Pevensie, Alice and Meredith were sleeping soundly when Theo entered the infirmary. The only light was coming from a lone lit lamp. Hiran was sitting up in a bed near her friends reading a book.
“Is everything all right, Healer Nott?”
“That’s what I was going to ask you, Hiran. You know you can call me Theo, right?”
“I was raised to be more respectful, sir.”
Theo smiled and nodded. He understood that. He walked to the back to his office and closed the door. He knew Hiran would call him if there were any problems. Theo was beginning to suspect he should just move in here with as many times as he ended staying the night.
Buffy tried to sneak silently into the infirmary, not knowing if all the girls were asleep or not. Luckily for her, Hiran was the only one awake. Did she ever sleep?
“Hey,” she whispered.
“Are you looking for Healer Nott?”
She frowned. “I didn’t think he was still here. I just came to check on the girls.” Buffy looked over to the door leading to his office and sure enough, she could see light under the door. She walked over and knocked lightly, wincing at the sound.
Theo got up and opened the door. “Hiran, you don’t have to... oh. Hello, Buffy.”
“Hi.” She put her hands in her pockets. “I didn’t know you were still here. I just came to check on the girls.”
“They’re sleeping. Was that all? I was going to turn in myself. I was going to stay in case they woke in the night.”
Theo was trying not to be cold, but his head was too full of thoughts.
Buffy looked over his shoulder in the office. All he had was a small couch pushed up against one of the walls. “You can crash in one of the rooms. We can even keep one for you for when you do need to stay. I didn’t know it was an issue.”
“But not yours, right? Not in your space,” he said before he could stop himself.
Theo was confused. He was not a jealous man by nature, but how could he compare to her exes? He was just a wizard, and there was obviously so much history between her and those two vampires.
Buffy frowned. “What are you talking about?” One of the girls turned over in her bed and Buffy froze. “Can we go in your office and talk?” she asked in a low voice. “Because for some reason, I’m thinking we need to have a conversation and I’m not really sure why.”
Theo gestured for her to enter then closed the door behind her.
“What is it you suspect we need to talk about?”
“What’s your problem? What did you mean about not in my space? Are you talking about you not staying in my rooms when you spend the night? Because you can, but I thought you might want to stay closer to the infirmary.” She crossed her arms. “I never said you couldn’t stay.”
Theo frowned and sat down. “Do you want tea? I think I might need tea for this.”
He scowl was getting scowlier by the minute.
She started rubbing her temples. “No. I just want to find out what’s wrong so I can try to fix it.”
“Do you still love them?”
Then Theo sighed loudly. He couldn’t believe he’d just asked that, but there was so much of her past he didn’t know, and he got the feeling there was a lot there. Honestly, what sort of a vampire slayer hooked up with vampires? There had to be reasons there. Theo was unsure if he wanted to hear them or not.
For the second time that night, she froze in place. “What?” she asked in a low voice after a moment of silence. “Did you seriously just ask me that?”
Buffy was rather shocked and more than irritated.
“There’s so much history there. I don’t have to know it. I can feel it. I can see that you still care for them very much. They hold sway with you, and I have to wonder now are you drawn to me because I am not just a man but a necromancer? How can I even compete with either of them? So yes, I do ask that question because if I am setting myself up for heartbreak, I would like to know before I become any more invested than I already am.”
“Are you insane?” she snapped before she could stop herself. “I’m not the one who chose my dating partner because she died before! Are you forgetting that I didn’t even know you were a necromancer until well into our relationship? So how can you even ask me that?”
“Perhaps you didn’t realize you were choosing me for that reason. Perhaps something in you just knew I was not normal. Did you know Angel or Spike were vampires before becoming involved with them?”
“Yes!” she shouted. “I knew...” Buffy trailed off, because no, she hadn’t. Not with Angel. “I knew with Spike. With Angel...I was young and didn’t have the experience to know. But it’s not like I haven’t dated normal humans, either, because I have. So saying I would be drawn to you because of what you are isn’t true.”
“Are you still in love with them, and don’t say you never were because I can see that’s not true all in how you three relate to one another.”
Buffy took deep breaths and ran her fingers through her hair, trying to keep calm.
“It’s complicated, but I’ll love them always. I’m just not in
love with them. They’re not...” she sighed, trying to figure out how to convey their relationship so that he could understand. “With Angel, we tried to be together. Even after we knew we could never have a physical relationship ever again, we still tried. But we couldn’t. We could never focus on anything but each other. We cared too much about our duties and destinies to care about each other. Things became...muddled when we were together and he decided that he would leave. I was angry at first, but I’m glad he did. We respect each other as fighters now, nothing more. Things with Spike are complication in a different way. He’s just a friend, a really great friend, who isn’t afraid to call me on my bullshit but who is also there when I need him.”
She paced as she talked, not looking at Theo, or even anywhere around her. “We don’t talk. There’s never any time. Angel left and every time we’ve seen each other since, there’s been some disaster to avert. And the last time I saw Spike, I saw him give up his life for me and others. I’m not counting the time I saw him and Angel arguing over who got to kill the dragon when L.A. was being sucked into hell, because there was no talking then. So we’ve never talked about it. And when the three of us see each other, all the pent-up emotions just seem to burst forth. I’m sorry you had to see it.”
Buffy laughed to herself. “Wow. Does any of this make sense?”
“Ironically, yes,” Theo said. “Can’t promise not to behave like this again. I’m invested here, you see. I just... I never realized how things were with you and those... vampires. I just... it bothered me. I was jealous.”
She looked over at Theo and sighed. “You have nothing to be worried about. If I had known they were going to show up, I would have warned you. Angel and Spike themselves are volatile enough as it is, family issues and all, but throw me in the mix and they tend to get territorial which just pisses me off more, and the cycle just starts all over again.”
“And you say you don’t understand me and my Slytherin relationships. I think you understand it rather well.”
It was silent for a moment.
“I should warn you now. I suspect I am always going to behave a bit in the extreme where you are concerned.”
“Trust me,” she said dryly. “I’ve seen worse.”
“Well, judging by the behavior I’ve witnessed, yes, I suspect you have,” Theo said in a dry tone.
He still wasn’t exactly happy with everything, but he would learn to cope with it.
“If it helps, they’re the only two exes you have to worry about. The other is married.” She shrugged. “And he hates Angel and Spike, so that’s another mark in his favor. You might even get along.”
“Married? Oh well, then he can come and visit with his wife any time,” Theo said with a smirk. “I do have to say, I found myself oddly amused by their companion Illyria, and seeing how much Malfoy and Spike do not get along filled me with good humor.”
Buffy snorted. “Be thankful the entire gang wasn’t here. Angel’s son Connor and Dawn? Yeah, that’s like watching a train wreck.” She bit her lip and took a step closer to him. “Are we better now? Any more issues we need to get through?”
“We’re better now,” Theo said, stepping completely in her personal space before leaning down to kiss her.
Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck as he deepened the kiss. When she pulled back, he rested his forehead against hers. “Good. I don’t like us having issues. You don’t have any psycho exes I need to worry about, do I?”
“No,” Theo said. “You just have psycho family members but the ones that are still alive a locked up in Azkaban.”
“Good.” Buffy kissed him again. “Now, if the girls don’t need any immediate attention, why don’t you crash in my room? It’s not close, but it’s more comfortable than a couch.”
Internally, Healer Nott was having an argument with boyfriend Theo. Boyfriend Theo won out.
“That sounds very nice,” he said.