Steam by Holly

ReviewsRating: NC-17

Summary: Giles, still unsure whether or not Spike is completely harmless, nominates Buffy to stand guard while the vampire showers.

Author's Notes: This is a present for yutamiyu, who’s suffering through her thesis and could use something schmoopy and fluffy and porntastic. I hope you like, sweetie. It’s not much, but it’s for you. *hugs* My endless thanks to spikeslovebite, megan_peta, dusty273, and elizabuffy for their revisions, suggestions, and comments. And extra thanks to spikeslovebite for the drool-worthy banner she made for me.

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Buffy groaned and leaned her head against the bathroom door, the crossbow in her arms drooping slightly. She was quite certain there were other activities which could beat this in the game of colossal waste of time, but by a very narrow margin. There was little she wouldn’t put past Spike when it came to lame—albeit undermining—ploys, but allowing her to tie him to a chair didn’t strike her as a part of any plan the undead nuisance could conjure. Given their history, she was reasonably convinced Spike was truly here because he needed help, and, therefore, he would do nothing to jeopardize the tentative non-staking-of-him the Scoobies were granting in lieu of his recent incapacitation.

All this added up to unneeded boredom by guarding a defanged vampire as he washed the stink of days-without-shower off his pasty skin.

She supposed she should be grateful; Spike’s need to bathe provided her with a duty. A really tedious, superfluous duty, but a duty nonetheless. A duty which took her mind away from the ripe fury roaring under her skin. Fury which surprisingly had nothing to do with the vampire in the bathroom and everything to do with the vampire who was probably halfway back to Los Angeles.

The nerve of him! Leave her after the Ascension without so much as a goodbye, then poof!—waltz back into her life whenever the heck he felt like it and tell everyone but her that he was back. She was rolling in hurt but focusing on anger. Anger was good. She knew what to do with anger. She knew where to aim it. And at the moment, she decided it was lucky that Angel had left town. If she saw him now without allowing her mind to calm down, she might do something rash. Like kick the crap out of him.

Buffy snorted. If he was lucky, he’d get away with nothing more than a much-deserved ass-kicking.

But she wasn’t kicking Angel’s ass; not today, at least, and probably not tomorrow. Right now, she was on guard-duty for Fangless.

As he showered.

As pelts of water sprayed down on Spike’s very naked body.

Buffy scowled at her treacherous mind and shook her head. Okay, so she was mad at Angel, but the unbidden images she kept having of a naked non-Angel vampire were a little over the top. And here she’d been on the verge of giving herself a mental pat on the back for keeping her thoughts from straying down that dangerous path. It was normal, she told herself. It was completely normal. Showering demanded a certain degree of nakedness, after all; this was common knowledge. And naked meant…naked. Meant Spike was just a few feet away in full-dangly glory and there was just no way a heterosexual female could keep from acknowledging the fact.

You’re pissed at Angel, she told herself, and it provided its fair share of comfort because it was true. She was pissed at Angel. She was incredibly pissed at Angel. Pissed off Slayer, check.

Pissed-off slayers were prone to naughty fantasies.

Especially when they were practically thrown in said-slayer’s face.

Not that Spike had thrown anything of his in her face. Nuh uh. Nope. She was just shower-duty girl. Standing outside Giles’s bathroom with a crossbow in tow, ready to shoot Spike in the—err—well, to shoot him if he did something evil.

I’m either depraved or really pissed.

Perhaps it was a bit of both.

And truth be told, the murmurs of which she became aware the next second did little to help.

She’d go so far as to say they had the opposite effect.

“Hey!” she shouted at the door. “You better not be doing anything evil in there!”

Spike didn’t reply. She honestly hadn’t expected a reply, but it annoyed her nonetheless.

“Seriously. I have a crossbow and I’m not above barging in.”

There was a long, strangled moan but still no words. And immediately her mind was barraged with an array of lavish images, each dirtier than the last. Once upon a time, Buffy might have been na´ve and virginal enough to not go to the naughty place, but her one and only night with Parker had dispelled her remaining virtue. The thought of Spike in there, touching his…stuff…and knowing full well that she was on the other side of the door had her cheeks burning and her legs making with the wobbly. Her mind’s eye saw his long fingers, the tips marred with black polish, slowly pumping the length of his cock, his palm sliding against his intimate skin as his hips bucked; as small whimpers crushed his throat. She saw him, head tipped back under the shower nozzle, drops of water making a tantalizing path down his body. And without warning, a rush of pure lust attacked her center and she discovered, to her horror, she was drenched.

Stop it. Stop it right now.

This was nothing but anger at Angel, she told herself, even if her inner cynic scoffed that anything this powerful could have such a simple explanation. Blaming the explosion of Spike-lust on Angel was safe, and she preferred to stick with safe. She was angry with Angel for showing up. For making with the here at all. This had nothing to do with her begrudging predilection which whispered evil little truths—truths which would find her no matter how far she ran.

She knew Willow was pushing her toward Riley. Riley with his corn-blown country boy looks and his aren’t-I-helpful smile. And nice as he might be, there was too much plain vanilla, and Buffy wasn’t a vanilla kind of girl. She might try vanilla, enjoy the taste, but it wasn’t what got her motor revved.

Nothing had been plainer since Spike barreled back into her life. The first time, earlier in the semester after her disastrous one-nighter with Parker, and again for the last four hours. Sparring with Spike, be it verbally or physically, turned her on.

There was no safety with him. None whatsoever.

“Christ…”

Buffy blinked and shook her head, her eyes jumping to the door again.

“So good…do me like that, Slayer. Just like that…”

Her heart stopped and her jaw dropped.

“What the hell are you doing?” she screeched.

“What the hell does it sound like?” Spike snarled back, only it was less of a snarl and more of a long whimper. “Think you could get a li’l hotter, Slayer? If you grew any wetter, you’d be givin’ me a shower of a different sort.”

Her jaw practically hit the floor. “Excuse me?”

“You’re the one bloody eavesdroppin’. Leave a vamp to wank in peace.”

“You’re…you said my name!”

There was another gasp. “An’ you’re…what? Surprised?” Spike retorted, his voice thick with arousal. “After those fancy-dancy moves you made in front of me…”

“We were under siege!”

“Jus’ gotta love the way your body bends.”

Her fingers were slick with sweat and her heart was pounding—but absolutely not because she was turned on. No, it was definitely angry heart-pounding and sweat of rage. “You sick sex-deprived—”

He huffed, and the huff twisted itself into a moan. “Got that right.”

“Spike—”

“Kitten…y’might wanna stop,” he said suddenly, his breathing hitched. “You’re jus’…makin’ me…oh God…”

The red in her face exploded and the crossbow crashed to the floor. He’d actually been…while talking with her…he’d been stroking his…

Oh. My. God.

