The rage violent, as well as lovely,
The slayer dear, a girl named Buffy,
Spike tore out the page and crumpled it up, throwing it across the room. He slammed the notebook shut and lied back on his sheets. Stupid, it was stupid.
He knew why he was writing bloody poetry about the Slayer. He couldn’t really say all these cheesy things to her face. She’d make fun of him for sure. It took him time to form the right words sometimes. He was a romantic bitch, but he wasn’t always so lucky when it came to articulating his feelings.
A while later, he sat up and opened the notebook. He looked up at the cold ceiling and started to write again:
Roses are red,
And so is blood,
Huh, maybe he had something with this.
It was afternoon and he was sleeping, when Tara and Dawn visited his crypt.
“Spike!” Dawn’s voice cut through his sleep.
“What?” he said. He opened his eyes and slowly sat up. Tara and Dawn were standing by the foot of his bed. Dawn had her arms folded and eyebrows raised. Spike didn’t miss the smirk that tugged at Tara’s lips.
“Little bit,” he said. He rubbed his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Sorry to disturb your sleep, but can I hang out here?” Dawn said.
Spike looked at Tara.
“Sorry, there’s something going on at the house,” Tara said. “Dawn said she wanted to come here. Is that okay?”
“... Sure,” Spike said, turning over this information in his brain. He’d just woken up for pete’s sake. “Where’s Buffy? Is she all right?”
“She’s fine,” Tara insisted. “You know, Slayer stuff. She’s dealing with it. She’s busy, so I offered to bring Dawn over.”
“I could have walked over myself…” Dawn muttered. Tara sighed.
She put a gentle hand on Dawn’s shoulder. “I’ll be back in a bit. Okay, sweetie?”
“Yeah, see you,” Dawn said. “Be careful.” She gave Tara a hug. The witch soon left the crypt, leaving just Spike and Dawn alone.
“I’ve got a bag of chips,” Spike said. He realized that he wasn’t naked but he was sans a shirt. He grabbed one off of the floor and put it on. “Only drinks I’ve got is blood, though.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Fine… What’s that?”
“What’s what?” Spike said. He stood up.
“That.” Dawn pointed at the notebook still on the bed.
“... Nothing,” Spike said.
“Oh, yeah. That sounded convincing,” Dawn said. She smirked. “Is it a journal?”
Spike sighed. “Like I would keep a journal.”
“Well, I don’t know. You might. You’re like two hundred years old, there must be some stuff you’ve written down.”
“Dru tried to write things down,” Spike said. “Sometimes… Most of it made no sense. She much preferred to say things rather than just think or write them.”
“Makes sense.” Dawn nodded. “I mean- From what I know about her.”
“So what do you have in your notebook, then?” Dawn said.
“None of your business, little bit. Don’t you have homework to do or something?”
Dawn sighed and rolled her eyes.
Spike went to watch some TV. It seemed that Dawn was just doing her homework. Maybe he could tell her a story later. Assuming that there was time, and as long as Buffy didn’t walk in.
“Oh my God.”
Spike turned to see Dawn sitting on the floor, reading from his notebook. How did he not notice her go back downstairs to get it? No wonder she’d gotten away with being a kleptomaniac for so long.
“Oi! Give me that,” Spike said. He walked over and grabbed it out of Dawn’s hands.
Dawn laughed. “You seriously rhymed Buffy with ‘stuffy’? Why did you mention Giles in a love poem about my sister?”
He scoffed. “It’s not love poetry.”
“Right... It’s just poems about Buffy, and about how much you love her, using words like effervescent and effulgent.”
Spike closed the notebook. “I told you that it was none of your business. And don’t tell Buffy about this.”
“Fine, fine.” Dawn pulled her knees to her chest. “But are you going to show these to her?”
“Are you out of your mind? I mean… I shouldn’t, right? That’s ridiculous. She’d hate them.” Probably would throw them back in his face and laugh. They were stupid.
Dawn looked thoughtful. “I really think you should give Buffy more credit. They might not be great, but I do think she'd like them. That kind of romantic stuff? I think she’d like that more than it looks like sometimes.”
He pouted. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“I’m not!” She stood up. “I mean, they’re lame as hell…”
“Really not filling me with confidence here,” Spike said.
“But it’s the thought that counts… isn’t it?”
