S p i k e / B u f f y . F a n f i c t i o n . b y .K J .D r a f t



Chapter Six

Alone at Willy's, nursing a glass of straight Whiskey, Spike reaches back through his mind, trying to determine when reality split into two equally dismal slices.

I didn't make a wish until I was safely on the bus, and that was just to myself, I didn't mean it... Maybe Anya still heard me, somehow? She can detect people's distress, it draws her out, she must have heard!

The bar tender wipes down a spot near Spike. Spike reaches out and grips his shirt collar, vice-like, and pulls him closer.

Insists, "I didn't want this. I mean, I wanted this, but not like this. Wanted her to come to me of her own free will, completely conscious of the choice, not majiked or mojo'd or cajoled into it by specifically interpreted to bite you in the ass wishes made off hand in a bus stop."

The bar tender regards him uneasily. Spike is about to continue babbling when Clem, beer in floppy hand, takes the stool next to him.

"Talking to a bar tender about your romantic troubles? Isn't that a bit cliché?" Clem remarks.

"You know, clichés don't just spontaneously generate as a plot to torment precocious, artistic fools," Spike grinds out. "Sometimes they make sense. I'm drinking, he's here, captive audience, part of his post, and he feels better about himself in comparison. We all get something."

"I'll take over," Clem interjects eagerly.

Spike reluctantly liberates the bartender's now very wrinkled shirt. The bar tender glares once at Spike, but wisely moves off without critique.

"So, fill me in on the latest," Clem suggests convivially, in the same manner one might request the score of a recently concluded baseball game, or the outcome of a first date.

Spike regards him through a skeptical lens. You don't want to hear this. No one wants to hear this. This story should be retired, just another tale I don't tell anymore. The one that always begins before Buffy's death, and ends with my eternal and complete emasculation.

Never the less, he feels the need to try again, try to divest himself of the memories, rid them from his heart for good. His voice is morose: "Before she jumped, we were at her house, and it occurred to me that I didn't know anything about her, not really. Only thing I knew was that she could never love me. And I liked that about her."

Deep swig. God this is hard. Admitting things to myself. "When she came back I got my bloody second chance, didn't I? I wanted to do anything for her, which meant mostly sitting there, being stupid and sad and desperate, on the verge of saying something regrettable, of busting up a perfectly false friendship. That is, a friendship based on false pretenses. Didn't want to be her friend."

Tried to make her admit she loved me, because it was too horrifying to think I might be dead wrong.

Better to be dead drunk.

He drains the glass. Pauses, holding it in the air.

"I have her now, though." He chuckles, mirthless. Slams the glass down, signals brusquely for another. Turns to Clem, really meeting his eyes for the first time that night. "Only she's not her."

Clem thinks that maybe if he drinks another beer, Spike's rant will begin to make sense.

It doesn't help that Spike remains silent for long stretches, brain churning furiously, working through the logic. For her to need me, a need had to be created. She needs me to kill people because what else would she possibly need me for?

"'Not Quite Buffy', I'll call her. Looks like her, tastes like her, fights like her, acts like her." His voice stumbles into pithy sarcasm: "