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Author's Corner

[Reviews - 14]

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Authors Chapter Notes:
This is sort of like an homage to 'Perks of Being a Wallflower" which is one of my favorite books. Enjoy!

They were about as different as two adolescents could be. One a bright, vivacious dancer, basking in the heat of the sun, as well as the warm and glittering promise of her own talented body. The other a dark, troubled musician who understood the world only through the notes of his own, private melody.

I knew him before I knew her. His name was William, but near enough everyone called him Spike. Even the teachers. I think maybe they were afraid of him- a lot of people were, after all.

I met him when I was a freshman and he was a senior, though my presence in this story is not really relevant. I just think that hearing about our first meeting will help you to understand the sort of person that Spike was. (I say ‘was’ because it’s been a while since I’ve seen him, not because he’s going to suffer a heroic death at the end of this narrative. Just in case you were worried).

People’ve always thought that I’m odd. It’s like teenagers are built with a radar than can pick out the weak, vulnerable and weird, like predators in the wild. I’ve grown up being the odd one out. I thought it’d always be that way, until I met Spike.

Like I say, I was a freshman. Actually, it was one of the very first days of freshman year. This means that I was still pretty nervous, and hoping to make friends, but feeling that this was less and less likely with every day that passed. People were bumping into me every time I stopped at my locker. I was picked last for basketball, football and soccer (not surprising). A girl that I went to Junior High with pointed at me, as she stood amongst a group of football boys, and when she said something, they all laughed.

Later that day, after Susan Meyer and the football boys, I heard someone behind me when I was walking home from school. I didn’t want to turn around and look, just in case I was being followed, but it’s hard not to look when you’re afraid like that. So I did look, and I saw the same group of boys from earlier. Susan Meyer wasn’t with them now, and they weren’t exactly laughing. They looked determined and, I hate to say it but it’s true, evil. They looked evil. I guess I’m biased.

They caught up with me, even though I’d started to run. The one of them put his foot in front of me and I went down like a stone. I landed right on my face, and I remember thinking that I must’ve broken my nose, it hurt so much. (I hadn’t broken it, but it was swollen for a whole day afterward).

Those boys surrounded me, and I realized that there were a lot of them, especially when they started to kick at me. All I could think was that as long as they just kicked my ribs, my mom wouldn’t have to know. I’d be ashamed if my mom knew about this kind of thing. So I was just lying there, trying not to aggravate them further by making any noise or resisting their unexplained attack. It wasn’t justified, but I didn’t think about that at the time.

All of a sudden, there was a loud shout from behind me, and the boys all stopped kicking, looking around to see who had spoken. I looked too, because I was frightened again. When I saw Spike, I felt even worse. I’d only been at high school for a week, but already I knew that a lot of people found Spike to be particularly scary. And right now, he looked enraged. For a moment, I wondered idly what I’d done to annoy him, too.

But then he approached us. For a brief moment, I felt like I was united with the boys. We were all of us one beneath Spike, all of us scared together, almost like friends. But then Spike spoke, and I understood that it was he and I, not me and them.

“What the bloody Hell do you think you’re doing, you little shits?” He demanded, his voice little more than a tight growl. “Get the fuck away from the kid.”

The boys all scarpered at that, and Spike didn’t bother chasing after them. He didn’t need to, he’d already made his point.

He bent down to give me a hand up. “You alright kid?”

I shrugged.

“Either you are or you aren’t.” He pointed out.

“Alright.” I said. “I don’t feel great.”

He grinned a little ruefully at that, then asked me where I lived. I told him, and he said that he could give me a ride. Turned out he’d been driving past when he saw the boys getting ‘leary’ with me, as he put it. He stopped to help me. I was very glad that he’d done that, and I figured that most people had Spike wrong. When I told him that, he looked strange. Not exactly pleased, but definitely not offended. I decided this was probably a good thing.

So he took me home after that, and he even came in to meet my mom. He told her that he was my friend from school, and that he’d given me a ride home. My mom asked him what he wanted to do after senior year, and he told her that he was a keen musician, and he wanted to go away to study music. I must’ve looked surprised at that, because I hadn’t heard anything about him being a musician before.

After he left, mom told me that Spike was a “very charming young man”, and I guess that meant she approved of me being friends with him. I was glad, because I very much wanted Spike to be my friend.

