Xander shut the door behind him and walked the short distance to her bedroom, thinking she must be laying in her bed, wallowing over that peroxide pest she'd been pining over for the last month. He shook his head, not understanding her choice in men, and stood by the door. “Buffy, luv,” he said in a put-on British accent, knocking softly on the door. “Your boy toy is back...”
“Go away Xander,” came a muffled reply from the other side of the door. “Stop being so cruel.”
“Cruel?” he laughed and turned the door knob, opening the door slowly. “How am I being cruel?”
Buffy quickly wiped the tears from her face, trying to remove any evidence of sadness. “I don't want to see anybody today, okay? I just want to spend my eighteenth birthday alone.”
Xander poked his head in, scanning the room with a scrunched up face. “Wow, Buff,” he winced as he picked up an article of dirty clothing hanging off the back of a chair. Clothes, paper and other debris were scattered about, including what looked like a melted tub of ice cream on her bedside table. “Could the term 'wallowing in your own filth' be more accurate?”
“Yes, Xander. It could be more accurate. And can you stop calling my Buffy, please?” she whined, hating that her brother was seeing her like this.
She just couldn't help it. Her heart was broken, and the worse part of it was that the object of her affection didn't even know how she felt. That's the rub though, isn't it? She hadn't even had the balls to tell him how she felt, and when all hell broke lose that night behind The Bronze, she knew she'd brought it on herself. If only she'd said something to him, made him know that she wanted to be exclusive, or that she wanted to take the not-a-relationship to the next level. However, that little spark of fear, all because of stupid Angel, Spike's freaking step brother, had hurt her to the point where she felt safer with her feelings bottled up.
It was all her own fault that her life had been turned upside down and spun around, all by that stupid choice of hers to get back at Angel, and lose her virginity to a random stranger. All. Her. Own. Fault.
“But I thought you liked the name Buffy.” Xander stated as he walked over to the bed, picking up some clothes and garbage on the way. “At least, you liked it when Spike called you--”
“Xander!!” Buffy screamed and pulled a pillow over her head, trying to block her annoying brother out.
She said something into the pillow that he couldn't quite understand. “Huh? What was that?”
With a groan, she threw the pillow at him, causing him to drop everything in his hands to catch it before it hit his face. For a heartbroken teenage girl, she had good aim. “I said, I. Don't. Want. To. Hear. His. Stupid. Name!”
“Fine, fine,” He said, holding a hand up in surrender. “I won't mention... he who will not be mentioned again.”
“Thank you! Now, if you could just do me a favor and GO. AWAY!”
“Come on, Buf—Elizabeth, it's your birthday. Don't let some... some lowly man bring you down. It's high time you let lose and had some freaking fun around here!” Xander whooped, and pushed play on her stereo, not caring what CD would be in there.
And making love was just for fun
Those days are gone
Xander quickly pushed the power button, muting Celine Dion and her sad, sad music. “Really?! All By Myself? You're just full of bad breakup cliches today, aren't you?”
Buffy groaned and pushed the blankets off her body. She went to her small walk in closet and shut one of the doors so she could get dressed. “I guess I am. But it's not like anyone but you cares. Poor, sad little Buffy. No one to love, no one to wipe her tears. Except a nosey, prying brother who won't go away!”
“Hey, I'm just doing you a favor. You will thank me in a couple months, when you've spent your birthday the right way. With cake and presents.” Xander smiled and resumed cleaning up the filthy space his sister called a bedroom. “And besides, I'm single too. It's been a month, we could go to the bar with your handy fake I.D and pick up some hot dates!”
Buffy poked her head out of the closet door, looking at him incredulously. “Ew, Xander. I am not going 'on the prowl' with you. You're my brother!”
“So? Siblings do that kind of thing all the time. You can tell me if you think the girl I chose is a bitch, and I can tell you if the guy you chose is a douche. It all works out.”
“No. I will go to the bar with you, but I am not helping you get a date. You can do that one solo.”
“No buts. It's weird, and I refuse to play matchmaker Buffy.”
“Fine, just get ready. We will go for dinner at your favorite restaurant, then go to the bar. Oh, and Liz?”
