Suzee's Alternate Bridging the Gap Ending
Knocking on the door a second time Buffy wondered if this was such a good idea. Sure she’d already debated the topic with herself for hours and decided that she had to do it or she would always wonder, but that was then. Now that she was here, standing in front of the door…Maybe I can make it to the elevator before—
“Buffy?” Her hair was a shade or two darker—more of a honey color—reaching down to her waist; her clothes more sophisticated. But it was definitely still Buffy.
Maybe wondering wouldn’t be so bad; sure it was for the rest of her life, but it was just wondering. Plus, wondering didn’t involve seeing Spike again. And seeing him again was hard.
“Buffy?” this time there was less shock in his voice and more concern. “Are you okay, luv?” Maybe not the first thing he should be asking her after seeing her for the first time in basically five years, but she looked so…lost.
He was about to ask her inside when he finally got response from her; it was only a shake of her head but it was something.
“My mom died,” she whispered so quietly that he was sure h hadn’t heard her right.
“Your mum?” he’d always liked Joyce, she was a nice lady.
“Uh-huh,” Buffy was still standing in his doorway, an almost scared look on her face, “Y-yesterday. They, uh, they said it was a brain aneurism…”
She started to cry then and, God, but he couldn’t stand it. “C’mere, pet,” he told her, against his better judgment.
It had been years since she’d been in his arms and she thought she was over it, thought that it was like your favorite childhood toy that you just didn’t need anymore but still held fond memories of. This, though, was more like finding a long lost toy that you had missed every single day since the day you lost it; something you still needed as much today as you did years ago.
It wasn’t supposed to be like that. She wasn’t supposed to automatically feel safe the moment he’d wrapped her in his arms; wasn’t supposed to finally let out the tears she’d been holding in for nearly forty-eight hours now that he was here to…just here.
All the worries of planning the funeral, calling the right people, comforting her father, all fled her mind and she finally let go.
“That’s it, pet; just let it out.” Spike held her against him, rubbing light circles on her back, his heart breaking as he listened to her pained sobs. “Shh,” he whispered soothing, meaningless things in her ear until finally her crying slowed and her knees seemed to give out on her.
“What’re you…?” Buffy came back to herself when she felt him picking her up, a hand behind her knees and one by her shoulders.
“Just going to sit down, yeah?” Spike answered her, pushed the door shut, and walked across the living room—still decorated with what they had chosen together—and sat with her on the sofa. Once they were settled next to each other and Buffy had pulled her knees up against her chest, Spike braved broaching the subject of just why she was there. “So…your mum, then.”
“Yeah,” her quiet tone matched his.
“I’m so sorry, Buffy.” Spike knew it was up to him to say something, that he was the one who was supposed to cover the silence in this situation, but he couldn’t’ think of a single thing to say.
They sat in silence for a good five minutes; it wasn’t comfortable or uncomfortable it just was.
“So, no one else in town then?” he finally thought to ask.
“Why would you say that?” It was probably the last thing she was expecting him to ask.
“Well…you being here for one.” Buffy just looked confused so he elaborated, “Figured you’d be off with Red or the cheerleader—Cordelia; I have to be last on the list. So, you being here…figure no one else is around.”
“Spike, that’s not,” she was so surprised he thought that, that she wasn’t sure what to say. “I guess that makes sense, but…I came Spike because I wanted to see you. Not just to be around someone, but to be around you.”
“I’d just thought that after…”
Buffy turned herself so she could see him better, “That after I didn’t talk to you for four years I wouldn’t just show up like this?”
“Well…yeah,” he admitted. “It’s not that I’m not glad to see you—wish it was under different circumstances—but…what is this Buffy? This just for today, for this week, for what?”
“What if I don’t know? If all I know is that I need you to get through this week, through my mom’s funeral?”
“I can do that, pet; I can do that.” Alright, so he didn’t know if he could do it and make it out with his heart intact but he’d be a right prick to tell her no; not like he’d ever been able to deny her before anyway. Or like he wanted to.
“I guess I should probably tell you what happened then,” Buffy tried not to let him know how relieved she was that he’d said yes—why she didn’t want him to know she wasn’t sure, but she didn’t.
“Only what you want to tell me.”
“My dad called me yesterday morning,” and so she told him how she had found out her mother, her beautiful mother, had died; how her whole world tipped off its axis and got drop kicked away.
“That was a beautiful service.’
“Yeah, pet, it was; Joyce would have liked it, I think.”
“Yeah, I think so, too.” The funeral was over and the little gathering they’d had at the house afterwards was finally over. Finally everyone that had made Buffy feel so stifled and closed in all day was gone. Except now she felt horribly alone and wanted them all to come back, to hear the noise of their voices filling her house and stopping her from being able to think, think about the fact that she now had no mother. “I have no mother,” she hadn’t thought about it like that before.
