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A Very Strange Vampire by slaymesoftly
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  Chapter Nine  
By the time Spike had finished his “very rare – bleeding is fine” steak, and Buffy had eaten her meal, she relaxed enough to be curious rather than disgusted.
“So, what do you mean, you didn’t hurt her? How do you bite somebody without hurting them? I’ve been bitten. It hurts like hell!”
Spike reached across the table and, waiting for her to nod permission, tipped her head so he could see the scars on her neck.  He grimaced and growled under his breath. “I hope you made a dust bunny out of those morons?”
“Well, the Master... yeah. He’s pretty much dusty dust. But Angel—” 
Spike’s snarl made her flinch back from his hand, staring at him with wide eyes.
“Angelus? That wanker bit you and didn’t brag about it?” He snorted his disbelief.
“N...no. It was Angel.” At Spike’s incredulous look, she hurried on. “It was a... a health issue.  He was dying and he needed Slayer blood. I tried to feed Faith to him, but she—”
“You allowed him to do it, and he tore you up like that?” Spike seemed genuinely shocked, and Buffy was suddenly ashamed of the scars on her neck. She put her hand over the scar, and said defiantly, “He was dying! He needed my blood. How else could he get it?”
“If I didn’t think you’d stake me for it... but since I know you would...“ He held up his steak knife and his empty wine glass.  “If you want to slice into your wrist and bleed into this glass, I’ll be happy to show you one easy way your ex could have got plenty of slayer blood without having to lay a tooth on you.”
“I... we... nobody thought of that....” She kept her hand over her scars and tried to remember that night and her panic that Angel was going to die in her arms. Telling herself he’d been so delirious with fever that something as simple as her bleeding into a glass for him probably never crossed his mind, she straightened up and glared at Spike.  “You weren’t there. You don’t know anything about how bad—”
“I know I could take enough blood from you to heal from just about anything, and do it without hurting you or leaving a scar. Or almost killing you... He did, didn’t he? Almost kill you?”
Buffy’s head bent again as she stared at her hands where they were twisting her napkin. “I... might have needed a transfusion... after... But he brought me to the ER,” she finished, raising her chin to meet his gaze. “He wasn’t trying to kill me, Spike.”
“Didn’t try very hard not to, I’ll wager,” he growled. “Would be just like him, to use you to save himself, then brood about it for the next hundred years.”
“So, that girl that you drank from today, did she bleed into a glass for you?”
“Don’t be daft. She wanted what I could give her just as much as I needed the blood.”
“Your money, you mean.” Please mean she wanted your money.
He studied her face for a few seconds, then gave a small, sad smile. “If that’s what you need to think, luv.” 
As the waiter cleared away their plates, Spike said, “So, it’s nice and dark out now.  Do you want to have a tour of the Strip?  No sense coming to Vegas if you’re going to go home not knowing anything about it.”
Buffy held up one sandal-clad foot and wiggled the four-inch heel at him. “I’m not exactly dressed for hiking,” she said. He never took his eyes off her foot and ankle as he replied.
“You can change into something less death-defying, and would you please put that foot down?”
Buffy dropped her leg and frowned at him.  “What? It’s not like I was flashing the other customers, Spike. I only held it up high enough for you to see my shoe.”
He stood up and walked around to pull out her chair.  “Sorry, Slayer. Was the Victorian in me coming out. The sight of a dainty ankle has the same effect on me as a bare nipple would on a more modern man.”
Buffy laughed. “So, I could flash you a nipple and you’d be fine? But my ankle turns you on?”
He mumbled something she couldn’t quite hear, but that sounded suspiciously like “everything about you turns me on.”  Deciding she really didn’t want to know if that was what he’d said, she didn’t ask him to repeat it, just nodded toward the elevators.
“Why don’t you wait here while I go change my shoes?”
“Alright. I’ll be over there at the one-armed bandits.”
Buffy returned, having swapped her dressy shoes for flat sandals that looked like flipflops, but were held in place by thin straps.  Even when buying shoes to wear to the pool, she’d thought about slaying and gone with something she could run or fight in if she had to. She looked around for Spike, finding him shaking his head at a blonde girl in a very tight dress.  He was smiling at her, but clearly turning down another offer from one of the many ‘working girls’ in the casino.  Buffy walked up and deliberately took his arm, ignoring his surprised look and giving the other woman a glare.  The woman sighed and stepped back just a bit.
