Set: After Buffy's returned home from watching Riley fly away with the army guys.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Because I wouldn't have followed up an incredibly wonderful angsty ep like 'Into the woods' with a Buffy who blubbers lines like " theirs is a beautiful love!". Joss, you rock, but man, the opportunities you missed ;-)

Author's Note : Just after seeing 'into the woods' and so AU after that . I had, to because I'm sorry, as funny as 'Triangle' was in many respects, Buffy's behaviour was utterly wimpish. I like to take a darker angle on  the whole Riley betrayal thing.

 Erm, of course I realised that Buffy has trouble driving, but it didn't really sink in that she hadn't ever got her license till 'Tabula Rasa', which needless to say, was way after I wrote this. So, y'know, ignore that little discrepancy.

The song that's used for the dance is'nothing sweet' by the oh-so-gifted 'Sundays'(remember 'wild horses' at the prom?)- and it's so beautiful and slow…check their music out.


 I have to get away from that bad boy thing. There's no good there...But I can't help thinking — isn't that where the fire comes from? Can a nice, safe relationship be that intense? I know it's nuts, but.. part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting   {Buffy-something Blue}

Do you think that I spent the last year with you because you had super powers? If that's what I wanted, then I'd be dating Spike. {Buffy to Riley-Out of my mind}

Love isn't brains, children, it's blood...  blood screaming inside you to work its will.  *I* may be love's bitch, but at least *I'm* man enough to admit it   {Spike- Lovers' Walk}.

 Buffy sat on the stairs, all alone in the darkened house. She didn't know how long she'd been sitting there, but she was past thinking now. The 'why's' and 'what if's' were no longer an issue. Riley had left her. And it was her fault. Maybe Xander was right- maybe he had been The One, and she had just never seen it.

 But after the self-blame came the self-pity. She had only ever felt strongly about three guys. Angel had left her, because he couldn't see a future. Parker…well Parker had certainly never wanted a future. And Riley…she really thought Riley was ..dependable Sure she hadn't exactly thought about growing old together, but he had been there. He had been a boyfriend. But she hadn't been enough for him. Perhaps this is why all other Slayers had worked alone.

   Loneliness. That scared her sometimes more than the demons, and the monsters. It was dealing with them, and ordinary life alone which held the most dread.

   So here she was. Alone again. Alone trying to save the world for goodness' sake. Her mother had almost died, her sister wasn't even her sister, yet another arch-enemy had risen up…and this was all she had to look forward to .

 The tears had stopped flowing a while ago, but she shrugged away more sobs now, as she thought grimly, how Spike had been right. They did just keep coming…and her life was nothing but a countdown to the day that she had  nothing left to live for.


She frowned. What the hell was he…With everything that'd had been going on lately she hadn't had lot of time to think about much, except what had to be done to get through each day. Perhaps that had been why she hadn't seen this thing coming with Riley…

 She shrugged that thought away.

 Why had Spike come to tell her about Riley? He..he hadn't exactly rubbed it n, delighted in her pain .. "I just thought you should know…"

  And there had been other things too- things she'd never really had time to connect before, but the strange sense of perspective that comes with fatigue and the wee small hours was surfacing. The night of the trance, when she'd seen that Dawn didn't belong – the cigarettes….he'd been waiting outside her house. And then there was that night her mom came home from the hospital and he'd been prowling around in the basement- hadn't he had photographs of her? Woah, she had completely forgotten about that what with ….the fight. He had helped her. He could have let her be killed- but she remembered clearly now.

"Buffy" he called, she had looked up  and met his gaze, one equal to another, he had thrown the knife to her, and she stabbed the demon over and over….and then. ..he had offered her his hand, and helped her up.

 That wasn't right…he had helped her, he had held her hand for a fraction of a second….but this was Spike- helping a *slayer *.

