Buffy was sore and exhausted when she got back to their room after training, but instead of sprawling across her cot like she wanted to, she grabbed a bottle of lotion. The first time their trainers had kept them out in the sun all day, Spike had been as red as a boiled lobster and obviously in pain. If he’d somehow managed to get a sunburn back in Sunnydale without, you know, actually bursting into flame and turning to dust, she’d probably have smacked him along the most painful looking area, shot off a one-liner, and gone on her way. Here, though….
Well, she’d done what she could to ease the discomfort a bit. In return, without her even asking, he’d massaged her shoulders and feet. It had become their routine over the past couple of months.
And even though she was tired from the new moves they’d been working on, she wanted to stick to that routine. It helped keep her mind off of their situation. Besides, it had been a particularly sunny day without much in the way of cloud cover. Spike would be fine in a few hours – leaving nothing but the freckles he’d developed across his cheeks and shoulders as evidence of the effects of long hours under the sun – but she didn’t like the thought of him in pain if she could do anything about it. Especially when doing something about it meant her hands gliding over that toned body, feeling the tenseness gradually fade away as he relaxed under her and….
Whoa, that’s enough of that. Bad Buffy brain, she scolded. She shook her head to clear her thoughts and turned around, only to find Spike right there behind her instead of sitting on his cot. Okay, somebody seriously needs a bell or something, she thought, taking a step back.
He reached out towards her and grabbed the bottle of lotion, his fingers brushing hers as he pulled it from her hand. A tingly feeling seemed to travel from her fingers straight to her nipples before heading down south. Her mouth suddenly felt dry, like the moisture had all decided to follow that tingle. Stupid hormonal body. Stupid sexy vampire.
“You first, Slayer,” he said, the look in his eyes making it clear he could smell exactly what his touch had done to her. The whole smelling thing was majorly gross and should have been a complete turnoff, but, somehow, it wasn’t. “And no arguing about it this time. You deserve pampering today.”
“Huh?” she said, sounding super-duper intelligent. Oh god, had her brain melted and leaked out her ears while she wasn’t looking?
Spike tilted his head, smiling slightly as he studied her. “Don’t know what day it is, do you, pet?”
She frowned in confusion, but before she could ask him what he was talking about, he took her hand and led her towards her cot. Once she was sitting down, he got behind her and started working on her shoulders, his cool hands both gentle and firm at the same time. His fingers ghosted along her flesh, stroking lightly while his palms alternated pressure between the ball and heel. Then he used his thumbs, and oh, oh, her brain really did leak out for a moment or something as she turned into a mindless beast moaning in pleasure.
Spike laughed softly and rested his forearm along her right shoulder where it met her neck. She knew what this was. She turned her head to the side, away from him, then let it drop as he twisted his arm and slid it down her shoulder. He did the neck release twice more on that side, then moved to her other side and performed it three more times. Then he was massaging her back again, alternating firm strokes and compressions with kneading her like bread dough. She felt kind of like bread dough. All gooey and blob-like. Guh.
Eventually, he stopped and got off the cot to sit on the floor near the end, which was her cue to stretch out on her back. He worked on her feet then, using his thumbs and knuckles to temporarily send her to happy foot heaven.
“How do you know how to do all this?” she asked. She felt vaguely guilty that she never had before, though, to be fair, she usually went second when it came to the rubdowns, and was usually too tired to ask anything at all.
“Ate a masseuse once,” he answered flippantly. “Guess it just sort of came in through the blood.”
Okay, she totally shouldn’t have found that funny, but she found herself giggling anyway. Spike paused for a moment at that, then kept going, rubbing each individual toe.
“You remember when I first came to Sunnydale? When Dru was so sickly?”
She nodded, then remembered that he couldn’t see from where he was. “Yeah.”
“She’d seize up sometimes, her muscles going rigid, hard as stone. Nothing I could do during, but after, she’d be in so much pain…. Found someone to teach me how to relax her muscles, work the knots out.”
Buffy froze at his words. It was one thing to stupidly giggle at the thought of learning something by eating someone, but this….
“And then you killed the person who taught you?” She fought the urge to pull away from him. He was all she had, damn it! She couldn’t let something from the past drive them apart.
“’Course I didn’t,” Spike said, sounding annoyed. “Taught me right proper, she did, and I paid her for it. Not some brainless nit what goes about killing or stiffing the hired help. All that does is give a bloke a bad reputation and makes it hard to hire anyone with a lick of sense.”
Huh. Well, that was… something anyway. But now the mood between them was spoiled. Buffy sat up and looked at him, trying to think of something to lighten things a bit.
“You said I didn’t know what day it is,” she reminded him. “What day is it?”
