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With this Ring.... by Lilachigh
Chp 6 A bottomless pit
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With This Ring by Lilachigh

Chp 10 A bottomless pit

The Bronze was empty now. The cleaner boy had vanished and Parker had dragged himself to his feet and staggered off, mouthing curses at Buffy who ignored him.
She hoped AnyaT would take her advice and go to stay with WillT. It was so weird that she was a vengeance demon in one world and a battered wife in the other.

Spike wandered behind the bar and poured himself a whisky and Buffy a glass of Coke. He shook his head to clear his mind. “So Cordelia works here, eh?” he said. “That’s something I’d have paid good money to see back home. Why don’t I recall her in this world? I should do. I can remember us being friends with WillT, OzT and XanT. Do you remember CordyT?”

Buffy nodded slowly. “Yes, we were at school together in both universes. But here she didn’t leave town, she got a job - ” She frowned and tried to force her brain to work. Living in two worlds that were geographically the same but slightly different otherwise was doing her head in.

“Yes, she was working in a riding stables, just outside of town. She loves horses in this Sunnydale. I used to watch her in gymkhanas and shows. She was - is - very good. I’ve no idea why she’s working shifts here at the Bronze.”

“So we head out and find her - maybe she and XanT are shacked up together somewhere cosy. They had quite a thing going in the other Sunnydale. Perhaps the connection started here, too. They might well be humping like rabbits somewhere and he’s just lost track of time.”

Buffy gulped down her drink, suddenly feeling irritated. “Honestly, Spike, why do you think everything is to do with sex? I’m worried about XanT. Perhaps he’s had an accident and is lying somewhere badly injured. Had that occurred to your over-heated brain or rather to the other over-heated part of your anatomy - which, OK, not heated, but definitely over stimulated most of the time?”

Spike whirled round and pulled her into his arms. She struggled, glaring into his laughing blue eyes, but he held her tightly - the only person she knew who could pit his strength against her and sometimes win.

“Got something against sex all of a sudden, pet?” he murmured. “Haven’t noticed it myself, but then if your actions last night are you being anti sex, well, I can’t wait for the day you do get interested in it!” He bent forward as she indignantly opened her mouth to speak and worried her lower lip between his teeth. She shuddered as his tongue followed, teasing hers until it gave in and twined with his.

She felt a rush of fluid dampen her panties and groaned. She pressed her breasts against his chest. They ached so much, the nipples were so hard, so raw, they needed loving, moisture, they needed -

Her top was pushed up and at last his thumbs reached inside her bra and rubbed abrasively over the quivering tips. Buffy felt her legs go. They started to tremble and it was only the wooden bar behind her that was keeping her upright.

“Say it,” he whispered as her fingers drove into his hair, pulling at the blond curls. “Just bloody say you love this.”

“I love it!” she gasped and gloried in the way he lifted her up, tore aside her panties and thrust inside her. Because it was true. Whatever they did to and for each other, it was driven by love. But even as Spike vamped out as he climaxed, a small knot of worry wormed its way into her brain.

She loved having sex with Spike because she loved him. But, as she’d said to him earlier, he seemed to think of everything in terms of physical passion. Did he really love her, Buffy Summers the person, or did he just like making love to her? Did he even see that there was a difference?

What was even worse was the thought, did she really love him, or just what he made her feel physically when he touched her? Was she driven by lust or love?

Twenty minutes later, Buffy rolled out of his arms and got to her feet, gazing round the Bronze. “This is where we first met, isn’t it?”

“Well, it’s where I first saw you. We spoke outside. Remember. You were fighting a demon. That was in the other place. Here - ” he got to his feet and pulled on his jeans which had somehow got flung over the bar. “I saw you and we danced. That was that, pet, as far as I was concerned. You caught me, hook, line and sinker, whatever a sinker is! Fat chance I had of escaping!”

Buffy pulled on her own clothes, suddenly feeling chilly. Spike was making it sound as if she’d set out to trap him, that he didn’t have any say in the matter. Indeed, he was making it sound as though he would rather not have been caught!

Spike reached out to stroke her cheek, but she turned her face away before his fingers could touch her and pretended to glance at her watch. “We’d better go and find CordyT and see what she has to say about XanT,” she said.

“OK, sweetheart.” Spike looked at her, puzzled. He had a strong desire to shiver, which was ridiculous as he didn’t feel the cold.

Spike had gone back to Revello Drive by underground tunnel to fetch their car. Luckily it had windows of dark glass so driving out of town to the stables was easy. Buffy was glad of the rock tape playing as they drove. It made conversation impossible which, at the moment, was a good thing. She realised she was terrified he would ask her what was wrong. And she didn’t know. All she felt was that within minutes, what had seemed like a rock like certainty in her life had become a bottomless pit of quicksand.

