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Awakenings by dreamweaver
Chapter 4
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Chapter 4

He didn’t want to wake up. He lay drifting in a haze of absolute contentment, unbelievably happy. Total exhaustion had knocked him out like a brick in the end. Too little sleep the night before, too much emotion last night. They had worn each other out, unable to stop, coming back again and again to each other like magnets.

He could smell her scent as she lay beside him, see the tumble of her golden hair through his fluttering eyelashes as he came slowly out of sleep, feel the warmth of her body an inch away from his.

An inch was too far. He turned onto his side, gathering her against him, burying his face in her hair. Her arms came around him and her leg hooked over his thigh. He felt her smile against his shoulder.

“What is it with you? You should be tired out. Is it a vamp thing or what?”

“Never get tired of you,” he muttered. “You tuckered out, Slayer? Thought you had more stamina than that.”

“Came to an end of it the fourth or fifth...How many times did we do it? I lost count.”

“No idea. We can just cuddle, can’t we? I like to cuddle.”

“That’s the way it starts,” she mumbled into his shoulder and he laughed against her hair. “I should get back to Dawn. I left her all night.”

“Half an hour more won’t hurt then, will it?”


“Witches are around, aren’t they? What’s the point of having them living with you otherwise?” He ran a hand down her back, from her shoulder to her thigh where it lay across his hip, pulled at the back of her knee to draw her tighter against him. She purred. “Does Dawn know you’re here?”

“Told her.”

He blinked. “You did?” That must have been some conversation.

“Spending the night with Spike, I said.”

“Musta been a shock. She still catatonic?”

Buffy giggled “Started jumping up and down, screaming, ‘Yes! Yes!’ She likes you.”

God, he loved the Bit! “Hope she doesn’t tell the others.”

“Too smart. But I don’t care if she does.”

His brows rose. “You don’t?”

“Fuck ‘em.”

“Rather fuck you.”

He went partially into gameface, just enough for his tongue to go raspy and his cock to thicken against her. She laughed and rubbed herself against him, her nails deliberately raking down his arms. Last night was all heat and desperate urgency. Today, the edge was off; they could just explore and play.

“God, that thing you do with your tongue,” she muttered, arching to him as he ran it over her. “So much better being with a vamp.”

That bothered him somehow. He didn’t know why. He was too busy investigating the different flavors of her skin, the slight but subtle variations on her breast or down her spine or along the inside of her thigh. It figured that Captain Cardboard hadn’t been enough for her; no human would ever be able to satisfy a Slayer. And he guessed Angel must have gone all Angelus right off. Wouldn’t have had time to play, even if he had that much imagination, which Spike doubted. But he wasn’t going to bring up Angel, wasn’t going to remind her of her fixation on the Great Poof. Wanted her thinking only of him.

Her hands were running over him as well, her mouth smiling as she kissed him. He drowned in the feel of her, every moment so intense that it bordered on pain, it meant that much to him. Feeling her body arch and twist beneath him, straining against his, her hands dragging him imperatively to her. Seeing her face taut with hunger and her eyes glazed over and her mouth panting as she moaned and gasped his name. Nothing better in the world.

He took her deeply and they both gasped, thrusting and striving demandingly together. He came hard and heard her shriek as she came with him, buried his face, panting, in the curve of her neck as he gentled her through the aftershocks.

They lay spinning down from the high. Then she sighed against his temple.

“Gotta go.”


“No, really.” She pushed him firmly away, but clenched upon him as he slid out of her. They both groaned, then laughed. “You know how the bunch of them turn up for breakfast.”

“You’ll make it. ‘S only six.” He rolled onto his back, sighing. “There’s a shower in the tunnel over there.”

“Oh, good.”

He lay on his back, staring up at the roots twisting through the ceiling, listening to the water running and wondering why he felt there was something missing.

She came out at last already dressed, having taken her top and jeans with her. “Where did I leave my sneakers?”


“Oh, right.” She laughed. “I used your toothbrush. Figured you wouldn’t mind, we’ve been in each other’s mouths so much already tonight.”

He couldn’t help laughing, such an odd statement that made about this new intimacy of theirs. She grinned too. He started to get up, intending to walk her to the door, but she just came and pushed him flat again.

“No, don’t bother. Sun’s up and it’s your time to sleep.”


