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Ring Around the Buffy - Conclusion by anaunthe
11. Trouble
A/N: I read this great story - Ring around the Buffy - years ago, and began drafting an ending to it in my spare time. It was strictly a labor of love, and I never thought it would see the light of day, because, hey, not really my story to tell. Happily, Nikkolequade managed to get permission from the original authors and posted challenge #226, requesting an ending to this really great piece of collaborative fiction. What follows is my take on how the story might find its logical conclusion, with a few unexpected twists and turns and a little bit of Angel bashing before the end.

Before you read my ending, you need to start at the beginning of the story, which can be found at http://www.nautibitz.com/fic/ringaround01.html I also re-posted it here on Bloodsheverse so it is easy to find. Hope you enjoy.

P.S. Let me make this perfectly clear once again, everything preceding this point was written by someone else for the Round Robin called “Ring Around the Buffy.” Therefore not only the characters do not belong to me, but also the overall plot, specific situations, the setting and tone of the story are borrowed from the previous writers. My goal was to fulfill the promise of what had already been written, adding a few unexpected surprizes as of my own just to keep it interesting. I hope that you enjoy it.

Thanks to Verda for the encouragement and helpful suggestions, and thanks to everyone who has already left a review for the original story. I loved it too.

“Bet your full of stupid pet tricks,” the Slayer rumbled, dangerously.

Spike tilted his head to one side, considering her mood. His eyes glittered but his voice, when he spoke again, was teasingly soft.

“You give me my bone, Luv,” he vowed, "and I'll do anything…anyway…anywhere…you say."

The full force of his earlier thrall came back to Buffy, in a wet rush. She reached out to take Spike’s hand, interlacing her fingers with his and pulling him with her as she backed across the room. When her ass smacked into the edge of the metal desk, she slapped the palm of her free hand down on its hard surface.

“You standing…me leaning across…do it from behind,” she directed.

“And then?”

“Then you up here on your back, me on top, face to face.”

Spike shifted his hips forward, rubbing the bulge of his erection against her as he whispered…

“And then?”

Narrowing her eyes at his blatant challenge, Buffy let her dress fall to the floor and was flattered with a tiny whimper from her loyal mutt.

“Then," she purred, guiding his hand to her breast, "you go down again and we’ll see if you can…

--“GUYS!”- - Willow’s telepathic intrusion splashed over them like a bucket of ice water. - - “Company’s coming.” - -

“Bloody HELL!” Buffy exclaimed, in frustrated unison with Spike, as the room door was ripped off of its hinges.

Three enormous vampires shouldered their way into the small area. They, angrily, thrust forward one, handcuffed, redheaded witch, in obvious need of a new Vampire Glamour Spell.

"We are so busted," Willow said, sheepishly…taking the words right out of the stark-naked Slayer's mouth.

Excerpt from “Plan D” by 1st Rab-id/Raeann

11. Trouble

Spike barely heard Willow’s assessment, didn’t pause for a moment to consider her handcuffed and vulnerable position.

“Not NOW!” Spike’s howl of frustration was still echoing as he grabbed the closest vamp and twisted until all he held was a handful of dust. What exactly happened to the other two happened so fast Buffy couldn’t really tell how he’d done it. One second there was the pair of snarling baddies, and the next two more nearly identical piles of cinders on the floor. Wiping their dust from his hands, Spike finally managed to get out a coherent thought, “Don’t you bloody know how to KNOCK?”

Almost before it started, the fight was over, and the three massive vamps were gone, A shaken Willow glanced from Spike’s enraged scowl to the Slayer standing motionless, seemingly at a loss for words. Spike was breathing hard, and Willow could almost see his nonexistent pulse pounding in his forehead. Buffy continued to stand stunned, her mouth slightly open, as Willow’s face flamed as red as her brain belatedly registered her friend’s state of undress. What, exactly, had her entrance interrupted?

Seeing her friend’s crimson stare, Buffy hurriedly reached for the pile of leather on the floor. “We were just … um… checking on the placement of the stakes. Making sure…um… that I could get to them quickly if necessary.”

Spike snorted and shook his head. Willow didn’t believe a word of it, but kept that thought to herself.

“Better work on that some more, luv. Can see it t’was a bit of a problem,” Spike snarked.

Stung by the truth of her very unhelpfulness (not that it was necessary, and, Wow who knew Spike could fight like THAT), Buffy had no response. ‘It’s not bad enough Willow must think that I’m a big ho,’ Buffy whined to herself, ‘then Spike has to go accusing me of being no good in a fight. I was just surprised, that’s all. I wasn’t expecting Willow and three vampires to burst in on us while we were…while she was… God, it was a really good thing that the interruption hadn’t come just the tiniest bit later…Cause really, that would have been even more unpleasant. What was I thinking? Had I really been ready to let Spike… to… no…she had just been teasing him. Getting him all riled up, before she threatened to stake him. Nothing would have really happened. Nothing at all.’

Clothes and virtue firmly in place, assured once again that all was right with the world, Buffy glanced up at Spike. He looked like she felt, frustrated as all hell, like he was ready to rip some more heads off. Really, what had that been about? She had seen Spike fight before; hell, she had fought Spike before. But never a Spike like that. He’d taken out those three massive vamps in seconds, without the benefit of a stake!

Storing away that information for later, and ignoring her frustrated body, she turned away from the growling vampire and spoke to Willow.

“You okay, Willow? What happened?” she asked while trying to nonchalantly to adjust herself inside the now uncomfortably warm leather dress. She wasn’t going to think about what Willow might have seen. What Willow might think of her. It wasn’t like anything had actually happened.

Before Willow could form an answer, Spike turned swirling yellow eyes on the girls. “Quick, Willow, best you hide for a bit. Company’s coming.” Ignoring the pair, he strode towards the wrecked door, blocking the entrance bodily. Just beyond him, Buffy could barely make out the forms of several more curious vampires, come to investigate the commotion.

“Damn it, Red, hide!” he hissed, hoping she heard the desperation in his plea. He could probably take care of this lot, if he had to, but there were more coming up behind them. He and Buffy couldn’t hope to fight off the whole assembled force of vamps and demons if any of the auction officials twigged on to Willow’s all too human state. A few random vamps more or less and no one was likely to take much notice; but this was pushing things a bit too far.

Spike couldn’t waste any more time on Willow, who was still very obviously without her vampire glamour, standing stock still staring at the haze of dust that surrounded Spike. Shrugging his shoulders he gave up on the red-head and instead focused on Buffy.

“Hide her,” he ordered. “I bloody well can’t fight them all. If one of the auction officials gets wind of this, they’ll have all our guts for garters.”

Snapping to attention, Buffy realized that there were hundreds of vampires and demons gathered here for the slave auction – they couldn’t possibly kill that many, could they? Their only chance was to brazen this out. And to do that they had to keep the now very human-looking Willow away from unfriendly eyes.

Still very much in charge, Spike drilled Willow for answers. “Anyone else know about this, Red? Anyone see you?”

Willow shook her head. She was still trying to process what she had seen. What, exactly had Spike and Buffy been doing back here? Buffy had been naked, hadn’t she? It almost looked as if…

Before she could voice the question, Buffy was pushing Willow into the storage closet.

“Best if no one else does, then,” Spike quipped. Turning to Buffy he practically begged, “For god’s sake, follow my lead, Slayer, and don’t say a word! I’m gonna try and bluff our way out of this.”

He picked up Buffy’s collar and leash and reattached them as best he could. Probably no one would notice to broken lock. It was a pity Buffy had already put on her dress, but he surreptitiously kicked the matching underwear behind some scenery.

They’d gotten away with dusting the first gaggle of interlopers, but others had apparently seen something, and were headed towards the tiny prop room. Random violence was frowned on at this type of event, and Spike had absolutely no desire to find out how the auction officials enforced that particular rule. He’d have to come up with some plausible excuse for the fracas, and fast.

The jittery clipboard wielding minion from earlier was heading pointedly in their direction, followed by a shorter but more imposing looking official, who in turn was flanked by several beefy looking hirelings wearing the insignia of the slave auction and carrying stun clubs. The ‘police’ as it were, had finally arrived.

Sending Buffy a last sharp glance, Spike hoped that for once she’d do as she was told and keep her mouth shut.

Taking several unneeded breaths to calm himself, Spike considered his options. Fighting was out - they’d lost the element of surprise, and the newcomers were too heavily armed. There were too many demons, and those cattle prods were nasty – just one touch and he’d be no use in a fight. And he couldn’t very well deny what had just happened. He would have to play this just right.

The vamp in charge looked down at the spectacled vampire with the clipboard and tweed suit, even though the myopic vampire was in fact a good deal taller than the little troll who appeared to be the boss.

“I thought you said Frances came in here?”

Spectacles shrugged, “Perhaps I was mistaken.”

The officious vamp narrowed his eyes and looked pointedly at the piles of dust that littered the room. Why hadn't he realized before how desperately stupid his assisstant was? The carnage was obvious. Several potential bidders, no more than dust now. Fighting was not good for business. There was going to be a reckoning, and he knew who would be footing the bill.

12. Threats and Offers
Chapter 12: Threats and Offers

The sanctimonious vamp looked over at the master vampire that apparently caused the ruckus, at first dismissing the morsel on the leash. Was that what this had been about – pre-sale tasting? His eyes narrowed as he took in the smells that permeated the room.

Ah, not just tasting then. The smell of sex was heavy in the room. The female’s aroma was overpowering, intoxicating, there was something unique about it, something that made it especially alluring….but something in the combined scents was missing. Closing his eyes and inhaling deeply it suddenly came to him. There were only faint traces of the males who had been present. Apparently they had all been dusted before reaching… culmination. He could only detect faint traces of male arousal lingering in the air, when he would have expected much more. There had been several of them after all. The scent of cum should have been the strongest thing in the room. He had assumed some kind of forcible union, to which the slave’s master had objected prior to her sale. Yet the slave and her master were unharmed, while the others were dust.

Narrowing his eyes he looked more closely at the human. How had she survived while several strong vampires were destroyed?

Looking closer, it suddenly became clear to him. This wasn’t just any human. This was the girl that was purported to be the Slayer. Interesting.

He didn’t need to know the details. It was clear that several of his potential customers were now dust, and that it was this creature’s fault. Either the master vampire had lost his mind and dusted his fellows over a little over exuberance, or the master vampire had lost control of the Slayer bitch he intended to sell. Either way, it was a serious offense.

The officious looking vamp gestured at Buffy, and one of his guards pushed the girl so that she was on her knees before him. It was a heady feeling, knowing that the Slayer was on her knees to him.

Leering at the girl before him, he spoke to her master. “If she’s broken control, we’ll have to have her put down.”

He glanced at the blonde vampire, and remembered that his name was Spike. “The rules in these types of cases are quite specific. If you can’t maintain the thrall, she’ll have to be put destroyed.” Well, eventually at any rate. No saying he couldn’t have a little fun with her first.

“Her?” Spike tried not to let his voice crack. He hadn’t realized that his actions would put Buffy at risk. Thinking hard, he edged closer to Buffy until he stood directly behind her, ready to defend her if necessary.

He was the one who’d lost his cool and dusted the intruders. If the vamp with the spectacles and the cheap suit had seen anything, he could at least confirm that. If anyone was going to get blamed for this little infraction, Spike would make certain that it was only himself.

Letting the officious vamp take Buffy away to be ‘put down’ was not even an option.

“Re-establish the thrall, you say?” Spike tried to sound insulted. Thank god that Buffy had listened to him for once in her life and was just letting events play out around her. “You misunderstand. She hasn’t broken the thrall.”

He pulled her leash until Buffy was standing beside him, then jerked it hard, making her tilt her head back and look up at him while he stroked her face and neck, caressing his bite marks. Without looking at the smarmy bastard who spoke so casually of having Buffy ‘destroyed’ he continued.

“I killed those vamps. I may have gotten a little carried away, I admit, but I was provoked.”

The auctioneer stared at Spike and then at the girl between them, whetting his lips.

“Are you mad?” Unflinching, he met Spike’s steel blue gaze.

Surprisingly it was the vamp in the tweed suit who spoke up. “Let me take the girl away, before any one else is dusted. If it’s her price you’re worried about, perhaps the auction house can arrange a small compensation package, even if it is against regulations. I know you seem to have her under control right now, Master Spike, but what if she breaks away again?”

The cheeky minion looked directly into Spike’s eyes, as if willing him to take the easy way out. “It’s too dangerous to have Buffy here,” he pronounced, a subtle accent on the word ‘dangerous’ that reminded Spike of someone else. Dalton, perhaps. Dalton had also continued to wear glasses and his beloved tweeds throughout his unlife. It hadn’t helped his reputation among the other vampires, Spike remembered. This fledgling appeared to be cut from the same cloth.

The vamp in charge beckoned to his guards who moved to take the human, but Spike stood his ground. The toady little vamp glared up at Spike. “You’re lucky I don’t have you destroyed as well, for bringing her here and causing all this trouble,” he threatened.

“Wait!” Spike spluttered. “Let me explain.” Frantically he gestured at the tweed suited minion, “Four-eyes here saw it all. I swear, I was the only one doing the dusting.”

The boss man considered. Why would a master vampire admit to dusting patrons at the auction? Wouldn’t it just be easier to let the human take the punishment? True, the master vampire stood to lose a good bit of cash if his property was destroyed rather than sold, but his assistant had offered a settlement.

Spike knew he had the attention of the vampire in charge. He had learned from a master, and Spike knew that best lie was always supported by the truth. And it wouldn’t hurt if his words played into the officious vamp’s own agenda.

“A captured Slayer’s damn valuable property. Not even once in a hundred years does one make it to auction.” Buffy tried not to startle at that little tidbit. She wasn’t sure why, but for once she believed Spike that it was important that she pretend to be quiet and submissive in front of these demons. But surely that statement was a lie. It was impossible to think that a Slayer had ever been auctioned at one of these horrid events.

“She stands to make me a right good sum,” Spike wheedled, “and you a tidy commission. There’s no need to be hasty. Let’s discuss this in private, as one vamp of the world to another.” He needed to get all of the vampires out of this room as soon as possible. If for one second their attention wandered, one of them was sure to notice that Buffy’s was not the only heart beat in the room. If they found Red hiding in the closet, he didn’t know how he’d explain it.

It had taken him a minute, but he finally felt he had the little vamp’s number. When it came right down to it, none of them really wanted to see the Slayer taken away and unceremoniously killed. It was more profitable for all of them if they sold her. And they would all get to stand witness while she was humiliated and offered up for sale to the highest bidder like the commonest slave. The auctioneer personally stood to gain a huge profit on the buyer’s commission, which he would lose if Buffy was ‘destroyed.’ That was a lot of money to pass up in order to enforce a frivolous and outdated rule.

“I started that fight,” Spike continued, “and I finished it. The bird had no hand in it at all.” After all that was nothing but the pure, unadulterated truth. He looked the vamp boss right in the eye as he continued.

“I had a damn good reason for dusting those idiots, and every one of those wankers deserved what they got.”

Spike could practically see the wheels churning in the other vampire’s head. The commission he personally stood to lose if he had to have the girl destroyed, versus the few moments gratification her destruction would bring.

“She certainly looks docile enough now,” he finally admitted. “Maybe we can still salvage something from this mess.”

Pausing for dramatic affect, the greedy troll finally conceded. “All right. Bring her to my office, and we’ll discuss the details. But,” he warned, “you better have a damn good excuse, or she’ll still be disciplined, AND you’ll be lucky if all we do is slap you with a hefty fine.”

The little vamp muttered to his assistant as they walked down the passage. “It’s what we should do anyway, bringing her here without so much as a warning beforehand. Could’a used the publicity in our promotional spots, drummed up a lot of extra business that way. Won’t make nearly as much on the deal as if we’d had a chance to advertise.”

Apparently, Spike had taken exactly the right tack in appealing to the little vamp’s greed.

What Spike couldn’t know was that Buffy’s presence had already caused quite a stir in the demon world. No one wanted to miss this unique event. Vampires and demons were suddenly flying in from all over the country and beyond to take a gander. Those who couldn’t attend, had called to set up remote bidding rights, or had given power of attorney to intermediaries like Wolfram and Hart. No auction house had had an item this unique in far more than a century.

With all the excitement the rumors had already caused, the Auctioneer knew he’d better have an airtight excuse if he removed the Slayer from the docket now. Perhaps they could make a special exception in her case and sell her without warranties. Surely there would still be customers willing to bid on her?

13. Excuses, Excuses
Chapter 13: Excuses, Excuses

“All right,” the pompous troll announced as soon as they reached the door to his office. “Let’s hear your explanation. Fighting at Auction is a serious offense. So you had better make it good.”

He enjoyed the opportunity to make a master vampire like Spike sweat. There was no reason to let Spike know that he had already decided to let himself be persuaded. The little Slayer would live long enough to be sold to the highest bidder, and make him a small fortune in the process. Her punishment would begin soon enough after that. If it took a little longer for her to finally die, well, so much the better.

Spike had used the walk over to work on his excuse. He wasn’t completely happy with it, and he knew that the Slayer would be furious, but it had the virtue that it would probably work.

Closing the door behind them so that neither the Auctioneer’s assistant nor the guards could overhear what they discussed, the Auctioneer took a seat behind his desk. Spike sighed as if he really didn’t want to tell the tale while taking the only other chair in the room. Buffy, of course, as the slave, remained standing.

“You heard the whole sorry story already, haven’t you?” Spike began. “How I pretended to let the Slayer tame me until I could turn the tables on her and get her under my control?”

He waited for the obsequious vampire to nod his agreement. He had told this story to Anton, and no one else, but these things had a way of getting around.

“Well, then you heard why I wanted to sell her, too.” Spike didn’t need to pretend to be embarrassed. “I told Anton and his cronies, so you must have heard that part of the story too. I couldn’t keep up the thrall and fuck her at the same time.”

Buffy was going to kill him when she got the chance. He wished he had gotten an opportunity to speak to her alone and explain what he was trying to do. She’d barely contained her rage the first time he’d told this story, and that was in a room full of adversaries. He could only hope that Buffy realized that this situation was just as dangerous. Even though he was only one vamp, if they dusted the smarmy little Auctioneer, they’d never make it out of the office. The guards outside would call for backup immediately, and they’d have to fight hundreds of vampires and demons before they could even clear the backstage area.

Spike tried not to even glance in his slaves direction. Thank the Powers that Be she was keeping up appearances and pretending to be under his control. Otherwise he knew she’d be the one staking his ass right about now, let alone the smarmy little Auctioneer.

“She’s too volatile to keep under lock and key,” Spike continued. “I don’t have the facilities. And I can’t keep up the thrall forever. So I thought selling her would be a good solution. Let some other vamp worry about what to do with her. I still get the fame and glory of having captured her – to say nothing of the tidy little fortune I stand to gain.”

“We understand that’s why you came to us,” the official agreed. “But you haven’t yet explained the violence back there…”

“I’m getting to that part,” Spike growled. “See, back there, before those wankers came barging into the store room where they didn’t belong, I finally had my chance at her.”

Swallowing hard, Spike licked his lips and hoped that Buffy wouldn’t stake him for what he was about to do. Pulling her to her knees before him, he ran his hands over her shoulders and through her hair, caressing her body until he heard her give a little sigh, her body calming once again to his touch. Glancing up at their audience, Spike saw the little vamps eyes whirling between black and gold as he eagerly watched the pair.

Spike waited to speak until Buffy’s pulse was steady and even, her breathing shallow and thoughts quiet. Each time he initiated the thrall it was becoming easier. He’d have to be careful in the future, lest the temptation become too great.

Sure now that she would remain compliant, he let his palm run up her thigh and carefully lifted the hem of the Slayer’s costume to reveal her lack of panties. Just the hip and a bit of her rump; he wasn’t letting anyone get a gander at the Slayer’s jollies. The Slayer’s unmistakable aroma permeated the little room, and he let the skirt fall back into place again.

“After months and months of frustration, I was finally going to get to put it to her.” Spike wiggled his eyes suggestively and punctuated his words with a rude gesture that left the officious vamp in no doubt what he referred to. He hated to be so crude in front of Buffy, even if she wouldn’t remember it.

“Until those tossers barged in and ruined the mood. I mean, just look at her now. Smell her.” The scent of Buffy’s arousal perfumed the air around her. In this small space it was hard to miss.