The stables lay just outside town. Buffy could see horses standing in the shade under the trees as they drove up. They lifted their heads and scented the air as the car passed them. Eyes rolled whitely in their heads - vampire!

“Stay here. I’ll see if she’s home,” Buffy said, swinging herself out of the car before he could protest. But banging on the front door brought no Cordelia out onto the porch. Buffy slid back into the car.

‘Where now, Goldilocks?” Spike asked.

“Drive over to the barn,” she replied. “She might be in there, working.”

Spike parked in the deep shade cast by the tall wooden building and joined Buffy as she pushed open the huge double doors. “Hello! Cordelia! Hi! Are you there? It’s Buffy and Spike.”

The barn lay in silence before them, dust motes drifting up to the rafters through the thin beams of sunlight that lanced down from the high windows. Spike moved himself out of one, wincing as it caught the bare skin of his neck. “Place is a ruddy death trap,” he muttered. “Cordy!!!” His voice echoed round the stacked bales of hay and straw.

‘There’s no one here,” Buffy said.

Spike bent and touched the ground. “Well, someone’s be here very recently, pet. Look, the ground’s been scruffed up and the soil underneath is still damp.”

They moved deeper into the barn, then suddenly Spike stopped and, to Buffy’s amazement, jumped up and down. “What the heck - ?”

“It’s hollow, luv. Underneath our feet. Trap door. Used too many myself not to recognise one.” He bent and scraped away the straw covering. A wooden door lay in the floor. Spike pulled it up and it swung easily on oiled hinges.

Buffy and Spike looked at each other and he raised an eyebrow. “Well used,” he said tersely. “What do you reckon, pet. Storage chamber? Tunnel entrance? CordyT’s own little love nest to shag in secret away from prying eyes and ears?”

Buffy winced.

Spike frowned. “OK, what the bleeding hell is wrong, Slayer? You’re giving me the heebie-jeebies. What have I done that’s upset you? Was it meeting AnyaT like that?”

Buffy shook her head. There was no way she could even begin to explain how she felt to Spike, because she didn’t know herself! To her horror she could feel tears stinging in her eyes. Without speaking, she pulled a stake from her pocket, pushed past her husband and lowered herself cautiously down the ladder into the darkness below.

Feeling irritated, Spike followed Buffy down through the trap door in the barn floor, down a ladder into the darkness below. He just wished he bloody well knew what he’d done wrong to make her so antsy. In the Sunnydale where they weren’t married, he could have guessed at a thousand things that would piss her off, but here where he could remember both worlds, they were husband and wife and happy, so why couldn’t she tell him?

The light from above was just enough to show him a wide empty space with tunnels leading off in several directions. Buffy had found a torch on a ledge and switched it on, the beam bouncing off the rock walls.

Spike sniffed the air. Buffy turned, her eyes questioning. “ XanT’s been here,” he said. ‘But not recently. It’s old scent.”

“Where on earth do all these tunnels go?” Buffy flashed the torch from one to the other. “Sometimes I think the whole of California is sitting on top of a vast maze.”

Spike grinned. “You’re not far wrong, pet. Especially around Sunnydale and the Hellmouth. So much vampire and demon activity. For centuries we’ve been digging out pathways and places to live. Lots have been abandoned for years - I know quite a few, but there’s miles and miles I’ve never explored.”

“Why would XanT be down here?”

Spike shrugged and ran his fingers through his hair. “Knowing the boy as well as we do, perhaps he has a secret store of booze down here somewhere. Nice and private, away from all his friends’ inquisitive eyes.”

Buffy pulled a face. “OK, we know he has a drink problem in this world. But right out here, miles from town? Why not stash it closer to home?”

Spike sat on the ladder. He was trying hard not to show her that he was getting bored with the whole “let’s save Xander” scenario. Okay, in this world he liked the boy - hell, they’d even gone out for a beer together once or twice and XanT had never been even the slightest bit bothered by him and Buffy being together.

But in the other world - Spike frowned - it was almost as if his life here was slowly dissolving, and he was reverting to the other Spike, the one who couldn’t stand Xander Harris in any shape or form. And the one who definitely wasn’t married to the Slayer.

He felt a shaft of fear jet through him. Was that what all her odd reactions had been about? Did she feel that way, too? Was the magic that Willow had conjured up fading in some way?

“Too many friendly eyes on him all the time, I suppose, luv. You and me - when we’re here and not busy saving another world - Willow, Oz. Now there’s Tara. A nice girl in both worlds, that’s obvious. But sometimes nice girls can be hard on a bloke. Perhaps trying to live up to everyone’s expectations just gets too much for the poor guy sometimes.”

