Cold Comfort by Kantayra

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: PWP. Leaves off after 'Fool For Love'. Buffy invites Spike in and discovers a fun new way to forget about her troubles.

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Buffy shivered.

There was no reason for it. The night was warm and still. She supposed she could blame it on the vampire beside her but, to tell the truth, the spot where his hand had hesitantly patted her shoulder felt warmer than any other place on her body at the moment. It was strange - that a vampire's cool touch could warm her - but true nonetheless.

Another shiver went through her body, and she slowly rubbed her arms, trying to fight back goosebumps.

Spike turned to look at her at that, moving for the first time since he'd settled beside her. She should have known better than to try to stay still longer than a dead man.

"Cold?" he finally asked, breaking the stillness of the night around them.

Buffy managed a tight smile. "A little," she agreed softly.

She heard him shift beside her, but kept her eyes straight ahead, refusing to look at him. Her resolve failed when that precious, famous black leather duster of his was slipped over her shoulders.

"Don't feel the cold," he said sheepishly at her inquiring look.

He moved to inch back away, safely on the far edge of the steps from her, but she caught his hand at her shoulder. A confused crease marred his brow, and she bit her lower lip, wondering if she was overstepping the tentative...whatever it was that had formed between them in the past few...minutes? Hours? Days? Months? Years?

This something that was building between them had been starting to scare her of late. Like she could feel that it was about to boil over. But right now...

Right now she wanted comfort, and he seemed to be offering.

"Can I?" Buffy asked, slightly nervous.

Spike had this look in his eyes like he was afraid, too, like he was about to bolt... But he merely nodded.

His body felt like a coiled spring when she finally lowered her head onto his shoulder. His arm felt like a dead weight - no bad pun intended - where she still held it around her shoulder. However, he slowly loosened up as he grew accustomed to having her beside him, and soon he was gently holding her in his arms.

She felt him release a deep breath and wondered why he still bothered to do that when he didn't need the air. Maybe he just enjoyed it the same way he enjoyed food and drink and warmth and companionship...

"You're nice and warm," she finally commented, her breaths gently tickling the short hairs at the back of his neck.

"Must be leftover from the Bronze," he replied after a moment's though. "Was pretty crowded in there. Lots 'f warm bodies..."

"Not that kind of warm," Buffy clarified. "I mean the kind of warm where you've just been crying and you feel chilled because you're just exhausted and..." She trailed off abruptly, suddenly embarrassed at the intimate details she'd just shared with her former mortal enemy. "Guess that doesn't make any sense to you," she said with a nervous laugh. "After all, vampire's don't get cold..."

"We get cold," he said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper. "Not temperature-wise, but in that way you're talkin' about...we can get very cold."

"Are you cold now?" She tilted her head up to look at him, admiring the strong line of his jaw, his sharp cheekbones, vibrant blue eyes...and the tear tracks that were still visible on his cheeks. She'd seen him crying when she'd left him in alley. It hadn't mattered; she'd had to get away as fast as possible...

"Yeah," he admitted with a slight grimace, "'m cold."

"Do you want to go inside?"

Spike was torn for a moment. Going inside would entail Buffy's head leaving his shoulder. But, in the end, he couldn't refuse one of the few invitations she'd ever given him.

"Yeah," he said with a shy smile.

She rose to her feet and walked to the door, never looking back but holding the screen door open behind her for him. She removed his duster as she shut and bolted the door behind him, folding it over the back of one of the kitchen chairs.

With a trace of his usual cocky grin, he propped his gun up against the doorframe. Buffy raised one eyebrow at that but didn't comment.

He stood there, watching her move about in a daze, unsure what he should do with himself. "Look," he said finally, "you want me to call one of you chums? Red, maybe? The two of you can have a nice girls' night an'-"

"No," Buffy cut him off with the soft syllable. She offered him a little, reassuring smile.

"All right then," he agreed, trying to puzzle out what was going on in her head at the moment. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn that she wanted to talk...with him, of all people. Oh well, no harm in trying, right? "Quiet tonight," he commented of the empty house.

"Yeah," Buffy agreed. "Dawn's sleeping over at a friend's." A little shiver ran through her spine at where the house' other absent occupant was.

Spike didn't miss her reaction. "You still cold, luv?" he asked. "Want something hot to drink? Warm you right up."

She shrugged. "Mom's not here to make hot chocolate," she said simply.

He took her subtle hint. "Never learned how to make it yourself, huh?" he tsked lightly. "Quite a shame. Luckily for you, she showed me her recipe."