“Don’t you see? I’ve finally found the answer.” He lowered his lids, trying to suppress the matching desire Buffy’s arousal brought out in him. “She’s the Slayer.” Spike swallowed, only now realizing just how true what he was about to say really was. “Forcing her to submit is utterly foreign to her, though I wouldn’t mind...” Not really the point. “Anyway, she needs something, someone to fight, get her blood boiling. Couple that with the illusion of control…” Spike struggled for words, then settled for what came readily to mind, “I can finally put it to her. Give her a bit of the old rough and tumble. Roughing up that minion back there that slapped her arse – that must have started her motor. Had to find some place private to take her. Back in that room she was practically begging me for it. So yeah, when those idiots barged in, interrupting us – I went a little nuts, and started ripping off heads.” The scent of Buffy’s arousal was getting to the other vampire too, and Spike knew that he had won. The last thing the greedy little troll wanted was Buffy dead. He pressed his point home. “Those vamps were a bunch of nobodies anyways. No one that will be missed.”

Troll vamp swallowed and licked his lips over the fangs that had protruded without his conscious thought. “Let me understand you. What you’re saying is that anyone can hold her in thrall and fuck her as long as they prime her first by with a bit of violence beforehand?” A drop of drool fell onto his desk blotter, the little troll could barely take his eyes off where he’d gotten a glimpse of the Slayer’s snatch to look up at Spike, “That right?”

“Well, I suppose,” Spike admitted reluctantly, stroking her golden hair and thanking his lucky stars that he hadn’t yet released his thrall on Buffy. He wasn’t sure he liked where the little ingrate was going with this discussion. Buffy would like it even less, if she were aware enough to hear it.

“What’s it matter?” He needed to keep up pretenses with this oily bastard. But he needed to get Buffy out of here fast, before she started to wake up and conned on to what was being discussed. “All I know is that I can fuck her now.”

Terrified that Buffy might begin to struggle against the thrall at any minute, Spike needed to end this discussion fast. She’d stake him sure if she heard what either of them had said.

Jerking her leash sharply, he stood abruptly and spoke to the official harshly, “Seeings how we’re done here, I’m off to do just that. We’re leaving. Sale is off.”

Spike had made an executive decision. This whole auction idea had become far too dangerous. They would find another time and place to rescue Tara.

As Spike opened the door to leave, the auction master nodded to the guards outside who moved to bar the door.

“Sorry,” he sneered. “She’s already been registered and we have your consent on file. You can’t break the contract now. She goes up for sale whether you want her to or not.” His tongue flicked out between his fangs and caught a last drop of spittle before it could join the others on his desk. “But in light of the circumstances, we’ll save her to the last lot.”

“Now wait a minute. She’s still mine until the auction-”

“No one is saying she isn’t. Until the auction, you can do with her whatever you like. But you did sign a contract with us. A very binding contract, you’ll find. Spelled for us by witches under the direction of Wolfram and Hart, and shall we say, the darker side of the law. It’s really quite unbreakable. You wouldn’t believe the demons that used to try to back out of a deal. We added that enforcement clause to the standard contract more than a hundred years ago. Still, it doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. Everyone is in such a rush these days. If you’d bothered to read the fine print, well, I can guarantee you won’t like the consequences if you try to renege.”

With a last moan, Buffy blinked her eyes, and slowly began focusing on the conversation around her again. Wondering what she had missed, she made a vow to herself not to be spacey girl in the future. Especially when what was going on was important. She supposed that all the stress of being the Slayer was finally getting to her. It wasn’t like her to just zone out like that.

Most importantly it seemed that the Auctioneer had accepted Spike’s excuses. Whatever it was that Spike had said, Buffy figured she was safe, until the troll-like vamp looked her up and down and then leered.

The oily bastard knew that he could afford to be generous now that he’d gotten what he wanted. An excuse to allow the Slayer to stand at auction, and one that would increase her potential sale price exponentially.

He could work with that. The smarmy vampire smiled. By delaying her sale it would allow news of this latest development to spread, and allow even more time for any late arriving big players to register to bid. He stood to make a fortune on his share of the commission alone.

“You’ve got a couple hours to have your fun, but then she’ll be on the block.” He could tell that the master vampire in front of him was not happy with this pronouncement. But this was his turf – in this hotel his word was law, and he had the demon power to back that up. But it wouldn’t hurt to let the current master wear himself out with his little toy – just in case he had any further ideas of protesting the sale. Besides, it wouldn’t hurt the Slayer’s value any if she looked just slightly…used.

“That’s not to say that you can’t buy her back yourself, if you can raise the cash,” the smaller vamp gloated. Spike might have won himself a reputation as a fighter, the self-proclaimed ‘Slayer of Slayers,’ but he wasn’t known for his wealth.

Unctuously, he ushered the pair outside the door, where more of his guards were waiting.

“You might even manage it,” he sneered, “since you’d only be liable for the twenty percent buyer’s premium. I imagine a trained Slayer will sell for quite a lot.”

He knew, as must Spike, that the captive Slayer would fetch far more as a sex slave than she would as feeding stock. Especially since she was a looker. This one commission alone would earn him enough to set him up in style for decades. He gestured for his assistant to join him in his office while more guards were called to escort the Slayer and her current master back to their room. Before they could leave, he forced Spike to stop and listen to his final pronouncement, as if it wasn’t obvious enough already.

“By the way, my boys here will accompany you to your room, and escort you back when it’s time. We wouldn’t want another unfortunate incident that might jeopardize the sale.”

Spike merely snorted and reached for his property, pushing her past the guards and back the way they had come. The little vamp wasn’t finished, and called out after them one more time, “If you’re not down in time, we WILL sell her without you, and take her from you by force if you protest. If you wind up ashes, or worse, it will be your own fault. I’d suggest that you take a minute to read the contract you signed.”

Behind them, the avaricious vamp smiled as the pair walked down the hall. As far as he was concerned, events had turned out quite well. Whatever happened, he was assured the commission of a lifetime.

He set his assistant to find records on the last time a Slayer had been sold at auction, and to figure out how much she had sold for in terms of today’s dollars. It wouldn’t hurt to have a point of reference.

Then he picked up the phone and called his boss. Maybe he could convince the demon to purchase her himself, or on behalf of the company, and let her travel with the slave auction. He was sure that she’d be a huge attraction. Vamps would come by the hundreds, just for the chance to taunt her. Hell, they could probably charge admission.

And if it was possible to ‘prime her and pump her’ as Spike had suggested, they could sell her services as well. Both he and his masters could make a fortune pimping her out. There wasn’t really any other way he could see a middle management type like him getting to have a go at her.
14. Options
Chapter 14. Options

Forcing the guards to remain outside, Spike and Buffy returned to the small prop room first. Ostensibly Spike was there to pick up the rest of their clothes, but mostly it was because he needed to gather a shaken and cowering Willow from the closet where she had stayed hidden all this time.

“They’re all gone?” the witch quavered. “Everything’s okay?”

While they were alone Buffy dropped the mindless zombie bit. For a while there she had been afraid that she had really zoned out. Nah, never happen.

Buffy looked uncertainly at Spike. “I’m not completely sure, but we’re all right for now. All the vamps that saw you are dust, Willow, and Spike somehow explained everything to the vamp in charge, so we’re good to go upstairs.”

“Good.” Willow nodded. “I should be able to re-establish the glamour soon. I’m not so sure about right away, though.” Thank the goddess that all the vampires and demons who had seen her true human form had somehow been eliminated. If Willow re-appeared in her vampire guise later, no one would question it.

“Sorry, Red, but for now, you’d better get in the trunk,” Spike ordered. “We’ve got a bleeding escort waiting for us, and they don’t need to see you looking like that. Slayer’s right. We’re not out of hot water yet, don’t need any more trouble. Just hope the guards are too busy leering at Buffy to notice the extra heartbeat.”

Uncomplaining, Willow stuffed herself into the footlocker, grateful that like Buffy she was small. She tried not to make a sound as Buffy lifted the trunk carefully, and began carrying her down the hall while Spike barked out orders.

One of the guards waiting for them was smarter than the rest. “What’s with the chest?” he challenged.

“Toys,” was Spike’s terse answer. If the guard insisted on opening the trunk, they’d have even more problems on their hands. But apparently Spike’s explanation was enough, as the guard just grinned and leered at Buffy.

~ ~

Slamming and locking the hotel room door behind them, Willow breathed a sigh of relief at climbing out of the cramped trunk.

“There’s a whole herd of demons just out the door, Red. Sorry for the rough ride, but I couldn’t figure how else to get you past them.”

“It’s okay, Spike. We all knew that this plan was gonna be dangerous.”

“Can you put wards on the room? Wouldn’t do for the vamps outside to overhear anything.”

Willow merely muttered a few incantations, then indicated that everything was kosher. It really was a relief to be able to cast simple spells without all the props and bother. Really, all that stuff they sold at the Magic Box was just for amateurs.

Buffy waited until Willow was finished casting her magic. She could read Spike better than Willow. While Willow was slightly concerned with the current state of affairs, mostly the loss of her vampire glamour and the trouble that had caused them, Buffy knew that something else was wrong. She wanted to know what.

“Okay, spill. I can tell you’re upset. Isn’t this what we wanted all along?”

Spike swore. Of course the girls didn’t understand. “Bloody Auctioneer is a bloody profiteer, is all. He smells money and he won’t let me out of the contract to sell Buffy. Good news is, I know the most likely buyer is still Anton, and that’ll allow us to get in close to Tara with no questions asked.”

“So, no problem. I don’t get why you’re unhappy.” Willow wasn’t following this very well. Was there something she was missing?

“Haven’t told you the bad news yet. Like I told Buffy earlier, there are generally only two types of human slaves. Most are intended as bloodstock. That usually means there’s some quality to their blood that makes them worth savoring. That’s how I intended to sell Buffy.”

“We know all that. So where’s the problem?”

“Well,” Spike hesitated. He really, really didn’t want to get staked over this. “What with all the complications, lies I’ve had to tell to keep our hides intact this long…Buffy’s been moved from one category to the other.”

“Meaning?” Willow looked blankly from Spike to Buffy and back again.

Spike cleared his throat and thought about how he could possibly put this gently, yet still get his point across. “They’ll be expecting her to do a damn sight more than allow herself to be bitten.”

Buffy swallowed hard, but didn’t say anything. Why was it that the thought of sex with Spike was suddenly not as distasteful as she thought it would be?

Willow thought for a moment. Suddenly it came to her, “Oh.” Maybe that was why Buffy was sans clothing in the prop room. “Well then, they’ll just deserve to be staked extra hard.” She blushed a little thinking that perhaps that hadn’t come out quite the way she meant it. “For thinking that I mean. I mean, they won’t actually be able to… I mean, we wouldn’t go through with this if there was any chance of that actually happening.”

“Bit hard to walk away now, Red, even if we wanted to. There’s a dozen hall monitors out there with stun guns. But no, it won’t come to that.” He smirked, “Cause I’ll be right there to protect the Slayer’s virtue. So, no worries.”

What the HELL? What did that mean? Who was he gonna be protecting her from, himself? “And that thought just makes me feel so much better! As in NOT,” Buffy exclaimed. “NOTHING is going to happen because I won’t let it happen. You’re just here as part of my cover. And I still think you are enjoying this whole thing way too much.”

“Well, I won’t deny that it does conjure up a pretty picture.” At Buffy’s warning glare he attempted to hide the leer on his face.

“I’m still a little confused,” Willow admitted. “Let me see if I’ve got it straight. The vamps are thinking…bad thoughts about Buffy, rather than just wanting to keep her in thrall and drink from her until she dies. But you’re not worried, Spike, because you think Anton will definitely buy her, and you’ll be there to protect her from him – how can you know that when you weren’t so sure before?”

Spike wasn’t sure he’d categorize himself as ‘not worried.’ He was just worried about different things. He didn’t like how things had spiraled out of his control. It was past the point of fists and fangs already. But he figured he could handle Anton, one on one. If he got the chance. If Buffy didn’t stake him first.

“Because I told the vamp in charge that I’d changed my mind,” he explained. “That I didn’t want to sell Buffy, and that will get around. I wish we’d never come up with this whole scheme, but it’s too late now. We can’t get out of the contract. Apparently it’s backed by some magic users from Wolfram and Hart, and nasty things will happen if we try to break it.”

“Not to put too fine a point on it then, but all the consequences would fall on you, wouldn’t they?” snarked Buffy. “I mean, you’re the one who signed the thing without reading it. So, as far as me and Willow, no problem!”

“Buffy, that’s not very nice. Spike’s been trying to help us.”

“And he’s been enjoying it far too much, Willow. I’m not sure, but I think he’s done something to me…” Like letting me catch sight of him just in that towel, like being sexy as hell, like… “I’m just saying it’s an option, is all.”

“We don’t know that, for sure. Let’s not make any assumptions. Maybe Red can take a look at the bloody thing and parse out what it says.”

“Sure. I think I can handle legalese. Can’t be much worse than some of those watcher diaries Giles tries to get me to read. Do you still have your copy?”

“In the night stand, Red.”

As Willow sat on the bed and examined the contract, Spike sat opposite from Buffy at the small table. He hated to ask, but he needed to know.

“So, pet, just what do you think I’ve done to you – that you didn’t ask for that is?”

Remembering how she had felt back in the prop room, and what she had practically begged him to do to her, she stumbled for an answer.

“I don’t know,” she stammered. “Just, sometimes, when I’m around you, I feel…”

“Heat, desire?” Spike suggested.

“No! Loathing and disgust. I mean, it’s not normal or natural to feel anything else. You’re a vampire. Ergo, you’ve done something to me. Put me under thrall without my knowing it, or I don’t know, something.”

That was far too close to the truth for Spike to be comfortable. He knew that he couldn’t admit that he’d had her under thrall, or she’d take that as confirmation that her conflicted feelings were something that he had manufactured. Even if the thrall didn’t work that way. Never would, never had. But she would never listen. Sure, he could probably make her DO something against her better judgment, but he couldn’t make her FEEL something she didn’t already feel. But it would be impossible to explain that to her.

So all he said was, “You’re a piece of work, Slayer. Peaches has done a better job on you than he ever did on Drusilla.” Turning away from Buffy, he called over to Willow. “Find anything, Red?”

“Yeah, and neither of you is going to like it.”

“Well, don’t keep us in suspense. What’s it say, Willow?”

“It says that if the contract is not fulfilled within a certain period of time, then the magic will take over, and certain things will happen automatically.”


“For starters, Spike would become human.”

Spike paled, but Buffy seemed unperturbed, “That’s not so bad. We could probably live with that. You said there’s more?”

“Yeah. And you won’t like it much. It's not just Spike that will be affected. Demons transform into humans, and humans become demons, it doesn’t specify the type. Slaves become masters," Willow noticed Buffy's smirk and hurried to continue, "only, not for very long. See, the way they’ve written it, well, if you break the contract, after the transformation, well, you’ll both be drawn back to Wolfram and Hart. Then they’ll turn you back over to the auction house, and, well, then they will sell you BOTH.”

A/N: Thanks to everyone who has left reviews - they help improve the story, let me know what you are thinking, AND get me to post faster. So leave some more.
15. Choices
Chapter 15. Choices

“Change your mind then, pet?” Spike inquired, deceptively mildly. “Doesn’t sound like the best of choices to me, luv, but when has my opinion ever mattered to you lot? I happen to think you’d look right good as a demon, pet. What you’ve got now is false advertising. Pretty enough packaging, but not so sweet and mild mannered on the inside. Let’s see what’d suit you? Fyral perhaps. Or, I know, I nice slimey Chaos demon. Can’t think of a demon I hate worse than those buggers, all slime and antlers and insincerity. That’d be about right, I think.”

“Shut up, Spike,” Buffy ordered. “You were right the first time. No one wants to hear your opinion. We’re sticking with the original plan. If we have to go through with the sale, we’ll do it. Despite how much I’d love our positions to be reversed for even five minutes…”

As her voice trailed off, Buffy could just make out Spike’s whispered, “It’d almost be worth it,” and firmly pushed aside her memory of those few minutes of insanity back in the prop room.

Firmly she continued, “Canceling the sale sounds like a bad deal all around. Even if Willow could reverse the spell, it wouldn’t help us get any closer to Tara. And that’s what this is all about.”

“Okay then,” Willow would back her friend’s decision, whatever it was. But she was glad that it would not entail her trying to undo a spell that had obviously been cast by experts. Even Willow had to admit there were some limits to her power – at least at her current level of knowledge. The professionals employed by the demon agency would almost certainly have built in precautions against just what they were considering attempting. The results of a failed reversal could be worse than the original curse, although it was hard to imagine how.

“I agree with Buffy,” Willow admitted. “Sticking with the plan is probably the best option. We let the auction take place, and hope that Anton is the buyer so you can get in close to Tara and rescue her. Spike, what exactly is it that makes you think Anton will win the auction?”

“Oh, he wants to win all right.” There would be few demons out there who wouldn’t. But Anton’s resources were far greater than most demons, and his desire to own the unattainable would be coupled with his desire to humiliate Spike. He tried to explain his reasoning to the girls.

“Demons are a lot like teenage girls, Red. They love to spread gossip. The story will have already spread that I wanted to keep the Slayer to myself, but was forced to go through with the sale. That little tidbit will surely get back to Anton. You may not have noticed, Slayer, but Anton and I aren’t exactly the best of friends. It’ll give Anton another way he can get one up on me, by taking for himself something that he knows I want to keep.”

“So, all to the good, right? I know it’s not exactly the way we planned it, but this sounds even better. If it gets us close to Tara…” Buffy also didn’t see the problem.

“You’d be his property, Slayer! Do you think I want that?” The girls just weren’t getting it at all. He really hated to be the one to explain it to them. “He’ll be ready for trouble, now. They know you’re the Slayer, and they know you’re still dangerous, even if you are supposed to be under thrall. The Auctioneer pretended to buy that bill of goods I sold him, because it suits his own purposes to pretend to believe it. Anton’s not stupid, Slayer. He’s not likely to take any chances. You’ll be heavily guarded, and probably chained, until he’s sure he’s got you under his control.” He sighed and shook his head. There was a lot that he needed to think about and prepare, and not a lot of time to do it in. “At least you’ll be spared the block. If we pretend we’re too busy in here, they’ll hold the auction without you physically being present.”

“How about this idea?” Willow had been thinking about ways to fulfill the terms of the contract, without the unpleasantness of Buffy actually having to be sold. “If you’d rather Anton didn’t actually buy her, well, couldn’t you buy her back yourself? Or, or…” Willow was so excited now she practically bounced off the edge of the bed. “I could buy her. As evil vampire Willow, that is. That way, well, the sale will have been completed, so the contract breaking provisions won’t go into affect, but we’d still have Buffy,” Willow reasoned. “I mean, you’d be paying yourself. So what’s the big?”

“Willow, even if I don’t have to pay the purchase price, the buyer’s premium is due immediately upon sale. That’s twenty-three percent of the purchase price.” Spike winced. He really didn’t like to admit this part. “I don’t think I can cover it.”

“You can’t cover the cost of the commission? Come on, you’ve lived like forever, you’ve got to have some cash squirreled away somewhere, right? Besides, you can always steal more.” She couldn’t believe that she was saying this – urging Spike to steal. “Or maybe we can get the money from Giles.”

“No,” he answered. “We can’t. For one thing, payment is due upon receipt of the merchandise – and there’s no time to raise that kind of cash. I’ll admit I’m not exactly as broke as I may have made out that I was, but hoarding cash never was my style. I mean, what would be the point? It’s not like there’s much worth buying that a vamp can’t just as easily steal.”

Seeing Buffy’s unapproving frown he moved on. “Besides, you lot don’t seem to realize the kind of money that we’re talking here. Not, ‘I need a new car’ kind of money. Not even if it was a really nice car. Maybe when we first started this – but not now. Now we’re talking more like ‘beach house in Malibu’ cash.” For the first time since this whole scheme began Buffy saw Spike with a genuine smile. “After this sale goes through – I’m gonna be bloody rolling in it.”

Squinting her eyes Buffy decided she needed to take Spike down a notch or two. “Not likely. Despite appearances, you don’t own me, Spike. And since it’s my body we’re selling, I should get to keep the cash.”

Spike grinned. “Fine Slayer. And that makes you what, exactly?”

For once suppressing her urge to strike out at Spike, Buffy turned to Willow. “Okay, so the plan is Spike gets stinking rich selling me to Anton, then I go in all meek and slavey looking, dust whoever gets in my way, get Tara, and we’re out of here.”

There were undercurrents to this conversation that Willow just didn’t understand. I mean, sure, they got on each other’s nerves a lot, but this felt different. Something was going on between Spike and Buffy. Willow really wished she hadn’t spent so long cowering in a closet. It seemed she had missed a lot.

