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TITLE: Empty (1/1)
PAIRING: Buffy/Spike
AUTHOR: Chelle Storey
FEEDBACK: thechelle@worldnet.att.net - I'd love to hear from you.
SPOILERS: Season 6 hasn't happened in this fic yet. Season 5 spoilers for sure.
Dedication: To Ashleigh who wanted a few things that will be listed at the end of the fic. I hope you're coping better. If you need me, you know where I am. Love to you and yours. Disclaimer: I didn't want to do this. I don't like crying Spike much.

If wild my breast and sore my pride,
I bask in dreams of suicide,
if cool my heart and high my head
I think "How lucky are the dead"
- - - -Dorothy Parker "Mortal Thoughts"

"Don't talk," I tell her, running my fingers through her silky blond hair. She's curled the ends, making little ringlets, and I snag one, pulling her closer so I can kiss her.

She pretends to pout, reminding me of our almost-wedding and I smile, moving in to capture her lips. Before I get there, she grins and backs away, shaking her head and giving me an impish wink. "Catch me," she purrs, darting away so quickly that I barely reach for her and she's already halfway across the room.

"No fair," I growl, lunging for her. She sidesteps, forcing me head first into a wall, and my face changes.

"Oooh!" She clasps her hands in front of her breasts and shakes her head. "Not the big bad!"

And the game is on. Around and around the crypt we go. She almost lets me catch her, feints to one side, trips me up and goes the other way. I play along, pretending to get angry, and then I catch her arm and pull her down. We roll around on the floor, not caring that its dusty or that her perfectly curled hair is becoming messy. We struggle for dominance, me on top, her on top, me on top. It's a nasty game but someone has to play it.

Finally, I have her pinned down.

She's breathless as I cover her neck with kisses and she makes a sweet sound in the back of her throat when I tug at her earlobe with my teeth. Her legs are around my waist, and she surges upward, pushing against me and I respond by letting her feel exactly what she does to me.

"Oh, Spike," she whispers now, her vibrant eyes beginning to darken with passion. "I want you so much. All the time."

"And why is that, love?" I ask her, trailing the pad of my thumb over her cheek.

"Because I love you," she replies seriously.

I feel my undead heart break a little more.

And I feel my eyes cloud with tears.

I move away and she pulls herself up beside me, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Did I get it wrong again? My program was specific and it's sometimes hard for me to compute the things that you tell me to say."

"It's fine," I tell her absently, not caring that there are tears sliding down my cheeks now.

The bot reaches up and captures one, studying it on her plastic fingertip. "Crying is blackmail. Are you trying to blackmail me?"


Her head cocks to one side and she looks so much like the Slayer, my Slayer, that I want to die. "Then why are you crying, Spike?"

The words form in my head as a scream. Buffy's dead. I want to shout it at her, kick in her head for not realizing that she's a poor replacement. How many times have I wished that the bot had been the one in the grave instead of Buffy? I push her away as she reaches for me again. "Don't."

"But we failed to reach the culmination portion of the program you requested, Spike. After I say I love you, you are then supposed to remove my attire and I am supposed to please you in many different ways. Correct?" She blinks several times and crosses her arms. Hell, she looks just like her. Her hands, her hair, the curve of her hips.

"I want you to go." I give her my back, unable to stand the sight of her. "Go home."

There's a silence behind me that is deafening, then I hear several vague beeps and know that she is running her program files. She's searching for ways to appease me. I hear her move closer. "This is the program where you pretend to be angered at me and I go to my knees and ..."

"Enough!" I yell. I spin toward her, taking in the blank expression on her face. She doesn't even flinch when I raise my hand to strike out at her. When my fist connects against the smooth plastic of her cheek she simply rights herself and waits for another blow.

I slam my fist into her gut, her chest, her arms, her perfect rosy mouth. I kick out at her, knocking her feet from under her, then grab her by her hair and sling her into the wall.

