Why Didn’t You Tell Me is a short Buffy fan fic, 2,500 words, written in January 2015.
The story is set during Season 5 of Angel. Spike is corporeal and living in an apartment in L.A. He’s teamed up with Lindsey, who is now calling himself Doyle.
Knock, knock, knock.
Early evening. Spike ignored the noise. Probably Doyle stopping by with another of his bloody homework assignments. Not that Spike minded saving people – it was even sort of nice in a sappy, human kind of way – but he didn’t care to leap up like a lapdog every time he was summoned. Didn’t want to give the smug prick the satisfaction.
Besides, he had more urgent matters.
The purple dragon on the screen was called Spyro – like Agnew, only better-looking and spelled differently. He leaned forward on the couch, squinting, clutching the plastic controller. You tapped the jump button twice to glide, and he could make it to the first platform, but the second was blocked by that bloody –
He sat up straight. That had rattled the door on its hinges. Another knock like that, and he’d no longer have a door.
That wasn’t Doyle.
Spike got up, stepped over the mostly-empty pizza box on the floor, and made his way to the source of the noise. “All right,” he shouted. “Whatever demon, vampire, demigod, android, or upstart pipsqueak Slayer wants a piece of William the Bloody, they’d better make it quick, ’cause I’m almost to the next level and I haven’t got time for – ”
He opened the door. Words died.
It was her.
Serious green eyes under dark lashes, blond hair drawn back behind her. Frowning. Arms crossed.
Quietly: “Hey, Spike.”
The silence stretched between them as they stared, disbelieving, taking each other in. Come on, Spike. Conversation. Banter. Say something.
She beat him to it. “Upstart pipsqueak Slayer?”
“Was talkin’ about those Potential girls. Didn’t mean you, love.” The last word tumbled out unbidden, natural as air. But if she noticed, she didn’t react.
“Can I come in?”
As she walked by, the scent of her crested him like a wave. Vampire senses.
First was the blood – always, always the blood, pumping hot beneath her skin, pounding under her ribs, begging him even now for a taste of her throat.
Then, the smell of salt. Sweaty palms? Was she nervous? Hell, was he?
A tangle of other things: coconut shampoo, some kind of conditioner, clean feminine deodorant. No perfume, but a faint whiff of mint toothpaste, and the half-fresh, half-noxious aroma of fabric softener. Human smells. Girl smells. The kind of things you miss when you spend your nights traipsing through sewers, hacking off demon parts.
And last of all, subtle but unmistakable, a nameless scent, a smell that was not blood or sweat or anything extra but only her, nothing but Buffy, perfect and whole.
You will never know, he thought, what you do to me. Denim jacket and jeans, that innocent white sweater, strands of hair nestled on your neck. You think you’re just a person, just a Slayer. You’ll never understand – not even if I told you.
She was looking at him now, fingers resting lightly on his couch. Waiting. She’s said something – waiting for an answer. Snap out of it, Spike.
“The apartment. I said it’s an upgrade from the crypt.”
“Well. That’s how they advertised it in the paper. ‘Better than a cold stone room for rotting corpses.’ Couldn’t say no.” He smirked. She didn’t smile – not even a little. “Wonder what ever happened to the old place. If some little ponce with fangs is kickin’ back in my…”
Buffy was looking at her shoes.
“Oh. Right,” he said. “Old habits, I s’pose.” The crypt was gone, of course. Sunnydale was a crater. They had done it together.
Soft video game music still poured cheerfully from the TV. He picked up the remote and tapped it off. The silence grew heavier.
“Get you anything? I have…” He stopped. “Don’t suppose you’d fancy a pint of pig’s blood, extra plasma. Tap water, then? Nice and cold. I have a glass in the kitchen. I think.”
She smiled, short and fake. That’d be a no, then.
“Right,” he said.
They stood on opposite sides of the big red couch. Dim light of a single bulb. He stuck his hands in the pockets of his black leather jacket – a Slayer’s jacket. Old and familiar. Good to remind himself he had it, at a time like this.
He didn’t know what to say, what to think. Couldn’t think. Just needed to keep hearing her voice. “So you’re in Europe these days? Madrid, last I heard.”
“It’s Lisbon now.”