He stood up without answering and went over to his own cot. Great job, Buffy, she thought sourly as she sat up, mad at both herself and him. He had no right to be all sulky because she’d made a completely logical assumption. And why the hell was she letting herself get so attached to him? He was a vampire. He ate people. Or had, until the chip. The chip…. She’d always thought it was kind of evil, putting pain chips into vampires instead of cleanly staking them. Now that she had this slug in her head, keeping her from fighting her way free, she was even more convinced it was evil. But….
Her thoughts were interrupted by Spike pulling something out from under his pillow. He eyed her, looking almost shy, then swore, ran a hand through his tousled, two-toned curls, and thrust the under-the-pillow thing at her. She took it automatically and stared, unable to comprehend what she was seeing for a moment. Was that… a stuffed piggy? It was sort of lumpy and made from the same fuzzy beige fabric as their blankets. Buttons had been sewn in for eyes and the mouth and nostrils were represented by black thread. Had Spike made it? Why would he…?
“It’s not very good, I know. Didn’t have a lot to work with,” he said defensively. “It’s just… I….” He trailed off, then blurted out, “Happy birthday, Buffy.”
Happy birthday? What? Had it really been that long? Oh god, it had. She’d missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with her mom and sister. Were they even still alive? Had the brain surgery gone okay? Was Dawn still safe, or did Glory have her? Tears filled Buffy’s eyes and she sniffled. She was twenty now, and the only person sharing it with her was a vampire she was supposed to have a mutually loathing relationship with.
“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered. “Knew it was awful.”
He darted forward like he was going to grab the stuffed toy, but she shook her head and clutched the piggy against her chest. “No,” she whispered hoarsely. “No, I love it. I just…. Why?” It came out as a plaintive wail.
None of it made any sense. He hated her. Why would he remember her birthday (or even know when it was for that matter) and make something for her? She wanted to blame it on them being stuck as slaves with only each other to rely on, but the only reason he was even in this mess was because he’d followed her through the portal and had tried to get her back home instead of escaping on his own.
“Just thought you deserved something for your birthday, is all,” he said, fidgeting and staring down at the ground.
“Not just that.” She gently, carefully, set her gift down on her pillow before standing up. “All of it. You’ve been nice to me. Even before we ended up in this dimension. I want to know why.” He didn’t say anything, just shook his head and kept staring at the ground. “Now!” she demanded.
He looked up at her then, a trapped look in his eyes like a deer in the headlights. “Don’t need a reason, do I? I’m my own man, you know, can do whatever the bloody hell I like. Helpin’ out the Slayer when we’re mortal enemies and all? Just the sort of contrary sod I am, is all. Nothin’ to do with you, really.”
He was a weird enough vampire that she could almost believe him. Almost. She narrowed her eyes and took a step towards him. He actually backed away from her, so she took another step, driving him along until his back was against the wall.
“Is this some kind of game? Or a trick? Get the Slayer to depend on you, then leave me in the lurch once I trust you?” Once I trust you…. She realized suddenly that she already kind of did. That she sort of had ever since the truce, when she’d invited him into her home. She’d never revoked that invitation, not even after he’d shown up to have cocoa and a cry with her mom and Dawn.
“That’s not my style, and you know it, Summers,” Spike snapped, several emotions playing out across his expressive face all at once. Anger, hurt, despair, like she’d kicked his puppy, peed on it, and then told him it was all his fault. “I don’t play those kinds of mind games.”
“Then what is all this, Spike? Why are you doing this?”
“Because I’m a completely sack of hammers ponce what’s gone and fallen in love with you, you daft bint!” he shouted.
Buffy’s mind went completely blank for a moment before a little voice in the back of her head insisted, vampires can’t love. She desperately wanted to keep believing that, to cling to it as an excuse for why Angel hadn’t loved her without a soul, but she couldn’t. Not after the reminder of what Spike and Dru had had. They had loved each other, and she’d used that love against him. She still remembered the fear in his eyes when she’d held the stake to Drusilla’s chest. It was kind of like the look in them now. He was terrified of what he’d just admitted. No, she realized, he was terrified of her reaction to what he’d just admitted.
His mouth opened, probably so he could take back what he’d said, but she buried her hand in his hair and pulled his head down just a little so she could steal the words with a kiss. Cool and firm and soft, just like she remembered from Willow’s spell. And unresponsive at first, but then he opened up to her, returning the kiss like he was going to devour her or somehow pour himself inside.
What are you doing? her mind shrieked at her as she pulled away, both of them breathing hard, even though she was the only one who actually needed air. Evil sexy vampire that kisses like a god is still evil! And, and what about Riley?
Spike really hadn’t been all that evil lately. Unlike the brain slugs which could be given new parameters at any time, his chip was fixed. No physical harm to humans. There was actually a lot of wiggle room there, and Spike was smart enough to have realized that. Hell, he’d figured out he could throw punches at her as long as he didn’t intend for them to hit. And as for Riley….
