Buffy punched Spike in the face. It felt good. He stumbled backwards, a slight smile on his face. Buffy smiled back. She had missed this. Not just fighting but fighting with him.
He danced backwards barefoot and beckoned her to come to him.
They were using the old gym that Cain had used when squaring Buffy up with the Slayers. Spike had decided that she needed to let off some steam before court the next day and Buffy had actually agreed with him for once.
She had tied her hair up out of her face and watched him wait for her. Her heart pounded from the exhilaration, her Slayer sense screaming at his presence and his intent.
“You scared, Slayer?”
She frowned playfully. “Of what, Spike?”
He pulled a face like that had hurt his feelings and she grinned. He motioned for her to come closer again. She took a slow couple of steps in his direction. He was good at anticipating her moves and so she approached cautiously, anxious not to give anything away.
Buffy had always had the edge on Spike when it came to a bare-knuckle fight but she could see his style had changed slightly. He was still all about the crude-but-effective street fighting but he had a calm now, a poise, that showed he wasn’t about to rush in and make a mistake. He held himself differently, loose but ready, mind alert.
Buffy came to stand within five feet of him. She didn’t bother with a defensive stance and neither did he. In fact, if anyone were watching it wouldn’t have looked like they were about to throw down. Both were just enjoying the moment.
Just enjoying being themselves.
It was Spike who moved first – lunged for her. She sidestepped easily, sure that was all that was required. Instead Spike circled around behind her insanely fast and wrapped his arms around hers, interlocking his hands in front of her. The movement crushed all the air out of her and pinned her arms to her sides. Buffy let out a grunt of surprise.
She couldn’t use her arms. But she still had legs.
Sweeping her foot up in a backward arc Buffy landed a solid kick right between Spike’s legs. He yelled in pain and she felt a little guilty. Until he shoved her hard in the back. She tumbled to the floor face first, hitting her elbows and knees painfully. Now she didn’t feel guilty at all.
Buffy rolled onto her back just in time to see a foot hurtling towards her face. She rolled again, quickly, missing the impact by mere seconds. Buffy flipped herself up onto her feet and parried a quick succession of hits from the vampire. She was good at blocking but he was fast and a couple found their mark.
During the barrage Spike left himself open to a swift kick in the gut, so naturally she took the opportunity. The force of the kick sent him careening through the air a good eight feet before he crash landed, skidded across the polished floor and slammed hard into the wall.
Buffy winced for him and followed it with a smirk. “Gotta hurt.”
Spike scowled up at her and pulled himself to his feet. He strode towards her, the movement a little stilted probably due to the residual effects of the earlier groin injury. Buffy met him in the middle.
She moved to punch him but he slapped her fist away and grabbed her wrist wrenching her arm outstretched as his other forearm landed across her neck. Spike pushed her in this position until her back hit cold brick, his arm exerting pressure on her throat.
From this close his eyes stared back at her and despite what they were doing there was no maliciousness in his gaze, no bloodlust that she could see.
With one hand pinned to the wall Buffy slung her free arm up to catch him across the face but Spike anticipated the move and simply released her, leaping backwards. Buffy’s fist hit empty air but she was free and that was important.
Spike didn’t relent for long though, coming at her with a kick to the ribs. She moved aside a little too slowly and the hit glanced off her side. It threw her off-balance and she tumbled to one knee. Even as she was rising Spike’s arm went around her neck and he wrenched her off her feet.
For one brief moment she was hanging and his arm was the noose. And then he released her. Or, threw her across the room, to be exact.
She landed on her side in a sprawl of limbs. Her head cracked loudly on the floor from the impact.
“Gotta hurt,” Spike said.
Buffy wasn’t an unreasonable woman. But he totally had it coming now. She slowly sat up, looked at his gleeful expression, and she rose calmly. Spike noticed her expression and his smile grew a little doubtful.
He didn’t get to say any more because she had leapt the distance between them and hit him bodily. They tumbled to the floor in a tangle and a string of curse words.
They scrabbled about trying to assert dominance less like a vampire and a Slayer and more like two kids in the schoolyard. Buffy elbowed Spike in the face and he growled in annoyance and pain, reaching up and grabbing her ponytail he yanked her hair hard. Buffy yelled and kneed him in the ribs.
