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Freedom by icemink
Chapter 26
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Chapter 26:

Buffy felt warm. Not physically warm. If she'd thought about it, she would have realized that she was actually quite cold. The factory they were staying in was drafty and unheated, and her undead body had settled down to the temperature around her.

This was a different sort of warmth, although it did come from her blood and was settled deep in her bones. As her mind slowly drifted awake she was aware of the arms around her, the cool hard chest that her cheek was pressed against, and the hard length that rested against her stomach.

Sire. The word danced on the edge of her consciousness. And yet she was aware of him with every inch of her being. He was what made her warm. What made her belong. What made her not alone.

He was her death. She'd known that from the moment she'd first seen him, when after months of complete isolation the door to her cage had finally opened.

She'd felt cheated in that cell. Death was the one guarantee that every slayer had. Death was a friend; at least it had been until she'd been locked away and forgotten.

Then he had come, and although it had taken him some time, eventually he had fulfilled the promise she had seen the first time she looked into his eyes.

"Evening, pet," he murmured as he leaned down to kiss her gently.

"Evening," she whispered against his lips when he broke the brief kiss.

Then she sat up as her brain came fully awake. "Evening?" she asked. "What happened to morning and . . . cartoons," she finished sorrowfully.

He smiled up at her from where he was laying in their bed, and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "The sun rose and you fell asleep. It'll be awhile till you can stay awake during the day." Seeing the sad look on her face, he quickly added, "But don't worry, I recorded some cartoons for you."

Buffy perked right up and clapped her hands gleefully. Then she and Spike pulled the comforter off the bed, and she made a little cocoon for them on the floor, while he set up the VCR.

Once the tape was set to the right place, Spike lay down on the floor behind her and wrapped her in his arms as they watched cartoons.

She was a little annoyed that he wanted to fast forward through commercials. She was fascinated by them. They were almost as good as the cartoons, and a brief struggle over the remote turned into sex. Afterwards she made him rewind to the point where they'd started arguing so she could watch the commercials, and this time he gave in, letting her watch all the commercials she wanted.

"I'm hungry," she complained once the cartoons were over. Actually she was starving, but cartoons had seemed more important since once they went out to eat, there was no telling when they'd get back.

"Yeah? Well that's 'cause someone insisted on watching every bleeding commercial."

She just wrinkled her nose at Spike and got up to get dressed. He chuckled behind her and started getting dressed himself. As she got dressed she was sure to keep her back to Spike, not because she was modest, but because she didn't want him to get a good look at her until she was all done.

As she adjusted her top one last time, she turned around to face him and asked, "Well?" Her voice came out as more of a squeak than she would have liked. She had never dressed up for anyone before and she wanted him to like how she looked.

It was obvious from his hungry gaze as his eyes swept her body that he approved.

She had found a pair of black leather pants that had zippers on the legs so that she could unzip them and wear them over the boots he'd bought her their first night together.

Her top was also leather, although it was red. It had no sleeves, but two thick straps held it firmly in place. That and the fact that it was rather tight. It had laces in the front, but they didn't do anything, it was the zipper in back that held her firmly in place.

Actually she liked that about the top. She no longer had to worry about breathing so the tightness didn't bother her, and the thick tight leather held her breasts firmly in place, even though it was low cut enough that a lot of her bosom showed.

She'd picked up on the fact that Spike liked her breasts. Really liked them. Until he had come along, she'd found them a bit of annoyance. Since she would never have children, they were of no use to her, and if she didn't wear the right kind of bra they bounced around painfully when she fought.

But then there was Spike and his constant need to kiss and suck and squeeze them. All of which she found she rather liked. So she hoped the low cut top would attract his attention there. It seemed to be working.

She'd also left her hair down for once. It made her feel kind of vulnerable, like any moment someone was going to grab it and try and slice her throat, but Spike had made it very clear that he liked her hair as well so she figured she'd try leaving it down and see what happened.

"You look amazing," he told her as he stalked across the room to her.

Then he took her in his arms and began kissing her. First on the lips, but then his kisses trailed down her jaw and then to her neck. He teased her there, nibbling with blunt human teeth the scars he'd left when he'd turned her.

It was almost impossible for her to push him away, but her hunger was getting stronger.

"I need to eat," she apologized.

"Of course you do, kitten. Let's go get you something."

He put his arm around her shoulders as they exited the room and strolled down the stairs to the main floor of the factory. His eyes never left hers the whole time, and neither of them was really aware of the other vampires until one of them spoke. "Master? When do we get to play with this one?"

Buffy was startled by the sudden transformation in Spike. Whereas he had been playful and smiling a moment ago, he was now angry and growling, his golden eyes scanning the room for whomever had spoken.

Buffy wanted to cringe. Even though he wasn't mad at her, there was something almost painful about having her sire so upset. The other vampires sensed it too, because they began to back away from the one who had spoken.