"That'd be nice," Buffy agreed softly. She sat down at the table and watched him fish through the cabinets of her kitchen just as if it was his own.

"You wanna help?" he asked.

Buffy grimaced. "Buffy and cooking...not such mixy things," she joked lightly.

"'S that even a word?" he demanded, scarred eyebrow raised.

Buffy felt the sudden, overwhelming desire to stick her tongue out at him. She decided to go with it.

He gave her a mock-offended huff in response and muttered something under his breath about how Americans were butchering the English language.

Buffy couldn't help it; she laughed.

His cheeks reddened slightly at the wide smile she graced him with, and he quickly turned back to the pot before him. "You're helpin' me, Slayer," he informed her a bit gruffly, "whether you like it or not."

She pouted and got up to stand beside him in front of the counter. "You do know that this will probably bring about the apocalypse," she teased.

He thrust a long kitchen knife into her hand. "See those?" he gestured to the chocolate bars he'd set out on the cutting board. "Chop 'em into tiny li'l pieces. Jus' pretend they're a nasty demon 'f some sort," he advised.

"Check," Buffy agreed. "Kill the chocolate. I can do that."

She proceeded to do so with a brutality to rival any professional chef's. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Spike heat the milk, his face a mask of concentration as he adjusted to stove knobs just right.

"You should get Mum to teach you this," he commented casually. "It'd be a shame for the best hot chocolate ever to be lost through the generations..."

"You already know it, and you're immortal," Buffy pointed out.

"'Least until I finally piss you off to the point where you stake me," he joked. Still avoiding the topic of Mum, I see...

"Like you did tonight?" she laughed, bringing down the knife for one last chop. "This small enough?" she asked.

"Christ, Slayer!" Spike exclaimed. "Jus' needed 'em broken down so they'd melt faster. You didn't need to pulverize 'em..."

"Pulverized chocolate melts faster," she teased, brushing the chocolate dust into a little bowl.

He promptly mixed it in with the heated milk mixture and began stirring constantly, eyeing it carefully the entire while.

Buffy looked over his shoulder. That was kind of nice, being able to look over a guy's shoulder for once... "Is this rocket science I'm interrupting?" she asked right in his ear.

He jumped a bit at her nearness before fixing her with a nasty scowl. "Here I am, tryin' to help out an'-"

"Overreact much?" she countered, sitting up on the counter right beside where he was working. She winced slightly when she stretched the wound in her side.

"Still 'urts?" He raised one eyebrow, not looking away from where he was stirring delightful, sweet things into the chocolate.

She wasn't quite sure how he even saw. "Oh yeah," she agreed.

"What was it?" he asked curiously. "Vamp?"

"Yup," she agreed. Ah good, remotely safe territory... "Got me good right in the side. With my own stake," she admitted sheepishly.

He let out a short bark of laughter at that.

"It's not funny!" she insisted with wide eyes.

"Dunno," he shrugged, "kinda seems like poetic justice, staking the Slayer... Cinnamon?"

"Definitely," she agreed. "But, 'poetic justice'? Maybe to a vampire, but-"

"Vampire here," he pointed out.

She cocked her head to the side to look at him at that. Sometimes it frightened her just how often she forgot that. He looked like a vampire, certainly, what with the retro - although, strangely, not from his time period - clothes and the scar and the hair that practically screamed "Not normal here!"

But there was just something about the way he acted... When she was with him, he seemed so human that she just forgot. It often took something demonic for her to remember.

Like, say, the way his fangs half-extended when he looked into the bottom of one of the mugs in the back of the cabinet and found fuzzy green stuff inside.

"'Ere," he teased, his face still scrunched up in disgust, "this one can be yours."

"Shoulda known you were trying to poison me," she quipped, hiding the mug far away at the back of the cabinet once more and taking out a clean one for herself.

He poured out into both of their mugs, and Buffy breathed in the lovely aroma.

"That should warm you up," he said, taking a tentative sip from his own mug. "Always works for me..."

"Ooh," Buffy said with a slight smile, "you even got it to make that little swirling pattern..."

"'S a talent," he agreed with a small smile. "You wanna go into the living room? 'S more comfortable."

"Yeah, OK," she agreed quietly, leading the way. She settled down right on the divide between the center couch cushion and the side, not too close to him, not too far away. He did the same, and they sat like that for some time, still just enjoying their companionable silence and drinking their hot chocolate.

Spike felt surprisingly calm and contented, just being with her like this. It was a strange feeling - this just wanting to be with and not asking for more - but he liked it nonetheless.

