Unbidden and Uncertain
By fiona d

Summary: Buffy and Spike finally have it out about their relationship.

Spoilers: Up to Older and Far Away

Rating: PG-13 for content - R for language

Disclaimer: I own nothing. It's all Joss, and Mutant Enemy, and UPN, and 20th Century Fox.

A/N: I love Buffy and Spike. I love Joss Whedon. I distrust Marti Noxon greatly. So I'm creating my own scenario to fix her mess.

Distribution: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where it's going.

* * *

Buffy breathing was still hitched, and she panted lightly. She lay on her side, facing her lover, smiling. Her smiles were rare these days, the true smiles, the ones that weren't forced on her face in order to appease her friends. He smiled back at her, his smile also rare, out of habit and necessity. Nobody really took the Big Bad seriously if he grinned like an idiot.

He reached to touch her, but drew his hand back. He didn't know what to do with himself. He wanted to take her, hold her, touch her, stroke that fevered skin, but he couldn't. Every time he did that it just made her leave all the sooner. And he liked having her around afterwards. He liked talking to her. He liked just looking at her, knowing he was the cause of the smiling, of her relaxation. He just needed not to say anything too thoughtless. Try and not supply her with her reason for running off.

She took in their surroundings. "We finally made it to the bed," she remarked.

"And it's still intact," he returned, sounding slightly amazed at the fact.

"I think we should make it here more often. It's comfy." She blushed, realizing that the unintentional double entendre was pretty much just entendre.

"No need to play the blushing virgin here, love." Spike cocked an eyebrow. "I already know your dirtiest secrets. Hell, I am your dirtiest secret."

She stiffened and rolled over to the edge of the bed. 'Well, that did it', he thought to himself. 'See how fast the amazing Slayer can disappear from view.' He watched her as she slid her clothes on, hiding herself again from his eyes. Not that it would help. He had her burned into his brain. Every position, every view, every second spent touching her, kissing her, inside her committed to memory. For the time after it was all over. When she was no longer his.

Once dressed, she looked back at him. He lay there completely exposed, uncaring, unaware of his nudity. She couldn't be like that. She didn't understand how he could just lay there, vulnerable. She had an odd impulse to ask him to teach her how to stop caring, but she shoved it aside. The last thing she needed to do was care less about the world around her.

"I have to go," her terse words hid fear. The fear she felt because she didn't want to go. And the fear she felt because she didn't want to come back. She had no control anymore.

"Course you do." He flipped onto his back. "Rabbit off then." He stared at the ceiling. He could feel her hesitating, shifting back and forth, but he continued to stare at the ceiling. If he stared at the ceiling then he didn't have to look at her. And if he didn't have to look at her, then he wouldn't feel that painful, sucking feeling in his chest when she turned tail and ran.

Buffy watched him for a long moment. He stared up at the ceiling, as though it had personally affronted him, a muscle in his jaw twitching. His fists clenched and unclenched, but it was the only movement he made.

She stared at him, willing him to look at her. Still nothing. "Why won't you look at me?"

The jaw twitched again, but he didn't move. "I can't."

"Why not?" The waiver in her voice surprised her. Why did she care?

"Because I don't want to say something or do something that we'll both regret." He closed his eyes. Just wanting to block her out. Replace the image of her leaving him with the one of her smiling at him.

"Spike..." She didn't know what she wanted to say.

He kept his voice low, stilling his emotions. "You said you wanted to go, so go. No one's stopping you."

"Why?"

Her plaintive voice hurt him, but it also made him laugh roughly, a humourless laugh. "Why what, pet?"

"Why won't you stop me?"

His eyes snapped open. To hell with the hurt. He got to his feet and walked towards her. He came slowly, his eyes sliding down her body, making her feel naked. "Why would I? So you can beat me up, again? Tell me I'm convenient. Tell me I'm nothing. Spit at me every hurtful, harmful thing you can think of to push me away. Sorry Goldilocks, but I'm really not into that tonight. Maybe next time."

Buffy found herself slowly backing away. His words hurting her more than any punch ever could. "I wouldn't do that."

Spike laughed. "Yeah. Right." He stopped his advancement and walked towards his makeshift bar. "You said you had to leave. Fucking leave."

Alcohol. She wondered absently if it was possible for a dead person to be an alcoholic. Because she would be at a loss to remember a night she didn't see him with a bottle or drink in his hand.

Why didn't he want her to stay? He claimed to love her. He claimed that he knew her better than anyone else. He claimed that she belonged with him. And here he was, practically shoving her at the door.