"Why did you go and die, Slayer!?" I scream, as rage boils through my veins so hard that I feel like I'm on fire. "Why did you do that!?" I kick her hard, repeatedly, while she lies motionless against the wall. "You didn't even think about us. You didn't even care. We could have stopped it another way! Why did you die?"

I continue kicking until a wire pops out of her neck. It sparks several times, then there's a hissing sound and she rolls onto her back.

God, she's in the same position as *her* and I did this. I did this to the bot just like I did it to the Slayer. If only. If only I had climbed up that creaking tower faster. If I hadn't taken the time to verbally spar with that madman. If only I hadn't failed her when she needed me the most.

Her words come back to haunt me.

// We're not all gonna make it. You know that. //

When she said it, I thought she was accepting that Dawn might die. That one of her precious Scoobies might die. Never that she was accepting that she would die. And my own words burn through my brain twenty four hours a day.

// Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later it's gonna catch you.//

//That final gasp. That look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know: What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. Every Slayer ... has a death wish.//

The bot twitches and I fall to my knees, gathering her in my arms. "Why?" I shout to no one. To everyone. To all the powers that may be out there. "Why?"

Maybe if I had not told her my story -

Maybe if I had not loved her -

Maybe if I had bloody well stayed out of this hellhole -



I'm still cradling the broken bot when morning comes and Willows tentatively pushes open the heavy door of my crypt. She smells like sunshine and strawberries and her presence is almost as soothing as Buffy's was. The witch frowns down at me. "What did you do to her now, Spike? If this is going to be a weekly thing -"

"You fix her!" I snap. "You make her good as new and you fix her!"

"It's a good thing you didn't damage her tracking device."

I say nothing.

She bends down beside us and I can see the sadness in her eyes. It's a sadness that mirrors my own. She pushes a lock of the bot's hair away from her face and sighs. "Sometimes I look at this- this thing and all I can see is Buffy. And yet ..."

"And yet," I repeat. "She's not."

Willow glances up at me. "And beating the hell out of the robot isn't going to make her Buffy. Look, Spike, Dawn needs her, okay? In one piece. She's been crawling in bed with it at night and last night she didn't sleep a wink because it wasn't there."

I loosen my grip on the bot. Anything for Niblet.

// I'm counting on you ... to protect her. //

Willow surveys the damage and shakes her head. "I should start charging you for parts and .... Spike?"

I bury my face in my hands and cry. I cry because there's nothing else to do. Beating the bot doesn't bring her back. Going back to the tower and climbing and climbing until I know every inch of it by heart doesn't bring her back. Cleaning her grave and begging, on my knees at the foot of it, for her to return doesn't bring her back.

"Spike, please don't," Willow tells me, then her voice breaks and she begins to sob, too. She hugs me, awkwardly, across the bot's body and I hug her back fiercely.

"She wasn't supposed to die," I tell her, sniffling like the magnificent poof.

"I know," Willow replies. "I know."

We stay that way for several minutes, just clinging to one another. Finally, she pulls back and says, "I should get her home. She- it needs to re-charge so I can run a scan on it and find all the errors."

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

The witch shrugs her shoulders and gives me a watery smile. "I've been meaning to make adjustments for a while, now. You've given me a reason to do it." She studies my face for a few seconds. "Are you ready yet?"

She asks me this every single time I damage the bot. Am I ready to let her go? To have her planted emotions for me erased and a new data bank installed.

"I'm not ready yet, Red," I tell her, "but one day I might be."

She just nods at me, hefts the bot out of my arms, and walks to the door, never sparing a look back at me.

If she had, she would have seen my hands, reaching out as if to catch the fallen Slayer.

Only to have them return to me empty.


The End

Ashleigh's wishes for a fic:

*Spike beats up the bot because he's upset Buffy is dead
*Spike crying really really bad a bunch of times

*Spike wishing he hadn't told Buffy about the Slayer's death wish *Willow and Spike hugging
This would give me a happy that would make my diagnosis better,
Back to Buffy/Spike