He was patient though, never accusing. "No, you're not the fancy of my sweet tooth. You're my everything. I wish I could show you that I mean every word." Spike saves Buffy from the clutches of an evil Angelus and kills him. It is not until now Buffy can thank her hero for what he has done.

*~*~*

Something after Spike gets his soul, but Buffy is still doesn't trust him. Angel looses his soul again and hurts Buffy, bad. Spike saves her in some heroic way and now is her time to thank him. COMPLETELY AU. Just something short and sweet I wrote up when I was feeling the effects of Singles Awareness Day.

Use your imagination as to what Angelus does to Buffy and what Spike does to save her. Oh and the fluffy-mush is like wine here: a little strong but has a nice sweet after-taste. So without further ado...

*~*~*

Hesitant Hands

"Damn it, I tried. I tried going away. I tried to get out, stay out and never come back. For once, I listened to you and I went away… but I can't stay… away." He took a careful step forward, his hands obviously shaking in his pockets.

"But no matter what I did, what I said or tried, all I could think about was you. I wondered what you were doing right then and there. Were you laughing? Were you smiling? Were you mad, scared, upset? Were you crying? And, oh God, when I thought of you crying, being so sad tears came down your face, I couldn't remember…," he said as his voice trailed off, the sounds tumbling together, and something inside tearing at him. He sighed and tried again. "I couldn't…. be. Everything was clogged and thick, my brain trying to make some sense but I just couldn't."

He breathed and his cheeks pulled up, as though laughing, but unable to because the act was something that hadn't been done in a long time. He stood directly in front of her, where she could feel the warm air of his breath brush her cheeks. Every molecule of her being was clenched in anxious waiting. She did not know what she was waiting for, or if it would bring her happiness or despair; she only knew that her entire life depended on his next words.

But, those eyes, hesitant and so, so scared, were not going to glimmer as they did when he spoke. He was not going to speak for an eternity, those eyes telling all, and he would only stare at the woman before him. No, stare is not the right word. His eyes were silken hands that glossed her cheeks, her eyebrows, her jaw. They did what he knew his own hands could not. He wasn't looking at her, he was breathing her in, absorbing her very soul.

And time stood still. The barking dogs outside, the cars crackling along the road, the grandfather clock in the living room stopped. No sound rippled the silence of the candle-lit kitchen. Nothing dropped into the mirage of total and utter calm, where beneath lay waiting two hearts so gentle and fragile, the candle and silence cradling them must never be disturbed.

Again, he did something, Buffy knew only he could do. He moved. He moved in this black, glittering silence but never broke it. Everything was still so velvet smooth, still though someone moved.

His hand fell up from his pocket, reaching out, the pad of his fingers trying to absorb the rest of her as they brushed her jaw, then they moved up to where her sun-blonde hair met her face. A strange shock flew down her face and into her stomach, her knees sagging for a fraction of an inch before she locked them straightly, defiantly.

But her eyes could not take it. For if she continued to stare at that face, that simple, pale face, that face with a look of such adoration and concern, a tenderness that was almost crippling, she would strain and break. She had to stare down at the dirty covered black boots, hardly believing that dirt from one hundred years past stained them.

Then Buffy felt herself starting to lean forward, those defiant knees breaking as her body wanted to topple into the man before her. But her mind said no and it won. She righted herself and kept her fiery glare to the floor, and still she could feel that hand on her face.

He was barely touching her, just enough where she knew he was there, like the wind. Never really seeing it, but always aware of its gentle touches and whispering nudges of comfort. And then the wind was gone. His hand returned to his side. Her body trembled in unaware longing, like withdrawals from a heavy drug. She tried to breathe, to calm her nerves but she had no breath: he had stolen it all away.

"Do you know why I couldn't remember?" He said, breath forming words that pooled out into the silence, not shattering it, only creating waves that would rush home to a distance beach. "Because, the one thing in this world that makes me feel alive was not there by my side."

