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When we collide, let's see what gets left over

Water in the Dust Bowl

I totally forgot I'd written this. But I found it, while going through all of my computer files and organizing them (I've been snowed in for two days. I'm bored. Like, extremely). 

Title: Water in the Dust Bowl

Rating: R

Length: ~940 wds

Setting: Post-NFA

AN: This is affair!fic. I-wish-I-knew-how-to-quit-you affair fic.  Also, the fic was inspired by the song, Lose Some Time by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

XXX

But when the light shines on you

You know it soothes my soul

Finding time to lose with you

Is like water in the dust bowl

When you find out he’s still alive you’re furious. You’re furious and you refuse to talk to him, so he’s mad too, and that makes you even more angry, and you go around like this, circles and circles and circles of fury and hurt, until it’s too much and he walks away and you do too. He leaves California, and he doesn’t come back, but he doesn’t really go anywhere new either. He never stays in one place for very long, and you don’t see him for years. You hear about him, sometimes, from Angel mostly, but from other contacts too. Not the Council. He’s cut ties completely with the Council.

x

What happens next is you get married. His name is Josh and he’s a Watcher, but the research kind, not the watching Slayers kind. He’s kind and smart and handsome, and he loves you. You love him too, as much as you are able to love anyone, anymore. You have nice life together. A life you never would have thought that you would be able to have, with a house and a cat and a joint bank account. And he knows about your job, and the risks you have to take, and the demands it puts on your life. He understands. Even when your job turns more freelance and you are required to do a lot of traveling, crisscrossing the country, and sometimes the world, to dispatch of bigger threats, or smaller threats if the local unit is busy, or to lecture, or to lend a hand.

You are as close to a photo finish happy ending as you are ever likely to get. So, of course, that’s when Spike shows up and tears your world apart. Again. Always.

x

You never expected to see him in Chicago, but you aren’t really that surprised. You’re not surprised the next morning, either, when you wake up in his arms, next to the wreckage of what used to be your hotel bed. You think that you should be more upset, but you just can’t muster the energy. It’s all just history repeating, anyway. He’ll always be a mistake, and you’ll always know that, but you’ll still make that mistake every time. And you are just so tired of pretending.

The two of you don’t speak. Not in the morning. You said all you could the night before, and so did he. So you fuck one more time, and go off to your separate battles.

x

You will go home to Josh, and he will smile because he doesn’t know, and he will kiss you because he loves you, and he will assume that the scratches on your back are from the demon you were sent to fight. And you don’t want to hurt anyone else, so you will smile back, and kiss him back, and let him believe whatever he wants about the marks on your skin.

You don’t tell him about seeing Spike. You haven’t told him anything about Spike that he can’t find in Council library, and telling him anything now would lead down a path you’d rather avoid.

x

The second time you run into Spike, he finds out you’re married. The first time, you hid the ring in your pocket before he could see it, but the second time you don’t bother, and you know that it shouldn’t be nearly as hot as it is when Spike pulls it off your finger. With his teeth.

The third time you run into him, it’s no longer serendipitous. It’s a pattern.

x

You don’t know how you’re doing this, finding each other over and over, in a different city every time. It’s not like you call each other. It’s not like you’re meeting him in all the usual places. The usual places that you had with him have been gone for years, and it’s been almost that long since you’ve been to where they’re buried.

He never comes to California, and you don’t know if he even has a permanent residence now, much less where it might be located.

You don’t tell anyone that you still see him, but sometimes Angel will look at you for a moment too long, and you think that it must be written somewhere on your body. ‘Spike was here.’

x

In a cheap motel in Georgia, he tells you that he can’t stop loving you, no matter how hard he tries.

In Seattle, he tells you about Amy and how they’ve been together for almost a year and how he thinks he might love her too, if he could just let himself.

In Georgia you tell him you gave up on getting over him years ago.

In Seattle you tell him you’re pregnant.

You don’t see him again for a long time after that.

x

The next time you do, he tells you that Amy left him and you show him pictures of your two-year-old daughter.

You tell him you can’t see him again. This has to be the last time. He stares at the photo in his hand with something that looks a lot like longing, and then he agrees.

One last time and then it’s over. One last time and you can move on for good.

You’ve always been so good at lying to yourself, especially when it comes to him, that you almost believe that.

Almost.

x

But when you find him in London, you take him back to your hotel, and when he finds you in Austin he takes you to his, and you keep going in circles and circles and circles, and it’s hardly a surprise.

Comments

I love this! It's painful but feels true to character and I just want to ~shake the stubbornness and stupidity out of them both and cry for them at the same time.
Thank you so much! Sometimes those two just need to have the stubborn shaken out of them. That probably would cleared up a few of their problems in canon *g*
I can't improve on this answer. Really.
I hope they don't end like this in the comics *SOBS*
Beautifully written and deliciously painful. The bond between them it's so amazing.
Oh that would be dreadful! But thank you so much for the kind words!
This is so much more hauntingly close to canon than most Spuffy fics I've read. I love everything you choose to be.


((This also really reminded me of some of my favorite Hermione/affair pieces I've read. Idk if it is the "genre" or if I'm seeing a connection between these characters I haven't before...)

/this is not a comment
:D Thank you!!

I haven't read any Hermione/affair fic (Hermione/Ron was a formative ship. And, alas, I cannot stray, not even for fun), but I am on board with any Buffy-Hermione comparisons, mmmyes.

