“You…you love me?”
Spike considered denying it. He hadn’t meant to say it, hadn’t even realized it was true until the words were out of his mouth. But they were true, even if he didn’t understand it at all. Somehow, he’d managed to fall for this woman before he’d even seen it coming. It bollixed up everything in his life, but even that didn’t make it any less true. “Yeah, I guess I do.” He shrugged and gave her a boyish, nervous grin. “Didn’t see that coming.”
“Oh.” Buffy looked down. “I wish you didn’t.”
Her response was like a cold splash of water, though it only served to reinforce the truth of his declaration – her rejection cut too deeply for him to be feeling anything else. “I…I didn’t mean to fall, Buffy.”
“I know,” Buffy replied, moving her hands off him, though she stayed in his lap. “But it’s only going to make it hard for you when you have to stake me.”
“Oh, kitten,” Spike said, wrapping his arms around her and bringing her to rest against his chest as what had seemed like a rejection suddenly made sense to him. “I’m not going to stake you, baby. I’m never going to hurt you again.”
“But…but you have to. You said you have to,” Buffy said, moving out of his arms. “I…I’m a vampire, and you kill vampires.”
“Yeah, I’m really not sure how this is going to work,” Spike admitted, scratching the back of his head as he pondered their dilemma. “All I know is you’ve managed to capture my heart; I want to keep you for myself.”
“I don’t know if I can stop feeding, Spike. I mean, you’re really yummy, but…”
Spike silenced her with a kiss. “Let’s not worry about that stuff right now, okay? We’ll work it out after Angelus is dead.”
“You’re being optimistic.”
“I just had the best orgasm of my life. I feel like I could rule the bloody world.”
“Really? The best?” Buffy asked, grinning.
“You should see what it feels like when I bite you while you’re fucking me.” Buffy told him, her grin morphing into a teasing smirk.
Spike groaned, her words his undoing. “Oh, god, kitten. Want you. Want you now…”
“Yes, yes,” Buffy panted, letting Spike roll her over onto her back. He grabbed her legs, hoisted them up…
And she cried out in pain.
Spike jumped away from her, a horrified look on his face. “Buffy…I… I’m so sorry, baby.”
She winced, but pulled herself up so she was sitting. “It’s okay,” she assured him, reaching out to take his hand where he now stood next to the bed. “I guess we both just got a little carried away.”
“You should probably rest more. Let that fresh human blood do some good.” He winked at her.
Buffy stretched against the sheets, letting his hand slip from hers, though she had a smile on her face. “Best meal I’ve had in a long time.”
Spike wondered if that should bother him, but somehow, it only managed to make him want her more. He didn’t know what it was about this woman that changed how he saw everything, how he felt about everything. In only a few short days, she’d turned his whole world on his head, made him love what he’d spent so long hating.
He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. “Sleep, baby. Let those burns heal. I’m going to take a shower, and then I’ll come take a nap with you, all right?”
“Okay.” Buffy turned away from him, hugging the pillow. Spike started for the bathroom, though he stopped when he heard her soft voice call out his name.
“I think I love you, too.”
Spike grinned broadly, those words enough for him now, and Buffy shyly smiled back.
*** *** ***
Buffy couldn’t sleep as she listened to the water running in the shower. Her thoughts were going too fast, what had just transpired between herself and Spike keeping her from being able to rest.
She had no idea how she’d gotten into this situation. Only a few days ago, she’d been certain she was in love with Angelus and they would be together forever. Literally.
Now, she was falling hard for someone else. A human. A human who hunted her kind. She should be more worried about killing him before he killed her, and yet the very thought of hurting him made her feel sick. And on top of that, she believed him completely when he said he had no further intentions of staking her.
But what was that going to mean for them? She had a feeling Spike wouldn’t be happy with her feeding on humans. She knew she could either promise to only feed on animal blood or possibly get him to agree to her feeding but not killing, but either one of those would be nearly impossible for her to adhere to. She was, at her core, a predator. Granted, she knew she wasn’t nearly as vicious as many of her kind, and some things Angelus had done had downright disturbed her, but she was still a vampire. Humans were food to her, and she’d never had a problem with that.
But Spike had a problem with it. Buffy worried her bottom lip between blunt teeth, wondering if she’d really be capable of changing everything she was in order to make Spike happy. She wanted to make Spike happy. Holy water bath aside, he’d treated her better than anyone had in a very long time. He made her feel cherished and wanted – something Angelus had always denied her.
