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Someday soon. by slaymesoftly
Chapters 1 - 4

“Tell me again why we had to bring this annoying creature with us?” Buffy glared back and forth between Spike and Giles.

“Because we may have to fight our way into the canyon and probably back out with the codex.  I thought you – we - could use his help,” Giles sighed while Spike smirked at Buffy.  “Although, “ he continued, “If I’d known you two were going to argue the entire time….” His voice trailed off to a mutter.

“If she had better taste in music, we wouldn’t be arguing,“ Spike grumbled.

“Or, if you could move on from the 70’s…Duck!” Buffy’s attempt to continue the argument ended abruptly as a big vampire appeared behind Spike swinging an axe at his head.  However, Spike’s head was no longer there, as Buffy’s warning had him already ducking, pivoting and sending a powerful kick to the surprised vamp’s stomach. Suddenly they were facing at least six vampires, several of them armed with axes.  After checking to be sure there were no more approaching from behind them, Giles turned to watch the fight in front of him with great interest.  The two lithe, athletic blonds had gone from bickering like children to a seamless fighting team in an instant.  The grace and power with which they fought, as well as their almost instinctive knowledge of where each other were at all times was a pleasure to watch. 

Three of the attacking vamps were already dust when Buffy’s foot slipped on a loose rock and she caught a fist on the side of her head, which sent her to the ground.  To Giles’ astonishment, Spike backhanded his remaining vamp away and with a roar, dove toward the one that had knocked Buffy down, tackling him to the ground.  Instead of staking the surprised creature, he grabbed his head and wrenched it completely off.  By the time the dust had settled, Buffy had rolled to her feet and dusted another one as it went to smash Spike’s head with the axe. The lone remaining vampire took one look at the two predators turning toward him and took to his heels with supernatural speed.  Buffy, however, had picked up the axe and with a flick of her wrist sent it flying across the graveled space and into the fleeing vamp’s back. As he exploded into a dust cloud, she turned to Spike to demand, “What were you doing? Why didn’t you finish him off the first time?”

“I was saving your ungrateful butt,” he growled.  “You were about to be headless.”

As the two stood nose to nose, arguing about which one needed help the most, Giles rolled his eyes and shook his head.  “If you two could see yourselves in a fight like that, you would realize why I brought you both on this little expedition.  One on one, you are both very good fighters, but together you're practically unstoppable.”

The rare, unexpected praise from the Watcher was enough to stop the bickering, at least temporarily.

“Well, we do hold our own, I guess.  Don’t we, pet?” Spike cocked an eyebrow at her.

“I guess we do at that,” she agreed with a small smile. “But why did you leave your guy undusted to jump mine? And ripping his head off? Eeew!”

“He hit you,” Spike mumbled, looking at his feet and shuffling them slightly. 

Buffy just looked at him quizzically for a moment, then shrugged and turned to go on.  Giles, meanwhile, watched the exchange with a dawning realization.  Oh my god. she’s caused another vampire to fall in love with her!

The three continued down the narrow, rocky path, trying not to slip on all the loose rocks.  Spike cocked an eye up toward the narrow canyon walls and commented, “It’s all very nice that these walls curving in keeps the sun off me, but they give me the feeling they could cave in at any time.”

Giles and Buffy also glanced up at the rocky overhangs above them, but seemed less concerned.  Giles only remark was that the shade in the canyon meant they couldn’t relax their guard, as it was obvious that other vampires had decided to take advantage of the protection from the sun.

“The sooner we get to the cave and grab the books we need, the better,” he said somewhat unnecessarily.  “I really want to be out of here before dark."

Fortunately, the cave where Giles knew the books were hidden was not much further and they reached it without incident.  While Spike and Buffy stood guard at the entrance, Giles quickly dug up the metal box he was looking for and took out the two books he wanted.  He sealed the box, carefully put it back in the hole and reburied it in the loose, dry soil.  After scattering some small rocks around and satisfying himself that the site wouldn’t be noticeable to the casual eye, he backed out of the cave, brushing away his footprints as he went.

Moving as quickly as possible on the rocky, sloping ground, the three headed back to the entrance to the canyon where Giles’ car waited them.  Spike kept as close to the walls as he could to avoid the occasional ray of sunshine that found its way into the middle of the canyon.  Buffy, however, walked right down the middle, enjoying the cool, fresh air and what little sunshine there was. 

I spend too much time in damp, dark places, she was thinking as she hummed a little tune.  I’m enjoying this so much; I don’t even feel like fighting with Spike.

She glanced over at the good-looking man--- vampire!  she reminded herself  good looking vampire ---hugging the wall of the canyon.

Her attention was diverted by several small rocks, which rained down on her and bounced onto the canyon floor.  “Ouch!” she yelped, then had no time for anything as it seemed as though the whole canyon wall collapsed into the center.

“Buffy!” Spike and Giles yelled at the same time, as they picked themselves up from the rubble of the rockslide.  Giles had multiple bruises and a few cuts, while Spike was relatively unscathed.  His position under the overhang had protected him from most of the rocks.

Buffy, however, had been walking right where all the larger boulders had come to rest.  Watcher and vampire stared in horror at Buffy’s feet sticking out from under a large boulder.  Giles, who was closer, tried to move the rock, but couldn’t budge it.  He had barely got the words, “Spike, come…” out before the vampire was beside him, lifting the boulder and flinging it to the side.  “Buffy, Buffy! Come on, Slayer, talk to me!”  There was no response from the unconscious girl, although Spike hastened to assure Giles that he could hear her heart beating, so he knew she was alive.

Giles went over his slayer from head to toe, then sat back on his heels.  “Well, I think she’ll live; but she’s got a lot of broken bones.  Even with Slayer healing, she isn’t going to be walking out of here.  We need to get these long bones splinted so they don’t start healing crooked.”

Using the broken off handles from the axes they'd taken earlier, Giles managed to splint Buffy’s right leg and left arm into position, tying the splints with strips from his shirt.

“I think we got those two bones lined up okay,” he said.  “I’m glad she stayed unconscious for it. The ribs and forehead will have to heal on their own.”

“How are we going to get her out here?” Spike worried.  “We can’t carry her with all those broken bones – it’s hard enough to keep our feet under us.”

Giles looked at him for a minute, then said, “I have an idea. If you can keep her safe from whatever else is in this canyon for a couple of hours, I can get to the car and contact that boyfriend of hers.” At the mention of Riley, Spike growled and went into vamp face for a second.   It was quick, but Giles caught the flash of yellow eyes and wrinkles. 

He looked Spike in the eye and forced him to meet his gaze.  “He has the resources we need to get her out of here safely and quickly.  She needs his help right now – and that is more important than how you feel about Riley and his co-workers.  And, he is still her boyfriend, as far as I know. Is he not?”

Spike glared back at the watcher briefly, then relaxed and let his shoulders sag. “Yes, I suppose he is,” he mumbled.

“OK, just so we’re clear on that for now.  I’ll go contact him. You take care of Buffy till I get back. Can you do that?”

Spike looked at him indignantly.  “Of course I can. Do you think I’m some kind of irresponsible git?”

“Well, actually….” Giles stopped at the hurt expression on Spike’s face.  “I know you’ll take good care of her, Spike.  Just don’t forget to get out of the way when the medical help gets here.”

“Fine, fine.  They come – I go. I got it.  Wouldn’t want soldier boy getting’ his knickers in a twist because she was with me.”

“Exactly,” Giles said flatly, then took off down the trail as quickly as he could.

Spike sat down beside Buffy, alternating between listening to her heartbeat to reassure himself that it was still strong and listening for sounds of other vamps that might be drawn by the scent of Buffy’s blood.  Fortunately, those that came were alone and Spike had no trouble disposing of them one at a time.  Just as he was debating whether or not to lick her wounds closed so they would stop bleeding, he heard her let a groan. “What happened? Where am I? Giles? Spike?”

“Right here, luv. How do you feel?”

“Like an elephant sat on my chest.  What happened?”

