In the Army Now

Rating:
Total Chapters: 21

Buffy joins the military and heads off to Basic Training. The Boot Camp experience can be rough enough to endure, but there’s something, or rather someone that will make her time spent becoming a soldier ten times worse – a Drill Sergeant sent straight from the bowels of hell that takes an instant dislike to her mere presence…………. Spike. He’s evil, he’s mean, he hates her but even worse… he lusts for her. This is not a military fic or even a fic about the military. The Army serves only as the backdrop-setting to the story, so don’t shy away from reading. Winner of Best Fantasy at Love’s Last Glimpse Awards, round 19. Spuffy Awards Round 13: Judges Choice; Most Original Plot, Best Fantasy Saga. Readers Choice: Best Fantasy We Missed the Bed Again. Judges hand picked for special acknowledgment.

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Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and Fox studios. This story is not meant to infringe upon anyone’s rights, only to entertain.

Author’s Notes: Okay, on this story there’s a lot I need to say so I’ll try to keep it brief, but PLEASE read. First, for those that don’t know, I served in the US Army and went through much of what you’ll read (boot camp, the yelling, the physical torture, ahem, training). That being said, in no way am I trying to be disrespectful of OR towards any aspect of the military by using the setting I chose for this fic. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the soldiers and military lifestyle. Hell, I’m still experiencing it, though now as just a spouse living on a military base. I simply couldn’t resist trying something different for a fic and of course, when we get there, the nc17 parts do NOT really happen in the real military – at least not that I’ve ever heard anyway. It’s just a fic, for fun, where I’ve twisted things to make it spuffy – Spike is a total A-hole and Buffy has no choice but to endure his wrath. For those who are familiar with the military lifestyle, I’ve left a lot of the many, many, many details of certain things out on purpose. There’s so much I had to include, (to familiarize those who’ve never been around this sort of atmosphere), with the workings of the military that it would be too much like a class lecture to include it all. I wrote only what I felt necessary and no, I have no deep government secrets to reveal, sorry. This first chapter will read ‘dry’ in some parts and I’m sorry for that. Some explanations are needed in order to get into and appreciate Buffy’s new world so I hope everyone understands. After this chapter, there won’t be those long descriptions. Tons and tons of comedy in this fic and a butt-load of sexual tension before the dam breaks. My one ‘command’ for the reader: Please enjoy the spirit in which this was written with… spuffy. Special thanks goes to Kitty again, for the drool worthy pic, smoochies to you hon – you’re a GODESS. Thank you Dusty and Beasleysmom for all your help


Chapter 1: Welcome to Hell

Chapter Notes:  Hope you enjoyed the intro into Buffy’s new world. The only thing I ask is that everyone reads chapter two before deciding whether it’s your cup of tea or not, thanks. Buffy’s first meeting with Spike is something that actually happened to me and DAMN my Drill Sergeant scared the bejesus outta me. Looking back, it was funny as hell, so I included it. The wizard of Oz part is something I saw happen at boot – not to me though, thank God. Hope you enjoyed and next chappy – we’ll dig right into the action. In the words of Jonathon, “Come. Let’s take a little journey..


Her recruiter had told her what to expect, but honestly… she didn’t think it was going to be like this. Fucking bastard lied. After arriving by bus at the welcome center of FT Lemonworth, nothing could have prepared her for the greeting she and the other recruits received. The second the charter bus door opened, Buffy and the rest of the young men and women who were going to go through boot camp together were welcomed by a group of about sixteen Drill Sergeants, shouting at the top of their lungs to ‘move their asses, fall in and form a line’.

After much scrambling around, they’d managed to form up in several long rows but the shouting and insults didn’t cease. They were told they were ‘too slow’, a ‘disgrace to the uniform they hadn’t even put on yet’, they ‘were weak, sniveling, undisciplined’… basically, they were nothing more than shit. For a full fifteen minutes, the verbal insults continued as each DS walked around putting their faces within millimeters of each and every recruit, spittle flying everywhere, personal attacks on their appearance being made…

She tried to remain still and keep to herself but it was of no use. Buffy already suffered her share of the insults when she came face to face with what would become her worst nightmare… Spike.

“Well, well, well,” he jibed sarcastically. “What do we have here?”

