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Yesterday was my posting day at [community profile] seasonal_spuffy so I have fic - a short three-part fic.

Title: Sleep on the Wind
By[personal profile] athena3062
Rating: PG13 
Word count: 6,032 total
Setting: S6, Dead Things
Pairing: Spuffy
Summary: Starts midway through Dead Things. She wanted to break everything until it was unrecognizable.
Author’s Note: Written for [community profile] seasonal_spuffy  (Spring 2012). Some lines borrowed from the actual episode. Title comes from the song “Asleep on the Wind” by Jimmy Webb. “Our lives might last until the love begins / So stay alive and let me try as hard as you do”
 
Part 1

She pulled on the coat. The leather pliable under her hands, the citrus perfume she used to wear rose from the lining. It was one of the last presents Joyce had given her. Before.

Her life was divided into endless slices of before and after, circles inside circles: before Joyce died, before she died to save Dawn, after Joyce died, after she was brought back to life. Dawn had tried to bring their mother back – would Joyce have come back wrong? Would she have been a twisted creature, too sensitive to noise and light, emotions high, rage and hatred coursing through her body like poison?

Before. She was trying so hard, forcing herself to fit into the life she had before, the roles she had played. Nothing made sense.

Before it was easy. Now pieces didn't connect neatly together, jagged and rough. She was broken, too far gone for anyone to pull her back.

Buffy’s pockets were empty. No need for pieces of paper, stakes in the lining or house keys. This would be the last divisor, the final after.

The night Riley left she wore this coat. He had his own overlapping befores and afters - before he knew who she was, after she knew his secret, before he found comfort in a place that still made her stomach turn. When he left, in the long minutes after he boarded a military helicopter out of her life, Buffy had felt the defining moment crash over her.

She pulled at her sleeves. Trust. Before when Spike was just Spike she didn't think about trust. After she told him her secret, before her friends knew, before Dawn knew, she didn't analyze her actions. Yesterday he had asked, dangling the flashy silver in front of her like a challenge. Buffy shivered. Tonight, after they found that girl, he had insisted.

Did she trust him? Buffy pushed the buttons through the holes, covering her clothes inch by inch. The answer didn't matter. She was alone.

Buffy looked up the stairs. The sight of the painted walls and familiar floorboards made her nauseous. She had walked down those stairs to face death countless times, walked up them to prepare for battle or recover from one. No matter which way she walked, Buffy still found herself standing at the foot of the steps, responsibility choking her.

It didn’t matter. Tonight it would stop. Dawn would be on track to a normal life. This would be one of Dawn's before and after markers: before would be the weeks preceding this moment, when Buffy terrified Dawn with hollow eyes and quick bursts of temper and sudden fits of tears. After would be Dawn's chance at normal.

Outside the air was cool. Buffy clicked the lock on the back of the doorknob before pulling the door closed behind her. Dawn would survive without the deadbolt for one night.

Buffy stuffed her hands into her pockets, her gait awkward as she hurried down the steps. The air smelled like smoldering flames – one of her neighbors must be hunched over a firepit, probably drinking a glass of wine and laughing with friends – the scent reminded her of ordinary people.

Buffy bit her lower lip savagely but didn’t draw blood. She was a monster. Tonight it would end.

---

He pulled on the coat. Black leather worn thin with age, thick lining heavy on his shoulders. The flaps curved around his body like the edges of a cape. It smelled of cigarettes and stale beer, gone was the hint of the second Slayer. For years the leather had carried her victories before surrendering to him. It had been his longer than she had been alive, a constant companion through fighting and savagery.

Carelessly he shoved a flask inside the lining. Tonight it would end. His torment, her suffering, all crashing down like a house of sand. Buffy’s life would return to its fragile balance: white hats and monsters. He’d tried to break through to her and shatter her hollow stares, had tried kindness and seduction. It would end tonight. It wasn’t about her anymore.

Spike stood in the doorway of his crypt. He had come to Sunnydale for his third Slayer and here it would end. He would be dust beneath her

---

The alley behind the police station was larger than he expected, no different from the others in town. Spike stood with one shoulder against the brick wall, watched the entrance, waiting. Equipped with the highest watt bulbs available, pools of light from the front of the station spilled onto the street, illuminating the rows of cars.

Her hair caught the light as she walked towards the station. He studied her, a habit as familiar as his unnecessary breathing, the way she moved without awareness. His girl, stubborn and broken, determined to prolong her torment. Spike stepped towards the steps in front of the station. She hadn’t noticed him.