" Can I do anything to help?"  That night. That night she had needed someone more than ever before- when she had felt so alone, and so helpless….he had turned up. She remembered that kind voice, how he had sat down, patted her on the back, listened to her problems. God, she must have been so out of it then, why hadn't she thought about it? All she remembered was letting it all out, just being overwhelmed with worry for her mom- she hadn't even thought about who was sitting by her, listening to her..actually * listening* to her…

 She came back to the silent house, and in the shadows she hugged her jacket around her, and sniffed away her tears. She couldn't deal with-.with whatever this was right now. She was so *tired *, just mentally exhausted. She stood up and walked up the stairs slowly. She just needed to sleep.


   She couldn't sleep. She just lay in bed staring at the spot where Riley had laid this time last night. It had seemed so perfect…and what, was he just thinking about when he could get away to his...whatever she was…?

Buffy was crying before she even knew it. Was she that unsatisfying? That someone like Riley, Mr Joe Normal, had to resort to getting his kicks from vampire whores?

 All alone in the house she cried and cried until there was nothing left in her, except complete despair.


   The backdoor of the Summers' house opened hesitantly, and with the painful creaking that shows someone is trying to be as quiet as possible. That someone made their way through the house, listening carefully for any sound…especially one that might indicate that she had taken him back after all.  The house was quiet, dark….God it had been a while since he'd had this;normal things. He looked around…sitting at a dining room table, looking at pictures on a wall, sodding well curling up on a sofa with someone. This was stupid, human stuff. He didn't want it. But this was the world she came from…and that suddenly made it a little less of a joke…

  He made his way up the stairs, taking care to tread over the third step- that had creaked last time. Funny, the little details you notice in the strange, pivotal moments in life. What the hell was he doing here? He paused a moment…

  Sod it. He'd said it before and he'll say it again, he may be love's bitch but he's man enough to admit it.  Her door was slightly ajar. He pushed it open gently and saw -thank god- she was alone..

  But his triumphant smile faded when he saw her face. She was frowning in her slumber…puffy eyes and the dried tears on her face told him she must have cried herself to sleep..and he felt a faint pang of regret when he realised he had caused her this grief- the same pang he had felt in that alley, after he'd shown her what lover-boy was up to…she had looked at him with anything but appreciation.

   He'd blown it…not that he'd had any chance in the first place.

  And that certainty tore at his heart more than when he had just watched her, unacknowledged from afar. A brief sound, perhaps the choking back of a sigh, a cry of frustration, a sob…..but the shadows hid his face well. He turned to go, but before he did he glanced back at her. The Slayer she might be, but now she looked just like a child. A lost little girl who'd grown up too fast. He knew all about that. God he knew.

 "I'm sorry" he whispered, and with a sigh he made his way along the corridor and back down the stairs.

 Unseen in the shadows, the lost girl slowly opened her eyes, frowning in disbelief at what she'd heard.

Buffy didn't pause as she approached the Magic Box, but determinedly opened the door and strode in forcefully, making the gang look up. They were all looking a little more anxious than usual, and from Giles' poise, and Tara's nervous looks, she gathered she'd just interrupted them talking about her.

     She avoided meeting Xander's gaze. After a beat Willow stepped forward with a nervous smile,

 "Hey there, Buffy. Ah, how's it going there…with that, that new look there…" She frowned slightly at the slightly slutty, definite evening wear, certainly eye-catching outfit for 11 in the morning.

 She  quickly followed up with,.

 "It-it's a good look, I mean, with the leather, and, and have you and Riley broken up?"

Buffy now shot a disappointing look at Xander.

 "Thanks for that whole privacy thing." She said, a little too harshly, making everyone give those little glances at each other.

 Giles stepped forward, taking his glasses off slowly as he did,

 "Buffy, we couldn't but notice, you're, ah-"he gave a nervous little smile, "abnormal behaviour lately…but, you could have told us if things with Riley were so bad-"

 "- did you kick him off to central America?"

