Story Title: Spirit Indestructible


Season 5. Begins with ‘Spiral’ in the abandoned gas station, and goes far off-canon almost immediately.

When Dawn makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister, friends, and the world, Buffy’s mind snaps. When Buffy's friends give up hope of her ever recovering, and become afraid that she’ll turn violent and uncontrollable, they call in the Council to help. Fearing what the Council will do, Spike, forgotten and ignored by her friends, steps in. Will he be able to reach the Slayer when no one else could? Will he be able to keep her out of the hands of the Council and away from her ‘helpful’ friends? How much heartbreak, guilt, and failure can one girl stand before her indestructible spirit finally resigns the fight and gives up hope?




14. Dazed and Confused


Music Referenced:

Dazed and Confused, Led Zeppelin

Nelly Furtado - Spirit Indestructible


Some Screencaps courtesy of Broken Innocence (others from ScreenCap Paradise which is, sadly, no more). and also from



Thanks to YOU for reading and to Paganbaby for taking time out of her hectic life to beta this for me! Her suggestions and commentary that always makes me smile! All mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling right up to the last moment.

Rating / Warnings:

Warning for this chapter: Angst.

NC17. Spike/Other. Main Character Death. Implied Rape. Plenty of angst.

Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.

Moments later...

Buffy huddled against the door of the car as the dark world outside whirled past her.  She closed her eyes and imagined herself sinking into the cold vinyl of the seat or the hard metal of the door. Sinking … melting … morphing … changing … floating away … leaving her body behind.


No … no, can’t leave. Spike’s baby. Dawn.


A flash of blue danced across the field of black behind her closed lids, taunting her. Spike.


Her eyes burned with tears as she saw his dust being trampled into the short pile of the carpet at the casino. She could see every vivid, heartbreaking detail of it: the garish, industrial carpet, the hundreds of shoes blithely walking through all that was left of her lover, the dry motes being scuffed up, dancing forlornly in the artificial light before settling back to the ground. Spike. Gone. Alone.


She whimpered and curled into an almost painfully tight ball, wrapping her arms around her stomach. Save baby. Do anything. Save baby. All that’s left.




Within a few hours, the three travelers were settling into a cheap hotel along the M20 well outside London. Spike had planned on traveling further, in fact he’d hoped to be on a boat to France before dawn, but he hadn’t planned on Buffy being in the condition she was in.


The Bot unlocked the door to their room and Spike carried Buffy in. He headed straight to the loo with her as the Bot brought in their luggage.


“Ok, pet. Gonna set you down here now and get the shower warm for ya. The soap and water’ll sting, but gotta get you cleaned up. Be a bloody wonder if ya don’t have an infection already,” Spike told her, speaking softly.


The moment he sat Buffy down on her feet, she scrambled for the door to the bathroom. Weakened by the drugs Weatherby had been giving her, she was no match for Spike’s speed, however, and he caught her easily. Buffy pulled against his grip ineffectually, again chanting, “No, no, no,” almost constantly.


“Buffy, luv. Not gonna hurt you, pet,” Spike tried to assure her as he closed the door to the loo, sliding the lock. When he released her arm, she huddled against the door and hunkered down on her haunches, just as she had been in her cell and in the car, now clinging to his duster.


Spike blew out a frustrated, furious breath. Those wankers were gonna pay for this if he had to hunt every last one of them down one by bloody one. Chip or no chip, he was gonna make them pay. There was nothing in the world, nothing in the universe, that would stop him from exacting extreme revenge for what they'd done to his Slayer.


“Buffy, luv,” he began, speaking softly. “It’s me, pet: Spike.”


Buffy shook her head, trembling beneath his duster, never looking up at him. Spike was dust, she knew this – she could see it in her mind’s eye, his dust, the gaudy carpet at the casino, the feet trampling it. This wasn’t Spike, it was the monster. Cold, black eyes stared back at her from behind her closed lids, mocking her, laughing at her with that horrible, cruel chuckle.


“No Spike. Only monster,” she muttered, never looking up.


