To catch a heart
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
I'm just someone with a secret obsession with Spuffy and the creativity to play around with it ;)
A/N: Hello Spuffy fans! Sorry it took me so long to publish, but I have some good news: ladies and gentlemen, it's with honor that I introduce you to Rachel (nowimlivingcolor – from Elysian Fields), my beta! She did an amazing job helping me out with this chapter and she's so sweet I hope I can keep her forever!
Also, I'd like to give special thanks to Valerie (valerie21601 – from FFnet and Elysian Fields) for helping me navigate this universe and keeping me motivated! :)
A big thank you for all of you that are following this story!
See you in chapter 4,
This time around, Buffy's body complained at her choice of bed. The hard floor, covered by a not so soft carpet and an uncomfortable pillow – her arm, now numb from sustaining the weight of her head. Her soul, on the other hand, felt less shattered, less immersed in the constant state of loss and suffering that described her life as a slayer.
She almost smiled to herself: Spike was watching her sleep. She knew it even before opening her eyes; she could feel his sweet and penetrating gaze through her closed eyelids. But the forewarning didn't prevent the cold, contracting feeling in her stomach or the conflicting hotness of her skin when she opened her eyes and caught him admiring her. She felt like a teenager - how could he not notice?
"So, you came to L.A."
"Yes, I did."
An uncomfortable silence followed, as Spike was afraid to ask her why she had come, and Buffy was anxious about letting him in on her reasons. But the question filled the air nonetheless, making them both tense. Feeling the need to do something, she sat up, resting her back on the bed and avoiding his stare. Spike stretched out next to her, propping himself up on one elbow to face her.
The door suddenly opened, and they didn't know if they were glad or annoyed at the interruption. That is, until they saw Harmony standing there.
Yep, they were definitely annoyed.
"Blondie bear, Angel sent me here to…and the Slayer is here! Wow, now I get why Angel is sulking more than usual."
They stood up and turned to face her. "Harm."
"You know, I think I can tell his brooding face from his sulking face now, oh, and from his annoyed face, too."
Spiked sighed, impatiently. "No, you can't. They're all the same. Now, why did he send you here?"
"He wanted me to check on you. I didn't understand why you would be here and not in his room, where you were staying before, but since you don't have a body you could be pretty much anywhere, so I thought, "Maybe he's just passing the time and haunting a guest or something." But now that she is here, it kinda makes sense…." and she kept on going… On and on and on...
Buffy blinked several times, having forgotten the verbal diarrhea that was Harmony. Spike spared a glance at Buffy and snorted: her face was changing from shock to disbelief, bordering on insanity as the blonde vampire didn't stop for a breath – she didn't need air.
"Want to see a nifty little trick, luv?" Spike whispered to Buffy, not really waiting for an answer. In a louder voice, he added. "Well, seems like you birds have a lot to catch up on and some good old stories to remember – you know, slaying, abducting little sisters, that kind of stuff. I'll just go for a walk and leave you to it."
Spike went through the wall into the next room and it took Harmony a whole minute for his words to sink in. She, kidnapping Dawn, the Slayer's sister. When they did, her face froze in panic. "Blondie bear, don't leave me alone with the Slayer, she has stakes! Wait for me!"
As soon as she fled, Buffy smiled and closed the door. Only a few seconds later Spike came back through the wall, smirking.
"I gotta hand it to you, pretty nifty. How long do you think she'll be looking for you?"
"Well, it is Harmony, so I'm thinking an hour or so."
They smiled at each other – they excelled at the witty, non-consequential talk. The serious, life-changing and deeply emotional stuff? Yeah, not so much.
"I think I'll go take a shower now."
"Mind if I wait around?"
"No, but I'll probably need something to eat later." She fiddled with her hands, hesitating over her next words, not really wanting nor knowing how to say them. "Then I guess I should go talk to Angel."
The change in his expression and voice was instantaneous. "I guess you should."
"You could go with me." she suggested, wanting to erase his sullen look.
His only answer was a brief insincere smile that never reached his eyes. "Go take your shower, pet. I promise I won't peek."
When she left the bathroom, he was no longer there.
Spike felt like kicking or breaking something. What had he been thinking? That they would live in that bloody bubble of a room and be happy ever after?
Sooner or later, Buffy and Nancy-Boy would go back to pining for each other and he didn't want to be there to witness it this time. Not unless he could hit the ponce. Hard.
Since he couldn't, he would just take a nice long walk along deserted hotel corridors. That was a good idea, wasn't it? He stopped. "Oh, bugger…Who am I trying to fool?", he said to himself, exasperated, before turning towards Angel's room.
"Buffy, come on in." Angel motioned for her to take a seat on his bedroom couch. "I was expecting to see you earlier."
"I know. Sorry, I just… got held up."
"By Spike." he hissed.
She chose to ignore his tone. "I really appreciate you calling me. I really do."
"Yeah, I'm over the moon with joy."
"Angel." she said, in a warning tone. She wasn't about to just sit and take crap from him, no matter how grateful she was.
"Seriously, Buffy. Him?"
"I seem to recall a very similar conversation not very long ago. I believe my words were 'is that your business?' I think the point still stands."
"Yeah, but…you and Spike?"
"Me and Buffy what?"
Spike had entered the room, catching them both by surprise. Buffy stood up, startled.
"Spike! I thought you weren't coming." She looked between the two vampires. Casting a meaningful glance at Angel, she continued. "We were just… discussing a way to get your body back!"
Angel looked back at her, incredulity stamped all over his face. So, Spike had no idea.
"Yeah?" Liar. He could smell trouble in paradise from a mile away. Whatever Angel had said to her this time had gotten her really angry. But if she didn't want him to know what it was, so be it. "Any luck?"
"None yet. But we'll think of something."
As Angel recovered from the surprise, a petty and childish feeling took over him. He knew he shouldn't, but simply couldn't stop himself. "So, Spikey, you're just clueless?"
Buffy's eyes grew wider. Oh no, he wasn't doing what she thought he was doing.
"What do you mean?"
"No idea whatsoever? Huh," he gloated.
Buffy had to stop him. Now.
Before she could, Spike's ghost disappeared.
"Angel, what did you do to him?" she asked, infuriated.
"I'll only ask this once…"
"Buffy, I really don't know what happened to him." His expression was just as shocked as hers.