Story Title: Unexpected
Chapter Title: Try Harder,   Chapter 29
Time line:

December 2001.  Annie is almost 3 years old. Buffy died in early May 2001, brought back in September 2001.



Buffy’s not acting right and Spike is going to get to the bottom of it once and for all.    



Songs Referenced:  Self Control by LAURA BRANIGAN


Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, violence, sex and adult themes which may include rape, attempted rape, blood play 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.  Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.

December 2001:


Spike sent Annie to Xander and Anya’s for an overnight visit and Willow and Tara were away for the weekend. He was going to get some answers out of Buffy today if it killed both of them.  Giles had been right, after all. What came back wasn’t entirely Buffy, or, more accurately, not all of Buffy came back.


Spike had tried time and again to talk to her about it, but she always insisted that she was “fine”, “everything was fine”. But it was clear that everything was NOT fine; even Willow and Xander had mentioned it to him and ask him what was wrong with Buffy.  He resolved to have this out, one way or another. He wasn’t letting her off the hook with “fine” today.


Buffy was in the training room, sparring with the punching bag.  Spike stopped at the door to watch her.  She moved like Buffy, just as graceful and powerful as ever, but the fire wasn’t there, the spirit that he loved so much was missing in everything she did, from slaying to making love, it was just flat, there was no passion; no spark; no fun in anything anymore.


Buffy had music playing on the stereo as she danced around the punching bag.  She didn’t sing along, just listened and moved to the beat, punching and kicking at the heavy bag.


I, I live among the creatures of the night
I haven't got the will to try and fight
Against a new tomorrow
So I guess I'll just believe it
That tomorrow never comes

I, I'm living in the forest of my dream
I know the night is not as it would seem
I must believe in something
So I'll make myself believe it
That this night will never go

You take my self, you take my self control




Spike took a deep breath and walked into the training room. “We need to talk, Slayer,” he said over the blare of the stereo before he flipped the music off.


“Hey, I was listening to that!”  Buffy turned to face him, dropping her hands from their ready position down to her sides.


“Yeah, that’s one of the things we need to talk about, that bloody awful music!”


“What’s wrong with it?” she demanded.


“It’s sodding depressing, is what!” he shot back. “'I haven’t got the will to try and fight'?” he quoted the lyrics. “That’s just depressin', Slayer.”


“Why do you do that?  My name is Buffy.” Buffy put her hands on her hips, one hip leaned out to the side, as she addressed him.


“Yeah, well that’s the other thing we need to talk about, idn’t?  Your name may be Buffy, but all that’s here is the Slayer, and not even all of her,” Spike retorted.


“Now, you and me, Slayer? We’re gonna have a talk and neither of us are leaving this room until . . .” Until what?  Spiked tried to think how to finish that sentence, Until you’re back?  Until you’re Buffy again?  “until you and I understand each other,” he decided. “No matter how long that takes.”


Buffy sighed. “Spike, I’ve told you, I’m . . .”


“FINE,“ Spike interrupted her. “Yes, I KNOW that’s what you SAY, but you ARE NOT FINE and I don’t want to hear that word from your lips again!”  Spike had to get to the bottom of what was wrong with her.


Buffy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest with a heavy sigh. “Then I don’t know what you want me to say.”


“I want you to tell me WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!” Spike started. “You are not Buffy!  You LOOK like Buffy, you SMELL like Buffy, but YOU ARE NOT BUFFY and I want my SODDING WIFE BACK!”


“Spike, I’m Buffy . . . totally Buffy, top to bottom . . . I’m right here,”  Buffy defended, throwing her hands out to the sides to show him all of her.


“Really?  Then tell me BUFFY, have you cum one time since we brought you back? ONCE?”  Spike questioned.


“Of course . . .” Buffy started but was cut off.


“NO!  No lies! No more lies!” Spike stalked up to her and grabbed her by the shoulders. “You say the right things and you moan at the right times, BUT I KNOW THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE, don’t I?  I might as well be fucking a God damn robot as you!  Where’s the passion?  Where’s the fire?  Where’s my wife!?”


Spike released her shoulders. “Now, tell me the truth. I want to hear you say it.”


Buffy lowered her eyes, wrapping her arms around her middle she backed up and turned away from him. “No, not once,” she admitted in a whisper.


“Why?”  Spike asked softly.


Buffy shook her head, still facing away from him. “Spike, I’m trying.”


“Well, try harder!” he demanded.


Buffy whirled back around to face him. “Try harder?!  TRY HARDER!?  THAT’S YOUR ADVICE?  A century of unlife and your advice to me is to TRY HARDER!?”


“That’s right, TRY THE FUCK HARDER!  I WANT MY WIFE BACK!”  Spike demanded.


“You selfish bastard!  I didn’t tell you to bring me back!  No one asked me, did they?  NO!  All my friends knew what was best, BRING HER BACK! We NEED her! And then, when things aren’t all peaches and cream, IT’S MY FUCKING FAULT!?  EXCUSE THE FUCK OUT OF ME!” 


