Chapters Prologue - 6
JUST A LITTLE SPELL - BUFFY POV
I don’t know what everyone is so wigged out about. Yeah, ok, maybe it is kinda sudden, but it’s not like that attraction between us hasn’t been there since the first time I saw him. I mean, how blind does everyone have to be to not have noticed?
Blind. Oops, my bad. Poor Giles. I’m sure he’d be handling this a whole lot better if he wasn’t blind. But, hey! At least he got a chance to see how valuable Spike will be to us. What with his helping to find a counter-spell and all.
And Xander? Where does he get off criticizing my taste in partners? He’s dating an ex-vengeance demon and being pursued by hundreds more. His demon-attracting magnetism is going to get us all killed. Maybe that’s not his fault, but still....
I felt kinda bad for Riley. I guess he thought we had something going there until he saw me looking at the wedding dresses. I’ll have to explain to him that I was just mad at Spike when I started seeing him. Now that we’re back together and engaged, obviously I won’t be dating anyone else.
Got to figure out how to get around this whole “no sunlight” deal. I’d always thought I’d get married outdoors in the sunshine, but I guess that’s out. Spike’s right. We’d be checking in for our honeymoon as Mrs. And Mrs. Big Pile of Dust. Can’t have that. I’m really looking forward to that honeymoon...
Whew, that is IF we
can wait that long for...Oh, good. There he is, still here and waiting for me. I’m glad nobody sat in “our” chair. It feels so good to be cuddled on his lap; to have those strong arms around me; to feel him nibbling on my lip; licking my neck; breathing in my ear...
I wonder what the lump is poking me in the butt…oh! That’s what it is! Seems awfully big – I’m sure Angel never felt like that when I sat on his lap. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just slipped my hand down there to feel…Whoa!
(giggle) Made Spike jump. And groan. Need to shush him. I’ll tell him I’ll stop touching him if he doesn’t get quiet. Ha! That shut him up pretty fast. I guess he likes what I’m doing.
I wonder if Giles would mind if we left the room. He says he doesn’t want to hear us kissing. Maybe I should offer to go into another room. We could go in his bedroom…
Okaaay, then. Not a good idea to go to his bedroom. I had no idea Giles knew words like that! Maybe he’ll go into his bedroom. Since he can’t see, he might as well lie down. Think I’ll suggest that.
Oh, he liked that idea. Good night, Giles. Whoops! Ouch! Maybe I should help? I’ll bet that hurt, walking into the door like that. Let me go, Spike. I’m just going to help Giles into his room. I’ll be right back. Don’t go away.
See? I’m back. And you’re still glad to see me. I like the way it jumps in my hand when I squeeze it. And the look on his face. It’s pretty cool the way he bites his lip to keep from making noise. Such a nice lip. I think I’ll bite it too…
Now if we can just get rid of Anya and Xander…Oh, they’re going into the bathroom. Ha! They’ll be in there for awhile. Now there’s nobody here except my fiancé and me.
I guess he noticed they were gone, those hands are getting…ooooo that feels good. I wonder what he…gah! Whoops, quiet, Buffy. Definitely don’t want to be interrupted just…yet…oh my god…what is he… what? How did he get my underwear off? I can’t believe I didn’t notice…oh, that’s nice, mmmmm, that just feels…feels…feels…like…oh my god…Spike!
Well, wasn’t that a revelation? Is he laughing at me? Bet he thinks he’s the first one to make me…well, ok, he is. But he doesn’t’ need to know that. Just act like it happens all the time, Buffy. No biggie. So he made me get a happy just with his thumb. It was probably an accident. Maybe he should try it again. I’ll bet I could ignore him….
Or, better yet, I’ll bet I can make him happy first…Just get this zipper down…oh…my…that is big…and…hard…and…okay, concentrate, Buffy. See how he scoots down in the chair and moans when you pull on it?
Wonder what he’d do if I…hah! Guess he liked that!
I can do this. Just like licking an ice cream cone or a lollipop – except…bigger, and moving, and…whoa! Swallow, Buffy! Hurry, swallow faster!
Take that Spike. Now who’s all “look what I made you do, huh?”
Hey, mister! What do you think you’re…oh, forgot – no underwear. There’s nothing between him and my…oh, no, that thing won’t fit in there…well, okay, maybe if I just lower myself onto it a little bit at a time.
Stop groaning, Spike. This is going to take a while…in fact, it feels so good going in, it might just take a long ti-…oof! Okay, or we could just ram it in there. That works too.
I’m not sure how to do this. Angel just got on top of me and grunted away for a few minutes. It didn’t feel anything like this…this is really…quite…nice. When I move up and down, he moves too. Sets up some nice…friction…Willow would be proud of me. Good science word there. Friction. Friction is good. Like friction. More friction…more…friction…more…more…more…FRICTION!
Hmm, okay. There’s more than one way to get a happy. Good to know. And he’s still…love his face when he’s trying to control his demon. Pretty demon. It’s okay, you can come out and play. Just don’t get too close to my…oh, too late. He’s already licking my neck…feels kinda good. Sorta tingley, makes me want to…
I think I might be…again…Are those Spike’s fangs in my neck? Cause they sure don’t feel like…oooooh…who knew getting your blood sucked out of your body could feel so good? I think I’m going to…..oh yeah! Most definitely. Happy number 3…or is is 4? I think my brain is turning to mush.
I’m letting Spike suck on my blood while he sticks…other things…into other body parts. And it all just feels… I should be wigging out here. It’s one thing to be engaged…it’s something else entirely to let him…”Mine?” what the hell does he mean, “mine”? I mean, yeah, okay, engaged to be married and all that, but “mine” sounds just a little possessive. Suppose I did that to him?
Two can play at this game, buster. Hmmm, he tastes pretty good, nice smooth skin, if I suck real hard…hah! Weren’t expecting that one, were you, vampire? You’re mine! And don’t you forget it.
This is nice. Just the two of us, resting together. He’s still inside me, that’s kinda cool. Makes me feel all…loved. Strong arms around me. Safe. Loved and safe. I could get used to this.
Whoops, Spike hears Xander and Anya coming out. Quick! Zip up your pants! Where’s my underwear? What do you mean, you don’t know? Okay, okay, skirt down. It’s not like anybody’s going to lift it up to see if I’m wearing underwear.
See, all good now. I know what you guys were doing in there. Not us though. Nope, just Spike and his fianceé, Buffy, cuddling in the big comfy chair. Old “wait for the wedding night” Buffy and gentleman Spike. Just cuddling, and kissing. Lots of kissing…kissing is good…got to be the best kisser on the planet.
Oh look, there’s Willow. She’s apologizing for something. I wonder what she did? Oh, that’s right. She put a spell on Xander and Giles. Good thing she didn’t do that to us. It might have…might have…no. No…this can’t be right…we’re, we’re engaged. We love each other. We…we’re the Slayer and a vampire…
Oh. My. God. It was a spell. And now it’s over. We’re not…we don’t…we can’t…why do I feel like crying? Why does Spike look so sad? Must get off the evil vampire’s lap before he throws me on the floor. Moving now. Getting away from evil vampire…must run to bathroom. Avoid looking at evil vampire. Just back away and leave the room…
I am not crying. It looks like I’m crying when I see my face in the mirror, but I’m not crying. There is nothing to cry about. It was a spell. It’s over. Not our fault. I don’t love him… He hates me… As it should be… Life can go back to normal now…
Are those bite marks on my neck?
JUST A LITTLE SPELL - SPIKE POV
Don’t know what’s wrong with the stupid Scoobies. Even the Watcher. Isn’t he supposed to be watchin’ things? Seems like he might’ve noticed how I’ve never been able to take my eyes off his Slayer. Couldn’t kill her. Came right here to her for help when I got out of that…place.
So, yeah, maybe askin’ her to marry me was a surprise to everybody. But bloody hell, they HAD to know how I felt about her. Can’t say I was sure how she felt about me. Never prayed so hard in my life as when I was waitin’ for her to answer me. Would’ve begged if I had to. But she did it. She said “yes”. My Slayer said she’d marry me.
Guess the watcher can be forgiven for bein’ a tad upset. Must be hard to go blind all of a sudden like that. Got to be a spell. If I can help ‘im find a cure, that should ease his mind a little about his Slayer bein’ with me.
Soddin’ whelp. He’s shagging an ex-vengeance demon every chance he gets. Doesn’t need to be getting’ all high and mighty with Buffy about her choices. He’s jealous. I can smell it. She thinks he’s not, but he is. He wants her. My Slayer. Not gonna happen, whelp. Never givin’ her up.
So cute. The way she’s plannin’ this weddin’. Like we have choices about where and when. What with her bein’ the Slayer and me a vampire. In the middle of a meadow on a summer’s day jus’ isn’t in the cards. We could do moonlight, though. That might be nice. Have to mention it. Moonlight can be right pretty. And we could go right from the weddin’ to the honeymoon…
Wonder if she’s gonna make me wait till then? Jus’ looking at her makes me hard. I’ll be walking funny for the next 6 months if she tries to hold off till then. Don’t think she really wants to, though. Jus’ thinks she should say it.
Ah! Here she is. My own little heater. Sittin’ on my lap and cuddling with the Big Bad. She smells so good, tastes good too, got to have a little nibble of that ear. Can smell how she’s reactin’ to me. Know she can feel what she does to me….oh yeah, she feels it…
Holy shit! She’s really feelin’ it! Oh, Slayer. You don’ know what you’re doin’ to me…or maybe she does. Little minx, tellin’ me to be quiet or she’ll stop touchin’ me. I can do quiet…might put my teeth through m’lip to do it, but if it’ll make her keep that up, I can do it…
No way can I keep a straight face now. She actually asked the Watcher if we could go into his bedroom! Thought the git was gonna have a heart attack on the spot. Based on the words comin’ out of his mouth, Ole Ripper must’ve led an interestin’ life before he settled down… Fuck! She talked him into going to bed! That’s my girl. Always on top of things.
Hey! Not on top of things anymore…come back,love. Oh, alright. She’s jus’ helpin’ the Watcher to his room. Leaving me sitting here, my cock pushing against my zipper, getting all cold without her warm little ass covering it up.
Oh, good, she’s back. Ah, happy cock. Being petted with her hot little hands…What she’s doin’ to me…need to…bloody hell, she’s biting m’lip with her tiny little teeth. Wonder if she has any idea what that does to a vampire?
Got to love demon-girl. She’s draggin’ the whelp off to the bathroom for some noisy shaggin’. Good job, girl. You jus’ keep that interferrin’ git in there for a long time while I…
Smooth skin, so warm, so soft. I could run my hands over her body forever. Don’ know what I did right in my evil life that she would be wearin’ a skirt today instead of pants, but musta done somethin’ to make somebody up there happy. Can slide my hand right up that silky leg and into her warm, tight little…Damn, she’s wet. And ready for me. Love the way she moves under my hand, love those little noises, whimpers, come for me, love. Know you want to. Can hear it in those little gasping noises…come on, love…let it…Fuck! Who knew the Slayer would be so responsive?