Thanks again for commenting! <3
I have no such devotions to HP shipping. I'm by no means an equal-opportunity shipper (not THERE - good lord that fandom gets scary) ... but I AM OBSESSED with fic that deal with the ramifications of PTSD - and much of that with Hermione involves her looking for emotional support outside of her marriage. Which I'm pretty okay with.

(In contrast - I don't ever in a million years think Harry deserves Ginny, but I have written some schmoopy domestic!fic about them. My love is an ugly love.)

OTOH - Hermione/Buffy parallels should be an official way of life. /nods

I'll make the t-shirts
The HP fandom is a terrifying breed of fandom. I mostly stay far away. But occasionally come back in, and usually it's for PTSD fic. For anyone. I love that shit. And have tried, multiple times, to get into an affair!fic of some kind, but the only one I ever got more than a paragraph into was Ginny/Neville, I believe. And normally I am all up in that adultery mess in fic, but I can't make myself go there with my HP ships. It is a source of frustration. But not often, because I don't read much HP fic. I adore friendship PTSD fic though. That can stay.

I am a fan of this way of life. Yes indeed.
I approve of your life choices.

My baby sis got into HP-fandom before I even knew what fandom was and described (at 15ish) her fave fic to me: hurt/comfort/rapey-rapey mess Lucius/Hermione and ugh... I'm still surprised I even found any fandom space comfortable after that conversation.
I'm very pro alt-Trio during the war and am fond of messy Harry/Hermione post-war? But! One- that was a HUGE surprise to me and it still weirds me out that I like it. Two- I steer clear for the most part, no long-fics for me, at least (see above: my sister seriously ruined me for HP-fandom participation)

{hugs}

How's the snow?
Yikes. It is extremely impressive that you got anywhere near fandom after that. *shudders*

Oh man, I am embarrassingly into DH Luna/Neville/Ginny. Emotional ot3, physical ot3, w/e. And I really like post-war alt-trio fic and trio fic, when all six of them enjoy each other's company, and are okay with talking about their separate experiences, but also they all know that there are certain things that go deeper than talking, and there are always going to be parts of L/N/G that can only be shared within those three. And same with H/H/R. And everyone's fine with that, because they grew up fighting a war and they all know how deep those scars can go. And Harry/Hermione post-war friendship fic that borders pretty close to emotional affair territory, but everyone knows that they're both happily in love with their spouses, so it's not a source of angst. I eat that up with a spoon. Codependence kink. I have that shit.

*hugs back*

The snow...is melting off, and getting slushy. :( Which is probably a good thing, tbh, b/c we could get out on the roads today, and three days of being housebound was starting to take a toll. Both of my parents, as well as myself, were getting a little punchdrunk on cabin fever. But it still looks incredibly pretty outside! So that's really fun. And I babysat today, for a child who is possibly the most fantastic five-year-old, ever, and we took foam swords outside and had a pirate snowball fight *G*
Yikes. It is extremely impressive that you got anywhere near fandom after that. *shudders*
My sister is an impressive human being and I am forever shocked at fandom big sisters that don't tell their baby sisters about their porn-writing activities. It does not compute.

Oh man, I am embarrassingly into DH Luna/Neville/Ginny. Emotional ot3, physical ot3, w/e.
My first EVER HP-fic was a Luna/Ginny (with implied Ginny/Neville) piece. And I'm still proud of it. Because they are so lovely and I just am enraptured with the "alt-Trio" concept. Everything is beautiful and everything hurts.

and there are always going to be parts of L/N/G that can only be shared within those three. And same with H/H/R. And everyone's fine with that, because they grew up fighting a war and they all know how deep those scars can go
I want to embroider this onto a pillow.

And Harry/Hermione post-war friendship fic that borders pretty close to emotional affair territory, but everyone knows that they're both happily in love with their spouses, so it's not a source of angst. I eat that up with a spoon. Codependence kink.
YES. I'm pretty okay with it going angsty (because I am passionately obsessed with the idea that they are not ~happy ever again, not really), but I can't physically write it. I always keep to canon with HP - it's so so bizarre.

*g*

My first EVER HP-fic was a Luna/Ginny (with implied Ginny/Neville) piece.

I might need a link to that... :D

I love the never-100%-happy-again fic, but I too am weirdly devoted to canon, so I mainly like it when they are never 100% happy, but they are 100% in love with their spouses. Probably because I love the angst, but I love the characters so much, I want their marriages/family life to be  bright spot in their lives.
Here is my first ever HP-fic for your reading pleasure.

It literally is my third piece of fic EVER - the first two being Dawn-centric (and was composed primarily on my phone while babysitting). And it spawned two more HP-centric pieces that I wrote right in a row. (All of my HP stuff I'm dorkily proud of.)

Everything HP-related is over in fanfic and I really ought to transfer things to AO3, but I'm so busy and that's a huge chunk of time
I am going to check this out!

Writing fic on a phone (especially while babysitting) is an experience that I can proudly say I have also had. :D
Dude, this is some fucked up adulterous glory/pain right here. It's like you wrote it especially for me!!!

I have this problem, where I want them to be happy, but when I write, there's like a 60/40 chance that they're just going to be fucked up and miserable. Oh, well. *g*

Thanks for commenting, I'm glad you enjoyed it! <3
This is beautiful and sad at the same time. You really capture the bleakness of their situation in such a fascinating way.