Title: Boy Good

By: Slaymesoftly

Rating: NC17

Word count: 24,750

Usual disclaimers in effect- not mine, I’m just playing with them.

Beta’d, as usual, by Always_jbj *hugs C.*

 

AN:  Written as a sequel to “Boy Smell Nice”, a fun little ficlet by ZoeGrace set during the 4th season episode “Beer Bad”.  In Zoe’s fic, which has, alas, been taken down while she explores original fiction, Spike has stumbled across Buffy while she is under the influence of the magic beer that created Cave Buffy.  He becomes distracted from killing her when Cave Buffy decides that he smells good.   During the course of the following activities, he bites her and tries to claim her.  But all in all, it’s a fun evening for them.  We begin with the very last line of Zoe’s story…

 

 

Boy Good

 

Chapter One

 

"So...How long you gonna pretend you're still under that spell, Slayer?"

 

 Forever? Or at least until you leave and I can spend the rest of the night happily denying what we just did?

 

            Buffy buried her face in his neck and tried to control her reaction to his words, but Spike’s soft chuckle said that her increased heart rate had given her away.

 

            “As long as I can,” she finally muttered, feeling the heat radiating from her face as she kept it resolutely buried in the soft skin of his neck.  She was unconsciously inhaling deeply as his scent reminded her of what had sparked the embarrassing events of the past hour.

 

            “Come on, pet. You don’t really think I’m going to let you get away with that, do you?”

 

            “You could, if you wanted to,” she grumbled, still refusing to look at him, and still curled into his side.  His hand was gently stroking her arm and she found the action surprisingly soothing and pleasant.

 

            “And, why would I want to do that?” he asked, dropping his head to whisper in her ear – running his tongue into and out of it as he did so.  Buffy shivered at the sensations he was creating and moaned involuntarily.  “Tell me, Slayer.  Why would I want to do that?” 

 

His mouth traveled from her ear down her throat, eliciting more shivers until, with a final whimper, she stilled.  She bit her lip and gave a deep sigh of resignation, reluctantly pushing him away and sitting up, clutching the sheet over her breasts.  For the first time since he’d told her to open her eyes while they were still intimately connected, she actually looked at him – her gaze disappointed, but stern.  Spike’s brow wrinkled in confusion and he cocked his head at her curiously.  Her body had been telling him she still wanted him, but the look on her face said something else entirely.

 

            “Because, if you’re going to insist on reminding me who we really are – or who I really am, anyway, ‘cause you were probably just being you…” She let her voice trail off, then exhaled sharply and continued, “If I’m me, and not Cave Buffy, then you’re just a pile of dust waiting to happen.”

 

            The vampire studied her resolute face for a minute, his former good mood ruined by the determination he saw there.  He kept his gaze on her, noting that although her steely stare never wavered, her lower lip trembled just the tiniest bit as it crept out in the beginning of a pout. 

 

            “Right then!” he exclaimed in one of his mercurial mood shifts.  “Cave Buffy it is!  More beer?”

 

            Buffy blinked at him in surprise for a second; taking in his hopeful expression and the beer bottle he was eagerly extending in her direction.

 

             What the hell. If I’m still drunk or under a spell, then I can’t be responsible. Right?

 

            She tentatively took the bottle he was still holding out, tilting it up and swallowing rapidly. 

 

            “Beer good!” she grunted, eying him suspiciously to see if he was going to play along.

 

            “Beer very good, Sl-Cave Buffy.  Beer very good.”  He upended his own bottle, emptying it and dropping it to the carpeted floor with a muffled ‘clunk’.  “But, you know what’s even better, pet?” he purred, taking the empty bottle from Buffy’s hand and sending it to join the other one on the floor. 

 

He gently tugged the sheet from her clenched hand, allowing his eyes to roam over her tanned body, pretending he couldn’t see the blush moving from her face down her neck and onto her chest.  He ran his hand lightly down her body from her neck to her hip, pulling her towards him as he did so.  He put his lips on the already healing bite marks on her neck and sucked gently, reveling in the way she shuddered beneath him.  Buffy’s arms slid tentatively around his neck as she allowed him to press their bodies together again.  When she nibbled on his throat, licking lightly and sniffing, he chuckled against her lips.

 

“Are you sniffing me again?”

 

“Boy smell nice,” she growled, embarrassed at having been caught out.

 

“Girl smell nice, too, love,” he responded, sliding down her body until his face was pressed against the source of the mouth-watering aroma that was teasing him.  “Girl smells bloody delectable.”

 

The first swipe of his tongue caught Buffy by surprise and she yelped softly before relaxing and opening her legs for him. 

 

If this is how cave women were treated, it’s a wonder they ever left the cave.  Oh my god, who knew…Spike…was so…talented…and creative…and…gah!

 

While Buffy was still trembling from the orgasm that taken her by surprise, the vampire crawled back up her body, kissing his way past her navel and pausing to suckle on each breast before stopping when they were face-to-face.  He stayed there for a second or two, just searching her eyes for some sign that she wanted him to continue.  Becoming more and more nervous, the longer the vampire stared at her, she finally blurted, “What boy doing?”

 

“Boy is going to teach Cave Buffy how to kiss,” he murmured, leaning in to her mouth.

 

“I already know how to ki---“ Buffy’s indignant reply was interrupted by the soft, cool lips that brushed over hers briefly before fastening themselves.  One light caress from Spike’s tongue had her willingly opening her mouth to him.  She could taste herself on his tongue, then quickly lost that train of thought as he showed her what he meant by teaching Cave Buffy how to kiss. 

 

For long minutes she allowed Spike to control the kisses, enjoying the way he could go from gentle and tender to fierce and passionate and back again.  She felt her already sated body melting into his as the kisses began to have an effect she could not have predicted.  With a last attempt to regain some control, she caught his lower lip in her teeth and sucked it into her mouth, smiling to herself at the smothered growl from the vampire.

 

 Oooh, sexy. Who knew having a vampire growling into your mouth could be so sexy?  Who knew Spike could be so sexy? Okay, scratch that. I knew it.  It’s always been there – just hiding behind all the wanting to kill me stuff.

 

Releasing his lip, she sent her own tongue to battle his for dominance, sweeping it around the inside of his lips and teasing the small indentations in which his fangs were barely contained.  A burst of feminine pride went through her when his grip tightened and he growled again, pulling her against his lean length.

 

Growling back at him, Buffy flipped them over so that he was beneath her, staring up at this newly confident woman, his admiration shining in his eyes.  Never taking her eyes off his, Buffy slowly lowered herself onto him, smiling when his eyes rolled back and he arched into her with a gasp.

 

Putting his hands over his head in an unintentional imitation of the way he’d had her pinned when she awoke from the spell, she held them there while she raised and lowered herself until they were both gasping and panting.  Buffy leaned into him, rubbing against his pubic bone as she allowed him to fasten his mouth on the marks on her neck.  She released his hands and used hers to clutch handfuls of the soft curls that had been freed by their earlier athletic coupling.  He immediately grabbed her hips, digging his fingers in fiercely and holding her in place while he pushed up, his face contorting as he gasped her name.

 

Buffy gave a muffled scream as she clenched around him, tremors shaking her body and goose bumps covering her skin from head to toe.  She barely noticed the vampire’s own growling release, remembering where she was and with whom only when her breathing had gone back to normal and she realized that she was lying on Spike. 

 

He seemed to be as affected as she was, breathing in unnecessary, hard gasps.  His arms were around her back, his hands stroking her sweat-dampened skin in a rhythmic fashion as his gasps turned into a soft purr. 

 

“Boy good,” Buffy murmured, her lips moving against the skin of his chest where her face rested.  “Boy very good.”

 

“Right back at ya, pet.”  His reply not hiding the smile in his voice, but lacking the cockiness she had been expecting.  “Right back at you.”  She felt his lips brush the top of her head in what could only have been a gentle kiss.

 

Realty began to assert itself, and Buffy gave a small sigh and began to roll off the limp vampire, only to feel his arms tighten almost imperceptibly.  She surprised herself by dropping a kiss on his bare chest before saying clearly, “Let go, Spike.”

 

He squeezed her gently; then released her with a soft sigh. “What happened to ‘Boy good’ and Cave Buffy?” he asked carefully, remembering what she’d said earlier about dusting him if he reminded her that she was no longer under a spell.

 

“I guess she’s left the building,” Buffy replied almost sadly. “And so will you if you know what’s good for you.”

 

“So,” he growled, sitting up and looking around for his clothes. “The bitch is back, huh?”

 

He instantly regretted his words when he felt her flinch and watched her expression harden. She moved away from him, as far as she could without falling off the narrow bed.

 

“Get out, Spike.  One chance.  Take it.”

 

The apology on his lips died unspoken when he saw the unyielding lines into which her face was set.  Clenching his jaw, and cursing his mouth, he began pulling on his pants, resolutely keeping his back to her.  Behind him, he could hear the rustle of fabric and knew that she was pulling the sheet around herself, hiding her nudity from his eyes.

 

He had just put on his boots, when there was a sudden rattle as someone attempted to enter the locked room.  He didn’t need to see Buffy’s face to know that it would be showing more fear than he’d ever been able to inspire in her, no matter how often he tried to kill her.  Her gasp and frantic scramble for clothes followed immediately upon the unmistakable sound of Willow’s voice.

 

“Buffy? Are you in there?  What’s wrong?  Why is the door locked?  Buffy? Let us in!”

 

 Us? There’s an ‘us’ out there?

 

“Well,” Spike slowly pulled on his tee shirt.  “Isn’t this a bit of a problem?  The Slayer naked, a vampire in her room and his mark on her neck.”

 

He relaxed back against the headboard of the bed and grinned at her.

 

“What are you gonna tell ‘em, pet? ‘Boy bring beer’?”

 

While Willow continued to rattle the doorknob and Xander’s voice joined hers in begging the slayer to open the door, Buffy just stared at Spike in horror.  He was just thinking he would repay her easy dismissal of their evening by walking over and opening the door himself, when she surprised him by whispering, “Please?”  Her expressive eyes met his and in spite of his best efforts to remain impassive, he succumbed to the silent plea there.

 

            “Fuck!” he growled, being careful to keep his voice down, even as he snarled at her and at himself for caring.  “I must be bloody insane!”

 

            As Buffy hesitantly answered her friends, saying, “I’m…I’m fine, guys. Just give me a minute to get dressed,” the vampire opened the large wardrobe against the wall and stepped inside, turning to face out into the room. Forgetting about the sheet, Buffy ran quickly to shut the door after him, hissing, “Don’t say or do anything – don’t breathe!”

 

            “Vampire here, Slayer. I think I know how to hide.”

 

            She hesitated briefly, then, without speaking again, closed the door carefully.  He heard her quickly dressing and straightening the bedclothes before walking across the room and opening the door.

 

            Her friends took in her tousled appearance and the worried look on her face.  “What happened?” Willow asked, frowning as she glanced around the room.  “Where have you been?”

 

            “Ri…right here.  I came right back here just like Xander told me to. I guess I fell asleep or something.”

 

            “So, you’re all right then?” Xander’s question was accompanied by a hard look at her disheveled clothing and messy hair.  “Turns out the beer was magical – that’s why you were acting so weird.  It turned you into—“

 

            “Cave Buffy.  Yeah, I got the memo when I woke up naked and…and naked.”

 

            “You were naked?  Damn, I knew I should have walked you home!”

 

            The guttural snarl from the wardrobe was almost drowned out by Willow’s loud “Xander!” and Buffy’s equally loud “No, you shouldn’t have!” but the slayer’s hearing picked it up.

 

            “Look, guys, I’m fine. All modern Buffy again.  Why don’t we go out and have some ice creamy goodness?  Doesn’t that sound good?”

 

            “So, no more beer?”

 

            “No, no more beer.  Beer bad – beer IS bad.  Bad beer. Very bad.”

 

            Her friends stared at the babbling slayer, their brows wrinkling with suspicion.   Willow pointed at the empty bottles on the floor and the remains of the six-pack sitting near the door.

 

            “Where did this beer come from?” she asked, frowning at Buffy’s panicked expression.

 

            “Uh…I, uh, I…I guess somebody left it here!”  Buffy looked at them brightly, quite pleased with her answer.  “That’s it! Somebody must have left it here.  I’ll bet it will be gone by the time we come back,” she insisted, pushing them towards the door.  “Now let’s go get that ice cream!”

 

            She shoved them out of the room, shooting a quick pleading glance at the now-ajar wardrobe. “It’ll be all gone when we get back!” she caroled loudly as she closed the door firmly behind her and prayed that she was right.      

 

 

Chapter Two

 

            Spike was stepping out of the wardrobe before the door had even shut, catching a quick glimpse of the Slayer’s last pleading look as she pulled the door firmly closed.  Growling the whole time, he picked up the empty bottles by the bed and set them by the still unopened ones near the door.

 

            He stared around the room curiously, not having had time earlier to notice anything but the Neolithic slayer.  He glanced casually at her textbooks, thrown carelessly on a desk, and began pulling open drawers and looking through them.  He snatched his hand back when his reach into one drawer encountered a large cross and a bottle of holy water.

 

             She even takes her work to college with her – I wonder what her advisers would make of that little collection?

 

He observed the tools of her trade from a safe distance, noting the well-carved stakes lying with the less lethal, but more painful weapons at her disposal.  He carefully picked up one of the stakes, noting with a disgusted snarl that the whelp’s initials had been carved into the handle.  He used the stake to poke around in the drawer and saw that several of the stakes had the same initials carved into their polished surfaces.

 

 Guess that explains the panic- that pathetic wanker would have had a coronary if he’d known what she was doing with me.

 

He tossed the stake back into the drawer and slammed it closed, unwilling to admit how angry it made him to think that a human male wanted what he’d marked as his.  After a cursory look at her makeup table and a large pile of shoes on the floor of the wardrobe, he was ready to take his beer and leave.  As he bent down to pick it up, a flash of pink lace caught his eye; he quickly identified it as the thong Cave Buffy had been wearing before deciding that she’d be more comfortable naked.

 

He grabbed the scrap of lace, holding it to his nose briefly before stuffing it in his pocket.  Picking up the beer, he took a last look around the room, wishing there was some way he could leave something behind to remind the slayer of him and their night of suspended hostilities, but knowing that she wouldn’t want anything left behind that might cause the witch to be suspicious. He shrugged and let himself out of the room, taking a quick glance down the hall before closing the door behind him.  He strode through the dormitory with long, ground-eating strides, ignoring the admiring glances sent his way by what he would normally have considered fair game. 

 

 Somehow, I don’t think the Slayer would allow whatever she felt about tonight to get in the way if she thought I’d stopped to eat one of her classmates on the way out of the building. I’ll grab a drunk somewhere later. Don’t really need the blood right now anyway, what with those sips from the Slayer.

 

Resolutely pushing away any thoughts of how foolish it had been to try to claim a slayer, particularly one that had, up until a few hours ago, hated him as much as he hated her, he wandered off to find a safe place to spend the rest of the night and the following day.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Xander drove Willow and Buffy back to the Sunnydale campus, letting them out within view of Stevenson Hall.  In spite of his best attempts to find out why Cave Buffy had been naked, he still knew no more about what had happened to Buffy after he sent her back to the dorm than he had before.  Even his shocked questioning when he noticed the tiny fang marks on her neck, got him nothing more than an “I don’t remember. I guess something bit me.”