His British accent was the first thing that threw her off; the second was his stunning good looks. Razor sharp cheekbones, strong jaw, inhumanly perfect lips, the bottom one so full and kissable she momentarily forgot she had a boyfriend back home in California. And those eyes, possibly the most amazing shade of blue she’d ever seen. Their intensity was captivating, lending themselves to his incredibly strong presence, drawing her in to marvel at their beauty. They pierced hers, hypnotizing her with his icy cold stare. She was told earlier not to ‘eye-ball’ any DS by staring directly at them, so she quickly looked down. Like all the other Drills his uniform was heavily starched with a weird looking belt about his waist. It was green, wide with metal lined holes set at even intervals and bunched the material of his long camouflage top, accentuating the fact he had a slim waist. The sleeves to his uniform were rolled up, revealing lean arms covered with tightly corded muscles, strong bulging biceps and forearms that reminded her of a swimmer’s build; this man was fitGood lord, it wasn’t like she was purposely checking him out, but when he placed his hands on his hips, she couldn’t help but think he had the most beautiful hands she’d ever seen. She was a big ‘hands’ person and his were just, well, perfect. Stop it, Buffy. For God sakes the man is your Drill Sergeant and you have a boyfriend.

She answered him with what she hoped was the correct response. “Private Summers, Sir.”

He went off on her, yelling the entire time. “`M not some spoilt, snivelin’ nancy-boy with a degree hidin’ behind some desk pushin’ paper all day. I work for a livin’ and wear stripes for rank,” he pointed to his collar where the insignia was sewn onto his uniform, “And that means you WILL address me as Sergeant. DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND?” He shouted so loud his face was red from the effort.

“Y-yes.” She stammered nervously. He had a formidable, dangerous air about him that spoke of nothing but harsh contempt, much stronger than that of the previous Drill Sergeants. He scared her to her shaky core. It was clear she had pissed him off on some personal level.

“Yes, SERGEANT, is the appropriate response after anythin’ you say to me or any of the other Drill Sergeants you see here in a brown hat.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“Why are you whisperin’? Are you flirtin’? Tryin’ to hit on me? Askin’ me out on a date or somethin’?”

“NO… Sergeant.” Her eyes flew open wide, what the hell was that all about? She quickly answered him again, this time a little louder. “No, Sergeant.”

“Oh. So what you’re sayin’ is `m not good enough for the likes of you?” He loved this part. Taking soft spoken women and getting them to find their voice, speak up loud and clear.

“Yes, Sergeant.” He arched a surprised eyebrow at her. “I mean no, Sergeant.”

“So you ARE askin’ me?” Tilting his head to the side he watched her eyes fill with confusion and fear before answering.

“No, Sergeant.”

“So `m not good enough then? Which is it?”

She felt trapped, like she was insulting him no matter which way she answered. “No, Sergeant?” Uh oh. He had her so rattled and confused that she went for the most insulting answering, putting it into question form, hoping he’d tell her what her answer should be.

“Right then.” He nodded once at her. “From now on, sound off like you mean it.” No, he probably wasn’t her type, with her good looks he imagined she went for the ‘pretty boy’ type. Like that actor guy, what’s his name, Freddie Ponce Jr. or something? Didn’t matter, the reason for the insults was to break the recruits down mentally so they could build them back up, shape and mold their minds to think like a soldier.

He narrowed his eyes on her, taking in the amount of makeup she wore, her shampoo commercial hair and girly pink outfit. This one would be fun to break, oh yes. Another silly little fluffy cheerleader type thinking she can make it as a soldier in his Army. Hmmph, not if I have anythin’ to do with it.

William David Speichart, aka ‘Spike’ to his friends, was the type of soldier that didn’t care for women joining the military. Though they had their uses in certain fields and he showed the proper respect at all times around them, to him, this was a man’s world, cut and dried. He felt they weren’t ‘mentally equipped’ to handle what it took to go to war which was, after all, the reason for and bulk of the initial training they received here at boot camp… to be prepared to go to war. They would be Drilled to stand, march, respond to orders in an unquestioning manner, to act unhesitatingly in the face of real combat situations as well as trained in basic marksmanship with weapons, hand to hand combat, physical fitness training, first aid, protective equipment usage, and basic survival techniques.