And yeah. The monsoon between her legs and the throbbing of her so-not swollen clit was in no way in response to the word-picture he provided. Now in surround sound, the visage of an incredibly wet Spike relishing the sound of her voice, scolding as it might be, so much that he kept on touching himself as they traded jibes.

“I can…smell you…” Spike growled. “Fuck, Slayer, jus’ come in here an’ put us both out of our misery.”

Her eyes popped. “W-what?”

Another growl. “Now’s not the time to be dainty, pet.”

She tried to speak, but her mouth was frozen with shock. The only sound she could muster was a weak, “Wahhhh…”

“Slayer…”

Buffy glanced down and realized in horror that her hand was reaching for the doorknob, and despite the panicked messages she shot to her brain, she was in no way able to stop herself. Her actions were no longer her own. At some point in the last five minutes, she had checked out. Buffy had left the building, and there was nothing but this remaining. This need for something she didn’t have the courage to name. This thing which had initially sparked because of anger aimed at Angel—this thing which was inching the bathroom door open.

Angel was nowhere near her mind now.

Instead, she was stepping across the threshold of Giles’s bathroom, her body submerging in hot steam. She felt the dice roll with each step and heard the clank of metal as the last chains shuffled off her body. There were no rules here. No rules at all. There was only the body of an enemy.

Enemy…

An enemy who had gotten her hotter during her daylight fight with him than Parker had in all his feeble attempts to get her off. There was burn here. Burn she didn’t know but wanted all the same.

Buffy met his astonished eyes.

Then aimed her gaze downward.

“Holy crap,” she said, not bothering with tact. “Do you have a license for that thing?”

A proud smirk stretched his lips, his taut fingers trailing up the length of his cock, which proudly saluted her, dripping with shower water and entrusted in the hard pumps of hand.

“Why don’ you come over here an’ say hello?” Spike asked, his ocean eyes soaking her in. “He knows you by name now…why not by touch?”

“By…name?”

He chuckled. “You really are thick, aren’ you, Slayer?”

She made the mistake of glancing up and regretted it immediately; staring at his penis was safer—at least it didn’t stare back. When she looked at him, it all hit home. This wasn’t a part of the elaborate fantasy her rebellious mind had pieced together on the safe side of the door. This was real. She was really standing in her Watcher’s bathroom with a very naked and very soulless vampire.

“I’d be careful,” Buffy said, swallowing hard. “I…I could slay you whenever I like.”

He didn’t even have the decency to look afraid. Instead, those eyes of his sparkled with amusement. “You left your crossbow in the hall.”

“Oh.”

Spike quirked a brow and wiggled his hips a little, attracting her attention to his cock again. She’d never seen one in the light before. With Angel, everything had been under the covers…as though visual confirmation of what was about to happen would make her want to stop. She’d experimented more with Parker, but things had remained dark and…well, dark.

She was sure Parker hadn’t been as large as Spike. And even though Angel had felt huge, she was convinced Spike would split her in half.

And God, if she wasn’t about to melt at the thought.

“Slayer, you’re makin’ me blush.”

Buffy’s eyes shot up again. “I can’t help it. You’re all naked.”

“That’s typically the point of showerin’.”

“And you’re not…covering up.”

Spike shrugged. “Why should I? It’s bloody criminal enough coverin’ this thing with jeans as it is.”

“You’re so full of yourself.”

“An’ you wish you were, too.” His hand dipped to treat his balls with a long, seductive squeeze. “Come on. You wanna play. I can smell how much you wanna play. An’ you know I’m good for it. I can make you scream in ways you’ve never sodding imagined.”

The twinkle in his eyes and the lethal weapon in his hand had her agreeing. Not that she’d ever admit it. “P-pig,” she said lamely. “You…unh…”

He just grinned at her, and to her astonishment, buried in his eyes was a flash of something beyond arrogance. Beyond the snide smirk of a man whose goodies were being ogled by his very vocal mortal enemy. If she didn’t know better, she’d call it affection. Which was completely ridiculous. Of course it was ridiculous. Spike hated her. And she hated him. They lived in comfortable hatred of each other. It was just the way it was.

Spike having affection was completely of the wrong. It threw the universe out of whack.

“You want it,” he whispered, his fingertips caressing the head of his cock. “Come on, kitten. It’s jus’ you an’ me right now.”

“I…I hate you,” she argued feebly, even as her legs carried her forward. “I…you’re gross and…you…you wanted to eat me before.”

His brows flickered and his eyes dropped to her crotch. “Before? Mmm. Can’t blame a bloke, can you? Not when you smell so bloody good. Could die happy between those thighs of yours. So whaddya say…wanna give your Spike a taste?”

It took a few seconds to understand to what he was referring, and then her blood was rushing with heat so potent she was surprised when it didn’t boil. Her mind was attacked with pornographic images of her legs spread, pussy slick with liquid desire as Spike feasted on her. As his tongue laved her feminine folds, the pads of his calloused fingers rubbing her clit. And God, if she wasn’t in need before, she was now.

“I…should close the door,” she said.

Obviously, she’d said something to astonish him, for the arrogant swagger in his eyes drowned the next second and she found herself pinned with a stare of fathomless wonder. A million things sparked in those simple seconds; he had expected her to back out. He’d goaded and laughed at her, but he’d expected her to get cold feet at the last minute and make a beeline for the nearest exit, virtue fluttering.

Perhaps she would have another time. Any other time. Right now, however, Buffy was walking between worlds. Her heart was sore but her head was strong, and she knew for the first time what she wanted. Angel had told her to try for normal—and she was trying for normal. She wanted to want Riley more than anything…well, she had…but for what? Because of the instructions her ex had left her? Her ex who was perfectly fine with mucking up the lives of humans who weren’t her, but apparently she was too good to qualify?

One glance of her naked mortal enemy had the windows of her mind aligning. There was every chance she would regret this tomorrow, but strangely, she didn’t think so. She saw her future carefully planned and drawn in lines of black and white, fortified by permanent ink. The future her childhood sweetheart had mapped out for her, complete with all the detours and exits and U-turns a girl could want. Nowhere on the highway of life was there a mileage plan with Spike in the margins.

There was something more to it than that. Her body knew it, and had known it for years. Her head was getting there.

She didn’t want Spike because she knew how Angel would react. That was just a perk.

A perk wrapped in a smokescreen. A perk which guarded her from a shameful truth she’d suspected since she first saw him. There was a reason, after all, that fighting Spike got her hotter than a blister on the sun. A reason which had, until three minutes ago, been a source of shame, if not a late-night guilty pleasure.

She wanted Spike all for her.

The dice were cast. She felt them roll to the final gamble with the definitive click of the bathroom door. The world outside ceased to exist. It was just her and Spike. Nothing else mattered.