She smelled only of his soap, all traces of him washed away from her. He was sorry; he had liked smelling himself upon her. He cherished the scent of her on him, wasn’t going to relinquish that all day.

“See you this evening on patrol, okay?” she said. She bent and brushed her lips across his lightly. He reached up involuntarily to draw her head down for a deeper kiss, but she pushed him away, her eyes cool and smiling. “Later.”

Cool. That was it. No involvement. That was what was missing.

He hadn’t seen it until now. Only felt that something was wrong. Now he understood and caught his breath in pain.

What she wanted from him and what she was willing to give him was only sensation. Not real emotional involvement.

It was bitter.

He listened to her putting on her sneakers upstairs and then leaving, closing the door behind her. He lay flat on the bed, an arm across his eyes, hurt to the quick, way down deep where his most painful vulnerabilities lay.

He was used to being used. Dru had used him for a hundred and twenty years. But he had hoped for so much more from Buffy. She knew that he loved her. To use him so casually like that was cruel.

Payback time for the Bot, he supposed, wiping a hand across his eyes. But even there, the analogy failed. What he had tried to recreate with the Bot was Buffy. Not just a sex toy, but the person. Except saying the things he wanted Buffy to say, doing the things he wished Buffy would do. He had even unthinkingly tried to please the Bot the same way he would have tried to please Buffy. He had known he was a fool right from the beginning. Of course it hadn’t been the same, only a fantasy. And that fantasy had turned to horror, when Buffy had been dead and there was only the Bot left. But back then, in the beginning, he hadn’t been able to stop.

Couldn’t stop right now either. This was Buffy. Real and wanting him. Didn’t matter that it was only for sensation. Whatever she wanted from him he would give. That was the way he was made. Would take anything, any crumb, no matter how much it cut him up. Would do anything, just for the touch of her hand. And here he was getting so much more than that.

But, oh, God, it hurt.


He had never realized that it was possible to be in Heaven and Hell at the same time, until now with Buffy. Making love to her while she was just having sex. Enjoying the sex, mind you; enjoying him. And that was more than he would have dreamed of a while back, so, God, he couldn’t give it up.

He was learning how to repress the pain, shove it back where it wouldn’t spoil the joy, learning how to concentrate on what he had and not think of what he wanted. And there were other compensations, like watching the Scoobies’ faces when they saw him and Buffy together. Unlike him, Buffy was never overt about her emotions; she tended to keep things to herself. Protective of her, he never acted the lover around her where the Scoobies could see it, not wanting to give them the slightest excuse to harass her.

But even though she did not display the true extent of their intimacy, she also did not bother to hide her ease with him. She would quite casually dance with him at the Bronze, tease him as they were leaving the Magic Box to go on patrol, pull her chair to one side so that he could fit a chair in beside her when the Scoobies were trying to keep him out of the group at either the Bronze or the Magic Box, lean on his shoulder while talking and not notice or care that Xander’s face was rapidly turning purple and everyone else was looking flummoxed.

He sometimes wanted to laugh hysterically at the looks on their faces, but he never let it show. Better to pretend to be oblivious and watch the lot of them go into cardiac arrest, not knowing whether anything they saw was just in their imaginations or not.

Things finally got too much for Xander a couple of weeks later. Spike had just got his hair cut. His hair did grow—very, very slowly, but it did grow. He hadn’t cared about the way he looked all the time that Buffy was gone, so it had ended up a tumbled mess. Dawn and Tara both said they liked it that way, but, now that he was starting to feel himself again, it bothered him and he went to a demon barber he knew to get it cut shorter.

Buffy laughed when she saw him, but half-lidded her eyes teasingly and gave him a come-hither look. “Wicked.”

They were all alone in the Magic Box at the moment, so he could laugh back.

“Does it give you ideas?”

“Oh, yeah.” She shoved him down into a chair and scrubbed her hand forward over the top of his head, destroying the careful slick-back the barber had left and sending it falling into strands over his forehead. “Bed hair.”

Oh, well, if she thought of it that way, he didn’t care what she did to it.

He wrapped his arms about her waist and pulled her against him. “And when do we get to that bed?”

“After patrol.” She teased him with her open mouth a breath away from his.

“Too long.”

She drew back, laughing, as he tried to catch her mouth with his. “Scoobies will be here any moment and Giles is in the back room. No chance of a quickie on the mats.”

His brows quirked. “Thinking about it, are you?”

