Chapter 34: What Am I So Afraid of?
– Here’s the second half of “Something Blue” Disclaimer:
A little more songage ....songs belong to noted artists - 'All By Myself' was written by Eric Carmen. I own nothing
After Buffy annihilated two lonely vampires, Xander and Anya headed home. Dean watched them walk off before setting his eyes back on Buffy.
“Well, that was quick and painless,” he said.
Buffy winced, “Uh, sorry I helped myself to the vamp-age but you weren’t diving in the way you usually do.”
“Yeah, uh, I guess I’m a little distracted.”Take three.
“You want to grab some coffee or something? It’s kind of early.”
“I should probably check on Willow,” Buffy said. "Make sure she hasn't drowned herself in ice cream."
Dean masked his disappointment, “Yeah, maybe you should.”Just say it now Dean, who cares if it isn’t exactly the way you pictured it.
He noticed her probing eyes.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine, just….thinking.”
“Oh,” she said. “I better get going.”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll uh, call you later.”
She smiled and nodded. He glanced at her for a long moment before ambling away.
A short time later, after chatting with Willow, the phone rang. Buffy bolted to her feet and gathered up her weapons bag again. She filled Willow in as she put her coat on. Willow shrunk with disappointment as her hope for a night of bonding drifted away. Buffy drew a guilty look.
“I’m sorry but I have to find Spike. I’ll come back as soon as I can and we’ll totally have a girls’ night. I promise.”
Buffy quickly swept out the door.
Dean paused when he hit the curb. He raked a hand through his hair and sighed. I need to do this now or I never will.
He pivoted around and bounded back toward Stevenson Hall.
Willow heard a knock on the door and brightened.
“Buffy? Did you forget your key or did you change your mind about…”
Her smile faded when she answered the door.
“Oh Dean, it’s just you.”
“Uh, sorry to disappoint you.”
Willow shuffled back to her bed. “Let me guess, you’re looking for Buffy, right?”
Dean stepped inside and nodded. “Yeah, I really need to talk her before I go.”
Willow grew despondent.
“Of course you’re looking for Buffy. No one ever comes here looking for me, no, it’s always Buffy this, Buffy that, where’s Buffy, what’s Buffy like to do for fun? You guys are all the same. You just use me to get to Buffy,” she grumbled.
Dean was taken aback at Willow’s brusque attitude.
“Are you okay?”
Willow let out a breath. “Sorry, it’s just Buffy went out looking for Spike even though I was hoping for some best friend bonding time.”
“Why was she looking for Spike? I thought he was wrapped up at Giles’ place.”
“He escaped,” she answered casually, “So she took off to find him.”
“He escaped? You’re just now telling me this? Do you know where she might have headed?”
Willow shrugged. Dean bolted back to the door.
“Lock the door behind me.”
Willow drew mournful eyes.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay for a little while? I have hot chocolate with those mini marshmallows…I know you’re not big on bonding things and you and I have never really hung out before and….I promise I won’t cry on your shoulder or anything it’s just….I’m feeling pretty low and could use some company.”
Dean drew out a breath. He set sympathetic eyes on Willow.
“I’m not really good with the whole ice cream socials. It’s best if I go help find Spike.”
Willow folded her arms across her chest and huffed, “What’s the big deal? He’s not a danger to humans anymore.”
“That doesn’t mean he won’t still cause trouble,” he assessed. “I better go and find…”
“Buffy, Buffy, Buffy,” she snapped spitefully. “Always got her on the brain, don’t ya Dean? Can’t wait to see her again, huh Dean? Always come here looking for her, right Dean?”
Willow hardened her scowl.
“I don’t get you. You act like you need to be with her but you don’t even have the guts to tell her how you really feel,” she said bluntly.
Dean blinked, flabbergasted by Willow’s embittered tone.
“What are you so afraid of? Maybe you think she might reject you or you think she really hates you or she won’t need you….you’re just afraid of….everything.”
Dean blinked again and missed the flicker of white light that flashed in Willow’s eyes. He slowly backed up to the door.
“Uh, I’m gonna go now…..I hope you feel better.”
Dean left the room as Willow stewed in her blue mood.
“God, that boy just needs to have a big cry,” she grumbled.
A short time after leaving Stevenson Hall, Dean started to feel a large knot form in his stomach as he walked across the dark, lonely campus. His heartbeat quickened a little as he wondered where all the college students were. As he passed through the quad, his eyes shot up at the sound of an eerie howl that cut through the unsettling silence. As he crossed under a street lamp, he jumped out of his skin when the bulb suddenly exploded on top of him. He carefully brushed the glass off of himself and ambled a little quicker back to the car.
He drew his eyes over his surroundings and noticed a group of students nearby. As he walked by, one of the students sneezed without bothering to cover his mouth. Dean jerked back and buried his nose and mouth with the sleeve of his jacket. The kid kept sneezing. Dean saw the spray of germs hurling from the kid’s mouth and turned pale.