“Water’s cold,” Spike said suddenly, his voice strained and somewhat shaken. As though he expected her to come to her senses at any second and bolt. “It doesn’t bother me, but…ahhh, maybe you’d…”

“You take cold showers?” Buffy replied matter-of-factly as she whirled around to face him again, her hands criss-crossing as she fisted the hem of her sweater. A sudden rush of brazen femininity had swarmed inward, seizing control of the frigid Ice Queen her ex had left in his wake. For the first time in months, she felt she could actually see again. As though the mess with Parker and the forced smiles she’d sent Riley’s way were nothing but a dream.

She was a creature of the night, same as Spike.

And Spike wanted her. He wanted her.

“Watcher told me not to hog the warm water,” the vampire retorted, his eyes bulging comically as her sweater fell to the floor. “Uhhh…Slayer?”

She kicked off her shoes then turned her attention to her fly. “Mhmm?”

“Did you get zapped by somethin’?”

“Zapped?”

“Y’know…big nasty ray of…nasty?” He was staring at her lace-clad breasts, the hand at his cock pulling so hard now she wondered how he managed to keep from breaking it off. “You do know this is…me…right?”

Buffy shrugged with bravado she didn’t know she had. Her heart was pounding, yes, but she wasn’t afraid. And she wasn’t second-guessing herself. For the first time in ages, she knew exactly what she wanted. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t going to apologize. “You were the one who was making with all the innuendos,” she replied reasonably. “Don’t tell me the Big Bad’s afraid of little ol’ me.”

Spike released a strangled laugh. “Well, you are the Slayer, love…an’ I din’t think you’d actually—”

“What? Take you up on it?”

He blinked at her as though she’d started spitting slugs. “Well…yeah.”

“But…this is something…” The floor beneath her feet vanished just as quickly as it had materialized, and without warning, Buffy found herself on uneven ground. Bravado was one thing, but rejection…she didn’t think she could deal with rejection again. Not now. Not when her battle-scars were still fresh enough to be ripped completely open. Without warning, she found herself propelled back just a matter of weeks—holding her side as an Amara-wielding Spike taunted her about her dimpled knees and how it took so little for anything male to get between them.

Oh God.

What if he thought she was nothing but a sex-starved floozy, flinging herself at him because she’d heard the A-word? What if all the swagger from before had been only that: swagger? There was no reason Spike would truly want her—he’d explained why her name had been on his lips, after all. She’d done some high-kicking in front of him while he was tied to a chair. And being a vampire, he got off on pain and…pain. There was every chance she’d given him an accidental boner and he was trying to ruffle her feathers while knowing she had shower-guard tonight.

Damn him.

“I…uhhh…” Red spread through her skin like wildfire and her legs molded to the ground, refusing her reprieve. She stood awkwardly before him in her bra with her jeans poised and ready to be stripped down her legs, her sweater on the floor and her shoes kicked to different corners. “I’ll…you know what? I think I’ll just pick up the tattered remains of my dignity and…make with the…gone.”

Panic speared Spike’s eyes and he moved forward so quickly he nearly tripped on wet porcelain. “You’re leavin’?”

“I…I thought…”

“You thought what? I’d say no?” Spike shook his head hard and reached for her with his free hand, refusing to relinquish his grip on his cock. “Jus’ wanted to make sure the siege din’t leave you whammied with some wonky mojo. Don’t particularly fancy wakin’ up with a large stake in my chest for taking advantage of your dainty self.”

Humiliation abated and skepticism set in. “This is me, Spike,” Buffy retorted dryly, resuming the shuffle out of her pants. It amazed her how she could stand before her neutered enemy in nothing but a pair of no-one’s-ever-gonna-see-these-so-I’ll-wear-‘em panties and her remarkably unexciting bra…and not be shivering with disgust or fear or any of the above. Because her insides were pretty much dominated by anxious fear and self-doubt.

“Yeah,” Spike agreed with a snort. “’S you. An’ any second, you’re gonna come to your senses an’ realize who you’re performin’ this delicious li’l striptease for.”

“I said your name. Does that count?”

“Slayer—”

“I mean…you are the one who asked what it took to get between my…what was it you called them?”

It was a foolishly brave move—reviving his own words for her use. There was every chance he’d remember them and laugh her off. But Buffy was a go-for-it kind of gal. If there was something which threatened her, better to put it out there than regress.

She didn’t know from where that mentality had come, but she was going to seize it. Carpe diem, and all that. Live for the moment. All those things she used to try to embody and had somehow neglected in the past few years. Well, no more neglecting. She was back. Buffy, the Slayer who carpe diemed herself silly.

And amazingly enough, her tactic worked. Recollection stormed Spike’s eyes and he swallowed hard. “Dimpled knees,” he croaked, his gaze jumping to the knees in question.

His sudden speechlessness had the reverse effect on her—whereas just minutes before her throat had been dry and without words, she found she was emboldened by his astonishment. “You wanna know what it takes to pry them apart, Spikey?”

He nodded, his face paralyzed with lust.

“Well, while I have you here, there are a few things I’ve been wanting to try.” Buffy quirked a brow and pointed to his cock. “I tried that with Parker…but I…I wanna again,” she stumbled, her confidence faltering.

Spike frowned. “Huh?”

“The…the sucking…thing.”

“You blew that bastard?”

The outrage in his voice was oddly comforting. “I…uhhh…well, I tried. But I think I squeezed him too hard. He kinda shrieked and jumped and his…thing shoved down my throat and I choked and it was…it was all kinds of…bad.”

There were certain stories she’d never thought she’d tell anyone, much less her mortal enemy. This was definitely in the top three.

“H-he said it was okay. I think he knew it was my…my first time.”

Shadows clouded the corners of Spike’s eyes, and she didn’t know for a second if he was angry with her for letting Parker put his nasty in her mouth or Parker for nearly choking her with said nasty.

“But I was so nervous…’cause you know…chance at normal and stuff. I didn’t wanna blow it.” Her nose wrinkled at her unintentional pun. “You’re not normal, though. You’re…you’re Spike. And I know you.”

A smirk stretched the sinfully sensuous curve of his mouth. “An’ you do wanna blow it?”

“I wanna try.”

His cock jumped as though it’d heard her. Spike was suddenly panting hard enough to give any dog a run for his money.

“You’ll walk me through it if I do something…stupid?” More so than this, her mind added. She ignored it. Her mind was much with the lame 1950s version of the Hellmouth wherein all Slayer-vampire relationships were either blood and dust or soulfully star-crossed. She was ready to live dangerously.

“There’s no way to do this stupid, love.”

“Uhhh…”

“Trust me. ‘F the git made you think you did it wrong, he’s the one with the sodding problem. Not you.”

