OBSESSION

Author: kreepyk

Spoilers: Set after season six. This is set in an indeterminate future, basically an alternate storyline.
Rating: R (?) This isn't smutty, much.
Feedback: Please read and review.
Notes: Hope you like it. This was my first attempt at fanfiction.




Despite what they tell you, having a seriously unconventional idea of sex isn't fun. A great deal of living --or in my case being sentient-- is spent trying to accumulate dignity and self respect. For the pervert meeting one's needs leaves you open for utter humiliation. Think of how ridiculous your chemist would look in full bondage gear. Laughable. This basic conflict is what drives us deviants spare. Some perversions gain brief popularity or a more lasting social acceptance as times change. For instance, Red manages to be openly pagan and queer and isn't publicly flogged. Sound chimes and raise trumpets for the march of human progress. Though her button nose and self-effacing manner may have more to do with it than a sudden public shift towards acceptance.

Digressing. Examining one's inner life may have gained popular credence but I am too old to wade in straightaway. Or I am still an immature, gutless fop.

One consolation is that my perversity is so rare as to be nameless and still undescribed by the Kinseys of the world. There is no entry in any diagnostic guide for 'unnatural desire by undead to be endlessly rejected by the Chosen One.' I am singularly weak. I'm alone in my obsession.

Now I am starting to maunder like Angel, pretentious bastard.

Truth is, obsession is dreadful to experience. Particularly when you know that it is possible for it to last millennia. If this feeling continues, I know I won't last a decade. Craving that heartless girl for more than a few years may put me over the brink. Unrequited love is such a loathsome state, inspiring boundless self-pity and ridiculous verse. It narrows your vision to a pinpoint focus so your conversations are either boring or excruciatingly embarrassing. When you are incapable of talking about anything but your own pathetic life it repels exactly the sort of people who could drag you out of it. A vicious circle, really.

***

She looked the same. She walked differently. Faith was drinking still, but without the reckless pace. Her gaze no longer flitted around the room assessing possible overtures. She pushed little circles into the waxy shine of the bar. She was thinking, though she still looked up into the mirror and glanced around the room. Her eyes didn't glint with a volatile mix of panic and rage, as they once had. She was still wary though. Had to stifle an impulse to jerk into instant violence when she recognized a pale face at the dartboard in the corner.

He was apparently channeling serious aggression into each throw and using the paces to retrieve them as a chance to mull something... intractable. She looked down at her boots. *Why was he still in town? Why would he linger here?* So long as she asked these questions, why was *she* back in California?

"What are you doing here?" He was suddenly right at her elbow. The disadvantages that come from purposefully dulling your senses...

"I was just thinking the same of you. Hasn't Her Grace run you out of own yet?" Faith muttered. She looked up at him, and noticed his suspicion. *I should have known. She's made him an ally. What was I thinking when I taunted him back then. All those things I said to him. What a stupid bitch I was.* She felt this way whenever she met someone from her past life, her empty life as the murderer. The tattooed rebel. The Mayor's thug.

"Not bloody likely. Though I remember you being on the run come t' think of it. Planning a little revenge caper?" He was fishing, she could tell but he wasn't enthusiastic as she might expect. He didn't seem intimidated either.

"Spike, is she still here?"

"Of course. Big changes, though, since your last," he sneered, "...spree."

"This must mean I'm in Sunnydale. A demon is lecturing me about being too evil."

"Touché."

"Listen, I've come to speak to her but I...just not ready yet." *Now I've said it aloud. I will really do this.*

"Speak, huh. Not stab, not trap? Since when do you two have a cordial bloody relationship?" Now he was practically laughing openly. He was warmed up now. She used to do this for fun, too. Verbal sparring intended to keep people out of vulnerable places.

"Unless you want to have a reasonable conversation, go back to darts." She turned back to her drink and minded his reaction with senses that others didn't possess. Her peripheral vision would have made gemcutters envious. Her sense of smell was nearly a liability in a roadhouse like this.

