Author’s Note: This is the second-to-last chapter. I officially I finished this story yesterday.
It’s been an emotional 24 hours. This story has been with me for so long. I outlined it a full year before I committed any words to paper, and I worried the closer I became to starting it that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Furthermore, this story has been with me during the most revolutionary time of my life. When I started it, I was in college, living in my parents’ home, single, and working a part-time job. Now I’m a graduate, a published author, a full-time employee and two and a half years into a wonderful relationship. It’s been quite the ride.
Thank you so much to my readers. You are wonderful, patient, giving, and kind. Thank you for sticking with me. It means the world.
And, of course, thanks to my betas: Megan, Sue, Mari, Deanna, Beth, EB, and Kimmie. Some of you have been with me from the beginning, others I’ve lost or gained along the way. Each of you has helped me so much in your own way. I really don’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you. Thank you so much.
Last chapter coming soon.
For the first time in a long, long while, the things he felt and the wonders he saw were not born of blood or sorrow. He felt no pain in the blanket of night. The past few days he’d grown accustomed to holding her, feeling her soft breaths tickle the hair on his arms as her chest rose and fell, but this was different. No creeping fear bordered the skirts of his dreams. Instead, he felt calm. At peace. He slept harder and deeper than he had in generations, and fell far into the recesses of his mind without worry of never making it out.
He burned with her. It wasn’t the first time he’d felt her honeyed warmth tempt him as slumber receded, and it definitely wasn’t the first time he felt no inclination to contest, but something felt different all the same. Spike hadn’t had much practice in refusing the soft, slick heat of the woman he loved, but he’d imposed an almost unnatural resistance during Buffy’s recovery. While it’d fallen as soon as she allowed him into her body, a shade had remained. A part of him that had accepted he might not always be welcome between her thighs—that despite words or reassurance and a thousand other silent indicators that things between them had truly changed—it might be ripped away without thought or warning.
It wasn’t a rational fear, but a real one nonetheless. Spike had learned over the course of the journey not to accept anything at face value…especially when what was offered was something for which he’d yearned above all else. Still, nothing could chase away the perfection of the moment. His dreams were safe again, and here he could have whatever he desired.
He dreamt of her, of course—of his hot little Buffy. Her skin so warm, her pussy soft, wet, and beckoning his exploration. She sighed when his lips found her neck and rumbled a sweet little moan that teased his cock and made his demon purr. It was okay, though, because this was a dream. He knew it was a dream. Why else would the smell of decay and ruin be replaced with the tantalizing hint of shampoo that he hadn’t sniffed in centuries? He was buried under a thousand scents and sensations he had kept as a memory, never truly thinking, when he was honest with himself, that he would have it again. It was a dream. A wonderful, wishful dream.
His hand found her breast as his teeth skimmed the perfect column of her throat. She sighed again and thrust her hips back against him, her thighs parting in open invitation. Spike growled happily, tongue worshiping her soft flesh as his fingers lazily strummed her nipple. The head of his cock found her wet opening and rubbed itself along her slit until he heard her plead with him, and then he sank home.
Spike’s eyes flew open, a strangled gasp clawing through his throat. No dream. Not a dream. This was real. Everything was real. The bed, the walls, the dresser, and the wholeness of this place that was as real as the girl in his arms.
“Oh fuck.” He released her breast, his fingers digging into her hip as he withdrew from her liquid heat.
“Something like that,” Buffy said breathily, her hand reaching for his. “Don’t stop.”
She nodded and wiggled, thrusting back to drive him deep inside her again. And Christ, she burned him so good he nearly wept. “Please.”
Spike wasn’t stupid; he knew almost immediately what was at play. She needed this as much as he did—she needed to hold onto the illusion of a dream in case the world in which they awoke wasn’t as kind as the one they’d trusted in their sleep. When she declined to seek out her friends the night before, he’d understood at once that beyond her eagerness existed a fear he doubted even he could comprehend.
She might have lived in Hell for a thousand years, but it was all she knew. The life she’d had before was something foreign, almost imaginary, something she was still attempting to piece together. Something she likely wouldn’t reconcile until years had rolled them forward and she realized she’d never again find herself in the shadows of the place she’d escaped. Only twenty years had been spent on the earth for which she’d fought—a sliver of the lifetime she’d paved in her wake.