She grinned. “Oh, yeah.”

He laughed with satisfaction, then let her go hurriedly as he heard the Scoobies outside. Buffy either didn’t hear them or didn’t care, and was scrubbing her hands over his head again when Willow, Xander and Anya walked in.

“What the hell are you doing?” Xander exploded and Buffy raised her brows at him.

“Spike got his hair cut.”

“I like it,” said Anya. “Sexy.”

Spike grinned. “Thanks, luv. That’s what I like to hear.”

“And that’s a reason for you to get all cuddly and cosy?” snarled Xander.

“What’s your damage, Xander?” asked Buffy scornfully. “It’s none of your business what I do.”

“Yes, it is! After all we’ve done, you have to go taking up with that disgusting...!”

“After all you’ve done?” Buffy’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “What you’ve done is exactly why you should stay out of my affairs!”

“What’s going on out here?” demanded Giles, coming out of the back room at the sound of voices and looking around in bewilderment.

No one paid attention to him. Anya was looking at Xander, a tiny frown on her face, and Willow was tugging at his arm, trying to distract him. Xander and Buffy were glaring at each other. Spike was on his feet, standing lightly balanced to jump in any direction and watching Xander intently.

“That’s the right word, isn’t it?” Xander said bitterly. “Affair. Don’t think we haven’t noticed you crawling all over him the last couple of weeks!”

“You do love to use ugly words, don’t you?” said Buffy. “And what business is it of yours if I do?”

“He’s a vamp! He doesn’t have a soul! He’s evil! Have you forgotten all of that?”

“He helps me. He doesn’t tell me what to do. He doesn’t try to jerk me around like you all do.”

“We don’t...” blurted Willow and Buffy gave her a scornful look.

“Stop lying to yourself, Willow. What do you think this is?”

“An intervention!” yelled Xander. “For God’s sake, Buffy! How can you bear to touch him?”

“Control yourself, Xander!” Giles said strongly. “Will someone please tell me what’s going on and how it started?”

“Buffy ran her hand over my head,” said Spike dryly.

Giles gaped at him. “That’s all? All these histrionics because she ra...?”

“You don’t fool me!” Xander yelled. “That’s not all!”

“No, that’s not all,” growled Spike. “The real problem is that he has the hots for the Slayer and can’t stand to see anybody else getting close to her.”


“You people are wonderful at denial, aren’t you?”

Buffy stepped in between as Xander made a furious movement towards Spike.

“See!” Xander yelled. “See what I mean? She keeps protecting him!”

“Well, he can’t protect himself, can he?” said Buffy. “I’d like to see you go up against him when he doesn’t have that chip in his head that keeps him from hurting you.”

Xander went white. “Are you calling me a coward?”

“And a bully. Yes.”

“What has he done to you?” Xander whispered.

“Nothing that I haven’t wanted him to do.”

“It’s a thrall, isn’t it?” He looked beseechingly at Giles and Willow. “You’ve got to do something. We’ve got to fix this!”

“I’ve tried,” said Willow plaintively. “But something keeps going wrong. I don’t know what.”

Everyone except Xander turned to stare at her.

“You’ve tried?” said Buffy dangerously. “You’ve tried to do something to me without my consent? Again?”

“I’m only trying to help!”

“With friends like you, who needs enemies?” She looked at Spike. “My enemy treats me with more respect.”

Willow looked wounded. “Buffy! It’s for your own good. You must see that.”

“I don’t. You’re trying to do things to me without my knowledge or my consent. I call that evil.”

“It’s not!”

“It is,” said Giles sternly. “And you don’t even see it. Willow, I’m becoming severely concerned about you.”

“She’s doing what needs to be done,” Xander snapped at him. “What you refuse to do. Helping Buffy!”

“Helping,” said Buffy bitterly. “Right. Willow, I want you out of my house.”

Willow fell back against a chair. “W-what?”

“I can’t trust you anymore.”


“Consequences,” said Giles softly with a glance at Spike’s tense face. “It’s time you learned that there are repercussions to every action, Willow. If you continue to try to do things to Buffy against her will, why are you surprised that she doesn’t want you around?”

“But I was just trying to help!”

“You’re not helping,” said Buffy wearily. “You’re trying to run my life. I want to do things my way. Even if I make mistakes, they’re my mistakes and I have a right to them. Just leave me alone, why can’t you? Why do you keep on trying to interfere? If I want to sleep with Spike, I will. If...”

