quinara: Buffy looks up with a bloom of yellow sparklies behind her. (Buffy sparkles)
[personal profile] quinara
Hoorayyyyy!!

[start of fic and notes]

'I love you' is a thing you say to people who are dying

by Quinara


Season 7. Buffy/Spike. Some Watchers survived, because sometimes people do.

[survival I]

survival II (epilogue)

--earlier--

Done.

Buffy kept her eyes on the dragon. She had been flittering around while she talked, and even though the creature had agreed to her request, Beatrice remained in mid-air. Her small body was held upright by big, bright wings, which shone like light on soap bubbles – if the soap bubbles were made of burning white magnesium.

“What do you mean, ‘done’?” she asked eventually, more than enough suspicious after the last time she’d been here in the Bronze with Spike.

I mean whatever you say in this modern age. Done. Agreed. Fine. OK.

The dragon swooped and turned back to one of the shelves, landing among beer bottles with a tink-tink of her claws. If you asked Buffy, it was a pretty rude manoeuvre, turning away in the middle of the conversation, and it was clear that the dragon’s tone was curt.

However, Buffy decided to say nothing about that. “Well, then,” she carried on regardless, “What happens now?”

Beatrice prowled along the shelf, bottle to bottle and blue crate to green. Take one, she said. Drink. Enter the Hellmouth and see if you find deliverance.

“Does it matter which one I choose?” Buffy asked, looking around at the array of craft and exotic beers. Everything she had broken before, with Spike, that seemed to have been cleared up now, and there were some empty spaces where the crates had once been. The storeroom was more than full enough though, nonetheless.

Of course, the dragon replied.

Buffy wasn’t too surprised. She tried to remember the thing from Indiana Jones. What was it? She needed the cup of a carpenter, didn’t she? But then – she knew nothing about beer. This wasn’t gonna work.

“What’s the deal with the deliverance?” she asked to buy herself time, looking around at all the labels and tops. There were dark beers and light beers – tall thin bottles and fat squat ones, all in their own crates and some left free-standing on the shelf

You have chosen the ritual, Beatrice commented, almost sounding amused by Buffy’s antics. At least one of them was. It is others who will determine your survival.

The last of what the dragon said only half-penetrated Buffy’s mind, because she was distracted. Over in the corner, out of reach of the ceiling light, there lay a brown cardboard box that was sitting open on the floor. It contained maybe a dozen Dingoes At My Baby t-shirts, down from whatever number had been in there originally, which Buffy knew because there bloody handprints and smudges all over the box’s flaps.

On that shelf above the box, where a crate once might have been, there was a lonely bottle with a thick neck, made out of heavy glass. When Buffy came over to look at it, the beer seemed to be some sort of Sonoma County microbrew, with a picture of a mountain creek on it.

The bottle hadn’t broken, Buffy remembered, when she’d hit Spike over the head before. The little beer bottle who could had kept on going, even in the panic that had followed.

“I’ll be fine,” Buffy said, as she figured out what the dragon was telling her. She cast a glance over her shoulder as she picked up the beer from the shelf. “You got a bottle opener in here?”

None of us may know where goodness ends, said Beatrice, even as she flew in to pull off the bottle top with her claws. That is the difference between the light and the dark. She hovered again, the golden cap caught in her feet. Those who feel the light’s absence may find it, but only ever look upon more before it vanishes… She wheeled in the air, turning once and then looking back at Buffy again. What makes you so certain of your own desired outcome?

Looking at the tiny lizard, Buffy made sure to meet the dragon’s slit golden eyes before she raised her drink. “Because,” she said, “I know who’s gonna do the deciding.”

--earlier--

Oh.

“The little death’s what they call it, love.”



Oh.

“But you – will you…?”

“I promise.”



Oh– It was now.

--afterwards--

When Buffy woke up, she was lying on a lumpy, scratchy bench cushion. Looking up, if not so much around, this cushion turned out to be the backseat of a bus. Possibly a schoolbus. Her right arm was compressed into some whacked-out cast and it felt like she was wearing a corset. A real one – not a fake, fantasy bodice thing.

She was in quite a lot of pain, so she didn’t much want to move. Thankfully, Spike’s head then appeared in her line of vision, upside down. “Spike,” she said, blinking at him. He looked grateful to find her alive; she felt grateful to be alive. There was a whole grateful thing, with no small amount of surprise. “If you wanted to go parking, could you not have found us a fancier car?”

That line, which Buffy was quite proud of given the circumstances, it made Spike crack into a grin. He swung from the seat onto the floor so that their heads were both the same way round. “Only the best for you, Slayer,” he shot back, like she was supposed to act appreciative instead of just feel it.

Of course, that was the moment when Buffy realised they weren’t actually alone. “Oh, so it’s OK if you go parking,” her sister snarked at her, from somewhere else not quite behind her head.

Buffy rolled her head slightly and there was Dawn, looking down at her over the back of the seat in front. “I’m older than you,” Buffy told her, as though she wasn’t actually physically incapacitated. “And I have a steady boyfriend.”

“Oh puh-lease, Buffy,” Dawn replied, hooking her elbows over the seat and leaning her chin on the backs of her fingers. She smiled like she knew it all. “You and Spike wouldn’t know steady if it hit you with a ten-ton anvil.”

