Author’s Notes: Written for the spuffy_fantasy Banner for Fic Challenge. I wasn’t going to participate, I’m working on my thesis at the moment and I have very little time to write, but I was powerless to resist this fabulous banner (number 4) my lovely friend Sotia made. Hope I can make it justice, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything that isn’t legal jargon. *bites nails* Not too sure how much time I’ll have to write in the next 2 months, so I will just post this on spuffy_fantasy and my journal for the time being.
Chapter 1. Where There’s a Will…
“You can’t be serious, Giles!”
“You gotta be bloody kiddin’ me!”
Rupert Giles had to bite back a smile at the blond couple’s rather… vehement reaction to the news and the dirty looks they were throwing each other.
It was precisely what Jenny Withers had anticipated as well when she’d charged him with drawing up her will shortly before passing on. He just wished she could’ve been around to see how right she’d been about this. Now, however, he could only hope she’d be right about the rest as well.
“Really, Giles, you can’t expect me to marry this-this…” Buffy Summers struggled to find the right word to describe Spike Withers until her eyes clashed with his ice-blue eyes, “troglodyte!”
“Wow, seems they’ve actually taught you a few new words in that university of yours, pet. Will wonders never cease?” the blond man asked rhetorically, sarcasm dripping in his tone.
“Don’t call me pet,” she replied venomously. “Actually, if you can refrain from talking to me altogether, that’d be worlds of good.”
“Where would the fun be in that, kitten?” Spike chuckled at the scathing glare his remark earned him. He had to admit that he loved seeing the way Buffy’s eyes sparkled whenever she was angry.
Heaving a pained sigh, she decided to just ignore him for the time being. She had more important issues to deal with right now than the bleached pest. No matter how much she loved her aunt or Insula Paradisului, there was no way she was marrying Spike of all people. Think, Buffy, think. “Perhaps we can contest the will?”
Unfortunately, Giles answer instantly deflated whatever hope she’d held of getting out of this. “Nothing stops you from trying, Elizabeth. However, I can assure you there’s nothing to contest. Jenny was of sound mind and body, had full use of her mental faculties at the time, and disposed of her assets as she saw fit.”
“But… that clause… it can’t be legal to condition us to-to…”
“It’s perfectly legal, my dear child. And it’s not like either of you don’t have a choice in the matter.”
Yes, she had a choice… in theory. She could either marry a man she despised with every fiber of her being so they both inherited her aunt’s paradisiacal island, or not marry him and lose the only place she’d considered home ever since her parents died. Not to mention it wasn’t a decision she could make on her own. What if she agreed to the will’s terms and Spike didn’t? It was entirely possible he would say no just to make her squirm. She wouldn’t put it past him.
She stole a sideways glance to the man seated next to her, slightly unnerved that, aside from his initial outburst, he hadn’t really exhibited any signs of being in favor of, or against this whole deal. He appeared to be as lost in thought as she was, which on one hand was good she supposed. At least he wasn’t trying to annoy her for the hell of it. On the other hand, who knew what he might be thinking or planning to do to her?
Whatever it was, there was no question she was caught between a rock and a hard place. She was damned no matter which option she chose and if that wasn’t enough, subjected to whatever he decided, too.
It was official, her life sucked!
“I’ll leave you two alone for a few minutes so you can talk about this.” Giles started gathering his files, placing them inside his briefcase. “I’ll be outside while you make your decision,” he added before leaving the room.
Spike stood up from the chair and walked to the window overlooking the gardens of his London’s estate. It came into his possession, along with a title, other properties, assets and more funds than he would be able to spend in several lifetimes when his father passed away nearly five years ago. He had everything money could buy and still, he wanted more. He wanted the girl who was with him in the room more than he could say. Had for years now. Had ever since he blew his chance of her ever looking at him with something other than the aggravation her green eyes reflected whenever she posed them on him.
His stepmum had handed him the opportunity to do just that on a silver platter. To right whatever wrongs he’d made with Buffy and perhaps, just perhaps, earn her forgiveness and with any luck, her love.
Giving her what she wanted the most, Insula Paradisului, seemed like the perfect start for that.
“So,” she began, startling him out of his reverie. “What do you think?”
He turned to look at her, noticing for the first time the dark circles beneath her eyes and cursing himself for making this harder on her than it had to be, especially so soon after losing Jenny.
“Way I see it, I don’t think we have much choice in the matter, love. It’s either marry or lose Jenny’s island to the International Romani Union.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “And I don’t really fancy leavin’ it to them.” He knew that’d been the right answer when she smiled warmly at him.
“Yeah, me neither,” she sighed, a wave of relief washing through her that—at least in this—they were in agreement. Maybe not everything was lost? “So… does this mean we’re doing this… the marrying thing, I mean?”
“If that’s what you want, pet.”
If that’s what she wanted? Not really. Once upon a time perhaps, but now? Definitely not! The only reason she was even considering this… insanity was because she didn’t know if she could stand losing the island so soon after losing her last living relative. That was all. It had nothing to do with Spike. And maybe if she told herself a few million times more, it’d come true.
She was so screwed.
“Okay, so… now what, we shake on it?” she asked him, standing up from the chair and walking towards him. Yes, she decided, that was the perfect way to view this arrangement of theirs, as a business deal and nothing else. Love wasn’t—and never would be—part of the equation where they were concerned. She refused to let herself fall into that trap ever again, no matter whatever romantic notions her Aunt Jenny had entertained when she threw them together in this disastrous situation.
