Banner by Nemo88

Sequel to the Bodyguard

 

 

Title: I Would Die For You (1/17/06)

Author: Slaymesoftly

Rating: NC17

Season: IV, AU- no spoilers

Word count – 19,790

Distribution: If you already have permission, take it.  If not, just ask.

Disclaimer:  Just playing with characters invented and owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and other big corporations with more money than I have.

Beta’d by the wonderful Always_jbj

 

Author’s notes:  Follows immediately after the conclusion of The Bodyguard.  Buffy has driven off with her watcher to take the partially drained Riley back to the Initiative for medical treatment.  Spike has walked Xander to his home, surprisingly cheerful for someone whose help was barely acknowledged by Giles, Xander and Riley. In his pocket is the queen chess piece that Dracula had used to keep his thrall on Buffy. As with The Bodyguard, this takes place in a very non-canon Spuffyverse in which Dracula makes his appearance during Season IV before Adam has emerged. If purists are upset about that, I’m sorry, but that’s where I put him in the first story, so that’s where we begin this one.

 

 

Chapter One

 

          Spike waved a cheerful “good-night” to the bewildered boy and headed for his new home in a crypt in Restfield cemetery. When he had entered and lit a few candles, he took the chess piece from his pocket and placed it on a stone shelf next to small red candle.

 

            “There you go, pet.  All safe and sound with the Big Bad.”

 

            He opened the small refrigerator he’d found in a pile of household items meant for the Salvation Army and took out a container of pigs’ blood.  Making a face, he poured some into a cup and gulped it down quickly, getting no pleasure from the cold, foul-tasting liquid, but knowing he needed it after his battle with Angel.  When he felt he’d eaten enough to replace any blood he might have lost earlier, he put the container away and got out a can of beer.

 

             He settled in front of his TV set – courtesy of the same charity donations-- and popped the top on his beer can as he put his feet up on a box. The couch he was sitting on had been in an abandoned home – something Sunnydale seemed to have in abundance.  He had no idea how long he might have to wait for Buffy to come to him, but he was confident she would.  The expression on her face as her Watcher drove off with her and her erstwhile boyfriend in his small car told him they were not finished with each other.

 

               He shifted himself uncomfortably, thoughts of Buffy having caused the usual reaction in his jeans. 

 

               Guess the question is, how much of that heat between us was because she was already in thrall to a master vampire and how much of it was real? Know it was real for me, but until the other night she’s never given me a look since that bloody engagement spell that had us all over each other. When she shows, it’ll probably be to tell me it wasn’t real and I should forget it if I want to stay undusted.

 

                  He stroked himself through his pants, trying to decide how long Buffy was likely to stay with her injured boyfriend and if he would have enough time to relieve some of the tension he’d been carrying around since he started spending the night in her room. Concluding that she would probably remain with the big soldier as long as he wanted her there, the vampire growled and unzipped his jeans.  Torn between the desire for some quick sexual gratification and anger that she would not have come right to him, he quickly brought himself to a joyless, but relaxing, release.

 

 

`~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

                Buffy paced impatiently while the Initiative doctors worked on Riley, rounding on her Watcher to demand, “What are they doing that’s so secret I couldn’t watch it? They have to give him blood and clean up his cuts.  It’s not like this doesn’t happen every night in Sunnydale. I’ve seen it before!”

 

                  “I’m sure they have their reasons, Buffy,” he answered with deceptive mildness.  “No doubt related to some rule invented by that mad harridan by whom he is employed.”

 

                  Buffy shook her head at the less than well-hidden dislike in the older man’s voice.

 

                 “Giles, that is really no way to talk about Professor Walsh.”   

 

                  A disgusted “Harrumph” was the only reply.

 

                  Eventually, a young soldier came out of the medical area and approached the anxious Slayer.  He shifted uncomfortably under Buffy’s expectant gaze before gathering up his courage to say, “Professor Walsh thinks it would be better if you were to leave Agent Finn here to finish his treatment. He agrees and said to tell you he would call you tomorrow morning.”

 

                   “What?”  Buffy’s irate clenching of her fist had an unfortunate outcome for the back of the chair on which she’d been resting her hand.  The commando blanched when the wood crumbled under her fingers and he missed her mumbled, “Sorry”, as he backed quickly out of the room.  

 

                    Refusing Giles’ offer of a ride back to her home, Buffy insisted she needed to work off some pent-up anger-- as well as needing to make up for taking the previous night off -- by doing a quick patrol before going home.  She waved at the frowning man and headed directly for the Restfield cemetery, where she knew Spike had found a place to live. It had quickly reached the point where he and Xander were squabbling like siblings, and she and the Watcher had finally agreed that it was all right for the neutered vampire to find his own place as long as they knew where it was.

 

                  She approached the crypt quietly, not sure if Spike would even be home yet.  She felt a pang of guilt as she remembered the expression on his face when she and Giles had driven off with Riley, leaving the vampire who had gone against his own nature to save them to walk back to town with Xander.

 

             (He could have just gone off on his own and left Xander to find his own way home in the dark. I didn’t even think of that.  When did I start assuming that Spike would protect my friends as well as me?)

 

                 She faced the heavy wooden door, uncertain whether to knock or just push her way in – until she remember that Spike never knocked at her house unless her mother was home alone. He just walked in whatever door or window he chose.  She reminded herself that that was actually a good thing at times - like, for instance, when I’m being bitten by a famous vampire.

 

               From his place inside the crypt, Spike had felt her approach.  He listened carefully, but could hear no other heartbeat that would indicate she was not alone.  He quickly positioned himself on the couch, shutting his eyes and pretending to be asleep.  He heard the door open and the sound of small feet coming hesitantly into the poorly-lit crypt; he was glad he’d taken the time to light some new candles before the old ones burned down.  He made a mental note to get another lamp to go with the one he’d taken from the Harris’ basement.

 

              (Not that I know she’s going to be spending a lot of time here, or anything; but if she does, she’s going to want light.)

 

                  Buffy entered the dim room hesitantly until she saw the vampire was sprawled on the couch, apparently asleep.  The light of the flickering candles made the sharp planes of his face stand out and the way he was half-lying, half-sitting displayed his flat stomach and long, muscular legs in a way that made her mouth go dry.  Shaking off thoughts of climbing on top of him to awaken him with a kiss, she approached quietly, saying softly, “Spike?  Are you awake?”

 

                  When he didn’t respond, she came closer and reached over to shake his shoulder, ready to jump back if he awoke in game face.  To her surprise, he only opened his eyes slowly and smirked at her.

 

                    “Don’t you know better than to startle a sleeping vampire, Slayer? Who’s to say I wouldn’t have bitten you before the chip kicked in?”

 

                   Buffy cocked her head at him and studied his laughing eyes for a second. 

 

                   “You weren’t really asleep, were you, you big faker?”  She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. 

 

                   “Nope,” he agreed cheerfully, sitting up and patting the cushion beside him.  “Just wanted to see what you’d do.”

 

                      Buffy blushed furiously, hoping he couldn’t read in her face what she had so briefly thought about doing.

 

                    “What did you think I was going to do?” she asked haughtily. “Kiss you or something?”  She tried to put as much skepticism into her voice as she could.

 

                    He looked at her from under his long lashes and said softly, “No, luv.  Then I would have known I really was asleep…and dreaming.”

 

                    The reminder that he had already shown her how much he would have enjoyed that kind of a wake-up call sent another burst of heat and color flooding her face and she turned away from where he was still patting the couch hopefully to look around the large stone room.  In spite of the size and the cold stone walls, the candles gave the crypt a warm glow and she could see that Spike had tried to make a home out of what was essentially a large grave. 

 

                    Several blankets and a large quilt were lying haphazardly on top of a stone sarcophagus.  When she realized that was probably Spike’s bed, she quickly averted her eyes, scolding herself for being so prissy about looking at his bed when he’d spent the past two days sleeping in hers.

 

                      As she wandered around the room, following her eyes and trying not to look at Spike, she spotted the small white figure on the shelf near a guttering candle. She whirled to look at the vamplre.

 

                      “Is that--?”

 

                       He stood up in one smooth motion, walking over to where she was staring at the chess piece with a look of disgust and horror on her face. He watched as she reached a tentative hand toward the figure and said quietly, “It’s safe now, pet.  As long as we keep it away from the bleedin’ poofter, it’s harmless.”

 

                     “How did it get here?” she demanded, her suspicions clear on her face.  She remembered how it had felt when Dracula ran his hands over the piece – how she had felt every touch as though his hands were actually on her body.  Dismay and disappointment filled her eyes as she contemplated the possibility that Spike had taken it for his own purposes.

 

                        Her tone and the look on her face felt like a knife in Spike’s gut as he realized what she was thinking.  Before he could hide it, the pain and anger flared across his face and Buffy fell back before the raw emotion she could see there.

 

                       Her stumbling attempt at an apology was cut off by an abrupt hand motion from the vampire.  “Here,” he snarled, snatching the queen off the shelf and handing it to her.  “I got it for you.  Thought you might feel safer if you knew where it was.”

 

                     Buffy stood silently, clutching the small plastic figure while Spike walked away from her to stand by the door.

 

                      “I ‘spect you’ll be wanting to leave now, Slayer,” he said tightly.  “Got evil doers to slay, a boyfriend to coddle, important things like that.  No need to waste any more time here.”

 

                     She stared at his angry face, wondering what had happened to her plan to come here and thank him for taking care of her so well.  ( As usual, I’m suffering from Buffy-foot-in-mouth-disease.  What can I do to make up for insulting him like that?)

 

                   She walked slowly towards the now open door, trying to get the vampire to meet her eyes, but he stubbornly kept his gaze focused on a crack in the stone wall, refusing to acknowledge her attempts to make eye contact.  Buffy dropped her head and started out the door Spike was holding open for her.  She had already left the crypt and heard the door shutting behind her when she stopped suddenly and whirled around, kicking it open again.

 

                 She marched back into the crypt, pushing the surprised vampire on his chest until he backed up to where there was enough light for her to glare at him properly.   Pulling the chess piece from the pocket in which she’d started to put it, she waved it in his face.

 

                  “If you wanted me to feel safe, shouldn’t this stay here?  With my bodyguard?  Or, are you tired of the job already?”

 

                   Her eyes challenged him to misunderstand what she was saying, and she was gratified to see the astonishment and anger in his amber stare fade back to a soft blue confused, but happy expression.

 

                   “Not tired, pet.  Just didn’t think you needed…or wanted one anymore.”

 

                   “Well,” she admitted with a small smile, “I probably don’t NEED one anymore…But I got pretty used to having somebody watching my back.”  She ducked her head shyly and whispered, “I kinda liked it.”

 

                   “Can always use somebody at your back,” he whispered back, stepping closer.  “You never know when evil’s gonna try to sneak up on you.”

 

                   They stood close together, but not touching, each one searching the other’s eyes for some clue as to what they were trying to say.  Buffy held the queen out slowly.

 

                    “So, shouldn’t this be here?  With you?”

 

                    He closed his much larger hand around hers, folding her fingers around the figure.

 

                    “Actually, luv, it’s probably safer with you.  Anything can get in here at any time.  I wouldn’t put it past the oily bastard to send another vamp looking for it.  You need to hide it somewhere in your house.  Somewhere no one is likely to find it.”

 

                   Buffy stared at their two hands, her small, tan one wrapped inside his own larger pale one.  When he loosened his grip, she reluctantly pulled hers away and tucked the figurine back into her pocket.

 

                  “Okay,” she said softly.  “I’ll hide it somewhere.”

 

                   “Alright. Good, then.”

 

                    Clearing his throat, he stepped away from her, walking back towards the TV set. 

 

                    “So, what did you come by for, then, pet?  Want some help with patrol tonight?”

 

                       He knew that Riley often tried to accompany Buffy on her patrols, but assumed the man wouldn’t be up to it that evening.  He was mildly surprised that Buffy hadn’t stayed longer with the injured commando, but was reluctant to bring it up lest she feel guilty and go back to him.

