I didn't sign up for seasonal_spuffy this year as I was out of writing mode - but a couple of months ago challnged you all to suggest some topics for drabbles. Well this is one, behind the cut ... I got a bit carried away!
It is set immediately at the end of AtS ... when Buffy receives a phone call from Giles.
The word count is ... wait for it!!! .... 3349 ... so, not quite a drabble!
Thanks as ever, go to my ultra patient Beta mabel_marsters - you are a star.
So - if you want to read a bit of light fic -
Love Will Find A Way
The sound of the phone dropping on the floor made Dawn rush back into the kitchen, to see her sister huddled in the corner. The look of shock and horror on Buffy's face was something that Dawn had never wanted to see again.
Sunnydale had been destroyed a year ago.
They were getting on with their lives.
"Buffy, what is it? Talk to me. Let me help," Dawn murmured as she gathered the shaking girl into her arms.
That was all Buffy would say ... over and over again.
Dawn had tried to get an answer as to who she was talking about, even asking if it was Angel or Giles. However the same reply was all she got.
The baby sister had to become the grown-up one, and she slowly guided Buffy to her room, and made her lie down on the bed. Whatever Dawn said or did, though, she couldn't stop the two word mantra "he's gone" from being mumbled.
Dawn wandered back into the kitchen, and as she made herself a cup of coffee, she spotted the phone where it had fallen, so she picked it up and replaced it on the counter. As she turned it off it rang, almost making her drop it, but she restrained herself and answered it.
"Buffy?" Giles voice came over the handset.
"No, Dawn." At least she knew one of her worries was put to rest.
"Oh, is Buffy there? I need to give her the rest of the news from L.A."
"No, she’s gone to lie down."
"Could you tell her that Angel is dead? I didn't get a chance to tell her that before the phone cut off a few minutes ago."
"Angel is dead? How? What other news was there for her to hear?" Dawn rattled off the questions that would hopefully give the answers to her sister's current state.
"I was telling her about the battle at Wolfram & Hart. Wesley died, as did some others from the group, including Spike and - ”
"Yes, Spike. He’d been alive for some time, but died again," Giles confirmed, before adding, "Leaving Angel to face the final battle alone, I'm sure. You’d think he’d have kept himself safe long enough to be a bit of help."
"Yes, he never seems to do what is expected, does he? Anyway, I was telling Buffy that when the phone went dead, so I didn't get to the main piece of news that Angel died. Wesley had been sticking to his Watcher training in keeping a journal, with instructions that it was to be forwarded to me if anything happened. So I wanted to tell her that if she wants to read it, I have it here at HQ and she can see it at any time."
The silence stretched out over the miles.
"Dawn, are you there? Is this phone OK?"
"Yes, ummm, I'm here. Just thinking." The reply was so quiet that Giles had to strain to hear it.
"OK then. I hope you are having good weather over there, as it's pretty cold here."
Again there no response, so Giles decided that rather than battle a poor phone connection, he would just ring off. With a muttered "Goodbye, Dawn" he hung up, not knowing that he had left two shattered sisters.
Dawn's legs went weak and she found herself in the same position that her sister had been in, along with a murmured phrase of "he's gone".
Awareness gradually returned to Dawn as she noticed how dark the room was becoming. Stretching slowly, she stood up, and then walked quietly to check on her sister. Buffy was lying where she had left her, although now curled up in a tight ball. Dawn stepped across the room to see if Buffy was any calmer. Although she got no response she could see that Buffy had re-focused in the intervening hours, and was now gripping something in her hands. Dawn couldn't see what it was, but at least she could tell that whatever the item was it must mean something special to Buffy.
To keep her mind from racing, Dawn decided to think about getting something to eat, and to make some coffee, having never had the previous drink.
Pizza ordered, and coffee made, she curled back into a seat and let her mind drift.
So many images. So many thoughts.
A cynical look, a soft smile, tears for her sister, an awkward hug. Her best friend - her brother.
