Title: Following

Author: Katjen

Rating: Strong PG13

Pairing: B/S

Summary: Tag to Tabula Rasa - Spike's thoughts and maybe if I get around to it, Buffy's as well

Note: Lyrics from "Following" by the Bangles

Disclaimer: Me no own. You no sue, okay?

*~*~*

You think I'm crazy or something

Always following you around

You say I'm a hopeless case

Run an obsession into the ground

You call me a loser

You call me a shadowing fool

Look over you shoulder

And you say I'm haunting you

So why do you call me

Why do you look for me

Why do your eyes follow me the way they do

*~*~*

He has left a groove in the tree outside her house, a perfect curve where he fits so easily.

He hasn't done this in months, hasn't stood here under her window chainsmoking cigarettes and pushing their carcasses into the dirt with his boot while listening to her move around inside, listening to her undress, listening to her fuck. He is falling back into a pattern that is potentially humiliating and masochistic but he doesn't care. It's not one sided anymore, this waiting, this wanting to be near. He's just making it easier on her, just saving time by making himself available. He knows she needs him. Right now she needs him.

He rests the back of his head against the bark, feels the rough texture under his scalp, looks at his hands spiderwebbed with shadows as moonlight shines down through the branches and turns them blue. They're empty. They clench and release, clench and release. He watches his fingers curl in on themselves like snails. His fist is a hard shell. The torn flesh that had hung from his knuckles in white chunks had mended so quickly. It had taken Buffy's scars a while to fade and too long to disappear. He knew she was remembering every time she looked at them, was feeling the pain and the panic all over again every time she made a fist and felt that twinge. They are gone now, the jagged tears of raw skin, but he notices her rubbing them every once in awhile in a gesture as unconscious as pushing a lock of hair behind an ear. They still hurt. The blows keep coming, faster than the wounds can heal and her watcher's left her to bleed to death.

He looks up through the branches. They're razorblades, and he's leaning against the flat part of a knife. He has made a place with it, has worked his way into it, has bent the metal just enough to be safe. If he forgets to be careful, forgets where he is, what he is, it'll cut, and he'll bleed. It will take longer than a few painful moments to heal, and the memory of the pain will be tattooed onto his skin forever. He still has scars from where Glory poked and prodded, still has a line scratched into his eyebrow by a slayer's stake in a crude accidental signature. It has become a brand, a physical representation of an obsession that has ultimately brought him here, cradled by a tree that recognizes the shape of his body, looking up at a glowing window, searching for another kind of pain, another kind of danger to lie against, to crawl into. She wants that too. It's why she sought him out, why she continues to look for him in dark places. She lets him inside for moments that seem endless until she is shoving him away, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, trying to erase the very thing she had reached for. The second she comes up for air long enough to remember that Giles would not approve of this she slams the door in his face, and he waits patiently on the other side knowing that she'll reach again to prove that she's right, that she can't be left to her own devices.

Because look where they lead her.

The front door unlocks. He doesn't hide this time, doesn't shrink, doesn't try to make himself invisible. Because he's not anymore.

His fingers slip into his pocket and pull out another cigarette, a lighter. Flip, spark and inhalation, he pushes the smoke through his nostrils. He waits.

The door opens. She steps out onto the porch. He knows she knows he's there, but she doesn't sit down, doesn't wait for him to show himself like she usually does. She closes the door, turns, and keeps going down the steps, down the walkway, down the sidewalk.

He follows, making no effort to hide himself. She's pointedly pretending not to hear him, but she doesn't walk any faster. It's exactly the kind of invitation he has been expecting, and he follows her to the Bronze, all the while keeping his distance. He loses sight of her once he gets inside.

He slips into the crowd marveling as always how easy it is to blend in. He is so different from them. In every way imaginable he is foreign to all that they know and believe in, and yet they have no idea. The women always smile, the bolder ones giving him a lurid once over before settling on his eyes, his mouth. For a moment he allows himself to pretend that nothing's changed in him, that if he wanted to, any one of these women could be his. His jaw aches at the thought and saliva fills his mouth. The smell of sweat and blood just beneath the surface of all this skin is intoxicating. It's sheer torture being surrounded by all of this life and not being able to take a taste. The pig's blood does nothing for him, it doesn't give him that buzz, that warm orgasmic rush as it slips down his throat and spreads throughout his body. He's been fucking celibate for too long.