 

                      “No…well, yes.  I mean, that would be nice, but it’s not why I came here.”

 

                      He arched an eyebrow and waited for her explanation.  When it wasn’t forthcoming right away he walked back to her and asked quietly, “Then why DID you come by?”

 

                     Taking a deep breath, she raised her eyes to his and said firmly, “I wanted to thank you for…for taking care of me…and for not…” She blushed, unsure how to say that she was grateful that he hadn’t taken advantage of her weakness.  A small voice inside-- a voice that she quickly smothered – told her she’d have been just as happy if he had, and she blushed again as she spoke.

 

                   “For not…?”  The beginnings of a smirk played around his mouth and eyes.

 

                   “You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?” she huffed indignantly, albeit with a small smile.

 

                   “Oh yeah,” he said cheerfully.  “Can’t wait for you to admit I’m not the pig you think I am.”

 

                    “Yes, you are!” she said indignantly.  “You know you are.” Her voice softened again.  “It’s just… this one time…you were a gentleman.  And I…I appreciate it.”

 

                  “You’re welcome, luv,” he answered, suddenly serious again.  Without his volition, his hand reached out to stroke her soft cheek and he almost groaned when she unconsciously leaned into his touch.  “Would never take anything from you that you really didn’t mean to give.”

 

                   Buffy gave a small nod and stood on her toes, her mouth only inches from his as she murmured, “I really meant to give this.”

 

                  Her soft, full lips slid across his, her kiss sweet and sincere, as she thanked him.  His own lips moved gently against hers, extending the kiss but making no attempt to deepen it.  He cautiously put his arms around her waist, holding her lightly against his body until, with a soft sigh, she slid her hands around his neck.  The warm, but relatively chaste kiss continued until she felt his erection pressing against her stomach; she sighed again and gently pushed him away, meeting only an instant’s resistance before he released her and dropped his hands to his sides.

 

                    He rested his chin against the top of her head briefly, then raised his head and stepped back.

 

                   “I’m sorry, luv,” he said softly. “I can’t help it.  It’s what you do to me.”

 

                  Buffy nodded and wrapped her arms around herself as though suddenly cold.
 

                    “It’s okay, Spike,” she almost whispered.  “It’s just I…and then there’s Riley…and you’re…and I’m…”  She raised her eyes to his, surprising both of them with the tears she was blinking away.  “I don’t know what’s going on here,” she admitted.  “And I don’t want to mess up whatever it is we’ve got…Not that I’m saying we have anything,” she added quickly. “But, if we did, I don’t want to….it would be messy, you know?”  Her eyes pleaded with him to understand. “I have a boyfriend.  If I…if you…we…it would be cheating and I don’t do that.”

 

                   “It’s alright, Slayer,” he answered quickly. “Wasn’t expectin’ anything from you. I kept you safe because…” He struggled for a non-poncy reason.  “Well, because I just couldn’t watch a good warrior get taken down by gypsy tricks.  And, anyway,” he added with his most evil look,  “I still plan to get this chip out and make you my third slayer.”

 

                He reacted with indignation when her only response was a sarcastic “Yeah, right,” going into game face and growling fiercely.  Ignoring his attempts to intimidate her, she grabbed his hand, pulling him towards the door with a, “Come on, Big Bad.  Let’s go kick some demon butt before the night’s over.”

 

              With Buffy’s warm hand in his, Spike found it impossible to keep his demon face to the fore, following her meekly out into the night while muttering under his breath about “disrespectful bints”.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

               After they had found and dusted a gang of young vamps they found standing by a new grave in anticipation of the rising of a new member, Spike insisted on walking her back to the house on Revello drive, telling her it was just a short distance from Restfield and no trouble for him. 

 

                 Whereas to have Riley insist on seeing her safely inside normally made her impatient and annoyed, it somehow seemed right for Spike, who was, she admitted to herself, more of an equal.  True to his word, he had only watched her back when they fought the gang of vamps, stepping in only when one would try to sneak up behind her.  By the time they were all dusted, the two blonds were working together in perfect synchronicity – Spike’s quiet, “Behind you, Slayer,” all that was necessary most of the time.  Although, when he saw her begin to tire, he did pull the biggest of the vamps out of the melee and take out a few of his own frustrations on the other demon.  He left the vamp unconscious on the ground while he watched carefully for any sign that he needed to remove any others. 

 

                 Buffy tossed him an extra stake, not even looking at him to see if he would catch it, and without breaking the rhythm of her fight with the remaining vamps.  He quickly dispatched his still-unconscious opponent and stepped up beside the Slayer with a grin.

 

                “You want to keep all this fun for yourself, or can anybody play?” he asked, punching the angry young vampire closest to him.

 

                       “Well, I wouldn’t let just anybody play,” she responded, kicking a snarling female away.  “But you can. Race you to see who gets done first.”

 

                   With a whoop of joy, Spike threw himself into the fray, making quick work of the two vampires left on his side, while Buffy gave up the punches and kicks in favor of simply trying to get the stake into the hearts of her two opponents as quickly as possible.  When the last two vamps exploded into dust, they were left facing each other, breathing hard but exhilarated.

 

                   “I won!” he crowed,  “What’s my prize?”

 

                    “You so did not!” she responded indignantly.  “If anything, it was a tie, so if there’s a prize, we have to share it.”

 

                   “And what would we be sharing, exactly,” he purred, moving into her space and ignoring the stake still held loosely in her hand.  “What do you give yourself when you win a fight like that?”

 

                 Buffy swallowed hard before answering. “Um, a hot bath or shower and a good night’s sleep?” she squeaked.

 

                 “Sounds like fun,” Spike grinned.  “Your place or mine?”

 

                 She slapped at his chest and moved away saying, “I’m going to my mother’s for mine.  I don’t know what you’re doing to do.  Unless you’ve got running water in that crypt…”

 

                 “Hmph,” he grumbled as he fell into step beside her.  “I knew there wasn’t really going to be a prize.”

 

                  When they reached Revello Drive, their feet seemed to slow of their own accord, the last one hundred yards to the house taking as long as the first half-mile.  But even walking slowly, they eventually arrived at her front porch and she stopped at the bottom step, turning to say “good-night” only to be shocked into silence by the naked desire on his expressive face.

 

                 A look he quickly changed to his normal smirk when he realized she’d caught him.

 

                “Home again, all safe and sound,” he said briskly. “Time for all good little slayers to get into bed…” 

 

                   (Maybe I can get another kiss out of this…)

 

                  ( There’s nothing wrong with a good-night kiss between friends…)

 

                  Buffy was just leaning toward the equally intent vampire when a movement from the street caught her eye and she peered around him with a frown.

 

                     “Not quite what I was goin’ for, Slayer,” he growled when instead of her lips, his mouth met the side of her head.

 

                       “Shhh!  Somebody’s watching us,” she hissed.  “I can’t see what kind of car it is, but there is definitely somebody in there looking over here.”

 

                       “Have a seat, pet,” he said tightly, resisting the urge to whirl around to stare at the vehicle and gesturing casually to the top step.  Following his own instructions, he leaned back on his elbows striving to appear uninterested in his surroundings.  Once he was seated, he shifted into his demon visage and used his enhanced night vision to identify the vehicle as one of the Initiative’s SUVs. He covered his scrutiny as best he could by fumbling for his cigarettes and making a big production out of lighting one and leaning back again to blow out the smoke. He could just make out the camouflaged commandos inside the vehicle and the hand-held cameras pointed at the house.

 

                   “It’s your boyfriend’s buddies, Slayer.  The question is, did they follow us here from the cemetery, or have they been here all along staking out your house?”

 

                   She rose to her feet indignantly.  “It doesn’t matter!  Either way, they’ve got no business following me and I’m going to tell them so!”

 

                        Before he could stop her, Buffy was crossing the street and heading for the SUV, righteous indignation flaring in every line of her body.  Just as she reached the middle of the road, the engine roared to life and the vehicle backed up quickly, turning around when it was far enough away and speeding off into the night.

 

                      Buffy stood on the street, her hands on her hips, glaring after the rapidly disappearing truck.  She started slightly when the vampire came up behind her and lightly rested his hands on her shoulders.

 

                    “Think you scared them off, pet,” he chuckled.  “A brassed off Slayer must look pretty scary through infra-red goggles.”

 

                    “I’m not going to look any more pleasant in the daylight when I go in there tomorrow to find out what the hell they were doing here,” she growled. Suddenly she turned to him, concern evident on her face.  “Maybe they were following you,” she said, a bolt of fear going through her at the thought.  “Maybe they want to recapture you.”

 

                   He shrugged.  “What else can they do to me?  They ran all their bloody experiments before they put the chip in.  Hey! You don’t suppose they want to take it out, do you?”  He suddenly looked eager to follow the now-invisible truck.

 

                    Buffy just looked at him with disbelief until he dropped his head and said sheepishly, “It was just a thought.”

 

                      “I don’t think you should go back to your crypt tonight,” she muttered, walking back towards her front door.  “They might be after you. You’d better stay here until I find out what’s going on.”

 

                    “I can’t do that, pet,” he said quietly, stopping on the bottom step.

 

                    “Of course you can!” she said indignantly. “Mom won’t mind. It’s only one more night. Just until I get this straightened out.”

 

                     He stepped up on the porch until he was hidden in the pool of darkness there, then pulled her unresistingly into his arms.  He nuzzled the side of her neck, ghosting his tongue over the marks left by Dracula and smiling when she shivered against him.   He ran his tongue up the side of her throat until he reached her lips, then ran it lightly along them until they parted for him.  He made no attempt to hide his burgeoning erection as he plunged his tongue into her mouth.  When he had kissed her into a state of dizziness, supporting her whole weight with his arms when her knees weakened too much for her to stand, he finally withdrew, pressing his forehead up against hers as he said hoarsely, “I really, really can’t do that, Slayer.  Want you too bad to pretend otherwise, pet.  I’ll fight with you, I’ll watch your back, I’ll even help your Scoobie friends help you fight evil; but don’t ask me to watch you sleep unless I’m doin’ it from a spot right beside you in the bed.”

 

                   He released her trembling body, stepping back as soon as he saw that she wasn’t going to fall.  He ran his hand lightly over her cheek, saying, “I appreciate the thought, pet.  But we’re both better off if I stay in my own place for a while.  I’ll be fine.  Don’t know what those wankers were after, but I’m sure it wasn’t me.”

 

                 Brushing his lips lightly across hers one last time, he whispered softly, “Good night, Slayer. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

 

                  While Buffy stood dumbly, her hand to her mouth, he disappeared into the night, his hair the only thing visible as he headed back to his home at a pace no human could have matched.

 

 

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

 

                Before Buffy headed for Sunnydale University and her much-neglected classes there, she went past Dracula’s castle, only to find it had reverted to its former identity as an abandoned dog pound.  After looking around carefully and finding no sign of the old vampire, she breathed a sigh of relief and continued her journey towards the school.

 

                 A whispered conversation with Willow during the first lecture brought the red head up to speed on the evening’s events and they continued their discussion on the way out of the lecture hall.  Buffy was surprised to see Riley in his normal place, assisting Professor Walsh with the class.  While it would have been perfectly possible for her to recover overnight from that much blood loss, she was surprised to see that he had also seemed to make a full recovery.  She made a mental note to ask him exactly what sorts of methods the Initiative used in their medical facility and why they weren’t sharing those secrets with the Sunnydale Memorial Emergency Room staff.

 

                 Just as Buffy and Willow were about to leave the building, Riley came running after them, calling to Buffy to wait for him. He caught up to the two curious girls quickly, smiling at Willow and giving Buffy a quick, dry peck on the lips, frowning when she flinched away from him.

 

                 “What’s wrong?” he asked casually, hoping she had not actually seen who was in the vehicle she had frightened away from her house the night before.

 

                    His hopes were crushed when she shook off his hand and asked tensely, “Would you like to tell me what your buddies were doing staking out my house last night?”

