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Gunga Din
 
Gunga Din
 



    One would have thought, Spike mused, that after being stuck as an unwilling prisoner for over 48 hours in this house, that he wouldn’t want to come back into it.

    Not that all of those hours had been entirely unpleasant. Even with the raging jealousy and the insipid music and the continual put-downs and the utter lack of blood in the fridge, there had been some nice moments. Poker with Tara had been fun, and to be honest he’d had a ball mocking and threatening the potential-date-material Harris had dared to drop in front of the slayer. (Didn’t the whelp know better? Buffy deserved an Adonis, not some bloody sea-monkey picked from the back page of one of Xander’s comic books.)

    But even with Willow’s “personal massager” and The Weapons Case of Perpetual What-About-Xander, and all the other forms of gifted attention Buffy had received in the course of the night, Spike had, despite Buffy’s initial protests, found time to give Buffy the birthday present he’d planned for her.

    Or presents. Or sex. Birthday orgasms were what he’d arranged for her, and despite her “someone’s gonna see!” she hadn’t held out for long. It had been hurried, and secret, and muffled, and bloody hot.

    And wonderful.

    And terrible, of course, as well, because he wanted it different. He would have liked to dance with her in front of everyone, and kiss her soundly with her mouth still full of birthday cake, and curl up beside her on the couch and let her fall asleep on his shoulder as he totally didn’t watch her doing with Xander, while Anya looked on jealously, carefully pointing out that she was all right with it, because she was secure in her relationship with Xander, and she wasn’t worried, even though Xander had once had a crush on the slayer, she knew he was over that now, and she was all right with it (and didn’t Xander see that Anya was hurt? What the hell was he thinking? Spike did not feel at all emotionally threatened by Xander of all people, but Anya had reason to worry, because Buffy really had been stunning that night. Spike really had to take the whelp in hand one day.)

    The night had been fun, except for the bits that had been hell. (Jealous, Spike?) And the demon. (Stay with Spike. He’ll protect you.) And the couldn’t-sodding-leave. (And what the bloody hell was old Cecily doing as a vengeance demon, and had she been one before he’d become a vampire, or...? Drop it, William. Doesn’t even matter after all this time.)

    But after all that hell had come the realization that the niblet felt abandoned, and he bloody knew he’d been neglecting her, but things with Buffy were so bloody complicated. So he decided to do what he’d used to do, when Buffy was dead, and he heard Dawn crying late at night. When she’d sobbed into her pillow because she hadn’t wanted to disturb the witches, but she knew it was all her fault that Buffy was gone. He climbed up onto the roof, opened up the teenager’s bedroom window, and snuck inside.

    (No. No, just because Angel used to do the same damn thing with Buffy, it wasn’t the same. Spike wasn’t trying to get into Dawn’s pants.)

    (No, just Buffy’s pants, and she’s right there through the other window, Spike, just move over, lift the window, slide in beside her, hold her mouth closed, wake her with kisses, seduce away her protests, make her scream into your mouth as you make her come and come and come and she... Stop it!)

    He wasn’t here for that tonight. He was here for Dawn.

    Dawn looked tired and thin and her eyes were puffy from crying. Spike hated to wake her, so he didn’t. The niblet had a fairly even sleep cycle. Every three and a half to four hours she’d open her eyes, roll over, and go back to sleep again. Usually she didn’t even remember she’d woken. Spike lit a cigarette and waited for the next wave in her sleep cycle to hit.

    It was three cigarettes later when she opened her eyes, smelled the smoke, saw Spike, and sat up. “Spike!” She sounded so damn happy. She knew there was no danger – if there was danger, he wouldn’t have lit the cigarette.

    “Shh, niblet,” Spike said. “Don’t wanna wake the lovely ladies, now, do we?”

    Dawn sat up and turned on her bedside light. “Whatcha doing here? I’m okay.”

    He used to only come when she was miserable. Of course... she was miserable. She just hadn’t been admitting it, had she. Except to random vengeance demons with the title of School Counselor. “Are you?”  

    “Yeah. I mean, Buffy reamed me out a bit. I’m never to make any more wishes to anyone, ever. Which, I mean, really, I’m okay with. And we have to try and figure out where I’ve been stealing from, and return what we can, and maybe... I don’t know, she’s still thinking about it. But I’m okay. It’s not like I’m, you know, all whatever or whatever.”