Buffy shuddered. She couldn’t look at Spike. It was chilly down here and his words were making her feel cold. Living up to everyone’s expectations. Well, that was something she could write a book about - a very large book, with pictures and an index.

“Whatever - he still isn’t here. We’d better get back. I want to find Cordy. She might know something. She’s the last person to see him at the Bronze, as far as we know.” She turned to go up the ladder, but Spike was still sitting on it, not moving. “What’s up?”

“You tell me, Buffy.” His voice was cool and silky and it made little shivers run up and down her spine.

“Tell you what?”

“Why you’re suddenly acting as if I’m a stranger you’ve just met. I can feel the bloody disapproval coming off of you in waves. Just tell me what I’ve done. Or rather, what the precious Slayer thinks I’ve done.”

Buffy tried to push past him, but he was too strong. She didn’t understand what was happening, They never argued in this world. In the struggle, the flashlight was knocked from her grasp and fell with a smash on the rocky floor.

“Oh great, Spike. Hope you’ve got some cash to pay Cordy for that. Will you please stop being such a ....a....clod and let me pass!”

In the dark, Spike grabbed her fists and pulled her towards him, to kneel between his legs on the step of the ladder below his. He could smell the shampoo she’d used in her hair, the fabric softener on her jeans, sweat on her skin, the mint on her breath from a long discarded piece of chewing gum.

“Kiss me!” he demanded suddenly.

“What? No. Stop it, Spike. We’ve no time for this nonsense. Why would I want to kiss you, anyway?”

‘“You’re my wife. Isn’t that a good enough reason?”

Buffy struggled to free her hands from his. “Your wife....I’m not really....” her head felt muzzy. It must be the damp musty air down here that was affecting her.

Yes, of course in this Sunnydale she was his wife, but in the other one she wasn’t. Which world was real? Why did she suddenly feel that if she could turn the flashlight on again, she would see a thin, blond man sitting there on the ladder. A vampire who irritated and teased her, who was a continual thorn in her side, but not her husband.

But here she loved him. Yes, in the mists of the uncertainty that were swirling through her brain, that at least was something concrete. But in that other place? Why didn’t she love him there, too?

“Buffy...make love to me!”

A flood of desire swept over her. She had the dreadful feeling that what she was doing was very wrong, but oh god, she wanted him so badly.

She leant forward into his embrace and kissed him, softly at first, feeling his lips soft and eager, then hungrily, greedily. His tongue demanded and took her own and she felt the spark of desire that was always present between them ignite and travel down to her breasts, her stomach, that soft, damp place between her legs that would only answer to his touch.

A little moan sounded deep in her throat as his hands slid under her top to caress her breasts, the thumbs moving slowly and seductively over her nipples, sending little ripples of feeling flashing across her nerve endings. Then one hand was sliding down inside her jeans, pushing them down so she could kick them off into the darkness.

And his thumb was - oh god it was inside her, rubbing her clit so slowly, so lightly, she could feel moisture running over her thighs.

Oh god, he was going to fuck her. She began to pant as a finger joined his thumb and drove her on. And she wanted him to. Because she loved him, because he was - her husband? But, he wasn’t, was he? He was just Spike....

She began a soft keening noise as her first climax hit her, and by the time he drove his prick inside her she was screaming his name, begging for him to do it harder, faster, deeper, again and again - and he did.

Buffy didn’t look at Spike as she got dressed. She couldn’t find the words she needed.

“You still haven’t told me what’s wrong?” he said wearily as they climbed back up the ladder into the barn. “You enjoyed that, you can’t tell me you didn’t, sweetheart.”

Buffy gave a little laugh. “Ten out of ten for the sex, Spike. That’s not the problem.”

“Then what in god’s name is it?” he roared, swinging round in game face, his black coat flying.

“I think...I think that’s what holds us together in this world, Spike. Sex. Lust. Passion. Call it what you want. Okay, we loved each other. Got married. But in the other Sunnydale we’re - well sort of enemies. And somehow, Willow’s spell is fading and in this world we’re reverting to the people we are back on the other side of the portal. So yes, having sex is great, but it’s still wrong because our life here is a sham, isn’t it?”

His face reverted to human and his blue gaze burnt into hers. He reached out a finger and traced a line down her face from forehead, cheek and chin. God, how beautiful his golden girl was.

She thought his feelings were a sham? Bloody Hell. How on earth could he make her understand that he felt like this about her in both worlds? Well, he could only try. He took a deep breath -

‘Buffy! Spike! What on earth are you doing out here in the barn? ”

They spun round to find Cordelia Chase standing in the doorway, looking at them with a very puzzled expression on her face.

to be continued

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