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Title: Steps Taken by the Heart
Rating: Teen
Setting: Season 8 (AU-ish now the Spike Mini comic came out) and AU season 9
Summary: Between the scenes of season 8 and snippets of season 9 Spuffy.

Grey, everything was gray and cold, everything was frozen. Buffy couldn’t feel her skin crawling or the blood under her flesh slow. She could only lie next to the body of her Watcher and tremble. She didn’t feel the tears run down her face, or how she was squeezing her eyes shut. She couldn’t even hear Xander as he called her name or feel his hand as he gently touched her arm.

Buffy could feel her legs move, but when they had begun to move she couldn’t tell. Xander was escorting her out, away from Giles, away from his killer. She couldn’t look at either, instead she kept her eyes shut, her tears acting like glue to her eyelids. It was twilight, the sun was setting, but she couldn’t look up, or forward or anywhere. Xander had to guide her; Xander was going to take over now, because she couldn’t. Her heart felt as if it had stopped.

Betrayal was too much of an easy word to use for what Buffy felt towards herself. It was tangible and terrifying in its own way. Self loathing, guilt, and betrayal were all mushed together to make one heavy and horrify emotion that was so new to Buffy that she couldn’t properly name it.

The thoughts going through Buffy’s head were all about Giles, the closet thing she had to a father, the most important man in her life. He was gone and gone forever now. And it was because of her, all because of her. Rational thought was present, she should know it wasn’t all her, but at this moment…she couldn’t help but put all the blame on herself. Buffy had lost another person she loved.

Buffy’s head finally looked up. Spike. Where was Spike? Last she knew she had saved him from Twilight…did she save him from Twilight? The sun was still up and she had pulled him away from Twilight and let him fall, in the sun. Oh…god…was he too?

Scanning the sky she couldn’t see Spike’s ship. Buffy was distracted by Xander and Andrew hauling a body bag into the military tent she was sitting in, someone had put a blanket over her shoulders. How she had gotten here she couldn’t remember. There were lights from the military equipment, and the army and the slayers were looking after their dead and wounded. She hadn’t seen Willow come into the tent, she hadn’t seen Dawn sleeping on one of the beds in the tent, and Buffy wasn’t aware of the other slayers all giving her intense and hateful gazes.

Xander and Andrew gently put down the body bag and Willow began to cry in earnest. The body, she knew who it was…

“There are no more demons we need to worry about, that weird ship took off after the last of them.”

Buffy heard this comment made by a soldier who passed her, who seemed to be speaking to another soldier over a communication device. Buffy watched as the soldier came up to Xander and began speaking.

But Buffy didn’t hear anything else. The weird ship, Spike’s ship, the soldier was speaking about Spike. If he went away, he was going to kill the last of the demons that she brought here, cleaning up the last of her mess…just like last time. And that meant she wasn’t going to see him again. Spike was gone…not dead, but…

No one to hold her, no one to love her, no one to comfort her…no one to understand her. Spike was gone, he wouldn’t be back. Why would he?

A loud bang startled Buffy out of her thoughts. A large whoosh blew her hair out of her face and a loud engine sounded and began to descend from the sky not too far away from the tent. Buffy blinked a few times, trying hard to comprehend what she was seeing.

Spike’s ship was landing, Buffy stared at it as if was some kind of puzzle needing to be solved. Her hearing began to work again.

“Well, that might be our ride.” Xander’s voice sounded so thin.

“The other girls have all agreed to our transport, except a few.”

“I know.” Xander’s whispered tone was all Buffy needed to understand; the other girls wanted nothing to do with Buffy.

“We won’t be leaving for a few more hours, if you change your mind, let us know and we’ll prepare a transport for you as well.” The soldier sounded stiff, cold, distant, and Buffy didn’t know why.

“Thank you.” Xander’s voice again sounded so thin and weak.

Buffy couldn’t help but stare at the figure limping from the odd ship, coming towards them. He was burned, his skin looked to be peeling off him, but he was coming towards them with purpose. Spike was here and he might not be OK, but he wasn’t dust.