Spike put the notebook away, hopefully somewhere that Dawn wouldn’t snoop. He didn’t have the capacity to deal with more judgement. She kept bringing up criticisms of more things she’d noticed.
“Why did you compare her to a Christmas tree?”
“Because.. She’s glowing and covered in ornamen- You know what? On second thought, maybe you have a point.”
After a couple of relatively peaceful hours, Tara swung by to get Dawn.
“Thanks for looking after her,” Tara said. “I know it was short notice.”
“Nah, I’m used to it,” he said.
“Right,” Tara said. Dawn quickly packed up her things and stood by Tara’s side. “And Buffy really appreciates it, you know? You looking out for Dawn?”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “She may have mentioned it… Why? Did she say that to you today?”
Tara smiled. “No, but I just know that she does. I promise. Come on, Dawn.”
“Right,” Dawn said. She shot Spike a knowing look before following Tara out the door. “Bye, Spike!”
He rolled his eyes and plopped back down on the chair. Dawn wouldn’t directly tell her sister about his poetry. Spike knew that. Besides, Dawn didn’t have any proof. She didn’t have the notebook. And at that moment, he would sooner be staked than have Buffy finding out about its existence.
The next day, he was going through his notebook when he discovered that there were pages missing. Of course there were the ones that he himself had torn out, but there were pages missing that he hadn’t.
And there could only be one living human that had taken them.
In the evening, he went to the Summers residence. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, Buffy was sitting on the front porch steps.
She didn’t seem to notice his presence until he got closer. Her green eyes landed on him, and he couldn’t fight the slight smile that played at his lips.
“Spike,” she said. She flashed him a brief smile.
“Hi, Buffy,” Spike said. “Nice evening.”
She looked around, as if just noticing the darkness. “Yeah, it is.”
“Is something wrong?” he said.
“No.” She shook her head. “We had to do some cleaning today. You know how Tara had you take care of Dawn? Well, the aftermath of that left quite a mess… Anyway, I needed a break from the fumes. Dawn’s managing, though. Willow and Tara have decided to go out.”
Spike took a seat next to her. Her blonde hair was held back in a messy bun. There was a large lock of hair hanging in her face, and Spike resisted the urge to reach out and tuck it behind her ear.
“Didn’t feel like joining them?”
She looked at him and shrugged. “I’m tired... and someone needs to stay with Dawn.”
“So, er... do you mind telling me what happened?” he said.
Buffy looked thoughtful for a moment before answering. “Giant bee.”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “Ah.”
Spike sniffed the air. “Honey? Is that honey?”
“Yep. Reckon I’m going to be a confusing combination of smells: sweetness and overpowering carpet cleaner.”
Spike laughed softly. “At least it’s not the Doublemeat Palace smell.”
“Ugh,” Buffy said, making a disgusted face. “Don’t remind me. Also? I don’t remember you ever complaining about it.”
“Well, I’m dead. I don’t really have much of a leg to stand on, do I?”
Buffy laughed quietly. “Wasn’t that bad…”
Seemingly at the same time, they both looked away from each other. They sat in a comfortable, maybe slightly uncomfortable, silence before Buffy broke it with a question.
“So why are you here?” Buffy said.
“Right.” Spike suddenly remembered. “A couple of personal things of mine have gone missing since I had your sister over. I think the little bit might have nicked them.”
“Dawn stole something?” Buffy said quietly, a fearful look in her eyes.
Shit. “Oh, not anything monetarily valuable. Just a couple of notebook pages.”
“Why would she take those? What was on them?”
“Nothing,” Spike said. “Just, they’re mine. And I would like them back. That’s all.”
“So… you’ve come here to take back a couple of blank notebook pages?” she said incredulously.
“All right, fine. I’ve written... some notes on them. Important stuff, and I can’t quite remember what it was, so I need them back.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Okay. I’ll ask Dawn about it.” She got up and started to head for the door then she froze, looking back at Spike. “You can come inside. I don’t know how long this will take.”
Spike nodded and followed her in.
“Dawn!” Buffy called up the stairs. “Can you come down here?”
After a few moments, there were footsteps. Dawn came down the stairs. When she first saw Spike, there was a flash of guilt that was quickly replaced with a knowing smile.
Spike internally sighed.