“Well, an elephant-sized rock did sit on your chest. Watcher went to call for help to get you out of here.”

“Oh.  How long do you think he’ll be?” She shivered slightly and winced as she tried to wrap her arms around herself.

“Oh, pet, I’m sorry. You’re probably freezing. I didn’t think… I should have…” Spike babbled as he shrugged out of his duster and spread it on the ground. “I’m going to slide my coat under you, alright? I’ll try not to hurt you too much.” He gently lifted her body just far enough to slide the coat under her so that she was not lying on the bare ground.  He then wrapped the rest of it around her.  Gritting her teeth against the pain, Buffy said, “I thought you liked to hurt me.  Isn’t that what you told me?”

“It’s only fun if you can hurt me back.” He smiled down at her. “I know being on me didn’t make the coat warm for you, but…”

“It’s fine, Spike.” She looked up at his worried face and smiled at him as best she could. “Thank you,” she said softly.

“You’re welcome,” he muttered, then suddenly switched to game face as a small vampire approached.  The new arrival looked hungrily at Buffy, sniffing the air, which was full of the scent of her recently shed blood.  He looked back and forth from Buffy to Spike, then asked hesitantly, “I don’t suppose you’d like to share?”

“Sod off, she’s mine,” Spike snarled and started to stand up.

“Ok, Ok, no problem.” The other, much younger vampire held up his hand and backed away looking wistfully at the bleeding Slayer.

“Dammit,” Spike growled. “He’ll probably bring back everybody he knows. I need to get you someplace more defensible.”  He spotted a shallow cave up the slope and scooped her up carefully, wincing in sympathy as she hissed with pain.  “I’m sorry, pet. I don’t mean to hurt you, but we need to be where they have to come at me from one direction.”

Buffy looked at him in wonder and asked, “Spike, why?”

“Why what, pet?” he asked absently as he scanned the slope for predators.

“Why are you doing this for me?”

“Oh.” He looked embarrassed. “Well, came here to kill you, didn’t I? Wouldn’t do to let someone else get the glory now, would it?  Gotta keep you in one piece till I get my chip out.”  He peered at her sideways to see if she was buying that explanation.

“Yeah, right. I knew there had to be a good reason.” The look on her face told him she didn’t believe him, but she appeared to be too woozy to argue and closed her eyes to sleep.

Spike settled in beside her, keeping his gaze on the approach to the cave and listening to Buffy’s breathing and heartbeat.  She moaned occasionally, but continued to sleep and he could see the slayer healing kick in as the small cuts and wounds began to close.  He sighed with relief at that, knowing the less blood scent in the air, the safer they would be. A particularly loud moan from Buffy made him look at her anxiously and he saw that she was trying to move in her sleep.

“Sh, luv.  Hold still, pet. You’re going to hurt yourself.” He tried to sooth her with words and when that didn’t work, he rubbed his hand gently on her cheek and continued to talk to her soothingly.  He was afraid she would injure herself more as she tried to thrash around and he finally lay down beside her and put one arm gently across her body to hold her still.  “Easy, love, easy. We’ll be out of here soon and you’ll be safely home.”

She gradually settled down and her breathing went back to an even rhythm and she relaxed into him, turning slightly to rest her head against his chest.  Sure that she was asleep; Spike couldn’t resist the nearness of her, the feel of her slight body and her scent.  He leaned down to put a soft kiss on top of her head and murmured, “It’s OK, Slayer. I’ve got you and I won’t let anything hurt you.”

As she moved beside him, he started and looked around guiltily as though someone might have been watching and caught the moment of tenderness. 

Buffy was awake enough to be aware of his soothing voice in her ear but thought she must be dreaming about being held.  She tried to pretend she was still asleep, but her increased heart rate couldn’t be hidden from a vampire; nor could the subtle tensing of her body.

“You’re awake, aren’t you?” He glanced down at her. “How long have you been awake?”  He moved far enough away to be outside her personal space, but not so far he couldn’t reach her if she needed him.  “I’m not sure,” she said, slowly.  “Maybe I was dreaming…”

“Must have been,” he agreed quickly. “You got kind of restless for awhile. Was afraid you’d hurt yourself.” 

Buffy started a snarky response, and then remembered where she had been snuggled when she woke up and swallowed the comment.  Instead, she put her head back down and asked tiredly, “How badly am I hurt? Must be pretty bad if you’re being this nice to me.”  She gave him a small smile. He smiled back at her and reached over to brush a piece of hair off her face.

“Oh, I think you’ll be OK, Slayer. You’re too mean to stay down long.”

Buffy grabbed his hand as he went to pull it back and said, “That doesn’t answer my question, Spike. Tell me.”

He met her eyes for a second, then shrugged and said in a flat voice, “Watcher says your left leg is broken, right arm, probably most of your ribs, concussion for sure, and we don’t know what internal injuries you might have.”

“And I’m covered with cuts and bruises and dirt.  And I ripped my favorite shirt!”

“Yeah, lets be sure we include the important things.” He grinned at her. “Don’t forget your hair is a mess and there’s blood on your chin.”

They smiled at each other for a few seconds, then each looked away in embarrassment.  The rest of the afternoon was spent in safe conversations about Glory, Dawn, and the Hellmouth. Spike even shared some stories about his younger days as a vampire – being careful not to mention anything that involved Angelus or excessive loss of human life.  To her surprise, Buffy found herself laughing at his anecdotes and forgetting for minutes at a time that she was lying helpless on a bed of rocks in a canyon full of vampires with night coming on.

As the sun started to set and the canyon became darker, Buffy asked, “Did Giles say how he was going to get me out?”

The happy expression that had been on Spike’s face evaporated as he mumbled, “I think he’s calling Captain Cardboard.   Gonna use government resources to get you out in one piece.’

“Don’t call him that,” she said automatically.  “You shouldn’t talk about my boyfriend like that.  No wonder he doesn’t like you.”  It was her usual response to Spike’s disrespectful remarks about Riley, but her heart wasn’t really in it this time and he could tell. “Now I’ll have to listen to more lectures on how dangerous my job is. Like I have a choice!”

“Bloody hell! You’re the Slayer,” Spike said in disgust. “Doesn’t the stupid git get that?  What does he expect you to do? Sit around polishing his medals?”

“I guess so,” she sighed. “He’ll just never understand…”

“His loss then,” Spike said tightly and stood up just in time to get hit in the head by a thrown ax. “Ow! Sodding….” He went into game face and leaped in front of Buffy to confront three hungry-looking vampires, led by the smaller one he had frightened away earlier.

“Just give her up easy and we’ll let you leave,” the largest one said.  “We have no quarrel with you, but we’re hungry and you don’t appear to be eating her.”

“I never do anything easy,” Spike growled, blood streaming from his head. “You want to touch her, you’ve got to come through me.”

The two smaller vamps hung back, but the larger one growled and lunged forward.  Spike met him halfway and they fought in the cave entrance.  Spike was hampered by having to stay between the other vamps and Buffy, preventing him from using the agility and speed he usually demonstrated in fights.

Buffy tried to lift the ax that had hit Spike, but her torso was too bruised and broken.  Tears of frustration were in her eyes as she watched Spike being attacked by all three vampires while she was powerless to help.

Suddenly the air was full of flying dust and the sound of a helicopter hovering overhead.  The attacking vamps looked up in surprise, saw the soldiers being lowered on cables and took off.

Spike turned to Buffy and said, “Well, pet, looks like the Marines have landed.  Won’t be needing me anymore, I guess.”  This last was said so bitterly as he moved away from the cave, that Buffy stared at him in surprise.  But before she could ask him what was going on, Riley was running up the slope and sliding to his knees beside her.

“Buffy! Oh my god! What happened to you? You look terrible!”

Buffy looked up at him and said wryly, “ You ought to see it from my side.” Then she lost her bravado and asked meekly, “Do I look as bad as I feel? Cause if I do, ugh!”