When Spike got close enough he stopped, “Killed the last of those flying vagina demons, no need to worry about anymore--”

Spike stopped talking and looked around, everyone was silent, and no one felt even compelled to speak. All faces that were looking at Spike held no smiles or sense of relief. Spike knew something was up, Buffy could tell. “Why the long faces? We won didn’t we?”

“No, no we lost…” Willow was the first to speak.

Spike looked at her, his face full of confusion; his eyebrows were rising to his hair line and his forehead crumpled as he tried to understand. “Do...do I hear you right? The demons are gone, no more Twilight, I would consider that a bloody won.”

“No more magic…” Willow almost sounded angry.

Buffy felt like she needed to say something, “No more Giles…”

At that Spike looked at Buffy and stepped back. Buffy knew Spike didn’t particularly like Giles and she didn’t want to hear Spike insult him or make fun of his death. If he was going to say one offensive word she would have to shut him up. And Buffy could feel it, anger swirling around in her, coming to the surface, the first emotion other than that shameful emotion she felt since she broke the seed. Buffy was ready, she was ready for anything now that would come out of his mouth.

Spike looked down to the ground and his face was unreadable. “Yeah, OK. Loss then.”

Buffy didn’t know what to do with that. She didn’t want to remember that Spike with a soul was different, that he was…not someone who would hurt needlessly or make bad timed jokes…well he still did sometimes…but not when it mattered. She didn’t want to remember that, it was easier to stay mad at Spike if she thought badly of him, to keep her anger than to harbor a hurt that would completely destroy her at the moment.

Spike looked back to the group, he hardly glanced at Buffy and Buffy couldn’t stand it, couldn’t stand his avoidance. So she looked away, but kept her ears on Spike.

“Need a lift? Don’t think anyone would want to hang around here longer than necessary.” Spike’s voice was casual, but almost reluctant, as if he was nervous.

That was what started everything. Xander woke Dawn and she sleepily understood to start towards Spike’s ship. Willow was escorted to the ship by Kennedy, as Willow could hardly stand. Xander and Andrew carried the body bag, again lifting it gently just as they had when they put it down. Buffy couldn’t move right away, but she felt his approach. She looked up and found Spike looking at her. His eyes didn’t hold accusation or hate or betrayal. He slowly out stretched his hand.

Softly Spike spoke, “Come on.”

Buffy furrowed her brows, trying hard to hold in the tears, trying to remain strong, to keep on to the hate and the confusion and the shame. Sorrow was drowning her and she felt so heavy. But his eyes, Spike’s eyes, were soft and light. She reached for his hand and he pulled her to her feet. He didn’t touch her after that, but gently guided her to his ship and his room where he put her back on the bed she slept in the other night, before the battle. He wanted her to rest.

He left her alone to do so. But rest was far from her mind. The only thing she could do was think about Giles and cry.


It was a month or so after that when Buffy saw Spike again.

As she had rested that night after the battle her friends and sister had agreed to go to San Francisco. She didn’t mind, Buffy wasn’t picky about the place. Since then Buffy had found out that Faith had taken Angel, and the slayer army had disbanded. The girls were now spread all over the world, living however they wanted to live.

Giles was sent back to England. His funeral would be soon and Buffy was going to head back to Europe to attend. She also needed to see Faith. Giles’ will needed to be sorted out and other arrangements needed to be made.

Xander and Dawn had gotten a place together, and Buffy crashed on their couch. She was currently looking for a job too, trying to get her life in somewhat of an order. But her emotions had been too stirred up to do anything other than sleep, eat and occasionally patrol.

It was night and Buffy was sitting on her “bed” as she looked through the newspaper, looking for anything she could do for a job when she heard a knock on the window. She turned and found the last person she thought she would ever see again, Spike, kneeling in front of the window. Of course she knew he knew where to find her, Dawn mentioned that he asked almost weekly about where they were staying since he first dropped them off in San Francisco. But Buffy never thought he would actually be back in her life in any shape or form.