“Yes you do,” Spike’s voice startled her; she’d been so lost in her thoughts that she’d forgotten he was still there. “She’s always your mum whether she’s…here or not.”
“Are you sure?”
She’d known that he was going to be able to help her this week but she hadn’t even known the half of it. With everyone else unable to cope, everything had been left to her and she had in turn looked to Spike; he’d helped her pick the flowers, the hymns, talked to the caterer for her, he’d even helped her figure out what she wanted to say at the service. Then he’d read it for her when she was unable to.
She literally couldn’t have done it without him.
“You have to leave,” she blurted out suddenly, sounding very anxious.
“What?” Had he done something wrong and not realized it?
“Home; you need to go home.”
She was really starting to worry him “Just tell me what it is, pet and I’ll go.”
“Can I…can I tell you tomorrow?” she looked like her old self again, trying to get out of something just by looking cute. Except, of course, she wasn’t doing it on purpose.
“As long as you tell me nothing—nothing beyond the obvious is wrong.”
“No, none of that…I just—I just need you to go home. I’ll come by tomorrow and we can talk?”
“Sure,” he was still extremely confused but wasn’t going to stay if she didn’t want him there.
“Good, good, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Buffy ushered him out the door and closed it quickly, turning to rest her back against the dark wood. When she was relatively sure he wasn’t going to rush back up the sidewalk and make her tell him what was wrong, Buffy let out a big sigh and started up the stairs to her room, already wondering about tomorrow.
How was she supposed to tell him that she’d made him go because of just how much she wanted him to stay?
Buffy was up by nine the next morning—strange given that she hadn’t cried herself to sleep until nearly two am—but wasn’t dressed to go to see Spike until just after eleven. She hadn’t been able to decide either what she needed to wear or what she needed to tell him—and how.
Finally she’d just thrown on the first shirt she pulled out of her suitcase and a pair of jeans and decided she’d figure out what she was going to say to Spike once she got there. At some point she was going to have to remember that she was no longer a sixteen year old girl; she was a twenty three year old woman—perfectly capable of having an adult conversation with her ex-boyfriend. Even if it was Spike.
Spike hadn’t been able to sleep last night. He’d gone home at seven when Buffy asked him too—only turning around (and then back around again) twice—made himself dinner watched a movie, and then he’d tried to go to sleep. But he hadn’t been able to sleep for worrying about Buffy.
Hoping she wouldn’t see him and wouldn’t kill him if she did, he got back in his car and drove to her house. He didn’t have any intention of going inside or even letting her know he was there, but Spike just had to know that Buffy was relatively alright. That he wasn’t doing the wrong thing by staying gone.
Her light had gone out around eleven and then, just as he was ready to leave, back on around eleven thirty. He’d watched from the street—convincing himself that he wasn’t being creepy and stalker-like—as she moved around her room for about fifteen minutes before sitting down. It was nearly twelve forty-five when she finally switched off the light and then turned on her little—and dim—bedside lamp. Spike saw her toss and turn and had to stop himself from getting out of his car at least twenty times, but finally around two she’d to fall asleep; and when she hadn’t moved anymore by two thirty, he finally went home and to bed.
So, even though it was now eleven thirty in the morning, he was not very awake and was not entirely sure that the knock on the door was welcome. Setting his unfinished bowl of cereal in the sink, Spike took a deep breath and ran a hand through his messy hair.
More than likely it was Buffy so it wasn’t like he could ignore his ‘guest’, so he opened the door.
“Hey, luv,” it was who he had expected.
“Morning, Spike,” Buffy mumbled, walking around him into the apartment and trying to convince herself to be an adult about all of this.
“Do you want to—“
“I’m not a kid anymore. I’m an adult now.” Apparently Buffy still liked confusing him.
“Well, yeah,” he said slowly, “You are twenty three.” He didn’t get where she was going with things.”
“Technically, yeah.” If he wasn’t so sure she was angry with him, Spike would have been thrilled with the amount of energy, of passion, she seemed to have now. “But it’s like every time I see you again…it’s like I’m sixteen again. It happened when I came to tell you I was leaving for college and its happening now. I have to tell you stuff and I can’t make my dumb brain think anything beyond ‘Oooh, it’s Spike’! What is wrong with me?!”
She flopped back onto his sofa and just seeing her there made him feel like they were back when she was sixteen—when things had been so good.
“I don’t mean to,” was all he could think to say.
“I know that! I…Fine, I’ll just be all Anya-like about it.”
“This should be interesting,” Spike had vivid memories of just how blunt his former boss could be.
“I made you leave last night because I wanted you to stay—“
“—Make sense? Yeah, I know. But see,” Buffy closed her eyes as if not seeing him would make what she had to say easier to get out. “I wanted to have sex with you.”