He bolted away as the kid continued to sneeze. He threw his eyes behind him and checked to make sure the wind hadn’t carried the cloud of germs toward him. By the time he reached his car, his breathing had grown ragged and a thick layer of sweat coated his face. He fumbled with his keys as he unlocked the driver side door. After he climbed in, he locked his door and eased the car onto the street. He took a few breaths to calm himself down as a song by Yes played on the radio.“Owner of a lonely heart…much better than a owner of a broken heart….”
His eyes grew sad as he listened to the song. He sniffed as he changed the station. After a couple of miles, he heaved a breath and sneezed. His eyes widened as let out another bout of sneezing. He drew an annoyed look as he spotted a convenient store. He pulled into the parking lot and walked up to the door. He stared at the door handle in disgust. He peered through the glass door and saw only a few people inside. An old man was finishing up paying for his items and headed for the door.
Dean sighed in relief as the old man pushed the door open. He darted through the door as it closed behind him. He glanced at the plastic shopping baskets for a second before moving through the aisles. He snatched up several types of cold medicine, a box of tissue and a bottle of anti-bacterial spray. He made sure to dig out the items from the back of the shelf, unable to comprehend how many people had used their bacteria coated hands to touch the front row of stock. When he finished purchasing his items, he backed into the door, bypassing having to touch the nasty handle.
He walked out the store, carrying a brown bag in his arms. He paused as his internal alarm suddenly blared when he heard a low growling behind him. Dread gripped his body as he slowly turned around. He widened his eyes and screamed as a demonic beast struck terror in his heart. He dropped the bag and bolted down the street as his heart shot into his throat.
“Run! Run for your life!” he shouted as he flew by people on the sidewalk.
He garnered odd looks from more people as he raced through town.
“Help! Somebody help me!”
Buffy watched the color from Riley’s face drain as she broke the news of her impending nuptials to him. After they stumbled through a discussion, a baffled Riley staggered away before the wedding dresses in the bridal salon window regained Buffy’s attention. She hated having to hurt him but she couldn’t lead him on now that she was getting married. She brightened as she strolled into the bridal salon.
After gathering a few sample binders, Buffy stepped out of the salon and heard a blood curdling cry echo in the night. She swept her eyes around the street, looking for someone in danger. She spotted Dean on the other side of the street, his eyes wide with fear, running for his life. He met her eyes and raced over to her. His face was knitted with sheer terror.
“Dean? What’s going on?”
He ducked behind her and tried to catch his breath.
“A beast!” he said. “It’s after me! It chased me for blocks!”
Buffy searched the streets but saw no demon in plain view.
“I don’t see anything.”
Dean trembled as he slowly took a peek over her shoulder.
“It was there a second ago, with its…teeth and its…evil roar, it was going to tear me to pieces!”
Buffy pushed off the curb and crossed the street. Dean clung to her arm, darting his eyes around. She took out a stake and gripped it firmly.
“There, the alley, maybe that’s where the nest is.”
Buffy pivoted and turned into a dark alley. She tensed when she heard a rustling behind a pair of dumpsters. She got into fighting mode as she snuck closer. Dean gulped as the creature suddenly sprung out from behind the dumpsters. He staggered back and gasped.
“Oh god! There it is!”
Buffy blinked with disbelief at the so called “beast” she was staring down at. Dean looked at her hesitant expression, expecting her to spring into action.
“Are you kidding me?”
“What are you waiting for Slayer? Kill it! Kill the evil beast!”
Buffy looked back at a brown alley cat as it meowed. Aside from being infected with mange, the cat had one eye sloped lower than the other and it emitted an obnoxious smell. The cat let out another soft meow. Dean shivered with fright at the sound.
“You hear that? It just called you out! Come on, kill it already!”
“I’m not killing a helpless little cat.”
He frowned with disappointment and dismay.
“That’s what it wants you to think but you wait until it shows you its fangs and…”
“It’s a cat, not a demon cat, just a – smelly cat,” she replied. “Now if you don’t mind, I have more important matters to take care of.”
Buffy turned down the alley and headed back to the street. Dean saw that he was by himself in the demon’s lair and hurried after her. When he caught up to her, his face shrouded with irritation.
“Some Slayer you are! You let an evil beast fool you into thinking it’s all harmless and now anyone it viciously kills will be on your hands!”
She drew out a breath, “If you’re that convinced that a smelly cat is evil, feel free to go back there and take care of it yourself.”
His eyes widened with terror as he gulped. “No way, I’m not going back there. It’ll kill me!”
Buffy realized she had been too immersed in her whirlwind wedding plans to study Dean’s odd behavior closely. She took a long minute to look at him. She noticed his jagged breathing and the seemingly permanent state of fear on his face.
