by Ozmandayus

The Come-Back Inn  Bar and Pool Hall
42 West Pullman
Sunnydale, Ca
Thursday, December 18, 2001 12:05 AM

"Would you please stop staring at my ass."

Spike grinned as he twirled his pool stick, waiting for Buffy to take
her shot. "But it's such a nice ass," he fired back, his trademark
cigarette dangling from his lips. "Will you hurry up. Our food will be
here shortly."

Rolling her eyes, Buffy leaned over the table, made her shot, winning
the game. "Pay up, Spike."

Tossing a twenty on the table, Spike put up their pool sticks and
followed Buffy over to their table. Loving the tight black jeans and
tank top she's wearing. 

They've been coming to this out of the way bar/pool hall for the last
two months. Buffy hasn't told any of her friends that she comes here
with Spike. This is her place to relax and unwind from the Slaying,
Dawn, and domestic issues. Spike found the place and brought her here,
saying no one would no who she was. There were no demons in this place.
Just music, liquor, pizza, and pool.

Buffy leans back in her chair, downing a shot of vodka while staring at
the dance floor. "There are more people than usual here tonight."

"Everyone’s carrying something on their shoulders. You walk in here you
can leave it at the door."

Buffy nodded, knowing that is the exact reason she comes here. Just
about every time Spike patroled with her recently, they ended the
evening here. Just an hour or two usually does the trick.

"Wanna dance?" To Spike's utter surprise, Buffy replies.

"Why not."


Holding her in his arms feels like the surprise gift of a lifetime. He
moves gracefully, having learned a great deal over the hundred-plus
years of his existence. Well aware of Buffy's shorter than usual temper,
he doesn't even try to cop a feel. "How's your ribs?" 

"It's fine," she replied, swaying with him to a song neither of them
recognized. The alcohol was giving her a little buzz, reliving some of
the stress of the day. 

Spike pulled her just a little closer, his arms around her waist. As
confident as he has always been with women, this one undoes him
completely. "Pizza gal just mouthed it'll be another ten minutes."

"You mean the one that's been staring at you all night."

"Don't be jealous, luv," he grinned over her shoulder.


Her tone was whimsical, rather than stern. Stern usually meant Buffy was
fighting something. Whimsical usually meant that was exactly how she

Whimsical does not sit well with Spike. Not at all. "How did your
reunion-of-souls go with Angel."

Buffy kept her eyes closed, listening to the music. "Me and Angel are
not together and never will be. But we had a nice talk. Aired out some
issues. That's about it."

"I'm happy to hear that."

She knows he still holds out hope that she will want something from him.
Something emotional, even romantic. 
"Spike. You're my friend."

"That's a start."

"No, that's it. Ever," she stated flatly as they danced. 

"Juts keep telling yourself that, and someday you will actually believe
it yourself."

Buffy laughed in his ear as they moved to the music. "Your ego is
something else."

He's quite pleased with her easy going nature this evening. "A vamp's
got to have hope."

"Hope is a good thing," she added with a sigh. "We all need hope."  Then
she pulled back a little and looked into his eyes. "But romantically
speaking, there is no hope for us."

"That's what you keep saying."

"Because I mean it." Buffy looked serious. "You don't have a soul."

"Is that all it would take to soften your eyes to me?"

"No, that's one of about forty things it would take to do that."

Spike snorted in her ear. "Souls are highly overrated, Buffy. Look at
you humans. Between the Holocaust and Slavery, all of which had nothing
to do with vampires, you guys are the true Big-Bads in the world."

"A soul equals the ability to change. It equals the ability to feel
regret. You're right though. Humans can do just as much evil with a soul
as a vampire can without. But without the soul, you'll never have the
ability to regret your actions. A man with a soul who kills someone at
age twenty and goes to jail may feel a deep, true regret by the time he
turns thirty. A vampire without a soul who kills someone at twenty won't
care when he's fifty. He'll just keep on killing as if it was no big

"Then how do you explain me?"

"You don't have a soul. You have never, ever said you regretted any of
the things you've done. And I know for a fact according to Giles books
that you are personally responsible for over 300 murders. I wonder how
big that number really is."

Moving in a short circle, they continued to dance. "You think you have
it all figured out, don't you?"

"No. I have you figured out. I think you are just now turning that
corner and trying to change. But the question is this. How many of your
actions over the last nine months were influenced by your feeling for
me, or because they were the right things to do? Would you save a girl
who's being attacked and none of us are around? Or would you just keep
on walking?"

"You know I love Dawn."

Buffy nods against his shoulder. "And she loves you too. It's the
strangest thing, watching you two together. But if you never fell for
me, she could have easily been another way top get at me. You know that
less than two years ago, you would have killed Dawn without a thought."

He doesn't answer, knowing that she is telling the truth. "I would never
hurt the Niblet."

"Now maybe. But don't think I don't worry about that chip in your head.
I do. Every day. That's why I patrol with you."

