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Chapter 28
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Betaed by: Goblin_Dae, Science, and Subtilior

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all recognizable characters, locations, and dialogue belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the various writers. This is written purely for fun.

DUST: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fanfic by KnifeEdge


The first thing she saw when she got home was the cake.

It slumped on the counter miserably, slightly lopsided, the last part of "Birthday" trailing drunkenly over the side. Spike's handwriting, barely legible on the best of days, was not improved by icing. There were nineteen holes in the top—little bullet wounds exposing the cake's chocolaty insides.

Part of her wanted to get out a fork and eat it right then and there. Despite the horrible color scheme and the slumpiness, it did look delicious. A total chocolate pig-out was definitely in order after the night she'd had.

But another part of her wanted to pick it up and hurl it at the nearest wall, spattering cake guts everywhere. It was one more reminder she didn't need of all her failures, including her most recent.

In the end, she put the cake in the fridge, out of sight if not out of mind.

The candles she found in the sink had melted together a little, into a tiny pile of pink and red waxy sticks. Some of them still had icing and bits of cake clinging to their ends.

Nineteen candles, nineteen years.

This how you want to die? Impaled on my cock and my fangs, going out as the world's sluttiest Slayer? Think you'll like it.

Wearily, Buffy sank against the island counter, her head in her hands. She had, hadn't she? She'd liked sex with Spike. She'd liked that dangerous thrill of knowing that he could bite her at any moment. It had been filthy, disgusting ... degrading. Her muscles ached and her whole body was covered in bruises and wounds. It hadn't been about love or anything romantic at all ... it had simply been sex.

The best sex of her entire life.

Which wasn't fair. Not at all. The best sex of her life should have been with Angel. That had been slow and sweet and perfect, and even though it had hurt, it had meant something. Wasn't sex supposed to mean something?

But sex with Spike had felt amazing. They'd connected on some deep, primal level. She'd done things she hadn't even known she could enjoy ...

And she hated herself for it.

The thing to do, she decided, was to never, ever, ever let it happen again. She needed him, yes, but they had a strictly business arrangement. There would be no more touchies or friendlies. They were enemies forced by circumstance to work together, but nothing more.

For now, she was going to go shower, scrub herself until every last trace of him was off her skin, and then she was going to take steps to make sure that Spike could never tempt her again.


The first thing he noticed, when he came in that evening, was the scent of garlic wafting from upstairs. It was unavoidable, really. The sharp, pungent scent slithered down the stairs to greet him in the foyer, like an odoriferous unwelcoming committee.

The second thing he noticed was that Buffy, for the first time in almost a month, looked like she was actively studying. Several books, thick enough to be used as weapons, lay across her lap, and she was scribbling in a notebook.

Her hair was still wet and skimmed back in a tight ponytail; her face was bare of makeup and scrubbed so clean he thought her skin would squeak if he touched it. If she was going for the most unattractive clothes in her closet—well, she'd succeeded marginally. Someday he was going to tell her that those loose yoga pants and threadbare sweatshirt of hers still gave him a hard-on—but not tonight. Tonight he was just going to enjoy the fallout.

"So that's how it's gonna be, eh?"

"Oh, you're back," she said, without looking up.


Spike narrowed his eyes; her shoulders were tense. That's when he saw the last thing: the bloody enormous cross she was wearing round her neck. Well, well, well. Someone was afraid.

If he blocked out the scent of garlic, he could smell it coming off her in waves. This was new.

Spike didn't like it nearly as much as he'd thought he would.

"I'm gonna go shower," he said, heading for the stairs. That got her attention. Her head came up.

"You can't go—"

"Upstairs?" He leaned against the banister and raised an eyebrow in her direction. "Why not?"

"'Cause I ... uh ..."

He took a long, deliberate sniff, the scent of garlic burning his nasal passages and throat. Then he grinned. "Yeah? You what?"

"Nothing," she said, frowing.

"Want to join me?" he offered with a leer. "My back still feels a bit grimy from you riding me into the dust."

"No." Her eyes narrowed to arrow slits. "So very much no."

"Suit yourself," he said, and sauntered upstairs. A cold shower would take the edge off his temper, maybe, and keep him from strangling her to death with her bleedin' cross. If she wanted to play at being a martyr, he have no trouble helping her along.


Buffy chewed the edges of her thumbnail and stared at the ceiling. He was taking a really long time up there. She didn't know what garlic did to vampires, exactly. Come to think of it, they had never really tried it out as a vampire repellent, and Angel had never said anything about it. Wouldn't he have warned her, though, if it was totally useless? Giles would have known, wouldn't he?