“Lisbon?” He started walking slowly around the couch, toward her. He hardly knew what he was saying. Just had to get closer. “Hell of a town, if you hit the right places. There’s a pub in Alfada that does buy-twenty-shots, get-one-shot-free. But only if you speak Portuguese, the bastards.”
Closer. Had to smell her again. See the little reflections in her green eyes. Hear her breathing. Smell, see, hear. Touch, taste…only a few feet away now. “‘Course, that was back when the airplane was still the pipe dream of some sodding colonial. These days it’s probably all – ”
“Why didn’t you tell me.” Not a question. A command.
He stopped. Any closer and she’d start backing away, and he couldn’t bear that.
“Was gettin’ around to it.” Casual. He didn’t like getting orders. Not even from her.
Her arms crossed again, her jaw shifted. “You’ve been back, what? A month? Six weeks? Didn’t have time to pick up a telephone?” She raised an arm at the TV. “I can see how busy you’ve been.”
He’d missed even this: the arguments, the emotion, anything that peeled back the barriers and got him closer to the real Buffy. He heard his own voice get louder. “For your information, I haven’t exactly had an easy go of it. Didn’t even have a bleeding body at first, nearly got pulled into hell, and then apparently I’m part of some prophecy that says I’ll be pushing up the daisies, or possibly not, who knows? And oh, hey, bit of a side job fighting evil every night!”
“Oh, wow. My mistake.” Hands on her hips. “Resurrection’s a bitch, huh? If only I had some idea what you were going through.”
“Hey, when you got ripped out of heaven, you weren’t exactly in the mood to – ”
“But I did!” She stabbed a finger against her chest. “I helped Willow. I took care of Dawn. I was there for the people I loved because that’s what we do!”
He turned, walked away a few steps, turned back. The tightness in his throat was anger. That heavy feeling in his stomach, that was probably his conscience. His soul had been nothing but trouble since he got it.
He took a deep breath. Tried to calm down.
“I didn’t mean it to be like this.”
“Didn’t mean it,” she said. Eyes wide, jaw clenched, the kind of look that made a bloke wonder if his insurance policies were up to date.
“Do you know how I had to find out, Spike?” A short, disbelieving laugh. “I’m beating information from a greasy little two-bit Ka’lach demon in a back alley in Spain. He says something about a vampire with a soul – the blond one with the black trenchcoat. Spike’s dead, I told him. No, he says, the vampire’s back. Living in L.A. Has been for a while.”
He pressed a palm to his forehead. “Buffy…”
“That’s impossible, I thought. Can’t be.” She was almost screaming at him now. “He would tell me. He cares about me. He wouldn’t let me curl up in the dark, night after night, feeling like somebody ripped half my chest out, if he were still alive somewhere, sitting on a sofa and eating Cheetos!” Now her head was tilted, her eyes shining, and a voice that tried hard to be furious was cracking with agony. “Why didn’t you tell me, Spike?”
Part of him wanted to hold her, apologize, make everything better – but somehow that only made him angrier. What did he owe her? After all he’d done? And now she walked into his place, twisted his heart like a wet rag, and had the gall to start telling him off?
A hard edge entered his voice.
“Was gettin’ around to it.”
The room whirled. Colored galaxies rushed across his vision. Her fist felt like a brick where it hit his jaw. He’d forgotten how bloody fast she was.
Now that’s more like it, he thought. This, he understood. Caress of adrenaline pulling him into the dance. How many women on earth could do that to him? She was strong – but no, it was more than that. She was a killer, a predator, like him – but a girl, too. Heavy breath, blood screaming, soft pink lips and an arm like a freight train.
He wanted her. Even more than usual.
Spike feinted left, roundhouse right. Her cheek stung his knuckles. She reeled, stumbled back, righted herself. Back into fighting stance. They sized each other up. Another round? Come on, love. Show me what you’ve got.
Abruptly, she laughed. Somewhere between a that-joke-is-funny laugh and a just-got-a-flat-tire-in-Death-Valley laugh. She dropped her hands. He did the same, and couldn’t help chuckling in return.
“Just like old times, eh, Slayer?”
She circled to the front of the couch and sat down, hands pressed between denim-clad knees. He joined her. Felt better after their little fight. She deserves an answer, he thought. She deserves that much, at least.
He stared at the blank TV.