“No!” Xander yelled furiously. “You can’t!”

“Can’t what? Sleep with Spike? Well, I am.”

“Ouch,” muttered Spike under his breath, but couldn’t help grinning. Everybody else looked pole-axed.

“You’re...you’re...” Xander seemed to be unable to breathe.

Buffy gave him an utterly cold and contemptuous look. “I’m. Fucking. Spike. And I’m enjoying every second of it. He’s bloody fantastic in bed.”

“Thanks, pet,” murmured Spike, unable to keep from relishing that, even though he knew there would be trouble coming. “Bloody fantastic, huh?”

“Even starting to sound like you, aren’t I? We really are spending too much time together.”

They grinned at each other.

“Xander, no!” Giles shouted.

Xander had jerked a stake out of his pocket and flung himself at Spike. Spike, who had been expecting it, simply swung smoothly out of his path. Giles grabbed Xander, pinning his arms to his sides, and Buffy reached out and twisted the collar of his shirt about his throat hard enough to get his attention.

“You hurt Spike in any way,” she said softly, but so dangerously that even Xander listened, “and I’ll hurt you ten times worse.”

She waited until Xander sagged in Giles’ grip, then let him go with a emphatic nod of her head.

“I mean it,” she said. “I’ve had it with this. Understand this, Xander. I choose who I sleep with and I will not have you harming him, whoever it is. And whoever it is, it won’t be you. You’ll never be more to me than a friend. Never. I’m sorry if that sounds cruel, but I’m fed up with you interfering with my personal life. I’ve run out of patience.”

“So have I,” said Anya suddenly and everybody looked around, surprised. They had forgotten her presence in the room. “I always wondered, you know. It was always Buffy, Buffy, Buffy with you. I’m tired of being second-best. You’ve never treated me right. Always blown me off. I’m done.”

“Anya!” exclaimed Xander, horrified.

“Used.” Anya glanced at Spike and they exchanged a rueful, sympathetic look, understanding each other. “Well, I deserve better. And I’m going to get it.”

She turned and walked out of the Magic Box.

“Anya, wait!” Xander tore free from Giles’ loosening grip and ran after her.

“She has a point,” remarked Buffy. “I think he’ll have to do a lot of crawling himself for the next little while. Hopefully , that’ll make him appreciate her a little more.”

“Consequences,” muttered Giles, glancing at Willow walking numbly out the door. “Looking back, I’m beginning to see how good those two have become at avoiding responsibility for their actions.”

“Time they learned not to,” said Buffy shortly. “I’m going on patrol. Coming, Spike?”

“In a minute,” said Spike, his gaze also following Willow. “Watcher...”

Giles waited until Buffy had left as well before saying quietly, “I made contact with the covens and one of their best is coming. But she has a couple of loose ends to tie up, so it might take a little while.”

“Tell her to get a move on. Don’t know how Red’s gonna react to being ordered out of the house like that. She’s kinda stunned right now, but it might turn to anger in a little while. You know how good she is at sluffing off her part in anything. Never her fault. Oh, no. People are just unreasonable for resenting her fucking with their lives.”

“I’ll call Tara and warn her. Maybe she can get through to Willow.”

“Hope so,” muttered Spike. But he sounded doubtful.

“Spike. About your relationship with Buffy...”

Spike looked around at the frown on Giles’ face and gave him a twisted smile.

“Don’t sweat it, Watcher. It’s only sensation. Nothing for you to worry about. No emotion involved.”

“Ah.” Giles was polishing his glasses. “Well, I can’t deny that I’m relieved to hear that. No emotion on your side either?”

“Come on, Watcher.” Spike turned away and headed for the door. “Demons can’t love. Isn’t that what your Council tells you?”

“Yes. Spike?”

“Yeah, what?”

“I’m sorry.”

Spike looked around in surprise and saw Giles watching him with unexpected compassion, not as Watcher to demon, but as man to man. He nodded wryly, acknowledging that.

“So am I, Watcher.”

He caught up with Buffy in Shady Rest cemetery, where she was whaling the stuffing out of a vamp. Spike lit a cigarette and leaned back against a tombstone, watching her thoughtfully. Anya and he. They were a pair, weren’t they? Demon and former demon, and both hurt far more by humans than they had ever been by other demons. Weird that—that humans could be more hurtful than demons. At least Anya had decided to call Xander on it. And that was fair. That wanker deserved the kick in the pants.

