No, your eyes don't deceive you! I really did get it together and write more Spuffy! And it's more than a few hundred words!

Title: The Silence in Between

Rating: Hard R. About one-third of this is sex.

Length: ~3400 words

Setting: About a year after NFA

Summary: They are cursed. Doomed to repeat the same patterns, over and over and over again.

Notes: The premise of this story is idea that a reunited Buffy and Spike end up falling into a relationship that's remarkably similar to their S6 relationship, but not quite as unhealthy. The story takes place on two separate days, six months apart, but the events are cut together into one narrative. It's pretty clear when the switches happen. Italics are used.

The Silence in Between (What I Thought and What I Said)

Buffy wakes up, six months after they start sleeping together again, and stares at her ceiling. She flexes each of her muscles and feels the ghost of aches left over from the night before.

They are cursed, she thinks, doomed to repeat the same patterns over and over and over again. In her darkest moments, she is almost glad for it. Because who's to say where they would be now, without their patterns. Having him, just this little bit of him, is enough. It has to be enough (in her better moments, she convinces herself that she has all of him, even they can't say it).

She was scared. Has always been scared, terrified, by what she thinks (knows) she feels for him. But back at the beginning, years ago now, the difference was in him. He was never scared. He faced his lust, his love, his endless devotion; and he didn't flinch. But now, years, and miles from where it all began, he has become just as afraid as she has always been.

And so they are doomed. Doomed to unfinished sentences, and guarded glances, and (when it's all too much and they just can't fight it anymore) whirlwind nights that leave her dizzy and her apartment a wreck.

Her entire life is nothing but history repeating.

They're sparring in the basement. Again. Working off the tension that's been building for weeks, ever since he walked back into her life. She throws a punch and he ducks it, takes the opportunity to attack. She's just off balance enough from swinging and missing, that he's able to knock her to the ground. But she grabs his arm as she goes down, and he topples with her. She's already turned on. Sparring with him does that, gets her hot, gets her wet. And she knows he knows, but he never says anything (God, why won't he just say something?).

When they land on the basement floor, he mostly lands on his hands, braced above her. But one of his knees is trapped between hers, pushing denim and lace right where she is swollen and aching. She makes a noise she isn't proud of, and squeezes her thighs together (Involuntarily. Of course it's involuntarily, because this is a bad idea and she knows that, and if she'd thought about for even half a second she wouldn't have done it) trapping him against her. He tenses and his eyes meet hers. She doesn't look away (and his eyes are wide and his breath short and she almost laughs in relief, because she's been so afraid that he doesn't want her anymore).

He doesn't move a muscle. Just stares down at her face with an unreadable expression, while she pulls his knee closer and tilts her hips, working herself against his leg and their jeans, and her underwear.

Her hands are still wrapped around his arms, her gaze still trained on his (if speaks, if she blinks, she might break the spell and, fuck, there just aren't enough cold showers in the world if that happens). Her teeth dig into her bottom lip and her eyelids fall shut and she is soclosesoclosesoclose.

And then he moves.

He is already gone, she can tell. Without opening her eyes, or reaching out a hand, she knows. If she were to shift at all across the mattress she would feel the empty space where his body had fallen when they'd finally exhausted themselves.

That, of course, is different. The one who leaves. The one who stays. The roles are reversed, here in this second attempt at mutual destruction. They have never slept together (screwed. Fucked. Danced, if she's feeling poetic.) in his apartment. Only here on her turf, her territory. And he always leaves before she wakes up, (or before she falls asleep) never waiting to see if she will kick him out (she is sure that he thinks she will, but she isn't sure of anything, so she just watches him go).

She sighs. Rolls on to her back and stares at the ceiling. She flexes each of her muscles carefully, cataloging every ache, every scratch, every mark his body has left on her body. She wonders, sometimes, if he ever did this back when she was the one leaving. If he laid on his bed or his floor or wherever else they were when she finally called time, and felt her everywhere, all over him, inside him, surrounding him (she thinks she might understand now. What it means to be drowning in someone).