Buffy's mind, on the other hand, was racing a mile a minute. There had always been this great, unspoken law between them, completely unbreakable. Practically the Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not mention any other emotion between Buffy and Spike besides hatred." They didn't talk about hwy they'd never been able to kill each other even though they'd both had several opportunities. And they certainly didn't mention the fact that they both got aroused whenever they fought. Buffy knew he could smell her, and as for him...well, it was pretty damn near impossible not to notice that. Sometimes she wondered how his jeans didn't split right open...

She decided that a Commandment was a good analogy. It was the sort of thing that she would never break...as were as something Spike would mess with just because.

But it was broken now. No going back. He was in her life, her work, her home. So what would it really hurt if she gave in just a little? She got so lonely sometimes, and he was the only one who could...

"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked calmly, not accusing in the slightest but merely curious. She set her empty mug down on the coffee table and turned to look at him.

His mug was also empty, but he stared deep into it for a long time, as if the mysteries of the universe were contained within its depths. "Just can't stand to see you all down an' out," he finally responded, venturing to look at her as well.

She nodded. "You came here to kill me," she stated simply.

He let out a wry chuckle. "I do that a lot," he agreed.

She gave him a shy smile as well. "Why didn't you?" She found an imaginary piece of lint on the shoulder of his t-shirt and picked it off, enjoying the excited little jolts that shot through her nervous system every time they touched. It was that little thrill she got whenever they fought, only ten times more intense now.

"Why din't you kill me?" he retorted.

"Don't want you dead," she said simply.

He looked surprised and touched by her admission, and she would have sworn that his cheeks flushed slightly...right before he ducked his head. He'd composed himself by the time he turned back to look at her, however, and his eyes were intense, burning her to her very core, when he spoke once more.

"Neither do I."

One of her hands reached over into his lap, taking his cold hand in her warm one, sparks of electricity flying between the two of them. This was it. Time to stop fighting, denying, hurting, aching...

"Tonight in the alley," she began in a soft whisper, "you tried to kiss me..."

He didn't respond to her, but he didn't look away, either. It was hard to hide his feelings from her all the time, and he was tired. Cold.

"If you ever tried it again, now," Buffy gulped slightly, "I wouldn't pull away." She gave him a slightly apologetic look, letting him know that this was as far as she could go on her own.

Still half-convinced that this was one of those dreams that constantly haunted him, Spike cautiously leaned in. The first breath she exhaled onto his lips was hot and alive and... He knew in that instant; there was no way he was dreaming this...

Buffy's eyes widened when his lips were suddenly upon hers, and his arms around her, and...and...

She quite literally melted into his kiss, her arms and legs wrapping around him, pulling him closer.

He didn't deepen their kiss, however, instead keeping it short and sweet. She let her head drop to his shoulder once more and savored the feel of being in his lap, his arms holding her tightly, his body once again doing that strange thing where it warmed her, even though it shouldn't have any warmth to give.

"Mom's in the hospital."

She said it so softly that even he could barely hear it, vamp hearing and all.

His grip on her tightened slightly with worry. "What happened?" His voice shook slightly when he said it.

Buffy's hand rubbed comforting little circles into his back. She should have known he'd be the only person to get this...besides her, that is. "The headaches she's been having lately," she said with a calmness she hadn't known she'd possessed up until that point, "they think it might be a...a t-tumor of some sort. They're running tests tonight, keeping her at the hospital... Dawn doesn't know. No one knows, except me."

"And me," Spike pointed out softly. "Oh, Buffy, I-"

"Shh," she cut him off. "There's nothing either of us can say. Just hold me." She buried her head deeper into his shoulder, breathing in deeply and enjoying his earthy musk.

He rested his head atop hers, and the two of them stayed like that for a while, rocking slowly together.

"I've been cold for a long time now," she confessed. "Everything I do, everywhere I go, everyone I talk to...everyone except you, Spike." She planted a gentle kiss just under his ear. "I don't know what I am when I'm with you, but it's not cold."

"You're a right bitch," he informed her with a slight smirk.

She laughed at that. "Yeah, I am," she agreed before her brow furrowed. "I have to be. You know that, right?" she demanded, suddenly frightened. "That if I don't push you away, I'll-"

"I know," he reassured her, his lips just barely brushing her temple. "I know you wanna dance with me," he couldn't help but tease.

She gave him a wry smile. "In which way?" she asked coyly.

"Which do you think?" he countered with a little wink and a seductive smirk.