And something had happened in this apartment, something Buffy couldn’t explain and didn’t truly understand, though she couldn’t deny it either. Despite the circumstances of their meeting, she and Spike had managed to make a connection, to find something in each other they’d been searching for. She’d known the first moment he touched her in something other than anger that everything had just changed.
But once they left the apartment…
Buffy didn’t doubt for a moment what she was feeling was love. It had come on suddenly and caught her completely off guard, but it was too strong to be anything else. However, she wasn’t naïve enough to think it was going to work either. As much as she wanted Spike, she knew once he was done with his revenge, everything would change for them yet again. They’d have to try to live in the real world together, not shut off like they were now.
That, Buffy knew, would never work.
For starters, not only would she have to give up feeding, but he would have to give up hunting her kind. She was no more comfortable with the idea of sharing a bed with a man who hunted down and dusted vampires than he was with her feeding from humans. What if he dusted one of her friends?
And how long would it be until they stopped getting along? Right now, things seemed okay, but Buffy knew that was probably because there was so much sexual tension between them. It was hard to argue with a man who was eating you out until you saw stars. But what if they tried for an actual relationship? How long would it be until their two words collided? Would they end up only resenting each other?
A sinking feeling settled in the pit of her stomach as Buffy realized what they had was completely and irrevocably doomed.
The only chance they had was something Buffy didn’t even want to consider. She knew it was something Spike wouldn’t want, and the idea of doing it to him anyway made her ill. In the quarter of a century she’d spent as a vampire, she’d never turned anyone, and she never planned to. Her own turning had been horrific, full of fear and pain, and she’d never do that to Spike.
Honestly, she wasn’t even sure how to do it. She knew the basics – she drank from him, he drank from her. That part would be easy. But there were so many nuances to it, so many rules for how to make a minion versus a childe, how much blood to give to determine when the fledgling would wake up – and then of course all the debates over whether it was best to follow ritual, or if vampires in a modern era no longer needed all of that.
Angelus had tried to explain it to her once, and it had all made her head spin.
She wished they could just stay locked away in the apartment forever, forgetting about the outside world. She liked it here. Despite what she’d endured in the bathroom, she felt safe and warm now, wrapped up in Spike-scented sheets.
The shower went off, and soon after, the bathroom door opened. Spike walked out into the main room, using a towel to dry himself off, though he hadn’t bothered to actually cover up. It was the first glimpse Buffy had gotten of his entire body, and she was far from disappointed. He was gorgeous. And hung like a stallion…
She didn’t want to think about the inevitable time in the future when she’d have to give him up. Not now. Now she just wanted to enjoy the time they had.
Spike dropped the towel and slid under the sheets with her, bringing her into his arms. The holy water had done more damage to her front than her back, and as long as she was mindful of her legs, it was easy to let him hold her like this, to stay pressed against his warm body. She could hear the steady beat of his heart, feel his breath stirring against her hair, and it calmed her, lulled her into a peaceful state she hadn’t known in years.
“Are you feeling any better?” he asked, his hand gently ghosting over her arm.
“Yeah. The burns are all itchy, like they’re healing up.” She squirmed in his arms. “The skin’s pulling, too.”
Spike kissed her temple. “I’m glad you’re starting to heal. Sorry it’s itching and pulling, though.”
“At least it’s a good sign.” Buffy snuggled closer to him, feeling his erection nudging against her, resting between her thighs. She hummed low in her throat, enjoying the comfort in the intimate moment.
“Do you like being a vampire?”
His question took her completely by surprise, seeming to her to have come from nowhere. She turned in his arms, the quiet moment she’d been enjoying shattered. “Huh?”
“I’ve never really talked to a vampire before,” Spike admitted. “There tends to just be fighting and then dust. I never really gave a lot of thought to how they feel or what they think about. I just saw them all as monsters. But then I met you, and it made me start thinking about what vampires are like past the blood and the fangs. I always assumed they just focused on feeding and that was it. But you… Well, you don’t really seem very happy.”
“I think I used to be,” Buffy said. “Maybe. I know…I know I was before I was turned. And then sometimes, things with Angelus were pretty good. I guess. Looking back, I don’t know.” She sighed, moving out of his arms, though not away from him.