Those defiant legs could not hold, but they must. She could not fall again. Everything inside of her was just screaming, fiery, but she would not let him know. She would keep hold of her emotions, keep her empty face her only face. He would never know that she wanted him- her chest tight with yearning and her jaws clamped so tightly, flicks of pain were shooting into her head- yet she was not willing to risk it. Risk… everything again. She was not about to let herself go without something solid. Her hand readjusted its position on the stake in her coat pocket, her eyes never leaving his face. But, oh, he knew her all too well.

He sighed and half-smiled, the blue inside his eyes melting to an ocean. "Why do you keep fighting me?" His hand slid into her pocket, closed around her wrist and gently pulled her hand and the stake out of her coat. She let out a short gasp, embarrassment being part of it and that he could hold her so gently, just in the way that made her skin flex with fire, it shocked her. "When will you understand? I don't want to hurt you. I just… I want you."

I want you… Now follow me…

Suddenly angry, she pushed away from him, her heart making wild, erratic beats in her chest. "Is that all I am? A prize? Something you can't have?" She crossed her arms and took a good few steps away from him. She was fuming, at him, at Angelus, at herself. Why couldn't she get that memory out of her head?

He was patient though, never accusing. "No, you're not the fancy of my sweet tooth. You're my everything. I wish I could show you that I mean every word."

Then his warmth was hers and she felt him against her back. They stood like that for a moment, sudden tears springing up in her eyes and a piercing urge to turn her head to his warm chest bit at her neck. He spoke, his words whispering through her hair, making her body tense in restlessness.

"I can't make it any clearer. I can't say it in any more ways…"

"Then just…," Buffy murmured. The urge to turn to him was becoming insatiable.

"I want to, but you won't like it."

"Try. Try again."

"Alright."

Gentle hands held hers as though a crystal bubble lay inside. Crisp fingers closed around hers and for the first time she realized how small she was, how tiny and breakable she must look to everyone else.

"I think I'm falling in love with you, Ms. Summers. Head-over-heals in love. I am, and I do. I love you, Buffy."

Like a tense cable snapping under pressure, Buffy fell onto him completely. He took one step back before sinking to the ground.

Angelus couldn't hurt her anymore. He was gone, away from her. And the man that held her in his arms was the reason why that was so. It was not until now that she relaxed.

"I don't want to be hurt again." She mumbled, yet she knew it wouldn't happen again, not with Spike.

Those blue sapphires stared down at her, no, absorbed her again as she lay embraced beneath him. "If you are, I'll kill the son of a bitch. Even if it's me."

That hesitant hand cradled the crease of her neck and a tear slipped down her cheeks.

"Oh God, Buffy, please don't cry." He kissed her forehead, subconsciously, and a tender thumb smoothed her neck.

"I'm not," she sniffed, "I'm just… He's never going to hurt me again, is he?"

The ocean of his eyes sparkled. "No, pet, never again."

"Because of you."

She turned, ever so slightly to where her nose rested sideways on his cheek.

"If it makes it better, yes, because of me."

"You protected me. And you will protect me."

"You're the Slayer. I don't know how much protecting I'm going to do-"

Shaking her head, she sat up from his arms and the warm leather and looked him straight in his eyes, into the essence that he almost died for, his soul. "You will protect me?"

Again, those warm snow-colored hands picked up hers and carried that glass ball, holding it before them so that both could see their fingers intertwined. "Until the day we both die, love."

She knew he was not speaking her pet-name, but he was telling her flat out what she meant to him.

He turned up as though to kiss her forehead again, but she took him by both of her hands now and stopped him.

"No," she shook her head slightly. "Not there…"

That marble brow creased before finally understanding.

She took one last look at his pools of blue, the pair shimmering gold in the candlelight before she closed her own eyes and fell completely in.

"Here…"

His lips were softer than his touch and for the first time all night, he was not hesitant.