Her nerves calmed and her veins filled with a sort of warmth she hadn’t felt in a long time. And without warning, she realized she felt more at ease in Spike’s presence than she ever had in Angel’s.

In Spike’s presence, she was an equal. Not a child.

“Come here,” Spike said, turning to adjust the water heat.

“Why were the mirrors steamed when I came in?” Buffy asked nervously, her feet obeying him before her mind could keep up. “If it’s all cold water, then—”

“Had it on hot for a few jus’ to annoy the piss outta your old man,” he replied with a grin. Then his eyes dropped to her laughably small boobs and she found herself moved when he licked his lips hungrily. After Harmony’s monstrous rack, she must look like an ironing board, but Spike didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he released a small, contented sigh and gently skimmed the length of her stomach with his fingertips until he had a lace-covered globe cradled in his hand. “Fuck, but you’re warm.”

The feel of his hand at her breast sent electric shock waves through her stomach and straight to her center. Buffy seized his arm to steady herself, her wobbly legs going numb and the dampness between her thighs growing so potent she was sure the crotch of her panties would eventually give way like a dam.

“You like this?” Spike asked softly, his fingers plucking at her hardened nipple through the thin material of her bra. Then, evidently dissatisfied with the lack of skin, he tugged the top cup down and exposed the rosy protrusion for his exploration. “You like havin’ your tits fondled?”

She’d always hated that word. It was crass and…well, crass summed it up. In her mind, she associated it with men who frequented strip joints and viewed women as a commodity. Something which could be used and replaced in a blink.

The word had never done anything but repulse her.

Until now.

Though there was every chance it had nothing to do with the word and everything to do with the way Spike said it. He was breathing hard, his eyes glazed with desire and focused intently on the breast he was touching. If she hadn’t known better, she would have assumed he’d never seen one before.

“You wanna taste?” Spike murmured, the hand at his cock pumping hard again. Buffy felt caught between realities—standing in the shower as her so-called enemy masturbated while touching her naked breast. “You said you wanted a taste.”

She licked her lips. “You’ll walk me through it?”

He nodded, his gaze dropping to her mouth. “On your knees, Slayer,” he said softly.

The electricity in the air didn’t go unnoticed. His words were charged with awe and a rush of power he didn’t bother hiding. He relished this and he was rather unapologetic about it. Buffy was both too eager and too anxious to care about his lack of discretion. Her mouth was itching to explore his erection—he was suddenly her guinea pig, her vampire on which to experiment, to discover the powers imbedded within her feminine wiles.

She felt deliciously womanly as she sank to her knees. And while there were times Buffy felt girly, it was a long stretch from girl to woman.

Her knees hit the wet porcelain floor, and her hand reached for him before she could help herself. The second her fingers wrapped around his length, Spike whimpered and relinquished his own hold and threw his head back, a name which sounded suspiciously like hers rolled off his tongue.

Up close, Buffy allowed herself to do something she’d only done in spurts in the past. She looked at him. Took in his every curve with her eyes, imagining how best to take him inside her mouth. How to explore him. And yet, though her experience was rather limited, she did notice his penis looked different—good, of course, very good, but different. Different in a way her inexperienced mind couldn’t yet translate into words. “You’re…”

Spike was panting hard. Evidently, it was enough for him just to watch her appraise his cock. “’m what?”

“Parker didn’t have—”

“Parker din’t have a dick? Why am I not surprised?”

Buffy flushed. “He didn’t have…this…” She indicated his foreskin with a small caress of her thumb. “He didn’t—”

“’m not circumcised,” Spike said quickly. “You’re seein’…you’re seein’ me as God bloody well intended it.”

“Oh.”

There was nothing to do but agree with that. But once the revelation past, there was nothing to follow. No more need for words; no need for anything but action. Similarly, however, there was no miraculous how-to guide. Buffy worried her lip awkwardly between her teeth and began a shy imitation of what he’d been doing ever since she crossed the barrier. Her fist fit around him nicely, and she loved the way he moaned with every pump of her hand. But this wasn’t what she wanted—she wanted guidance. She wanted to lick his skin and trust he’d tell her if she was doing it properly. She wanted—

“Careful now,” Spike murmured, his voice ragged. Then his fingers were weaving through her hair, gently stroking her scalp and encouraging her head forward. “Open up, kitten.”

Her lips parted and he slid inside, and God if this wasn’t the weirdest sensation on the planet. Her night with Parker had been dark, and he’d been lying beneath her when she’d conducted her exploration. She’d stroked him and squeezed him—too hard, as she’d already divulged—and the whole thing had been a massive failure. This was so different. She wasn’t on a bed; she was on her knees. She was on her knees in a shower without the protective veil of dark, and Spike was guiding her head, drawing her forward so that she took a bit more of his cock into her mouth with every thrust.

“Wrap your lips around me…oh God, yeah, that’s it.” He released a jagged moan when she nodded and obeyed. “Every time I thrust in, lick the underside…oh yes. Yeaahhh…jus’ like that.”

He pulled her hair back into a makeshift ponytail, holding it away from her face as his hips pumped forward, allowing her to get a feel for the rhythm. Buffy willed her eyes shut and absorbed sensation—water splashing her face, Spike’s guttural whimpers, the feel of his cock slipping through her lips before sliding inward again, savoring the taste of his skin as he explored just how deep he could go.

“You’re so hot,” he purred. “So bloody hot.”

Buffy’s eyes flashed as her mouth danced down his length, sucking instinctively when she had but the very tip of him captured between her lips. “You like this?” she asked breathlessly, her fingers wrapping around him.

“Oh yes.”

“Am I doing okay?”

Spike nodded and settled his fingers over hers, his hips pushing forward as the head of his cock rubbed the outline of her wet mouth. “Inside, baby,” he whimpered, utilizing his grip on her hair to pull her head forward. “Take me in.”

She quirked a brow, her confidence slowly on the rise. There was an undeniable rush of power in this position—one she’d never associated with what she was doing. Blowjobs had always struck her as something which empowered the man—the man’s victory in getting a woman submissive and on her knees with her mouth open. Never had she thought she could wield power in this position, and while there was every chance her power was limited to the vampire whom she touched, the rush was undeniably potent and oh so intoxicating. She’d become an addict in a matter of seconds.

“You didn’t say ‘please,’” Buffy replied, flicking her tongue playfully along the underside of his length.

His eyes widened and landed on hers, and God, if it wasn’t hot watching him watch her as she played with him. Watching him absorb her—watching as her reflection dissolved in the crystalline sea within his endless gaze. “Don’t think you’re in a position to refuse,” he retorted. “Now suck me.”

“Nope, don’t think so.” She licked the tip of his cock and shook her head free of his grip, her left hand dropping to explore the weight of his balls. “You like having these touched?”