 

                    The big man fidgeted from foot to foot, before answering evasively, “It was just an error.  They weren’t supposed to actually be watching you – just keeping an eye out for Dracula or any other vamps.”  The scowl on his face told her exactly whom he was referring to as “any other vamp” and she glared back at him.

 

                “If you are talking about Spike, they have no business following him either.  You’ve made him incapable of feeding or killing, so there’s no reason for the Initiative to pay any attention to him anymore.  Leave him alone!”

 

                “I’ll leave him alone when I stop seeing him going in and out of your house at all hours of the day and night!” 

 

                 In his anger, he blurted out more than he intended and he backed up slightly in the face of Buffy’s change in demeanor. Although he towered over the petite blond, he had seen her in action often enough to know that she could kill him with one blow if she wanted to.  And, from the expression on her face, it was possible that she really wanted to.

 

                “Exactly how long have you been spying on us—him?” she asked coldly.

 

                   “I’m just trying to protect you, Buffy,” he started to explain. He noticed Willow’s eyes rolling and her head shaking sadly, but had no time to read the signals she was unintentionally sending as he tried to finish his explanation. He also missed the stiffening of his girlfriend’s already angry posture as he continued.  “I don’t understand why you think you can allow this animal the freedom to enter your home whenever he wants to.  Or why you went to his crypt last night after just getting free from another vampire!”

 

                Buffy gaped at him for so long he was beginning to think she hadn’t heard him.

 

                “Have you forgotten just HOW I got free from that ‘other vampire’?” she asked incredulously.  “Spike saved my life last night!  AND yours, and Giles’ and probably Xander’s.  Stop me when I get to someone who sounds even remotely important to you!”

 

                 He had the grace to look briefly ashamed before recovering quickly.  “I know he helped us get out of there.  I just don’t quite get why.  He probably has a history with Dracula and wanted to thwart him, even if it meant rescuing you.” He looked at her earnestly.  “Buffy, you need to get over this obsession with these older vamps and begin treating them the way you do any other demon.  I’m just trying to help you see that.”

 

               “When I need your help to choose my friends, Riley, I’ll ask for it.”

    

                Buffy’s posture when she turned away and gestured for Willow to leave with her should have been a clear warning that he had crossed a line; a line that the big commando apparently hadn’t noticed as he grabbed her arm to stop her from leaving.

 

                 “We’re not through talking about this,” he said firmly. “I want you to come with me to meet with our psycholo—“

 

                   Buffy did not even bother to warn him, she simply picked his hand off her bicep and yanked the much larger man to his knees.

 

                    “Don’t ever touch me like that again,” the Slayer said in a voice that chilled him as she squeezed the bones in his hand.  For the first time, he began to reconsider Maggie’s insistence that the Slayer was as much a demon as the creatures she hunted.  He remained on his knees as she strode off so quickly Willow had to run to keep up.

 

                    He remained on his knees briefly, massaging his sore hand and staring thoughtfully after the two girls.  He did his best to ignore the smothered laughter from passing students who had seen the tiny blond bring him to his knees.  When he was sure he had no broken bones to worry about, he got up, still cradling his aching hand, and headed for Lowell House and the entrance to the Initiative. 

 

                      The rest of the day passed uneventfully, although Buffy remained angry enough to accidentally break two pens and a pencil while trying to write.  After class she went back to the dorm room that she hadn’t stayed in while Dracula was around, and gathered up her dirty laundry to take home over the weekend.   As soon as the sun went down, she picked up her stakes and headed for the town’s cemeteries, determined to get as many newly risen vampires as she could before the Initiative soldiers could find them. 

 

                    Just as she entered one of the older cemeteries, she spotted an empty, black SUV and she slowed her steps, looking around cautiously.  Murmured conversations ahead of her had her ducking behind shrubs and tombstones as she tried to get close enough to hear what was going on.

 

                   “Why do we get stuck with the job of picking up the new vamps and Finn and his crew get the easy job of grabbing the one that can’t fight back?” someone groused aloud.

 

                    “Because our girlfriends aren’t hanging out with the easy one, and his is.”

 

                    Laughter at Riley’s expense greeted the remark, as Buffy growled softly under her breath at the implication.   If I’m going to get blamed for sleeping with Spike, I might as well be doing it, flitted though her mind, as she listened to the bawdy banter between the commandos.  It wasn’t until one of them mentioned “teaching that chipped bloodsucker a lesson” that it occurred to her that Spike might be in danger.

 

                   Ignoring their startled shouts when she burst out of the shrubbery and began sprinting toward Restfield, she began mentally cursing both Riley and the secret organization for which he worked.  Her feet flew as she covered the distance to Spike’s crypt, only slowing when she saw the open door dangling from one hinge.

 

                 One quick glance inside, and she gave a low moan of distress.  The interior had been thoroughly trashed, the TV was smashed, the refrigerator on its side and open, blood spilled on the floor and candles smashed into small pieces of wax.  Buffy found a candle that was still intact and quickly lit it, searching carefully for any sign of a pile of dust or any indication that something as large as a body might have been dragged out of the crypt.

 

                  She almost sobbed in frustration when the flickering candle made it impossible to see for sure.  There were so many boot prints in the dust on the floor that there was no way to tell if they’d taken anything with them when they left.  Buffy slumped against the sarcophagus, telling herself that Spike probably hadn’t even been home when they came in and was now walking around Sunnydale somewhere, looking for her.  When she noticed his bedding lying in a messy heap on the floor she automatically bent down to pick it up, bumping her butt against the top of the sarcophagus as she did so.  She startled when it shifted behind her and she whirled to watch with wide eyes as a pale, slender hand cautiously pushed it even further open. 

 

                 Grabbing a stake from her waistband, she waited while the lid was gradually raised and a pair of amber eyes peered out, catching the light from her candle.  Buffy held her stake at the ready until a familiar voice grumbled, “Bloody wankers, coming in here and tearing up my new house.  I don’t know who they think they are…”

 

                Before he could finish his angry rant, a joyful Buffy had shoved the lid all the way off and pounced on the emerging vampire, knocking him onto his back with a grateful Slayer lying on top of him.

 

                Bewildered, but willing, Spike held the half-laughing, half-crying girl while she kissed his face and neck, telling him how glad she was to find him undusty.  So happy was she to find him alive and free that it took Buffy a few minutes to notice where they were.  When he shifted under her uncomfortably, complaining about being poked in the back, she took in their surroundings and asked,  “Spike, are we lying on top of BONES?”

 

               “Well, as a matter of fa—“ He was cut off as, with a piercing shriek, she rose straight out of the stone coffin and landed on the floor without even touching the sides.  The vampire sat up and looked at her with confusion.

 

               “What’s the matter, luv?  What did you think I was lying on, down pillows?  It’s a bloody sarcophagus, not a feather bed.”

 

                 “You didn’t think to get rid of the previous owners before you moved in?” she demanded, hands on hips.

 

                 “Was kind of in a hurry just then, Slayer.  What with your Neanderthal boyfriend and his low-browed minions,” he growled.  “Any way, I don’t see what the problem is.  They’re just dead people, pet.  They have a right to be here too.”

 

                  “I am NOT going to sleep on top of a dead body, or bones, or…”

 

                Spike was out of the sarcophagus and standing in front of her before she had finished speaking. 

 

                   “If you’re sayin’ what I think you’re sayin’, they’re gone.  Won’t take me but a few seconds.  You wait right here while I--“ He reached into the grave and began to pull out the bones that had covered the bottom of it, tossing them onto the floor to be swept up later.

 

                  Buffy shuddered and moved away from the flying debris, trying not to giggle as the vampire raced to remove any trace of the former residents from his bed.   He threw an arm bone at her in retaliation for her giggles and she had just caught it when a bright beam of light fell into the crypt, illuminating the vampire with his hands full of broken bones and the Slayer holding the one she’d just snatched out of the air.

 

                 “I believe you are right, Agent Finn,” came the unmistakable voice of Maggie Walsh. “She is obviously just as big a ghoul as the vampire.  I wonder if she was planning to gnaw on that bone in her hand?” the older woman mused to herself as she and Riley followed the light into the crypt. 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

              Without thinking, Buffy and Spike moved closer together, automatically switching positions so as to have room for their weapon hands, even though all they had were Buffy’s stakes and a pile of bones.  Blinded by the light in their faces, they couldn’t see who was behind the floodlight, nor how many might be there. Fortunately, Spike could hear and smell. He concentrated on the heartbeats, whispering to her that he could only hear three people and that they already knew who two of them were.

 

               “Riley?” Buffy tried to keep the hurt from her voice.  “What did she mean ‘You were right’? Did you call me a ghoul?” 

 

                “I said I thought you might be another kind of demon, one that preys upon its own kind.  It’s the only explanation for your strength and this…attraction…you have for vampires. And your violent tendencies,” he added, sounding very much like a psych major.

 

                   She was struggling to form a reasonable response when Spike blurted out, “Other than being Heaven’s Chosen One, you mean, you stupid git?”

 

               “Heaven’s Chosen One?” Maggie’s voice dripped sarcasm.  “Exactly who Chose her?”

 

               In spite of Buffy’s best attempts to shush him, he replied, “WHO chose her? You’re dumber than you look, aren’t you, Doc?”

 

                In an icy tone, the titular head of the Initiative’s demon study unit reminded him, “It may turn out that I am so dumb I will feel it is necessary to repeat some of those experiments you were so kind as to participate in earlier this year.”

 

                Buffy gasped at the obvious threat and Spike’s smothered snarl, wondering what he had not told them about his experiences before he escaped.

 

                  “Are you threatening my…vampire?” Buffy growled her own warning, stepping in front of him protectively.

 

                   “YOUR vampire?  I was not aware that your job description included ownership of any sort.  Stabbing them with pointy sticks – isn’t that what you told me you do to them?”

 

                   “Spike has been very helpful to us since you put that chip in his head.  I consider him one of my friends.”

 

                  “Ah yes, your friends.  An interesting collection, are they not?  Another vampire- this one claiming to have a soul, a young man just out of high school who appears to have quite a knowledge of military tactics and procedures….  Ms Rosenberg, I understand, dabbles in witchcraft? We have some interest in all of them actually. And I truly do not understand the purpose of that unpleasant man who ‘watches’ you for some group in England, but I suspect we could find out if we tried.”

 

                 Buffy tried to picture Quentin Travers and Maggie Walsh squaring off against each other and couldn’t help grinning.   “I suspect you could,” she agreed with a soft laugh.  “What do you think, Spike – the Initiative versus the Council – who would you put your money…er…kittens on?”

 

                 “Think I’d have to give the Council of Wankers the nod, pet.  They’ve got thousands of years of sneaky, underhanded, demon killing experience to draw on.  Prob’ly make mince meat of these wannabes.”

 

                 There was a moment of silence as Riley and his boss tried to understand what the two blonds facing them found so amusing, then, walking out from behind the flood light that was apparently being held by the third man, Maggie stepped into the pool of light with the vampire and the Slayer.

 

                  “There are two ways to do this, Ms. Summers.  You can come with us willingly and be treated as an honored guest while we…explore your abilities and talents—“ She was interrupted by a furious snarl from the vampire who quickly pushed Buffy behind him.

 

                 “You’re not taking her anywhere, you bloody, sadistic bitch.”

 

                  “There isn’t really much you can do about that, now, is there, Hostile Seventeen?  Agent Finn, would you please restrain the hostile while I finish explaining her options to the Slayer?”

 

                     Riley also stepped into the lighted area, not meeting Buffy’s accusing eyes as he shoved Spike away from her and into the pile of bones.  The vampire came up snarling, fangs bared as he attacked the waiting commando.  He had barely touched the impassive soldier when he fell to the floor, clutching his head and howling in pain.

 

                    In the meantime, Maggie had approached Buffy in a friendly fashion saying kindly, “If you cooperate, we won’t hurt him. And we certainly have no intention of harming you, we just want to study you in an appropriate setting.”

