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I wish that I could make you understand
I wish that you could feel what I do
I wish that I could make sense of it all
But it’s black
 
I don’t know how to find the words
To tell you how this feels
To help you understand the hold it has
To light the dark
 
I hate this hole and I hate what it represents
The blackness that crawls up to consume me
I try so hard to escape it, forget it
But it reaches up and drags me back down
 
I don’t want to go back into the dark
I’m terrified of it, of who I am there
“You are the light in my darkness”
Has never been more true than now
 
I need you to be my beacon
My lighthouse to guide the way
I fear I will never find my way out
If you are not there to guide me
 
***
 
The poetry was now a tool that Spike used to keep tabs on her mood. Buffy was more open about what was going on in verse than she’d ever be face to face. The notebook was sometimes left out in the open for him to find, however there was still the odd occasion where he had to seek it out. There was something about the times that he had to find the book that made what he found all the more special.
 
The lines were still filled with sorrow, but there was the odd verse that hinted at some sort of happiness. She was fighting her way back, and he knew it was going to be a long, slow process. The trauma of what she’d been through would equate to soldiers coming back from war. Spike worried that Buffy was pushing herself too hard for the sake of Dawn and her friends. He tried to make sure that he always offered her a quiet place to just be herself, no worries, no demands, just giving whatever he could to help her out.
 
It wore on him. As much as he loved her, it was hard to continually give and get barely anything in return. Eventually, they would reach a breaking point, and Spike was afraid that he might be the one to break first. He didn’t know if he was strong enough to put up with the mixed signals she put out.  There had been a lot of verses lately that had to do with light in the dark and leading her out of the dark. It excited and worried him, it was a boatload of manly responsibility that he wasn’t really sure he was ready for, or even qualified for.
 
The rustle of pages was loud in the silent house. The women of the house were all at school or work, so Spike had the place to himself, and he’d snuck up from the basement to see what the notebook would yield. It had been laying out on her bed, in plain sight, which usually meant she had something she wanted him to know. Spike flipped past lined pages filled with her handwriting until he got to a more recent section, then stopped on the latest poem that let him glimpse into the heart of his lover.
 
I don’t like it when you have a ‘me’ night.
I am left alone and guideless,
It is quiet where I am
When you have a ‘me’ night.
 
I am caught in a storm of agony,
That only your presence can calm.
It rages unceasingly, filling me,
When you have a ‘me’ night.
 
We touch only through words,
The distance between us too great
My world quakes on its axis
When you have a ‘me’ night.
 
I struggle to be content
Knowing it’s only one night
Soon, I will sit at your feet
When you have a ‘me’ night.
 
The quiet pain will soon abate
This slow torture coming to an end
The patient waiting triumphs
When you have me at night.
 
A growl worked it’s way out of his throat, and Spike had to fight the urge to toss the notebook across the room. He’d needed a night to himself, just to recharge his batteries, and apparently that hadn’t sat to well with Buffy. The anger he felt was directed at himself rather than her though. He’d asked her, repeatedly, if it was alright for him to leave her be, and she’d assured him it was. He wasn’t a bloody mind reader. He couldn’t always tell when she was lying to him.
 
A scrape in the hallway brought him out of his brooding, and he quickly thrust the notebook beneath her pillow. Buffy wouldn’t want anyone else finding it. The gesture proved useless however, as the woman herself entered the room. Spike pushed aside his anger, not wanting her to see the emotion and mistake the target of it. She’d told him how easy it was to read his face before.
 
“Did you read it yet?” Her voice was devoid of inflection, almost as if she wanted to avoid the conversation, even though she brought it up.
 
“Yeah.”
 
“I didn’t like it. I… I know why, but I don’t like it.” Buffy kept her head down, staring intently at the floor, and her voice still lacking any emotion that he could use to form his reply.
 
“The poem, or the fact that I took a night to myself.” Spike wanted things to be perfectly clear so he could know what topic he was supposed to be responding to.
 
That brought her head up. A wet sheen hovered over her bottom lashes, making the green of her eyes more jewel toned than normal. He fought to control the impulse to pull her into his arms and soothe her sorrow. Instinctively, he knew that she was keeping the distance on purpose, forcing herself to have a conversation she’d rather not. He couldn’t take that away from her.
 
“Your night off. I know why, but I don’t like it.” She repeated.
 
“You don’t have to like it, pet, but you do have to accept that it’s going to happen. I didn’t say anything when you went to the Bronze with your friends the other night.” Spike knew that Buffy didn’t consider what she’d done with her friends as taking time for herself, or taking a ‘me’ night, but it was the same thing. He didn’t begrudge her the night away, everyone needed time away, but he wanted her to understand that it was a normal thing, and that it might happen again.
 