Spike slowly moved in on the speaker, a vampire nearly twice Spike's size. Even so the larger man seemed unsure of himself as the small blond closed in on him. Spike stopped just a little too close to the other vampire.

"Just so we're clear. . . mate," Spike said through gritted teeth. "She's mine. No one even thinks of touching her. Is that clear?"

"Yes Master, it is," the minion replied nervously.

"Good," Spike turned around and the tension in the room dropped a level.

Then he stepped forward, grabbed a sword from a table of assorted weapons that were being gathered for the assault on the Master, and spun around, neatly cutting off the minion's head.

"Just so long as we're clear," Spike said as he tossed the sword back onto the table.

He put his arm back around Buffy and began to lead her out of the factory once more. She snuggled in close to him. She could tell he was still upset and she didn't want him upset. She wanted him to look at her with happy pretty eyes.

When they got into the DeSoto, she rested her head in his lap and gently squeezed his knee while she tried to figure out a way to make him feel better that wouldn't delay her eating for too long.

Then something occurred to her, and she sat back up.

"What did he mean by 'this one'?" she asked.

And just like that Spike wasn't so much angry as nervous. Suddenly he was paying a great deal of attention to the road and making a great show of driving.

When it became obvious that he was pretending not to have heard her, she tugged on the sleeve of his duster. "What did he mean by 'this one'?"

Spike looked at her, sighed, and then looked for a place to pull the car over.

"You'll find out sooner or later, anyway. It's like this. . ." he stopped looking for the right words. "You see I sort of. . . turned your Watcher."

Buffy's eyes went wide and she could feel them filling with tears. Slayers don't cry. Slayers don't cry. She repeated over and over in her head, but it wasn't helping.

"You had sex with Ms. Post?" Saying it made it even more real. And suddenly she couldn't see because the tears were flowing down her cheeks.

She turned away from him and tried to get out of the car. But somehow the handle didn't seem to want to work right, and then suddenly it was broken off in her hand. Behind her Spike was saying something but she wasn't really listening. She just needed to get out of the car and away from him.

She rolled onto her back so that she could kick the door off the car when Spike grabbed her and dragged her onto his lap.

"Will you listen to me?" he roared as she struggled with him.

She broke out of his grasp and moved away from him so that her back was against the door she'd been trying to get out of a moment ago. She'd decided to give him a moment to explain, but she didn't want him touching her.

As he tried to reach for her she kicked his hands away.

"Listen, I didn't sleep with her. I never touched her–well except to torture her a bit."

"Why. . . why did you turn her?" Buffy asked between sobs.

"I needed her," he started.

Then he saw the look of pain cross Buffy's face as if he'd staked her. Her whole world was unraveling. Again.

"No, not for that," he corrected. "To keep you safe. I needed her to keep you safe. I needed to know about the Council, about what they were going to do. I was afraid if I just killed her there'd be something I'd need to know later on. So I turned her, but only to protect you. I swear I never have–and never will–fuck her."

"Where is she?" Buffy demanded. She didn't know if she believed him or not.

She couldn't quite make sense of it. Somehow Ms. Post had become her rival for the person who in many ways had replaced Ms. Post in her life.

Since she was taken as a girl it had been Ms. Post she'd looked to for validation, love, and instruction. She had been taught not to think on her own, to need someone to tell her what to do, and when Spike had freed her from the Master it had been easy to let him fill that role.

Then Ms. Post's love had turned out to be as much of a lie as the love she'd been told her parents had for her. Sure Buffy's parents had told her how much they loved her when she'd been reunited with them, but she never understood that. She'd always been told that it was because her parents knew she was the slayer and that they loved her that she'd been given to her Watcher. But all that had been lies. And if they knew nothing about her being the slayer how could they love her? They didn't even know her.

But again there had been Spike. Even if he hadn't said it, she felt like he loved her. That was why she had run back to him. Her turning had made her even closer to him, but if Ms. Post had that same connection to him what did that mean?

"She's. . . on a mission."

Buffy screamed in frustration at his vague answer. She just wanted everything to make sense again. To understand where she stood.

"Listen, kitten. I love you. I'd never have even bitten an old prune like Ms. Post if it hadn't been to protect you. Look, she'll be back soon–a week I think. She's doing something to help us fight the Master. And it's important that no one know about it. But I promise you, she's nothing to me but a big brain."

"I just don't. . ." she didn't know. She didn't know anything right now.

"Come here, kitten." Spike held out his hand to her and in spite of herself she couldn't resist him.

She took his hand and crawled back across the front seat of the car, until she was curled up in his arms. Still, she pulled her legs up to her chest and hugged them in a feeble attempt to keep him out.

It didn't stop him from trying. He began to stroke her hair with one hand while the other one rested on top of her hands.

"It's going to be all right, pet. You're my love, and it'll be all right."

Then her stomach growled.

"Let's get you something to eat, eh? That'll make you feel better. It'll be all right," he repeated as he started the car up once again.

She couldn't help but wonder who he was trying to convince.
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