    All whatever meant wanting to slash her arms and scream and scream and scream and threaten to throw herself off the tower after Buffy. Because she’d gotten all whatever a few times that summer while Buffy was dead. Of course, so had Spike. And whenever Dawn got all whatever, he’d be there for her. And whenever he got all whatever he tried like hell to keep it quiet, because it wasn’t fair to put that on a kid, but she’d seen it a few times, too. Because while Willow had had Tara, and Xander had had Anya, and Giles had retreated into what Spike considered the greatest British Stiff Upper Lip that he had ever seen (and he’d lived through the Victorian era) Dawn and Spike had been the ones most affected by Buffy’s death, with no lifetime of training of expectation for it like Giles, and no secret resurrection conspiracy to keep their hopes up of her return. No, they’d just had empty dark streaks of grief... and each other.

    “I didn’t think you were, niblet,” Spike said. “But you’re still not okay.”

    “No, I am,” Dawn said. “I am.”

    “Then what the hell did you think you were doing?”

    She shrugged and looked down. “I dunno. It just kinda happened.”

    Spike flicked his cigarette butt out the window. “Dammit, Dawn. You know better!” he said. “What the hell were you thinking? Your sis has enough on her plate without you mucking things up, and making things worse.”

    “Hey, I was just pissed off, okay?” Dawn said. “I didn’t know my counselor was a vengeance demon. It’s not my fault!”

    “I don’t give a damn about you whining to your counselor,” Spike said. “It’s a hellmouth. Rubbish like this bugaboo happens all the time, complaining about your family is what counselors are for, and that... that demon clearly excels in dragging the worst out of bloody everyone around her. That’s not what I’m on about. What the hell were you doing stealing?”

    Dawn looked frankly startled. “What do you mean?”

    “Shoplifting, taking, whatever you want to call it. What the hell did you think you were doing? I mean, what?”

    Dawn frowned, a little knot of confusion between her eyes. “Uh... I don’t know. I... I wanted stuff.”

    “So you stole it? Why?”

    “Well... why not?”

    Spike blinked and shook his head. “What the hell do you mean why not? Apart from the fact that you shouldn’t bloody do it... you shouldn’t bloody do it! You know your sis is having a tough time keeping the social workers off her back. Did you think you getting picked up for robbery was going to be a good mark on her file?”

    Dawn looked down. “I guess I didn’t think of that. But... but it’s not like I took anything special or anything. Just little stuff.”

    “Little stuff is still stealing, little bit!”

    “Well, what hell do you care?”

    “What the hell? Of course I care! You could have gotten caught, been sent to juvie, hell, you’re over fifteen, what if they tried you as an adult? They do sometimes, you know. Not to mention your sis, and what the hell would your mum think if she knew you were doing that?”

    “Mom wouldn’t care,” Dawn muttered.

    “And you know right well that’s bollocks,” Spike snapped. “Bollocks and rot, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

    “Oh, right, like you don’t do it.”

    Spike stared at her. “What?”

    “You do it all the time. It’s okay for you to steal, why isn’t it okay for me?”

    Spike felt sick suddenly as he stared at her. That’s what it is.

    “God damn it, Dawn,” Spike snapped. “I’m the bad guy! Don’t you get that? I’m evil! It’s not okay for me to steal, it’s bad for me to steal, because I’m bad! Do I need to pound that through your thick skull with a bloody hammer?”

    Dawn stared at him. “I don’t think you’re bad.”

    Spike sighed and sagged. “God, what have I done to you?” he muttered under his breath. “I’m bad, okay Dawn? I am a killer. I kill people for fun. I came to Sunnydale to kill your own sister. I kick puppies. I eat kittens as between meal snacks. I rob and I steal and I torture little girls, all for the hell of it! Do you get that? I’m bad!

    “No, you’re not,” Dawn said, with pure acceptance. “You help people. You save people. You kill monsters. You love Buffy, you care about me –” Then she stopped. “Don’t you?”