Spike closed his eyes and his whole body went rigid with her words. His heart felt like it had just imploded in his chest, crashing in upon itself painfully. She was right, of course, he was a monster. He’d failed her epically at every turn, just like the soulless thing he was. Why did he think he could be anything else?


Spike blinked back his tears as the storm of regret raged in his chest, threatening to undo him. He had to … do something; had to hold it together now. He had to make this right. He had to atone for his failure. Could a soulless monster make this right? Was he even capable of atonement? He hadn’t succeeded in doing anything right yet.


Spike’s chin quivered with the strain as he fought to hold his emotions in check. The tears he’d been trying to contain leaked from his eyes and burned his cheeks with shame and remorse as he watched her cowering, utterly terrified, on the floor.


He swiped at his face brusquely; tears weren’t helping Buffy. Deciding that actions were preferable to thoughts, he reached in and turned the water on in the shower and waited for it to get warm. Then, as gently as he could, he lifted her to her feet and tried to pull his duster off her shoulders.  She clung desperately to the leather when he tried to pull it away, whimpering like a  child lost in the darkness, so Spike just let her take it along as he guided her into the warm spray.


“No! No! No!” Buffy’s objections became more adamant as the water hit her cuts, scrapes, and burns. She thrashed against Spike, trying to get out of the hurtful, stinging spray of water.


“Buffy, stop, luv. Please, baby … stop,” he admonished her, ducking her flailing fists as he tried to hold her under the spray without hurting her further.


“Don’t touch. Stop. Don’t … please don’t touch,” Buffy begged, her voice small and frightened as Spike tried to hold her still.


Spike released his hold at her insistence, but as soon as he did she tried to dive past him, out of the shower. He caught her shoulders again and pressed her back as gently as he could, trying desperately not to frighten her further, but not succeeding. His heart ached. His gut twisted. He eyes stung with bitter tears. His demon raged with fury at her captors and lusted for retribution. He knew he had to get her cleaned up, but all he wanted to do was howl in pain and guilt and anger.


It didn't matter how gentle he was, even the slightest touch seemed to terrorize her. Spike thought of getting the Bot to do this, but Buffy had seemed just as frightened of her when they were in the car. In addition, he was afraid the Bot might be too rough or hurt Buffy further while trying to restrain her.


When Spike captured her again, Buffy let out a keening, forlorn wail of what Spike took to be a mixture of pain and desperation. Spike’s tears came harder as the sound pierced and bled his broken heart. He had let her down royally; completely failed to keep her safe. His promise to her had been a farce and she had paid a horrible price for his stupidity.  He felt the guilt and pain of every bruise, every cut, scrape, and burn on her body – and he knew there was a whole other world of pain inside her that he couldn’t see. He felt that unseen pain even more acutely, right to his very bones.


After struggling with him for about five minutes, Buffy’s energy and adrenaline finally waned. She gave up and stood rigid and resigned under the shower spray, waiting for what she knew would come, what she’d been unable to fight: the pain.


Spike was finally able to peel his duster off her. He tossed the soaked leather onto the floor then turned back to Buffy. Her entire body was shivering violently. Spike checked the water again, but it felt plenty warm to him. Then, as the stench of the last few days was washed from her skin, the aroma of her fear reached his nostrils.


“God, Buffy, what did they do to you?” he whispered, although he had an all too clear idea of what they’d done. They’d loaded her up with their drugs and made her weak and helpless. They’d abused her, tortured her, raped her in every way imaginable and she’d been powerless to fight it. A powerless Slayer was the perfect recipe for mental collapse, even more so than a normal human – as if her heart and soul hadn’t been through enough already.


“I swear to God and the Devil that they’ll pay for this, Buffy. They’ll pay,” he assured her, his voice an angry, savage growl. “If there’s one thing I bloody well know how t’ do, it’s deliver retribution. I'll 'ave their bloody guts for garters.”


At his snarling declaration, Buffy backed away from him, her eyes searching wildly for an escape or a place to hide. Her arms were wrapped around her torso, crossed over her stomach as if in pain there. She didn’t even try to cover her breasts or hide her dark triangle of curls from Spike, and he worried that she was injured internally.