 

Even with Willow’s equally shocked and concerned questioning, Buffy refused to discuss the bite marks on her neck, finally snapping out that she was clearly, “fine, not vamped, not drained and not interested in discussing it any more.”  After exchanging dubious looks, her two friends finally dropped the subject, agreeing that for someone who had been magically converted into a cave woman, she looked as fine as she said she felt.

 

After saying a quick “good-night” to their friend, the two girls made their way into the building, which was much quieter than when they left, it now being the wee hours of the morning.

 

“I’m sorry, Wills,” Buffy began as she put her key into the door of their room.  “I know you wanted to get a good night’s sleep before the test tomorrow and instead you had to run around looking for Cave Buffy.  I just want you to know, I am never drinking beer again!  I swear.”

 

Buffy unobtrusively took a quick glance around the room before actually moving inside so that Willow could come in. She noted with relief that the beer bottles were all gone and that there was no sign of the blond vampire. After running down the hall to get ready for bed, she put her damp toothbrush away and cautiously approached her hastily made bed.  There was no sign of the activity that had taken place earlier, and she breathed a small sigh of relief as she bade Willow a quick “good-night” and slid between the sheets.

 

She was just congratulating herself on getting away with the hours-long sex with her mortal enemy when Willow’s voice drifted out of the darkness.

 

“So, Buffy, are you going to tell me how those beer bottles got out of here and who took them away? Cause, you know, I’m thinking it wasn’t the good fairy.”

 

“Will you hate me if I say, I’d rather not tell you?” Buffy asked timidly.

 

“No, of course not! What do you think I am?  I’m your best friend, so if you want to keep something secret from me, that’s okay. I’m fine with it.  Really.”

 

Willow’s voice dripped with exactly how “fine” she was with it and Buffy sighed softly.

 

“Willow…look, being Cave Buffy was kind of freaky and it’s…possible…that I let someone in the room who shouldn’t have been here.  And it’s possible that he brought…beer.  Which Cave Buffy really wanted.  It’s no biggie, okay?  I drank one of the beers, he drank one, the spell wore off and I sent him away, all right?”

 

“You’re not going to tell me who it was?” The pout on Willow’s invisible face was very clear in her voice.

 

“I’d really rather not,” Buffy replied quietly.

 

“Oh my God!  You didn’t bring Parker in here, did you?  Please tell me you didn’t have sex with Parker again!”

 

“What! No! No Parker and ewwww, like I would let him touch me again after--  No, it wasn’t Parker.  It wasn’t anybody – I mean with the sex…there was no sex!  There was beer drinking and then…spell ending and leaving.  That’s all.”

 

“But the beer was still here when we came to find you, Buffy.  How could he come back after you locked the door?”

 

“I don’t know – I guess he knew how to open it or something. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.  It’s over. Done.”

 

The Slayer resolutely put her pillow over her head and pretended she couldn’t hear Willow’s puzzled “but, Buffy…” After several minutes of silence, the red haired witch gave up and went to sleep, a small frown still wrinkling her brow as she did so.

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

Buffy looked around the Sunnydale U campus and smiled at the normality of her day.  The attractive TA who’d invited her on the picnic was slicing an apple for her, the sun was shining, there were no vampires to worry about, and she had come up with a good explanation for Riley to explain why she wouldn’t be able to meet him at the Bronze until after ten o’clock.

 

“Do you often help your mother with moving crates around her shop?”  Riley’s raised eyebrow and the smile that quirked his mouth said clearly that he found the idea of Buffy’s mother choosing the petite blonde to help her move large, heavy boxes around a bit humorous.

 

“Um, yes, actually, I do,” Buffy said, a trace of indignation in her voice.   She smothered the anger that his casual dismissal of her usefulness caused, telling herself that it was just another sign of how normal he was and how normal he thought she was.  Forcing the huffy tone from her voice, she repeated that it wouldn’t take long and that she could meet him after ten.

 

To her surprise, he nodded and agreed readily. “That’s fine, Buffy. I have some patr-work to do early in the evening anyway.  I’ll just meet you at the Bronze.”

 

“Okay,” she gifted him with one of her dazzling smiles, “we’ll meet at the Bronze after patro-I help my mother.”  She smothered the guilt she felt for lying to the man she was coming to like so much, and indulged herself in the pleasure of having him feed small slices of apples into her mouth.   The afternoon was marred only by the random thought that went through her mind as she returned the favor and fed slices of apple to Riley.

 

 I’ll bet Spike would have wrapped his lips around my fingers and pulled them into his mouth to suck on…Okay…wigging now.  I’m here with a potential normal boyfriend and I’m thinking about a sexy vampire.  A sexy, never-to-be-alone-with-again vampire, who probably isn’t even in Sunnydale anymore.  I would have seen him or seen the bodies of his victims if he was still here. He probably left to go chasing after the ho-bag again. And I sooo don’t care if he is.  Good riddance. Saves me the trouble of staking him.  Which I would.  Absolutely.  Good sex and the best kisses I’ve ever had – totally beside the point.  Evil is evil and Spike is evil.  Evil and---

 

Buffy shook her head as she realized that Riley was staring at her and waving his hand in front of her face.  

 

“Ah, there you are.  I thought for a minute that you were on another planet.”  He smiled at her, enjoying the embarrassed blush that was spreading over her face.  “Anything you’d like to share with the class?” he teased gently, shocked when she shook her head rapidly.

 

“No!  No sharing.  Not with the class.  Not that there’s anything to share, because there isn’t.  Anything to share, I mean. Nope, no sharing here.”

 

“You’re a very strange girl,” he murmured, cupping her cheek. “But a very beautiful one.  I’m glad I met you, Buffy.”

 

“Oh, me too, Riley.  Glad you met me, I mean.”

 