“Few details yet to work out, Slayer,” Spike mentioned. He didn’t like to bust her bubble, but it had to be done. It was not going to be nearly as simple as she made it sound. Not any more. “First, if the sale is going to be convincing, and it better be or we’re all dead, I need to be able to hand him something other than just your leash.” Both girls turned to look at him, so he continued. Buffy wasn’t going to like this part, but there was nothing to be done for it. “I am going to have to put you under a thrall.”

“No way! I am not, repeat, NOT about to let that happen, Spike. Besides I doubt you could anyway.”

“Wanna bet?” There was no way he was ever going to admit to her that he had used a thrall on her twice already on this little escapade. He liked all his parts intact, even if he rarely got to use them. “Look, we never intended for things to go this far – certainly not with them knowing who you are and what you are still capable of. And not – like this - not - with you not being bloodstock. But this plan isn’t going to work without some kind of thrall. He’ll know.”

Despite the fact that he had gloated about how he stood to earn a lot of money, Buffy could tell that Spike wasn’t happy with the turn events had taken.

Placating, Spike continued. “I can teach you how to break the thrall, Slayer. So long as you know it’s there, you should be able to do it. That’s why it’s so dangerous, you don’t even notice it happening. Of course, you’ll need some practice, but you should be able to do it. Especially since the bond with your new owner will be fresh. You won’t be under Anton’s control long – I promise you. If Anton decides to get frisky, you’ll be able to say no.”

“Oh – that is SO not a problem, Spike,” Buffy fumed. “Did you see that guy? There’s no way I’d ever let Butt-Ugly get close enough to – you know – thrall or no thrall.”

“I hope you’re right Slayer. I’m going to be counting on that bloody mindedness of yours. But even if things don’t go as planned, I’ll be nearby to lend assistance.”

“You will? How exactly are you going to manage that?” Was it his imagination, or did Willow sound somewhat relieved?

“I will. I mentioned it earlier, but I suppose it needs a little explanation. When you were scouting around before we ran into Tara and her master Anton. Tara recognized Buffy and that’s when things all started to turn to shite. It was a tricky situation, and I had to talk fast. I smoothed things over and managed to stick in a witness clause. It’s not that uncommon, but usually reserved for special situations, so I guess it sort of fits with the story I’ve told. Now that the witness claim’s been made public, the buyer will be forced to agree to it. It’ll be part of the terms of sale.”

“Huh?” Their blank stares told him the girls obviously weren’t tracking. He’d never actually told them, but what they knew about vampires and slave auctions wouldn’t fit in a thimble. So he spelled it out for them.

“Told him that I wanna watch while he… that is… I wanna watch. Hence the term, witness. That’s another reason I’m so sure Anton will be the buyer. Aside from being a bloody rich coward, he’ll get an extra kick out of it. He’ll enjoy watching me while I’m watching him with you.”

“Huh?” Both girls still sounded perplexed, and it was probably just as well.

“Don’t worry about it kitten, because it’s not gonna happen. There’s just one more thing we’ll need to do.”

“What’s that?” It seemed like their plan was foolproof. What were they forgetting?

“Well, Slayer, what are we doing up here?”

“Making plans, strategy, for how we’re gonna get Tara back…”

Buffy stopped rambling as Spike raised his brows at her. “What?” she asked, clearly annoyed. “We are too.”

“You want to tell them that?” Spike gestured towards the locked and enchanted door, reminding them of the demon and vampire guards standing just beyond it. “What do they think we’re doing up here?”

“Oh.” Buffy covered her mouth with her hand and turned a bright crimson.

Spike couldn’t help but think her blush was amazingly attractive.

“We’re not… I mean...” The Slayer was adorable when she stuttered like a teenager. Of course, that wasn’t far from the truth.

“S’alright, Buffy,” Spike put her out of her misery. “I know we’ve lost the magic of the moment.”

“Moment? What moment? There we moments?” Wondering exactly where Spike was going with this, Buffy ignored Willow’s comments. If she was still in the dark as to what exactly had been going on in that prop room, Buffy surely wasn’t going to enlighten her.

“Even so, Slayer, it’s got to look right if we’re gonna convince anyone. Have to put some effort into appearances, or the game will be up before we even get to Tara.”

“Spike and I need to have a talk. Do you think you can re-cast that glamour now, Willow? Maybe go scout around a little bit, see where Anton’s group is holed up?”

“Sure. No problem, Buffy. But you’ll tell me about everything I missed later, right? I don’t like feeling left out of the loop. I’m here to help you guys in whatever way I can. And the best way for me to do that is if I know what’s going on. So fill me in, alright?”

“Sure, Willow,” Buffy bit her lip and lied through her teeth. “I’ll tell you everything as soon as this is over.”

A/N: There was a lot of interest in the contract aspect. Considering the borrowed nature of this story, if anyone wants to pick it up from this point and write an ending where they choose to break the contract, have at it. I agree that it would be interesting.
16. Preparations
Chapter 16. Preparations

When Willow was safely out of the way, Spike turned to Buffy again.

“Don’t deny it, Slayer. If those idiots hadn’t interfered downstairs, this wouldn’t be the problem it is now.”

If those nitwit vamps hadn’t barged in, he’d have shagged himself a Slayer there and then, and they both knew it, even if Buffy wanted to play innocent now. Gods, just remembering what had happened made his chest tighten and his jeans uncomfortable.

Buffy had liked being the boss of him. She had told him exactly how she wanted it - bent over the table, then on the table, then … Christ, just thinking about it now was going to kill him, because he knew she would no longer agree to any of it. He’d had his chance. And now, it seemed, it was gone. Staking wasn’t good enough for those idiots who had interrupted them!

He’d promised himself before this began that he would never force Buffy to do anything against her will. Not even if it just took a little convincing. Aside from the fact that he’d probably meet a dusty ending if he was successful; he didn’t want her to regret anything that they did together.

But it was damned hard to convince himself of that now. He wanted her so badly, and she was so close, so, available. With the witch gone, no one would bother them for hours. He could put her back under the thrall, and she wouldn’t even know it.

His body trembled as he forced himself to pull away slightly. He wouldn’t use the thrall to influence her. He wouldn’t.

But there was no rule that said he couldn’t just turn on the charm and seduce her, except that he knew that she’d blame him for it later, and he’d have to pay the consequences for it. They needed to work effectively together. He needed Buffy not to stake him.

Therefore, they had to keep their minds on business. At least until they were somewhere safer. Maybe when this was all over there would be a time and place for a leisurely seduction. At least now he knew that Buffy felt the attraction as strongly as he did – even if she was apt to fight against it more forcefully.

He took another step back, and swallowed hard. “I can wait until you’re ready.”

The words came out weak and tentative, because that wasn’t what he wanted to say at all. He had to force the words out of his mouth, force his hands to leave her alone, not try to initiate a light thrall like he had done before. It would be so easy. So tempting. He could even make it so that she wouldn’t remember, after. He knew that he could get away with it. But he wouldn’t. He hoped that Buffy appreciated the sacrifices he made in the name of the greater good.

Then he smiled as another thought occurred to him. This could still be fun.

“We don’t need authentic, luv,” he moved closer to object of his desire until he was softly caressing her shoulders again, whispering in her ear. “We just have to make it seem convincing.”

Buffy trembled; she was so receptive to his touch now. She hardly resisted as he ran his tongue up and down the side of her neck, nibbling gently at her pulse points, peppering her jugular with his kisses. Pleased when she shivered again and let out the lightest of moans, he knew that he was getting to her. Maybe he wouldn’t need the thrall at all, maybe this wouldn’t have to be pretend after all…

He held her close against him, his erection pressed firmly against her from behind. “What do you say Slayer?” he whispered. “Want to go at it for real, or just want to put on a show for the kids?”

Buffy was definitely aroused by his proximity and touch, but it needed to be her choice. He would not take the choice from her. He would NOT. “What do you mean, Spike?”

He nibbled on her ear and felt her melt back against him. God, she was luscious. Ripe and ready. It would be a shame to waste such an opportunity.

He tried to calm himself by envisioning how furious she would be, after, if she realized that she had been coerced in any way. But picturing Buffy in a fury, eyes blazing, cheeks flushed and hair cascading around her face, only made the ache worse.

Staunchly he reigned in his demon. He didn’t want to fight her into submission. And he wasn’t going to influence her decision unfairly. He wasn’t even gonna lie to her and convince her that it was necessary, although he knew that he could.

Forcing himself to let her go, he took a few steps away from her, letting the beginnings of the thrall dissipate. “You’ve gotta smell…right.” His voice almost broke and he sounded like a ponce! Trying to pull himself together he attempted to explain, “Gotta smell like me, or they’ll know right away it’s a con.”

With that simple statement, the magic of the moment was gone. Without a second’s hesitation Buffy turned on him and slapped his face, hard. “That is just so disgusting on so many levels. There’s no way…”

This smelling thing was SO gross. Vampires apparently spent their entire lives sniffing, which was pretty weird considering that they didn’t even need to breathe. She couldn’t imagine how they were going to pull this one off. Because actual sex between them – SO not happening.

“Come off it Slayer.” He knew he’d been pushing, but still…he hoped their relationship had gotten beyond this point. And, it was necessary. If she didn’t want to actually sleep with him, he’d have to deal with the disappointment. But this was a matter of her safety. He couldn’t allow her to say no.

“Come off it, Slayer. You watched me wank off just last night! After you had that dirty little dream, we were both wide awake. This time, you’ll just be a little closer to the action, is all.”

Buffy shuddered. This did not fit her vision of the way things should work at all. “That is SO not going to happen. Look – if you say this charade is necessary, I’ll believe you – but that’s not how it’s going to happen...”

A/N Just a tease. Next chapter is my personal favorite. Leave some reviews and you'll get to see it sooner...
17. Fantasies
Chapter 17: Fantasies

The Slayer was artfully arranged on the mattress wearing just her bra and panties as he stalked seductively up the bed. A passionate kiss, followed by her sigh as he moved to tongue her nipples through the lace of her bra. Then, oh so slowly, expose her creamy breasts so he could watch her twin peaks as they puckered and hardened at his touch. She’d make that cute little mew as his hands and lips moved down towards her lace covered mound, and repeat the process until Buffy’s thong was thoroughly soaked, before he’d slowly peel the useless garment from her naked hips.

“You do know this is still really disgusting, don’t you?” Buffy’s voice carried clearly through the closed bathroom door, completely destroying the image he was trying to build up in his mind.

Spike cursed again, leaning against the solid wood that separated him from the object of his desire. Still, he knew he had only himself to blame. How had he allowed her to maneuver him into such a degrading position? Oh yeah, he’d been all noble allowed her free will to decide.

“Stupid, stupid, bloody buggering fuck!” he cursed as he inched down the zipper of his too tight pants to allow his aching cock to fall into his own two hands. “This makes no sense. No fun this way at all,” he grumbled, trying to imagine this the way he’d hoped it would be.

Where was he again? Oh, yes, the barely clad Slayer waiting for him to join her on the bed, as he leisurely stroked her passion ever higher. He’d make her beg for it, after all she had put him through. He’d show her what it was that she wanted, in as many ways as he could imagine, so that she’d never be able to deny it again. Before he’d enter that hot tight quim, she’d be screaming his name…

“Spike,” it was his name, but spoken in annoyance, instead of the passion of his fantasy. “Hurry up in there. I can’t believe I let you talk me into this…”

At the sound of her voice his fantasy shifted. He needed to picture something a little closer to the truth. He imagined the Slayer the way she had been backstage. A gloriously naked Slayer holding Spike hostage with her own leash as she told him exactly what to do and how to do it. He’d willingly do anything and everything she asked. Endure whatever she put him through if only he got his eventual reward - the feel of her naked skin as he pounded into her until she was the one crying for mercy.

“I don’t know why I even agreed to this…” Buffy groused, and his fantasy shattered once more, then shifted again, as he imagined his eventual release from the purgatory of this bathroom. His hand pumped faster as he pictured himself slathering the Slayer’s body with his cum. Marking her with his scent. All the places he would put it on her – every demon present would know that she was HIS.

With that thought he came unexpectedly, shooting his hand, his stomach and the walls with his spunk.

“Bollocks! Where’s the bloody stupid cup? Damned stupid way to go about things.”

He continued cursing as he tried to collect as much of his cum as he could into the plastic cup. “Have to start all over again,” he muttered. Thank god for his vampire constitution.

All it took was a second to recall his mind’s picture of Buffy naked and writhing on the bed again – his hands touching her in previously forbidden places. Moaning, he pictured his hand gliding over her silky skin – spreading his essence all over places she would normally never let him touch. Sliding his cum splattered hand over her clit and into her cunt. He knew the Slayer would enjoy his touch, despite her protests. He imagined her skin soaked with sweat and her body writhing in pleasure as she spasmed under his hands.

Stroking himself to firmness again, he-

“Aren’t you done in there yet?” This time Buffy’s irritated voice sounded strident in his ears. “Just open up the door a crack and hand out the cup. You stay in there until I’m done.”

“Slayer,” Spike grumbled. “Do you have to ruin ALL my fun?” This was not going at all the way he had imagined it.

“Just hurry up and hand it out here.”

“You won’t know where to put it,” he protested. He wanted to be the one to anoint the Slayer with his spunk. Even if it was just on her hand, her neck…

“Spike, much as it may shock you to hear this – I do know where it goes.”

As a groan came unbidden to his lips, he suddenly realized that he was enjoying this. The banter. Even her complaints. He always had.

And the Slayer knew what was going on behind closed doors. If she wanted to pretend that she was unaffected by it, well, he knew better. The little hypocrite was probably trying to sneak a peak through the keyhole. Grinning as he stroked himself harder, he decided to make the most of it since it seemed this was as much as he was likely to get. Perhaps if he could provoke a reaction he could use …

He had just the idea. He was sure to get a good reaction out of her from this statement. “Pet, don’t forget, you’ll need to swallow some.”

Her reaction was immediate and more than sufficient for his purposes.

“Ewww. That is SO gross. There is no way, mister. You can just forget it.”

Grinning as she continued to curse a blue streak, Spike finally let himself go. This time he remembered to use the cup.

Buffy was so adorable. She was still going on about it as Spike did up his trousers and exited the bathroom, cup in hand. “Shhh.” He said, patting her lips gently. Mission accomplished! “We’re supposed to be all covert here- all this bickering and arguing is not what they’re supposed to be hearing.”

“Spike, did you forget Willow soundproofed the room?” Buffy was momentarily distracted until he passed over the bathroom cup, overflowing with his jizz, and took in his wicked grin. “Shit! It was on your hand. The hand you just used to … to… and of course you didn’t bother to wash up. Bastard.”

Spike just shrugged and grinned wider, wiggling his fingers in front of her face. “Got the job done, didn’t it? Now, if you’ll just let me help you with the rest of this…”

“You’ve already done more than enough. It’s back into the bathroom with you. You are SO not watching... Better yet, I’ll go in the bathroom so I can lock the door.”

She SO did not want any part of this to seem even vaguely romantic. What had she been thinking downstairs? Or even upstairs in their room, just a few minutes ago? Obviously, she hadn’t been thinking at all. She wondered what might have happened if they hadn’t been interrupted in the props room… or even just a few moments ago, if Spike hadn’t been so gross about the smelling thing…would she really have let him…

She didn’t want to think about it. Didn’t want to think about what she was doing now. It was just like perfume, she convinced herself. Not some icky, disgusting, slimy, man-juice. Perfume. She finished quickly, and made sure to wash her hands.

As she exited the bathroom, she could tell Spike was amused. He was enjoying this, and it annoyed her to no end.

“Feel good to have clean hands, Slayer?” he leered. Gods, he was a pig. What did she ever see in him?

A/N: I said this was my favorite chapter, but then I have a twisted sense of humor. You all may enjoy some of what comes later even better.
18. Realities
Chapter 18: Realities

He sniffed her up and down, turned her around and sniffed some more before declaring, “You’ll do. Now, you need to practice breaking the thrall until you’re quite good at it. You don’t want Anton to really have control over you – and you’ll only get the one chance to resist.”

“You may have missed this part – but I think he’s even more disgusting than you. If such a thing is possible, that is.”

“Fine. Let’s get to work.”

Moving forward slowly, Spike again held her shoulders between his hands, his false breath tickling her neck. He needed to be close to her to initiate the thrall. Needed to be touching her. He stroked her soft flesh gently until he felt her relax in his embrace.

“It may feel like this.” He kissed her lightly near the vein in her neck. Now that she was looking for it, she realized that she could feel his presence in her mind. It felt comforting, familiar, as if they had done this many times before. Was it supposed to feel like that?

“Or it may feel like this.” Tightening his hold on her mind and body until she was shaking, he let his fangs lightly pierce her neck until she convulsed around him. Despite her protests, she had been almost as turned on by what they had just done as he was. It took only the lightest of bites to push her over the edge.

With a visible act of will, Buffy physically and mentally shoved Spike away from her body. Buffy was trembling with both rage and passion.

“Bloody hell! That hurt!” He had already proved to Buffy that he could bite her without the chip going off, but her abrupt termination of the thrall had been nearly as painful. “Give a guy some warning, will you?”

Nevertheless Spike he smiled as he clambered upright and brushed off the pain. His girl was a goddess. Not one in twenty would be able to do what she had just done – not with any amount of coaching. “That’s my good girl. Let’s see if you can do it again.”

Spike’s smile widened as he strode towards her once again. That brief touch with her mind had told him something important. Despite her protestations, the Slayer was enjoying this game. The battle of wits, the violence, the intimacy of it. She’d probably die before she admitted it out loud, but she’d had a few fantasies of her own while he was jerking off in the bathroom.

“That’s my girl,” he purred. “Make me work for it.”

She broke his physical and mental hold on her again and this time sent him flying into the wall. The mental pain was staggering – he knew it would get worse each time she did it. And mental effort was starting to slow him down. He hadn’t told the Slayer, but his thrall had always been weak. It wasn’t something he really liked to do, and so he hadn’t used it often. He only hoped it was strong enough to give Buffy the tools she would need against Anton.

Smiling as he initiated the thrall again, he realized that he had found yet another way to re-awaken the Slayer’s hidden passion. She was enjoying the fact that she was able to break his hold over her. That she could hurt him.

It made her feel empowered, aroused. It was another element of her scent that had been missing. She wanted him, and this time he didn’t mean to leave her disappointed, even if he knew actual sex was out of the question. He was holding fast to the romantic idea that he wouldn’t make love to her until she was willing to admit to herself that she wanted it.

This time he came at her from behind. He wasn’t called a master vampire for nothing. He had learned at least a few tricks over the years. He held her tightly in his arms, his hands and lips still, while strengthening the bond between them. This time, his mind sought out the pleasure center in her brain.

At first Buffy didn’t seem to know what was happening. Spike was just holding her, but she could barely feel a whisper of him in her mind. Nevertheless, her body was reacting to his touch far too strongly. She could feel his erection as it pressed into her backside, and the pressure inside her mind and body increased until she was breathing harder, almost panting, and arching her head back against his shoulder. She could feel his hands slide up over her hips and abdomen, burrowing inside the dress to cup her breasts. Faintly, she knew she should protest, tell him to stop, but she didn’t want to. Deciding that she could always claim it was the thrall that made her do it, she allowed Spike’s hands to continue to roam over her body however they wished. Instead of protesting when he moved up under the hem of her dress, she moved to allow him greater access. Grazing across her dewy wetness a few times, he finally allowed one digit to slip inside her heat. She instantly began to spasm around his hand, and he braced himself to hold her as she nearly fell against him, her body climaxing hard.

While she recovered from the waves of pleasure pulsing through her, he still held her mind and body in a light thrall. Through the link, he could hear her thoughts plainly. ‘God, that felt good. I’ve been needing that for months,’ followed quickly by mortifiaction, ‘Oh my God! Did he just do that? Did I just do that?’

Spike was proud that he’d finally done what he’d set out to do downstairs. He had made Buffy cum. Not exactly the way he’d envisioned it, but it would do for a start.

Again she wrenched her mind away from his grasp. This thrall had been more subtle, but much deeper this time, and the pain was blinding, worse than the chip at its strongest. While he staggered from the force of it, she punched him in the gut, hard, but his anguish at the loss of her mind’s touch was so great he barely even felt it.

“How could you do that to me?”

Sputtering, Spike considered his answers. He knew that Slayer wasn’t really asking him how, although it was a fair question. What she wanted to know was why. Weighing the choices, he discarded ‘cause I wanted to’ and ‘ because you needed it,’ and went instead for the pragmatic.

“Because Anton might,” he coughed. “You need to be prepared. Need I remind you that it would NOT be a good thing if he had you under so deep that you couldn’t break free?”

Her reply was instant, although it was a phrase he hadn’t heard her vocalize for quite some time. “You’re a pig Spike.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Slayer,” he coughed. “Besides, now you finally smell right.”