He finally finds her sitting alone at the bar, staring at the smooth surface, her hands folded neatly on top of it like a schoolgirl. She looks so young. Younger than she had the first time he had ever seen her. She had thought she was invincible then, had danced with abandon, had given herself up to what she was feeling, what she wanted. He had been able to sense her from outside. Everything in his body had felt her, knew exactly where she was. She had been that alive, that vibrant. He knows that girl's still inside of her. He's felt her in those secret kisses, felt the Buffy who secretly relishes being naughty, who loves dancing with the dark, being in control of it and knowing it will do whatever she asks. She has seen herself for so long as one belonging to the light, but she's beginning to realize she can rule the dark if she chooses. And he'd be her willing slave just like always.

He stands beside her silently waiting, knowing she needs him, knowing she needs to talk, to be touched. He wants to do that for her for selfish reasons. He's addicted to the smell of her hair, the feeling of her skin and now her lips, her tongue. He cares that she hurts, he's always cared, but he likes the contact, he relishes it, and ultimately that's why he's here, why he's followed her. His desire to be touched is just as strong as his desire to help.

She looks up like he knew she would. He offers a smile that he hopes is inviting, kind. She turns away.

A slight shift of her attention and he's completely alone, shut out and freezing. It hurts, her dismissal. And it's unexpected. After everything he's done for her, after all the times he's been there and she's let him be thereand now nothing. Not even a "go away Spike". He isn't worth the trouble. Just a turn of her head.

He takes a step back. He thinks he's angry. He wants to be. Mostly he's confused. And hurt.

She wants to be alone. Fine. That's exactly what she'll be from now on. He'll lock the door when he hears her coming, leave the room when she kicks it down. He won't wait under her tree, he'll stop trying to make a space beside it because there's no room and he'll only end up hurting himself. He doesn't need this shit, this baggage, this broken little girl who still thinks she's too good for him even though he's the only one who understands, who really knows what it's like to be alone.

Fuck her then.

He turns on his heel, stalks down the crowded hallway, shoving aside anyone who gets in his way. His jaw is tight, his hands clenched into fists. He wants to hurt something, wants to pound it until there's nothing left, until his knuckles are raw and bloody. He wants to kill, to feed, to be what he used to be because this is killing him. He wants to be a man, wants to be allowed to feel this attraction, this need without feeling like an even bigger freak than he already is. He wants

He wants Buffy to want him back.

He feels a hand on his arm and he knows it's hers before he turns. It's a soft touch, not demanding or threatening. It's apologizing. He looks into her eyes and it's not the apology he wants.

I'm sorry I'm here, I'm sorry you're the only thing that makes it better. I'm sorry I need you.

He almost shakes her off, almost tells her to go to hell for real this time. But he doesn't because when she slowly reaches up, slowly curls her hands into the lapels of his jacket and pulls him near, pulls him into the shadows, he thinks she means it. Right now in this moment it's real. She stopped him from leaving. She's making this happen.

She finds a space for them and they stand there in the dark. He towers over her. She really is so small. It's just lately that he's begun to notice. She lets him see her this way. Her hands are still buried in his jacket. He says her name and that's when she looks at him. He tries to say, Are you alright, luv?, but she puts her fingers to his lips silencing him before the words can come.

She kisses him and it's so soft, so different from the last time. Not desperate now, but deliberate, slow and burning him through and through. Her hands are on his chest, under his coat, gripping his shirt, trying to pull him closer, closer. Her tongue slides against his, he cups her face and he wants to say I love you, I love youbut she'd push him away if he did. This would never happen again and he needs it like blood.

She moans against him, he feels her teeth. Her breath is coming fast and she breaks away for air as he sucks her earlobe into his mouth, kisses his way to her throat, her neck. The texture of her skin is different and she freezes as his tongue brushes against it.