 Anya looked around at the despairing looks from everyone.

 "What-that was what we all wanted to know, right? Right?" she sighed in exasperation at the lack of support.

 Buffy's expression was like stone.

 "He's gone." God, how many times will I have to say that in my life? "And what with this stuff with my mom, and- "she gave a meaningful look at Giles, -"and all the otherworldly stuff lately"she looked back at the rest with a determined look, her arms crossed in front of her.

 "…I need a break. Not a running-away-from–sunnydale break, but…some space. I need some space. So ….leave me alone for a little while okay?" She turned away quickly before she had to register the shocked looks on her friends' faces.

 She walked a little way down the street, feeling both defiant and ashamed at the looks she got from some of the guys she passed by. After a little while  the running feet she'd heard behind her caught up, and Willow was in front of her.

  She sighed "will, I-"

"I know.." said her friend breathlessly, "I hear ya…I'm not saying I understand you or anything but…but I heard what you said."

 Buffy looked up at her pleadingly.

 "Then please, just give me some space okay?"
Willow frowned at her.

 "But, Buffy …I really don't think you should be alone right now. I- I mean, normally the, the best friend sob session is involved, and, and eating of ice-cream, and well, even on occasion the burning of all his  worldly possessions, but –"

 "But this isn't a normal break-up Will." It never is with me. " I don't need the sob session, I need to get on with my life."

 Willow frowned again, but then decided to clutch at straws.

 "well, well Okay then, if that's how you want to play it…Ooh, hey, there's a party on campus tonight, at ,uh Rudy's, Rudy Wilson's…and y'know, I wasn't going to go what with the drinking and well, criminal damage that comes with Rudy Wilson, but hey, if you just want to-"

 Buffy looked at her.

 "No, no it's okay, I'll be fine tonight." She managed a smile, "I *will *…y'know, go spend time with Tara, I'll have a quiet night in".


   The party was wild. Really wild. Normal kids, having fun. This was what she needed.

"hey Bunny!"

the guy next to her struggled to be heard over the music. Buffy smiled, perhaps a little too teasingly for a sober Slayer...

 "*Buffy*. With an 'F'."

 The cute guy grinned, .

 "Well, Buffy with an 'F'…I think its about time for a refill."

Buffy held up her own glass, still half full with beer. She thought a second, that smiled seductively at him, as she downed the rest in one go, and handed him the glass.

"You know I think you're right".

 He grinned, and turned to the table behind him to get her refill.

 He glanced at her outfit from the corner of his eye…he just knew he was gonna get lucky tonight.

When he turned back to her, he found she was talking to another guy.

 Buffy turned back to him.

 "Oh, sorry, Dave-" she took her beer from him, "it was Dave right? This.." she turned back  to the guy ogling her, "is….well, I'm sorry, I didn't actually catch your name?"

 Dave caught the other fella's ye.

 " Well, what a small world…this is Evan..he's a good friend of mine." He and Evan grinned at each other. Buffy looked at both of them, then downed another beer in one go again, as the guys watched with increasing amusement.

 She turned and put the glass down, then took both their arms.

 " Well…isn't this gonna be fun?"

"So you're from England?"

 Spike frowned as the throng of students blocked his view of the chatting threesome on the other side of the room. His attention was momentarily drawn back to the brunette next to him.


She smiled.

 "I said…so you're from England?"

He rolled his eyes, and turned back to look for Buffy.


The girl laughed.

 "God, it's just impossible to have a decent conversation in here isn't it? Hey do you…y'know…wanna go someplace quieter?" He followed her glance to the stairs in the corner…

 "yes" he said determinedly, "yes I do " he turned back to her , "just not with you, love". The brunette looked at him with disdain, while he pushed his way through the crowd, all the while trying to catch another glance of the blonde he had seen ascending the stairs with a guy on either arm….