So adorable. Trying to pretend that wasn’t new to her. Know the bloody poof didn’t worry about makin’ her come the one time he had her. All he cared about was getting his dinky little prick in her and losing his soddin’ soul. And no way a player like that Parker git knows how to please a woman. If he did, he wouldn’t be movin’ from one to the other like he does….
Wonder how soon I can make her come ag…bloody hell! She’s got me out and those hot little hands are making me…Bloody buggerin’ fuck! She licked me! Jus’ ran that hot little tongue up there like she…oh shit, oh fuck…Slayer, what are…no, stop, love, don’t …I can’t….aaaaaah!
That’s it. I love this woman. Love her with every undead cell of my body. And I’m not waiting for some fuckin’ honeymoon to show her how much. That’s it, love, let me in. Straddle me, pet. Jus’ spread those pretty knees and let me…god…you are so tight…so wet and hot, but so tight…you’re killin’ me here, love. Want to…too slow…I’ll teach you slow later…now I’ve got to feel you around me…now!
This is heaven. Know it is. Can’t be anythin’ else - feeling the Slayer all around me, breathin’ her scent, tasting her skin. Din’ take her long to figure out the best way to do this in a chair. She’s bouncing up and down on me like she…holy shit…she came again. Knew she’d be a hot little number, but I had no idea…Got to keep the demon in. He wants her too. Wants to claim her…don’t want to scare her…my little Slayer. I’ll explain about claimin’ after we’re married..let her get used to the…now she’s just fuckin’ with me. Biting me, coaxing the demon out…she smells so good…tastes fuckin’ fantastic…just a little bite…what could it hurt…can make it good for her…that’s my baby. Come for me again, pay no attention to those fangs in your neck, you jus’ let yourself feel the love I’m sending you…Gonna make you mine…
I did it. Didn’ mean to, but I did. I claimed her. Claimed my mate. S’ok, I guess. We’re gonna be married anyway…she’s…what the hell? What does she think she’s doin—Jesus, she claimed me back! Oh god, love. You don’ know what you’re doin’ to me…Comin’ again, love. Come with me…come with me, Buffy…Make me….Buffy!
…This is nice. I could get used to this. Slayer sittin’ on me, all relaxed and cuddly. My limp cock still inside her warm body, her blood in my throat. Want to hold her and love her forever. Keep her safe. Never let her out of my…
Leave to the soddin’ whelp to interrupt a moment. Poor little Slayer, so afraid she’ll get caught with her panties off. That’s it, love. Jus’ pull that skirt down and they’ll never know what we’ve been doing. Not ‘less they can tell from the looks on our faces, anyway. Know I must look like I jus’ won the lottery…
What the fuck? Red jus’ popped into the room, all teary and apologizin’. Oh, she must be the one that mucked up the spell. Figures. Well, the Watcher’ll be happier now. And demons’ll stop trying to beat down the door for the whelp. Guess Buffy and I can jus’ stay here in the comfy chair and watch the others get over being…no…no…not us…we weren’t…it was real! It HAS to be real! I can’t give her up…can’t go back to…
Shit. It was a spell. Spell to make us think we were getting’ married. But why’d it make us want each other so bad? Why’d I’d think I was in love with the miserable bitch? Speakin’ of which…why hasn’t she jumped off my lap yet? Shouldn’t she be wipin’ her lips off and stakin’ me?
There she goes…runnin’ to the bathroom without so much as a “sorry, Spike”…prob’ly needs to take a shower. Get rid of the smell of a vampire on her delicate little parts…S’what I should do too. Wash the scent of her off my body. Never get the taste of her blood out of my mind…pure ambrosia it was…I…bloody hell. I claimed her! The Slayer! And she claimed me back!
Amidst the recriminations, apologies and general uproar that greeted Willow’s arrival and the subsequent breaking of the spell, no one noticed that Buffy had retreated to the bathroom and not come out. Nor that the resident chipped vampire had stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him.
Eventually, as Willow began a marathon “I’m sorry” cookie-baking session, and everyone had chocolate chip goodness in their mouths, Xander looked around and asked, “Hey, where’s the evil, undead, sooo-not-ever-going-to-be-a-bridegroom?”
“Who knows?” Anya said. “Maybe he went for a walk. You know, to clear his head after the spell?”
“Who cares?” said Buffy, shuddering. “He’s not here. That’s all I care about.”
“Right there with ya, Buffster. But shouldn’t we be keeping tabs on him?”
“He’s harmless. He can’t hurt anybody, and he has nowhere to go. He’ll be back,” she said quietly.
(He’ll be back, and I’ll have to face him. Sooner or later I’m going to have to talk to him, or look at him, or touch….no, no touching. There will be no touching of the evil vampire. Not that he’d want to. He probably ran out to get away from me. He’s probably just as repulsed as I am. And I am. Repulsed. Totally. Never mind the amazing kissing and the soft touches and the…no! Repulsed. Just as I should be.)
Giles cleared his throat and looked hard at the very subdued Slayer.
“I presume you would like to thank me now for turning down your generous offer to take Spike into the bedroom where your kissing noises would not disturb me? The Lord only knows what might have happened if you two had been left alone in that state.”
Before Anya could get the words out of her mouth, Xander and Buffy shushed her – putting a puzzled pout on her face and a frown on the Watcher’s.
“You WERE never left alone, I hope?” He gave the ex-demon and her coughing boyfriend a threatening glare, while Buffy did her best imitation of a deer caught in the headlights.
“Well,” the boy began, “not alone, as such, no. Not for very long, anyway. I mean not long enough for any-“
“You irresponsible git! You left Buffy alone with William the Bloody while she was under a spell that had her thinking she was in love with him? What were you thinking?”
Anya refused to be shushed any longer and spoke up forcefully. “We were thinking that we wanted to have some orgasms and we didn’t want to do it in front of Spike and Buffy. Not that I don’t think we might be worth watching,” she added, with a nod in Buffy’s direction. “But Xander has this thing about privacy…”
“And, I repeat,” the watcher gritted out between his teeth, “you left Buffy alone with a vampire that has already killed two Slayers.”
Anya looked at the Watcher as though he was a not very bright small child and explained slowly, “Spike was in love too. He wasn’t going to hurt Buffy. At worst, he might have given her an orgasm. Vampires can be very—mmmph!”
Xander’s hand over her mouth brought a merciful halt to her explanation. The resulting scuffle as the angry ex-demon removed his hand and berated him meant that they all missed the sudden scarlet color that flooded Buffy’s face. By the time any one was looking at her again, she had dropped her head and was studiously pretending to read a book.
“Well, I suppose there’s nothing to be done for it,now, “ the man grumbled. “Fortunately, she seems none the worse for the experience.”
He glanced over at Buffy, who gave him a weak smile and immediately dropped her head back to the book. She pretended to read a while longer, then gave it up with a sigh and got to her feet.
“I need to patrol,” she said, edging toward the door. “with that spell and everything, who knows what might have gone on while I was thinking about…about weddings, and things. See you tomorrow!”
She whirled and bolted out the door, not dissimilarly from the way the vampire had before her. As soon as she was safely away from the apartment and the prying eyes of her friends and watcher, she slowed down and finally came to rest sitting on a bench near the campus of S.U.
Her fingers idly traced the scabbed over marks on her neck as she relived the events of the last few hours. Unwelcome memories of how solicitous Spike had been when her Watcher went blind, how gentle and tender he’d been with her, how overjoyed when she’d said yes to his proposal and worst of all – how completely safe and cherished she’d felt when he held her, all battled with memories of the many times he’d tried to kill her and the times he’d threatened her friends.
Suddenly she doubled over as a sharp pain shot through her solar plexus and she felt a bolt of rage and…(was that fear?) go through her. As quickly as it came, the feelings were gone. Shut off as though a switch had been thrown. She leaped to her feet, sending her senses out in all directions, seeking the source of the sensations.
Buffy wasn’t stupid. Even with her usual lack of attention to Giles’ attempts to education her about demons and vampires, she had picked up some knowledge of claiming rituals. She knew immediately who those feelings were coming from, and she almost growled in frustration at the way he’d cut her off.
She found that the marks on her neck were tingling, and that she could increase or decrease the tingles by turning in different directions. She was soon running through the campus, twisting and turning as the tingles got stronger and weaker. When they had settled into a steady throb, she knew she was approaching Spike and whatever had caused the initial pain.
She slowed down and moved toward a clump of bushes on the edge of the campus, edging cautiously toward the sounds of a struggle she could hear from the other side of the clump. She peered through the leaves and gasped as she saw Spike surrounded by men in black uniforms and commando gear. Immediately she knew that these were the men that had captured and neutered the blond vampire.
She stood there for minutes, torn between her duty as the Slayer to rid the world of vampires, and the incredible feeling of rage that was flooding her body as Spike tried to defend himself without setting off the agony in his head that she knew would accompany any aggressive moves on his part. She briefly admired his ability to dodge and evade the many blows that the small group of men tried to land. His vampire speed and his own innate fighting skills allowed him to hold his own for several minutes.
Suddenly Buffy was on the ground, shaking uncontrollably. As she struggled back to her feet, she saw that one of the men had apparently gotten close enough to the vampire to hit him with a tazer. The men were now kicking him as he lay on the ground, unconscious and bleeding. With Spike unable to block the claim, Buffy felt echoes of every blow and she staggered into the clearing, placing herself between Spike and the largest of the commandos.
“Is this a private party, or can I play?” she asked in a chirpy voice. There was something vaguely familiar about the man in front of her and she saw him flinch just a little when he saw her face.
(Interesting…apparently I know one of these guys. Definitely gonna have to explore that angle. After I get them away from Spike.)
She felt Spike stirring behind her and risked a quick glance to see if he was all right. To her surprise, he looked up at her and said, “Get out of here, Slayer.”
She shook her head, “no” and turned back to face the advancing soldiers, backing up to stand over Spike as she did. The man who seemed to know her held up his hand and the others stopped their advance.
“What the hell, Finn? It’s just one girl and she’s trying to protect a hostile. Just let me move her out of the…” his attempt to push Buffy to one side resulted in his body being propelled across the clearing and into a bush, from which he could be heard cursing and thrashing around.
When Spike’s voice whispered in her head saying, (“Leave! Buffy. Now. Get out of here.” ) she was almost in motion before the impact of what he’d done hit her.
(Son of a bitch! He’s using the claim to order me around. I am sooo going to kick his butt!)
(If you don’t get out of here. Love, you won’t be kickin’ anything but plastic walls. You think they’re gonna let you go once they realize what you are? Leave me, dammit!)
Leaving the total wigginess of being able to talk to Spike without speaking aloud as something to worry about later, Buffy shook her head again and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Go pick on somebody who can fight back,” she said contemptuously. “This vampire belongs to me.”