And knowing this, Spike likewise knew he shouldn’t give in. He should pull away, put on a brave face, summon the inner William and tell her everything would be all right. But Christ, he couldn’t. His prick was wrapped in wet, hot velvet, her body shuddered and her hips rolled back against him—no, he couldn’t say no.
“Like this, pet?” Spike murmured, thrusting shallowly into her tight pussy. His hand found her breast again, squeezing her warm flesh as his teeth nipped at her ear. “This what you need?”
Buffy nodded hurriedly. “More, more.”
“Feel so good. So hot. So tight.” He buried his face in her shoulder, maintaining a sound pace that felt somewhere between soft and desperate, somewhere between the tender adoration of the poet and the burning need of the demon. Since his body had rediscovered carnal delights, he hadn’t appeased the monster within with the hard, brutal fucking it typically received. Not once had he given into his nature’s darker urges, and while he in truth, would not have wanted it any other way with Buffy, a very large and very real part of him needed it rough.
The women in his past hadn’t allowed him to make love. Now he had, and with the woman with whom it was meant to be shared, yet he couldn’t change himself. He couldn’t change the side of him that needed pain with his pleasure.
This likely wasn’t the time for it. He just hoped Buffy would let him share that with her some day.
“My hot, tight slayer.”
“So good. So sweet.” Spike pulled her tight against his chest, cock pumping steadily in and out of her body. The slippery feel of her flesh was enough to make any man question his religion, no matter his circumstance. For the first time in centuries, he felt the strain of his mortality. He felt every inch of his body as though waking up all over again—as though like his memory, sensory itself had merely hibernated until he returned.
“Love your skin,” he whispered, running his hand down her arm. “So soft. You’re so soft all over. Oh, squeeze me like that, kitten. Put those muscles to good use.”
It took half a lust-addled second for the question in her voice to slice through the fog. “Sweetheart?”
“Is this real?”
His heart twisted. “Oh, Buffy…”
“It looks strange. Everything…ohhh…everything looks so…”
“That’s daylight, love,” he murmured, unable to stop thrusting. Not when she felt so sweet. Not with her tantalizing scent tickling his nostrils. Not with his fangs hungry and his body wound up with need. “Bleeding in through the blinds.”
“Yeah. Bloody fortunate you had the blinds closed. Real sun, that is. Not what you’re used to. And this?” He pressed her harder into the sheets. “This is what we call a real bed.”
Buffy trembled hard. “This is real?”
“Let me see you.”
He had her flipped under him in a flash, cock plunging back into her before she had the chance to miss him. “See?” he rasped. He locked eyes with her, watching her watch him as their bodies rocked together. As the springs of the mattress whined under their movement, as the headboard clamored noisily against the wall. Every time he’d been with her, he swore he’d nearly burned alive, but it had never been a purer sentiment than right now.
“This is real,” he promised again. “See me? Feel me, love? This is real.”
Buffy whimpered softly, her hips crashing upward to meet him every time he pulled away from her pussy. “It doesn’t feel…”
“I need it harder.”
The demon purred in delight and his body was all too eager to oblige. “Oh yeah,” Spike growled, his tongue unable to resist licking her lips. He drove deeper, faster, filling the air with the smack of battling flesh. Her eyes widened and her breaths came hard and quick, her nails digging into his shoulders.
“Fuck,” he hissed. “Bloody dream come bloody true.”
“You. This. Your bed. Your…room…oh Buffy…” Spike stole a kiss from her lips. “Wanted this. Just this. Just like this. So much.”
Spike grinned and kissed her again, a moan scratching at his throat. Christ, she felt so good. So fucking sweet. A self-made heaven right here in Sunnydale, right between the sheets of Buffy’s very own bed. Every time his cock dipped inside her perfect body, her vaginal muscles gripped and pulled, turning the dance into a needy tug-of-war. “Because,” he murmured, “I love you.”