Getting up faster than she thought she could, Buffy made her way to the window and pried it open.

“What are you doing here?” She asked, a bit too defensive. Did she want to see him again when he no longer loved her?

“Hello to you too pet.”

Buffy had to shake her head for a moment, she wanted to see him, and she wanted him to stop by, so why was she being rude? “Hello Spike.”

“Gonna invite me in?” he raised an eyebrow to question her.

Unfortunately Buffy couldn’t really make that call; because she was sure Xander would probably kick her out if she invited him in and because she didn’t know if she was ready to have Spike apart of her life again.

“Not my house, sorry.”

Spike sighed, but he didn’t seem upset or disappointed by that, just annoyed. And that made Buffy’s heart pinch. “Well just dropping by to check up on things, seeing if anything was amiss.”

“And why would they be amiss? I mean I’m just enemy number one to a couple hundred girls, my watcher is dead, and I sleep on a couch in my younger sister’s apartment with no job, things are just peachy keen…and hey, I’m not starting any apocalypses by boinking ex-boyfriends.”

Spike just looked at her with a knowing expression, and then he glanced to the night horizon, “At least the military isn’t after you, no need to worry about them.”

Buffy wanted to throttle him! Was Spike trying to help or was he being sarcastic? She didn’t want to continue this conversation, “Where’s your ship?”

“Parked on the roof, couldn’t find any room in the parking lot.”

“I don’t think your ship would fit any parking space there, Spike.”

“And who said I wanted to use just a space, love? Was gonna use the whole bloody thing.”

“And get impounded by the police for unauthorized spaceship parking...” Buffy wanted to annoy him to make him argue with her more, to make him stay longer, so she thought of the first odd ball nickname she could think of, taking it from his ex, “…blondie bear.”

He rolled his eyes at the nickname, “Don’t call me that. Look I didn’t come here to fight with you on my parking arrangements. Just wanted to see how things were holding up.”

Spike stood as he prepared to leave and Buffy panicked, she didn’t want him to go so soon and yet she didn’t even know if she wanted to see him in the first place. It hurt when he was there and it hurt when he was gone. “I’m going to England soon.”

Spike turned to face her, though he continued to stand, ready to be on his way. “Yeah, I know.” Again Spike looked away to the horizon, “Maybe I’ll stop by too, show my respects and all. See ya, Slayer.”

Buffy watched as Spike walked up the fire escape and out of sight, “Good Bye Spike.”

Buffy didn’t know if that was the last goodbye….and why would Spike go to Giles' funeral? Giles had tried to kill him once…


Of course she should have known, but Buffy saw Spike again soon enough. He was at the funeral, it was raining and cloudy, so he was there. And he stopped by regularly at the window of her sister’s and Xander’s apartment in San Francisco. He never stayed long, only to give her updates on things that were going on, and occasionally asking how things were going.

Buffy didn’t know what to make of any of it; Spike’s behavior confused her and sent her on the defensive more often than not. Of course it also set a series of emotions off in her that helped her keep going. It was odd, how he was back in her life and how things seemed to be more right now than they were a year ago.

Of course, Spike had to go and really say the best and the worst thing he could say to her. He told her that he had her back, he told her to fuck those that didn’t understand what it was like in her shoes. For a moment she felt like she could talk to him as she once did, and her voice was soft when she spoke.

“I broke the scythe.” The symbol of the strength Spike gave her, which she mentioned to him, the reason she was able to win against the first, the reason she could go on and the reason for…almost everything…

And Spike didn’t know what the scythe was. He didn’t remember her words to him. He was being supportive and caring, for whatever reason. Not because he was in love with her. He wasn’t, he couldn’t be if he forgotten something as important as that. And she could barely take the support he was offering as is.

So Buffy ran away, just as she began to cry. He called her weird, she didn’t care.

Spike left and Buffy cried. It seemed like all she did was cry now. It took hours for her to stop and when she went to sleep, she was alone.