Throughout his career, government orders kept him traveling approximately every two years to a different state and duty station all across the continental U.S. Here, at this current location in the mid-west, his job was simple, be a Drill Sergeant. Day in and day out he turned civilians into soldiers, and he’d grown particularly fond of the ‘breaking’ process… especially when it came to girls like Buffy. The way she was dressed looked like she was ready to go to the mall. With her pink mini skirt and white tank top, jewelry everywhere and long golden hair that looked silky to the touc… enough.

He got right in her face, stared her down and made sure his tone of voice conveyed the seriousness behind his words.

“I’ll be watchin’ you. You so much as BLINK wrong and I’ll be there, breathin’ down your neck. `M gonna be on you like flies on shit for the next nine weeks of your miserable life, makin’ sure you know exactly what you are… nothin’.”

Standing perfectly still, the strong aroma of cigarettes mixed with his cologne permeated the air around her.

“Do we have an understandin’, Summers?”

“Yes, Sergeant.” She responded without hesitation, not wishing to anger him further than she apparently already had, though how she had was a mystery.

He stood to his full height and tugged the hem of his shirt, curtly nodding once. Good. A woman that knows her place.

He walked away to terrorize the next poor unfortunate that dare enter his Army, denying any instant attraction he felt when his nostrils filled with the delicate scent of her vanilla perfume.

He’d been married twice before. First to Dru, who’d gone insane while he was deployed to the middle east and wound up pregnant by one of the many men she’d run around with. Then Cecily, his second and quite sane wife, had chosen to tear his heart in two by openly cheating on him with their neighbor’s husband, thereby ruining not one marriage but two. Never, never again would he enter into marriage. Those vows were a joke and women couldn’t be trusted to keep their legs closed. His career, on the other hand, was the one constant in his life he could count on.

William had emigrated from London to New York with his widowed father at the age of fourteen. He instantly fell in love with America and what it stood for, earning his citizenship two years later and joining the U.S. Army on his seventeenth birthday. He was both teased and ridiculed for his British accent until, over the years, he’d gained both rank and respect. Twelve years, two ex-wives, five different duty stations and several ranks later found him a bitter, twenty nine year old man with a small paycheck yet proud of his service to this fine country. As far as he was concerned, he was married to Uncle Sam and would remain loyal `til the end.

He was the senior most ranking enlisted personnel in charge of the cadre designated to train incoming recruits. The only two people he had to report to were his immediate superiors, who rarely came around; his First Sergeant and the Company Commander. His best friend and former comrade in arms from his time spent in the desert was already part of the Drill Sergeant Team, Sergeant Charles Gunn. The rest of the cadre were a new set of new faces that over the last several months, he’d come to know and nicknamed. Sergeant Daniel Osbourne – the jokester, Sergeant Lilah Morgan – the slut, Sergeant Riley Finn – ‘white-bread’, Sergeant Jonathon Levinson – the nerd, and a host of about nine other people, enough to see at least eighty recruits through all the training they were to receive.

Their job was not an easy one and they counted on each other to get through the long twelve hour shifts they had to spend acting like the devil’s minions. All the insults and punishment they doled out wasn’t what the Army was really like once basic training and schooling for their individual military specialties was completed. Every week and a half, they rotated their schedule so they would have one full day off from the brutal schedule and every three weeks they had two days off in a row. Spike only had his job, his career and therefore always made sure everyone, especially those with family, got more than their allotted share of time off by volunteering to cover shifts. He rarely took a day off and still had yet to take more than one day off in a row.

There were a few of his co-worker’s, he learned right away, that hated acting like monsters towards the females coming through boot camp and he very quickly tightened the reins and made it clear that in his eyes as well as the government’s, they were soldiers first, both male and female alike and the treatment was to be the same for both.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first couple of days were spent getting the recruits outfitted into camouflaged Battle Dress Uniforms, otherwise known as BDU’s. The males were shaved bald, females instructed to keep their hair pinned up at all times, ugly looking glasses issued to anyone who needed prescription eyewear. They all had to go through vaccinations like a conveyor belt, receive dog tags and then lock all their personal ‘civilian’ belongings away. No CD players or electronic equipment, no makeup, cologne or perfume, civilian bras, socks or underwear were allowed. The only effects they could keep on their person were pictures of family and one necklace if the pendant were of a religious nature, such as a cross or catholic Saint. They were taken to a store that held military approved items in order to re-buy everything. The men could have cared less about any of the changes, but the women were horrified. Gone were the pretty lacy thongs they were used to and what now would covered their womanly parts were bras and underwear of such horrid design even their own grandmothers would refuse to wear, saying there was way too much material.

