As it's an anti-Valentine too, I've decided to post it today so it can languish in my memories with the rest.
Tattered Valentines by Bogwitch
Part One - Spike
Night has fallen and Spike is prowling the lower floor of 1630 Revello Drive, guarding the house for her. For a change, there’s no one about, everyone is either upstairs or out. Buffy’s around if the First has use for him again, so he can relax a bit, take the opportunity to move about a little before he locks himself back up in the basement for safekeeping.
Soundlessly, he moves into the Living Room, a dead man in a space meant for living in. He’s aware of the irony. He casts his glance around the room, checking for anything he feels is eviler than him. Nothing yet, apart from the clutter of research and the training of slayers, the room is as normal. Giles is still out with some of the potentials so the sofa is still free. However, one thing dominates the room.
She’s received a card.
It sits proudly on the mantel of the fireplace, a large red heart surrounded by roses. Its feminine, girly, next to the smaller, goofy cards sent by Willow and Kennedy to each other. He knows whom the card is from. He doesn’t even need to read it to know that.
Although he does, to be sure.
It feels like picking a scab.
Despite their interrupted date, it seems that the Principal is still interested in Buffy and from the little he saw, there’s a mutual attraction. And Spike knows that this time he can’t utter a word against it, lest it be seen as proprietary jealousy.
He’s already lost her. He knows that. His actions the night he left for Africa put her well beyond his reach and the new soul he won there only tells him what he doesn’t have to offer. Still, the love he has for her, a love so strong he changed his entire being for her, coils inside, writhing like an angry snake. Just a redundant emotion he no longer has a right to express.
Spike turns his back on the reminder of his own inadequacy. She’s moving on to someone else and he’s glad for her, really. He’s not what she deserves. Sadly, he pulls the envelope from back pocket and
tears it up. He goes through to the kitchen and absently tosses the card into the trash before returning to the bareness of the basement.
Part Two - Buffy
In her bedroom, Buffy finishes up her beauty regime and places the bottles of creams and moisturizers back into their respective drawers. Once done, she goes to her mirror and checks herself over, adding the finishing touches to her hair. Tonight has been an increasingly rare treat, nowadays it’s only when Giles takes the potentials out to get the benefit of his wisdom that she gets the opportunity to pamper herself like this.
A few flicks of her brush and she’s done. She puts it down onto her dresser ready for its next use and then she’s out the door. She has some jobs to do before Giles gets back and the house is invaded again by the sleepover from hell, so she walks down the hall to the stairs. She pauses for a moment before she descends. She can hear Willow and Kennedy giggling together in Willow’s room. She’s happy for them, of course, but she thinks that Kennedy has begged off training perhaps a little too often. There’s a fight coming and these little slips could really matter in the end, as everyone will need to be at the peak of their abilities if they are going to stand a chance. From the arguing coming from Dawn’s room, Buffy guesses that she must be with Andrew again, probably causing havoc in some Internet chat room. With a smile she goes down the stairs, at least everyone is getting along.
She enters the Living Room, hoping to find Spike on the sofa watching some trashy show on the TV. She’d like the company and maybe they could talk, but he’s not around and the downstairs of the house appears empty. It’s okay, she’ll catch him later if he’s willing. So with a carefree shrug, she turns her attention to the fireplace.
She received a Valentine this morning.
She grins to herself, a small tingle of pleasure running through her at the thought of the card. It’s the first she’s received for awhile and it makes her feel good inside. For a moment she takes a childish glee in the fact that her card is bigger and more romantic than either Willow’s or Kennedy’s, but she admonishes herself for such childish thoughts. A card may only be a representation of ephemeral feelings, but here and now someone is thinking of her and it could be the start of something exciting and new. Principal Wood doesn’t seem to have been too put off by their interrupted date and that can only bode well with her constantly interrupted life.
She takes a quick look around, wondering if there are any other envelopes unattended and addressed “To Buffy”, but she finds nothing. Spike has left nothing for her. It’s a relief, she thinks, but not really a surprise. She noticed that he’s been avoiding her all day and she’s let him, understanding that today, of all days, must be hard on him. He’s stepped aside, has said nothing that wasn’t necessary, letting her move on. He’s not vocalising his feelings anymore and that’s so unlike the Spike she thought she knew, but when he looks at her she can see the man inside like day breaking and he still loves her.
She thinks she knows why Spike is being so noble, and its good, it takes the temptation away. Its over, she knows that. She tells herself at least twice a day, so it must be true. And finally it seems to have sunk into Spike, despite the jealousy she knows he’s covering. It’s easier this way, they’re friends now, like they could’ve been before they tore down their tentative friendship in an abandoned house. There’s something more precious in their relationship now and it’s worth hanging onto.
She’s still getting used to this new person he’s presented to her. He’s gone through a lot of changes lately, and a great deal of pain, but he seems better. The madness that plagued him just after his return has gone, and they seem to have forgiven each other for their past, he just needs to learn to trust himself. There’s only the First’s trigger to worry about now, the loaded gun in his head. Giles wants to protect the potentials, she gets that, after all its her priority too, but he doesn’t see that to do that she will need all the help she can pull to her and that Spike is her strength, she needs him close. She just hopes that with this new passive demeanour, Spike is going to be strong enough for the big battle that lies ahead. She doesn’t need another damsel to rescue. She needs that old passion of his back. Giles annoyed her with his narrow view when they discussed the removal of Spike’s chip, because she knows Spike can be a good man, she’s already seen it. It about time Giles trusted her judgement more, wasn’t he the one who wanted her to take on the responsibilities of adulthood?
With a sigh, she plucks the Valentine from its place on the shelf and contemplates it for a moment, running her finger over the roses, there’s a void inside her that a large, extravagant card from her boss cannot fill. Her Valentine’s always seem to be about rejection. She tears the heart in half and then half again, and strolls through to the kitchen, she needs to take out the trash. It’s overflowing as usual. With a house more than full; it needs taking out all the time. It was Dawn’s turn tonight, but it seems that she’s conveniently forgotten. Buffy puts the remains of the card inside the bag and gathers it in at the top. As she pulls it clear of the bin, a corner of the bag spills open and the remains of another torn card tumble to the floor and scatter like petals from dead roses.
She bends and picks up the pieces, a tattered Valentine in her hands.
Hmm. It's crapper than I remember. Let that be a good expamle of why you need a beta.