She stared at him for a long moment, then sniffed. “It’s not the same, Spike.”
 
“It is.”
 
“It’s not…” She began to explain, but he interrupted.
 
“You’re right, it’s not.  I told you I needed a night away. I told you I wouldn’t be around. You didn’t tell me anything. I went to meet you for patrol, you weren’t there. I came here to see if you were alright, and the house was dark. No note, no notebook, nothing. I thought you would have at least done that.” His frustration tainted his speech, and the clenched hands as he paced a path in the carpeting. “I had no idea where you were or if you were …. Until I checked the Bronze.” Clouded blue eyes caught hers. “That’s unfair.”
 
The couple engaged in a staring contest, until the elder broke the contact with a muffled curse. “I thought we … “
 
It was his turn to be interrupted. “I’m sorry. I thought that it would be obvious, I didn’t think you’d worry.”
 
The soft words diffused the rest of his anger. Buffy rarely, if ever, apologized. Even to her friends. For the words to come freely, and almost easily, from her lips was a gift he’d never imagined receiving. Spike stood there, simply blinking in confusion before his lips curled upwards in a smile.
 
“Thanks love.”
 
Silence fell as they looked at each other, and then Spike opened his arms and she stepped into them, fitting her body against his. He bent his head and brushed his lips against the top of her head, wrapping leather clad arms around her body. “Leave me a note next time, yeah?” He rumbled against the top of her head.
 
She nodded against his neck, then tipped her head up and brushed a kiss against his lips. “I have to get back to work. Patrol later?” It was his turn to nod, and after another quick squeeze, he released her. Spike walked her to the front door, and watched from the shadows of the porch as she headed out.
 
****
Tall and Dark
Every girl’s dream
Soft-spoken yet definite
Who wouldn’t want Him
 
Flirtatious, playful and fun
Laughing, joking and making puns
The slightest touch
Sends shivers down my spine
 
Watching over me, protecting
Keeping me safe
From all the evils
Of the world.
 
You warm my heart
With the briefest glance
Your touch glides over my skin
Setting me on fire.
 
The poem set his teeth on edge, but the words around them soothed his anger. Question marks surrounded the verses, the word why written in heavy ink over and over. Riley’s appearance in town was far from welcomed, especially considering that it had ended up with his crypt blown to pieces.
 
That wasn’t even the worst of it, though. No, that was when Buffy had come to him and ended the fledgling relationship they’d been building. It had taken him over an hour to find the notebook this time, she’d hidden it beneath her holy water in the weapons trunk, almost as if she thought he’d give up easily if he couldn’t find it. Spike had something to say however, and he wasn’t going to let her off as easy as she’d hoped.
 
Filling my soul, filling my mind, filling my heart
Each new day brings new enlightenment into you, into me
Trying to be the man I know I am inside.
Molding me, training me into the man you want me to be
Sometimes i wonder where, what, i would be, if you weren’t there to teach me.
 
His pen scratched deep grooves into the paper, inscribing not just his words but his emotions onto the thin sheet of paper. He was devastated by her rejection, and hoped that his words would touch her enough to bring her back to him. He’d known all along that it couldn’t last, but he’d hoped for longer. He’d hoped for more. Spike had gotten tangled in his own fantasies. It was a dangerous place to live.
 
Spike sat for a moment with the open notebook in his lap, breathing deeply in a vain attempt to control his turbulent emotions. Finally, he gently closed the notebook and laid it beneath her pillow. He wanted her to find it, wanted her to read it, wanted her to understand what she was doing to him with her rejection. He wanted her to know his pain.
 
***
 
Buffy trudged in from work, groaning softly. Her job wasn’t as bad as working at the Doublemeat Palace, but waiting tables at the local diner still made her tired and sore at the end of the day. She stripped off the uniform, letting it land in a quiet pile of fabric on the floor before wrapping herself in the fuzzy grey robe and walking into the bathroom for a hot, healing shower. She still had to patrol tonight, but she was looking forward to a small nap before that. Dawn wouldn’t be home tonight, as she was spending time with Janice again. Which meant that Buffy had some serious alone time, and sleeping was at the top of her list.
 
Returning to her room after, she dressed in a tank top and shorts, then crawled into bed. As was her habit, she tucked a hand beneath her pillow, frowning as her fingers encountered paper. She knew she hadn’t left it there. Sighing, she pulled it out, flipping to the last page to see Spike’s elegant writing. Buffy swallowed hard, trying to get past the lump that rose in her throat.
 