At a signal from the leader, the remaining commandos jumped toward the Slayer all at once. Of the two coming at her from behind, Spike managed to trip one of them, causing only a minor headache, and Buffy flipped the other one over her shoulder and into the two advancing from the front. She followed up with a roundhouse kick to the chest of the man remaining on his feet, then turned to grab Spike’s hand and yank him to his feet.
(Can you run?)
(Yeah, Go. I’m right behind you.)
She threw a dubious look over her shoulder, but when she saw that he was, in fact, running easily behind her she increased her pace and they were soon off the campus and on the way to the Watcher’s apartment. Buffy tried to ignore the fact that Spike was still clinging to the hand she’d used to pull him up. She told herself she was allowing him to hang on just so that she would know if he began to fall back.
As they approached the apartment complex, Spike slowed down, pulling on Buffy’s hand until she stopped and turned to face him. Now that the immediate danger was over, she remembered that she didn’t actually want to see the vampire again, let alone be standing in the dark with his hand still in hers. As he began to gently rub his thumb over her wrist, she moaned and tried to pull away.
“No, Spike. Stop that. You need to get out of sight.”
“So do you, love,” he said softly, moving into her personal space and never releasing her hand. “They know you’re something special now and they’ll be wantin’ to put you in that place and find out what makes you tick.”
(Damn. I don’t want to be this close to him. It’s too much like…what is he doing? Stop that!)
(Stop what, love? All I did was touch your face.)
(Stop touching me! There will be no touching of faces, or any other body parts….and…and get out of my head!)
“Alright, Slayer,” he surprised her by saying aloud. “But you’re gonna have to learn to stop projecting your thoughts if you don’t want me to know what they are.”
“I NEVER want you to know what they are, Spike! You and my thoughts? Very not mixy . What do I have to do to make this…thing…go away?”
She thought she saw a flash of pain go across his face, but he quickly masked it with his trademark smirk as he answered, “You mean the claim you put on me, pet?”
“You claimed me first!” she protested. “What the hell did you think you were doing?”
“I believe I thought I was making sure the world knew how much I love…loved…the woman I was going to marry. Didn’t mean to cause you any harm, pet. ‘S why my brain didn’t fry when I did it, I guess. I’m sorry,” he finished so softly she could barely hear him.
Buffy guiltily remembered how she’d been all over him at the time and how she’d unwittingly put her own claim on him. She looked away from his dejected face and played with the buttons on her shirt.
(This isn’t his fault. And it’s not mine, either. We were just caught up in Willow’s stupid spell and we acted the way two people who wanted to get married would have acted.)
“I’m sorry, too,” she muttered, still looking at her shirt and missing the look of surprise that crossed his face. “This wasn’t anybody’s fault…well, I mean, it was Willow’s fault, but not yours. Or mine. We couldn’t help what we…Oh god!”
Her eyes flew up to meet his puzzled expression.
“Spike! We had sex! Me. You. Us. The Slayer. A vampire. Oh my god. I had sex with William the Bloody. I let you…I touched your…I…Oh my god…”
“Easy, pet.” He stepped closer and unconsciously rubbed her arms soothingly. “You’re gonna hyperventilate on me.”
When she didn’t calm down, but continued to babble as her heart rate shot up and her breath came even faster, he cautiously exerted the claim and sent soothing feelings into her. He also used his touch to calm her, placing his arms loosely around her body and pulling her into his chest.
“Easy, love,” he murmured into her ear. “Easy, pet. It’s gonna be alright. I promise. No one’s ever gonna know. We can get Red to do a forgettin’ spell if you want. You don’t ever have to think about it again, if you don’t want to.”
When he felt her relax and lean into him, resting her head briefly on his chest, he sighed and rested his chin on the top of her head. Knowing it might well be his last chance, he inhaled the herbal scent of her silky hair and stored it away in his memory.
When she felt his arms around her, Buffy immediately calmed down, basking in the comfortable feeling. The soothing baritone voice crooning in her ear worked like magic to ease the panic she’d allowed herself to wallow in.
She looked up at him and tentatively asked, “No one will know? Are you sure? How can I trust you?”
She winced when she felt the pain that shot through him – even though he smothered it immediately and never let it show on his face. He quickly adopted his usual snarky expression and said, “Hey, I’ve got no desire to get dusted over somethin’ I did because of a spell. You think I want your watcher or the whelp knowin’ we…especially now that I can’t defend m’self. And I’d be the laughin’ stock of the demon world if they knew I…if they knew I’d wanted to marry the Slayer No worries, pet.”
Buffy suddenly realized she was being held in the very arms that she was so adamant she needed to forget, and she pushed herself away with a little gasp.
“What are we doing?” She felt the panic coming back into her voice, but she couldn’t help it. There had to be something very wrong about Spike’s arms around her feeling so right.
“Nothin’, pet,” he soothed. “We’re not doing anythin’. Jus takin’ a little breather before we go inside. ‘S alright, love.”
“Stop doing that!”
“Stop doing what?”
“Stop calming me down! And stop calling me…love. It’s not…right. I’m the Slayer…not…not your love. That was just the spell. The spell that we are sooo going to forget!”
“Was it really all that bad, lo-Slayer?”
His hand gently traced her face and he didn’t try to hide what he was feeling. Buffy tried to ignore the sadness radiating from the vampire as he continued to stroke her cheek. She vigorously nodded her head and said firmly, “Yes, of course it was. I mean there was kissing, and touching, and…then we…argh!”
(No, it wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t bad at all. It was amazing, actually…But I’m the Slayer. I can’t--)
“What?!“ she demanded as the vampire regained his cocky look and moved closer to her, grinning at her indignant expression.
“Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”
“Huh? Who thinks? What lady? What are you talking about?”
“You’re projectin’ again, love.” He lowered his mouth to brush his lips across hers, smothering her protest as he did so. “You won’t have any secrets from me if you don’t learn to control the claim. I’ll know every little…” kiss…”naughty”…nibble…”thought”…lick…”you”…kiss…”have”.
“No fair,” she moaned as his tongue licked her lower lip and she unconsciously brought her own tongue out to tangle with it.
“All’s fair in love ‘n war, pet. Know you musta heard that quote.”
“This isn’t either one, Spike!” she pushed feebly on his chest as she struggled to ignore the warmth in her lower abdomen created by his lips and tongue. “We’re not at war anymore. And we’re not in lo-“
With a growl, the vampire dropped every barrier he’d put up to protect her from the claim and let what he was feeling flow between them. When he heard her gasp, “Oh my god!,” and saw her squeeze her eyes shut, he smothered the flow before she could sense how badly she’d hurt him with her reaction.
Dropping his arms from where they’d remained around her slight body, he stepped away, his posture rigid and his face closed.
“Right then. Guess we’d best be getting’ in and talkin’ to Red about that forgettin’ spell. Can’t have the Slayer walking around remembering how much she wanted the Big Bad now, can we?”
He whirled and moved toward the door, not seeing Buffy’s hand that had come up to reach for him when he finished speaking. It had been a reflex action on Buffy’s part. An instinctive need to soothe the pain her mate was feeling; but when he didn’t see it, she let her hand drop and moved slowly toward the door, trying desperately not to think to or about him.
Author’s Note: Forget the “strong R”, we’re right back into NC17 territory again. Damn those two horny blonds!
When the vampire threw open the door and stomped through the room to the kitchen, Giles paused in what he was doing to glare at his unwanted house guest.
“If you’re going to think you can come and go at will around here, would you please try to demonstrate some manners?”
“Sod off,” was the snarled reply, as Spike went into the refrigerator for a packet of blood. He wanted the bruises and sore muscles left by the commando’s kicks to heal immediately. He wanted no reminders of this night at all, including the taste of the Slayer’s blood in his mouth. For once, he was grateful for the flat taste of the pig’s blood they’d been feeding him.
Buffy came in the door behind him, closing it gently before she shrugged off her jacket and sat on the couch. She carefully avoided looking at the scowling vampire as he brought his mug of blood back into the room and sat in the big chair.
The Watcher looked back and forth between the two obviously unhappy young people and asked, “Did something happen while you were out there? Is there a reason you came back together?”
“Aha,” Xander said, slapping the table in front of him, “things are back to normal. Buffy and Spike can’t agree on anything and all is right with the world.” He leaned back and smirked at the glaring vampire. “I’m surprised you made it back here, evil undead. I would have thought Buffy would’ve put a stake through your heart for all that hands-on stuff that went on while you two were…”
“Shut up, Whelp.”
“Shut up, Xander.”
“I’m just saying, you two were all cozy, cuddling there in that chair. All that kissing and…whatever. It made ME sick. I can just imagine how Buffy must—“
The growl from the vampire was matched by the angry hiss from the Slayer and for once the not terribly bright young man got the message and bit back the rest of what he wanted to say.
“All right, sheesh, I get it. You don’t want to talk about it. Can’t say I blame you, Buffster, but I would have thought—“
“Xander!” Buffy yelled just as Spike leaped to his feet and crossed the room too quickly for anyone to see. Before he could follow through on his clearly headache-inducing intentions, Buffy stepped between them and put her hands on his chest. She could feel him trembling under her fingers as she gently pushed him away from the table.
“Please,” she said quietly, unconsciously rubbing her thumbs against his tee-shirt covered chest in a soothing fashion. She felt the anger burning inside and couldn’t help agreeing with him just a little. What they’d done together had felt completely right at the time, and if what Spike had revealed about his feelings for her was true, then she could easily understand his rage at hearing it treated so casually.
As she gently ran her hands out to rub his upper arms, she could feel him begin to calm down and when he gave her an abrupt nod and turned away, she breathed a sigh of relief. She watched him go back to the chair and sit down, glowering at the bewildered boy across the room.
“Buffy! You saw that! He tried to attack me. Why isn’t he dust?”
“Shut up, Xander,” she snapped at him. “I don’t want to hear another word from you about the spell or anything that might have happened while we were under it. Is that clear?”
“Well, sure, Buff. You don’t want to talk about it. I get that. It must a have been…But if you just stake him, you won’t have to think about it anymore. None of us are going to blame you for what the spell made you do, but if he’s not around to remind you…”l
“Leave Spike alone,” she said in her best Slayer voice. “All of you,” she added, casting a look around the room. “Just leave him alone.”
Her watcher’s eyes narrowed as he looked back and forth between the two powerful blonds in his living room. As upsetting as he’d found it to listen to them kissing and making plans for a life together while they were under the spell, he found it much more disquieting that they were not back to their usual snarking and arguing now that it was over. The fact that his slayer seemed to be protecting the chipped vampire was even more disturbing.
Although it was now well after midnight, everyone decided that they would head for their own homes and dorm rooms to try to get some sleep before beginning the day. Xander and Anya left first, the boy staying a safe distance from the chair holding the morose vampire. Buffy and Willow gathered up their things and told Giles “good night”. As they walked toward the door, Willow hesitated as though she was going to say something to Spike, then shook herself and kept going.