And that was how it worked, after that. He gave me a ride home from school every day, always waiting in the parking lot for me to show up after class. Sometimes he let me borrow whatever CD we’d been listening to in his car. After a while, he even said that I could come over and watch him play his guitar. He was very good at it, and I told him. He said he could teach me to play too, and even though I tried very hard, I was never very good. I guess it takes a special spark inside. Spike definitely had that.

Around Thanksgiving, the theatre department began planning a school play that would be shown right before Christmas. Mrs Fletcher, the drama teacher, had asked Spike to lead the orchestra on piano, for the play, and even though he didn’t really want to, he said that he would because the principle told him his grades were bad and he might be forced to resit senior year if he didn’t do what he was told. This was how Spike came to know Buffy Summers, the school’s most promising dancer. Spike told me that she was planning to attend a dance school after graduation, and I knew this meant that she must be really, really good. Spike agreed that she was.

Spike didn’t talk about Buffy very much at the start. Once he told me that she was a ‘snob’, and that she came from a ‘poncy’, well-to-do family, on the better side of town. He said it in a funny voice though, sort of tight and weird, like he didn’t really mean it.

He said I could hang around after school, one day, and watch a dress rehearsal of the play down in the school gymnasium. That was the first time I really figured out who Buffy was, and even though I’d seen her around the school before, it wasn’t until then that I understood she was something special.

The play was very good, and I especially liked the music. My favorite part was when Buffy danced a solo. Spike was playing the piano, but he wasn’t looking at the keys. I don’t think anyone else noticed, but I did. He was looking at Buffy, looking at her really carefully. She danced right past him, and his eyes followed her like they were the only two people in the world. That made me feel very strange for watching them, but Spike just shook his head when I brought it up later, and said that he didn’t know what I was talking about.

When the rehearsal finished, Buffy slung a bag over her shoulder and walked straight past Spike without even looking at him. That didn’t seem to matter though, because he wasn’t looking at her then, either. I felt as if the world slowed down when they passed each other, but I guess it didn’t.

I went to see the play again at Christmas. My mom went with me, and she said that Spike was the most wonderful young musician she’d ever heard, and that Buffy was a truly splendid dancer. I thought that she was right, and when I told her that she got a very fond smile on her face, and gave me a hug. Christmas and music and dancing seems to make people strange, and emotional.

After the play finished, Spike came over to see my mom, and he told her that there was going to be an after party for the people who were in the play, and their friends. He wondered if I wanted to go, and I think that my mom was so pleased that I had such a nice friend, she didn’t even worry about the party when she said yes. Usually she scolds me about alcohol and drugs, but not today. Spike grinned, then we headed off to his car in the school parking lot.

It turned out that the party was at Buffy’s house, on the good side of town, and he looked very pleased to be going. He told me that he needed me to be his wing man, but didn’t want to explain what this meant. He just ruffled my hair, and wouldn’t stop grinning.

“Here.” He said, when we got to a very big house on the outskirts of town. It was a very nice house, and I could see someone like Buffy living here. “You don’t have to drink if you don’t want to, kid. Just say no if they offer it to you.”

But it turned out that it wasn’t that sort of a party. We could see through the windows that there were lots of grown-ups there, and the whole place was very well lit. Spike’s pace slowed down a bit when he saw Liam Angelus through the glass, and even more so when he spotted Riley Finn and Cordelia Chase.

It was Mr Summers, Buffy’s father, who answered the front door, and he just looked Spike up and down, before saying “I don’t think so, do you?” He didn’t even look at me. I was looking at Spike anyway, and his jaw was clenching. A muscle ticked.

“Is Buffy here?” He blurted, the words coming out fast and unexpected. He looked like he hadn’t meant to ask.

Mr Summers raised an eyebrow, then he took a very slow, very deliberate step back. “Elizabeth?” He called, into the crowd of well dressed, well-to-do ‘snobs’ (as Spike said later), “There’s a boy out here, asking for you.”

Buffy emerged from the crowd. She’d already changed out of the dress she wore for the play, and she looked absolutely stunning. Spike thought she looked ridiculous, or so he told me when we were walking away from the party.

She walked over to the doorway, with a worried expression on her face as she looked between Spike, and her smirking father. She met eyes with Spike, and seemed to be expressing something to him with her gaze.

“Friends of yours?” Her father asked, sounding amused by the idea.

Buffy’s mouth fell open, and then closed again. She looked so worried that I felt bad for her. She looked between Spike and her father once more, then shook her head anxiously.