Her eyes instantly dropped to his lips. They really were lovely lips, full and sensual and...and she already missed them. She decided to remedy the situation immediately.

Their second kiss was slightly longer, lips parting this time, allowed tongues to dart inside, explore, battle, mate, love...

"I want you," Buffy breathed softly, pulling back, her lips at his ear, he hands in his hair. "I've wanted you for so long, Spike. I-I lied before. You're not beneath me. I was just scared, so scared..."

"I won't leave you," he answered her fears before she even had a chance to voice them. "I won't hurt you, Buffy. Never. I-I l-"

"I know," she informed him. "A part of me has always known... How do you do it, William? Know me better than I know myself? How do I know you...?"

"Just is that way, pet," he shrugged.

"Yeah," she said with a soft smile, her thumb tracing the razor-sharp edge of one cheekbone. "Meant to be?" she ventured to ask.

"Slayer," he said sternly, pulling a bit away from her, just enough so that he could think straight, "I-I need to know..."

"You know that I'm not like that," Buffy countered, enjoying using that almost telepathic connection between them now that she had admitted it was there. "I'm not Drusilla. Just like you're not..."

"The Poof," Spike agreed.

Buffy gave him an annoyed eye roll. "At least I had the guts to say the name..." she teased him lightly.

"Poof fits 'im better," Spike countered.

Buffy sighed and crawled into his arms once more. "You're hopeless, you know that? I've never met another vampire like you. You're just so...different. That's part of why I-" She broke off abruptly.

" 'You-'?" he pressed her.

She decided a good offense was the best defense and set about to kissing him like he'd never been kissed before. She moaned when his hand cupped her breast through her blouse, having always instinctively known that she'd fit into his palm perfectly.

Her own hand traveled down to the familiar bulge in his jeans, feeling its hardness for the first time. "Come upstairs with me," she pleaded softly, breaking away from his lips just long enough to say the words.

He followed her lead like a man starving, and it wasn't until they were halfway up the stairs that he realized what they were doing. Part of him wanted to do whatever it took to get her into bed with him, but another part - one that was growing stronger with every kiss - took his promise not to hurt her very seriously. He was in her bedroom by the time he'd made his decision.

"Buffy," he pleaded, pulling his lips from hers, "slow down." She proceeded to kiss her way down the side of his throat. "You need to," kiss, "stop," kiss, "you have a," kiss, "boyfriend!"

She pulled away from him at that, eyes widening when she remembered Riley's existence for the first time since...well, probably since she'd last seen him.

He let out a weary little sight and prepared to leave...but her hand caught his on the doorknob. He raised a curious eyebrow at her.

"He doesn't know," she said softly, running her hands down the front of Spike's t-shirt, feeling the strong muscles beneath... "He doesn't know what it's like to walk between worlds, never truly being a part of either. He doesn't get me, doesn't know me... He's not like you. He's not what I need. He's not even what I want. He's..."

"What everyone else thinks you should want?" Spike suggested.

She gave him a nervous smile. This was new, this opening up. It was a lot easier with him, though. He said what she was thinking whenever she chickened out; all she had to do was nod in agreement.

"Remember that bird I told you about?" he asked. "Cecily?"

She nodded.

"Only reason I ever loved her was 'cause I was s'posed to. Rules 'f society an' all that..."

"It still hurts," she commented.

He nodded. "But not as badly as losin' someone you really love..."

"I-I'm tired, Spike," she finally admitted. "I'm tired of denying my true nature, pretending to be something I'm not. I'm tired of fighting it, of fighting you. I want...I just want..." She bit her lower lip.

"Tell me, luv," he pleaded. "Whatever you want..."

"You," she decided with finality. "I just want you. Just say the word and Riley's gone. I need you, Spike. You can't-"

"I won't," he assured her. "I'll stay as long as you let me."

"That'll be a long time," she said with a small smile. "because I-"

"-Need-"

"-You-"

"-I-"

"-Love-"

"-You."

Their eyes both widened at the simultaneous admissions, and before they even realized what they were doing, they were upon each other, locked in a passionate embrace, falling together back onto Buffy's bed.

He raised his arms and let her pull his t-shirt up over his head before he returned to unfastening the buttons on her blouse. She slipped the garment off her shoulders while he unfastened her lace bra.

They met again in the middle, bare chest to bare chest, touching, feeling, enjoying the fire that their embrace had sparked.

Buffy toed off her shoes and slid back onto the bed, pulling Spike down on top of her. He kicked aside his own boots before crawling up her body, sleek and beautiful as a jungle cat.