He waited until her hand was on the door handle. She had paused, right hand tight around the brown-black rectangle, left dangling against her thigh. Spike didn’t have a plan. There was another doorway just inside, creating a small vestibule between them and the activity inside. He grinned; fangs it was.

When he shifted into game face, Buffy turned instinctively, her hand still on the door. He twisted her left arm behind her back before she could react but she didn’t make a sound. Spike pressed his body against hers, his chest to her shoulders, chin against her jaw, his lips close to her ear.

“Move.” She struggled, her right hand caught his arm but Spike anticipated the movement. He had both wrists trapped now, tiny bones frail beneath his hands. Spike’s face returned to its human visage as he half-pulled, half-shoved Buffy down the steps and into the alley. He released her roughly, pushing her towards the shadows, blocking the path back to the street with his own body.

She lunged at him, pieces of hair flying loose from her ponytail. “What are you doing,” she raged, eyes narrow and lips thin.

“Stopping you.”

“I have to tell them.”

His face twisted into a sneer. “They won’t believe you.”

Buffy faltered but recovered an instant later. “I’ll show them.”

“Show them what?” He lifted his chin, challenging her, his arms extended towards the walls of the alley.

“What did you do?”

“Told you. I took care of it.”

“It wasn’t your problem!” She swung out her arm but he caught her wrist, used the momentum to swing her around. Buffy was further back in the alley, the glow of the sidewalk farther away then before. Spike was on the balls of his feet, blocking her exit. “Get out of my way!”

“No.” He was in her face now, forcing his way into her space, past the boundaries normal people observed, forcing her to share air, their lips practically touching.

He had said Doublemeat would kill her. Buffy had to make him see that he was wrong. It wasn’t the job. It was this hell. This world. The plastic Buffy façade she was suffocating beneath, smile that was choking her, laughter that was bruising her inside.

The piercing screech of sirens made Buffy jump. She pushed past him only to be pressed against his chest a step later.

“Not going to let you destroy yourself.”

“That girl,” Buffy began, but Spike’s hand was across her mouth before she could continue, his other arm like a vice against her lower back. She bit down, hard, but he didn’t release her.

“Shut up,” he growled into her ear. “You hear me Slayer? Shut up.”

Buffy stomped on his right foot and he spun her around so they were face to face, both hands on her shoulders. She could see the glow of the station lights on the sidewalk over his shoulder. It was only a few meters, two or three quick strides and she would be out of the alley. Spike’s fingers gripped her painfully, pressing against her arm hard enough to bruise.

“Let me go,” she demanded.

“Not likely.”

“Why?” The anger fell out of her voice. “I killed that girl, Spike,” she said dully. “You saw me.”

“No. Saw a dead girl. Didn’t see you kill her.”

“I did.”

“It was an accident. You’re not seeing clearly. I’m not going to let you do this.”

Buffy came at him suddenly, her hands like claws, intent on scraping her nails down his face and silencing him. Years of experience with Drusilla gave Spike an advantage and he caught her hands in his. “Get off me,” Buffy shrieked, kicking at his shin.

With a growl, he threw her backwards. She was on her feet in an instant, poised for a fight. “Come on Slayer,” he taunted, “let’s see what kind of killer you are.”

Buffy let out a howl as she charged him. He blocked her punches, his kicks propelled them deeper into the alley.

“Show me,” he insisted, “show me!"

She was furious but no matter how quickly she charged, he countered; no matter how strong her kick was he always sprung back to his feet. Buffy could feel the anger, hatred flowing through her body, pushing her to hit harder and faster, oblivious to the pain in her hands and the emptiness in her stomach. She wanted to break everything until it was unrecognizable.

Spike could see the need to destroy in her eyes, the familiar glow that used to make him reckless. It made her sloppy.

“Why are you doing this?”

He laughed loudly, the sound filling the alley, “you’re glorious.” Buffy’s face twisted and she slammed his shoulders against the brick wall. Her breath was coming faster now, quick gasps of air. All she could think about was how destructive she felt.

“Ruthless Slayer,” he said, one hand around her wrist.

She didn’t have a stake. He already had his weapon, hidden beneath eyes that saw too much.

“I’m not a monster,” Buffy insisted, her voice rising with every word. “I’m not!”

“Say it,” she demanded, her hands going beneath the lapels of his coat to grab at his t-shirt. Buffy clutched the front of his shirt, twisting the fabric between her fingers. “I’m not a monster!”