Well, she’d been missing for a little over two months now. Everyone in Sunnydale probably thought she was dead. He’d mourn and move on. She couldn’t just cling to the memory of their relationship, especially since the shiny had kind of been starting to wear off. Riley’s growing and constant need for reassurance about his manliness hadn’t exactly been an attractive trait. Neither had his pouting whenever a family or slaying thing had come up.
“Buffy?” Spike’s voice was unsteady, and the fear was still there in his eyes, along with guarded hope and vulnerability.
She knew what she should do. She should say it had been a mistake and go back to her cot and pretend to sleep. It was what she should do… but she didn’t want to. She wanted to…. She just wanted, and there was no one to judge her for it or tell her she was wrong. All the dreams she’d been having and the tantalizing glimpses under that skirt during training…. And he was right here, ready and wanting just as much as she was.
Very ready and very wanting. She could feel him against her through their barely there skirts. All she’d have to do was just wiggle a little bit, rise up on her toes just right, and he’d be…. She shivered and swallowed at the thought of it, her entire body tingling and aching with need. He was probably feeling the same, all because she’d kissed him. It… it would be cruel and unusual to just leave him like that, right?
But…. She imagined Giles’s tight-lipped look of disapproval as he polished his glasses, and Xander’s anger and disgust. Willow would try to be understanding, but her face would crinkle up into that look. The one that said, “I want to be a good friend, but I can’t believe you’re doing this with another vampire.” But he wasn’t just another vampire. He was Spike, who had been kind to her and was her only friend here. And who was, quite frankly, a major hottie.
Throwing caution to the wind and letting go of the dos and don’ts of Sunnydale, Buffy kissed him again. This was a different world with different rules. A world where she was just another slave, and so was Spike. She put aside that other world and lost herself in his willing embrace.
Dear Diary, Dawn wrote. Mom has to stay in the hospital for a while, and Buffy and Spike went missing last night. I got to talk to Mom for a bit. She set aside her pen to wipe at her eyes before any more tears could fall on the page. She has cancer. But the doctors say she has a really good chance, and when I went to bed, Willow was researching ways to get Buffy and Spike back. I know that, because she and Tara spent the night here.
Everybody’s been really nice to me, except for Riley, which is kind of weird. I mean, he was being nice too yesterday, but then after they all went after the majorly yucktastic snake monster, he gave me this look like I’d just farted in his Wheaties or something. I’m not supposed to tell anyone, and I won’t, other than you, Diary, but when Riley gets in these moods, Buffy calls it PMS. Pissy Man Syndrome.
Thinking about it made Dawn giggle and sniffle at the same time. She wanted her sister back and her mom all better. She wanted to sit around with both of them, eating ice cream and talking about boys. But that couldn’t happen right now. She rubbed at her eyes again and continued writing.
Anyway, I should be in first period right now, but Giles said last night that he’d call the school and let them know I have a family crisis going on right now. Like I said, everyone has been really nice to me, and Tara even offered to take me with her to her morning classes. Giles offered to drive. Speaking of which, he would probably be there soon, so it was definitely time to change out of her jammies. Even as she thought that, she heard someone come in the front door. Gotta go, Diary. I know Mom and Buffy are going to be okay. Spike, too.
Dawn closed up her diary and hurried to get dressed. The shirt she’d chosen to wear was halfway over her head when she thought she heard the front door open and close again. Huh, that was weird. Had someone gone outside, or was it someone else? Maybe Riley or Xander coming by to check on her? She finished getting dressed and headed out of her room, pausing for a moment at the top of the stairs to listen to the conversation in progress.
“Where is it?” Riley asked. He was leaning against the door, looking grim as he faced Willow, Tara, and Giles.
“It? What it?” Willow asked back, exchanging confused looks with Tara.
“That thing pretending to be Buffy’s sister. The key.”
Dawn froze, not even breathing for a moment. Thing? Pretending to be Buffy’s sister? What… what was he talking about? He wasn’t making any sense. Everyone was arguing now, but the words barely registered. Though she was vaguely aware that Giles and her two favorite witches were standing up for her.
“No, she’s not just an innocent teenage girl!” Riley shouted. “You said it yourself, Giles, she’s the key that woman is after. She’s a blob of energy that was formed into a girl and inserted into our lives against our wills.”
“No,” Dawn said quietly. Then, louder, “No!” Everyone looked up at her. “You’re wrong! You have to be wrong.” Stricken looks from Willow and Tara. Guilt from Giles. “Tell him he’s wrong!”
Before Tara could finish her sentence, Dawn turned and fled back to her room.
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January 4, 2021 11:40