“What?” Spike’s voice had dropped and was more serious than she’d heard it since…well since that last time she’d seen him.
“It was like everything just hurt so damn much and you were there and you were still…you’re still you and I wanted…I wanted to know that it was still possible to feel good. I wanted to know that it wouldn’t all hurt forever.”
“I was just trying to help.”
Buffy opened her eyes and saw that Spike was now kneeling in front of her.
“But that’s just it! I haven’t seen you in what? Five years? Six if you count the one before I went to college…that’s a long time Spike.”
“We were best friends Buffy.”
”Yeah, were. Until six years ago—a long time ago. Since then I’ve talked to you maybe like three times.”
“What do you want me to say, Buffy?”
“I want…I don’t know…It’s just….That’s what would have happened last night—or what I would have tried to make happen. And see, it would either end with us having sex which would be bad or you turning me down and then leaving which would also be bad.”
“Why would it be bad?”
“God, you’re just full of questions! It would be bad because…” she trailed off suddenly when she realized what she was about to say.
“Because what, Buffy?” he could tell she had something to say—and he wanted her to say it that much he knew…it was an unexplainable feeling but he knew he needed to hear what she was so scared to say.
“Because…You’re not going to let me not tell you, are you?” He shook his head in the negative so she took a deep breath and screwed her eyes shut. “Because I can’t have sex with you and have it mean nothing to you.…I can’t have sex with you while I love you and you don’t love me.” There. She’d said it. Why wasn’t her world falling in on itself?
“You’re going back to Boston,” Spike said, just as she was ready to demand that he say something already.
“What does—How do you know I live in Boston?” She’d made a point of not telling him too much about her personal life this week and hadn’t spoken to him—not even a quick hello when she came home for Christmas—in four years. How did he know that?
Spike could have kicked himself for screwing up now. When he finally had her back—or at least back in the same city…and she was even talking to him again. What was he doing?
“I…I might have talked to your dad a time or two.” Or a hundred
“About me?” her tone gave away nothing of what she was feeling.
Spike jumped on the defensive immediately, “He didn’t want to talk to me at first—so don’t be mad at him. But I…You were gone and…you were gone.”
“Yeah, and when I was in New York, you were gone from where I was.”
“But if I’d gotten killed or gotten married—“
“You put killed before married?”
“—Someone would have told you. No one was going to come knocking on my door telling me if anything happened to you. And excuse me for not being able to just get over you completely. So I asked you dad how you were doing, big bloody fucking deal!” He didn’t like getting in trouble for still caring about her. “You’re the one that wanted the bloody ‘clean break’. I don’t work like that, Buffy; I can’t just ignore something and have it go away. For me, love is stronger than that.”
“You think I forgot about you? You think that I just went off to college, quit loving you, and forgot all about you?”
Great, now he’d made her angry. Her mother’s funeral had been the day before and now he was being a pillock and forcing her into a conversation he wasn’t sure they ever needed to have—let alone now.
“Listen, I’m sorry, alright? I didn’t mean to start all of this right now—“
“Quit trying to be all noble—“
“—I am not trying to be noble. I just don’t like the idea of making you mad and quite possibly making you hurt even more when—after yesterday!”
“Well being such an ass and not letting me say what I want to say is making me madder than not having this conversation would,” Buffy realized her faulty logic. “Just let me say it, okay?”
“Fine,” it was clipped and abrupt.
“Do you think that because I didn’t want to see or talk to you after we broke up and after I left, do you think that’s so that I could forget about you and quit loving you?”
“I did, yeah,” he admitted.
“Okay…” Buffy chose to move on for the moment. “And you asked my dad about me because why?”
The absolutely calm tone she had was worrying Spike. “Because knowing you were out there in the world and not being able to see you or talk to you or even know how you were doing was bloody torture. Because I’d sit here on this damn sofa you picked out, with your damn dog whining at me because you were gone, and think of the worst things that could possibly be happening to you. Or imagining you all happy like with some bloke. That’s why.”
“Where is Mandy?” Buffy couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought to ask about the dog until then—well, okay, she could, but she still felt horrible about it. “She didn’t…did she?”
“She’s fine. Just at he boarder’s this week.”
”So you what? Just board her when you get tired of her?” Buffy asked without thinking.
“No,” Spike answered tersely, “I board her when I’m going to go on vacation.”
“When you…You were going on vacation?”
“Yeah. I was supposed to meet an old friend for the week down in Hawaii; see her new restaurant and all that.” Unsure of whether or not he’d be welcome to sit next to her on the sofa and not wanting to go any further away, he sat down cross legged on the carpet right in front of her feet.
“Like a girlfriend friend?”
”Something like that, yeah.”
“Why didn’t you go?” Buffy didn’t know why she asked him the obvious questions, but for some reason she still needed to hear his answer—even when she knew what it was going to be.