   ````````

 

After an uneventful patrol that resulted in the dusting of two fledglings that had not even brushed the dirt off their clothes, Buffy decided to drop by the gallery just in case her mom actually did need help with the big crates that had arrived the day before.  She had told Buffy that she thought she was going to have all the help she needed, but knowing how large the crates were, Buffy couldn’t imagine which of her mother’s employees could be of much help.

 

To her consternation, she ran into Riley as she was taking a short cut through Restfield Cemetery.  He seemed as unhappy about seeing her, as she was to find him there.  Several minutes of awkward conversation and excuses later, he was insisting on walking her to her mother’s gallery and scolding her about using a cemetery as a short cut after dark.  Buffy looked curiously at the dark clothing he was wearing, wondering briefly what he was doing in a cemetery at night.

 

Pushing open the unlocked front door of the gallery, Buffy called out quickly, “Mom? It’s me.  I’ve got someone with me.  Someone for you to meet,” she added quickly at Riley’s puzzled frown.

 

Recognizing the warning for what it was, Joyce didn’t say anything about helping with the crates or ask how patrol had gone, only calling, “I’ll be right out, honey.  I’m just getting the last of these statues put away.”

 

While Riley looked around the gallery curiously, clearly having no idea what he was looking at, Joyce came from the back wiping her dusty hands on her smock.

 

“So, you really didn’t need me?” Buffy asked in disbelief, eyeing one of the large stone sculptures that had been displayed in the window.

 

“No,” her mother answered with a glance at Riley.  “I had some help.  Some very strong help,” she emphasized, with a glance towards the back.

 

Buffy started towards the storeroom, her curiosity getting the better of her, when her mother grabbed her arm and asked brightly, “And who is this, dear?”

 

Buffy turned to introduce her to Riley, catching a whiff of cigarette smoke as she did so.  She gave Joyce a glare and shook off her arm, prepared to throw her mother’s “very strong” help out into the alley where she could stake him for daring to come near her family.  Before she could move around Joyce, who had stepped between Buffy and the storeroom with an expression that brooked no argument, she heard the back door slam and resigned herself to the fact that the “help” had already left.

 

“What have I told you about letting him in?” she demanded, forgetting, in her fear and anger, that Riley was listening.

 

“There is nothing to keep him out, Buffy. This is a public place; and I am the proprietor.  When a willing pair of very strong hands comes in the door and offers to help me, I do not repay kindness with rudeness.”

 

“Kindness!  From a v—from him?”

 

Riley cleared his throat uncomfortably, bringing the attention back to his presence and causing both mother and daughter to postpone the on-going argument over Joyce’s continued willingness to trust Spike aside for the time being.

 

“Mom, this is Riley Finn,” Buffy mumbled.  “Riley, this is my mom; who apparently doesn’t need my help as much as I thought she did.”

 

“Well, to be honest, Mrs. Summers, I couldn’t imagine what a cute little girl like Buffy was going to be able to do to help anyway.” Riley carefully shook Joyce’s hand, choosing to take the smile she couldn’t control to mean she was glad to meet him.

 

“Oh, Buffy might surprise you,” she said, shaking his hand firmly.  “Normally, I would have had her helping. It just so happens that an old…friend was in the area and stopped by to say ‘hello’. He was more than able to help me out.”

 

“Oh, that’s good.  I’m glad you got some help. Are you sure you’re finished?  Because if you aren’t, I’d be happy to help you out.”

 

“Well, there is one more big crate that we didn’t get to before you came in….”

 

“I’m your man.” Riley smiled. “Just point me at it.”

 

Rolling her eyes behind his back, Joyce led Buffy and Riley into the storeroom and pointed at a partially opened crate in the middle of the floor.  Striding to it confidently, Riley looked at the two boards that had already been pulled free and flexed his arms.  Wrapping one large hand around the next board, he grunted and pulled until it came loose with the screeching of nails pulling free.

 

Pausing to collect himself, the big commando looked around curiously.  “Did your friend use a crowbar or something?” he asked, still searching for a tool.  “Surely he didn’t pull those boards up with his bare hands? If he did, he must be a lot bigger than I am.”

 

“Um actually, he’s—“ Buffy stopped herself before she could describe Spike to Riley.  “He’s just very strong. I think he works out a lot.”

 

“I work out a lot,” the man muttered.  “This guy isn’t normal. He must be some kind of freak.”

 

In spite of herself, Buffy found she was losing patience with Riley’s insistence that no one could possibly be stronger than he was.  Gesturing to her mother to distract him, she waited until his back was turned, then quickly pulled up the next two boards.  Riley whirled at the sound, gawking at the now-open crate, his mouth agape with surprise.

 

“Okay, mom. Where do you want it?” she asked perkily, tipping the crate and gesturing for Riley to pull the sculpture out.  While he wrestled and grunted, finally working it out of the crate and setting it on its base, Buffy casually held the large wooden crate and waited.  Joyce pointed silently to a corner of the room and Buffy helped Riley drag the heavy sculpture across the floor, taking care that she didn’t help so much that he suspected that she could have moved it by herself.

 

When they had walked Joyce to her car and seen her safely on her way home, Buffy and Riley began the long walk to the Bronze. Buffy was striding out as if on a mission, anger at Spike for not staying away from her family, at her mother for trusting the vampire just because he was always polite to her, and anger at Riley for being so arrogant fueling her rapid steps.  If Riley wondered how a small girl could cover so much ground so easily, he didn’t ask, just extending his long legs to keep up with her and chatting about school and the next day’s classes. Buffy’s anger wore off and as their steps slowed, the conversation became easier and Riley felt that he could bring up the short argument she’d had with her mother.

 

“Uh, this strange guy – the one who is so strong and who helped your mother out?  Why did you get so mad at her for having him around?  Is he an ex-boyfriend of hers or something?”

 

“Boyfriend? Mom?  My mom?”

 

“Well, if he’s not an angry ex, why don’t you want her to let him in?  Who is he?”

 

“He’s just an old…he’s somebody I know…from school.  That’s it.  Somebody I’ve known since my junior year of high school.  He’s not a…a…very nice person.  He could be dangerous.  She just refuses to believe that he might hurt her.”

 

“Well, she seems to be right so far.  He did a hell of a lot of work there tonight – “

 

“He needs to stay away from my mother!”  All of Buffy’s agitation came back and her pace increased along with it.

 

“Okay, okay,” Riley soothed, struggling to catch up. “How about if we hang out there once in a while and maybe we can catch this guy and I can ‘reason’ with him.  I’m sure I can explain to him that he needs to stay away from your mother.”

 

“You do remember that he opened and moved all those crates of sculpture by himself tonight, right?” Buffy asked wryly.  “I think your words were, ‘he must be a freak’?”

 

Riley stiffened.  “Are you telling me I should be afraid of him?” Disbelief and a trace of amusement colored Riley’s voice.  “I can take care of myself, Buffy.  There’s still a lot you don’t know about me.”

 

Biting back a retort involving Spike’s having him for lunch, Buffy just nodded and put on her best cheerleader smile.

 

“I’m sure that’s true, Riley.  And I appreciate the offer. Really I do.  But I think I should take care of Sp- the problem myself.”

 

“How are you going to do that?  If this guy’s as bad as you say, I don’t want you trying to handle him by yourself.”

 

Reminding herself that Riley knew nothing about her slayer skills and strength, Buffy forced herself to look appreciative and said between tightly clenched teeth, “He has a lot of respect for me.  I’ll be fine.  I just have to convince him that it’s in his best interest not to visit my mom unless I’m there.”

 

“I still think he’ll be more likely to listen if he sees me backing you up,” Riley grumbled as they reached the Bronze and he held the door for her.  “I appreciate how confident and independent you are, Buffy, but if this guy is as strong and potentially dangerous as you say he is, I’d be a lot more comfortable if you let me handle it for you.”

 

“I understand that, Riley. Really, I do.  I just don’t think it’s necessary.  Honestly.  If I think I need help with him, I’ll let you know. I promise.”

 

Her new boyfriend suddenly stared at her suspiciously.  “You said you’ve known him since you were in high school – is this guy one of your exes?”

 

“What?  My what?  Sp-that guy?  Oh my god, no.  No, not at all. There is no exing about it.  He’s just an annoying…guy… who came to Sunnydale a few years ago and keeps coming back to irritate me.“

 

“Well, that’s a relief!” Riley smiled broadly.  “I didn’t think you were the kind of girl who would have any dangerous exes in her life, but you never know.”

 

Buffy winced as she thought about Angelus, and wondered if Riley would classify a two-hundred-year-old master vampire known as the Scourge of Europe as “dangerous”.  Not to mention his grandchilde, who had cut his own swath through the populations of the world and killed two slayers besides.

 

“Nope!” she chirped brightly.  “No dangerous exes in my life.  No exes at all, hardly, really.  To speak of.  I mean I guess there’s Parker, but…”

 

“The less said about him the better,” Riley growled.  “I wouldn’t consider him an ex – he’s just a mistake you made.”

 

Buffy made a face and muttered, “You got that right” 

 

If I learned nothing else from that night that I refuse to think about, it’s what it’s like to make – have sex- with somebody who’s really good at it.  Parker should follow Spike around and take notes.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

With unpleasant or unsettling conversational subjects now out of the way, Buffy and Riley found a table and sat down to enjoy their drinks.  She turned down his offer of a beer with a small shudder, opting instead for a Diet Coke.

 

“You don’t like beer?” he asked with a smile, setting her coke down in front of her.

 

“Uh, sometimes I do,” she said slowly. “Sometimes I do, but it’s not really good for me.”

 

“I just thought you might want something that would relax you, rather than something with caffeine in it. There’s nothing like a nice cold beer to ease the tension.”

 

“There’s no tension!  I’m not feeling any tension. Are you feeling tension? Cause, not me. No sir. No need to ease tension here.”

 

As Buffy babbled, causing Riley to smile at her and say soothingly, “Well, I’d like to think there was a certain amount of…tension…between us.  You know, there’s something that makes my whole body hum when you’re around. I was sort of hoping you were feeling the same thing. That maybe that’s what’s responsible for your…speech habits.”

 

“You mean my babbling?” she asked ruefully.  “I was, wasn’t I? Babbling, I mean.”

 

“You were; but it’s adorable.”

 

He leaned back in his chair, clearly pleased to think that Buffy was having the same reaction to his presence as he was to hers.  She flashed him a guilty smile and began playing with her drink, drawing circles on the table with the condensation on the side of the glass. 

 

It took a few seconds for Buffy to realize that the tingling she was feeling in the back of her neck was her slayer sense alerting her to the presence of a vampire, and she had a moment of panic as she wondered how she could get away from Riley long enough to stake whatever vamp was using the Bronze for his take-out.  To her relief, he excused himself to use the restroom and she was able to move around the room until her senses led her to the area under the stairs.

 

Glancing around quickly to see if anyone was watching, she slid closer to the dark area, groaning as she recognized the vampire in question.

 

“Dammit, Spike. What are you doing here?  And what were you doing at my mother’s gallery?”

 

“It’s nice to see you again, too, love,” he snarked, stepping forward far enough for her to notice his eyes raking over her body.  “Who’s the oversized boy scout?”

 

“That’s my boyfriend,” she answered haughtily.  “And, I sooo did not just see you flash some fang at me!”

 

“Wasn’t at you,” he muttered, pushing his demon back. “Was what you said.”

 

“That I have a boyfriend?  And that’s your business, because…?”

 

He moved closer and ran his tongue over the now-invisible marks he’d left on her throat weeks ago.  Buffy smothered a whimper and fought the urge to press up against the body only inches away.

 

“Stop that,” she ordered, pulling her shoulder up to block his access to her throat.

 

“Stop me,” he responded, pulling her closer and running his lips up to her mouth.  “Make me stop, Slayer. If you can.”

 

“Oh, I can, Spike,” she began.  “You just watch-“ She was cut off by the vampire’s mouth, which, in spite of her protests, was now fastened on hers.  His tongue was insistently tickling her lips, which parted just to tell him to let go allowing it to invade her mouth and begin caressing her own tongue.  Bad! Bad Buffy! This is very bad.  I’m kissing Spike and there is no beer involved.  And my nice, normal soon-to-be-boyfriend is in the same room.

 

When it became obvious that Buffy’s increased heart rate was mostly panic, rather than the excitement he’d been hoping for, Spike reluctantly released her mouth with a final nip on her lower lip.  His arms had slipped around her waist, and he held her lightly, enjoying the way her body was still pressed against his.  Her head briefly rested against his chest while the slayer took a deep breath, which she released with a shudder.

 

She pushed away from him, refusing to acknowledge the pang of disappointment when he quickly dropped his arms and stepped back into the shadows.  A muffled growl from the vampire was her only warning as Riley came up behind her to ask, “Is there a problem, Buffy?  Was this guy bothering you?”

 

Buffy couldn’t control the small “eep!” that left her mouth as she realized he was standing right behind her and glaring into the shadows at Spike’s impassive face. Pushing her aside,Riley stepped into Spike’s personal space and, looming over the much smaller man, growled, “You’ll want to be leaving now, asshole.”

 

The vampire’s eyes were flashing amber and Buffy could just hear the snarl in the back of his throat.  Instead of shrinking away from the larger man, as Riley had clearly expected him to, he moved forward, his platinum hair glinting in the light.  Before he could say or do anything, Buffy stepped between the two men, giving Spike a warning glare and pushing gently on Riley’s chest.

 

“There’s no problem, Riley.  I just came over to talk to Spike about the gallery thing.  Please don’t start anything.”

 

“Buffy, there is no need for you to be afraid of this guy while I’m around.  I saw him trying to grab you.  Let me take him outside and I’m sure I can convince him that he’d rather leave town.”

 

Spike’s eyes lit up in anticipation and he literally bounced on his toes as he responded, “Yeah, Slayer, Let him take me outside.”

 

“No!”  Buffy glared at the vampire again, hoping Riley hadn’t noticed what the vampire had called her.  “Not gonna happen, Spike. Just get out. Go. Now.”

 

Hoping that Riley wouldn’t notice that she was actually holding him in place, Buffy did her best to intimidate the vampire into leaving without a fight.  When it looked like he was not going to give up the chance to fight the other man, she hissed and shoved Riley back a few steps before grabbing Spike’s arm in a painful grip and dragging him toward the door.

 

“I swear, Spike.  If you mess this up for me, I WILL stake you. Mystical, drunken, mind-blowing sex or not, I will not let you spoil my chance to have a nice, normal boyfriend.”

 

“There’s nothing nice, or normal, about that big git,” the vampire snarled, snatching his arm away from her.  “You should have let me eat him.”  His voice and expression changed abruptly to pleased and hopeful. “You thought it was mind-blowing?  Really?”

 

“Just go, Spike.” Her voice lost its angry edge as she remembered what they’d been doing just before Riley appeared.  “I don’t want to stake you – I just want you to leave me alone.  Let me have a normal life,” she almost pleaded.

 

His own mood changing to match hers, he touched her face gently, pushing a stray lock of hair back behind her ear.  “You’re the Slayer, love.  I don’t think normal comes with that title.”

 

“I don’t think boinking evil vampires comes with it either,” she replied, unconsciously leaning into his hand.  “You need to leave Sunnydale.  Before something happens and one of us has to kill the other.”

 

He studied her serious face for a full minute, gazing into her eyes until he was sure of what he was seeing.  Finally he dropped his hand and nodded slowly.

 

“Alright, love.  You’re probl’y right.  It’s not like this was goin’ anywhere, is it?”

 

“Exactly.  It was just one of those…magical…spell-magical, not magical-magical,” she hastened to clarify, “things that happen on the Hellmouth.  We’ll just put it behind us and move on.”

 

He cocked his head at her and began to speak; then suddenly glanced over her shoulder. “Here comes the Peaches substitute, pet.  I’m guessing that makes a good-bye kiss out of the question?”

 

When Buffy whirled to watch Riley striding toward them, his face a study in fury, Spike took advantage of her distraction to lean in and whisper in her ear, “I thought it was magical-magical, Slayer.” He brushed his lips over her cheek and then vanished into the night, out of sight long before Riley came running up to Buffy.

 

“What did you mean by going out here with him by yourself?” he said angrily.  “You could have been hurt!”

 

“He wasn’t going to hurt me, Riley,” she said evenly.  “I took him out here to keep him from hurting you.”

 

“Buffy, that wasn’t going to happen.  I understand that this guy has you convinced he’s really dangerous, but it’s obvious that he’s just some punk thug wannabe.  I could have handled him.”

 

Buffy just stared at the man for whom she’d sent away the best kisser she’d ever met and shook her head.  “Fine,” she agreed. “You could have handled him; but this way, you didn’t have to.  And that makes me much happier than having to watch a bunch of macho posturing from the two of you.”

 

She turned and started off in the direction of the dorms, rolling her eyes when Riley hastened to catch up to her.

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“Home. Or back to the dorm, anyway.  It’s late and I have class tomorrow.”

 

“Let me walk you back. This town isn’t really all that safe at night.”

 

“Gee, ya think?” She fought hard to keep the sarcasm from her voice.  I’m really being unfair to him.  He has no idea who or what I am and he’s right. For most girls it wouldn’t be safe to be walking alone this late at night.

 

“I’m sorry, Riley.  I seem to be in total bitch mode tonight.”  She looked at him apologetically. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I’m such a cranky Buffy all of a sudden.”

 