 By the time he got upstairs, the hall was clear- there were about a dozen rooms, all with closed doors. He started as a couple came out of the one nearest to him…they looked at him momentarily and laughed drunkenlyas they made their way back to the party. He stopped, and sniffed….I guess that sweater smelling payed off after all he thought,, as made his way to the end door, and kicked it open.

  He was taken aback slightly, as were the three occupants of the room…the two guys sidling up to Buffy on the bed jumped up in anger.

 Dave turned to the intruder, his shirt loose,

 "hey man, what the fu-" he yelled as Spike punched him full in the face, before reeling back in pain the next minute .

 Buffy lept up angrily, and not too steadily, pulling her clothes straight self-consciously

 "Spike what the hell are you doing here?!" she yelled bitterly.

 Evan looked hesitantly at the both, before grabbing the cursing Dave up from the floor,

 " I'm sorry man, we-we didn't know she was involved, we're just…" he gave up and hurried out of the room dragging his partner in crime with him. Spike watched them go with distaste, and seeing a few faces peeking out into the corridor in curiosity, he angrily slammed the door shut.

 There was a stifling silence in the unfamiliar room as Spike stared down at Buffy, picking up her shoes and purse from the floor, trying to regain a little dignity. She looked at him enraged.

 "What the hell are you doing here huh? This is my business, you've got no right-" she chocked back a sob, "-no right to…"

  She collapsed onto the bed sobbing with shame, anger, and self-loathing.

 Spiked looked at her with real concern.

 "Can you see yourself? You're sitting there, completely out of it - not to mention dressed up like a tart- about to engage in a little ménage a trios with two losers like that?!"

 She looked up at him with all the hate gone now, just sadness, and tears running down her cheeks. His face softened. He'd seen that look before -that night he went to kill her on the porch.

 He lowered his voice.

 "I'm sorry. I'm sorry…it's just-" he sat down next to her and took her arm without even thinking about it.

 "Just what are you doing to yourself? Giving in? Is that it? "
 She put her head in her hands, which were shaking as she threaded her fingers through her hair.

 "I-I just…"

 She looked up at him.Then in a small but earnest voice she said,

 "I just wanted someone to want me." She broke down again into half crying, half anger and shame at her state.

 Spike gave a little smile, and reached out to her chin, forcing her to look back up at him.

 "Look at you" he said quietly. "I mean, you're beautiful, you…you just glow with energy and this, this strength" AS he gazed at her face, he failed to see the strange look on her face at his words… He hooked a stray piece of hair behind her ear, and spoke in a daydreaming half-whisper,

  "Who wouldn't want you?" When he met her gaze she was looking at him with such shock and confusion…and he knew. He knew he'd gone too far. That was it, she knew now, and he couldn't take it back. He shifted his gaze uncomfortably in the face of her stare, and got up, pulling his hands away from her face and arm roughly as he started to walk out.

 He glanced back at her, still staring incomprehensibly at the spot where he'd been sitting.

 He started to speak, but found he didn't know what to say. He opened the door and walked out.

   Buffy sat still for a moment. She looked around the bedroom, feeling sick with drink, and disgust at what she had been about to do, and confusion at what she'd just felt towards her unlikely saviour. She got up slowly, paused, then ran towards the nearest wastebasket and wretched, fresh tears coming as she did..

The next day…

 She was here. Slightly silhouetted in the sunlight, before she closed the door behind her. Spike got up from his chair nervously, putting down his bottle on the floor. She looked around at the other discarded bottles in the crypt.

 He noticed and couldn't believe that he felt slightly embarrassed. Buffy looked nervous, as if she didn't know quite why she was here….she was subconsciously fiddling with her long sleeves - today, 'revealing' was not on the agenda, as if to make up for her behaviour yesterday.

  He couldn't but notice the shadows under her eyes.

 They stood for a second, each unsure why she was here.

 Avoiding each others eyes, Spike eventually coughed nervously, then came up with;

 "You , uh, want to sit down?"