There was a groan from the pipes, then silence. She waited, looking at the notes she'd scribbled straight out of whatever book she'd been pretending to read when he'd come in. Something about spells with multiple layers, whatever that meant—she hadn't cared what she wrote, as long as she looked busy. Footsteps overhead a moment later had her frantically copying the next paragraph, though her eyes strayed to the stairs to see what he'd do.

A single, pale foot came into view.

Followed by another, then a long expanse of very white leg, thigh, and ...

Oh. God.

"What are you blushin' for? Nothing you haven't seen before, luv. Left my kit in the basement."

"Well — go put it on! You shouldn't wander around ... like that." She started to count the lines on her notebook paper, but lost track around twelve. Still, she stared at it, refusing to look.

"Who's gonna see me?" he asked. "Besides you, that is, and you've already had a peek and then some."

She clenched her jaw and wrapped her hand around her pencil. It'd be easy to flip it at him. Just a flick of the wrist, and it would embed itself in his heart. Then all she'd have to deal with was a pile of dust on her floor.

He took another step into the living room. From the corner of her eye she could see him: a pale, marble sculpture of a man, gleaming under the lamplight. She knew just how he'd feel under her hands, too: like a statue come to life, imbued with inhuman strength, strong enough to take whatever she had to give without breaking.

"Who's gonna see, Buffy?" he asked softly. "Nobody, that's who."

The pencil snapped in two.

"Go get dressed, Spike," she said, staring at the shattered wood. Whatever it was he wanted from her, she wasn't going to give it to him. And what she wanted from him ... she wasn't going to take.

That was final.


There was a time in William's life when he'd had to care about things like propriety and social rules and etiquette. He hadn't always liked them, but he knew—or at least he thought he'd known—that following them kept society from tumbling into utter chaos. Of course, then he'd died and all of that bollocks had flown straight out the window. Rules, he'd discovered, were made to be broken. Lines, by their very nature, were drawn to be crossed. The only way to live was to defy convention, fuck the façades everyone wore, and really have fun. Fun was what life was all about. Pleasure was his only principle.

For a hundred years and more he'd gone where he pleased, taken what he wanted, and said to hell with the consequences. He'd had no definition of wrong.

Until now.

Wanting the Slayer was wrong. She killed his kind. She was the antithesis of everything he stood for, everything he was. She was the light that destroyed his darkness—

And now he was getting poetic again, which was also wrong in a wholly different fashion.

Buffy was rules personified. She was the line in the sand that couldn't be crossed, the voice on the mount shouting "thou shalt not!" She was so far above him that she might as well have been the sun. Somehow, that just made him want her all the more.

So he sat on the couch, properly attired in jeans and a t-shirt as per Her Majesty's instructions, and pretended to research while simultaneously pretending that he didn't have a massive hard-on. Fuck, she smelled good. The book in his lap was thick and heavy; maybe if he slammed it against his head a few times he'd knock a bit of sense into his undead brains. Dancing with her was dancing with death, literally.

But now that he'd done it once, god, how he wanted to do it again. And again. And again. And again—

"Pass me that book," she said, flipping closed the one she'd been reading and nodding at the stack at his end of the coffee table. He leaned over to get it, and when he looked back at her he caught her eyes lingering on his upper arm. Her little pink tongue darted out to wet her lower lip; an answering smirk curled his. Someone wasn't as self-controlled as she liked to think she was.

Carefully, he handed her the book, holding it in such a way that her fingers had to brush his in order to get it. The spark that flew between their finger tips sent an electric shock up his spine. He let the tip of his index finger caress her thumb, and she snatched the book out of his hand so fast that it burned.

Wrong or no, there wasn't a rule made that Spike hadn't tried to break. If he tilted his head just so, gave her a look from beneath his lashes, and that little open-mouthed pout that Drusilla had adored to the point of nearly biting it off ... What would Buffy do?

Only one way to find out.

Head tilt: engaged. Lashes: lowered. Pout: deployed. And ...

Buffy flushed, opened her book, and did her best to ignore him.

He waited—it was always fun when prey came to him.

"What are you doing?" she asked, when she realized he wasn't going to stop staring at her. "Trying to annoy me to death?"


"For what?"

"You to come to your senses." He ran a hand down his torso and made a few adjustments to accommodate Spike Junior. "Look at us, trapped here, slogging along day after day. We could at least have a bit of fun while we're at it."

"We are not going to ...have fun. Ever again. I already told you."