“Are you – feeling okay?”
His voice trembled with anxiety. “No, I was almost mauled by a demonic beast! How do you think I feel? And you didn’t even bother trying to protect me! You hate me, don’t you?”
His eyes filled with trepidation as he probed her face for an answer. Her face shrouded with concern.
“Are you having like a panic attack or something?”
Dean inhaled a few breaths as he thought about her question and his sudden onslaught of fears.
“Uh, I don’t know,” he replied, “Maybe.”
“Well, maybe you should go home and lie down for awhile,” she suggested.
Buffy clutched her binders and skipped off toward the magic shop. Dean realized he was all alone on a dark, empty street. His heart flooded with panic again as he raced after Buffy.
“Wait!” he cried out.
Buffy paused on the curb.
“Will you walk me back to my car?”
“Are you serious?”
“I’m always serious about my safety.”
Buffy eyed the magic shop. “I can’t right now. Besides, you’ve got your gun and your knife and whatever weapons you carry in those pockets of yours. You’ll be fine.”
He suddenly padded his pockets as his eyes widened. He pulled out the knife Buffy had gifted him, a stun gun and a pistol, holding them out to her with extreme caution. His hands and body shook vigorously as his face thickened with another sheet of fright.
“Oh god! Here! Take them! Take them!” he begged.
Buffy took his weapons and stuffed them in her bag.
“Jeez, I’m just asking for it. I could really hurt myself with those things.”
He glanced at her with bigger eyes.
“Why are you buying me knives? Do you want me to hurt myself? You do, don’t you? You really hate me.”
He sniffed and sulked as he followed closely behind Buffy until she stopped outside of the magic shop. He whipped his eyes to the occult items in the window.
“What are you doing here?”
“I need to pick up a few ingredients for Giles.”
His eyes widened again.
“Are you going to do a spell? You know, those can be really dangerous. You might get hurt or you might hurt someone else or you might hurt…me…..oh god, you’re not casting a spell to like boil my entrails, are you?” he asked fearfully.
Buffy grew worried when her instincts told her this was more than just a panic attack.
“I think you should come back to Giles’ place with me. Maybe you’ve got the same thing he has.”
Dean paused and gulped. “What are you talking about? What does he have? Is it fatal? Am I dying?”
He broke out into a cold sweat again as his heart hammered behind his rib cage.
“Something freaky is going on with his vision, he can’t see anything. And now you’re acting all weird and stuff. Maybe it’s related.”
“I don’t want to go to his place if he’s contagious,” he lamented.
“He’s not contagious, something is just affecting him,” she affirmed. “You can always stay out here by yourself.”
He gasped at the thought.
“No, I want to stay with you,” he said meekly.
Buffy entered the shop. She felt Dean hovering closely behind her. He jumped up when an electronic black cat squealed a greeting. Dean jerked back and gasped when he spotted several jars containing weird looking toes, different sizes of eyeballs and rotted feet of various species.
“Uh, how long do we have to be in here? This place is really freaking me out.”
As Buffy walked up and down the aisles collecting ingredients, she could feel Dean’s staggered breaths blasting against her neck. She turned around and eyed him as he clutched tightly to her arm with clenched white knuckles.
“You’re smothering me,” she groaned.
He suddenly squealed softly, “Oh god, please tell me that’s not real.”
Buffy followed his line of sight to a jar containing a gigantic rat.
“It was at one point.”
He shuddered violently.
“Hurry up,” he pleaded timidly.
Buffy gathered up the ingredients and carried them to the register. With both hands occupied, she eyed the door before glancing at Dean.
“Could you get the door please?”
He gulped, “Do you know how many people have touched that doorknob?”
“Be a big boy Dean,” she said.
Dean pulled his hand through his jacket sleeve and used the leather cuff as a protective barrier against the germ laden doorknob. He carefully pried the door open and let Buffy outside. Dean followed right on her heels. A large crow squawked and flew a few inches above his head. He screamed and flailed his arms around in panic.
“Get it off! Get it off!”
With no free hands, Buffy batted the bird away with her head. Dean examined himself for cuts and bites.
“Ugh, do you think that thing had rabies?”
“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I better get back to Giles’ so we can figure out what’s going on,” she said.
She started walking in the direction of Giles’ apartment complex.
“Wait, don’t you need me to drive you?”
Buffy paused and swung around, “Uh, considering the way you’re acting, I think I’m better off walking and you should really go back to your room and get some rest.”
Dean gulped and grew sullen, “You don’t…need me?”
“No, you should go home,” she said gently.
Dean sniffed as she stepped off the curb.
Buffy drew out a breath.
“I’ll drive you. Let me drive you.”
He crossed in front of her.
“Please, let me drive you. Please.”
She sighed, “Okay, fine. Where did you park?”