Buffy couldn’t help taking a last look in the vampire’s direction, only to find him staring at her with an unreadable look on his face. She flushed when his (sweet dreams, pet) echoed inside her head and before she could stop herself she thought (good night, Spike).
When the door had closed behind the two girls, Spike turned his gaze back to the room only to find the watcher staring at him intently. He reminded himself that Buffy’s watcher, tweed coats and spectacle polishing to the contrary, was neither stupid nor incapable of dealing with vampires by himself. He flashed back to when Angelus had killed the gypsy computer teacher and a grieving Giles had taken on the older vampire armed with nothing but a torch and a stake.
Spike forced himself to look harmless and uninteresting as he stood up and carried his empty cup to the kitchen. He started to drop it in the sink when a loud cough from the watcher made him sigh and rinse it out carefully before setting it to drain on the side. He returned to the living room, giving the watcher an irritated glare just to reinforce his position as unwilling guest.
To his surprise, the other Brit went to the cupboard and came back with two glasses and a bottle of good Scotch. He raised his eyebrow at the vampire in query, then, at Spike’s suspicious nod, poured them both a full two fingers of the expensive blend. When they were both seated and sipping from their glasses, he looked hard at the vampire and asked, “What happened tonight?”
For a minute, Spike panicked, sure that the watcher was referring to his claiming the Slayer and that he was graciously allowing him one last drink before he killed him. Then he realized that Giles had gone back to the original question he’d asked before they were all sidetracked by Xander’s jealous insistence that Buffy stake Spike.
Taking a long sip of the smooth liquor, Spike laid it out for the Watcher.
“Ran into a bit of trouble with those wankers that did this to me,“ he gestured toward his head and the still visible scar there. “Did alright until one them got me with the soddin’ taser and I went down. Slayer showed up while they were using me for football practice.”
Giles frowned. “Buffy stepped in? That was very foolish of her.”
“Yeah. Tried to tell the silly bint that, but I don’t think she listens real well.”
“You have no idea how right you are,” her watcher murmured, waiting for the vampire to continue.
“Yeah, well, anyway, she’s tells ‘em to get lost, they try to manhandle her out of the way, and…you can probably guess the rest. We ran until we knew they weren’t followin’, then came back here.”
“Buffy fought humans?” Giles sounded more upset than he actually was. He was more than aware of how evil humans could be and had no real problems dealing with them, but it was unlike his Slayer to be willing to hurt them.
“Well, not so much fought as tossed away from me. She only actually hit one of them. Big git, almost looked like he recognized her.”
“Did she know him?”
“Have to ask her that. They were all wearing masks and head covers – real ninja-type stuff. Would be hard to say what any of them looked like.”
“Would you be able to recognize any of them again?”
Spike didn’t bother to ask what the other man meant, he just responded thoughtfully, “Was tryin’ to keep my distance, so I didn’t get a real good chance to memorize anybody. Think I might be able to pick up on a couple of the scents though if I had a chance. Enough to know that I’d smelled it before, anyway.”
The Watcher nodded and continued to sip his drink. They drank in surprisingly companionable silence for some time before Spike cleared his throat and said, “Uh, Watcher?”
Giles raised his eyes, which had been focused on nothing as he digested what the vampire had told him.
“These…people. The ones that run that lab. I don’t think they’re all the fussy about what they label ‘demon’ and now that they’ve seen the Slayer in action…”
Giles sat up with a start. “Dear Lord! Do you think they will come after Buffy?”
Spike shrugged and finished off his scotch. “Jus’ sayin’. She’s not exactly your average co-ed, and now that they’ve seen how strong she is, I’m thinkin’ they’ll be wantin’ to take a closer look.”
“You could very well be right, Spike,” the Watcher said, finishing his own drink and taking the empty glasses to the kitchen. “I will instruct Buffy to be careful until we can find out who and what these people are and what they are doing in Sunnydale.”
He turned his head to look at the subdued vampire. “I suppose it’s pointless to chain you back up now that you’ve had the freedom to come and go as you please.”
“Not goin’ anywhere, Watcher. Not till the Slayer tells me to. Then I’ll try to find someplace to lie low till those wankers get out of here. Or until I can make them fix whatever they did to m’ head.”
“Well, I’m going to bed. If you are going to keep vampire hours, please keep the telly turned down low.”
“No problem. Prob’ly gonna catch some kip myself. It’s been a tiring couple of days and I’m a bit knackered.”
Giles shot a look at the vampire, but his expression showed nothing but weariness as he threw himself down on the couch.
“Nighty-night, Rupert,” he drawled as he rolled over and put his face in the cushion.
“Good night, Spike,” he replied before he realized he was responding politely to a master vampire. Shaking his head at the way Willow’s spell had changed them all, he went upstairs and shut himself up in his bedroom.
Below, Spike rolled back over as soon as the man left the room and lay on his back staring at the darkened ceiling. He relived every minute of the spell, beginning with his proposal and Buffy’s enthusiastic acceptance and all the way through to their short but intense moments of passion. He looked at the chair, trying to recapture the feeling of having his woman warm on his lap, the feel and smell of her as she wrapped herself around him.
He felt himself growing hard as he thought about their kissing and touching, and the way she’d innocently brought him off with her tongue like he was an adolescent boy. He groaned and unconsciously pictured her sucking on him, her golden hair spread across his bare abdomen and her head bobbing up and down in rhythm with his hips.
He unzipped his pants and allowed his aching erection to spring out and into his waiting hand. While he pulled on it vigorously, he imagined Buffy sitting astride him again, riding him hard, her head thrown back as she arched over him.
Suddenly, he could feel her as she woke up, writhing with the sensations building in her body, the frantic movement as she tried to increase the pressure on her clit. He didn’t stop to think about how she would react to his being in her head while he was servicing himself, he just sent his thoughts out as he pulled even harder on his cock.
(Come for me, love. I know you can feel me. Want you so bad. Make yourself come for me, Buffy. I’m here, with you. Are you thinking about me, love? Can you feel how much I want you? How hard I am just thinkin’ about you? Come with me, Buffy. Let yourself feel me the way I’m feeling’ you.)
(Oh my god. Spike? Spike? What are you…oooooh….why am I…How is this happening? Why does it feel like you’re touching…mmmm…you have to stop…stop…don’t stop…you’re making me…oh god, I think I’m going to…Gah!)
When he felt her find her release, he let himself explode in his hands, gasping her name as he spent himself. He lay still on the couch, taking unnecessary panting breaths as he let his thoughts go where they might. Suddenly, there was a tentative voice in his head.
(Spike? Can you hear me? Did we just… what just happened here? How did you…What the fuck???)
He winced as her initial satiated bewilderment turned to outrage when the reality of what happened sank in.
(Sorry, pet. I didn’t realize I was projectin’. I was just thinkin’ about you while I…well, was just thinkin’ about you. That’s all. Didn’t know it could carry that far…or that you would…Didn’t know it would effect you like that till it was too late to stop.)
(Well, how the hell did you think it would effect me?. Suppose I hadn’t been alone? It’s just lucky that Willow went down the hall to the bathroom while I was sleeping. If she’d come back a few seconds sooner…Oh, this is sooo not good.)
(I thought it was pretty good, pet. Seemed to me like you were enjoying--)
Buffy could hear the smirk in his voice.
(Don’t even go there! You got into my head when I was sleeping and…and…)
There was silence for a full minute, silence that was permeated with anger and regret. Finally the vampire could stand it no longer.
(Buffy? Talk to me, love. I didn’t mean to do it. I swear I didn’t. But was it so awful? What’s wrong? Talk to me, Slayer)
(What’s wrong, Spike,) He flinched at the venom he could feel coming through as she said his name. ( What’s wrong is that you got into my head while you were…whatever you were doing…and made me do it with you. It’s like…it’s like you raped me.)
The accusation tore through him, rendering him incapable of coherent thought.
(She thinks I…it felt like rape? I never meant to…would never…could never…not rape…never force her…jus’ want to love her…can’t help what happens to me when I think about her…how can she think…)
While he was able to block many of his incoherent thoughts from going through to the Slayer, there was no way for him to hide the anguish that her words caused. He curled in on himself on the couch, clutching his stomach and choking back the sobs that wanted to burst from his throat in a very unmanly fashion. As soon as he had enough control to do it, he set up the barriers between them, not wanting her to know how much her thoughts had hurt him, and unwilling to take the chance that she wasn’t through with him.
Across the town, on the campus of Sunnydale University, Buffy was sent into her own gasping ball of pain as the anguish the vampire was feeling poured into her. Very few of his words came through coherently, although she picked up enough to get the gist of what he was thinking, but the incredible emotional pain, regret, shame and sorrow her words had inspired was overwhelming.
“Buffy? What’s wrong?” Willow’s concerned voice penetrated the rapidly fading pain and the Slayer sat up to look at her friend sorrowfully.
“I…I’m all right, Willow. It was just a sudden cramp. I guess I pulled something tonight throwing those big soldiers around. Go back to sleep. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay,” her friend said dubiously as she watched Buffy sink back down onto her bed. “If you’re sure you’re all right.”
“I’m fine, Willow. Just fine…” her voice trailed off as she sent her newly awakened senses out trying to find Spike, but there was nothing for her to follow. It was as though the vampire didn’t exist. She couldn’t sense him at all and was amazed at how alone she suddenly felt.
She eventually went back to sleep, her fingertips resting lightly on the scabs on her neck.
Periodically throughout the day, Buffy sent tentative thoughts out, seeking some sort of contact with the vampire, but there was no trace of him anywhere.
(I’m not worried. Nothing’s happened to him. He’s safe at Giles. He’s just mad at me and doesn’t want –no he’s not mad at me. That’s not what I felt before he…it wasn’t anger. Not at me, anyway. Damn him! He knows me well enough to know I say things I don’t mean when I’m mad. He can’t think I really meant…I mean I did mean it. In a way. It WAS without my permission. I didn’t tell him he could…What does he mean, he can’t help what I do to him. The spell’s over. He CAN so help it. Look at me. You don’t see me mooning over him or dreaming about how it felt to…or what a good kisser he is…or how he made me…gah!)
Telling herself she was just checking in with her Watcher before patrol, Buffy hurried to Gile’s apartment as soon as her classes were over. She burst in the door, startling the man who was quietly reading at the table.
“Buffy? Is something wrong? You’re all flushed and agitated…”
“No, nothing’s wrong. What could possibly be wrong? Everything’s fine. The spell is gone, I stayed awake in class today, everything is hunky dory. Why wouldn’t it be?”
Her Watcher stared at her intently for a few seconds before shrugging and going back to his book.
“Indeed. Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Where’s Spike?” she blurted abruptly after scanning the visible parts of the apartment and seeing no sign of the vampire.
“I don’t know, actually. I got the impression he was planning to stay here until there was a reason to leave, but when I awoke this morning, he was gone. Quite rude, I have to say. To just leave like that in the middle of the night without leaving a note or anything. Well, that’s what I get for expecting a vampire to behave like a gentleman, I suppose.”