“So, Private Goldilocks, wha’s the matter? Not happy with your new knickers?” Spike overheard Buffy complaining to another female about the injustice of having to wear the medieval garments. She ducked her head and didn’t answer.

He walked over to her, seething with anger that she ignored him. “Pay for your stuff and meet me outside,” he commanded her gruffly through gritted teeth.

“Yes, Sergeant.” Great, just great. She did as she was told and headed out the door. Maybe… if she could slip deep into the back of formation, she could avoid being seen. Yeah, right!

“Summers!”

She stopped short and turned around to face him. Four feet, she was only four feet short from her goal when he caught her.

“I told you to come see me, NOT rejoin your fellow soldiers.” He waited until she turned around then extended one arm, snapped his fingers and pointed to the ground in front of him. “Front and center.” She ran up to him and stood with her hands tucked at the small of her back, her elbows out straight, a proper stance otherwise known as ‘parade rest’. “WHAT is your major malfunction, Private? Cuz unless you’re deaf, you jus’ defied a direct order.”

“Sorry, Sergeant.” He’s not going to let this go, I just know it. So far, she’d been dropped for pushups by this gorgeo… ahem, evil man every time they crossed paths.

“Oh, so `m a sorry Sergeant now?”

“NO! No, Sergeant, that’s not what I meant, Sergeant.” Damnit, how did he always manage to twist whatever she said around?

“So you’re not sorry?” She was definitely at the top of his shit list.

Before she could answer, his attention shifted over her shoulder. She didn’t dare do anything except stare straight ahead and though she couldn’t see what had distracted him, she clearly heard a male voice, slightly louder than everyone else’s. It sounded like he was whining about something.

“Run in place `til I tell you to stop, Summers.” He stormed off to deal with another problem child… Private Parker Abrams.

She couldn’t help herself. As her feet began to jog, she made a one eighty so she could see the commotion. Yup, there was Sergeant Satan, barking at Abrams and oh shit, is he actually talking back at him?

She, along with everyone else, had to keep from laughing. Apparently the whiner pushed Sergeant Speichart too far because his punishment was beyond humiliating. He was skipping in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ fashion around everyone else, holding his hat high in one hand while picking and throwing invisible posies from it, singing ‘nobody understands me’ to the children’s taunting tune of na na naaa na naaa naaaaa.

Oooops, Buffy didn’t turn back around fast enough.

“Summers, le’s go back to the barracks shall we? You smell too pretty. Time to introduce you to the mud pit.”

Huh?!?! Didn’t sound good whatever it was. And sure enough, once Spike had marched them all back to their new ‘home’, there was a nice big, brown, wet, gooey hole full of nothing but mud to which she rolled left and right in, end to end, over and over.

That’ll teach Miss Fluffy Vanilla Summers. She always smelt so good, too good and it unnerved him. He couldn’t figure it out. He along with all the other Drill Sergeants ransacked every recruit’s locker, searching for anything they might have been stupid enough to smuggle in and keep from their personal belongings. He half expected to find perfume in hers, but to his amazement, there was nothing there that didn’t belong. Even her shampoo and soap were of the basic ‘get yourself clean’ unscented variety. Hmmph. Well the mud pit would take care of the disturbing, natural smell of her… like vanilla sugar cookies. He shook his head, returning his attention back to her, telling her to get up, that her fifteen minutes were done and she had five minutes to shower and be back in uniform before chow. Her Army issued shorts and T-shirt were stuck to her body, outlining her scrawny figure. How the hell did she keep from blowing away during a strong wind? This wouldn’t do. She needed some meat on her bones if she ever expected to make it through Basic. Seemed he’d have to put her on a little diet, fatten her up a bit, make her exercise a little more to be sure it went into building some muscle.