“Uh, at the Quik Shop across town,” he answered.
Dean followed close behind Buffy as she headed toward the cemetery. He halted in his tracks.
“Uh, can’t we take the long way around?”
She frowned. “It’s quicker if we cut through here.”
Dean gulped and went white. “But, there are scary things in there. What if something rises from the grave? What if it tries to bite or eat me? Oh god, I don’t want to get eaten.”
He slumped over slightly and hyperventilated.
“I hate this place,” he cried weakly.
“It’ll be okay, I promise you.”
He straightened and sniffed.
“Really?” he asked.
Buffy nodded. “I’m the Slayer remember? I’ll protect you.”
She nodded again. He studied her and frowned with disbelief.
“No, you won’t. You hate me. You’ve always hated me since I stole your favorite cookie. I bet you’ve just been waiting around for the opportunity for me to fall into a manhole full of bloodthirsty demons so you can sit back, watch and laugh your ass off. You hate me that much,” he moped.
His eyes grew sad as he sniffed back a few tears. Buffy let out a few breaths.
“I don’t hate you.”
“I don’t believe you,” he sulked.
“I don’t hate you,” she repeated. “I really don’t.”
He regarded her for a long minute.
“You really don’t hate me?” he asked softly.
“Of course I don’t hate you,” she affirmed. “I love you.”
His heart burst when he heard that.
“You – love me?”
“Of course I do,” she assured with a sweet smile.
Tears of pure joy filled his eyes as he smiled.
“You don’t know what it means to me to hear you say that,” he said. “Because I really love…”
“I love you the way I love Xander and Willow,” she added casually.
“…You too….” his words trailed off as he was crestfallen by her clarification.
Buffy focused her attention back on the cemetery searching for demons and missed the end of his profession.
Dean looked mournfully at the ground as his mind drifted back to his bad dream from the other night. I knew it.
“Oh,” he said softly.
Talking about love prompted Buffy’s mind to wander on thoughts of her soon to be husband.
“God, I love Spike,” she cooed.
Dean sighed. “Okay.”
After a second, he jerked his eyes back to hers, doubting what he had just heard.
“Wait…What? You love Spike? Since when?”
Buffy drew a giddy smile.
“Since like – forever, where have you been?”
“How can you love him? He’s your mortal enemy. He came here to kill you.”
She giggled, “Yeah, I know. It wasn’t as funny back then but now…anyway, we’ve had this underlying love hate relationship and then suddenly I opened my eyes and now it’s a love-love relationship….”
He was completely appalled by the dreamy tone in her voice.
“Are you kidding me?”
Her eyes set back on him.
“I don’t joke about marriage.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
She grinned, “I’m talking about my impending marriage, silly.”
She waved her newly decorated ring finger at him.
“Spike asked me to marry him! Isn’t it fantastic?”
His splintered heart shattered into more pieces as she bounced up and down excitedly.
“When the hell did this happen?!”
“Oh, a little while ago. I know it’s kind of sudden.”
Buffy led him out of the cemetery.
“It’s ridiculous,” he muttered.
He looked at the joy on her face.
“I think you’ve caught something too,” he replied.
Buffy waved a hand in the air dismissively.
“Nah, I’ve only caught the love bug.”
“No, you’re crazy,” he said. “There’s something seriously wrong with you.”
Buffy drew a hurt look as the rising panic in his heart boiled over.
“You hate Spike, you wouldn’t marry him or even look at him in a nice way….”
“I know this is probably hard for you to accept,” Buffy assessed. “But I really do love Spike and we’re getting married.”
Dean was incredulous when she didn’t burst into laughter or flash a look of disgust.
“He’s a vampire,” he said. “You’re supposed to kill vampires, not marry them!”
He kicked the dirt with a booted foot.
“I only kill the bad ones,” Buffy corrected. “Spike isn’t bad anymore.”
He grew excitable. “This can’t be happening. You can’t honestly tell me that in the span of an hour, you love Spike – Spike, your sworn enemy!”
“I know it’s going to take some time…”
“No! You’re just a crazy girl. Look at your life. You go strolling through cemeteries at night looking for things you only see in horror movies and if you don’t kill them you’re….you’re making out with them! You – you shag demons! You’re a…..necrophiliac….”
“I can’t believe I hang out with you!”
Suddenly, a vampire sprung up from a fresh grave in front of Dean and snarled wickedly at him. Dean’s eyes widened intensely as he shrieked like a little girl.
He took off running. Buffy dropped her belongings to spar with the vampire. Dean ran through the cemetery and collided into another vampire that flashed its fang face. He let out a high pitched wail as his body became paralyzed with fear. The vampire grabbed him by the shoulders and started to go in for the kill.
Dean surrendered to his fate as his pulse skyrocketed.
“Okay….just please make it quick and painless,” he whimpered.