    Spike stared at her. He wanted to go to her. He wanted to put his arms around her like he had while Buffy was gone, pull her hair from her face, tell her she was all important and that he would protect her till the end of the world. But that was what had done this. Dawn hadn’t done this; he’d done this. He’d put himself before her as a role model, and she’d started to think bad was good, evil was right, and stealing was normal.

    He did care about her. He loved her like family, a little sister, a child, a second bloody self. And he’d done this to her.

    He should have seen this. He should have realized it on Halloween, when she’d run off with those pissant fledges. He should have seen it before that. He should have intervened, gotten her to listen, he should have...

    He should have stayed the hell away from her in the first place.

    That was what did this. Just his very existence in her life. He was making her evil. Spike stepped away from the window and sat down at the foot of Dawn’s bed. “I care about you, niblet,” he said. “But that doesn’t make me good. God knows, given this, I think it probably makes me more evil than ever.” He looked over at her, felt sick again, and lit another cigarette. He sat puffing it for a moment while Dawn regarded him. “I’m not a good man, Dawn,” he finally said. “I’m not good, you shouldn’t try to be like me.”

    “I still think you’re good.”

    “Dawn, just because I’m lonely and chipped up and I like beating up demons, none of that makes me good. I lie and I cheat and I steal and I gamble, and I’ve killed and maimed and tortured, and I... I’ve done things bad enough that I’m not even going to relate them to a little girl like you.”

    “Like what?”

    “Terrible things.”

    “Like what terrible things?” She had perked up in the bed and had scooted several inches closer to him, and he opened his mouth to tell her some of it, raped women, tortured priests, eviscerated living children, pulled brides fresh from their new happiness, snapped the heads off babies, and he realized that even telling her these things he was corrupting her more. And he’d corrupted her enough that she wanted to hear the details, and he’d corrupted her enough that stealing seemed a-okay to her, and he – bloody hell! – he was corrupting the very air she breathed with the cigarettes he’d been smoking for the last half hour. He quickly squashed the thing out on his boot and threw it out the window, flapping at the smoke, trying to remove his influence from her presence.

    But he knew it was already there. It hung in the air, it had subtly stained the walls, the scent of his smoke probably permeated her bloody teddy bears. She’d already breathed it in, and the poison in her lungs wasn’t going to go away just because he didn’t want it there.

    He corrupted everything he touched. Come on, Buffy. Tell me you don’t love getting away with this... right under their noses.  “Dawn. It’s not right to take things that don’t belong to you.”

    “You do it,” Dawn said again. “We did it. You and me, the Magic Box, and the egg for Mom, and the candies from Giles desk, and cookies before dinner. I mean... it’s what we always do.”

    “Yeah, well, I don’t have a soul, do I? It’s not gonna get corrupted.” He knelt down on the floor and took her hands. “I’m already dirt, niblet. You don’t want to sink to my level. You’re better than that.”

    “No, I’m not!” Spike looked at her, disapproving, and then she hurriedly added, “I mean, I don’t think I’m really bad or anything, I just... you’re... you’re not that bad, either.”

    “And you’re not that good at this point, are you,” Spike said. “Look at me. Is it right to steal?”

    “I don’t think it’s that bad–”

    “Is it right?”

    She actually had to think about it. He could see the little cogs whirling behind her eyes, and finally she shook her head. “I guess not.”

    You guess. She actually said she guessed not. Spike suddenly wanted to hit himself. What the hell had he done to her? I should go, he said to himself. I should leave, I should get the hell away from her before I corrupt her even more. “Look. Platelet. Don’t... don’t try to be like me. There’s no saving me. There’s no stopping me, there’s no right... not for me. Everything about me is wrong, little bit. Everything. Everything I touch...” Everything I touch is corrupted. He reached out and touched her soft hair. Even you.

    “I think you’re too hard on yourself.”

    “And I think... I think I should go,” Spike whispered.

    So that was that, then. Sneaking into little girl’s bedrooms at night. No more of that. Taking her out for midnight rambles and performing petty acts of vandalism with sharpies. Done. Sneaking candy bars for her from the corner store when he went to get his ciggies. Totally out.

    Anything. Doing anything with her. Even being here right now was probably corrupting her more.

    Spike pulled away from his little bit and went back to the window.

    “Don’t go,” Dawn said. “You could stay. Don’t you want to read to me? You used to, before...”