"Fine. I'll bite." He climbed onto the stool and ordered a bottle.

So she started talking to him about running the rails, starving. About working all over the rural nowheres of the continent where she could use cash and stay unknown. Pulling in endless nets on trawlers before sunrise. How she made friends who helped her without expecting anything and endless hours staring at the horizon thinking about her wasted youth. Taking a bath using rainwater. Spitting to clear dust out of her teeth.

"And then you found Jesus, am I right?"

"No, I just realized that even though it was hard and dirty out there...I didn't have to fuck people over to survive. I grew up."

They didn't have much of the bottle left. She wondered. "What does this rotgut do to you? Are you drunk?"

He looked serious for a moment. *His expressions are so fleeting; they pass away into derision and are almost forgettable. What is he hiding?*

"I wish that it would, sometimes. But it won't do much to me. I have to really pour it on to get truly knackered. What about you, you a mean drunk?"

"Yes."

He paused at that. "You really are different aren't you? Sure you haven't turned Buddhist or something equally wanker? Whatever it is, Buffy could use a dose, might cool her jets some."

Faith perked up at this notion that the Slayer was not in the best place. She was after all, still Faith. Regretful, more stable, but still herself. "You talk to B.? What's her deal?"

"She's had some trials and tribulations. She...died and then they brought her back. You know Willow and them. Now she's trying to earn a living and support her sister. Giles went away." He looked into the mirror, took a long drag of his smoke. "She's really distant. She seems blank. I dunno."

Faith jumped off the stool. She felt a bit dizzy, but was resolute. "I need to see her now."

***
They walked up to the bungalow quietly. The evening was warm and the light breeze was faintly moist, as if there might be rain. Dew sparkled under the streetlamps. The trees rattled against the glass. Buffy's window was alight.

"She's awake." This was another little vow. Speaking it helped her walk up the steps. She could remember Christmas with the family and how needy she was. How bitter she felt after, in her blinking hotel room with musty sheets and no one to talk to...but the Mayor.

She knocked and waited. Knocked again and then she was there looking almost the same. But her face was marked with a depth Faith didn't remember. Ages of experience looked into her and said, "Why are you here."

Faith said, "I need you to forgive me for violating you."

***

She was surprised to see the vampire waiting under the oak. Hours had passed. Was he really so starved for entertainment?

"I need a smoke."

He lit it for her in such an archaic gesture she suddenly remembered his age. She inhaled and closed he eyes. *This is my last one.* Exhaling all the remains of her recriminations she looked at him. "You aren't tired, are you."

"Night's not yet begun."

They walked through the ruins of the warehouses and canneries of the part of town by the railroad. They talked about traveling. Running away actually. They talked about Joyce's death, and stopped to look at their shoes. After a choked moment thinking about her they each smoked another cigarette. *I'm going to stop sneaking these. Tomorrow.*

Then Spike realized that he hadn't spoken about Buffy and his fruitless obsession for hours. He didn't even think of her for a while, during that bit between the old Armory and the University fields.

"I think I like the reformed you. Diverting, like."

"One more hour and I'll be wicked close to interesting." Was she being coy? She delicately pulled her hair from her face and looked at him. *Yes, this is coy. What the hell am I doing?*

"You know I have a motorcycle, pet."

"*That* is interesting. Take me to the ocean. I've spent too long in Saskatchewan, I want salt air."

***

Some things about her old life were good. Loud discordant noise from three chords. Riding fast machines. Chunking along in a combine was not the same feeling. Powerful and noisy yes, but the radio only picked up country music. Canadian country music. She seriously regarded this as part of her penance.