Spike made a concerted effort to calm his voice and spread his hands in a placating gesture. “Sorry, luv. Didn’t mean t’ frighten you. Let’s get ya clean and see about some nosh. Are ya pecki … errr … hungry?”


Buffy didn’t answer, she just continued to look like a frightened rabbit that had been cornered by a fox, desperately seeking an escape but finding none. Spike sighed heavily, grabbed the washcloth and soap, and began cleaning her skin and wounds as gently as he could while being as thorough as possible.


He spoke to her the whole time. He kept his voice level and as calm as he could, and warned her before he touched a different area. Buffy jumped every single time he touched the cloth to skin, no matter how gentle he was or how much warning he gave her. Spike could smell her fear and hear her heart lurch in her chest with each touch, and it twisted the dagger of guilt in his gut.


“Buffy, I know you don’t want me t’ do this, but I’m gonna have to clean your … privates,” he said finally, having done all the rest of her body, including her hair. “I won’t hurt you, pet. I bloody well promise I won’t, but we gotta do this.”


Spike steeled himself and lifted one of her legs to rest her foot on the edge of the tub so that her knee was bent. He lathered up the cloth with soap and gently ran it along the thigh of the bent leg toward her apex. He felt her stiffen and her chant of ‘no’ begin again, but he pressed on, talking to her reassuringly the whole time. 


Buffy’s eyes clenched shut almost painfully, and her hands tightened into fists as he cleaned the crusted blood, spunk, and dirt from her genitals. As he worked, careful to be as gentle as he could, her chant changed.


“Please don’t, please don’t, please don’t…”


“Not gonna hurt you, pet,” Spike assured her. “No one’ll ever hurt you again.”


“Please … please don’t hurt my baby. Please, I’ll be good, I’ll do anything, just don’t hurt my baby. I can scream … I’ll scream for you … anything … please,” she begged.


Spike looked up at her, his eyes wide as he searched her face, trying to confirm what he thought he heard. “Your baby? What are you on about? What baby, Slayer?”


“Please, just don’t hurt my baby,” she repeated. “It’s all I have. Anything … I’ll do anything.” Buffy seemed to melt down into the bottom of the tub, curling into a protective ball around her stomach. Spike just watched her, not making any move to stop her from pulling away from him, as his mind whirled.


“What bloody baby?” he asked again, trying keep his voice calm as the water showered down on her prone body where she was curled into a ball in the bottom of the tub. “Whose baby is it? Slayer, what are you on about?” he demanded as he stood over her.


Buffy didn’t answer, in fact she’d stopped saying anything at all.


Spike’s mind whirled, his emotions, already jangled, began to clank and clatter as well. Too many thoughts raced through his mind, everything from the utterly ridiculous, that she was carrying his baby; to the infuriating, that she’d slept with someone else during their time in Vegas; to the most probable, she was pretending to be pregnant in hopes the monster would leave her be, or the wanker-rapist had told her she was up the duff just to make her more vulnerable and, in her weakened state, she believed him. Of course, it was obvious that the sadistic bastard had done his level best to make sure it was true.


Spike's blood boiled. He didn't know what to believe, what to think. His mind tried to go down too many paths at the same time and was overwhelmed with the possibilities.


He tried to gather his wits about him, taking one thing at a time. The first possibility to be dismissed was that he could be the father. That, he knew, was simply impossible. That had been nothing more than an emotional knee-jerk reaction and, now that he'd engaged his brain, he could drop that off the list of considerations.


As he thought, he realized there was another thing he could rule out right quick. Spike turned and stormed out of the loo, dripping water across the floor as he went. “Bot! You know anything about Buffy being preggers?”


BuffyBot looked up from where she was unpacking her charging system and frowned. “I do not understand the question. Please restate.”


“Buffy. The Slayer,” Spike repeated, jabbing a finger toward the bathroom. “Preggers. Up the duff. With … child,” he clarified through clenched teeth.


“No. I have no knowledge of this. However, she has had copious amounts of unprotected sexual intercourse over the last weeks. That is, as I understand it, conducive to becoming … duffed.”


Spike growled. “Who was she havin’ this bloody unprotected sex with?”


