This wasn’t happening.
He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Outside the crypt, the sun was high in the sky. He should be asleep by now. But he couldn’t sleep. His mind was racing, going over and over again every second of what had happened last night.
She had kissed him. Of her own free will, not under a spell this time. She had wanted him. Him! Maybe miracles did happen.
It was wrong. Something was wrong. But he didn’t care. Something in the way they had brought her back...But what was he supposed to do? Turn her away, when this was what he had been dreaming about for years? He would have been happy with just a crumb, and this was so much more than that. This was like being handed the world on a silver platter. He couldn’t give that up, not if he turned to dust the very next second.
Her mouth and the way she moved under him and the way she held him. His mind played and replayed that over and over again—every touch, every taste, every sensation, on a loop of disbelief and helpless pleasure and amazement. Even if nothing came from it, even if it had been all some crazy mistake, he still had that moment stored up in his memory, to be taken out and cherished and held close forever.
Hope was painful, was agonizing. Hope was like a stake through his heart, a knife under his ribs. But he’d let her twist that knife, let her do whatever she wanted. What else could he do? He loved her.
He was shaky when he walked into the Magic Box that night. Too little sleep, too much emotion. To his relief, the store was empty of the Scoobies. He hadn’t thought Buffy would be here, but he had wanted to rule it out before starting to make a search of the graveyards. He was just turning away when Giles came out of the back room.
“Watcher. Wanted to talk to you. Anyone else around?”
“No.” Giles frowned at him. “I wanted to talk to you too, Spike.”
“Yeah? What about?”
“Buffy. She’s relying on you too much.”
“Can’t rely on you lot, can she? She needs someone.”
“She doesn’t need you!”
“She needs someone,” repeated Spike flatly. “And all you lot do is jerk her around.”
“If you’re talking about Willow pulling her out of...pulling her out of...”
“Heaven, Watcher. Say it. Understand it.”
“I do,” said Giles, very low.
“That could have been avoided, Watcher. One brief spell to determine where she was before pulling her out of it. That’s all it would have needed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, isn’t that what they say? Don’t they teach you that in Watcher training?”
“Of course they...”
“Then why haven’t you passed on that essential knowledge, Rupert? Too busy ordering Buffy around to teach these stupid children the basics of logical thinking?”
“Willow has made some mistakes, but...”
“Damn right she has! And Willow is continuing to make mistakes! You make me sick,” Spike said with disgust. “All of you. Even you, Watcher. Too busy navel-gazing to see what’s going on around you. All of you so caught up in your own passions and egos to really care what happens to Buffy.”
“You’re one to talk!” snapped Giles. “We all know what you want from Buffy!”
“Haven’t acted on it, have I? Haven’t forced her to do what I want. But you all do.”
“How dare you say that!” exclaimed Giles, outraged. “We only want what’s best for Buffy!”
“And who decides that, Rupert? You, Willow, Xander, who? What about what Buffy wants? That’s the difference between all of you and me, Rupert. You all tell her what she should want. Willow forces her to do what you want. Me, I just do what Buffy wants.”
There was a silence while Giles tried to calm himself.
“What are you saying?” he said at last. “Willow did wrong in bringing Buffy back. I’d be the last to deny that, even though, like you, I can’t help being glad that Buffy is back. But Willow is not compelling Buffy to do anything.”
“You haven’t heard about Willow’s latest little bright idea, have you? Memories of Heaven are making Buffy miserable? So let’s remove all memories of Heaven. Buffy would be happy then, right?”
“I suppose. What? No! Wait.” Giles shook his head dazedly. “You’re confusing me! That would be wrong! Willow wouldn’t do something like that!”
“Her declared intention, Rupert. How do you define compulsion? Buffy isn’t the Bot. You don’t just re-program her like that. And where does it stop? Remembering her mother’s death makes her sad. So let’s remove her every memory of her mother. Things in her past might be painful. So let’s remove her memories of her past. Wouldn’t that make things nice and simple? Just wipe out her brain, reformat it, why don’t you, and program her to do exactly what you want.”
“Don’t exaggerate,” Giles said sternly. “I never thought I’d see you getting hysterical. No one is going to do anything like that to Buffy.”