Her poetry was full of pain and sorrow, while his was full of life and hope. Even when he was writing of his own sadness, there was still a thread of something stronger that wove through the words. A fingertip lightly traced over the dents he’d left in the paper from the force of his writing, and she started when a drop splashed onto the ink, smearing it slightly. Soon enough, Buffy was sitting up in bed, knees drawn up to her chest and arms wrapped around them, silently sobbing for what she’d lost.
 
At the time, it had made sense. She was using him. He made her feel better, made her come alive, and Buffy was growing addicted to that feeling. Giving it up was difficult, she’d caught herself heading over to his crypt so many times in the past two days. But she’d stopped herself. Buffy ached for him, for the gentle acceptance he offered and the fire that he evoked.
 
But using him was wrong. She wouldn’t use her friends like that, and although she wasn’t sure Spike would fall under that title, Buffy couldn’t bear the thought of continuing to treat him as she had. Something within her had shifted, and that shift wouldn’t allow her to not consider his feelings. The poetry exchange had shown that the vampire very definitely had emotions. It could no longer be denied.
 
The question was what to do about it. She’d told him why she couldn’t continue their relationship, but obviously that had hurt him. Buffy had thought that he’d appreciate the honesty from her. It wasn’t something that she was very good at, being honest and blunt like that. She’d had to channel Anya a bit just to get through the short conversation. Buffy hadn’t known that he was hurting as much as she was. That made it hurt more. Doing the right thing wasn’t supposed to hurt so much.
 
 
 
****
 
After a restless night of sleep, Buffy called the only person she knew that had also done the right thing, and was hurt through it as well.
 
Tara.
 
The blonde witch agreed to meet at the Magic Shop, after Buffy assured her that Willow would be in class all day. Buffy got the day off, and after asking Giles and Anya to give her some time alone, she waited for Tara to arrive. She let the other woman in, and they settled into comfortable positions in the back of the shop.
 
“Giles and Anya will be back in just under an hour, but they’ve promised not to bother me back here.” Buffy decided to start with simple things first.
 
Tara nodded. “That’s fine. What did you want to talk about?”
 
“I… Spike…. “ Buffy stuttered slightly, then took a deep breath and tried again. “Spike and I have been … talking through poetry. I have a notebook, and he found it, and we’ve been using that.” She’d wavered on whether or not to bring the notebook and show it to Tara, but it was simply too personal. Buffy wasn’t ready to open herself up that much to someone else.
 
“It led to..more… but Riley came back to town and made me realize that I was using him, so I ended it. And it hurts. And I thought that you…” Buffy’s voice broke and she struggled to finish the story. “I thought you could help.”
 
It was unlike Buffy to admit to weakness, but in this, she had no choice. Help was needed, and she was pleading desperately for that assistance. She didn’t know what else to do, and the only thing she could think of was that Tara knew what she was going through and might be able to help. Watery green eyes looked up into soft blue ones, searching for some sort of guidance or assistance.
 
Tara sighed softly. “Buffy, I don’t know how to help if you don’t tell me what you mean by more.” She wanted to help the other girl, Buffy had been through so much, but Tara needed clarification on the situation.
 
Buffy blinked and tried to pull herself together. “We were together.” She stared at Tara, willing her to understand the full import. Tara’s eyes widened in response and she muttered a soft sound of understanding.
 
“Oh, well, um…” Tara paused, trying to gather her thoughts. This was an unexpected development. She ran back through the conversation so far.  “You’ve been through a lot, Buffy, and if being with Spike helped, that’s…that’s ok. And you said you ended it because you realized you were wrong.” Tara was trying to figure out exactly what Buffy wanted help with. She still wasn’t all that clear on that part.
 
“It hurts so much, Tara. How do you deal with it?”
 
The pieces clicked into place, and Tara gave a sad smile. Leaving Willow had been, and continued to be, one of the hardest things she’d ever done. Willow was doing so much better now, and Tara wanted to repair the relationship, but she wasn’t really sure quite how just yet.
 
“Day by day, hour by hour. But if you are just using him, Buffy, would it really hurt that much? I love Willow, and it tears me up that we aren’t together, even though I know it’s for the better.”
 
Buffy thought about what Tara was saying. Would things hurt so much if she didn’t care for him? Was she really so far gone that she could just sleep with someone she didn’t care about? Tears slid down her face to drop unnoticed onto the mats beneath them as her brain turned over the problem.
 
“I just don’t know what to do, Tara.” She half-sobbed to the other woman. “I’m so scared. He makes me happy, but I’m terrified. I shouldn’t be happy with him, should I?” Buffy roughly wiped her cheeks. “Willow and Xander will never understand.”
 