"I thought is was my handsome looks, charming accent, and razor sharp

"It's because you're a great fighter and if your chip stopped working,
you would be able to kill Xander or Anya easily. Willow's is great with
magic, but you've dealt with witches before. You'd kill her and Tara
too. But you can't kill me. Chip or no chip. I can take you and you know
it. I think that's a big part of your attraction to me, whether you
admit it or not." Buffy looked up as a waitress shouted at her. "Our
foods here." She moved out of Spike's arms. "Come on. I'm starved."

Spike had hoped this dance, the first she's ever agreed to would be the
spark that ignited them. Instead, he gets the feeling she's already made
up her mind.


"Now this is good," Buffy complimented as Spike watched her take down
slice after 
slice of their large, cheese, sausage, and mushroom pizza. 

"These blokes sure know what their doing, I'll give them that," Spike
said as he threw a smile at the waitress. 

Buffy nursed her beer as she looked around. No one knows her here. Know
one knows her destiny, her fears, her problems. Here she is just a
twenty one year old women with a guy. 

"So, Buffy?"

"Yeah?" she replied while making eye contact with one of the pool

"Was it hard crawling out of that coffin and up through the dirt?"

He's always trying to pull her further into the darkness, never letting
her move past it's grip. She knows that now. Accepts that's who he is.
But that's not who she is. "I had to wash my hair for two whole hours
that night. I had never been so filthy before. Not even when my mom had
to give me a bath after I had a fight in the mud when I was seven."

Spike took another shot of vodka. He had hoped to strike a cord, not
walk down memory 
lane. "When you woke up in the coffin, what did you think?"

"I was confused. Angry. Paranoid. I just knew I had to get out of
there," Buffy remembered while sitting back in her chair. "I wanted to
stay dead."

"It is nice, isn't it." Spike leaned forward, his elbows on the table
between them. "The quiet."

"Yeah," Buffy added softly. "But I'm not dead," she smiled. "No matter
how much I experienced it. Touched it. Maybe even found a measure of
peace in it. I'm still not dead. So now what?"

"You let me help you?"

"You are."

 Spike thought to himself as he took bit into
another slice of 
pizza. "All I want to do is help you."

Buffy turned to face him again. A part of her is hurt by the expression
on his face.  "Spike, this..." she spread her
arms out. "This is all we will ever have. A caughtious friendship .
Nothing more. Ever. And please don't accuse me of suppressing some
desire to be with you because I'm some weak women who wants what she's
afraid to ask for."  She then leaned forward. "If I wanted to fuck you,
I would."
"You know you want to dance."

"And we did. It was nice. You're really light on your feet, you know,"
Buffy smiled, sitting back again.

Spike presses on, hoping to crack her shell. "You can try all you want,
doll. But you're a Slayer. Darkness is your power source. You can try to
live in this world. But you'll never truly be a part of it."

Buffy stretched her neck. "Darkness may be a part of me, but it doesn't
control me. If it did I would be robbing backs instead of dealing with a
leaky roof and a past due water bill. I'm Buffy Anne Summers. And I'm
not going to let any destiny, any organization, or anyone tell me
different. My mother raised a fighter. She taught me how to stay strong
in times of hardship because when my dad left her she was just a
housewife. She worked a hard, low paying job to support us while going
to school at night and on the Saturdays. She could have just hooked up
with any guy when times got tough. Someone that would say all the things
she wanted to her. I love you. I'll protect you. Don't worry about
anything. I don't need that. Her strength is my greatest strength. The
Slayer is what I can do. Buffy Summers is who I am."

Spike smiled and began clapping his hands. "That's a great speech, luv.
You deserve an Oscar."

"So do you with all this talk about how I climbed out of my coffin,"
Buffy offered while finishing her beer. "You stole my panties, Spike.
Why are you still trying to get in them."

His response was a shoulder shrug, as with most of his actions. "I
didn't exactly romance you 'Gone With The Wind' style, did I?"

"You stalked me. It was sick. You followed me. You broke in my house and
stole things from me. You sat outside my bedroom window while I was with
Riley. You made a robot replica of me and had sex with it." Buffy leaned
forward again. "What women in her right mind would date a guy that
treated her like that."

"Hey, I have many qualities," Spike fired back, ignoring her argument.

Buffy just shook her head.  "You're an attractive
guy, Spike."

"Now we're getting somewhere." His smirk caused her to laugh at him.

"And I will admit you fill out a black T-shirt pretty good."

"Continue," he smiled, accentuated with a wave of his hand.

"But the against category is simply overwhelming."

Spike met her in the center of the table, now face to face. "But you
kissed me once. And I bet you never told anyone about that."  

"No, I didn't."

"Why? And be honest with yourself."
"Because it was no big deal. You did something that you didn't have to
do. Something that I never, ever expected you would do."

"I'm capable of surprising you," he smiled.

"Yes, you are."

"Then why not give us a chance?" 

"Because a relationship with you would be as healthy as drinking Drano
or battery acid."

It was Spike's turn to roll his eyes as he sat back. "Who knows you
better than I do?"