He bucked up and threw her off of him, leaping on top of her and trying to pin her down with his knees. Buffy didn’t take well to being held down and so sat up and head butted him.
Spike fell off of her allowing her to reassert her rightful place on top. She was sure there was something Freudian in that but decided not to give it too much thought. No, she was more interested in something else. Something important.
“Show me, Spike.” She held him down by his shoulders.
Still slightly dazed he frowned at her in confusion. So she punched him in the face.
Still he did nothing.
She hit him again. “Show me”
When again he disobeyed she made a move to strike him again. This time he stopped her fist before it connected, holding on to her wrist. Spike looked her in the eyes.
“You can show me,” Buffy said quietly.
He blinked. Regarded her for a long moment. Then he obliged.
His fangs slid out from beneath his lip, his forehead creasing and protruding, his eyes bleeding to yellow.
As if something had been unleashed in him Spike went into vamp mode. He started by flinging her off him. Buffy landed on her ass and keeled over onto her back on the floor. She grinned at the ceiling. Things were about to get fun.
Spike appeared in her line of vision. He growled and she laughed. His brow creased further in confusion at her mirth and then he just reached down, grabbed the front of her T-shirt and dragged her to her feet.
Still holding onto her shirt he pulled her close, their faces inches away. Buffy’s breathing was the only sound in the empty gym. Spike shoved her backwards. She stumbled but didn’t go down. Spike rushed at her and she landed a snap kick to his chin.
The force drove him backwards and while he was still recovering she aimed a flying kick at his chest. Again he was pushed backwards, arms pin wheeling. Buffy didn’t relent. She kicked up at him again but this time he grabbed her foot and twisted. The Slayer flipped over in mid-air to go with the momentum and to avoid serious injury to her ankle.
Spike didn’t let go of her foot and as she dropped to the floor ungraciously he pulled her along, dragging her along the dusty floor and seriously messing up her hair. He spun around and let go of her ankle at the last moment so she slid along the floor with such force and speed that when she smashed into the swinging doors of the gym she actually crashed through them into the hallway beyond.
Buffy could hear Spike approaching and so she did the most logical thing. She kicked the door as hard as she could. It must have been well timed because it ricocheted off of Spike and back at her. She stood up, feeling a little woozy and pushed through the door back into the gym.
Spike had been floored. He was still lying on his back. His eyes were closed. Either he’d been knocked out or he was pretending to be. Buffy, knowing Spike, was betting on the latter.
“Don’t play games, Spike.” She breathed, stretching her limbs and keeping a distance.
Spike cracked one eye open. “Come play, Slayer.”
That comment was probably the closest Spike had come to flirting with her in a long time and she loathed to admit that it did affect her. She folded her arms and pulled a defiant face. He laughed and stood up, dusting himself off.
“Want to call it quits?” He asked.
Buffy let her arms drop to her sides. “Never.”
“Didn’t think so,” Spike smirked.
They circled each other for a short while before Buffy lost all patience and aimed a punch at his nose. Spike jumped backwards out of reach and kicked up at her, his heel striking her on the cheek. Buffy hit the wall, face burning with pain, and glared at the vampire. He grinned and bowed.
The Slayer called him to her with a quirk of her finger and Spike came running, as usual. He rushed at her, fangs bared, hands reaching for her throat. She grabbed one wrist, turned her back on him and elbowed him in the nose with as much force as she could muster. He called out in anger and she flipped him over her shoulder letting him tumble like a ton of bricks to the wooden flooring.
Before he had a chance to get up Buffy pinned him to the floor with her foot against his windpipe. Not that he had to breathe but it still had to hurt.
“Give up?” She asked.
Spike grinned up at her, yellow eyes flashing. “Not even remotely.”
He placed one hand on her leg and attempted to remove it. Buffy didn’t bunch an inch. Spike raised his eyebrows and then punched her in the back of her knee. Her leg predictably buckled and she fell, knee colliding with his chest. Buffy doubted Spike had foreseen that she would land on him. The way his rib broke and the corresponding yell of curses that erupted from his lips alluded to his surprise.
