Spike was all right with all of this, of course.
Which is how they ended up going on regular Friday night dates. Nothing too terribly fancy; usually just pizza or Chinese for supper, then a jaunt to the cinema for whatever happened to be playing. They didn't talk much, usually meeting at whichever restaurant she had picked. Sometimes she'd tell him about her day, and he'd rather she wouldn't, as it was invariably damned depressing. But that, of course, was why they had their Friday dates, why she kept meeting up with him, even though she continued to insist that she didn't actually care for his company. Because she certainly couldn't tell her little Scooby friends about how shitty her day had been, how much she hated just waking up and seeing the sun and deciding which clothes to wear; she couldn't tell them that sometimes she just stood under the shower until the water ran cold, and even then, she might not budge for quite some time; she couldn't tell them about how she sometimes thought of ways that she might die.
"I'm not thinking about suicide," she insisted, a meatball wiggling about perilously at the end of her fork as she gesticulated. "I'm not thinking about ways to kill myself, not even a little. I'm just, like, okay. So what if I died tonight?" Buffy paused long enough that he decided she must be asking the question not rhetorically at all, and was expecting an answer.
"You mean, if, say, the ground should open up under your feet when we're walking out the door?"
"Sure. The Hellmouth has a yawn and I just fall into some demon-infested pit. Like, I didn't mean for it to happen. I didn't ask for it. But I just died." Spike noted that she had switched to the past tense. "And now they have to go through it all again. They have to bury me again - if they can recover my body. They have to hide the fact that the Slayer's gone again. They have to figure out what to do with Dawn and the house and all the rest. And everything? Will suck."
"Well, of course it would," he said, nodding to the waiter passing by, who discreetly topped off Buffy's wine glass. "They all love you, Slayer." But she didn't want to hear about that; she didn't want to be reminded of the debt she continued to owe, at least in her mind, in needing to stay alive and suffer because her friends all loved her so very much.
And she was suffering. He could see it every day. There used to be a light about her, a glow she carried within; the glow was still there, but it was considerably dimmed. Spike wished he knew what else he could do. If it had been Dru, he could have brightened her up in countless simple ways; Buffy, however, was nothing like Dru. His few attempts at making her smile or of lightening her load - some flowers, doing her rounds for her, attempting to bake a cake, an anonymous line of verse trapped in her window sill - seemed to have no affect.
So he took her out to dinner once a week, where she could sit and mope and complain and be as despondent as she wished, while she ate plenty of good fattening food. And he took her to the cinema, where she could watch someone else's problems for a few hours, and maybe forget her own. They weren't dates, not in the classic sense of the term, but fuck if he didn't fall more in love with her with each passing day.