His knee is gone, and before she can even think to protest, his weight is falling against her, his mouth finding hers. Fire races across her skin (she's never forgotten how he kisses, with everything in him, like nothing has ever mattered more than kissing her. But somewhere along the way, she'd forgotten how good it feels). His thumb brushes across her cheek, and his other hand is-


His other hand is skimming down her side and pushing under her jeans, not even bothering to unbutton them first. It barely takes anything. Just the lightest touch of his cool fingers against her, and she falls apart.

It's less of a release and more of a starting gun. The sharp stab of climax gives way to an overpowering need for more. More skin, more hands, more lips, more everything.

They don't sleep together (screw. Fuck.) every night. They don't do it all that often at all, actually. Only on the nights they are alone and in her house and every time it happens she never wants to stop. She wants it to keep happening, every night for maybe forever. But every time she walks away (watches him walk away. It's all the same, when they're spending all their nights apart). Convinces herself that she doesn't need him. She doesn't need anything (need implies can't live without, implies addict, implies broken.). So no. She doesn't need him. She just wants him. So much she can hardly stand it sometimes.

She scrambles to undo her pants and push them down her legs, the sudden movement of her fingers startling Spike. He pulls his hand away from her, and his lips hesitate against her collarbone (later she realizes that he probably thought she was grabbing to stop him, to throw him off, to put an end to the madness before it got completely out of control). She takes advantage of his sudden stillness to find the hem of his shirt and yank it up over his head.

His hands are on her almost as soon as they get through the door that night. It was a good patrol, and they're both amped up on the adrenaline rush of taking down three Fyrals, and Buffy would be lying if she said she didn't want to work it off like this.


This can't go on. Not the way it has been. She knows it. She knows he knows it. This will destroy them, just like it did before. It doesn't matter (even though it should) that she loves him this time. Or that it's not really a secret, this thing they've been doing. Or that he has a soul.

The best (worst) part is that they somehow manage to stay friends this time. They patrol. They hang out. She doesn't try to hide him any more, not now that she has him back. And it's not like she'd really been fooling anyone their last year in Sunnydale. So, yeah, they're friends. Friends who are incredibly good at compartmentalizing, but still friends.

She pauses, just for a minute, and stares up at Spike. His hair is sticking up at odd angles, mussed from her fingers and the not-so-gentle way she'd freed him from his shirt. He looks dazedly back at her, his eyes wide and full of something that she remembers as terrifying.

He speaks then, just barely, breathing her name.

And it's too much, it's all too much and too close to the way he used to look at her, like she was the most incredible thing in the world and if he blinked she might disappear. It's too big. Too real. More emotion than she can handle after months of dancing around each other and she can't-

She drags him down again and kisses him so hard it hurts and then his hands are sliding under her shirt and along her bare spine and she arches into him, and lets her mind go blissfully empty of anything but sensation. His calloused fingers on her skin, the air on her naked breasts when he finally gets her bra off, and the scrape of the cement floor on her back, and the familiar feel of Spike's legs under her toes as she pushes his jeans off of his hips.

So it's not like she'll lose him. Not really (no matter how much it might feel like it).


He jumps away from her, like she's made of holy water, and it sparks a million memories of the times she'd said that in the past and he hadn't listened. The times she hadn't meant it, and the times (time) she really, really had. A million twisted images of their broken past (a million twisted images of things she has forgiven but cannot forget).

"What's wrong?"

She cannot think of where to start. Of what to say. Everything is wrong, absolutely everything, because she loves him this time. Wildly, desperately loves him, but if they keep on the path they're on, it won't matter how she feels and their future will be as mangles as their past.

She takes a shuddery breath. "W-we have to stop. We can't keep doing this. We need to stop."

"Oh. Alright." His tone is controlled. His eyes flat. And then she's angry.

"What, just like that?"