 She blinked, as if not quite expecting this.

 "No, I'm fine…thankyou."
 He shrugged hesitantly.

 "No probs."

 "No, I mean-" he looked up at her, as she said quietly, and with an uncertain look on her face,  "I mean thank you…for last night."

A pause.

  "You're welcome" he said after a moment, in that same , well, *human * voice that he had used that night her mom said she was going into hospital. Soft, gentle, betraying his emotions.

 Buffy looked at him with incomprehension.

 "What..what were you doing there? At the party?"

 She saw him start to get all defensive, and added, "apart from, well, stopping me doing something I'd probably regret for the rest of my life." She tried to say it light-heartedly, but she knew it was the truth. She decided to just get it out.

 "Why were *you * there Spike? You of all people? I need to know."

  Spike started to act all aggressive, and was thinking of a quick excuse, but then he caught her eye. She wanted the truth.

 He gave in.

"I followed you" he said as if admitting to some shameful secret…which he was. All the while he was thinking what the hell am I doing. But love was blood, and that can't be denied.

  "I was, well " he laughed, "Bloody hell, I was worried, after the whole Riley thing…I, I guess I gave you more of a shock than I thought….I mean, 'daggers' might describe that look you gave me outside that place let me tell you-"

 he was starting to ramble and he knew it.

"You were at my house last night."

Her words stopped him, and his reaction confirmed her suspicions.

There was no hiding now. He sagged into his chair, muttering with a  grim smile "Faker."

"Spike what is going on?"

 He leant down to pick up his booze again, and sat back up taking a swig.

 "I think you know."

 Buffy strode quickly across to him, grabbed him by the shirt and hurled him against the wall angrily.

 "What is this Spike? Some twisted little new game of yours? Is that it…have you just been trying to get to me when I was weak, to what- make me trust you or something, so you can turn around and get me killed?!"

 "No, I-"

 "Tell me the truth!" she yelled and shoved him back again. But this time he cried out with real pain…she looked down at her hand on his chest…and suspicious, pressed harder on that spot over his heart. He cringed in pain again.

   She stepped back confused.

 "Someone staked you?

  Spike clutched his chest.

 "Farmer Finn took a shot with a fake stake…thought it was a bloody riot I'm sure."

 Buffy watched him sit back down and take another swig for the pain.


 "Because I let his big ol' dark secret out, that's why…well, that and…" his voice faded away.

 "And what?"

 Spike looked her in the eyes.

 "I guess he saw me as competition. It's like I said last night love… you're not as unwanted as you think."

 She couldn't handle this. She turned quickly to leave,  but as she reached for the door, he was there slamming it shut.

 She wouldn't look at him though as he said,

 "Just hear me out. This isn't no bloody trick, or some scheme to bring down the Slayer alright? By God I wish it were, you have no idea how much…but it isn't. I-"

 He couldn't say it. To say it would mean he really was nothing now, a bloody cripple lovestruck over the Slayer….

 She glanced at him quickly, then reached for the door again. He took his weight off it this time, and let her go.



     Buffy sat in the living room curled up with a cushion, not really watching TV.

 She was dimly aware that Dawn was on the phone. A couple of nights ago she had found perfect contentment in this very room, the candles had been lit, and it had just been her and Riley. But she knew now that they hadn't been out of the woods then…because in the back of his mind all the time had been the anticipation for his next visit to that godawful place. She felt sick to the stomach just thinking about it. But now she realised it had never actually stopped…all this stuff lately, had been constantly grinding her down. And she just wanted things to be back for normal. But she knew all to well that normal never lasted long in the life of a Slayer.

    So wrapped up in her own thoughts was she, that she didn't notice when her sister came back into the room.

  Dawn started to speak, but then glanced at the TV, and back to her sister.

 " Uh, Buffy, you know you're watching the weather channel right?"

 Buffy came out of her reverie.

 "Oh right, well, metereology can be interesting."