She giggled slightly when she noticed that he didn't wear socks. It was something she'd never really thought about before. Spike had toes. Feet. And rather sexy feet at that...

She pulled him down to her and ran her hands over his bare back, his cool chest feeling wonderful against her burning one. That had been the hardest thing for her, having to be beneath a human body so hot it smothered her, the oddness of sharing her bed with a man who sweated, breathed, had a heartbeat... She'd known all along that what she really wanted was a vampire, but she'd never allowed herself to indulge, not until now.

His hands gently cupped her breasts while his lips trailed down the side of the throat, up and down her collarbone, before descending on one hard, pert nipple. He sucked it briefly between his teeth, and she let out a heady little moan.

From that moment on, his sole goal in unlife was to cause her to make that sound as frequently as possible. He softly kneaded her milky flesh with his hands while his tongue played with her rosy buds in perfect counterpoint. His jean-clad erection ground down against her hips, seeking out her clit even through both their clothes and rubbing at it roughly.

She moaned and thrashed beneath him, touching, caressing wherever she could, not holding back for once, just letting him...

"Spike!" she screamed her pleasure out to the world, clutching his head to her as a quick, jolting orgasm rocked through her.

He looked up at her, amazed at the power of her need...

"Been waiting for far too long," she explained with a satisfied, little grin. Her hands drifted down to the fly of his jeans, and she flicked open the button with her thumb. "How long have you been waiting?" she asked in a husky whisper, slowly lowering his zipper.

He sprung out right into her hot little hands, and for a second he was sure that he heat would be enough to dust him...but what a way to go! And then, slowly, he took in her warmth, and the amazing friction of her hands rubbing him up and down hit him for the first time.

He squeezed his eyes shut tight and growled deep in the back of his throat, thrusting his hips slowly in time with her caresses.

"Buffy, please," he gasped, feeling a fiery inferno building deep in his belly, "want to," gasp, "be inside you," moan, "the first time..."

She began fiddling with her own jeans at that, sliding them down her hips and kicking them onto the floor. Her panties soon followed. And, all the while, she watched him, biting her lip slightly and wondering if he really could fit inside her. She'd never been with a man this large before...

His own fingers ventured between her thighs, stroking her inner folds up and down a few times first. Every inch of needy flesh that twinged at his touch, he caressed, finding her wet and very, very ready. One, two, three fingers slid inside without resistance.

Four was a tight fit, and she gasped against his touch, continuing to stroke his hardened length as he pleasured her.

"Y-You make me feel so good," she gasped aloud, "like you're a missing piece of me..."

"We're so much alike, Buffy," he agreed with a knowing smile. "So perfect..."

"You're my shadow," she sighed, releasing him so that he could slip between her spread thighs, "my dark side...no, my gray side. And I need that, baby. I need you, the balance you bring to me..."

"Shh," he brought one fingertip to her lips, "no more words. 'Cept screamin' out my name and tellin' me how good I am. That's encouraged," he added with a delicious smirk.

She smiled and wrapped her legs around his waist, bring them into perfect alignment and...

"I love you, Buffy." One long, fluid push and he was in.

Buffy gasped. She should have known he'd be a perfect fit. Her inner walls stretched in wonderful ways they never had before, yet had always longed to do.

Spike hissed and buried his head against her throat. Her slick depths pulled him in and held him just right, her channel feeling just like a wet velvet sheath around him.

"S-Spike?" she asked hesitantly, stroking his hair.

"Cor, Buffy," he moaned, "perfect, you're...perfect..."

Slowly his hips began to move inside her, pressing in even deeper with each stroke. Buffy clutched him to her, holding him tight, whispering of her love for him into his ear. It had never felt this good for her, not even the first time, and she told him so repeatedly, babbling, "You're the best. You're the best, baby. You. Only you..."

His hips quickly found their rhythm inside her, plunging in and out of her searing depths, every stroke harder, surer, deeper than the last.

Her hips were rocking up with his now, increasing the force of his penetration, the power. Her nails raked down his back, just hard enough to make him growl but not enough to cause him pain. Her legs tightened around his waist, harder than she would ever dare with a mortal man, and she let herself truly give him everything she had, laying herself open wide to him - body, mind, heart, soul...

"God, Buffy, you're beautiful," he whispered against her ear, "you're wonderful, I love you, I love you so much..."

He swirled his hips slightly on the next thrust, and she felt a slight twinge. Something was there, something big, something yet to be explored, something so deep inside her...