“Wake up, Rupert! Willow has every intention of adjusting Buffy’s memories to suit herself. Ask Anya or Tara, if you don’t believe me. They were there when she said it. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Willow’s powertripping and you have to stop her.”
Giles sat down on the edge of a table and frowned at him. “I know that bringing Buffy back has given Willow an inflated opinion of her own abilities, but...”
“Inflated? The hell! That’s a very powerful witch you’ve got there, Watcher. Nothing inflated about that! And all these years you’ve done nothing to train her properly. You should have brought in an instructor for her long ago, someone to control her, teach her about consequences. But you couldn’t be bothered. I was out there on the back porch when you had your little run-in with her in the kitchen. Did that sound like a level-headed Wicca to you, a practitioner of the white arts? Sounded more like someone who was teetering on the edge of the black arts. And you know something about that, don’t you, Ripper?”
“No,” said Giles, almost to himself. “No. She can’t be going that way!”
“‘Vaulting ambition, which o’er-leaps itself, and falls on th’ other.’ What?” said Spike at Giles’ amazed look. “I’ve been around a long time. I have read ‘MacBeth.’ Willow thinks she’s all-powerful. That arrogance and ambition are what draws someone to the black arts. You know that, Rupert. She’ll fall, and she’ll bring the lot of you down with her if you don’t do something. You’re a Watcher. You’ve got contacts. For God’s sake, get in touch with one of the covens in England and bring someone over who can control her.”
“She can’t have gone that far,” Giles muttered. “You’re exaggerating again, Spike. You’re the excitable type. You’re jumping at shadows.”
“Haven’t you been watching her all summer, telling us to do things instead of asking? Pushing us around? Shoving her way into our heads, whether we like it or not. You blind fool, Rupert!” Spike drew a long breath of exasperation and reined himself in with an effort. “Look. Look. You don’t have to believe me. Just get someone over here to suss her out. You’re not qualified. Get someone who can give her a proper evaluation. Is that too much to ask?”
Giles said nothing.
“Ah, the hell!” said Spike, spinning away towards the door. “Why do I even bother?”
“Why do you bother, vampire? You’re a demon. You should be egging her on. All this is just a diversion, casting aspersions on Willow to divert attention from your unhealthy obsession with Buffy.”
“It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?” Spike sighed. “You can’t see past that to...” He broke off abruptly as Willow and Xander came into the Magic Box.
“You again,” growled Xander. “Buffy’s not here. And she wouldn’t want you around if she were.”
Xander scowled at him. “What I wish is that you’d get over that sick fixation you have on her.”
“Says the dog in heat,” muttered Spike.
“What did you say?” snarled Xander.
“You heard.” He lifted a mocking eyebrow at Giles. “See? I’m not the only one with fixations, Watcher. Got a pretty little bint of his own, but still salivating after the Slayer.”
“You...!” Xander made a violent movement towards him, but Spike just slid smoothly away, giving him a mocking smirk.
“Why don’t you adjust his memories, Red? I think he needs it just as much as Buffy does.”
Willow and Xander glanced involuntarily at each other.
Giles caught his breath. “You were going to do something to Buffy’s memory!”
“No, no,” said Willow unconvincingly. “I wouldn’t do that, Giles.”
“Sure you wouldn’t,” snapped Spike. “You know what you really should do? Remove her memories of you Scoobies! Then she really would be happier and healthier.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” snarled Xander. “That would give you a clear field. I’ve got a better idea, Will. Why don’t you just remove Spike from the face of the planet?”
“That would be far too permanent for Red,” Spike flung back. “She likes to play games with people. See them squirm. Pull their strings and make them dance. Stick pins in them. No fun if they’re not around to torment.”
Willow was horrified. “I’m not that kind of person!”
“Getting there, sweet. Won’t be much longer. You’re already the puppet master and we’re your puppets. Raping people of their memories? We demons call that evil. But we’re simple folk. You white hats know better, of course.”
“It’s not rape!”
“What do you call something that’s done to someone without their consent and against their will?” He sneered at Willow. “Don’t like what I say? Take away my voice then. Turn me into a worm. Teach me a lesson.”
Willow’s eyes had gone black. “Maybe I will.”