He looked from the proffered limb to her face and smiled at her. The lazy grin would’ve been reassuring, if she hadn’t seen the predatory gleam in the azure eyes. The same gleam that sent a frisson of fear rushing through her as he took her hand in his, making her wonder if she’d just made the biggest mistake of her life.
That thought was confirmed when, in a move that took her completely by surprise, he hauled her towards him with enough force to make her lose her balance and wound up pressed against his solid chest, his arm around her waist to keep her in place as she gazed up at his nearing face in shock.
“Appealin’ as that sounds, kitten, I think I prefer my way best,” he drawled just before claiming her lips with his.
Surprise, shock, astonishment. That was what had her frozen as Spike’s lips moved over hers, begging for entrance. What made her mouth open to be invaded by his tongue was the strangled, outraged gasp she tried to voice when he pulled her even closer to his body, allowing her to feel his obvious arousal pressing into her abdomen without shame.
Buffy felt lightheaded, dizzy, her legs slightly wobbly under her weight. That was the only reason why she clung to his shoulders for dear life as he plundered her mouth with his tongue. That was the only reason why her treacherous fingers slid up to the nape of his neck, threading into his hair, the only reason she began responding to his kiss… It had absolutely nothing to do with the barrage of sensations, of memories that assaulted her at the first touch of those sinfully soft lips. And even less to do with the man kissing her.
Yeah, right… and people in hell were served ice-water on a regular basis.
Spike was in heaven.
He was drunk from her taste, from her scent, in the way her body molded to his, in every little moan that rasped her throat. He could lose himself in her, wanted to lose himself in her, crawl into her skin until they were one and never, ever leave.
After so many years of misunderstandings, of quarrels, of wishing he could go back in time and fix what he’d so carelessly destroyed, she was finally in his arms again. Buffy. His Buffy. This time he would do the things he neglected to do before, prove that he could be the man she deserved.
It wouldn’t be easy, he knew. But if the way she was responding to him now was any indication, she wasn’t as indifferent to him as she’d led him to believe all these years. She’d kept him at arms’ length the very few times they’d actually been at the island at the same time since that fatidic night; not that he could really blame her for that. But if she thought this would be a platonic marriage, she was sorely mistaken!
His mouth left hers to travel down her jaw and neck, doctoring the silky flesh with small nips and kisses, reveling in every pant, sigh and moan his touch elicited. He wished they were anywhere but in his study or at least that Giles wasn’t outside the door waiting for them to reach an agreement.
Speaking of the Devil…
The knock on the door startled Buffy out of the haze of desire that surrounded her. She opened her eyes and brought her hand up to her mouth in disbelief that she’d behaved like this. Oh God, no, no, no, this was so not good. She shook her head as she took a step back then another, and she might have taken yet another if the door hadn’t opened just then.
Giles ambled leisurely into the room, his eyes widening slightly when he noticed the blond couple’s slightly… ahem, disheveled appearance, but quickly recovered to inquire, “I trust you’ve reached a decision?”
“We have,” Spike answered.
“And?” the barrister prompted, sitting behind the desk once again.
“We’re marrying as was Jenny’s wish.”
“Good, good. I assume noon tomorrow is convenient for both of you?”
Buffy blinked, swallowing hard before asking, “C-convenient for what?”
“Well, for your nuptials to take place, of course, what else?” the older man queried, as if this was an everyday occurrence.
“Again, what?” Tomorrow was too soon, way too soon for her taste, especially after what just happened with Spike. “That’s just not possible, Giles… the license, the paperwork, it all takes time.” She was well aware her voice held a desperate quality to it, but hell, she couldn’t help it. This was insane!
“Actually, Elizabeth, I’ve taken care of that already. I took the liberty of asking for a special marriage license, as per your aunt’s instructions, and I’ve spoken to Superintendent Registrar Merrick. He was a great friend of your father, William, and said he’d be delighted to do this, even on such short notice.”
“No, wait, this is just not—” she started but Spike interrupted her.
“Perfect, so it’s all settled then?” She looked at him as if he’d suddenly sprouted a second head. “What?”
“You can’t possibly be thinking of agreeing to this,” she said, her eyes pleading with him.
“I don’t really see the point in waitin’, Buffy. Not when Giles has gone through so much trouble to ensure Jenny’s will is carried out as she wished.”
“Not to mention,” Giles interjected, “Jenny stipulated a time frame for your marriage to take place. She felt you both have already lost too much time in petty discussions and fights.”
That sounded so much like Jenny that it brought forth a watery smile to her lips, before she remembered what she’d agreed to. She was to marry Spike Withers the next day. Tomorrow. As in less than twenty-four hours from now! And if she knew her aunt, that wasn’t the only thing she’d consented to. Jenny’s heart had always been in the right place… but that didn’t mean she was above being tricky to get her way and this was what she’d wanted more than anything else. There was no doubt in her mind her dear aunt probably had a few more tricks up her sleeve and she was afraid, make that very afraid of finding out what more she possibly had in store for them.
Why couldn’t nature cooperate for once in her life and allow the earth to just open and swallow her whole so she could get out of this?