Buffy glanced at her steady, who was still sitting on the floor, leaning on a raised knee. Right now he had one eyebrow raised.

“I can’t work out if she’s got a point or not,” he said.

When he said it, though, Spike was definitely being sarcastic, so Buffy wondered if he was thinking what she was thinking. Steady is as steady does… “She’ll figure it out some time,” was what Buffy replied, looking around a little more to get her bearings.

It was then that she realised the bus was moving, and also that it was night outside. Both these facts were kind of surprising. “How long was I out?” she asked her two observers. “And where are we going?”

Spike and Dawn looked at each other, as though this was a very long story. Feeling left out, Buffy pouted, but they didn’t notice her as they first started explaining.

“Well,” Dawn said first, rolling her eyes. “The original plan was to go to Los Angeles and take over Angel’s hotel, you know?”

“But,” Spike cut in, narrowing his eyes a little at Buffy’s expression, “it turns out Peaches wasn’t quite as efficient in dealing with the pile of shit fate dealt him, so –”

“So,” Dawn finished, like she had no patience for the cutesy-grumpy expressions Buffy was challenging Spike with, “they’ve got a whole thing going on with Angelus on the loose and the sun all blacked out and some kind of ‘Beast’ guy they need to deal with…”

“Wha –“ Buffy tried to interrupt, almost sitting up before her ribs told her, no, that wasn’t happening today.

Spike was on his knees in an instant, his frown serious – while Dawn finished filling her in. “But it turns out that Principal Wood has a friend from principal school down in San Diego. Or… It might have been a regular school, where they both worked one time.” She shook her head. “Anyway – she said she’d put us up in the gym, like a refugee camp? So we’re gonna go there until this whole Angel thing blows over. Or Mr. Travers can get a load of cash released for a motel.”

“Right,” Buffy replied, trying to take it all in. It was fair to say she didn’t want to take on Angelus right now. All the same, she felt bad for Los Angeles.

“They’ve got that psycho jailbird Slayer on it,” Spike told her, drawing her attention to him. He said it in a way as if he knew Buffy wouldn’t find the news reassuring, but as though she should realise it was better than nothing. “Willow’s stayed behind to help out, with Giles. Think he’s got delusions of being useful.”

Buffy suppressed a snigger. Spike looked back at her with a fond grin. It made the corners of his eyes go all crinkly.

“I’m gonna listen to my Walkman now,” Dawn said, as the back of her head disappeared behind the seat. Buffy frowned at her through the cushions. “Don’t talk loud.”

There were understated welcomes back and there were understated welcomes back, Buffy thought, still staring at her sister’s absent head. Nonetheless, it quickly became apparently why she might have decided to abandon her and Spike to their own private world. There was heat in Spike’s, after all – real heat as he shuffled forward, leaving their faces mere inches apart.

“Was I out for a long time?” Buffy asked more softly. People were talking all down to the front of the bus, all in different languages and in American and super-snippy British, but she knew Spike could hear her. “There was… The seal got me and then there was singing.” She could see the breath moving in and out of Spike’s nose. His hand hovered a little shy of her cheek, like he was afraid to touch her.

Nonetheless, Spike was smiling, in his soft and slightly sneery way, and it was pretty much a sight for recently dragonified sore eyes. “About twelve hours,” he said, like it was an achievement. “Give or take. You totalled Sunny-D.”

“Oh,” Buffy replied, not thinking any second thoughts about that right now. Her head was mostly light and airy, filling her with something that tasted sweet on her tongue. “And I didn’t get to see it.”

As enjoyable as their banter was, Buffy was getting bored of Spike not touching her. She felt crappy enough as it was. Her left arm was still good, it felt like, so she brought up her own hand to the one near her cheek and flattened his fingers close against her cheekbone.

When she first touched him, Spike flinched, as though he was expecting it to hurt. Buffy wasn’t quite sure why, until she dragged his hand in front of her face. There, she could see that it was marked with burns and blisters. “Did I do that?” she asked, knowing it had been a possibility she would burn him while under the spell, but feeling odd now that turned out to have been true.

“Right up until – well, now,” Spike told her, like it had been pretty much a pain in the backside.

“Huh,” Buffy replied, wondering how she could make it up to him. “I’m sorry,” she said, contemplating the hand in front of her.

In the end, the easiest thing to do to state her intentions seemed to be to suck Spike’s burnt fingers into her mouth. She took two, in the end, fore and middle, and swirled her tongue around them experimentally. Eventually she came down on the perspective that it was weird to find him slightly warm. His skin all puckered up: not her favourite.

Buffy met Spike’s eyes as she popped him free. “Tastes like jerky,” she told him, holding a serious expression for a moment before she broke into a grin. That, of course, was mostly because her slutty vampire boyfriend decided to get a clue and kiss her face off. This real part of him tasted bitter, but she was OK with that.

It was good to be alive, Buffy decided, committing as much of herself to the kiss as would move. Spike did most of the work, holding her face and smoothing back her hair and rubbing their noses together – but she was into it anyway.

They’d go to San Diego, definitely. They’d do the refugee thing, with all these people. There would be a lot more of this stuff, and it would all roll along from there.

And one day, Buffy promised herself – again – she would tell this guy how much she loved him.

.

[end]
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quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)
Quinara

December 2015

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