Disclaimer: Don't own it. Joss is the God of Buffyverse.
Summary: Buffy and Spike have a little conversation.
Length: Exactly 2000 words.
Setting: During that last night before the apocalypse in 'Chosen'.
A/N: This started out as a sweet little drabble I had titled 'Mothers', because it only contained Buffy and Spike talking about their moms/mums. It wasn't set anywhere specifically. But as such things usually do, it grew and I decided to put it into 'Chosen'.
I'm one of the few people in the fandom who don't believe Buffy and Spike had sex that last night and definitely one of the only ones who like it that way. For me, they had - at this point - reached a relationship that was far from ready for sex and far more intimate than that. Those nights just holding each other symbolize to me a purity that is comletely new and so, so important to their relationship and that is absolutely necessary for them in order for us to be able to hook them up in a post-'Chosen' world.
This is what I would like to believe happened. I don't think it did, I think they just spend the night holding each other in silence, but still. I decided to give them this little moment of getting to know each other.
Buffy is probably not completely in character, but not so far out of it that it would annoy me if I read it somewhere else (and I'm easily annoyed) and parts of it aren't written that well, but I hope you enjoy anyway.
Buffy felt save. It didn't make a lot of sense considering the next day might hold the end of the world, but right now, she did feel save and that was all due to the room temperature body lying next to hers. It was tiny, the cot in her basement and they barely both fit on it, but with a little snuggling, everything was possible.
Her mind was far from at ease. Too much had happened in the last few days to allow for that. Her friends and family had thrown her out of her own house questioning her leadership. She had kissed Angel and then sent him on his merry way back to Los Angeles. She had cost her best friend an eye and two young Potentials their lives. She still had no idea how she was supposed to win a war against an army of uber-vamps with just a magical scythe and a bunch of terrified girls.
She couldn't rest, couldn't find peace, but right now, right here, she felt save.
She had spent the last two hours cuddling up to Spike, telling him this and telling him that, listening to his own soft rumble. The night before, they hadn't talked. It had been too rare, too fragile, too vulnerable a position to waste it on small talk, never mind the fact that she had been seriously emotionally distraught. It still felt like that, but the tension of facing their very probable doom tomorrow made it impossible to just quietly lay there and hope for the sleep that would remain elusive.
So they talked, sometimes shallow, sometimes deep and Buffy once more realized how little she knew about the only man who had always stuck with her. It was difficult for her to face up to the fact that she simply hadn't cared enough to get to know him past the superficial. Maybe because it made her just that much more vulnerable if she allowed herself to actually like who he was and not just be torn between despising or being drawn to the picture of him she was so used to paint in her head. And it was nice to get to know him.
Pity it had to be now, when everything was bound to fall to pieces. Or maybe that was the only reason she allowed it in the first place. Either way, it had a sort of bittersweet charm to start seeing someone who had tried to make you look at them for years for the first time on the very night that might be your last. Or just your last together.
She was currently lying with her back to his chest, his arms comfortably encircling her without being at all restraining. Her hair had to be tickling his nose, but she knew he didn't mind.
"Do you remember how my mom died?"
"Don't think I could ever forget it, love."
"You really did like her, didn't you?"
"Closest thing I had to a mother myself, Joyce was. A good woman with a kind heart."
"You know I hated her for actually getting along with you."
"I know you did."
"I mean, I hated your guts for always trying to kill me and she made you hot chocolate."
She could feel his smile against her neck.
"With little marshmallows."
"I couldn't believe she was dead. But at the same time, I just knew. When I found her, I knew, but I couldn't really understand."
His arms around her tightened just a little bit.
"Yeah, it feels like that."
Should she tell him? She had never told anyone.
We're going to die either way.
"And the worst thing was that all the time, as illogical as it was, I would have given anything for her to wake up, thinking I'd even have her rather be a vampire than dead."
He went still for a long time and that unnecessary breath of his stopped grazing her skin, until eventually, he uttered a very quiet:
"You don't really want that, Buffy. Trust me."
"I know that it's horrible, but-…"
He wasn't even listening.
"She wouldn't have been herself."
"I know that, Spike. I-…"
"There would have been no trace of the kind, sweet-hearted woman you knew left. Only ugliness and terror."
"But still, to have your mother back, you would do-…"
The soft words against her scalp, the slight tremble in his tone made her want to face him. It was difficult to turn around with so little space available for movement, but he steadied her until she managed to lie on her side looking at him.
"What happened to your mom, Spike?"
He went quiet, searching her face with a vulnerability that she knew so well and still hadn't experienced up close. He still didn't even breathe the way he usually did. She feared this might be the one single question that finally crossed the 'too personal' line, the bit of stupidity that would destroy what had been maybe the first real conversation they had ever had.
How come we've never done this before?
But then he let out a breath and his eyes fluttered shut.
"I turned her. She was dying and I had the power to make it stop, so I turned her."