"Willow, Xander, Dawn, and Giles. I also believe that Anya and Tara
might be just behind you and closing in."

"Okay, now you're just making fun of me."

"Was it funny when you destroyed all those lives in Europe?"

His face held true and he tilted his head. "I did what I did."

"Exactly. And you never give any thought to the people you hurt. That's
not the kind of man I would ever want."

"What about Angel? His death count is much higher than mind."

"And that's a good thing?" Buffy exaggerated with her voice.

"That's not an answer to my question. " 
"I loved Angel more than anything in the world. But I was a seventeen
year old teenager when I met him. He was handsome and mature. He had
been all over the world and seen things, experienced things I had only
heard of. He kissed me the way a man kisses a women. not a teenager. He
made love to me for the first time. But he was just as big a mistake as
you would be. And unlike that time, I'm not in love with you. But I do
find you entertaining occasionaly."

That hurt, but he played it off. "Angel fell for the kid. I fell for the

"If I attract the love of a murderer, then that doesn't say a whole lot
of good things about me, now does it?"

"Do you have to keep calling me a murderer?"

"Yes," Buffy explained. "I can't ever, not for a second forget who you
really are because if something ever happens to that chip in your head,
and I start to think of you as harmless, then I will repeat everything I
went through with Angel all over again. I will never turn my back to the
lives people have led again. I'm not going down that road. It leads to
death. Every time."

Spike spoke vehemently. "How do you know I'll turn evil if this chip
comes out? There is no way for you to know that." 

"I'm not taking any chances," Buffy said. "Angel was head over heels in
love with me. But the second he became a vampire without a soul, he
began torturing me. He tried to kill everyone I love and destroy the
world. You have to understand, he truly fell in love with me. And he
still killed Jenny. I hold that death as my fault because I couldn't
bring myself to kill him sooner. If I ever reunited with Angel, every
time I would look at Giles, he would see the girl he loves as a daughter
with the man that killed the love of his life. I couldn't do that to
him, even though he would say he doesn't see it that way. But I do."
Buffy ran her fingers through her hair, taking a deep breath. "A person
has to take into account their life experience and those around him or
her. You killed people all over Europe. I have little doubt you proabaly
raped women as well. And you're not sorry for any of it. You've killed
plenty of people here in Sunnydale. I could be sitting next to someone
in class who’s sister you killed. I could stand behind someone at a
supermarket whose father you murdered. These people matter, Spike. You
did horrible things. But you're trying to change now and I'm not God. I
can't judge you and tell you what you do and do not deserve. But as for
me. I need to act like a mature woman who is raising at 15 year old
teenager, while dealing with a house that is falling apart, a mortgage,
and doing all of this on a budget. I can't act like a kid. And being in
a relationship with you would be madness on my part."

"You're not that different than I am. We're both killers of humans. Or
have those Knights that chased us out of town conveintly been

"Anyone who physically threatens my family is going down. Period," Buffy
said as she took another sip of her beer. 

"You still killed a human."

"In self-defense."

"And what if I say I couldn't control myself?"

"Then I would say that's your problem, not mine." Her voice softened a
bit. "I never thought I would think of you as a friend, but I do. I've
needed a different type of friendship recently. But I'm slowly getting
my bearings against. I think Dawn needs you in her life. I know the
Scoobies need you. And these last few months I have needed you. As a
friend. Nothing more. I don't want to have to repeat that."

"So, you need me?" Spike grinned from ear to ear.

Buffy just laughed out loud. "Everyone’s different now. We've all
changed. But fundamentally, we haven't. I was raised with values and
morals. My first Watcher was my mother. I'd like to think she is still
watching over me. And she wants me to live a good, happy life. She wants
me to be brave. To make mistakes and learn from them. That's what I have
to do with my life now. And dating or falling for someone like you just
can't happen."

It hurt, but a part of him understood. "I'm still trying to figure out
my life as well."

"I know."

"Sitting at home all day watching soap opera's is not much of a life,"
Spike admitted as he finished of his bottle of vodka.

Buffy nodded, realizing his lonely existence does effect him, though he
hides behind his arrogance. "All we can do is the best we can do."

"I guess so."

Reaching into her purse, Buffy pulls out the twenty she earned earlier
from their pool game. "This should cover my end."

Spike looked up as Buffy fumbled for her car keys. "You're leaving."

"Yeah. Dawns got to be at school an hour early for a special project and
I have to be at Xander's construction site by nine. He’s trying to get
me a job. If he can I may forgo college until next fall just so I can
make some money. I've got responsibilities now. I can't just do anything
I want anymore."

Spike nodded. "Tell the Niblet I said hi."

"I will," Buffy said as she turned to walk away. "Thank you, Spike. You
have the potential to be something I never thought you could become?"

"And what's that?"

"A good friend." She smiled and walked out of the restaurant.

Spike closed his eyes, wishing he didn't love her so much, and knowing
that just isn't possible. "Thank you, Buffy," he said out-loud to no one
in particular. 


The End