Mr Summers looked duly satisfied. “Looks like you have the wrong party, kids.” He looked more than satisfied. He looked glad. “On your way, then.”

Spike spun around on his heel without hesitation, stalking off down the pathway before I’d even had a chance to process what was going on. Buffy looked very sorry, but she was glancing up at her father who was looking at me with a disdainful expression. I scarpered at that, rushing to catch up with Spike.

“Bloody stuck up bitch.” He was muttering to himself when I drew level with him. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t Buffy’s fault, but I didn’t want to upset him further, so I kept quiet. “Why didn’t she just say that only the posh kids were invited. Avoid having to explain me to her stupid father, later.”

Spike was so wound up that I didn’t know what to say to make it better. “Do you want to go home?” I asked, timidly. “You can teach me some more chords on the guitar. I can almost play London Calling all the way-”


I was startled, because Spike never interrupted me.

“No. I want to go to a party, and we’re going to a party. Fuck her. Fuck all of ‘em.”

He got back into his car and slammed the door, hard. I got in beside her, not feeling so good anymore. “Where are we going?”

“I know a place.”

I didn’t like the sound of that, but I trusted Spike. He was my best friend, so I knew it would be okay. He looked over at me then, and I must have looked worried, because his body relaxed a little and he sighed, reaching over to ruffle my hair. “Don’t worry.” He said, “I’m not gonna let you get yourself in any trouble. Okay?”


We drove in silence for a long time after that. I figured out pretty early on that we were going to the other side of town, to the ‘bad’ side. I think Spike wanted to be as far from Buffy Summers as he possibly could be. That made sense to me, though I still wasn’t so sure that it was Buffy’s fault. Her father had been pretty intimidating- maybe he intimidated Buffy too.

When we stopped at last, it was outside of a little house on a long street of similar looking houses. It had a wooden, paneled front, and a low timber roof. When we got inside, I was surprised that there were no stairs, and no second floor. The house belonged to Spike’s friend, Faith. She’d dropped out of high school already, and was working somewhere in town. No one really told me. But Faith was friendly, she smiled, and gave Spike a big hug when she opened the door.

“Spike!” She exclaimed, “I haven’t seen you for a fucking long time. Get in here.”

He smiled back tersely, hugging her with one arm. “School.” He said, to explain why he hadn’t been over to see her in a while. “And this is my friend, Charlie.”

Faith grinned down at me. “So you’re the kid Spike thinks so much of?” I was surprised when she hugged me too. “Come on in.”

I followed after Faith and Spike, catching snippets of their suddenly hushed conversation.

“You’re stoned.”


“Leave the kid alone, alright? Keep the weed in the back room.”

Faith grinned, running her finger over his chest. “Whatever you say, Spike.”

She led us into a room where several other people were sitting around, drinking and talking. They all looked older, but not unfriendly. I went straight over to the CD player, looking through the tracks of the CD that was playing. All the music was unfamiliar, and I wasn’t sure that I liked it.

“Change it, if you want, Charlie.” Spike told me. I looked up at him, and smiled. Faith was pouring him a drink, and he looked like he was already feeling better. I looked through all of Faith’s CDs, until I found one that I liked, and I knew Spike would like. Queen. I put it in, and the other party guests went crazy.

Soon everyone was up, and dancing, and looking very happy. Spike looked much better, and I was glad, hoping that it was my CD choice that had helped him to feel less angry. He danced around with the others, throwing back the drink in his hand, and laughing at me as I joined in with the dance moves. I was very happy at that time, and I thought about the play, and Spike’s eyes as he watched Buffy dance instead of the keys of his piano. She would be very lucky to know Spike.

Faith offered me a drink, and Spike said that I didn’t have to, but I felt that I wanted to so I accepted, and then I felt even happier. It was like a buzzing inside. I didn’t need to drink very much of it, so I put the glass down behind a flourishing potted plant when I felt that I’d had enough.

We were well into the CD’s seventh track when there was a knock at the door. Faith looked worried, and said something about the cops, so Spike went to answer the door because he said Faith’s eyes were a bit pink and he didn’t want her to get into trouble. It wasn’t the cops anyway, and I went to see who had arrived after I heard Spike begin to raise his voice.

“What do you think you’re doing here?”

He sounded very angry again, and I was sad because it had taken a special effort to cheer him up before. I hung back in the hallway, however, when I realized that it was Buffy on the doorstep. She’d changed out of her pretty party dress, and she was wearing blue jeans and a tank top now.