 Dawn gave her 'sisters are so weird' look.

 "Yeah, whatever, can I go over to Shona's?"

 Buffy sighed.

 "Dawn, I don't want you going out late, I've told you before."

 Dawn folded her arms defiantly.

 "No you told me you don't want me hanging around with short people. And Shona's very tall for her age. "

 The sisters shared a look, and the younger sibling knew she could get her way.

 "Come on Buffy, I haven't seen my friends in ages what with mom being sick, and hey,you went out last night."

 The whining automatically triggered a 'that was different' response, but then Buffy stopped.

 No it wasn't- she had just wanted to let go. Her sister deserved a little r 'n' r too.

 She gave in.

" Alright, so long as I drive you."

 As Dawn started reaching for her jacket she muttered

 "And that makes it safer how?"

 "I heard that."

  As Buffy watched her sister enter her friend's house, she couldn't but feel envy for her lack of concerns…there she was just greeting her friends, already laughing and joking. She has no idea of the danger she's in. She has no responsibilities. She's just a child.

  As the door closed behind them, Buffy felt shut out again...alone in the night. Sighing she re-started the car , and pulled out into the road, not without some painful-sounding gear-shifting. As she came to a crossroads she realised she wasn't that far away from the Bronze..she hadn't been there since…well since that night with Spike, when he'd made her confront something dark within herself. Something she'd never told Giles…part of me wants to let go..

 She shrugged that memory away – there were better ones. She remembered the simpler days when it was just the scoobies hanging out there. She had thought she had a rough deal then…she'd just had no idea of how complicated life could get.

   She found herself making the turn for the Bronze nonetheless. The coffee shop would be closed by now, and the way she was feeling she was in desperate need of either caffeine or sleep…and she just didn't want to go home right now. Alone.

 It was busy tonight…the band was bringing in a lot of fans. Buffy walked among the high-school students…geez was I ever that young? Well, the java called.

 She sat down on a free stool at the counter and ordered her coffee.

While she sat she just listened to the music and the people around her…her eye caught a group of senior guys all standing round an obviously popular girl, who was just basking in their attention.

 "Witness Cordelia 2. The Sequel." She muttered under her breath.

The bartender guy passed her drink.

"Cheer up. Might never happen."

 This took a few seconds to register.

 "Oh" she blushed slightly. "That's the problem, it already has."

 He smiled.

 "Well then, things can only get better."

 He looked behind her as a guy's voice was heard cursing.

 "Certainly seems a lucky night for some."

 Buffy glanced up as he nodded to the scene behind her. She looked around to see through the crowd a couple of guys at the pool table, counting out some money …and not seeming too happy about their defeat.

  She gave a half hearted smile, and was turning back to her drink when she got that feeling. She spun around, and sure enough…

   She saw them handing their money to the victor. The crowds parted slightly as she heard that British accent.

 "Thanks mate. No hard feelings."

"Yeah right" the loser muttered and he and his friends walked away disappointed.  She saw a hand put the money in the inner pocket of his duster.

 And then Spike looked around, a little lost looking. Nobody else was going to play after seeing that defeat. He sighed, picked up his bottle of beer that had been resting on the table, and began walking towards the bar. She spun round and tried to sink in her seat, but she knew he'd seen her. 

 There was a pause where Spike tried to decided what to do. But what the hell, the sight of her had just sobered him up.

 He took a seat next to her, noticing her uneasiness at this.

 "So I ask myself...coincidence, or have you got the old stalking deal going for you?"
"I thought that was your job." She said bitterly.

 Spike gave a look that said plainly 'owch'.

"right then. Well, I guess I'll go relocate, seeing as you're not getting up too much mischief…although they do say caffeine'll kill you."He muttered.

 He got up gruffly and started moving away through the crowds.

 She sat there for a moment, looking up suddenly when the bartender asked,

"bad break up huh?"

Her eyes went wide.

