DISCLAIMER: The Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, and Fox Studios. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2000 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.

The Woods Suck

by Djinn


The door slammed open with a resounding crash.

"Damn you!"

Spike looked over at a very angry slayer. "I figured you for an earlier arrival, Summers." He stared her down as she advanced to his armchair.

"Get up."

"Why? So you can beat the crap out of me? Thanks, I'll pass." He turned back to the TV. And found himself falling as Buffy kicked the chair violently over.

"Get the hell up!"

He dug himself out from under the cushions, trying his best to look nonchalant as he stood. "Fine. I'm up." He moved around the chair toward her, his best "So bloody what?" face on. He was surprised to see that she actually moved back. He stopped. Damn this woman! He hated that look she was wearing. The same look she'd worn when he'd gone to her house with the rifle. Forlorn. Lost. "What do you want, Buffy? Why did you come here?"

Their eyes met and held. Then she looked away and walked to the window to look up at the sunlight.

He turned and switched off the TV. The crypt was silent. He studied her for a minute before deciding on his course of action. Making sure the tone of his voice was taunting, he asked, "So did you kill him?"

"No. But I might kill you."

His reply was a snort of derisive laughter. Then it was silent again in the room. He turned and set his chair back to rights. "Well, if you're just going to stand there I think I may watch me some telly. Don't let me stop you from brooding in silence though. Very Angel-like...except for the whole stand in the sunshine bit. He'd be proud."

She turned around, "Why do you have a window in your crypt?"

He shrugged, taken aback by her question. "Seemed homier."

"More human?"

He listened for the mockery but didn't hear any. "Yeah. Maybe."

"You're not. Human."

He nodded. "And he was. What happened?"

"I let him get away. Probably forever. I let him just walk out of my life." She slammed the wall next to the window; the glass shook but held. "He was the best thing I've ever had and I let him just fly away."

"Oh balls." Spike laughed out loud. "Who's been feeding you that load of rubbish?"

She whirled and advanced on him again, moving quickly. "Don't you say one word about him, Spike. Not one word."

"Oh, I'll say more than one word. You think he was 'the one' suddenly? Well he wasn't. He even knew he wasn't."

She was on him in three fast steps, throwing him up against a column, one hand on his neck. "I said not one word." Her hand tightened.

He threw her off easily. "Yeah, you mean it. Why the hell did you come here, eh? It wasn't to beat me up. Because if it was, you'd be done already. You came here because you want me to tell you that you're better off without him. And you are." He reached out to touch her hair and she flinched away.

"He gave you your first taste of normal, Buffy. He gave you something you can't really have and don't really want."

Her eyes were fierce. "You don't know that."

He moved toward her again. Reached out and this time she allowed his hand to make contact with her cheek. He watched her expression to see if he had any effect on her. It didn't change so he sighed and dropped his hand.

Her voice did mock him this time. "You think you're the one? You think I'll choose you?"

Riley's words again. God he hated introspection. "Who knows, Slayer? Who really knows?" He walked back to his chair and picked up the bottle.

"It will be a cold day in hell, Spike."

He turned back to her, took a long drink, then stared her down. "Look around. It is a cold day in hell, Buffy."

They glared at each other for another long moment. Suddenly she looked away. He saw that look again. Lost, she was lost. "He was a good man." Her voice broke at the end.

"Never said he wasn't."

"He was good for me."

"Yeah, he probably was."

She moved to him and took the bottle, drinking deeply. "I could have been happy with him."

"No, you could have been content. There's a difference." He took the bottle, moved over to the concrete bench, and sat down. "You want to just be content?" He patted the space next to him.

She walked over and joined him, holding her hand out for the bottle. "Xander said I was afraid."

"He would. He's found happiness with Miss Vengeance and is surprised at it, that's all." He grabbed the bottle back from her. "Not all at once, Summers, or you're buying the next round."

"He said Riley was once in a lifetime."

"He probably is. Once in anybody else's lifetime. He's the white picket fence and the mewling brats guy. He's the stalwart family man. And that's the life you're aiming for, is it?"

She drank again. "Shut up."

"Well excuse me, but I don't know of any slayers living the American dream. Your life is likely to be short. Fact of slayer life. Do you want to live it in gingham check or in black leather?"

She thought for a moment then turned to him. "Huh?"

"Domestic bliss doesn't go with a nocturnal existence, Buffy." He leaned toward her to take the bottle back. "You know that and I know that." He got up and walked away from her.

"Do you love me, Spike?"

He had been waiting for the question. He looked over his shoulder to see her watching him defiantly. "Yes." He made his tone deliberately casual.

"Do you want me?" She rose and moved toward him with a predator's walk.

"Yes." He hoped his voice was steady as she rubbed up against him. God the smell of her was enough to drive him mad. He fought hard to keep his face human.

Her mouth was on his neck. "Is this what you want?"

He felt her teeth nip him. Realized he would be lost soon. He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her away slightly so she had to look up at him. "Yes." He pulled her back to him and kissed her hard. Made it a good one because it might be all he ever got. She kissed him back angrily. She was so strong. But she was also hurt and she'd make him hurt too. He pulled her hair so she had to let up on her attack.

She looked at him in confusion as he turned away from her. "You want this. You said so."

"I want you more than this. Go home, Buffy."

Disbelief colored her features. "You can't send me home. You want me. I can feel it."

He walked to his chair and flopped into it. "I'm not playing, Summers. Go home." He looked at her, took in her confusion. "And quit moping. You did the right thing. You have a destiny, a huge important destiny. Riley Finn was a good, normal guy. But he had no place in your life. I know it. He knew it. And most of all you know it. Now go home and sleep and cry if you have to. But get over this. You won't be any good to anyone this way."

She let out a breath, eyes narrowed as if trying to figure out who to trust, him or Xander. Finally she looked up at him as if seeing him for the first time. Her hand reached out to him. "Spike?"

"Go home. You've had a lot to drink. Sleep it off. The world needs you."

She nodded, turned, and left without saying another word.

As the door shut behind her he closed his eyes tightly, hands clenched into tight fists as he fought the urge to run after her. "The world needs you, Buffy. And I need you," he whispered.

He sat for a long time like that before finally picking up the remote to turn the TV back on.