Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, X-mas
Disclaimer: Joss owns all the characters.
Spoilers: "Destiny"
Summary: Spike is trying to sort out his feelings about the fake prophecy and Buffy.
Thanks to my beta Tracy

The metal was smooth and cold under his fingers. The shiny finish of the object allowed him to see the run-down room around him without looking up. He looked into the reflections almost expecting that if he stared closely enough the answers to all his questions would magically reveal themselves. Maybe it would tell him what to do next and what his place in the world was, but of course it wouldn't. After all it had all been a sham. Angel was probably right: prophecies were just a load of crap, so why would he even care? Why was he standing here in the buried opera house again, on Christmas Eve of all days?

Spike shifted his weight and put his free hand in the duster pocket, turning the cup in his other hand, he snorted. Yeah, why the hell would he care? With a sigh he pulled out his pack of cigarettes from his pocket, and lit one. Becoming human was entirely Angel's thing. Spike wasn't the one who always sat in a dark office, brooding and dreaming about becoming a weak, mortal poofter again. Nope, that was Angel all the way. But for some stupid reason, at the time this lame cup had been at the top of Spikes wish list.

Wish list. He chuckled a little when he thought of Fred asking him a week ago what he wanted for Christmas. She hadn't looked to enthusiastic when he had told her that blood and booze was all he needed. Sweet little Fred pretty much considered the gang at the office as her family, so she had suggested that they all should exchange Christmas presents.

Angel had been less than enthusiastic, which was only to be expected, considering that he never had been a big fan of any jolly traditions. Spike smirked at the memory of Angels expression when he came to work the other day to discover that Lorne had hired a firm to decorate Wolfram and Hart for Christmas. Everyone knew that 'Subtle' wasn't Lorne's middle name. Spike would forever cherish the memory of Angel almost peeing his pants when the poof was ambushed in his office by an automated dancing Christmas tree singing a disco version of "Silent Night".

Spike exhaled the last puff of smoke and put the cigarette butt out with his shoe. The other day he found a gift under the tree in the staff room with his name on it. It was wrapped in a pretty red paper and had green shiny ribbons around it. It had Fred's hand writing of course.

Since vampires are evil beings they don't usually celebrate the birth of the christian messiah, so it had been over a century since anybody had given him a Christmas present. He would never admit it to anyone, but he had gotten a fuzzy feeling in his gut by the gesture. Spike had squeezed the soft package. It was most likely a sweater or something else to wear, considering he had caught Fred looking with concern at his shabby clothes. In all honesty, sweaters weren't what he wanted for Christmas, but it's the thought that counts.

Spike looked down at the chalice again. He shouldn't complain, after all he had already gotten the gift that he wanted. Granted it hadn't turned out to be exactly what he thought it was. Spike hadn't really been able to explain to himself why the hell he wanted this particular thing so badly. Sure, the thought of pissing Angel off had definitely played some part in it. Spike loved snatching the shiny little prize from under Angel's nose. After all Angel had a habit of getting everything Spike ever wanted, why shouldn't he return the favor for once? That better-than-thou asshole sure could use a slap in the face. Stupid git never realized that he had pretty much everything anyone could ask for. Angel was too wrapped up in that whole moping guilt crap to enjoy the fairy tale he was living. Nowadays, after all, Angel had a kingdom. Well at least a castle and a bunch of subjects in stupid clothes, and of course his own princess

The princess.

Spike felt a pang of dull pain coursing through his gut. Who was he kidding? She was after all what this was all about. She was what everything was always about. Spike slowly sat down against the wall, feeling grains of dust from the old wall falling down at his shoulders. His right arm was tiredly thrown over his bent leg. The cup slid out of his hand and fell to the floor with a clank, then rolled away in a semicircle before it finally stopped against his boot.

Bloody hell. Spike had tried so hard not to think about her since he came back. That woman was quicksand. If he let himself be drawn into the thoughts about her he would never escape again. Of course it was really too late. He had never been free from those shackles in the first place. Death didn't even do the trick, neither hers nor his. Spike closed his eyes tightly, and let his head fall back against the wall with a small thump. No, the soddin' chalice never had been on the top of his wish list. That would mean something could actually compete with her for that position. He gave himself some credit, he had done a great job hiding from the pain since he was brought back to life. However, that old familiar feeling was growing inside of him now, making him its slave again. God, he missed her!

As Spike felt tears coming up behind his eyelids, he quickly blinked them away, cursing his own weakness. Yeah, he was love's bitch alright. He closed his eyes again, and his thoughts went back to the hellmouth, back to that wonderful and horrible moment. Spike searched his mind for every detail of the scene, wanting to wrap that memory around him as if it was a big warm blanket. He never wanted to let it go.

The crashing noises around them, her hand in flames against his.

And her voice: "I love you."