 

                    While Buffy was distracted by the sight of Spike writhing on the floor, the older woman quickly tapped the back of her neck with a stun gun, effectively sending the Slayer to the floor unconscious.  She nodded at Riley to pick Buffy’s inert body up and turned to leave only to hear a strangled gurgle from her second in command and a gasp from the man holding the light. She turned around in time to see a barely upright Spike drop Riley’s apparently lifeless body on the floor.  Weaving unsteadily, blood pouring from his nose and ears, the vampire stood over the Slayer, daring the woman to test his willingness to risk permanent brain damage to prevent them from taking her.

 

                 To her credit, the head of the Initiative did not flinch back from the obviously injured, but still dangerous, vampire.  She merely gestured to the man behind her holding the light, saying, “Put that light down, soldier, and remove this creature.”

 

                At Spike’s feet, Buffy began to stir, her Slayer healing throwing off the effects of the taser much more quickly than would a normal human.  She raised her head, shaking it to clear the confusion, and looked from Riley’s bleeding body to the vampire and back to the woman who had attacked her.  As she went to push herself unsteadily to her feet, Maggie approached her again, holding the taser in front of her like a gun.

 

                 “An amazing recovery, Ms. Summers. I think we can begin our experiments right here.  Let us see how well your body handles multiple, successive hits from this device.”

 

                 “Let us not, unless you wish to see how you might fare also,” came a cold voice from behind her. Rather than the soldier she was expecting to see joining her within the bright circle of light, an angry man stepped forward, holding in his clearly experienced hand a very real pistol.  Maggie blanched when she saw the firm purpose on the Watcher’s face and she quickly stepped away from Buffy, her eyes searching frantically for her back-up.

 

                   “If you are looking for the young man who was holding this obnoxiously bright torch, it would appear that the sight of Spike ripping out the throat of his superior had a very negative effect on his desire to remain here. I believe he is outside explaining to some rather hostile demons that he is sure it was not he who captured and mutilated their relatives.”

 

                   With a frightening smile he added, “I do not believe the conversation is going well for him.”

 

                  “Who ARE you people!” the still-more-angry-than-frightened woman hissed. 

 

                  “If you survive long enough to get yourself and your men out of this cemetery,” Giles nodded to Buffy who kicked a communicator out of the woman’s hands, “you will no doubt find out at some point.  As we speak, there are communications going forth from certain highly placed people in the British government and military to their counterparts in this country.  I believe you will find that your…experiments…have been terminated.  As has your employment.”

 

                 “Go, Council,” Buffy said cheerfully.

 

                 “Does that mean we won?” Spike asked weakly, clinging to the sarcophagus for support.

 

                 Buffy spun around, not having seen anything that happened while she was unconscious, and gasped as she took in his appearance.  The vampire’s eyes were sunk into his head, bruising evident all around them and his nose was still pouring blood.  She could also see blood oozing from his ears.  Before she could answer him, he mumbled, “I bloody well hope so…” as he slid to the floor.

 

               “Giles!” the fear in her voice was unmistakable as she dropped to the floor beside the now-unconscious vampire.  To her surprise, it was Xander who appeared out of the darkness, lifting the smaller man onto his shoulder and saying, “Let’s go, Buffy.  We can take him back to my place.”

 

                “Just a minute, Xan,” she said quietly.  “There’s something I have to do for him.”

 

                  The Slayer took a quick look at her former boyfriend, noting that while he had lost a great deal of blood, it did not appear that Spike had actually killed him.  “Too bad,” she muttered, kicking his still body as she walked by.  She stalked towards the now visibly worried head of the Initiative, not stopping until she was dangerously close to the frightened, but still defiant woman. 

 

                 “If you’re so anxious to know what a Slayer can do, here’s a little taste,” Buffy said with a smile that did not reach her eyes.  She brought one fist forward in an uppercut that the older woman never saw coming, sending her flying through the air to land on top of the pile of broken bones.

 

                “Okay, let’s go now,” she said cheerfully, as she turned back to her friends.  With the light no longer pointing directly into her eyes, she could see that Willow was hovering behind the Watcher, her new friend, Tara, wringing her hands behind her.  “We’re taking him to my house, Xander,” she said as she walked over to the young man patiently waiting with the vampire hanging over his shoulder.

 

                Giles lowered the no-longer necessary pistol, asking Buffy with little concern, “How hard did you hit her?”

 

                Reading his meaning immediately, Buffy sighed.  “She didn’t kill any of us, so I didn’t kill her.  If she doesn’t make it out of here…It’s not my problem,” she finished defiantly.

 

                  There was no disagreement from her Watcher; he simply dropped the now unneeded gun into his jacket pocket and followed the young people out of the crypt.  In the graveyard, the confrontation between the strange-looking demons with wrinkled skin and the frightened young soldier who had been holding the light was still going on.

 

                 All heads turned toward the humans when they emerged from the crypt bearing Spike’s body.  Buffy stopped and surveyed the scene before her.  She quietly greeted the one demon she knew by name, nodding at the others noncommittally.

 

                “Clem.”

 

                 “Slayer.”

 

              She cocked her head and said clearly, “I don’t know who this boy is, but his boss and one of the top demon-hunters are inside.  We’re leaving now,” she added, in case they missed the permission implicit in her first remark.

 

              Moving to walk beside Xander, she held onto one of Spike’s dangling hands, telling herself he would be fine as long as he wasn’t dust.  She was relieved to see that Giles had driven his car to the cemetery, making the trip back to her house much quicker than it would normally have been.

 

               When the little parade of Scoobies-plus-Slayer entered the Summers’ home, Joyce gave a small cry at seeing Xander’s burden.  She quickly ordered the still unconscious vampire carried upstairs to the guest room, clucking over the obvious damage inflicted by the chip.

 

               “What happened to him?” she demanded.  “Who did this?”

 

              “He did it to himself, Mom,” Buffy said sadly.  “I’m not really sure why, but he attacked Riley and hung on long enough for the chip to do some real damage.”

 

                Giles, who had followed them up to the bedroom, spoke up gruffly, “He did it to prevent Riley from carrying you back to the Initiative for his boss.  It appears that keeping you safe this time was a bit more dangerous for him than fighting with Angel or Dracula.”

 

               “I know he didn’t want her to take me there.  I heard that.  She threatened him with doing more of her ‘experiments’.  I guess he was afraid that she was planning to do the same kinds of things to me…”

   

               “I believe that to have been her intent,” the Watcher said, touching Joyce’s arm comfortingly when she gasped in fear.  “Whatever Riley told her about you – and about the rest of us, for that matter – gave her cause to think we fall into the same category of laboratory animal as demons and vampires.”

 

               “They aren’t laboratory animals either!” Buffy growled, picturing Clem’s relatives being tortured for the sake of learning more about them, and Spike being subjected to similar tests.

 

                With no idea what to do for the unconscious vampire, except to clean the blood off and wait for him to wake up, they all went back downstairs, leaving him resting on the bed looking uncomfortably like the corpse he was.  Buffy trailed one hand along his arm softly before following everyone out the door and down the stairs.

 

               “So,” Buffy said, sitting down on the easy chair and curling her legs up under her, “The Council is pulling strings?”

 

              “Yes, apparently they had become aware of this situation, as had the United States military.  Investigators from the Army were already on their way here to see what was going on, this has just added some impetus to the need for closer supervision of the operation.”

 

              “Do you suppose she and Riley made it out?”  Buffy’s question bore no trace of concern, but merely requested an opinion.

 

              “I imagine that would depend on how quickly she recovered from your…” he glanced quickly at Buffy’s mother…”justifiably angry response.  If she got to her communicator before those angry demons found her…”

 

              “There was a squad in the next cemetery,” Buffy finished for him.  “They might have gotten there in time.   Or not,” she added with a complete lack of interest in the outcome.

 

               “I think it might be in everyone’s best interests to stay here tonight,” Joyce put in quietly. All eyes turned to the Slayer’s mother who rarely interfered with or commented on the doings of her daughter and her fellow demon hunters.  Joyce stuck her chin out and repeated firmly, “If you are all together, it seems to me it would be a lot harder to for them to capture anybody.”

 

                “Thank you, Joyce. That would undoubtedly a wise course of action for the time being.”

 

              Buffy suggested Willow and Tara share her bedroom, while Giles and Xander would have to make do with the couch and the easy chair.  When her mother raised her eyebrows, Buffy said firmly, “I’m staying with Spike until I know he’s okay.  I’ll sleep in the guest room.”

 

            There was, surprisingly, no argument from anyone; due, no doubt, to the vampire’s obvious inability to threaten either her life or her virtue in his current condition.  The fact that he had, so far as anyone knew, maintained a chaste watch over her while she slept in her own bed, went a long way towards allaying any fears her mother or her Watcher might have had about the propriety of the arrangements.

 

              When Buffy had retrieved her pajamas from her own room and changed into them after brushing her teeth and washing her face, she slowly opened the door to the guest room hoping to see sparkling blue eyes watching her lasciviously.  Instead, she found the vampire in the same position in which she’d left him, sprawled on his back with no signs of life.

 

              With a sigh, Buffy pushed him over far enough for her to climb into the bed also, sliding under the covers and turning on her side so as to face him.

 

             “Good night, Spike,” she whispered, brushing a kiss over his chiseled cheekbone before snuggling into her pillow.

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

               Hours later, when the filtered light coming in the heavily curtained windows had roused her, she opened her eyes to find herself face to face with his equally open and puzzled blue ones.

 

              “Mornin’, luv,” he said quietly.  “Care to tell me what’s going on?”

 

              “Hi,” she answered shyly, suddenly very aware of their close proximity as well as her mother’s presence across the hall.  “How do you feel?”

 

              “Like I’ve been run over by a truck,” he admitted, groaning slightly as he moved his head.  “What hit me?”

 

                “You don’t remember?”

 

                  “Remember that bitch threatening to take you into her chamber of horrors, and the big git pushing me down; that’s about it.  It’s pretty much blank after that.”

 

                Buffy pulled a hand out from under the blanket and cupped his cheek as she answered, “She tasered me and I was out of it for a few minutes.  When Riley tried to carry me out for her, you…you bit him.  The chip fired, but you kept biting until…”  She looked up into his horrified face, easily seeing his certainty that she was going to stake him for killing the man.  “You didn’t kill him,” she said quickly.  “You just dropped him and tried to keep her away from me.”

 

              “Don’t remember any of that,” he muttered.

 

              “I’m not sure you were still conscious,” she smiled slightly.  “The chip had pretty much fried your brain by that point.”

 

               “So,” he looked around quickly, “how did I get here?  And where are we?  This isn’t your room.”

 

                “It’s our guest room.  My mom insisted you be put here when we brought you home.”

 

               “Your mum tell you to keep me company?” he asked with a skeptical twitch of one eyebrow.

 

                “No.  But she didn’t tell me I couldn’t, so…”

 

                 “Your mum’s a very nice woman, Slayer,” he said sincerely. “I like her,” he added, in a teasing voice. “She’s nothing like her irritating bint of a daughter.” 

 

               “She likes you, too,” Buffy answered with a mock glare.  “I’m not sure why.” She giggled at his growl, “But she does and she wanted you to have someplace safe to recover.  I just didn’t feel like arguing with her.”

 

               “Is that so?  And where would you have put me?  In the basement?”

 

               “Maybe.” 

 

               Her hand was still on his cheek and she patted it lightly as she spoke, neither of them taking seriously what the other was saying.  The familiar bantering eased Buffy’s fears that the vampire was going to be permanently damaged by the chip’s constant shocks and she relaxed, dropping her hand to the blanket.

 

                Spike rolled to his back and attempted to sit up, only to find himself too weak to lift anything more than his head.  He groaned in frustration, rolling his head back towards the frowning girl.

 

                “Bloody hell! I’m weak as a kitten.”

 

                 “We can fix that,” she said quietly, not looking at him.

 

                 “Yeah, I will, pet.  I think your mum’s probably still got some blood in the kitchen.  Soon’s everyone’s awake, you can go get me some and I’ll be up and around in no time.”