She was hurt. And hurt turned to anger "So that's it. Wham bam, thank you Buffy. Except not even a thank you. Just a 'here's the door'."

He gripped the whiskey in his hand. Took a swig to avoid saying something he was really going to regret. Something that would end it permanently. "Last chance, love. Go."

"Or what? We both know you won't do anything. You might say a few nasty words, drink your whiskey and pretend you're the Big Bad, but it won't mean anything. You have nothing to back it up. You say you love me, you say I'm yours, but here you are, throwing me out. Your love means nothing."

Silence. Deafening, frightening silence, that seemed to stretch forever. She immediately regretted her words, but refused to take them back. She looked at him. Not even a muscle twitch. Just stillness and silence.

Crash! He erupted in a blur of motion, shoving all the liquor bottles and glasses to the floor. But his voice was quiet in comparison to the rage of his actions. "That's it. I can't do this. Not anymore."

He was bleeding. Blood from his hand dripped onto the floor but he didn't seem to notice. She found herself focussing on the blood, rather than on him. The way it dripped onto the broken glass and spread down. Colouring everything a lovely crimson.

No more. He thought he could take anything to stay with her. To be with her in all the ways she let him, but he finally understood why he had this constant need to bollix things up between them.

His voice was tired. "I can't, Buffy, I just can't. I love you so much, but it's no good. Every time I'm with you, I catch a glimpse of heaven. And every time you leave, it hurts just a little more. It wouldn't be bad if I could touch you or hold you. But you won't let me near."

She looked up at him, saw tears running down his face. Naked pain. But she felt nothing. Not pity, not satisfaction. Just emptiness.

He sat down on the rumpled bed. "Each time I'm inside you, I try and make it last just a little bit longer. I try to make you see how much I love you. I try to make you feel something for me. And every time we're finished, I'm on bleeding eggshells, not wanting to say the thing that'll scare you away. Not knowing where to put my hands, because all I want to do is touch you, but I know that'll chase you off."

He looked up, unaware of the tears in his eyes. "Do you know what that's like, Buffy? Giving someone everything you have, and then not even able to touch them after? Loving someone with everything you are, then having them run off as soon as it's over."

Angel. Parker. Riley. Yeah, she knew what it was like to be abandoned. She considered him guardedly. "Spike, I can't love you."

A sad grin quirked the corners of his mouth. "You could if you wanted to. You choose not to."

"You don't choose who you love. You've pretty much proven that."

He nodded. "You're right, love. You don't choose who you love. But you can choose to close love out entirely. And that's why you're empty."

"I'm not empty." She started to feel that confronting him was a bad idea. She should have just left when he told her to.

"Have you felt anything since you've been back? Besides what you feel in my bed, have you felt anything else? Do you care about anything anymore? Or do you just feel a sense of obligation?"

"Shut up. I can feel." She was lying. She knew she was lying, but she couldn't let him have the upper hand.

"I can't help you, Slayer. I wish to hell I could just take you in my arms and make everything better, but I can't. And I think I'm finally getting that." He could see that she was still deluding herself. But that didn't mean he had to.

"So, that's it. You don't get what you want from me and its over. I'm not drooling all over you like Harmony, or dependent on you like Drusilla so you decide I'm not worthy? That's great." She was working herself into a self-righteous anger. If she could feel superior, then it wouldn't hurt.

"It's over, but not because of your reasons. Nobody wins, Buffy. I hurt, and you hurt, and nobody gets what they want. You don't love me. I can't make you. And by trying to feel alive, you just get weighed down with guilt and anger. We can't keep going in these circles. So it's finished. I'll be there if you need me, but this has got to end."

She nodded. Hurt replacing anger, but knowing he was right, she kept both in check. "Never thought I'd say this but, you're right. We have to stop. We shouldn't have started in the first place."

They stared at each other. Spike's tears had stopped awhile back, but his eyes were still bright. Buffy's eyes shone a similar brightness back at him.

Buffy sighed. "I should go." She headed towards the ladder. He stood to watch her leave, wondering if he just made the stupidest mistake in his whole undead existence.

She stopped and with one quick movement was in front of him, holding his face in her hands. "Just one more kiss."

She gently pulled his head towards her own. The kiss was soft, caressing, but increased in urgency as he pulled her into his arms and hers went around his neck. They clung to each other, before finally pulling away. He rested his forehead against hers. "I do love you."

She gave his cheek one last stroke. "I know."

She pulled away and disappeared up the ladder. He lay on his bed and committed their last kiss to memory.

The end.