If his answering growl hadn’t been so damned sexy, she would have laughed. “…’f you don’t know the answer to that…Slayer,” he gasped, “you know bugger all about men.”

“There we agree.”

“I thought you wanted…ahhh…”

“A taste?” Buffy grinned and curled her tongue around him, squeezing his sac as she’d seen him do earlier. “I’m not done. Let me play.”

“’m yours, baby.”

“Well, I knew that.”

Spike quirked a brow. “Is that right?”

She nodded happily, pressing his erection to his stomach as her mouth busied itself by peppering a series of wet kisses along the underside. Her tongue came out to play again without coaxing, licking a soft path up and down before fixing on the small patch of skin between his shaft and his testicles.

A cross between a hiss and a yelp rebounded off the walls. “Oh fuck.”

“Yep,” Buffy agreed, sucking him between her lips again. She released him just as quickly, favoring his tip with a long, sultry lick. “I’ve known for a while. There’s a reason you can’t just leave and stay gone, isn’t there?”

Suddenly his hands were in her hair again, the grip near painful. “Slayer…” he moaned.

“I think I wanna hear you say my name,” she replied matter-of-factly, her teeth tenderly scraping his skin. “This Slayer stuff is so formal.”

There was a choke but he didn’t fight her. “Buffy.”

“That’s better.”

“All the way in, kitten. Wanna show you…”

“You don’t like my playing?”

“I don’t wanna sodding play,” he said loudly, fingers tightening around locks of her hair and slamming her forward with such ferocity that the head of his cock was suddenly brushing the back of her throat and she was again repressing the urge to gag. Something which came easier the next second when he voiced a gruff command: “Swallow.”

Perhaps she’d pushed him too far—Buffy didn’t know, and though she was aware on some level that she should be offended or at least put up a half decent fight, the rest of her was too aroused to care. She contracted her throat muscles around him and shivered when he moaned in response, then he was pulling away again…pulling away until he lingered at the entrance of her mouth.

“Swallow every time I thrust,” he said, and if his voice hadn’t been rough with lust, his ass would have suffered a serious kicking for his being so bossy. But his voice gave away everything he wished to keep from her; his voice told her exactly who was in charge.

Buffy didn’t know what she expected, though a rough, repetitive slam of his hips until semen was spilling down her throat was around the top of the list. And while his hold on her remained commanding, there was nothing ostensibly rough about the way his body rocked against her. He was neither fast nor slow, he took his time, his eyes burning into her an endless hole—one from which she was certain she would never escape.

She didn’t know if she wanted to escape. Not anymore.

“You…have…no…idea,” Spike gasped, pumping harder when he was convinced she could handle it. “How hot this looks. Watching my dick disappear into that heavenly mouth of yours. Feelin’ you take me…swallow me…Christ, you’re wet, aren’t you? I can smell how wet you are. How much you love this. Nod for me if you love this, Buffy.”

She nodded before she could help herself. Damn him. His answering leer was almost embarrassing, but she spared her dignity by putting the limelight back on him with a timely squeeze his balls.

“Fuck…Buffy…touch yourself.”

Her eyes widened.

“Don’ be afraid, kitten. It’s jus’ you an’ me here.”

Don’t be afraid, he says—just masturbate in front of the last man on earth she’d previously thought she’d ever touch. And do it as she was sucking on his penis, no less. Buffy scrunched up her nose and pulled back, ready to give him a piece of her mind when something significant flashed in his eyes. Something undeniable. Something unprecedented. Something which made her stop.

Then her hand had abandoned his sac and was traveling down her own shower-wet body. She stopped to favor her breast with a squeeze, taking him between her lips again, her fingers sliding down, down, down until she was cupping her pussy.

“Oh God,” Spike moaned. “Buffy…”

Her panties were ruined. There would be no salvaging them for another day’s wear. Soaked with arousal and attacked with shower water, they would be in the trash first thing in the morning. She didn’t like the way the sodden material clung to her flesh as her fingers slipped under the crotch.

“Feel how wet you are?” he demanded roughly.

Feel wasn’t a strong enough word. Buffy had known she was aroused—it wasn’t exactly something she could ignore—but the rush of fluid which greeted her sent electric shocks through her body and she felt something small and potent charge through her buzzing veins at the softest contact. Her mouth relaxed around him with the weight of her sigh.

“Push your fingers into that delectable quim of yours.”

She didn’t recognize the colloquialism, but there was no doubting his meaning.

“Pretend it’s me,” Spike whispered, his hips resuming their slow pace. “Pretend ‘m stretchin’ you wide. Pretend it’s me who’s fillin’ up your sweet li’l hole with my—”

She whimpered around him, and he growled in turn.

“Ohhh yeah, you like it, don’ you?” he snarled. “You like the thought of me doin’ this to you. Would you have me on my knees? Your leg tossed over my shoulder…my mouth lappin’ up every pearly drop your cunny has to give…”

The image damn near had her cross-eyed.

“’m gonna, Slayer. You know that, right? I’m gonna eat you up so good, you won’ be able to walk for a week. I’ll do it till your legs go numb. Till you’re begging me to take you.” He jerked his hips forward roughly. “An’ then I’ll impale you on my cock an’ ride you out. Feel you tighten and drench me. I’ll turn your head ‘round so you can’t remember your own name. How’s that for—”

Buffy trapped him, sucking him hard and holding him at the back of her throat. And then she swallowed. She swallowed again and again, caressing him with muscles she’d never known could hold such power over men. She watched him dissolve from one extreme to the next, her fingers settling over her clit and rubbing fast as he came apart.

Then finally she felt him explode. Felt the ropy strands of his release spill down her throat as his body broke in trembles. The roar of her name split the air like thunder, and before she could even decide whether or not she liked his taste, Spike had jerked her to her feet and was staring her down with that gorgeous, endless gaze of his. And then they were caught in unfamiliar waters—Buffy panting heavily, trapped in his grip but without want of escape, Spike’s chest heaving as his eyes searched hers for an unnamed something.

“Slayer,” he growled, his fingers digging into her shoulders.

“Buffy,” she shot back.

Spike’s glare stretched another long minute, but finally there was a spark of the same affection she’d seen earlier. The flicker of unnatural attachment—the thing which told her there was nowhere else in this world he would rather be.

No one else with whom he’d rather be.

No one.

The realization hit her hard, but not as hard as the force of his lips as they came crashing down on hers. Not as hard as the way his tongue fought its way into her mouth, thrashing her tongue with his as he warred with himself to keep his whimpers contained within his chest. The result was a deep, sensual purr, one which made her bones vibrate and sent a fresh wave of lust crashing over her veins. She was still pooling with need, her body melting into him like a heated candle. His mouth ripped at hers with ferocity which should have frightened her, but it did little more than fan the flames roaring closer to explosion.

