Title: Let's Talk
Author: Blue Chance
Summary: Set 4 years after "Chosen", Buffy finds Spike and the conversation that never happened finally does.
Author's Note: As a devout Spike and Buffy fan, I felt a bit cheated that there was never any real closure in regards to their relationship. I wrote this for all my fellow fans. I mostly disregard the comics except for one small reference (good on you if you catch it). I tried to keep the characters as true to themselves as possible. One reason, for me, that "Spuffy" fiction always reads a bit on the false side is that fluff is so OOC for both of the characters. I hope I did them justice here. Thanks for reading!
Spike sat quietly sipping his scotch in a dark corner of the San Francisco bar he had been frequenting for the past couple months. He didn't really have anything better to do these days. No one to fight. No world to save. He almost missed the days of murder and mayhem. He often wondered, if he could do everything all over, if he would have just left Sunnydale and Buffy behind forever. If he never would have gotten his soul back. He was almost sure that he wouldn't have. What was the point? What had been the point of any of this?
Spike creased his forehead in confusion for a moment, and then smiled his small ironic smile as he took a sip from his glass.
"I was beginning to think you were a myth, pet." He said.
"I thought a myth was something you're not sure is real." She said as she came from behind and stopped to stand before him. He looked her over for the first time in, what? 3… 4 years? She looked different. Thinner in a way that spoke of long nights and hard days. Older. How old was she now? 26. He died when he was 25. It was a an issue that had never been brought up between them, probably because the future had never been in question when it came to their relationship, but was certainly just one of many that would have seen to it that they would never end up together. She would grow old and die, and he would always stay the same. Frozen in time… and alone.
"Maybe I dreamed you." He responded after a long moment. "Maybe I'm dreaming you now." A beat.
"Why didn't you tell me?" She asked bitingly as barely discernible tears appeared just at the corner of her eyes. Spike laughed shortly.
"Would it have made a difference?" He asked, breaking eye contact and taking in the last gulp of liquid in his glass.
"I thought you were dead. For four years, Spike."
"Yeah, that was actually the idea. Who let the cat out of the bag?" He said as he placed a cigarette in his mouth and began rummaging in his coat pocket for a lighter.
"That's all you have to say to me? After everything. After—"
"What would you like me to say?" He asked, finding his lighter and lighting his cigarette. "You want me to apologize for not running to tell you first thing? Well, sorry to disappoint you. Far as I'm concerned I worked off my debt and then some."
"How could you just let me think you were dead? How hard would it have been to write me a letter? To- to, God to pick up the phone and—"
"You don't think I wanted to?" He interrupted her angrily, throwing his cigarette to the floor, standing up and imposing his height over hers. "You don't think that was the first thought in my head? The only bloody thought in my head?"
"Then where were you?"
"Off convincing myself that you were better off not knowing." He answered before he turned suddenly to go, but stopped and spun back around to face her. "And how the hell did you find me anyway?"
"All I had to do was follow the scent of selfish moron, and wouldn't you just know it? Here you are."
" I'm surprised that scent didn't have you running around in circles chasing your own tail. I don't owe you anything."
"You're a bastard, Spike." Buffy spat out from behind clenched teeth. "We all knew that… I don't know why I'm surprised. You've never cared about anyone but yourself."
Even though Spike knew Buffy well enough to know that this was just her well-honed defense mechanism jumping in to place, the words stung. He figured that pain in his chest must have been his heart breaking again. He had to guess, really, since it'd been some time since he'd felt his heart at all. The feeling, though, was painfully familiar. It seemed the only thing he ever used his heart for was getting hurt so… yeah. Yeah, it made sense. All the times he had dreamed of seeing Buffy again; it never played out like this.
"What a short term memory you do have. If I'd have known sacrificing myself to save the world was going to have such a short shelf life, I might have rethought the whole thing."
"Four years is a long time to get over something. My emotions are pretty much freed up for the anger."
Spike grunted out a laugh and shook his head. He briefly pinched the bridge of his nose as though to rub away a headache.