Those first nights she went to bed, it was next to impossible to get any sleep. She could feel every spring and coil through the two inch thick mattress of her bunk and it creaked every time she moved. The blankets they were issued were made of pure wool, and she swore she was going to draw blood from scratching her skin so much. Her small room was sterile looking with only two beds and two standup closets. The only good thing about it was her roommate, Willow Rosenburg. Willow was timid but sweet. They got along well as they whispered away throughout the sleepless nights, talking about where they were from and why they’d joined. Both had signed up for the same job, to be a combat medic or as the Army termed it, Medical Specialist. They were happy to know they would be going to school together after ‘Basic’’ and could already smell the freedom after leaving this place. Willow’s best friend from high school joined the Army with her, Xander Harris and she introduced Buffy to him right away. The three tried their best to stick together, knowing these nine weeks were going to feel like nine years.

A simple two story building was where they were assigned to live and train while their Drill Sergeants filled them with fear, made them train, sweat, integrate them into the military lifestyle of a soldier. Their days were to be spent learning how to make and stand in a formation and, while marching or running, sing weird and sometimes disturbing cadences about blood and battle. They also needed to learn all the endless acronyms the government had for nearly every piece of equipment, clothing, supplies, weapons and training specific exercises. And if all this wasn’t enough to overload their brains with, they were being ‘dropped’ for pushups, sit ups, made to stand for an hour holding a heavy log over their heads or ‘take a roll in the mud pit’ every time they so much as dared to speak when not spoken to.

Naturally, there were those few who couldn’t keep it together mentally or hold their tongue and language to their superiors. These unfortunates were discharged from the Army for ‘failure to adapt’, but only after given ample opportunity to get their act together through ‘corrective training’, aka getting screamed at and tortured by being made to perform physical feats of strength even Hercules himself was incapable of. Out of the seventy eight men and women Buffy arrived with, there were only fifty eight left by the end of week one that were both ‘fit’ and ‘forced’ by having signed the dotted line, to see the rest of the way through to graduation.

Eleven of these remaining recruits were females, which were quickly grouped together and given one side of the hallway for their sleeping quarters on the second floor. The Drill Sergeant’s office lay directly between them and the other half of the hallway where both the lavatories and the male’s sleeping quarters lie. Everyone was informed that sexual harassment in any of its various forms would not be tolerated by either male or females towards the opposite sex. Whether it was a look, a touch, or a suggestion, that soldier would ‘regret the day their mother ever opened her legs for their conception’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffy was exhausted. She, along with everyone else was never allowed too much sleep, never more than four hours at a time it seemed. They were ritually woken up at random hours of the night to ‘get dressed into full battle gear and be outside in formation in exactly five minutes’. The incessant scrambling to make it happen while half asleep was hell. And as always, when a Drill Sergeant began counting backwards from sixty during the last remaining minute, they became frantic, terrified by the possible punishment they would receive if even one soldier were late while the rest stood ready.

The soldiers were informed they would be allowed to write letters home ‘if they could find the time’ and that mail call would be had every day right before going to chow. In addition, every Sunday after they were allowed to go to church services if they so chose, they could all line up behind to the one and only phone booth at the edge of the street their building was on to call home. They could spend no more than a huge, grand total of five minutes before they were to hand the phone off to the next person.

When her first Sunday arrived, Buffy chose to call her parents first instead of her boyfriend, Angel, because she knew her mother would kill her if she didn’t. After her five minutes were up, she used her bathroom time and other stolen moments to finish her first letter to Angel.


My dearest Angel,

I guess the only thing I can write to you about is everything I’ve been doing here so far, boring as you may find it.

First fun fact about life here in Hell is that every morning at 5:30 a Drill Sergeant walks the halls, yelling for us to get our asses outside. We wear the ugliest sweats and T-shirts and then make a formation to get ready for PT, which means physical training, though I prefer to call it physical torture.

We do push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, squats, and much more as the Drill Sergeants take turns screaming at us. After all the pain and insults are finished we get to “cool off” which means a two mile run. There’s a Drill in front to lead us, Drills on either side that yell and make fun of us, making sure we keep up with the formation and one Drill to the rear to pick-up the stragglers who couldn’t keep up. Boot camp isn’t all physical though, we have to think too which is a contradiction to what they tell us, “You’re not here to think, we do the thinking and you follow orders.”