Dean shut his eyes tightly when he heard a loud thump. He felt himself crashing to the ground. He snapped his eyes back open to see Buffy in the midst of fighting the vampire. After a few minutes, she staked the vampire and dusted herself off. She glanced at Dean who was still on the ground. He was shaking violently as he slowly got to his feet. His eyes watered as he struggled to breathe.
“That was so scary.”
He started to wheeze uncontrollably.
“I could have died.”
He looked at her and pouted.
“Why do I even come here?!”
She rolled her eyes. “Come on, let’s get you to your car little girl.”
When she ambled over to her pile of belongings, Dean noticed a small cut on her forehead and gasped.
Buffy grazed a finger over the cut on her forehead and glanced at the specks of blood.
“It’s nothing,” she said. “Just a little scratch.”
“No, you’re bleeding a lot and you…should…”
His eyes fixated on the crimson stream oozing out from the wound. He started to feel dizzy as he struggled to keep his balance. Buffy watched Dean as his eyes rolled into the back of his head.
“Ohhhh…” he moaned.
He swayed and crumbled to the ground, passing out.
A few minutes later, Dean felt his eyes flutter open. He felt a light tapping on his face as he pulled his eyes into focus. Buffy was crouched over him.
“You fainted, you big sissy,” she said.
She helped him to his feet as he rubbed the back of his head. He noticed she hadn’t bothered to clean up her cut. He kept his eyes away from her forehead as they headed to the car.
“Can you drive any faster grandma?”
Buffy twisted anxiously in her seat as she watched storefronts crawl by at a snail’s pace.
“The speed limit is fifteen miles an hour,” Dean announced.
“Since when have you ever obeyed the traffic laws?”
“Since I realized I’m driving around in a two thousand ton weapon.”
Buffy observed Dean as he pulled up painstakingly slow to a four way stop. He came to a complete and full stop and watched the cross traffic. There were cars waiting in each direction to cross. Dean let the line of traffic around him go by.
“You have the right of way,” she said pointedly.
“You never know when some ignorant driver is going to disrespect that rule and go speeding through the street just waiting to collide with you and then BANG, you’re dead.”
She saw another layer of dread wash over his face as he stressed himself out.
“Well, at least cut the corners.”
“I will not,” he said. “What if some nice old lady steps off the curb just as I’m turning and I hit her head on? That’s somebody’s grandma I’d be killing and if I did that….”
His eyes watered as his lips quivered.
“That would be so, so sad.”
She drew out a breath, “Well, just try and get there soon. I’m dying to get back to Spike.”
Dean narrowed his eyes on her. “Yeah, well, if you marry him, you will be dying soon.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Are you too good for guys with actual heartbeats? Do you always have to have danger attached to your relationships? Is that it?”
Buffy frowned, “You can’t choose who you love, it just happens.”
“And it just happens to be another goddamn vampire,” he grumbled.
She huffed, “Keep up that attitude mister and you’re not the Best Man anymore.”
“Are you kidding me? You really think I’d stand up for you and Spike?”
She drew a look of genuine hurt, “Well, yeah. I mean, Spike doesn’t really have any friends and I thought since you’ve always been there for me that you’d be jumping at the chance to be a part of…the most wonderful day of my life!”
She smiled goofily as they pulled up outside of Giles’ place. When she swept through the door, she paused, folded her hands together as if she were holding a bouquet and began to march over to Spike. She hummed the traditional wedding march until she reached Spike. She laced her fingers through his and then twisted around.
“Dean, you need to be standing here, next to Spike.”
Dean hung back at the door. “I’m fine right here, thanks.”
Spike regarded Dean’s shocked expression. “I know what you’re thinking. It will take some getting used to, you and I becoming best buds….”
“Are you crazy? You’re a vampire. I’m not going to be your BFF.”
“Why not? It took some convincing but I can live with it because whatever makes my pet happy, makes me happy.”
Buffy and Spike did a little “Eskimo kiss” rubbing noses affectionately.
“So what do you say Winchester? Shall we drink to it?”
“You’re a vampire!” Dean protested again.
“So - what? Are you going to kill me?”
Dean gulped, “Um, no. She’s supposed to.”
Buffy eyed Dean. “Don’t be silly, I’m not going to kill Spike. I love Spike. I love him so much!”
Spike looked at Buffy and drew her into an embrace. Dean felt his stomach turn violently when he saw them kiss each other hungrily, tongues wagging and hands groping.
“Uh, I’m gonna be sick,” he said.
Giles was reclining on the living room couch. With one sense temporarily disabled, the rest were heightened. He heard the lip smacking and frowned.
“Yes, I believe I will join you.”
When the kissing continued, Giles sat up.
“Stop doing that!” he howled.
The couple broke away after several long minutes and wiped their mouths. Dean steadied himself as his pale complexion turned green with nausea.
