Note: Thanks to my beta t_geyer for her unending patience, perseverance and support. A big thank you also to MG for helping out while t_geyer takes a well-deserved and overdue holiday.
SECTION 4 - ANGELS AND DEMONS
Angels and demons and screaming saints
You're all normal and they're insane
Wednesday, June 12th, 2002
Buffy sighed and snuggled fractionally closer to her man, revelling in the feather-light caresses his dextrous hands bestowed. It wasn't as if, simply by being together, everything was right with the world. It didn't make the pain go away or let her escape the guilt she carried for her less charitable feelings, even if for half an hour or so she had forgotten them. It did make everything bearable though... and it wasn't just the sex, not even mostly the sex. It was him, and the strength his love gave her.
Tears welled up below her lowered lashes and her whispered words came out with a catch in them. "I'm sorry."
Instantly, she felt Spike's body shift from languor to attentiveness, his thumb brushing away her tears as his husky whispers tried to anchor her. "Hey, now, what's to be sorry for?"
Buffy gave a deep sniff and rolled to bury her face into his neck. "I'm an idiot."
"No, you're not, love." Spike's hands switched to stroking her hair. "A mite stubborn now and then, never an idiot."
"I am. I've been awful to you and I didn't really want to be but I just... It hurts worse when I try to hide from you than... I just didn't want you to see those bits of me..."
Her tears seemed to burn into him almost like holy water as they ran down his collar bone and onto the pillow, but he didn't try to shush her or make her stop. "Let it out, sweet pea. What did you ever think I might see in you that could make me love you any less?"
"But if you see it, it's real... and- and..."
Spike's hands gently framed either side of her face, pulling it away slightly from his neck and tilting it back. "Look at me, kitten." Buffy's eyelids flicked up, her lashes clumped together with tears, but when she met his gaze she was transfixed by his solemnity. "You are a champion. You are a hero. You are 'The Chosen One' , but that doesn't give anyone the right to expect you to be some sort of personification of messianic virtue. You're a human being and human beings are not, despite what the council might say, inherently virtuous. Having dark thoughts doesn't make you a bad person. It just makes you human. The fact that you feel guilty about having them, that you try not to act on them... that means... that means that you're trying to be a better person. That means you're the woman your mother brought you up to be... beautiful, strong, proud and loving."
The tears ran unchecked over his fingers as he held her but Buffy still couldn't look away from those indigo eyes that swam in front of her, not even to blink.
"I-I-I hurt you. I-I wish you'd just tied me up and forced me to see..."
"Never tie you up, least not without you wanting it. Had to let you work it out for yourself. You're a wild thing, beautiful, and when a wild thing wants its freedom, there ain't nothing you can do but stand back and let it go. You try an' keep it somewhere it doesn't want to be an' it'll break both your hearts." Spike placed gentle kisses on her forehead, the tip of her nose and then her lips. "You let them go, and you just hope that they might want to come back."
The vulnerability in his eyes showed that this had been a lesson he'd learned the hard way, his efforts to keep Dru driving her farther from him, but she knew it had cost him dearly to stand by that belief and Buffy gave him a watery smile.
"I had to come back, Spike. You're my home. More than any building, maybe even more than Dawn. Sometimes I even think that's why I came back from heaven, so that I could have this... So that I could be with you... and if it is why, I don't regret it. I mean, trying to adjust at first, I just couldn't do it... but this doesn't seem like hell any more. I think, maybe, this is my reward."
Spike couldn't help the dry chuckle that escaped him as he rolled them both so that Buffy lay on top of him. "Much as I appreciate the thought, love, I think if I were you, I'd be askin' for a refund. Things haven't exactly been paradise, either for the pair of us, or for anybody else 'round here."
"No, but I do have the one thing I never had before. A man who loves me for everything I am, rather than in spite of what I am, someone who'll never leave me, someone who's my equal. Coming back gave me a second chance to find you. Heaven's still there. When my time comes again, it'll be waiting, but I'm hoping that this time I'll be able to share it with you."
"I promised you, didn't I?" He lifted his head to press his lips against hers. "Can't guarantee that I'll manage it, but you know if it means bein' with you that I won't stop tryin'."
"I know." Again, Buffy graced him with a smile. "And that's why I think this is a gift."
It was as she laid her head down on his chest that she once more noticed the bruising on his ribcage, yellow and green, obviously fading, but covering a large portion of his torso.
Her hand reached out to stroke it as if she could soothe it better. "What's this?"
"That, pet, is a boot print."
"Well, I hope the owner of that boot is dust."
"Not hardly," Spike volunteered. "You'd think after all these years I'd know that surprisin' a slayer's liable to get me a bruise or two for me troubles."
"Faith? Faith did this?" Buffy's eyes glowed with a possessive fury. "She's still in town? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Yes, yes, yes and I figured it'd keep until you were back in the swing of things again."
Buffy's expression told him she wasn't entirely happy with his explanation.
"It's not like we've had much of a chance to chat, pet. She's campin' out at The Poof's old place. Turns out our old friend Quentin more or less told her if she didn't play ball then he'd arrange for Social Services to pay a visit, so she's been roughin' it out there ever since, livin' on cold baked beans. Picked up her scent a couple of nights ago an' decided to see where it took me."
"So she moved out because if she stayed it was going to get us into trouble?"