  But, I’m sure it has nothing to do with having sent Spike away.  I’m glad he’s gone.

 

“That’s all right, Buffy. You’ve had an unsettling evening; what with that guy harassing your mom and then showing up at the Bronze to harass you.”

 

While Buffy was debating about whether or not to correct Riley’s assessment of the evening’s events, her neck began to tingle and she looked around, wondering if Spike was following them. She wasn’t sure if she was relieved or disappointed when three young vamps in game face stepped out of the shadows and blocked their path.  Riley stepped in front of her, blocking their view of the girl with him and said in his most authoritative voice, “You’ll want to move along if you know what’s good for you.”

 

The raucous laughter that greeted his remark was abruptly cut off when Buffy stepped out from behind him, stake in hand.

 

“You probably should have listened to him, boys,” she said cheerily, waving her stake.

 

The vampires began to back away, never taking their eyes off the Slayer, now stalking toward them.  Riley was just congratulating himself on having backed down three hostiles without having to reach for his taser, when he followed the direction of their frightened gazes and realized they were backing away from the little girl he’d thought he was protecting.

 

He stood, rooted to the spot, as Buffy stalked the vampires until they were trapped within the alley from which they’d stepped.  With their backs to the wall, the three not-quite-fledglings found their courage and leaped to the attack.  As the vampires snarled and charged, Riley shook himself out of his surprised immobility and pulled his taser from his pocket.  He ran toward the melee in the alley, confused to find there were now only two vampires left and Buffy was dancing around them, scolding them for ruining her evening.

 

“I wasn’t going to let him know about my night job until we’d been dating longer!  You guys are sooo going to pay for this!” As she spoke, she kicked the shortest one in the chest, knocking him against the wall.  From the corner of her eye, she saw Riley reach toward the other vamp, sending the creature to the ground.  With a shrug, she tucked her stake into her waistband and began to take out the night’s accumulated irritations on the face and body of the remaining vampire.

 

When she saw that Riley’s vampire was beginning to stir, she pulled her stake out and put her opponent out of the misery she had caused.  She turned back in time to see Riley pull out his own stake and drive it through the heart of the vampire at his feet.

 

They stared at each other for long minutes, stakes in hand and dust at their feet. Finally, Riley broke the silence.

 

“So, this is why you weren’t afraid of that guy, huh?”

 

“Um, yeah. Pretty much.  I, uh, I don’t scare all that easily.”

 

“I can see why,” he said with a small laugh. “No wonder those vamps backed away from you.  But, how did they know?”

 

Buffy blew out her breath and sighed.  “Did you hear what Spike called me, back at the Bronze? When he wanted me to let him fight you?”

 

Riley shook his head. “I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying.  It didn’t seem important at the time.”

 

Buffy laughed.  “Good call.  It usually isn’t – important, I mean. But he does talk a lot, and that time he called me ‘Slayer’.”

 

“Slayer?”

 

“The Chosen One?  She-who-walks-through-cemeteries? The Vampire Slayer?  The one in all the world who—Is any of this ringing a bell?”

 

“Sorry, Buffy.  We’re pretty well-versed in the various demons and vampires, but little blonde girls who frighten them just hasn’t come up yet.”

 

“We?”

 

“Uh, yeah.  There’s some…stuff about me that I was waiting until we’d been dating a while longer before I told you too,” he admitted sheepishly.

 

“I guess we need to talk, huh?” she asked with a small smile.

 

“Yeah. I would say so,” he agreed.

 

“Can it wait until tomorrow?  I’m really tired and I’d like to just go to bed and get some sleep.”

 

“Of course, it can wait. Let’s just get you back to the dorm and we’ll talk tomorrow.  Over coffee? Around ten?”

 

“Sounds good.” 

 

The walk back to the campus was made mostly in silence, broken only by Riley’s idle questions.

 

“So, who else besides this Spike guy knows that you’re the Slayer?  Is it common knowledge?”

 

He hasn’t figured out that Spike’s a vamp. How dumb is that?  Probably just as well. I don’t want him to go out looking for him.  Not until I know more about what’s going on.

 

Aloud, she said quietly, “No, I don’t think it’s common knowledge.  Most of the kids I went to high school with knew – or they knew there was…something…anyway.  But now?  Willow, Oz, Xander, my mom, Giles, of course – he’s my watcher – and…”

 

“So, that’s why Spike called you that. He knew you from high school.”

 

“Uh, yeah. He’s known I was the Slayer since I was sixteen.”

 

Riley nodded and was silent for another few minutes. “You’d think, if he knew, he’d have been too afraid of you to harass you or your mother…Or, do you treat humans differently from the way you handle vampires?”

 

“Slayers don’t kill humans,” she said flatly. “Or harm them if at all possible.” Okay, not really a lie. It’s totally true. Letting him think Spike is human isn’t lying; it’s just…omitting.

 

When they reached the dorm and Riley leaned down for a goodnight kiss, Buffy tried not to compare his warm, dry lips with the ones she’d been enjoying earlier in the evening.

 

 He’s gone.  He said he’d leave and he’s probably on his way now. And that’s good. I don’t need him here complicating my life.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

The conversation the following day went as well as could be expected, with both parties having to admit to omitting some pretty major pieces of information when they had originally met.  Buffy explained about slayers and watchers and gave Riley a very short, edited version of the things that had happened to her since she’d been called.

 

She tried to gloss over her relationship with Angel, saying only that he had been cursed with a soul, had lost it temporarily, had it restored and was now living in Los Angeles.  Riley seemed a little bewildered by the soul/no-soul thing, but nodded when she assured him that the vampire was very much in her past and that she rarely even talked to him anymore.

 

In turn, the undercover commando told her about the organization he worked for and their mission to shut down the Hellmouth and to destroy all the demons and vampires drawn to it.  He told her he had spoken to his superior officer – which, to Buffy’s surprise, turned out to be her psych professor- and that she was anxious to meet her outside of the classroom and to learn more about slayers.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Buffy thought she held her temper very well when Professor Walsh’s condescending attitude began to rankle.  When the older woman smiled in a patronizing fashion as she commented on Buffy’s “poking them with a pointy stick” as a comparison with the high-tech weapons her men used, the Slayer almost lost it, asking tightly, “Riley, how many vamps have you killed this week?”

 

He goggled at her.  “This WEEK?” 

 

“Yes, This week.  How many so far?”

 

“Well, not counting the ones we’ve captured for—“ he broke off at a shake of his boss’s head.  “My squad has dusted a total of four,” he said proudly.

 

Buffy rolled her eyes and stood up, facing her professor.

 

“I usually get that many in a night. And have been since I moved to Sunnydale when I was fifteen.  Do the math, Professor Walsh; then you can smirk at my ‘pointy sticks’”

 

With a final glare at the visibly shocked woman, she walked out the door and down the hall.  She could hear a short conversation behind her; then Riley was running to catch up.

 

“Buffy – look, I’m sorry.  Maggie didn’t mean anything by that.  She’s a scientist and to her everything is about the science and technology.”

 

“Riley, how can you apply science and technology to supernatural beings?”

 

“Now, Buffy, you don’t really believe these creatures are supernatural, do you?  They’re just subterrestrial animals – a little more sentient than some, but animals never-the-less.  That whole Good versus Evil thing you were talking about – well, it just doesn’t hold up.  They aren’t evil; they just can’t control themselves the way humans can.  A vampire can no more control his bloodlust, or his actions, than a wild dog can.”

 

“How, exactly, do you account for Angel’s soul and the curse that put it in? Or werewolves? Or the Hellmouth, itself, for that matter?”

 

“I can’t explain about your…friend’s soul or lack of soul…I suspect there is a logical explanation, though.  We may want to look into that when we’re through here in Sunnydale though.”

 

“How do you explain me, Riley?”

 

“Oh, that’s the easy one.  That organization that watches you – I ‘m sure they’ve enhanced you somehow.  Maggie would love to know what they used, just in case it’s better than what she gives us.  Maybe you can get Mr. Giles to talk to her about it?” he concluded eagerly.

 

Buffy shook her head helplessly and shrugged.  “Okay, Riley. You win. I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way.”

 

“See you tonight?” he asked as she turned to go into the building for her next class.

 

“Sure.  I’ll see you tonight. Right after patrol.”

 

Before he could offer to patrol with her, she ran in to the building repeating like a mantra, “He’s nice. He’s normal. He likes me.  He’s nice. He’s normal.  He likes me. He’s nice. He’s….”

 

Agreeing to disagree about the supernatural origins of the creatures they were hunting on a nightly basis, Buffy and Riley continued to build their tentative relationship.  Somehow, knowing that Riley was not as normal as she had originally thought was less of a problem than she expected.

 

Maybe Spike’s right.  Maybe I can’t do normal.  I need something more.  Somebody who is more an equal.  Somebody who understands me, and what I am.   Okay, Riley’s still not much with the understanding, but at least he’s strong and he hunts vamps and demons.  That’s got to be a plus, right?  I mean, yay super strength and…stuff.

 

The night that Maggie Walsh insisted that Riley’s squad ambush Buffy as she walked across campus so that Maggie could “evaluate and confirm” what the girl said about herself and her powers, took the relationship to a new level; one for which Riley had been waiting for some time.  When Buffy had easily and successfully put all his men on the ground unconscious and moaning, the big commando found himself turned on by her as never before.  To his delight, the workout seemed to have had the same effect on the Slayer and she raced him back to his room at Lovell House.

 

 This just proves that I’m normal and that I really like this guy.  That’s why I’m turned on.  It’s got nothing to do with the fight I had first.  It’s because I really like Riley.  I’m ready to take our relationship to the next level.  It’s got nothing to do with being a slayer and getting turned on by violence…

 

In the back of her mind she heard sarcastic laughter – male and female.  The female laughter sounded uncomfortably like Faith, and the male snickering sounded much too much like someone she really didn’t want to be thinking about when she was just about to have sex with her boyfriend.  Resolutely blocking the laughter and the accompanying visuals from her mind, she threw herself into the proceedings - to Riley’s delighted surprise and the subsequent test of his stamina.

 

“Wow,” he managed to gasp, when he finally had to admit defeat and call for a rest.  “Whatever they give you Slayers, I want some.  In fact,” he said, with a warm smile and a kiss, “I think I’m going to need it, if that’s an example of what we’re going to be doing.”

 

Buffy managed to suppress her eye roll, but her disobedient thoughts went to another, smaller, stronger body, one that didn’t need to rest between bouts of physical sex.  One that didn’t require her to pretend more satisfaction than she currently felt.  She was almost grateful when Riley rolled over and began to snore, thus freeing her from stroking his ego any more than she already had.

 

Using an early class as an excuse, she got up very early and dressed hastily.  She pretended not to notice his disappointment as she kissed him quickly and ran out the door.  Once again, her steps were accompanied by a mental chant; this time, “He’s human, he likes me, he’s almost normal.  He’s human, he likes me, he’s almost nor—“

 

If, in the dark of night and the privacy of her own bed, she was secretly disappointed that Spike had left so willingly, without even saying “good-bye” to her mother, she smothered the feeling as best she could; telling herself that it was no more than could be expected of an evil, soulless creature. I told him to leave, and he left.  What was I expecting?  That one night of sex – most of which I wasn’t even me for – would make him fall in love with me? I don’t want him to fall in love with me, anyway. I don’t…

 

 

Chapter Six

 

After Buffy’s destruction of Riley’s elite squad of demon hunters, Maggie reluctantly agreed that Buffy seemed to be “the real thing” and she gave Riley permission to take her through the Initiative’s underground complex.  The soldier was excited as he led Buffy through labs, classrooms, weapons storage areas and finally, to a set of heavily armored doors.  He swiped his pass and gave his name, smiling at her with barely concealed glee.

 

“What’s up, Riley? “ she asked with an affectionate smile.  “After all I’ve seen already, what could possibly be so exciting?”

 

“You’ll see,” he grinned, holding the door for her to precede him.  “I have a surprise for you.”

 

He led her down a large, well-lit hallway lined with holding cells into which it was easy to see through the transparent walls.  Buffy frowned slightly as she caught a glimpse of demons and vampires lying listlessly on the floors.  Riley didn’t really answer her questions about what they were doing in what were obviously cages; instead, going on at great length about how indestructible the walls were and how escape-proof the facility was.

 

Buffy paused in front of one room and pointed at the pretty, large-eared, lavender-skinned girl lying on the floor. 

 

“Riley? What is she doing in here?  That’s not really a demon. She’s sort of an elf.  She’s harmless. And very young,” she added, after taking another look at the terrified girl.  “Her family is probably worried about her.”

 

“Elf – demon. Same thing,” he said gruffly. “Maggie wanted to study her. I’m sure she’ll let her go when she’s finished with her.”  He took Buffy’s arm and dragged her away from the glass, frowning when it felt like she was going to resist him.  “Come on, I want you to see your surprise.”

 

He stopped pulling on her and gestured to the transparent wall in front of them.  With a gasp, Buffy threw herself at the wall, her fingernails scrabbling on the slippery surface as she stared at the creature on the floor.  In spite of his emaciation and the bruises and cuts all over his face and body, there was no mistaking the platinum hair and she whirled to face her boyfriend.

 

“What have you done to him?”

 

Startled, Riley blinked at her for a second before explaining, “You do realize he’s a vampire, don’t you, Buffy?  I don’t know how he fooled you for so long, but he is.  A very strong one, according to Maggie.  She hasn’t been able to break him yet.”

 

“BREAK him?”  She stared at the amber eyes glaring back at her and realized that she was seeing Spike as she never had before. He looked completely feral and murderous.  Only the trace of pain barely visible under the very real fury that was evident in his snarling face allowed her to see that the Spike she knew was still in there somewhere. She pounded helplessly on the wall, watching as he retreated to the corner, snarling at her.

 

“What have you done to him?” she repeated softly.  “What have you done, Riley?”

 

“We’ve just been testing him.  Seeing how long it takes a wound to heal, how he reacts to holy water and crosses – we haven’t quite figured that one out yet, but we will. There has to be a good explanation,” he mused aloud, sidetracked momentarily by the puzzle of the vampire’s reaction to holy relics.  “I think he’s being starved now to see how long he can survive that.”

 

“Open the door,” she said flatly, not taking her eyes off the snarling vampire.  “Open it now.”

 

“I can’t do that!  This is a vampire, Buffy.  Not one of your school mates with a bad attitude.  Don’t you get that?”

 

“Of course I get it, you idiot!” She whirled on him and shoved him into the opposite wall.  “I told you I’ve known him since I was sixteen!  Do you think I wouldn’t have noticed that he was a vampire?  Now open that door!”

 

“You don’t know what you’re asking—“

 

“I’m not asking. I’m telling.  This place is a…a zoo and I’m taking my vampire out of here.  And her, too,” she added, gesturing to the hopeful elf.

 

“You can’t open his door.  He hasn’t eaten in almost a month. Even with the chip Maggie put in, the bloodlust won’t be controllable.  He’ll kill you.”  Riley pleaded.

 

Before Buffy could respond, Maggie Walsh’s voice floated through the speakers in the ceiling.  “Let her in, Agent Finn. Perhaps it will give me a chance to see her in action against something more dangerous than your pathetic excuses for soldiers.”

 

“No!” Riley shouted, then cowered as the disembodied voice cracked out, “What was that, Soldier?”

 

“Buffy…” he pleaded, even as his hand reached for the button that would open the sliding door.

 

“Open it, Riley,” she said clearly, never taking her eyes off the vampire.  She was sure he recognized her, the fierce anger in his amber glare told her that.  She wasn’t sure why he seemed so enraged with her, but she was determined to get him out before they did anything else to him.

 

Riley’s large hand came down on the button and the door silently slid back.  Buffy was through the opening before it had even quit moving, cautiously approaching the vampire she hadn’t seen for months.

 

“Spike?” she whispered softly, squatting down to meet his eyes.  “Are you in there?”

 

“Get out, Slayer,” he growled distinctly. “Get out now!”

 

“No.” She stood up in a reflex response to his growl, but planted her feet and crossed her arms. “I’m not leaving without you.”

 

“Little late to worry about me, isn’t it?” he snarled, still crouching against the far wall.  “Time for that was before you told your boy toy to pick me up.”

 

“Before I wha--?  I never- I thought you left town.”  She turned to glare out the open door at Riley.  “You don’t think I would do something like this to you…do you?”  Her voice dropped to a whisper as she realized why he was so furious at her.

 

His angry expression wavered just the smallest bit and she pressed on quickly.  “I thought you knew me better than that. After we…I couldn’t…I wouldn’t…Please believe me,” she finished, her voice still a whisper.  “I didn’t know, Spike.  I swear.  I didn’t know.  About any of it,” she said in a louder tone, waving her hand around.  “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m going to find out.”

 

“You need to get out, Slayer,” he said without the accompanying snarls, but with a note of finality.  “Get out now, while you can.”

 