He looks at her like she's crazy, and continues in that horrible, controlled voice. "You said we have to stop. This is stopping."

Chills ripple up her arms. "You're not even going to fight for it?"

He shrugs. "Guess not."

When they're both naked (finallyfinallyfinally and it's been toolongtoolongtoolong), and she's drawing her legs up and apart, Buffy turns her head and stares at the exposed pipe on the wall across the room. She can't look at him, afraid of what she'll find on his face (petrified of what she won't find). And then Spike pushes inside and she can't not look at him.

Thy fall into rhythms she could have sworn she'd forgotten in the intervening years (it has to mean something, the way their bodies still know each other. It has to mean something that this is still written in their bones and their skin).

And the ground drops out from under her. Because the one thing she has always known about him- the one thing that never changes, no matter how many times he himself changes- is that he fights for what he loves. For who he loves. And if he won't fight for this, fight for her, than maybe she's been wrong all along. Maybe he really doesn't love her anymore. Maybe he hasn't for a long time. Maybe every time she took him to bed, he only came because she was willing, and not because he wanted her as much as she wanted him. Maybe he snuck out because he didn't care and not because he was as scared as she was.

Maybe (oh god, oh god), she was still using him. Or worse, he was using her.

"Why not?" She tries to ignore the shaky edge of her voice, the panic swelling inside of her.

Something resembling anger sparks in his eyes and he growls out "Fight for what? For dirty fucks when you're tired of scratching your own itches? Fight for that?"

Fury replaces her panic.

"That's what you think this is about? Might not want to be throwing stones there, Spikey. I seem to recall you getting an awful lot of 'scratching' yourself."

He sneers. "Nothing I can't get somewhere else. Why do you think I never stay?"

She sags, all of the fight going out of her. All these months and he'd never been hers. Not even remotely.

She's sure he can read the hurt on her face (refuses to believe things have changed enough to keep him from seeing her), but he ignores it (and isn't that a foreign concept? A Spike who doesn't care about her) and turns for the door (for his apartment, for the bar, for another woman, for anything. He could go anywhere).

"Wait!" The word flies from her mouth, before she has decided what to say after. But it works. He turns.

"For what?"

She has no answer. IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou. But he won't say them back and she can't give anyone that kind of power over her. So she just stares at him. Arms crossed, breathing hard. She feels seconds from snapping, although she snapping to what she cannot say.

The anger written all over his face evaporates as he watches her. His hand scrubs across his face, and all he looks is tired.

"Jesus, Buffy. What is it you want from me?"

The words claw from her throat, giving voice to the gnawing fear in her gut. "I want you to still be in love with me!"

She's not sure what she was hoping for (she couldn't have been hoping for anything could she, since she hadn't known she was going to say it?), but it certainly wasn't this.

His eyes go cold and hard and his voice is rough. "Don't play dumb, sweetheart. It's not a good look on you."

Someone has just kicked a hole in her insides. It's really the only explanation for what she's feeling.

"Play du- I'm not!"

She has enough time to think that she's never seen him move so fast before she's trapped between his body and her living room wall.

"Spike! What-"

One look at his face and she falls silent. He looks dangerous in a way she hasn't seen since he got back. She thinks that maybe that should frighten her. Wonders why it doesn't.

He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and then another. When he opens them again he looks more like himself. When he finally speaks, she could swear his voice was shaking.

"How the hell do you not know that already? How can you stand there and think I don't- Of course I'm still in love with you. I haven't stopped being in love with you. Buffy, I am never, ever going to stop being in love with you. Never."

He starts to move faster. She gasps, her fingernails digging into his skin, because yes, she remembers this, and yes, she aches for it. He is murmuring a constant litany of dirty, vulgar words into her neck and she shivers. Under any other (normal) circumstances, those words would make her blush, but coming form him they've only ever fed the fire. I love you. She wants to say but doesn't, because he hasn't said it to her, hasn't indicated that he wants to, not for years (sometimes she thinks that he must be waiting for her to say it first, but then she reminds herself, that no, she's done that already and he didn't believe her, so it's his turn now and she can wait).