“That’s OK, honey. We’ll have you out of here and fixed up in no time…. “

He was interrupted by a muttered, “She looks bloody beautiful, you stupid wanker.  She’s alive, isn’t she?”

Riley whirled to look at Spike, obviously having not noticed the blond vampire until he spoke.  “What is he doing here?” he demanded, moving toward Spike menacingly.  In spite of his chip and the pain he knew it would cause, Spike moved forward to glare right back at Riley.

The testosterone standoff was interrupted by Buffy’s “He’s been keeping me alive. That’s what he’s doing here, Riley.  Now back off!  Both of you,” she added, looking at Spike.

Riley turned to her in astonishment.  “Buffy, you’re not yourself. For all we know he started the rockslide just so he could….”His voice trailed off as the look Buffy’s face went from pissed off girlfriend to pissed off Slayer.  Riley had only seen that look once before – directed at Maggie Walsh through a TV screen, but it chilled him then and it froze him now.  Spike, of course, was more than familiar with brassed off Slayer and he got very busy studying rocks away from the cave.

Fortunately for Riley, he was saved from learning more about Buffy in Slayer mode by the arrival of the stretcher and the EMTs, who quickly assessed Buffy’s injuries, decided she was stable enough to move, and hustled her out to be lifted into the helicopter.

Spike watched the chopper lift into the sky, taking both Slayer and his coat with it.  With a sigh, he turned to walk out of the canyon, hoping Giles had come back for him, but not really expecting to see him.

He was surprised and grateful, which he immediately tried to hide, to find the Watcher was waiting at the canyon entrance with the Summer’s SUV rather than his car

“Moving up, transportation-wise,” Spike remarked with a raised eyebrow.  Giles just gestured to the passenger door and said, “Didn’t know if the sun would be down yet. This has tinted windows.  Joyce insisted I take it.”

“I’m touched, Watcher.” Spike started to be his usual snarky self – then thought better of it and finished with a more sincere, if lame-sounding, “Thank you”

Giles blinked in surprise, then nodded and got in and started the engine.  “How’s Buffy doing?”  He asked as he maneuvered down the barely discernable road.

“She’ll be OK. She’s tough,” Spike said. “But we’re gonna need to do her patrols for her for awhile.”  Giles sent a sharp look at him, wondering where the “we” came from, but decided not make an issue of it.  If the vampire wanted to help, that was fine with him. Spike was certainly more capable of holding his own against other vampires and demons than any of them were alone.

He dropped Spike off at his crypt, then drove back to the Summer’s residence to return Joyce’s car and let her know that Buffy was safely out of the canyon and on her way to the hospital.

By the time Joyce and Giles arrived at the hospital, Buffy’s broken arm and leg had been set, her ribs were taped and she was anxious to leave.

“We’d like to keep her overnight,” the doctor told them.  “Just to be sure there are no left over affects from the concussion.  But she is amazingly strong and seems to be recovering very quickly.”  The doctor looked at them quizzically for a moment, as though expecting an explanation of some sort, but when none was forthcoming, he just shrugged and told them she could go home in the morning.  No one who worked in Sunnydale Hospital for any length of time was overly surprised at anything.

Joyce and Giles peeked into Buffy’s room to see Riley sitting beside her looking very unhappy while Buffy flipped through the TV channels without actually looking at anything.   Joyce noticed a familiar leather coat draped over the other chair in the room.  Both young people looked relieved to have other people in the room to talk to and Buffy perked up immediately.

“Giles! Mom! Have you come to take me home?”

“Not just yet, Honey,” Joyce said, brushing her forehead with a kiss.  “Tomorrow for sure.”

“I don’t like it here,” Buffy pouted.  “It’s boring and I want to go home.”

“I know you do, darling, but we want to be sure your head is OK,”

“Oh,” Buffy said, glancing at Giles “Speaking of heads being Ok, did you….”

Giles blinked at her for a minute, then, seeing Riley’s suspicious glare, he realized she wanted to know if he got Spike out of the canyon safely.

“Uh, yes, actually, I did.  Everything is fine.”  He took his glasses off and polished them vigorously so as to avoid seeing Riley’s angry face.  Somehow he was sure that the soldier knew exactly what or whom they were talking about.

The nurse came around to tell them visiting hours were over, and they all said their goodnights and left the room.  Joyce picked up Spike’s coat as inconspicuously as possible and put it over her arm. They walked to the elevator in uncomfortable silence and both Giles and Joyce breathed a sigh of relief when Riley told them good night and got in his jeep.

“What do you suppose he is so angry about?” asked Joyce.  “You’d think he’d be happy she isn’t dead.”

“Well,” said Giles carefully, “Riley is very protective of Buffy and I don’t think he is too happy that we took Spike with us for back up rather than him.”

“Oh,” Joyce said. “So this is a male ego thing.  Well, I think Spike’s a nice young man – er – vampire, and I’m grateful he was there for Buffy.”

“So am I, Joyce, but I can understand why Riley might not see it that way.”

Buffy woke to the awareness that someone was in her room, and since her vampire sense was tingling, she thought she knew who it was.

“Spike?” she questioned, trying to see in the darkened room. “Is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me, Slayer. I didn’t mean to wake you.  Just wanted to see how you were doing.  Your mum said you can come home tomorrow?”  He moved up toward the head of the bed soundlessly and reached out his hand as though he was going to touch her face, then abruptly pulled it back and went to put it in his pocket.

She smiled at him and reached out with her good arm to touch his hand and squeeze it. “Yes, I’ll be back home tomorrow – but I’m going to be stuck on the couch for awhile. When did you see my mom?” She changed the subject quickly.

Spike almost couldn’t answer, as he was busy wondering if she knew she was still touching his hand and what that meant, if anything.

“What? Huh? Oh, your mum.  Well, I stopped by the house first to get my coat and she fixed me some hot chocolate and told me how you were and what room you were in.

“And did she tell you there are no visitor hours in the middle of the night?” She asked, looking at him with a twinkle in her eye. “How did you get in here?”

“Hey, master vampire here, remember? I go where I want, when I want.” The bravado with which he made that statement was spoiled by the soft look on his face as he gazed down at her.

“Oh yeah, the Big Bad. Sometimes I forget.” She rolled her eyes at him and laughed.

“Is that so, Slayer? Maybe you need a reminder.” He growled, going into game face and leaning forward.

Completely unafraid, Buffy reached up and gently touched his cheek with her hand.  His face immediately slipped back into its human form and she laughed at him gently and patted his cheek.

“Oh yeah, that reminds me all right.“ She shook her head and dropped her hand back to the bed.

Spike sputtered in outrage, but he couldn’t really work up a good tantrum with the memory of her hand on his face so fresh.

“Hey, Spike,” she asked hesitantly, “Why didn’t your chip go off when you tried to scare me?”

“Guess it knew I was kidding, pet. Not much chance I’m actually going to bite you, you know.”

“I know,” she said softly.  “I just don’t know why.”  She gestured toward the lump on his forehead, already healed into a small scab.  “How’s your head, by the way?”

“It’s fine. My head’s too hard to damage that easily.” He grinned at her.

“Hey, shouldn’t that be my line?” She grinned back.

“Well, probably, but you don’t seem to be keepin’ up your end of the insultin’ here, so I figured I’d do it for you.”

Buffy laughed again and said, “Guess not. Maybe I’ll be back to my old bitchy self tomorrow.”

“I hope so, pet. I got nobody to fight with – Well, except the whelp, but that’s not really a challenge, is it?”

She smiled again, but with her eyes shut and Spike suddenly remembered she was supposed to be sleeping.

“I’m sorry, luv.  I’m keepin’ you up, aren’t I?  I’ll just get out of here and let you go back to sleep. I’ll come by the house tomorrow night.  If that’s OK?” he said shyly.

Buffy’s eyes opened in surprise. “Since when do you care if it’s OK or not? Who are you and what have you done with Spike?”