"Prude," he muttered, and leaned back into the curve of the couch. Sod the research, he could smell the arousal coming off her. Legs splayed wide, he draped one arm over the back of the couch and tucked the thumb of his opposite hand into the waistband of his jeans, letting his fingers partially frame his erection.

"I am not a prune!" she said, scowling. He snorted back a laugh.

"I said you were a prude, not a prune. But you keep this up, and you'll be old and wrinkly and dried-out and still wishing you'd taken me up on my offer. Look at you, clamping those sweet little knees tight, playing at being an innocent schoolgirl when we both know what you really are, what it is you really want."

"I'm the Slayer, and what I really want is to stake your ass."

"Kinky, but I'm sure we could find some lube. Gonna let me stake yours later?"

Furious, she glared at him. "You are such a jerk. Last night? Total fluke. Huge with the fluke-iness. And it's never going to happen again. You and I ... we're enemies, Spike. Maybe you've started to forget that, but I haven't. The more time we waste fooling around, the longer we're going to be stuck with each other, and for me, that's already been too long—"

Sometimes it took his brain a minute or two to catch up with the rest of him. This was one of those times, clearly, because he was pinning her against her side of the couch before either of them realized he was going to move.

"I haven't forgotten," he said, dropping his tone to a husky purr. "That's just part of what makes it hot. Admit it, Slayer, you've got a thing for vampires. Now, Angel probably took his time with you, cause he had a real soft spot for virgins. And I'd wager that stupid college git let you do all the work ... but I can give you what you need, Buffy. You've never had it so good as me. No soul to lose, can't break me … and there's no one around to judge you. We can do … whatever … you … want."

He nosed the edge of her jaw, tapped his tongue against her earlobe, then tugged gently on her earring with his teeth.

"Stop," she whispered weakly, but her hands were already drifting up to clutch his forearms.

"Make me." He kissed her. She melted under him, her hands gripping his arms for dear life, her mouth opening beneath his like the pearly fucking gates. Never one to resist an open invitation, especially to a place he didn't belong, he wasted no time slipping his tongue inside to taste her. Soft little moans and mewling sounds bubbled up from her throat; he drank them down like champagne. One strong-as-steel leg slid up to lock him in place, trapping his cock in the valley of her thighs. Heat radiated through the denim and cotton barrier, and he couldn't help but grind against it, seeking more.

"Hate you," she gasped, surfacing for air. Then her fingernails dug into his scalp, tugging him back down for more. Yeah ... he could get used to this. The sweatshirt she'd worn as armor against him was about as effective as tissue paper. He tore it at the neck until it drooped over her shoulder, baring one small breast.

"No bra," he said. "Knew you weren't serious about that no fun rule, you little trollop." He plucked at her nipple and grinned hugely at the sounds she made. Experimentally he pinched, then pulled, deliberately tugging to the point of pain. With a gasp and a stifled shriek she arched under him, riding his cock through their clothing as she came.

"Like that, do you, minx? Fuck." He reached for his zip.

She shoved at him, and they both toppled off the couch onto the floor. Spike grunted as he hit a pile of books and they scattered under his weight. He heard a thunk.


"What?" he asked, looking up at her a bit dazedly.

"Stupid coffee table," she muttered, rubbing her elbow. She winced, and he immediately reached for the injured limb, intending to check for damage. "Hit my funny bone." He grinned; she scowled. "It's not actually funny, you know. It hurt."

"So the Slayer's got an Achilles Elbow, eh? Gotta remember that."

A laugh, small and reluctant, squeezed out of her. Then she froze, still astride him, sweatshirt torn open like gift wrap, her small breasts quivering in the cooling air. Her eyes widened, taking him in.

He saw the shift happen as clearly as if she had a game face of her own; her expression flickered from lust to determination. He reached out to try to hold her there with him, but vampiric speed was nothing compared to a panicked Slayer.

She scrambled up and away, one fist clutching the tatters of her shirt even as the other landed a brutal blow across his face.


Her room smelled of garlic.

Her room smelled of garlic, her knuckles throbbed dully, and she ached. This was crazy. Total badness. For the first time in practically ever she realized that she was scared of Spike. Not because he was a vampire, but because some sick part of her wanted him in spite of the fact that he was a vampire.

Or, even more terrifyingly, because of it.

When had she ever felt like this about a human? Not with Parker, even though she'd thought she was falling for him—she'd tried so damned hard to fall for him, only to have her efforts thrown back in her teeth. Not with Owen or Scott or any of the other boys she'd ever crushed on throughout high school. This ... this thrill of danger she got every single time Spike touched her, it was something she hadn't felt since Angel, and it made her wonder if there was something really, really, fundamentally wrong with her.