“You. And me. Although I do not produce semen, so I am relatively certain that I am not responsible for duffing her.”


Spike ran a frustrated hand through his wet hair. “Who else?”


“I did not observe her fornicating with anyone else. Was she supposed to?”


Spike's jaw ticced and he suppressed a growl. "Nooo," he answered very slowly, drawing the word out.


“She show any special interest in any other blokes when I wasn’t there?” Spike tried.


“Oh, yes. She was quite smitten with one male that we spent time with at the Mirage," the Bot offered brightly.


“Who?” Spike growled, stepping closer to the Bot, his hands clenched at his sides as he tried to contain his hurt, fury, and jealousy.


“Hae-won. She was quite fond of Hae-won – she had her picture taken with him. I believe the photo captured their kiss. She was particularly pleased with that photographic memento and filed it with the others.”


Spike spun on his heel and grabbed Buffy’s original suitcase – the one he’d packed back in Sunnydale – his emotions reeling. He opened it and dumped all the contents onto the bed. Clothes, photos, and stuffed toys fell in a heap on the bedspread. He began digging through the stack, searching for the photo of this Hae-won wanker.


“Where is it?” Spike demanded angrily when he didn’t immediately find anything, his eyes flashing amber and his control slipping dangerously.


The Bot stepped forward and began searching, finally finding the photo. She held it up to him, smiling proudly at her success.


“What the bloody hell is that?!” he snarled, looking it.


“Hae-won. The male we spent the day with at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. We were his trainers for a full day. Dolphins are very intelligent, however they smell rather fishy. I am certain that she told you about it in great detail. She was very fond of him.”


“Arrrrrgggh!” Spike roared in frustration, and perhaps a little relief. He ran his hands over his face and through his hair again, then he shook his head, letting the tension in his body go.


“Probably not preggers at all,” he muttered to himself as he turned to go back into the loo. “Told her that t’ help control her, make ‘er more vulnerable, they did.”




A couple of nights later …


Buffy blinked at the man across the table from her, trying to get her mind to focus. He was trying to get her to eat some food. Her stomach grumbled hungrily, but she refused. Trick. Spike’s dust. Hallucinating. Monster.


She hugged her arms around her stomach and leaned forward protectively. What did he want now? Not screaming. He wanted screaming before, but not now. Her stomach rumbled again. She could smell the food: chicken soup. Not Campbell's ... something else. He wanted her to eat the soup. But what was in the soup? She’d just started to be able to focus again, get a little of her strength back, what if it was a trick? What if the soup was drugged or poisoned? What if it would make her abort the baby?


He sounded so much like Spike; looked like Spike. She must be hallucinating. She closed her eyes and tried to think. Maybe it was a trick. Everything was jumbled up. She remembered that Spike was dust. She could see the dust in the carpet at the hotel; see the people walking through it, grinding it into the pile until it was completely gone. She remembered that she was pregnant with Spike’s baby. It was all she had left of him. Had to protect it. The soup might hurt it. Was it drugged? She was so hungry.


God, she wished this monster would just stop talking! Stop talking like Spike! Stop looking like Spike! How could she think with it doing that, taunting her like that?


Oh, God … Spike. Tears began to leak from her eyes as her emotions and confusion raged. She missed Spike – she’d gotten him killed … dusted. She … she should’ve told him sooner that she loved him. He’d died trying to protect her, she’d stolen his soul to save Dawn, and she’d been too selfish to even give him those words the first night she realized it. She’d withheld it too long, only telling him because it slipped out accidentally. Selfish. So selfish.




Spike sighed as Buffy closed her eyes and curled around her stomach as she sat in the chair across from him. She hadn’t eaten anything since they’d rescued her, even though it was clear that she was ravenously hungry. He was going to have to take her to the hospital if she didn’t start eating soon; there would be no choice. She was wasting away, much too thin, and still afraid of him and the Bot.


He tried one more time, inching the spoonful of chicken noodle soup near her face, which was bent down, her chin on her chest.


“Stop it! Monster! I know what you are! You’re a monster!” she screamed at him, knocking the spoon out of his hand and sending it skittering across the room.