It is easy to lose yourself in memories riding at night. The lights flew past and eventually tapered down to the porch lights on scattered houses. Either they were headed into the mountains or this was a very indirect route. She didn't mind. In a sense this was a vacation for
her. She was literally leaving her cares behind, now that she had left that evil town and her last apology. She had planned nothing past the talk with her old rival. The symbol of all the things she should have had, should have felt was broken. The gripping resentment and choking hate were just an old feeling to recall and study now. She had moved past it. Thankfully, so had Buffy. *I don't know if I could have made it through a sincere apology with the self-righteous hag I remember.* She gripped his leather coat, unconsciously rubbing the creases between her fingers while she mused. *Leather is another thing that stays on the list.*

Spike was thinking, too. He always felt better speeding through the dark on his bike. Partly it was the lack of music, and the speed. Pure velocity almost like the ecstasy of the kill. It pulled the core of your body out the top of your skull and made your skin feel sleek and utterly sensitive. So much so that the little hairs at the base of his skull could feel the wind blowing past. He wondered what he was doing with this dark haired madwoman. He wasn't sure what to make of the soul-searching rot she prattled on about. Yet she didn't have the same electric intensity of a psychopath. She looked at you directly. The mad ones couldn't or wouldn't focus unless there was an implicit threat in the gaze. He could almost trust her. No crazy-face.

She was very nice looking as well. It didn't hurt, good for his ego to think about Buffy being a bit miffed that he was gadding about like this with Faith of all women, and not pining in the crypt over her. Perhaps he was being a bit harsh. *Wait a tic. Why am I doing this to myself?* The short affair had been intense and very painful for him when it ended. But clearly, Buffy hadn't the stomach for it. It just didn't fit into her little image of herself.

Well, maybe that was why it ended. Or burned out. It's hard to sustain that kind of thing, for long anyway.

***

It was very late when they came to the shore. Someone's bonfire embers glowed weakly in the dunes. Some of the dim light reflected off crumpled cans. No one else would spot this. They would look at the stars. She looked up. *Yep, pretty sweet. This is the same on the prairie, but nothing beats the sea.*

She fell into the sand and kicked off her boots, clothes-everything but her underwear and ran in to the water. It was still enough for her to float a while and stare at the void. *This is just the beginning. I will remember tonight forever. I can start again. I can figure out why I am here. Why she forgave me. * Her body was superhumanly tough, but the cold brought up Goosebumps and she could feel her ears go numb, then her toes. She was pushing herself too far.

A fire was crackling in the pit, he must've found some driftwood. He threw her his coat when she came back. Her body made a double take expecting heat, but he had none. "Thanks." It fell to her ankles. She reached for the pack of smokes like she owned it. Bad habits.

"I thought you might drift away for a moment. It isn't the proper season for swimming you know. Something about currents from Borneo or some such. You'll catch your death, mind." he whispered. "I have a flask. Isn't brandy though." He motioned for her to sit by the fire.

"I feel too clear-headed to drink," she said, with droplets running down her face. "Don't you have any tequila, I'm already salted." She gestured with her hand to demonstrate. *Now this is actual flirtation. What is the deal with you? He's more interested in your blood than your body. Isn't he? If this is more self-destructive bullshit then I'm still trapped back there in little girl lost. Big eyes and no brain. Operating on fight or flight mode. I am going to spend my first night of clarity fighting off a demon. This is not appropriate symbolism for* after *the confession. *

"Why the hell are you out here Spike?"

"Faith, you are not the only one with some baggage from the Slayer. Let's say she trapped me in amber for a good long while. I still care enough to want to make sure you weren't going to snuff her back at the house. Then when you didn't, and you didn't try. Then I got curious.

"Curious about how you got loose of her, and her friends. And their fucking nonsense. And how you...evened out." He squinted at her. The moon was setting, but she could still see his expression. Couldn't read it, but she could see him glowering, then sneering. He pulled on the flask.

"With absolutely no pun intended...I got a life." She smiled a little.

He grinned. "Well that's me, right out!"

Walking around led to a paint-chipped playground and showers. She washed the salt away and dried off with her pants. Then she put everything on. She was used to making do and traveling light. When she got out she said, "If you're getting bored we can head back...to town."