“What? You can smell…it? I mean, I know vamps can smell sex, and you claim to be able to smell when someone is aroused...”

He shrugged. “It’s a physical change – we can smell orgasm, male or female. Even if you had tried to hide it, I would have known.” He grinned up at her. He was obviously pleased with his efforts. “Want to try it again?” He waggled his eyebrows. “Breaking the thrall gets just a little bit harder each time – it’d be good practice.”

“No. Never again. You are not to do that to me EVER again Spike. I mean it.”

Smirking, he asked, “That just apply to the thrall? I’m an old-fashioned kind of vamp myself. Prefer doing things the hard way, if you catch my drift.”

“You are so disgusting. I feel violated here.”

“You’d feel a heck of a lot more violated if Anton gets his claws on you. Or had you forgotten the actual purpose of this little exercise?”

“Of course not,” she blushed. “I mean, it’s why we’re here in the first place. I’m fine. I mean, I’ll be fine. I mean, I understand what to do – and I don’t think I’ll have any trouble keeping that disgusting slug Anton out of my mind. I mean, he is way more revolting even than you.”

“I think I’ve just been insulted. And after all I’ve done for you. None of this was my idea, if you remember. Well, not all of it at any rate. And it was necessary…”

“Somehow I’m starting to have my doubts. I think we’d better start making some concrete plans. Meet up with Willow. Make sure of our escape route.”

“Right then,” Spike snorted. “Back to business it is. My first choice would be not have to escape at all. Anton’s probably got his place guarded like a fortress. It might be possible to make some kind of an arrangement with him, that’ll let us get away without a fight. Of course we’d double cross him and take Tara before he could consummate the deal.”

Spike had been thinking? When had he had time to think? Buffy hadn’t been thinking at all. Well, at least not about their plan.

“But just in case he doesn’t go for it,” Spike continued, “I think we should re-establish the thrall.” At her angry stare, Spike qualified, “Just a light one, is all. Means we’ll be able to communicate without speaking – and that’s more or less it. Once the sale actually goes through, the link will be transferred to Anton. I don’t know if you’ll still be able to sense me or not.

“Once that happens, he’ll be able to feel you through the bond, Slayer. And he’ll expect you to be scared. May even expect you to have plans to escape him. Just don’t fight the link until we’re alone. I’m guessing that it won’t be long. No doubt he’ll want to get you to himself immediately – if he can force you to fuck him, it helps cement the thrall. I’ll try to make some excuse to have Tara present somewhere nearby. You give me the signal by breaking the bond, and I’ll back you to the hilt, Slayer. I’ll make sure you and the little Wicca get home safely.”

Just then there was a loud pounding on the door. Luckily it had a magically reinforced lock, or it might have broken in. like the door to the props room.

“Once you’ve broken the bond,” Spike continued, “you’ll have to dust Anton in those first few moments when he is disoriented and unable to defend himself. So you’ll have to stake him quickly. He’ll be trying to re-initiate the thrall, and if he does that, it’ll be more difficult to break.”

Silently Willow slipped the key in the lock and slipped back into the room. “Slight change of plans, guys. Seems the Auctioneer has changed his mind about holding the auction without you actually being on stage. He says that Buffy needs to go downstairs and onstage for the auction.”

The vampire swore, “Bloody fucking hell! Think Willow. What exactly did that little weasel say – does she have to ‘go downstairs and onstage,’ or did he say that she has to ‘go down on stage?’”

“What’s the diff?” Willow began before she turned bright red. Buffy was already as pale as a sheet.

19. Dreams
Chapter 19: Dreams

The vampire swore, “Bloody fucking hell! Think Willow. What exactly did that little weasel say – does she have to ‘go downstairs and onstage,’ or did he say that she has to ‘go down on stage?’”

“What’s the diff?” Willow began before she turned bright red. Buffy was already as pale as a sheet.

“How many guards are out there, Will? We can still fight our way out, find some spell to counteract the curse on the contract, then make a side deal with Anton – I’m sure he’ll go for it, saw the way he was looking at you-“

Willow was shaking her head.

“They came prepared. There’s at least thirty guards out there, now, a lot of them with those stun clubs. They’d probably have a hard time getting in here and dragging you out, but they could probably do it, especially if they called for reinforcements. It seems they figured you might try to back out and make a run for it.”

“No,” Buffy offered, “If we make a run for it, even if we are successful, Anton probably wouldn’t be willing to make a deal with us later. And there’s no guarantee that we could break the curse on the contract. We don’t have any other choice. We’ve got to go through with it.”

“Slayer, you don’t know what this is about. You haven’t the faintest idea what you’re getting yourself into.” Why he was trying to talk her out of this? Wasn’t this the very fabric of his wettest dreams? Even as he told himself to shut up, he heard the words come out of his mouth, “You don’t have to do this, Buffy. We’ll find another way,” Spike offered.

Buffy bit her lip, thinking hard. She couldn’t really see any other way. It was going to be distasteful, she knew that. But she couldn’t just abandon Tara.

“No,” Buffy shook her head. “I think we have to go along with it. Besides, we’re not really sure what it entails.”

Spike snorted. “Don’t fool yourself, pet. If you think it’s necessary, then we’ll do it- but know going in what you are getting yourself into. It was one thing when you were being sold as blood stock – I could have faked a bite pretty easily. But this…I think we should cut our losses and get out of here. Sneak out the bloody window if we can, fight our way out if we have to, deal with the consequences later. The Council may be full of wankers, but they’re powerful, Buffy. If anyone can break a magically enhanced contract, they’d be the ones to do it. But it’s your call, Buffy. I’ll follow your lead. You know that. Either way, you’re the one that’s going to have to live with the consequences.”

Buffy didn’t deliberate long. Apparently the dream she’d had the other night, the one where she’d been …intimate with Spike in front of an audience…apparently it had been a Slayer dream after all. Somehow she’d known it all along. She swallowed hard. “Fine. Then we go.”

Spike wasted no time. “Do us a favor, Willow. Get whatever’s in the mini-bar and start pouring. It’ll be easier on you, Buffy, if you’re just a little drunk. Falling down plastered would be better – but we haven’t enough time. I know you’ll sober up fast enough to do what needs to be done once the sale is over, what with your Slayer constitution and all. But between the booze and the thrall, maybe we can make this just a bit easier on you.”

He poured almost a dozen small bottles of various liquors into the tall glass Willow offered, and then added a splash of coke. “Drink up.”

Wrinkling her nose in distaste Buffy complained, “I am not drinking that! You know Buffy and alcohol are unmixy things.”

The pounding on the door resumed. Apparently their grace period was up. A guard’s voice came through to them loud and clear. The enchantment only worked to keep sounds inside.

“Time’s up. We’re gonna escort you both to the stage – whether you’re ready or not.”

Spike pushed the cup closer to Buffy. “Come on. Just a swallow then.” He urged.

As she lifted the cup to take a sip, just to shut him up, Spike pushed the bottom so that half its contents splashed into her mouth. Buffy sputtered as she swallowed, glaring daggers at Spike the whole time.

“You can thank me later, Slayer. You should have had it all.” He took the remainder of the drink and downed it all in one gulp.

“Guess that’s it then. We’d better go. Red, I strongly suggest that you stay here till we’re well away from the room. Under no circumstances are you to go anywhere near that auction hall. It’s too risky, and I won’t be in any position to help should that glamour fail again. You need to get the car ready and over to Anton’s so we’re prepared for a quick escape.”

Reluctantly the vampire and the Slayer opened the door and stepped out past the waiting throng of guards and curious onlookers.

Oddly, all Buffy could think of was the liquor. If Spike felt that he needed a drink to fortify himself before stepping onto that stage, how much worse was it going to be for her?

The dream that she had had earlier came back full force:

"And now, the next item for your viewing pleasure," the emcee barked jovially, "Master Spike's latest conquest."

A burst of applause rang through the hall.

Buffy peered out from her place in the wings, and looked at Spike standing beside her. He'd put on his vamp face, but she could tell he was scared. This wasn't good. If he was scared...

Before she could finish that thought, he'd tugged her by her collar out to center stage.

An interested murmur rippled through the crowd, and Buffy squinted into the lights to scan the audience. Vampires seated at tables, drinking blood martinis, leering at her.

"Spin around for the nice people, pet," Spike said. "Let 'em get a good look."

She obeyed and turned slowly, feeling naked and exposed.

"She's too skinny!" A man called out.

"Not nearly enough to snack on!" An amused woman yelled.

"Master Spike?" the emcee asked. "Why don't you give us a sample of what she's good for?"

"She's only good for one thing," Spike said smugly, and pushed Buffy onto her knees. His voice dropped to a lower register. "But she's very good at it."

Before her eyes, he unzipped his leather pants and bared his thick cock.

She gulped. This wasn't the plan... "Spike?" she asked in a tiny voice.

"Go on," Spike ordered. "Don't keep your audience waiting, girl."

In what felt like slow motion, she took it into her hands, and pressed her lips against its velvety tip. Opening her mouth, she dutifully brought him in.

"That's a good girl," he encouraged.

Spike wrapped his hand behind her head, prodding her on as she expertly bobbed against his pelvis.

"As you can see," she heard the emcee say, "she may not be suckable, but she really knows how to suck!"

The audience laughed and applauded wildly.

"And now for the best part," Spike said, and jumped on top of her.

Suddenly, they were naked and in their hotel room, fucking feverishly as he sucked on her neck.

I'm dreaming, Buffy realized, and woke up with a start.

~Excerpt from chapter titled “Naked” by Nautibitz.

Well, she wasn’t dreaming now. Or if she was, she really, really hoped that she would wake up soon and find herself safely back in her own bed in Sunnydale. But that didn't seem likely.
20. Lights, Camera...
Chapter 20: Lights, Camera…

The bespectacled vamp who had held the clipboard earlier neatly separated Buffy and Spike from their demon guards and ushered the pair towards the wings of the stage. Glancing around nervously, he sidled closer to Buffy, until stopped cold by Spike’s disapproving snarl. Just then the officious vamp from the backroom swept by and ordered the impertinent fledgling to take care of some paperwork back in his office.

Glad for even the modicum of privacy, Buffy trembled as she peeked around the stage curtains and past the flood lights at the crowded room. The hall where the auction was to take place was packed. There were a few tables up near the front where the VIPs sat sipping drinks she didn’t want to know the contents of, but everyone else was forced to stand cheek to jowl. There must be almost a thousand demons cramped into a small space meant only to hold a few hundred.

No wonder the Auctioneer had insisted that she show up in person. The large crowd would probably have torn down the building if they were denied their fun.

Buffy shuddered as she heard the little troll of a vamp announce them just as he had in her dream, and wondered if it was too late to back out now. Word had certainly gotten out about her presence, and the hall was packed. The vampires obviously regarded her as unusual merchandise- they all wanted to be there to see her humiliated.

She hadn’t thought of that. Hadn’t really thought about the fact that they’d have an audience. She’d only thought in terms of the fact that it was an opportunity to be with Spike, without having to admit that she wanted it.

If Spike was right, few of the vampires or demons in the throng could possibly afford to buy her. Instead they must have come hoping to see a show. What she wanted to share with Spike was private – not something for the whole demon population to witness.

Spike was already in game face, and she remembered thinking in her dream that he had looked scared. He didn’t look scared, did he? What did HE have to be scared of? She was the one wearing the collar and being led by a leash. She was the one who would be on display, who would be sold to the highest bidder.

Starting to hyperventilate, she was grateful when Spike held her softly for a moment and nuzzled his nose into her hair, at the same time strengthening the light rapport he had on her mind. Once again initiating the thrall, he prayed that Buffy wouldn’t fight against him – that they could some how make it through the next few minutes, and save her fighting for when it could do them some good. For when she was fighting against Anton.

Leading Buffy by the leash, he narrowed her perception down to just the few feet around them so that she was blissfully unaware of the sensation she was causing as they made their way slowly out onto the stage.

The Auctioneer grinned and Spike grimaced as he noted the large monitors spread throughout the hall. The vamps really had gone high tech in a big way. Spike noted that there was even a booth set up where some enterprising demons were taking orders for a recording of the event. They were doing a brisk business. Spike shuddered, grateful that such modern things had not been around last time he had been forced to a similar event. He was grateful that his thrall prevented the Slayer from realizing she was being captured on film, and he resolved that the Slayer would never know that this episode had been immortalized on both VHS and DVD.

Spike picked up the emcee’s words, and repeated the command to Buffy. “Spin around for the nice people, pet. Let ‘em get a good look.”

Of course it would be the same weasely troll of a vamp they had met with in his office. Here, in front of the assembled masses, at least the little toad made sure to give Spike the respect he was due. He wondered if the slimy coward got a kickback from the video rights as well, or whether he owned the whole sordid thing outright.

“So glad that you could make it,” the Auctioneer smirked. Somehow he had known that Spike would try to bolt with his prize if given half a chance. If not for the additional guards he had sent, he and Buffy would probably be half way back to Sunnydale by now, not the hottest new show on the Strip.

The little weasel turned to address the audience. He had to wait for a long time until a hush finally fell over the gathering.

“Assembled,” he announced. “The final lot of the evening is ready for display. It is, as I am sure that you are aware, a highly unusual item. One of kind. With many and varied possible uses.

“Hardier than the usual human, with advanced healing and strength. Something that could last a long, long time if you take proper care of it. Something you could lord over your Dams and Sires if you were so inclined.

“The creature who is lucky enough to purchase this unique item, buys not only virtually limitless access to the most delicious ambrosia known to demon kind, but also the opportunity to enjoy or share her womanly attributes as well. Imagine the type of loyalty such a reward would inspire. Or, if world domination isn’t your thing, simply rent her out, and sit back while the money pours in. The uses for this particular item are limited only by your imagination. And I know you all have a lot of imagination.

“And let’s not forget the Slayer’s other attributes. Slayer’s blood, aside from being the greatest of delicacies, is a most potent elixir. Not only would just a sip of her blood cure almost any injury, but it is also fabled to be the strongest aphrodisiac known. Imagine having the exclusive right to every luscious ounce.”

The crowd roared its approval, but the emcee continued extolling more uses for the Slayer. “And for those of you who may have suffered the unbearable loss of an otherwise immortal companion, the possibilities for revenge are limitless. Just think of it, Gentles. With proper care and feeding, she could live another fifty years or more. Short of death, a Slayer will heal fully from whatever torture you can think to devise, giving you the unique opportunity to start all over again!” Spike thought he was going to be sick. The emcee was whipping the crowd into a high pitch. Now they not only wanted sex, they wanted blood as well.

“And don’t forget, during all the time that she is alive, no other Slayer will be called. Think of how strong you could become without having to worry about the Council or their tools. Before you decide how much you are willing to spend, think for a moment how very rare this opportunity really is, and how much power you could control if you had possession of this unique item!”

Spike had to admit, the little troll sure knew how to pitch a sale. There was now no one in the hall who wouldn’t kill a nest mate in order to get their hands on the Slayer. Every one of the crowd had to be interested in owning the Slayer for at least one of the reasons he enumerated.

Of course Spike had known that all the vampires present would want her for her blood, and sex. But he would have been happier if there had been no mention of torture. Of those assembled, there was almost no one but the lowest fledgling who couldn’t at least claim someone that they missed, lost to a Slayer’s power. It didn’t matter that it most probably hadn’t been Buffy. One Slayer was as bad as another as far as this lot was concerned.

Being bought as a blood and sex slave was the very best that Buffy could hope for now. It was a damned good thing that the thrall kept Buffy from really hearing or seeing anything that was going on around her.

The grandstanding emcee continued, “Now, before we open the floor for bidding, there are a few details of the sale that must be disclosed.

“First, her current master, William the Bloody, also known as Spike, has invoked the right of the prior owner to oversee the transfer. This stipulation of the sale is non-negotiable. It states that Spike will accompany the purchaser and his merchandise and personally witness the initial consummation of the deal.

“Second, while the merchandise will be demonstrated to be both bite and beddable, no guarantees are made or implied by the Auction House or by Master Spike that she will remain so. As Spike has told us, she is the SLAYER, people, and if you can’t control her, don’t come crying to us. There will be no refunds or remunerations made for dusted minions or other losses due to her purchase. You will be required to sign a waiver. Standard policies do not apply. So once you’ve bought her, folks, you better have a secure way to hold her.”

The diminutive vamp pursed his lips and turned to Spike, “Do you have anything to add before the bidding starts?”

Spike really didn’t like the way this was shaping up. The Auctioneer had gotten the crowd so riled up against Buffy, there wasn’t a one of them present who wouldn’t be glad to watch her die a slow and painful death, preferably after they’d raped her and passed her around to their friends. If only there was some way he could stop the auction – keep the others from bidding on her…

“Yes.” Spike called out. “What he said, only doubled. No warranty. I’ve only just fully broke her myself – I have no idea how she will take to being bartered. It’s too soon, the thrall isn’t strong enough, and I told the Auctioneer as much, but he wanted to proceed with the sale, regardless. He doesn’t care if she slips from the thrall and strangles you in your sleep, or dusts you before you can even get a good lick in, so long as he gets his cut. She is a SLAYER after all. Buyer Beware. I make no warranty as to her training whatsoever. I can only just barely contain her and she’s been with me for months. Some one else wants to take over – well, I can’t speak as to what would happen.”

Under the thrall, Buffy couldn’t make out what the others around her were doing. But she heard Spike’s little speech loud and clear. What was he trying to do, ruin the potential sale? Hadn’t they both agreed that this was necessary? It certainly wasn’t that she wanted to be sold, but if Anton didn’t buy her they were doubly screwed. First they’d have to figure out a way to get out of the enchantment on the contract, and then she still would have to find a way to rescue Tara.

Spike could hear her doubts through the bond, and without speaking he answered her unspoken question. ‘It’s alright, pet. They won’t let us out of the contract. There’s too much dosh at stake. Besides, now I know that coward Anton will buy you so he can show off how unafraid he is. Unafraid once he’s got you in chains, under thrall and surrounded by guards most likely. For all the good it will do the poxy bastard. We stick to the plan, everything will be fine.’ He could only hope that he had adequately masked his anxiety. His plans never worked. Why had he ever thought this would be a good idea was beyond him.

Some one in the crowd sniggered. “Yeah, right,” a disembodied voice called out. “We all heard how once you got into her pants you wanted to cancel the sale,” another voice shouted. “Yeah,” exclaimed a third, “heard you wanted to keep her all to yourself. Well, that’s not gonna happen.” Other voices called out, “We all want a fair shot at her,” seemed to be the general consensus. Along with a general sentiment that could be expressed as, “Lets get this show started.”

From the catcalls and shouts of agreement, the Auctioneer was rubbing his hands together – he could almost see his huge fee, growing larger and larger every time someone spoke.

“Well, after that declaration, I think we’re all more than ready to see how well you can exercise control over the girl. Let’s have that demonstration, shall we?”

Lulling her mind to acceptance, Spike turned Buffy so that she faced the crowd that she could not see and stood behind her. ‘Be ready’ he thought. ‘I’m going to bite you again, like I did back in the hotel. You liked it – remember?’

As Buffy nodded her acquiescence, Spike grabbed her roughly from behind and without preamble sank his fangs into her exposed flesh. Buffy gave a startled gasp at first, then relaxed into his embrace.

Pouring all his pent up desire into the bite, Spike tried to make it look like he was drinking furiously, though in reality he took very little at all. Instead, he pressed upon her mind again, making her writhe and moan under the dual pressure of his need and his fangs. Furiously she let out a large gasp as she climaxed on the stage. Slowly he withdrew his fangs and held her while she trembled with the aftershocks.

With any luck at all, that would be the end of the show, and the bidding would begin. But when had either of the two of them ever been lucky?


A/N: WOW, over 100 reviews! Thank you. And I don't mean to be mean (well, only a little) but this part needed to be said. Trust me, I think you will enjoy the next installment (I hope) Leave another review - it helps me update faster!
21. Action
Chapter 21. Action

There was some muttering in the crowd, and the Auctioneer looked almost apologetic.

“Nice as that was – I think we will need the FULL demonstration. As you have clearly said, its one thing to be able to bite her – quite another to be able to bed her…”

Spike snarled his displeasure. He hadn’t thought the bite would be enough, but it had been worth a try. He had one more card yet to play. But the emcee was way ahead of him.

The emcee held up a hand to quiet the crowd. “I think I may understand your problem,” the little vamp leered.

“Believe me, we all know you’ve been busy already this evening.” The little troll snickered and made a rude gesture, and the rest of the crowd began to laugh with him. “Trying her out as it were. Let me assure you that if you do not feel UP to the task one more time, a suitable replacement will be found for you.”