The dagger in Spike’s heart twisted. He was a monster and now she remembered it all too well. He’d fooled her into thinking he was a man – deluded himself into believing it – but he was nothing but a monster.


“Buffy, luv …” he cajoled, his voice breaking with emotion.


“Stay away from me! Don’t touch me!” she continued, scrambling out of the chair and away from him. “Stop being Spike! Just stop it!”


Buffy backed to the furthest corner of the room and huddled beside the bed. She keened softly as she re-curled her arms around her stomach, holding herself in a tight, protective embrace.


Spike huffed out a forlorn breath. “I wish I could, pet. Wish I could be someone you deserve, someone you could count on.”


The next day …


Spike awoke near mid-day to the sound of the top being popped off one of the cans of soup that sat on the table in their room. He blinked and looked around. The Bot was standing guard near the door to the room while he slept to make sure Buffy didn’t leave or do anything to hurt herself. Spike followed the Bot’s eyes to the source of the sound: Buffy.


Spike watched as Buffy tipped the now open can of soup up and drank it down like glass of water, pausing only momentarily to chew some of the bits of chicken and the soft noodles. She finished the first one and opened another, devouring it greedily. Spike dared not move or speak or ask her if she wouldn’t rather have it warmed up and properly diluted. She was eating! Thank the bloody devil.


The next can she opened held raviolis in tomato sauce. She ate that more slowly, having to chew the little squares of pasta stuffed with meat. When she was done, she went to the sink in the bathroom and got a glass of water to wash it down.


While she was in there, Spike rose, dressed in only his jeans, and he stood waiting for her when she returned. Buffy froze when she re-entered the bedroom area of the hotel room, the glass of water in hand, her eyes locked on Spike’s. He could hear her heartbeat lurch and speed up, feel her anxiety heighten.


“Why are you doing this? Why are you torturing me?” she ground out, anger and fear warring inside her for dominance. The glass in her hand shattered as she gripped it too tightly, sending shards of glass and water flying. She jerked her hand back in surprise. Blood poured from a cut across her palm.


“Buffy!” Spike exclaimed, his eyes wide with fear that she’d cut herself badly.


He rushed over to her, carefully avoiding stepping on the broken glass, and took her hand in his to examine it. As soon as he grabbed her wrist to look at her hand, Buffy wailed in terror and tried to pull away from his grip. Spike realized his mistake and released his hold almost immediately, but it wasn’t soon enough to keep her from being again consumed by her fear. Buffy nearly fell as she scrambled away, retreating to the safety of the bathroom, begging him to ‘stop, just stop’ the whole way.


Spike followed behind her slowly, trying not to panic her further. He found her crouched in the tub, her eyes were locked on the blood on her hand.


“Blood … so much blood,” she muttered, staring the crimson that dripped from her palm. “Dawn … oh, Dawn … no…”


“Buffy, stay with me, luv. Not Dawn’s blood,” Spike assured her as he stepped forward slowly. Buffy’s eyes shot up to him, frightened, terrified orbs of green, and her heart-rate spiked again.


Spike held his hands up in a placating gesture and took two more slow steps up to her. “Buffy, luv,” he began gently. “Need t’ see it, pet. Need t’ wash it off so I can see … ‘ere … in the sink,” he cajoled, waving a hand slowly at the sink to his left.


Buffy’s eyes shifted from the sink, to her hand, and back again.


“It’s not Dawn’s blood, pet,” Spike assured her again. “Let’s just get it washed off so I can see how bad it is.”


Buffy’s chest heaved with apprehension as Spike reached his hand out and carefully closed it over her wrist again.


Not Spike. Monster. Not Spike. What does it want?


“Not gonna hurt you,” he continued as he pulled gently, coaxing her to her feet. “Jus’ come over ‘ere to the sink, pet.”


Spike didn’t need his vampiric senses to know that Buffy’s heart was about to pound out of her chest with her fear; he could literally see her sternum vibrating beneath her shirt with the power of her terrified pulse. He pulled a tiny bit harder, a gentle pressure on her arm, trying to ease her out of the tub. After a moment, Buffy followed on wobbly legs, her eyes again focused on the blood that dripped from her hand.