 

                   “That wasn’t exactly what I meant,” she said softly, meeting his puzzled gaze with a quiet sureness.  “You could have some of my blood.  It wouldn’t take much – just a few sips, probably.”

 

                  He looked at her with dawning understanding and disbelief.

 

                 “You are amazing,” he said with a tremor in his voice and an expression on his face that sent her heart racing and warmth flowing throughout her body.

 

                   “Hey,” she said, blushing. “It’s no biggie.  You’ve got more right to it than Drac does.  You don’t even have to bite me, so we don’t have to worry about the chip.  You can just pull the scabs off his bite.”

 

                She sat up and studied the weakened vampire, trying to decide how best to get her neck close to his mouth.  With a blush, she moved so that she was lying on top of him, placing her throat close to his mouth.  She placed her elbows on either side of his head, holding herself up for a second as she said, “I don’t think the chip will fire if it doesn’t think you’re hurting me, but if it does, you stop and we’ll do something else. Okay?”

 

                 She lowered her head until it was beside his and her neck was touching his lips.  Buffy shivered all over when he ran his tongue over the newly healed bite, laving it until the scabs softened and came off.  When he applied his mouth to the wound and began a gentle sucking, the sensation went directly to her lower abdomen eliciting an involuntary moan.  Apparently the chip had no problem recognizing the moan for what it was, as Spike continued to suckle, taking long slow pulls of her blood.

 

                    She could feel him growing stronger under her as he absorbed the tonic that was Slayer blood.  His arms came up to wrap around her, holding her against him even as he stopped sucking on the wound and began to lick it closed.  She could also feel his reaction to her nearness pressing against her hip and she squirmed around until the bulge he couldn’t hide was caught between her thighs.

 

                  When he stopped licking the wound and raised his head, she slid a little further down his body, allowing his erection to press into her center while her lips sought his eager mouth.  Even the coppery taste of her own blood on his tongue couldn’t spoil the incredible intensity of the vampire’s kiss.  Buffy sighed into his mouth, her tongue tangling with his while her warm breath brought another groan from the aroused vampire.

 

               His hands crept under her pajama top, caressing the soft, warm skin he found there and pulling small whimpers of need from the Slayer’s throat.  Buffy frantically tried to cling to the knowledge that they were not alone in the house, that her mother could appear at any time to see how Spike was doing; while he struggled to hold the same thought. In no way did he want Joyce to walk in and find him shagging her daughter in the bed she had trusted him to occupy, but at the same time the whimpers coming from Buffy as well as the feel of her strong body on his had him so hard he was aching.

 

               He dipped his hands into her pajama bottoms, cupping the silky skin of her ass and pulling her hips against him even harder.  Trapped by her position on top of Spike, Buffy could do nothing but tangle her hands in his soft hair and grind her hips into him. 

 

                “Want you so badly...You feel so bloody good, love…Please, Buffy…I need…”

 

                “We can’t,” she gasped, even as she rolled them over to wrap her legs around his hips.  “Somebody might come in…”  She moaned low in her throat when he slid a hand between them and ran his fingers into the heated dampness waiting there. 

 

                  Within seconds his talented fingers had her panting and whimpering, her legs spread as she arched into the hand that was quickly bringing her to a fever pitch.  She buried her teeth in his shoulder as she shuddered against his hand, muffling the scream of release that tried to make itself heard.  She continued to tremble, while he whispered in her ear how much he wanted her and how good it felt to make her come.

 

                 With a quick glance at the still-closed door, Buffy ran her hand down his hard stomach, smiling when he sucked it in with a gasp.  The gap between his soft skin and the rough denim of his jeans was suddenly large enough to allow her hand to slip in and find his swollen cock.  His whimpered moan when she wrapped her hand around him was all the encouragement she needed to begin a rhythmic stroking and squeezing.  The vampire grabbed a pillow, pulling it down tightly over his face as he pushed up into the warm hand bringing him such welcome release. 

 

                    When he had taken the pillow off his face to look at her with admiring eyes, she smiled and, with a final caress, pulled her hand out and wiped it on the sheet. 

 

                 “I guess I’d better get out of here before we do something that makes my mother come after you with the axe again,” she said with a sigh.  “I’ll go get dressed and heat up some blood for you.  You can come downstairs when you’re ready.”

 

                He pulled her down for another kiss, one that threatened to begin the whole activity all over again until they heard the distinct sound of her mother’s door opening. Buffy shot up off the bed and was at the door by the time her mother knocked politely on it. She opened it immediately, murmuring a “good morning” as she went past her mother to the bathroom.

 

               Joyce stepped into the room and surveyed the tired-looking vampire.  His eyes were still bruised and damaged-looking, but they were open and alert enough to cause her to give a sigh of relief.  She waved him back down when he sat up, his weakness still evident when he tried to swing his feet onto the floor.

 

                  “Stay there until Buffy brings you something to eat,” she ordered in her best ‘mom’ voice.  “You’re not leaving here until I know you are completely recovered and that it is safe for you to go home.”

 

                  “Yes, Mum,” he grinned at her, leaning gratefully against the headboard. 

 

                  “Thank you for protecting my daughter,” she said quietly.  “You seem to be doing that a lot lately.”

 

                   “Dozy bint keeps gettin’ herself into these situations,” he said with a straight face.  “You’d think she was the Slayer or something.”

 

                  Joyce smiled ruefully.  “Point taken,” she agreed.  “But I am grateful never-the-less.  You didn’t have to do it.”

 

                “Yes, I did,” he responded truthfully, allowing Buffy’s mother a quick glimpse of something she had begun to suspect already.  She shook her head at her own dreams of Buffy’s having a normal life and went downstairs to begin fixing breakfast for her guests.

 

 

 

Chapter Five.

                

              Before anyone attempted to leave the house -- including Joyce, who fumed at being kept from her business, but acknowledged the wisdom of not putting herself in possible danger -- Giles made a phone call to Council Headquarters, and then another one to a local number they provided.  He listened carefully, asking a few terse questions from time to time, then hung up and turned around with a satisfied look on his face.

 

               “It appears that the military investigators have arrived and taken control of the facility.  They are in the process of sorting out which demons may be harmless enough to release and which should be humanely destroyed. They would like our assistance in helping them with identification.”  He turned to a still-sleepy Xander. “Do you think Anya would be willing to come with us?  I am sure her knowledge is much greater than ours when it comes to knowing which demons might be considered harmless.”

 

               “I’m sure she would,” the boy responded,  “She loves to be asked for information.  And, hey, speaking of harmless demons…”

 

                They all followed his gaze to the doorway, to see Spike standing there, one hand gripping the doorjamb in a futile attempt to seem strong and healthy.  Buffy immediately leapt to his side, putting his arm over her shoulder as she helped him walk to the nearest chair. He sank down into with a quick smile of thanks, paying no attention to her muttered threats of retaliation for his being “such a moron” as to come down the stairs unassisted.

 

                 While she went to the kitchen to get him some warm pigs’ blood, Willow and Tara looked at him sympathetically. The blond witch said shyly, “I’m g-g-glad to see you are awake. You had us worried last night.”

 

                 “Yes,” Willow added.  “Buffy was afraid there might be permanent brain damage.”

 

                  “Not a bloody word, Whelp,” Spike growled and pointed at Xander who was just opening his mouth.

 

                  “Oh, come on, Evil undead. It has to be said.” Xander’s indignant response was accompanied by a small smile.

 

                   “What has to be said?”  Buffy came into the room holding a mug of warmed blood which she handed to the vampire before sinking to the floor at his feet.

 

                    Giles answered dryly, “They were discussing Spike’s fortuitous escape from having his brain permanently injured during the altercation on your behalf.”

 

                 Buffy’s eyes darted back and forth between Spike and Xander and her back stiffened as she realized what Xander wanted so badly to say. However, when she saw that he and Spike were actually smirking at each other instead of glaring, she relaxed and leaned back against the chair, her shoulder just brushing Spike’s leg. 

 

                 “Well,” she said coolly, “it was scary to see. I hope you aren’t planning to make a habit out of doing that.”

 

                 “Doin’ what? Biting big, ugly gits that are trying to kidnap you?  I hope I don’t have to do that again either.  But I will, if I have to,” he finished quietly so that only Buffy and those closest to them could hear.

 

                 While Spike slowly drank his mug of blood, Giles began the process of deciding who would go to the Initiative labs to meet with the new commander and help him assess which demons could safely be released back to their lives and families. It was determined that Willow, Giles and Anya, with Xander accompanying them because he wanted to see more of the facility, would make the initial trip.  Spike agreed to help them with any that Anya couldn’t recognize, although he admitted dryly that her 1000 years of life as a vengeance demon would probably give her a slight edge over his own 124 years of demonhood. 

 

               At Joyce and Buffy’s insistence, Giles agreed to leave the vampire at the Summers’ home until he seemed to be completely recovered from the debilitating effects of the chip’s constant assault on his brain. Buffy walked to the door as her Watcher and friends prepared to leave, laying a gentle hand on the man’s arm.  Giles turned to face her, his brow raised in question, only to find that now that she had his attention she was wordless.

 

            The Slayer squirmed and cleared her throat, casting a look back at the vampire before squaring her shoulders and saying firmly, “I want you to ask them about Spike’s chip.”

 

              When the man’s face darkened and he began to speak, she interrupted him quickly.  “I’m not saying I want them to take it out.  At least,” she admitted slowly, “not right now.  But I want to know more about it.  How long will it last? Could it malfunction and go off on its own for no reason? What would happen to him if it did?”

 

               Giles glanced from the vampire, who was resting his head against the back of the chair, pretending not to listen, to the anxious Slayer and said coldly, “I will not even consider asking them to take it out.  You need to understand that, Buffy.  He is a cold-blooded killer and that chip is the only thing keeping us safe from him.”

 

            There was a soft growl from the chair in which Spike was sitting and he was now staring right at the Watcher.  Giles was surprised to see more pain than anger in the vampire’s expression, and he dropped his eyes in the face of what he had to admit was his own ingratitude.

 

             “I’m sorry, Spike,” he said quietly, avoiding Buffy’s equally angry glare. “I know that you have gone against your nature recently to protect my Slayer, and I do appreciate that; however, surely you don’t expect me to believe that you would not go back to feeding on helpless humans if you were able to do so safely.”

 

              “Don’t care what you believe, Watcher,” Spike answered dully, “Only care what the Slayer thinks. And her mum,” he added quickly when Joyce frowned at him.

 

             Buffy looked back and forth between the two men with distressed eyes.

 

            “Just see what you can find out about it, Giles.  That’s all I’m asking. We need to know more about…about what they did to him.”

 

              The Watcher gave a brusque nod and continued out the door, promising to call or come back later to let her know what they found in the former secret facility.

 

              Giles had indicated to Buffy’s mother that any possible retaliation from Initiative soldiers seemed to be unlikely with both Riley and Maggie Walsh missing and all the others accounted for and confined to their barracks until decisions were made about how responsible they were for the abuses in the facility.  In light of that information, Joyce decided she would go in to her Gallery for the day and she went upstairs to change.

 

              Promising to stop and get some more blood for Spike on her way home, she ran a motherly hand over Buffy’s head and left for her place of business.  Joyce knew that her daughter faced sudden death every night when she went out to do the work for which she’d been chosen, but the idea that she could face death or danger from other humans was not something she usually worried about.  Once she knew what Buffy was and understood how deadly her own daughter could be, she had been relieved of the normal mother’s fears about Buffy’s safety in everyday situations; replacing that with the fear of the monsters and demons she went out to fight every night.

 

                To discover that the very people Buffy risked her life to protect would be capable of wanting to harm her daughter had Joyce wishing she still had the fire axe she had used on Spike when they first met him years ago.  She shook her head at the way the blond vampire had wormed his way into a place in their lives, knowing that Buffy would be furious if she had any idea how often Spike had stopped by for hot chocolate and a sympathetic ear -- long before he was chipped.   Somehow Joyce had never been afraid to have the vampire in the house, trusting him when he said, almost shyly, that he just wanted to spend some time around a woman who wasn’t cheating on him or trying to kill him.