"Looks that way, not that she'd really want word gettin' back to the cops about where she was either, but..."
"I don't buy it. She goes and talks to Quentin, disappears for two weeks and then all of a sudden you just happen to run into her. She's up to her old tricks again. She's just found a new sugar daddy."
Spike sighed. "Don't think so. That place smelled like she'd been living there for a fortnight, but I guess you'll have to make up your own mind. Just leave it till after midnight if you do go to visit, otherwise you're bound to run into one of Quentin's school outings. Why they haven't realised that all the demons are just stayin' in until they all get home for their curfew and goin' out later, I have no idea..."
"Are Clem and his family okay?" Buffy asked, suddenly realising that, with all the new players in town, her couple of weeks off were enough to put her out of touch with the whole dynamic.
"Lily was fine, last I heard. She mostly sticks close to home an' Wes has pretty much made it clear what'll happen if anybody touches Rosa, not that most of that lot would even notice that she isn't entirely human. Some snotty East Coast princess got overly big for her britches and gave Clem a black eye last week. Then, Ha Nath came out the ladies an' wiped the floor with the silly, little cow." Spike shrugged. "Marie bought him a 42 inch plasma telly an' a DVD player and hooked him up for all the film channels on the condition he doesn't go back to the cinema again and orders his junk food in. My guess is he'll cope."
"He was at the movies?"
"You know Clem. Took his new bird to see some chick flick, film finished, she went to the loo an' while he was waiting in the foyer one of QT's little starlets saw through his not so cunning disguise an' decided that gave her the right to kick his head in."
"How badly did she get hurt?"
"Bad enough to end up at the hospital, not bad enough for them to keep her in... Broken nose, two black eyes, couple of cracked ribs an' I don't think she'll be leading with her right again any time soon. Nothin' compared with what she had in mind for Clem. It's not that bitch I'm worried about."
"I know..." Buffy tried to soothe the vamp with her voice. "If Clem had been alone..."
"Clem's okay, for now, physically, at any rate. The problem from our point of view is that he's not the only one. All these wet behind the ears school girls are takin' away any neutral ground that there used to be in this town. However it might seem, most of the demons 'round these parts spend their time mindin' their own business, an' for all they'll run their mouths a bit all you've ever had to do is pick off the exceptions. Now, we've got The First puttin' out some recruitment call an' folks as would probably have ignored it an' done their own thing, are findin' that they can't do that any more. Travers is forcin' them into pickin' sides in this and they aren't goin' to be pickin' ours."
"Has Wes talked to Travers about this?"
"He's tried, but it suits Travers better to think that Wes has been corrupted from their wonderful moral stance than to see the truth in what he says."
"This has got to stop."
Spike was fairly certain that, had she not been horizontal, her little foot would have been stamping in annoyance. "I've had enough of those bimbos. First, trying to shoot you, then beating up Clem, stirring up all sorts of trouble-."
As Buffy spoke, Spike's lips slowly curved into a lopsided smile, his eyes acquiring an appreciative gleam as Buffy's animation fired his passion. "An' don't forget the three-hour moans from Bitlet about how they can't go to The Bronze without at least half a dozen of the slappers hittin' on 'er bloke. S'not just the demons as hate them. It's every local female 'tween fourteen an' twenty."
"Between twelve and twelve hundred. One of them made a move on Xander the other night when they were out. Anya was not amused, especially since he was wearing his wedding band."
"S'that so? But then if they'll try it on with a guy they know is a vampire I suppose a ring isn't really gonna stop them."
Buffy's indignant gasp and possessive glare had Spike's narrow hips writhing under her as he tried to find a more comfortable position for his increasingly hard dick. Buffy obliged by pushing herself up so that she straddled him rather than lying on top of him and then lifting her hips so that she was positioned directly over him.
"I hope..." she whispered with an edge of warning in her voice, lowering herself just an inch. "...That you..." she continued, drawing out her words as she eased fractionally lower and then paused momentarily as she felt the muscles at the entrance to her vagina glide over his glans, before sliding down him with measured slowness "...Told... them... you... were... spoken... for." As she finished speaking her hips finally rested on his and she ground against him.
"I think they already knew that, pet, but they seemed to think you weren't taking proper care of me, seein' as how I was out on my own."
Buffy clenched her internal muscles, squeezing him tight from root to tip. "So what did you tell them?" she asked, waiting for Spike's eyes to re-open and for him to once more gather breath to speak.
"Well, I told the first one to bugger off and let me have a drink in peace." Buffy slid upwards without relaxing her hold on him until he was half in half out of her warmth. "And the second?"
"The second one, Bitlet overheard when she was getting served at the bar an' told her to get her skanky Russian arse away from her sister's future husband."
Buffy froze in position, her eye narrowing as she asked, "How many more were there?"
"A few," Spike conceded, "but I think they all got the message when I told the pushy one of the bunch that if she wanted something cool an' firm between her legs..." Buffy's breath hitched and her muscles relaxed as she lost her concentration, watching the tip of Spike's tongue run along the edge of his upper teeth. "...Then, she should fuck off home an' try out the stake she had in her handbag."
As Spike's hands came to rest on her hips, gently pushing her back down, she moved with him. Now that her curiosity had been satisfied, she was more than ready to work on a different type of satisfaction.
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