“Ok, that sounds more like my sassy Slayer,” he laughed.  “Good night, Buffy.” As he turned to go, Buffy grabbed the sleeve of his duster and pulled him back.

“Spike?” she said.


“Come here.”  He leaned over her with a puzzled look and she reached around to put her hand on the back of his neck and pulled his mouth down to hers.  He lost all sense of reality when he felt her soft, supple lips pressing against his.  Afraid to breath or move, he just stayed bent over until she released his neck and he could pull back to look at her with awestruck eyes.

“Thank you, Spike, for taking care of me today.”

The two former bitter enemies looked into each other’s eyes for several seconds, their faces only inches apart.  Spike wanted to kiss her again so badly he thought it must be radiating off him in waves, but he didn’t want to push his luck and spoil the moment.

While he was agonizing over what to do, Buffy solved it for him by reaching up and capturing his mouth again.  This time, what began as another chaste and tentative kiss deepened and suddenly tongues were slipping around and over each other – exploring mouths and lips, tasting and savoring.  Buffy felt like her body was melting into the bed, and surrendered completely to the sensual pleasure of the kiss.  Spike felt a jolt of pure lust go through his body and his jeans were suddenly very tight.

  Eventually Buffy needed to breathe and they broke apart.  Both were gasping for breath and it would be hard to say which was the most startled looking.  Spike was just staring in awe and disbelief – Buffy had her hand pressed to her lips and appeared to be in shock.

“Well,” she said finally, “that was just…just….”

“Yeah, it was. It sure was,” Spike agreed softly.

“Doesn’t mean a thing,” Buffy said quickly. "Probably just the drugs.”  She winced when she saw Spike’s face fall.  “But, it was nice!” she added quickly. Foot-in-mouth Buffy strikes again, she thought ruefully.

Spike just gazed at her long enough for her to feel a flush in her cheeks and then the old cocky attitude was back.” Yes, it was nice, Slayer,” he said with a smirk.  “And you just keep telling yourself it was drugs.”  With that, he blew her a kiss and slipped soundlessly out the door.

Ohmigod, I kissed Spike! And I liked it! She remembered back to last year and Willow’s spell that had them kissing and fondling each other for hours.  Until now, she had effectively blocked the experience from her mind, assuring herself that the things she had felt were a result of the spell.  “Ok, no spell now.  But – drugs! Must be the drugs!”

Having reassured herself that she wasn’t responsible for anything, she drifted back to sleep with a small smile on her face and a hand touching her lips.

Chapter Two

After a week of Buffy on the couch, demanding, whining, complaining and generally making everyone miserable, Joyce and Dawn had had all they could take.  Dawn announced that she was spending the night, and possible the week, at Janice’s and Joyce said she had to get back to the shop and get some work done.  She also had to go to LA overnight to pick up some things for the gallery.  She worried, though, about leaving Buffy at home alone.  Willow was back in the dorm, Riley had told her he was on assignment, Xander had to work and Giles was at the Magic Shop.

It was Dawn who had the idea first.   “Mom, why don’t we ask Spike? He comes by every night anyway. He can just hang around and be here in the daytime too.”

“That’s quite an imposition, Dawn. I mean, he sleeps in the daytime, doesn’t he?  And does whatever it is vampires do at night.”

Dawn looked at her mother as disdainfully as only a fourteen-year-old can. “Mom, vampires eat people at night! Spike can’t do that anymore, so all he does is hang around Buffy and…”  The look on her mother’s face made her decide not to pursue that train of thought out loud.  “Anyway,” she amended quickly, “I’m sure he’ll be happy to do it. I’ll go ask him.”  Before her mother could argue, Dawn sprinted out the door and practically skipped to Spike’s crypt.

“Hey, Niblet, what’s wrong?” he greeted her out-of-breath entrance.

“Nothing’s wrong if you can come and stay with Buffy for a day or two so Mom and I can go somewhere else where she isn’t!”

He laughed and tugged on her long, silky hair “Slayer’s getting antsy, is she? Must be feeling better if she’s pissing people off.”

“She’s impossible!” Dawn began, then hastily added, “But you can handle it.  We just can’t take it anymore.”

“Ok, Bit. Tell your mum I’ll be by as soon as I can to Slayer-sit.  I’ll take the sewers and be there shortly.  But only if she has marshmallows for my cocoa,” he added, trying to sound unimpressed that Joyce trusted him to take care of Buffy.

Buffy’s mood was so bad after a week of inactivity, that she barely glanced up when Spike came in.  She mumbled “good-bye” as Joyce left, rolling her eyes at Spike and wishing him good luck as she went gratefully out the door.

“Having a pity party, are we?” he asked once Joyce had left, noticing her messy hair and slept-in clothes. His nightly visits had been short and limited to checking on her health rather than spending time with her.  “Nice of you to fix yourself up for me, pet,” he snarked as he sat down in the easy chair and stretched his legs out.

“Shut up, Spike,” she replied automatically, without taking her eyes off the TV.  “I don’t need a babysitter, you know.”

“Looks to me like you need a kick in the butt,” he snapped back. “Look at you. When was the last time you combed your hair or washed your face?”

“I don’t believe I’m getting grooming tips from someone whose hair is stuck in the 70’s! And who lives in a dirty old crypt, for Pete’s sake!”  Her attention was now off the TV and fully focused on glaring at the smirking vampire.

“You’re just jealous cause I’m prettier than you are today,” he smiled at her and wiggled his eyebrows.

Buffy smiled in spite of herself.  “In your dreams, Fang-face.” Then her expression changed and she asked almost timidly, “Do I really look that bad?”

Resisting the urge to tell her she could never look bad to him, Spike asked instead, “Haven’t you looked in a mirror lately?”

“Well,” Buffy replied, “Mom and Dawn can’t get me up and down the stairs easily and I don’t want to stay in my room all day, so….”

“Oh, well, I can fix that!” he scooped her up easily and carried her up stairs, taking care not to bump the walls with the cast on her leg.  He deposited her in front of the bathroom mirror and held her up while she looked at herself.   Although Buffy knew Spike was behind her because she could feel his hands resting on her shoulders, all she could see in the mirror was her own reflection.

“Ohmygod! Why didn’t someone tell me I looked this bad? Look at me! I need to wash my hair, take a bath….” Her voice trailed off.  “Oh, right, I can’t get the casts wet. Argh!”

“How about if you wrap the casts in plastic?” Spike asked. “You could at least take a shower and wash your hair.”

Buffy thought that would be a good idea and Spike ran downstairs to find some large plastic bags.  He returned quickly and helped Buffy wrap them around her two casts and secure them with string.

He then leaned into the tub and started the shower for her, adjusting the water until it was a comfortably warm temperature.

“Ok, Slayer, here you go –“ He stopped abruptly as he realized at the same time Buffy did that they had a problem.  There was no way Buffy could get herself safely into the tub and out of her nightgown.

They looked at each other for a second, they Spike said, “I’ve got it.” He picked her up gently and deposited her in the tub, then pulled the shower curtain closed and said, “now, hand me your nightie.”

“Uh, Spike, I can’t get it off with one hand. Especially not standing on one leg in a slippery tub.”

Taking a deep and unnecessary breath, he put his arm through the curtain and said, “Ok, show me where it is.”

She guided his hands to the hem of the nightgown and he quickly pulled it up and off.  Getting both gown and him soaked in the process.  “Ok, now you’re set.  Let me know when you’re ready to get out. I’ll be right outside.”

He bolted from the room, grateful that the shower curtain hid him from her sight and she hadn’t been able to see the look on his face or the bulge in his jeans when he was undressing her.

He though briefly about relieving himself while she was behind a closed door, but opted instead to think about boring and annoying things. Angelus’ hair, Harmony’s voice, Xander’s attitude, the Watcher’s taste in music, etc.  He repeated his litany of annoying things over and over until he heard the water stop and Buffy say hesitantly, “Spike? Are you out there?”

