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05/18/17 04:16 am
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Author's Corner

[Reviews - 4]

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Authors Chapter Notes:
This is an old guilty-pleasure-type fic that I just realized I never posted anywhere else. It's probably already off-canon already. :)

Sunset is something that Buffy has found comes slower than ever these days. She remembers long-ago afternoons in Sunnydale, watching the window from the Doublemeat Palace with an odd mixture of longing and dread, waiting for her moment of escape. The nights belong to her, and she bears them as the burden that they've come to be defined as. And nights in San Francisco are no different in that regard, her duties no less welcomed nor rejected, and if there's a reason she actually longs for sunset, it isn't one she admits aloud.

Especially not to the man- no, not a man- the not-a-man standing before her, who tosses his still-smoking cigarette down in front of her in greeting. She shifts to the side of her bench in response, an invitation he takes without comment.

He slouches beside her. "Thought you'd be out with the new boy."

"New boy?" She feigns ignorance, but of course Spike's been keeping tabs and knows too much about all the wrong things. He doesn’t patrol with her, not like that last year in Sunnydale, but he tends to lurk at the edges of her consciousness. Old habits and all that.

Spike snorts, unimpressed. "Harry Potter name, sorta sleazy face? Saw you making eyes at him on patrol yesterday."

"I wasn't making eyes- Harry Potter name?" She blinks. "You read Harry Potter?"

He shrugs beneath his coat. "Need I remind you how long I spent on that bloody ship? It was that or Harmony's bleeding Beauty Tips."

She tries out a laugh, and he turns to stare at her. "Bleeding? Because she's a vamp...never mind." There's no humor in his eyes, not today, and she wonders if it has anything to do with... "I completely threw myself at Severin earlier."

She can imagine the tension in his position without turning, the hunched shoulders and dark glower and clenched jaw. "Really not interested in hearing about your latest conquest, Slayer."

"You'll want to hear this one," she says, opting for a lighter tone over the grim one that's had her frustrated and gloomy all day. It's easier when Spike's here, maybe not head-over-heels anymore but there's still something, and that relieves her more than she'd like to consider. "I totally threw myself at Severin, thought that going out to talk about missiony-type things was a date and acted like it, and he was oblivious." She chews her bottom lip, the earlier realization still stinging even with Spike's presence serving its purpose as a welcome balm.

The vampire is still scowling, and she bumps his shoulder reassuringly. "Then we bumped into Andrew and I finally realized that I really, really wasn't his type."

It takes a moment for that to sink in. Then there's a startled guffaw from somewhere just above and to the side of her right ear, and Spike’s snickering uncontrollably, his laughter only getting louder when she pinches his thigh in irritation. “New Boy’s got a yen for Andrew?”

“Shut up!” She tries to glare at him, but it’s difficult when he’s beaming the way he hasn’t in a while. “I can’t believe that I have the same type as Andrew,” she mumbles, shaking her head.

“Nah.” Spike sounds confident about it. “That wanker isn’t your type, love. You like ‘em big and bulky and boring, and he’s only…well, yeah.” He smirks, unrepentant.

She matches his expression. “Oh? And what does that make you?”

“’M’not your type,” Spike informs her. “Just…persistent.”

A near-hysterical laugh escapes her lips as the words not anymore flit through her mind. “I’ve spent the past week flirting with a gay guy. What is wrong with me? Is my love life that pathetic that I’m dooming it before I even start now?”

Spike is silent, and she begins to trace the tense line of his jaw with her eyes, watching as he stares out into the foggy night at distant figures she can’t quite make out. “How about you go home and chatter about this one to your girly friends?” he says finally. “M’not doing this with you. Not anymore.”

And it’s been building up for weeks within her, itching to emerge whenever he’s around, so she finally blurts out, “Why not? It’s not like we’re anything anymore.”

He starts, digs his fingers into his palm in what looks to be a pretty painful grip, and says calmly, “Suppose not. But I’m not your girlfriend, either.”

“Then what are you?” She’s pushing for another rejection now, and there’s a part of her that dazedly notes that she really is jumpstarting the destruction of her love life, but she can’t stop. “The guy who shows up to parties I invite him to and makes out with my roommate?”

“You-“ He grits his teeth. “You are not holding that against me.”

She shrugs unhappily. “I thought we could…that it was-“

“What? That lumping me with Soldier Boy and Andrew and going off to dance on tables was a date?” He shakes his head disbelievingly. “I had to peel you away from some wanker you nearly went home with and drag you into bed after that bender. You were out of control. And now you’re going off with the new flavor of the week and you still think that I’m going to…what? Wait around for you? This isn’t Sunnydale, Slayer.”

“No.” Try as she might, she can’t tear her eyes away from his face, taut with anger and frustration. “I guess not.”

He slumps visibly. “I’m gonna go, see if I can rustle up any news about Big Bads in the area, yeah? Don’t think I can be here right now.”

He rises after a moment, but he’s walking slowly enough that she knows that he expects her to call him back. And she doesn’t disappoint, because there’s little she’s capable of resisting when it comes to Spike these days. “Spike?” He stops. “Are we…is it all over now?” Her voice is timid, more so than she’d meant for it to be.

He doesn’t turn around, but his voice carries back to her. “Isn’t it?”

She swallows. “I…I don’t know. I don’t want to lose you,” she admits. “But I’m not ready…” For what? For love? For commitment? For settling down for the rest of whatever life she has left? Because with Spike, it’s going to be forever. He doesn’t do less than that. And she’s just beginning to figure out how to do the whole careless living thing that a normal girl would have started back when Buffy was fighting off government groups and demon Frankensteins.

She needs time. And it’s going to come at a price. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, moving to stand right behind him, her breath rustling the ungelled tips of his hair.

He turns slightly, enough for his eyes to meet hers. “I won’t wait.”

She kisses him softly, lips regretful against the corner of his mouth. “I know.”

“I won’t wait,” he repeats, but it sounds less and less certain each time he says it. “Got my own life now. Not going to wait for you to figure yours out.”

There’s nothing she can say to argue with that, nothing beyond hopes that she knows might be dashed in an instant and would infuriate him if he knew of them, so she settles for nodding slightly and managing a small smile. “I understand.” She can’t ask him for more, and he won’t offer it now.

But he does cock his head suddenly and say, “Something’s on the next block. Sounds like a ravlock demon,” and then they’re moving together toward the threat, questions of their relationship and future fallen to the wayside for the time being.

She’s kind of okay with that.

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