“Spike, don’t be like that.” She said, sounding exhausted and sad. “Just let me in. I know you want to see me.”

“I don’t want shit from you, Summers.” He denied, sounding very annoyed at her. I wished he hadn’t sworn at her, because it made her look very hurt. “I think you’re at the wrong party, love.”

Those words were probably supposed to propel her away from the door, but they seemed to have the opposite effect as she pushed her way past him into the hallway. I stepped aside to let her through to the room where Faith and the others were, and she didn’t give me much more than a guilty looking nod. I glanced back at Spike who was still standing in the doorway, staring out into the night where she had been. Maybe he was staring at her bright jeep.

He shut the door with a slam, then turned and stalked back into the room without looking at me. I guess he was ashamed that I had heard him swear at a girl. He was always telling me that men should treat women well, and I think that was because his dad had used to beat his mom a lot before she left him and took Spike with her.

When I went back into the room, Buffy was drinking with the others, smiling and laughing, though to me she looked somewhat miserable. She glanced up at Spike when he spoke, and her eyes held a very strange expression. I think that maybe she was more interested in him than he had realized. I wondered why she had never told him, if this was how she really felt. I asked her, a long time after, and she told me that things were complicated. Things are always complicated.

After a while, people started getting tired and going to different bedrooms, or leaving to go home. Faith said that she was tired, and gave Spike a pointed look, but he ignored her, staring into his drink. Swilling it round and round.

I was lying on the couch, and I guess that everyone thought I was asleep or passed out. They didn’t know about my half-full glass behind the potted plant, after all. Anyway, they were all talking in hushed voices when they were near me, and so I kept my eyes closed. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I was trying to be a snoop, and to listen to their private conversations, it’s just that once they got started, it was too late for me to reveal that I was really awake.

Faith had gone to bed, and two more people sidled off, until eventually it was just me, Spike and Buffy left. For a long time it was silent, and I could just hear them moving around. The CD player was switched off, and then a blanket was laid over me. I don’t know whether it was Spike or Buffy that put that blanket over me, but it made me feel very warm, either way.

Then I heard them sit down, and the silence stretched on a little longer. It was Buffy who eventually broke it.

“I don’t know if I should’ve come here tonight.”She said, her voice barely above a whisper. Spike sighed, loud.

“Then why did you?”

“You know why.” Buffy insisted. “I shouldn’t have let my father treat you that way.”

“I’m sure you’re not used to defending your boyfriends from daddy.” Spike agreed nastily, and I was surprised to hear him say the word ‘boyfriend’. “He seems perfectly enamored with Angelus and Finn.”

“Spike.” Buffy’s voice sounded exasperated. “I’m sorry, alright?”


It didn’t really sound as if Spike was alright with her apology. He sounded angry, and Buffy’s timid voice made it clear that she knew he was angry, too.

The room was quiet for a long time, and then I heard one of them get up. Soft footsteps padded across the carpet, and then black leather creaked as it succumbed to a kiss. I opened one eye, and saw Buffy standing in front of Spike with her hands on either side of his head as she leaned down to kiss him full on the lips. He wasn’t resisting, but he didn’t touch her. Buffy’s hands inched down to his shoulders, and she squeezed the lapels of his leather coat as she kissed him. Finally, Spike lowered a hand to touch the small of her back, but it simply hovered there without making contact.

Buffy was crying, I noticed, tears sliding down her cheeks as she picked up one of her hands from his shoulder and placed it below his ear, tilting his face up and encouraging him to kiss her back. To give her something.

She climbed onto his lap, with her thighs on either side of his slim waist. And finally, he touched her. Soft, gentle fingers on her waist.

Then abruptly, he lifted her from the couch, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. I closed my eyes instantly, and listened to the sounds of their unbroken kiss as he carried her off to one of the bedrooms. The door closed with a quiet click, and then their sounds were muffled. I kept my eyes squeezed shut, and listened, though I didn’t really want to.

I must’ve fallen asleep, because I was woken brusquely, what seemed like just moments later, by the sound of arguing voices. I could hear Spike, and he sounded furious. I sat up on the couch, looking over to the doorway that they had disappeared behind earlier. It sounded like they were having a really bad argument, and I felt something prickle in my eyes as I got a sudden flash of the play again. Of Spike’s piano playing fingers, and Buffy’s dancing eyes.