“He could be really cruel. The beginning…the beginning was especially bad. He kept me for several days before he turned me, did things to me that I…” She stopped, swallowed hard. “It was difficult. I was sixteen, and he was… When he finally turned me, I was still terrified, even after I woke up. But eventually, things calmed down, and I realized I loved him. I mean, he didn’t do it to hurt me. Not really. He just…he just wanted to keep me.”
Spike hadn’t thought it was possible for him to hate Angelus anymore, but as he listened to Buffy, he realized he’d been wrong. He could only begin to imagine what Angelus would’ve done to a sixteen year old girl he’d had at his mercy.
He could also imagine what Buffy had been like then. The vampire he’d met in the alley had been tough, but the girl he knew now…she was something else. She was…
She was broken. And he’d done it to her.
“What…what happened with you wife? When did Angelus kill her?”
Spike didn’t want to talk about Drusilla. He’d never liked talking about her death, and had always had to be incredibly drunk in the past in order to spill. But he knew that after Buffy had answered his question – at least to an extent – he owed her an answer to one of her own as well.
“Ten years ago. I was twenty-four, and Dru and I were newly married. We were madly, blissfully in love.” A small, bittersweet smile formed on his face, and Buffy tried to suppress the rush of jealousy she felt.
Spike’s smile faded away when he began to speak again. “But then she changed. She became paranoid, terrified constantly. Kept insisting a demon was after her, tormenting her. She’d tell me stories of things that happened while she was out, or when I was at work, and…well, they seemed crazy. She begged me to do things like call a priest to bless the house, put garlic at all the doors and windows, hang crosses on every wall, and I didn’t. I…I didn’t believe her at all. She kept getting more and more hysterical until she was rambling on about the Devil, refusing to sleep or leave the house. I thought she was insane.”
He let out a deep, shuddering breath, his eyes closing as he relived the painful memory. “I worked late a lot then, even though she’d beg me not to leave her alone after dark. But I did, and I came home one night to… She was dead. She was on the couch, her neck torn out. I ran to her, picked her up, and there was nothing, no pulse, no breath. And then he was there, standing over me, taunting me.
“I still don’t know how I survived that night. Angelus came after me, but somehow, I managed to escape. I got to a neighbor’s house, who called the police, but by the time they got there, Angelus was long gone – not that they would’ve done any good anyway. From that moment on, I became obsessed with hunting him down, of hunting down any vampire I could find.”
Buffy pulled further away from him, her head ducked down, and Spike felt a cold wash of dread that he’d said too much. He didn’t know how she felt about the fact he killed her kind, and he didn’t want to lose whatever this was they were building because he’d reminded her of it. “Buffy? What’s wrong, sweetheart?” he asked.
“It’s my fault, Spike,” she said.
Her words were whispered, yet Spike managed to hear them nonetheless. “What’s your fault, pigeon?”
“What happened to your wife.”
Spike froze, her assertion far from what he’d expected. “How so?”
“I… I left him. Angelus and I…we broke up for a while, about ten years ago. And…and it had to be the same time, because I don’t remember any of what you just said. He…well…I met his sire, and she looked so much like me, that it made me think he only turned me to replace her or something, and I got angry, and we had this big fight, and I…I left for a while. It must’ve…it must’ve made him want to really hurt someone, and he picked your wife. I’m sorry.”
“Oh, Buffy,” Spike said, pulling her back into his arms. “It’s not your fault. You can’t blame yourself for what Angelus did. He killed Drusilla because that’s what he wanted to do, not because you left him.”
“But if I hadn’t left…”
“Not your fault,” Spike insisted.
Buffy looked up hesitantly. “You really don’t blame me?”
“No, baby. Not at all.”
Fear abated, Buffy sighed, visibly relaxing. Spike pulled her against his chest again, softly rubbing her back as he pressed gentle kisses against her hairline. She felt so good in his arms, her skin warming from his touch, making him forget what she was completely.
He wanted to take her away, find someplace where they could hide away from the rest of the world. He was determined to make things work, to find a way to keep her with him.
But he had to do this one last thing first. He had to kill Angelus. Even if he had done the impossible and found love a second time, he still owed it to Drusilla to finish what he’d started. He had to be able to finally put an end to that chapter of his life.
Then, he could finally start another.