“Yes, love, are you ready to get out?” He tried to steel himself for the sight and feel of naked Buffy, as he cautiously opened the door and peered inside.  To his relief, the curtain was still closed, although Buffy was peeking out from the side. “Towel?” she asked.

“Oh! Yes, sorry, pet.  Here you go.” He held out the large fluffy towel to her, then realized she would not be able to take the towel, dry off and hold herself up at the same time.

Shutting his eyes, he reached carefully into the tub and wrapped the towel around the now shivering girl, picked her up carefully, and deposited her on the bathroom floor.

“How’s that, pet?” he asked as he set her down right in front of him.  Suddenly the nearness of the lips he remembered so well from the hospital kiss were too much and he backed away saying, “I can’t do this, Slayer. I am not a strong man.”

“You’re not any kind of man and you feel plenty strong to me,” she said, looking up at his nervous face.  “What’s wrong with you?” 

She shivered again, and with a groan, he grabbed another towel and began rubbing her dry everywhere that wasn’t already covered by the towel.  When he had all the water off her body, he took off the plastic bags and wrapped the towel around her wet hair.

“Come on, let’s get you back into some warm clothes,” he said, picking her up and carrying her into her room.  He could see from the embarrassed look on her face that she was aware of the lack of coverage from the towel when he held her in his arms.  She plucked at the hem in a feeble attempt to pull it down over her legs, then realized that the big issue was her bare bottom hanging out the back.

The instant they were through the door, Spike put her down and stepped away muttering, “Clothes, need clothes.”  Buffy directed him to her dresser and he found some sweats that seemed loose enough to fit over her casts.  He helped her as much as he could; keeping his eyes squeezed shut as he pulled her sweat pants up under the towel.

He opened them quickly when he heard Buffy laugh softly, “Spike, I can’t believe you aren’t trying to sneak a peek.  This is so…so…swe-”

He cut her off with a growl, “It is not! I just wouldn’t take advantage of you like that.  And if you tell anyone, I’ll….” He went into his vamp face for a minute then relaxed back to his human face when she continued laughing at him.

“Ok, Big Bad. I won’t tell.  But I won’t forget it either, “ she finished softly.

“Well, don’t get used to it, Slayer.  When you get out of those casts, all bets are off.  I’ll be sneaking looks and copping feels right and left!” 

He gave her his best leer, but she just laughed some more and said, “Promises, promises.” I did NOT just say that out loud!

“Oh yeah, they are, love. They definitely are,” he said under his breath.  “Are you ready to go downstairs now?”

“I need to comb my hair out first. Can you give me the comb from my dressing table?” 

He handed her the comb, but after watching her struggle with one hand for a minute, he took the comb from her and said gruffly, “Here, let me or we’ll be here all day.”

Buffy gradually became more and more relaxed as he gently combed out her wet hair and spread it out on her shoulders.  He kept combing long after it was necessary – mesmerized by the silky feel of her hair and the glorious golden color.  Buffy, meanwhile, had completed surrendered to the sensual pleasure of having her hair combed.  She was startled out of her pleasant relaxation by the ringing of the phone.

Instinctively, she went to reach for it and lost her balance, toppling forward toward the floor, face first.   With supernatural speed, Spike had her in his arms and safe before she actually came close to hitting anything.

“Bloody hell, woman, Are you trying to kill yourself?” He held her to him, briefly, enjoying the feel of her body against his and the way she relaxed into him in relief.  She looked up at him gratefully, and then both were frozen by the memory of the kisses in the hospital and the proximity of those same lips.

Buffy looked into those amazing blue eyes, trying to decipher what she saw there, searching for any trace of her former mortal enemy in them.  But all she could see was concern for her, a trace of fear, what was obviously desire, and some other emotion she refused to identify.

For his part, Spike was using every ounce of self-control he had developed over the last 140 years to keep from crushing his mouth down onto those full pink lips and kissing them until they hurt.  He could read the uncertainty in Buffy’s face, though and fought the urge.  He couldn’t bring himself to let go of her or move away, but he managed to refrain from pulling her closer or initiating a kiss he wasn’t sure would be welcomed.  He could hear her heartbeat speed up and feel the warmth coming off her body, but he told himself that could be fear just as easily as anything else.

The mutual inability to move was finally broken by the repeated jingling of the phone and they both dropped their eyes and moved apart. Spike grabbed the phone and handed it to Buffy who swallowed hard and said, “H –hello?” in a shaky voice.

Buffy!” came Riley’s voice. “Are you all right?”

“Yes, Riley,” she said, glancing at Spike just in time to see him stiffen and turn away.  She couldn’t see his face, but the dejected slump of his shoulders told her all she needed to know.  “I’m fine.”

“Well, it took you long enough to answer the phone.  Don’t you have it right beside you?”

“I’m upstairs right now and the phone isn’t close by,” she explained.

“Oh, you got upstairs? Well that’s good. I told your mom you’d be okay by yourself.” He sounded much too smug to suit Buffy.  “Another month or so, and you’ll be up and about and back to slaying in no time.”

“A month?  Have you learned nothing about Slayers yet?  I’ll be healed in another week or so.  And, are you nuts?  I need to be out there, now. “

“Oh, Buffy, your slaying can wait.  It’s not like it’s really impor….”

That was the final straw.  As sweetly as she could, Buffy cooed, “That’s true. I have nothing important to do. I’m sure Glory will wait until I get better to keep searching for her precious key.”  Her voice hardened.   “I need to go now. I want to go back downstairs.”

“Oh, okay,” he replied, somewhat taken back by her tone.  “How will you do that?”

“The same way I got up here,” she said sweetly. “Spike will carry me.”

There was a moment of silence while Buffy grinned in satisfaction.  Spike put his head back in the room when he heard his name mentioned and rolled his eyes at her. Then he grinned at the inarticulate sounds coming from the phone as Riley found his voice.

“What the hell is he doing there?” he demanded.

“He’s taking care of me while Mom and Dawn are away.  Which is working out really well, because he is soooo strong, he can just carry me around the house wherever I want to go,” she said brightly.  Spike groaned and mimed being staked as Riley’s voice rose even higher.

“I’ll be right there,” he yelled.  “Tell him to get out if he wants to survive the day.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. It’s still daylight.  He’ll have to stay at least until dark…. Anyway, I thought you told Mom you had important work to do and you couldn’t come over today?”

Well, if I’d known she was stupid enough to let HIM in, I wouldn’t have told her ‘no’,” he sputtered.

“Oh,” Buffy’s voice was much less sweet. “So, if it was just a question of my being alone, your work was important, but if I have company you don’t approve of, suddenly you’re free?  And, don’t call my mother stupid,” she added with a growl that would have done credit to a vampire. Spike grinned in appreciation.   

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.  We need to talk,” Riley said and hung up the phone.

Buffy put the phone down and sighed, “I guess you’d better get me downstairs and then hide somewhere.  He sounds very stakey. And I don’t want to lose my personal maid just yet, “ she added with a smile.

He smiled back at her and came over to pick her up.  “I don’t fancy hidin’ from the soldier boy, pet,” he said, tucking a drying piece of hair behind her ear.  “I don’t think he can hurt me if I see him coming.”

“Probably not, but I wouldn’t be able to stop him, so let’s not find out, okay? “ She gave him a pleading look and his heart melted with knowledge that she was worried about him.

“Whatever you say, love. Let’s get you downstairs before Captain America drives a tank through the door or somethin’.”  With that, he picked her up and carefully carried her back down to the couch. To her surprise, she saw fresh clean sheets and fluffed pillows.  Spike had obviously been busy while she was on the phone.  She gazed at him in amazement and said, almost to herself, “Guess Mom knew what she was doing…”

“Smart woman, your mum.  Hates Angel, you know.” And with that parting shot, he headed for the kitchen, closely followed by an airborne magazine.

Chapter Three

She heard him laughing as he got out “his” cup and warmed up some blood from the fridge.  Just as the microwave beeped, Buffy heard the sound of a large vehicle roaring into the driveway.  “Spike,” she said urgently.  “Riley’s here. Get out of sight, now!”