He tasted of sin, and she inhaled him. There was no want to turn around—not when the wicked felt this good. Not with the soothing rumble of his purrs against her chest. Not with his erect cock rubbing her belly. Not with the way he almost subconsciously whispered against her mouth, telling her things which tore down all past insecurities and built her up with a rush of womanly pride no man could break away.

In all her life, she’d never been kissed like this. Like she was an elixir of all things pure and desirable. Like she was anything beyond a girl. Spike might be growling into her, his teeth might be nipping at her, but the strokes of his lips were damn near reverent. He consumed her, devoured her, crawled inside her and made himself at home. He sucked her tongue and imprinted himself on the building blocks which made her who she was. Made himself an essential part of her.

How had this happened? An hour ago, she’d been pissed beyond words at Angel for rolling into her town and making with the secrecy. Now she was in another vampire’s arms, allowing another vampire to rip her ruined panties off her body and shove her against the bathroom wall.

“Wrap your legs around me,” Spike growled.

Buffy obeyed blindly and gasped into his mouth. The head of his cock slipped between her pussy lips and proceeded to torture her into an early grave, dancing up and down her slit. He swirled his hips once, twice, taking himself into his hand and directing his velvety tip to her clitoris.

“I’m gonna fuck you,” he told her, his voice low but almost matter-of-fact, rubbing himself against her aching pearl as though they did this daily. As though both their lives weren’t about to change. “I want you to come until you can’t come anymore. Until you can’t say anythin’ for screamin’ my name. Until you don’t remember what it’s like to not have me inside you.”

If Angel burst in right now, she would tell him to do something anatomically impossible to himself. There was no one in the world but Spike.

No one else she wanted.

“I…” Buffy gasped, leaning in before she could help herself to steal a tender kiss from his lips. The look on his face sent her to the stars. “I think I’m okay with that.”

The astonishment in his eyes made her feel even naked-er than she already did. Pressed against the bathroom wall, dressed only in the tattered remains of her bra, Spike’s cock poised and ready to push inside her achingly wet body—and he was unmade by a simple kiss and the admittance that she wasn’t going to fight him.

The confession that this was something she wanted, too.

“Buffy…” His voice was a whisper as he sank within her depths, the cool column of steely flesh rubbing her soaked insides, burying himself deeper, deeper, spreading her so wide she thought she would rip down the middle—and were it not for the pleasure numbing her mind and attacking every vital nerve in her body, she was sure she would be in pain. “God, yes.”

She clutched the back of his head as her own fell helplessly against the wall.

“I’ve never felt anything so hot,” Spike murmured, his lips fluttering across her shoulder. “I knew you’d be warm. I knew it. Jus’…din’t know…couldn’t know…you’d feel like this.”

Buffy liked to think she would have said something moderately coherent, but the next second, he was moving inside her. Pulling her apart and piecing her together again with the slow, tortuous thrusts of his hips. Her jaw fell slack and a long, wordless sound fell through her lips. It didn’t help when his mouth began peppering kisses along her collarbone, nor did it help when his teeth scraped hotly against her flesh. Nothing helped—her senses were consumed entirely in him.

In this.

“Unhhh…”

“Fight me,” Spike said, a hand dropping to her ass to angle her into his thrusts. “Every time I sink inside your cunny, you push up, yeah?”

A rush of pure anxiousness raced down her spine. The sensation of having him inside her was wonderful, but now that they were actually at the part where she was supposed to move, her nerves were doing their best to break her down. Her past experiences, beyond limited, consisted of nothing she now wished to recall. But with the way Spike was looking at her, she knew he expected something. Something wondrous. Something by which to remember her—this night—always.

Guess you’re not worth a second go.

Buffy winced inwardly. Now was so not the time to be recalling that conversation.

“Buffy?”

“I’m not gonna be any good,” she said suddenly, her wide, alarmed eyes finding his. “I-I…with the…I’m no good. I can’t do this right…you said it yourself. Not worth a second…ahhh…”

It was bizarre watching his face contort with contrition. She was so used to his hatred. To his loathing. To the twisted desire which remained buried beneath levels of hard revulsion. He’d never looked at her with softness before. With tenderness. And yes, while she’d seen affection earlier, it didn’t compare to this.

What she’d seen were shades. This was solid. There was no mistaking it for something else. No pretending she hadn’t seen it.

This was real.

“I’m a prat,” Spike growled, drawing out of her body slowly before sinking in again, a pleasured sigh tearing through his throat. “You’re glorious an’ anyone could see it. I did. I saw it then—that day we fought.”

Buffy sucked in a breath, seemingly of their own volition, her hips pushing forward to recapture his cock as he pulled back again. “You’re just—”

“No, I’m not…just.” He kissed her hard. “That’s it, kitten. That’s it. In an’ out. In an’ out.”

He spoke slowly, methodically, the hard length of him pulling away from her pussy with such slow intent that she was certain this was the way he meant to finish her off once and for all.

“’S not gonna stay slow, kitten,” he warned her. “Jus’ get used to me.”

“Not possible.”

The grin curling his lips was one of pure masculine pride. “Then fuck me, Buffy. Punish me. Use the masterwork of your body to whip me for bein’ such a rude boy.”

“I don’t—”

“It’s a fight. It’s a sodding fight. I take it from you, you take it back.” His cock surged within her on a word, and he sucked her lip between his teeth as he pulled away again, his grip on her hips commanding her forward so that her pussy dragged with him. The wet suctioning of her flesh fighting to keep him locked inside her struck a primal nerve deep within her body. It was so bare—so open. He had her nailed to the wall with his erection, and he was determined to drill her so good she forgot how to walk.

“That’s it,” Spike growled appraisingly as she arched against him. “That’s it. Keep me inside that delectable quim of yours. Don’t let me get away.”

He kept it slow for a few minutes, guiding her, whispering encouraging words into her hair, allowing her to grow accustomed to the feel of him splitting her body in two. And while the tigress in her chest demanded something hard and raw, there was no denying how his tenderness affected her. Tenderness was not something she’d ever associated with Spike—the few times she’d allowed herself to entertain the possibility of sex with him, it had never been slow. He’d never been patient. He’d never murmured how good she felt into her ear while stealing soft, affectionate kisses from her lips. Her mind’s portrayal had him as a rough, chauvinistic animal. Two-dimensional. Completely flat.

“No man’s ever touched you here, have they?” he whispered as his cock stabbed into her. “Feel it, there? Feel it?”

“Ohhh…yes…”

“Christ, the sounds you make.” Spike shuddered and grunted, his pace beginning to harden. “You’re drenchin’ me, sweetheart. Feel your warm slayer juice coverin’ me completely. Wanna bathe in it. Wanna taste it. You’ll let me taste it, won’ you?”