    Before Buffy came back. When Dawn couldn’t sleep. When everything was all shot to hell...

    But everything was still shot to hell, just in a different way.

    Spike shook his head. Dawn scrabbled in her bedside drawer and dragged out the last book they had been reading. It had a library sticker on its spine, because Spike had stolen it. Didn’t even check it out, just slipped it around the outside of the electric monitor at the library, because he hadn’t intended to bring it back. “I got Kipling here. The Ballad of East and West? Or just Gunga Din? You love Gunga Din. Just–”

    “Stop it!” he said. “Just stop it! Just quit trying to be like me! Just quit... quit thinking I’m some kind of....”

    “Hero?”

    Spike’s pain chip went off wildly in his head, and he hadn’t even moved. But he’d wanted to, just the impulse had been enough. The word hero out of her lips right now made him want to punch her head off, or throw the book at her face, or punch her through the bloody wall. And he liked to think he would have controlled the impulse even if he hadn’t had an electric leash telling him he had to, but the chip clearly hadn’t been so sure. He rubbed his head and tried to calm down.

    “Dawn,” he said darkly. “I’m not a hero. I am the bad guy. You steal again, and I will personally knock your blinkin’ head off. You got that? I’m not gonna wait for the cops or the social-workers or some pissed off ex-vengeance demon to do it for me. I am going to punish you for it, and you’re not gonna bloody like what I do to you. Do. You. Understand?”

    Dawn’s face closed and she glared at him. “Yeah. Yeah, I get it. You’re the only one who gets to be bad, is that it?”

    Spike vamped out and lunged at her. She squeaked, startled. Spike had no actual intention of hurting her, though he sure as hell made sure he looked like he did. “Yeah,” he said through a demonic snarl. “I’m the one who gets to be bad. I’m the one who gets to die. I’m the one who gets to spend the rest of his life in hunger and pain, unable to see the sun, unlovable, unwanted, cut off from the world. I’m the one who gets that. You get to stay home with your stuffed animals and your family and your friends who love you, and you get that by staying good. You get that?”

    Dawn was shaking. She nodded, her face white. Spike wrenched the book from her tightly closed hand. “Gimme that.”

    “Wha–”

    “I have to return this to the library.”

    He could see she was wounded. She’d thought the book was hers. Well, hell, at least now she could feel what it was to have things taken from her.

    He looked behind him, his eyes blue and clear again. He felt sick about frightening her, sick about being cruel, sick about what he’d done to her. And he knew he couldn’t take it back.  I love you, little bit. I’d go to the end of the world for you. I’d never, ever hurt you. “You behave.”

    Dawn nodded again. Spike climbed out onto the porch roof and looked back. “Lock the window after I go.”

    “Spike?”

    He paused.

    “I’m sorry,” Dawn whispered.

    I know you are, niblet. So am I. “Good.” He closed the window on her, knowing her bedroom still smelled of his smoke, and jumped down from the roof. A second later he heard her click the window lock, and a second after that, her bedside lamp went out.

    Spike looked down at the battered library book in his hand.

    And then he heard another sound. Another window opening. Buffy looked down at him, folded her arms, and leaned on the windowsill. “Thought I sensed a vamp.”

    Spike looked up. It is the east, and Juliet the sun. But Romeo was a ponce who didn’t know what the hell love was, and Juliet was a child who wasn’t even fourteen yet. Buffy was a woman, and she wasn’t saying Ay, me! at the moon, wishing Spike wasn’t a Capulet. Or a vampire. No, Buffy was probably Rosaline, constantly rebuffing Romeo, and since Spike wasn’t Romeo, he was probably someone else, maybe Mercutio (the idea appealed to him) and maybe Mercutio and Rosaline got together after Romeo dropped the bint for Juliet, and they’d get to survive the bloody play – except that Mercutio didn’t survive the play, either, but was killed epically by Juliet’s cousin, and the analogy had been stretched damn thin to start with, and it really didn’t matter anyway, because the moonlight was on Buffy’s hair, and Spike’s mouth suddenly went dry.

