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Fic: Maybe This Time

A little valentine for you, dear reader. This is an experiment inspired by love songs, but be warned: I like them in a minor key.

Title: Maybe This Time
Author: Rebcake
Rating: PG
Word Count: 680
Characters/Pairing: Buffy/Spike
Summary: A visit to Buffy’s brain, as well as her basement, circa Chosen in BtVS Season 7.
A/N: Thanks to snickfic for the once over. (It wasn’t like that.) And, yes, I blame Glee for putting the song of the title in my head.


Love is like…

…oxygen? (Eh. I’ve gone without.)

…a battlefield? (Warmer.)

…a warm puppy? (Hmm. Oh, wait. That’s happiness.)

…never having to say you’re sorry? (I’m not even going to touch that one.)

…the hardest thing in a world of very hard things? (Bingo. Yahtzee. Whatever.)


Stupid Moulin Rouge with its stupid silly love songs. It’s not like songs, not like any of those things they show in the movies. Even the tragic love stories make it prettier than it is. Like I’d know. I’ve had one love that folded like a bad hand at one of Clem’s poker games, another so lukewarm it apparently couldn’t warm anybody’s cockles (whatever those are), and one that…one that was so incredibly messed up that it’s a miracle that we don’t show scars. Well, he did, for a while, with those gouges over his heart. Self inflicted! I didn’t do that.

Not with my own hands, anyway.

God! I’m surprised he didn’t gouge out his eyes after tonight. Stupid Buffy! Kissing Angel, and for what? Hello? We aren’t that kind of greeters. He’s barely even a hugger! I guess we might’ve been hello kissers, once upon a time, but it’s been over a year since the absolutely, positively last goodbye kiss. Until tonight.

“Well, any port in an apocalypse...”

Argh! It doesn’t do any good to beat myself up about this. It’s done, Spike’s still got his eyeballs (even if Xander doesn’t), and what was that thing about saying you’re sorry? Would it hurt anything to say it?

Besides, it’s the eve of another apocalypse. Apocalypse Eve eve. That’s what I should be thinking about…

Look at him. I shouldn’t look. Every time I look, it feels like something inside me wants to jump out. Things like smiles and soft words and softer kisses. I could kiss him right now, while he’s sleeping. Just there, on his temple. I could brush his hair back with my hand (even though it’s already out of the way) and touch his skin with my lips. I could close my eyes, breathe him in and nuzzle his face. His ear.

But I can’t. There’s a war on. With people dying, like people tend to do. Love, especially the problematic area of Buffy love is off the menu.

“Does it have to mean something?”

I’m such a coward. Why did I say that? Why is the big bad slayer afraid of those three little words? Yeah, yeah, I’ve been hurt before. Who hasn’t? Him too, and not just by me. What do I think is going to happen if I just spit it out? He’ll leave? In the words of the Bard, “Not bloody likely.”

It’s ridiculous that I feel like such a loser in love. One bad breakup, one fair-to-middling one, and one that didn’t seem to take. That kind of history doesn’t exactly make me Anna Karenina. (Except I dropped out of Russian Lit before I found out what happened to her.)

And look! I’ve got a champion in my…spare cot. Most girls my age don’t have champions. Most slayers don’t even get ‘em, I’ll bet. This hand I’m holding is the hand of a sleeping champion. My sleeping champion. God, Spike’s hands are huge! I never really thought about it, but I guess it’s true what they say.

I’d better get up. Get a little air. It’s hot down here.

Oh, for crying out loud! Not this again. If the First thinks all this trash talk is going to get to me, it doesn’t know me very well. I’ve bested Cordelia Chase at this game, or almost.

Wait.

“Then why aren't you asleep in your dead lover's arms?”

Good question.

“You’re right.” That shut it up. Buh bye.

He’s awake. Footwear? He wants to know if something is wrong. I think maybe …

“I just realized something. Something that really never occurred to me before. We're gonna win.”

I look at him, sitting there, open, trusting. Even after everything. Not going anywhere. Not running away.

Maybe this time I’ll win.

FIN

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
of_too_minds
Feb. 15th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Lovely. Nice to see Buffy realize what a precious gift she has in Spike's love and devotion.
rebcake
Feb. 16th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
There are those who would tell you that, in reality (whatever that is), she never figured it out. I respectfully disagree. I think she realized a lot of things about Spike and even herself, but not acting on those realizations is where she falls down, and why the story ends up tragically. Well, it's tragic to us Spuffy folks, anyway.

I'm glad you enjoyed my experiment inside Buffy's brain! Thanks for commenting!
of_too_minds
Feb. 18th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
I agree totally. I think she did realize but she chose not to act. She was so burned by lost love and so afraid of disappointing her friends that she turned her back on Spike rather than take a chance. It's a pity. He would have been so good to her, for her.
rebcake
Feb. 18th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
Ooh! Discussion! I actually think that she was over the fear of disappointing her friends at this point. She had already explicitly chosen Spike over Giles. However, she was in full-on apocalypse mode, and still guarding her wounded heart. Either of these would be enough to keep her from jumping into a romance. Delaying didn't work in her favor, even if it might've seemed like the wisest course of action.