The door flew open with a bang, and Buffy strode out, tearing past me without even giving me a second glance. I watch her go straight to the door, and out into the pitch black of the very early morning. Then I glanced back to the bedroom, seeing Spike in the doorway wearing just his jeans, with his arms crossed over his bare chest and a look of disdain on his face.

He looked at me, and we shared a moment of silence as I watched the expression on his face dissolve. He looked very sad, then.

“Is Buffy your girlfriend?” I asked, hoping to cheer him up again, like earlier.

But Spike looked just as sad. “No.” He said. “We just shagged. She’s just a shag.” He looked away from me. Probably because I knew that he was playing down the feelings he had. “Want me to take you home, Charlie?”

I shrugged, and so he did. It was very quiet in his car, so I switched on the radio. It started playing a love song, and Spike turned it off altogether. I wanted to suggest just changing the station, but then I realized that most songs are about love. Not a lot of good songs are about ‘shagging’ the girl that you’re amazed by, and then yelling at her and letting her go off into the night on her own. I think that Spike was very very sad that night, and was probably glad that it was the Christmas break now, and he wouldn’t have to see Buffy again for almost a month.

I was glad for Christmas break too, and I thought that Christmas, if nothing else, was bound to cheer Spike up again. He taught me three more new songs in the week that followed the party, then he said that he didn’t mind taking me to the mall so that I could get a present for my mom.

We were both startled when we saw Buffy at the mall, hand in hand with Riley Finn. Spike said that Buffy and Riley had been dating for a long time, and I was surprised because I’d thought that Buffy was secretly in love with Spike. We walked straight past them, as it happens, and Buffy kept her eyes away from Spike the whole time.

I expected Spike to be angry, and to shout something horrible at her, but strangely enough he just did the same thing. He didn’t even look at her as they walked by, and when we were a few feet apart, he laughed loudly at something I said, even though it wasn’t supposed to be a joke. This all seemed very odd to me.

That night, Spike told my mom that I was going to stay over at his house, and we went to Faith’s again. Buffy was already there when we arrived, and they went straight off to one of the bedrooms, together. Everyone else rolled their eyes, but I just stood there, astounded.

“What’s the matter, kid?” Faith asked, tugging on the bottom of my coat until I sat down next to her on the floor. I closed my mouth, trying to look less confused, but probably not succeeding.

“I…” I glanced at the bedroom door again. “Buffy’s dating Riley Finn, the quarterback of the school football team.” I said, as this explained everything that I was feeling inside. “I don’t understand.”

Faith just smirked, then passed me a drink. “That’s stiff,” she said, “So take it easy.” Then she too glanced at the door, before looking back at me again. “It’s complicated.” That was all that she would tell me.

After that we went to Faith’s a whole lot more. I was getting used to the alcohol, just as I was getting used to seeing Buffy and Spike disappear behind that bedroom door. They would reappear after a while, then settle down with us in the living room, and talk and laugh as if nothing had happened. The whole thing made me feel somewhat at odds with Spike, because I couldn’t understand what he was doing, and why. If Buffy had a boyfriend then he shouldn’t be having sex with her. That seemed perfectly clear to me, but he just got angry when I said it to him. He told me I knew ‘sod all’ about Buffy and Riley, and besides, it was none of my business so I should just keep my ‘hook nose’ out of it.

I wanted Spike to be happy, but I had a bad feeling. The whole thing made me feel bad, so I tried not to think about what they were doing. Again, I tried to think about Buffy wearing a floaty dress, spinning across the stage, feeling Spike’s eyes follow her as if there was no one else in the whole wide world. There was no Riley Finn when Buffy danced for Spike. Maybe that was what it all boiled down to.

After Christmas break finished, school resumed as usual and I watched Buffy and Spike ignore each other all day, every day. It amazed me how good they were at acting, how discreet their whole affair was. I wondered whether I would’ve noticed, if Spike wasn’t my best friend. I don’t think I would’ve. They rarely even looked at each other, and when they did, there was nothing in either of their faces to show how well they really knew each other.

I kept their secret, and only felt bad when I saw Riley Finn. He looked at Buffy with such an open display of adoration that it was hard to think that Spike was still a good person. I hoped that Riley was also having a secret affair, and that everyone could just be happy. Spike told me that was stupid. He told me not to mention it to Buffy, but he didn’t have to worry about that, because I didn’t ever really speak to Buffy anyway.