He lifts his head and his eyes say, I wasn't going to but he can't speak, his throat is too tight. She's staring at him in a way that makes him uncomfortable, in a way that makes him think he should let go, but her hand slides down his chest. Her fingers play with the buckle on his belt, and the muscles of his abdomen spasm as her knuckles graze him. He tentatively kisses her again feeling forgiven for crossing a line he didn't know was there. She tilts her head back, erasing it, and he traces her jaw with his tongue, pushes her jacket off her shoulders, opens her shirt because he needs more of this, more of her and then he sees it. A scar. On her neck. The skin had felt different there under his tongue, slicker. He hadn't realized what it was but now he sees. She had been bitten.

He touches it with his fingertips, looks into her eyes. He wants to ask where it came from, who had ever gotten close enough to get a taste. How she escaped, how she felt being the weak one for a change.

She sees the questions in his eyes and hers are defiant. "I let him do it. He was going to die."

He knows who she's talking about and he doesn't know what to say. She doesn't want to hear it anyway. She holds him in her hand. He sucks in breath he doesn't need and moves with her because he can't help it. She tilts her head back again, shows him the other side of her neck where the skin is smooth and untouched. He can see her blood pumping under all that whiteness. Her pulse quickens when he moans, he can see it, smell it. "You can do it," she says, and he buries his face in her neck, kissing and sucking at the skin as he moves against her hand. "You can help me get back there, you can do it because you won't be trying to hurt me..."

He pauses, realizing what she's saying, what she wants. He lifts his head, steps away from her. "No," and his body aches and throbs, missing her already. His jaw is on fire, his teeth just waiting to burst through and take and take and take. It's not what he wants from her, not really. He hates her for thinking it is. He grins to hide it, swallows the shock and spits out, "You can use me for anything but that luv."

"You've wanted it for as long as I've known you" Her voice is low and steady but her eyes are desperate. She unbuttons her blouse with trembling fingers, shoves the material off her shoulder. "I'm letting youI want you to" She stares at him as the tears come. He watches them slide down her cheeks. This is wrong, all wrong but something inside of him thinks this makes sense, that he should have expected this. He wants to hear her say it, wants to drive it in a little deeper that she doesn't want him to hold her, to comfort her. She wants him to kill her.

"Ever since you've been backcoming to mehas it all been for this? Is this what you've wanted for all this time?" She doesn't answer and he laughs. "Trying to seduce me into biting you when I If you knew" If you knew what I've been through this past summer "Why don't you just go out patrollin' without a sta-"

"I need it to be you."

"An why's that?"

"Because you won't turn me." He blinks at her.

"How d'you know I won't?"

"You wouldn't do that to me." He snorts and runs his hands through his hair, wanting to deny it, but he knows she's right. She steps up to him, makes him look at her. "You won't do that to me."

She reaches for him. She guides him back to the curve of her neck and he fits there so easily. He sinks against her and she wraps her arms around him. He parts his lips, licks the skin and shudders against her little body, crumples against her, feels the change, feels the demon surface and his fangs elongate. They touch her skin. She sucks in her breath. Her body is rigid against his. She's afraid. And he knows he can do this, he can do what she wants because she's right. The chip won't stop him because he doesn't want to hurt her.

He doesn't want to hurt her.

"I can't Buffy" he whispers against her damp skin that smells like heaven. "I won't." He holds her to him, tries to comfort her, tries to make her feel safe. She shoves him away. Violently. The tears are gone. She's angry. She backs away like it was her choice to put an end to this, like she was testing him, like she didn't really mean it anyway. She buttons up her blouse, missing a few, pulls her jacket tight over her shoulders, wraps it shut. She steps up to him one last time.

"You tell anyone about this and I will kill you. Is that understood?" He carefully touches her arm, not answering. She doesn't shake him off. He looks into her eyes and asks her again. "Is this all you wanted from me?" She blinks, tries to look away. "Buffy?"

She swallows and he watches her throat move. He watches her lips say "yes" and he doesn't believe her. He touches them with his for only a moment before she turns her head, before she turns to go and he watches as she disappears into a crowd of women who want him, who would love his kisses, his hands, his body against theirs, who even now are looking at him with invitation in their eyes.

He zips up his fly and leaves the Bronze.

She's waiting for him outside. She pulls him into the alley, presses her body against his, kissing him violently and shoving him off before he can respond. She wipes her hand across her mouth. She turns and walks away. He doesn't follow. He smiles at her back.

She comes to him now.