A/N: I wrote this a long time ago. I was looking through some stuff and thought it was halfway decent, so I thought I'd let y'all see. Part of a series of one-shots I called 'wishful thinking' where I try to make things better. I don't think I'll put the rest up.
"You're a monster! How could you believe I might care about you? Trust you? You aren't even human! You can't love me! You can't LOVE! You don't have a soul! I could never even think about caring for you! It's wrong!"
That would be Buffy. And Spike. I stopped just short of entering the room and ducked behind the door. Sometimes I hate my sister; this was one of those times.
She hadn't seen him, this summer when he tried to kill himself, but I convinced him that he could still help. That summer, despite the obvious awfulness of it, was pretty good for Spike. Not that he cared. But we trusted him, helped him, let him help us. And how does my sister repay him? She never saw the way he cried.
And she had to trust Spike. She let him babysit me (don't let me get started on how much I do not need a babysitter, but Spike was definitely the best possible option). If she didn't trust him, she would never have done that. Right?
Unless she didn't think it mattered enough. Because after all, I'm not human either. Do I have a soul? I don't know, I don't know what it feels like. Can a former glowing glob of energy have a soul? Buffy said that if I don't have a soul, I can't love. But I love her. Right? Buffy said she could never love someone without a soul. And she loves me. Right?
There was a swing and a thump, then a muffled useless inhalation. Buffy hit Spike. And Spike let her. My throat hurt, and my eyes felt hot: oncoming tears.
I sunk to the ground. Buffy and her morals. Buffy would stick to her morals. If I didn't have a soul, Buffy wouldn't love me. She could just take away her love like that. Hit me like she had hit Spike. Because I wasn't a person, I wasn't human, so it wasn't wrong. She's the one who's seeing things in black and white. I know I love. I know Spike loves. But I don't know if she can love.
They're gone now, so I can cry. I don't know what to do.
Tara knows a spell. She did it for me a year ago, after... after I found out about the key stuff. I don't know what to call it. It's soothing and I'm supposed to talk to it to release my feelings or something. That sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I've started using it like a diary. Like the diaries the monks made up. But this time I know I'm me.
So I sleep off my tears, but when I wake up I'm still angry. And sad. And scared. So I call it up. I try to make sense, but it's hard to make the words come out.
Spike has done so many good things. Because he loves Buffy. Because even when Buffy was dead, he was trying to do what she would want and take care of us. But she can't love. She can't love because she keeps her principle higher than everything else, and can't see beyond the stereotype. And since she can't love him, why should she be able to love me?
Tears are falling again by the time I stop, but I'm not crying hard enough to miss the sound outside my door. I jump up, but I'm only in time to see Buffy rush out of the house and into the night, leaving her coat behind.
She heard. I try to tell myself good, maybe that will show her something, but I still feel terrible inside.
She thinks I don't love her. I'm running, running to who knows where. She thinks I don't love her. She thinks I can't love her. Because of Spike. Damn him. Of course I love her.
I stop short. I'm in the middle of a street. A car honks. I don't even turn. What's the difference? Part of me is yelling: He's a vampire! She's my sister! That's the difference! But I know that she wasn't always my sister, that these feelings were given to me. Why am I so sure they're real now? And why is Spike different.
She listed Spike's unconditional assistance. There were some things I didn't know before, and some things I could add that she didn't know about. Things that he could never expect to draw a benefit from.
I know one thing: I love Dawn. I'll start there.
I ran again, fresh tears on my face. Without conscious effort, my feet bore me to Spike's crypt. I threw myself in. He stood up as I entered, surprised to see me. After all, I'd been beating him up only a few hours ago.
I relied on him. And I needed him now. I was sobbing, sobbing in his arms. What have I done? Oh, Spike, what have I done?
I wasn't expecting to find my arms full of sobbing Slayer. She keeps repeating What have I done? What have I done? I don't know, but at this moment all I care about is that she needs me and I can hold her.
Oh, bloody hell, that's a lie. I'm scared. Yes, that is me saying that, yes, I don't like to admit it, but it's true. I never know where I stand with the Slayer. I want to comfort her, want her to tell me what's wrong, want her to trust me enough to stay, but I've been around her long enough; I know what to expect. And what I expect is at least another black eye before the night is through.
But I also know I'm a bloody ponce and I'll stay here and hold her and hope. Because right now, at this moment, she needs me and she doesn't care that I'm not worthy of her.
She freezes. I stiffen, preparing for the inevitable.
"I'm sorry, Spike, I'm sorry. I can't even offer any excuse."
I lift her into my arms. She is weak from crying and her shove at my chest is pathetic and ineffectual. My moment is over. I let her go.
"How can you love me?"
We already had this fight today. I fight a sigh. Why do I put up with this? Oh, yeah: Love's Bitch, remember.
"After... after everything. The things I've done, said. I'm not even sure I want to be around me anymore. I don't deserve you. I... I... I'm scared," she finished lamely. I knew it wasn't what she'd originally intended to say.
I'm more confused that ever. And I can't really trust what she's saying. I love her. But I've been doing this too long and I know what to expect. I blink. I move to hold her again and this time she doesn't push me away. I carry her downstairs and we sit on my bed, with her still in my lap. "Talk to me," I tell her. "Tell me what happened."
So she does. And more. She tells me about Dawn. But also how her whole life is falling apart, and she doesn't care enough to pick up the pieces. And still, everyone expects her to be Super Buffy with a smile on her face, fixing all the worlds problems.
I let her talk, and then she cries a little more, and falls asleep in my arms. I stroke her hair, worrying about her, about Dawn. Nibblet doesn't even have me to comfort her. Then, still worrying, I drift off as well. Needless to say, my dreams aren't pleasant.
When I woke up, he was still asleep. I watched him for a moment. It had been so long since I'd actually looked at him. He looked so peaceful when he's sleeping, so... soft, somehow. He woke up and looked down on me, smiling a sleepy crooked smile.
I saw the moment he realized, the memories of those other mornings settling over his face, protecting him from the verbal blows to come. I felt like I'd been hit. How could I have been so blind? I buried myself in his shoulder to try to stop the tears. Would he ever be able to look at me without that memory of pain coming between us? Did I even deserve that much?
I need Spike. I have for a long time, but now I can admit it without hating myself. He doesn't forget people. I can talk to him honestly, without needing to watch what I say. I need that now. And I'm almost afraid to ask for it.
I finally gather the courage to look up at him. He looks hopeful.
"I need to check on Dawn," I remember suddenly. For a moment he says nothing. I worry. I'm not even sure about what.
"May I come?" he asks me. It's the first time I can remember him asking.
"I-If you want to." I'm suddenly nervous and embarrassed that my voice betrayed my fear.
"Wouldn't have asked, luv," he points out softly. I blush.
"Sun's up," I point out. Well, I'm pretty sure it is, anyway.
"That's never stopped me before."