The job Buffy had gotten at Pick Me Up had given Buffy enough salary to move out on her own, and to afford a cell phone. The first thoughts she had were on throwing a party and getting Spike’s cell number, which made her think how he could have one in the first place? Did he have some fake ID?

It didn’t matter how bad things had been, just that things were getting better. Spike was still coming around, for reasons Buffy didn’t know of, and she could handle the slayers that came after her. She knew that something else, someone else, was coming for her, but at the present, things were going as smoothly as they could go.

So a party was what Buffy threw as soon as she could once she moved into her new shared apartment. And of course she invited cute boys to the party, one of which included Spike. She invited him in and she had a few drinks. She watched Spike from across the room and smiled when he tossed glances her way.

There was dancing and yummy food. Buffy was having a good time, the first real fun she had in a while. She casually drifted her way to Spike, who was chatting with a girl from her work. Of course, Buffy’s jealousy sprouted to the surface as soon as she got close enough to join in their conversation.

“Not much into sporting events these days, a bit too busy for that.”

“Oh but you should really go the upcoming Gaints game with me and a few of my friends, I hear they have a new--”

“Sorry Jess, Spike here is just being polite, he doesn’t like baseball, too American for him.”

Buffy folded her arms in front of her chest and glared at Jess. Spike smirked while he looked away, as if he were enjoying a private joke.

Jess of course looked a bit perplexed at what was going on, but seemed to understand enough, “Oh, OK. I should probably…I think Martin wanted to dance, excuse me.”

Spike raised his eyebrows at Buffy when he turned back to her, “Why’d you do that for, scaring off my company?”

“I thought I was saving you from boredom, unless you like baseball?”

Spike almost chuckled, and his voice held a soft humor as he spoke next, “No, you’re right, I don’t. But Jesse was a fine bird to talk to, might have wanted to continue on the conversation.”

“Jess talks about either the Gaints or how peppermint is the best flavor in the world, I really don’t think that would be mind blowing conversation.”

“Peppermint has a deeply rich history I’ll have you know.”

“And you want to talk about that because you taste minty fresh all the time?” Buffy was giving him an opening, she wanted to flirt, and she wanted to dance their dance.

“Just because that’s a fact love, doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk to a polite girl like that.”

Buffy could feel her disappointment, “Should I go get her? Then you can talk all you want with her about minty breath and…and stupidly named baseball teams, the players aren’t even tall!”

Spike laughed soundlessly and Buffy watched the rise and fall of his chest. “Nah, I’m just giving you a hard time pet. Not really into the whole American past time thing and pouncy sounding herbs.”

The fact he was giving her a hard time made Buffy feel oddly comforted, “You enjoying the party?”

“Nice party. Not too boring or too over the top, it’s just right, just the way I like it.”

“Thanks…I guess…I guess I better go and say hi to my other friends.”

“Don’t want them to feel abandoned do you pet?”

Buffy just stared at him. Did he realize what he just said? How abandoned he made her feel all last year? “Yeah.”


The demon that was killing random girls and leaving weird marks on its victim’s body was tough to track. Buffy was getting annoyed of course because she had to use all her knowledge to even get the general area of where it might live. And of course she had no idea what kind of demon it was.

Buffy was walking around, trying to keep her senses sharp as she tracked the demon. It was night of course and she was near an old pier, the water looking black and oozy under the wood. As soon as she could kill this demon she could go home and prepare for her early shift at Pick Me Up.

“Not that way love, heading in the wrong direction.”

Buffy twirled and faced Spike, who she hadn’t sense at all.

“What are you doing here?” How many times was she going to ask him this question? When was she ever going to be not surprised at him showing up?

“Here to help, heard about the murders, knew you might need it to find our little culprit.”

Buffy relaxed, years ago she might have argued with him, but it was true, with no gang, she did need help. “Do you know what might have killed those girls?”

“Water demon, probably a Xue’lin or Gaolfin, they tend to leave marks on their food.” Spike grabbed his pack of cigarettes from his jacket and lit one, seemingly just as relaxed as she was, even with a demon nearby.