He tried to remember her lips, her flushing skin, the exact tone in her voice, the look in her eyes, and finally the pain came seeping through. No. She didn't love him. It was what it was, nothing more. The irony was that those very words broke his heart more than anything else. Having her seemingly almost in reach, but to know the truth of it. If she had beat him up and shouted ugly words at him that would have been so much easier to take.

The Vampire looked down at the cup. Yeah, he admitted he did want the shanshu crap, but for her, of course. He would be able to stand in front of her, being the demon-free white hat hero. The winner of the big contest between souled vampire champions. He couldn't help but want to be a real man for her and not a representative for all those dark things inside herself. The very ones she tried so hard to hide from. As always, he couldn't give her what she needed.

Spike admitted to himself he should have called her the moment his Casper days were over, and he was selfish and a coward because he didn't. He just couldn't go back to the way things had been. No he couldn't go back to practically begging for scraps from her. Or back to being convenient. Spike knew he had to run this time and never look back. One day the mental picture he had of her would fade. Not tomorrow or even in a decade, but one day it would. Time was something he had in abundance. With a frustrated sob he grabbed the cup and threw it against the opposite wall with violent force.

Growling he scrambled to his feet. Even though Spike didn't know how he wanted to spend Christmas Eve, he knew crying over a girl in some old opera house wasn't his top choice.

A bar and himself in a drunken stupor sounded much better. He headed for the door with fast, determined steps, kicking up tons of dust in his path. As he threw the door open, the desert air hit, engulfing him with its smooth warmth. The night was starry, there weren't even any breezes strong enough to cause more than small movements in the branches of the barren desert bushes. However, Spike sensed that something was wrong. He turned towards the car that had unceremoniously been "borrowed" from Angel and saw that it had company. There was a blue Toyota parked next to the shiny red Viper.

Then he sensed her presence.

Spike's entire body froze and within a split second there was a raging inferno inside his belly. There were more emotions spinning around inside of him than he could count. His chest rose and fell quickly. Trying to gather his scattered mind to make a sane impression he took a deep breath.


"I have a name you know".

"Buffy", he whispered, turning towards her.

She stood a few yards away, leaning against a dead bony tree. Her hair was darker than usual and fell longer around her small shoulders. Her skin was paler than he remembered and she wasn't wearing any makeup, which in some situations could be considered a sign of the apocalypse. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a white shirt, her arms crossed, she looked at him without revealing any emotions.

There were so many things Spike wanted to say. So many things he wanted to ask her.

"How...?", he started.

"Willow." Buffy pulled away from the tree and started walking against him. " Sensed you right away when you became corporeal. Super witch nowadays, remember?"

"You know about...?"

"It took some time to find you though" Her eyes held a look that Spike couldn't decipher.

"We didn't exactly think that you were here in LA doing some male bonding with Angel. We went to Wolfram and Hart and crashed Angel and Company's Christmas party, but you were MIA. So, Willow did a location spell."

Now Buffy stood in front of him, only inches away. Spike didn't move a muscle, he wasn't sure if his body would obey him even if he wanted to.

"Were you ever going to tell me?" Her voice was suddenly filled with anger and hurt. She moved even closer, clenching her teeth. "Huh? Were you just going to let me go on thinking that you were dead and gone?"

"Buffy, I..." Waves of guilt surged through his soul. He wanted to reach out and hold her. He wanted to run. He wanted to fall at her feet and beg for forgiveness.

Her eyes started filling up with tears and her voice had became increasingly louder. Now she was almost screaming. "Do you even care about me anymore?! Am I nothing to you now?!"

Spike couldn't hide his pain anymore. Tears surged to his eyes, and he looked to the ground, putting his hands in his pockets. For at least a couple of minutes there was a thick silence between them, interrupted only by Buffy's rapid breaths. Finally Spike lifted his eyes and looked at her again. "You have and always will be everything to me, that's the problem, love."

Buffy looked at him in disbelief. "Spike?"

" I just couldn't... I can't, do this again." A single tear fell down his face.

"I can't be around you and not have you." He sighed. "You know as well as I do you didn't mean what you said, that thing about... loving me." Tilting his head a little he looked at her with eyes filled of sorrow. "So, yeah... I'm sorry. Just couldn't go back..."

Buffy opened her mouth, before she could reply, Spike continued. " Sure, you care for me, might even respect me a little, but I know you didn't tell the truth about loving me. Not like I love you anyway. Not like you... love Angel" He felt the salty taste of tears on his lips, but he didn't care anymore. Even if he had put on a brave face Buffy knew him well enough to see right through it.

"You're right, I didn't mean it."

Her words cut through him like a razor blade through paper. It wasn't exactly news, but even the smallest scrap of hope was a hard thing to let go of. The sorrow stirred an anger that he hadn't acknowledged for quite some time.

