arm. I stand stock still, praying silently that he can't see how much his stare is affecting me.

He nods toward my parcel. "What you got there?"

"Just dropping off some stuff that you might need." And then, I'll take you back to my place and I'll take care of you. It's the least I can do after what you did for Dawn. . . for me.

"Thanks, pet. I'll take it off your hands, and then, you won't have to pay me anymore mind. I'm sure you've got better things to do today what with Glory still. . ." He reaches for the supplies and takes a step forward on his twisted foot only to completely lose his balance.

His falling lends me surety of action, and I hurry forward without thinking, slipping my free arm around his waist, avoiding his broken ribs, and taking his weight against my side. "Got you."

His right arm floats in the air for a moment, uncertain about whether to settle on me or not. Making a decision for him, I drop the box and grab his forearm with my hand. His muscles tense beneath my touch, and I marvel at how soft the skin on his arm is. . . soft like his lips against mine.

"Thanks," he manages before coughing again.

I swallow the uncertainty that's made me go all cotton-mouthed. "Let's go."

"How about the chair over there, pet?" he asks, nodding toward his tattered recliner.

That's not what I meant at all. "No."

"What do you mean, 'no'? Got a better idea?"

If the words hadn't come out so innocent, I probably would have dropped him where I stood and walked out. But, I am trying to be patient, and I can understand the logic of his question. Where does Buffy want Spike to go?

I know I'm losing it when I talk to myself in third person.

"Well, I thought you could come back to my place." That sounds good. . . I don't sound hurried or nervous.

Spike stares at me like I'm insane.

So, I tack on more words. Dumb, dumb, dumb. "Well, seeing as you're all hurt, you're vulnerable to attack in the crypt, and well. . ." My gaze falls to the dusty ground and back up the cobwebs in the corners, anything to avoid looking directly at Spike. ". . . it's dirty here. That can't be good for your injuries. Got to keep them clean. . . first rule of wound care in the Slayer handbook."

"That's not in the handbook, love." He's laughing at me.

What? "You've read the handbook?" My eyes widen. "There's really a handbook?"

"Every self-respecting vampire has a copy." He squeezes my waist ever so slightly.

Before I can stop myself, I giggle.

How is he capable of making me simultaneously feel so good and so damned pissed?

tbc...