Tara just had to break in. “Buffy, it doesn’t matter if they do. It’s your life. If Spike makes you happy, and you want to be with him, then why shouldn’t you? You didn’t have any issues when Willow and I got together. Spike isn’t all that different.”
 
Tara didn’t see the world as the rest of the Scoobies did, and she had gained confidence in stating her own opinion while she’d been away from the house.  Buffy found that she liked this new side of the blonde witch.  It was a new point of view that she hadn’t considered. The whole relationship with Spike had been kept quiet, although if her friends had asked her point blank, Buffy was pretty sure she would have told them the  truth. But it hadn’t come up. And she hadn’t seen the need to borrow trouble.
 
But, it was Spike. Would it really be fine to be in a relationship with him? Could they really make it work? He didn’t have a soul. Not that he seemed to need one. He’d taken care of Dawn when she’d been gone, and he’d protected them before she’d jumped.
 
“I…. but …. I…” Buffy tried to vocalize some objection that would make sense. Something that would give her a reason to not continue to think about what she was thinking about. It was a dangerous road she was heading down, and she wasn’t all that sure she was ready for it.
 
“Buffy, you have to do what makes you happy. Willow and Xander don’t have any right to tell you what you can or can’t do. Only you do. Spike loves you, and he was helpful during the summer.  I think you two would be cute together.” Tara ended with a soft smile.
 
“Thank you, Tara.” Buffy smiled through the tears that were still sliding over her cheeks. She leaned forward to give the other girl a hug. “I hope you and Willow can work it out.” She whispered softly. Tara was a wonderful friend, and Buffy was ashamed of herself for not realizing it sooner.
 
Tara returned the hug, squeezing tighter at the last comment from Buffy. “Thank you.”
 
The two girls parted on better terms than they’d come together, with a promise to get together in the next few days to discuss any developments that had occurred.
 
Buffy hurried home, pulling out her notebook and sitting down to write. The poem that flowed onto the paper wasn’t exactly true, but it held the emotion that she was looking for. She wanted him to know what she felt, what she thought, and know that she wanted him. And more than that, she wanted a relationship with him. Buffy realized as she laid down her pen that she loved Spike.
 
She loved him.
 
It was something of a revelation, but she was pretty sure that the talk with Tara had helped clarify her own feelings in her head. She just hoped that Spike would understand. She’d treated him badly, and it hurt that he hurt.
 
Unable to wait another moment, Buffy slipped on some shoes and snagged the notebook before heading for Spike’s crypt. She’d never left the notebook at his place before, but this was important enough to break routine.
 
****
 
Spike woke the moment his crypt door creaked open. He could have made it quieter, but it served as a great early warning system.  However, before he even decided to move, the sweet scent of his Slayer wafted to him and he decided to pretend to be sleeping to see what she did. After all, if she wanted something from him, she’d wake him. Maybe his poem had hit a note.
 
So lost in the happy thought of Buffy falling into his arms and professing her adoration, he almost missed the fact that she was standing over him as he lay on the sarcophagus. The soft brush of her breath against the arm laying atop the blanket brought him fully to attention, and he waited to see what the slight blonde would do. He was at her mercy in this situation, and Spike would admit to being a bit scared.
 
Strength of will and a century of dealing with Drusilla kept him still and silent, watching her from the slightest gap in his lashes. Buffy hovered over his blanket covered form for a moment, then laid the notebook on his chest. Her hand held it there for a moment, and she whispered softly. “I know you’re awake, Spike, you’re breathing. Read that please.” A soft press of her hand against the notebook barrier, and she practically ran out the door, pulling it closed behind her.
 
Spike sat up, holding the notebook to his chest. He stared at the door for a few minutes before moving to light a few candles. He could read in the dark, but he didn’t like to strain his eyesight that much. With a deep, steadying breath, he flipped open the pages and began to read the latest bit of communication from his former lover.
 
I will love you until the day I die
My heart, my life, my soul is in you
I am wrapped in your presence
And I want for nothing.
 
Though I have never felt your skin
Though I have never tasted your lips
Though I have never seen your eyes
I know the feel, taste and sight of you.
 
I dream of your arms around me
I dream of your lips on mine
I dream of your words caressing my skin
I wake to cold, quiet darkness.
 
You are my dream, my hope, my desire
Everything I long for, I find in you
You give me strength, courage and love
While asking nothing in return.
 
Someday, I will know what I dream of
Someday, I will look into your eyes
Someday, I will taste your lips
Someday is the day I live for.
 
He read the poem repeatedly, tears dripping from his eyes to land with soft little plops against the lined paper. He wasn’t quite sure he understood every bit of the poem, but the general gist, that was simple to see.  The knowledge knocked him back metaphorically, and he suddenly wished it wasn’t a stereotypical beautiful California day outside. He needed to get to her.
 