“You could have just said you’d already booked somebody else for the night,” she said, eyeing Buffy up and down.  “She looks like an amateur. You sure you don’t want more of the real thing?”
“He’s sure,” Buffy growled, standing in front of Spike and pushing the girl away. “And you’re an idiot.”
“Really?” The rejected donor seemed willing to get right in Buffy’s face, and Spike put a restraining hand on the Slayer’s arm.  “Well, I’m not the one walking around with ugly scars from messing with the wrong vamps,” she huffed, pointing to Buffy’s neck. She tossed her head and began to walk away. “Like I said, amateur.”
Spike threw his other arm around Buffy’s waist just in time to keep her from going after the blonde prostitute. He held her tightly until she stopped struggling and said with a sigh, “You can let go. She’ll get herself turned and then I’ll stake her.”
“Do I have to let go?” he asked, whispering it into her ear. “I’m kind of enjoying this – holding back the Slayer from doing in a human, I mean,” he added quickly when she stiffened against him.
“Let go,” Buffy said, smiling up at him to soften her words. She pulled her hair forward over her left shoulder to cover the scars there. Scars that she knew were barely noticeable to anyone who didn’t already know they were there. Spike gave her a little squeeze, then released her.
“They aren’t that visible, Sl—Buffy,” he said as they began walking toward the exit. “Only somebody who knew what to look for would see them.”
“She said they were ugly.  You said—”
“I just thought they were attack scars and said it was possible to take blood without leaving a scar.  You’re the Slayer, luv. Any scars you have are probably well-earned and badges of honor.  ‘Cept maybe for the one from my idiot grandsire,” he added in a mutter.
“I wonder if the ring will help them go away?” Buffy wondered aloud. “The cut Giles made didn’t leave a scar.”
“Doubt it, pet. They’re old and set. Any fading they do is going to be the result of time, not magic.”
“Not helping, Spike.”
“It is what it is, Slayer. Now come on. Stop worrying about your pretty little neck and let’s go see Vegas.”
Five hours and four casinos later, they were working their way back to their hotel through the neon-bright night. Buffy squinted against the lights and bumped her shoulder against him. “Didn’t you say it was nice and dark out here? I feel like I need sunglasses, and I’m surprised you aren’t crispy by now.”
He laughed and bumped her back. “It’s like walking in the daylight, without the side-effects. Vamps love Vegas.”
“I’ll just bet they do,’ she grumbled, remembering the girls at the casino.
“Let it go, Slayer. Works like that in Sunnyhell too, except in reverse.” He held the door for her and shook his head when she demanded he explain. “Tell you later, luv. Right now, I think we might have a situation...” He pointed down a corridor where a man had just dragged a woman into a linen closet.  They hurried down the hall, just in time to watch the door close.  Buffy looked from her fllpflops to Spike’s sturdier shoes and raised an eyebrow. “Got it, pet.” He planted one heel against the doorknob and shoved, popping the door open and stepping inside in time to catch the vampire biting the woman.  When they could see her face, Buffy recognized the girl who’d called her an amateur.
Spike grabbed the vamp and tossed him to the side, growling, “Don’t you know the rules here, wanker?”
“Fuck the rules,” he snarled back, standing up and stalking toward Spike. “Go get your own.”
Buffy stepped between the vamp and the sobbing girl. “He’s got his own,” she said with a cheery smile. “Wanna try to munch on me?”
Too used to easy kills, and never expecting to find the Slayer in Las Vegas, the vampire licked his lips and nodded. “Works for me, blondie.” He walked right into her first punch, landing on his ass and blinking up at her.
“Did I forget to introduce myself?  She’s ‘blondie’, I’m Buffy. The Vampire Slayer?”
Pulling a stake from the holster on her thigh, she leaned down and ran it though his chest without further quipping. She stood up and put the stake away, pretending she couldn’t see Spike staring at the exposed skin while she did so.
“Always wondered where you put those things,” he said after clearing his throat. Buffy threw him a grin and bent over the still-crying girl, looking at her throat with a critical eye. “Well, now you’ve got ugly scars,” she said. “Better get to an ER and get those looked at. Tell them it was an animal attack. That always worked for me.”  She let Spike help the wobbly girl to her feet and send her staggering toward the lobby.