Plus, it added yet another "love 'em and they leave me" strike against her, which will make it even harder to open up the next time. A Slayer's life can really suck.
of_too_minds
Mar. 1st, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
I both agree and disagree with you. Yes, Buffy explicitly chose Spike over Giles, but wasn't the reason she gave that he was her strongest warrior? It's a safe reason, a fact the Scoobies can't dispute (as much as they might like to). She didn't stand up to Giles and say, "Because I love him." She'd come a long way from S5/S6, but I think she was still a little afraid of their reactions. Although it's true her primary focus was the apocalypse. Everything else took a back seat. She thought she'd have time, and it ran out on her.
red_satin_doll
Aug. 9th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
It's tragic? I'm new to fandom so I didn't know that. I love what we got on screen, and I agree with gabrielleabelle's meta that Buffy tends to show her love in other ways besides language. That look on her face when she cuts him free in Showtime is nothing but pure love IMO.
rebcake
Aug. 10th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
Generally, when the love interest dies, it's a tragic. If the benighted couple finally grasp how important they are to each other, there is another facet. That they know is sweet, that it doesn't matter is bitter. So, best I can come up with is bittersweet, but I still lean toward tragic, but not as tragic as if they'd both died.
red_satin_doll
Aug. 11th, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
I guess I see it as part of the point - and this is JUST my opinion, btw, so I know there are many possible interpretations and approaches. To me, each of her lovers was part of her journey as much as each Big Bad she defeated, and a learning experience. I think the "subversive nature" of the Angel romance was meant as a denial of the "forever love" trope, the expectation that girls have (which is always going to be disappointing); and I think the experience with Spike was equally subversive in it's way. (A woman choosing to be sexual, to give into her desires, etc.)

Part of the subversion is the female hero standing alone (but with her friends) at the end, having learned to love in all its aspects, stronger than ever, but not defined by a single relationship.

Plus watching the latter eps of S7 I have no doubt they loved each other, even if neither one was good at saying so. (Apocalypse did kinda take precedent.) That fact that she made the choice to allow him to choose to be a champion, that she spent the last nights in his arms, that they finally came round to be friends and companions again as well as fellow warriors - they had been everything to one another that a man and woman could be, except perhaps married. And I don't see a marriage and "fat babies" with Spike - or with Angel for that matter.
moscow_watcher
Feb. 18th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I totally enjoyed this story when you posted it on Still_Grrr and I reread it with double pleasure, savoring small details.
rebcake
Feb. 19th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
You are so sweet, to weigh in again! I'm glad it brings you pleasure, especially since it's so bittersweet, ultimately. (I prefer the dark varieties of chocolate, too!)
zanthinegirl
Feb. 19th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
I liked this one when you posted it somewhere else, and it still rocks! Very believable Buffy in this moment. I can buy that this is what's going through her head. And haven't we all reacted to a situation in a way that later makes us shake our heads? Or sometimes cring?

I think Buffy realized she love him by this point, but she was so focused on the coming battle that she didn't have time to focus on crazy relationship baggage. My $.02 worth anyway!
rebcake
Feb. 19th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for dropping by a second time! I'm sure I don't remember any cringe-worthy moments in my life—but that's because I had them lobotomized away. (Or, I wish I could, anyway.)

I'm glad you agree with me that Buffy did love Spike. Maybe you even agree that she was on the verge of putting it out in the open? That would be cool, because the "Buffy never loved Spike" haters make me feel sad and alone. However, it's no surprise to me that she figured she'd deal with it later, after the apocalypse. So Scarlett O'Hara: Fiddle dee dee, I'll think about that tomorrow! But less, you know, venal and self-absorbed. In fact, she seems absorbed with everything but herself at this point, which might be her problem.
rahirah
Feb. 19th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
Oh, Buff, you can't win for losing...
rebcake
Feb. 19th, 2010 08:35 am (UTC)
Yep, she got Joss'd, big time, poor thing.

Oh! Your icon was the inspiration for my D'Hoffryn/Skip curtain!fic. I'm always so happy to see it!

Edited at 2010-02-19 08:37 am (UTC)
misscissy23
Feb. 27th, 2010 04:41 am (UTC)
Great fic. I adore those bittersweet like yours in which Buffy does realize she loves Spike and doesn't act on it. Your Buffy is truly very believable.

Also, I loved that you compared Buffy to Scarlett O'Hara, they are not only some of the greatest female characters ever, but also very similar and opposite at the same time. Especially when you think about how they treated Spike and Rhett respectively.

Anyway, great fic.Loved it *-*.
rebcake
Feb. 27th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed it. We all have our various interpretations of the Spike/Buffy dynamic, as has been discussed up and down LJ this week, so I'm happy you felt this one was believeable, even if not exactly cheerful.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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