“Why?” He bit at her lips and thrust harder. “Million. Fucking. Reasons. God, not gonna…” His every muscle had pulled taut like a drum, his balls tightening and a sweet burning bliss started tingling through his body. But he wasn’t ready—he didn’t want to let this moment go, didn’t want to tumble from this high only to find himself in a place he’d once effortlessly navigated without the first idea how to proceed. He had to make this last.
This moment was the last one he’d have before everything came crashing down.
Without warning, he drew his thrusts to a halt. “Need…”
Buffy’s eyes bugged comically. “What?”
Spike slipped out of her and quickly slid down her body. “Just want a taste,” he whispered. “Just a taste.”
“Spike, please, I need—”
“I know what you need.” His arms hooked under her hips, lifting her pussy to his hungry mouth. “You smell amazing,” he told her, nuzzling her soft curls and inhaling her spicy, musky scent. “Just like I thought…”
She arched her hips upward. “What? You’ve tasted…before…”
“Not like this. Not in your room.” He grinned and dipped his tongue inside her, tentatively at first, but one taste was enough to make him feel parched. He explored her forever, and every lick pulled him away from himself and into a place where only she existed—a place where he had no purpose other than to devour her. He probed her hungrily, delving deeper, ravenous and needy. Her thighs closed around his ears and her cries became muffled, but he didn’t slow down. He drank her, nipped at her, massaged her with his tongue, slurped up her honey and demanded more, losing himself so completely he couldn’t care if he was found. Still, he somehow managed to hold onto his thought and keep it near the surface so he could tell her, “Not with you smelling like you do,” by the time she’d likely forgotten the question.
Spike chuckled, tongue abandoning her opening to lap at her swollen clit. The sharp gasp that wrangled through her throat was music to his ears. “Your smell,” he said. “Like Buffy.”
“I know,” he said, drawing a long line up her slit before settling on her tender pearl again. “And we’re here.”
“Mmm.” He sucked her clit between his lips and tugged, then resumed drawing lazy circles around her sensitive flesh with his tongue. It didn’t take long for her body to grow taut, and in easy seconds she panted and gasped, her legs stretching down the course of his back and hitching in his skin. As she began to tremble in release, he lifted her onto his lap, positioned his cock at her opening, and coaxed her down until he was sheathed in warmth once more.
“Love the way you feel when you come.”
Buffy stretched her arms around his neck and drew his mouth to hers for a fiery kiss. “Oh, God…”
“Wanna come again?”
She shook her head hard. “Ohhh…ohhh, I can’t.”
“Let’s see about that.”
His hands fell to her ass, guiding her in long, slick strokes. His skin was painted in her sweat, his mouth peppering kisses across her shoulder and along her neck. So close, now. The urgency in his blood returned, raw need stringing through him like an old friend. Take the world away or give it back, this was something that wouldn’t change. He would always have the dance. Spike’s teeth skimmed her chin as he guided a hand between their warring bodies, settling so her clit would strike his thumb with every bounce.
“Feel it burning? Don’t let it die, kitten. It wants one…more…”
“Just a bit more.”
Spike’s head reeled. He was sure he’d heard wrong. “What?”
“Like…before. The hope. Give it to me.” Buffy tilted her head and gave him an eyeful of her racing pulse. “It felt so good. Please…”
There was no vampire on this plane or any other that would be able to resist. His fangs burst into his mouth, and he caught her eyes just before he lunged. The yearning, the anticipation that he glimpsed had him as high as a paper kite.
And the second her blood touched his lips, he spiraled into a chasm of pure bliss.
It took three attempts at a joint shower before Spike decided they would likely see better results if they went in one at a time. There was something about a wet, blushing Buffy sporting a fresh bite mark that forced him to shove her against the wall and sully her up all over again. After scrubbing himself clean and stealing a final grope of her breasts, he dried off, stepped into the hall, and waited for her to join him.
The honeymoon was about to end. Their intimate interlude had been a nice distraction, but the fact that the world around them hadn’t blinked away in the light of morning confirmed they definitely weren’t the only people in it, and Buffy needed to come to terms with it soon. He couldn’t keep her to himself forever. And while he trusted what she’d told him regarding their future together, the nagging feeling wouldn’t shut its mouth until proven wrong.