We have classes on different subjects, such as the workings and firing of an M-16, how to throw a hand grenade and safety classes that go along with them. I’d get into those but then you really would be bored.

There is this one Drill, Sergeant (Psycho) Speichart, who has it out for me and unfortunately he’s assigned directly to my platoon. He’s on my ass every chance he gets, making me do pushups for breathing wrong, run around the building ten times holding my rifle over my head and if I’m lucky, I get to go to the ‘house of pain’. He’s had me sit in an invisible chair with my back against the wall then tells me how much time I have to spend that way. It’s always something ridiculous like twenty minutes. I’m sure he does it on purpose because I can never make it before my thighs hurt and burn so much I fall to the floor. Then because I failed he makes me do something else equally impossible that wears out my arms, like balancing heavy objects on each palm while stretching my arms out with my elbows locked.

It was raining the other day and he decided the females needed to improve our running time so we got drenched for over an hour in this freezing rain while doing sprints. I’m still trying to get over the cold I caught the next day. I swear the man is out to kill me. He’s past being insane, he’s like mentally unstable or something. Nearly every day he makes me roll in the infamous mud pit and usually right after I shower so I’m forced to go to the chow hall filthy. I have to do twice as much laundry as anyone else. Oh and let me tell you, he follows me through the meal line and makes me pick food that will make me gain weight. Apparently I’m so sickly looking that I must have been a bulimic before coming here. And let’s not forget he makes sure I eat all of it, too. I almost did throw up during the first week.

Not all the Drills are like that though. Like the other day when we had locker inspections. Sergeant Gunn, my other platoon Sergeant, looked inside my locker and saw a cockroach running around inside. He’s got a pretty good sense of humor and told me to get rid of it because we aren’t allowed pets. Most of the Drills are decent enough despite the insults and can be pretty funny at times. Sometimes they march us around in circles while they sit at the center and tell us funny jokes, trying to make us laugh. When we do, they make us do push-ups but some of their jokes, especially Sergeant Osbourne’s, are so worth it.

Well, this is as much as I can write if I want to get this letter out to you by tomorrow. It’s like a nightmare come true here and I miss you so much. I love you Angel. Please write me as much as you can, I could use something to look forward to. I’ll try to call you next Sunday.