Holding her bleeding hand over the sink, he removed a couple of slivers of glass that had embedded in the wound and then ran the cut under the water.


Buffy watched as the blood swirled down off her hand, into the sink, and down the drain. A déjà vu moment came over her – she’d done this before, seen this before. When? Oh yeah, in Vegas … in that diner. Her heart constricted when she thought of Vegas and … “Spike,” she muttered forlornly, watching the blood washing away.


“I’m ‘ere, luv. It’s not bad, no worries. Just bandage it closed, we will, and you’ll be alright,” Spike assured her, still talking as calmly as he knew how. So absorbed in tending to Buffy was he, that Spike didn't even notice that his demon never made a single attempt to rise, even with Slayer blood being wasted, washed down the sink. Had even his demon been repulsed and sickened by what Buffy had endured?


Buffy looked up at him, her eyes wild, caught somewhere between fear, anger, and misery. Why wouldn’t the monster just stop being Spike!? Stop torturing her!? What did it want? She’d give it what it wanted if it would just stop being Spike.


Spike lifted his gaze to hers, his blue eyes deep pools of regret and concern, and Buffy’s breath caught in her throat. She looked away quickly. Not Spike, not Spike, not… Her internal chant stopped abruptly when she looked in the mirror. She was alone. She looked back – the monster was still there … but the mirror … Her eyes darted back and forth between the mirror and the hallucination in front of her. But, no – not a hallucination, he was solid – she could feel its hands on hers. The monster was playing tricks…


Spike tilted his head and studied her confused expression, then he looked into the mirror and nodded, understanding. “Vampire,” he explained simply, as if she could’ve somehow forgotten that he was a soulless monster.


Buffy shook her head, trying to make sense of it. No … no, that was wrong. The monster was … human. Not a vampire. The monster ... its eyes were soulless, but it was … human.


She lifted her eyes to his again, searching for the truth, willing her jumbled, exhausted mind to function properly. He looked so earnest, so concerned. Was the monster even capable of looking like that? His eyes were so blue, such deep, soothing pools of comfort. Could the monster veil himself that well?


“Spike?” Buffy asked, her voice quivering and unsure. “Spike … is that … really you?” she asked between gasping intakes of breath, teetering on the verge of hyperventilating.


He gave her a small, sad smile. “’Course, who else, pet?”


“But … I saw you dust … You were dust … in the carpet. You were gone … shoes trampled you … I saw … I … thought...” Buffy rubbed at her forehead and eyes with her free hand, willing energy into her brain, forcing her thoughts into cohesiveness. Had she actually seen that? She remembered it vividly, dust grinding into the carpet, but …


“No … no … wait.” She looked back up at him, her eyes wide with realization. “They said you were dust … stomped into the carpet. But I could see it so clearly ...”


“Rumors of my ultimate death ‘ave, apparently, been greatly exaggerated,” Spike quipped flatly, reaching a hand out to touch her face, still holding her injured hand in his other.


Buffy flinched involuntarily away from him and he stopped, his hand frozen in mid-air. Everything stopped for a time – a second, a minute, an hour, Buffy wasn’t sure – and they both stood perfectly still. She focused on his eyes, trying to see the truth, willing her brain to believe what she saw. But she’d seen him dust, too – she’d been so sure. What was real? She couldn’t tell. She couldn’t believe what her eyes told her – they lied to her brain. But … it looked so much like Spike and there was no reflection.


“W-when was ... when was the first time you told me you loved me?” she asked hesitantly.


Spike dropped the hand he had near her face as he winced and looked away from her. He pursed his lips and fought back the flood of shame that rose up inside him at the memory.


“Spike … if it’s you … tell me. I can’t … my mind … it’s … Please, just tell me so I know it’s you,” Buffy pleaded.


Spike took a deep breath, still holding her one hand over the sink, and said, “Tried t’ tell you on the stake-out, when we were checking out that vamp nest – but ya wouldn’t let me get the words out. The first time I actually said it to you was when I had ya shackled in my crypt … with Dru.”


“Oh my God,” she whispered, her eyes not leaving his. Buffy pulled her hand from his, wrapped her arms around his waist, and pulled him into a hesitant embrace. “Spike. You’re alive.”