“You've been referring to yourself as Buffy for the last like, ten minutes.”
Buffy stepped out of Xander's car and straightened her dress. He'd taken her to her favorite restaurant, The China House, the best Chinese food in Sunnydale, and now they were standing outside of the Bronze. A part of her wanted to run, to never set foot inside that bar again. The other part of her was screaming to let go. To have fun and forget about stupid Spike. Forget about stupid men in general. None of them were worth it. She should just buy a dildo. It would be forever faithful, and if she grew tired of it, she could just switch it for a new one, no harm, no foul.
She giggled and slammed the car door behind her, swinging her purse up onto her shoulder all in one fluid movement. “So, ready to have some fun, Xan-Man?”
Xander smiled and shut his car door. “You don't know how long I've waited to her you say that. About freaking time, Buffster.”
“Alrighty,” she said and liked her arm through her brother's. “Let's do this.”
They walked into the building and headed up to the bar, both placing their drink order with the bartender. “I want something girly, today. How about a... Melonball? I heard Cordy talk about those before, and she is as girly as it gets.” Buffy giggled as she waited for the guy to fill her order.
She fished around in her wallet, pulling out a bill to pay for her drink. “Nu-uh. You're the birthday girl! No money shall pass your hands, unless it is mine. You hear that, tender of the bar? Whatever she orders goes on my tab.”
After a check of Buffy's I.D. The bartender nodded his head and continued making drinks.
“Alright, now for some shimmy and shaking!” Xander clapped his hands and grabbed Buffy's wrist, all but pulling her to the dance floor. After bringing her into the middle of the floor, he they started to dance, sipping on their drinks and trying not to spill them. “So, sis. Is this the bestest Buffy Birthday ever?”
“Yes, Xander,” she giggled. “Thank you from bringing me out of my pit of despair. Tonight has been great.”
“Good, good,” Xander hollered over the music, then began looking around. He saw a shock of platinum blonde hair and turned his attention back to his sister. “I'll be right back, 'kay? Gotta take care of something.”
“God, Xander, we've been here not even ten minutes, and already you're ditching me for some poon? Tsk, tsk, big bro.”
“Ha, ha,” Xander laughed dryly. “I'll be back.”
Buffy continued dancing, losing interest in her brother and let herself get caught up in the music, feeling the beat wash over her as she continually sipped her drink. 'I think I needed this,' she thought to herself as she swayed along to the melody.
Xander looked back, smiling at the vaguely happy image of his sister dancing. He hoped this worked. Earlier in the week, he'd met up with a disheveled looking Spike, and after a short conversation with him, followed by a string of questions—one revolving around what Spike's intentions were with his sister—Xander agreed to try and help Spike get back into her good graces.
As much as Xander didn't like him, it was only the first impression. If Spike wanted to get to Buffy, he was going to have to impress Xander as well.
Spike had come up with the idea all by himself, which Xander had appreciated, he wanted to have as little to do with this as he could, but if it made Buffy happy again, he was willing to take part.
“Spike, you ready?” Xander asked and slapped his hand on the blond's shoulder, trying to be comforting.
Spike turned around and gave the older man a small smile. “As ready as I'll ever be. Thanks, mate. For everything.”
Xander shook his head and held up his hands. “I had nothing to do with it, I just brought her here. The rest is up to you. I'm going to get back to her now. Good luck.”
Spike nodded and turned back to his guitar, tuning it so it would sound perfect. Everything was riding on this, he needed it to be flawless.
Xander made his way back to his sister, then grabbed her by the shoulders, pushing her backwards to a chair then forcing her to sit. “What are you doing?” she laughed, shaking her head and taking another sip of her drink.
“There is a band playing tonight, thought you'd might want to check them out. They're called Bloodlust.” Xander replied, fidgeting as his nervousness grew. 'I hope she forgives him, or I'm in deep shit!'
“Oooh!” Buffy perked up. “Live music!”
“You ready, man?” Oz, another member of Spike's band asked.
“I guess so,” Spike sighed and picked his guitar up. “Can't back out now.”
He wished he could run to the bar and down a couple shot of Whiskey, but he didn't have enough time, his set was starting as soon as the current song was done.
