Stepping Stones: Further Confirmation
by Alexandra J. Campbell aka FuffyChick45
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Joss is the man, he will always be the man, they're his not mine. Don't own, don't sue.
Author's Notes: As you could see, I extended the series. This is, however, lucky for everyone, possibly (at least as yet, and most likely) going to be my only B is set during 'Touched' as she finds 'comfort' in Spike.
Feedback: I'm slowly becoming an addict :p...YES please.

Sickened. Repulsed. Blood curls beneath fingers that'll never be worthy. Idol hands grasp at flesh that was once so forbidden. Indiscretion is muted by a slight sigh. To be held. To be praised. To be touched. To be needed. We all crave this, I'm only human, though I never thought I was. A reluctant sheen of sweat forms under a thin layer of clothing. I guess that means naked IS a state of mind.

"You're beautiful." Funny I don't feel that way. I haven't for ages and now I feel less so than usual if that were at all possible. My flirtation damns me once again. How did I become so accessible when I was once so out of reach….even to myself. If I can't feel myself how the hell can he? And I'm STILL outta reach despite everything. If I felt the slightest bit alive by the vulgarity of this I would truly be dead….again. Not like it'd be a bad thing.

Animalistic tendencies take over mentality. Before I know it I find myself kissing back with a forced hunger, scraping my teeth along his tongue in awkward urgency. But I pull away tasting nothing, but putrid regret. SHE'S so out of reach in my mind, which switched off automatically the moment his hand gripped the creamy lining of my breast, this can't be reality.

I don't fight it. I haven't the will to do so. I'm all out of faith….Jesus…my puns and I even in times like this…..

My innocence disbanded the moment that she touched me three years ago and it feels like it's being STRIPPED from me now all over again. Not in passion. Not in love. In desperation.

Breath becomes shallow not because of his tracings of the curves of my body, but my wanton attempts to kill my pulse in the midst of it. I turn away disgusted still in his arms. He holds an unrotten corpse. An uninlightened shell. A scared child. He holds all the things I assumed I'd never be, but always was. Defenseless and lost my insides clutch onto the final threads of sanity praying that they don't crawl away with my skin.

It's ironic sanctuary can be so twisted, that the only other person nearby is just as numb. Fierce agitation consumes everything while his hand slides down the upper leg of my jeans taking thumb and pointer finger grasping buried pots of molten honey through fabric. It's persistent friction to the core of me. My body lifts awkwardly to his touch. I curse myself. I curse the situation. But most of all I curse HIM for taking advantage of my weakness and guising it as comfort. Solace isn't sick. Solace isn't dirty. Not like us. Not like me. What have I become?

He says he loves me. I'm deafened and unresponsive. Muted and unmoving as I am as when it started. Waiting to get caught. Waiting to be condemned. Just WAITING to be shut down and locked away from anything and everyone I hold dear so my perversion doesn't taint them like her absence continues to taint me. All my responsibilities are passionless and detached. Everything that mattered….. Doesn't. If they knew what I was… what I'm capable of. ….

She intrudes my thoughts momentarily a welcome ache within the decrepit interior of my heart. Almost soothing. Almost calming. Almost coherent.

But I realize looking back I've been dead longer than I've been alive. Everything went to hell after I put her in the hospital. I was so convinced I knew what I wanted, but her assuming I was out of reach made herself, made US and everything we are…could have been… all the more unattainable. Putting that knife in her gut I question how I had the strength to have done what was 'right'. 'Right' huh? Everything is wrong now and it was inevitable. Fitting punishment for letting her go.

I'm selfish. Why…. WHY in the name of everything that's supposedly worth fighting for couldn't I be back there? Kissing her lips instead of throwing that punch would have made all the difference… I know that now. That undying hunger for a second chance manipulates my body more than the instincts of a Slayer or perhaps in perfect time with them.

She always knew me better than I knew myself. I haven't just become her. I AM her. I was the whole time. Chances are she's become me or what I used to be anyways…. Regardless….we're one. Disjointed and displaced these thoughts give me enough strength and resistance to pull away from him. His touch as harsh as it was didn't bring me back from solemn oblivion. SHE did.

I widen the gap between our bodies, but realize the little hope is hope enough. I have a long way to go though….It's just further confirmation...... she's free-er in her cell than I am in mine.

...continued in Can I When Slivered...