She nodded blindly, uncaring to what she was agreeing. She just wanted to keep him moving. Wanted to keep the slick feel of him gliding in and out of her body. Her skin was hot and clammy, her nerves buzzing so hard, she was astonished when they didn’t blink out on overload. All she knew was she had to keep him. Had to fight. Her hips surged upward every time he dared try to escape her. Every time he fell back.

“Love this. Like fire, you are. Gonna burn me up.”

Spike sighed and pressed his brow to hers.

“Can’t do this slow anymore, Slayer. Need you too bloody much.”

It was all the warning she’d have. Then there was the distant sensation of rocking—the slams of her body hitting the cold tile behind her before propelling her against an equally cold chest. The shower water had long ago lost its heat, but even the liquefied shards of ice couldn’t help to quell the steady grow of the fire in her belly. There was nothing but Spike—nothing but the naked feel of him plunging into a part of her which had too long felt open and bare. Vacant. Her pussy clenched him hard every time he sank home, her hips battling his incessant need to pull away from her. To deprive her of him. Of the fleeting peace he granted her with every drive home.

“So good,” he growled, his head dipping to suck her lace-clad nipple into his mouth. “Nothing’s ever felt so good.”

“You’re…lying…”

Spike’s brow furrowed angrily. “Does it—feel—like I’m lying?” he demanded, slamming her hard into the wall. “You…Buffy…”

“Spike, please—”

“Please. What?”

“I need. I need—”

“You need to come?” The illicit smacks of his flesh hitting hers were making reality blink out again. Her vaginal walls clenched and her skin about melted off. “You need it?”

“Yes. Yes.” The words were out before her mind could catch up. “Yes, God, Spike…”

“Say pretty please.”

Buffy’s eyes flew open and clashed with the sparkle of his. “You…jerk.”

“You love it.” He sighed again, the head of his cock lingering at her pussy lips. Then his fingers were moving between them, massaging her soaked flesh and opening her wider. Sinking, searching, finding…

The second the rough pad of his thumb located her clit, she yelped and her hips surged forward. “Mnnnaagh!”

“Don’t think that’s a word,” he retorted, nipping at her lips.

And then her body went on instinct. Jerk vampires got what was coming to them, after all. If this was the fight he kept claiming it was, she was going to give him a hell of a battle. Starting with those hidden slayer muscles she only used for particularly high kicks and acrobats of the Chosen nature. Enough girly-clenching. He wanted to fight dirty? She’d give him a fight.

His cock struck home and she squeezed. Hard.

Spike’s eyes about popped out of his head.

“Oh. My. Fuck.”

“Yeah,” Buffy goaded, contracting her muscles again with a grin of delight. “How do you like dem apples?”

“Oh fucking hell, Buffy! Buffy Buffy Buffy…do it again. Squeeze me…oh yes.” Spike growled hard and slammed her, again, again, his thrusts anxious, feverish, pushing into her with desperation she’d never before witnessed. And with every plunge inside, she squeezed. She utilized every trick she knew—every trick saved for the battlefield and made it into something she could give him. His cock was slamming into her, the slippery slide of him driving her into a new form of insanity, her pussy tightening and grasping him so hard the moans he gave her were almost riddled with pain. His fingers kept busy at her clit, rubbing her fast but softly. His hungry eyes devoured her, swallowing every pleasured gasp, every euphoric sigh.

“You’re perfect,” he whispered. “Perfect.”

Then there was a flash of yellow and a sting at her throat, and ecstasy so raw exploded that the blackness behind the fireworks consumed her, and the world fell away.

*~*~*

Her back hurt. She was cold and her skin was pruny. She was also on the bathroom floor, stretched across a towel, and more exposed than she’d ever been in her life. She hadn’t a stitch on—her bra had finally bitten the dust—and she was spread, her legs stretched, a steady river of her body’s most intimate secretions rolling down her inner thighs. Her nipples were hard enough to cut glass. Oh, and Spike’s face was buried in her pussy.

Okay. Be kind, rewind.

It took just a few seconds for the night to come roaring back to her, but for what she relived, those seconds might as well have been lifetimes. Spike begging entrance to Giles’s home and his revelation that he couldn’t bite anymore. Bickering with Willow about the plight of the Native American. The siege. Learning Angel had come to Sunnydale, and he hadn’t wanted her to know.

Standing outside the bathroom door, thinking about Spike. Listening to Spike. Shouting at Spike. Then over the threshold and down the rabbit hole…wrapping her mouth around his cock, the slick feel of his cool body rocking against hers as he pounded her into the wall…feeling something…the affection in his eyes…the cool ivory of his fangs…and now…

Buffy jolted upward, shocked, but was quickly sent back to the floor as a bullet of ecstasy speared through her body. “Oh…ggnaahh!”

“Mmm,” Spike murmured in approval, his tongue exploring the inner wall of her labia before drawing her feminine lips into his mouth completely. “There she is.”

“Unh…what…ohhh…”

“You blacked out for a sec, love.” He practically oozed male pride at the fact. “Thought I might get you comfy on the floor…not done with you yet…”

This point he emphasized by dipping his tongue deep inside her, his hand gently caressing the tender skin at her inner thigh before wandering to rest along the upper crest of her mound. Then his thumb was grazing her slippery flesh and settling over her clit, caressing her so softly, so tenderly, her body about melted into the terrycloth beneath her.

“How…how long?”

“How long am I gonna fuck you?” Spike asked, purposefully misunderstanding her. “Well…definitely for the rest of the night, though I suggest we scarper outta the loo at some point. Figure Red would loan us the dorm, or should we jus’ knick your Watcher’s wallet an’ book us a hotel room?”

It occurred to her like a flash of light that she was indeed lying in Giles’s bathroom. She knew they hadn’t been quiet. Hell, the whole town probably knew the Slayer had been given it good for as much noise as she made.

And despite her mortification at her action, there was no way she could summon enough remorse to push Spike off her pliant body, especially with his tongue plunging in and out of her pussy.

“God, you even taste good,” he purred, nuzzling her wet flesh with something strangely akin to affection. “There’s not a part of you that’s not delicious.”

Every inch of her turned red.

“You’re just…saying that…”

Spike tsked and frowned, replacing the thumb at her clit with his mouth. He sucked her completely between his lips, pulling as gently as he could and shaking his head. His eyes brightened when she crooned and whimpered, the corners of his mouth pulling upward in a predatory grin.

“Silly slayer,” he admonished, releasing her aching flesh with a startlingly loud wet plop. “Should know by now I don’ jus’ say things for the fun of it.”

“You’re evil.”

“You love evil.” He nipped at her inner thigh. “’Least you will before I’m through with you.”

It didn’t seem too far off, but that might have been the mind-numbing pleasure talking.