As the final notes played out and faded, Willow, Oz's girlfriend ran out on the stage and lowered the mic to her height. “Everyone ready for some live music?!” she called out and smiled at the whoops and hollers that came from the crowd. “Good! Please help me welcome to the stage... Bloodlust!”
Spike took a deep breath and followed Oz, Wesley and Gunn into the spotlight.
Buffy laughed at a silly joke Xander had just told her, then turned her attention to the stage, where a petite redhead was welcoming the band to the stage. Following suit with everyone else in the bar, Buffy cheered and clapped, hoping the band would be as good as the drink she was sipping on.
Buffy stood up and straightened her dress, then looked at Xander. “I'm getting another drink. You want?”
Xander nodded and handed her a twenty, then held up his bottle of beer. Snatching the bill from her brother, Buffy made her way to the bar.
She placed her order and waited for her drink, secretly checking out the bartender. ”Mmm, he looks yummy,' she giggled and accepted the drinks. “Thanks!” she winked and turned, making her way back to her table. She was half way there when she stopped, the sound of an unmistakable voice sounding through the bar.
“This one is for the special birthday girl out there tonight. You know who you are, love.”
Buffy halted, frozen in place and threw her gaze towards the stage, gasping at the intense look she was receiving from the blonde man standing in front of the microphone.
“I didn't know he was in a band...” she whispered to herself.
Quickly, Buffy's face hardened, looking at Spike with disdain, taking little satisfaction in the hurt that flashed across Spike's face as the song began to build. Buffy continued her walk towards her brother, ready to freak out on him for bringing her here.
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse
“Xander!” Buffy yelled, thrusting his drink at him, causing a little to splash out and stain his white shirt. “What the hell is this?!”
“I don't know,” Xander shrugged and took a long pull of his beer. “I didn't know anything about this...”
“Yeah, bullshit.” Buffy scoffed and sucked her drink back in one go. “Whatever. I'm over him anyway.”
Xander rolled his eyes and watched as she focused on Spike, listening to the words.
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Buffy crossed her arms, trying hard to not let the lyrics effect her. Trying very, very hard. Failing miserably. She sniffed a little, but refused to let her sadness and heartbreak pass her disinterested facade.
Spike looked at her, staring into her eyes as he sang the next verse, trying to convey how much these words rang true for him. He could tell she was shutting herself off, trying to not let anything sink in, but he wasn't going to stop. He was going to put everything he was worth into this. He needed her to understand. He needed her to forgive him.
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Buffy closed her eyes, her emotions starting to get the better of her. She quickly stood up, trying to get away from the words as quickly as she could, but was stopped by her brother's hand on her forearm.
“Buffy... give him a chance.”
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
“I thought you hated him, Xander. Why are you all of a sudden on his side?” Buffy huffed and sat back in her seat, trying to appear unaffected by Spike's mere presence in the bar, let alone his song. Her complete attention was on Spike though, if not visually.
“I had a long chat with him. He is truly sorry. You mean more to him than he had a chance to tell you. He told me everything from his point of view. Buffy... he really misses you.”
“I don't care.”
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Buffy looked at her brother and let her walls crumble, letting him see the pain she was actually feeling. “I'm not putting myself through this, Xander. I can't,” she stated, finally letting the tears escape. “I just... can't.”
Buffy stood up and started towards the front door, keeping her back towards the man that stole her heart.
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down on your face
And I will try to fix you
Just as she made it to the door, she turned around and gave a last look at Spike. She tried her best to ignore the desperation painted across his features. The song he'd just sang came from his heart, she knew that. She'd be a fool to not know that.
However, this was too much for Buffy. For every man that she'd been with, for every man that she thought she was in love with, it always ended horribly. Things were different with Spike, though. She didn't think she was in love with him. She knew she was in love with him, and that was a whole different ball park. If she let him in, if she let him know how much she felt for him and how much she wanted a relationship with him, the more power he had to hurt her. To take her heart and shatter it into a million tiny little pieces.
She couldn't have that. She didn't want to go through that. She went through that almost every day with her parents, she couldn't take it from him, too.
She looked at him a mouthed 'I'm sorry' to him, then walked out the door.