But Buffy didn’t deserve it. This had all been done to her and she was just struggling to cope. He wasn’t a masochist. He didn’t enjoy pain. But he could endure it, hoping that she would come back to herself at last. Trouble was, when she did come back to herself, would she still need him?

“Feeling better, pet?” he asked when Buffy finally dusted the vamp.

“I’m so angry,” she said. She hammered the stake into a tree, yanked it out, then hammered it in again. “Willow and Xander. We’ve been together over five years. They’re my best friends, Spike. How could they...how could they...I feel...”

“Betrayed. It isn’t your fault. Nothing you did. They’re just going through something right now. Once they come out of it, they’ll be your friends again.”

“Feeling hurts! I don’t want to feel. I thought when you’re a demon, you don’t feel.”

“Ah, but you’re not a demon, are you, Slayer?”

“You can hit me.”

Oh, so that was what was going through her head. Things were starting to make sense.

“Demons can feel, pet. Know the Council tells you different, but they’re wrong. Can’t get away from feeling. Anything that’s got a brain will feel. Even animals feel. Haven’t you noticed? Kittens and puppies and little birds and, dammit, even snakes, cold-blooded as they are.”

“Well, I don’t want to,” she growled.

“Want to be the Bot?” he mocked.


The walls were coming back up. She was closing herself off again. He caught her face in his hands and kissed her painfully hard, felt her mouth answer his and her hands clench on his T-shirt.

“Skip patrol tonight.”

“I shouldn’t...”

“Who’s it gonna hurt? We’ll do double tomorrow.”

“All right.”

He took her back to the crypt, made love to her over and over again, deliberately drowning her in sensation.

“Still want to be the Bot?”

“No,” she sighed. “But that’s just evading the issue.”

“In what way?”

“Physical sensation. That’s a cop-out.”

“It’s a start.”

“No. Not a start. The end. I don’t want more.”

“Missing out on the best of life, Slayer.”

“Pain?” she mocked.

“Joy,” he said quietly.

She rolled him onto his back, looked down at him, frowning. He looked back, smiling a little, his gaze challenging.

“I don’t like those choices. Both pain and joy or nothing? Well, I’ll take nothing.”

“Cheating yourself, Slayer.”

She sat up angrily, kneeling beside him. “I’m cheating you, Spike. Think I don’t know that? I’m not going to give you what you want. I won’t. Why do you put up with it?”

He tilted his head a little on the pillow, watching her with interest. It was the first time she had cared about what he felt.

“I love you, Buffy,” he said simply. “I’ll take anything you want to give me.”

“I’m hurting you.”

“So? With the pain, there’s also joy. Worth it.”

She shook her head helplessly, frowning down at him in frustration as he lay there, one arm flung above his head, casually surrendered to her. “It’s not. It’s not. You should leave.”

A flash of fear went through his eyes. “Do you want me to?”

“No.” She bent and kissed him fiercely hard. “I’m selfish. I don’t want you to.”

He relaxed. “Well, then, that’s all right, innit?”

“Would you leave if I told you to?”

“No.” He shrugged when she looked at him. “You’d have to dust me.”

“I’m using you.”

He smiled faintly. “Use or abuse, it doesn’t matter. I’m yours.”

“It’s not right,” she muttered.

“That’s progress, you thinking like that.”

She looked at him resentfully and he laughed. He reached out and pulled her across him so that she was straddling his stomach, then ran his hands up and down her thighs.

“Like that, don’t you, pet?”

“Sure. But that’s just sensation.”

“Yeah.” He ran his hands up her stomach and across her breasts, pressing hard. She arched back involuntarily, pushing into his hands. “What if it was someone else?”


“Some guy off the street. Would you like it as much?”

“No,” she said immediately, unthinkingly, then caught her breath, her eyes widening.

His face was very still as he looked up at her, eyes vulnerable.

“It has to be you,” she breathed and watched his face soften into tenderness. “Progress, huh? Guess I’m getting there.”

“Don’t slip back.”

“Can’t promise that.” She bent and kissed him, ran her hands caressingly over his shoulders and chest and stomach, felt the deep tremor run through his body beneath her. She wanted to give him something for all that he was giving her. But she had nothing to give except sensation.