"I'm not going to be your lapdog again." His eyes narrowed. "That was what I was for you. Good old Spike, always there on a moment's notice whenever you needed comfort or sex or a battle partner." Spike snorted and looked at her with a bitterness. "You know what memory of you that hurts the most in retrospect? That night in the basement. You had kissed Angel, and then you came back to me tried to act as if nothing happened. Later I just took you back and wrapped myself around you like a nice comfy meat-made blanket."

Buffy stared at him. "Yeah. I'm stupid." She whispered. "And an asshole. I'm a two-in-one suckyness commodity."

Buffy reached out and touched his cheek. Spike was angry, but he couldn't help closing his eyes at the touch of her warm, soft fingers. Before he could control himself he let out a gasp. God, he had missed her touch, the feeling of her skin against his. This was what he dreamed about all that time he walked around a grumpy hologram through the corridors of Wolfram and Hart, Yes, he had dreamt of her touch. Spike felt a sudden feeling of regret about sleeping with Harmony when he got his precious body back. Any day of the week he would have preferred this simple touch from Buffy instead of sex with someone else. Buffy wasn't his to keep, but for now, all he wanted was to lean into the touch of her hand and breathe in her scent.

When she finally spoke her voice was soft. "Right after the hellmouth caved in, and we stood by the gigantic crater formerly known as Sunnydale, I was happy. I thought about you and was actually happy. You had saved us all. You died a hero. I was proud of you."

Buffy paused for a moment. " It sort of hit me later and after that everything pretty much sucked. Spike, you were actually gone, and it was tearing me apart."

Spike's eyes snapped open. "I thought you were happy, living the good life in Europe with all your scoobie friends and the Slayers United." His voice faded a little. "Save for the absence of Angel in that picture."

Buffy flinched at the sound of the bitter tone in which that last part was spoken. "God, Spike, I... It was a rainy Paris night that it dawned on me.", shestarted, taking a sudden jump between subjects.

"Me and some other assorted slayers had fought all night against a bunch of guys with a few too many eyes and a serious skin condition. Willow was gone along with Giles to consult with the überwitches in England about some urgent supernatural issues. You know, impending doom, yada, yada. Dawn had never been to the mother land, so I let her go with them. I lay there in my bed. I was alone and cold, and still had remains of demon guts in my hair. Apparently they were too much of a challenge for my cheap shampoo."

She bit her lip. "And I suddenly realized I wasn't wishing that Angel was there to hold me." She trailed her thumb along his jaw line.

"In the past every time I was sad and lonely I felt that ache from the fact that Angel wasn't there with me. And now for the first time I noticed that it wasn't him that I was missing, it was you." Her tears began flowing again, and she leaned her forehead against his. "But, you were gone."

Her voice was now no more than a whisper, and it was shattered by quiet sobs. Spike stared at her, at her closed eyes, at the abundant tears on her flushing cheek.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked at him with an expression Spike had never seen before. "It was then I knew. I love you."

That moment his world came to screeching halt. It seemed like they looked at one another for near an eternity. Spike raised his hand and ran his fingers through her hair, then pulled her even closer until their lips almost touched. The shape of their bodies fit perfectly together, like yin and yang only wrapped up in flesh and bone. It felt like they were created for the sole purpose of holding each other. A flood of emotions washed over each one of them as they continued to stand in the desert night, staring at each other. They were the only two people on Earth.

"Buffy." Spike whispered taking deep, slow breaths, gazing at her with tear-filled eyes.

A second later their mouths met, and they kissed like the world was ending. Their individual tastes blended with the salt of the tears that had trailed down on to their lips, it seemed their very essences were blending and creating the sweetest ambrosia. Their tongues danced around each other. Their arms were pulling each other as close as possible, refusing to leave even the smallest distance between them. For what seemed like both, eternity and the briefest moment, their mouths didn't part except for Buffy's brief breaths. Spike and Buffy kissed like it was all that ever mattered. When they finally parted neither seemed able to catch their breath.Neither one's legs seemed able to support their owners weight any more.

Spike ran his hand along the small, quivering arm he had encircling his waist.

"I love you, Buffy", he said then leaned in for another kiss.

Letting his hand stroke her back, Spike felt her palm, the one that wasn't holding him tight, placed on his chest. It was caressing him lightly with soft movements. This time their lips met in a soft, slow touch. Buffy and Spike had never kissed like this before; never with the same level of emotion, only in Buffy's lust. For the first time they truly met as equals.

"Spike", Buffy asked quietly against his lips. "What exactly are you doing out here anyway?" The wind caught her long hair and made it tumble around in front of her face.

He pulled the strands away and looked into her hazel eyes. "Just looking through my Christmas wish list, love." As they lost themselves it the embrace they both knew that they were finally home.

The End


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