He punched her in the face to knock her to the side and then flipped himself up to a standing position. He held his ribs, wincing, and aimed a kick at her head. Buffy scooted backwards on the floor out of his range. Spike waited for her to stand and then they ran at each other simultaneously.
They collided viciously, Spike ramming her in the chest with his shoulder and careening them backwards. It was clear his intention was to slam her into the wall so at the last moment Buffy kicked her legs backwards, braced herself against the wall and pushed.
The result was that the couple fell to the floor but at least Buffy was on top where she liked to be. They had a brutal few minutes kicking, punching, and scratching the crap out of each other before Spike broke free and rolled himself up and away from her.
Buffy stood up too and was rewarded with a nice punch to her face. Spike’s nail caught her lip and tore it. Blood trickled down her chin.
Spike’s nostrils flared but other than that he didn’t react to it. Or he had trained himself not to.
Buffy punched back at him and hit him in the nose. Blood for blood. Only fair.
He ran at her again and she tried to kick him away but he caught her leg, fingers digging into her thigh, and wrenched it up over his shoulder. Buffy was short and it hurt like hell. So she screamed.
Then she kicked her free leg up to his other shoulder, interlocked her feet behind his neck and twisted. The force might have ripped his head off or broken his neck had she not been holding back just a little.
Instead it simply spun him over in a cartwheel and they both dropped to the floor in various states of disarray.
Buffy got up first, legs screaming in pain.
Spike rubbed his neck and blinked up at her; then he laughed. “Bloody hell, that was amazing.”
“Slayer.” Buffy explained simply but felt a little pride build up inside her.
Spike stood slowly, moving his head from side to side to work the muscles in his neck. “Let’s finish this, pet.”
Buffy noticed the nickname but didn’t comment. “Stop talking and come get me then.”
“You’re the boss,” he said lowly, eyes roving over her.
The vampire aimed a kick at her torso which she slapped away easily and parried with a hit to the centre of his chest. The strike would have seriously winded a human but Spike was not human and had no need to breathe, so he simply grabbed her arm, wrenched it up behind her back and pushed her face first into the wall.
With Spike pressed up close behind her and cool brick against her cheek Buffy came to the conclusion that she hadn’t felt as good as this in months, maybe even years. She’d always loved fighting, being a Slayer that was expected, but even more than the fighting she loved seeing Spike as he was meant to be seen. Without the suit, the tie, the responsibilities and the heartaches. Just a man. Just a vampire.
His lips brushed across the soft skin behind her ear and it was then she realised she hadn’t been struggling against his hold at all. She fully intended to break away until the grip on her wrist softened and his forehead dropped down to rest on her shoulder.
They stood like that in silence.
Buffy didn’t know what he was thinking about but she knew they would probably be dark thoughts, tangled up in self-loathing and guilt. Maybe he was thinking about the night she had disappeared. Maybe he was thinking about their nights together and how they descended into violence and insults. Or maybe he was thinking about what was on TV tonight. She’d never know and he would never tell her.
He didn’t tell her anything anymore.
She thought about asking him if he was okay. Perhaps being this close to her and fighting with her had triggered the vampire instincts in him. Maybe he wanted to bite her. And even as this crossed her mind she disregarded it. She trusted Spike completely. He wouldn’t bite her. Not because he didn’t want to but because she didn’t want him to and that mattered. What she wanted had always mattered to him.
What he wanted had never mattered to her. Until now. So she asked.
“What do you want, Spike?” It was a simple question, spoken softly and without malice.
Buffy was aware the question could be taken a number of ways and from the way Spike went perfectly still behind her she guessed he was struggling to find an answer that wouldn’t send her running for the hills. But she was tired of running. She just wanted to know where she stood. Where they stood.
He lifted his head from her shoulder, voice close to her ear. “I don’t know.”
It was an honest answer, she could tell that from the slight waiver in his voice and the way his hand slipped from her wrist. Buffy turned slowly to face him. He was still in game face and the vulnerable look on his face contrasted sharply to the fangs and dark pinpricks in his eyes.
Buffy reached up and took his face in her hands.
“Okay,” she smiled for him. “When you do know, you know where I am.”
She stroked her thumb across the ridge of his brow and then released him. She walked quickly away, footfalls echoing in the silence.
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