It was right around this time that Spike wrote his song for Buffy. He showed it to me before he showed it to anyone else, and I was amazed by how smart he was. I asked him if he thought Buffy would like it, and he told me that he wasn’t going to play it for her. I asked him why he wouldn’t, and he told me that their relationship didn’t mean as much to her as it did to him. That she was just ‘slumming it’ for a while, and that she’d come to her senses soon enough. I asked him what he meant, but he refused to explain it properly. He just told me that the ‘thing’ between himself and Buffy would not last forever, and it wouldn’t be long before she got sick of him and went back into the real world.

“She’s just spending a season in the shadows.” He told me, not looking at my face, “She doesn’t love me, and she never will.”

I found out later that Buffy had told him that she did love him, and Spike had found that very difficult to accept. The thought of that still makes me feel sad today. Still, Spike had written his song, and I knew that he loved her, even if he didn’t think that the feeling was mutual.

A few weeks later, someone broke into the Principles office during second period and sang an anonymous love song over the loudspeaker system. I’m pretty sure that it’s just me and Buffy who know the truth about that song. Funnily enough, that was the same day that Buffy broke up with Riley Finn. She told him that she was very, very sorry, but she could not be with him anymore. Riley asked her if there was someone else, and Buffy cried, telling him she couldn’t believe that he’d ask her that.

I thought that after that, Buffy and Spike would become an official couple, but much to my surprise, things just continued as usual. Buffy and Spike passed each other in the school corridor without so much as a second glance. They were even paired up for an English project, but still only spoke to each other in clipped, reserved voices, and only when they absolutely had to.

They still met up at Faith’s house, and disappeared into the bedroom together, but things had changed between them in private. I saw them when it was just us and Faith’s friends. They were happy. They touched, and they smiled, and one time I even saw them kiss. It was just a small thing, a chaste kiss on the lips when Buffy had to leave for the night, but it made me feel happier than I have reason to feel. That little kiss seemed so hopeful to me. There was something more than talent and wonderful careers in their dual futures. Maybe there was a marriage, and children, and grandchildren. I hoped so, I truly did.

But good things never last, and it wasn’t until the unthinkable happened that I really understood why it could never have been public in the first place. I’d forgotten about the smirking, self-satisfied father in the doorway of a bright, well-financed after party. I’d forgotten about that altogether.

It was a Friday night, and Buffy’s parents had gone out of town for a week. They were supposed to be taking a leisurely break in the Sun Valley, so Buffy had the whole house to herself for seven days. The only reason I knew any of this was because Spike usually had me come over for a guitar lesson on Friday evenings, but this week he’d called and told me he was spending the night with Buffy. In fact, he might be off the radar for a whole week, since he and Buffy had a home to themselves.

It wasn’t until a week later that I found out Buffy’s father had returned on just the second night of his vacation and, finding his supposedly innocent and virtuous daughter in bed with a filthy ruffian from the wrong side of the tracks, lost all semblance of control.

Spike told me that Mr Summers had come at his daughter like a madman, and though he’d done all he could to protect her, her father was wild with rage. He’d told his daughter not to associate with the boy that’d come knocking for her all those months ago. He’d been angry enough when Buffy had ended things with Riley Finn, a perfectly acceptable young suitor, and future heir to the Summers fortune. He’d tried to beat Buffy, but Spike had held him back, even though Buffy was screaming for him to get out.

“She told me to go.” Spike said, eyes glittering through his wounds. “She expected me to leave her to him. As if I would. As if.”

Mr Summers took a chunk out of his eyebrow, and for a while there, Spike had feared losing his eye. Then he’d blacked out, and woken up in the hospital. No one knew anything about Buffy, and when he tried to call her, the numbers had been changed. I was glad that I’d come to see him in time, because he needed me to go and check on Buffy, to find out if she was okay. To make sure.

I went straight to her house, and though I didn’t really want to, I rang the doorbell and waited. It was Buffy who answered the door, and when she saw me on the other side she dropped to her knees and cried, letting her head fall forwards into her hands. I felt terribly bad for her then, because I couldn’t imagine how she must be feeling.

“Oh, Charlie.” She said, putting her arms around my waist and pressing her face into my stomach. It felt strange, especially as we’d never really spoken much before, but I knew that she must’ve been very worried, so I put my hands on her shoulders in what I hoped was a soothing gesture.

“Spike’s okay.” I told her in a reassuring way. “He’s worried about you.”