As he spoke, there was the barest whisper of sound and Buffy snapped her head around to see that the door was sliding shut behind her.  Outside, Riley’s face was a study in confusion and fear as Maggie Walsh stood beside him, her arms crossed and a smile on her face.  She leaned into a microphone and said clearly, “I want to thank you for this opportunity, Miss Summers.  Buffy – may I call you Buffy? I have been hoping to study this vampire’s reaction to bloodlust and to see you in action against his kind. You have provided me with the ideal situation.  I hope he is not too weakened for us to get a reliable test result. Considering what he was capable of when we first captured him, I wonder how he will fare against a slayer?“

 

“He kills slayers,” Buff snapped.  “This is William the Bloody. He has killed two slayers – that we know of.”

 

Riley’s face contorted in fear and he tried to reach for the door release, only to have his boss push his hand away.

 

“The vampire is weak, Agent Finn, and I haven’t released him from the chip yet.   If she’s all you say she is, she should be able to handle him. Isn’t that right, Ms Summers?”

 

“Spike won’t hurt me,” Buffy replied firmly, crossing her fingers behind her back.  “He’s not going to attack me. He won’t do what you want him to.”

 

“We’ll see,” was the only reply as she herded a reluctant Riley out of the hallway and closed the doors.  “We shall see, Buffy. 

 

When the hall was empty of everything but the cages full of demons, Buffy turned her attention back to the vampire glaring at her suspiciously. 

 

“Well, come here,” she ordered, holding out her wrist.  “Let’s get some blood into you so you can help me take that bitch’s little concentration camp apart piece by piece.”

 

“Are you daft?” 

 

She sighed with exasperation.  “No, I’m not ‘daft’.  I’m thinking that, maybe, between the two of us we can break this plastic stuff – whatever it is.  But you’re going to need blood and slayer blood is the best there is.  Now come here.”  She held out her wrist again, frowning when, still in vamp face, he just continued to shake his head. “You can do it, can’t you?” she asked softly.  “I mean without killing me? You did it before – you bit me and didn’t take much.”

 

“I wasn’t starvin’ then, love.”  His wry answer and the endearment went a long way to reassuring her that she’d been right when she said he wouldn’t hurt her and she moved into his space. Ignoring his flinch, she sat down beside him and leaned against the wall. 

 

“Well?”

 

“There’s another…complication.  Even if I was willin’ to use you as food - which I’m not, by the way; don’t think I didn’t notice those crossed fingers, Slayer.”  His growl this time was totally different from the feral snarls that had greeted her first appearance. As she heard the hurt undertone in his voice, she slid closer to him and bumped his shoulder gently.

 

“I know,” she said quietly.  “It’s just…you were pretty scary there for a while.”

 

“I scared you?” His pleased question made her smile as, for the first time since the door was opened, she caught a glimpse of the cocky vampire she knew so well.

 

“You wish,” she laughed, giving him another nudge.  Changing the subject abruptly, she asked, “Do you think they’re watching us?”

 

“Don’t think so.  They’ve got cameras all over the ‘testing’ areas, but they seem pretty sure about us in here.  It took them a long time to figure out that I wasn’t drinkin’ their drugged blood and they would have been able to see me pouring it out if they’d bothered to watch.”

 

“So, you could drink from me – and they wouldn’t know you were getting stronger. Then, when I’m ready to…”

 

“It doesn’t matter, pet.”  His voice was once again angry and resigned.  “That bitch did something to my head – if I bite you without her holding some button or other…well, let’s just say it couldn’t happen.  Feels like my bloody head is goin’ to explode.”

 

She snapped her head around, staring at his morose face, her eyes big.  “You mean you can’t hurt anyone?  Not even enough to get us out of here?”

 

“Trust me, love, I tried.  Did my best to rip that big git of yours a new arse, but I couldn’t get past the first couple of punches before I was down on the floor, screamin’.  Hurt so bad I didn’t even notice what the wanker was doing to me until I woke up.”

 

Buffy looked at his face again, seeing the blackened eyes and split lips with suddenly wiser eyes.  Ignoring his growl of protest, she pulled his tee shirt up and studied his bruised ribcage with a clinical eye.  She reached for his belt; realizing that she had yet to see him on his feet and fearing what she might find if she looked at his legs.

 

“If you’re tryin’ to get me naked again, pet, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t really think I’m up to it just now.”  He gave a shaky laugh. “Never thought I’d say that to you,” he confessed. “But it’s true.”

 

“Shut up, Spike. Don’t be a pig,” she responded absently, changing her mind and running her hands over the blood-soaked denim covering his legs.  When he winced at her touch on his thigh, she gave a good imitation of a growl herself. 

 

Suddenly, a door in the ceiling opened and several bags of blood fell through.  Although Spike frowned at them suspiciously, his mouth watered at the sight and he unconsciously whimpered. Maggie’s voice came through the microphone in the ceiling.

 

“Those are not drugged, Hostile Seventeen.  If we are going to have a real test of your ability against a slayer, you are going to have to get some strength back.  Please drink them.  We will provide more in a couple of hours.”

 

Buffy shot to her feet. “What do you mean “a couple of hours?’ You can’t keep me here!  Let me out now!”  She began to pound on the transparent walls, sending all the demons within the complex howling with her.

 

“Until I know exactly what you are, and why you are so familiar with this vampire, you will remain here with us.  I have already notified Ms Rosenberg that you are helping with a project and that she shouldn’t expect to see you for a day or two.”

 

With an outraged shout, Buffy kicked the wall with every bit of angry slayer strength she had.  To her surprise and delight, she felt it give just enough to give her some hope.  Pretending to be stymied, she stomped over to the bags of blood and began throwing them at the vampire.

 

“Here,” she hissed.  “Drink up.  We’re getting out of here, and we’re taking these walls with us.”

 

While Spike ignored her in favor of gulping down the blood as quickly as he could sink his fangs into the bags, Buffy sat down and pretended to pout while she studied the wall she’d kicked.  She almost laughed with satisfaction when she saw the hairline crack extending from an upper corner.  Confident now that she could break out of the cage when she was ready, she studied the various complicated devices in front of the cages.

 

Spike leaned back with a sigh, closing his eyes and allowing the much-needed blood to begin the repairs his body needed.  In spite of his desire to remain conscious and help Buffy plan their escape, he felt himself drifting into the restorative sleep that his body was demanding.

 

“Slayer,” he murmured hoarsely, “Don’t think I’m gonna be much company for a bit.  Got to sleep, pet.”

 

“Was that bitch lying?” Buffy’s voice was shrill and she made no attempt to whisper her question.  She relaxed when Spike shook his head slowly.

 

“No, don’t think so.  Don’t feel drugged – just need some down time to let the blood do its work.  Just give me a couple of hours, pet, but try to wake me up if you need me for something.”

 

“Oh. Okay. I guess we can wait until you’re better.”

 

She watched him slump against the wall and then slide down to the floor.   She left him there for a while, draping his duster over him and then walking to the front of the cell to peer in both directions to see what else was in there besides the elf she’d noticed when they first came in.  Giving the disappointed-looking girl a reassuring smile, Buffy let her gaze drift around the cages, noting the one other vampire present as well as the various demons. All looked as discouraged and listless as Spike, although none were as physically abused-looking as he was. She remembered what he’d said about waking up to find out what Riley had done to him while the chip was firing and she mentally vowed to make what was rapidly becoming her ex-boyfriend pay for his bullying.

 

She frowned in a puzzled fashion as she noticed what appeared to be a human woman sitting on the floor in one of the other cages.  Noticing the Slayer’s confused stare, the vengeance demon shifted into her demon features briefly, then back into her haughty human face.  Buffy nodded briefly, knowing that a vengeance demon was not likely to provide much physical assistance if it came to fighting their way out.  Her slayer training told her to leave all the demons where they were, but her innate sense of decency and fair play insisted that she release everyone she could, even if it meant she was going to have to stake the vamps later.

 

Resigning herself to a wait until Spike had received more blood and was ready to help her break out, she settled down against the wall again.  She studied his sleeping face, not surprised to see that he’d allowed it to settle into human features as he slept.  When he shifted his head against the hard floor and moaned, she gently pulled him closer and rested his head in her lap, running her fingers through his curls until her own eyes drifted shut for a brief nap.

 

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

The sound of more blood bags hitting the floor awoke her and she started at the sound, blinking rapidly until she remembered where she was.  She had no idea how much time had gone by since she’d followed Riley into the complex, but she was sure it wasn’t long enough for Willow to have become sufficiently worried that she would have called Giles.  Her hands were still resting on Spike’s head, her fingers still entwined in his hair, when she realized that his eyes were open and staring at her.  For the first time since she’d arrived, the beautiful blue eyes she was accustomed to seeing were gazing back at her and she smiled almost shyly.

 

“Feeling better?” she asked rhetorically, the already healing bruises and cuts telling her that he was.

 

“A mite,” he admitted.  “Having such a soft pillow helps.”  He winked at her and turned his head to nip the inside of her thigh.

 

“Obviously better!” she gasped, quickly pushing him off.  “Go get the rest of the blood. We’ve got Initiative butt to kick.”

 

Grumbling about bossy bints, he easily walked to the new bags, draining them quickly and tossing them aside.  He cautiously stretched his arms over his head, unintentionally giving the other cages a good view of his flat abs and muscular arms.  Buffy caught the vengeance demon studying the vampire with undisguised interest and glared at her until the woman shrugged and laughed, finally looking away.

 

Getting to her feet herself, Buffy began her own stretching, flexing her arms and legs to be sure she was ready to assault the partially cracked wall.  She pulled Spike closer and whispered in his ear to look up to the corner, smiling at his “Good job, Slayer,” when he saw the crack.

 

“So, what’s the plan?”  He smiled at her indulgently and Buffy was struck with the difference between the way the vampire reveled in her strength while Riley clearly resented it.  Obeying an impulse she couldn’t control, she rose on her toes and kissed him, backing away quickly before he could turn it into anything but what it was.

 

“And that was…?”

 

“That was because I’m glad you aren’t dusted…and because you…I…”  She waved her arms around, unable to articulate exactly how glad she was to see him again.  As he so often did, he seemed to read her thoughts, stepping closer and running a hand down her cheek.

 

“Me too, love,” he said quietly. “We get out of here, I’m gonna show you just how glad I am.”

 

Buffy blushed at the look in his eyes, saying firmly, “First things first.  Are you ready?”

 

“Always, pet.”

 

She laughed and pointed at the wall, taking the hand he held out and allowing him to pull her back to the opposite side of the room.

 

“On three.”

 

She nodded and at “three” the two powerful blonds ran at the cracked wall, leaping into the air and hitting it feet first.  The crack immediately ran all the way down to the opposite corner and they quickly began to kick the broken area until, with a shudder and the scream of an alarm, it collapsed into a pile of broken plastic.

 

While Buffy ran to the elf’s cage and released her, Spike was pounding on the console at one end, trying to figure out which button was the master override.  He gave a triumphant shout as some of the doors slid open, but continued to pound on the console. The alarm was still blaring and soldiers began dropping into the hallway, only to be overwhelmed by the frantic demons now searching for a way out.  From the other end, Riley and Maggie Walsh entered, the soldier going immediately to the console and hitting Spike with a taser.

 

Buffy’s shouted warning had allowed the vampire to dodge a direct hit and he was only temporarily stunned, resting on his hands and knees and shaking his head to clear it.  When Riley’s foot drew back and he kicked the newly healed vampire in the ribs, Buffy turned her back on the escaping demons to begin her run toward the two Initiative commanding officers.  She watched Spike shift into game face as he attempted to bring Riley down, only to see him fall to the floor, holding his head and writhing in pain.  Her frustrated scream of “I wish he didn’t have that chip in his head!” caused Riley to turn toward her just in time to see Halfrek’s face shift and to hear her clearly articulated, “Wish granted”.

 

Buffy looked back and forth between the smiling vengeance demon and the rising vampire.  A slow grin was spreading over Spike’s face as he got to his feet and moved toward the suddenly worried soldier. Spike picked the much larger man up with one hand and clutched Maggie Walsh with the other, baring his fangs as he spoke softly. 

 

“You wanted to know what a master vampire is like, you ignorant git? “ He squeezed Riley’s throat just hard enough to make his point, then turned to Maggie and jerked his chin in Buffy’s direction. “An’ you wanted to know what something like me is afraid of? Take a good look, bitch. That’s a Slayer.” 

 

Buffy stood in front of them, hands on hips, face flushed and eyes flashing.  Angry power radiated off her body and both humans unconsciously shrank back from the eyes blazing at them.

 

“Open the doors,” she ordered Maggie, nodding to Spike when the woman shook her head “no”.  He tossed Riley into the wall and used his other hand to bring Maggie’s body closer to his exposed fangs. 

 

“You’ll be wantin’ to do as she asked,” he said mildly.  “What with your little toy no longer in my head and you with no way to make me crawl just to amuse you, that little girl is the only thing standin’ between you a very painful death. If I were you, I’d be tryin’ to keep her happy.”

 

Fear warred with the outrage in the woman’s eyes, until Spike ran one fang down her throat just barely slicing her skin.  With a quick nod, she pointed to the correct switch and Buffy’s hand slammed down on it, opening the rest of the heavy doors.  As the released demons poured out, Spike looked at Halfrek and smiled.

 

 “Thank you, luv.”

 

“You’re welcome, William,” she responded, smiling back flirtatiously.

 

Buffy glared back and forth between the smirking demon and the obviously puzzled vampire.  WILLIAM?”

 

Spike shrugged and shook his head.  “Have no idea, pet. I don’t know any vengeance demons.”

 

Halfrek’s lip came out in a pout.  “You’ve forgotten me already, William?  I’m so disappointed in you.” 

 

Spike stared at her intently, dawning recognition clear on his face.  “Cecily?”

 

“Spike…” Buffy’s voice contained a warning that he knew instinctively it would be foolish to ignore.

 

“Well, luv,” he said to the woman who was batting her eyelashes at him,  “much as we appreciate the help here, I think it’s time to find our way out of this place.  We’ll catch up some other time, yeah?”  His eyes clearly indicated he had no desire to continue the conversation and Halfrek shifted her gaze to the blonde girl still glaring at her.  One look into the Slayer’s narrowed eyes and she decided that teasing William was not worth a fight with a jealous slayer.  She nodded her head and followed the other released demons out the doors, turning when she got there and waving at Maggie and Riley before she disappeared before their eyes. 

 

“I wonder why she didn’t do that before?” Buffy muttered, grabbing a still-surprised Maggie by the arm and yanking her toward the open doors.

 

“I imagine she was waiting for somebody to make a wish, pet,” the vampire answered.  “Place like this?  There had to be plenty of vibes callin’ to her.”   He grabbed Riley off the floor, slapping the taser out of his hand without even looking at it, and asking hopefully, “We don’t need this one, do we, Slayer?”

 

“Bring him,” she snapped back, putting off for as long as possible the decision regarding what to do about the two evil humans and the vampire who had every right to want to kill them.

 

Spike growled rebelliously, but followed her to the doors, controlling Riley with a powerful grip on his right bicep.

 

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

Using Maggie and Riley as human shields, and helped considerably by the confusion caused by the escaping demons, it took very little time for them to make their way to the nearest exit.  As they emerged from a hidden entrance behind Maggie’s office, they stopped.  Buffy took a quick look outside to confirm that it was now night and safe for Spike to emerge; then she waved him out and they began walking toward Giles’ apartment.  In spite of verbal protests from their two hostages, Buffy insisted that they bring them both until Giles could contact the Council and see what could be done through semi-official channels.

 

“What if the Council of Wankers won’t help out?” Spike wondered aloud.  “Can I eat them, then?”

 

Buffy shot him a glare and he shrugged.  “Was worth a try, pet. I’m still feeling a mite peckish – and I owe them.”

 

“I know you do,” she sighed.  “And part of me is right there with you…”

 

“Which part would that be, Slayer? One of the good parts, I hope.”  His leer broke through Riley’s forced cooperation and the commando tried to break free, saying, “How dare you talk to her like that?  Buffy, I can’t believe you let this---“

 

“Shut up. Both of you,” she added when Spike’s mouth opened automatically.  “I’m not going to deal with testosterone poisoning right now.”  She pointed at Riley, her cold look telling him what he’d already guessed.  “You – we – are done.  You were going to let this bitch try to get me killed.  Neither one of you knew that Spike wasn’t going to hurt me – so, you’re as guilty as she is.  And you,” she turned toward the gleeful looking vampire.  “Just because Cave Buffy thinks you have a right to a little revenge, doesn’t mean that the Slayer is going to let you kill anybody.  So, get over it.”

 

“Bollocks,” he muttered, yanking harder than necessary on Riley’s arm.  “’S what I get for fallin’ for a bloody do-gooder.”

 

Buffy pretended she didn’t hear him and tried to smother the little thrill that went through her at his words.

 

With Maggie Walsh having already been on Giles’ list of least-favorite people, he was more than happy to tie her to a chair in his living room while he waited for it to be morning in England.  He found some chains in the back of a closet, which caused the vampire to raise his eyebrows and smirk knowingly until the watcher threatened to chain him up too.  It had taken Buffy several minutes of talking to convince the ex-watcher that it was okay to let William the Bloody into his home, but eventually she got him to agree to trust her judgment; and she kicked Spike in the shin when he appeared to be trying to irritate Giles into regretting his decision.

 