“The first time I lost you,” he began, then stopped, swallowing. Voice quiet and tight. “They put you in the ground. And I learned that I had never felt pain before.” He shook his head. “Not really. Not like that.”
Eyes straight forward, not trusting himself to look at her yet.
“But I got on with it. The empty place inside you, it screams and it claws, but it doesn’t kill. I did the patrols, watched over Dawn. She was all I had left of you. I got on with my life. Guess you know a little somethin’ about that.”
He rubbed his fingers together absently. “Five months of that, Buffy. Five months before you came back, and I learned that I had never felt joy before. Not really. Not like that.”
Spike hazarded a glance in her direction, but she was looking down, face unreadable.
“Then I lost you again. My own fault, naturally. Could never have you without a soul. It tore me apart. Made me do the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Then I found my way back into your arms, and you made me whole again.”
He picked up a stainless steel bottle opener, played with it mindlessly. Voice still soft. He’d never finish otherwise.
“When I put on the amulet, I lost you a third time. And I remember thinking: at least it’s over now. At least I’ll be dead, and there’ll be no more pain for me.” His mouth twisted into a sad smile. “But here we are.”
He set the bottle opener back down.
“I wanted to tell you, Buffy. I did. But this game we’re playing, on and off, on and off…” Despite his best efforts, the words were getting shaky now. “It’s not like flipping a light switch, you know?”
“Yeah. I get that,” she said quietly, meeting his eyes. “Kind of the whole reason for the shouting and the punching before.”
God, but she was beautiful.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” said Spike, grimacing at how domesticated he sounded, but still meaning every word. “I truly am.”
Buffy’s hands moved nervously over her thighs, and she gave him a small, half-embarrassed smile. Her first genuine warmth all night. “I’m sorry I hit you in the face.”
“Oh, that.” He smiled back. “If I don’t get clocked upside the head at least once, well, pretty boring evening, innit?”
And then slowly, as if approaching a wild animal, he reached out to her.
Astounding. They’d done things to each other’s bodies that would make a sailor blush, but this simple act still made him feel like a junior on Prom Night.
He cupped her cheek in his palm. Felt her warm skin, strands of her hair. She was so soft. Sometimes, she could be hard as cold iron, but at times like this…
She closed her eyes, drew a ragged breath, and ever so gently nuzzled his hand. His blood rushed to all sorts of places.
Then she took his fingers, pulled them back down, and held them.
“Spike, what I said down in the Hellmouth, right before…right before the end.” She took a deep breath. “It was true. You said you didn’t believe me, but it was true.”
The smoothness of her hands. The gentle flicker of her eyelashes. His voice was barely above a whisper. “I know.”
“Well, the normal response in polite circles is ‘I love you, too.’ Not that spare-her-feelings crap you pulled.” Forceful, but she didn’t look angry.
“I love you, too.” He stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. “I never stopped loving you. Since I first understood the meaning of the word, it’s always been you.” Spike met her eyes again. “That’s the easy part, you know. Out of this whole tangled mess of us, that’s the one piece I never had to wonder about. Rain is wet; a compass points north; and I love Buffy Summers.”
A slow smile crept across her face. She reached up and ran three fingers through his hair. Her touch sent a tiny chill into his scalp. “How many times have you practiced that little speech?”
“Can’t exactly go out for a pint when you’re a ghost, can you? Bloke’s gotta do something to pass the time.”
“It worked,” she whispered.
He began to lean forward, and slowly, with exquisite care, she did the same. Her hand fell to his shoulder. He reached inside her jacket, felt the fuzzy wool of the sweater on her slim waist. Her smile had gone, and now there were only her lips, parted, waiting.
He kissed her. Slowly at first, and then more urgently. Eyes shut, nothing but the taste of her mouth, the scent of her desire. His fingers slipped under wool and found the heat of bare skin. Senses melted together, he felt himself disappear, and there was only her, only Buffy, perfect and whole.
Finally she finished and pulled back a little, eyes searching. “What are you doing tonight?”
“Well…” He gave the matter some deliberation. “Don’t know if you’ve ever tried your hand at Playstation before…”
She shoved him nearly off the couch, then pulled him back for another kiss. A distant part of his brain wondered about the structural integrity of the couch – and, for that matter, the entire building.
Then the question drifted away, and he was finished with conscious thoughts for a while.