    He had thought, once he had landed Buffy in bed (and wall, and floor, and gravestone, and rug, and balcony – oh, Romeo!) that he would find it easier to be with her. That the terror of love that he’d felt about her would fade, and he’d earn back his confidence and his security and he’d be the Big Bad again. That wasn’t what had happened. Yes, he knew she wanted him. Yes, he knew he was seductive and dangerous and good in bed. But no, he was less confident than ever, because what did she want of him? The whole concept of “her mouth says no, but her eyes say yes” was absurd, but “her mouth says no while her hands are grabbing out my cock and planting it inside her” was really confusing.

    But he couldn’t let that show, because she couldn’t accept him vulnerable. Vulnerable wasn’t what had landed her. Worshiping her got him nowhere. Standing beneath her while she gazed down at him from her righteousness hadn’t been what put her in his arms. Like Drusilla, like Angel, she’d needed strength and violence and determination, she’d needed him to take her.

    So he took four running steps and leaped back up onto the porch roof, landing catlike and all but silent. He could see her eyes flash as he showed off (yes, showed off) his strength and then looked up at her with his head down, hunter’s eyes. He crept up to her window and murmured softly, “I thought I smelled a slayer.”

    Her heartbeat quickened, and her breath caught, and he knew how sexy he was, and god, he hoped he could keep it up, because most of the time what he wanted to do was roll on his back like a bloody puppy and beg (beg, Spike, you beg now?) for his soft underbelly to be rubbed. But no, he couldn’t do that. He had to keep up the facade, stay the big bad, and he was the big bad, so it shouldn’t have been that hard. But it was hard, it was so hard, why had it gotten so hard? But even though Drusilla had demanded that he stay the strong fighter, and keep himself demon enough for her, she had understood that he wanted snuggles – lots of snuggles – and she would pet his head sympathetically when he failed, and would play the mother when he needed it. And even Angelus, through all his brutality and his demands, would sometimes want Spike to be soft, would want to hear the praise and would be gentle when he heard it.

    And it hurt Spike’s heart that Buffy was worse than Angelus. Spike couldn’t let his guard down for a minute, or he lost her, every time. He had to stay hard, stay focused, stay on point, or she slipped away.

    He oozed through the window as if he were water (without an invitation, or at least not a new one) and dragged Buffy against him, noticing (oh, god! How dare she be so damn cute, in pink pajamas with carefully labeled sushi and little cursive commentary saying Mmm, yummy!) how his hand fit perfectly over the side of her buttocks, and how with them both on their knees his cock (hard already, the traitorous thing, mind of its own, but get it hard, she likes it hard) pushed perfectly against her mons without having to shift positions or anything, and they fit so perfectly together, except that now despite her gasps and her hands clutching at him and her scent (which told a very distinct tale) she whispered against his mouth, “Not here!”

    “Didn’t stop us before, now did it, love?” he murmured in her ear, and she clutched him tighter.

    “We’re gonna wake Dawn!”

    Dawn was probably still awake. If he listened closely he could hear her heartbeat in the room next door, and it was still rapid and conscious, and he knew he’d scared her proper, so he wasn’t sure the girl would sleep at all that night. “Then you’ll have to be quiet, won’t you,” he said. He tugged on her hip, and she was already straddling him, still on their knees.

    “I can’t,” she whimpered against his chest. He wanted to catch her up and carry her sensuously to the bed, but they were already on the floor somehow, and the bed seemed so damn far away, and okay, fuck it, they missed the bed again. He grabbed at her bedspread while he kissed her, moved over her, dragging it down to the floor. He rolled her half onto it, sliding one hand under the waistband of her (damn it, so cute! Couldn’t she have been in black leather or sexy red satin or something so this didn’t feel quite so much like he was seducing Dawn? He hadn’t come here for this tonight, but it was Buffy, and when did they not anymore?) yummy sushi pajamas, reaching for her warmth. His sensitive hands danced over her fur, and his middle finger found her clit, not wet yet, her arousal still pooling in her center.