 

               Joyce’s wry smile at the reference to her only daughter had cemented the trust between them and she had never told Buffy about the vampire’s rare but enjoyable visits. As far as Buffy knew, he had only been there the one time she had caught him baiting Angel while waiting for Buffy to come home.

 

             She grinned to herself, remembering one of their first conversations in which she had threatened to take the axe to him again if he didn’t quit trying to kill her daughter.  Spike had reacted with rueful laughter, saying, “I wouldn’t be worried about that, Joyce.  She’s too good for me.  I try to give her a good fight, but she can pretty much kick my arse anytime she wants to.”  He’d paused, a panicky look coming over his face.  “But you can’t ever tell her I said that!” he’d said, his voice rising in fear. 

 

                  She’d laughed and assured him she had no intention of telling Buffy that the Slayer of Slayers was afraid of her.

 

               “Not afraid,” he’d mumbled.  “Just don’t want her getting too cocky, is all.  She might make a mistake and get herself killed.”

 

               With a sudden burst of insight, she realized that Spike’s desire to protect the girl he’d come to Sunnydale to kill had begun long before the Initiative had put the chip into his head and she almost turned around to go home to chaperone the two blond superbeings that she had just left alone together.  A moment’s thought and she shook herself mentally.

 

                 (Buffy is not a girl any more. She is a young woman and she is entitled to make her own decisions about her life.  If there is something going on between her and Spike, it is their business and they will tell me about it in their own time.)

 

     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            Left to their own devices, Spike and Buffy maintained an uncomfortable silence, until the impulsive vampire could not contain himself any longer. Putting down his now-empty mug, he crooked a finger at her, saying softly, “Commere, pet.”

 

               She approached slowly but willingly, pausing when she reached the side of the chair and sitting on the wide arm. She put one arm across the back of the chair, absently tangling her fingers in the soft curls he’d not yet had time to tame.

 

                “What?” she asked somewhat defensively.  She knew he’d been able to hear everything she said to her Watcher and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know how he felt about it.

 

              He surprised her by not mentioning his chip at all.

 

              “Nothing,” he said quietly, taking her free hand in one of his and stroking it with his thumb.  “I just wanted to be close to you for a while longer. Thought I’d take advantage of the empty house, is all.”

 

               “Oh.” His quiet remark took away all the words she had been preparing to use to explain why she wasn’t asking that his chip be taken out right away. 

 

              She made no complaint when he pulled her down into his lap, putting his arms around her loosely and resting his chin on her head.  She snuggled into his chest, resting one hand on it and marveling at how comfortable and how right it felt to be there.  When she began tracing small circles on his chest, getting closer and closer to one nipple as she did so, his arms tightened briefly and he made a soft sound, somewhere between a growl and a purr, that vibrated throughout her whole body.

 

              “Have I ever mentioned what a sexy sound that is?” she asked breathlessly as her body responded to the vibration.  

 

               “Liked that, did you?” he growled again, smiling when her heart rate and body temperature went up.  

 

                “Oh yeah,” she responded with a small whimper. “Do it again.”

 

                Instead of answering her, he picked her up and turned her so that she was facing him, one knee on either side of his legs and her crotch poised over the growing bulge in his jeans. He slid down until he was slouching in the chair, his hips pushed forward and her rapidly dampening center just touching him.  When he let go, she sank down onto him, gasping as he pressed up into her, then moaning when he began a steady purring that sent vibrations from his body directly into hers.

 

                 The pleasure he took from having her warm, moist sex pressed onto his hardened cock made it easy for him to continue the purring, interspersing it with an occasional growl as the demon struggled to demand more.  He kept his hands resting on her waist, gently pressing her hips down onto him as he watched her face fill with lust and enjoyment.

 

                   It wasn’t long before the vibrations had little gasps coming from the Slayer’s mouth as she began to grind down onto him in an attempt to reach the release she could feel building.

 

                 “Ah, ah,” he scolded gently, holding her off just a fraction, “let it come by itself, love. Don’t force it.  It’ll feel all the better for taking some time.”

 

                “Spiiiiiike,” moaned the impatient Slayer, complaining even as she complied with his directions. She was sure if she had to remain still any longer she was going to lose her mind entirely as waves of sensation swept over her from the steady vibration against her most sensitive part.  He held her gently, whispering in her ear how good she felt on him and how happy he was going to be to see her come for him again.  The urge to push up into her willing body was strong, but he fought it down, wanting to watch her face as her pleasure built and ecstasy flooded her body.

 

                He held her hips firmly as the first waves of her orgasm washed over her – letting her neither move away from the steady vibrations, nor to grind down harder.  Her head went back and her eyes closed as she hung there helplessly while wave after wave of pleasure so acute it was almost painful flooded her being.  When her body finally could no longer produce any more ecstasy, she fell against him with a shudder, taking deep gasping breaths and struggling to regain her senses.

 

               She finally recovered enough to breathe normally and mumble against his chest, “Angelus, shmangelus.  That’s probably what made Dru go crazy.  It was all your fault.”

 

                His deep chuckle resonated against her cheek and she raised her head to meet his eyes, only to drop them again, blushing deeply.  She burrowed into his chest, embarrassment at having allowed her body to respond to him as it did making it impossible for her to look him in the eye.  She could tell from the continuous chuckles that he was thoroughly pleased with himself and the small part of her that wasn’t completely mortified at having lost control in front of him was happy with the knowledge that giving her that much pleasure made him happy.

 

               With a guilty start, she realized that except for stroking his ego, the whole exciting episode had been all about her and she squirmed uncomfortably against the still rock-hard erection the vampire was making no attempt to hide.  With a sly grin, she decided to try to wipe the cocky expression right off his face.

 

               Still keeping her eyes averted, she pushed herself away from his chest and began to slide down his reclining body, stopping when her face was only a few inches from his straining zipper.  Using her teeth, she delicately took the zipper in her mouth and pulled it down slowly, smirking to herself at the vampire’s sudden gasp.  She nuzzled her way back up the now-open fly, running the tip of her nose lightly along the pale shaft trying to push its way out.  When she got back to the snap at the waistband, she realized that the small piece of flesh she could see peeking out the top was the reason his cock hadn’t sprung free immediately.  She flicked her tongue across it quickly, before grabbed the denim fabric in her teeth, and with a quick prayer that her teeth were as strong as bones, she yanked the pants open, allowing the captive body part to burst free.

 

                Spike’s sigh of relief told her how uncomfortable it must have been for him while he was giving her the best orgasm of her short life, and she felt guilty all over again.  The tight waistband on his jeans had left a red mark around the head and she leaned in to plant a small kiss of apology on it, laughing when the vampire gasped and shifted his hips.

 

              Determined to make him feel as good as she did, Buffy ran her tongue up the sides several times before slipping her lips over the head and pulling as much of it as she could into her mouth and throat.  Spike’s hissed, “Slayer…” was all the encouragement she needed to begin a series of long, hard pulls on his willing cock, pausing occasionally to swirl her tongue around the tip and nibble on the foreskin she found there.

 

            When she had him babbling her name over and over and running his hands through her hair where it fell onto his flat belly, she renewed her efforts, trying to get as much of the throbbing member into her throat as possible.  She wrapped one hand around the base when she realized that she could not fit the whole thing in her throat, and began squeezing gently while swallowing at the same time.

 

            She was just beginning to worry that she was going to have to stop and breathe soon when she felt him tense up and, with a strangled cry, he began to jerk his hips, pumping into her while she quickly swallowed everything he had.  When his hips stopped moving and she felt him relax against the chair, Buffy slowly allowed his softened cock to slip from her mouth, leaving a small kiss on the tip before straightening up to look in his sated face with a smile.

 

             “So, are we even now?” she chirped cheerfully.

 

             “Bloody hell,” was the only reply as he pushed himself into a sitting position and pulled her back up onto his lap.

 

              “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” she said, suddenly shy again at the adoring look on his face.  She tried to look away from the intense eyes boring into hers, but a gently hand on her chin prevented it.

 

               “Don’t look away from me, love,” he said softly.  “It makes me think you’re sorry about it.  Don’t ever want you to be sorry about anything you do with me.”

 

                The frightened sincerity in his eyes had her nodding quickly and reaching up to kiss the mouth that was already moving in anticipation of having to argue his way back into her good graces.  When she brushed her lips over his and whispered, “Not sorry, just embarrassed,” he laughed with relief and captured them in a deeper kiss.

 

                 “Don’t want you to ever be embarrassed either.  Nothing you could do would ever make me think less of you.  Least of all anything you do that makes me feel that good,” he added, wiggling his eyebrows for emphasis. 

 

               As he’d hoped, his remark made her giggle and she relaxed against him, enjoying the way he nuzzled the top of her head and stroked the arm resting across their bodies.  They drifted off to sleep, the vampire still needing time and rest to recover from the chip’s effects and the Slayer satiated by her two orgasms in one morning.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

              After taking a long nap and finishing off the blood left in the Summers’ refrigerator, Spike felt that he was strong enough to accompany Buffy to the Initiative headquarters and fill in any gaps in Anya’s knowledge, as well as to be sure the inspectors got the full story of what sort of things had been taking place.  Throwing a blanket over his head, he ducked into the nearest manhole, assuring Buffy he would meet her inside Lowell house.

 

                Buffy’s arrival at the Initiative headquarters seemed almost anticlimactic as the Scoobies and the inspectors had been laboring all day to sort out what was going on.  It wasn’t until Buffy asked about Area 314, that anyone realized they had not investigated the lab behind Dr. Walsh’s office.

 

               Led by Buffy, and a recently-arrived Spike, the inspectors followed the Scoobies into the former commander’s office.  Their eyes lit up at the sight of the computer and the locked file cabinets, which were immediately earmarked for close inspection.  Leaving two men to begin searching Maggie’s files, they opened the secured lab, stopping in horror when they beheld the huge manufactured creature on the table.

 

                The part-human, part-mechanical and part-demon monster lay still with its eyes shut, securely restrained from head to toe.  For long minutes all anyone could do was stare at the creature and wonder what it was meant to be.

 

                “What are you doing, Whelp?” Spike asked curiously as Xander’s eyes darted around the room quickly and he began searching corners.

 

                  “Looking for Igor, what else?”

 

                  While everyone else gawked at the boy, Spike’s face broke out into a reluctant grin and he thumped Xander on the shoulder hard enough to make the chip twinge as he chuckled, “There’s hope for you yet, Harris!  That was actually funny.”

 

                  Giles heaved an impatient sigh at the two normally squabbling men as they congratulated each other on being the first to recognize a Frankenstein’s monster when they saw it.  While everyone was still staring at the frightening behemoth resting on the table, the men who had begun research in the other room came through the door, insisting emphatically that everyone should leave and relock the lab immediately.

 

                Buffy was reluctant to leave unattended what was clearly a monster of some sort until they could determine if he was alive or not, but yielded to the military investigators as they herded everyone out and closed the door.  With the door safely locked again, the two men explained quickly that just a cursory look at Maggie’s files indicated she had been running a much more secretive and potentially dangerous operation than one that simply tortured and killed demons.

 

                  Maggie’s files revealed a pattern of research designed to build the ultimate soldier.  Research which, in addition to the enhancements and chemicals she’d been using on her human subordinates, apparently included an attempt to combine demons and humans with machinery. With a nod toward the now-locked door, they said that whatever it was, it was clearly intended to be extremely lethal and until they could figure out how or if it was to be activated, they wanted no one in the lab with the creature.  A glance at its schematics showed an impressive array of weapons that were apparently built into it.

 

                   Leaving two guards with the investigators, and instructions to back up everything they learned, the new commander and the Scoobies went back into the main area where computers were being spread out on long tables so that data could be copied and examined.  Most of the demons had been dealt with, those that were clearly dangerous and anti-human having been humanely put down. 