“Hello, little bit,” he said. “I think you might have something of mine.”
“What are you talking about?” Dawn said. “I don’t have anything. Is this because I used to be a klepto?”
“No, it’s because you took my notebook when you were hanging out at my crypt. And now there are pages missing from it. Pages I don’t want in someone else’s hands.”
“Like who?” Dawn said.
“Just… anyone else, that isn’t ol’ Spike here,” he said, avoiding Buffy’s gaze.
“Spike says he’s written some important stuff down on those pages, and he needs them,” Buffy said. “So if you’ve got those pages-”
“Important stuff? Yeah, I’ll say.” Dawn laughed.
Spike frowned at her. He looked at Buffy, who rolled her eyes.
“Dawn…” Buffy said, folding her arms.
“Yeah…” Dawn admitted. “Okay, I have them. Just give me a minute.” She went back up the stairs.
“You still didn’t say why Dawn would take those pages,” Buffy said pointedly to Spike.
Spike shrugged. “I- Who knows?”
Dawn came back down the stairs. “Got them.” She handed them over to Spike. “Are you sure you don’t want Buffy to see them? Since it has such important info?”
Spike looked down at the pages. These were some of his better words actually. Still terrible, but clearly a lot of feeling behind them. “It’s the thought that counts… isn’t it?”
“Why?” Buffy said, noticing some unspoken conversation taking place before her. “What kind of important info?”
“You know what, Dawn?” Spike said. “Maybe you’re right.”
Dawn grinned. “Duh! And… I’ll head to bed. I won’t eavesdrop or anything I promise. Talk about whatever you like. I’ve already read what’s on the pages anyway.” The teenager then hurried up the stairs.
Buffy just looked baffled.
“Shall we sit?” Spike said.
“Yes… let’s do that.”
The two sat down on the couch, a foot of space between them.
“Here you are,” he said, handing Buffy the pages. “Check them out for yourself.”
He watched her face as her eyes scanned the page. The confusion soon turned into shock.
“Wait, is this poetry?” she said. “That you wrote?”
“Just… keep reading.” He kept shifting in his seat with nervousness.
She continued to read while he tried to read her reaction. He saw her eyebrows raise slightly a few times. He decided to go for it and tuck the strand of hair back. He saw her suck in a breath at his touch. She pointedly moved the pages closer to her face, avoiding his gaze. But she didn’t flinch, pull away, or ask him to stop. That was a good sign.
The corners of her lips curled upwards a few times. Either because she was secretly laughing at his writing, or because she genuinely liked it. He wasn’t sure.
“So you wrote this all yourself?” Buffy said, handing the pages back over to him. She held a thoughtful expression.
“Way to point out the obvious, Slayer… I just figured, what the hell. Dawn’s already seen it, and she’s never going to let me live it down anyway. But I didn’t write it thinking that I would show it to you. Ever.”
“Oh my God,” Buffy said. “Dawn’s read this…”
Spike expected some sort of scolding, but instead she laughed.
“It’s bloody terrible,” he said. “I know.”
“Not completely,” Buffy said. “I mean, I’m no expert on poetry, but it’s definitely not a masterpiece.”
Spike rolled his eyes. He was a bit disappointed. He expected her to make fun of him, but still.
“But it’s sweet,” she said.
Wait, did he hear that right?
“Oh, yeah?” he said curiously.
“It’s honest. And since you’ve shown me your writing, maybe I should show you mine.”
“You’ve written poetry?”
Buffy shook her head. That lock of hair became untucked again. Oh, she was gorgeous.
“No, but I have a diary,” Buffy said. “I haven’t written in it since... before I died. But I have written about you.”
“By all means…” Spike said. “Don’t keep me in suspense.”
She pressed her lips tightly together before getting off the couch. “I’ll be right back.”
She soon returned, holding it. Opening it to a specific page, she handed it to him.
“You can read this page, but do not. I mean it, do not read anything else.” She fixed him with a stare that promised that she would kick his ass otherwise.
“I won’t. Promise,” he said in a teasing tone. But he looked at her green eyes with genuine sincerity, so that she knew that he wasn’t lying.
“Good,” Buffy said, sitting back down on the couch.