The smarmy weasel was practically salivating over Buffy, and Spike had no illusions as to what he was implying. If Spike tried to claim that he was too exhausted for another round, Buffy would be required to perform tha act on another vamp, and the Auctioneer was more than willing to volunteer. “After all," the leacherous weasel continued, "no one wants anything to interfere with your getting top dollar for such prime merchandise.”

He reached out a hand to stroke Buffy’s nearly bare breast, but thought better of it as he got a closer look at Spike’s face. Still, business was business, even if it wasn’t always pleasure. Besides himself, he had his employers and a roomful of horny demons to please.

“You’ll have to believe me when I say that we will not be satisfied with anything less than a FULL demonstration.” The throng roared their approval, stomping feet, whistling and cat calling so loud it made Spike’s ears hurt.

He had known that it wouldn’t be so easy, and mentally kicked himself for not trying harder to convince the Slayer that this was what she would be required to do.

“If you can’t get the Slayer to comply, that will be taken as evidence of your lack of control – and I’m afraid that we will have to cancel the sale.” Spike’s brief peak of elation turned to dread as the Auctioneer continued, “I know we’ve had this discussion before. And I still feel the same. It would be a shame if that happened.” Paying no heed to the snarling master vampire who appeared ready to rip off his arms, the snake raised his hand to caress Buffy’s face.

“It would be such a waste to have to destroy so valuable a commodity. But my superiors have decided that an uncontrolled Slayer is far too great a risk to let loose amongst us. Even with the disclaimers. If it has to be done, it will be done here and now.”

The weasel sighed a fake sigh. His masters were determined that there was going to be a show tonight. If they couldn’t get sex, they’d have to settle for violence. The little Slayer’s death would be as drawn out and gory as he could possibly make it. Either show would play well with this crowd, and the video rights alone would go a long way towards offsetting the loss of his commission.

Of course, if they had something still alive to sell at the end of the show, that would be even better. After all, if they didn’t quite kill her, she would heal eventually. She would still have some value, if a demon were patient enough. He was curious as to whether a Slayer could regenerate lost appendages.

If he personally wasn’t going to get to have his hands on her – well, it didn’t make that much difference to him, one way or another. Of course his commission on the sale would be so much larger if they sold her intact. “So many creatures are into law suits these days,” he finished sadly.

Buffy hadn’t heard any of it. She was still in her own world, and all she could see or hear was Spike. She was still trembling, recovering from the orgasm that had rocked through her body. She vaguely knew that she was not fully aware of what was going on around her, but she felt comforted by that rather than afraid. Her world had narrowed down to herself and Spike, and nothing else seemed to matter.

She could sense Spike’s unease through the bond they shared, and tried her best to reassure him. It bothered her that something was troubling him, but she could only get brief flashes of his thoughts, and he was refusing to speak mind to mind. The pictures she was getting kept shifting between images of sex and violence. If she didn’t know she was awake, she would have thought she was having another Slayer dream.

First she saw herself as she must appear now, in red leather, collar and leash, and then she saw Spike, proud and evil-looking, holding her on stage. But she also saw flashes of herself and Spike pitted in combat, then writhing together on the floor in ecstasy. She saw Spike prone beneath her with the chain of her leash wrapped around his neck. She saw herself in chains screaming in pain as something burned her shoulder. Then she saw Spike in the shackles, bloodied and broken, his hair longer and darker, but wearing nothing but a snarl and her slave collar, followed by a vision of Anton’s leering face and Tara’s eyes staring at her blankly, without recognition.

The delay was making the crowd unruly. Creatures of all types had been holed up in this ballroom for far too long. They had been promised a show, and by damn they were going to get one. A little blood play wouldn’t be a bad thing, but mostly they wanted to watch while the Slayer was brought to heel, one way or another.

Spike knew what they wanted to see. And it wasn’t a simple bedding. After all, any roughly anatomically compatible demon imagined that he could take a Slayer by force, if the circumstances were in his favor. If she were bound and gagged, or simply unconscious, any creature with the necessary parts could do the deed.

What made this exhibition so sweet to them was the fact that force would NOT be necessary. This was all about revenge and humiliation. This was about control. What her master could get the Slayer to do ‘willingly.’

Spike was trembling at the thought of what would be required of her - of them both. The aborted foreplay earlier, in addition to the aphrodisiac of her blood, had him on fire. The man in him that loved the Slayer despised the situation, and recognized that it could only lead to badness in the near future.

But his demon wasn’t put off at all by the crowd, or the forced nature of the Slayer’s compliance. His demon reveled at any chance to take Buffy for his own, especially here, in the sight of his peers. His engorged cock was long past painful, pulsing with a life of its own. It didn’t help that Spike could tell that the Slayer was aroused by his close proximity, the bond they shared, and everything that had already passed between them.

One way or another, he’d have to convince Buffy to put on a show, or they would have to fight their way out of here. The Slayer might make it. They would have to forget about rescuing Tara (for now at any rate). But with Spike and the Slayer in a coordinated surprise attack, she might make it if he fought with no regard for his own safety. But after he was dust, Buffy would be on her own in an unfamiliar city, wearing an outlandish costume and without money or transportation, suddenly the prey and not the huntress. Her had very little confidence in Willow’s ability to be of any help whatsoever.

Buffy’s mind was cloudy, but Spike knew that he had to give her a real choice, or he’d regret it later, provided he lived that long. Spike would abide by her decision. He didn’t really know whether he COULD force Buffy to do what was necessary against her will – but he knew for sure that any coercion would only be a temporary thing. After it was over, she might kill him once and for all in retaliation. He wasn’t fool enough to believe that he could really keep the Slayer under a thrall indefinitely, and he certainly didn’t want to try. He needed to bring her out of the light trance she was in – she needed to see what was going on around her – if only for a moment.

All this went through his mind in a split second. He needed to bring her out of the thrall quickly, give her the opportunity to make one last choice. Suddenly remembering what he had told the Auctioneer earlier, he decided on a risky course of action. Nodding to the diminutive vamp, Spike gestured for him to stand back.

“Gonna be a bit of a rough and tumble first,” he explained, “Best to be prepared, and well out of her line of fire. I’m gonna let her come up for air for a minute, and she’s gonna come up fighting. But don’t let your goons interfere unless I’m dust. If I can’t get her back under the thrall, well, I won’t be around to see what happens next.”

Rather than let the thrall dissipate slowly, he dropped it all at once. Allowing the Slayer no time at all to take in her surroundings, he rammed his fist into the Slayer’s unprotected midsection.

His actions had the affect he intended. Confused and disoriented, Buffy struck back at her attacker viciously, without thought or recognition. Reeling from a flurry of full strength kicks and punches, Spike struggled to defend himself while trying to reestablish a light rapport, or at least get Buffy to stop long enough to recognize who he was.

‘Listen, pet you have a choice,’ he thought through the bond. ‘I won’t choose for you. I was hoping that it wouldn’t come to this, but it has, and there’s nothing we can do about it now.’

The barrage he was under slowed momentarily as he finally made contact with her mind, and Buffy seemed to come back to herself a little. Relieved when she began pulling her punches, he grinned as he got a few false hits of his own in. ‘Let them think I’m winning,’ he suggested silently. ‘You’ve got to decide how you want to play this. If we coordinate it, I think we can take out the guards before they realize what’s happening. Then we’ll have a good chance of making a run for it. It’s either that…or the other thing.’ He sent her a mental image of her options.

He eyes widened at first, then winced. But the more she thought about it, it didn’t seem so awful. Everthing seemed so surreal, too vivid, yet blurred at the edges. It was just like her dream – maybe she was dreaming still. And what did it matter what she chose to do in a dream?

A/N: Sorry, if this wasn't the "action" you were hoping for. You'll have to wait for another post to see what happens. But don't expect any last minute rescues by Angel. Some reviewers (here and elsewhere) have asked about him, and aside from the fact that I don't want to cast him in that role... well, I don't want to cast him in that role. Besides, I don't think it would go well for Spike if I did. Angel is the jealous and overprotective type. Since this fic was originally set sometime during season 5, I have decided that Angel is off in Pylea, where he is, as usual, off in his own world, and of no use to anyone. Sorry if I didn't make that clear earlier. But for the majority of readers, I don't think that's a loss.
22. Showtime
A/N: Thanks to Nautibitz and her chapter "Naked" for the inspiration and some of the dialogue for this chapter. I think this is what you have been waiting for - I hope it was worth the wait. You know how to let me know if you liked it or not. But it was either post it or keep fiddling with it...

Chapter 22. Showtime

Buffy knew that she wasn’t one hundred percent. She was just aware enough to know that her thoughts were impaired. She was drunk, her vision was clouded, and her senses were still reeling from her reaction to Spike’s bite, to say nothing of the abrupt end of the thrall and the fight that had accompanied it. By now it was a mock battle, but those first several blows had been real. The multitude of images she had picked up from Spike’s mind spun faster and faster in her head, and she wasn’t quite sure anymore just what was real and what wasn’t.

As she thought that, she realized that she was in no condition for a real fight – even if she wanted to try to fight her way out of the auction all. It just wasn’t feasible right now. Her mind was in turmoil, and her body was a quivering mess of over excited nerve endings she could barely control. No, fighting was NOT a viable option.

Starting to rise, Buffy reached out for Spike. Running her tongue across her upper lip, she knew what she needed to do now.

Spike’s shirt was already off. Has it been off the whole time? Buffy found she couldn’t remember. She stroked the taught firm flesh of his shoulders and the flexing muscles of his arms. Let her hands roam over the smooth hard planes of his chest, as she felt the pace of her breathing increase and her mouth begin to salivate.

Swallowing, she leaned in to lick the soft pebble of his nipple before allowing her lips to wander lower. She could feel Spike’s start of surprise as she began to unbuckle his belt, her tongue tracing the waist line of his pants and playing with the faint hairs that grew down from his navel.

The blood was rushing so loudly in Buffy’s ears that she could barely hear Spike’s words as he pushed her to her knees and ran his hands through her hair. Spike knew that he had a part to play to the crowd. Knew what they thought they’d seen: him letting the violence arouse the Slayer’s lust while he fought her to submission and then brought her under his control once again.

"She's only good for one thing," Spike said to the cameras. His voice dropped to a lower register as he continued, his throat dry, "But she's very good at it."

The rest seemed surreal - like a dream to both of them. Spike picked up that thought from Buffy’s mind and decided that was a good idea to foster. He let the random images from his subconscious continue to tumble unfiltered into the Slayer’s mind, confusing her utterly. Perhaps the Slayer’s memory about what she had been forced to do would be unclear, and she wouldn’t stake him for it later.

But even if she did dust him – it would almost be worth it. He trembled as Buffy slowly slid down his leather pants the rest of the way, nearly crying in relief as he felt his swelling erection momentarily cradled by her warm palms.

Looking down at her lovingly he saw puzzlement in her gaze and longed to reassure her that all would be well. Pursing her lips she gulped and gazed tentatively back up at him, her uncertain voice ringing accusingly in his ears, “Spike?”

Filling the subtext with love he dared not express aloud for fear of the microphones, he answered her harshly. “Go on. Don’t keep your audience waiting, girl.”

Taking his girth into her hands again, Buffy tentatively brushed her lips against his icy firmness. Letting her tongue slide down the length of him, she began to hum and Spike almost lost it there and then. Pulling back a little, Buffy suddenly found her lips encircling his weeping tip.

Her fumbling hands and soft tender lips were shy and almost too gentle. The soft slow pace of this encounter was going to test his stamina as nothing had before. And he knew that he would get only this one chance. He’d be fooling himself if he allowed himself to think that anything like this might ever happen again. He needed to commit every sensation to memory. Needed to make it last as long as possible.

“That’s a good girl,” he encouraged, as he slid deeper into her open mouth. Caressing her hair with his hands, he helped her find a comfortable rhythm, and let himself revel in the feel of her warm lips surrounding him.

Gods, he wanted to take her fully. Wanted to give her pleasure until neither of them could stand it any longer. But the tradition of the auction demanded that he must stand and take what she had to give.

Vaguely he could hear the voice of the little troll of an announcer in the background, urging them on and providing a narration of the action whenever Buffy’s head blocked the camera’s view before they could switch to a different angle. God help him, but that was turning him on too. He could see the whole thing being broadcast on the monitors: the Slayer on her knees before him, her face as she worked over his member, even his own face as he struggled not to come too soon. It was the hottest thing he had ever seen.

All he knew for sure about Buffy’s prior bedroom experience was that she wasn’t a virgin. He knew for a fact that she’d slept with Angel, Captain Cardboard, and that idiot back in college. In a moment of insight, he wondered whether the Slayer had ever done this particular act before. Even if she had, he was certain that it had not happened in anything resembling this setting, or even this manner. On her knees was not a position he imagined the Slayer would ever be fond of. More likely to be the other way around.

His nonexistent breath caught in his throat again, and once more he had to force himself back from coming too soon.

Gritting his teeth and swallowing hard, Spike began cataloging Buffy’s past lovers as a sure way to stave off his orgasm a little longer. He knew that she’d slept with Angel and made him lose his soul. But he didn’t know the particulars. Only that Angel had been her first. It seemed unlikely that fellatio had been involved.

Then there had been that undeserving git of a wanker on campus. He seemed the type to ask a girl to suck his cock, but somehow he doubted that Buffy would have been that eager to please the boy on their first and only night together. That left Riley. Somehow Riley didn’t seem like the type – but then he knew that looks could be deceiving.

Vaguely Spike heard the crowd begin to roar their approval as impossibly high numbers were shouted out to the Auctioneer who was busily figuring out his cut. In the part of his mind that was still capable of rational thought, Spike knew he could never afford even the commission.

He could understand the appeal. What wouldn’t he give to have the Slayer’s lips wrapped around him whenever he wanted?

Just the thought of it… He couldn’t hold off any longer.

Spurting ropes of semen emptied into Buffy’s waiting mouth, coating the back of her throat and dribbling down her chin. Stepping back to allow her to swallow, Spike stumbled, and then they both fell to the hard floor of the stage, exhausted.

The hard cold reminder of harsh reality warned him he had to stop thinking of fairy tale happily ever-afters, and get his mind back on what they hoped to accomplish. They had a vampire to slay and a witch to rescue, never mind extricating themselves from the predicament their attempt at subterfuge had gotten them into, or worrying about just what exactly the Slayer would or would not remember or hold him accountable for once their mission was accomplished.

Trying to get his mind to start working again, he turned his attention back to the incredible woman who lay beside him, and was suddenly abashed.

She was crying.

Had she finally awoken from her alcohol and thrall induced haze? Was she aware of what had just occurred? What they had done, and where?

Still afraid to speak aloud in case the microphones picked it up, he tried to reach her mind to mind. There were cameras and sound feeds everywhere. Even he had momentarily forgotten that their performance was being recorded for the benefit of those who would purchase the tape. In the heat of the moment he had forgotten everything except the feel of her lips around him.

Instead he stroked Buffy’s hand and spoke gently mind to mind. ‘It’s all over, luv. Everything but the big rescue scene. Shh.’

But Buffy wouldn’t be comforted, until finally it registered in Spike’s mind through the bond just what her problem was. It wasn’t what he had expected at all.

Opening himself to her, he let himself feel some of what she had been feeling. Through the link he was both astonished and ashamed. He’d roused the Slayer, repeatedly, and then just left her there, teetering at the peak, unfulfilled. Although he had given her pleasure with his bite, and she had enjoyed giving him pleasure, he had hardly touched her flesh.

Her body was craving his touch so badly that it was almost painful for her. Embarrassed, he remembered that he had sometimes tortured Dru by denying her – but he had never realized that it felt like this. This was the first and probably only time that he and Buffy would ever be together, and he’d be damned if he was going to leave her unfulfilled, whether she would remember it or not.

Lifting the red leather of her skirt, he gazed on the naked flesh glistening beneath. He felt her tremble as he slipped one finger into her impossibly tight opening, then sigh in contentment as he moved it slowly in and out. She gasped when he added a second finger, then began to use his thumb to caress her clit.

He could feel Buffy’s cunt begin to tighten around his fingers, her walls beginning to tremble. Pushing him away with one hand while reaching for him with the other, Spike was momentarily flummoxed. He knew that his girl was the queen of mixed signals, but he needed to know what it was that she wanted. As her warm hand closed around his length and brought him closer, he finally understood.

He knew he wouldn’t last long. Was still astonished at the mere thought of it, and ashamed of the circumstances that had brought them together. If he had been a stronger man, he should have been able to resist. He knew that he could satisfy her need without actually entering her channel. It was probably the wiser course. But when had he ever been wise?

Unable to stand it any longer, he slowly removed his hand and replaced it with his turgid length, sliding in all the way with one single smooth stroke. He could feel Buffy pulsing beneath him, like living lava. He had to keep moving, afraid he’d be singed by her heat if he tarried.

His lady was a goddess, and this was heaven. Beneath him, he could feel her body spasm and then relax against his as he moved faster and faster in and out of her slick channel.

He knew what all the demons in the audience thought they were seeing. An exhibition of dominance and stamina. He didn’t care. Buffy needed this. He needed this. If he died getting Tara to safety, he would be content.

The sips of the Slayer’s blood that he’d taken earlier sustained him, and gave him hope that they would be able to pull this off successfully. Between the blood and the sex, he couldn’t imagine any other place he’d rather be, even if it cost him his unlife. He could see how vamps might spend their fortunes to try to attain what the Slayer gave him willingly – well, mostly willingly, he admitted to himself.

Finally reaching completion again, the two slumped into each other’s arms, sated, and they both fell into an exhausted sleep. As higher and higher dollar amounts were called out from the excited mob, the pair slept on, uncaring.

23. Rude Awakening
23. Rude Awakening

Spike awoke naked in an unfamiliar room, Buffy curled around him but still unconscious. Surreptitiously, he tried to shift her so that she was no longer laying on top of him and he would be free to move quickly if he needed to. The distinct chink of metal on metal made him aware that one of his worst fears had been realized; Buffy had already been bound. How was she going to stake her new master if she was kept chained? But of course the wanker would probably release her once his thrall was in place. That was the thrill, wasn’t it? Having control over the Slayer to make her do whatever he wanted.

Becoming still again and continuing to feign sleep, Spike extended his senses to try to gain more information about their current situation. The faint rustling behind him, along with the distinct lack of a heartbeat, clued him in to the fact that they were no longer alone, and that the company wasn’t likely to be friendly.

‘Bugger.’ This wasn’t the plan. ‘Buffy?’ he tried, but he felt nothing through the bond. No, this wasn’t the plan at all. With diminishing hope, he tried to reach his only other ally.

‘Red? Can you hear me? This is not good. Buffy’s unresponsive, and Anton’s got her chained up. Least I think it’s Anton. I wasn’t exactly in any condition to see how the bidding wound up. You there Red? I could use some good news about now.’

‘Spike! Thank the goddess. I was beginning to get worried. Are you with Anton?’

Spike didn’t dare open his eyes and give away the fact that he was awake. But from what he could smell, it seemed an easy guess. ‘Ugly bugger’s here all right, bad hygiene and all. But the rest of it’s gone all ass backwards.’

‘Well, there’s good news and bad news about Anton. The good news is that I found out where he lives, and I’m waiting for you across the street with your car all gassed up and ready to go. The bad news is that Vegas is Anton’s permanent home, which means that he’s got the place crawling with his minions. Also means that he’s had time to dig in and make himself a lair. I hear he’s spent considerable money modifying the place to his specifications, including soundproofing and fireproofing. Security on the place is tighter than any casino, so don’t expect me to storm the place. But the good news is that it seems we’ve got an ace in the hole we didn’t know we had.’

‘Huh? Haven’t got time for cryptic, Red.’

‘It’s Giles. He’s here. Seems he had the same idea I did about the vampire glamour. Too bad neither of us knew about the other until after the auction, or we might have been able to come up with a better plan.’

‘Bugger. Now you tell me. Would have saved us a heck of a lot of bother if we’d had another option, Red.’ Of course things hadn’t worked out entirely unsatisfactorily, at least from his point of view.

Providing of course that they managed to get over the latest obstacle to their plan – namely the manacles that were meant to keep the Slayer subdued. It was probably useless to hope that Anton was stupid enough to use light-weight metal that the Slayer could break easily. The other vampire hadn’t lived as long as he had by being careless.

“No use playing possum any longer, William.” Without looking up, Spike recognized Anton’s nasal drawl. “I know you’re awake.”

‘Ta Red. Gotta go. Just get the car ready. We’ll be moving fast when we go.’ No point in not being optimistic.