“So you know where it would nest?”

“Not in the water, or under a pier, where you were heading. I heard they like to be under the ground near water though.”

“So sewers? Again?” Buffy was really feed up with the sewer demon routine.

“Where else, love?”

Buffy looked around for a manhole and once she found it she stalked right towards it. She hesitated before piling it open. She turned back to Spike who hadn’t moved since he lit his cigarette.

“Coming?” She asked, hoping beyond hope that he would.

Spike smiled at her, “Thought you never ask.”

He made his way towards her and Buffy couldn’t help but feel warm and happy despite the fact she had a demon to kill and an unholy morning hour shift just a few hours away.


Oh Buffy was mad. She was furious. She wanted to rip open the vampires she was fighting, tear them from limb to limb. It would be a heavenly release. Spike was coming around more often; he is helping her, and he’s part of her life now, again. Wonderful right? She should be happy right? But no, she’s not, because everything is different between them. The other night with the water demon, he had her back. He mentioned it was a good fight, smiled a little and then went on his merry old way after the demon was dead.

No loving looks, no encouraging talk, no annoying chit-chat…well some but never as much as Buffy wanted. Spike never drags things out anymore, never tries to spend time with her anymore. She knows Spike doesn’t love her anymore, she knows this. But why oh why can she not accept it and move on? It’s like the ultimate pay back for her screwing up somewhere along the way, and she knows she screwed up. Buffy in love with Spike, having it for him bad, and him all oblivious to her, not wanting her back anymore, was like a big joke.

She staked the two vampires in the alley she was in and barely turned around in time to see two detectives stride up to her, flash lights blazing and badges shown. Buffy didn’t know what this was about but her instincts told her to hide her stake.

“Anything wrong officers?” Buffy tried to play the innocent act.

“We got a call from someone about a fight happening here and we’ve had reports about other fights in this area, all of them started by a short blonde female.”

Buffy tried again to look innocent, “That could be anyone, I mean, I’m all alone here, no one to fight, I just happen to be short…um, blonde, and a…a woman!”

The male detective walked close to her and Buffy saw that he was nice looking, attractive, but his looks and his coloring were almost completely opposite of Spike’s…perfect. “Can I see what is behind your back ma’am?”

Buffy bite her lip and looked at the detective from under her eyelashes. “Do I have to?”

“Yes, ma’am, please extend your hands.”

“Only extend my hands?” Buffy tried again, for the innocent and sexy tone.

But the detective seemed just as oblivious to it as Spike. “Yes, Ma’am.”

She extended her hands, looking at both the detective who was close to her and the female detective who stood just behind him. There in her palm was a wooden stake, and the male detective looked at it suspiciously.

“What were you going to use that for Ma’am?” His voice was hard, and his eyes were now sizing her up, probably thinking she had some nefarious agenda.

“It’s for defense.” Buffy smiled weakly, and watched as the female detective approached.

“Aren’t those used for killing vampires? A thing used by those ‘Slayers’?”

Oh, crap, Buffy knew this was going to get dicey. She didn’t know if there were any new laws against staking vampires, but Buffy wouldn’t be surprised if there were new ones cropping up and staking was now illegal.

“Now, now officers, she was just carrying that ‘cause I was meeting her here tonight.”

Buffy felt relief when she heard Spike coming from the shadows, stepping up behind both her inquisitors. She almost forgot her anger towards him for a moment.

The male detective turned and eyed Spike with more fear than suspicion. “And you are?”

“Spike, just meeting my lady here.”

Buffy felt herself flush with warm emotions as Spike slid beside her and put a loving arm around her shoulders. Maybe he was pretending, but she would take advantage of it. She slipped her own arm around Spike and squeezed.

“Yup, I was waiting for him. We had a date tonight…a hot, fun…a date tonight.”

Both detectives’ didn’t look convinced. The good looking male detective raised his eyebrows and asked, “And the stake?”