Then, the sadness of knowing she had lost that relationship through thoughtless words, and with an approaching battle had never found the time to regain his love. Although as honesty set in, she realised he had never stopped loving either sister. She was the one who had thrown it away.
The doorbell rang, and as she stood, she called out, "Buffy, pizza's here." She didn't get an answer, but hadn't expected one. Her hope was that the cheese-laden treat would get through where words couldn't.
Grabbing her purse on the way to the door she opened it, fumbling with her money, and muttering to the delivery man, "Come in and put it on the table for me, I can't seem to find the correct change."
"Silly thing to say, Bit."
"But ... Ummm ..." Dawn managed to say before collapsing in a crumpled heap at the vampire's feet.
Spike was thankful that Dawn had been so upset about something that she had forgotten the basic rules for her safety. He walked in past the now non-existent barrier, kicking the door shut behind him, before lifting up the girl as if she was the most precious person in the world. Seeing a living room ahead of him, he carried her there and deposited her on the sofa. As he straightened the doorbell rang again and he realised that this would be the food delivery that Dawn had been expecting. So, he went and collected the meal, before coming back into the living area.
As he looked at the girl that he loved as a sister he sighed, wondering whether they would ever be friends again. As that thought struck him, he noticed another smell ... jasmine mixed with tears.
Tears that had the distinct aroma of power mixed with sadness. The kind of power that can only be found in a slayer.
So, following the scent, he walked silently towards the adjoining room, only to stop in the doorway as he spotted Buffy curled up on the bed. He guessed that the news of Angel’s death had already reached the two sisters and that was why they were both in such a state.
Leaning against the door frame, he quietly took in the sight. He knew that Buffy would need some time to gather her thoughts before she would let anyone try to help her. He may love her, but he also acknowledged that she could be really stubborn about accepting assistance.
As he stood there, he became aware of Dawn slowly stirring from behind him. He turned and focussed back on the girl that he had helped through a previous bereavement, knowing that this time Dawn wouldn’t mourn the loss of Angel as she had the loss of her sister.
“S-Spike, is it you?”
“Yes, it’s really me.” He approached her slowly, not wanting to spook her, or upset her. “I’m sorry I came without phoning first, but I didn’t have the number.”
“Yes. Ask me something, and then you’ll know it really is me.”
“Ummm, OK. What’s your real name?”
Spike smiled, before answering “Oh no, you don’t get that info. But I can tell you, I’m William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers. Does that help?”
“Spike.” She screamed as she launched herself into his arms, tears yet again appearing in her eyes.
“It’s OK, Dawn. We’ll get through this. Things will feel better soon.” He stroked his hand up and down her back as he mumbled soothing words. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you comfort Buffy.”
Slowly the girl in his arms became calmer, and continuing his flow of words, he led them both back to the seat. As they settled down, Dawn began to take in the actual words Spike was saying. Until then it had been enough to feel his arms, and to hear his voice, now the actual phrases were sinking home. She continued resting on his shoulder as she tried to take in the miraculous fact of his presence in their flat, as well as trying to decipher what he actual meant by his words.
“Yes. Feeling more up to chatting now?”
“Yes. Really want to find out everything, but I suppose it will be easier to wait till Buffy’s awake again.”
“Yeah, that way I’ll have the two of you interrogating me. Can’t wait.” However the smirk that appeared across his features made Dawn realise that he was teasing her. It also made her remember how much she had missed him.
“You know, I promised myself that I would give you a hug, but I bottled out.”
“What? You’re hugging me now.” Spike corrected her.
“No, I mean on that last day before Sunnydale. I hated you, and didn’t want Buffy around, yet you went and brought her back. I was scared, and you sorted her out, and I never said thank you for that.”
“Oh, well, you know that I’d always look out for Buffy. There was a lot going on in those weeks, I don’t hold it against you that you forgot about me.”