The notebook was rolled up and stuffed into a pocket of his duster before he dropped to the destroyed lower level of his crypt and took off through the sewers. He knew that he could get pretty close to her house before he had to risk the sun, and after reading her words, there was no way that he could wait to speak with her.
 
He reached into his pocket and called Dawn, wanting to make sure the door would be unlocked when he got there. The porch would offer some shade, but it would be better if he could get fully inside. Flambéed vampire was not a good look for him.
 
With his usual panache, Spike barrelled into the house on Revello drive, stomping on the blanket to make sure any flames that might have sprung up were extinguished. Dawn watched in amusement as Spike jumped around on the tattered green blanket and pushed shut the door.
 
“She’s not home.”
 
Spike spun around to face the youngest Summers. “What? But she left the crypt a good half hour ago.”
 
Just as Dawn was about to respond, footsteps sounded on the porch, and both of them turned to face Buffy as she opened the door and stepped inside, warily glancing between her sister and the vampire.
 
“Niblet, why don’t you go see a movie. Big sis and I need to talk.” Spike’s eyes never left the blonde woman, even while he reached into his pocket and pulled out several crumpled bills to thrust in the brunette’s direction. Buffy raised an eyebrow at his tactics, but she didn’t bother to argue.
 
Once the two of them were alone in the house and settled on the couch, Spike brought out the notebook and set it between them.
 
“That last poem was a bit off, pet.”
 
Buffy blushed. “I was more trying for the sentiment, not the exact truth, Spike.”  Her hands twisted together in her lap. “Besides, I think it might be more true than either of us realized.”
 
A lifted eyebrow was all the encouragement he gave her to continue. He needed to know her thoughts on this, where her mind was at. Guessing hadn’t worked, Spike needed concrete answers this time around.
 
Buffy looked down at her lap, trying to find words to explain her thoughts. “See, I think that, before, I … you… gah!” The blonde sucked in a deep breath and blew it out. “I think before you were sort of a crutch. Helping to pull me from the blackness I felt. And then it just sort of became a relationship.” She dared to look up at him, reaching out a hand to lay it on his knee. “And I was happy, but I wasn’t thinking beyond the next hour or the next day. And when Riley came to town with his perfect life and perfect wife, I realized that it wasn’t fair.”
 
“I was using you, and you deserved better. So…” Buffy broke off, biting her lip and wrapping her arms around her middle in an attempt to comfort herself. “And it hurt so much, and you hurt so much, and then your poetry…” Tears slipped down her cheeks. “And I talked to Tara…”
 
Whatever else was said was muffled as Spike gave into the urge to comfort her, pulling her into his lap and running his hand through her hair gently. “Shhh, pet, it’s alright.” He muttered quiet nonsense until the sobs began to subside. “Now, you said you talked to Glinda?”
 
Buffy sniffled, then eased far enough away so she wasn’t speaking into the cotton of his shirt. “I talked to Tara, because I felt like it was the same. You and me, her and Willow. And…and she made me realize…” She stopped again, suddenly nervous, but absolutely determined. She twisted in his lap until she was straddling him, arms resting over his shoulders and green eyes locked onto blue.
 
“I… I love you, Spike.” It took all of her willpower and resolve to say that to him and not shy away. It was important, and Buffy knew that she had to tell him now, or she’d lose her courage and the time would be lost forever.
 
Spike stared at her in awe for a long moment, then closed the distance and kissed her. Soft, whispered words returned her love, and together, they headed up the stairs to her room. Spike returned a moment later to gather the notebook that had started the Slayer on her path, grinning as he bounded up the steps and back to her side.
 
In the morning, Buffy woke to the sounds of a pen scratching across paper, and she looked over to see Spike scribbling furiously. He looked up at her with a lazy, happy grin, then handed her the folio. She read over the newest entry and laughed, shaking her head before leaning in to kiss him. She had a feeling they were going to need many more notebooks in the years to come.
 
Twirling in happy circles
Lost in a whirl of bliss
Didn’t know I wanted this
Didn’t know I needed it
 
Hearing the words
My spirit sang
My soul danced
My heart melted
 
I love you
Such simple words
Full of meaning
Bringing a smile
 
Thought I didn’t need it
Thought I could do without
Thought I was complete
Thought I was strong
 
Discovering I was wrong
What a joyous day
Three simple words
Changed my day

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Reviews ( 1 )

Zab Jade
October 12, 2020 13:22

Another lovely fic full of lovely poetry. Thank you for sharing. <3