Summary: What happened the night before the big battle at Sunnydale?

This was originally written for sb fag ends on livejournal. I have rewritten it and expanded it a little.

Is this love?

Buffy and Spike lay quietly together on Spike's cot in the basement. It was small and could barely hold one person, but somehow it was the only place in the world Buffy wanted to be. She felt safe and warm, despite the fact the body next to her was borrowing all of her body heat. They were whiling away the hours until they had to go to Sunnydale High and do the impossible. This could be the last time they ever saw each other and that realization made her ache to have him inside her once more. Things had changed so much between them, however, the one thing that didn't was his steadfast love and support for her. Without him she wouldn't have gotten through this. Buffy had never been good with words. She was a physical being, more adept with communicating through violence or sex than words. She didn't know how she could possibly put into words how Spike made her feel. She could never do justice to her feelings the way Spike had that night in the abandoned house. She felt close to tears even remembering the sincerity and love in his voice. There was one way she could show him how she felt though.

She licked her lips nervously. "Spike, I need you to do more than hold me tonight."

She felt his body freeze behind her and she turned around to face him.

His mouth had dropped open.

"What?" he whispered.

"You heard me," she said gently, and smiled reaching out to touch his hand.

He moved away from her. To her surprise he looked hurt and angry. Buffy was confused. Surely he would be happy to make love to her?

He got up and pushed her away. "What does this messed up thing we have mean to you? Am I just a body to you?" He paced the floor clearly agitated. "You were kissing Peaches a couple of hours ago."

It wasn't the time or place to be having this conversation. If they both somehow managed to make it through she would have the time to examine her feelings. "We went through this earlier. Wasn't that enough?"

"Maybe – it's not." His blue eyes were blazing. "I'm not your bleeding sex toy." He closed his eyes and when he opened them again he sounded calmer. "Surely you can answer me this. Do I mean anything at all to you?"

She opened her eyes wide at being put in the spot like that. She jumped up. "How can you ask me that? I'm here with you and I've gone against my friends for you."

He closed the distance between them so that they were standing nose to nose. "You're avoiding the question, Slayer. Yes or no?"

She had feelings for him, but she couldn't say exactly what it was she felt. Was it love? She didn't know. She was standing so close to him she could count his long eyelashes around his incredibly blue eyes.

"Of course you mean a lot to me." She took a deep breath before continuing, "You're my strength, my courage, my friend. Even at my worst it still meant something." She could see her words were affecting him. His expression had softened and his eyes were full of awe. They looked suspiciously wet as if he was close to tears. He didn't say a word, just looked at her as if trying to measure the truth of her words. She always was thrown by the affect she had on him. He looked so vulnerable, childlike in his need to be loved. She gulped in another mouthful of air. "Maybe not what you want it to mean, but it's something."

"It is," he admitted, with a nod before capturing her lips in a scorching kiss. She met his kiss with equal fervour.

Later they lay in post coital bliss pressed tightly together. Spike's bed was not really suitable for more than one person. Nevertheless, Buffy liked where she was well enough. She could feel the cool muscular body against hers. Even when he was just holding her she felt at home somehow. Buffy turned in his arms and looked at his face. Her smile was mirrored on his face. Spike's hair was mussed and she thought he never looked more gorgeous than he did at that moment. She often thought he looked a little like a fallen angel, but she knew better than to mention that to him. She reached up to his face and traced his jawline tenderly. She was filled with a sudden certainty. She knew if she didn't love him already, she could love him someday, if she let herself. Could she let herself?

"I've always gone for women much superior to me," Spike said all of a sudden.

He always had a gift for ruining perfect moments. She sucked in her annoyance knowing he needed reassurance. He wasn't a mind reader and she knew their affair had hurt him as deeply as it had her. She had taken advantage of his love for her, to get through the numbness she had felt and to find the darkness she had needed.

"You've never been beneath me Spike." She paused for a moment, allowing her words in sink in, and then added with a grin, "Except when you're actually beneath me."

He leered at her doing that sexy thing with his tongue. "You're a dirty girl, Buffy."

"And you love it!"

He chuckled. "I love you, Buffy Summers."

She could see that look of love and awe, and she really wished she could tell him the same without reservation. Maybe when all this was over they could wipe the slate clean and start over?

It wasn't until it was too late that Buffy knew for certain. Spike's soul was shining with a pure light and their hands entwined in a flame. She loved him. God, she loved him.

"I love you."

His smile was sad but accepting. "No, you don't. But thanks for saying it."

He let go of her hand and told her to go. She didn't want to. Yet, she ran from the building. She ran even though she wanted to go back and burn up with him, but he didn't want her to. He wanted her to live and she would for him. There was so much to do, so many young girls to train, to help. They may have won the battle but she wasn't fool enough to think the war would ever be over. This mission is what matters.

Buffy stood looking into the chasm that had once been her home. She had insisted that she be left alone to say goodbye to Sunnydale before they left to go to the other side of the ocean. Three weeks had passed since she had lost him. Spike had once told her of his pain that summer she was dead. She knew exactly how he felt now; she too dreamed of all the things she could have done or said differently.

"Spike, every night I save you," she whispered, as she rubbed a tear from her right eye. She knew without hesitation she loved him now. She had spoken those words he craved at the end but he hadn't believed her. If only...

The end