“He should hate me.” She cried, her head dipping even lower. “I hate myself, Charlie. I hate what I’ve done to him.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I just let her cry.

And when Spike got better, and came back to school, they still didn’t speak to each other. Buffy spoke to the English teacher, and arranged to switch partners with one of her friends. Spike sat sullenly at the back of the class and watched her do it, then told me about it later. Neither of them looked happy anymore, and suddenly it seemed as if everyone knew what had happened. People talked about it in quiet voices, and pointed to the scar in Spike’s brow. Everyone seemed to see the scar except Buffy, and that was only because she never looked at him.

One of those days, it all got to be too much for Spike, and he went up to her when she was at her locker.

“Buffy,” He said in a hushed voice that might as well’ve been a shout, since everyone was listening anyway. “Can we talk, love?”

She slammed her locker shut, twisting the key and then yanking it out and thrusting it into her pocket. And then she turned abruptly on her heel and stalked away without so much as a second glance. Spike visibly deflated, and no one said anything else about the couple for a very long time.

We still went to Faith’s, but these days it was just to drink, since Buffy didn’t show up anymore. Spike was slipping, losing the sparkle that made him who he was.

Once, and only once, I really did catch Buffy looking at Spike. He was sitting outside of the Principle’s office, staring down at his hands, and I was standing at the end of the corridor waiting for him to get done so that he could join me for our daily ride home. It was a while after classes had ended for the day, so I knew that Buffy would be collecting dance kit when she stopped in front of her locker. She opened it and reached inside, pulling out a pair of well-worn ballet shoes, then shut and locked it again.

She turned, and was just about to flounce back off towards the dance studio when something caught her eye. I followed her gaze back to Spike’s downturned face, and witnessed as her whole body froze. She stared at him, her expression suddenly ploughed through with sadness, and I knew then that she was still very much in love with him. The three of us coexisted for all of three minutes, and I was the only one who really understood. Spike saw his hands, cold and empty. Buffy saw Spike, cold and empty. And I saw the two of them, lost and lonely.

I didn’t tell Spike about it, after he was done with the Principle and we were heading back towards his car. We passed the dance studio, and I saw Buffy dancing within, but Spike didn’t look.

By the time Graduation came around, they hadn’t spoken for almost four months, and they both looked a little better. Buffy could hold a smile for almost fifteen seconds, and Spike was writing music again. He walked the school corridors with his acoustic guitar slung across his back, and a pick between his fingers. He’d been accepted to music school, so it seemed that for him, the end was on its way. I heard that Buffy had also been accepted to a dance school, and it seemed strange to think of this whole thing being over. I wasn’t thinking about myself, being without a friend once more, but I was thinking about Buffy and Spike, not having to plan their days specifically so that they would not cross paths, or sit in particular parts of the cafeteria so that they would not accidentally make eye contact across the lunch tables.

They were leaving, and with them went their problems. Separate directions.

Buffy was class valedictorian on Graduation day, and she stood up there on the podium in her cap and gown, gazing out across the sea of faces that seemed to be unfamiliar to her now. It looked to me that she was searching for someone. Finally, her eyes landed on Spike, and settled there.

She spoke about living your dreams, and making every day count. She said that we should have no regrets in this life, nothing to look back upon with a frown. I thought that it was a wonderful speech, and terribly sad too. I thought about the way she collapsed to her knees in front of me, and I knew how much she cared for Spike. I knew that she was saying these things for him, but I didn’t think that it would make him feel a whole lot better.

And then she did something strange. She took off her cap and gown, and beneath them she wore the dress from the play, all those months ago. She nodded to someone off stage, and a familiar tune drifted up from a CD player. I wished I could see Spike’s face as the recording of his piano trained fingers filled the air.

Buffy danced, and I realized I didn’t need to see Spike’s face. I knew how he would look.

That was the same day that they both disappeared. Neither one of them made it to their respective schools, but part of me thinks that their journey isn’t over quite yet. They’ll get there, but maybe they’ll get there together.

Lots of people said that they must have been planning to run away together for a very long time, but I’m not so sure about that. I feel like I would’ve known. Spike would’ve told me.

No, I’d rather think that they were both running, and then found that they were finally running in the same direction. I love them both very much, and wish them all the luck in the world. I hope they’re happy. I think that they are. There had to be a happy ending in there somewhere.

Part of me thinks that they will be back for my Graduation. No, part of me knows.

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