Riley was chained to the plumbing in the bathroom and both Spike and Buffy tested the chains for strength before leaving the commando in there unattended.  While they waited until it was late enough to phone the Council offices, Buffy filled Giles in on what she’d seen in the Initiative complex, as well as admitting that she’d released all the captives.  To her surprise, the man who had taught her that the best demon was a dead demon - the surrogate father figure who had lost the woman he loved because she couldn’t kill her vampire lover - just nodded his head and commented mildly that if any of the escapees became a problem, she could just kill them later.  As he spoke, he glared fiercely at the blond vampire sitting, in his opinion, much too close to his slayer.

 

“Hey!” Spike protested.  “I’m on your side!”  At Giles’ disbelieving snort, he lowered his voice and amended, “Well, I’m on her side, anyway.  Not goin’ to give her any reason to stake me.”

 

“Why not?”  Giles looked back and forth between the blushing girl and the suddenly meek vampire and groaned mentally.  “Never mind,” he moaned. “I don’t want to know.”

 

Buffy giggled with embarrassment, but allowed Spike to put his arm across the back of the couch in what was clearly a proprietary fashion.

 

“I’ll never hurt her, Watcher,” Spike said seriously. “Not her or anyone she cares about.  I –“

 

“I really, and I cannot emphasize this enough, do not want to know!”

 

Buffy made a quick call to a very sleepy Willow to fill her in on what had happened and to reassure her that she was fine and that Giles was handling the situation.  When her friend asked if she would be back in the dorm room later, Buffy glanced at Spike and blushed before answering.

 

“I don’t think so, Wills.  We – I - need to wait here until we find out what is going to be done about these people, and then it’ll be late and we – I…”

 

 

“Oh my god!  It was Spike, wasn’t it?”  Willow’s now wide-awake shriek reached the vampire’s sensitive ears and he raised a questioning eyebrow at Buffy. “That’s who you…oh my god.  Oh, Xander is sooo going to wig.”

 

“Um,” Buffy blushed fiercely as Spike began to grin. “Can we talk about this some other time?  Like, maybe, never?”

 

“Oh, we’re going to talk about it, missy.  You can count on it. I want details and…okay, maybe not detail-details, but…you need to tell me what’s going on. Are you and Spike…like…together?”

 

“Later, Willow. When I’ve figured it out. ‘K?”

 

“Okay.” Willow’s sounded unconvinced, but she agreed to wait and hung up.  She drifted back to sleep picturing Xander’s reaction to finding out Buffy had another vampire boyfriend and all night her dreams were of her best male friend’s exploding head.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

When Spike stood up and walked toward the door, both Giles and Buffy stared at him in surprise.

 

“Where are you going?” she blurted, ashamed of the note of fear in her voice.

 

“Gonna go find a new place to live,” he growled.  “It’s not like I’m going back to Harmony’s cave—“

 

One look at Buffy’s face and he regretted reminding her that he hadn’t been living by himself when he first came back to Sunnydale. Ignoring Giles, who was trying very hard to pretend he wasn’t listening, he stepped closer to Buffy and said softly, “We both have baggage, pet.  I’m not goin’ away; not unless you tell me to.  Gonna be here for you and yours, if you’ll have me; but I’m trying to give you some space.  You’ve got things you need to do, decisions to make. I’ll let you know where I am.”

 

Buffy realized he had heard Willow’s question about whether they were together, as well as her non-committal answer to it, and she nodded silently.

 

I do have a decision to make. Riley – that’s easy. He’s history. But am I willing to get into a relationship with another vampire?  And what kind of a relationship could it be?  He’s the one who said it wasn’t really going anywhere, isn’t he? If the evil vampire can see why it couldn’t work, you’d think that the slayer would---gah!

 

 

After Giles had spoken to the Council and given them all the information he had on the Initiative, there was nothing for them to do but wait to be called back.  Buffy took the offer of his guest room and used it for a short nap. 

 

She awoke in time to run to her dorm room and change clothes, as well as get her books for her first class.  She breathed a sigh of relief that Willow wasn’t there.

 

It’s not like I know what to tell her.  I don’t know if we’re together.  He sounds like he wants to be with me – but do I want to be with him?  Aside from the whole I-crave-his-body-more-than-I-should thing, do I want HIM?  ‘Cause kinda getting the feeling that with Spike there’s no half-way.  He claimed me, for crap’s sake – I don’t even know if he CAN leave.  Can I have another vampire in my life? SHOULD I have another vampire in my life?  One without a soul?   And Angel and I are sooo going to have a discussion about Spike’s ability to control his demon and to love.  If he can do it, what the hell was Angelus’ problem?

 

Pushing thoughts of Spike and any possible relationship between them to the back of her mind, Buffy went through the motions of going to class, phoned her mother to give her a brief recap of where she’d been and what had happened.  She tried not to be miffed when Joyce sounded more concerned about Spike’s wellbeing that she was about Buffy’s.

 

“He’s fine, Mom,” she said with some irritation.  “Whatever they did to him is all fixed.  He’s a little skinny, but a couple of good meals…Oh my god!  I’ve got to find him before he kills somebody.  Talk to you later, bye, Mom!”

 

Buffy raced out the room, heading directly to the butcher’s and using up all the money in her wallet to buy pigs blood.  As she emerged with the heavy bag, she realized she had no idea where to look for the vampire and she wandered into a park, sitting on the first bench she came to.  The park, of course, was empty – as were most of the poorly lit places in Sunnydale after sunset.  The strengthening tingle she could soon feel had her sitting up alertly until she recognized the specific vampire who was raising the hairs on her neck.

 

“Come on out,” she called.  “I know you’re there.”

 

“Getting’ better at that, aren’t you, pet?”  His voice held a hint of admiration and she nodded, smiling.

 

“It’s easy when it’s you,” she admitted, ducking her head and peering at him through her hair.

 

“That so?” His tone was noncommittal as he sat at the other end of the bench, the bag of blood between them.  “What’s this then?” He gestured at the bag, clearly marked with the name of the butcher shop.

 

“I…I got you some blood. So you wouldn’t have to…I mean, I can’t let you…” She stopped and looked at him steadily.  “I can’t let you stay in my town and kill people, Spike.  I can’t.  I won’t.”

 

Her last words sounded almost like a plea and with supernatural speed he had moved the bag to the ground and was beside her.  He cupped her chin with one large hand, staring intently into her worried eyes.

 

“You think I don’t know that, Buffy?  I haven’t touched anybody.  The question is - do you want me to stay in your town?”

 

“I don’t want you to not be here,” she mumbled, dropping her eyes.

 

“Not good enough, love.” He dropped his hand, but didn’t move away. 

 

“What do you want to do?” she fired back.  “Do you want to stay here and drink pigs blood?  Can you even do that?  Can you stop killing?  What do you want, Spike?”

 

He tilted his head and waited until she met his gaze before replying. 

 

“I want to shag you silly every day for the rest of your life,” he replied honestly.  “And if I have to drink pigs blood and get my spot of violence by beating up on demons…” His voice trailed off and he brushed his lips across hers.  “It will be worth it.  If I can have you, it will be worth it.”

 

“Oh.”  She had no idea how to reply.  The soft lips that kept drifting across hers were too distracting for her to form a coherent thought.  “Oh,” she breathed out again as his tongue came out to ask for hers.  As she sank into the bone-melting kiss, it occurred to her that she hadn’t really said he could have her, although her body apparently had already decided on an answer.

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

When they’d had to dust three different vamps that had wandered up thinking the kissing couple would be an easy meal, Buffy reluctantly pulled away from him.

 

“I think we should get out of here,” she said softly, playing with the buttons on his duster.  “Maybe find some place where we won’t have so many…interruptions?”

 

“Got just the place, pet.” He stood up, offering her his hand.  She handed him the bag of blood and allowed him to lead the way out of the park.  “Just wait, Slayer,” he growled when she balked at following him into Restfield Cemetery.  “Trust me, Buffy,” he added in a much softer, sexier voice, “Wouldn’t take you anywhere I didn’t think you’d like.”

 

            Buffy followed the sexy voice, dubious about finding a place that she would like in a cemetery, but wanting more of the kisses that she could feel all the way to her toes.  As though reading her mind, the vampire suddenly turned around and fastened his mouth on hers, extending the kiss until she was mewing with frustrated desire.  With a final nibble on her lower lip, he let go and resumed leading her deeper into the graveyard.

 

            When he finally stopped in front of a large crypt, he set the bag of blood down and whispered, “Wait here, love. Let me turn the lights on.”  He opened the heavy oak door and stepped inside.  She heard the ‘snick’ of his lighter and watched as light blossomed from the interior of the crypt.  When it was lit to his satisfaction, he returned to the door and took her hands, gently pulling her inside.  Buffy’s mouth dropped open in surprise as she took in the candle-lit interior of the big stone building.  The candles gave a warm glow, softening the sharp edges of the stone walls and illuminating the red quilts and pillows piled on the floor. 

 

            While she gawked at the surprisingly cozy room and the makeshift bed in the center of the floor, Spike brought his blood into the room and closed the door firmly.  He dropped a newly-installed latch into place before walking past her and depositing the bag of blood on a table beside a small refrigerator.  While the slayer continued to look around, noting the other touches that attempted to transform the large grave into a home, he carefully put the blood away.  When he turned back to her, he was holding a bottle of beer in each hand. 

 

            Numbly, Buffy took the proffered bottle and began to sip at it. When he just watched her rather than drinking his own beer, she stopped and cocked her head at him.

 

            “Do you think you need to get me drunk again?”

 

            “I hope not.  Want to know who I’m makin’ love to this time. Want to know it’s Buffy.”  As he spoke, he was setting down his bottle and pulling her in for another searing kiss.  “I’ll always be grateful that Cave Buffy thought I smelled good, but this is the Buffy I want.”

 

“Cave Buffy is a pretty smart girl – for a Neaderthal,” Buffy murmured.  “I never would have thought to smell you.”  In spite of what she’d just said, she buried her nose in his neck, inhaling his unique scent and licking the soft skin there.

 

            “She had her moments,” he agreed, purring at the way her tongue was laving his skin.  “She definitely had her moments.”

 

            Without warning, he bent his knees and scooped Buffy up in his arms, walking toward the pile of pillows and quilts.  He sank gracefully to the floor, rolling so as to land on his back with the slayer lying across his chest.  Buffy brought her face up, offering her lips and squirming around so as to be lying beside him, their bodies touching from head to toe.

 

            While she gave in to the urge to run her hands all over the body she hadn’t been willing to admit that she’d been missing the entire time she was with Riley, Spike was pulling her clothes off with no thought to keeping them in one piece.  Rather than yell at him for ripping her shirt, Buffy began her own assault on the few items covering his body, ripping his tee shirt down the center and pushing his jeans down as far as they would go.

 

            When the vampire’s frustrated growls and Buffy’s own whimpers of impatience had reached a ridiculous level, they gave up and fell apart, laughing even as they took their hands off each other long enough to remove the tight pants they were both wearing.  Rather than grab Buffy as soon as she was naked, Spike surprised her by holding her at arms’ length and running his eyes over her body.

 

            “Just as beautiful as I remembered,” he breathed, bringing his eyes up to her blushing face.  “This is what kept me going in that place,” he continued.  “Every time things got too bad, I just pictured you naked.”

 

            “But…I thought you were mad at me…that you thought I—“

 

            “Was, love. I did.  Didn’t matter. Even when I was hatin’ you for puttin’ me in there, I wanted you naked.  ‘Course,” he admitted with a sheepish grin, “I might have been picturing your naked, bloody body and my fangs in your throat…but the important thing is that you were naked.  Just like now,” he finished, pulling her against him and nuzzling her neck.  “Just like now.”

 

            “If that was meant to be romantic – I’ve got to tell you, you suck at it!” Buffy pushed him away sharply, her eyes narrowed and her mouth pinched.  She moved away from him, ignoring the stricken look on his face and retrieving her jeans from the floor. 

 

            How could I be so stupid?  He’s an evil, soulless vampire who came here to kill me.  He doesn’t’ care anything about me – he just wants to do a slayer – one way or another.

 

            Fuck! I couldn’t have buggered that up any more if I’d tried.

 

            “Buffy,” he started, throwing himself in front of her.  “I never – I didn’t mean – I’m a bloody stupid wanker -  please, love, don’t –“

 

            “That’s all this is to you, isn’t it?”  He was shocked to see her eyes filling with unshed tears. “Just another way to add a slayer notch to your belt. Kill me or fuck me – doesn’t make any difference to you.”

 

            She struggled futilely to get back into the tight jeans that she’d just pulled off, resolutely ignoring the way his face had tightened.  The jeans were most of the way up her thighs when she was tackled and forced down onto the makeshift bed, pinned under a snarling vampire.  Only the emotion she could see glistening in his amber eyes told her he was not planning to kill her.  For long minutes they lay perfectly still, the vampire taking rapid, unnecessary breaths as he glared down at her, the slayer staring back him, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the unfairness of her accusation.

 

            With a movement so swift she was already climaxing before she realized what he’d done, Spike sank his fangs into the invisible marks he’d left there months ago.  He took two deep draughts of blood, growling as he felt Buffy go limp under him. 

 

            “Mine,” he whispered into her throat, licking the bites closed. “You are mine.”

 

            “You bit me. Again!  She struggled to put the necessary anger in her voice; a difficult task when she was still limp from the unexpected result of his bite.

 

            “I claimed you. Again.”

 

            “Why do you keep doing that?”  Her voice, she was unhappy to notice, now sounded more petulant than outraged.

 

            “I don’t know,” he admitted, wriggling his hips until he could fit his rock hard erection between her thighs.  “It just seems like the thing to do when I have you in this position.”

 

            “Well, get over it!  That might have worked with Cave Buffy, but I’ll decide who I do or don’t belong too, thank you very much,” she grumbled unconvincingly. 

 

            Instead of answering her, he wriggled again, brushing the head of his cock against her outer lips and dropping his head to take a hardened nipple into his mouth.  With her legs trapped by her still partially up jeans, Buffy could do nothing but lie there and press her hips into him, whimpering with sudden need for more contact.  He ran his mouth down her torso, kissing and licking his way past her belly button.  Instead of stopping when he got to where she expected him to stop, he slid the rest of the way down and tugged her jeans off.

 

            As her legs dropped open, he was immediately lying on her again, his cock nudging her entrance and his lips on hers. 

 

            ”Let me in, Buffy,” he whispered against her mouth. “Tell me you want me to come in.”

 

            “Is this some weird, vampire thing?  Cause I’m thinking it’s pretty obvious I want you—“ She wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him toward her.

 

            “Where do you want me, love?  Do you want me here?” He rubbed the tip of his cock against her clit, eliciting whimpers of agreement before he moved again. “Or, do you want me here?” He slid down until he was pushing under her ass.  “Or,” he whispered again, sliding forward until he was just touching her, “Do you want me here?”  As he spoke, he thrust himself into her warmth, reveling in the way she clutched him and at the gasped “Yes!” that escaped against her will.

 

            Suddenly the urgency that had been present when they first got to the crypt was back and they moved together as though it had been years rather than a couple of months since they’d last touched.  In no time, Buffy was squeezing him tightly, her inner muscles fluttering around him as she began to pant her release. Fighting down the demon’s desire to bite her again, the vampire thrust himself into her, crying her name as his hips jerked long after he was spent.

 

            When Spike tried to roll off her limp body, he found himself trapped by supernaturally strong arms.

 

            “We’re not done here, vampire,” she growled, holding him in place with her arms and legs.

 

            “Know we’re not, sweetheart.  Jus’ wanted to give you some breathing room.”

 

            “I’m breathing just fine,” she mumbled into his neck, realizing as she said it that she was.  Whereas having Riley lying on top of her resulted in her face being smothered in his chest, Spike fit very nicely and she had no trouble feeling comfortable with his weight pressing her into the bed.  She smiled as she felt him growing hard again, squeezing gently and bringing forth a happy groan from the temporarily spent vampire.

 

            “I missed you,” he crooned, beginning a slow rocking that she willingly joined.  “Wanted you again so bloody much…”

 

            “I…I missed you too,” she admitted, blushing fiercely.  “I tried not to, but I did.”

 

            “Did you think about me? While I was gone?  Or were you too busy shagging the lout?”  He fought back the snarl, but his pain came through in the way he stilled briefly and Buffy unconsciously held him more tightly.

 

            “I did think about you – but I thought you were gone. I thought I’d never see you again.  If I’d known…”

 

            “If you’d known, what?” he murmured, still moving gently and adding a twist of his hips at the end of each stroke.  “What if you’d known I was still here?  That I still wanted you?”

 