Part of her was surprised. Another part of her wasn't at all.
"I thought vampires only killed their families."
"I did. Had to, eventually. Couldn't bear to see her like this. She kept saying… horrible things, doing things she would have despised herself for, would have been ashamed..."
And she meant it. Having to end your own mother's life because of something you did… Yes, he'd brought it on himself, but if ever she had heard a good reason for turning someone into a vampire, this was it.
His eyes opened again, looking even deeper in the darkness and she could see the strain in them.
"It's been a long time, pet. I only just remembered. Was the First's little trigger."
Buffy didn't know whether to feel horrified for him or to be glad he could talk about it if it still felt fresh. She cuddled a little closer, for once wanting to provide him with a little comfort. And again the question that echoed in her so loudly…
Why didn't we do this sooner?
"That must have been hard. Going through all of that again."
"Yeah. But it did let me understand she had really loved me. Someone, at one point has really loved me."
Buffy tried not to show how uncomfortable that made her, him saying he had never been loved as a person. She knew she should say something, anything, even though he clearly hadn't meant to urge her to. He seemed content just telling her how he felt, no longer asking her to reciprocate. As if it was impossible. As if he had finally accepted it. It made her sad, but she also had no words to tell him otherwise. So she changed the subject, at least a little bit.
"My dad left us. He wasn't there for her funeral. Not even for mine, as far as I know."
Like every time someone mentioned her death, his eyes bore into hers sharply and his grip on her arm tightened just a little bit, as if to assure her she was really there.
"Rupes tried to reach him, but the number was out of order."
And just because she had the feeling he had never told anybody about his mother before, she told him something that had been weighing on her and that she had never voiced out loud.
"I wonder if he can remember Dawn. If they gave him memories of her, too. I got used to him not being there for me, to him hating me, or just not caring enough to stick around, but I feel bad he'd treat Dawnie the same way."
He brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes, carefully tucking it behind her ear.
"You and the bit deserve better."
She leaned into his hand, enjoying the coolness of it brushing over her skin. So chaste… So new… And everything he would have gladly given her all along.
"Didn't have a da' around either. Not his fault, he died when I was four, but still."
He chuckled slightly. She liked what that did to his eyes and how the corners of his lips just barely crinkled.
I like you like this, Spike. I like knowing you.
"Might not have turned into such a nancyboy had he been there. Probably would have told me to do some actual work instead of just sitting in my room writing bloody awful poetry."
She snuggled against him just a little closer, bodies fitting together perfectly in a way that was both familiar and completely novel.
"I would have liked to read some."
God, it felt so good to feel that low rumble of his voice going through her entire being because she was pressed up against him so intimately.
Soul. We're both all soul. He might have always been like this. What if he's always been like this?
"No, you wouldn't have."
"Ever wrote anything about me?"
It was nice to see he could actually smile about that. A slow, lazy smile that made something inside of her feel warm.
"What do you think?"
"I think I would have liked to read some."
He propped himself up on an elbow and bashfully offered:
"Want me to recite?"
"You know them by heart?"
God, so nice…
"Some. The more awful ones."
Whimsical. That's what that smile was.
"I can't wait."
She swore if he could, he would blush. And a few poems later, she understood why. Buffy couldn't remember ever giggling half as much. Either he really was the sappiest, least talented poet there ever was, or he left out some of the raunchier lines, but either way, it was so bad it was funny and when he saw that she wasn't actually laughing at him, but just about the ridiculous rhymes and words she had never heard before, he got more and more confident, letting the lines fall from his lips with a smirk.
When he finally reached the end of his repertoire, they just lay there, looking at each other in comfortable silence, his free hand stroking her hair with that reverence touching her had always held, somewhere underneath the violence she had forced.
Should have actually listened to him sooner.
"Should we have made more out of this night?"
That smile again, so tender it almost made her uncomfortable. Before, it would have undoubtedly send her running to the metaphorical hills, but now, it didn't feel so wrong.
"We made plenty out of it."
And her smile… Was that… was that happiness?
"Yeah. We really did."
And had she ever felt that content and thoroughly breakable at the same time?
Why, why, why have I never let us have this before?
The moment was broken when she stifled a yawn. Huh. Had to be more tired than she'd thought.
"Go to sleep now, Buffy."
His nose nuzzled her neck, a sweet little gesture of devotion that she knew came instead of him daring to kiss her goodnight.
Wouldn't have allowed this before. For so many reasons.
"We have a long apocalypse ahead of us."
On a whim, she drew back and pressed a small kiss against his lips, too chaste to be the start of more and too tender to be anything less than meaningful.
Thank you for this, Spike. Thank you for everything.
She buried her head in his chest again, breathing him in, soothed by the steady rise and fall of his chest, until eventually, she drifted off to sleep, safely held by the one person who had never left. Possibly the last one left still loving her.
Maybe with him there with me, the end of the world won't be so bad.