Spike deliberately flipped her the bird and turned his back on her provokingly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the angry gesture she made in return. He hoped to God that Tara’s deflection spell would hold. To his relief, it did. Whatever Willow had meant to do to him did not happen. Turning a little, he saw Willow look down, baffled, at her hand.
“Have I made my point?” he said quietly to Giles.
“Quite,” said Giles. He let out a long breath, then caught Spike’s upper arm and drew him towards the door, saying loudly, “Yes, well. I think you should leave now, Spike.”
“Yeah, Giles, throw him out,” said Xander, unaware of anything amiss. Willow was still frowning in puzzlement.
Spike turned and looked at the two of them in vast contempt, but said nothing when Giles’ grip tightened in warning.
“You took a risk,” Giles said softly when they got outside.
“Protected,” said Spike curtly. “Only way to show you.”
“You went and got protection against Willow?” Giles was shocked by the level of distrust that implied.
“Had reason, didn’t I? Might have been a beetle or worse by this time if I hadn’t. Or are you still denying that, Watcher?”
“She would have harmed you,” Giles admitted heavily. “I’ll get in touch with England.”
“Don’t let anything stop you from doing that.” Spike looked at him levelly. “You and I might disagree about Buffy. And, who knows, maybe you’ll end up wanting to stake me or turn me into a beetle, the way those two do. But whatever you think of me doesn’t change the fact that there’s something wrong with Willow and that you have to do something about it.”
Giles nodded and turned to go back into the shop. He was moving stiffly, as if he felt very old. Too many shocks over too short a time. Spike felt a fleeting moment of sympathy for him. But it was time the man woke up. He had started the ball rolling on this years ago, when he had allowed a fledgling witch to teach herself about magic without adequate supervision and discipline. Power unchecked and untaught was always dangerous. One only had to look at the differences between Tara and Willow to see that.
“You’ve been busy, haven’t you?” Buffy said behind him. He had been so preoccupied that he hadn’t even noticed her presence.
He spun to face her. She was standing at the mouth of the alley beside the store, her hands on her hips, watching him narrowly. She was wearing some scoop-necked top loose over white jeans and plimsolls, her arms bare, the light from the street lamps gleaming on the waves of that damn shampoo-commercial hair and the smooth satin of her skin. He wanted beyond anything to touch that hair, that skin. He knew what she would feel like against him now, and that knowledge was at once too much and too little. Nothing sexy about her outfit at all, yet it was driving him crazy, and he wanted...he wanted...God, he didn’t have one chance in hell against her!
“Buffy! When did you...?”
“Came in on the end of that.” She gave him a sardonic smile. “Look at you. Some demon you are. Trying to do good. They’ll drum you out of the corps.”
“Already have,” he muttered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his duster and trying to act as if nothing had happened last night. He knew her, knew from that casual tone of her voice that she didn’t want to discuss what happened last night and that, if he dared to bring it up, she would cut him off at the knees. Very possibly, never allow him near her again. Caught as he was between painful hope and painful resignation, he needed to talk about it. But it didn’t matter to her that this miserable suspense that he was in was tearing him to pieces. “And whose fault is that, Slayer?”
“Yours.” She laughed at him. “You care too much, Spike. Right from the beginning. I think Dru saw that. One of the reasons she picked you. Your ability to...care.” He saw how she avoided the word ‘love’. “She knew you’d keep it even after the turning.”
There was some truth in that. He frowned after her as she stepped lightly away from him, heading up the street towards the cemeteries. She was talking about his feelings? She had never admitted that he had feelings before. It was a step in the right direction. Even though what he really wanted to do was discuss her feelings rather than his.
“Most vamps,” she said conversationally over her shoulder as he automatically followed her, “the first thing they do is go eat their families. That’s what Angel did. What did you do to your family, Spike?”
“There was only my mother.”
“Did you eat her?”
“No.” He had turned her, hoping to keep her with him throughout the centuries. It hadn’t worked out that way, though; of course, it hadn’t. Which he would have known if he hadn’t been so new a fledgling, not understanding yet how things worked, that the demon would take over. He had never turned anyone since. Never would, not anybody he cared about, not after that one harsh lesson.