            “I wouldn’t have let Riley touch me,” she admitted, surprising herself as much as the vampire.  “Not after the first time, anyway.”

 

            “He’s never going to touch you again.” Spike’s intended growl faded into more of a purr as Buffy pulled him against her body and squeezed internally. 

 

            “Never,” she whispered, biting into his shoulder as she felt herself falling over the edge.  “Never.”

 

            He let himself go with her, the feel of her teeth in his flesh only adding to the surprisingly explosive release he felt.  He put his lips on the marks he’d made and sucked vigorously, extending their orgasms until they both collapsed in exhaustion.  He rolled carefully to the side, pulling the Slayer’s body with him so that she remained connected, but was now lying on him.  As her ragged breathing evened out, Buffy nuzzled his chest and gasped, “Wow.”

 

            “Wow, indeed,” he chuckled, sounding more like Giles than he normally did.  “I think we may have set some sort of record there, pet.”

 

            “Yay us.” 

 

            He stroked her back with one hand, waiting until she began to stir before asking quietly, “So, Slayer.  Is there an us?”

 

            “Feels like it to me.  I’m pretty sure there isn’t going to be anybody else.  Not after that little experience.”

 

            Little?”

 

            She rolled her eyes and pushed herself up on her arms.  “It’s an expression! Stop pouting. You know what I mean.”

 

            “I know, love,” he grinned, pulling her back down.  “I just like hearing you say it.”

 

            “I hope you’re not going to need a lot of ego-stroking all the time,” she grumbled, relaxing back into his embrace.  “Cause I think I’ve had about all of that I need for one lifetime.”

 

            His chuckle turned into a happy purr, and he rolled them over, pulling the quilt up around her shoulders.  “All I need is you, pet. As long as you’re here and stroking something, I’m happy.”

 

            “Pig,” she mumbled, snuggling into his body.

 

            “Oink, oink, love,” he whispered as her eyes drifted shut. “Oink.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Ten

 

            Buffy awoke a while later to find that Spike was already up and dressed.  She pouted at him briefly, cringing away when he tried to kiss the pout with lips still red with the pigs’ blood he’d been sipping.

 

            “Come on, pet,” he coaxed, as she tried to burrow back under the quilt.  “We need to go check on your watcher and the two twits he’s babysittin’ for you.”

 

            “It’s bizarro world, isn’t it?” she muttered, reluctantly reaching for her clothes.  “The evil vampire is the one being all responsible and the Slayer is the one who wants to stay in bed and…”

 

            “Time for ‘and…’ later, Slayer.  Trust me.  There will be lots of ‘and…’ but I don’t trust those wankers and you know the soldiers will be looking for them and us.”

 

            At the reminder that she’d left her watcher alone with Maggie and Riley, Buffy quickly dressed, sticking her tongue out at Spike when he openly ogled her bare breasts.  She deftly avoided his attempt to grab one of them and quickly pulled on her shirt and jacket.

 

            The walk to Giles’ apartment was pleasant and full of banter and flirting until they got close enough to see that the door was hanging open on one hinge. With super speed, they flew through it and into the damaged living room.  Buffy’s cry when she found Giles, unconscious behind the overturned couch, brought Spike quickly to her side.

 

            “It’s alright, pet,” he assured her.  “His heartbeat sounds good and strong.  Looks like they just knocked him out.”  He pointed to the swelling lump on the watcher’s head.

 

            When Spike had settled the watcher on the newly set up couch and Buffy had put an ice bag on his head, they began the unnecessary search for any sign of Maggie and Riley.  One look at the chains, which appeared to have been cut with bolt cutters, and it was obvious that the two had not freed themselves.

 

            Giles’ moan and a string of British profanity were the first signs that the ex-watcher was regaining consciousness. Buffy waited anxiously while he oriented himself and noticed their presence, then she demanded, “What happened here?”

 

            “I should think that would be obvious,” he said stiffly, gesturing at his overturned furniture and broken door.

 

            “Well, duh, yeah. But I mean, how?“

 

            “It would appear that your boyfriend-“ at a snarl from the vampire, he winced and amended, “that your ex-boyfriend still had his communicator upon his person and he was able to reach it to call for assistance.  As you can see, assistance arrived quite promptly,” he finished with his own version of a growl.

 

            “I’m sorry, Giles,” Buffy said, her face stricken. “We should have been here. I didn’t mean to—“

 

            He waved his hand dismissively.  “It is probably just as well that you weren’t.  With the weapons at their disposal and the element of surprise on their side, I fear one or both of you may have been recaptured. As it is, we now have time to plan our approach.”

 

            “Which is what?” Spike asked only half seriously. “To take on the whole bloody US Army?”

 

            “No, not at all.” Giles looked offended, then remembered that Buffy had been gone for several hours.  “I have communicated with the Council several times and it appears that this…unit…is a bit of a surprise to both the United States Government and to the Secretary of the Army.  Additional units are on their way here to resolve the issue, as is a new commanding officer.  We actually only need to stay out of their way for a while and it should be all over without any assistance from us.”

 

            “Oh, it is sooo not over!”  Buffy glared around the room and back at the man’s icebag-covered head.  “No one makes my watcher lumpy and gets away with it.  Not to mention, we haven’t really discussed the torturing of Spike and the locking me up to be killed.”

 

            “Um, technically, pet, you weren’t in any danger from me—“

 

            “They didn’t know that!” She glared at him indignantly.  “Are you saying it’s okay that they locked me up, just because it was you and not some other vampire?”

 

            He immediately shook his head.  “Right then, off we go.  Soldier boys to find and – are you saying I can kill them?” He looked at her hopefully.

 

            Buffy sighed and shook her head.  “No, I’m not saying you can kill anybody – except in self-defense – but you can beat up on them all you want.  Just, no fangs, okay?”

 

            “Party pooper,” he grumbled under his breath. “You’re a big tease, Slayer.”

 

            “I heard that.”

 

            “Don’t care.”

 

            “Keep pouting and I’m gonna bite that lower lip…”

 

            “Promise, pet?” 

 

            As the two blonds moved closer together, Giles rolled his eyes and groaned audibly.

 

            “Oh my god, Giles!” Buffy whirled away from the hopeful vampire’s pursed lips and ran to her watcher.  “I forgot about your head.  Is it hurting again?  What can I do for you?”

 

            “You could stop flirting with William the Bloody right in front of me,” he said, shutting his eyes tightly.  “It is making my head ache even more painfully.”

 

            Ignoring Spike’s mumbled “better get used to it,” Buffy apologized again for ignoring him and then offered to call Willow or Xander to stay with him while she and Spike went looking for the Initiative soldiers.

 

            When Willow had made her way to the ex-watcher’s apartment and uttered enough sympathetic noises that Buffy felt comfortable leaving her there, the slayer and the vampire prepared to go out looking for Riley and his squad.  To Giles’ surprise, Spike had gone to work on his door, replacing it on its hinges and showing Willow how to secure it after they left so as to keep anyone else out.

 

            “Won’t be much help if those wankers come back,” he said with a shrug, “but it should keep out any run-of-the-mill bad guys might happen by.”  He winked at Willow, who had not been able to look him in the eye since she arrived and who blushed bright red at Spike’s obvious enjoyment of her embarrassment.

 

            “I still think you should wait until the army reinforcements arrive,” Giles grumbled as his slayer and the vampire prepared to leave.  “Those men will be looking for you and they have all those weapons—“

 

            “Giles!” Buffy’s indignation was unfeigned.  “You’ve been sending me out alone for years to fight against things with super-strength; now, all of a sudden, you don’t think I can take a few enhanced humans?  And with Spike to help me?”

 

            “They already got him once.  What makes you think he won’t get captured again…or dusted?”

 

            “I know what to watch for now,” the vampire growled.  “I hear any heartbeat besides hers anywhere near me, I’ll be ready for them.”

 

            “Well, be careful. Both of you,” he added, ducking his head and mumbling the last part.

 

            “Don’t worry, Giles.  If we can’t capture them without getting caught ourselves, we’ll let them go.  But if we can…”

 

            With a flip of her hand, Buffy went out the door.  Spike had begun to follow her when Giles called him back quickly.  Meeting the vampire’s eyes firmly, he said, “If something happened to that harridan that wanted to keep my slayer…”

 

            “Way ahead of you, Rupert,” the vampire growled as he followed Buffy into the night.  “I’m way ahead of you.”

 

            He quickly ran to catch up with Buffy, remaining silent about Giles’ obvious desire to see Maggie dead and adding to the list the man who had been willing to feed his girlfriend to a vampire because his boss told him to.

 

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

            Somewhat to Buffy’s dismay, it took no time at all for them to find Riley’s squad.  The commandos had taken a tour of Sunnydale’s cemeteries, and when they found no trace of the Slayer or the vampire, they had circled back to the watcher’s apartment complex. No sooner had Spike and Buffy stepped into the parking lot, than they were surrounded by angry soldiers carrying nets, tasers and stakes.  In addition to the men attempting to encircle the snarling vampire, there were several on the outer edges of the group, all holding large guns that were pointed at the Slayer.

 

            Riley and Maggie stepped from the shadows, the older woman smirking as she studied the two blonds who were now standing back-to-back in fighting stances. 

 

            “Unless you are also bullet-proof, Ms. Summers, I suggest you remain docile and allow my men to re-capture the hostile that you assisted to escape.  And you, Hostile 17…” She turned to Spike with a deadly glint in her eye.  “You are going to pay for putting your filthy teeth on my neck.  You will be begging me to stake you before I’m done.”

 

            “No!” Buffy’s shout of defiance was matched by Spike’s snarling attempt to place himself between her and the men holding the guns.  An attempt that was unsuccessful, as the men were arranged on the outer edges of the circle and no matter where he moved, he left Buffy exposed to one of them.

 

            “Move away from the vampire, Buffy.”  Riley’s voice was somewhere between a plea and an order, but his grasp on the weapon in his hands was sure and firm.  Spike settled for placing himself between Buffy and her ex-boyfriend.

 

            “If it’s me you want, why not just let the Slayer go back to her watcher’s?  Better yet, why not put down that obvious piece of compensation for your small dick and try to take me in yourself? Or, is that a bit much for you now that I’m not helpless?”

 

            Riley’s desire to show Buffy how easily he could handle the vampire was tempered by his knowledge of how many men it had taken to subdue Spike the first time he’d been captured and what had happened to some of those men.   He had just begun to drop the barrel of his gun, when it was yanked out of his hand by an accurately thrown loop of unnaturally fine rope.  Simultaneously, all the other weapons that had been trained on the slayer and the vampire disappeared into the night.

 

            Without pausing to wonder where the weapons had gone, vampire and slayer charged into the confused soldiers.  Dodging the nets that the commandos had brought to throw over the vampire, Buffy quickly reminded them of what had happened the last time they had tried to ambush her. 

 

            While the slayer was taking out her anger at what had happened to her watcher upon the bodies of the men who had made the mistake of misunderstanding the slayer’s rule about harming humans, Spike covered the distance between himself and the much larger human man in one leap.  Without bothering to bring forth his demon, he buried one fist in Riley’s stomach, grinning when the man doubled over in pain and surprise.

 

            Even though he was rocked by the punch to his gut, Riley’s training and enhanced muscles allowed him to recover much faster than would an ordinary human. That, coupled with Spike’s desire to have a real fight rather than to just pummel the man into the ground, gave him the time to back pedal until he was out of range of the vampire’s fists and could fall into his own fighting stance.

 

            Eyes alight with the joy of battle, Spike attacked, delighted that the commando was giving almost as good as he got.  What Riley lacked in speed and grace, he made up for with superior reach and enhanced strength.  Buffy watched the seemingly even battle for a while, having long since wrapped up the other soldiers in their own capture nets.  Finally tiring of waiting for the vampire to finish the fight, she called out, “Stop playing, Spike.  Just do it.”

 

            Both vampire and human turned to her, their shock obvious.  Spike’s “Are you sayin’….?” came at the same time as Riley’s “Buffy! You can’t mean that!”

 

            Heaving a sigh, she rolled her eyes and shook her head.  “I guess not,” she admitted, speaking only to the vampire and ignoring Riley.  “If you want to bite him, go ahead. Just don’t kill him, okay?”

 

            The shift into his demon face was immediate and Riley had only a heartbeat to realize what Buffy had meant by “quit playing” before the vampire moved with supernatural speed and pinned him against a car, teeth snapping at the man’s neck.  Spike waited until Riley’s bowels had released and a urine stain was spreading down his pants leg, before dropping back into his human mien and smirking at the soldier.

 

            “Knew you were a Nancy-boy,” he crowed, dropping the gasping man to the ground. 

 

            Grinning from ear to ear, he walked over to where Buffy was tapping her feet and shaking her head at him.

 

            “What?” he demanded.  “Tell me you don’t think that was more fun than killing the stupid git?  And I haven’t used up any points I might want to use on the bitch.”

 

            “Speaking of which…” They looked around, both having forgotten about Maggie.  The two blonds were greeted by the chilling sight of the Initiative’s head holding one of the abandoned weapons and pointing it with clear competence directly at Buffy’s chest.  Spike’s snarl as he stepped in front of Buffy almost drowned out the woman’s laugh.

 

            “Very touching, Hostile 17, but this gun could stop an elephant.  The round is going to go right through you and into the foolish young lady behind you.  There isn’t a thing you can do about it.”

 

            Even as her finger tightened on the trigger, Buffy was diving left while Spike dove right, leaving empty space where they had been standing only fractions of a second before.  Cursing in frustration, Maggie tracked Buffy’s roll, firing whenever she thought she had a chance of hitting the rapidly moving slayer.  Spike finished his own roll and launched himself at the woman who, in her eagerness to take out the slayer, seemed to have forgotten his existence.

 

            He knocked the gun from her hand, his momentum carrying them both to the ground.  He never paused this time, burying his fangs in the woman’s throat and pulling her blood into his mouth.  He drank down the warm, gushing blood, knowing it would probably be the last time he would ever taste it fresh from the source.  When he felt Maggie’s heart begin to slow, he reluctantly removed his teeth and stood up, leaving her at his feet – bleeding, but alive.

 

            He was just turning toward Buffy, frowning as he saw the look of terror on her face, when he felt a disturbance in the air behind him.  He whirled to find Riley, a stake still held in his hand and an expression of shock on his face as he toppled backwards, a silver arrow protruding from his chest.

 

            The vampire and slayer moved closer together, frantically searching their surroundings for this new source of danger. Then Spike noticed the small elf girl Buffy had freed; she was waving to them from the edge of the parking lot.  Behind her, already disappearing into the mist that seemed to accompany them, were several adults.  All carried coiled ropes of silk and silver bows and had quivers of arrows hanging on their backs.  Buffy waved back as the pretty elf joined her elders in the mist that seemed to be drifting away without the assistance of any trace of wind.

 

            “Well,” Buffy said finally.  “I didn’t see that coming.”

 

            “Very unforgiving people, elves are.  Jus’ be grateful they think we’re the good guys.”

 

            “They believe a vampire could be a good guy?”

 

            “Vamps usually stay away from elves; unless they’re stupid fledglings.  It doesn’t take long to learn that they aren’t on the menu.”

 

            “Don’t they taste good?  And, I cannot believe I just asked that!”  Buffy shuddered and turned back toward the bodies lying on the pavement.

 

            “Did you miss the part about how unforgiving they are, Slayer?”  He followed her gaze to the pile of tied up commandos and the bodies of their commanding officers.

 

            “Did you kill her?” Buffy changed the subject abruptly as she saw Maggie’s crumpled body again.

 

            “No,” he said shortly.  “But I didn’t work very hard to keep her alive.  What do you want to do with her?”

 

            She sighed and shook her head.  “I don’t know. I guess I have to keep her alive.” She looked up at him almost apologetically. “It’s kinda my job, you know.”

 

            “I know, pet,” he smiled and brushed the hair off her face. “You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.”

 

            She offered a small smile in return, then knelt down next to the bleeding woman and used a ripped piece of cloth to staunch the blood still trickling from her throat.  She applied pressure, then used another strip to tie the pad in place.  When Spike assured her that Maggie’s heartbeat was fairly strong for someone who’d lost that much blood, she stood up and dusted her hands.

 

            “All right then. I guess it’s time to call 911,” she sighed as she began walking back to the apartment.  “Come on, you can explain to Giles that I didn’t let you kill Professor Walsh.”

 

            With a chuckle, he put his arm around her and squeezed gently.  “You know, you’re not as dumb as you look, Slayer.”

 

            “And don’t you forget it, vampire,” she laughed back at him, leaning into the embrace for a second. 

 