"No! No, we're not…

The guy gave a faint smile

 "Sure, 'just friends' right? Pretty issue-filled friendship you got there."

She looked up at him briefly, then got up.

 "Excuse me".

 The bartender watched with a sad smile as she hurried off across the room.

 "Damn lucky guy." He muttered.

 Spike was standing  by the dancefloor, leaning against a post and drowning his sorrows.

 She appeared in front of him, and she saw the surprised look on his face.

She had to raise her voice to be heard above the music.

"So this might not be a trick. But that just means its some twisted little obsession of yours that I really *don't * get, and quite frankly don't want any part of."

 There was anger and hurt in his eyes.

 "Go ahead and tell me what you really think." He yelled back above the applause as the song ended.

  She started to speak, but lowered her voice as the band started a slower, quieter song. She stood close to him and looked him full in the eyes.

 "you're sick might be helpless now but you are a killer, a soulless killer, and the thought of you and me together disgusts me."

 She stared fiercely at him, and he stared just as fiercely back. Then he said;

"Do you want to dance?"

 His words threw her.


  "When you're done insulting me that is…dance with me…" still not getting through he nodded towards the dancefloor, "Over there." He rolled his eyes. "Like now."

 She took a step back throwing her hands up in disbelief.

 "I can't believe you."

 "And I can't help noticing that wasn't a 'no'." he retorted quickly.

 She looked up in shock, and before she knew it he had grabbed her hand and was leading her out on the dance floor.

"Spike, I'm not-' she warned, but he pulled her close suddenly, and leaning into her ear whispered

"Shut up and dance".

…and she did..before she knew it, the slow sorrowful number was the only sound…and she wasn't even thinking about what she was doing or why…he shock of her situation made her powerless to question it…and it was just her and someone holding her, with cold cold hands, swaying to the music. It was just too surreal.

In a crowd naked
with no words to explain
in a car braking
glass cracks as I freeze the frame
They danced without looking at each other, just standing close, chest to chest. The fact that only one of their hearts was beating wasn't only noticed by Buffy…this was whole new territory for the vampire.
 The music was slow, soothing in the hell of the past few weeks. The atmosphere was thick , intimate but not tense…just the singers voice reaching through the bodies of all the couples present.
and keep falling away
keep falling away while I watch myself and pray
keep falling from view what a mind puts a body through
and down on the ground 
on with this dare
  Buffy looked up slowly, uncertainly into her partners face. He looked so much more real, more human. And he wanted to be here with her. He looked back at her and she could see he was as uncertain in this as she was…but still neither one pulled away.
 "Spike-" she started, but he put an almost shaking finger to her lips.
 "Don't think. I'm not."
And he pulled her close again, and  her face turned, from being contorted with confusion and struggling emotions, to contentment….content just to be held, and to sway to the music. She closed her eyes and leant her head on his shoulder.
 And Spike was in such ecstasy, it hurt.
and keep falling away
keep falling away while I watch myself and pray
keep falling from view what a mind puts a body through
and down on the ground 
on with this dare
When the song finished it was too soon, and yet at the same time not soon enough for both of them. As the dancers around them bust into generous applause, the unlikely partners just stood still.
 Still holding her Spike said in a chokingly sad voice.
 "Song's over. "
 Buffy opened her eyes. In a turmoil of emotions she half-whispered,
"Is it?"
 She looked up and pulled herself back. The start of a more upbeat number took away any silence there might have been, and for a fraction of a second they stood a little way apart, but still holding hands. When she realised this, Buffy looked down, and drew her fingers away from his cold ones.
   "I can't do this". She whispered hoarsely.
    He looked into her eyes, locked into a look of desperate hopelessness.
 "I know." He said. And he did. 
She looked at him strangely. To her he looked now as fragile and despairing as any human.
 She turned, and walked away through the dancing couples, leaving behind a solitary figure, looking up to the ceiling as if blinking back tears.