Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike 30in30: Day 20: Lose the Way, Take It Back, and Comfort
Word Count: 1,217
Date Written: 23 May 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
Her steps echo in the darkness as she descends into the basement. She thought she was beyond this. She thought she was beyond loving monsters. She thought her days of having the man she loved chained up to a wall, his mental state crumpled to that of a raving, bloodthirsty beast, were far beyond her. She thought those days had left her when Angel had left, when she had moved beyond him.
She wasn't in high school any more. She wasn't a child any more. She knew what she was doing . . . most of the time these days. But yet, here she is any way. Here she is back in her old school, or at least the rebuilt version of it, sneaking away again from her family and friends to see a man laying in chains, a man whose soul, if not body, has been beaten, and she is largely to blame.
She didn't tell him to go get his freaking soul. She didn't tell him he could become better, because she knew he couldn't without a lot of pain. She didn't wish this on him. She didn't tell him to do this!
But he did it trying to become a better man for her, trying to become worthy of her. She scoffs in the darkness. Is she really that great? She knows better. So why does Spike think she was worth making such a sacrifice for?
This isn't a ruse. It isn't a trick. She saw the truth when he burned himself on the cross last week. He's given everything he had trying to become worthy of her, and yet now, even more than before, all she wants to do is run in the opposite direction from wherever he is.
But she can't. She has to go to him. She has make sure he eats. She grips the bag of blood harder in her pocket and forces herself to continue into the darkness. She owes him that much at least.
It takes a moment for even her eyes to adjust to the dimness of the basement. A part of her wishes she had brought a flashlight, but she doesn't want anybody knowing she's here and especially not what she's doing. She remembers how they reacted to finding out she was taking care of Angel when he was dumped back on her after being in Hell. She lost her friends then, but they finally came back to her. If they know . . . if they even suspect that a part of her longs for Spike, she'll lose them for good.
She can't win this fight without them. She can't win this war without them. She can't keep being the Slayer and saving the whole freaking world every time she turns around without the people who believe in her, who help her day and night. Her friends are the reason she's made it this far, living and fighting longer than any Slayer before her. She can't lose them! If she does . . . If she does, she might well go out of her mind like Spike has.
He whimpers in the darkness as her eyes fall on his crumpled form. She really wishes she could get him to keep some clothes on, but every time she brings him some and manages to get him into them, he finds his way out again. Now he's laying naked and seemingly broken on the floor.
"Sp--Spike?" She hates the way her voice trembles, betraying her secrets, belying her fears, revealing the cold cowardice she feels twisting in her belly.
"B-Buffy? L-lost you . . . " he murmurs, his long, pale fingers reaching toward her. "Lost you." He sounds like a frightened child who's been crying for hours on end. "So cold. So l-lonely wit-without you. So empty."
"No, you're not."
"L-Lost you," he repeats again. "M-Miss you. N-need you. D-Don't deserve you."
She bites back tears at the agony in his voice. "You didn't lose me," she repeats, coming closer. "I'm right here."
"D-Don't deserve you."
Tears well in her eyes, but she won't let them fall. Her nails bite into her palms. The pressure is a hard reminder to herself to stay in control, keep her emotions in check, but she's also careful not to press too hard and draw blood. There's no telling what the scent of fresh, human blood will do to him now. "I'm right here," she says again, but already there's a part of her thinking, a part of her dreading, a part of her knowing words she doesn't want to come to the surface.
She reaches for him. He jumps when her fingers glide over the scarred flesh of his burned palm. She looks around, wondering how he found a way to hurt himself again today. He finds a way every day, it seems. That's why she has him chained now -- or, at least, that's what she tells herself.
"L-Lost you," he whimpers again though her hand is touching his.
She wraps her fingers around his cold hand. "No, you didn't," she repeats firmly. "I'm right here."
"No, you're not. M-Monster."
"What monster, Spike?" she asks softly, as her heart feels suddenly ice cold within her chest. "Where?" She looks around, but there's only him and herself in the basement.
"M-Me. I lost the way, l-lost you. D-Didn't deserve you. C-Cou-Couldn't k-keep you."
"Sh," she says, stepping closer. "You didn't lose me. I'm right here. I brought you something."
"Take it back!" he cries suddenly, whipping away from her. He tears his hand free of her grasp so swiftly that his long and jagged nails cut her skin. "Take it back! Take it all back!"
"Take what back, Spike?"
"Ev-Everything! What you did to me! Take it back!"
Buffy stares at him, her tears piling up higher and faster in her green eyes. He's shaking now and trying his best to become one with the wall so that she can not see him, can not touch him . . . Slowly, she bends and drops the bag of blood she's brought him onto the floor. Just as slowly, she backs away until the stairs touch the backs of her boots. Then, still watching him cringe and cry and coward before her, she sinks onto the bottom step, drops her head in her hands, and cries.
Maybe she hasn't gotten so far away from that naive, little high school girl after all. Maybe it's worse. Maybe she's worse than any of her friends can ever guess, than even Spike knows. She did this to him. She didn't ask him to do it, but he did it because of her. For all the monsters she's fought, for all the times she's saved the world, maybe she's the biggest monster after all.
She doesn't know, but what she does know is the suffering she sees before her, the suffering she brought about but yet is unable to ease, the man in the monster who needs her comfort but yet who is afraid of her very touch . . . And her heart aches worse than ever before because of it. She cries. He howls, and she cries some more. She didn't ask for any of this, and she doesn't know how to fix it either. And she cries.