    “You can,” he whispered, and the words completely took him. You can, I can, we can, Buffy, Buffy, love. “You can, you can, you can, feel it. Feel it, Buffy, you can.” She shuddered and choked, trying to hold back her moans. He felt her teeth on his throat, and she bit down hard, harder than Drusilla had bitten him, and if Buffy had had fangs he’d have had his flesh ripped out. But she didn’t tear at his flesh, just held it between her teeth as she strained, screaming her pleasure into him, bruising him horribly. (He had so many bruises. She hurt him so thoroughly, his face was still dusted with black and blue marks.) He wanted to groan with the pain of it, but the scent of her (oh, god, the scent!) and the feel of her strength around him, was worth anything, anything, anything so long as he could still touch her.

    She slowly released her jaws with a sliding sound as her teeth slipped out from the bruised dents they had made in his flesh. He would have a Buffy mark, as if she’d killed him, as if he were her victim. The idea tasted delicious to him, so he kissed her harder and let his hand slide lower, into the pool of wetness, up into the core of her. It gushed as he loosed the flesh, pouring hot and slippery over his hand. Buffy tilted her head back and held her breath so she wouldn’t scream.

    “Or maybe I should go,” he whispered evilly. “You want me to go?”

    It was a gamble. She might tell him to actually go... but she didn’t. Instead she ripped at his t-shirt, her nails raking down his skin as the soft cotton melted beneath her strength. Oh, god! He needed to feel her skin. He slipped up his other hand and carefully, one by one, worked the buttons on her yummy sushi pajamas, until they were open, revealing her beautiful pale hot flesh, and he pressed his cold skin against her, and she bucked beneath his hand, trying to draw him in deeper.

    “Or is this what you want?”

    Buffy kissed him, gnawing at him, and then rolled him over pushing him down. His shirt was ripped open, his coat still on. Her pajama top was still hanging around her shoulders, but her pale breasts peeked out around the innocent sushi-studded cotton like naughty children, darker pink nipples peaked and hard and aching to be touched.

    He touched them, his hands smoothing over her breasts, his thumbs twisting over the hard little nubs. Buffy, bit at her lips to keep from crying out, and she’d already pulled his cock out (it wasn’t hard – well, it was hard, hard as stone, but it wasn’t difficult seeing as how it was already straining so at his zipper he was surprised the damn thing hadn’t popped open of its own accord) and she shifted so that she could pull down the sushi pajamas (oh, god, don’t rip them! Don’t rip them, I have got to see you in these again one day!) and she got them off one leg and that was good enough, even though they were still bunched around her right thigh, and she lowered herself onto him, claiming every hard, hungry millimeter of his cock, and now Spike was the one who had to try and keep from crying out. Because yeah, he wanted Dawn to know, he wanted Willow to know, he wanted everyone to know he had this delectable, beautiful, powerful creature under his sexual spell, he wanted the world to know that they had claimed each other, but not like this, not sordid and ugly and ripped apart in the middle of the night when Dawn was in crisis and everything was supposed to be peaceful and unhappy. There shouldn’t be this rough powerful sordid pleasure on this kind of night, on the floor, filthy in the misery.

    Dawn would think he hadn’t come there for her.

    But he couldn’t have Buffy thinking he hadn’t come for her, either.

    He sucked in a breath and let his hands slide firm and sensual and strong down her ribs, down her waist, onto her hips, and he jerked her down harder atop his cock. Buffy rode him, her eyes closed, her mouth a thin line as she rocked and rocked and rocked hard, and it was good thing they’d missed the bed, because it would be creaking like a ship in full sail, and probably knocking against the wall, and even as it was the floorboards protested faintly under the onslaught, but it felt so good, so good, his head on Buffy’s blankets and his chest bare to the breeze from the open window, and Buffy’s heat as she rode him. She shifted positions then, squatting down on her feet, and changing angles so she took him in even deeper, harder, pounding up and down on his cock, and yeah, he was afraid they’d break the floor again, that was the good thing about basements and concrete, you couldn’t sodding break through.

    “Buffy,” he whispered, and she winced. He knew his voice could do terrible things to her mind. “Buffy, Buffy, that’s right. Feel it, come on.”

    She thrust over him, whimpering as if with pain trying to keep her voice still. He slid his hands up her body, scratching at her flesh. “Say my name, Buffy,” he whispered. “I dare you.”

    “Ugh!” Buffy grunted, and glared down at him, her teeth clenched. “Sssss-pike!” she hissed, biting it back to keep it at a whisper, and then she made a sound that was almost a sob, and then she bucked and soared over him, and the sound she made was like a finger squeaked on glass as she bit back the scream she wanted to pour out as she came around him, her muscles clenching him hard.