“And I would appreciate it if you took your hands off my property.” Annoyed that he hadn’t gotten a response, Anton punctuated his words with a sharp kick to Spike’s ribs, forcing Spike to open his eyes as he glared at the older vamp. “You do realize that she is no longer yours, I hope. Cost me quite a bit more than I’d anticipated, but after all, what use is having money unless it can buy you what you want? I learned my lesson on that score a long time ago.”

Spike was thinking fast. At least they had gotten part of what they wanted. They were alone with Anton. Or almost alone. Now all they needed was Tara, and they could make their move.

Anton was still babbling. “You’ll find that the financial details have been taken care of – this gentlemen is here to ensure that all terms of the contract are completed satisfactorily. We wouldn’t want any cause for complaint.”

The Auctioneer’s tweedy assistant was shuffling by the door, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was. Spike knew that he needed to take the right tone with Anton, especially with a neutral witness present. Perhaps he could allay the other master vampire’s misgivings. Hopefully trick him in to unchaining Buffy.

“Anton – are you insinuating that I might try to get out of our deal?” Spike tried to sound like a voice of reason, although inside he was close to panic. “Why would I do that? You forget, I’ve already had the girl – repeatedly. She’s beginning to bore me.”

Spike nudged the Slayer’s unconscious form, frantically searching his mind for the barest hint of their connection. He couldn’t find it. Maybe because she was still out for the count, but maybe because Anton had already taken over the thrall. This was definitely something that they hadn’t anticipated. Their whole plan revolved around Buffy being able to break the demon’s thrall. Damn.

It was all his fault too. If the two of them hadn’t have gone at it on stage like bloody teenagers, Buffy never would have passed out. If she had never passed out, she would have been awake and aware when the claim passed hands. Since she hadn’t been aware when Anton took over the thrall, it would be harder for her to isolate his influence in her mind, and not inconsequentially, harder for her to break it.

If she didn’t break the thrall, Spike would have to take on Anton himself. That could be a risky proposition. Not only was Anton centuries older than he was, but if he had control over Buffy when Spike made his move… if Spike had to fight Buffy as well as Anton… if Anton could control her enough that he could force Buffy to fight against him- Spike didn't know what he would do. Die, most likely. And then who would rescue Buffy and Tara?

Spike tried to affect nonchalance as he stood and looked for his pants. “Besides, I have all your lovely lolly now, don’t I?” He looked to the auction official for confirmation, as if the money was the most important thing on his mind, and forced himself to smile when he saw his nod. “Well then, chit’s yours. I wish you joy of her – it’s been a bloody exhausting proposition – even if it did have its benefits.” It was probably the best acting job of his life. Her certainly hoped that Anton was convinced.

Spike leered and glanced over at the auction representative again. It was the same pencil pusher who’d followed them around all day. Maybe he’d be able to confirm Spike’s suspicions. “Transfer’s complete then?”

The myopic vampire nodded, then added, “The only remaining term of the sale is the…ah…witnessing of the consummation. Once all the terms of the contract have been duly fulfilled, I’ll be on my way.”

“How nice for you, then,” Spike snarked. Something about the tweedy little vampire just seemed off. There was something here that he wanted, something beyond doing his job, something that Spike didn’t understand. It seemed like the clipboard toting assistant had been hovering around Buffy all day. Spike didn’t trust him.

“We’ll complete the terms of the sale now,” Anton announced. “As soon as her majesty the Slayer wakes. I wouldn’t want her to sleep through such a momentous occasion. Of course Spike will stay, as the terms of the contract stipulate. As a representative of the auction house, you are welcome to stay also, if you wish.” It was apparent that Anton had taken the fledgling’s measure, and found it wanting. “You might prefer to remain outside; if you found the stage show unsettling, you’re bound to find what comes next…distasteful.”

“No, that’s quite all right,” the nervous vamp summoned his courage to take issue with what was clearly a request that he leave. The assistant had missed the actual auction, having been ordered by his supervisor to tend to some bookkeeping chores. But he’d never forgive himself if he allowed these two master vampires to remove him from the room now.

Standing up to Anton the spectacled vamp tried to think of thee best way to state his position. Something that the master would be forced to accept. “It’s my job to… verify that all terms of the contract have been carried out. And I won’t shirk my responsibilities.”

Anton was hardly listening, the fledgling forgotten as irrelevant as he cast a glance at the half-clothed master who had yet to fully relinquish his physical hold on his former possession.

Smiling to himself, Anton thought that his revenge was going to be even sweeter than he’d hoped it would be. Through a trick of his sires, William the Bloody had managed to escape Anton’s attentions once, more than a century ago, but Anton had never forgotten that he had been denied his prize. And he wasn’t the type to forgive and forget. Today was his long awaited opportunity to get even.

Judging by Spike’s protective stance over the prostrate Slayer it was obvious to Anton that Spike did not want to give up his rights to the little morsel. What a pleasure it was going to be to force Spike to watch while Anton played with the toy he had taken from the Aurelian.

The Slayer was now his, to do whatever he wished.

The thought of what he could do to the little Slayer pleased him, but not nearly as much as it pleased him to think how he would use her to torment to torture her former owner. Just as Anton had suspected, the younger vampire had become possessive of the little plaything. As he was forced to witness Anton touch the once proud Slayer, Spike’s envy and anger would grow. And there would be nothing Spike could do about it as he watched Anton play with the human, break her, and finally make her his own.

Then, when Anton was sure that the Slayer was under his complete control, then would come the greatest fun of all.

Anton would pretend to lose control of the little firebrand long enough to turn Spike’s former pet against him. Anton could almost imagine the look of surprise on Spike’s face as he allowed the little Slayer a small measure of revenge against her former captor. If he were feeling generous, if the little Slayer had pleased him, Anton might even allow her a few rare moments of freedom so that she could savor the kill, but it would be after the fact and brief. It would be a convenient lie to claim that the Slayer had acted on her own, but in reality it was far too dangerous to let any slave have so much taste of freedom. Let alone someone as dangerous as a Slayer. Besides, although it would be the little Slayer's hand that did the deed, he wanted it to be his mind that was the force behind the blow. Since circumstances necessitated that William be allowed to die quickly and easily, rather than keep him enslaved for decades like he would the pet Slayer, he needed William's death to be as personally satisfying as possible. William's dusting was all the revenge against the Aurelians he was likely to get. He wanted to be able to relive in his memory forever.

Ah yes, it was going to be sweet, when he patiently explained to the tweed-wearing button counter that the Slayer had regrettably slipped his control just long enough to dust one William the Bloody, former Slayer of Slayers.

24. Plans in Motion
24. Plans in Motion

Leering over at the other so-called master, Anton reveled in the idea that impudent young William had no idea that this evening’s entertainment would conclude with his own dusting.

The Auctioneer’s nerdy assistant should prove no impediment to the night’s enjoyment. He’d be surprised if the little fledge didn’t jump at the first decent excuse to return to his warm burrow, job accomplished despite the regrettable ‘accident’ that had ended with one of the two masters dust. And if he didn’t, Anton was certain that the merest hint at the possibility of another such ‘accident’ would have the auction assistant scuttling back to his masters faster than a frat boy losing his virginity.

Insouciantly, Anton splashed a glass of cold water on the Slayer’s face, bringing her instantly sputteringly awake, but his eyes were on Spike the entire time.

Yes, Anton thought. He had been correct. It was twice as much fun to play with the Slayer with her former owner present. Buffy was just confused, but the younger vampire was livid. Spike couldn’t bear to watch someone else playing with what he still thought of as his possession. Anton had heard that William was the possessive type. Really, he hadn’t changed much over the intervening years. It was too bad that the time the three of them had to share together was going to be so limited.

Unfortunately, this time Anton had no excuse to keep Spike as his captive. And if young William were still alive, doubtless the rest of the Aurelians would know it, and at least one of them would come to his rescue, as they had before. There was no telling what could happen then.

No, his plan was best.

He would have the Slayer take care of the uppity fledgling for him. That would completely absolve him of any culpability or responsibility, should the surviving Aurelians take exception to Spike’s dusting. And he’d even have the auction house’s own vampire as a witness. No one would question the Auctioneer’s assistant when he backed Anton’s story of a Slayer momentarily breaking thrall and turning against her former tormentor.

Of course he had no intention of actually letting the Slayer slip his grasp at all. He fully intended to be the mind that drove the Slayer’s hand when she dusted her former owner. But of course he wouldn’t let the hireling know that. So he would be a perfect witness for Anton’s cause – his lie would be believed because the myopic fool would believe it was the truth.

Unfortunately he’d have to give up his immortal plaything, but at least he would be compensated with the lovely little Slayer whom every one seemed to value so highly. Perhaps he’d resell her once he’d had his fill of her. Recoup some of his investment that way.

But the future would take care of itself. It was past time to get this show on the road.

Anton had already discarded the auction representative from his thoughts so much as to turn his back on him. Spike didn’t dare hope that Anton would be so careless of him.

Glancing over at the mild mannered fledge crouched in the corner, it crossed Spike’s mind that perhaps it would be best to join the worthless creature a bit further from the action; give Buffy a few moments to pull herself together before they attacked. He knew Buffy would want to dust Anton herself; he’d take care of the hall monitor.

But if Buffy waited much longer, Spike would have to risk her ire and take a chance on defeating Anton on his own. He wasn’t about to let this beast molest his Slayer. Even if he knew that he wouldn’t survive the attempt. It would be much better for both of them to go down fighting rather than having to live knowing that Buffy was Anton’s slave.

All he needed was to wait for one moment of inattention when he could surprise the ancient master, and Anton would be dust. But Spike knew that he needed to be very sure of his moment. So long as he could do it quickly, catch the other by surprise, so long as it was over before the older vampire could even think, they’d both be safe. But if it took just a moment too long, then Anton could force the enthralled Slayer to defend him. If that happened, Spike could be dusted, but the Slayer still held prisoner. Spike didn’t mind the thought of dying here. But he wanted it to be for something. If it didn’t help Buffy to get away, then he would be throwing his life away for nothing.

Truly indifferent to the third vampire in the room, Spike shrugged his agreement, “Vampette here can stay or go as he likes. It’s no concern of mine.”

Pretending to ignore them both now, Anton turned his attention to the Slayer. Of course, he was hardly unaware of his audience. Savoring these few moments he had to taunt the vampire that had eluded him so many years ago, Anton let the moments stretch out.

Refilling the glass from the pitcher on a small table by his side, Anton offered it to Buffy.

“Poor Slayer,” he cooed insincerely, stroking her matted hair and taking her head into his hands. Her eyes were glazed with the fog created by the thrall – not truly aware of her surroundings at all.

With a grin over at Spike he false sympathized, “Poor girl, you’ve been forced to eat something nasty. Before you get a taste of your new life, you’d best wash away the old.”

Cradling her head gently, he offered the girl the glass. “Take a sip of water. Good girl. Now rinse. That’s good. Now spit.” Anton grinned as the dirty water projected all the way across the room and just barely missed the jittery vamp’s shoes. “Sorry,” he smiled delightedly. “Perhaps it’s best if I test the controls first. Little Slayer doesn’t know her own strength.”

Spike watched in increasing frustration as he waited for any sign that Buffy was fighting Anton’s thrall. Anton leered as he forced his prize to stand up, sit down, then stand again, while he cut the straps to her costume so she could remove the remains of the soggy red leather dress.

Naked, he forced the Slayer to run her hands suggestively over her own body. He giggled as he commanded her to pinch her nipples until they gleamed a red as bright as the dress on the floor. With an unspoken command, Buffy placed her own chained arms over the hook waiting in the wall above her head.

Glancing back at the rest of his audience Anton snorted in disgust. The pencil pusher had his glasses off and was trying to clean them with his shirt tails, as if for some reason he didn’t want to watch the Slayer’s humiliation, while Spike looked like he was ready to kill something.

The assistant’s discomfort was amusing, but Spike’s anger was intoxicating. Really, what could William do? This was, after all, what he had asked for. He couldn’t very well attack Anton in his own home, in front of the auction official no less, and expect to get away with it.

Even if William challenged him over the lovely little Slayer and somehow won, Spike would still have the Slayer to contend with, as well as the loyal minions that were just beyond the door in the rest of the suite. And the auction masters would not be pleased either.

But even so, Anton knew that Spike was famous for taking irrational chances. It wouldn’t do to let down his guard until he was sure he had complete control of the pretty Slayer, and William well in hand.

25. Playtime
Chapter 25. Playtime

“I can’t believe you gave this up for mere cash,” Anton taunted. “Such power, such a rush. A Slayer to command…you’re a fool Spike, and I hope you know it. But if you don’t, you’re going to find out while you watch me with her. Such an interesting condition of sale, don’t you think? More common on revenge sales – wouldn’t you say?”

Spike narrowed his eyes and wondered just what Anton was implying. He intended to dust the bastard one way or another for presuming to touch his Buffy, but some ways to die were worse than others. There were some things humans didn’t need to know. Ever. He’d make the bastard suffer if he said anything more. It was almost with relief that Spike listened to the rest of Anton’s prattle.

“But then Angelus always did go in for watching, didn’t he? Perhaps you inherited the trait from him. Anyway, since this is the last opportunity you’ll ever get to be close to this particular piece of flesh again, I didn’t want to disappoint.”

He intended to teach the so-called master a thing or two before he became dust. Let the Aurelian pup know how really weak and ignorant he was compared to a real master.

Anton pulled aside the curtain that Spike had presumed was hiding a window, revealing a door into an adjoining room. A curt knock brought another human slave into the room pushing a little cart.

Spike couldn’t believe their good fortune when he realized that it was Tara.

Perhaps Buffy had been pretending, or biding her time until Tara was near. Now would be the perfect time for the Slayer to make her stand. He tensed and waited, but nothing happened. The Slayer remained impassive, chained nude against the wall, her eyes following Anton’s every move, as if waiting for another command.

Intent on watching the Slayer and waiting for her signal, Spike hadn’t been paying attention to Anton and the witch until the scent of something burning assaulted his nostrils. A glance at the table Tara had wheeled in set him cold. On it was a small brazier of hot coals; various implements with wooden handles sticking out at odd angles like fondue forks. Cursing, he realized that he should have noticed the distinctive scent immediately.

Trying and failing to suppress another growl, Spike recalled the last time he had seen such an arrangement. He knew what the little tableau was. Those little tines were branding irons and hot pokers. Anton meant to mark his property the old fashioned way – with scars that would never completely heal. No wonder Anton had had water handy.

Anton continued his prattle as he fiddled around with the little sticks, checking to make sure that each end was glowing a nice firey red. “The other wonderful thing about Slayers is their healing powers. No matter what I do to her today, I’m sure she’ll be right as rain in another day or two – and ready for another go.”

Spike knew that many vampires enjoyed a bit of torture mixed with their pleasure. He just hadn’t known that Anton was one of them. Anton didn’t have a reputation for much of anything except his skill at acquiring money.

Spike had seen more than enough. The time was perfect. What was Buffy waiting for? Why didn’t she break the thrall? Chained as she was, she couldn’t attack him directly herself, but the distraction, the pain and disorientation created when the bond was snapped, that was all the advantage Spike would need to take out the centuries older master.

“Of course, I would never harm so valuable an asset,” Anton continued. “At least not permanently. Except of course for those healing powers. Such a handy thing in a paramour. And if I ever get tired of her, I’ll simply re-sell her! Must be an after market for a slightly used Slayer. Probably make a profit, too.” He laughed.

“So, Spike. I thought we’d make a party of it,” he jeered. Even in his agitated state, Spike could tell that the older vampire didn’t really mean the offer as a friendly gesture. “Maybe another female to round out the group.”

At Anton’s wave, Tara sidled up to Spike and began running her hand up his inner thigh. Clenching his lips to stop the dry heaves that threatened to ruin his cover, Spike tried to extricate himself from the witch’s grasp.

Finally, pushing Red’s bird away from him, he tried again to reach the Slayer’s mind.

‘NOW,’ he thought, ‘it has to be now.’

Spike was ready to pounce on Anton as soon as Buffy showed the slightest flicker of resistance. But he got no response at all. There was nothing.

They had discussed this possibility. If Spike moved too soon, before Buffy challenged Anton, unless he killed Anton outright, it was possible that Anton could use the Slayer against him. Force Buffy to stake the vampire who was trying to rescue her.

Spike could only hope that if Anton was controlling both Buffy and Tara, it must be putting quite a strain on his capabilities. Either that, or he must be incredibly confident of his ability to hold both girls at once.

Eventually Anton noticed that Spike had spurned Tara’s advances. “You know, William, I think you’re right,” he agreed conversationally. “Rumor has it that this plump one prefers other girls – shall we see?”

For the first time Buffy and Tara seemed to see one another. Hope flared and Spike wondered if the Slayer hadn’t noticed Tara until now. Maybe that was why she was waiting to fight against the thrall. But there was no spark of recognition in either of their eyes; both were completely filled with the false lust Anton had commanded.

Tara smiled as she approached the chained and naked form of the Slayer, glancing aside only briefly to pick up an iron from the brazier.

Tweedy called out in startlement and hid his face in Buffy’s cast off garment. Spike surged forward, unable to contain himself at this threat to his beloved. He was not about to allow this sick bastard to continue this horrible game.

But before he made it even a step, Anton turned and blocked Spike’s advance with one hand, brandishing a gleaming poker of his own in the other.

“Contract said you could watch,” Anton growled. “Not interfere. You gave up any claim you had on her the minute you contracted the sale.”

He waved imperiously to the cowering fledgling in the corner. He’d have to recommend that the auction house have this minion destroyed as soon as he had fulfilled his current assignment. He’d never seen such a pansy useless fledgling.

Holding the younger master at bay, he called out to the auctioneer’s assistant. “Put him in the cuffs on the other wall, so he can’t interfere,” he ordered the hireling.

Watching impatiently while the flunky attempted to carry out his orders, Anton was annoyed when he had to push the incompetent fool away and finish the task himself. The geekish minion had nearly left the cuffs too loose, which would have made them virtually useless. Good help was so hard to find these days, but really, this was ridiculous.

Turning his eyes back to the girl who had frozen mid step, Anton smiled as he listened to the sounds of Spike struggling fruitlessly against the chains. He had had this room specially modified: both the walls and the floor had been reinforced so that not even the strongest creature could break the magically reinforced chains permanently affixed to them. There was even a little drain in the travertine marble floor to make hosing down the blood easier.

Knowing that his only rival was now completely helpless was a terrific relief. Now Anton could focus his entire attention on his own pleasure. Everything was going so perfectly; he could barely contain his delight.

Spike’s volatile nature had played right into his hands, and he felt completely justified in ordering him restrained. Not only that, but the little minion would back up his assessment. Really, it was too precious. Now the scrumptious little Slayer and her former owner were both at his complete mercy.

Leaving the girls for a moment, he focused his attention back on to the now helpless master. He was useful as an alibi, but in some ways it was a pity the cowering minion was here. If he didn’t need a witness, he could do whatever he liked, and with Spike as dust, Anton knew he could make up any story he pleased and there would be no one to gainsay him.

And he would have done just that if he didn’t know that the rest of the Aurelians were just as hot headed as their get. If he didn’t have a watertight alibi, one of them was liable to come storming into his house with some crazy idea that William’s death needed to be avenged. That was just more bother than it was worth. But having the BOTH the vampire and his former slave chained and helpless in his playroom? As the commercial said, “Priceless.”
26. Payback
A/N: Let's all get back to what we came here for and enjoy ourselves. I will miss those who have left.

Chapter 26. Payback

Anton hadn’t gotten where he was by taking unnecessary chances. By keeping the pathetic minion around, the twit could attest to the fact that everything had transpired exactly as Anton said it had. Anton knew he’d be dealing with the Auctioneer again - if he dusted his representative there might be unforeseen consequences. Maybe the squeamish vamp was someone’s favorite toy. After all, he had to have some purpose to be allowed to continue to exist.

He’d have to make do with torturing the little Slayer, which almost seemed to hurt Spike more than the threat of bodily harm to his own person. He sighed, acknowledging that a glass three quarters full was better than none. Spike still didn’t seem to have a clue that his own hide was in any danger, but he was obviously obsessing about his little toy. It was almost cute.

“Now that I have your undivided attention, I’m gonna teach you something, boy.” This was where he wanted the impudent upstart. Anton was surprised that he hadn’t thought of it to begin with. “Your thrall was pitifully inadequate,” Anton taunted, “much like that little stick you call your cock, I’ve no doubt. I don’t know why the Slayer didn’t stake you before now, except that I suspect she hardly noticed your presence.”

That said, he leaned in and licked Buffy’s face while he watched Spike for his reaction. The Slayer didn’t so much as flinch, while William looked like he was ready to explode.