Spike read the passage: … he’s so disgusting. I think I can still taste Spike on my lips, no matter how many times I wash my tongue. Like, sure he’s hot! I’ll admit it, but he’s still evil. And I am so over the bad boy thing…
“Not feeling particularly flattered here.”
“Did you miss the part where I said you’re hot?”
He laughed and ducked his head. He then looked up at her, to see her tilt her head to the side and smile.
“Every word of what I wrote is true,” Spike said quietly. “All of it.” He placed the diary down on the coffee table.
Buffy nodded. “I know.” She averted his gaze and stared down at her lap, her hands fidgeting. “And some of what you wrote really…” She sighed. “It resonated with me, like some of what you felt is how I feel about you.”
Spike couldn’t find the words to respond to that. All his feelings for her were on those pages. What else could he say? They both sat in silence for a few moments.
“Hey, do you want to go to The Bronze tomorrow? …Or any other place with food and drinks,” she said suddenly.
“What? Like… with you and the Scoobies?”
“I was thinking just me,” she said quietly.
“Oh… really? Wait.” The cogs turned in his head. “Are you… Are you talking about a date?”
She looked up at him with an intense gaze. And for a moment, Spike thought he’d misread the situation. Maybe she just wanted his company as a friend, or maybe this was a part of patrolling now? 150 years and he still couldn’t nail this whole being in love thing.
“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to- I should go.”
“No, Spike. Wait.” She laughed softly and placed a hand on his. “Yes, I’m asking you out on a date.”
Instinctively, he intertwined his fingers with hers. “Are you…" He tilted his head slightly. "Are you sure, Buffy?” he said.
She nodded. “I am."
Spike wondered if this was a dream of his. He lifted Buffy's hand and placed it against his cheek, savouring the warmth it brought him.
"Spike?" Buffy said. "Are you okay?"
"You want to go on date with me after reading this shit poetry?"
She brushed her thumb gently against his cheek. "Believe it or not, I've actually been thinking about this for a while? And it's not about the quality of the writing. It's about the feelings of the man behind them... And you’re a good man, Spike. I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it.”
He ducked his head. He let go of her hand, but she still kept it on his cheek.
“Just one date,” she continued speaking. “And then we can see where things go from there.”
Looking up at green eyes, he wanted to kiss her. Or to hold her. He wasn’t sure if that would be a welcome move. She seemed to want to take things slow, and Spike couldn’t blame her for that. She didn’t love him, not the way he loved her.
But maybe she could, with time.
He then realized that she was waiting for an answer. “Right. Yeah, that sounds good. The Bronze. It’s a date.”
Buffy let out a sigh that sounded something like relief. “Okay… great.” Her gaze landed on his lips for just a fraction of a moment and Spike wondered if she was thinking the same thing that he was.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to wonder for too long.
Buffy surged forwards and kissed him, wrapping her other arm around his neck. It happened suddenly, but it wasn’t like past kisses, which happened out of desperation and lust. It was gentle and slower.
Spike closed his eyes and gently gripped Buffy’s shoulders. He kissed her back with the same gentleness that she was giving him. Soon, her lips stopped moving and she slowly pulled away. He finally opened his eyes, gazing into the green ones right in front of him.
Buffy bit her lip and let go of Spike. “By the way, what does ‘effulgent’ mean?”
He laughed at the sudden question. “Shining brightly, or radiant.”
She gave him a glowing smile before averting her gaze. “I should- It’s late, Tara and Willow will probably be home soon.”
“No worries.” Spike reluctantly let go of her and stood up. He grabbed his poetry pages and stuffed them into a jacket pocket. She followed him to the door. “I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow then?” he said, trying to feign casualness. Which was hard, considering the fact that if his heart could beat, it’d be racing right then.
“Yeah,” Buffy said softly. “I’ll swing by the crypt and get you. If you want.”
“Sure,” he agreed, quietly. Only just loud enough for Buffy to hear him. He smiled and then walked out into the night.
“Good night, Spike,” she said.
“Night,” he said, waving at her as he increased the physical distance between them. He came to a stop at the sidewalk along the street. He turned around to see Buffy leaning against the side of the doorway.
She sent him a small wave, and a small smile that was just barely visible from where he stood.
All future teasing from Dawn would be worth it. He grinned stupidly as he headed home, beginning to whistle at some point.
He had a date to look forward to.