Season of Solace. 62

62:     North Central Sunnydale

Buffy barely felt the rush of wind whipping through her hair as she ran from the mansion. After a quick jog down the drive, the pebbled cobblestones crunching beneath her shoes, she burst into a full run down Crawford Street. She crossed the north end of Revello Drive without a thought of heading home, darting past City Hall where a group of older women were loitering under umbrellas as they planned an event for the morning.

A look of recognition from one woman went unnoticed by Buffy as she ran past them completely oblivious to the faces in the small crowd. The sound of her name was lost on the breeze as she cut across the street. Hopping over the rope looped between the short posts dividing the sidewalk from the closely cropped grass of Restfield Cemetery, she paused long enough to feel the raindrops on her cheek.

They were not tears. She was not ready to cry. It was anger that made her eyes sting. Wiping the dampness away with her sleeve, Buffy raised her eyes and looked out at the gloom of the cemetery.

There was little moonlight to brighten the marble tombstones. She did not need it. Her acute night vision picked out a shape moving between the gravestones at the far side of the cemetery.

Reaching for her favorite stake, Buffy took off again. The figure in the distance moved slowly, loping along at a casual pace seemingly unaware of the impending danger. He turned at the last moment when Buffy hurtled over a granite marker, raising her stake to plunge it deep.

“What the—!” Spike caught her wrist midair and braced for impact. Still, they tumbled to the ground.

Eye to eye, Buffy’s jaw dropped in recognition, “You!”

“Get off me, you bint.”

Instinctively, Buffy pressed down hard bringing her stake at an angle closer to his heart. Then remembering Angel ordered her to leave both Spike and Dru alone pushed her body up so that she straddled his, her free hand pressing down on his chest. “Stay put.”

Spike quirked a brow sensing that she was not planning to stake him. “Gonna give me a lap dance, luv?”

“Shut up!” she snapped. “I wasn’t looking for you. I can’t dust you.”

She watched the surprise register in those blue, blue eyes. “Off limits, am I? But now that you’ve found me,” Spike pulled at her wrist and shifted his hip, using his strength to flip them over, “what say we get to know each other a little better.”

“Lucky me,” Buffy commented sourly as Spike pressed her into the soft grass. “I think that’s a great idea.”

A head butt sent Spike reeling. He let go, grunting at the painful contact. Buffy pressed her hand into his chest tossing him back. She flipped to her feet and stepped forward as Spike lazily watched her approach, a confident smirk spread across his face.

Before he could speak, Buffy cut him off. She might have promised Angel that she wouldn’t stake either Spike or Dru until this situation with Cordelia was fully resolved, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t say stuff that needed to be said.

“Your girlfriend doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” Buffy gave the sole of his boot a little kick of frustration inwardly hoping he’d attack just so she would have a legitimate excuse to stake him.

Spike did not take the bait. He propped himself up on his elbows to watch her for a few moments and giving Buffy the notion that he saw a little too much. “What are you on about?”

“Angel,” she stressed and then clarified with a huff, “Cordelia and Angel. Drusilla has the wrong idea.”

Still on the ground, Spike answered bluntly, “I doubt that. He told you what my Dru saw in her vision?”

Gritting her teeth, Buffy shook her head. “He wouldn’t tell me.”

A short laugh erupted from his throat as Spike rose to his feet, “Really? Does that tell you anything?”

It hurt too much to answer that question. Buffy flexed her grip on her stake. “Get out of town, Spike, both of you.”

He leaned in close, just inches away from her face, “No.”

Buffy punched him just because he got too close leaving her fist bruised and his lip bloody. She watched him slowly wipe the bloody gash off and then suck his finger into his mouth, grinning as if she had given him a treat. Seething with anger, she urged him to fight back. “Go ahead, Spike, hit me. C’mon.”

When he moved, it was only to circle around her, two deadly predators assessing the other. “Love to, sunshine, but not tonight. Let’s try it again some night when you’re not thinking about him.”

Buffy swiveled around turning her head to look over her right shoulder as Spike circled behind her. “Angel?”

“Who else?” Spike’s cheek dimpled. “Got you hot and bothered, does it?”

He clucked his tongue and grinned as Buffy took a step toward him. She stopped before getting any closer.

“Looks like Angelus took the blinkers off, Slayer,” he chuckled. “He’s no longer blind to anything but you and now he has found himself a sexy new pet. Wouldn’t mind petting that one myself.”

He was ready for the punch when it came, avoiding it, and chuckling when she whirled around to face him. Less amused, he grunted as her boot connected with his stomach. Buffy kept coming until Spike had no choice but to fight back. Her stake went flying as he knocked it out of her grip.

Buffy went through an array of acrobatic moves, jabs and punches. She was not really out to kill him, just rough him up because he was so damned irritating and he had said just the right things to make her mad.

Most of Spike’s moves were defensive. His offense was verbal. Everything he said wound her up even more and he was having a hell of a time doing it. “Maybe you miss it a little too much.” He tussled her up against the nearest oak tree, and then his voice deepened to honey, “Maybe you need to be petted, too. You look like you need it.”

Disgusted, Buffy pushed against his chest with both hands. He was expecting a struggle, but let her go. “Don’t ever touch me like that again.”

“We’ll try something new next time,” he grinned backing away. She let him go, watching until he disappeared into the darkness.

Overhead, the skies opened up and the scattered sprinkles turned into sheets of rain. It pelted down, soaking her hair and clothes, but Buffy did not care. She felt her anger draining away as she resolved to put an end to her suspicions once and for all. Spike could not be trusted and Drusilla was simply crazy. They were simply confusing Angel’s heroic concern for Cordelia’s safety with something more.

It might have been sweet, really, the way he watched her like a hawk, or laughed at her stupid jokes, and sipped at her slushy fruit swirl. Not to mention the fact that he let her touch him. Buffy had not missed the way Cor had her hand on his thigh or the fact that he did not seem the least uncomfortable about it.

Tomorrow was her day to play bodyguard to Cordelia. By morning, Buffy resolved to have a whole laundry list of questions that would get her the answer she wanted by the end of the school day. The direct approach would never work.

Subtlety was the name of the game. Buffy nodded in approval of her plan then turned toward home. Cordelia Chase was going to tell her the truth, one way or another.

Scene 63

Posted in TBC

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