Spike stiffened as she hugged him. The guilt and pain of what she’d been through, what she was still going through, cutting him to his very core. Monsters who had failed the woman they loved didn’t deserve hugs, they deserved stakes to the heart, and that’s exactly what Buffy’s embrace felt like. After a moment, he forced his arms to tentatively  return her hug. As he expected, Buffy started and her pulse quickened with fear when his arms closed around her. He quickly pulled away and stepped back out of her personal space, lest he send her skittering away in a panic.


“Well, still undead, at any rate,” he confirmed dryly, forcing his hands to his sides. He wanted nothing more than to pull her to him and wrap her in a protective cocoon of love, but he could feel her body tense, smell her fear rise sharply every time he touched her. His heart ached for her, but he had no idea know what to do to help her. He was relatively sure sending her scrambling into a corner by frightening her wouldn't help.


Buffy stared at him, confused again. It was really Spike, wasn’t it? But why was he so cold and distant? Maybe it was the monster, fooling her. Was he trying to drive her insane? Was it some experiment to see how much a Slayer can take before she snaps? Were the Watchers living up to their name and watching? Buffy looked around the bathroom, searching for little hidden cameras, but didn’t see any.


She looked in the mirror again; the man before her had no reflection. Even a magical veil couldn’t do that, could it? Buffy turned unsure eyes back to him.


“When … when did I first tell you I loved you?” Buffy asked, confusion etched in her features.


Spike gave her a sad smile. His throat tightened with emotion and he had to clear it twice before he could speak. “Ya let it slip out when you and the Bot were giving me my … surprise.”


Tears of relief stung the back of Buffy’s eyes and she let out the breath she’d been holding. She began to step forward again, back into his protective, comforting embrace, but, before she could move, Spike abruptly turned on his heel and stepped out of the bathroom.


“That nosh must’ve helped, eh? Been trying t’ tell ya that for days, pet. Helped wash away the drugs, I reckon. Maybe get some life up to them gray cells,” he said as he walked away.


Buffy took a tentative step after him, still confused by his less than enthusiastic response to her epiphany. “I … I thought you were trying to drug me. I thought you were … the monster,” she explained hesitantly.


Spike shrugged as he began to dig in one of the suitcases for the first aid kit. “Yeah, well, got part of it right, didn’t ya?” he agreed dourly.


Spike knew she was right to flinch away from his touch – he was a monster. His embrace didn’t comfort her, it terrorized her. God, what she must’ve been through to become so skittish. Spike didn't even have time to focus on the fact that she was at least talking to him rationally before he grew angry again, the rage burning in his belly like a wildfire, threatening to engulf him. He was angry with himself for not protecting her, and with the Council for having people like that on their payroll, and with the monster that had actually touched her. He fought to keep the growl out of his voice, lest he frighten her further. He couldn’t force his tone back to comforting, the best he could do was steady and level.


“Let’s get that hand bandaged.”


Buffy stared at him, dumbfounded. He spoke like they barely knew each other, like they were casual acquaintances, his tone flat and business-like. Maybe she was still … confused. That must be it. She was just … perceiving things wrong. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to touch her. He wasn’t pulling away because of what the monster did to her … right? It wasn’t because she was permanently stained with the monster’s filth … right?


She closed her eyes and shuddered, remembering.


Oh God … please no.



Dazed and Confused, Led Zeppelin                


Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Lots of people talk and few of them know
Soul of a woman was created below, yeah

You hurt and abuse tellin' all of your lies
Run 'round sweet baby, Lord how they hypnotize
Sweet little baby, I don't know where you've been
Gonna love you baby, here I come again

Every day I work so hard, bringin' home my hard earned pay
Try to love you baby, but you push me away
Don't know where you're goin', only know just where you've been
Sweet little baby, I want you again

Ah ahh...
Oh yeah, alright
I don't want your lovin' this time yeah
Oh don't leave me so confused, ah
Ohh baby

Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Take it easy baby, let them say what they will
Tongue wag so much when I send you the bill?
Oh yeah, alright

Oh oh...


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