Grumbling the whole time about “wankers” and “tin soldiers”, Spike went down the basement stairs and took his blood over to the laundry area.  He hopped up on the drier and started to drink while using his vampire hearing to follow what was happening upstairs.

He heard the slamming of the front door and Riley’s voice demanding, “Where is he? I want to talk to him.”

“I guess he left,” said Buffy innocently.  “Isn’t that what you wanted?”

Riley stopped glaring around the room and slumped down in the chair with a sigh.

“Buffy,” he started tentatively, “I don’t mean to question your mom’s judgment, but doesn’t she realize Spike is a vampire? He can’t be trusted. Even with the chip he’s evil, and vicious and….” He stopped as Buffy held up her hand.

“Riley, have you forgotten who stayed by me for hours last week, fighting off other vampires and demons to keep me safe until you got there?  I trust Spike, my mother and Dawn like him and we’ve known him a lot longer than you have.  To you, he’s just Hostile #17. To us he’s a, a person.  Maybe not everyone’s favorite person all the time, but someone we know and someone we can rely on to take care of the Summers girls – whichever one of us it is.”

In the basement, Spike almost choked on his blood at hearing her stand up for him like that.  He would have sworn his cold body felt warmth all though it from her words.

“All right. I get that your mother likes him.  That’s just her nature to be trusting and friendly.  And I get that Dawn likes him.  She’s young and he’s got that whole bad-boy thing going for him.  Easy to see why a teenager might think she had a crush on him.  But you! Buffy, you kill his kind. You know what he is, what he’s capable of. How can you possibly even want to be in the same room with him without killing him?”

Downstairs, Spike was listening carefully to Buffy’s response.

Buffy smiled briefly, “Oh, I want to kill him on a regular basis.  Just ask Giles!  But I don’t because I can’t.”

“You can’t?”

“It wouldn’t be right. He can’t fight back, so it wouldn’t be any fun.”

“Fun? Fighting Spike is fun?”

“Well, it used to be.  He’s the best I’ve ever come up against.  We’re very evenly matched, you know,” she said brightly

Something about the look on Riley’s face stopped her before she could say anything else complementary about the vampire.

“Maybe you can’t kill him, but I can,” he growled out. “He can’t have gone very far.”

“Riley, did you hear nothing I said?  Spike is a good fighter; he helps me against demons and vamps, and hellgods.  My mother and sister like him. He protects them for me.  I need him right now.  And,” she met his eyes firmly, “he’s my friend. As much as Willow or Xander or….” 

She glared at him defiantly and eventually he looked away and muttered, “All right, but he’d better stay out of my way.  And away from you!” he added.  “It makes me crazy to think he’s spending so much time around you – and touching you – You have to stop letting him touch you!  It’s just not right.”

Buffy colored guiltily as she said,  “He only touches me when he needs to help me get somewhere.” Ok, not really a lie. I kissed him, not vice versa, so technically HE wasn’t touching Me. She hoped Riley wouldn’t notice the warm flush she felt on her face as she remembered the kiss in the hospital.   “You sound like you’re jealous, for pity’s sake!”

“I’m not jealous!” he declared indignantly.  “I’d have to think he was worth worrying about to be jealous of him.  But it does seem to me sometimes that your little gang of friends and this whole Slayer thing is more important to you than I am.  And now a vampire seems to be part of the group too.  It’s just too weird.”

Buffy just gaped at Riley with her mouth open.  She wasn’t sure how to respond to what was obviously the idea that he should be more important than her Slayer duties.  To avoid more arguing, she settled for mildly commenting that she and the Scoobies had been fighting evil together for a long time and things like surviving the occasional apocalypse tended to bring people close.

Riley didn’t look particularly convinced, but grumbled something about having to get back to the base.  He leaned in to kiss her and Buffy found herself comparing his quick dry kiss with the bone melting one she shared with Spike. Bad, Buffy. Bad, bad! she scolded herself as she tried to kiss back with enthusiasm.  Riley slid his hand down her back and commented, “I’ll be glad when that cast is off and we can….”

Buffy smiled at him and said, “Yes, me too. I miss you.”

From the basement there was the sound of breaking crockery – as though someone might have thrown a cup against the wall.

“What was that?” Riley straightened up and looked around.

“What was what?  I didn’t hear anything.”  Buffy mentally cursed the impulsive creature in the basement as she looked innocently at Riley.

“I thought I heard –“ He peered into the kitchen but saw nothing so he reluctantly started toward the door.  “Better lock this door,” he said.   “You don’t know who or what might come in.”

“Ok,” she said as she waved at him. “I’ll be fine.  Bye”

With a final suspicious look around the room, Riley finally went out the door and pulled it shut behind him.

Buffy sank back on her pillows and breathed out vigorously.  “What am I doing?” she wondered out loud.  “Lying to Riley, kissing Spike.  This is becoming way too complicated.”

As the sound of Riley’s vehicle died away in the distance, a contrite blond head appeared in the kitchen doorway.  “I broke my cup, pet. I’m sorry. I’ll clean it up if you tell me where the broom and dust pan are.”

“So I heard.” She glared at him.  “And so did Riley. Just when I had him convinced you weren’t here anymore. Do you have a death wish?”

“I said I was sorry,” he growled. “I just got a little – disturbed – and it flew out of my hand.”

Buffy studied him for a minute, wondering if she should make it clear that he had no right to be disturbed by anything Riley and she said or did, but finally concluded it would be easier to just ignore the whole thing and pretend she had no idea why he threw the cup.

She told him where the broom was and flicked the TV back on.

After he cleaned up the broken cup, Spike asked her if she was hungry and wanted him to fix dinner.

“You can cook?” she gaped at him.

“Well, no, not exactly. But your mum left some frozen dinners and I know how to use a microwave,” he huffed at her.

“Whew, for a minute there I thought I REALLY didn’t know you.” She exhaled in relief and look up in time to catch him staring at her.

“What?” she demanded.

“Nothing, Slayer, nothing at all.” He went into the kitchen and started banging things around much more than was probably necessary to microwave a frozen meal.

As the evening wore on, they settled into a companionable silence, interrupted by the occasional comment about whatever TV show was on.  Spike made some popcorn and when he came back in with the bowl it just seemed to make sense for him to join her on the couch where they could both reach it instead of going back to the easy chair.  Buffy slid over slightly and curled her un-cast covered leg up under her.  That shifted her weight and made her lean toward Spike.  She tried several times to prop herself up with her injured arm. But she couldn’t get the right spot.  Finally, Spike said, “Here, pet,” and slid over so that she could use his shoulder for support.  Buffy leaned into him and said, “Oh, that’s perfect. Don’t move.”

Spike snarked, “Don’t get used to it, Slayer. Not a bloody piece of furniture, you know.”  But he smiled to himself. I’ll stay here as long as you want me

Buffy just sniffed at him and cuddled closer, putting her head on his shoulder and resting her free hand on his bicep.  Without realizing what she was doing, she began to absently move her fingers up and down, stroking his arm and enjoying the feel of the cool muscle under her hand.

The touch of her warm fingers and their rhythmic stroking was having a less than soothing effect on Spike.  He was grateful that he didn’t need to breathe and that his heart didn’t beat, because he knew if he did there would be no hiding his increasing arousal.  As it was, he shifted uncomfortably and hoped Buffy couldn’t see the growing bulge in his jeans.  He tried not to groan – not even sure if it would be a groan of pleasure at her touch or of pain at the frustration he was feeling.  At some point, Buffy noticed that he was sitting incredibly still even for a vampire, and that he wasn’t nearly as relaxed as she was feeling.  A quick glance at his tight face made her notice what she was doing with her hand and she reluctantly let go of his bicep and tried to sit up.

“S’wrong, pet?” he asked, as she pulled away, feeling relieved and chagrined at the same time.

“Nothing, I just…” She felt him shift away from her and saw the tell tale swelling along his thigh.  She realized why he had been so still and was embarrassed and a little thrilled. I did that just by rubbing his arm? Wow.