“Did you need him for something, Buffy?” he inquired when she didn’t respond to his reply, except to slump down into the chair she’d spent so much time in with the vampire.
“What? Oh, no. No, I don’t need him…I just…just wanted to talk to him about those commandos last night. To see if he…he…to see if he remembered anything important about them.” She paused her babbling, quite pleased that she’d come up with a good explanation for her behavior.
“Oh, well then, no problem. Spike and I chatted about that quite a bit last night after you left. I can bring you up to speed. Essentially, he did not get any more of a look at them than you did, although he does think he might be able to recognize a scent or two under the right circumstances.”
“Oh, well. That’s good then…he told you all about them…so you know…so I don’t really need to talk to him…”
Giles stared at her intently. “That is correct, Buffy. You have no need to talk to Spike.”
“Right. No need. Nope, no needing here.” She gave her watcher a dazzling smile. “I don’t need him at all.”
There was an uncomfortable silence while Buffy struggled to maintain her cheerful smile and the watcher tried to figure out why she was behaving so strangely. He mentally reviewed what Spike had told him about the previous night’s events and could come up with no reason for her behavior aside from perhaps knowing one of the men.
“Buffy?” he quietly interrupted her attempted cheerfulness. “Spike did mention that it appeared that one of the men recognized you. Did you know one of them?”
Grateful to have something else to talk about, Buffy hastened to answer him. “I’m not sure. He definitely acted like he knew me, and there was something sorta familiar about his size and voice, but…I don’t know, Giles. I can’t quite place him. Must not be somebody I know very well. Maybe somebody I’ve seen around school…” She drifted off in thought then her eyes went wide.
“Oh my god! I think it was Riley! I even remember that one of the men called him, “Finn.” How could I have not noticed that?”
“Finn? Riley? Unusual name, that.”
“No, no. Not Finn Riley. Riley Finn. The TA in Professor Walsh’s psychology class. That’s who it was!”
“Someone on the faculty?”
“Well, a grad student. He’s very tight with Professor Walsh. Lives in a fraternity house with a lot of other grad students. All big, fit guys, now that I think of it…”
“And you know where he lives because…””
“Oh, well,” she blushed and looked down at her hands, “I think he likes me. We’ve gone out for coffee a couple of times and…What’s the matter, Giles?”
“I am just recalling something Spike said about those men and their…employers…having some interest in you now that they know you are not a normal girl. Buffy, I think you will need to be very careful around this Riley Finn. At least until we know more about this organization.”
“Spike’s just being paranoid. So far all these guys have done is capture demons and vampires. Why would they have any interest in me? I’m on their side.”
(At least I am unless they’re trying to hurt Spike.)
“That may be true, Buffy, but until we are sure they mean you no harm, I want you to be particularly careful around them. Give them no reason to suspect you know who they are, or that you are not a normal co-ed.”
“I AM a normal co-ed!” she pouted, then at her Watcher’s disbelieving expression she amended, “Well, except for the super-strength and the slayage….”
“Precisely,” he said dryly. “Just be careful, will you, please? Perhaps you could bring this Riley Finn around to meet us? Introduce him to your friends? That would give us a chance to size him up.”
“Well, Willow already knows him, cause she’s in the same class with me, but I guess I could…oh my god!”
“I ran into Riley while I was under the spell. In front of a store selling wedding gowns! I told him I was marrying an older man…a man named Spike. Oh, I am soooo screwed.”
“Nonsense. You’ll just have to tell him…tell him you were kidding or something…you’ll think of something. I have great faith in your ability to come up with a convincing story, Buffy. Just imagine I’ve given you instructions that you’ve completely disregarded and now you have to explain why you did so. I feel sure you will come up with something..”
“Okay. Thank you…I think.” She stared suspiciously at her Watcher, not sure if she’d just been insulted or not.
In a plush office deep under the Lowell House, a grim looking woman was questioning what she had, until now, considered her best squad of demon catchers.
“All right, Agent Finn. Explain this to me again. One more time. You had Hostile 17 down and were preparing to re-capture him when a small woman told you he was “her vampire”?
“Uh, yes, that was pretty much how it went.” He looked down at his feet uncomfortably while his companions nodded their heads.
“And when you attempted to remove her, she took out 6 of my best men. By herself. Without a weapon. And without actually harming any of you except for bruises?”
“Uh, Professor Walsh? The vampire tripped me,” one of the men offered helpfully.
“Oh, well I’m sure that made all the difference,” she replied with poorly concealed sarcasm. “Now to continue; when she had incapacitated all of you, she and the vampire ran off and you were not able to keep up with them?”
“They ran really fast,” Riley mumbled to accompanying agreement from his men.
“Do we have any idea who or what this woman is? Is she a demon? Another vampire?”
“Actually, Professor Walsh, I believe she might be a freshman here at the university. A student in your psych 101 class, Buffy Summers.”
“Not a vampire then, if she goes around in daylight. Perhaps a form of demon we’ve not encountered yet….”
“I…I don’t think so. She seems like an ordinary girl to me,”
Riley shifted uncomfortably as one of his men snickered. Maggie Walsh fixed the laughing soldier with a cold eye and raised an eyebrow.
“Riley is trying to date her,” the still snickering man explained. “He’d like nothing better than a chance to learn more about her.”
“Well, that works out nicely then, Agent Finn. I suggest you pursue a relationship with this girl and endeavor to learn more about her and her remarkable abilities.”
“He called her ‘Slayer’,” Graham said quietly.
Maggie whirled and fixed the soldier with a steely gaze. “Who called her ‘Slayer?’ and why wasn’t I told this immediately.”
“The vampire. Hostile 17. He told her to leave and he called her ‘Slayer’.
“This just continues to get more interesting. A hostile is rescued by a small girl whom he attempts to send out of danger and whom he addresses by the title of a mythical creature designed to kill his kind.”
“The operative word there is ‘mythical’, Maggie, “ Riley hastened to interrupt as he saw her go into ‘curious scientist’ mode. “The Slayer doesn’t exist. It’s just a story handed down by superstitious vampires.”
“It would appear, Agent Finn, that there is at least one extremely superstitious vampire out there who believes your Ms. Summers is, in fact, this mysterious ‘Slayer’. I suggest you put your efforts into both finding Hostile 17 and the rather expensive piece of government equipment he is carrying around in his head, and into learning more about Ms. Summers and her possible involvement with him.”
“She’s not ‘involved’ with him,’ Riley stated firmly, while behind his back his friends rolled their eyes. “If she actually intended to rescue him from us, I am sure she had a good reason. She probably doesn’t know he’s a vampire and thought we were mugging him or something.”
“Well, we’ll find out, won’t we?” She waved her hand in dismissal, calling Riley back into the room after his men had filed out.
“Riley, you know I trust you implicitly,” she began, “but I must have your assurance that you will take all precautions with this girl until we have learned more about her. Under no circumstances is she to learn about our facility until we know who and what she is and whose side she is on.”
“She’s not a demon,” he insisted stubbornly.
“That remains to be seen, does it not?” She turned away in dismissal and the big man left the room shaking his head.
As darkness fell over the hellmouth and the small city above it, a lone motorist drove past the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign and headed for Los Angeles. Inside the big car with the tinted windows, a bleached blond vampire clutched the steering wheel and glared through the small opening in the darkened windshield.
(That’s all I am to her. A vampire. Something that would rape her, kill her friends. Something beneath her. I’ll show her. If that’s all she thinks I can be, than that’s what I’ll be. There’s got to be some demon doctors in LA can figure out what those tin soldiers did to me and fix it. I’ll get this problem taken care of, and when I do…)
He completely lost his train of thought at that point, because he really had no idea at all what he would do once he could kill again. Instinct told him to go back to Sunnydale and kill the woman who was making him so miserable. But her teethmarks on his neck, faded as they might be, and her blood inside him that was making every mile he traveled more painful than the last, were both telling him that he could no more kill her than he could spend the day at the beach.
With a sigh, he put aside what he would do once he was relieved of his disability and drove on into the night.
After four days with no sign of the blond vampire, Buffy was having a hard time hiding the fear she felt for him from her Watcher and friends. Going through the days pretending to be glad she hadn’t seen him, that she was actually interested in the secret commando still trying to date her, that she wasn’t being eaten up with worry was turning her into a very cranky Slayer.
“Hey, Buffy. Wait up!” The cheerful shout from the TA leaving the cafeteria building was not what she wanted to hear just that minute. However, she remembered Giles’ admonition that she get to know the man and bring him around to meet her friends. She was under strict orders not to allow Riley to get her alone or to go anywhere with him without notifying her Watcher.
“Hey, Riley. How are you?” She tried to look genuinely interested in him and not suspicious.
“I’m good. You?”
“Couldn’t be better,” she chirped, flashing him her best cheerleader smile.
“I thought…I mean if you don’t have plans…would you like to get some coffee?”
(No. I’d like to find the annoying blond vampire that you were trying to capture the other night. And I’d like to know what you did you him and why.)
“Sure, Riley. That sounds like fun.”
An hour and a creamy latte later, they had agreed to meet that evening for dinner and then to join her friends at Giles’ apartment. As Buffy walked away to hurry to her next class, Riley watched her hair gleaming in the sunlight and shook his head at the idea that she was anything but an exceptionally pretty coed. Perhaps one that had studied martial arts for many years, he allowed, remembering the kick to his chest that had sent him to the ground. But, normal. Surely, normal. Not a demon. Or a Slayer. Whatever that was.
When Buffy got back to her dorm to dress for her date, she called Giles to let him know that she was bringing Riley by that evening to meet him. They agreed that they would say Giles was her uncle on her mother’s side of the family and that they were so close because he had been the librarian at her high school for years.
Buffy had finished what she had to say and was preparing to hang up when her Watcher cleared his throat.
“What is it, Giles?” Buffy asked with a sigh. She knew that sound. It meant she was going hear something she didn’t want to hear. In this case, contrary to what her Watcher believed, that was not true.
“Uh, Spike has returned, Buffy. He has not been very forthcoming about where he was, but he is back and taking up space on my couch even as we speak.”
Buffy’s joy at hearing that the vampire was not dusted or captured was immediately mitigated by the knowledge that Riley would recognize him the minute he saw him.
“He’s going to have to hide, Giles. I don’t want Riley to see him, or to wonder why we’re keeping a vampire in the bathroom.”
“Nor do I, Buffy. However, he is being quite stubborn about leaving here until he has seen you again.”
“I don’t have time for this now. Put the blond bloodsucker on the phone. Please,” she added into the chilly silence that greeted her demand. She rolled her eyes at the Brit and his insistence on good manners even in the midst of a crisis. She heard him give an aggrieved sniff before handing the phone to Spike.
“Slayer.” His voice gave to indication of his mood. He just waited patiently for her to explain why she wanted to speak to him.
(Where have you been? I was worried sick. I thought you were…how could you do that to me?)
There was no response and she realized she wasn’t feeling anything from him. He was deliberately blocking his thoughts from her and she couldn’t tell if he was receiving hers or not.