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

            Willow and Giles quickly got over their surprise at seeing Spike and Buffy back so soon, demanding details of the battle that had taken place only yards away from the apartment.  All they had been able to see from the window was a flurry of activity from which only Spike and Buffy had emerged.

 

            “Elves?  Real elves?”  Willow was very excited, wanting to run outside and look for them until Spike assured her she wouldn’t be able to find them, and that they wouldn’t be happy about it if she did.

 

            Giles was in complete research-mode, asking for details about the adult elves and their weapons.  His frown when Buffy mentioned calling 911 for the woman outside went unnoticed by anyone except the vampire, who shrugged apologetically and gestured at Buffy with his head.  A sigh and a nod of acceptance were the only signs that Ripper might have preferred another outcome.

 

            Buffy kept a watch out the window to be sure that she hadn’t left Maggie alive only to have her fall prey to a wandering vampire, but no one approached the group of cursing, immobilized soldiers or their dead and injured bosses, until the police and ambulances arrived.  Close behind the police car was a Humvee out of which stepped several military officers who quickly filled the local police in on the “rogue” unit that they were there to shut down.  Sunnydale’s finest were more than happy to turn over everything - including Riley’s body, which was still sporting the silver arrow that had ended his attempt to stake Spike. 

 

            While Giles and Willow joined Buffy in watching the activity outside, Spike draped himself over the overstuffed chair and watched the slayer. 

 

             What the bloody hell am I goin’ to do with something that good and full of light?  She’s…she’s effulgent.  Not what I deserve, but I’m not giving her up without a fight.

 

            Buffy glanced over her shoulder, the tingling from the tiny wounds on her neck drawing her attention back to the vampire. Her eyes met his and for just a second she caught a glimpse of the emotions roiling within him, even as he pretended to be sitting casually and waiting for her.

 

            Her breath caught in her throat at the devotion he couldn’t hide quickly enough, and she left the window to walk over and climb into his lap.  Ignoring Giles’ disapproving throat-clearing, she snuggled into the vampire’s willing arms and yawned. She rested her head on his chest, half-dozing as she waited for Willow and Giles to tell them that all the excitement outside was over. If someone had asked her to explain how she could feel safe and comfortable in the arms of a master vampire, she couldn’t have done so. She just knew that she did; knew that as long as she was with Spike she could let down her guard, confident that he would dust before he allowed anything to hurt her.

 

            When Willow announced that the parking lot was now cleared of all signs of the struggle, and was as deserted as it had seemed to be before, she came back into the room and sat down, yawning herself as she stared at the two blonds nestled into the big chair.  She tried to be frightened by her friend’s obviously close relationship with the vampire, but something about the way he was holding Buffy while she dozed peacefully on his chest made it impossible to worry.

 

            Even the watcher, as unhappy as it made him to think that Buffy was involved with another vampire, had to admit that they could form a formidable team for the forces of good.  And that Buffy’s trust in William the Bloody seemed to be justified.  It seemed pointless to try to deny whatever was between them. The vampire glanced up and caught the eyes upon him, meeting the watcher’s gaze steadily until Giles nodded and looked away.

 

            After offering Willow the guest room for what little was left of the night, he took himself to bed, leaving the living room to his slayer and her vampire.

 

            Spike let Buffy sleep for an hour, but when his senses told him that dawn was approaching, he put his mouth next to her ear and whispered, “Wakey, wakey, Slayer.”

 

            “Mmmmph”

 

            His warm chuckle stirred tendrils of hair, tickling her face and bringing her awake.  She squirmed around on his lap until she was facing him, her knees on either side of his thighs.

 

            “You’d better have a good reason for waking me up,” she grumbled, unconsciously sniffing his neck as she burrowed back into him.

 

            “Well, I did have one – the sun’s going to be coming up soon and I need to get somewhere for the day.”  He pushed his hips up into her, allowing her to feel the bulge growing in his pants.  “But now I’ve got a better one,” he purred, running his hands up under her shirt and unfastening her bra. While Buffy arched backwards on his lap, he pushed her shirt up and fastened his mouth on one rosy nipple.

 

            By the time he had suckled both to hard little peaks, she was thoroughly awake and aware that they were still sitting in her watcher’s living room.  The vampire had slid down in the chair until he was almost reclining with Buffy lying on him, her legs still on either side of his hips.  His purring was setting up vibrations that made her forget completely about her best friend and her watcher, asleep upstairs.

 

            “Want you, Slayer.  Need you, love.  Need you now—“ His words were cut off when she fastened her mouth on his, whimpering into it as she realized that once again the tight pants she was wearing were going to be an impediment to the immediate gratification they both wanted.

 

            “Dammed pants,” she gasped, rubbing herself against him harder.

 

            “We’re going shoppin’ tomorrow night,” he growled back.  “You’re gonna wear nothing but skirts from now on. And no knickers unless I tell you to.”

 

            “Unless you WHAT?”  She sat up slightly and glared at him.  “If this is more of that vampire claiming crap, you can just—mmmph”

 

            He stopped her scolding with his mouth, running his tongue around hers, sucking on it and on her lower lip, keeping her too immersed in what he was doing to remember what had upset her.  Eventually, frustration and the lack of a good deep breath of air had Buffy pushing away from his body.

 

            “Stop it,” she hissed.  “We can’t do this here. We’re going to wake them up.”

 

            “Don’t care,” he pouted, reaching for her again. 

 

            I care! And you’ll care if Giles comes down here with a stake in his hand.”

 

            “Fine,” he grumbled, sitting up and balancing her precariously on his knees.  “Where can we go then?”

 

            “Well…since Willow’s here, I guess we can go back to my dorm room.  I have to change into clean clothes before class tomorrow anyway.”

 

            With a nod of agreement, he rose gracefully to his feet, still holding her around the waist. He let her down gently and planted a kiss on her nose before suggesting, “Best leave the watcher a note, pet. Jus’ so he doesn’t think I did away with you while he slept.”

 

            Buffy scribbled out a quick note saying that she was going back to the dorm and would see Giles late in the afternoon. She propped it up on the chair in which they had been sleeping and took Spike’s waiting hand, allowing him to pull her towards the door.  A quick run through the deserted streets put them outside the dorm. Buffy quickly used her key to open the locked doors, laughing at his surprise that he’d been able to get in before.

 

            “They only lock them after midnight,” she said, rolling her eyes at his ignorance of American college life.  “It was early when you came looking for me before. Not that it was a very smart thing to do,” she added with a frown. “It’s not like you blend, you know.”

 

            “Wasn’t tryin’ to blend,” he growled. “Was tryin’ to bag my third slayer.”

 

            Buffy stiffened beside him, halting with her hand on the stairwell door. 

 

            Bollocks!  Me an’ my big mouth.

 

            “And how’s that working out for you?” she asked coldly.  Her voice lacked any trace of its usual affection, and he was immediately reminded that the little girl in front of him was the creature from which his kind usually fled.

 

            “I’m guessin’, not real well right now,” he responded honestly, thoughts of spending the rest of the night buried in her warmth rapidly vanishing.  “I’m sorry, love.  You know I didn’t mean that—“

 

            “Yes, you did.  That is why you came here that night, isn’t it? If Cave Buffy hadn’t thought you smelled good, you would have used that beer to get into my room and you would have killed me.”

 

            “I don’t know, Slayer,” he answered, surprising himself and her with his candor.  “Yeah, you’re right.  Was planning on killing you. At least I thought that was my plan. Thought I hated you.” He paused and gave her a brief glare.  “And you hated me.  Don’t pretend you didn’t.”  His shoulders slumped and he sat down on the bottom step, hands dangling between his knees.  “It’s what we are, Buffy.  Vampire. Slayer. I can’t change that.  Can’t change what I’ve done in the past. All I can do is tell you that the thought of killing you went away the minute I had you in my arms – and it’s never comin’ back.”

 

            He raised his head so that she could see the sincerity in his eyes. Buffy held his gaze, her tense posture gradually softening as she accepted the truth of his words.  She sighed and joined him on the step, sitting just close enough to be near, but without touching.

 

            “I’m sorry, too,” she finally mumbled.

 

            You’re sorry?  What in hell for, Slayer?  I’m the one keeps remindin’ you of what I am. If I could learn to keep my bloody mouth shut…”

 

            “If you could learn to keep your mouth shut, the world would probably end,” she snarked, a trace of a smile on her lips.

 

            “Hey!”

 

            “You know it’s true,” she said, her smile growing wider for a second; then she sighed and shook her head at herself.  “And I know it’s true. I need to stop over-reacting every time you say something stupid.”

 

            “Like reminding you that I used to want you dead?” he said ruefully, edging closer.

 

            “Yeah. Like that.  I need to stop taking it so personally.” She turned her head sideways to meet his softening gaze.  “Don’t I?”

 

            “Not your fault, love.  I’m a bloody wanker for sayin’ things that remind you of all the ways that you’re too good for me.”  He tentatively raised one hand and pushed her hair off her face. “Too good by far, you are.  We both know it.  I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve a chance like this.”

 

            “Apparently, you smell good,” she said quickly in an attempt to lighten the mood.  When he brushed his lips over hers gently, she breathed into his mouth, “And you kiss pretty good, too.  I think that might have something to do with it.”

 

            By the time she had finished speaking, Spike’s mouth was firmly fastened on hers and his tongue was doing things to remind her of why they had left the watcher’s apartment.  For several minutes they remained on the step, mouths glued together.  With a whimpered complaint, Buffy pulled her mouth away, gasping, “My room. Now.”

 

            With supernatural speed, the vampire was on his feet and holding the door open for her.  She walked past him, trailing one hand across his taut stomach as she did so and smiling at the small growl it elicited.  In no time, she had unlocked her door and they were falling into the small room, already tugging on each other’s clothing.

 

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

            They didn’t quite make it to the bed, falling onto the small rug on floor, with Buffy on top.  Spike sat up, putting them into the same position they’d been in on the chair at Giles’, but absent the tight pants they’d both been wearing.  Buffy slid onto him without preliminary, sighing as she felt him fill her.  Spike held her in place, although the legs she had wrapped around his back would have done the job nicely.

 

            “Do that purry thing again,” she demanded, bouncing on him lightly.

 

            He chuckled and moved his hands down to her hips. “Need to hold still, then, sweetheart,” he said, holding her down and beginning the growling rumble that she liked so much.  In no time, the vibrations were causing her to whimper and attempt to squirm on his lap, but he held her firmly and whispered in her ear.

 

            “Patience, love.  Let it happen, don’t try to force it.  Trust Spike, love.  Jus’ let yourself enjoy it.  Don’t be in such a hurry for it to be over.”

 

            Ignoring his whispered advice, Buffy clutched her legs around him more tightly, forcing him more deeply inside her and grinding into his pubic bone.  He gritted his teeth when she began clenching her internal muscles around him, muttering almost to himself, “Impatient bint.”

 

            Between the steady purring vibrations and Buffy’s tightening muscles, it wasn’t long before the slayer threw back her head and shook in ecstasy while the vampire buried his face between her breasts and smothered his roar of release against her skin.

 

            Buffy fell forward, resting her head on one of his broad shoulders while she gasped for air.  Her arms were around his neck, holding her limp body in place while he stroked her back and murmured his admiration even as he was admonishing her for her impatience.

 

            “Gonna have to teach you how to savor the moment, pet,” he said, raising his head to kiss a sweaty cheek. 

 

            “You didn’t like that?” Her pout was exaggerated, but he could hear the trace of uncertainty in her voice and sighed, pulling her closer.

 

            “Think you can tell that I did,” he growled.  “All I’m sayin’ is we can do more than just get each other off soon’s we get naked.  Not that I’m not enjoyin’ the payoff,” he hastened to add when he felt her stiffen in his arms, “but I want…”

 

            He didn’t finish, letting his voice trail off as he thought about what he wanted to say.  Buffy’s brows drew together in a small frown.

 

            “You want what?” she prompted when he didn’t continue.

 

            He tipped her chin up so that she was staring into his eyes from only inches away.

 

            “I want to make love to-with you. I want to worship your body the way it deserves to be worshipped.  Want to watch you come for me, hear you say my name, scream for me.  I want—I want you to—“

 

            He stopped, ignoring her nudge to continue; instead, he dropped his head to her throat and licked at his marks.  Buffy shivered at the sensations his tongue was creating, unconsciously moaning in appreciation as he used his tongue and lips to bring her to the brink of another orgasm without even moving.  She felt him swelling inside her again, the pressure on her cervix being all it took to send her over the edge.

 

            “Oh my god,” she whispered, hiding her blushing face in his neck.  “What did you do?”

 

            Without answering her, he rose to his feet fluidly, holding her in place and walking to the bed.  He sat down on the edge, then carefully rolled to his side and stretched them both out, being careful never to break their intimate connection.  He smoothed the hair back off her face and kissed her gently before continuing his response to her original question.

 

            “I want to love you, Buffy.  Will you let me do that?  Will you let me love you the way I want to?”

 

            The slayer stared at him with wide eyes.

 

             He wants to love me?  He wants me to let him love me?  How could I stop him?  DO I want him to love me?  Does he? Is he saying he does?  What do I want?

 

            Something of her confusion and panic must have shown in her eyes and she watched his face go from hopeful and warm to closed and coldly predatory.

 

            “I meant physically, Slayer.  I want to love you physically.  Not expecting you to—I didn’t mean I lo--“

 

            Suddenly, she didn’t want to hear him finish that sentence, rolling onto her back and bringing his body with her so that he was covering her completely.  She sighed as his weight pushed her into the mattress, noting that his disappointment had not had a negative effect on his hardness.

 

            “I want you to love me, Spike,” she whispered into his neck. “Teach me how to lo- how to please you.  Teach me how to savor it.”

 

            Without responding verbally, he began to slowly rock his hips against hers, twisting them slightly at the end of each gentle thrust.  As the tension in her body began to build, Buffy tried to pull him closer only to have him chuckle softly into her ear as he continued the slow, steady thrusting that was building toward another shuddering release.  The constant stimulation of her internal nerves was sending the slayer into an incoherent frenzy; her head thrashed back and forth in frustration over her denied release until, without warning, the orgasm burst over her causing her to scream his name into his shoulder as she came.

 

            She lay limp under him, aware that he was still hard and that he was smiling at her smugly, but too sated to care.

 

            “Boy good,” she gasped, changing his smug smile to one of genuine pleasure.

 

            “Boy hasn’t even begun to be good, pet,” he murmured, beginning the gentle rhythm again and ignoring her groaned “Oh, no. I can’t…I couldn’t…”. 

 

            Her muttered denials trailed off as she determined to make him feel just as weak and sated as she did.  With every thrust he made, she deliberately squeezed him, evoking his own groans of pleasure and causing him to speed up in spite of himself.  Before long he was pounding in to her, his gasps of encouragement all she needed to continue her internal assault on his cock.  As he neared the release he could not hold back and his gasps became closer to shouts, she was able to make out more of the words.  When he couldn’t contain the “love you!” that exploded from his lips as he came, Buffy found the words did not frighten her as she had been sure they would.  Instead, they stimulated her own shuddering release which seemed to go on and on as she felt Spike’s fangs once more slip into the marks on her throat. 

 

            Without thought, she grabbed the hard ridge of muscle at the side of his neck with her own teeth, biting down until the coppery taste in her mouth told her she’d drawn blood.  She felt the vampire shuddering again as the bite sent him into another sudden orgasm. When he had finally subsided into small jerking motions of his hips, he managed to raise his head from her throat to ask, “Not that I’m complainin’, love, but what the hell was that?”

 

            Putting her lips back on the small wound she had made, Buffy licked it gently and whispered, “Boy mine.”  She refused to look at him, keeping her embarrassed face buried in his neck while Spike stared at her in happy confusion.  When she wouldn’t look at him, he sighed and relaxed onto the bed, pulling her into his chest and rolling them onto their sides.

 

            “Forever, Slayer. The boy is yours forever.”

 

             Guess I’ll wait till tomorrow before I tell her what she’s done. She doesn’t need to know that “forever” is a bit closer to the truth than she probably thinks it is.

 

 

the end

 

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