“I’ve got much greater control of her already than you ever had,” Anton leered. “And I’m gonna show you my secret for making that bond almost unbreakable. The Slayer’s friend here, who’s already been through this process, is going to help me do it. All we need is a little pain to help things along.”

Eyes gleaming wickedly, he gestured the little witch forward, the glowing brand still in her hand.

Anton grinned as he watched while the Slayer waited impassively as her friend approached. With Buffy completely under his control, Anton turned his gaze back on Spike instead. Spike still didn’t seem to realize that he was in danger, but for some reason he was obviously incensed at the liberties that Anton was planning to take with his new possession. For some reason, Spike not only didn’t want to give up his little captive, but he didn’t want to see her hurt either. Anton couldn’t help but smile as he watched the captive vamp’s eyes flash from blue to gold and back again, betraying his agitation. If he wasn’t mistaken, he was growling as well.

Just centimeters away from the Slayer’s tender flesh, Tara halted. Anton’s grin widened as he caught the flicker of hope that flared in Spike’s eyes.

“I think we need to spice this up a bit.” Anton leered. “It’s no fun if the feisty little Slayer can’t even scream. Tara dear.”

At Anton’s silent command Tara returned the brand to the fire pit, and tightened the chains that bound the Slayer to the wall. Then she fastened additional chains to Buffy’s ankles and pulled them taut. Anton smiled again; he hadn’t smiled so much in ages. It was beginning to make his face hurt.

“There now, that’s better,” he lied. “I think its time to give our little prize a few minutes of freedom to consider her situation and tell us what she thinks. This part will be so much more interesting if she’s her own person again. She’ll understand completely what is in store for her, what’s happening to her, but she’ll be helpless to stop it.”

Anton pulled his gaze from the naked Slayer and met Spike’s eyes. “Plus it will have the added benefit, that when I take control of her mind again, she will welcome the cessation of pain that the thrall can bring. That is the secret, William, my boy. To make her WANT to accept my control – consciously or unconsciously, it doesn’t matter. Accepting my control of her mind will mean an end to the pain. The pain of the knowledge her hopeless situation, as well as the physical pain from the brand. In order to escape from the reality of her captivity, her mind will accept my dominance. And then she will be mine utterly. Just watch.”

The next second her eyes cleared, and Buffy was back. Her eyes sought Spike’s while her body struggled with the metal fetters that held her bound. Spike already knew that route was futile. Anton had done his homework well, and had equipped his safe room with magically reinforced steel. They were well and truly buggered, unless the Slayer could break free where he could not.

Helplessly, he called out to Red again. ‘Any ideas for rescue, Red? Please tell me you and Watcherman came up with a plan. Just about anything would be a good idea about now, or we’re all fucked.’

He couldn’t stand to look at Buffy. She was going to be branded and enslaved to one of the meanest and ugliest vampires since Angelus, and there was nothing he could do about it. He had failed her.

On the other hand, Anton had eyes only for Buffy. Her struggles excited him to the point where he could barely contain himself. He couldn’t imagine how Spike could have tired of this sport so quickly. Dangle just a little bit of freedom in front of her, only to take it back when he grew tired of the game. It wouldn’t take him long to break the Slayer completely.

As the Rubinesque blonde moved the firebrand close enough that the heat began to blister the Slayer’s skin, Anton undid the top button of his slacks and pulled his throbbing cock out into his waiting fist. He had been a vampire centuries longer than the last living Aurelian. Almost as old as the Master had been. He was no longer entirely human in form. Let the little Slayer contemplate THAT!

Just a little bit longer. He’d take the Slayer as soon as his mark was upon her. Take her with cock and fangs, until she begged for death. Until she welcomed his mind’s embrace and the false peace it offered. Oh yes, he could play with this little morsel for years.

Forgetting everything else but Buffy, Anton moved forward to claim what was HIS. With a final nod to the lusciously plump human slave, he lunged towards his prize. There would be hundreds of other times he would take his little Slayer in the future, but there would only ever be one FIRST time.

Only the one time when it was all new to her, when she didn’t understand that she must bow to the inevitable. And only one time when he would be able to watch Spike writhe with the desire for his blood.

Only after he had finished taking the trollop by force would he re-establish his thrall. Then he would free the little Slayer from her metal chains and have her take him the way she had taken Spike on the stage, while on her knees. While she was down there, maybe he’d have her suck off the blonde vampire again, while he fucked her from behind, doggie style.

Only after the Aurelian was forced to accept that he had lost all hold on his former captive, that Anton was her true lord and master, only then would Anton fake the Slayer’s escape and allow her to dust her former master. Yes, that was the best way to manage affairs for maximum enjoyment.

As he closed on Buffy wearing nothing but a leer, a momentary look of disbelief flashed across Anton’s features before he dissolved into dust.

Coming to her senses immediately, Tara lifted her astonished eyes from the pile of dust in front of her, only to see two of her best friends each chained and helpless. Dropping the glowing brand with horror back into the firepit, Tara poured the pitcher of water over the glowing embers, before turning to look for the keys to the cuffs.

At the same moment, Buffy breathed a sigh of relief and surprise, looking around to thank Spike for the timely rescue. Seeing that Spike was similarly restrained, her eyes turned to Tara. Had the witch somehow managed to save them?

It was only when the cough sounded from the other side of the room that Buffy’s gaze fell on the other occupant of the small space. She hadn’t realized that there was another vampire in the room. Was he their unlikely savior, or was he merely her latest captor?

The seemingly mild-mannered Auctioneer’s assistant must have been the person who had thrown the stake that had dusted Anton.

Buffy cringed as the unknown vamp reached for the keys that lay carelessly next to the pitcher. He had seemed so --- utterly unvampire like. How had he managed to raise up the courage to stake a vampire many centuries his senior? And more importantly, why?

Buffy and Spike were both still trussed up like holiday turkeys, and unless Tara could somehow save them, Buffy wasn’t sure what they could do to help themselves from their current positions. She could only hope that Tara had a spell ready. Even considering that their captor was a mere fledgling, and a pathetic one at that, both she and Spike were basically helpless. Of course Buffy wasn’t under a thrall any longer. And an enraged Slayer was a force to be reckoned with, whether she was chained to a wall or not.

Spike took in the situation immediately. Somehow the crafty bugger had found the stakes hidden in the Slayer’s discarded clothing, and the fledgling had had the patience to wait until Anton was completely distracted before striking the killing blow. Almost as if he had known he would only get the one chance. Spike only wished that he had had patience to wait until the climatic moment before making his move. But then Spike had a personal interest in the matter of Buffy’s safety, and seeing Anton put his meaty hands on his girl had been more than Spike could stomach. If this twerp tried anything… Renewing his struggle against the binders, Spike knew that if it he could only free himself of these cuffs, he’d turn this sodding excuse for a minion to dust within seconds.

Spike called a warning as he realized that the tweedy vamp was heading straight for Buffy. She wasn’t under any one’s thrall now, and should be able to make short work of the usually non-combatant vampire should he be unwary enough to get too close, chains or no chains.

Spike could tell she was poised to do just that, when Tara’s cry stopped her.

“Buffy, no! It’s Giles.”

“Giles? It can’t be. He’s the Auctioneer’s assistant.”

“Willow isn’t the only one who can cast a glamour you know.” It wasn’t the first time that they had heard the myopic vampire speak, but it was the first time they had actually listened. “Just because I chose to wait until I targeted a specific individual to impersonate, does not mean that I am not still myself underneath.” He sounded just like Giles. “Tell me, how did you know, Tara?”

“Your aura. It’s still the same.”

“Yeah. And who ever would believe a spectacled tweed-wearing vampire?” chimed in Buffy, not willing, even now, to let herself appear ignorant. “It was so obvious.”

“Right,” Giles agreed. “And that’s why you agreed to go with me earlier in the afternoon when I tried to get you away from this horrid place? And for your information, I copied the assistant’s clothing, appearance and mannerisms exactly. Any superficial resemblance that any of you claim to have noticed, however belatedly, are merely that – superficial. No doubt despite his appearance, the Auctioneer’s assistant was as bloodthirsty as the rest. As you know, I’ve had to carry on this masquerade for hours.”

This was taking too long. Spike knew that they were in even greater danger now than they had been before. “Look, much as I appreciate the big reunion scene, Anton’s minions are going to burst in here any second. You got any incendiary spells to go with the false fangs Watcher? And I’d appreciate if you’d undo these shackles. You might need a few extra hands once ole Anton’s crew come charging through that door to find out what happened to dear old da.”

“No. No spells. But I’ve got something better. I’ve got a plan. One that may actually work.”

A/N: An end to some of the suspense. Tell me, those of you who guessed about Giles, did you enjoy having those hints, or would it have been more fun if it was harder, or a complete surprise? What gave it away for you? Also, did you like him coming to the rescue like that, or did you feel disappointed that it wasn't Spike? It was only in later drafts that I came up with that plot twist. Then I got myself in a bind because I wrote Anton as such a sadist that I could see other ways that things could work out okay - but only AFTER Buffy had been severely traumatized, and I didn't want that to happen. It's just not that kind of fic.
27. The Plan
A/N: Almost over, only one more chapter to go. Please stay tuned until the end. And thanks for all your comments/reviews. Really. And to the mods for putting it up for featured challenge response. You guys have been great, really!

Chapter 27: The Plan

They didn’t have long to converse. A loud banging sprang up immediately – Anton’s minions were attempting to break down the door. While Giles rattled on, Buffy pretended to listen while frantically trying to cover herself in the stiffening red leather than had been her slave outfit. Giving it up as a bad job, she grabbed Spike’s over shirt instead. It wasn’t particularly thick or long, but it was a heck of a lot better than nothing, which was the alternative. She thought she might never overcome the ickiness factor of knowing that Giles had seen her naked. A fact only somewhat overshadowed by the knowledge that he had apparently saved her from a lifetime as Anton’s thrall. She didn’t actually remember any of it, a fact for which she was exceedingly grateful.

Having outlined the most important details of his escape plan hastily, Giles pulled open the door and then stood out of the way, letting Spike and Slayer do what they were so good at. As they had suspected, Anton’s minions and childer had sensed his demise as soon as he was dusted, and were already gathering in their quest for vengeance.

The first wave consisted of the four guards who had stood outside the room. They charged in, fangs blazing, their stun clubs left behind in favor of a more personal weapon. Two were merely fledglings, and Giles took care of one while Buffy dusted the second. The next two took a little longer. Nevertheless, in under a minute the small room was littered with several more piles of vampire dust.

However, more were swiftly approaching. If Willow’s intelligence was correct, there were more vampires in the den than the four of them (including Tara, who couldn’t do much) could ever hope to fight their way through. Even as the first set fluttered to the floor, two more guards poured in from behind. This was their best chance, and Giles was ready to take it.

Affecting the persona of the auctioneer’s assistant, whose face he still wore, Giles closed and locked the door behind their last two adversaries. At Giles’s instruction Spike chose the weaker of the two, dusting him without a second’s pause, and leaving the somewhat older childe alone and outnumbered.

Giles tried to sound like the voice of reason. “Sorry about your friend, but it was necessary. Here’s the problem,” Giles told the remaining vamp the story he had concocted, hoping with every fiber of his being that the minion was as dumb as he looked. More guards would be arriving quickly – and if they waited too long to affect their escape, sooner or later there would be more opposition than they could easily overcome.

Giles hadn’t even had a chance to verbalize his fear that even if they should manage to fight their way out of the compound, Wolfram & Hart and the Auction company would never allow them to remain unpunished. The vampire’s business affairs were far more organized than Giles ever could have imagined, and he didn’t think that the corporate entities involved could tolerate being made to look so weak. Even if the individuals involved believed it was in their best interests to let the issue drop. No, they needed a way out that would satisfy all parties involved. Hence Gile’s plan.

Clearing his throat, the Auctioneer’s assistant spoke to the most senior of Anton’s forces that they had managed to isolate unharmed. Time to see if this minion would take the bait. If he didn’t, they’d have to try again.

“Unfortunately for all of us,” Giles began, “it seems that Master Anton’s thrall could not hold the Slayer, and the creature managed to break free, momentarily.” At the minion’s look of fear, Giles quickly reassured him. “Master Spike was able to reinitiate the original thrall, and the Slayer is now under his control – at least temporarily. I, for one, am not willing to see how long he can hold it. As you can know, the damage is already done. Master Anton is no more, I couldn’t save him. So – the problem is that we are left with an incomplete contract and a dangerous commodity that could turn on us and dust us all at any moment. We all owe our lives to the fact that Master Spike can control the Slayer – or we’d all likely be dust by now.” It wasn’t so much of a lie. If Spike hadn’t been present, he knew that Buffy would have argued with him about his escape plan. She wanted to fight – to dust as many vampires as possible. But it simply wasn’t prudent.

“Now, here is how I propose we handle the situation,” Giles continued. “Since Master Spike appears to be the only one who can control the Slayer – I say we let him have her. Now, of course, we could just let it stand there. But on the other hand, if we claim that the transaction was not complete, that means that Anton should be entitled to a refund.” Here’s where it was important that the minion understand what Giles was saying. “Of course, as things stand now, Anton is in no condition to accept the return of his funds. Are you following? So, instead, I suggest that the purchase price, minus the buyer’s premium and a small service charge, say an extra ten percent, be refunded directly to the vampire in charge.” At the dim look on the vampire’s face, Giles elaborated. “What I am suggesting of course, is that that should be you. I can have the Auctioneer re-credit the money directly to you. What do you think?”

“I ain’t Anton’s heir. That’d be Josef, most likely. Or possibly, Rafe.” That only proved the remaining minion was incredibly stupid as well as a poor bodyguard. No surprise there.

“Yes, but they aren’t here, my boy, and you are,” Giles coaxed. “It won’t be safe for any of us should more fighting break out. What we need is someone who can safely get us out of here before Spike loses control over the Slayer and more of us die. Someone strong who can take decisive action; for the good of the remaining members of the family. What I suggest is this. That you lure, um, ask Josef and Rafe here. Preferably one at a time. We’ll take care of them for you – plus any others you believe might hamper our peaceable exit from this place. Then, you escort us out. Once we’re gone, Spike can do what he likes with his toy. I’ll take the little human with me. Then I will arrange the transfer of funds back to you, and we can all go happily on with our unlives. So, what do you say? You’d like to be lord and master here, wouldn’t you? Now that Anton is gone.”

The dull vampire squinted his eyes at the tweedy assistant. It seemed like his plan might work. And Anton was definitely already gone – that much was clear. He didn’t much relish the idea of a feral Slayer on the loose within the compound, either. Especially since he was the next closest vampire she was likely to dust. So, what tweedy had suggested made sense. He never did like Josef or Rafe much, anyway. Why shouldn’t he be the vampire in charge?

* *

Red met the four of them just outside the back door and they all piled into the DeSoto, Tara and Giles in the front with Willow, leaving Spike and Buffy alone in the backseat. It was a measure of how rattled he was that Spike didn’t ask the redhead to move over so that he could drive.

They had dusted several additional vampires besides the aforementioned Rafe and Josef, but eventually their little guide had led them to the appropriate exit. Given what he had learned about vampire society in the past few days, Giles thought it was unlikely that the little minion would be able to hold on to the power he had been handed. Some one stronger from inside Anton’s clan would almost certainly try to challenge him, and if they didn’t, well, it was almost inevitable that a rival gang would try to take advantage of the virtual power vacuum. Left to itself, chances were good that Anton’s former empire would shatter of its own weight in a matter of days, scavengers fighting over the scraps. But if someone strong enough to hold it suddenly appeared to take control, while Giles didn’t plan to let that happen.

Coming back to himself, Spike spoke up from the back of the car. “Take us back to the motel, Red. You got your own ride there, don’t you? Buffy and I will ride back in the DeSoto. Watcher can go with you two, if you don’t mind.”

“No, that’s quite all right, girls,” Giles answered. “I have my own transport. And I am not going back to Sunnydale immediately in any case, although I would suggest that the four of you leave town as quickly and quietly as you can.”

“Why aren’t you gonna come with?”

“Well, I really do want to be sure that the paperwork is completed and everything seems to be above board. For vampires, they really keep remarkable records, and I wouldn’t like for there to be any unforeseen complications in the future. For example, if Wolfram & Hart decided that Spike did not have legal title to the Slayer, had in fact stolen her from Anton, well, from their perspective, they might feel the need to enforce the original contract. That is, well, they could make things difficult for us in Sunnydale.”

Buffy shuddered. As far as she knew, Giles didn’t even know the terms of the original contract, or just how binding that contract was.

But it was Spike who answered, “Do you think the little troll will give you any trouble?”

It was the Ripper who grinned back at him, “That’s why I added that bit about the extra premium. The ‘little troll’ as you call him will jump at the chance to line his own pockets some more. Bribes can be very effective in the right circles. But after the deal is done, signed, sealed, and official, I have a special stake with his name on it for that greedy bastard, and as many of the corporation as I can find. This wasn’t just about rescuing Tara, you know. These…sales are an abomination. They must be stopped.”

“I don’t think you should stay here alone, Giles,” Buffy piped up. If there was staking to be done, SHE wanted to be the one to do it. Most of the events of the past few days were a bit cloudy, but she had a burning desire to dust as many vampires as she could as soon as she could. “What you are suggesting sounds awfully dangerous.”

“Quite the contrary. You saw how easily I dusted Anton – he completely discounted any possibility that I might be a threat. I’ve kept up the pretense of this disguise so long, that if I play this right, no one will suspect me, even after that little toad is nothing but ash. If I can, I intend to lure some of the higher ups to investigate, and will treat them in the same manner, implicating Anton’s group if I can. You would just be in the way if you stayed here, Buffy. Although I do appreciate the offer.”

“What about your glamour?” asked Willow. “If what you say is true, you’ve already maintained it far longer than I managed to hold on to mine. Are you sure you’ll be okay?”

“Yes, Willow. I’ll be fine. Unlike you, I never intended to hold the glamour by sheer force of will. The very fabric of the spell is tied to this location. As long as I am in Las Vegas, I will appear to be the Auctioneer’s assistant.”

Spike snorted. “That mean if you come back to tinsel town with some bird for a bit of fun a couple years down the road that you’ll revert to type? Might shake things up a bit, wouldn’t it?” Spike snarked. “Oi, forgot who I’m talking to for a minute there, Rupes. No one could ever accuse you of knowing how to have a bit of fun."

“Yes, well, I am glad you are having fun at my expense,” Giles huffed. “Mind, I hate to point it out to you, but I was the one who pulled both your derrieres out of the fire. If not for me and this cleverly thought out disguise, you, Spike, would be no more than dust, and I shudder to think of the fate that was awaiting Buffy and Tara. But by all means, have a good laugh while I go finish off the rest of the slavers.” As the car came to a halt in the parking lot, Giles was the first to jump out. “Go home, children. And don’t wait up.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mr. Giles mad before,” said Tara. “Is it true, what he said, that he is the one that saved us all? I don’t remember much.”

“Nah,” Spike lied, hoping to spare the girls’ feelings and himself no little embarrassment. There was no need at all for them to know just how close a call it had been. “He just has an exaggerated opinion of his own importance. All Watcher’s do.”

“But do you think he’ll be all right? I mean, by himself among all those vamps?” Tara continued.

“He’s a right subtle bastard. Those idiots will never know what hit them,” Spike replied. “Guess it’s time for all good children to head home to bed, then, and leave the Watcher to it.”

“You really sure he’ll be okay, Spike? You don’t think we should stay and help?” asked Buffy.

“No. I think for once, Slayer, you should do what you’re told and head home to your nice safe virginal bed.” Tara clearly didn’t remember anything that had happened while she was under thrall, and he was hoping that the Slayer didn’t either. He was putting money on the fact that the Watcher and Willow were also ignorant of what exactly had happened on stage in the auction hall, or he expected that his reception would have been very different. He didn't think that the Watcher would be too forgiving if he had the slightest idea of what Buffy had been forced to do, despite the fact that Buffy had, at least somewhat, agreed to it. He didn't like his chances much if the Slayer decided to forget that one small part of it either. It wasn't like either of them had had much of a choice at that point. Still, he didn't like to put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak, and was hoping that a quick talk to the Slayer would put his mind to rest about what she did and didn’t remember. “Put all this behind you, Slayer,” he advised. “Stop thinking about what is clearly over,” he wished that he could take that advice himself, but he knew that even if no one ever caught him on it, things would never be the same between Buffy and him. “Best to keep your guard up, never stop being vigilant. That’s the best way to thank your Watcher.”

Climbing beside him into the front seat of the DeSoto, the Slayer had no reply. Within a few miles outside of Vegas, and heading back towards Sunnydale, the Slayer was fast asleep and dreaming, her head resting in the lap of the vampire who had worked so hard to keep her safe.