Her eyes went wide, her breathing shallow and she abruptly released his shirt. Buffy turned quickly, unable to look at him, her shoulders sloped forward. She wouldn’t cry, not in front of Spike, not here in an alley that smelled of sour food and damp wood. Her chin was shaking when she turned back to face Spike, her eyes wild.“I’m not a monster,” she insisted.

Her fist hit the brick beside his head, knuckles scraping, and he caught her hand in his. Spike squeezed her clenched fist tightly, her nails digging into her palm. She raised her other hand, fingers extended, intent on slapping him, but he grabbed both wrists between his hands.

“I’m not!” Buffy jerked her hands from his, sank to her knees, her head bowed. Her breathing was harsh.

“She’s dead,” she whispered.

Spike reached forward, squeezed her right shoulder, fingers digging into her skin, “she is. Doesn’t make you responsible.”

“How can you say that?” Her voice was small. Buffy stared at the wheel of the dumpster, partially visible between his legs.

He yanked her to her feet in quick motion, hands around her upper arms. “Been alive and dead longer than you can imagine. Done things you can’t even imagine in your worst nightmares.”

“You said it was an accident. You think I did this.”

Spike squeezed his hands, forced her to feel through the layers of fabric, and Buffy flinched. “You weren’t listening.”

She pushed away his hands. “Let go.” Buffy turned around, her leather coat swirling against her knees as she moved, her back facing Spike. The entrance to the alley was clear, nothing standing between her and the police station.

He watched her. “I won’t let you go in there.”

“Don’t you dare!” Her eyes were too big in her face, tension made her movements jerky. “You can’t control me!”

“Want to test that,” he challenged.

Her lips parted and Buffy let out a sound that was almost a growl. “I don’t need you!” She couldn’t breathe; saying the words was more effort than she realized.

His eyes were too bright. “Bullshit.”

Buffy went for his stomach but Spike flipped her onto her back before the punch could connect. Almost immediately she was on her stomach, her chin just above the dirty pavement. He had one knee pressed against her shoulders, her arms behind her. “You’re not throwing your life away.”

She struggled beneath him, “get off me.”

“Not while you’re talking crazy.” He hauled her to her feet in a quick motion. “Now walk.”

Buffy twisted but he didn’t remove his hands. “Not playing with you Slayer. Move.”

“I don’t need you,” she said, not taking a step.

“Fine.” He shoved her forward.

“Let me go Spike.”

“No.” His voice was loud in her ear.

She struggled, tried to free her hands. “What are you going to do, drag me back to your place?"

“Would you shut up then?"

Buffy shook her head and stopped moving. Spike stood behind her, aggravated.

"She was just a girl," Buffy whispered, "I don't even know her name."

"How many times do you ask a vamp's name," Spike countered, his hands cool against her bare skin."Besides she's got one. Katrina.”

“What did you say?” She stopped walking. “Spike I’m serious, let go.”

He growled but released her. Buffy turned to face him. “What was her name,” Buffy asked, insistent, her voice tight.

Spike stuck his hand in his left pocket, pulled out a driver’s license. “Katrina Silbers.” He passed the plastic card to Buffy. Her hand was shaking.

“You know her,” he asked, leaning towards Buffy. She licked her lips, stared at the photo, barely visible in the dark alley.

“Warren…she was Warren’s girlfriend.”

Spike swore loudly. Buffy looked over at him. “This doesn’t change anything,” she said hoarsely.

Spike shook his head. “It changes everything. Demons in the woods, dead girl connected to him. Awful coincidence don’t you think?”

Buffy balled her hands into fists, stuffed them into her pockets. “What are you talking about?”

“Get your merry band together. Do whatever you lot do. You still want to do this tomorrow I’ll bring you back myself.”

She tilted her head, suddenly suspicious. “Why are you doing this?”

Spike glared at her. “You know.”

Buffy couldn’t look at him. She pushed past him and moved towards the entrance of the alley. “You don’t have to follow me.”

“Wasn’t going to.” He was suddenly beside her, “going to walk over here. You stick to the right side of the sidewalk.”

Buffy fell into step with him, careful to avoid touching her arm against his. “Oh.”

“And hurry up,” Spike complained, his coat curling around his body in the light breeze.

They walked down the sidewalk and back to Revello Drive in silence, the only sound between them a rustle of leather as their arms moved back and forth.

TBC...

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