Disclaimer: Not mine. Title is Bob Dylan, except for "You're." I get to own that "you're."

A/N: Fill for the sb-fag-ends prompt "if only Spike had got to Buffy before Twangel."

Admittedly, my fill may be a bit closer to the words than the spirit of the prompt.


He sends her the link to a YouTube video.

It's been about a year and a half since he burned to death in front of her, and a year since she got out of Andrew, by slip of tongue and ensuing threats of grievous bodily harm, that he was back kicking with the alive and undead.

She'd bared her heart to him and the first thing he does is send her the link to a YouTube video.

He also doesn't actually sign it. There isn't a "Love, Spike" or "Sincerely, William the Bloody Jerk" to be found, but she doesn't imagine Big_Bad1880 is a username people are fighting over.

She doesn't bother to click on the link, not yet, just writes back; "Hi Spike."

Then there's the waiting.

Buffy stares blankly at her computer screen for a solid forty minutes, not doing much of anything other than replaying her last few conversations with Spike over and over again inside her head. Then she thinks about how annoying he is, and how upset she is he didn't call her.

Doesn't really help.

The video is either an ad for a new superhero movie, or there's some demon out that who is way too big of a Superman fanatic. Either way, it's something that Xander will appreciate being forwarded.

She trudges through patrol, even though Renee totally deserves to be crowned Most Awesomest New Slayer Ever for finding her that nest not even an hour's drive away. Then there's dinner and training and Dawn and apparently Rona is trying to transfer one of her Slayers to another squad and does Buffy have any idea where she'd best be suited? (No, but she'll talk with Xander if you'll pretty please remember that Chicago and Scotland have very different time zones.)

By the time she gets to check her inbox once more the "Hello, Buffy." is already almost three hours old.

Admittedly, she was sort of cautiously hoping for more. Something like one of Spike's nice, long, love-oriented speeches in which he affirms his undying adoration of her and apologises for being a dick and disappearing and maybe tells her that he's sending her a three-pound box of Godiva chocolates.

The first message she types out is angry. "Where have you been?" is the bottom line, but it's buried under a bunch of "how dare you"s and "what the hell"s and "you let Andrew tell me you weren't dead?"

Take two isn't all that much better. Starts out well enough. "I missed you." It's the truth, but then she can't stop the truth, the truth about how she cried, and mourned, and how some days she just wanted to crawl down there into that pit after him, and how useless she feels these days, how redundant, how she's an old lady surrounded by little girls who are newer and better, and about how all her friends left, and at least Xander came back, so why didn't Spike?

And when it's all written out, spreading across her computer screen, all the things she wants and doesn't want, and her wishes and her secrets and her fears, when that's all outside of her, but not yet put upon him, she realises the reason she tells these things to Spike is because of the way he watches her when she does. The way his eyes read love and comfort and nothing she thinks is wrong, even when he doesn't like it. Because of the way he touches her hand when it trembles and way she can just tell that he's really, truly listening to her, more closely than anyone else ever has.

And so she deletes the whole thing and sends instead; "What do you think about Scotland?"