“Fine,” she growled. “We’ll do it this way. You can NOT be there tonight when I bring Riley over. He’ll recognize you immediately.”
“No he won’t,” was the cryptic response. “The only person he’s going to meet is your long lost cousin from the old country. Come to visit with Uncle Rupert.”
“Spike…” she put as much threat and warning into her voice as she could, but she could tell he was going to ignore her.
(It’ll be alright, pet. Just want to get a sniff of the wanker and see if he’s who you think he is. He won’t know me. I promise.)
As quickly as he appeared in her head, he was gone before she could respond.
(He’s gonna have to teach me how to do that, dammit.)
“What if you recognize him and go all “grrrr” on me?”
“Not gonna happen, Slayer. I can control myself if I need to. Anyway, it’s not like I could do anything to him if I did let the demon out, now, is it?”
“I suppose not,” she agreed with a sigh. “All right. Tell Giles we’ll be by around 8:30.”
“That late?” he responded noncommittally.
“Yes, we’re going out to dinner first. And I need to get off the phone and get dressed or I’m going to be late for my da- to meet him.”
There was no response from the other end of the line until her Watcher got back and said, “Buffy?”
“Giles? Where did Spike go?”
“He threw the phone down and stomped into the kitchen. What’s going on?”
“Nothing. Nothing’s going on. He’s just behaving like a baby. I’ll see you guys later.”
After a nice dinner at one of Sunnydale’s better restaurants, and a couple of glasses of wine, Buffy had decided that Riley was a pretty nice guy and much more interesting than she had originally thought. (Of course, that was before I knew he had a secret identity,) she thought to herself ruefully.
Over dessert she tried to get some information from him about what he’d been doing since he left Iowa as a brand new college graduate. She noticed he was a little vague about his “worked for the government, until I decided to try grad school”, but she didn’t want to alarm him by appearing to be too curious. She reminded herself that he probably had no idea she had recognized him the other night and would not suspect that she was pumping him for information.
It was fairly obvious that he was very interested in learning more about her, questioning her about how long she’d lived in Sunnydale, what her hobbies were, and what she liked to do in the evenings. She could see that her equally vague answers were frustrating him when he tried to lead the conversation into the martial arts and he finally came right out and asked her if she’d ever studied them.
Buffy was tempted to answer, “No,” just to see him get more frustrated, but she realized that would seem too much like a lie after what the man had already seen, so she nodded and admitted that she’d studied some “basic self defense stuff. You know, the kinds of things a girls needs to know in this town.”
She didn’t elaborate about what she meant by “this town” and he didn’t pursue it, just nodded happily to himself as though she had given exactly the answer he wanted to hear. Then he led the conversation into another direction, beginning with a discussion of the latest horror movie and, somewhat transparently, into a discussion of vampires and the unlikelihood of their being real.
Buffy laughed, but with the sideways look that he would have gotten from any resident of Sunnydale not dwelling in a fantasy world. For her to have lived in the town for as long as she had without at least suspecting that vampires were real would raise a red flag immediately, so she went with a denial that was intended to be accepted, but not believed.
He accepted her laughing denial with good grace and they finished their desseert and prepared to leave for her Watcher’s apartment.
The closer they got to Giles’, the more nervous Buffy became about Spike. She couldn’t imagine how he was going to disguise himself enough that he wouldn’t be immediately recognized both as a “hostile” and as the specific hostile for which they were searching, She reminded herself that Riley would not have her Slayer senses to warn him that Spike was a vampire and she crossed her fingers that he had done something to hide his platinum hair.
She couldn’t’ resist sending him a quick thought as they approached the door, not really expecting him to be open to her, but hoping he might be listening for her. She was caught off guard when, before she could send a coherent thought, he was in her head offering soothing advice.
(Calm down, pet. You’re heart’s poundin’ like it used to when you knew you had to fight me.)
Buffy could feel the smirk in his voice and growled back at him, (I’m just worried about you, you dumbass. And my heart sooo did not pound when I had to fight you. I always knew I could beat you.)
(Must’ve been something else that made it pound so hard then? If it wasn’t fear, what was it then? Hmmmm?)
(Shut up, moron. We’re here and you’d better be invisible.)
(Close enough to, luv. You’ll see.)
Buffy shook off her trepidation and gave the puzzled Riley a dazzling smile as she opened the door to the apartment.
“We’re here,” she announced unnecessarily as she pushed the door in. “Here we are. At my uncle’s apartment. To meet my friends. And my relatives. And, could I sound any more nervous?”
“I think it’s cute,” Riley said, smiling at her. “And, it’s okay. I’m a little nervous too.”
He moved closer to her and put his arm around her shoulders to give her a little squeeze. He then froze as the sound of a snarl echoed through the small room and he glanced around quickly, for something to use as a weapon. He felt Buffy stop abruptly, her face a study in shock and disbelief. He quickly scanned the room, but found no sign of anything hostile and no one else who seemed concerned.
When it appeared that no one else was disturbed about the noise, except possible her uncle who was whispering urgently to a young, bookish looking man in the corner, he relaxed and decided it must have been his imagination. Willow stepped forward to greet him with a little wave and a “Hi, Riley,” opening up the introductions.
He assumed the older man was Buffy’s uncle, and was a little surprised by the cultured British accent, but Giles smoothly explained that her mother had come to the US with their parents at a very young age, while he was left in England to attend boarding school.
He vaguely remembered being introduced to Xander and Anya one evening in the Bronze, and saw that his recollection of them as ordinary, boring people was perfectly correct. He waited for the young man in the corner to come forward, and when he didn’t, he strode over to him and extended his hand. Ducking his head shyly, the man introduced himself as Buffy’s cousin, William. He had a similar accent to her Uncle’s, and Riley assumed he was his son or some close relation.
At first glance, the much shorter, slim young man appeared very unassuming, soft, light brown curls falling over his forehead, thin, old fashioned looking glasses on his nose, and a younger man’s version of the tweedy English clothing that Buffy’s uncle wore. However, when he took Riley’s hand to shake it, his grip was very firm, almost to the point of pain and the man found himself squeezing back in the age-old masculine “mine is bigger than yours” contest.
Just as it appeared they would both give up the appearance of a friendly handshake and begin to try to injure each other in earnest, the older man cleared his throat pointedly, and Buffy’s cousin relaxed his grip with a shrug and an apology.
“ My apologies, old man. I certainly didn’t intend for that to become a test of wills. I’ve been working on the firmness of my handshake as I’ve been accused of shaking hands like a woman, and I’ve yet to find that line between firm and too hard.”
The embarrassed looking young man peered up over his glasses and did his best to appear harmless and sorry. His other hand still clutched the book he’d been reading when they came in the door and Riley craned his neck to see what it was. When he caught the title, “Sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning”, he laughed and relaxed.
“No problem, man. Although, I’ve got to tell you, that’s quite a grip you’ve got there. I can’t imagine anyone accusing you of shaking hands like a woman.”
Riley turned to walk back to Buffy only to find her standing just inside the door where she’d stopped when they came in. She was staring at her cousin with her mouth hanging open and an expression of profound disbelief on her face.
“Buffy? Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
Buffy continued to stare at her “cousin”, her mouth opening and closing as she tried to say something coherent.
“Wha…ba…mumph….gack” was the extent of her verbal ability and Giles quickly stepped into the awkward silence that followed her attempt at speech.
“I believe Buffy is simply surprised to find William here. He popped in unexpectedly last night and I’ve had no opportunity to tell her about his arrival.”
“Oh,” Riley said dubiously. He looked at Buffy again, surprised to see that she had shut her mouth and tilted her head as though listening to something he couldn’t hear.
(Get a grip, luv. Come and give your long lost cousin a kiss hello before the overgrown toy soldier suspects something.)
Moving like a sleepwalker, Buffy walked toward William and offered her cheek for a chaste kiss. She tried to ignore the way Spike was clearly inhaling her scent as he put his arms around her in a welcoming hug that stopped just short of going on longer than it needed to.
(You are sooo going to pay for this,) she thought at him as hard as could. She could tell from the smile he tried to hide that he heard her and she fixed him with a threatening glare before turning around and walking back to Riley.
“Well, I guess you’ve met everybody, even some people I didn’t know you were going to meet,” Buffy said, struggling to regain her perkiness. She walked toward the kitchen, saying she was going to get them drinks and leaving Riley to make conversation with Willow and Giles.
“William,” she said in her sweetest voice, “Why don’t you help me in here and we can…catch up.”
“It would be my pleasure, love,” he answered, giving the other people in the room an awkward nod as he started toward the kitchen, tripping over the foot stool as he did.
“Oh dear! I am so clumsy. I’m…I’m sorry…I’ll just be…” he edged his way carefully toward the kitchen, keeping his head down and avoiding eye contact the whole time.
“There’s something familiar about…William, is it? I can’t put my finger on it, I just have the feeling I’ve met him before somewhere.”
“That seems unlikely,” Giles said flatly. “He has only been in the country for less than a day.”
“If that’s true, then how does Buffy know him? Isn’t she a California girl, born and bred?”
“I think they used to travel a lot before her parent’s divorced and her dad found new ways to spend his money. Used to go to England every summer.”
Willow did her best to contribute to the “let’s hide the vampire in plain sight” game and was very proud of herself when Giles gave her a pleased smile.
“Yeah,” Xander put in, “now she just gets to go to LA every summer and meet her dad’s latest squeeze.”
“So, Riley,” Giles began in his best surrogate father voice, “what are your plans after you get your degree in…what was it again?”
In the kitchen, Buffy was trying desperately to maintain her anger at Spike for being gone in the face of her equally desperate urge to laugh herself silly at his disguise.
The vampire stood in the entrance to the kitchen, watching the play of emotions flow over the slayer’s expressive face and grinning from ear to ear.
“What’s the matter, pet? Don’t know quite how to act around a real gentleman? Is William a little too proper for you?”
“Is this what you were like before you were turned?” She tried to stifle the laughter still bubbling in her throat.
“If I say yes, will you lose all respect for me as the Big Bad?”
“Too late. I lost that when you stopped being able to bite.”
His eyes flashed amber for a second, then he shrugged and said mildly, “I could find other ways to hurt you…if I wanted to.”
She flushed, reminded of the feelings for her that she now knew he was harboring. Which reminded her of her words the night he left and their effect on him and she looked up quickly and said, “Spike…what I said the other night…”
“Forget it, Slayer. You were right. I had no business…you didn’t need to know that much about my…” He stopped and moved closer to her. He felt her heart rate increase again and stopped moving, trying to prevent the pain he felt from showing on his face.
“I wasn’t going to touch you, luv,” he said softly. “Please don’t be afraid of me.”
Buffy stared at him in confusion for a second before she realized that he had sensed how her heart sped up when he moved closer. Even though he was maintaining the barriers between them, there was no mistaking the pain in his voice and she closed the distance between them herself, touching him gently on the arm.
