Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Chapter 14
Next Chapter: Chapter 16

It was nearly dawn when Spike stumbled towards his crypt, utterly exhausted. He wasn’t used to being nocturnal anymore, and he’d crammed the night full of things. Breaking into Giles’s flat to use his shower for bleaching, getting something special made for Senka, and tracking down some leads on trading in the gems from the other dimension for some proper dosh.

Now all he wanted to do was crawl into a nice, warm bed with Senka, but that was going to have to wait. He hadn’t the time to get to Revello Drive before the sun came up, nor the energy to play Dances with Sunbeams.

He was going to miss being out and about in direct sunlight. He idly wondered how long it would take for his freckles to fade away, then shook off the thought as he opened up the crypt door and stepped inside for the second time that night. It should have been dark and empty, the way he’d left it after changing into his jeans and t-shirt, but all the candles were lit and there was Senka, sitting in the armchair with his knees hugged up tight against his chest.

“Rehva!” he called out, jumping up and taking a step towards him. “I… I mean Spike. I’ve been looking… for….” Senka’s words trailed off as he stared at Spike, his eyes going wide and a little glassy.

Bloody hell. Last Senka had seen him, he’d had long, caramel brown hair and now it was short and white. He’d thought that might be a problem, and he’d planned for it. But he’d also planned to work himself up to things and introduce the change to Senka in just the right way.

Spike shoved his hand into his pocket and pulled out the little trinket he’d had made, the voice of his insecurities screaming away in his head. Senka won’t like it. It’s stupid and poncy. He’ll laugh and throw it back at you, you worthless git. Just –

“Here,” he said, shoving the internal voice aside as he held the bracelet out towards Senka.

He’d called in some debts to get it made in just a few hours. A slender braid of his hair, cut into three equal lengths with each end capped in gold. More gold, formed into a delicate web, connected the ends to each other and to the clasp.

“I, uh, had this made for you. I know it’s stupid. It’s…. Nothing to it, just meant to be a jo–”

His nervous babbling was cut off by Senka snatching the bracelet away and grabbing him up in a bone-jolting hug. Warm and strong and a touch painful. Home. After a few moments of just basking in each other, Senka pulled away with a sniffle and wiped away the moisture gathering at his eyes. Then he cocked back his fist and punched Spike right in the nose.

Ow! What the bloody….” Spike glared at Senka, feeling betrayed and bewildered. That wasn’t the sort of thing Senka did. That was more of a…. “Buffy?”

He… she? … gave a weak little smile. “Yeah. Kind of. I… I think.” She sniffled and gave a mocking laugh. “I don’t know. I just don’t….” She shook her head and put the bracelet carefully into her pocket before taking up a fighting stance. “Fight me.”

She was starting to come back to herself, but she wasn’t fully there yet. It was a good thing. It was good she was coming back. It was…. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He’d fallen in love with Buffy as Buffy, and that’s when she had fallen for him. Senka had been able to say the words and had been fearless and bold in showing his feelings, but those parts of Buffy didn’t need to be unburied for them to be together.

“Please.”

Spike opened his eyes at the sound of her voice, head tilting to the side as he studied her. She sounded desperate, and her body language…. Her hands were balled up into fists and she bounced on her toes, eager for a brawl. He knew what she needed, what she was asking for. A bit of mindless violence with a safe opponent. Someone who could fight back but wouldn’t maim or kill her if she lost her focus.

He moved as he reached a decision, lunging towards her and smashing his fist into her face. Part of him felt terrible for hitting her, but the rest…. He laughed in wild glee as she retaliated, and they began to trade blows. God, it felt good to really fight her again and do more than dodge and throw blows he knew would never land. It truly hit him, then, even more than when he’d thought about eating one of the girls at the Bronze. He wasn’t helpless anymore.

Kick, block, dodge, punch. The moves to their own personal dance, forever changing yet always the same. The music was their breathing and the sound of her heart. Quips thrown back and forth as they lunged and circled, flesh striking flesh. And then she was on him, pinning him down with a strength greater than his own, and her mouth was pressed to his, tongue delving in to forcefully claim him as her property. He could smell her arousal, could almost taste it as he willingly surrendered himself to her.

When she ended the kiss, lifting herself enough to gaze down at him, they were both panting for breath. She kept her eyes on his as she reached down to gently stroke his cheek.

“I want you,” she whispered, and for a horrible moment, he thought she was going to say it couldn’t be. Then her hands slid under his shirt and along his sides. “Can I have you?”

He swallowed hard and shivered at the feel of her hands exploring his body. It hadn’t been all that long since they’d last made love, but everything seemed strange and new at the moment. Like they were hovering over the edge of a howling abyss.