Epilogue One
Epilogue One

The Scoobies were splayed out all over her living room furniture, eating popcorn and watching a movie.

Giles had returned only the night before, and entire day regaling the group with tales of how he had dusted the vampires who ran the slaver ring as well as the vampires that remained loyal to Anton’s memory. Apparently, he had tricked the two groups into toasting one another with a bottle of 200 year old cognac that each thought was a gift from the other faction, and which Giles had laced with holy water. Giles couldn’t get over how clever he had been, and wanted to be sure that everyone knew it.

Thus, the Auctioneer and his superiors were all gone, and there was little chance of them reorganizing again any time soon. But Buffy and her friends were tired of hearing about it.

The rest of the Scoobies were only too glad that the overly ebullient Watcher had finally returned to his own home and left the rest of them in peace to enjoy their chance to pretend that they were average teenagers on a Saturday night. As far as they were concerned, the incident was over, and best forgotten.

Just as the scene in the movie changed, Anya jumped up and pulled Xander with her.

“Wha…” the whelp stuttered. His belly full, he had been slowly drifting off to sleep. “Anya, what is it? If you wanted something all you needed to do was ask.”

“I DO want something. I want you and me to be in the kitchen right now.”

“Ahn, you know what I said. This isn’t the time or the place, Anya.”

“For once in your life I wish you would get your mind off of sex, Alexander Harris. This isn’t about me wanting a quickie in your best friend’s kitchen. This is serious.”

“Serious? What do you mean?” He looked around suspiciously for any sign of demon activity.

Impatiently Anya stamped her foot. “Right now. Or I swear, I’m cutting you off for a month. Well, maybe a week. Alright, one day. But please Xander, come into the kitchen with me right now.”

Finally complying, a bewildered Xander held Anya in his arms. Something had really upset her – he just didn’t have a clue in the world what it was.

“What’s this all about, Anya?”

“It’s that movie, Xander. I told you I didn’t want to watch it, but you said we had to because the majority voted. And so I sat there and watched it, even though I didn’t want to. But I will NOT sit through THAT SCENE again. I had nightmares for months after the first time. And I need to have you in here with me to keep my mind off of what is going on in there – because I if I think about it I’m going to scream.”

Xander was still clueless. “What are you talking about Anya? It’s Monty Python. It’s a comedy.”

“That’s what you say. And then they go and throw in scenes with gratuitous violence, spurting blood and …and killer BUNNIES. I tell you Xander, in my opinion that is one of the most horrifying scenes ever written. Far worse than that shower scene in Psycho you go on about. I mean, showers are nice fun places to have sex, but bunnies…that’s just wrong.”

Xander consoled his mate, taking her mind off the scene playing itself out on the TV in the living room. Anya was right, he really should have known that the bunny scene would affect her. Even the first time through – after all, he had known it was there.


Everyone else was laughing as the knights were demolished one by one by the killer rodent. Everyone except Buffy. She was remembering a dream she had had while they had been in Vegas. She and Spike had rescued Tara from demon slavers, and Giles had done clean up on the rest of the vampires. So what was still bothering her? Giles was home safe, the Slavers were dust, Tara was safe, and the entire episode was over and done with. Why then did she still occasionally have unsettling dreams about what had happened there?

And this recurring dream about the killer bunnies was the least of them. Others of her dreams were far more erotic, and vaguely violent, a combination that was disturbing in and of itself. But they were only dreams, weren’t they? Suddenly she was not so sure.

Standing, she announced to those still awake, “I’ll be back soon guys. I suddenly just feel an urgent need to go out and slay something. Don’t wait up for me.” Then she was out the door.


She was tentative, and quiet. No slamming crypt doors tonight. And that was unusual enough in and of itself to put Spike on his guard. “What is it, pet?”

“I wanted to ask you something. About what happened in Vegas.”

He tensed. Much as he reveled in his memories of that week, he really didn’t want to be discussing past events with the Slayer. In the week that they had been back home, they had never once discussed what had happened in Vegas, and Spike was content to let it remain that way if that was what the Slayer wanted. He liked all his bit and pieces where they were.

But he was curious to know if she really didn’t remember, or if she was just pretending that she didn’t. Not that it mattered much in the long run. As long as the Slayer thought of him as a thing and not a person, they could never have the relationship with her that he wanted.

“I’m starting to remember,” she continued, “At least I think I am. I’m not really sure.”

Spike relaxed a fraction. She didn’t really remember. If she had, she wouldn’t have been so tentative. She’d either have come to his crypt with stakes and crossbows, or else come prepared to admit the truth, that she really had wanted him too.

That she didn’t trust her memory, came as no surprise. A person’s perception while under thrall was greatly reduced, and most had only vague idea of what might have occurred. But that she’d come to him asking for confirmation, that was bloody ironic. Luckily he never had been the type to kiss and tell.

“Spike. It’s just…I just saw something, and it reminded me of something else. I thought it was a dream, but now I’m not so sure.”

Spike could tell the Slayer was upset. She kept saying the same thing over and over again, without really telling him what was on her mind. Plus she was worrying the locket around her neck back and forth as if she was trying to saw through a chain. She almost never displayed nervous habits like that. Moving to quiet her, Buffy held up her hand to stop him.

“No, let me finish, Spike. When we were in Vegas, you and Willow did this mind talky thing. And somehow, you and I were able to do it too. And… and…when our minds touched... it was only a flash. Kinda like a slayer dream, only I swear I wasn’t asleep at the time. But the vision I got, it was powerful, and I wanted you to know. You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted to let you know that I know. And that, well, I think I understand.”

A lot of things ran through his mind then but he couldn’t seem to make sense of it. What was she talking about? It was almost as if she was afraid of telling him about it.

But he was the one who remembered everything that had happened, with a perfect clarity that kept him awake nights. Both with longing for what he had once had and could never have again, and with fear that she might recover her memory one day and decide to stake him for the role he had played in their little adventure. Even if it hadn’t really been his fault, and despite the fact that he had given her every opportunity to say no.

“It was just a flash,” Buffy continued. “But I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I keep seeing that stage, or one very like it. And I see your face, but different, your hair was longer, and darker, and you were covered in blood. There were other vampires there too, and they held you by some kind of poles attached to the collar around your neck. So you couldn’t strike back at them, you know. You tried to fight… you knew it was hopeless, but you tried to fight. Your face was so full of rage and betrayal, I’ve never seen it like that – not even back when we were fighting, when you wanted to kill me. And I, I just wanted you to know that I know that it was hard for you too, Spike – to be on display like that. I know it terrified you too, and that’s why you tried so hard to keep me from having to face that ordeal.”

He looked up at her and their eyes met briefly.

“You do remember,” he whispered. “Buffy, I…”

“Its all right. That’s what I was trying to tell you. I saw it from the other side, only not really.” It was her turn to whisper. “I think, during the mind link thingy, when our minds were touching, when I could hear your thoughts… I saw – You’d been there before, Spike. At an auction like that. Only…” she hesitated again. “You were the one in the collar, Spike.” She couldn’t look him in the eyes anymore, had to look away. “Vampires…they don’t sell their own kind – do they?”

He had gone even paler as she spoke, turned and sat down on his one chair – hard. It was a memory so old, and buried so deep, but still permeating every aspect of his unlife, no matter how hard he’d tried to forget it. The rage and hatred still burned as strong as ever.

He raised his head and tried to meet her gaze – so open, so caring. He could lose himself in those eyes.

“You know they do, Buffy. You know they do,” he whispered.

Only half acting, he let her see the tears well up in his eyes – trembling as he got the response he hadn’t dared hope for. Buffy had decided to comfort him by enveloping him in her embrace. She smelled delicious. But then she always smelled delicious, and suddenly he found real tears were wetting his face and his shirt.

While the memories that she brought to the surface were still surprisingly painful, it was worth almost any price to be able to be close to Buffy again. Her arms were strong and warm around him, and his tongue was just inches away from her left nipple.

Still, even more than the comfort of her embrace, on some level he needed to tell this story. He had to trust that Buffy would understand, and never mention it again.

“I’m so sorry, Spike,” the Slayer sympathized, pulling back a little and letting her hands run through his hair. “I should probably go. I’m sorry I said anything. Unless… do you want to talk about it? I know, sometimes, talking helps. It doesn’t make much sense, but sometimes it does.”

She was being so nice to him, so caring. He wished she’d be like this more often. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to tell her this particular story – especially as he thought about how Buffy might take it. He wasn’t the hero of this tale. He wasn’t even the villain. He was just a pathetic petulant childe whom his elders had decided needed to be punished. So he found himself saying, “You don’t want to hear it.”

Perhaps he would be content to simply remain in her embrace after all. Perhaps he could turn it to his advantage. He didn’t want to tell her this particular story. And he hadn’t been lying. Buffy would not enjoy hearing it.

“It involves Angelus, pet. The good old days,” he sneered, perversely unable to stay quiet. “Are you sure that you want me to tell you?”

“Yes, I want to know. What happened? Would you tell me, please?”

“Don’t have to, pet,” lifting his head he whispered into her hair. “You saw it.”

Unable to take the embarrassment, broke from her embrace and stood facing the stone wall of the crypt. “Bastard sold me. His own flesh and blood; his own family. He’d threatened it often enough, when he got tired of my lip.” His hands were clenched, his body stretched tight as whip. If the Slayer touched him now, he’d probably deck her, he was that tightly wound.

“He knew by then that tales of the Slayer didn’t frighten me any. So he’d threaten to be rid of me in the most painful and humiliating way possible.” He closed his eyes and waited a few moments before he could continue.

“One day he decided to make good on the threat.” He tried to shrug it off like it was nothing, but it wasn’t nothing. He had known that then, and he knew that now. “When vamps sell their own its not all nice and civilized, like the auction we were at.”

Her eyes widened. That was civilized? Although he wasn’t even looking at her, on some level he must have anticipated her reaction.

“Think about it, Buffy. All the humans on the block are under thrall, docile and happy, blissfully unaware of their fate. But the vamps aren’t under thrall. See, it’s not about pleasure, or profit - it’s about power – and revenge. How much pain and humiliation one being can force another to endure before finally deciding to let him die…”

He struggled to regain control of his voice. “If I’d been given the choice, I would have rather dusted than be hauled up on that stage. I had just the barest inkling of what was in store for me; Aurelians were well hated back then - still are in some circles.”

He wanted to pace in the small space, but he was afraid that if he turned the wrong way he might unwittingly meet the Slayer’s gaze. He didn’t think he could stand her pity just now. He was uncomfortable enough talking about this, but if she looked at him, saw just how utterly worthless he really was… He swallowed hard before resuming his tale.

“I don’t think you can imagine torture on that scale. Torture with no hope of the release of death. Or perhaps you can, if you remember the slightest bit of what Anton had in mind for you. It would have made punishment at Angelus’s hands seem like a love tap, and believe me, that’s saying a thing or two. At least with Angelus there was the faint hope that if I didn’t screw up, if I didn’t anger him, I’d be left in peace. Or that he’d just give it up as a bad job and dust me once and for all.

“In the end it was Drusilla that saved me. Somehow she got wind of what Angelus was up to, and she bought me. Do you understand, Slayer? She deliberately defied Angleus’s edict, and she bought me back at auction. She owned me.

“Of course we both left Angelus after that, Angelus and Darla both, for however long that lasted. I don’t think it was long after that, Angelus disappeared again off the face of the bloody earth. And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving son of a bitch.

“But I always loved Dru just a little bit more after that, you know. She never once treated me any differently – even though now I was not just her childe, but her property as well. I still shudder to think what could have happened, had Dru not done what she did.

“So you see I’ve a reason to love my lunatic Sire, and a reason I will always hate Angelus. I try my best to forget – but it’s a part of me. Ingrained so deep I sometimes convince myself I’ve forgotten the reason for it, for years at a time. But still, everyday I feel it.”

Buffy ran a comforting hand down his arm, somehow understanding how much this admission hurt his pride. Still holding him from behind, so that he didn’t have to look at her, she laid her cheek on his shoulder. Forcing himself to stillness, Spike permitted the touch, and allowed the Slayer to think she was comforting him while he breathed in the scent of her golden hair, felt her breasts pressed close against his back, and recalled the last time he had held her body so close to his. He’d told her more than she needed to know. But it was worth it, to feel her warm body cuddled up against his, her head cradled against his back.

Fleetingly, he wondered if he should tell her the rest of his suspicions, but finally decided that doing so would only show him at worse advantage. Especially without all the facts to back it up. Buffy would want proof, and he didn’t have any to offer.

All he had were his own suppositions. He wasn’t sure of the exact timing of events. Even if Buffy knew to the day when it was that Angelus had been cursed with his soul, that wouldn’t prove a thing one way or another. When one is a vampire time is fluid – the seasons, years, places and events, all melt together. So it could be that he was wrong. But he didn’t think so.

He’d told Buffy that the foursome had broken up soon after Spike’s auction. He’d implied that it was the curse of his soul that had driven Angelus away, or perhaps just that he and Drusilla had been so appalled by their Sire’s actions, that they’d just picked up and left him. What he hadn’t mentioned was that that hadn’t been the first time the four of them had broken up, and it wasn’t the last either.

Back then he hadn’t been privy to the finer points of his family’s affairs. He hadn’t known that Angelus had been cursed with his soul until almost a century after it happened.

All he knew at the time was that Angelus and Darla had quarreled, but that was nothing new. After a while Angelus would come back, until the next quarrel. He had come and gone from their company several times.

Despite his supposedly acquiring a soul somewhere around the turn of the century, he hadn’t seemed any different to Spike. He’d been a bastard to end, still only grudgingly including Spike as an equal, even after he’d managed to kill his first Slayer in China. At the time, Spike had been happy that the wanker had quarreled with Darla again and disappeared once more, or he knew he would have been in for a beating from his Sire for his great triumph. If for no other reason than that Angelus needed to prove that he was still king of the hill.

So to Spike’s way of thinking, it was entirely possible that his Sire had already been cursed with the soul when he’d brought his irritating childe to auction. After all, he’d threatened to sell Spike a thousand times before, but he had never actually done it.

In the beginning he had tried to tame William’s rebellious nature with tales of the Slayer, but over time Angelus had made no secret of the fact that he felt that his fledgling was too stupid to be scared of the Chosen One. Eventually he’d figured out that as long as Spike was free to fight, his fledgling wasn’t afraid of anything. But being helpless, that was what terrified the younger vampire. And so the cautionary tales had changed over time, but the intent behind them was still the same – to force Spike to bow to his Sire’s rule.

In all the years they’d been together, despite all the talk and all the threats – Angelus had never once actually appeared to be serious about selling his childe. Until the moment that he actually did, for an infraction that had barely earned him a mild rebuke the year before.

Spike had always wondered what it was that made Angelus decide to go through with his threat that time, when he never had before.

Looking back on it, Spike was virtually certain that it had been the newly souled Angel who no longer knew how to handle his insolent fledgling, and not Angelus at all.

It was Angel who had tried to sell him into slavery to Anton when he was little more than a fledgling.

No wonder the Poofter was a moody guilt-filled good for nothing sod. It wasn’t the crimes that he had committed while he’d been Angelus that weighed so heavily on his new soul. It was the crimes he had continued to commit even with it.

Hell, the bloody wanker had had the soul for most of a century before he had decided to do anything worthwhile with it.

Spike couldn’t be sure, but if he was ever cursed with a soul, he didn’t think it would take him one hundred years to figure out how to act like a man again, instead of a monster. Hell, he was doing a fair imitation of it now, and he didn’t even have a soul to help him, only a chip which despite his claims didn’t keep him from being evil, it merely kept him feeding.

Closing his eyes he turned and buried his face in Buffy’s hair. She already knew more than she ever needed to know. Why burden her with anything more?

Epilogue the Second
Epilogue the Second

The crypt was dreary and lonely now, as it hadn’t been before. But it was the only place that he could be alone, and he needed his solitude now. Away from all the others’ demands on him. He was fast running out of patience for anyone but Dawn. Some days he was even beginning to find her presence grating. For the first time he was beginning to think of his unnatural life span as a curse instead of a blessing. Finishing this task just meant that there was one less thing tying him to this earth.

The one he held in his hands was the last one. He had spent over a year tracking down and killing the vamps who had made a profit over Buffy’s misery, and even longer following the paper trail and tracking down every single one of the tapes and DVD’s that had been sold. For once he was grateful that the vamps who had made them had used magic to insure that the recordings were impossible to duplicate. Once he had destroyed all the tapes originally sold, he knew that there were no more copies. But now that the job was complete, he found that he was going to miss it – the desire to kill those of his own kind was still strong. To punish anyone who had tried to hurt his golden goddess.

Even though she was beyond that now.

He settled back to remember the past. He did that more and more often these days, until he thought that was the only thing he had to look forward to any more. Being alone with his memories. He remembered that things had settled back to what accounted for normal between him and the Slayer after he’d had his little cry. She’d been as good as her word, and never once alluded to the incident again. Of course, she had never hinted about the other thing either. The fact that they’d made love. Even he’d be the first to admit that the conditions hadn’t been optimal, but that’s what he called it. If the Slayer had ever admitted to it at all, she’d have to admit to the whole truth of it. They might have been forced into it, and the might have had sex in front of a roomful of demons, but still Spike knew that they had been making love.

At first he had sought out the recordings because he had been terrified that word of what was on those tapes would somehow get back to Buffy, or worse yet, her Watcher. If the Slayer wanted to remain blissfully ignorant of what had actually happened back at that auction, (or pretend that she was, he still hadn’t been quite sure which) well, he hadn’t wanted anything to upset her fragile state of mind.

Of course, there was no danger of that now. Not now that she was gone. Today would make one hundred and forty eight days without her, and the count was escalating. An eternity without her still lay ahead.

He glanced down at the last remaining recording in his hands. It was all he had left of her, other than a few stolen and carefully cherished items of her clothing. All the other DVDs and tapes had already been destroyed, along with the vamps who had made them, as well as those who had purchased them.

Tracking them down and killing them all had kept him occupied in the months since Buffy had jumped from Glory’s tower. Now he faced endless days and nights filled with unrelenting nothingness. No purpose anymore, except for Dawn.

If not for Dawn, and his promise to Buffy, he would have ended his useless existence once the last copy was destroyed. The last remaining evidence that could mar his beautiful Slayer’s reputation.

All that was left of her now was her good name; her heroic accomplishments, memories of her wit and her humor, her story, as told by her Watcher, and as remembered by her friends. If even rumors of what had been on that tape ever filtered through to the human world, everything else she had ever done, everything else she had ever been, would be forgotten.

That one terrible and wonderful night was all she would be remembered and vilified for. He had no illusions about how the Council would view it; their Slayer had been corrupt, impure. Of course officially, they’d probably deny it. Deny that Buffy ever even was a Slayer, just to escape the infamy of it. Probably try to eradicate any mention of her existence at all, now that she was gone.

He didn’t have much higher hopes for her friends. Somehow he was sure that her friends also would never forgive him, or her, for what had happened. Even when she had been alive, they had tended to place her on a pedestal, idolize her in ways that she could never escape.

He should destroy the tape before he went out patrolling for the night. Without the real Slayer in Sunnydale, things were beginning to deteriorate quickly. That Buffybot was a piss poor substitute, in more ways than one. More than ever, the Scooby gang relied on him, on Spike, the former Big Bad, to help them keep Sunnydale a demon free zone. Not that they ever thanked him for it. Just as they had always taken Buffy for granted. That she would always be there, that she would always keep them safe, that she would always put their desires above her own needs.

But he couldn’t quite bring himself to destroy the tape. The action would be so final. Another piece of her, gone forever.

Maybe he’d do it tomorrow, or the day after.

He wouldn’t watch the tape – he would never do that – but knowing that he had it, that if things ever got too bad that he could… He’d think about it tomorrow. After midnight would begin day one hundred forty eight. The next in a long string of empty days and nights, punctuated by brief snippets of time spent with his little bit.

Even the scent of Buffy was growing faint after all this time, overshadowed by the smells of motor oil and wiring that made up the monstrosity that wore her face and took up space in the house where she had lived.

He’d think about the tape tomorrow.

One day was the same as the next. It could wait.


AN: I hope that you enjoyed my ending to this story, and I certainly enjoyed telling it. Spike isn’t quite the hero, but he is certainly trying to be, and after all, what more could you ask of anyone, vampire or not.

Now that this fic is finished, I intend to focus an all human story that I had to shelve for the summer. It’s now well into fall, and I need to finish it. So for those of you following Girl with Stars, I’m making you a promise – but it is up to you to see that I stick to it by leaving reviews. I also intend to post a little holiday something, but that will come later. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me. You’ve been a great audience.