 

                    Buffy shivered at their use of an expression one would expect to hear used for a rabid animal and took a quick look at Spike.  It was no longer possible for her to think of the blond vampire as a thing to be destroyed and the thought that her Watcher and the men around would see him as such sent a frisson of fear directly through her. 

 

                    The vampire’s mouth was pressed into a thin line, and his jaw twitched occasionally as he struggled to restrain himself whenever he would catch glimpses of the bodies of demons he knew to be harmless.  His relieved gasp when he saw Clem’s brother being helped into a golf cart broke the tension and he ran over to the injured demon.

 

                   “Your mother has been worryin’ herself sick,” he said, shocking all the humans into silence.  “And Clem was as close to losing his temper as I’ve ever seen him. They’re goin’ to be bloody elated to see you walk out of this place.”

 

                  Giles cleared his throat while Willow and Buffy exchanged glances.

<I>Demons have mothers? Families? </I>

 

                     It soon became obvious that their help was no longer needed as all the harmless demons had been identified and permitted to leave to go back to their families and friends.  Anya and Spike exchanged glances when Xander expressed disbelief that there could be so many demons in Sunnydale that Giles and Buffy knew nothing about.  The vampire took it upon himself to enlighten the puzzled humans.

 

                  “Who do you think delivers all those pizzas you lot eat every night? Who works in those sewers that vamps use to get around in the daytime?  Who drives cabs and buses after dark?  You deal with demons every day without knowing it.”

 

                   “Well, I SHOULD have known it,” Buffy said in irritation.  “One of you should have told me when I was dealing with a demon.”

 

                  “Why?” Spike asked with an edge to his voice.  “So you could slay perfectly innocent blokes who were just trying to make a livin’ by doing things too dangerous for humans?”

 

                    “I would never—“ Buffy broke off her denial as she realized that until very recently she probably would have.  Until Spike got his chip and became an unwilling part of their lives, the idea that the best demon wasn’t a dead demon would just never have occurred to her or to any of the other humans staring at him with various amounts of shame or dismay.

 

                       With nothing else to do in the facility except watch the investigators working their way through computer files, Giles received assurances that they would be notified of any important findings and set a course for the exits.  He offered Xander and Anya a ride back to the Harris house, while Willow and Tara waved and headed for the dorm, leaving Spike and Buffy standing uncomfortably by themselves in front of the former fraternity house.

 

                     “Am I really that rigid?” she asked in a quiet voice as they began walking in the general direction of town.  “Do you think I would I slay somebody who looked human just because they were a demon?”

 

                    She glanced up at the beautiful human face looking back at her with one eyebrow cocked and blushed.

 

                       “Vampires don’t count,” she grumbled. “All vampires are evil.”

 

                   “Not really, pet,” he answered mildly.  “Some never get into the whole killin’ and torturin’  thing.”

 

                   She looked at him skeptically, hands on her hips. “Right. And I suppose they don’t eat either.”

 

                  “Why do you think there are so many butchers in Sunnydale with pigs’ blood as part of the inventory?  You think it’s there just in case Peaches drops in for a visit?” His voice held a trace of disgust at her unwillingness to see what was around her.

 

                  “I…I guess I never…” Her face crumpled and she stopped walking.

 “Oh my God.  I’m no better than they were!  I’ve killed innocent—“

 

               Spike spun around and stalked back to her.  “No,” he growled. “No, you haven’t.  You NEED to think all demons are evil.  How else are you going to be able to slay?  That’s why those Council wankers don’t tell you any different. You can’t be stopping to ask yourself if something is dangerous before you take it out.  You’d have been dead before you’d even had time to learn the job if you were allowed to think like that.”

 

                 He grabbed her upper arms and shook her.  “Don’t ever stop to worry about that, Slayer.  You hear me?  If it looks dangerous, you slay it and let the Powers sort it out.  I don’t care what it is.  Even if it’s me – if you think I’m gonna hurt you, you stop me.  Promise me!”

 

                   “Would you still hurt me?” she asked meekly, shocked at his vehemence.  “If you got your chip out, I mean.  Do you still want to kill me?”

 

                    With a groan, he pulled her into his chest sighing when her arms went around his waist and dipping his head down to kiss the top of hers.

 

                    “No, love, I don’t want to kill you.  You ought to have figured that out by now.  Took me a long time to admit it to myself, but it’s been true for longer than you think. I’d defend myself against you if I had to, but kill you?” He shook his head slowly.   “I’d let you stake me first.”

 

                     “I don’t want to stake you anymore,” she mumbled into his shirt. 

 

                    “Well, that makes two of us then,” he said with a smile in his voice.

 

                  They resumed walking, their feet wandering toward Restfield Cemetery and Spike’s new home.  The broken door still hanging on its one hinge was a reminder that the interior was even less hospitable than it had been when she first stopped in such a short time ago and Buffy cast a questioning look at Spike who shook his head.

 

                     “I think they’re gone, pet.  Don’t smell any fresh blood or bodies. Anyway, didn’t those military wankers say something about arrestin’ them?”

 

                       Taking him at his word and before he could stop her, Buffy squared her shoulders and marched in saying over her shoulder, “Come on, lazy.  We’ve got a crypt to clean up and you’ve got bones to throw out.”

 

                    Spike quickly followed her in to find her fumbling with the switch for the flood light that had been left behind by whomever had taken the Initiative commander and her second in command out of the crypt.  From conversations Spike had overheard at the facility, it appeared that Clem’s relatives had settled for frightening the woman into tears before leaving her to huddle beside Riley’s partially drained body.  Once the new commander was apprised of her whereabouts, he had sent a squad to pick up the two now-disgraced humans and place them under arrest.

 

                    The rest of the crypt was as they’d left it – a pile of broken bones near the sarcophagus where Spike had been throwing them before Maggie and Riley came in, the overturned furniture and appliances, spilled blood and ruined candles.  While Spike removed the rest of the bones from the sarcophagus and threw them outside, Buffy put the few pieces of furniture back up and tried to salvage enough candles to allow them to turn off the floodlight.

 

                      When they were done, and the soft light of the flickering candles had replaced the glare of the flood, the effect was not as bad as Spike had feared.  The sarcophagus was now empty and the lid was back on it, as was Spike’s assortment of bedding.  The TV was a loss and had been placed outside, but the refrigerator was up and running again, although empty of anything but a couple of unbroken bottles of beer. 

 

                     When Spike sat on the couch and patted the seat beside him this time, Buffy happily joined him, snuggling into his side when he put an arm around her.  They sat in comfortable silence for a while, enjoying the closeness and companionship until Buffy realized what they were doing.

 

                  “What’s wrong with us?” she asked suddenly as she sat up straight, looking at him with wide, troubled eyes.

 

              The vampire frowned at her in confusion.

 

                “Nothing, that I can think of pet.  I’m good-looking and sexy, you’re beautiful and deadly.  What could be more perfect?”  He did his best to keep his tone light and joking, but the look on her face was making his stomach clench.  “Buffy?  Love?  What…what do you think is wrong?”

 

               “Us!  This!”  She gestured back and forth between them, having pulled out from under his arm in her agitation. “We should be having sex!  We’re just sitting here, like…like…like a couple!”

 

              “Is that a problem, pet?” He asked carefully, withdrawing his arm from the back of the couch as he sat up stiffly.  “I mean if it’s just sex you want, I’m your vampire, but—“

 

              “Isn’t that what you want?”

 

               “Of course I do. Would think you’ve seen proof of that often enough by now not to—“

 

                “Then why aren’t you doing it?  Why are you just sitting here, holding me like you…you… like me or something?”

 

                 “I do like you, Buffy,” he said quietly.  “Do you think I would have fried my brain for the whelp?”

 

                She cocked her head at him. “Actually?  I think you might have.”  She smiled at his indignant snort; then remembered what was bothering her.

 

                 “Are we, then?”

 

                 “Are we what, love?”

 

                 “A couple.”

 

                 He took a deep breath, letting it out in a sigh as he said quietly, “I s’pect that would be up to you, pet.  I’m pretty much at the point where I’m willing to be whatever you want,  ‘s long as I can be near you. If you just want my tight little body, it’s yours, but I was hoping for…nevermind,” he finished with a forced laugh.  “The girl’s offering no strings sex, and I’m arguing.  That chip MUST have fried my brain.”

 

               He pulled her into his lap, nuzzling the side of her neck and growling softly as he nibbled on the soft skin of her throat.  He began planting light kisses, working his way down to her exposed collarbone and running his tongue lightly along it before running it back up to her face.  He licked around her parted lips until she gave a little growl of her own and fastened them on his teasing mouth.

 

                Buffy sank into another bone-melting kiss, allowing herself to relax across the vampire’s lap while his hands stroked and caressed her body until it was limp with desire.  As though in a fog, she felt him stand up, easily lifting her weight, and walk over to the now-covered sarcophagus.  When he put her down on it, then gently disengaged his lips from hers and stepped back, she whimpered in dismay.

 

                “I’ll be right back, love,” he said, leaning in to kiss her again. “Just want to be sure we don’t get interrupted again.”

 

                He crossed to the heavy wooden door hanging by one hinge and lifted it back into place, using another smaller stone sarcophagus to prop it up and seal the tomb off from the outside world.  He walked slowly back towards the waiting girl, his stride the confident glide of a top predator as he began unbuckling his belt.

 

 

 Chapter Seven

 

                Buffy thought she had never seen anything as sexy as the blond vampire walking towards her while he unfastened his jeans.  Leaving them unzipped, but still on, he pulled his tee shirt over his head, dropping it behind him as he continued walking.  He didn’t stop when he reached her, but climbed up the foot of the makeshift bed and prowled towards her on his hands and knees.  Her eyes traveled down his flat stomach to where she could see his cock jutting out from its nest of light brown curls. Her mouth was dry as her hands reached for him, only to have them gently slapped away.

 

              “Not yet, pet,” he purred, beginning to unbutton her blouse one button at a time.  With each bit of skin exposed, his tongue licked a trail from her neck to the next button.  By the time he reached the bottom of her blouse and pulled it from her pants, she was panting and gripping the sides of the stone bed with both hands.

 

               He unsnapped her jeans and began the same process of licking a trail down her body to the next exposed patch of skin.  When his tongue dipped below her belly button to tickle the silky skin on her lower abdomen, her hips began an involuntary push toward his face every time he reached that area. As soon as his nose was nuzzling the neatly trimmed hair over her mound, he used the upward motion of her hips to pull the jeans down and slide them off her hips.  Reluctantly giving up on his prolonged tasting of her body, he stood up and pulled the tight jeans off her legs, dropping them to the floor with her shoes and his own boots.

 

              His own pants quickly joined the growing pile of clothing and he was pleased to see that Buffy had discarded her lacy bra by the time he turned his attention back to her.  Beginning at her toes, he kissed and licked his way up her right leg, pausing at her knees to nudge them apart.

 

               “Maybe not so dimpled after all,” he murmured, leaving a ring of kisses around both knees.  Buffy struggled to get angry at the reminder of his cruel words earlier in the year, but the need to have his mouth continue it’s path up her body to the throbbing area where all the blood seemed to have rushed was too great and she settled for twitching one knee hard enough to bump his nose.

 

                His chuckle told her he knew she’d heard what he said, and, by way of apology, he began to nibble his way up her inner thigh.  The scent of her arousal and the sight of the moisture glistening on the brown hairs between her legs made his fangs itch and his mouth fill with saliva.  By the time he reached the apex of her thighs and the source of the aroma that was driving him wild, neither of them had the patience for any more teasing and he buried his face in her wet folds as she spread her legs apart to allow him more access.