A thousand years could pass, but Spike doubted Buffy knew the sort of hold her friends had over her. The pattern might be old, but…
He smiled and turned. Freshly bathed, sweet-smelling, towel-wrapped, and completely flushed. She was so beautiful.
“Can you help me pick what to wear?”
Spike stifled a laugh. “What’s that?”
“I…ummm…haven’t been around…clothes in a long time. I mean, rags and…whatever you dressed me in when we were…” Buffy sighed and turned away. He understood her reluctance to say it, especially now. The word likely seemed taboo. “Well…I don’t…I just don’t know what to wear.”
He nodded, casting a glance to his own state of undress. In the attempt to keep from shagging her into oblivion every time he saw her, he’d similarly adorned a towel that rode very low on his narrow hips. Anything that might resemble something he’d typically wear was at least half a mile away in his Restfield crypt. He rather doubted there were clothes on the premises that would suit him.
“Makes two of us, love.”
Buffy frowned. “You don’t have anything here?”
“I don’t understand. I…” She stopped short and broke away with a laugh. “Wow, I can’t believe…well, I guess you wouldn’t have any stuff here. Because you and I didn’t…I mean, we weren’t…”
His brows perked. “Together?”
“There’s the awkward word.”
“Nothing awkward about it, ducks. We just weren’t together.”
“Well, that’s dumb.”
Spike’s lips twitched. “Buffy…”
She shook her head and moved past him, her eyes falling on the doorway to her mother’s bedroom. He thought about giving her a quick hint just in case her memory proved fuzzy, but ultimately decided to keep his mouth shut. She would find her way around…and he would always answer her if she needed to ask.
“This,” she said slowly. “My…mother’s?”
He nodded. “That’s right.”
“And she’s gone.” She shivered and crossed her arms. “I remember that.”
The air in the hallway suddenly felt thick and he didn’t know whether or not he should stand still or reach out and touch her. He couldn’t know what emotional strain existed between moms and daughters, but he knew crawling out of Hell would likely send anyone straight into their mother’s arms.
“I took a peek inside my closet,” Buffy said at last. “Not much room.”
“I think you were what they call a clothes horse.”
“There’ll be room enough for all our stuff in her closet, don’t you think?”
Spike blinked at her for a few long seconds before he first processed the words, and then again once he realized her meaning. And then it was all he could do to keep from falling over in shock. “You…you want me…”
“Buffy, did you just ask me to…” He blinked a few more times, eyes bouncing from her to the doorway. “Your mum’s—”
“I know I can’t sleep without you, and I don’t want to try. I hope…this is okay, right? I mean, you don’t want—”
He didn’t know if he’d ever moved so fast. In a flash, he had her in his arms, his mouth closing over hers. She melted against him like hot wax, her lips parting, her tongue curling, her hands grasping his shoulders as though he were the anchor holding her to the world.
“Here,” he whispered, fingers moving over her towel, “is the only place I’ve ever wanted to be.”
She smiled gratefully, closing a hand over his to bring it to a stop. “We better not,” she said. “Again, I mean.”
Spike broke away almost immediately. “I know. Can’t keep you all to myself, can I?”
“Point of being in a world full of people is occasionally seeing those people.” Buffy expelled a deep breath. “Even if I’m terrified.”
“No reason to be scared, love.”
“We went over this…I don’t know if I can be with people. I don’t know if I can handle it.”
“And I remember telling you it’ll be all right.”
Buffy licked her lips and glanced to the floor.
“It’s all right,” he said again. “You needed time.”
“I had a thousand years. You’d think that’d be time enough.”
“I’ve been hiding. Postponing. I’ve been playing make believe and thinking…” Buffy heaved a sigh and met his eyes again. “The only thing I’m sure of is that I’m here because of you…and you’re the only person I know I won’t lose myself around. I just…”
“You don’t wanna hide but you don’t wanna be seen?”
“Something like that, yeah.”
“It’ll be all right.”
Buffy forced a smile. “Easy for you to say.”
Yeah, he supposed it was. He just wished it was sentiment he shared.
“So, clothes?” she asked, wiggling a bit. “I have a whole closet full of them and no idea where to begin. Will you…”
“Stare blankly and nod appropriately?”