As he said that they both knew that Spike was used to be ignored. He accepted his place in everyone’s lives as non-important, whilst she knew that he felt this, having chatted through so much of one long summer. She also had seen it happen first hand, even if she was reluctant to acknowledge her part in that.
“Well, I missed having you around. Buffy was back and you were with her all the time, then you upset her, then you went away, then everything went wrong and you weren’t around to chat to.” She burbled out her worries from those past months.
“Come on, none of that. That’s all water under the bridge. Let’s promise to stay friends from now on, and that way we can both help your sis get through the loss of Angel.”
Dawn’s jaw dropped open as she finally realised what Spike presumed they were both upset about. She stayed quietly in his arms while he continued to say the words of comfort that he thought she needed. It was good to be back with her best friend, but Dawn also needed the time to be able to process the meaning behind the words. She had watched her sister fall apart and never recover after that final battle, yet it was obvious that she had not been able to open up to Spike, either, before the conflict.
“Spike.” She slowly pulled away from the embrace, and was sad to feel his immediate withdrawal.
“Spike,” she started again. “Hear me out, OK. Don’t jump in however much you want to, OK, please?”
She sat next to him as he tried hard to hide the conflicting emotions he was coping with.
“Yeah, OK. Have you ever known me to not listen to what you say?” he answered indignantly.
Dawn smiled at that, but continued with her speech. She had many months to prepare what she would say to him if ever that chance occurred. So far she had managed to clear some of her worries about their friendship, but needed to pave the way for Buffy.
“I know, you’re the strong silent type. Well stick to it. When we left Sunnydale we all mourned a lot of our friends. Amanda and Anya had died. There was a lot to cope with, but for me, as I have said, it was not making friends with you that was the hardest.”
As she started talking the tears slowly started again. Spike quietly rested his hand on her knee in silent support, and was good to his word to stay quiet. Dawn took another deep breath and started again, “It was hard for me, but what I went through was nothing compared with Buffy.” She could see the wheels turning in Spike’s brain as he tried to work out who she had really mourned. “She was devastated, and has never really recovered from that day.”
As Dawn stopped for another breath, Spike could no longer stay silent. “She lost so much, her home, her town, your mum’s resting place.”
“Spike, you promised! And that’s not what she lost. It was –“
She broke off as they both turned at the sound of the croaking voice.
“Yes, coming.” Dawn untangled herself from the seat and rushed to see her sister slowly sitting up, looking as if she had fought every demon available in this dimension. “OK, take it slowly. Here, have a sip of water. Do you want me to get you some juice?”
“No. I, umm, I need to ring Giles. He said something about Spike being with Angel. Umm, I need to find out what he meant.” Although a bit disjointed, it was obviously her slayer brain was kicking in to make rapid on-the-spot decisions.
“Hang on then. I’ll get you something to drink so you don’t sound so croaky.”
Dawn walked back out of the room and went to the fridge, all the time glaring at her silent companion. Not that he noticed, as he was standing on the edge of the doorway looking at Buffy. From his point of view she still looked like an angel, and he just didn’t know how to approach her. He had come so far, but left it too late. She had lost her home last year, and her first love today, how could he help her deal with that.
As his mind went through various cycles of thoughts, Dawn walked back to her sister with some fruit juice, which Buffy gratefully sipped.
“Why don’t you rinse your face? That way you will feel more comfortable as you speak to Giles.” Dawn urged Buffy towards the en-suite, and once she was there, stalked back to the hidden vampire.
“What I was saying, Doofus, is that it’s you that Buffy lost. She couldn’t care less about anything else, and since then has had no interest in anything AT ALL.” She finished her statement a bit louder than intended, but luckily Buffy was in her own personal hell and not really listening to what was going on nearby.
Leaving a stunned Spike, Dawn rushed back into the bedroom and met her sister emerging from the bathroom. She caught her hand and settled her on the bed, kneeling in front of her,
“What is it you need to ask Giles, Buffy? He phoned back, you know, so I may have the answers.”