On the other hand, she'd loved Angel, and there wasn't even the ghost of a chance that she'd ever fall in love with Spike. She merely wanted him. Mucho lusties. That was it. It was just that when he touched her, she felt: danger, passion, desire, anger, hatred—it was all there in Spike's touch. And taste. They connected together like … connect-y things. Legos, maybe, only with a spark of electricity that ran through them in a current so strong she was surprised that her hair didn't stand on end from the force of it.

Maybe it was only because he was here, she reasoned. Would she have felt this if she'd been stuck with, say, Xander? or Giles?


She loved Xander like a brother and Giles like a father. It wouldn't have been the same at all.

Buffy flopped back on her bed and stared at the string of garlic she'd looped around the iron headboard.

What was she going to do? Somehow she couldn't see Spike letting up, not now that he'd had a taste of her. And she ... she wasn't sure she was strong enough to resist him. At least with Angel, last year, she'd known the price of Too Much. There had been boundaries around what they could and couldn't do. They were never sure what might push Angel over the edge, but she'd toed that line as best she could, considering how vague and wobbly it was.

With Spike, everything was Too Much. He had no soul, he was already evil, but he'd demonstrated—at least this far—that he was capable of restraining his natural inclinations for violence and destruction.

If he had a tipping point, she didn't know what it was. She was flying totally blind, trusting that he'd keep to their truce.

Buffy fisted her hands in her comforter, twisting the fabric.

It was his fault. If he hadn't kissed her, hadn't touched her, they wouldn't be in this mess. She wouldn't know that he could pry her apart with his fingers and tongue, wouldn't know the exact depth of her loneliness. She shouldn't want him. Couldn't.

And yet ...

And yet.


It was late when she crept down the stairs to the kitchen. That really dark time a few hours before dawn. The moon had set, and even the stars were hiding when she glanced out the window. She opened the fridge, looking for something to snack on. She felt empty. The cake seemed to grin at her temptingly. All she could see at this angle was the word "Happy."

When she cut the cake, however, she cut through her own name, slicing a big chunk out of "Buffy" to slide onto one plate, and a second piece—the last three wobbly letters of "Birthday"—to slide onto another.

The basement door was open, and a little bit of light trickled up from below. She tried to avoid going down there except to do her laundry—usually while Spike was somewhere else. She wondered what he did down there.

At night.


In her basement.

Vaguely she remembered those first few days of the spell, walking in several times on naked Spike sleeping on his rough camp cot with only a sheet to cover his nudity. Now that she knew exactly what that sheet had been concealing—and not even that well—she felt her mouth flood with saliva.

Though that could have been the smell of the cake.

Probably was, in fact.

Picking up the plates and two forks, she opened the door and started quietly down. It was a peace offering, that was all. An apology, of sorts, for punching him in the face earlier. That ... hadn't been her finest moment. She'd been scared, that was all. And birthday cake—even lopsided, ugly birthday cake—should be shared. She'd feel even more pathetic eating it alone.

Slowly the basement came into view. Spike, shirtless and barefoot, his hair a mess of curls, looked up from his cot, where he'd been reading.

"Come to finish me off, Slayer?" Then his eyes took in the cake and widened, his scarred brow arching upward in disbelief. "What's this?"

She thrust the "—day" piece at him. "Nothing. Just ... eat. I'm not going to eat all that alone."

His nose was swollen a little, bruised across the bridge. His chest was still covered in the evidence of the night before: bruises, scratches, even a bite mark or two. That bizarro surge of pride washed over her, again. Yeah, she was sick, she decided. Only someone who was a terrible person would take pride in someone else's pain.

Then she remembered that Spike wasn't a person at all, and he deserved pain because he was evil. It wasn't much moral high ground, but it made her feel a little better.

He slithered out of bed and prowled across the floor. Buffy held her ground, but felt her heartbeat stutter. His hand reached for the plate ...

"What do you want, Buffy?" he asked her, seriously. Something strange flickered in his eyes.

What do I want?

Her eyes traced the contours of his chest, the pattern of bruising on his arms and abs. The hand that held the plate was wide, long fingered, and strong. Blue veins traced up the inside of his pale arm. His hair was mussed, as though he'd run his fingers through it. But it was the look in his eyes that arrested her attention: all that heat directed steadily at her.

Somewhere, distantly, she heard china shatter.

It wasn't until the next morning, when she was washing icing out of her hair, that she realized she'd dropped her plate first.

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