His hands came up. “Kidding. Didn’t spend half a century dressing Dru without picking up a thing or two.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“Like riding a bicycle, love. It all comes back.”
She offered him a quick grin before turning to pad back toward her room, and Spike followed. Back into the place that had once been forbidden territory—a place he’d never thought he’d be welcome. A place she’d just asked him to call home.
Buffy’s clothes were much the way he remembered. The ones he pegged as the oldest consisted of ridiculously short skirts and tops that left her more naked than covered. He found a few he could recall directly—the green skirt she’d worn during their first fight, the blouse she’d had on the night he chained her up, and several other choice pieces—and others he doubted he’d ever seen. In the end, it seemed futile to go to so much effort. No one had ever marketed the Escaped from Hell look as a fall line, and while he knew her concern over what to wear was something that came with being female, he likewise understood her friends wouldn’t care if she came back wearing a kilt and a coconut bra, just as long as she came back.
“These,” he said, pulling out a pair of faded jeans. “Seems right.”
She held them up for inspection. “Seem big.”
It was true. Just looking at the denim waist was enough to determine they’d fall right off her…though the same was true for anything in her wardrobe. “You’ll grow back into them,” Spike offered with a shrug. “They’ll ride low, but there’s nothing we can do about that now. You’ve filled out a bit since we…”
“Reconnected?” she volunteered.
That seemed as good a word as any. “Right,” he said. “But it’ll take time to get you looking the way you did.”
“That’s what happens when you eat just once a week,” she reasoned. “And no, you’re not off the hook for calling me fat.” Shock rattled through his body, but before he could cry foul, she held up a hand and raised her twinkling eyes to his. “Kidding. I’m not that sensitive.”
“I’d bloody hope not.”
“So jeans. Any suggestion what to wear with them?”
Spike grumbled and seized a long-sleeved black tee from her closet. It would be baggy, but he doubted she wanted to show off any skin. “So your mates don’t stake me for your malnourishment.”
“They won’t stake you for anything.”
“You got me out of Hell, Spike. What could they possibly stake you for?”
“Shagging you while I was there?”
Buffy rolled her eyes, and while her flippancy amused him, he couldn’t help but feel slightly concerned.
“Come on,” she said, throwing her clothes over an arm. “There’s a good chance my mom had some stuff that was my dad’s.”
It seemed like a long shot, but he was willing to play along.
This was likely as domestic as he’d ever get.
Buffy’s hunt for male-targeted clothes ultimately led them to the basement, where she unearthed a large cardboard box with the name HANK scrawled across the side. While the man’s wardrobe left a lot to be desired, Spike found a few random pieces that comprised something he thought looked like him, though the jeans were vastly over-sized and the shirts he’d selected—a wife-beater tank and a pale blue dress shirt—draped over him like sheets. True, they could always make a stop at his crypt on the way to the Magic Box, but that would only put another unnecessary step between them and the Scoobs. He’d love to pave as many as she liked; the part of him that had wizened up over the past three centuries knew better.
“Do we even know they’ll be there?” Buffy asked as he neared the familiar sewer entrance he’d so often utilized before Glory’s Tower. He found a pair of large boots nearby, which would work, if nothing else. He didn’t particularly fancy walking through sludge with bare feet.
“Where’s that, kitten?”
“At the shop.”
“They’re not here, so they’re there.”
“And if they’re not?”
“We try the Watcher’s.”
Buffy released a shaky breath and nodded, her eyes on the ground. “I have to do this.”
He swallowed hard. “Right.”
“You’re making me.”
“You want to.”
She glanced up and reached for his hand. “But you’ll be with me.”
“Every step of the way.”
A small silence fell between them, and it felt different. It felt like an acknowledgement that everything was about to change again. The things they had shared would remain theirs, but the world waited outside. Everything was about to change in a way he couldn’t comprehend. He hadn’t been prepared to come back. He hadn’t realized what it would entail, or how hard it would be.
Neither had she. But here they were.
“All right,” she said.
“Yeah.” Buffy squeezed his hand and nodded, and though fear refused to fade, he saw a flicker of old courage cross her face. He loved her so much then he could barely stand it. “Let’s go.”
To be concluded
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