    This could be a dangerous moment, as sometimes she sent him away after she’d come, whether he’d had a chance or not. (Rarely, but it had happened, and it was cruel, and she knew it, and usually when she did that she came back to him all the faster, sometimes within the hour, because he knew, he knew she loved to see what she could do to him, loved to have that power of pleasure over him, and when she sent him away she was cheating herself as much as him.) But no, not tonight, as she simply melted over him, and he sat up and pushed her back against her windowsill. He stayed on his knees, and pulled her legs around his back, and looked down on her as she gripped the edge of her window and watched him thrust into her, feeling her, her, her, the slayer, his slayer, Buffy, and god, he loved her, the fucking bitch.

    “Stay quiet,” she whispered at him. “Don’t make a sound. Lock it down, Spike. Keep it quiet.”

    God damn it, bitch, shut up! he thought, because every heated whisper made him want to scream with triumph, and god, she knew it, too, didn’t she? Bitch.

    “Do it,” she said through her teeth. “Keep it silent. I’ll stake you before they even come in to see what it was.”

    “And then what?” he growled low. “Dust all over your pretty carpets?” He thrust into her hard. “All over your bare legs? All over your wet quim?” He pushed into it, and she whimpered.  “That’s what you want, huh? I don’t think dust can make you feel like this.”

    Buffy had to bite her lips again, and Spike took the opportunity to slow down. “Or this.”

    She hummed as the sensations poured through her, her eyes closing in the shadows.

    “Or this....”

    He changed positions, and Buffy’s head went back, holding her breath again.

    How long could he keep this up?

    Not long at all, because Buffy’s eyes suddenly opened, and she gazed at him, her eyes little sparks in the shadows, and even beneath all his thrusting she was suddenly so still. “Pound me into dust,” she whispered.

    She finished him. Try to hold it back how he would, that finished him, and he arched over her, burying his face in her shoulder, swallowing his scream against her flesh.

    They paused after, both of them feeling awkward and strange, Buffy for having had sex here in her own house, and Spike because he knew Dawn was awake, and he didn’t want her to find out like this, and what if she came to see what the sound was? But apparently Buffy making strange noises in her sleep was a common enough occurrence that neither Dawn (who was still awake, he could hear her heartbeat) nor the witch (whose heartbeat was slow and regular and thus probably asleep) came to investigate.

    Spike tried again. Sometimes he could get it – sometimes she let him hold her after, as the exhaustion and the afterglow made her soft. He reached behind him and grabbed that blanket he’d already pulled off the bed and dragged it over her, over himself, slid his arm beneath her head as a pillow, and tried... every second waiting for her to roll over and tell him to get out, or roll him over and start in again. (Either one was just as likely.)

    And she... let him. Even five minutes, hell, even one minute was a gift, and he cherished her for long moments, gently touching her shoulder, gazing down at her mussed hair and her open pajamas, her warmth against his injured flesh, his ravaged wardrobe. And then after a second Buffy shifted, and dragged out something that had been underneath her.

    The now even more battered book of Rudyard Kipling. “What’s this?”

    “A book, innit,” Spike said, trying to take it from her.

    “Why’d you bring it?”

    He shrugged. “Just happened to have it.”

    Buffy opened it, and it opened at Gunga Din, because he and Dawn had read that one a lot. Spike had the accent perfect, and there was something about the sentiment. The poor ragged water bearer, beaten and scorned by the English soldiers, and yet braver than them all as he dragged the wounded from the battlefield, and lugged the water in amongst the hail of bullets.

    “I keep forgetting you read,” Buffy said. It wasn’t even that scornful. There was no active contempt, but the dismissal in her tone irked him. She thought him an idiot. He pulled his arm out from under her and took the book.

You may talk o' gin an' beer    
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,    
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But if it comes to slaughter    
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.”

    He read her the whole damn poem, and she watched him in the darkness, both intrigued and impressed.

So I'll meet 'im later on    
In the place where 'e is gone—    
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;    
'E'll be squattin' on the coals    
Givin' drink to pore damned souls,    
An' I'll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din!