“Didn’t think so.” She smiled at him over her shoulder, skimming lightly along with that swift, Slayer lope that forced him to chase after her just to be able to keep up the conversation. Thing was, running her down like this was a turn-on. Slayer probably didn’t even know that. But he was all too aware of it. “You’re a rarity, Spike. I’m beginning to see that.”
Now what did that mean?
“Slayer, if you want to talk, stand still,” he growled bitterly. “This is irritating.”
“Don’t want to talk.” Her pace increased until he had to use all his vampire speed to stay even a few yards behind her. “Got to do better than that if you want to keep up with me, Spike.”
She couldn’t possibly have meant that the way it sounded. Her laughter trailed back to him as he chased the golden flag of her hair through the streets.
“Slayer, what the hell are you playing at?”
She turned in at the gates of Restfield cemetery. He ran after her, exasperated, but still unable to stop following her. When had he ever been able to stop following her?
“Who’s playing?” she laughed.
She pushed open the door of his crypt and candlelight spilled out. Had he left a candle burning? He normally didn’t do that, but he had left with his head in such a muddle that he might have. She turned to look at him, smiling oddly, as he reached the door. He put his hands on either side of the door frame and leaned there, wondering what the hell was going on.
“You’re panting,” she remarked. “Getting out of shape? Or is it what you said before? Emotion?”
He knew bloody well it was emotion, tried to cover that damn betraying tendency of his, frowning at the candle. “Did I leave that on?”
“No, I did, when I came looking for you.”
He stared at her. The last thing that he would have thought after last night was that she would come looking for him. Normally, after something like that, she wouldn’t let herself go anywhere near him. The trapdoor at the back of the crypt was open as well and lamplight was coming up from it. She’d even gone down there in search of him?
“Why?” he asked, puzzled.
“Wanted to talk to you.”
“You wanted to talk? Are you feeling all right, Buffy?”
Buffy grinned. He looked really cute when he was confused like that, breathing hard, with his eyes all dark, their pupils dilated, and his face strained. He had looked like that last night and she found that she liked it, wanted to see more of it.
She grabbed his lapels, yanked him into the crypt, kicked the door shut behind him, then thumped him back against it.
“What...?” Spike was utterly bewildered.
She was laughing at him, her eyes shining and very green, a look he recognized, one that she had been wearing a lot lately, reckless and dangerous. Her arms stretched out on either side of him, reaching for the door. He felt her pull the bar down behind his back, locking them into the crypt, locking the world out. Then her arms closed around his sides.
“You’re right. I don’t want to talk. Want to do,” she said and kissed him.
He almost went straight down to the ground in shock and disbelief.
Buffy felt his whole body jerk against hers. Then he was kissing her desperately, drowningly, his arms crushing her to him. Her own arms clenched across his back. They kissed again and again, mouths twisting together, devouring each other. And, oh, the long slides of his tongue against hers, the feel of his body straining against her.
He tore his mouth away to allow her to breathe. “Buffy...”
She laughed. “Yes. More.”
She saw the incredulous look he gave her, his eyes almost black within a thin ring of blazing, intense blue, helpless behind eyelids heavy with passion.
“Don’t understand,” he muttered. “I don’t understand.”
“Nothing to understand. Gonna do what I want. Gonna have what I want. And I want you.”
She pushed at his duster. “Off.”
Spike tore it off, one arm at a time, the other arm holding her tightly to him, refusing to let her go, kissing her the whole while. His brain had stopped working, whited out in astonishment and incredulity, drowning in sensation, completely lost to everything but her.
“Boots,” she said and he heel-and-toed his way out of them, following her lead, afraid to do anything that might stop this miracle from happening. She was kicking off her own sneakers. Their bodies strained against each other, passion flaring, imperative and demanding. He bent her back over his arm and she laughed as his mouth raked down her throat. Then she twisted and he felt her mouth sucking down his throat.
She felt the racking tremor go through him. “One of your buttons, huh? Love it.” She did it again and he shivered helplessly against her.
“This isn’t happening,” he muttered, his open mouth sliding everywhere across her face, along her collarbone, over the bare skin of her shoulder.