It took the girl a few seconds to compose an answer as seeing her sister in front of her brought back more memories than she wanted to cope with - *You’re the one, Buffy*.
“He said that Spike had died.” Her voice broke on the final word, but after a breath she continued “How can he have died then? If he was alive why didn’t he come and find me?”
“Because I was scared.”
The man in question walked slowly into the room. He gazed at his two girls, who were both looking at him for answers.
“Those last few months had been hard. Getting my soul, then the First Evil. But I was able to make peace with myself, as I spent some time as a ghost. Then by the time I was corporeal again I knew that you two were having a chance of a life. I wanted that for you both, and would do it all again.”
As he was talking he kept eye contact with Buffy as he slowly walked across the room to crouch on the floor next to her sister, mimicking those magic moments that he and Buffy had previously shared.
“I was gone some time, and my first thought was of you. But I heard you were OK, and I was happy that you were free of stress and I didn’t want to return you into it. Me being back would have brought back your worse memories.” He slowly rested his hand on her knee, and was stunned that she automatically placed her hand over it. With her spare hand she stretched out to touch his face, so gently that he almost couldn’t be sure that she had made contact.
“Yes, it’s me. Just as undead as ever, but I’m here.”
He paused as he tried to work out how to say the next bit.
“I wanted to help you understand about Angel. He died a hero, fighting a dragon.” At this he couldn’t think what else to say. Buffy’s stare was unnerving and he needed to break the contact, yet part of him loved the fact that she was focussing on him.
“Why didn’t you come? I’ve missed you.”
“Buffy, you had a chance of a complete new start, not many people get that. You’d been dragged out of Heaven and had to go back to slaying. Now this meant you could do what you wanted.”
“But, how could I?” She gulped. “Without you.”
At this she slipped forwards and into his arms. Only the fact that he was fast and that she didn’t weigh much saved them both from being sprawled in a heap. He gathered her up and slowly standing, he carried her back into the living room. He settled down with his precious cargo in his arms, and Dawn settled next to him, resting on his shoulder so that she was facing her sister.
Buffy slowly calmed again and relaxed into his arms. As the peace settled through the trio, Spike became aware of Buffy’s stare again, and as she slowly stroked his face, she reminded him of words that she had said to him on a similar sofa many miles away.
“I’m not ready for you not to be here. Don’t you remember me telling you that? I meant it then, and mean it now.”
And for one of the few times in his life, the vampire stayed silent. She had thought about those quiet chats, she had remembered her words, they had meant something.
She sat looking at him process the words, and before he could say anything, she continued.
“I also meant the other words, Spike. I say them again, in front of Dawn, as she has heard me cry them to the heavens.” She paused, both to compose herself, and to give Spike a chance to pay attention.
“I love you, Spike, William the Bloody. You’re the one.”
She saw hope start to flood into his eyes, but she also knew Spike. Those missing months had given her the chance to understand him, to know how alone he had always felt. She touched his cheek again, and then untangled herself from his arms, before making her way back to her room. Both Dawn and Spike watched her as she went, wondering why she was walking away. Spike felt himself begin to close down, when he noticed his slayer slip back onto his lap.
“I just wanted to show you something, the one thing that has kept me on this planet over the last few months.”
At that she placed a piece of cool metal in his hand, and as he focussed on it, an incredulous look on his face.
“I had it in my jeans pocket in that last fight. It had always been in my room where I could see it, and I was worried that in battle I would lose sight of you. I thought having this would keep you near me, so I could finally return it to you.” She paused and they both looked at his old silver ring that lay in his palm. “It’s been my one true link to you. I love you, Spike.”
“I love you too, Buffy”
For the first time he was able to add that special word – too - and know that for them it was now the start of something truly special.
They had been a long time getting to this point, and had much still to talk about, but it had been worth it. As his nanny had tried teaching him:-
Love will find a way.
Hope you enjoyed it - if any of the artists out there like it enough ... I would love a banner.