Love,
Buffy


~~~~~~~~~~~~

Week 2

“Bradshaw,” fwoosh, “Soto,” fwoosh, “Withers,” fwoosh, “Nelson…” Spike continued holding up each piece of mail, read out who it was to, then flung it through the air to that soldier with a flick of his wrist. “Cardenas,” fwoosh, “Summers.” He cocked an eyebrow when he spotted hearts drawn all over the envelope. Your Angel, Liam. Huh. Looks like she has a boyfriend back home. What sort of nancy-boy draws hearts on an envelope? Smirking, he knew this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Buffy anxiously waited for him to throw it her way, but when he got that evil grin on his face she knew she was in for some form of ridicule.

“Now who would want to be writin’ to you? Le’s see. Your Angel, Liam. Awwwww isn’ that cuuuuuuuute. Look everyone.” He turned it around and held it up. “I’d like to draw your attention to all the lovely artwork this Angel git drew for Summers.”

Oh my, God. Please say he didn’t do something like that. She sat cringing in the corner of the common room where they were herded in on a daily basis to do everything from mail call to role call. I am so screwed. Yup, there were hearts drawn on it alright. Everyone snickered around her. Everyone that is, except for the only two people she’d managed to make friends with, Xander and Willow. Buffy had gone from being popular all her life to being the class joke here at boot camp. Willow rubbed her shoulder for support. She too agreed that Spike, as they came to find out was his nickname, was particularly harsh and cruel with her, never sparing her a moment’s peace and took advantage of her every wrong move to embarrass and torture her. She looked up into Willow’s eyes and watched her shake her head and put on her ‘resolve face’, the one that said to ignore it and act like it didn’t bother her.

“Le’s count them shall we? One, two.” He looked up and ordered them. “I said le’s count them together.” The rest of the recruits instinctually chimed in. “Three, four, five…” And together everyone counted a grand total of ten between the front and the back. “Ahh, wha’s this?” As he lowered the envelope to his lap he heard something rattle. Holding it up to the light and turning it carefully, he spotted what looked like it might be a piece of jewelry. This jus’ keeps getting’ better and better. “Ten hearts `s gonna cost you ten full minutes of squats, ten full minutes of pushups and ten full minutes of sit-ups. And since there’s somethin’ rattlin’ around in here,” he shook it to make his point. “That’ll cost you thirty minutes in the mud pit tonight.”

Erghhhh, fuck you, you British… British-American prick.

“Come up here and open this in front of me. Gotta make sure your ANGEL,” he threw his hand over his heart and used a high pitched, swooning voice which earned more snickers from those in the room. “Didn’ send you any contraband.”

Angel had sent her something? At first her heart jumped for joy but quickly lodged itself in her throat to beat in terror. If he sent anything she wasn’t supposed to have, she was going to be in for a lot more than sixty extra minutes of exercise tonight. She stood up and made her way towards the front of the room.

He handed it to her and watched as she opened it. She tilted the envelope and tore at the corner which made a gold necklace fall out onto the floor. He watched her bend over to pick it up and his eyes immediately went to her backside.

Still too bony. He tried to convince himself that every time his attention was drawn to her, ahem, ‘assets’, it was for the sole purpose of seeing whether or not the diet he’d forced her on was working. Like the time he’d taken all the female soldiers out for a run in the rain and their PT uniforms became drenched, clinging like a second skin to their bottoms. After thirty minutes of sprints, he took them on a two mile jog… with Summers right in front of him. He couldn’t see in the rain unless he kept his head down where he had no other choice but to watch her lovely bum sway. He had to admit the diet was starting to help, but she still seemed too thin.

He averted his eyes when she stood, holding a necklace with a simple gold cross on the chain. Hmmph, why couldn’t it have been something else so he could punish her for her stupid boyfriend’s lack of judgment?

“Very good. You can keep it.” When she went to walk away, he stopped her short. “`M not through with you yet, Summers.”

Why am I not surprised. The temporary happiness she’d found from discovering her gift quickly fled.

“Why don’ you open your letter right now? Share what ANGEL has to say with the rest of your fellow soldiers?”

Gunn, who’d been sitting to the right of Spike, looked at him in surprise. “Spike, man,” he shook his head at him with disapproval then leaned in to whisper. “Don’t do that, that’s personal.” Spike raised his hand in a ‘stop right there’ fashion and gave him a warning glare to stay out of it.

He wanted her to do what?!?! Okay, I can get through this. He probably just wrote about work and family anyways. No big deal, he would get bored the minute she started reading about pouring cement and probably tell her to stop. Wrong!!! She read the first page out loud and as she suspected, aside from a few normal ‘I love and miss you’s’, most of it was about what new project he was currently working on with his father. She could only pray that he would make no mention about her reference to Spike or else she would be spending the rest of her time in the mud pit whenever they weren’t training. The thought terrified her as she read on.

Boring. The man was a construction worker? Surely someone as pretty as she was could do better than that. Of course he could care less who she was dating, nope, he didn’t care if she dated a convict. He yawned, acting bored on purpose, circling his finger in the air behind her back so that every one could see him more or less saying ‘big deal, whoop-d-doo’. She turned to the second page and he didn’t think he could take any more of it.