"Anger? You're right… four years is a long time." He pointed at her. "If you wanted to know I was alive, you would have known. You would have felt it." He pressed his hand to his heart. "Like I felt you."
"I did feel you. Once." Buffy said after a moment. Spike tilted his head with eyebrows knit in confusion. "You were there for a second, and then you weren't. I just assumed—" she paused, and took a breath. "I thought I imagined it. Three years later Andrew tells me I had a couple visitors while I was in Rome that he'd forgotten to mention." Another pause. Buffy's face hardened a bit. "Picture me surprised."
Spike looked down.
"I found you." He said, sitting back down. "Me and Angel. You were dancing with that 'The Immortal' ponce. You'd moved on from…" He laughed shortly. "From whatever it was I thought we… You looked happy. I'd never made you happy."
Buffy was silent, but seemed to watch Spike intently as he spoke.
"What have I ever brought you besides pain?" He asked, looking up at her. "I knew, deep down I knew I could never make you happy. Ironic, innit? The one completely selfless thing I've ever done was leave you alone and it still gets me called a selfish bastard. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Just plain…" He took a useless breath. "Damned."
Buffy closed the short distance between the two of them, and sat down next to Spike. He wasn't looking at her anymore. He wasn't sure if he could.
"What happened?" She asked quietly. "How are you here?"
Spike laughed unhappily.
"That's the million dollar question, love." He looked at her, their eyes meeting on the same level. Something surged in Spike's heart, suddenly bringing back a life's worth of pain that he had somehow sort of managed to push away for four years. He felt odd, like he couldn't breath… which was strange, really, since he didn't need to breath. This was Buffy. This was the one and only Buffy; the woman he loved. The woman he died for. Perhaps he had been in shock for a few moments, but if he had been he wasn't now.
It was the first time that he had ever put his lips to hers without any kind of resistance from her. She didn't hesitate, nor did she push him away. There was no anger or self-loathing… no forcefulness. There was nothing ugly about it, which – had either of them had anything in the way of presence of mind at the moment – would have struck them as some kind of miracle. There had never really been anything but hatred and disgust between them at their worst, and regret and respect at their best. They had never had nice. They had never shared a kiss in love.
When they pulled away from each other, Buffy had tear tracks down her cheeks and Spike was almost completely convinced he was dreaming after all. Buffy took a deep breath.
"Let's talk." She said.
"How long are you here for?" Spike asked, not really wanting to know the answer. He knew that whatever happened tonight, whatever was said, she would go back to her life and he would stay here. Four years had done it's best to separate them completely, and they no longer had any common ground. They had no reason to be together.
"Minutes." Buffy answered. "I wasn't even sure I'd find you." Spike nodded.
"Right." He said, though he could not completely ignore the sinking sensation in his stomach. "Let's jump right to it then."
"Okay, I'm good at jumping."
"Did you mean it when you said you loved me?" He asked nearly before Buffy could finish her sentence. Buffy's eyes widened a bit.
"Maybe I'm not that good."
"I have to know, Buffy." He responded. "I need to know."
"I know." She said. "And I'll tell you. But not now. Can we start with something easy? Like… hey, how are the wife and kids?"
Spike raised an eyebrow.
"There's a wife and kids? Did you and Willow-?"
"What?" Buffy shook her head. "No, I mean… do we have to start with the deep emotional stuff? Can't we ease in to that?"
"'Minutes' don't leave much room for easing. And I don't know about you, Slayer, but I'm not spending what might possibly turn out to be the last time I'll ever see you talking about imaginary family members."
"Has there been anyone since… me?"
Spike smiled a little. That was Buffy jumping. It gave him a bit of that old satisfaction to know that she could still be a little jealous.
"No." A beat. "Well, there was that thing with Harmony."
"Don't worry. Temporary lapse in judgment from a man who hadn't been able to touch or feel anything for months. It ended when she tried to eat me."
"That'll do it I guess." Buffy said with confusion written plainly on her face. "Explain the touching."