“Well, that was just....” She glanced at Spike who was raising an eyebrow at her. “... kinda fun,” she concluded with a sigh.  He laughed and put an arm around her shoulders.
“Thought for a minute there you were going to pretend you don’t get off on fighting and killing.”
“I don’t!  That’s you, not me!”
“Nice to meet you, Pot. My names is Kettle.”
“Very funny.” She stalked toward the elevators and punched the button.
“Come on, Slayer. Admit it. A little violence was a great way to end the evening.”
“I’m not admitting anything,” she muttered, but she was smiling, and he leaned against the elevator wall and smiled back at her.
The room had been cleaned up while they were out; Buffy commented that usually things like that happened in the mornings, causing Spike to point out that in Vegas, day and night tended to be pretty interchangeable.
“Makes sense, I guess. You know the guests are probably going to be out around dinner-time and later.” She went to the window to look out at the lights. When she felt Spike come up behind her, she stiffened automatically. Remembering that they had a truce, she forced herself to relax, but he’d already noticed.
“Still don’t trust me at your back, Slayer?” The disappointment in his voice was palpable.
Buffy put her hand on the chain holding the ring and shrugged. “I would if it wasn’t for this ring,” she said, staring out the window. “But I know how bad you want it. Our truce doesn’t include anything about you not trying to get it back.”
Spike ran a finger along the back of her neck, letting the chain glide over it as he slid his finger along the silky skin. Buffy tightened her grip, shivering at his touch.
“Would you feel better if it did? If I promised you I wouldn’t try to get it back until we don’t have a common enemy anymore?”
Buffy looked up at him, tipping her head back to meet his gaze, holding it long enough to read the sincerity there, but not long enough for him to continue leaning forward until he was close enough for their lips to touch. She turned her head, missing the disappointment that flashed across his face when she did.  He took his finger off her neck and she moved away, breaking the tension.
“Spike...” She sighed and walked to the end of the window, pulling the drapes closed and shutting out the bright lights outside. “Everything I’ve ever been taught tells me I can’t trust a vampire’s word. I just... I don’t know, okay?  Give me a while.” She yawned and looked at the clock. “I need some sleep,” she said, almost apologetically. “Will you...”
“I’ll be fine, Slayer,” he said, throwing himself on his own bed and picking up the remote. “I’ll keep the telly turned down to vamp-hearing levels and you can get your beauty rest.”
When Buffy emerged from the bathroom, wearing her sweatpants and a tee-shirt, the TV was on, but so low that she couldn’t hear it. She nodded at Spike’s questioning expression and got into bed, snuggling down in the luxurious sheets and closing her eyes.  After a few minutes, her voice drifted out of the pillows.
“Yes, luv?” he said absently, intent on the movie he’d found.
“What did you mean ‘it’s the same in Sunnydale’?”
“The girls?”
“Yeah. You said you’d explain it.”
He sighed and rolled on his side to look at her.  “It’s the reverse on the hellmouth.
Here, the girls do it for money, but they learn to enjoy it, and the vamps aren’t stupid enough – mostly,’ he snorted, remembering the one she’d dusted, “to give the girls–or boys–any reason to not want to take their money.  In Sunnyhell, it’s the humans who pay, and the vamps aren’t stupid enough to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. So to speak.”
There was silence while Buffy thought about what he’d said.  “People want to get bitten? I just don’t get it.”
“Any time you want to find out why, luv, you let me know, yeah? Be happy to teach you why.” He wriggled his eyebrows in an exaggerated leer, at which Buffy dutifully made a disgusted face.
“I’ve always thought vampires are just like that guy tonight – they can’t stop themselves once they’ve tasted blood.”
“You do remember that I’ve had my teeth on you twice recently, don’t you? And you aren’t dead yet.”
“Well.... yeah. But that’s cause you stopped...”
“Any vamp can stop, luv. It’s just most don’t have any reason to.”
“But that means...” She broke off, refusing to believe that Angel could have stopped himself before he drained her. “This is making my brain hurt,” she finally said, pulling a pillow over her head.
Spike just shook his head and went back to his movie.
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