"Do I detect a note of distain for the little bucolic burg on the lip of the Pit? I don't think we could make it back before light anyway. If you don't mind I have a spot which is always empty this time of year." He leered.

She nodded and ran back to the motorcycle. The black coat made her exit dramatic. He started loping after her. "Don't steal the bloody thing! I've heard about your disreputable ways."

***

It was barely a cabin. It was a hippie's retreat from the days of oil embargoes and stagflation. Dug into the earth for energy efficiency, there were few windows, aside from the glassy porch with long lost passive solar heat baffles. When you closed the inner door it was almost a cave. Clearly, this was the most rustic of his hideouts. Aside from a few brick and board bookshelves and pine cabinets the place was empty. Very dusty as well. She dropped her backpack on a cleanish spot on the shag carpet and plunked her head down. She exhaled wearily, the type of breathing they recommend for rookie Buddhists and heart attack survivors.

He dropped to the floor nearby. "This beats a slab of granite. Don't know how your last doss compared."

"Amtrak. Screaming five-year olds." She closed her eyes and her long lashes fluttered. "Very quiet. I'm five by five."

"You are not afraid of me. But you don't know about what's in my head. That's mad. Or did her worship tell you?"

"Tell me *what* is in your head?"

"Never mind. Long story. Doesn't work anymore anyway. Well, not predictably, like. Think a circuit's fried."

"That helps so much. What are you ranting about?"

So he told her about the behavior modification chip in his head, and how it gradually stopped working. He'd first noticed with the Slayer, and then it wouldn't work for months. Or erratically flare up for a day or two. He hadn't pushed it much, no feeding frenzies. But it gave him a chance to shove back here and there when some drunken moron got loud and red-faced.

"And you never asked a vamp buddy to strong arm a doctor and pull it out?"

"Just the once. Didn't bloody work."

"You got a hacksaw?"

"Very nice, threaten me in my own dank cave."

"Sorry, I'm punchy."

"Did I hear 'Punch me?'" he shot her a rapid tap to the arm. It would've been much more than a tap to anyone but her.

"Oh, I see you don't have one. I'll just use my camp spoon. Do you have any water to wash it first, I last used it to gut a rabid raccoon in the wilds of Oregon." She propped herself up on her elbow and started to dig in her backpack, then kicked his boot and sank back down again. *I'm reverting to fourth grade. Soon we will be trading cooties. Or am I just imagining?*

No. He grabbed her and started to pinch the tops of her knees. Sheer ticklish agony. She placed his wrist in a joint lock and started to bend back, slowly. "Call truce, you ruthless prick! Truce!"

A smile glinted through his grimace. "Yes, yes... just don't tear my sodding arm off!"

One hand still lingered on her knees. His arm relaxed from headlock into an embrace. She let go his arm, but reached under his coat looking for way into bare skin. She looked at his eyes. It was obvious he wanted her.

He bent to kiss her. Such an odd sensation, so cool. She could feel his mouth warming from her. His flesh was sucking in her heat. *More friction.* She moved closer, pressing into his body, rocking her hips slightly. Lust thrummed within her, stretching those mysterious strings inside with anticipation. He reached into her hair, caressing her neck. Kissing her beneath her chin and where her earlobes met the smooth skin of her neck. Her heart felt as if it would jump out of her body. His insistence was resonating in her chest making it hard for her to breathe. She was almost panting. Her hands crept under his shirt, spreading her warmth along his chest. He felt cold, yet strong and alive, like a farmhand outdoors too long in the winter wind. She could feel his muscles tense under her touch. He moaned slightly into her shoulder. She inhaled deeply and savored the taste of his mouth and his weight pressing into her. They pulled off their clothes.

It lasted a long time. She felt a real sense of accomplishment when his skin was warm afterwards. She decided that it was only fair for her to count a cigarette towards last night rather than today. They shared a smoke. She pulled his leather coat over them and fell asleep on his shoulder. She could see a little light peeking in from the crack under the door right before her dreams started.

*finis*