“Can’t be too careful when your boyfriend’s a vamp, now can she? Might get a little peckish and be jonesin for a snack when we’re snogging.”

“Yes! Can’t be too careful! Never too careful, or not enough careful, there is always carefulness!” Buffy heard her voice and turned a shade pink, her lie sounded so obvious.

Both detectives still looked disbelieving and Buffy wanted to signal Spike to run, but instead he turned to her and the look in his eyes nearly made Buffy weak in her knees.

“That’s right, you gotta be careful.” And Spike leaned in and kissed Buffy. Buffy wanted to just melt in to the kiss and within seconds she forgot the alley and the detectives. It’s been years since she had been kissed by Spike and she wanted to enjoy it fully.

The male detective cleared his throat and Spike broke the kiss. “I guess we’ll leave you for the night.”

“Right, you do that.” Spike looked daggers at the male detective, and somehow this prompted the male detective to step towards Buffy.

The male detective then held out his card to Buffy, “My name is Detective John Smart, if you need,” John’s eyes examined Spike with a defiant purpose, “anything or if you see anything in this area, please give me a call.”

“Sure thing.” Buffy pocketed the card and watched as John and his partner went on their way.

Once the detectives were out of sight, Spike took his arm off Buffy and stepped back. He looked clearly annoyed and a bit nervous, maybe somewhat shameful, but Buffy didn’t think he was shaken at all by the kiss, and again her heart clenched at what that could mean.

“Sorry about that, takin’ liberties and all, didn’t want you to get caught up in all this vampire rights nonsense.”

Buffy was embarrassed and really at a loss for words, “No, it was fine, thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“You, um, you…were you following me?” Buffy hoped beyond hope that maybe he was, even if that was creepy.

Spike smiled and shook his head, “Got no reason to follow you love, I was actually looking for you. Seems like a nice big demon has been hanging out in our neighborhood and it’s not the kind that likes puppies and ice cream.”

Buffy frowned, her brain focusing on the part about him not having a reason to follow her and that fact he used “our” to refer to this area of town. Mixed emotions warred within her again, and she didn’t focus on the demon part until he spoke again.

“Hello, Buffy, demon, in this area, killing innocent people.”

Buffy blinked and came back to herself. “Oh right, demon. Do you know what kind?”

“Not a soddin clue, just heard a few rumors.”

Buffy was irritated now, this was hardly useful, “Great, wonderful. Just what I need now, another mystery demon to uncover.”

Spike tilted his head and smiled, “Don’t worry pet, you’ve got me to help you do the uncovering.”

Buffy again, had warring emotions within her. Why did it feel like she didn’t really have Spike, even though he was with her? Buffy looked at the tips of her shoes and wondered if she would ever feel right again when it came to Spike? Then again she always felt this way about him, expect during the moment when their hands had clasped in the Hellmouth. She had loved him, she was proud of him, and she felt one with him… “Oh yeah, just like you uncovered that vampire nest that was really just a hippy hang out?”

“Hey I was helping!” His voice was filled with exasperation and humored anger, exactly how Buffy liked it.

“Uh huh, or like that one time you thought there was a hydra demon and it turned out to be a pissed off run away baby elephant.”

“Anybody could have made that mistake!”

“Right blondie bear.”

“I told you,” his voice almost growled, and Buffy hid her smile, “not to call me that!”

The rest of the night Buffy tried to forget the kiss, the arm he had slid around her or the once fleeting feeling of completeness he once invoked in her. Instead she tried to piss him off as much as possible while they searched for a demon that may not have even existed.
To be continued...


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
Lovely "fill-in-the-blanks", your story help to delve into Buffy's state of mind. Beautifully done.
Jul. 27th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! I have read so much meta on season 8 that I had to get what I thought was Buffy's state of mind in fiction form. Of course I have few more plot bunnies to work with for season 8/9.

I hope you'll enjoy the next two chapters! <3
Jul. 26th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Wonderful. This added to the comic world so much! Excellent.
Jul. 27th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really happy you think this added something to season 8! :D

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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