And gentleness, she realized. He had taught her that. She could do that, give him the illusion of caring, if not the reality.

Well, maybe not that much of an illusion, she thought, feeling his arms tighten about her and his mouth respond helplessly to hers. Maybe she did care, just a little, even though she didn’t want to. It was him, the way he gave so much. She couldn’t shut him out completely, the way she did the others.

“No,” she said, pulling his hands away when he tried to roll them over. She pressed his hands onto the bed on either side of his head. “We’re going to do this slow. I want to take my time.”

“Okay,” he said, a little puzzled, but giving her anything she wanted, as always.

She stroked her fingertips down the inside of his wrists, then trailed her fingernails along the satin skin of his inner arms, feeling him shiver under her.

“Like the way you feel,” she explained and brushed her lips across his face, exploring the planes and hollows of strong bone, then pushed his head back for her mouth to work its way down his throat. He made a wordless sound of pleasure and arched his throat to her lips. His eyes were glazing over, his focus only on the way she felt, drowning himself in her. It made her feel so special, so cherished. She wanted to give that back to him—at least physically if nothing more.

She ran her hands down his torso, kneading and caressing the strong, supple muscles, tongued the flat coin of his nipple and felt his stomach jolt under her. His hands were on the front of her thighs, pressing lightly, moving her fractionally backwards with every push. She laughed softly and let him, feeling him hardening behind, then under her. They both caught their breath sharply when he had her exactly where he wanted her, astride his groin. She laughed, deliberately clawed his stomach with her nails in retaliation and heard him gasp as she rubbed herself against him, then lifted herself up and took him into her.

His hips came off the bed, thrusting into her even as she sank down on him, and his throat arched back.


“No.” She caught his hands as they clenched on her hips, pulled them away and pressed them to the bed, their fingers interlinked. “My way.”

“Sure...Oh, God!”

Her internal muscles had started a ripple effect, her sheath clenching upon his cock from tip to base again and again. He was so thick within her, she so tight about him, that every squeeze was an agonizing, rapturous stimulus for both of them. His eyes went yellow and completely blind; his mouth open and panting; tongue curled and pressed hard to the back of his teeth. Beneath her, his hips quivered and tried to rise, needing to thrust into her. She pressed her weight onto him and held him where he was, laughing, watched his eyelids open and shudder shut, his lips snarl back, gasping, from clenched teeth.


“Just a little longer.”

“Can’t...Gonna come...”

She could feel him starting to seize up, fell flat upon him, deliberately biting at the junction between his neck and his shoulder.

Oh, Christ!

“Drink,” she whispered. It was the only thing she could think to give him as compensation for everything she could not.

The word set off an explosion. The next second, she was on her back and he was completely in gameface, beyond control, his body pistoning violently into her, his parted lips gasping over the vein at the side of her neck.


Still trying to do the right thing.

“Do it,” she insisted, pulling his mouth harder to her neck.

“Oh, God...”

He was beyond thought now, unable to stop. She felt his fangs sink into her flesh, braced herself for pain, then was totally taken by surprise by the sensation that flooded through her as he drank. The voluptuous pleasure, the absolute mind-blowing rapture.


Her whole body seized up. She convulsed and convulsed again, clenching helplessly on him, felt him shudder and pulse within her violently as he too came.

“Oh, wow! Oh, wow!” she gasped, coming back to herself an eon later. “I never knew...Spike, is it always like that when someone drinks from you?”

“Oh, yeah.” He was heavy and limp upon her. She liked it, held him fast when he tried to move. He sighed in pleasure and licked at the bite mark on her neck to seal it. “Thass why people pay for it. In the bite-shops. Y’know?”

His voice was blurry with repletion. She smiled, holding him. He was purring. She could feel the vibrations running through her own body as he lay upon her. It felt marvelous.

“You didn’t have to do that,” he murmured.

“Wanted to. In fact,” she said honestly, “I want to do it again.”

She felt him smile against her neck. “Liked it, did you? No objections here.”

“Somehow figured that.”

They both laughed.

“Love you,” he whispered.


“Sorry. Can’t help saying it. Don’t have to respond, pet.”

“I want to,” she said suddenly. “But...”

“That’s something, innit?” he murmured, burrowing his face deeper into her.

Another step forward. But not enough. She knew it.

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