“So I guess we’re back to the start, aren’ we? How long am I gonna fuck you?” Spike left her with a parting lick to her clit then began a slow prowl up her body, his gaze burning hers. “T’night. Tomorrow. Day after. Over an’ over again till you don’ know anythin’ but the feel of me. Till you love me.”

“You think you can make me love you by screwing me to death?”

Spike perked a brow, the head of his cock rubbing a tantalizing path up and down her drenched slit. “You think I can’t?”

“I…I never said that.” She frowned, suddenly remembering something. “You bit me.”

He grinned. “Fuck yeah, I did.”

“But…Willow…she said you couldn’t…”

“I can’t.” He spoke as though the answer was more than obvious, and the look of self-satisfied supremacy on his face would have pissed her off were she not so turned on.

“Spike, you bit—”

He silenced her with a look. “An’ tell me, Slayer…did it hurt? Or did it make you come until you blacked out?”

Buffy supposed it was lucky he chose that moment to sink into her body, because she was sure she hitting him was the best way to preserve her dignity and she really didn’t want to waste valuable sex-with-Spike strength to punish him for being right.

As it was, what he said next was enough to take her breath away.

“Christ,” he moaned, buried to the hilt, his brow resting against her shoulder. “I love you.”

Buffy swallowed. Hard. “You…you love me?”

Spike grew and pulled back, his brow furrowed in thought. “Yeah, sounds like something I’d do,” he decided after a minute. “Some bloody fool thing I’d do…fall in love with the Slayer.” He paused and met her eyes. “Guess I’m lucky it’s you, right?”

Her breath caught in her throat, and the rest of her froze completely. And she knew—she knew that minute that her heart was gone. Bye-bye. No more Buffy-heart—it was exclusively the property of William the Bloody now. How it had happened, she didn’t know. The night had lasted a millennium, and somehow she was lying beneath the face of the man who had haunted her in one way or another for years. Her enemy. Her lover. Her Spike. And he was looking at her like she was made of gold.

“You’re very lucky,” she agreed, sealing the words in her mind and heart before giving them to him with a tender kiss.

*~*~*

Angel didn’t bother to swallow his annoyed sigh. There was absolutely no way Spike could have expected a warm welcome; barely any time had passed since his last disastrous trip to Los Angeles…well, disastrous inasmuch as he’d not acquired the ring for which he’d traveled and had only managed to torture Angel within an inch of his life rather than dust him completely. Still, the peroxided moron managed to look surprised when Cordelia and Doyle greeted him with hostile words and pointy weapons.

“Din’t your lot get the memo?” Spike shouted down the hall. “Bloody government gits shoved a piece of metal into my cranium. Can’t hurt anyone.”

“Oh,” Cordelia snapped. “So we’ll only kill you just this once.”

Angel rolled his eyes. As much as he’d enjoy watching his would-be prodigy poof into a cloud of dust, he was certain a part of the soul-having gig was to intervene and grant the benefit of a doubt…even if Spike were the last person in the world who deserved said benefit.

“At ease, Cordy,” he said, rising slowly to his feet, his eyes locked with his unruly offspring. “Giles confirmed it when I phoned him last night.”

Spike’s hands slid into his duster pockets and he rocked merrily on his heels. “Checkin’ up on me, are you?”

“Smelled you all over the place. Thought it merited a follow-up call.”

“Yeah, well, ‘m not here to catch up or what all. Jus’ thought you might wanna congratulate the newlyweds.”

Angel stared at him blankly for a few, empty seconds. Then the clockwork of his mind began to churn, connecting dots in a way he’d never before thought they could ever connect.

“You…you and Buffy…?”

Cordelia’s nose wrinkled and she displayed her disbelief in ways only Cordelia could. “No way!”

“Well, not newlyweds,” Spike admitted with a sheepishly goofy-happy shrug—the same he only got when he was blissfully in love or enjoying a good neener-neener-neener; in this case, it seemed to be both. “Newly mates is more like it.” He said this while indicating the fresh bite-mark on his throat; one made with human teeth, not vampire’s fangs. One which exuded Buffy’s scent, even from across the room. “Buffy wanted to tell you…stay the bugger outta her town. We can handle ourselves jus’ fine without your merry lot rushin’ down every time some would-be Big Bad shows his ugly face.”

“This isn’t what I wanted for her,” Angel protested, his voice weak, but not as weak as his suddenly-poisoned heart. “I wanted—”

Her scent hit the air before he had the chance to prepare himself.

“Normal,” Buffy agreed, strolling across the threshold as though it was an everyday occurrence. As though she wasn’t kicking him in the gut. “Normal bored the crap out of me. I figured it out…for me, vamps are normal.”

“Bitch,” Cordelia hissed, her eyes flaring territorially.

“And on the list of things the kettle shouldn’t call the pot, that’s right near the top.” Buffy made a face, linking her arm through Spike’s before turning back to Angel. He didn’t miss the fang-marks in her throat, nor the air of intransigence permeating between them. Their body language was in sync, their scents so similar it nearly sent him to his knees. “Really,” she said, snuggling almost subconsciously into the blond pest’s side when he wrapped a possessive arm around her shoulder, “I just came here to tell you to…not do what you did. The…coming to Sunnydale and…well, it seemed important before.”

“Before last night, you mean,” Spike said, grinning and nipping at her ear.

Buffy went beet-red and cast her mate a disapproving look. Well, disapproving in a sort of trying-not-to-laugh sort of way. “You said you’d be good.”

“’m always good. Point of fact—”

She elbowed him and flushed, casting an apologetic glance to Angel. “Sorry,” she said. “Really…what I really wanted to say is…please…you left for a reason. Next time there’s some big evil, refer to the phone. Don’t ask my friends to lie to me.”

“Though if the poofter hadn’t flown in, you an’ I would never have shagged each other silly in the loo,” Spike added thoughtfully. Then, grinning, he favored Angel with a thumbs-up and said, “You’re welcome anytime.”

“I’m sorry,” Buffy said again. Funny how her ‘sorry’ looked a lot more like ‘amused’ and ‘smitten.’ “I shouldn’t have brought him.”

“And so say all of us,” Cordelia agreed in disgust. “Just…go, Buffy. You’ve done your damage. Go.”

“I didn’t mean to do any damage.”

“I did,” Spike said proudly. “I love her. She loves me. We’re shagging like two people who shag a lot. An’ we’re—”

“Leaving.”

Angel had never even considered the day when he’d witness Buffy dragging a giddy, gloating Spike away by the lapels of his worn duster. Then again, never had he imagined her showing up in Los Angeles with Spike. With those marks. With those words in that order. With such a life-altering announcement.

And despite it all, despite the hatred and the loss, despite his revulsion, despite everything, the sound of her reluctant laughter as they stepped into the California night brought him a small measure of peace.

He loved it when she laughed.

THE END

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