“I’m not afraid of you, Spike. If you’d stop deciding when you will and won’t let me feel you, you’d know that.” She looked up at him pleadingly. “I don’t want to be in your head all the time. And I definitely don’t want you in mine without my permission, but…but we’re going to have to learn to live with this thing until it goes away. And I can’t do that if you keep shutting me out.”
“Don’t want to shut you out pet, I just don’t want a repeat of the other night. I don’t want you to feel violated. I would never…wouldn’t force myself on you, luv. You’ve got to believe that.”
He took the hand that was resting on his arm and raised it to his mouth, planting a light kiss on her knuckles, then turning it over to kiss her palm. When his soft lips touched the center of her palm and his tongue slid out to caress the sensitive skin there, she gasped and felt moisture seep into her underwear.
(Not gonna promise not to try to seduce you, though.) He smiled up into her eyes.
Buffy snatched her hand back and tried to hide the effect he was having on her traitorous body. Before she could come up with an appropriately response, they were interrupted by Anya. The ex-demon pushed her way into the kitchen and hissed at Buffy.
“Stop hiding in here with Spike and get out there and do something about your boyfriend. He keeps staring at me. What if he figures out I’m an ex demon and tries to capture me? I don’t want to be experimented on and emasculated like Spike was!”
Snickering at Spike’s outraged, “Hey!”, Buffy hastened to sooth Anya’s fears and send her back out to help keep Riley occupied.
“Don’t be silly, Anya. You’re not a demon anymore, and if you don’t act like you’ve got something to hide, he’ll never know you were. He’s probably staring at you because you’re so pretty.”
Immediately mollified, the ex vengeance demon said, “Oh? Do you think so? Because I just tried this hair color and I haven’t decided if…” As she went on talking more or less to herself, she allowed Buffy to push her out into the living room again.
“Okay, William, help me carry these drinks out there,” Buffy said as she reached into the refrigerator for soft drinks and ice. “Do you think you can do that without tripping?”
“Very funny, pet. I could, but I’m not so sure about William.”
She rolled her eyes and handed him the ice bucket. “Then I guess you’d better take something easily cleaned up,” she said as she put the cans and glasses on a tray. “Let’s go….William.”
He stopped her with a light touch on her arm. “So, are we alright, then? You’re not still angry at me?” His speech was an interesting mix of his usual lower class cadences and the cultured tones he’d adopted for his disguise.
“Oh, I’m still royally pissed at you,” she said with a small smile, “but not for what happened the other night.”
(What then?) he raised his eyebrows as he followed her out of the room.
(For being gone for four freaking days without letting me know where you were or if you were all right! For all I knew you were back in the lab being sliced and diced.)
Buffy’s cheery smile at Riley and the Scoobies belied the fury she was sending to the astonished vampire. When William tripped again and dropped the ice cubes onto the Watcher’s back, it had nothing to do with his disguise and everything to do with the bolt of joy that went though him as he absorbed her words.
(She was worried about me. The Slayer was worried about me….)
While William apologized profusely and scrambled to pick up the ice cubes from the floor and the Watcher’s chair, Riley rolled his eyes and wondered how someone as athletic as Buffy could be related to someone so uncoordinated and clumsy. He watched idly as the embarrassed young man gathered the ice cubes and carried them out to the kitchen. When William returned with a fresh bowl minutes later, the other man had completely dismissed him and barely noticed when he sat down in the only vacant seat, next to Buffy.
After some general conversation about Sunnydale, the town, and the University, Willow asked innocently, “How well do you know Professor Walsh, Riley?”
He surprised everyone by saying quickly, “Well, hardly at all. I mean I work for her, so obviously I know her, but not well. No, not well. I hardly see her outside of class. No more than you do, probably. Why do you ask?”
His nervous, and clearly dishonest, response set off alarms bells for both the Watcher and Spike. Their eyes met briefly, and in response to the Watcher’s raised eyebrow the vampire nodded briefly, indicating that the man’s increased breathing and heart rate indicated he was lying. It occurred to Giles that having a vampire around to assist with integrations, especially surreptitious ones, could be a good thing. He also reminded himself not to play poker with the blond vamp.
(Did you catch that, pet? The wanker is lying through his teeth.)
(So it seems.)
Spike frowned at the slight tone of regret in her voice. (Was she starting to like the git? Had she forgotten what he was?) He barely controlled his possessive growl as his demon reacted to the thought of his mate being interested in anyone else. He forced the demon back down and made sure his jealous urge wasn’t projected to Buffy.
(He is one of them, Slayer. I recognize his scent. He was definitely there the other night.)
Buffy didn’t answer him, but she shifted around in her seat so as to be facing Riley and asked him with feigned indifference, “Why were you so curious about my martial arts training, Riley? Are you interested in things like that?”
Startled, he blurted out without thinking, “Yes, I’m a bit of an expert myself. I was the leading…” recovering himself, he quickly amended, “but you don’t want to hear about me, let’s talk about your training. What have you studied?”
(Staking 101, Advanced beheading, Demon pummeling, Save-the-World 203…)
Spike smothered a laugh when Buffy punched him on the leg, then blushed when everyone looked at her curiously.
“Has William done something to anger you, Buffy?” her Watcher inquired with a warning glare.
“Uh, no, no. My hand fell asleep and I was just shaking it out. It was an accident.” She turned to Spike and rubbed his thigh gently, “I’m sorry William, “ she said sweetly, “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
The vampire hissed at the heat from her hand on his leg and shifted to hide his immediate reaction.
“No, that’s quite all right, love. You just go back to your conversation about your barbaric hobby.” He gave a shudder that caused Riley to roll his eyes again and everyone else, including Giles to have to hide smiles. “Perhaps he’d like to, oh dear, what is that word? To train with you sometime. What do you call it? Sparring? Yes, perhaps he would spar with you.” He bestowed a proud smile on Buffy and said to the astonished man, “Buffy is quite good, you know. Amazing, actually. If you like that sort of thing.”
“Yes, I’m sure she is,” Riley said with a hard look at the embarrassed girl.
(I am soooo going to kill you)
(You keep telling yourself that, pet, and maybe you’ll come to believe it.)
Deciding he wasn’t going to learn any more about Buffy from the very strange people she hung out with, Riley reached for her hand and turned to Xander and Anya.
“I thought we’d finish our evening by spending some time in the Bronze. Would you guys like to join us?” he addressed Xander and Anya, but turned to include Willow and William in his question.
“Oh yes!” Anya spoke up quickly. “ Going to the Bronze. Just the thing an average human couple would do on a weekend night. We would do that. We do things like go to the Bronze all the time! We’re very normal that way.”
Xander quickly grabbed his girlfriend and hustled her into the kitchen to explain why referring to themselves as an average HUMAN couple might not have been the best way to avoid suspicion about her ex demon status.
Willow and Spike exchanged looks and he gave her a wink and a shrug as he said, “Well, if that’s acceptable to Ms Rosenberg, I might…that’s if Uncle Rupert doesn’t mind my running off on my first night in his home?”
“Oh, please,” Giles said, “By all means, you…young people should go out and enjoy yourselves. We have all day tomorrow to visit.”
“Well, that’s settled then. We’ll hit the Bronze for some music and liquid refreshment.” Riley pulled Buffy to her feet and steered her toward the door. “We’ll just go get my car and be right back.”
“Uh, why don’t I wait here for you?” Buffy looked up at him appealingly and pointed to her very high-heeled shoes.
“Oh, okay, sure. I’ll be right back.” He went out the door, pulling it quietly shut behind him. Instead of heading for his car, he paused outside the door and looked around, spotting a window that was slightly ajar and moving closer to it.
“So, Miss Rosenberg, you and I? Are you sure you don’t mind? I’m not really much of a club goer. I much prefer to spend my time in the library…” As he spoke, Spike was gesturing with his eyes and head toward the window and understanding slowly spread across everyone’s face.
Everyone except Xander who started, “Taking this a little too much to heart, aren’t you, dea-“ He was mercifully cut off by Anya’s hand on his mouth. When she was sure he was not going to continue, she removed her hand remarking, “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time. Now you know how it feels, Xander.”
(Spike? Is he out there? Listening to us?) The anger came through loud and clear and he had to smile.
He just nodded and held his hand to his ear and cocked his head as though he was listening. Again, Giles was reminding of the value of having vampiric enhancements when dealing with humans.
“Well, he seems nice enough, Buffy. Have long did you say you’ve been seeing him?”
“This is our first actual, night-time date. We usually meet for coffee or lunch. He took me on a picnic last week,” she added brightly. “That was fun.”
“Rather a large fellow, isn’t he, pet?” William put in with a roll of his eyes.
“Yes, he’s very big and strong,” Buffy chirped, giving the vampire a glare. “I like that in a man.”
No one but Buffy noticed the vampire’s eyes flash amber for a second and she stuck her tongue out at him.
(That meant as an invitation, pet?)
(Nope, just my way of dissing you.) She took the sting out of her thought by smiling at him and was rewarded with a genuine, non-smirking smile in return.
Fortunately the other people in the room were all trying to maintain a conversation about the band at the Bronze, primarily for Riley’s benefit, and no one noticed the silent by play between Slayer and vampire.
When Spike nodded his head and said, “Okay, he’s out of human earshot now – wait!” He stopped everyone and ran to the open window, leaning out to hear what Riley was saying and to whom.
He turned around, looking much more like Spike wearing glasses than William at that moment.
“The bloody wanker is talkin’ to someone about Buffy on a cell phone,” he snarled. “Sayin’ he’ll take her to the Bronze and they can ‘observe’ her there.”
“Dear lord!” the Watcher frowned and took off his glasses. “Perhaps you shouldn’t go Buffy.”
“Relax, Giles. I’ll be fine. So they ‘observe’ me – what are they gonna see? Buffy dancing? Buffy having fun? Nothing demony or Slayerish. And, anyway, I’ll have all my friends around. What are they gonna do to me with four other people around?
“Considering that the only one of those four that would be of much assistance in a struggle with someone Riley’s size is not able to harm humans, I would guess they could do whatever they wanted.”
“We’ll be fine, Giles. It’s not like they’re going to kidnap me from a public place for heaven’s sake.”
She stuck her lower lip out in a pout that made Spike groan to himself.
“And, anyway, I kicked their butts before and I can do it again.”
“Yes, well, you had surprise on your side that time. Just be sure you do not go anywhere by yourself. Or allow Riley to get you alone. And, please. Call me when you are safely home.”
The sound of car horn beeping cheerfully outside ended the discussion and with a, “See you later, G-Man,” from Xander, they all walked out to get into the large SUV the commando was driving. Before Riley could get out and come around to open the door for Buffy, William had already opened it and handed her into the large vehicle. He closed the door with a wink at the astonished Slayer and squeezed into the back with the Scoobies.
He never took his eyes off Riley on the drive to the club, only speaking when the big man went to put his arm across the back of the seat so that he could touch Buffy’s hair.