Buffy started towards the door but Spike intercepted her. “You’re not leaving until we suss this out!”


“Well, I’m all done ‘sussing’; ‘suss’ yourself, Spike!”  Buffy went to step around him and he blocked her, she hit him with a right hook and sent him down on his ass.


Spike rubbed his chin where she hit him. Anger. Anger is good, I can work with anger, he thought as he jumped back up and kicked her with a side kick to her ribs.


She stumbled back, but didn’t fall. “God damn it, Spike!  I don’t want to fight you!”


“Well too fucking bad!  I’m the one that pushed Red to bring you back, Slayer.  Tell me why that makes you so mad!  Com’on, SLAYER, TRY HARDER!” he taunted her.


She hit him with both feet in a flying kick that threw him back against the wall but he recovered quickly and was on her before she scrambled back to her feet, pinning her shoulders.  She kicked him over her head and he landed with a thud on the mat behind her. Then they were both back up, facing each other, adrenaline flowing, fists at the ready, both in fighting stance, ready to attack at the first opportunity.


“You never could take me, Slayer!  Now, you aren’t even half the fighter you were before. TRY HARDER!” he continued to taunt her.


“FUCK YOU, SPIKE!” she screamed at him.


“Now, that would have been a fine idea at one time, Slayer, but not such a tasty treat anymore.  You got no fire!  You aren’t Buffy!” 


Buffy lunged at him, feigning to the left before whirling around and kicking him with a roundhouse kick, sending him down on his back.  She was on top of him, straddling his hips before he could get up, raining punches down on his face. “You selfish son-of-a- bitch!  I was done!  My fight was over!  I was in HEAVEN! YOU!  YOU PULLED ME OUT!  YOU PULLED ME OUT OF HEAVEN AND DROPPED ME IN HELL!”


Buffy continued hitting at Spike, but as she spoke, her punches lost their strength and he grabbed her hands to still them.  She had started crying, something else he hadn’t seen her do since she’d gotten back.  Spike pushed himself up to a sitting position and grabbed Buffy in a strong embrace as she cried harder and buried her face against his shoulder.


“You said you didn’t remember where you were, luv,” he spoke softly into her ear.


“I lied,” Buffy admitted through her sobs.


“Tell me now,” Spike pressed her for more.


Buffy took a deep breath trying to calm her sobs.  She spoke softly, her mouth still buried against his shoulder, “It was soft and warm and everything glowed like soft candle light. I was loved. I could feel Mom there, I knew she was there and she loved me.” Buffy took a deep breath before continuing. “I KNEW, I just KNEW that my battle was over.  I had done the right thing, everyone I loved was safe and I was done fighting.”


Buffy took another deep breath then started again. “You once told me that all Slayer’s have a death wish and I didn’t believe you, but you were sort of right.  I didn’t want to die, I didn’t want to leave you and Annie, but I KNEW that it was the right thing to do.  Nothing in my life had ever been as perfectly clear to me as it was in that moment that I let go of your hand, I knew.  I knew I was done and you and Annie would be alright.”


Buffy’s sobs had slowed, she pulled back away from Spike’s shoulder to look into his eyes. “And then, suddenly, I was here and . . . everything was cold and hard and at once too dark and too bright. I feel like I have a shroud over me . . . like, if I lift it, all the hardness of this world will cut me to shreds.  I was in heaven, Spike, now, this, this feels like hell.”


Spike held her face in his hands, she was still sitting on his lap on the floor where they had been fighting. “Buffy, you’re right, I’m a selfish bastard.  When you were gone, I was in hell.  You gave me a taste of heaven, you loved me, you married me, you gave me a beautiful daughter and you treated me like a man, like your equal; your partner; your friend.  I’d never been happier in my whole existence than I was those years with you.  I’ve never had anyone love me like you loved me. Then, you were gone and I was plunged into hell. I tried, I tried to make it without you, but I just couldn’t.  The only way I could figure to get out was to get my angel back.”


Buffy closed her eyes and nodded, considering his words.  When she opened them, she gave Spike a small smile. “Maybe you should’ve tried harder.”


“That the best advice an angel from heaven can give me?” he smiled back at her. 


Buffy shrugged, the small smile still on her face.


In a serious tone, Spike continued. “Buffy, please, luv, we can find heaven again, you and me, but you’ve got to be honest with me.  I can’t help if you don’t talk to me, pet.  Let me help you lift that shroud so you can live again. I promise we can find heaven again, both of us.”


Buffy searched his eyes, they were soft, full of love and concern. Her voice trembled as she spoke, just above a whisper, “I believe you.  I do love you, Spike.”


Tears flowed freely down the faces of both warriors and Spike pulled Buffy back into a tight hug.  She buried her face in his shoulder and put her arms around him, holding him just as tightly as he did her. 


“I love you, too, Buffy.”


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