Part Twenty-Four: An Even Trade -- One Life For Another
For Disclaimer and Notes see first chapter.
Part Twenty-Four: An Even Trade -- One Life For Another
Cordelia and Spike headed off to the guest bedroom where she and Gunn had been guarding earlier.
"Thanks Cordelia. I owe you so much. I only hope you can realize the magnitude of gratitude I owe you," Spike softly told her.
"I know and realize. I wouldn't have done what I did if I didn't believe it was right. You deserved the time you had with Faith. I'm not one to deny you that at all. I've watched you help my best friend through situations I couldn't even begin to comprehend. You are amazing to her Spike. I couldn't ask for a better friend for her," Cordelia answered truthfully and Spike nodded.
"Thanks luv, I'll always remember how great you treated me despite the fact I am what I am."
"You are a brave man. I have grown to love your awful poetry and constant sarcastic remarks. You are a truly great man bound to the body of a demon beast. I'm glad that B was able to tame you."
"Why is that, luv?"
"Because if B didn't come along and cause you to fall in love with her then I know that when you and Faith met for the first time things would not have been pleasant. You two are too much alike Spike. You both allow your emotions and feelings to rule your lives at all costs. If you two had ever gotten together God help us all. The chaos you two would have caused would have been astronomical." Spike laughed after her speech.
"She wouldn't have wanted me."
"Then you know so little about her Spike. She's a bad girl, a total renegade. Just because she has Angel doesn't make her good Spike. The nights she spent with you were her glory nights and you know that. The two of you would beat the hell out of whatever crossed your path. She would come back bruised and injured but the fire in her eyes let me know she was ok and more alive than when she left. When she fought with Angel it was a choreographed battle. With you Spike, with you it was an adventure. She never knew what awaited her when you came. Two reckless time bombs. You two did damage and she loved every second of it."
"I'm not good enough for her though. Together we would have gotten each other killed or done things we would have both regretted later."
"You two are stronger than B and Angel, stronger than you and B and stronger than Angel and Faith. Together you two would have dominated everything."
"We would have either killed each other or got one or both of us killed. Two 'reckless time bombs' as you called us are not safe together. I do love her. More than she will ever know or understand. But she isn't Buffy."
"No, she isn't."
"I love Buffy. I can't love Faith like I love Buffy."
"For that I'm sorry for you. Perhaps I'm biased to my best friend but Faith is a far better person than Buffy, to me."
"I know that Cordelia. But Buffy balances me like Angel balances Faith. You know that is true."
"Angel loves Buffy."
"He thinks he does. He is really in love with the idea of Buffy. The Slayer. The idea that he slept with the Slayer."
"The replacement Slayer. I'll let you in on a little secret pet. Angel is crazy if he chooses Buffy over Faith. The only regret I have about dating Buffy rather than Faith is the sex. Faith is much better in bed, much," Spike whispered to Cordelia and winked at her.
"You two? When? I thought…. She told me that you never…" she stuttered and trailed off, hurt evident in her voice.
"It was a secret we both agreed to take to the grave. She came to Sunnydale at dawn, broke into my apartment and tossed me out of bed. It took me a minute to realize I was getting the shit kicked out of me before I punched her back. I didn't realize who it was until a few seconds later when I smelled her. We beat the shit out of each other. I ended up at the end on the floor of my bedroom next to my bed with her on top of me with a stake embedded in my chest almost to my heart. We made eye contact and I saw the fight leave her eyes a second before the tears fell. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't really sure what was going on in that head of hers so I just held her as she sobbed. When her mouth found mine I didn't object because somewhere inside of me I knew that she needed this. She wouldn't have come if she didn't. I have never seen a person switch gears that fast. One minute she is beating the shit out me, the next she is crying on my shoulder, and then she is pure sex: heaving, panting, alive and kicking, sex. At no other point in my life have I had that desire for her.
"We basically attacked each other, clothes were torn to shreds and it was brutal raw honest passionate sex. I have never had any better sex to this day. Dru was no match, Buffy was no match and for sure Harmony was no match. I held her as she slept that day. She told me after she woke up that she had had a vision of her own death. She wouldn't tell me details but she told me she knew how she died. She said you knew too because you called an hour after the dream to check on her. She knew her death would be soon and she was angry because she and Angel were constantly fighting behind closed doors and she knew they wouldn't be happy before she died. I have never seen her like that. It scared the living hell out of me Cordelia. I saw the innocent girl during that day. The human trapped in the body of a Slayer. I saw a part of Faith no one else has, the part that is afraid of what she is, afraid of death, afraid of life's uncertainties, and a woman who loves Angelus with all her heart and soul. Angel saw a glimpse of that when he saved her in L.A., but her eyes are what scared me the most. She looked like a wild caged animal that was desperately trying to find a way out but to no avail. She knew she was stuck with her fate; she hated it and was terrified of what lay ahead of her.