“I don’t feel so good,” he lamented.
Buffy dug into a shopping bag and spread out several wedding planning books on the coffee table. She updated Giles on her trip to the magic shop.
“So you are putting off curing my sightless state until tomorrow?”
“I can’t get the Taggis root until tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’m taking care of this. In the mean time…”
She turned the pages of a book full of swatches and regarded Spike.
“What do you think for the tablecloths? Pearl or cream?”
Dean jumped back when the front door suddenly slammed open. Xander and Anya ran in and quickly shut the door behind them. They were both out of breath as they worked together to haul a bookcase in front of the door. Giles heard the noise and frowned.
“What’s going on?” Giles asked.
“The demons! They just keep coming after us!” Anya announced.
Dean gasped in horror. “Demons? You brought them here?”
He swung his eyes around the living room in a panic.
“We need to hide!” he screamed.
He darted out of the living room. Xander and Anya exchanged curious looks before they finished propping the bookshelf over the door.
“I think we might have dodged them,” Xander replied. “We didn’t…”
Xander noticed Spike out of his restraints.
“Ah! Spike! He’s loose!”
His panic faded when he saw Buffy’s calm demeanor.
“And yet you’re not staking him. Why aren’t you staking him?”
“I’ll get into that later. Right now, we need to focus. If the demons lost your trail, it buys us some time to figure out what’s going on. Perhaps it has to do with Giles losing his sight.”
Anya looked at Giles. “Giles can’t see?”
Xander ran up to Giles and started waving his hands in front of his face.
“Whatever you are doing, please stop it! You reek of raspberry fruit roll ups!”
Spike regarded everyone in awe.
“This is the crimefighting team that thwarts my evil plans? Shameful.”
Spike shook his head.
Buffy steered everyone back on topic. “We need a plan.”
“Um, does the plan involve you two mortal enemies holding hands?” Anya asked.
Xander drew his eyes to Spike and Buffy who had their hands entwined.
“Guess the cat’s out of the bag, innit honey? Might as well tell them now,” Spike said.
Buffy grinned and flashed her ring. “We’re getting married!”
Xander gasped, “What? How did this….What?”
“Yes, all very valid questions,” Giles stated.
Buffy and Spike locked eyes before kissing each other passionately.
Xander gulped at the sight of them in a lingering lip lock. “Can I lose my sight too? Hold on.”
Xander scratched his head as he tried to focus.
“You two getting married….where have I heard that? I know I’ve heard it. Come on brain, remember!”
After a few seconds, Xander punched the air as the revelation hit him.
“Ah ha! It’s Willow!”
Buffy broke from the kiss, “Huh? Willow is involved?”
Xander sunk with confusion for a moment.
“Uh, I think so….Willow and her ‘woe is me’ blue moods…had enough of it.”
Anya regarded Xander. “Oh, so I don’t have to be overly nice to her anymore?”
Buffy sighed, “Yeah, we’ve all had enough of it but what does Willow have to do with what’s happening here?”
Xander licked his lips, “She said I was a demon magnet and then demon after demon started attacking me. And then she said…. you and Spike should just marry each other…”
Giles interjected, “And that I was blind.”
“So she cast a spell,” Buffy concluded.
“A spell which takes the literal interpretation of whatever she says,” Giles noted.
“So Xander’s literally a demon magnet and Giles literally can’t see and…”
Buffy looked around the room.
“And Dean is literally a…big baby. Well, nothing happened to me I guess that has to do with my Slayer DNA.”
Xander scoffed, “Yeah because you and Spike have been secretly in love all this time and you’re just now realizing it.”
“It’s that kind of talk that will get you scratched off the usher list,” Spike snapped.
“May we please get back on topic? Wherever Willow is, she likely has no idea the chaos she has caused,” Giles said.
Xander drew grave concern. “We need to find her before…”
“Before more people are affected,” Buffy replied.
Xander, Anya and Spike gathered at the door.
“Let me check on the baby,” Buffy said.
She wandered down the hallway.
“Dean? Where are you?”
She started opening doors to various rooms until she swung into the bathroom. She pulled the shower curtain back. Dean let out a startled cry as he raised his weapon. Buffy blinked in disbelief.
“Uh, what are you doing with that?”
“I thought you were a demon coming to attack me.”
“So you thought you’d - comb me to death?”
She chuckled as he cowered in the bathtub.
“We’re not under attack so you can come out of there.”
Dean listened carefully and did not hear any chaos in the living room. He crawled out of the tub and got to his feet.
“I just wanted to let you know that Spike and the rest of us are going to go look for Willow. Giles can fill you in.”
Dean drew a fearful look. “You don’t need me?”
“Are you going to fight a demon if it attacks you out there?”
He gulped, “Uh, do I have to?”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s better if you stay here and look after Giles.”
He followed her out to the living area.
