Spike/Buffy | post-Chosen/NFA | ~900 words
For moscow_watcher -- happy birthday, Elena ♥ And thanks to sidewalksecrets for inspiring me to write.
Past the black and into a hazy beyond, Buffy saw streaks of red and gold flying like butterflies caught in a jar, swirling faster and faster until they sparked, exploding fireworks flashing white. A supernova boomed. She felt it exploding behind her ears.
Her eyes slitted open and the thundering pounded and rumbled and pounded some more. The air spun above her, teetering around her until a splash of white came into focus. Pale skin, white hair, and eyes, blue eyes with the sharpest black in the center. She kept trying to catch hold of the black of his eyes, but the spinning kept throwing her eyes, blurring her vision.
“Stay with me, love. You're all right. You hear me? Keep your eyes open.”
Her tongue hung heavy in her mouth, too heavy to lift, so she settled for swallowing the bitterness that tasted like a bruise. The thundering receded like a wave and she groaned in relief, only groaning seemed to call back the thunder. Her temples throbbed and the angry waves kept crashing down.
“Just take a deep breath. Good. And again. Yeah, that's it, love.”
Air helped, and more air helped even more. She breathed, deep and slow, and blinked the blurriness from her eyes. Minutes passed, deep breaths full of minutes, full seconds, full of blinking and breathing. And he was breathing with her, she felt the rhythm passing between them, and his thumb was stroking the underside of her jaw skin, the pads of his fingers resting featherlight against her throat.
She swallowed, shaking her tongue awake, then whispered, “Wh-what happened?”
His lips flattened. “Bit of nasty got you.”
She squinted, staring at his face, looking for signs of anything that might help her remember. Then she heard the screams, distant, an echo of terror, the desperate cries begging for help, for someone to save them, to save their lives, and when they were beyond saving, the cries grew louder, begging for mercy, begging for death. She remembered and she wished she didn't.
“Did...did you...” Her tongue stumbled over the words and she tried to breathe again. “Did...”
“No,” he answered her anyways. “I didn't kill it. I grabbed you and ran. Barely got out in the nick of time.”
The shadows behind him came into focus, concrete covered in muck and dirt, the walls gently curving down into the debris scattered and clumped on the ground. “Where are we?”
His eyes flicked up, his lips quirked. “Sewer.”
She laughed and immediately regretted it. “Yeah, I got that far. But where?”
“Sun came up so I had to find a safe place for us to hole up pronto.”
She frowned, wrinkling her nose. “I hate sewers.”
He snorted, his thumb still stroking beneath her chin. “Next time I save your life, I'll be sure there's a five-star hotel nearby, yeah.”
It hurt to smile, but she did it anyways. “You better.”
His eyes trailed across her face and he must've liked what he saw since the hint of a smile dimpled his cheeks. His being pleased with her didn't last long, though. “You cut it close that time, Slayer.”
“Slayer, huh?” She rolled the dice and tried pouting. And hey, pouting didn't hurt any worse than not pouting. Score. “You must've been worried. You're getting all serious and scowly.”
“Sorry if I don't relish the sight of you an inch away from...” He squeezed his eyes shut, jaw clenching, and she remembered his yelling her name when she fell into... into the dark.
Tightening the muscles in her arms, urging her limbs awake, she ripped away the numbness keeping her still, and there her hand leapt up and grasped his wrist, fingers trembling against his skin. The weakness in her grip wasn't exactly the reassuring touch she was going for, but she forged through anyways. Arm quaking, she refused to let go of his hand, and began to stroke his palm. “I'm okay,” she said, and hoped he believed her.
She was pretty sure she was lying -- scratch that, she was definitely sure -- but he'd always been a sucker for her and played along whenever she lied for his sake. He smiled a little, just enough to show a flash of his teeth, and his free hand cupped her trembling elbow, helping her hold onto his wrist.
She hummed to herself, pleased, and her eyes dipped down – which was a bad move. “Oh nooooooooo,” she moaned at the sight of her new red silk shirt ripped to shreds.
“What?” His eyes flared wide open. “What's wrong?”
“My shirt's ruined.”
He looked at her like she was insane and then the laughter came, shaking through his shoulders, and then he was rolling around in the muck, letting out a stream of snorts, gasps and shouting guffaws. His mouth opened so wide she swore she could see his tonsils laughing at her.
She pouted for her own sake. Not like he was watching. “I liked this shirt. It was my third favorite shirt.”
That set him off howling so she settled for crossing her arms and waiting him out. How long could he keep this up anyways?
Hopefully not long. She needed him to carry her out of this sewer before her sense of smell came back in force.