Spike squirmed around, trying to relieve the pressure without being obvious about it.  He looked so uncomfortable, Buffy couldn’t help but giggle at him and he realized she had figured out the source of his discomfort. 

“Think it’s funny, do you?” he growled, adjusting himself now that there was no reason to hide his problem.

“I’m sorry, Spike, Really I am, but you looked so, so....” She couldn’t finish her sentence and just rolled on the couch giggling.

The thunderous look on his face was gradually replaced with a reluctant grin and eventually he joined her in laughter. “Wouldn’t think somebody my age could get so excited by a skinny little chit like you snuggling up to him, would you?”

“I’m really sorry, Spike.” She gasped as her giggles stopped.  “I wasn’t thinking and your arm was there and I was so comfortable and relaxed….”

He interrupted her quickly, “Not your fault, love. S’me. I just can’t be around you without wanting you. It’s like a disease.  Don’t ever be afraid to lean on me because of that.”

“But you looked so uncomfortable; and I don’t want to…”

“Nobody ever died from a hard-on.” He smiled at her.  “Even if it sometimes feels like you could.  Come on, love, lean back over here. “ He said as he put his arm around her and pulled her over against him. “ Just keep those busy little hands still, huh?”

Buffy flushed bright pink and folded her good hand under the cast. “That’s me – hands off Buffy. No more touchy, I promise.”

They settled back down to finish watching the movie, but neither one had any idea what was going on the TV screen.

Chapter Four

Buffy was trying to digest what Spike had said about being around her, and he was trying to relax and enjoy her nearness without getting so turned on that she would notice and pull away again.

Gradually they relaxed against each other and drifted off to sleep.  Buffy with her head on his chest, Spike with both arms loosely cradling her and his chin resting on her head.

Buffy woke up slowly, smiling to herself as she snuggled into the strong arms holding her.  Mmmmm... this is such a good fit. As she became more awake, she remembered who she was snuggled up to and wondered why it didn’t feel wrong.  It occurred to her that if Riley or any of the Scoobies were to walk in now, there would be some serious ‘splainin’ to do.  Reluctantly, she stirred and tried to stretch.

“Spike,” she said softly, “Spike, my arms and legs are falling asleep.  I need to move.”

He lifted his head and sat up straight, dropping his arms and stretching.  “Sorry, love, guess I dozed off. So much for keeping you safe, huh?”

“I felt pretty safe,” she said shyly, looking up at him from under her lashes, “but I really need to move or stretch or something.”

His undead heart lurched in his chest at the look she gave him and he had to fight the urge to lean down to her lips.

Instead, he stretched himself, then stood up and pulled her to her feet. He held her steady as she reached up with both arms and stretched as well as she could with two casts and taped ribs.  He noticed her wince as she reached overhead and touched her face gently, “Ribs still sore, eh, pet?”

“I think they’re healed. Just sore and stiff from being taped so long.  I feel like I can’t breathe.”

“Do you want to take the tape off?  If you’re sure they’re not still cracked…”

“I’m sure,” she said firmly. “Unwrap me.  Please,” she added uncharacteristically.

Spike raised his eyebrow at her unusual politeness.  “Whoa! A request instead of an order? You must still be feeling weak.” He smirked at her.

“Not too weak to kick your ass, “ she snapped back.  “There’s no sense trying to be nice to you, is there?”

“Dunno, love. S’not like it’s something you try very often."

“Well, don’t hold your breath until it happens again,” she muttered.  “Come on. Get this tape off me.  It’s wet from my shower anyway and feels gross.”  Buffy pulled up her shirt and waited expectantly.

Spike couldn’t help the sharp intake of breath at the sight of her smooth skin and cute belly button.  He pushed his demon down and began to gingerly unwind the tape from around her torso.  Each time he reached around her to switch the lengthy bandage from one hand to the other, he had to fight the urge to pull her closer and bury his face in her neck. For her part, Buffy found herself responding in a totally unexpected way to his nearness and each time his arms went around her for more tape, she had to fight the urge to lean in to him so those strong arms would stay around her.  She rested her good hand on his shoulder to help keep her balance as he worked.

Eventually, the last piece of tape was unwound and pulled off, but neither one moved to step away from their near-embrace. Spike looked down at her and said in a husky voice, “OK, Slayer, you should be able to breathe better now.  How does that feel?”

“It feels much better, thank you, “she whispered back, not taking her eyes off his, or her hand off his shoulder.  “

“Are you sure they’re OK?” he asked slowly.  “Maybe I should check them and see if they’re healed.”  His eyes continued to bore into hers – willing her to see the feelings behind the cocky visage.

“Y – yes, that might be a good idea,” she agreed, searching his face for any trace of evil intent or guile.  All she saw, however, was something that looked suspiciously close to adoration, and she blushed and looked away briefly.  Spike gently put his fingers under her chin and turned her face back to his.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

Buffy looked into his eyes again and nodded slowly.  With hands that were trembling, he ran his fingers over her sides, feeling gently for any trace of broken bones or swelling.  As he felt along the ribs right under her breast, he almost moaned out loud as his thumbs brushed against the bottom of one breast.  Buffy’s gasp made him snatch his hand back – but then he felt the heat coming off her body and realized she was having the same issues he was with their proximity.  The sound of her increased heartbeat and smell of her arousal pushed his control to the absolute limit.

Resting his hands gently on her bare rib cage, he placed his forehead against hers and said urgently, “Tell me to move away, Slayer.  Tell me now!”

Buffy leaned into him and whispered, “Don’ wanna”.

“Bloody hell, Buffy! Do you know what you’re doing to me?” he groaned.  “Got to touch you, love, got to kiss you.”  He leaned down and captured her mouth, which she was already tilting up to his willingly.  There was nothing tentative about the kiss this time.  He crushed his mouth down onto hers, forcing his tongue into her willing mouth and meeting an equally eager one.  For minutes they stood toe to toe, touching nowhere but their mouths and where Spike’s hand rested gently on Buffy’s ribs.  The warmth off her body felt like it was burning his hands and traveling up his arms into his body. 

Even with Slayer enhancement, there came a point where Buffy had to stop to breathe and she reluctantly pulled away.  Spike allowed her two quick breaths and then he was kissing her again.  This time slowly and with infinite tenderness.  With a sigh, Buffy melted against him – as best she could with one leg encased in plaster from hip to ankle.  He slid his hands around her back and spread his fingers, pulling her closer to him and moving his hands up and down her spine, leaving tingles everywhere he touched.  With only one useful arm and one leg, all Buffy could do was hang from his neck and moan in frustration.  The urge to run her hands over his cool, hard body was overwhelming but impossible in that position.

She pressed up against him as close as she could, whimpering as his hands continued to move around her body.  Somehow they found themselves back on the couch and Buffy’s hands were free to move.  She pulled Spike’s shirt from his pants, ripping the buttons in her eagerness to feel his bare chest. 

Meanwhile, he was tugging her sweatshirt off and moving his hands to her breasts, eliciting more moans and whimpers as he slid cool fingers across her hardened nipples and followed them with his mouth.  While his tongue swirled around her nipples going back and forth from one breast to the other, his hand slid down her flat stomach and into the warm wetness in her pants.  As his fingers slid into her, thumb working at her clit, Buffy almost cried with frustration at having one leg immobilized.  “Spike,” she gasped, “I want – I can’t..”

“Yes, you can, love.  Leave it to me,” he said as his mouth slid down her body, licking, kissing and tasting her as he went.  “So beautiful. so warm, so wet for me.” He kept up a whispered string of words as he put her uncast leg over his shoulder and began licking her clit with long, slow strokes.  Buffy could feel her orgasm building as his tongue moved faster and faster, sending shudders of pleasure through her whole body and turning her moans to cries of ecstasy as she got her release in waves that kept coming for minutes.  As she came down from the incredible heights of her orgasm, she tried to form a coherent sentence, but could only manage, “Wha? How did you…..”