So instead she says him name over and over and over and gives as hard as she gets, and revels in the way his words hitch and the way his hand tightens on her hip (she'll have a bruise there tomorrow, but it's sort of impossible to care).

He slows down for a second and she takes the opportunity to roll them over. Spike lets out a bark of startled laughter that turns into a strangled sort of groan when she grinds down. She grins and tries not to let her heart beat too fast.

The relief hits harder than she could have ever imagined. It's okay. It will all be okay. He loves her. He's always loved her. And if he loves her, that means they can fix this. They can fix what they almost wrecked, repair it, and build it into something new. Something better.

She takes a breath. Closes her eyes and steadies herself for the words she has to say. I love you too. Of course I love you too.

He starts to pull away, and she grabs a handful of his shirt, grasping to keep him with her.

She opens her eyes.

"I never stopped either. Spike, I'm- I am so, so in love with you."

She lets go of his shirt. Spike takes a step back. She's never felt more naked than she does right now.

He swallows, and the sound echoes like shot in the tense silence. "You're… in love with me?" He blinks rapidly, like he can't quite wrap his mind around the words that came out of her mouth.

Her heart breaks a little in her chest, because she'd suspected that he was being kept silent by the same fear she was, but to see it written so clearly on his face…

"You really didn't believe me, did you?" She whispers. "Before you died? Spike, I've loved you since California."

"Since …?" Spike trails off, his voice thick.

Buffy nods, and starts to prepare herself for a long night of conversation and confession.

But then Spike has her face cradled in his hands, and his lips collide with hers, and the wall suddenly becomes necessary to keeping her vertical. She doesn't notice that his hands have moved until they're wrapping around her thighs and hoisting her into his arms.

She clings to him, but pulls back from his mouth, panting. "We should talk about this. About what this means."

Spike squints at her. "What saying we love each other means?"

"Yes! Doesn't it change things?" Something this monumental has to change things. Possibly everything.

"I love you-"

"I love you too." She cuts him off, just because she can. The swelling happiness in her chest and the look on his face makes her want to say the words a thousand times in a row.

She's straightening up, trying to take him in faster, harder, deeper, but then Spike does something she wasn't expecting. He wraps his arms around her back and pulls her down, chest-to-chest. He kisses her then, slow and deep, until she swears she can feel her bones melting, and she has to pull away to breathe. Buffy winds her arms under his neck so that his head is resting on her forearms, and drops her forehead to his. Spike's arms stay where they are, holding her tightly against him. They stay like that, the frantic, desperate fucking giving way to something else. Something Buffy had never allowed herself to want before, and never allowed Spike to give.

When she comes this time, it starts slow. A steady heat building in her belly until it catches and rips through her entire body. She muffles her cry with his lips, kissing him until she stops shaking and the aftershocks stop making her thighs clench. She buries her head in his shoulder and scrapes her teeth along the tendons in his neck, and he goes rigid underneath her. Her name, a string of broken profanity, and a few utterances she's not sure qualify as words tumble from his lips.

"I'm done running. And I'm done biting my tongue. And I'm done with this 'not being together' thing we've been doing. Anything you want to add?"

She smiles and leans forward to whisper in his ear. "I think that covers it."

He pauses a hairsbreadth from her lips. "So tell me, Goldilocks. Can I take the woman I love to bed, now?"

In the stillness that follows, Buffy can feel the words pushing into her mouth, but they get stuck. Trapped by fear and insecurity, until too much time has passed and the only thing for them to do is awkwardly collect their clothing from wherever they'd flung it and dress in silence.

Spike catches her eye while she's wiggling into her underwear, and smiles at her (a little nervously, she thinks. Or maybe she's imagining it). She smiles back, and things might not be okay, not by a long shot, but they aren't exactly ruined either.

He's still there when she wakes up the next morning. (It's the start of a whole new pattern).