 

                 Buffy gave a muffled cry when his tongue plunged into her causing her to jerk her hips and grab him by his hair.  He ran his tongue all around, licking up the moisture that continued to flow into his mouth and causing Buffy to whimper his name over and over.  When he took her clit in his teeth and gently bit down on it, her hips flew off the bed and she gave a cry that the chip had no trouble identifying as not-pain. He rolled the nubbin back and forth gently for a few minutes until her grip on his head was becoming painful and her cries were sounding more like growls, then pulled it into his mouth and sucked on it as only a vampire could.  In only a few seconds, her thighs had clamped around his head as she shuddered against him, her high keening cry the only sound to be heard in the room.

 

              While she was still trembling, but after she’d relaxed the grip on his skull, he slid up her body and poised his cock at her entrance, nudging gently but not yet pushing his way in.  Using every bit of self-control he’d learned in over one hundred-twenty years as a vampire, he waited until her eyes were clear and focused on him.

 

              “You with me, love?” he asked, his voice hoarse with suppressed desire.

 

              She nodded, opening her mouth eagerly as he fastened his own on it for a languid, searing kiss.  Buffy tasted herself on his tongue as it plundered her mouth the way it had so recently been plundering other body parts.  The reminder of what he’d been able to do to her with that tongue was all it took to send more blood rushing to the area so recently relieved and she was very aware of his cock pushing against her. She unconsciously raised her hips, sighing as she felt the head slide in.  She could feel the moisture seeping out again, smoothing the way for him to plunge the rest of the way into her aching center.

 

                Spike, too, felt the increased wetness and smelled the renewed arousal.  He groaned and forced himself to wait until he could control his voice enough to talk.

 

                “Buffy…” The use of her name caught her attention and she looked at him with lust-glazed eyes.  “I need to know, love.  I told you it was up to you, but I need to know what your answer is.  Are we a couple?  Or is this just an itch you’re scratching?”

 

                  “Why does it matter?” she asked, wrapping her legs around his as though she thought he might try to escape. 

 

                   <I>Why won’t he let me be all avoidy-girl?  I don’t want to think about this right now.  Bad vampire!  Bad!</I>

 

                    Spike’s face reflected the pain her non-answer was causing him, but he tried to control his voice as he answered her truthfully.

 

                  “All we’ve done so far is play with each other.  Nothing anybody can’t pretend never happened—“ Her gasp of disbelief brought a small smile to his face as he continued, “A little slap and tickle, some mutual pleasurin’. If one of us walks away from it…” He stopped and took another ragged breath.

 

              Before he could say anything else, Buffy, cursing herself for the fear she could hear in her voice, asked, “You want to walk away from me – it?”  She blinked rapidly as her eyes filled with unexpected tears.

 

                <I>So much for that little attempt at denial. Can’t he see?  Why does he want to make me say it? Stupid vampire!</I>

 

                 “Bloody hell, no!  I just want to know what I’m getting myself into, is all. Before I let… before I let myself think my dreams might be comin’ true.”

 

                   He was trembling with the effort it took not to sink into her waiting warmth, and when she still didn’t say anything, he gave a final groan and gave up. “Bugger it,” he growled as he pushed his way into her tight channel. “I can’t wait any longer. “

 

                  Buffy’s sigh of completion when he finally allowed himself to fill her did nothing to alleviate his concerns that she just saw this as the inevitable ending to the sexual tension that had been building between them for a long time, but he was too rapt in the sensation of having her around him, the way her walls were squeezing him in welcome, to worry about it just then.

 

                 “You feel so good,” he murmured against her throat. “Knew you would.  Knew you’d be like burying my cock in warm honey.”

 

                  His hips began a gentle rhythm; one into which she quickly fell, moving her own hips under him while unconsciously squeezing gently every time he pulled out.  Before long they were both gasping and panting as their bodies made up for the weeks of denial by melding together perfectly.  With every stroke, Spike was hitting a place inside her that Buffy hadn’t been aware she had, causing her to clutch him tightly and whimper with fear that he might stop at any second. The force of her slayer muscles clenching around him had the vampire climbing toward his release much sooner than he had intended and he tried to slow her movements.

 

                 “Buffy, Slayer, sweetheart, if you keep that up, I’m going to embarrass myself and this’ll be over before we’ve barely started.”

 

                   “We can do it again,” she gasped, arching up into him and continuing her internal assault on his cock.  Her legs were now wrapped around his hips and her pelvis churned against him as she tried to pull him in even deeper.

 

                 Spike waited until he felt her quivering around him before he allowed his demon to emerge with a roar as he pumped into her.  Forcing it down, he latched onto the still-scabby marks on her neck and allowed himself two hard pulls of her blood before collapsing on top of her.

 

               They lay together, trembling equally, while the Slayer’s heart rate slowed to a more normal speed and the vampire struggled with what he’d almost done.

 

               After a few minutes, he went to roll off of her so as not to impede her still-ragged breathing, but was surprised when she tightened her arms and held him still.  His softened cock was still inside her, no longer aching with the need to be relieved but ready to respond at any moment. 

 

                 “Where do you think you’re going?” she muttered, pulling her legs back up around his thighs for good measure.

 

               “Don’t want to go anywhere, love,” he answered honestly.  “Just thought I’d give you some breathing room.”

 

                “I’m breathing just fine,” she said softly.  “I don’t want you to go.”

 

              He pushed himself up far enough to look down at her face, pushing a sweat-soaked piece of hair off her cheek as he tried to read her eyes.

 

                “Then I won’t,” he said, leaning in to kiss her lightly.  “You’ll tell me if I get too heavy for you, yeah?”

 

                Buffy nodded silently, turning her face to the side and kissing his bicep before answering.

 

                “I’ll tell you,” she agreed quietly.  “Right now I want you just where you are.  It feels…” She blushed, not sure how to say that having the vampire intimately connected to her made her feel complete.  “It feels right,” she finally finished.  “Like you belong there. It feels good.  Does it feel good to you?” she asked apprehensively, thinking that, in spite of his words, maybe he wanted to get off.

 

                 Spike thought his unbeating heart had jump started when she whispered that she liked having him inside her.

 

                 “Feels bloody wonderful, Buffy.  Could stay here forever, love.  Will, if you’ll let me.”

 

                  “Okay,” she whispered.  “Maybe not forever, but for the foreseeable future.  Would that be okay?”

 

                 While they were speaking, their bodies began moving together, gently rocking until the Slayer’s legs again wrapped around his hips and her arms grabbed the churning muscles in his butt to pull him in tighter.  Suddenly she dropped her legs to the side, and with a quick flexing of her back she flipped them over so that she was on top of the delighted vampire.

 

                 “Do that growly, purry thing,’ she demanded, sitting on his hard cock and clutching his hips with her knees. 

 

               “Whatever my lady wants,” he said with a rumble that began deep in his chest and carried down his torso.  He began to purr, laughing when she threw back her head and shut her eyes the better to enjoy the vibrations from his body. This time, when she began to grind down onto him, he didn’t stop her but lifted his hips to meet her, thrusting up as she pushed down and marveling at the speed with which she approached yet another orgasm.  When the whimpers turned to the panting gasps that he now knew signaled her closeness to release, he grabbed her hips and held them down while he continued to push into her, never stopping the purring growls that vibrated through them both.

 

                  As he felt her begin to clench around him, he pulled her down onto his chest, riding out her shuddering release and letting his own explosive orgasm push him up off the hard surface of his bed.  Again, they lay together, recovering from the intensity of the experience and once again he found his mouth on the tiny holes in her neck.  Without thinking, as he was laving the small amount of blood oozing out, he whispered, “Mine.”

 

                  With no worries about crushing her this time, he kept his arms around her warm body, running his hands absently up and down the gentle curve of her spine.  He continued to nuzzle her neck, his sensual nature glorying in the overpowering scent of her blood and their combined secretions. 

 

                  Buffy lay quietly, enjoying the feeling of his hands stroking her body and feeling completely sated.  She felt herself almost purring with contentment as she luxuriated in their mutual satisfaction.  Gradually, as she emerged from the pleasant haze, she remembered what she’d heard Spike say while he was licking her neck and she sat up abruptly.

 

                   “What did you say?”

 

                    The vampire froze, eyes darting from side to side in an effort to find something else to look at besides her accusing eyes.

 

                    “Nothing?”  He made a feeble attempt to smile into her frowning face.

 

                  “Nothing, my ass! You said something – you said…’Mine’?  Is that what you said?”

 

                    “Um, I suppose I might have mumbled something along those lines…probably not that exact word…you know how it is, love. Heat of the moment and all that.”

 

                   She stared at him with a suspicious squint. “That means something, doesn’t it?  It means something important.  If it didn’t you wouldn’t be looking at me like you think I might stake you any minute.”

 

                  He sighed and cupped her cheek, rubbing his thumb along her jaw and onto her lower lip, which was creeping its way out into a pout.

 

                   “It was a claiming word, pet.  The demon—no, sod it all, I— I wanted to claim you.  Make you mine forever.  It’s alright, though.  I wasn’t biting you at the time, and you didn’t accept or return it, so I’m sure it didn’t take.”

 

                    “Oh.”  She stared into his anxious eyes for a full minute, biting her lip in thought.  “That sounds like the kind of thing you ought to run by me first, don’t you think?” The twinkle in her eye had him breathing an unnecessary sigh of relief and he broke into a smile.

 

                    “Yes, love.  It’s not something I should or would do without your knowledge and permission.  I promise you.   It’ll never happen again.”

 

                    “It’ll never happen again unless…until I want it,” she corrected him primly. 

 

                    Making no attempt to hide the joy on his face, he pulled her down and rolled them over so that they were facing each other.  His eyes bored into hers with an intensity that would have been frightening if it weren’t for the love that shone through it.

 

                   “Not until you want it, love. I swear, not until you want it.”

 

                    “Okay, then,” she smiled, snuggling into his side.  “As long as that’s settled.”

 

                   They cuddled quietly for a while, Spike pulling the quilt up to cover their naked bodies and trap the heat for her.   Buffy dozed briefly, waking up to find him watching her sleep, his heart on his face.  She stroked his cheek, remembering what he’d said about waking up next to her.

 

                     “I think Mom will be okay, but Giles is going to wig,” she said matter-of-factly.

 

                       “And Peaches is going to go completely batty,” he agreed, immediately understanding her.

 

                      “This isn’t going to be easy,” she warned, even as she snuggled into his side and kissed his chest, laughing when her warm tongue made him twitch.  “Does that tickle?”

 

                    “No!” he said so quickly and emphatically that she knew it was a lie.

 

                   Wearing an evil grin that would not have looked out of place on a vampire, she attacked her growling lover with her fingers, shrieking with laughter when he retaliated by running his fingers around her body until he found her own ticklish spots.  They wrestled around on the sarcophagus until Buffy had to stop to gasp for breath between giggles.

 

                    She collapsed on her back, swatting away his still busy fingers, then running her own hand up his rib cage when he didn’t stop. He doubled over, laughing freely as he gasped, “Truce, Slayer! I want a truce.”

 

                   Buffy turned to him, her hand no longer digging into his ribs but sliding around his back and pulling him closer. Her expression serious once again and he instantly adapted to her suddenly gravity, wrapping his own arms around her and holding her gently.

 

                  “We can do this, pet.  I promise you.  ‘S not going to make very many people happy – or very many demons, for that matter -- but as long as we trust each other—“  He broke off to stare into her eyes intently.  “You DO trust me, don’t you, Buffy?”

 

                  She gazed back at him, searching his face and eyes long enough for the first stirrings of fear to reach his unbeating heart, then, just as his face was shutting down and he was preparing to pull away, she touched his cheek with her hand saying, “With my life, Spike. I trust you with my life.”

 

                 As he pulled her closer, sighing with relief, he said softly, “Not saying you have to, but just so you know, you can trust me with your heart, too.”

 

                “I know I can,” she whispered into his neck.  “I knew that would be true before I ever had any reason to think I might want to.  I’d have to have been blind not to see it.”

 

                “It’s that obvious?  That I’m Love’s bitch?”

 

                “There are worse things to be, Spike.”

 

                 “S’pose there are,” he agreed, as he held the Slayer close to his body and basked in her warmth and trust.  “I suppose there are.”

 

The End

 

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