“Do you remember that time when your parents went away for the weekend and we…” She turned bright red and stopped reading altogether. Her eyes quickly scanned the next few lines and her hands began shaking.

“Keep readin’, Summers.” He hadn’t really been paying too much attention, but when she turned to face him, her face scarlet, shaking her head ‘no’, his curiosity peaked.

“I-I can’t, Sergeant.”

“You CAN and you WILL. Now read.”

“Please,” she looked to Gunn for help. She overheard his whispers and knew he didn’t agree with what Spike was doing to embarrass her. “Don’t make me, Sergeant. I can’t.”

Spike became furious at her refusal to follow his order and snatched the letter from her hands. When she squeaked in horror, he shot her a look to remain quite. He read the first few sentences and had to stop himself. This boyfriend of hers was going into detail about a very intimate moment they had in her bedroom. No wonder she refused to read any further. It wasn’t appropriate. Actually, it was inappropriate that he was reading a private correspondence of any one of his soldiers. It wasn’t forbidden, but he’d crossed a line he knew even he shouldn’t have. He’d been furious though, and now that he’d read some of the things she’d shared with this man, he was oddly furious about what this guy actually got to do to her lovely body. It was too erotic, and the written words created clear images in his mind of a naked Buffy writhing in pleasure. He handed the letter back and told her to go sit down.

Both he and Gunn handed out the rest of the mail then allowed the soldiers fifteen minutes of free time to read their letters while he went outside for a smoke. Gunn followed him out of the building.

“What’s up with that? Did someone in her family get sick? Get hurt or something?” He didn’t know what to make of either Spike or Private Summers’ reaction. He guessed it had to be some private family related issue of that nature. Even Spike wouldn’t make her read something like that out loud, his heart wasn’t that cold.

“Yeah, somethin’ like that.” Somebody was sick alright… him. Some man had done things to her that he wouldn’t mi… What the bloody hell?!?! Where did that come from? Sure, she was pretty, had a nice body, but that didn’t mean he lusted for her. The image the letter produced came rushing back in his mind’s eye, making his hands shake with a touch of anger towards himself for even thinking what he was thinking.

“Is it something she may have to go home for?”

“Nah. ’M sure her boyfriend has everythin’ well in hand.” Yeah, usin’ his hand to wank off to thoughts of her. He mentally kicked himself for getting irritated over that thought as well. Her boyfriend at home, jerking off to her image, knowing what her soft body felt like, knew how smooth her golden skin felt to the tou…stop! He couldn’t go there, had no right to go there. He blamed it on his self inflicted abstinence for any sexual thoughts at all. Didn’t matter if it was Buffy, it had just been far too long and he brought it upon himself by reading her letter in the first place.

“You know? What you did back there? That’s just not right, man. I mean what’s with you? Why do give her such a hard time? She’s a good kid… tries harder than anyone else here to do her best.”

“Are you questionin’ my trainin’ tactics?” He didn’t bother hiding the irritation in his voice.

Gunn threw his hands up. “Whoa, you know I wouldn’t do that. Just seems to me, and everyone else I might add, that you’re overdoing it where she’s concerned. Forcing her to read her letter out loud just wasn’t cool.” Gunn had a sneaking suspicion as to the reason why, but it was so absurd an idea that he would never bring it up. A tiny part of him thought Spike might be attracted to her.

“How long have we been friends now? Five, six years, is it?”

“About that, yeah.” He knew that look. The look his friend was giving him right now that clearly said he wasn’t going to see things that way.

“Then trust me when I say she needs every ounce of discipline I give her and let the subject go.” He threw his cigarette down and stepped on it.

“Alright, alright. No need to get testy, it’s me here you’re talking to. If you say she needs it then she needs it. I trust you.”

“Good. Le’s go back inside.”

As they walked into the barracks to deal with the rest of their shift, Spike tried to push aside the whole incident from his mind while Gunn still questioned Spike’s motives behind his antagonistic behavior.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I can’t believe he read that, did that to you.” Willow rubbed her friend’s sore back after Spike finished putting her through the ringer from her punishment. They were back in their room and it was ten minutes before lights out.

“It’s done now. I just want to forget about it, roll over and sleep for a week. At least he won’t ever do it again.” She hoped not. Seems the bastard knew no bounds when it came to humiliating her.

“I still agree with Xander. I think you should go to the First Sergeant and tell him. I don’t think they’re supposed to do things like that.”

“And risk pissing him off when he finds out? Noooooo, thanks. Besides, he probably wouldn’t even get in trouble for it and then I’d spend every waking second in the mud or the ‘house of pain’.” She groaned as Willow tried to work out the kinks in her neck. She didn’t think she would be able to get through this place if it weren’t for her and Xander.

“Let’s get some sleep. When it’s my turn with the washer, I’ll throw your clothes in with mine. That way you don’t have to get up.”

That’s when laundry time usually occurred, throughout the night. All the females took turns so they were sure to have clean clothes for the following day.

“You don’t mind?” Willow gave her the ‘duh’ look as she climbed into her bunk. “I owe ya one.”

“No, you don’t, now go to sleep; we’re going to need it. We’ll be out on the firing range all day tomorrow.”

“Yay us.” The only good thing about that was that half of her time would be taken up with lying down on a pile of sandbags and when Spike came in for his shift, he couldn’t mess with her too much.

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