“What if the demons attack while you’re away?”
“Well, Giles has a crossbow, he’ll have to protect you.”
He looked apprehensive.
“You’re gonna give a blind man a weapon? What if he accidentally shoots me and then can’t find the phone to call for help?”
Buffy sighed as Xander blinked with astonishment at Dean’s skittish behavior.
“The demons are after Xander. As long as he’s not here, the demons won’t be.”
“Oh,” he said softly.
He narrowed his eyes on Xander.
“Yeah, go away Xander. Far, far away.”
“Let’s go,” Buffy commanded.
As he watched Buffy rush through the door, his heart flooded with panic again.
Buffy turned around just as Dean barreled into her. He hugged her fiercely.
“Please, please be careful out there,” he pleaded. “Please.”
Buffy heard him weeping softly into her shoulder. She gently pulled out of his bear hug and met his wet eyes.
“I’ll be careful,” she assured.
When she left, he locked the door securely.
As Dean waited for the group to return, he flipped through the television several times while sucking down a bottle of scotch. Giles flinched repeatedly when he heard the continuous clicking of the television dial. Dean stopped on a seemingly tame episode of CSI where a teenager was riding a motorcycle down a lonely stretch of road. A few scenes later, the motorcycle flipped over and smashed into a semi truck, decapitating the teenager. Dean’s eyes widened in horror as he quickly snapped the dial again.
He paused on Tom and Jerry. Tom was eating a big bowl of catnip when Jerry suddenly revealed a large sledgehammer and started pummeling his head until blood and brain matter flew everywhere. Dean swallowed a hard lump in his throat, clearly disturbed by this scene. The next station aired a commercial of a little boy frantically searching for his lost puppy. The little boy started sobbing as he searched all over the city for his pet. Dean sniffed as he felt his eyes water. He snapped the dial again.
“Will you pick something already? I’m developing a tick because of you!” Giles hollered peevishly.
Dean snapped the dial once more and landed on a live concert of Celine Dion. “When I was young, I never needed anyone…and making love was just for fun...those days are gone…”
Dean was about to snap the dial when the lyrics profoundly struck him. A deep sadness flared into his heart as one of his worst fears gripped his mind.“Living alone, I think of all the friends I've known…when I dial the telephone…nobody's home…”
Giles listened carefully and winced, “Good god, is that…Celine Dion?”“All by myself…don't wanna be….all by myself… anymore…”
Dean took a long sip from the bottle of scotch as his eyes grew damp. His heart rumbled with an ache he couldn’t quell.“Hard to be sure...sometimes I feel so insecure…”
Giles grew irritated at the maudlin song and spat, “For heaven’s sake, would you please change it?”
Giles expectantly waited to hear the snapping of the dial but was answered by something more horrendous than the vocals of Celine Dion.
“All by myself…don't wanna be…all by myself…anymore…”
Giles was aghast when he realized Dean had started to sing along, conveying an equal, even more depressing mood than the song.
“All by myself, don't wanna live, all by myself….anymore…”
Dean slumped over as he was overwhelmed with a feeling of loneliness. He sobbed hysterically in between lyric breaks. Giles groaned as the song began to crescendo to a sweeping final chorus. Dean warbled along, crying incessantly to the music.
“Don't wanna live…by myself, by myself….anymore!”
Giles moaned, “Good lord, please take my hearing too. Or just kill me."
A short time later, the rest of the group had returned with Willow. Giles brightened as his vision faded back.
“I can see you! I can see all of you!”
Willow shuffled into the kitchen and attempted to bake away her immense guilt over the chaos she had caused everyone. Xander tested Giles on his vision while Buffy proceeded in tying Spike to a chair. She spied Dean who was observing Xander’s vision tests. He had his back to Buffy. She snuck up behind him.
“Boo!” she screamed.
Dean frowned, “What are you doing?”
“Trying to scare you,” she said.
Dean shook his head.
“Don’t you have something better to do? Like tongue wrestling with deadboy over there?”
Buffy frowned with revulsion as she and Spike both groaned loudly. Willow went around the room with a tray of freshly baked cookies. Xander, Anya and Giles each took one. Willow came by to Buffy and Dean.
“Have a cookie, quell my guilt?”
They each took a cookie off the plate.
“Can I have one too?” Spike asked.
All eyes in the room turned to Spike. Everyone replied, “No.”
Spike sulked, “Well how about a little scotch? I need something to wash away the strong Buffy aftertaste in my mouth.”
Buffy narrowed her eyes. “You’re crude.”
“No, crude is wanting to walk down the aisle to a string quartet version of ‘Islands in the Stream’.”
Buffy flushed a beet red as conversation in the room ceased and all eyes fell on her.
She gulped, “The spell made me do it!”
She pranced into the kitchen, completely horrified.