"You're close, Spike!" she cried out. "So close! Again! Again! There! Harder, harder, again! Spiiiiike!" Her orgasm ripped through her with a force so beyond anything she'd ever experienced before that she couldn't even gain to describe it. Explosions, lights, colors, waves - it was all of these, yet all were too mundane to describe the overwhelming pleasure that cascaded through her body. "L-Love you, Spike," she managed to gasp out before she was pulled under.

Those words... The powerful force of her Slayer muscles milking him had him close, the expression of ecstasy on her face closer...but it was those words that sent him over the edge, holding her to him as he flooded her womb with his pleasure, telling over and over again that he loved her, that he would never leave her...

They finally landed together on the soft bed, still locked in their intimate embrace.

"Stay with me tonight?" Buffy requested softly when he rolled off of her to rest at her side.

"'Course, luv," he said lazily, pulling up the blanket they'd knocked to the floor and throwing it over their satisfied bodies.

Buffy barely managed to inch over enough to pillow her head against Spike's smooth chest. By the time she had settled against him, he was already asleep, and soon so was she...

* * *

"You're sure you'll be OK?" Dawn bit her bottom lip as Joyce shut the back door behind them.

"Fine," Joyce insisted. "They say it's a standard procedure. Nothing'll go wrong."

"B-But what if it does?" Dawn sniffed slightly.

"It'll be all right, honey," she said softly. "Now, go upstairs and take a shower, and I'll make you some breakfast."

"OK," Dawn agreed with a small smile, heading up the stairs with all the stealth of a herd of elephants.

Joyce couldn't help but smile as she turned to the stove to find a chocolate-coated pan left out. Buffy cooked? Her mind couldn't quite process that fact until she spotted the black leather duster over one of the chairs.

A little smile crossed her face as she put the pan in the sink.

She found twin empty mugs in the living room and softly climbed the stairs, pausing outside her eldest daughter's door to listen. All was quiet within.

She went back downstairs and cleaned up the mess her daughter and friend had made the night before. By the time she was done, the water from Dawn's shower had turned off. She went to warn her youngest not to bounce into her sister's room like she did every morning, but two high-pitched shrieks and a loud "Bloody hell!" informed her that she was too late. She cringed.

"Mom!" Dawn's voice called down the stairs. "Buffy's boinking the undead again!"

"You little brat!" Buffy exclaimed.

"Buffy," Joyce's voice was as stern as she could make it given that she was trying not laugh, "don't you call your sister names! And, Dawn, don't talk about Spike like that! It's rude!"

"Sorry, Mom," Two defeated voices said in unison.

"Now, get down here and eat your breakfast, Dawn!" Joyce called up. "Buffy, Spike, you're welcome to join us."

"Thanks, Mom."

"Thanks, Mum."

She returned to the stove with a little smile on her face. Her daughter had been so depressed since things had started falling apart with Riley. She'd even confessed to Joyce just last week that he wasn't making her happy and she was thinking of breaking up with him.

But, still, her daughter needed someone to talk to. And Joyce was glad her daughter had finally discovered what a good listener Spike was...as well as how devoted to her he was...

* * *

The pair in bed listened to Dawn stampede back down the stairs.

"Ugh," Buffy buried her head in her pillow, "I've never been more mortified in my whole life!"

"Dunno," Spike countered with a wry grin, "there was right after Red's engagement spell..."

Buffy shuddered. "Love you," she assured him, "but that spell was an abomination."

"Like you much better with the plastic grin on your face," Spike agreed with a chuckle.

"Hmm," Buffy agreed, leaning in to steal a quick kiss, "still here in the morning. Major points for that."

"Well, I would take off, 'cept I'd burn up in the sun," he teased.

She batted him in the head with her pillow. "Asshole," she mock-sulked.

"Bitch," he countered.

"I am sorry, you know," she said softly, stroking his brow, his cheek, his hair. He purred slightly at her tenderness. "I've said such horrible things to you, trying to fight...this."

"'ve been a right bastard myself," he pointed out.

"Oh yeah," she agreed.

He pouted, and she couldn't resist giving that lower lip of his a quick nibble. "I don't know what I was so scared of. Love? It's not so bad..."

"'ll make it good for you, pet, I promise," he said seriously.

Buffy gave him a shy smile and curled up beside him. "Breakfast?" she asked.

He shrugged. "'m nice an' warm here."

She nodded slowly. "Yeah, me too," she agreed. "For the first time in a long while, me too."


The End.

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