“Always,” he breathed.

Her warm, strong hands immediately blurred into action, making short work of undoing his belt and zipper. Her knee-length skirt and lack of knickers meant it was only a moment more before they were skin to skin, her moist heat pressed tight against him. He thought it would be like it always was when she hadn’t access to her equipment, that she’d thrust and rub against him until they both lost themselves in the pleasure of it all. But she stared into his eyes again, and it was Senka and Buffy both in there as she slid forward guiding him towards….

Was she…? She couldn’t be….

“Buffy?” he whispered, voice choked as he tried to ask if she was sure.

In answer, she thrust down on him, sharing that part of herself with him for the first time in years.

 

 

She was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the safest she’d felt since coming home was here, curled up naked with an equally naked vampire in a crypt. Her body felt strange and foreign after… after what they’d just done. But also kind of right. God, it was all so confusing. She closed her eyes and buried her nose against Spike’s neck, breathing in the comforting smell of him. Rehva, Spike, William. All that and more, and right now, he was the only thing in her world that wasn’t confusing.

Which… was kind of confusing, actually. She was the Vampire Slayer. She wasn’t supposed to find happiness in the arms of a vampire, especially not one without a soul. Just look at the horrible mess she’d made by dating one with a soul. This thing with Spike, it was just insane. It was….

It was what she wanted. What she needed, and Senka was strong enough inside of her for his voice to overpower the one whispering that this was all just wrong. That her friends and Giles and her family would never approve.

He’s mine, she fiercely told that whisper as she squeezed Spike hard enough to make him grunt in pain. Then he gave a soft little sigh of contentment before snuggling even closer.

She was tired of having things taken away from her. They’d taken her freedom. They’d taken her ability to have children. What they’d put her through had even taken away a huge chunk of her identity. She was going to take it back. She was Buffy, but she wasn’t going to give up Senka. And she wasn’t going to give up Spike.

And because of all of that, the Buffy that just gave in to what other people wanted was never coming back.

 

 

Riley was in the middle of his morning push-ups when someone knocked at his door. He froze, then slowly got to his feet, grabbing a combat knife before looking through the peephole. A wave of relief, excitement, and dread washed through him at the sight of Graham on the other side. There was only one reason for him to be there. They’d analyzed the samples from the key, and now he had backup to help him contain the threat. Or destroy it.

“How many men did you bring with you?” Riley asked, leaving the door open as he turned away to start sorting through his weapons. “We should go for non-lethal, when it comes to the creature’s protectors.” He grabbed up a few gas grenades and set them out on his bed along with several tranquilizer darts.

“Riley.”

“They can’t help themselves and should be treated as brainwashed civilians.” More darts of various sizes along with several different guns. He was vaguely aware of Graham standing near him, seeming uncomfortable. “Willow and Buffy will be the biggest threats –”

“Riley.”

“We just need to keep Willow from speaking or making gestures. I can take out Buf–”

Riley!

He finally stopped talking and looked at his friend. The other man was stiff and definitely uncomfortable. Riley felt a sinking feeling. Damn it.

“No one else came with you, did they? Despite the proof, no one else was willing to deal with something pretending to be a fourteen-year-old girl.”

“There is no proof,” Graham said bluntly. “The tests all came back as a normal human. Because she is a normal human.”

Riley stared at his friend, unable to believe what he was hearing. No, that couldn’t be. The key wasn’t human. He knew it wasn’t. How deep did the conspiracy go? He’d thought it was just here in Sunnydale. Maybe there was some kind of magic worked into her blood that affected people in close proximity to it.

“You need to leave this place, Riley,” Graham continued. “All the insanity here, it’s getting to you. Making you jump at shadows that aren’t even there.”

He didn’t know how to respond to that. Graham was wrong, but he knew he wasn’t going to be able to convince him. He was alone in this. Completely and utterly alone until he took the key out by himself. But simply containing or destroying it wasn’t going to be enough. He knew that now.

“Look, the unit I’m with, it could really use you. It’s straight up army, not government. We don’t care about how the monsters are put together. We just stop them.” Graham held out a business card that Riley automatically took. “Think about it, okay?”

Then he turned and walked away, leaving Riley with his thoughts and the beginnings of a plan.

 


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Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Chapter 14
Next Chapter: Chapter 16

Reviews ( 1 )

kasumi
January 16, 2021 20:45

YAY for Buffy finding the core of herself deep down and figuring out how to mesh all the parts together. YAY for Spike being willing to see and accept, as he always is. Do I have to talk about stupid Riley and his stupid plans and his just...stupid stupid?