Swallowing his growl, William said in his most unassuming and worried voice, “Wouldn’t it be better to keep both hands on the wheel, Mr. Finn? Just for safety’s sake?”
“Don’t worry, William,” he replied expansively, “I’ve been driving for years. And it’s not like Sunnydale has all that much traffic.”
He left his arm where it was, but quite trying to reach Buffy who had slid over toward the window as far as her seat belt would let her. She risked one look into the back seat, but the eyes behind William’s glasses were uncomfortably warm and she quickly faced front again.
(This is going to be an interesting night,) she sighed to herself. She took another quick peek at Spike to see if she had unintentionally sent that thought out, but he didn’t seem to have noticed.
(Maybe I’m getting the hang of this stuff) she though proudly, only to be rudely disillusioned when she heard, (And maybe I’m just ignoring you, pet. ‘S not like your thoughts are all that interestin’)
(Screw you, Spike) She regretted immediately her choice of comeback, but instead of the off-color reply she was expecting all she got was a sense of great amusement from the vampire. Face flaming, she shut down her thoughts as much as possible for the rest of the ride.
When they had reached the Bronze and Riley had put the huge vehicle into one of the parking places outside, William threw open his door and promptly fell out onto the asphalt. With an embarrassed whimper, he rubbed his knee as he stood up and opened Buffy’s door for her.
“Come, love. Let me help you down from there. It’s quite a drop to the ground.”
Buffy rolled her eyes at him, but took his offered hand and stepped daintily to the ground beside him. He held her fingers just a bit longer than necessary, but let go as soon as Riley came around the side of the car. He suppressed his growl when Riley took Buffy’s tiny hand in his large one and led her toward the door, not bothering to look back to see if her friends were keeping up.
The three Scoobies and William followed the pair in front of them, trailing them to a table near the dance floor. A table that was conveniently vacated, just as they came in, by four athletic looking young men with military haircuts. Spike caught the exchange of glances between Riley and one of the men, and made sure to memorize their faces.
As they took their seats, William made sure he was seated where he could see Buffy and Riley. He clumsily pulled out a chair for Willow, almost dumping her on the floor as he went to push it in.
“You don’t have to be so convincing that you kill me,” she hissed at him as she grabbed the sides of chair to keep from falling off.
“Sorry, Red,” he whispered. “William’s just not very comfortable around ladies.”
When the drink orders were taken, William gazed longingly at the long necked beer bottles being carried past their table, but forced himself to order a soft drink, insisting that, “I have absolutely no head for alcoholic beverages. I become quite rowdy when I drink. I certainly wouldn’t want to take a chance on embarrassing any of these ladies with my behavior.”
Willow and Buffy, both of which had seen Spike drunk on more than one occasion, smothered their laughter with simultaneous coughing, causing Riley to look at them curiously.
With drinks dispersed around the table and the band beginning to warm up, the small group settled back to enjoy themselves as much as was possible for a group of individuals all trying to pretend to be something they weren’t.
As the band began to play, Anya grabbed Xander and pulled him onto the dance floor leaving the two blonds, Willow, and the secret commando to stare uncomfortably at each other.
“Do you dance, William?” Buffy asked with a sly grin, hoping to embarrass the vampire.
Right on cue, William ducked his head shyly and raked at the soft curls falling over his forehead as he fumbled for something to say. He looked at Willow pleadingly as he stammered, “I…Of course, I Iearned the proper steps for dancing with a lady when I was…that is, I’ve been taught how to dance, but I’m afraid I am not very good at it. And this,” he waved his hand at the gyrating bodies on the dance floor in front of them, “this is not something I’ve ever even attempted.”
“Oh? Well I think you should,” Buffy responded with an evil look in her eye. “Willow? Wouldn’t you like to dance?”
“Wha? Me? With S-William?” Her friends eyes were open so wide Buffy was afraid they would fall out.
“Sure. You. You don’t mind dancing with my cousin, do you? He doesn’t get to meet many American girls and this may be his only chance to dance with one.”
(I know one that’s going to be ‘dancing’ with me as soon as get this soddin’ chip out, Slayer) came the angry growl in her head.
(Come on, what’s so hard about it? You can dance with Willow a little bit. It won’t kill you…oh that’s right, you’re already dead.) Buffy’s internal giggle made him smile in spite of himself.
(Jus’ remember, payback’s a bitch, luv,) he sent back as he offered Willow his hand and escorted the nervous witch to the floor.
“Relax, Red, I can’t bite you anymore. An’ dancin’ with me can’t be any worse than dancin’ with the whelp. In fact, I’d imitate his style, if he actually had one.”
With Willow’s embarrassed reluctance to dance with a vampire, and William’s obvious lack of comfort with the heavy beat of the music, they made an amusing couple to watch. Riley was openly sneering at William’s timid attempts to move with the music without actually moving any body parts besides his feet, and Buffy felt a protective bolt of anger go through her before she remembered that William was not really her cousin and didn’t need her to worry about his feelings.
When Riley’s sneer had almost turned to outright laughter, and Buffy could see Willow redden with embarrassment while William just looked more and more lost, she had had all she could take of Riley’s attitude toward her friends. She took his hand, and with a yank that barely concealed her Slayer strength, she pulled him onto the dance floor and began to move around him.
As she had suspected, the big man’s amusement at Willow and Wliliam was because he, himself, had absolutely no sense of rhythm or timing. While Buffy moved around him, her body responding almost unconsciously to the music, he stood in place and jerked his arms around, trying to look like he was enjoying the beat that he obviously didn’t hear.
He breathed a sigh of relief when the band switched to a slow tune and he could pull Buffy into his arms and just sway in one place with her. Of course that meant her face was smushed into his chest and she couldn’t see anything but the buttons on his shirt. Which was just as well, as William and Willow were attempting to move around the dance floor without tripping each other, to the great amusement of both Riley and the four commandos leaning on the bar.
“If you step on my feet one more time, I am going to turn you into a toad,” the red-haired witch growled into William’s ear.
“Sorry, pet. Jus’ tryin’ to make it look good for the peanut gallery over there. I’ll be more careful. Don’t fancy being a toad just now.”
There was a subtle shift in his demeanor and suddenly, although he still held her awkwardly, he was no longer treading on her feet and they were no longer bumping into other couples as they moved around the floor. She just had time to register that Spike appeared to be quite a good dancer, when they crashed, quite hard, into another couple and she heard him apologizing profusely.
“Oh, I am so sorry, Mr. Finn, Buffy. I’m so clumsy. Please forgive me. I hope we didn’t hurt anyone?”
Riley glared back at him briefly, then relaxed and laughed. “No problem, William. You just pushed us a little closer together. Can’t complain about that now, can I? Not with something as beautiful as Buffy in my arms.”
The fact that he referred to Buffy as something, rather than someone, was not lost on the three people watching him. Nor was the possessive way he held her against him and stroked her back.
Biting back the snarl that threatened to break out of his throat, William smiled shyly and suggested, “Perhaps Ms. Rosenberg would like a break from my abuse of her feet and we could switch partners for the next song. If my cousin is willing to risk her own toes, that is?” He gave Buffy a shy sweet smile that had her responding in spite of herself.
“Oh, I’d love to, William. You don’t mind, do you, Riley?” She turned to her date with a smile.
“Huh? No, of course not, Buffy. You and your cousin go dance and Willow and I will get to know each other better.”
Riley spent several minutes trying to figure out how to dance with Willow so that he could talk to her about Buffy without causing her a serious neck injury and he missed the first few minutes of William and Buffy’s dancing. When he finally sorted out the best way to be able to talk to Willow, seem to be dancing, and keep and eye on Buffy at the same time, he almost tripped as he spotted the blond duo.
Contrary to the awkward and self conscious way William had been dancing with Willow, he and Buffy were moving together in perfect rhythm, twirling and dipping as the music called for it. Just as the music slowed down to a very romantic and lush section, Riley lost sight of the two cousins. Even with his height, he couldn’t see over the crowd between them to follow what they were doing.
What they were doing was swaying together on the other side of the club, as far away from Riley and the Scoobies as Spike could get them. When he was sure no one could see them anymore, he wrapped his arms around Buffy’s waist and pulled her unresisting body closer. She rested her head on his shoulder and slid her arms up to wrap around his neck as her body nestled into his as though it belonged there.
Neither was willing to break the spell by talking, so they just let themselves get lost in the music, forgetting for a few precious moments that they were Slayer and vampire. And forgetting that there were four other people in the club whose job it was to watch Buffy. At the end of the bar, Graham craned his neck to keep them in sight, frowning slightly at their seeming involvement.
Although none of Riley’s friends were particularly happy that he’d taken such an interest in the strange little blond, Graham’s loyalty to his friend caused a stab of anger when he saw her dancing so closely with the dorky-looking man who had come in with them. He relaxed when the slow song ended and they broke apart, both looking slightly embarrassed about their previous closeness.
Buffy broke the awkward silence first, saying with a reddened face, “That was…you’re actually are a very good dancer…I…I liked it.”
“Me, too, Love,” he said softly. “Could have stayed like that all night.”
Any further conversation was drowned out as the band went back into another song with a pounding beat and Buffy began moving her body to the music. Before she could stop him, William’s hands were on her hips and he was matching her move for move as he danced behind her. Every shift of her hips brought her ass into contact with his body and it wasn’t long before she could feel the proof of what he whispered that she was doing to him.
Buffy pulled away and spun around to face him, still dancing, but keeping her distance. (Stop that!) She glared at him. (William would never behave like that!)
He laughed, and reached for her again as he said, (You got that right, pet. That ponce wouldn’t have known what to do with a girl like you.)
She danced just out of reach of his hands and studied him speculatively.
(Is that what you were like before you were turned? Is William really you?)
(What? Me? A light weight like that? Are you crazy, Slayer? You know I’ve always been bad.) He gave her his most evil leer, but Buffy could see the panic behind his eyes.
“Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much,” she snarked at him, putting her hands on her hips. “I’ll bet that’s exactly what you were like. No wonder you like being a vampire so much! I’ll bet guys like Riley picked on you all the time. Didn’t they?”
“You don’t know what your talking’ about, Slayer,” he growled. “I don’t take anything off wankers like that and you know it.”
“Not now, you don’t…didn’t…before your…disability, anyway. But what about when you were human? When you were a sweet, gentle man who read poetry and wore glasses? Huh? What about then, Spike?”
“I never! You don’t know what you’re talkin’ ab—wait, did you just say I was sweet?”
“I said William was a sweet man,” she struggled to control the rush of color to her face and the increase in her heart rate. “You’re just pretending to be him. Aren’t you?” she asked almost pleadingly.
“Of course I am, pet. You know me. Big Bad, evil undead, just waiting to get this thing out of my head to go back to my killin’ ways.”
“Yeah,” she said quietly. “That’s what I thought. I almost forgot for a few minutes,” she added so softly he wasn’t sure he heard her. “Silly me.”
She turned and began walking back toward the table where Riley waited with undisguised impatience.
(Don’t, Spike. Just…don’t)
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