"She returned to L.A. after she took that night's patrol through Sunnydale with me. We never told anyone, not Angel, Buffy, Giles or you. We never talked about it either. She left after patrol, just got on her bike, placed a soft kiss on my lips, whispered "thank you William" against my lips and drove off."
"That was about two months ago I got that vision."
"Sounds about right."
"And you kept if from all of us."
"I had no choice ducks. She didn't talk about it with me so I knew it was a hushed topic. It would have killed both Buffy and Angel to know she and I slept together."
"But you could have let us know. I would have lied to cover her."
"Cordelia…where did she say she went?"
"Her exact and only words on the matter were ‘to find myself’," Cordelia answered.
"So then she told you the truth. Coming to terms with the fact you are going to die is never pleasant. What did Angel say?"
"I remember her physical appearance that morning when she came back into the hotel. She had bruises all over he body, claw marks down her back, bite marks on her neck. I asked and she said she had a run-in with a pack of vamps that caught her at a bad time mentally. She almost died she said. But that was you. You did all that to her?"
"Yeah I did. I told you that we fought and fucked hard. She wasn't playing around Cordelia. She fought to kill me and I fought to defend myself. She fought to die and I fought to keep her alive. I had to lie to Buffy and Giles the next day about my bruises, cuts, scratches, and bite marks too. Faith was far better off than me."
"It never happened before or again?"
"Never. The closest it has come is the night on the couch a few days back."
"So, why tell me now?"
"Because Cordelia we both know I am going to die in a few nights. We both also know that Faith is too. I just wanted to leave you a different piece to remember her by. You know a lot about her, I know that, but well, I never felt I cheated on Buffy, never Cordelia. I just needed to let someone understand why I am the way I am with her. To know why I don't really care if I piss off Peaches and why I am going to make sure Faith makes it through this fight to see another sunrise and sunset. I will give her my life to use when hers is over."
"What?" Cordelia asked in confusion.
"I am leaving blood here with instructions for the witches. Cassandra and Willow know whatever happens in the fight their primary objective, despite whatever one they will get from her, is to make sure that if she is drained, which I know she will be by Buffy, they are to make sure they get my blood in her in time to make the change. After she is changed then they also have instructions on how to lock her up and hold her until they can get an Orb of Thesulah and until you can talk to the PTB and make sure her soul stays permanently. That is my final gift to her. I will give her my life because I know that hers will not make it through that night," Spike confessed to Cordelia and she sat there in shock, completely speechless.
"I'm in complete shock. You really do love her don't you?" Cordelia asked completely in awe.
"More than my own life."
"But what about Buffy?"
"I love her more than my life and more than anything else in this world. But my Buffy is dead. The thing running around with her face and her body isn't her. Faith is my concern right now. Angelus is in a bit of a bind. He doesn't realize what the hell he is about to walk out on and I'm not going to beat it into him because well, I can't. I promised her and myself that night she came to me as I held her in my arms after she cried herself to sleep that I would watch over her for as long as she lived. I would make sure that she was protected throughout life. I know that she will die, but I intend to keep her and Peaches together a little longer than that."
"You don't have to die you know that right?"
"Would you want to go through life with no hands, no genitals, one eye, and missing the love of your life?" Spike asked.
"No, I wouldn't want that," Cordy answered sadly.
"I didn't think so. I really appreciate the fact you want me to stick around pet, I do, but I am going to go join Buffy and beg her not to kick my ass when I tell her the complete truth about my relationship with Faith. I'll be fine though luv, I'll be fine," Spike said and threw an arm around Cordy's shoulders pulling her close to him. The two of them sat down on the bed in the guest room and watched out the window waiting for a possible attack that would never come.
The rest of the night went by uneventfully. I hung out with Gunn the whole night and B never showed. I didn't really expect her to show considering she knew that she would be at a tactical disadvantage by attacking a house full of people that wanted her dead. Gunn changed my bandage before I fell asleep in his arms in the living room. He held me on the couch as we both slept as the sun crept up over the horizon.