“That is no more crude than being subjected to a drunken duet of ‘All By Myself’ intermittent with bouts of hysterical bawling,” Giles said indignantly.
Anya, Xander, Willow, Buffy and Spike all followed Giles’ glaring expression as he regarded Dean. All eyes shifted onto Dean with extreme wonder.
Dean swallowed a gasp and forced out an awkward laugh. “I think you may have gone mad when you were blind Giles, because I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.”
Everyone watched him as he fled to the kitchen and shoved a bunch of cookies in his mouth.
As the night wound down, Anya and Xander left, taking the plate of cookies Willow had packed for them. Dean glanced at the clock.
“I better get out of here too,” he said.
Buffy looked up from the kitchen and grinned. “You want me to walk you to your car little boy?”
Dean absorbed her teasing, having his own ammo to fire. “You want me to rent you and Spike a motel room?”
Spike and Buffy both groaned loudly. Willow sent Dean away with a plateful of cookies before taking off.
The next evening, Buffy strolled alongside Dean as they patrolled through the cemetery.
“I’m surprised you wanted to join me tonight.”
“Why is that?’
“Because it’s - you know, so scary out here.”
She widened her eyes and feigned a frightful look. He let out a breath and shook his head. She chuckled at him as he played with his knife.
“Are you sure you’re comfortable with that? You can borrow one of my hairbrushes in case we come along a demon even lamer than you.”
Dean let out a groan that echoed through the cemetery. Buffy snickered uncontrollably for a few minutes.
“Ha ha, shut up now.”
Dean scanned the immediate area, anxious to encounter a demon. Buffy reached into her bag and pulled out a gigantic rubber spider. She chucked it at the back of his head. He flinched and jumped back.
He looked down to see the fake tarantula on the ground and groaned. Buffy burst out laughing.
“Aw, was widdle Dean scared of the big fake spider?”
He scowled, “Very not funny.”
Buffy kept giggling, “Oh, I think it was very yes
“At least I didn’t dry hump a pasty vampire.”
Buffy stopped giggling and groaned in repulsion. They strolled out of the cemetery and into the clearing. Buffy dug into her pocket and threw a rubber rat on the ground. She gasped.
“Oh my god! What’s that?”
Dean jumped, prompting Buffy to giggle again. He glared at her with dismay.
“Will you quit doing that?”
“Come on, you’ve been ridiculing me for months. It’s payback time.”
As they reached the foot of the park, Buffy spotted a stray cat traipsing along the sidewalk.
“Oh you better shut your eyes Dean, a scary kitty cat is coming right toward you!”
Buffy snickered as Dean frowned.
“Are you gonna cry if I don’t protect you?”
She threw her head back and laughed for several seconds.
“I’ll show you. Just find me something to kill. I’ll kill it so fast it’ll make your head spin. I’ll rip its guts out! I’ll slice its head off! I’ll roll around in its goddamn blood!”
“Yeah, if you don’t faint first,” she cracked.
She snickered again as he looked miffed. They headed toward the bad area of town. He noticed her simmering with ideas on how to ridicule him some more. No way was she going to get the best of him. He had plenty of practice in dishing out humiliating remarks.
“I bet a part of you actually liked making out with Spike.”
She gasped in horror.
“Eww! I’m still trying to burn that image from my brain.”
His sour mood broke when she made gagging noises at the searing memory of kissing Spike.
“I bet you were aching to jump his bones.”
Buffy drew a look of disgust and lightly smacked Dean across the arm. “Eww! Take it back! Take it back!”
Dean grinned and mocked her goofy expression.
“Oh but you ‘loved Spike so much’ – you were going to marry him,” he chimed.
Buffy looked green as her face hardened into a glare.
“If we weren’t friends, I’d be kicking your ass! How could you say something like that?”
He shrugged, “Gee, looking at your history of shagging the undead, it’s not that farfetched.”
She scoffed, “Uh it’s way farfetched, it’s out of this galaxy, it’s out of this….universe….”
“Uh huh, I’ll remind you that you said that when I catch you and Spike going at it in the closet a year from now.”
She turned green at the thought, “Yawg! Do you want me to throw up?”
Dean feigned a wide eyed innocent look.
“You’ll look at me and go, ‘Oh but Dean, we were just playing’….”
Buffy pouted as Dean smiled smugly, clearly obliterating her in their ribbing competition.
“You mess with the bull, you’re gonna get the horns.”
Buffy sulked, “I hate you.”
FEEDBACK PLEASE - Yes it was a "Yellow Fever" inspired Dean - one of my favorite SPN episodes - not totally original of me but I just loved being able to show the vulnerable side of him.
Next update – not getting into Hush quite yet - the next chapter is called "Real Men Wear Flannel" and it deals with Buffy struggling with a newfound attraction to Dean and his coming to terms with letting go of his feelings for her....but can he? thanks for reading!