“Because you asked me to be here…for you. Doesn’t matter why or what, nothing’s ever going to top that—whether you’re comfortable with that fact or not, it’s the truth.”
“So you put it off till next week right? Changed your ticket and stuff, right?”
“Called and told her I wasn’t going to be making her opening and we’d see about whether or not I came down at some later point. Lost the ticket I guess.”
“But, Spike, that’s money.”
“And this is love.”
Leave it to him to make it that simple.
“No, you asked why I said ‘if I got killed’ before ‘if I got married’. I said it, Buffy, because there’s a higher chance of me getting killed than me ever getting married.”
“But you always said you wanted to ge—“ Buffy’s eyes grew wide as she trailed off.
“Yeah, you see it now?”
“Spike…you’re the one that ended everything before…you thought Angel and I—“
“Yeah, I thought wrong, alright? I knew it then—well not right then, but ten minutes later then—and I know it now. But…You deserved to be happy Buffy, to do all that high school stuff I never would have been able to do with you. To go to prom, to have fun at graduation—which you were beautiful at, by the way—you deserved all of that. So…so I thought it would just be better for us to both move on and all that rot. For me to find some woman my age and for you to find some boy who wouldn’t…who wouldn’t do what I did.”
“We’ll be going back to that graduation thing, mister—don’t think we won’t—but are you saying that you though I deserved better than you?”
“So let me get this straight, you thought I deserved someone better than you so after our stupid break-up you kept it broken up so that I could move on, do the high school and college thing, forget all about you, and quit loving you?”
“Doesn’t sound so smart when you say it all out like that,” he realized.
“That’s because it’s a moronic plan, Spike!”
“Wanting you to be happy is moronic?”
“Thinking I could be happy without you? Yeah, it is.”
“And what do you know about graduation?”
“But Buffy—“ he wanted to get back to the more important subject.
“Uh-uh, how do you know what I looked like at graduation?”
“I went alright. You happy now? I went to your bleedin’ graduation.” Had to see what my girl looked like when she finally finished high school, he thought.
“I didn’t see you.”
“You went to my graduation.” She said slowly, once again in the calm voice that terrified him—but this time Spike thought he heard a bit of awe as well. “You went to my graduation, you asked my dad how I was doing, you didn’t redecorate, you didn’t get married, you kept my dog, you ditched a girl and a vacation to spend the week with mopey me planning my mother’s funeral?”
“Well…yeah,’ he said as if it should have been entirely obvious.
“Because I love you, you crazy bint,” Spike smiled for the first time in the last half hour.
“Then I think I’m the one who needs to apologize.”
“Why?” Spike asked, his smile faltering.
“….I don’t actually know,” Buffy laughed and it was more nervous than anything, “but I feel like I doubted you way more than I should have and like…I hurt you, Spike.”
“I hurt you, too, pet. It’s what happens when people break up.”
“Yeah, but I just completely cut you off. Just like that.”
“You have you ways of dealing with things, I have mine. Nothing to be sorry about there. Besides, you’re the reason we’re even having this conversation in the first place.”
Suddenly Buffy remembered what she had said to him about sex…and love.
“But what’s it mean? Like you said I’m going back to Boston and you’re here…and it’s been six years.”
“And it was more than four before that. Almost Eleven years, Buffy, eleven years, and I still want you there every damn second of every damn day. What it means is that we figure something out. I can work in Boston—“
“No, Spike,” Buffy started to interrupt but Spike interrupted her himself.
“No, if you don’t want us to be anything more than friends that’s okay. Just us talking again will be okay. I promise not to hound you and give you your space.”
“Not what I was going to say but…Could you really do that, Spike?”
“Probably not,” he admitted, “But I would try. God, Buffy, I’d try.”
“Spike…this isn’t me just being all overly full of emotions because of this whole week, is it?”
“You feel this stuff before this week?”
“Then it’s not just this week. So, where in Boston do you recommend for apartments?”
“What about here?”
“What do you mean, ‘what about here?’?”
“Mom worked at the diner and Dad—“
“Buffy, your dad is going to be okay. You can go back to Boston.”
“What if he…”
“I’ll keep this place somehow and you can come back whenever you need to, but your life’s in Boston, pet. I’m sure he wants you to go back.”
“So he says, but after this week—“
“He’s fully capable of talking for himself. He’s going to be okay, Buffy. It’d probably drive him crazy to know you gave up that great job and life you have out there to help him in the diner.”
Buffy stared at him suspiciously. “Are you sure you haven’t talked to me in six years? You’re still pretty damn good at figuring out what’s in my head. You’ve got a talent there.”
“Only with you, love, only with you.”
“So,” Buffy began, pulling him up to sit on the sofa beside her, “can I help decorate?”