This time, it was Buffy who shivered, up on her toes, trying to get as close to him as possible. Their bodies rubbed and strained together. She hooked a thigh across his hip, felt him impossibly hard against her. They both groaned.
“Bed, Spike!” she gasped. “Downstairs. Now.”
“Oh, yeah.” Vaguely, Spike remembered that he did have a downstairs and a bed which might be more comfortable for her than being pounded into the cold stone floor, which he was only one brain cell away from doing right now, with his control gone and his mind fried. He just hoped dimly that they would make it.
They moved towards the open trapdoor, falling over one another’s feet because they were both clinging to each other so tightly, eyes closed and mouths way too occupied with each other’s flesh for either of them to care about balance. At last he got some semblance of thought back, scooped her up and simply dropped through the trap. He landed smoothly without jarring her, stumbled over to the bed and would have laid her upon it except that she refused to let him go, her arms fierce about his head. They both lost their balance and fell onto the bed, wound in each other’s arms and twisting about each other like snakes.
Bed was good. Bed made their bodies more accessible to each other. His mouth found her breast, sucked at her nipple though the thin material of her top.
Buffy gasped as a lightning bolt of sheer pleasure shocked through her. She caught his head and held his mouth to her breast. ““Oh, God, yes...More.”
No bra, he realized in shock.
“You’re not wearing any underwear...”
“Well, neither are you,” Buffy retorted and laughed, yanking his T-shirt over his head. God, he was ripped under it, all hard, supple muscle and strong, clean bone, an utterly lickable sixpack. Grecian statue time. She had never known, never even looked. She couldn’t believe how stupid she had been!
“You planned...” he stuttered.
“Yes. Mm, you feel wonderful.” She ran her hands all over him, all that hard muscle and satin skin so fine against her, felt him shuddering with passion at every touch.
Her top was gone now. Skin against skin, and his mouth moving and suckling across her breasts, her nipples hardening painfully as his tongue rasped across and about them, pressing them against the roof of his mouth.
“God, you’re beautiful, luv!”
“Spike!” She was shuddering continuously too now, fingers digging into his thick hair, holding his mouth to her, her every nerve on fire.
Spike was whispering endearments, couldn’t help it, the words tumbling unbidden out of his parted lips as they moved over her—as, incredibly, her lips were moving over him.
Hands and mouths sliding and caressing and kneading every inch of bare flesh. Buffy’s hands, Buffy’s mouth. Buffy’s body arching and twisting under his. He had passed the point of wonder and gone into overload.
He didn’t know who said it, but after a few moments of struggle both pairs were gone, their bodies rubbing together now, freed of all constraints, friction building an unbearable spiral of agonizing sensation.
And, oh, God, she was wet for him. And so hot! He’d never been with a human before. Vamp skin was cool, room temperature. This heat was wondrous, exquisite. Her nails clawed his back, another unbearable stimulus. He gasped against her face, his eyes shuddering shut helplessly.
“Can’t...must...Oh, God, Spike, come on!” she growled, arching against him. “Can’t stand it any longer!”
Neither could he. This was beyond his wildest dreams: that moment of entrance, that permission.
He came into her hard, then froze, staring down at her in awe and disbelief, unable to believe that he was really inside her, her sheath clenching upon him, her body straining to his.
“Oh, God, so perfect!” she muttered. “No one else ever...Spike!”
His brain shorted right out. Nothing but sensation, their bodies thrusting urgently together, driving each other higher and higher, gasping against each other’s faces. Pure rapture, excruciating, exquisite, unbearable. Both of them striving up that hill, but still struggling to hold back, not wanting it to end, stretching the moment out unendurably.
He felt her convulse against him, her sheath clenching and rippling upon him as she came, and that sent him over the edge himself, his body seizing up, spurting into her in blind ecstasy.
He came back to himself to find her clinging to him, her arms fierce about his neck.
“Again, Slayer, oh, again,” he muttered. He couldn’t bear for it to be over, couldn’t bear to give this up so soon, still partially erect within her. Vamp recovery time and Slayer stamina made it possible.
“Insatiable,” she murmured. But she was smiling as their mouths fused together and her body responded as his hands slid across her.
He lost himself in her and if he never found himself again he wouldn’t have cared. This was all the heaven he ever wanted.
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