Spike was taken aback for a moment and then shrugged.
"Well, I… took her to an office and there was a desk, obviously, so—"
"Spike, no." Buffy rolled her eyes. "Why weren't you able to touch anything?"
"Oh. Right. Well… I had a small case of being a ghost when I first got back. Didn't last."
"No digging yourself out of your own grave?"
"Not this time."
"Too bad. That's always fun."
"No, what I got was funner. Got my first real taste of hell… To be honest with you, I never had the first bloody clue about what's waiting for me when I go." He took a deep breath, looking away from Buffy. "Now I do." Getting the feeling that Buffy was about to try to console him over something that he had no business being consoled over, and not wanting to waste any time on that, he continued before she got the chance to speak. "Got to haunt Angel though. And by haunt I mean torment. That alone almost made the whole thing worth it."
"…How is Angel?" She asked. Spike narrowed his eyes. Maybe he should have just let her console him.
"Wouldn't know, love. I don't really knock around with him and his anymore, but I would assume he's still torturedly introspective and pointy of head." Buffy seemed the tiniest bit amused. "Your tour de America wouldn't happen to include a stop down by the city of angels, would it?"
Buffy was silent. Of course it did.
"How's the nibblet?" Spike asked, deciding to pass over the topic all together. She and Angel had something he'd never understand… and there was no use in talking about it.
"Not so much with the nibblet now." Buffy responded, visibly relieved that Spike hadn't pursued a conversation about Angel.
"Little sis all grown up… does she know I'm alive?"
"I told her."
"How'd she take the news?"
He really did care to know. Out of all the people in the world, out of all the generations he'd lived through… he'd only ever really cared about two people. Buffy and Dawn.
"Oh, you know Dawn. Any chance to be angry with me over something… it's like a hobby with her. Somehow it was my fault that I didn't know."
"She's just finding her place, I'd wager. Couldn't be easy; living in a shadow like yours."
"I don't know… She had a pretty big shadow for a while there." Buffy said, and then off Spike's look: "It was kind of a thing. Don't ask."
"Wouldn't think of it."
"She misses you. She wanted to come with me, but… this was something I had to do on my own."
That might have been the best bit of news Spike had gotten as of late. Dawn missed him. Someone in this world had cared enough to actually miss him. That was definitely something.
"Spike… before we," She swallowed and looked down for a moment before continuing. "I…w… thank you. For what you did. I never thought I'd have a chance to say that to you, and now I do have the chance and I wish I had something better or more profound than thank you', but-"
"Buffy." Spike interrupted her. "You're welcome."
"Did it hurt?"
"What? Dying?" He shrugged it off. "Not a lick. Tickled a bit." When Buffy said nothing, Spike sighed. "Well, yeah. It hurt a little."
"Let's just say I'm not in a big hurry to ever do it again… But I wouldn't change it. What I did. And not because it made me a hero or because I think it made up for anything I've done, because it didn't. Nothing can do that. I did it for you, Buffy. You needed me and for the first time in my life I had a purpose. You gave me a purpose."
"No, Spike. You could have left at any time and never looked back, but you stayed. Even when things got their hardest, you stayed. Maybe loving me is what made you want to be a better man, but what made you a better man was you. You were your own purpose."
Spike smiled appreciatively.
"I know." Spike looked at his hands, fighting back an embarrassing urge to cry. " You have to go."
Buffy stood, but Spike did not.
"If I begged you to stay—"
"No harm in asking, anyway."
Buffy took a deep breath.
"I was happy when I found out you were alive. Stay that way." She said. Perhaps her way of telling him to take care. They had never been easy conversationalists.
She turned to go and walked away several steps before stopping. She didn't turn back to look at him, but merely inclined her head a bit in his direction.
"I meant it."
Spike swallowed. There. That made his life worth it.
"I love you, too, pet…"
Buffy stood still for only a second longer, and then was gone without so much as another glance back.
Spike sat back and smiled to himself. He'd been in San Francisco for long enough, he thought. Maybe it was time to pay old L.A. a visit.