    “Do you always read aloud through your fangs?” she asked suddenly.

    Spike looked at her, and then realized he had vamped up so he could read in the dark. He slid the fangs away, the poem not quite done. “No.”

    Buffy regarded him for a long moment, and Spike felt awkward. What had he been trying to do? Read her poetry... hold her tenderly... and him a demon all the while. Buffy looked down, as if shy, and then she sat up, (so much for snuggles, or more sex) and began buttoning her shirt. “You need to get out of here, Spike. Someone’s gonna see.”

    “Why won’t you let them see?” he asked, not for the first time.

    “See what?” Buffy demanded. “It’s not like this is real.”

    “It doesn’t have to be like this, Buffy.”

    “Oh, and that’s a great role model for Dawn,” Buffy said, shoving her other foot back into her yummy sushi pajamas. “Like we didn’t have enough problems with Halloween and everything.”

    If it hadn’t been exactly what Spike had just been thinking before Buffy had called him up for sex, Spike would have argued with her. But he couldn’t... he just couldn’t. Instead he got up on his knees and put his arm around her, pulling her against him. He kissed her throat, softly, gently, and he heard her breath catch as her eyes closed and she sagged against him. “You don’t want me to go,” he whispered in her ear.

    He kissed her over and over. “I need you to go,” she whispered.

    “Buffy.”

    “I need you to go,” she said more firmly. “Now.”

    Spike tilted his head back. “Or what?

    “Or we’ll end up doing this again.”

    “And what’s wrong with that?”

    Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “Everything.”

    Rage blossomed in Spike’s chest, and he stood up, his ragged shirt dangling. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll go. But you know why this is sordid, is ‘cause you make it sordid. This is on you doll, not me.”

    “Everything with you is sordid, Spike,” Buffy said. “At least I know it.”

    “God, I hate you,” Spike muttered.

    “You too,” Buffy growled.

    I love you, I love you, I love you. The litany sounded in Spike’s mind. “Fine,” he snarled. “I’ll go.” He zipped up his jeans, and then darted forward, grabbing her roughly, the book digging into her shoulders, his hand dragging at her hair, and he kissed her, hard, a brutal assault of a kiss that made her struggle and protest and then, like the brutalized heroine of a sodding 1930's movie, melt in his arms, and he hated that it was like this, why did she make it like this when what he wanted to do was kneel at her feet and make himself her willing servant and rub her shoulders and read her poetry? But no, she wanted him rough and hard and violent, so she could pretend she hated every second, and okay, he could do that. He could do that. What did she want of him? Whatever it was, he could do that.

    She stood dazed, her eyes shadowed with desire as he finished kissing her, and what he wanted to do was sit her down and finish Gunga Din, or maybe the law of the jungle. She’d like that one. She was that one, the slayer was The Law.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

    But no, she wouldn’t let that happen. She turned him away when he went soft, like he’d gone tonight (stupid of him.) So he left her where she was, cruelly, knowing he’d turned her on and leaving it unsatisfied.

    “There,” he said. “Going now.” He slid out the window, his bare chest open to the moonlight.

    Buffy moved behind him. He wondered if she’d call him back, and what he’d do if she did, and if it would be better to stay or go, but she didn’t call him back. She closed the window on him. Firmly.

    And he’d had to leave on a hard note. Just like with Dawn.

    Damn it. What was he doing to her? To Buffy? To both of them? Buffy wasn’t like this with her boyfriends, he knew that. He’d seen her all googly eyed at Angel. He’d seen her all protective and sexy with Riley. Hell, even that pissant Parker who Buffy let take a poke, she’d wanted more and got all wounded when he saw her off. Why was it that he inspired only the ranting and the cold shoulder, when he could see, and feel, and just know what he did to her? He knew she loved him, he knew it!

    But she didn’t want to.

    Spike opened the book again and looked one more time at the end of the poem.

Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,    
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

    Spike grunted and threw the book in the garbage can by Buffy’s driveway. Sod the library, sod Dawn, sod Buffy, and sod the blinking poetry. His body still tingled from the pleasure, and he was still bruised and rent and tormented from her hands and her claws and her cat-cruel words. What the hell, not one line of the stupid thing even mattered.

    Spike wasn’t even a man.