Spike smiled up at her from where he was planting light kisses all along the inside of her bare thigh. “What’s the matter, love? Soldier boy never….?”

“Um, uh, no – I mean, none of your….  Oh!” she gasped as he captured her still sensitive clit in his mouth and tugged on it gently.  “What are you…: No, I can’t….not again…”

“Oh yes you can, love.  You’re going to come for me so many times you won’t remember Captain Cardboard’s name when I’m done with you,” Spike growled as he slid two fingers into her while continuing to worry her swollen clit with his teeth and tongue.  Moving his fingers in a way that caused her to gasp every time they touched a spot she didn’t even know she had, he brought her to the edge again so quickly she barely had time to think.  He kept her on the edge of release by slowing down and taking his mouth off her time after time until she was throwing her head from side to side and begging him to let her come.

At last Buffy could stand it no more and she grabbed his hair with her free hand and shoved his face hard against her crotch growling, “Now, dammit, now.”  She clenched her Slayer muscles around his fingers at the same time, effectively immobilizing them.  He obediently stopped teasing her and pulled her clit into his mouth, massaging it with his tongue until she screamed his name and collapsed into complete jelly.  As her breathing gradually returned to normal, she saw that he had pulled himself back up beside her and was looking into her face with a very self-satisfied expression.  Buffy just stared back at him in a daze.  “How did you…?  I never…”

“Oh, Slayer, the Poof and Captain Cardboard just haven’t done right by you, have they?” he said, running a finger down her cheek and touching her lower lip with it. “What else haven’t they taught you? Hmmm?” He murmured as he rained kisses on her neck and shoulders.  To her amazement, Buffy felt herself responding to the feel of his lips on her neck by becoming aroused again.

Ohmygod, I’m nympho-Buffy!   She could feel Spike’s erection pressing against her thigh and realized with a guilty start that so far their session of  love-making sex! she thought quickly, just sex  had been all about her.

Using her free hand, Buffy reached for the waistband of Spike’s jeans and tried to open them while not breaking lip contact of another bone melting kiss.   As soon as he realized what she was trying to do, Spike reached down and opened his pants, allowing his erection to leap out and press against her bare leg.  At the touch of her warm skin, he groaned and pressed against her as hard as he could.  Buffy’s hand was still down there and she hesitantly touched the tip and ran her thumb across it.  Spike’s gasp of pleasure emboldened her and she moved her hand down the shaft and rubbing the ridge along the back gently. Spike groaned again and bit gently down on her neck with blunt teeth. 

“Slayer, Buffy, touching me, feeling me… love you, want you…” While her one-handed ministrations were clearly making the vampire very happy, Buffy knew she wasn’t going to be able to give him any release using one hand, and not her best one at that.  Blushing furiously, she said, “Spike, what can I do – I mean can you show me how to….”

Spike grabbed her and kissed her again; making all conversation impossible for a while but showed he hadn’t forgotten her request.  “Ah, Buffy, I want to show you everything – but only when you want me to.”

“I do want to,” she said, smiling shyly.  “I’m just not sure what to do or how to do it.”

He squirmed up a little higher on the couch so she could reach his throbbing cock with her mouth and said, “Just do what you want – whatever seems natural.”

“But I don’t want to do it wrong,” she said hesitantly.

“Trust me, love,” he said,grinning,   “there IS no wrong way.   Just do what comes naturally.”

Shrugging her shoulders, she leaned down and tentatively licked the tip of his penis, sliding her tongue around the top and pushing the foreskin back and forth with her tongue.  Spike’s hiss and the way his fingers clenched the couch cushions told her she was on the right track and she went back to her task with more confidence.  The more things she tried with her mouth and tongue, the more vocal the vampire became.  By the time she had taken as much of his cock in her mouth as she could, he was practically incoherent and his hips were moving so much she had to pin him down with her good hand.  Just as he reached his release and roared his pleasure, his eyes went golden and he went into game face.  By the time Buffy looked up, he was back to his human face and lying on the couch slack jawed and exhausted.

“Did I do okay?” she asked perkily, sliding back up his body to rest her chin on his chest.  “Spike? Was I okay?”

“You’re a bleeding’ natural love.” He gasped. “A bleedin’ natural.”  He continued to take deep, totally unnecessary breaths.

For several minutes they just lay quietly together, her head on his chest, his arms holding her protectively.  Once again she noted how well their bodies fit together – not like Riley or Angel, she thought disloyally.  They always made her feel really small and child-like.

Thinking about Riley and Angel – he would freak if he knew Spike was anywhere near her snapped her back to reality, and she began to shake as she realized what she had just done.

Spike felt the change in her body and breathing and figured out what was going on.  Sighing, he sat up and pulled up his pants.  Buffy was bright red and couldn’t meet his eyes as she tried to get her sweat pants up over her cast.  

“Here, pet, let me,” he said quietly and helped her get back into her clothes.  She moved away from him and sat huddled up at the end of the couch, clutching her good leg to her chest and staring straight ahead.  Spike tried not to be hurt by her refusal to look him in the eye, but her obvious dismay at what they had done was breaking his heart.

“Buffy, Slayer, love, please. Don’t….”

She cut him off with a sharp gesture.   “No! Don’t…don’t talk!  We, we’re never going to talk about this – not to each other and definitely not to anyone else! It never happened!”

Growling, he grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him.  “It bloody well DID happen! And it was wonderful and I won’t have you being ashamed of it or trying to deny it.  I lo-“

“No!” The vehemence of her denial shocked him.  “No! Don’t say that.  You can’t love.  You have no soul.”

Spike’s face was flashing back and forth between human and vamp.  His whole body was trembling and Buffy didn’t think she’d ever seen him so angry.

“The bloody poof can’t love without his soul!  I am not Angel!  I love you so much it makes me weak and strong all at the same time.  I love you for what you are – NOT in spite of it like soldier boy.  I love your strength and your power and I love your softness and your kindness.  I love your courage and I love your loyalty to the ones you love.”  He stopped for an unnecessary breath, glaring at her and shaking all over.

Buffy stared at him in disbelief.  She’d known he was attracted to her, but had chalked it up to a displaced urge to kill her.  Since the chip prevented that from happening, he chose to obsess about her in another way. “But, Spike,” she started. “I don’t….”

“No! Don’t say it, Slayer. You feel something. I know you do.  Whether you want to admit it or not, you feel something.  Two people don’t have the kind of experience we just did if they don’t care about each other.”

“Oh, I thought that was because you’re so good at it.” She tried to lighten the mood and peered up at him to see if it worked.

“I AM good at it Slayer. But that isn’t why I get hard when you just walk in a room.  And it’s not why just this,” he ran a hand up her arm and smiled when she shivered, “makes you all tingly.

“WE’RE good at it.  You and me together.  And we’ll be even better when you get those casts off. This isn’t over yet.”  He tried to leer at her, but she could see his heart wasn’t in it.

“Yes, it is. It has to be.  I can’t deal with this right now, Spike.  I need you to be fighting beside me, not mooning over something that never should have happened.” Her lips trembled and she struggled to hold back tears.

He stepped back to the couch and knelt down in front of her.  “Alright, love, we won’t talk about it again until this whole business with Glory is over. But once we’ve saved the world, all bets are off.  Deal?”

“Okay, deal,” she agreed and put her hand out to shake on it.

“Oh no, we’re not sealing this deal with a handshake, Slayer.” He smirked and leaned in kissing her slowly and sensuously, not breaking the connection until he felt her pulse increase and could smell her response.  As soon as he knew she was reacting the way he wanted her to, he broke it off and smiled at her.  “Later, pet” he said, standing up and putting on his shirt and coat.

“Where are you going?”

“Home, to get another shirt.” He said, gesturing at his missing buttons. “I’ll be back soon. Try not to miss me too much.”

“As if!” she sniffed, but when the door closed she sank back onto the pillows with a small smile on her lips.  “As if I would,” she said softly.

The End